Ruby for Women January, 2016 “A voice for every Christian woman”
“Her worth is far above rubies . . .” Proverbs 31:10
Ruby for Women A voice for every Christian woman JANUARY, 2016 www.rubyforwomen.com
After the joy and blessings of the Christmas season, we have the opportunity to treasure the quieter, slower winter months. Here at Ruby for Women, we will be taking time to continue to build the ministry that God has given us in sharing words of inspiration and encouragement with women around the world. Please join us and share your stories, poems, family-friendly articles, crafts and recipes with us. We would love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Poet-in-Residence: Keith Wallis Feature Writers: Lynn Mosher, Katherine Corrigan, Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Gloria Doty, Sarah Johnson, Miriam Jacob, Michelle Lazurek, Cynthia Knisley, Heather King, Lanette Kissel, Donna B. Comeaux, Linda McKee, Connie Arnold, Diana Chandler, Alisha Ritchie, Kathleen Katt Luce, Mia DeBruyne, Dorothy Kurchak, Connie Arnold, Cindy J. Evans, Ifeoma Samuel, Kim Lengling, Jewell Utt, Frances Gregory Pasch, Amy Lignor, Rejetta Morse, Norma Mezoe, Kathryn Ross, Kathleen McCauley, Mary Dolan Flaherty
In This Issue . . . Page
New Year, New Goals Nina Newton, Sr. Editor
Footprints in the Mud: Run in Your Own Lane Beth Brubaker, Asst. Editor
January 2016 Calendar
Cozy Winter Soup Recipes Vintage Mama
The Words of the Wind Mary Anne Brady
What’s in Your “Perhaps”? Mary Dolan Flaherty
It’s Never too Late Gloria Doty
DIY Snowman Crafts Vintage Mama
Snow out of Season Christy Brunke
Through a Child’s Eyes Frances Gregory Pasch
Millennium Madness Nancy LaGree
A Season of Rest Mary Ann Brady
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 email@example.com If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Beth Brubaker at firstname.lastname@example.org Also, please visit our blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you can connect with other Christian women. 1 Ruby for Women 2731 W 700 N Columbia City, IN 46725 email@example.com
Thank You to the Ruby for Women Sponsors
I AM Lanette Kissel
Our Hope is in Him Lanette Kissel
Prejudice: A History Lesson Carol Palmer Nugent
Connect the Letters Puzzle Beth Brubaker
I am Not All Right Jennifer Workman
Just Claire Jean Ann Williams
My Word for the Year, Part 1 Kathryn Ross
Meet Mary Anne Brady Author, Photographer, Editor
Alaska Photography Feature Mary Anne Brady
Be YOU-tifully YOU-nique: What’s in a Name, Anyway? Mary Dolan Flaherty
Open Arms: A Call to Linger in the Savior’s Presence Page 29 by Sherri Gragg Book Review by Miriam Jacob
Together in Christ Linda McKee
Clean Up Puzzle Beth Brubaker
Ruby’s Reading Corner
Connect the Letters Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker
Clean Up Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker
Meet the Ruby Writers
Credits and Copyrights
Jean Ann Williams, author of Just Claire and God’s Mercies after Suicide Page 17
Rediscover Traditional Fiber Arts2at Vintage Mama’s Cottage
Ruby for Women Magazine and Blog You have a story to tell and we want to hear it! God has given a voice to every Christian woman 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!
A New Year, New Goals Nina Newton, Sr. Editor
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I used to, but in the past few years I realized that when I slipped up and didn’t follow through on my resolutions, then I was disappointed and annoyed with myself. Lately, I’ve been trying just to set goals that are realistic, and then make a plan to help me stay motivated to achieve small, baby steps towards my goals. When we make BIG announcements about whatever we are going to do . . . . write a book, lose weight, start a business . . . . and then something trips us up, well, there we are. Discouraged and frustrated.
Another major goal I’m working on in 2016 is to continue to build and expand the ministry of Ruby for Women. We’ve had so many requests over the past few years for the Ruby magazine to be available as a print publication. Haven’t quite figured that one out yet, and it might turn out to be way too expensive to make it happen, but I’m determined to figure it out and see if we can bring the Ruby magazine to a whole new audience! After all, we have a team of amazing writers and we would love to tell the whole world about the love of the Lord through the encouraging and inspiring words of the writers that God has brought to our team. The other major development here at Ruby for Women is that beginning with this issue, we are returning to our monthly publication schedule. That makes it so much easier to keep up with seasonal topics, stories, family-friendly articles, crafts, and recipes. We will continue to include book reviews, as well as a new column by one of our writers, Mary Dolan Flaherty as she encourages us each month to remember that each one of us is “Be YOUtifully YOU-nique.” You can read her first column, “What’s in a Name, Anyway?” on page 37 of this issue of Ruby for Women. Have a blessed New Year and thank you for supporting the ministry of Ruby for Women!
One of my goals for 2016 is to invest more time in my own spiritual growth and creative achievements. One of the ways that I’m working on that is to return to art journaling. I’ll be blogging about that journey at Vintage Mama’s Cottage. I am also scheduling time to write my own stories – now that I’ve invested so many years encouraging and editing the work of other writers, I’ve decided it is time for me to begin to tell my story. We’ll see how that all works out! 4
Footprints in the Mud: Run in Your Own Lane by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor
How many times have I tried to do something someone else is doing and have failed miserably? How many times have I tried to be like someone else, with the same result? I was too busy running in their lane instead of my own. My husband is a natural-born chef. The man can toss the oddest ingredients together and make something awesome. Yet if I tried to do the same thing, the fire department would show up along with the HAZMAT team. For years I lamented about how he was always so much better than me in the cooking department - oh he tried to teach me, but I was quite the unwilling and grumpy student.
Since then I’ve learned there are just some things I need to master. I’m learning from him (and others), and am humble when someone asks to learn from me. I can make quilts, word puzzles and poems at the snap of my fingers, so to me, these are as easy as…er…pie crust. But for someone else, I might seem like Michelangelo to their watercolor stick figures. And that’s okay. Not everyone can be good at everything - except for Jesus!
This also includes ministries at church and community events I’m involved in. I run some events better than others, and they run some events better than I do.
Because I wanted to have his abilities in the kitchen. Naturally. I didn’t want to have to learn anything.
So we watch, ask, learn, and praise each other, learning from mistakes and growing as Christians.
One day I found his weakness. He can’t roll a decent pie crust to save his life. He makes great pie dough, but when he rolls it out, it would’ve frightened Quasimodo!
I’ve learned to run in my own lane thanks to my husband, and have shown others how to run in theirs. Without gloating over pie crust. Or quilts. Or puzzles.
But did I take the humble road and show him what to do? Nope. Instead I gloated over the fact that “Mr. Fancy Flavors” couldn’t roll a simple crust and did it myself.
I’ve dusted off the coal ash, and humbled my heart to help other runners. Do I do it all of the time? Nope. Do I slip and falter? You betcha! But the way I see it, those missteps make me run a better race in the end!
I’m so glad I married a good Christian man. Instead of divorcing me, he praised me for doing such a nice job so that his pies would look nice for our guests. Oh, do heap the coals upon my indignant head, why don’t you? I was trying to run in his lane. Yet he let me run in mine. I can’t tell you how humbling that can be. And frustrating!
Find more FREE printable calendars at http://www.imom.com
Cozy Winter Soup Recipes from Vintage Mama
Roasted Tomato Soup from the kitchen of SheKnows Even from a can, tomato soup is one of our favorites! But to make your own, homemade roasted tomato soup seems like the perfect supper on a blustery winter night. We’ll definitely be trying this one soon! Super simple, with just a few ingredients, it just might become a regular dish for our family.
Baked Potato Soup from the kitchen of recipe.com Who doesn’t love baked potatoes? Combine all that yummy goodness in your soup pot and you’ve got a delicious, warm and cozy winter soup. Creamy potato soup with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and chopped onion on top . . . . perfect!
Chicken Noodle Soup from the kitchen of CookingMom Even if you don’t have a cold or the flu, homemade chicken noodle soup is always a warm and welcome supper dish. This is one of those recipes that you can make up a big batch, store it in your freezer, and take it out when you need just one meal or if you have a big crowd. Stock up and be ready for company – or for the next time your family comes down with the sniffles! 7
The Words of the Wind by Mary Anne Brady I was cozy inside today. Nothing out of the ordinary Drew me outdoors. Computer screen too bright, House too quiet, I donned coat, headband, down skirt, and boots. I lay on a bench outside today. I didn’t feel like doing much else. Eyes closed, I was wrapped in peace. Chilly stillness. A few birds trilling And the swoosh of boughs bending and waving. I listened to the wind today. Unpredictable, unrestrained rushes Swirled from seemingly random directions. They fell silent As suddenly as they swelled. I heard a message in the wind today. Though none can see it, No one can deny its effect Or disprove its existence. Though it has the power to tear down, It loves to bring to life still things, Setting them to a rhythm And loosening them from confinement. I heard a message in the wind today, And a response welled up in my heart. As the trees danced In the presence of an unseen force, I whispered, “He is alive.”
What’s in Your “Perhaps?” by Mary Dolan Flaherty The future is called “perhaps,” which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you. Tennessee Williams Ah, January. The time of year when we evaluate the past, take inventory of our present, and project into our future. We make resolutions. We make promises. We will do better this year; get skinnier, eat healthier, spend more time with God. Example: Kate ponders the past year and decides that she ate too much of the wrong foods (past). She looks in the mirror in disgust at the extra rolls around her middle (present). She resolves that this year, she will eat better and exercise (future).” Three weeks later, the rolls are still there, she hasn’t lost weight, and has used that expensive gym membership twice. She feels sorry for herself because of her lack of discipline, then gets angry with herself for her lack of self-control—and buys a pint of ice cream. She justifies her purchase—and her binge—by telling herself that it’s only a pint, not a half-gallon, like she used to buy. But her guilt consumes her, so she deprives herself for the next week of anything fun. She messed up, and she doesn’t deserve to be happy. So she reads her bible more, thinking that if she atones for her failures, God will love her more. The cycle continues. The desire to “do good.” Failure to live up to her own expectations. Self-disgust. Self-soothing. Guilt. Deprivation. Self-condemnation. Shame. Anger. “Stupid resolutions. They never work,” she laments. The thing is…Kate’s right. Resolutions don’t work—at least, not the way Kate’s done it. Her resolutions are general. Too general. Resolving to “eat better,” is too broad. “Exercising more,” especially for Kate, who hates anything that looks like exercise, is overwhelming. Declaring to “spend more time with God…well, who is that for and why does Kate feel like what she’s given Him wasn’t enough? Perhaps Kate needs to look at her “Perhaps.” Tennessee Williams called the future, “perhaps,” because of the possibilities as well as the uncertainties of the future. Resolutions tend to center on certainty. “I will lose weight,” or “I resolve to do better,” imply that there is a definite answer or solution to the problem at hand, by golly! To resolve means to make a firm decision—which is fine if you have a plan. A firm decision needs firm goals, and firm goals need a firm plan. A general plan is not a firm plan. Let’s replay Kate’s New Year’s Day in front of the mirror using the past, the present, and Tennessee Williams’ “perhaps”—from a biblical perspective. 9
As Kate stands in front of the mirror on New Year’s Day, she notices that she’s put on quite a bit of weight this year (past). She’s looking a little thick around the middle, and her pants have become increasingly difficult to zip (present). Instead of focusing on the negative, she says, “Well, I suppose I’m reaping the consequences of my lack of self-control. I can do better, though. Perhaps I ought to figure out a way to lose this weight by finding something that works for me.” She doesn’t allow discouragement to rule her motives. Kate thinks about her failed attempts in the past. She doesn’t dwell on them or feel sorry for herself. Rather, she uses them to figure out what didn’t work and why and realizes that perhaps she went about it wrong. She is an introvert and doesn’t like the boring routine of a gym. She’s not into classes. But she does like to swim. Perhaps she could join the local YMCA! She makes time in her schedule to swim four times a week. Perhaps only ten minutes to start, since she’s out of shape, then she can move up from there. Nothing too overwhelming that would make her quit. She sets a reasonable and attainable goal using an activity that she might actually enjoy. Kate likes this option a lot, because she doesn’t have to interact with people (since she’s an introvert), and can go at her own pace. She finds an app on her phone where she can log her workouts. That gives her more incentive. There happens to be a nutritionist on staff. Perhaps she might help, Kate thinks. Turns out that the nutritionist speaks Kate’s language, and together they come up with a healthier eating plan that fits in with Kate’s lifestyle. As far as spending “more” time with God, Kate wonders if she’s been making these past resolutions out of an unhealthy view of God. God is not a cruel taskmaster who keeps track of her time each day on a score sheet. God does not “need” more time, or really, any time from Kate. He desires it because he loves Kate, and longs to be close to her, just as Kate desires to spend time with her husband.
Perhaps gives us not so much a way out, but possibilities. If one possibility doesn’t work out, Perhaps allows us to think of another. It isn’t rigid or unwavering or firm. It gives us hope in the uncertainty and peace in the possibility.
She is not a morning person, so getting up early to have quiet time with God won’t work for her. She does enjoy praise and worship music though. Perhaps if she added some of that music to her playlist, she could listen to it when she was in the car, instead of talk radio. Maybe your perhaps is loftier—perhaps you want to write a book this year. That’s a really, really broad resolution—one that without a plan, may be fodder for failure, which could lead to a blow to 10
your self-esteem. Narrow it down. Create a plan. Perhaps you can set smaller goals that will lead to your bigger goal. But perhaps includes uncertainty, right? What if I can’t? What if my energy fizzles out? What if I don’t succeed? Worse, what if I do, and I can’t handle it? What is it that Tennessee Williams said? The important thing (about perhaps) is not to allow that to scare you. Perhaps you will fizzle out, but perhaps you won’t. Perhaps you won’t finish. Perhaps you will. Perhaps you’ll even publish your book! Perhaps it will take a whole different direction. Perhaps other doors of opportunity will open in the process. Don’t let the possibility of perhaps scare you into thinking of the uncertainty of perhaps. There is too much uncertainty in the future, and when our resolutions hit a road block, they quickly fall apart. Broad and vague resolutions allow too much room for uncertainty, and that’s why they fail. Be specific about your goals, and set reasonable and attainable ones. A series of smaller goals might boost your confidence to continue your momentum. Perhaps gives us not so much a way out, but possibilities. If one possibility doesn’t work out, Perhaps allows us to think of another. It isn’t rigid or unwavering or firm. It gives us hope in the uncertainty and peace in the possibility. Perhaps you may want to give it a try this year. What’s in your “perhaps?”
Visit Mary Dolan Flaherty at SonRise Insights where you can read more of her inspirational and humorous posts.
It’s Never Too Late by Gloria Doty
The New Year is always a time when we ponder our past experiences and look forward to the new experiences we may encounter. The title of this article could be a bit deceiving as, of course, it can be too late for a few things in life. For instance, it is too late for me to start a second family by birthing children. However, if you can ignore the totally obvious things, then it is safe to say it is true that it is never too late. I know many individuals who say with some regularity, ‘I always wished I could (insert your own word here) sew, or quilt, or paint, or write or sing with a band, but now it’s too late.’ No. No, it isn’t too late. If you are still breathing, it isn’t too late. I have a friend who is 78-years-old. Her daughter gave her a ukulele for Mother’s Day in 2015. She immediately signed up for private lessons and is doing very well. I know another gentleman, who is in his nineties, who decided to ‘paint-by-number.’ He completes beautiful paintings and gives them to friends as gifts or sells them at craft shows. My friend’s grandmother went for her first white water rafting experience when she was well into her seventies. We often tell ourselves it is too late for something because we don’t want to try and fail. If we try something and it doesn’t suit us, we can stop and try something else. There are hundreds of activities we Perhaps you have always wanted to have a small business, learn to knit or crochet or quilt or you have always dreamed of designing something with stained glass. Maybe you are more daring and would like to be able to ride a horse or go parasailing. The possibilities are endless if you allow yourself the luxury of trying. The same thing is true of our relationship with God. He tells us in scripture that it is never too late to come to him, ask for forgiveness and invite him into our lives. 12
DIY Snowman Crafts from Vintage Mama’s Cottage
Adorable Sock Snow Men (and Ladies!) from Creative Me Inspired You If you love to brighten up your home in the cold winter months with cheerful little snowmen, then here are some DIY projects that are just for you! These sweet sock snow men and ladies feature bright colored hats, scarfs, and buttons and will surely bring a smile to everyone who visits your home. You can find the complete tutorial at Creative Me Inspired You.
Fluffy Felt Snowman Craft from How to DIY Tutorial Here’s a cute twist on the sock snowmen and ladies! Pastel felt makes these little guys and girls a lovely addition to your winter home décor collection. With just a bit of felt, stuffing, yarn, and black paint for eyes and nose, you can create these fluffy felt snowmen and ladies and you can find the complete tutorial at How to DIY Tutorial.
Terra Cotta Pot Snow People from Bee’s DIY How cute is this! We just might make a whole village of these little snow people from inexpensive terra cotta pots and put them out on our deck. With colorful stocking caps, ribbon scarves, and even a pair of jaunty ear muffs, these cheerful faces will welcome our visitors all winter long. The complete instructions and tutorial can be found at Bee’s DIY blog. 13
Snow out of Season
by Christy Brunke Two pregnant women, separated by time, each face a decision that will alter the future, and the past, forever. 14 Now available from Rubyâ€™s Reading Corner.
Through A Child’s Eyes by Frances Gregory Pasch “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV Many of our mistakes are evident immediately. Others take years to discover. Thirty years ago, a little girl helped uncover one of mine.
While cleaning the attic shortly after Nicole’s visit, I found some of my children's projects buried in the rubble.
One day Nicole came to our house for dinner, bringing me a beautiful red rose and a box of scented bath cubes.
I dusted them off and displayed them, trying to recapture those lost memories, but I was too late. The meaning was not the same for me or for them.
She was excited about giving the gifts to me, and we enjoyed a special evening together. When Nicole left, I placed the bath cubes in my closet and forgot about them. But she didn't forget. A week later she asked if I had used them. I wanted to say yes, but couldn't lie. Instead, I promised to start using the bath cubes the next day. That seemed to take away the sting of disappointment. The following morning, as I sat in my fragrant bath water, thoughts of long-forgotten experiences flooded my mind. I remembered times when my children were young and just as enthusiastic about the gifts they had made or bought for me. Yet often I must have disappointed them. Back then, I was striving for perfection and worried about unimportant things. So when my children's gifts didn't blend with the decor, I put them away and never used them.
Then I thought, God has given us a gift, the greatest gift of all—His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, we forget Him, burying Him in the attic of our minds. But unlike the world, Jesus offers us a second chance. He'll forget the past and wipe our slates clean, if we put aside those things which have kept Him hidden and begin anew by making Him the center of our lives. A few weeks after Nicole’s visit, I sat down and reassessed my priorities. I began putting God first and started looking at life from His perspective. Today, thirty years later, thanks to the learning lesson from a child, I am blessed to say that God is still my number one priority. Are you striving for perfection and worried about unimportant things as I was? You might want to reassess your priorities. 15 That decision changed my life.
Millennium Madness New Year’s Eve 1999 by Nancy E. LaGree A new millennium is on its way - it has a name, Y2K! People are rushing hither and yon – the Third Millennium is about to dawn. Where can we go? Where can we hide? Midnight’s coming – hang on for the ride! Credit and debit card spending is wild. I look on in wonder – as with eyes of a child. Lines at the stoplights, lines to get gas. Look out! Move over! No room to pass! What about electricity? Will we have heat? Did you buy enough food to store and eat? Empty your bank account – keep water on hand. Panic is spreading throughout the land! Will there be working computers and phones? Will the bank accidentally pay off all the loans? Hurrying, worrying, what’s it all about? Can it be true – is time running out? What if it were and you found to your sorrow, that you wouldn’t see another tomorrow. That all of your second chances were gone, and time did stop, but you went on. No doing better – no trying again. No waiting til later to repent of your sin. No more chances to forgive your brother or spend time serving the needs of another. No “setting things right” the next time you pray. You’ll face Almighty GOD on His throne today. Well, now we know that wasn’t the end, but do you know JESUS as Savior and Friend? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Will He stand in your stead – the Great I AM? Is He the LORD of your life and your heart? Have you given Him everything- each tiny part? Now is the time – no matter the date. Give in to His love – before it’s too late!!
A Season for Rest by Mary Anne Brady When January comes around, I’m usually ready for a nice long nap. Here in my home state of Alaska, our seasons are a bit different from many other places.
In Alaska, winter can be long. Some people complain of cabin fever and shake their heads or fists every time another snowstorm blows in.
And God uses that familiar cycle every year to remind me that he instituted rest as a vital part of our lives.
But I smile, snuggle a little closer to the woodstove, and breathe deeply of the much-needed peace winter brings to my soul.
The author of Ecclesiastes shared an observation that is as true today as it was thousands of years ago: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” (3:1, New International Version).
You see, many Alaskans spend summer outdoors, relishing the midnight sun and exploring, camping, hiking, and fishing. As summer winds down, we pick many kinds of berries and make jams, syrups, and delicious baked things.
Throughout the Bible, I see that God designed periods of rest to be just as important as periods of activity. Without rest, we burn out and can’t do much of anything effectively!
We spend hours and days preserving fish by canning, smoking, or freezing it and some of us continue to gather food for the winter by hunting in the fall.
Without rest, we lose heart and passion to be who God has called us to be. Without rest, we really can’t live abundant lives.
School starts, leaves descend from branches, and the sun begins to set farther to the south. Then a flurry of preparation begins for the holidays. Travel arrangements are made, holiday menus are planned, gatherings are arranged, and in what seems to be one tremendous marathon, months roll by and holidays spill over onto each other in a rushing flow of busyness. Cue the deep months of winter. The sun sleeps in and goes to bed early. The weather changes and I notice that the mood around me does too. Weary people slip into a den of gloom, seeking something to soothe their exhausted bodies and souls. They grumble and set their hopes on whatever lies beyond winter. But in looking to the future, they miss a gift that17is right in front of them.
That gift is rest. Rest isn’t something lazy or weak people came up with. True rest is a choice that healthy people make. And it’s something God not only recommends but commands of his people. Rest is sacred (Exodus 16:23). It is meant for refreshing (Exodus 20:12). It was a regular practice for Jesus (Mark 6:31-32; 7:24). What does that place of rest look like for us? A key is found in Hebrews 4:9-10. Rest is available to the people of God. When we enter that rest, we cease from striving, working, trying to muster up “enough.” Rest is the opposite of trying to drum up value and worth.
The woman who enters God’s rest knows she doesn’t have to work hard to make God love and accept her. She has peace and assurance that she is a beloved daughter of God. How do we find that kind of rest? True rest is found in Jesus Christ alone (Matthew 11:28-30). Will you climb out of what can potentially be a den of gloom and take time this winter to get to know him more? Will you embrace these months when the pace often slows and let Jesus refresh your soul? Make the healthy choice today to rest. Who knows? Winter may become your favorite season!
Mary Anne Brady is a freelance editor and writer (www.bradyediting.com) in Anchorage, Alaska. She invites you to visit her Alaska blog (www.AKmaryanne.com) and be inspired by God's beautiful creation in the fortyninth state. Her nonfiction book, Treasures of a Childlike Heart, was published in December of 2015 and is now available from Ruby’s Reading Corner. 18 Images for this article are used by permission of Mary Anne Brady.
I Am by Lanette Kissel Who was the One who calmed an angry sea, and who was actually who He claimed to be? “I AM” Who was the One who could transform a demented soul, Who had the power to make the sick and disfigured whole? “I AM” Who consorted with the outcasts, the ones society frowned upon, Those who were disliked by the people, yet still loved by the Son? “I AM” Who was the One the New Testament was written about, the One with the power to change us from the inside out? “I AM” Who was the One the Pharisees loved to hate, Whom the religious leaders condemned to a terrible fate? “I AM” Who was the One who already existed before Abraham, Who was willing to become His Father’s sacrificial Lamb? “I AM” He indeed told us “I AM” is His name. And He and the Father are one and the same. 19
Our Hope is in Him by Lanette Kissel The skeptics may ponder the plausibility of placing our hope in what we cannot see. There’s no need to tuck our hope away on a shelf, for those who live for Christ and have died to self. For we know in our hearts there is a God above. We are certain of this. We have seen His love. We are aware of all that our God has done in gifting us with a Savior in the form of His Son. We know He is our Father. We are children of His. And our temporary life on earth isn’t all there is. As believers, we can hope for nothing less than an everlasting crown of righteousness. We needn’t fear what the future may have in store. We place our hope in the Lord we love and adore, and look forward to all Heaven will be, and more.
Prejudice: A History Lesson by Carol Palmer Nugent I never considered myself to be a prejudiced person, but I must admit that my first exposure to people of other races left me confused and frightened. It all began in the summer of 1960 in a small town in central Minnesota where we had never seen folks of another color before. Dad and I went into town for our weekly grocery-shopping trip. Mom worked Saturdays, and at ten years old, I helped with the shopping. Mom would write a list and we would go to all three stores in order to get the specials from each one. We were leaving the first store on a dreadfully hot August day when I spotted a dilapidated school bus spewing black exhaust and pulling into the community parking lot near the bandstand. The windows were all open and it was loaded with people—colored folks—my grandparents called them. I couldn’t take my eyes off them as a few men and women descended the steps onto the street. I followed one of the women into the Red & White grocery and pushed the cart around the crowded little store watching as she put items into her basket, always selecting the least expensive brand of vegetables, dried beans, etc. I was a shopper too and I knew how to figure out the cost per ounce and find the best bargain—stretching our dollars as far as they could go. The woman was rather different looking with very dark skin and eyes that bulged in their sockets. Her faded dress stretched tightly across her ample body and I could smell her from ten feet away. At the meat counter, she bought only soup bones while I ordered hamburger and chicken. Near the register, when my dad told me to pick out a piece of penny candy for each of the kids at home, she smiled at me—a big, broad nearly toothless grin, and I wondered why she didn’t have any teeth. “You’s lucky,” she said, “My kids don’ git’ no candy, no how.” I put my head down and said, “Yes, M’am,” and watched as she carefully counted out her change to pay for her purchases. Back outside, a man who looked like a bronze skeleton came up to help carry the bags back to 21
the bus. As we left town, my dad commented again that he’d never seen Negroes in our town before, but later we found out they were working on the truck farms nearby and they came back to town every Saturday after that. That was when my nightmares began. You see, there were only white people in our town. I had only seen Negro people on the Tarzan show on television, where they were cannibals with their scary painted faces, carrying spears with shrunken heads dangling from them. Tarzan was always rescued from the cannibals, but it was his elephants that saved him, and I didn’t have any elephants. My fears were irrational, but I began to think that those people on the bus were cannibals too. In my nightmare, they were on our farm chasing me around the top of the hill by our house. My little brother, Charlie, was there too and we were running as fast as we could. He made it to the house, up the steps, and slammed the door behind him, but just as I got there, they caught me. Big dark hands grabbing my arms, dragging me back, kicking, and screaming, toward a huge black kettle of boiling water. I knew that if they got me to that pot, that they’d throw me in and cook me for dinner. I fought and kicked with every bit of my strength trying to get away from them, but to no avail—they had me. The biggest one of them, with the scarred face, lifted me up ready to throw me into the pot. And of course, that’s when I would wake up—scared to death, sweating profusely, and crying. I’d jump from my bed and peer out into the night to see if they were there or not. The nightmare haunted me for many years—every time, the same nightmare, the same way, the same ending—and it really did have an effect on me because I couldn’t get back to sleep. The stereotype of cannibals on TV was all I had to go by and a visit to my grandparents in Minneapolis validated my irrational fears. Grandma said it was a warning and that I should stay away from the colored because they weren’t like us. Grandpa agreed and told the story of a colored man who robbed the company where he worked. 22
My viewpoint and prejudice came from a narrow view as a child influenced by television and by people who developed irrational fears just because of the color of someone’s skin. No one I knew was personally harmed by any of the colored folks, but still the fear and attitude prevailed. My mother had a different experience working with several colored girls in the cafeteria at Power’s Department Store in the 1940’s. She said other people looked down on them, and made rude remarks about them and her because she worked with them. Mom said that they did their jobs and behaved themselves, so why should it matter about the color of their skin? A year later, my cousin and I were leading Sunday school class for the three to four year olds with a lesson about Adam and Eve and a picture to color. The lesson said they were the first people God made, and from them came all the people of the world. If all the people on earth—black, white, yellow, brown, or red— descended from just two people, then we must all be the same in God’s eyes. It was then I realized that we come in different colors, sizes, shapes, and backgrounds, but God made us all. I began to think that maybe there wasn’t such a big difference between them and me Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” God wants us to love one another as He loves us. If God is impartial and loves each one of us, then we need to cast aside our prejudice, love others, and treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve.
Connect the Letters Puzzle by Beth Brubaker
24 ANSWER KEY ON PAGE45
I Am Not All Right by Jennifer Workman Life is a series of highs and lows, successes and failures, hits and misses, and mountaintops and valleys low. But whatever state that we as people may find ourselves, those various transitions can have either a positive or negative effect on our perception of life. For example, in the Bible Hannah was one of the wives of Elkanah. He loved Hannah with a special love; so much that he gave her a double portion of his livelihood (I Samuel 1:5). But regardless of all that Elkanah did for Hannah to express his love for her, she was not all right. In actuality, she was miserable, refused to eat and was in bitterness of soul because she was barren and couldn’t have a child that she greatly desired (vs. 6, 7, and 10). Have you ever been in a place in your life whereas, it appeared that no matter what you did, how you prayed and believed, your situation seemed interminable. And doesn’t it appear that at the most difficult times of your life, when it is now or never, that never seems to come? Well, it is in times like these that we have to be authentic with ourselves and with God about how we are feeling. I know that many of you have been taught to count it all joy in diverse temptations (James 1:2). And, although that is true and the ways in which we should deal with life, God never intended for us to be fake and phony about our emotions and the challenges that we face in life. Even Jesus, when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, expressed very raw emotions and was in great distress. And being in great agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44). We don’t ever have to pretend with God. We don’t have to lock our emotions on the inside and make ourselves sick trying to impress God as we do with people because he knows that we are fragile and fragmented and in need of only what he can provide. We go through this life searching for what we feel will fulfill the void that is on the inside and nothing seems to be the answer. God amidst all of your searching and scrambling is waiting with His arms stretched wide open, waiting to embrace you and pour His love on you that can fulfill your longing soul. 25
The woman went to the well in search of natural water not knowing that she was coming in contact with the true ‘living water’ (John 4:10) which is God. Obviously she previously had been looking for love in all of the wrong places because she had five husbands (John 4:18). Haven’t we all been where she is? Even in our religious sectors or denominations we look for churches that appeal to our sense of belonging and connection and when that church or pastor disappoints us in some way, we are quick to point out that they are the problem, when in actuality the problem is on the inside and that again we are not all right! And, outward observation is not a clear or a sure-fire indicator that we are all right because I have seen many people that smile and say all the right things, but shortly thereafter you hear of them committing suicide or harming others. We really need God as our source of help and strength through difficult seasons and at all times in life. I know that there are times in my own life when I feel as if I am pushed to the edge and can’t take anymore. It is in these times and at all times I look to Jesus who is the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2).” He gives me what I need spiritually and through the works of his Holy Spirit to endure what normally I know would have taken me out. I know that if you seek his help and guidance in your life, He will do the same thing for you!
Jennifer Workman is the founder of Simply Victorious Ministries, a ministry founded on the infallible Word of God. She has been actively involved in ministry all of her life and has ministered to seminary students, the religious community, high school students and female prison inmates. Jennifer has more than fifteen years in the radio, television and publications arena. She is the Inspirational Host and Producer of "Simply Victorious for Life," a monthly inspirational podcast aired via Faith Filled Family and Family Filled Youth. If you want more information about her ministry and/or other pertinent information, check out her ministry website http://simplyvic.webs.com or her professional website http://jyworkman.wix.com/jennifer 26
NEW from author
Jean Ann Williams Ruby for Women Contributor
Just Claire ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, she just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls. With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings that the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life. Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams can be purchased as a digital download from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.
Jean Ann Williams is a writer and the author of God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart, a devotional book written following the death of her son, Joshua. You can connect with Jean Ann on one of her blogs: http://joshua-mom.blogspot.com/ http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/
My Word for the Year, Part 1 by Kathryn Ross
Every year has its image shaping trends. Be it faddy fashions, mania behaviors, craze diets, or vogue must-see-TV, human history is replete with sages and rages marking the date indelibly with the latest what-all.
Yes! I was called to live a life of Graciousness! This, I gleefully equated with some of my favorite things: Feminine virtues, hospitality and entertaining, and an increase in my teatime collection for weekly blog posts at The Writer’s Reverie.
Buzz-words of the day are especially iconic in this way. Remember when being "swell" turned into "feeling groovy" which became "totally rad" in the span of about fifty years?
By February of that year, the Lord inserted an addendum to my Graciousness . . . Humility. OUCH!
Social media internet highways of the 21st century are the current proliferators of trendsetting. Over the past few years, posts from Blogland to Facebook to Twitter and beyond have taken the "buzzword" idea to new levels—especially when it comes to the New Year. These buzzwords provide an enriching purpose far beyond the length and breadth of swell, groovy, or rad. Choosing "a word" for the New Year becomes one with soul searching introspection as individuals seek to grow into greater things, breaking free of personal comfort zones. These are words marking a challenge; goals to be achieved or battle cries towards obstacles to overcome. The word--or words—selected, present a sort of dare for she who would take possession of it. It encapsulates a virtue to be owned within the next twelve months despite the trials ownership of it may bring. I remember my first word from a few years ago, before I even knew it was a trendy thing to have one. As I poured my New Year’s thoughts, hopes, and dreams out before the Lord, in the quiet and reflective aftermath of the holiday hustle-bustle, I felt Him calling me to something I eagerly embraced, with almost a sense of pride: Graciousness.
Yes, the revelation of a call to Grace AND Humility was . . . well . . . humbling. Feminine graces, teatimes, entertaining, though part of the equation to be sure, were not the nuts and bolts of it. And by March of that year, the truth of the matter became painfully clear. I realized that, in the calling to walk in Graciousness and Humility, I may be confronted with an OFFENSE requiring such Spirit-filled companions to assist in unsavory confrontations. I was right. The offenses came charging into my neat and tidy little world. I was tempted to pretend I had NOT been given a word for the year at all--let alone two of them! In truth, Grace and Humility were by my side that whole year and spilled into the next year, too. AND, the next. Apparently, either offenses weren't quite finished assaulting me, or I had not yet mastered Grace and Humility's defined terms. Finally, upon entering 2014, I was thrilled to find that my new year was brimming with a new word-HOPE! 29 left But . . . Alas! Grace and Humility were not to be behind. There could be no Hope in this new year of 2014 without them coming along for the ride, too.
After all, they were seasoned "words of the year" and had much to impart in the way of Hope. In truth, I needed their support because Hope came with her friend, Waiting . . . I almost didn't want to ask God about a word for 2015. I quite had my fill of words in 2014 with all that Grace, Humility, and Hope brought with them. You see, in 2014 I’d finally stepped out of my comfort zone, coming to the end of one road, decidedly turning a corner, and beginning my journey on a new pathway. Three years of offensive prodding here and there by the Shepherd's rod and staff had done their work. The illumination came swiftly one day. I’d spent three years wandering in a desert of detours, projects, and life experiences. To what end would it lead? To what purpose were my bookshelves lined with learning and manuscript binders and resource files? Each season seemed to add one more "been theredone that" notch up my growth chart wall. A path winding, meandering here, then there. After so many years of rambling about, I’d become used to this random walkway of this and that projects, new skill building, and making a small difference in a little corner once in a while.
Taking the fruit of all those meandering years with me, in the last quarter of 2014 I walked into a new season with redefined purposes and goals in my writing and storytelling career, launching my independent publishing company, Pageant Wagon Publishing. To be sure, Hope came through in 2014 beyond my imaginings. After thirty years of study, child raising, school teaching, church ministry, reams of writing, and (for ten years) performance storytelling and Christian inspiration programs, I was finally on the threshold of fulfilling a life-long dream! But, Hope came with an "assembly required" disclaimer. If I thought meeting offenses with Grace and Humility while Waiting in Hope was challenging, this new turn in the road would have me coming quite to the end of myself wondering how to proceed. Step by step. Isn't that the Lord's favorite place for us to be—the end of ourselves? In such a habitation Humility works overtime, moving us into the "Him increasing as I'm decreasing" position. It was an odd state of being to find myself plopped down in the middle of an oxymoron: A calling that was both my passionate long awaited dream come true, as well as something I felt thoroughly illequipped to accomplish. I'd NEVER done what had been set before me to do. In 2015, my old friends, Grace, Humility, and Hope-each of whom came aided and abetted with much Waiting (she has a silent twin, too, named Patience) well . . . they were swept up into all things pertaining to my word for 2015. There were two of them, in fact. I wouldn’t be able to go forward without them: Unbridled Joy! As it turned out, the road of Unbridled Joy in 2015 might better have been called a footpath. Barely visible at times. Blocked by boulders and debris. The path was there—I was sure of it. But the work required to overcome each obstacle in the way made me wonder if I was truly walking out my words for the year. There was little sense of Joy in it all. But, the Lord gave me the aforementioned resources of 30 Grace, Humility, Hope, Waiting, and Patience from which to draw out all the Joy He called me to.
In the Waiting, I fearlessly, faithfully LEAPT in UNBRIDLED JOY! But deep inside, I felt very little Joy. Let alone Unbridled Joy. In fact, I fought . . . fear, anxiety, confusion, indecision, despair, and failure. Until December 29th.
However, when you're spending weeks and months working until midnight and later on a computer trying to figure out how to build a website, manage two blogs, mentor an illustrator, create a marketing plan, and manage social media, while learning the insider details of publishing, traveling to book shows and vendor events and conferences, launching a monthly podcast, taking on new writing jobs for networking, designing new products, writing a new curriculum series, leading a writer’s group . . . well . . . this little road crew of Me, Myself, and I gets a bit burned out. Praise God for His emergency crews! Dear friends and fans, who cheered me on, lent a hand when they could and under-girded me with prayer.
That’s when I sat before the Lord to confess my total failure to embrace my 2015 Word of the Year and live those twelve months in Unbridled Joy. Would I have to repeat them again for 2016? The New Year was upon me and I’d need to write about how I fared with my 2015 word and what my new word would be. That’s when I read a line in a book titled Jesus: Man of Joy, by Sherwood E. Wirt. That line of words turned my year inside out . . . To be continued . . . Look for “the rest of the story” in the February issue of Ruby for Women and learn what brings the Lord Unbridled Joy—and what my word for 2016 has to do with it.
God may have called me to something bigger than myself and more challenging than anything I'd ever tackled before, but He did not leave me without adequate provision. In due time, in the moment of need . . . He caused me to know what to do and how to do it. Or, who to call with information and direction to help. Miraculous, indeed! Grace, Humility, and Hope held me in the Waiting. Waiting in Him. Waiting ON Him.
Everything to God in Prayer: A Writer’s Weekly Devotional by Kelly Boyer Sagert “Filled with anecdotes from her own faith journey in the midst of trials, Everything to God in Prayer by Kelly Boyer Sagert is a unique devotional for Christian writers. You will love Kelly’s warm style, grace-filled prayers, and insightful exercises designed to recharge your motivation to write. I highly recommend it!” (Jeanette Levellie, author of Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, The Heart of Humor, and Shock the Clock: Time Management Strategies for Writers) Everything to God in Prayer: A Writer’s Weekly Devotional by Kelly Boyer Sagert is available from Loconeal Publishers.
Meet Mary Anne Brady Author, Photographer, Editor I moved to Alaska in 2011. I was in a natural transition period in my life, and all paths seemed to point north. My mom had died a year and a half before that, and Alaska was the one place I knew I could feel "closer" to her, since she had spent about half her life there and loved it. I packed whatever could fit in my little Honda Civic and drove 2,500 miles to my new home for a fresh start. Not only did I receive God's love and healing through the beauty of Alaska and the restful, slow pace of the life season I'd entered, but I met my wonderful husband here. To make a long story short (that involves a church roof collapsing, a few missed encounters passing in the parking lot or hallway, and a blind date that never quite happened blindly), we met through church and some mutual friends and were married in 2013. My husband just graduated engineering school and started a full-time engineering job, and we are rapidly expanding our family! I'm pregnant with twin girls due in May, and we can't wait to introduce them to the wonder of Alaska. Some of my husband's immediate family is here and I have a few relatives in the state, and while it can be hard to be so far away from my family, the community we've been welcomed into in Alaska is so wonderful. The whole state really is like one big "small town." People up here still help without being asked if you're in a ditch or your car won't start or you're needing directions somewhere. Many people are surprised to find out that Anchorage (where we live right now) actually has 300,000 people. Even with that size, you still can hardly go to the store without seeing someone you know. Living in Alaska provides me with so much inspiration for write and taking photographs. Just sitting outside and listening to the ravens and chickadees or the wind in the tall birch and spruce trees, seeing a bald eagle fly overhead or a bear or moose with her young, feeling the cold air settle on my nose and refresh my lungs or feeling a smooth beach stone on a walk by the crashing waves... feeling small when surrounded by giant peaks and verdant valleys... these things and so many more bring life to me and tune me in to what God is speaking. His creation is so majestic, in the large landscapes and the fine details alike. To think, he made all of it to give him praise and glory! I can't help but capture what's around me the best I can either through photos or written words. I love sharing with others the beauty of this state and the vast wildness I call home. My book was released by eLectio Publishing in December and is entitled Treasures of a Childlike Heart. It is a heartwarming memoir about my simple country childhood in southern Oregon. It is also a tribute to my wonderful mom, whom I will see again in heaven, and I wove her own journal in with my writing throughout the book. Through humorous stories and sentimental reflections, it transports readers to childhood days and playing outside and living the "simple life." Readers can find more information about my book and where to buy it right here: http://www.akmaryanne.com/my-book.html 33
Photography by Mary Anne Brady Visit Mary Anne at her blog, Mary Anneâ€™s Alaska
Photography by Mary Anne Brady Visit Mary Anne at her blog, Mary Anneâ€™s Alaska
Photography by Mary Anne Brady Visit Mary Anne at her blog, Mary Anneâ€™s Alaska
Be YOU-tifully YOU-nique Embracing Who You Are and Walking in Who You Were Meant to Be. by Mary Dolan Flaherty
Whatâ€™s in a Name, Anyway? When I was 19 years old, I followed a boy across the country. Well, I didn't follow him. I went with him in his beat-up VW van--the kind my daughter calls a "kidnapping van."
In fact, years later, someone from an organization I'd briefly been involved with called my father's house looking for Maresa. He told the caller that she died. Which she did.
Only problem was, he was following his girlfriend, who was waiting for him in California. When we broke down in West Virginia, he decided that I should return home to New Jersey.
Why do we feel the need to escape who we are? Because we want to escape our past. We want to start over. Try something someone new, because frankly, we don't like who we are, or were.
Devastated and humiliated, I called my mother (who else?), who came and bailed me out not for the first, Moving to a new state gave me ample opportunity to change who I was, complete with a new name. Or so I and not for the last time. thought. Undaunted, I flew out to California anyway (I was a little stubborn, not to mention proud back then) and The problem with that is this: temporarily housed myself with my father and Simply changing our location and our name won't stepmother until I could find an apartment. change who we are. I also decided to change my name. Mary simply wasn't good enough. Too plain. Too simple. Too boring. I was in California! And it was 1979! I was trying to find myself. I'll bet you want to know what my new name was, don't you? Maresa. (pronounced the Spanish way, with the 'e' sounding like a long 'a'). I still love that name. I'd discovered that my full first name was really Mary Theresa (not just Mary, with Theresa being my middle name). I thought I'd go with that, but shorten it. Funny thing was, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I tried, but it sounded strange, like everyone would know I was lying, and I'd be found out, and they'd all make fun of me. Plus, I didn't know when people were talking to me. It didn't stick.
We can try to forget our past, but it's like putting a bandage over a deep wound. It works for awhile, but needs constant care and attention to keep the blood from soaking through. Eventually, we need to see a doctor to have that wound stitched up properly so that it will begin to heal. We need to deal with our past and all the feelings that go along with it. That constant care and attention we give it gets exhausting, not to mention the fact that it leaves room for infection. Why don't we like who we are? Why do we want to change? What do we want to change? What about the things we can't change? How do we deal with those? Dealing with questions like these takes time and takes courage. Sometimes, we may need a good support 37 group, trusted friend, mentor, pastor, bible study or even a good counselor.
God is big on changing names. Abram became Abraham (Gen 16-17). Jacob became Israel (Gen 32). Then there's Peter (John 1:42).
4 No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. 5 As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Hephzibah means My delight is in her (and Beulah means married). Now THAT, my friends--this name-changer--is a game changer! The key is not in changing our name, but allowing our name to be changed--by God Himself. When we come to Christ and give Him all the pain and hurt of our past, He makes us new. He gives us our new name.
And Paul--who actually adopted his Latin name, "Paul" (his father was a Roman citizen) for missionary purposes. Reference
But know this: Your new name will only come when you give the international call for help: S.O.S. Submit to God, instead of continuing to fight against Him. Obey His instructions, instead of continuing in rebellion. Stand and see the deliverance the Lord will bring you (Ex 14:14). Our job is to submit and obey. The rest is up to God. So, scratch Maresa. I now have another new name: Mary. That's right. The name my parents gave me. The name Mary is a derivative of Miriam, or even myrrh, which means, "bitter," or "rebellious." Yeah, not so great, but sadly, it describes the former me. But get this: It also means, "wished for child."
But all kidding aside...
My favorite from Isaiah 62:2-5:
And according to my mother, I was. It is also believed to have originally been an Egyptian name, meaning, "beloved." So there ya go--full circle:
you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. 3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lordâ€™s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
38 From bitter rebellion to beloved, wished-for child.
Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in the Savior’s Presence by Sherri Gragg Book Review by Miriam Jacob
Jesus came to redeem sinners and give them a Father's wholehearted love and unconditional acceptance. Christ gives hope to the hurting. Arms Open Wide's thirty-five day devotions call us to come to Christ just as we are, broken and bleeding, crying to be healed and made whole. Sherri Gragg is candid about the gaping wounds of childhood and how God alone can heal us. The life and times of Jesus are graphically portrayed in the fictional narrative form, interspersing Biblical history with Scripture to create a dramatic setting, transforming readers back in time, to place them in Christ's presence. Walk with the Savior to witness miracle healings. Get fresh new insight into His power as you see lives instantly transformed by His love and grace. Journey with Jesus in the most important time in history. Arms Open Wide helps us to feel the compassion and kindness of Jesus and taste the love, grace and forgiveness our Savior offers. Engage in a first-person experience to walk with Jesus face to face, as biblical traditions and customs come to life, helping us experience Jesus’ life and the miracles He performed. Sherri Gragg’s prayer for you is that “you’ll experience the same living and loving Savior as I have, and that you will truly know He stands with arms open wide to welcome you into His Father’s kingdom just as you are.” With the passionate words of a gifted storyteller and the understanding heart of a teacher, Sherri Gragg takes us on a soul-revealing journey through the heart of God to be transformed by Jesus. Each of the 34 devotionals closes with a beautiful, heartfelt prayer. The biblical fiction gets us into the first-century mindset. Sherri writes in fictional narrative form, interspersing biblical history with scripture, transporting readers back in time. For thirty-four days readers walk with the Savior to witness miraculous healings and events, and give fresh insight into His power by thinking and feeling with people whose lives became instantly transformed by His love and grace. Readers journey with Jesus and His disciples in the most important time in history. Hearts will be stirred and lives will be changed as readers draw near and walk with the Savior as never before.
Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in the Savior’s Presence by Sherri Gragg is now available from Ruby’s Reading Corner
Together in Christ by Linda McKee There’s nothing more beautiful than a sleeping toddler or a fresh blanket of snow in the moonlight. However, when the conditions are right, a snowstorm can unleash a revolt as energetic and uncooperative as a toddler who won’t take a nap while you’re trying to clean the house. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you how much I dislike the four letter word “S” word… S-N-OW! Formally from northern Indiana, I am too familiar with harsh winters. While the crystalline flakes can be beautiful, snow is often heavy and shoveling it is hard work. After bundling up in a sweater, coat, mittens, boots and hat, I have frequently braved the cold just long enough to shovel the hefty stuff into tall piles in an attempt to clear my drive and sidewalk. With them both clean, I usually rested on the handle of the shovel and admired my accomplishment, then drag my tired but triumphant body into the house, remove my freezing layers of warmth, and crash on the couch. But snow has a way of taking on the personality of an unpredictable toddler. It was right after I had shoveled my walk for the thirty millionth time that one tiny beautiful flake gracefully landed on the sleeve of my coat. (Another revolt was obviously beginning.) Beautiful, and delicate, I marveled of how powerless each tiny snowflake was; I could easily melt it with my own breath. As more flakes landed on my coat, I looked at my yard buried in eighteen inches of snow, and was amazed by the dichotomy. I was standing knee deep in millions snowflakes each amazingly intricate and beautiful, yet when joined together, the sum was more powerful than its parts. Powerful enough to close airports, reroute traffic, and change the daily routines of everyone surrounded by it, I realized how much these “flakes” resemble me and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Created uniquely, no two alike, we have the potential to bond together and change the world around us. Like a snowflake, when we stand alone, we quickly melt from the heat of life, but as we join other Christians we become stronger. Strong enough to change government appointments and release missionaries from prison. Strong enough to close sex trafficking businesses. Even strong enough to change the daily routines of those around us. So don’t give up! You may feel like you’re all alone, but in reality you’re as unique and powerful as a snowflake and as we join together, with Christ as our head, we can do great things. “I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Matt 18:19-20 The Message 40
Clean Up Puzzle by Beth Brubaker
ANSWER KEY ON PAGE 45
Visit Beth Brubaker at Footprints in the Mud to read her humorous, inspirational posts.
Discover more of Paulineâ€™s Christian fantasy books on her website, Pauline Creeden
Visit Katherineâ€™s Corner for monthly giveaways, weekly blog hops, recipes, and crafts
Rediscover Traditional Fiber Arts at Vintage Mamaâ€™s Cottage
Tatters to Treasures for vintage and refashion designs
Visit mamas*little*treasures for DIY tutorials and creative inspiration 44
Connect the Letters Puzzle ANSWER KEY by Beth Brubaker
Clean Up Puzzle ANSWER KEY by Beth Brubaker
Meet the Ruby for Women Writers Miriam Jacob is an author and poet in cyberspace, having published a series of E-Books at Lulu.com. She is a book reviewer at CHRISTIAN BOOK DISTRIBUTORS, BARNES AND NOBLE, GOOGLE BOOKS and HARPER COLLINS CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING (BookLook Bloggers). She writes reviews for Christian books, in the categories of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry and politics. Her articles and book reviews are published on her blog: “AUTHORS FOR CHRIST” Miriam is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.
Lynn Mosher, Devotions
Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with God’s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, their three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. Visit Lynn at her blog, at http://lynnmosher.com
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.
Mary Anne Brady is a freelance editor and writer (www.bradyediting.com) in Anchorage, Alaska. She invites you to visit her Alaska blog (www.AKmaryanne.com) and be inspired by God's beautiful creation in the forty-ninth state. Her nonfiction book, Treasures of a Childlike Heart, was published in December of 2015.
Jennifer Workman is the founder of Simply Victorious Ministries, a ministry founded on the infallible Word of God. She has been actively involved in ministry all of her life and has ministered to seminary students, the religious community, high school students and female prison inmates. Jennifer has more than fifteen years in the radio, television and publications arena. She is the Inspirational Host and Producer of "Simply Victorious for Life," a monthly inspirational podcast aired via Faith Filled Family and Family Filled Youth. If you want more information about her ministry and/or other pertinent information, check out her ministry website http://simplyvic.webs.com or her professional website http://jyworkman.wix.com/jennifer
Gloria Doty: I am a mother of 5 and grandmother of 13. I have owned a catering business, and a Grade A goat dairy. I have managed a restaurant, worked in retail and was Dir. of Children’s’ Ministries for a large church for 10 years. I have been writing since I was in third grade. I currently write 2 blogs about my youngest daughter, Kalisha, and our journey together through the world of mild mental retardation, autism and Aspergers. Gloria blogs at www.gettingitright-occasionally.blogspot.com
Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.
Kathryn Ross is an enrichment artist, writer, speaker, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission is to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her books and storytelling programs engage young and old with dramatic flair. Many of Miss Kathy’s inspirational works and discipleship tools are designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. She lives with her bookseller husband, a storyteller in his own right, and two literary cats. Inspired by the stillness of birdsong and silent reflection, teatime, God’s Word, classic literature, and the arts inform her words with a splash of old world elegance. Timeless truths leap from the page and the stage through Pageant Wagon Publishing and Productions. Weekly doses of enriching words and images stir the heart through her blog at The Writer’s Reverie.
Nancy LaGree I live at a Baptist church camp out in the country.
Winters are solitary and beautiful. Summers are filled with children laughing, playing, singing, and hearing God’s Word. I have been writing for several years, and I also enjoy painting, reading, and singing. I attend a warm and wonderful church nearby and have a great church family. My name is Carol Palmer Nugent, I am 65 years old, and recently retired and now finally have time to pursue writing. I am a true snowbird, living in Minnesota during the summer and fall and in Arizona in the winter with my husband, Dennis and our two dogs, Maggie & Annabelle. We have two children and five grandchildren. I enjoy gardening, singing, and reading. I recently began writing and submitting short stories online. I have published a testimony on MyStoryofGrace.com and recently completed and submitted my first manuscript for publication in young adult Christian fiction. My blog is at https://carolpalmernugent.wordpress.com/ 47
Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991. You can contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.
Linda McKee lives in the beautiful Florida Keys with her two dogs. She enjoys snorkeling, writing, and hanging out at the beach. She loves sharing God's love, grace and mercy with others through her words of encouragement, and believes God has called her to serve Him through her writing.
Keith Wallis, Poet-in-Residence Keith Wallis is an English poet. He is a senior part of the leadership team of Houghton Regis Baptist church. An engineering designer by trade, he brings an eye for detail as well as faith into his poetry. As well as being ‘poet in residence’ at Ruby magazine, he is a moderator at ChristianWriters.com. His blog of ekphrasic poetry is: http://wordsculptures-keith.blogspot.com/ where you’ll also find links to his books and his other blogs.
Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor Beth is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth's passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. She enjoys sharing her struggles and experiences with others, to encourage them to find their own passions and attain what they want out of life- and to find joy and humor along the way. Don't miss Beth's columns and puzzles in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read Beth's posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or emails her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. Gracie is 15 years old and Annie is 13. They were both born in China, and we were able to travel to China two times to bring our daughters home. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on Ruby for Women in my home office. 48
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