The Power of Praise by Shara Bueler-Repka
Intentional Kindness by Mary Dolan Flaherty
The Complete Father by Emmanuel O. Afolabi
What Did You Just Call Me?! by Kristi Bridges
Magnificent Maggie by Patti Iverson
Ruby Magazine Your voice, your story JUNE, 2017 www.rubyforwomen.com
Summer has finally arrived and we are celebrating all of God’s gifts this time of year. The beautiful warm weather and sunshine, the flower and vegetable gardens, Father’s Day, family picnics, and just around the corner, the Fourth of July! Take time to treasure every moment of every day and share your days with us at RUBY community and magazine. We have so many resources available for you and your family that will truly be a blessing in the coming weeks and months. We would also like to invite you to join us in the RUBY community, an interactive website where you can connect with other Christian women. Let us know how we can be an encouragement to you today. We would love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In This Issue of Ruby Dad’s Day Delights Father’s Day Recipes from Marilyn’s Treats
Stopping Along the Way in Fragrant Fields by Kathryn Ross
History of Hymns by Lucy Neeley Adams “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”
Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy the latest issue of RUBY Senior Editor: Nina of Newton magazine at http://www,rubyforwomen.com Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Joan Leotta, Rejetta Morse, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Norma C. Mezoe, Marilyn Lesniak, Thea Williams, Michele Morin, Shara Bueler-Repka, Paula McVay, Jennifer Workman, Cindy Evans, Lucy Adams, Gloria Doty, Kathryn Ross, Kathleen McCauley, DaPorscha Rufus, Emmanuel O. Afolabi, Patti Iverson, Cindy Knisley, Connie Arnold, Carol Peterson, Nells Wasilewski, Kristi Bridges, Carol Palmer Nugent
DIY Father’s Day Banner Card Tutorial from Vintage Mama’s Cottage
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 email@example.com Questions? Email Nina @ firstname.lastname@example.org RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine email@example.com
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Visit Vintage Mama’s Cottage for handcrafted, unique gifts, home décor, craft and sewing tutorials, and children’s boutique clothing patterns.
A Time to Remember by Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Growing up I always heard talk about WW2, but never thought much about it. Of course, as a kid there was no reason for me to worry about things like war. Even in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis all of the kids I knew didn’t understand what was going on . . . but our parents did. I do remember having drills where we would all curl up underneath our school desks with our arms over our heads. As if that would help. And bomb shelter signs posted around our village (again, I wonder now how much good they would have been had there actually been a real bomb). The world can be a dangerous place, but for all of us kids during that time, we went about our business of riding our bikes down big hills and crashing into trees, and getting our behind whipped all the way back up that big hill for disobeying Mom and going to the lake. When she found me there, it was not bombs I was worried about on that day! We built forts in the woods, and shacks in the trees; we played hide and seek under the willow trees, and set up housekeeping with all of our dolls under the shade of those old weeping willows. Living on a country road that led to nowhere, it was a pretty carefree life, although there wasn’t much in the way of “frills.” Who knew? Not me! But when I got to high school, that’s when I began to notice what was going on in the world. How could I miss it? The Boys of September were marching off to a strange country I had never heard of – Viet Nam – many of whom never returned, and those who did were missing limbs, or other body parts, as well as missing their youth and innocence. Those boys who did return home, were treated with such disdain, disrespect, and downright hostility. I will forever remember watching those broken boys in uniform marching home while those who stayed home where it was safe would shout and spit on them. The blessings of freedom are not free. There is a price to be paid, and although I will never be able to pay my debt of gratitude, I will not forget. This summer as you celebrate with family and friends; as you plan your parties and picnics; as you play at the park or swim at the lake or pool . . . remember what our summer holidays are really about. And remembering, teach your children and grandchildren of the gift they have been given to live in a country that is the land of freedom and liberty because of those who have sacrificed so much for all of us. We do, indeed, live in the home of the free because of the brave.
Greed. What a powerful sin. It can be a slow spiritual killer, or it can come as fast and terrifying as a bolt of lightning. Sometimes you don’t know you’re succumbing to it. Like that chip ad - you can’t eat just one. The scary thing is, the ad is right - I can’t eat just one chip! Why? Greed. You start with one chip, then another…the next thing you know, the entire familysize bag is gone. Greed applies to food much like Gluttony, but it goes a little further than that. Greed is defined as ‘an intense and selfish desire of something, especially wealth, power, or food.’ A Christian definition would be ‘to value material things over God.’ Mark 10: 17-31 tells the story of a rich man who has done everything the Scriptures had asked - except one. Verse 21 and 22 states, Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” He told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. It says Jesus loved the man. The rich man was obedient to the Word and that pleased Jesus. So why did Jesus ask him to give up his possessions? Did He have an issue with riches? The riches (or the powers given to those who have riches) weren’t the issue - the man’s heart was. He turned away because he wasn’t willing to let his riches go for God. You can obey all the rules, but if you’re not willing to let go of everything, that’s Greed talking. And like those chips (or money, or power for that matter), Greed is never satisfied, no matter how much you feed it. In fact, the more you give Greed, the bigger and hungrier it grows! Greed needs to go on a diet - big time.
How do you fight Greed? Charity. Not just giving to charities like Jesus asked of the rich man, but to be willing to give when God prompts, and be happy doing so. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says ‘So let each give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.’ Even if the rich man gave everything up, you can tell by his reaction to the request that his heart wouldn’t have been in it. Charity means the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money to those in need. But it can also mean giving up a little power to boost someone’s confidence, or giving up time to spend doing ministry or a good deed. But you have to want to give. Think of the gifts you’ve received from friends and family over the years. Do you remember how they gave? Were you handed the gift with a wide smile, twinkling eyes, and a happy heart? Or was the gift shoved into your hands by someone muttering under their breath and walking into the next room? Which gift was more appreciated when you received it? God is the same way. He loves us. He wants to enjoy us and what we give. Kinda hard to enjoy something given by a grumpy, self-centered sour puss. I have two teenagers. I know. When God asks you to give, remember He has a reason behind it that you might not see right awayespecially if He wants you to help an enemy! You never know the blessings that blossom from unexpected charity. God gave us the biggest charitable offering of allHe gave up His Son for all of us grumpy, selfcentered sour pusses! The most unexpected example of Charity gave us another chance at salvation. He gave us that gift with a wide smile, twinkling eyes, and a happy heart. We just need to decide how to accept His gift and share it with others!
Down the Lane Puzzle by Beth Brubaker By changing one letter each time, change one word into another.
Hidden Word Puzzle Here Comes the Bride by Beth Brubaker Find the hidden words within the grid of letters.
Answer keys in back of magazine
Pedigree of a Savior Part II by Thea Williams A friend recently challenged me to read through the Book of Matthew, an account of Jesus' life with which I thought I was very familiar. Interestingly, there's always something new to be learned when one revisits previously studied material. As I'm delving into this gospel, I'm seeing old truths that for me are new. Scandals God placed the Messianic line in the wombs of many less than reputable women. Chapter one of Matthew lists Jesus' genealogy. Scattered throughout the long list of His progenitors are five women whose accomplishments included prostitution, adultery and foreign birth. Ruth hailed from Moab, a nation which descended from incest (Genesis 19:30-36), and carried on generations of strife with Israel (https://www.bibleodyssey.org/places/main-articles/moab ). How amazing that, of all the "nice" women God could have listed in Jesus' birth record, the ones He saw fit to mention by name were scandal-ridden. Eight times as many men are listed in this chapter as are women, and the one thing that small female fraction had in common was an undesirable background. Yet God used these women with checkered pasts to be vessels of salvation. Dreams God used dreams to accomplish His purposes and warn His people five times in the first two chapters. Five times! I read these pages just about every Christmas, yet I never noticed this glaring fact. The dreams fall into categories of: a) guidance superintending the family into which Jesus would be born (Matthew 1:18-25); and b) life and death warnings which direct the hearers either to do or not do something which will ensure the Son of God's earthly survival (Matthew 2:12-30). Obedience In order for divine guidance to make a difference in the recipient's life, obedience is crucial. In the aforementioned dreams, Joseph and the Magi acted on the information God delivered to them. The Lord roused these men in order to impart instructions, and they lost no time (but they did lose sleep) to follow His leading. What Sin Disgraces, Grace Displaces I find hope and a call to action in these texts. What sin disgraces, grace displaces. Simply put, God loves to use underdogs and transgressors to carry out His plans, and He may use supernatural means to reveal them. Most importantly, if we are willing to be used, we must stand willing to obey. For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Pedigree of a Savior
The Power of Praise by Shara Bueler-Repka "Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your powerâ€?â€”Psalm 21:13. Nursing homes are never an easy place to be. Many times they are the last destination for ones who have lived a fairly long life. Most residents are not in the minds they once knew, and all ail from one sickness or another. Bruce's 93-year-old grandmother had been in a nursing home for quite some time. No longer able to stay with her family because of medical issues, she became a permanent resident. Bruce, my mother-in-law Betty, and I made our way to the secured area of the facility where she resided. She sat in her wheelchair, absently staring at the floor. As we approached her, she looked up, sheer delight spreading across her face. We hugged and kissed her, wheeling her into the little living room reserved for private family visits. Although happy to be sitting there together, our conversation started to get a bit strained. Grandma was hard of hearing, couldn't talk very well, and suffered from memory loss. Long silences filled the gaps in our conversation. There had to be some way of communicating together. Suddenly, I felt the Lord impressing on me to sing. However, I choked up with emotion as I fumbled around for a starting point. I sensed the impression again, urging me to continue. Pulling myself together, I asked, "Can we sing?" With great relief, all three of us plunged in, enthusiastically singing out the old familiar hymns: Amazing Grace; What a Friend We Have in Jesus; How Great Thou Art. Grandma's face lit up and away she went! The strain was chased from her face as she sang with us at the top of her voice. The wheelchair seemed to melt away. We were all lifted up and out of that nursing home to a familiar and happy place where communication gaps and sickness don't exist. For those moments, we enjoyed the same space and the same time. Intrigued, I watched her joyfully expounding on every word. She remembered the words!â€”words she had sung long ago that had been tucked away in silent rooms somewhere in the recesses of her mind. The melodies of those old hymns led her heart straight to those rooms, unlocking them like special keys to forgotten doors. Apparently, the singing from our little room wafted through the entire wing of the nursing home, and more than one heart was unlocked that day. The nurses still talk about it. God's Presence had a profound effect on patients and staff alike. Praise in the form of music is powerful and transparent, walking through any wall that has been erected and unlocking every door that has been tightly shut. It knows no boundaries. (Acts 16:25-26)
June is the Month of Strawberries by Cynthia Knisley June is the month of strawberries! Served with shortcake, on crunchy cereal, in home-churned ice cream. Dipped in chocolate, baked with rhubarb in a sweet-tangy pie. As jam on toast, in a fresh fruit compote, or my favorite of all……………. just picked, warm and juicy, under a clear blue June sky.
Abundance by Cynthia Knisley At the Amish farm there’s a roadside stand where three little children peek over the wooden shelves laden with shoefly pies and lemon sponge, baskets of berries, bunches of asparagus. And jars of homemade jam. “Do you have rhubarb today?” I ask. The smallest child, wearing a loose cotton dress and in bare feet, dashes to the farmhouse. A baby cries inside and several children crowd at the screen door. A few minutes later, their mother arrives from the garden, one arm grasping a huge bunch of long red stalks, the other holding a child’s hand. “Take it all,” she says. “We have plenty.”
I haven’t been kind lately.
In the last two days, I managed to offend three people. I certainly wasn’t trying to, but my actions or words were not what others wanted, expected, or desired. I ruffled feathers because I wasn’t agreeable. I wasn’t nice. Or kind.
I’ve felt distant from God, instead struggling with stress, anger, sadness, and disappointment. In each of the circumstances, I felt justified. I was wronged. I was hurt. I was being imposed upon.
Kindness, one of the fruits of the Spirit, is meeting real needs in God’s way. Strong’s Concordance defines it as Spirit-produced goodness which meets the need and avoids human harshness (cruelty). Ah…so that’s where I went wrong. The human harshness thing. While I may have tried—in my humanness—to be kind, or even agreeably nice, I obviously failed. The other person in each of the three situations was presumably hurt in some way by something I said, the way I phrased it, or the fact that I didn’t do what they thought I should do. Spiritual kindness would have seen beyond my emotions or my need to be validated. Spiritual kindness would have avoided any harsh words or thinking about righting what I considered to be a wrong. Spiritual kindness would have acquiesced generously, considerately, thoughtfully, and without cruelty. Spiritual kindness, the kindness that is fruit, is impossible on my own. It goes against everything in my sinful nature—retribution, fits of rage, hatred. These are the things I’d prefer to hold on to. Had I asked God what He thought or how I should respond before I confronted, challenged, or responded to any of the people I’d offended?
In the heat of the moment, when emotions are high, our human tendency is not to stop and look at our WWJD wristband and ask, “How can I extend the fruit of your Spirit now, Lord?” Rather, when our backs are against the wall and we find ourselves accused of being nasty, irresponsible, or selfish, our response is typically one of justifying our position and defending our actions. Accusations fly with blame on the wings, desperately seeking a place to land and nest. Intentional spiritual kindness is a practiced art, one I have yet to master. And I never will if I keep trying in my humanness. The fruit of the Spirit is a byproduct of living a life in step with the Spirit. And all the fruit, as I’ve said before, is connected. Storing up the love of God, the joy we find in knowing Him, the peace that comes from practiced prayer, and the patience only Jesus can offer helps to build our spiritual character. And definitely contributes to kindness. Even when we do extend the fruit of the Spirit to others, there is no guarantee they’ll accept it. If I say or do something in the spirit of that kindness, the other person is still responsible for how they interpret and receive that message.
No. Had I been walking in love, joy, peace, or patience prior to these altercations?
If they choose to be offended, that’s their prerogative. We cannot assume that everyone is walking in the same vineyard or orchard.
Sometimes we need to remember to be kind to ourselves by setting boundaries. Sometimes kindness means saying no, upsetting the tidy agendas of others.
Something that comes from God, a generous consideration that can only be produced in me by my Creator. It’s not something I can conjure up and then feel bad about when I fail.
Sometimes it challenges and confronts, which can cause relationship rifts. But sometimes, it’s necessary.
So instead of crawling in a hole and declaring that I am cruel and self-centered and heartless, that I’ll never master being kind, that I am a horrible excuse for a human being, I can breathe easily in the Sonshine, knowing that God extends the same kindness to me that He asks me to exhibit to others.
While I may or may not have extended the fruit of kindness to those three people, in all fairness, that fruit is Spirit-produced goodness.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
The Storm that Never Happened by Nells Wasilewski It was on a Wednesday, in the afternoon, when weather reports started flashing like lightening of the encroaching storm. My friend Barbara and I were at our church, working on different projects. We were on the second floor when another warning alarm sounded. Weather warnings were furiously flashing on her phone to take cover immediately. We headed to the basement and suggested that others take the warning and go as well. No takers, so we went alone. We ensconced ourselves in the ladies restroom, and together we rode out the storm. It was such a peaceful and calming experience to sit there with her and chat about inconsequential things that were happening in our lives. Barbara made a statement, while we were waiting, that will stay with me always. She has the sweetest most soothing voice, and she said to me: "If it gets really bad what better place to be than in our church?" After twenty or thirty minutes, Barbara received a notification that the worst had passed. Upon returning to the upper level of the church, we learned that the storm never happened. The worst of it was some high winds and a sprinkle or two. The storm may never have happened, but a beautiful thing happened that day. I have always loved Barbara, but, now, a new dimension has been introduced to our friendship--one of trust with new insights of who we are. I know in my heart that it was more than riding out a storm together; because, upon leaving the basement, my heart was full of God's love. Thought for the Day: Colossians 3:12 (NIV) 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Prayer: Elohei Chasdi - God of my goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, thank you for sending friends to ease us through difficult situations. Show us how to express our gratitude to each other and to You. In the name of our Savior and your Son, Amen.
Father’s Day Recipes from Marilyn’s Treats Coca Cola BBQ Sauce Coca Cola BBQ Sauce ~A unique basting sauce with a bit of spice and tempered with the sweetness of Coca Cola. It will liven up your meats when used as a marinade and give a flavor bloom to your BBQ dishes. A large flavor will kick your taste buds into the next course.
Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs ~Rosemary infused marmalade gives great flavor to pretty sweet potatoes, zucchini and pork. These are delicious! I used onion & garlic marinated pork and added sweet onion pieces and green, red & yellow bell pepper pieces to the kabobs. The marinade tastes wonderful. These kabobs were a real kid-pleaser.
Chili Dog Pizza Believe me you are going to think I must be expecting to even think up this pizza. But Chili Dog Pizza is not just for kids, adults enjoy it too. When my husband ordered this from a nice family restaurant we frequent a lot, I thought he was crazy. When they brought it to the table, cheese running down when you took a piece, chili, hot dog pieces, onions and mustard swimming on top, it smelled sooooo good. This one offers an easy, fast, and different menu option for your family. You have to try it!
Grilled Parmesan Asparagus Do you get as excited as I do when grilling season comes around? With a working farm just down the street the first crop of the season is asparagus. This is the time when my prodigal son returns for the life of “eating at mom’s” every Sunday. This is my time to be able to cook the meals I love and set another plate or two at the table. The meals of sausage, salmon, hot dogs, chicken, burgers, fresh veggies, sautéed mushrooms and onions become common and the fresh summer sides overflow my counter.
Visit Marilyn’s Treats for all of the recipes in her “Dad’s Day Delights” collection. Marilyn's Treats and RUBY magazine do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated.
As I approach my 70th year of life, 59 of which I have lived as a born again Christian woman, I find that although my eyesight is a bit dimmer than it used to be, I have been granted a special gift-the best view in the house!
When asked to accompany my friend on this trip to Israel, my mind wandered back to all that I had seen and experienced the first time. Knowing that we would be going to Caesarea once again stirred all those first memories.
Not to make this too mysterious, it is simply that as an older Christian woman the Lord has allowed me to view several things I witnessed in my early days of my faith from a more finished position.
I was thrilled that the last concert Hillsong would be doing was there on the Mediterranean. The amphitheater and surrounding antiquities have been more fully excavated. The view when I walked in overwhelmed my senses.
Rather than diminishing in my desire to see His purposes and plans completed not only in my life but those of everyone I love, I am conscious of increase of that desire. My life verse in addition to Romans 8:28 is found in Psalms 71:17-18: “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. (18)Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” I just returned from a trip to Israel with TBN and Hillsong. It was my second trip, the first taking place twenty-two years ago. I was privileged to go as a guest soloist for a tour group in 1995. The morning our group visited the ancient amphitheater at Caesarea, our Israeli tour guide motioned me down to the floor of the arena to sing. Several student groups from other countries were talking quietly among themselves concerning what they were viewing. Somewhat timidly at first, the notes of “How Great Thou Art” rose up and out of my mouth. I was astounded to be ‘witnessing” in song to those student groups gathered that morning.
Just before the concert began, my friend motioned to me from the seat I had taken much further up. I climbed carefully down the steps to reach her on the lower level. At first, I thought I had given up the best view in the house only to realize as we began to worship that was not the case at all. I began to look up, all around me. It was not just student groups who had gathered in the amphitheater, it was nations from all over the world. It was not a few hundred-it was thousands including many Messianic Jewish believers who would have never been so vocal twenty years ago. The place pulsated with glorious worship. God was giving me not just the best view in the house but the “finishing” of what He had authored. I returned home with a heightened sense of gratitude that the Lord would allow me two views…a beginning and a finishing. His purposes will always have a culmination that will leave us in awe and inspire us to let Him finish the details of our faith and lives until He is pleased. If we will trust what He is doing in us and through us, I believe we will always have the best view in the house!
It Needs a Little Pretty by Gloria Doty
My young granddaughter was working on an art project for a homework assignment. The requirements stated it needed to have the majority of the work done using only black and white components. She would finish a rough draft, crumple it up and toss it in the wastebasket. I observed this for quite a long time. Finally, I asked, “What’s the problem, Sweetie?” Being only nine years old, she sighed and stated, matter-of-factly, “It needs a little pretty, Grandma.” I was a bit confused by that answer and asked her to explain. “Well, I know it’s supposed to be black and white, but it needs just a teeny, tiny little speck of color to make it pretty. It can be in a corner or somewhere, but it can’t just be all black and white, can it? It’s so depressing.” I reread the teacher’s instructions and pointed out where it said the majority had to be black and white, not the total picture. She tried once more, drawing an image of a flower with long leaves attached to the stem. Everything was black and white with the exception of a tiny red ladybug she placed on one of those leaves. She was smiling at her work and the addition of a bit of pretty. I thought about her initial perceived dilemma and remembered my observations during a recent trip through some of the poorest areas in a neighboring state. The houses were small and the exteriors, where presumably, there had once been paint, were dingy and in desperate need of repair.
The yards were devoid of grass, with every square foot taken up by rusted appliances and sagging furniture. However, many of them had a small inexpensive basket or two of flowers hanging from nails on the sagging top board of the front porch. At the time, I wondered if the few dollars spent on the flowers couldn’t have been put to better use, possibly. But now I was reconsidering…maybe the person who lived there needed a little pretty in their black and white world of poverty, just as my granddaughter needed it in her picture. A little more reflection caused my mind to consider my world some days; my emotional world, my physical world and my spiritual world. Without too much prompting, I can fall into the black and white landscape of depressing thoughts, words and actions. It can be due to a relationship struggle, a financial hardship, an illness, constant pain or a myriad of other reasons. Whatever they are, I allow them to remove all color from my world and cast me into a black and white state. So even though my porch of emotions is sometimes sagging, all the paint has peeled off my walls, and the yard is littered with broken dreams and promises, I need to take the time to put a little pretty in it. That’s when I need to reach for my bible to read some scripture verses or listen to a song I particularly like or take a walk and consider all the beauty God has placed in my world. He didn’t intend for us to live in total black and white surroundings. We all need to add a little pretty.
Stopping Along the Way in Fragrant Fields by Kathryn Ross The day starts like any other day: copious errands to run, children to shuttle about, meals to prepare, a time clock punch. The daily grind. I wonder what use my cozy little house with the cottage décor, comfy reading chair surrounded by bookshelves, and fragrant front rose garden is to me, when I spend the better part of my days charging about in my car, rushing from job, to grocery store, to the mall, to appointment what-nots; checking each off my endless list of things to do. Introverted me craves time for Retreat and Reflection so all my busy might be glazed in the sweetness of Rest and Renewal. But, too often Urgent overwhelms Important. Retreat, Reflection, Rest, and Renewal are relegated to the least of my priorities. I feel a sense of loss in the void. I ponder this, chastening my innermost being as I race my daughter to her friend’s pool party. The unfamiliar road has the ambience of a charming country retreat setting. I silently snatch a whiff of the atmosphere whizzing past, seizing restful thoughts on the go. I think: What a nice job they did with their landscaping over there. How quaint to fill one’s front yard with bird houses next block down. Oh, look! That bunny scampered out of the way of my wheels just in time. Snippets of beauty and nature have such scope for Retreat . . . for Romance, even. But, I need more than a snippet—and am about to get my fill. Today, I’m on a collision course with God’s grace. As I round a curve, Jesus meets me face to face. Immediately I am the prodigal, returned, hungry and hopeful for a feast and a fatted calf. What I get is poetry. Actually—a field.
A huge expanse. Yards and yards of purple lavender and golden wildflowers sway in the soft summer breeze. Distant emerald green trees form a dramatic backdrop, offset by the brilliance of a sapphire sky. The scene shouts from heaven an emphatic, “Stop! It is good!” I see and hear, but am forced to pass it by. “Mother! Watch the road!” My daughter is quick to nudge me back to the business at hand. Yes, we are almost there. Safely depositing my seventeen-year-old for an afternoon swim, I purpose to return to that little wisp of Eden on an unfamiliar lane. There, I pull to the roadside and sit, drinking in the wonder of God’s Creation. Hues of purple, gold, green, and blue dazzle my eyes. The “buzz” of bumble-bees performing their God-ordained act of worship amongst the wildflowers tickle my ears. My nose twitches at the scent of lavender and clover. I’m captured by an irresistible urge to take off running, in all abandon, through the floral sea before me. Then—I think of ticks. And how I’m wearing the wrong shoes. And what a fool I would look to the neighbor across the street. How I envy his living room view. Abandon withdraws to its convenient cage, rather than become a tangible reality. The cares of this world bully my desire to worship. Unrestrained. I feel the twinge of shame. The sting of Regret. A resolve towards Repentance swells from deep within and I determine to return to this spot with my husband. I want to share the Beauty of the Lord and the fleeting moment of worship I’ve experienced in this place with him. We do return, my husband and me. With camera in hand. We exclaim at the greatness of our God and the marvel of His works. Two of us are gathered— and in His midst.
No, I don’t run through the floral sea. It is not for me to intrude upon the landscape. I’m on holy ground— perhaps I ought to take off my shoes. The awe of the moment is meat and wine enough. I hear the voice of my Lord and am satisfied. But desire more. God, in His gentle way, uses those few stolen moments by the side of Busy to cause me to crave longer stays in our trysting place. Through the years, we’ve carved out many “secret places” of worship much like that fragrant field. Seeds of inspiration are planted there, coming to fruition after a brooding season. Then, in cloistered moments with pen and paper, keyboard and screen, I flood my Response through the written word. Poems. Prose. Story. Drama. Some places are mere moments. Others—hours, days, seasons. They are emblazoned in my spirit in the photo album of my mind—a God encounter in my most intimate zone. Retreat. Reflection. Rest. Renewal. Romance. Restoration. Inspired by that fragrant field I harvested a sampling of musings and journal records, collected literary quotes, and life Scriptures. Published in January of this year, Fragrant Fields is a small slice of my devotional life shared to inspire contemplatives in reflective journaling. Metaphors abound. Dig deeply. Chew slowly. This is the Retreat and Reflection part, producing the Rest and Renewal part, leading to the Romantic part. And Restoration. Listen to an expanded dramatized reading of this article (Episode 17) at The Writer’s Reverie Podcast this month. Visit www.thewritersrev erie.com and click on the PODCASTS page for this and more by writer and speaker, Kathryn Ross.
. . . The surf ripples Rushes! Ever closer from the deep Whitecaps spray They spatter me Then swathe me The flood tides Your shimmering swells Charged with Light Seek me out I have naught but to wait You’ll come to me Saturated I will be Everyday In the pulse of Your ebb and flow Left in Your wake I consider The treasures deposited By Your waves ablaze MUSE n. Properly, song; but in usage, the deity or power of poetry . . . the genius of poetry. v. To ponder; to think closely; to study in silence; to wonder I muse on the works of thy hands. Psalms 143:5 Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary Excerpt from the “Introduction” and “Seaside Muse” Fragrant Fields: Poetic Reflections for Journaling by Kathryn Ross
History of Hymns by Lucy Neeley Adams
â€œTell Me the Stories of Jesusâ€?
Summer days or school days, nothing to do, boring day, all were thoughts of my early years. In spite of much fun stuff, I began many pages in my fourth grade diary with the title, "Boring Day." My school friend of many years ago agrees. "Yes, those were my feelings too," Sally remembered. "It was all slightly boring." Then we often discuss our years of teaching and laugh when we wonder if we too had students who shared our same thoughts about their studies. Those thoughts are of public school. Sunday school was quite different. I was blessed with great Christian leaders who were committed to children. Their lessons have often been remembered as I grow in my faith. That was certainly true of a Sunday school class that Mr. William Parker taught. Sensing that the students were restless, he put away all the materials and began to tell them a story. It worked every time. Quickly they became quiet and attentive. Later that afternoon after church, Parker thought about the countless times his students had said, "Please tell us another story." Suddenly an idea flashed into his mind, and he gathered his thoughts and arranged them in a poem: "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus." With those first words as a beginning, he continued to write with vivid description about many events in Jesus' life. The verses explain what it must have felt like to be blessed at his knee, to sing glad hosannas while waving palm branches and to stand at the cross of bitter pain. William H. Parker was born in Nottinghamshire, England, on March 4, 1845 and died there in 1929.
He worked for an insurance company and was a dedicated Christian layman in his home church, Chelsea Street Baptist. A friend described him as a person who was "quiet in demeanor, kindly in disposition, always trying to see the best in others. He was one of God's true gentlemen respected and loved by all." Parker's poem, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" was written to honor the devotion of the pupils he taught each Sunday. It was not used as a hymn for several years because it had no music. The beautiful melody, written by Frederick A. Challinor, was chosen as a result of a competition held by the Sunday School Union of the Church of England in 1903. This hymn is dear to me because Sunday school thoughts flood my memory whenever I hear it. My teacher, Jane McDonald, was a petite woman who had a light of happiness on her face when she told us stories of Jesus. Reading them in the Bible was not as exciting as when she told them. She wanted us to feel what the people felt when they were with him. Jesus told his disciples that the children who eagerly came to him were an example for all: "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15). That makes me wonder: When I was a child who attended Sunday school and eagerly listened to my teacher, was I receiving the kingdom of God? Yes, because I responded and received him as my Lord and Savior. As an adult, I continue to be eager to hear and obey all of the glorious stories of Jesus. Parts of this story are from Lucy Adams' book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions
Book Reviews by Carol Peterson
Like a Watered Garden (The Garden Gate series) by Patti Hill The first line of Like a Watered Garden, “I received a box of flowers from my dead husband,” sets up the character and setting of this novel about faith, love, forgiveness and grief. Mibby’s husband is killed in an accident, leaving her to raise their 13-year old son, trying to work through her own grief and help him through his, while maintaining her garden design business. When she discovers facts about her husband’s life before their marriage, those secrets shake her memory of him and threaten her faith. I hesitated reading another book about a grieving widow facing motherhood alone. Hill, however used several delightful writing techniques that kept the story fresh. More than anything, I enjoyed Hill’s rich writing. Her descriptions invoked the senses and made the lovely gardens come alive in my imagination. I also appreciated the faith of the main character, Mibby and her friend Louise. Both women’s faith was strong without being preachy. At one point, Mibby shared her feelings about the death of her husband, saying she had not been angry with God for taking her husband; just deeply disappointed. I loved the character’s honesty about her disappointment, while not giving up on faith or giving into anger. Like a Watered Garden is the first book in The Garden Gate series, featuring Mibby Garrett and her garden design business, Perennially Yours. I loved Patti Hill’s storytelling, her delightful characters and her beautiful writing. This book was the first book by Hill I have read, but it will definitely not be the last. Like a Watered Garden by Patti Hill is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.
Visit RUBY’S Reading Corner the next time you are shopping for books . . . discover books by our RUBY authors, books from “Carol’s Book Club” reviews, seasonal favorites, devotionals, inspirational stories and so much more. Every book you purchase through RUBY’S Reading Corner comes directly from Amazon at no additional cost to you, but every book purchased through RUBY’S Reading Corner helps support the ministry of RUBY magazine and community. Stop by today and see what’s new at RUBY’S Reading Corner!
DIY Father’s Day Banner Card Tutorial from Vintage Mama’s Cottage Not only is this banner card fun to make, it is a project that you can use up bits and pieces and tiny scraps of ribbons and other fibers, as well as solo vintage buttons and any other ephemera you might have hiding out in the back of your scrapbooking or craft drawer. In addition, it is not only a card that you can send through the mail, is can be displayed year ‘round on a mantle or shelf to remind Dad or Grandpa that they are loved and thought of often. For our Father’s Day Banner Card we chose a color combination of dark red, black, ivory, and brown with a bit of gold rick-rack to give it a little “pop” of color. We also used a few stick-on keys and watches for a masculine look. The paper is scrapbook card stock that was purchased at Hobby Lobby in the colors we chose. Each piece of the card stock is 6” X 6” square, but you could use any size you want. Using a square, however, provides a wider base if you want to make a stand-up banner card.
Our banner card for Grandpa was created in shades of blue, brown, ivory, and gold with letters in dark brown with lots of gold ribbon and rick-rack, too! Vintage gold and brown buttons add a nice touch, and we have also found websites where we can print out vintage images of cars, or fishing stuff, or tractors (our Grandpa loves tractors!), so this was quite an adventure finding all of the odds and ends to make our next banner card. Pull out your odds and ends of scrapbooking ephemera, a few ribbons, braids, and buttons and let’s get started making a Father’s Day Banner Card! Visit Vintage Mama’s Cottage for the complete tutorial.
The Complete Father by Emmanuel O. Afolabi The scripture (putting it succinctly) in Genesis 18:19 says "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and he shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" NKJ. Today we need fathers like Abraham who will walk with God continually and will consistently seek to know His will and then do it with passion and their strength. I strongly believe that every home needs a strong symbol of authority. When the father is willing to accept this challenge and at the same time, be passionate and tender in dealing with every member of the family, such home has a solid human anchor. The father actually cannot be all he ought to be as a father and as a man unless he knows Jesus Christ as Saviour. Therefore I will appeal for men to be godly and in addition, it is an urgent plea for every father to acknowledge Christ as the head of the home and family. We need men who love their families; family is the most profound of all human relationships. A man who genuinely cares for his family is investing his affection in that which will pay the greatest dividends. As we mark Father's Day, fathers should realize this fact that God did not create people to be robots, but rather free moral agents. The power to choose makes people accountable for their choices. God is the judge of our use or misuse of all He has entrusted to our care. Therefore we need complete men (fathers) with conviction, compassion and affection. Happy Father's Day.
Visit RUBYâ€™S Reading Corner where you will find these books by Emmanuel O. Afolabi: The Pathway to Honor, How to Recover from Painful Losses, and The Battle of Identity.
Abide by Vallerie Sharmain Smit John 15:4 (KJV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
When our busyness fades and everything is quiet. It is our walk with God that remains.
Abide in Him Without Him our soul is restless and our concerns many.
Abide in Him Draw closer to Him and dwell in Him. He will lift you up and make you stand on the Mountain top. His Glory He will reveal to you and you will know Him more and more. Beautiful things He will teach you. It will be your treasure in this life.
Abide in Him He will strengthen you to withstand every season ahead. Even the darkest night will not gloom your heart.
Abide in Him He will make you stable and firm with no one to pull your strings. Your heart and mind will be set on Him.
Abide in Him Let the branch stay in the vine to bear fruit and to draw from the Source apart from Him we can do nothing. Abiding is an everyday thing.
Abide in Him... Dwell in Him... Stay in Him... Your soul will be nourished and filled to the brim. From the Lord we drink and from Him we give to those around us. Be filled... Let nothing separate you from the Vine. Jesus Christ is the very essence of Life.
“You must have a lot more time now that Papa has gone to Heaven,” exclaimed my 16 year old grandson. Feeling quite overwhelmed with all I needed to do, I took a deep breath and asked, “What makes you think that?” He methodically explained that I should have less laundry, less trash to take out, fewer dishes to wash and less food to cook. I explained that Papa did most of the laundry, took out all the trash, and helped me with the dishes. In addition to those things, he paid the bills, took care of anything that didn’t work in the house, did all the lawn work and made sure everything was running smoothly. His next question was, “Wow, is there anything I can help you with, Gramma?” I thanked him and explained that God has been faithful to me these four years as a widow and has enabled me to learn many new skills, many of which I did not really want to learn because they take more of my time. I want to spend all the time I can with my five precious grandsons. Received a big hug for that! One of the things I’ve learned is how to organize home improvement. I thought everything was going well when I made all the choices for a small kitchen remodel. Oh so many choices for the counter top, backsplash, faucet, and paint! Thirteen weeks after I had paid the reputable “Big Box” company, no one had called or shown up to do the work as was outlined by the supervisor. I found myself fretting and remembered that I am not to worry about anything, but to ask God for wisdom. (Philippians 4:6 and James l:5.) The wisdom and courage God gave me was to go into the store and talk to the head person. When I showed her my list of communications breakdowns with her company, she really got things moving.
Since the work was contracted out, there were still issues. It really seemed that “The left hand did not know what the right hand was doing.” I determined to be positive and prayed for the workers and the timing of projects. When the first worker came out to make a template of the counter, he said that he could not proceed because the counter was not level. When I asked if he knew the whole bar area was being reconstructed, he responded that no one had told him, so of course that threw everything off schedule again. Anxiety was creeping in again. Would things be on schedule so I could make a much needed trip to another state to help with my grandsons? As I prayed, the Lord helped me to realize that all timing is in His hands. (Eccl 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time…”) As the workers came and went…some for tearing out, some for measuring, some for disconnecting all the plumbing, some for installing the counter top, different ones for doing the back splash, some for reconnecting plumbing, and some for making repairs on walls, I chatted with them and even baked cookies for them. They did an amazing job even though it was not finished for l5 weeks after I had paid for it. On the last few days, I prayed that God would help me to encourage whichever worker came that day. When I saw that it wasn’t my favorite worker, I was a little disappointed, but remembered that I had asked God to help me witness if the opportunity availed. He tells us in Ephesians 5:16...”Be careful how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”
When the young man asked me about my family, I shared with him about the struggles of my youngest son with alcohol addiction. He began to share about his struggles and that at one time, he had almost died with a lung problem. He was able to quit smoking “cold turkey.”
When he told me about the second time they attended, he expressed his frustration with the sermon being about money. Since we had previously been discussing Star Wars and the good and evil, I was able to make a connection to his frustrations.
When I casually responded that God must have been watching out for him, he stopped his work, looked intently at me as he responded, “I’ve been thinking quite a bit about God lately.”
I asked him if perhaps the enemy might be trying to discourage him and that the pastor had probably only preached one sermon on money in one year, but of course, it happened to be the Sunday he was there. Again, I asked him to try again.
Wow! Was that an opportunity or what! Of course my next question was, “Really? Why so?” He began to pour out the story about a recent news story in which a man was driving a taxi in our area and went on a shooting binge, killing five people. He told me that he had been college roommates with the killer and when he heard the news, he was extremely shaken. “My wife and I actually got up and went to church the next morning for the first time in years!” he exclaimed. After listening to more of his times with his former roommate, I casually asked, “Isn’t it interesting that we think about church more when calamities of this nature happen?” He then began to tell me why he doesn’t like “church.” His first reason was that the music was too loud. I asked him if he liked the rest of the service to which he responded that he did. I explained how challenging it is to meet everyone’s taste in music, but perhaps he could give it another try.
Previously we had been talking about shopping for a car so I asked him if he gave up after looking at only one car which did not have all the features he wanted. Then I encouraged him to keep looking and trying different churches, reminding him that he would never find one that was perfect since it is made up of humans. As the young man left that morning, he told me that I had given him much to think about and he and his wife were going to make some decisions. I assured him that I would be praying and to keep thinking about God because God is thinking about him all the time. I am so thankful that I asked God to forgive me for my impatience and help me to be open to His direction. I know that I do not really need more time. I just need to use the time God has given me with His directions and promptings. Prayer really does save time.
Our Father’s Love by Norma C. Mezoe
“Oh no! Not again!” I muttered as I steered the dying car to the side of the road. Dad bought the used car for me after my husband left and took our only vehicle. At that time I was living in the parsonage of the church where my husband had been the minister. Ten months before, we’d left our home when he felt called to accept the ministerial position. After he left, the leaders had graciously permitted me to live in the parsonage until they called a new minister. I had never worked outside my home, but now I’d been forced to seek employment. God opened the door to the position of secretary for a nonprofit organization fifty miles away. The job paid barely above minimum wage, but I was thankful for it. I depended on the used car Dad had given me so I could drive the five hundred miles each week to and from work. I was thankful for the car, but it seemed that every week the car had problems and some were very expensive problems. It was about all I could do to pay my bills, so I struggled along with driving the used car. Can you imagine when Dad surprised me with a new car? It was wonderful driving a car that I knew was safe and dependable. Dad didn’t owe me a new car. He’d already helped me in so many ways. His gift was one of love, given freely. Isn’t that how our heavenly Father provides for our needs? We don’t deserve his blessings, but because he loves us, his gifts are given freely and in abundance. His love is above and beyond human comprehension. How thankful we are for our Father’s love and for the love of earthly fathers. First Rights – Standard, published 4/19/09 Reprint Rights – The Vision, published 6/18/17
RUBY Magazine is now available in print! Every issue of RUBY Magazine can now be purchased as a print publication. Now you can have a copy of our beautiful magazine to share with your friends and family. To purchase RUBY magazine in print, please visit the RUBY blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you will find the link for each issue.
What Did You Just Call Me?! by Kristi Bridges
Life’s challenges are easier to face, because she knows, “I can do anything for 30 days.” This attitude has gotten her through law school. She’ll literally set a timer when she’s having trouble concentrating and say, “I can do anything for 30 minutes…1 hour…2 hours.” I’ve made a lifestyle of putting myself into situations where I am motivated to practice various skills and then forced to present them. This is often thrilling, occasionally stressful and sometimes embarrassing, but the stories make the struggles worthwhile. These grown-up things remind me of learning to swim and bicycle as a child. I was terrified of being dunked, but my swim teacher yelled, “Head under water, Kristi!” every time I’d doggy-paddle. I’m still not a fan of swimming face-down with no snorkel, but when I submitted to that teacher, she taught me to float and eventually to swim on my back. Today, the water is my favorite place to be. Bicycling was a tougher skill to build. My bike with the sparkly bronze banana seat had training wheels until I was seven, when I finally trusted my stepdad to give me the parental run-and-push.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid…9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food. 11Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense…14From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward…28In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. NIV Oh. My. Goodness. I crack up every time I read this chapter. I’ve crossreferenced the NIV with other translations, and many others also use the S word. I was taught not to call someone “Stupid,” but apparently rejecting correction is bad enough to warrant name-calling. I have a friend who regularly chooses to abstain from something for a month—coffee, fried food, whatever she’s feeling at the time. Other times, she’ll choose to perform a certain exercise every day for a month. Practicing self-discipline in smaller areas makes her more certain of her own power.
It left me bawling with bloody knees and elbows on our red dirt road, but at his insistence I got up and tried again. If I hadn’t allowed him to teach me, I wouldn’t enjoy long summer evenings today, speeding downhill on the awesome Tulsa bike trails with no hands and the wind on my damp skin. The places God wants to take us require trust, discipline and the maturity which comes from a scrape here and there. Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, encourages us to focus less on safety and security, more on following God wherever He leads. Mary could have claimed Psalm 91 for her son, but if Jesus had chosen safe living, we would have no hope for salvation. Before beginning His ministry, Jesus went to the wilderness and fasted forty days. During this time, He resisted temptation and later shared the story with his disciples. We aren’t Jesus, but we can learn from His example and Proverbs 12:
Verse 1: Choose activities that strengthen your selfdiscipline.
Thank You, Lord, for being straightforward and loving at the same time.
Verse 9: Bravely be a “nobody” and accept critique.
We look back over our lives and recognize the value of discipline and humility, and we look forward to reaching even greater heights at Your side.
Verse 11: Don’t just dream, work. Verse 14: Don’t just work, speak life and faith over your dreams. Verse 28: Bloody knees don’t mean God’s not with you. He might be pushing your bike toward something which will last long after you have left this earth. Proverbs 12:28 NIV In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
Your presence is so satisfying we want to share You with generations to come. May we be willing but wise in the risks we take, listening closely to Your direction and working diligently so You have every opportunity to shine through our lives. Excerpted from Wisdom – Better than Wishing, by Kristi Bridges.
Kristi Bridges is the owner of 1 Moment Wiser, LLC. In 2016, she published the first book in a series of 31-day devotional book and journal sets. The book, Wisdom – Better than Wishing, uses Proverbs to answer the question, “What does God sound like?” Through her devotional series, blog and daily videos, Kristi aims to introduce people to a side-by-side relationship with their loving Creator. Visit her website at http://1MomentWiser.com and say hello. Wisdom – Better than Wishing by Kristi Bridges is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.
Songs of the Soul by Kathleen McCauley
I have often prayed that my soul could sing as gleefully as the birds. The elation of their early morning songs penetrates my prayer time and call on my attention. I reflect on various tones each bird evokes; some high, some tenor …..and I wonder which depicts my inner song the best? I realized it is the call of the owl which best describes the song of my soul; deep, sober, constant, echoing, steady – the tone is deep, as are the currents in my soul, but I sense a longing for the light joyful tones of the sparrow, robin, finch woodpecker. Those that chirp and sing in the dawn of a new day, filled with gratitude and praise. I could feel a wanting in me to experience more. And I asked you Lord, to have my soul keep the depth and wisdom of the owl’s song, and that the light, happy sounds of the morning birds song, be woven into my soul… bringing a lightness and joy that it longs for, while it reigns the night, as it does my soul.
Snuggling... Relaxing... Cherishing time together... There's nothing quite like cuddling up under fluffy blankets with your children and enjoying a good book together. This time represents warmth of home and relationships- a closeness and bond between parent and child that cannot be replaced. God beckons you as His child, "Come, and sit down. Spend time with me in a safe haven of shelter and rest. Let's share our hearts together and know each other better. Let my love warm you and my voice assure you, you are loved." Cozy up with Snuggle Sessions with God to help you abide in the Lord's peaceful presence in today's hectic world. These fiftytwo devotions will inspire you to look for Him, busy at work, in the everyday activities of life. Your faith will be renewed and your spirit refreshed, as you become increasingly aware of the Lord's continual presence in every aspect of your life. The book can be purchased at Amazon, or Dancing with Bear Publishing, or Barnes and Noble. Snuggle Sessions with God by Alisha Ritchie is also available from RUBYâ€™S Reading Corner
Magnificent Maggie by Patti Iverson “Maggie! Get down from the top of the refrigerator right now!” “Now where is that little imp? Oh? You found her in the baptistery?” “Please don’t kick my baby out of the nursery. She’s not even two.” . “But Mrs. Iverson, she’s crawling out onto the roof of our 3rd story building and we can’t handle it. She’s gonna be one of those that likes to ‘color outside the lines’, I can tell you that now…” Sigh… What now? Why me? These were all familiar statements out of this weary mom’s mouth. My daughter’s pixie blue eyes gleamingly glittered with delight. Her rosebud mouth was always raised in a special smile as if she communicated with angels. Folks called her Miss Personality and loved looking at her bouncy blonde body. But Maggie was a handful. This is her story, my “mom” story, to give all you despairing moms hope, and for those of you grandmas raising the wee ones. Read it and weep through your giggles because I know you can relate and are ready to “pack it in” occasionally. Being a stay at home nurturer is the hardest job on this planet. We purchased a special harness to corral our wee daughter in her bed. Forget the crib. She continually climbed out and hurt herself at eight months old. Maggie would push her twin bed over to the window, shimmy up like a slithery eel, and out she’d go after jimmying the lock. My friend volunteered to baby-sit while we went on a much-needed vacation. Who knew she’d scale the ancient armoire, down an entire bottle of iron pills, and need her stomach pumped? Scary trips to the emergency room seemed to be the norm. Six times before she was even one year old. “Here come the Iversons again!” We usually didn’t even have to pay the co-pay because they immediately popped us into a room to take care of the problem at hand. ‘Twas a sad day when Maggie stuffed 16 raisins up her nose. The dear doctor took his long, steely tweezers and began pulling out the swollen fruit that was blocking her breathing. Yuck! One summer day a knock on the door startled me during my “moving in,” muddled madness. A strange man stood there with my tiny 15 month old darlin’ daughter, naked as a jaybird, saying, “Is this little one yours? Folks at the corner said she might belong to the new people who just moved into this place. I sell Kirby vacuums. Might you be interested?” Oh sheesh! My delight in a fenced backyard evaporated. It wasn’t a tall enough fence to corral the happy escapee. Drats! Not to mention my embarrassment at the state she was in—or wasn’t. And no, I did NOT buy a vacuum! If I had I would have vacuumed that moppet right up with the dust flying from my embarrassment and temper.
Maggie fell while swinging from the chandelier one evening. That bloody mess called her chin nearly brought me to my knees. In prayer, not the sight of blood. The closest hospital we took her to wouldn’t take her because she was too smiley and happy. They sent us to our regular hospital 30 minutes away. Stitches required, of course. No medical treatment took care of her head when she dumped India ink all over her “almost” bald pate, or when she and her brother painted green curls on her head before the blonde tresses grew in, or when a hematoma made her look like a cyclop because she whacked her head on the tire swing. One quiet evening she was supposed to be abed while Daddy babysat, she surprised him and the trustees of the church by coming out announcing to the gentlemen,” I have an infection in my penis, Daddy,” while holding up her cute nightie for all to see. It was difficult being proud of her large vocabulary while still so young, arrrrgh! Randy said he’d never baby-sit her again nor have a meeting at our house. He lied. He did. When our little family was enjoying nature camping along the Umpqua River in Oregon, I lost Maggie. Randy and son Peter had gone fishin’. Maggie cavorted in her playpen while I delighted myself in a novel. I only looked away for a few minutes but the playpen was empty. The entire campground and rangers were all searching far and wide for a little toddler. Her whiny voice answered brother Pete’s cry, “Here I am. I went potty all by myself. I’m a good, big girl now!” She was in the men’s outhouse. I can’t bring myself to contemplate what woulda, coulda, shoulda been… Maggie’s guardian angels have done a marvelous job guarding her, from herself as well as a weary mom who many times wanted to bop her! My magnificent Maggie, age 38, is a beautiful, Godly lady now. She loves the Lord and plays piano as if it’s for His ears alone. She’s been involved with young, unwed mammas and jailed women. She uses her gift of hospitality in her two homes with bobs , as well as accompanies musicals, conducts, and directs shows, was manager for a local Performing Arts Center, serves her community, taught piano, and went back at the university obtaining a degree in Theatre to accompany her Music Performance degree. (whew-I’m tired!). For the past seven years she was a Specialist Enterprise Taxonomist for The Guitar Center working remotely so she could live in beautiful Sunriver, Oregon and pursue her love of the outdoors. Young mamas, there IS hope! Don’t despair and don’t give up! Life DOES get easier! Busy little bees like Maggie grow up and charm your socks off. I’m delighted to be her mom, sharing part of her heart and life, and wouldn’t have changed one magnificent Maggie moment for anything in the world! God is good.
Down the Lane Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker By changing one letter each time, change one word into another.
bows bowl boll bill gill gilt gift
Hidden Word Puzzle Answer Key Here Comes the Bride by Beth Brubaker Find the hidden words within the grid of letters.
The Golden Years by Carol Palmer Nugent
I turned 65 a few months ago and already the signs of aging are gnawing at my flesh, unsettling my fragile ego, and turning my confidence to mush. Pulling my weary body out of bed, I feel the aches and pains from what I overdid yesterday. Out of the bedroom I shuffle, dropping my PJs down the chute in the hall. Naked, I wobble into the bathroom, but do not glance at the large mirror on the wall—for it is not my friend. Selecting a nice hot temperature, I begin to climb in, but then my brain alerts me to the fact that I have not turned on the exhaust fan, and I stop to do that so I won’t have to listen to an exhausting tirade from my hubby about the potential for mold in the bathroom. Now I’m back in the tub and I step forward into the steaming water, but wait! I forgot to get a towel, mumbling to myself, I tiptoe out of the tub, like a burglar in his victim’s home, so as not to get too much water on the floor. Back in again, I feel the hot water soothing my aching muscles, warming me up to the challenge of another day ahead.
Off with the water, and out I climb, patting and rubbing until I am sufficiently dry. I hang up the towel lest there be another lecture on that subject, and I glance at the mirror. Through the mist clinging to the glass, I look pretty good, but as it dries, I can see the wrinkles starting to form there. Without that mirror, from the inside looking out, I feel young, beautiful, and vibrant, but it tells a different story—and that lighted magnifying mirror – whose idea was it to get that anyway—it highlights every crack and crevice, every flaw and scar, in brilliant light. Darn thing! I shake my head and walk away, knowing that no matter how long I stay, the image will not get better. I pad back to my room and dress, trying to find something that does not bind and show that my waistline is stretching out beyond the seams of my jeans. Now through the kitchen and down the stairs to the laundry, my ankles crick-cracking in protest to each step.
Ah, thank goodness for hot showers to relieve my old bones, and give me a start on this day with a good attitude. As the water sprinkles, I realize that I first should have tinkled, but now it will have to wait, as I am not going to depart the tub again.
Bending to sort clothes proves to be an effort too, and I wonder again how my body will be able to survive another forty years of this—for I intended to live to be 105, but now I’m beginning to second guess myself.
I begin my routine, washing first my face, neck and shoulders, then the pits, arms and belly. Then it’s on to the legs, feet, and lastly the other parts. (Shame on you, if you think I’m going to talk about that).
After all, if I’m this “cracked up” already, what might another forty years bring?
The back is always a challenge, but I found a new nylon thingy that soaps up and is long enough to stretch from hand to hand as I do the peppermint twist with my new scented body soap. Ah, rinse, and I’m done. Today is a second-hair-day and I don’t have to shampoo, which relieves me of the whole combing, blowing, straightening, and curling ordeal.
I head out of the laundry down the hall to the guest bedroom, looking to get—what the heck did I come in here for? I can’t seem to remember now, but here I am standing in the middle of the room scratching my head. Dog gone it anyway. Who cares, I say, then I huff and puff my way back up the stairs and realize that they are beginning to be more challenging in this direction.
Back again to the kitchen, I check my social calendar and find that my only date today will be another fascinating trip to the doctor for another Q&A session followed by poking and prodding in places no respectable lady would allow. (Of course, at this age, you appreciate every thrill you can get—cheap or otherwise!)
I think we should start out life as old people, knowing everything, and having all the memories and experience of our years, and then get younger as the days go by so we can really live each day to the fullest and appreciate every one the good Lord gives us.
These are supposed to be the Golden Years, but to me they are more like the Rusted Years.
It would make a lot more sense to go out with a whiz-bang, crying at the top of our lungs, instead of the shuffle-grunt-huff and puff-toot-groan and thud of senior life.
If they just made WD40 for the joints and brain, we might never have to stop, but without that, my body and mind seem to be seizing up with each passing day.
My mother used to say, “Don’t get old,” and I would laugh and reply that there is no good alternative to that, but now I understand where she was coming from… for it’s not fun having your body or mind begin to decline.
Oh, it’s wonderful being retired and I love having the time to myself to do whatever I want, but now I just don’t have the energy to do it anymore.
You are aware of it, but can’t do anything to stop it and the world seems to be spinning too fast for me to catch up anyway. After all, I’ve only been out of bed for an hour, but I’m already ready for a little nap.
Who Knows? He Does! by Sharon L. Patterson Who knows…when emotions are too raw to put into words? He does. Who knows…when our faith seems too insignificant for us to measure? He does. Who knows… the depths of the heart’s motives when we don’t? He does. Who knows… where the song is inside us when we cannot find the words? He does. Who knows… why yesterday is still affecting today? He does. Who knows… how the beginning of our story will end? He does. Who knows… where faith is in the middle of our fears? He does Who knows…where the truth is in the world’s lies? He does Who knows… where life is when all we see is death? He does. Who knows… how to take away the hurt of tragedy? He does. Who knows… how to bring hope back to us that we loose in despair? He does. Who knows…us when all others forsake us? He does. Who knows…when we obey in secret? He does. Who knows…the number of hairs on our head? He does. Who knows… how to eradicate our guilt and shame? He does. Who knows…today what we cannot yet see tomorrow? He does. Who knows…how to save, deliver, and renew us? He does. Who knows…us better than we know ourselves? He does. Who knows? He does!
Enduring and Beautiful Marriage 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage by Kim Kimberling, PhD. Book Review by Michele Morin Twenty-five years of marriage have flown by. In many ways, my husband and I are not the same people who walked down the aisle in that big, beautiful church with pipe organ music and the aroma of gardenias in the air. Everything in our lives has changed — except one thing. We are still working at our love. Dr. Kim Kimberling offers practical advice and specific strategies in 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage that will motivate couples and inform the kind of hard work that goes into building a marriage that will go the distance. His secrets are concise, memorable one-word commands: 1. STOP — Don’t keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results! Claim your baggage, align your expectations with reality, and make changes that will lead to a stronger marriage. 2. START — Put God first and your spouse second. Start praying together as a couple; worship and serve together; commit together to seeking God and praying for each other. 3. CONNECT — Stop, look, and listen to your spouse to demonstrate that you are present to their words and emotions. Compassion, sincerity and empathy build connectivity in a marriage. 4. ENGAGE — Airing conflict (fight right!) is healthy and productive, but choose your battles carefully and make sure that strategies include taking responsibility for your own contribution to the problem and using words that facilitate reconciliation. 5. BALANCE — With four kids, scheduling time for each other has been our biggest challenge. Remembering that our marriage is our most important relationship provides motivation for better time and financial management. 6. MINGLE — The gift of intimacy is a mingling of souls and will be enhanced when couples respect each other and commit to a 24/7 demonstration of love. 7. FIGHT — If marriage is a game, husband and wife are on the same team. If marriage is a battle, husband and wife are fighting on the same side, and marriage is worth fighting for. Dr. Kimberling encourages his readers to make daily choices that enhance trust and strengthen the bond that builds an unshakeable foundation. The seven secrets are great to know, but will only impact a marriage if the husband and wife put the steps into action. Solomon spoke of the three-fold cord that is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12), and he spoke more wisdom than he practiced. God stands ready to be the strengthening third in a marriage that nothing can tear apart. Now, that’s awesome.
7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage by Kim Kimberling, PhD. is available from RUBY’S Reading Corner, along with the Discussion Guide.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mail-base, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: www.ponyexpressministry.com and her blog: www.trail-tails.blogspot.com, or come for a visit on Facebook.
Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.”
Lucy Adams In 1984 in Nashville, Tennessee I began to write answers for the question, "Why do people write songs?" Those stories first appeared on a radio program that I created: THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG aired on Christian radio station WWGM. The program began as I sang six words, "I Love to Tell the Story" and said: "Hi friends, this is Lucy Adams and I tell the story behind the song." I continued the show for five minutes with a message that answered ... who, what, where and why of the hymn - plus a verse or two of the music. These programs continued to play for many years in various towns in Tennessee. Visit my blog to learn more about the stories of our favorite hymns at https://www.52hymns.com/about.htm
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 full-time 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.
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
Cindy J. Evans is a published poet living in the sunny south, married to the man you just read about! She does receptionist work in the greater Atlanta area and also enjoys walking, inspirational movies and church activities.
Cynthia Knisley After years as a “stay-at-home” mom, Cynthia enjoyed a fulfilling second career as a high school language teacher and curriculum developer. Recently, she took a leap of faith and left the classroom in order to devote more time to family---aging parents, adult children, and lively young grandchildren. Her home is in West Chester, PA, where she plays classical music, bakes bread, and tends a “secret garden.” A novice blogger, she welcomes you to her posts at email@example.com.
Nells Wasilewski lives in a small southern town, seventy miles southeast of Nashville, Tennessee. After retiring, she began pursuing her lifelong dream of writing. Her writing has been greatly influenced by her faith in Jesus Christ, personal, experience and nature. She has been writing poems, prose and stories all her life. Nells has recently started writing devotionals. Her work has appeared in Haiku Journal, Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, 50 Haikus, Dual Coast Magazine, High Coupe Journal, Ancient Paths, Tanka Journal, Hedgerow and Penned from the Heart https://nellswasilewski.blogspot.com
Gloria Doty is a published Christian author, writer and speaker. She has published a non-fiction book, a devotion book, a series of fiction romance books and several children's picture books. Gloria has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She has recently remarried and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.
Jennifer Workman is the founder of Simply Victorious Ministries, a ministry founded on the infallible Word of God. She has been actively involved in ministry all of her life and has ministered to seminary students, the religious community, high school students and female prison inmates. Jennifer has more than fifteen years in the radio, television and publications arena. She is the Inspirational Host and Producer of "Simply Victorious for Life," a monthly inspirational podcast aired via Faith Filled Family and Family Filled Youth. Contact Jennifer at http://simplyvic.webs.com or http://jyworkman.wix.com/jennifer
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 inspiring devotional books for journaling and discussion groups, theatrical scripts for church and school, and storybooks and speaking programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families, designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.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.
DaPorscha Rufus was raised by a teenage mother, and with the help of God she started reading and writing at a young age. She did not know that one day she would help spread the love of Jesus Christ into all the earth through her pain and passion. YOUR BOOK From: God was written with YOU in mind. We all have a purpose in life, a God-given purpose, but it is up to us to pursue all that we've been given. Although life is hard, with Christ all things are possible.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 Palmer Nugent is a member of Word Weavers of Northern Arizona, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Gopher Prairie Writers group. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys gardening, reading, writing, and learning something new each day. She has published short stories in 2016 in The Good Old Days and RUBY Magazines, a true story in A Woman of Worth anthology in July, and two stories in Christmas Collection II for 2016. In addition, Carol received an honorable mention in the 2016 -85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Carol is currently working on a fiction story about her Grandfather Carlisle Palmer growing up in the Palmer House Hotels. https://carolpalmernugent.wordpress.com
Kristi Bridges is the owner of 1 Moment Wiser, LLC. In 2016, she published the first book in a series of 31-day devotional book and journal sets. The book, Wisdom – Better than Wishing, uses Proverbs to answer the question, “What does God sound like?” Through her devotional series, blog and daily videos, Kristi aims to introduce people to a side-by-side relationship with their loving Creator. Visit her website at http://1MomentWiser.com and say hello.
Patti Iverson lives in Sunriver, Oregon with her Retired Fire Chief husband, Randy. They raised two marvelous adults and were rewarded with two "even more”, marvelous grandkids! Church, Bible study, The Grandmother’s Prayer Group and her community service occupy her time along with reading, writing, and calligraphy. Her alter egos were being Rainbow Clown and Mrs. Claus for many years while teaching preschool and working as an Activity Director in nursing/retirement homes.
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 email@example.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
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