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Ruby for Women A voice for every Christian woman April, 2013

“. . . . her worth is far above rubies.� Proverbs 31:10


Ruby for Women April, 2013 www.rubyforwomen.ning.com

In This Issue . . . Page 5

But God . . . . Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

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He Didn’t Throw Us Away Amanda Johnson, Asst. Editor Page 9 Welcome Spring! Dorothy Kurchak

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April . . . . spring has finally arrived with all of the hope and anticipation of the warmth of the seasons ahead of us. This issue of the Ruby for Women magazine features recipes, crafts, stories, and poems in celebration of new life. Please join us in our community of Christian women for fun, friendship, conversation, encouragement, inspiration, and prayer support. www.rubyforwomen.ning.com

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Ruby’s Favorite Crafts Vintage Mama

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Heavenly Angel Food Cakes Gloria Doty

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A God for All Seasons by Patty Tingen Book Review by Donna McBroom-Theriot

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Wisdom for Your Day Gloria I.

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Brave Mamas Do Lots More than Make Paper Snowflakes! Elissa R. Peterson

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Springtime Recipes from the kitchen of Vintage Mama

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Ask Beth Beth Brubaker

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Daffodils and Crocus Gloria Doty

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The Child Mimi Spurlock

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Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Amanda Johnson Website Administrator: Ann Marie Weaver Creative Assistant: Katherine Corrigan Family Fun Editor: Beth Brubaker Gardening: Dorothy Kurchak Devotions: Lynn Mosher Poetry: Keith Wallis

Ruby for Women is an online Christian women’s magazine that offers words of hope, inspiration, and encouragement to women everywhere. Knowing that every woman has a story to tell, we seek to give a “voice to every Christian woman,” from all walks of life, of every age, from all around the world.

Feature Writers: Connie Arnold, Sheila Watson, Theresa Ceniccola, Mimi Spurlock, Sally Bruce, Angela Morris, Sharon L. Patterson, Elizabeth Baker, Maxine Young, Gloria Doty, Amy Lignor, Elissa R. Peterson, Christena Hammes, Taylor DeVine, Rhea B. Riddle, Amanda Stephan, Tricia Goyer, Michelle Lazurek, Lisa Simpkins, Kristin Bridgman, Maria Greene, Debra Ann Elliott, Corallie Buchanan, Kathleen Kohler, Heather King, Cindy J. Evans, Lanette Kissel

If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Amanda Johnson, at ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Also, please visit our community website at www.rubyforwomen.ning.com where you can connect with other Christian women. Ruby for Women 2731 W 700 N Columbia City, IN 46725 1 editor@rubyforwomen.com

For advertising inquiries, please contact Nina Newton at editor@rubyforwomen.com


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Waiting Heather King

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Beating the Odds Sharon L. Patterson

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Coffee is My Best Friend Taylor DeVine

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Page 35 One Thing Pinterest Doesn’t Want You to Know about Creativity Theresa Ceniccola

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Tick-Tock Michelle Lazurek

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Calorie-Free Comfort Cindy J. Evans

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How to Achieve True Self-Love Corallie Buchanan

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A Long / Short Journey Rhea Riddle

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Title Quote Maze Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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New Equation Search Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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A Work of Art? Keith Wallis

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The Distance (for Connor) Keith Wallis

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A Contrast in Greatness Sharon L. Patterson

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More Family Favorite Recipes From the kitchen of Katherine’s Corner Katherine Corrigan

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Winter of My . . . . Rhea Riddle

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He Knows Lanette Kissel

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Values Lanette Kissel

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“I’ll Have a Little More of Your Salt, Please!” Sharon L. Patterson

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Jean Ann Williams: A Writer Close to God’s Heart Interview by Crystal Laine Miller

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The Hammer that Dripped Blood Lynn Mosher

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It is Finished Lanette Kissel

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I Will Celebrate Keith Wallis

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The Twelve Oils of Ancient Scriptures: Myrrh Maria Greene

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I Will Sing the Song of Morning Keith Wallis

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A Woman’s Brain – Bridging the Gap Shannon Panzo submitted by Lisa Simpkins

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Quote Maze Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker

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New Equation Search Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker

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Footprints in the Mud: Raising Minions Beth Brubaker Fresh-as-Springtime Recipes from the kitchen of Katherine’s Corner Katherine Corrigan

Page 57 The Happy Housewife: Chapter 8 If Your Husband’s Not a Christian Elizabeth Baker

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Ruby for Women Community

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Meet the Ruby Writers

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Ruby for Women We want to hear your story, because God has given a voice to every Christian woman.

Let us welcome you into our community of Christian women! * Daily inspirational posts * Featured bloggers * FREE monthly online magazine * Community groups and forums * Crafts, recipes, poetry, and stories

Join us today at www.rubyforwomen.ning.com

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But God . . . . . by Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

Perhaps it is because I spend so much of my life looking at words (that’s my job, after all!), but I find myself thinking about words and how they are used in everyday life.

But God is also the Creator of the Universe and in the midst of sin and depravity on an epic scale, He still extends His hands to us in messages of love and words of encouragement.

In our family, one of our younger daughters has a habit of saying, “I know, but . . . . “ whenever the conversation turns to tasks, chores, or responsibilities of any given moment.

When Joseph finally confronts his brothers who have done him great harm for many years, he knows that there is a bigger story being written through his life:

“Time to get up, Honey!” I say every morning.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV

“I know, but I’m still sleepy,” she replies. “Now it’s time for your piano lesson,” I gently suggest. “I know, but I’m playing with my Polly Pockets,” she explains, as if that is going to change the course of history. “Time to leave for church,” I remind my family as I try to herd them all out the door on Sunday morning. “I know, but I haven’t brushed my teeth,” she announces. “Well, just so you know, church is going to start whether we are there or not,” I say for the gazillioneth time. That little word, “but,” can carry an amazing amount of significance in our everyday conversations, but (hmmmm . . . . there it is again) it is in the context of God’s grace and mercy that I have discovered it to be profoundly practical.

And when Paul was writing to the Christians at Ephesus, he reminded them that, even though we falter and fail so often, God still has a plan and a purpose to redeem us from our sins: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), . . .“ So, as I’ve been thinking about that little word, “but,” I realize that in the English language it is a pretty powerful little word. We can think and speak that word in the context of procrastination (or outright refusal to obey) when we whine and complain: “But God . . . that’s not how my life was supposed to go!” Or we can remind ourselves of all the times in our lives that His truth, His grace, His mercy, and His love have been showered upon us.

Sometimes we, too, use that word when we talk to our Heavenly Father: “But God, you know I forgot to . . . . . . (whatever it might be that you or I forget on a moment-by-moment basis).”

In the course of history we learn that, in spite of all the obstacles, sin, and discouragement in the world, God stepped in with His plan that is always loving, always good, and always right.

And He is faithful and just to forgive us of our failures, our mistakes, for shortcomings, our sins.

“But God . . . .” will go with you through whatever valley you are walking through today. Don’t doubt His Word! 5


He Didn't Throw Us Away by Amanda Johnson One morning I found myself reading from Susan Gregory's Daniel Fast Daily Devotional for Lent. In the day’s reading, Susan wrote of a time when she found a filthy white dish cloth that had missed the laundry run. The cloth was so grungy she had to soak it in bleach in order to clean it. Susan shared that we are also covered in dirt and grime. Our sins have made us as filthy rags that only the blood of Jesus can cleanse (Isaiah 64:6). Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have all be cleansed of our sins and made whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). After reading this I realized that my first reaction to finding the dirty cloth was not to clean it, but to simply throw it away! Why take the time to soak and clean a dirty cloth when it can be easily replaced with another one? With that thought, I immediately asked myself what would have happened if God had that same opinion about us.

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What if His initial thought of our sin-covered race was to simply throw us out and start again? We don’t deserve another chance. Why go to all of the trouble to send His Son to die in our place when He could just create another race of humans? The answer is love. John 3:16 says God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son. Because of His love for us and His desire to see us restored to Him, God did not just turn up his nose and toss us in the trash. He didn't give up, but instead He gave His Son to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ blood has washed away our filth and made us whiter than snow! Thank you Lord for loving us enough to send your Son to save us from our sins! Thank you for not throwing us away, but instead holding us close and bringing us back to you!

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Welcome Spring! by Dorothy Kurchak

The bird feeder is certainly busy today with mostly sparrows, some goldfinch, a cardinal and a blue jay. The doves are sitting in the trees waiting their turn. Under the feeder there is an opossum! It has been coming out in the late afternoon, but today it must have been hungry to show up so early in the day. I had attempted to take its picture but just the sound of the door opening scares it away. Jon and Diane sent me a picture of their feeder. They are very fortunate in that they have indigo buntings and blue birds visit their feeders along with the gold finch. I have a blue bird house but the tufted titmouse uses it. I’ve read that blue bird houses have to be a certain distance from other bird houses, out in the open and not too high on the pole. I may try one this summer. The afternoon sun warmed up the side of the enclosed porch and a little garter snake came out to sun himself. Sweetie Pie, my cat, saw it and gave it a love pat. The snake didn’t seem to like her attention and it crawled off under the bushes. Garter snakes are very common and not harmful. Mostly they just give me a start when I’m tending the gardens.

I kept a coleus through the winter and now I’ll take some cuttings to root and later plant in the garden. They prefer part shade to full shade. When taking cuttings, make sure to remove any leaves that may lay on the soil, as they will rot anyway. A rooting hormone is a help in developing new roots on the cutting. 7


Moisten the end of the cutting, dip in rooting hormone, make a hole bigger than the cutting and slide it in being careful not to rub the hormone off. The new roots will form at a leaf node so make sure that part of the cutting is under ground. Firm the soil around the cutting, place in indirect light and you’ll have a new plant very soon. Coleus come in so many colors and they really brighten up the shade garden. I prefer the gardens in the shade as they don’t have much of a problem with weeds. I started a new shade garden last fall. It’s located between two buildings where it was bothersome to mow. The grass didn’t grow well there either. That was the perfect excuse to turn it into a garden! I’ll thin out my hostas and other shade plants to fill it in. I bought a lovely garden bench for it and my friend, Linda, gave me a couple decorations to add to it. My brother will help me install a re-circulating pump so I can have a fountain or other water feature to keep the water moving. The garden doesn’t look very nice now, but wait till later this summer. I’ll show you a picture of it then. April is the time for clean-up. The winter winds blew down many small branches and a bird nest too. The ground is soft enough now to edge the beds and push the garden edging down which was heaved by the frost. It’s also time for some pruning of the roses and other plants. It feels so good to be outside. The sun is warmer, the birds are singing and I feel like I’ve been liberated! Making quilts and other sewing projects are my winter works, but there is nothing like being outside and making the outdoors beautiful. I’m so thankful to have this little homestead. My late husband’s parents bought it in 1914. In another year I can get a plaque from the county that states this is a centennial homestead. I know your muscles are sore, but keep moving as it is better than sitting down too much. Happy gardening!

Aunt Dots 8


Ruby’s Favorite Crafts from Around the Blogosphere Every month, we search blogs and websites for craft ideas and projects to share with you. Here are a few of the fun crafts that we discovered for April, along with links to the blog or website where we found them. Most of them have complete tutorials so that you can create something crafty for yourself this spring. Check them out and let us know what you thing! And if you have an idea for a craft project, please be sure to email us at editor@rubyforwomen.com We would love to share YOUR ideas with our readers! This charming spring wreath was found at the Blue Moss Girls blog and it was created using a wreath form wrapped in a variety of vintage fabrics, trims, ribbons, yarn, rick rack, and braid. The finishing touch is the sweet little vintage birdie and nest perched in the center of the wreath. Please visit the Blue Boss Girls blog for the complete tutorial to make this adorable “Hello Spring” wreath. You could also make your own Plaited Rag Rug from upcycled t-shirts with the tutorial we discovered at the Cuada Design blog. A batch of soft old t-shirts cut into strips and a large crochet hook is all it takes to make this whimsical braided rag rug. The complete tutorial can be found on the Cuada Design blog, with stepby-step instructions so you can’t go wrong! This project would be perfect for a mother-daughter project because it is so easy. And it would add just the right touch of charm to any room of your home, especially a baby or toddler room. I think it would also look great in a vintage-inspired kitchen! There’s just something about the look of vintage fabric that is captivating. An eclectic collection of various fabrics tucked into embroidery hoops makes up this wall hanging display. It would be fun to add some embroidery stitches or designs, or even stitch on a few vintage buttons and add some ribbon or other trim to a few of these, but they are absolutely beautiful in their simplicity and charm. We found this fun idea on the Craftinomicon blog in their “Scrap Project Roundup.” This would be the perfect display for your sewing or craft corner, or even in a bedroom where you want to embellish a plain, solid color wall. The options are endless with this sweet collection of vintage fabrics in embroidery hoops from the Craftinomicon blog!

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And then there’s this elegant Ruffled Rosette Pillow made from upcycled t-shirt fabric, which was created by Alisa at The Sweet Life blog. The complete tutorial is available if you would like to make one, or a few, to brighten up your home this spring. Stop by and visit The Sweet Life blog and tell Alisa that Ruby sent you over! Along with vintage fabrics, it seems like there is an endless fascination or buttons, and an endless variety of craft projects that can be created or embellished using buttons, vintage or brand-new. These cute craft projects were found on the Craft Snob website in their “Button Temptations” category. Among the many creative ideas there are instructions for making the simple but charming “Violet Hoopla” wall hanging by stitching a variety of buttons onto a solid color fabric and framing it in an embroidery hoop (perhaps you could add it to the embroidery hoop wall hanging collection above!). There are also instructions for creating the “Country Button Chair,” the “Button Bouquet,” and the “Button Flowers” wall hanging. Is that another idea using embroidery hoops? Check it out for yourself at the Craft Snow website and send us pictures of your beautiful spring craft creations. Make a few of these Patchwork Floor Pillows for your family room, designed and created by Rebeka at the Twinkle and Twine blog. Made from a selection of fabrics to coordinate with your home décor, these pillows can be made quickly and easily by following the step-bystep instructions in the tutorial you can find on the Twinkle and Twine blog. This would be a great project for making pillows for your porch or deck this coming summer, or for the playroom where the kids can sit on them while playing games. And if you make several of them, the kids will love to make a play house or fort out of these beautiful, brightly colored Patchwork Floor Pillows. Why not try your hand at creating your own Springtime Tree appliqued pillow, designed and created by Allison at the Cluck, Cluck, Sew blog. If you stop by and visit her, you will be able to see some of the other gorgeous pillows she has designed and created, along with her quilt patterns and tutorials. This is just one of her pillow designs which would be perfect for adding a touch of whimsy to your home décor this spring. Check out the Cluck, Cluck, Sew blog soon! There are so many amazing crafters and bloggers out here, and we will continue to bring you the best of the best in crafting projects, ideas, and tutorials every month here at Ruby for Women. 10


Heavenly Angel Food Cakes by Gloria Doty When anyone mentions an Angel Food Cake, I have all sorts of visions and memories swirling through my head. If you have never tasted one, I offer my sympathies. If you have eaten the delicacy, you know why it is called ‘angel food.’ It is obviously good enough to be food for the angels; even though angels don’t need food. My mother made almost perfect angel food cakes. They were tall, light, fluffy and delicious. I thought they were perfect, but she always said hers were not as good as my Aunt Irene’s. I’m not certain what it was about Aunt Irene’s cakes that my mother thought was better than hers, but I can hear her saying that. Angel food cakes use only egg whites; no yolks. I can envision Mom separating all of those eggs, using the sharp edge of the eggshell half as her separator. She would beat those egg whites until they were stiff and stood up in peaks. (That alone would have made me use a few words that weren’t fit for angels to hear.) She had an aluminum tube pan, made especially for angel food cakes. There were no non-stick pans then, but you must never grease the sides of an angel food cake pan. She had a few more rules for the time the cake was in the oven: no slamming doors, no running in the house and definitely no opening the oven door to peek at it while it was rising. She also made certain she didn’t bake on a humid day. I assume because there were open windows (no air conditioning), the humidity would have an effect on the length of time it took to get the whites to stiffen. When she took it out of the oven, the golden brown top, which later would be the bottom, would have cracks in it. Mom would turn the entire thing upside-down and place the hole in the middle tube on a skinny-necked bottle until it cooled. After it cooled, she would use a butter knife to cut all the way around the sides. Some of the light brown edges would remain in the pan and I could scrape them out and eat them. I liked that as much as the cake. When I was a teenager and watching my calories, I would occasionally say I didn’t want dessert after a meal. If dessert was angel food cake, my dad would never fail to say, “You can eat this; it is just air.” When I had children of my own, my mom would bring the cake to birthday parties. It was always an angel food with white icing and tiny colored beads on top for decoration. That became my children’s anticipated birthday cake for all of their growing-up years. When they were teenagers and discovered my mother had switched to using a cake mix instead of making their cakes from scratch, they were incredulous. They still had no problem devouring them. 11


I never made an angel food cake; I didn’t need to as long as my mother was alive. After she died, I didn’t think I could make one like hers, so I didn’t try. My very good Amish friend, Rosemary, was an angel food cake expert. I came to visit one afternoon and when I walked into the kitchen, there were 5 angel food cakes lined up on the counter. Just thinking of the time spent beating that many egg whites made my arm hurt. Her husband, Noah, and a couple sons came in for lunch. After Noah cut huge slices for all of us, the first cake was gone. My best cake memory involves Rosemary and my 29-year-old special needs daughter, Kalisha. She had told Rosemary she wanted to bake an angel food cake like hers. This is the daughter who avoids the stove like the plague, but Rosemary agreed to teach her. While Noah was working on my deck, Rosemary worked with Kalisha, patiently guiding her. The end result was a big, beautiful cake that would have made my mother, and my Aunt Irene, proud. This especially touches my heart because a few years later, Rosemary died of cancer. Kalisha said, “Now she can bake angel food cakes for the angels.”

Rosemary’s Angel Food Cake Beat until soft peaks form:

2c. egg whites 1 ¼ tsp. cream of tartar ¼ tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla

Add and beat into egg whites: 1 1/3 c. sugar (also add 3oz. box of Jello if colored cake is desired) Fold in:

1 ¼ c. cake flour ½ c. sugar

DO NOT grease or spray pan. Bake @ 325 degrees until tester comes out clean. Invert until cool. Slide knife around the sides. ENJOY! Recipe by: Rosemary Schmucker

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A God for All Seasons by Patti Tingen Book Review by Donna McBroom-Theriot Hope for all seasons and encouragement for all times. Love from God for all year. “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) As nature’s seasons change, so too do the seasons of our soul. But God’s love never changes. He is with us through every season of our lives. Through times of sorrow, times of joy; times of plenty, times of want; times of longing, times of contentment—God’s love never leaves us. Join author Patti Tingen in a year of exploration, as she reflects on her own spiritual journey and provides hope and encouragement for yours— month by month, season by season. Find reassurance and pause for reflection in the inspirational readings for each month of the year. In winter’s darkest days—hope, renew, and wait; in spring’s blossoming beauty—change, plant, trust; in summer’s wondrous warmth—give, celebrate, rest; in autumn’s colorful coolness—harvest, believe and thank. In all times and in every season—may you be blessed.

Patti Tingen serves as an elder at her church and has been involved in various ministries including prayer and teaching. Patti lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her husband Doug and their cat Braveheart. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PattiTingenAuthor?ref=hl Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/pattitingen

Review by Donna McBroom-Theriot "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like him as we are changed into His glorious image." 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) I am doing something a little different with this review. It is a book on seasons and there is a reflection for each month of the year. This is March and so I am starting my year here. The author uses the phrase, "In like a lion, out like a lamb," and speaks of March as being a transitional month; not quite spring, and not quite winter and how our lives sometimes mirror March. This time of the year is often seen as a reflective time with the Easter season and Jesus' resurrection being celebrated, and it all begins with Lent, a time of reflection. Patti writes that each one of us may be in transition, like our month of March. 13


It may be due to a work change, or illness, or perhaps a reason of our own making. It may be emotional or spiritual, and while some of us enjoy change, there are others who do not. Regardless of how we approach change in our lives, change is inevitable. God is God, and he doesn't change, he only reveals more of who he is to us. And, while we may not always be the person God wants us to be, he provides us with opportunities to grow and learn how to be that person. God uses the trials and testing in our lives to refine our spirit and build character within us. I love the analogy that Patti used to describe sin. After you read it, dare to come back and tell me that is not what sin feels like. (Coming home from a lunch) "I was so pleased with myself that I had chosen a salad rather than the pot roast sandwich - with mashed potatoes. Realizing that I felt satisfied without that full, heavy, I-need-to-go-put-onsweatpants feeling, I quipped, 'You know what? Eating food that is not very good for you is just like sin. It only tastes good in your mouth - on the way down. Once you swallow it and it has a chance to lie around in there for a little while - ugh!' When your mouth starts watering at the desire of the pot roast sandwich, or the bacon double-cheeseburger, or whatever your area of temptation may be - think about how you'll feel in an hour or so. Once the digestion process starts, the pleasure is long gone. All you're left with is a bad taste in your mouth and a sick feeling in your gut." She goes on to say "Another problem that happens with sin is that it becomes so familiar to us, that we no longer even recognize it." How true is that? "Sin builds up in us over time, slowly causing us to become dark and dingy. But we don't notice; we think we're okay. Until by God's grace, we come side by side with the Pure White Holy One. We see our ugliness and it brings us to our knees."

And even if our own lives haven't been "dramatically saved from a life of drugs or crime" or we've "never turned our back on God and needed an incredible, near-death event to transform" us, we all have a story, a testimony, that speaks of God's love in our lives.

Patti suggests that by periodically placing our thoughts in a journal, we can more accurately account for where we've been and where we are going, therefore holding ourselves accountable and keeping ourselves on track. And even if our own lives haven’t been “dramatically saved from a life of drugs or crime” or we’ve “never turned our back on God and needed an incredible, near-death event to transform” us, we all have a story, a testimony, that speaks of God’s love in our lives.

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In my own personal life, I've dealt with evil on many levels, none as frightening as the time immediately following the separation from my now ex-husband. I was distraught because my two daughters did not want to talk with me or spend time with me. I was contemplating ending my life. I was at one of the lowest points of my life and the door was open enough so that evil pushed its way in. I remember waking from a dead sleep screaming. When I opened my eyes, there was a black cloud at the foot of my bed. I can still remember looking evil in the eye. It was an experience, that up until writing this, only a few were privy to. I have never forgotten that experience and firmly believe that you cannot know evil unless you've also known good. How else would you be able to distinguish between the two? I am also saddened to admit that that was not the only time. There was one more such incident, again, when I was at a low point. It was at that point, that I promised God and myself that I would never let myself doubt that He was there for me, no matter how bad life got. Soon after that, a friend of mine suggested that I read the book of Job. That person and reading the book of Job taught me a great lesson. God not only wanted my laughter, but he would take my anger as well. Once I was free to turn my anger to God, I never again experienced the evil that had visited me on those two occasions. The author ends the chapters for March with “join me on a journey of change this March. Thaw out the dark, hardened places of your heart; then start breaking up the fallow ground. For it's time to plant." I liked that. It was an invitation to reflect and then move forward. I find myself looking forward to the chapter of April. I hope that if you are here, reading this, that you will purchase the book and take the journey along with me. I look forward to hearing from all of you who do. Please leave a message on my blog and then join me here at the beginning of each month as we read a new chapter and reflect on the month gone by. You can purchase your copy of A God for All Seasons from Amazon Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

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Wisdom for Your Day from Gloria I. of the Ruby for Women community A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, “Half empty or half full?� She fooled them all. "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up tomorrow. 1 * Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue! 2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. 3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. 4 * Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker. 17


5 * If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague 6 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. 7 * It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. 8 * Never buy a car you can't push. 9 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on. 10 * Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. 11 * Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late. 12 * The second mouse gets the cheese. 13 * When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. 14 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live. 16 * Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once. 17 * We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box. 18 * A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. 19 * Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

Visit Katherine’s Corner for your daily dose of sunshine! Recipes, crafts, stories, giveaways, blog hops and so much more! www.katherinescorner.com 18


Brave Mamas Do Lots More Than Make Paper Snowflakes! by Elissa R. Peterson Like many young fresh-faced women starting out in life, I had a road map to life. Written in my teenage years it looked like this: Go to college, get the degree, find the man, have the babies, win the mother of the year award. You know, the prize for women who home school, help run the children's ministry, and have a loaf of fresh bread on the table every night. And it worked. Sort of. Three years ago I had an awesome life. Sufficient income, sufficient housing, and a loving family. My three beautiful, sweet, well-mannered children were the envy of all the moms at playgroup. And it was awesome. Really awesome. But as we all know, what we think will be awesome is never really as awesome as we assume it will be. My life was a bit of a cakewalk, but I wasn't hungry for cake. I wanted the dirty, gritty raw emotion that came from bravely following Christ without abandon. And making paper snowflakes with my kids wasn't really doing it for me. So I did what most of us do, I threw all my extra energy into uplifting, community building activities. I plotted ways to expand our children's ministry at church, planted extra vegetables to donate to our community food bank, and a score of other Christhonoring activities that were supposed to make me feel like I was bravely making a difference for the greater good. But there was something about all these extracurricular activities that made me feel like I was wearing a second hand pair of sneakers; a pair of shoes that were molded to fit someone else's foot. My feet might have looked good enough from the outside, but every step I took reminded me that my shoes belonged to someone else. 19


My frustration with all these good deeds came to a hilt one late October day in 2009. My children and I were out in the garden. They were off playing and I was weeding, or rather I was pretending to weed, while I had an angry argument with God. An angry argument that sounded like me shouting "What do you want from me? I'm trying to be 'all in', but everything that I'm doing feels so wrong. If you just told me what to do, I'd do it." Little did I know, that very same month on the other side of the planet there was a man in Russia losing a custody battle for his 5 year old son. His son would spend a little less than a year in the orphanage before finding his way into an orphan hosting program that brought him to my house and my heart. If I hadn't been so frustrated with all the good deeds that I'd been doing I imagine I wouldn't have been prepared for God to interrupt my dutiful Christian routine with a very needy six year old. A child who needed a brave Mama who was willing to risk everything to give him what he needed most - a forever home and parents who were willing to fight for him.

But there was something about all these extracurricular activities that made me feel like I was wearing a second hand pair of sneakers; a pair of shoes that were molded to fit someone else's foot. My feet might have looked good enough from the outside, but every step I took reminded me that my shoes belonged to someone else.

That very needy six year old is now a very needy eight year old who suffers from developmental delays, anxiety, attachment spectrum disorder and a score of other issues that resulted from the trauma he experienced early in life. His personality quirks have helped me to stop chasing all my good deeds and refocus on the root of my faith. My new son has reminded me of the simple truth that God doesn't really need me to go-go-go, He really just wants me to brave enough to stop trying to lead the perfect life. He wants me to focus on being His daughter, and on having the courage to raise one of His wounded children. It took a Russian orphan to remind me that being brave is far better than being dutiful.

Elissa Peterson is a Jesus-loving Mama of four who tries not to take life too seriously. She has many stories to share with you about what life and Jesus are teaching her on her blog http://dontletlifepassyouby.blogspot.com/ Pop over and share your brave Mama story!

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Springtime Recipes from the kitchen of Vintage Mama Our Great-Grandma would always make Strawberry Rhubarb pie in the springtime. I remember going out into her little kitchen garden just off her back porch and breaking off those huge stalks of rosy red rhubarb over by the fence. Of course, being a kid, I always had to take a nibble. So before I could get the rhubarb into Great-Grandma’s kitchen, I would snitch a bite of one of those tangy, crunchy stalks and it would make my mouth pucker up for several minutes before I could talk again. Then we would all burst out giggling because of the silly faces we were making from the taste of that sour rhubarb. Great-grandma never wanted to waste anything, so she would try to use up all the rhubarb that was growing out there in the kitchen garden. In addition to the Strawberry Rhubarb pie, she made a ruby red Strawberry Rhubarb sauce that was yummy on vanilla ice cream; Strawberry Rhubarb jam to put on her homemade bread at breakfast (and any other time of day all of the kids needed a little snack!), and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, just like she made Apple Crisp in the autumn. In memory of Great-Grandma, and in celebration of springtime, I thought it would be fun to share some of our family recipes using rhubarb, along with a few new recipes that I found on websites and blogs. I hope you will be inspired to try one of these delicious recipes with your family this spring, and remember . . . . if you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share with all of your friends here at Ruby for Women, please email us. We would love to include your recipes in the next issue of the Ruby for Women magazine!

Rhubarb Walnut Crunch Muffins What you need: • • • • • • •

2 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cups brown sugar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 egg

• • • • • • •

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup buttermilk 1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1 tablespoon melted butter 1/3 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Let’s make it! 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups. 2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of this mixture on top of each muffin. 3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing. 21


Ruby Red Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce What you need: • 2/3 cup white sugar • 1/2 cup orange juice • 5 teaspoons cornstarch • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries • 1 cup sliced rhubarb • 5 drops red food coloring (optional) Let’s make it! Combine sugar, orange juice, cornstarch, and vanilla in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add strawberries and rhubarb; reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and mash the cooked berries with a fork. Stir in food coloring, if using. Serve warm or cold.

Rhubarb Cherry Lattice Pie What you need: • 2 cups chopped rhubarb • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling • 3/4 cup white sugar • 2 1/2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca • 1 recipe for pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches) • 1 tablespoon white sugar Let’s make it! 1. Combine the rhubarb, cherry pie filling, sugar, and tapioca in a large bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes. 2. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell, and cover with pie crust. Brush top with milk, and sprinkle on sugar. 3. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes.

Great-Grandma’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp What you need: • [1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour • 1 cup white sugar • 1 cup packed brown sugar • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour • 1 cup butter • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries • 1 cup rolled oats • 3 cups diced rhubarb Let’s make it! 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 2. In a large bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9x13 inch baking dish. 3. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, butter, and oats until crumbly. You may want to use a pastry blender for this. Crumble on top of the rhubarb and strawberry mixture. 4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and lightly browned. More rhubarb recipes at www.allrecipes.com All images from www.allrecipes.com 22


Ask Beth by Beth Brubaker

Dear Beth, My kitchen is so messy! There's clutter everywhere, and I have to spend at least ten minutes either making counter space or finding what I need to cook! Can you please give me some tips to get more organized?

Cluttered Cook Dear Cluttered, I know what you mean! Speaking as a former borderline hoarder, it became harder to cook because of the clutter - but I have a solution! It will take a bit of work on your part, but once you get your kitchen in order, things will sizzle like a well-oiled fry pan. These tips will not only be helpful in your kitchen - you can apply these to any room in the house! 1. Rethink the space. Make an imaginary blueprint of the room (as if it was empty) on a piece of paper (or use graph paper) to map out what the space looks like from above. Don't forget to mark where windows and doors are. Now try to imagine what changes would be the most feasible for this 'empty' room. 2. Organize the inner spaces. See if there are any changes you can make to where things are kept in the cabinets and drawers. Everyday cooking utensils should be kept somewhere within arm’s length of the stove, as should the pots and pans. Glassware and dishes should be near the dishwasher and/or sink to put clean dishes away easily. 3. No junk drawers! If it doesn't have a place, get rid of it! No one needs three hand juicers or twenty half-used birthday candles. Toss them, and feel the weight lifting from your shoulders! 4. Tidy up drawers and cabinets. Get rid of extra utensils and cooking items you have, as well as worn out or unused items.

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5. Take everything out of the room that is removable. This is the hardest of the steps, but well worth it. You don't need to remove big things like the fridge or dishwasher; I'm talking about everything from small appliances to foodstuffs. Now that the insides of the kitchen are neat, we'll work on the space you actually see. Clear the room of all you can (including anything on the floor like rugs and the trash can), and see the space with new eyes. Look at your blueprint from step 1, and see if your ideas will work. 6. Clean. Since everything is off the counters and floors, why not give it a good cleaning? It will look nicer when you put things back! 7. Put back only what you use. Everyday items should stay on the counters - but clean them before putting them back! Not everything you removed should go back where it was though- see what you can do without (on a temporary basis anyway) and store the items you don't use as often. Try to keep them within reach if you need them. For instance, I might use my food processor once a week, so I put it on a nearby shelf so it's handy, but off of my counter. 8. Store away what you don't use. Foodstuffs should be stored when not eaten. Not only does it make the space look nicer, it helps prevent critters from getting to it- including the family pets. Train the family to put things back when they're done (I know it's hard, but it's not impossible!) so you have less to do! 9. Maintain. Once you have the main clutter under control, the rest is all maintenance. I clean out my kitchen once a week, only because my family still leaves things out after they use them (mostly kitchen gadgets and jars) and I need to clean the back of the counters where errant crumbs are sometimes hiding behind the toaster. This is the most important step, because maintaining is what's going to keep your kitchen clutter free. Maintaining is why I now call myself a former borderline hoarder! Good luck with your 'new and improved' kitchen!

~ Beth Do you have a question about parenting, homemaking, organizing, friendship, or family? Ask Beth! Please email her at bethatruby@aol.com. She would love to hear from you! 24


Daffodils and Crocus by Gloria Doty Daffodils and crocus, entombed in the ground, waiting for warm spring rains and sunlight to abound. They cannot stop their growth; they reach for the sun Pushing through the snow, freedom has been won. I, too, am buried in my sin, struggling to be free. Pushing upward toward the Son, He reaches down for me. Breaking through the bonds, I feel His love and grace I can bloom and rejoice, in warmth radiating from His face. 25


The Child by Mimi Spurlock I loosed the child in me today. I set it free to laugh and play. I felt my cares all slip away. Today, I was a child. I caught a butterfly, and then, I let it loose to fly again. I watched a spider spin and spin and let my dreams run wild. I dug my toes into the sand and watched a turtle seeking land. I took some water in my hand and tossed it to a cloud. As raindrops fell I raised my face and caught the wind in my embrace. I felt the love for open space. Today, I'll stay a child. 26


Waiting by Heather King So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit.(Galatians 6:9 MSG). We planted in pots and crates on our deck, tiny seedlings of cucumbers and tomatoes in three varieties. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. We watered. We tended. Mostly we waited. From one day to the next, the leaves didn't appear to expand and the stems didn't seem to reach any higher. It took standing back and surveying growth over time for us to notice we had plants now, not seedlings. Then there were the first tiny yellow flowers on the cucumber plant. The day we spotted the first baby tomato, I called all three of my daughters over to see. There we stood, a mom and three girls gently pushing aside green leaves to marvel at the promise of growth. And then we waited some more for signs of ripeness and readiness for harvest. Gardening, like life, is so often about waiting. The difference, though, is that we waited for our first vegetables with anticipation and excitement. We tracked the progress and closely watched the physical signs of a promising future because we knew one day we could sit serve up salad and salsa from our garden. But in life we often wait with a hopeless aggravation and a frustrating impatience. We wait on God, tapping our foot and glancing often at our watches with urgency. Perhaps, though, we should wait for God, watching the signs of growth, rejoicing over every bud and clapping our hands with joy every time we see a reminder that the harvest is coming. 27


This is how the crowds prepared for Jesus' arrival: "Now when Jesus returned, the crowds welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him" (Luke 8:40). Can you imagine the crowd watching the road for the first glimpse of Jesus' sandal? Perhaps kids ran back and forth bringing news of Jesus' journey. "He's coming. He's near. He's closer. He's just around the corner." He's here! Imagine the hush of the people. They weren't whining about the wait or questioning whether Jesus would come at all. No, they were likely listening intently for the first sound of His voice chatting with His followers as He traveled on the road. This is how we should wait for God-- with excited anticipation and uncontainable joy. And while we wait, we prepare to receive all that He's bringing our way. Like the kings who faced the overwhelming enemy might of Moab, we wait for God's promise. He said He would "fill the ditches in the dry streambed with water" overnight and without wind or rain. (2 Kings 3:16-18). In the very next chapter, Elisha tells the destitute widow to gather "empty vessels and not too few" and then the Lord filled as many as she gathered with rich oil, saving her from starvation and poverty (2 Kings 4:3). In two back-to-back passages, God miraculously fills His people up to the brim, giving them all they had prepared to receive. I feel this now, this urge to prepare, to grab as many jugs, cups, bowls, pots and buckets as I can so I don't miss out on one drop of God's provision. I stand at the foot of the dry stream-bed and rather than complaining about my parched throat, I want to dress in my swimsuit, ready to dive into the pools overflowing with His miraculous water-without-rain. We may still be waiting, but we see the signs. We see the growth, the buds, the tiniest hint of vegetables to come. We see God-movement here and there, projecting change and something new. Do we hang our shoulders in defeat and stomp away, not seeing the harvest quickly enough? Tired of waiting, we could dump over the vessels waiting for oil and walk away from the streambed thirsty for water. We could turn away from those waiting for the first sight of Jesus and choose instead to complain at home that He didn't come. Or we could wait, joyfully and with excitement, nervous perhaps but ready nonetheless. Jumping up and down trying to see Jesus over the heads of the crowd, we choose to wait for God, not wait on Him. (Galatians 6:9). This way we won’t miss out on one drop of what God has planned for us! 28


Beating the Odds by Sharon L. Patterson There was a park near my home and as we watched the boys interact that day, we both felt we might beat another odd: Jacob, Joseph, and Jeremy just might get along well. We were right. Glancing at the photos on my refrigerator, I think to myself, "We are still beating the odds after thirty years." Who would have thought this second marriage, pre-loaded with my two blond-headed, blue-eyed boys, ages two and three and Garry’s four year old blond-headed, blue-eyed son, would not only succeed but multiply from the five of us to the twelve of us. Our additions seem to come mostly in the male gender, although my granddaughter holds her own with the four grandsons. My sanity in this maledominated family has been greatly aided by the wonderful women my sons married. They actually like me enough to ask me for occasional advice on marriage. I even wait until I am asked! Yes, we have definitely beaten the odds of a second marriage going down in defeat. Not that there were not plenty of challenges. First, there was challenge of the very public courtship of the high school varsity coach/ Captain in the National Guard and the French teacher. Talk about all eyes on you, we had over 2900 students as well as the entire faculty witnessing the development of our unfolding love story. We talked by phone late at night following Spring training, after Friday night scouting, Saturday track meets on the weekends he was not away at Guard duty. That should have been a clue as to what would be ahead for us, but our love was not only blind but tenacious as well. We progressed from three hour phone calls at night to a first date at the donut shop where we brought the boys to meet each other.

I chuckle when I remember the third odd we beat. We met in April and set our hearts on a December wedding date. We went to get our marriage license. For months we had discussed everything under the sun, but when my fiancé put down his birthday, I leaned over and kindly told him, “You put the wrong date down for the year you were born.” He quickly responded, “Sharon, I know when I was born!” I was a bit shaken and my reply was even shakier, “But, Garry, that means I am three years older than you - I don’t know if I can do this!” Well, after a brief recovery from realizing I would be marrying a younger man, I recanted my statement and we were married in December just as planned. The first year we were married, I got mononucleosis and was very ill the week of final exams. I couldn’t get out of bed. My husband showed up to my very surprised French students to give them their tests. “But Coach, you don’t speak French!” His reply, “I can assure you, you will receive every benefit of doubt, because I will be grading most of these!” That was only one of many odds we overcame for my strength was very low for the next year. My husband helped cook, clean, and work out weekend schedules for all our boys to be together.

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The next year, the school board voted to close our high school with six weeks remaining until summer vacation. We had to finish the year knowing we would be sent to new positions at different schools.

We have had thirty years together and odds too numerous to recount. As our hearts healed from broken first marriages, two strong-willed, highly opinionated, somewhat bossy, and blatantly honest individuals have learned how to become true partners in all things. We have enjoyed the expected and suffered the unexpected. We have had great passion, boisterous laughter, deep empathy, and profound contentment. We have also had an epiphany about our marriage, and we pass it on whenever the occasion arises to talk to other couples asking how we have beaten the odds.

More odds to beat: Garry would leave coaching varsity football to become a ninth grade head football coach at a school being renovated.

We tell them that our marriage is like a ring, although sometimes it isn’t exactly rounded: at times it has resembled the kind with four corners.

His players had to travel by bus to the nearest high school at 6:30 in the morning to practice. Garry did not get home until after 7:30 at night. We hardly saw one another. At the end of that same year, my husband had to make a career changing decision: he had an opportunity to go active duty with the National Guard. Although I knew it meant time away, at least he was not divided between two careers. Those were big odds, but once again, we faced all the changes that decision would mean with faith in God, trust in one another, and commitment to our family.

The main rule - don’t leave the ring or threaten to go outside that ring. We work out all things in that ring, not with gloved hands and punches, but with hands folded and God as our referee.

Sharon Patterson is a retired educator, wife of a career military officer, mother of three sons, grandmother to five precious angels, author, CLASS graduate, Certified Personality Trainer, and women's ministry leader. She has written numerous shorts stories published in other authors' works, and has authored three books: A Soldier's Strength from the Psalms, Healing for the Holes in Our Souls and Where Is Happy? (2011) Sharon's writing experience spans thirty years.

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Coffee is My Best Friend! by Taylor DeVine Coffee is glorious, coffee is love, coffee is my best friend, and coffee understands all of my problems. Coffee and I have had a lasting relationship since I started college; we’ve spent many late nights together. Lately, coffee has been the means of sharing love, laughter, and hope. I love sharing a cup of Joe with a great group of friends, especially in the winter when it’s cold. With spring quickly coming, and cold weather gone (maybe), it’s time to ring in a nice, warm, green spring with a great cup of cold coffee. A good friend of mine (Ree Drummond, who I don’t REALLY know, but I wish I knew) posted a GLORIOUS new recipe for the PERFECT cold coffee; and I must say…I am in trouble. Like, so much trouble that maybe I should start a “Coffee Drinkers Anonymous,” and add that to my list of anonymous sessions I’m already a part of (Horse Buyers Anonymous, Book Reader Anonymous, Diet Coke Addictions Anonymous, Law & Order: SVU Anonymous…) Anywho, enjoy this! I recommend that you use the sweetened condensed milk. Prepare for a celebration of your taste buds! What you need: • • • • •

1 pound ground coffee (good, rich roast) 8 quarts cold water Half-and-half (healthy splash per serving) Sweetened condensed milk (2-3 Tbsp. per serving) Note: You can use skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners, syrups…adapt to your taste!

Let’s make it! In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds. Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed. To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed. (Adapted from Imbibe Magazine)

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Don’t miss the

April Showers Giveaway at Katherine’s Corner!

Friday, April 5 – 26, 2013 Enter to win at Katherine’s Corner www.katherinescorner.com

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The One Thing Pinterest Doesn’t Want You to Know About Creativity by Theresa Ceniccola I’m convinced that Pinterest was invented to put moms like me to shame. You know the kind of mom I’m talking about – just creative enough to WANT to make edible snowmen and hand painted wine glasses, but not skillful enough to pull off anything that closely resembles the original image. Crafting is one of those gifts that God sprinkled sparsely on me – filling me with desire and courage but not so much actual talent. Same thing with singing. But that’s another story. The problem with the Pinterest approach to being creative is that it focuses on the outcome or the result, rather than the process or the journey. If you think about it, we’re all creative in our own ways. If you like to garden, cook or sew, you’re creative. Or maybe you like to journal, dance, paint or go to the theater. That’s creative. You might like making scavenger hunts or enjoying role-playing games with your children. You guessed it – you’re creative. No matter what your interests are, I am certain there is a creative mamma inside you somewhere. I learned all about the artist within myself from my friend and mentor Whitney Ferre of Creatively Fit. She taught me to resist the Pinterest Perfection and bathe myself in the beauty of the creative process. She forced me to let go of the final outcome by teaching me to paint 26 paintings on the same canvas – each one covering the previous week’s artwork. There was no time for judgment or regret or even pride. It was all about the process. Whitney also taught me the health benefits of living a creative life – which was such a refreshing change from all the “how to be a creative writer” workshops I’d taken for years. She showed me that expressing creativity could lower my stress and make me happier. But ONLY if I allowed myself to enjoy the process and stop criticizing the outcome. In other words, to stop trying to duplicate everybody else’s creativity and start nurturing my own! Because creativity is not about imitation - it's about expression. The folks at Pinterest probably don’t want to hear that – because there’s a lot of attempted duplication and impressive imitation going on over there. But, hey – that’s pretty much what’s happening everywhere you look, right? We’re all studying each other, trying to imitate or compete in some way.

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Well, we’re totally missing the point, friends! We’re overlooking the greatest opportunity to foster our own creativity. We don't need inspiration as much as we need motivation and permission to jump right in where (we feel) we don't belong. So how do we do that when there’s no visual inspiration and no promise of a prize-winning photo to be taken of our own masterpiece? Well, I’ll say it again – I’m not a crafty mamma, but here’s my secret to nurturing creativity – the kind of creativity that makes me feel relaxed and joyful, not inferior and deflated….

Do The Unexpected! Yep. That’s it. If you want to be more creative, then do something you would not normally do. • • • • • • • • • •

Learn to paint. Study another language. Audition for a one-act play. Plant an herb garden. Join the choir. Take a pottery class. Decorate a cake. Go on a hiking trip. Write a poem. Grab a spot on Open Mic Night at the comedy club. Whatever. Just lower your expectations and give yourself permission to be perfectly awful! Once you’ve mastered the skill or grown tired of your creative outlet, find something else unexpected. And do it all over again. That’s all there is to it. Stop trying to duplicate everybody else’s creativity and start nurturing your own by doing something unexpected.

Got it? Great! Now go post a picture of your next disastrously creative experience on Pinterest and I promise to repin it! My best masterpieces are the ones that have a short shelf life. The art disappears and the creativity lives on without judgment.

Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur, a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. She empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace through the Christian Mompreneur Mastermind program and her professional Marketing services, which include copywriting, marketing and strategy consulting and private coaching. www.theresaceniccola.com. 34


TickTick-Tock by Michelle Lazurek Tick-Tock. Time passes slowly . . . . and I wait. Wait for the next opportunity, the next big adventure, the next life fulfilling event. I waste so much time, rapping my fingers on the table, head in hand. Waiting, waiting, For the adventure that has been in front of me the whole time. The hours, minutes, seconds I waste looking elsewhere could be spent making the most of today, the most of now. The moments of today are God’s gift to me. I collect them in my mind, calculating when they will amount to the blessings I think I deserve. The material treasures that only rot over time. My greed rots them, makes them unworthy of the word blessing. The clock ticks, tries to steal time away. It aims to snatch away the now. I recalculate, renew and redefine the blessing. It’s a struggle. I concede to the monsters of selfishness and entitlement that wave their stench of temptation in my nostrils. I breathe in deeply, but for a moment. Then I exhale. Tick-Tock. I change my perspective and focus on the One who revolutionizes my life. God’s word breathes its life into me: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). I see that the real adventures, treasures and opportunities are in how I live today. Children laughing, music playing, people smiling are a blessing. I am rich and blessed. I try to collect them, but they are too numerous to count. Time passes quickly, too quickly to understand all of my blessings. Tick-Tock. www.michellelazurek.com / www.mslazurek.blogspot.com 35


Calorie-Free Comfort by Cindy J. Evans So many times I reached out for a comfort food to help calm my fears or ease my forlorn mood . . . and finally one day after an ice cream scoop, I felt like God would want me to do something new . . . find some real comfort, the kind that's calorie-free, the kind He's provided and wants to give to me . . . a word from His Word, my real Daily Bread, a way to be nourished, a way to be fed . . . or a walk in nature, seeing all His beauty, soaking up His sun, and helping my body . . . or maybe praise music to fill my hungry heart; sometimes a quiet prayer before the healing starts . . . and I have been better since finding comfort calorie-free, leaving me happy, not heavy, the way I want to be!

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How to Achieve True Self-Love by Corallie Buchanan I love myself, I’m able, I’m capable, I’m equipped with what it requires to love somebody else… lov[e] yourself so much that you would never cause harm to someone, to a community, to a group of people, who are different from you. I found this quote recently while browsing the Oprah website. It caught my attention very quickly because it promised to fill my lack of selfconfidence in myself. The article states that, ..when we don’t feel good about ourselves, that we act out that poison on others…the way to turn the cycle around is to stop condemning ourselves. If we would only stop being so critical of ourselves, then we also wouldn’t be critical of others. The world tells us that to love ourselves is the answer to all of our problems. If we love ourselves, then we will also be able to love others. Love is what makes the world go round. Now hold on a minute. While this may sound nice and tickle the ears, it has no substance nor backbone. Attempting to love self without God’s help is an effort in futility. Personally, it sounds like empty words. Love for the sake of love is a waste of time. The world promises much, but offers little. The world tickles our ears but does not fill our hearts. According to, love means to feel good about yourself. Once you feel good about yourself, then you can treat others with respect. Serve yourself, then you can serve others. No, no, no. This is not the way the Bible teaches. The Bible has a totally different perspective on what true love really is. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. Does this sound like the serve yourself, then serve others mentality? I don’t think so. The Bible teaches that in order to know what true love is, you must put others above yourself. 37


While the article does make a good point about reversing the cycle of condemnation upon ourselves, it also neglects important truths. In order to stop condemning ourselves, we need first to shift our focus off ourselves and onto God. The key is not to place ourselves at the center of our world. The more you look outside of yourself and to the needs of others, the more God will fill your own needs. If you want to learn to love yourself and gain self-confidence, there is nothing better than helping somebody else. Knowing you have given into the life of another person less fortunate than yourself is one of the most rewarding things you can achieve. Love yourself, then out of that you will be able to love others is the catch cry coming from the world. Love God, and then love other people out of the love you have received from God. That is what true love really is. Self-love is a poor substitute, and will not sustain your needs. So in answer to Oprah’s article on self-love? I would say the key to happiness and satisfaction is not in loving ourselves more. It lies in loving ourselves less, and loving others more. The key to selfsatisfaction is not self-love, but love that is others-centered. That is the true definition of love (1 Corinthians 13). Excerpts taken from http://www.oprah.com/spirit/TheImportance-of-Self-Love, accessed 1/02/2013

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A Long / Short Journey by Rhea Riddle

“That’s why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.* Genesis 2:24 The long fingered rays of the warm evening sun brushed her cheeks with the softness of a dewy kiss in the quietness of the country evening. She strode along the edge of the woods, seeking calmness. The fragrance of the crushed ripe summer grass filled her nostrils along with the scent of wild day lilies as they closed their faces with the coming of evening. The rapturous beauty of this competing nature was filling her with the essence of sweet yearning for the coming night. It would be a quick trip to Louisville, but the long year had ended, and the new life was about to start. At two o’clock in the morning, her soldier boy would arrive, via taxi at her Grandparent’s house; his tour of duty in Europe was over, and she was going to collect him and together they would shortly arrive at their home. They had been married less than a year when he got his call to serve and now was time to put their lives back together, welding the temporary broken cord back into wholeness, so that the seam would so effortlessly blend, no scar of separation would ever show. It was time to make promises of caution to her Mother, put gas in the Plymouth, lock all of the doors, and head north-east. The sun was now releasing its hold on the day, casting a pleading glow over her shoulder and soon the headlamps would be needed. Purple shadows mingled in mysteriousness with the dark green of the cedars and puddled in the dips and crevasses of the rolling hills. A strange peace filled with loneliness and expectation filled her heart, and at times, her fingers would tremble with excitement on the steering wheel. The music on the only clear AM radio station was of the sentimental country genre. She turned it low and let her thoughts soar and take her on a side trip through the future as she drove the familiar back county roads to the big highway that would take her to the flow that endlessly poured into the looming city. “What would their future hold? Where would they be in the far distant time, say five years? Would family grow, would love last, would they still be the perfect fit as they grew to be an even stronger “one”?” The music soothed and lulled from station WHAS, the songs in her head changed often in tempo, rhythm and emotion, the miles passed.

Life happened so suddenly, it was breath taking. I all but spin and have to sit down when I think of the speeding time, the blur of memories, the milestones that can only flash by. 39


Finally, she was there, it was deep in the night in the little upstairs room on Magnolia Street. She was sitting on the window ledge, and the taxi blew its horn . . . They were the same, they had not changed. God blessed mightily! Life happened so suddenly, it was breath taking. I all but spin and have to sit down when I think of the speeding time, the blur of memories, the milestones that can only flash by. Love was multiplied over, over, and again, children, grandchildren, exploding change, sameness, new experiences, old memories relived, all happened in two or three heartbeats. We had thoughts of “strong health, vibrant life, and continued love going on forever” till we were surprised by weakened bodies and changes so subtle that often we ask “What has happened! Who are we?” Yes, even the love has changed, the blush of fresh love Love was multiplied and the sharing of the same breath and thoughts of an heaven has deepened and become a thing that has over, over, and again, earthy a life of its own, it depends on each of us for its being, and we depend on it for our being. It is composed of endless children, compassion, of two minds and desires that think and act as grandchildren, one.

exploding change, sameness, new experiences, old memories relived, all happened in two or three heartbeats.

It is a remarkable blessing from God, when we find after a life time of laughing, crying, spatting, growing, and startling changes, yet we are “one” and are so more each day. It has been 58 years since the night time trip to Louisville, when my eyes were fastened to the dark roadway lit by yellow lights, while the eyes of my heart were fastened on the end of the road that held my future. I couldn’t have had a better trip, any way I look at it.

* Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Rhea B. Riddle was born in Kentucky, in a little town on the Ohio River at the time of the famous flood of 1937, which may have contributed to her sense of drama, and to an amplified love of life. A world view influenced by gentle traditions and strong Christian family ties, boosted her desire to reflect the recollections of a willful (though loving) youngster who was filled with longings to explore, to reason, and write of the vibrations of daily living that surrounded her. She hopes to lure you with current life adventures (truth and fiction) as well as draw you to visit a time of “rewound” living!” 40


Jean Ann Williams A Writer Close to God’s Heart by Crystal Laine Miller

Jean Ann with the doll her grandmother, Nanny, gave to her on her third birthday.

Our very own Jean Ann Williams was recently featured on Crystal Laine Miller’s “When I Was Just a Kid” blog. Jean has graciously given us permission to share her story with all of our Ruby for Women readers! Every time that I start one of these interviews, I really don't know the "full" story until I start putting together the words and photos here. Jean Ann Williams' story will not disappoint you -- full of poignancy and sorrows, but grit and some fun, too. After you read her story, you'll love her like I do. Part of her journey to becoming a Christian, and also to becoming a writer brings tears, and also an overwhelming joy of how God works out the details.

Jean Ann signs her emails with this verse: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

Jean Ann signs her emails with this verse: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 She has learned through many things that she can do all things as she leans fully on Jesus. He truly has strengthened her when she wasn't sure she could do it. I think you're going to love Jean Ann's story:

She has learned through many things that she can do all things as she leans fully on Jesus. He truly has strengthened her when she wasn't sure she could do it.

Childhood Ambition: I had three ambitions if the first one didn’t work out and so on: wife and a mother of eight children, racehorse jockey, and race car driver. Fondest Memory (then): My dad owned 99 acres in Southern Oregon, and we lived in an old stagecoach house. I loved to slide down a steep hill in a cardboard box, and see if I could stop before I hit the stream below. I got wet a lot at first, but learned how to stop. Proudest Moment (then): When at age twelve I learned how to make a large quilt with our discarded clothes.

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Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: When I was ten years old, my mother had a nervous breakdown after my second to the youngest brother was born. Since I was the eldest of seven children, my workload increased in order to help my mother with the chores and the care of my brothers and sisters. When the stagecoach house caught fire, my youngest sister Maria died in the fire. I had just turned thirteen, and my mother never fully recovered from the loss her daughter. After the fire, I no longer “helped,” but did the bulk of Mom’s work, cooking, cleaning, and disciplining my siblings. I had blessed breaks though, to spend the night at my friend Cindy’s house. My First Job: I had a summer babysitting job for our neighbors’ of six children. I made enough money to buy material to make dresses for my sophomore year of high school.

Here with Chris, and dog Laddie, when Jean Ann was ten and began helping her mother more because of her mother’s illness after she gave birth to Chris.

Childhood Indulgence: Hmmm, that’s a hard one. Oh, I know! Before I had the big summer babysitting job, I did Saturday night babysitting from time to time for another neighbor. With that money, I bought one package of chocolate creamed-filled cookies and one of banana creamed-filled cookies. You must be wondering if I shared them with my siblings. I gave most of the chocolate ones to my brothers and sisters, because I was not crazy about chocolate. The banana creams were all mine, and yes, I had to hide them. Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: Any Shirley Temple movie. We lived for one year in Big Bend, CA, where my dad worked on a crew to build a tunnel. Every Friday night the town would show up for a free Shirley Temple movie at the community building. We’d receive a candy bar on our way out afterward. All this in courtesy of Shirley’s dad, who funded the building project of the new dam nearby. Favorite Outfit as a Child: My grandmother Nanny bought me an outfit with coat, gloves, and hat when I was seven years old. That was my first experience of dolling up. I looked like a miniature of my Nanny, for she always wore the same type of outfit when she drove to the bank and bought groceries afterward in the small cotton industry town in San Joaquin Valley of California.

Jean Ann wearing the dress she made with the money she earned from her summer job. 42


Favorite Childhood Book: My grandmother, Nanny, read Mother Goose to me. Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: At around five years old, I dreamed up this imaginary man that lived in my coat pocket. I talked to him and he went with me everywhere. My mother never made me feel silly to have the man, so the fantasy continued.

Jean Ann holding Eric, her youngest sibling, the summer before she became engaged to her husband.

My younger uncle, Uncle Tony (who later married and had eleven children), found out about my friend and suggested that he was hungry. Uncle Tony’s suggestion upset me to think I had failed to feed my friend. Uncle Tony calmed me by giving some of his bread to put in my pocket. From that time on, I fed my man bread at every meal. One day I told some children I had a little man in my pocket. They laughed and called me a baby, because there was no such thing as a man in my pocket. After they left, I went to my mother sobbing. Mom soothed me and said if I believed there was a little man in my pocket then there was one. My mother gave me the freedom to choose to continue the fantasy or not. Since the children made me feel childish and silly, I chose not to keep the little man that lived in my coat pocket. He disappeared as quietly as he had appeared. Childhood Hero: I’d have to say my dad was my childhood hero. When I was small, I told my dad I would grow up one day and marry him. He laughed and laughed, and said he was already married to my mom. Humph! I thought. I guess I hadn’t understood all that at the time. Who were the people in your childhood led you to Jesus?

Great Grandpa Dime and Nanny

Actually, a nun began my journey to find out who this Jesus was. She was a tiny lady, young, pretty, and fun. She even showed us her cut off hair under her head covering. One time, she gave a whole lesson on Jesus. After that, my friend Cindy and I would discuss these things to the point that we began a quest together to learn about Jesus. Later, at sixteen, my fiancé bought us a family Bible and we studied the scriptures. Almost two years after we married, we accepted Christ and were baptized together. 43


Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become? Yes, several things affected me as a future writer. My mother told me the story about the time I was lying on my back looking at a book with no pictures, but it was upside down. She said, “Jeannie Ann, what are you doing?” I said, “I’m reading.” Mom chuckled at the time, and then later after I grew up she told me that story. I wanted to read, but the problem came when I couldn’t seem to learn and so I repeated the third grade. I went through the phonics program and then I was able to read. By fourth grade, I was reading like the other students. It opened a whole new world for me. And you better believe I cherished the fact I could read and learn about life and how things worked. The school library was my favorite hangout in each level of school I attended.

Jean Ann in her wedding dress that she made in Home Economics class.

When I was fifteen, on Friday nights I used to read and write poetry by the light of a flashlight under the covers until two in the morning. As an adult, I took an entrance test for college and the test showed I had dyslexia. The many things I struggled with made sense then. I began learning the craft of writing eighteen years ago, and within two years, I published an article about my husband’s job as a high school resource officer, titled “Don’t Call Him Cop.” I went on to publish non-fiction for children and teens in various magazines, all the while writing book length fiction for the same age groups. About six years into my writing craft, I wrote my first short story about two parents who chose the street drug life over their children. My main editor at the time snatched the story up and paid me the most money I had ever earned in my writing endeavors. I realized my writing strength might be in short stories. I began my first upper middle grade novel sixteen years ago, as well as four other children’s books. The upper MG’s working title, CLAIRELEE A.D. (AFTER DENIAL), has placed Letter of Merit twice. CLAIRELEE A.D. has evolved over the years to a very different book with characters written out and new characters written in. The story is about Claire Lee, whose mother became ill after childbirth, and her need to find herself. She lets one lie slip, and before she knows it, she resorts to telling lies to get into the infamous Lavender Girls Club.

Jim and Jean at their first Christmas as a married couple. Jim had just gotten his first job as a police officer in the same town where her Nanny had 44 lived.


I must say CLAIRELEE A.D. has been my learning how-to-write-anovel story. Even if she never sees publication, it was time well spent, for I have loved the characters and the story for almost two decades. Recently, I’ve included true stories in my writing and publishing for devotionals and other anthology books. I’ve sold my work for the adult market for two years now. My dear friend, Pat, suggested I write a devotional book on the loss of my son Joshua who died by suicide. As I read her words of suggestion in an e-mail, I sensed a prompting from Lord God. My friend’s idea came as an answer to several years of prayer.

Jean Ann's family when Josh was 15.

This is how I could share with the world God’s mercies through the long journey over the loss of Joshua. The book is nearly completed and has a working title of GOD’S MERCIES AFTER SUICIDE: BLESSINGS WOVEN THROUGH A MOTHER’S HEART. Jean Ann's Writing: Jean Ann Williams has published over five-dozen articles and short stories for children and the adult magazines, including E-zines. You may read Jean Ann’s articles about the loss of her son Joshua by visiting the website OpenToHope. Also, see more of her writings about her journey of loss at Love Truth: Hope After Suicide where you can also find a list of grief sites, and a site about her writing and book reviews at http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/.

Jean Ann and her husband with their son, Joshua, at In celebration of mothers and grandmothers, Jean Ann’s story is featured in the book anthology Grandmothers, Mother and Me: his graduation.

Memories, Poetry and Good Food. Her article “Nanny and Me, Punkie Jean” is about her wonderful grandmother Nanny. The book came out in October and is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Last year, in an anthology Love is A Verb Devotional by Gary Chapman, her story “Great-grandmother, God and Me,” is about how God showed her she needed to change her heart and not that of her great-grandmother. You may order Love is A Verb Devotional at Amazon.

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The Lord blessed Jean Ann and her husband Jim with three children altogether, with Joshua already passed over to the Great Beyond at the age of twenty-five. They have thirteen grandchildren from their remaining two children, Jami, forty-one, and Jason, forty. The grandchildren’s ages span from eighteen-years-old to a newborn: A birth announcement from Jean Ann: Our son and his wife have a new baby girl (name forthcoming) born January 8th, 2013 at 12:35. This makes baby number eight for them and thirteen wonderful grandchildren for my husband and me. I call them our Baker's Dozen! God is soooo good! Jean Ann lives in a quaint valley of Southern Oregon with her husband of forty-two years and their twenty chickens, three doe goats, which include a newborn buckling, and Chloe the guard dog.

Jean Ann’s grandparents, Nanny and Papa.

You may read more about Jean Ann and her work at http://joshua-mom.blogspot.com/ and http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/. Follow this link to see the YouTube video of the interview with Jean Ann Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu FouV3MbPk Jean Ann Williams: Writer Close to God's Heart by Crystal Laine Miller at “When I was Just a Kid” blog.

Jean Ann and Jim with their daughter Jami’s oldest daughter Morgan at her graduation.

Joshua at his senior prom Many thanks to Jean Ann Williams and Crystal Laine Miller for sharing this inspiring interview with the Ruby for Women readers. Please visit Jean Ann at her blog, Love Truth: Hope after Suicide, and stop by Crystal’s blog, “When I was Just a Kid” and let her know you enjoyed reading her interview with Jean Ann Williams.

Jean Ann with her baby brother, Eric, who died as a direct result of the Iraq war. She is the oldest of nine children. 46


The Hammer that Dripped Blood by Lynn Mosher Standing over the blistering heat of the fire, as sweat trails down his dirty face, the smith fans the blazing flames with his bellows. As he finishes the hammer he is working on, he gives it a thorough check, making sure it will meet the critical eye of the centurion. As a smith for the Roman army, all his work goes into the hands of the soldiers. After the centurion picks up the ready tools from the smith and approves them, he sets out to deliver them to his soldiers. On his way, he gives the hammer to one of the best soldiers under his command. The soldier’s use of the hammer this day? Crucifixion duty. The soldier has endured the burden of this duty before. He hates this gruesome task. Under the strain of this assignment, he ambles his way to skull hill, better known as Golgotha, where he joins the centurion and the other three soldiers already there. Standing there chatting with them, he hears that three prisoners are coming to be crucified. One of the prisoners is his charge. He waits. Standing there, he realizes that what he is about to do is the antithesis of the weather: it is one of those breathtaking, spring days that warms and rejuvenates the soul. Rivulets of white stream across the azure sky. A gentle breeze distills the fragrance of the flowering blossoms into the air. Yet, impending gloom hangs in the air. A large, jeering crowd, intermingled with a great many mourners, moves toward the hill on the Via Dolorosa. Three men bent under the weight of their own crossbeam trudge their way up the hill. A short distance behind them is another man, whipped beyond recognition, stumbling with agonized effort every step of the way. So disfigured and injured that another man carries his crossbeam for him. This bloodied mess of a man now stands before the soldier. He wonders: Who is this man? What could he possibly have done to deserve this horrible beating? Surely, he wasn’t a soldier for he wears no hobnailed boots; he’s merely an ordinary sandaled man. Sweat beads up on the soldier’s forehead. His heart races. His tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth. The other soldiers, now finished crucifying their two prisoners, help tie the soldier’s prisoner to the crossbeam while the soldier readies his nail-spikes and his hammer. He bends down, steadies the nail in one hand and draws back his hammer in the other hand. 47


But before he can bring it down on the nail, he glances over at the prisoner. Peering at him, through the streaks of blood covering his face from the thorny crown twisted onto his head, are eyes of piercing kindness he has never seen before. The centurion yells the soldier’s name, startling him. “Get on with it!” The soldier turns his head away to focus on the nail. He forces himself to do the job he was ordered to do. His stomach churns and he feels like retching. Completing the nailing of this man to the crossbeam, he looks down to see that he is splattered with blood and his hammer drips with the red life of the man. The other soldiers fasten the man to the upright beam and the crucifixion is finished. The soldier looks up as he hears the man say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” The soldier realizes now who this man is. Jesus. This is Jesus, the one everyone is talking about. Forgive? How can He forgive me for this horrid act? He spins around as he hears the religious teachers and priests mocking this man on the cross. “He saved others, but he can’t even save himself! The King of Israel, is he? If he comes down from the cross right now, we will believe him! Let God rescue him now if he wants him, if he is the Son of God.” One of the other criminals hanging next to this man Jesus says, “If You are the Christ, then save Yourself and us.” But the other criminal rebukes him, “Don’t you even fear God as you’re dying? We surely deserve to die for what we’ve done, but this man? He hasn’t done anything wrong.” Turning to Jesus, he says, “Remember me when you enter your Kingdom.” “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” Bowing His head, Jesus says, “It is finished! Father, I commit My Spirit to You.” And He breathes out His last breath. “Surely, this was a righteous man,” says the centurion, shaking his head, and then solemnly orders the soldier to stand guard. Stand guard? I just want to get out of here. What have I done? So distraught that he cannot bear to look up at the naked body of this man on the cross, he lowers his eyes to the ground. He notices the bloody hammer still in his hand. He throws it down and backs away in horror. Shame overwhelms him. He falls to his knees in regret. 48


Another soldier picks up the hammer and tries to give it to him. “Here’s your hammer” is met only with silence and a stare. He won’t touch it. The next morning, the centurion finds the soldier dead. ~ The hammer that dripped blood? Had my name engraved on it. “Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away; Rising, He justified freely forever; One day He’s coming – O glorious day!” ~Thank You, Lord, for without Your suffering and death on the cross, I would have no resurrection joy! ~~In my joy, I agonized over this. I know you understand why.

Easter blessings, Lynn

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“It is Finished” by Lanette Kissel The disciples surely thought it was finished, that the world had gone insane. How could the Father allow this to happen? Was Jesus’ teaching all in vain? Both “Mary’s” surely thought it was finished, as they witnessed their worst fears, seeing the Man they both loved near death. They could hardly see Him through their tears. The high priests surely thought it was finished, their voices rising in a victory shout, as they watched their plan grow to fruition, thinking their competition had been wiped out. Pontius Pilate just wanted it finished. “To what crimes can this Man confess?” “Since I can find no fault with Him, I will simply wash my hands of this mess.” Judas’ conscience surely knew he was finished, as he regretted his actions too late. He had betrayed the only Son of God, and his name would earn history’s hate. The thief surely thought he was finished, receiving just punishment for his life of sin, until a single plea, “Lord, remember me”, his new home in paradise to win. The centurion surely thought, “We’re finished.” What is this wicked deed we have done? As the earth beneath his feet trembled, “Surely this Man was God’s Son.” Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” Yet it had only just begun. The Father and Son were reunited. The two deities again became one. Christ cried out, “It is finished.” But it was only just beginning. The apostles would continue his mission. Hearts and souls they would soon be winning. Satan’s power over us, it is finished, since Christ played the sacrificial Lamb’s part. Jesus gave His life for you and me. He’s become the focus of the Christian’s heart.

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The Twelve Oils of the Ancient Scriptures: Myrrh by Maria Greene Next to Frankincense, Myrrh is the most popular essential oil of the Bible and referenced more than any other oil in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is one of the oldest known medical records, the Ebers Papyrus, dating from the 16th century B.C. mentions Myrrh. In the ancient times Myrrh was considered a holy anointing oil and used as a fixative in every ointment and perfume, and still is today. It increases the longevity of the aroma of other fragrances with which it is combined. Myrrh was used to anoint kings by pouring the precious oil over their heads and letting it run down their bodies. One of the gifts the three Holy Men brought to baby Jesus was Myrrh. Besides more precious than gold, Myrrh was used during childbirth on the abdomen to ease the labor and also to seal the umbilical cord of the baby. Myrrh is highly antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antiinflammatory. The Egyptians used Myrrh for everything from birth to death, and also found it an effective insect repellent. The oil was commonly used for the embalming process of the dead. The Hebrews and other ancient people chewed the resin to help with diseases of the mouth and gums. The Romans also used it in their cooking to encourage appetite and bile production. The dried resin is burned as incense today, with an earthy grounding aroma. Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha, is of the Burceraceae family, a desert growing tree in North Africa and Somalia. The gum resin from the trunks and limbs is gathered and distilled. Other ancient uses have been for skin conditions such as chapped skin and wrinkles. It contains a very high level of sesquiterpenes, a class of compounds that stimulates the limbic system of the brain, the seat of emotions, and has direct effect on the hypothalamus, the master gland of the human body. Myrrh has been used to treat diabetes, cancer, hepatitis, fungal infections such as ringworm and eczema, tooth and gum infections, and stretch marks. Myrrh, 1-2 drops, can be applied on location or rubbed onto the soles of the feet. It can be inhaled, or diffused into the room, or be taken as a dietary supplement. 51


Any essential oil that is taken internally has to be of therapeutic grade for maximum effect that is 100% pure, organic, and distilled at a low temperature to maintain the healing properties of the oil molecules. Myrrh can be used as a conduit for meditation as its many layers of notes bring a deeper concentration. Applied to the wrists it is a great natural substitute for perfume. Essential oils are ancient healing tools that are finding a revival in modern times. That which God created is one of woman's best tools for healing. To learn more about therapeutic grade essential oils you can contact me at joyful7@gmail.com. I also run two blogs, http://greeneearthoriginals.blogspot.com, and http://greeneearthliving.blogspot.com

Maria Greene is the author of twenty-three historical romances and two novellas. She is a mixed media artist. Among other interests she loves to garden, eat healthy, read, and educate people about the health benefits of therapeutic grade essential oils. She lives in Florida by the white sandy beaches, where she is currently at work on a fantasy trilogy. To check out her art, log on to her blog: www.greeneearthoriginals.blogspot.com and for more info about the essential oils of the Bible, please contact her at joyful7@gmail.com . She also has a health blog: www.greeneearthliving.blogspot.com

www.greenearthoriginals.blogspot.com 52


Footprints in the Mud Raising Minions by Beth Brubaker “Chores?” I hear my darlings whine every morning since they could speak. “Why do we have to do chores all the time? Why can't we just have fun?” I look at them surprised. “Fun?” I asked as I mixed bread dough. “You know, fun - watching movies, playing computer games, having friends over to spend all day in our rooms without ever cracking open the door to the outside. Fun!” my tween daughter explained. “And no chores!” piped in my fifteen year-old son. The kids never see the wicked little twinkle in my eye nor my smirk. They do see me sigh heavily and gaze up at the ceiling in mock exasperation. “God gave me two children because He knew better than to give me three - there aren't enough chores to go around if I had more children - besides, we're Christians - we're not supposed to have fun. Don't you ever watch the news?” “No fun ever?” My daughter asked, picking up on my not-so-serious tone. I shook my head. “Nope. I'm supposed to raise you as my minions to do my bidding until you drop, tell you to pray for strength, then get you back up to finish the chores. Fun is not allowed - it's the Christian law of physics.” By this time, my son picked up on the joke (I always give him hints when I'm joking because he has Aspergers) and he decided to test me. “So what would happen if we did start having fun, Mom?” I shrug. “I'm not really sure since I've had absolutely no fun since I became a Christian. We'll probably be sucked down a sinkhole or worse - all of my home cooking will never turn out right again. We might have to eat out for the rest of our lives.” Both kids cheered. “Now see here!” I yell, pointing my mixing spoon at them. “That sounds like you're having fun and I will not have that in my house! You are my minions, and you will do as I say! Now go paint the house or something else that will build character!” I try to swat them with my spoon but they skitter out of the kitchen not even trying to stifle their laughter. 53


Brats. But our lives aren't what the news implies. We do have fun, sad to say. I just can't seem to get my minions under control. That's probably why God only gave me two of them - because we truly can't handle three. My husband and I would be outnumbered. And fun is catchy. The media is always showing Christians as either nut-balls spouting scripture to their dogs or so straight-laced and uptight that they can barely breathe. We strive to be the latter, but we think those news people used actors in their newscasts - having minions behave that well all the time means those Christians must have started training them while they were still in the embryonic state - which means I'll never catch up. I guess the flogging-with-wet-noodles technique of discipline just doesn't work - especially when they giggle whenever I threaten them with it. I could go the nut-ball route, but it looks like it takes a lot more energy than I can muster. And I still had to bake that bread. So I'll raise my not-so-little minions to be obedient workers, and teach them all the wonders of not having fun. But I've known these people since before they were born, and I know they'll be rebellious and have fun anyway. They might even get me to have a little fun too, because it really is contagious. Sigh.

Be sure to visit Beth at her blog, Footprints in the Mud, for more inspirational and humorous articles www.footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com

Visit Theresa Ceniccola, the Christian Mompreneur, at www.theresaceniccola.com 54


Fresh-as-Springtime Recipes from the kitchen of Katherine’s Corner

Quick Skillet Potatoes What You Need: • • • • • •

1 Tbsp. olive oil 1/2 tsp. Butter (or margarine) 1 lb. Potatoes (cleaned, peeled and thinly sliced) 2 Green onions (chopped, tops and bottoms) 1 1/2 tsp. Flour 1/4 tsp. Salt

• • • • •

1/4 tsp. Garlic powder 1/2 tsp. Black pepper Cup milk Mixing bowl Oven-safe skillet

Before you start - preheat oven to 350°. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl Let’s Make It! Add olive oil to skillet covering the inside bottom of the skillet by tilting the skillet back and forth until bottom is coated. Add a layer of potatoes and sprinkle half of the flour, salt, pepper, garlic and onion all over the potatoes, dab with bits of butter. Start another layer with the remaining potatoes and repeat. Pour milk over the potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from stove top and place in oven and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot. Serves 4 *Katie’s Tid Bits: Sprinkle with parmesan cheese when it comes out of the oven, or sprinkle with a bit of parsley, more green onions or even crumbled bacon. 55


Sugar-Free Dairy-Free Croissants Here’s a yummy croissant recipe for those with food restrictions. It is a time consuming recipe but well worth the effort. Add your favorite jam or marmalade or just add some butter or margarine. What You Need: • 6-1/4 to 7 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little for dusting your surface and rolling pin) • 1/2 cup Splenda (or granulated sugar substitute or sugar) • 1 1/4 oz. package active dry yeast • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt • 2 Cups plus 1 tablespoon almond milk (divided) • 1/4 Cup water • 1 Cup unsalted butter (cold and cubed) • 1 Tbsp. olive oil • 1 Large egg • Nonstick cooking spray • Large Bowl

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Large bowl Small bowl Tea Towel Wax paper Rolling pin Basting brush Pizza cutter Plastic wrap 2 Baking sheets Wire cooling rack Small saucepan Cooking thermometer Electric mixer

Before You Start: This recipe requires refrigeration overnight. Lightly flour a clean work area (for turning your dough), oil the bottom and inside of large bowl with olive oil and set aside Let’s Make It! In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, sugar substitute, yeast and salt. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk and the water, heat over medium low heat to 120°-130° Do Not boil. Add to the dry ingredients and using electric mixer beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Mix in just enough of the remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn the dough onto the floured surface; knead using your hands and knuckles until smooth and elastic, (about 6-8 minutes). Place in olive oil prepared bowl, turning once with olive oil coated on top. Cover with tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours.) While the dough is rising in a small bowl beat butter, on medium speed until softened but still cold. Spread half of the butter into a 10-in. x 9-in. rectangle on a piece of waxed paper. Cover with waxed paper and refrigerate. Repeat with remaining butter. Punch dough down gently (you are not boxing). Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into two pieces. Roll one piece into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Remove top sheet from butter; invert over two-thirds of dough. Remove other sheet. Fold unbuttered dough over butter. Fold other side over top. Roll out into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Fold into thirds. Repeat rolling and folding twice. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Repeat with remaining dough and butter. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 25-in. x 5-in. rectangle. Cut into 5-in. square pieces. Cut each square diagonally in half, forming two triangles. Roll up triangles from the wide end and place pointed side down 2 in. apart on sprayed baking sheets. Curve ends down to form crescent shape. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. In a small bowl, beat egg with remaining milk. Using a basting brush, brush over the croissants. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool on wire racks Makes about 15-18 56


The Happy Housewife by Elizabeth Baker Chapter Eight: If Your Husband’s Not a Christian As you have probably guessed by now, my husband is a Christian. I praise God with a grateful heart for that fact, for it wasn’t so much that I married a Christian, but that I married a soldier boy I loved and his Christianity was only frosting on the cake. I can remember at the age of 13 asking the Lord to send me the right man when it came time because I had seen many unhappy marriages and knew I could never judge for myself. Besides, how could I control who I fell in love with? Though this was a serious prayer and I have vividly remembered it, I really didn’t give the subject much thought. I did not know how to look in God’s Word for leading. I did not know how to base prayer on the written promises of God. I did not know how to communicate with the Spirit. I understood almost nothing about faith. But, praise God, He does not deal with us according to what we do not know. It is how we respond to what we do know that counts. I knew I could not choose a mate alone. I asked God for help and He gave it. God was gracious to lead me to someone so early in life. At times I wonder where I would have ended up had I not married at sixteen. I don’t think I really want to know. I have a hunch it would not be a pretty picture. Though I cannot write on unsaved husbands from my own marriage experience, I can give you what the Bible has to say and what I have learned from observing firsthand some who have been trapped in this pit. I grew up in a split home. My father was unsaved and my mother a Christian. I know the agony such a situation can cause, especially when the man is deep in sin or violent in nature. I remember all too well the nights we would hide all the sharp things in the house so that when Daddy did come home the possibility of his killing everyone would be reduced. 57


The Best Solution The first and most emphatic thing the Bible says about the Christian / non-Christian marriage is “don’t.” God’s people have always been forbidden intermarriage with those who do not follow the living God (Deuteronomy 7:3-4; 2 Corinthians 6:14). Interfaith marriage was one of the main sticks of dynamite that destroyed Israel and sent her people into exile. A Christian woman who marries an unsaved man is throwing herself open to more sorrow than could be told by human tongue. She may love her man with a pure strong love, but he will always be to her as a yearning need that is never satisfied. As an empty ragged hole someone tore in her life. As an open sore that never really heals. And the more she loves him, the worse it will hurt. For a Christian woman to marry an unsaved man is sin. It is directly against the will and specific command of God. But, what if the mistake has already been made? Does God say, “Well, kid, you blew it. It’s your fault, now live with it.” No, God’s cares about us and He does provide answers, even though we will surely reap what we have sown. If the Holy Spirit pricked your heart and gave you guilt feelings over the one you intended to marry because you knew it was against God’s command, your first step is to follow “A” and admit that what you did was sin. Perhaps you reasoned that you could more easily win him after marriage or that he was a kind, moral man, so his lack of salvation didn’t matter. Or, maybe you gave God the excuse, “But I love him.” To know God’s commands and deliberately go against them is sin no matter what your motive or reasoning. There is no way to walk, to move forward in the Christian life, when you are stepping on the false foundation of unconfessed sin. Even if you married several years before your own conversion, your first step is to confess every known sin to the Master. Every sin. That is one of the basic principles of the Christian walk that cannot be overlooked. After you have admitted your sin, don’t sit there and wallow in shame. Believe that God forgives you as He has freely promised again and again in His Word. Accept that fact. Depend on it. Read 1 John 1:9 over and over. Memorize it. 58


When we confess every known sin and ask His forgiveness for each one, we stand before God as righteous and as pure as Jesus Christ Himself, for it is truly His righteousness that clothes us (Galatians 3:27). We may boldly come before God Almighty and say, “Father” (Hebrews 4:16). There is Hope There are many examples of family salvation in our Bible—instances of whole families being saved from physical or spiritual destruction by the faithfulness of one family member. Noah, Rahab, and the Philippian jailor, are some of these.

“There are many examples of family salvation in our Bible—instances of whole families being saved from physical or spiritual destruction by the faithfulness of one family member. Noah, Rahab, and the Philippian jailor, are some of these.”

The sixth chapter of Genesis records that at one point in history the earth became so exceedingly wicked that God destroyed much of His creation with a great flood. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (v.8). Noah was a just man . . . Noah walked with God” (v. 9). There is no mention of his sons being just nor of his wife walking with God nor of his daughter-in-laws being righteous. Noah is the only one mentioned as righteous. Yet, when God gave instructions as to who would be permitted inside the ark, He included Noah’s wife, his sons and his son’s wives (v. 18). Rahab was a prostitute who had a house built on top of the mighty walls that surrounded Jericho (Joshua 2:6). When the spies from Israel crept into the city, she helped them and gave this testimony, “The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath.” She made a deal with the spies to save herself and her family alive when they took the city. She risked her life to help the spies and they agreed to show her mercy. When the Israelite army actually marched against the city, Rahab took all her family into her own house on top of the wall and waited for deliverance. God shook the walls of Jericho and they collapsed like so many toy blocks. It was a miracle from His hand. When the dust settled and the battle was over, the entire great wall was lying flat. All, that is, except the section on which the house of Rahab stood, with her and her family safe inside. Rahab had made a deal with the spies, but she and her family were saved by an act of God Himself. Acts 16:22-40 records the conversion of a man the Bible identifies only as the Philippian jailor. This man saw the mighty acts of God and, trembling, he fell down at the feet of Paul and Silas asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 59


Their answer was quick and to the point. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” There is no indication that Paul and Silas had met the jailor’s family, much less ever preached to them. Yet, they assured the jailor that not only he himself would be saved but also his family. Surely the method of salvation for the jailor was the same as the method for his family, “Believe on the Lord.” Each member had to believe for himself, but by including the jailor’s family in his statement, Paul seems to be asserting his own faith that if the jailor would believe, his family would follow. It is not my intention to say that a woman can be saved on behalf of her husband. To do that would be against Scripture, which holds each individual accountable for his own sins. We cannot be saved for others, but we can claim God’s willingness to save them. We can claim His ability to hear and answer our prayers concerning them. We can claim His ability to increase their faith, to remove the veil with which Satan blinds them so they might see the truth, to shake things they now trust in and show them as false. We can claim God’s ability to work in their lives. The following section may sound harsh to modern ears. Much of what I have to share is in direct opposition to our concepts of standing up for our rights and being independent. But while it is true that we live in a very different culture than Bible times, the principles of holy living don’t change from generation to generation. These principles not only lead to holiness but to happiness when applied with wisdom and the strength of the Spirit. However, the principles of learning to love as Jesus loved are neither instant nor without pain. Remember that while God is far more interested in your character than in your comfort, He has regard for your safety and eventual joy. And, He will provide the strength to do what He calls you to do one moment at a time as you lean on Him.

“. . . while it is true that we live in a very different culture than Bible times, the principles of holy living don’t change from generation to generation. These principles not only lead to holiness but to happiness when applied with wisdom and the strength of the Spirit.”

How to Win a Husband There is no more urgent task for the Christian wife than that of winning her lost husband to the Lord .There is no sacrifice she could make for her children that would mean more to them than introducing their daddy to Jesus. There is not another thing on earth—not financial security, not a paid-up mortgage, not life-long youthfulness, nothing—that would add stability to her home as much as winning the man she loves to the family of God. 60


But how can she do this? Where does she begin? As always, we begin with the instruction of the Word and with following Jesus one day at a time. One of the first instructions given to Christians in all situations is to pray (I Thessalonians 5:17; Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18). Pray! Do it daily, and more (Psalm 55:17) and more. Pray! Don’t give up (Luke 18:1-8). Perhaps you have been praying and have seen no visible results from your prayers. You are near the brink of hopelessness. Don’t despair. Your prayers may have done more to scrape away the callous layers of your man’s heart than you know.

“Perhaps you have been praying and have seen no visible results from your prayers. You are near the brink of hopelessness. Don’t despair. Your prayers may have done more to scrape away the callous layers of your man’s heart than you know.”

It is also possible that certain things are interfering with your prayers. It would be good to take a spiritual check-up and see if this might not be the case. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Notice, the prayer that “avails much” is a “fervent” prayer. Fervent is defined in the dictionary as “having great warmth and earnestness of feeling, burning, glowing.” Could these words be used to describe the kind of praying you have been offering for your husband? Why do you want him to be saved, anyway? Is it because he is lost, or because you think life would be easier for you if he went to church and did the “right” things? It is easy to grow cold when you’re trapped in a difficult marriage. It is easy to wrap ourselves in a blanket of self-pity and let our prayers come more out of habit or duty than from a heart of love. Loving someone when you don’t feel loved in return is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks a Christian is ever called to do. But think about it, and let these words sink into your heart: the man who sleeps beside you each night will be separated from you forever and will spend all ages in hell unless he comes to know Jesus Christ. If the Spirit convicts you of having prayed from wrong motives or with wrong attitudes, ask Him to give you a compassionate heart and to revive your love that has grown cold. He will do these things for you if you trust Him to. An effective prayer must also be one that comes from a “righteous” person. Willful, unconfessed sin in the life of a Christian can block prayer. 61


Before we begin to pray for our husbands we should let the Spirit examine our hearts and reveal to us any sins He may find. We can confess each one of these and rest assured that forgiveness is ours. The Apostle Peter discussed the specific problem of a Christian wife and an unsaved husband (evidently this was a problem even in the early days of the Church). Peter gives wives the same instructions found all through the Bible, and the theme is obedience. “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear [of the Lord]” (I Peter 3:1-2). Notice how closely accepting the authority of our husband is linked to winning him. There are no ifs or buts to that statement. It does not say “Accept his authority, if you agree with what he says.” It does not say “Accept his authority, only when he is just and kind.” We are to obey our husbands just as we would obey Christ Himself (Ephesians 5:22-23). Obey him when he is right. Obey him when he is wrong. Obey him with a smile and a cheerful spirit and consider it a service to the Lord, for indeed that is what it is. The ONLY exception to this rule is if he should ask you to do something that is in direct violation to God’s Word (Acts 4:19; 5:29). Of course, that also includes the laws of the land for the Bible says we must obey them (Hebrews 13:17).

Never Nag Another point Peter makes is that these husbands may be won without a word being said. This does not mean that you cannot verbally express your opinion or witness to your husband, for later in the chapter we read “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15-16 NIV).

“Remember, you are not trying to bring your husband into the church. At this point, the organized church has little or nothing to do with it. When salvation is accomplished, church attendance will follow as a natural chain of events.”

When Peter refers to winning husbands without talk, he certainly had reference to such things as nagging. Your many words will never force your husband into the kingdom. They will more likely drive him from it. Remember, you are not trying to bring your husband into the church. At this point, the organized church has little or nothing to do with it. When salvation is accomplished, church attendance will follow as a natural chain of events. 62


If your husband notices you are not upset when the newscasts say the world is coming apart at the seams, tell him why you don’t worry. If he questions why you don’t yell at the children anymore, tell him it is because of Jesus. If your new obedience puzzles him, feel free to tell him you are following the instructions of the Bible. But never under any conditions nag or shame your husband concerning the Gospel. After telling us what not to do, Peter gives something positive we should do: “[they] may be won . . . by observing the chaste and reverent behavior of their wives.” Your husband will not be won by your many words but by your visible behavior.

“When working toward the salvation of your husband, your main job will be working on yourself: your honesty, your attitude, your patience. These are the things that God says He will use to bring your husband into the kingdom.”

How has your behavior been this week? Mine was slipping. Monday I caught myself screaming at my four-year-old. And I know the reason I was slipping. I had signed a contract agreeing to produce the final script of this book by May. Between the pressure of housework, two preschoolers under foot, spring colds, study, and the tedious job of devoting many hours each week to writing, my schedule got so hectic that I often skipped my daily time with the Master. I had been studying much about Jesus, but I’d had little time to communicate with Jesus, and there is all the difference in the world between those two things. When working toward the salvation of your husband, your main job will be working on yourself: your honesty, your attitude, your patience. These are the things that God says He will use to bring your husband into the kingdom. To get honesty, correct attitude, and patience, you must go to God. Daily communication with the Almighty will give you the right behavior, and right behavior can win your husband. This should be a two-way communication. Pray and talk to God; then pick up your Bible and let God talk to you.

Expect Negative Reactions While you wait for the answer to your prayer, there are some things you can depend on the devil to do. He is not about to give up your husband without a fight. When you get serious with God about bringing your husband into His kingdom, your domestic and spiritual life will almost certainly get worse or even reach a crisis.

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The devil will try his best to disrupt your behavior, to make you irritable; to show your husband’s every fault, and make your behavior such as could never demonstrate the power of God. And your Father will probably allow such trial because if you let Him remain in control, the trial will strengthen your faith, demonstrate God’s ability to handle the situation, and give you opportunity for growth. As God begins to deal with your husband and the Holy Spirit convicts him of sin and strips away the callous layers of his conscience, he will probably become increasingly difficult to live with. It is painful to have his sin exposed. It hurts his pride to realize his dependence on God. It deprives him of peace when he comes face to face with the prospects of hell. God may have to deal severely with your husband for months or even years before he will be brought to his knees and acknowledge the Almighty. Revenge is a basic instinct of the flesh. Your husband’s first reaction to this pain will probably be to hurt back. Since he can’t get at God, his first target for revenge may well be you. But when times get rough (and they will!), there is comfort and strength in the written promises of God—if you will only be brave enough to believe them. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13). One of the things your husband will probably find most irritating is your Christianity. Much unpleasantness can be avoided by giving place to his anger. If he gripes about your saying prayers after the lights are turned out at night, change your prayer time to earlier in the day.

“If seeing you with an open Bible on your lap makes him angry time your studies for when he is away from home. Don’t even let meetings at church or extra time at work or civic clubs or time with friends drive a wedge in your marriage and lessen the chances of him seeing the grace of Jesus in you.”

If seeing you with an open Bible on your lap makes him angry time your studies for when he is away from home. Don’t even let meetings at church or extra time at work or civic clubs or time with friends drive a wedge in your marriage and lessen the chances of him seeing the grace of Jesus in you. Remember, it takes two to make a fight. It also takes two to make peace. You do not have total control of either the peace or the anger. However, you do have a part to play—a big one. 64


When advising others about their responsibility for peace, Paul said, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).

Beyond recovery? Are some situations so bad that a Christian wife is justified in leaving her husband? This world is degenerating at an alarming rate. Behavior that was once unquestionably evil is now considered “natural” in some segments of our society. Adultery, homosexuality, excessive drinking, drug abuse, pornography, are now accepted by some as “doing your own thing” or “having fun.” Is a woman compelled to remain with her husband no matter how degrading, unholy or dangerous the situation is? I believe the biblical answer is “no.” However, if she does separate from her husband, she may not marry as long as her husband lives. A woman who has already divorced and remarried should remain with her second husband. This situation is covered by I Chronicles 7:1724, where we are told to remain in the same legal position we held before we became His followers. But, if a woman is separated, it is best that she remain single. Any woman with an unsaved husband has a difficult path. But Jesus also knew how it felt to have those He loved turn Him away. “He came to His own and His own did not receive Him” (I John 1:11). Jesus’ own nation rejected Him. So did his family. Mary and Joseph had at least six children of their own after Jesus was born (Mark 6:3). These were the half-brothers of Jesus, because the Father of Jesus was the Spirit of God, not Joseph. Jesus no doubt loved His earthly family, but those who had grown up in the same house with Him rejected Him. When Jesus, “did not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him.” His brothers told Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works You are doing. . . Show Yourself to the world.”

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They knew the Jews wanted to kill Him for this was common knowledge. Yet, they put forth this dangerous idea. Why? The Bible tells us, “For even His brothers did not believe Him.” (John 7:3-5). Jesus told one of His would-be followers, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58). There was nowhere on earth that Jesus could call home and feel welcome at that point in time. No place to go when His feet were blistered by the endless dusty roads and His heart was broken by the desperate need of the thronging masses. No place to go when He was weary and say, “Here I can rest; they will understand.” No place to call home. All the years of His earthly ministry Jesus walked before His brothers, living a sinless life to perfection, but they did not turn from their unbelieving ways. They did not accept His teaching nor welcome His efforts in their behalf. Yet, after Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and returned to His Father in heaven, we find His brothers and His mother together with the apostles in the upper room waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, as Jesus had said He would (Acts 1:15). His brothers believed. It is likely that His earthly brothers James and Jude wrote books bearing their names in our New Testament. Our resurrected Lord told the church at Pergamos, “I know . . .where you dwell” (Revelation 2:13). Thank God! He still knows where we live and what we face each day.

The Happy Housewife is available from Amazon, and you can find more of Elizabeth’s books on her website at www.elizabethbakerbooks.com

“All the years of His earthly ministry Jesus walked before His brothers, living a sinless life to perfection, but they did not turn from their unbelieving ways. They did not accept His teaching nor welcome His efforts in their behalf. Yet, after Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and returned to His Father in heaven . . . His brothers believed.”

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Quote Maze Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

Answer Key on page 89.

www.booksbyamanda.com 67


New Equation Search Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

Answer Key on page 90.

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Maritza Bonilla, Independent Velata Star Director Visit my website www.themeltingwarmer.com or my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/themeltingwarmer 702-738-6901 68


A Work of Art? by Keith Wallis “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 2 v19 Adam: Great job, what is it? God: That’s a creation, that’s what it is! Designed for purpose, and specially adapted for its environment, absolutely unique. Adam: But it’s gangly and out of scale – looks like the paper slipped in the photo-copier. Stretched to the point of ridicule, or should that be ‘reticule’. God: As I said it was designed for purpose and ….er…. horticulture. Adam: A strong wind would blow it over, it’ll need guy ropes! God: Nope, it can widen its supports to give it stability a bigger ’footprint’. It won’t need to evolve either ‘cos it’s taller than all its fellows. Adam: Hope it doesn’t get an itchy head. God: Ha, thought of that – it just rubs it against a tree. Adam: It’ll have to be a tall tree! God: That’s why I designed it that way you Philistine. Adam: Ok, it’s not a design – it’s a work of art. God: Thank you. Adam: I was thinking an ‘abstract’……No, no, maybe more like….. Surrealist! God: There’s a limit to how inventive you can be with the raw material of four legs, a body, a head and a tail, you know! Maybe the tail is too much – I’ll make it shorter. OK, what are you going to call this invention of mine then – I said you could name it. Adam: I was thinking ‘Gerry’ as in Gerry built. God: Come on, be fair - it deserves better than that. Adam: Alright – something as unique as its shape – how about “Giraffe”? God: Giraffe, yes that sounds about right, I like that. Shall we move on to the next one – now this one has two teeth that sort of surf out either side of its nose? Adam: Oh no, you’ve got that distortion thing going again. And those ears are enormous……………… 69


The Distance (for Connor) by Keith Wallis

I wonder if the distance holds the wonders of its promise, if the crawl toward its hiding place can draw me to its maw. Or if bruised and bloody-kneed I find within its hidden grace a troubled soul and in disguise a yesterday. Tomorrow holds no favour, no miracle to change the past, while earth binds me to its bosom I wait for heaven’s grasp. For heaven has no walking frames within its open arms and praising lips will open where now they are stuck fast.

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A Contrast in Greatness by Sharon L. Patterson

“That was a great party! ”What a great dinner!”

The anticipated story left our ears at peaked readiness. Forty-five minutes later, we were still hungering for more of the incredulous details.

“Wasn’t he a great speaker?” The word great…we use it to describe just about anything we find particularly significant, don’t we? I know I do. But a few years ago, I was absolutely astounded by a lesson I learned about greatness. It has stayed with me to this day. I recount it whenever presented with an opportunity. Is now good for you?

As he told of a secret code tapped on filthy walls of his three foot cell which were his only means of communication with other prisoners, we guests became vicarious participants in the intense struggles he faced daily. We understood the necessity for a source greater than his fiercely determined will to survive. He had found it and was sharing it with us…a simple but profound faith in God.

The occasion was the final event of a military conference my husband and I were attending. We always looked forward to it prior to loading the car with our bags and heading home.

His faith grew and prayer deepened during inhumane torture sessions by his enemies. He did more than endure.

This time, it would be more than something we looked forward to, it would be something we would be hard pressed to ever forget.

He even overcame, by God’s grace, the desire to take revenge. His testimony shook tears loose from even the most seasoned veterans present.

There were two guests listed on that Sunday morning’s prayer breakfast program. The first was a distinguished former Air Force pilot, a highly decorated general whose credentials invite a lengthy introduction.

When he finished, we stood to applaud giving an ovation not only to the hero Robin Risner but to Almighty God who had filled that hellish prison with his awesome glory.

The main intrigue of his biographical sketch concerned the seven and a half years, ace flier Robin Risner had been held prisoner by the Viet Cong after they had so ungraciously shot him down for a second time over North Vietnam.

It was not a short standing ovation! After seemingly endless applause, we sat down for the brief introduction to our next guest. His credentials did not take long.

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His name was Andy Casteel, a twenty year old young man who worked with younger children as a special assistant to the principal of a local Christian school. He also had Down’s syndrome.

It was a sobering moment. When he finished, we were too overwhelmed to look up at one another. If we had, I honestly think that there would have been outbursts of wailing.

We had barely recovered our composure from the tempest of emotions released by Robin’s story when Andy took the platform. Few of us in the crowd could have guessed what we were about to experience.

And, I am certain there was not a person present who, at that precise second, did not ask God’s forgiveness for ever giving the excuse, “I can’t” anytime in our lives.

There stood Andy, head meekly bowed, hands gently folded, shyly waiting for his cue. Andy’s father, who had introduced him, walked over to a well-used cassette recorder, and turned on the music. As we heard the first notes of the “Lord’s Prayer”, Andy began signing the words being sung on the cassette tape. There was what I can only describe as a “holy stillness” as Andy performed for us. For three minutes, he shared the greatest skill he had ever mastered with nothing less than all of his heart. We were privileged for the second time that morning to tangibly witness the glory of God.

It was difficult to distinguish Andy’s performance from what was obviously a touch of God’s love poured through his servant’s fingers and expressions on his face. We had just seen a great performance that was the result of an intimacy with God which, I dare say, few of us Christians have been privileged to experience. As we stood for yet another lengthy ovation, no one spoke about which presentation had been the most impressive or the greatest. There was no need to. Two guests; two incredible men imprisoned by circumstances beyond their control and tested by adversity; two Christians of different abilities using what each had been given to maximum capacity…it was a contrast in greatness with no comparison.

Ruby Pearls by Beth Brubaker

April 30th is Hairstylist Day! Spend time with your kids making up fun and funky new hairdos! “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two big jumps.” ~ David Lloyd George 72


More Family Favorite Recipes from the Kitchen of Katherine’s Corner

Caprese Salad This is my version of Caprese salad also known as Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Salad. What You Need: • • • • • • • •

1/2 Lb. fresh mozzarella cheese (thick slices) 3 Large red tomatoes (thick slices) 1 cup fresh basil leaves Salt and ground black pepper (to taste) 3 green onions, tops only (chopped) 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar Serving plate

Let’s Make It Alternate a slice of cheese and a tomato slice on your plate overlapping a little as you go along and continue until all tomato and cheese is on the plate. You can get fancy here and do it in a circle or in a shape that fits your serving plate. Sprinkle fresh basil leaves all over, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle (hmm I’m using that word a lot) green onions over the top. Just before serving, drizzle (Aha! not sprinkle) the olive oil and balsamic vinegar all over the top. Note, serve immediately or you will end up with soggy salad. Serves 4 Katie’s Tid Bits: Make it authentic and use 3 tablespoons of drained capers instead of the green onions and omit the balsamic vinegar.

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Fried Grits We love grits! We usually eat them for breakfast with butter, salt, and pepper and an egg (maybe bacon, too). But this grits recipe has a little twist and it is oh so easy (and I mean easy) to prepare. Enjoy it as a side dish with anything, breakfast, lunch or dinner. This recipe needs to be refrigerated overnight so it is best to plan ahead for this one. What you need: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Grits (see directions for enough to serve four) ½ Cup milk 1 Egg 1 Cup flour 1/4 tsp. salt 3/4 tsp. Black pepper 1/4 tsp. garlic powder Pie plate (or shallow dish) sprayed with nonstick cooking spray ¾ Cup olive oil Frying pan Paper towel lined plate Two bowls Whisk Slotted spoon

Before You Start: Prepare grits according to directions pour into prepared pie plate, cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours) Let’s Make It! Remove grits from refrigerator and slice grits in pie plate into thin wedges. In a bowl whisk together egg and milk. In the second bowl add flour, garlic, pepper and salt. Heat oil in frying pan over medium high heat. Lightly coat each wedge in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, and then in flour again. Place into hot oil and cook turning carefully while cooking to make sure all sides are golden brown. Remove from oil using slotted spoon and place on paper towel lined plate. Continue until all wedges have been cooked. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serves 4-6 Katie’s Tid Bits * Add your choice of seasonings and extra ingredients. You can even try layering the grits with chopped ham or shrimp, or stir through some shredded cheese and herbs all before you refrigerate. 74


WINTER OF MY… (a cautionary true life tale) by Rhea Riddle Discontent, certainly that would name it, perhaps in a shallow way. A restless winter, for sure! Couch lust season? No, couch disgust! Never thought I would say it. My place of solace, comfort, stress reliever, so many good things it is. But the last two months it has proven to be a rust-red, dark green, western motif prison. Following our Dr.’s advice of course, we took the flu shot in the fall for precaution as most seniors do now-a-days. All was well until the first week in January 2013 (I’ve mentioned this before, but to think I would be living in this year seemed like science fiction to me as a child). That is when my husband came down with the flu symptoms and all that indicates. I nursed him back to good health in about four or five days. Ladies you understand what all this implies; men do sickness to perfection! It was a slight case of the flu but an epic trauma for him. As he healed that week-end, I began to have some strange goings on myself. Constant running nose, cough, sore throat, I struggled, but bravely carried on until three days later the fever began; that is when my sofa, my close friend became even closer. This wasn’t a stay in bed occasion, because of the flu shot I’m sure, but a couch hugging one. It drug on; no one came in our house. It was just me, my hubby, and Fox news. Just as I was beginning to feel resentful I had a couple of good days. Two days without fever so I went out; carried on my business, and oh, surprise! The whole thing came back, and it was “couch time” again. The details, ugh…! This went on for another week, fever, no fever, pure yuck, But I must say no racking body aches, due again to the previously mentioned shot (please, do take it)! At the end of about two and a half weeks I felt well again, so off to the food pantry I went to do my duty, while there I began to have strange inklings that something was amiss! By the time I got home the second phase had started, and the virus that has followed this flu in so many cases had found me. Down on the couch again, this took another week to run its course amid pity parties, crying jags, a little temper, and lots of running; my lower half rocked and later my top half rolled! On it went! I had every same symptom my husband had, his lasting a day or two at a time, whereas mine went on for eons! I saw the Dr. twice, along with phone calls and several prescriptions. During it all; my couch was faithful, ‘though seeming to draw me there and hold me to it! Three weeks dragged to an end, and a few days into the fourth week all of my maladies turned me loose. I was free. Thank you Lord for answered prayer, I really never doubted you. 75


By now, it is February, a new month, a new outlook! The second night after my recovery my husband went to get something in the dark house and forgot there were three steps (we have two steps in another place) so he missed the bottom, and down, he went hitting the wall and the doorway, knocking a china plate to its death! He was ok, just surprised that his head wasn’t bleeding (trying to distract me from the plate). Back to bed we went; all was well. As I have mentioned several times before, “I know we have become one!” God meant it to be that way, so we have, almost literally. Three nights later, in the dark, I went down the same three steps thinking they were only two, and you guessed it! The next morning I was to have a biopsy on a spot previously found on my left leg, so I, with hubby’s help, hobbled to the dr.’s office for that visit, and then hobbled into the clinic next door for an x-ray on the right foot; it was twisted, back to the couch for two more days. Arrrg… The foot finally healed so I could safely walk on it without the walker, but to this day, it still hurts. Sometime I am gimpy and grumpy, but I am trying. I had a few good days, family visited for two of them and life was getting normal. Celebrated my 76th birthday, felt no older than my mind says I am, but that shall remain a secret! Then, came Monday of this week and back for outpatient surgery I go. Yes it was a squamous-cell cancer, not to fret he reassured me, they seldom spread, and the dr. said it looked clean underneath, but he ordered more testing to make sure. I don’t get concerned over such things; I just worry “with” them from the reclining position on my couch, of course. Now this leg is up again for two or so more days! And here I am propped up in my bed, haven’t made it to the couch yet, spilling my guts to a captive audience, or maybe not! The original dressing gets to come off after a while, and my husband will clean and re-bandage it for me; I will milk it for all it’s worth (just being truthful) and be waited on hand and foot until I get tired of it, and then back to my sofa I will go. Our relationship shall continue, “prison, a prisoner” for a day or two more, then, one way or another, I’m breaking out! In all of this, I thank God for my patient, forbearing husband, the helper that he is, and that he still loves me through it all, and thanks to our daughter our encourager and cheerleader who returned after the contagion settled. I thank God for the ending of THIS winter, which will soon be drawing near, although there is an ice storm due tonight. I should not forget Kroger in my thanksgiving; the roasted chicken, and all of their other pre-made goodies! Looking forward to the day my sofa will once again be my friend, and I will be free to sit or stand elsewhere if I choose! So, what would you call my winter? Oh well…I shall be of good cheer! Spring is coming! God is good! 76


He Knows by Lanette Kissel He is aware of the tiniest sparrow, knows when it falls from the sky. He knows the situations which sadden me, that which can make me cry. Knows there are times my faith falters, times when I have to question why. He knows each and every single strand of hair upon my head. He knows the troubles I encounter, worries that plague me, and the words that have gone unsaid. Knows the situations which frighten me, that which fills my heart with dread. He knows the day, the hour, the minute when I am destined to leave this place, to enter into my heavenly home where I will finally see His face. And I know the blessings of knowing Him, that He fills my life with His grace. (Originally published in The Shepherd Sept. 2011 issue)

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Values by Lanette Kissel We can have the blessings of living in a land of milk and honey, that have nothing to do with the accumulation of money. There are values that cannot be measured in a dollar amount. Love of God and country, home and family, are the values that count. If we find that heavenly values with our earthly ones collide‌ Remember that what we really need our Father in Heaven will provide. (Originally published in Silver Wings Nov/Dec 2010)

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“I’ll have a Little More of Your Salt, Please” Please” by Sharon L. Patterson

“You are the salt of the earth…” Matthew 5:13 a Said the judge in his court at the end of the case, to the Christian lawyer adjusting his papers in place: “The law has lost clarity in the land, It’s become weak, watered-down and bland. No one desires justice, just to win at any cost. No wonder my faith in it is lost.” “Base it on God’s truth from the principles of Judaism and Christianity? You’re saying that’s what you think will bring back sanity?” After consideration, the judge replied, “I’ll take a little more of your salt, if you please!” “Certainly,” said the Christian lawyer smiling with ease. To the Christian girl in her cubicle at work, Said Mandy who sat to the left, herself a fellow clerk, “I work so hard but it seems I just stay behind… Everything in my life feels like I’m in a bind. You leave and your desk is clean of its piles, no mess. You work beside me and seldom display stress! You trust WHO To help you daily in all you do? Perhaps I will take a little more of your salt, please!” “Take all you want, I’ve got plenty,” said Mandy with ease. “He’s left me for someone else again!” She said impassioned to her Christian friend. “No need for a marriage contract,” that’s what I said. “All we need is to share life, an apartment and the same bed.” “You’ve been married 20 years to just one man. You guys work through things when life hits the fan. Maybe there’s something to that band And the contract you both made on which you stand. Hmm, could I have a little more of your salt, if you please?” “Absolutely,” said her Christian friend with ease. 79


The leader stood puzzled over the decision he faced, Then turned to his Christian assistant he’d just put in place. “I’ve done everything I thought was the right thing to do, but the decisions based on my thoughts have all fallen through. Your record is why I’ve brought you here. It is quite impressive without a smear. You are fearless when it comes to taking a stand. I hear you always pray over each and every plan. I guess I need some of your salt, if you please.” “It’s my pleasure to give it to you, sir!” said his assistant with ease. The prisoner, disbelieving, turned to the chaplain and questioned, “I don’t know if I believe what you said in that session. I have stolen, schemed and had my way. This is the second time I’ve come here to stay. One more time, and I’m here for good.” You said you were once here, if that is what I understood. But you said Jesus changed what happened to you next. Sorry, Dude, but I’m perplexed. Maybe I need some of your salt, if you please.” “Certainly! Kneel with me and let’s pray!” said the chaplain with ease. She held up her sign on the corner by the light. “Help, need something extra for my little boy and I!” We struck up a conversation and I handed her a twenty. “Thanks, mister, that’s more than plenty; I’m not used to this at all, Except for the ten I got from a lady over by the mall. You say I can get some bread that will never run out? What in the world are you talking about?” Wow, I’ll have more of your salt, if you please!” “It’s free for the asking!” I yelled back with ease.

Ask Beth! Do you have a question for Beth? She would love to hear from you! Please email her at bethatruby@aol.com. 80


I Will Celebrate by Keith Wallis

I will celebrate the first crocus of spring, the dewy mists in June and the pimpernel sun in its hide and seek season. I will celebrate dawn’s cacophony, the scrawny unfledged starling and the skittish goldfinch on the nyjer seed towers. I will celebrate smiles of achievement on the faces of small children, clambered imps on coal bins and footballs in flower beds. I will celebrate the scent of jasmine in the evening breeze and the choke of manure in open fields of expectancy. I will celebrate love on a winter night the impractical abandonment of clothes and breath in passion’s grip. I will celebrate difference in its many colours when grey conformity blindfolds the zombies in their confinement. I will celebrate creativity creation and the Creator. 81


I Will Sing the Song of Morning by Keith Wallis

I will sing the song of morning as it rises from the hill the song of a becoming while the darkness lingers still. For from its slumbered rising all the colours now appear and the greys and blues and muted hues achieve a different tier. I will sing the song of morning as it opens up our eyes to all the possibilities hid by night’s disguise. 82


A Woman's Brain Bridging the Gap by Shannon Panzo submitted by Lisa Simpkins It’s well known that a woman’s brain works differently than that of a man. Women can adapt Brain Games to work with their unique brain functioning. For instance, women tend to multi task better than men. Are you doubtful? Let’s put the claim to the test. Put on your thinking cap! Time to exercise your female grey matter, and yes, I am actually talking about your brain. Oh, we will also be discussing “yellowcake.” This is not the type of cake you want to eat! It’s uranium ore. (This sort of disjointed conversation is something that you might hear from Sheldon on the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”) Are you confused about where this is leading? Good! This is the perfect starting point for our brain game!

The Brain Game I hand you a pot of gems. The gems are of all sizes, shapes and colours. I even tell you that one of the gems is a 3 carat diamond. But the objective is for you to pick which gem is worth the most. If you fail in that task, you lose. You must then return the gem you have selected back into the pot. As a woman, you may be at an advantage if you are fond of jewellery bearing precious stones. You may possess a discerning eye for what is valuable and what is not. But just in case, before we started, you were given eight hours to study books on all the different ways to grade and value gems. You also have instruction manuals available during the test. Just to make matters even more confusing, I have given you more than 1000 gems to select from, including a few duds, such as a three carat cubic zirconium. Even if you go by the standard types of valuing, you cannot accommodate all the alternatives, although you can start with the standard categories: colour, clarity, carat weight, etc to narrow down your choices. (We won’t consider different cuts for the same stone. I want to keep this somewhat sane.) For instance, pink diamonds are in vogue at the moment; therefore, at present, a small pink diamond can be worth a lot more than a 3 carat white diamond Just to provide a twist, I have added one catch to the test: you have only one hour to make your selection. However, in reality, the short period for the test doesn’t make that much difference. You will either know which the most valuable stone is, or you won’t. If you know, an hour is sufficient. On the other hand, I could give a person eight hours to make a decision, but if they did not know what they were doing, it would still only be a guess. You will be provided all the tools required and a table to sort them on. You will have all of the gemmologist’s tools to determine their worth. That said, gemmologists will tell you that this crash course is of little benefit. A lot of experience is required to know what you are looking at where gems are concerned. So what will help? Besides a woman’s naturally superior multitasking skills and intuition – a bit of insight about what the task it really about. 83


Brain Game Lessons Let’s evaluate what you have learned so far: Critical decisions result in a win or lose situation. It is either one or the other. Many decisions in life are like this. You have one chance to get it right. Information is based at three levels. 1. Information – How accurate is the information you are gathering? Is it obsolete, or is it the type people will pay top dollar for? 2. Knowledge – Now you have enough in-depth information to be making assumptions and some decisions. You may still have holes in the information you have collected, but it is relatively whole. What you are missing is the experience of applying that information in the real world. 3. Wisdom – You have gained the experience. You can make decisions confidently, like an expert. Along with information, knowledge and wisdom, life throws you duds once in a while. These tend to be lessons. In your circumstances, do you find that you are acting on the fickle whim of others? What may be valuable and praised for today, is yesterday’s news tomorrow. “Don’t live on your Laurels. If you do, you are likely on the precipice of a fall.” Unless you have the necessary tools to accomplish the job – that is, wisdom – time limits can cause great stress. (Although as a woman, you can use your superior multitasking skills to visually examine the gems while mentally evaluating them based on your study and/or wisdom about precious gems to make the task easier.) Nonetheless, in time pressure situations, anxiety will likely be your undoing. How will you function with these two strict time limits: eight hours to study, then one short hour to make your decision? Most people claim the possible is Impossible, and throw up their hands in defeat, “Most people QUIT at the first signs of failure, even before it overtakes them.” This means most people will not even guess on the 1one n 1000 chance of winning; even when they know nothing of the objective. Ironically, the odds in this test are much better than the odds of winning the lottery. Only the presentation is different. Most people that play the lottery have never looked at the rules.

Winning the Brain Game How do you increase your chances of winning when you do not have a clue where to start? Change the rules! (Actually, change what the rules imply.) Once you understand the nature of the rules, you can compensate for many of the issues they bring on. Time limits create a sense of urgency. This tactic is often used in sales. By keeping calm and taking control of your mind, you can easily dissipate the stress.

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Most important is to realize that the sense of perceived loss is deceptive. In this case, you are not losing something you already had in your possession. You are actually losing NOTHING. You only have a chance of GAIN. The wild card is how to compensate for is the lack of good information, knowledge, and the wisdom to work your way through the problem. Here is the place where most people throw up their arms and claim it is impossible. As I mentioned earlier, if you ALREADY know what you are doing during the 8 hours of study, and everything you need is available to you to study with, how would you go about your study to make such a quantum leap in knowledge in just a short period of time? Would you use reading? Speed reading? Even if you were really good at speed reading you will still not possess the ability to transcend knowledge into wisdom. The authors that wrote the books you are studying are the experts in their field. What if you were able to tap into their knowledge and wisdom they possess. What if that is possible? What if you could do it at the same time you are studying for eight hours, without losing any time to this new objective of getting to know the author? NOTE: I realise as you are reading this, you will be thinking only about the parts that are most interesting to you. You may even interpret things in the wrong way because reading is so ineffective that you will miss much of the pertinent information. You may want to reread this to gain better clarity of what I am presenting here.

Gaining Information using Quantum Physics You may have read the heading above and wondered: What does quantum physics have to do with anything? The answer is – EVERYTHING. Everything is energy and frequency. Even the words on the page have a meaning that is far removed from your conscious mind. This rarefied energy is loaded full of information for you to draw upon. This includes picking up the meaningful things you need to know, feel, and experience from the authors point of view. Here is your source of wisdom.

When the Impossible Becomes Possible Most people, even those who are experts at speed reading, would claim that I have set you up with an impossible task. How could you possibly gain that much information, knowledge, and wisdom to perform well within this brain game? How could you possibly gain enough expert information for you to become close to expert yourself in only a few hours, what it takes others years to do? You can. It is possible. 85


The answer here specifically is Mental Photography, or ZOXing, enhanced by the support techniques of Brain Management or ZOX Pro Training. BUT WAIT, there is an important fact. Before you are placed in a stressful situation such as this Gem Brain Game, you must be proficient with getting your results from the training you have received for using Mental Photography or ZOXing. That comes with your time and commitment. Your preparation is key to your success. You can use the results of this training again and again throughout your life – for your gains!

The Big Picture Of course, you realise that the pot of gems is a metaphor. You have opportunities, or gems, placed before you all the time. It is your choice which you select, which have value, and which are duds. These are your experiences in life. Instead of spending your precious time chasing dead ends, and things that really have no value, wouldn’t it be better if you had an almost instant wisdom to base your decisions on; to rely both on fact and intuition giving you the leverage you need in life.

Solving a Big Problem As you go through life, you are given opportunities and required to make decisions, oftentimes based on information that you do not have. The goal is to limit the amount of guesswork that goes into making your most important decisions. As a woman, you have the advantage of using your superior multitasking abilities and other uniquely feminine characteristics to solve big problems. For instance, women are more likely to question convention, are more open to new ideas and seek alternative solutions to problem solving than men are. These skills allow you to collect and analyse information and transform it into knowledge, and ultimately wisdom, more quickly than men are often able to manage. Shannon Panzo, PhD Brain Management & Mental Photography Expert Managing Director, ZOX Pro Training Author, Speaker, Teacher, Consultant ZOX Pro Training offers benefits to a wide array of professionals: an innovative program now managed by Shannon Panzo, Ph.D., ZOX Pro Training has helped clients maximize mental performance for more than 35 years. Indeed, professionals in a wide range of fields can benefit from the speed reading techniques that ZOX Pro Training has to offer. For example, business executives who go through the program can increase their productivity by learning to read reports in excess of 25,000 words per minute. Once learned, this method also boasts a retention rate of over 90 per cent, so individuals can be confident knowing they will be able to answer questions from colleagues or clients. Furthermore, high retention rates assist professionals who must make quick, decisive actions, like fire fighters and law enforcement officials. ZOX Pro trains the brain to process information and recall data quickly, allowing anyone to make wise, well-informed decisions at a moment’s notice. Finally, the ZOX Pro Training program can help musicians and artists access deeper levels of creativity and move past creative blocks. 86


Did you know? Blog Art by Katherine can help you with all your graphic artwork needs!

Let’s work together and I will create artwork and a style to fit your personality, content or theme. I provide a variety of blog and website art image services including but not limited to: Blog Art, Blog Buttons, Blog Headers, Blog Banners, Advertisement, Social networking links, Giveaway buttons, Page images, Sidebar ,Online Shop Headers, Logos, Website Art, I also provide Blog Set Up and Blog Makeovers too! Do you need something else? Just ask I am happy to help! http://katherinescorner.com/blog-art/ For more information about Blog Art by Katherine, please visit her blog, Katherine’s Corner for all the details!

SPECIAL 10% DISCOUNT FOR RUBY READERS! Blog Art by Katherine is offering a 10% discount to all Ruby readers for any blog art or blog design service. All you need to do is mention the code “RUBY” when contacting Katherine. Don’t wait! Spring is the PERFECT time to redecorate your blog! 87


Avoid a Collision with a Positive Vision by Glenda Staten Glenda Staten is the owner of Positivity 4 Ever. Positivity 4 Ever promotes positivity by providing helpful resources to enrich everyone's life. She created "Avoid a Collision with a Positive Vision", a basic guide used to help young adults make positive decisions and live a responsible life while accomplishing their goals. High school students, college students, young adults, parents, and numerous organizations will benefit from the helpful information in the guide. The guide focuses on "knowing yourself", "being open to change", "setting goals", friendship and bullying. Preview the guide at avoidacollision.com. Glenda also created the Positivity 4 Ever mini magazine to promote positivity, and to share positive conversations from entertainers, authors, and entrepreneurs. The magazines are available at shop.positivity4ever.com. Glenda joined the military after graduating from Albany Junior College in Albany Georgia. While in the military, she worked for numerous organizations in the United States and abroad before retiring in 2004. She worked at The National Defense University in Washington, DC where she performed duties as the senior enlisted leader of the organization. Glenda worked on the National Defense University's Security Team during a visit from the President of the United States, and she was commended for her service. Glenda was selected to be the Senior Non-commissioned Officer in Charge for the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army at the Pentagon. She completed her military career while assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Personnel Administration and Services Division. Glenda received her Master's Degree in Management from City University of Seattle in Bellevue, Washington before she retired. Glenda's military experience enriched her life, and provided the necessary insight needed to help her focus on positivity. For more information or to purchase your copy of Avoid a Collision with a Positive Vision, please visit her website, Avoid a Collision, at www.avoidacollision.com You can also find Glenda’s magazine, Positivity 4 Ever, at www.shop.positivity4ever.com

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www.mamaslittletreasures.com 89


New Equation Search Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker

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Ruby’s Ruby’s Reading Corner when you are shopping for books! Every purchase you make from Ruby’s Reading Corner helps support the ongoing ministry at Ruby for Women. The next time you are planning to purchase a book for yourself, for a friend, or for a family member, please consider shopping at

Ruby’s Reading Corner 90


The National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs was born out of a passion to connect women who are ready to create, collaborate, and contribute to changing the world. We gather people and ideas together through online content, tele-courses, individual/group coaching and retreats. Our desire is to unite under a common goal of helping one another to succeed and thrive in business. We are blessed to share in a common faith in Jesus Christ and yet know that we might each choose to worship in a different way. The National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs (NACWE) invites you to join our family as a Member!

Join NACWE today! • • •

Get connected to Christian Women Entrepreneurs throughout the United States and Canada for networking, business building, and prayer support Start creating new ideas, plans, programs and products with valuable monthly training calls and webinars Begin collaborating with women who can walk beside you on the journey with love and not competition PLUS, NOW YOU CAN JOIN US FOR JUST $27 a month!!

NACWE Membership & Benefits Membership is open to women entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others who have to desire to launch their entrepreneurial venture. We also serve women business owners who are ready to add new marketing success tools, gain access to other like-minded women through networking, and increase their online presence.

Claim your FREE copy of 10 Marketing Secrets to help you Generate Leads, Increase Revenue, and Build a thriving community! www.nacwe.org

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The Happy Housewife by Elizabeth Baker Elizabeth's classic best seller from 1979 is brought back to life for a new generation. Humorous, honest, Bible based and compelling, this ageless primer on the joys and traumas of dealing with kids, husbands, and dirty dishes will have you laughing and bring you to tears. Her practical advice provides realistic solutions to problems that never change. Join her in an exploration that is a fresh and ageless as mother-love. Elizabeth tackles issues that are modern in every respect while her home-spun style makes the readers feel as though they are having coffee with a wise friend. The Happy Housewife is available from Amazon and on Elizabeths’ website at www.elizabethbakerbooks.com

Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: Discover Your Character in God’s Love Story by Michelle S. Lazurek Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: Discover Your Character in God’s Love Story by Michelle S. Lazurek (Winepress Publishing, October, 2011) invites readers to engage with the story God is writing for their lives and discover their role as a character in that story. The book also asks the reader “What’s Your Story?” and provides thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter to allow readers to interact with the material. The book is available on her website www.michellelazurek.com , www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com . You can follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mslazurek or Twitter. 92


A River of Small Stones by Keith Wallis A beautiful and inspirational book of poetry, perfect for gift-giving for every season of the year! Poems written as “small stones,� polished moments of paying proper attention to life Available at www.ariverofstones.blogspot.com

Visit Debbie Luxton, Independent Consultant for Blessings Unlimited, at www.blessingsunlimited.net/debbieluxton 93


Let Gossamer Wings Publications transform your writing into a beautiful digital document to post on your blog or website! Are you a writer, poet, author of devotional or inspirational articles, children's author, writer of short stories, or motivational books? We have been creating eBooks and digital publications since 2006, and we are now offering our publishing services to you at Gossamer Wings Publications. Since 2010, we have published Ruby for Women, a monthly online Christian women's magazine which features family-friendly articles on home making, cooking, arts and crafts, poetry, devotionals, inspirational articles and stories, short stories, quilting tutorials, puzzles, kids' crafts, book reviews, gardening and frugal family living articles. In addition, Ruby for Women has published ebooks for poets and writers of short stories and devotionals, as well as ebook tutorials and patterns for sewing and crafts for mamas*little*treasures which are currently sold on numerous websites, including You Can Make This at www.youcanmakethis.com Beginning in 2012, all of our publications have been produced, published, and promoted by Gossamer Wings Publications, and we are now offering our publishing services to you. We will publish your writing, poetry, sewing and craft books, devotional and inspirational articles, short stories, and any other family-friendly projects that you've been working on. You've been waiting for the opportunity to get YOUR ideas out to the world, but you just haven't known where to start! Now you can have a beautifully formatted eBook created for you at a price you can afford, and we will even help you promote your publication. At Gossamer Wings Publications, we will work with you to design your ebook to reflect your personality and express the words and ideas that God has put in your heart and mind. Email today for your FREE consultation and to set-up your very first publication with Gossamer Wings Publications! gossamerwingspublishing@hotmail.com 94


Please join us at the

Ruby for Women CafĂŠ for conversation, fun, friendship, and encouragement. encouragement. Just pop in anytime, we would love to see you there! You can find us in the Ruby for Women community at www.rubyforwomen.ning.com

Need a pretty theme for your profile page? Please check out Ruby's favorite theme designer: Two by Two Designs 95


The Ruby for Women community is a great place to meet new friends, share prayer requests, chat about your favorite books, recipes and crafts! Spring is the perfect time to try out a few yummy new recipes! Here in the Kitchen of Ruby for Women we will be posting new recipes weekly and we would love to have you share some of your favorite recipes with us, too!

Read any good books lately? Think some of them might be a good read for our fellow Ruby for Women members? Come share with us what is on your reading list and your views of the journey it took you on. Join us in Ruby’s Book Club and Reviews and join the conversation!

Do you have a blog? We would love to have you share links to your latest blog posts so that we can tell all of the members of the Ruby for Women community all about it! Please visit us in our Girls Who Blog group.

In our prayer request group, we pray for one another and uphold each other before our Heavenly Father. Please join us at We Are Praying for You and let us know how we can pray for you. And please be sure to stop by the Ruby for Women blog at

www.rubyforwomen.com 96


Shar’s Graphic Haven and Chit Chat Stop by and visit Shar’s Graphic Haven and Chit Chat group in the Ruby for Women community where you will find Shar’s beautiful graphic designs. You can also connect with other members of the Ruby community for a time of fun and fellowship. http://rubyforwomen.ning.com/group/sharmelle-sgraphic-haven

Tatters to Treasures Where new beauty arises from the ashes of yesterday in reconstruction garments, shoes, and accessories www.tatterstotreasures.etsy.com www.tatterstotreasures.etsy.com

Visit Tricia on her blog, It’s Real Life, for more information about her books. 97


“I Am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believed in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?� John 11:25-26 98


Meet the Ruby for Women Writers Aunt Dots, Master Gardener Aunt Dots has been writing for Ruby for Women since the very beginning. Her love for gardening started early in her life: “I believe I got my love for growing flowers from my mother. She had a large flower garden with annuals and dahlias. I had my first flower garden after I married and we lived in a garden apartment.” She now has perennial gardens, rose gardens, grape vines, asparagus, currants, gooseberries, walnut trees, apple trees, and hazelnut trees. In the winter months, Aunt Dots sews, making quilts that she has donated to a Mennonite Relief auction.

Beth Brubaker, Footprints in the Mud and Ask Beth Beth is the “Family Fun” editor here in the Ruby for Women community. She is a mother of two very active kids whose antics are sprinkled liberally in her columns. She has been married for 13 years to her Knight in Shining Armor, and she is delighted to share with us that they still hold hands in public! Her day job is working as a fabric artist, a homemaker, and a writer. Beth will be writing humorous articles about life in general, puzzles, and an advice column that is based on readers’ questions, as well as sharing hints and tips for everyday life that she comes across in her travels between her laundry room, living room, and kitchen. Don’t miss Beth’s columns in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read more of Beth’s posts on her blog, “Footprints in the Mud” at www.footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at bethatruby@aol.com

Lanette Kissel lives in southern Indiana with her adopted Yorkie-Poo, Benjy. She enjoys singing in her huge choir at Crossroads Christian Church. She has been a freelance writer of Christian/Inspirational poetry for twelve years. Recently, she has been writing Inspirational articles and essays, as well as devotions. Her work has appeared in: Mature Living Magazine, Purpose, Live, The War Cry, The Lutheran Journal, The Catholic Yearbook, Silver Wings, Inspired Women Magazine, and others. . I'm Christena Hammes, married to my best-friend. We met at the Outside Inn so God could change us from the Inside Out!! We have two beautiful daughters (Lena and Amanda), two sons-in-law (Cameron and Justin) and one amazing granddaughter (Savannah Jo). I never knew what the Father's love was all about until I had children of my own. They really do hold your heart and forgiveness comes easy. http://www.reverbnation.com/robhammes

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Lynn Mosher, Devotions

Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with God’s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, their three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. Visit Lynn at her blog, at http://lynnmosher.com

Katherine Corrigan, Recipes and Crafts Katherine is a blogger at Katherine’s Corner, an artist, designer, tea drinker and hug giver. She has been a contributor to Ruby for Women for three years. She is originally from England. But she has lived in the USA since 1975. She holds a rare dual citizenship with the UK and the USA and is a proud citizen of both. She greets each day with grace, dignity and gratitude. Thanking God for her strength as she continues to encourage others and moves forward despite her physical challenges. She is happily married and has five grandchildren. After 30 years of working in the medical field and managing other people’s businesses Katherine has her own online shop and graphics business. She never hesitates to contribute to Ruby for Women. She says, “Being part of Ruby for Women is like getting a big hug every day.” Blog http://KatherinesCorner.com Blog Graphics at http://BlogArtByKatherine.com Shop http://KeepsakesByKatherine.etsy.com

Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur, a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. She empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace through the Christian Mompreneur Mastermind program and her professional Marketing services, which include copywriting, marketing and strategy consulting and private coaching. www.theresaceniccola.com.

Heather King is a wife to a wonderful husband and a mom to three beautiful girls. A former English teacher, she now lives a life of doing dishes, folding laundry, finding lost toys and mending scraped knees. She treks to the grocery store more times a week than she’d like and struggles to keep up with chores, appointments and the to-do list that refreshes itself day after day. In addition to all that, she’s the worship leader at her church in Virginia, a Bible study teacher and women’s ministry leader. Somewhere in the middle of the noise, mess, and busyness of life, she takes time to meet with God at her kitchen table with a Bible, a journal and a cup of strong hot tea with lots of sugar. You can find her blogging about these times with God at her devotional site: Room To Breathe: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/ 100


Donna McBroom-Theriot, Writer. Book Reviewer. Southern Lady. My life is like an episode of "I love Lucy!" I'm a writer, book reviewer, and a Southern Lady who loves her Sweet Tea. My blog: My Life. One Story at a Time. I've been writing since 2009. As luck would have it, the very first short story I wrote was published within months of my writing it. This quote pretty much sums me up: "Deep in my heart, I know there’s no promise I’ll be free from trouble in this life. In fact, I’m usually either getting out of trouble, currently in trouble, or about to meet trouble around the next corner." Well, you know the saying, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" – that’s usually mine! Join me. It's bound to be a bumpy ride!

Sharmelle “Shar” of Sharmelle’s Graphic Haven, Graphic Design I am passionate about graphic design and photography, and I spend a great deal of time developing my talents. Like many, I had set my career aside for a few years while working on other projects, but I found that I missed working with others and feel that many people need support and encouragement to follow their dreams. I have recently resumed the art of design and photography, and I have trained myself in the modern tools of today’s visual artists, using the computer. I’m sure that if, when I was a child, I could have had a computer, I might not ever have gone to school at all! You can find my graphic designs for use on blogs and websites in the Ruby for Women community at Sharmelle’s Graphic Haven. http://rubyforwomen.ning.com/group/sharmelles-graphic-haven Full time mother and author, Corallie Buchanan, is a woman who writes from her heart. Over the years, she has shared her heart with magazines such as the Queensland Baptist, Christian Woman, Footprints, Mum to Mum, Captivated, Being Women, the Online Bible College student magazine, Deeper Devotions Student Ministries, amidst other magazines and ministries. Corallie is the author of Watch Out! Godly Women on the Loose, a book which won her the award of Young Australian Christian Writer of the Year in 2007. She lives with husband David and daughter Esther in Brisbane, Australia.

Cindy J. Evans is a published Christian poet living in the greater Atlanta area. She enjoys church activities, inspirational movies, Ferris wheels and grand openings. She is still learning to go to her heavenly Father for comfort and not Ben & Jerry!

Rhea B. Riddle was born in Kentucky, in a little town on the Ohio River at the time of the famous flood of 1937, which may have contributed to her sense of drama, and to an amplified love of life. A world view influenced by gentle traditions and strong Christian family ties, boosted her desire to reflect the recollections of a willful (though loving) youngster who was filled with longings to explore, to reason, and write of the vibrations of daily living that surrounded her. She hopes to lure you with current life adventures (truth and fiction) as well as draw you to visit a time of “rewound” living!” 101


Deborah McCarragher, Devotional Contributor Deborah is the author of a Christian inspirational book for women titled “Mission Possible”. The book addresses living in a spiritually-uneven household. You can visit her website at www.AlabasterBoxPublishing.com for more information about her book. http://www.Twitter.com/unequalmarriage

Gloria Doty: I am a mother of 5 and grandmother of 13. I have owned a catering business, and a Grade A goat dairy. I have managed a restaurant, worked in retail and was Dir. of Children’s’ Ministries for a large church for 10 years. I have been writing since I was in third grade. I currently write 2 blogs about my youngest daughter, Kalisha, and our journey together through the world of mild mental retardation, autism and Aspergers. One blog is written for www.MOMS.FortWayne.com and is titled “Not Different Enough”. The other blog is www.gettingitrightoccasionally.blogspot.com I write freelance articles for magazines and am a contributor to two devotional publications: Living the Gospel Life and Hope-Full Living. I do not believe it is possible to make it through a day without faith and a sense of humor, even in the darkest times and I try to always reflect that in my writing. My name is Lisa Simpkins and I have been working online for 15 years now. I have gained enough knowledge over the years to work in many different fields in online business. My specialty: Social Networking and Administration: Content provider, database, public relations, reputation management, member recruitment, marketing manager, link marketing, blog creation & branding/rank and community management.

Coach Deb Luxton: Christian Life & Leadership Coach for Executive and Professional Women I help professional women FIRE UP their leader within to eliminate “having it all together on the outside, while falling apart on the inside,” so they can embrace their authentic priorities and deepen relationships with those they love most. Your life is too important for anything else! Main website: http://debbieluxton.com ~ FREE Gift: http://debbieluxton.com/welcome Inspirational Decor and Gifts: http://myblessingsunlimited.net/debbieluxton Let’s Connect: http://twitter.comCoachDebLuxton http://linkedIN.com/CoachDebLuxton http://facebook.com/truthforlifesjourney

Gloria I. is a member of the Ruby for Women community where she is a friendly voice of encouragement and inspiration to all of the other members. Please stop by and visit Gloria on her personal page in the Ruby for Women community.

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Jean Ann Williams is a writer and the author of God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart, a devotional book written following the death of her son, Joshua. You can connect with Jean Ann on one of her blogs: http://joshua-mom.blogspot.com/ http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth Baker is an author and retired counselor drawing on thirty-five years of experience helping individuals apply biblical principles to real-life situations. She currently lives in Pittsburg, Texas where she concentrates on her writing. A widow since her mid 30's, Elizabeth has four grown children, fifteen grandchildren, and six great-grands. You can find Elizabeth’s books at her website at www.elizabethbakerbooks.com

Amanda Stephan is a multi-published Christian romance author who loves sharing God’s love with others. A homeschooling mother and stay at wife, she finds pleasure in many things from sewing, to baseball and karate, to writing. She is currently working on a three book Christian romantic suspense series and resides in Columbia, TN, with her real-life hero husband of 8 years and two children. You can find Amanda at her website http://www.BooksByAmanda.com Her collaborative blog - http://www.thepriceoftrust.com Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amandastephan and Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/creativehomemomma

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: A Soldier's Strength from the Psalms (2007); Healing for the Holes in Our Souls(2008); and Where Is Happy?(2011). She is a contributing author for Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayer; also Gettin' Old Ain't for Wimps (Karen O'Connor,2004) and Special Strength for Special Parents (Nina Fuller, 2006). She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Debra Ann Eliot is a Southern granny who loves to cook. She is the author of several works, including two poetry books. Debra devotes herself to maintaining several blogs, but the one that is most dear to her heart is Granny’s Down Home Southern Cooking. http://www.grannyssoutherncooking.blogspot.com/ Debra Elliott anngrayelliott1960@gmail.com

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Maria Greene is the author of twenty-three historical romances and two novellas. She is a mixed media artist. Among other interests she loves to garden, eat healthy, read, and educate people about the health benefits of therapeutic grade essential oils. She lives in Florida by the white sandy beaches, where she is currently at work on a fantasy trilogy. To check out her art, log on to her blog: www.greeneearthoriginals.blogspot.com and for more info about the essential oils of the Bible, please contact her at joyful7@gmail.com .She also has a health blog: www.greeneearthliving.blogspot.com Hey y’all! My name is Taylor DeVine. I live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere but I absolutely love it! Riding horses, working cattle, working with horses, reading, writing, running, and cooking are my passions. A mantra of mine is "Fearlessness." Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, what you're passionate about, and what you know you have been equipped by the Holy Spirit to do. When you are waiting on God to open another door, praise Him in the hallway. Follow me on twitter: www.twitter.come/tndevine “Like” my page on Facebook: “Love Joyfully. Live Beautifully -Taylor DeVine” Subscribe to my blog www.heartofthewood.wordpress.com

Tricia Goyer

is an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family while authoring more than twenty-five fiction and nonfiction books combined. Among those are 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award winners Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas. Connect with Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com

Michelle S. Lazurek has been a pastor's wife for over twelve years. Whether it is through writing counseling material, organizing ladies retreats or mentoring women in her church, Michelle considers each day an opportunity to find her place in God's story. In 2007, Michelle and her husband Joe planted Praxis Church. Michelle holds a Master's degree in Counseling and Human Relations from Liberty University. She has two beautiful children: Caleb and Leah. Michelle provides tips for busy writers on her blog The Writers’ Tapestry: Where Writing and Life Intertwine (www.mslazurek.wordpress.com).

Elissa Peterson is a Jesus-loving Mama of four who tries not to take life too seriously. She has many stories to share with you about what life and Jesus are teaching her on her blog http://dontletlifepassyouby.blogspot.com/ Pop over and share your brave Mama story! 104


Keith Wallis, Poetry Keith Wallis is an English poet. He is a senior part of the leadership team of Houghton Regis Baptist church. An engineering designer by trade, he brings an eye for detail as well as faith into his poetry. As well as being ‘poet in residence’ at Ruby ezine, he is a moderator at ChristianWriters.com. His blog of ekphrasic poetry is: http://wordsculptureskeith.blogspot.com/ where you’ll also find links to his books and his other blogs. Married to Val in 1970, he has two sons and three grandsons. The eldest grandson is disabled and cannot communicate verbally. Though not an ‘academic’ (school was a disaster!) he was always fond of writing. He began submitting work for publication in the 1980’s after being encouraged by a community writer in residence.

Crystal Mary Lindsey is a retired registered nurse with specialties in emergency medicine and mental health. She enjoys sharing her inspirations of walking in faith in order to inspire and encourage others to live their dreams. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Crystal lives in Australia.

My name is Marilyn Porter and I live with my husband in Cary, N.C. I have 2 sons, 2 step daughters, and 6 grandchildren ages 5 to 17. My interests range from “tackling the computer to tackling a new craft, recipe, or writing endeavor” and I’m not sure which is more “enlightening.” I seem to take the “scenic route” and end up a little frazzled around the edges, but somehow manage to reach my destination! ☺ I would love for you to drop by my personal page in the Ruby for Woman community (if you’re not familiar with RFW, you just HAVE to check it out!) and send me a message so we can get to know each other better. God’s blessings wrapped in His love, Marilyn

Aileen Stewart is “just your average mom. A gum chewing, bubble blowing, shower singing, flower planting, cookie baking, craft making, photo taking, reading, WRITING, kind of mom who loves the Lord, her husband, soon to be eight year old daughter, and crazy cat Max. I have many interests and hobbies, but the two I'm most passionate about are writing and photography. I am a published award winning author of the book Fern Valley - A Collection of Short Stories and an award winning amateur photographer who was just blessed with a brand new Nikon 3100D. I'm super excited to start taking fabulous pictures with my dream camera. 105


Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor Amanda has been writing for Ruby for Women for the three years, and she has been a free-lance writer for several years, beginning her writing career as a young teen-ager. She also worked for Love Unveiled, a ministry to women in undeveloped countries around the world. Amanda brings experience as well as a passion for ministry to the work of Ruby for Women, and she has a heart for reaching out and touching the hearts and lives of women everywhere. Amanda will be working with all of our writers on their submissions, as well as assisting in keeping the Ruby for Women blog and website up-to-date with new information daily.

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “nontraditional 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. Gracie is 12 years old and Annie is 10. They were both born in China, and we were able to travel to China two times to bring our daughters home. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on Ruby for Women in my home office. I also work at Huntington University, Huntington, Indiana as the Curriculum Assistant for the Graduate and Professional Programs. My personal blog is at www.mamaslittletreasures.com where I frequently post tutorials and patterns for crafts and other sewing projects, as well as weekly reflections on life as a woman, wife, mother, and daughter of the King.

Introducing the Ruby for Women Administrative Team Over the past three years, the ministry of Ruby for Women has grown into a full-time ministry for several women here in the Ruby community. We have been blessed to be able to partner with women from all over the United States in the work of Ruby for Women, and we are currently in the process of adding four new administrators to our team. If you would be interested in joining the Ruby for Women administrative team, please email our assistant editor, Amanda Johnson, at ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Here are the current members of the Ruby for Women Administrative team:

Sr. Editor, Nina Newton Assistant Editor, Amanda Johnson Administrative Assistant, Beth Brubaker Website Administrator, Ann Marie Weaver Creative Consultant and Graphic Designer, Katherine Corrigan Publications Assistants: Sharmelle Olson Ugochi Jolomi, Donna McBroom-Theriot, Anne B., Jackie McMullen, Christena Hammes, Lisa Simpkins 106


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 for Women may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available at www.rubyforwomen.com/advertise Questions? Email Nina @ editor@rubyforwomen.com or Amanda @ ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Ruby for Women is published by rubyforwomen.com All submission inquiries should be directed to Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women editor@rubyforwomen.com or Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Advertising inquiries should be directed to editor@rubyforwomen.com Website Administrator, Ann Marie Weaver Creative Consultant, Katherine Corrigan of Made It For You www.madeitforyou.com Please visit our community website at www.rubyforwomen.ning.com to see how you can help support the ministry of Ruby for Women. Community Ning theme and banner image used by permission of Two by Two Designs.

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Ruby for Women, April, 2013  

The April issue of the Ruby for Women magazine features inspirational articles, stories, poems, crafts, recipes, book reviews, and interview...

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