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Moms and Sons, a Time to Laugh by Lisa J. Radcliff

Waiting for Retreat by Helen Ellis Mothering our Mothers by Joan Leotta Getting Rid of the Clutter! by Norma C. Mezoe

RUBY Magazine

In This Issue of RUBY

Your voice, your story MAY, 2018 The Perfect Mother by Gloria Doty

Friends for a Season by Ruth O'Neil

Now that spring has finally arrived, we are looking forward to warmer weather, working in the garden, and sharing great resources for you and your family in every issue of RUBY magazine all summer long!

Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk Book Review by Miriam Jacob

We would love to have you join us in the RUBY community, now on Facebook, so it is really easy for you to connect with us. Here’s the link: Hope to see you there!

Senior Editor: Nina Newton Editorial Assistant: Theresa Begin Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Norma C. Mezoe, Shara Bueler-Repka, Joan Leotta, Lisa J. Radcliff, Tim Bishop, Jehn Kubiak, Suzane Avadiar, Miriam Jacob, Sharmelle Olson, Helen Ellis, Katt Luce, Susan Paulus, Christina Murphy, DaPorscha Rufus, Nancy Frantel, Cindy Evans, Gloria Doty

Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes from Vintage Mama’s Cottage

Credits and Copyrights All stories and articles are copyright by the authors. All pictures and images are copyright by the authors and / or have been purchased, used by permission or are in the public domain. If any pictures or images have been used inadvertently, and they do not belong in this publication, please email us and we will immediately remove them. Nothing in this issue of RUBY magazine may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available by contacting us at Questions? Email Nina @ RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine

Creating beautiful designs and dĂŠcor for your graceful home

Visit Graceful Home Studio for inspirational, seasonal, and holiday home dĂŠcor items that will reflect the grace and joy of family life in your home.

Looking to the Future, Remembering the Past Handmade and refashioned garments and accessories from Tatters to Treasures

A Kind Word is Like a Spring Day Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When my older children were small, I remember that one of the constant challenges was trying to get them to be kind to one another. Even when our kids learn to be polite and speak respectfully to people other than immediate family members, such as grandparents, teachers, pastors, and other adults, there is still a tendency to be kind of . . . . not so nice at home. As a mama, that always made me sad. I was truly grateful that all of my children have learned to be gracious to the people in their lives, but I never could understand why brothers and sisters tend to drop all that civility once they get home and start arguing about – well, just about everything. I remember frequently feeling like a referee, trying to help solve arguments and “fix” what felt at the time like “unsolvable” problems. If a situation worked out for one kid, it meant total disaster to the other one. There frequently felt like there was just no way to keep everyone happy. I guess that was one of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn as a young mama! I actually couldn’t keep EVERYONE happy, so eventually I realized that I could only do the best I could do, under the circumstances. Fortunately, kids are resilient, and probably most of the enormous problems we managed to survive have long since been forgotten. But one thing I hope will never be forgotten. In the midst of every crisis, I would finally give up trying to solve the problem and remind them, “First, be kind.” Just be kind. Whatever has to be said or solved or discussed or decided, first be kind. Then we can begin to sort things out. But if we can’t be kind, speak with words that are a blessing and not hurtful, then we probably will never solve anything. I am reminded of that frequently these days with my girls, although they are both teenagers now and most days they remember Mama’s Rule for Conversation: “First, Be Kind,” but in the world around us there is no shortage of unkind, intolerant, rude, disrespectful, and hurtful words. It seems that everywhere I look, everywhere I go, wherever I find myself, there is an endless barrage of critical, negative, and generally crude words. It makes me sad to realize that we have come to the place where people can speak with such anger and hate for one another. So as I was thinking about springtime, the joy of seeing the sunshine, and the warmth of the spring breeze when I open my kitchen door in the mornings, I wanted to do something fun and creative! I’m hoping to be able to get the flower gardens raked and cleaned up soon, and then we have some other yard and garden projects to work on through the spring and summer months. We have a few more painting projects and we would like to repair some of the cracks in the patio. But until I can get out there and start working on those projects, I decided to create a few pretty designs that I could print out and hang up in our house. Here are a couple of the designs I created for springtime, reminding me how important it is that we remember: “First, be kind.” Enjoy the beauty of spring, the gentle rains and sunshine, and the warm spring breeze. Because a kind word is like a spring day!

The Back of the Closet by Sharon L. Patterson Just recently, not long ago in the middle of a teary-eyed flow, the Lord made clear what He wished me to know about the past anguished year . Astonished at what He revealed concerning the layers he needed to peel, but the analogy shown was truly something I could own something I could feel. I am a lover of order to a fault, always cleaning even when I ought to quit and take some rest ~ another project, a further quest ~ almost like a battle fought. But the year that had just passed was even harder than the last, and all I could do was cry and wait for the Lord to answer my pain-filled prayers that I cast. Into the waves of the storm that did not let up at night or morn every hope seemed dashed, my boat of expectation crashed with my soul disheveled and torn. What came up out of me reflected a grief I could not see, and disappointment from days gone by. Somewhere beyond my conscious eye~ at the back of the closet they hid quietly. Until the moment God had chosen to bring to light what was frozen in a heap I had not seen and had missed every time that I cleaned the front of my closet’s emotion. Only God knew what was there and only He could share what needed to be cleared at the back of the closet beyond my fear. His hand reached with knowing care -

to thoroughly clean and sweep that putrid and loathsome heap. I was dry as dead bones in the desert wind yet, He breathed me back to life again: the storm calmed and I could sleep. I was asked what was different now and exactly how had I been restored to hope? What I could not bear I could now cope and my woeful story turned to wow! When God cleaned the back of the closet!

Have you ever gone shopping for an outfit to wear on a very special occasion? You know, in your mind, exactly what it should look like, but none of the stores do. Several years ago, I took my mother shopping for a dress to wear to her oldest grandson’s wedding. She knew exactly what she wanted: navy blue, mediumlength sleeves, no high collar, a skirt that came just below her knees, no elastic waist AND she needed it in a half-size. Last, but not least, the price had to be reasonable. We skipped the dress shops in her small town and headed to the big city, about twenty miles away. Surely it would be easy to find something there, with all those stores. I want you to know that on that day, in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, there was no such dress! We found some dresses that met several of the requirements, but not all of them. Finally, emptyhanded, dejected and exhausted, we drove back to the small town where Mom lived. In a last ditch effort, we stopped at a small dress shop about four blocks from Mom’s house. She saw a dress that she liked. It was a little long, but she could shorten it. It was not navy blue, but it was blue. It had short sleeves, but it came with a jacket that had mediumlength sleeves. It didn’t have a high collar or elastic waist and it was reasonably priced. I felt like singing the Alleluia Chorus!! Mom wore the dress to the wedding and wore it many times after. She always liked that dress. With that scenario in mind, let’s pretend that before we were conceived, we had been able to give God a list of the attributes for the mother we wanted. Can’t you just see it? I want a mother that: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6)

Is just the right size; not too short, but not too tall, either (or I might grow up to be a giant) Has a sense of humor (in case I might do something I shouldn’t) Has lots of compassion and understanding (in case I’m sad and need comforting) Has a sparkling personality Has lots of money so I can have everything I want Is perfect in every way

Despite what we may think or want, there is no such thing as a perfect mother. But isn’t it wonderful that God chose our mother and gave us just the right one? It doesn’t matter if that person is our birth mother, a step-mother, a foster mother, an adopted mother, a grandmother, an aunt-mother, or an older sister-mother. God put the person that was exactly right for us, into our life. She may not have met all of the requirements we had, just like my mother’s dress, but she was still the person we needed. None of us have had a perfect mother and none of us will ever be a perfect mother, but if we lean on God, our Perfect Father, He will always guide us and help us to be the best that we can be.

Waiting for Retreat by Helen Ellis

May is one of my favorite months of the year. Moms know that Mother’s Day is the singular day when they are celebrated, pampered, praised and given gifts, flowers and cards. I certainly acknowledge that I look forward to my children – who are young adults now – showing their love and appreciation for me.

After putting my things in my room, I came out to the kitchen and joined a game of Scrabble already begun. Women slowly trickled in and found their rooms. Laughter rang out from different parts of our cabin and I began to exhale.

Two of my daughters were born in May so that’s another reason to celebrate the month when tulips and daffodils are in full bloom and warm weather sticks around. But, I also admit that my number one reason for loving May is our church’s’ annual women’s retreat.

A couple of ladies invited me to walk down to the lake. We sauntered down the road in the cool of the late afternoon to a glistening lake and just lingered there. The lake was lovely and to my amazement there were no street noises, just birds chirping and cicadas buzzing (or making whatever sound they make).

From a Thursday afternoon until midday on Saturday, the women of our church unplug from our routines, come apart and come together to be refreshed by the Lord.

I closed my eyes and allowed the breeze to blow through my hair and caress my skin. There was a calm serenity there as we sat drinking in the silence of the moment.

My first retreat was about six years ago. I really didn’t know anyone from my church too well and I admit I possessed a degree of apprehension. After all, I’ve known Christian women who have been clique-ish, prone to gossip and sometimes downright mean. I have a few close women friends, but none of them attend my church. I’d driven up to the Christian camp where the retreat was being held and bounced around in my Saturn along a rut-pocked dirt road. Signs pointed the way to our cabin and I parked the car and heaved a sigh. I prayed, “Lord you know I don’t know what to expect, but I’m here. My expectation is from You. Touch my heart. Heal me. I pray that everyone here will embrace each other as sisters in Christ, as we gather to worship and hear Your word – in Jesus name.” Then I went in. I greeted my sisters who’d already arrived with a grin and a bear hug.

Our pastor’s wife led us in worship that evening, strumming her guitar and singing love songs to Jesus. There were about 20 women – young and middle-aged, single and married, all there to be refreshed and recharged in God’s presence. We sang from our hearts and many shed tears as our hearts opened like flower petals to the sun. She asked, “Did the Lord speak anything to you as we worshipped?” Many talked of feeling God’s presence, others spoke of God calming their fears, and many just wept, overwhelmed by it all. We were still for a time. Then our leader ministered the word of God, speaking to us from Psalm 23, about our God being our Shepherd. There was so much truth and such valuable insight into a very familiar passage of scripture. We spent about 36 hours together worshipping God, sharing from our life experiences as we learned more about how much God loves us. And we talked.

We don’t often get the chance to really talk during church or even at a church event. But we were able to talk to each other, unhurried without kids to pick up or rushing off somewhere. And all of us need someone to really hear us.

There was no rivalry, conflict, jealousy or gossip – but a genuine, heartfelt fellowship centered in Jesus Christ. And the Lord truly was at the center of it all.

We chatted as we ate our meals together, we sat up late in our pajamas gabbing, we played “Quelf,” a truly kooky, fun game!

My mind often goes back to that first retreat. I’ve attended many since then. Each retreat is different, unique and so special. Our God, the Lover of our souls, knits our hearts together and makes us one. He meets each of us, at the point of our need.

We laughed so hard that our stomachs ached and tears streamed down our faces. I got to pray with many of my sisters and my sisters prayed for me.

This month, we’ll meet at a beach house in Old Lyme, CT. We’ll worship together and study the Bible. And the Lord Jesus will meet us there. He always does.

Getting Rid of the Clutter! by Norma C. Mezoe

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:2 (NIV) Recently I have been cleaning cabinets and closets, clearing out things that should have been tossed many years ago. Things such as two tape recorders which dated back to the seventies and a bowling ball that my husband hadn’t used for over thirty years. The list goes on and on… Through the years I have held on to many things that only cluttered the closets and cabinets. As I cleared out the unwanted items in my home, I thought of things that could be cluttering my mind…. Have I allowed resentments, unwillingness to forgive, grudges or other negative emotions to take up space in the cabinets and the closets of my mind and soul? Clutter fills our homes and our minds with things that are not necessary and which only take up needed space. Let’s not allow disorder in our minds and souls to crowd out the good emotions, thoughts, actions and attitudes that should be there. Prayer: Father God, please help us to empty ourselves of anything that distracts and prevents us from hearing and obeying your guiding Spirit. Amen.

Can you remember your first best friend? All of us can think of at least one classmate we considered our dearest friend. For me it was Eileen. We met in first grade and hit it off the very first day.

Friends for a Season by Ruth O'Neil

I was the new kid at school and she shared her snack with me. We did everything together at school and away from school. We remained best friends until several years later when her dad’s job transferred him and the family to another city. Over the years others have come in and out of my life, but none like Eileen. Have you ever wondered why people come and go so quickly? I have often wondered why God allowed me to get close to someone when He knew we would lose contact two weeks later. Friends are often in our life for a season; for some purpose that needs fulfilling. There was a girl I grew close to while we were going to the same school. We ended up going to different high schools, but kept in touch because the guys we dated were relatives. We even kept up with each other for a while after we were married. During that time, I was able to help her cope with the loss of her mother. This was something I had already been through and knew what to say and what not to say. It was shortly after that we lost contact with each other and rarely spoke. I believe helping her cope with that death was why she was in my life for a season. There was another young lady I was mentoring. I looked forward to spending time with her at my house and taking her to church with me. After only a year, she too was gone. Once again I mourned the loss of that close friendship. I remained disappointed until I received a letter from her in the mail thanking me for taking her to church. She told me she had not heard about God before and because of my invitation and my friendship she accepted the Lord as her Savior and was soon to be baptized. I believe her salvation was why she was in my life for a season. There was another woman that I saw every week at church when my husband and I were newlyweds. I was having trouble dealing with one aspect of my marriage.

When I voiced my concerns to her one day, she gave me one piece of advice that I have kept close to my heart to this day, as well as passed on to other young married women and to my own daughters as they contemplated marriage. She helped me through a difficult time. Now, even though we still live in the same town, we hardly ever speak and see each other even less. I believe saving my marriage was why she was in my life for a season. There were a few friends I had in my life for a couple of years. The three of us became extremely close, sharing some of the most intimate details of our lives. It wasn’t until our friendship grew and we really got to know each other that we realized how much we had in common. During those few years we wrote a devotional book together to help encourage others. After the book came out, we went our separate ways for various reasons; certainly not that we meant to grow apart. While we do still speak to each other occasionally, we don’t talk on the phone and email everyday like we used to. Both of those friends were in my life for a season. Then there have been friends who have come into my life, spent a season and left due to my convictions. These were people who realized the depth of my faith and beliefs and didn’t want to be my friend anymore.

There have been friends that have come into my life and because of my convictions I have been the one to terminate the friendship, not wanting them to have an ungodly influence over me. I do believe that as Christians we need to have some friendships, or even acquaintances, with nonChristians. It is those relationships where we are truly needed. No, we don’t need to cram the Bible down their throats every time we are together, but maybe we could stand up for what we believe in by choosing not to see a particular movie or choosing not to have an alcoholic drink with our dinner.

Our quiet testimony can sometimes speak volumes, more so than any words we can say. There have been people in my life just for a season of fun or for reasons I may never know until I am in heaven. Every one of us could think of similar examples from life. When a good friend does come into your life, take advantage of it. Get to know them as well as you can. Teach them what you know. Let them teach you a few things. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you help them. Sometimes they help you, depending on the season of life.

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Kids’ Korner Kids’ Korner is a monthly resource featuring short stories, book reviews, puzzles, and coloring pages created by some of our RUBY writers. So call the kids and grandkids, and share the Kids’

Korner fun with them!

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees Book Review by Carol Peterson A fabulous part of being a grandma is getting to read great books to precious kids. One such great book is Giraffes Can’t Dance (written by Giles Andreae; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees). When Gerald the giraffe sees all the other jungle animals dance, he feels like he’ll never fit in and is sad he can’t join in the fun. Ultimately, Gerald discovers that despite his wobbly legs and long neck he can dance too, because as his new friend tells Gerald, “sometimes when you’re different you just need a different song.” The ultimate theme of finding your way in the world is timeless and the light rhyme moves the story forward nicely. Parker-Rees’s bright, expressive illustrations make the book completely adorable and fun to read as we search each page for delightful hidden jungle elements. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is available from Vintage Mama’s Book Shoppe, along with other fun books all about giraffes!

Baby Giraffe Coloring Page Find more FREE printable coloring pages at

Little White Lie by Shara Bueler-Repka “OK, everyone, let’s get started, please,” Miss Chavez, our science teacher, shouted over our loud chatter. Chairs scraped and creaked as we all quieted down and took our seats. “As you know, we have one final exam that will count for most of your grade,” she announced. A few groans echoed around the room. “I need you to pick a partner and decide on a project that would be a good example of what you learned this past semester.” I glanced over at my best friend, Rusty, who seemed to be deep in thought. Suddenly he whirled around, his mass of red hair colliding with his glasses. “Let’s build a volcano!” he said. “Cool!” I replied. We had been friends since the first grade, and a flair for the spectacular was our specialty. “We’ll nail this assignment, Rusty,” I grinned. “It’ll be awesome!” We eyeballed the clock as the minutes ticked by. I could hear the faint click of Rusty’s loose shoelace as his heel tapped the linoleum floor. The final bell burst to life and we leaped from our seats, bolting for our bikes. Skidding to a stop in front of my garage, we dumped our BMXs on the grass and raced each other inside to the workbench. We scouted around and found the materials to build our volcano. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and we started designing our masterpiece. But after about an hour of work, Rusty’s attitude changed. It seemed the paint peeling on the walls, the various tools in a steel box; even the dust bunnies on the concrete floor were more interesting to him than our assignment. “Hey, I’m going home, now,” he informed me. “What? Wait a minute. We’ve got a lot more work to do,” I objected. He shrugged, “I know. I just don’t feel like working anymore today. We can work on it tomorrow. We’ve got plenty of time.” He jumped on his bike and pedaled away.

I rolled my eyes and plopped down on a lawn chair. “Typical Rusty,” I grumbled, rubbing the stubble of my crew cut. “Oh, well, it’s only Monday.” But as the week passed, Rusty made excuses, showing no interest in helping with our assignment. As the due date loomed closer, I realized I would have to complete the project myself. “I can’t believe my best friend bailed on me!” I fumed to myself. Early Monday morning, with the help of another student, I carefully carried the volcano into the classroom. The other students quietly chatted in little groups, waiting for class to begin. “Bruce and Rusty,” Miss Chavez called, “are you both ready to present your project?” Rusty stood beside me, and our classmates whistled softly in amazement as I showed off the workings of the volcano. “Wow! I am impressed,” the teacher nodded. She looked at Rusty. “Did you two complete this project together?” I held my breath. Was he going to come clean and tell the teacher the truth— that I did most of the work? “Oh yeah, we both worked on the whole thing together!” He lied. My jaw dropped. Are you kidding me? He even lied with enthusiasm! Miss Chavez’s eyes narrowed at me, and she tilted her head to the side. My heart skipped a beat. If I told the truth, Rusty would get in trouble and I’d probably lose him as a friend. And, as a bonus, everyone would call me a snitch. My breath came in short bursts. It’s only a little white lie, I reassured himself. What can it hurt? “Sure, we did it together,” I muttered. A pang pricked deep within me. My face grew warm. I had given my life to Jesus several years ago and deep down I knew what I did was wrong. As I walked back to my desk, my thoughts tossed back and forth: Rusty kind of helped me in the beginning, and no one knows except him and me that he cut out early. But, it wasn’t the whole truth, and any lie is wrong. The next morning I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. My stomach felt like a pile of knots. I thought about the lesson our youth leader taught a couple of days ago. How did that verse go again? ‘I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth’ (I John 2:21). Oh, man…the truth doesn’t have ANY lies in it! My confusion about the whole deal cleared up right then. A lie is a lie, no matter what the reason is for telling it or who knows—God knows. I messed up, for sure! But I also remembered that God forgives us when we mess up. I didn't waste any time: “Dear Jesus,” I prayed, “I’m sorry for lying. Thank you for forgiving me.” I tapped my fingers on the covers. That was good for starters, but there was one more thing to do. It wasn’t just enough to be sorry; I had to set the record straight. “And Jesus? Help me tell the teacher the truth today, no matter what happens.” I sank into my pillow and sighed with relief. It’s always best to do the right thing and tell the truth even when God is the only one who knows.

Target Gift Card Giveaway from Katherine’s Corner April 27 – May 25, 2018 Visit Katherine’s Corner and enter to win!

My Bike was Never Yellow by Nina Newton

My bike was never yellow . . . . and I never had pretty purple flowers in the basket on the handlebars of my rickety, rusty old bike. But flying down the hill on the road in front of our little cottage by the lake always made me feel like I could do just about anything at all. It was magic, with the summer breeze whipping and snapping my brown-black hair around my little girl freckle face. Other kids would sometimes race me down that hill, and then one day we collided, half-way down, both flying across the gravelly road, arms and legs sliding, and scraping knees and elbows. We landed in the grass on the far side where a little ditch dipped down and muddy water often collected, and mosquitoes swarmed around us lying there on that summer day. All bloody with our summer shorts ripped to shreds, stained from the mud and the blood and the grass from the ditch . . . we both peeked over the edge of the ditch, through the smashed and torn-up grass, to see if the other one was dead . . . or alive. And then we knew. Torn and bruised, ripped and dirty, muddy and bloody, but we were both still alive, so we laughed through our tears, and giggled like little girls always do. We limped back up the hill, home to get a Band-Aid and a scolding from Mom, a swift wash-up and a bit of that stingy stuff that moms always put on cuts back in the day. It was then, I think, I learned how strong I really was that day. But I really didn’t know, for sure, just how much I would need to remember that day when I crashed on the gravelly hill, riding my not-yellow bike with no pretty purple flowers in the basket – but mud and blood, scrapes and cuts – and I remind myself that I’m still alive.

Moms and Sons, a Time to Laugh by Lisa J. Radcliff

There’s an old joke that goes: Why did Jesus take the time to fold his grave clothes after he arose? Because he knew his mother was going to come to the tomb. Those of us who have raised boys smile because we get it. The likelihood that one of our sons would leave their pajamas neatly folded on their pillow is every mother’s dream, maybe even a measure of parenting success. But, OK, Jesus was perfect.

My sons came by it naturally. My mom and I laughed a lot too. We had plenty of rough times but always found a way to laugh. Mom was mostly deaf. Instead of asking us to repeat what we said, she would say what she heard, which usually resulted with all of us laughing until we cried, including her. I am getting to that point now. You think I would have learned, but it makes my family laugh when I say what I think they said, so why not?

Like some children develop allergies, mine developed a condition that caused their clothing to explode from their bodies when they entered the house, landing on chairs, bannisters, sofas, and floors.

A few months ago, I met some members of my birth family. Although my birth mother has passed, and I will never know her, according to family members, I have her laugh. When I laugh, they say it’s like having her back again.

I think it had something to do with the change in temperature or barometric pressure. It also caused temporary blindness. They couldn’t see where their clothes had landed and, therefore, couldn’t pick them up and put them away.

It’s so strange to me. My laugh is the same as the mother I never knew. But what a great thing to have in common. Since she loved to laugh as much as I do, it seems perfect.

I wonder sometimes what the day-to-day life of raising Jesus was like. Mary probably didn’t have to tell him more than once to clean his room or take out the trash. But I bet in a lot of ways it was just like mine. And I bet Mary enjoyed a good laugh with her sons. After all, when you’re raising boys, laughing goes with the territory. Did she laugh at their jokes or when a snake showed up in her laundry basket? Did she stop what she was doing to play a game or slide down the stairs with them on their woolen mats, landing in a pile of giggles at the bottom? Did she give them a sideways smile as they snuck something into the house? Did her sons keep her laughing like mine did with me?

The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus’s childhood was like. But I’m sure it was filled with laughter. He came to bring abundant life. I don’t think life could be lived abundantly without laughter. The Bible does tell us that a merry heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and that God puts laughter into our mouths and fills us with joy (Psalm 126). Being the source of our life and joy, it just makes sense that Jesus spent time laughing. I hope that when I’m gone my sons remember the times we laughed together, that I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying and was always willing to drop the mundane for a chance to do something fun with them. Of all the things in Proverbs 31 that I could strive for, it is verse 25 that is my goal: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Take some time to laugh today.

Mothering our Mothers by Joan Leotta One of the most difficult periods in my life was during the years my mother suffered from dementia. During that time, I had to balance caring for her, acting as her guardian, in a sense as her mother, while honoring her with the respect and giving her the dignity she was due as my mother. The verse that sustained me during this time was Joshua 1:9—“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you.”(NIV) The poem below is a piece I wrote at the time to help me deal with the practicalities of living those two roles—mother and daughter.

The Conversation by Joan Leotta "My daughter comes and goes," Mom says. "I am your daughter," I announce. I stand by her straight green chair and take her hand in mine. Her head turns toward me but her eyes stare without focus. Bending toward her, I ask. "Would you like a drink of water?' "My daughter comes and goes," she answers. From her pink plastic pitcher, I pour the water into a cup. I pour until I am empty. I place the cup in her hand, closing her fingers around it, one by one. She raises the water to open lips, but tilts the cup too soon. She wants to drink, but cannot find her mouth. I mop the spill and get more water. I raise the fresh cup to her lips. She smiles, sips, and slips her hand over mine. "My daughter comes and goes," she says. "My mother too, " I answer, hug her hard and kiss her. A poem from my chapbook Languid Lusciousness with Lemon Available from Finishing Line Press on

Where are You? There was a season in my life when I played an endless game of hide and seek with God. It was a long-running game and I was committed to win – to find that perfect place where I could hide and never be found. So I ran way; I travelled far and wide to remote places. I was getting good at it, or so I thought! When God asked Adam and Eve “Where Are You?” in Genesis 3:9, He questioned not because He didn’t know; He is the all-knowing God. He asked because of His inherent Grace. He was gracious enough to allow the sinners to come forward on their own to tell Him what they had done. When I recently re-read this passage, it was not just His Grace that called out to me but the state of His heart. How did God, who is so full of love and compassion, feel when he had to say those words - “Where Are You?” - knowing full well they were hiding from Him? I was forced to ask myself: How heartbroken our Good Father must have felt knowing that the ones He had created for Himself and loved so dearly had drifted away from Him. They had wandered to a point where they no longer gravitated towards His closeness but instead felt the need to hide? They no longer felt that perfect intimacy. Surely God must have felt anguish? "So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help." - Isaiah 30:18 Then I was reminded that if God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He felt despair then, when Adam and Eve hid, surely He feels that same despair when I drift away and distance myself from Him? For I too am His beloved, whom He created in His image for Him… When we, who love so conditionally and often with so much restraint, lose something or someone we love, we cry out those very words. How much deeper must God, with His infinite and unconditional love, feel when we turn away? Surely His heart must ache!

Often when I travel and even as I journey in life, I ask myself “Where am I going?” I get so caught up in trying to figure out and understand where I’m headed or supposed to go that I forget I’m not meant to figure it out on my own. In trying to work it all out myself, time and time again I have allowed myself to put a veil between God and me. I know that God has asked me “Where Are You?” far more than I have uttered that question to myself. God’s request for us to step closer is eternally endless. He never stops pursuing and He never stops prompting. Even when we tell Him we are not ready – for whatever reason we use – God NEVER stops trying to win us over. Our Father is always waiting to clothe every prodigal child with the royal robes of righteousness and restore our identity with the crown of sonship. He waits to usher us back into His royal courts as heirs to His kingdom. We each have an open invitation to come a little closer to God; to sit at His banquet in communion with Him; to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). The Lord draws close to those who draw close to Him (James 4:8) and His invitation to draw close is never withdrawn.

“But, Jesus “saw” Zacchaeus long before their eyes met! Jesus already knew the man’s heart. He knew that beneath the sinful exterior, Zacchaeus was ready to repent, so Jesus called out to him and announced that He will be a guest at the sinner’s home that evening!”

Yet, sometimes we go through each day completely unaware that He wants us closer. We forget that He is El Roi, the God who SEES us. Instead, we either ignore His presence completely or we strive to get his attention – continually asking Him, “where are you God?” We sometimes wonder if God is pleased with us or question if we need to do more. In Luke 19:1-10, Zacchaeus was a man reviled by his community but he sought hard to get the attention of the Messiah. Because of his small stature, and perhaps his sinful nature, Zacchaeus believed he had to position himself in the right place to be noticed, as Jesus walked through the streets of Jericho. So, he climbed the highest tree and waited on the Lord. But, Jesus “saw” Zacchaeus long before their eyes met! Jesus already knew the man’s heart. He knew that beneath the sinful exterior, Zacchaeus was ready to repent, so Jesus called out to him and announced that He will be a guest at the sinner’s home that evening! The truth is, not unlike Jesus and Zacchaeus, God wants and sees only your heart – nothing more… He’s ready for some time alone with you. So where are YOU today? Is your heart leaning in to God or distracted by other things? Are you ready to receive Him at your home? He is…

Living at the River Bottom by Katt Luce One Sunday afternoon a homeless woman stopped at our Bible table at the beach. She said her name was Bonnie and she lived at the river bottom. The river bottom is a popular dwelling place for the homeless in our community. It’s in a jungle of thick brush and trees covering a wide area next to the river. I asked her about living conditions there. I was curious. She said it’s a pleasant place to live! People create privacy boundaries around their living spaces, using boxes or existing bushes. Some even have furniture—chairs, mattresses and chests of drawers! Most have their own ice chests for food storage. “But if you don’t have a lock on it, watch out! Your peanut butter is sure to go missing!”

“We panhandle during the day, but we use our money to buy food first, before we buy booze! Our only drug is alcohol! In fact, Tom and I are the only ones living there who don’t use drugs. ” Bonnie and her husband Tom have lived there for three years. She said they are both followers of Jesus and read their Bible together every night. Their only problem is their addiction to alcohol. “We panhandle during the day, but we use our money to buy food first, before we buy booze! Our only drug is alcohol! In fact, Tom and I are the only ones living there who don’t use drugs. ” She said that one guy has a guitar and they enjoy evening singing around the campfire. “Recently after singing, Ol’ Chuck announced that he was going to take his life. We all watched him swallow his pills. We figured he was dead by 11 PM, but we didn’t call the cops ’til morning.”

Bonnie and Tom have two young children being raised by her parents in another city. Every Christmas and Easter her parents bring the children and rent a motel room for three days, so they can spend the holidays together. “I love seeing our kids. It’s also a good time for us to take showers and wash our clothes.” She said she would like to be free from her addiction to alcohol. She shed tears as I prayed that she and Tom would find deliverance from this bondage. I then shared with her some contact information so they could get help from Teen Challenge. I explained that Teen Challenge is the most successful drug rehabilitation program in the nation. “Many programs recommend a higher power—but if your higher power is not Jesus Christ, then your higher power is not genuine and will not be lasting.” I assured her that Teen Challenge is not for younger teens. Participants must be at least 18. Most in the program are in their 20s and 30s. She was encouraged to learn that in some locations they offer programs for families so they can live together. Bonnie and Tom would fit right in!

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:4 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 Learn more about Teen Challenge: about/national-office Do you have a homeless population in your community? How are they being helped?

Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk Book Review by Miriam Jacob “Raindrops from Heaven” by Twila Belk gives us inspiring, hope-filled devotionals for each new day. Twila Belk skillfully weaves her amazing gift of words with biblical truths combined with thought-provoking questions. It is a special date with God to bestow life-giving words of hope for each day’s troubles. It shines light on Jesus whose grace is sufficient for all our needs. This precious book of gentle reminders of God’s love is a beacon of hope for the day and a lamp of comfort at night. The devotionals make a perfect start to the day, for all those going through tough times, with troubles that overwhelm beyond imagination. Twila’s passion to share her love for God shines brightly on every page. Her words speak to our hearts each day with a gentle touch of God’s spirit to refresh, encourage and inspire us. This is a beautiful book with short, to-the-point readings of one thought and one application to start your day with God and His Word. It is for everyone who needs a quick, easy-to-read devotional to get spiritually inspired. “Raindrops from Heaven” is Twila’s “voice” to speak words of hope to a troubled world desperately in need of God’s love. Here is precious refreshment for our souls, to receive encouragement in the sunshine and thoughts to ponder on a rainy day.

Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner!

Find a wide variety of daily devotional books at RUBY’S Reading Corner

Hopeful Mother’s Day by Susan Paulus I wrote the poem, They Are Yours, in 1981 while in the midst of raising these daughters that mean the absolute world to me – as yours do to you. I always loved the transition from the “I give them to You” through to “they are yours.” And it means even more to me now that they are grown, now that they have become wonderful adult women, beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. If you are reading this and struggling through some teenage issues, my prayer is that you have hope. He will mold them, shape them, and lead them to Himself.

They Are Yours Father, I give them to You – These daughters I love so much. They are Yours – to do with as You will. I have tried, struggled, demanded and forced. But, no more. Father, I give them back to You – These daughters you love so much. Little girls growing into beautiful women. Women with the same human nature that we all have – The same human nature that only You can change. They have always been Yours, Father. Forgive me for claiming them, For trying to mold them into what I want them to be. Father, they are Yours –

These daughters we both love so much. Yours to mold, To shape, To lead to You. Teach them to love You, Father, And to share Your love with others. Amen.

Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes from Vintage Mama’s Cottage

All images and recipes are the property of the original websites. RUBY magazine does not own any of the images in this article and they are used only as part of a featured collection. To find any of the original articles, please visit the websites which are linked to each image.

We found a few yummy recipes to share with you this month for our special Mother’s Day issue of RUBY magazine. There are so many resources available to us nowadays for finding just the perfect recipe, book, dress, or new craft project idea, that I sometimes get overwhelmed just searching through all the hundreds and hundreds of beautiful pictures on Pinterest and other websites. That’s why we try to offer you a few ideas of new recipes that we have found to share with you . . . . that way, you don’t have to search through that huge, overwhelming list available online.

Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

All of the images in this recipe collection belong to the original website / blog, so if you would like to make one or two of these delicious recipes for your Mother’s Day brunch, be sure to visit the original blog / website. I hope you have a wonderful Mothers’ Day celebration!

from Vintage Mama’s Cottage

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Mimosa Fruit Salad from Crescent Breakfast Squares from

Peaches and Cream Muffins from Delish Glazed Lemon Tea Bread from

Blueberry Lemon Muffins from

Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven by Christina Murphy

I knew the day would come when I had to say goodbye, but I never knew that day would be so soon. I pictured you at a ripe old age, not a flower that had yet fully bloomed. I never knew you would miss my graduation, though I know how proud you would be, calling out from the audience, “That’s my baby!” I never knew that, when the time comes, the labor and delivery room will hold one less person as we welcome the newest part of me, or how you are not going to be at the other end of the line when I call, because I can’t calm my screaming baby. I never knew I would spend so much time replaying your voice messages, looking at old pictures, and wishing I could give you a call, or feeling my heart shatter each time I see another daughter with her mom. I never knew the pain that your absence would bring, a pain that at times takes my breath away, but I also never knew that the Lord would create a new normal and show me how everything will be okay. I never knew you would be in heaven this Mother’s Day, but if I had, I would have reminded you that the bond between a mother and a daughter is unbreakable, unchangeable, and unforgettable, and when one half of that bond is called home it’s inconceivably sad. So, happy Mother’s Day in heaven Mom, I still celebrate you today, and I look forward to the moment I see you waiting for me at heaven’s gates.

Be watching for the

JUNE 2018 issue of

RUBY magazine Available June 1, 2018 on the

RUBY blog

Five Tips for an Amazing Family Vacation by Jehn Kubiak

Alright, you and your spouse have decided it’s vacation time, but first you have to ask a series of questions: Where do you go? How long? What’s within your budget? Do you want to see important landmarks? Will you stay in a hotel or with a family friend? All these questions can easily become daunting. Here’s a guide for streamlined vacation planning. 1. Lodging If you’re traveling to another state or city and have a nearby friend you know would welcome the whole family, call them up and see if they’re available that weekend. If not, look at available hotels in the area using a comparison site like Trivago. Then, consider how many rooms you’ll need. If you have a large family, decide which older sibling or parent will remain in charge of each room. Also, consider your budget––if you want a nicer hotel, consider something like Marriott. If you hope to save money, try a Motel 6. 2. Method of travel Do you need a plane, or can you save money by driving the family car? If you’re traveling via plane, book a flight directly through the airline’s website to avoid hidden fees. Families with very young children can also save on plane tickets. In addition, make sure to factor luggage prices into the overall budget. If you will be driving the family car, ensure it is in excellent condition and save a portion of the vacation budget for gas money. Alternatively, you can use a rental car. 3. Sightseeing This is the fun part of every vacation. Think of local spots (within 15-30 minutes) as well as spots in the region (1-3 hours away). When you arrive at your destination, you can also ask locals around the area for the best spots. Have no idea where to start? Think about national parks, hiking trails, iconic landmarks, restaurants, museums, etc. Consider the ages of your children as well––younger children may not enjoy walking long distances, while older children may enjoy it. 4. In-house activities If you’re on a longer vacation, the family may just want to stay in one day or spend time in the lodging area at night. If you’re traveling via plane, bring smaller items––cards, coloring books, and toys. Bring bigger items if you’re driving––board games, a laptop for playing movies, and a craft box. 5. Food It’s only three hours into the trip and the kids have already said, “Mom! I’m hungry!” Snacks are a musthave, but snacks sometimes just don’t satiate kids for enough time. Factor in meal breaks and look at places around the area. Consider whether you want to order pizza at the hotel, grab a quick bite via a drive-through, purchase sandwiches at a local market, stop for a dine-in dinner, visit a food truck, or check out a local hole-in-the-wall. Popular family restaurants include: Denny’s, In-N-Out, Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Subway, IHOP, Claim Jumper, and Panda Express.

Spring Has Sprung! by DaPorscha Rufus To My Only Begotten, Finally spring has sprung! Your love is like the innocence of fluttering butterfly wings in the middle of March and the start of April. For You are ever so lovely and so pure. When You smile, the sun radiates ever so bright Like the newness of days that have not yet arrived. YES! Your Love is my Eternal Guiding Light. for You alone said, Let there be light and the darkness has yet to fathom Your Glories! O My Beloved, speaking of darkness, even when my pupils are no more I am still enabled to encounter You and Your most precious Love. As the rays of your sunshine beat against this face of clay I yearn for more of that Holy Ghost fire feeling that refuses to be extinguished. For You Alone are the clouds wrapped in one. For You Alone, are The Father and The Sun!

Your Book from: God by DaPorscha Rufus 366 Days of Inspiration, Spiritual Guidance, Anointed Prayers, and Heartfelt Poetry 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. Your Book From: God by DaPorscha Rufus is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

Spring Laughter by Nancy Frantel

One of the best places to hear laughter is somewhere you may not think of first. My children and I enjoy visiting the zoo. In the spring, elementary school kids also visit as part of field trips, which adds to the experience. With so many young visitors, sounds of excitement are heard throughout the park. Whether laughter, giggles, or squeals, the atmosphere fills with one of happiness. The person vocalizing their reaction to an animal’s behavior may even come from the other side of the park. However, it still brings smiles and laughter to those of us in another area. How can someone not laugh at a giraffe sticking out his long, really long tongue? Or a prairie dog digging a hole so intensely dirt lands on the back of his neighbor? The small facility cares for a variety of animals. The barn section provides the closest interaction for children. Gluttonous goats, sheep, and pigs claim their territory by the wooden fence to see which one reaches the hand with the food treat in it first. I’ve even seen a small goat stand on the back of a larger goat in order to reach food from the adults. Smart! If the children are not careful, their small hands will receive a lick, or on occasion a nibble from a curious, no, I mean hungry goat. Squeals are the typical reaction from the unsuspecting child, who innocently stopped to take a look.

By taking time to listen, the combined sounds made by the children and animals seem like a symphony. Trying to figure out if the noise came from a child or an animal adds to the fun. It’s not always that easy to determine. And it becomes even more difficult when a teenager tries to mimic an animal. Yes, teenagers visit the zoo. Sometimes they’re as much fun to watch as the wildlife. The teens look at them from a unique perspective. This allows adult visitors to see into the heart of the teenager. Most of them show compassion, which also brings a smile. When they act silly in front of an animal, I can’t help but laugh. On occasions I’ve watched the creature look back as if saying, “Really? What in the world are you doing?” During a recent visit I overheard a dad ask his two-year-old son, “Hey buddy. Do you want to go see some animals?” I don’t remember the kid’s expression or response, however I remember smiling. Joy may be felt in the simplest way. Whether listening to families interact with their kids, or watching children connect with the animals, the opportunity for laughter abounds. While walking around the park, I think about the magnificent creatures God created. And find myself wondering, “How many did He think would make us laugh?” “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:24-25 (NRSV) "The man [Adam] gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; . . .” Genesis 2:20a (NRSV) God gave Adam the job of categorizing each animal. I wonder if he laughed when he assigned names like coatimundi, klipspringer, and wallaroo, or at least it made him smile. Just like today.

Sowing the Seed, Reaping the Harvest by Norma C. Mezoe Susan is a compassionate Christian who delivers mail in a small town. As she walks her route, she often has opportunities to talk with those to whom she delivers mail. One day, while on her route, she heard about a young man who had been in a serious motorcycle accident. He was in a critical condition in a hospital many miles from her home. Susan felt led to visit this man and to talk with him about Jesus Christ and his salvation. Sixteen years passed after that visit, and once again Susan talked to the man. He told her that he had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and had witnessed to others. When Susan sowed the seed many years earlier, she didn’t know if the seed was falling on good or nonproductive soil. She only knew that she was doing what she believed the Lord wanted her to do. She sowed the seed and God reaped the harvest. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15) Father God. Please help us to be willing to sow the seed and to wait upon you to produce the harvest. Amen

For inspirational and creative articles, visit Theresa Begin on her blog, Shoestring Elegance.

The Hannah Experience: When Nothing seems to be Producing the Desired Effect by Jennifer Workman “This book extends inspiration to every bibliophile to press forward in prayer and trust God unequivocally despite what they may encounter in life and trust that God is the way and that he will ultimately supply their needs and bring them to their final destination at the appointed time.”

Now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

RUBY’S Reading Corner for family-friendly, seasonal, and holiday books and home décor.

The Name of Jesus by Katt Luce

Glioblastoma Brain CA & Prayer My friend Eileen passed away recently from Glioblastoma–brain cancer. During her final months, she lived with her sister in a distant city. I kept in touch with Eileen by phone, but in her last weeks she could no longer talk. However, she would listen and she understood when others spoke. The last time I called her she was suddenly able to respond with appropriate short comments! I asked her if she was in pain. She said “No.” I shared with her some good news from home and she clearly replied, “Oh really!” I asked if she would like me to read to her from the Bible. She said, “Yes, please.” I read to her from Psalm 34 and she listened quietly. Every now and then she would respond in agreement by saying, “Oh yes.” I asked if she would like me to pray for her. She said, “Yes.” I prayed that God would continue to keep her pain-free. I asked God to heal her if this was His will. I prayed that God would fill her with His Holy Spirit, with His love, His Joy and His peace. I prayed that even if she could not speak aloud, that she would repeat the name Jesus in her thoughts, because there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. According to her sister, Eileen never spoke another intelligible word after our phone conversation. Today I’m praising God that I know where Eileen is. She is in the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and is now experiencing a joy beyond measure. 

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12  My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Proverbs 4:20-22  O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2 _____________ [This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: and

Fingerprints of God by Norma C. Mezoe Look at the flowers, leaves on the trees… Lift your face to the sun, or feel the cool breeze; Count all the stars, twinkling at night, Look into the eyes of a baby, filled with wonder and light… There you see - the fingerprints of God.

The Joy of the Lord, Glad Libs by Cindy Evans *Fill in the words/blanks with a friend and then read your new creation! (Name) and (Name) were sitting at breakfast eating (noun) and their Wheaties. (Famous person) was on the box. They sure look strong, the children thought. I wonder where they get their strength? Could it be lifting (plural nouns)? Or is it from (active verb?) Or maybe it's carrying a big (noun) all day, one that’s really (adjective)? Or could it be from (active verb) and eating (food) all day that's (color)? “I think I know,” one exclaimed, “I learned it in Sunday school from (name of a teacher). The joy of the Lord is their strength!” This definitely seemed like the right answer! "...the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10, NIV

Road Trip of Delusion by Jean Ann Williams is available from

RUBY’S Reading Corner

Icebox Epiphany by Tim Bishop Sometimes, God speaks to us with such clarity that it boosts our faith on the spot. A household chore turned object lesson demonstrates how. Years ago, as a single guy who lived alone, domestic duties in my one-bedroom apartment fell by the wayside. Defrosting the freezer was one such example. Mind you, my food supplies were bare bones. I only needed a refrigerator to chill a couple gallons of milk and a jug of orange juice. Beyond that, an unwitting visitor looking inside for food would typically find only a bottle of flat soda, a container of margarine sprinkled with toast crumbs, an outdated bottle of catsup and some unused packets of mustard from a take-out restaurant. The freezer had its own door above the refrigerator. I usually opened it to empty and refill ice-cube trays or to pull out a TV dinner. Consequently, I defrosted the freezer based on the thickness of the ice inside it rather than by watching the calendar. When the shrinking confines of the icebox made it difficult to remove and insert the ice-cube trays, it was time to grab the hammer and the chisel and begin breaking the ice. I know most people unplug the refrigerator to defrost it, but that would have taken far too long and left too large a puddle on the kitchen floor. My defrosting method was daring and required caution because I knew I could damage my landlord’s refrigerator with the chisel blade. Since the surface of the ice was primarily frost, I began by scraping it with cupped hands and tossing each snowball into the sink to melt. Soon, I used the chisel as a squeegee with enough pressure to uncover bare ice. Eventually, I wielded the hammer and struck the butt-end of the chisel to chip away at the ice. Fragments flew to the opposite end of the box as the chisel dug in and then glanced across the slippery surface. Sometimes, a chunk of ice came off. I gathered up the loose pieces periodically and added them to the growing pile of slush in the sink. I worked for an hour or so whittling away at the unyielding mass. To avoid damaging the freezer lining, I tried various angles to fracture the obstinate ice. Then, it happened. With yet another blow to the chisel, suddenly, the ice on the roof of the compartment crashed to the bottom in one solid piece, leaving behind a pristine metal surface not seen for months. While it had taken a while to appear, deliverance was instantaneous. The immovable had moved. Moisture hastened to my eyes and tingling to my chest. Unmistakable encouragement caused me to pause and reflect before I lugged the frozen mass outside to melt in the sun. I had been praying for a godly spouse for years with little to show for it.

As I gazed at the fallen block of ice, I sensed that God would someday answer my prayers as dramatically as an ice dam on a northern river breaking loose in springtime. My profound object lesson felt like a premonition and a promise from God. In time, He blessed me with a special woman who loved Him and yearned to know Him more. She fit me better than anyone else could. Despite our diligence to remove them, we all face unrelenting obstructions in our lives: an unrewarding job in a difficult work setting, a broken relationship and the disappointment that comes with it, a wayward child bent on self-destruction and any number of unfulfilled dreams. Perhaps we go too far to bring about change only to make matters worse. In an appeal for miraculous intervention, we may even carry our conundrum to God through prayer. Regardless, these persistent impediments seem permanent. They can block anything from our personal growth, success and happiness to our wish for a breakthrough in the people or the circumstances around us. Thankfully, we don’t have to face life’s obstacles alone. If we turn our ear heavenward, God will speak to each of us uniquely and irrefutably to assure us that He hasn’t abandoned us. My icebox epiphany reminded me to stay hopeful and to trust God’s plan for my life. It was another Divine whisper to bolster my faith. Meanwhile, God had my attention. He chiseled away at my character, preparing me for the appointed time and the anointed one. If you have immovable and heartrending circumstances blocking you, I hope you’ll take encouragement that God isn’t surprised by what challenges you. He’s always at work even when it seems He is silent. With perseverance and trust, deliverance is inevitable.

Wheels of Wisdom by Tim and Debbie Bishop Book Review by Nina Newton Having never been on a cross-country bike journey, nor ever having attempted any kind of adventure such as that undertaken by Tim and Debbie Bishop, I found their book Wheels of Wisdom fascinating! Every story along the way was a completely new world for me, with events and challenges completely unknown to this homebody. From the story of their mid-life romance, to the lessons learned along the way on their travels, to the honest expressions of exasperation at the challenges they faced, Tim and Debbie offer an insightful look at real life. Using their experiences on the road, in different towns and cities, and in their work with The Hope Line, Tim and Debbie offer readers a glimpse into their relationship with one another, but more importantly their relationship with their Heavenly Father. Practical and honest reflection on their experiences along their cross-country bicycle adventure truly give us encouragement in our life journeys to persevere in the face of challenges, seek peace in the midst of fear and anxiety, and wisdom to follow the road God sets before us, no matter where it leads. You can find Wheels of Wisdom by Tim and Debbie Bishop on Amazon and from RUBY’S Reading Corner.

Setting the Right Example by Norma C. Mezoe

The minister and a visiting evangelist were walking down our street, visiting and inviting people to come to a revival. My mother saw them coming and we hid until they had given up knocking on our door. As they walked on down the road, we came out of hiding and opened the door. However, the men stopped again at our house and because the door was open, and they discovered we were home. Mom agreed to go to the revival and as a result, became a Christian. She set an example for me through the life she lived. I also became a Christian. That was over sixty years ago and my mother long ago graduated to Heaven. I have the assurance that one day I will meet her there. Because of the persistence of a minister and an evangelist, my mother accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then she shared her faith with her family. She set the right example. Her children rise up and bless her‌. Proverbs 31:28 (NASB) Prayer: Guiding Father, this world needs the examples of mothers who will live their lives for you. Amen.

Expressions of Spring Blossoms by Sharmelle Olson The Expressions of Spring Blossoms are so beautiful that they bring heaven-scented blossoms for the world to smell them radiantly through God’s air that is wonderful for our world to bring the spring blossoms to enfold. The Expressions of Spring Blossoms are so radiant that they bring their natural beauty into this world vibrantly while the sun glows around the spring blossoms that are a gradient way that is blissfully attractive to others around the world apparently. The Expressions of Spring Blossoms bring us brilliant colors and scents of the spring blossoms that we all share which we find ourselves looking at them as they are irradiant to our liking that we would say in a precious prayer. The Expressions of Spring blossoms bring us into God’s ways of praising us with the grace of spring blossoms while we are being praised in this way by God’s grace we shall be plenty thankful for this random prayer.

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.

Theresa Begin lives in Northern California, where she was born and raised. She is a Christian who loves her family and says, “I have been blessed with the world’s best parents!” She has three sisters and one brother, as well as 16 beautiful nieces and nephews who “mean the world to me!” She is “differently-abled,” and chooses not to allow her limitations to define her life. She loves to write and share her various projects on her blog, “Shoestring Elegance,” which came about as she discovered that living on a tight budget did not mean compromising on style. “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 NLT Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mail-base, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: and her blog:, or come for a visit on Facebook.

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

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

Tim Bishop has co-authored four books with his wife, Debbie, about their midlife launch into marriage, cross-country bicycle touring, and other matters of faith and inspiration. He serves as a volunteer Hope Coach for TheHopeLine, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reach, rescue, and restore hurting teens and young adults.

Cindy Evans is a published poet living in the greater Atlanta area. When she's not writing, you may find her a faith-based movie with her husband, making trail mix or serving at the local Christian hospice.

Miriam Jacob is a reviewer at Oxford Academic, Oxford University Press; a blog reviewer at Revell Reads, Baker Publishing Group; member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, Christian Authors Network and Ruby Book Review Team; Google Scholar and Researcher at; ebook author and poet; top reviewer at NetGalley, Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and Goodreads. Miriam is a reviewer at Tyndale House Publishers; Moody Press; Barbour Books; Harvest House; New Hope Publishers; Penguin; HarperCollins Christian; Abingdon Press; WaterBrook & Multnomah; and Discovery House. Miriam's articles and poems are published at Blogger, Faithwriters, PoemHunter, ProBoards, Weebly and WordPress. Her writings are published on her two blogs at &

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

Lisa Radcliff is a writer, speaker, women's Bible study teacher, and a 35-year volunteer youth worker, residing in Pennsburg, PA. She is a wife, mom, and mom-mom who loves God's Word but also loves football, chocolate, shoes, and Maine. Her hobbies include quilting, shopping, cooking, and raising Seeing Eye puppies. You can reach her at

Jehn Kubiak is a Biola University journalism graduate and current pastoral care and counseling major at the Talbot School of Theology. She is a San Diego native who enjoys distance swimming, coffee, dogs, and painting. She loves researching and writing about people, sports, activities, and more.

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 21, her son is 15, and her twin daughters are 14.

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.

Minister Helen Ellis, wife and mother of 4 great kids, has preached and taught in prisons in NJ and CT for more than 15 years. An avid painter, she specializes in oils, acrylics and watercolors. She and her husband Andrew live with their family in Norwich, CT.

Kathleen Katt Luce is a registered nurse, married, the mother of two and grandmother of seven. It brings her great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years she's learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. She's found herself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the facility for incarcerated teens, sharing God’s message of love. She is also an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. She writes a blog:

DaPorscha Rufus was raised by a teenage mother, and with the help of God she started reading and writing at a young age. She did not know that one day she would help spread the love of Jesus Christ into all the earth through her pain and passion. YOUR BOOK From: God was written with YOU in mind. We all have a purpose in life, a God-given purpose, but it is up to us to pursue all that we've been given. Although life is hard, with Christ all things are possible.

Christina Murphy (Christy) is a God fearing, Bible believing, woman; she attended Barclay College and achieved her bachelors in Ministry Leadership. She is an ESL teacher, a social work student and mentor to women standing for their marriages. She loves coffee, and cheesecake is her weakness.

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

Susan Paulus: My writing began as a prayer for some sanity in my life when I was raising children, sharing life with a husband who often didn't understand me and working a full time job. That was many years ago, and I have recently been searching for a way to have some work published. For two years i wrote for a small NWO publication called Living Today. It was rewarding to know that others might be blessed by what was written. I pray that continues through the ministry RUBY magazine.

Nancy Frantel: I am an author of three nonfiction history books, published by Heritage Books, Inc. I have spoken at the Anacostia Smithsonian Museum and several conferences across the country as a result of the research conducted for the books. Prior to becoming a writer, I worked in management in the corporate world, including Walt Disney World. While working on the fourth book, I was hit by a distracted driver and received a traumatic brain injury. Seven years have passed, and I am back to writing again. Due to the "life interruption" I am working on my new website, which is in the design process.

Ruth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” She is a veteran homeschooling mom of 20 years. She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading. You can visit her on her blog at ruths-real-life (dot) or her website at ruthoneil (dot)

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor:

When 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

Vintage Mama’s Cottage Creative Inspiration for your Home and Family

Please join us in the RUBY community, now on Facebook! Connect with other Christian women, share prayer requests, book reviews, blog posts, crafts, recipes, poetry, and parenting advice and encouragement. We even have a home school group where you can share resources with one another! I hope you will take time to visit the RUBY community group and let us know how we can pray for you. I’ll be looking for you, Nina

RUBY magazine is published by RUBY CreativeLife magazine is published by CreativeLife

May 2018 ruby  

Celebrate the arrival of spring with RUBY magazine! Our special Mother's Day issues features inspirational articles, short stories, poetry,...

May 2018 ruby  

Celebrate the arrival of spring with RUBY magazine! Our special Mother's Day issues features inspirational articles, short stories, poetry,...