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Beauty from Ashes by Shara Bueler-Repka

The Queen of Long Division by Joan Leotta

God Knew My Name by Nancy Frantel

Our American Dunkirk by Sharon L. Patterson

A Betrayal of Trust Part 1 A Short Story by Donna B. Comeaux

Vintage Book Treasure Hunt: Sticky Stories for Family Read Aloud by Kathryn Ross

RUBY Magazine Your voice, your story OCTOBER, 2017

In This Issue of RUBY Stove Top Hash Brown Soup from Katherine’s Corner

Hidden Secrets by Jewell Utt

The beauty of autumn is all around us! Here at RUBY magazine and community, we celebrate all year long! Our writers share their hearts through words of inspiration and encouragement in every issue of RUBY magazine. This month you will truly experience God’s gifts of blessing and friendship in the pages of RUBY magazine. 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! 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,

Mothering Challenge: Juggling by Jeanne Doyon

How to Run the Good Race by Kathleen McCauley

Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Feature Writers: Sharon L. Patterson, Norma C. Mezoe, Shara Bueler-Repka, Jennifer Workman, Emmanuel O. Afolabi, Carol Peterson, Jeanne Doyon, Connie Arnold, Paula McVay, Katherine Corrigan, Donna B. Comeaux, Caroline Emile, Rejetta Morse, Jewell Utt, Joan Leotta, Nancy Frantel, Cindy Evans, Kathleen McCauley, Michele Morin, Kathryn Ross, Sharmelle Olson, DaPorscha Rufus

A Fierce Love by Shauna Shanks Book Review by Michele Morin

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

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What’s RUBY all about anyway? Nina Newton, Sr. Editor It has been an interesting journey, here at RUBY magazine, over the past seven years. What a gift I’ve been given! So many new friends who express their love for the Lord through their writing, and they are all so willing to share what God has put on their hearts with you, our readers. I am so grateful for this opportunity to get to know people from all over the world – we have had writers from Australia, South Africa, England, Scotland, Malaysia, Lagos, India, Nigeria, and other English-speaking countries, as well as from all over the United States. It has truly been an amazing opportunity for this country girl from the flyover state of Indiana! Along the way, one of the things that has been most amazing to me is the sweet spirit of everyone who has been part of the RUBY journey. And even in the midst of social and political turmoil, while everyone here at RUBY has their own personal expression of faith and social perspective, we all respect one another. It does not matter what country we live in, or how young or old we are, or the color of our skin, or the wealth or lack thereof, or the name over the doors of the church we attend each week. We all love the Lord and have trusted Jesus as our personal Savior, and THAT is the only thing that really matters in the end. I love all of my writers, and I treasure the times when I’ve had opportunity to engage in “conversation” over the miles through the miracle of the internet, that there is such a sense of respect and genuine love for one another, even if we have different perspectives on things that are going on in the world around us. Because the purpose and focus of RUBY magazine is not about politics or social commentary, you will not find controversial content here. There are times when some of our writers choose to share their perspective on various current events, and we will respect their opinions and let you know that their article is just that . . . their opinion. My prayer is that you will be gracious and respectful as you read the words they are sharing from their hearts, and perhaps even find an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with one another. For the most part, you will find only a joyous celebration of family life, friendship, fellowship, and love for one another in the pages of RUBY magazine, as we share devotionals, inspirational articles and short stories, book reviews, poetry, craft projects and recipes. God has given us a calling to encourage one another in our homes and in our ministry to our families, and THAT is what RUBY is all about. I am so thankful for you all and the support you have given to the ministry of RUBY over the past seven years. I look forward to sharing the good news of God’s gift of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and Savior. Please let us know how we can be an encouragement to you, and visit the RUBY community, now on Facebook, and tell us how we can pray for you. I’ll be looking forward to connecting with you soon!


Footprints in the Mud Sins vs. Virtues - Wrath by Beth Brubaker Wrath is a very interesting subject. Is wrath really a sin when God Himself can be wrathful, and He is sinless? Let’s delve deeper into what wrath really means.

Look at any YouTube video mentioning karma or any other angry ‘getting back’ at someone else and you’ll see what I mean. It’s an exhibition of man’s unethical heart, through the expression of anger or rage.

There are two kinds of wrath; one definition is a strong and vengeful anger or indignation, and the second is a retributory punishment for an offense or crime - a divine chastisement. Big difference between the two.

But how do we fight our anger, our sinful wrath? We fight it with something God has a lot of concerning us - patience.

God’s wrath is ethical and just. He doesn’t fly off the handle and punish people just to punish them, but to discipline wayward believers back into His will, or to punish those that simply won’t turn to Him and consistently disobey His commands.

Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Many words in the Bible are used to define patience; long suffering, forbearing, and steadfastness are a few. To God patience truly is a virtue to attain, and one that’s hard for us to maintain.

This is shown when God’s people turned away to worship other gods after He delivered them from Egypt in Deuteronomy 29:28 In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now. Mans’ wrath is not only unjust; it’s against God’s word. He wants us not to remain angry, but give it to Him to handle. Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. He doesn’t want us to hold grudges either. Matthew 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’(an Aramaic term of contempt) is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. God also doesn’t want us to go to sleep with unresolved anger. Ephesians 4:26 says In your anger do not sin - Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…’ Sin is when our anger is so great that we become vengeful. In today’s society, wrath is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.

In a world of anger, it’s hard to keep a cool head. We get angry at our family, friends, co-workers and even that stranger that cut us off in traffic. But what good does that anger do us and those around us? Except for disciplinary measures, anger only spreads more anger. But watch the person who practices patience.

God loves you and wants to help you to become more patient - but watch what you pray for! Praying for patience doesn’t mean He’ll just hand it to you on a silver platter; it means He’ll give you a lot of opportunities to practice being patient!

Take a look at that cashier that helped a rude and unruly customer in her line. She was always polite, listened to the customers’ rants, and by the time she was done bagging groceries, the customer was calmer - maybe not happy or even satisfied, but calmer. The cashier stands out, doesn’t she? In fact, she gets kudos from the other customers for being so patient, because ‘That’s not what I would do if they said that to me!’

Patience is remaining calm within the chaos. Patience is kind and gentle. Patience takes a lot of practice, and a lot of prayer. And while we are being patient with others, we need to be patient with ourselves when we slip into unjust anger.


God loves you and wants to help you to become more patient - but watch what you pray for! Praying for patience doesn’t mean He’ll just hand it to you on a silver platter; it means He’ll give you a lot of opportunities to practice being patient!

Do you know someone like that? Someone who hardly ever lets things get to them? Patient people stand out from the crowd, and we wish we could be like that. Seeing someone with patience reminds us of the times we weren’t patient, when we flew off the handle, making the situation worse. I know because I’ve been on both sides of this particular coin!

A good way to help yourself gain patience is to remember the last few times you lost your temper. How could you have reacted differently? What could you do to avoid getting angry again? Problem-solve until you find a patient solution, and implement it the next time the situation arises. With God’s help, patience will indeed become a virtue!

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

The Magnolia Series by Gloria Doty is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner!

Another Mountain Still to Climb by Caroline Emile One sunny April day, breast cancer announced itself in my life, unleashing on my family and I an unprecedented era of strife. "But this was going to be my year!” I protested, "Did you think you were in charge?” God contested. And so it began, months of pricks and prods, as I decided to beat cancer, whatever my odds. First came the chemo, with its unwelcome hair loss, sprinkled with muscle pains, and a river of emotions to cross. "I can't take any more!” on days I'd cry, only to pick myself up, and give it another try. Spring turns into summer, and that also fades, and all too soon, autumn's displayed its many shades. Surgery now looms, to complete the clearing, and in my heart, emotions are searing. Another mountain still left to climb, best to take it, one day at a time. It hasn't been easy, the road to beat breast cancer, but I know my prayers, God will answer!

Oak Trees Cling to Their Leaves by Rejetta Morse Below the autumn skies, trees stand and wave “good-bye,” as autumn leaves fly in the breeze. On an October day, they struggle to hold on, while strong leaves cling to their oak trees. They fall and wander, like God’s grace covers us, and roll and stumble, and rest at ease. Their colorful blankets of leaves cover the land, and strong leaves weaken on their oak trees. Did summer go away? Wild ducks and geese vanish, while honey bees hide within the trees. Soon colder days emerge, and longer nights linger, still strong leaves fade on their oak trees. Smooth acorns bounce and tumble from the trees, and squirrels gather nuts before the freeze. The red birds roost and perch on their bare arms while bright leaves drop from their oak trees. In harmony they sing – they comfort the oak trees, as they watch their leaves plummet and see the golden bright sunrays - warm them with their love, while all leaves dive from their oak trees.

Its soup season and this quick and easy Hash Brown Soup recipe is just what you need to take the chill off, it is pure comfort food too. Hash Brown Soup 1 1/2 Large bags frozen hash browns (32 oz.) chunks or shredded ( I use Orida) ½ Cup lactose free butter or canola oil* 2 Clove garlic (minced) 4 Cups lactose free milk* 2 Cups chicken or vegetable broth ¾-1 Cup all-purpose flour ½ tsp. Salt 2 tsp. White pepper 8 Qt. or larger Saucepan with lid Whisk Small bowl Toppings are all optional add one or all of them 2-4 Green onions tops and/or bottoms (chopped) Chives (chopped) 3 Slices bacon (precooked and broken into little bits) Garlic toasted croutons Lactose free cheese (shredded) * Sour cream

Another Autumn Recipe from Katherine’s Corner

Before You Start- precook bacon drain and set aside. In a bowl whisk together milk salt and pepper and set aside. Let’s Make It! In saucepan over medium high heat add butter and garlic, stir occasionally until garlic is translucent. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add hash browns stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and add milk, salt and pepper mixture. Stir well to combine. Cover with lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until hash browns have softened and soup has thickened. If it’s too thick add more milk, if it’s too thin add more flour. Serve with suggested toppings and or crusty bread (great for dipping) Katie’s Tid-Bits* If you are not on a restricted dietReplace lactose free margarine with ¼ cup of butter. Replace 4 cups of milk with 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups milk. This recipe is easily adapted to add ham. Add 1 cup smoked ham (chopped) when you stir in the milk mixture. Serves 2-4 (2 hungry adults or 4 hungry children)

Visit Sonrise Stable where you will find wholesome, heartwarming stories of an extended homeschooling family as they live, learn and love together. Great resources for your family at Sonrise Stables!

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.

Practicing Lip Service Instead of Life Service by Jennifer Workman

Many people get married every day and there is no shortage of ceremonies that transpire at different times during the year. People incorporate a lot of time, energy and money to make sure the wedding festivities are perfect and a day that the couple will never forget.

Many of us, when we first became Christians and began our journey with the Lord, we, like many couples, were excited and willing to go the “extra mile” in our dedication and service to the Lord but, as time passed and trials came, we seemed to waiver.

When the day actually comes, the “soon-to-be bride and groom” are very excited and anxious and prepare themselves accordingly. Finally, they are marching down the aisle and are professing their love for one another and vowing to commit to each other for life.

The same vows we made to the Lord to love, to obey, and to serve him faithfully were replaced with “practicing lip service instead of life service.” But God requires more from us.

But I wonder, amidst all of the excitement of the day, were the couple deeply contemplative of all that is required of a married couple or to make a marriage work? When they vow to “love and cherish each other, to be there for each other through sickness and health, for richer or poorer or until death do we part,” do they really understand the words that are proceeding from their mouths? Do they realize that they will encounter storms in life that will test their devotion and commitment to each other, if it is really genuine and heartfelt, or, if what they have professed before God and each other was “just practicing lip service instead of life service?” Because like it or not, many couples that “have gone before them” and “have been there and done that.” They were excited, ready to get married and really anticipated having a successful and blessed marriage but, along the way, the “tie that bound them” didn’t sustain them and when “testing” came, the “cord was easily broken.” This makes me think about our relationship with God.

Our relationship with God is daily growth and renewal and it should never be taken likely. God has endured so much for our benefit (John 3:16, NKJV) and we should show our constant appreciation by taking up our cross and following him daily. Also, in the Bible, God lets us know expressly that if “we love him, then we will keep his commandments (John 14:15, NLT).” Love is action and if we love God, then it will be exemplified in our daily lives and our dedication and commitment to the Lord. We can say that we love the Lord “a million times” but if that isn’t illustrated in the life that we live then again, we are just practicing lip service instead of life service. And, remember that “taking up your cross” requires extreme sacrifice because it isn’t about you but it is all about God. I remember in my spare time watching a segment of the Steve Harvey show and Devon Franklin and his wife Meaghan Good were guests on the show. In the segment, they talked openly and expressively about celibacy. Devon Franklin explained that, as a result of taking a vow of celibacy with Meaghan while they were dating and refraining from sexual activity for a full year and until marriage, it blessed him spiritually, emotionally, relationally and in his life in its totality.

I was so blessed to hear a man talking so passionately about sexual purity and desiring to do things God’s way. And, as he sacrificed his own desires to please God, bless himself and bless Meaghan, who would later become his wife, so we can make the extreme sacrifice to obey and faithfully fulfill God’s divine purpose and plan for our lives. I don’t know about anyone else but I pray to the Lord for help daily through the work of the Holy Spirit that he will enable me to be a faithful and obedient servant for his glory! The Bible states that “God will judge everyone according to what they have done” (Romans 2:6, NLT).

In the conclusion of the matter, we don’t have time to waste! There are innumerable opportunities to be “light shiners” in a dark and wicked world. Someone needs God in their life and is the “walking dead.” Don’t keep talking about what you are going to do in the kingdom of God but pray and seek God for his direction and that his will be done and then do what he says! I pray that all of us will not let our lives be about lip service but about life service and dedication to the will of God for our lives.

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano Book Review by Carol Peterson I was recently looking for something fun to read. I found it: A Change of Fortune, by Jen Turano. A Change of Fortune takes place in New York City in the 1880s during a time when women were still supposed to be quiet and not cause trouble. Enter Eliza Sumner, an English aristocrat posing as a governess in order to track down the man who stole her inheritance. The best part of the story is Eliza herself—quirky and determined, but with a heart of gold. Turano puts Eliza into situations that echo I Love Lucy, with visual humor unbecoming to a refined lady such as Eliza. Eliza even has red hair. The book is a light mystery, a light romance and a light story of faith. It’s not intended to delve into theology. I shed no tears. The mystery wasn’t too mysterious. But I enjoyed the entertaining voice of Turano, spoken through the delightful Eliza. I think you will, too. A Change of Fortune is book 1 in the series Ladies of Distinction.

Hidden Secrets by Jewell Utt Imagine a walk through an average neighborhood. The . houses are about the same value. Some yards are kept better than others. A few have pools or swing sets in the back, others have toys in the front. Wreaths are displayed on some front doors while others have flags waving in the breeze. There are differences, but they are all still a house. They serve the same purpose and have the same value. However, a look inside reveals vast differences. Each home has a unique quality that sets it apart from its neighbors. One family is sitting together eating dinner. In the next, everyone is sitting in separate rooms, doing homework, watching TV, talking on the phone, or playing a game. Both families are different, but basically at peace Then there is the house with a well-dressed man playing the piano. It looks good on the surface, but at closer inspection we find a daughter in her room, crying her eyes out. A wife on her hands and knees cleaning up broken glass from the plate he just threw at her. While a little boy cowers in the closet. In another house a young girl cringes as she hears her uncle enter her room, ever so quietly. A look into the far reaches of the basement next door could reveal someone being held against their will. Yet from the next house in line you can hear laughter and the cheer of celebration. But, in the bathroom upstairs, a son is shooting up heroin to get through the birthday party of the favored child. Although things appear fine, what goes on behind closed doors remains unknown. Everyday people hold that same mystery. Yet our initial judgment is based on their appearance. The most together person may have the vilest of secrets. While the hobo is completely at peace. It is refreshing to know that God sees through it all, to the heart of a person. He sees the hurt, fear, and insecurities. He knows the victories and successes. He doesn't play favorites. And He values all His children. We can dupe each other, but He knows what is on the inside. He knows the depth of our love for Him. The priority we give to His presence in our lives. No matter how good we look for church, or how many Bible verses we can recite, God knows the true state of our relationship with Him. In a marriage, we talk, we share, we catch up, we relate to each other differently than to other people. God desires that and more. He seeks a heart that is fully devoted to Him. The inside of our houses can be as presentable as the outside because the Holy Spirit resides within us. We can tap into His mighty power. What we cannot accomplish on our own, we can accomplish through His Spirit. That gift far exceeds the human value of success. Through it we can have inner peace, despite the chaos around us. We can find victory in failure because we trust in God's plan over our will. But most of all, we can gain His wisdom to carry us through every circumstance of life. Have you fully surrendered your life to God? Or do you keep Him in a compartment for Sundays and holidays, conflict and crisis? Tap into his power for the everyday and you will find peace beyond your circumstances. May your outward appearance reflect the inner beauty of your relationship with God. By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV)

Organization Helps Indie Authors and Publishers Promote Christian Books Since 2010, the number of books published independently (sometimes referred to as selfpublishing) has grown by over 400 percent. Some estimate that over 2,000 books are published every day in the United States. Simply publishing a book does not guarantee that people will buy and read the book. Readers can’t buy or read a book they don’t know exists. Therefore, the challenge for most authors who publish independently is letting interested readers know about their books. Enter Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). This organization exists to provide information and tools to help both small publishers and independent authors promote their books successfully. Since its inception in 2004, CSPA has faithfully helped to represent, promote, and strengthen the small publisher and independent author producing Christian books. From the monthly newsletter, to on-demand seminars, to cooperative marketing efforts, to costsavings on services, CSPA supports and educates authors on how to make the most of their marketing efforts. One program the association runs to help its members gain wider exposure for their book is BookCrash, a “books for bloggers” review program. This program provides Christian bloggers with a copy of a free book in exchange for a review of the book on their blogs and on a retail site like Amazon.

Christian bloggers can sign up for free to be part of the program on the BookCrash’s website at

“Independent publishers and small presses often publish unique books. These are books with story themes or topics that may be too raw or cuttingedge for traditional Christian publishing houses,” says Sarah Bolme, the Director of CSPA. “Yet, often these books touch readers in new and profound ways.” To highlight exceptional books by independent authors and small presses, Christian Small Publishers Association sponsors a book award. The Christian Indie Awards are presented annually. Since the award was initiated in 2008, it has grown from offering awards in four categories to fourteen. To date, 90 books have received the award. Independent authors and small publishers can nominate a book for the award on the award’s website at While a number of associations exist to provide support and tools to independent authors, CSPA is unique in that it is specifically for Christian authors and presses producing Christian books. The organization defines Christian books as books that seek to promote the Christian faith. “In an increasingly secular and sometimes hostile society, Christian authors and publishers need support and encouragement,” states Bolme. “I believe that it extremely important that Christians continue producing works that glorify God and lead people into a personal relationship with Him. CSPA’s goal is to help authors spread the Gospel message through helping authors effectively promote their books to the people who need the message.” Membership in Christian Small Publishers Association is open to any independently published author who has or is publishing book(s) of Christian nature. More information on the benefits of membership and becoming a member are available on the organization’s website at

Mothering Challenge: Juggling by Jeanne Doyon Mothering twins is a challenge; add a toddler to make it three under the age of two and it is more like a circus. I’ve done plenty of juggling ever since. Brad, our firstborn was twenty months old when the twins arrived—identical girls which I am sure seemed more like an invasion than newborn sisters. From the moment I buckled Heather and Alicia into infant seats on either side of him for the ride home from the hospital, life changed—three in diapers, three car seats, and three high chairs—for three little people who needed all of me. I felt like the juggler in a three ring circus. Besides learning how to juggle, there were plenty of adventures with Moe, Larry and Curly (as their Papa used to call them) and we needed to laugh to keep from going nuts. As Brad turned two, I continued to teach him about being gentle with his sisters. This included reminders about not picking them up without help. One day the girls were happy on a blanket in the living room, I took advantage of the quiet to vacuum a room. Brad sat nearby with his toys and as I headed toward the bedroom with the vacuum cleaner, I reminded him, “Mommy’s going to vacuum. Play with your toys and do not pick up the babies.” After a quick vacuum, I wound the vacuum cleaner cord and pushed it back down the hall past Brad’s room and noticed him there. He was digging deep into his toy box, offering toys to…you guessed it— the babies. “What did mommy say?” I said sharply. “Did you pick up the babies?” With toddler innocence he replied peeking out from his Campbell-soup-kid cuteness, “No, mommy.” “How did Heather and Alicia get into your room?” I pressed. “I not pick up.” He insisted. “I roll ‘dem.” I smothered a grin as I wrestled with a response. I didn’t know whether to laugh or be mad. I got down on the floor and gathered him into my lap. We had another talk about being gentle and it meaning not rolling the babies down the hallway. I praised him for sharing his toys and told him I could bring the babies to play in his room any time.

Jeanne Doyon writes and speaks from the heart, connecting the Truth of Scripture to everyday life. She teaches at women’s retreats and events throughout New England. She is pretty good at juggling after all these years and still loves being a mom to Brad, Heather, and Alicia who all made it safely to adulthood. Connect with Jeanne at Website: The Stream's Edge Blog:

Here at RUBY magazine we celebrate every season of the year! And because we love to create a joyous and loving home for our friends and families, we bring you DIY creative craft ideas in each issue of our magazine. We have found so many creative bloggers who have amazing ideas, and with their permission we can share a few of their designs with you, our readers. Even though the colors of autumn traditionally are gold, orange, red, and brown, we thought it would be fun to find autumn home décor ideas in different colors – and we found tons of them! Here we share with you our favorites, in shades of teal / turquoise, gold, and ivory. Hope you like them and have fun decorating your home for autumn!

Pretty Teal, White, and Gold Polka Dot Pumpkins from Crafts by Courtney This color combination is not only popular these days, but it is truly a beautiful way to brighten up your home on these cooler autumn days. Visit Crafts by Courtney to find the complete tutorial for making these gorgeous painted pumpkins for your home. It looks like she decided to paint a pear, too, so the sky is the limit when you want to paint stuff to decorate your home!

Gold and White Checkered Pumpkins from The Wonder Forest Here’s a simple color combination that would coordinate with just about any home décor you might be working with – gold and white. But the checkered design gives these pumpkins a modern, fresh look to your home. Visit The Wonder Forest for the tutorial for making your own Gold and White Checkered Pumpkins.

Glittered Teal Ombre Painted Pumpkins from Popsugar Add a bit of sparkle to your pumpkins this autumn! This pumpkin is painted in gorgeous shades of light, medium, and dark teal to create an Ombre look and then just a hint of glitter surrounds the goldcolored stem on the top. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to have a whole basket filled with teal and gold pumpkins sitting by your front door! Visit Popsugar for the instructions for creating these Ombre pumkins.

Painted White Pumpkin with Teal and Gold Geometric Shapes from Sorority Sugar via Pinterest Well, of course, you could search through the millions and millions of beautiful images on Pinterest to find a few painted pumpkins that you would just love . . . but we have narrowed the search down to a manageable number of options for you. This one has a classy and classic look which features a painted white surface, and then teal diamond shapes have been painted all over with touches of gold to add a bit of flair. Perfect addition to your basket filled with teal, white, and gold pumpkins on your front porch! Find more creative pumpkin ideas and autumn décor from Sorority Sugar.

“Simply Blessed” Farmhouse-Inspired Painted Pumpkin from Wide Open Country via Instagram The Stylish Palette If the farmhouse-inspired style is what you are going for in your home this autumn, here’s one just for you! A simple pumpkin, painted white with the words “Simply Blessed” written in calligraphy, all tied up with a bit of twine will bring autumn warmth to your home, whether you live in an actual farmhouse or in the city, the suburbs, or in Small Town, USA. Keep it simple and make your home cozy and comfy this autumn with beautiful painted pumpkins. Visit Wide Open Country and The Stylish Palette for more creative autumn inspiration.

Tiny White Polka Dots on a Teal Pumpkin with a Burlap Bow from Popsugar We love polka dots, in all sizes! Here’s another variation on the teal painted pumpkin with white polka dots, only this one has tiny polka dots, and a beautiful burlap bow tied around the stem. Great color combination for autumn! Bringing together the fresh look of teal and white, combined with gold / brown / ivory of the burlap bow, and you’ve got one more option for your painted pumpkin collection this autumn. Check out all of the creative ideas for painted pumpkins at Popsugar.

All images and projects are the property of the original bloggers. 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 blogs which are linked to each image.

Beauty from Ashes by Shara Bueler-Repka “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me … to comfort all who mourn , . . . to give them beauty for ashes, …” —Isaiah 61:1-3 The morning sun flecked the curtains as shock waves coursed from my chest to my gut. The events of the prior day, November 24, 1980, had not been a bad dream. The nightmare was real. My classmates and I smelled smoke from a distant fire and figured the mountain backcountry was burning again—like it always did during the high, autumn winds. But when the smoke drifted over our school, apprehension rose. Rumors ricocheted through the hallways, “Structures are on fire at the base of the mountains!” My home stood in those foothills. My hands shook as I called my family from the school phone—no answer. I panicked and raced for my truck. Patrol cars blocked my way home, so I detoured toward my grandma’s house. Gripping the steering wheel, I drove through the smoke and screaming wind. Loose pets and livestock darted between buildings and across the road. I inched my way through the chaos, fearing the worst. As I pulled into the driveway, my family met me on the front lawn. Thank You, God. They’re alive, I breathed. But my brother's two words said it all: "It's gone,” he whispered. And I knew, in one afternoon, we had become homeless, losing nearly everything but the clothes on our backs. With nowhere to go, my dad, mom, brother, and I crowded into my grandma’s two-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Do Unto Others As I drove to my grandma’s after school, I glanced down at the passenger side of my truck—everything I owned lay on the seat. As I opened the front door, piles of trash bags met me in the entryway. “They’re filled with clothes,” my mom said, pulling them out of the walkway. It was surreal to be the recipients of charity. Life isn't supposed to be this way, I lamented. I fumbled with the plastic tie on the nearest trash bag. Stuffed inside were blouses from the ‘60s, skirts from the ‘70s, torn jeans, and stained shirts—a virtual circus of clothes. Bag after bag revealed more of the same with only a few of the items fit to wear. As a newly homeless 17year-old, this felt like rock bottom. But a funny thing came over us as my mom and I numbly eyed the clothes now piled on the living room floor—a spark of God-given resolve. One by one, all articles of clothing became fair game as we picked our prize and headed for the back bedroom. Reappearing in a puffy, lime-green blouse—complete with stains on the front—I sashayed into the living room with chin in the air and hands on my hips. "How does this look?" I beamed. “I’m so in vogue, don't you think?" "You look mah-velous, dear,” Mom chirped as she disappeared into the "dressing room."

Out she strutted in bell-bottom jeans with a tear in the pocket. With pivot turns and a flip of the wrist, she wore Christian Dior on a Saks Fifth Avenue runway. "Those jeans just become you, dahling!" I applauded. In the midst of our antics, someone knocked on the front door—a childhood friend had sent me a package. Tucked between the tissue paper was a note and a model horse. But it wasn’t just any horse—it was King, her prized possession. I embraced him and read the note: “I know your entire horse collection burned,” she wrote. “King was my favorite, and now he belongs to you.” My friend’s selfless gift helped soothe the pain of receiving others’ rejects. Luke 6:31 (the golden rule) became my new motto, and I vowed to always give the best I had when another's need arose. Helping Hands My best friend and I slowly walked together up the long driveway. My once beautiful childhood home stood lifeless, the concrete shell standing in the midst of white ashes. Gaping holes where the windows once set now stared blankly at me like a ghost. As my hands flew to my mouth, I felt her arm resting around my shoulders. In the days that followed, friends, family, and even strangers stood shoulder to shoulder with us. They sifted through rubble, brought food and wearable clothes, and replaced photos that burned. They prayed and consoled us as we cried. A rancher had caught my horse as she galloped through town, graciously trailering her to the safety of his corrals. My plea for her in the local paper united us. Actions comforted more than wordy platitudes of, “You can rebuild.” Or, “At least your family didn’t die.” The good Samaritans sympathized with our shock and discerned what we needed, sometimes without asking. We witnessed God’s Word walking as our town worked in harmony to help the numerous families who had lost their homes. After a few weeks and frayed nerves in my grandma’s little house, our prayers were answered for another place to stay. In God’s perfect timing, an opportunity to house-sit became available followed by a move to a rental house in the mountains, and then a final move to a permanent residence my dad built. And we realized that God had not forsaken us; He was restoring us. No Longer a Victim Life hurts sometimes, but God is faithful to His Word. I found that time does not heal, but God does. He abundantly restored us, honoring our trust in His promises and in Him. He also helped me break the bonds of materialism, which remain broken to this day. As 1 Timothy 6:17 encourages, I can enjoy the things God has given, but never cling to them for hope and stability. He gave me a newfound compassion that rose from the ashes to help me comfort others suffering loss. I can now come alongside them with the hope of Psalm 27:13: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Number Block Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Use numbers between 1 and 10 to fill in the spaces in the grid. The numbers in each horizontal row total the numbers to the right of each row. The numbers in each vertical column total the numbers at the bottom of each column. Two diagonal lines across the entire grid total the numbers in the top right box and the lower right box. Answer Keys in back of magazine

Word Logic Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Four people were robbed at gunpoint, and after the police arrived they gave a description of the suspect. According to Amy, he had blue eyes, was tall, and was wearing a hat and coat. According to Bill, he had dark eyes, was short, and had on a coat and a hat. According to Chelsea, he had green eyes, was medium-sized, and wore a raincoat and a hat. According to David, he had gray eyes, was tall, and wore a coat but no hat. It was later determined that each witness described only one out of four details correctly. Every detail was described by at least one witness. What is the correct description of the criminal?

The Queen of Long Division by Joan Leotta Sometime in my early years I caught what they called the "Asian flu." During the three weeks erased from my schooling the nuns taught the rest of the class the intricate secrets of long division. I never did catch up. However, my distinct lack of skills with divisor and dividend never held me back on Halloween where I was the undisputed Queen of cousinly candy divisions, long and short. On finishing our separate rounds of sugary beggary in our separate neighborhoods, we seven gathered at Grandma's. While the grownups talked of who knows what, we spilled out our loot onto her red wool oriental rug. We stacked our holdings into categories in front of us like chips— chocolates, popcorn balls, the nut things, boxes of jellied chewies, good and plenty and the rest. I knew each cousin's favorites and played one against the other until the chocolate began to flow my way. By dividing their interests, I conquered. I am still shaky with long division, but when my children come home with pumpkins full of chocolate bars, my trading instincts kick in. My current, hidden stash of candies attests to the fact that I am still the Queen of Division, long and otherwise-when it counts.

First published by Silver Birch Press, included in my first chapbook of poems, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, available from Finishing Line Press

God Knew My Name by Nancy Frantel

On August 1, 2001, my brother and I were enjoying a sail in the waters off the coast of North Carolina. A short time later we were clinging to the side of the capsized boat several miles off shore. We were at the beach as part of our annual family reunion. My brother usually brought the small boat if the forecasted weather was ideal for sailing. Family members enjoyed being on the boat, and would come back with exciting stories about what happened while they were out. Early in the afternoon, my brother asked if I would like to go sailing. He explained the conditions were ideal, and would be a great opportunity for me since I had not been on the boat before. As the mother of two young children, I didn’t want to put my life at risk. I was apprehensive, but since he had decades of sailing experience I said yes. After about an hour of sailing an unexpected storm developed, bringing with it strong wind and rough waters. Realizing we needed to return to safety, we headed towards shore. We had not traveled very far when a great wave struck us from behind and we were thrown into the sea. The force of the wave stung our backs, but fortunately we were not injured. In front of us the boat lay on its side with the mast and sails lying flat on the water at the mercy of the wind and swells. “What just happened?” I thought. My brother did not waste any time. He explained the process of how we would bring the boat upright. We placed our feet on the side of the hull, held on to the righting line, and leaned back into the water. Our combined body weight would be the counterweight to bring the mast back to vertical.

Numerous attempts were made to upright the boat, but each time we failed. With the waves breaking over the sail as it began to lift, we didn’t have the strength needed. During one of our efforts the boat succumbed more to the force of the swells and current. We let go of the boat and watched it turn turtle, resulting in the mast pointing straight down. No matter how much confidence I had in my brother, we seemed to be in an impossible situation. As the frustration on his face became more apparent I became more concerned. We could barely see land, and only when we were at the top of the swells. I still did not want not to give up on him; surely he would figure out a way to get back to shore. Yet the longer I held on to the boat, the more I felt I needed to put my hope in something or someone else. Even though we had been gone for at least five hours (a normal sail would be two at most) there was no rescue in sight, and my faith in my brother was diminishing. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. Not wanting my brother to know about my increased concern, I lifted a silent prayer to God, asking Him to rescue us. No specifics were given; after all I was not going to tell the Creator how to do His job. I wanted to get back to shore as quickly as possible, and cried out to Him for help. Where else could I turn? I do not know how much time passed after the petition for rescue. Even though family on shore would have called 911 hours ago, no rescue was in sight. Then off in the horizon we saw an object which appeared to be a boat. We immediately started waving our arms to get the crew’s attention. We shouted, even though they were too far away to hear us.

While we could not tell right away if we were spotted, the boat appeared to turn towards us. As the boat continued in our direction, we realized we were finally being rescued. At the time I did not specifically thank God. Exhausted, frightened, and cold from being in the water for so long, I was thrilled to see help arrive. As the boat drew near, my heart started pounding faster. The rapid heartbeat was not just because of the rescue. The increase was because of what I saw. On the side of the boat was my name. God sent a chartered fishing boat, the Nancy Lee, to rescue us. God heard my prayer and answered it personally. I was overcome. The ordeal of being in the water for so long with no hope of rescue, and then knowing God sent a boat with my name on it was almost too much to bear. Why would He listen to me? As a sinner, why did I deserve His blessing? The blessing was written in Isaiah 43:1 – But now thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. (NASB) Once aboard the boat, the captain and crew were told the story of what happened to us. I did not mention the prayer as part of the conversation. I was relieved to be out of the water, and headed to the boat dock.

The next day I visited the Captain to thank him again since the night before had been emotionally draining. During our conversation I was shocked to learn he did not know about the 911 call. He did not know about the frantic family worried on shore. He did not know to come rescue us. No information had been communicated through his radio about two people missing at sea. He told me he was bringing the boat back from a day of deep sea fishing when something very small on the horizon caught his attention. He explained as a part of maritime protocol, when something is seen out of place or out of the ordinary a boat captain is expected to investigate. As a result, he found us. I told him about my prayer and how God used him and his fishing boat to answer my request to be rescued. He paused for a moment, obviously affected by my statement and the name association. As a Christian, he understood the significance of the spiritual impact. Then he looked at me, paused, and told me his vessel was the last boat to come in for the evening, and when he picked us up we were seven miles from shore. I knew my brother and I were barely able to see the coastline, but I had no idea we were so far out. The captain did not know about us, but God did.

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We have been glued to our 65 inch screen for the last several days since first hearing Hurricane Harvey would land on the Texas coast. We have more than a passing interest: our eldest son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live on North Padre Island in Corpus Christi - the projected landfall site. The weather bureau’s calculations were right on target. The eye of the storm landed on Corpus Christi. We breathed a sigh of relief since our daughter-in-law and grandchildren evacuated the day before. Our prayers continued uninterrupted for all concerned including our son, Major Jacob Patterson who remained behind to coordinate efforts with the Corpus Christi Army National Guard and FEMA. That was Thursday.

Our American Dunkirk by Sharon L. Patterson

Throughout the tense weekend we watched as Harvey pounded Houston with epic rainfall rising to 40 inches and counting. Street signs, vehicles, and homes began disappearing beneath flood waters in neighborhood after neighborhood. Every TV channel flooded the airwaves with images that have been both devastating and heartwarming. We rejoiced over news that our son’s home and property survived the hurricane with very minimal damage even as we broken-heartedly observed devastation others endured. Our gratitude mounted as our President expedited aid and coordinated with our governor ahead of time in preparation of the historic and tragic event. Then, yesterday morning, our involvement became even more up-close and personal. Our twenty-one year old grandson SPEC 4 Garrett Patterson received his call to duty with the Texas Army National Guard as Governor Abbott increased troop mobilization from 3,000 to 12,000. Next, I called our youngest son in Lantana, Texas, and CW3 Jeremy Milliman, to tell him about his nephew. He said, “Yes, I know, I just received my call-up. I will be heading your way in a few hours and will link up with my unit at Ellington AFB in Houston after mapping out a safe way to get there.” We are both anxious and comforted knowing that both our sons and grandson will be part of helping on water (grandson is a crewman and boat operator on Army jet boats); on land (Jacob continues coordinating Corpus Christi Guard efforts with FEMA); and in the air (Jeremy will be helping with aviation efforts). Our fervent prayers will not cease on behalf of everyone involved.

As we sat watching story after story of incredible rescues this morning, my mind wandered back to the movie “Dunkirk” my husband and I recently gone to see. Through misty eyes, I looked over at him and said, “Honey, this is our own American Dunkirk!” He smiled and answered back in a bit of a broken voice, “Yes, it is!” Just as British citizens crossed the dangerous English Channel in small privately owned fishing boats and joined military forces in the titanic effort to save their stranded army from annihilation some 73 years ago, our citizens from Texas, Louisiana, Florida and states all across the US have loaded every conceivable kind of boat, packed a few necessities and headed to the rising waters in Houston neighborhoods to rescue fellow citizens from life-threatening danger. Guiding their boats and other floating devices including children’s swimming pools, walking through currents and waist-high water, they go down streets whose signs have long disappeared beneath flood waters swollen by historic 49.8 inches of rain Harvey dumped. Denying their own exhaustion, they deliver the young, the elderly, the ill, and the traumatized to safety and return time and time again for others in dire need. That story alone is heroic but something on the scale of the miraculous has also happened. Just five days ago, our attention was held captive by endless caustic stories of protestors and violence, divisive rhetoric over Civil-war era statues, and political finger-pointing. Today, we are united in the common gut-level goal to save those who stand to lose everything and have absolutely no clue as to what the future holds. We are unselfish, courageous, and tireless. We are the Americans I recognize and have believed in all my life. Light is piercing the darkness of the days we have just experienced. Heroic efforts are bringing calm in the storm. The effects of Harvey are still continuing to advance a state away in Louisiana. Much work and many years of recovery await us. May our newscasters rehearse the miraculous scenes and heroic stories across the airwaves more than those events that have caused grievous division. May we remind ourselves of what we have witnessed as we gather around our table at home and when we step outside to speak with our neighbors next door or our fellow citizens in our places of public discourse. God help us to remember!

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


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a daily devotional by Donna B. Comeaux

I'm here to ask two things of you against your better judgment: 1) to keep an open mind; and (2) to shun your past beliefs and use the holy scriptures as your guide. More and more each day I'm hearing of heinous and horrific crimes being committed against the innocent. Police brutality. Murders caused by suicide bombers; road rage; spousal abuse or neglect; and xenophobia. No sooner than we hear of these crimes are we faced with reports from people who have forgiven their attacker, or who have forgiven the attacker on the victim's behalf. It's rare to hear of an actual exchange between the attacker and his victim which could possibly lead to forgiveness. When Jesus hung on the cross, he cried out: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

Wouldn’t you want to give the person an opportunity to seek forgiveness, knowing that by doing so the individual would receive enormous relief and spiritual freedom? Why cheat them of this freedom by avoiding their repentance? Now, here is where I will test your past belief and encourage you to think deeply and honestly about examples God has left us concerning forgiveness. Does God not want a repentant heart to come before him so he can willfully and anxiously forgive and heal his child? And if we are to follow in God's footsteps, shouldn't we do the same? Isn't forgiveness a two-way contractual agreement? Conducted by two parties? And is there any place written in God's word where forgiveness is granted before repentance? And if so, what's the point of preaching the word of God, especially if everyone is already forgiven? Something to think about, isn't it?

Who is Jesus talking to? Why isn't he addressing the crowd at his feet? If someone had whipped and beat you until you couldn't stand up straight, and you had the heart and mind to forgive, wouldn't you address the person eye-to-eye?

I urge you to open God's word and search the scriptures for yourself. Pray deeply and earnestly and give in to God's guidance. Don't be afraid. The truth does not hurt. It's freedom for the soul.

Katherine’s Corner, popular blog for women of all ages featuring recipes, giveaways, crafts, home décor, and blogging tips

The Power of Words by Connie Arnold Words have power to hurt or heal. A cutting remark we unpleasantly feel. Words may stab deep into the heart, when spoken by loved ones may tear us apart. We don’t always realize the harm that is done by our words, and should carefully choose each one. Condemnation should not be what others hear, so why not speak words of kindness and cheer? It costs nothing more yet can do so much good to speak helpful words the way that we should. Life is more pleasant when what is heard is a loving, gentle, encouraging word.

Help Hold my Hands by Cindy Evans Moses' hands, however, grew tired...Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady until sunset. (Exodus 17:12, NABRE) I've been praying, I've been hoping but the days go by and I'm weary. I've been trying but I've been crying, my eyes are tired and teary. I wake up again and want to hope, I wake up again and want to cope, but my heart is hurting and I wonder if I'm at the end of my rope. I can raise these fragile hands in these trials and sleepless nights but, oh, how much easier could it be if there were others by my side. So Lord, bless the burden bearers, standing there as the battle carries on, how we need them to be lifted up, and in our weakness, we're made strong.

How to Run the Good Race by Kathleen McCauley Ok just call me crazy for making an analogy between the stretching necessary to be a good runner and the necessity for quiet/meditative prayer needed to “run the good race” as St. Paul says. Even if you are not a runner or an athlete this analogy brings to light the equally hidden value of the time spent stretching to enhance your run and the time spent in quiet/meditative prayer to enhance the performance of your day. Effective stretching usually includes three essentials: 1.Time 2. Listening 3. Patience Time:

You have to set time aside for stretching. Time has to allocated and intentional. Typically athletes, but especially runners, try to set time aside before each race or on a daily basis.


Your mind can’t really be racing during this time, for as you stretch each muscle mass you have to be attentive to the feel of the stretch, the release and the little signals of pain that call your attention to areas of need.


There is no rushing with a good stretch. Muscles are in charge, you are the subject to their inner workings and strength. Patience, breathing and mental release of stress sometimes assist in achieving a good stretch.

Funny as it might seem these are the three elements necessary for some quality meditation and quiet prayer. Time:

It doesn’t happen in the car, in the shower – there really has to be designated and allocated time for this practice of stretching the interior.


Just as the runner listens to the muscle extension and stress…in prayer you are listening for other activities in your body. What is making your mind race? What currents can you identify in the body that are disturbing you? Is the breathing shallow? What is important here, is not to be focused on the race to come, but to be listening in the here as you “stretch” your inner quiet. Focus on breathing is an effective tool in stretching both ones muscles and the interior.


Rushing is not possible here. The tendency and perceived urgency, to simply “jump” into the race of living, does not allow the needed stretching which makes the race of the day more fruitful. Setting up times frames and routine are the famous hallmarks that athletes use to incorporate these practices. And so it is with prayer. Athletes know that the body becomes conditioned and will call out for the same routine once it has taken place.

This can occur as well with silence. With enough conditioning the body will learn how to quiet itself once it has the routine to follow and submit. Set a clock for yourself at first, to assist you and your body to get use to the quiet, idol time, which maybe foreign to you, your mind and your body. And beware of what your mind will say early and often “Ok, that’s enough….time to go!!” Reset that urge and wait till the body, the inner movement indicates that the quiet stretching has been enough, beneficial and life giving. Sometimes a runner’s race or sprint is only as good as the stretching. If a runner is not listening well to the messages of each muscle, they can get injured. What could be an injury of not having allocated the appropriate stretching of our interior? This injury might manifest itself in hosile verbal exchanges with our co-workers or family, maybe feels like being in a desert with no life inside or vision for the future or perhaps the injury is internal noise that takes me away from our marriage, our children, our careers or ourselves? Talk to any athlete and what is the thing they blow off most often?? Is the stretching. Maybe after years of stretching it got boring or they become overly confident in their athletic abilities and do not see the need? So it is with prayer and meditation. It too is always the first thing we’ll skip or drop from our routine when the race we run in life seems good and under our control. We can learn great lessons from the stretching practices of the seasoned runner, for they know that their bodies will always produce more in a race, if they stay committed to and are at peace with the need for consistent/attentive stretching…so it is with prayer. And in the end we feel better!! We are working with our bodies. The runner attentive to the strength and movement of their muscles and we in prayer are attentive to the energy and movement of the interior, where all goodness and divinity lie. So when we hear St. Paul’s invitation to “run the good race”, let our attention go to the word “good”. A GOOD race is won with some good stretching.

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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

My Stream in the Desert by Norma C. Mezoe Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Isaiah 35:6b (NIV) A small creek winds lazily around a country road not far from my home. A short bicycle ride brings me to the side of a small bridge, where I sit and watch the bubbling water as it flows onward to its destination. Stress of the busy work-week drains away as I sit quietly, listening as a variety of birds compete for my attention. Sun sparkles on the water where sky and trees are reflected as hues of blue and green. This is my oasis, my stream in the desert. Here I commune with God and sense the presence of peace. My tensions flow way as if caught in the rushing current. And then I return home: home to my work, to commitments and to the challenges of another tomorrow. I return knowing that God is my ever-present companion, my stream in the desert of life. (I wrote this when I was single and employed as a secretary. It was my first job outside my home. My husband had left me for another woman and it was necessary that I become employed.) First Rights – The Word in Season, published 9/7/1988

A Holding Love by Norma C. Mezoe The older couple passes by me in the hallway as I visit a friend in the nursing home. Rose, the wife, is a tiny woman with a sweet gentle smile. Paul, her husband, a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease, is strapped into a wheelchair, as Rose takes him for a walk. Rose is at the home every day, doing everything possible to comfort her husband and to quiet his restless spirit. The wedding vows, “through sickness and health,” still apply to this loving wife. What a struggle it must be to watch as this invading enemy of illness captures more and more of her husband’s body and mind. This is one type of love which Jesus spoke about: a love which holds on when hope seems to be gone. A love that asks, “What may I do for you,” and not one that questions, “What is in it for me?” Paul is blessed to have the holding love of a faithful wife like Rose. I wonder: are those whose lives I touch each day blessed by the type of love I offer? What about yours? Love is patient, love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4a (NIV) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

A Fierce Love by Shauna Shanks Book Review by Michele Morin Activate the Love Filter: 5 Principles to Safeguard Your Marriage Somewhere within the first decade of our marriage, my husband and I began to notice a disturbing trend: marriages dissolving all around us. In the church we attended at that time, three couples went their separate ways in a single year. They were active, visible members — regular attenders. We looked at each other, both deer in the headlights and knew, deep in our bones: This could happen to us, too. Shauna Shanks writes about marriage from the trenches, and A Fierce Love is a manual for marriage preservation in the wake of unfaithfulness, betrayal, and emotional abandonment, for Shauna has invited readers to witness the anguish of the days, weeks, and months that followed her husband Micah’s announcement that he wanted a divorce. The book is a record of her resolve to fight for her marriage, even though Micah gave her absolutely no hope for reconciliation. The Love Filter ” . . . this man with whom I had built a life, made promises to, and shared our children, opened his mouth and declared, “I do not love you. . . I am not attracted to you . . . I shouldn’t have married you. . . I have wasted ten years of my life with you, and I don’t want to waste any more of my time. I feel nothing for you.” And yet: God directed Shauna’s thoughts to I Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and she made a decision that her love would not be based on mere feelings. Rather than reading Paul’s words as lovely sentiment or tired poetry, for Shauna, they became a call to a fierce love — a battle cry based on the truth and a posture of grace and restraint. Instead of remorse over his sin, Micah communicated only rejection. If the marriage was to be saved, the ball was entirely in Shauna’s court, so she employed the truths of I Corinthians 13 as her Love Filter. Responding in kindness, patience, and hope while rejecting rudeness, pride, and jealousy, she was free to persevere because I Corinthians 13 love never fails. A Specific Calling Shauna is very quick to say that not everyone will be called to fight as she did, and not every marriage on a broken planet is salvageable. However, her specific calling was to hang in there, to speak only to a few very close friends about her plight, and to expend all her energy in the direction of preserving that relationship. “Second Marriage” So completely was the Shanks’s marriage transformed, Shauna speaks of their first ten years precrisis as their “first marriage” (even though there was no legal breach) and the time since the reconciliation as the “second marriage.” The challenge facing you and me today, then, is to reject a “first marriage” mindset and to fight each day for that “second-marriage”-level of commitment to self-

giving as a rescue for a failing marriage — or as a safe guard to an already stable and healthy marriage. In reading Shauna’s courageous account of warrior-level faith, I gleaned five principles that seemed to be sign posts on her journey of fierce love: 1. Beware “blatant indifference.” The roots of Micah’s cold detachment from a ten-year marriage can be traced to his troubled childhood coupled with the distraction of a competing love, but even so, Shauna admits she, too, had been practicing some behaviors that could also be considered “blatant indifference.” Binge-watching Netflix series, failing to prioritize time with Micah, and viewing the marriage as a utilitarian childcare arrangement also set the stage for weakened ties. Of course this does not excuse Micah’s infidelity but Shauna laments, “My sin may have looked different than Micah’s, but it was still sin.” 2. Find “Aaron and Hur” caliber support. God provided two friends for Shauna who upheld her through the darkest days. So strong was her resolve to fight and so clear was her understanding that God was directing her toward reconciliation that she did not want to risk telling her family about their rift in order to keep them from turning against Micah. (She and Micah continued to live in the same house so to the outside observer, nothing had changed in the Shanks household.) Shauna was not being abused or endangered, so she does not intend for her practice to be prescriptive for those who are in an abusive relationships. This is an important distinction given the tendency of abuse victims to hide unhealthy relationships out of shame or fear. With that firmly established, in a culture in which husband-bashing has become acceptable even in Christian circles, there’s a place for respectful silence about our spouse’s shortcomings as well as an honoring curtain of privacy sheltering a marriage relationship. 3. Refuse to receive the damaging effects of a wayward spouse’s rejection. Shauna clung to the truth that God had already set a high value upon her, and this guarded her heart from dwelling on negative thoughts and helped to pull her out of depression and despair. “The Bible instructs us to take our thoughts captive. We act as though we have no control over our thoughts . . . as if once they pop into our heads, we have to let them live there. Take them captive. They will kill you.” 4. Chase after God. If two people are determined to seek God faithfully, their marriage relationship will be impacted as well. Before working on her marriage, Shauna focused on her relationship with God and, mercifully, Micah’s heart for Shauna changed after his heart warmed once again to his Lord. 5. Take grace. There’s a prideful rising up of the spirit that is death to relationships because it rejects the gracious offering of forgiveness. Shauna found that one of the obstacles to reconciliation was that, although she was willing to extend grace to Micah in a supernatural way — he had to become willing to receive it. From a dark and oppressive place, Shauna trusted for grace, and God met her there. No matter what the state of your marriage (or even if you are single) there is merit in being reminded that when God becomes involved in the process of restoration, He does not merely patch us up or send us backward into a former thing. God’s work of redemption restores forward into a brand new and beautiful thing that only He can accomplish. This book was provided by Zondervan through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

New from author

Joan Leotta

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

Faith by Emmanuel O. Afolabi In the book of Hebrews we read But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) God is not moved by emotional reactions on issues, but your faith is what will draw down the hand of God in your life. There are battles of life that go beyond human effort, and there are situations and circumstances that you cannot tame or conquer. These are the times when only God can guide us. That is why it is necessary that we acknowledge Him in all of our challenges. He is our ever-present help in times of need. He will instruct, guide, teach and show us the path to follow. Finally, realize this fact and hold fast to it when you are thinking that you are all alone: He watches over you. Therefore, anchor your faith in His everlasting arms and you will not drift from Him love.

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.

Ministers Have Problems Too by Norma C. Mezoe A minister and his wife were plodding through a heartbreaking period, trying to cope with a rebellious daughter. She had a history of running away from home and associating with addicts. The problem was affecting the other children in the family and at times, frustrations threatened to overwhelm the parents. They kept the concern to themselves, perhaps fearing what people would think. But one evening during a prayer meeting, the minister decided he’d share his heartache with those present. He began by saying that ministers sometimes have troubles they can’t handle. When a member of the congregation heard this, he replied, “I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t like to think ministers have problems. It destroys their image.” Upon hearing this, the minister changed the direction of the conversation and locked his anguish into a closet of his heart. In a group where he should have been able to share what he and his wife were going through, he only heard a door slamming shut. I believe most ministers do not want to be placed high upon a pedestal. They know they have faults and realize they need to allow the Lord to work in their lives. They want to be treated as friends, not as someone who is unreachable and out of touch with reality. How do we react to our minister? Do we allow him or her to be human, to share problems if they choose, and to allow them the freedom that members of the congregation have in sharing their needs? Galatians 6:2 states: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV) Christian leaders need our prayers, our help and our willingness to listen. After all, ministers have problems too. First Rights –, published 2/3/16

In the Spirit of Autumn by Sharmelle Olson In the spirit of autumn colors bring natural light into the neighborhood by the way you pile the leaves so the children swing and jump right into the leaves like they should. In the spirit of autumn colors sing natural autumn songs in the moonlight while the songs are being sung in the beautiful neighborhood tonight. In the spirit of autumn color strings natural beauty brought into our part of the world every year to brighten up our world of blessings as the spirit of autumn unfolds.

Vintage Book Treasure Hunt: Sticky Stories for Family Read Aloud by Kathryn Ross The orb spider is back, weaving her sticky businesses just outside my front window. I cringe every October when these eight-legged creatures invade corners of my yard and set up housekeeping. I’ve never been able to manage spiders. They remain a creep factor in my life, inflicting horror to my psyche since childhood. Mother always came to the rescue in those days, when these foul things were afoot. She bravely rid the house of them and my life could go on its merry way. Until the next spider happened across my path.

I cherish memories of Mother sitting on the sofa with my sister and me flanking her sides. We looked expectantly into this well-worn book with yellowed pages and no illustrations other than sepia-toned portraits of the long dead poets who penned the words. We didn’t need illustrations. Mother’s voice tripped over the words as she read with drama and delight. She always prefaced her reading with the claim that, “This was one of my favorites when I was your age.” Have you thought to do that with your children? With your grandchildren?

Now, I know all you nature lovers and science buffs out there may thrill at the wonder of their web designs and variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Not me. Sorry. I do love the Lord’s Creation—just not spiders!

There are plenty of new books published for children every year. The libraries are full of them. They are readily available at the click of the Buy Now button on Amazon. E-Readers are brimming with selections of animated books that do all the reading and interaction for you.

The day arrived when I became the mom forced to save my own children from them should they venture across the threshold of the house. We do find strength meet for the moment—but I daresay, goosebumps and cold shivers still assault me when they creep into my world.

But, to pull out a weathered volume from your own childhood and draw your young ones near to read to them from a book that brought you such delight and wonder in tender years, is a moment not to be delayed, but planned for and regularly attended to.

Perhaps this phobia entrenched itself in me during a read-aloud session with Mother many years ago. She read to me a sticky story about a spider from one of her very favorite books—a treasure from her own childhood. The faux leather, gilt edged, art nouveau embossed cover dates her edition of One Hundred and One Favorite Poems (still available in print) to the 1920’s. At the time, a young minister was courting my grandmother, gifting her with this volume of poems. She did not marry him, opting for my grandfather, but kept the poems. So, Mother grew up as a lover of all things books and reading, discovering the great classic poets tucked between the pages of this book in her family’s library. When she married my dad, she brought the volume into her new home and I grew up with it readily available for family read aloud time.

One of my favorite poems from the One Hundred and One Famous Poems collection is by Mary Howitt, her cautionary tale, The Spider and the Fly. Hence, my opening remarks in light of sticky spider webs and far-to-big spiders nesting outside my front window. They showed up off the eaves of the front porch in my childhood home, too. Spooky. Scary. Sticky web business.

One of my favorite poems from the One Hundred and One Famous Poems collection is by Mary Howitt, her cautionary tale, The Spider and the Fly. Hence, my opening remarks in light of sticky spider webs and far-to-big spiders nesting outside my front window. They showed up off the eaves of the front porch in my childhood home, too. Spooky. Scary. Sticky web business. I really identified with the little fly in the poem, not wanting to give in to the slick, tempting invitations of the spider to “come into my parlor.” Mother’s voice still rings in my ears with her varied voices for each character, especially the fly retorting the spider’s advances with: “Oh, no, no,” said the little fly, “To ask me is in vain. For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er go down again.” This story stuck to me and I always hoped that silly little fly would stick to her resolve and rebuff that nasty old spider. I hoped, perhaps, the next time Mother read it to me it would end happily ever after. But it did not. And the moral of the story was stickier for the unchangeable nature of the fly’s poor choice, allowing vanity to supersede wisdom: “And now, dear little children, who may this story read, To idle, silly, flattering words I pray you ne’er give heed: Unto an evil counselor, close heart and ear and eye, And take a lesson from this tale, of the spider and the fly.” This is a great read to open the door for constructive conversation with your young little “flies.” There are far too many spiders out there in the world seeking to deceive and tempt innocents into their web prisons.

Do you still own books that you loved in your childhood? If there are specific titles and stories that stuck to you, but you don’t own anymore, try to locate them in your local library. Many vintage titles are readily available on Amazon, too. Don’t discount searching the book boxes at yard sales and antique shops for such treasures. I replaced many vintage golden books and picture books I used to love, but lost along the way, by keeping my eyes open when thrifting. Sometimes, these sticky stories from our youth find their way to new editions. Some years ago, I was delighted to see a beautiful new hardcover treatment of Mary Howitt’s The Spider and the Fly, winning the silver seal as a Caldecott Honor Book. Whimsically illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi in white on black pages, the art nouveau design of the characters and setting appeal to the lover of all things vintage. Here’s a fabulous selection to add to your family library and read aloud, making memories that stick—and encouraging important conversations with classic literature.

What are the metaphorical comparisons you can discuss with your children on this important topic? Are there personal stories from your own childhood that you can relate to this topic to help your children know you better? Sharing aspects of your youth with your children is a fascinating subject for them to learn about. They know you as an adult, but to connect with your heart as a child, finding commonplaces with their own heart, furthers the bond of parent and child. This is part of a Family Literacy Lifestyle, keeping wide the highway of trust and open dialogue about the important things in life.

Want to hear more? Visit Miss Kathy at and click on the PODCASTS page, where you’ll find this article dramatized in Episode #20. The show features Miss Kathy’s full performance of The Spider and the Fly, PLUS—links to Miss Kathy’s Recommended Reading Book List for Preschool through High School.

God is the Master Painter by Norma C. Mezoe God dips his brush in sunshine and paints a sunset's hues. He fills the sky with rosy tones and blends with azure blue.

To My Beloved : By my bedside is the place where Your Love awakens me every morning of every day. Yes, I have Life because I breathe Your air. When I inhale‌it is because of You. and when I exhale, I blow my love Your way. I feel you in the winds by which I am comforted by Your Love From the North, South, East and West. for my spirit leaps and bounds like a gazelle or young stag running through wild flowers and beds of lilies. With the simple touch of Your finger there is Amazing Grace. Oh how sweet You are to me! ~ DaPorscha Rufus

Number Block Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker Use numbers between 1 and 10 to fill in the spaces in the grid. The numbers in each horizontal row total the numbers to the right of each row. The numbers in each vertical column total the numbers at the bottom of each column. Two diagonal lines across the entire grid total the numbers in the top right box and the lower right box.

Word Logic Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker Answer: The criminal was blue-eyed and short, wearing a raincoat and no hat. Not more than one witness can be right about any detail, so the criminal did not wear a hat. David was right about the hat, therefore he was wrong about the rest of the description. The only detail Amy could have right is the blue eyes. Bill was right about the suspect being short, and Chelsea was right about the raincoat.

Hustle and Bustle of Fall by Paula McVay I love fall for so many reason; the glorious colors of God’s creation, the crisp cool air that puts a zip in my walk and a song in my heart, the time that I met and fell in love with my soul mate, and interestingly enough, school starting. Yes, I’m one of those who always loved for school to start…new friends, teachers, school supplies, new clothes, and of course, books. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that I became a teacher. When I had children of my own, I just knew they would love school like I always did. They loved books and would sit for hours as their Dad or I read to them. One night I decided I would just see how long my little three-year-old would sit and listen as I read book after book. Two hours later, I was hoarse. Thankfully, it was bedtime. School was another issue. Since my son could already read before first grade, his teacher put him over in the corner so he would not bother the other children. (He’s a pastor now) My next son was delayed in reading because of some visual discrimination problems. My frustrations grew as his teachers informed me that he was quite intelligent, but somewhat lazy. I knew he wanted to learn more than anything…especially when he traded his favorite Matchbox car for his friend’s honor ribbon. Of course I read every book on child rearing to learn ways to help my children succeed. God taught me that each child requires a different method and that it was good not to have all the answers. I went to Him for wisdom. At that time I was a stay-a- home mom who was struggling to work in that quiet time with the Lord. I remember being so determined to read and pray that I laid out my study materials on the table the night before. Each morning, I would slowly pull one leg out of the covers to gently place my foot on the floor. From the next room, I would hear, “Mommy, I awake.” Then I knew it was just a quick prayer and short devotional until I would have another quiet time when all three boys took their naps. With this being before the time of cell phones and Ipads, I simply took the phone off the hook as I claimed wisdom from James l:5. “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.” So, I began to ask. I would make a little chart in my journal with three columns headed by each boy’s name.

On the left side, I listed any challenge I might be facing with that boy such as “whining.” I would wait on the Lord until a thought came into my head for a plan of action. Then I would thank God for direction and ask Him to help me follow through. As I recorded new challenges, I was careful to go back to former ones and write how God had directed. One of those challenges was to help my middle son with his reading. Even though we lived on a pastor’s salary, I felt impressed to begin a graduate course in reading diagnosis. As I took that course, I was asked to teach part time in a little country school about l5 miles from the town where we pastored. I was able to use all kinds of strategies that I was learning in my graduate class. When my students all showed great progress, my elementary supervisor asked me to speak at one of the workshops to explain this remarkable progress. I told him that I really was not sure how the students made so much progress other than I prayed for wisdom and God showed me through the graduate course different things to try. My supervisor warned me not to say anything about God, but I’m pretty sure the message got through. It’s amazing how God can take our willingness and energy and use them for His glory. My little son did learn to read quite well and today is a college graduate with a degree in communications serving on staff for a large church where he supervises their visual and auditory technology. After thirty years of teaching kindergarten through high school, coordinating student interns, and teaching young adults and children at church, I still love to teach and I still must rely on God’s strength. He has always recued me and directed me. Since retirement, I teach a ladies Bible class on Tuesdays, a Christian Education class on Sunday and children’s quizzing on Wednesday nights. Two weeks ago, we were ready to begin our annual quizzing lessons where I get to teach the story to approximately 25 children. The director of our day care was so excited because I actually got to have a special room where I would be able to leave my materials. The year before, I had the children in whatever space was available…sometimes, the sanctuary, sometimes the hallway, or a small classroom.

Our books did not come in on time; therefore, I was not prepared for the first lesson. I went down to the room I was to use where I found ugly orange carpet and linoleum with adult sized chairs that had rips in the vinyl. Of course the children did not want to sit on the floor and were more interested in pulling out the stuffing from the dilapidated chairs. I went home that night thinking, “Maybe I’ve lost my touch. They need to get someone younger.” About 2a.m. I got out of bed and fell on my knees asking God to give me wisdom and inspiration. After a while I went back to bed, slept well and awoke with all these great ideas. It surely was not because I’d had a good night’s sleep. It was God’s answer to my prayer. A new excitement came to me as I thought of ways to decorate the room to make it look like the Judean wilderness. A name came into my mind of a lady who had drawn and painted an awesome back drop of the temple for one of our Vacation Bible Schools. She was so helpful and told me where everything was. Unfortunately, she could not help in other ways due to her daughter’s upcoming wedding. Once again, I had to rely on God’s help for drawing and painting. Another lady who doesn’t even go to our church offered to come over and help me paint and put up the card board backdrops. As I thought about that ugly orange floor, I knew I needed tarps that would look like the sand in the desert. When I saw the price of one big enough to cover the floor, I asked God for another plan. A huge piece of cardboard fit perfectly over the carpet except for around the edges. In the room with all the painting supplies, I found rolls of burlap to put all around the cardboard to make it look even more like a desert or wilderness The next day I was listening to the scripture portion from Psalm 91 being read at a funeral. Of course I realize that this portion was written about King David who loved and served the Lord and overcame great and mighty opposition. That’s what is so amazing about God’s word. He can be writing about the children of Israel or a great warrior, but He speaks to us personally. Verse 13 tells us, “Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Right on the front row of that funeral service, I got blessed thinking about how much I love Jesus and had called on His name to help me with the children. His Spirit bore witness with my spirit that I was His child. Romans 8:16 says, “The spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Because I had called on Him, He rescued me from feelings of inadequacy. As praises came into mind, I had one of those moments of awe, God’s presence sweeping over me from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. Does that mean there were no more obstacles…NO! Just to name a few, I couldn’t find the right paint brushes, could not get the fold-out ladder to unfold, spilled the paint, and after I finally got everything sketched and partially painted, the whole Judean wilderness fell to the ground. I called the office administrator upstairs and told her I needed help holding up the wilderness. She quickly rescued me with Command Strip Velcro. Needless to say, the children were amazed with the transformation of the room. Even better than the room décor and set up, the Spirit of the Lord was with us as I explained the three temptations of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew. Even the parent helpers commented on how much they had learned. That excitement of all the new things that happen in the fall can turn into a time of frustration, fatigue, and feelings of failure. Even the beauty of God’s creation cannot lift our spirits. God’s word shows us that only God is able to rescue us through His grace. II Corinthians 9:8 confirms, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV) This verse tells me that God is concerned for all things, no matter how small. I went back over to the church this morning to facilitate the ladies’ prayer time. When I told the group that I needed help keeping the Judean wilderness up on the wall, one of the ladies stayed late to go look at the situation. She came up with several ways to hang the backdrops and even offered to come back in the evening to help me. In all things, at all times, having everything I need. Praise God!

Part 1 A Short Story by Donna B. Comeaux "Sarah, look at this." Linda slowed her vehicle to a crawl and nodded toward a massive house with several neat rows of miniature roses. The woman kneeling in the garden was so absorbed with pulling weeds that she neither raised her head in acknowledgment of Linda and Sarah nor gave much thought to the wispy winds promising to dislodge her hat. Sections of her wooden fence leaned outward. Grass had grown ankle deep. Pristine acreage owned by neighbors flanking both sides of her property made the woman's land appear run-down. Linda imagined the roses were all that remained of the woman's former life, one once filled with love and happiness, joy and contentment, all ruined by betrayal. Sarah stopped rummaging through her purse and stared at the figure. "How does she do it?" "That's what I want to know. If my husband had left me for another woman, especially if she were my best friend, I'd spit fire." Sarah unscrewed a pill bottle and popped a capsule in her mouth. She closed her eyes, exhaled, and then sat back. "Let's go. It’s not fair to sit here and pick her life apart." "What you taking?" "Tylenol PM. I have a terrible headache." Linda blew at her straggly bangs as she picked up speed and drove away. "I'm thankful I've never been through anything like that." "We've all gone through something, to one degree or another." Sarah snapped her purse shut and struggled to see through a blob of moisture, overcome by the direction her life had taken. A tear escaped anyway.

"What have you been through? You have a fine home, a hunk of a husband, and three of the most beautiful children I've ever laid eyes on. You've got everything." Linda eased on her brakes as she approached a stop sign then flipped her left turn signal. "You even have a driver." Linda bobbed her head, wiggled her shoulders, and sung, "I’m driving Miss Daisy, ya'll. I'm driving Miss Daisy." "Oh, shut up." "You know it's true. You do have everything." "Not everything," Sarah mumbled. "I never hear you complain. Why would anyone who lives in a six bedroom house that's perched on forty acres complain anyhow?" "I have trials. Who doesn't?" "Oh, c'mon. How would you like to sit in my seat? I haven't had much time to myself for a while. Jake is always out of town, leaving me to care for Charly all by myself. Sometimes her seizures last off and on for hours. By the end of the day, I'm worn out." Linda stretched her eyes. "You want to switch places?" "Humph. I don't think you'd like to be in my seat, dear friend." "Please don't go all whiny on me. It doesn't become you. Besides, there's no one in this entire town who has it as well as you do. By the way, where do you want to have lunch? I thought we might stop and eat a hamburger at Freddie's Hamburger Joint before we go to your shop." "A hamburger sounds great." During the five mile stretch to Freddie's, Sarah propped her elbow on the car's window ledge and gnawed on a fingernail. She reflected on her disastrous week while Linda hummed one spiritual tune after another to escape to her own corner of the world. Sarah rubbed the bump in the bend of her arm, angry it had taken phlebotomists more than twice to tap into a vein. All the advice offered to alleviate the painful sticks never worked. Someone once told her to drink plenty of water the day before giving blood.

Sarah rolled her eyes as she recalled the episode. It took almost two hours to retrieve blood because of her many trips to the bathroom. After an acquaintance urged her to exercise and use a warm compress, she gave up because it sounded outright ridiculous. "Have you lost your ability to hear?" Sarah winced in pain. "Why are you so violent? That hurts." Sarah massaged her arm. Linda had one powerful backhand. "I've been talking to you for the last five minutes." "Guess my mind was somewhere else." "I was asking if you want a root beer float with your burger. And I was hope-hope-hoping you'd have enough pity on me to invite Charly and I to dinner tonight. It would be payback for driving all the way out here to pick you up. Hint. Hint. Anyway, Jake is out of town and I'm trying to avoid the kitchen. Charly won't care what we eat. And she'd love to see the kids. I can bring the drinks if that'll help." "I'll be tuckered out by the time we get the shop cleaned up and the yarn priced and put away. I'm expecting a large shipment and I don't think I'll have any energy once we're done.Next week I have two satellite meetings scheduled—one at eight in the morning; another at two o'clock."

"Next time we'll do something fun, okay?" To appease her friend, Sarah added, "You've always wanted to go to the Tea Room in Orlando. Let's plan to go in early spring. Or we can take a family vacation to Miami Beach this summer like we did three years ago." "I'd settle for a simple cup of coffee and good conversation, Sarah. Is it really that hard? Does everything need to be so detailed and well-planned out? Coffee and conversation—how hard can it be?" Linda pulled into the parking lot of Freddie's Hamburger Joint and parked, but kept the engine running. "We used to sit and have coffee for an hour every day once we got the kids off to school. Now I'm lucky to see you once a month. What's going on? And please don't blame it on the store. It's a cover and I know it." Geez! Sarah squeezed the door handle and started to exit the car, hoping for a quick escape, but Linda grabbed her arm. "Oh, no. I need you to talk to me." Linda folded her arms across her chest. "I know I talk too much, but I see what's going on here. You're not yourself. You seem—what's the word?—evasive." Linda gently squeezed Sarah's forearm. "Have I done something to offend you? Have I put my foot in my mouth and you're afraid to tell me?" "I'm just tired. Maybe I'm too preoccupied with the store, the kids, Michael, and the upkeep of the house."

Sarah pushed against the headrest. "If I don't get the new girl trained on the register, I'll be right back where I started . . . my store in a mess and my shipping and billing backed up."

"You're overwhelmed?"

"This is really sad. We both live smack dab in the heart of Jacksonville but seems we're passing each other in the night."

"Why would I lie?"

Sarah turned away. "I guess I am." "Why do I get the feeling there's more to this?"

"Remember what happened two years ago?" TO BE CONTINUED

Be sure to read Part 2 of “A Betrayal of Trust” by Donna B. Comeaux in the November 2017 issue of RUBY magazine!

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.

Jennifer Workman is the founder of Simply Victorious Ministries, a ministry founded on the infallible Word of God. She has been actively involved in ministry all of her life and has ministered to seminary students, the religious community, high school students and female prison inmates. Jennifer has more than fifteen years in the radio, television and publications arena. She is the Inspirational Host and Producer of "Simply Victorious for Life," a monthly inspirational podcast aired via Faith Filled Family and Family Filled Youth. Contact Jennifer at or

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,

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

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.

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.

Jewell Utt Jewell is a Freelance Writer and Speaker. Her passion is to teach and support the body of Christ to serve in church and community. She is the Director of a Food Outreach and the Women's Ministry Leader at her church. Her retreats encourage women—through the hard places of life—to seek a deeper relationship with Christ. You can visit her website or contact her by "While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." Galatians 6:10

Kathleen McCauley has been an active retreat leader for over 25 years.

She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton. Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth. Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at

Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her inspiring devotional books for journaling and discussion groups, theatrical scripts for church and school, and storybooks and speaking programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families, designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at and .

Caroline Emile: I'm a happiness & fulfilment coach, passionate about helping soulful women be their best selves, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2017, and immediately set my intention to beat it! I'm a citizen of the world, having lived in four countries on three continents by age 16. I love travelling, dancing and exploring new cultures, and all things brightly coloured - like butterflies! When Cindy Evans isn't watching fun TV. with her husband, you will find her doing receptionist work and serving at a local Christian hospice. She is a big fan of flavored coffees, lighthouses, writing, poetry, and Ferris wheels.

Jeanne Doyon writes and speaks from the heart, connecting the Truth of Scripture to everyday life. She teaches at women’s retreats and events throughout New England. She is pretty good at juggling after all these years and still loves being a mom to Brad, Heather, and Alicia who all made it safely to adulthood. Connect with Jeanne 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

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.”

Sharmelle Olson is a graphic artist and designer, photographer and poet. She loves to share her poems in the Ruby for Women community magazine. Shar is also an administrator for Ruby for Women Ministries and enjoys helping out around the community and making new friends there. She has been writing poetry and taking photographs since elementary school, and started doing graphic art and design work in the early 2000s. Shar has four children, two of whom are twins. Her first daughter is in her 20s, her son is 14, and her twin daughters will be 13 soon.

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.

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

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

RUBY magazine is published by CreativeLife

October 2017 ruby  

The October 2017 issue of RUBY magazine is filled with autumn inspiration for your family! You will find short stories, devotionals, poetry,...

October 2017 ruby  

The October 2017 issue of RUBY magazine is filled with autumn inspiration for your family! You will find short stories, devotionals, poetry,...