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Waiting for the Messiah: In Full Unity by Donna B. Comeaux Footprints in the Mud: When God Upsets the Apple Cart by The BethInvitations: Brubaker

A Special Bible Study by Ifeoma Samuel

Setting a Path for the New Year by Joan Leotta

Where to Look for Writing Markets by Joan Leotta

Songbirds in the Snow by Rejetta Morse The When Worthless Chase Family Breaks by Cassidy Burdge Your Heart The Christian Prepster

by Jewell Utt

I Am Waiting by Suzane Avadiar

Ruby Magazine

In This Issue of Ruby

Your voice, your story MARCH, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day Sweets from Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats

Spring is just around the corner – but there are still some wintry days ahead, so we want to brighten up your late winter days with inspiration and joy. In this issue of RUBY magazine you will discover recipes, stories, devotionals, book reviews, and inspirational articles that will bring the joy of the LORD to your heart.

A House of Cards by Jewell Utt

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 Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of RUBY magazine at http://www,

Irish Storytelling: Legends and Love by Kathryn Ross

Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Joan Leotta, Rejetta Morse, Kathryn Ross, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Norma C. Mezoe, Jewel Utt, Marilyn Lesniak, Thea Williams, Suzane Avadiar, Cassidy Burdge, Jennifer Workman, Judith Vander Wege, Michele Morin, Nells Wasilewski, Cindy J. Evans, Pat Jeanne Davis, Donna B. Comeaux, Frances Gregory Pasch, Ifeoma Samuel, Emmanuel O. Afolabi, Katherine Corrigan, Linda M. Crate, Shara Bueler-Repka

I’m Homeless, Do You See Me? by Jennifer Workman

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 Questions? Email Nina @ RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine

Tatters to Treasures for vintage and refashion designs and creations.

Visit Vintage Mama’s Cottage for handcrafted, unique gifts, home décor, craft and sewing tutorials, and children’s boutique clothing patterns.

That’s Just Nuts! Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV Fear is a terrible thing. When we are afraid we lose all perspective on reality, and imagine all sorts of horrifying scenarios. Don’t misunderstand . . . there are definitely situations and circumstances that should frighten us. But it is those events that come into our lives that cause us to feel completely out of control (no, you are not a “control freak”!) that lead to those debilitating thoughts of doom and destruction. For instance, even though I’ve been a mom for a very long time, and survived raising teenagers during a previous stage of my life, the other day when my 16year-old wanted to go shopping at the mall with her friend, I panicked. For one thing, I hate malls with a silent resentment. I absolutely detest being in a place with so many people all crowded into one building – it makes me hyperventilate. See, I know of which I speak! For another thing, because of the way I grew up, I never learned to like shopping for anything, including groceries. Spending money was also an event that caused anxiety for me, so going shopping for other “stuff” just makes me really annoyed. And another thing - the whole notion of going to a place that I don’t have time to go to, being confronted on every side by loud music and bright lights, telling me I need to spend money I don’t have to buys a bunch of stuff I don’t need – well, that makes me downright nuts! So, when my teenage daughter wanted to go “hang out” with her friend, and they were going to go to the mall, I momentarily lost my “brave mama” mantle and almost had a meltdown. Not because of the money issue (although that is a topic where we should always use wisdom), but raising teenagers these days is really way different than it was 20 years ago. This is a scary world, especially when you are a mama bear needing to protect her 16-year-old daughter.

Another concern we have with the whole notion of “hanging out” is that – well, life is too short to waste time, so we don’t encourage just wandering around with nothing particular to do. I know, I know, I’m a “Vintage Mama,” but that’s just the way we see the world. In any event, here I was, this Mama Bear confronted with the fear of having my teenage daughter 20 miles away from home, with a girlfriend, just having fun, wandering around the mall with not a lot of money and no particular schedule. I was anxious, and scared, and not a little bit panicky. But I also know that my babies need to be allowed to grow up some day (all my older kids grew up and have kids of their own, and they all survived, so far!) – so I managed to smile, and come up with a plan so that I would know where she was at any given time just in case I needed to fly over there and rescue her. I know that this scenario might sound kind of crazy to some people – maybe they would think I’m a little bit nuts to be so “over-protective” of my children, but at this stage of my life, I just really don’t care. They are our girls, God has given us the responsibility to raise them to love and honor Him, so I guess we should do that to the best of our ability, trusting Him for guidance – and protection. As the girls drove out of the driveway with one last reminder to “Text me every half-hour!” so I know where you are – and with a nervous laugh because I wanted her to think it was kind of a stupid “mom joke,” I turned back to the kitchen to make another cup of coffee. At that moment, I knew that all I had left in my “mama’s arsenal” of high-powered weapons with which to protect my children was prayer. And trust. So I did. And God kept her safe, and yes, she did text me about every half-hour, and at 3:30 that afternoon I retrieved her from her little outing, and this mama breathed a sigh of relief that my baby was back home where I could keep her safe. Until next time. I did my part, and God did His. And fortunately, my little girl did her part, too, for which I am truly grateful. When you are afraid, trust Him because he loves our babies even more than we do. I know that to be true!

Footprints in the Mud: Foibled Again! by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor I admit it. Sometimes I can’t help sabotaging myself when I’m supposed to be writing. Anything is better than sitting there, staring at a blank page, wondering when God is going to inspire me to some life lesson that should encourage millions.

I tell her.

Egad, aren’t there any dishes left to do? Errands to run? A house to paint?

“Oh sure - it sounds reasonable when you say it.”

Then you get a phone call from that friend. You know, the one that knows you well enough to see you’re tripping over your own feet - and has no problem telling you so. She is also the one that helps you up, dusts you off, and shoves you back in the right direction. I have such a friend. I do too much, both physically and mentally. I work out of my home, but those jobs are many and for the most part, have nothing to do with what God wants me to do. But I do them anyway, because I need to supplement our income. The jobs themselves aren’t bad, but when they take my focus away from God’s will, things can get quite chaotic. Sometimes I need to reign in those wild horses - I just forget how to do it! It even happens in my writing. I have folders slopping over with notes and ideas for books, and I have at least twenty folders partially filled. So I work on all of them as much as I can - which means nothing is really getting finished. Foibled again! That’s usually when she calls me. “Doing too much again, are you?” She asks, hearing my sigh of frustration. After I tell her everything that’s going on, her tone is one of a teacher/therapist/lifecoach. “What did God tell you to do?” “Write.” I reply. “So which book is almost finished?”

“Then finish it, and get that book published - then finish another one. Stop trying to do all of them at once.”

“Look, the sooner you get them published, the sooner God can bless them, and the sooner you can stay off of those sore knees of yours and stop doing all those other jobs that keep you from writing. So get started!” Do you see now why I love this woman? She also does this when I bog myself down with To Do lists. “Just get it done, will you? By the time you write all your lists out, you could have half of that book finished!” She’s right, and we both know it. She loves me enough to remind me, and I Iove her enough to get started the second we hang up. And to be honest, getting back on track feels really good. She encourages me because she knows I can do it - she has more confidence in me than I do! If you have a friend like this, cherish her. If you are the friend that encourages others, I want to thank you for being the coal that helps keep friends’ engines running at full speed! Creatives need Encouragers to motivate us - even inspire us - to do what God intended. I admit that I get in my own way much too often and need more friends like her - because I’ll probably wear her out! If you’re a Creative, remember to thank all of your Encouragers - and in turn be an Encourager to other Creatives whenever possible. Together, we can change the world and see God smile!

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

Patches of Fog by Judith Vander Wege “Patches of fog won't hold up under sun.” I clipped this intriguing phrase out of a newspaper, pondering its meaning. “Patches of fog” reminded me of the confusion and depression I'd experienced. “Lord, give me clear sailing,” is what I often cry when I feel the fog's so thick I'd really rather die. Then, just for a moment, He'll cause the fog to lift. But He says, “My grace, sufficient, is the greater gift. “When at last, you've stood the test,” He gently lets me know, “you'll receive the crown of life. The trials help you grow. God didn't abandon me in the fog; He sent sunshine to penetrate it and break it up. “Patches of fog won't hold up under sun” became a promise to me that eventually the depression and confusion would be gone. Like most promises, it is linked with responsibility. I had to choose whether or not to expose my “fog” to the sun. God revealed underlying attitudes of rebellion, self-righteousness and resentment. As I confessed these, (i.e. “laid them out in the sun”), He forgave me and cleansed me of them. God sent His sunshine through other Christians, also. They prayed and talked with me—when I sought them out. I could feel His light and warmth driving away the fog as I attended worship services, sang praises, prayed, read my Bible, and listened to Christian music. The sun couldn't shine on me if I hid in a cubby hole. I needed to get out into the sunshine to let it warm me and lighten my heart. Some fog seemed endless. However, God works in fog as well as in light. The Psalmist mentions God riding on the clouds. Perhaps I needed to experience it in order to call out to God. When I called to Him in my distress, God delivered me and began to work out His loving purpose in me. The Psalmist says, “The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, .... He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses,” (Psalm 135:6-7, NIV). These verses say to me, “When your world is coming to an end, God is the one who makes it foggy and scary and bitterly cold.” Why would He do this? He must have a good reason. I came to realize I'd been clinging to some idols. Other people, my emotional needs, my natural desire to be loved and appreciated, had become more important to me than obedience to God. He knows it is best for us to worship Him alone. It took a storm to rip me away from idols to which I had clung. Jesus came to me in my cloud of depression and confusion, warming my emotions with reassurances of love. This sunlight gradually broke my fog into patches and drove it away. Now, if I hit a patch of confusion or depression, I turn to God, exposing my heart to His sunlight through His Word, prayer, worship, or Christian fellowship. Soon the fog is gone. “Patches of fog won't hold up under sun;” they disappear.

One Weekend in History by A.J. Swoboda Book review by Michele Morin For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts of four sweet boys found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well. Therefore, this Lenten season, I will be re-reading A Glorious Dark, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and the awkward silence of Saturday with Sunday morning resurrection truth. Where memoir meets theological pondering, author A.J. Swoboda’s story winds through his faith journey, with the bonus of startling spotlight quotes which he aims at himself and at all of us who say that we believe. Here’s one of the dozen or more: “Many envision faith as a kind of hall pass for laziness, excusing them from a life of action, doing, and working hard.” Ouch and amen. What we believe about one weekend in history, the three days’ journey from Golgotha to the garden tomb, impacts our whole experience of the Christian life. A Glorious Dark challenges the reader to enter into Friday, to “own up to our part of the evil in the world.” This involves trusting for the lavish grace to have our emptiness filled, our requests denied, and our fatherlessness remedied by the Father. On Friday, we turn our faces away from our “sponge” of choice and embrace our identity as pilgrims, lifelong seekers of the will and the voice of God. With candor, Swoboda describes the bleak-hearted rising of post-crucifixion Saturday, and because much of the Christian life is lived under Saturday-like conditions, it is helpful to hear that we must “sit in Saturday;” we must “squat in the tomb” in order to enter into the grief and disappointment of the original disciples. Saturday is our opportunity to remember our own mortality, to remember that we live with Jesus in his death. On Saturday, we evict ourselves from the center of the universe by “embracing the gift of waiting,” and by mourning our failure to see others and their grief. Resurrection Sunday not only verifies all that Jesus claimed, but it points to his future coming, the ultimate surprise which will serve to further verify all that we hold true. As the church meets to celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, we also reenact the resurrection, celebrating the mystery with “people we normally wouldn’t love, [who] breathe down our necks, [but who] hold our feet to the fire of our beliefs.” Sunday faith perseveres when my theology cannot account for the chaos I see around me. A Glorious Dark reveals a God who “stand[s] tall” above human history and invites (rather than scorns) the questioning heart. After all, of the thirty-one questions Jesus posed in the Gospels, He answered only three. When God does not break into history to rectify the list of problems set forth in my latest memorandum/prayer, it will be helpful to remember the messy way in which that one weekend in history played out for those who were on the scene. Once again, the life of Jesus will be made manifest, a glorious life emerging from a glorious dark.

Spring Storm by Nells Wasilewski Clouds roil. Thunder, hurling through the air, chases sparks of untamed fire. Seduced clouds join a game of electric hide and seek. Wind, snarling like Hades on a rampage, impartially twists everything in its path Rain spews from heaven's overflowing springs; enlarging streams that force rivers to abandon boundaries Thunder heralds a farewell salute, God has spoken, and a disheveled earth shakes with relief.

My Manna by Cindy J. Evans "...He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna..." Deuteronomy 8:3, NIV What is it, Lord? I question what You've brought... I had an idea of what it should be but this isn't it, it's not. What is it, Lord? I don't recognize it at all... what is this that's been given, from Your hand it did fall..? What is it, Lord? I am struggling to process‌ l think of the mystery You gave to the Israelites in the wilderness... The provision that You chose that would be their nourishment even if they didn't understand but on and on it went... Are you asking me, also, not to complain but to receive, to trust what Heaven determines for the feeding of my needs...? Then, Lord, so be it, may I trust what comes from above, may I not need You to explain and may it taste like love. " the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna..." (Revelation 2:17, NIV)

Secret Admirer by Pat Jeanne Davis “Maybe your secret admirer will shovel you out again tomorrow.”

Pulling her car into the parking lot of her office, Trudi noticed it stood empty except for one other vehicle.

Trudi laughed at her mother’s words. “That’s as likely as a snow angel coming to my aid.” She didn’t know who’d shovelled their driveway this morning, but it couldn’t be an admirer.

She pulled alongside the car, spotting a snow shovel in the back seat, its broad blade glistening wet.

Trudi crossed the living room to the window and pulled back the heavy drapes. She swiped the sleeve of her terry robe down the misty pane and gazed out. “Ray’s attending a conference for another day, and he’s already extended the date for my proposal. So snow or no snow, the deadline is tomorrow.” She watched large flakes drift down against the street light. Ray hired her three months ago. He was a wonderfully easy-going boss and one of those rare single men that she got along with well. If only he could see her as more than a co-worker. Trudi dropped the curtain and made her way back to the kitchen table. Her mother leaned forward and touched her arm, as though reading her thoughts. “You know what they say, dear, about good things coming to those who wait.” She patted Trudi’s hand in beat with her usual advice –“Don’t give up hope.” “Thanks, Mom.” Trudi wanted to believe in that promise. But how much longer before Ray noticed her? She stood and gave her mother a hug. “Need to turn in if I’m going to get up an hour earlier.” The next morning Trudi rolled over, opened one eye and hit the alarm button. She pulled the covers over her head, before remembering that she needed to get up immediately. Hoisting herself out of bed, she walked to the window and mentally prepared herself for the job outside. Trudi pulled up the blind. A man, his back toward her, shovelled the last of the snow cover blanketing the driveway. She rapped on the pane, hoping to capture his attention. But he didn’t look up. She wanted to find out about him, but she needed to get to work. A snow angel could come in all disguises—even that of a thoughtful neighbor.

The driver—wearing a navy jacket, white scarf and cable-knit cap—stepped out as she approached him. “Looks like we’re the first to arrive.” Where have I seen him before? The stranger extended his hand. “Name’s Ben.” “Trudi. Human Resources,” she said, releasing her hand from his. “Some snow!” “Yeah, sure is. Any trouble getting here?” “No. Thanks to a kind stranger who shovelled me out.” Ben blew on his hands and rubbed them together. “Freezing, isn’t it? Look, I’m off to grab some coffee. Can I buy you one?” “No thanks . . . Ben. Gotta get upstairs.” Ray was counting on her. He gave a broad smile. “Maybe another time soon.” Ben held the door open, and they entered the lobby. Before she could ask him what floor he worked on, he’d ducked into the coffee shop. Trudi stepped into the elevator and punched the button for the top floor. Dropping her proposal on the secretary’s desk, she crossed her fingers and hoped Ray would be proud of her efforts. The next day, her heart flip-flopped when she entered Ray’s office and saw him sitting behind his desk. He looked up. “Have a minute?” he said, gesturing to a chair. Our department head e-mailed me last night to say he’s impressed with your work.” He grinned. “You put a lot into it, Trudi, and it’s paid off.” Her knees weak with relief, she sank into the chair.

Ray brought his chair around his desk and sat next to her. “You’ve scored with management, you know.”

Ben cleared his throat. “I can come back.”

But have I scored with you, too? Is the waiting over?

Ray leaned back against his chair. “Trudi, this is Ben. He’ll be working with me for a while.”

He drew his chair closer. “I think you’re in line for a change of status.

She nodded. “We introduced ourselves yesterday. Welcome aboard.”

”You mean a job promotion?” It wouldn’t hurt, but she mainly longed for a change of status with him.

Ben smiled. “Thanks.”

He placed an arm over the back of her seat. “Yes, a promotion.”

Trudi stood. “If that’s all for now. . .” She had only until tomorrow evening to wait for something more.

The brush of his arm against her skin caused her to grow warm. Ray leaned closer and locked his sapphire blue eyes with hers. “This calls for celebration.” She bit her lip to contain her excitement. His whisper brushed her ear. “Could we go out tomorrow evening?” Could they ever!

She paused outside the doorway when she heard Ben say, “When you discovered I lived on Trudi's street and asked me to shovel her drive, I didn’t expect her to be so attractive.” Ray laughed. “Or that I was seriously interested in her.” Ben continued, “I tried to get to know her, but it seems Trudi's had her eyes on you the whole time despite my hard work.”

She swallowed down her shout of joy. “Sounds good.”

Trudi smiled. In a roundabout way she’d already thanked Ben in the parking lot. He may have dug her out, but he was only a courier for her admirer.

Trudi saw Ben’s tall frame in the doorway. He knocked and walked into the office. “You wanted to see me, Boss?”

Hadn’t Mom said good things happen to those who wait?

Ray winked. “Tomorrow night, then.”

“Message received, Ray, loud and clear,” she said to herself.

St. Patrick’s Day Sweets from Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats

I am so excited to bring you this special collection of recipes! Coming from a second generation Irish family means my dad’s side celebrated their heritage every day. When we all got together there was no shortage of green, stories of the old country, and singing of songs. St Paddy’ Day was always a great time and rivaled Christmas for my favorite holiday! This collection comes from many very talented bloggers. Please be sure to visit them and tell them I sent you! Enjoy!

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake from Recipe Girl Lori at Recipe Girl has concocted this gorgeous and delicious version of the traditional Red Velvet Cake, but instead of red she has made here green for St. Patrick’s Day and she has added a cheesecake layer. How fun would this be to serve to your family on St. Paddy’s Day? If you want to give it a try, you will find the complete recipe on Lori’s blog, Recipe Girl.

St. Paddy’s Day Green Pudding Dessert from Kroma Design Studio Here’s another dessert from Marilyn’s Treats for St. Patrick’s Day that was originally published by Val on her blog, Kroma Design Studio Party Ideas. Not only is this one pretty to look at, it is super easy to make . . . . and since we all know how yummy vanilla pudding and Oreo cookies are, well, there is no doubt that this will be a family favorite! For the complete recipe, visit Val at Kroma Design Studio Party Ideas.

Green Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars from Lisa at Wine and Glue Lisa at Wine and Glue says that these Green Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting have the amazing red velvet taste mixed with sugar cookie, and could not be easier! And with the gold sprinkles, they are perfect for St. Paddy’s Day and your whole family will be impressed with your creativity. Want to give them a try? Visit Lisa at Wine and Glue for the complete recipe.

St. Patrick’s Day Green Velvet Layer Cake from the Food Network Originally published on the Food Network website, this St. Patrick’s Day Green Velvet Layer Cake is one more rendition of the traditional Red Velvet Cake with boiled frosting, just like you remember from your childhood. This one requires a bit more time and preparation, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded with a beautiful layer cake that will become a family tradition. The complete recipe can be found on the Food Network website.

Mint Oreo Layer Dessert from Tastes Better from Scratch Everyone’s favorite combination, chocolate and mint, are combined in this quick and easy recipe to make a dessert that will be a favorite no matter who you have over for dinner. With instant pudding as the filling, over the Oreo cookie crust, you can whip this one up in no time and you will be win the award for the best St. Patrick’s Day dessert. The complete recipe is available at Tastes Better from Scratch.

St. Patrick’s Day Fudge from Easy Peazy Mealz Made from just three ingredients, who could resist this beautiful green fudge? It is similar to the Candy Cane Fudge that we make at Christmas, with sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate chips, but with green food coloring and bright green sprinkles, this fudge will be a pretty addition to your St. Patrick’s Day party at the office, classroom, or as a fun project to make with the kiddos for a cooking project for home school. The super simple, quick and easy recipe can be found on the Eazy Peazy Mealz blog.

Malted Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies with Chocolate Irish Cream Frosting from Sarah at The Gold Lining Girl This luscious dessert is made from a box brownie mix and all dressed up as the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert with Bailey’s Irish Cream, malted milk powder, and chocolate Irish Cream frosting. For a bit of dramatic flair this St. Patrick’s Day, give these brownies a try! Visit Sarah at The Gold Lining Girl for the complete recipe.

RUBY magazine and Marilyn's Treats do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated. Click on the links to be taken to the published recipe.

Waiting for the Messiah: In Full Unity by Donna B. Comeaux

"Beulah, I do not understand why Avi does it—sit there day after day weaving away, hardly sleeping." "Shh, Ephah, she will hear you. Let her be. Whatever Avi is doing she has her mind fixed on it and there is nothing we can say to change her purpose. Now, come," Beulah said as she tugged on Ephah's arm. Ephah pulled away and reached for the long cloth covering Avi's open door. "I think we should go in and sit with her and find out what she is doing, Beulah." "No! Ephah, do not." "Are you not curious?" "Yes, of course I am, but it is none of our business. We should go. We have work to do. The men will be home from the field soon and I must cook lentils and lamb stew for dinner, at the request of my husband." "Humph. Tomorrow then," Ephah said, sorely disappointed that they did not have time to go inside and probe Avi about her sudden withdrawal from her people. "Tomorrow we will make her tell us." "No, Ephah. No. Tomorrow we must busy ourselves with preparations for the Pesach. We have one week left to get ready. Tomorrow, and all the days thereafter, we must leave Avi alone. We have too much to do. Come, go quickly. There is so little time." A slight breeze blew the thin covering nailed to Avi's door and cooled the stillness in her one-room bavith. Plumes of dust entered the room as the two women outside scurried away. Avi stopped weaving and listened. "Adonai, thank you. It is peaceful again."

Avi stood then stretched her back and wiggled her toes, shook the mat and repositioned the blanket that she had folded underneath it. The earthen floor of her bavith was smooth, hard packed; the walls made of clay. The bavith was old, built by her late husband and two sons—all dead now. Her roof, well-established, had a beam that ran from wall to wall and atop was a healthy crop of grass, barley, and the dying beginnings of a fig tree that wouldn't survive the summer's heat. Simmering in a corner of the bavith was a pot of lentil soup. From the market, she had purchased a leg of lamb and placed half of it in the soup; the other half she shared with a neighbor. A small basket protected a portion of raw grain, enough to last three days. In a tiny bowl covered with a cloth were a handful of dates, olives, and a small serving of buttermilk cheese to nourish Avi if she needed to eat before dinner. On the opposite side of the bavith where she was hard at work, was a bed mat rolled up neat, pressed against the wall. Next to the mat, all the clothes she owned lay wrapped and tied with a string. For nearly a year, without fail, she rose early to fetch water from the well, filling two goatskins to capacity, doing so before the other women came to gather and participate in idle talk. Then she'd rush back to her bavith to cook today's meal before returning to her sewing. Avi shared Ephah's need to understand, but even Avi didn't know why weaving the garment until the wee hours of the morning had become an obsession. Sewing this garment, a man's ef'-od, was a mystery to her, and she had no idea who would wear it. Without knowledge of his breadth, height, and age, everything about this undertaking seemed pointless.

But the moment she made up her mind to stop fighting the message that kept running through her mind as she slept, her energy increased and she soon discovered that four hours of rest each night was sufficient. With a week left before the Pesach, her people's commemoration of G-d passing over them when he slew the first born of Egypt, Avi became more determined than ever to finish her work. Everyone in Jerusalem anticipated the holiday—buying and selling goods to ensure they had enough to host kinsmen and friends coming from afar. Avi worked tirelessly and as she did so she pondered rumors of a man claiming to be the Messiah close to her heart. Ancient stories of the coming King had circulated throughout Israel long before her birth. As a child, she remembered the elders talking around campfires, saying, "He will rule the earth and bring us peace." They celebrated this promise in full expectation— dancing to lively music, roasting the best lamb, feasting on honey, and drinking the finest wine. Recent rumors of this miracle worker who had come to save Avi's people spread through Jerusalem like warm honey. She had yet to investigate these stories to determine if they were myths or truths. Perhaps he was another imposter who might leave her people downtrodden once again, casting doubts upon the ancient tales of the patriarchs. She'd been too preoccupied with the task at hand to walk a mile or two or three to witness the teacher everyone raved about. The vast majority of her people reported he had healed the blind, made the lame walk, turned water into wine. The entire countryside went into an uproar when he supposedly raised Lazarus from the dead. The most absurd story of all, at least for Avi, was his ability to walk on water. Avi couldn't put that story to rest. It agitated her, woke her in the middle of the night, caused her to call upon Adonai and cry herself to sleep. Not long after the dreams ceased, for reasons she still couldn't comprehend, Avi saved every denarius earned from repairing neighbors' old garments and bought fine expensive yarn. Since Avi's family died many years ago, it didn't make sense to buy it. What would she do with this elaborate twisted fiber?

Avi wondered if she had acted foolishly. So taunted with worry, she wrapped the yarn of fine linen inside her cloak then sat near a lamp and stared at it as if expecting it to move about her bavith and perhaps convey a message that she had somehow missed from the Holy One. Then one day about ten months ago, she set her loom in the middle of her bavith. Upon a thin strip of leather, she placed seven needles. She commenced to inserting these sharp splinters of bone and bronze in and out of the yarn to begin the painstaking task of weaving a seamless garment from top to bottom. Every day since Avi sewed, stopping long enough to fetch water, cook, eat and drink, bathe and lie down. Her source of income came to a halt for she had given up mending her neighbors' cloaks and scarves and belts, but was never without necessities. Three days before Pesach, something strange occurred. She fastened the hem then clipped the thread and held the finished ef'-od up to examine it. "Perfect," Avi said. Delight filled her eyes. She started to mount it to the wall to stretch and shape it in case the man who would wear it proved to be much larger, but an eruption outside interrupted her. Avi held the undergarment tight to her breast, refusing to allow it to touch the ground as she stepped outside. Not far away, people shouted praises, fanning palm branches high and low. Something moved her forward, arms gently caressing the ef'-od in her hands, her feet unable to stop until . . . Their eyes met.

“Ancient stories of the coming King had circulated throughout Israel long before her birth. As a child, she remembered the elders talking around campfires, saying, "He will rule the earth and bring us peace." They celebrated this promise in full expectation—dancing to lively music, roasting the best lamb, feasting on honey, and drinking the finest wine.”

No one ever described him, or told of the kindness in his eyes, the joy emitting from his face. If they had, their report was inaccurate. There was much more to him than the miracles they proclaimed.

After she gave him the robe then fell to her knees and hid her face. In a low muffled voice she praised him.

Avi searched for a word to describe him, but all her mind could come up with was love—something she felt the moment they locked eyes.

Overcome with unspeakable joy, Avi couldn't articulate her thanksgiving above a whisper, but the Yeshua heard every word. Yeshua touched her arm. Avi stood.

The crowd all about him shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”

"Thank you, my Lord," Avi said, "for I have received endless joy on this day and forever. All is now well with my soul."

As if someone had bellowed a thunderous command, the people stepped aside, making a clear path for Avi which led directly to him.

Avi's spirit confirmed what her heart had wrestled with for quite some time.

Before she drew in a breath to speak, he said, "Thank you." "My Lord, are you the one they speak of . . . Yeshua . . . the chosen one . . . the one who has come to save us?" "I am he," Yeshua said. Avi loosened her grip on the garment, knowing without a doubt that the ef'-od belonged to him.

As she worked on the garment, a burning grew inside her, driving her, encouraging her, guiding her hands until she finished. Now, in this moment, gazing upon the Messiah, everything in her was complete and fully satisfied. Point of Interest: Just as Ahijah tore his clothes into twelve pieces to represent the twelve tribes of Israel, depicting the division of the kingdom (I Kings 11:29-39); Christ's seamless undergarment represents one robe in which we are all clothed and cannot be torn apart.

Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the Ruby for Women Magazine ( since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna's political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.

RUBY Magazine is now available in print! Each 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 where you will find the link for each issue.

Senseless by Thea Williams My neighbor's dog was deaf and blind. She started out with hearing and vision, but age took its toll on this "short person in a fur coat." We knew this beige, wide-eyed shih tzu for 13 years. Her name was Dusty Miller, and she comforted everyone in our family at one time or another. When my father lay weak and helpless on what would become his death bed, Dusty curled up at his feet. When my sons had a bad day at school, they went down the street and scooped up Dusty. In her later years, Dusty found the most enjoyment from being in familiar surroundings because she was minus two of her senses. We carried her up and down stairs and guided her in safe directions when walking. One night towards the end of her life, I took Dusty out to "do her business" so her "mommy," Anita, could do some business of her own. As usual, I steered her around obstacles and out of harm's way, nudging her onto grassy surfaces so she could do her thing. I watched with great interest as Dusty circled and sniffed and even poked her whole face into the earth beneath her. She was compensating for what she didn't have, calling on her senses of touch and smell to make up for that which she lacked. Like Dusty, I’m playing hurt at the moment. Breathing trouble secondary to a bad case of flu sent me to the hospital yesterday in the wee hours of the morning. Technology problems have me in a tizzy, spending many hours and dollars on computer snafus which an end user like me just doesn’t cotton to. In short, life on life’s terms isn’t pleasing me right now. What's a girl to do? Here I am, trying to serve the Lord with my writing talents, and I'm running into stop signs. But we don't sit at stop signs endlessly, do we? We pause, evaluate our surroundings, and use our best judgment to move ahead when an appropriate amount of time has passed. That's just what God's been guiding me to do. He’s assuring me He’s in control, despite appearances to the contrary. He’s instructing me to move forward in any direction that’s not blocked, making headway wherever possible. This article is the first step in that direction. Like Dusty, I'm figuring out how to work around my deficiencies, and not let them render me senseless. "If there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have." 2 Corinthians 8:12

Just Chat with Him by Frances Gregory Pasch You need not pray down on your knees, it can be underneath the trees, or in the house, or in a bank, on a grocery line, or filling your tank. No formal words does God require, just chat with Him—that’s His desire. It can be in the day or night. Any time will be all right. What matters most is don’t forget and get so busy that you let things block Him out of all you do, for He would not do that to you. He wants to be your closest friend. On Him alone you can depend.

A Gentle Reminder by Frances Gregory Pasch Instead of following Your lead, Lord, I often exhaust myself trying to orchestrate my own life. How blessed I am that You love me enough to direct my steps, to tune my spirit to Your will and keep me on key as you are composing the rest of my life story. Continue to remind me that Your yoke is easy Your burden is light… that I don’t have to sing someone else’s song. I only need to follow Your lead.

Voice of Spring Blows in the Winds by Rejetta Morse As March winds blow – the brisk cold winds begin to disappear, and the warmer days that winter brings into the atmosphere. As strong winds blow – the gusty winds press through the wintry trees. They yearn for spring and nod their heads against the wintry breeze. As cool winds blow – the blustery wind wiggles the weak flowers with petals lost from cold shivers – they long for warm spring showers. As soft winds blow – the winds subside and begin to cease. Trees stand at rest as flowers breathe sweet scents in the warm breeze. As warm winds blow – winds disappear; green leaves sprout and rustle upon the trees as tulips bloom – as winds blow and whistle. As warm winds blow – the voice of spring now sings gentle and clear, as robins play on the green grass “Rejoice – springtime is here.” … and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how . . . Mark 4:27

I Am Waiting by Suzane Avadiar

Have you ever waited??

Only He could resurrect it again in my heart.

For someone . . . for something . . . for the next step . . . for healing . . .for breakthroughs and miracles . . for life to happen? I think at least once in our life, we all experience a season of waiting; I know I have.

Then one day during my draught, when the usual silence deafened my ear, I heard something that felt like a punch in my gut. I had just come home and as I turned the key into my door, I heard:

At times, my season of waiting reminded me of the winters in Minnesota – perpetual and in sub-zero temperatures! Still, I was constantly finding pockets of warm relief and burning hope in Jesus and it kept me going.

"If I do not give you anything else, will you still love me? Or will you fall out of love with me?"

Until not too long ago when I hit a frozen wall and felt the chill right down to my bones… I still don’t quite know what happened but suddenly I felt encumbered by the weight of waiting. I felt snowed in and all at once, my season of waiting simply became too excruciating. And the disquiet began; the 3am restlessness in bed that allowed panic and anxiety to arrest me, as I grappled with the unknown. The fear that would only subside when sadness stopped by to lull me back to sleep. The constant need to put on my “game face” so I wouldn’t inconveniently break down in random places or worse still, let people see my fragile interior. Because that was my true state - I was fragile. I was struggling. Plain and simple. I believed God had forgotten me and His Word that promised me that "He will never leave me nor forsake me" threatened to become a mere theory.

I knew it was God because I heard those words in first person and the writer in me knew enough to know that they weren't my words or my thoughts. I collapsed to the floor and broke down in wailing tears! All I could think of at that moment was that I broke my Father's Heart! And I said, without flinching or thinking and with all the conviction I could muster, "I don't want anything else Lord. Just you. You are enough. I'm sorry." And finally, for the first time, I fully understood what it meant to say that Christ is enough. I got it and more importantly, my heart got it! Not a whole lot has changed since that day. That season is not yet over. I am still waiting, but I’ve come to realize that SO IS HE! Not unlike the time when He waited for Noah to complete the ark. While Noah took what must have felt like an eternity to build the ark, probably under scrutiny and scornful gazes, God had patiently waited.

My head grasped His Words but my heart resisted it because my reality did not reflect it.

He could have snapped a finger and built the ark in an instant to accomplish what He needed to do on earth. After all, He was eager enough to start, afresh but He didn't.

I began to allow my fear of the unknown and the uncertainty, which accompanies a season of waiting, to push God's Word back into that tomb.

God waited.

He waited for Noah to build the ark in his own time because He needed to accomplish something in Noah, too.

He is waiting for my transformation to be made complete and for me to wholly step into all that He has called me to be.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

Just knowing that He too is waiting for me, makes me eagerly say, "Take this too Abba. Take my waiting."

Centuries later, my Abba is still waiting. The great I AM is waiting - this time for me.

Because the truth is, the winter of waiting is a burden that's too heavy to bear alone and giving it to Jesus so I can be still, and rest in Him makes the walk lighter and the wait warmer.

Waiting for me to take my eyes off what I don't yet have and set my gaze back on what I do have Jesus.

Have you been waiting? What does your season of waiting feel like?

Waiting for me to let Him do what He needs to do in me during this season of waiting, so I will be ready for where He is leading me.

Test Your Brain Power! Fun Puzzles by Beth Brubaker

New Math Puzzle Use the numbers 1 through 16 to fill the spaces in the grid and complete each numerical expression. Each number is used once.

Hink Pinks Puzzle The answer to each riddle is two words that rhyme with each other. For example: Large feline = fat cat Use the clues below to find the rhyming Hink Pink!

Answer keys in back of magazine

Where to Look for Writing Markets Part One of a Three Part Series on Writing for Beginners

by Joan Leotta My tagline (I am a writer and a story performer) is, Encouraging Words through Pen and Performance. As a writer for RUBY magazine, I pray that what I write, no matter the topic, will honor God, and serve you, the readers. I also hope that my writing will encourage others to write. Recently, I recommended RUBY as a place for a friend of mine to send her work. Imagine my delight when she told me that Nina had accepted her piece! This is one of the great joys of life, knowing that you have served another. Two problems that often plague new writers are what to write about, and where to find places to send the piece once it is written. These two questions are more easily answered than you might think. Many people ask me, "Where do you get your ideas?" The answer to that question is "ideas are all around me!" (and you!). Since I employ the "what if" principle, looking at a situation or object and asking "what if?) to almost everything I encounter, I rarely have a shortage of ideas. However, I never spurn a good idea brought up by others in the form of a theme for a magazine's next issue, a contest, or even a set of ideas generated by another writer to be used as starters. So, when Nina challenged me to provide writing prompts for those of you out there who want to write, but in your juggling of family, work, and life's other challenges, have the need of something to get you started…well, I accepted! These prompts are not part of any contest. They are not related officially in any way to the magazine's editorial process. They are here for your enjoyment and edification only, to provide a start for you to practice your writing—poems and short stories. I am providing a prompt a month to Nina for the blog—it’s a way I can serve you. I would encourage you to take the prompt and write on it for thirty minutes to one hour. Set that aside and go back after two days, read it aloud, and then revise it. Then wait another two days and revise it again. After that put it in a file and wait a week. Finding a market for your work is easier than you think, too! One of the first sources of outlets for your writing is the magazines you enjoy reading! After all, this magazine fills a need for you, you are in "synch" with its editorial goals so what you write is likely to please the editor. Beyond that, there are literally hundreds of resources. Other great places to find potential markets (some paying and some nonpaying) are writing organizations’ free online listings of contests and book listings of markets. Obviously book listings might not be as up to date as others, but the books of market listings often contain articles that help hone your writing.

Ditto for writer organizations. Do what your budget allows. Start small and be very careful to follow all the directions in the "writer guidelines" when you submit. This means typing in the way they ask (single or double space), submitting on time, having the right number of words in the piece—not too many, not too few. Try to address the editors by name when you write a polite little note to accompany your entry. Some listings specifically target Christian markets such as Two very helpful books are The Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2017 which carries over 10 pages of contests in both inspirational and general markets, including poetry, articles, children’s books, novels, and nonfiction books and Writer’s Market 2017 which contains around 90 pages of contests for journalism, playwriting, songwriting, poetry, TV and movie scripts, novels and nonfiction books, and essays. Some contests charge fees. Entering them can bring you great rewards. But the important thing is to measure what you think about the fee—will it be worth it to you to have entered even if you don’t win? Also, before sending in any money, be sure the contests is legitimate. The website, a free site, offers tips on how not to be cheated by scams. Start with to find contests. You can also simply enter into a search engine the word "contest for" and the type of writing you do, essays, poetry, short stories, etc. There are many more good resources out there (both the above books also list contests) but you don’t want to overwhelm yourself to start. Next month I hope to tackle two more issues for beginning writers— Revision and Rejection In part three of the series we will talk about Building on Your Success, the need to keep learning. Joan Leotta's latest picture book for children, Rosa's Shell is coming out soon. If you would like more information, leave her at note on her Facebook page at Joan Leotta Author and Story Performer or follow her blog at

Joan’s latest books, Rosa and the Red Apron, Summer in a Bowl, and WHOOSH! are now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner! Read about Joan’s upcoming books and poetry publications on her blog at and connect with her on her Facebook page at

Winter is Past by Norma C. Mezoe Gladys, my ninety-year-old neighbor, was concerned about the approaching winter. She was afraid if she needed help it would be hard to get it once the bad weather hit. I assured her, “No matter how bad the weather or deep the snow, someone will get to you.” When the snow came, it brought along a thick sheet of ice. Although it was sometimes hard getting through the deep snow and hardened ice, we were always able to get to Gladys. Today, trees are blooming, and bright colorful flowers have made their appearance. When I took Gladys her mail, I reminded her, “The winter you dreaded has passed.” Many of us have had hard winters, times when problems and heartaches weighed our spirits down with icy despair. Just about the time we managed to chip away the hardened ice, another storm swept in. Dorothy, a favored Sunday school teacher of years ago, liked to quote from Song of Solomon, “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:11-12) The winter Gladys feared came and went. Spring has come once again. God gave His promise, “I will be with you,” through all the seasons of your life.

Lasting Beauty by Judith Vander Wege During a time I was learning to deal with some heavy emotional problems, a heavy fog settled over our town. Combined with the right temperature, it formed beautiful hoarfrost on all the trees, fences, and telephone lines. I sensed God saying, “See, I not only drive away the fog, but I use it to create beauty in your life.” He had worked in the midst of my confusion and depression, transforming it into good. I wondered how long the hoarfrost would last. Often it lasts only a day or two in that part of the country (Moses Lake, WA). I asked God, “Is the beauty You have created in my life going to last?” God continued my object lesson. The next day, I was dazzled by the beauty of my surroundings as the hoarfrost glittered in the sunshine. It didn't melt for several days; the beauty remained, although the fog was gone. This conveyed the message: The beauty God created in you will last. God delights in transforming the evil Satan means against us into good. This is what Jesus came to do. He declared the fulfillment of scripture when he read from the prophet Isaiah's scroll: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. (Luke 4:18-19, NIV). God is faithful to His promises (Psalms 145:13). He will do a good work in you. The beauty He creates will last.

Sharing at the Seat of Suffering by Sharon L. Patterson Christian friendship offers us select seating at the shared events of one another’s lives. The view is broader, higher, and deeper for we participate not only in what see naturally; we are guests to the glory of the unseen as well. When the shared event is the unexpected, the tragic, the deeply painful death of our friend’s loved one, we scramble to offer some comforting word or action. Inside, we know it is inadequate at best. Sometimes the suffering is so over-whelming; we say nothing but just try to speak by our presence. At such moments we find ourselves like the young boy holding five small fish, and two little loaves of bread. Jesus has just asked for his disciples to feed 5,000 hungry people. He looks at what he has and cannot fathom it feeding more than the one person it was prepared for. Yet, when Jesus asks, the boy gives all that he has at that moment. Then, Jesus does what He does best: He blessed the offering and multiplied it 5,000 times over. Not surprisingly, there are even a few to-go bags left over-12 to be exact. Because we are Christians, we take our appointed places at the seat of our friend’s suffering. We take out our meager offering that seems so tiny compared to the intensity of the suffering we are witnessing. Next, we place what we have brought into the hands of God. We pray for our friend’s great suffering and watch God multiply into mounds of loving comfort so much greater than what we offered. That is when our view changes from the natural realm of suffering to the unseen realm of glory. And then, the day comes when you or I sitting are in the seat of suffering. Those who were once in that same seat bring their small offerings to God. The inadequate becomes more than enough in the Masterful hands and heart of our Heavenly Father. Once more, faith pulls back the veil between heaven and earth. Suddenly, we are in two places at the same time - the seat of suffering and seated with Christ in heavenly places.

The Promise of Springtime by Norma C. Mezoe For behold, the winter is past…. And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (NASB) Today as I wander in my yard, I notice tiny green buds on the lilac bush. It is early March, but already a robust robin has made his appearance under the bird feeder. I’m a native born citizen of Indiana. I like the changing of the seasons in our state. Each has a charm and a beauty of its own that is touched by the Master Painter’s hands. Just as Indiana has changing of seasons, so do our lives. It doesn’t seem possible, but I suppose I’m in early winter in mine, As I know without a doubt that springtime will follow winter’s departure, I also know when the winter of my life is finished, eternal springtime will begin. Prayer: Giver of life, thank you for the changing of seasons. I praise you for the promise of eternal springtime in your presence. Amen.

Irish Storytelling: Legends and Love by Kathryn Ross Storytelling is an important facet of Irish culture. Their tales descend from olden days, when the first Celtic societies settled the rugged, green Irish landscapes. They were conquered, in time, by invaders from Gaul (modern France). Slowly, the population of original ancient Celtic inhabitants shrunk, becoming the “little people” of legend. Whenever something odd happened, the developing Irish culture blamed the wee folk—leprechauns and fairies, giving birth to tales of mischief, delighting generation after generation. Fanciful stories of faerie folk and little green people of questionable temper have their place in the realms of make-believe, cherished side-by-side with the Bible and books brought to Irish shores by St. Patrick. “Wherever they went the Irish brought with them their books . . . tied to their waists as signs of triumph, just as Irish heroes had one tied to their waists their enemies’ heads. Wherever they went they brought their love of learning and their skills in bookmaking. In the bays and valleys of their exile, they reestablished literacy and breathed new life into the exhausted literary culture of Europe.” Thomas Cahill How the Irish Saved Civilization Perhaps the most recognized legend and emblem of Ireland, next to St. Patrick’s story and shamrock, is the beautiful symbol of the Claddagh. It is historically worn as a ring of betrothal. Though there are many tales tracing back to its roots, it’s largely said to originate from the small fishing village of Claddagh. Formerly located just outside the walls of Galway, it is now part of that big city. But, since the 17th century, this told and re-told tale from the old town keeps its history alive with distinction. The first known Claddagh rings, fashioned for betrothal and marriage in the Galway region, are credited to a goldsmith, Bartholomew Fallon, prior to 1700.

But silversmith, Richard Joyce, captivated storyteller’s imaginations when he was captured and sold into slavery by Algerian Corsairs on a seafaring trip to the West Indies in 1675. While enslaved for fourteen years by a Moorish goldsmith, he designed the Claddagh image of clasped hands, heart, and crown. King William III sent emissaries to win the release of all British slaves, and eventually Joyce returned to his Claddagh village and married. His story and ring design spread throughout the region, affording him great success as a goldsmith for the remainder of his life. During the Victorian era, the Claddagh ring grew in popularity throughout England and the British Isles, vigorously marketed throughout the 19th century. By the 20th century, the symbol reached jewelers on American shores. Today it is worn in gold and silver designs as rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, plus varied décor motifs by millions worldwide. Adding a bit of dialogue and lyrical language to the retelling of the tale, here’s my spin on the story—names changed—and just a smidge of melodrama. So, pour yourself a cuppa green tea and enjoy!

The Legend of the Claddagh Once upon a time, in an Irish coastal village called Claddagh, lived a lovely young lass with locks of red, and emerald green eyes, named Bridgid. She loved a young man named Seamus, of handsome face and noble character. Together, they bound themselves in a pledge of marriage, clasping hands and hearts, with the blessing of their families and the joy of their village surrounding them. Seamus was a fisherman. He wanted to give his bride a comfortable home, and worked hard to secure enough money to the purpose. If he went away for one more summer season of fruitful fishing, he’d earn enough so they could marry and settle in for a cozy winter together in their own cottage.

One early morning in June, the lovely lass with the emerald eyes, bid farewell to her fisherman with the handsome face. “How I hate to see you go,” she said. “I am your lover, true,” he said. “May fair winds on you blow, “she said. “I will come back for you,” he said. And he was away. But, later that day the boat returned with nary a fisherman to be found. It drifted into the harbor holding few clues to help the village solve the mystery of the missing fishermen. But, it was clear enough—the fishermen fathers and sons of Claddagh had been abducted by slave raiders. Slave raiders! It was a sure and tragic loss to everyone in the small community. Tears welled in Bridgid’s sorrowful, emerald green eyes. “’Tis a shame,” said her mother, “Her love she will see no more.” “Fear not, Mother,” Bridgid said, defiantly tossing her red locks of curly hair, “My lover will come for me!” She feared the worst, but steeled herself with hope. He promised to return to her, after all.

Then, using his skills as a goldsmith, he fashioned a ring, with a crown atop a heart, held gently in two clasped hands. The crown meant Faithfulness, the hands, Friendship, and the heart, Love. Meanwhile, the lovely lass, Bridgid, grew older, waiting patiently for her lover to come for her. Every day, morning and evening, she lingered on the dock from where she last saw her love’s handsome, noble face. Her mother shuddered with lament at the loss of her daughter’s youthful bloom, and prospects for home and family. A maiden daughter—Oh! The shame of it! Until the day a widower of some means knocked on their door. “I find I desire a wife, good Mistress, your daughter may do just fine.” Boldly, the lass lashed out in response. “No, never!” Her eyes burned. “My lover will come for me!” Over the sea and so very far away, the sultan watched his favorite lad closely. He was amazed at the many ways Seamus showed himself true to his claim of a love left behind at every opportunity. This impressed the sultan who had never known love could be so impenetrably true. After many years of service, he released the former fisherman and sent him on a journey to return home—and find his love. After many months sailing over oceans deep, battling storm and gale and sea serpent assaults, the freed fishermen landed, once again, on the Irish shore of Claddagh. There to meet him, waiting daily as she did by the wharf’s edge, was his lovely lady of the red locks and emerald eyes. Onto her finger, he slipped the golden ring he’d made—Faithfulness, Friendship, and Love—the firm foundation for life-long bliss. Their vows sealed under sunshine and sapphire skies in the village square. Fiddle and harp set feet to dancing in celebration. The blessing of family and joy of their friends surrounding them.

In fact, Seamus was alive, though in bondage, sold as a slave to a sultan across the sea. Being that he possessed an artistic bent, he was let to train in the craft of the goldsmith. For many years, he labored for his master. The sultan came to favor the Claddagh lad and offered the hand of his own daughter to the young man in marriage. But, Seamus refused the gift. “How can you refuse such a gift as I offer?” The sultan was indignant. “Because,” said the lad, “I hold in my hands the heart of the girl who waits for me in Claddagh village, a queen of maidens. I shall always go back to her, as I promised.”

And by the bliss of a kiss she sighed, “My lover has come for me.” I love the metaphor of Christ's Claddagh, His love, the daily friendship of His Presence in my life, and His faithful promise that He is loyal to His bride and will one day return for her. To enjoy Irish Storytelling: Legends and Love dramatized in my March 2017 PODCAST, visit The Writers Reverie. Photo Caption: By I, Royalcladdagh, CC BY-SA 3.0, hp?curid=2432908

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength”—Isaiah 26:3-4.

Peace in the Pressure Cooker

"I can't do it all!" I screamed in my head. My whole being wanted to pick something up and throw it at anything and everything. My husband, Bruce, and I had pulled into our destination from a long trip. Apparently, I was more exhausted than I gave myself credit for. As I watched the sun quickly dip toward the horizon, my mind raced: we needed to set up "camp" in this unfamiliar place; I needed to trim my horse's feet; groceries needed to be put up; dinner needed to be fixed; and huge gopher holes gaped in the horse pen. On and on the needs-list went, filling up my mind to overflowing. The volcano (my brain at the moment) was primed to blow and blow hard.

And equally, "What isn't?" In times of pressure, Isaiah 26:3-4 comes in handy: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength."

I heard that 'still small voice' say, "Take a deep breath." And then, "What do you need to do right now and what can wait for tomorrow?" Like one does with a person who is "losing it," it seemed the Lord stood in front of me saying, “Uncross your eyes and look at Me ... look at Me." I took a deep breath and corralled the chaos in my mind. Sifting through the list, I was amazed at the calm that quieted me. Like loading cows in a chute, I slowly and patiently sorted the “to do” list. The "right now" priorities went in first. The rest got left in the "holding pen" for the next day. Our life is not lived in a white-picket-fence world where conveniences are always at our fingertips like farriers, veterinarians, the mailbox and Walmart. The things we used to take for granted when we lived in a permanent place take more thoughtful calculation now. At each stop (camp, if you will), we have to research and assess the best feed places (for horses and humans), find water, locate a can to dump our trash, scout out electricity availability, search for the all-important place to dump our poop (for horses and humans), and ... laundry? We're usually staying in someone's backyard or ranch, so there's always a settling in to the ebb and flow of that particular place—and no two places are alike. Besides singing/ministering, the wide variety of activities we've participated in seems endless— everything from digging ditches to working on ranches, and managing stick horse rodeos to recording albums. Never a dull moment! God is not in the business of overwhelming us. So, when I find myself in the "squeeze chute of life," that's a really good time to stop and evaluate my list. I ask the Lord, "What in my life is important to You?"

by Shara Bueler-Repka

Bruce and I continually pray: "Lord, we plan our steps (lists), but you direct our path today" (Proverbs 16:9). We never want to miss an opportunity He puts before us: when He needs us focused on His plan, we never want the focus on ours. One can easily get off track. Jobs, finances, kids, school, church, family, spouses, animals—the cares of the world surround all these things. Balancing acts are performed to keep everything moving so "life" doesn't collapse ... why? Why do we think everything we do qualifies for what we're supposed to do? There are many good projects, but few God projects. Who’s calling the shots—God, us or others? Whose is the only voice that matters? Our lives should never be so hectic we lose our joy and peace. (Psalm 127:1-2; Deuteronomy 30:19; Matthew 6:24-34) I finally got tired of getting my 'knickers in a twist' over the stuff of life overwhelming me. And I finally figured out His stuff is all that matters. The other stuff is just stuff, and in the end, it won't really have any relevance in the big picture of things pertaining to this life or the one beyond. When I start drawing the proverbial target on the wall that beckons to "bang head here," I rein in and stop. Evaluate. What needs to stay? What needs to go that I don't want to let go? What needs streamlining? What is He trying to tell me I missed? It may only be an adjustment in my attitude—stop whining and toughen up. (2 Timothy 2:3-4) The key is to know the difference. Thankfully, He is right there to guide in the culling process, to give wisdom and to help us follow peace. (Isaiah 28:26; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 14:33) Jesus and His way are peace (John 14:27). The fruit of His Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol (Galatians 5:22-23). He is our peace in the "pressure cooker."

The Invitations: A Special Bible Study When Jesus says “Come” by Ifeoma Samuel of Purposeful and Meaningful I pulled out a stack of post cards I had received from my sweet friends in the US. They were so inviting especially the one with a cute doggie photo cover. I spent a couple of minutes admiring the cover page. It wasn’t long before I realized I had spent valuable time sitting and rubbing my fingers over the alluring cover and laughing quietly. A few days later, it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember the exact words written in it. But of course I could still see the cute doggie photos. What is the whole point of receiving a message from across the pond and not spending time with the words that were written in it for me? I hope I’m not the only one who does that! We receive good notes in cute journals or emails or letters but never take out time to actually open them, absorb and process the message. Many of us, at best, just glance through. And like me, maybe you are overly distracted by the covers and hardly get to the real message and contents of the package soon enough. Like the post cards, there are many invitations we miss because we didn’t know they were meant for us in the first place; others we turn down for our own personal reasons and other invitations we accept but never show up! But these set of invitations are not to be refused even though… you retain complete ownership of your choice. Invitations from the Lord Jesus are open doors to bravely unlocking doors of unlimited opportunities and with limitless access. In the least favourite places, we find Him sweetly giving us a hand and yet with another He offers us invitations. Many places He bids us to ‘come’. From Matthew 11:28 and several other scriptures, we will search out many other ‘Bold Invitations’ we need to accept. Bravely, because it requires surrendering our time, risking our commitment and replacing fear when we take them on. Unlimited opportunities, because everything we ever need is right there in Him.

Join Ifeoma for this 14-Day Bible Study on her blog at Purposeful and Meaningful

Limitless access because God never shuts us away from some aspects of our heritage in Him. In a few words, accepting God’s invitations requires a brave heart to embrace unlimited opportunities with a boundless access. Are you brave enough? It is my desire that Jesus opens our hearts to receive these invitations wholeheartedly. Prayer: May we find hope, restoration and a renewed purpose for living and a desperate passion to fulfil our calling in Jesus name. Amen!

Kids' Korner Book Reviews by Carol Peterson 100 Snowmen Written by: Jen Arena Illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin I love teaching kids things in a way that makes learning fun. That's what I loved about this book. 100 Snowmen is delightful. Although picture books are typically for the younger age group (2-5), this one teaches math, so it's a great learning tool for slightly older kids (ages 5-8). The text is well done, with near perfect meter and rhyme. The humor is ideally complimented by Stephen Gilpin's colorful illustrations. 100 Snowmen takes kids through counting from 1 to 10 and then backwards again. But what's especially cool for the older age range is the terrific math trick that compiles each page to show kids how adding up those 10 snowmen turns them into 100 snowmen. This book is a great example of how a simple story and clever illustrations can teach kids something important while making the learning fun. 100 Snowmen is available from RUBY’S Reading Corner, and a classroom guide for teachers and a kids' activity guide are also available through Amazon.

Let Go! by Norma C. Mezoe The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. – Nahum 1:7 A man was having serious problems. His wife had left him, leaving their three children in his care. He was in the army and his responsibilities were many. Not only was he doing his work, but he was also the sole caregiver to his children. He talked with his chaplain who tried to encourage the man to allow God to work in his problems. But the man continued to say he was going to give up, that he couldn’t do all that was needed. So the chaplain decided to try a show-and-tell lesson. The chaplain was carrying a briefcase and he asked the man if he would hold it for him because his arm was getting very tired from the load. The man looked at him rather strangely but he reached out to take the case. However, when he did so, the chaplain pulled it back. The chaplain again asked the man to relieve him of his burden and again the man reached for the briefcase, only to have the chaplain pull it back. Finally, the man told the chaplain that he couldn’t take the case if he wouldn’t give it to him. Then the chaplain made his point; God wouldn’t take the soldier’s burdens if he wouldn’t hand them over. Are we ever guilty of doing the same thing? When our burdens are heavy, do we ask God to help us with them, but then pull them back and take them up once again? Psalm 55:22 (NIV) gives good advice: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (NIV). We aren’t promised that God will take our problems away but we are promised that he will uphold us and keep our problems from defeating us. However, we have to be willing to let go before God can relieve our burden.

by Cassidy Burdge The Christian Prepster

But if any of you remember Solomon, you will know that my thoughts were WAY off. Solomon was “the man” who had everything. He had achieved the status of “successful” and he knew what the “dream life” was like. He had success, love, acceptance, authority, and security. He had all the things I have spent my life chasing. Yet, with all of the desires of my selfish human heart, Solomon can write for twelve chapters that it is all worthless… yes ALL of it. At this point, I was able to believe Solomon and take his warnings to heart. He is telling each of us to let these worldly things go. He is sending us a warning that if we don’t stop chasing the wind we will end up at the end of our road feeling worthless and not at all content. Thankfully, in the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon shares with us the only thing worth chasing and spending our time on.

I ask that you spend some time in Ecclesiastes. I can’t believe that before I was assigned the task of reading Ecclesiastes, I had never read it before. But as I opened my Bible last week to dive in, I was awestruck by how relatable it was and how hard it hit me. Throughout the whole book, Solomon used the phase, “Vanity of Vanities, all is vanity.” The theme of Ecclesiastes is that we all spend time chasing the worthless things of the world and we need to be reminded that it is all worthless… yes ALL of it. Even the things you are finding your identity and comfort in, vanity… all vanity. When I read the harsh words of Solomon it was like a huge slap in the face. All of the things I am chasing - success, love, acceptance, authority, and security are worthless. The things I have been spending all of my time on and convincing myself that they are not a waste of time… actually are. After I realized that, I decided to start tearing Solomon's claim apart (because truthfully, I like chasing these things sometimes). I thought, “Ugh why should I believe Solomon, what does he have? He probably has never tasted success.”

“Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act of judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” -Ecclesiastes 12:13-14So yeah, the man who literally had EVERYTHING is saying that the only thing that brings fulfillment and purpose is to seek the Lord and fear His name. We need to not take this lightly. This is huge and the most important thing in our lives. When we chase God and not the things of this world, that is when the desire of success, love, acceptance, authority, and security are finally met. We find all of it in the arms of Christ. XOXO, The Christian Prepster

Cassidy Burdge is the Christian Prepster, a high school student living the Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. She has a deep love for sharing Christ through her writing and blogging, and she is excited to be part of Ruby Magazine. Cassidy blogs about anything from Biblical teachings to book reviews. You can connect with Cassidy on her blog, The Christian Prepster at

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV) It's raining again. Gray clouds cast darkness over my typically sun-filled space. I'm sensitive to the imposing shadow. It dims my glow. A quick scan of the room reveals intention. Intricate designs, loving notes, precious faces, and treasured books coexist with a symphony of trickling water, Beethoven, and bird songs. Each trinket and sound a reminder of family, friends, and experiences.

A House of Cards by Jewell Utt

Amid the beauty is a black rock. I keep it as a reminder that ugly exists. It symbolizes people, places, and circumstances that brought darkness into my world. I can focus on the black rock: dredging up past hurts, regrets, and unfortunate relationships. Or I can reflect on the blessings that surround me. "God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all." 1John 1:5. We can depend on the storms of life to pay regular visits, but we have a powerful refuge in God. When we seek to be in His presence, we are certain to gain His light. Wisdom is found when we regularly visit the hidden places He provides. Matthew 7:24-27 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Prayers from a Mother’s Heart by Nina Newton

A house of cards is fragile, crumbling due to the slightest change. When we practice the presence of God, we build our house on His solid foundation, firm and secure. We can stand. Ugly Happens. Expect it. Stay alert. Establish your house on the rare and beautiful treasures found in Scripture. Being in His presence is an intentional pursuit. Winter blues? His light will brighten your outlook.

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

Intentional Joy by Mary Dolan Flaherty

It’s okay to be sad after vacation. As I read the text from my friend I’d just left in Florida, I thought, I’m not just sad; I’m a little depressed and downright angry.

I cried, remembering how I felt listening to the same songs only days before when I turned the corner on the sidewalk to the beach. How my breath caught in my throat at the beauty of the rising sun on the gulf waters while worship music coursed through my veins.

I’d exchanged the cold New Jersey winter for sunny and seventies for almost two weeks, and I didn’t want to come home. I’d visited friends, and my husband joined me halfway through the trip. Yes, we were on vacation, where our biggest worry was choosing a restaurant.

How the tears came from the sheer gratitude I felt, running in gorgeous weather while witnessing the intense beauty of God’s creation all around me.

But it was more than that for both of us. Out of all the places we’ve visited in the South, this place felt like it could be home when we retire. Something just clicked.

“But this is where I live, and where I need to be right now in my life. So please help me with these emotions, God,” I prayed.

Granted, it was winter. Summers in Florida are vastly different. And retirement is unfortunately not in our imminent future. I wished for a snowstorm back home so we couldn’t leave. My wish was granted. Our flight was cancelled, and we stayed an extra day. It was a glorious gift from God, and we savored every moment. The snow was not a welcome sight. We were both irritable from a long day of traveling. I snapped a picture of the icy windshield and texted my friend in Florida. I’m trying to have a positive attitude. I woke up the next day with much the same feeling. I hated the snow, and the sun barely poked through the clouds. But I had work to do. I angrily cleaned off my car and set my playlist to the worship music that had filled my ears all week when I ran on the beach. Maybe that would help. Instead of the joy I expected to flood my soul, I felt sadness.

Instead of experiencing a sweet memory, I felt more depressed and angry.

Then something came over me. I wish I could adequately describe it. Not a vision. Not a voice. Not even a whisper of the Holy Spirit. More like a feeling and a two-second film reel. Just as I had been given the privilege of experiencing God’s beauty on that sunrise run, I was now allowed a glimpse into what Jesus might have felt during his stay on earth. Being fully human He had emotions, just like us. But being fully God, He knew the paradise He left to dwell among us. He didn’t just remember it, like we do after vacation. He knew it. And He chose to leave it so that when it’s time for me to graduate from retirement, I could know it too. That’s how much He loves me. I wondered: Did He feel a mixture of joy and sadness when He thought of the beauty of Heaven? And when He hung on that cross so I could be with Him in Paradise, did He feel a glimmer of excitement through the agony, knowing He was finally going Home? I’ll bet He did.

Which made me think: Could I endure this tiny tragedy in my life? Could I move off my pity pot and choose joy? I still felt sad; I still longed to be where the sun shines every day, but I had no right to be angry when I have so much to be grateful for. Intentional joy requires making a choice. It’s a deliberate move. We can still feel sad about our situation, but when anger comes thundering in, that’s a sure sign that self-pity is attempting to take the throne. And if we give in to that self-pity, we squeeze God out of the equation. And when we eliminate God, all that’s left is our pitiful selves. And if we reject God, what’s the point of the cross? We can be sad and choose joy, but we cannot be angry and joyful at the same time. And we cannot experience love in the truest sense if we’re angry. I had a choice to make. I could reject God’s love and hold onto anger and depression, or I could accept the love of God that gives way to the ability to embrace joy. I was still sad, still longing for a warmer climate, but I love God more than I love my own desires. So I chose joy and the anger fell away.

Intentional joy requires making a choice. It’s a deliberate move. We can still feel sad about our situation, but when anger comes thundering in, that’s a sure sign that self-pity is attempting to take the throne. When you’re tempted to feel sorry for yourself, when you’re overcome with sadness, when anger threatens to steal the joy that abides in your soul, it’s time to make a deliberate choice to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit called joy. Accept His love, express your love, and joy will follow. I still don’t like the cold. But it’s okay. Spring is on the way! Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength—Nehemiah 8:10

Visit Mary on her blog, SonRise Insights, to read more of her inspirational articles on Intentional Joy.

The book of Hebrews tells us, "But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 Virtuous women and daughters of Zion, it is important as you journey into 2017 that you anchor your faith upon the Rock of Ages that cannot be moved. Your total reliance upon God will lead you to the platform of success. God is a God of principle and He will not bend His rule to accommodate us; you must prepare to line up with what His word says if you wish to accomplish your purpose and desire this year.

Faith by Emmanuel O. Afolabi

You should develop the habit of rising early to the place of prayer; have quality devotion time with God every morning, and commit your day into His hand and He will direct your path.

Take note of this fact and hold fast to it, that it is your keeping this appointment with God first thing in the morning that will cause others to keep theirs with you. If you rush out of the house in the morning, you may as well rush home with nothing to show for it. A daily appointment with God can bring rewards that may last for years. It is only commitment to this appointment and quality devotion that brings favor with God and men. Finally, God is not moved by emotion. He is moved when you exercise your faith upon His word and He promises that He will bring to pass the petition of your heart. Therefore, be determined to trust God more this year and He will satisfy you early with His mercy that you will rejoice and be glad all your day. (Psalm 90:14) Till we meet again, keep trusting God.

Shadow Cat in Moonlight by Nina Newton The stories about Shadow Cat are all based on real-life adventures of the beautiful black cat that lived in our neighborhood, on The Street that Was My World. As Shadow Cat prowled, scampered, and played, I watched him through my porch window, and wondered, “What will that Shadow Cat do today?” Through every season, and all through the days, Shadow Cat had exciting excursions under bushes and boats. He hid around corners, and peeked out from under leaves. He silently watched little chipmunks at play, and chased squirrels through the garden, until they scrambled up a tree. So many adventures and stories to tell, of Shadow Cat’s wanderings and silly antics – be watching for the next episode in the escapades of Shadow Cat. Shadow Cat in Moonlight by Nina Newton is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

Spring Hat Door Hanger Craft from Katherine’s Corner Looking for a fun craft idea for spring? Visit Katherine’s Corner where you will find the complete tutorial for making this beautiful Spring Hat Door Hanger Craft, along with so many more creative ideas for your home and family. At Katherine’s Corner you will find recipes, crafts, blogging tips, DIY projects and free printables, along with the weekly blog hop and linky party.

Staying in God’s Will by Nells Wasilewski Psalm 25:9 (NIV) He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Thought for the day: “Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person's seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.” ― Elizabeth Elliot, Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity Have you ever prayed and prayed for guidance, but when you received it, you resisted following where God led? In our humanness, it is natural for us to seek out our own path, and ignore where God is leading us. In order to stay within God's Will, it is necessary to remember where our strength and zeal lies. Outside forces take every opportunity to draw us into the vortex of worldly pursuits. Following our own inclinations, is to set the stage for failure. When we submit our will entirely to the Father, the outcome is amazing. Seek His will before you rise in the morning, ask Him to guide you through each day, and follow His guidance diligently. A good verse to keep handy during your daily routine: Psalms 119:133 direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Prayer: Jehovah El Elyon, Most High God, thank you for giving us direction in our lives. Please lead us to righteousness by teaching us your ways. In Jesus Holy name we pray, amen

The Renewal of Baptism and Spring by Linda M. Crate I was baptized when I was six years old. I remember talking with the preacher about it, and he wanted to make sure I understood the true meaning of it because it was an important ceremony and a meaningful one. In the bible it states: "...and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." (1 Peter 3:21). They wanted to make sure that I understood both the importance and the significance of doing this, but I was ready to wash away all the stains the world may have imprinted upon my young soul. I have always thought of myself as an old soul in a young body. I was eager to do what I knew in my heart to be the right thing for any believer of Christ to do once it was their time.

I think the thing that may have prompted my anxiety about getting it done right away was this verse in Acts: "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name." (Acts 22:16). After convincing the preacher that I was ready, I ended up being baptized on Easter. It was my choice for it to be Easter because I thought what a more meaningful day to be baptized than on Easter, the day the Lord was risen from the grave. Every spring seems to wash away the weariness of winter from me as I remember the healing water that purified my spirit even at a young age. I have a fondness for Easter and water to this very day. Every creek seems healing to my spirit and every Easter seems to bring me with new hope. It is important to endure every winter in the name of our Lord because he can always wash us new and take the sins away. He calls us worthy even we do not feel so, and I feel blessed to serve such a loving God.

Only God Is Perfect by Frances Gregory Pasch “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 I had often heard the scripture about Martha and Mary, but I never fully understood what the Lord meant when he said, "Martha, are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better...” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV). I was so much like Martha, always rushing around, trying to make everything as perfect as possible. I found it hard to comprehend why it was better for Mary to sit at Christ's feet, listening instead of working. I had to be doing something to feel fulfilled. So I spent most of my life striving to be the perfect wife, mother, and homemaker, instead of enjoying life to the fullest. I believed in God, but I made my own plans and set my own goals. I prayed, but most often when things were not going well. I was never taught to read the Bible. At fifty years old, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. When I started putting Him first, my life changed dramatically. He opened my eyes and showed me that by being like Martha, I had made my life a lot harder than it had to be. Now I spend time daily with the Lord studying the Bible and praying to discover His will for my life. From the new insights I have gained, I would like to share these positive pointers with you, hoping that they may help you avoid some of the emptiness and stress I experienced: Enjoy each day. Don't dwell on the past, especially the bad things that have happened. We all make mistakes, but rather than rehashing them, learn from them and try again. I wasted too many years "wishing" things had been different. Don't live for tomorrow. You may only have today. Make plans, but don't miss today "dreaming." Don't waste time concentrating on the future and miss the present. Don't set impossible goals. I did, and it was frustrating. You'll never be perfect--only God is perfect. Looking at ourselves that way helps us realize we fall short, but we're not inadequate. Don't worry about what other people think. Be yourself. I measured my worth by my performance. I felt convicted if my house and my five sons were not perfect. It never occurred to me that my self-worth comes from the Lord, not from my accomplishments. If I'm trying my best, that is perfection in God's eyes. It’s been thirty three years since I surrendered my life to the Lord. This has been a time of growth for me, both spiritually and emotionally. Like each of us, I still have ups and downs in my life, but with Jesus as my Counselor and Guide, I am more relaxed and no longer feel my former compulsion for perfection. God wants to simplify our lives. Why does it take us so long to accept His offer?

Homeless people are not always what society tries to compartmentalize them to be, and I would venture to say, you could have someone in close proximity to you in your neighborhood, church, or company and you may not even know that they are homeless. Homeless is the young woman who, although she has tried numerous times to find a job, has come out empty-handed and as a result, she lost her home and wasn’t able to maintain the bills. Homeless is the man who has had a mental issue for a long time and was receiving care from a local mental institution. When the institution was closed, it left him without the psychological and medical care he needed for stability of his mental faculties and a place to stay.

I’m Homeless, Do You See Me? by Jennifer Workman

Homeless is the veteran that has served his country faithfully for a plethora of years and was severally injured, who then returns home and is not able to get the necessary veterans assistance that he needs. There are so many different reasons that people find themselves homeless. I used these different examples to emphasize that things are not always what they appear to be, and you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Homelessness as we know it is epidemic. Wherever you go, you will see homeless people. The Bible clearly states that “the poor you will have with you always” (Matthew 26:11, NIV). Although that is quite evident, I wonder how many of us ever stop and think that no matter where these people may be currently in their lives, they are still very precious and valuable and “have been made in the similitude of God” (Genesis 1:27, NKJV). Yes, a God that is so loving and so kind that he looks beyond “outer appearance” and looks at the heart of every individual (I Samuel 16:7, NIV). That is why he loves homeless people as any other people. God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts rather than our outer extremities and that is why he sent his son to die on the cross for all of mankind (John 3:16, NKJV). So, what is it that you see when you see homeless people?

Many people hear of the stories of successful people like Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry and how they were homeless at one time, and it almost seems unbelievable but it is true, they were homeless! And like them, there are many people who are battling with homelessness every day. I have also been homeless at one time in my life, and I know what it feels like so I can sympathize with the plight of homeless people. Life isn’t easy and we can experience difficulties that shake us to the core, but even in the midst of our trials, God is in control. He knows where we are, He knows our condition, and He has never left our side. He promises in his Word that “he will never leave us nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV). The Bible also tells not to “lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19, NKJV).”

Circumstances change, and people change, but God never changes! I want to encourage someone today that you are not alone in your struggle. There are many people all around this world that feel the way that you do, have the unanswered questions that you have, and my response to them and to you is to bring it all to Jesus. God is the only one that knows how to handle your situation for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1, NKJV).

So, homeless person, If you want to know if God sees you; drug dealer, if you want to know if God sees you; single mother, if you want to know if God sees you . . . he does, for the Bible states that “he never slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalms 121:4, NIV). God cares, and if you seek him for the direction of your life and humble yourself before him, he will give you “abundant life” (John 10:10, NKJV). Blessings to all of you out there in the struggle of life, you will break through in Jesus name!

Test Your Brain Power! Fun Puzzles by Beth Brubaker

New Math Puzzle Answer Key

Hink Pinks Puzzle Answer Key

Picked Last but Chosen First by Sharon L. Patterson Through the years, I grew so accustomed to being picked last that I held little hope of any other outcome. Often, my emotions told me to sit far away from the front-but my spirit said, “Sit close to the front and glean every bit of wisdom you can.” That became my practice whether in class at school, at choir practice at church, or in an event conference.

The one area where I felt significant was in my spiritual life. There was no need for competition and there were no assessment of skills. I loved learning about the Bible and Christian autobiographies consumed many of my leisure hours. I was inspired to pattern my faith after the simple active faith the lives I read about demonstrated.

Those venues weren’t as hard because not too many fellow classmates liked to sit up front. Choir members weren’t that particular either. If you happened to get to the conference early, you could always get a close seat to the front.

Years of adversity did not diminish my fervor but rather activated greater growth and trust in the Savior I walked down the church aisle to accept at age eleven. A profound understanding emerged from the many characters I loved to read about in my Bible studies. Certain ones, like David and Joseph, mirrored a common message: they might be picked last or late by their family, friends or those in authority, but God had chosen them first…sometimes to be last in order to develop their character and strengthen their faith.

But when it came time for the volleyball team to choose participants for its side in P.E class, it did not matter where I sat, I was always picked last. I compensated with self-deprecating humor. When my first-grade teacher read the story of the tortoise and the hare, there was no guessing which one applied to me. I knew my skill sets left much to be desired but still, I tried as hard as anyone. I was not without talent. My loves included drawing and singing. No one seemed to dislike my personality. As a matter of fact, my classmates respected me for my good grades. Little did anyone know how hard I had to study. It was necessary for learning did not come as easy to me as it did to others. I developed a study style that was persistent and consistent. The results were rewarding over the long haul: I graduated salutatorian of my high school class. Others found it was easy to share their personal problems with me. I might not be in the inner social circle of the popular kids, but I was one they would turn to when they wanted to talk over problems. I loved people whether they were popular or unknown. I had a great deal of mercy for everyone except myself. Every now and then, my gym team selected me to be captain because they knew I did not have to have a significant position on the team: I could cheer my teammates from the sidelines. I was their loudest encourager.

When God told the prophet Samuel to go to Jesse’s house and anoint the next king of Israel, he brought out his seven strong sons and left the youngest, David, out in the field to attend the sheep. Yet, he is exactly who God had picked above the other seven brothers. He was the last to be picked but the first to be chosen. Joseph’s brothers hated what they considered the arrogant dreams of their youngest brother. They also held contempt and jealousy for the favoritism their father showered on him. They eliminated him from the family, lied to their father that he had been killed when actually they sold him to a traveling caravan of traders headed to Egypt. But years later after great dismissal, unfair treatment, unjust situations, the forgotten innocent prisoner, forgotten in the pit of prison, was chosen to be the first foreigner to be second in command to pharaoh himself. Today, after many years of lay ministry tempered by my own journey that has, at times, resembled those of the characters I have loved, I have learned to trust God’s way. Like them, my discovery of the treasures of “picked last, but chosen first” continue to yield patience and understanding that could have been gained in no other way.

Your Book From: God by DaPorscha Rufus

366 Days of Inspiration, Spiritual Guidance, Anointed Prayers, and Heartfelt Poetry Are you seeking inspiration and purpose in your life, but don't know where to look? Everyday choices, obstacles, and heartbreaks can seem insurmountable without any help. God is calling you to rise above your struggles and put your trust in Him-but where do you start? In her moving devotional, DaPorscha Rufus shares honest advice cultivated from various sources of inspiration. Including everything from popular culture to key verses from the Bible, Your Book From: God provides powerful motivation for every day of the year. Each day's entry holds new spiritual guidance, prayers, or poetry, along with applicable advice to change your life. Short, direct, and powerful, even the busiest people will find the time to worship God with this devotional. To see true change in your life, you must live intentionally. You must believe in God's promises to you, and use them as the tools to chip away the doubt that will reveal His path for you. He is here to help you make the hard choices in life, and to build the future you want to see. Your Book From: God will illuminate His Word for you each day for an entire year, making sure this is your year of transformation." Your Book From: God by DaPorscha Rufus is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

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.

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

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 and

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. and

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:

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 or contact her by "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

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 By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at or

Judith Vander Wege, I’m a Christian Writer, Composer, Bible Study Leader, child of God and follower of Jesus Christ. I've had nearly 300 short manuscripts published in such magazines as The Quiet Hour, ALCW Scope, Standard’s Devotions, Aglow, Evangel, Foursquare World Advance, Live, Power for Living, Vision, The Lutheran, Upper Room, Light From the Word, and Columbia Basin Herald. You can read more of my bio on my web site's "about" page at or .com. I have a Facebook page at

Cassidy Burdge is the Christian Prepster, a high school student living the Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. She has a deep love for sharing Christ through her writing and blogging, and she is excited to be part of Ruby Magazine. Cassidy blogs about anything from Biblical teachings to book reviews. You can connect with Cassidy on her blog, The Christian Prepster at

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

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 or

Suzane Avadiar is a freelance writer, cat-lover and avid traveler. Over the last 16 years, she has written extensively for various publications and companies in the global marketplace. Writing is not only her full-time job but also her passion and instrument of worship. She now writes solely about her faith and has a deep desire to reveal the heart of God through her writings. Suzane writes daily devotions on social media for her church, C3 Subang and is currently completing her first book, Sent to Journey - a Devotional for Travelers. She blogs at and resides in Malaysia.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications - August 2016).

Ifeoma Samuel, happily married to her sweetheart Obiora Samuel, is an author, a blogger and an occasional Speaker. She enjoys using her writings to share everyday life stories about God’s immense love. Her book “My 30 Days Journey To a Fulfilled Life” and her latest book “Overcome Failure; Get Back on Your Feet” both available on Amazon. You can find her writing regularly over at her blog Purposeful and Meaningful or visit on Facebook, Pinterest or Youtube.

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.

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

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.

Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the Ruby for Women Magazine ( since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna's political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.

Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her at

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: and her blog:, or come for a visit on Facebook.

Katherine Corrigan I’m the tea drinker, recipe creator, artist, designer, diy’er , shop owner, photographer, friend maker and hug giver at Katherine’s Corner. I am an open minded and spiritual person who strives to always maintain a positive attitude and greet each new day with grace, dignity and gratitude. I am a child of God. I believe love makes a family. I believe there are angels on earth (my Mother is one.) I am proud to be a contributing writer and photographer for the Ruby for Women Christian women’s magazine. Visit me on my blog at Katherine’s Corner.

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.”

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 or email her at

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

Until next time!

RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife

March 2017 ruby  

The March 2017 issue of RUBY magazine features recipes, short stories, poems, book reviews, and inspirational articles that celebrate faith,...

March 2017 ruby  

The March 2017 issue of RUBY magazine features recipes, short stories, poems, book reviews, and inspirational articles that celebrate faith,...