Featured Posts from the RUBY blog
Coming Apart at the 'Seems'!
Category: Member Blogs

Coming Apart at the 'Seems'

 

Yes, we've all done it. We've all watched someone going about their day, and we come to our own conclusions. Many times those conclusions are wrong.

Sometimes they are really wrong.

We see the well-dressed neighbor and her well-behaved children piling into their brand-new vehicle, and we imagine their perfect life as they drive off; we look at our own rugrats (who are painting the cat purple and running around like rampant lion cubs) and gaze into the hallway mirror wondering how that tired-looking woman in the reflection lost control.

Or the guy who seems to have everything- a pretty wife, great kids, and he always seems to be working in the backyard or on the house with the latest and greatest tools and equipment, complete with a shiny new van.

We envy our neighbor sometimes. But we only see the outside of their lives, not what's actually going on. It seems as if all is well, but is it really?

Then we find out later on that the neighbor that was so well-dressed was taking her children to the courthouse to try to gain custody from a divorce gone bad. Looking good is the only thing she can do to cope, and she feels like there's no one else to talk to.
The guy that seems to have everything had his truck totalled when he lent it to a friend, lost his job as a result of the accident, and is using a rental van to get around, borrowing his friends tools to do odd jobs and working on the house in case they have to sell because he can't find work. He pours his frustrations into fixing what he can, because life is getting out of control.

People who 'seem' to have it all together, usually don't. Take a look at your life. Parts of it are probably a mess right now. Yet someone is looking at us and assuming all is well! I've had people assume things about me that are way off base; But those assumptions dissipate once they talk to me- and then we have a good laugh!

She's so creative! I bet her house is like a museum of art! Only if you consider dust bunnies and cat hair an art-form.

She's published so many books! I could never talk to her about writing- she's out of my league. All writers started our as new writers. And this writer loves to talk shop! 

Her kids are so polite and her husband is so nice! They probably never have family issues. You'd be wrong there on so many levels. Polite kids take a ton of work, and even then they aren't always at their best- just like the rest of us! As for my husband- he is nice, but we still argue on occasion!

She has the best marriage/kids/life/whatever! We've had our trials, issues and hardships. Just because we don't show them doesn't mean they don't exist. And when someone talks with us and those 'seems' are mended, that's when friendships are born!

Talk to your neighbors and church members, and engage in your community. Get involved with others and repair those ripped 'seems' with stitches of friendship! You never know how many lives you touch just by talking to someone- help them (and you!) from coming apart at the 'seems'!
Are you nice? Or are you kind?
Category: Member Blogs
Something I am working on myself because I tend to be unfriendly at times. I believe there is a difference in nice and being kind. I am not nice. I will flat out tell you this up front, but I am kind. I have compassion and because of that I know that being nice is fleeting, but kindness is forever. You can claim to be nice, but are you truly nice? Or are you nice until you get your way? <-- I tend to be this way often. I have a bad habit of using people to get what I want out of life. I don't do it often, but I do it enough for God to call it to my attention. What is He trying to call to your attention?
From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray-Elliott Tags: abortion forgiveness God's grace

Every second of every day a woman has an abortion. Every second of every day a woman has to live with the emotional turmoil of her decision. Forty years ago at the age of sixteen Debra had an abortion changing her forever.

 

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose brings emotionally charred women out of the pits of fire, through the ashes into the beauty of purpose. With the direction of God, hurting women weather through the painful journeys, become women of spiritual beauty, find God’s purpose, and learn to live again.

 

 

 

Debra Gray-ElliottDebra is a Christian author and inspirational speaker. Her published works include two personal poetry collections and inclusions in several Christian anthologies. Debra has been writing since the age of fifteen.

‘From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose‘ is Debra’s first non-fiction work that helps women overcome the negative emotions of abortion through direction, encouragement, and strength.

​Debra is currently working on her second book ‘Dancing through the Storms 365 Day Devotional: Surviving the Loss of a Child‘, which was born out of the devastating loss of her daughter Ashley.

Debra resides in Alabama with her husband and family.

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray-Elliott is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

Half a Rainbow, the Morning after a Summer Storm by Joan Leotta Tags: summer rainbow Christian poetry Joan Leotta

Half a Rainbow

Half a Rainbow, the Morning after a Summer Storm

by Joan Leotta

Walking down to get my morning paper,

I glanced upward into a barely lit sky

still tremulous with dark

 

streaky clouds from the

previous night’s storm.

I spotted a rainbow

 

springing up from the river

running behind the neighbor’s

house across the street.

 

Bow of color bent over the marsh,

its tail end hidden by a still forming

new set of storm clouds.

 

I ran back into my house for a camera.

Padding back out still in robe and slippers

I spotted my neighbor across the street

 

her back to the awesome

sight, as she collected her newspaper

from her own driveway.

 

“A rainbow,” I cried out,” there’s a rainbow

behind you!”

“I know” she replied, frowning.

 

She  gestured toward my camera.

“Its’ only a half rainbow. Hardly worthy.”

Amazed, I shook my head and snapped away.

 

I chose and would choose again

to revel even in that small bit of color.

No beauty should be wasted.

 

Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling.

Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

Forgiveness 101
Category: Member Blogs

Forgiveness 101

 
 

Forgiveness...it's such an easy thing to do, right? Just say you forgive someone for something, then forget about it. It's so simple!

Or is it?

I had to forgive someone. Yet I had to be forgiven by this someone as well. To be honest, that rankled me. I'd done my best and messed up- but it wasn't on purpose! Why should I take any of the blame and be treated like that?

But there's the rub- I had to see things from the other person's perspective. Once I did that, I could see how my actions could be seen as something other than I intended. 

The Bible talks about how to forgive and be forgiven. I needed to go to that person and have a face-to-face talk (if possible- it's hard to do if your offender lives far away). In my case this was possible, so I called to plan a meeting. 

The person I wanted to speak to brushed me off. Twice. I almost took this as a sign. Maybe I didn't need to get forgiveness from this person because I had given it a decent try- I was vindicated! 
But no, God had other plans and kept poking me in the heart about it for the next year.

Yes, you read that right. A year. God is good, but He's also as persistent as a kid at Christmas. He kept poking me, asking "You going to talk to her now? How about now? Now?" Finally I'd decided to stop the phone tag and talk to this person face to face. I passed by their house, called and asked if they were home. They were. I told them I was coming to the door and to please let me in so we could discuss things. I slowly released my pent-up breath as I walked into one of the hardest talks I've had to do in ages.

It wasn't easy. This person was resistant. The TV was blaring, and they conceded to just turn it down instead of off. They wouldn't look me in the eyes. I could feel their invisible wall trying to push me away. A chainsaw wouldn't have cut the tension I'd felt in that room. The silence was truly deafening, and I almost walked out. But I had to do this. I needed forgiveness just as much as I needed to forgive this person.

The discussion didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but there were some bridges mended. All the while this person never even looked my way. One thing that was said stuck with me; "I can forgive you, but I'll never forget." 

I always thought the term 'Forgive and Forget' was in the Bible- after all, it sounds like it should be in there. But forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting- forgiveness is about holding no anger and resentment towards someone for something that happened between the two of you. 
It took me years to forgive my mother for some of the things she'd done; but once I truly forgave, I didn't forget- I just remembered without the anger and resentment that usually came with those memories. Instead there was an understanding- an empathy for her concerning what she was thinking and feeling at the time. My mother and I had made peace with each other before she passed away.

This was a bit different. I could still feel the anger from this person. My anger, however, was spent. I left with a mixed bag of emotions. The little stone of resentment in my heart was gone, but I was sad because this person was still holding anger towards me- and there was nothing else I could do to alleviate it. 

I've learned much about forgiveness these past few years. You forgive, and do your best to be forgiven. You have no control over how (or if!) someone forgives you, but if you do your best to make amends- that is all God asks of you. It's up to the other person to let go of their anger- not you.

Forgiveness is freeing. I never realized until I'd forgiven my mother just how much weight anger and resentment presses on your heart. But oh- when you let it go! Your entire spirit lifts, and the world is seen through more gracious and appreciative eyes.

I wanted to share this with you today, in case you have someone that needs to be forgiven, and you just can't. I'm going to tell you that you can- ask God for the strength not to falter or curl up in a ball of misery because of what happened. 
You can get rid of that unseen weight on your heart. Maybe you'll fight it for a year (or years) like I did. I'm quite stubborn! But in the end, forgiveness is what lifted my depressed heart and brightened my spirit so I could see God's grace all around me. 
And I want you, my Dear Readers, to feel that too!
AWESOME GOD Tags: CHRISTIAN

Hymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams: There’s Within My Heart a Melody Tags: Christian hymns Christiatn life Hymn stories

Hymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams: There's Within My Heart a MelodyHymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams:

There’s Within My Heart a Melody by Luther B. Bridgers

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? Psalm 137:4

The news was devastating. It came to Luther Bridgers when he was preaching a revival in 1910 in Kentucky. His wife and three sons had stayed in Harrodsburg with her parents while he was away. But fire destroyed the home and his family perished.

When the young husband and father returned to Harrodsburg, he experienced grief he had never known before. His soul traveled into new territory – a dark valley of sorrow. How could he sing a song of faith with a broken heart – his “foreign land”?

Bridgers stood strong in his faith as he went to the Word of God. The Psalms were comforting because every human emotion is found there. The question in Psalm 137:4 echoed his own despair. The Israelites wept when they were forced from their homes into exile: “On the day I called, you answered me; you increased my strength of soul” (Psalm 138:3). Their hope was renewed.

So it was for Luther Bridgers. The process of healing began. Soon a song was born in which he expressed his bedrock faith. He was inspired to write the words and music for “There’s Within My Heart a Melody.” The melody seems to come from the “sweet and low whisper” of Jesus, who says: “Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow.” Life has the ebb and flow of trials, but “though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, see his footprints all the way.”

I have seen the footprints of Jesus in the life of one who has been touched by deep sorrow. My friend Glenda knows the God who comforts, sustains, and heals the brokenhearted. When her husband, Paul Ray Troutt, was serving a church in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, a terrible tragedy occurred. On a hot August day in 1971, their car was hit by a drunk driver. Paul Ray and their two young sons were killed instantly. Glenda received severe injuries but she slowly recovered.

In the past years she has been a part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In a recent letter she wrote: “I feel that God has been able to use the tragedy of my life to bring comfort to others who are experiencing the same devastation.”

Is my faith growing so that, if such a tragedy comes into my life, I am sustained in my grief? Will I hear the melody of God’s Love?

Lord, you are with me, and that is my security. Amen.

There’s within my heart a melody

Jesus whispers sweet and low:

Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still,

in all of life’s ebb and flow.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know,

fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.

Luther B. Bridgers, 1910

 

Hymn Stories by Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams In 1984 in Nashville, Tennessee I began to write answers for the question, “Why do people write songs?” Those stories first appeared on a radio program that I created: THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG aired on Christian radio station WWGM.

The program began as I sang six words, “I Love to Tell the Story” and said: “Hi friends, this is Lucy Adams and I tell the story behind the song.” I continued the show for five minutes with a message that answered … who, what, where and why of the hymn – plus a verse or two of the music. These programs continued to play for many years in various towns in Tennessee. Visit my blog to learn more about the stories of our favorite hymns at https://www.52hymns.com/about.htm

The Big Gulp of God!
Category: Member Blogs

The Big Gulp of God!

My cup is full of a lot of things.

Ideas. 
Frustrations.
Plans.
Complaints.
Hugs.
Laughter.

Unfortunately, when my cup is full of these things, there isn't much room for God. In fact, God should be filling my entire cup so there isn't room for much else- except the good stuff He wants in the cup.

But noooooo, I have to go fill it up with the other stuff first! When I have a full cup of gunk, I have a hard time trying to empty it. Letting go of everything and letting the contents spill to the floor just isn't my nature. Instead I savor that cup of glop and hold it close to my heart.

Maybe you do too?

Some of the things in my cup are good. Ideas. Hugs. Laughter. Even plans are good for the most part as long as God has His say in them. But the other things- the negative things- need to be spilled into the dirt where fertilizer belongs. 

I just have to let my cup of glop go

The best part is, when I empty my cup, God gives me a bigger cup for Him to fill. In fact, I get to help fill other peoples' cups because God doesn't just fill my cup, He overfills it! And we all know when God decides to do something, He goes big.

It's like going to the store for a small soda, and the guy at the counter takes your tiny soda and gives you a giant Big Gulp of the best soda you've ever tasted!

Oh yeah- Gettin' me a Big Gulp of God!

It's hard to let go. Trust me- I get it. I struggle with my cup every day. But the more I spill out, the more God fills my cup with the good stuff- and life starts tasting better and better each day.



Let God be your Ultimate Soda Guy. Let Him trade your small cup of glop and give you His Big Gulp, overflowing with enough blessings you can share. Take a sip of what He has to offer- you won't regret it!
“Vintage Book Treasure Hunt: A Book for Laura” by Kathryn Ross Tags: vintage books family literacy classic literature family reading

Vintage Book Treasure Hung #1Vintage books represent old lives. People from the past, who lived, loved, laughed, cried, and recorded the treasure of their minds and hearts in words on printed pages for posterity. Not just those who penned the words—but very often, those who read those words and subsequently responded to them. Perhaps with handwritten notes of their own compositions in the margins, or back pages.

I came into possession of a vintage book titled, Day After Day: A Manual of Devotions for Individual and Family Use, as compiled by 19th and early 20th century evangelist John Wilbur Chapman. It was published in 1919, at the end of the First World War. One of the first places I go when treasure hunting in a vintage or antique book, is inside, opening to the front page in the hopes of finding an inscription of its owner. I was not disappointed in this small navy-blue volume with gold embossed lettering.

Etched in pencil, in what appeared to be a hurried cursive handwriting, was the epitaph: “To Laura, with love from Emma & Sade.” An error in composition required erasing the original, “from with love,” for the edited, “with love from.”

My only disappointment was the absence of any more clues as to date and occasion. Was it Laura’s birthday? Confirmation? Marriage? Who were Emma and Sade? Best friends? Beloved sisters? With so many unanswered questions, my imagination kicked into high gear, fueled with inspiration. This is the stuff short stories are made of, I thought.

I found only one other clue on the end pages of the book to help me piece together who Laura might have been. A few poetic verses, roughly drawn, in need of an editor. The writer drafted it in pencil first, and then wrote over the pencil in tell-tale fountain pen ink as if to set it in stone. A poem. A prayer. Titled very simply: Peace.

Perhaps, she copied it from another source. Perhaps, she composed it herself. A prayer for peace in troubled times. A young woman living a hundred years ago. In 1919. At the close of a global war that reset both Europe and America. Those who survived would never be the same.

The loss of 126,000 American soldiers stripped the innocence and formality of the Victorian and Edwardian age from society. Fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers were not coming home to loved ones and the potential of a life lived. Add in the 245,000-wounded returned from French, German, and Italian battlefields, it was clear that the year 1919 would be fraught with exhilaration at the war’s end, equal to the anxiety of living in a physical and social landscape dramatically altered. In total, 11 million military personnel died and 7 million more were wounded. Civilian casualties were equally shocking.

Vintage Book Treasure Hunt #2

Laura, Emma, and Sade—how did World War I touch their lives? Did they suffer loss? Were they newly-minted war widows consoling each other with a book of devotional readings?

I imagine them in this setting, as we celebrate Independence Day this July 4th, and the first of many tragic wars Americans were forced to fight in the past 245 years to secure our liberties and sovereign borders.

Thumbing through the thirteen weeks’ worth of weekly Scripture readings and prayers in Day After Day, I came across specialized readings for select holidays.

Among them was Flag Day, where Chapman selects an interesting Scripture from James 1:25:

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

It is interesting to consider the application of this verse to the founding principles of our nation’s liberty—derived, and well documented as so, from the Bible. In years past, training in “religion” (meaning specifically, Christianity) was an integral part of American education, as Samuel Adams attests in these inspiring words dated in Boston, October 4, 1790:

Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system . . .

Samuel Adams

Boston, October 4, 1790

Prayer and open discussion of the Bible, and how its principles applied to public life as a citizen, were a revered part of every school child’s academic years. Until 1961, that is—a mere forty years since the publication of this vintage family devotional, and only twenty years since the end of the nation’s second war on foreign shores. Not to mention Korea. And the contemporary threats a half century ago, of a Cold War.

Being a doer of the work of liberty—applying the principles of liberty, including a love country—brings blessing, indeed. But often after much loss. Sacrificial love secures liberty. Like that of Christ on the cross. Or a young man on a battlefield far from home.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NLT

Peace in troubled times seems distant. Laura, Emma, and Sade may have grown up together in a one room classroom learning their American Christian heritage together. In the trauma and aftermath of a world war, they remembered that the anchor of the soul is to be found in stealing away to a quiet place for devotions, meeting in prayer with the Prince of Peace.

Losing a loved one in the defense of the nation might have spurred Emma and Sade’s gift of this little book of devotions to Laura. Perhaps the prayer chosen for the Flag Day meditation brought her some comfort:

Almighty God, Sovereign of the universe, we thank Thee that our flag has always stood for liberty, justice, and freedom, and that the banner of the Republic floated in the battle front across the seas. (Reference to WWI) Great God, may our flag never be dishonored. Grant that through the coming years its stars may continue to shine, and its colors stand for purity, devotion, and sacrifice. May all our citizens be loyal to it as the symbol of national sovereignty.  May there soon come to this weary world the morning of universal peace. This we ask in the Name of Thy Son, our Redeemer. Amen.

David G. Wylie, D.D.

Reprinted in Day by Day, 1919

This is the first of my treasure hunt finds in this particular volume. Next month I’ll explore more nuggets of inspiration from this old gold mine of beautiful words and wisdom—the legacy of past lives. The more I learn of the hearts and minds of those who have gone before us, the more I am challenged to pursue my own life’s legacy with purpose—seeds for growing on, rather than chaff for the wind.

Peace

Drop Thy still dews of quietness

Til all our strivings cease

Take from our souls the strain and stress

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the hearts of our desires

Thy coolness and Thy balm

Let sense be dumb—let flesh retire

Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire

A still small voice of calm

Our Father, Thy life opens fresh and new in my being this day. They love fills my soul and mind and presses me unto faithful service and high purpose. All darkness, all dimness or vision within or without is but a cloud which the lens of Thy reality will turn to light and clearness. My being rests in calm security in Thy love and knows the beginning and the end is peace. Amen.

To hear the dramatized audio version of this article by author/storyteller, Kathryn Ross, visit www.thewritersreverie.com/book-for-laura or click on the PODCASTS page for the link to this and more inspiring audio stories leading to all good things and beauty.

 

 

 

Kathryn Ross Image #4

 

Kathryn Ross

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

 

Visit Miss Kathy at Pageant Wagon Publishing for more inspiration for family literacy.

"The Art of Bullying" by Mary Dolan Flaherty Tags: bullying self-image personal growth self-worth self-care

The Art of BullyingApparently, I am a bully. I have learned the art of bullying quite well it seems.

Someone very close to me, someone I care a lot about told me this recently. I was a bit shocked. I had no idea.

She told me this:

Mary, for as long as we’ve known each other, you have belittled, ridiculed, mocked me, and called me names. You’ve told me I’m stupid and fat and ugly and weird. You’ve made me feel inferior and insignificant. I’ve often felt like I just can’t measure up to your standards and expectations, no matter how hard I try. You expect perfection, and I constantly fall short. Then, you lose your temper when I don’t come through. I feel like it’s my fault for everything that goes wrong in your life.

I felt my heart pound. I tried to defend myself, but she was on a roll.

I feel guilty all the time. Whenever I mess up, I feel like an idiot, because that’s what you’ve told me for years. I see how you encourage and accept others. I watch how you seem to convey to them that it’s okay to have flaws. I listen to you tell them that God loves them no matter what. Regardless of how they view themselves, you always try to explain how God’s love overrides what they think. You allow others to be who they are, but you ignore me. I look at you and see a hypocrite.
Why are you so hard on me? Why do I feel as though you’ve never been able to love me, really love me, just the way I am?

Again, I opened my mouth to defend myself, but she went on.

All I want is to be treated with the same respect and dignity that you give to everyone else. Don’t you think we all deserve that?

My heart beat wildly in shame. The more she went on, the more ashamed I felt. I couldn’t believe how I’d wounded this special woman, this soul so dear to me. How had I allowed this beautiful child of God to feel so worthless? How had I not seen it?

Shame on me!

was more important that I make it right. This wasn’t about me. But it was.

I’m so sorry, I said. I had no idea I was treating you so badly.

Actually, she said, I believe you did know and chose to continue, because I’m just not as important as everyone else.

Oh, that’s not true! I insisted. Of course you are!

It is true, Mary, she said quietly. And then, so quietly, that I almost didn’t hear her:
You’ve been bullying me for as long as I can remember. It needs to stop.

Silence ensued. We stared at one another, she strangely confident for someone who felt so abused; me in an awkwardly dawning revelation, feeling more convicted the longer I met her knowing eyes.

Until I could no longer deny it. She was right.

I’m sorry, so sorry. You’re right. I have bullied you into thinking that you’re not good enough. I’ve focused on your flaws instead of your beauty. I’ve compared you to every supermodel, every icon, and even every mother. Instead of helping you and understanding your difficulty in remembering certain things, I’ve made fun of you and called you a ditz and a scatterbrain. I’ve even allowed others to make fun of you and never stepped in to your defense.

Instead of building up your confidence, I’ve attempted to tear you down every time you mess up. Instead of allowing you to make mistakes, I’ve kept a tally of everything you’ve done wrong.

Instead of treating you with dignity, I’ve called you stupid. I’ve ridiculed you in public and scolded you worse in private. I’ve been a bully and you’ve been my scapegoat.

The truth is, when I look at you, I see a beautiful, confident, and smart woman who loves to make people laugh. You use humor to diffuse an awkward or a potentially unstable situation.

I remember how you used to rage at the world, and now you don’t let anger dominate your circumstances.

You’re no longer that sad, angry, and lonely girl who was filled with self-pity and insecurity. By the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, and through many years of life lessons, you have overcome and you’ve never let anything keep you down. You’ve become a pretty cool person who I’m really proud to call my friend.

As I continued to speak life into her, I watched her stature and her smile grow. It matched my own.
It had felt a bit odd to talk to myself in the mirror. Watching my own reaction had been difficult too, but that was the catalyst to change. I needed to face my wounded self as well as my bully self.

You’re right, Mary, we haven’t been very kind to one another over the years, have we? I think it’s time to call a truce, to reconcile.

Accept yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Treat yourself with dignity and respect. Do unto yourself as you do unto others. Celebrate who God made you to be, what you’ve overcome and who you’ve become. You’re pretty awesome.

My bullied-self and my bully-self made a pact in the mirror. I suppose if my other self wasn’t two dimensional we may have shaken on it or hugged, but that borders on insanity. And that’s a story for another day.

What–or who–do you see when you look in the mirror? It might be time to have a serious discussion with yourself.

Mary Dolan Flaherty

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.com.

Mind Matters!
Category: Member Blogs

Mind Matters

 
 

Do what God wants. A simple concept, but hard as heck to execute.

I've heard these phrases many times:
Have faith.
Believe in what you're doing.
Believe in what God is telling you to do.

It should be so easy to just throw caution to the wind and go for it. But fear always holds me back. Why am I so afraid to go for the gusto and let God do what He will? After all, He's the end-all, be-all of beings...right? He can do anything. We're supposed to have a child-like faith. Kids have no fear when they try something for the first time- They have no idea what an amazing gift that is!

We learn to fear. We learn to hold back. We learn to be cautious and not throw our cares to the wind and go for it. Because after the first failure, it's just too darn scary!

That's where courage starts. It uses fear to its advantage. Courage is fear that put on its boxing gloves. Oh, we still have fear, but it's held in check by our will to change. We have to want to change enough to beat the fear and continue the fight for what God wants for us.

The Mind really does matter!

A positive mind-set is the springboard that launches us in the right direction. A negative mind-set is more like walking through a field of deep mud. You might be headed to the same destination, but the latter will take a lot more struggle and time.

A personal mantra helps. Tell yourself that you will (action) _(goal)_ by _(time)_. Tell yourself this several times a day, every day. Keep focused. stay on track. Don't let setbacks stop you long term. I've let setbacks stop me, so I know- I'velived it- for far too long. I'm tired of mucking about in the mud, and I'm ready to try out that springboard.

Want to come with me? I'll start!

I will finish writing one book by the end of September.
I will save enough each week to pay an artist for cover work for one book before October.
I will publish a written work within a year.

Picking smaller goals is good, but also have a longer goal as well. Running a few small races helps prepare you for the marathons!

What will your mantras be?
Patriotic Craft Collection from Vintage Mama’s Cottage Tags: patriotic crafts Fourth of July crafts Patriotic DIY

Patriotic Craft Collection from Vintage Mama’s Cottage

Here’s a fun collection of patriotic craft ideas from Vintage Mama’s Cottage. July is the month to celebrate not only our nation’s birthday, but all month long is a time to remember and appreciate all those who have sacrificed so much that we might live in the home of the free because of the brave. Happy Independence Day!

 

Patriotic Button Flag

Patriotic Button Flag

This is a wall hanging that was in an art exhibit (according to the information I could find), and I thought that it was a great idea to make on stretched canvas with painted stripes and blue behind the stars. It looks like the stars are cut-outs but if I actually get a chance to do this project, I would use white stars, either painted, or star buttons, or white star cut outs. What do you think?

Patriotic Painted Birdhouses

Patriotic Painted Birdhouses

from AllFreeHolidayCrafts

Well, how cute is this idea? I actually have several cute, but old, birdhouses sitting out in our garage and I had pretty much decided that I didn’t want my deck looking “junky” so I was going to toss them out . . . but now I think I’ve changed my mind! This is a project that I could actually do out in the garage on my hubby’s work bench (shhhh! Don’t tell him. I’ll be careful not to get paint all over the place) so maybe this afternoon after I get my other work finished I’ll give it a try. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Patriotic Ribbon Flag

Ribbon and Lace American Flag

from craftiments.com

This one is my absolute favorite! I’ve been wanting to make this Ribbon and Lace American Flag since last summer when I actually had so many other distractions in life that I didn’t accomplish much of anything all . . . I decided that’s not going to happen this summer! So this will probably be the first patriotic craft I do as soon as the paint dries! I love this beautiful, kind of vintage-looking, rather boho design and think it will be beautiful hanging on our deck in our little gazebo (which also needs to be painted, but that will just have to wait for another day).

Patriotic Mason Jar Lanterns

Patriotic Mason Jar Lanterns

from Addicted2DIY

Of course, I just had to include a Mason jar craft in this collection! When I came across this patriotic DIY project, I was actually looking for something to do with Mason jars that would be practical. There are lots of beautiful ideas for decorating Mason jars, and lots of them are practical, but many of them are for decoration only. Like the beautiful vases that are all lined up on a windowsill with summer blooms cascading down the sides of the jars. They are really beautiful, but I was hoping to find some inspiration to make some tea lights, or luminaries, or in this case Mason jar lanterns. The picture of these lanterns all lit up in the darkness is really pretty, too, but I wanted to capture the finished look so I chose this image. For the complete tutorial, please visit Addicted2DIY and you can make your own Patriotic Mason Jar Lanterns. I’m certainly going to be making some soon – hopefully yet this week!

Patriotic Ruffled Pillow

Patriotic Ruffled Pillow

found on Pinterest

I love this little patriotic ruffled pillow! Even though I did not find the tutorial, I think I can figure it out just by looking at the picture. I looks like the pillow top was created from navy and while polka dot fabric for the stars, and the stripes have been created from pre-made ruffles. Stitched all together onto fabric to make the top of the pillow, with perhaps a pillow form and a fabric backing, this could be a pretty easy project. I could also use fabric scraps to make my own ruffles, but I’m rather annoyed with my ruffler foot these days and I’m afraid I might need to replace it. Unfortunately they are quite expensive, so that probably isn’t going to happen before the Forth of July.

Patriotic Ruffled Flag

Here’s another creative way to make an American flag for the Forth of July, or really any day at all to display in your home. I found this idea on Pinterest, but I think it was originally posted on CraftsnCoffee.com but I wasn’t able to locate it. It looks similar to the ruffled pillow top, but it appears to be attached to a frame at the top to keep it straight. I’ll have to give it a try and see if I can figure it out. I love the vintage fabric and all the little vintage buttons for the stars. So many ideas, so little time!

Buttons and Scrap Flag Pillow

Vintage Buttons and Fabric Scrap Patriotic Pillow

Here’s another idea from Pinterest that incorporates two of my favorite things . . . . vintage buttons and fabric scraps! I love the mix of fabric strips, lace trim, top-stitching, and vintage buttons in various sizes and shapes. There’s a million more ideas, but I’ve narrowed my list down to these eight ideas. If I get a chance to make a couple of them, I’ll post pictures of the finished projects.

Patriotic Bunting Pillow

Patriotic Bunting Pillow

from The Ribbon Retreat

A little different take on the red, white, and blue theme . . . instead of flags, we’ve got a cute little bunting marching across the pillow top. This idea would make a fun wall hanging, banner, or even to embellish a t-shirt for the Fourth of July.

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