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Ruby for Women Ruby for Women

A voice for every Christian woman A voice for everyAutumn Christian2013 woman

Summer, 2014

Ruby for Women A voice for every Christian woman Autumn, 2014

In This Issue . . . Page 5

Broken Stuff Nina Newton, Sr. Editor


Pleasing the Right One Amanda Johnson, Asst. Editor


Equation Search Puzzle Beth Brubaker


Fabulous Fabric Flowers Carin LeRoy


Autumn is just around the corner! As we prepare to celebrate the changing of the seasons, here at Ruby for Women you will find inspiration, encouragement, and wisdom for all the days of every season. Please visit the Ruby for Women blog for daily inspiration at Cover image for the autumn issue of the Ruby for Women magazine is from Katherine Corrigan of Katherine’s Corner.


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Mary Magdalene Nora Spinaio


Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Days Vintage Mama


God has the Final Say Maxine Young


What happens to the world when I die? Keith Wallis


What will I remember? Keith Wallis


iF@ith by Daniel Darling Book Review by Miriam Jacob


The Lamb Kelly Bowden


Taking Down the Past, Putting Up the Future Sharon L. Patterson

Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Amanda Johnson Poetry: Keith Wallis Creative Assistant: Katherine Corrigan Family Fun Editor: Beth Brubaker Gardening: Dorothy Kurchak Devotions: Lynn Mosher Feature Writers: Connie Arnold, Carin LeRoy, Theresa Ceniccola, Mimi Spurlock, Taylor DeVine, Sharon L. Patterson, Elizabeth Baker, Gloria Doty, Kristi Burchfiel, Yvonne Carson, Angela Morris, Kris Wolfe, Amanda Stephan, Miriam Jacob, Michelle Lazurek, Connie Chandler, Yolonda Hairston, Maxine Young, Debra Ann Elliott, Corallie Buchanan, Christie Workman, Heather King, Angie Hiskitt, Lanette Kissel, Cindy J. Evans, Brenda Diaz, Donna Comeaux, Melissa Zelniker-Presser, Nora Spinaio, Cindy Bailey, Kelly Bowden, Donna McBroom-Theriot, Theresa Begin

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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 If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Amanda Johnson, at Also, please visit our blog at where you can connect with other Christian women. Ruby for Women 2731 W 700 N 1 Columbia City, IN 46725

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Fabulous Fall Craft Projects Vintage Mama


How to Find Happiness in (Almost) any Situation Kris Wolfe

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Carol’s Book Club Carol Peterson, Author


We should all be Dogs Angie Hiskitt


Ask Beth Beth Brubaker


God Fixes Broken Trusters Sharon L. Patterson

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Autumn Apple Recipes Vintage Mama

An Everlasting Love Miriam Jacob


An Unlikely Choice Donna Comeaux

My Prayer Box Melissa Zelniker-Presser


Footprints in the Mud Beth Brubaker


A hundred Summers ago Keith Wallis


Stepping Stones Keith Wallis


Decidedly Different, not Offensively Obnoxious Sharon L. Patterson


Fall Forward with the Light On Yolonda Hairston


Subjects Matter Hidden Word Puzzle Beth Brubaker


Meet the Ruby Blogger Team Ruby for Women


Equation Search Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker


Happiness Word Scramble Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker


Subjects Matter Hidden Word Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker


Ruby’s Reading Corner Ruby for Women

A Word from the Lord Taylor DeVine

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Happiness Word Scramble Puzzle Beth Brubaker Ruby Pearls Beth Brubaker Sit and be Fit! Maxine Young


The Mason Jar James Russell Lingerfelt


Fern Valley Aileen Stewart


Who is in Control? Lanette Kissel


What We Cannot See Lanette Kissel


When is a Deal a Deal? Marilynn Dawson


Kids’ Korner Carol Peterson, Author


The Lost Art of Letter Writing Vintage Mama



The Word of God: The Only Truth Brenda Diaz



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Interview with author Aileen Stewart Beth Brubaker More Autumn Recipes Vintage Mama The Smell of Freshly Sharpened Pencils Lynn Mosher


Meet the Ruby Writers


Credits and Copyrights

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Ruby for Women Magazine and Blog

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You have a story and we want to hear it! God has given a voice to every Christian women and we celebrate YOUR voice. Please visit us at the

Ruby for Women blog and share your story with us! * * * *

Inspirational posts Featured bloggers FREE seasonal online magazine Crafts, recipes, poetry, and stories We would love to hear from you!


Sept. 1: LABOR DAY Sept. 6: Read a Book Day Sept. 7: Grandparent’s Day Sept. 9: Teddy Bear Day Sept. 10: Sewing Machine Day Sept. 11: 9/11 Remembrance Sept. 13: Positive Thinking Day ;;[;[;[ 15: Make a Hat Day Sept. Sept. 16: Mayflower Day Sept. 17: Constitution Day

Sept. 18: National Cheeseburger Day Sept. 19: POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 20: Oktoberfest Sept. 21: International Peace Day Sept. 21: Women’s Friendship Day Sept. 21: World Gratitude Day Sept. 22: Business Women’s Day Sept. 26: Johnny Appleseed Day 4 Sept. 26: Native American Day Sept. 28: National Good Neighbor Day

Broken Stuff Nina Newton, Sr. Editor The past few months I've been pretty focused on stuff . . . . too much stuff, old stuff, worthless stuff, in-the-way stuff, and piles of who-knows-what-it-is stuff. There are dresser drawers, closets, cupboards, baskets, buckets, and tote bags overflowing with stuff. That's what happens when a mama isn't looking and the kids are supposed to be helping to "clean up." Just pick it up and shove it anywhere that isn't already full of stuff! Our spring cleaning this year began with a thorough purging of first one closet, and then another. Followed by emptying out one dresser drawer at a time, then the kitchen cupboards, the craft and sewing cabinets, and the office area. We were quite successful in tossing out a bunch of stuff that never should have been kept in the first place, stuff that the girls had out-grown, stuff that we had accumulated when we went out and bought more stuff because we couldn't find the other stuff that we knew we had somewhere but just couldn't find. After numerous trips to the local thrift shop (I know, we usually take bags full of stuff in the back door and then go in the front door and buy more . . . . STUFF!) things were becoming a bit more manageable. We still have a ways to go, but at least we can now find an ink pen that actually works, a roll of tape that actually has tape on it, and the flip flops without tripping over the winter boots. Usually. We're getting closer every day. But as we were sorting and tossing, storing and pondering what to do with all that stuff, we came across some broken stuff. You know, the usual: broken pencils, a few old broken dishes, broken boxes and baskets, broken toys, broken crayons, broken lamps, and broken tools. And it got me thinking about broken stuff. It got me thinking about broken hearts, broken relationships, broken lives, broken promises, and broken people. Like me. And you. And all of us. Because, really, no matter how much we might want to pretend, we are all broken. That's the point. If we could be perfect, or if we could put ourselves back together on our own, we wouldn't need God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sorting through all of the stuff in the junk drawer(s) gave me an opportunity to contemplate the messes that are created when we have piles of broken stuff just sitting around. But what to do with it all? Well, if it is broken stuff like pencils, plates, cups, crayons, or toys, we can get out the glue and put the broken stuff back together, or we can just throw it out. Since my mama grew up during the Great Depression, I learned early on that we didn't throw away hardly anything at all. Her motto was, "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without." And so we did. 5

Broken plates were glued back together, clothing that was worn and torn was updated with a patch or two or a reinforced seam. Broken down shoes were stitched and glued back together and with a new coat of shoe polish, they were good for another few months. Broken furniture was glued or nailed back together, and if there was a tear in the upholstery, the needle and thread came out of the sewing basket and if all else failed, we had a pretty (probably mended) doily to cover the repaired place. Old clothes and coats were upcycled into new garments for the kids, and for mama as well. Learning to live with very little in the way of material possessions certainly does teach one how to be resourceful! But when it comes to broken hearts, broken relationships, or broken promises, our options for repair are limited. We all know that forgiveness is the place to start . . . . asking, giving, and receiving. But that doesn't always happen, and so we must learn to go through life - broken. But that doesn't mean we are defeated! We must realize that broken is the state of all people, throughout all of history, through all of time, and in every place. It is normal. And it makes us "real." And so, we can learn from one of my favorite fictional characters (although I believe he lives within the hearts of many who believe), the Skin Horse from the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. One day when the Velveteen Rabbit asked the old Skin Horse (whose hair was all thin and worn off from being hugged so much) if it hurts to be real: "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." Since we are all broken, perhaps we should stop pretending and love one another with God's love, forgiveness, patience, and kindness. Because, after all, don't you want to be "real"? If you do, it is going to hurt sooner or later (probably sooner rather than later), so you might as well get ready to be broken - but then, just like the Old Skin Horse, remember that . . . "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Creative inspiration and craft tutorials from Vintage Mama’s Cottage


Pleasing the Right One by Amanda Johnson It’s funny how the Lord brings us face to face with a specific Truth from His Word. This morning I was reading along in a daily scripture reading when I felt my thoughts start to wander. Just as I caught myself drifting, the Lord revealed a Truth that totally got my attention. In 2 Timothy 2, the apostle Paul gives final instructions to his disciple and student Timothy. The teachings are the usual “follow my example as I follow Christ” and “be an example to others,” but then boom, right in the middle he says to serve as a soldier for Jesus Christ and reminds Timothy that “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). That was an unexpected reminder of a huge Truth I needed to hear. As a soldier in the army of Christ, we’re to focus on serving Him and leading others to Him. We should shine as Jesus’ light in this dark world. But, many times, we get caught up in trying to please others and make everyone happy along the way. It’s one thing to look out for others and care about the needs and emotions of those around us. However, it is an entirely different matter when we allow our lives to be directed and even dictated by the ways we try and please others. I’m super guilty of jumping in and trying to “fix” everything or keep everyone happy even if it’s not my job. What a key Truth to ponder: Do not get “entangled in civilian affairs, but rather [try] to please [your] commanding officer,” Jesus Christ.

Equation Search Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Create an equation by finding a numerical expression in the grid for each number shown below. Use any combination of adjacent numbers and operations. The hidden phrases can go to the right or down. Answer key on page 77 7

Make It Yourself!

Fabulous Fabric Flowers DIY Craft Tutorial from Carin LeRoy

Flowers are a trendy style right now. They appear on little girl's headbands, purses, lampshades, baskets and many other things. I recently ran across a You Tube video when I was searching how to make a flower. These are easy, fun and cheap to make. Why not try to make some for yourself? I planned to make 40 to turn into napkin rings for my mother's 80th Victorian-themed birthday party. What you need: • Muslin or other cloth of your choice • Scissors • Glue gun and extra glue sticks • Buttons or other decorations for the flower center • Small felt circle for each flower STEP #1: CUT FELT CIRCLES First, create your felt circles. I did 1 ½" circles. I didn't want mine too big. Cut them larger if you want a bigger flower.

STEP #2: CUT FABRIC STRIPS Then, cut strips in your choice of material. I cut mine 1 1/2" wide. Again, if you go wider, you will get a bigger flower. You may need to experiment for the size you hope to achieve. 8

STEP #3: STITCH and CUT PETALS Next, fold your strips of cloth in half lengthwise and sew a basting stitch along the two edges of the material. You have created a loop on one side with stitching on the other. Once stitched, cut the material along the fold, stopping just short of the stitching to create the "petals." I cut my petals about Âź" apart.

STEP #4: Now grab your glue gun, plug it in, and warm up the glue. Lay out a felt circle on a flat surface. Then inch by inch lay a line of hot glue on the felt to attach the stitched edge of the fabric strip around the felt circle. Move along slowly to attach material to the felt.

Once you have petals along the edge of the felt circle, continue gluing the fabric strip in a circle, moving to the inside of the felt circle. I glue on enough to attach 3 layers of petals. This is tricky in the beginning, but you will soon be a pro! The key is to go slow and only lay an inch of glue at a time. When you reach the center of the felt, trim off the excess material. Now, comes the fun part—the decorations for the inside of the flower. Here, I have a mixture of things. A value pack of an assortment of gold-colored buttons bought at Hobby Lobby. Also a bag of buttons and some glitter gems. 9

STEP #5: EMBELLISHMENTS There are many options to choose from for your center decoration. Depending on the color theme you are working with, you could use buttons or charms, gems or beads, or a combination of several different embellishments. Simply add a few drops of hot glue in the center of each fabric flower and press a button or other decoration into the glue. Be careful not to let the hot glue touch your fingers! Hold center decoration in place for a few seconds while the glue cools. We created this larger burlap flower using a 2 ½” felt circle, and cut the burlap strips 3” wide X 18” long. You can use these beautiful fabric flowers for a wide variety of craft projects, including gift wrap, home décor, seasonal wreaths, hair embellishments, and so much more!

Here is how to make a napkin ring with your Fabulous Fabric Flowers:

• • •

Buy a packet of plastic shower curtain rings. Cover the plastic ring with ribbon by adhering with hot glue. I used 5/8" satin ribbon. Glue on your flower.

Voila! You have dressy napkin ring for your party or celebration for less than fifty cents. 10

Mary Magdalene (A fictional account) by Nora Spinaio

I’m often asked how I became the woman I am. I’m Mary Magdalene and this is my story. It all started with anger. Not the ordinary anger that comes and goes with life; but, the kind that sinks into your soul and turns to rage. Rage, when it is fulfilled, turns to hate. Like most fathers of the time, mine arranged my marriage to a man who was 20 years my senior. A man I didn’t love, never respected, and quickly grew to hate. It was a marriage of convenience-- for him. I could have adjusted if convenience had been all. But, on more than one morning I appeared with bruises or worse. My very presence could set him off into an abusive rage. Perhaps, his rage ignited my own. Year after year we raged, never relenting, never happy. His rage turning more and more physical and mine was turning more and more inward. I was caught in this hellish existence with no escape from his sadistic strikes. Then, one day, what I believed to be the whole source of my rage was gone. Ten years of rage were gone in a heartbeat, or rather, the lack of one. Privately, I celebrated even as I showed all of the outward signs of a grieving widow. Not even the household servants knew my relief.

One day I began to lash out at those around me. I don’t know or understand how it happened but my rage had returned. I threw things at the servants for any and no reason. The demonic spirit of Anger had entered my soul and set up house. He was but the first. His brother Greed wasn’t far behind. My late husband was good at one thing…business, and for no particular reason he left it to me. It did well but I always wanted the work of my competitors. If they did well I fumed and then I would begin to scheme. I even bribed the tax collector into putting a competitor into debtor prison. Cruel? Yes, but my Greed demon was in full league with my Anger. The more money I made the more I wanted. It was never enough and my greed was never satisfied. It was about then the demon Envy began to enter the picture. I often saw other women around me; women with happy homes. Their husbands were kind and loving and they had children. Children, I could never have. I envied the women their contentment and love. But, I envied their husbands more. The men were able to go places and do things that I, as a woman, could not. They were able to make more contacts and more money. 11

Money had become my mate. It was the only thing without disappointment. I was never grateful –more was what I longed for. More would fill the void. The greed demon and the envy demon were fast friends within me. Anger, Greed, and Envy had a cousin demon named gluttony and he was not far behind. I began to hoard as if I was waiting for famine. I gave no alms, no offerings. I kept close accounts of my servants’ activities even down to the food they ate. Slaves were treated harshly and indentured servants were never released until well past time. I had no compassion, no empathy for I was in my pursuit of things. All was not near enough. The area of my life that received no attention was spiritual. While I never spoke to the sorcerers, I never spoke to the priests of God either.

Physically, I couldn’t be satisfied. This man, this object of my lust, would visit me with his presents in hand and desire in his eyes but I didn’t care. I even lied and said I loved him. I was possessed with this lust for a caress, this passion of the physical. Some would call me a loose woman, some a prostitute. I was both. I was neither. I was possessed. These seven demons lived within me until I was well into my thirties. These seven would have stayed forever if not for Him. I was in the marketplace selling my wares and looking over the products of my competitors when He made His way towards me. This was no small feat as the crowds moved with Him.

I said I had no time for religion and I had no intention of worshiping Jehovah. I blamed the hypocrites who said one thing but did another. Sloth was comfortable within me. Besides this demon of Sloth, the demon of Pride had come to stay. I had always been proud of my physical beauty. And, as time had gone by, my pride grew to include my business sense. I often bought cloth and sandals for no other reason than I could. I flaunted my beauty as I walked down the streets with the attitude of ownership. I pampered myself much as the Egyptians had done. I was the center of my universe, the queen of my domain. Every eye was on me and I liked it. I deserved it. Pride’s brother Lust soon moved in. I called this lust for pleasure, a lust for life and adventure. It didn’t matter that my mother had raised me in the shadow of the Temple. The caress of a man or the pampering with perfumes and lotions – it made no difference to me.

He took a step and so did they; but, He was determined as he led them to where I was standing. I suddenly felt chill. The demons inside of me wanted to flee. They knew who He was. I had heard of this Man of Galilee, the One who healed the sick and lame. I’d heard how He cast out demons. I’d heard of how He gave hope to the people and put fear in the hearts of the hypocrites. When He approached me He said “Daughter, you are tormented and distressed. Those within you seek to destroy you. I can release you. Are you willing?” I barely had the courage to nod for I knew the 12 demons within me were indeed trying to destroy me.

And there was something true in this Man, this Teacher, something that could fill the void. So, I nodded, hoping --almost praying He would and could help me. I was hoping I could be better than what I had become. He commanded the demons leave me. I felt a sweet release as they all fled… all seven of them. Then, I fainted. I awoke to a new life. I hadn’t felt peace since I was a very young child. Still, there it was. It was as if I was suddenly the person I should have been all the time. Joy flooded my being. I looked up at the Master. He smiled. I arose only to fall at his feet. My torturers had left and I had a Savior in their place. He said “Mary Magdalene, we will dine at your house today.” He and the twelve did eat at my table that day and many others. I knew I believed in Him. But, it was a very long time before I believed in much else or even before I realized who He was and is. I knew Jesus had rescued me from the demons. I didn’t know or care that He was the Son of God – not yet. I only knew the void was replaced with peace and joy.

I released all of the indentured servants and freed all of my slaves. The ones with no place to go, I began to pay a living wage. I not only paid them, but I started treating them with kindness and respect. I smiled when I overhead the servants comment on this new charity of mine. The love of God had finally entered my heart. I sold my business and many of my possessions and went wherever Jesus happened to be going, giving to His ministry as I went. As I listened to Him teach and as I saw more of His miracles, I began to understand who He was and what He was doing. I remember the day I realized Jesus was the Son of God… the Messiah. I had been sitting under His teaching for some months and He was talking about the Kingdom of Heaven. When He spoke I could hear nothing else. He spoke of Heavenly things as if they were everyday things. He spoke of loving your neighbors and praying for your enemies as if it had always been expected. He had such authority in His voice and I believed. I was there when He blessed the little children. “Such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Being there and knowing these were the children of others and yet I felt no jealousy was one of the greatest miracles of my life. 13

Listening to many of His parables and much of His teaching, I began to understand the things of the Kingdom. My gratitude had grown into a reverent love for my Lord, the Messiah. Then, He was gone. One of the disciples came to tell Jesus’ mother and the other women the Romans had taken Jesus to go before Pilate. How could they condemn such a man? It must be a mistake. They must be looking for someone else. It couldn’t be Him. But, it was. My tears and shouts to free Him went unheard in the crowd crying out for the innocent blood of the Master. The twelve had gone into hiding and so we all hid for fear the Romans would come for us also. I could do nothing, nothing but cry. The sheer terror of any crucifixion was more than most could bear. Added to that the humiliation poured upon the Savior and it spoke volumes of the love of the Lord for his people.

We didn’t know how we would live without Him or even if they would come after us next. We didn’t know many things. He wasn’t there. For a moment, we thought someone had stolen Him away. I had heard of such things with other socalled great teachers and we knew the Romans had posted soldiers for such a case. We ran out of the cave where they had laid Him and met, what we believed, to be a gardener. Thinking about it now, it’s almost laughable we would mistake the Son of God for a gardener. But, there He was alive and talking. “Go tell my disciples” was barely out of his mouth before I began my run to where the disciples were hiding. Such joy will never be felt again on the earth. He was alive, alive and with us! I had mixed feelings on the day Jesus ascended to Heaven. Forty days He had been with us, teaching more and more. But, He had to go. He had to go so the Comforter could come and Jesus said He would be back. I dreaded His leaving but I was happy He would be returning. Right before He ascended He said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” After I had been filled with the Holy Spirit, I began to ponder how I could fulfill His commission.

It broke my heart to see Him hanging on a cross, a cross He didn’t deserve. Yet, He endured it all with a patient peace I haven’t seen since nor can I adequately describe it for you. Later, some of the other women and I prepared the burial spices. There had been no time on Friday to prepare. So, after the Sabbath, we went to the grave, hoping somehow we could get in to finish.

My mission took me far from home yet I was ever nearer to my true home. I began to give to the poor for He had given all he had to the poor. I began to pray for the lost for He had saved me. I began to teach and help the children who had no one to help for He had blessed the children. I began to visit the sick for He had healed many. I began to understand. I began to live. 14 This is my story.

Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Days! from the Kitchen of Vintage Mama The smells of autumn are always so inviting! Don’t you just love the delightful smell of pumpkin pie, or apple dumplings, with a little hint of cinnamon and vanilla? There is nothing quite as comforting as a kitchen filled with the scent of autumn in the air! Here are a few yummy recipes that we discovered in our regular journey of discovery around the blogosphere. All recipes and images are the property of the original blogger where we requested permission to repost. Please visit them for more inspiring recipes for your autumn days!

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake from the kitchen of Sweet Dreaming What you need: • For the cheesecake layer: o 3-8 oz. packages softened (1/3 less fat) Neufchatel cream cheese o 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar o 1 tablespoon vanilla o 3 whole eggs o 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%) •

For the cake layer: • o 15.25 oz. box spice cake mix o 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree o 1/2 cup water

For the frosting: o 1 box pumpkin spice instant pudding o 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond) o 8 oz. container fat free cool whip

Let’s make it! Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. For the cheesecake layer: Whip softened cream cheese. Slowly stir in sugar. Scrape sides and mix until sugar is incorporated. Stir in vanilla and eggs one at a time until incorporated into the batter. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix again until batter is completely smooth. Stir in Greek yogurt. Pour into prepared 8-inch cake pan and bake 40-50 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the center of the cheesecake is a little jiggly. Remove from oven. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours to overnight. For the pumpkin cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 15

In a large bowl, stir together cake mix, pumpkin and water until combined. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. A few moist crumbs should be fine. Cool 15-20 minutes, then remove from warm pans and transfer cakes to cooling racks. Cool completely. For frosting: In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk for two minutes. Fold in cool whip just until combined. Spread frosting over cake and serve. Store leftovers in fridge. For assembly: Place one pumpkin layer onto cake stand. Top with chilled cheesecake and then other pumpkin layer. No need to frost the layers in between! Frost until the cake is completely covered. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Spice Granola from the kitchen of Spoonful of Flour What you need: • • • • • •

3½ cups rolled oats 1½ cups puffed rice cereal 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice ¼ tsp salt ¾ cup brown sugar ½ cup pumpkin puree

• • • • •

¼ cup applesauce ¼ cup maple syrup 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup dried cranberries

Let’s make it! 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 2. In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats and puffed rice cereal. 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. 4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until evenly coated. Spread the oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Using a large spatula, turn over the granola. 5. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the oat mixture and bake for another 15 minutes or until crisp and golden. 6. Allow the granola to cool completely on the pan or a wire rack. Break up the granola as desired and add the dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. 16

God has the Final Say by Maxine Young

The last time I wrote for Ruby it was 2012. I remember sharing a project having to do, both literally and figuratively in my case, with planting seeds and the importance of us encouraging each other in order to “water” those seeds. It’s a sentiment I still cherish.

So many of us have fallen prey to the lies of the devil and this society, but how fortunate we are, that if we have given our lives to God the final assessments of ourselves are not up to us. If we are Christ's own, what God says about us is the final say!

That was around May. My health wasn’t doing very well then, but stubbornly, I didn’t want to go on stronger medicines.

Let’s take a look at what The Bible says.

By September of that year I was barely mobile; it was a huge Multiple Sclerosis relapse which has taken me more than a year to recover from. Nothing puts a little pep in your perspective like needing two canes to walk to your bedroom, or needing help to get your legs into bed. My life was finished. I decided that my life was done. Could you blame me? I sat and watched as the friends I went to school with got advanced degrees, got married, had children, bought houses and cars while I juggled medications and had a nurse’s aide. Hadn't I grown up unwittingly influenced by a society which taught that accumulation of material goods was the greatest sign of success? Wouldn’t that mean that I - with no accumulation of anything but doctor's visits - was a failure? If I relied solely on my circumstances and what I saw around me, most definitely that would be the final assessment of myself. Thank God - it wasn't. It took a while but I did come to this important understanding; if we don't counter the devil's lies with the truth from God's word, it becomes incredibly easy to sink into the depths of hopelessness and depression.

God has said: • That we are so loved, that He gave up His only son, for us (John 3:16) • We shouldn’t be afraid, because he will help us (Isaiah 41:13) • We are priceless not worthless (Luke 12:6-7) • He cares for us so much that when we can't see a way out, God will make a way for us! (Isa. 43:19) • And just in case we didn't believe it before, we read that He loves us so much that He calls us His own children (1 john 3:1). Wherein I may have thought that as a person with a disability that I was no longer a useful member of society, God's plans for me were different.

Knowing I could not rely on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), I went to the Lord with my concerns and sat down to write. Grateful to have drafted something, I submitted it; completely satisfied with having 17 written anything at all! But God had another plan.

My sister shared with me a call for stories from women who may have felt their lives were unredeemable, but God had a different plan for them. After my relapse, I struggled with writing. I felt that everything I put onto a page was subjected to pass through the shadow of my illness. Nothing escaped unscathed. Knowing I could not rely on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), I went to the Lord with my concerns and sat down to write. Grateful to have drafted something, I submitted it; completely satisfied with having written anything at all! But God had another plan. If you have ever dealt with devastating loss, bitter disappointment, or if you have ever felt as if you made one mistake too many, there is a story for you. If you have lived through a heartbreaking or catastrophic experience, struggled with body image, illness, or abuse, there's a story for you, too. If ever you were ready to give up and never try again; if you have made friends with the very end of your rope; please pick up this book because there is a story for you.

In October, Christian author, Tracie Miles, will be releasing a book called - Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future.

Read about my story and the stories of 19 other women who have been there, and prayed - Where do I go from here Lord? They asked, God answered.

Maxine Young

“I was born into a Christian family, attended church every week and church schools even, but it is now as an adult that I am truly learning how to have a personal relationship with the Lord.” You can read more of Maxine’s articles and posts on her blog, Hope and Writing 18

what happens to the world when I die? die? There's a day when distance falls between lovers when laughter closes the blinds for a while, a commercial break in a life or two. There's ambush remembrance in mundane unsought moments. There will still be love in abundance, still be shopping over the counter meetings with memories by the Granny Smiths. There will be beds to make but fewer pillows to wash. Rain reflections in streams and sunshine touches between clouds. I will remember these too as others remember pieces of my irrelevance and touch tomorrows that have no meaning to me. There will still be life in relay, children's children playing tag. ~ Keith Wallis


j{tà ã|ÄÄ \ ÜxÅxÅuxÜ What will I remember when yesterday becomes a stranger and fifty years ago a friend? What recent acts of kindness will disappear into mist, as if undone, uncared for and dismissed as time warps and loops in the trickery of memory. If she has gone, her scent will haunt the pillow, bringing a smile on interminable nights. Photographs will help; their instants salvaged, their colours strangely twisted by age. The soundtrack of significant moments may herald flashes of history rewritten by hindsight: ‘River deep, mountain high’ at a fairground in a distant October, brash and flashing through the memory of an early kiss, ‘You’ve got a friend’reading postcards from her school trip alone in a high rise cooking for one. What grace will touch me with easing forgetfulness as I forge a history to live within. ~ Keith Wallis 20


Connecting with God in the 21st Century by Daniel Darling Book Review by Miriam Jacob iF@ith by Daniel Darling connects with God in the 21st century through an in-depth study of the real people in the Bible who instantly communicated with God, heart-to-heart, in a personally intimate way. How do we connect with God in the digital age of pixels, bandwidth, high-speed and warp speed, when “we are always plugged in and wired to the digital revolution,” with instant answers at the tips of our fingers? How do we restart our prayer life to open a high-speed connection with God? We live in a connected generation, moving at warped speed, through a maze of intricate data, traveling swiftly at the speed of thought. We send digital messages by email and receive instant, real-time answers in the blink of an eye. Reading iF@ith will activate your faith and set you on a unique road in this connected generation. Leap on board and surf with iF@ith. Your life will never be the same! God certainly has a digital mission for this millennium. Where does prayer fit into the fast-paced and ever-changing scenario of today's technological revolution, where people are constantly plugged in and wired, with instant answers at their fingertips? iF@ith is Daniel Darling's perfect response to the digital generation of which he is an integral part. Practical prayer refreshes your prayer life and opens an instant, high-speed connection with God. Do the centuries-old, time-tested truths of Christianity connect with the modern expectations of the digital era? As we send and receive information, we get instant answers, one-on-one, person to person. With the advent of the internet and “the rapid acceleration of communication” at the click of a button, the lost art of letter-writing was duly revived in digital format as we strive to paint a digital masterpiece, carefully weighing the pros and cons of each word and the significance of every phrase used to embellish our artwork. Gone are the days when letter-writing was an exquisite art, duly executed on paper, with words dexterously painted like a portrait, every word significantly weighed to convey the most accurate meaning.


This is the fast-paced digital age of pixels and bandwidth, rebooting and opening high-speed internet connections, faced with the urgent need to be always-connected, racing on fast-track from highspeed to warp speed, as we struggle to cope with vast amounts of data transmitted at the lightning speed of thought. Global communication makes gigantic leaps across oceans, spanning countries and borders, transcending time zones. “Nobody is ever out of reach, unavailable or offline." In iF@ith you will see Jesus from deep inside your heart and discover Him smiling at you through the all-important missives of emails, text and chat messages. In iF@ith, Daniel Darling enriches your walk with Christ through practical, revealing insights into the lives and times of Biblical characters, those giants of faith who inspire our faith beyond the eye of reason. Faith is based on Biblical fact. "The heart has its reasons of which reason cannot know." Christ died for us and His undying love for us is the reason for our faith. "Love's strength lies in love's sacrifice and He who suffers most has most to give." Miriam Jacob 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. She is also the founder of Anointed for Christ Church Ministries, a parachurch organization in cyberspace, with visitors from 168 countries worldwide. It is listed in Google’s Open Directory Project. Miriam is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team where she contributes a weekly devotional each Sunday. Read more of Miriam’s posts and book reviews on her personal blog, Authors for Christ

The Lamb by Kelly Bowden Blood shed on Calvary for all to be set free. I stand because my Savior lives; I breathe because this life He gives Jesus Christ the Holy Son; Truth in the Trinity: Three in One. I will not move from this rock, this ground. My strength in Him, the wise I will confound. God's Words written on my heart; I worship Him with my being, every part. He alone is worthy to be called the Lamb Jesus crucified is the great I Am.


Taking Down the Past, Putting Up the Future by Sharon L. Patterson I grab a cup of coffee and head to my favorite chair in the living room. Taking a long, careful look around me, anticipation and trepidation compete for my thoughts’ attention. Tomorrow, everything will changefrom the floors to the ceiling. At 8:00 a.m. the renovation team begins the metamorphosis of the house we have called home for over twenty years. We will be taking down the past and putting up the future including the wallpaper I selected oh-so-carefully two decades ago.

Yes the choices have been made. Tonight, I know everything will be different starting in the morning. I have thoroughly enjoyed every memory represented in our old décor, but somehow I feel renewal coming not only to the home but to our lives as well.

Echoes and memories surround me as I sit numbly in a semi-melancholy mood. Caught between the excitement of change and the comfort of the present “as is,” it is no surprise my smiles are contradicted by falling tears rehearsing our first memories of the house. “We are getting a mansion…two stories, and we each have a bedroom of our own!” I can still see and hear the boys bounding up the stairs to stake a claim on which room would be theirs. It was quite a task for a very foo-foo mama to decide how to decorate the bedrooms masculine enough for three cool males approaching the teen years to call “awesome!” and still maintain the overall color scheme I had selected. The boys were not the only ones excited about our new home. Both my husband and I felt especially blessed to have found it after only one visit to the area. Garry had already moved to temporary quarters in Austin while I stayed back to sell the home in Arlington. I flew down to view two prospects for a home he had located. Teasingly, he announced he had a favorite but would not say which one until I saw both of them. As soon as I saw the French style, two-story beauty with bay windows, my heart stuck faster than super glue. It was the same “first choice” as my husband. Garry and I had lived in the Ft. Worth, Arlington area all of our lives, although our lives together had begun only eight years earlier when we married combining my two sons and his son into a new family unit. That new family grew close over the years. The boys became bonded brothers and friends even though our oldest, Jacob, who lived with his mother, came every chance possible. That is why his room had to be special. It was the largest. 23

A great deal of thought went into making that room not only a guest room when he was not with us, but very much his when he was. My thoughts continue to ramble as I sit in my chair. Yes, we would be taking down the past and putting up the future. Two of the boys are now married with children who have been to Grannah and Papaw’s many times. How will our five grandchildren respond to the changes we are making? How will I? After all, I picked out wallpaper for all 3 baths, had beautiful drapes made, and selected furniture. All my collections are ensconced in their special places. The dolls, miniatures, antiques- every moment was selected to decorate our home in matching style-a cross between my love of Victorian and European styles.

So, just as there will be less, there will also be more. Yes, I feel more excited and less fearful. I guess you could say I am being remodeled, too, as I take down the past and put up the future!

Some things I had already packed away. I chose to have a garage sale for most everything left that would not match the new décor. My husband had been so gracious to let our new home be decorated as I desired when we moved twenty years ago. Now, I found that I wanted him to have his choices. All the light cabinets will be torn out and replaced with rich, dark ones. No more wall paper. All the walls will be the same lovely color. Rich dark wood floors will replace my thick light carpet. Yes the choices have been made. Tonight, I know everything will be different starting in the morning. I have thoroughly enjoyed every memory represented in our old décor, but somehow I feel renewal coming not only to the home but to our lives as well. It feels good to be letting go of the frills for a more grounded mature look that I describe as moderately traditional with an elegant touch. Suddenly, sadness for what is leaving is overtaken by giddiness for what is coming. The new look will be less…on the walls, on the counters. Narrow, light cream colored Formica counters will be cut down and the new, larger counter topped with a beautiful large slab of gorgeous multi-colored veined Sukura granite will take its place. So, just as there will be less, there will also be more. Yes, I feel more excited and less fearful. I guess you could say I am being remodeled, too, as I take down the past and put up the future! 24

Fabulous Fall Craft Projects with Vintage Mama With every change of seasons, many of us like to bring a bit of the outdoors into our homes with seasonal decorations. That can become rather costly if you go out and purchase new holiday or seasonal home décor items, but the good news is that you can create your own, beautiful, seasonal home decorations. Now that we are in the process of opening our own little shop here on Main Street in Our Town, Vintage Mama’s Cottage will be filled with lots of hand-crafted items for sale. But along the way, we will also be sharing ideas with our readers on how you can “make it yourself,” with eBook patterns and tutorials that will be available on the Ruby for Women blog as well as on the Vintage Mama’s Cottage website. Let’s welcome autumn with a few new craft project ideas that you can do (with the kids if you want!) using up some of the bits and pieces of fabric, ribbon, and buttons that you probably already have around your house. Here’s a peek at a few of the fun autumn craft projects that we found on our journey around the blogosphere. This Scrappy Autumn Tree Pillow is created using small scraps of fabric for the leaves and for the trunk of the tree. Super simple, quick and easy, but it is adorable for dressing up your home as summer fades into autumn this year. You could even add a few buttons to your pillow, for a little extra whimsy! You can find the pattern for this project at All Free Sewing.

These charming little Fabric Heritage Houses were designed by Linda Albrecht and featured on the Glue Arts blog, along with several other fabric design projects. It would be fun to make a whole village of these little fabric houses, all in autumn shades, colors, and designs to display all season long in your home! Find the complete instructions and supply list on the Glue Arts blog in “Fabric Projects to Tickle Your Fancy.” 25

So sweet and simple, this fabric garland is a quick and easy way to bring some autumn color and charm to your home! This one was created by Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy using a length of twine and strips of scrap fabric, all in beautiful autumn colors. How cute is that? And so easy! Check out the tutorial on Chelsey’s blog, Buggy and Buddy, for all the details. What would autumn decorating and crafts be without pumpkins? Actually we could create these cute little pumpkins for the Thanksgiving table, but we just couldn’t resist sharing them with your right now! These Whimsical Pumpkin Centerpieces were designed and created by Kelli at Squishy-Cute Designs, where you can find the complete tutorial for making a set of your very own Whimsical Pumpkin Centerpieces.

This gorgeous autumn Fabric Scrap Wreath was created using (you guessed it!) strips of autumn colored fabric scraps and a simple wire coat hanger. If you are a crafter, you know you have a stash of scraps of fabric and ribbons, as well as lots of other embellishments that you could use to create your very own Fabric Scrap Wreath. Find the complete instructions on A Beautiful Mess blog, along with several other fun autumn craft project tutorials. Have fun getting your home ready for autumn! 26

How to Find Happiness in (Almost) Any Situation by Kris Wolfe

Have you noticed that some people are easily frustrated, irritated and discouraged, while others can endure the loss of a spouse, serious illness or major failures with peace and even joy? A couple of weeks ago I was training for a half marathon, and today I am recovering from surgery. A month ago, I was exploring Puerto Rico with my husband for our anniversary. Today I am recovering from the loss of the pregnancy that was created on that trip. Life changes quickly. The Bible tells us that we can be joyful in any situation. But it would only take us a few seconds to come up with a dozen or more scenarios in which we feel it would be unfathomable to experience joy. But are we right? Is joy a gift, or is joy a choice? While we may experience circumstances, pain and loss that is beyond our control, does that mean we must feel devastated, or even miserable? When we get everything we pray for and life seems perfect, does that mean we congratulate ourselves on a life well lived? The reality is that we experience joy as it relates to what we value. Some of us are happy with comfort, money, a good salary, a nice car, a position of power, the limelight, or a banquet in our honor. Others of us are happy with a good walk, a pageturner book, a nap, a bundle of dandelions, a decent cup of coffee, a meaningful conversation, a fishing trip with good friends, or a motorcycle ride in the country.

Some of us will always measure our lives by what we don’t have, while others of us will measure our lives by what we do have. Some of us will be content to be stronger, kinder, more Christ like than the day before. When we have goals that are external, that are defined by how the world views success, we will have moments of happiness, maybe even bliss, but it will be as fleeting as the confetti on parade day. When we value what Christ values, we can experience joy. Even when we are suffering, even when all seems lost, even through tears, we can choose joy.

“When we have faith in God in all situations, when we trust his plan even when it hurts us, when we lean on him even when our prayers go unanswered, when we look for the best in our broken lives, when we thank God for the smallest of blessings, this is when we can find joy.” We may not don our dancing shoes, we might struggle to laugh at the standard joke, and we might not even know what the future holds for us, but we can find joy in Christ. If we measure our happiness by what we have or don’t have then we are doomed to be unhappy 27 by definition.

When we look at God as the person who answers our prayers, do we see him as a genie in a bottle? Do you submit our requests for acquisition or refusal?

Three more times we calculated due dates and began planning for an extra human in our home Three more times we have been disappointed, in this year alone.

How dependent is our trust or faith in God on what he gives us, or even what he takes away?

My relationship with my husband would be doomed if he loved me or valued our relationship based on what I could offer him or if it were controlled by the number of disappointments.

When I realized that I might never have a child for my husband, I was terrified. What if he left me? So I told him my fears. Through tears, I asked him what this meant for us. What he said to me changed everything. He said, “I love you for you are, not what you can give me.” I have since been pregnant 3 (more) times. Three more times I thought we would have the “missing piece.”

So we must ask ourselves, do we love God for what he can give us, or do we love him for who he is? When we have faith in God in all situations, when we trust his plan even when it hurts us, when we lean on him even when our prayers go unanswered, when we look for the best in our broken lives, when we thank God for the smallest of blessings, this is when we can find joy. This is a choice.


Kris Wolfe is a Christian, wife and mother. Kris is a freelance writer who focuses on spiritual and practical encouragement. Kris also writes lessons for small group purposes for large churches. While attending Luther Rice University and Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling, she is also a part time high school teacher and marketing consultant. Kris covers topics such as dating, marriage, parenting, divorce, post-divorce recovery, and the blended family. Read more from Kris Wolfe at or follow on Twitter @MrsKrisWolfe


Are you a book lover? Then you’re probably already in a book club. If not, you can join mine. Here at Ruby for Women I’ll review books that my in-person Christian book club has read and let you know what we thought. Then you can read the books yourself and join the discussion over at

A Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin (Novel) This Christian historical novel is the first novel in Austin’s Refiner’s Fire trilogy. Each book looks at the Civil War from the point of view of a different woman: a Southerner, a Northerner and a slave. This first book in the trilogy was free electronically—to hook us readers into buying the rest. After our book club read this first book we purchased the second and third books and loved them all. We enjoyed learning about the era and seeing the same circumstances from three different perspectives. It was the writing that hooked me. Most every writing teacher tells us we have only a line or two to capture a reader’s attention. The first two lines of A Candle in the Darkness were: “The first scream jolted me awake. The second one chilled my soul.” I wanted to know who was screaming and why. Learning the answers to those questions kept me riveted to my chair all the way to the end. But don’t worry, this was a thought-provoking historical novel—not a nail-biting horror. Our book club unanimously gave the trilogy a thumbs up. The writing was beautiful and the message of how God is at work even during war told a universal story of truth.

Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge (Non-fiction) I love Stasi Eldredge’s writing and her heart for women who love Christ. I really loved her latest book, Becoming Myself. In it, she addresses things we women face: feeling lost, fighting hormones, overcoming childhood wounds, embracing dreams, fear, friendship, suffering, freedom, and becoming a woman of faith, encouraged by Jesus. Becoming Myself was filled with chuckles and tears as Stasi shared her struggles with her readers and allowed us to see ourselves within her stories. 29

This book encompasses many of the questions we women have about who we are and most especially, how God is helping us become the woman He intends us to be. Our book club had previously read Stasi’s Captivating. That life-changing book (for me) is the woman’s companion book to her husband’s popular Wild at Heart about how men are made in the spiritual image of God. A small group study for Becoming Myself is also available. Our group gave it a thumbs-up. Have you read it, too? Both of these books were unanimous thumbs-up for our book club. Have you read either of them? Will you? Join our book club by clicking the big red button. Then share with us what you think.

Won’t you join us at Carol’s Book Club and read along? We would love to include you! Stop by Carol’s website at Carol Peterson, Author, and get reading!

Migraine-Safe Recipes from Katherine’s Corner If you or someone you know suffers from migraines, visit Katherine’s Corner for a list of migraine triggers and a list of migraine safe foods. It is important to know your triggers, and at Katherine’s Corner you will find great information to help alleviate some of your migraine symptoms. These lists do not eliminate the need for you to seek professional care from your physician or medical professional, but offer information to enrich your knowledge about migraine triggers.


The Word of God: The Only Truth by Brenda Diaz As the new school year approaches, I can’t help but to reflect on the journey I have taken in “pursuit of truth.” As I have aged into my forties, I’ve become so much more aware of how much time I have wasted pursuing people, places and things that had no meaning or purpose in my life. I have spent so much time “seeking the truth” in all those places that provided no answers. For years, I fought for the rights of women and believed in the ideals of the extreme feminist. I fought for equality between a man and a woman and found myself taking a path that completely demoralized man. It’s amazing how my ego took me to a place where I no longer recognized myself. Although I started out with the right intention in pursuing those “social injustices,” deception always has a way of taking something that’s well-intended and turning it into something completely the opposite; then once pride is added to the mix, the outcome is nothing but distorted ideals of truth. And yet, through it all, the Lord in His great love and mercy for me has always been right there with me inspiring and exhorting me to come to Him. When I decided to give my life to Jehovah-Elohim, at that moment, I was saved. The Lord saved me from the destruction of myself by the types of choices I was making for my life. In my Christian walk, I now find myself in awe at the supernatural signs and wonders of God’s great love and mercy on my life. By God’s Word, prayer and fasting, I‘ve become a new person in Christ. To a certain degree, I felt like Nicodemus who was extremely clear about who he was and where he was going (ultimately his “truth”) until he encountered Jesus. Nicodemus was a learned man who was baffled by the power and authority when Jesus spoke; he was awe-struck by the supernatural miracles that Jesus performed. Jesus said to him “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again, he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)


Nicodemus was left dumbfounded, perplexed and confused despite his great knowledge of religious teaching. The concept of a spiritual re-birth was incomprehensible to him because it was a concept that was in total conflict with what he had learned and believed to be “truth” but deep down inside he knew that there was much authenticity and credibility in Jesus. I have been lost, broken and conflicted, but when I made the conscious decision to open my heart up to the Lord, it has been the best decision of my life - so much so that it has made living this human existence that I call “life” sustainable because God’s grace covers me. What a privilege to have the opportunity of a second chance that was only made manifest through the blood of Jesus. My Christian walk is filled with ups and down but my constant is my faith and love for my God who is always with me, loving me no matter what. Like Nicodemus, I believed and as a result, doors have opened up to blessings, favors and prosperity in my life. God the Father loves us so much that he gave us his only begotten Son that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness and how glorious the resurrection power of Christ that has enabled us to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5) 32

Autumn Apple Recipes from the Kitchen of Vintage Mama In every issue of the Ruby for Women magazine, we feature seasonal recipes that we’ve discovered on our journeys around the blogosphere. We sometimes rummage around through old cook books in the kitchen here at Vintage Mama’s Cottage, and we’ve even been known to discover a treasure trove of recipes in a discarded cook book at a yard sale or local thrift shop. Autumn is the absolutely best time for trying out new recipes! That’s because as the days grow chilly with a nip of frost in the air, our homes and our hearts are ready to take a bit of time to create something new in the kitchen. The smells and tastes of autumn wouldn’t be complete without a few new recipes that include apples – so here are a few that we’ve discovered recently. All recipes are credited, along with photos, to the original source.

Apple Nachos Supreme from the kitchen of Skinny Ms. Changing our family eating habits is really a challenge! When you’ve been accustomed to eating just regular ol’ food from the local grocery store, it takes a bit of time, energy, effort and brain power to come up with new and different (nutritious and healthy!) recipes. But we’re trying! So when I came across this recipe it just seemed to be worth trying. I guess the idea is, if we’re going to eat something, perhaps it should have at least SOME nutritional value! This one is sweet but not from too much sugar, and has the gluten-free option if needed. It’s also quick and easy, and that is pretty important around our house. What you need: • 3 tart apples (I used Granny Smith), cored, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes • 2 teaspoons lemon juice • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, (for gluten-free chips we recommend Enjoy Life) • 1/4 cup diced pecans • 1/2 cup (hot) caramel sauce, here's our recipe for Caramel Sauce Let’s make it! In a large mixing bowl add apple pieces and lemon juice, toss to combine. On a serving platter, add apples, chocolate chips and drizzle with hot caramel sauce. Serve immediately for best results! Use additional caramel sauce for added sweetness. 33

Apple Buttermilk Muffins from the Kitchen of SmorgasBite Here in our kitchen at Vintage Mama’s Cottage, we’ve made muffins and quick breads without processed white flour, by using applesauce for part of the liquid and to add sweetness. One of the things we have not experimented with much, however, is baking with alternative sweeteners. Sometimes it is a challenge figuring out what is good for you, but is also readily available, affordable, and easy to use. This recipe calls for Demerara sugar, which we had never heard of before, so we did a bit of research. Here’s what we discovered: “Demerara sugar is a type of unrefined sugar with a large grain and a pale to golden yellow color. It is suitable for a number of cooking and baking projects, and tends to be very popular as a sweetener for tea and coffee. Many grocers stock Demerara sugar along with other specialty sugars, often in small packages for consumers who simply want to experiment with it. It is extracted primarily from sugar cane, rather than sugar beets, and tends to be more expensive than refined sugars as a result. The minimal processing gives Demerara sugar a unique flavor and texture” You might want to give it a try, but the other sweetener that we’ve been using lately, in place of artificial sweeteners or white sugar, is Truvia which is a natural sweetener derived from the Stevia plant. Seems like every other day we’re told that this food or that food is not good for you, so I guess I really don’t know for sure, but this one has worked for us and I think it would work in this recipe, too! What you need: • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 1/2 cup Demerara sugar • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 eggs Let’s make it!

• • • • • •

1 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit 1 T lemon juice 1 medium apple, cored and diced 3 tablespoons large grain raw sugar 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400F degrees, racks in the middle. Grease and flour muffin tins or use paper muffin cups. Combine the flour, baking powder, and sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk, whisk in the melted butter, and add the lemon juice. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until just combined – try not to over mix. Batter will be lumpy. Spoon the batter into muffin tins, pushing out toward the edges. Now place the apple pieces across top. It’s okay if they overlap a little, but try to cover the entire surfaces of the muffins. Sprinkle with the large grain sugar and then the salt. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until set (or a toothpick in the center comes out clean), and a touch golden on top. Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, a great recipe/wholesome food blog 34

An Unlikely Choice by Donna Comeaux Sometimes, I walk through my Christian life in a daze, bumping into people and mindlessly saying “excuse me” before I’m finally knocked in the head by some calamity. Or perhaps a chaotic family frenzy pulls me out of it. It’s hard for the Word of God to spring forth from our souls with joy and thanksgiving. It is easier to whine and complain. We are weighed down by cares of this world and tend to take our liberty in Christ for granted. Our lives, at times, resemble robotic assembly lines—rising, working, eating then rushing off to bed as if it were one more thing to check off our to-do list. Meanwhile, our eyes are veiled from spiritual reality. God’s presence is felt only on Sunday mornings (providing the preacher yells loud enough to keep us awake), at bedsides of dying loved ones, and when near-death experiences remind us He is really UP there. When I read of Paul’s conversion experience, it is striking. Each time I read it, I am more convinced God is alive and active. While fumbling through my fog, God is moving about the earth and ensuring his word will not return to him void. “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) As God moves and touches the lives of others, I doubt. Don’t you? Why? We’ve lost our spiritual connection. To stay connected, we must be in constant prayer . . . about everything. (I Thessalonians 5:17) Remember Colton Burpo—the four-year-old who saw Heaven and described to his father all that he had seen and heard? Or perhaps you remember young Akiane Kramarik, the four-yearold girl who also saw Heaven and returned from her dream-like state and began to paint. I dare not speculate on Burpo or Kramarik and the circumstances by which they came to encounter Heaven and Jesus. I’ll allow the skeptics to handle that debate. However, the story of Paul’s conversion touches me in ways Colton Burpo’s and Akiane Kramarik’s story could not. Maybe it’s because I’ve been exposed to the Word of God for so long that I readily connect to Saul’s conversion. In a Middle Eastern culture such as Paul’s, it is against overwhelming odds that a person would become a Christian. 35

Or maybe it’s because out of Paul’s conversion came a spiritual transformation more miraculous than a painting or a young boy confirming Heaven is for real. Muslim culture is hard for us to grasp. As we drench ourselves in news reports of suicide bombings, we can’t fathom God changing anyone who does such things to follow him. Our perceptions are fostered by the stiff-necked who portray themselves as representatives of the Muslim faith. As you and I know, not all Muslims are violent. As I read of Paul as he openly shares his encounter with Jesus Christ and professes his faith, I find it is no small matter. This is huge! For a Muslim to convert to Christianity is suicidal. As did Saul of Tarsus, he places himself at risk of being killed. If caught, haters might hang his body in an open marketplace as a warning that Christianity won’t be tolerated. Far worse, his capture prohibits spreading the word of God to his people. When you and I think of going on a missionary journey, Gaza, Iran, Libya, Iraq or Syria don’t come to mind. I think Africa—not because I’m African-American, but because that’s what is constantly flashing on my television screen. But through Paul’s powerful testimony, I am deeply reminded that the most outcast, most dangerous, most vicious, most violent of sinners can and will be brought to Jesus. There are no borders God can’t cross. No cultures He can’t reconcile. No storm He can’t calm. No language He can’t speak. There is no one He can’t forgive. No tool He can’t use. No hate He can’t melt. No confusion He can’t ease. No guilt He can’t erase. No heart He can’t mend. No soul He can’t protect against a fall. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:18-21) Most of us don’t know a real-life Saul. We can preach Saul’s story, but can we relate to it? Most of us have never murdered. We’ve never persecuted anyone and placed them in jail. We haven’t sought, and probably would never seek authority to pursue and persecute the church. Saul was all this. He stood tall for that which he deemed righteous, and he boldly flogged the church and anyone who got in the way. 36

Yet, God used him. You can’t fabricate a story like this. It’s no fairy tale. It isn’t a paper doll of a story to be spread out on the floor or atop a table while we muse over how to clothe it. None of us possess that kind of spiritual depth. Through Biblical history, God has used the most unlikely characters to bring forth his word. • Mary, an unwed teen ager; an object of a possible scandal. The risk had it not been God’s will — stoned to death. • Moses, a tongue-tied Jew removed from his people to live the good life as an Egyptian. An object to be rejected by the very people he was sent to save. The risk had it not been God’s will — killed by Pharaoh. • Peter, a disciple who swore he’d never leave Jesus, but he did. The risk had it not been God’s will — if Jesus hadn’t appeared and included Peter in the Great Commission, Peter might have ended up a bitter, angry man. • Various women throughout the New Testament, many unnamed, who ministered to the Apostles. During the time of Jesus, women were considered second-class citizens with almost no status and authority. They couldn’t own property. The risk had it not been God’s will — continued oppression of women. So, when God moves about the earth and decides to enter the prison cell of an unknown and reveal himself, what am I to make of it? Doubt? Think it a disguise for ill-gain? I don’t think so. But I can relate to the doubters. I remember how believers reacted to Saul’s conversion. They were afraid. Apprehensive. “. . . Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ‘Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?’” (Acts 9:19-21) “When he came to Jerusalem, he (Saul) tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 9:26-27) 37

Should we be surprised some will doubt Paul’s account? We’re afraid. Smiling, but not trusting. Or should we turn our eyes from the messenger to the message? Just as Christ designated Saul to become a disciple to the Gentiles, is he not also proclaiming some from the world of Islam to become a messenger to Muslims, Hamas, and Hezbollah? What better tool to carry the word of God into a violent, lost world than one of their own? “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” (I Thessalonians 2:13) If God has reserved a remnant of his people for Himself, wouldn’t it stand to reason someone will preach to the Middle East and they will obey? How can they obey unless they hear the message? “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.’ It is just as Isaiah said previously: ‘Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.’” (Romans 9:2729) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) If God has judged a man or woman and deemed them fit to speak throughout the Middle East, who are we to sit in judgment? If God does not send them, who will go? Me? You? Your children? Who? God’s power and love overwhelms me. I am weak in the midst of his goodness and moved by his compassion to reach those we deem unreachable. He continues to use the most unlikely candidates for his glory. 38

Whether you believe the conversion stories of those in faraway lands or not, they are likely to be persecuted for the Kingdom of God, or for being an imposter. Either way, they will likely die. They will cry out for help. You and I will promise to stand beside them. (If and when they do call out for our help, I pray we won’t fail them).

If they are from another faith, their own people will hate them. Some Americans will hate them; distrust them; keep them under tight scrutiny. They will end up being on the run, perhaps. Maybe they, too, will become shipwrecked, hungry, working menial jobs so they can eat. But whatever form of hardship they endure, they will do so for the sake of Jesus Christ. “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” (Revelation 6:9) In the end, I hope these people will say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:7-8) Can you— “Hide his word in your heart so that you might not sin against him?” (Psalms 119:11 – I’ve paraphrased this verse) Will you— “. . . hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23) "For no word from God will ever fail." (Luke 1:37) Please visit the Ruby for Women blog to view a video of a Muslim man’s conversion experience. 39

A Word from the Lord by Taylor DeVine

Recently, as I sat down to write, I heard the words "Final Quest." Immediately I grabbed my Bible, a pen and made sure I had a binder full of paper readily available. I want to share with you what the Lord said to me July 22, 2014. "Prepare your shields, and advance into battle. Harness the horses, and mount the stallions. Take your positions. Put on your helmets. Sharpen your spears, and prepare your armor." Jeremiah 46:3-4 We're in the final season. The final quest. Now is when it matters. Now is not the time to slack off, pull back, hold up, push down, push away or leave. Now is the time to stand and fight. Now is when the faithful will be separated from the unfaithful. Now is when dreams and visions come to fruition, and callings begin. We have entered the final moments. It's crucial to be a body that desires Him and only Him. A body that desires the voice and the filling of the Holy Spirit. A body that desires to know more of Him and seek His face daily. Now is the time for true repentance. Hearts that have been hardened to His love, word and voice will see the hearts of the faithful around them. In return, they will be won over to His love. Hearts will soften to His voice. Truth will win. Light will shine. They will be unstoppable forces for The Lord. There will be nothing to hold them back.

Those in the church, riding the fence, will see their love, light, fire and desire and be encouraged and soon jump in. Others will turn away, shaking their heads at "those radicals." Let them go. He has turned them over to the desires of their heart. He's turned them away to the god of this world. Don't judge those who struggle. Love them; knowing that implosion, repentance, redemption and restoration are right there. He who sins much loves much. Think of the breakthroughs! Keep preaching, teaching, and leading. Keep growing. Grab your shields... Advance into the battle. Hop on your trusty steed and go. Fight for those who are blinded. Win their hearts through Him. Lead them to His love and voice. See His power. Teach the hard-to-hear messages. It's crucial. Go, go, go and don't stop. Repair your armor... It's not too late. Just go. Fight in His name. Live your calling. It's the final quest. Stand on the front-lines, battling for the cause of Christ. Don't give up, give in, shut up or sit down until the day He returns. Through you, He will reveal His glory. He triumphs over all. "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." (Colossians 4:5, 6 NASB) 40

Happiness Word Scramble Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Words in each line are merged together. Find the original words.

Hint: The letters that make up each word are still in their original order. Answer Key on page 77

Ruby Pearls “His plans are worth my patience.� --Beth Brubaker September 4th is Teacher's Day - Do or say something to make them feel special! October 3rd is Techie's Day! Give the one who fixes your media devices a hug today!


Sit and be Fit! by Maxine Young If you have limited mobility, you might think that your life of exercise and fitness is over, but it isn't! Have you ever heard of chair exercise? I hadn't until recently. In familiarizing myself with the basics of chair exercise, I learned that the biggest difference between seated exercise and regular exercise is the chair! One can definitely sit and become fit. Chair exercise is any exercise which takes place while seated in a chair or with the help of a chair. There is usually less strain on the legs and back during chair exercise, and it is considered a safer form of exercise for those with balance or coordination issues. Getting older, having difficulty moving, being temporarily disabled or having back problems may make physical exercise more difficult to do. But there is no less need for exercise. Earlier this year while researching alternative forms of exercise, one of my friends asked if I had ever tried chair marching. Quite simply; chair marching is exactly what it is called—marching, from a seated position. I tried it. I sat at the edge of a sturdy chair and moved my feet as if I were marching. Within minutes, my heart rate was up, and I could feel my muscles burning. I was surprised that not only was it an excellent workout but it was fun—especially when I added enjoyable music. After a few sessions of chair marching, I went on a quest to find other exercises that could be done in a chair. I found there were many chair exercise options; chair yoga, chair aerobics, chair stretching, and seated strength training—all a part of developing my own personal seated workout. Benefits of Chair Exercise The benefits of chair based exercise mirror those of regular exercise: • • • •

Better balance, increased muscle strength, better heart health, and stronger bones! You can do chair exercise in limited space. Chair exercise can be modified for any fitness level. With exercise comes energy. There is a wealth of information about chair exercise and its benefits on the internet. Do an internet search on "Chair Exercise", “Chair Exercise Network” or "Seated Exercise.” You will be led to numerous videos, articles and websites dedicated to the promotion of chair exercising. Welcome chair exercise into your life! DISCLAIMER: Even though chair exercise is gentler than regular exercise, it is still a good idea to run your new routine by your doctor. ©2013 Maxine Young 42

The Lost Art of Letter Writing by Vintage Mama Do you remember when we used to write cards and letters, and then drop them at the post office? Did you ever leave 13 cents in the mail box with your letter and have the mail carrier put a stamp on it for you? And the excitement of receiving a hand-written card or letter from a friend, or Grandma, or even someone you barely remember, from far, far away! In the midst of all the technological advances we have experienced over the past 10 years, it seems that we sometimes lose that "personal touch" that comes with a hand written note or card. Even a phone call is much more intimate than a text message or an email. But that is the easiest way to communicate with one another these days, and we all get lost in the hurry and scurry of everyday life. With the transformation of our society through the use of electronic and digital media, letter writing is an art form that I miss. I still love to send out cards with hand-written messages inside to let my family and friends know that I’m thinking about them and to tell them that I love them. It is a "little" thing, but it is also significant. I see the joy in my girls and the excitement when they get a birthday card from Grandma. When the bus driver or their teacher sends them a sweet thank-you note for a little Christmas gift, or when they receive an invitation to a birthday party, it seems to make them feel very important - because they are, and sending even a brief, hand-written note says so much more than just the words on paper. Seeing this transformation in the lives of my daughters makes me realize how important it is for me to take a few minutes out of my day and tell my children and my grandchildren how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I ‘ve been trying to put one more little task on my weekly To Do list and send out a couple of cards each week with a handwritten note that says, "I'm thinking about you today, and I love you!" How hard is that??? But what a difference it will make in someone's day. Think about it . . . . maybe you know someone who needs to hear your words of love. It only takes a few minutes! 43

I still have many letters and notes that were written to me over the years that are very special to me and I keep them in a little treasure box on my book shelf. And having a great interest in history, I realize that letters are one of our best sources for learning about people who lived before us. I wonder how we will be remembered . . . . will the text messages make any sense to someone reading them (if they still even exist somewhere out there) in 10 or 20 or 100 years from now? Will our abbreviated, abrupt, and sometimes disconnected email messages have any meaning at all to another generation? Will it even make any difference because the things we "write" about often are quite non-descript and meaningless. Such as "Waz up?" or "What RU doin?" or "LOL" and "IDK." So being rather nostalgic in nature, and old-fashioned by nurture, I guess I miss the days when you would go to the mailbox and there might actually be something personal out there. More than junk mail, bills, and solicitations for this political activity or that organization. So I'm determined to do my part to turn the tide of electronic communications, all by myself, and send a few hand-written letters, notes, and cards to special people in my life. Be watching, I just might be sending one to you!

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The Mason Jar A novel by James Russell Lingerfelt

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather’s desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark, debutante from Colorado, named Savannah. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions. Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar. A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her and a reunion they never imagined. Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational epic, romance, and tragedy which brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall. James Russell Lingerfelt writes inspirational, romantic realism. Lingerfelt's first novel, The Mason Jar, a coming of age love story, was written to help readers find healing after broken and severed relationships. To learn more about James Russell Lingerfelt and his books, please visit his website at 45

by Aileen Stewart

Fern Valley Fern Valley is home to a group of wonderful animals who have fun and face some of the same problems children everywhere do. Roberta and Mildred Cornstalk are creative chickens dealing with the loss of their beloved granny, and they’re looking for something to do to cheer them up. Want to know what adventures they find? Want to know what happens to Roberta and Mildred’s brother, Edward, when he goes fishing, what birthday surprise is in store for Betsy Woolrich, or what lesson Kimmy Curlytail learns when she keeps something that isn’t hers? Then follow this endearing cast of characters as they enjoy their time together and learn important lessons. A perfect addition for any child’s personal library and a joy for families to share, Fern Valley is a collection to be treasured for many years to come. Title: Fern Valley- A Collection of Short Stories Genre: Children’s Fiction - Ages 8-12

Return to Fern Valley The Fern Valley Kids are back in twelve new and exciting adventures! Join Mildred and Roberta Cornstalk as they discover a clue hidden inside a library book. Peek into the window of a secret cottage with the lovely Betsy Woolrich. Find out what Jason Curlytail builds from a box, what Alice Redfeather does when she gets locked out of the house, or how Nathan Gruff copes with the news of a new baby. A perfect addition for any child's personal library and a joy for families to share, Return to Fern Valley will have you falling in love with your favorite characters all over again. Title: Return to Fern Valley- Another Collection of Short Stories Genre: Children’s Fiction - Ages 8-12 46

Who is in Control? by Lanette Kissel No wonder I’m so stressed, no rest for my weary soul, when it’s all about my plans, when I have to be the one in control. I’m the puppet master, intent on controlling my own strings, blind to my own limitations, convinced that I know all things. What happened to my strategy as I watch my plans disintegrate? I never saw this coming. Am I no longer master of my fate? Is it written in my contract, I must be producer of my own show? What if I release my obsession with me? What if I simply let go? What if I put on end to this chaos, put my well laid plans to rest? What if I allow myself to believe that my Heavenly Father knows best? Lord, if You become Master of my fate, guiding all I say and do… If I desire Your will for my life, I’ll learn to draw closer to You. I just need to relax my hold. I want some of Your sweet release. I want what only You can give, that elusive element of peace. (Published in The Pink Chameleon 2013 issue 14)


What We Cannot See by Lanette Kissel The skeptics may ponder the plausibility of believing in what we cannot see. To know in our hearts there is a God above, To be certain because we have seen His love. To study the Bible and believe in the Word, To utter a prayer knowing it will be heard. To believe in a Great Physician Who can cure every ill without the use of a wonder drug or a powerful pill. To know He is our Father. We are children of His. And our short life on earth isn’t all that there is. To believe His Son Jesus died on a cross to win our eternal home in Heaven and forgiveness of sin. To have faith in the Lord we love and adore, Looking forward to all that Heaven will be, and more. (Published in 2011 issue of The Lutheran Message)


When is a Deal a Deal? by Marilynn Dawson, Ruby Blogger Team

My daughter and I went shopping the other day. We were low on quite a few groceries and it was time to stock up. The grocery store had a sale on bulk loose cranberries at $.96/100g.

When we arrived at the store and compared the brand-name’s coupon with other brands and sizes on the same shelf, we quickly discovered that we could get the same couponed price in almost double the quantity by a lesser brand!

My daughter has gone grocery shopping with me so many times, that while I was elsewhere in the store that day, she compared the sale to the price of prepackaged dried cranberries, and found the prepackaged price to be even better! When I finally caught up with her, she explained that she’d compared the prices as she knew I would do, and chose the cheaper price tag. Needless to say, I was quite proud of how she’d handled the situation. She’s 18, graduated high school last June, and I have no fear of her ever being “loose” with her finances.

Needless to say, that coupon went unused and we bought the lesser brand’s product instead. In today’s economy, it’s fool-hardy to be brandloyal.

Shopping for groceries has been a skill taught by both example and explanation, and she’s been an avid student! Her family will eat well in the future.

By brand-loyal, I’m referring to buying the same brand all the time regardless of quantity changes or price increases. With inflation the way it’s been, particularly versus the slow increase or even stagnation of wages in various industries, it pays to be flexible with the brands you buy at the store.

I share this story because too often, stores of all stripes will do this. What looks like a sale in one area really isn’t that great of a deal when compared to the same or similar product in another part of the same store. It’s always wise to compare first, and then buy the better deal. Sometimes the better deal is in the amount of an item. One time my son and I went shopping together. I had a coupon for a brand-name baking powder package.

Many times, the lesser-brand, or even no-name or white-label, has the same if not better quality product for a more affordable price. In some cases, the two products roll off the same assembly line into different packaging! Nothing brought this fact home to me more than going from a brand-name Vitamin C product that I prefer, to a lesser-brand bottle of the same kind of Vitamin C. While I’ve always known about the product quality similarities, I was quite surprised to open the lesser-brand bottle and find the exact same 49 product inside! I’m not kidding!

The tablets not only looked identical, they tasted identical and broke apart the same way in my mouth! This was a perfect and very recent example of paying more for products simply because they have a recognized brand attached to them. Going with a lesser brand or no-name/white-label isn’t necessarily sacrificing quality, quantity, or expected performance. Be adventurous and experiment. When you find the cheaper variety that you like, save yourself some pennies and make the switch. Comparing sales, deals, and coupon offers with competing products will: a) Alert you to better savings the store didn’t want you to know about b) Teach healthy analytical shopping habits and c) Stretch your dollar much farther than it would otherwise go if you stuck to your favourite brand. It truly does pay to do your in-store homework when out for a grocery run! Just as you would shop around and compare online before making other types of purchases, be sure to do this when you hit the store.

In fact, with many stores now offering electronic versions of their flyers, you can begin your sleuthing at home, printing the coupons you wish to compare against, and going to the store armed and ready to do battle with your calculator! Sometimes, as in the case of the cranberry story, you need to compare “apples to apples”, meaning in this case, comparing the price per 100 grams. The packaged product might phrase it as price per kilogram. To see which is the better deal, you need to take the quantity of the package, say 1.82kg for example, translate that into grams, which would be 1082 grams, and divide the price of the package by that amount, then multiply the price per gram by 100. A few seconds with your calculator in-store can mean several dollars in savings by the time your trip is over for the day. Savings add up, and you might surprise yourself what is left in the bank when you drive home.

Marilynn Dawson has authored several books and a series since 2012. She sings with a community gospel choir and handles both computer tech and sound tech at her church. She lives with her two grown kids, cat, and gerbil in Kelowna BC Canada. For more tidbits of advice, you can order Marilynn’s book, Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate, from Ruby’s Reading Corner. You can read more of Marilynn’s posts on her blog, Song Dove Musings.


Meet the Ruby Writers: Interview with Aileen Stewart by Beth Brubaker Good morning Aileen! Thank you for joining us here at Ruby for Women! When did you first start writing? I started writing when I was nine years old and my fourth grade teacher entered the class in a poetry contest. I earned an honorable mention and was over the moon. I also grew up in a literary atmosphere since my father freelanced for hunting and fishing magazines. What excited you about writing children's books? I have always loved children’s books and even when I grew up, I still loved to read kid lit. So it seemed natural to write for children. Being able to help children create vivid mental pictures simply form the words I write is a feeling beyond compare. Do you self-publish, or have a publisher? I’m actually with a hybrid publisher. They aren’t a self-publisher, but because they require an author contribution, they aren’t traditional either. My contribution is refundable once I sell a certain number of books, and they provide me with an editor, a cover designer, an illustrator, and a marketing rep. What are your books about? My children’s stories are set in Fern Valley, home to a group of wonderful animals who have fun and face some of the same problems children everywhere do. What came first: the writing, the workshops, the speaking, or the blogging? Actually, I had a website first, but I mostly used it for family photos. The writing came next and that is when I knew I needed to turn my website into an author site. As I learned my craft and gathered information about writing, and being published, I started blogging. It took me a while to find my style and what I wanted to blog about, but I think I now have it figured out.


And last but not least, the workshops and speaking engagements grew out of the fact that I was a published author. People started asking me to speak at writing groups and a mom at a local school, who was the head of the PTO, asked me to put together something for the kids. I see you like photography. What do you like taking pictures of most? I adore photography. I am a really visual person, so it’s hard to say what I like taking pictures of the most. If I had to pin it down, it would probably be my daughter. But, I pretty much take pictures of everything. I take pictures of the food I have prepared when I post recipes. I take pictures of flowers, animals, scenery, spine poetry, etc. As a matter of fact, I am getting ready to enter some of my photos in our county fair this August. Tell us about your family members (including pets). My husband, Bobby, is a wonderful, God fearing man who has supported my writing in more ways than I can count. Our daughter, Emily, is a lovely and bright girl with a very kind heart. We have three cats, Max, Daisy, and Fluffy. We weren’t supposed to have three cats, but my husband decided we needed to get Max a friend. What’s a girl going to say when the hubby insists? Much to our surprise, Daisy turned out to be pregnant. We were able to find good homes for three of the four kittens she had, but the fourth one, Fluffy, ended up staying with us. Anything else you'd like to share with our readers about yourself or writing? For two years Bobby and I stood in faith for a first shift job. He was on second and rotated weekends so he only saw Emily three weekends out of the month. Several jobs came and went, but he didn’t get them even though he was sometimes the only one qualified. I kept telling him that the Lord had a plan for him. I didn’t know what it was but I believed he had one. Then last November, the Lord finally revealed his plan. He not only got a first shift job, he got to keep his shift difference pay, it was in the department he always wanted to work in (testing), he no longer has to work weekends, his boss is much nicer, and we get to eat dinner together every night. To this day, we still thank the Lord for this blessing which is more then we could even have imagined. For the past three years, I have also been standing in faith that my writing career will take off, that I will acquire an agent, and I will be able to break into the picture book field. I keep reminding myself that the Lord also has a plan for me. I don’t yet know what it is or when it will manifest, but I know he has one. So I just want to remind everyone that no matter who you are or what your dream is, God has a plan for you too! Be diligent, pray fervently, listen to that still small voice, and in time all will be revealed. Thank you so much for the interview Aileen! We at Ruby are praying for your great success! Thank you so much for asking me to share with your readers Miss Beth. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. 52

More Autumn Recipes from the Kitchen of Vintage Mama Seems like once we start rummaging around in the old recipe box, there is just no end to what we discover! And, because autumn is our favorite time of year to bake (usually cooking only happens in the summer when it can’t be avoided!), we’ve got lots and lots of great recipes that are just perfect for autumn. But just like you can never have TOO many books, our theory is that you can never have TOO many great recipes to brighten up an autumn afternoon. So, we’ve discovered a few new recipes to share with you, to add to your recipe collection, so that one day, these recipes will perhaps become one of your family’s favorites.

Apple Cinnamon Granola While searching for quick, easy, yummy, AND nutritious / healthy breakfast ideas, we came across this recipe for granola. Our girls will just love this with their yogurt on an autumn morning! What you need: • • • • •

2 cups rolled oats 1/4 cup Demerara sugar mixed with 1/4 cup water 1 small gala apple 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. nutmeg

Let’s make it! Preheat oven to 400F. Put parchment paper on the biggest cookie sheet you own. Spread rolled oats evenly on top and pour sugar/water mixture on top. Sprinkle cinnamon. Cut apple (with skin) into little pieces and add. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, until oats turn golden brown. Apples will be a little shriveled. Adapted from a recipe found at SmorgasBite.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Here’s an easy way to create your own Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, without any of the added stuff that you find in the process, store-bought variety. You know you love your favorite creamer in your morning cup of coffee! This recipe was originally posted by Rachel on the Granola Girl Bakes blog. 53

What you need: • • • • • • •

2 cups half and half 3 tbsp. pumpkin puree 2 tsp of pumpkin spice 4 tbsp. Maple Syrup 3 tsp of vanilla extract 2 tsp of cinnamon 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Let’s make it! 1. Whisk the half and half, pumpkin, syrup, and pumpkin spice together over medium heat. 2. When it gets steamy remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Pour into bowl, covering, and let set for 3-6 hours in fridge. 3. Use a strainer to transfer the cream into a jar or pitcher… do not skip this step, trust me! This will make the creamer smoother. :) 4. The recipe originated from Deliciously Organic. I did add additional vanilla and cinnamon. If you prefer your coffee a little sweeter I recommend adding more maple syrup! :) For step-by-step instructions with more photos, please visit Rachel at Granola Girl Bakes.

Pumpkin Spice Bread How perfect with your Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer! Bake up a batch of this Pumpkin Spice Bread, recipe adapted from the All Recipes website. What you need: • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree • 4 eggs • 1 cup vegetable oil • 2/3 cup water • 3 cups white sugar • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons baking soda • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• • •

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Let’s make it! 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans. 2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. 3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 54

The Smell of Freshly Sharpened Pencils by Lynn Mosher “It’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it!” (Eccl. 11:9a TLB) Those of us in, ahem, our later years were deprived. Deprived? Yup. We didn’t have things like… • • • • • • • • •

air conditioning computers videos or DVDs chat rooms and social media big screen TVs (or color for that matter) games like Wii text messages iPods cell phones - ‘cause the only blackberries we had came out of grandmother’s garden!

Forced to be outsiders, we actually got exercise by running around playing tag, kick ball, or roller skating. We circled the neighborhood subdivision on our bikes until dark and the bugs hit our teeth or Mom rang the bell to come home. To cool ourselves, we played in the hose in the backyard and, yikes, we even drank from the hose! Going swimming in a swimming pool was a real treat.

Being mean, stealing, or hurting someone was not part of our personalities. Well, not most of us anyway. On clear nights, we would lie on a blanket in the backyard, waiting for the house to cool for bedtime. We would gaze up at a bazillion stars sparkling against the black velvet sky. Ah, those never-ending summer days! But then, it was time. Time for you-know-what! School to start! I remember each summer as the first day of school approached, Mom and I would get all dressed up to go downtown (because that’s what you did way back then) to shop for school clothes. I loved it. It was a great treat. We invaded all the big department stores (we didn’t have suburban stores until I was in junior high, the early ’60s). When finished shopping, we always stopped by the candy department of our favorite department store to get some goodies to take home. And a stop in the book department was a must to get one or two or the latest Nancy Drew mysteries. Each year was a new beginning. A new class. A new teacher. Even new friends. The first day of school, to give the kids something to do, the teachers always had the students write out: what I did this summer. Freshly-sharpened pencils in hand. Writing began.

We made forts, either outside or inside the house. We played games like Mr. Potato Head, Pick Up Sticks, Parcheesi, Chinese Checkers, or Clue. And Saturday mornings brought fun cartoons. We respected our parents, our teachers, and other grownups. We said things like “yes, ma’am,” and “no, sir,” “please,” and “thank you.”

School should always be a challenging yet fun time for kids. But times have changed drastically since I was in grade school. Or high school, for that matter. We did not have things like drugs, bullies, abduction by strangers, alcohol, and sex. In grade school! The worst anyone did was get caught chewing gum. In high school, a few drank on weekends. And55 one getting pregnant was a huge roll-your-eyes-andwhisper deal.

It is so much more difficult for kids today and for parents as well. So many more things to deal with. So many more things to talk to their kids about. To warn them about.

[I love fall. I love the vibrant reds, golds, and yellows of the leaves. It’s a little early yet for fall’s color parade; the leaves still wear their green robes. But the starting of school for another year reminds me that fall is just around the corner.

And now it’s time again. Time for pencils, notebooks, paper, and all the other things kids need for school supplies. The harbinger of fall. One of my favorite scenes from You’ve Got Mail is this: Clicking away on his computer to the unknown user Shop girl (Kathleen Kelly played by Meg Ryan) in an internet chat room, user NY152 (Joe Fox played by Tom Hanks) types: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

School memories. Smell is said to be the greatest memory trigger, and the smell of freshly-sharpened pencils is a great trigger for some wonderful memories. May your kids make wonderful memories this year! Don’t you love the smell of freshly-sharpened pencils? From His feet, Lynn

Visit Lynn at her blog to read more of her inspiring and encouraging posts.

Visit Katherine’s Corner for monthly giveaways, weekly blog hops, recipes, and crafts 56

Kids’ Korner with Carol Peterson, Author Join us here at Ruby for Women as author Carol Peterson takes us on a fun-filled adventure to learn about great new books to read and activities to inspire creativity and a love of reading. This month we have a book review of The Prisoner of Carrot Castle by Chris Pedersen, along with a fun activity using a Venn diagram.

The Prisoner of Carrot Castle by Chris Pedersen Author Chris Pedersen just loves veggies. So it’s no surprise, that in the first book of her Veggie Chronicles series, The Prisoner of Carrot Castle, kids discover that eating vegetables is what heroes do, that is, if they want to escape the wicked King’s clutches. Vivid colors and lots of action engage readers in Aiden’s adventure. Educational materials at the end of the book help teachers develop lesson plans and add to the fun for kids. Here is an activity Pederson developed to have even more fun with The Prisoner of Carrot Castle. • Draw two intersecting circles like the illustration below. This is called a “Venn diagram.” People use these to see how two things are similar and how they are different. • In the center oval shape, list all the ways carrots and broccoli are similar. • On the side circles, list the differences between carrots and broccoli. Use one side for carrots and one for broccoli.


Other free activities and finger puppets are available for download on Pederson’s website, Purple Carrot Books. She has also just released the first in her Ethan Belcher early reader series, Ethan Belcher Braves a Bully. Her books are available on The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is also available as an iPad book app. Carol Peterson writes to educate, entertain and inspire. Her books for the classroom (grades 4-7), supplement curriculum—math, social studies, history and science. Available on or and from Ruby’s Reading Corner.

Carol also writes a With Faith like Hers Bible study series. When we understand the ways in which our character or circumstances are similar to women in Scripture, we get a glimpse of how God might see us as He saw His daughters of old. Available are I am Eve, I am Esther and I am Ruth. I am Mary will be released winter 2014 for a Christmas study of Jesus’ mother. From Honor Bound Books and available at as well as from Ruby’s Reading Corner. Carol is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team, and she can also be found at


October 2: Name Your Car Day October 3: World Smile Day October 4: Frugal Fun Day October 5: Do Something Nice Day October 6: Mad Hatter Day October 9: Curious Events Day October10: Angel Food Cake Day October 11: Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day October 12: Old Farmer’s Day October 13: Columbus Day October 14: National Dessert Day October 16: Bosses Day October 16: Dictionary Day

October 18: Sweetest Day October 19: Evaluate Your Life Day October 21: Count Your Buttons Day October 21: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day October 22: National Nut Day October 24: National Bologna Day October 25: Make a Difference Day October 26: Mother-in-Law Day October 27: Tell a Story Day October 27: Navy Day October 29: Hermit Day October 30: National Candy Corn Day 59 October 31: Carve a Pumpkin Day

We should all be Dogs by Angie Hiskitt We are cats. God calls and calls; Sometimes we come, sometimes we hide. God feeds us, Sometimes we are grateful; sometimes we turn our backs and walk away. God carries us in times of trouble, Sometimes we curl up in his arms; sometimes we fight and claw to be put down. God blesses us, Sometimes we purr and cuddle; sometimes we hiss and run away. We are cats. We need to become dogs. God calls and calls, And we would ALWAYS run to him in jubilation! God feeds us, And we are ALWAYS thankful and excited to accept anything he has to offer! God carries us in times of trouble, And ALWAYS curl up in comfort and show our appreciation! God blesses us, And we ALWAYS love and cherish him with devotion and loyalty that never ends! 60

We all need to become dogs.

Ask Beth by Beth Brubaker

Dear Beth, I'm trying to de-clutter my house, but I get so overwhelmed! I can do the housework, but I have so many junk drawers that I can't find anything, and I don't even want to think about my bookshelves or the storage boxes for my crafts. Where do I start first?

-Clutter Nutter

Dear Clutter, I'm going to tell you what someone once told me. You need to get rid of some stuff. It's scary thinking about all the things we have- and where we'll put them! Speaking as a borderline hoarder, I'll give you a few hints and tips that helped me get the clutter down to a minimum (never zero, because I have kids!). I have one major rule. If it doesn't make you happy, ditch it. If you're looking at an item, what is your very first thought? Pay attention to your first reaction to the item. If you sigh and slump your shoulders, I don't care how cute or nice or pretty it is, it's a burden- you need to get rid of it. Let's start with the junk drawers. Junk drawers are full of miscellaneous items- items you often know you have but can't find when you need them. My suggestion is to go to a store that specializes in storage (office supplies or otherwise, like IKEA) and get something with small drawers in it to sort your stash. I bought two small drawer sets (six small drawers and one long, flat drawer each) and in each drawer there was only one or two specified itemsand if there was more than one, they had to be related- like staples and a stapler. Test all pens and toss out the ones that don't work the first time, toss out the pencil stubs, lint or anything else that's broken or unusable (like those old tubes of super glue that dried and are sealed shut forever). If it doesn't have a spot, it has no business being in your house. 61

Go through the books and have a box next to you for donations. When the box is full, put it in your car immediately. When you're done loading the car, find a local library or thrift store. The next time you're out, donate! If you have a collection of recipe books but don't cook much, go through them and note how many recipes in the book you actually like. If it isn't many, copy or scan the pages (you can buy pre-drilled 3-holed paper) and get rid of the book. I found one that only had three recipes I wanted, and it saved me a ton of space! Put the copies/printouts in a binder and you now have a new cookbook of recipes to try! The same thing goes for the crafts. Toss out old dried paint tubes, gnarled yarn, or anything else that you “saved� that has become outdated or unusable. Focus on one or two crafts and donate the restyou'll be glad you did! (Unless you're doing this professionally and actually have used everything in the past year.) To help yourself from being overwhelmed, don't look at the mess- close your eyes and picture the room and furniture cleared and clean. This is your goal. Work on one shelf at a time, use a timer, lock eve3ryone out of the house, or give the kids their own apartment- anything that will motivate you to get even a small thing done will give you a sense of accomplishment, and therefore to move on and do more. Clean that shelf. Ditch that junk drawer and put useful things in there. And most important, keep only the things that make you happy! (oh, and don't forget to let the family back in when you're done!)

Visit Beth Brubaker at her blog, Footprints in the Mud, to read her humorous and inspirational articles on family life, parenting, and her adventures as a Christian wife and mother.


God Fixes Broken Trusters by Sharon L. Patterson “Oh Lord, I am back in prayer once againMy heart, as you know, got crushed by my friend. And now, my hurt inside is spilling out. I feel so sad and alone: my flesh wants to pout. But I know my feelings aren’t where I need to stay; I need to pour them out to you today. I am looking to You for what I can’t seem to find as I’ve searched my hurting heart and reeling mind. It seems I’ve lost a precious treasure; Besides my relationship I trusted beyond measure. Lord, my truster has been broken to the core. If I give it to you, will you fix it once more? You will, but first -THAT’S what I must do? Oh, Lord, how can you ask me to… FORGIVE as you have forgiven me? Really? So, this is a must To fix my mistrust? Father, I do not know how, but I choose your way instead of my hurt right now. What is that new thing I am sensing? My heart and head are releasing the hurt and pain I feel so much. What is this… my truster is being touched! I think hope is beginning to come alive. Yes, You are causing my truster to revive! Father, I know, now, and may I always obey To forgive as You command without delay; So my life from now on will proclaim by your power, through forgiveness in Jesus’ name… 63 “God fixes broken trusters!”

An Everlasting Love by Miriam Jacob, Ruby Blogger Team Loving Jesus will make us perfectly happy. Being faithful to Jesus will give us perfect joy and peace. Jesus waits for us to invite Him into our hearts. Our love means so much to Him. He asks for our love, which is most precious to Him. It is what He desires most. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind “- (Matthew 22:37). “I have loved you with an everlasting love “ – (Jeremiah 31:3). What a wonderful assurance of God’s love. Jesus wants us to enter into a relationship of love with Him. He longs for us to be united with Him, and in Him. Jesus wants us to share everything with Him. He longs to be one with us. He wants to be right in the center of our hearts. Jesus is waiting for our response to His love. He wants an affirmation of our love, and a surrender of our wills. The love of Jesus will flow into our hearts like a divine stream. It will be in direct proportion to our commitment to Him. Our love for Jesus will make us say: “Lord, take my life and everything that makes it worth living. I love You, and I give You everything. I will hold nothing back from You. Let Your blessed Will be done in my life.” All Jesus wants is our fervent love. Nothing makes Him happier than our love. And nothing makes us happier than the clear-cut knowledge that He loves us. We are so privileged to love Him, who gave His life for us. What a blessed assurance of divine love. “For no one can imagine the good things that God has prepared for those that love Him” – (1 Corinthians 2:9). “She loved much” – (Luke 7:47). When we open our hearts to God and His love, we realize how lovely Jesus is, and how truly worthy of love. Jesus pours His love into our hearts, and it then flows powerfully back to Himself. Jesus is the focus of our love. Our concern is Jesus Himself. Our hearts are kindled with love for Him. We long to do something for Him. We do what His tender heart desires most deeply. We give Him our love. “She loved much” is the greatest, dearest and noblest tribute Jesus can pay. When we love Jesus deeply, our love for Him leads us to do something beautiful for Him. We want to minister unto Jesus with our love. Christ has restored us to grace, and we want to bring Him glory. We long to refresh Jesus with our love. His tender heart longs for such a love. A holy fountain of love wells up joyfully in our hearts. We find ourselves ministering unto Jesus with overflowing love. © Miriam Jacob Visit Miriam Jacob on her blog, Authors for Christ, to read more of her devotionals and inspirational posts. 64 Images found at

My Prayer Box by Melissa Zelniker-Presser There are sometimes when you receive a gift in life that is so special, the words escape you amidst your overwhelming gratitude. It’s not so much the gift itself, but what it represents. And I find that a homemade gift is the kindest, most sincere gesture that comes from a Jesus lovin’ heart. Although I consider myself a writer, I wouldn’t consider myself a crafter. And so when I looked over all of the possible themes to write about for this month’s edition of Ruby, my eyes got caught up on one category on that list - sewing and crafting. Being that I am a saved Jewish Christian girl from the big city, the most I know about crafts is how to glue two Popsicle sticks together. And I can’t even do that right. So I thought to myself, “I wonder who is a good crafter?” Probably a grandmother from one of the colder states who knows how to crochet, and knit, and make great glitter projects with their grandchildren. And then it came. In that moment. God stirring inside my heart. No, Melissa, you are going to write an article about crafting. Ummm….. What? Ok, God. That’s just perfect. A writer who knows nothing about crafts writing about a craft I’ve never made. And I look over. And there it sat. In complete peace next to my bed stand- my Prayer Box. God didn’t even give me time to throw a hissy fit. I couldn’t help but smile. God is always stretching us, always taking us out of our comfort zone. And although I couldn’t tell you the first thing about crafting, I can tell you who can. You see, God made me a storyteller. And then it all made sense. Karen is my mother from the Lord. I call her that because she led this lost, little Jewish girl to Christ a little over one year ago. Christ used her to do the impossible. And she and her wonderful family are an integral part of my life. What I love most about Karen is that she is completely different from me. She is a cook, a baker, a crafter with a creative mind. She is the modern day Christian Martha Stewart (minus the prison term of course). She can whip up a dish like nobody’s business and is one of the most creative people I know. And last Christmas, my very first one, she gave me a very large box. It was the last gift she gave out that night, and I swear I was seeing things in slow motion. 65

As she came towards me, it was the biggest, most colorful box I had ever seen. You know - the ones in the movies with the big red bows and dancing snowman. Ya, I got that one (wink, wink). And the smile on her face was so filled with joy and peace; it was if Jesus himself was watching this whole scene. So when I opened the powder blue mega ribbon-topped box and tore at the tissue paper, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I pulled it out like it was made of the most delicate material known to man. Eyed it for a while. I was catatonic. And as a lawyer, that wouldn’t be a word I would use to describe myself. I looked at this box and marveled at it. It was covered in the Word of God, rhinestones, beautiful red flowers and a fancy red bow in the front tied together with an angel at its center. On the top was a framed picture of my husband and me from the day we got baptized. I opened it up and there it was. Pictures of my children and Jesus. Jesus everywhere. I was so overcome I couldn’t even get a tear out. I was blown away by how God used Karen. The time she took to make me this box. And the meaning behind it. It’s so much more than a box to me. It’s an expression of God’s love through the woman God used to lead me to Him. It’s about someone loving me for me - unconditionally. It’s about someone who took the time to show me just how special I am. So considering the article is about my Prayer Box, and by now you’re saying alright, alright already, how do I make one? Well now you can! Courtesy of my beautiful mother from the Lord, Karen Crowley. Here are the materials you will need and her directions. Now go out and bring the gift of Jesus wrapped up in a beautiful prayer box to someone! You will need: • A box (you can find them at Michaels, Homegoods, Ross, etc.) • A Bible (she prefers getting an inexpensive one from Walmart) • Decoupage glue (She likes the glossy kind; you can get this at Michael’s) • A flat foam brush (You can pick this up at Michael’s) • Hot glue gun • • •

Hot glue sticks Elmer’s craft glue Knobs for the bottom of the box (optional, also available at Michael’s. Geez this is starting to sound like a paid ad for Michael’s lol) 66

• • •

Pen (any kind or color you like) Small notepad Personalized items you want to use (stickers, pictures, ribbon, rhinestones, etc). God’s imagination is the limit!

The vision: (Karen’s words) Each box I make comes through prayer. I ask God to help me create the perfect prayer box for that person. Then, you can use your imagination as to how you would like to decorate it. I used some things like pictures or jewelry from home. I also went to the scrapbooking section of Michael’s. (Karen says God’s vision for my box started with the picture from my baptism). I also take into consideration that person’s favorite color and style like modern glitzy etc. Every time I make one it’s Magical!!! The directions: (courtesy of Karen Crowley) (Note: You must do the box in sections because the glue dries fast) 1. Measure the sides of the box. 2. Take a page out of the Bible and cut it to the size you need according to the shape of the box. 3. Put some glue on the brush, and then brush it on the box equal to the size of the page you cut out. 4. Quickly place the page on the box and pat down and smooth out the page. As you do this, you need to apply more glue on top of the page and smooth it out. 5. Repeat this process, going around the whole box except the bottom. It must dry overnight before you can decorate it or else it may have some creases or bumps. But that’s OKAY because it’s not supposed to be perfect!!! 5. After letting it dry overnight, the next day take all of your decorations and start gluing them. Some things can be glued with a glue gun, others with Elmer’s craft glue. 6. Remember to pray and decorate the box according to what God has shown you :) You can also put legs on the box if you choose. To do this, you would glue the knobs to the bottom of the box on all four corners. 7. Then when finished, place a pen and small pad inside so the recipient has something to write their prayers on. 8. Pray over it and present it in a beautifully wrapped box just the way God would!!! (Thank you to Karen Crowley for allowing me to use my gift of writing to share her gift of crafting) 67

Footprints in the Mud by Beth Brubaker Junk Drawer Thoughts Do you have a junk drawer in your head? I do. My mental junk drawer is full of little thoughts that have absolutely no use whatsoever. These junky thoughts usually hinder me when I'm trying to find something useful in my memory - like what day was the kids’ doctor's appointment? What is junk drawer thinking? It's a collection of all those stupid little thoughts that remind me of my failures, dumb things I did, and bad decisions I've made throughout my life. You know the ones those thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere and sting your heart nearly as much as the original event. But how do I get rid of them? If the thoughts are oriented around a person, I've learned to forgive. Especially forgiving someone who's really hard to forgive. If I was at fault, I'd admit I was wrong and learn from my mistakes. Letting go when I can't change something - this is a big one for me, because some things (like relationships, someone's cherished item I'd broken) just can't be mended, no matter how hard I try. Forgive them, forgive myself and move on.

If the thought is are focused on an event that I can't change yet comes back to haunt me (and there are a lot of those!), I fling the thought out by telling myself “That has no relevance anymore. I'm not like that now - I've left that event behind. I've learned to use that experience to grow.”- anything to turn that thought in the opposite direction and get it out of my head! I'm still doing it, to this day. Negative thinking is also in my junk drawer. You hate this. You're not good enough; you never were good enough. You're going to mess that up. Don't try. Don't do. These are junk drawer thoughts, and the best way I've found to beat them is to find two positive things to counter it. It gets easier the more I've done it. Things like, “Ugh, it's raining. I wanted to go out.” I turn to “At least I don't have to water the garden today.” and “I can use the time to read that book.” I don't want junk drawer thoughts sticking around to clutter up my life. I change my mindset from “How could I have done that?” to “Now I know how to beat that!” Who needs those junk drawer thoughts anyway?


A hundred Summers ago (1914-2014) A hundred Summers ago Winter came early, blizzards of lives falling blankets of blood and rain and mud. Foreign bodies travelled beyond their span in geography and life, the landfill of gore. John Parr *(17) cycles on with message then unspoken speaks now from his grave eloquent in death in a tomorrow that never came. Harry Patch lived on now he dwells in soily encampment shared with pals long gone together in the peace of death. ~ Keith Wallis

*John Parr was the first English soldier to die (before the first battlefield encounter). Some mystery surrounds the source of the gunshot which took him while delivering a message on his bicycle – whether enemy or friendly fire or a trigger happy local. 69

Harry Patch the longest lived of the ‘fighting Tommies’ died in 2009

Stepping Stones Stones We stood on the bank of a river with eternity on the other bank. In bright sunlight, from this vantage point, we saw the stepping stones that lead from one bank to the other. These stones stir quiet eddies here and stand firm in raging torrent there. So we stepped onto our first stone – the world and all its cares and worries, joys and disappointments, flowing beneath our feet as we begin to step from stone to stone toward eternity. Sometimes, we step upon a stone that stands proudly above its watery rushings and we can look back to beckon someone else across. Sometimes, the water laps close to the top of the stone - we become aware of our fragility and the need to concentrate on our balance. Then again a stone may be just below the surface and we have to endure wet feet, but we can still view the other bank and can see the firm foothold. Yet another time the mist rolls in, obscuring our view, but we still have a stone on which to stand, safe and secure. There remains the desire to follow the pattern in faith and hope. There are times when the stone which we reach is well below the surface and the mist surrounds us – we have no view of the other side and our immediate situation commands our attention. This is the point at which we touch but cannot see the stone. The firm foundation stone beneath our feet has been there for eternity, always there for us, and has to be there as we move on to the next stone and its own reality. Jesus guard our steps. 70 ~ Keith Wallis

Decidedly Different, Not Offensively Obnoxious by Sharon L. Patterson When God replays the pre-recorded DVR of my life I wonder what all will be seen from the time I became a follower, a disciple of Jesus at age eleven until now? Will my thoughts, words, decisions and interactions, receive a “decidedly different” assessment or an “offensively obnoxious” vote from the heavenly viewers as well as those who shared life with me on earth? One thing I truly comprehend, 56 years into my discipleship is that I want the tag “decidedly different”. I know the “offensively obnoxious” label has been attached to me many times. I have come to detest that. It is not hard to have the “decidedly different” but it is not easy to choose that, particularly when I get stirred up about something, offended, or dismissed. That is when my self-righteous rights pop out and take control of whatever situation I may be stirred up over. I may claim His righteousness as my reason for being “offensively obnoxious,“ but after I have surrendered to it, the stinky fruit reveals itself very quickly. Jesus gives me the power to be “decidedly different” in circumstances that stir up my own sense of right and wrong. He had the power throughout his entire life and died to give it to me and you. “Decidedly different” responds in love that does not come from an earthly source at all. Its responses vary according to God’s assessment of the situation. Sometimes love’s response is totally silent in the presence of false accusation or meanness. Sometimes words are strong in response to the presence of hypocrisy.

The love will divide those present. The ones who recognize it will understand truth is being spoken in love. That not only brings life but speaks of mercy that is undeserved. It may still be offensive to those who do not “get it,” but when I love with his love, and answer my offenders with His words, life will be produced regardless of who is present to believe it or not.

Jesus gives me the power to be “decidedly different” in circumstances that stir up my own sense of right and wrong. He had the power throughout his entire life and died to give it to me and you. In this day, we are being called to be “decidedly different” but not “offensively obnoxious.” It is quite a responsibility to do things His way and not our own. As much as it is up to me, I want to live peaceably with others even when I disagree with their thoughts, decisions and interactions or have been offended by them. (Romans 12:18) In order for that to happen, I will have to choose to be “decidedly different” by surrendering to His way and not mine. Anyone care to join my “decidedly different” choice? 71 We may cause a smile in Heaven as God watches and records the DVR’s of our lives.

Fall Forward with the Light On by Yolonda Hairston

Pumpkin spice scented candles. Apple pies. Butternut squash. Casseroles. Cool breezes. Orange leaves. Purple leaves. Yellow leaves. I love the fall, even as my itching eyes tear up. The “bless you’s” keep coming; buried in tissue. Things begin to turn over, life and living things begin to shift. We slowdown from trips, gatherings, marathons, and beach days. Time seems to slip away, the day is darker and we swiftly close out the night. When the darkness closes in, I know a change will come. There will be something stirring in the midst and I must hold on. I don’t want to slip away. When the night falls, I want to fall forward with it. Just lay there, turn over, and shut down. This is when the Spirit lets me know the time is now. It is the time to rejoice, the time to be thankful, the time to show my light in the middle of the darkness. I cry out to the Lord, “How do I maintain through this?” He said, “Through renewing.” I must renew my mind. “Refresh with my Words, with what I teach you, daily.” When I see the storms raging, I refresh myself. I turn over a new leaf. Embracing change, the seasons of my life; I am renewed, I am new. Falling forward hard for my Lord, collapsing in His arms. “And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11-12. Yolonda Hairston, servant of the Most High, mother, friend, daughter; no longer damaged goods but completely restored with a blood finish.

Custom Blog Design Art and Styling Blog Art by Katherine 72

Subjects Matter Hidden Word Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

Find the hidden words within the grid of letters

Answer key on page 78


Visit Craft Supply Things for all your crafting needs!

Meet the Ruby Blogger Team We have a team of great bloggers / writers here at Ruby for Women who share their stories, and their voices, with all of us. We hope you will take a minute to visit some of our team members to read more of their inspirational posts. Be sure to leave a comment and tell them that Ruby sent you! If you would like information about joining the Ruby Blogger Team, please email us at

Donna Comeaux: A Writer First

Kelly Bowden: Jesus Crucified and Risen

Melissa Presser: Work for the Cause Not the Applause

Tai East: A Spirit Kissed Soul

Amy Harper: Threads in the Nest

Angie Hiskitt: Grant Me Wisdom, Oh Lord


Carol Peterson: Carol Peterson, Author

Miriam Jacob: Authors for Christ

Angela Morris: This World as I See It

Ruth O’Neil: Ruth’s Real Life

Heather King, Room to Breathe

Christie Workman: “ReVision for Women”

Connie Chandler: “Connie’s Bowl of Cherries”

Yvonne Carson: Empowerlicious Woman


Katherine Corrigan, Katherine’s Corner

Gloria Doty, Writing by Gloria

Lynn Mosher Amanda Stephan, Books by Amanda

Beth Brubaker: “Footprints in the Mud”

Kris Wolfe: Morning Glory Devo

Marilynn Dawson: Song Dove Musings

Keith Wallis, Wordsculptures Ruby Poet-in-Residence


Equation Search Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker

Happiness Word Scramble Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker


Subjects Matter Hidden Word Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker


Mission Possible by Deborah McCarragher Mission Possible is a non-fiction book written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together.

Visit Kathi Macias at her website for more information about her books and her speaking schedule.

Please join us at Carol’s Book Club and read along. We would love to include you! Stop by Carol’s website at Carol Peterson, Author, and get reading!

Visit Stephanie at “Keeper of the Home” for more seasonal recipes and inspirational blog posts


Check out the new Apple Pie Boutique! Opening soon, and featuring designs by Art & Soul Boutique, Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Filigree & Flowers, Anchored Threads, Sudsy Sweet Treats Bath Bakery, Windy Hill Vanilla, Run Into Art, Girlie Creations, and many more!

Visit Donna Comeaux at her blog, A Writer First, to read her inspirational posts and short stories.

The Early Years by Keith Wallis The poems in this omnibus were written quite a while back. Whilst fairly contemporary at the time, some may well have been written differently today. However, some still remain firm favourites in the author's portfolio. “Coaled” (in Marketplace of Masks) found a new lease on life as a short story (“Clive's Journey”) published by Bewildering Stories (issue 333). Read more: http://wordsculptures80

Daily devotions for every day of the month from Kristi Burchfiel

Visit Katherine’s Corner for monthly giveaways, weekly blog hops, recipes, and crafts

Visit Create with Joy for creative inspiration and book reviews


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. Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved is available from Ruby’s Reading Corner. It is also available on her website at , and . You can follow her on Facebook: or Twitter.

You are invited . . . . Are you a writer? Do you love to cook or craft? You are invited to submit your stories, articles, poems, book reviews, recipes or crafts for publication in the HOLIDAY, 2014 issue of Ruby for Women. DEADLINE FOR HOLIDAY SUBMISSIONS IS OCTOBER 15, 2014. Please send your submissions to For advertising inquiries, please email


Discover your own creative expression with eBook patterns and tutorials from Vintage Mama’s Cottage Create your own handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, heirloom quality “wearable-art” garments for your little ones.


Visit Katherine’s Corner for the

Change of Season Giveaway Don’t forget . . . . there is a new giveaway every month at Katherine’s Corner!


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

By Still Waters by Keith Wallis A celebration of life; poems and associated photographs of faith and experience. The light touch of a poet rejoicing in creation. Read more:

“poems from the pit” by Keith Wallis The words and photographs offer a view that there is beauty even in the ‘detritus’ left behind by industry and the litter discarded by the thoughtless. The poems are all inspired by his photographs but may be a little oblique – often showing a train of thought rather than a description. Sample can be viewed at: where you’ll also find his other books.


Stop by Ruby’s Reading Corner the next time you are shopping online for books . . . . every book purchased from Ruby’s Reading Corner helps support the ministry of Ruby for Women. 86

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 writes 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 or email her at

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.

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 87

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 Blog Graphics at Shop

Yolonda Hairston, servant of the Most High, mother, friend, daughter; no longer damaged goods but completely restored with a blood finish.

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. You can find her blogging about these times with God at her devotional site: Room To Breathe:

Angie Hiskitt

“I am a child of God, a mother of four, wife to one, teacher to many, a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, an aunt, a granddaughter, a pet owner of 7, house-cleaner of 1 husband 4 kids 2 dogs and 5 cats... and a writer. I am also a teacher. I just finished up my first year as a Level 3 special education teacher at the same small town school my children attend. Before that I was the teacher in a self-contained classroom for students with emotional and behavioral disorders in a bit larger district for 7 years. I love the Lord!” You can connect with Angie on her blog, Grant Me Wisdom, Oh Lord. 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. Follow me on twitter: www.twitter.come/tndevine Subscribe to my blog 88

Nora Spinaio is a Christian wife and writer. When asked where she is from she will often ask “How far back do you want to go?” Though born in southern California, she was raised in northern Louisiana from the age of 5 before moving back to southern California at about age 20. She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband. She has written and directed several church skits, ran a newsletter for singles before her marriage, and is currently working on two sister novellas”. You can find her skits and other drama help on her blog She also blogs at as an encouragement to others in ministry.

Maxine Young

“I was born into a Christian family, attended church every week and church schools even, but it is now as an adult that I am truly learning how to have a personal relationship with the Lord.” You can read Maxine’s articles and posts on her blog, Hope and Writing

Full time mother and author, Corallie Buchanan, is a woman who writes from her heart. Corallie writes regularly for the Christian Woman magazine, Australia's premier magazine for Christian women. In addition to her editing her own work, she contributes material to a number of magazines in the US including The Haven Journal, Inspired Women Magazine, and Ruby for Women. Sharing God's message of love and forgiveness, and mentoring other young writers is her passion. Corallie is also 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 her with husband and daughter in Brisbane, Australia.

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

Theresa Begin writes her blog, Shoestring Elegance, as a means of ministering to other women who are interested in learning to live well, even on a budget. “I began writing my blog, Shoestring Elegance, because I found that living on a tight budget didn’t mean compromising on style or standing.” Theresa’s favorite verse, which guides her writing, is “Nothing is Impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) Visit Theresa at her blog at 89

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 and is titled “Not Different Enough”. The other blog is 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.

Marilynn Dawson has authored several books and a series since 2012.

She sings with a community gospel choir and handles both computer tech and sound tech at her church. She lives with her two grown kids, cat, and gerbil in Kelowna BC Canada. For more tidbits of advice, you can order Marilynn’s book, Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate, from Ruby’s Reading Corner. You can read Marilynn’s posts on her blog, Song Dove Musings.

Connie Arnold, Poetry lives in North Carolina, is married and has two children and three grandchildren. In coping with lupus, fibromyalgia and other difficulties, she has turned to the Lord for inspiration and offers her inspirational poetry to offer encouragement, comfort and hope to others who are suffering. She is the author of Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, Abiding Hope and Love, and Abundant Comfort and Grace plus a 2012 inspirational calendar, Glimpses of Grace. She also writes for children and is the author of Animal Sound Mix-up and has two other children’s books under contract. You can visit Connie at or her blog,

Brenda Diaz is a Christian and Latina woman who has found her calling being a wife and a mother of two children (When younger, her writings focused on her life’s journey as a woman centering on truth from the perspective of justice and social change. As she’s grown in wisdom, age, and spirit, she now dedicates her life to writing about God as the primary mover in her own life and the life of her marriage and her family. You can visit Brenda on her blog at 90

Melissa Zelniker-Presser 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. My name is Yvonne Carson, CEO/Founder of Empowerlicious Woman ™. Our tagline is “Feeling Good About the Woman Inside.” When a woman feels good from the inside out she exudes confidence, faith, and assurance in who God created her to be, not by the dictates of society. These attributes are needed, among other things, to live an authentic, purpose-driven life and for fulfilling her unique calling in life.

Amanda Stephan is a multi-published Christian romance author who loves sharing God’s love with others. A homeschooling mother and stay at home 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

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.

Kristi Burchfiel is an author of devotional and Bible study books, and she is also a contribution writer for Ruby for Women. Her daily devotionals for every day of the month are available on the Ruby for Women community website, as well as the Ruby for Women blog. You can also find her daily devotionals in the Ruby for Women magazine. For more information about the devotional and Bible study books by Kristi Burchfiel, please visit her blog at 91

Connie Chandler lives in a Hobbit Hole in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she teaches and serves in international refugee ministry. She loves studying the Bible, trying new things, listening to stories, going on adventures, and drinking hot tea. She sits in a wheelchair because she has a disability that weakens her muscles but not her spirit. She shares the stories of God’s strength and faithfulness in her life on her blog:

Christie Workman has more than 20 years of writing, developmental coaching and teaching experience. She is a four-time Hoosier State Press Association Award winner with two first-place designations for her editorial feature stories. Originally from Tennessee, Christie now resides in Indiana.

Miriam Jacob is an author and poet in cyberspace, having published a series of E-Books at 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” My name is Kelly Bowden, I'm 34 and absolutely in love with Christ and desire to see others come into a real relationship with Him. I was born and raised in a Spirit filled Pentecostal family, my father is a pastor, but despite my upbringing I fell away from church and God. Christ is now my center and I have seen proof of His love that drowns out all else. He is my strength and my only desire in my life now is to see anyone who is desperate for help, acceptance, or just to fill the void to know Christ in a true way and to know the Heart of God as He always intended us to know Him. Visit me at my blog, Jesus Crucified and Risen.

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 92

Angela Morris is a free-lance photographer who has been part of the Ruby for Women team since 2012. She is a mom to Clarice, and she loves to write articles for her blog as well as for the Ruby blog. Angela loves to do craft projects with Clarice and they work together as volunteers for a local pet shelter near their home.

Kris Wolfe is a Christian, wife and mother. Kris is a freelance writer who focuses on spiritual and practical encouragement. Kris also writes lessons for small group purposes for large churches. While attending Luther Rice University and Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling, she is also a part time high school teacher and marketing consultant. Kris covers topics such as dating, marriage, parenting, divorce, post-divorce recovery, and the blended family. Read more from Kris Wolfe at or follow on Twitter @MrsKrisWolfe

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 contributes to ─, ─, Ruby for Women ─, her website ─, and Hope-full Living – She has written several poems for funerals and weddings, and is in the process of editing her first completed family saga, White Castle. She will begin work on her second novel, Taken by Choice, and start writing a collection of short stories in 2014.

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.


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 ezine, he is a moderator at His blog of ekphrasic poetry is: 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.

Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor Amanda has been writing for Ruby for Women for over four 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 “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 13 years old and Annie is 11. 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. My personal blog is at 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.


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 Questions? Email Nina @ or Amanda @ Ruby for Women is published by All submission inquiries should be directed to Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women or Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor Advertising inquiries should be directed to Creative Consultant, Katherine Corrigan of Blog Art by Katherine

Please visit the Ruby for Women blog for information about submissions, advertising, or to read previous issues of the Ruby for Women magazine. www.rubyforwomen Website design by Blog Art by Katherine


Ruby autumn 2014  

The autumn issue of Ruby for Women features inspirational and devotional articles, short stories, poetry, crafts and recipes, book reviews a...

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