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Ruby for Women A voice for every Christian woman December, 2011

Christmas Issue!

“Her worth is far above rubies� Proverbs: 31:10 digitalart /

Contents December, 2011

December is a time when we find ourselves busy with all of our holiday preparations: cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and so much more. In the midst of all of the busyness of the Christmas season, let us take a minute here and there to remember the eternal gift of God’s love and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. We can focus on the true meaning of the season as we strive to show love, kindness, and generosity to others out of a heart of gratitude to our Heavenly Father. All of us here at Ruby for Women wish you a joyous and blessed Christmas! Senior Editor Nina Newton Assistant Editor Amanda Johnson Creative Assistant Katherine Corrigan Family Fun Editor Beth Brubaker Gardening Thomas B. Clarke, Dorothy Homer Devotions Lynn Mosher, Deborah McCarragher Poetry Keith Wallis, Lee E. Shilo

In This Issue . . . Page



“Someone’s here for Christmas” Nina Newton, Sr. Editor


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Amanda Johnson


Reflections Angela Blake-Morris


Festive Cranberry Salad Jennifer Stull


December Book Give-Away Passion and Purity by Angela De Souza


Make Your Own Vintage Christmas Cards Vintage Image Craft


Immanuel – God With Us Lynn Mosher


Advent Candles Keith Wallis


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Page 13 Bringing the Real Meaning of Christmas Home Sarah Johnson


Remembering You Tricia Goyer


Simply Give Amanda Johnson


Orange Snowballs Katherine Corrigan

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Ruby for Women is an online Christian women’s magazine that offers words of hope, inspiration, and encouragement to women everywhere. Knowing that every woman has a story to tell, we seek to give “voice to every Christian woman,” from all walks of life, of every age, from all around the world. For advertising inquiries, please contact our Advertising Administrator, Angela Morris at

If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Amanda Feature Writers Carol Mokry, Connie Arnold, Heide Johnson, at Also, Louise Wright, Kristin Bridgman, Amy Lignor, Sheila please visit our community website at Watson Kraklow, Scott Henderson, Theresa where you can connect Ceniccola, Scarlett Von Gunten, Charlotte Siems, with other women. Yvonne Anderson, Angela Blake Morris, Kausar Ruby for Women Iqbal, Deidre Knight, Elizabeth Baker, Maxine 2731 W 700 N Young, Pauline Creeden Columbia City, IN 46725 1 Quilting Laura Brandt






7 Unique Ways to Keep a Gratitude Journal Theresa Ceniccola


Ask Beth Beth Brubaker


Waiting for Christmas: Advent Calendars Vintage Mama


7 Kids, 7 Lessons Scarlett Von Gunten


Whose Child is This? Keith Wallis


Gift II


The Isaiah Tree Ginger Kauffman


A Different Direction Jeni Burrows


The Orange Shoes Page 18 by Trinka Hakes Noble Reviewed by Kendra Peterson


Ruby’s Gardening Section Sponsored by Thomas B. Clarke


Almond Danish Puff Vintage Mama


Love from the Prayer Garden: God’s Love for His Son Thomas B. Clarke


It’s All About the Delivery Pauline Creeden


December in the Garden Aunt Dots


Connect the Letters Puzzle Beth Brubaker



Vintage Tag Christmas Cards Page 22 Vintage Image Craft

Old Friends and Family Traditions Make Holiday Memories Vintage Mama



Virgin White Lee E. Shilo

Bible Block Sampler: King’s Crown Laura Brandt



“In the Stillness” CD Release by the D7 Band Angela De Souza

Katherine’s Corner Book Club Katherine Corrigan


The Blessing of Thorns Lynn Mosher


Page 70 Footprints in the Mud: Holiday Cooking Tips, Dos and Don’t Evers! Beth Brubaker


Connect the Letters Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker


Ruby for Women First Annual Holiday Gift Guide


The Christmas Promise Elizabeth Baker

Keith Wallis

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Page 55


Welcome Christmas in Creative Ways Kausar Iqbal


The M.O.M. System


The Year there was no Christmas Angela Blake Morris


Shape Sudoku Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker


Shape Sudoku Puzzle Beth Brubaker


Vintage Paper Dolls Vintage Mama


Candy Cane Bark Katherine Corrigan


Meet the Ruby for Women Writers


Credits and Copyrights

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Write a Friend Month

Calendar from

December 1: Eat a Red Apple Day December 4: Wear Brown Shoes Day December 6: St. Nicholas Day December 6: Mitten Tree Day December 7: Letter Writing Day December 7: Pearl Harbor Day December 8: National Brownie Day December 9: Christmas Card Day December 11: International Children’s Day December 12: Poinsettia Day

December 13: Ice Cream Day December 13: Violin Day December 15: National Lemon Cupcake Day December 17: National Maple Syrup Day December 18: Bake Cookies Day December 19: Oatmeal Muffin Day December 25: CHRISTMAS DAY December 27: Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day December 27: National Fruitcake Day December 31: New Year’s Eve 3

“Someone’s here for Christmas” by Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

When the snowflakes would begin to fall outside the window of our little cottage by the lake, it always seemed to be warm and cozy inside. Little did I know back then, how difficult Christmas was for my mom and dad. I remember Mom would put a string of brightly colored, blinking lights up in our big picture window. Always in the shape of a Christmas tree so that the whole neighborhood would know we were ready for the Big Day. Christmas was a magical time, even though I now realize that our holiday celebrations were quite modest compared to what most families have now days. In those days, a kid’s Christmas list often included items such as a Chatty Cathy doll, a new sweater, a doll house, or a game of checkers. And when we really became fanciful in our thinking, we might even ask for a new bicycle. I remember many Christmas mornings in our family, cuddled up with a blanket close to the space heater in the middle of the living room, with the blinking lights merrily winking in the pre-dawn darkness. My memories include crawling underneath the Christmas tree in the corner, shaking and rattling the packages to see if I could figure out what was hidden inside those treasure boxes. But what I don’t remember very well at all is any of the actual gifts that were under the tree. Of course, as I look back from the vantage point of age, I recall that the gifts weren’t extravagant or expensive. How could they be, when both of my parents held jobs away from home and they struggled to make the $60 a month mortgage payment? But the memories are of the joy, the mystery, the magic that was Christmas to a little girl. One Christmas, when I was about 8 or 9 years old, my mom somehow learned of a family not too far from us that was not just struggling, but they were

destitute. After we discussed what we could do to help, we decided to take them a few Christmas gifts for the kids, as well as a basket with food for a special dinner and some baked goods. To this day, I cannot remember where that stuff came from, but I do remember taking one of my favorite dolls to my mom to put into the basket. It was so exciting to put everything together into that basket (I think it was a well-worn laundry basket), loading it into the car, and driving to their home. The memory of driving up that long driveway is still as clear in my heart and mind as if it had happened yesterday! At the end of the bumpy, rocky, dirt driveway sat a run-down, gray and dingy cottage with a sagging porch with broken railings. We knocked on the door and a shy little girl opened it just a crack. “We are here to bring some Christmas presents!” my mom announced. The little girl’s eyes grew wide in wonder as she turned and called out, “Mama, someone’s here for Christmas!” And in the midst of the commotion and chaos of people talking, mamas crying, daddies shaking hands, and kids tumbling over each other, the clearest image in my mind is when I held out that dolly to the little girl. I do not remember her name, but I can see her face forever etched in the memory of my little girl heart and mind. She smiled as she took the dolly and held her close. That’s all I remember. But it is enough. Enough to remind me every year that it is not really about the gifts that we give, as much as it is about sharing our hearts and our love with those around us. Isn’t that what Christmas has always been about? God gave us His very best gift, the Lord Jesus Christ Who came to earth to live and die for us, every one of us. How can we do less than give our best to others, out of our gratitude for His eternal love, grace, peace and salvation? Blessings to you and your family this 4 Christmas season, Nina

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor I love Christmas! I love the lights, the holiday music, all of the decorations, and the warm glow that somehow embraces everyone whether it’s 50 or 80 degrees out! As the song says, Christmas truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year! During this special time of the year, many people will be drawn to the celebration of Christmas whether they believe in Jesus Christ or not. It’s our job as believers to be on standby ready and able to speak God’s message of mercy, grace, and love to those who come seeking answers. God has given us the greatest gift of all by sending His Son into our world as one of us (Luke 2). Both fully God and fully man, Jesus grew up teaching and proclaiming the love of God (Colossians 2:9). He gave His life on the cross as payment for our sins. Rising from the grave on the third day, Jesus conquered the grave; freely giving eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16). Christmas is a time of hope, peace, and joy that can only be experienced through the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ. What better gift to give those we love than the message of salvation through Jesus Christ? Please join with me in passing on this extravagant gift of love to others by sharing the Christmas story found in Luke 2:1-20 with family and friends on Christmas. The passage can be found online in several version of the Bible and in several languages at It’s also printed here in the New King James Version. I pray that each and every one of you has a blessed Christmas in the Lord!

Amanda Luke 2:1-20 Christ Born of Mary And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David,

which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Glory in the Highest Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. 5

Reflections by Angela Blake Morris Afternoon had come and gone. Charles had barely noticed the time slip by. Memories of them spending every fall here at this cottage came flooding back. They had sixty wonderful years of wedded bliss. Then she passed in the night, just before the season changed. They were surreal and entrancing memories. He longed to see her beautiful face once more. To hear her singing fill the kitchen. She sang at the local fall festival every year. That’s where he met her. Her singing was what captured his attention. She sang like an angel, and her presence and confidence were breath-taking. Charles was asked to attend the festival this year in her honor. The festival committee wanted to unveil the memory plaque at the park gazebo, and had asked if he would mind saying a few words to honor her. There were no words to describe her. Words did not have the splendor, faith and love she possessed. What was he to say that would reach the crowd the way that her singing did? Nothing, absolutely nothing would do. Charles looked out Into the horizon. This was Sara’s favorite time of day. The sun was setting behind the mountains. The fall leaves seemed to grow richer in their hues of orange, red and yellow. All of it reflecting majestically back into the quiet, still lake. “These are the words,” Charles thought to himself. “This view is what describes my Sara’s beauty.” As the sun melted behind the mountains, and the light faded into dusk, Charles made his way back into the house. “Well, old man, if you’re going to do this, you best get started. Morning rolls up awful quick when you’re my age.” He laughed at himself. He would always say this every night before heading up to bed. She always laughed when he joked about how old they were. Morning came about quickly, especially since Charles had not fallen asleep until two in the morning. He sat under the same oak tree where they always sat together, and drank his morning coffee. “Don’t get lost in thought again, Charlie, ol’ boy. Today you have to honor your wife’s memory. Boy, I sure do hope you’re with me today, Sara.” Charles smiled as he looked upon the lake one more time before heading out to the fall festival. Charles made his way to the gazebo that was the center hub of activity. He took his time. He wanted to take in all the sights and see life for the joy it really was. The smell of pumpkin spice was wafting in the air. The pumpkin pie bake-off was in full swing. There was the face painting book crowded with all the little kids anxiously waiting their turn. The sound of carnival music filled the air as the merry-go-round seemed to be going non-stop. Laughter and chatter were overflowing his senses. Charles stopped at one point, and simply closed his eyes and listened. That’s when he heard it. The son his wife sang every year. A melodic angelic voice floated on the air, stilling all the people. Silence fell upon the crowd. Charles anxiously made his way through the sea of people with a polite, “Excuse me,” with each person he encountered. Everyone graciously moved to let him through. When he made his way to the front of the crowd, a young girl stood on the steps, poised and confident. Her voice was just as enchanting as Sara’s had been. Tears streamed down his cheeks. It was Madison, his granddaughter. He had no idea she was coming. Never would he have thought that Madison could sing like her grandmother. She was just as beautiful as Sara had been, the first day he met her. 6

“Grandpa! There you are,” she called. “Come up here,” she said as she reached out her hand toward him. “Y’all probably know my Grandpa,” she said to the crowd of people. “He has been coming to this festival for sixty years. This is where he met my Grandma, Sara.” Then she handed the microphone to Charles, kissed him on the cheek and took his hand. Charles paused, looking out into the crowd. There were some familiar faces, but most of them were unfamiliar. “I wanted all of you to experience my wife’s beauty. I did not know how to express it because I cannot sing as she did. My granddaughter just gave you a glimpse of part of her beauty.” He paused again, looking back at Madison. “Honey, you did your Grandmother proud. She is smiling on you today.” Then he turned and faced the crowd again. He handed Madison the microphone and walked back to the easel that was beside the town mayor. “Mayor, I brought my own memorial plaque, per se. Do you mind if I shoe it first?” Charles asked. The mayor shook his head in agreement and helped Charles place the item on the easel. “There were no words, none at all, that could share my Sara’s heart with you. But God provided me this beautiful view last night. It was the only thing that could come close to how beautiful she was inside and out. Sara, my Sara, this is for you.” He briskly unwrapped the brown paper from the canvas to reveal a magnificent oil painting of last night’s sunset. The crowd was completely silent. No one wanted to miss what Charles had to say next. They were all stunned by the beautiful scene on the canvas. “The sun is my Sara; warm, loving and beautiful at all times of the day.” He paused for a moment, trying to remain composed. “The mountains were her strength. They carried me, and our entire family, through touch times. When you finally arrived at the top of the mountain, she always wanted to pause and enjoy the view. She said life was a climb, but never, ever forget to look back and remember what God taught us and provided for us.” Charles voice began to quiver; he could feel Sara’s presence in his heart. “The lake reflecting all of the spectacular colored leaves is for me. I am left now reflecting. Seeing the beauty not once by twice; once here on earth and again when I join her forever in heaven.” Madison stepped forward, taking his hand. “Grandpa, will you sing with me? You know the song.” He nodded “Yes,” and began to sing with Madison, Sara’s favorite song, “Amazing Grace.” The crowd joined in and the sound filled the festival. This fall festival would be his second favorite, the first always being when he met his precious wife Sara. For more stories like this, please visit Angela Blake-Morris at 7

Festive Cranberry Salad by Jennifer Stull This recipe is in memory of my granny, Pyrl Dixon, who will be dearly missed this holiday season. Ingredients 1 lb fresh cranberries, finely chopped 2 cups of sugar 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained 1 lb bag of miniature marshmallows 1 pint whipped heavy cream, whipped stiff (or use one container of cool whip) 1 cup of chopped nuts Directions First, mix pound of cranberries and two cups of sugar together and chill overnight. The following day, mix the remaining ingredients with the cranberry mixture and then chill until ready to serve. Jen lives in the mountains with her husband and five year-old daughter. She is a homemaker, nurse, and business owner. You can visit her site at

December Book Give-Away from Ruby for Women “Passion and Purity” by Angela De Souza "God made us girls for extravagant, wild, imaginative, adventurous, fantastic loving!" The heart of a woman yearns for love, fantasizes about romance and dreams of being someone’s princess. 21st century living has robbed us of that simple heart cry and Hollywood has fed us lies about romance. We need to fight for our passion & purity to take back the awesome adventure of living and loving without compromising our purity. Angela openly shares of how her search for passion ended up in adultery and how she managed to find a way back to purity. A must read for any woman who wants to be free to live and love with passion and purity. If you would like to enter the December Book Give-Away at Ruby for Women, simply visit the Ruby for Women blog and leave a comment with your email address included. 8

These simple, vintage Christmas cards are yours for the making! from Vintage Image Craft We always try to send a handmade vintage Christmas card each year - but we admit succumbing to the after-Christmas half-price card sales. For 2008, though, we are proud to say we again made our own cards, and they are the best and simplest ever. This design and construction was so easy, we want to share it with you. With a little planning and production-line process, you can churn out a hundred of these. We did, and we have the paper cuts to prove it. The secret is buying stock panel cards and envelopes in bulk. Depending on the quality and quantity, you might spend between $.30 and $.70 per set of card and envelope. Our source was, for envelopes (#E101) and embossed panel cards (#N101). The glorious post card illustration of Santa and his sack of apples is by Samuel L. Schmucker, published in 1913 by John Winsch. • • • • • •

Vintage images (see below). Print the image on matte photo paper (Tips). Embossed panel card stock, 7" X 5 1/8", white or natural. Envelopes, 7 1/4" X 5 1/4", white or natural. Double stick tape (or glue stick). Paper cutter (see Tips). Bone folder.

Instructions 1. Print your greeting inside the panel card. You can use the message we provided ("Wishing You All the Bounty of the Season") or your own. Using your word processing program, format your document size to match the dimensions of the unfolded card stock. Position your text, and print the inside of the cards (see Tips). 2. Using a paper cutter, trim the vintage image. Affix it to the embossed panel with double stick tape (see Tips). 3. Fold your cards on the score line using a bone folder. Tips •

We printed our vintage image on standard matte photo paper. You can print the image on any kind of medium weight or heavy weight paper, textured paper, or even vellum for a translucent effect. 9

The embossed panel on our vintage Christmas card is almost exactly the size of the original postcard - 5 5/8" X 3 3/4". If your image doesn't quite fit, resize it in your word processing or graphic program. Slightly stretching or shrinking one dimension probably won't be perceptible. Just disable the "lock aspect ratio" check box when you enter the new dimensions. You'll need a printed image for each card. To save paper, copy the image from the PDF document into a word processing or graphic document, squeezing as many copies of the image onto the page as possible (we could fit three on a page by rotating one image vertically). We used a rotary blade paper cutter to get straight cuts around the image. More decorative, but more time consuming, is trimming the image with decorative edge scissors for a vintage deckle edge. You can print the message inside the cards using your word processing program. Other methods include rubber stamping the greeting inside, printing your message on vellum and tacking it into the cards with glue stick, or printing on self-adhesive paper. Don't want to buy blank panel cards? Make your own cards with card stock cut to size and scored with a bone folder. With no embossed panel to frame the image, you might want to mat your image with paper in a coordinated color a metallic finish, perhaps trimmed with decorative edge scissors. Or a frame of ribbon. Or glitter. Or a rubber stamp border. Or... or... or...


Immanuel . . . God with us by Lynn Mosher The Advent season is upon us once again. It comes more quickly each year. I know, I’m just getting old! Since we’ll soon hear the amazing story of Jesus’ birth being told from the pulpit, I thought we’d take a look at two words from the account: Jesus and Bethlehem. Two seemingly separate words yet intertwined in a surprising way. We’ll look at Jesus today and discover the treasure hidden in Bethlehem next time. In the Old Testament, God’s name and His presence were virtually synonymous, which was evidenced in His name Jehovah-shammah, meaning the Lord is present or there. Jehovah-shammah, dwelling on the throne of heaven, lowered Himself to earth to be born in another form, to live personally with His people. His name? “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6 NKJV) In the New Testament, Jesus was Jehovah-shammah, as Matthew, quoting prophecy, said of His name, “‘They shall call His name Immanuel,’ translated as, ‘God with us.’” (Matt. 1:23b NKJV) When Jesus came to be with us, He threw off His robe of celestial royalty and dressed Himself in a tiny, pink suit of humanity, and from the birth-manger to the death-tomb, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14 NKJV) The original Greek says that Jesus “tabernacled” among us. That Divine Flesh was known by the name of Jesus, which the Word says is a “more excellent name” (Heb. 1:4) and the “name which is above every other name.” (Phil. 2:9b TLB) Calling on that precious name has opened the portals of heaven and shut the gates of hell bringing salvation to lost souls, turning away tornadoes, averting disasters, saving the lives of those in car wrecks, healing people of cancer and AIDS, giving the lame the ability to walk, hearing to the deaf, and sight to the blind, delivering those oppressed by demons, and even bringing some back from death’s grip. Dependence on that name is essential. The last thing Jesus said to His disciples was, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20 NKJV) Jehovah-shammah. Immanuel. God with us. Always!

Christmas blessings, Lynn 11

Prologue Still some weeks off ‘til glory day, child and manger, God and hay. Angels, shepherds, gifts and kings wait impatient in the wings. And me and mine ? What of us ? Do we engage in all this fuss, or do we, as we ought to do use this time to prepare for You. Advent Candle #1 (The Candle of Prophecy/Hope) In grey and rainy preparation clouded days preoccupy. Trees are mourning their lost finery, birds flee or prepare for hard times. Day follows day, treading weary paths, a joyless melancholic procession, boughs drip metronomic tears muddy blankets hide spring’s birthright. Bones chilled, cheeks besieged by gust and gale, eyes become refugees daring only to peer from squinting grimaces. Beauty hides, bereaved, crest-fallen. From such dismal obsession the season promises Light for darkened hearts, merry dances for weary feet carolling into heraldic wonder. Candle one: hope and prophecy stout sentries guarding hearts from fear’s incessant onslaught. A small light in the abyss of darkness tilting at the windmill of reality, whistling in the wind. A multitude of stars hide in nightly clouds jostling for position to proclaim the appointed time when their light is outshined. Advent candle #2 (The Candle of the Way) The star begins its journey and eternity spills upon the lost. A lesser light beacons the greater light and feeble footsteps find the way to eternity.

TwäxÇà VtÇwÄxá uç ^x|à{ jtÄÄ|á Advent candle #3 (The Candle of Joy) Heaven’s voice is ringing early its seasonal chorale cascading through the well shopped streets with the waterfall of glory. And the tills sing out their victory as the bankrupt bleed on the battleground of greed. Yet joy is to be found in shopping mall and marketplace when quiet voices with shepherds’ hearts respond to heaven’s greater tone. Advent candle #4 (The Candle of Peace) The dove is loosed from eternity’s door bringing the olive branch warm with love. Waters of darkness recede before the dove-light love-light peace. So even now men of peace stride wars in alien wisdom, their pace of hope shines promise Advent candle #5 (The Christ Candle) And so the die is cast in form of child the God has come. Earth cradles the King in poverty misplaced, misunderstood. The sacrifice of confinement clothing for a while outside eternity the covenant signature. 12

Bringing the Real Meaning of Christmas Home by Sarah Johnson As parents of young children, we sometimes get wrapped up in the food, gifts, and hustle and bustle of Christmas. We have to send a special snack for this party, find the perfect matching dresses for these pictures, oh and order all the presents before midnight to get free shipping! While nothing is wrong with these things per-se, we as adults know the real meaning of Christmas. Hope. Hope in new beginnings, hope in mankind… our hope in a baby born in a manger. As parents, it is our primary role to bring our kids to Jesus. And what better time than when we’re celebrating His birth! So many children love babies- it’s exciting to think of someone that is smaller than them. And by telling them of all who came to worship Him, even the little ones can see the importance of His birth. Christmas is a very special time to make Jesus an intentional focal point of our home. We should keep it undemanding and age appropriate. Sometimes we tend to rush into all of the details and get ourselves (and our poor children) all mixed up! Invite them to imagine how silly it would be for all the livestock to be hanging around when they were born. Talk about how amazing it would be to see the angel Gabriel speaking to Mary. When singing Christmas songs and hymns, explain the meaning of these special songs they only hear this time of year. I know that I am going to get started just by repeating “Christmas is a happy / special time! It’s when Jesus was born!” whenever the opportunity arises. Keeping it simple always works with me! ☺ Here are some easy to understand scripture verses for older children: Luke 1:31- You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. (The Message) Luke 2:10-12- Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (NKJV) Matthew 2:11- They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (The Message) 2 Corinthians 9:15- Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (NKJV) I hope this holiday brings you warm feelings of happiness, thankfulness, and hope! And may we foster these same emotions in our sweet little sugarplums!


Remembering You by Tricia Goyer 35-year-old Ava Andrews’ dream job is interrupted by an unusual request – fulfill her 84-year-old grandfather’s last wish by joining him on a battle site tour o Europe. Ava is sure her boss will refuse her request. But, instead, he gives her a directive of his own – to videotape the tour and send it back as mini-segments for the show she produces. Ava and Grandpa Jack arrive in Europe, only to discover the tour is cancelled. Unwilling to let down her grandfather or her boss, Ava and Grandpa Jack head out on their own. Then, while they’re on their way, the pair soon meet up with Paul, her grandpa’s best friend, and his grandson Dennis. The same Dennis who just happens to be Ava’s first love. For more information, or to order Tricia’s book, Remembering You, please visit her website at

Simply Give by Amanda Johnson Growing up I learned about giving in relation to tithing of the first fruits or giving 10% of one’s earnings to the Lord. I also learned about giving to the homeless and taking meals to the elderly. This was what giving was all about. It was a simple concept for a young mind. Now that I’m older, God is expanding my mind on His command to give. I’m reading “The Blessed Life” and learning that giving is still a very simple concept, but it can be expanded so much more! Simple giving occurs when we choose to be simply Christian. What does that mean? Christ commanded us to shine as a light for Him directing others to His love, mercy and grace. We can do that through blessing others with the resources God has blessed us with. Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies. Mark 12:31 says to love our neighbor. Most importantly Mark 12:30 tells us to love God with all of our heart, soul, might, and mind. Loving others is part of being a follower of Christ. We show love towards others when we give and bless them. My pastor recently encouraged the church to go into the community and show the love of Christ by simply giving. The result? Members of the community found themselves blessed in some amazing ways. A family’s groceries were unexpectedly paid for by the woman in front of them in line. One man had his gas paid for by another man a few lanes over. A woman who had just lost her job was surprisingly blessed when the woman next to her in line paid for her lunch. It was a strange phenomenon that had many asking “Why are you doing this?” The reply was simple. “God asked me to bless you as He has blessed me. He wants you to know He cares and He loves you.” This is the season of giving and praising God for all God has given us. A powerful way to show our appreciation and thanks is to take what we’ve been blessed with and simply give it to another in need. 14

YÜÉÅ à{x ^|àv{xÇ Éy ^tà{xÜ|ÇxËá VÉÜÇxÜ bÜtÇzx fÇÉãutÄÄá Charming as well as beautiful and delicious, these Orange Coconut Snowballs would look lovely on your holiday buffet table. Make up a batch with the kids or the grandkids, and watch them disappear right before your eyes! * Note: This recipe requires refrigeration before baking What you need: 2 ¼ cups flour 1 ¼ cups coconut flakes 2 sticks butter (softened) 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (sifted) 1 ½ tsp vanilla ¾ tsp coconut extract 1 ½ Tbsp. orange zest (orange part only)

½ tsp salt 2 baking sheets Electric mixer Mixing bowl Parchment paper Melon ball scoop

Before you start: Preheat oven to 350. Toast coconut (place on baking sheet and spread out evenly; cook for about 10 minutes, until golden, watch it closely or it will burn!) Let’s make it! In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium high with an electric mixer until smooth; add vanilla and coconut extract and continue mixing. Slowly add 1 ¼ cups of powdered sugar and blend well. Add flour, orange zest, and salt and continue mixing. Remove mixer and stir in coconut with a spoon. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Let dough rest on the counter for a few minutes to allow it to soften slightly. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a melon ball scoop, or a tablespoon, get one level scoop (tablespoon) of dough for each cookie. Roll dough into balls with your hands and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes and roll hot cookies in remaining powdered sugar. Cool and roll in powdered sugar again. Store in airtight container. Makes about 24 cookies. For more holiday recipes, please visit Katherine’s Corner at


Seven Unique Ways to Keep a Gratitude Journal that You Can Stick With by Theresa Ceniccola I confess – I have abandoned more journals than I care to admit. I always begin with good intentions. Like any devoted Oprah fan, I set out on a mission to write down three things I’m grateful for in an attempt to focus my attention on the blessings in my life. The whole process is like a diet – it works for a few weeks or a month and then I let it slip. I take a day off. Or a week. Or a month. Sometimes I pick it back up again and rededicate myself to the daily practice. (Once I even made it a whole year!) But eventually my journal ends up lost under a pile of papers or stuck between the seats of the couch cushions, collecting dust while my heart collects complaints and criticism. I used to beat myself up for this abandoned gratitude. I dubbed myself a failure. But now I realize that I was setting myself up for failure. That there is more than one way to do this gratitude thing. Experts tell you how to do it “right” – select a beautiful journal and a pen that feels good, allocate time each day in your schedule and create a dedicated space where you can write comfortably without distractions or interruption. All great tips. But even when I follow them to the letter, I somehow end up getting derailed. This recipe for journal writing doesn’t work for all of us, all the time. So, here are my personal tips for keeping an attitude of gratitude even if journal writing isn’t your thing! 1. Gratitude Cards: Who needs an entire notebook when you can do the job with a single index card? Buy a stack of colorful index cards and keep them someplace where you will see them. Any time you feel joy, take a minute to write a sentence or word down on an index card and post it on a wall, refrigerator or bulletin board so you can be reminded of your blessings. You can also use sticky notes. 2. Be Social: Turn your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets into a feed of gratitude. Make it a point to share your blessings with your virtual friends each day. You may be surprised to see some of them join in! 3. Gratitude Buddy: Find a partner who is interested in inviting more gratitude into her life as well. Make a commitment to share one thing each day that you are grateful for. Do it by phone, email, text or in person. It helps to have someone else depending on you and expecting you to deliver a thankful thought each day!


4. Thanksgiving Every Day: If you enjoy the tradition of going around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and expressing a sentiment of gratitude, why not make it a daily habit? If you have young children, make it a game. At my house, we play “High/Low” at dinnertime. Each person shares a “high” and a “low” from the day. It’s the one time of day when we all truly stop and connect with one another. 5. The Grateful Doodle: Sometimes there are no words to express our feelings. Let your markers and pencils do the talking by spending 10 minutes doodling your delight on a blank page. There’s a side effect to this creative exercise – you get to experience the Art of Being a Stress Free Mom! 6. Write Where You Are: Sometimes it’s just too much to add another place to go –another project to keep up with. What are you already writing on or in every day? A shopping list? Day planner? Devotional? Add a sentence of gratitude anywhere on the page! If you’re a digital momma, type it into an existing list on your smart phone. Don’t worry that it doesn’t “belong” there – that somewhere between the bananas and the paper towels you’ve written, “I’m thankful for my dog!” There are no rules – gratitude belongs everywhere! 7. Green and Grateful: For some people, it’s overwhelming to fill a book of blank pages or use a stack of index cards. Try the eco-friendly approach of expressing your gratitude on a chalkboard or whiteboard someplace visible in your home. When something new fills your heart with joy, erase it and start over. This takes the pressure off how many sentiments you have to come up with and how often you need to add to the list. And it spreads joy and gratitude to everyone in the home. Now, does that help make the gratitude thing seem more manageable? I’d love to know what’s working for you – leave a comment here and let me know how you are practicing gratitude in your own way! Visit Theresa Ceniccola, The Christian Mompreneur, at her website 17

Waiting for Christmas: Advent Calendars by Vintage Mama

What is Advent? The season of Advent is the beginning of the Christmas celebration, as well as the start of the Church year for most churches in the Western tradition. The meaning of the word “Advent” is “arrival” or “coming” in Latin, and it signifies the anticipation of the birth of Christ, fulfilling the prophecies about that event. It also represents the anticipation as we await the Second Coming of Christ. Advent is celebrated on the four Sundays before Christmas Day, beginning on the Sunday closest to November 30, which is the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle. Advent ends on Christmas Day, and because Christmas is celebrated on different days of the week each year, the Advent season can last between 22 and 28 days. In the early Church, during the 4th and 5th centuries, Advent marked the time of preparation for the “Epiphany” rather than Christmas Day. Epiphany is celebrated in early January, focusing on events in the life of Jesus, including the visits of the magi, His baptism, and His miracles. Advent was also a time when new Christians were baptized and welcomed into the church, as well as a time for the church members to examine their hearts and focus on penance. The leaders of the early Church encouraged their people to prepare for the feast of Christmas by fasting, and it is can be seen in some of the earliest church documents that Advent was seen as similar to the season of Lent in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Later, in the 6th century, the celebration of Advent became focused on the second coming of Christ. In the 9th century, Pope St. Nicholas decreed that the season of Advent would no longer be six weeks, but would be the four weeks that are observed currently. Still later, in the middle ages, around the 1500s, an emphasis on the anticipation of Christ’s birth was added to the focus on His second coming. For more details on the history of Advent, please visit “The History of Advent.” Sometime in 6th century Rome, the focus of Advent shifted to the second coming of Christ. In the 9th century, Pope St. Nicholas reduced the duration of Advent from six weeks to the four weeks we currently observe. And finally, sometime in the middle ages--approximately the 1500's--an additional focus on the anticipation before Christ's birth was added to that of His second coming. For more in-depth information, visit The History of Advent.


Celebrating the Season For Christians, Advent is a time of reflection about the amazing gift that God gave to us in the person of His Son who came to live among us on earth. It is also an opportunity to restore Jesus to His rightful place as the center of our holiday celebrations! Advent is, appropriately, both somber and joyful! The prevailing themes of the Advent season and the symbolism behind the activities which churches and families share are expectation and hope, preparation and peace, joy and sharing, and most of all, love. These themes are represented in the 5 candles of the Advent wreath. On each Sunday marking a new week in Advent, a candle is lit on the wreath (including candles from previous weeks) until we arrive at the snow-white center candle which stands for Christ! All Advent activities and traditions are grounded in the truth of Scripture . . .even though the symbolism and stories surrounding them have changed over time. The focus continues to be the great news that the Messiah was and is coming and how we live out our heartfelt longing for both. Some form of the Advent Calendar has been used for more than 150 years, and becomes more popular every year. The origin of the calendar, like so many of our Christmas traditions, started in Germany in the 19th century. Different methods of counting down the days to the celebration of Christmas were used. Drawing a chalk line to mark off the days, and later lighting a candle every night or putting up small religious pictures marked each day until Christmas. The first printed calendar was produced by Gerhard Lang in Germany. When he was a child, his mother attached little candies to a piece of cardboard and each day Gerhard would take one off. His first printed calendar consisted of miniature colored pictures that would be attached to a piece of cardboard each day in December. Later, Advent calendars were made with little doors to open on each day. The child might find a small piece of candy, a Christmas picture, a religious picture, or a Bible verse. The German calendars were sold until World War II, at which time production was stopped due to the war shortages. After the war, the production of calendars resumed in 1946 by Richard Selmer. Selmer credits President Eisenhower with helping the tradition grow in the United States during his term in office. A newspaper article at the time showed the Eisenhower grandchildren with The Little Town Advent calendar. His company still produces calendars today and can be ordered online. 19

The first Advent calendars were based on 24 days with Christmas Eve as the last night either to put up a picture or take a candy. Today, the tradition German calendars still show 24 days, but in the United States, it is not uncommon to find ones with 25 days – the last opening to occur on Christmas Day. Advent calendars can be found everywhere Christmas is celebrated, and have been made with many different themes. There are permanent ones with little drawers that are opened every day; felt pieces to decorate a tree, religious icons behind the different doors, and lots of pop-culture / character Advent calendars. The traditional ones are still a paper / cardboard piece with a small treasure of saying behind the tiny doors. The treasures can range from a beautiful miniature religious picture, a little wooden toy, or even a piece of candy. One of my most favorite Advent calendars was one that I discovered many years ago when my older children were small. It was a white church made of sturdy cardstock that we could put together and set in the middle of our kitchen table. Each day we could open one of the tiny windows on the beautiful shimmering white church where we would find a verse from Scripture about the coming birth of the Savior. It is not too late for your family to begin a new tradition, if you have not had the fun of an Advent calendar yet! You can make one or you can purchase one at your local card shop, or even at Walmart. For ideas on making your own Advent calendar, please visit or For more information about the history of the Advent calendar, please visit You can also order your Advent calendar from Bronner’s at or the Vermont Christmas Company at Information for this article was found at Wikipedia, as well as and The History of Christmas.

This Space is For Sale! If you would like to advertise in an upcoming issue of Ruby for Women, please contact Angela Morris, Ruby for Women Advertising Administrator for all the details 20

j{Éáx V{|Äw |á g{|áR ;`tÜçËá à{Éâz{àá< uç ^x|à{ jtÄÄ|á Whose child is this, a cuckoo all warm and suckling ? If I say you are mine Your eyes tell me that you make me a mother giving me no right to call you mine. If I claim to have given you life you disarm me with a smile that says you will give me mine. Your father has only spoken to me through messengers, I cannot picture his face although I know his love. You were not conceived in passion nor touched into life by intimate caresses. Can I call you my child ? You were mine for forty lengthening weeks and, in your life, you will not know such intimacy again. Will you answer my questions when you grow ? Will you let me be your mother when darker clouds arrive and I need to grieve for you, for me, for the child I kept, a loan from God.. 21

The Isaiah Tree by Ginger Kauffman Sue Staple found her passion when she left off teaching second grade and entered school for floral design. Not that she didn’t love her years in the classroom. It’s just that as an artist she longed for greater avenues to express that passion. For the past 25 years, she has arranged flowers for weddings and other events, and has done seasonal decorating in people’s homes. She’s been so busy helping others decorate for Christmas over the years that she has seldom dedicated much time to decorating her own home. But, that all changed last year. Sue’s other passion is Bible study. Last fall she finished up a 14-month Precepts Bible study of the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah foretells the coming of Jesus, painting word pictures that reveal Christ as both the King of Kings and the Suffering Servant; the Holy One, yet the One who took upon Himself our sins; the King in His beauty, but also the One from whom we hid our faces. In celebration of the completion of this wonderful study, Sue decided to create her own Isaiah Christmas Tree. “The star of the tree is Jesus,” says Sue, “and the prophet Isaiah spares no color in painting a rich portrait of Him. It amazed me to see how many lovely names and descriptions of the Savior could be gleaned from only 40 of my favorite verses in this famous sixty-six chapter Old Testament book.” She began with these 40 verses and passages from Isaiah. From supplies she had on hand, she created scrolls and small banners upon which she scribed these selections. She purchased a pre-lit artificial tree and purchased ornaments that represented the prophecies about Jesus. She found that Wight’s Nursery in Lynnwood, not too far from Everett, Washington, had an amazing stock of shiny hand painted old world ornaments, the perfect compliment for her scrolls and banners. Among her decorating supplies she found several spools of ribbon. She was ready to decorate. To actually dress the tree took a good eight hours. By the end of the day, she was finished with her exquisite Isaiah Tree. Not only is it breathtaking, it is also a way for Sue to share the message of Christ as seen from Isaiah’s perspective. And the process brought her closer to Christ Himself. 22

Sue told me, “Being exposed to Isaiah’s word pictures of the Messiah teaches me much about His beauty, His authority, His humility and His sacrificial love. They raise questions that motivate me to explore the Bible further for more information concerning Him.” Has your Christmas tree ever done that for you? Mine certainly hasn’t! But Sue’s Isaiah Tree inspires me to create a theme tree of my own that will draw me closer to Christ and be a witness to those who see it. How about you? I asked Sue how readers might go about decorating their own theme tree this year. Here are the steps she suggested: Get some ideas flowing -- Go to a decorator store or florist to soak up some Christmas tree decorating ideas. Ask yourself: What are the colors? How many? How are they incorporated? How many kinds of material were used? How are those materials applied to the tree? (The fewer the materials repeated, the simpler the tree.) What’s the pattern used? What items are repeated? Choose a theme -- A theme can help unify the tree. Choose a theme that inspires you and tie your tree together around that theme. Here are some possible themes: • • • • • • • • • • •

Angels Hymns The Psalms The Nativity Handel’s Messiah Musical instruments Mother and child/Mary/the Holy Family All creatures great and small Songbirds If you are a quilter, quilt some ornaments If you knit or crochet, knit or crochet some ornaments

Basic design principles – Decorating a tree is a craft. • • • •

Your tree should have meaning and visual relatedness. Your tree should have similarity of objects. Your tree should have repetition of colors. Your tree should have repetition of materials.

Choose your color scheme – Use no more than three, possibly four, colors. The more colors you use, the more you need a dominant color.


Rule of thumb: use pastels with pastels, brights with brights, or muted colors with muted colors. Consider repeating the colors of the environment in your tree. If your walls are blue with white trim and a third color for accent, you might incorporate all of those colors into your tree decorations. Lights and ribbons – You do have more freedom in your decorating if you use white, clear, or golden lights on your tree rather than multi-colored lights. Ribbon is a good, low cost way to decorate. Here are three ways to use ribbon in your decorating: • • •

Swirl the ribbon around the tree, something like a barber pole. Start at the top of the tree with the ribbon, and bring it down, tucking it in here and there to add interest. Tie bows onto the branches. Check online for help with tying bows if you need a refresher.

Add ornaments – Once you have your lights and ribbon, add your ornaments. Repeat your colors, materials and patterns. Place your favorite ornaments at eye level. Sue’s repeated ornaments were birds, bells, and treasure boxes (to represent that Jesus is the treasure). The old world ornaments helped bring unity to the tree. She also incorporated some items that had special meaning to her—a crocheted cross, a Guatemalan woman, and some vintage jewelry. Are you ready? Let’s start decorating! Ginger Kauffman and Sue Staple beside The Isaiah Tree last Christmas (2010).

The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble reviewed by Kendra Peterson

This is a wonderful, old-fashioned, realistic fiction story for ages 7-10. Parents would enjoy reading this to their children and talking about the lessons learned: such as determination, family love for each other, dealing with a bully, and making sacrifices for others. Delly needs new shoes before winter sets in, but Daddy's truck also needs new tires and they cannot afford both. There is also a Shoebox Social coming up at school to raise money for art supplies. The family pulls together and figures out a way to get both the shoes and tires, plus be in the Shoebox Social. Everyone is sure to love how the author reminds us what is most important in life - family. The Orange Shoes can be purchased from Amazon, through Ruby’s Reading Corner at 24

TÄÅÉÇw WtÇ|á{ câyy yÜÉÅ à{x ^|àv{xÇ Éy i|Çàtzx `tÅt I learned how to make this Danish Puff from our Great-Grandma many years ago, and it is a Christmas tradition in our family to serve this on Christmas morning. It is so simple, but beautiful and delicious, that we also make a few extras to give to our friends and neighbors. These Danish Puffs look lovely on a crimped tinfoil tray, then wrapped in clear plastic wrap and tied with a bright red or green bow! Perfect for gift-giving, and one of our favorite holiday traditions. Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup butter, softened 2 Tbsp water ½ cup butter 1 cup water 1 tsp almond extract 3 eggs, beaten 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp almond extract 1 Tbsp milk, or as needed 2 Tbsp red or green sugar sprinkles (optional) ½ cup sliced almonds for garnishment (optional) Let’s make it! Place 1 cup of flour in a medium bow. Mix in butter using a fork or a pastry blender. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of water over, and stir with a fork until dough comes together. Divide into two balls. Pat dough into two long strips on an ungreased baking sheet, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan, combine ½ cup of butter and 1 cup of water. Bring to a tolling boil. Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract and remove from heat. Immediately stir in 1 cup of flour until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Gradually stir in eggs until well blended. Divide evenly, and spread over the two crusts on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Allow to cool almost to room temperature before frosting. To make the frosting, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of almond extract and a splash of milk in a small bowl until smooth. Add more mild if necessary to desired consistency. Drizzle over the Danish Puffs, and decorate with additional sliced almonds and colored sugar sprinkles, if desired. Makes 2 Danish Puffs, 12 inches X 4 inches. 25

It’s All About the Delivery by Pauline Creeden

God spoke to Moses: “Take the staff, assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to the rock that’s right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink.” Moses took the staff away from God’s presence, as commanded. He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock. Moses spoke: “Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?” With that, Moses raised his arm and slammed the staff against the rock - once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank. God said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me, didn’t treat me with holy reverence in front of the people of Israel, you two aren’t going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them”. (Numbers 20:7-12 MSG) What did Moses do that was so wrong? He took credit for providing the water from the rock. God told him to speak to the rock, but instead Moses hit it with his staff. Instead of giving God the credit for providing the water, Moses claimed to produce the water himself. God gave Moses the gift of producing water from a rock, and Moses used the gift without ever pointing to the source of his strength. God has provided us all with gifts. Some of these gifts are talents: singing, playing instruments, athletics, public speaking.

gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV) The love in this is two-fold: Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV) If you love the Lord with your heart, soul, and mind, then you will not only use your gifts for Him, but you will also give Him the credit as well. If you love your neighbor as yourself, than your gifts will be given to him because your love will be translated into generosity. And all of this will be for the glory of God. Your gifts are given to you for His glory, and they need to be used for those purposes. Love guarantees that the gifts will be used for others rather than for selfish purposes.

There are also spiritual gifts: Speaking and interpreting tongues, prophecy, faith, generosity, hospitality, preaching.

Our relationship with God is what determines the use of our gifts. We cannot let ourselves be carried away by how we FEEL at the time we use the gift. Love is given regardless of how we “feel.”

No matter the gift, if we use it for our own purposes, it will profit us nothing but God’s disappointment.

When you are angry with your child because he crossed the street without looking both ways, it does not affect your love for your child.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the

When you argue with your spouse about the color you want to paint the bedroom, it does not affect your love for your spouse. 26

When your best friend argues with you about where you’ll go for lunch together, it does not affect your love for your friend. Do not let your situation affect your love for God. In the opening passage, Moses was angry with the people of Israel for quarreling and complaining to him. In his anger, he stopped loving them. In his indignation, he thought lightly of God’s command and moved out of his emotions. When people are not grateful for our time and energy, we cannot let their indifference stop our love. If we do, we are transferring the gift that God has given us for them into OUR gift to them. We will become angry at their lack of gratitude, and this will make us indignant and proud.

We do the same as Moses did in our hearts, even if we “say” that God gives them this gift. But if we remember who the Giver of the gift is and to whom the gift is intended, then we will realize that we are not much more than the deliveryman. How would it be if the UPS deliveryman demanded your gratitude for the gift that he was giving to you? Or what if he kept the package for himself and used it for his own purpose? How do you think the person who sent the gift would respond? Our God is generous. He gives gifts to those who don’t deserve it, and allows us to have the blessing of being the deliveryman for His grace. Let us not lose sight of our position or His generosity.

Connect the Letters Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

Answer Key on page 75


Make Your Own Vintage Tag Christmas Cards with this fun and easy craft tutorial from Vintage Image Craft This Vintage Tag Christmas Card sports an 1890 Santa Claus "scrap" printed on a shop tag. The Victorians would have approved. They were "scraphappy" by the end of the 19th Century. Printers were turning out sheets of die-cut, embossed, color paper scraps, and people were pasting them in books, on ornaments, cards, furniture and anything not moving! This card is very easy to make. We provide the printable template and tags. You create the traditional shop tag using a manila file folder as stock. Add a grommet and tie on some hemp string. We chose to make this card small, so you can print two cards on one 8.5" x 11" piece of cardstock. Office supply stores now sell boxes of envelopes sized at 4 3/8" x 5 3/4", which perfectly fit standard paper folded into quarters.

Materials: •

Vintage image and template (see below).

Cardstock, gold or brown, 8.5" x 11". We used "Kings Gold" from OfficeMax, where we had 100 cards printed.

Cardstock, manila. We used the back of a manila file folder, trimmed to 8.5" x 11".

Hemp cord or string.

Grommet setter and brass grommets, or hole punch.

Foam mounting tape or squares (see Tips).

Paint pen, silver.

Distressing ink or strong tea for aging the tags (optional).

Deckle-edge scissors or other deckle-edge cutter (see Tips).

Paper cutter or scissors.


Bone folder.

Self-healing mat. 28

Instructions 1. Print the card template (see images below: page 2) on 8.5" x 11" gold or brown cardstock. Cut the cardstock in half to form two 8.5" x 5.5" cards. With the printed text on the inside, score both cards across the center and fold with a bone folder to form two 4.25" x 5.5" vertical cards. 2. Open the card and lay it inside up on the cutting mat. With a deckle-edge cutter or scissors, cut away a 1" wide strip from the leading (left side) edge of the card (see Tips). 3. Yes, this photo has the card upside down and we are cutting away the right side. Choose whichever is more comfortable for you. Notice too that we have a 1" wide piece of blue masking tape on the cutting mat. That made it possible to quickly measure and cut the 1" strips from 100 cards. 4. Highlight the deckle-cut edge on the front of the card with a silver paint pen. You may choose to use distressing ink or even glitter glue, instead! 5. Print the tags (see images below: page 1) on manila cardstock or an 8.5" x 11" piece cut from the back of a manila file folder. Cut them out with a paper cutter or scissors, being sure to cut away the black template lines. 6. Punch a grommet through the hole marked at the top of the tag template. In our photo, you can see our "vintage" 1940s Bates Eyeleter grommet setter, still working like a charm. 7. Now, if you wish, you can age the tag with distressing ink or maybe tea staining.


8. Cut an 8" length of hemp cord for each tag. Loop the cord, push the looped end through the grommet on the front of the tag, then slip the loose ends of the cord through the loop behind the card and pull them tight. 9. Cut four small squares of foam mounting tape, stick them near the corners on the back of the tag, and then stick the tag to the center of the front panel of the card. 10. There! Easy enough that you may want to make a few hundred! Tips â&#x20AC;˘

The tag on this card was attached to the front panel with a few squares of foam mounting tape, to give it some dimension. You may choose to use double-stick tape, glue, or even tie the tag to the card and let it dangle. If you do, you can write the traditional "To and From" message on the back, and it can be used as a gift tag!


Artist and crafters often try to simulate rough deckle edges by hand tearing the edges of paper. Since tears usually follow the natural grain or imperfections in the paper, you really have little control over the result. For this Vintage Tag Christmas Card, we chose to use a Fiskars rotary paper edger with a deckle blade. Deckle-edge scissors will get the same result. If you are more adventurous and want a more authentic look , we suggest you try these methods: o

Purchase a deckle edge ripper. This metal or Lucite straight-edge has small, varying teeth which rip a jagged edge when paper is torn (usually upwards) against them.


Fold the paper on the line you want deckled. With a serrated knife, cut through the fold with small sawing motions, from the inside out.


Cut the paper apart with a fine-toothed saw, like a coping or jewelry saw.


Soften the paper fibers first by brushing a thin line of water along the desired tear line and waiting a minute. One artist recommended a portable watercolor brush, which is like a fountain pen filled with water. The paper should be torn by laying it flat and pulling the paper away from the water line, not up or down. The water helps to constrain the tearing, however it can also stain or cause inkjet printer inks to run.




i|Üz|Ç j{|àx uç _xx XA f{|ÄÉ It was a candle lit night, and tranquil peace did reign. The candles were, of virgin white, and burned a fervent flame. I was awake, till dusky morn, and heard the Sandman’s tracks. Until the night was newly born, he had but empty sacks.

This sleepless night, rode past my door, and did not stop to check. It did not want me anymore, I felt like such a wreck.

The Sandman's sleep, had passed me by, my sweet slumbers, not. Even though I want to try, I find I just, cannot.


Angela De Souza announces the release of a brand-new album by the D7 Band! “In the Stillness” Order your copy of “In the Stillness” from Amazon


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Sharon Rowley, DCD Chocolatier www.dove-chocolate-discoveries/chocolatelovers

Laise Originals Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry


Dealing with Life Problems Abba, Father; A Simple Prayer by John Poche “It’s not a matter of if we will experience problems, it’s when.” For most of us, life problems are inevitable. How do we deal with problems related to relationships, marriage, divorce, family employment, work, finances, addiction, health or the death of a loved one? John shares his personal story of how a short prayer and simple praying helped resolve some stressful problems and change his life into happy, joyous and free. He describes the development of his simple prayer plan and numerous experiences of his twenty year prayer journey. He offers many suggestions in hope that his biblically-inspired simple prayer will help you experience the joy of knowing that God is present and working in your life. It worked for him; maybe it will work for you. 80994&sr=8-1

Real Pretty Pics by Angela Morris

Ruby’s Reading Corner Books would make perfect gifts for everyone on your Christmas shopping list! Visit Ruby’s Reading Corner this holiday season Original Image from Microsoft Clip Art (Royalty Free) Artistically altered by Angela Blake


For more information, Contact Shannon Medisky

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Send Out Cards with Danie Bell This Holiday Season visit Danie Bell at Send Out Cards Cards And let her show you how you can send out out holiday greetings that are personalized, quick and easy to send!


The Visionary by Pamela S. Thibodeaux A visionary is someone who sees into the future. Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? Find out in . . . The Visionary . . . . where the awesome power of God’s love heals the most wounded of souls. Pamela S. Thibodeaux is multi-published in fiction and non-fiction. Her writing has been tagged as “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “Steamier and grittier than the typical Christian without decreasing the message.” She is the Co-founder and a member of the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. As a former member of American Christian Fiction Writers (formerly ACRW), Golden Triangle Writers Guild, Coeur de Louisiane and RWA, Pam won Coeur’s 1999 “Diamond In The Rough” as well as their 2000 “Ruby” Award and received her RWA Pro Pin in 2001. A committed Christian, she firmly believes in God and His promises. God is very real to her and she feels that people today need and want to hear more of His truths wherever they can glean them. Although her writing is Inspirational, she does her best to encourage readers to develop a personal relationship with God. The deepest desire of her heart is to glorify God and to get His message of faith, trust and forgiveness to a hurting world. Her hope is that all of her stories will touch the lives of everyone who reads them and – in some way – bring them a truer knowledge of God and urge them into a closer walk with Him. Pamela has extensive experience in speaking on a wide variety of topics related to writing as well as women’s issues. To invite Pam to speak at your luncheon or event, email her at: & 39

This holiday season, be sure to visit the Christian Book website where you can order books, music, Bibles and more for your family.

The Golden Sky comes after the storm . . . by E.C. Stilson “The "death home" gave my son a really nice funeral, the kind I'd never wished to attend. When they tried closing his casket, I nearly fell on my face, not wanting them to shut the lid on my baby. We lost it after that, totally cemented in our grief. Cade got into drugs, joined a rock and roll band, and even grew out his damn hair. At the time, I was sick of "the oatmeal option" (the only food we had), so I kicked Cade out of the house, and started modeling and working as a diesel mechanic. That was how I met Earl, an old man and unlikely best friend; the "big sag," a middle aged woman who still flashed folks; my neighbor, the stripper next door, and "The Cowboy," a man who fell in love with me. It was slow at first, but Cade reverted back to the man I'd busked with years before. It wasn't until I killed a rogue skunk, and my daughter nearly choked on a fry, that I gave my husband another chance. But could our marriage recover from the death of our son?” To order your copy of E.C. Stilson’s book, The Golden Sky, please visit her blog at

Visit Keepsakes by Katherine where you will find charming gifts for every occasion! This Christmas be sure to stop by Keepsakes by Katherine for that very special special gift for that very special someone. Keepsakes by Katherine 40

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Nana's BIG Storybook by Sheila WatsonWatson-Kraklow A collection of three of the most popular children's stories and rhymes written by Sheila Watson Kraklow, plus a bonus new story; they are all filled with the illustrations of Sheila Watson Kraklow. 131 pages Color Illustrations Complete Bible references included Ages: 5-12 Read-to-me bedtime or read alone Visit DoveQuill Publishing to order “Nana’s BIG Storybook”

‘Cause Angels Can’t Sing by Elizabeth Baker 10 Booklets and 10 Gift Envelopes for only $20 Looking for the perfect group gift at a price you can afford? 'Cause Angels Can't Sing, may be the solution! These 38 pages of holiday fiction will make even the Grinch smile as the true meaning of Christmas unfolds in modern settings with characters you can believe. Teachers and co-workers, the clerk you've been praying for and members of your Bible study group will all appreciate this thoughtful remembrance that is more than a card. View the product, read the stories and order in time for the holidays by visiting As a bonus, you can receive a $5 discount by entering the code HoHoHo at checkout! 42

Thank You to the sponsor of Rubyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gardening Section

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Core Wellness Now with Jennifer Jennifer Stull This Christmas, brighten someone’s stocking with a LightUp Lip Gloss by Artistry! Choose from three different shades at

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A River of Small Stones by Keith Wallis A beautiful and inspirational book of poetry, perfect for gift-giving this Christmas season Poems written as “small stones,” polished moments of paying proper attention to life Available at 44

The Christmas Promise by Elizabeth Baker When the elevator stopped on the seventh floor Jenise pushed her way past the fat man with a briefcase. “Excuse me,” she said politely. “I’m going down.” She could never understand why people stood in front of elevators that weren’t going their direction, but then, there were a lot of mysteries in life. “Hey, Jenise! Merry Christmas!” a woman’s voice called from the back of the crowded cab. “Brenda! Merry Christmas, yourself!” She threaded her way through the press of strangers until she was standing shoulder to shoulder with her friend. “Got any plans for tomorrow?” “Only what you would expect,” she sighed. It had been a long day at the office and everyone was ready for the holiday to begin. “I still have to bake another batch of cookies. The kids will be up before dawn to find what Santa brought and Brad’s parents are coming over for Christmas dinner.” Brenda yawned behind her hand. “I sure am glad Christmas only comes once a year or I’d never make it.” “That sounds like a lot. I can understand a single gal like me working on Christmas Eve, but you have a family. I don’t know how you do it.” “Yeah, well, I’ve got to pay for all those Christmas goodies, you know.” They rode in silence for a moment then Brenda smiled mischievously. “Speaking of marital status, I don’t suppose you’re expecting a special Christmas gift from Caleb? Like maybe an engagement ring?” “Maybe,” Jenise blushed. “Who knows what might happen with Christmas magic in the air? His flight from Chicago is due in at eleven tonight and he promised he would be at my apartment for dinner at one. Said he had something special to show me.” The elevator stopped and sliding doors opened into the polished marble lobby of Blackmore Consulting Company. “Well, that sounds like a June wedding to me!” Brenda teased as they headed for the exit. A surprising number of people were milling about and Jenise thought the place looked more like a mall than an office building on Christmas Eve. “The big city rat race never stops,” she said as the friends parted just outside the revolving door. The sky was already dusky and Christmas lights twinkled from every window while smiling people rushed past decorated lamp posts. Maybe the rat race couldn’t be avoided, but looking at a city street dressed for the holidays made you remember that it wasn’t all bad. There was another side to New York; a joyous side that nothing else could match. Back at her apartment, Jenise began preparation for the Christmas feast. She would serve a lowfat version of her grandmother’s stuffing and the Cornish hens she picked up at the deli should be just right for two. Soon the aroma of cornbread filled her small space and cranberry salad was cooling in the fridge. Christmas really was a magical time. 45

By six-thirty she was dressed in a comfortable cotton robe, sipping cappuccino and thinking of life back home. Mississippi had been a great place to grow up, but after her parents died, there just didn’t seem to be any reason to stay. Neither of her sisters could understand why she was attracted to the big city, but then, they had never understood many things about the baby of the family. Most years, Jenise yielded to their pleading and flew back home for Christmas. But, not this year. Since Caleb came into her life, everything she wanted was right here. Caleb. Thoughts of the tall, shy young man settled peacefully on her heart. They had known each other for only four months, yet she could hardly remember life without him. Caleb was steady and wonderfully predictable. She often knew what he was thinking before he said it, and he seemed to be able to do the same with her thoughts. They laughed and shared deep, silent moments. They enjoyed the same sports, were members of the same church and even had similar political ideals. An hour drifted slowly by. Usually Jenise would have been agitated over some TV-news report, or on the phone chatting with her sisters, but not tonight. Instead, she turned on a CD of familiar carols, darkened the room and watched the snow fall on a city of colored lights. God had sent the promised savior and Caleb had promised to come for Christmas dinner. Both concepts felt secure and safe. They were promises she could trust. It was still snowing when she woke the next morning, but not bad enough to cause concern; just a light frosting to make this Christmas a white one. She stretched luxuriously then threw back the covers. Cool air washed over her warm limbs making her rush through dressing and giving an exhilarating start to the day. She hummed while she set the table for two and the CD played sweet melodies of Silent Night and Away in a Manger. She danced around the kitchen while slicing potatoes as Jingle Bells filled the air. By eleven-thirty she was nervously watching the door hoping Caleb might decide to come a little early. By the time the clock struck one, Jenise could scarcely contain herself. He had promised he would come for Christmas and Caleb was never late. She paced. She turned off the CD and watched the TV weather channel. No problem with the snow. All streets clear in the big city. It was shortly after one-thirty when she called the airport. All flights were on time. “Have a Happy Holiday,” the recorded voice gave a politically correct response to the season. At two she called his apartment. No answer. She tried his cell. It was either dead or her number was blocked. She checked the hospitals. No one admitted under his name. At three she began to cry. He had promised. The rest of the afternoon was a blur. She wanted to call her sisters, but they would be celebrating with their families. No need to ruin everyone’s holiday just because her boyfriend jilted her. Besides, Sabrina would just tell her how happy she ought to be that Caleb’s unfaithfulness showed now rather than after a wedding and Ginny would only cry and beg her to come home.


The afternoon faded and for a second evening Jenise stood at the window watching Christmas lights in the street below. Tears stung hot in her throat then pushed their way out and down her cheeks. He had promised. She didn’t know why she turned on the CD player. Maybe she just couldn’t stand the silence any longer. But, the carols were strangely comforting. It came upon the midnight clear / That glorious song of old. The familiar words were like a warm blanket on a cold night and she listened carefully as the choir began the third verse. And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, / Whose forms are bending low, / Who toil along the climbing way / With painful steps and slow. / Look now! For glad and golden hours / Come swiftly on the wing; / O rest beside the weary road / And hear the angels sing. Jenise thought of the years ahead. Lonely years. Many of them would probably involve “painful steps and slow.” But then, that was life. Even if Caleb were the most faithful man in the world, his love could not keep all pain away. It was just that it would have been so nice to have someone to share the “crushing load” as well as the “golden hours.” I haven’t left you. She knew that silent, internal voice. It had often given her comfort and guidance. The voice of her Lord. The tears didn’t stop and her heart still ached, but at the same time she knew as long as that central, soul-deep comfort was part of her life, she would be all right. Maybe Caleb was not the type to keep promises, but the God of all creation surely kept his. She could hope in that. She was jolted from meditation by a loud, insistent doorbell. “Yes?” “It’s me, Caleb. Can I come up?” Silence. “Jenise, I can explain. Please?” Not trusting her voice, she didn’t answer but pushed the buzzer releasing the door. A few moments later, she heard his knock. During the two minute interval between hearing his voice and his knock, she had gone through every emotion from elation to anger to fear. She breathed deeply and waited for this second knock before turning the knob with a shaking hand. “Am I welcome?” he asked timidly. “I don’t know. Should you be?” She backed up to let him in, turning away her face so she wouldn’t have to look at him. “I tried to keep my promise. Really I did. It was the snow” “Oh, stop it Caleb. I checked the airlines. All flights are coming and going on time.” “The snow yesterday. In Buffalo. I was bumped in Chicago and had to catch a different flight routed through Buffalo.”


“So, all the telephones were out, too?” “I thought if I could get a flight today, I would still be on time.” For the first time she looked directly in his eyes. “And exactly when did you find out that wasn’t going to happen?” “About one when my ‘on time’ flight from Buffalo landed.” “It’s now six in the evening.” “Flat tire at the airport.” “You never heard of cell phones?” He fished in the pocket of his over coat and pulled out his phone holding it up for her inspection. “Dead battery.” Jenise was silent but at least her hands had stopped shaking. “Honey, I’m sorry,” He looked at her with pleading, blue eyes and after a moment moved toward her. “I really am.” When she didn’t resist, he slowly took her in his arms. It took another three hours for the tension to totally resolve between them, but after a cold, late dinner, they were able to snuggle on the sofa while listening to carols and watching the snow. “Jenise,” he breathed into her hair. “Remember I said I had something special to show you this Christmas?” She tensed. “Yes.” He pulled a small box from his pocket and opened the lid. The diamonds were small but glistened brightly in the candle light. “I am only a man. If you’ll have me for a husband, there might be many times I fail to keep my promises to you. But, I tell you now, in the name of the One who always keeps his, I’ll always try.” The End

Elizabeth Baker is an author and retired counselor, drawing on thirty-five years of experience helping individuals apply biblical principles to real-life situations. She currently lives in Pittsburg, Texas where she concentrates on her writing. A widow since her mid 30's, Elizabeth has four grown children, fifteen grandchildren, and six great-grands. You can find more of Elizabeth’s stories and books on her website at 48

Welcome Christmas in Creative Ways by Kausar Iqbal Make simple décor ideas and use simple recipes for an enjoyable dinner. Let your Christmas table décor be unique and let it be full and vibrant! Brush your talents with some of these ideas! Christmas dinner requires a menu that can be planned now. Yes it’s better to do it weeks in advance. Most people follow their family traditions, but unusual recipes are always welcome like a dish of corn pudding or deviled eggs as a starter.

Corn pudding One can evaporated milk 2 eggs beaten 2 tablespoons cornstarch Dash salt 2/3 cup sugar 3 teaspoons of butter Method: Mix all ingredients together then add a can of cream style corn, don’t drain. Stir then pour mix into a greased casserole dish, no lid. Take 3 teaspoons of butter, cut into bits and sprinkle on top of the mixture. Bake for one hour at 350 or in some ovens 45minutes. You have to jiggle it after 45minutes and if it’s still liquid in the centre keep baking, but don’t let it get too brown on top. If it starts to brown too much just lay a sheet of foil over it and continue baking.

Classic deviled eggs 6 hard boiled eggs 3 tablespoon mayo 1 teaspoon mustard 1 teaspoon vinegar Salt & pepper to taste Paprika 2 teaspoons pickle relish Method: Boil eggs starting in cold water. Cover completely. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat then reduce heat to a lower heat and let boil/cook for another 10 minutes. Promptly chill eggs so yolks stay bright yellow. Remove shells from eggs and cut in half lengthwise with a knife. Carefully remove the yolks with a fork and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the yolks and stir. Now pipe it or just use a spoon and put the mixture back into the egg halves. Garnish with a light sprinkling of paprika. 49

Simple Holiday Decorating Ideas from Kausar Iqbal

Holiday Room Spray Try this simple recipe to bring the delightful scent of the holidays into every room of your house! Sprayer with mist nozzle 1 cup tap water Sweet orange pure essential oil Clove pure essential oil Cinnamon pure essential oil Ginger pure essential oil Add cup of water to sprayer. Add 6 drops of sweet orange, 1 drop of clove, 1 drop cinnamon and 1 drop of ginger essential oil to water. Use as a room spray. Avoid spraying on skin or in eyes.

Centerpiece Ideas Decorate your Christmas table with edible fruits and edible flowers just sugar them and arrange in a big bowl or on the side of a home baked Christmas cake full of nuts.

Sugaring Fruit Holding fruit by stem, lightly dip fruit or flower into beaten egg whites. Sprinkle your fruit& flowers with superfine sugar and place on wire rack to dry (3 or 4 hours). Place in bowl or with other decorations or use one spray as a napkin holder. Tie a ribbon and fix a flower with long stem.


The Year There Was No Christmas by Angela Blake Morris Christmas was always my father’s favorite time of year. When the time came, he would break out his “I believe in Santa” t-shirt and we would load up the truck and head out to Janoski’s farm. This is where we would go to cut down our own Christmas tree. This started off our holiday season. The trip was followed by a trek to the holiday store. The smells in the store with rich in ginger and cinnamon, the environment warm and welcoming, and the sound of joyous Christmas music filled the store. We usually did not buy much there. It was mainly a trip to experience the ambiance. After we got our tree home we would have the usual family arguments over which part of the tree should face the front, while mom continued to record the escapade on her camera. We would tell her to “Turn that thing off!” and be of some help. She would always decline and insisted that it was much more fun watching our stress from the sidelines. All the while, Christmas music was playing in the background in an attempt to lift our spirits. Once the tree position was finally agreed upon, decorating would commence. This was always my favorite part. My mother had these wonderful old glass balls that had been her dad’s. Unwrapping them from the boxes and seeing them again after being stored away for the year was a Christmas in itself! There were also the assigned ornaments that represented each person and critter in the house, and the usual homemade ones from years past. The final step was hanging the stockings. Our family had one stocking for each person, and one for each pet. Santa never forgot our pets! After this grand undertaking was complete, we would all huddle together on the couch with homemade cookies. This began the Christmas Movie Marathon. We watched all the classics like Charlie Brown and The Grinch and many more like that. This was our family tradition. One year, everything was different. Money was tighter than normal, and for a middle-class family, we were bordering on poor. My parents were never ones to disappoint, however, and Santa never passed our house by. This year, my parents had to tell me that Christmas would be delayed. Maybe for other kids this would have been a difficult pill to swallow, but not for me. I saw how hard my parents worked; I knew that everything we had came from dedicated, hands-on, hard labor. We might not have kept up with the Joneses, be we saved for things that we wanted to experience for our family. Instead of throwing a fit and feeling sorry for myself, I assured them that it was OK. My dad explained that we would still have Christmas, but that it just could not be on Christmas Day. Instead we opted for January first. We were going to ring in our new year with our very own special holiday gift exchange!


I did not go without. We still had Christmas with my grandparents. I still received gifts, and we still enjoyed a tasty turkey dinner with the usual holiday pies. Family chatter rang in my ears, and laughter filled my heart. Knowing that Santa passed my house by this year really did not seem to matter. I had my family and their love. At this point, that was all that mattered. Then New Year’s Eve came and went. I awoke the next morning to the smell of pancakes, bacon and eggs, and the sound of Christmas music as my dad called out, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!” The tree was up, and there were gifts under the tree. It was like Christmas Day all over again. I still remember the gifts I received almost thirty years ago. I got a Velcro Dart Board, blue and white pom-poms, a basketball, and the Michael Jackson Thriller album. After we finished breakfast, dad and I went down to Agway (a local feed depot) and played basketball for hours. This was the best Christmas ever! No other Christmas meant more to me as a kid. It was special because we pulled together as a family, made it through a touch time, and we all sacrificed things for the sake of the family. Recently I told my father that this was the most special Christmas memory for me. Out of all the Christmas years we had together, that year was always my favorite. To read more stories by Angela Blake-Morris, please visit her at

Shape Sudoku by Beth Brubaker

Answer key on page 78


Candy Cane Bark from the kitchen of Katherine’s Corner Some people call it Candy Cane or Peppermint Bark, others call it Peppermint Brittle, but whatever you call it, I know you will call it yummy! I hope you will enjoy making this for your family this Christmas. Great to fill holiday tins, and to give to friends and neighbors, too. What you need: 6 oz. chocolate-flavor candy coating (chopped) 3 oz. milk chocolate bar (chopped) 6 oz. vanilla-flavor candy coating (chopped) 3 oz. white chocolate baking squares (chopped) ¼ cup (about four) peppermint candy canes (crushed) Baking sheet (should accommodate a 10” X 8” rectangle) Foil 2 small saucepans (thick-bottomed) or double boiler Spatula Before you start: Line a large baking sheet with foil Let’s make it! In a small saucepan or double boiler, melt chocolate-flavor candy coating and milk chocolate bar, stirring over low heat until smooth. Pour onto baking sheet and spread into a 10” X 8” rectangle; set aside. In another saucepan or double boiler, melt vanilla-flavor candy coating and white chocolate baking squares, stirring over low heat until smooth. Slowly pour white mixture over chocolate mixture on baking sheet. With a thin spatula, swirl white candy mixture into chocolate mixture. Shake baking sheet gently for even thickness. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm. Use foil to life candy from baking sheet; break candy into pieces. Makes 1 ¼ pounds. Store in air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 53

Ask Beth by Beth Brubaker

Dear Beth, When going on vacations, we always seem to get our luggage mixed up with someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Is there any way this can be avoided? I spend half my vacation time trying to track down my stuff!

Vexed on Vacation

Dear Vexed, There is a great way to make your luggage stand out as yours. Get or make luggage tags that attach to your handles. Don't put your name on the front of the tag (write it on the back where no one can see, just in case). Use a phrase or word that makes your baggage distinct. I like ones that make others laugh as they search on the revolving racks: NOT YOURS! Rabid Attack Weasel Enclosed Incontinent Poodle Was Here MINE! I Eat Humans Dirty Laundry Make it fun, make it easy to find, but most of all, and make it personal. Color around the edge of the tag to make it stand out even more, if possible. You shouldn't have any more problems!

Enjoy the journey! Your friend, Beth Visit Beth at her blog, Footprints in the Mud, at 54

7 Kids, 7 Lessons Raising the Next Generation of Leaders by Scarlett Von Gunten I’m Mom to 7 amazing children. I am taking all that I am learning having a business and sharing it with my children. Here are 7 lessons for Raising the Next Generation of Leaders:

Lesson #1: Listen to your kids What are they interested in? What are they passionate about? How can you help them turn that into a business? Example: if your daughter loves henna tattoos & starts a business of giving henna tattoos to people, how can you help her make it more profitable? Put the henna business online. She could write an ebook all about henna, why it makes great temporary tattoos, with designs in the book and a recipe for the henna. Then she could make videos teaching people how to mix it, apply it with tips and technique. Then she could have printable pdfs of henna designs. She could also sell henna & body glitter from her website. Example: One of my sons has all these great ideas of things to invent. I’ve invested in expert teaching to help him actually take the idea from thought to market. I’m showing him that his ideas are valuable and I’m investing in tools & teaching for him to learn more.


Lesson #2: Let them make a mess Creating can be messy. One of my sons loves to cut with paper & is constantly drawing me pictures. In the past, I didn’t really appreciate his drawings or the mess, but now I see that he has this need to create & he needs me to let him. I love his drawings & everyday he makes me new ones. He collects boxes & stickers & paper and is always making something. At the end of the day, he cleans it up, but I’m choosing to let it be messy so he can create. Another son loved carving pumpkins so much that he decided to carve the fruit on the counter. My daughters got upset at him for wasting the pear but I encouraged them to leave him alone and encouraged him to keep carving.

Lesson #3: Invest in your children. If your children have an interest in how things work, a great way not to have them taking apart your appliances is to buy used ones at Goodwill or a second-hand store. Old computers, toasters, dvd or vhs players, cameras, etc. Invest in tools, not just toys. Why buy the fake plastic or kid wood hammers and kid wood working tools? Buy your children real tools instead. They make smaller real sized ones. How rewarding it is to screw in a real metal screw with a real screwdriver than it is to just play with a fake plastic one. Does your child like to bake? Invest in kitchen gadgets to help them be more productive. Gourmet cupcakes, cakes, cookies, & even gourmet dog treats are a great baking business.

What skills does your child need to help them succeed? Maybe they love mechanics. Go down to the junkyard & buy an old car and let them rebuild the engine or take it all apart. Who knows what they’ll create? Let them explore!

Lesson #4: Encourage them! Kids of all ages thrive on encouragement! A smile. A pat on the back. A good job, well done, Son! Goes a long way in investing in letting your children know you appreciate them. Tell them. Write them a note. Text them. Send them an email. Take them out on a date just you and them. Spend time with them & really listen to them. Let them know you love them. Thank them! And when you’ve wronged them, ask for their forgiveness.

Lesson #5: Teach your children to be hard workers Encourage them to do well in school, to read great books, to get exercise- sports, martial arts, walking, riding bikes, hiking, rollerblading.. Have them do regular chores and encourage them to do a great job. Thank them for their hard work! 56

Lesson #6: Allowance or Commissions? We do commissions (via Dave Ramsey). They do chores, they get paid (learning real world skillsyou work, you get paid, you don't work, you don't get paid) :) We pay by how old they are, each week. (if you're 12, then $12 a week). They give 10%, save 45% & spend 45%. They've even saved up their own money for a Mac computer. :) They really seem to appreciate working & realize the value of a dollar more. :)

Lesson #7: Serve others Teach your children at a young age to give back & serve others. Caring for the elderly, doing a neighborhood change your battery yearly event, making “Hope to Other” bags - 1 gallon plastic Ziploc bags filled with socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, tissue, non-perishable food, fruit leather, hard candy, coupon to the local rescue shelter, Bible & hand them out to the homeless. Ask your children who they want to help!

If you’re really going to help your children succeed Listen to your kids. Let them make a mess. Invest in your children. Encourage them! Teach your children to be hard workers. Pay commissions. And teach them to serve others. To do: I want to encourage you to go out and get your child a journal, sit down and brainstorm with them. What they are passionate about & interested in? Encourage them to draw pictures and journal their ideas. I’d love to hear what you think about this! Come share with me on my Facebook page at Scarlett Von Gunten, is the CEO of iWoman Magazine and mom to 7 amazing young entrepreneurs. Scarlett's mission is to inspire, motivate, connect and encourage entrepreneurs. She loves learning & being delight directed. Some moms like to scrapbook or quilt, Scarlett loves the computer & social media! Scarlett enjoys meeting people all over the world, becoming friends and helping others! Scarlett's supporting the dreams of her children and providing the tools they need to implement their business ideas. She encourages kids to start their own business. What are your kids passionate about and how can they turn that into a business to serve others and make a profit? How can they impact the world at a young age? She believes that children CAN make a difference TODAY! Scarlett, her husband and their 7 children can usually be found traveling the country going to events together or on their Mac computers inventing and creating. Scarlett's most quoted line to her husband is, “I have an idea!” When not reading a new book, she can be found shopping at Goodwill or Value Village with her daughters. Come join Scarlett in her iWoman Entrepreneurs Online Community 57

Gift II by Keith Wallis It was an old splinter, painful in the palm of my hand, familiar, almost friendly as it weaved its poison. Comfortable pain doing harm, but most times almost ignored. I ducked low to enter the stable catching my hand on the frame which sparked the palm pain into life for a moment. I was drawn to this place following the melody of evening animals, the warmth of their breath in a colding night, lured by the misty oil light from within. In the dim smelly light, the girl sat holding a new-born close for mutual comfort, young for motherhood. Pain and pride etched into her face, cared and careless, held and holding, smiling the smile of a mother. I stood there awhile, palm throbbing again. The stable â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a cathedral of love â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 58

gripping every breath I took. Couldn’t see the baby from where I stood but felt enthralled by the wonder of childbirth this particular, peculiar childbirth. All eyes were on the child mother’s, oxen’s, donkey’s. There may have been other people there too but, ignorant of their presence, caught up in the moment, they were insignificant to me. If it wasn’t for the twinges of pain in my palm it would have been that elusive “perfect moment”. Then SHE noticed ME. Smiling, she beckoned to me with the smallest movement of her head, as if I were important. I held back awhile, fearing to sully the moment with my presence, eager to remain an un-contaminating voyeur. Besides, I had nothing to offer, no comfort, no gift. Just me, the cold chill that had followed me into the room, and a pain in the palm. Then I did go forward to see the child, short strided, hesitant. It was his eyes that caught me and brought the tear to mine. This child seared the heart with a glance. This child scoured the deepness of the soul. This child threw the emotions into a whirl and the mind into a vortex. All the weight of the world was in those eyes and his smile gently blew the weight away. He said nothing – nor would he – just a few hours old. I said nothing – nor could I. I had nothing to say, nothing to give. I touched his hand, No, that’s not the way it was, he touched mine, I didn’t even realise its proximity to him, I wouldn’t have presumed, I wouldn’t have dared. Then I could stand there no longer, lost in the deep that surrounded him I found myself retiring. The pain had gone, my palm soft and free of splintered poison, even the memory of the hurt had gone. I thought, as I withdrew from that room, what magnitude of splinters would crown that little head when he grew and became a man ? 59

A DIFFERENT DIRECTION Christian Retailer Helps Nonprofit Organization’s Vitamin Fund While consumers begin shopping for the holidays, A Different Direction is partnering with International Health Care Foundation (IHCF) African Christian Hospitals to give customers the opportunity to serve both their loved ones and those in need. With :every purchase from its website, A Different Direction will donate a portion of its profits to this organization that facilitates seven medical mission points throughout Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania. “In this time of year, we wanted to provide a way to really show the meaning of Christmas – thankfulness for the gift of Jesus – by passing it forward to others,” said Debby Burrows, co-owner of A Different Direction. “IHCF African Christian Hospitals will allow our business and customers to go beyond the commercialism of the holidays.” The proceeds will help the fund that supplies proper vitamins to children and adults, along with prenatal vitamins to pregnant women. The World Health Organization reported in 2005, 32 percent of children in developing countries suffered stunted growth caused by malnutrition and illness. The vitamins from IHCF African Christian Hospitals help combat these types of problems. “So many illnesses can be prevented by good nutrition and the proper vitamins,” said Tom Carr, Executive Director of IHCF African Christian Hospitals. “Additionally, some vitamins are the cure for specific illnesses relating to deficiencies, and the prenatal vitamins help assure the delivery of a healthy infant from a mother that could likely be undernourished herself.”

In addition to running five clinics and two hospitals, IHCF African Christian Hospitals has also started a scholarship fund to help young African Christians work their way through medical education programs. So far, the organization has sponsored over 100 students who are now doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians in Africa. Any purchase from starting Nov. 14, through March 2012, will automatically donate a portion to IHCF African Christian Hospitals. Customers will also have an option during checkout to donate an additional amount. “IHCF African Christian Hospitals has been around for quite a while, which indicates stability,” Burrows said. “Collaboration with them enables the donations to aid a wide area of those least fortunate in the world, plus the emphasis is healing to facilitate sharing Christ.” In April, the non-profit and owners will determine whether to continue the project. A Different Direction is a family-owned and familyrun business that sells Christian apparel, t-shirts, jewelry, books, music and other Christian gifts. It was established in 1994 and continues to spread the message of Christ through its production. The owners, Ed and Debby Burrows, are graduates of Oklahoma Christian and spent their prior years in full time ministry. For more information, please visit the website at or you can email Jeni Burrows, Director of Media Relations at or she can be reached at 316 655-6502


Gardening with Ruby for Women This Monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Garden Section is sponsored by:

Thomas B. Clarke - Author of the book entitled A Garden of Love An endearing gift book for the Christian woman who enjoys flowers

Click on the links below to learn more about this and Tomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other publications or

Thank you Thomas B. Clarke for your generous sponsorship! 61

Love from the Prayer Garden God’s Love for His Son by Thomas B. Clarke

“The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing” (John 5:20). Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded” (John 10:17,18). [Father,] “you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. … you loved me even before the world began!” (John 17:21,24).

Oh the exquisite rose! I take such pleasure in how the hue changes on each flower as it matures – the intense colors when they first open, leading to muted but still beautiful tones over time. Through the rose, possibly more than with any other flower, God’s awesome love extends, reveals, and touches us in greater intimacy with him. The Jackson-Perkins catalog describes their roses as stunning, striking, luscious, fragrant, elegant, graceful, dramatic, captivating, fabulous, vibrant, exceptional, long-lasting, delightful, and irresistible. These same words could be applied even more to Jesus. The roses are the stunning centerpiece of the garden: the pink ones remind us of his softness and gentleness; the white ones bring to mind his purity and elegance; and the red roses remind us of his unfailing love for us. Our perfect rose, "crucified in weakness" (2 Cor. 13:4), without spot or blemish, was jeered at, mocked, beaten, flogged, and tortured. He loves us that much. He is also loved by his Father that much. Immediately after Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matt 3:17). The same words were spoken at the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter, James, and John heard God’s voice from a bright cloud: “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him” (Matt 17:5). God spoke of his great love of Jesus, his Son. Here are some other verses to consider:

Collectively, these verses assure us of the true and deeply intimate love relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son, even before the world began. The love relationship that was established between God and his people began as he created the world – the profound love between God and his Son began even before that. Love is contagious – this love does not end with the Father / Son, for it includes us: [Father,] ”I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:22,23). Bob Sorge, in his marvelous book “The Fire of God’s Love,” describes God’s love: The most sublime theme in all of Scripture is the love of God. There is nothing higher or nobler toward which we can direct our meditation. God’s love is altogether wonderful, beyond our complete comprehension, and entirely inexhaustible in its scope and intensity. Many of the attributes of the rose help remind us of these same attributes in Jesus. He is infectiously beautiful and his love is contagious beyond all measure. His love is profuse and his love is profound. Copyright © 2009 Bible Discernments. Excerpt from A Garden of Love by Thomas B. Clarke, a gift book about love for anyone that enjoys flowers. Tom is also the caretaker of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden in Syracuse, NY – open to the public. A Garden of Love is available on Amazon as well as at


December in the Garden by Aunt Dots Well here it is December already. There’s a heavy frost this morning. It really looks dreary this time of year. I look forward to some snow on the ground as it makes the earth look clean. Gardening is over for awhile but I never stop thinking about it. I’m pouring over old garden magazines to get inspiration. Most of the ideas are beyond my ability and means but there are some very pretty pictures and I can dream of some possibilities for my gardens. Winter is a good time to make some decorations for your yard and garden. A couple years ago my friend helped me make some trellis. I had some 2x4’s left over from tearing down our old screened in porch and he used them to cut the pieces for the trellis. I painted them tan so they would show up against the garage. His wife cut out the crows that are on top. He also made three boxes for plants that I put in front of the garage. I planted some decorative grass in them. I got the pattern for the trellis and boxes from Better Homes and Gardens “Yard & Garden Projects.” There are endless ideas in the book. I would suggest you look it up at Barnes and Noble if you’re looking for some winter projects. Last winter I also decorated a large patio block with little colored stones. I set a tall blue pot on the block near my back door so visiting folks can admire my artistic abilities, (excuse the attempt at humor) I’ve been thinking about what I can do about the ground under the bird feeder. The bird seed falls and takes root and it’s a constant bother to keep that area clean. I’m thinking about a large mosaic under the feeder. I would just hose off the seed that falls on it. That would be a big job. I’ll have to look around for what materials I could use to make a mosaic that large as it would be approximately three feet square. Well, back to today. I’ve got to decorate the house inside and out a bit for Christmas and winter so I gathered up some pine branches, hydrangea bunches, Michigan holly (it doesn’t have leaves), and some curly willow. It looks pretty good in the new pot I picked up at a shop downtown. Outside I put some spruce and pine branches and holly in the window box and a box by the porch. My granddaughter and her husband will be looking after the house while I’m in Florida ‘till April, so I hope they appreciate my efforts. I do miss winter a little. I still look forward to the first snow. And I also enjoy an occasional blizzard, although I do worry about losing electric power during a storm. We have a generator for such an occasion but you have to go outdoors to get it set up. I’m still thankful for having it handy. So, friends, I wish you all a blessed Christmas. Give thanks to the Father for His indescribable gift of the Savior.

Aunt Dots 63

Old Friends and Family Traditions Make Holiday Memories by Vintage Mama In my recipe card file, I have many recipes that have been handed down to me over the years from the grandmas, moms, aunts, sisters, cousins, and treasured friends. When I went through the recipe card box yesterday, I was reminded that even the box was a gift! It must be at least 30 or 35 years old, and it was given to me one Christmas by my sister-in-law. It is a beautiful wooden box with a charming picture decoupaged on the top. That is ONE way I KNOW that it is at least 30 years old ;o) But it brings back so many memories every time I open it . . . . and I keep it right on my kitchen counter. It has always been on my kitchen counter, no matter where we have lived over those 30 years of making memories. But when I open that treasured little box, so many more memories come alive in my heart and in my mind! This holiday season, for the first time in a couple of years, I'm really in the mood to do some holiday baking, and I want to share that with my readers who also treasure the simple, homemade joy of family, friendships, traditions and memories. This is a recipe that I have made frequently over the years, but not nearly so often as one of my oldest and dearest friends, Auntie Ellen. Now, of course, she really isn't my children's aunt, biologically speaking . . . but we have been friends since our oldest children were babies, and that is a LONG time! We walked with each other through some difficult days, and we celebrated together in the joyous moments that make motherhood a bittersweet gift. We've just always been there for each other, and I'm sure you have a friend or two like Ellen . . . . . no matter how long it has been since you've chatted over a cup of coffee, whispering and giggling like two school girls, as soon as I hear her voice, we just pick up again as if we had just finished our previous conversation a minute or two ago. Auntie Ellen makes her Creamy Caramels every year for her entire family . . . . which always includes us, of course . .. . and she has done that for so many years, I don't even know how long this recipe has actually been a tradition in her family!


I should ask her where she got the recipe. Maybe it was one that was handed down to her from her mom, or her grandma. But the story of Auntie Ellen's Creamy Caramels in our family is that, ever since she started making these wonderful little yummy delights and giving them to us at the holidays, I knew that I needed to get the recipe from her. So, after a few years when I was looking for another great holiday recipe, I called up Auntie Ellen and she gave me the recipe. And we've been making these caramels ever since! Of course, I always look forward to getting Auntie Ellen's caramels, because they are so much better than mine ;o) But we keep practicing, and one day ours might be almost as good as hers!

Auntie Ellenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creamy Caramels What you need: * 2 cups sugar * 3/4 cup light corn syrup * 2 cups light cream (20%) * 1/2 cup butter Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s make it! Butter square pan, 8 X 8 X 2 inches, or line pan with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and half the cream in large saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remain cream.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 245 degrees on a candy thermometer (or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a firm ball. This is the way my mama always did it!)

Immediately spread mixture evenly in pan. Cool. Cut into 1" squares. Makes about 5 dozen candies.

You can wrap the individual caramels in squares of wax paper or tinfoil to keep them from sticking to each other and to hold their shape.


Bible Block Sampler Sew-Along with Laura Brandt of Wentworth County Quiltworks

King’s Crown Block #3 Re 19:11 ¶ And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Re 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. Re 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. The first time Jesus came to this earth, His crown was a crown of thorns. He suffered and bled and died and rose again that we might have life, should we choose Him. The next time He comes, it will be as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Are you ready to meet Him? The King’s Crown block was originally published in the Kansas City Star in 1931. It was also published as “Thrift Block” in the Chicago Tribune on September 6, 1937, by Nancy Cabot. I’ve seen it made with three fabrics, where the centre fabric is the same as the outer triangles of the Flying Geese, and I’ve seen it made with four fabrics, where the centre fabric is unique and sometimes fussy cut. In this block, I’ve used three fabrics: fabric one is my white fabric, fabric two is orange and fabric three is blue. Please note: all seams are ¼”; final block is 12.5” unfinished

Instructions for the King’s Crown Quilt Block Step 1 – Cut your fabric. From fabric 1 you need one 6.5” square and eight 3.5” squares; from fabric 2 you need four 6.5”x3.5” rectangles and from fabric 3 you need four 3.5” squares.


Step 2 – Make your four Flying Geese Units. I’ve posted how to do this in a separate tutorial on my website: %20blocks/How%20to%20make%20Flying%20 Geese%20Units.pdf

Step 3 – With right sides together as shown, sew one Flying Geese unit to one edge of your 6.5” centre square. Press seam.

Step 4 - Repeat step 3 with another Flying Geese unit along the opposite edge. Press seam.


Step 5 – With right sides together, sew a fabric 3 square to your third Flying Geese unit. Press seam.

Step 6 – repeat step 5 with another fabric 3 square along the opposite edge. Press seam.

Step 7 - Repeat steps 5 and 6 with your fourth Flying Geese unit and press seams. You should now have two of these strips:

Step 8 – With right sides together, sew your three rows together into a block. Press seams and you are done!


Wentworth County Quiltworks Bible quilt updates and a growing Bible Block-of-the-Month collection Visit Laura and follow along as she creates her Bible Block-of-the-Month Collection!

You are invited to join Katherine’s Corner Book Club At Katherine’s Corner you connect with other book lovers and share a new story every month! Every month Katie will post a new book list and you get to vote for your favorite. Then, together we will read the selected book and discuss it via the Book Club page at Katherine’s Corner blog. Once a month a new book will be chosen and you can leave comments on the Book Club page throughout the month. A new book vote will be posted on the 15th of every month. The Book Club at Katherine’s Corner is a “no obligation” book club! Just read the book with the other members of the club and share your thoughts with one another. Settle in, read along, and leave comments on the book whenever the mood strikes you. Once a month is all the commitment needed. The fun part is that you can make comments throughout the month so you don’t have to keep your thoughts on the book silent until a specific meeting date. If you would like to join the Book Club at Katherine’s Corner, simply visit Katie at and sign up! Then, if you wan to help promote the book club, you can grab the button code to paste into your blog sidebar. You can find the code and all of the details at Katherine’s Corner. 69

The Blessing of Thorns by Lynn Mosher Sandra felt as low as the heels on her shoes as she pushed against a November gust and opened the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then, her sister, whose annual holiday visit she coveted, called to say she could not come. What was worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. She has no idea what I’m feeling. “Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered aloud. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child? “Good afternoon, can I help you?” “I....I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra, “for Thanksgiving.” “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?” asked the shop clerk. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?” “Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” Sandra regretted her outburst and was surprised when the shop clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, “Hi, Barbara...let me get your order.” She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped...there were no flowers. “Want this in a box?” asked the clerk. Sandra watched for the customer’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers? She waited for laughter but neither woman laughed. “Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said, as she gently tapped her chest. She thanked the clerk and left. 70

“Uhh...” stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, flowers!” “Right. I cut off the flowers. That’s the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.” “Oh, come on, you can’t tell me someone is willing to pay for that?” exclaimed Sandra. “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.” “That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk, “and for the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.” “So, what did you do?” asked Sandra. “I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and never thought to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the “flowers” of life, but it took “thorns” to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.” Just then someone else walked in the shop. “Hey, Phil!” shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man. “My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator. “Are those for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?” “No...I’m glad you asked,” Phil replied. “Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from “thorny” times and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific problem and give thanks to Him for what that problem taught us.” As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the special!” “I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too...fresh.” “Well, my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.” Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out. 71

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I'll have them ready in a minute.” “Thank you. What do I owe you?” asked Sandra. “Nothing.” said the clerk. “Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” She smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you’d like to read it first.” Sandra took the card and read, “Dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant. ~ George Matheson” Jenny said, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra,” handing her the special. “I look forward to knowing each other better.” Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door, and walked toward hope. Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns. God bless all of you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you. *the author of this piece is unknown

Holiday Blessings, Lynn

Mission Possible by Deborah McCarragher Deborah began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus Christ as her personal Savior in 1989. She uses her spiritual gifts of encouragement and teaching in her home church. She is also a small business owner of over twenty years. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her book. She and her husband have one married son serving in the US Military. They reside in north Florida. Mission Possible is a unique book in the Christian marketplace. It addresses a subject that is often overlooked and misunderstood. It is a candid look at my struggles and quest to reach my husband for Christ. It applies Scripture and biblical principles to everyday struggles encountered within a spiritually mismatched marriage. Mission Possible won the 2010 Readers Favorite Gold Seal Award for best Christian Non-Fiction book, and was nominated for the Christian Small Publisher’s Assoc. Book of the Year Award in 2009


Footprints in the Mud Holiday Cooking Tips, Dos Dos and Don't Evers! by Beth Brubaker It's Time. Time for the holiday chaos to grab hold of us, and shake the energy, and any sane thought from our beings. Isn't this fun? You ask your children through gritted teeth as you try to teach them once more how to bake cookies. You gasp for air in a cloud of flour and baking powder, only noticing afterwards the kids took off for their rooms once you were distracted. Isn't this fun? Your husband asks as he prepares the turkey, leaving you to do all the 'inconsequential' side dishes, like the potatoes (peeling and cutting, because only homemade will do), corn on the cob (shucked and de-silked), the rolls, yams and anything else you can try to shove into your oven before the guests arrive. Isn't this fun? You ask your husband as he searches for yet another bench to park himself, because you remembered another person you forgot to get a last minute gift forâ&#x20AC;Śnot to mention the trips to the grocery store for more ingredients, since the kids ate the cookies you baked that morning. Isn't this fun? Of course it is! You just haven't had time to enjoy it yet! But I'm here to help you- not with shopping or decorating the house, but feeding all those people you invited, and those that your husband invited...and the kids...and even the dog, who asked his buddies to bring their humans with them. Here are some tips when making a feast in your home - without a call to the local fire department. (They can come for snacks later.) â&#x2014;? Always have rags, paper towels, or a kitchen cloth nearby (but not the good ones) for spills and quick clean-ups, especially if the kids are helping. Wet stuff like raw egg or milk can make a floor super slippery, and the kids will want to 'surf'. Clean it up before they discover this. â&#x2014;? Dry stuff like flour, sugar and sprinkles make lovely designs on the floors, and will get tracked all over by little bare feet or sneakers. Sneakers love to eat sprinkles! A dustpan and broom will make short work of the spill, but the sneakers will hate you for denying them their treats.


● Put everyone working with you in an apron or a smockjust make sure the kids don't wear one of your husband's best dress shirts backwards to make the smock. You'll have an extra present to buy him then. ● Have extra pans/baking sheets. I have nine of them, three sets of three different brands, because we do marathon baking. I want six of each. Do test batches with one of each kind to see which one gives the best results. Mark it down in your recipe, so you'll know what to do next time. Having six cookie sheets of one type is ideal for a two-rack oven, that way you have two to prep, two baking and two cooling. By the time you get back to the first set of pans, they are cool enough to use for the next round of cookies. ● Have timers. Not one, but at least twenty (okay, maybe two or three.) You'll need them for the different items you're making on the Day of the Feast, whenever that is. They should have seconds, minutes and hours if possible. Ever try to time a turkey with a minute timer? Almost as much fun getting a root canal after eating Sour Patch candy. ● Do the cold stuff at least a day or two ahead of time. Any pasta salad or cold snack trays (like pepperoni and cheese) can be made the day before, and left to chill. Dips should be done too (1-2 days before), so they thicken and 'cure'- a term meaning 'to make more yummy the longer it sits'. Chilling lets the flavors permeate. Permeation is a good thing, except when it comes to a man's socks. Those can only be cleaned with a flame thrower. ● Read recipes at least a day ahead of time. Why? Because some recipes require you use room temperature ingredients, like butter or eggs. If these are cold at the time of use, the recipe might not turn out as planned. Take ingredients out at least a few hours before cooking/baking (or overnight if baking first thing in the morning.) ● Have plenty of pot holders, oven mitts, welding masks or goggles on hand so your face and hands aren't charred from the heat of the oven that's been on all day. Or if you don't have a welding mask handy (most of us don't) Open the oven door from the side to let that first blast of heat out, and then go after your baked goodies. Can't eat without a face, you know. ● Keep a pen next to your recipe book, and keep the recipe book away from the stovetop. I won't tell you how fast a pen can melt or that it's hard to read a recipe when the pages are curling and turning brown. I won't tell you. Let's just say it's faster than the three seconds it takes to call your husband in to check the turkey. The pen (when un-melted) is handy for jotting down any changes in the original recipe, what pans were used, or making notes about what you did differently during prepping or cooking. Please don't try to remember what you did! You won't! Don't ask me how I know about this one either.


â&#x2014;? Wash as you go. The second you have time, wash out all the big stuff that won't fit into the dishwasher. If you don't you'll have no place to put the turkey, yams, corn, potatoes, or anything else you're making, because the stuff you used to prep all of that is all over the place, crusting like cement. Take care of it now, before it becomes a permanent part of your countertop. â&#x2014;? Accept help. Stop being embarrassed about having a messy kitchen! I don't care if you're Martha Stewart, with a feast as big as this, there is going to be a mess! Let anyone who offers have an apron and a sponge or towel, and start a washing/drying chain. It's actually fun, and you aren't stuck with doing dishes for the next week! Besides, if you hold off dessert because you have all these dishes to do, you'll get a lot more volunteers! Those who help get the first taste- and the biggest! Want more Footprints? Beth has a blog! Click this link and don't forget to share her blog with friends!

Connect the Letters Puzzle Answer Key


Introducing The M.O.M System Do you struggle to stay organized? Do you find yourself writing and re-writing lists day after day? Do you struggle to get your children to help around the house? Do you find yourself sounding like a “broken record” constantly repeating to your children what they need to do? Do you find that even if your husband or children offer to help it is easier to just do the work yourself than to explain it to others and coordinate them? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then The M.O.M. System is for YOU!

“Become the Household Manager (not the Household Doer)” As the household manager, TheMOMSystem helps you organize your priorities and coordinate various needs and tasks for your family. The lists save you time and energy. Start with TheMOMSystem cards and add your own personalization with details or color coding for specific people, priorities, or tasks you have delegated. This allows you to stay more coordinated and be more efficient, leaving you more time and energy for living life well (not just surviving as you fly from crisis to crisis)! Often I found myself being the “Household Doer” instead of the “Household Manager” — I was trying to be the one doing everything, but kept being overwhelmed by my never-ending “to do” list. TheMOMSystem helps you involve your children in ways that give them clear direction, clear expectations, and clear accountability. TheMOMSystem helps you teach them to be personally responsible for the tasks you assign them and helps you hold them accountable for communicating with you about their responsibilities. TheMOMSystem is also a tool to help you coordinate and communicate with others who interact with your household. Husbands, babysitters and grandparents can become more involved when you use TheMOMSystem to communicate with them. TheMOMSystem promotes you from Household Doer to Household Manager by helping you get better organized, delegate to your family, and communicate with those who interact with your household. To learn more about The M.O.M. System, or to purchase The M.O.M System, please visit See coupon on next page for a $5.00 OFF coupon when you purchase two sets of

The M.O.M. System 76

Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great opportunity to discover the benefits of The M.O.M. System! Visit The M.O.M. System website and place your order for two deluxe boxes and get $5.00 off the purchase price. Great for gift-giving for your own mom, your daughter, your girlfriend . . . . or anyone who would like to be a little bit more organized! 77

Shape Sudoku Answer Key

‘Cause Angels Can’t Sing by Elizabeth Baker Check out all the FREE STUFF when you visit her website at


Vintage Paper Dolls from the collection of Vintage Mama


Ruby Pearls December 2011 December is Read A New Book Month! A new book also makes a great Christmas gift! December 7th is Letter Writing Day! Write a letter to those you haven't seen in a long time, or to a dearly cherished friend- you'll be happy that you did - and so will they!

Ruby for Women is searching for . . . Questions! We need your help! Ruby is looking for questions in the following areas: * “Ask Beth” * “Ask a Silly Question” Can you give us a hand? Please send your questions to Beth Brubaker at with one of the two titles in the subject line of your email. Your response is very much appreciated!

A Friend in Need … Is there something you need, but just can't seem to find? Are you looking for a recipe, a store location, or the best places to go in a certain area? Do you have an item you would like to give to someone, but no one near you needs it? Send your requests into the magazine ( with 'A Friend in Need' in the subject line and we'll publish it for you! When making a request, please include a current email address for a direct reply. Those who are answering queries are to correspond to the posted email address directly, and not to the staff of Ruby for Women. Items offered must be free (except for shipping costs, agreed to be paid by the receiving party unless otherwise agreed upon by the giver and receiver). All postal regulations must be followed. Ruby for Women can not be responsible for shipping costs or lost items. 80

Introducing the Ruby for Women Administrative Team Over the past two years, the ministry of Ruby for Women has grown into a full-time ministry for several women here in the Ruby community. We have been blessed to be able to partner with women from all over the United States in the work of Ruby for Women, and we are currently in the process of adding four new administrators to our team. If you would be interested in joining the Ruby for Women administrative team, please email our assistant editor, Amanda Johnson, at Here are the current members of the Ruby for Women Administrative team: Sr. Editor, Nina Newton Assistant Editor, Amanda Johnson Advertising Administrator, Angela Morris Affiliate Administrator and Pastor at Ruby for Women, Carol Mokry Creative Consultant and Graphic Designer, Katherine Corrigan

Would you like to advertise with Ruby for Women? Please contact Angela Morris, Advertising Administrator, at for all of the details on our new advertising packages. We would be honored to share your family-friendly, home-based business with our readers.


Abundant Comfort and Grace Inspirational Poetry by Connie Arnold

Thank you to Laura Brandt of Wentworth County Quiltworks for sharing her Bible Block Sampler with the Ruby for Women community! 82

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings!" Treasures can be found everywhere you look, and here at "Tatters to Treasures" we will bring you the best of vintage for your wardrobe and home. 83

‘Cause Angels Can’t Sing by Elizabeth Baker Order yours today! 10 copies of “Cause Angels Can’t Sing” each booklet contains 5 short stories of faith for the Holidays. Thirty-eight pages to touch your heart and make you smile. Available at 10 matching gift envelopes ready for mailing or to tuck under the tree. The perfect holiday remembrance for teachers, coworkers and groups! Each copy of “’Cause Angels Can’t Sing” contains 5 short stories that are sure to put even Grinch in a holiday mood. Stories of romance, humor and drama explore faith and keep the real meaning of Christmas clear. Readers will sympathize with ten-year-old Kadyn as he struggles to separate the real meaning of Christmas from holiday fluff, and laugh as Curtis and Chelsea debate which one of them will eat the monkey pie offered by their Oriental guest. Rene finds new hope as she takes her firstborn home on Christmas Day and Regina is serving wassail, but it comes with an unwelcome attitude. But across town, tears are about to change to romance as Jenise receives a Christmas promise. (Sh-h-h, there’s a secret bonus! The recipe for Monkey Pie is included at the end of each 38-page the booklet!) Order yours today from 84

Meet the Ruby for Women Writers Aunt Dots, Master Gardener Aunt Dots has been writing for Ruby for Women since the very beginning. Her love for gardening started early in her life: “I believe I got my love for growing flowers from my mother. She had a large flower garden with annuals and dahlias. I had my first flower garden after I married and we lived in a garden apartment. I planted seeds in a small 4 X 6 plot in front. Then we moved to a house trailer next to my mother where I had annuals.” She now has perennial gardens, rose gardens, grape vines, asparagus, currants, gooseberries, walnut trees, apple trees, and hazelnut trees. In the winter months, Aunt Dots sews, making quilts that she has donated to a Mennonite Relief auction. She has also made hand-made paper and greeting cards with pressed flowers. In her “spare” time, Aunt Dots volunteers two afternoons a week at a nursing home, as well as serving on the mission board at her church and teaching an adult Sunday school class.

Scott Henderson, Vintage Image Crafts Scott is the creator of Vintage Image Crafts, a website where vintage images are the inspiration behind all of the crafts and scrapbooking projects. From the romantic to the whimsical, Victorian and turn-of-the-century illustrations can give your creativity a distinctive touch. These classic illustrations and photographs are rich in color, artistic technique and symbolism. This bygone art captures the essence of life’s highlights - holidays, celebrations and sentiments – vividly. You can find Scott at

Beth Brubaker, Footprints in the Mud and Ask Beth Beth is the “Family Fun” editor here in the Ruby for Women community. She is a mother of two very active kids whose antics are sprinkled liberally in her columns. She has been married for 13 years to her Knight in Shining Armor, and she is delighted to share with us that they still hold hands in public! Her day job is working as a fabric artist, a homemaker, and a writer. Beth will be writing humorous articles about life in general, puzzles, and an advice column that is based on readers’ questions, as well as sharing hints and tips for everyday life that she comes across in her travels between her laundry room, living room, and kitchen. Don’t miss Beth’s columns in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read more of Beth’s posts on her blog, “Footprints in the Mud” at or email her at

Laura Brandt is the owner of Wentworth County Quiltworks and a child of the King whose one desire is to please the Lord. She quilts and maintains her website and her blog, as well as serving as a Moderator at Authorized Version Bible Believers Fellowship forum. She’s also edited books for up-and-coming Christian authors. Visit Laura at her new quilting website,, her blog,, or the forum at 85

Lynn Mosher, Devotions Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with God’s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, their three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. Visit Lynn at her blog, Heading Home, at

Carol Mokry, Affiliate Administrator, Ruby for Women

“Jesus found me 37 years ago and we have been walking together ever since. He has been my help, hope and strength as I have walked through dark miles of trials and adversity. First and foremost I am a woman called to follow Jesus Christ. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God. It is my relationship with God that has made me who I am today. In all these things I can say if God is for me who can be against me, I am more than a conqueror in Him who loves me!”

Lee E. Shilo, Poetry and Short Stories I live on Vancouver Island, in Victoria, Canada, with my loving wife Elisabeth, paranoid cat, and crazy dog. I enjoy writing Poetry, Children Stories, Fantasy/Fiction, and especially (Believe It Or Not) stories. I have been writing professionally for close to 20 years, and have numerous Published Books / eBooks in that time. At present I am retired, but used to work in the print industry producing Wide Format Displays for Conferences and stuff. As well as being my passion, writing affords me some release of daily frustrations and everyday tensions.

Katherine Corrigan, Recipes and Crafts Hello, my name is Katherine. I am an open minded and spiritual person who strives to always maintain a positive attitude and greet each new day with grace, dignity and gratitude. I’m honored to meet you and to call you friend! I am originally from England and now living in the US. I have had the privilege of living in, and visiting, several different countries throughout my lifetime. I hold a rare dual citizenship with the UK and the USA, and I am a proud citizen of both. I work very hard to create designs for my shops and to provide an entertaining and informative website and blog. I hope you’ll stop by. Hugs, Katherine

Jennifer Cirka, Crochet Patterns and Recipes Jennifer Cirka, the designer behind Jaybird Designs, is never without a hook and some yarn in her hands! This Crochet Guild of America recognized Professional Crochet Designer has a book of her girls’ sweater designs with Leisure Arts and has been featured in major crochet magazines such as Crochet Today, Interweave Crochet, and Crochet World, with more publications coming out each year!


Theresa Ceniccola

is The Christian Mompreneur, a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. She empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace through the Christian Mompreneur Mastermind program and her professional Marketing services, which include copywriting, marketing and strategy consulting and private coaching.

Pauline Creeden is a homeschooling mother to one bright boy. Her job as a horse trainer and instructor provides opportunities for her work with “teens” of all ages and types, even the ones old enough to be her mother. She lives in the “Colonial Triangle” of Virginia, America’s birthplace, with her husband, son, two dogs, five cats, and sixteen horses.

Kristin Bridgman

I’ve been married to a very sweet, patient, loving man for 29 years. I’ve been a mom to two sons I love with all my heart for 22 years. I’ve been a born again Christian loving the Lord for 36 years. I home schooled for 14 years. I’m just an ordinary woman who lives for an extraordinary God.

Ginger Kauffman has been an at-home mom for most of the years her boys (now 20 and 21) have been growing up. At other times in her life she served in ministry to international students and produced a magazine with her husband. She loves to read, write, and hang out with family and friends. She has been blogging at Three Minutes to Nine for the past two years. .Connie Arnold, Poetry lives in North Carolina, is married and has two children and three grandchildren. In coping with lupus, fibromyalgia and other difficulties, she has turned to the Lord for inspiration and offers her inspirational poetry to offer encouragement, comfort and hope to others who are suffering. She is the author of Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, Abiding Hope and Love, and Abundant Comfort and Grace plus a new 2012 inspirational calendar, Glimpses of Grace. She also writes for children and is the author of Animal Sound Mix-up and has two other children’s books under contract. You can visit Connie at or her blog,

Sheila Watson, Kraklow, Guest Writer, DoveQuill Publishers Sheila is the author of several books, including “Nana’s Great BIG Storybook,” and “A Mission for Leedle Burro,” as well as a cookbook filled with her “sassy recipe” articles. Sheila is also the owner of DoveQuill Publishing Company.

Deborah McCarragher, Devotional Contributor Deborah is the author of a Christian inspirational book for women titled “Mission Possible”. The book addresses living in a spiritually-uneven household. You can visit her website at for more information about her book. 87

Kendra Peterson has been married to Brad for 21 years.

They attend Big Lake Church of God, and they have twin daughters, Rachel and Allissa, who are age 19 and in college. Kendra is a librarian at West Noble Primary School in Ligonier, Indiana for grades K-1. She loves reading to children and helping them learn to read with great books. In her spare time, she loves to camp and ride their Gold Wing around the countryside, and she loves spending time with family.

Angela Blake Morris, Advertising Administrator, Ruby for Women I am a fairly new Christian led to Christ by a friend and my daughter’s insistence that we go to church. That began a journey for me that has been awesome and inspiring. I now have my own blog page where we seek to lift up stay-at-home moms and homeschooling families, Chronicles of Christian Moms.

Sarah Johnson is a happily married young-ish Floridian. She and Christopher have been married for 5 years and they have a 3 year old daughter, Madison. She now works full-time at a residential group home for adults with developmental disabilities and enjoys volunteering in her church’s nursery.

Charlotte Siems is a home-maker, home manager, T-Tapp Trainer, teacher, speaker and author. Her story of losing over 100 pounds with TTapp has encouraged thousands of people all over the world. She specializes in making home management and T-Tapp "doable" for real people and real life. She is happy to be a wife and mother of twelve children whom she has successfully taught at home for 25 years. Visit Charlotte and read more of her blog posts at

Scarlett Von Gunten, CEO & Editor of iWoman Magazine. For more information or to contact Scarlett, please visit her at

Thomas B. Clarke, “A Garden of Love” I am the caretaker of the Gethsemane Prayer Garden in Syracuse, NY, and an author/publisher of Christian books. Both gardening and writing are parttime jobs for me, but they are my heartfelt passion: to help others experience Jesus Christ in a more personal way and to grow in love.

Elizabeth Baker is an author and retired counselor drawing on thirty-five years of experience helping individuals apply biblical principles to real-life situations. She currently lives in Pittsburg, Texas where she concentrates on her writing. A widow since her mid 30's, Elizabeth has four grown children, fifteen grandchildren, and six great-grands. You can find Elizabeth’s books at her website at 88

Keith Wallis, Poetry Keith Wallis is an English poet. He is a senior part of the leadership team of Houghton Regis Baptist church. An engineering designer by trade, he brings a eye for detail as well as faith into his poetry. As well as being ‘poet in residence’ at Ruby ezine, he is a moderator at His blog of ekphrasic poetry is: where you’ll also find links to his books and his other blogs. Married to Val in 1970, he has two sons and three grandsons. The eldest grandson is disabled and cannot communicate verbally. Though not an ‘academic’ (school was a disaster) he was always fond of writing. He began submitting work for publication in the 1980’s after being encouraged by a community writer in residence.

Kausar Iqbal, East World Market and CD Crafts East World Market actively supports arts and crafts in Pakistan. We market creative products by underprivileged women internationally, and help them to become self-sufficient. The artisans on our team come from many small cities across the nation and are trained in a broad range of crafts. By channeling their talents, these artisans have managed to make a viable living for themselves, and have grown in their respective specializations. Now, EWM aims to showcase them actively in the American and international markets.

Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor Amanda has been writing for Ruby for Women for the past year, and she has been a free-lance writer for several years, beginning her writing career as a young teen-ager. She also works for Love Unveiled, a ministry to women in undeveloped countries around the world. Amanda brings experience as well as a passion for ministry to the work of Ruby for Women, and she has a heart for reaching out and touching the hearts and lives of women everywhere. Amanda will be working with all of our writers on their submissions, as well as assisting in keeping the Ruby for Women blog and website up-to-date with new information daily.

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “nontraditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. Gracie is 11 years old and Annie is 9. They were both born in China, and we were able to travel to China two times to bring our daughters home. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work from my home office. For the past six years I have been designing and creating children’s clothing and various crafts. I began writing ebook patterns for my designs in 2007, and have several patterns available for sale on You Can Make This at . I have also been a free-lance writer for many years, writing for two local newspapers when we lived in Michigan. My personal blog is at where I frequently post tutorials and patterns for crafts and other sewing projects, as well as weekly reflections on life as a woman, wife, mother, and daughter of the King.


Credits and Copyrights All stories and articles are copyright by the authors. All pictures and images are copyright by the authors and / or have been purchased, used by permission or are in the public domain. If any pictures or images have been used inadvertently, and they do not belong in this publication, please email us and we will immediately remove them. Nothing in this issue of Ruby for Women may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available at Questions? Email Nina @ or Amanda @ Ruby for Women is published by All submission inquiries should be directed to Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women or Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor Advertising inquiries should be directed to Angela Morris at Graphic design by Jorim Web Design and Creative Consultant, Katherine Corrigan of Made It For You Please visit our community website at to see how you can help support the ministry of Ruby for Women. Special thanks to Scott and Martin of Vintage Image Craft for sharing their amazing craft ideas with the Ruby for Women community!


Ruby for Women, December, 2011  

The Christmas issue of Ruby for Women features recipes, crafts, poems, stories, and articles to inspire you and your family during the holid...