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Thanksgiving – a Time for Hospitality by Joan Leotta Vintage Book Treasure Hunt: The Courtship of Miles Standish by Kathryn Ross Impacted By Faith by Nancy Frantel

Power of the Sword by Shara Bueler-Repka My Happy Helper by Rita Atwell-Holler A Betrayal of Trust Part 2 A Short Story by Donna B. Comeaux

RUBY Magazine Your voice, your story NOVEMBER, 2017

In This Issue of RUBY The Dress by Susan Paulus

Quilting Prayers by Lisa J. Radcliff

Here at RUBY magazine and community we are so excited for the upcoming holiday season! In this issue of RUBY magazine you will find family-friendly resources that offer inspiration, encouragement, and wisdom for you in this season of Thanksgiving. Wishing you a joyous, blessed holiday season from all of us at RUBY! 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!

Hymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams

“Sweet Hour of Prayer” by William W. Walford

Let us know how we can be an encouragement to you today. We would love to hear from you! Contact us at Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of RUBY magazine at http://www,

Why I Wear a Cross by Katherine Corrigan

Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Norma C. Mezoe, Shara Bueler-Repka, Shirley Specht Johnson, Emmanuel O. Afolabi, Carol Peterson, Susan Paulus, Connie Arnold, Paula McVay, Katherine Corrigan, Donna B. Comeaux, Maryann Lorts, Rejetta Morse, Cynthia Knisley, Joan Leotta, Nancy Frantel, Gloria Doty, Thea Williams, Michele Morin, Kathryn Ross, Sharmelle Olson, Nells Wasilewski, Lisa J. Radcliff, Kelly Christian, Alicia Ai Keng Lim, Rita Atwell-Holler, Lucy Neeley Adams

Don’t Forget! by Paula McVay

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

Are you looking forward to the holidays? Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, can be a time of joyful family gatherings with beautiful decorations, gifts, music, and all of the fun holiday movies that come out this time of year. But the holidays are also a time of loneliness and sadness for many people. Even those who look like they are doing just fine, sometimes if you look deeper into their lives and listen to their stories, you will discover that there is a broken heart deep down inside. Most of us are pretty good at putting on a smile and pretending. What about you? Recently I’ve been thinking about all of the reasons I have in my life to be thankful. Even in the midst of loss and grief, there is much to be grateful for, and realize how blessed we are.

Trust me; I’m speaking to myself here. This isn’t about telling you all what to do because I’ve been so successful at this task. I have failed miserably, and I think most all of us have failed. I’m pretty sure that is because we are afraid. We are afraid of being vulnerable; we are afraid of what other people will think of us. I recognized this recently when I read a blog post by another Christian woman who shared the depth of her pain and loss through many years, and final escape, from an abusive marriage. She was honest. I was impressed. I was also convicted of my own unwillingness to be open about the grief and sadness that I have experienced. So we all go on, pretending that we are OK when we, in fact, are not.

So, while determined to focus on what we have and not invest a lot of time reliving the days of sadness, I have discovered that it is possible to “write a new story.”

Perhaps you aren’t ready to write a new story . . . or even to tell the old one . . . but please remember that your story is your gift to those who might be walking the same pathway that you have traversed.

That can often be difficult, because the wounds from the past don’t just “go away” with time. But God’s grace and gift of peace can lead you to a place of freedom if you trust Him with your story.

You survived, so why not help someone else along the way?

As I’ve had opportunity to get to know lots of writers over the past few years, and encourage them to tell their stories, I realize we all have challenges that we have overcome; trials that we have endured; broken hearts that we sometimes hold together with string and Band-Aids. And your story could be just what God wants to use to accomplish His loving plan for your life and for someone else’s life. But you have to let Him do that.

Think about it, and then write a new story for your life. God will honor you for telling the truth, and other lives will be blessed through the gift of your story. I’m still working on my story, how about you?

Footprints in the Mud Thanksgiving Reflections by Beth Brubaker

It’s that time of year- when we sit with family and spend time eating a grand meal. It’s also a great time to reflect on the past, and I don’t mean past year. by just BeththeBrubaker Have everyone turn off their phones and sit at the table - after the prayers are said, let the stories begin! During the meal, tell tales of Thanksgiving pasts when your mom and dad hosted the dinner - or when another family member did. What are the differences from then until now? What’s remained the same? What new traditions can be thought up for next year? It’s also the perfect time to reflect on how you used to be. Are you the same, or different? Is God a bigger part of your life? How has that changed you? This is also a great topic to discuss at the dinner table! For me, thinking back on the past, I’m not the same person I used to be. I’m so much better for the experiences God gave me (both good and bad!), and it’s helped me see things from more than one perspective. How has He changed your life this past year? How about the past decade? Look upon the bounty of your Thanksgiving table. Let your eyes wander over the food, the family relationships, and the friendships you’ve grown over the years. Maybe there’s someone new at the table this year that blesses you and your loved ones. Count every laugh, every savory bite, and every blessing with a happy heart, for this holiday table is only a hint of what God has in store for us! Let your heart rejoice in the warmth of shared stories as well as a shared meal. I pray you, your family, and your table be blessed in many unexpected ways this Thanksgiving!

For more inspirational articles by Beth Brubaker, visit her blog at Footprints in the Mud

Grandpa's Mealtime Prayer by Shirley Specht Johnson The aroma of Thanksgiving filled the fall time air, then grandma said "Grandpa, will you say the mealtime prayer?" Everyone gathered together in the family dining hall. The sweet aroma of grandpa's prayer filled the hearts of all. He said "Lord, my heart is filled with joy looking back upon my life, You gave me the truest friend, my beautiful wife." "You showed me family is more than a portrait on the wall, each one uniquely designed for a purpose and a call." "Every moment gathered through the course of time, is part of your wonderful and incredible design." "Every step we take are ones that You ordain, the bright sunny steps or ones that step through rain." "Lord, my heart fills with joy when I think about your word, how it changed me the moment that I heard." "I am thankful for the silly moments the grandchildren do, their laughter, theirs giggles remind me each day is new." "Now for the food." "I thank you for the feast set before my eyes, the turkey, the dressing and the apple pie, I thank you for the vegetables ,the bread, and gravy in the bowl, but most of all I thank you for your word, the food that has been nourishment to my soul."

Give Thanks Through the Day by Connie Arnold At the start of another new day As the darkness slips away, This is a wonderful time to pray And give thanks for blessings coming your way. During the morning in whatever you do God’s loving presence is there with you, Helpfully guiding and seeing you through As you give thanks for the love and direction too. As the day continues remain aware Of God’s mercy and grace beyond compare, Rejoice in the love that you can share And give thanks for assurance of God’s tender care. At the sun’s setting and fading of light As the day slowly changes into night, Let the gift of God’s Son fill you with delight As you thank Him for making all things right.

Thanksgiving – a Time for Hospitality by Joan Leotta

Thanksgiving was always a favorite holiday. About thirty of my closest cousins, aunts and uncles, in addition to my own mom, dad, and brother would gather at Grandma's Pittsburgh house for ravioli (hey, we're Italian). They came from near and far. Grandma set her table with the entire array of "American" specialties including turkey, cranberry and every and any "fixin'" you could imagine. Dessert took on a bit of an Italian flair with cannoli, sfogliatelle and plates of those yummy almond paste pignoli nut cookies, nuts, cheese, and fruit lined up beside two pumpkin pies. Although you may think that the thirty or so of us would be enough to gobble up those goodies, there were always four to six unrelated folks at table with us. If my Grandma heard of anyone who did not have a place to go, they would be invited. If one of us had a friend who did not have family nearby…they were welcome! So, of course my family was very happy to agree when I invited a foreign student to share with us the Thanksgiving of 1970, my first year of graduate school in Washington , DC. Ever budget conscious Siggie and I secured tickets on a holiday express Greyhound bus for the four day weekend and set out after our late afternoon Wednesday classes for what should have been a five hour trip to Pittsburgh. We chatted happily as the bus pushed ahead out of the city, onto the beltway and then made the turn for Route 70 west. Siggie and I were so engrossed in our conversation that we never noticed the darkening skies and the soft white flakes drifting down onto the road. Siggie was excited to learn more about American holidays and family life. As the bus was about to turn onto Route 70 West, our conversation and the bus itself came to a stop. A large semi-tractor trailer truck making the entrance onto 70 had overturned, blocking the way. Completely. About thirty minutes passed. Then an hour.

Police and ambulances arrived. Siggie looked out of the window. "Joan, the snow is falling faster and harder." Snow removal equipment could not get the truck out of the way. "Prepare to spend the night," the bus driver finally announced. “I have enough fuel to keep the heat on in the bus, so don’t worry. And of course, we have a bathroom." I looked out the window and was glad of those two basics—heat and a toilet. Outside there was no moon-- only white flakes pelting the bus now, faster and faster, and after craning my neck, I could see a long line of cars behind us shutting off their lights (to save battery) as the police office informed all of them that if they could not turn around (not easy), and they should prepare to spend the night in their cars. Siggie and I shared some crackers and cheese we brought with us and some tea from a thermos. (Carrying bottled water was not a universal habit in 1970s America.) We finally fell asleep. Around seven on Thanksgiving morning, we looked out the window. Sky was clearing. Someone began to pound on the bus doors. A line of people stretched from the bus front door on down the road hoping to use our restroom. The driver told them they could come in after all of the people on the bus had an opportunity to benefit from the facilities. We hurried through morning ablutions. Around eight a police siren alerted us to the arrival of the tow truck. Everyone on the bus cheered as a team of workers pulled the semi out of the way and we could rumble on down the highway. When the bus got to Breezewood (halfway point to Pittsburgh), the bus made an unscheduled stop so we could all buy something to eat. I asked Siggie to pick up something for me and I called my parents (no cell phones in those days) to let them know we were ok and to give them our approximate arrival time.

When we arrived in Pittsburgh that Thanksgiving morning, all of my family was at the station to greet us—well, except for Grandma and one Aunt. Those two were putting the finishing touches on the feast. No one minded that we were late, they were just happy we were safe. Once at Grandma's, we recounted our tale of Night of the Living Greyhound, eliciting giggles from my younger cousins when we told the part about the people lining up to use the bathroom. Siggie was impressed that we prayed before the meal— something not done often in Italy. The next day, I introduced Siggie to Black Friday shopping and American football on TV. Over the four days, Siggie tasted every kind of "American" food we served, but truthfully, since Siggie was from the Austro-Italian area of Trieste, she mostly chowed down on the Italian specialties.

A few years later, after I married, I recounted my tale of travel lows and hospitality highs on Thanksgiving weekend. My husband agreed that Thanksgiving would become "our" holiday to honor God by being thankful and by sharing out traditions and our meal with neighbors, those who did not have anyplace else to celebrate, and with foreign students. We also added the tradition of reading a ”thankfulness" Psalm before eating and asking each guest to name one thing they could be thankful for on that day. For us, a table is not full unless there are guests and we are not properly showing thankfulness to God for what we have unless we are sharing it.

On the way home, we took plenty of leftover turkey, eggplant, ravioli, and an assortment of cheese back with us on the bus. "Just in case you have to stop again," my Mom told us. What she liked best, Siggie told me, was spending the holiday with a real family, who asked her questions about herself, but who really just folded her into the celebration—we shared everything we had with her. After that experience, I never again tried to get back to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. Instead, breaking with the tradition of going home, I held my own feasts. I invited people, often foreign students, to my apartment where I made turkey and "fixings."


Blog Art Pixie for blog headers, logos, and more

Sprinkling pixie dust across blog land!

Crossword Play 4 Fill in the grid using the clues to form words in both the rows and columns. (No diagonals)

Brain-Busting Puzzles by Beth Brubaker

Down the Lane Puzzle By changing one letter each time, change one word into another. EXAMPLE:

Answer keys in back of magazine

A New Twist on Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Favorites from All Around the Blogosphere

A New Twist on Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Favorites from All Around the Blogosphere Turkey Waldorf Salad from Simply Recipes We are always looking for creative ways to use up the leftover turkey, and I’m pretty sure you are, too. Here’s a great idea from Simply Recipes: Turkey Waldorf Salad! Waldorf salad on its own is really one of our family favorites, and adding chunks of leftover turkey make this the perfect light meal the day after the huge family dinner on Thanksgiving Day. This one includes the traditional ingredients for old fashioned Waldorf salad, with a sweet-tart dressing made from honey and mayo. We always add chopped celery, too, and just a squeeze of lemon juice to the dressing. Give it a try; I know your family will love it! Visit Simply Recipes for the complete recipe for Turkey Waldorf Salad.

Cranberry Corn Bread Casserole from Taste of Home Cranberries and cornbread are two traditional Thanksgiving dishes – even if you’ve never figured out your favorite way of fixing cranberries – so this recipe might be the perfect combination for your family this holiday season. Adding the cranberries to the cornbread casserole will add a different taste and texture, and you might discover a new family favorite! Visit Taste of Home for the recipe to make Cranberry Corn Bread Casserole this Thanksgiving.

Southern Sweet Potato Pie from Taste of Home Even if you aren’t from the southern states and your family tradition has always included pumpkin pie, here’s a new twist (for some of us!) on an old favorite. Sweet potatoes are always part of our Thanksgiving dinner, but we have never made them into a pie. And since we really, really love sweet potatoes around here, this looks like a fun new way to serve up one of our traditional holiday favorites. Visit Taste of Home for the recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Pie, along with so many other great recipes to add a new twist to your family Thanksgiving dinner.

Frosty Pumpkin Squares from Pillsbury How about something different this Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie – or sweet potato pie! These Frosty Pumpkin Squares from Pillsbury look absolutely yummy, and the recipe is pretty simple, too. Your family will love the new version of pumpkin for your Thanksgiving dinner, and you will be glad you tried a new twist on a traditional favorite. Find the complete recipe for Frosty Pumpkin Squares on the Pillsbury website, along with lots of other great ideas for your family Thanksgiving.

Creamy Cranberry Salad from Taste of Home More cranberries, and this time in a creamy, sweet dessert-type salad that will add a sweet-tangy addition to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Even if your family hesitates to try new foods, especially at the holidays when we all look forward to our traditional favorites, this Creamy Cranberry Salad from Taste of Home just might tempt them to change their minds. You can find the complete recipe for Creamy Cranberry Salad on the Taste of Home website, where you will also find Thanksgiving and other holiday recipes that your family will love and make your Thanksgiving celebration one to remember.

Green Bean Casserole Crescent Cups from Pillsbury Green Bean Casserole is definitely one of my family’s favorites at Thanksgiving – especially with our teenage daughters. So there is no question about whether or not we will have Green Bean Casserole this year! So when I discovered this recipe for putting the Green Bean Casserole in these little Crescent Roll cups, I couldn’t resist. If you would like to give this recipe a try, be sure to visit the Pillsbury website for this and lots of other Thanksgiving and other holiday recipes. 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.

The Light in the Light Catcher by Sharon L. Patterson Autumn has finally arrived here in Texas and this morning I could feel the coolness of the season, so I decided to do one of my favorite things: take my Bible, a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a bite of breakfast and head out to my patio table. I sat down, took a glance at the blue sky, my pots of fading begonias, and the still green grass, thanks to an abundance of not-socommon late summer rains. A sigh of delight escaped my lips before downing a bite of toast and sipping my coffee. That is when I saw it. It has been hanging from the patio umbrella for a while. I bought it because it was cute as a bug…actually it is a bug…a dragonfly light catcher that happened to be in the aqua and light green colors of the new cushions purchased last spring. But this morning, it was more than a cute umbrella embellishment that matched my outdoor décor. I became conscious of the light coming through its three-sectioned body. Each round section is made up of a transparent aqua-colored ball. Although you see the color and shape of the body section, the light of the sun shining through each part is what becomes the apparent presence and point of interest. It was one of those precious God moments when the Holy Spirit summoned my attention to see a very profound object lesson. Like the multi- partitioned body of the dragonfly, we who belong to Jesus are part of the Body of Christ. Our Savior, the Light of the World, is meant to be clearly visible through the parts of His Body. When each part yields to the process of becoming transparent, the light in us reflects clearly to anyone taking a look. As I gazed at my little dragonfly light catcher, I was conscious of his sections that were light blue yet transparent at the same time. Greater than their shape, or their color, each section reflected the brightness of the light of the sun shining through them. Interestingly, the light did not reflect the blue of the vessel; the blue vessel reflected the bright whiteness of the light! What a precious lesson through such a simple object! What an inspiration to yield to the transformational process that allows my vessel to become transparent so that the Light of the World might shine clearly for others to see.

So Many Gifts by Cynthia Knisley

I sit musing about the upcoming holiday. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite because of its simplicity, freedom from the material stuff of Christmas, and focus on joyful gatherings of family and friends. Savory roast turkey, tart cranberries served up in a variety of sauces, and delicious home-baked pies line kitchen counters in my mind. I hear the laughter and feel the warm hugs of guests as they arrive. Pumpkins, squash, and dried gourds in lovely autumn colors from bright red to deep gold set the stage for giving thanks. We are grateful for abundant harvest on the farms in our communities, loved ones far and near, homes that provide us shelter, good health. Indian corn and Pilgrim motifs remind us of the first Thanksgiving and the courage and resilience of our forefathers. Musing further…. I reach an intersection of my daily scripture reading and thoughts about Thanksgiving. Thou dost show me the path of life; in Thy presence there is fullness of joy, in Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 This amazing promise draws my thoughts to an even greater gift for which we can be thankful. Pies are quickly consumed and the turkey, even after its final appearance in a creamed sauce or soup, is soon a memory. Loved ones grow older and pass on to their heavenly home. Frost covers the fields and winter sets in with its shades of dry brown and sparkly white. We discover that homes are a temporary haven as we move from place to place. Time marches on and we discover that physical bodies change. In Psalm 16 David describes a gift that we can’t taste, see, or touch -- the assurance that God provides guidance along the path of life  the promise of joy when we seek to be in relationship with God, and  the certainty that God offers pleasures to us, available forever. For these most special gifts, we can be truly grateful. May it be so.

Creating beautiful designs and décor for your graceful home

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

Coming Alongside as a Way of Life Book Review by Michele Morin

Table Mentoring by Sue Moore Donaldson Joanne’s kitchen table was an uncontrollable force in her life, always covered with an assortment of books, mail, loaves of bread, and magazines. It became a joke between us that she was always in the process of clearing it. Fortunately for me, another uncontrollable force in her life was the power of God. She had an ongoing relationship with Him that continually pushed her outside her comfort zone, and even though the word “mentor” wasn’t being thrown around back in the seventies, that’s certainly what she was to me. We pulled chairs up to that defiant horizontal surface, pushed the butter dish out of the way, and opened our Bibles together. Her whole-hearted pressing on to know the Lord marked me in ways that I’m still discovering nearly forty years later. Table Mentoring is a matter of coming alongside another person, and Sue Moore Donaldson has Scriptural backing for her assertion: “God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” ~I Corinthians 1:3, 4 Our natural inclination when it comes to mentoring is to play the unqualified card. “Who, me? I’m too [fill in the blank]. Too young, too old, too inexperienced, too busy, too over-committed, too introverted, too tired, too ignorant . . . Quietly, Sue pulls her chair up beside mine and shares these two objection-silencing considerations: 1. God is the primary Mentor, and the first qualification for mentoring another is having first been mentored by God. It is not my own holy perfection or infallible wisdom that is being required. However, “as we experience God’s ‘alongsideness’ in our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, we can more naturally share His overflow with someone who is where we have been.” (8) 2. The second qualification for mentoring another is a willingness to take on the risk of relationship. The vulnerable sharing of our own lives is an open door. Furthermore, the experiences God has custom-designed and the thin slice of knowledge I may possess may be exactly the gift someone else is waiting to receive. Sue’s simple guide to coming alongside moves quickly from theory to practice. She has developed worksheets which can be implemented for structuring a mentor meeting time, for quiet time inspiration, prayer, and beginning Bible study. They can also be printed in 8 ½ by 11 size at her Welcome Heart website. As I read, I found myself putting together an agenda for an imaginary future mentor meeting that looks something like this:

I. Goal setting. Ask: “What would you like to get out of our time together?” II. Getting to know you. Ask questions about family, work, and current challenges. III. Strengthening one another’s walk with God. This is where fine-tuning becomes important. Will the mentoring relationship look like a Bible study? There is great benefit to be found in simply reading the Bible together and pooling questions and insights. Will you read a book together and discuss it in your meetings? Sue uses a Personal Growth Plan (available here) to discern the needs and concerns of her learner. Chapter 5 of Table Mentoring quieted my racing heart with some very important details:  Decide ahead of time how long you will meet and how frequently. Sue suggests twice a month for three months. This is very reasonable, and if a sunset is put in place at the beginning, no one will feel as if they are embarking upon a life sentence.  Time limits are a reasonable concern. It may be best to go to someone’s home so that you can set the limit. (“Whoops! Looks like I’ll need to run!”)  Both participants will demonstrate their commitment by putting the meetings on a calendar. My experience is that if I do not write it down, it does not happen. Sue’s writing style is unique, and I continually found myself underlining encouraging statements. In keeping with the table theme, let’s call these Sue’s Mini-Muffins of Wisdom: “Not feeling adequate shows that you are more ready than you think.” “I don’t have anything worth passing on to another if I’m not regularly working on my personal relationship with God.” “If you know one promise in God’s Word, you are ready to mentor that one promise. Ask God for someone to share it with today.” “You and I are blessed to be a blessing.” My reading of Table Mentoring felt like a specific invitation to move forward into this challenge. Therefore, I have begun praying for an open heart and for the right person at the right time. I am also praying to be BECOMING the right person to come alongside a sister who is looking for a welcoming heart, to offer the gift and the accountability of a side-by-side seeking after God. **************************************

Lines Left Behind by Nells Wasilewski (A simple prose) After searching for some poems that I had written long ago, I discovered them hidden in the bottom of an old trunk. I thumbed through them, and was astonished to find the pages blank. Horizontal lines were the only thing left. I carefully scanned them again, but page after lined page stared back at me without words. Frantically, I searched through moldy, dusty keepsakes tucked away in the trunk, until I found one poem that contained words. Words about a Savior Who purged my sin and wiped my pages clean. He took my sins as His own and bore them to the cross. I ask Him why He didn't clean all the lines away; He told me He had left them so I could find my way.

Lift Up Your Eyes and Give God Praise by Rejetta Morse Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and not on all your cares, to Him who dries and also wipes away your many tears. And like the golden fields of wheat lift up their stalks of flowers to make their destiny they stand in fields for days and hours. See the brown seeds fly far away – God multiplies their grains, as they supply food over the land – they thrive in the cool rains. He gives us seeds of words to sow into many deep hearts, and in the world to those who need His love and souls to win. Raise your eyes to Him who guides your footsteps every day, and counsels your heart, day and night – He will not let you stray. He answers lessons, when I ask, and they are always true, “God, what lesson I must learn from this”? – He tells me what to do. Lift up your eyes and give God thanks today – and for all days, for countless blessings in all things – give God a harvest of praise.

His Love Endures Forever by Norma C. Mezoe God’s love endures forever, through endless time and space. He is there for every problem, and each heartache that we face. His mercy has no boundaries… His compassions are new every day. His love endures forever, God walks with us each step of life’s way.

(Based on Psalm 136)

Thank You, Lord by Norma C. Mezoe O Lord, you bless us and love us, You call us your friend… of your mercy and grace, there isn’t an end. We thank you and praise you for the blessings you give. And for walking beside us each day that we live.

Susan Amelia Marshall: I feel blessed that I can remember her. She was my great-grandmother. By the time I knew her, she was a little old woman who loved to bake. When visiting at our small house in a village in southern Michigan, she would bake Hot Cross Buns, always timing them to come out of the oven when my brother, sister and I got home from school. The problem with that was that great- grandma always said, “Hot bread dough is not good for your belly; you have to wait for them to cool.” It always took a lot of pleading to get her to change her mind, but every time she made them for us we got to eat warm Hot Cross Buns – with lots of butter, melted and running down our fingers. It took me many years to figure out how much she enjoyed that game. Another memory of Susan Amelia is her standing at our kitchen window, yelling in anger – no game this time – at something foolish and dangerous that my younger brother was doing. When she was a young woman, my greatgrandmother was well-known for her “hand work.” Her embroidered pieces, her crochet work, the clothing that she made for her own daughters and for others; these items were all sought after by the women in the community where they lived. Years pass quickly. My mom, her granddaughter Charlotte, was born in 1918. She was the light of her grandma’s life (what grandchild isn’t the light of their grandma’s life?). When Charlotte was two, her Grandma Susan Amelia Marshall crocheted a beautiful white dress bodice with a fabric skirt, hereafter referred to as THE DRESS, to have her picture taken in. Our family has a copy of that wonderful photo.

Years pass quickly. We have a four-generation photo of my grandmother, Mary; my mother, Charlotte; my great- grandmother, Susan Amelia holding me, Susan Amelia (yes, I was named for her), on her lap. In this photo, taken in 1944 or ’45, I am wearing THE DRESS. Years pass quickly. I married, had three daughters, and nine grandchildren. My grandmother, Mary, died and in her belongings, my sister found THE DRESS. Two of my grandchildren were small enough that we had their photos taken wearing THE DRESS. The pictures are wonderful, making this grandma’s heart extremely happy. Deep down, I was a little disappointed that we had never had my own daughters’ pictures taken wearing THE DRESS, but since I didn’t know it was still in existence, that was not possible.

Then this year the most wonderful thing happened; I became a great grandmother. A beautiful baby girl, Quinn Alexandra, was born to my oldest granddaughter. What a blessing! What a thrill! What an opportunity! Can I have her picture taken in THE DRESS? It is now 95 years old, fragile, the skirt replaced with new fabric some years ago, but the wonderful hand crocheted bodice still in one piece, though smaller as it can no longer be stretched into shape after washing it – by hand, of course. Great-grandpa and I now had a great excuse to drive to New Jersey to visit. We loaded the car, including THE DRESS, drove 11 hours, and spent some days with our granddaughter and her family. We managed to get the six-month-old into the dress. She allowed me to hold her and we had our own photo shoot. How much fun was that? It is an event I will never forget; the beautiful baby on her great grandma’s lap, drooling so much that the front of the dress is sticking to her little round tummy, both of us laughing. She was laughing at her mommy and daddy, I was laughing at her wonderful little baby laugh.

I now have two photos that I show to anyone that I can. In the first one, Susan Amelia Marshall, greatgrandma, is holding me, Susan Amelia Gillett on her lap. And in the second photo I, Susan Amelia Gillett Paulus, great-grandma, am holding Baby Quinn Alexandra on my lap. In both photos, the babies are wearing THE DRESS. Years pass quickly. I feel blessed.

The Magnolia Series by Gloria Doty is now available from Amazon!

Kids’ Korner by Carol Peterson No Fair (An Ecology Story) Author: Bonnie Kloster Illustrator: Barbara Harman Fiction: Early Reader This early reader book is nicely done to introduce kids to our responsibility to care for this world. The story has elements of the fable of the grasshopper and the ant, along with the separate theme of our need to think ahead and consider how what we do will affect our future. As a mom who always worked in my kids’ classroom, I especially liked how this book could be used to encourage both literacy as well as coordinate with a classroom focus on protection of our resources. I imagine teachers or home school moms would appreciate having this in grades 3-5, where kids are encouraged to read the book for themselves (in an early reader format) and discuss ways they can protect their world.

No Fair (An Ecology Story) by Bonnie Kloster is available from Amazon.

The Big Guy Upstairs Author: Mary Vine Illustrated by: Brenna Tedesco Fiction: Picture Book This clever title caught my eye. I love introducing kids to God but recognize how easy it is to confuse their inquisitive minds with phrases we adults take for granted. Vine did a great job showing the child’s curiosity over what he overheard and taking us with him as he tries on his own to figure out where God lives. The ending is sweet and teaches kids about God without being preachy. It also softly reminds us that when we talk about God, others are listening.

The Big Guy Upstairs by Mary Vine is available from Amazon.

Show Me the Way Out! by Gloria Doty One particularly nice day, I was sitting in the living room, watching a dragonfly. He was seemingly trapped on the screened-in patio. A recent severe storm had torn two of the huge screen areas on that patio and they hadn’t been replaced yet. That was how he entered. These open areas weren’t small by any definition. They each measured 5 feet by 6 feet. There was nothing standing in the way of his escape but his stubborn refusal to ‘fly out.’ I determined to help him a little as I could tell he was becoming weary of bouncing along the screened ‘ceiling’ in this area. I found a soft-bristled broom and without actually touching him or coming too close, I tried my best to direct him to the openings. This dragonfly would not even come close to moving in that direction. I was becoming exasperated. I kept asking him (I realize a dragonfly wasn’t listening or comprehending) why he wouldn’t go out the gigantic opening. After all, it was an entire wall space, not a tiny crack. My arms got tired and I gave up. I didn’t know of any other way to help so I simply hoped he would survive. However, the next morning, I found him dead on the patio floor. I thought about the entire experience during my devotion time and couldn’t help but compare it to my/our lives. We fly into situations and behaviors, many times, without even contemplating the consequences. Then when we are reminded of our mistakes, either by someone telling us or by our own experience, we can’t find our way out. Often our friends try to help us but we refuse their advice. God tells us and warns us but we ignore His word, also. We continue to try to find our own way out of adverse and harmful situations and habits. That option, unfortunately, is certain death. Many times we can’t see the huge opening God provides for our escape from our sins and our mistakes…the saving blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed for us. The door from our self-made prisons is open and waiting for us to fly through and experience God’s love and genuine freedom.

Infirmities by Thea Williams Lord, bless me today with infirmities. Grant me blindness to images which avert my gaze from Your will; deafness to voices which lead me to harm; muteness when I ought to remain silent; anosmia where temptation lingers; senselessness to imagined impudence; and amnesia to bitter memories which chain me to the past.

Impacted By Faith by Nancy Frantel

My first speech since the car crash took place in the fall of 2014, four years after the initial injury. As a professional writer, in the past I presented research material mainly to historians interested in my published books. But not this time I was seated on the front row of a local high school auditorium. In a few minutes I would walk up the stairs to the stage and stand before an audience of high school students, their parents, teachers, and administrators. The attendees gathered as part of a sponsored program to encourage safe driving practices for teenagers Several months prior, a school manager asked me to consider presenting my testimony. I told her yes, even though the thought of standing in front of a crowd frightened me As I waited to be introduced, I looked at my friend sitting next to me. She knew my abilities before the crash, and saw my gradual decline. Other friends supported me during the difficult times. However, it appeared God assigned her to me, perhaps for this unique opportunity Over the past several years she knew how much time I spent in bed. Using her steadfast love for Christ and strong faith, she encouraged me to push through the pain. She was right. I needed to move past feeling sorry for myself and try to start living the life God intended for me to live I struggled internally and questioned God, “How am I supposed to use my pain to assist others? Didn’t I still need more help? As a believer I understood the best healing came from trusting Jesus. James 1:2-5 states: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Doctor evaluations and physical therapy over the years provided minimal improvement. Pain, blurred vision, confusion, and comprehension issues created more frustration for me the longer time passed. Why were they not able to help me? One day my friend kindly suggested the possible cause of my disabilities – a traumatic brain injury. I didn’t understand the significance of her suggestion until I researched the condition. After seeing a specialist several months later, the diagnosis became official. Once again my friend was right, and I started the journey of accepting the change in my life My friend helped me, and now it was my turn to help the teenagers who would soon hear my testimony. The sponsor introduced me and I walked onto the stage. With over 140 people in the audience, I prayed for God’s strength and guidance. I heard the Spirit of God say, “You can do this.” With my voice quivering due to feeling trapped in a situation of great discomfort, I started reading. Due to my brain limitations, I read the typed speech word for word. My index finger traced underneath each word to assist with keeping my place.

“My faith allowed me to present the message out of concern for those in the audience, and gave me the strength to finish the speech. Now if only God would give me a sign that I made the right decision.”

“Good evening. My name is Nancy Frantel. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak with you this evening. I stand before you with permanent brain damage. On February 3, 2010, a simple trip driving back from the store ended up changing my entire life. While stopped at a red light, a young driver traveling 30 miles per hour hit me from behind. The result was a traumatic brain injury.”

During my time on stage, I was able to see about 90% of the audience due to ample lighting in the auditorium. But soon God would show me the three individuals who were sitting in the very back section. I did not know anyone was sitting that far away. As my friend and I walked in front them, one of the students lifted his hand and gave me a “thumbs up” along with a smile. There was my answer.

I paused to watch the audience’s reaction. With my soft, trembling voice, I hoped they could hear me. Not only did they hear me, they appeared to hang onto my every word. No sound came from the audience. “This is real,” I thought. Continuing with my fifteen minute speech, I unveiled the changes in my life as a result of a distracted driver. I described the daily headaches, lack of balance, vision issues, and diminished ability to process and understand words, memory loss, and overall physical pain. I explained my genuine concern for their safety, not wanting them to receive a traumatic brain injury at any point in their lives. Especially in a situation which hopefully could be avoided. When I finished, the audience clapped in appreciation of the message. Although pleased, I felt mentally and physically drained, causing my legs to shake as I walked down the stairs and back to my seat. Rejoining my friend, we looked at each other and almost started crying. Completing the speech without breaking down was a huge step for me. Seeing my exhaustion, she suggested we leave and not listen to the other speakers. While walking towards the exit at the rear of the auditorium, I wondered if the speech made enough of an impact to make a difference. Sure, they appeared to hear me, but did the message resonate enough to help prevent injuries from happening to them? My faith allowed me to present the message out of concern for those in the audience, and gave me the strength to finish the speech. Now if only God would give me a sign that I made the right decision.

God used a teenager in the back of the room to let me know I had also listened to a message – His message about faith and trusting Him when the path is not clear. This assurance is stated in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” At the time of this submission, seven and one-half years have passed since the car crash. Through extensive cognitive rehabilitation, physical therapy, and continued Christian support, I am able to see the new direction placed before me, and praise the Lord for His love. As a result, I am back writing again.

While walking towards the exit at the rear of the auditorium, I wondered if the speech made enough of an impact to make a difference. Sure, they appeared to hear me, but did the message resonate enough to help prevent injuries from happening to them? 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.

Quilting Prayers Lisa J. Radcliff Quilts and babies, babies and quilts! This past summer my sewing room was littered with strips, triangles, squares, half-square triangles, and various scraps in a rainbow of colors and patterns. All these little pieces of fabric would become six different baby quilts. There were jungle prints, Winnie-the Pooh prints, paw prints, butterfly prints, even Star Wars prints. I hoped for some magical mice to appear to help get the jobs done, but they were a no show. I usually have a quilt project in the works at all times, but between June 1 and September 15, I needed to get six baby quilts made. At times, it seemed I was quilting in my sleep. The unevenness of the stitches proved it! Piecing the tops came together pretty quickly and easily, which for me, is saying a lot. Years ago, while looking at a picture of a quilt I was considering making, I commented that it would be pretty hard. My young son responded, “Quilting isn’t hard. You just sew the fabric together, rip it apart, and then sew it together again.” Clearly, he has watched me piece many a quilt. The most complicated and the one I found the most challenging was a quilt that used the mom’s baby clothes combined with the grandmom’s wedding dress. Many times, I pulled out the wedding dress but just couldn’t start cutting it up. I called her at least twice and said, “You’re sure?” Finally, with a deadline looming, I took the scissors to the wedding dress. There was no turning back. I cut the baby clothes into squares and sewed them into blocks, then added several lace pieces from the wedding dress. It came out really precious and, thankfully, survived its first trip through the washer and dryer. More importantly, Mom and Grandmom were thrilled with it. To me, piecing a quilt is fun. You take various shapes and colors and sew them together in such a way that they make a pattern. Yes, sometimes I sew them together along the wrong side or in a way that things don’t match up correctly, and I have to rip them out and try again. But piecing a baby quilt only takes a day or two, even with a redo or two. It’s the quilting that takes the time. I hand quilt all of my quilts, no matter how big. In the midst of the six baby quilts, I was also working on a queen-sized quilt for a friend. My quilting friends have a saying, “it all comes out in the quilting.” If points or seams didn’t match up perfectly or there were other piecing mistakes, they can be fixed or at least hidden in the quilting. No quilt is without flaws, but that’s what makes it unique, kind of my signature. Once the top is finished and layered together with the batting and backing, it goes into the quilting frame. Grabbing my thimble, thread, and scissors, it’s time to get to the business of quilting.

Taking a deep breath, I remind myself that there will be pain, but it will turn out beautiful. You see, I have a tendency to stab myself regularly while quilting. Callouses grow on the tips of my thumb, index finger, and middle finger, as well as a big one on the side of my ring finger. The good thing is, as the callouses thicken, stabbing my fingers becomes less painful. Making so many quilts, I started a new tradition. As I sit and quilt in each stitch, I pray for the baby and the parents. The frequent stabbings tell me that there will be painful times for the families receiving this quilt, and I pray for them. Quilting a baby-sized quilt usually takes about two weeks, depending on the detail involved. That’s two weeks of praying for a family and new baby. What a privilege and a blessing! A picture hangs in my sewing room that reads, “Families are like quilts . . . lives pieced together, stitched with smiles and tears, colored with memories, and bound by love.” Many of the quilts in my house came from my husband’s great-grandmothers. His mom would point out the fabrics that she remembered, one of her dresses, her father’s shirt, her mother’s apron, etc. It makes them even more special. Our family has a long history of quilters. I am the only one in my generation who quilts, but that young, smart aleck son of mine is now all grown up and made a beautiful quilt for his wife that adorns their bed. My 3-yr-old granddaughter loves to help me tear fabric into strips, and she helped mark the quilting pattern on the last baby quilt. Maybe the tradition will continue for a few more generations. More importantly than the quilts that are passed from generation to generation, I pray that the love of our heavenly Father will also be passed down. But we, your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. (Psalm 79:8 ESV) Nothing warms the heart of a grandmom like hearing her grandchild sing praise to God (snuggled under the warmth of a pretty quilt!).

Breath of Autumn by Alicia Ai Keng Lim Autumn sighs… caressed by the breeze… forlorn leaves sinking… feathery light to the ground… layer upon layer… until we’re treading on cushioned ground... Autumn waits… shifting shades.. green foliage transforms… casting golden hues… upon the horizon Trees’ stark branches marking the landscape… rugged artistry from the hands of God...

Thanksgiving Blessing by Sharmelle Olson Let’s get into the Thanksgiving Spirit and be ready to count all our blessings let’s make them all to be a trend of being explicit with this fact of encouraging your blessings. As we all sit and embrace into grace as we all give thanks we are in a place of gracefulness at all times without being abased from God's view of our gratefulness. As we all have faith on this day with the Lord we shall believe and have faith which brings us all aboard which we cannot be beneath.

The Galactic Spark by Kelly Christian for Kanah He formed the heart that began to beat that carried her through the wonders, the ponders that led her to a galactic spark that caused her lips to speak their mind spoken and hers with a tendered soul in her own given words, no magic or rhyme, that she is glad because she is His. Dedicated to my daughter, Kanah

“Hold on to me so you don’t fall,” my Happy Helper, Lloyd, said. “All right,” I answered as I gingerly walked on the ice encrusted red brick sidewalk with a shape like the back of a caterpillar. I was walking on the hump and my Happy Helper was on the curving side. “Plop!” My Happy Helper landed on his back at my feet. Thus began my relationship with my Happy Helper. We were married a year and a half when he decided to “help” make pies. I never could make pie crust, so this was where his help was needed. He proceeded to get a bowl, measuring cup and bread board ready. Then he got the pie crust mix and followed the directions very carefully. Then he moved the sewing machine out from the wall, placing the bread board on top of it. As he floured the board, he said, “Where’s the rolling pin? I’m almost ready for the filling.” “Here it is,” I said standing back to watch the proceedings. My Happy Helper rolled out the dough. He picked it up to put it in the pie plate. It split in two! He balled the dough up and rolled it again. It stuck to the rolling pin. As he pulled it loose, he became more vocal. He rolled the dough again after he floured everything. This time it rolled out, but it broke off in little pieces when he picked it up. “I’ll try it one more time,” he said. He rolled it and it split in two as he rolled it. With a string of cuss words, he chucked the pie crust into the garbage can. He threw the bread board on the floor where it broke in two pieces. Then he shoved the sewing machine towards the wall, tearing the linoleum, and stomped out of the kitchen. My Happy Helper struck again. Eighteen years later, he built a beautiful new kitchen for me. The plumber moved the sink from the old kitchen to the new one. Now my Happy Helper had to put an end on the sink cupboard. He finished it and pulled himself up off the floor using the sink for leverage. “Pop!” The sink drain pipe pulled loose from the sewer line!

My Happy Helper by Rita Atwell-Holler The plumber spent another half-hour redoing his work. I explained to him about my Happy Helper. He laughed and ordered my Happy Helper to never use the sink to get up off the floor. Another day I was in the living room with a scrub bucket. As I finished mopping the floor, I headed to the new kitchen. Crash! Pieces of plaster board rained down from the ceiling and a cloud of dust swirled through the air. A man’s leg protruded from a gaping hole in the living room ceiling. “Are you all right?” I asked as I surveyed the disaster. “Yes,” he answered sheepishly. “All I did was put my foot on the ceiling then the light cord caught and pulled me off balance,” my Happy Helper explained. “You’re right, you put your foot on it, sure enough,” I said. He peered down through the gaping hole in the living room ceiling looking absolutely stunned. His facial expression echoed my thoughts exactly, “My Happy Helper struck again!” Forty-seven years later, my Happy Helper was still at it. He assembled a new dresser for me. He laid all the pieces out on the floor in the breezeway. Then he carried several pieces into the dining room. Flash, our Bassett Hound, snuck out on the breezeway. Lloyd went out to get more pieces, Flash ran by him with a mouthful of something. When Lloyd got to the breezeway he screamed, “Flash, you bad dog, Rita’s gonna kill me!” Flash had gnawed off a big piece of the shelf that fit in the top of the dresser. “Look for the humor in life’s mishaps!” is the lesson I learned when My Happy Helper struck again aided by his new assistant. I loved them both!

Hymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams

“Sweet Hour of Prayer” by William W. Walford Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 It is a mystery. Who was William Walford? Some believe he was a blind shopkeeper in the village of Coleshill, Warwickshire, England, who asked a friend to write down a poem that was forming in his mind. Others believe he was a clergyman in that town who gave a copy of this poem to his friend and fellow clergyman, Thomas Salmon. We will probably never know for sure. But it is a fact that a Rev. Thomas Salmon, a minister in a Warwickshire church in 1842, received a special poem entitled “Sweet Hour of Prayer” from its author, William Walford, whose Christian commitment is revealed in the words. When Salmon returned to America following his pastorate in England, he sent the poem to the publisher of the New York Observer. It was printed in the September 1845 edition of the newspaper. Musician William B. Bradbury was touched by its simple but profound message. He composed a beautiful melody that became the wings for carrying the message out into the world. The identity of poet William Walford remains a mystery, but so is prayer. As I read the disciples’ request to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1b), I recognized my own need to be taught. Years ago, my whole life was changed when I realized that I did not know how to pray. I was alone in the waiting room of a hospital in New Mexico. Fear enveloped me as I waited while my nine-year-old son had emergency surgery. I picked up a magazine called Adventures in Prayer. The author, Catherine Marshall, described her experiences in prayer, which did not resemble anything I knew. She prayed as if she were actually talking to God as a real person. That relationship sounded too good to be true, but I longed to experience it. I knew that all of my church attendance since childhood, marrying a minister, and becoming a missionary would not sustain me during those anxious moments. So I began to pray. “Lord, are you listening? I have never known you. But I want to. Help me.” I could not imagine what would happen. This was the most exciting prayer I had ever uttered. I believed and I waited. Soon I began to experience the awesome presence of God that never ceases. The words in the last stanza of “Sweet Hour of Prayer” say exactly what I know to be true: “Since he bids me seek his face, believe his word and trust his grace, I’ll cast on him my every care.” Lord God, thank you for that desire to discover that you are real and for the opportunity to talk with you. Amen. “Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour or prayer! That calls me from a world of care, and bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes know. In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!” William Walford, 1845 Read more hymn stories by Lucy Neeley Adams at 52 Find more printable vintage hymn pages at Knick of Time Vintage Farmhouse Living.

Vintage Book Treasure Hunt: The Courtship of Miles Standish by Kathryn Ross The title caught my attention first—then the vintage photograph on the cover: antique actors posed in a tableau portraying famous pilgrim forefathers recreating a moment in American history. The image, framed in a fanciful illustration of blue and gray, drew me in completely. I wanted to plunk down the cash and take this one-hundred-plus-year-old edition of Longfellow’s classic, The Courtship of Miles Standish home with me, rescuing it from the shelf of a used book store. But the costly price tag gave me pause. It was not equal to my purse and quite outside my budget. I had to walk away. Months later, while a friend sorted through her cherished book collections, purging in preparation for an out-of-state move, she showed me a copy of this very volume. She’d owned one for years and treasured it, too. She wanted to leave it with a worthy caretaker and knew I fit the bill. Isn’t God good to bless us with these little things! Only He knew the desire of my heart to own this vintage book—and here it was gifted to me. No worries, my friend, I will steward it well. As I gently poured over the hardcover book, it stirred thoughts of the days when classrooms across the country came alive with literary classics and history’s noblest ideas as the mainstay of their curriculum. This very volume might have belonged to a high school student studying the masterworks of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, committing his epic verse to memory such as Paul Revere’s Ride, The Village Blacksmith, and The Wreck of the Hesperus. Not to mention the nine poetic chapters of the ill-fated Courtship of Miles Standish. Some Pilgrim History Captain Miles Standish sailed with the infamous pilgrims from Plymouth, England on the Mayflower, seeking religious freedom in the New World. In the fall of 1620, the military commander, accompanying the pilgrims with some of his soldiers as protectors, helped the leadership of this band of Christians to navigate their new surroundings on Cape Cod. They had been blown off course in the wake of a fierce storm at sea during the crossing of the Atlantic. The original plan was to join the Virginia Colony in the warmer southern climate. But, they arrived on the shores of America as cold winter weather set in in the northeast. Plymouth Plantation was established and the colonists swiftly built shelter for that first brutal winter. January and February saw many tragic deaths due to what William Bradford calls in his record of the events, the General Sickness. By spring, Captain Standish had said a final farewell to his beloved wife, Rose. No family that arrived in the fall remained untouched by death in the months that followed. Young Priscilla Mullens was left an orphan—her parents and siblings succumbing to the plague. Thankfully, the hale and hearty John Alden survived. Hired as a cooper, he maintained the soundness of the barrels and casks holding the all-important food supplies. His strong arms and back helped build the new homes and furnishings necessary for the colony to recover and begin to grow. Longfellow knew the stories of these historic characters well. He was a direct descendent of John Alden on his mother’s side, and knew many intimate family stories passed down through the generations about his pilgrim forefathers. In particular, he was aware of the fanciful tale recounting how John Alden came to wed Priscilla Mullens through the courtship of Miles Standish.

Standish was a widower in search of a wife in 1621. He was also a very busy man with a great many responsibilities among the colonists. His days overflowed with all manner of occupation related to building plans, managing his troops, establishing relationships with the local Indian tribes, and helping to govern the small, growing village. He had little time for courtship. To that end, the family legend claims that he enlisted the help of the handsome young John Alden to take his missives and gifts to the gentle Priscilla. John’s task was to speak in the place of the Captain, and win her for him. John attempted to do so—but his visits were not welcomed by Priscilla so much on behalf of the Captain as they were on behalf of John, himself. Priscilla could not be bothered to entertain thoughts of marriage to a much older man who could not be bothered to engage her in conversation on his own. She was, in fact, far more interested in the young man sent to bring the Captain’s regards. Eventually, she confronted John, suggesting that she would not welcome a marriage proposal from Captain Standish, but should John speak for himself, she would favor him with an answer. Alden retreated to consider the matter, and returned on his own behalf, winning his bride. They eventually expanded their family to eleven children and served the church and Plimoth Plantation community in leadership for many years, until their deaths decades later. The Longfellow Classic Longfellow won great acclaim after the publication of The Song of Hiawatha, when it was suggested to him he write a poem about the Puritans and Quakers. Having some personal connection to the pilgrims and remembering the story of his own family tree, he decided to begin this new work in 1856. He planned to focus on the lifestyles of the colonists in those early years and referenced primary sourced materials in his research to craft the details of life as it had been lived at the time. He sought to capture the spirit of the era and relationships between those who lived in Plimoth. This included the friendships forged with the Indians. These lifestyle episodes formed the backdrop for the more intimate love story and unconventional wooing of his ancestors, John and Priscilla Alden. The drama of Standish, coming to terms with his pride when he realizes he’s been betrayed by Alden, and the joy of the young couple and their community surrounding them in the finale of the wedding day, provides a satisfying, if partly fictionalized account of a moment in American history. The pilgrims are not a lump of plainly clad men and women and turkeys and Indians—as is commonly portrayed when Thanksgiving rolls around each year. They are living and breathing, working, loving, hurting, rejoicing people. Much like you and me. I may find The Courtship of Miles Standish in a modern reprint, but this vintage edition with additional bonus poems from Longfellow’s collections is a treasured tome I display in the fall to honor the season. Illustrations within, by Sir John Gilbert, add to its charm and whisk me to another time and place. I shall look forward to a blustery fall day in November, brew a cozy cuppa tea, and curl up with another reading of The Courtship of Miles Standish from a book once read by a lover of literature over a century ago. Sigh. Family Literacy Lifestyle Follow-up Activities Though you may not own this vintage edition, you can easily pick up an inexpensive paperback of The Courtship of Mile Standish for a seasonal family read-aloud this Thanksgiving. Read one chapter at a time—there are nine of them. List all the varied aspects of life on

Plimoth Plantation that are addressed in each chapter. Some jobs that were very important to the pilgrims at the time do not exist anymore. Discuss why that might be with your children. Priscilla spends her days working her spinning wheel. Do you know anyone who works with fiber arts and spins? Perhaps you can locate videos online to see how a spinning wheel works. Interesting fact: The first chore taught to children, as young as three years old, was how to spin wool into yarn using a hand spinner. Priscilla was barely eighteen when she arrived in the New World, but she’d been spinning yarn from her toddler days. Want to hear more? Visit Miss Kathy at and click on the PODCASTS page, where you’ll find this article dramatized in Episode #21 plus don’t miss story of the pilgrims coming to America and the first Thanksgiving in Episode #3, From Leyden to Liberty: A Thanksgiving Tale. The show features a few extras, PLUS— links to Miss Kathy’s five-part blog post series on the epic tale of the pilgrim’s story—a great resource for teaching and learning American history.

RUBY magazine is now available in print! Every issue of RUBY magazine can now be purchased as a print publication. Now you can have a copy of our beautiful magazine to share with your friends and family. To purchase RUBY magazine in print, please visit the RUBY blog at where you will find the link for each issue.

Why I Wear a Cross by Katherine Corrigan I gave our oldest granddaughter a very special 18th birthday present. I asked her permission to share the letter that I included with RUBY readers, she was very happy to say yes. The following is from that letter.

Dearest Granddaughter, When you asked me for a cross necklace for your birthday I was pleasantly surprised. I know your religion does not acknowledge the cross in their teachings. Did I ever tell you that I received my first cross necklace on my 13th birthday? I was so proud to wear it to Church that week. I remember walking to the front of the church and kneeling to receive my first Holy Communion with my back straight and felt so proud in the moment. I whispered to our Pastor that I was wearing a new cross necklace and he smiled and touched my shoulder as he presented me with the body of Christ. Granddaughter, I’m giving you this crystal cross necklace from my jewelry box and also one that Grandpa and I bought for you. Each necklace is delicate and makes a quiet statement of faith. I have worn a cross necklace every day for 44 years. The necklace I have worn for the past 18 years was a birthday gift from your Grandpa. I wear a cross necklace because it is a symbol of faith, trust and sacrifice. It is a beautiful representation of the greatest act of love. God has taken the most dreadful symbol in human history and turned into a symbol of hope and beauty for those who trust in Him. When you look in the mirror and you see your lovely cross necklace I pray it reminds you of a God who loves you beyond what you can ever imagine. I pray your cross necklace reminds you of our lord and savior Jesus Christ and that he gave his life for you, and of a God who wants to offer you so much more than the dreams of a broken world. Wear your cross necklace proudly my Sweet Girl.. If God can take a cross and use it for his glory and our benefit, imagine what he can do with the trials of your life as you give it over to him. I love you very much and I do hope these cross necklaces will mean as much to you as they do to me. Happy birthday and I love you. Grandma

Don’t Forget! by Paula McVay When my youngest son was a toddler, he would always get the words “remember” and “forget” confused. When we left him with the babysitter, he would cry out, “Now don’t remember to come get me.” Actually “remember” might be a good antonym for “forget.” In the Living translation, Philippians 4:6b Paul instructs us …”pray about everything, tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” Now, who would ever forget to thank God for answers to prayer? Guilty! This reminder by Paul surely informs us that we do indeed fail to give thanks at times. How could this happen? Perhaps we made a request a few days prior, got swept up into our crazy fast paced lives, and just did not realize the answer had come. In our early years of marriage, I would sometimes unload my frustrations about a situation at school or church to my ever so loving and compassionate husband who would patiently listen and commit to pray. A few days later, he would ask me how I was doing. In my one hundred mile per hour schedule of caring for three young sons, teaching school fulltime, and ministering to children and their families on Sundays, I would say, “Oh, I’m doing great! Why do you ask?” He would look at me with those serious big blue eyes and repeat my rantings from a few days before, all the while assuring me of his prayers. Reality finally set in. God was working in my life and I was not giving thanks. I became determined to think of ways to help me remember. My first strategy was to seek God’s wisdom as in James l: 5. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him/her ask of God.” (NIV) As I prayed, I thought about a book I had read entitled Lord Change Me, by Evelyn Christianson. She explained a way to journal that instructed us to read a portion of scripture, ask God to give us wisdom, wait upon Him and then write down what God seemed to be saying to us. God impressed me to purchase a two subject notebook with little pockets to use for a journal and a prayer notebook. (You can get these at Walmart for $1.98 and the pockets are a good place to put 3 x 5 cards with scripture verses or to keep your grocery list). In the front, I would record how the scripture portion was impacting me and in the second subject area I would record prayer requests and answers. On the left page would be the requests with dates and on the right page would be answers or ways that God was working. Wow! At first the left page was full and the right page was blank. Each day in my quiet time, I would look over the requests and slowly, sometimes not so slowly, realize how these requests were being answered. Talk about faith building! Of course we remember to give thanks for the big things like landing that great job, finding the “perfect” mate, healing of diseases, and our salvation, but do we really continually give thanks? When we moved to Syracuse, New York I was told that teaching jobs were one in one thousand. I remember telling others that I would seek God’s direction and help and of course, record it in my prayer journal. I told them I would just substitute teach.

Certified teachers who had tried for years to secure a position informed me the list of substitutes was long and I would probably not get called until the New Year. I knew God was in control and contrary to my personality, I stayed calm. My husband must have been praying overtime if there is such a thing. I got called the first day and every day thereafter until I landed a permanent sub job. I surely wrote that down on the right page! During the l2 week consumer science teaching assignment, God gave me direction to have the class divide into groups for a foreign foods buffet. Of course, I invited the principals and school superintendent. When the permanent English job opened, I applied and once again, God gave me the job. I say God gave it to me because I know there were people just as qualified. I still look back in my journal and read about the process. NO way can I forget to praise Him. Another way I have learned to “not forget” is to write answers to prayer in my Bible next to the scripture promise. An example would be Philippians 4:19. “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus “(NIV). On one occasion right after my husband had retired, we lost thousands of dollars because of the market crash in 2006. I claimed the above promise from Philippians. My Bible just happened to have a large blank space below the last chapter. I began to write every way that God provided for us. Here are some examples: 1. God gave us a four month interim in a city close by. The salary more than pays the house payments. 2. Received escrow money to help make double house payments 3. Able to return and sell furniture items that paid for needed items 4. Hired at a larger church for nine months. We can even use our home as a parsonage allowance for tax purposes. 5. Able to rent one of our homes to help cover costs of mortgage 6. Finally sold both homes at a big loss, but had enough left to make a down payment on a condo. 7. Friends from another state came to help us move and remodel because of Doug’s illness. Of course, I had dates on all of these answers and even now I marvel at God’s timing. Visualizing and thinking about the time Jesus saved us sets the tone for our time of adoration when we pray. Even though I was only 12 and had not committed any great sins, I remember walking to that altar, asking Jesus to forgive me, and accepting Him into my life. A great heaviness seemed to be lifted from my shoulders as I returned to my seat and later to my dysfunctional home filled with strife and confusion. From that time on, God gave me an insatiable thirst for His word. I was able to overcome as I claimed Romans 8:15. “So, you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead as God’s very own children, adopted into His family, calling him, Father, dear Father. For His Holy spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.” (NLT). Writing this scripture on 3 x 5 cards and putting them up all over my home is another way to keep me from forgetting.

In Psalm 63:6, David wrote, “On my bed I remember you. I think of you through the watches of the night.” (NIV) One way to think of God or to remember so we don’t forget is to memorize scripture. A year before my husband passed away, I felt led to memorize the first eight verses of this Psalm. Little did I know how much I would need these words in the next years. For several months, I said it every day. Now, I might think of it once a month, but I am amazed how implanted it is in my mind. It enables me to remember and give thanks for God’s unfailing love, comfort, mercy, and love. If I have trouble sleeping, I pray these verses. When my children were little, we had a prayer chart on the wall by the dining table. Some of the requests might have been as simple as “Help me to find my favorite stuffed animal,” or “Daddy needs a new suit.” (Remember when pastors used to wear suits?) As we reviewed the list at dinner time, we would put a star when an answer came. I got this idea from the story my husband told about when he was saved. His church family loved and prayed for him continually to be saved from his rebellious lifestyle. On the Sunday that he came to know Jesus, he was invited to attend a prayer meeting in the basement. On the way down the steps, he saw a chart with his name at the top. Beside it was a star. Yes, it has taken some discipline over the years to keep track of all God’s many answers to prayer. Let’s face it. Remembering can be a challenge in various situations. We make lists, (I make lists when I shop and then forget the list.) tie a string around our fingers, have our phones remind us; make word associations, or whatever it takes. Why not have a plan for keeping track of God’s answers so we don’t forget to thank him. I wish I could say that I have always kept perfect lists, but I do have a plan to keep me focused. When I had to be at the middle school by 7:00 each morning, I snatched whatever time I had at 5:30a.m. Then, I often took all of Saturday morning to read and write in my journal and update prayer requests. Doing some of these things some of the time is much better than doing none of them. Paul explains the benefits in Philippians 4: 7, “And the peace of God , which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) I truly need my mind guarded. He is so merciful and full of grace and just keeps working with us so we Don’t Forget.

Katherine’s Corner Shop – a beautiful boutique where you will discover the perfect wedding gift or accessory, elegant home décor, jewelry, bags and totes, and fashion accessories.

Ruth spoke of a Thanksgiving Day when she was a teen. Fire had destroyed her family’s home, and they were living in a chicken house. Her father had to work and could not be home. The meal consisted of wieners and sauerkraut. It was a dismal Thanksgiving.

Truly Thankful by Norma C. Mezoe

The following Thanksgiving, Ruth and her family were once again living in a house. Her father was home and the table was laden with food. But sadness reigned that year because her brother had been killed in an accident. Ruth recalls the year of the wieners and sauerkraut and realizes how truly happy and thankful she and her family should have been. Do we complain about the things we do not have and fail to thank God for the blessings he provides? Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 (NIV) First Rights – The Secret Place, published 11/23/89

Passing the Blessing Along by Norma C. Mezoe

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him….Nahum 1:7 (NIV) Lisa felt helpless. Problems threatened to overwhelm her. It seemed one thing after another had occurred to create stress in her life. Now she was at a standstill, literally: her car had stopped running.

Lisa had a low-paying job, but she was thankful to be able to pay her bills. Now, without a car, Lisa couldn’t get to her job on the other side of the large city where she lived. Five years earlier, Lisa had become a Christian and her life had begun to change. She had never felt the love and peace that she experienced. A few years after becoming a Christian, Lisa remembered a letter, filled with venom, she had written to a woman named Mary. Now the Holy Spirit pricked her conscience and she felt the need to phone Mary to ask for forgiveness. As a result, Lisa and the older woman became friends and they talked often by phone. Lisa shared her need for a car with Mary and received encouragement and prayer from her. Mary told Lisa that she could trust the Lord to meet her need and that he is a refuge in any trouble we encounter. Mary understood what Lisa was struggling through. When she was Lisa’s age, Mary’s first husband had left her for another woman. He took their only car when he walked out of Mary’s life. Within three weeks, the Lord met Mary’s need and provided her with a used car, just in time to begin a job the next day. Mary told her husband about Lisa’s problem, not expecting much of a response from him. What a shock when he later told Mary that he had found a used car. Then he asked Mary what she thought about buying it for Lisa. Lisa had made the statement, “It’s all up to God,” when her car had broken down. Now, God was helping her through a woman she had mistreated. Would God have blessed Lisa if she had held on to her dislike for Mary? Could unforgiveness have blocked her communication with God? Do you or I have someone we need to forgive? Is today the day to do it? First Rights – Published by The Vision, 1/12/07

New Books from Carol Peterson, Author Stealing Sunlight Author: Carol Peterson Middle Grade Fiction (age 9-12) There is something strange about St. Opal Lightfoot's Academic Residence— silver walls, static electricity and the fact that none of the kids have any memory of their families. The school's strangeness is the least of Bernie Banks' worries though. He's failing almost every class and is in danger of being kicked out of school—the only home he has ever known. When Bernie and his solar project teammates discover an underground world, they learn that both the world above and the world below the surface are in danger from what archaeologist Peter Potstop is doing to the Great Pyramid. Can Bernie and his friends get to Egypt in time to stop both worlds from exploding? Do they even know how? Available in print or Kindle Counting Blessings Author/Illustrator: Carol Peterson Picture Book (ages 2-5) Counting Blessings introduces kids to the numbers 1-10 and the concept of God’s blessings. Kids are encouraged to count the hearts and the named objects on each spread and think about what other blessings God has placed in the world around them. Available in print

I am Rahab (With Faith Like Hers Bible Study Series) Author: Carol Peterson Adult Non-Fiction/Women’s Bible Study Rahab was a Gentile and a prostitute who had heard about the God of the Jewish people. When she learned the Jews planned to attack her city of Jericho, she chose to be on the side of their God. As a result, she and her family were saved and she became part of Jesus’ own lineage. We may not have the same background Rahab did, but we all sin. Many of us have a past we are not proud of. So how might our character or circumstances be similar to the woman God used to help the Jews take over the land He promised them? How might God want to use our lives for His purpose today? This is Rahab’s story. But it is also ours, when we have faith like hers. Available in print or Kindle


Your Choice by Emmanuel O. Afolabi

Everyone is faced with one choice or the other on a daily basis; these choices could by physical or spiritual. Our choices are determined by our primary pursuit in life. It is either to please ourselves or another. This could range from smaller things like what to eat, what to wear, where to go, among others, to bigger things like who to marry, the career to pursue, and the church to attend. Lot is a perfect example; he was given the opportunity to choose. He was only concerned about the physical worth of his choice. He did not consider the spiritual consequences (Mark 8:36) He chose the fertile land at the detriment of his soul. The fertile land was the territory of Sodom and Gomorrah which were ultimately destroyed (Gen.13:13, 19:24-25). In making right choices, we must be mindful of our eternal destiny. Matt.6:33 says, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Moses chose to suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasure of sin (Heb.11:25). Joseph chose to flee sexual immorality in order to please God (Gen 39:1-9) Daniel decided not to defile himself with the delicacies of the king (Dan.1:8) In all we should choose life instead of death and good instead of evil (Duet.30:19). Friends! Have you ever realized that you are a product of your choices? Therefore make the right choice; this is what the choice of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour represents: eternal life and joy unspeakable. (John 3:16) Rejecting him amounts to identifying with the devil, choosing death and evil, and eternal separation from God. (John 10:10). Choice is inevitable in life; our choices must be guided by our desire to please God. Our choices in life could make or mar our eternal destiny. Joshua chose to serve God with his family (Jos.24:15). Let us depend absolutely on God and the Holy Spirit in making decisions in life. The book of Proverbs gives us wise counsel about our decisions: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) NKJV. Therefore be guided in your choices!

Visit RUBY’S Reading Corner where you will find these books by Emmanuel O. Afolabi: The Pathway to Honor, How to Recover from Painful Losses, and The Battle of Identity.

Power of the Sword by Shara Bueler-Repka

"For the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”—Hebrews 4:12. My insides lurched as I clenched the receiver, trying to digest my brother's words on the other end of the line.

A gunshot victim groaned through the partition on one side, and there was some sort of unidentifiable commotion on the other.

"Dad's pretty ill, Shara," my brother said. "He's been diagnosed with a debilitating disease that could be life-threatening. The doctors gave him medication they hope will work."

I looked over at my 75-year-old dad—a very resilient man—whom I had seen really ill probably once in my entire life. It was nearly unbearable to see him in a hospital bed with a bunch of tubes hooked to him.

He paused. "It doesn't look good." I called my parents’ house and talked to my mom. While on the phone, my dad suddenly motioned to her to call 9-1-1. That was only the beginning. The year was 2006 and everything we considered normal life abruptly came to a stand-still. Leaving Bruce in Texas to tend to our horses and music ministry, I flew to California. In one phone call, I had become the foreman, secretary, and bookkeeper in my dad's construction business, as well as a caregiver. My plan to stay a couple of weeks turned into two months. Hope reigned when he received treatment at the hospital and returned home. All would seem well, and then I was dialing 9-1-1 for the ambulance or rushing him back to the hospital myself. I finally quit booking flights home because I kept having to cancel them.

The tightening sensation of fear threatened to suffocate me. I choked back the tears and tried to stay strong. All the Bible verses and sermons I had heard went straight out the window—I remembered none of them. At that moment, all I could say was "Jesus, help me." A still, small voice stirred within me, "Didn't you bring your Bible?" I reached for my bag and yes, there it was. Blinded by the fear that gripped me, I never saw the tabs and bookmarks that flagged my favorite verses. I just opened my Bible and numbly, randomly started flipping. On my second "flip" it opened, miraculously, to 1 Corinthians 2:5: "that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."

I needed help beyond the physical. I needed God Himself to show up in a big way.

Encouraged, I flipped one more time and again, miraculously, the pages fell open to 2 Corinthians 5:7: "for we walk by faith, not by sight."

Sitting in the emergency room once again, I stared motionless at the scene around me: doctors and nurses hurried from one section to another.

The Lord knew I would need these two verses that night and throughout the entire two months. I grabbed a hold of them with a white-knuckled grip.

The nurse, visibly relieved, said, "Good, I really didn't want to give him this," and walked out of the room. Later in the evening, I found her at the nurses’ station and asked her what had happened. She confirmed there was no explanation as to why my dad's blood pressure sky-rocketed. And then she added thoughtfully, "I heard you reading the Bible when I walked in." I nodded. "Well, I’m quite sure that is why your dad's blood pressure came down."

His Presence in the emergency room jarred me loose from the paralyzing grasp of fear. His encouragement caused me to reach for Him through His Word, giving me hope even through distressing doctors’ reports and procedures; the stress of running a construction company; and other unthinkable situations that tested me during that time.

She then shared something I will never forget. "In all the years I have worked at this hospital," she said, “I’ve seen powerful things happen when the Word of God is read to patients. In fact, I’ve seen a marked difference between the patients who have the Word read to them and the ones who don't." Wow. The Word of God, as it proclaims, is life.

God's Word saved me and in turn, saved my dad.

From then on, I read to my dad every day—the spoken Word of God was a powerful force!

It happened one night as we sat together in his hospital room. Suddenly, for no reason, his blood pressure shot up into the danger zone.

Sometimes he was awake, sometimes he was asleep. But I continued to read, if only in a whisper, saying his name in all the personal spots of the verses:

The Lord’s urgency spurred my heart as He told me to start reading His Word—out loud! I grabbed my Bible.

"John Bueler, Sr. will live and not die"—Psalm 118:17; "No weapon formed against John Bueler, Sr. will prosper"—Isaiah 54:17, etc.

By this time, my dad's face was beet-red. I looked at his face, looked up at his patient monitor, looked down at my Bible, and started reading. As I read, a nurse came in with a shot. Lord, no! Please, no more medications for my dad!

My dad turned 86 this year—a walking miracle. "Don't rest on the wisdom of men, but the power of God,” and "walk by faith, not by sight"!

Now, I have no medical training whatsoever, but I sensed in my spirit that shot was the wrong thing to do. I was close to panicking as the nurse stood there with the needle poised. All I could do was sit there, read, and pray. Curiously, though, the nurse wasn't moving. She quietly watched the monitor, and I kept reading the Word. As suddenly as his blood pressure rose, it dropped. I stared in amazement as my dad safely recovered.

New from author

Joan Leotta

Languid . . . with Lemon a book of poetry celebrating family, food, and relationships Now available from Finishing Line Press

God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart by Jean Ann Williams is available from Amazon

When Do I Get To Take Off My Spiritual Uniform? by Sharon L. Patterson I am not sure exactly how old I was when I asked the Lord that question. Undoubtedly it followed a heavy time of intense spiritual warfare. So, just what did I hear him tell me? “When the war is over!” came the answer, resounding through my being like an early morning bugle blown when you are in a dead sleep. It roused me to attention; it permeated a layer of understanding deep in my spirit that caused me to know that I am a soldier for life. I will not take off my spiritual uniform from Ephesians 6 (i.e., the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit and prayer in the Spirit…all defensive armor issued by our Supreme Commander-in-Chief.) Scripture tells me very clearly that there is an enemy of my soul who sets out to “Steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). In 1 Peter 5:8 my enemy is named specifically…the devil. His method of destruction is to prowl like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. I am instructed to remain alert, to stand, and to communicate with my Commander-in-Chief through continual prayer after putting on my spiritual uniform. Further instruction in James 4:7 advises me to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from me. There is also a Supernatural Intelligence Director living in me, the Holy Spirit who gives me significant gifts in spiritual warfare in the unseen, real dimension where my enemy has vision I do not have. I Corinthians 12 talks about these:(Gift of Wisdom, Gift of Word of Knowledge; Gift of faith; Gifts of healing; Gift of Miracles; Gift of prophecy; Gift of discerning between spirits; Gift of tongues; Gift of interpretation of tongues) They are meant to be used to help my fellow soldiers in the army of Christ, to be an encouragement to me that will build spiritual muscle and to help others get freedom. I remain humble, submitted to God, armed in my assigned uniform, informed by the strategies of the Holy Spirit, and in continual contact with my Supreme Commander through prayer. When I have questions, I ask Him; I wait for His answers. I carry the requests, petitions, needs, and desires of myself and others to Him.

I relay His answers when He sends me to do so. Using the an acronym of P R A Y, may I share how I have trained in spiritual warfare for the past 59 years that I have been in the army of the Lord. P -I prepare for warfare, putting on the protective armor, praising my Lord and Savior, Commander of the Armies of Heaven and take my position of standing as I press into my ranks alongside my fellow soldiers. R- I re-arm daily through reading my warfare manualthe Bible; I remind myself of former victories; and I resist the enemy using the sword of the spirit, the Word of God. It refreshes and revives my spirit to fight on. A- I assume my place; I ask for my orders; I adjust any attitudes that need addressing; I aim my sword at the right enemy-the devil, not people. Y- I yield myself to God and say “yes” with a foot of faith to His commands. When I P R A Y, I am properly prepared and positioned for warfare, ready and dressed for resisting the enemy, mentally and spiritually adjusted, and yielded to hear and obey the commands for victory. Yes, I have become quite accustomed to my spiritual uniform. It suits me well every day. I no longer ask, “When do I get to take it off. I think it will be quite sufficient clothing until I exchange it on God’s appointed timetable for my robe of righteousness in heaven.

Be sure to read Part 1 of

A Betrayal of Trust Part 2 A Short Story by Donna B. Comeaux

in the October issue of RUBY magazine. A story about friendship, trust, and forgiveness by Donna B. Comeaux

"And you said you'd forgiven me for that. Are you gonna beat me up all over again?" "Look, smarty pants, I wouldn't dare bring it up if I thought you were being straight with me." "Oh, c'mon, Linda." "You've been acting strange and you know it. You're not leveling with me and—" "I'm not keeping anything from you. Why would I?" "You had no reason to keep secrets from me the last time. Why you couldn't tell me your mother was dying is beyond me. I'll never understand it. And if you'll recall, Sarah, you never offered an explanation. I'm supposed to be your best friend, remember?" "Didn't I apologize?" "You did, but only after I confronted you about it when a pharmaceutical tech mentioned your mother's death to Jake. Jacksonville isn't a big city. People talk. You have any idea how it felt to find out about your mother from someone else?" "You've made it very clear to me." "It's a sore spot with me and you know it. I've got this nagging feeling you're doing it again." "Linda, can we drop this?" "So, are you keeping something from me? Why do you always seem distracted? It's like you're in another world." Linda dramatically waved her hands in the air to demonstrate her disgust. "It's nothing I can't handle. Life will return to normal soon." "Let me help. I think I'm a good listener. If I'm not, teach me. I'm willing to change." Linda stared at the roof of her car and made a face. "It'll be hard, but I can change. And I'm not too proud to help clean your house, if that's what you need me to do. I can even be your cashier. Whatever you need, I'm here for you." "What in the world would I do without you?" Sarah patted Linda's knee. "You've got your hands full. You're doing enough with Charly. Matter of fact, being here with me today is exactly what I need. Now let's eat. I'm starved." Linda shut off the engine, slid out of her SUV then waited for it to shimmy, pop, and sizzle before she slammed the door and mumbled, "I really need a new car." She proceeded to follow Sarah inside the restaurant, but stopped and tilted her head. "Are you losing weight?"

Sarah faced Linda before pulling at her sweat pants. "Why do you ask?" "You're not as full in the hips as you used to be." Linda winked. "I bet Michael is loving this." Sarah rushed toward Linda and looped their arms together. "What goes on in my bedroom stays in my bedroom. Now, let's eat so we can get to the shop and unload the yarn." "If you say so, skinny woman." * * * * * For four hours, the women barely spoke, each working on opposite ends of the boutique, putting away yarn and accessories in Sarah's knitting store. In the bottom half of those four hours, Sarah escaped to the bathroom where she turned on her noisy vent and ran water to drown out the retching created each time nausea threatened to overtake her. Between rubbing watery eyes and blowing her nose from the effects of the dye, Linda was too preoccupied with new skeins of yarn and knitting patterns to notice Sarah's pale skin or droopy eyes . Until she dropped her home. * * * * * "Let me help you take those things inside," Linda said as she exited the car. "You look like you're about to collapse." "No, I can manage." Before Sarah protested a second time, Linda slid two boxes off the back seat, stumbled on a broken piece of concrete, and spilled the contents of one box on the ground. Tiny balls of scrap yarn rolled along the grass. Knitting needles clanged and flipped in the air before spiraling out of sight. Markers, wig heads, and several old scarves Sarah knitted last year lay strewn on the walkway. But only one thing grabbed Linda's attention. In slow motion, Linda sat the second box on the concrete and in a zombie-like stare removed a blood-soaked towel off the ground. Tears welled in her eyes. When she met Sarah's frightful gaze, pain and hurt, anger and sorrow swelled inside her. After closing in on her friend of sixteen years, she moved even closer, nose-to-nose, and held the towel inches from Sarah's face. Her nostrils flared. Hot rapid breathing seemed to jeopardize every strand of hair on Sarah's body. "You're sick, aren't you?" Linda asked. "And this is how I find out?" "Linda, let me explain. I've been meaning to tell you, but I just didn't know how to—"

Be sure to read Part 3 of “A Betrayal of Trust” by Donna B. Comeaux in the December 2017 issue of RUBY magazine!

As we prepare our hearts and homes for a joyous Christmas celebration, here are some words of encouragement and wisdom for you and your family from Maryann Lorts . . . At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on the earth who please him. As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over, “Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about the child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. Luke 2: 13-18 MSG Running. The sheepherders left, running. I would like to think that I would be right behind them and in such a hurry to see what the angels sang of. Running. Can you imagine being there the day that God came down, the day that God was born a man? Can you imagine how the world changed that very moment and only a special few truly grasped the immensity of this event? I read this version of Luke several years ago. I have always held Christmas time close to my heart, but the meaning of advent hit me at that moment. A time of preparation for the coming of our Lord was at hand and we needed to stand attention. Running. It's the race to finish in righteousness and the trophy belongs to the Lord.

What does this mean to me and my family? I thought of our traditions over the years. My grandmother spent hours baking cookies just right to hand to the mailman and priests at her church. She sang silly songs while I snooped around for the lost presents from previous years. I couldn't wait for her famous Christmas Eve meal. Warm memories and happiness find my heart as I recall my childhood in preparation. As a young, married adult I found our traditions shifted to travel. My first year of married life, we found ourselves taking a picture in front of seven different Christmas trees in a three day span of time. Food, gifts, games, and then we started all over again. Traditions flew out the window and we just followed the trail of treats to the next house. Having children changed everything and I found myself seeking a way out of traveling for two days because we weren’t really grasping anything of true worth in the hustle and bustle. We prepared for exhausted children and a frustrated midnight gathering of presents to place under our own tree. The year I received a new Bible, I found myself dreading the years that were to come. I thought that a new, bound leather book would placate my frustrations with other people’s ideas of what a holiday season looked it. We had four children and we were just tired. We needed a change, and although I put a bit of hope in reading Scripture, I was skeptical when I opened to Genesis One.

Then I found something in my Bible. I found The Message version on one side with a more traditional version on the other. Suddenly, study became interesting and the Spirit provided conviction of truth.

We serve others because the Lord wants us to share how his love came down. We bake treats for neighbors who may not have loved ones so we can pour hope into them.

The following fall I dove into wanting our children to understand what the birth of our Lord truly meant. They would see me get teary-eyed as I sang a few Christmas hymns a couple months too early.

We sing worship songs throughout the day and lay under the tree at night, reflecting on how the light of the world hung on a branch so that we could be free. We prepare, we celebrate, and we live like its Christmas all year.

They questioned why I was so moved by stories and decorations with the Christmas-theme. I knew it was time to make a change and press into them what Advent truly meant.

So we go back to the word running. The children and I are so excited for the day that we can be among our brothers and sisters, running.... running to the feet of Jesus.

Traditions started to change and priorities were made all while keeping mind of spending time with loved ones. We set forth to read scripture each day of Advent and celebrated by eating sweets, hanging a special ornament and planning days of fun to celebrate the season of light.

Until then, we will wait in our season of Advent. It may not always be twinkly lights, decorated cookies, or fa-la-las, but we will be looking towards the heavens and doing our best to grow His kingdom here on earth.

I have been so moved and so blessed to see my children grow in their love of Christ and to look forward to this season. We dive into Bible prophesy and read how it was fulfilled by Jesus.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told! Luke 2: 19-20 MSG

Stock Photo from Joanna Kosinska @joannakosinska Free stock photos from http;//

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 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.

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.

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.

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:

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

Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mail-base, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: and her blog:, or come for a visit on Facebook.

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

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

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

Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her inspiring devotional books for journaling and discussion groups, theatrical scripts for church and school, and storybooks and speaking programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families, designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. She lives with her bookseller husband, a storyteller in his own right, and two literary cats. Inspired by the stillness of teatime, birdsong and silent reflection, she allows God’s Word, classic literature, and the arts to inform her words with a splash of old world elegance. Timeless truths leap from the page and the stage through Pageant Wagon Publishing and Productions—Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at and

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.

Cindy Knisley

After years as a “stay-at-home” mom, Cynthia enjoyed a fulfilling second career as a high school language teacher and curriculum developer. Recently, she took a leap of faith and left the classroom in order to devote more time to family---aging parents, adult children, and lively young grandchildren. Her home is in West Chester, PA, where she plays classical music, bakes bread, and tends a “secret garden.” A novice blogger, she welcomes you to her posts at

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

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.

Kelly Christian is ever reckoning life through wonder and conversations, always wishful for the next chance to put everything that means anything into type. Her heart is riveted by faith, questions, beauty, creation, identity, and sparks in conversations with strangers and friends alike. Kelly resides in Charlotte, North Carolina where she writes nonfiction, teaches English as a second language, and enjoys loving on her four little dignified souls alongside her husband.

Shirley Johnson shares inspiration and encouragement through her writing. She is a member of SCBWI and ACFW. She loves to read and has volunteered at her local Public Library as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She shares her writing on her blog. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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.

Rita Atwell-Holler is retired, living and writing from her home in Pennsylvania. She studied radio and TV communications at York College of Pennsylvania. Rita connected with RUBY magazine through the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.

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.

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.�

Thea Williams’s short story, "Phoenix," appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon's The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at or .

Maryann Lorts: Life is full of choices and wandering. The Lord called me in my desert and poured life and truth into me through conviction by the Holy Spirit. I am now called to grow His kingdom by sharing the joy I have found in my king. Most days you can find me with my children as I disciple them through Bible study and homeschooling amongst other volunteer opportunities in our community. Visit Maryann’s blog, Coming to Light, and you can also find her on Facebook.

Alicia Ai Keng Lim Hi! My name is Alicia and I'm from Malaysia. Malaysian education exposes us to analysis and comprehension of poems in the English and Malay Language but not to creating our own poems. I started writing poems in 2011 when I tutored AOP homeschool students. The opportunity arose again between 2013 and 2015 when I tutored more students under the Cambridge English syllabus. In 2017 I am beginning to pursue publishing my poems and to explore more creative ways of literary expression. Hopefully, I can contribute to the readership of RUBY magazine.

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

Nells Wasilewski lives in a small southern town, seventy miles southeast of Nashville, Tennessee. After retiring, she began pursuing her lifelong dream of writing. Her writing has been greatly influenced by her faith in Jesus Christ, personal, experience and nature. She has been writing poems, prose and stories all her life. Nells has recently started writing devotionals. Her work has appeared in Haiku Journal, Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, 50 Haikus, Dual Coast Magazine, High Coupe Journal, Ancient Paths, Tanka Journal, Hedgerow and Penned from the Heart

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

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 re-married and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.

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

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor:

When 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

Brain-Busting Puzzles Answer Keys Crossword Play 4 Answer Key

by Beth Brubaker

Fill in the grid using the clues to form words in both the rows and columns. (No diagonals)

Down the Lane Puzzle Answer Key By changing one letter each time, change one word into another.

RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife

November 2017 Ruby  

The November 2017 issue of RUBY magazine is our special Thanksgiving issue! It is filled with inspirational articles, short stories, poetry,...

November 2017 Ruby  

The November 2017 issue of RUBY magazine is our special Thanksgiving issue! It is filled with inspirational articles, short stories, poetry,...