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“. . . . her worth is far above rubies.� Proverbs 31:10


Ruby for Women

In This Issue . . . Page

Title

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Flying Solo Nina Newton, Sr. Editor

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In the Shadow of His Wings Amanda Johnson, Asst. Editor

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Sudoku Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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A Taste of Spring Angela Morris

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Heaven Donna Comeaux

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Easter Bunny Napkins Katherine Corrigan

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Something New Cindy Evans

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Beauty and Blessings Theresa Begin

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Springtime Quotes in Chalkboard Art Kimber of Sublime Living

Spring has finally arrived! As we celebrate the new season, new life, and new opportunities to serve our Savior, we want to welcome you to the Ruby for Women community.

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Introducing Kathi Macias, Author Interview by Beth Brubaker

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The Flu . . . A Positive Approach Sharon L. Patterson

The Ruby blog has recently been remodeled by Katherine of Blog Art by Katherine, and it is beautiful! We are looking forward to seeing you soon at Ruby for Women. Please stop by soon! www.rubyforwomen.com

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Putting Down Roots Connie Chandler

Spring, 2014 www.rubyforwomen.com

Senior Editor: Nina Newton Assistant Editor: Amanda Johnson Poetry: Keith Wallis Creative Assistant: Katherine Corrigan Family Fun Editor: Beth Brubaker Gardening: Dorothy Kurchak Devotions: Lynn Mosher Feature Writers: Connie Arnold, Jennifer Workman, Theresa Ceniccola, Mimi Spurlock, Chris Roe, Sharon L. Patterson, Elizabeth Baker, Gloria Doty, Kristi Burchfiel, Yvonne Carson, Angela Morris, Rhea B. Riddle, Amanda Stephan, Tricia Goyer, Michelle Lazurek, Connie Chandler, Kristin Bridgman, Linda M. Crate, Debra Ann Elliott, Corallie Buchanan, Christie Workman, Heather King, Patrice D. Wilkerson, Lanette Kissel, Cindy J. Evans, Brenda Diaz, Donna Comeaux, Sarah Johnson, Meg Manning, Cindy Bailey, Cathy Dyer, Donna McBroom-Theriot, Theresa Begin

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Page 9

Page 15

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes Katherine Corrigan

Ruby for Women is an online Christian women’s magazine that offers words of hope, inspiration, and encouragement to women everywhere. Knowing that every woman has a story to tell, we seek to give a “voice to every Christian woman,” from all walks of life, of every age, from all around the world. For advertising inquiries, please contact Nina Newton at editor@rubyforwomen.com If you would like to share your story with Ruby for Women, please email our Assistant Editor, Amanda Johnson, at ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Also, please visit our blog at www.rubyforwomen.com where you can connect with other Christian women. Ruby for Women 2731 W 700 N 1 Columbia City, IN 46725 editor@rubyforwomen.com


Page

Title

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Payback Donna Comeaux

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Angel in the Graveyard Keith Wallis

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At the Lord’s Supper Keith Wallis

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New Beginnings Brenda Diaz

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Ask Beth Beth Brubaker

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Your Song Connie Chandler

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God in Our Chaos Sharon L. Patterson

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Page 37

Bullet Journaling Donna McBroom-Theriot DIY Spring Wreath Crafts Vintage Mama

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The Power of the Story Michelle Lazurek

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Spell Check Police Puzzle Beth Brubaker

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Footprints in the Mud: Deep Breaths Beth Brubaker

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Broken Hallelujahs Keith Wallis

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Watershed Moments Cathy Dyer

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Sweet Spring Recipe: Daisy Cake Vintage Mama

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Lessons Learned in a Backpack Connie Chandler

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The Only Perfect Rose Lanette Kissel

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Brightly Fallen Keith Wallis

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The Worst Business Advice Ever: How to Run a Home Business with Integrity Theresa Ceniccola

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Eternal Journey Chris Roe

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Love

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Page 65

Page 71

Chris Roe 77

Not Different Enough Gloria Doty

Financial Freedom and Management Donna McBroom-Theriot

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Mother Love Jennifer Workman

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Surrendering to a New Life Brenda Diaz

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Ya Know What I’m Say’n? Kris Bridgman

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Meet Keith Wallis, Poet Interview by Beth Brubaker

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My Life in Christ Sharon L. Patterson

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Night of the Full Moon Mimi Spurlock

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Sudoku Puzzle and Split Word Puzzle Answer Keys Beth Brubaker

Creating a Culture of Grace in the Home Heather King Words to Encourage; Words that Inspire Yvonne Carson

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Ransom Lanette Kissel They Were Afraid of His Heart Lanette Kissel

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InScribed Bible Study Page 57 Book Review by Ramona of Create with Joy

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Thank Goodness It’s Spring! Dorothy Kurchak

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Title

You Dirty RAT! Christie Workman

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Split Words Puzzle Beth Brubaker

Spell Check Police Puzzle Answer Key Beth Brubaker

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Meet the Ruby Writers

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Credits and Copyrights

Page 77

Page 87

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Ruby for Women Magazine and Blog We want to hear your story, because God has given a voice to every Christian woman.

Please visit us at the Ruby for Women blog and share your story with us! * * * *

Inspirational posts Featured bloggers FREE seasonal online magazine Crafts, recipes, poetry, and stories

We would love to hear from you! www.rubyforwomen.com

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http://photo.elsoar.com/2014-calendar-all-months-12-jpegs.html

April 1 April Fool’s Day April 2 Children’s Book Day April 4 School Librarian Day April 7 No Housework Day April 12 Big Wind Day April 15 Titanic Remembrance Day

April 20 EASTER April 22 National Jelly Bean Day April 26 National Pretzel Day April 27 Tell a Story Day April 28 Great Poetry Reading Day April 30 National Honesty Day 4


Flying Solo Nina Newton, Sr. Editor We traveled to China . . . twice. Both times we had a tour guide as neither one of us speaks Chinese. We managed quite well, however, because many of the beautiful Chinese people we met either spoke a bit of English, or we were able to communicate through hand gestures and smiles. Of course, both times we took that long, long journey to the other side of the world, we were not so concerned about anything other than getting there to bring our babies home. All the other obstacles seemed insignificant after the many months of waiting, filling out paper work, waiting, writing letters, waiting, wondering, waiting, making travel arrangements, and waiting some more. We just wanted to get there and get back home. All of which was difficult but worth the outcome. But it was the flight over the oceans, across the top of the world, and through many time zones that was terrifying to me. I hate to fly. There is only one thing (well, actually two, and their names are Gracie and Annie) that would get me into an airplane for a 23 hour flight to a distant land. We were determined to bring those babies home, no matter whom or what got in our way. And there were a few times when it looked doubtful as to whether or not we could actually accomplish our goal of adoption. Recently I have had to remind myself of that adventure. There are times in our lives when we need to get out there and do what God has called us to do, no matter what the obstacles. Too often I have waited . . . . . for what, I’m not always sure . . . . perhaps because I am, by nature, a team player, I have waited until I had a “team” to join me on my journey. Of course, on our trips to China there were two of us the first time going over, and three of us coming back. And then, on the next trip there were three of us going over and four of us coming back. But at other times, when I felt God giving me a job to do, I somehow believed that I needed someone’s approval, or permission, or acceptance. So I waited, thinking that “this time” there would be a sign from God; that “Somebody” would show up to take my hand and walk along side me. As the years have gone by and I have found myself, again, flying solo, I have realized that it is time to stop waiting to do the work God has called me to do. With the support of my family I am determined to obey. There is much to do, and no time to waste waiting around for someone else to give me the “Go Ahead.” God has already given His permission, His approval, His support, and His encouragement. If God is on my team, then I guess I’m not flying solo, after all. That was a good experience to remember as I was looking at pictures of our trips to China. And as I look into the faces of our two beautiful daughters, I realize that if we had not obeyed God’s direction to go to China . . . . if we had waited for someone to approve or give their permission . . . . well, I suppose there might be two more little girls still waiting for a Forever Family. If you are wondering how you are going to do whatever it is that God has called you to do, alone or with a team, just remember, you are never flying solo. Too bad it took me so long to get a clue! 5


In the Shadow of His Wings by Amanda Johnson I love the song, “Your Love, Oh Lord,” by Third Day. It’s a beautiful reminder of the magnificent strength, presence, and ultimate love of God. In the song there is a line that says “I will find my strength In the shadow of your wings.” This reminded me of the time I found shelter literally in the shadow of a wing. Growing up, the highlight of spring was to attend the annual air show. This show brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors, pilots, and airplane enthusiasts from all over the world. Back when I was younger, the security for the event wasn’t as strict as it is today. There was a lot of freedom to move around the air field and get a firsthand glimpse at the different planes. My sister and I were not big fans of the air show, but my parents and brother loved it! I remember one year going to the air show on an especially hot Florida day. I was miserable as I’m sure everyone else was too; although, they hid it in their excitement over the festivities. Sometime in the middle of the humidity, my dad found a place for my brother, sister, and me to take shelter from the sun and enjoy a nice cool drink. We found rest sitting beside a small aircraft where ample shade from the heat was provided by the shadow of the plane’s wing. Psalm 91:1 says, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Sudoku Puzzle by Beth Brubaker

6 Answer key on page 94.


A Taste of Spring by Angela Morris Change, like seasons, happens to us all. Sometimes they are anticipated seasons such as childhood, adulthood, parenthood, growing up and growing old. Other times it is a change in lifestyle, jobs, income, faith and even routine. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;” Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 Spring is a wonderful example of overcoming and surviving. Some climates go through harsh cold conditions while others weather dry warm winters. Regardless, life insists on resparking at the hint of change. Seeds spring forth from the ground, birds return from migration and hibernating animals re-emerge from their hiding places. Spring becomes a wonderful season of starting over. It’s a season filled with song and bright colors, of warmer, lighter and longer days. We can learn so much from the perseverance of life that comes anew during the spring. “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12 Spring is a wonderful time to start anew. You can find inspiration all around you. For me I am taking on the journey of starting a new blog. My inspiration is “This World as I See It.” I am snapping photographs of my own little world and then creating an image that inspires me. My goal is to encourage others to slow down and take in this beautiful world God created. My purpose is to have you see what God so brilliantly provided in order to fill your soul and brighten your day. God gave us seasons that so beautifully reflect the cycle of life. So as we spring forward and await the thaw, think about how spring might inspire you. Blog address: http://thisworldasiseeit.wordpress.com Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pointshootcreate Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ampoetic12/this-world-as-i-see-it/ Zazzle Store: http://www.zazzle.com/realprettypics Photographs taken at USF Botanical Gardens 7


HEAVEN by Donna Comeaux Here is how I imagine it: The grass is luscious green, its path the roughest of gold Angels welcome me in and applaud the victory I hold As my feet touch the bottomless floor, I feel I will tilt over more I lean on the majestic walls and see there’s no ceiling at all Angels are smiling at me, bidding me “Hurry, come in” I hasten with glee overjoyed in the fact I soon will sit with the king I try hard to sing the song I’ve prepared, to stay on perfect key But my heart is so awe-inspired, I’m unsure that I can proceed The closer I get to his throne, the louder the angels do sing As I listen to the words of the hymn, it’s the one I’ve prepared for the king I stumble against the big door, my eyes affixed on this day An angel picked up my legs and carried me the rest of the way His wings enveloped me whole and gently he did lay me down The songs of the angels now hushed, one pushed me and turned me around There on the throne of my Lord, sat the King of great kings, I adore I lowered my head and fell down; I could look at his greatness no more He brushed the ball of my back, and softly sat me high on his lap Then he straightened and opened the book and read to me all of the facts When he was done he lifted me up and pointed across the Great Room Smiling intently as he watched me rejoice and dance to my favorite tune But I could not, would not go in, I fell on my knees before him “How could you let me journey so far, I was bad and sometimes lost heart.” “You repented,” he said softly to me, “and you bowed and surrendered your will” “See, the wicked believe in themselves. I forgive only those who prevail.” Donna B. Comeaux Freelance Writer, Poet, Author Copyright Pending March 10, 2014

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Sweet Spring Craft from Katherine’s Corner

Easter Bunny Napkins You may have seen these cute bunny ear napkin rings in some of your local shops. When I first discovered a pair of bunny ear napkin rings in one of the local shops in my town, I decided I just had to make some myself. And, of course, once I had a set of napkin rings, what else could I do but make a new set of Easter Bunny Napkins to go with them! So, I set up my sewing machine and got busy with this Easter Bunny Napkin Craft. Why not make a few of these adorable napkins for your springtime table setting? Maybe we’ll encourage spring to arrive . . . . finally! What you Need: •

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White or solid color cotton fabric pre-washed and ironed (or cotton linen mix). I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics Patterned cotton fabric (pre-washed and ironed) Velcro dots Needle and Thread Scissors Fancy trim (lace eyelet etc.) Embroidery hoop ( optional) Embroidery floss ( optional) Bunny template (I have been making these cute bunnies since I was a little girl. Just make circles and taa daa! But you can get my template below.) Sewing machine ( or needle and thread) Straight pins Iron Bunny Template ( see below) pom poms ( varying sizes)

Before You Start: (Right click on image below to copy, save and print. You may need to adjust the size). Cut out the bunny template. I have been making this adorable trio of bunnies since I was a little girl. It was one of the first things I taught my daughter to draw 9


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Let’s Make It! Begin by cutting your solid color fabric into 18 x 18 inch squares (or smaller if you prefer). Double roll the edges and press well with an iron.

Using your sewing machine or hand stitch, or if you are fortunate enough to have a rolled edge hemmer foot on your sewing machine, sew the pressed edge. Notice my supervisor Izzy is asleep on the job

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Next let’s add some trim to the top and bottom of the napkin (optional). Pin your trim/lace in place on the top and bottom edge of your napkin. Leave a bit (about a 1/2 inch) of the trim over the edge. Try to stitch over your original seam if possible. You may need to sew two rows if you are using wide trim like I am (sew one on the edge and one on your original seam). Stitch down using your sewing machine or needle and thread. Lay your cut out bunny template onto your printed fabric and pin in place. Cut the bunnies out and pin them to the center bottom of the napkin about an inch above your trim edge. Now the choice is yours to trim the bunny edges (this step sews them in place and keeps the edges from fraying). You can use an embroidery hoop and embroidery floss and do a satin stitch all of the way around. You can also use your sewing machine on zigzag or embroidery edge setting. Or you can hand stitch the bunnies onto the napkin using a blanket stitch. Whatever stitching technique best suits your comfort and skill level will work just fine. As you can see I am using a satin stitch and honesty I need a bit of practice. It has been a very long time since I did any embroidery and sadly it shows. Important tip - DO NOT try to do embroidery in a dark living room Use your iron to press the napkin carefully over the bunny applique. Now it’s time to add those cute tails! You will need to trim the Velcro dots to fit the size of the pom poms you are using. Hand stitch or use your sewing machine to attach the Velcro to the tails and the bunnies. (Use the fuzzy side of the Velcro on the bunnies). 12


I made the tails removable for washing the napkins. You can skip this step if you like and just stitch the tails on. I prefer to remove them so they stay nice and fluffy. I added more embroidery to the bunny edges for the finished napkins. And there you have it! Sweet Easter Bunny Napkins ♼ Have you ever made your own napkins?

Visit Katherine’s Corner for more fun crafts and other springtime inspiration! 13


Something New by Cindy Evans "Behold, I am doing something new," the Lord tells us in His Word. What new thing is He doing in you? What in your heart is being stirred? Is He showing you a place to serve or a new gift you can give? Is there something He wants to teach you as He shows you how to live? Is there someone you need to forgive to start the season off right? Is there a way He wants you to shine as you live as salt and light? Is there a new task He has for you, something only you can do? Is there a new challenge in your path that He will see you through..? Whatever new thing He has in store, it will be for your best... The coming days hold such promise and with God, you will be blessed!

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Beauty and Blessings by Theresa Begin Today I want to tell you how it is that I came upon these beautiful roses. Last Sunday, I was re-baptized! Prior to this day, I was born, baptized and raised Catholic by my parents, to whom I am forever grateful and indebted, and I am blessed to have them in my life. As an adult, however, I became a Christian, or a better description would be a non-Catholic, Christian. I choose to try and walk every day with Jesus Christ, my personal Savior. I was “reborn” with Christ about 10 years ago, but never felt the need to be immersed in water to prove that. I was baptized as an infant, after all. Then I watched the TV mini-series “The Bible” this past year. I often pray on matters in my life, asking myself, “What would Jesus do?’ So, when the actor playing our Christ the Lord walked up to John, as a grown man and said, ”Baptize Me, John,” I knew immediately what Jesus did. It has been on my heart since that night to be baptized (complete immersion in water, as Christ did). Soon after that experience, I joined with several other members of my church and I was immersed in water and baptized in obedience to the Lord! Five of my beautiful friends, and my Pastor (whom I love!!) all had their hands on me as I went down into the water and rose again, cleansed of my sins. It was one of, if not the, most incredible moments of my life! When I left, I felt as if I was walking in the clouds. I went to a local market to pick up some roses to make into a “Welcome Home” bouquet for my parents as well as a few to bring home. As I was in the store, I spotted these roses along with many other beauties. I looked at each bouquet quite extensively. I picked up this particular bouquet and put them back at least three times. Until, finally I decided they were the best! Flowers, especially roses, always look so different under the lighting of the store, so it can be difficult to be sure you have just what you want. Content with my purchase, I headed to my parents’ home to air out the house to wait for them to arrive, and make their “Welcome Home” bouquet.

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As I took out the scissors to cut the plastic sleeve wrapping the roses, I saw for the first time . . . these were “Faith” roses! They are perfection and a wonderful memory of my Baptismal Day. They get more beautiful each day!! I hope you have something that brings you as much Joy as these “Faith” roses have brought me!!

Please visit Theresa at her blog, Shoestring Elegance, to read more of her inspirational posts.

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 has also been blessed with many wonderful friends. She is a “retired” nurse and business woman. She says she is “retired” because God had different plans for her life. 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 You can read more of Theresa’s blog posts about her faith, family, and frugal style at “Shoestring Elegance.” 16


Fun and Fresh Springtime Quotes from Kimber of “Sublime Living”

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Visit Kimber at her blog, Sublime Living, for more creative and inspirational ideas.

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Introducing Kathi Macias, Author Interview by Beth Brubaker Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for joining us here at Ruby for Women! Please tell us a little about yourself. I was born and raised in Southern California. After brief stints in Texas, Colorado, and Washington, I ended up back in Southern California, where my husband and I live in a lovely retirement community. Though I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, I became a believer at 26 (four decades ago) and have been blessed to be in various kinds of Christian ministry ever since. My husband, Al, and I have six children, seventeen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. How does your Christian viewpoint affect your writing? Because I’ve been a believer for the vast majority of my life (and even ascribed to the basic tenets of Christianity before that), it’s difficult for me to write from any viewpoint other than a Christian worldview. At the same time I try to tackle some of the toughest topics imaginable (homelessness, human trafficking/sexual slavery, abuse, persecuted Church, abortion) in my novels, showing them for the hard issues they are while taking my reader through the arc of changes and challenges my characters must face as they deal with these situations. Often my main characters either come to faith for the first time or move to a place of deeper commitment, all as a result of God’s leading through these tough topics. Though my books are unapologetically written from a Christian worldview, many of my readers are unbelievers, drawn in by the subject matter. What made you want to be a writer and speaker? I’ve never wanted to be anything but a writer. I developed a love affair with words even before I started school. I wrote a short story in second grade that my teacher liked so much she showed it to the principal. They agreed to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! Then, in junior high and high school, I worked on the school papers, took journalism and creative writing, and won several awards in our annual writing contest. The speaking part didn’t come into play until later, and it caught me by surprise as I was terrified of public speaking when I was young. I love it now, though, and have found that the two—writing and speaking—go hand in hand. 19


I see you used to be a newspaper columnist. What did you write about and for what newspaper? I did a bit of string reporting, but primarily I wrote an about-town type of column called “My Two Cents Worth” (which is about what they paid me!). I really enjoyed it, though. We lived in a small town, so when the first major chain grocery store opened up, it was a big deal. I wrote about that. I also wrote about the local soccer games and the fiftieth anniversary of the hardware store on Main Street—things like that. It was a lot of fun, and I got to know nearly everyone in town. It was the Simi Valley Enterprise, though I lived in the small nearby town of Moorpark, which wasn’t big enough for a daily paper, so nearly all the residents got the Enterprise and liked the personal feel of my Moorpark column. How did you first start out as a writer? I studied journalism after high school and soon landed the job at the newspaper. Though I enjoyed it, it wasn’t what I really wanted to do longterm. Once I was a believer I began contributing articles to our church newsletter. One of them was picked up by the denominational magazine (they even sent me a small check!), and that’s when I decided to start submitting to other Christian magazines. Eventually I landed an entry-level editorial assistant job at Gospel Light Publishing, which I really enjoyed. Not long after that I started submitting book proposals and received two contracts within a year (1988). I’ve published about 40 books since then. Forty books is a lot of books to write! How many of them bear your name, and how many are ghostwritten? All of those forty books have my name on them, though I’ve also ghostwritten and edited scores of others. I’ve managed to stay very busy since I published that first book! Do you write differently when writing as yourself vs. as a ghostwriter? Oh, definitely. Ghostwriting (often called collaborative writing these days) involves studying the voice and emotions and mannerisms of the person you’re writing for, as well as learning their story. The story MUST sound as if the author (not the ghostwriter) wrote it, not as if the ghostwriter is telling the author’s story. I always advise people who want to go into this sort of writing to take some acting/drama classes. That helped me learn how to “climb inside someone else’s skin,” an absolute necessity for successful ghostwriting. 20


Approximately how long does it take you to write a book? I’ve been on a tight schedule these last years, churning out several books a year, so I usually have about three months to research and write a book. It’s tough, but it keeps me on task, which is vital to good, effective writing. Some of the main characters in your books are Muslim. Why? This is primarily true in People of the Book, a novel set in Saudi Arabia. It was a tough book to research, much more difficult than most of my international books because I like to have someone who lives in the country I’m writing about work with me on the book. I tried to make contact with women in Saudi Arabia, but the ones I connected with online were too frightened to work with me. I finally found a lady who had grown up there and only recently moved to the States. She was a huge help in developing the setting and characters for the book. As to the “why,” I was writing an international series on believers around the world who are persecuted for their faith, and I knew I had to include at least one Muslim country. It is not only difficult, but extremely dangerous to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia. Some of our readers come into contact with Muslim families every day, but don't really know how to get to know these families better. Do you have any suggestions? Go slow, and pray a lot. Learn as much as you can about their faith—and remember, there are various branches of Islam, so try to find out what type of Muslims they may be. You don’t need to be an expert on the topic, but know enough that you can show respect for their beliefs. I’m a strong believer in “friendship evangelism,” getting to know someone and earning the right to speak into their lives before trying to do so. Do you have a publisher, or are you self-published? I have published with many different traditional publishers, though I did self-publish one of my books—The Train-of-Thought Writing Method workbook. Because I sell that book primarily at writers’ conferences, it seemed to make sense to self-publish and maintain all rights. It has worked out well because of the built-in platform for sales. Otherwise self-publishing makes it extremely difficult ever to garner many sales.

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When your first book came out, how did you market it? When my first book released in 1988 I did absolutely nothing to market it, as in those days Christian authors had no agents or publicists. All we did was turn the manuscript into the publisher, and they did all the marketing. Boy, has that changed! I had to learn all that later, as times change—and I either got onboard or got left behind! Now I have a personal publicist, as well as the publicist at whichever publishing house I’m working with at the time, to help me obtain radio/TV interviews, etc. I also have a social media assistant to keep me visible online when I’m busy doing other things.

You've also done radio and TV spots, as well as public speaking. How did you first get started and what did you talk about? That was the toughest part for me. I was intimidated by public speaking, but drama/acting classes helped a lot—not to mention praying and trusting God when I knew that’s what He was calling me to do! I spoke about whatever topic applied to my book(s), and eventually found myself quite relaxed and enjoying that sort of thing. Which of the three did you like doing the most, and why? I still enjoy writing the most, as I can do it at home on my own schedule—in my PJ’s and drinking my morning tea. Can’t beat that! Which of the three do you like doing the least, and why? TV is my least favorite. I can do radio the same way I do my writing—at home in casual clothes. TV? No way! I have to travel to the station (sometimes in another country), dress up, do the whole makeup thing, and try to act natural when the cameras are in my face. That’s the most challenging. Speaking to a group of people, regardless of size, is much easier and more natural than TV. 22


Have you won any awards? Quite a few, actually. I’ve won an Angel Award; I was a Carol Award finalist; I won Novel of the Year from Golden Scrolls in 2011; Author of the Year from Books and Authors in 2011, and Book of the Year from Books and Authors in 2012. My January 2012 release, The Moses Quilt, was voted Fiction Book of the Month at The Book Club Network. What advice can you give new writers who have yet to be published? Be absolutely certain God has called you to do this, as there will be many disappointments and discouragements along the way. Writing is very hard work, often for little or no pay. But if you know you’re obeying God, then you are successful from the moment you begin writing—not when you become published. If God has called you to write, then respond accordingly, and leave the outcome to Him. If you had one message to tell the world, what would it be? Being obedient to fulfill God’s call on your life is the most important thing you will ever do. That is the sum total of my bucket list, and it should be yours as well. All the rest is just fluff. What new ventures have you gotten into? I am now Senior Vice President of Acquisitions at Elk Lake Publishing, a relatively new publisher, but one making its mark in the Christian fiction world. What an exciting thing for God to bless me with at this stage of my life—just when I was considering retiring! Thank you so much for your time, Kathy!

Visit Kathi Macias at her website for more information about her books and her speaking schedule. www.kathimacias.com 23


The Flu . . . A Positive Approach Sharon L. Patterson I often try to find some kind of good, when I can, in predicaments that are hard to understand Like the sleepless nights I’ve taken care of my child with the flu then turned right around and come down with it, too. There’s only one consolation as I glance in the mirror that, by chance, I walk by on my fifteenth trip to the “you-know-what.” Though pitifully ill, I spot a surprise . . . a new me right before my eyes! The pounds that I gained in December, (okay, in all honesty… from way back in September!) that I swore would be lost, at any cost, by March’s end are already gone . . . for a few hours, I’m thin! 24


Putting Down Roots by Connie Chandler Ben is currently planting our trees. My roommate, Hannah and I went a little garden crazy in March, and bought a ton of flowers and plants, and two trees - a peach tree and a dogwood tree. The flowers and plants are now in the ground, but the trees have remained in their pots by the shed, waiting pretty patiently for us to give them natural space to grow. The dogwood has been less than patient, and the leaves have gotten kind of wilted. Today is a beautiful blue-sky-75-degree kind of day in Fort Wayne, IN, so Ben asked if he could plant our trees for us. Who is Ben? Ben is our neighbor, and an intern in our ministry team. He is a good guy, and we enjoy having another brother in our community. And apparently he knows a bit about trees and landscaping . . . "We thought we could just put them in the front yard, here… and here…” I waved to general spaces in front the house. Ben grabbed a shovel and a tree, and dutifully headed off to the designated spots, while I went inside to make a smoothie. About one minute later, Ben came in the back door, and as awkwardly and gently and respectfully as possible, told me that people don't normally plant fruit trees in the front yard. Oh really? And why? "They're just… not really… front yard type of trees." I have no problem admitting that I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to trees. I'm a romantic. In my imagination, I am brilliant with plants . . . I sing to them and they grow. I sit beneath them and the foliage thickens. I plant them and their branches reach to the heavens and their roots dig deep to the center of the earth. That is how it works in my mind, which is a magical and terrifying place to dwell in. So when someone tells me that my trees should go somewhere else, it surprises me, but really doesn't surprise me. And I think I'm generally, more often than not, wise and humble enough to take this sort of criticism / advice / redirection. And I was in this case. With a carefree wave of my hand I said, "Ben, I trust your suggestions. Plant them wherever the Lord leads you!" 25


It seems that lately I've heard a lot of my friends talking about "putting down roots" - when and where to do it, how and how much and why. Maybe it's this time of life, but so many of us are getting over our youthful, transient, spontaneous lifestyle and are desiring more and more to be in one place and invest deeply there, whether it means buying a house, getting married, or having a career. The struggle comes in wanting to be flexible and Spirit-led at the same time, not restricting ourselves to things that could impede our ministry. The Bible talks a lot about roots - being planted and grounded. In fact, this morning I read in Hosea 14: "Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon."

“Putting down roots means I've got to trust the Master Gardener to take me out of the safety of the pot and place me where he wants me to grow - and he knows the best place for that. Of course, I think being rooted in His love and grace is the very best place to be.�

Besides making me want to buy an olive tree (for my backyard, of course), this verse made me want to become like a cedar tree - so powerful and beautiful and solid and useful. But cedars don't grow in pots. It means I've got to trust the Master Gardener to take me out of the safety of the pot and place me where he wants me to grow - and he knows the best place for that. Of course, I think being rooted in His love and grace is the very best place to be. But as far as physical, relational, occupational location - well, I've decided to trust him to pick the best corner of his yard for me, where I can thrive and grow the most. Connie Chandler lives in a Hobbit Hole in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she teaches and serves in international refugee ministry. She loves studying the Bible, trying new things, listening to stories, going on adventures, and drinking hot tea. She sits in a wheelchair because she has a disability that weakens her muscles but not her spirit. She shares the stories of God’s strength and faithfulness in her life on her blog: conniesbowlofcherries.blogspot.com. 26


Celebrate Spring! Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from the Kitchen of Katherine’s Corner What a delightful fragrance and flavor! Lemon is one of our favorites, bringing back memories of bright spring days of sunshine and warmth. Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are the perfect finish to a springtime dinner or with a cup of tea while chatting with a special friend. A swirl of lemon meringue creates the delicious, airy topping to these yummy cupcakes. An “almost-fromscratch” recipe, it is quick and easy, and oh, so pretty! What You Need: For the Cupcakes • • • • • •

1 Box lemon cake mix (I like Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Lemon Supreme Cake Mix 18.25 oz.) 1 Cup water 1/3 Cup vegetable oil 3 Eggs 1 Lemon for zesting 2 Tbsp. lemon zest

For the Meringue • • • •

3 Egg whites 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar 3/4 Cup sugar 1/2 tsp. lemon extract

• • • • • • • •

24 count cupcake tin Cupcake liners Nonstick cooking spray 2 mixing bowls Electric mixer Ice cream scoop Pastry bag and tip (your choice of style) Wire cooling rack 27


Before You Start: Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake tin with paper liners and spray the inside of the liners with nonstick spray. Prepare your piping bag. Let’s Make It! In a bowl prepare cake mix according to directions and add the lemon zest. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop level scoop-fulls of cake mix into each cupcake liner, filling to about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-25 minutes until they are golden or pass the tooth pick test* Remove from oven and adjust heat to 400° In a bowl combine egg whites, cream of tartar and lemon extract, using your electric mixer on medium high speed beat until fluffy soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar a little bit at a time until stiff shiny peaks appear and the sugar is completely dissolved. Scoop into your piping bag and pipe a swirly peak on top of each cupcake. Return your cupcakes to the oven on the top rack and bake until the meringue edges brown (about 35 minutes) watch closely, you only want the edges brown. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then place on wire rack to continue cooling. Serve s 24 cupcakes Katie’s Tid Bits - Try replacing everything lemon with orange! *a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean Find more great lemon recipes at

Katherine’s Corner!

Lemon Cake at Katherine’s Corner 28 Lemon Cups at Katherine’s Corner


Payback by Donna Comeaux

I find it easier to give love rather than receive it. I’m baffled by the kind of love that accepts you just as you are, warts and all. Life is so conditional from where I stand. For too long, my definition of love places a star next to your name when you’ve been good. It's similar to my elementary days when I received a Coke for winning the Spelling Bee (and I always won the Spelling Bee). Giving me love detached from any good I’ve done is unfathomable ... until I met my husband, Glenn. I’m one who needs to use life’s bumps and bruises to push me from one point to the other–a method that has improved my lifestyle since childhood. However, there are terrible, sometimes severe, consequences to my method. At times, I’m too hard on myself, and I’m just as hard on others, leaving little room for humanity to disrupt my meticulously wellplanned life. It’s the only way I know to live. My husband, on the other hand, sees and lives his life differently. He’s a sort of “good ole city boy” from southern Texas and he is entirely comfortable standing on a street corner striking up a conversation with a stranger. This same man saw me one day many years ago as a student in a high school classroom. He was smitten (not my words, his), yet he wasn’t comfortable asking me out on a date. As a matter of fact, he was downright nervous. At first it was hard for me to imagine this 220-pound, six-foot tall, handsome, popular linebacker to be a shy, frightened young man lost for words when approaching someone like me. I saw myself as an uppity senior housed in a toothpick frame weighing ninety-nine pounds soaking wet. I didn’t understand his interest in me. Today, I can see this kind, soft, genteel, shy side of him that was lost for words many years ago.

“At times, I’m too hard on myself, and I’m just as hard on others, leaving little room for humanity to disrupt my meticulously well-planned life. It’s the only way I know to live. My husband, on the other hand, sees and lives his life differently. He’s a sort of “good ole city boy” from southern Texas and he is entirely comfortable standing on a street corner striking up a conversation with a stranger.” 29


Our opposites were attracted to one another: me, Miss Articulate; him, Mr. Tongue-Tied; me, Miss Serious; him, Mr. Comedian. Our high school later named us "The Cutest Couple." Though it was hard for Glenn to approach me, he did, and two-and-a-half years later, we were married. Later, he told me, “You complete me.” He has reluctantly admitted a time or two that without me, he would be lost. From day one he said he wanted to “put my name in lights” and give me the world. Each time he revisits those romantic moments, I see its meaning swell up in his eyes. I can’t remember a day when this man didn’t love me. Not one. The kind of love Glenn has for me is unimaginable. It’s a fairytale, a big-screen chick-flick, a romance novel woven into my everyday life. ` To us it’s real, and I constantly fight the urge to rush out and buy him roses and an expensive gift, cook his favorite meal, or try to invent some way to roll myself into a sweet, mouthwatering piece of chocolate that satisfies not only his sweet tooth, but his life. While sharing my thanksgiving with my long-time friend, she enlightened me. “Love is a gift,” she spoke softly. Those words hung in the air as she tried to explain any attempts to pay my husband back would be akin to returning a rare and precious diamond to the mines. You might as well say, “No, thank you” to someone who is trying to shield you from a downpour. My friend’s words didn’t soak in. My psyche couldn’t handle such wisdom. I found myself caught up with the idea to do something for Glenn.

“Love is a gift,” she spoke softly. Those words hung in the air as she tried to explain any attempts to pay my husband back would be akin to returning a rare and precious diamond to the mines. You might as well say, “No, thank you” to someone who is trying to shield you from a downpour.”

I ended up doing things out of the ordinary. On more than one occasion, I prepared his favorite meal. With everything in me, I warded off the temptation to create a ‘honey-do’ list and decided to let him nap as long as he wanted on the weekends. I kept the car filled with gas. I took out the trash. I shocked him by allowing him to have complete access to the television remote so he could watch those ridiculous programs he enjoys. At first he smiled at me and thought I wanted something. He patiently waited for me to creep next to him, as I sometimes do, and bat my eyes and pout like a two-year old. 30


But when I never came to him with my large brown eyes begging for something else I really didn’t need, he began to look at me suspiciously and questioned my behavior. I tried to explain it was my way of letting him know I appreciated his love and I wanted to pay him back for all he had done for me. I continued my ramblings, trying to get him to see how I understood the sacrifices he had made in order to take good care of me and give me a fine life. To my surprise, disappointment filled Glenn’s eyes and sagged heavily in his face. I didn’t understand his reaction. This misunderstanding transformed to anger and we fought. It must have taken a hundred fights before we could get to the bottom of it all. Unfortunately, it took me even longer to realize what I had done. My altruistic attempts were like that of a dog chasing his tail. I was chasing my own ideas of what a ‘thank you’ should look and feel like. I can’t count how many nights I stayed awake tossing and turning, trying to scheme my next outpouring of thank you gifts. It wasn’t long before I became a grouch because of my sleepless nights of planning. Soon, his favorite meals burned. Candles became scented au jus on days he’d come home unexpectedly late. Instead of creating a loving, romantic atmosphere, our home was tense, strained. My good intentions turned sour, filled with frustration, sometimes leaving me bitter and angry. Payback proved to be a lot harder than I anticipated. I sulked, until one day my friend’s words spoke back to me: “Love is a gift.” A gift? A gift. Sometimes the intangible and unadulterated things in life can be the most difficult to accept. In my case, all I had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy Glenn’s love. His love is unconditional. It is manifested in overtime pay for something I don’t need. It’s a slave to my desires and whimsical ideas. It makes me weak and senseless, leaves me smiling until my jaws are pained and tight. It’s a deposit that requires no return.

“Sometimes the intangible and unadulterated things in life can be the most difficult to accept. In my case, all I had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy Glenn’s love. His love is unconditional.” 31


It has taken me years to accept such a gift without feeling a need to counteract it. When my struggles to accept Glenn’s precious gift becomes harder than it should be, I think of myself as his gift. I’m packaged in pretty, silky-smooth chocolate skin with powder-blue ribbons and bows tied at my wrists, neck, waist, and ankles. With a big smile on my face, I glide into his arms. Secretly I declare that I’m done with payback— guilt free. When the moment is right, I whisper in his ear, “Thank you honey.” I’ve learned that’s enough. It’s all that was ever needed. Donna B. Comeaux Freelance Writer, Author, Poet “’Thank you’ is a heartfelt, compassionate gratitude for something I don’t deserve. An attempt to make it into anything else destroys the initial love that afforded the ‘Thank you’ in the first place.” by Donna B. Comeaux

Visit Donna at her blog, A Writer First, to read more of her inspirational posts. Donna resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Glenn. Together, they have two children and five grandchildren. She draws inspiration from her life, the life of others, the news, and her wild and vivid imagination. She is a freelance writer and contributes articles to numerous onsite publications. She has written several poems for funerals and weddings, and is in the process of editing her first completed family saga, White Castle. She will begin work on her second novel, Taken by Choice, and start writing a collection of short stories in 2014. 32


Angel in the Graveyard by Keith Wallis

“Why are you resting here?” asks the angel. “Are you waiting, afraid to journey on, tethered by the imperfect love that draws others here in their devotionals?” “Are you sleeping living dreams of Gerontius while the only music is grass growing and the lullaby of birds?” “Or is the allure of this tomb the fascination of a former, emptier, sepulchre in an early morning garden, many conversations with angels ago?”

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At the Lord’s Supper by Keith Wallis Beside the anticipation of bread and wine, in the resurrection shadow of the cross we share the stillness You and I. We converse in unspoken words our separation too wide for speech our meeting too close for silence. We bring no sin here – for your presence is cleansing and the shadow of my sin shrinks with Your rising. We bring no scars here for your presence is healing and the shadow of my hurt fades before Your light. There is only one shadow here; the bright shadow of love which shines from Your heart.

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New Beginnings by Brenda Diaz

I absolutely love the season of spring! By its very nature, it fills me with a deep sense of joy and happiness. It represents new life which naturally motivates me to want to grow and be renewed. How blessed I am that God favors me so much that He has given me the opportunity to grow and be renewed within my marriage. This past December I found myself in an unbelievable situation where I couldn’t see God's hand in it at all. I was (or I thought I was) losing the love of my life. In hind sight, I see now that even in that situation, God had His plans laid out for me in my marriage. My husband and I had been married for a year and a half and the one sure thing in our marriage has always been our love for each other. Loving my husband was the most beautiful experience I could have ever had the privilege of experiencing. However, living with the reality of who we were as individuals was a challenge. The differences were many: character, personality, age (we both were 45 when we got married, so we were already set in our ways, so to speak), as well as our professions. But and the most challenging of all was the need to blend our families. Then the unimaginable happened. We let our guard down and allowed the “realities” of everyday life to break our marriage so much that we found ourselves separated from each other. Again God, in his infinite love and mercy for the both of us, turned that situation around. God touched my husband in such a way that it will forever be in our minds and hearts. My husband experienced an “aha” moment that allowed him to see clearly his life as a man, as a husband, and as a father. On Christmas Day, my husband felt such restlessness in his heart from all that had happened between us. He felt compelled to kneel in front of the cross that was by his bed in his room. He began to ask the Lord to take away all the anger, the pain and the hurt that he was feeling. At that moment, the Lord answered his prayer by showering him with the Holy Spirit and lo and behold he was released of all those feelings! Praise God, that experience saved our marriage. John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” How loved and favored we are to be able to renew our commitment to each other and grow even more in the love of God, for each other and for our family. This moment for me is my spring time, and I am filled with joy and happiness. All Praise and Glory to God! 35


Ask Beth by Beth Brubaker Dear Beth, I want to do a vegetable gardening ministry with city children, but I don't know where to start! Do you have any suggestions?

Sow N. Teach Dear Sow, Actually, I have several ideas that might help! Have you considered working out a program with the local schools? Many schools have unfenced patches of ground that would hold a decent sized garden, and you can plan ahead so they are working on the project all throughout the school year and during the summer. It would not only serve the school (to boost their lunch programs depending on what was planted), but the community as a whole if they have enough ground. And the kids can work on it with you during the summer! This is especially good for kids in schools that require a certain amount of community service hours. Once a program is established (with rules for the kids to follow), ask the parents for a small donation to provide beds, soil, tools and seeds for the garden. Five to ten dollars each should be enough to get started or you can ask your local gardening center to donate the bigger ticket items to save on costs. During the winter months you can concentrate on cleaning up the old plots, refreshing them, and starting new seedlings to be ready by spring. This would be a great way for the kids to learn (and look forward to as they get to go outside!) and help their school, families and neighbors. They can even sell the excess produce to benefit the school! If the schools aren't an option, find places like recreation centers, churches, or other places that will have access to a lot of kid traffic and a patch of land to use. The same schematic above should work in any of these places with a little tweaking. You can also start small and do this in your own neighborhood if you or neighbors have yard space to spare. Front or side yards are best (so the neighbors can see the results), and the kids and their families benefit directly from the crops. You can also teach them how to save the seeds for next year, so they can start their own personal gardens! That's when you can turn this into a much bigger ministry - all you have to do is find a new neighborhood each year and eventually share your gardening joy with the whole city! 36


The Power of the Story by Michelle Lazurek So, how do we do that?

I flipped through the television stations trying to find something interesting on a Sunday evening. I scrolled through each channel, watching as show after predictable show came across the screen. Suddenly, a performance by Cirque Du Soleil grabbed my attention. Their gorgeous costumes and ability to tell a story caught my eye and caused me to put down the remote control. As they progressed through their intricately choreographed acrobatic routine, I became entranced in each movement. The performers didn’t just go through the motions, but they took viewers on a journey. Their choreography told a story and made me, as a viewer, engage and relate to their story. As Christians, the most powerful message we have is our stories. Our testimonies about our relationship with God are the one thing people cannot argue with. It is our duty to share our stories about Christ’s love in such a way that makes those around us relate and engage with them. Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosaic Church in California, stated at the M 2011 Leadership Conference, “Culture is created by storytellers. And when you create the narrative, you become the navigator of the journey.”1 McManus continued, “The church needs to move from an organization that clusters people to faith and become the dynamic instrument creating the future the rest of humanity will have to contend with.”2

Be authentic - The Cirque Du Soleil performers did not resort to computer generated gimmicks or stunt doubles to enhance their performance. They performed every stunt with no assistance, adding to their show the element of danger. In the same way, we cannot resort to gimmicks or when it comes to our walk with God. NonChristians know when we genuinely care about their wellbeing, or just becoming friends to convert them or make them our charity case. They also know when they are being lured into hearing a sermon on salvation when we offer them a gimmick like winning an I Pad rather than offering them a genuine relationship with God. Our testimonies of His transformative work in our lives should be enough to entice them to a accept Christ. But we need to be living a life worthy enough to want to emulate. If Christians are not living authentic lives with Christ, how can we expect others to live one? Be Bold- Sharing your story is not easy, but it helps others to know you in an intimate way. Because of this sharing of intimacy, trust is built. Trust is a necessary step in others accepting Christ’s love. Be an example- Second Timothy says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in life, in love in purity and self-discipline.” Setting an example does not imply perfection. We need to do our best to emulate Christ-like character, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. What is your story? Who is God calling you to 37 share your story with today? 1 2

www.youtube.com ibid.


Your Song by Connie Chandler "By day the Lord directs His love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life." - Psalm 42:8

Long ago, You put your song in my soul A melody of truth and hope, Inspired by redemption and grace, Accompanied by joy and love, Harmonized with freedom and peace. It created life and light in me And I sang it for all to hear. There have been times, I confess, When the tune begins to feel monotonous I get bored and impatient and distracted. Other songs sound more fresh and exciting, And I turn my ear to listen. I think how much better this song would sound With refrains of romance and dynamics of thrill, With crescendos of tangible success and cadences of visible results. But every time I improvise to try to improve it, The canon clashes and screeches in dissonance. I come back to You - oh, Great Composer With broken chords and a broken heart, And You play your song once again for me, And You say, "Sing along this time - you know the words." At first I am afraid to Ashamed that I have disregarded it and forgotten. I timidly hum along, and it comes back to me - every note and beat, And then I realize the music never stopped or faded; It's always been there, waiting for me to listen and join in A song of salvation - of You! - of Your great mercy and glory. And You didn't create it for me; You created me for it, To sing it, play it, proclaim it with my whole life. So I do... And as I do, I hear the deeper magic and beauty Your romance and thrill, A much purer and stronger and richer sound than mine, Woven throughout all history and all my life The song You wrote, and placed in my soul.

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Bullet Journaling from the Louisiana Planner Girl Donna McBroom-Theriot I’ve been hearing a lot lately on bullet journaling. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, so I decided to Google it. After all, doesn’t Google know everything? I was quite surprised to realize I already a use bullet journaling technique. I am a list maker. I like making lists. I like my lists – get the picture here? I used to make lists with little dots in front of them – never knowing that people actually teach this sort of thing. To me, it was an easy way of distinguishing each task on the list. Then, I graduated to using numbers. I’m the first to tell you to do your own adding and subtracting – and Heaven forbid anything more complicated than that – for yourself. I’m a writer (not claiming to be a good one, just one) not a number person. I am one of those people who freak out at counting change in public. I would rather break a dollar than count change. But, in this instance, I like numbers. Numbers are orderly, and my brain likes orderliness. I found a video online about bullet journaling, and while his bullet journaling technique looks and sounds great, it is just not how my brain works. Ryder Carroll uses boxes, circles, and dots in his journal book. I liked the little boxes and the idea of checking them off. Scratching through items is messy and too chaotic for my brain, and after a while makes it difficult to see what has been accomplished and what hasn’t. And, like him, I use the star method to draw attention to important to-dos. But, my brain likes pretty-pretty and writing in a graph book is just not going to do it for me. Also, for my personality, I need less cluttered structure. I would love to know Ryder’s personality type, one, because personality traits fascinate me, and two, because I am interested in the correlation between his personality and his chosen methodology – bullet journaling. In my planner, I have a pretty week on two pages that I love. It’s colorful and cheerful and adding colorful washi tape and stickers draws me in and makes me want to sit down and plan my week. This works so well that I now have each day broken up into boxes and columns. I can label columns and put tasks or appointments relating to the column heading into the appropriate box. It allows me to compartmentalize, which in turn keeps me focused – really helpful if you have zero attention span – as I do. I also use a daily sheet. It has a place for phone calls and a little to-do spot as well as a time frame list. This works with my brain. I jot down things on my week on two pages and each day I transfer what I need to do. 39


I also add things as they come up. Using the daily sheet keeps me focused because I only have to look at one page. There are also weeks when my days aren’t so busy and I actually use the same daily sheet for a couple or three days. I am also able to schedule my time. I need this to stay focused and be able to accomplish things. If not, I wander around doing whatever grabs my attention and miss doing things that may be important – just ask Hubby. Poor man! I drive him crazy! Located behind the daily page is a week at a glance where I keep my blog information. While all of this may seem redundant to some, it works in keeping me focused – remember, zero attention span. It works with my mind (as you’ve heard me say before) and not against it. I like to look at the project page (which is what I call it) and see at a glance the next book that is up or the next post I need to write. I also have space to jot down ideas for future blog posts. And, as if all of my pages wouldn’t drive someone else insane, I recently added a card to the mix. It is ongoing information or a list of things that need to be done but don’t necessarily need to be done immediately. I can move the card from week to week, or take it out and use it when I run errands. I recently purchased a Sizzix machine and I can now make pretty little cards for this purpose. I am more likely to sit down and write my to-do list if I have a pretty place to write it down; a plain piece of paper just wasn’t working for me. While I really liked the bullet journaling video and will probably watch it again to see if there are any additional pointers I can translate into my own system, his way of bullet journaling is not going to work for me. Yes, it is an easy system and I could see myself following his method, but it wouldn’t be fun for me. It would seem like a chore. I like my pretty papers and my cards and stickers. So, for me, I think I’ll stick with my Day-Timer and the inserts I’ve found. It’s a good system and one that I have stuck with for many months. The important thing about choosing a planner is to figure out what system will work for you, how much information you are willing to document and how much time you are willing to devote to it. My system involves several pages, but in real-time, it doesn’t require a lot of my time to set up each week. I also find comfort in sitting down to plan my week and enjoy the creativeness it takes to decorate my planner. There is just something cathartic about putting colored ink to paper. If you are looking for a quick, simple way to organize your thoughts and life, I encourage you to watch the video and try the bullet journaling method. I’d be curious to know how it works for you. Looking to become part of a planner group? Check out my group on Facebook – Southern Charm Planners. We Southerners consider everyone a friend, so don’t let that deter you from joining! https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/ 40


Welcome Spring with a DIY Wreath on Your Front Door! All Around the Blogosphere with Vintage Mama What a delightful way to welcome spring! These whimsical and charming hand crafted wreaths are just what you need to brighten up your little corner of the world. All of these wreaths, and the tutorials for making them, can be found on the websites listed below. All images belong to the bloggers who created the wreaths. Please visit their blogs and see all the other amazing spring craft projects available all around the blogosphere! Adorable! Spring Green Wreath from Bonita Rose is made using fuzzy bright green yarn wrapped around a wreath form and embellished with tiny flowers and a pink lace ribbon. Super simple but oh-so-cute! This gorgeous wrapped wreath from My Little Corner of the World was created using a skein of bright yellow yarn wrapped around a wreath form, then embellished with fabric flower rosettes and sprigs of silk flowers. The soft green ribbon hanger is the perfect accent!

Simply charming! This elegant Ruffled Muslin Wreath was designed and created using plain muslin fabric wrapped around a wreath form, and embellished with fabric rosettes, and tiny craft bird’s nest and a strip of fabric for hanging. This one would be perfect through the spring and early summer, and the neutral colors would go with any home dÊcor color scheme. The complete tutorial is available from My Blessed Life. 41


This has got to be one of our favorite wreaths ever! Not only is this wreath just plain cute, it is truly a reminder that summer is not far away! The complete tutorial for making this sweet Garden Hose Spring Wreath can be found at Create. Craft. Love.

This colorful wrapped wreath was created using strips of vintage sheet fabric. Designed by Jeni Baker of In Color Order, this bright spring wreath can also be made from strips of any fabric and / or ribbons, and embellished with fabric rosettes. You can find the complete tutorial on her blog, In Color Order.

Those little banner draped across a wreath add just the perfect added touch of joy! This cute burlap-wrapped wreath was designed and created by Tanya and you can find the complete tutorial on her blog, Twelve O Eight. The burlap with white lace wrapped around the wreath base is a beautiful foundation for the yellow, green, and light blue flowers . . . and the little tags for the banner were created from cards and letters with a strand of jute woven through them. Delightful!

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God in Our Chaos by Sharon L. Patterson

“I think I will write about that…” was my comment recently when my small group met for fellowship. It was soon evident we were not there simply for the great food offered by the restaurant. From the beginning conversation, we grasped a very apparent emerging theme for half of our group: Two of us were in the middle of chaos in our family situations and the other two had just moved out of chaotic family conditions. Half our group had just sent prayers of “SOS” even as the others were praying, “Praise the Lord, order has been restored.” There are many results of chaos but perhaps one of the most frustrating is loss of perspective as we drown in a sea of loose ends: broken relationships, out of control behavior, addictions, and devastated emotions are all around with no life preserver in sight. It feels quite hellish and hopeless when we are in the middle of it. I love the Lord’s promise never to leave us or forsake us. Several weeks ago, I planned the get together. Before I ever thought of my plan, the Lord had a perfect one; complete with life savers He brought to our fellowship. He used faith through testimony of the two He had already lifted out of chaos. By the end of our dinner, we all left with a positive testimony, clear perspective, hope filled solutions and determined faith. Our conversation had a very positive direction. Chaos comes to the life of each one of us. It’s scattered debris and endless details leave us exhausted as we try to figure out how the broken pieces, chards of an impossible puzzle will somehow produce lost order. The most important thing to remember when storms and crises leave chaos is to decide who will be God in our chaos. If we make ourselves in charge using our own wisdom and solutions to bring order we run great risk. Strangely, the chaos we have become accustomed to simply changes into new chaos with little, if any, effective difference to our circumstances. Stress deepens, confusion expands, temporary fixes dissolve into nothing and we find we are master of nothing. Should we make the best choice and have God be God in our chaos, then we will be pleasantly surprised by the changes that take place. Not only that, but He can take all the sharp-edged shards, mountains of mindless and disjointed information, opposing views and directions and make purpose and meaning come together out of it all. He sees it from the highest vantage point; He is working with the chaos that is taking place for a greater good for all that are involved, if we let Him. He who is THE WAY, makes one where there seems to be none. He who is WISDOM brings succinct solutions. He who is TRUTH dissolves the lies. He who is Life sends us preservers and we float to shore by way of THE DELIVERER. I like this last choice for my chaos, how about you…shall we let Almighty God be the only God in our chaos? 43


Spell Check Police by Beth Brubaker Complete the puzzle using the clues shown below.

Answer key on page 95 Across

Down

2. Belongs to someone else 3. To let go 4. Belongs to someone, possessive 6. Not now 9. Outcome 10. Outside forecast

1. Not here 2. Contraction of the other person and present location 4. Contraction of yourself and present location 5. In either case 7. Opposite of win 44 8. To change 11. Comparison


Thank Goodness it’s Spring! by Dorothy Kurchak Like most gardeners, I look forward to spring and summer. After all, gardeners enjoy the outdoors and in winter the outdoors is frozen and covered with snow or ice, or both. But let’s admit this - we do need some rest from all the digging, planting, watering, etc., etc. All of which reminds me, I have to figure out a better way to water my “Outback.” That’s the back, back yard. I do have a water supply out there but I need a better way to use it. I’ll check with the local hardware for ideas. While I’m there I’m going to buy some golden yellow paint. My Doll House is in the corner of the Outback and because the soil is sandy, it’s dry and difficult to get anything to grow there. And it’s also in the shade in the later afternoon. I’ve planted mostly yellow and orange perennials and annuals in the past because they would brighten up the corner but without much success. Solution paint the house! I’m itching to get that little house painted. That part of my yard will be the focus of this summer. I also have to move many irises. The trees have grown taller and now the irises are in the shade. There is moss growing around them which is not good as it may rot the tubers. So much to do and I’m a year older. Last summer a new wild flower came up in my garden. What a surprise! Thanks Lord. It’s called Helleborine. I found three more of them under the spruce trees behind the house. I’m anxious to see if they are all there this year. I plan to use more wildflowers in my gardens. There is a local nursery that sells wildflowers where I can buy what doesn’t grow here. The trillium that I moved from the woods to my garden a few years ago have died out. There are so many trilliums in the woods that you can’t walk without stepping on some. Sweet Cicely is another wildflower that came up by itself in my new pond garden. There are other wildflowers but I haven’t identified them as of yet. One reason is because the wildflower guide I have is organized in a very confusing way, for me anyway. I guess it is time to check out the book store for a new one.

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Look at the rainbow! When I remember the words of the Lord in the Bible about His love for us and the beautiful earth He has given us, the tears flow. I am so thankful. Look about you and be thankful. In Christ,

Aunt Dots

Not Different Enough by Gloria Doty When my daughter was born in 1984, I realized she was not developing like my other four children had. There was definitely ‘something not quite right’ but I had no idea what that something was. She was diagnosed as mildly mentally handicapped but when she was 9, she was given the label of autism. Many years later, she was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome with a little OCD and PTSD thrown in for good measure. There are many books available with therapies, diets and a few magical cures. What I always looked for and never found, was a view of day-to-day life with an individual with these labels. Join us on our 30-year journey as I have attempted to provide that glimpse into our lives with transparency, humor, faith, tears and mistakes. Kalisha and I live, laugh and love in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Not Different Enough by Gloria Doty is available from Ruby’s Reading Corner. About the author: Born in rural Northeast Indiana, Gloria has always loved to write. There have been a few detours along the way, however. She was married for nearly 40 years, had 5 children and 13 careers. In January, 2011, she made the decision to do what God had intended for her from the beginning: make writing her full-time occupation. Although Gloria has written magazine articles, anthologies, devotionals and fiction, she felt the need to help other parents of special needs children by chronicling her and her daughter’s 30-year journey with autism, Asperger’s and intellectual disabilities. The result is this book, titled: Not Different Enough. Gloria Doty has been writing for the Ruby for Women magazine for the past three years, and we are honored to have her on the Ruby Writing Team. Please visit Gloria at her blog, Writing by Gloria, where you can get to know her and read her inspirational posts. 46


Creating a Culture of Grace in the Home by Heather King My dad was a military man whose father was a military man. Sometimes, his boot camp methods made it home. Like the time he woke us all up after we’d gone to sleep, lined us up in the kitchen while we were half-dazed from sleep still, and interrogated us (yelled) over who put the jelly jar back in the fridge without wiping down the outside of the jar first.

I’m a mom. I know the importance of discipline to direct the hearts and minds of our kids. I want my children to learn personal responsibility and the nature of consequences for poor decisions.

Or the time he put all us kids and a baseball bat in a bedroom and told us to fight it out until someone confessed to whatever horrible crime had been committed. Or the many threats of polygraph tests and elaborate forensic schemes to uncover a culprit or that everyone would be punished severely until someone took the blame. This was the discipline he knew, so this was the discipline he gave. I’m a mom. I know the importance of discipline to direct the hearts and minds of our kids. I want my children to learn personal responsibility and the nature of consequences for poor decisions. But I also know something else…. Our homes need grace.

But I also know something else….

Not parents who ignore the issues, or who are uninvolved or lazy and can’t be bothered, or who don’t want to follow through with training and right discipline.

Our homes need grace.

Or spouses who give up, or grow bitter, and don’t care enough to talk it out and find a way to grow closer instead of grow apathetic. No, this: Heaping portions of deliberate grace. The urge is there, of course. When my wayward cat dashes out the back door for yet another jaunt through the woods, we want to know…. Who didn’t shut the door? Who was the last one in the house? Who is to blame for this? A drain gets clogged and we want to assign responsibility. 47


Who isn’t following proper plumbing protocol? Who is to blame for this? Blame. We want to assign blame. We want someone to fess up. But so often that just pushes the guilt around, and our kids tremble like Adam and Eve in the Garden, pointing fingers, making accusations. (This woman you gave me. That serpent who lied.) She did it. No it was her. I only did it because she told me to. Sometimes, truthfully, when we’re stressed and tired and overcome, it becomes less about lovingly correcting character. It’s needing an outlet for the anger of the moment and placing a cumbersome load of guilt onto the shoulders of a kid or even a spouse who’ll be crushed by the weight. It takes a discerning mom to know the difference: When to assign the consequences of loving discipline. And when to hold a repentant child close….or one who simply made a childish, foolish, costly mistake….and whisper, “I forgive you. It’s okay. Now you know what to do next time.” Jesus told his disciples: Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously (Matthew 10:8 MSG). In the NLT, I read: “Give as freely as you have received” (Matthew 10:8 NLT)

“Sometimes, truthfully, when we’re stressed and tired and overcome, it becomes less about lovingly correcting character. It’s needing an outlet for the anger of the moment and placing a cumbersome load of guilt onto the shoulders of a kid or even a spouse who’ll be crushed by the weight. It takes a discerning mom to know the difference: When to assign the consequences of loving discipline.”

And Paul said this: “. . . be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:32 HCSB). The Message says it here: “Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 MSG) Don’t be stingy about this. Give mercy, give grace, give healing, and give freedom, because I’ve given all that to you. I’ve poured it down in a shower of undeserved blessing on your heads, just drenched your soul deep-down with my love.

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So, don’t dispense grace to others with rations of tiny drops or an insufficient trickle. We’re grace-givers because we’re grace-receivers. We’re human. We sin. We say the wrong thing. We get snippy or react in frustration. We forget. We make a bad choice. We break things. We lose things. Sometimes we make a right awful mess. But I want to be a family that “does grace and second chances.” That means correcting and instructing my children when necessary, delving in deep into the sludge of sin, assigning right consequences when needed and sticking with them.

“Yet, it also means knowing their hearts well enough to respond when they need to see Jesusgrace in me. See how He forgave a mob of murderers screaming at the foot of His own cross. See how everyone needs mercy sometimes.”

Yet, it also means knowing their hearts well enough to respond when they need to see Jesus-grace in me. See how He forgave a mob of murderers screaming at the foot of His own cross. See how everyone needs mercy sometimes. It’s not always assigning the blame that matters. It’s about teaching them to make a better choice in the future. More than that: It’s about leading them to Jesus.

Heather King is a wife to a wonderful husband and a mom to three beautiful girls. A former English teacher, she now lives a life of doing dishes, folding laundry, finding lost toys and mending scraped knees. She treks to the grocery store more times a week than she’d like and struggles to keep up with chores, appointments and the to-do list that refreshes itself day after day. In addition to all that, she’s the worship leader at her church in Virginia, a Bible study teacher and women’s ministry leader. Somewhere in the middle of the noise, mess, and busyness of life, she takes time to meet with God at her kitchen table with a Bible, a journal and a cup of strong hot tea with lots of sugar. You can find her blogging about these times with God at her devotional site: Room to Breathe: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/

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Words to Encourage; Words that Inspire by Yvonne Carson

Don’t let people tell you what you can or cannot do. Don’t allow people to define who you are or what your purpose in life should be. Don’t allow people to use and abuse you or treat you with disrespect. Be careful with the company you keep; either they will bring you down, get you stuck, or take you up! Don’t allow people to create your world, because they will always keep you in a box and create your world too small. Don’t allow negative emotions of the past or present to hold you captive and sabotage your future happiness, prosperity, and success, and all God has for you to do, become, and to have! Life is what you make it so make it the best life possible! Whatever you do in life do it as unto the Lord, not people. Always maintain a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving, no matter what challenges you may face today. Never think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Keep a humble heart, and let not the spirit of pride enter into your heart and soul. Be sure to clothe yourself with the love of God that surpasses knowledge and share His love with others everywhere you go. Be sure to bless others and glorify God by using the gifts, talents, creativity, and resources He’s blessed you with. Avoid selfish ambitions; care about others, not just yourself; be interested in others’ hopes, dreams, disappointments, failures, and heartaches. Never forget to show compassion toward others; always remember you are your brother’s keeper! We need each other and need to look out for one another. Together we can do and accomplish more. Together we can move the mountains of prejudice, hate, war, poverty, violence, hunger, and any other societal ills of this present dark, violent, and immoral world we live in. Always ask God to show you the good in every situation no matter how bad it is. Ask God to reveal the life lesson so you don’t have to take the same “Life Test” over again! Remember how powerful words are and be sure to always speak words of life to yourself, your family, and to others. Keep in mind, words of death kill the spirit and wounds the soul. Be determined to be a life giver! The right words can lift someone out of depression or save someone on the verge of suicide. A kind word can encourage and inspire someone to act toward fulfilling a lifelong dream or goal that they had given up on ever achieving. Your tongue or words have the power to create an amazing life (or a terrible one) and build wonderful relationships (or destructive ones) so be wise when using them. Above all else, trust and depend totally on God for everything you need! Seek His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discernment in all that you attempt to do in your life. He’s wiser than any human being and sees the end of a thing from the very beginning and everything in between. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Always remember to keep Him first place in your life; keep Him your number one priority and everything else will fall into its proper place in your life. 50


Ransom by Lanette Kissel God was making provisions for a Messiah. The Father’s plan had already been laid. And only His Son could cancel our debt. There was a ransom to be paid. God sent Jesus for those who live today, as well as for those who came before. The selfless, loving gift Christ offered succeeded in opening a heavenly door. Jesus was the sinless and blameless One who never fell prey to Satan’s attack. And He loved us enough to die for us. The least we can do is to love Him back. He willingly took on our transgressions. He readily paid the immeasurable cost. He bravely accepted His mission in life to ransom the souls that were lost.

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They Were Afraid of His Heart by Lanette Kissel Luke 6: 11 KJV “And they (the Pharisees) were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.” They wanted to bring Jesus down. They just wanted to do their part. Self-righteous men who thought with the head, instead of with the heart. They wanted to cut Him down to their size. They just wanted to do their part. They didn’t want to be able to see all the love that was in His heart. They wanted to turn the people against Him. They just wanted to do their part. They were jealous of His popularity. They were afraid of His heart. They did all they could to bring Him down. They crucified Him. They did their part. They thought they had silenced His voice and had finally silenced His heart. But they were not able to keep Him down, even though they had done their part. They found they could destroy His body, but never His spirit and heart.

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InScribed Bible Study Collection Book Review by Ramona of Create with Joy If you are looking for a fabulous women’s Bible Study this season, I am delighted to introduce you to a new series from Thomas Nelson that will encourage you to delve deep into God’s Word and address your real-life needs and concerns – whatever they might be! That series is called the InScribed Collection. Its purpose is to help women who are passionate about God to immerse themselves in the person of Jesus Christ and to learn how they can find the answers to the unique needs and issues they face on a daily basis in God’s Word. The concept for the Bible Studies was inspired by Proverbs 3:3: “Stay focused; Do not lose sight of mercy and truth…Meditate on them so they are written upon your heart.” The Voice Four Bible studies are currently available in the InScribed Collection: • Amazed and Confused – When God’s Actions Collide With Our Expectations • Dive Deeper – Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion • Leaving Ordinary – Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer • Living So That – Making Faith Filled Choices In The Midst Of A Messy Life Four additional studies are scheduled for release in Fall 2014. Information about each of these individual studies follows. You’ll find each study is engaging and challenging, whether you are reading them individually or as part of a larger group study. I highly recommend this series to you and rate each of these books 5 out of 5 stars. For more information: • Visit the InScribed Website. • Connect with InScribed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel Amazed and Confused – When God’s Actions Collide When our Expectations by Heather Zempel takes us on a systematic journey where few modern Bible teachers dare to tread. Amazed and Confused leads us straight into the Minor Prophets, deep into the book of Habakkuk, where we examine God’s sometimes confusing responses to our prayers, and takes a hard look at that frequently asked question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Heather grabs our attention at the start of this study with this startling statement: God is not nice. 53


If you want to deepen your understanding of God and – perhaps – see Him through fresh eyes – this study is for you! About Heather Zempel Heather Zempel is the discipleship pastor at National Community Church in Washington, DC where she oversees small groups, directs leadership development training, and serves on the weekend teaching team. She is the author of Sacred Roads: Exploring the Historic Paths of Discipleship and Community is Messy. For more information: • Visit Heather’s Website. • Amazed And Confused is available on Amazon.

Dive Deeper by Jennifer Jernigan Are you looking for a Bible Study that will help you to gain more from the time you spend in the Word of God? If so, Dive Deeper – Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion by Jenifer Jernigan is written specifically for you! Dive Deeper is a unique, interactive Bible study that helps you to “dive” deeper into God’s Word by learning to Define, Investigate, Visualize, and Embrace what you read. For this study, you’ll Dive Deep into the Book of Ephesians, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the book through a variety of translations, as well as familiarize yourself with the overall Bible, its contents, and a variety of Bible study aids. This is a perfect Bible Study for those who are newer Christians – but is truly suitable for Christians in all stages of their spiritual journeys! About Jennifer Jernigan Jenifer Jernigan is a wife and mom of 3 whose past would spill over into her present if it weren’t for the healing power of God’s Word. As founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, her passion is to equip women to d.i.v.e. deeper into God’s Word, teaching them to study Scriptures for themselves. Jenifer is co-owner and a regular writer for Internet Café Devotions and is part of a team of writers creating curriculum for Journey Church in Raleigh, NC. For more information: • Visit Jenifer’s Website. • Dive Deeper is available on Amazon. 54


Leaving Ordinary by Donna Gaines If you are seeking deeper intimacy with God – if you want to strengthen your prayer life – if you want to understand what true worship is all about – then Leaving Ordinary – Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer by Donna Gaines is the Bible Study for you. Leaving Ordinary shows us what God taught the Israelites about worship and prayer through a study of the Tabernacle and its articles – and teaches us how to intimately interact with God in a way that leads to true worship. Donna writes: When we pray, God begins to orchestrate things in the spirit realm that eventually manifest in the physical. This study will transform your relationship with God. About Donna Gaines Donna Gaines is a devoted student of God’s Word and has written and taught Bible Studies for the past 20 years. She has an intense desire to see women not only study God’s Word, but also be changed by it. Donna is married to Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. There, she leads Bible studies through Women’s Ministry and also leads a weekly discipleship group of ladies in her home. Understanding the unique needs that ministers’ wives have, she also serves as chairman of the board for the Pastors Wives’ Session of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. This annual meeting brings encouragement and rejuvenation to ministers’ wives across the country. In 2009 she was appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention to serve on the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. At Bellevue, she also leads the Staff Wives’ Ministry. Her fervent desire to share the Gospel has taken her on mission trips to Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Romania, India and Tanzania. For more information: • Visit Donna’s Website. • Dive Deeper is available on Amazon.

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Living So That by Wendy Blight Living So That – Making Faith-Filled Choices In The Midst Of A Messy Life by Wendy Blight is a unique Bible study that’s designed to help us live out what we learn in the Bible so that we can impact the world around us. Wendy accomplishes this by taking us through a study of several of the powerful “so that” verses of Scripture: • Jesus Came So That… • God Spoke So That… • Pray So That… • Trials Come So That… • Let Your Light Shine So That… One of Wendy’s goals in this study is to help us make faith-filled choices, regardless of the trials and circumstances in our lives. Living So That is a fresh and practical study that offers women biblical perspective and wisdom for their daily lives. About Wendy Blight Wendy is an InScribed Studies author, attorney and national speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries whose desire is to help every woman know with confidence she can tackle any problem life presents through God’s Word. Wendy has authored two books: Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life and Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story. Wendy has been a featured guest on Oprah Radio, The 700 Club, Family Life Today with Dr. Dennis Rainey, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Her favorite place to be is spending time in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two children – Lauren 20, a junior at the University of Georgia and Bo 16, a sophomore in high school. For more information: • Visit Wendy’s Website. • Dive Deeper is available on Amazon.

For more book reviews, please visit Ramona at Create with Joy. 56


You Dirty RAT! by Christie Workman Let's talk about "really awful thoughts” or RATs for short. They terrorize your potential for joy. Today, we are going to learn how to spot them and outline a plan to counterattack them. So let's highlight a few RAT patterns. Remember, these are just negative thinking patterns. That does not mean you yourself are negative. #1: Amplifiers -- Amplifiers magnify the unpleasant situations with extreme words like “always,” “never,” “no one” and “every time.” Virtually nothing in life falls in that excessive category. Aside from being distortions, these statements cause everyone involved to plummet below the joy zone. #2: Feelers -- Feelers accept negative feelings as true without questioning them. Sometimes your negative emotions reveal a deficiency in yourself or someone else and sometimes they don't. Though feelings are important, they are no substitute for the truth. #3: Guessers -- Guessers pretend they know what other people are thinking and then they assume the worst ahead of time. This often triggers an emotional response from the other person which in turn gets you defensive. This kicks off a cycle that is anything but joyful. #4: Exaggerators -- Exaggerators transform a mole hill into a mountain with trigger words horrible, worst, ruined, shocked and devastated. This is what I like to refer to as the "drama queen syndrome." #5: Identifiers -- Identifiers inject harmless events with personal meaning. They overestimate how the event is related to them. They take things personally and interpret negative events as personal attacks. #6: Forecasters -- These patterns predict the worst-case scenario, often aloud and usually before they even get started participating in an activity, solving a problem, or engaging in an important conversation. #7: Cynics -- Cynics have a knack for finding something wrong even if it is the only thing wrong. Despite the good, they use their mental radar to see the bad. 57


#8: Blamers -- Blamers point the finger at someone else for their own problems, even though it's rare that problems are caused entirely by someone else. As the opposite of responsibility, blame is so popular because it temporarily liberates you. It gives you a short-term emotional fix. However, blame is like an emotional dirty bomb...leaving devastation and pain in its wake. #9: Justifiers -- Justifiers remind themselves of all the reasons why they are entitled to this negative emotion or that negative outburst. Losing sight of their vision, justifiers are advocates for their own negativity. It's manifests in language like, "If you only knew what he did," or "I deserve to be upset." Today's action plan: Identify which one of these RATs define you. Next time we are going to tackle silencing these RATs.

Christie Workman has more than 20 years of writing, developmental coaching and teaching experience. She is a four-time Hoosier State Press Association Award winner with two first-place designations for her editorial feature stories. Originally from Tennessee, Christie now resides in Indiana. reVised & reDeemed Christie Workman reVision magazine, publisher/editor 260-503-8188 www.revisionmagazine.net

Visit Christie at reVision Magazine 58


Split Words Puzzle “Signs of Spring� by Beth Brubaker Words are split into three sections. Starting from left to right, find the right combination of letters to form five words

Answer Key on page 94.

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Footprints in the Mud Deep Breaths by Beth Brubaker Relaxation techniques usually include a set of deep breathing exercises. What these gurus don't know is that we moms have already mastered deep breathing, but it hardly ever relaxes, us - in fact, it has quite the opposite effect. For instance, when the kids are toddlers: *GASP!* What did you just swallow?!? *GASP!* No, you can't play fetch with him! Put the fish back in the bowl! *GASP!* Why is the front door open? Baby? Baby?? And when they're a little older, but not quite teens: *GASP!* You did what to my laptop? *GASP!* What happened to your bedroom? *GASP!* What do you mean, 'it escaped'? Let's not forget the joys of having teenagers: *GASP!* What is that horrible noise coming from your iPad? *GASP!* You did what to the car? *GASP!* How on earth did the dog get on the roof?? This hasn't happened to me (yet - but I still have teens), but I can imagine what would happen once they became adults: *GASP!* You lost another job? *GASP!* You got arrested for what? *GASP!* You're eloping?!? I should state that it isn't all bad - just mostly bad. But there are a few good things in life that require some of the deep breaths that feel good. For instance: *GASP!* You're sending us where for our anniversary? (hint, hint, kids!) *GASP!* You're getting married? *GASP!* You're going to have a baby? (hopefully this one comes after the 'married' gasp, otherwise this gets thrown into the 'bad and immensely stressful “gasp� list) Let's just say after having children my blood is extremely oxygenated, thank you very much! In fact, I don't think I would actually have to breathe until well after retirement - I just do it out of habit. In the meantime, I'll use chocolate to relax - and hire my husband as a masseuse!

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Broken Hallelujahs* by Keith Wallis

Broken hallelujahs; caustic calls of crucify, the hill christens the dying. Broken hallelujahs; thorny prince with piercing crown. Broken hallelujahs; tears, blood, pain and the shock of nail. Broken hallelujahs; at the dawn of eternity the flag of death is hoisted. Broken hallelujahs; eyes close who cannot stare God shuts out the light. Broken hallelujahs; only the tunic relies on the turn of a dice. *note: I didn't know (until I Googled it) that Christian Scharen has written a book called 'Broken Hallelujahs'. However, the phrase was planted in my head from Leonard Cohen's song 'Hallelujah':

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A River of Small Stones by Keith Wallis A beautiful and inspirational book of poetry, perfect for gift-giving for every season of the year! Poems written as “small stones,” polished moments of paying proper attention to life Available at www.ariverofstones.blogspot.com

The Early Years by Keith Wallis The poems in this omnibus were written quite a while back. Whilst fairly contemporary at the time, some may well have been written differently today. However, some still remain firm favourites in the author's portfolio. “Coaled” (in Marketplace of Masks) found a new lease on life as a short story (“Clive's Journey”) published by Bewildering Stories (issue 333). Read more: http://wordsculptures-keith.blogspot.com/p/earlyyears.html#ixzz2UywCNQDr

By Still Waters by Keith Wallis A celebration of life; poems and associated photographs of faith and experience. The light touch of a poet rejoicing in creation. Read more: http://wordsculptures-keith.blogspot.com/p/by-stillwaters.html 62


Watershed Moments by Cathy Dyer

Watershed moments. They sneak into our lives and startle us with either horrible news or something wonderful. But no matter which it is, our lives are forever changed. In an instant, paradigms shift with all the force of tectonic plates, and the results can be beautifully creative or horribly catastrophic. Of course, the positive watersheds are glorious. We welcome them. But what about their ugly counterpart: the unwanted, grossly deformed watersheds that take our well-ordered lives and flip them to disorder. What about those? The question isn’t – will I have an unwanted watershed moment; rather, the question is – how will I respond to the moment when it arrives? When my ugly watershed moment arrived, I handled it horribly for 2 days. • • •

In my state of shock, I refused to deal with it. I didn’t reach out to those around me but instead retreated within myself, hoping to wake from the terrible dream. I didn’t call on the God of my faith, whose stories had been told to me all my life, whose presence I had felt so often in my teen and adult years, whose answers were right there in that Bible on my nightstand.

I think I was so shaken by the watershed moment that I didn’t know what to do. Maybe that’s what we need to add to Sunday School training: “What To Do When Life Smacks You” … smacks you so hard that you are stunned into inaction or you feel the urge to retreat. Instruction in that area could have helped me in my watershed moment. But that’s another subject. Why do we feel like we need to do everything on our own? That we could do more with our situation than THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE is an arrogantly stupid idea. I know, I know: you are sitting there right now saying, I don’t think THAT! Sorry … but you DO. If you are attempting to schlep through the muck and grime of your situation on your own, attempting to fix the problems life has handed you without calling on God, then you are subscribing to this “I’m strong enough” mantra. Don’t beat yourself up about it. I think we women buy into society’s feminist idea that we should “handle” these problems solo. I’m here to tell you … we shouldn’t. Cry out to God in your brokenness, admit you are powerless, and put all the broken pieces in His mighty hands. 63


After about 48 hours into my own watershed moment, I finally broke and cried out to God, finally remembered I had a Savior, a Creator who gave His life for me and certainly cared about me in my watershed moment. After I sobbed my plaintive prayer, a wave of relief overtook me, and I remembered … “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:12-14) “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:10-12) “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” (Hymn lyrics by Civilla Durfee Martin) These verses and more came flooding back from my memory, from my churchly upbringing; but not until I left my solitude, my lonely retreat, not until I broke, realizing I couldn’t get through this alone. So that is the lesson here: think back to the copious amount of assurances in the Bible that promise not our smooth sailing, but our safe keeping. We are held in the hand of our God who, despite how dim our circumstance may be, has our eternal destination secured. THAT is a blessed assurance. Do you trust HIM – the God who formed the heavens and the earth, the God who set this world in motion, the God who sacrificed his perfect Son – to take care of you? It’s a simple question, and the answer should be simple as well. Put it all in His hands, DAILY … and then watch Him work.

Cathy Dyer, an English teacher, knows firsthand the pain of pornography. After seven years of marriage, her husband, entangled in the vice of pornography, left her. He came back, but the journey to a renewed relationship wasn’t easy, and she wasn’t sure she even wanted to begin. Only God’s healing and counseling restored their marital relationship. Encouraging their new pastor, Jay Dennis, to continue shedding God’s light on this topic, the Dyers have become the “front cover” for this issue of pornography among Christian men, and have aided the development of this series. The Dyers are members of Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Florida, where Dennis is senior pastor. This ministry has been highlighted in Growing Churches magazine, Christianity Today, and Billy Graham’s Decision Today.

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Sweet Spring Recipes From the Collection of Vintage Mama Here at Ruby for Women we are always on the lookout for great recipes. If you have a favourite recipe that you would like to share with us, please email us at editor@rubyforwomen.com and we will include your recipe in an upcoming issue of the Ruby for Women magazine. In every issue of the Ruby magazine we share with you some of the yummiest, prettiest, and easiest recipes we can find on our explorations of the blogosphere. This time we discovered so many beautiful springtime desserts that would be perfect for your family’s Easter brunch or any other day to celebrate the return of spring! We hope you will try some of these fun recipes, and send us a picture of your creations.

Daisy Cake from Delish This adorable cake recipe can be found on the Delish website (photo credit: Frances Janisch), originally published by Good Housekeeping. The sweet little bumblebee can be made from the sugar cookie recipe, also available on the Delish website. What you need: Rich Butter Cake • 3 cup(s) all-purpose flour • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt • 1 cup(s) whole milk • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract • 2 cup(s) sugar • 1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened • 4 large eggs • 6 tablespoon(s) seedless red raspberry jam Garnish • Bumblebee cookie • Coconut • Green food coloring

Fondant Daisies • Confectioners’ sugar • 6 ounce(s) ready-to-use white rolled fondant • 1/4 cup(s) ready-to-use yellow rolled fondant Lemon Frosting • 1 lemon • Buttercream Frosting • Yellow food coloring

Let’s make it! •

Prepare Rich Butter Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease and flour paper.

On another sheet of waxed paper, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In measuring cup, 65 mix milk and vanilla.


In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until creamy, about 3 minutes, frequently scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Stagger pans on 2 oven racks, placing 2 on upper rack and 1 on lower rack, so that pans are not directly above one another. Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. With small knife, loosen layers from sides of pans; invert onto racks. Remove waxed paper; cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Fondant Daisies: On surface dusted with confectioners’ sugar, roll out white fondant to 1/8-inch thickness. (Keep unused fondant covered with plastic wrap; fondant will dry quickly.) With daisy-shaped cookie cutters (3/4-inch to 2 1/2-inch), cut out as many daisies as possible. Roll yellow fondant to 1/8-inch thickness. With round cutters (5/8-inch and 3/8-inch), cut out a center for each daisy. With small brush, moisten 1 side of each yellow round with water and place, moistened side down, on daisy, using small rounds for smaller daisies and large rounds for large daisies. Gently press together to stick. Set daisies aside, uncovered (so they’ll start to set for easier handling), at room temperature, until ready to use.

Prepare Lemon Frosting: From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Prepare Buttercream Frosting as recipe directs, adding lemon peel and juice with vanilla. When frosting is a good spreading consistency, beat in enough yellow food coloring to tint a pale yellow.

To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on cake plate; spread with 3 tablespoons raspberry jam. Top with second layer, rounded side down, and remaining 3 tablespoons jam. Top with third layer, rounded side up. Use Lemon Frosting to frost sides and top of cake, making frosting as smooth as possible.

Arrange daisies all over cake and gently press into frosting so they stick. If you like, garnish top of cake with bumblebee cookie and sprinkle coconut, tinted green, around base for "grass."

Tips & Techniques To make the adorable bumblebee garnish to buzz around the flowers on our cake, you can follow our Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe. Or just use refrigerated sugar cookie dough. 66


Lessons Learned in a Backpack by Connie Chandler "Well, there's this fire tower... and I have this camping backpack... how much do you weigh?" I could see the wheels turning in Joe's mind, and I was torn between dreading the development of a very bad idea and tingling with the excitement of possibly the craziest adventure ever. I accepted the suggestion more as a dare than an invitation, and less than 24 hours later, I was stuffed in a backpack, ready to go. Joe, Anna, Hannah, and I held on for dear life as Todd drove us south, away from the city and into endless flat farmland of Indiana, racing the quickly setting sun to the horizon. In the purple glow of dusk we stared up at the 100-foot tower before us... Some of the details of our adventure were beautiful, some a bit terrifying, some hilarious, and many were powerful and deeply personal to me... my life will never be the same. For now, I'll skip to the end of the descent, when we were all lying on the dewy grass, staring at the stars, and the only emotion my pounding heart could contain was overwhelming wonder at a love poured out on me that is too big for my soul to wrap itself around. I have some amazing friends, whom I have come to love and trust deeply. And I know they love me too, because over and over they have been willing to carry me, bear my burdens, and walk with me through tough times (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), for the sake of witnessing and experiencing beauty, glory and majesty in the end together. Under that starry sky, I was quiet and still, resting in that love and trying to get a handle on this deeper feeling that kept whispering to me, "This is the gospel in action... This is like the love of Christ..." The thing is, the five of us reached the top of that tower and made it back to the bottom again, and throughout this whole adventure, I did nothing to contribute to its success. In fact, if anything, I tried to give the group reasons to give it up in the darkest moment. 67


But they did not give up, and didn't let me give up either. They found a way, they risked their own safety, they pushed themselves beyond what any of us imagined they could handle. And I sat cushioned and buckled in a pack, strapped to two strong backs, hanging and being held up, without the strength or ability to even hold on or shift my weight, depending totally on their strength without being able to offer any in return. And I realized this wasn't about me - they weren't doing all of this just to give me a thrill... they wanted to have this challenging adventure too, and just wanted me to be a part of it with them. "This is the gospel in action... This is like the love of Christ..." God is doing incredibly adventurous things in the world... in the flat farmlands of Indiana... in the unpredictable inner city of Fort Wayne... in our little Hobbit Hole... and I am constantly in awe of the fact that He invites me to be a part of his work. I say yes to following Him because I know He is good and trustworthy, but at the same time I have no idea what is ahead - terrifying or thrilling. He doesn't really share that information upfront; He just asks me to trust Him, so I do. Then I find myself caught up in His arms, and He is carrying me to places and relationships and experiences I never dreamed possible. When I try to control or analyze His ways, tone down the danger and risk, or even back out of His hairbrained ideas, things may get tangled up and delayed, and I may cause obstacles and pain that were not intended to be there. But that’s when He reminds me that He knows what he is doing, and that I don't have to do anything but abide in Him, trust Him, and let Him do what He will do. This is a hard journey to take, because I cannot boast in anything but my weakness and dependence on Him. But the good news is, I can rest and be close to Him, feeling the steady rhythm of His heartbeat and each sure-footed step He takes toward the fulfillment of His dreams. And life is worth the living when He invites me to jump in His backpack and join Him in his adventure and witness His power, majesty, and love. Connie Chandler lives in a Hobbit Hole in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she teaches and serves in international refugee ministry. She loves studying the Bible, trying new things, listening to stories, going on adventures, and drinking hot tea. She sits in a wheelchair because she has a disability that weakens her muscles but not her spirit. She shares the stories of God’s strength and faithfulness in her life on her blog: conniesbowlofcherries.blogspot.com. 68


The Only Perfect Rose by Lanette Kissel

The Master Gardener walked through His beautiful garden in Heaven, admiring His majestic roses. He inventoried each one, until He came upon the One He was seeking, that one rose that was without flaw or blemish, the Rose of Bethlehem. And He carefully picked that one Perfect Rose, and sent it down to earth as a gift for mankind one Christmas morning, in the form of a tiny baby in a manger. The angels sang of the beauty of this Perfect Rose. Shepherds left their flocks in order to gaze in wonder at the most lovely bloom their eyes had ever beheld.

But there were those who had no eye for beauty, who were of the ‘a rose is a rose’ mentality. They had no interest in admiring His beauty or inhaling His fragrance. They ignored Him and went on their way. The Perfect Rose earned quite a reputation. His fame spread across the land. There were those who were enthralled by Him, those who were repulsed by Him, and those who were jealous of His beauty. When the tide of public opinion began to turn against Him, noticeable physical changes began to occur in the appearance of the Rose.

Three magi traveled from afar in order to experience the Rose’s amazing fragrance. When the Rose achieved maturity, it was the most beautiful specimen of its kind the world had ever seen, or ever would. There wasn’t a blemish to be found, every petal perfectly shaped, and a fragrance that could never be rivaled. Then the Rose embarked upon the mission planned for Him by the Master Gardener. Some of the people He encountered admired and appreciated the unparalleled perfection of the Rose.

The chief leaders of His time gathered behind closed doors and plotted His demise. And at that moment, one petal loosed itself from the perfect specimen, fell to the ground, and instantly withered.

They inhaled its magnificent fragrance and were never the same again. Lives were forever changed due to the encounter with Him.

Then the Rose prayed a desperate prayer in a garden while His companions slept; and a second 69 petal fell to lie withered on the ground.


Upon a hill called Golgotha, they lifted up the Rose upon His cross. Those who knew and loved Him well could barely recognize Him. His petals were bent and broken, scarred and blemished. He had been stripped of His beauty. The hand of man had weathered and wilted the Rose. A devoted friend bestowed the kiss of death upon His cheek, and another petal fell. Another of His most devoted friends denied Him not once, but three times, and a petal fell.

His petals were bent and broken, scarred and blemished. He had been stripped of His beauty. The hand of man had weathered and wilted the Rose.

Petals began to fall profusely as the faultless, blameless Rose was arrested and a mockery of a trial ensued.

As He struggled for every labored breath as He hung dying on that cross, more petals fell. And with the words, “Father, into Your hands…”

Petals fell as He was brutally whipped and publicly scourged, and again as He struggled to carry a heavy cross up the hill to Calvary. More fell as nails were driven into His hands and feet.

He shuddered and drew His last breath. And the last petal fell.

Upon a hill called Golgotha, they lifted up the Rose upon His cross. Those who knew and loved Him well could barely recognize Him.

But the story of the Perfect Rose did not end there. For three days later, the Master Gardener interceded. He pulled that emaciated stem from the grave, and took Him to Heaven, restoring the Rose to its original beauty. And the once perfect Rose was even more so, glowing and brilliant in all its glorified radiance. His beauty would never again be diminished. He was safe on a Heavenly throne where He would never again feel pain at the hands of men. Or so it would seem… But even in this day and time, one of His own turns away from Him to follow a different path, and a petal falls. Someone chooses to worship the idols of this world instead of Him, and a petal falls. And so it goes… 70


The Worst Business Advice Ever How to Run a Home Business with Integrity by Theresa Ceniccola Be careful who you ask for advice. I used to believe that mompreneurs and other home-based business owners naturally possessed a higher standard of ethics than the corporate executives and big business leaders of the world. I don’t know why I thought that to be true – maybe I simply wished it were the case so I could feel I was in good company. But over the past several years, I’ve witnessed a few things in the entrepreneur world that discouraged me. I recently attended a conference in which “very successful” women entrepreneurs took the stage to share their tips and strategies for business. I was blown away when one woman shared her “raving success story” that was built on telling her customers a lie. Yes, a flat out lie. And she was proud of it because it led to a huge financial gain for the business. Of course, “It didn’t really hurt anyone,” she thought…so does that make it ok? Later I heard the story of how one small company grew their Facebook following using a tactic that’s against the Facebook guidelines for business Pages. The general consensus in the room was that the strategy was ok, as long as she didn’t get caught. Really? Is this solid business advice? I’m not ok with that. I’ve also been instructed to create “imaginary employees” to make my business seem bigger than it is… and to hide credit card purchases for the business from my husband because “After all, it’s not his business.” I’ve known lawyers who boast about their gift for finding loopholes that will ensure you don’t have to pay for services rendered. And don’t get me started on the tax advice I’ve heard for small business owners! No, it’s not easy to live in integrity as an entrepreneur when you are surrounded by shady business practices and role models of questionable character. Proverbs 13:20 tells us to walk with the wise and avoid the company of fools. Sometimes I forget that the fools are doing all the talking. So how do you run a business with integrity? Here are a few reminders to keep you walking with the wise: 71


1. Do your homework. Before you act on advice (or even seek out the opinion) of a mentor, expert, guru, consultant, business partner, etc., do your research. Talk with others who have worked with this person or company and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about how they handle certain situations that would test their ethics. 2. Trust your instincts. If you have a feeling someone is not trustworthy, then don’t ignore those instincts. Don’t ever feel pushed into a corner as if you only have ONE option for getting the help you need. There are plenty of business owners out there who are waiting to provide you with high quality service and ethically sound advice. 3. Walk with the wise. Being an entrepreneur is a journey – and you’re going to need companions you can trust. Find an accountability partner, mentor, advisory board or mastermind group who can help you make wise decisions. Someone who understands there is more to success than money. 4. Write down your values. You may know what your personal values are, but it’s important to craft a values statement or list that reflects the values of your business. Place it somewhere visible so you (and your team) can rely on it when making decisions. It will guide you in operating with integrity – in everything from bookkeeping to customer service. For a terrific example, check out the Zappos Family Core Values. 5. Believe in yourself. If you’ve lost out on a contract to a company that misrepresented themselves or relied on dishonesty to get the job, take heart in knowing your reward is yet to come. You are leading a business based in integrity – and there are plenty of clients and customers who will choose YOU over the competition specifically for that reason. 6. Make no excuses. It’s tempting to compromise your business ethics sometimes. Especially when you see everyone else is using the same questionable business practice – and getting great results! Sometimes we justify our way down the wrong path and end up getting lost – trust me, I’ve been there. But please know that it’s never worth it. Compromising on your values is never the answer. It always backfires. 7. Be congruent. If you’ve ever seen a pastor act like a jerk on the football sidelines, then you know what it’s like to witness someone who is incongruent. 72


One of the biggest shifts for me as a business owner came when I was willing to step up and put my values of faith and family first – across all areas of my life. So whatever your values are in business, make sure you are living them personally. And hold those you do business with to the same standard. If you don’t admire them as a person, chances are you won’t admire them as a business professional. Oh, and if you act with integrity in every decision and communication, you don’t have to shout it out to the world. Your behavior will speak for itself. So there’s no need to plaster the word “integrity” all over your website or create a values statement that screams “we have integrity.” For most small businesses, the culture of the company is consistent with the personal character of the owner. This means, as the face of your business, your actions contribute to the creation of your company brand. Now, I don’t claim to have all of these tips mastered myself. In fact, most of the strategies I share with you here are the result of my own personal quest for living and working with greater integrity. So consider this post less of a lecture and more of an invitation to join me in learning to walk with the wise! What did I forget? Share your tips for running a business with integrity here!

Theresa Ceniccola, the founder and president of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, is a professional writer, marketing expert and Christian mom entrepreneur. “I am blessed to run two successful businesses, sharing my gifts, following God's call and working on my own terms from home while raising three children. At the International Christian Mompreneur Network, our mission is to inspire and empower other Christian moms who want to build or grow a profitable business that supports faith and family. If that sounds like something you intend for your life, then become a member for free and grab your Christian Mompreneur Toolkit today!” Learn more about the International Christian Mompreneur Network on Theresa’s website at http://www.theresaceniccola.com

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Daily devotions for every day of the month from Kristi Burchfiel

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

Discover the newest books by author Amanda Stephan at her website, www.booksbyamanda.com 74


Eternal Journey by Chris Roe As the crimson flame of life breaks slowly above the horizon, the white, frosted meadows, with trees and hedgerows of sculptured ice, speak loudly of your presence. Once more upon this journey, as another day begins, without effort or intrusion, through the peace and tranquility of your silent voice, the moment becomes eternal, and the journey begins again.

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Love by Chris Roe We meet again. The moment, kind and generous; the beauty, peaceful and serene. The spirit alive in all that is and not what could be. And all of this born of love, in a moment that is timeless and always Enough.

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Financial Freedom and Management by Donna McBroom-Theriot Yes, for me financial freedom and management can be easy. It takes discipline – more for some than others, but financial management and independence can be yours if it is something you truly desire. I am someone who pays the savings account first – and that’s the secret. You may be thinking – yeah, right! How can I do that when I owe so much on the credit card? Therein lays the secret. You need to put a moratorium on your spending, at least until you get your bills and expenses under control. I was in the habit of putting money away each month, but had all the categories lumped together. After reading DebtProof Living by Mary Hunt, I tweaked my system and began breaking the dollar amounts into categories and found that I liked this way of handling the money. If you have credit card debt, I would advise checking out the book (why incur more debt?) from your local library and reading it. It is a fast read and won’t take long. Mary Hunt is someone who knows what it is like to be in debt, so she knows all about where you may be right now. The book explains how to eliminate that debt and you will need to do that before moving on to the steps I am about to outline for you. Finding hidden money and eliminating debt will take a little sacrifice. Again, more for some than others. You may have to give up the Starbucks and the cable TV for a while to accomplish this feat. Not forever, just long enough to get a handle on your debt. And, if getting your finances in order is important, you will be willing to do what is necessary. Just calculate the amount of your cable bill and Starbucks habit. I bet it will easily come to around $100. If you have credit card debt of $1,000, then in ten months you can be free of that debt. Eating take-out several times a week can run up quite a bill. You will need to make some personal choices about what is more important to you – eating out or being in debt? After you’ve made the difficult or not so difficult choices I have mentioned above, and worked your way out of debt, I am going to show you how to manage your finances. This is the system I use and it works. Once you’ve taken care of necessities, then go and enjoy that once-in-a-while Starbucks cup of coffee. Each person will have different expenses they need to budget for, but most of us have at least these in common – car insurance, homeowner (or renters) insurance, dental bills, Christmas and birthday, and vacation. I also recommend adding long-term and short-term (Debt-Proof Living) savings to the list. 77


In short, long-term savings is not to be touched and shortterm savings can be described as a revolving account. It is used for repairs to the refrigerator or the car, etc. It is money that is saved for everyday expenses that have the ability to set you back and put you into debt. If you do have debt, this process will take you longer to accomplish, but it at least helps to have the above as a goal to work towards. Auto insurance is a given. It is against the law to drive without insurance. I took my yearly bill and divided it by twelve months. I then put that amount in savings each month. It didn’t happen all at once as I said. You need to be diligent to get to this point. I then did the same with our Homeowner’s insurance. The dental insurance being offered through Hubby’s employment was more expensive than the visits were costing, so after careful consideration, we dropped the insurance and I put that amount in savings each month for our regular dental visits. The short-term insurance is used for unexpected expenses like the crown Hubby just had done. Let me add here that you do not need any fancy equipment or books to keep track of your spending; a simple notebook or ledger book will suffice. If you are computer savvy, do a spreadsheet in Excel. I began this program using a ledger sheet and then graduated to a spreadsheet for my information and QuickBooks for my accounting (these can both be done in Excel). The first step is creating what will be called your “Freedom Fund.” Aptly named, it will give you freedom from worry. The categories that I came up with for my family are Homeowner’s Insurance, Vehicle Insurance, Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Savings, Gifts, Vacation, and House Fund. Categories I’ve used in the past have included dental, car fund, and charity. We were saving to purchase a car so I paid a note to the savings to save for the purchase. It works the same with dental and charity. As we have gotten older, the other two categories are not things I need to save for. I’ve included them either in short-term savings or I just deduct them from the checking account each month. You will find your categories will change as time goes on. Concentrate on what needs your attention in the present. I divided each of these categories by twelve (12 months in a year) and wrote down the amount. What most people do not stop to think is that you are paying for the privilege of monthly payments on your insurances. You are literally giving the insurance companies $4 a month just to send them a check.

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Multiply that times 12 and you gifted your insurance company approximately $50. Did they at least send a thank you note? Then, multiply that times two – homeowner’s and auto – and you’ve gifted them $100. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer that $100 to be in my savings account! Multiply your monthly expenses (cable, phone, etc.) by twelve and see if you really need those expenses – or will that amount pay off your credit card if you give them up for a year or at least dial it back a notch. Once you have your categories (I’ve inserted a spreadsheet to show you how I keep track – I’ve eliminated some personal information) and the yearly amount needed, you can begin to build your categories and monthly amounts. I set up an amount for short-term savings based on our personal experiences. The same goes for vacation and gifts. We decided what we wanted to give (and could afford) as gifts for Christmas and that is how the amount was determined. There were times when we could only afford $50 per child, so look at your own income and circumstance before coming up with a reasonable figure.

Freedom Account Budget Freedom Account Sub-Accounts Description

Save/Year

Save/Month

$660.00

$55.00

Vehicle Insurance (Due Mar & Sept)

$1,740.00

$145.00

Short-Term Savings Fund

$2,400.00

$200.00

Long-Term Savings

$4,800.00

$400.00

Monthly Retirement Check: $ Homeowners Insurance (Due April)

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Fund Other Investments Car Fund (Goal: 48 mos. $21,600)

$

$

$1,800.00

$150.00

Gifts: Christmas ($500×2) Birthday (Comes from Checking. $50×2)

$1,200.00

$100.00

Vacation

$4,200.00

$350.00

$-

$-

$16,800.00

$1,400.00

Charity (will pay each month from Household)

House Fund (met goal) Totals:

I have reached an amount in our house fund where we feel we can meet any unforeseen expenses that may arise. We live in hurricane country and the amount saved includes a $5,000 hurricane deductible on our insurance. As I indicated, everyone’s expenses are different. Go through your last couple of year’s expenses to determine what to anticipate. When you are ready to set up your notebook, label a page with each category (similar to above). As you make your monthly (bi-weekly, etc. depending on when you get paid) deposits into your Freedom Fund, record the amount. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. You first have to sit down with your checkbook and list your income and expenditures and see where your money is going. See where you can cut back or eliminate. Make a budget that you can live with. It won’t work if you make a “Wish I could live this way” budget. It needs to be realistic. Pay down and off your credit cards. Paying off your debt, no matter how daunting is doable. It takes discipline, discipline and desire. 80


I’ve helped numerous people by explaining this system. It is easy to grasp and put into motion. I gave the book to all of our children – a couple of them even read it and one uses this system after seeing my system in motion. She even made the comment about how much we do with so little. If you have questions, please feel free to comment. I will be more than happy to expound on any part of this post. I’ll also be doing more posts in the future because I feel that being financially independent and debt free is part of making our country a better country. And isn’t being out of debt much more freeing than instant gratification? – which is what put you in debt to begin with! I know that there will always be extenuating circumstances that are beyond our control that may cause debt – medical bills, etc. but we can get a handle on our everyday expenses so that when this happens, we will not be so overwhelmed. Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor or an accountant. In fact, I hate working with numbers. What qualifies me to write on this subject? I use it and it works. I hope you found some helpful hints in this article. Here are a few other books by Mary Hunt that you might want to check out – literally – from the library, although they are worth the price to have at your fingertips. Just click on the icon.

All of these books on financial management are available from Ruby’s Reading Corner. 81


My Love to You Always An Anthology of Love Stories Jennifer Wessner, Compiler Ramona Tucker, Editor Contributing author, Gloria Doty of Ruby for Women Forever love . . . . when did you fall in love? And when did you know that love would be a lasting one - celebrating life's joyous moments and walking together, hand-in-hand, through challenging times? Or are you still longing for that person to come into your life, as a side-by-side companion? Experience "my love to you always" kind of love through 42 of the sweetest, real-life love stories collected from across the globe. They're guaranteed to make you misty eyed and renew your faith in the power of enduring love. Don't miss My Love to You Always: 42 real love stories guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart. Purchase My Love to You Always from Ruby’s Reading Corner, and for more great romances, go to www.oaktara.com

Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: Discover Your Character in God’s Love Story by Michelle S. Lazurek Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: Discover Your Character in God’s Love Story by Michelle S. Lazurek (Winepress Publishing, October, 2011) invites readers to engage with the story God is writing for their lives and discover their role as a character in that story. The book also asks the reader “What’s Your Story?” and provides thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter to allow readers to interact with the material. Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved is available from Ruby’s Reading Corner. It is also available on her website at www.michellelazurek.com , www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com . You can follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mslazurek or Twitter.

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Mother Love: The Strong Tie that Holds the Family Together by Jennifer Workman

“A mother is more precious than all the finest of jewels and worthy of our continual admiration.”Jennifer Workman “Wow,” where do I begin to exemplify all of the great mothers that have left an indelible impression on this earth. I will begin with the “mothers of all mothers,” Eve. Although Eve’s life was categorized by disobedience to the clear directive of God and partaking of the “forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6, NLT),” she is the “mother of all creation” and from her proceeded all people of every creed, nationality and ethnicity. Although the bible doesn’t go into specific detail about her “motherly ways,” I believe that as all mothers try to be every day, she was a good mother, nurturer and took care of her children the best way that she could and what was deemed appropriate at that time! As God gave her a wonderful opportunity to be a mother, likewise, he has given to all of us that have transitioned into motherhood. Having stated such, I will try to highlight women that I believe are great examples of “mother love” and hope this article will inspire us to be great mothers, sisters, friends and people as a whole in all areas of our lives. Pastor’s Wives- Although more often than not, the attention is reflected upon the pastor and all that he does in his faithful service to the Lord and the church community as a whole, not much attention is focused on the “backbone” of the family and that is his wife. In order for the husband and pastor to be as productive in ministry and able to accomplish all that he does, he needs the strength, support, love and commitment of his wife and the mother of his children. The pastor’s wife wears many hats and so gracefully maintains the home, manages the children’s affairs, she is the wife, mother, teacher, financial advisor, business woman and great leader, she is a multi-tasker and no one does it better than she! All mothers are the epitome of strength, are great multi-taskers, are wise, and very loving people. It takes an open heart and an overwhelming love and concern for others to be a great mother. You can’t be selfish and a mother because a mother is a very selfless position and that is the way she has been created even from the beginning of time. 83


I am very impressed with all mothers from those mothers of established home with both mother and father, to single mothers and even fathers who have had to take on the responsibility as both mother and father to their children, all are to be recognized and held with honor, admiration and to be given much love and support from all those around them. And, last but “surely not least,” I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own mother. My mother (Mattie) is an anointed woman of God. She is strong, outspoken, wise, discerning, loving, speaks the truth in love, hardworking, holds family together, has a good heart, a great woman of faith and emotional support to her family and all she connects with on a daily basis. I love my mother dearly and have watched over the years how she has continually sacrificed so much for the family unit. She is the epitome of a great mother and I am glad that God has graced me with her as a part of my life! I pray the Lord will continue to bless her all the days of her life. Always remember that mothers hold a special place in all of our lives. So many times mothers are overlooked, underappreciated and not shown gratitude from other loved ones around them. God has blessed us with wonderful mothers and while we have them in our lives let us cherish them and constantly exemplify our love towards them. There are many people today that have lost their mothers and are not able to tell them how much they love them and wished they were able to do so. The Lord has blessed me this past year with the blessed opportunity to be a mother and with it, it has offered many challenges and thus can be very overwhelming at times, but regardless, I am in love with my son (Jaarr) and wouldn’t change anything in terms of me being a mother. I love being a mother and I love raising a beautiful child who is undoubtedly a blessing from the Lord.

eâuç cxtÜÄá A A A A Ä|ààÄx zxÅá Éy ã|áwÉÅ? }Éç? tÇw ÜxÅxÅuÜtÇvx àÉ uÜ|z{àxÇ âÑ çÉâÜ wtç4 Play a trick on your family for April Fool’s Day - give them dessert for dinner! Make a layer cake out of two hamburgers and 'frost' with mashed potatoes! Don't forget to decorate with peas, carrots and other veggies - and add a candle too! April 7: No Housework Day! Take a break and go have fun – those dust bunnies will be waiting for you when you get back home. May 15th is Hug Your Cat Day! Give your furry little friends some love!

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Surrendering to a New Life by Brenda Diaz When I think of spring, words like change, renewal and new life come to mind. These words in context are concepts that are not as easy as it sounds because it involves "surrendering" the toughest part of us, our will. Surrendering, I believe, is the hardest concept to understand, let alone live. It's difficult because it is not innate within us to "give up" or "let go" because our natural bent is to seek absolutes, that is, to have and to be in control of every aspect of our life. Webster’s dictionary defines the word surrender as … “to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another, a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner, b : to give (oneself) over to something.”. Surrendering is about being selfless, vulnerable, powerless and completely free of those people, places and things that control how we think, what we say and how we act. This act of surrendering is a discipline that takes a lot of prayer and fasting in order to reach that point of “total submission”. How blessed are we to have the greatest example in Jesus as our guide. Jesus’ crucifixion and death was the greatest sacrifice done for the atonement of our sins. According to the laws of the time, Jesus was crucified for no reason but He surrendered His will to the Father for us. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). Jesus loves us with that “agape” love that He gave up his life so that we can be given that chance to sanctification thus salvation. Today my husband reminded me that what I've lived in my lifetime is, yes, particular to me but not new to the world because everyone has a cross to bear. As a human being, I will go through hardships but the most important factor is to “surrender” my life into God’s hands because He is in complete control of my life. So the next time I fuss over finances, or worry about my children or become anxious over people, places and things that I have no control over, I need to remember Jesus on the cross who “surrendered” so that I can be given the opportunity to live a new life of peace, joy and freedom. Father God, Thank you for giving me the gift of Jesus who paid, with his life, so that I could be given another chance to salvation. Jesus, Give me the strength and courage that’s needed so that I can “surrender” my life as you did so willingly for me. Holy Spirit, Move me and fill me with your gifts of fortitude and perseverance so that I may lift up my life to you Oh Lord, mind, body and soul. In Jesus name, Amen! 85


Ya Know What I’m Say’n by Kris Bridgman Come journey with me into the world of the homeless. It began with blankets that led me to a park bench and an incredible man who stole my heart. Sit with me as I visit with a registered sex offender who became changed by grace. Listen as I visit with a man who took a blade to his body, and to a young man who used tattoos to hide his pain. Meet the lady whose abusive father broke all of her fingers, and a young lady whose father beat her with a two-by-four. Meet these and others, and discover the sweet souls buried beneath their outer self. God provided me a glimpse of what He sees. At times, it was overwhelming, and at times inspirational. Whether from under the bridge or the downtown park, so many forgotten people shared their lives with me. From those whom others have shunned, I experienced love. In places I could not have imagined, I witnessed beauty, grace, and strength. Join me as I introduce you to my homeless friends and stand ready for your heart to change when you see them through the eyes of Jesus. Ya Know What I’m Say’n is available from Ruby’s Reading Corner.

Visit Connie at www.conniearnold.webs.com or her blog, www.conniearnold.blogspot.com

Check out the creative posts, crafts, and recipes from Kimber at Sublime Living 86


Meet Keith Wallis, Poet Interview by Beth Brubaker This is going to be peppered with spelling problems – somewhere midAtlantic the Pilgrim Fathers lost their dictionary and now the guys in America spell things differently. Needless to say my spelling will be the correct one. When did you become a Christian writer and poet? Is that three questions or one I wonder! I started church life in Sunday School aged 3 or 4 and made a commitment to Christ in my teens. I have spent the recent 34 years in church leadership. I have always been imaginative and written to one degree or another, but I’m not academic and school wasn’t the best environment for me. I didn’t really cotton on to poetry, in its many guises, until my late teens. The first poet I enjoyed was Dylan Thomas – I had his book ‘Miscellany’ out of the local library almost on permanent loan! The advent and sense of fun of the ‘Liverpool Poets’ – Patten, McGough & Henri – gave me some impetus, although I can’t do humour well within my own writing. Then I discovered Michel Quoist and saw in his writing that faith has a place in contemporary poetry, too. I favoured poetry because you can utilise imagery and strange metaphors leaving the reader to do some work in their own imaginations. In your bio you said someone had encouraged you in writing. What did they say that inspired you? It was David R Morgan. He came to my town to do a stint as a ‘Poet in Residence’ and we met at a pub where we were encouraged to share some of our writing. It wasn’t so much that he ‘said’ anything, more that he ‘took an interest’ and suggested I approach some of the small press poetry fraternity. We formed a small poetry group and met monthly over a couple of years to share progress. During that time (the mid 1980’s) various English magazines and Bogg (an American one) took my poetry and some of my graphics. I had three pamphlets published by Stride magazines and one by Sol magazine. I even did the covers for a couple of poetry books for folk I’d never met! In the end my graphics were being used more often than my poetry so the writings sort of went into hibernation. It was only when I joined ChristianWriters.com that I got a second jolt into writing action. What are your favorite things to write about? I am always inspired by the wonder and grandeur of the natural world and how the Creator is expressed through it. But I do tend to take an oblique look at things and when I’m writing to a photograph I might not take the obvious approach. 87


I find I imagine myself into scenarios. My grandchildren often feature too – something they say or do or even just a facial expression may set off a train of thought. As a spiritual exercise I will often put myself into the action of some Bible passage and investigate the reactions of one of the characters. What interested you to write for Ruby for Women? Do you know, that was so long ago I can’t actually remember! I might even have been invited. It was a strange place to end up – being a male. The other folk involved may have been the encouragement to join up. I see you're also a photographer. What is your favorite subject matter for photographs? We go back to the answer earlier about writing – the realm of nature: season / animals / birds / plants / scenery (especially the sea). The sea has always attracted me, even though where I live in England is just about as far as you can get in this country from any coastline. I’d also say my wife was a favourite subject; although she hates having her photo taken, she does appear on occasions. How long have you been a photographer? I began taking photographs seriously when my first son was born 37 years ago! I hadn’t had a proper camera (one with knobs and adjustments) until then. Three cameras later and I’ve got a digital camera, now I’ve forgotten a lot of the technical side of the old manual one. Can you explain the idea behind Wordsculpture? To be perfectly honest I just wanted my writing ‘out there’ and Wordsculpture was the mechanism for doing it. The blog showcases my ‘ekphrastic’ work. Ekphrastic means using one form of art to inform (or inspire) another, in my case the photographs become the ‘inspiration’ (I’m not keen on that word) for my poetry. It’s called ‘Wordsculptures’, as was the first pamphlet that was printed, because a colleague at work called me a ‘wordsculptor’. I rather liked that! If there was one thing you would like our readers to know about you, what would it be? It’s OK to be vulnerable. Editor’s note: Keith has been writing for Ruby for Women for four years. We discovered him when he left a brief comment on the Ruby for Women blog, and the rest is, as they say, history! We are honored to have Keith as part of the Ruby writing team, and we have been blessed by his gracious, imaginative, inspiring (sorry, Keith!) poetry that he shares with the Ruby for Women community in every issue of our magazine. You will also fins Keith’s poetry on the Ruby for Women blog, as well as on his own blog at http://wordsculptures-keith.blogspot.com/ . 88


“poems from the pit” by Keith Wallis English poet Keith Wallis is a lifelong resident of Houghton Regis and takes a keen interest in the development of the Chalk Quarry wild life reserve. He's known the area from its days as a major local industry through to its new life as an SSSI wild life reserve. His new book of

‘poems from the pit’ revolves around photographs he’s taken in the quarry over the last eighteen months. It is, however, not what you would expect. It is not nostalgic for a lost past, though a few poems refer to the former days of the quarry, but rather a celebration of now. The words and photographs offer a view that there is beauty even in the ‘detritus’ left behind by industry and the litter discarded by the thoughtless. The poems are all inspired by his photographs but may be a little oblique – often showing a train of thought rather than a description. Sample can be viewed at: http://www.blurb.com/user/store/wordsculptor where you’ll also find his other books.

Visit Vintage Mama’s Cottage for FREE craft tutorials, inspirational articles, and the latest creations from Vintage Mama!

Spring is the perfect time to redecorate your blog or website! Visit Blog Art by Katherine for all the details. 89


My Life in Christ by Sharon L. Patterson I have orders that say never retreat Scriptural food and gospel shoes for my feet. The resurrection is my body’s eternal hope, and grace for the asking is today’s ability to cope. Mercy is new with the dawning of each day, and His blood is ever flowing to cleanse along the way. There’s a sword to wield and a cross to bear, though light the promised load that I share. I am a vessel to be tried to a silvery hue, ready, whenever, for the Savior’s use. My eyes are directed upward for His return; my spirit rekindled when the Holy Fire comes to burn. My lips are tuned in song and prayer to say, “Lord, have your desire with these simple feet of clay.”

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Night of the Full Moon by Mimi Spurlock

Thursday, April 9, 1998: I was visiting with my friend, Eleanor. She asked me if the full moon ever kept me awake shining through my bedroom window. I replied that I had dark blinds in my bedroom and had never noticed the moon shining through them. Thursday April 9, 1998 p.m.: That night I had a dream that was so vivid that even after I awakened, I felt the full emotion of joy, fear, and urgency. I sensed during the dream that I was a passenger in the front seat of someone’s vehicle. We were riding along, having pleasant conversation, when I looked up toward Heaven and saw the New Jerusalem rapidly hurtling down toward the earth. I exclaimed to the person driving the car, “Jesus is coming!” The scene changed and I was out on the streets excitedly telling people, “Jesus is coming soon! I saw the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven.” My whole being was filled with the expectation of Jesus’ near return. I was excited and I wanted to share that excitement with others. But as I spoke to first one, then another, they turned away in disbelief and told me not to bother them. I pleaded with them, but they clearly were not interested in my message. Friday, April 10, 1998 a.m.: I awakened feeling so sad. The memory of the dream stayed with me throughout the day. I remembered the awe I had felt, the happy acceptance that Jesus’ return was very, very near. When I thought of how people rejected what I was telling them, my heart felt so heavy. I knew this was no ordinary dream. For several years I had been aware that the Lord sometimes spoke to me through dreams. I lay in bed praying that God would soften the hearts of His people and open the eyes of those who were blinded to the truth. Saturday, April 11, 1998, the day before Easter: My friend Debbie and I were visiting in my home. Usually I go to bed pretty early and get up early. Morning time to me is the best time of day to spend with God and that had been my routine for several years. Our visit ended about 10:30 p.m. and I headed to bed.

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As I walked into my bedroom, I looked toward the window. I could see a shaft of light shining through the blinds. “Must be that full moon Eleanor was talking about,” I thought. I decided to take a look at it, so I went into my bathroom, where I have a perfect view of the sky out that window. I stood, awestruck, by what I saw. There was, indeed, a full moon . . . . right in the heart of a giant cross. I don’t mean that there were moonbeams dancing off the moon forming a shape of a cross. What I saw was a beautiful cross, it’s lines perfect, with the round, full moon shining out of the center where the two beams of the cross meet. I moved my head from left to right, up and down, to see if the cross disappeared when I looked at it from a different angle. It didn’t. All I could manage to say was, “Lord, that’s a cross.” I repeated that several times as I walked into my bedroom and looked out that window. There was the cross and the full moon, gloriously splendid against the backdrop of the sky. I walked out on the deck and looked up, but the view wasn’t as good out there. I went back in and got my camera. I went back into the bathroom, walked to the window, raised the blinds and took three pictures of the cross. It’s hard to describe how I felt about seeing the cross. I knew God had a purpose in allowing me to see it. Many times God has spoken very clearly to me, not audibly but through the Christian radio station I listen to daily, or through an article in a Christian magazine, a sermon at church, or other means He might choose. Many times He has confirmed that He has heard my prayers, sometimes in ways that only can be called supernatural. But I just wasn’t sure what God was saying here. When I went to pick up the photos I could hardly wait to open the envelope. I flipped through the other pictures that were on the roll of film. No pictures of the cross. No pictures that even showed I had tried to take pictures of the cross. I have to admit that at first I was disappointed. It’s just my nature to want to share with others about exciting things God is doing. My humanness thought a little visual aid of what I had seen would be great when I did share it with others. I have found, however, that God doesn’t have to have pictures to share about the wonders He is performing. I’ve shared my story with many people since that time. It has always been a source of blessing. 92


Wednesday, April 15, 1998: My friend, Jamie, whose family owns an office supply business, came by the office to see if I needed any office supplies. We love to talk about Jesus. I found myself telling her about the cross and the full moon. About two hours later she called me so excited she could hardly talk. She told me she was going to fax me an article out of her new Guideposts magazine that was in the mail when she got back to her office. She said the first article she read was about a man who had seen a cross in the sky! The amazing thing about that is that she got her Guideposts two days before I got mine. God allowed her to play a part in His wonderful scheme of orchestrating events! Why did God show me the cross? I think He was simply revealing His presence to me. And was the dream God’s way of showing me Jesus is coming back very soon? I believe it was, and I do believe He will be coming back soon, just as I believe that God sometimes does touch our lives in mysterious and supernatural ways. He knows that I will share with others every message I receive from Him. Perhaps He has a message for you through me experience. As I recently reflected back on how Jesus would have been positioned on a cross, with His arms stretched on the beams, I realized the moon on the cross I saw was in the exact spot where Jesus’ heart was on the cross at Calvary.

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Sudoku Puzzle Answer Key by Beth Brubaker

Split Words Puzzle Answer Key “Signs of Spring” by Beth Brubaker

ROBINS FLOWER LEAVES WARMTH INHALE 94


Spell Check Police Answer Key by Beth Brubaker

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

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Are you a writer? Do you love to cook or craft? You are invited to submit your stories, articles, poems, recipes or crafts for publication in the summer 2014 issue of Ruby for Women. DEADLINE FOR SUMMER SUBMISSIONS IS MAY 15, 2014 Please send your submissions to editor@rubyforwomen.com For advertising inquiries, please visit the Ruby for Women blog at www.rubyforwomen.com/advertise

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

Please join us every week for Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy

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Meet the Ruby for Women Writers Aunt Dots, Master Gardener Aunt Dots has been writing for Ruby for Women since the very beginning. Her love for gardening started early in her life: “I believe I got my love for growing flowers from my mother. She had a large flower garden with annuals and dahlias. I had my first flower garden after I married and we lived in a garden apartment.” She now has perennial gardens, rose gardens, grape vines, asparagus, currants, gooseberries, walnut trees, apple trees, and hazelnut trees. In the winter months, Aunt Dots sews, making quilts that she has donated to a Mennonite Relief auction.

Beth Brubaker, Footprints in the Mud and Ask Beth Beth is the “Family Fun” editor here in the Ruby for Women community. She is a mother of two very active kids whose antics are sprinkled liberally in her columns. She has been married for 13 years to her Knight in Shining Armor, and she is delighted to share with us that they still hold hands in public! Her day job is working as a fabric artist, a homemaker, and a writer. Beth writes humorous articles about life in general, puzzles, and an advice column that is based on readers’ questions, as well as sharing hints and tips for everyday life that she comes across in her travels between her laundry room, living room, and kitchen. Don’t miss Beth’s columns in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read more of Beth’s posts on her blog, “Footprints in the Mud” at www.footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at bethatruby@aol.com

Lanette Kissel lives in southern Indiana with her adopted Yorkie-Poo, Benjy. She enjoys singing in her huge choir at Crossroads Christian Church. She has been a freelance writer of Christian/Inspirational poetry for twelve years. Recently, she has been writing Inspirational articles and essays, as well as devotions. Her work has appeared in: Mature Living Magazine, Purpose, Live, The War Cry, The Lutheran Journal, The Catholic Yearbook, Silver Wings, Inspired Women Magazine, and others.

Lynn Mosher, Devotions

Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with God’s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, their three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. Visit Lynn at her blog, at http://lynnmosher.com 97


Katherine Corrigan, Recipes and Crafts Katherine is a blogger at Katherine’s Corner, an artist, designer, tea drinker and hug giver. She has been a contributor to Ruby for Women for three years. She is originally from England. But she has lived in the USA since 1975. She holds a rare dual citizenship with the UK and the USA and is a proud citizen of both. She greets each day with grace, dignity and gratitude. Thanking God for her strength as she continues to encourage others and moves forward despite her physical challenges. She is happily married and has five grandchildren. After 30 years of working in the medical field and managing other people’s businesses Katherine has her own online shop and graphics business. She never hesitates to contribute to Ruby for Women. She says, “Being part of Ruby for Women is like getting a big hug every day.” Blog http://KatherinesCorner.com Blog Graphics at http://BlogArtByKatherine.com Shop http://KeepsakesByKatherine.etsy.com

Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur, a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. She empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace through the Christian Mompreneur Mastermind program and her professional Marketing services, which include copywriting, marketing and strategy www.theresaceniccola.com. consulting and private coaching.

Heather King is a wife to a wonderful husband and a mom to three beautiful girls. A former English teacher, she now lives a life of doing dishes, folding laundry, finding lost toys and mending scraped knees. She treks to the grocery store more times a week than she’d like and struggles to keep up with chores, appointments and the to-do list that refreshes itself day after day. In addition to all that, she’s the worship leader at her church in Virginia, a Bible study teacher and women’s ministry leader. Somewhere in the middle of the noise, mess, and busyness of life, she takes time to meet with God at her kitchen table with a Bible, a journal and a cup of strong hot tea with lots of sugar. You can find her blogging about these times with God at her devotional site: Room To Breathe: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/

Donna McBroom-Theriot, Writer. Book Reviewer. Southern Lady. My life is like an episode of "I love Lucy!" I'm a writer, book reviewer, and a Southern Lady who loves her Sweet Tea. My blog: My Life. One Story at a Time. I've been writing since 2009. As luck would have it, the very first short story I wrote was published within months of my writing it. This quote pretty much sums me up: "Deep in my heart, I know there’s no promise I’ll be free from trouble in this life. In fact, I’m usually either getting out of trouble, currently in trouble, or about to meet trouble around the next corner." Well, you know the saying, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" – that’s usually mine! Join me. It's bound to be a bumpy ride! 98


Sharmelle “Shar,” Graphic Design I am passionate about graphic design and photography, and I spend a great deal of time developing my talents. Like many, I had set my career aside for a few years while working on other projects, but I found that I missed working with others and feel that many people need support and encouragement to follow their dreams.

Cindy J. Evans is a published Christian poet living in the greater Atlanta area. She enjoys church activities, inspirational movies, Ferris wheels and grand openings. She is still learning to go to her heavenly Father for comfort and not Ben & Jerry!

Full time mother and author, Corallie Buchanan, is a woman who writes from her heart. Corallie writes regularly for the Christian Woman magazine, Australia's premier magazine for Christian women. In addition to her editing her own work, she contributes material to a number of magazines in the US including The Haven Journal, Inspired Women Magazine, and Ruby for Women. Sharing God's message of love and forgiveness, and mentoring other young writers is her passion. Corallie is also the author of Watch Out! Godly Women on the Loose; a book which won her the award of Young Australian Christian Writer of the Year in 2007. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Behavioural Studies from the University of Queensland, and a Master's Degree in Divinity from Malyon Baptist Theological College. She lives her with husband and daughter in Brisbane, Australia. http://www.coralliebuchanan.com.au/

Cindy Bailey of Waynesburg, PA is a longtime writer, journalist, librarian, church musician, wife and mom of two girls who somehow managed to grow up in spite of my general confusion and overall disorganization. I publish my own local newspaper called GreeneSpeak (www.greenespeak.com) which has earned numerous awards from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, and for over 20 years I’ve been writing and publishing my Cindy’s Wind column now on Facebook, and on my blog: www.cindyswind.blogspot.com which I recently launched and where I plan to post new as well as “classic” pieces from my arsenal of slice-of-life essays from 25 years of parenting and living.

Theresa Begin writes her blog, Shoestring Elegance, as a means of ministering to other women who are interested in learning to live well, even on a budget. “I began writing my blog, Shoestring Elegance, because I found that living on a tight budget didn’t mean compromising on style or standing.” Theresa’s favorite verse, which guides her writing, is “Nothing is Impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) Visit Theresa at her blog at http://shoestringelagance.blogspot.com/ 99


Gloria Doty: I am a mother of 5 and grandmother of 13. I have owned a catering business, and a Grade A goat dairy. I have managed a restaurant, worked in retail and was Dir. of Children’s’ Ministries for a large church for 10 years. I have been writing since I was in third grade. I currently write 2 blogs about my youngest daughter, Kalisha, and our journey together through the world of mild mental retardation, autism and Aspergers. One blog is written for www.MOMS.FortWayne.com and is titled “Not Different Enough”. The other blog is www.gettingitright-occasionally.blogspot.com I write freelance articles for magazines and am a contributor to two devotional publications: Living the Gospel Life and Hope-Full Living. I do not believe it is possible to make it through a day without faith and a sense of humor, even in the darkest times and I try to always reflect that in my writing.

Sarah Johnson is a twenty-something wife, mother, and part-time care giver for adults with developmental disabilities. She loves reading, coffee, and cuddling with her family. Sarah and her husband were married in 2006 and they now have two young children. Her “home” days are filled with housework, spending time with family, and volunteering at her daughter’s school. Sarah worked in daycare for more than eight years before jumping into a direct care position for adults with Down syndrome, Epilepsy, and other disorders. She assists her clients with cooking and cleaning, takes them to doctors’ appointments, and just enjoys life with them! She is currently the Book Review Editor for Ruby for Women and she loves it!

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

Brenda Diaz is a Christian and Latina woman who has found her calling being a wife and a mother of two children (When younger, her writings focused on her life’s journey as a woman centering on truth from the perspective of justice and social change. As she’s grown in wisdom, age, and spirit, she now dedicates her life to writing about God as the primary mover in her own life and the life of her marriage and her family. You can visit Brenda on her blog at http://mrsbrendadiaz44.blogspot.com/ 100


Mimi Spurlock

“I live in beautiful East Texas where I am enjoying retirement. I attend Calvary Baptist Church and am a substitute teacher for our Ladies' Sunday School Class. Writing is something I have always loved. Little did I know how important that writing would be in the months following the death of my grandson, Dane. And our faithful Lord used writing and speaking at rehab centers to help bring healing to my grieving heart. I have one daughter and one grandson, Hagen, who is fifteen years old and loves to hunt and fish. He's quite good at both. I pray my article might somehow bless another heart.” You can read Mimi’s book, “And God Sent the Dragonflies,” at Authonomy http://www.authonomy.com/books/40949/and-god-sent-the-dragonflies/read-book/ My name is Yvonne Carson, CEO/Founder of Empowerlicious Woman ™. Our tagline is “Feeling Good About the Woman Inside.” When a woman feels good from the inside out she exudes confidence, faith, and assurance in who God created her to be, not by the dictates of society. These attributes are needed, among other things, to live an authentic, purpose-driven life and for fulfilling her unique calling in life. Amanda Stephan is a multi-published Christian romance author who loves sharing God’s love with others. A homeschooling mother and stay at home wife, she finds pleasure in many things from sewing, to baseball and karate, to writing. She is currently working on a three book Christian romantic suspense series and resides in Columbia, TN, with her real-life hero husband of 8 years and two children. You can find Amanda at her website http://www.BooksByAmanda.com http://www.thepriceoftrust.com http://www.twitter.com/amandastephan https://www.facebook.com/creativehomemomma

Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women's ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books: A Soldier's Strength from the Psalms (2007); Healing for the Holes in Our Souls(2008); and Where Is Happy?(2011). She is a contributing author for Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayer; also Gettin' Old Ain't for Wimps (Karen O'Connor,2004) and Special Strength for Special Parents (Nina Fuller, 2006). She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Kristi Burchfiel is an author of devotional and Bible study books, and she is also a contribution writer for Ruby for Women. Her daily devotionals for every day of the month are available on the Ruby for Women community website, as well as the Ruby for Women blog. You can also find her daily devotionals in the Ruby for Women magazine. For more information about the devotional and Bible study books by Kristi Burchfiel, please visit her blog at www.kristiburchfiel.com 101


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

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

Kristin Bridgman

I’ve been married to a very sweet, patient, loving man for 29 years. I’ve been a mom to two sons I love with all my heart for 22 years. I’ve been a born again Christian loving the Lord for 36 years. I home schooled for 14 years. I’m just an ordinary woman who lives for an extraordinary God. http://www.ponderingsbykris.blogspot.com

Cathy Dyer, an English teacher, knows firsthand the pain of pornography. After seven years of marriage, her husband, entangled in the vice of pornography, left her. He came back, but the journey to a renewed relationship wasn’t easy, and she wasn’t sure she even wanted to begin. Only God’s healing and counseling restored their marital relationship. Encouraging their new pastor, Jay Dennis, to continue shedding God’s light on this topic, the Dyers have become the “front cover” for this issue of pornography among Christian men, and have aided the development of this series. The Dyers are members of Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Florida, where Dennis is senior pastor. This ministry has been highlighted in Growing Churches magazine, Christianity Today, and Billy Graham’s Decision Today.

Michelle S. Lazurek has been a pastor's wife for over twelve years. Whether it is through writing counseling material, organizing ladies retreats or mentoring women in her church, Michelle considers each day an opportunity to find her place in God's story. In 2007, Michelle and her husband Joe planted Praxis Church. Michelle holds a Master's degree in Counseling and Human Relations from Liberty University. She has two beautiful children: Caleb and Leah. Michelle provides tips for busy writers on her blog The Writers’ Tapestry: Where Writing and Life Intertwine http://www.michellelazurek.com 102


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

Chris Roe is an English poet who was born in the rural county of Norfolk, England in 1948, where he has lived and worked for much of his life. Most of his working career has been spent in the agricultural industry. His love of nature, the countryside and the time spent within the agricultural industry is very much reflected in much of his writing. You can find more of Chris’ poetry and his books from his website, Silent Flight Publications.

Donna Comeaux resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Glenn. Together, they have two children and five grandchildren. She draws inspiration from her life, the life of others, the news, and her wild and vivid imagination. She is a freelance writer and contributes to Ezinearticles.com ─ http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Donna_B._Comeaux, Yahoo.com ─ http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/1742764/donna_b_comeaux.html, Ruby for Women ─ http://rubyforwomen.com/, her website ─ www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com, and Hope-full Living – http://hopefulldevos.com. She has written several poems for funerals and weddings, and is in the process of editing her first completed family saga, White Castle. She will begin work on her second novel, Taken by Choice, and start writing a collection of short stories in 2014.

Aileen Stewart is “just your average mom. A gum chewing, bubble blowing, shower singing, flower planting, cookie baking, craft making, photo taking, reading, WRITING, kind of mom who loves the Lord, her husband, soon to be eight year old daughter, and crazy cat Max. I have many interests and hobbies, but the two I'm most passionate about are writing and photography. I am a published award winning author of the book Fern Valley - A Collection of Short Stories and an award winning amateur photographer. 103


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

Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor Amanda has been writing for Ruby for Women for over three years, and she has been a free-lance writer for several years, beginning her writing career as a young teen-ager. She also worked for Love Unveiled, a ministry to women in undeveloped countries around the world. Amanda brings experience as well as a passion for ministry to the work of Ruby for Women, and she has a heart for reaching out and touching the hearts and lives of women everywhere. Amanda will be working with all of our writers on their submissions, as well as assisting in keeping the Ruby for Women blog and website up-to-date with new information daily.

Nina Newton, Sr. Editor When all of my four older children were in school, I returned to college as a “non-traditional student.” Eventually, I earned degrees in Classics and Philosophy, and a graduate degree in Medieval Studies: History of Theology. After teaching at a small community college in Michigan for seven years, my husband and I were blessed with the adoption of our two beautiful daughters, Gracie and Annie. Gracie is 13 years old and Annie is 11. They were both born in China, and we were able to travel to China two times to bring our daughters home. We live in northern Indiana in a small farming community where I work on Ruby for Women in my home office. I also work at Huntington University, Huntington, Indiana as the Curriculum Assistant for the Graduate and Professional Programs, as well as teaching as an adjunct instructor in Biblical and theological studies. My personal blog is at www.mamaslittletreasures.com where I frequently post tutorials and patterns for crafts and other sewing projects, as well as weekly reflections on life as a woman, wife, mother, and daughter of the King. 104


Credits and Copyrights All stories and articles are copyright by the authors. All pictures and images are copyright by the authors and / or have been purchased, used by permission or are in the public domain. If any pictures or images have been used inadvertently, and they do not belong in this publication, please email us and we will immediately remove them. Nothing in this issue of Ruby for Women may be reproduced, copied, or shared without the permission of the author. Advertising information is available at www.rubyforwomen.com/advertise Questions? Email Nina @ editor@rubyforwomen.com or Amanda @ ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Ruby for Women is published by rubyforwomen.com All submission inquiries should be directed to Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women editor@rubyforwomen.com or Amanda Johnson, Assistant Editor ajohnson@rubyforwomen.com Advertising inquiries should be directed to editor@rubyforwomen.com Creative Consultant, Katherine Corrigan of Blog Art by Katherine http://katherinescorner.com/blog-art/

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

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Ruby spring 2014