Special EASTER issue! From the Back of the Crowd by Lesley Crawford
Love’s Sacrificial Mindset by Carol Hind
Special Easter WhenRecipes a Mother Might be from Marilyn’s Treats
Hard to Love When Do I
by Paula McVay
Most Honorable Crown by Rejetta Morse
Stop Praying? by Paula McVay
Leaning Spruce Lesson Love in Bloom by Jane Hoppe
by Pat Jeanne Davis
The Invitations: Finding Him Where I Am A Special Bible Study by Suzane Avadiar When Jesus says “Come” by Ifeoma Samuel
Ruby Magazine Your voice, your story MAY, 2017 www.rubyforwomen.com
In This Issue of Ruby Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes from Marilyn’s Treats
The month of May holds so many promises for the days ahead! We celebrate all of the women in our lives on Mother’s Day, and look forward to planting gardens. Here at RUBY magazine we invite you to share the joy and beauty of springtime with your friends and family. 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 email@example.com Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of RUBY magazine at http://www,rubyforwomen.com Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Joan Leotta, Rejetta Morse, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Norma C. Mezoe, Marilyn Lesniak, Thea Williams, Suzane Avadiar, Michele Morin, Pat Jeanne Davis, Frances Gregory Pasch, Shara Bueler-Repka, Paula McVay, Lesley Crawford, Carol Hind, Karis Waller, Jennifer Workman, Cindy Evans, Lucy Adams, Lynn Mosher, Sharmelle Olson, Jane Hoppe, Katie Robles, Breana Curtis, Linda M. Crate, Judith Vander Wege, Gloria Doty, Deb Ilardi
“Let there be Peace on Earth” by Jill Jackson Hymn Stories by Lucy Adams
Finding Your Life Verse May is the first part of “may-be” by Joan Leotta
Finding a Way Ahead! Spiritual signposts to healing and wholeness by Angela Harper
Fun Family Crafts on a Budget with Breana Curtis
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Questions? Email Nina @ email@example.com RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
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My Days of Uncertainty by Nina Newton, Sr. Editor This past month has been difficult for our family. I have often thought that there ought to be a law against mamas getting sick . . . because when mama is sick, the whole family suffers. Oh, not so much because mamas whine and complain when they are sick, but because NOTHING gets done. NOTHING. Eventually the family realizes that mama actually does do something all day long when they are at work and school. My little family is really pretty good about helping out with dishes, laundry, cooking, and shopping all the time, but it is usually with a heavy dose of direction from mama. Of course, they don’t seem to mind if there are dishes piled in the kitchen sink – they just grab a dish and wash it before they use it. Then right back in the sink of dirty dishes it goes until next time. The piles of dirty clothes do become a bit of a problem, enough so that even when I have to stagger to the laundry room and throw in a load of underwear and jeans, I somehow manage to get the clothes clean. But that’s the end of that! Piles of clean laundry are draped over the furniture and my girls happily dig through the piles until they find what they want to wear for the day. Wrinkles and all. I used to think that it was possible to be THAT mom. You know, the one whose house is always sparkling clean and tidy. Most days I do pretty good. But not this past month. That’s when I begin to question God: “Are you really sure I’m supposed to be working on that magazine? You know it needs to be done in 10 days don’t you?” And then I worry. Great, right? That helped. Not so much. Then this bronchitis got worse until I could barely walk, and my husband threatened to take me to the hospital. No! Take that annoying antibiotic and give it 24 hours. OK, starting to get better but barely able to function. I was rather discouraged, thinking perhaps I was going to be this miserable for the rest of my life. When the submissions came in for this month’s issue of RUBY magazine, I was so exhausted from being sick for so long that I just sat and read the words of my writers. Yes, you ARE “my” writers and I treasure your heartfelt words that you send me every month. Why were so many of the articles this month about “perseverance,” and “never give up” and “trust God even when you have no clue what’s going on”? Perhaps you all were truly writing just for me this time around; perhaps God gave you just the words that I needed to hear to keep going even in the midst of physical weakness and weariness. You, my friends, are the reason I got through my recent days of uncertainty. Thank you. You will never know how much you all mean to me.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
Footprints in the Mud: Sins vs. Virtues - Gluttony by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor
When God speaks of the seven deadly sins, both greed and gluttony are mentioned. Why is that? Aren’t they basically the same? Yes and no. Greed means to have an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food, whereas Gluttony is specific to food and drink. Why did God differentiate the two? Why not just say Greed and leave it at that? Because God gave us these bodies to house the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit needs a temple, not a condominium. Excessive drinking and eating is not what God wants for us, but it’s a choice we make, having free will. I’m more than guilty of committing this particular sin in the food department. God made everything taste so good, and since I’m an emotional eater, let’s just say my temple has undergone many, many expansions. I know others who’ve had issues with excessive drinking as well, and it’s not hard to see why God wants us to be moderate in our food and drink intake. Too much food and we put on weight, which makes it harder to perform tasks and is harder on our bodies. Too much drink and inhibitions go flying merrily out the window, not to mention your liver is not a happy camper. But how do you fight gluttony? The answer is temperance.
Self-indulgence isn’t about the indulgence; it’s about self. We like food. We like alcohol. God gave us taste buds for a reason- He wants us to enjoy His bounty! Just not so much that we’re a bunch of drunken Jabba-the-Hutts- and yes, I include myself in that description. What is moderation? It’s different for each person. An athletic person will need more food versus someone who is sedentary. Drinking one glass of wine during a meal is much different than hard liquor on an empty stomach. If you have liver issues, or a slow metabolism (I have hypothyroidism for instance), moderation will definitely differ- it’s up to you to find your moderation balance. Gluttony is a sin I face each day, and possibly one of the hardest sins for me. People can survive without alcohol, but no one can survive without food- so this is a sin that has to be controlled! I’ll be honest here - I have almost no self-control especially when I’m emotional. God and prayer have been the only rescuers when I’m drowning in gluttony. I’ve triumphed and backslid; I’ve lost, gained, and lost again. I’m still learning where my point of moderation is, and also learning to be patient with myself when I slip. I’ve learned to ask for help not just from God, but from those who care about me as well; and when I do, that’s when I start seeing positive results.
Temperance is self-controlling what you eat and drink. The biggest problem with temperance is the ‘self-controlling’ part. Or should I say the ‘self’ part.
When I stop asking for help and think I can do it all on my own, things go downhill quickly. Does this happen to you too? Never forget that God is always with you, and will send help if you just ask Him.
God gave us free will. He’s not going to sit there next to us and tell us to stop drinking, or to keep us from having seconds or thirds. We have to do that. Yes, God speaks into our ears and will whisper warnings, and yes, we can ask friends and family to help us, but when everything is said and done, it’s up to us to control ourselves - and that can be the hardest thing we’ve ever done.
Sin is never an easy thing to vanquish. Look at Adam and Eve- they ate something they shouldn’t have eaten and the entire world since then has gone higglety-pigglety! Maybe that’s why God made Gluttony a separate sin from Greed. If they had behaved themselves and not eaten that extra helping of forbidden fruit, we wouldn’t be in this mess!
Intentional Fruit: Patient Endurance by Mary Dolan Flaherty
I don’t have a lot of patience. I don’t wait well, and I don’t endure gracefully. I hear the words, “I don’t have patience for this!” come out of my mouth more times a day than I’d like. Usually, a string of words that are not fit for this holy magazine follow. Guilt and her twin Shame are quick to rescue me, and Grace is pushed aside, useless in her comfort. I’d rather wallow in my self-pity. I’m not worthy. I messed up again. Why don’t I have any patience? Why don’t you help me, God? Also known as forbearance, or patient endurance, this is the fourth fruit of the spirit. Perhaps these fruits are listed in no particular order…or maybe they are. I believe they’re connected. I have no Biblical evidence or documented research to back my theory. It’s just what I think. Don’t take my word. Test it for yourself. But here’s why I believe this: If I’m lacking patience, another fruit is most likely missing. Recently, my brand new coffeemaker decided to blow up pods, and I threw a hissy fit. The problem was I had company. Granted, it was family. Thank God. My mother laughed when she heard the string of profanity that followed and said I sounded just like my sister. But I’m supposed to be the Christian—the one who sets the example for Christ-like behavior. And I messed up. My husband came to my rescue and patiently (yes, I did use that word---he has what I lack) attempted to fix it. But it kept happening and each time it did, my anger grew. Everyone said they could live without coffee. It was a trivial thing, really. But it threw me. Why? Because I was exhausted. Because in my mind, I’d already failed at something earlier in the day, and I felt I failed again. Because everything in me has been off lately, and little things have been getting to me.
The joy I usually have has been missing, and I’m not sure where I left it. Peace like a river that I once experienced is attendeth-ing someone else’s way, making it well with their soul, while mine is struggling to understand just what’s going on. Sorrows like sea billows are rolling (although I’m not quite sure what sea billows are). The thing about fruit is that you usually don’t see just one apple on a tree, one cluster of grapes on a vine, one berry on a bush. If you do…well, it’s probably not a healthy source of fruit. If joy and peace are not active and low-hanging fruit, patience will be hard to attain. See, they’re all connected. But there’s one fruit that comes before them and is the foundation for all other fruit. Love. And I still have that. I may not act very loving right now, but I desperately cling to the love God offers me, knowing that even when I reject His offer of peace, joy, and patience, even when sorrows like sea billows are rolling through my life…it is still well with my soul. Love never ends, and is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:8 & 4). He’s a very patient God. I wish I were as patient with myself as He is with me. But as I live by the Spirit, I do my best to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25). I do my best. The desires of the flesh are constantly at war with the desires of the Spirit, and the flesh too often wins. I can allow guilt and shame to move in with me, or I can accept the grace God offers and move on. I cannot exhibit patience unless I accept the love of God that is patient with me. And so, I will wait. I will patiently endure the dark night of the soul, knowing that God’s got this. And I thank Him that the fruit of the Spirit never dries up—it’s always there, ripe and fresh. Kind of like God’s mercies—new every morning. Patient, loving, and kind.
Silent Praise of Spring by Rejetta Morse In dark silence dusk rises with spring â€“ while snow clouds carry winter far away. Earth wakens to a bright sunrise to bring colors of bright pastels for earth to display. New buds appear on bare trees as fresh green leaves start to grow upon cherry trees, and clothes their arms with blossoms that make a calm scene, while soft petals of pink fly as the wind blows. Trees wave their green fingers of leaves and raise their crowns with joy, as bulbs ascend and spread bright daffodils that glow with a great praise, and long necks of tulips rise from their beds. Sweet pollen flies as tender buds arrive while butterflies sail under golden rays. And God smiles as land transforms to revive â€“ and earth rejoices in a silent praise. For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. Song of Solomon 2:11
A New Way by Frances Gregory Pasch When I got up in the morning I never used to pray; I would go about my business and make plans for my day. I would rush around and hurry seeing how much I could do… thinking mostly of myself, depending on “me” to get through. But no matter how fast I hurried, nor even how hard I tried, I was always restless and anxious… I had an empty feeling inside. Then my son told me of Jesus and what He’d do for me. If I would give my life to Him, I’d find serenity. So no matter how busy my schedule is, I now start each day with a prayer and not only manage to finish my tasks, I even have time to spare.
From the Back of the Crowd by Lesley Crawford As the crowd jostled and pushed, attempting to get close to him, she stood at a distance. She watched them as they laughed and chatted, shouting greetings to one another across the busy street. She felt invisible. No-one welcomed her, or talked to her, or even glanced in her direction. It wasn't that she expected them to acknowledge her; she knew her place- standing at the back of the crowd, on the outside, looking in. She hated it, but she was resigned to it; it had been twelve long years since life had been different. Twelve years of sickness and suffering, of doctors and medicines, of hopes raised and dashed. Twelve years of being excluded and avoided and branded "unclean." Twelve years of wishing and praying, and hoping for a cure that would bring an end to her isolation. Twelve years of disappointment. And yet she wasn't quite ready to relinquish hope, because she knew that right there, in the centre of the crowd, was Jesus. She had heard stories of the amazing miracles he had done: turning water into wine at a wedding, healing leprosy, curing blindness, enabling a paralysed man to walk for the first time ever. Surely if anyone could help her, it was him. If only she could figure out how to get through the crowd to approach him. The thought terrified her. Surely someone would notice and send her back where she belonged. Even if she did get to Jesus, what would she say to him anyway? Why should he help her? And what if it didn't work? She had literally tried everything else - there was no other hope. She was distracted from her thoughts as the crowd suddenly parted and stood aside. A man made his way through to approach Jesus. He made it look easy. Well, it was easy for him. She recognized him. He was the leader of the local synagogue. Of course Jesus would have time for him. She could see that something was badly wrong though. The anguish was written all over his face as, close to tears, he fell to the ground before Jesus and pleaded with him: "Please come and help. My daughter is dying." Jesus' concern and compassion was evident as he helped the synagogue leader to his feet and set off with him, reassuring him that he would come to help. It was an expression of such love and tenderness that her mind was made up. She had to do this - there was nothing to lose. She had to find a way.
She knew there was no way she could walk up to Jesus like that - she wasn't important enough - but she knew he was powerful - really powerful. Maybe just getting close enough to touch his robe would be enough. She hurried along to catch up with Jesus as he strode through the town. Running along by the side of the crowd she overtook them all, until at last she was in line with Jesus. It was now or never. Before she could lose courage, she made her way through the people surrounding Jesus, she timidly reached out her hand, and she touched him... And everything changed. It came over her instantly- a feeling that she had almost forgotten. The bleeding that had plagued her for so many years had stopped and she was well! She could hardly believe it! She was clean at last! But something was wrong. Jesus had stopped. He turned to the crowd. â€œWho touched my robe?â€? Silence... At first she thought she might get away with it. One of his disciples tried to persuade him that someone had just brushed against him by accident. It was perfectly possible with the huge crowd pushing and trying to get close. But Jesus waited- he knew that it had been deliberate. Now she wished she was invisible. She tried to blend into the crowd. What if Jesus was angry that she had touched him? What would the people say? She could feel herself shaking with fear. Her heart was pounding and it felt like every eye was upon her as she finally stepped to the front of the crowd and fell, trembling, at Jesus' feet. The words came out in barely a whisper: "I touched you. I wanted you to heal me." She stared at the ground as she waited for his response. She had no idea what to expect. But then gentle hands lifted her head and as she looked into his eyes, she could see only kindness. He smiled at her. "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace." And as instantly as the sickness had left her, the shame departed. No longer an outcast at the back of the crowd, but someone loved and valued by Jesus. No longer "unclean" but "daughter". Thanking him, she rose to her feet and she went, in peace. (based on Luke 8:40-48)
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to treat mom. And my favorite meal is brunch! But that doesn’t have to mean heading to a restaurant. Fill your home buffet table with a variety and foods that can stand up to the heat of a chafing dish. Remember to feed the eye first by arranging the food attractively on platters set at different heights, alternating colors and garnishing. Your guests will think you had the party catered! Offer fruit juices, hot and cold beverages, milk for the kiddies, a coffee or tea bar and you’ve got it made. Try these easy recipes at home.
Gluten-Free, Nut-free Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream from Jackie at C.A.F.E. Polish Cucumbers in Sour Cream (Mizeria) from Barbara at The Spruce Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Topping from Marilyn at Marilyn’s Treats Polish St. Martin’s Day Croissants (Marcinki) from Barbara at The Spruce Apple Streusel French Toast Bake from Marilyn at Marilyn’s Treats Avocado Breakfast Bake from Marilyn at Marilyn’s Treats
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. Visit Marilyn’s Treats for links to all the other recipes in this collection.
Love’s Sacrificial Mindset by Carol Hind
A Disturbing Narrative There’s a story in the Bible, which grabs at my heartstrings whenever I read it. I’m troubled by the tragedy that unfolds, by the unnecessary waste of a young life, by the foolishness of a man’s vow, by the fact that our sovereign God did not intervene to save this young woman. I’m referring to the story of Jephthah’s daughter. Have you read it? If not, or should you need to refresh your memory, it can be found at Judges 11:29-40. In order for you to fully appreciate the message of this article, you will need to be familiar with this disturbing tale. A Devoted Daughter Now I’ve often heard about the special bond between a father and his daughter. It is not something to which I can relate, since I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my biological father. However, having walked with God for some years now, I believe I’m beginning to enjoy a similar bond with my Heavenly Father. There is no doubt in my mind that Jephthah’s daughter loved her father very much. She was obviously watching and waiting for this mighty man of valour to return home from war. As soon as she sees him, she runs out to meet him. She’s overjoyed at his safe return. She celebrates his triumph in customary fashion, with tambourines and dancing. Alas, her love and devotion for Jephthah becomes her undoing. Her love for her father costs her life. Now let’s apply this scenario to ourselves on a spiritual level. Do we love our Father God to the extent that it costs us our lives? I’m not referring to a literal death here. I’m referring to the demise of our old way of thinking and living, which runs counter to God’s commands, his word and his will. I’m referring to our constant challenge as believers.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Do we love God with ALL of our heart, soul and strength as He requires? Have we crucified our flesh with its affections, appetites and desires, as His word demands? (Deuteronomy 6:5; Galatians 5:24). Whilst I reflected on the various elements of this story, I wondered: where was Jephthah’s wife? I imagined her busy at home, tidying up, or preparing a special home-coming meal. And then I remembered Martha. Martha, who hadn’t chosen the ‘better part’. Martha, who became preoccupied with serving food instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Are we like this? Too busy with our personal business, or too busy ‘serving the Lord’ to sit at his feet, to make him a priority in our lives? If this is the case, may I remind you of Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:38-39? (See Amplified Bible). May I remind you that to be his disciples, we are required to lose our lower life (the life focused only on earthly quests and concerns) and pursue the higher (Godquality and spiritually focused) life?
Do we love our Father God to the extent that it costs us our lives? I’m not referring to a literal death here. I’m referring to the demise of our old way of thinking and living, which runs counter to God’s commands, his word and his will.
God’s Measure of True Love
Love’s Mature Outlook
Now, with regards to our relationship with the Lord, we learn from Revelation 3:16, that He prefers we are cold, rather than lukewarm. Fellow Christian writers and readers, let us not be deceived into thinking we are ok because we go to church, participate in Christian activities and believe in God. Don’t forget, the devils also believe! So let me ask you—are you guilty of loving God with your lips, whilst your lifestyle declares otherwise?
Moving on, I’d like to focus on another admirable quality of Jephthah’s loving daughter. She is not bitter with her father, or about her fate. How about you? Have your experiences of life caused you to become angry with God, resentful about your experiences and negative about your future?
Jesus revealed in no uncertain terms that there will be those who are convinced they are in the right place with God, working his works etc., but the Lord will turn to them and say: I never knew you; depart from me. And let’s not forget the five foolish virgins who found themselves shut out from the marriage feast, to whom the same damning words were spoken: I do not know you! Are we paying heed to these stark warnings? Do we take them seriously? The ‘S’ Factor! God requires an intimate knowledge of him. Relationship. Not words. Not unfulfilled intentions. It can be easy in this age of grace to become careless. To be like the prodigal son, to avail ourselves of the rich resources of God’s Kingdom (his love, forgiveness, grace) and squander them selfishly, without care or consideration for the high price paid for us to enjoy our inheritance. Wake up daughters of Zion! Wake up to the fact that the only life worth living is in our Father’s house, under his protection, submitted to his rules and regulations. Wake up to the fact that we have an enemy, who hates us, and seeks to deceive and destroy us 24/7. Those suggestions that we can take God’s resources and use them for our own ends, where do you think they emanate from? Satan of course! Embraced and endorsed by our selfish inclinations, by our own carnal appetites and agendas. We don’t even have to commit terrible sins. Just not be fruitful. Just not be concerned about the issues on God’s heart. Just be too busy with our personal dreams and desires to care about the needs of our neighbour, to participate meaningfully in the work of God’s kingdom, to fall on our knees and pray. Daughters of Zion, I speak to myself and I speak to you all – wake up!
Dear reader, I suffered many years of spiritual malaise because of wrong attitudes. I carried around in my heart an ever increasing record of offenses and was both inwardly and outwardly hostile towards those who hurt me. Yes, life can be unfair. However, spiritual maturity, faith and trust in our Father God, enables us to overcome and carry on with the right attitude.
Jephthah’s daughter called upon her friends and shared her sorrow. They mourned with her. Do you have good, genuine, spiritual friends whom you can call and depend upon when needed? Who will pray for, and support you if, or when things fall apart? Cultivate A Friendship Circle Jephthah’s daughter called upon her friends and shared her sorrow. They mourned with her. Do you have good, genuine, spiritual friends whom you can call and depend upon when needed? Who will pray for, and support you if, or when things fall apart? Now don’t be discouraged if you don’t have such supportive friendships. There’s always the help and counsel of the three Godhead members to fall back on. In fact, you should be pursuing close fellowship with them anyway. I believe your relationship with each (Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), is vital to your spiritual health and strength. Your relationship with them should not be superficial. But deep. Strong. Like Paul’s—so that you are convinced in your heart that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.
The Heroine’s Finale As mentioned at the beginning, the story of Jephthah’s daughter always tugs at my heart. I usually take issue with God about it. Why did he allow her to die? It seems so harsh and unfair. I’ve never really gotten an answer. However, I do acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than my thoughts and ways. We are not qualified to judge. Yet isn’t this how we can feel about the things we face in our own lives sometimes—about that false accusation, that persecution, that sudden catastrophe? Unfair!
Jephthah’s daughter may have lost her life but she made history. God saw to it that she was inscribed within the pages of the Book of books. There are those seeking to make history, to make a name for themselves, to make it according to worldly standards but in doing so, lose their own lives—whether literally, mentally, or spiritually. Dear readers, let’s make sure we aren’t so foolish as to gain the whole world, yet lose our own soul. Let’s remember we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. Let’s ensure that when all is done and dusted, our names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Visit Carol at Women of Warfare or Purpose Driven Achiever to read more of her inspirational and thought-provoking articles.
Home by Karis Waller “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.” Micah 4:4
My fig tree is His voice. His crisp love, those fluttering paper wings, the Word that glides between my fingertips nestles into my heart. Every inkling is savored in my spirit. Succulent verses. Crack open its dark covers and reap the blood red harvest. His joy for our transgressionsagony mingled with triumph as He tenderly transcribes His affections. A feast under a fig tree for a lost soul like me.
Double Numbers Puzzle by Beth Brubaker The numbers in the circles are the total of the four adjacent squares. Using the numbers one through nine only once each, try to place the numbers so all totals add up correctly.
Down the Lane Puzzle by Beth Brubaker PUZZLE lazy ____
By changing one letter each time, change one word into another.
____ EXAMPLE ____ cat
____ ____ ____ work ANSWER KEY IN BACK OF MAGAZINE
Exhale, Enjoy Life, You Deserve It by Jennifer Workman “Oh, the hustle and bustle of Life.” From work, to children, to business to ministry and the list goes on and on! We are constantly bombarded with so many “cares of life,” that it is no wonder we usually “burn out’ or have exhausted all of our physical, mental and emotional faculties. It appears that there is never enough time in the day to accomplish all that is set before us. Before we can take a deep breath, the day has already passed and many things seemed to go “undone.” But Jesus himself knew the value of rest because he modeled it from the beginning. And on the seventh day God (ended) His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all of His work which He had done (Genesis 2:1, NKJV).” If our heavenly Father understands the value of relaxing mind, body and spirit after a tedious day, “why is it so hard for us?” We, in the busyness of life, miss out on many opportunities to enjoy life, exhale and otherwise because we don’t take time to do so. I am guilty of this myself. I am very busy with my profession, family, ministry and otherwise. I usually don’t take the time that I should to relax, even when it is available and then in the process I am very stressed because of it and I don’t blame anyone but myself! We all need to understand the significance of exhaling and enjoying life because we all deserve it. We don’t have to exhaust all of our energies on things in the long run that are not going to matter. What seems more plausible and appropriate to focus on at the moment, is the time that we spend with family and the opportunities we have to make a difference in other people’s lives for the better. Because, when it is all “said and done,” and life has ceased its course, what is really going to make a difference is not how much wealth we have created, our accolades, houses, cars or monies accumulated, but what we have “done under the sun” and I hope in the overall scheme of things that was to love others, and exhale and enjoy life to the fullest!
Walking the Aisle with Mom by Norma C. Mezoe Her children arise and call her blessed…. Proverbs 31:28 (NIV) When I was very small, a caring woman took me to Sunday School . As I became an older youth and then a teenager, I walked to a church in my neighborhood. I walked alone because my parents were not Christians nor did they attend a church. Mom was invited to attend a revival at the church I was attending and she and I went together. At the age of fifteen I was being led to accept Jesus Christ into my life, but I was too shy to walk the aisle by myself to make that decision public. On the second night of the revival, as the congregation sang “Softly and Tenderly”, Mom told me she was going forward. I remember wanting to go also, but that long aisle ahead seemed to stretch forever. I tried to talk Mom into waiting until the final verse, but she wouldn’t wait. So, I walked the aisle with Mom and we made our decision known together. Mom and I were baptized on the same day and we never regretted making that all-important decision. Mom’s road as a Christian was not a smooth one because my father wouldn’t attend services and he even denied God’s existence. Still, for as long as she was physically able, Mom faithfully attended services. I would have eventually had the courage to walk that long aisle, but with Mom at my side, I did it at an earlier age. Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for giving me a mother who chose you to be her Lord. I pray for mothers who do not know you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
When I was eight years old, Mother and Daddy seemed to finally make some progress in their relationship, and we four children enjoyed a little sense of peace and delight as we welcomed a new baby brother. Our family seemed almost normal until my dad, only thirty-five years old, was killed in a trucking accident. My mother had a complete breakdown and we five children were sent to live with my maternal grandmother in Arizona. A year later, Mother seemed to get things together and we moved back to Texas where she bought a little home. Again my older brother and sister were expected to do all the chores and as they became teenagers, they secured jobs at small restaurants.
As a little girl of five or six, I remember hearing my mother scream and throw things at my older brother and sister as my middle sister and I hid in the bedroom or the garage. When my truck-driver dad came home, he also became the victim of my mother’s wrath. Now that I am older, I realize that she needed help that was not always available in those days. With her being reared in a broken home, grossly overindulged because of her beauty, she found herself pregnant at fifteen. She and my dad were married and had to move in with my daddy’s parents. My well-meaning and hardworking grandmother tried to rein her in which exacerbated my mother’s temper and distress. By the time my mother was twenty-two years of age, she had given birth to four children. We moved into a little one- bedroom home where my oldest sister was given the responsibility of nearly all the housework. Since she was much like my wonderful grandmother, my mother would call her names and often verbally and physically abuse her. I remember one occasion when my sister, age eight or nine, was washing the piles of dishes for our family of six. Mother found some food on one of the plates and sent it crashing to the floor with a flood of negative comments such as “Why can’t you even do this right? You are so much like your grandmother.” In later years, we realized what a good thing that was.
Unfortunately, Mother made them give their earnings to us younger children to pay for our lunches. I remember wishing that I did not have to take it. I could not figure out why my mother did that when my daddy had left some money for us and Mother had gone back to school to become a nurse. During my high school years, I did all I could to avoid being home. By this time, of course, my older brother and sister had left home; my sister married and my brother went into the Navy. Mother had remarried and given birth to another son. I would rush home from school, clean the house, cook dinner for the family, and make sure my two younger brothers did homework and had their baths. After completing my chores, I would leave for a school or church activity. Even though Mother verbally abused me, I was protected from any physical abuse. I am so thankful that she sent us to church because there I found people who were kind and loving. At age twelve, I accepted Christ as my savior and continually read my Bible for direction and strength. When I read the scripture “Honor your father and mother that your days may be long,” (Exodus 20: 12), God seemed to speak to me, letting me know that the scripture did not say to honor my parents only if they were kind and loving. He gave me another lifelong verse, “His grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor. 12:9). I surely could not show love and compassion and be patient with my younger brothers without His help.
That year at teen camp, I made a full surrender of my life and asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit. When I went back home, I had a new peace and was able to cope and feel a deep down joy and peace and yes, definitely a love for my mother. After graduation, I left to attend a Christian college which made Mother extremely upset, since I would not be there to do the housework and care for my younger brothers. I began to pray diligently, sent cards and called her regularly even though she did not respond or help me with any of my tuition or other needs. Mother did begin to write and call as my step-father became ill. Again, God gave me such compassion for her and with His strength, I was able to fly with my step-dad to Houston, Texas where he was to receive a heart transplant. During that time, I had the wonderful privilege of leading him into a deeper spiritual life. He was truly at peace and ready to meet his maker a few days later. My husband and I helped with the funeral and business matters for my mother even though she had a difficult time trusting that we were not trying to take her money. In a few years, she lost all her money due to prescription drugs and alcohol. Again, God helped us to take care of the business she owned, sell her home, and have her come to live close to us. Taking care of her from ‘afar’ was one thing, but this was overwhelming. We often rescued her from harming herself and others until we had to place her in a nursing home. This was heart breaking because she was only sixtysix years old. God gave me strength and a love that was truly of Him. My two younger boys would go with me to visit, and on one trip home the younger said, “Mommy, why are you so nice to your mom when she is so mean to you?” I was able to explain how much God loves us and cares for us and that is why I can love my mom. I asked them to help pray that Gramma would come to know Jesus and be at peace. Mother did begin to write and call as my step-father became ill. Again, God gave me such compassion for her and with His strength, I was able to fly with my step-dad to Houston, Texas where he was to receive a heart transplant.
During that time, I had the wonderful privilege of leading him into a deeper spiritual life. He was truly at peace and ready to meet his maker a few days later. My husband and I helped with the funeral and business matters for my mother even though she had a difficult time trusting that we were not trying to take her money. In a few years, she lost all her money due to prescription drugs and alcohol. Again, God helped us to take care of the business she owned, sell her home, and have her come to live close to us. Taking care of her from ‘afar’ was one thing, but this was overwhelming.
“My two younger boys would go with me to visit, and on one trip home the younger said, “Mommy, why are you so nice to your mom when she is so mean to you?” I was able to explain how much God loves us and cares for us and that is why I can love my mom. I asked them to help pray that Gramma would come to know Jesus and be at peace.” We often rescued her from harming herself and others until we had to place her in a nursing home. This was heart breaking because she was only sixty-six years old. God gave me strength and a love that was truly of Him. My two younger boys would go with me to visit, and on one trip home the younger said, “Mommy, why are you so nice to your mom when she is so mean to you?” I was able to explain how much God loves us and cares for us and that is why I can love my mom. I asked them to help pray that Gramma would come to know Jesus and be at peace. One of the lay people in our church faithfully visited my mother and prayed with her on a regular basis. She told me that I needed to show my love by touching my mother. My friend would take my little eighty-eight pound mother in her arms and tell her how much she loved her and how much God loved her.
I had often told Mother that I loved her and had done my best to show her; however, the tough thing was the answer. Isn’t God amazing to show us His plan? Mother began to respond and as my friend presented the plan of salvation, Mother accepted Jesus as her Savior. A complete transformation was evident. When I would walk into the room, she would lift her hand to me and ask, “How can you love me and be so good to me when I have been so mean to you?” Of course I was able to tell her about God’s grace and strength. That He loved me and had given me glorious freedom which I wanted to share with her. She asked my husband to serve communion for her. Here was a woman who had hardly spoken for months, was antagonistic to workers in the nursing home and to us, now truly understanding how God had touched her.
Her countenance was no longer angry; she spoke clearly and was excited about going to New York with us, where we had been called to serve in another church. She was even making jokes about eating lobster there. We were to go on to New York to make all the arrangements; however, she passed away a few weeks later from lung failure. She did not make it to New York, but I’m confident she made it to Heaven. There she will know that love is not based on how we are treated, but on God’s grace and mercy. Romans 5: 8 tells us, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, it was hard to love her at times (or maybe I should say ‘like’ her), but God’s grace has truly been sufficient. Praise Him for His unspeakable gifts! Exodus l5:11 tells us, “There are no gods like you. You are wonderfully holy, amazingly powerful, a worker of miracles!”
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Mothers are a Special Gift by Frances Gregory Pasch Mothers are a special gift from God to you and me. They love us and they care for us and give security. So on this day we thank them for all the things they do. We ask the Lord to bless them and we tell them, “I love you.”
El Roi by Cindy Evans "She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13, NIV
You are the God who sees me, even when others misunderstand. You are the God who is watching and knows my heart and plans. Even when others misjudge or don't see my intentions, I can take comfort in knowing I am in Your vision. Others may never know my efforts and energies but I can rest and trust for You are the God who sees.
My Opinion Doesn't Mean a Flyin' Flip by Shara Bueler-Repka
"Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day”— Psalm 25:4-5. When I was a kid, one of my jobs was to pull weeds. And, boy, did we have a lot of them! I think every species of weed God ever created lived on our place. Some of them pulled up quite easily. (I liked that kind.) Others just needed a little tug. But there were those that rose triumphantly out of their hard soil, defiantly challenging me to give it my best shot. I think they were called mustard weeds. They hated me as much as I hated them—their pretty little yellow flowers belying what they truly were! These kept me from what I really wanted to do—ride my horse, swim in the pool, play in the stream—the good life! So, I set about devising ways to quickly unearth them from their resistant soil. My first introduction to this ominous task was a comical one indeed. I grabbed a hold of the top of the weed and pulled with everything I had, putting my whole body weight into it (which wasn't much at eightyears-old). Suddenly the little flowers, stems and all, gave way and rifted through my fingers like a slick rope, sending me sprawling on my backside. Flopped on my fanny in the dirt, I opened my hand. Yellow petal remnants and green stems were all I had to show for my labor. Undaunted, I figured I'd get a little smarter. I know what I'll do. I'll grab a little closer to the root! The process repeated itself, only with more grunting and growling. This particular process, however, yielded less "fruit" than the previous one—the stems and flowers didn't even come off. Desperate now, I chose the next trick up my sleeve (albeit a devious one). I'll just whack off the top of that thing with a hoe—close enough to the ground so you can barely see it. (OK, well, then kick dirt over the top to really cover it). I quickly found out, however, there could be another type of pain in my backside if I didn't cease and desist this practice. (Yeah, my dad's pretty smart!)
Stumped as to a resolution and mad on top of that, I stormed to my dad (really it was more like whining to my dad) and explained how those stupid weeds could NOT be pulled out! My dad (God love him) probably chuckled inside, but he never let it show. He knew exactly how to get those weeds out. In fact, it was so simple and easy it took no time at all. The solution? Water. We soaked the ground around the root and, little by little, the water saturated the dirt. I then grabbed the weed by the base and pulled it up and out with relative ease. As I thought about my childhood weed escapades, I reflected on my life and the decisions I had made regarding the "weeds of life." Oh, how I wish I would have asked the Lord His opinion in my situations—His wisdom—instead of running off with my own brilliant conclusions. Many times I whacked off the top of the problem, but didn’t get to the root of what caused it. And, of course in time, the issue (head of the weed) came up again because the root was still there. (Proverbs 14:12; Isaiah 48:17; Hebrews 10:19-23) As I contemplated the water solution to those mustard weeds, I remembered the verse in Ephesians 5 where God says He "cleanses us with the washing of water by the Word." As I read the Bible and allow His words to saturate my soul, I'm finding that the hard places in my heart are being softened. (Ephesians 5:25-27) I've also discovered the reason I wanted to make my own decisions—I had a trust issue. This issue was the head of the "weed." And the root of that weed? Fear. I finally understood 1 John 4:18 and "perfect love casts out fear." I'm learning the more I focus on my relationship with Him (reading His Word, letting His Spirit guide my thoughts, talking to Him and asking Him questions, etc.), the more my trust in Him builds. That trust is developing into love for Him and a revelation of His perfect love—His unconditional love. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Lamentations 3:24-25) Day by day, I'm letting my opinion get lost in His. Contrary roots are disappearing, setting me free, and bringing His amazing peace—the good life. (Galatians 5:1)
â€œLet there be Peace on Earthâ€? by Jill Jackson Hymn Stories by Lucy Adams Our troubled world longs for peace. We are bombarded with reports of violence in towns and homes. Our hearts are broken and we ask, "What can I do about it?" Often there are wonderful meetings of peace-loving people who join their hearts and prayers to understand this deep need. I praise God for them.
But what of the people who can't attend these gatherings? All of us need encouragement and hope for peace in our troubled world. At times, the best that can happen is that each individual seeks peace in his or her troubled heart. This is what happened to an amazing woman of faith some years ago.
Songwriter Jill Jackson wrote her answer to that question in the song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth." As she wrote the phrase, "Let peace begin with me," that was her personal solution, regardless of the world situation. Those words are the theme for the entire song. Jackson wrote her thoughts in poetic form in 1955. She had just come through severe depression and had tried to take her own life. Through months of recovery, she found a new purpose for living. It came while listening to a sermon on radio. The preacher's text was based on John 14:27 in which Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you." Jackson's heart responded to the invitation to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. In her weakened condition, she said, "If I live, I will put my life completely in God's hands. If I live, it will not be as the self-absorbed and tormented woman I have become. I will try to be a window glass through which the light can shine." God's light shone in power as she wrote the words about her own desire for inner peace which she prayed would spread into the world. The lilting melody was composed by her husband, Sy Miller, who worked for Jan-Lee Music in California. In the 1960s, it was chosen as the theme song for UNICEF. Its popularity carried it throughout the world. All ages and nationalities joined in deeper bonds of unity each time it was performed. We, too are filled with hope as we sing, "Let There Be Peace On Earth." Our longing for peace is matched by our memory of God's promise in Psalm 29:11, "The Lord will bless His people with peace."
Jill Jackson and Sy Miller, circa 1956
My mother was exceedingly proud of her ancestry, which boasted two aristocratic English families whose roots went back to the Mayflower. My father, less than impressed with her credentials, once wryly referred to Mom's genealogy as her "family twig." I received as a Christmas gift a calendar Bible, and as I ingest my daily helpings of God's Word, I've been struck by God's choice of flawed vessels to bring His Son into the world. For example…
Pedigree of a Savior by Thea Williams
Did you know that Jesus's distinguished lineage included Jacob, who connived his way through life, lying to his ailing father and alienating his only brother? Also among our Savior's illustrious ancestors was Perez, the illegitimate offspring of Jacob's son Judah, whom he conceived with his widowed daughter-in-law when she was posing as a prostitute. Peyton Place, anyone? And let's not forget David, the man after God's own heart, whose illicit union with Bathsheba resulted in the murder of an innocent man in one of the most shocking cover-ups recorded in God's Word. These two adulterers later produced Christ's ancestor Solomon, whose liaisons with foreign women led the wisest king who ever lived into idolatry and compromise that besmirched his throne and ultimately divided his kingdom. These are the some of the juicier tidbits in Jesus's history. From a humble beginnings standpoint, Christ descended from Leah, Jacob's unloved wife, who played second fiddle to her beautiful sister Rachel, and had to be pawned off on unsuspecting Jacob through her father's trickery. God's Son could also claim in His list of relatives Rahab, a member of the world's oldest profession, and her daughter-in-law Ruth, whose widowed status forced her to beg scraps and marital protection from a stranger. Truth really is stranger than fiction. I can only conclude that Philippians 2:8 (“And being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross”) is the understatement of the century – no, the millennium. Better yet, the entire stage of human history. Christ's heritage, culminating in His birth to an unmarried teenager who just barely escaped being left at the altar on the strength of a dream given her disgraced fiancé, better qualified Him to land a role in As the World Turns than to head up the divine church. And yet, this family tree was carefully, painstakingly constructed by none other than God Himself to serve as the vehicle by which He would introduce freedom to handcuffed humanity. How fitting that the Son of God, who descended from such “colorful” ancestors, chose to grow up in an obscure town which His peers held in contempt. John 1:46 states that the thinking of Jesus’ day was “Can anything good come out of [Jesus’ home town] Nazareth?” Apparently, something good could – and did – come out of this humble, despised city. Kind of gives you hope for the rest of us, doesn't it?
Life Lessons I Learned from My Mother *also 15 Lessons I Learned from My Mother by Lynn Mosher My mother was a lady, through and through. Gentle, caring, giving. I think I once heard her use a curse word. But I’m not sure. I never heard her speak unkindly of another person or to another person. And I never heard her get mad at my dad. Well, she did fuss a little under her breath when he frustrated her. If my parents ever argued, it must have been behind closed doors and done softly, because I never heard them. However, they did love to call each other names: my mom called my dad Hammerhead and my dad called my mom Beetlebrain! But it was said with affection. I know, few homes exist like this. Most children have to endure arguments, even outright physical fights and abuse, name calling, and put downs. It breaks my heart that children cannot enjoy their childhood. Hopefully, if you live in a household like this, you will not pass these things along to your children. What my mother taught me, I’ve passed on, well, tried to pass on, to my children. *Personal applications... *How to be a lady *How to be a giver *How to be kind and loving to everyone; ready with a hug for all. *If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all! *Don’t tell everything you know; things said in the family stay in the family. *Odds and ends in general... *How to wrap a gift *How to set the table *Clothes are not that important *How to make my surroundings pleasing *How not to eat coffee grounds because someone will always come to the door! *Family and faith... *Family is most important *Husband comes before children *The Lord comes first above husband and everything else *Church is important but not as important as a relationship with the Lord *Faith sustains it all! *A bonus lesson: the most important lesson of all that I learned from my mother...Love! Love the Lord, as Scripture says, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5 NKJV) And share that love with family and others. The disciple John wrote, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” (1 John 4:7-11 NLT) ~Even though you may not have learned these lessons from your mom, I pray special life lessons for you that you will pass along to your children...with love.
From His feet, Lynn
Spread Your Wings by Pat Jeanne Davis I sat on our front steps that afternoon and watched with some anxiety while my husband showed our son how to ride his bike. We were so happy with our five year old’s success. Later I watched him as he whizzed down the street, both arms in the air. “Look, Mom, I’m flying!” he shouted. “Be careful,” I told him. “Look out for pedestrians, and keep your helmet fastened.” Just yesterday, it seems, he was twelve months old and learning to walk. By the time he reached seven, Johnny was skating down the rough pavement in front of our home. By eleven he began playing hockey. It seemed at each turn in the road I would instruct him, “Be careful, Johnny. Keep your helmet fastened and your eyes on the other players.” Then at twelve, came skateboarding. By this time he wore braces on his teeth, and he had become more muscular and taller than his friends. As I observed him doing some basic moves on his board, again I warned, “Keep your helmet on! And remember, no jumping off high walls!” Time marches on. At sixteen, Johnny stands six-feet, two-inches and continues to mastered new skills. He has a part-time job and may decide to go away to college when he graduates from high school. Yet he really surprised me the other day when he announced, “Mom, I’m saving my money to take flight lessons this summer.” Why should that have surprised me? Since he turned ten, I’ve looked at pictures of aircraft plastered on every wall in his bedroom. Nevertheless, other sons fly—not mine! My husband John tries to reassure me. “Flying is safer than driving a car,” he said. So now Johnny’s a junior driver. I thought he should wait a little longer to start learning this new skill. But his dad says, “Johnny’s ready. He needs to spread his wings.” This morning, leaving the driveway with him in the driver’s seat, I’m confident he’ll be a careful driver—he had an excellent instructor in his father. But again I lean over to instruct, “Johnny, have you fastened your seat belt? Watch out for those other drivers!” As I look back over the past sixteen years since we brought Johnny into our home, I’m reminded of a time when my Heavenly Father nudged me to step out in faith and then to waited on Him. After years of infertility, my husband and I made the choice to pursue adoption as a means of gaining a family.
There were many disappointments over several years, but at last we were successful. I was forty-six when we adopted Johnny as a newborn. I knew next to nothing about being a mother, but I was willing and determined. I learned from daily experience with our little one. Johnny taught me how to feel like a parent for the first time. Now our family was complete—or so we thought. I came to realize that God had His own timetable for my life when fifteen months after Johnny’s adoption, I learned that I was pregnant at age forty-eight. How will I cope with two babies at my age and will he be healthy? I couldn’t help but wonder after the initial unbelief and astonishment subsided. My physician informed me that I was at high risk of giving birth to a child with a chromosome abnormality. But I knew we were meant to have this baby, too. I began to feel joy and wonder at the prospect. I declined to have an amniocentesis that might reveal any abnormalities. I had an uneventful pregnancy and Joshua was born just twenty-two months after Johnny came to us. There has never been another time when I felt closer to God as my Father and sensed His presence as during our son Johnny’s first year and during my pregnancy with Joshua. Today with God’s continual help, I’m meeting the challenges and triumphs of mothering. I find support and direction through reading God’s Word, Christian publications and programs and through my husband. Becoming a mom in my later years is a rewarding experience, and my faith in God has deepened as a result. Little by little, I’m learning to “let go”—to entrust Johnny and Joshua to God’s care. As I look forward to Johnny’s graduation and the challenges he’ll face, I recall Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” When it comes time for Johnny to take those flight lessons—to literally spread his wings—I’ll be ready. Watching as a proud mother, I can imagine myself saying, “Be careful. Fasten into your seat. Wear your harness.”
Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She enjoys gardening, genealogy research and travel. Her work appeared in Guideposts, The Lookout, Bible Advocate, Faith & Family, GRIT Magazine, Splickety Magazine, Sasee Magazine, RUBY Magazine, Woman Alive and Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She writes historical inspirational novels and represented by Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Visit her at www.patjeannedavis.com
Finding Your Life Verse May is the first part of “may-be” by Joan Leotta
Do you often wonder about God's plan for your talents? In the year before I became engaged, our church was deeply involved in a study of spiritual gifts and God-given talents. We were looking at how the two intersected and how they sometimes differed. Our pastor encouraged us to pray for a "life verse." As I recall, (and I do not claim my memory of his instructions or carrying out of the prayer exactly followed what he said), he told us to:
1. pray daily for guidance to a verse; 2. pray to find that verse in the course of our daily readings (not to flip around in the Bible like a game); 3. and to ask God for confirmation of the verse. I prayed and prayed. Days. Weeks. One morning, as I prayed in my bedroom in the house I shared with three girls from my Bible study, I was reading Psalms and the first verse from Psalm 45 jumped out at me: "My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer." The last line of the verse, "my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer" is the part of the verse I felt was my pointer from God for direction. I had always been praised for my writing. Yes, I was trained as a speaker and performer, but that did not really enter into my career in a big way at that time. However, I was sure it was the right promise for me and that I should work toward making it a reality in my life. I prayed for confirmation. More writing assignments at work came my way. I began to speak more in the church and worked on developing a bible study for women in the workplace. I already wrote a lot in my job. I had written fiction and poetry for many years, but rarely sent them out. In a few months, I began to date the man to whom I became engaged and to whom I have now been married for forty years (in October 2017!). We married and upon the birth of our first child, I stayed home and then, resigned from my office job. I wanted something to do that I could work at while keeping our daughter close. I began to write for local newspapers. Two years later, our son was born and I learned about story performance. God showed me that this was the other part of the verse, I would "write" with my tongue, literally! He made available to me a course at the Kennedy Center on structuring a story performance program. I took it and began to give volunteer story performances at our children's preschool. Then I "turned pro" and began to accept paid story performance assignments—at the same time, I was writing a column now for the local papers (Journal Newspapers and then the Burke Connection) on going places in the DC area with your children. Occasionally, my pieces appeared in the Washington Post, a wider circulation. As a story performer, I told at the White House Easter Egg Roll, almost all of the Smithsonian museums in DC, the Phillips Gallery and many smaller area museums in D.C., Baltimore and Richmond and many area schools and libraries. I loved the interaction with children.
Repeatedly God confirmed my direction. One day, when I had written an article for a children's magazine and was bemoaning (to myself) that I had not yet had any success in having one of my books for children picked up by a publisher, I got a phone call. It was from the magazine editor. She wanted to talk to me about the article—unheard of. Usually the editor would just email. I had written other things for her and we had developed a sort of friendship. After the business matter was settled, we began to chat and she said, "You are right where you should be." I don’t know what I had said that elicited that response, but I knew it was an answer from God. I did not have to worry about selling a book or doing the things that others thought might be "the way to build a career.”
What is your life verse? Have you prayed for God to give you one? Prayerfully committed yourself to finding it in your quiet time? Remember, it is not a slogan, or a mantra—it is God's word, and it will work IN you to change YOU as it guides you in HIS way.
My first job was my husband and my children, within the framework of the way our family operated. As for my talent, I truly felt that God used this young editor to confirm to me that I was on the right path, and that as far as career success went, I was exactly where He wanted me to be. I took great comfort in that. I continued to send my work out, revise it and sent it out again. I churned out a non-fiction book for children (as a work-for –hire with Scholastic), and a travel book, hundreds of articles in newspapers and magazines and four light romance –mystery books with Desert Breeze. A couple of children's magazines with good pedigrees published articles and or poems. But it was another fifteen years before I held my first published picture book, WHOOSH!, in my hands. I learned a lot by being a member of SCBWI. I learned a lot by continuing to read picture books and studying them for tips on style. I continued to perform in schools and other places, gleaning tips on what children (of various ages) liked from the way they responded to my performances. Still, now there is the problem of reaching readers! I try to fall back on my verse, looking for speaking engagements. My allergies prevent me from doing outdoor festivals. I live in a small rural area. But I know God has a plan. RUBY Magazine has been very generous in supporting me with ads. I have to trust that God has a plan—I am more and more convinced that writing for children is where God wants me—where there will be lasting benefit for His Kingdom. When I get discouraged, I refer back to my verse, and to all of the verses God has given us on perseverance, following His plan and not fearing the world as long as I rely on Him. What is your life verse? Have you prayed for God to give you one? Prayerfully committed yourself to finding it in your quiet time? Remember, it is not a slogan, or a mantra—it is God's word, and it will work IN you to change YOU as it guides you in HIS way. May you be blessed.
Heaven Sent Spring Blessings by Sharmelle Olson Heaven Sent Spring Blessings in parts of the world that have the season of Spring this time of year in great depth. May it become your place in your dream world that twirled, from Spring Blessings to bringing a new spring in your step. Heaven Sent Spring Blessings to us for a beautiful Spring day; that can bring so much to be delightful in many different ways. Which brings a spring in your step that makes you want to sing Will this work while being able to give the Spring Blessings away. Heaven sent Spring Blessings our way for us just to enjoy the beautiful weather and the beauty in all of the blossoms. We will bring the Spring Blessings to all of the hoi polloi; that love to work with the chrysanthemums. Heaven Sent Spring Blessings through lovely Angels that bring us a lot of pleasure in a spring balance. As we noticed our archangel with celestial hierarchy around a biblical palace. by Sharmelle Olson April 2017
celestial hierarchy ~ a traditional hierarchy of angels ranked from lowest to highest into the following nine orders: angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim. hoi polloi ~ Common People. chrysanthemums ~ The flower of any such plant.
Longing and Expecting by Sharon L. Patterson Longing…for the next step. Longing…for divine revelation of what is happening. Longing…for the light at the end of this tunnel. Longing…for the evidence of His glory. Longing…for the testimony He is writing from this present suffering. Expecting…He will make the way. Expecting…the Spirit of God’s understanding. Expecting…His presence in the tunnel Expecting…to bear evidence of His glory. Expecting…to share my testimony of His faithfulness in the suffering.
Granny by Norma C. Mezoe She was a skinny little woman, and when I first met her, she seemed old. I was eighteen, she was fifty-eight and soon to become my mother-in-law. I couldn’t find a name to call her that felt right, so when my first child was born two years later, it seemed natural to call my baby’s grandmother, “Granny.” Granny was there for me through the birth of my three children and also for two surgeries. She was a willing babysitter and an extra pair of hands when I needed help. The years raced by and my children had become adults. Unknown to me, my husband had been having an affair. One night he and the woman drove off together and Granny’s son was gone from my life. It was a while before I was able to visit Granny. With tears streaming down her leathery cheeks, she told me: “I didn’t think you’d come back to see me.” Granny died at the age of ninety. Twelve years earlier she had become a Christian. Someday, we’ll be together again. First Rights
Leaning Spruce Lesson by Jane Hoppe
I hear an elephant trumpet. A Cape buffalo bellows and grunts. A stampeding herd of rhinos thunders across a savannah. All these, plus wailing and whistling from my suburban living room. Am I reading Out of Africa this afternoon? No. I am listening to unrelenting 30 mph winds with frequent 50 mph gusts. And this is Day Three of this gale. Bam! Sounds like shutters banging against the house—except this house has no shutters. Investigating the noise, I find a wooden rocking chair thumping back and forth on the porch. By now, roof shingles have probably blown off and landed only God knows where. But my biggest worry is out the kitchen window. A blue spruce leans at a 30-degree angle, its stakes pulling further out of the ground with each fresh gust. Yellow ropes, once taut, sag and tremble in the wind. Considering how limp the ropes are, I am surprised the stakes even still touch the ground. They won’t for long, I am pretty sure.
I call my husband, who is out of town, and have to leave a voicemail. My voice quavers. Tears spring to my eyes. I feel so helpless. I pray for the Jesus whose mere command stills waves and wind to still these winds. Then I pray that God would somehow keep the spruce’s roots in the ground. I think if I could find help, I should, so I go on our subdivision’s homeowner listserv and ask for men with strong backs and a mallet to come pound the stakes back in. Then I run to the kitchen window to see if any knights in shining armor have arrived. Silly me. Even a next-door neighbor could not possibly have read my plea, donned a jacket, grabbed a mallet, and gotten here in the few seconds it took me to plaster my hopeful face against the kitchen window. I search for my husband’s mallet, cannot find it, so go outside with a garden shovel. I pound at the stakes until I realize the shovel’s reverberations have caused painful swelling in my hand. Ouch! Defeated and once again helpless, I go back inside.
I keep close watch through the kitchen window in case someone comes. Oh—what if they drive up? I really should watch out the front street-view window, too. I know from previous requests on the listserv that neighbors here have lots of tools and expertise and desire to help, and I picture the scene when rescuers arrive. Ooh, what if the gal with the Hummer comes to tow the tree into an upright position again? Wouldn’t that be great? I had other things I needed to do today, but now I can’t do them because I have this vigil to keep, because I will of course want to run outside to help when neighbors do come. And besides icing my swollen hand, there’s not much I can do while checking windows on two sides of the house. Plus, I need to keep an eye on that poor tree. In case I miss the sight, I wonder what sound the spruce will make when it falls. Then it hits me. No, not the spruce. The spiritual application. This is exactly what I do when I have asked God for help with a relationship problem or life decision or someone’s salvation. I hover. I check every minute. I wring my hands. I think up all sorts of good ways He could answer my prayer. I feel sorry for myself. I worry that He’s not coming with help quickly enough so I try to do it myself.
And since I am busy doing all that, I am not doing what God has called me to do. In many cases, I’m sure I have not even heard His Spirit’s still, small voice whisper what He wants me to do. In other cases, I know what to do, but I make excuses because I am too busy doing His job incompetently. Oh, Lord, please forgive my unbelief, and my impatience with you that is actually demanding. Who am I to demand anything of you? I beg your forgiveness for my presumptuous disobedience and what it has cost you. Please, Holy Spirit, show me my limits and your desires for my time. And please help me to wait expectantly after acknowledging my helplessness before you. I am not strong enough to right a leaning spruce tree or even to pound stakes into the ground. Certainly changing complex circumstances and other people’s minds is beyond my abilities as well. But nothing is too difficult for you! Now the sun has sunk below the horizon. No neighbors have sped over with mallets. Winds still howl, and the spruce lists lower than before. But I am at peace. I did what I could, and I prayed for God to take charge of orchestrating what only He can. And I wrote down this lesson from the Lord, which is what He placed on my heart to do this afternoon.
B.M.O.M this Mother’s Day by Katie Robles “Mom, can I have a snack?” “Dinner’s in an hour, so you can have fruit or vegetables.” With an overly dramatic sigh, my son slumps his shoulders and goes back to playing with Legos. He’s hungry, but not hungry enough for healthy food. His younger brother asks me the same snack question, receives the same produce answer, then fishes an apple out of the fridge and sits at the table to munch on it. I put water on to boil and open the pantry door in search of noodles. A bag of chocolate covered almonds flaunts its curves at eye level and suddenly I’m ravenous. Dinner’s in an hour, so you can have fruit or vegetables. My own words echo in my mind and my hand hesitates, fingers inches away from crunchy chocolate goodness. I know I shouldn’t “spoil my dinner”, but I really want to.
I appreciate a lot of things about my mother, but I had never paused to be grateful for the limitations she put on me. Until I had the self-control to take care of myself, it was my mother who drew the line in the sand. “Only one cookie, Sweetie. Take smaller bites.” “You’ve had enough, dear.” “Go outside and play.” “Bed time! You need your rest.” “Get your finger out of your nose!” I’m not a child anymore, but sometimes I need to treat myself like one. I need to B.M.O.M: Be My Own Mother. It’s my job to discipline myself in order to keep myself healthy. This Mother’s Day show your mom you love her, and then take a little time to B.M.O.M. You can even make yourself breakfast in bed.
When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I It would be so much easier if I was a child and my mother was here to tell me “no” and guard the pantry. put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians I laugh at myself and grab the noodles. 13:11 (NIV)
Abundant Life by Frances Gregory Pasch I had heard people speak of the abundant life, but I really never understood what they meant. Now that I have experienced it, I know. The abundant life is a life of joy, in spite of everyday ups and downs. It's something no one or nothing can take away from me unless I let them. With God at the center of everything, my life has a new perspective. I still go through the same trials, but no longer by myself. God is always with me. In His strength I can do things, I can't do on my own. Mountains become molehills, when viewed through His eyes. Crises become times of growth instead of stumbling blocks, and earthly "things" dim in importance, while people and relationships take on new meaning. All this happened to me when I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It can happen to you, too! Prayer: Jesus, thank you for cleansing my sins and for Your free gift of salvation. May others always see Your joy in me.
Fun Family Crafts on a Budget with Breana Curtis
“Poppyful” Wall-Décor for Parties When you think of cupcake liners, I am sure that your mind automatically goes to using them to bake some delicious cupcakes and likewise, I had picked up these cupcake liners with the intent to use them to bake cupcakes. But when I could not use them for such, I decided that if I could not bake with them, then I could at least work with them to make something useful. What I Used: Cupcake liners, White Ribbon, Stapler How It's Done: Step 1) Take your cupcake liner and fold it in half (like a paper fan) then fold over one of the sides; creating a small triangle. Be sure to do the same thing to another liner at this step. Step 2) Line up both centers of each liner together and staple them together. It should resemble a bow shape now. Step 3) Make another one the exact same way and then staple them together (one in front of the other) This will give the poppy more fullness. Step 4) Repeat step 1-3 to create another one Step 5) Take the end of your ribbon and tie it around the center of the first bow, then place your other bow in the opposite direction and tie your string around that one too. So, if your first bow is vertical, then place the second bow on top of it horizontally and tie. Step 6) Now, just take your time spreading out the liners to create a fuller poppy You are done! My name is Breana and I am 22 years old from Phoenix, Arizona. I am a passionate creative-blogger and I primarily write crafty tutorials. It is the main objective of my blog to encourage and to remind all of my readers of just how much we can do with what God has already provided us with; mindfully, inwardly and creatively. Visit Breana’s blog at Work With it Now for more creative ideas for your home and family.
Keep the Engine Running (and in prime condition!) Part Three of a Three Part Series on Writing for Beginners
by Joan Leotta So, you have found some contests, revised your entry and hopefully sent some things out. Now, how do you sustain a career as a writer— constantly improving your skills? I find my inspiration on the five fingers of my hand. 1. Read what you like to write and read the best, the award winners. 2. Select a few of those as "mentor texts" analyze, take them apart, find out why they worked for you (and others) and apply those techniques to your own work. 3. Take a piece of yours apart—translate it into another form (make an essay into a poem, make a poem into an essay, you get it.) 4. Read books and tips on technique and do the exercises. There are free offering son line—just "google" your particular interest. 5. Find classes and conferences and attend as you can—there are free classes too. The professional organizations in your various types of writing (yes you do have to pay to join) often offer free classes. Even their newsletters often include craft notes My big problem, as a writer in more than one genre, is having enough money and time to take advantage of all of the opportunities that are out there. How do I select? Prayer is the first step. I ask God to guide me to the events that are mostly likely to lead my writing in the direction He wants me to take. I belong to four writers organizations that have been wonderful for me—NCWN (North Carolina Writers Network) which offers regular conferences. I attend about every two or three years for the classes and the fellowship. The North Carolina Poetry Association offers wonderful workshops— free, but they are so far from me that I have to make an overnight stay. However, through that organization I have developed FB friendships (with real comments and more) with local poets. I also belong to Sisters in Crime (for my mystery writing) and to SCBWI , the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. The latter has lots of free and paid instructional material. I do not belong to any specific Christian writing organization because my primary ministry has been to write Christian-oriented work for the secular market.
Lately, I have felt that God may be directing me to write more for the Christian market. Although, I do subscribe to several newsletters that keep me informed on this market, I now feel I need to join a professional organization to better direct my efforts. I have my eye on several organizations that I might join in order to learn how to better serve it. I have written for specifically Christian organizations, and magazines, such as Ruby, where you are reading this article and have published with Warner Press (a coloring book script). So, write daily and challenge yourself daily to be a better writer, to write for more challenging publications, and constantly examine your work in the light of how you are serving God and the work of His Kingdom. For the past thirty years, I have found this the best way to proceed. The timetable is God's. Any success is His. To God alone, belongs any glory.
Joan’s latest books, Rosa and the Red Apron, Summer in a Bowl, and WHOOSH! are also available from RUBY’S Reading Corner! Read about Joan’s upcoming books and poetry publications on her blog at www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and connect with her on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-LeottaAuthor-and-Story-Performer/188479350973
Your Marriage: From Disappointing to Delightful
Cherish by Gary Thomas Book Review by Michele Morin Wood stoves do not render their comforting warmth without regular tending. Fires must be coaxed along with frequent ministrations, and I never give this much thought — unless my good husband is away, for he miraculously tends to this important detail, and our house stays cozy and warm. Similarly, since the beginning of our marriage, he has changed the oil in our vehicles, paid our bills, balanced the checkbook, and locked the doors every night, leaving me with the delightful sense of being safe, cared for: cherished. Gary Thomas writes that this variety of practical love is reassuring to me because it demonstrates that our life together is a priority that is worthy of my good husband’s time and effort. Now, with his one-word title, Cherish, he challenges readers to go beyond merely loving our spouses and to live our way into a “marriage that feels more precious, more connected, and more satisfying.” Many marriage vows include a promise to “cherish,” but do we understand what that looks like from the perspective of our spouse, the cherished one? Gary unpacks the concept in terms of learned behaviors that can change everything in a marriage: Cherishing means learning to hold someone dear. The Message to the Cherished: “You don’t have to be anyone other than who you are.” When we allow our spouse to define “beauty” (or “handsome-ness”) in our minds, we have begun to rewind history to Eden when each was the “only one” in the world to the other. Choosing anew every day the one you chose on your wedding day is the antidote to disappointment, discontentment, and critical comparing. Cherishing means learning to showcase your spouse. The Message to the Cherished: “How can I support you today? How can I make your day better?” For the believer, this includes enhancing one another’s ministry opportunities. We want our beloved to shine! It is based upon the assumption that we have ended the love affair with ourselves. Gary uses the vivid example of a male ballet dancer rejoicing in the standing ovation a ballerina receives because he has “supported, tossed, caught, turned, and showcased” her. It’s all about helping your spouse to realize his/her potential in the world. Cherishing means noticing and honoring each other. The Message to the Cherished: “I will put your needs above everything else.” Here’s the truth in a nutshell: “You can honor someone without cherishing them, but you can’t cherish someone without honoring them.” Wives will feel noticed if their words are taken seriously; husbands are looking for physical affection. For either gender, we honor our spouses when we take an active interest in what interests them.
Cherishing is about protecting each other and killing contempt. The Message to the Cherished: “When I scan you, I will be looking for something to praise – not to criticize.” Gary traces the tragic journey from newlywed infatuation through disappointment, frustration, and bitterness to contempt, which is the single biggest threat to a marriage’s survival and happiness. Practicing fierce gratitude is the antidote to contempt. Cherishing teaches us to indulge our spouses and, thus, to help heal their spiritual wounds. The Message to the Cherished: “I am committed to your healing and wholeness.” When we nurture our spouse, we provide a picture of God’s cherishing heart. We make our spouse’s needs a priority and work to discover what actions we can take to help them address their weaknesses and to breathe life into them every day. Cherishing teaches us to carefully and deliberately use our ears and our words to express our affection. The Message to the Cherished: “I will be deliberate and specific in verbal affirmation and mirror God’s acceptance and affirmation in my words and in my tone.” This may not come naturally, but developing (and maintaining) a curiosity toward our spouse’s words and activities communicates value. Deitrich Bonhoeffer sums this up beautifully: “Just as love to God began with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.” Even unintentional verbal slights can be devastating to a marriage. Cherishing is about treating our spouse as a unique individual. The Message to the Cherished: “I will help you complete your one-of-a-kind story.” It’s time to cast aside generalizations and stereotypical assumptions about what “all men” or “all women” do. Understanding bypasses judgment and empathizes while genuinely investing the effort to understand and to accept. Cherishing means being patient with your spouse’s sins. The Message to the Cherished: “We both stumble in many ways. I will thank God for you, and, together, we will grow in holiness.” Gary offers six words that can save the day: “This is how your spouse stumbles.” Accepting that your spouse will never be perfect makes allowance for imperfection without diminishing our appreciation. Apart from this, it is impossible to maintain “a cherishing attitude.” Furthermore, it is counterproductive to think, “I could cherish them if only they wouldn’t do x, y, or z.” “Half of holiness centers around being patient with other peoples’ sins.” As he did in Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas has melded practical theology and behavioral principles to encourage believers along in a life that goes beyond the mere fulfillment of marriage vows. Just as my wood stove responds to regular tending by yielding comfort and warmth to my home, a cherishing mindset that is deeply rooted in the Gospel truth that we are continually cherished by God will result in a marriage that radiates a lifetime of warmth and love. Gary Thomas has written a blog post that applies the principles set forth in Cherish. Click here to read and learn more! This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Cherish by Gary Thomas is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.
A Meal with the Father by Linda M. Crate It's easy to believe that we're inadequate or too imperfect to be a part of God's kingdom and inheritance. The devil is very good at convincing us that we're infinitely too flawed to come to God as we are. Yet, we must remember God's words. "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord." (Psalms 45:11) This verse doesn't say come when you feel adequate or when you feel as if you're not flawed. It says you are beautiful just as you are. Regardless of your scars, your size, or the condition of your skin. Regardless of whether or not you feel beautiful, the God of the universe is enthralled by your beauty. Because we all are gorgeous just as we are without even trying. How wonderful is it to know that we serve a God that finds beauty in us all even when we are so imperfect? I am also reminded of one of my favorite church hymns Come Just as You Are. It really captures the essence of who our God is, I think. A God full of hope and purpose for all of us if we are willing to accept and believe it. "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27) He made us in HIS image. Do you understand how powerful that is? We are created in the image of the Maker of this universe. Which means we really don't have the authority to call ourselves ugly, do we? We may sin and we may fall from God's grace, but he is always there to pick us back up because He loves us. "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He has set eternity in our hearts and everything is beautiful in its time. Which means you are beautiful, as you are, today, and for eternity in God's eyes. So I encourage you to come to the table with our Father and eat if you are hungry and drink if you are thirsty. He is waiting for you to realize your beauty and your infinite worth.
As Octopuses Do by Judith Vander Wege My three-year-old son and I walked hand in hand toward the swimming pool one summer afternoon. Anxious, dark thoughts kept me from enjoying the beautiful, sunny day. How on earth can I manage to get everything done? I worried silently. After a short silence in his cheerful chatter, Joshua said, as if in response to my thoughts, “Mom, I wish people had as many arms as octopuses do. Then we could handle everything!” Startled out of my reverie by his pertinent words, I stopped and stared at him. As I pictured myself with eight octopus arms, trying to juggle my responsibilities, I chuckled and felt my tension lessen. We continued through the park, and I began to smell the apple blossoms and lush green grass. Looking at my precious son, I thanked God for him. New hope rose in my heart. I dismissed anxiety from my mind, remembering that the God who gave me that beloved son has promised to work in everything for my good. Since his grace is sufficient for me, I don’t need to “handle everything.”
Perseverance by Gloria Doty Webster’s dictionary defines perseverance as a continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. The journey of life is filled with difficulties and opposition, so perseverance becomes an essential element. When we apply that definition, there are very few things in life that do not require perseverance, beginning with birth. If there were no perseverance on the part of both mother and baby, there would be no birth. When a child is learning to walk, there is continued difficulty and frustration, and a few bruises, but the goal is worth the effort. The child is too young to recognize the fact that he even has a ‘goal’, so the conclusion could be that we are born with an inherent need to pursue something until we accomplish it and reach our goal. There are times when it seems as though certain people reach their goals without any concerted effort on their part; however, I don’t believe the end results are appreciated nearly as much as if the success had required some work. There are also the people who live by just gritting their teeth. They may accomplish living to an old age, but have accomplished nothing but old age. The opposite is the person who actually lives and perseveres to accomplish ‘more.’ Once we have a desire to accomplish something worthwhile, or to build a more peaceful world, perseverance becomes even more crucial because it is then that Satan will throw as many obstacles as possible into our path. Without a belief in God, perseverance becomes almost impossible. Many people lose sight of the goal and do not have the inner faith or strength to continue. Throughout history, there are countless examples of perseverance to reach goals. Moses persevered for forty years to reach the Promised Land. He was hindered by unruly followers, thirst, hunger, impatience, disobedience and sins of all kinds. However, the goal was always before him and he persevered to the end. That is only one example from the bible where perseverance is mentioned many times. One of my favorite quotes is James 1: v.2-4. “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Another example of extreme perseverance is Thomas Edison. He tried over 6000 different materials for the filament in a light bulb before he finally found the right one. Abraham Lincoln failed many times in his attempts to be elected to public office. Winston Churchill failed sixth grade and was defeated in every attempt at public office until he was elected Prime Minister at the age of 62. We cannot compare our struggles in perseverance to Moses and his wanderings for forty years or to the many other historical figures who succeeded because of their perseverance. Each of us has to deal with our own life struggles. Some may be harder than others, but we cannot judge. What is easy for some is difficult for others. I have a daughter who was diagnosed with autism. It took her nearly three years to learn to ride a two-wheeled bicycle, but she persevered because her goal was to be able to ride like the other children Life comes with struggles and adversities. While we may chafe at the seeming abundance of them sometimes, they make us stronger and better equipped for reaching the goals we set for ourselves.
Snuggle Sessions with God by Alisha Ritchie
Snuggling... Relaxing... Cherishing time together... There's nothing quite like cuddling up under fluffy blankets with your children and enjoying a good book together. This time represents warmth of home and relationships- a closeness and bond between parent and child that cannot be replaced. God beckons you as His child, "Come, and sit down. Spend time with me in a safe haven of shelter and rest. Let's share our hearts together and know each other better. Let my love warm you and my voice assure you, you are loved." Cozy up with Snuggle Sessions with God to help you abide in the Lord's peaceful presence in today's hectic world. These fifty-two devotions will inspire you to look for Him, busy at work, in the everyday activities of life. Your faith will be renewed and your spirit refreshed, as you become increasingly aware of the Lord's continual presence in every aspect of your life. The book can be purchased at Amazon, or Dancing with Bear Publishing, or Barnes and Noble. Snuggle Sessions with God by Alisha Ritchie is also available from RUBYâ€™S Reading Corner
Double Numbers Puzzle ANSWER KEY by Beth Brubaker
Down the Lane Puzzle ANSWER KEY by Beth Brubaker
A Life Renewed by Deb Ilardi
“There she goooooeeeeesssss…” is a popular neighborhood chant by the folks of Brushwood Court and Woody Trail in Bolivia, NC. They are speaking, of course, about Norma Jean. She rides her threewheeler proudly up and down the streets. Her helmet is pink and white and matches the color of her vehicle. To her close friends, she’s referred to as “Miss Raspberry,” a title she chose for her license plate.
Neither of us is sure how the bicycle topic first surfaced but she borrowed a three-wheeler from a neighbor and liked it.
Norma Jean is 87 years young.
So our next stop was a real bike shop where we found the Raspberry. It was sized smaller and fit her better. A matching helmet purchase and she was on her way to a new found freedom, cruising the streets of our neighborhood.
The soft wrinkles on her face speak to decades of living. Her stature has been reduced from a proud five foot two inches down to a meager four foot ten. Her living space has diminished too, as she tries hard to fill the bedroom in our home with every important thing she still owns. Less significant things, but still valuable, fill big red bins in the garage. Most likely she will just forget about them but for now they are safe. Her days are too full, her fatigue sometimes wins out. Norma Jean, like so many elders, spent her early eighties caring for her husband as he dwindled into a shadow of his former self. Along the way she dwindled too. She arrived at our home still grieving. She’d forgotten how to take care of herself. She’d misplaced the desire to laugh, to hope, to eat. But the survivor in her held on and after her husband died she moved herself and her things from their retirement home in Florida to the security of a room of her own with us.
In the local Walmart, she tried out one they had in the store. She still laughs when she talks about people’s faces as they saw her traveling down the aisles there. Turned out there was something wrong with that bike and they wouldn’t sell it to her, after all.
Norma Jean convinced a friend to purchase a similar bike. They rode together when weather permitted and secured their bond with each other through travelled miles and shared neighborhoods. That friend moved away eventually and right now Norma Jean rides alone. To say she is renewed by cycling is an understatement to be sure. She goes out faithfully, twice a day, and stops to talk to people along the way. She may forget what street she met someone on but she remembers her conversations and proudly recalls them over dinner.
It was the first time she ever had a room of her own. Slowly, she responded to smiles and giggles of greatgrandchildren. Gradually, she learned details of the lives of her all-grown-up grandchildren. Bit by bit she met new people, shared her stories, enjoyed events and remembered she could dance.
She’s had a few “spills” so-to-speak, things she wouldn’t want shared. A recent setback with tendonitis has left her unable to pedal, for a while. My guess is when the heat of summer subsides and she’s had time to heal and get stronger, she’ll be back out there making the neighbors laugh and chuckle
She continued to talk about the loss of driving as a real sacrifice. It was hard for me to really understand this. I drove her everywhere she needed to go and most places she just wanted to be.
“There she goooooeees” as they wave to her and she smiles, no dust gathers behind her. Norma Jean has been renewed and though her wheels have no fuel but her own, she feels independent once again.
Finding Him Where I Am by Suzane Avadiar Once upon a time, I wrestled. With God. I didn’t get him – I didn’t understand why He was doing half the things He was doing in my life and more importantly, I didn’t get why He wasn’t explaining what He was doing. I mean, wasn’t this supposed to be a partnership? I surrender it all to Him and He does His thing in my life? So it's not too much to ask Him to let me in on it right? It was still my life wasn’t it? It was a time when I was struggling with so many decisions, directions and situations. I needed breakthroughs, changes, and above all, I needed Him to fulfill His promises to me. If there ever was a time for Him to throw me a bone, that was it. And so it began. I decided it was time to get real personal with God and in His face. I dug my heels in deep and I confronted Him. Every day, I would ask Him – Why? When? How? Where? What? And every day, I would remind him that I was obedient. I was faithful. I was seeking. I had surrendered and gave up all control. I was fully dependent on Him. Then, I would ask Him all my questions. All. Over. Again. The next day, rewind and repeat. Then, I would sit and stew, waiting for a voice from Heaven to boom out answers to me. Days turned into weeks and God was silent. I was mad. Eventually, I got ‘real’ and told God, "It's ok. I didn’t need a thundering voice from heaven, a whisper would suffice." No whispers came. Finally, I got tired and even more frustrated than before. Emotionally and physically, I felt depleted and wrung out. I cried, threw my hands up and said “You Win. It’s wasn't a fair fight to begin with anyway – you’re GOD!” I stopped with the questions, and then I stopped talking to Him altogether. I became still, sullen and silent - simply out of exhaustion. But then, slowly, something began to unravel in my mind. I believe it's called a Revelation. Those endless questions I had? That very need to know? That was still control. In my silence, the Holy Spirit gently revealed to me that I had not in fact, completely surrendered. I realized that surrendering completely to God is to say, “wherever, whenever, however, and whatever Lord, as long as Your perfect will be done – I’m ok not knowing”. I believe it's called Faith.
Not easy at all! I admit, at that time, to say wholeheartedly “I was fine not knowing” and then faithfully place all my circumstances in His hands was like pulling teeth - minus the Novocain! After all I’m just a mere mortal still learning to walk well with my Savior BUT in yielding, He made it easier. In fact, when I let Him, He even showed me how to unclench my controlling fists and let go. Time and time again, scriptures have shown us that God led His people on magnificent journeys, through time and foreign lands, in this very same manner – without revealing to them the hows, whats, whens and whys. Time and again, the eventual outcome was a revelation of His goodness and faithfulness to them. Before that revelation though, I had to first let it all go. When standing required too much strength, I knelt. It was in that very posture of yielding that I found Him – next to me, right where I was – down on my knees in a state of sadness, confusion and uncertainty. I was reminded “the Lord is always with me, I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me” — Psalm 16:8. In that one moment, I felt His peace weave through the maze of my mind and suddenly the clutter ceded. Then, His strength lifted me back up and I felt a familiar bounce in my step. Hello Joy! I realized then, that was all I actually needed to know – that He was right beside me, exactly where I am. I didn’t need to know anything else about the uncertainty of my circumstances. I only needed to know that even when God is silent, even when I feel lost, alone or think I'm drowning, and even when I don’t see or feel His hand in my dim circumstances, I know in my heart of hearts that He is IN the storm with me. He will “never leave or forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:8) and His grace is sufficient for me because His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God loves me exactly where I am at and loves me too much to leave me where I am. The truth is I may be flailing for a while or even be convinced that I might drown but I know I won’t. My Good Father simply won’t let me – it is not in His nature to let His Beloved sink. I believe that’s called His Eternal Love.
Finding a Way Ahead! Spiritual signposts to healing and wholeness by Angela Harper Finding a Way Ahead! is a book of devotional reflections drawing from experiences of Angela Harper's own healing from a lifelong condition. The reflections are intended to help others, showing that it is necessary to look at various aspects of ourselves in any search for divine healing and wholeness. The notes were originally written for a Time for Healing prayer group; a mix of churchgoers and those who came off the street to join in and who needed someone to talk to, pray with them, and listen. In accessible easy-to-read sections, Angela Harper encourages others to take heart, and to help them find comfort and guidance and coping strategies. Her aim is to give people tools to help turn around their experiences or to see other perspectives. Angela Harper studied Theology at Spurgeon's College in London and went on to serve in two chaplaincy roles in a hospital and a supermarket. She was dramatically healed from a lifelong health condition some three years ago and now shares her experiences of healing personally and in writing devotional reflections on healing.
Finding a Way Ahead! Spiritual signposts to healing and wholeness is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner.
A special gift from Ifeoma Samuel of
“Purposeful and Meaningful” for the readers of RUBY magazine! With every purchase of the May 2017 issue of RUBY magazine, you will receive a gift of Overcome Failure: Get Back on Your Feet, an eBook and companion workbook by Ifeoma Samuel. Visit the RUBY blog for all the details
Enter to WIN the Berries and Blooms Giveaway at Katherine’s Corner! New giveaway every month, sponsored by Katherine’s Corner, a blog for sharing. Visit Katherine’s Corner for weekly linky parties, monthly giveaways, and inspirational posts to encourage you and brighten your day.
The Purpose, Promise and Prize of Perseverance by Sharon L. Patterson The word perseverance has a weight of worth all its own in the synonyms that help define it-diligence, endurance, persistence, steadfastness and patience. It extends an invitation to enter its pursuit and promises great rewards when consistently exercised. It is my great privilege to encourage you concerning this significant piece of our Christian experience. We are not alone in the exercise of perseverance. We have an enemy who is not only determined, but quite persistent in his pursuit to wreak havoc in our lives so that we will not persevere. Quite often, we are faced with the pain and trouble of the suffering he imposes. Discouragement grabs hold of the suffering to deter our endurance. The Lord has an altogether different purpose for the imposed suffering-greater strength, stronger endurance and steadier diligence. He turns suffering inside out, exposes our vulnerability and necessity to trust Him. We cry out in simple, heart level prayers to God for his help and deliverance in our time of need. He answers. We persevere. Faith increases, hope rises and the process of maturity moves forward when we simply choose to trust Him rather than become consumed with our suffering. Then, we become encouragement to others through our testimony of how the Lord transformed our suffering into greater ability to persevere in our Christian journey: Romans 5:2-5: “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
James 1: 2-4: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds; for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” There is not only purpose in perseverance; there is also great promise for our immediate walk and our future destination. I cannot expound any clearer than scripture declares it to us: 1Timothy 6: 11-12: “But as for you, O mam of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal live to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Hebrew 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame; and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
“The Lord has an altogether different purpose for the imposed suffering-greater strength, stronger endurance and steadier diligence. He turns suffering inside out, exposes our vulnerability and necessity to trust Him. We cry out in simple, heart level prayers to God for his help and deliverance in our time of need. He answers. We persevere.”
Hebrews 6:11-15: “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.”
Keeping our eyes focused leads us past promise to the reward gained when we persevere: the prize of perseverance. Once more, how beautifully the scriptures explain this to us: Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up.”
We must shift our focus of this very temporal, temporary existence to view our eternal destiny. We have great helps to aid us in keeping the proper focus on the prize.
James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Not only do we have the great witnesses who lived before us, the written Word but we also have one who lives in us who delights to sharpen our eyesight.
Revelation 3:10: “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”
The Holy Spirit is our live-in prompter, coach, revealer of truth, teacher and comforter. As I get older, I am so thankful that He brings to mind those things I need to remember by delivering them straight to my spirit when my mind is sluggish in its recall.
May your hearts be encouraged to continue steadfast in your walk of faith, your race of destiny, and your pursuit of the eternal. May you continue to discover the purpose, the plan, and the prize of perseverance.
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.
Ruby Writing Team Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women's ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.
Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.
Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling. Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Authorand-Story-Performer/188479350973
Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life. She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at: email@example.com
Rejetta Morse enjoys writing poetry so she can write about God and how He speaks through nature. Writing poetry is a new found purpose and hobby she discovered over recent years which brings her joy, peace, and encouragement. She also enjoys reading poetry and is working to learn more about the craft of poetry. She spends her free time singing with her church choir and listening to gospel music, watching biographical movies, and encouraging other people.
Thea Williams’s short story, "Phoenix," appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon's The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at www.reflectionsbythea.blogspot.com By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at https://www.facebook.com/thea.williams.16 or https://www.youtube.com/user/theabwilliams.
Jane Hoppe is an epiphany enthusiast. When writing fiction or nonfiction, she portrays discovery, insight, and growth. Especially when God teaches her something, she wants to share it through writing. Her debut novel, first in the Maria Beaumont series, is called Beyond Betrayal. She writes two blogs, www.aquajane-musings.blogspot.com, eclectic musings on life, accepting middle age, and lots of book reviews, and www.reflectionsoneldercare.com, reflections on elder care, loving Mom and Dad in their old age, along with caregiver resources. Jane’s website is www.janehoppe.com.
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 www.senttojourney.wordpress.com and resides in Malaysia.
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.”
Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mail-base, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: www.ponyexpressministry.com and her blog: www.trail-tails.blogspot.com, or come for a visit on Facebook.
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 www.patjeannedavis.com
Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers’ group since 1991. You can contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.
Paula McVay attended church as a child where she first heard about the grace and love of Jesus. She accepted Christ as her savior at the age of 12, and accepted God’s call to full-time ministry at the age of 13. Paula has been a teacher in public schools, a pastor’s wife, a mother, and a mentor to many over the years she and her husband, Doug, were in pastoral ministry. Paula is the mother of three sons, and five grandchildren.
Katie Robles is living proof that women who love to bake and hate to sweat can lose weight and get healthy. She lost fifty pounds in four years by changing her habits, one small step at a time. She started writing Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating after she asked herself the question "Why can't weight loss be fun?" She writes the weekly Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating blog at www.sexsoupandtwofistedeating.com and is the author of Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives (House of Bread, 2016).
Marilyn Lesniak is the owner, writer, and most times photographer at Marilyn's Treats. She loves to learn new things and is always improving her recipes, blog designs and articles. If you need guidance she is there to help but is the first to remind you most everything she does is an adventure in trial and error. Come visit in her office/kitchen and see what trouble she is brewing up now at www.marilynstreats.com
Lynn Mosher, Devotions Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with Godâ€™s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, their three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. Visit Lynn at her blog, at http://lynnmosher.com
Lesley Crawford I live in Scotland and work doing youth work with a Christian charity.
In my spare time I enjoy music, theatre, reading and writing. Since August 2015, I have been blogging at http://lifeinthespaciousplace.wordpress.com/ and I write to encourage people that, whatever their circumstances, there is always hope to be found in God.
Sharmelle Olson is a graphic artist and designer, photographer and poet. She loves to share her poems in the Ruby for Women community magazine. Shar is also an administrator for Ruby for Women Ministries and enjoys helping out around the community and making new friends there. She has been writing poetry and taking photographs since elementary school, and started doing graphic art and design work in the early 2000s. Shar has four children, two of whom are twins. Her first daughter is in her 20s, her son is 14, and her twin daughters will be 13 soon.
Lucy Adams In 1984 in Nashville, Tennessee I began to write answers for the question, "Why do people write songs?" Those stories first appeared on a radio program that I created: THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG aired on Christian radio station WWGM. The program began as I sang six words, "I Love to Tell the Story" and said: "Hi friends, this is Lucy Adams and I tell the story behind the song." I continued the show for five minutes with a message that answered ... who, what, where and why of the hymn - plus a verse or two of the music. These programs continued to play for many years in various towns in Tennessee. Visit my blog to learn more about the stories of our favorite hymns at https://www.52hymns.com/about.htm
Cindy Evans is a published poet living in the greater Atlanta area. She enjoy worship music, church activities and faith-based movies. She also likes walking, time with her husband and volunteering at the local Christian hospice.
Karis Waller The written word is powerful. It has been God's way of speaking to his people for generations, and poetry is one of the ways this poet feels His presence. Karis Waller lives in Elkhorn, Nebraska, and enjoys writing after a long day of teaching preschoolers. She also loves reading, baking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Carol Hind I’d describe myself as a God-seeker and recovering perfectionist. From an early age my love of words and insatiable appetite for stories kindled a passion for writing. I’ve enjoyed modest publishing success both in print and online and spent several rewarding years as one of a team of editors for a Christian women’s publication. I like to write devotionals, inspirational articles and poems and occasionally a short story. My blogs are Women of Warfare and Purpose Driven Achiever where you can read inspirational and thought-provoking articles.
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). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. The third of this series Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016. Her novel Corvids & Magic is forthcoming August 2017
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 judithvanderwege.org or .com. I have a Facebook page at Facebook.com/JudithVanderWege
Breana Curtis: My name is Breana and I am 22 years old from Phoenix, Arizona. I am a passionate creative-blogger that primarily writes crafty tutorials. It is my main objective of my blog to encourage and to remind all of my readers of just how much we can do with what God has already provided us with; mindfully, inwardly and creatively. Visit my blog at Work with It Now for creative, crafty ideas for frugal families.
Gloria Doty is a published Christian author, writer and speaker. She has published a non-fiction book, a devotion book, a series of fiction romance books and several children's picture books. Gloria has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She has recently remarried and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.
Deb Ilardi is a registered nurse and has written professionally for decades. She was the Clinical Editor of School Nurse News from 2001-20016. Now she is retired and living in NC with her husband where she enjoys life near the ocean as a freelance writer.
Jennifer Workman is the founder of Simply Victorious Ministries, a ministry founded on the infallible Word of God. She has been actively involved in ministry all of her life and has ministered to seminary students, the religious community, high school students and female prison inmates. Jennifer has more than fifteen years in the radio, television and publications arena. She is the Inspirational Host and Producer of "Simply Victorious for Life," a monthly inspirational podcast aired via Faith Filled Family and Family Filled Youth. Contact Jennifer at http://simplyvic.webs.com or http://jyworkman.wix.com/jennifer
Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth's passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. Don't miss Beth's columns and puzzles in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read Beth's posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nina Newton, Sr. Editor
When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on RUBY magazine in my home office. I have worked for several years offering my handmade and refashioned garments and accessories in a local boutique under the creative name of “Vintage Mama’s Cottage.” My personal blog is at www.vintagemamascottage.com
A Note from the Editor I hope you have been finding the RUBY magazine issues to be a blessing to you and your family, and that the inspirational articles, short stories, poetry, book reviews, and recipes have provided a bit of joy and inspiration to your days. If you had a minute to read my article in the beginning of this issue of RUBY magazine, you know that this past month has been really difficult for me. Because all of the work of editing, proofreading, formatting, designing, and publishing each issue of RUBY needs to be done each month, when I am not able to do all of the work to meet the deadline, sometimes I need help. If you are interested in learning more about how you can be involved in the ministry of RUBY magazine, I would love to hear from you. Please email me at email@example.com and we will discuss the possibilities. Another way that you can be supportive of the ministry of RUBY is to purchase a copy of the print publication of the magazine each month. It is a small investment that will support a ministry that continues to grow and reach more women around the world and even in your neighborhood. Every magazine that is sold helps to cover the expenses involved in keeping RUBY online magazine and community available for free to those who most need to read the words of hope, inspiration, and encouragement found here at RUBY. Visit the RUBY blog every month to see the new issue of RUBY magazine where you will find a link to purchase your copy to share with your friends and family. Finally, I want to encourage you to join us in the RUBY community where Christian women connect with one another, share prayer requests, favorite recipes, book reviews, and so much more. We would love to welcome YOU into the RUBY community! Thank you so much for your continued support for the ministry of RUBY. God is blessing this work and we are growing to reach women “across the street and around the world” with God’s Words of encouragement.
Road Trip of Delusion will be available on Amazon JUNE 2017
RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife