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Ruby for Women A voice for every Christian woman JULY, 2016 www.rubyforwomen.com www.rubyforwomen.ning.com

Summer has officially arrived! Here at Ruby for Women we are so excited about all of the new developments we have to share with you . . . we have recently reorganized the Ruby for Women community at www.rubyforwomen.ning.com and the Ruby for Women magazine is now available in print! Stop by the Ruby blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of Ruby for Women http://www,rubyforwomen.com Let us know how we can be an encouragement to you today. We would love to hear from you! Contact us at editor@rubyforwomen.com Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Poet-in-Residence: Keith Wallis Feature Writers: Lynn Mosher, Katherine Corrigan, Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Gloria Doty, Sarah Johnson, Miriam Jacob, Toni R. Samuels, Cynthia Knisley, Heather King, Lanette Kissel, Marilyn Lesniak, Connie Arnold, Michelle Lazurek, Ifeoma Samuel, Alisha Ritchie, Donna Comeaux, Jennifer Workman, Joan Leotta, Jean E. Wieben-Hill, Stan Popovich, Ifeoma Samuel, Christie Browning, Frances Gregory Pasch, Helen D. Ellis, Rejetta Morse, Linda M. Crate, Kathryn Ross, Vicki Killion, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Jean Ann Williams, Laura L. Zimmerman, Pat Jeanne Davis, Kathleen McCauley

In This Issue . . . Page

Title

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Summer Rain Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

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Footprints in the Mud: Heart Band-Aids Beth Brubaker, Asst. Editor

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Word Grid Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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Wisdom that Works Every Day Sharon L. Patterson

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Ruby for Women Prayer Corner: Extremes We Share Kathleen McCauley

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Be-YOU-tifully YOU-nique Mary Dolan Flaherty

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Carol’s Book Club Carol Peterson

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Word Logic Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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Song of Life Connie Arnold

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Heavenly Blessings Shar Olson

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The Power of Loving Well Carol Doyel

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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 editor@rubyforwomen.com If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Beth Brubaker at bethaatruby@aol.com Also, please visit 1 our blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you can connect with other Christian women. Ruby for Women 65 S. Niles St. Columbia City, IN 46725 editor@rubyforwomen.com


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Title

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My Sixty-Eighth 4th Sharon L. Patterson

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Patriotic Brownie with a Pretzel Crust Marilyn Lesniak

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Books to Stir the Latent Patriot Within Kathryn Ross

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DIY Patriotic Crafts Vintage Mama

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Help! I’ve Got no Room to Breathe Christie Browning

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Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, You Are Awesome! Gabrielle Nussbaumer

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Three Keys for Successful Ministry Leadership with Your Spouse Michelle Lazurek

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Winter Will Pass Linda M. Crate

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God’s Mercies after Suicide Chapter 4 Jean Ann Williams

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Not According to Plan Helen D. Ellis

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God’s Faithfulness Pat Jeanne Davis

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“Where’s Wiggles?” Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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Lose Weight Get Fit & Change Your Life Carol L. Doyel

Bring a Cowboy Home Gloria Doty

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When Your Christian Friends do not Understand your Mental Health Condition Stan Popovich

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Puzzle Answer Keys Beth Brubaker

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Meet the Ruby Writers

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Credits and Copyrights

Jean Ann Williams, author of Just Claire and God’s Mercies after Suicide Page 32

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Summer Rain Nina Newton, Sr. Editor One of my favorite songs is "Flyover States," by Jason Aldean. It becomes especially meaningful to me when I think about the blessings of life here in one of those "Flyover States.� Last night, after a long day in the Big City for doctor appointments, we came home to Our Town where there is the annual summer festival, which fills up Main Street for three or four blocks for one week every June. Fittingly entitled, "Old Settler's Days,� we celebrate the heritage and history of a small northern Indiana town which was founded as a farming community. Every direction you drive from Our Town you will have the joy of watching, all summer long, the growth of corn stalks rising from the fertile earth, taller and taller each week until the autumn harvest when we then watch the tractors and farmers working late into the night harvesting their crops. Living out here in one of the "Flyover States" is a privilege that I treasure. So after an evening of strolling through our little Main Street festival, watching My Kid ride some of the wild and crazy rides that come with summer festivals and eating the best junk food we'll have all year . . . . in the heat and humidity, the noise and the bustle of people laughing, vendors calling out to everyone who walked by . . . . we came home exhausted but joyful for the shared experience with our community. But later last night we were watching the skies to the west and listening to the weather reports on our local radio and TV stations, as we had been warned all day that there were BIG storms headed our way. All day we were anticipating thunder and lightning, rain and winds, and even the possibility of hail and tornadoes. But the sun kept shining and the humidity kept rising. By bedtime it was looking pretty dark in the west and the clouds seemed to be piling up on top of one another in ominous gloom - but it wasn't until almost 10:00 p.m. that it actually started raining. We watched and listened, the thunder and lightning splitting the nighttime sky with shorter and shorter intervals of silence and darkness.

It was beginning to appear that the worst of the Big Storm was heading south of Our Town. So we decided to tuck everyone in and try to sleep. But we kept our weather monitor tuned in just in case there was an alert. We didn't want to be awakened to a tornado lifting the roof off of our house! At 12:30 a.m. the alarm sounded. Tornado warning for our county. The wind howled, the branches were dancing in the flashes of lightning as it ripped across the sky, and the rain beat down. Just as it seemed that we might need to shelter from the potential of a funnel cloud rotating through the countryside, we heard on the news that the storm was breaking up, no more funnel clouds had been sighted, and the rain was slowing down as it moved south and east of us. And then, it was just a bit more rain on a summer night. The thunder drifted farther and farther off in the distance, the lightning crackled less and less frequently as we watched it move along from our neighborhood.

It was just a gentle summer rain, which we all need here in the eastern Corn Belt. Farm country, truly, and one of those mysterious "Flyover States." I love summer rain, but I don't love violent thunder storms and the possibility of a tornado. That is scary and nerve wracking. It reminded me of our everyday lives. Sometimes our days are filled with gentle, nourishing rain and then the sun comes out to give life and beauty to the whole world. Occasionally we find ourselves in the midst of a storm, and it can be scary. But 5 sooner or later, even after massive devastation in our life, our home, or our heart, the sun eventually comes out again. Today I am grateful for the summer rain, and I'm grateful when the sun comes back. I try to keep it all in perspective.


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Footprints in the Mud: Heart Band-Aids by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor A car manufacturer is going to start installing an alert system in their vehicles to let the driver know if the driver left their child in the backseat. Sounds like a good idea- after all, parents who leave a child unattended in their vehicle have caused the death of many children. So when people buy their vehicles from this dealer, they don’t have to worry about forgetting their child in the backseat. This is a triumph…right? Looking deeper, I see a Band-Aid over a serious heart issue. Are we so busy with our lives that our brains no longer register others anymore? Are we so focused on getting the shopping done or getting to work that we forget we have a little one in the car? Please understand that I’m not pointing fingers at anyone- I’ve forgotten to pick up my kids because I was too busy and lost track, so I’m not even close to being a perfect parent- but the heart issue isn’t whether we love our kids or not. The heart issue is this; are we too distracted by busyness to notice our kids? Things like: Using the TV/video games as a babysitter regularly so we can get things done Texting/talking on your phone all the time when at home- even during family meals Being too busy to spend time playing/talking with your kids Not being there when they need you because you overscheduled yourself Shutting the family out so you can have some ‘me’ time, when there’s more ‘me’ than ‘them’ time. Over scheduling so much that we are more focused on what we’re doing instead of who is with us. And when something bad happens, we feel the too-heavy weight of guilt on our spirits and the regret that we weren’t there for them…again.

I’ve done every single one of the things I listed above. I’ve felt the guilt. I’m not telling you all of this because I’m better than anyone (which I’m definitely not) but to alert you in case you haven’t done it (yet), or let you know you’re not the only one if you have. I want to rip off that Band-Aid and help a heartissue healing. The world is full of distractions, busyness, and selfishness. There’s nothing wrong with a little time to yourself to relax or get things done, but when the family suffers because we’re just not there with them (mentally or physically), this is a serious heart issue that needs to be fixed. God made Adam, and then made his partner, Eve. God meant for them to have children and fill the earth. God invented the family. Satan and the world are doing their best to tear families apart. Subtlety is the best way to do this. Look around your life in God’s eyes and see all the little things that distract you from Him. You might be surprised- I know I was! But how do you fix it? It’s hard to give up things that we’re used to, and sometimes we just can’t because it’s become a necessity, like computers or cell phones. We can live without them (at least us older folks can...maybe), but these gadgets make life run more smoothly for the most part. So here are some suggestions to help rip off that band-aid: Have a tech-free night. No computers, TV, or cell phones. Spend time playing card or board games or talking with each other. Plan tech-free family mini-vacations. Go on a road trip. Go camping. Go to the beach. Anything that will put you in a different environment and focus 7on the beauty of God’s creations, go do it. The only tech exception will be to take pictures- but include the family in them!


Family meals should be tech-free and eaten at a kitchen or dining room table- not in front of the TV. Plan family walks around the neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors! If you have to walk the dog anyway, why not walk as a family? Spend family time with the pets. Take turns throwing a Frisbee or ball for Fido, or break out the fishing pole toy or laser light for Fluffy. Ease up the schedule. Do you need to go to meetings every night or take the kids to soccer, baseball, karate, and dance class every week? Pick one or two nights for activities and the rest of the week is free to relax and spend time together. Kids get stressed from over scheduling too! Make meals together. Instead of a parent in the kitchen while everyone waits, have everyone helpnot only will this be more fun, but it also teaches the kids how to cook! (Just make sure to give them age appropriate tasks.) Chores can be boring, but put on a mix of your favorite tunes (kids included) and do them togetherchores get done a lot faster! The more hands, the quicker the work- and then you can spend more time together having fun!

Have a prayer and Bible time so your kids can learn and ask questions about God. And if you don’t know the answers, write them down to look up later or talk to your pastor about them. Write down scriptures to back up the answers, and then address their question the next time. Let the kids pray freely with no coaching- you might be surprised what or who they pray for! The family unit as a whole has been degrading in the past few decades. Technology isn’t the only reason, but if we allow ourselves to be too busy or distracted, we lose sight of God’s purpose concerning family. It’s a heart issue that can’t be fixed by Band-Aids. Time with our babies is a fleeting thing, and we don’t realize just how important our role is as parents until our kids are grown. Spending time with them is crucial in helping stop the disintegration of the family as a whole. Rip off that Band-Aid. Slow the schedule. Spend time with your children. And feel God smile as He pours His blessings upon you.

Visit Beth on her blog, Footprints in the Mud, for more humorous and inspirational posts!

Starting from a lettered box (not the center!), find the word that uses all of the letters. You can only go up, down, left, or right - not diagonally. Use the hint to help you! HINT: Our words should always be this!

Answer key on page 41

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Wisdom that Works every Day by Sharon L. Patterson (1) “If you would know peace, find the Prince of Peace If you would love peace, follow the Prince of Peace If you would give peace, let the Prince of Peace Live in you!” (2) “Bitterness makes you old before your time: It lines the face and shrivels the heart.” (3) “Dare to take down old walls that no longer matter.” (4) “Say this often to yourself: My state of mind is not Dependent upon the state of my situation But on the state of my soul.” (5) “Helping hands heal hurting hearts.” (6) “If you can’t pay it off at the end of the month, Don’t buy it at the first of the month!” (7) “True generosity begins with self Giving itself to others.”

Taken from Wisdom from the Rearview Mirror by Sharon L. Patterson

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Extremes We Share by Kathleen McCauley

The ocean is a mystery. Its quiet majestic power is often times disguised. Instead it sends off a message of calm, serenity with the constant movement of its waves. The ocean is a paradox of extremes which is brought about by its depth and currents. I am a paradox of extremes brought about by my depth and currents as well. One moment it may look as calm and serene as a lake or be the reassuring constant waves, and at other times it can roar with such a power that it impacts the lives of others. Some days I live my life in quiet contemplative waves. Reassured by the rhythm of my prayer and contemplation, and then there are days that the roar from my depths require me to be as demonstrative as a hurricane, reminding me of God’s energy in myself and in nature. It is the depth and power of the ocean that I understand as contemplation. How it is displayed in life is different – but the source of the movement, no matter how great or small are the same. The ocean is one with itself; there is full and complete consumption – and this I seek!! To be at peace, being still in the greatest of the depth; THERE it is silence, waiting to let God take me to His depth – to accept the peace, the silence, the darkness of the depth and KNOW it is the force that sustains me in the extremes of my work, my ministry, my call. Not to label the extremes good or bad, for the ocean’s extremes remind me of its depth - so too, my extremes should remind me of the same.

Ruby for Women Prayer Corner

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Be-YOU-tifully YOU-nique Embracing who you are; becoming who you were made to be Wear Whatever You’re Comfortable In by Mary Dolan Flaherty When I was nineteen,

my boyfriend invited me to a party. I didn’t know anyone, and I worried about what to wear. After all, this was California, and the protocol could be different from that of New Jersey. I desperately wanted to be liked. He told me to wear whatever I felt comfortable in—which was shorts and probably a tee shirt. Never trust a man to fill in the details, especially when it comes to clothes. Every single girl there was wearing a cute sundress (along with a perfect tan), sported cute sandals and had glistening hair. And they were all drinking wine way before it was trendy. I wasn’t even old enough to drink! I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. The day didn’t get any easier. It was an established group, and I wasn’t one of them— especially in my flip flops and cut off shorts. I tried to fit in, but I felt like I just didn’t belong. And I didn’t. Worse, I felt like they knew how uncomfortable I was and didn’t care to attempt to alleviate my discomfort by including me. It wasn’t so much that they excluded me. It was more that they ignored me. I wasn’t sure which was worse. Part of me wanted to be embraced by them, and part of me hated them all. I carried that feeling of inadequacy with me for years.

We long for acceptance, especially as young women trying to find our way. I think it’s human nature to desire to be liked and wanted and validated and approved of. We want to fit in. We don’t really want to be different, but when we discover that we are, we erect walls of safety to protect ourselves from the ridicule and rejection we feel sure will follow.

We suppress our uniqueness and try too hard to be like everyone else. The problem with that is that it’s often evident when we’re faking it. We can’t be what we can’t be. Perhaps you’re struggling with the desire to fit in, but you feel like it’s just too hard to continue the charade. Or maybe you feel empty, now that you’ve been accepted into that group that you longed to be approved by. Do you try to hide your quirks or deny your uniqueness? Did it ever occur to you that the very thing you’re trying to cover up may be the best part of you?

Every year on July 4, we celebrate our freedom from the British Empire. That day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, when Congress declared that the thirteen colonies were now a “new nation,” independent of Britain—a cause for celebration, indeed. What would happen if you declared independence from conforming to who you think you should be? If you decided to become a “new nation,” and allowed yourself to “wear whatever you’re comfortable in,” how would that change your perspective?

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Imagine if what you were most comfortable in happened to be your own skin and personality, your unique talents, and even…your quirks. What if you simply decided—this July 4—to break free from comparing yourself to everyone else? Besides, how do you know those people aren’t doing the same thing? Maybe…just maybe…there is someone who wishes they were you!

In my anguish, I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5 Try it. I dare you. Not only to be different, but to embrace it. Don’t wait on the periphery for someone else to welcome you into the fold or to accept you. Accept yourself, because God accepts you exactly as you are. After all, He’s the one who designed you to be exactly you.

It may not be easy at first—this freedom to be you— but if you call on the name of the Lord like the psalmist, He will not ignore your plea.

So embrace yourself, your different-ness, your uniqueness. I think you might like it. I even think you just might find that you like…you. Now that is cause for celebration!

Visit SonRise Insights for inspiration, encouragement, and wisdom for your daily walk.

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Visit Kathryn at The Writers’ Reverie for encouragement and inspiration.


Book Reviews by Carol Peterson The Rabbit Ate My Homework by Rachel Elizabeth Cole Middle Grade Novel (Tangled Oak Press, 2014) Eleven-year old Drew knows the house rules. When he breaks one, his sister blackmails him into breaking another one: the "no pets" rule. Together they hide a rabbit in Drew's closet until he can find a way to get himself out of trouble without being grounded for the next two years. The story is fast and engaging and filled with great boy humor. At one point you wonder if Drew will ever stop lying and figure out that the best way out of his trouble is to tell the truth and face the consequences. Even as we root for Drew to do the right thing, we love him and his family even before he has learned those lessons. The book is written from an 11-year old boy's point of view; without any sort of adult preaching. It would also be a fun book to read with a child, allowing time to discuss consequences and a few potential "what-if" scenarios. Presently Cole has written a second book, The Rabbit Ate My Flip Flops and is apparently working on a third, The Rabbit Ate My Hall Pass.

PUZZLE

by Beth Brubaker

The words follow a logical progression.

ABLEGATE

Which is next?

EDIFYING

UNIVERSE TAILPIPE SUCCINIC OPERATOR PISTASHE

FACILITY ICONICAL NECLEOLI LEPORINE

Answer key on page 41

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Song of Life by Connie Arnold Quietly, silently, in a hidden part, reaching down, deep inside, in the center of my heart, lies a song, soft and sweet, like a gentle caress, a kiss of the soul, bringing peace and happiness. When the noise of the world and life’s sorrow intrude, I need to retreat for some quiet solitude, then the song of my soul, like a soothing lullaby, spreads its warmth through my being with a soft, melodic sigh. The song of my life from God’s heartbeat sweetly flows, the serenity and beauty pulsing forth divinely shows so much peace and perfect love, spreading joy and harmony, revives and strengthens me to continue life’s journey.

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Heavenly Blessings by Sharmelle Olson There are so many heavenly blessings and a lot to be thankful for in your life. You have your family and relatives who bring so much love and happiness into your life. You have your dreams that are coming true; you have your friends who brighten your day. You have your health in good hands without feeling blue; you have all in life that you need day by day. There’s nothing to bring you down; there’s nothing you need to change. There’s nothing to be sad about at dawn; there’s nothing to be ashamed about and change.

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The Power of Loving Well by Carol Doyel God has been moving powerfully in me lately, stirring my heart, tenderly revealing deep things to me – sadly some of the things that He has revealed in me are not so good. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about condemnation – but in His lovingkindness, he has drawn me to repentance for “missing the mark” related to relationships and love. It has taken me 57 years of living to come to a place of humbly recognizing my inability to love well…as much as I have tried in my own strength, in my own way; I realize I have fallen desperately short of loving the way God desires me to. I don’t think, or expect to love as well as He does – but my hope is that as I draw closer to Him, I will learn to love…more like Him. I believe the two greatest commandments, as referred to in Matthew 26:36-40, are not just for the benefit of the recipients of love, but maybe even more so for the restoration of the soul of the one who loves. God knew when he instructed us to love Him and others that we would be radically transformed in the process of learning to love.

“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8) So if love never fails, what does it look like in our relationships here on earth? The Lord has been showing me that love is the bond that holds everything together – everything! If we love others; our husband, our children, our parents, our extended family members, our friends and even our enemies, we can overcome evil. The evil plots of the enemy to destroy marriages tear down families, and to cause confusion and division in the Bride of Christ (there’s nothing worse than a confused bride!) If the enemy can destroy relationships and isolate us, he can deceive us and convince us that we are not lovable. In our own bareness of soul, needing to be loved and not knowing love, we are destitute. We die a slow death, while under the powerful delusion and lies of the enemy. Sadly if we are not able to break this pattern, we will see it repeated in the lives of those closest to us – in particular our children and our children’s children. The only thing that can break it– is the power of God’s love. We must stand up to the wiles of the enemy by standing on truth. To know truth we must know the truth giver – our triune God – God the Father, Jesus our savior and the Messiah and the Holy Spirit. As we pursue God with all of our heart and come to know Him intimately, we will fall in love with Him. The second greatest commandment will come out of God’s love and our love17 for Him. As we come to know Him, we will come to know his nature and characterand in doing so, we will become more and more like Him. And since God is love, the primary character of God, as we take on his character – eventually His love will take root deep in our spirit.


The Lord has shown me that the Gospel is not complicated. I’m simply called to live a quiet life following Him, living in community with others and loving those that He has entrusted to me – my husband (if you have been married beyond the honeymoon stage you know this is not always easy to do, but as we do He blesses us for our obedience), my children – who are now all adults, my grandchildren, extended family members that I’m in relationship with (including my church family), and close friends and neighbors. As I learn to live in community, living in harmony with others, asking God what His heart is for each person in my life – especially those closest to me, I sense the power and presence of God increasing in my life. As I have come to know God’s heart, I recognize how easily my own can veer off the path of love. The only way I know to stay on the path is to seek Him daily, by asking Him to show me his heart for others. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and to love others – to love in a way that requires nothing in return: Loving fully, loving completely, loving unconditionally – loving those who are unlovable, loving those who have hurt us, or as is often the case – who out of their brokenness do not know how to love us. And yet, we continue to expect them to know how to love us, and when they don’t, we become offended, hurt, angry, and often retaliate by holding back our love. This, in turn, causes more pain, and continues the crazy cycle that keeps us in bondage. Someone once said that we hold back love as though it’s a commodity that we can run out of by giving it away. Imagine if we loved as though there was an unending supply – which ironically, with God there is. When we lack or lose the courage to love well, the misplaced courage is often directed to less worthy causes like work, or other worldly pursuits. And if we believe we are unlovable, it can send us off looking for love in all the wrong places…or sadly, many people turn to drugs and/or alcohol to fill the void that only love can fill. I’m sad that I missed the mark for many years. As I look back, I can now see how selfish I have been. Thankfully, His grace is sufficient to overcome our weaknesses and sin. Love is the perfect bond of unity that holds everything together – with it we can overcome darkness, despair, depression, addiction, divorce, hopelessness – Love never fails. I plan to use the time I have remaining to learn to love well. I know this will not be easy and may require me to ask for forgiveness as well as to forgive others. Thankfully with Jesus as our redeemer, when we repent He is faithful to come along side of us to help redeem what has been lost. He redeems time, resources, relationships, and even life. When we learn to love well, there is no limit to what we can do. The power of loving well can set us free, set others free, and transform marriages, families, communities, the Church and the World! 18

For more Christian encouragement in everything from “beauty-tobusiness,” visit www.livingbetter50.com


My Sixty-Eighth 4th by Sharon L. Patterson

My sixty-eighth July 4th - Wow! What a view. What profound experiences. What appreciation for it all! My American experience spans a historical panorama from 1947 to 2016. Officially a baby boomer born right after World War II, I remember watching clips from the Korean War in 1953 on our eleven-inch Stromberg-Carlson black-and-white TV. Even as a small child, I was stirred by the service of military men and women and touched by the sacrifices witnessed. Yes, my first history was in picture form. I remember going to the next-door neighbor’s for hotdogs and firecrackers on hot July 4th evenings. A hula-hoop marathon followed our cook-out as we waited eagerly for it to get dark. The only fireworks allowed until age 10 were sparklers. I understood why when I did not get a real firecracker out of my hand quickly enough. Ouch! The memory of that 4th lasted a couple of extra days. As a child, I knew little about what the cost to be free entailed. I had years of American history to learn before understanding would be more than mental memorization of significant documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. My love for history grew the more I studied the valiant stories of those who formed and fought for the United States of America. Love of country produced a patriot daughter who would go on to teach history for many years. The appreciation was strong, but the cost was not yet personal. My first price of freedom was extracted with an “Uncle Sam Wants You” letter sent to my fiancé in the summer of 1966. There would be three years of courtship through the U.S mail: letters to Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and a whole year’s postage to Vietnam.

There was no veneration for the war at that time, but rather disdain and demonstrations. For me, there was a silent suffering of aloneness and waiting. But for my first husband and his fellow soldiers, there were years of internal struggle. The country I learned about became the country I love deeply to this day. Past history remains significant to me. All the events written into present American history are experientially sealed into my heart. The costs of freedom now seem much greater and more precious since my first personal experience. For the past thirty-five years, I have been privileged to be both the wife of a career-military officer and mother of two sons both presently serving our nation in the U.S. Army. Our third son never misses an opportunity to express gratitude when he sees a veteran. Although I knew our boys appreciated his service, I thought the sacrifice of not having him present for so many significant events would dampen their desire to follow in his choice of career. I could not have been more wrong. My husband set the example for service and sacrifice. We have spent some 4th of July celebrations praying for our sons who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Through emails and skyping while meeting the challenges of parenting alone during deployments, training, and numerous calls to duty, we have watched with great pride as our daughters-in-law (one, a veteran) love their soldier-husbands from afar. This 4th, our sons are home. There will be no hula-hoop marathons, but probably a few hours playing video games. There will, however be hotdogs and fireworks. There will also be the strong presence of a family 19 of patriots thanking God for freedom while realizing its costs at a very personal level. My sixty-eighth July 4th: Wow! What a view. What profound experiences. What appreciation for all of it!


Patriotic Brownie with a Pretzel Crust is a great mashup of warm brownie, cold ice cream and fresh fruit topped with caramel and chocolate.

Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 35 mins Total Time: 55 mins Serves: 15-20

Ingredients

Instructions

Pretzel crust:    

½ cup all-purpose 1 cup crushed pretzels ½ cup packed brown sugar ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Dark chocolate brownie:          

7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped ¾ cup butter ¼ cup water 1 cup granulated sugar ¾ cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour ⅛ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Garnish:     

3 oz chocolate 10 caramel pieces 1qt blueberries 1qt strawberries circular slices 12 mint leaves

To make pretzel crust: 1. Stir together pretzels, the ½ cup flour, the brown sugar, and baking soda. 2. Stir in the ½ cup melted butter. 3. Pat mixture into the bottom of an 11x7x1-1/2-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. 4. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes.

To make the brownie: 5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 6. Lightly grease a 9-inch square by 2-inch deep baking pan; set aside. 7. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate, butter, and the water. 8. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer to a large bowl. 9. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar to chocolate mixture; beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. 10. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. 11. Add flour, salt, and cinnamon. Beat on low speed until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan. 12. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar.

For the Garnish: Click Here for more great recipe ideas from Marilynstreats.com!

20 13. Melt 2-3 oz of chocolate and 10-13 caramel candy pieces; then place each in a Ziploc bag and snip off one corner. Drizzle caramel on top of cooled brownie and ice cream followed by chocolate and caramel. 14. Add blueberries and strawberries and a sprig of mint.


Books to Stir the Latent Patriot Within by Kathryn Ross Did you know you are living in a land of miraculous wonders wrought by the hand of God for eternal purposes? Our Founding Fathers believed that to be the case and established national documents and a form of government never before seen in the earth to just that purpose. You won’t hear this on T.V. news or read it in public school textbooks anymore: Should you want to wave the red, white, and blue this month in the spirit of 1776, you might want to awaken the slumbering Lady Liberty within. If you can’t take the years necessary to peruse the volumes vaulted in the Library of Congress, and historical libraries across the country or the personal collections of the many present-day patriots caretaking history in private museums, then scholarly compilations are a good place to start. American history is a continuation of God’s story—His Story—redeeming fallen man to a living relationship with Him. It is not, and never has been, a pretty story. But, it is glorious and stirring, and possesses a beauty all its own. For more American His Story detailing the uniqueness of our nation’s Christian foundations, I recommend:

The Founder’s Bible David Barton Wallbuilder Press ISBN: 978-1618710017 The NASB Bible with notes and compilations of primary source documents from our nation’s founding generation by acclaimed historian, David Barton.

The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America Rosalie J. Slater and Verna Hall Foundation for American Christian Education ISBN: 978-0912498515 Just one of a number of volumes collecting primary source documents and facsimile prints of our nation’s earliest writings on government and liberty, and the Christian foundation in the hearts and minds of the men and women who crafted this nation.

The American Patriot's Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America Dr. Richard G. Lee, General Editor; New King James Bible Thomas Nelson Publishers ISBN: 978-1418541538 The NKJV Bible interspersed with a host of primary source writings of American leaders in government and law. Read the Bible side-byside with inspired thoughts of those who formed our history and government. The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on America William J. Bennett & John T.E. Cribb Thomas Nelson Publishers ISBN 978-1595552600

Patriotism doesn’t need to be a once-or-twice-peryear thing on specified holidays. The Bible calls 21 us to pray for our nation and leaders daily. This book is a great tool to help do just that. With daily primary sourced readings and Scripture, it helps inspire the latent patriot within.


Here are some of the amazing words you’ll find pressed between the pages‌ "Statesmen . . . may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand." -John Adams, 1776 "Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time' they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure . . . are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." -Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence "He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all . . . Our forefathers opened the Bible to all." -Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence "The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity . . . I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." -John Adams, Second President "A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district - all studied and appreciated as they merit - are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty." -Benjamin Franklin, Statesmen, Inventor, and Scientist "Contemplating merely the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues which constitute the soul of republicanism." -Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; First Founder to call for free, national, public schools "The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed.� -Patrick Henry, Revolutionary Leader & Orator "O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand / Between their loved home and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land / Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just / And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust' And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave / O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" -Francis Scott Key, Final verse of U.S. National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner "I now made it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection' that He would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for brethren who have served in the field; and finally that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves 22 with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of Mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation." -George Washington, June 14, 1783; Excerpt from "Circular Letter Addressed to the Governors of all the States on the Disbanding of the Army"


As we embark on a summer of election year drama, may we solemnly remember our heritage and the legacy entrusted to us in this present generation by the brave men and women who took God’s Word seriously in their day and sought to establish a land where hearts and minds might know the freedom of worshiping God and living out His call to the Christian life. Ours is a messy history. We can get distracted with debates in the messy parts, and lose the compass of God’s Word and the original intent of our Founders which was to lay it as the foundation stone to return to, when things get tilted out of balance. May our hearts beat ruby-red with fire to fulfill our generation’s patriotic call at such a time as this—to pray for our nation that we be healed.

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DIY Patriotic Crafts from Vintage Mama’s Cottage Let’s celebrate freedom! There is always a reason to celebrate, and this month it is all about celebrating our nation’s birthday and giving thanks for the freedoms that we are blessed with as citizens of the USA. Here are a couple of fun DIY craft projects you can do with your kids or grand kids to celebrate Independence Day, 2016!

Patriotic Freedom Banner You can make this beautiful Patriotic Freedom Banner from scrapbook paper and card stock, scraps of ribbons, buttons, and other ephemera you might already have in your sewing room or your scrapbook stash.

Red, White, and Blue Clothespin Wreath One of our patriotic projects was a clothes pin wreath, which is super-simple and lots of fun to make! We just painted a couple packages of wooden clothes pins with red, white, and blue craft paint, and then added some foam star cutouts with our trusty hot glue gun. http://mamaslittletreasures.com/diy-patriotic-crafts

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Help! I’ve got no Room to Breathe by Christie Browning Recently, I wrote the following in my journal: “I am far beyond being stressed. I feel lost…without focus or a plan. I don’t like that feeling. I feel like I’m suffocating and about to run out of air, but there’s no room to breathe. I feel attacked on all fronts. I feel like someone has set off a stun bomb and I am left dazed, confused and blind. All the while, everything is being thrown at me, but I can’t grab anything or respond fast enough to catch what’s been thrown. I feel like I just have to stand here and take the beating.”

It’s been a rough couple of months. Recently, my fatherin-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and it’s been a brutal-downhill slide. That has been a weight on our family in ways I never anticipated. But…the “suffocating” comes from feeling like it’s the cancer diagnosis coupled with major changes in my business, income shifts and changes, dealing with uncertainty, job stresses, financial pressures and just “life” stuff. The last straw: My cellphone quit working, and I didn’t have insurance. YIKES! One of these on its own is doable…but all together, I feel crushed under the weight. Have you ever felt that way? Ever felt like you were losing ground, out-ofoptions, nowhere to go? As I wrote the above statements in my journal, I felt God’s promises start to flood my heart and mind. I began reading the story of Joshua. In the first chapter, we read the account of God placing Joshua in a leadership role of epic proportions. Moses led the Israelite nation through some of its most miraculous circumstances…the plagues in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and surviving four decades in the wilderness. Moses had died and God looked to Joshua to pick up and take over.

Can you imagine the pressure, the stress? Talk about uncertainty! I think about being in Joshua’s shoes. As a natural people-pleaser, my first response would have been, “They won’t like me/trust me/follow me like they did Moses.” And then I would have run through a mile-long list of “what-ifs”. But, as I continued reading the chapter, and as I reflected on my own situation, I discovered three big truths that put breath back into my lungs: God promises Joshua, “…you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them…” God didn’t give this colossal assignment to Joshua without having an end-result in mind. That end-result was more-than-amazing, and God promised to use Joshua to get it done. There was no wavering in God’s choice or His decision to use Joshua. God promises to be with Joshua wherever he goes. In verse 9 of chapter 1, God tells Joshua, “Don’t be overwhelmed or uncertain. I am with you wherever you go.” That means God is sticking25 beside Joshua. Not just physically being present no matter where Joshua goes, but God is on his side, cheering him on, wanting to see Joshua blow the doors off this plan He set in motion.


God gives Joshua the formula for his success (and ours): Meditate on the Word day and night. God told Joshua if he does this, he will be able to do what is written in the Word. His ways and efforts will be prosperous and he will be able to deal wisely, make good decisions and have good success. So, what does all this have to do with my “can’t breathe” feeling? Well, for starters, going to the Word for understanding and peace is always the right move. But, Joshua’s story and the promises God gives him are spot on! God doesn’t have a mediocre plan for us. He has a reason for creating us, a plan to see it through, and it’s all good! Just like Joshua who was told he would get the Israelites to the Promised Land, God is looking at you and me. He is looking past our limitations, circumstances and situations. He whole-heartedly has a plan for us to do something great for Him. My situation is not ideal. Joshua’s wasn’t either. He was handed a whole nation, and they were standing in the wilderness with a ginormous city and army to overtake in order to claim the land promised to them. The same promise of God’s presence no matter what is true for us, too.

As we walk out our God-given plan and press forward to the end result, God is with us. He is for us, cheering us on, encouraging us and strengthening us. He didn’t give Joshua the role of leader and then leave him to figure it all out on his own. In the same way, He has given us an assignment and is there to work it out with us. Life may be tough, but God is tougher. Cancer might take my father-in-law, and there might be one-thousand ripples to shake us up a bit. God promises to be there through it all. I can make clear decisions, act accordingly and have good success just like Joshua. The same formula works for me and it works for YOU! It starts with the Word. When I was feeling overwhelmed, taking time to open the Bible was the first part of the equation. Reading God’s promises over-wrote the lies and fears I was buying into. The rest of my day, I went about praying for God’s insight, favor and presence in all I did. The results were much like Joshua’s: No, I didn’t get a Promised Land full of milk and honey…but I did get a free cell phone!

Christie Browning is a speaker and author with a passion to encourage, empower and inspire women to live as the amazing ladies God created them to be, instead of getting hung up on their pasts, mistakes, shortcomings and insecurities. As a speaker, Christie has been seen on stages across the U.S. since 1996, as well as on television programming such as PBS and FOX. In addition to speaking, Christie is an award-winning writer with five HSPA awards. She is a featured contributor to The Huffington Post, and she has been a contributor for DaySpring. Christie publishes a monthly women’s magazine read nation-wide and can be found on numerous blogs including her own at www.revisionforwomen.com. Her first book, “Kick the Clock – How to give up on managing your time,” (available on Amazon.com) brings a Biblical perspective to the everyday struggle of time management. She is a wife and stepmom with a healthy love of music, hiking and dogs.

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Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, You Are Awesome! A letter of Encouragement by Gabrielle Nussbaumer In her new book, Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, You Are Awesome!, Gabrielle Nussbaumer offers words of advice, wisdom, and encouragement for the young mom in her home. Chapters include topics such as maintaining a healthy balance in life between the demands of motherhood, self-care, and family life; the myth of Super Mom; the truth about the real cost of daycare and the benefits of staying home, even if it means choosing to sacrifice some material possessions to make that possible. You will also discover ideas for sharing childcare opportunities with other families of young children so you all get to take turns having a “date night” with your husband, and inspiration and encouragement for planning “daily refreshers” to keep your life healthy, real, and balanced. Thoughts on dealing with chaos the comes with a young family; addressing the idea of “wasting your degree,” and recognizing your self-worth being found in who you are in God’s plan, all offer Biblical 27 insight for young moms who are striving to honor God in all areas of life. Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, You Are Awesome! is available from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.


New from author Jean Ann Williams

Just Claire One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place. 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, ClaireLee 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 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 is now available from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.

Lose Weight, Get Fit & Change Your Life – With 4 Powerful Principles by Carol L. Doyel Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Lose Weight, Get Fit & Change Your Life – With 4 Powerful Principles by Carol L. Doyel is available from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.

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Three Keys for Successful Ministry Leadership with your Spouse by Michelle Lazurek After fifteen years of being in the ministry together, we have led almost every type of group imaginable. Farmers, CEOS and everything in between. My husband, being called to the pastorate, has easily found his niche in the ministry, while I muddled my way through to find my place. But just recently, after a conversation with my husband, I made an astonishing realization: We don’t lead together. We co- exist in ministry, but that is about its extent. He has his ministry obligations and I have mine. On Sunday, we often sit separately, each talking to our friend groups, but rarely together. But rarely in the fifteen years we have been married, have we ever tried to push each other to be better leaders through our marriage. Jesus compares marriage to our relationship to God. If we, the church, are to be His bride, and He our groom, then these are some of the things He expects out of His marriage relationship with us: We must remain spotless, blameless and pure (Hebrews 13:4) We should make the most of our time together while we are united in marriage (Mark 2:19-20) We are to be in unity, enjoy working together, but perhaps in separate roles (Genesis 2: 23-24) We are to be moving in the same direction, not pulling away from each other (2 Corinthians 6:14) Peter Scazzero, author of The Emotionally Healthy Leader states, “ if you want to lead out of your marriage—not leadership—your first ambition, your first passion and your loudest gospel message.” To achieve this, we should love our spouse passionately and pray for this if our passion has waned. We should strive to have a healthy marriage and lead out of it instead of allowing leadership obligations to come first. How we love our spouse is how we proclaim Christ to the world. Here are three things I have realized are essential in successfully serving with our spouses: 29


1) The couple who prays together thrives together- How can you expect your ministry or group to thrive if you are not connected as a couple first? You can’t have what you don’t give. It’s hard to butt heads with your spouse or group members if you are on your knees praying for them. 2) Have people to hold your hands up- It’s easy to debrief with your spouse about issues you are having in leadership, but what happens when your issue is with your spouse? Enlist the help of one or two people who will walk alongside of you, celebrating your triumphs and pray for you in your trials. Just as Moses needed people to hold his hands up when the demands of carrying out God’s command got to be too much, so do we. Who do you trust to go to when you need support and encouragement? 3) Work within your strengths- Both you and your partner are uniquely wired with gifts and talents essential to your ministry. You have to be aware not only of your strengths, but also your weaknesses. Now that you have identified these strengths, how do your spouse’s strengths coincide with yours? Are their places where you are weak and he is strong?

Discussion Questions 1) On a scale of one to ten, rate your marriage at this time. Consider all aspects: Emotional, financial, spiritual, etc. In which areas do you need the most help? How can this group help you succeed in these areas?

2) Based on the survey of how you lead out of your marriage, how do you feel you and your spouse serve? Do you feel you lead out of your marriage, or does your marriage become secondary to your ministry?

3) Do you have people you go to who hold you accountable in specific areas of your life? If not, who could you ask to do this for you?

4) What are your strengths? What are your spouse’s strengths? How do your strengths and weaknesses coincide with your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses?

30 1

Peter Scazzero. The Emotionally Healthy Leader. (Zondervan: Grand Rapids Michigan, 2015). P. 92.


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Winter this year seemed eternal. It kept snowing all the way until the end of May. The daffodils bowed over and my favorite flowering tree’s blossoms partially died because of the weather. It seemed the more I was looking forward to spring, the longer it would take to arrive. Yet the flowers and the trees persevered despite all the snow and frigid temperatures. It reminded me of God's word when He says: "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12, NIV) I think this is important to remember because there will always be winters in our lives. There will always be moments when we're running toward the finish line of a project or everything's going great and suddenly it's snowing or there's a blizzard or an ice ball breaks the window. However, once we push through these difficulties, God will give us great peace and gifts for having faith, patience, and endurance through our trails. No matter what's going on in life, it's important not to fret so much over things we cannot control. Even the Bible warns against worrying: "Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil." (Psalms 37: 8, NIV) It doesn't matter what affliction we're going through or how impatiently we are waiting for spring in our lives. We should remember He is always with us, He is in control and He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. We cannot do everything on our own. He is more than capable of turning our winters into springs should we give all our troubles to Him. Remember to push on no matter how much snow may be falling around us because His promises are real and eternal. 32


God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart by Jean Ann Williams EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth chapter from the book, God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart by Jean Ann Williams. We will be publishing one chapter from her book in each upcoming issue of Ruby for Women to share her story with you. We trust that God will use Jean Ann’s story to be a blessing to you. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a Division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ******************************************************************************** Chapter Four Saint Patrick’s Day before Dawn Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10 We woke long before dawn the next morning from a night of fitful dozing. Saint Patrick’s Day had been a time to consider our Irish heritage, but Joshua’s soldier heart had left the war of life on Earth. We leaned against the headboard and cried. Within minutes of waking, the phone rang at my bedside table. Candy Arlington, the coauthor of the suicide survivor book Aftershock, was on the other line. She identified herself as a friend of a friend. I said, “Please, pray for us now.” She prayed the Lord’s Prayer loud enough for both of us to hear. How comforting the moment. God’s mercies delivered in the form of Candy, to meet us, Joshua’s parents, in our loneliest, wretched hour. After the prayer, Candy spoke reassuring words and ended the call by saying she would mail her book to me. Later, I found hope within its pages. As I read Aftershock, it became clear to me countless mothers had been losing children since the beginning. Eve lost her son Abel, and I lost my son, Joshua. Father, You sent Candy. A divine appointment. You use Your saints to show how much You care and to prove You will never leave or forsake us. In Jesus’s name, I’m grateful. Amen. A Mother’s Memories Within two weeks of bringing him home from the hospital, Joshua caught his first cold. More colds and ear infections followed throughout his first winter. The side effects of the antibiotics tore at his stomach. When Joshua was four months old, we moved out of the house for two days and a night and had the house sprayed for fleas, thinking these insects caused the red blisters on his body. The next morning he woke with a fever, covered in dime-sized welts. How could blisters change to welts when we’re not at home? My husband grabbed Joshua’s bottle of liquid antibiotics. “What’s in this?” When he read the label and found cherry flavor, he said, “We’re taking Joshua to the hospital.” The doctor ordered a test. The results showed Joshua’s blood had an infection, most likely caused by the 33 cherry flavoring. He prescribed a mint-flavored antibiotic, warning us to allow no other flavoring other than mint in Joshua’s medication. I sighed in relief and took my baby home. Father, thank You for hearing my prayer to help Joshua. In Jesus’s name. Amen.


In this stirring memoir Jean Ann Williams shares her son, Joshua’s, life and also his untimely death at age twenty-five. Being a woman of faith, in each chapter she shares thoughts and scriptures which have given her comfort and support in the hopes her journey can help others. The book is a must read for anyone who has lost a family member to suicide. Gloria Horsley Ph.D. President of Open to Hope Jean Ann Williams has written a powerful book, full of pain and joy, despair and hope, all in the form of short, pithy devotions. This author understands the agony of losing someone to suicide, because her son took his life and shredded his family’s heart. However, though Williams clearly spells out the agonizing grief she endured after her beloved son’s death, she also shows God truly does offer a Light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of loss. And as the author takes us on this long journey out of overwhelming darkness, she also enables us to feel the everlasting arms underneath her, carrying her and healing her every step of the way. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one through suicide, please get this book. It will bless and minister to you as often as you read one of its devotions or reflect on the words within its pages. Kathi Macias, author ***Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com) is a multi-award winning author of more than 50 books. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al.

You can connect with Jean Ann Williams and follow her journey as she experiences God’s mercies on her blog at Love Truth: Hope after Suicide.

Ruby for Women Magazine is now available in print! Each issue of the Ruby for Women magazine can now be purchased as a print publication. Now you can have a copy of our beautiful magazine to share with your friends and family. To purchase your copy of an upcoming issue of the Ruby for Women magazine, please visit the Ruby for Women blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you will find the link for each issue.

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Not According to Plan by Helen D. Ellis My husband Andrew was hospitalized for 10 days recently. He was in excruciating pain upon arrival, and after examination and tests, the doctors arrived at a diagnosis and developed a treatment plan. But life is full of things that don’t go according to plan. The infection in Andrew’s foot spread throughout his body and the doctors fought it with powerful antibiotics. These medicines caused other problems, like partial kidney failure. The doctors concluded that the infection could not be controlled through antibiotics alone; he needed to have the infected foot surgically cleaned out in the operating room. After waiting what seemed an eternity, the surgeon finally came to see me. Her face was ashen as she knelt down in front of me. A chill went through me as she began to speak, “It was worse than we thought. I had to remove a significant amount of dead tissue. He won’t be able to walk for a while and he’ll need a skin graft at some point. At least we know now why the wound would not heal.” Although I didn’t know what lay ahead, I knew I could not go through it alone. I needed help. After four days, I was completely exhausted and physically and stressed out, trying to hold everything together. I was trying to keep the kids going with school and homework, see Andrew at the hospital twice a day, deal with the doctors, keep the extended family informed about what was happening etc., etc. I became worn down to a frazzle. I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t sleep. II Corinthians 12:9 “God’s power is made perfect in weakness” I called my oldest daughter. “Jen, I need you to come. Your dad is not doing well and I need your help.” My daughter had never heard anything like this from me before. “Mom, I’ll be there. I don’t know if I can come today but I will get there as soon as I can.”

Our pastors and church here in CT supported us with visits, delicious food and an outpouring of love. When you’re going through a trial, you need support and encouragement on a daily basis. Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the only One who can sustain us during trials. He is able to carry our burdens; we were never meant to carry them. There will be things in this life that you must walk through. There may be no “quick fix.” But God’s word is full of His promises. Isaiah 43:1-2 “1) But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. God had to keep reminding me He was with me. I dealt with fear - particularly the fear of losing my husband. Andrew is a big, strong guy who has always taken care of me and our children. It was heart-breaking to see him sick and in pain. I would put on a brave face while I was at the hospital, but when I got home, all I could do was fall on my knees and cry out to God.

Although I didn’t know what lay ahead, I knew I could not go through it alone. I needed help. After four days, I was completely 35 exhausted and physically and stressed out, trying to hold everything together.


In Psalm 27: 13-14 David says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord.” At home, I had to step up. I paid the bills - and I hate that job! I dragged trash down to the curb. I came face-to-face with my inadequacy, selfishness and pride. I wish I could say I always responded the right way in the midst of this trial, but I’d be lying if I said that. Sometimes I lost my temper; sometimes I wanted to pull the covers over my head and not face this situation another minute. But, the Lord met me in this midst of it all. I went to Him and told Him of my weakness and failure and He reminded me of His promises, and His peace would flood my soul. I asked the Lord to give me His love instead of mine - His love is infinite and perfect and mine isn’t. Sometimes I had to ask the Lord to borrow His smile because I didn’t have one.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God. Our Heavenly Father is a loving, compassionate God who desires to comfort us when we go through trials in this life. In turn, we can tell others our testimony to encourage, bless and build up others who are going through their trials. This trial has forged a stronger bond between Andrew and me. The Lord has drawn us closer to each other and closer to Him as we walked through this. Maybe you won’t face what we faced, but it’s a surety that one day you will face a trial of some kind ----- it may be financial, marital, broken relationships, or work or health issues. No matter what you face, Jesus has promised never to leave you or forsake you. Keep trusting Him, keep looking to Him and you’ll come out on the other side looking more like Jesus.

You are invited to join us in the Ruby for Women community for our weekly Bible study of the Book of Esther. We will discover how Esther's obedience in the face of fear, uncertainty, and death was used by God to save her and all of her people. We hope you will join us as we begin our study of the life of Queen Esther. 36 All lessons in this Bible study are from the study guide book by Carol Peterson, "I am Esther: A Faith Like Hers," available from Ruby's Reading Corner.


God’s Faithfulness by Pat Jeanne Davis My husband had a long commute five days a week to our church. His work there was mentally exhausting, but Joseph was happy. Then circumstances changed—he lost his job. His disappointment was keen and his spirit crushed. Joseph felt that God was displeased with him. This became a nagging and recurring thought. Friends and co-workers from our church called to express their disappointment. He assisted them with their questions as they learned their new responsibilities in a changed environment. Joseph needed encouragement. My husband’s emotional and spiritual well-being were of more concern than how we were going to manage financially, especially when he asked questions like, “What did I do wrong?” or “Now What?” To get us through this crisis, I knew I needed God’s help. In my heart I believed that, “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord´-Romans 8:28.” Again, I would experience the reality of this promise in these circumstances. “Have you talked to God about it?” I asked him. “I can’t,” he replied. I prayed for him and myself as I waited on the Lord for His direction. Then I began to see the hand of God in our experience. We discovered that under the pension plan Joseph was enrolled in with a former employer, he could apply for early retirement benefits. This was our first indication that God was working on our behalf. I’ve been a full-time homemaker since our sons were born fifteen years ago. I decided to claim Social Security benefits this year when I reached age sixty-two. I learned at the time I applied that our boys were eligible for children’s benefits as well. The Lord is faithful. He was providing for us. A major concern was our children’s education. It was re-enrollment time once again at their school. Would we be able to continue to provide them with the Christ-centered schooling we had committed to giving them? After applying for financial assistance, we were given a 40% reduction on the following year’s tuition. We were overjoyed! 37 And then there was the matter of health insurance coverage for us all. After some inquiries and searching the internet, I learned that my husband and I were eligible for low- cost health insurance coverage.


Our boys have free coverage under our state’s children health insurance program. God continued to meet our needs. During these hard times, we learned how to live more frugally on a lower, fixed income. Fortunately, our home is mortgage free, but the high cost of utilities was another concern. I applied for financial help with those costs and received discounts on our electric and heating bills. We experienced God’s goodness once more. Since my husband’s unemployment, the blessings have been many. Johnny and Tim only got to see their dad a short time each day when he worked full time at our church. Now he sees them off to school in the morning and picks them up later. He is free to go on field trips and youth group outings. But most importantly, my husband has the time to sit and talk with our boys. This is a witness to God’s faithfulness to our family during a time of crisis. Until his employment ended, I was concerned about Joseph’s long hours and how they were affecting his health. Now, we spend time together during the day, and he seems more relaxed. I’ve seen my husband’s disappointment gradually vanish. Joseph also has more time for personal Bible study. Only this morning he was singing a favorite hymn. “Maybe I could help at the school. Do they still need volunteers for grounds work?” Joseph asked our son recently. Many projects left unfinished at home are getting completed. It's during times of uncertainty that God reveals Himself. You, too can experience God's faithfulness. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” -Hebrews 13:5. Look to Him in changed situations and see new mercies.

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“Where’s Wiggles?” Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Wiggles the Worm is hidden in the grid below. He can’t cross over himself or touch another part of his body. Can you find Wiggles?

Answer key on page 41 39


When your Christian Friends do not Understand your Mental Health Condition by Stan Popovich You have just been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, addiction, OCD, or some other mental health disorder. You see a counselor to get help. Eventually, your relatives and closest friends find out your condition. The problem is that some of them do not understand what you are going through. Here are four ways to deal with this situation: 1. Listen to the Professionals, Not Your Friends–Your friends may mean well, but when it comes down to it, the professionals understand your situation better than anyone. They know what you are going through and are trained to deal with it. Your friends do not have the answers to your medical condition. When you have questions about your mental health situation, consult with your counselor or other mental health professional. Listen to them and follow their advice. 2. Your Goal is to Get Better–Your goal is to get better, period. Don’t waste your time arguing with your friends or relatives who are giving you a difficult time. This isn’t a public relations event where you need to get everyone’s approval. This is your life, and you’re the one suffering. Your main focus is for you to get better. This is your most important goal. 3. Tell Your Friends to Learn about Your Condition–Tell your friends and relatives that the best way for them to help you is to learn about your condition. They could talk to a counselor, do family therapy, read some good books or join you at a support group to understand what you are experiencing. They won’t know exactly the pain you’re suffering, but they will have some idea of what you are going through. If some of your friends won’t do this, then stay away from them. They will only make things worse. 4. Distance Yourself from People who Give You a Hard Time –This may seem cruel, but if some of

your friends or relatives are hindering your progress in getting better, then kindly tell them to follow step Three or else tell them to stay away and go bother someone else. Distance yourself from those people who won’t make an effort to help understand what you are going through. You need to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Again, if you have problems or issues with a particular person, you can always ask your counselor for advice on how to deal with them. You should take advantage of help that is available. If possible talk to a professional to get help managing depression and anxieties. Professionals are able to provide additional advice and insights on how to deal with current problems. You can help yourself by talking to a professional who can help you address problems in the future. Remember: Your goal is to get better. Treat your mental health issue(s) as a medical condition. If you have a medical condition, you go see a doctor to help treat it. The same thing applies to your mental health issue(s). Go see a professional and focus on getting better. Don’t try to get everyone’s approval.

Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non-Resistant Methods” – an easy-to-read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information visit: http://www.managingfear.com

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WORD LOGIC PUZZLE Answer Key

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Meet the Ruby for Women Writers Katherine Corrigan, Recipes and Crafts Katherine is a blogger at Katherine’s Corner, an artist, designer, tea drinker and hug giver. She has been a contributor to Ruby for Women for five years. She is originally from England. But she has lived in the USA since 1975. She holds a rare dual citizenship with the UK and the USA and is a proud citizen of both. She greets each day with grace, dignity and gratitude. Thanking God for her strength as she continues to encourage others and moves forward despite her physical challenges. She is happily married and has five grandchildren. http://KatherinesCorner.com

Donna Comeaux resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Glenn.

Together, they have two children and seven grandchildren. She draws inspiration from her life, the life of others, the news, and her wild and vivid imagination. She is a freelance writer and has written several poems for funerals and weddings, and is in the process of editing her first completed family saga, White Castle. She wrote her second novel, Taken by Choice, and a short story, Selfish Ambition, in 2014.

Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women's ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

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

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 43 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.


Carol Peterson, Author My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire– children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.

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

She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton. Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth. Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at kathleenmccauley1@msn.com

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling. Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-LeottaAuthor-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com

Marilyn Lesniak is the owner, writer, and most times photographer at Marilyn's Treats. She loves to learn new things and is always improving her recipes, blog designs and articles. If you need guidance she is there to help but is the first to remind you most everything she does is an adventure in trial and error. Come visit in her office/kitchen and see what trouble she is brewing up now at www.marilynstreats.com

Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her atwww.patjeannedavis.com

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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. 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.

Sarah Johnson writes, photographs and gardens from her home near the tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay. Her work is inspired by the glory of God’s creation and the nuances of light in life, from that of literal sunshine to the shadow-dispelling joy of serving her Creator. Herding three cats, two children and a husband, keeps her busy between editing flowerbeds and weeding paragraphs. She is the editor of 'Garden Cumberland', a gardener’s resource that encourages others to find their hearts in the sunshine and soil of South Jersey. https://www.facebook.com/GardenCumberland

Connie Arnold lives in North Carolina with her husband, Tom. They have two children and three grandchildren. In dealing with lupus, fibromyalgia and other difficulties she has trusted in the Lord and shares her inspirational poetry to offer encouragement, hope and comfort to others who are suffering. She is the author of Peaceful Moments of Love and Light devotional, A Symphony of Seasons, Abundant Comfort and Grace, Abiding Hope and Love, and Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, as well as three children’s books, Animal Sound Mix-up, Count 123 With Me, and Olive and the Great Flood. You can visit Connie at her website, www.conniearnold.webs.com or blog, www.conniearnold.blogspot.com

Christie Browning is a speaker and author with a passion to encourage, empower and inspire women to live as the amazing ladies God created them to be, instead of getting hung up on their pasts, mistakes, shortcomings and insecurities. Christie publishes a monthly women’s magazine read nation-wide and can be found on numerous blogs including her own at www.revisionforwomen.com. Her first book, “Kick the Clock – How to give up on managing your time,” (available on Amazon.com) brings a Biblical perspective to the everyday struggle of time management. She is a wife and stepmom with a healthy love of music, hiking and dogs.

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

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Helen Ellis is a married mother of four children and resides in Norwich, Connecticut. She is also a prison minister who has preached and taught Bible studies in prisons for more than fifteen years.

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

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

Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor 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 email her at bethatruby@aol.com.

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. 46 I have worked for several years offering my handmade and refashioned garments and accessories in a local boutique under the creative name of “Vintage Mama’s Cottage.” My personal blog is at www.mamaslittletreasures.com


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 by contacting us at editor@rubyforwomen.com Questions? Email Nina @ editor@rubyforwomen.com or Beth @ bethatruby@aol.com Ruby for Women is published by rubyforwomen.com All submission inquiries should be directed to Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women editor@rubyforwomen.com or Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor bethatruby@aol.com Advertising inquiries should be directed to editor@rubyforwomen.com Creative Consultant, Katherine Corrigan of Blog Art by Katherine http://katherinescorner.com/blog-art/

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 Special thanks to Dawn Nicole for the beautiful June 2016 calendar www.bydawnnicole.com Website design by Blog Art by Katherine

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