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Special Thanksgiving Issue!

Special Christmas Issue! Footprints in the Mud: When God Upsets the Apple Cart by Beth Brubaker Setting a Path for the New Year by Joan Leotta Songbirds in the Snow by Rejetta Morse When Family Breaks Your Heart by Jewell Utt Shopping List from God by Paula McVay


Ruby Magazine

In This Issue of Ruby

Your voice, your story JANUARY, 2017 www.rubyforwomen.com

Vintage Conversations: A New Year Meditation by Kathryn Ross

More Amazing Recipes from Marilyn’s Treats It’s a New Year and we look forward to connecting with each one of you in the coming weeks and months. The ministry of RUBY continues to reach women across the street and around the world with God’s message of hope, grace, encouragement, and joy that is found only in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us know how we can be an encouragement to you today. We would love to hear from you! Contact us at editor@rubyforwomen.com

Joy by Emmanuel O. Afolabi

Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of RUBY magazine at http://www,rubyforwomen.com Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Poet-in-Residence: Keith Wallis Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Joan Leotta, Frances Gregory Pasch, Rejetta Morse, Kathryn Ross, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Kathleen McCauley, Norma C. Mezoe, Jewel Utt, Katie Robles, Marilyn Lesniak, Thea Williams, Donna Comeaux, Emmanuel O. Afolabi, Nicki Marie, Linda M. Crate, Connie Arnold, Cindy Evans, Vera DeMay, Frances Wilson, Paula McVay, Debbie Luxton

Why Do You Do That? by Nina Newton

Kids' Korner Book Reviews by Carol Peterson


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 magazine may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available by contacting us at editor@rubyforwomen.com Questions? Email Nina @ editor@rubyforwomen.com RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine editor@rubyforwomen.com Advertising inquiries should be directed to editor@rubyforwomen.com

Tatters to Treasures for vintage and refashion designs and creations. www.etsy.com/shop/TattersToTreasures

“Kids’ Reading Corner” Page 32


Why Do You Do That? Nina Newton, Sr. Editor A few weeks ago, as I was teaching an online writing class, I realized that the English language must be really challenging to learn if you didn’t grow up speaking it. I’m sure I knew that before, but I was suddenly confronted with the reality of teaching writing skills to a person who did not yet completely comprehend the tiny nuances of verb tenses, correct pronoun usage, split infinitives, and other seemingly minor things that we, as native English speakers, take for granted. On an average day most of us don’t think about whether to use a singular verb with a singular noun, at least not consciously, nor do we stop to think about whether to use a plural pronoun when you’ve just used a singular subject. But once you read something that has confused these pesky little things, you suddenly realize how difficult it must be to try to learn the English language. Well, we made pretty good progress with this student and she was doing really well, but then the class ended. More than likely I will not have her in another class, so I trust that some of our lessons will be helpful to her as she continues on her way pursuing her education as well as in her business. Here at RUBY magazine we do our best to walk alongside new writers and give them an opportunity to develop their writing skills and to see their stories and words in print. And I frequently am asked, “Why do you do that?” Why would I invest my time in the lives of others who have much to say, but perhaps have not had the opportunity to develop the skills to write those words perfectly? Because we all started somewhere, and we all deserve a chance to figure it out. For those who are already published authors or accomplished writers, the world is filled with opportunities for you to have your voice heard. We welcome your stories, and your voice, here at RUBY as well. We have such a diverse group of writers and God is using each and every one of you to share His words of encouragement, hope, and grace with the readers of RUBY magazine. But for those of you who are uncertain, or anxious, or just plain scared to get your words out of your heart and onto paper, RUBY is also the place for you. Our goal has always been and will continue to be to search for men and women who, for whatever reason, feel that they have been silenced. Perhaps you feel that your story is not important, that no one would be interested, or that you just don’t know how to say it. Let’s work together to share that story with the world! Having been in the academic community for a number of years now, I can assure that people who are “successful” – whether as writers, teachers, or artists – are all just ordinary people with an extraordinary story to tell. Just like you. Some people have greater opportunities in life, but in God’s eyes, we are all amazing and treasured members of His family and we all have a story to tell. And the world needs to hear YOUR story, so let’s start writing it. That’s why I do what I do . . . . because I believe in you. Best wishes for a very Happy New Year, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Nina


Footprints in the Mud: When God Upsets the Apple Cart by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor

Your apple cart is filled with a bounty of blessings. Good stuff is happening in your life and things are running as smoothly as they possibly can. Family life is good, work life is good, and your social life is good. All is well with you, God, and the world. Then God upsets your apple cart, spilling all of your shiny, fresh apples all over the road. “Why did God do that” you wonder. Everything was going so well! Then you notice within the mess, that some apples weren’t so shiny after all. In fact, there are more than a few rotten ones at the bottom of the cart that you never noticed before. And if you know anything about apples, one rotten apple doesn’t need a lot of time to ruin an entire bushel of apples; but you were only looking at the shiny ones on the top of the pile and never dug deeper into the cart. God had to tip the cart for you to show the sin that might have ruined an entire crop of blessings. So when things are running smoothly and then everything seems to go higgledy-piggledy, God’s probably trying to tell you something!

You tip the cart, and I have to clean it up? Really, God? It’s only when I roll up my sleeves and start working on the problems that I notice the heart issues that might have lead me down a road other than God’s path - at least it would have if things continued running smoothly. Upset apple carts happen enough now that when it does happen, I know a life lesson is just around the corner. I used to dread it. Things are going so well, I’d tell myself. I wonder when God is going to drop the other shoe. But doing that only stole the joy I would’ve experienced in those few-and-far-between smoothrunning moments. Now I know to enjoy those moments when I can, looking deeper into the cart before God does so those good moments can last longer. Asking God to show me my heart issues beforehand helps to keep things running smoothly for a little while. He likes it when I ask before He needs to tip over my cart. Besides, I’m not a big fan of cleaning apple goop from my shoes all the time. It’s better to ask than wait for Him to give me a hint.

When this happens to me, I usually glare up at God, wondering if He’s lost His mind.

When your cart gets tipped over, remember it’s for a good reason. God doesn’t do things for the heck of it He’s always showing us new ways to grow, learn, and glorify Him.

There are very few moments when everything runs smoothly, so when He dumps apples all over my nice, ordered life, I tend to get a little feisty.

He wants us to get rid of the bad fruit in our lives so we can enjoy the sweet taste of His blessings!

Visit Beth on her blog, Footprints in the Mud, for more humorous and inspirational posts!


Setting a Path for the New Year by Joan Leotta

A Facebook game/challenge I recently took gave me a "saying" to use as my motto for the coming year. Another challenged me to discover the one word that should guide my actions in the coming year. Those are fun, but why would I trust a stranger or an unknowing algorithm to determine how I will think about or act in 2017 or any other time?

Instead, I pray and in the course of my daily devotions, a verse strikes my heart and is later confirmed by coming up in church sermons, hearing other people mention it, in other readings, or in the case of this year's verse, in group readings at my church's weekly prayer meeting where we focused on sins of omission.

I prefer to march to the tune of another set of words, selected by the Holy Spirit, who knows my every thought, the God who knew me in the womb. I determine that specific path with an annual Bible Verse selection.

Yet, I cannot say my "method" is perfectly aligned with God's will for me, only that I try. I base the entire process on prayer. I prayerfully ask for a verse to jump out at me. That verse guides me in all aspects of life for the year and hopefully beyond.

A verse for the year is more than a goal on a sheet of paper; it is a contract or promise directly from God's word to me. I don’t remember where I heard of asking God for a guiding verse, but I do recall it was a bit more than forty years ago, just before I met my husband,

I always try to be available to do the Lord's will, but lately I've been more aware of many sins of omission on my part, opportunities to do good that I was passing up. Hence, the verse for last year, 2016, was I Samuel 3:4 " Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, 'Here I am.'" (NIV)

At that time God gave me the verse from Luke, 1:45 Blessed is she who believe that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.

While of course, this is a lifetime issue—so many opportunities, which should I choose, which should I leave for another? Evidently, God has more work to do with me in this area because this year I have been receiving many signals that this verse is to be my verse for the 2017 as well, but with a twist.

Shortly after I was engaged, I asked God for a verse to guide my life. He gave me verse one from Psalm 45—"My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." After we had children, I left my job as an analyst and became a story performer and a writer—twin professions that draw on my talents and enable me to serve God with much joy.

God evidently has taken pity on the fact that I feel a bit overwhelmed in all that I am doing so He added onto that verse, a call for discernment.

About twenty years ago, I began the process of praying for an annual verse to guide my actions with greater specificity. I have been doing this now for more than twenty years.

Through a bit of Bible study to learn more about the verse I was "claiming" as my guide for the year, I became aware that when Samuel made his laudable answer in chapter 3, he did not yet know or understand who the Lord was.

How does He give me the verse? No, a group of angels does not come down and sign it over to me. Nor do I randomly open the Bible and point to a verse.

It is later in the book that he learns about God and the high priest tells him to answer the Lord God in a more specific way—yes, we can be specific with God!


Therefore, my verse for 2017 will come from a bit farther in the chapter, "So Eli told Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD for your servant is listening.’”

All of this will fall within the bounds of my willingness to listen to God, It does not mean I will experience worldly success in these actions, but I if I act according to God's will , my actions will further His kingdom, even if I can’t see it. That I know.

First, I have to determine if it is indeed the Lord calling and if it is, then ask Him to give me the specifics of what he wants me to do. I'm setting out a marketing plan for next year.

I think that if you prayerfully ask the Lord to guide you to a verse, you will find one.

Then, I need to pray over all of it, to determine how much of my time and energy are to go into that, what direction He wants me to take in my writing.

We would love to have you share your guiding verse for 2017 with us on the RUBY blog and in the RUBY community. It will be an inspiration to us all!

Will you select a guiding verse from God's word for 2017?

Visit Joan Leotta at her blog to read more of her inspirational and educational posts at www.joanleotta.wordpress.com You can also find Joan’s books at RUBY’S Reading Corner, including Rosa’s Red Apron, Summer in a Bowl, and her winter picture story book, Whoosh!


New Year’s Intentions

or Resting From Resolutions by Mary Dolan Flaherty We’re all familiar with New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve even made some. Lose weight. Work out. Eat healthy. Spend more time in the Word. Be more generous. Enjoy my family more, and work less. You’ve tried before and failed, but this time, you’re determined to succeed! What if, instead of being determined, you decided to be intentional? A resolution suggests a conflict that needs to be overcome, a solution to a problem. I’m overweight—that’s a problem. I resolve to exercise more and eat less. There’s the solution. But what’s the plan, the purpose, the real reason for it? Making a resolution focuses on the difficulty, and declares with pride, “I’m going to do this!” We have a goal, and we work toward it, but when we hit a stumbling block, we often give up. We feel like we’ve failed, so we go right back to the habit that gives us comfort, the very habit we tried so hard to overcome. Being intentional cultivates a purpose. To have intention is to have meaning. Not just a plan, but a reason for the plan. And it invites others to take part. In the first chapter of Genesis, God repeatedly used the word, let, as He formed the earth and everything in it. The Hebrew word for let is from the root, amar, which means to declare, appoint, say, speak, utter, or…intend. God purposed each piece of His creation into being. He didn’t throw together the heavens and the earth as a solution to a problem. He’s God—He has no problems. He didn’t swoop His hand out by accident and…whoops…there’s the world! He cultivated—nurtured and helped His creation to grow out of love. Not pride or selfish ambition. Love. When He had finished letting everything be formed, the Creator turned to Jesus (who was the Word and was with God—see John 1:1), and the Holy Spirit (who was hovering over the waters—see Gen 1:2), and said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness (Gen 1: 26).


It was a collaborative effort of intent. They weren’t determined by hook or by crook; they didn’t make a resolution to try harder, give more, or take less. God created man with intention. He had a purpose—to create a being that would reflect and spread His glory. Instead of making us robots, He gave us the ability to make choices, some of which would result in turning from Him. So, as part of the Divine Plan, Jesus would be sent to redeem us. Being fully man and fully God, I believe that Jesus chose the moment of His death. He intended to suffer so that we wouldn’t have to. He intended to endure the shame so that we could overcome ours. He intended to carry the guilt of sins that weren’t His so we could be forgiven of ours. Jesus could have said, “It is finished,” long before He even went to the cross. But He chose the specific time to utter those words, not with resolve, but with intent. He intended to carry out His Father’s will, whatever the cost. Because He loved his little likenesses. Can we do the same this year? Instead of making a resolution, trying to stick with it, and giving up when our efforts are thwarted or when we fall off the wagon, what if we accepted the invitation to be intentional about our efforts? Instead of making lofty resolutions that fizzle out, what if we resolved simply to refuse to allow ourselves to feel like a failure? If we decided to cultivate a purpose to those habits we’d like to change or that extra weight we desire to lose? What if we accepted the finished work of Christ, and allowed that collaborative effort of the Trinity to infuse us with Divine Love? How would that change our lives this year? What if we allowed God to disrupt our lives with His intention instead of resolving to do things by ourselves and for ourselves? What if we let others who have walked our road to help us? What if we reached a hand out to those who struggle with what we’ve overcome? What if we gave up trying so hard and let go of our pride and selfish ambition, and let God take over? We might be surprised at the result. And we may discover that resting from our resolutions may give us the freedom we need to live a life worthy of God’s intentions.

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with selfdeprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com


Songbirds in the Snow by Rejetta Morse Although the snow begins to fall with bright heavy flurries, the cardinals lift up their heads and sing with no worries. They cast all their deep fears aside – they trust God will provide. As they shiver their soft feathers, the snow and strong winds blow. They seek for shelter in the woods within the silent snow. In birdhouses and trees they hide – they trust God will provide. God speaks a word to the snow storm and whispers in the skies; the winds calm to a gentle “hush” – he calls the birds to rise. Their tiny brown eyes open wide – they trust God will provide. They stand and hop on long lean legs, and spread their wings to fly with great hunger for their birdseeds they fly into the sky with strong belief – God is their guide – they trust God will provide. As flocks now gather in the snow they find birdseeds to eat. And they all sing, “purdy,” “purdy “ when all the songbirds meet. With joy they sing – “God has supplied” – they know God will provide. Matt 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.


Greater than Gold by Frances Gregory Pasch There are so many things that I don’t understand, yet I’m truly certain they’re part of Your plan. You see the whole picture, I view only part. You know how things finish, I see just the start. So help me be patient as Your plans unfold, for their Kingdom value is greater than gold.

God is Everywhere by Frances Gregory Pasch He's the smile on a face... a note in the mail. The breeze on the ocean that propels a sail. Food in the pantry... wood on the fire. shoes on our feet... words that inspire. Let's not get so busy that we miss all His signs... they're His way of blessing both your days and mine.


More amazing recipes from

Marilyn’s Treats Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats has so generously shared some of her amazing recipes from her blog with us, so that we can pass them along to you. Be sure to visit her at Marilyn’s Treats for even more of her amazing recipes!

Cinnamon Sugar Cannoli If you like sweet finger foods, then you have probably tasted a cannoli. A lightly fried shell rolled and filled with a cheesy cream filling is just the beginning of this heavenly treat. Sometimes chocolate chips or nuts are dipped onto the ends. This recipe though is a bit different. Cinnamon and sugar is added to the filling as well as being rolled into the shell.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Shepherd’s Pie is a warm, one --pot casserole and makes the perfect winter supper.. Preparing the meat and veggies takes only about 10 minutes. Pop it into the oven and set the timer for about 50 minutes and when you get home it is ready! The aroma permeating the kitchen is sure to make everyone want to eat right away.

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Super-simple, this one-dish meal includes lots of cheese with grilled chicken. If you use the pre-cooked chicken strips, you can put this dinner together in a snap! Once you give these Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas a try, you will want to make them often. Your family will thank you!

Red Velvet Iced Cookies These Red Velvet Iced Cookies are so beautiful! Perfect for any celebration or just because, the bright color will bring a smile to everyone’s face. Your family and friends are sure to be amazed and delighted when you whip up a batch of these gorgeous Red Velvet Iced Cookies.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes There’s more than one color of velvet, and these Blue Velvet Cupcakes prove that red isn’t the only color that makes for stunning bakery delights! We couldn’t include just the red velvet without sharing Marilyn’s beautiful Blue Velvet Cupcakes. Perfect for any occasion when you want to WOW your family and friends.

Fettuccine Alfredo The absolute best comfort food, Marilyn’s recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo is quick and easy and will warm up your family’s tummies in a hurry. Combining cream cheese, parmesan cheese, milk and butter to the noodles of your choice is very easy to do, and you just might find this becomes a family favorite! All recipes and images used by permission of Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats.


Vintage Conversations: A New Year Meditation by Kathryn Ross

Last month I enjoyed introducing you to the “vintage voice” of poet, writer, editor, Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838-1912). From a volume of collected writings published when she was 65 years old, her ruminations on the celebrations of Christmas in her day captivated my spirit with a sense of familiarity. Though removed from her world by well over 100 years, our sisterhood in Christ and as women connects timeless truths. She spoke to me and for me in her musings. As the dawn of 2017 is upon us, I visit with Mrs. Sangster in another chapter from, The Joyful Life, published by the American Tract Society in 1903. We listen in on a “vintage conversation” between the author and her intimate friend from school days, Miriam. I invite you to cozy up with Margaret and Miriam and listen in on their discourse. Reflecting upon the New Year more than a century ago, is much like our modern-day musings. Yet, what deeper wells of wisdom I hear from their hearts in this New Year’s Meditation:

Of Old School Days: “There Were Well Educated Women” One of my old schoolmates, a girl who used to sit at the same desk with me when we were in our teens, came not long ago to make me a little visit. In our different ways we have both been very busy since those bright days when we studied French verbs and Latin conjugations together, and dipped into mathematics and explored ancient history, albeit our school was only a seminary for young ladies, and the era of the woman’s college had not yet dawned. In passing, let me say a good word for the fidelity of the old-time preceptors and the thoroughness of the instruction they imparted. I am not disposed to undervalue anything in the latter curriculum, but there were well-educated women, cultured, disciplined, and broadened by their intellectual training, before the great colleges set wide doors open for the entrance of girl students. After all, the best result of an education course is seen in its success in putting tools in the hand for use in the life-work, and in the symmetry with which it develops character. Of Aging Well: “The Golden Age of the Grandmother” Miriam is a bright, breezy person whose heart is the gayer because she is the mother of a house full of children, and has always had young people about her, needing her counsel. She does not look her real age, but then nobody does that any longer; we are all ten years younger than we used to be, so much more closely do we follow the laws of health, and so much greater is the ease of modern living, what with labor-saving contrivances and luxuries of which our mothers and grandmothers never dreamed.


Today, the woman, married or single, who is under forty years is a young woman, and her looks convey no other impression. At fifty the gracious lady bears herself as thirty-five was wont to do two score years ago, and the active person of sixty is far from claiming immunity from service, or any privileges of ease, on account of her age. Miriam and I felicitated ourselves that this is the golden age of the grandmother.

On Resolutions: “Turning the Fresh Page” After a while she said, “Another year is coming. Are you making any new departures, any new resolves? There is something attractive about turning the fresh page, isn’t there?” “I have long felt that every day is a fresh beginning, and I have laid aside the habit, if I ever had it, of celebrating the New Year as a special place for good resolutions. I do like, though, to signalize it by some particular pleasure, to meet my friends and kinsfolk then, and to exchange greetings and good wishes with them. If the calendar did nothing else, it would remind us that the chances for making our beloved ones happy are lessening and that we ought to avail ourselves of every coming opportunity to scatter sunshine on the pathway of all we meet.” On the Christian Race: “A Daily Definite Study of the Bible”

On Passing Years: “The Seasons Do Glide Faster” “But, my dear,” said my friend musingly, “how short the years are getting to be. Don’t you recall what a long, long space of time a year was when we were children? Now twelve months is a little flitting period, which makes one think of the simile of a bird flying through a lighted hall, from blackness to blackness.” “Well,” I answered, “I grant that the seasons do glide faster with one than of old, but I think it is simply because I have so much to do, and so many complex interests. I can fancy, however, those to whom the progress of time is slow enough, even in old age. The man who was once in the midst of affairs, but on whom a creeping paralysis has set its fettering hand; the woman chained to her bed by a cruelly torturing malady; the prisoner in his cell; the stranger lonely among strangers, may not find the years so swift. Part of the restlessness which makes some old people so unhappy is no doubt due to the fact that their empty days have grown slow and dragging, that there is no flavor left for them in life’s cup. People in the shadow of grief always suffer from the tedium of the days. The mourner’s days move at a snail’s pace.”

“But,” persisted Miriam, “you would not influence others to pass by a New Year’s milestone without some effort to start anew in the Christian race, would you? Suppose you were talking to a crowd of students, is there nothing you could suggest as very apposite to them at such a time?” “For one thing, I said, I would counsel all who have never done it, to begin on January first a daily definite study of the Bible. There is a good deal of Bible study just now, it is true, but also, in hundreds of Christian homes, and by thousands of young men and women, the Bible is a neglected book. The young people who are familiar with the Scriptures are not too numerous—those I mean who can turn at an instant’s call, without hesitation or embarrassment, to any reference text in the prophets, the psalms, or the New Testament. We live in an age of much literary enterprise, when the printing press scatters new books as the forest trees scatter leaves in the autumn; when newspapers are multitudinous, and every man, woman, and child reads something. That many otherwise liberally educated men and women do not know the Scriptures, even as literature, is a misfortune, for they are a treasury of noble words in many incomparable styles.


And, by searching them, those who would obtain eternal life still are required by the Divine Author. Yes, I wish I could urge the young people of our land, wherever they are, to begin to read the Bible daily, to read it through in course, or to read it for its poetry, history, and philosophy. I wish they would read it for the life of the Master. On a shelf in my library are many lives of Christ. But none equals, nor approaches, the life so simply revealed in the gospels of the four evangelists.” On Youth: “A Clever Young Girl Was With Us” This talk of ours was resumed on another occasion when Miriam and I were not alone. A clever young girl was with us, and she had her opinion and expressed it very earnestly. “I know,” she said, “what people of my age need, and that is agreeable companionship. We are restless and dissatisfied unless we are in the midst of things. I would tell everyone I knew, especially if she or he happened to be a little blue, as young people often are, to get to work, not merely in wage-earning work, though for many that is a necessity and to some a resource and duty, but to join a Christian Endeavor Society and give to it the best one could.

A good time to join the procession of Christian workers is surely the New Year. I do think young people should assist their pastors more than they do, and what better season for a start than at this very time? So spoke Caroline, and we older women agreed with her. The only life worth living is the life of Christian love. If it be a life after the fair Christ-pattern, it will be a life poured out for others, and therefore very blessed. On Filling the Days: “With Contentment, Surrender, and Sweetness” Friends, methinks we stand in the portal of another year. God gives us more days, more weeks, how many or how few we know not, but they are sent straight from heaven, and we are to use them for him. Have we made mistakes? It is not too late to rectify them. Have we committed sin? We may find cleansing in the fountain where all uncleanliness is washed away. Have we been discouraged? “As thy days, thy strength shall be,” is the word of the Lord to our weariness and faintness. As we wait, not knowing what shall be on the morrow, we many fill the measure of today with contentment, surrender and sweetness. And from the sky the everlasting Father, speaking to our need, says, “Certainly I will be with thee!”

This is an edited version of “A New Year Meditation” chapter in The Joyful Life by Margaret E. Sangster, published by the American Tract Society, 1903. To enjoy the full chapter, dramatized in my January PODCAST, visit www.thewritersreverie.com/vintage-newyear

Visit the Writer’s Reverie for more inspirational and educational resources from Kathryn Ross.


Backstage Pass by Thea Williams Church youth director Megan DeHaven, who has the heart of an evangelist, befriends local children as she and her dog stroll around their neighborhood. One October she lamented the fact that her industriousness had netted dismal results. By Halloween, she had nothing to show for her efforts except a trunkful of pumpkins she and her husband had hauled home, hoping to carve with community kids who didn't show up for the festivities. As autumn turned to winter, though, things started looking up. Meg was pleased to find herself invited to a Christmas concert by one young lady she had gotten to know. On the appointed day, she was feted at an outdoor "concert" chirped by two little girls with rhyming names, whose holiday repertoire consisted of one Christmas carol, a monster song, and a couple of miscellaneous tunes. The cherubs apologized for their dearth of material by explaining that, while they had been inviting people to their concerts for years, Meg was the first person who ever took them up on their offer! The little ones excitedly produced Meg's "all access backstage pass," which entitled their guest to post-concert goodies and fellowship. Upon learning, however, that the promised cocoa and snacks had been gobbled up by hungry siblings, Meg hosted the singers at her home for holiday movies and treats. The grin on Meg's face as she related this story underscored the message she derived from it – how we as God's children so often invite Him to our "show," but deny Him access to our behind-the-scenes doings. As we tumble into a new year, perhaps we can remember that if we reversed this process, our "show" might be less of a show, and more a way of life. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1a

The Winter by Kathleen McCauley I am drawn to the quiet peacefulness of the fallen snow and cold barren air. In the stillness of the chill I am very alone – the world feels motionless and then my soul can quiet enough to experience YOU in the moment. Your presence fills me with a sense of safety and warmth – as if the intense weather is an invitation to hush the sounds of the world and enter my interior world more profoundly. I suppose it is the power or energy in the weather that calls my attention to YOU or perhaps how the frozen state of the earth quiets all sounds and movement and lays over me as a mantle of silence, allowing me to hear and feel your presence. Then dismissed of the distractions of the world, I can enter Your sanctuary, which consist of the dome of the sky and stars and the divine energy that brings it all to life and sustains it.

REJOICE, for GOD is in our midst!!


He Calls You His Own by Norma C. Mezoe Through every heartache, our Lord is there…. Through every illness and through every care. He will never forsake you or leave you alone… For you are his child and he calls you his own.

A Time of New Beginnings by Frances Gregory Pasch Mistakes! We've all made them, but instead of dwelling on what we did wrong or what we didn't accomplish, let’s look ahead. Concentrating on our failures wastes valuable time and brings us down. I've been there, done that, and sometimes still do it. I’ve decided to focus on reasonable resolutions. Setting impossible goals just adds more stress to our lives. The Bible says, "The thing you should want most is God's kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you." Matthew 6:33 (The New Century Version) Instead of making haphazard lists of many of the same things we never accomplish, let’s find a secluded spot, away from the TV and noise of the world, and spend time with God before making a new list. By seeking His guidance, that’s how we will discover His purpose and plan for us.

Remember, God is not looking for extraordinary people; He is looking for ordinary people like you and me through whom He can do extraordinary things. We just need to be open to His will for our lives so that He can be gloried through us. Thirty three years ago, at the age of fifty, God opened new doors for me. I never dreamed I'd be writing poetry and devotions and getting published regularly. But I can assure you that by following His will, my life has been more exciting and rewarding than I ever dreamed possible. In 2013, at the age of eighty, my first book of devotions and poems was published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life through Devotions and Poetry. God wants to work in your life too. Take Him up on it. He has different plans for each of us. By spending time with God and making Him number one in your life, you will discover that His unique plan for your life is better than you ever imagined.


Better “I-Sight” by Donna Comeaux I love it when God sends me a message, sharing another measure of kindness, softly speaking, gently guiding as I stumble through my day totally oblivious of his presence. Frequently, I misconstrue his lessons. Their meaning goes undetected. But sometimes after they stare me in the face for an extended period of time, they can’t be easily overlooked. For several months, I’ve received his corrections through a mutual friend. Though she has no idea God is using her, I can see it. I hear him in the background as she unfolds her failures, extraordinary shortcomings that are building a common bond between us that I find difficult to explain. Ironically, most of her debacles cause me to become introspective and seek God’s guidance. I could sit here and tell you that I’m a lot like you, always comparing our failures, careful to keep the weight of my friend’s infractions heavier than mine. To make myself feel better I’m tempted to explain the atrocious ways she’s survived hardship. But that would expose my tendency, all of our tendencies, to measure the gravity of another’s sin in order to determine if it’s contagious, too heavy to carry, or a self-centered need to elevate myself. The naked truth hurts, doesn’t it? It took several attempts for God to work with me and go beyond someone else’s sin to recognize my own. What if you looked at others with Better I-Sight and saw a mirror image of yourself? How compassionate would you become? Or have you hardened your heart and plunged into self-preservation mode? And at what cost? I must admit, on many occasions I’ve gone into self-preservation mode to the point of complete isolation. Depression wasn’t my problem. I just didn’t want to deal with the complications of relationships. Needless to say, I’ve spiritually grown up and have acquired a deep appreciation for God’s plans for me. One truth I’ve come to terms with is that we’ve not been created to roam this earth as if we’re the only ones on it. Retreats and quiet time are necessary. However, God’s intent for our lives is not for us to bump into one another, barely look up, say “Excuse me,” then quietly move on to our hiding place. We are intimately connected and everything we do affects someone else. Your infectious smile warms the hearts of many. Scowls and folded arms are certain to shun someone in need of love and an embrace. It surprised me to witness God using my sister’s failures to bring me closer into his presence. When her flaws uncovered mine, I was in awe of God . . . how he searched all of me ─ the good, the bad, and the ugly. Despite my defects, his kindness overshadowed me. He’s always reassuring . . . reminding me that I am loved . . . that I have everlasting life through the blood of Jesus . . . that I’m not defined by my circumstances, but by the saving power of God.


For we . . . are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against the soul. (I Peter 2:9-11) Your sins provide opportunities to search the inner you. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) I didn’t know it then, but I’ve come to understand that God was challenging me to look within, to go deep, to search the inner man, not to place myself above anyone. His challenges prepare me for what’s ahead so my faith might increase . . . so I’d be giddy with excitement and thanksgiving for his awesome and wonderful love . . . so I’d be sifted and refined until I acquire an ardent spiritual love for him . . . so thought-provoking moments would transform into prayers for my sins and the sins of others. When looking beyond your sins, you find God’s compassion. How can you not see it after he has bestowed so much upon you? In these spiritual moments when my brother or sister’s sin meets mine, God gives me all that I need at precise moments of unworthiness. He loves, pardons, and forgives. I didn’t earn it. I certainly don’t deserve it. But he gives liberally without fail. My dear friend and sister in Christ has humbled me and is a constant reminder that whoever is first will be last, and whoever is last shall be first. She’s a precious soul and I’m honored to extend my hand of friendship, not out of pity, but out of love and respect. Except for her insurmountable courage, something I don’t possess, she reminds me of me. Because . . .after all . . . to varying degrees, she is ME. Many of you have been hurt more often than you care to admit. You feel unappreciated. The disappointments keep coming. It’s easier to robotically go about your spiritual, parental, and spousal duties and cut your-emotional-self off from the world and remain in self-preservation mode. Stop it! Choose Better I-Sight. Accept God’s challenge to find yourself in the sins committed against you. It’s a humbling experience when our sins are placed on an even playing field. No hierarchies. No yardsticks. No scales. In spiritual moments of truth, we are one and the same, soon finding ourselves weeping, pleading for forgiveness, and showing compassion where none previously existed. Most of all, we are humbled by the mighty presence of the Holy One who is constantly looking after us every moment of our lives. Introspection is a deep search into one’s soul. And though you will experience spiritual conviction, you are not condemned. His tenderness and love runs through you. It’s like blood, traveling through your veins and nourishing every spiritual part of you. He cares a great deal for you. His love runs deep and he will go to any length to win your affection.


Momentum Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

ANSWER KEYS IN THE BACK OF MAGAZINE


New from author Beth Brubaker

Now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner


The Precious Repair by Sharon L. Patterson

I picked up the garment that needed repair then took out my sewing basket to find exactly the size and particular kind of needle to use from what was there. Searching my stash it was so evident to me that none but one works for this task. “Why is that?” you might ask when you see the garment you’ll understand clearly. The knitting needle was certainly unfit. The heavy duty-sized needle far too thick. This job required a tiny needle fix! No doubt in my mind one little bit. I put on my glasses so I could see to thread that tiny needle’s head. I turned on the light next to the bed and began the task so dear to me. I was mending the hole in the lace of the veil my daughter would wear. I just had to expertly mend the tear! The repair progressed, a smile on my face. Tomorrow as she comes down the aisle walking on her father’s arm, she will walk her final ‘single’ mile locking eyes on her beloved’s charm. At just the right moment he will lift that precious veil that was mended by that tiny little needle as intended, and given to her as a precious gift.


Four generations have worn it before; she will be the fifth one. A tear escaped at the thought of one more. “Perhaps my mending is not yet done.” Returning home I saw the needle and thread I had failed to put away. Before the ceremony that day I left it on the nightstand by my bed. I thought of the day and the repair; it had been flawless to the eye I know because I tried. There was only the fix, not the tear. The fullness of the day had taken its toll. Climbing into bed I thanked the Lord in prayer for all the times in his tender care he’s mended holes in the veil of my soul. He chooses the needle just right for the repair. Threads it with love and begins to sew, over and under, so deftly I hardly know the size of the hole that once was there. It is flawless to the naked eye this most precious repair. Search, go ahead and try! Only He and I know it’s there.


Joy

APOSTLE PAUL (2 Cor. 6:10)

by Emmanuel O. Afolabi

The Apostle Paul reflected generally about the troubles he had faced in his life and ministry, and he declared it a paradox that he was sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. This is a mystery.

Joy is a deep feeling or condition of great delight and outward display of pleasure. Joy is deeper than happiness. While happiness may be conditional, the joy that comes as a fruit of the Spirit is deep and unconditional. A good illustration is the flow of rivers. A river makes noise in shallow areas where it flows as water crashes with rocks and other objects on it forming foam and lather. This may represent happiness. However, where the river is really deep it is calm and noiseless. In fact, while the shallow river course may dry up in dry season, the deeper area forms dams and retains water and lives. Joy is deep and enduring. In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul encourages us to rejoice at all times (Phil.4:4). Happiness may be momentary and conditional, but joy is a spiritual virtue. It springs from the "belly" (‘right inside of you') which is put in us by the Holy Spirit and the throne of grace. Joy comes from God and that is why it is not dependent on the situation around us. We shall look at two Biblical cases of how joy transcends the adversities of life. THE APOSTLES (ACTS 5:40-41) The Apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme judicial ecclesiastical and administrative council in the New Testament. They ordered the Apostles should be flogged. However, they went out not sorrowfully, but rejoicing, "because they have been counted worthy of suffering and disgrace for the Name." In other words, they were disgraced but their water of joy did not dry up.

But it is like the pain and sorrow of a champion preparing for a competition when he is sure of winning. Or it is like a woman in labor anticipating the arrival of her long awaited baby! No wonder the Prophet Habakkuk said "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Habb.3:17:19) Joy is a great inner feeling of delight which transcends physical limitations and challenges. When the disciples were flogged, they went away rejoicing for suffering disgrace and being counted worthy to do so for the sake of the Gospel. A spirit-filled life exudes joy, even in the face of adversity. Therefore be joyful. Shalom.


My Yellow Brick Resolution by Katie Robles

Our society has things backwards. The day that we're expected to begin a self-improving, habit breaking, life transforming New Year's Resolution is the day after we stay up way too late and at the end of one of the busiest and most calorie rich seasons of the year.

New research has added a fifth: sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, it adversely affects your heart just as much as smoking does. Lion, your courage to face the day and change your bad habits into good ones is also linked to sleep because mood is affected by sleep.

f you searched the calendar for the one day that we are the most physically, emotionally, and motivationally drained, it would be New Year's Day. That's like asking me to start a low carb diet the day I tour a bakery. Not going to happen.

If you or someone you know has worked night shift, you don't need science to tell you that lack of sleep makes a person more irritable, less patient, and not someone you want to be caged up with.

If your resolution is to improve your health, start the year off right by resolving to get enough sleep. L. Frank Baum didn’t know it, but The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a How To manual for getting sufficient sleep. Ready, Dorothy? Let's collect our traveling companions and get back to Kansas!

Some studies have linked sleep deprivation with depression and other studies show that lack of sleep causes your amygdala (the part of the brain associated with negative emotions) to act up more and be less connected to the part of your brain that regulates emotion (and keeps the crazies in check).

Hey Scarecrow, did you know that sleep cleans your brain? When you sleep, your brain cells contract, leaving extra space between them. Cerebrospinal fluid then flows around the cells, flushing away the proteins that build up there when you're awake. I got so little sleep in college that I think I built protein palaces. Protein build up has been linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Last, but not least, we can't forget the Good Witch Leptin and the Wicked Witch Ghrelin. Well rested bodies produce lots of the hormone leptin which tells your body to stop eating.

When you get enough sleep (7-8 hours per night), your brain gets detoxed. Another study showed that missed sleep results in an increase in certain chemicals in the brain; the same type of chemical increases that occur after a head injury. "If I only had a heart," and if I only slept enough to keep it strong, the Tin Man might say. A study came out which links sleep and heart health. There are four factors that significantly affect one's risk for cardiovascular disease: smoking, diet, exercise, and alcohol.

Sleep starved bodies produce more ghrelin hormones which tell your body to eat more. So in this metaphor, the Munchkins actually work for Wicked Witch Ghrelin. (Dunkin Donut holes, get it?) Come on, Lollipop Guild, you're not helping us get to Kansas. Join me in celebrating the New Year by resolving to get more sleep: rest for our brain, our heart, and our mood. On our Yellow Brick Road, the best thing Dorothy can do is lie down in the field of poppies and take a nap. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:2,3a


When Family Breaks Your Heart by Jewell Utt Christmas is over. Yet everyone is not feeling merry and bright. For some people, family gatherings produce tremendous anxiety. It's a time that showcases differences and reopens old wounds. For others who have prepared with excitement, it's anticlimactic. The fact is many people feel raw after the holidays. Left to contend with emotions that were successfully buried. If sweet memories linger for you, as they do for me, be thankful. Not everyone feels this way. Loneliness, loss, finances, or overbearing personalities can make celebrations a time to endure rather than enjoy—and that's just skimming the surface. A closer look can reveal a concern deeper than the rest—because it is yours. The heartache of expectations. One thing family gatherings reveal are differences: in priority, faith, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity. That's why many people choose to avoid the celebration altogether. They decide "family" isn't worth the cost. God must have created the church family knowing the fallibility of the core family. What compassion He had to provide a way for us to feel complete. Sharing the same faith creates a strong bond that mutual DNA does not guarantee. The lack of commonality and longing for it can turn holiday magic into holiday strife. But an attitude of grace will win them all. Families are imperfect. It's our history. It's our nature. Here are a few Biblical examples: God cast Adam and Eve, His first human creation, out of the Garden of Eden due to sin. Adam and Eve caused the fall of all mankind because of their poor choices. Their son Cain killed Abel his twin. I wonder how adequate they felt as parents. Noah got drunk, was mocked by his son Ham, and cursed his grandson Canaan, for reasons unknown. All this after he built the Ark and saved his family from the flood. Abraham, after promised a son by God, got impatient, slept with Sarah's slave and got her pregnant. The slave in turn mocked Sarah and ended up exiled with her son and no means. Lot, Abraham's nephew, spared from Sodom, offered his two daughters to a mob of sexual predators.


Jacob tricked his twin Esau out of his birthright, with the help of mom. This caused Esau to want to kill him, and Jacob to run away. His uncle, where he found refuge, tricked him into marrying Leah first, the homely daughter, when promised Rachel, the one he loved. Joseph was favored by his dad (Jacob), and detested by his brothers because of it. They threw him into a pit, sold him as slave, and then told their heartsick dad that he was killed. An adult king (Saul) was jealous of a shepherd boy (David) and sought to kill him. He was estranged from his son Jonathan, who chose David over him. King David had an affair with his neighbor's wife, conceived a child and had her husband killed. Their son died and a later son, Absalom, betrayed him. Mary and Joseph, chosen by God to be the caretakers of Christ, forgot him at a marketplace when he was a young boy. If you think your family has challenges, rest assured you are in good company. Loving each other despite differences and sin is what Christ did for us. Our weaknesses were exemplified in the shadow of His perfection. Yet, He loved us enough to offer a better way. The cost was not too high for Him. We can't navigate life's challenges apart from Him and hope to thrive. We have to accept His way and walk in it every day. A loving God uses people who are yielded to Him, no matter what their circumstance. Be at peace with your family and provide the loving example your Heavenly Father showed you. That is how you gain common ground: by offering an attitude of grace that they would be happy to emulate. Families Matter!

Prayers from a Mother’s Heart by Nina Newton

Prayer journal for moms of all ages Now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner


Five Ways You Can Offer Your Child Support without Being Too Nosey by Nicki Marie There’s a fine line between being protective and being over-protective. As parents, you want what is best for your children, but sometimes you just have to let them make their own choices. This is where many parents find it difficult to know how to avoid conflict, even if they are doing what is best for their children. In these situations, what you choose to do can make or break your relationship with your child. So, if you’re wondering how to get out of this situation, here is some advice that might help. Do not Snoop, TOO MUCH It’s a good thing if you want to be involved in your child’s life. One of the signs of a healthy relationship with your child is when your child doesn’t hesitate to tell you about their day. But this doesn’t mean that you should pressure your child into giving you each and every single detail. Parents should also try to give their teens some privacy, because if they don’t get a bit of privacy, they might begin to doubt their own judgement and won’t be able to make decisions on their own. Delegate Tasks Trusting your teen with household chores and tasks will help a lot. This will help them think about what’s right and what’s wrong. This can be a really effective exercise, but it can have twice as many negative impacts if not done correctly. A child can’t always fulfil your expectations perfectly, and this is common. But, what you shouldn’t do is be too hard on them and scold them if they can’t deliver what you. Instead of criticizing them, you should try to address their flaws and give them another chance. Who knows, maybe they can get it just right this time around? Spend Some Time Out With Them Spending time with your teen is never a bad thing to do. Take them to lunch or maybe to a picnic. Parents should always try to let their child do the talking. Listening to a parent may bore the teen and make him/her to lose interest in the conversation. One of the most effective ways of getting things out of your teen without asking them directly is to have an honest talk with them.

When they start to feel that you actually value that time with them, they might start to trust you with things that are important to them. If your child lets you in on something they were hiding, you should never be too hard on them no matter how bad the situation is, because this will scare them away from such conversations. Strict House Rules Enforcing house rules could be a better idea than one might think. This makes a teen obedient and more apt to follow rules. Certain rules like coming home before sunset, or forbidding them to take food to their room and requiring them to eat at the dinner table, can never be bad for them. These rules may even prevent them from doing some of the inappropriate things that they might be doing behind their parents’ back. Watch Out For Them Like A Hawk Under normal circumstances, this is something you should stay away from, but sometimes, it is crucial to keep a keen eye on your teen. If your teen is showing signs of depression or maybe staying out late every day, and spending too much time with his/her friends, then perhaps the time for talk is over, and you should switch over to the strict parent. Physical monitoring is always a good idea, but most teens are pretty good at covering their tracks and it would be really hard for you if you try to follow them wherever they go. So what is a parent to do? One possible option is to use a parental monitoring device to keep an eye on your teen. One such app is The One Spy, which comes equipped with several features that help you keep track of what your child is doing. The One Spy app uses GPS tracking to that you can know where your child is at all times. It can also monitor the social networking apps on your child’s phone, and it can monitor your child’s contacts, calendar entries, text messages, and calls. For more information about The One Spy, please visit their website at www.theonespy.com


Above All Else, Remember Love by Linda M. Crate

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

I should have realized right then and there that this relationship was a mistake, but I had fallen deeply in love with him so that compromising my values didn't seem like a big deal.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.� (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

It wasn't until he rejected me like trash and that I was struggling with the aftermath of emotions: pain, anger, hurt, and self-loathing that I realized what I had done. I had given him my everything and he ended up marrying the woman with whom he had also been having a relationship.

I think these scriptures are very important to remember. We must remember all the characteristics of love if our love is to be true. We must be patient, kind, protect, trust, hope, rejoice in truth, and persevere. We must not boast, envy, be proud, be easily angered, keep records of wrongs, nor delight in evil.

Yet I prayed to God in earnest and He forgave me for my sin. It was at that point that I realized that no matter what, I had to love the man who had hurt me because God commanded me to.

He told me that if we didn't indulge in the act that he didn't know if this relationship would work out, but had he truly loved me in the way that God commanded we should love, then he would have been patient.

So choose His love. Do not let anger rule you and destroy you. Do not fret. The pain will fade away as God's perfect love washes all over you. His love is eternal, His love gives us the promise of rainbows, and His love will never let us down.

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of God commands our love to be sincere. "Love must be the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. “ and wicked.� (Luke 6:35) (Romans 12:9) I also think it's important when love is discussed that it also mentions to hate what is evil. Each day is a journey, and sometimes it is hard to love the man who hurt me so badly; but through God I have I fell in love with a man four years ago, but I let him found peace and made peace with my past. Slowly, I compromise my values. Despite the fact that we were am moving on. Sometimes it's hard to forgive, but I both Christians, we ended up committing a sin. Now remind myself that vengeance will be the Lord's. that he has taken my innocence, there is no way for me to get that back, no matter how much I may wish Also, I am far from a perfect being and God forgives to. me. So I forgive as I have been forgiven, no matter how much it sometimes hurts. I have always been good at loving sincerely, and yet I forgot one of the most important aspects of love - not It does not matter how far away we stray from God, we delighting in evil but hating it. learn in the story of the prodigal son that even when we wander from God's grace, if we ask for His Because as much as I cared for him, it was wrong for forgiveness, he will forgive us and we will feel his love, us to indulge in that act as we were not married. Also, for His love is unending and perfect. His love will never a key to our mistake was impatience. Love is patient. fail us as the love of fellow humans sometimes may.


Limitless Love by Connie Arnold No matter what valley you travel through in a deep and rugged ravine, as the burdens of life press upon you, there’s a power on which you can lean. When overcome with sorrow and pain, as trials seem to increase, God’s mercy and grace still remain, providing comfort and peace. When your strength fails you before you can finish what you had begun, God’s power can do so much more when you pray that His will be done. On God’s limitless love you can depend throughout the life you are living. There are no boundaries and no end to the love God freely is giving.

Have Faith by Connie Arnold When our way seems smooth and the day is bright, it’s easy to have faith in God’s love and light. But when the way grows rough and the light is dim, it’s much harder to keep our faith in Him. We need to remember to focus our eyes on the light of God’s love and the ultimate prize. As we travel through life’s obstacles and every roadblock, we can cling with assurance to our faithful, strong Rock. It is in our weakness that God’s strength is most revealed, and in times of danger when He is our sure, strong shield. As we release our fears and seek God’s blessing from above, we discover the great mercy and fullness of God’s love.


Family Resemblance by Norma C. Mezoe I’m striving to look like my Father, and struggling each step of the way. When someone notices the family resemblance, it brightens and lightens my day.

Acts 29 by Cindy Evans So many more stories! So many more testimonies! So many more reports that will give God glory! So many more healings! So much more wisdom! So many more encounters! So much more freedom! So much more comfort! So much more grace! So many more saved souls in many more places! Unwritten, but true, not yet printed on pages, so much more He'll still do throughout the coming ages!

"Let this be written for a future generation that a people not yet created may praise the Lord." (Psalm 102:18, NIV)

Oftentimes I’ll talk with another; one I have not met before. And I’ll be strangely drawn to them, and open to them my heart’s door. We talk of life’s many problems, of earthquakes and famine and such. Then I realize they look like my Father__ that’s why I love them so much. First Rights – The Gem, published 11/11/12


Transitions by Vera DeMay In 2005, my husband and I left our life of 32 years in San Jose, California for the unknown. Oh, we had an idea of where we would re-settle: Alabama where our daughter lived or Idaho where our son was. We were not going to just throw a dart at a map of the United States and see where it landed. After spending 4 months living in a 25’ travel trailer, travelling the southern route to Alabama, staying there for 2 ½ months, we headed to Idaho. Upon our arrival in May, we made the RV park at the corner of Locust Grove and Overland our home. We were warmly welcomed by our good friends, long-time Idahoans (transplants from San Jose in the 1970s). We had made a visit once to Boise in all the years since they had moved here. We usually met in the Lake Tahoe area once a year. They tried to encourage us over the years to consider relocating here but we couldn’t pull up our roots at the time.

Our fellow trailer dwellers had moved into their new home and discovered that we had bought a home one block away from them in the same subdivision. I had returned to San Jose for a few weeks and upon my return to the Boise airport, there sat another couple we had met previously in the waiting area. I joined the Curves gym and met someone else I knew. This never happened in San Jose! Shortly after arriving here, I was introduced to Miss Tami’s Tea Cottage, The Library and Rembrandts in Eagle. I made a point of taking any guests who came to visit us to these places. We made day trips of driving all around to see what was here. The cattle drive in Murphy, Swan Lake Falls, and Bogus Basin. A drive on Father’s Day took us up 55 towards McCall and within a short distance we were at 7,000 ft. elevation with beautiful evergreen trees, just like the Lake Tahoe area, only without all the traffic.

They invited us to their church where we met a group of their friends who would go out to lunch after church on Sundays. We were overwhelmed by their friendliness and learned several of them had also come from other states to settle here.

We took the loop over to Garden Valley, Idaho City and back to Boise. I was in awe of the vastness and beauty of the mountains to the columns of rock walls along the road by Lucky Peak coming back into Boise. It was then and there that I fell in love with Idaho. I fell in love with the high desert, too.

A recently arrived couple from Oklahoma shared the distinction with us of being “trailer trash” (no offence intended here) as we were both living in our travel trailers. They were waiting for their home to be completed and we were looking for a home. We were also told the courtesies of Idahoans: Idahoans drive the speed limit; they don’t honk their horns or give the international peace sign to one another.

Next, I experienced winter and was introduced to a whole new way to live: layering, studded tires, inversions, cloud seeding, the need for a warm winter coat, ice melt, allowing time for scrapping ice off windshields, learning to drive on ice and what to do when in a spin. The hardest thing to deal with was the inversion.

On our first visit to the laundry mat at Fairview and Meridian Ave. we were warmly welcomed by a woman who, seeing our license plate, said, “I see you’re from California? Well, welcome to Idaho,” That was nice; I thought we would be received with a request to go back to California.

After about 10 days of it, I had my husband take me up to Bogus Basin, and when we broke through that thick layer of oppressive yuck, I thought I was in heaven with clear beautiful blue sky with the sun shining on my face.

Next we discovered the small-town-ness of Boise. Everywhere we went, we met people we knew already!

Just leave me here to bask in the sunshine, I thought. I still don’t like it when, after the autumn leaves start dropping to the ground, I know the dark cold days of winter are coming.


Just when I think I can’t take the cold any longer, the first few blades of green grass start showing, trees are starting to bud and life is returning to the land. Spring is coming! Oh how I love spring! But before I put my winter clothes away, we get blasted with another morning of 28 degrees, wind chill feels like 18. Just wait; just wait a little bit longer.

It’s getting crowded, traffic is awful (you forget what it was like in California), and people are honking their horns and giving you the international peace sign, cutting you off.

It’s been 11 years since we moved here. I would never consider moving back to California or any other place. We have seen many changes since we first arrived.

Oh and I forgot to mention, we don’t get tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes or vast flooding year after year. Yes, Idaho is a great place to live.

The speed limit out on the open road was raised to 80 – who in their right mind wants to drive that fast?

When Life Throws Thorns at You by Frances Wilson

We’ve all heard it, and probably agree with the adage “Life is not a bed of roses.” Knowledge of roses will however, assist us in agreeing that the opposite is true: Life can sometimes be a bed of roses. Roses consist of flowers, fragrance and thorns, and thorns are equal components of the entire plant. In fact, thorns are hardened leaves that protect the flower from insects and animals. In the task of everyday life, we experience fragrances – the pleasant and expected, such as peace, achievement, confidence and relationships. Right alongside these, however, we also experience thorns – the unpleasant and unexpected: ill-health, disappointments, and sometimes, injustice. It’s inevitable. Life’s thorns will prick us. We may get injured when what life delivers does not correspond with expectations. We can, in such situations, learn much from rose enthusiasts. They once got injured, but they have learned how to handle thorns, so that the whole plant is appreciated. We too, can learn to manage disappointments, anger, and frustration – common emotional injuries, so that we do not become infected. Common emotional infections include uncontrolled anger, bitterness, preoccupation with getting even, hopelessness and despair. Avoiding infections however, depends on healthy perspectives, and a healthy perspective begins with learning that life is not fair after all, and will never be fair. Without becoming negative or morbid, we must expect difficulties. One speaker’s succinct words, sum it up well: “Life would not be so difficult, if we did not expect it to be easy.” Life can be like a bed of roses – a mixed package of pleasures and difficulties. Watch out for the thorns, and handle them with caution. When you get pricked, treat the injuries with a spoon of reality: Life is not fair, but is worth every second!


Kids' Korner Book Reviews by Carol Peterson The Story of King Jesus Written by Ben Irwin Illustrated by Nick Lee and The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories When I became a grandma last month, one of the first things I did was buy my grandson a copy of everyone’s favorite Bible story book, The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories. So when I saw The Story of King Jesus by Ben Irwin, illustrated by Nick Lee I wondered how it would compare. The Beginner’s Bible introduces children to some of the more well-known characters and stories in both the Old and New Testaments, with each story standing alone. The Story of King Jesus however looks at the whole Bible and tells an abbreviated version of God’s plan through Jesus. Although The Story of King Jesus does a nice job of summarizing, it leaves out a few theological points that will require some discussion between the child and the adult reader. For example, the text says, “God raised Jesus from the dead.” Several pages later, the text simply states that “…someday, Jesus our King is coming back.” A child may be confused as to where Jesus was between those pages. Jesus’ ascension to heaven, what he is doing now and the person of the Holy Spirit are thus left as hefty discussion points the adult reader may need to address with the child. Yes, we are talking about discussing theology with a 4-year old. The point, however is simply that there probably will be questions. The adult should be prepared to discuss them at whatever level the child is able to understand. In spite of questions that may come up, I wholeheartedly recommend this lovely book. Lee’s colorful illustrations enhance the text perfectly and help tell part of the story presented. Plus, it’s a great thing any time a child can be told the story of Jesus in a child-friendly manner. If the book leads to further discussion, even better.

The Story of King Jesus and The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories are both now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner. The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories (ages 4-8; 1989, Zondervan)

The Story of King Jesus Written by Ben Irwin Illustrated by Nick Lee (ages 4-8; 2015, David C. Cook)


All Brussels Sprouts and No Dessert by Norma C. Mezoe

When I told my daughter about someone who was going through one crisis after another, Jean had an apt comment: “Sounds as though she has a full plate, but it’s filled with all Brussels sprouts and no dessert!” I believe many of us have gone through those experiences of all Brussels sprouts and no dessert. Perhaps, you like Brussels sprouts as I do, but maybe you dislike liver or spinach. The point is still the same. Our plate isn’t always filled with the good things of life. Sometimes death, illness, job loss, or some other trial covers our plates, and it may seem they’ve taken up permanent residence. Yet, there will come a time when a piece of brownie or a large slice of apple pie will appear on our plates. God will use the “Brussels sprout” days to bless us and draw us closer to Him. First Rights – Standard, published 11/28/10

A Few Words that Cover a Whole Lot by Sharon L. Patterson GOD The beginning of all understanding and the end of all questions. LOVE Who He is and what He does-always. FORGIVENESS The gift that is available for the asking because of what it cost Him-His Son. HONOR What He deserves because of Who He is and what He does. RESPECT What we do-first to Him and then to others. GRACE The God-provided pool of ability to live in a flowing love relationship to God and man. LAW What Jesus fulfilled so we can choose by grace to obey concerning God and man. ORDER What our lives reflect internally when surrendered to The Lord so that we can exhibit it externally to others. JOY The condition of our heart, the state of our mind and the outflow of our soul when we are in relationship to God in Christ.


Shopping List from God by Paula McVay Sometimes people find my shopping strategies humorous when I tell them that I always pray before I embark on a little shopping trip. Seriously, I pray that God will help me to be a good steward of the money I have, that I might find the best bargains, and to realize what I do or do not need. I also pray that God will make me a blessing to sales clerks or anyone I meet in the stores. A few years ago, my husband and I were at a Pastor and Wives’ retreat when we had free time in the afternoon. Since I worked full time teaching in the public schools, had 3 sons, and kept busy in the church, I was excited about having a little shopping time. When I told the group about my strategies, one of the pastors laughed and wished me the best. My husband dropped me off at the large discount store there in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I enthusiastically began my search for the best bargains. Just as I discovered a whole table of great sweaters, I heard an announcement come over the intercom. “Will Paula McVay please come to the service desk?” Checking to make sure I had my purse and items I wanted to purchase, I made my way to the service desk where I was met by a serious looking, professional man. When he asked to see my ID, I began to wonder if something was wrong with my husband. Had he been in an accident? Was he ill? When I asked him if everything was alright, he somberly replied, “I just wanted to make sure I had the right person. Here is your shopping list from God.” Glancing over my left shoulder from where I heard laughter, I saw my husband and the other pastor from the seminar feeling quite successful in their little prank. Actually, my husband was quite proud that I always found the best deals and dressed our family and furnished our home with durable and fashionable things that looked way more expensive than they actually were. Maybe I’m a little naïve, but I felt that God always blessed us so greatly because we loved giving to the church…especially missions. Many times we did not have much, but knew the needs were there. One time, our church was in the midst of a building program and my pastor husband asked us to pray about what God would have us give over a 3 year period and to write it on the response card. My husband thought that he would pledge for us and I thought he wanted me to. It wound up that we had doubled pledged. Ouch! We prayed about it and decided that must be what was needed. Even though we had 3 sons in college, we were able to make every payment. Amazing!!!! We never went hungry and with all those bargains, things looked good. Some people say that if you give, God will shower more on you. Actually, we hit some really hard times right after that event. The market crashed and we lost an exorbitant amount of money on the house we were trying to sell. After going through almost all of our retirement nest egg, we finally sold the home for 100,000 less than its previous assessment.


The scripture says to give and it shall be given unto you. I’m not a theologian, but I think that “it” might not be money, but something even better. God did shower us with his peace that we had made every payment, that we had money in savings, and that we always had enough for daily needs. Every time I drive by that beautiful building, my heart swells with thanksgiving for the ministries that go on there. Now that God has allowed my precious husband to make that journey to Heaven, I have even more decisions to make. I’m so thankful that Isiah 55:4 tells me that God is my husband and James 1:5 tells me that wisdom is mine through Him. Just last week, I went mattress shopping. As usual, I asked God to help me find the best deal and to be a blessing to the sales person. As I walked into the store, I saw only one sales person and no customers. I breathed a quick prayer of thanks that I would have plenty of time to ask any questions. The salesman and I easily connected as we talked about his children and my teaching experience. When he wrote up the sales, he was commenting on what a great deal he was giving me. I expressed my thanks by saying, “I do feel so blessed that God has shown me the best place to come and given me a sales person who is so knowledgeable.” He began to talk about his faith and how he was struggling. Wow! You just never know when God will give you an opportunity to witness. He expressed his desire to grow stronger and ask for suggestions. I was able to tell him that God’s word tells us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of God. “ He told me he had a study Bible and how he wished he spent more time; however, with his four children and busy schedule, he often neglected doing so. God helped me to remember how I had struggled in those same areas especially when my children were at home. I was able to share how I learned that taking time to read and study and pray actually saves time because God gives us wisdom for life. He began to tell me that his pastor lived right down the street and that he went to church on Saturdays. I told him I thought that was great and since he goes on Saturdays, he might enjoy visiting our church on Sundays since our pastor, my son, who had also bought a mattress from him, was an excellent teacher. Now, why was I surprised when he exclaimed, “I would love to visit! I have to work sometimes on Saturdays so going on Sunday to your church would be perfect.” We talked some more and when I got ready to leave, he called out to me, “Wait, I need to get the name and address of your church. Do they have a web site?” Who would ever imagine that buying a mattress could be so exciting? Even though I did not have a list from God, I had the confident faith that He would lead me and help me to make the right decision. It’s time to get out there again for those “After Christmas” deals. I’m excited to see where God leads. Happy Shopping!!!


THRIVE in 2017! by Debbie Luxton You know you are supposed to set goals and hopefully you’ve done that or you have a plan to do so. If not, well…. get started. Goals are a must. Your mindset really has to be there. Think of your goals as your roadmap to success. Without goals, there is no clarity. A lack of clarity is a recipe for a life that is constantly striving for something, but never really gets there. Why? Because you haven’t determined where you are going. It’s like saying, “I want to lose weight.” That’s okay, but if you say exactly how much weight you want to lose by when; that’s best! Then, you have what you need to track your progress and reward yourself when you get there. I hear women say all the time that they want this or that to change. My response is, “What does the change you desire look like?” If she can’t answer that question, she can’t rest assured she will take the right steps towards the change. Clarity. Once you know where you are going, you can put together the first few action steps to head that direction. Initially, it’s not necessary to lay out the entire plan. You just have to know where to start. Once you have your goals well defined, I suggest no more than 3-5 at any one time, you want to summarize them on a single list that you are reviewing daily. If your goals aren’t right in front of you, you won’t stick to them. “Out of sight, out of mind” is an absolutely true statement. Schedule time on your calendar to review and update your goals and relative work plans at least weekly. You will be able to see where action is needed, where you’ve made progress and if the goal needs adjusting. For each goal, establish necessary boundaries and good accountability. With solid goals and good processes in place, you will help yourself THRIVE in 2017! Debbie Luxton - Life & Leadership Coach / Retreat Leader / Author Visit www.OneLifetoTHRIVE.org - Join the Movement - May 2017! Royal Retreats for Women Who Lead Coming February 2017, Debbie’s book “Choose to THRIVE: Conquering Your Inner Conflicts"

Visit Katherine’s Corner for creative inspiration, including weekly blog hops, monthly giveaways, and so much more! www.katherinescorner.com


New from author Jean Ann Williams

Just Claire One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place. ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls. With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life. Just Claire is now available from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.

The Courtship of Jo March: a variation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women by Trix Wilkins Set in the early 1870s, this re-imagining of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is for all who have ever wondered how life might have worked out differently for the beloved March sisters. The Courtship of Jo March is a coming of age romance novel exploring themes of love, faith, and family. Authoress Jo March has lost her elder sister Meg to matrimony. When the aristocratic Vaughns – elegant Kate, boisterous Fred, thoughtful Frank, and feisty Grace – re-enter their lives, it seems her younger sisters Beth and Amy, and even her closest friend Laurie, might soon follow suit. Yet despite the efforts of her great-aunt March, Jo is determined not to give up her liberty for any mortal man. Theodore “Laurie” Laurence was born with looks, talent, and wealth – and Jo is convinced he has a promising future in which she has no part. He is as stubborn as Jo, and has loved her for as long as anyone can remember. But what will win a woman who won’t marry for love or money? The Courtship of Jo March: a variation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women by Trix Wilkins is available at https://payhip.com/marchandlaurencelittlewomen


Momentum Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker

New Equation Search Answer Key by Beth Brubaker


Ruby Writing Team Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women's ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.

Connie Arnold lives in North Carolina with her husband, Tom. They have two children and three grandchildren. In dealing with lupus, fibromyalgia and other difficulties she has trusted in the Lord and shares her inspirational poetry to offer encouragement, hope and comfort to others who are suffering. She is the author of Peaceful Moments of Love and Light devotional, A Symphony of Seasons, Abundant Comfort and Grace, Abiding Hope and Love, and Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, as well as three children’s books, Animal Sound Mix-up, Count 123 With Me, and Olive and the Great Flood. You can visit Connie at her website, www.conniearnold.webs.com or blog, www.conniearnold.blogspot.com

Carol Peterson, Author My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire– children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling. Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Authorand-Story-Performer/188479350973

Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life. She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at: normacm@tds.net

Katie Robles

is living proof that women who love to bake and hate to sweat can lose weight and get healthy. She lost fifty pounds in four years by changing her habits, one small step at a time. She started writing Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating after she asked herself the question "Why can't weight loss be fun?" She writes the weekly Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating blog at www.sexsoupandtwofistedeating.com and is the author of Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives (House of Bread, 2016).


Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her theatrical scripts for church and school, books, and storytelling programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families. Timeless truths leap from the page and the stage through Pageant Wagon Publishing and Productions—visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.com

Kathleen McCauley has been an active retreat leader for over 25 years.

She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton. Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth. Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at kathleenmccauley1@msn.com

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991. You can contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.

Emmanuel O. Afolabi is a seasoned teacher, blogger, and minister of the Gospel. He is also the author of two books, The Battle of Identity and How to Recover from Painful Losses, both of which are now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner. In his books Emmanuel presents practical steps for Christian living and spiritual growth. Afolabi is married to Sister Mary Afolabi, and is blessed with children to the glory of God.

Vera DeMay

I live in Middleton Idaho with my husband. I am an artist, author, PwP (person with Parkinson's disease) and an advocate for Parkinson's. I especially enjoy my retirement years as it allows me to pursue new areas of interest and passions. In July 2014, I published my first book, Elizabeth’s Story, and several other books have followed. Recently I started painting. I am active in my church and community. We moved to Idaho from San Jose California in 2005 where we raised our children. We have two children, their spouses, and four grand-children. My website is: www.verademay.com

Nicki Marie is a blogger and writer. She loves to write about digital parenting teens and issues related to them. She is currently working on monitoring your kid’s text messages to keep an eye on them. Follow her on twitter @nickimarie222

Jewell Utt is a freelance writer and speaker. Her passion is to teach and support the body of Christ to serve in church and community. She is the Director of a Food Outreach and the Women's Ministry Leader at her church. Her retreats encourage women—through the hard places of life—to seek a deeper relationship with Christ. You can visit her website www.jewellutt.com or contact her by email:jewellutt@yahoo.com. "While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." Galatians 6:10

Rejetta Morse enjoys writing poetry so she can write about God and how He speaks through nature. Writing poetry is a new found purpose and hobby she discovered over recent years which brings her joy, peace, and encouragement. She also enjoys reading poetry and is working to learn more about the craft of poetry. She spends her free time singing with her church choir and listening to gospel music, watching biographical movies, and encouraging other people.


Marilyn Lesniak is the owner, writer, and most times photographer at Marilyn's Treats. She loves to learn new things and is always improving her recipes, blog designs and articles. If you need guidance she is there to help but is the first to remind you most everything she does is an adventure in trial and error. Come visit in her office/kitchen and see what trouble she is brewing up now at www.marilynstreats.com Donna B. Comeaux is a spiritual freelance writer who resides in Oklahoma. She is married, has two children, and eight grandchildren. She is working on a number of projects and hopes to see more accomplishments in the coming year. Donna has been a member of the Ruby for Women team since 2013. You can read more of her spiritual commentaries at: http://www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com.

Thea Williams’s short story, "Phoenix," appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon's The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at www.reflectionsbythea.blogspot.com By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at https://www.facebook.com/thea.williams.16 or https://www.youtube.com/user/theabwilliams. When Cindy Evans isn't watching fun TV with her husband, you will find her doing receptionist work and serving at a local Christian hospice. She is a big fan of flavored coffees, lighthouses, writing, poetry, and Ferris wheels.

Paula McVay attended church as a child where she first heard about the grace and love of Jesus. She accepted Christ as her savior at the age of 12, and accepted God’s call to fulltime ministry at the age of 13. Paula has been a teacher in public schools, a pastor’s wife, a mother, and a mentor to many over the years she and her husband, Doug, were in pastoral ministry. Paula is the mother of three sons, and five grandchildren.

Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth's passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. Don't miss Beth's columns and puzzles in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read Beth's posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at bethatruby@aol.com.

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional 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. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on RUBY magazine in my home office. I have worked for several years offering my handmade and refashioned garments and accessories in a local boutique under the creative name of “Vintage Mama’s Cottage.” My personal blog is at www.vintagemamascottage.com


Until next time!

Published by CreativeLife


January 2017 ruby