Featured Posts from the RUBY blog
SelfISH-Sufficiency
Category: Member Blogs

Self(ish) Sufficiency

 
Self- Sufficiency. 
 
It's the ultimate goal for most of us. In fact, the world commends someone who is self-sufficient; this is a person that doesn't need to rely on anyone else to do what he has to get done- he does it all on his own.
 
I was taught from a young age to be self-sufficient. But my self-sufficiency was based all on me- not others. Doing it on my own meant that I was not only competent (which gave my confidence a boost), but the job would be done right.
 
Asking for help was a no-no. 
 
Sufficient means adequate or enough. Self-sufficient means I'm enough. I'm adequate. All I need is me to do what I need to do. But many, many times I find myself overwhelmed by life and drowning in chaos! 
 
Am I enough? Nope. not by a longshot. Anyone would consider a man a fool if he was drowning and didn't ask for help...right? So why do I pride myself on getting out of the chaos on my own? 
 
It's definitely selfish-sufficiency. 
 
I need friends. I need family. And most important, I need God. Only God can give me the strength to call out for help, and provide that help when I ask for it!
 
When I'm down, I talk to my cheerleaders. And they do the same with me. I am supported, and I in turn support others. I'm spiritually fed, and I spiritually feed others. And everyone is stronger for it.
 
Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't ask for help. Sometimes I feel like I'm whining- and to be honest, sometimes I am. But I'm blessed enough to have friends willing to tell me when I'm getting to that point, and they in turn appreciate that I don't pull punches either. 
 
Truth can sting, but it's better to rid yourself of those splinters of trouble before they fester and infect your entire being.
 
As for my gentler, less blunt friends, they are my comforters when I feel like the world is full of thorns. God has blessed me with an entire garden of different blooms to go to when I need help.
 
But I have to be willing to walk into the garden!
 
 
 
On occasion I still suffer from selfish-efficiency. But God reminds me that I wasn't meant to do everything on my own. And sometimes He has me remind others as well!
 
It's good to find more than one friend to tell your troubles to and share your concerns and sorrows. I'm lucky enough- blessed enough- to have a small group I can confide in for the harder issues. Some are sounding boards for ideas (in fact, I might have to stop telling her ideas because we are both creatives and we give each other even more ideas! :) ), and some are great for those ups and downs when I enter a new stage of life.
 
One thing I've learned was to give as well as receive. That was the hardestlesson!
 
I had to remember to listen as well as speak. To learn as well as teach. To follow as well as lead. And for this very stubborn, hard-headed woman, God had His hands full!
 
He still does.
 
Don't be afraid to find your own blossoms in your garden of friends. You might even be surprised when you find them! And don't forget to also talk to your Best Friend Ever...God!
Angels Drive Freightliners Tags: Angels Christian blog Christian devotional Christian Writer God Jesus miracles truckers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the cool things about traveling around the country is the people we’re privileged to meet and the testimonies they share with us. Following is an amazing true story from a friend we met in the West. She was rather shy in relating this story as she didn’t want to be labeled a kook. But I appreciated the encouragement I received from hearing it. I am a total believer in all the ways God can show up in our lives. There are no limitations with Him, and He will find us wherever we are, by whatever means He deems necessary. I’m renaming our friend to honor the fact that she is a private person. Other than that, the facts remain intact.

Before the life-changing invention of cell phones and call boxes, traveling America’s roads was not just full of simple adventure, but a bit more like walking on the wild side. Pulling onto the highway meant facing potential dangers with few lifelines …

It was a far piece from the tiny, one-horse town of Rodeo, New Mexico to the big city of Denver, Colorado. Erin eyed her truck which was anything but reliable. But, it was all she had and her only choice to shuttle her to a new job and a new life.

Loading up a small suitcase, a plant, and her cat, she pulled out of the driveway for the last time and started the journey toward Denver. Gusts of snow flurried and stuck to the roadway as she gripped the wheel and leaned forward.  The truck struggled and groaned, and she prayed. Somehow it chugged all the way to Glorieta Pass, northeast of Albuquerque. She caught her breath as the old pickup finally stalled and gave out.

The snow stopped falling, and Erin stared out the window at the clear, starry, empty night. No houses were visible in the inky blackness. She was totally alone. And it was cold. Really cold. So cold, in fact, that her plant froze, and she couldn’t feel her feet. She envied the cat with its thick, fluffy fur.

She grabbed her CB. “I need help!” she cried over the airwaves. But she discovered, along with the heater, the CB had died too. What am I going to do? She sobbed. I’ll freeze to death out here!

Suddenly vehicle lights reflected in her rearview mirror and two huge semi-trucks rumbled up. One of the big rigs parked behind her, the other swung around and parked in front. Both drivers jumped out and strolled to her window. Tentatively she cracked it open and peered up at the two truckers.  

“Are you OK?” asked the first man, the lines in his dark features deepening in concern.
“We heard your cries for help over the CB,” said the other man, his blue eyes piercing into hers.
Hmmm, the CB? she thought, but just replied, “My truck won’t start.”
The first man, who introduced himself as Charlie, strode to the front of the pickup and busied himself under the hood. Strangely enough, she trusted these men. She opened the door.
The second man, who called himself “Midnight Cowboy,” crouched and reached for her feet, rubbing the circulation back into them.

“All set,” came a voice under the hood. “Fire it up!” Erin turned the key and the truck roared to life. Unfortunately, the head and taillights didn’t work.

“We’re on our way to Denver same as you,” said Midnight Cowboy. “I’ll lead out, and Charlie will tail you since you have no lights.”

Funny, I don’t recall saying anything about Denver, Erin thought. Oh well. Relief flooded over her. She relaxed, knowing that if her truck died again, she’d have help. The two men hopped in their trucks, and the little convoy rolled down the road toward Denver.  

Bright lights from a truck stop gleamed on the horizon, and they pulled in. As she sipped her steaming coffee, she noticed her newfound friends never ordered anything, not even coffee.

They continued their journey; the trio stopping periodically at weigh stations. They figured out a routine: Erin drove around the stations, waited for her friends to pass through the scales, and met them on the other side. Before they hit the highway again, one of the men kindly rubbed the circulation back into her feet. She appreciated that neither of the men ever made a pass toward her—they simply helped her.

Sunlight peeked over the distant mountains as they pulled into the last weigh station. When they met on the other side, they hugged and said their goodbyes. “It’s morning so you should be able to make it safely to where you’re going,” said Midnight Cowboy. Erin thanked her new friends again, and they all pulled out onto the highway.

She traveled through the morning light, pondering the events of the previous night. She wondered at the fact that her friends’ rigs had no company names or writing on them anywhere.  

Midnight Cowboy’s rig rolled ahead of her. But something wasn’t right. Her vision seemed to blur. She quickly glanced to the side of the road to double check her eyesight. Shifting her gaze back to her friend’s semi, she stared wide-eyed as it faded like a mirage and disappeared. The open road and the bright Denver lights shown directly in front of her. I’m going crazy, she thought. She jerked her head up, peering into the rearview mirror. Charlie’s truck was still behind her. And then, just like Midnight Cowboy’s, Charlie’s semi faded and disappeared.

Stunned, she drove the last few miles to her destination where the pickup promptly died in the driveway. She called a local mechanic who towed it to his shop.

“Where did you say you drove from?” asked the mechanic, eyeing her from beneath the hood.
“Rodeo, New Mexico,” she replied.
“That’s impossible,” he said, staring at her.
“But I did,” she insisted.
“Look, this truck couldn’t have gone five feet, let alone 786 miles.” He shook his head. “There’s an engine part missing.”

That evening, she related her entire adventure to her Pastor-friend, elaborating on the truck drivers who came to her rescue. “So, what do you make of all this?”
He grinned at her. “Did you ever think that you might have met up with some angels?”
“I never thought of that.” Her eyes narrowed. “But wait a minute, if they were angels, why didn’t they fix the heat too? Or the lights?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe you needed to stick with them to get you safely to Denver.” He chuckled. “At any rate, I know there’s more to this than just a couple of truckers helping a gal on a lonely highway.”

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways”—Psalm 91:11.

www.ponyexpressministry.com

Old School Mother Love
Category: Member Blogs

Old School Mother Love

 
 
I'm an old school mom.

Let me rephrase that. I'm a mom that is old school, not that I'm old and a school mom, though I feel old and my kids are still in school; but that's not my point.

Old school love is different that your average 'Huggy Bear, Cuddleumpkins' kind of love.

Old school love is willing to get hard core.

It's willing to let your babies fall out of the nest and let them figure out how to get back up. 

It yells when your kids just aren't self motivated and need some 'assistance' getting started.

It isn't afraid to tell the truth, even if the truth hurts a little for now.

It swats kids' upside the head when they get too snarky or disrespectful.

It might even toss a wayward kid out of the house for a time, hoping the culture shock will set them straight.

It cries in private, so the kids don't see how much they are tearing your heart into little bits of misery.

Having an old school heart can be a very heavy burden sometimes. It can also make a parent very hoarse.

But old school love is more than that.

It also helps your child when she's done her best and still can't do it.

It tells your kids how awesome they are- and will be- at the top of your lungs, if they just apply some effort into the game that is life.

It hugs your kids in the middle of a yelling match- even if they fight your embrace.

It calls all your friends and neighbors the second your child slams the door as he leaves home, just to make sure he'll be safe. It makes you worry all night until he returns, yet still manages to keep your turmoil a secret.

And it's not afraid to ugly cry in front of the kids if all else fails.

Old school love isn't easy. It isn't that soft, warm blanket that people love to sink into after a hard day. Old school love is more like a snug, secure jacket that keeps you warm enough, but allows you to do what you have to do to accomplish life. It's like Kevlar- tough, flexible, and durable, and can take the hits its' dealt. 

Old school love is tough love around the softest of hearts.

I'm a mom with an old school heart. My Kevlar is dented, even torn in places, but it's still holding firm. It will be there when they call at three a.m. asking for help, or when someone breaks my baby's heart. It will also be there for backup in case my child needs some encouragement, or Momma Muscle in case they can't handle the problem. Old school hearts are like that.

So spread your wings my young ones. and go forth knowing I will be there in a half of a heartbeat if you need me. In the meantime, I'll be here to swat you upside the head, yell when you need it, and put on my combat boots when you or someone who wronged you needs a good butt-kicking.

Because old school love isn't afraid to get in the ring to fight with you, or for you. Old school love just wants you to win.
College Edumacayshkun
Category: Member Blogs

College Edumacayshkun

 
 
My son is going to college. 

As a parent, I'm torn between "Oh, my sweet Baby is going out on his own!" and "Buh-bye All-Knowing-One- good luck in the real world!"

To some of you, that last statement might seem snarky, but there's good reason behind it. You see, according to our nineteen year-old son, my husband and I are morons. 

We had a huge discussion with him about grants vs, loans, what kind of dorm to pick, what he'll really need vs. what he wants, and other fascinating topics of disinterest, when he chimed in with the statement, "But Mom, you and Dad don't understand because you've never been to college."

Let me let you in on something, Seeker-Of-Expensive-Knowledge, neither have you.

So how is it that he thinks he knows more than we do? Just because we never went to college, doesn't mean we are unedumacated- it just means our grandchildren won't be incurring the debt of our non-existent student loans.

My mother's heart wants to find ways to make enough to pay his way no matter what, working myself to the bone to make sure he's fully funded. I want to send him to college with enough care packages that he will want for nothing, never be hungry or thirsty, have enough blankets to stay warm, and a fan to keep him cool. I want all the best tech at his disposal, so he can do what he needs to do to succeed.

But then my realist heart pipes in. How much as he done on his own so far? Ugh. Honestly, not as much as he could. And me 'following my mother's heart' would actually be detrimental to his growth into a productive human being. 
Why? 
Let me count the ways...as of right now:
He sleeps when he wants.
He eats when he wants.
He does chores when he feels like it, which mean he waits until we yell.
He hasn't earned any money because he doesn't work. Yet.

We trained him to be responsible. Really! This was a kid that at ten years of age, could do the laundry on his own. He even did it willingly! Now I can barely get him to clean himself, no less his own clothing.

Ick. 

He knows how to care for a home and keep things organized- he just doesn't doit. It's like trying to get an elephantine-sized sloth to run a marathon...it just ain't gonna happen, no matter how much prompting you do.

And after talking to the college staff, his is not the only case of All-Knowing-Do-Nothing Syndrome. In fact, colleges are loaded with peers like him, so he'll be in good company. At least for the first year. After that, I can see two things happening:

One, we parents will seem even more moronic than before, being mentally comparable to the amoebic gelatinous ooze of a fifth grade science project, because he can now claim a higher educational status.

Two, we parents will be genuinely revered and respected for the true Givers of Life Sustaining Food and Goods that we were, and hopefully will continue to be, because he ran out of snacks, money, and toilet paper. 

We also hope he'll think the second one without the addition of continual financial support, because he'll have a real job by then as a tutor and can pay his ownbills.

Alas, for now, we have ten days left before the sloth goes off to start his new life. And ten days to go through his things, list what he needs, then go out and get the rest. 

It almost sounds like the beginning of a bad joke- A sloth and an amoeba go to store for college supplies...

We've learned life through experience. He needs experience to get through life. Hopefully we can find a happy medium before his college season is over, and if not, the means to move before he finds us!
Distraction Traction!
Category: Member Blogs

Distraction Traction

 
 
 
I love to use that little red laser to play with my cats. They come running when they hear the soft scrape as I take it from the shelf, looking expectantly to the floor for the red dot that sends them running about the house as they try to catch it.
 
It's just a light. It's isn't something they can catch. Try telling one cat that, no less three
 
Unfortunately, I have my little red light too. Several, actually. I think everyone has at least one, maybe more. Mine are Facebook, emails, and videos. Facebook friends need to be spoken to, emails need sorting and deleting, and videos? 
 
Well, they need to be watched.
 
The sad part is, even if I had no internet, I'd still find other red laser lights to distract me. Like the crafty stuff I never put away. Or those piles of paperwork that need sorting, tossing and filing. And oh yes- books and magazines that need reading.
 
Don't get me wrong, Books and magazines are awesome things! I love to read. But when the story or how-to book distracts me from my work, then it becomes a problem.
 
Like this week.
 
I was supposed to write. In fact, I was supposed to write a lot. I have an agent interested in my book ideas, but he wants three of them finished and three ready to be done. I have one finished. Did I work on the other two? Nope. Not a single, solitary word. But I did start this great book on how to build your author platform.
I also had some health issues, but they required me to remain fairly still.Helloooo- writer here! Staying still is my job. My fingers were the only things that needed to really be running at top speed. 
 
Instead I used them to go through emails. Yes it had to be done. It had to be done for a long time! But I was supposed to be writing those stories. There goes that little red light again!
 
And here I sit on a Monday. It's Blog Day. It's also time for me to write my column and create a few puzzles for Ruby magazine- not to mention the puzzlebook I'm supposed to finish in the next few weeks.
 
I feel like I'm in Distraction Traction- so distracted I can't move because everything I need to do is piling up around me. That's like twenty little red lights going in all different directions- Yikes!
 
Do you ever feel like that? I'm going to have to knuckle-down and break free of my Tractions. 
 
I'll turn off the internet as soon as I'm done this post (um...okay, after I post and share it, I swear!) I'll put the book in my purse so I don't see it. I'll crack open those story files and work on them until my brain is tired, then I'll work on the puzzle book (which is not actual writing, but more like digital crafting and a nice change of pace for my brain.) 
 
will have at least one draft of one story finished and at least two others partially written- or have three story premises/outlines finished. And if I get done early, I'll continue writing instead of distracting myself. Maybe if I can do a little writing then do some puzzles I can entertain my brain long enough to get some projects finished!
 
Have you ever gotten stuck in Distraction Traction? I'd love to hear your stories of how you won free and pounced on those pesky projects!
Conference Capers
Category: Member Blogs

Conference Capers

 


 
Last week I attended the last (but not least!) Philly Christian Writer's conference. I was both an attendee and faculty, which I can tell you on these gimpy knees of mine, was a challenge!

Not only was I trying to sell my own work, I was helping others publish theirs in Ruby for Women Magazine. I'm the Assistant Editor, so I represented a lot of possibilities for new writers.

There was a lot of good stuff this year. One lady was so happy I was an 'Assistant' Editor, because I didn't seem so scary! I know that was meant as a compliment, so I took it as such. Full-blown editors can be scary to someone new to the pond.

My friend Christian Barbie was there (the post about her is here), and she also was faculty; she was a teacher as well as helping people find their place in the writing world. I wanted to talk with her at length but people kept coming up to me and wanting to talk.

We looked at each other after the fourth interruption and she said 'Wow- you're really popular today!" I especially was amazed, since I didn't do anything to gain notoriety- but someone must have read or said something about me, because people I didn't even know were approaching me like I was their long, lost sister. It was awesome. If this was a taste of popularity, I can see why someone could get carried away by it!

Part of it was because my husband and daughter provided the snacks for the faculty. My daughter baked cookies and my husband baked cakes and set out all kinds of goodies healthy and not-so healthy to keep our faculty from passing out from exhaustion. 

My daughter wasn't there this time, due to a snafu in her schedule, and I had a lot of people wondering where she was. We brought her the last day of the conference and she was delighted by all the people who wanted to talk to her.

My darling husband also played chauffeur to those that needed rides to and from the airport and train station, as well as the near cross-country trek across the quad to and from the cafeteria. Only I was allowed to tip him with kisses, but he took a few hugs on the side as well.

The only downer was I'd brought a lot of my self-published (now called indie-published) books to sell, and was encouraged to bring my handmade tote bags (some high-end quilted totes and some lower priced giant grocery totes) as well. I sold one grocery tote and no books. Now I have a box of books at home with nowhere to go...yet.

But I have ideas. You know I'll always have ideas!

Between classes, appointments, and moving to and from the cafeteria hall lines for meals, I was physically and mentally exhausted. But it was a goodexhaustion. I had appointments with two agents, and though one wasn't interested, but the other was. There was a catch- he wanted six books; three ready-to-print, and three almost ready and waiting in the wings. Only when I had those should I approach him again.

Six? It took me a year to polish the one I had! How was I going to...

Wait. I wrote that part-time. If I wrote full-time, I bet I could do a lot more. Looks like another lifestyle change is approaching! And let's not forget I have a book store interested in the puzzle book I'm writing- could this be the big turning point in my writing life? I'm so excited!

Lots to do. Lots to think about. and lots of new writers for Ruby for Women magazine. God is good! 

This week has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Most of it really, really awesome!

As for this last big conference, the lady running the show decided that after thirty-four years (and a lot of work!) it would be a good thing to break a huge, costly conference into smaller, more reasonably priced conferences. There would be more of them, just smaller, cheaper, and more defined concerning genre. And that means she will reach a lot more Christian writers! Change is also good!

I'm looking forward to the changes coming this next year- I can't wait to see what happens and how God is going to move!
The Art of the Ear: When God Speaks Tags: Christian blog Christian devotional Christian Writers Creation encouragement God God's voice help horses Inspiration listening love

But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely and will be secure, without fear of evil”—Proverbs 1:33.

                                                                                                     

Giving God our ear. Hmmmmm. What does that look like? How does God speak to us? Many ask this.

For me, His voice has different “sounds”: He gives a strong impression in my spirit about a particular situation ... a gut feeling, if you will; The truths in His Word will come alive as I read and revelation hits me right between the eyes; He will move on someone to be His voice, giving me an encouraging word; He’ll give me a dream while I’m sleeping; Or, He may use pictures in His amazing Creation to illustrate His character.

When He speaks to me through His Creation, that’s incredibly cool. One time, I was out feeding the horses trying to work through some stuff in my head. I glanced up and saw the most magnificent full rainbow I’d ever seen— and a double one to boot. The colors were so vibrant and alive. I ran to the trailer and grabbed my camera. As I stared at that rainbow, profound thoughts eased my mind: Our Creator created incredible beauty out of mere mist; Every rainbow from the very first one is the same—the same colors, the same lines, the same form. They don’t change. He doesn’t change. His promises never change. In this world, we can’t count on anything. But we can count on Him—encouragement I needed right then and a word in due season. (Isaiah 52:7)

He used a gentle breeze to encourage an acquaintance of mine. She was reading her Bible outside, troubled by a circumstance she faced. The breeze kept blowing the pages to a certain scripture. Every time she tried to turn back to the previous spot where she was reading, the breeze would flip the pages right back to that other place. She finally looked down where the breeze stopped—there she found the answer to her problem.

He likes to speak through people to give His encouraging words. Years ago I was asked to sing at a trail ride in Texas. When I pulled up on the ranch, my heart was heavy. I had a new truck, two beautiful horses and looked as though I hadn’t a care in the world. But on the inside, I was hurting and scared. I had two jobs: one in an office, one on a ranch. A “friend” betrayed me and stole the ranch job—the one I had based my truck payment on. Single, with no other means of extra support, I was afraid of losing everything.

A few days before I drove to the trail ride, I prayed, “Lord, please make yourself real to me.” Until then, I did not believe the Lord really knew I existed—unless I hung out with people I thought were spiritual. Let me tell ya, the devil had deceived me good!

I parked my rig and made my way over to a big oak tree. I leaned against it, quietly watching the other singers on the stage. A man and his wife, whom I had never met, walked up. “I have a word for you from the Lord,” he said. That man “read my mail.” He told me, “The Lord said, ‘all your needs are already taken care of.’” I was floored. I had not told a soul what I was going through, not even my closest friends. How in the world did this guy know my situation?

One week later, I received some cleaning jobs that perfectly dovetailed with my day job at the office. The wages from the cleaning jobs covered my old ranch wages to the dollar.

Two months later, the same man gave me another word from the Lord: I would be given one job that would take care of all my needs. Within three months, I quit my cleaning jobs because the office I worked for offered me a higher position in another department with a lot more pay.

I have learned that He is always directing us with that still small voice of His ... or trying to. I’ve blown right over the top of it— more than once, I’m afraid. One time, He impressed on Bruce, my husband and me to clean up the pine needles under the high-line our horses were tethered to. We didn’t, getting distracted with some other project. Our “Hoover”-horse, Rocky, decided he very much liked the taste of pine needles, proceeding to suck up every strand in the area. He promptly colicked. We were way out in the National Forest with no phone service. Prayer and the painkiller Banamine played veterinarian. He was pooping pine needles for the next day and a half, but he pulled through.

In all my years with horses in the mountains, I have never seen them eat pine needles. I never, ever imagined that Rocky would do that. But it didn’t matter what I thought or what my experience was. The Lord told us to rake up the pine needles ... period. He knew what would happen. Lesson learned ... again!

Fine-tuning the art of the ear takes practice. Sometimes total resurrection. But it’s an art worth bringing back to life. It means laying down our own desires and agendas. It takes not just being hearers of the Word of God, but doers of what He’s asked us to do. (James 1:22-25)

And the reward? We can live a life of victory and peace, encouraging others in the same. (John 15:12-13)

Listen ... Listen ... Listen ...

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!
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