Ruby for Women A voice for every Christian woman APRIL, 2016 www.rubyforwomen.com
Spring has finally arrived! We celebrate the joy of new life with opportunities for gardening, picnics, and family fun in God’s glorious outdoors. We hope you are having a joyous and blessed springtime. Please visit us on the Ruby blog at http://www,rubyforwomen.com and let us know how we can be an encouragement to you today! We would love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Poet-in-Residence: Keith Wallis Feature Writers: Lynn Mosher, Katherine Corrigan, Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Gloria Doty, Sarah Johnson, Miriam Jacob, Toni R. Samuels, Cynthia Knisley, Heather King, Lanette Kissel, Donna B. Comeaux, Linda McKee, Connie Arnold, Ifeoma Samuel, Alisha Ritchie, Kathleen Katt Luce, Jennifer Workman, Joan Leotta, Jean E. Wieben-Hill, Cindy J. Evans, Ifeoma Samuel, Jonathan Lawrence, Jewell Utt, Frances Gregory Pasch, Amy Lignor, Rejetta Morse, Norma C. Mezoe, Kathryn Ross, Rhea B. Riddle, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Jean Ann Williams
In This Issue . . . Page
The Promise of Spring Nina Newton, Sr. Editor
Footprints in the Mud: The Unimportant Job Beth Brubaker, Asst. Editor
Spring Cleaning: A Devotional Exercise Jean E. Wieben-Hill
Cryptogram Puzzle Beth Brubaker
Springtime Strawberry Dessert Collection Vintage Mama
Be-YOU-tifully YOU-nique: You are Unique Mary Dolan Flaherty
Springtime in the Heart Norma C. Mezoe
God of My Childhood Sarah Johnson
April Showers Meet Hurricane Sandy Jewell Utt
“Tulips Arise” Rejetta Morse
Growing Pains Norma C. Mezoe
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. For advertising inquiries, please contact Nina Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Beth Brubaker at email@example.com Also, please visit 1 our blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you can connect with other Christian women. Ruby for Women 65 S. Niles St. Columbia City, IN 46725 firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding the Good Toni R. Samuels
Cryptogram Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker
Lee’s New Hearts Norma C. Mezoe
Math Square Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker
Carol’s Book Club: Page 25 In the Shadow of Lions by Ginger Garrett Book Review by Carol Peterson
Fallen Phrase Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker
Just Claire Jean Ann Williams
Lose Weight Get Fit & Change Your Life Carol L. Doyel
Spring DIY Craft Round-Up Vintage Mama
A Reason for Everything Frances Gregory Pasch
“Momma, Where’s the Popcorn?” Sharon L. Patterson “Not My Will, But Thy Will” Lanette Kissel
“Lord, Remember Me” Lanette Kissel
Four Simple Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a Worship Service Ifeoma Samuel
Math Square Puzzle Beth Brubaker
Fallen Phrase Puzzle Beth Brubaker
Credits and Copyrights
God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart Jean Ann Williams
Pieces Sarah Johnson
This April Snow Keith Wallis
In Trustworthy Hands Norma C. Mezoe
Life is Short; Have an Affair! Lynn Mosher
Kneeling in the Garden Sarah Johnson Jesus is the Lover of My Soul Jennifer Workman
Lose Weight Get Fit & Change Your Life Carol L. Doyel
Bring a Cowboy Home Gloria Doty
2 Jean Ann Williams, author of Just Claire and God’s Mercies after Suicide
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The Promise of Spring Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Independence can be a good thing, but sometimes I need to be reminded that I CAN’T do everything all by myself, and that God really is there to walk with me, even carry me, when I am weary and weak. Usually spring rain is one of my favorite things. But this past week, it really hasn’t stopped raining . . . at all . . . since last Saturday actually, when we had a blizzard. I guess the rain is better than snow blowing 40 miles per hour, sideways, stinging the windows and piling up in the corner by the garage. This morning, before the sun came up, as I looked out the kitchen window to the North West, I saw lightening. The puddles outside the front door have little waves from in the wind, and the trees seem to be shivering in their anticipation of spring. The daffodils, however, are still standing tall and strong. Even after the blizzard. They were covered with frost and then hidden temporarily under a blanket of snow, but by Sunday morning, they were right back to work, filling their little corner of the world with bright, cheerful yellow blossoms. In spite of the weather, I keep thinking about getting out in the yard and garden to clean up some of the leftover debris from winter (wondering if it will ever go away!), and those daffodils have kept me focused on the promise of spring. Those daffodils have also reminded me of the promises of God to walk with us through those dark, dreary, lonely, miserable days that we all experience. I need those reminders frequently, because I tend to forget that I’m not out here on my own trying to figure it all out by myself. That might be part of my Midwestern childhood where we were taught to get busy and do what needs to be done, and not wait for someone else to take care of us. So I carry that mind-set into my relationship with God, too. I guess I keep thinking that I shouldn’t expect anyone (including God!) to take care of me if I haven’t at least given it my best shot, first.
So in some ways, those spunky little daffodils remind me of my own determined, stubborn “can do” attitude which needs to be toned down on occasion . . . . and then when I see the blossoms, lately trembling in the biting spring blizzard, I find that their very cheerful presence helps me realize that God is the One, the only One, who takes care of not only the flowers of the field (or under a blanket of snow), but He is also the One who promises that after the rain, or the blizzard, comes the beauty of spring. His promises are true, and they are eternal, and they will never be forgotten . . . but I sometimes need to be reminded by the little details of His creation. Like the daffodils in my front garden, covered with spring rain but at least today, no longer covered by the snows of a late winter blizzard. “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 I hope spring has arrived at your house – but if not, remember it is just around the corner. And just as sure as spring will eventually arrive, God’s promises can be trusted. Just look at those daffodils!
Footprints in the Mud: The Unimportant Job by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor
I work part-time as a driver. When I pick up a client, I always ask if they’re going to work. You’d be surprised how this sparks some interesting conversations! Most times I get a very unenthusiastic affirmative, to which I reply with vigor, “Oh my, you sound really excited! I feel the energy emanating from you!” This usually incites a grin because they are incredibly not excited to be going to their job. Oddly enough, this lack of enthusiasm is usually due to being underappreciated. People like to be acknowledged (at least a little!) for their hard work. I try to let them know just how important their job is, no matter how small. For instance: To the woman with the front desk job: “You are the gatekeeper- the guardian of the office! You decide whether to let someone into the keep or send them packing - and you are essential for allowing those higher-ups to have to time to do their jobs right!”
To the lawyers’ assistant: “Without you, how would your bosses get anything done? You’re doing most of the running and paperwork, right? You are the cornerstone that helps hold the entire law office together!” To the waitress: “You feed the masses and serve them great food and drinks, keeping the customers happy. Everyone needs to eat - and your serving the customers not only refreshes them, but makes you one of the most important supports in keeping the restaurant running!” By the time they leave my vehicle, clients are smiling and standing a little straighter. Sometimes people forget that there is no unimportant job! This is especially true in God’s realm. No matter what job you’re doing, whether it’s being a housewife, a secretary, a bricklayer or a dog walker - it’s important. A pebble might look insignificant, but it can be the one thing to start an avalanche! We are God’s cornerstones. We are the gatekeepers, helping keep our loved ones safe through prayer and rebuking the devil. We raise our families in His light, teach His lessons, and show His glory in all that we do - no matter what we’re doing. There is no unimportant job. Because God is a part of everything that we do!
Visit Beth on her blog, Footprints in the Mud, for more humorous and inspirational posts.
Visit Beth Brubaker at Footprints in the Mud to read her humorous, inspirational posts.
Spring Cleaning: A Devotional Exercise by Jean E. Wieben-Hill Ahhhh! Spring Cleaning. My husband recently retired, and one of “those things” we always promised ourselves we’d do when he retired was to clean the attic. Yes, there were other more exciting and fun things we also promised each other for retirement, but cleaning the attic was the one thing we put off until that day when we’d have time to get to it. In the twenty years that we lived in Flat Creek, things just seemed to disappear into storage; up–thestairs and into-the-attic. Christmas boxes, and old clothes that we grew out of or became unfashionable, extra fabric and craft project boxes, paintings, old books, papers, table-cloths, curtains, folding chairs, trinkets, toys, sleeping bags and camping gear, and miscellaneous electronics, computer and stereo equipment. By the time he retired and I bravely climbed the attic steps with gloves and garbage bags, the weight of trash in the attic was, perhaps, greater than the weight of furnishings in the house. In fairness to myself, I have never thought of myself as a messy housekeeper, and on any given day, my house is quite presentable should guests drop in. Yet my attic had become a total disaster! How did this happen? The next several days were spent going through boxes and bags, sorting and hauling. Much of it went to Goodwill and the church Outreach Closet. Even more went to the dump. John began calling his truck ‘Sanford & Son”. I was not amused! I was crabby. As I sorted through boxes, wondering why I’d kept these things, I began to wonder why I’d ever even thought they were important. By the end of the cleaning project, the attic was tidy and a few treasured items remained boxed and stored. 7
I began to look at the attic as a metaphor for my life: at the end of my days, would God sort through my life’s experiences and wonder why I had held on to so many negative memories, and not cherished the beautiful experiences? Why had I been so slow to forgive and miserly about holding onto toxic memories? A few items had been returned to the lower house for daily use and display. Of the mass of debris, to our surprise, only a little was deemed worthy of retaining! Had I turned my focus to dark hoardings? A clutter of trash? Would the sum-total of my life be a mess of cluttered debris? Or would the products of my life be something beautiful, well-crafted, and enduring? Would I present to Him a collection of useful gifts, products and treasures of great worth? Would my life be an organized album of loving ministries, family bonds, friendships, and small kindnesses that transformed other lives? Would others look upon my life and see it as “trash,” or would they see something of worth and quality? And what of God’s view? Had I spent my life loving others and investing in works that glorified Him, so that He would find beauty in me? I wondered. As I surveyed my “now-clean” attic, I realized that I still had much spring cleaning ahead of me! Matthew 6:20 “But store up your treasures in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy them.” Holy God, send Your Spirit to guide me, as I live my life in ways that it may be a treasure of great offering to You. Help me remember to stash the trash of my past, accepting Your forgiveness of me and, therefore, being able to forgive myself. I will focus on living and joyfully serving You in ways that glorify You. This will be my offering to You for Your abundant Grace, O God. In Jesus Name and Way, Amen
Cryptogram Puzzle by Beth Brubaker
Answer Key on page 43
Springtime Strawberry Dessert Collection by Vintage Mama
Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cake from Tracy at Hall of Fame Moms
Stop by Tracy’s blog, Hall of Fame Moms, for lots of great ideas for cooking, parenting, homeschooling, and seasonal family fun. Although this poke cake can be made from any flavor cake mix and any flavor Jell-O, we thought it would be fun to celebrate spring with our strawberry dessert ideas, so here’s to your own family fun! You can find the complete recipe for this Jell-O poke cake at Hall of Fame Moms.
Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Chew Out Loud Absolutely stunning, and delicious, too! This Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day or any other special spring day. You can find the complete recipe on the Chew Out Loud blog.
Pink Strawberry Soufflés from Pink Party Gurl
Cute as a button and . . . . PINK! These tiny soufflé’s are made from fresh strawberries, sugar, unflavored gelatin and heavy whipping cream. The original recipe has been adapted from Martha Stewart, and can be made up for a bridal or baby shower, or a wedding reception, or for any other springtime celebration. Find the recipe at Pink Party Gurl. Recipe and image from Martha Stewart. 11
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle from Madigan Made
So elegant, this Strawberry Shortcake Trifle takes the traditional down-home, farm-fresh favorite and turns it into a dessert for a special occasion. The pretty layers of cake, ripe red strawberries, and whipped cream all combine to create the perfect ending to a perfect family gathering. The Strawberry Shortcake Trifle recipe can be found on the Madigan Made blog.
Strawberry Banana Cake from Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road for Lilluna
Another yummy combination: strawberries and bananas! Pretty pink cake with cream cheese frosting and embellished with fresh strawberries . . . what could be more perfect for springtime? Visit Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road for the complete recipe and you will find other recipes, free printables, and homemade inspiration for you and your family.
Strawberry Lemon Cake from Sandra at Examiner.com This strawberry lemon cake is so beautiful, you might not want to eat it but just look at it for a while! Another super simple recipe that uses a cake mix, along with a can of strawberry pie filling, so it wonâ€™t take long at all to whip up this sweet springtime dessert. Visit Examiner.com for more ideas for celebrating every season with recipes and other family fun activities. 12
Be-YOU-tifully YOU-nique Embracing who you are; becoming who you were made to be You Are Unique by Mary Dolan Flaherty Last month, we looked at the word “beautiful” and how it applies to each one of us, regardless of what we think. This month, I’d like to explore the word, “unique,” and apply that to what we believe about ourselves. The word unique suggests being the only one-the sole one; being without a like or an equal; peculiar, unusual, or even strange. Chances are, most of us might choose that third definition when describing ourselves. I sure would. It’s easier to call myself peculiar, unusual, or strange than it is to wait for someone else to mockingly accuse me of being so. If I say it first, I can only agree with you when you call me that. But what if I decided that what makes me unique is not my peculiarity, but the fact that there is no one else like me? What if you made the choice to believe that you are unequalled in exactly who you are, thereby eliminating the constant comparison to others? Think about it...if there is no one quite like you, if you are the only one who is you, comparing yourself to someone else is needless and futile. You simply can’t. It’s not quite like comparing apples to oranges; it’s more like comparing a violin (lead singer-higher sound) to a viola (backup singer-thicker sound).
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb...When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body (Psalm 139:13 & 15). So why try to change yourself? If you’re a violin, you cannot be a viola. And when the Master chooses to play a viola, He picks up a viola, not a violin. He enjoys the sound of each individual instrument because He created each one Himself. He saw the form before it was ever built. And He loves each one. Last month, we learned that a synonym for beautiful is lovely, suggesting the graceful, delicate or exquisite. If we put those two words--beautiful and unique--together, using their synonyms, what do we come up with? Unequalled loveliness. You may want to call yourself peculiar, but I beg to differ. Instead, I would suggest that you are a woman of peculiar grace, an unusual beauty that is perhaps made delicate through the exquisite discovery that there truly is no other human being quite like you. So stop berating yourself, and start celebrating who you are, because there is no other you in the universe.
They are similar instruments - both from the same family, but different sound, different size, and different personality. And they are both beautiful-and unique--instruments. But one can never become the other. 13 You’ve heard it before-there is only one you. No one else has your set of fingerprints, your voice. Even if you’re an identical twin, you are still unique.
Springtime in the Heart by Norma C. Mezoe Father, for weeks I had watched the trees in our yard, hoping for a glimpse of greenness, a sign of reawakening and rebirth. Winter had passed, and I was anxious for a signal that spring had arrived and brought with her renewal. Then today, I looked outside my kitchen window, and the trees were clothed in their gowns of velvet green. Father, I wonder when this happened? Had I been so caught up in my problems that I had allowed spring to arrive unnoticed and unwelcomed? Please help me to grow that my eyes will look upward and outward so that I may see your creation in all of its beauty. Father, help me to look outside of myself to see the heartaches of others. Open my ears to hear the inner crying of their souls and my eyes to see the unshed tears in their eyes. As you have brought spring into my life today, dear Father, so help me to bring a touch of springtime to others. Amen. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. â€“ Song of Songs 2:11-12 (NIV) Reprint rights Standard â€“ 6/13/1999
God of My Childhood by Sarah Johnson
It is easy to associate physical things with how we view God. For instance, as a child, I attended services in an old edifice that sat on the edge of an even-older cemetery. It's every appointment seemed absolute, unchanging, and uncompromising. It wasn't one of those humble country structures immortalized by the memory of countless saints. It was, as best as I can describe, the epitome of a temple, its actual construction the expression of worship. Built during the architectural period known as Greek Revival, in the mid-1800's, by craftsmen who apparently spared no effort nor cost, its regal faรงade is ornamented with columns that reach the three-stories to uplift the deep dentils adorning the roofline. A 20-ft. wide fanlight fashioned of seven individual petals crowns the oversized front entrance. Two windows in the front, and another four flanking each sidewall, soar to thirty feet. From the inside, these windows not only siphon sunlight into the sanctuary, but cause thoughts to soar toward heavenly inspirations. The interior, simple in layout, harbors beautiful hand-worked wood, replete with religious symbolism. Twelve intricate squares divide the coffered ceiling. Fine craftsmanship, surrounds the nave where three-leaf clovers, symbolic of the trinity, grace the podium, chairs and trim. The walls embossed with a fleur d' lis pattern, symbol of royalty. Behind the pulpit is a 12 by 15-foot original painting, willed to the church by the artist, a local. It depicts the Good Shepherd trying to console his flock during a raging storm. However, none of the sheep have their eyes on Him. They are terrified, confused, and struggling. As a child, each detail, from the swirling acanthus leaves painstakingly carved on the pews, to the detailed moldings along the altar, seemed to reflect the workmanship (and dedication to God) of some long-gone artisan. Nearly everything about the structure, decoration, use, and endurance of the old place seemed to echo the nature of God 15
But changes have been made; alterations that now make it difficult to see God where He was once obvious to me. The front lawn, where an evergreen grew tall and straight, was my future—evergreen—growing strong in Christ. Someone has since cut out the bottom branches to expedite mowing. The brick step, piece by piece representative of the diverse membership—the collective Church—now sports a wheelchair ramp. Modern political correctness? Maybe. But, to me, it whispers a new philosophy about an easy way to God. I recall an ancient table with ornate black wood legs and white marble top that once graced the vestibule. It accommodated an old guest book, filled with the names of saints who long since had left their visitation and traveled on to their eternal home. Something about its crisp, yellowed pages taught me that the God I served was welcoming and hospitable, glad that I was in His house. In more recent times the old book has been replaced and the narthex has been outfitted with serviceable vinyl flooring. It reminds me of my laundry. The sanctuary carpet has been replaced too. Crimson red carpet, where innumerable hearts bowed for communion, is now a lovely light blue. The pews have been padded and the other furnishings have been refurbished with blue as well—dreamy blue--like the ever-changing sky. Attached to the back of the edifice is a very small room. Entered only from the exterior, it was never suitable as a Sunday school room or a bathroom or the like. When I was a kid, we'd stand on our tiptoes to peer in through the dusty windows. It was empty except for an old safe. I often imagined the room was my heart, empty, waiting to be cleaned by God, ready for possibilities. Now, both my heart and the little room are full of the trappings of years and holidays, things too useful to get rid of, too shoddy for a place of worship, too abundant for anything but chaos. About the only thing that hasn't changed is the cemetery that surrounds the property. Its residents, the benefactors of the original fabrication, stand guard beneath markers that are constant except for wear by wind and rain. They still serve the God of my childhood. Long ago, I married and moved away. From time to time, I go back to sit quietly and search for the spirit of those innocent times, those times when furnishing God's dwelling place wasn't about expediency, pragmatism, or decoration. It was far simpler. This was the place where God revealed Himself; bountiful, gracious, love without price, unchanging, 16 the blood-colored aisle to the altar, the peaceful, eternal rest, the source, the direction, the sacrifice, the joy, the health, the life-everlasting, Amen.
Hereâ€™s a great opportunity for you to connect with other writers and learn from the workshops and speakers. For more information, visit the Colorado Christian Writers Conference website.
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April Showers Meet Hurricane Sandy by Jewell Utt
Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, devastating the northeastern coast of the United States. This weather event ravaged the New Jersey coastline and extended into the New York metropolitan area. It made history as the worst storm ever to hit our area. The ninety-mile an hour winds caused massive power outages and property destruction.
My husband's department was struggling because of the downturn in the economy. In an attempt to put the company back on solid ground, the owner hired a general manager. The new manager brought with him a coldness and began making drastic changes. Pay and benefits were diminished.
Ocean waters flooded tunnels and subway lines in New York City. Violent, twisting gales leveled entire forests in the mountains of northwest New Jersey-where I live.
Faithful employees began to lose their jobs. The family atmosphere was replaced with a harsh impersonal protocol. We were struggling financially; the new boss cut paychecks and benefits. We feared my husband was politely being pushed out in order to hire entry level employees. We held our breath and braced for the worst.
Trees fell like dominoes, their massive weight dragged down everything around them. Unnatural spaces remained in areas that once sheltered black bear, deer, fox, coyotes, bobcat - and a wide variety of other wildlife. The storm claimed numerous human lives and community destruction rendered thousands homeless. At a time when shock and loss paralyzed most people, some did the unthinkable. Caring nothing for their fellow citizen, looters preyed on the innocent. Stealthily they moved from home to business, stealing and destroying. I wondered how someone could be so insensitive at such a critical time. It was pure evil. The worst of man emerged, but the best was yet to come. Two months prior to the storm, my husbandâ€™s employer experienced changes. His company provides emergency restoration services. They are called to the scene of a fire or flood by a government agency, an insurance company or a homeowner. They assess damage, write reports, and enlist crews to begin the restoration process. That's the technical side of the job. Each home or business also comes with a distraught owner who has recently endured loss. His job requires a calm yet decisive person, one who can orchestrate an efficient clean-up, yet have compassion for shocked victims trying to deal with their loss.
Then one day, my husband was summoned to the general manager's office. His performance ratings were excellent, the owner liked him, but still his heart raced. Disturbing possibilities swirled in his mind. However, instead of losing his job, he was surprisingly promoted to manager of the restoration department. It was an overwhelming reliefâ€Śuntil he realized the promotion could provide a reason for his dismissal should business fail to improve. Despite his misgivings, he gave it his all and reorganized the department, addressing problem areas. A few months later, when the Emergency Restoration Department was running at full efficiency, Hurricane Sandy hit with a vengeance. On the home front, we had made arrangements to stay with friends if the storm really got bad. I wasn't afraid though, since we frequently lose power and I preferred to weather the storm at home, alone. A day off to read and relax would be a welcome 19 treat. My husband was already out on the road with crews, helping where summoned.
I watched as skies grew dim, breezes picked up, and alarming reports claimed every TV channel. I wondered why newscasters would panic people, instead of promoting calm at such a time. Then the winds gained speed.
As word of the devastation reached surrounding areas, the hands of Christ sprang forth through his people. Warehouses were opened to receive clothing, bedding and household goods. Trucks, filled to bursting, were delivered into the areas.
Reporters on TV were replaced by streaming words and ear-shattering sirens. My composure began to wane. The house lights started to flicker. Trees were bent to the point of breaking, slashing back and forth against the house. Our trellis, set deep in the ground, flew past the window. An explosion sounded in the distance and my coffee pot stopped brewing. All power was lost. My mobile phone rang twice. The first call came from my friend. She warned me to come before I got stranded; the highways between our homes were being closed. The second call came from my husband, telling me to pack us up and get out. Our house is located on a mountain where the winds are strong even during good weather, but the ferocity of these winds frightened me. So I gathered a few things and left my resolve behind, grabbing a half cup of strong coffee on my way out.
The church I attend participated in a unique way. We adopted several families from the shore areas. One of our members made the contacts to get a list of the specific things needed for each family. Our church collected every item. Though miles separated our mountain region from the Jersey shore, we delivered their supplies along with gift cards and Christmas presents for the children. In turn, they traveled to visit our church. This mutual blessing left us all well satisfied. God led one person to enlist a host of individuals who ended up helping a community. God revealed the truth of His promise in Romans 8:28 when He assured us "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." On the job: the general manager left the company for another venture, and my husband was promoted to director.
We stayed with my friend for a week until it was safe to return home. The devastation in our area was shocking, but not comparable to what had happened in the southern shore areas. People lost their lives, homes were destroyed; entire communities were gone. As the first rays of sun peeked from behind cloudy skies, a shard of hope pierced through. God's hand was again evident.
Miles and miles of trees are gone from our forests. It saddens me, but I'm ever watchful for new growth and the tiniest sprout brings me hope. 20 I I take comfort in Lamentations 3:21-23: "Yet this call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORDâ€™s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
“Tulips Arise” by Rejetta Morse “Now Spring is here - tulips arise!” God speaks to them in the daylight hours; They push their leaves up to the skies Below the rays that feed the flowers. He gives them warmth below the trees And the fresh air of the spring breeze. The storm clouds roll into the skies As raindrops pelt onto the land. They shiver as they start to pray And try to rise at his command. God hears their prayer in their dismay. He blows the storm clouds far away. They blink their tiny eyes and see The bright rainbow that hugs the skies; They shrug their shoulders so carefree, Their petals open as they rise. God smiles at all the lovely shades – A flowery carpet in the glades. They fill the earth with sweet perfume And stretch their tall, green, long-stemmed legs With their spring fragrance as they bloom And rock and swing their blossom heads! God loves the joy that they all bring To many others in the spring. They gaze—and gaze—up to the skies To God, so grateful and so free. Faith chains their hearts to hope and trust In God, who loves them faithfully. Their eyes of faith look toward the sun And their Creator – God's own Son. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. Psalms 104:24
Growing Pains by Norma C. Mezoe I stood upon the mountain top and viewed the world below… My spirit was elated and filled with rosy glow. Then I returned to the valley, because the Lord commanded, “Go!” For it’s in the deepest valleys where our spirits truly grow. Mountain tops are wonderful, They make our spirits glow… But it’s in the deepest valleys Where our spirits truly grow. First Rights – The Gem, published 5/29/11
Finding the Good by Toni R. Samuels “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” – Genesis 50:20a (NIV) It was nearly ten thirty one evening as I hobbled on aching feet to my hotel room after a full day of activities at a Christian conference outside Philadelphia. My room door was open. “Hello,” I called, gingerly pushing the door farther back. A quick scan of the room showed that my luggage was still there, and the room had not been ransacked. I rushed down to the front desk. “Please, I need to speak with the head of security,” I told the front desk manager. A uniformed man soon joined us, and I explained what had happened. The security chief escorted me to my room, inspected it and declared it safe. “Looks like the cleaning staff left the door open as they were cleaning several rooms in this area and forgot to close it. I’m sorry, ma’am. Are you OK?” “This is very disturbing,” I said. He agreed. “You know, you should be compensated somehow. I’ll talk to the front desk manager about making tonight a complimentary stay.” Ten minutes later, the manager called to tell me I would not be charged for that night. The enemy had been throwing his fiery darts at me from the time I arrived in town for the conference. His efforts were in vain, though, and God used the hotel incident – which could have caused me great harm – to bless me. But what if I hadn’t received a complimentary night’s stay? Or, even worse, what if I had walked in on intruders or if my belongings had been stolen? Would I still have quoted to myself what the ill-treated Joseph said to his fearful brothers in Genesis 50? Well, I’d like to think so, but I’m not so sure. Finding the good in adverse circumstances just doesn’t come naturally to me. When the Bible tells us that God works all things together for good to those who love Him, that means both the positive things and the not-sopositive things. When something that’s obviously good, like a financial blessing, emerges after the devil’s attacks, let’s rejoice. 23 But let’s also look for the good when the outcome appears to be completely negative. We probably won’t see the good right away, but it’s there. God said so.
Lee’s New Hearts by Norma C. Mezoe My daughter Cathy and her husband Lee had been married for less than five years when Lee began to have health issues. Eventually it was discovered that he had serious problems with his heart. While Lee was in the hospital, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to talk to Lee about salvation. The urging was so strong that I knew I had to do it. I prayed for the right words to share with Lee and I also prayed that he wouldn’t have visitors while I was there. When I entered his room, only Lee and his roommate were there. At first we talked about trivial things, but slowly the conversation came around to knowing where we would spend eternity. I shared with Lee the many ways the Lord had worked in my life to show his love, guidance and the ability to meet my needs. Lee seemed close to making a decision but it was time to leave. I held his hands and prayed with him. Later, my minister visited Lee and led him to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Lee was excited to be a Christian, and when he was able to leave the hospital, he and Cathy attended our church. Lee’s plan was to publicly announce the decision he had made. However, toward the end of the service, he had an attack and stopped breathing for a while. An ambulance was called and Lee was rushed to the hospital. As our family followed the ambulance, our church members were praying. It was an anxious time as we waited in the waiting room for a diagnosis. Eventually, Lee was admitted to a large hospital in a distant city and put on a list for a heart transplant. Meanwhile, a mechanical heart was surgically implanted which would keep Lee’s heart beating. Finally, I received the call for which I’d been waiting; a donor heart was on its way to the hospital for Lee. Late that night, he was prepared for surgery. As our family sat in the waiting room throughout the night and early morning, we prayed. After many hours of waiting, we were told the surgery was a success and Lee’s donor heart was beating normally. Philippians 4:6 (NIV) tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” We had prayed for months for a donor heart for Lee. Now it was time to offer our thanksgiving. Our family gathered in a circle and thanked and praised God for the miracle that had occurred. Not only did Lee have a new spiritual heart from having accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he also had a new physical heart and the possibility of renewed life.
In the Shadow of Lions (Chronicles of the Scribe, Book 1) by Ginger Garrett Book Review by Carol Peterson I loved this book. And I didn’t expect to. I enjoy historical fiction and was drawn to this luscious book cover. But frankly, it took some doing to get past the first chapter which introduced the Scribe—an angel who appeared at the deathbed of a modern day editor and who then sent her back in time to write the stories of the historical Anne Boleyn and a fictional Rose in 16th century England. Basically I had to get over the idea that the book genre was labeled historical fiction, when the presence of an angel with a startling appearance and demeanor along with out-of-body time travel, places the book also into fantasy. But once I accepted the premise, the book captured me with both the story of the two women’s lives as well as the historical struggle surrounding the Tyndale Bible—the first Bible translated into English. During that time in history, the Church professed that to read the Bible in any language other than the “divine language of Latin” was heresy and punishable by death. The lasting effect on me was that In the Shadow of Lions helped me appreciate what others before me went through in order that we modern folk could read Scripture on our own, in a language we understand. What a powerful message and reminder. I went on to read Garrett’s second book in the series In the Arms of Immortals: A Novel of Darkness and Light. This second book returns the reader to modern day, at the point where the first book ended. It then takes the reader back in time to the plague (Black Death) in Sicily. To date there is no third book in the series although Garrett has left open the possibility. I'll probably read that one, too. And recommend you do also.
Carol Peterson, Author My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire–children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.
Spring DIY Craft Round-Up by Vintage Mama
Tea Cup Wall Décor by Mondo Froni It’s time to finish up the spring cleaning and get on to the spring decorating! Here’s a stunning wall display featuring vintage tea cups and saucers, with coordinating ribbons. You could create any design that fits your wall, and you could use vintage tea cups that belonged to Grandma. Or you could display your collection of vintage tea cups and saucers that you‘ve collected over the years. Whatever you do with your tea cups and saucers, this will make a beautiful and unique wall décor display!
Laundry Room Clothes Pin Wreath from Holly at Ribbons and Glue How perfect is this for updating your laundry room? You could use any color combination you want, to coordinate with your laundry room, and using old-fashioned clothes pins will give it a touch of nostalgia. This wreath was made using scrapbook papers and letters, and you can find the complete tutorial at Ribbons and Glue.
Tea Cup Bouquets from Mondo Froni Here’s more inspiration for using beautiful vintage tea cups – there are so many ways to bring them out of the cupboard and bring joy to your family. These sweet little tea cup bouquets would be perfect for Mother’s Day, or for Grandma’s birthday . . . or to brighten up a corner of your favorite room. 27 Whether you find your tea cups and saucers at the local thrift shop or if you already have a few stashed in the cupboard, gather up a few and get creative!
Spring Clothes Pin Wreath by Trish at Houseologie Clothes pin wreaths can be so versatile! You can make them in any color combination, for any season, with every kind of embellishment imaginable! This beautiful clothes pin wreath was created by Trish at Houseologie, and the soft shades of aqua and ivory just feel so “springy!” You could make yours in any color combination that coordinates with your home, and use it either inside on a porch or on your front door. You can find the complete tutorial on the Houseologie blog.
Vintage Hankie Wall Décor by Mondo Froni Vintage hankies can also be repurposed to create so many beautiful things. We’ve used them to design quilt tops, as well as for embellishing garments, but this creative idea would be a great way to display your vintage hankies and make a statement wall décor presentation. The hankies can be stretched in frames or mounted on canvas boards individually, or you could even make the complete wall display on one large canvas board. Either way, this would be a beautiful way to display your collection of vintage hankies.
Tea Cup Pincushion from Crème Magazine So I admit – I have a thing for vintage tea cups. Actually, I have an endless fascination with everything vintage. But the tea cups seem to have so many possibilities! We’ve made tea cup pincushions before, so I’m always on the lookout for other artists and designers who also love to transform a lovely, delicate teacup into something else, completely new. This sweet tea cup pincushion is simple yet elegant, and would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift. They are so simple to make! Don’t you think you should give this a try? You’ll have so much fun! 28
A Reason for Everything by Frances Gregory Pasch I rushed out of the supermarket with a cart piled high with groceries. I only had an hour to get home, unload my packages, and get to the hospital. Dad was in intensive care and the visiting hours were limited to specific times. When I reached my car, I frantically searched for my keys. What a shock to discover I had locked the doors with my keys still in the ignition. Now what? I somberly glanced around the parking lot. To my amazement, I spotted my neighbor, and she offered to drive me home. I quickly put my perishables in my refrigerator and called my sister-in-law for a ride to the hospital. We breathlessly arrived in time for a short visit with Dad. After dinner, I asked my son, Jimmy, to take me to get my car. Normally, my husband would have driven me, but he wasn’t at home. On our way, Jimmy casually remarked, “Maybe I’ll stop to see Grandpa, after I drop you off.” I was shocked, but delighted. Since Jimmy isn’t much of a visitor, I wondered what triggered his sudden desire to see Dad. Would he change his mind? The next morning, I was thrilled when Dad said, “Jimmy came last night for a visit.” I could tell Dad was pleased, too. Three days later, Dad died. At the funeral, Jimmy seemed especially grateful when he said, “Mom, if you had not locked your keys in the car, I would never have gone to see Grandpa.” At that moment, I realized that it was God who had orchestrated this catastrophe and the blessing of its surprise ending.
“Momma, Where’s the Popcorn?” by Sharon L. Patterson Truly, it must have been a set of complicated circumstances for our four-year-old grandson’s young mind to comprehend. After all, he was certainly used to visiting Paw-paw often. As the only grandson, he knew he had special privileges that allowed him to do special things like climbing inside a real tank at the armory where his grandfather was better known as Colonel Patterson. He loved to put on Paw-paw’s helmet and play army. There were many trips and fun times like going to the “picture show” as granddaddy liked to call it. No trip to the movies was complete in little Garrett’s mind without a Coke and popcorn. So, on this special day, his mother announced that he was going to see his Paw-paw on the big movie screen. In his innocent understanding, he simply dug into his memory bank and pulled out his idea of what that meant. My husband had been deployed to Bosnia, Herzegovina on a peace-keeping mission where he served as Chief-of-Staff of Multinational Division North. Because of the wonders of modern technology, our family, along with others, was privileged to video teleconference about ten minutes once a week. Each family member waited in line to talk with his soldier. As a member of the command group, my husband chose to be at the end of the teleconference time allowed. After months of getting letters and special little gifts from my husband, Garrett learned he was going to actually get to see his beloved Paw-paw. That week, the video-teleconference was held in the Dallas area where my grandson lived. He went to the armory and waited until the other families had had their video time. Finally, he got to see his grandfather on the big screen where he promptly blew him kisses and repeated over and over, “my Paw-paw, my Paw-paw!” They exchanged a few words when finally Garrett unabashedly told my husband, “Paw-paw they won’t let me have popcorn.” Momma said they didn’t have any. “But Paw-paw, I always get popcorn when we go to the movies!” The laughter that filled the room must have left him a bit confused, but not nearly as much as the missing popcorn and Coke. The memory that fills our hearts is priceless
“Not My Will, But Thy Will” (through the eyes of Christ) by Lanette Kissel I was sent here to this earth to fulfill my Father’s plan, to shed my blood as atonement for the many sins of man. With the shedding of my blood, I will be paying the ultimate price. I will lay down my life for man, and be the atoning sacrifice. Wish that I could deny my fate, wish there was another way. I dread what is before me now, fear it more than I can say. Yet “Father, not my will, but Thy will…” Betrayed by a Judas kiss, the necessary deed already done, as I accept my pre-destined fate as the Father’s only Son. Put on display as the object of a mockery of a trial, knowing the bitter heartbreak of a dear disciple’s thrice denial. To a lonely hill named Golgotha my earthly life’s journey has led, my body pierced, and wearing a crown of thorns upon my head. Hanging upon this cross looking down at the angry mobs, their hurtful taunts and shouts drowning out my poor mother’s sobs. Having long endured such agony, now ready to succumb to death, Father, You alone will hear me draw my final breath. “Father, into your hands…”
“Lord, Remember Me” (through the eyes of the thief who hung on a cross beside Jesus) by Lanette Kissel I know the crimes that have brought me to this cross, and that I deserve to die. But this Man cannot deserve such torture. All I can do is to wonder why. This broken Man who is hanging beside me; what evil has He done? Is the only crime He ever committed simply claiming to be God’s Son? If I were Him I would just give up. I would curse my accusers and die. Yet all I have heard from this brave Man is a barely audible sigh. There is something different about this Man that I simply cannot explain, the manner in which He handles suffering and the way He deals with His pain. Could this Jesus be who He says He is? I think I am starting to believe. If I confess my sins and regrets to Him, will His blessing I receive? I gathered my courage and spoke to Him. I asked Him to “remember me”. Now I feel the weight of my sin has lifted, as if my soul has been set free.
Four Simple Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a Worship Service by Ifeoma Samuel Standing in the congregation, as the worship service progressed was awesome but I confess my thoughts were drifting away. What was I thinking of now? Let’s see...I can’t remember but I am pretty sure it had nothing to do with the worship service. I struggled to bring my heart back to the service. Fingers Snapped!! Wake up!! For about the third time, I’m afraid my thoughts were betraying my worship moment. Why I was standing in my Father’s house but yet was my heart was not about him? The music went slow and the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit reminded that it was Him who was important here not my regular schedule. Forgive my wandering thoughts, Lord. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Psalm 122:1 (KJV) How many times do you get distracted with thoughts during worship service? Although my heart returned to worship, I had lost the momentary opportunity to be drawn in. I had gotten ahead of myself and tired myself out by spreading too thin. Shrug! The Lord needs all of you while you are here standing in his presence. How do you prepare your heart for worship? Here are a few personal steps I take **Get your table lighter before service. Try not to fix too many appointments on a service day. Don’t eat too heavy. **Focus on the gathering, the benefits and the reasons for the meeting. We have come to meet with Lord and not just with persons. **Remember the Lord needs all of you, pray against every distraction in the place of worship. You can start by putting your cell phone on silence even if it is for a short while. **Develop a habit for short worship before you get to each church meeting. 33 It will help prep your heart. Prayer: Lord, help me to give all of me as I worship in your presence in Jesus name.
Math Square Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Use the numbers 1 through 9 to fill the spaces in the grid and complete each numerical problem. Use numbers only once.
Answer Keys on page 43
Fallen Phrase Puzzle by Beth Brubaker
God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart by Jean Ann Williams EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the preface and first chapter from the book, God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart by Jean Ann Williams. We will be publishing one chapter from her book in each upcoming issue of Ruby for Women to share her story with you. We trust that God will use Jean Ann’s story to be a blessing to you. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a Division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Preface “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” — Isaiah 43:18–19 I had a dream. I dreamed the nightmare never happened. Our son Joshua never passed on to the hereafter. He married and had children. Then I woke and knew the dream was only this—a dream. We live with our reality. I’ve written these devotions for those of you who have shared the deep heartache of a child’s suicide. Through my writing, I believe God wants me to share from my heart to yours, by encouraging you and giving you ways to cope. You can have hope and peace after a suicide. God has helped me, and He wants to help you. The loss is horrific, but God is faithful. He brought me through this dark time, and He wants to do the same for you. A yearning to write this story came five years into my journey of loss. I sensed a dawn of courage within myself, but I hadn’t come this far in a blink, nor on my own. Although I knew I’d lose my nerve, only to gain it back time and again before I completed my story, I also knew I’d have the help from Lord God, and the folks He sent my way. Am I full of courage? Yes! Yes, I shout, with God’s hand upon me. God, when I falter, I pray You will renew my strength. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Chapter One March 16, 2004 You will not fear the terror of night, nor for the arrow that flies by day. —Psalm 91:5 I stood in the open doorway out in the hall. Still clutching the knob, my son stood and faced me. He swung out his arm and handed me his Bible. As I took it, our eyes locked. A look of solemn determination masked his face. With his hand on the inside of his bedroom doorknob, twenty-five-year-old Joshua bent down and 35 reached for something on his bed. For several years he had declined emotionally, and after trying one antidepressant after another, nothing worked and he became extremely paranoid. My mother’s heart feared all was not right. And up until that morning, I would never have guessed what Joshua was considering.
My stomach knotted. The knot clenched by an invisible fist, as Joshua firmly shut and locked the door. I yelled for my husband. Within seconds he stood next to me, his face filled with concern. He turned the locked doorknob, calling out Joshua’s name. A muffled shot. Time slowed with my pulse swish-swishing in my ears. Why is Joshua shooting a starter pistol in his bedroom? My husband’s expression changed to utter horror and disbelief. And then I understood on a heart level what my son had done. I yelled, “Kick the door.” My husband’s shoe crashed it open, splintering the jamb. I rushed in. My son was falling, falling, to his bed. Reaching him, I shouted, “No, Joshua, no!” I pressed on the wound at the side of his head, and with my other hand I felt for a pulse. One beat. Half a beat. Then quiet met my fingertips. “Oh, God, please, no!” ************************************* In this stirring memoir Jean Ann Williams shares her son, Joshua’s, life and also his untimely death at age twenty-five. Being a woman of faith, in each chapter she shares thoughts and scriptures which have given her comfort and support in the hopes her journey can help others. The book is a must read for anyone who has lost a family member to suicide. Gloria Horsley Ph.D. President of Open to Hope Jean Ann Williams has written a powerful book, full of pain and joy, despair and hope, all in the form of short, pithy devotions. This author understands the agony of losing someone to suicide, because her son took his life and shredded his family’s heart. However, though Williams clearly spells out the agonizing grief she endured after her beloved son’s death, she also shows God truly does offer a Light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of loss. And as the author takes us on this long journey out of overwhelming darkness, she also enables us to feel the everlasting arms underneath her, carrying her and healing her every step of the way. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one through suicide, please get this book. It will bless and minister to you as often as you read one of its devotions or reflect on the words within its pages. Kathi Macias, author ***Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com) is a multi-award winning author of more than 50 books. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al. 36
Pieces by Sarah Johnson I am in desperate need of encouragement, every minute, every day. And so is everyone I know. I am weary, wary, broken, and bruised...so are you. I rely on God. His words are in the Bible. His words are in my heart. He asks others to encourage me, to speak life, to wrap their hearts and prayers around my wounded, writhing pain. He sent Jesus as the bridge between all that I ought to be and every place that I fall short. Hope lights a dim future that I cannot see, only trust will dawn brightly; faith bandages the memories of my failures; it glues together my past, so that I don't completely fall apart; and Love wraps the wounds, the wariness; and gives me courage to extend warmth, grace and mercy to others. Because I am desperate. And so is everyone I know.
This April Snow by Keith Wallis This April snow is not cloud laden cold and wet, it does not die in a moist palm nor cluster in balls for throwing. This April snow is a white cloud on hawthorn springing, soft petalled, deep as branches, in the hedgerow. This April snow is a larder for bees, a playground for butterfly and a cure for melancholy. This April snow drifts in the breeze confetti for the marriage of seasons. Read more: http://wordsculptures-
In Trustworthy Hands by Norma C. Mezoe “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself….”-Matthew 6:34 (NIV) Colleen and her husband purchased a double-wide prefab house and a land lot. During the process of readying the ground, it seemed that anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Not only were there problems with preparing the placement of the house, the neighbor next door was against having a prefab house placed next to her home. The stress began interfering with Colleen’s sleep. One day the man from whom they had purchased the house said, “Now, Colleen, I don’t want you worrying about this and losing sleep over it. Place it in my hands and let me take care of the problems.” Isn’t that exactly what our Lord says to us when we are plodding through struggles and anxieties? God knows when we need his strength to cope with frustrations that threaten to overpower us and steal his peace from our lives. It took a while for Colleen to place the problems of the house and lot into the builders’ hands, but eventually she did. Not only did she place the problems of the house into the builders’ hands, she also placed her cares into God’s loving hands. After she let go of the anxieties that had held her captive, Colleen and her husband eventually were able to move into their new home. Over a period of time, the neighbor who didn’t want a double-wide in her neighborhood, became friends with Colleen and welcomed her to the neighborhood.
Thought for Today: God is waiting for us to place our cares into his hands. What are we waiting for? First Rights – The Secret Place, published spring 2005
Life is Short; Have an Affair! by Lynn Mosher I keep getting those stupid spam emails. You probably get them as well. I hate having to clean out my spam folder, all those, uhhmm, blankety-blank words I don’t like etched on my brain. But I must go through them. I scan them to make sure a for-real email has not landed in there accidentally. As I glance over them, what stares at me?
Life is short; have an affair! Whaaaat? Send that thing to cyber purgatory! And at the bottom of this list of junk? I get this one:
Master Seducer Good grief! DELETE!!! Then, my brain goes into its spinning routine when a slice of life explodes with a spiritual thought and picks up on those words, Master Seducer. We have a Master Seducer, you know. He’s that old enemy of ours. He would love for us to have an affair. Of any kind! He coaxes with all sorts of worldly things to seduce us into an affair with them. Allurings of money, pride, addictions, self-importance, selfishness, or power. He knows just how to bait that hook with appealing lures and we swallow it all…hook, line, and sinker! But wait! There’s one affair we can have that drives the enemy-seducer crazy….
A holy affair. God calls us into an affair… with Himself. God told Moses to tell His people Israel, “So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 20:7 NLT) If we do not separate ourselves from the seducer’s lures, we allow other loves to dethrone God and we resemble Israel. James says we are like “unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? 39
So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love?” (James 4:4-5 Amp)
God is a jealous God! Never forget that. The Lord loves us; we are His precious Bride. He rejoices over us. He desires to keep us separated from those worldly affairs. Our affair, our Perfect Affair, is with Him. Alone. Our Beloved Bridegroom. How hard do we work to keep ourselves from inappropriate contaminants that sully our purity while waiting for our Beloved’s return? Do we separate ourselves from the way of the world by living a Godly lifestyle that honors Him? Therefore, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5 NIV)
Life IS short; have that Perfect Affair!
Visit Lynn Mosher on her blog to read her daily devotional and inspirational posts.
Kneeling in the Garden by Sarah Johnson Kneeling in the garden; On the soil that’s dry and hardened, Pulling weeds and clipping back the briars. You need I need One less life-weed. One less briar in our lives. But like lawn that’s never watered, Never seeded, never thatched, What’s left would be a weedless, lifeless mess. We weed…out the hatred and the rage We weed…out the selfish, center stage We weed…out with pointing, jabbing fingers We weed…out revenge, when anger lingers We weed…out injustice, growing tall We weed…out with hunger, once for all. And in the garden growing, Flourish green and overflowing, Together, sow fresh seeds and water well; We need…sincere concern for others We need…to see humanity as brothers We need…others first, not always last We need…more smiles and far more laughs. We need…mercy, grace and trust We need…more love—it is a must. And when reposed, we finally leave And go beyond these fields of green, May we not notice any difference in our path. Let the Eden we have riven Be so fraught with true forgivin’, Heaven’s just another garden gate to pass. 41
Jesus is the Lover of My Soul by Jennifer Workman Jesus is the lover of my soul, the giver of my life. What can I do without him, I dare not even try. He spearheads and directs the course of my life every day, He is always present with me, what an ultimate price he has paid. The price of God giving his only begotten Son Jesus for a wretch like me, praise God that through Jesus I have ultimate victory. A victory of one day seeing Jesusâ€™s beautiful face, the one who is truly my Amazing grace. Amazing grace how sweet it is the love that Jesus has for me, No other can compare, Lord help me to live humbly submitted to thee. 42
Good morning Jesus! I start my day with praise and thanksgiving to you, The one that I love and know that is precious and that is true.
Cryptogram Puzzle Answer Key
Math Square Puzzle Answer Key
Fallen Phrase Puzzle Answer Key
New from author Jean Ann Williams
Just Claire ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings and depressed mother, and she finds relief in the lies she tells herself and others. Frightened by the changes in Mama, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. Deciding she needs to reinvent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls. At the slip of an untruth, she deceives her way into the Lavender Girls Club. Her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then she saves a life. Just Claire is now available from Amazon.
Lose Weight, Get Fit & Change Your Life – With 4 Powerful Principles by Carol L. Doyel Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. 44
Meet the Ruby for Women Writers Miriam Jacob is an author and poet in cyberspace, having published a series of E-Books at Lulu.com. She is a book reviewer at CHRISTIAN BOOK DISTRIBUTORS, BARNES AND NOBLE, GOOGLE BOOKS and HARPER COLLINS CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING (BookLook Bloggers). She writes reviews for Christian books, in the categories of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry and politics. Her articles and book reviews are published on her blog: “AUTHORS FOR CHRIST” Miriam is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.
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 five 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. Blog http://KatherinesCorner.com Blog Graphics at http://BlogArtByKatherine.com Shop http://KeepsakesByKatherine.etsy.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.
Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life.
She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at: email@example.com
Rejetta Morse enjoys writing poetry so she can write about God and how He speaks through nature. Writing poetry is a new found purpose and hobby she discovered over recent years which brings her joy, peace, and encouragement. She also enjoys reading poetry and is working to learn more about the craft of poetry. She spends her free time singing with her church choir and listening to gospel music, watching biographical movies, and encouraging other people.
Carol Peterson, Author My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire– children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.
Jewell Utt has served in church leadership for over twenty years. She is the director of a local food pantry and the women’s ministry leader at her church. Her desire is to encourage women through writing, speaking and music. Jewell is a resource speaker for schools, churches, and women's events. She has been married for thirty-four years and has three grown sons. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org visit her website at: www.jewellutt.com.
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. Gloria blogs at www.gettingitright-occasionally.blogspot.com
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). 46 She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.
Stacy Flury is mom to two grown daughters, the youngest of which is homeschooled and will graduate next year. She has been married for 32 years and lives in New Jersey. In addition to being a wife and a mom, Stacy is the writer of the blog Anchor of Promise, a support and educational blog for parents with hurting and troubled teens. She is currently writing her first book, Anchor in the Parenting Storms: Survival Devotions for Parents with Teens in Crisis.
lives with her wonderful husband Shlomi and their three children Avery, Collin and Meadow in South Florida. Melissa was born and raised in a Jewish home and later found Jesus at the age of 35. Shlomi, an Israeli Jew, was not far behind, finding the Lord shortly thereafter. Both Melissa and Shlomi are practicing attorneys in the criminal justice field. Their journey is one of brokenness, mercy and redemption. You can read her blog posts at Work for the Cause Not the Applause.
Donna Comeaux resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Glenn. Together, they have two children and five grandchildren. She draws inspiration from her life, the life of others, the news, and her wild and vivid imagination. She is a freelance writer and has written several poems for funerals and weddings, and is in the process of editing her first completed family saga, White Castle. She wrote her second novel, Taken by Choice, and a short story, Selfish Ambition, in 2014.
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 Writersâ€™ Tapestry: Where Writing and Life Intertwine http://www.michellelazurek.com
Alisha Ritchie is a wife, mother of two wonderful children, Physical Therapy Assistant by profession, and dedicated church member and Sunday School teacher. She resides in the small town of Stanfield, North Carolina, where she enjoys writing, spending time with her children, and ministering to others through her work and small group Bible studies. You can read other devotions she has written on www.christiandevotions.us. 47
Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.
Kathleen Katt Luce is a registered nurse, married, the mother of two and grandmother of seven. It brings her great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years she's learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. She's found herself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the facility for incarcerated teens, sharing God’s message of love. She is also an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. She has seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. She writes a blog: www.kathleensfaithwalk.com
Cindy Knisley I have been an educator for 24 years in a suburban Philadelphia high school, I have always enjoyed language and writing. Teaching German and Latin trained me to respect the nuances of structure and story as well as the power of words. Three years ago I felt called by God to leave the work I loved in order to support my aging parents. My home is in West Chester, PA, where I tend a "secret garden," enjoy my grandchildren, attend church, and write.
Kathleen McCauley has been an active retreat leader for over 25 years.
She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton. Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth. Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at email@example.com
Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling. Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-LeottaAuthor-and-Story-Performer/188479350973
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 todo 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. You can find her blogging about these times with God at her devotional site: Room To Breathe: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/
Kathryn Ross is an enrichment artist, writer, speaker, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission is to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her books and storytelling programs engage young and old with dramatic flair. Many of Miss Kathy’s inspirational works and discipleship tools are designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. She lives with her bookseller husband, a storyteller in his own right, and two literary cats. Inspired by the stillness of birdsong and silent reflection, teatime, God’s Word, classic literature, and the arts inform her words with a splash of old world elegance. Timeless truths leap from the page and the stage through Pageant Wagon Publishing and Productions. Weekly doses of enriching words and images stir the heart through her blog at The Writer’s Reverie.
Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991. You can contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.
Ifeoma Samuel is privileged to be a Woman after God’s heart and is happily married to her sweet heart Obiora Samuel. She is the author of the new book My 30 Days Journey To a Fulfilled Life. You can find her blogging regularly at Purposeful and Meaningful You can also connect with her on Pinterest, Google+ and on Facebook.
Sarah Johnson writes, photographs and gardens from her home near the tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay. Her work is inspired by the glory of God’s creation and the nuances of light in life, from that of literal sunshine to the shadow-dispelling joy of serving her Creator. Herding three cats, two children and a husband, keeps her busy between editing flowerbeds and weeding paragraphs. She is the editor of 'Garden Cumberland', a gardeners resource that encourages others to find their 49 hearts in the sunshine and soil of South Jersey. https://www.facebook.com/GardenCumberland
Keith Wallis, Poet-in-Residence 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 magazine, he is a moderator at ChristianWriters.com. His blog of ekphrasic poetry is: http://wordsculptures-keith.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.
Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor Beth is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth has been a Christian since her early twenties, and has been married to her "Knight In Dented Armor" since 1997. She is the mother of two teenage children and two cats (she still hasn't told the cats they were adopted...Shh!) Her oldest child has Asperger’s, which helps her see things a little differently through his eyes. Beth's passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. She enjoys sharing her struggles and experiences with others, to encourage them to find their own passions and attain what they want out of life- and to find joy and humor along the way. Don't miss Beth's columns and puzzles in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read Beth's posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or emails her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. Gracie is 15 years old and Annie is 13. 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 have worked for several years offering my handmade and refashioned garments and accessories in a local boutique under the creative name of “Vintage Mama’s Cottage.” My personal blog is at www.mamaslittletreasures.com 50
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The April 2016 issue of Ruby for Women features recipes, crafts, devotionals, short stories, and poetry that celebrates the joys of spring.
Published on Apr 9, 2016
The April 2016 issue of Ruby for Women features recipes, crafts, devotionals, short stories, and poetry that celebrates the joys of spring.