Carving out the Moon by Joan Leotta
Serious (Husband) Shopping by Paula McVay
Closed Doors, Fearful Hearts by Kathleen McCauley Fall Wanders Away by Rejetta Morse
Ruby Magazine Your voice, your story OCTOBER, 2016 www.rubyforwomen.com
In This Issue of Ruby Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones from Marilynâ€™s Treats
Autumn Craft Collection As we embrace the beauty of autumn, you will find lots of inspiration in this issue of the RUBY magazine. From recipes and crafts, to short stories and poems, book reviews and inspirational articles, RUBY magazine is your resource for daily encouragement for you and your whole family.
from Vintage Mamaâ€™s Cottage
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Come Down to Earth and Be Still
Senior Editor: Nina Newton
by Kathryn Ross
Assistant Editor: Beth Brubaker Poet-in-Residence: Keith Wallis Feature Writers: Lynn Mosher, Katherine Corrigan, Sharon L. Patterson, Carol Peterson, Gloria Doty, Sarah Johnson, Miriam Jacob, Toni R. Samuels, Cynthia Knisley, Heather King, Lanette Kissel, Marilyn Lesniak, Connie Arnold, Michelle Lazurek, Ifeoma Samuel, Alisha Ritchie, Donna Comeaux, Jennifer Workman, Joan Leotta, Paula McVay, Kara Silvers, Ifeoma Samuel, Christie Browning, Frances Gregory Pasch, Helen D. Ellis, Rejetta Morse, Linda M. Crate, Kathryn Ross, Vicki Killion, Mary Dolan Flaherty, Jean Ann Williams, Laura L. Zimmerman, Pat Jeanne Davis, Kathleen McCauley, Nells Wasilewski, Norma C. Mezoe, Judith Vander Wege, Jewel Utt, Theresa Boedeker, Mabel Singletary, Jennifer Workman
Finding Shirley by Pat Jeanne Davis
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Waiting for Grace Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Some days I amaze myself. And then other days, not so much. I’m guessing we all have days like that. But there is just something about “grace” that seems to make me nervous. It’s almost as if I just can’t believe it’s true. Oh, I know in my head what God’s Word tells me about being “saved by grace,” and that it’s not about my “works.” But just getting through a day is frequently challenging when I feel so overwhelmed with eveything that needs to be done. It’s like all that “work” is waiting for me to pay attention and get it done. Do you ever feel that way? Maybe it’s because I was brought up by a mama who never let me forget that “first we WORK and then we play!” Not only do we work before we play, but we do it right! “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing RIGHT!” I can still hear her voice reminding me to “do it when you are told, and the way you are told!” The truth is those are really good rules to live by, especially when you consider how much time and energy can be wasted if you don’t just do a job right the first time. So when I read the Bible and I realize that there is NOTHING I can do (or not do) that will make God love me any more or any less . . . . that is truly a gift to me, especially on those days when I’m wondering how in the world I am going to get it ALL done. That’s when I start playing this little game in my brain – “If I don’t do that, what will happen?” Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen if I just don’t do it? Even though I know (in my head) that God will still love me even if I don’t get everything accomplished in a day that I feel needs to be done, I still wonder about everyone else around me. Will they still love me if I don’t do blah, blah, blah, blah? And that’s when I find myself waiting for grace. Oh, not grace from God, I’ve already claimed that gift. But I think I’m afraid that I’ll mess up and there will be no grace from the people I love. That is a scary thought, and it is even scarier when you discover that you were right – it is not uncommon for other people, including other Christian people, to withhold grace from one another. Perhaps you have never experienced that, but I can assure you that it happens and it is very hurtful. Since I am not in charge of the universe, I can’t change people’s hearts and I can’t “fix” everything that has gone wrong in the world, so I find myself waiting for grace. And it is time to stop waiting. Because I already have grace from the only One who really matters in the “big picture” of life. Unfortunately, this happens to all of us at one time or another in life. In churches, in families, in friendships, in every imaginable circumstance, we either wait for grace or perhaps we refuse to extend grace. Could be that’s why there are so many broken relationships all around us.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-9
Today I choose to remember that I don’t have to wait for grace, it is mine through the gift of salvation through trust in my Lord Jesus Christ. His grace is sufficient, even in the absence of grace from others. How about you? Are you waiting for grace? Stop it! You have all you need to walk with Him in freedom and victory over doubts, fear, failure, and rejection. And if you are withholding grace from someone who has not been “perfect,” you might want to consider giving grace a chance – it just might mend that broken relationship!
Footprints in the Mud: Vacations: Mom vs. Family by Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor Vacations. The family loves to take them, but the moms? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong- moms do love to go on vacation as much as the rest of the clan, but her idea of a vacation is much different than the husband and kiddos. Let’s use a typical, low-budget family vacation. Camping. Family: Yay! We get to put up a tent and sleep outdoors! Mom: I have to pack everything we own, put it in the dirt, and sleep with the bugs. Family: Yay! We get to gather firewood and set up camp! Mom: Torn between using the three twigs gathered or chopping up the giant logs her husband found to start the campfire. Mom has to help her husband finish putting up the tent because the kids spent three minutes ‘setting it up’- aka unrolling the canvas and playing ‘swordfight’ with the tent poles.
Mom: Brings extra bathroom tissue for the outhouse and packs a shovel in case there isn’t one. Brings cards and a few board games, knowing the kids will freak out because there are no plugs for their phones and their batteries will die within an hour of setting up camp. Explains for the fifteenth time that there is no electricity when roughing it, and has to keep the car locked so the kids don’t sequester themselves there for the rest of the week. Family: Fishes, hikes, roasts marshmallows, and sings songs around the campfire. Mom: Does all that too and cooks, cleans out and straightens the tent each morning, rekindles the fire, plays nurse to boo-boos and small injuries (thanking God again for remembering to pack the med kit), washes dishes, slathers everyone else with sun lotion or calamine (thus forgetting to do this to herself) and on occasion, heads out in the car to find a laundromat due to clothing caked with mud, fish entrails, or ‘camp odor.’ Never did get to read that book she brought.
Family: Yay! We get to go hiking, fishing, and cook over a fire!
Family: This was the best/worst trip ever! Husband and the kids rehash all of their camping adventures on the trip home, and then promptly fall asleep in their seats halfway home.
Mom: Thanks God she packed the medical kit, and extra Band-Aids. She gets to gut, clean and cook the fish, trying not to burn it to a crisp over the giant bonfire her husband created instead of the glowing coals she needed. Mom hides the lighter fluid.
Mom: Sees the baggy-eyed, bug-bitten, soot-smeared, sunburnt face that used to be hers in the rear-view side mirror, and restrains herself from scratching her poison oak-covered arms.
Family: Yay! We get to rough it!
Wonders if she’ll have the strength to unpack and wash everything they brought, refill the now-empty med kit, disinfect the cooking gear, and put everything away before she dies of exhaustion.
Family: Everyone wakes up as she pulls up in the driveway. “Hey Mom/Hon, what’s for dinner?” Mom: Parks in the driveway. Bangs head on steering wheel several times, hoping to knock herself out.
Yes, we do love to do things with our husbands and kids. All we moms ask for is a little time alone to recoup our energy and relax with no demands set upon us. Then we’re happy to exhaust ourselves doing whatever the family wants!
So now you ask…What’s a mom’s ideal vacation? Well, we moms are simple folk. For most of us, the ideal vacation means airconditioned rooms, take-out or restaurant reservations, and a quiet place to sit for a little while and read our book! Yes, we do love spending time with our families.
Visit Beth on her blog, Footprints in the Mud, for more humorous and inspirational posts!
Master Painter by Frances Gregory Pasch Each fall God takes His paintbrush and paints an autumn scene. A dab of red, a touch of gold and luscious shades of green. Each day He adds another hue for all the world to see. Behold His awesome canvas! Observe His majesty!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones from Marilyn’s Treats Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones ~The perfect companion to an early morning (or late night) cup of cold milk, hot tea, coffee or cocoa , these dense, flavorful scones combine two favorite fall flavors: pumpkin and chocolate. I love a freshly made scone with a nice cup of coffee or tea around the holiday season. These pumpkin chocolate chip scones are tasty and festive. Studded with bites of chocolate, they are the perfect way to get your day started. Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons white sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes ½ cup canned pumpkin 3 tablespoons heavy cream 1 large egg ⅔- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (can easily substitute dark chocolate)
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 425° F. 2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix together with a fork. 3. Add the cubed butter into the flour mixture and, using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is slightly broken down into the size of small pebbles. 4. Add the pumpkin, heavy cream and egg to the dry mixture and combine together with a fork. When it's almost completely incorporated, add the ⅔ cups of chocolate chips and combine, being careful not to overmix. The batter should just hold together. 5. Using a ½-cup scoop, form mounds out of the dough. Place the mounds of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes before baking. 6. Place the baking sheet into your preheated oven and bake for 13-15 minutes. 7. To serve warm, heat in microwave for 15 seconds.
For more seasonal recipes, visit Marilyn’s Treats at http://www.marilynstreats.com
by Paula McVay After many years of sobriety, my 38-year-old son relapsed and moved into my home “temporarily” along with his two dogs. Now…….. they are cute with one being a l3-year-old silky and the other an 8month-old rescue……………….mostly Jack Russell. If you know anything about that breed, you realize they are really hyper or skittish. Things were ok until my son’s spouse filed for divorce causing my son to spiral down into deep depression and back to alcohol. He didn’t even notice when the dogs had accidents in my house, my extremely clean house with recently-cleaned white carpets. As he began treatment and was in-and-out of rehab, I had full care of them.
As I shone the flashlight under the bushes, the scripture from Philippians 2:14 came to me………….”Do all things without complaining.” I bowed my head and asked God to forgive me and give direction to find her. Even though I am not a “dog person,” I love my son and did not want to see his little dog freeze to death. Funny how we get all bent out of shape before we call on our Heavenly Father who cares about every little concern of our lives. As I prayed, calmness came over me and thoughts began to formulate in my mind, “Take the older dog with you up and down the street.”
Oh, I’m thankful for the rehab, but I do not enjoy going out into the cold, rain or snow four times per day. Really, that would be eight times because they will not go at the same time.
Just as I was about to give up, the “runaway” came shivering up the drive, wagging her little tail at her older brother and ran into the arms of my dog-lover friend. Whew!
The younger dog, Maybeline, requires a harness and the older one, Bobby, will run away if not on a leash, probably looking for his loving master, my son. One night, he threw up on the extremely clean carpet just as I was heating oil to cook a meal for a shut in.
As I carried her back into the kitchen, I began to survey the damages……………black, curled up flour and oil, my wonderful skillet ruined, and smoke everywhere. I remembered God’s word in II Thessalonians 5:17 “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
As I cleaned that up, the phone rang so I answered and began chatting with one of my other adult sons when I heard a big pop and looked around to see flames shooting up around the pan and smoke filling the area. Of course my smoke detector did not go off even though it had been recently checked. After I put the fire out with flour (a skill I learned while teaching my 2nd graders during Fire Prevention Week), I opened the doors to let the smoke out. The younger/skittish dog began to howl and ran out the door into the 15degree weather. Equipped with my flashlight and bundled up for the ice and snow, I walked up and down the streets calling her name. One of my fellow widow friends, who had kept the dog at times and is a real dog-lover, came over to help me. Here we were…………two little old ladies, walking gingerly and calling her name.
Hmmmmm! Just then I noticed the bottle of cooking oil right beside the flames was beginning to melt and the whole kitchen could have gone up in flames. God protected in spite of my less-thansanctimonious attitude. Even though this little episode did not make me a “dog person,” I have been able to show more grace and mercy. Some in my family think I am enabling my son and even the people in my group class for families of those with addictions are less-thancompassionate. I know God has called me to do this for now.
I have prayed for my son’s healing, and evidently I am making a little sacrifice for the answer to come. With eternity’s values in view, who am I to complain about caring for two little dogs for five months if my son can have his life back again? While I do this, I know that God is able to make all grace abound to me so that in ALL things (including caring for dogs), at all times, having all that I need, I will abound in grace to others. II Corinthians 9:8
As I shone the flashlight under the bushes, the scripture from Philippians 2:14 came to me…………. ”Do all things without complaining.” Redeeming Love Francine Rivers Book Review by Carol Peterson Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is the story of a young prostitute during the gold rush days in California. The plot is loosely based on the account of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible. But be forewarned: this is not a light story. It is definitely not a book you can read while sipping your afternoon tea. In fact, when our book club first began reading Redeeming Love, one woman asked, "Are we supposed to be reading this kind of book?" The book's subplots touch on the disturbing subjects of rape and incest. There are no graphic details though. Rather, Rivers uses the characters and plot to deal with issues of hatred, fear and shame. Many times you want to smack the character Angel upside the head and urge Michael to leave her behind. But keep reading. Rivers calls this book her "statement of faith," because ultimately Angel's underlying need is the same need we all have—healing, unconditional love and redemption though Jesus, the only One who can truly provide them. I first read Redeeming Love over 15 years ago and never forgot Rivers' strong characters and Jesus' message told through them. Neither will you.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is now available from Ruby’s Reading Corner!
Fall Wanders Away by Rejetta Morse As fall now wanders far away, the waterfalls tumble and roar, pushing through the mountain top beneath the skies each day. Around the falls, the bare trees stand, and spread their leaves over the land. As fall now wanders far away, the waterfalls cover the rocks, just like the grace of God abides – He covers me each day; and on the cross he cried for all – this was the greatest waterfall. As fall now wanders far away, the river fails to rise; the blue streams weaken as they flow while dry leaves now decay. They fly – and float – into the tides and ride the gentle waves and glides. As fall now wanders far away, the warm sun rays spread wide to warm the bare trees and the falls with love in the midday. All earth’s toils weaken from the stress, waiting for harvest time to rest. As fall now wanders far away, the giant water fall trickles. Around the falls the bare trees hope for spring’s return someday, as frost now covers the lonesome trees; winter lingers in the breeze.
Country Auction (so that nothing is lost) by Cynthia Knisley Five, six, or seven, who will go eight? A bargain a minute - don’t hesitate! Lot 142, who wants this stand? With a pot and a plan it would really look grand. A box lot up next, just look at this stuff! Drill bits and pliers, a tin of old snuff. Two nice saws sold as a pair to the man in the corner on the needlepoint chair. A really nice cabinet - see the French legs? Sold! Fifty dollars! Look! Two weathered kegs. One has some damage, “as is” it is sold the pair for a hundred - these beauties are old! This must be the ugliest lamp I have seen. It’s wild…unique…just for you, Mrs. Green. A pair of white horses - a concrete garden set . . . give $10, $20, $30, it’s the best value yet. A rush-seat rocker - will someone give two? It has a few holes, all you need is some glue. When they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, so that nothing will be lost.’ John 6:12
What Have You Lost? by Toni R. Samuels
The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.” – Joel 2:25 (NLT) “They’re gone.” The IT technician fidgeted as he gave me the bad news that he couldn’t restore a large number of files I had mistakenly deleted from my laptop. “Are you sure? They say computer data is never really lost.” I urged him to try again. After about 20 minutes, he told me that despite several attempts he simply was not able to restore the files. I slumped at my desk and began the laborious task of recreating documents. Restoration is a major theme throughout the Bible – from mankind’s loss of a perfect relationship with God, to Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross to bring us back into fellowship with our Heavenly Father. The book of Joel opens with a plague of locusts invading the land of Judah. We learn that this is “God’s army,” an instrument of His correction and call to repentance because of the people’s disobedience. But the prophet, Joel, also tells of a time when God would bring blessing and prosperity to the land of Judah again. God does the same in our lives, too. I recall how years in a relationship that I knew was not God’s plan for me had robbed me of joy, peace and finances. It also kept me from pursuing His purpose for my life. After I had finally broken free and repented, I was amazed how the Lord gradually began to restore my life. Renewed joy and peace. More fulfilling friendships. Pursuing His purpose for me. Financial restoration. I have seen God do this in others’ lives as well. One of my dear friends – a single mom in her early 40s who has had her share of major relationship issues – is now pursuing her master’s degree, advancing in her career and serving in ministry. Have you given up on experiencing God’s restoration in your life? In the example of Judah, we see that even when losses are the result of our own poor choices, God is willing and able to restore us when we turn to Him and seek His will. It probably won’t be exactly what you lost, but it will be a restoration that He knows will benefit you most. “Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.” (Joel 2:26, NLT).
Restoration is a major theme throughout the Bible – from mankind’s loss of a perfect relationship with God, to Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross to bring us back into fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
The Parable of the Measuring Cups by Sharon L. Patterson I remember the day we arrived. Chef Markem opened the package he ordered from the restaurant supply because of its reputation for producing the best steel-cooking utensils available. We came complete with a lifetime guarantee against damage from usage. When he opened the wrapping we were all nestled together, one inside the other, in a single stack. I was inside 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup lay snugly inside me. It was a cozy group to say the least. How well we fit together! Our shiny steel glistened under the bright kitchen lights. As Chef Markem took each of us from our cozy stack and placed us on the counter, I was suddenly aware for the first time that though we were made of the same metal, we were each very different in size. I looked to my right and saw ½ cup. Wow! His capacity was twice mine. Glancing on down the line, I could hardly take in the other cups dimensions. A quick turn to the left made me feel a little better. At least I am bigger than ¼ cup! Ha! Funny we are called ‘measuring cups’ because that is exactly what I was doing…m e a s u r i n g cups! I barely finished my task when Chef reached for the biggest of us all. Why was he grabbing 1 cup first? Is it because he can hold so much? Why hasn’t he picked me? I might have to work more, but aren’t we made of the same stuff? Questions whizzed in my head as he continued to pick up the other sized cups and fill them with various ingredients. His hand suddenly reached for me: “Good, there is hope for me after all!” An important call had come in earlier that morning from London. One of Chef Markem’s specialty cakes was a royal favorite. It was quite a complicated cake to make involving 6 layers, 4 types of exotic chocolate and creams, the like of which I had never heard of. I lost count as he called for the ingredients to begin the famed recipe. I was washed, glistening and prepared to be used. However, as each ingredient was doled out, my use was so minimal compared to the others. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I would simply have to be patient. Maybe next time, right? It pains me to say this, but the finished product really was worthy of a queen’s indulgence. On Friday, the kitchen received a special order from the Make-A-Wish foundation for a very ill fiveyear-old girl named Jamie. She wanted a three-layer Minnie Mouse decorated lemon, vanilla and strawberry cake. Chef Markem pulled us from the drawer, and unstacked us in anticipation of filling us with the needed ingredient for Jamie’s special cake. Again, I was used very little but once more I had to admit the finished product was just awesome. Jamie’s mom came into the kitchen to see it before it was delivered. The tears fell and mirrored her delight on my shiny surface. Suddenly, I got it! Although I was used very few times in the cooking process, the finished product was perfect. I held exactly what I was meant to hold and poured out in the order I needed to be. I served my purpose as fully as 1cup, ½ cup, and even 1/3 cup.” So long insecurity! So long measuring the measuring cups! Hello purpose!”
Sorrow by Sarah Johnson What to wear if God grants us a bit of longevity here on this earth, we soon find that all we treasure is fleeting. As Solomon observed, it is but a moment---then it is gone. And the pain of loss so vivid and stinging, we are certain it will never heal. Only our merciful God can bind our desperate wounds, pour His oil over them, quiet our need to scream. Eventually, but not today, the rawness ebbs, bruising lightens. wounds become tenderness, tenderness lessens to scars, and scars, so slowly, fade to memories. Let us gather these, strewn around us as rubbleâ€” sorrow, crushed dreams, disappointment, as so many stones. And here, build an altar, whet with tears. And here, offer sweet incense, robed in garments of praise, before our God.
The Saint by Judith Vander Wege Saint is a sinner saved by grace, salvaged, made worthy to see God's face. Serving the Lord with a song in her heart, this steward is faithfully doing her part. Sometimes a saint will suffer alone, even rejected by those in his home. But God has acquitted, adopted this one, so life is abundant, assured by the Son. In Christ she abides, invited to stay. The Lord intercedes for her each day. Indwelt by the Spirit, reflecting His image, Saint gains an inheritance, kept for her lineage. No other name could be so adored as Jesus Christ's name, for He is the LORD! Neighbors are loved, and God supplies needs. Thankful, Saint worships the Lord as He leads. Tasting God's goodness, thirsting for more, Saint trains his children to enter life's door. Using her talents, she tells of God's deeds and trusts in God's triumphs, planting His seeds.
Be-YOU-tifully YOU-nique Embracing who you are; becoming who you were made to be by Mary Dolan Flaherty
Be Your Own Tree by Mary Dolan Flaherty I love the ever-changing face of autumn. For me, October is a month to be savored, as each day brings new beauty.
Shame causes us to think, “Look at how wellbehaved those kids are. Mine never behave. I’m a terrible mother.”
Regardless of how many times I’ve seen the same tree turn from verdant green to vibrant red, the splendor never ceases to amaze me. Each day, I marvel at the remarkable ways that our Creator allows for His people to enjoy nature.
Pride gloats. “Look at how badly-behaved those kids are. I’m so glad mine don’t act like that. I’m a better mom than she is.”
Part of the wonder of autumn is that everything is spectacular--year after year. Even poison ivy changes color. If we look close enough, we can see the beauty in each tree, plant, and even grass. It’s too bad that we don’t look at ourselves the same way. We’re so busy comparing our tree to the tree next to us or down the street, that we don’t notice our own, unique beauty. We think we have nothing to offer, nothing to add. Shame causes us to undervalue ourselves, while pride entices us to think we are better than others. Shame tells us, “That woman has no body fat. She must work out all the time. My body is frumpylooking. I’m ugly.” Pride screams, “Boy, she really let herself go. I’m glad I’m not as heavy as she is.” Shame whispers: “She’s so outgoing and makes friends wherever she goes. Everyone loves her. I attend every meeting and no one even notices me. It’s like I’m invisible.” Pride says, “She’s such a wallflower. I don’t know why she bothers to show up. She never contributes anything. I’m valuable.”
The problem with these statements is that they’re all based on comparisons and rooted in insecurity (Yes...even the prideful ones). When we attempt to find our worth in the acceptance and approval of others, our true value becomes skewed. The irony is that the people we seek to emulate are often dealing with the same insecurities. We end up comparing ourselves to insecure women who are comparing themselves to other insecure women. No wonder we’re all a mess! No one has it all figured out. We all just pretend we do.
That’s why I love trees. A magnolia can’t be compared to a maple, but each tree is uniquely stunning in its own season. No matter how hard a maple tries, it will never have the breathtaking blossoms of the magnolia in spring. Similarly, the maple’s robust red leaves in autumn cause the magnolia to take a back seat. They both have charm that is all their own, not based on comparison. So do you. A tree does nothing to either diminish or enhance its beauty. It is content to grow and become what God designed it to be. Its roots burrow deep, seeking the nourishment of water and minerals of the soil, while its branches and leaves reach high to capture and store energy from light and oxygen. It does not compete with, or compare itself to, the other trees nearby. With the exception of a weeping willow, have you ever heard a tree whine about not being good enough, strong enough, or smart enough? Has a tree ever told a bird that its branches were not worthy of housing a nest? Other than the wicked ones in the “Wizard of Oz”, trees do not complain.
How would your perspective change if you accepted yourself as God designed you? If you made the radical decision to (gasp) like yourself? What if you reached deep into the soil and water of God’s Word for your nourishment instead of the shallow ground of the approval of others? If you reached heavenward to capture the oxygen of the Holy Spirit and the light that emanates from God Himself? What if you made up your mind to allow yourself to be who you want to be? To stop trying to be whom or what you think everyone expects you to be and to embrace your desires, dreams and yes, even your quirks? What if you wrapped your branches around your trunk and gave yourself a big tree hug? What if you asked God, “What kind of a tree am I?”? Where do I shine? What are my redeeming qualities?” If you don’t know, ask people who care about you, “What do you like about me?” Better yet, ask yourself that question. Then, watch your tree blossom; your leaves turn the most beautiful shade of yourself. Stop focusing on what the other trees are doing, and turn your face toward the Son--the Tree of Life.
Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.
Different Gifts – Different Blessings by Frances Gregory Pasch Do you think that others are more talented than you? I used to feel that way quite often, but I’ve changed. God has shown me that He intentionally gives each of us different gifts, so that He can be glorified in different ways. As a writer, it’s so easy for me to get intimidated by the accomplishments of others. When I read that someone has written 200 articles, another has published 20 books, and yet another has written 500 poems, I tend to compare my list of achievements to theirs. When I do that, I’m tempted to stop writing. But when I look at things from God’s perspective, I realize that there is a place in His plan for each of us. And perhaps my words are needed to touch a specific heart in a certain way. Writing is just one of God’s endless variety of gifts. Yours may be teaching or speaking. Perhaps you have the gift of hospitality or are called to be an encourager. Maybe you sing in the choir or play in the orchestra. The list goes on and on. Though some tasks seem less important than others, what really matters is that God is glorified through us. Whatever your gift, it is unique to you. None of us performs in exactly the same way. That’s what makes the body of Christ so interesting. Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all alike! Never underestimate the value of your gifts. The Bible says that there is much rejoicing over just one sinner who repents and turns to Christ. Think about it! Your gift can be the one to make that happen!
With every season there is so much to celebrate! Don’t you just love to bring a touch of the changing seasons into your home? We do, too, so we have gathered up a collection of quick and easy autumn crafts and home décor projects just for the readers of RUBY magazine.
You will find a variety of ideas here as well as on the individual websites and blogs we’ve included, so be sure to visit them and tell them that RUBY sent you!
Mason Jars on a Rope
around the blogosphere
from Midwest Living
This time of year we all have a few extra Mason Jars around the house, and there are SO many different ways to use them for both practical as well as decorative projects. This delightful home décor idea will bring a touch of autumn to your home! Check out the complete tutorial at www.midwestliving.com
Leaf-Embellished Painted Pumpkins from The Sweet Escape Pumpkins are not only abundant this time of year, but they come in all sizes. So whether you are setting up a porch or an autumn mantle display or if you are decorating your entire back yard, pumpkins are the PERFECT autumn accessory! These leaf-embellished painted pumpkins can be made in any (or every!) color with pressed leaves applied with Mod Podge for an interesting, textured design surface. Find the complete tutorial on The Sweet Escape blog at www.thesweetescape.ca
Framed “FALL” Art How simple is this project!!! But look at how striking it is with the letters to the word “FALL” framed and standing all in a row! Of course, if you have enough frames you could spell out the word “AUTUMN” or any seasonal greeting to offer a warm welcome to your home. Complete tutorial can be found at www.decoratingfiles.com
Autumn Textured Sweater Pillow Cover from Country Living Here’s a clever idea for upcycling an old sweater . . . . cut it up and make a pillow cover! Lots of texture in autumn shades, and with a sweater-fabric flower with a button center, you’ve got a simple and inexpensive splash of color for your home. You could make pillows from upcycled sweaters in all sorts of textures and colors with the complete tutorial on the Country Living website at www.countryliving.com
Fall Fabric Rag Wreath from Find It Make It Love It We’ve seen these “rag wreaths” in so many different colors, and they are so, so easy you just might want to make several. These beautiful wreaths not only bring some seasonal charm to your home, but they are a great way to use up bits and pieces of fabric scraps and strips, as well as ribbons and laces you already have on hand. You can find the complete tutorial at www.finditmakeitloveit.com
Fall Mason Jar Vases from My Anything and Everything Some white chalk paint, stencils, and a few of those Mason Jars we all have around the house and you’ve got a set of gorgeous autumn vases to dress up your entry or mantle this season. Complete tutorial can be found at www.mayanythingandeverything.com
Carving Out the Moon by Joan Leotta When the moon hangs full and low in Halloween's night sky, I have been known to slip down to the end of the street, my carving knife still dripping with pumpkin bits, from making a Jack-o-Lantern. My aim is always the sameâ€” to try my hand at marking out a face of my making on that October-orange moon. I want to reshape that celestial sphere to match that of the Jack-o-Lantern lighting the walkway at my front door. I have not yet succeeded; but I keep trying. First Published in Righter Monthly, October 2015
Tune Me Up, Lord by Judith Vander Wege Dear Lord Jesus, You are my master; I am your instrument. Tune me up, Lord. Bring every part of my being into harmony with your heart and mind. Play Your beautiful music through me to express Your love, drawing others into Your heart. May I, in tune with You, speak healing to the hurting, proclaim release to the captives, open the eyes of the blind. Enable me always to live in harmony with Your will and purpose. Thank You, Lord, for the wonderful privilege of being Your instrument. Amen
The turbulence of the human spirit could now be still. At Rest. He swung not a pendulum in an endless sway back and forth, but a sword, with a singular slice cutting straight. Separating out Truth from Error. Once and for all. It is finished. Truth reigns at the center. All history, before and after Him, hovers at extreme pendulum angles—but never for long. Gravity’s force pulls it ever closer to the center place of Rest where Truth resides. Man’s agitated existence is a pendulum passing through that center place, grabbing fistfuls of Truth and clear thinking along the way, continuing through history on an upward swing. Seeds of Truth exchange for Error—exchange for Truth—in the swaying, sown and grown from generation to generation. Here, and back again through time.
by Kathryn Ross The pendulum swings from side to side a slice to the left and there to abide delayed in the air ‘till gravity beckons, “come down to earth and be still.” The pendulum swings from left to right holding position, hovering tight, seeming to rest ‘till gravity beckons, “come down to earth and be still.” The pendulum swings from Truth to Error from Error to Truth and back again, slicing and slashing ‘till gravity beckons, “come down to earth and be still.” It’s good to come down to earth. That was the example of Jesus Christ. In the centerpiece of time, in the flux of worldly confusion, He came down to earth. He brought Truth down to earth—the focal point of all history—God’s Word and Will made manifest: Peace on Earth.
And, to the present, forming the mind, heart, and spirit of the human condition. The worldview of individuals, cultures, and nations. Our finite minds cling to short seasons of Rest afforded to us when we pass through the center in Christ. But, we are not stilled to stop there. We swish, speeding in tumult, back and forth. Life at the center, down to earth—at Rest—is a life of Peace even when we only possess a handful of Truth seeds. There, we come to a stop, stilled enough to evaluate what we’re sowing in our swinging. Have we picked up any Error in our mad dashing to and fro? Separated out and sown well in the place of Peace, a handful of Truth multiplies with the riches of heaven. Spiritual Truth planted in the soil of an earthly realm produces good fruit because Christ brought Truth down to earth and showed man how to live with it there in every sphere of life. The day will come, perhaps very soon, when we’ll take the fullness of our earthly harvest to the infinite realm of the Spirit. There we re-invest ourselves in the further purposes of God, walking in a rewarded life with Him. Until that day, we must live down to earth here, where God placed us in time and space, cultivating Truth and bringing forth its unique fruits accordingly.
We have responsibilities to sensibly tend all aspects of our life in His Truth, affecting our family, church, work, as citizens in our communities at large—and in our nation. But the finite realm of earthly soil is not without miry bogs, evil pits, and erroneous chasms of ignorance. Wolves in sheep’s clothing swing through the ages wearing the name of Christ, compassion, goodness, and beauty. Beware and do not be deceived. Underneath they are razor-sharp as the slash of the pendulum’s edge seeking to supplant Truth for Error. The wise one knows to hold tight his fistfuls of Truth scooped from the center as he passes to and fro through the seasons of his life. He removes himself from the path of the swinging pendulum, to the “down to earth” place of ordinary stillness where Truth may well be rooted, tended, harvested, and feasted on, season after season. The substance of that Truth, when planted in good “down to earth” soil, remains the same—as Christ is the same—yesterday, today, and forever. When the world around us is uprooted and the ground beneath us begins to shake, the pendulum of our mind and heart—our understanding and emotions—swings in a sway of changeable thinking. But, Truth is unchanging. In like manner, the foundation of a building remains the same. It must not be changed. It is laid to give stability to what is built upon it—the subsequent floors, rooms, and architectural elements, according to its purpose. A house rises or falls on the integrity of the foundation, and the quality of its workmanship and materials. Is our Truth planted in good “down to earth” soil?
“The substance of that Truth, when planted in good “down to earth” soil, remains the same— as Christ is the same— yesterday, today, and forever.” For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. Ephesians 4: 14-15 From the moment we are stilled enough to allow Christ His foundation in our life, the pendulum swings back and forth as we work through sanctification in an earthly realm that is constantly shaking. Powers seek to supplant His Truth and Rest from our lives.
Is the foundation that Jesus Christ fist laid in our hearts being built upon according to how it was first designed? In Truth? With gold, silver, and precious stones?
Even on a larger scale, we see this to be true historically. From the earliest roots of our JudeoChristian nation’s history, powers have sought to supplant the Truths our Founding Fathers sowed into our national character and purpose.
Or have the pendulum swings of history, and the Truth and Error slashing to and fro, stunted the maturity of the garden grown and the house built?
Every election has had contenders entering the race with diametrically-opposed ideologies to our culture and Constitution.
As history marches on, like a pendulum swinging back and forth, every four years we have the potential to destroy ourselves and the noble aspirations of our foundations, through the election process. Each election builds on that which came before it, leaving its mark for good or ill, Truth or Error, in what is erected. Or dismantled. We are called to steward our earthly days in His Truth and to choose wisely how we shall live and build on the foundations laid in the moment in history allotted to us. How will we swing this time? As builders with gold, silver, and precious stones laid on the JudeoChristian foundations set by our Founders 240 years ago? Or will the pendulum swing cluttering the path with wood, hay and straw? Wolves in sheep’s clothing have weaseled their way into the popular culture, our schools, and yes—our churches, to some extent—with pendulum swings of re-direction and re-defining of terms for over 40 years.
On Him. And the full counsel of His Word. Seeking His Will to be done and Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. If you’re swinging on a pendulum or two, be it family crisis, work or health matters, or the quandary and confusion of this critical upcoming election, ask the Lord to help you “come down to earth and be still.” You’ll see all things more clearly, and will know how to walk in God’s Truth as you steward it in the many spheres of your life here on earth.
The pendulum swings spent and slow Energy ebbed as time doth flow, Coming to center, Finally focused, Still . . . And Gravity speaks with a sigh, “Be still and know that I Am God.”
Corruption, seeded from Error, cuts away at the roots of our Constitution like a sickle swaying and slashing . . . back and forth . . . back and forth. When we find ourselves overwhelmed with the headlines of the day, shaken and swaying, we must jump off the pendulum swing of the sickle. Be still. Come down to earth and take an inventory of the Truth seeds gathered swinging through these historic days we’re living in. Stillness gives us the needed pause to discern them, sheltered from Error’s distraction and re-definition weapons seeking whom they may devour. In that stilled place, we are not alone. The Lord is our Shepherd there, leading us in green pastures, beside still waters, restoring our souls. He doesn’t swing sickles in pendulum strokes. His rod and staff gently correct and confidently guide us, pointing straight as a compass to where our focus should be.
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 the Shepherd lead you in stillness and peace, at rest, centered in Him. Visit www.thewritersreverie.com/podcast-10/
Finding Shirley by Pat Jeanne Davis As a child, I missed out on getting to know many relatives on my father’s side of the family. Unfortunately, Dad avoided most of them because of the tense relationship that existed between his father and his sister, Jane. Still, Dad and his brother, Bill, remained close. Uncle Bill would bring my cousin Shirley to our home. During warm days while our parents socialized inside, we played in the back alley or on the sidewalk out front. Then my family moved out of the city to the country many miles away. I had a big yard now, but I didn’t have my one special playmate. I missed Shirley for a very long time. At seventeen, I moved back to the big city. My father was in poor health and died that year. I tried to imagine what life was like for my cousin, Shirley. Was she entering college, too? No one seemed to know, except that her mother had remarried and they had moved out of state. As I got much older, the desire to connect with what remained of Dad’s family emerged. But it was my cousin in particular that I wanted to see again. My husband thought my idea of a family reunion was wonderful. I remembered the name of a second cousin. Frank was nearly eighty years old and still in the realestate business. “You’re Tom’s daughter,” he said. “Your father and I were buddies as boys. I’ll have to tell my brother you called.” He shared some of his memories of Dad with me over the phone. “I can’t tell you anything about your Uncle Bill’s daughter. But I’ll give you your Aunt Jane’s phone number. She may know where Shirley’s living.” “Would you be interested in a family reunion?” I asked. “I’m sure my brothers and sisters would be too,” he replied, excitement in his voice. Frank gave me the addresses of my father’s sister and cousins who were now quite elderly. I reached Aunt Jane at her nursing home. “You're my brother Tom’s daughter. I want to see you.”
Image from Shelly Norton / Pinterest
She had kept in touch with Shirley all these years and would tell her she’d talked with me. In a few days I was listening to Shirley’s emotionfilled voice on the telephone. “I remember playing with you, Patsy. We’ve gotten separated through the years.” The feeling in her voice sang like a song. “Aunt Jane is the only contact I’ve had with our side of the family. When I asked her about you she could tell me nothing.” She, too, promised to be at our first reunion. I saw my Aunt Jane for the first time at this gathering my quest to find my cousin Shirley had sparked. Until now, she had only been a name to me. In an emotionally driven moment, she took my hand and with tears whispered, “You and your husband have reunited our family after all these years. God bless you.” Still, there remained much sadness in her face and voice when she talked about the estrangement between herself and her father. I met and talked with many on my father’s side of the family. But one face I searched for in vain. To my disappointment, Shirley hadn’t come. What had happened? Later, she called to tell me what had happened. “I planned on coming, but my husband was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital. Can you come down here?” “Tell me when,” I replied. That day with Shirley was a very special time of catching up. We talked of memories of childhood times together and tried to fill each other in on portions of our lives as we looked through old family photos. She and I lost our fathers within a few years of each other. We share a strong family resemblance even as our fathers did. Both of us were stay-at-home moms raising boys. Many of our interests are similar. Music and writing and ties to church and family are an integral part of our lives. We are blessed to be sisters in Christ as well as being first cousins. After more than forty-five years, God brought us together again.
New from author, Jean Ann Williams
Just Claire One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place. ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls. With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life. Just Claire is now available from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.
Lose Weight, Get Fit & Change Your Life – With 4 Powerful Principles by Carol L. Doyel Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 26+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern CA. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Lose Weight, Get Fit & Change Your Life – With 4 Powerful Principles by Carol L. Doyel is available from Amazon through Ruby’s Reading Corner.
Lord, Don’t Let Time Pass Me By by Jennifer Workman
I wake up daily with a renewed sense of purpose and every opportunity that I have, I try to utilize it wisely recognizing life has been given as a gift from the Lord.
I don’t want time to find me so focused and enmeshed with the “cares of life,” that those insignificant things keeps me from being effective for the kingdom of God.
I am conscience of the fact that God didn’t give me this opportunity “unto myself” but to use it as a means to empower and bless others around me.
Don’t let time pass me by that I neglect to take time with my family and create memories that are priceless and can’t be given back.
I have heard the expression “life is what you make of it” and although I agree, I also believe that it could be so much more with God spearheading every direction of our lives.
Please don’t let time find me so focused on past hurts, failures and disappointments that I allow the “old mentality” to keep me from enjoying every day that has been given as a blessing from God.
The Bible tells us straightforwardly that to “everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV). When we go through life with this etched in our minds, it causes us to view and handle life differently. I have heard Bishop T.D. Jakes make the statement that death doesn’t make him afraid, but what does cause him great discomfort is living life in regret because he didn’t manifest the purpose and plan God orchestrated for his life. Therefore, he didn’t have the opportunity to change things for the better for people and the world around him. I agree wholeheartedly with him. That is why I try to live my life with the mentality of making someone’s day better by utilizing my gifts, talents, skills and abilities to the glory of God. Then, when I die, I can rest “at ease” knowing I’ve fulfilled God’s purpose for my life and “didn’t let time pass me by!” As I reflect, and I am deeply contemplative, I am very thankful to the Lord and praise Him for all things. My continual prayer to the Lord as I start each day is, “Lord, please don’t let time pass me by.”
Satan has many tactics that he uses to rob us from living the best life we can while we are on earth, and we shouldn’t allow him the space to do so. Again, if we are distracted with “minor issues” that we make “major issues,” it keeps us from loving as we should and improving our world as a whole. When people look at us, specifically as Christians, they hope to see a difference in our character, behavior and lifestyle. They know what they see daily as “the norm,” and if we are no different from the rest of the world, then where can they look for encouragement in times of suffering and pain. That isn’t to say that Christians are “super human” and don’t have feelings or are exempt from pain. That is far from the truth. It would be a great encouragement to others to explain that we all experience and feel pain, and we can use that pain as a tool to bless others. So, I implore you again, “don’t let time pass you by.” You have a lot to give and a lot of people to bless in this life. Humbly submit yourselves to God and ask him to help you in the process to be all that He has predestined you to be from the foundations of the earth and “take wings and soar!”
Which Way Should I Go? by Toni R. Samuels
Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. – Psalm 25:4 (NLT) The morning was hot and sticky, but breezy enough to make the heat bearable. I was vacationing on Sanibel Island, Florida, and was eagerly looking forward to a morning-beach walk. In fact, I was in such a rush that I didn’t notice which path I took to enter the beach. I strolled along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico shoreline, enjoying the fragrant sea breeze, and, stooping down now-and-then to collect a pretty seashell. I had walked a long way from where I started and I had plans for the day, so I turned around to go back to the beach condo where I was staying. As I walked, I came across numerous paths that led off the beach. Is that the one? So many looked alike. I was vacationing alone and didn’t know a soul on the island. Please show me the right path, Lord, I prayed. And He did. How often we encounter paths in life – some lead to blessed destinations and others, not so much. The most attractive path is not necessarily the right one. And a path that we see someone else navigate successfully may not be God’s plan for us. God clearly tells us in His word that He desires to give us direction. Whether it involves a relatively small thing (a family vacation, for example) or a major decision (such as whom to marry), the Lord is willing and waiting to show us. No area of our lives is too small or too big for us to ask God to lead us. Have I ever taken the wrong path? Absolutely – many times. But the beautiful thing about God’s grace is that He can use even our mistakes to produce something wonderful in our lives. If you’re looking for the Lord to guide you in an upcoming decision, or to restore you after going down the wrong path, call out to Him. Jesus Christ is not only the way to eternal life, but He also leads us to blessed paths in this earthly life as well.
Have I ever taken the wrong path? Absolutely – many times. But the beautiful thing about God’s grace is that He can use even our mistakes to produce something wonderful in our lives.
Connect the Letters Puzzle
Using all the letters only once, draw a line connecting the letters to form the word that matches the hint. The first letter of the word is on the outer edge of the puzzle. Hereâ€™s an example:
by Beth Brubaker
Now itâ€™s your turn!
ANSWER: ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Hink Pinks Puzzle by Beth Brubaker
ANSWER KEYS ON PAGE 44
A Slip of the Lip by Frances Gregory Pasch I did it again, Lord, opened my mouth at the wrong time... not once, but three times. Why did I have to say "comb your hair"? Why wasn't I just happy that he was going to church with me? Am I still worried about what others think? I thought I had overcome that. In retrospect, my heart was more disheveled than his hair.
A New Life by Frances Gregory Pasch I reached across the chasm between my God and me… the space was more expansive, than the waters of the sea. I could not touch God’s outstretched arm no matter how I tried. There was no way to breach the gap because of sin and pride. But then I learned that Jesus paid the price for all my sin… if I would just believe in Him a new life would begin. So I repented of my sin and stretched my arms out wide; not only did He breach the gap… within me He resides.
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.
Now available from Ruby’s Reading Corner and from www.Godmissionpossible.com
We are Silhouettes by Kathleen McCauley We are like silhouettes in life. As I biked one early morning, my attention was drawn to the dark, tall, black, silhouettes of the trees jetting into the newlyilluminated morning sky. The brilliance of the new dawn captured my eye. I realized that it was only due to the light in the foreground that I could see and appreciate the silhouettes of the trees. Though the silhouettes look big and strong, and dominate the skyline, they are nothing without the light of the day framing their existence as silhouettes. Their presence would have no relevance, value, or beauty without the bright sky in the foreground. As I took this in, I asked God that I might be like one of the silhouettes; that my life could dominate the landscape with strength and beauty, as do these trees. It is then that I realized that my life, no matter how big or strong or beautiful, has no relevance or mark on the landscape of life without the brilliant light of Christ. He frames it all and allows me to be a silhouette of Him.
Serious (Husband) Shopping by Paula McVay When I expressed that God had not confirmed that I was to spend the rest of my life with him, he exclaimed, “What do you expect God to do, hit you over the head with a hammer and say, ‘This is the one’?” I was thinking, “Well maybe.”
Your first thought might be “internet dating.” Wrong………..this was way before that was even imagined. As a l2-year-old girl living in a home filled with strife, I knew I wanted a better life. My mom and step-father constantly yelled with anger and vile language. My other five siblings and I often had to dodge items flying through the air. I began to realize that my mom had not done a good job of “shopping” for a new husband after my biological-dad was killed in a trucking accident when I was seven-years-old. One really good thing Mother did, though, was send us to church. There, I learned about a God who shows love, grace, and mercy through His loving and Godly people. I surrendered my life to that God and began to seek strength for my present situation and wisdom for the future. That, of course, meant I would need a Godly husband…thus the shopping. How would I proceed? Hiding in my closet each night with a towel across the bottom of the door so my mother would not see the light, I voraciously read my little white zippered Bible to seek instruction for how I needed to live to find that Godly husband. First, I determined to keep myself pure and only date guys with high moral standards. It seems there were only six or seven in my high school who met those standards. One of them was an upperclassman who thought he was in love with me. He told me that my expectations were unrealistic, and since we were both nice Christian people, we should agree to get married after college.
I tried to explain to him that I had been reading my Bible in James 1:5 that said I could ask for wisdom and God would graciously give it to me over and over as I kept asking. I knew that I could not settle for what might be just a good thing. I wanted the best for both our futures. God’s wisdom often comes in deep impressions or through a series of events. I began to sense that I should attend a Christian college about four hours away. When I told my mother, she became angry, telling me I was using poor judgement since I had earned two full-tuition scholarships to other schools in the area. She promised to purchase a car for me if I would stay at home, continue to cook all the meals and care for my two younger brothers. Even though I loved my brothers, I knew God was calling me to step out in faith. When I refused my mother’s offer, she asked me to leave the day I graduated from high school. With the support of my church family, I applied and was accepted to a Christian liberal arts college in the Oklahoma City area. I had some small scholarships, but not nearly enough for the first semester. My plan was to live with my cousin and her husband in Fort Worth, Texas where God led me to a job in the accounting department of a large business. I would be able to save enough money to enroll the 2nd semester. As Isaiah 55 says, God’s plans are not always the same as ours. “..My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)
One Sunday night, I attended a church service where a group from this college was singing. When I told them I was coming the second semester, they began to describe opportunities that were available for the first semester. Others told me that it was already August and too late to find a good job. Something deep within my heart began to stir and I knew God’s plan was for me again to step out in faith with my small savings of $200.00 and determine to find a job. I relied on one of my favorite verses found in II Corinthians 12:9. “…my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” One week after arriving on campus, I not only found a job, I found the best job on campus. Most students did not even receive minimum wage, but since I handled interstate mail, the law required that I be paid the big minimum wage of $1.40 per hour. Keep in mind, tuition at a private school in that day was only $16.00 per credit hour - and we thought that was exorbitant. This was only the beginning of God’s promise to me in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” In addition to working 30 hours per week, I was taking a full load of classes with one of those being advanced chemistry. How I wound up in that class was a mystery to me since I had not taken chemistry in high school! Maybe it was because of my GPA; however, I discovered too late that one must study daily in such a class. The kind professor tutored me and graciously “gave” me a C-. Unfortunately, four “A”s and one “C” did not assure that I would keep my honor scholarship for that semester. That meant more time spent studying which greatly limited my social life.
He had been injured while playing baseball back at his home church and was on crutches. The girls were giggling and referring to him as “Tiny Tim” from the Christmas movie. One of my friends was interested in dating him and asked me what I thought. I assured her that I had not seen him, but would be on the lookout ….no intention of shopping. On my way back to my own dorm, I looked across the campus courtyard and there he was with my friend, Lawrence, who called me over and introduced me as a “really good-looking girl.” This was quite amusing since Lawrence was blind.
“How would I have time to meet that great guy, the possible Christian husband for whom I had been praying / shopping since the age of twelve?” Talk about the lame leading the blind! We laughed and I just kept thinking how handsome this Doug was with his deep blue eyes, great laugh which showed off a great dimple, and a deep and confident base voice. He wasn’t tiny or bashful. He actually asked me to sit with him at church the next Wednesday night. How would I tell my friend back at the girl’s dorm? I could have said “no,” but that word refused to come out of my mouth. When I arrived back at my dorm, I dreamily greeted my roommate with, “I’ve just met the man I’m going to marry.” Struggling to control her laughter, she asked, “How could you possibly know that?”
How would I have time to meet that great guy, the possible Christian husband for whom I had been praying / shopping since the age of l2?
My response was automatic. “I’ve been praying for a Godly husband since I was twelve. How would I not know?” I assured her that I was not rushing into anything since I was dating another guy at the time.
While taking a break one evening as I visited with the girls in a dorm across campus, I heard about this really cute guy named Doug, who was a little older than most college freshmen and was very cool, but somewhat bashful.
Who could blame me for continuing to date other guys? Wow! A whole campus of good-looking, Christian guys! Wasn’t this part of the “husband shopping process?” Evidently, Doug did not think so.
On the weekends, he was often away with a singing and preaching group from the college. When he came back on Sunday night and found that I was on a date, he was not happy.
After dating for a year, he told me that he loved me and I was able to respond for the first time ever to anyone, with the same words. In another year we were married.
I asked him how I could say no when these were such great guys and no one had asked me to be their special girl (Shopping Strategy).
For over 47 years, we both continued to seek wisdom for God’s perfect plan for our lives as we completed college and graduate school, pastored six churches, taught in public schools and reared three wonderful sons who blessed us with five grandsons.
Since Doug was a little older and more mature than I was, he thought “going steady” was a childish thing, but in a less than romantic way, he asked, “OK, will you go steady with me?” Of course, I said “yes” and began to pray for God’s continued confirmation.
My mother even fell in love with Doug and surrendered her life to God the year before she passed away. Boy did this “serious shopping” pay off, complete with a lifetime guarantee!
Paula McVay is a women’s ministry workshop and retreat speaker. She is the mother of three sons and five grandsons, and was a teacher for many years in both public and private schools. Paula has served the Lord as a pastor’s wife and children’s church director. Her spiritual gifts include teaching, hospitality and encouragement.
The Legacy in Pew 54 by Sarah Johnson At St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC (The Church of the Presidents) embroidered kneelers can be seen in Pew 54 (The President's Pew) decorated with the names of each Commander in Chief. Some are pristine, while others are threadbare, pressed by the weight resting on the shoulders of a godly leader. Several of the most abused-looking ones appear to have been used by one who left their knee-prints, footprints, and prayer-prints behind. I want a president who makes prayer-prints.
Closed Doors, Fearful Hearts by Kathleen McCauley John 20:19-23 Today while sitting in a prayer service I heard the reading of John 20:19-23, where the apostles “closed” the doors where they were gathered for “FEAR of the Jews.” Yet, Jesus came to them regardless of the closed doors. For some strange reason these “closed doors of fear” brought the image of a locked, closed heart to my mind. Doors of a heart closed down due to fear as well. I was so haunted by this image, because it was such a far reach from the reading itself, that I then took time to reflect on it, for I supposed those types of images in my mind come from God. As I reflected on the closed, locked heart, I realized that I am being locked out of a loved one’s heart, due to their closed door of fear. Psychologically and/or figuratively speaking, the doors themselves consist of fear, and are a person’s way of creating a sense of protection. My immediate thought or hope was that if God can break through those doors to the apostles, as referred to in scripture, He can surely break through the doors of a locked heart!! This gave me great hope! What else is here for me to learn in this revelation? I am not to give up hope on those people in my life who, due to their own pain and caution, have shut me out. They have closed the door to their heart on me, leaving me alone, sad, and angry, with no recourse. Additionally, I am to be like Christ. During this time of alienation from our loved ones, it is very hard to act like Christ, praying for those who have hurt us and withdrawn their love from us. My responsibility, however, is to be loving and open; confident that God can reach the hardened hearts of my spouse, child, friend, sister, and others. The only way I can attempt to be like Christ is not to focus on my own pain, which was inflicted on me with these closed doors. Rather, I must remember the fear which has hampered the heart of my loved one. I must realize that they may not be aware of this reactionary behavior, which caused them to withdraw their love and affection. So I turn their fear into PRAYER. I ask God to heal their fear so closed doors may open again to love of self, God, and others. It might all seem far-fetched, but it really can happen! We must put into God’s hands our words, anger, and pain, KNOWING that God can and will transform fear into trust, and trust into love. It is important for us to remember that God transcends all time, therefore He can go back to heal the wounds inflicted on anyone’s heart. We must intentionally pray for the intervention of time and healing by a most tender and attentive God. This time of estrangement from our loved ones is very hard, but can be converted if we can act like Christ, praying for those who have hurt us and withdrawn their love from us. This requires discipline, both interiorly and exteriorly. So, the next time we hear a scripture reference to closed doors, we will know that Jesus can penetrate them all. Be mindful that closed doors, even LOCKED doors, of any capacity, can indeed be unlocked by the presence and power of a loving God when we implore Him to aid, assist, and open the doors to love and faith!
Connect the Letters Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker PRAYERS
Hink Pinks Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker
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 SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.
Carol Peterson, Author My mission as a writer is to educate, entertain and inspire– children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres. As a children’s writer I try to “Make Learning Fun” by helping busy teachers address curriculum accountability standards, and encouraging other writers to do the same. You can connect with Carol at her blog, Carol Peterson, Author Carol is a member of the Ruby Book Review Team.
Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling. Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Authorand-Story-Performer/188479350973
Marilyn Lesniak is the owner, writer, and most times photographer at Marilyn's Treats. She loves to learn new things and is always improving her recipes, blog designs and articles. If you need guidance she is there to help but is the first to remind you most everything she does is an adventure in trial and error. Come visit in her office/kitchen and see what trouble she is brewing up now at www.marilynstreats.com
Toni Samuels By day Toni works in corporate communications at a Fortune 500 corporation, but by night she pursues her true passion: to write for God’s purposes and to point people to Jesus Christ. She is grateful and honored to have the opportunity to begin this new chapter in her life, in which writing is not merely a profession but a ministry. In her free time Toni enjoys music, reading, traveling and beautiful beaches.
Paula McVay is a women’s ministry workshop and retreat speaker. She is the mother of three sons and five grandsons, and was a teacher for many years in both public and private schools. Paula has served the Lord as a pastor’s wife and children’s church director. Her spiritual gifts include teaching, hospitality and encouragement.
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. She lives with her bookseller husband, a storyteller in his own right, and two literary cats. Inspired by the stillness of teatime, birdsong and silent reflection, she allows God’s Word, classic literature, and the arts to inform her words with a splash of old world elegance. Timeless truths leap from the page and the stage through Pageant Wagon Publishing and Productions—Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.com .
Jennifer Workman is the founder of Simply Victorious Ministries, a ministry founded on the infallible Word of God. She has been actively involved in ministry all of her life and has ministered to seminary students, the religious community, high school students and female prison inmates. Jennifer has more than fifteen years in the radio, television and publications arena. She is the Inspirational Host and Producer of "Simply Victorious for Life," a monthly inspirational podcast aired via Faith Filled Family and Family Filled Youth. Contact Jennifer at http://simplyvic.webs.com or http://jyworkman.wix.com/jennifer
Kathleen McCauley has been an active retreat leader for over 25 years. She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton. Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth. Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.threadsofspirituality.com/
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 judithvanderwege.org or .com. I have a Facebook page at Facebook.com/JudithVanderWege
Cindy Knisley I have been an educator for 24 years in a suburban Philadelphia high school, I have always enjoyed language and writing. Teaching German and Latin trained me to respect the nuances of structure and story as well as the power of words. Three years ago I felt called by God to leave the work I loved in order to support my aging parents. My home is in West Chester, PA, where I tend a "secret garden," enjoy my grandchildren, attend church, and write.
Sarah Johnson writes, photographs and gardens from her home near the tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay. Her work is inspired by the glory of God’s creation and the nuances of light in life, from that of literal sunshine to the shadow-dispelling joy of serving her Creator. Herding three cats, two children and a husband, keeps her busy between editing flowerbeds and weeding paragraphs. She is the editor of 'Garden Cumberland', a gardener’s resource that encourages others to find their hearts in the sunshine and soil of South Jersey. https://www.facebook.com/GardenCumberland
Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991. You can contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.
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.
Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her atwww.patjeannedavis.com
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 http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at email@example.com. Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. Gracie is 15 years old and Annie is 13. They were both born in China, and we were able to travel to China two times to bring our daughters home. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on Ruby for Women in my home office. I have worked for several years offering my handmade and refashioned garments and accessories in a local boutique under the creative name of “Vintage Mama’s Cottage.” My personal blog is at www.mamaslittletreasures.com
Until next time!
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