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Special Thanksgiving Issue!

A Burst of Joy! by Norma C. Mezoe The Thanksgiving Test by Beth Brubaker Harvest of Thanks by Rejetta Morse

Give Thanks through the Day by Connie Arnold

Ruby Magazine

In This Issue of Ruby

Your voice, your story NOVEMBER, 2016

Autumn DIY Home DĂŠcor Round-Up

Autumn has officially arrived and it is just about time to celebrate Thanksgiving! This issue of RUBY magazine is filled with inspirational articles and stories to encourage you and your family to give thanks every day of the year. You will find creative inspiration for DIY home dĂŠcor for the holidays, recipes that your family will love, book reviews and poems, and a couple new puzzles from our Puzzle Lady, Beth Brubaker. I hope you enjoy this issue of RUBY magazine.

The Pursuit by Cassidy Burdge The Christian Prepster

Stop by the RUBY blog and click on the link to purchase your copy of the latest issue of RUBY magazine at http://www, Let us know how we can be an encouragement to you Senior Editor: today. We wouldNina loveNewton to hear from you! Contact us at 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, Cindy J. Evans, Lanette Kissel, Kathleen Katt Luce, Connie Arnold, Michelle Lazurek, Ifeoma Samuel, Alisha Ritchie, Thea Williams, Jennifer Workman, Joan Leotta, Paula McVay, Patrice D. Wilkerson, Ifeoma Samuel, Christie Browning, Frances Gregory Pasch, Helen D. Ellis, Rejetta Morse, Theresa Begin, Kathryn Ross, Sonya Sharp, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Jean Ann Williams, Laura L. Zimmerman, Pat Jeanne Davis, Kathleen McCauley, Nells Wasilewski, Norma C. Mezoe, Judith Vander Wege, Jewel Utt, Mabel Singletary, Jennifer Workman, Cassidy Burdge

The Best Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by Theresa Begin

Kids' Korner Book Reviews by Carol Peterson

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 magazine may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available by contacting us at Questions? Email Nina @ RUBY magazine is published by All submission inquiries should be directed to: Nina Newton, Sr. Editor RUBY magazine Advertising inquiries should be directed to

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Just Do It, Anyway Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 Some days it takes all my determination to tackle the numerous tasks that God has put before me. I’m guessing you have days like that, too. And then, when I feel like I’m on my very last nerve with life in general (yes, I get to that point, too, and so do you!), I hear a kid in the other room complaining about something or other. “Nothing to wear” is fairly typical, even after I’ve invested about a million dollars and at least that many hours making sure that they have everything (and more!) that any teenage girl could need, and making sure it is all clean – and by then I frequently feel like maybe it’s time to take a nap. And it is only 7:20 a.m. We all have days like that. Sometimes it is silly little things, but sometimes it is really big, discouraging, painful things that come along to slow us down, seemingly to break us in a thousand pieces and keep us from doing the work God has called us to do. That’s when I have to remind myself of all the times and all the ways that God has carried me through, and be encouraged because He will do that again today. And tomorrow. And every day after that, if I just get up and do it, anyway. But sometimes I’m scared. My brain begins to focus on all the reasons that I might fail, that I might make a mistake, that someone might misunderstand, or that I just might look stupid. So I pause. Occasionally I tremble at the thought and want to run and hide. I feel like a tiny kitten on the edge of a mountain cliff, looking down at the piles of broken boulders and I sense my heart melting within me. It is hard to breathe, and I shiver at the thought of taking . . . . that . . . . first . . . step. I’ll admit that some days I just can’t do it. You know how that feels. It is just too overwhelming to step out into that big, scary world. So that’s when you take a deep breath, go back where it is safe for a while longer, and seek God’s strength to do what needs to be done. Because, you really can do it. Not on your own, but with His help. It’s OK to take a break and give yourself room to breathe. But then, after you have embraced God’s grace and peace, it’s time to get busy. What is it that God is asking you to do? Is it scary? Then pray about it and trust Him for guidance. When you know for sure that He has given you a job to do, a burden to carry, a bridge to cross, a hill to climb, a story to tell, or a broken heart to mend . . . . just do it! I’ve often heard that when you don’t know what to do or where to go, and the mountain seems too overwhelming to climb, just do the next right thing. Even if that next right thing is to go out into the kitchen and fix supper, or do the laundry, or change the baby’s diaper – just do it. God will give you clarity in the obedience. We frequently do grow weary in well doing – so slow down, take a nap, rest for a while, and then get back up, dust yourself off, look fear in the eye, and just do the next right thing! You can do this!

Footprints in the Mud: The Thanksgiving Test by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor Thanksgiving was always special when I was a kid. It was the only time we had real mashed potatoes instead of the instant ones from a box, buttermilk biscuits (we kids got the biggest kick when we slowly removed the wrapper from the tube until we all jumped from the loud POP!), and cranberry sauce that resembled the can it came from. But the best part was the turkey - my dad always bought the biggest one he could find (that would fit in our oven), and had the entire family over for a ‘home-cooked’ dinner- sometimes we had twenty people!

I’d sigh, frustrated. “Stocking up for dinner this week. What does it look like I’m doing?” He’d snort. “Put it back. We’re getting real food starting with potatoes.” Real potatoes? All the time? Was he insane? I just laughed-surely he was joking! “The only time we did that was at Thanksgiving!” Then I grabbed a box of potato flakes and tossed them in the cart.

I came from an insta-family. Food came out of a box, bag, or container and was usually heated up or thrown together in one pan and left to simmer until done. The culinary arts were lost on my parents though they tried. One time my dad made macaroni. He didn’t account for the swelling of the noodles (at least not enough) and wound up pouring the overflowing pasta into not just one extra pot, but two. My dad wasn’t one to skimp - more was always better. I have to admit though, my dad was much better in the kitchen than my mom. Though perhaps not concerning pasta. Mom didn’t like to spend a ton of time in the kitchen and preferred the stuff in the cans, boxes and bags. I thought the same thing - at least until I met my husband. His family made everything from scratch when they could. Crazy, right? Though I admit, everything did taste better when it wasn’t microwaved to death. Then my husband and I got married. Let’s just say our first shopping trip didn’t go well. “What are you doing?” he’d ask, whenever I reached for the staples of my household (aka instant mashed potatoes, canned soup, and TV dinners).

He took them out and put them back on the shelf. By the time we were done shopping, I had a cart full of food I had no idea how to cook - even in the microwave. There was a ‘potato’ button, but no ‘chicken’ or ‘pot roast’ button! What was I going to do? As my husband and I drove home, I tried desperately to remember what my dad did when he cooked. What had I gotten myself into? Lucky for me God gave me a patient man. Lucky for him God gave me a little cooking ability. Very little. But it was enough to make things edible. By the time the holidays rolled around, I knew how to make fairly good but basic meals. Then came Thanksgiving. Egad. I had to cook for twenty people.

I panicked. To be honest, I panicked so much that my husband decided to make me the prep person, and he would cook. I failed the Thanksgiving test as a first-year rookie wife. Eventually I got better and better, once I stopped fighting the reins of my husband/cooking instructor. It’s been nineteen years, and now we joke that I’m still the prep person (though I can make the entire meal now - but he just loves cooking!) He is the chef, I am the cook - that’s been established, and that’s okay with me.

I can honestly say I’m a good cook (but a better baker - especially concerning bread), but he knows more about spices and flavors than I do. There’s no honor lost as a wife when he cooks - I still prep things better than he does! He can’t chop veggies or meat in consistent sizes to save his life, and I had to teach him how to roll an even pie crust. I guess being a little OCD has its advantages after all! If I took the Thanksgiving test now, I’d pass with flying colors. But I’m still glad we do holiday meals together. We are teaching the kids as well, so they won’t be as lost as I was nineteen years ago - though I admit, my son will probably go the way of the microwave when he goes to college, unless he decides to live on home fries. He makes some really great home fries, and my daughter makes fabulous brownies. Now if we can just teach them to make a turkey, real mashed potatoes, and all the other holiday fixin’s, maybe we can go over to their house for Thanksgiving!

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

How are you Thankful? by Joan Leotta

When we started our own Thanksgiving celebrations, the family affairs that my husband and I both cherished were hundreds of miles away over snow and ice. So, we began our own traditions. The first tradition we started was to invite strangers, especially people from other cultures who may be visiting or new to our country to celebrate with us. The second tradition that was important to us was to demonstrate the central role God plays in this holiday and every day.

Maybe our guests do not absorb all of that, but we pray it seeps in. We bring the Bible to the table to read from it, showing the importance of this book in our daily lives. Hopefully we do more than show by reading it and that we actually live it as well all year long! We serve at least one Native American dish and encourage our guests, if they are from another culture, to bring a dish from their culture.

The third tradition that we celebrate is to offer a bit of the holiday's real history and meaning to our guests in both what we serve and by actually sharing details of the stories of the day with them.

We use the Native American dish as a talking point about the first Thanksgiving and explain why it was important for us to have the guests share their favorite tradition—it is all in the spirit of that first time of sharing traditions.

Generally we focus on the "what" when it comes to thankfulness—count our blessings, name them one by one as the popular song/adage advises. Yes, it is wonderful to thank God for blessings received— naming them.

When our children were small, we encouraged them to act out the first Thanksgiving by sharing a little poem. I would read and they would act it out. They loved preparing for it—if other children were guests, we found roles and costumes for those children.

As we sit down at table on Thanksgiving, we share stories of family and friends over the table—and of God's wonderful miracles in our life. When it comes to saying "grace," giving thanks at the table, we have devised a simplification of the usual family tradition of thanking God for one thing that happened during the day and for the food. We read a Psalm of Thanksgiving.

Every year our children made paper Pilgrim hats and Native American style headbands and we would do those crafts and wear the hats and headbands at the table—at least for the first few minutes

The task of reading used to rotate among the four of us. Now that my husband and I are generally hosting and our daughter is in another city, I read Psalm 100. We came to this because many of our guests do not necessarily know Christ. At a normal dinner, Joe or I lead the "grace," but in this case, we want to speak God's own words of joy. We chose Psalm 100 because it is a general Psalm of joy and thanks---it covers all occasions past, present and future—we are expressing our love of God not just because of past help but also because of our firm reliance on Him for future blessing.

Yes, there is football; yes, the food marches on covering side boards and providing packets and packets of leftovers. However, the food and football are not the center points of our day. This Thanksgiving will be our 39th as a married couple— we will likely serve turkey, stuffing, squashes, cranberry, pie and huge helpings of hospitality and thankfulness and hope that the sweet aroma of our Thanksgiving prayer will reach up to God and across to the hearts of our guests.

Autumn DIY Home Décor Round-Up Mason Jar Ring Pumpkin from Just 2 Sisters Sometimes the simplest things make the loveliest creations! Painted rings from Mason Jars come together around a few cinnamon sticks to make this sweet little pumpkin. It would be fun to make a batch of these in different autumn colors and line them up on the mantle or windowsill – or put them in a basket by the front door. They are super simple, so cute, and really fun to make with the kiddos. Find this project as well as lots of other autumn DIY craft ideas at Just 2 Sisters blog.

Burlap Bubble Wreath from JLM Designs The soft brown of burlap is the perfect background for an autumn wreath. This one is so easy, with just the wire wreath frame and a roll of burlap that you could embellish it any way you want. You might want to keep it simple, or you might want to dress it up in a riot of autumn colors or orange, gold, purple, amber, and dark brown. It would be fun to add some polka dot ribbon or a bit of brightly colored yarn, or even attach the letters to spell out your family name. So many ways to celebrate autumn!

Autumn Trees from Crafts ‘n Coffee It might be a bit early to think about Christmas tree decorations, but we certainly love the beautiful colors of the autumn trees. Why not create a tiny forest of trees for your autumn home décor with snippets of burlap, beads, and jute rope? These trees could be made as simple or as fancy as you want them, with painted dowels or knobs on top and brightly colored beads that will sparkle in the firelight on a chilly autumn evening. This cute idea is from the Crafts ‘n Coffee blog where you can find lots of other fun craft and decorating ideas for every season.

Candy Corn Pillows from Positively Splendid Everyone loves candy corn! Well, almost everyone, and even if it’s not your favorite candy, it sure is pretty. How cute are these quick-sew throw pillows to dress up your home for autumn? You could even make the covers with strips of orange, white, and yellow fabric and put them on your regular throw pillows just until it’s time to decorate for . . . Christmas! These Candy Corn Pillows are such an easy way to brighten up your home on an autumn day, and bring a bit of seasonal cheer to your family. You can find this and lots of other creative DIY ideas and inspiration on the Positively Splendid blog.

Vintage Vignette Mantle Display from JLM Designs If vintage is your style, this charming autumn display will be perfect for you! Old wooden frames, a vintage scale, and a pretty white pitcher filled with wheat stalks offer a cozy backdrop for the little painted white pumpkins and the burlap banner. Shades of ivory, gold, and brown reflect a delicate vision of autumn, all in vintage style. Find this idea and lots of other creative inspiration on the JLM Designs blog.

Hand-painted Doily Pumpkins from Erin’s Art and Gardens For an elegant touch to your autumn decorating scheme, here is an idea that might work. Neutral shades of paint with overlapping lacy doily designs create a delicate twist on pumpkin décor. Although these gorgeous pumpkins were created by hand-painting the doily design on each pumpkin individually, you could also use a paper doily as a stencil and spray paint over the top to leave a similar lacy design. Find this and more creative inspiration at Erin’s Art and Gardens.

A Burst of Joy! by Norma C. Mezoe My corner of Indiana had been covered with snow and ice for several weeks. About the time I cleared a path to the car, snow flew through the air again. Worship service had been canceled at church for the past two Sundays because of a lack of cleared parking space. This was a necessity for the senior citizens in our congregation. Today, I had my own service, which started with watching a worship service on television. Later, I began singing and whistling which led into a burst of joy, an unexpected blessing of praising the Lord. God has given me other bursts of joy throughout my life. After my husband left me for another woman, even in the midst of the shock I was given an indescribable joy. It was definitely not something I would have expected, but it was what one song describes as “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. I had to find a job to support myself, but I had never worked outside my home and I had only a high school education. God was working his plan for my life, and within three weeks I was hired. I became a secretary for an organization that provided help for cancer patients and their families. Why did God give me the blessing of his joy this morning as I worshipped? And why has he done so in the past? It certainly isn’t because of anything I’ve done to earn it. But long ago I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV), lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

“Why did God give me the blessing of his joy this morning as I worshipped? And why has he done so in the past? It certainly isn’t because of anything I’ve done to earn it. But long ago I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

These fruits cannot be earned by living a good life or helping others. Only through accepting Jesus’ salvation and having his Holy Spirit living within us, can we have the blessings of the fruit. Some people believe happiness and joy are interchangeable, but happiness depends upon the happenings in our lives and it can be elusive and short-lived. However, Christians can have the joy of the Lord within their lives even though their hearts are sad and troubles are knocking at their doors. I praise the Lord for the bursts of joy he gives at unexpected times when troubles threaten to overwhelm. And I praise him during the sun-filled days when praise comes easily. His joy can never be taken away.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you literally (or figuratively) chased after it? As a child, my favorite game of all time was Freeze Tag. Every day at school I would stuff my lunch in my mouth and hurry out onto the field to be the first one ready for the ultimate game of Freeze Tag. Daily it was a battle between the boys of 5th grade and the girls of 5th grade. We would make a huddle and map out our plan of attack. The look of sheer determination was on the face of all twelve students that made up our fifthgrade class. We would play for, what felt like, an eternity. Little me, all sweaty with my frizzy hair and red face had only one desire on that field... to beat the boys and finally proclaim that girls ultimately rule (and boys drool). I wanted that title so badly and would not stop until I was either forced to go back inside for class or until the girls won. That same determination, drive, and pursuit happens in our lives daily. The Lord is chasing after you and has one goal in mind, to love you unconditionally and to give you the best. The thing that made those Freeze Tag games so memorable is that the girls weren't the only determined ones. Both sides wanted to win and used every ounce of speed and determination in the 30 minutes of recess we had. The same goes for our walk with the Lord. This relationship is not one way, it's not just God chasing you and pursuing you. We need to be chasing after Him and seeking Him in every moment. Imagine what your relationship with the Lord would look like if you started chasing after Him more than you are chasing after the things of this world. How incredible would your life be if you stopped seeking success and started seeking Christ? XOXO, The Christian Prepster

Harvest of Thanks by Rejetta Morse While brightness of the days weaken the time to reap is near. The earth begins to sigh and rest because harvest is here. Storehouses burst with gratitude and dark storms blow away. We thank God for his mighty hand and love he gives each day. From branch-to-branch the squirrels scamper as dawn awakes to rise, and wild creatures – they hunt for prey – below the windy skies. With joy, the squirrels gather acorns that tumble from the trees, and jumps with joy with great delight in the cold windy breeze. While at the table we commune to gather and to pray, around the turkey’s comfort smell on this “Thanksgiving Day,” for those who starve without a home and loved ones gone away. Each day their memories fill our hearts on this great holiday. And remember the table that Was served with bread and wine before Jesus was crucified – that day was so divine. A great communion day will come when we bow at his feet. The greatest harvest of all souls – the day when we all meet.

Give Thanks through the Day by Connie Arnold At the start of another new day As the darkness slips away, This is a wonderful time to pray And give thanks for blessings coming your way. During the morning in whatever you do God’s loving presence is there with you, Helpfully guiding and seeing you through As you give thanks for the love and direction too. As the day continues remain aware Of God’s mercy and grace beyond compare, Rejoice in the love that you can share And give thanks for assurance of God’s tender care. At the sun’s setting and fading of light As the day slowly changes into night, Let the gift of God’s Son fill you with delight As you thank Him for making all things right.

For all who love Little Women and wonder… what if she had survived, and he had returned…

The Courtship of Jo March: a variation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women by Trix Wilkins Authoress Jo March has lost her elder sister Meg to matrimony. When the aristocratic Vaughns – elegant Kate, boisterous Fred, thoughtful Frank, and feisty Grace – re-enter their lives, it seems her younger sisters Beth and Amy, and even her closest friend Laurie, might soon follow suit. Yet despite the efforts of her great-aunt March, Jo is determined not to give up her liberty for any mortal man. Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, was born with looks, talent, and wealth – and Jo is convinced he has a promising future in which she has no part. He is as stubborn as Jo, and has loved her for as long as anyone can remember. But what will win a woman who won’t marry for love or money? Set in the early 1870s, this re-imagining of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is for all who have ever wondered how life might have worked out differently for the beloved March sisters. Read sample chapters at:

RELEASE DATE: December 5, 2016 Brief author biography I am one of those readers in that awkward category of being utterly in love with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, while longing for an Austen-esque ending. When not indulging in rewriting fictional history, I care for my two children while trying to retain knowledge from my journalism and international relations degrees. (The latter usually results in my avoiding housekeeping, and going ice skating instead.) I also work part-time for mission agency OMF International. As for my husband Andrew – I confess, this would not have happened without his patience, perseverance and unyielding affection. He is as much a part of this book, as the words on the page (incidentally, this is being released on our wedding anniversary!).

Quotes from The Courtship of Jo March: a variation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women by Trix Wilkins “You may not be at ease among elegant society, but you are at ease with everyone else - and among those in society worth befriending, that is a gift highly prized. Believe me Jo, when I say that the elegant woman you suppose fitting for me wouldn’t satisfy me. But you – my darling, brilliant, stubborn, passionate girl – you would.” Laurie to Jo “I may love him with everything in my being, all my thoughts and feelings might be bent towards him every single one wishing for his joy, every single one praying for his safety, every single one desirous of his success - and I still would not marry him!” Jo to Aunt March “There are no words that can be said to justify the beauty of a bride walking down the aisle in anticipation of sharing the rest of her life with the man she esteems and loves the most, nor of the look on that man’s face, when he beholds the one who will be entrusting her life to him to protect and her heart for him to love. All that can be said is that all who witnessed it found themselves overwhelmed with the joy that comes with seeing that one moment when all feels and is as it should be.” NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER at the following eBook stores: Kobo: Apple iBooks: GOODREADS links: Book: Author: Trix_Wilkins If you are interested in reading and reviewing a copy for GoodReads prior to release date, please contact me on the following Facebook page, thanks! FACEBOOK: omen

Number Block Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Use numbers between 1 and 10 to fill in the spaces in the grid. The numbers in each horizontal row total the numbers to the right of each row. The numbers in each vertical column total the numbers at the bottom of each column. Two diagonal lines across the entire grid total the numbers in the top right box and the lower right box.


Autumn Joys Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Words in each line are merged together. Find the original words. Hint: The letters that make up each word are still in their original order.

Kids' Korner Book Reviews by Carol Peterson Pippa of Lauramore by Shari L. Tapscott Pippa of Lauramore is a young adult fantasy novel. Yes, there are a few dragons. Yes, there are a few fairies. But they don't overwhelm the story, meaning that there are enough magical creatures to satisfy readers who love high fantasy but not so many that they annoy readers who don't. The biggest delight in this novel is the main character Princess Phillipa (Pippa). She is quirky and skampy, delighting in archery, cliff diving and escaping the confines of the castle. At 18 however, it is time she turned from being a child to marrying someone and settling into the duties of a princess. Unfortunately, the suiter who pursues her hand the hardest, Pippa despises the most. So she asks her father the king to settle the matter with a tournament, agreeing to marry the winner. The tournament brings young men of nobility to the tournament where we are introduced to the various other kingdoms beyond Lauramore. This first book in the series thus sets the stage for stories to take place in other kingdoms in future books. What keeps the reader going so enthusiastically though is Pippa's internal dialogue. She has tongue in cheek humor and often acts without thinking things through. But her heart is true and we see her growth throughout the novel as she moves from spoiled princess to a woman who knows what she wants and respects the honor of others, ultimately exhibiting honor herself. Frankly, as I was looking for a middle grade or young adult novel to review for this month, I began seven novels, putting each of them down in succession until I came to this one. The others included language I objected to, were racier than appropriate for the age or simply didn't hold my interest. Pippa of Lauramore, however, was a delight to read from opening page to close. The main readers for this book are young women. I tried to imagine a young man reading and although there are interesting tournament events and dragon hunting and not a lot of romancey shmooshy stuff—the main audience remains young women. With that in mind, I commend the artist who created the series' rich book covers showing the main character, but with her face hidden. The reader is thus encouraged to imagine her own face in the picture and personalize the adventure she is reading. I also like that these books are presently packaged as a 4-book series on Kindle for under $12. Or you can get the first book— Pippa of Lauramere—for $.99 on Kindle and see how you like it. I think you will.

My Dad Puts Salt on Everything! by Kathryn Ross My dad puts salt on everything. True story! Growing up, my sister and I would be tasked with table setting for dinner. We placed the salt and pepper shakers directly in front of Dad’s plate, because as sure as he would use his fork and knife, he’d add salt, and perhaps a dash of pepper, to the meal. Every time. Take Thanksgiving, for instance. Mom really knew how to season a turkey! She grew up on a chicken farm and learned all the ins and outs of poultry preparation from her mother. Each side dish planned for the holiday meal was perfectly prepared. The house smelled amazing all day. Every bite melted in your mouth. Every heart beat with gratitude to God and for the hands that cooked the meal. But still, no matter how well seasoned Mom prepared her recipes; Dad salted every single thing on his plate. I’ve been pondering this idea of salting food to add flavor in these troublesome days through which we’re living. Especially when I read the comment threads on social media. I read a blend of “salted” comments making truthful words flavorful. I read far too many hot with “pepper” comments, stinging injury with malice. I read both salty and peppery potentials tucked safely away in a corner pantry, adding neither flavor nor sting to the conversation. Bowing out of the smorgasbord of opinion entirely. Blocking. Unfriending. Retreating to a safe place, choosing not to play any part in these corrupt times at all. Or perhaps, to pray. Commendable. I have a profound belief in the power of prayer. God’s Kingdom purposes are ultimately advanced in this world through prayer. Especially in these critical times. Please do, PRAY! Fervently so. But do not neglect a liberal shaking out of salt to heal the wounds of our nation and its people in the influential spheres where God has placed you.

ALERT: Mixed Metaphors on the Horizon! Perhaps, keeping our salt bottled up and secured away in the four walls of our pantry has contributed to the chaos of the moment. We close-up within our safe church walls, praying, weary, and fearful of the thought of boldly engaging the distasteful dish of the world in which we live. In which we work. Play. Socialize. A world where every day our lives intersect with government at varied levels, academic institutions, business concerns, economic choices, entertainment venues, and media outlets, forming the minds and hearts of a society. Historically, these cultural bastions have been the front lines in molding the identity of a people for good or evil. We wrestle principalities and powers for dominion there, but often grow weary of the battle. In war, things get messy. They often don’t fit the holy standards our consciences can control keeping strictly to the pantry shelf. We remove ourselves from the physical front lines of cultural engagement, leaving salty brothers and sisters who are flavoring in the fray with poor support. Why is that? The religious leaders and Pharisees of Jesus’ time missed Him completely—so sure of what the Messiah would look like when He came. Arrayed in their self-righteous image. They mocked Him and stirred up the masses against Him and the groundswell of humiliated sinners who found relief and hope in His words. Many of these sinners, becoming salt, spent themselves in flavoring their world unto death. I am better for their “salty” seasoning . . . in their season. Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this

From what I’ve observed, those good salts who do shake themselves into the fray, contending for the faith on questionable and contentious battlefields, are subject to both friendly and enemy fire. It grieves me to say so, but there you have it. The battle is fierce out there. Even the pious throw peppered stones in judgement rather than running to undergird our salty soldiers flavoring the fight with a healing ingredient. It is so easy to get swept up in distractions and blinded by a bland thoughtrecipe void of salt. Our Founding Fathers had quite had their fill of this just one hundred years after the Reformation on October 31, 1517. By 1617, many Christians were fleeing religious persecution in Europe, praying for the Lord to open a door to deliverance. He did. It was called, America. This month we mark the national holiday of Thanksgiving with imagery of pilgrims and Indians and all manner of pumpkin spice whatnots. But, do we stop to remember those brave, salty folks who, in the fall of 1620, prior to disembarking the Mayflower cargo ship that brought them to the shores of Cape Cod, did an earth-shattering thing. The leaders of this new colony of Christians understood the necessity of creating a governmental contract that would establish law and order amongst them, while ensuring their freedom of self-government under the governing authority of Jesus Christ.

In ye name of God,/ Amen,/we whose names are underwritten,/ the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord,/ King James,/ by ye Grace of God,/ of Great Britain,/ France,/ and Ireland,/ kind,/ defender of ye faith/ and having undertaken for ye glory of God/ and advancements of ye Christian faith,/ in honor of our king/ and country,/ a voyage/ to plant ye first colony/ in ye northern parts of Virginia,/ do by these presence/ solemnly and mutually/ in ye presence of God/ and of one another,/ covenant and combine ourselves together/ into a civil body politic,/ for our better ordering and preservation/ and furtherance of the ends aforesaid;/ and by virtue hereof/ to enact,/ constitute/ and frame/ such just and equal laws,/ ordinances,/ acts,/ constitutions,/ and offices,/ from time to time,/ as shall be thought/ most meet and convenient/ for the general good of the Colony:/ unto which we promise all due submission/ and obedience./ In witness whereof/ we have hereunder subscribed our names/ at Cape Cod,/ on the 11th day of November,/ 1620. The precepts of The Mayflower Compact have remained a permanent Constitutional principle of our national identity. For the first time in human history, our Founders had the opportunity to craft governing dictates of a nation from the salt of Judeo-Christian values and principles. This guaranteed the claim that America would be a nation protecting “liberty and justice for all.” Until recent years, that is. The messy truth is that liberty and justice for all, a nation’s identity, its prospering in purpose, and protection of a varied society in all spheres of its culture, is not easily maintained apart from vigilance in every generation. The enemy of the Cross is ever on the prowl to trample salt underfoot. As Christians we are not of this world—yet we are called to live in this world as the “God- flavor” of the earth. Closed up and discouraged from openly salting society, fearful to fearlessly engage society, we politely bow to the false narrative in America of “separation of church and state” as though it meant “separation of church and life.”

When was the last time you pondered the words of America’s first governmental document, The Mayflower Compact, and understood its relation to salting this land at the outset with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

This has been distinctly so in church history in the spheres of the creative arts, academics, government, and entertainment, which wield great power in captivating and discipling the minds and hearts of a people.

While we allowed our national laws to be misinterpreted, misrepresented, and hijacked by few, we sought numbers and seats filled in buildings thinking we were winning the world for Christ. But, I wonder—had we salted the cultural smorgasbord before us with greater boldness, knowing that baked potatoes require a more generous salting than a gravy soaked slice of turkey—might the conversation of the day be different? Perhaps not. In the end, I have come to this conclusion: Regardless of the scales measuring how much of our salt has been sprinkled or trampled underfoot, God will accomplish the things He has said that He would. The 20th century saw a marked loss of God-flavors in these realms—especially in the last quarter century. Is it any wonder our youth skip cheerily to the tune of the Pied Pipers of pop culture, looking to the world for role models in developing their worldview and creative gifts God blessed them with?

The Thanksgiving dinner plate will be consumed. And, as pristine as that table looked before the guests sit down to say grace and dig in, you can be sure it will be a filthy mess to clean up in the aftermath of the meal. Maybe that is why, before the Lord instructs us to get out there in the world and salt everything, he warns us about what the life of an active salt shaker will be like:

I have lived through the days of Mayberry to the precipitous cliff’s edge of today. I am a witness to the decline of our culture and the sidelining of the church. For all our trendy mega-churches filled, why is our culture not redeemed? For all our parachurch organizations and missions efforts around the world, why is the world not redeemed?

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Perhaps it is because we missed where the real battlefields are for discipling cultures—in the halls of the arts, human government, academics, and entertainment. And, it doesn’t take but a few influencers with slick tongues and false doctrines in those spheres to transform a society.

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. Matthew 5: 11-13 NLT

We’ve all witnessed that in the last five decades— and at warp speed in the last eight years. Are we really so surprised that our Christian liberties in these United States, won at such a great cost in human lives, are trampled underfoot by a confused populous—including many in the church? What a gift was delivered to us 240 years ago when we gained our independence from tyranny and laid a governmental foundation unlike nothing ever known in history. Judeo-Christian principles informed our laws, affording religious liberties, freedom of conscience, the sacredness of property, and individual empowerment, with the responsibility of self-government.

NOTE: Listen to the PODCAST version of this article with added resources for making choices this election year from a biblical worldview. Ponder the questions posed in this reflective article, and the metaphors, and prayerfully journal your thoughts. May your salt shaker be filled to overflowing as you engage your spheres of influence with the saltiness of God’s purposes in people’s lives, our nation, and all the earth. Visit today.

When Thanksgiving Gets Stuck in Your Throat by Lynn Mosher Not everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving…especially this year. Many are out of work; have issues relating to health, children, or family. Some are facing the holiday season for the first time as they mourn the loss of a loved one or as a divorcee. So, what happens to our thanksgiving and praise when our peace disintegrates into chaos? As I go through trial after trial, circumstance after circumstance, what happens to my praise and thanksgiving? What happens when my day is darkened with a multitude of problems? Do I still sing to Him anyway? You bet! When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, do I still look to Him and praise Him? Absolutely! When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB) I have learned to transform my attitude into one of gratitude as Habakkuk did. In the closing words of his book, the prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT) Paul’s statement is now mine, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want.” (Phil. 4:12 TLB) This statement has taken up residence in my heart, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB) Are life’s fiery darts aimed at your life, attempting to puncture your heart? What seeps out of your heart? Whatever is going on in your life, there is always room for thanksgiving! It is the sacrificial gift of your heart. So what does it cost you? A true, sacrificial gift may cost you the surrender of your money, as you give sacrificially like the widow who gave her two mites. It may cost you the surrender of your time, as you sacrifice to put God first. It may cost you the surrender of your heart, as you sacrifice your love to those who hate you. It may cost you the surrender of your lips, as you sacrifice your praise to God when all seems lost. Though you may be going through some really rotten things right now, praise the Lord anyway. Praise and thanksgiving may not change your surroundings but it will change your attitude. Thanksgiving is not a once-a-year holiday. Thanksgiving is an eternal season of the heart, an overflow of the heart’s gratitude for all that God has done and is going to do and for everything one possesses, no matter how much or how little that may be. Will you have Habakkuk’s attitude this Thanksgiving season? Don’t let Thanksgiving get stuck in your throat! May the Lord touch you in a special way this Thanksgiving. May it become an eternal season in your heart.

Thanksgiving blessings, Lynn

Oceans Apart: Meet Miriam Jacob by Angela Dugi I have a remarkable story to tell. It has shown me once again that I serve a God who arranges the impossible, surprises with the unexpected, and still performs the miraculous. In July 2013, I received an odd friend request on Facebook. I really thought nothing of it and accepted the request only because she had two beautiful Bible names. I had no idea God was about to bless me with a precious gift from His gracious hand and blow the socks right off my flat feet. Her name is Miriam Jacob, and she lives halfway around the world, which makes this story extraordinary. The Father had a divine and wonderful plan to introduce two of His daughters during a tumultuous time in my life when everything was turned upside down. I desperately needed encouragement. My family was in the middle of a big move to another city. My husband had already transferred, leaving me to pack the house, with three kids and two dogs in the middle of a scorching Texas summer. Miriam is a proper-speaking, lovely lady who has traveled the world. I am a plain, ordinary Texas girl who says “y'all” far too often. God does have a sense of humor. She is an author, poet, and editor who does ministry work on the internet. Miriam said she had searched for months until she finally found me. She was extremely excited while I, on the other hand, was quite mystified by who this person was. Bewildered, I asked her at least half a dozen rapid-fire questions. “Who are you?”, “Why do you want to meet me?” and "How on earth did you find me?" In her gentle way she answered each one. Little did I know, Miriam found me while watching a short video on YouTube. During one of our first online conversations she wrote that the Holy Spirit revealed to her that I needed encouragement. This resonated with me because I love to encourage others as well. Nevertheless, I thought to myself, Really? A stranger from across the seas wants to encourage me? But yes, that was indeed her mission. Miriam was a genuine sister in Christ. Of course I was uncertain at first, but it didn't take long for the Lord to ease my mind. I'm very grateful that she listened to the voice of God because I needed her and soon found that she needed me. Her words of encouragement were like a glass of cold water to this weary traveler. She also gave me the courage to finish this book. Our friendship has grown now as we chat online. We laugh, cry, and encourage each other through simple, type-written words. Often it feels like we are not oceans apart at all, because our hearts are bound together through the love of Christ. My friend has suffered incredible pain and loss in her life. Despite her suffering, she has a sweet and gentle spirit that reflects God's love in a powerful way. Miriam has deeply enriched my life and I have found her to be sincere and loving. She is a beacon of hope and a beautiful picture of true humility filled with the Holy Spirit. Her spiritual walk challenges me to draw closer to Him. She is also a true intercessor, praying for me and for my family. Through Miriam, God reminds me in a profound way that I am not alone and that our family is not forgotten. I love my Father's ways and how He meets needs and sends His best gifts right on time. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14)

GodSmiles by Angela Dugi is available from Ruby’s Reading Corner.

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3 "Don't turn it off. You should never turn it off," the house manager told me. She had walked two blocks to where I was stationed as a parking attendant—a volunteer position for the local performing arts center—because I'd turned my walkie-talkie off.

Insecurity is an overly inflated estimation of one's importance. It's a false pride of sorts. Look at ME. Notice ME. What about ME? What's wrong with ME? Why doesn't anyone ask ME? Are they talking about ME? We desperately desire to be heard, seen, and loved. Acknowledged, accepted, and validated. We want to matter. We want to feel significant to someone.

The thing didn't seem like it was working. I tried to call the other parking attendant, and she never answered. Because I didn't hear anyone talking on any channel, I assumed I was out of range. So I turned it off.

The truth is that our worth and value can never be found in others, because people will always let other people down. We can never get the validation we need from others because we will always need more validation from more people. And they're too busy seeking validation from everyone else!

Then Erin showed up. She'd been trying to call me and because I didn’t respond, she had to leave the theatre to come talk to me. She wasn't too happy about that, nor was she pleased to find my radio turned off. We tested it to find that it was definitely in range. Given the fact that I use a two-way radio at work, I should have known better.

Unless and until we realize that our worth and value come from acknowledging and accepting that our identity is found in God through Christ, and not in imperfect humans, we will never be able to think of ourselves "with sober judgment." Our judgment of ourselves will always be skewed.

I felt like a big dummy. I apologized profusely, and she was very forgiving. I walked back to the theatre, carrying the "Theatre Parking" sign over one shoulder and my guilt over the other. Handing the radio to one of the other house managers, I said, "I guess you heard I turned the radio off." “No, I didn't,” he replied. “It's no big deal." So why did I make it one? I'd blown the incident up to an extreme and distorted proportion because I did something wrong. Not even wrong. I just made a mistake. Did something stupid. But in my mind, I was the mistake. I was stupid. No one likes to be corrected. It makes us doubt our worth. Even the most confident of women occasionally suffers from insecurity. Whether the extrovert boisterously declares, "Look at me!" or the introvert silently pleads, "Please don't look at me,” ironically, it's all the same:

I carried my guilt over not having my radio on, when the truth is the house manager had a hundred things to worry about. My mistake was an annoyance, but in actuality, she probably moved on to the next issue after she left me. She didn't go back and talk about me to everyone. I wasn’t that important. Whether I think I am more wonderful and important than I really am, or I believe that I am scum, I'm still dwelling on myself too much. It's not all about me. And it's not all about you. So when that ugly insecurity monster comes roaring into your head, remember who you are: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone; the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Hold on to that truth. Let it blast through the radio of your heart. Don't turn it off. You should never turn that off!

God’s Love by Patrice D. Wilkerson

Have you ever noticed how wonderful God’s love is? It is amazing how He loves us unconditionally and in spite of our faults. I love Him so much for that. His love is something that I am so proud to say that I have. His love has made me a stronger person and taught me that His love is all that I need.

Just because a man breaks your heart, as a woman we shouldn’t feel insecure, rejected, abandoned, unattractive or alone. We should have enough confidence in ourselves to know that we are beautiful and intelligent and we don’t need a man to define that for us.

I was in a committed relationship for twelve years. As a submissive woman, I put all of my focus and energy into my relationship. Loving, faithful, supportive, and honest are all the traits that I exemplified. I did all I could to make my boyfriend happy but that wasn’t enough. Even though I was a great girlfriend, my boyfriend didn’t appreciate me.

Also, I learned to focus my energy into loving God instead of loving a man. God loves me unconditionally and He will never leave me nor forsake me. God’s love is better than any other love you can find.

One day he told me he wanted to take a break from the relationship. After hearing this, I was so devastated. What was I going to do? I have given him twelve years of my life, what do I do now? I worshipped the ground he walked on and now I am alone? I cried and cried, there were so many nights I would just cry myself to sleep. Months went by and I was drowning in my own depression. I felt insecure, rejected, abandoned, unattractive, and alone. My mind was confused on what had happened. Here I am doing all that I could to make him happy and he just left me. As my nights became lonely, I began to look in the mirror at myself. Here I am a beautiful, intelligent and honest woman and I am sitting here in such pain. I began to sit and think about all that had happened to me. I found solace in talking to God about my situation and slowly but surely I began to bounce back to my normal self. Talking to God was such an amazing experience because I learned so much about myself. I learned that I cannot let a man define me. Even though my boyfriend broke my heart, it’s not the end of the world. God knows what is best for me so I need to trust in Him and know that everything happens for a reason.

If a man breaks your heart, there is no need to feel alone because God is always there to comfort you. Additionally, this break-up taught me that it is okay to be alone. Sometimes we have to be alone in order to learn more about ourselves. We can spend so much time focused on our relationship that we lose focus on who we really are. I learned that I didn’t have my own identity. I spent so much time trying to please my boyfriend and being supportive of his needs, I lost sight of who I was. Sometimes as women, we tend to put up with foolish things because of the fear of being alone. I wrote this article to show women that God’s love is so wonderful to have. He will not hurt you or make you feel insecure. His love is unconditional and He will love you in spite of your faults. Throughout my break-up I realized that I should have been focusing my energy on God instead of my boyfriend because He will never leave nor forsake me. I give God all of my time and all of my energy because God is my love. His love is all the love that I need. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16, ESV)

The Best Roasted Butternut Squash Soup ~ Creamy and Savory by Theresa Begin One of the things I most look forward to about fall is the soup! Baking is wonderful, too! There is just something truly special about making a wonderful soup, picking up French bread, or making biscuits, and inviting family to come share your table with you. This is the time of year when we start to take stock of things and, genuinely, count our blessings. Thanksgiving right around the corner and the desire to be with family becomes more important as we realize how truly blessed we are. So, I've been working on these images to share a recipe of mine that my family especially loves. There is absolutely nothing more important than having good quality ingredients. No matter how good a recipe may be, if you don't start with quality ingredients, it won't turn out as well as you hoped for. However, with this recipe it doesn't take much money to have quality. I shared this recipe once before on my blog, but time, experience and fine tuning, have put me in a place to better share it with you now. First of all, this past year has been full of many trials, health and otherwise, but as I say that, I can tell you they were quickly followed my miracles and abundant blessings. I can think of no better reason to get the family together to eat some wonderful soup! I know a great many people that find butternut squash a very daunting idea to take on, but truthfully it couldn't be easier. I use a regular T peeler and just peel mine like it were a potato, then the very best way I've found for cleaning out the center is a good old ice cream scoop, not so scary, right?

Ingredients             

2-1/2 lb-3lbs Butternut Squash, cubed and roasted 1-1/2-2 cups Chopped Celery 1 large or 2 medium Yellow Onion, chopped 1/2 Large Yellow or Orange Sweet Pepper, chopped 5-8 cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 2 cups Carrots, Chopped 3-4 medium Potatoes, chopped 1/2-3/4 cup Half and Half 2-3 Tbsps. Cream Cheese 2-3 Cans Chicken Broth Butter Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to taste

Once you have peeled and cut your squash into approximately 1inch cubes, place them in a bowl that allows you room for folding with a spatula. You are going to want to pour 1 Tablespoon of each, butter and extra light virgin olive oil over your precious cubes and then add a tablespoon each of salt and sugar. It's really not that much when you consider that it's all going into a very large pot of soup. This combination gives you the exact balance needed to get that nice caramelization. That's the whole reason for roasting your butternut in the first place. Just as you have poured your wonderful golden gems of Butternut onto a cookie sheet (lay foil over the top and push down, do not seal) and put them into your 425 degree F oven, you are ready to toss all your other veggies into a large saucepan, with a little olive oil and salt, cover and cook on medium. The steam will be enough for the first 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add your first can of Chicken Broth (I like Swanson's) but, you should use your favorite. Just about time your veggies start to soften (approximately 20-25 minutes) It's time to take your Butternut out of the oven and give it a turn and pop it back in, without the foil, for an extra 5-8 minutes to get just a little more of those golden edges. Note: If you are making this while your family is present, be prepared, many will not make it into your soup if you leave these little morsels unattended. When they are done they will look something like this. Is your mouth watering yet? Now, you are ready to add your roasted squash to your veggie mixture. After you combine the two, add an additional can or two of the chicken broth, cover and let cook together for about 10 minutes. I take my potato masher, at this point and give it all a light mashing, reducing my heat to low. The rest is up to you! Some people like to blend the entire soup to a pure cream, I have found I prefer to blend 1/2 of the soup, adding your half and half and cream cheese, while blending. Then return it to the pan. It really is creamy, yet gives you some pleasant texture, as well. Remember when re-heating this to keep it on low; after you've added the dairy, it can separate on higher heat. Whether you have a wonderful family to share this with or you are on your own, this is a wonderful soup, and it's just perfect for cooler days and the time to you need to think of all you have to be grateful for. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do. Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 40 mins Total time: 1 hour 30 mins Yield: 6-8 Large Servings

Opinion Editorial

No Matter Which Side of the Fence You Are On by Sharon L. Patterson Your View: You know and understand what you see on your side of the fence. Your Perspective: You can only have an opinion about what is on the other side of the fence if you cannot see what is on the other side of the fence. Your Opinion: Truth is not always supported nor validated by opinion ‌especially from a one-sided view from the side of the fence you are on. Your Belief: If you have not seen what is on the other side of the fence, your perception of truth becomes your belief based on your side of the fence only. Your Limitation: What you believe from what you see only from your side of the fence can limit both vision and access to what is on the other side of the fence. Your Access: You may access what is on your side of the fence but must ask for permission to go on the side of the fence that does not belong to you. The same is true for those on the other side who wish access to your side. Otherwise, it is trespassing. Your Right: You have the right to your view, your perspective, your opinion, your belief. However, you will have limitations in all those without a complete view of both sides of the fence. Your Problem: The fence will ultimately need fixing. A fence cannot be mended correctly from only one side. The tools of mutual agreement, bi-lateral suggestions and compromise must be utilized to solve how to mend the fence. Your Solution: A fence can best be mended by building a gate to be mutually opened not to take possession of one side or the other, but to grant access for a fuller view, needed repair materials both sides may have, and a willingness to contribute equally for the good of all who live on either side of the fence.

No Matter Which Side of the Fence You Are On-America Needs A Gate!

Doing Church for the “Old Folks” by Kathleen Katt Luce A friend and I were doing a church service for the senior citizens in an assisted living facility. Most were quite elderly. We opened by singing three songs of worship, followed by prayer. I then shared an interesting statement our pastor had made. He said there are two types of people who attend church. There are true Christians and then there are churchgoers. They are not necessarily the same. One lady spoke up in a loud voice. “If you are going to church then you are a Christian! I was born a Christian and went to church all my life.” Before I could respond another woman in the group shook her head and said, “Nobody is born a Christian! Everyone must decide for themselves.” I said, “Jesus once said in John chapter 3, that no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. I wonder if there is anyone here who has surrendered your life to Jesus Christ and then afterward experienced God making changes in your life. You know you were born again.” Hands went up. “Who would like to tell us about the difference God has made in your life?” Several people shared sweet testimonies of true transformations. Then the same woman with the loud voice again spoke up. “Jesus has never made a change in my life! Like I said before, I’ve gone to church all my life.” I said, “When we make a decision to turn away from our sin and surrender our lives to Jesus, then the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us. He begins to change us on the inside. There may be someone here today who has never before asked Jesus to be the Lord of your life. If you would like to give Jesus your life today, you can simply pray and call on Jesus to save you. Romans 10:13 says that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” I then prayed aloud a simple prayer she could repeat. She was not interested. 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21

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 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.

In His Image by Cindy J. Evans There was a fun television show that we happened upon in the recent past on CBS on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. called "I Get That a Lot." It would feature famous people who were placed in ordinary civilian positions. They would be working at a gym or a library or a restaurant and a regular customer would come in. Inevitably, they would look and look again at the celebrity. Out of context, they had a hard time thinking it could be a famous celebrity, but they would tentatively ask, "Are you Heidi Klum?" or whoever the other person appeared to be. "You look just like her!" the customer would exclaim. As part of the prank and humor of the show, the star would just play dumb and say, "I get that a lot." It led to a lot of fun and humor as different athletes, famous chefs, singers, or other celebrities would be at a car wash or dry cleaners or grocery store and on display for the innocent "victims" of the set-up and joke. It got me thinking and wondering if I look so much like Christ that I remind people of Him so closely, that they would look at me and say, "I see Jesus in you." Wouldn't it be wonderful to think, "I get that a lot"?

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 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.

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This by Thea Williams

We've just finished dinner at my neighbor, Anita's, celebrating the birthdays of all three of my kids – Aaron and Ethan, the two I gave birth to, as well as my "labor-less" daughter, Elise, who in a few short months will assume that role legally when she weds my firstborn. Elise and I rinse dishes while Anita – that great roaster of all things fowl, not least of which is the incredible Peking duck she just served us, complete with homemade pancakes – recuperates from all her effort.

She was our "rent-a-dog," coming for visits and even sleepovers. The dog they walked and never cleaned up after, despite Mother's regular reminders. Dusty supplied a vital ingredient in their lives, and in return, they will gently escort her to her final resting place, cradling her lifeless body wrapped up in a special sheet. They will crumble handfuls of dirt into her grave and wish her well.

I glance out the window to catch a glimpse of Aaron, who went outside to catch a smoke.

A week later, Ethan will leave a night of fun with his friends (his birthday celebration, no less) to come home and help Aaron grieve over the loss of a second beloved pet. The irritating little brother has become a lifelong friend, available when the chips are down.

Except he's not alone. And he's not smoking.

But tonight they play ball without a care in the world.

He's playing catch with Ethan, barely 19, who used to drive his older brother to distraction and even goad him to violence. Once Aaron got over the thrill of finally having someone cute and cuddly to play with, he realized Ethan was here to stay, and did annoying things like leaking through his diaper while they sat cheek-to-cheek watching cartoons.

I find myself humming Diane Warren's timeless tune:

That's when it happens.

Five years behind his brother, Ethan quickly figured out how to aggravate Aaron to the nth degree by making up in mouth what he lacked in stature. I ruefully recall the feeling of being a human barrier between two warring kids. Of delivering lectures on the importance of brotherhood and being each other's best friend, those "you and me against the world" speeches Paul Williams himself couldn't have pulled off convincingly. It wasn't always like that, I remind myself. There was that time I left the two of them at football practice while I ran a quick errand. I can still see the picture of love incarnate that greeted me when I returned 45 minutes later – Aaron carrying injured Ethan across the field and into my arms. I sneak another peek out the window. They're cracking up at some comment I'd probably disapprove of, then chucking the ball around some more. Tomorrow, unbeknownst to us all, we will say goodbye to Anita's dear Dusty, her 17-year-old, wheat colored Shih Tzu. My boys, no, men, will take a leading part in her sendoff.

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive These are the moments I'll remember all my life I've found all I've waited for And I could not ask for more These are the moments I know heaven must exist These are the moments I know all I need is this I have all I've waited for And I could not ask for more I could not ask for more than this time together I could not ask for more than this time with you Every prayer has been answered Every dream I have's come true Right here in this moment Is right where I'm meant to be Here with you here with me© I dab at my moist eyes with Anita’s dishtowel, and say to Elise, "It doesn't get any better than this." ©Warren, Diane. “I Could Not Ask for More.” Recorded by Edwin McCain, Messenger, Lava Records, 1999.

Faucets of Living Water by Sharon L. Patterson

John 4: 7-13 (NIV): “ When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink…(9) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman, How can you ask me for a drink?”… (10) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water. (11) “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? (12) Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” (13) Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, (14) but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” One of the greatest truths of these scriptures not only in my life personally, but through my life in ministry to others is this: we are simply faucets for God. God places us in our family, locality, and nation. He may desire to relocate our faucet but it is never done inadvertently. He always has a designated destiny. Our faucets are strategic. We have a responsibility to do one thing…keep our faucets clear of debris build-up. We recognize that debris as sin and the process of cleansing is the soap of confession and the disinfectant of repentance. We never have to worry about producing water to flow through our faucets. Once we are connected to the source, the owner will turn us on and the water will flow. He is the Living Water. He is in us. We became connected at salvation to that source through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, our Savior. The indwelling power that surges the living water of Jesus upward through us outward to others is the Holy Spirit. God the Father owns and operates every faucet belonging to Him. It’s time to check our debris level, cleanse whatever may have accumulated, and let the water flow! John 7:37-38 (NIV): “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. (38) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

Set My Life Aright by Judith Vander Wege Busy rustlings of the trees, whitecaps bouncing on the seas, fragrant blossoms tell of spring, joy should be in everything; gone the strain, yet--- Why the pain? Send the rain tonight. Dwell in me, Lord, set me free. Let me see Your might. Take the dryness from my soul. Lord of nature, make me whole. As this beauty fills my sight, Father, set my life aright.

Symphony of Quiet by Judith Vander Wege Sparrows twitter high in the lilacs; campfire flames hungrily lick the logs. An ax whacks against pine wood while a car roars dimly in the distance. Slight rustlings of a breeze can be heard in the fir trees along with the twilight "chirp, chirp" of an unseen cricket, and the "lap-slap" of the river against the shore. As I listen and relax, I appreciate God as the skillful conductor of the Symphony of Quiet.

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Unsteady by Sonya Sharp “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 It was the day after Thanksgiving, a beautiful day and exceptionally warm for that time of the year. The skies were a crystal blue with not a cloud in sight. The weather presented itself with a sense of peace and calmness, yet I could not shake the feeling of uneasiness that morning. My children were invited to go hiking with family friends and unfortunately my fiancé and I both could not attend. My uncertainties were matched by my fiancé as he repeatedly said that he wanted to go hiking with the children, but he had work to do. I never associated my fears with the children hiking as it was an activity that we had done so many times before. Instead, my fears were attached to my fiancé and the mechanical work he planned to do on his truck. I left for work with these feelings of uncertainty but asked my mom to check on my fiancé frequently, which allowed me to suppress my fears enough to go to work. I prayed on my way to work that my family stayed safe until we could be together again. I arrived at my job and started my regular routine of cleaning. I turned on the radio hoping that would shake the feeling that something was going to happen. About one hour into the job, there was a knock at the door. Thinking it was a delivery, I opened the door frustrated but happily surprised to see it’s my mom and fiancé. As soon as I registered their worried and nervous looks and heard those dreaded words, “there’s been an accident,” I realized the early morning uncertainties were a reality. My mom informed me that my son had fallen while hiking, but there was no further information. My world became unsteady. I immediately felt my body shake with terror and my heart race. I was unable to wrap my head around this notion that my son was hurt even though I know the Holy Spirit had been preparing me that morning. I began to flutter around the house haphazardly gathering my supplies, while crying hysterically and begging God for mercy. My mom’s deliberate voice was in the background, “Leave them!” Her firmness snapped me back into the here and now. She directed me to the exact falls they were hiking at, Adam’s Creek Falls. Driving to the falls, I was frantic feeling like I could run faster than the car could get us there. As we approached the scene, there were ambulances, fire trucks, cones and flares in the middle of the road. A mother’s worst nightmare. We have all driven past scenes such as this, praying for the families of the loved ones and thanking God for the safety of our own families. This time it was mine.

Before my fiancé had a chance to stop the car, I jumped out of the car running to the first firefighter, frantically screaming at him to take me to my son. He tried to calm me with his rationalizations, explaining that where my son had fallen was unreachable by foot and he needed his trained professionals to determine the best course of action for his rescue. He stated that he had fallen off the falls and was conscious and speaking, but they were unsure of his exact injuries. He again assured me that they were doing everything they could to reach him and bring him back to safety. Once again I was unsteady on my feet and felt completely helpless and alone, not able to protect my son. As moms we scan every environment, trying to protect our children from possible bumps, bruises, scrapes, and broken limbs. In this environment with its high cliffs, mossy ground, and relentlessly streaming water, I had no control over nature’s complete unpredictability. Instead, I had to rely on and trust someone other than myself: God and His skilled rescue workers. I prayed and anxiously waited for more information concerning my son. Standing near the firefighters, I heard the rescue workers discussing that my son appeared to have a C5 injury. I wasn’t exactly sure what that entailed but did understand that he was not moving most of his body. Feelings of loss and despair washed over me, but I clung to the feelings of uncertainty because they enabled me to have hope. I thanked God that he was alive and focused my thoughts on my faith and trust in Him that He would return my son safely to us. My prayers were centered on my hope to see him, touch him, hold him, kiss him and let him know that everything was going to be alright. It took five hours of rescue efforts to bring him down the mountain. These efforts included developing a pulley system to lower him down the falls, men carrying him in a cradle down a mile-long path only then to reach an ATV that could take him the rest of the way. I was overwhelmed with relief to see him and hear his voice mumbling incoherencies. At that moment, God clearly conveyed to me that my son was paralyzed and He began the preparation for me to accept this truth. As my son was medivacked to Morristown, I explained this realization to my fiancé, and in his supportive nature, he tried to assure me that we did not know that for sure. I did know. I began to figure it out in my head as if it was just simply a matter of readjusting. How could I be so calm about this and how could I know that our family was going to survive this? It was so surreal that in just a matter of five hours, our lives had completely changed and that I had such a sense of peace surrounding this devastating and life changing event. Once we arrived at the hospital, my son was in the ER and wrapped in what looked like a big roll of bubble wrap. He was suffering from hypothermia and shock. We became aware of the events of that day.

He and two other boys hiked to the top of the falls. My son stepped on a mossy rock and became unsteady on his feet and rolled down the mountain. His head hit a tree which slowed his momentum enough to keep him from falling into the ruthless water. Instead, he fell 60 feet and landed on his back. An MRI and his orthopedic surgeon confirmed that he had completely severed his spinal cord at the T6 vertebrae and was now a paraplegic. He was13 years old and will never walk again. The orthopedic surgeon explained that his type of injury was by far the worst it could be. He began to cry and apologized over and over. It was as if he had delivered me news of the death of my son. I had such empathy for his tears, but I had already moved past the stage of denial. Even though there was a level of sadness, I did not feel as if it was the end of the world. My son was alive, breathing, talking and he was still the same little boy who I have had the pleasure of watching grow and mature into my son. Thanks be to God!!! Again, I was so grateful for my son’s life and that God had protected him from an undeniable tragedy. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit all around me, wrapping me in the same warm blanket as my son, hugging me, keeping me safe and protected, all while allowing me to prepare for our future. It was clear to me that we needed to make changes in our home and so I turned to my mom, the planner, and said “it’s ok Mom, we just need a plan. Can you make a plan?” I saw the level of uncertainty in her face, but I assured her that all will be well. The Holy Spirit was guiding my every word and thought. I never once felt the enemy among us. I gave it up completely to Him and it was unbelievably comforting to know that God was in complete control and I needed to do nothing. Nothing, at all. That night my son underwent a 5-hour surgery to stabilize his spine to prevent further injury. The next few days were quiet, allowing his body to begin the process of healing and giving us time to consider how to explain his paralysis. We knew it was necessary for him to process his own feelings concerning his paralysis, so that he could begin this next stage in his life. Once he was lucid, we asked the doctor to explain it to him in medical terms, while I was there to help him sort out his first reactions. The doctor methodically explained that his spinal cord was severed at a certain level, which had caused him to feel nothing from the chest down and that he would never walk again. Looking at my son’s face for cues for how to comfort him, he quickly turned to me and said, very clearly, “It’s ok Mommy, you don’t need legs to live.” And I replied, “No, you don’t.” I knew that God had already done His own work with my son during those quiet days. It was again clear that there was no need for any fear or worry. God was and always is in complete control. As His children, He asks for us to rely on Him and when we do, He extends his right hand to hold us steady even in times of fear and uncertainty.

Number Block Puzzle ANSWER KEY by Beth Brubaker Use numbers between 1 and 10 to fill in the spaces in the grid. The numbers in each horizontal row total the numbers to the right of each row. The numbers in each vertical column total the numbers at the bottom of each column. Two diagonal lines across the entire grid total the numbers in the top right box and the lower right box.

Autumn Joys Puzzle by Beth Brubaker Words in each line are merged together. Find the original words. Hint: The letters that make up each word are still in their original order.

Ruby Writing Team 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.

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

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.

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. and

Patrice Wilkerson is a MBA graduate who loves writing about the Lord. She has been writing poetry since she was 8 years old and loves to inspire others through words. She’s written a collection of poetry entitled, “Through It All, I’m Going to Make It” which she published in 2010. She loves the Lord with all of her heart and encourages others to see just how wonderful and powerful He is. She is fun, patient, sweet and personable.

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

Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life. She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at:

Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her theatrical scripts for church and school, books, and storytelling programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at and .

Kathleen Katt Luce is a registered nurse, married, the mother of two and grandmother of seven. It brings her great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years she's learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. She's found herself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the facility for incarcerated teens, sharing God’s message of love. She is also an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. She writes a blog:

Cassidy Burdge is the Christian Prepster, a high school student living the Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. She has a deep love for sharing Christ through her writing and blogging, and she is excited to be part of Ruby Magazine. Cassidy blogs about anything from Biblical teachings to book reviews. You can connect with Cassidy on her blog, The Christian Prepster at

Theresa Begin lives in Northern California, where she was born and raised. She is a Christian who loves her family and says, “I have been blessed with the world’s best parents!” She has three sisters and one brother, as well as 16 beautiful nieces and nephews who “mean the world to me!” She is “differently-abled,” and chooses not to allow her limitations to define her life. She loves to write and share her various projects on her blog, “Shoestring Elegance,” which came about as she discovered that living on a tight budget did not mean compromising on style. “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 NLT

Judith Vander Wege, I’m a Christian Writer, Composer, Bible Study Leader, child of God and follower of Jesus Christ. I've had nearly 300 short manuscripts published in such magazines as The Quiet Hour, ALCW Scope, Standard’s Devotions, Aglow, Evangel, Foursquare World Advance, Live, Power for Living, Vision, The Lutheran, Upper Room, Light From the Word, and Columbia Basin Herald. You can read more of my bio on my web site's "about" page at or .com. I have a Facebook page at When Cindy Evans isn't watching fun TV with her husband, you will find her doing receptionist work and serving at a local Christian hospice. She is a big fan of flavored coffees, lighthouses, writing, poetry, and Ferris wheels.

Thea Williams’s short story, "Phoenix," appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon's The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at or

Hello, my name is Sonya Sharp. I am a homeschooling mom to two, my son, a freshman in high school and my daughter, a fifth grader. In addition to this, I work part-time and now have begun this new adventure in writing. My past experience in writing was primarily grant writing and research papers, but on the advice of my son, I have decided to write about our experiences. I am looking forward to sharing with others.

Rejetta Morse enjoys writing poetry so she can write about God and how He speaks through nature. Writing poetry is a new found purpose and hobby she discovered over recent years which brings her joy, peace, and encouragement. She also enjoys reading poetry and is working to learn more about the craft of poetry. She spends her free time singing with her church choir and listening to gospel music, watching biographical movies, and encouraging other people.

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, or blog,

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. 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 or email her at

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


Until next time!

Creative Life Publishing, Inc. Published by CreativeLife Publishing, Inc.

Ruby november 2016