Featured Posts from the RUBY blog
The Power of Praise Tags: freedom God grandmother hymn praise sing

"Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power”—Psalm 21:13.

Nursing homes are never an easy place to be. Many times they are the last destination for ones that have lived a fairly long life. Most residents are not in the minds they once knew, and all ail from one sickness or another.
 

Bruce's 93-year-old grandmother had been in a nursing home for quite some time. No longer able to stay with her family because of medical issues, she became a permanent resident.

Bruce, my mother-in-law Betty, and I made our way to the secured area of the facility where she resided. She sat in her wheelchair, absently staring at the floor. As we approached her, she looked up, sheer delight spreading across her face. We hugged and kissed her, wheeling her into the little living room reserved for private family visits.
 

Although happy to be sitting there together, our conversation started to get a bit strained. Grandma was hard of hearing, couldn't talk very well, and suffered from memory loss. Long silences filled the gaps in our conversation.
 

There had to be some way of communicating together.

Suddenly, I felt the Lord impressing on me to sing. However, I choked up with emotion as I fumbled around for a starting point. I sensed the impression again, urging me to continue. Pulling myself together, I asked, "Can we sing?" With great relief, all three of us plunged in, enthusiastically singing out the old familiar hymns: Amazing Grace; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; How Great Thou Art.

Grandma's face lit up and away she went! The strain was chased from her face as she sang with us at the top of her voice. The wheelchair seemed to melt away. We were all lifted up and out of that nursing home to a familiar and happy place where communication gaps and sickness don't exist. For those moments, we enjoyed the same space and the same time.

Intrigued, I watched her joyfully expounding on every word. She remembered the words!—words she had sung long ago that had been tucked away in silent rooms somewhere in the recesses of her mind. The melodies of those old hymns led her heart straight to those rooms, unlocking them like special keys to forgotten doors.

Apparently, the singing from our little room wafted through the entire wing of the nursing home, and more than one heart was unlocked that day. The nurses still talk about it. God's Presence had a profound affect on patients and staff alike.
 

Praise in the form of music is powerful and transparent, walking through any wall that has been erected and unlocking every door that has been tightly shut. It knows no boundaries.

(Acts 16:25-26)

 

Resisting Temptaion
Category: Member Blogs

Resisting Temptation

 
I try to be good. Really, I do! But when something is just too good to resist, you just gotta have it.

I guess that's why it's called a temptation, not a resistation. Sigh.

The funny thing is, most of us go where we're tempted the most. A few years back, I worked at a Joann Fabrics. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a fabric crafter and artist- okay, I'm a fabric addict who hasn't sewn in forever (due to time constraints, mom-clutter, book creation, and a sporadic job), and I lovebuying new fabric- after all, they call it a fabric 'stash' for a reason...right?

So I apply and get this job at Joanns eons ago. It was supposed to be for extra pocket money and to be out of the house a few hours a week. Let's call it Mom-sanity. But me in a fabric store is like an alcoholic in a liquor store- not the best idea.

Remnants were stashed and bought at the end of the shift. Sale fabrics were stuffed into shopping bags only to be brought home and fussed over before being shut in the stash cabinets. Yes, I said cabinets. Plural. Temptation bit me on the butt big-time, and my stash grew. So much for pocket money.

When I stopped working there a few months later, my stash had grown enough that my husband implemented a fabric 'fast'; until I started using those precious stored fabrics, I wasn't buying a single thread more. After looking at my stuffed sewing space (at the time), I had to begrudgingly agree. 

I've been on that fast for ten years! 

During my fabric fast, I discovered a loophole. Sometimes when crafting a new quilt, I didn't have enough yardage in my stash for the backing fabric. Only then was I let loose in Joanns to get a coordinating fabric so I could complete the project. Reprieve!

Now some of you might think that my husband is being too hard on me by not 'letting me' buy fabric. He isn't. In fact, when this whole fabric addiction happened, he was helping me! We were in Lancaster for our fifth anniversary (quilting hub of the universe and Fabric Central), and I wanted to make a quilt for my baby daughter (who is now fifteen). But there were so many fabrics to choose from! I strolled from aisle to aisle looking, feeling, pulling, and putting back bolts of fabric, sometimes with a shake of the head, but most times with a small sigh of 'I wish I had that'. 

What I didn't know was my husband was walking behind me and collecting the bolts of 'sighed upon' fabrics. By the time we got to the cutting counter, a significant stash was acquired. Then we went to two more stores and did the same thing. By the time we came home, I had enough fabric to last me a lifetime! 

And yes, I still have some of it! So don't blame him- he just knows me well, and as long as I'm using the fabric, I can get off of this fast anytime I want. But It's. So. Pretty. Too pretty to cut up!

My Precious....

Ahem. Okay, back to temptations.

I'm not good at resisting anything, no less a temptation. Oh, I can be good for a while, but eventually I'll crack and indulge (read: overindulge) and then regret everything the second it's gone (or stashed). My resistance is indeed, futile. At least in the long run.

Some things you have to resist. Drugs, alcohol, fabric- you know, things you can physically live without but can get hooked on. Other things, like food and breathing, must be done in order to survive- but you have to control it or you get too fat or thin (or in the case of breathing, pass out either from hyperventilation or lack of oxygen!)

have to resist overeating. I should resist fabric stores. Big difference. Especially in my rumpus. Sigh.

Some things I just can't resist on my own. I need God's help. Prayer works, and sometimes fasting (how ironic is that?), but just talking to God about it before I eat or do something does wonders- and if you're having trouble like me- even if it isn't the same temptation- I would highly recommend doing the same!

Resisting temptations isn't easy. Especially when on your own. God give us the strength we need to resist and walk away from temptations. And nothing feels better than succeeding! 
“A Glorious Dark” by A.J. Swoboda – a celebration of Easter – book review by Michele Morin Tags: A Glorious Dark A.J. Swoboda A.J. Swoboda a celebration of Easter Easter book review by Michele Morin Michele Morin

For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts of four sweet boys found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well.

Therefore, this Lenten season, I will be re-reading A Glorious Dark, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and the awkward silence of Saturday with Easter Sunday morning resurrection truth. Where memoir meets theological pondering, author A.J. Swoboda’s story winds through his faith journey, with the bonus of startling spotlight quotes which he aims at himself and at all of us who say that we believe.

Here’s one of the dozen or more:  “Many envision faith as a kind of hall pass for laziness, excusing them from a life of action, doing, and working hard.”  Ouch and amen.

What we believe about one weekend in history, the three days’ journey from Golgotha to the garden tomb, impacts our whole experience of the Christian life. A Glorious Dark challenges the reader to enter into Friday, to “own up to our part of the evil in the world.” This involves trusting for the lavish grace to have our emptiness filled, our requests denied, and our fatherlessness remedied by the Father. On Friday, we turn our faces away from our “sponge” of choice and embrace our identity as pilgrims, lifelong seekers of the will and the voice of God.

With candor, Swoboda describes the bleak-hearted rising of post-crucifixion Saturday, and because much of the Christian life is lived under Saturday-like conditions, it is helpful to hear that we must “sit in Saturday;” we must “squat in the tomb” in order to enter into the grief and disappointment of the original disciples. Saturday is our opportunity to remember our own mortality, to remember that we live with Jesus in his death. On Saturday, we evict ourselves from the center of the universe by “embracing the gift of waiting,” and by mourning our failure to see others and their grief.

Resurrection Sunday not only verifies all that Jesus claimed, but it points to his future coming, the ultimate surprise which will serve to further verify all that we hold true. As the church meets to celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, we also reenact the resurrection, celebrating the mystery with “people we normally wouldn’t love, [who] breathe down our necks, [but who] hold our feet to the fire of our beliefs.” Sunday faith perseveres when my theology cannot account for the chaos I see around me.

A Glorious Dark reveals a God who “stand[s] tall” above human history and invites (rather than scorns) the questioning heart.  After all, of the thirty-one questions Jesus posed in the Gospels, He answered only three. When God does not break into history to rectify the list of problems set forth in my latest memorandum/prayer, it will be helpful to remember the messy way in which that one weekend in history played out for those who were on the scene. Once again, the life of Jesus will be made manifest, a glorious life emerging from a glorious dark.

 

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles.  She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.”

“Senseless” by Thea Williams Tags: Senseless by Thea Williams Thea Williams

My neighbor’s dog was deaf and blind. She started out with hearing and vision, but age took its toll on this “short person in a fur coat.”


We knew this beige, wide-eyed shih tzu for 13 years. Her name was Dusty Miller, and she comforted everyone in our family at one time or another. When my father lay weak and helpless on what would become his death bed, Dusty curled up at his feet. When my sons had a bad day at school, they went down the street and scooped up Dusty. 


In her later years, Dusty found the most enjoyment from being in familiar surroundings because she was minus two of her senses. We carried her up and down stairs and guided her in safe directions when walking. 

 

One night towards the end of her life, I took Dusty out to “do her business” so her “mommy,” Anita, could do some business of her own. As usual, I steered her around obstacles and out of harm’s way, nudging her onto grassy surfaces so she could do her thing. I watched with great interest as Dusty circled and sniffed and even poked her whole face into the earth beneath her. 


She was compensating for what she didn’t have, calling on her senses of touch and smell to make up for that which she lacked. 


Like Dusty, I’m playing hurt at the moment. Breathing trouble secondary to a bad case of flu sent me to the hospital yesterday in the wee hours of the morning. Technology problems have me in a tizzy, spending many hours and dollars on computer snafus which an end user like me just doesn’t cotton to. In short, life on life’s terms isn’t pleasing me right now.


What’s a girl to do? Here I am, trying to serve the Lord with my writing talents, and I’m running into stop signs. But we don’t sit at stop signs endlessly, do we? We pause, evaluate our surroundings, and use our best judgment to move ahead when an appropriate amount of time has passed. 


That’s just what God’s been guiding me to do. He’s assuring me He’s in control, despite appearances to the contrary. He’s instructing me to move forward in any direction that’s not blocked, making headway wherever possible. This article is the first step in that direction.


Like Dusty, I’m figuring out how to work around my deficiencies, and not let them render me senseless.

 

“If there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” 

2 Corinthians 8:12

Thea Williams’s short story, “Phoenix,” appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon’s The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at www.reflectionsbythea.blogspot.com  By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at https://www.facebook.com/thea.williams.16 or https://www.youtube.com/user/theabwilliams

“I Am Waiting” by Suzane Avadiar Tags: I Am Waiting by Suzane Avadiar Waiting Suzane Avadiar Suzane Avadiar

Have you ever waited??

For someone . . . for something . . . for the next step . . . for healing . . .for breakthroughs and miracles . . for life to happen? I think at least once in our life, we all experience a season of waiting; I know I have.

At times, my season of waiting reminded me of the winters in Minnesota – perpetual and in sub-zero temperatures! Still, I was constantly finding pockets of warm relief and burning hope in Jesus and it kept me going.

Until not too long ago when I hit a frozen wall and felt the chill right down to my bones…

I still don’t quite know what happened but suddenly I felt encumbered by the weight of waiting. I felt snowed in and all at once, my season of waiting simply became too excruciating.

And the disquiet began; the 3am restlessness in bed that allowed panic and anxiety to arrest me, as I grappled with the unknown.

The fear that would only subside when sadness stopped by to lull me back to sleep.

The constant need to put on my “game face” so I wouldn’t inconveniently break down in random places or worse still, let people see my fragile interior.

Because that was my true state – I was fragile. I was struggling. Plain and simple. I believed God had forgotten me and His Word that promised me that “He will never leave me nor forsake me” threatened to become a mere theory.

My head grasped His Words but my heart resisted it – because my reality did not reflect it.

I began to allow my fear of the unknown and the uncertainty, which accompanies a season of waiting, to push God’s Word back into that tomb.

Only He could resurrect it again in my heart.

Then one day during my draught, when the usual silence deafened my ear, I heard something that felt like a punch in my gut. I had just come home and as I turned the key into my door, I heard:

“If I do not give you anything else, will you still love me? Or will you fall out of love with me?”

I knew it was God because I heard those words in first person and the writer in me knew enough to know that they weren’t my words or my thoughts.

I collapsed to the floor and broke down in wailing tears! All I could think of at that moment was that I broke my Father’s Heart!

And I said, without flinching or thinking and with all the conviction I could muster, “I don’t want anything else Lord. Just you. You are enough. I’m sorry.”

And finally, for the first time, I fully understood what it meant to say that Christ is enough. I got it and more importantly, my heart got it!

Not a whole lot has changed since that day. That season is not yet over. I am still waiting, but I’ve come to realize that SO IS HE!

Not unlike the time when He waited for Noah to complete the ark. While Noah took what must have felt like an eternity to build the ark, probably under scrutiny and scornful gazes, God had patiently waited.

He could have snapped a finger and built the ark in an instant to accomplish what He needed to do on earth. After all, He was eager enough to start, afresh but He didn’t.

God waited.

He waited for Noah to build the ark in his own time because He needed to accomplish something in Noah, too.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Centuries later, my Abba is still waiting. The great I AM is waiting – this time for me.

Waiting for me to take my eyes off what I don’t yet have and set my gaze back on what I do have – Jesus.

Waiting for me to let Him do what He needs to do in me during this season of waiting, so I will be ready for where He is leading me.

He is waiting for my transformation to be made complete and for me to wholly step into all that He has called me to be.

Just knowing that He too is waiting for me, makes me eagerly say, “Take this too Abba. Take my waiting.”

Because the truth is, the winter of waiting is a burden that’s too heavy to bear alone and giving it to Jesus so I can be still, and rest in Him makes the walk lighter and the wait warmer.

Have you been waiting? What does your season of waiting feel like?

 

Suzane Avadiar is a freelance writer, cat-lover and avid traveler. Over the last 16 years, she has written extensively for various publications and companies in the global marketplace. Writing is not only her full-time job but also her passion and instrument of worship. She now writes solely about her faith and has a deep desire to reveal the heart of God through her writings. Suzane writes daily devotions on social media for her church, C3 Subang and is currently completing her first book, Sent to Journey – a Devotional for Travelers. She blogs at www.senttojourney.wordpress.com and resides in Malaysia.

St. Patrick’s Day Sweets from Marilyn Lesniak of “Marilyn’s Treats” Tags: St. Patrick’s Day Sweets from Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats St. Patrick’s Day Sweets Marilyn Lesniak Marilyn’s Treats Sweets

I am so excited to bring you this special collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes! Coming from a second generation Irish family means my dad’s side celebrated their heritage every day. When we all got together there was no shortage of green, stories of the old country, and singing of songs. St Paddy’ Day was always a great time and rivaled Christmas for my favorite holiday! This collection comes from many very talented bloggers. Please be sure to visit them and tell them I sent you! Enjoy!

 

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake

from Recipe Girl

Lori at Recipe Girl has concocted this gorgeous and delicious version of the traditional Red Velvet Cake, but instead of red she has made here green for St. Patrick’s Day and she has added a cheesecake layer. How fun would this be to serve to your family on St. Paddy’s Day? If you want to give it a try, you will find the complete recipe on Lori’s blog, Recipe Girl.

St. Paddy’s Day Green Pudding Dessert

from Kroma Design Studio

Here’s another dessert from Marilyn’s Treats for St. Patrick’s Day that was originally published by Val on her blog, Kroma Design Studio Party Ideas. Not only is this one pretty to look at, it is super easy to make . . . . and since we all know how yummy vanilla pudding and Oreo cookies are, well, there is no doubt that this will be a family favorite! For the complete recipe, visit Val at Kroma Design Studio Party Ideas.

Green Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars

from Lisa at Wine and Glue

Lisa at Wine and Glue says that these Green Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting have the amazing red velvet taste mixed with sugar cookie, and could not be easier! And with the gold sprinkles, they are perfect for St. Paddy’s Day and your whole family will be impressed with your creativity. Want to give them a try? Visit Lisa at Wine and Glue for the complete recipe.

St. Patrick’s Day Green Velvet Layer Cake

from the Food Network

Originally published on the Food Network website, this St. Patrick’s Day Green Velvet Layer Cake is one more rendition of the traditional Red Velvet Cake with boiled frosting, just like you remember from your childhood. This one requires a bit more time and preparation, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded with a beautiful layer cake that will become a family tradition. The complete recipe can be found on the Food Network website.

Mint Oreo Layer Dessert

from Tastes Better from Scratch

Everyone’s favorite combination, chocolate and mint, are combined in this quick and easy recipe to make a dessert that will be a favorite no matter who you have over for dinner. With instant pudding as the filling, over the Oreo cookie crust, you can whip this one up in no time and you will be win the award for the best St. Patrick’s Day dessert. The complete recipe is available at Tastes Better from Scratch.

St. Patrick’s Day Fudge

from Easy Peazy Mealz

Made from just three ingredients, who could resist this beautiful green fudge? It is similar to the Candy Cane Fudge that we make at Christmas, with sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate chips, but with green food coloring and bright green sprinkles, this fudge will be a pretty addition to your St. Patrick’s Day party at the office, classroom, or as a fun project to make with the kiddos for a cooking project for home school. The super simple, quick and easy recipe can be found on the Eazy Peazy Mealz blog.

Malted Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies with Chocolate Irish Cream Frosting

from Sarah at The Gold Lining Girl

This luscious dessert is made from a box brownie mix and all dressed up as the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert with Bailey’s Irish Cream, malted milk powder, and chocolate Irish Cream frosting. For a bit of dramatic flair this St. Patrick’s Day, give these brownies a try! Visit Sarah at The Gold Lining Girl for the complete recipe.

You can find more great recipes for every day and for every season at Marilyn’s Treats

RUBY magazine and Marilyn’s Treats do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated. Click on the links to be taken to the published recipe.

“Secret Admirer” by Pat Jeanne Davis Tags: Secret Admirer by Pat Jeanne Davis Secret Admirer Pat Jeanne Davis Pat Jeanne Davis

“Maybe your secret admirer will shovel you out again tomorrow.”

Trudi laughed at her mother’s words. “That’s as likely as a snow angel coming to my aid.” She didn’t know who’d shoveled their driveway this morning, but it couldn’t be an admirer.

Trudi crossed the living room to the window and pulled back the heavy drapes. She swiped the sleeve of her terry robe down the misty pane and gazed out. “Ray’s attending a conference for another day, and he’s already extended the date for my proposal. So snow or no snow, the deadline is tomorrow.”

She watched large flakes drift down against the street light. Ray hired her three months ago. He was a wonderfully easy-going boss and one of those rare single men that she got along with well. If only he could see her as more than a co-worker. Trudi dropped the curtain and made her way back to the kitchen table.

Her mother leaned forward and touched her arm, as though reading her thoughts. “You know what they say, dear, about good things coming to those who wait.” She patted Trudi’s hand in beat with her usual advice –“Don’t give up hope.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Trudi wanted to believe in that promise. But how much longer before Ray noticed her? She stood and gave her mother a hug. “Need to turn in if I’m going to get up an hour earlier.”

The next morning Trudi rolled over, opened one eye and hit the alarm button. She pulled the covers over her head, before remembering that she needed to get up immediately. Hoisting herself out of bed, she walked to the window and mentally prepared herself for the job outside.

Trudi pulled up the blind. A man, his back toward her, shoveled the last of the snow cover blanketing the driveway. She rapped on the pane, hoping to capture his attention. But he didn’t look up.

She wanted to find out about him, but she needed to get to work. A snow angel could come in all disguises—even that of a thoughtful neighbor.

Pulling her car into the parking lot of her office, Trudi noticed it stood empty except for one other vehicle.

She pulled alongside the car, spotting a snow shovel in the back seat, its broad blade glistening wet.

The driver—wearing a navy jacket, white scarf and cable-knit cap—stepped out as she approached him. “Looks like we’re the first to arrive.”           

Where have I seen him before?

The stranger extended his hand. “Name’s Ben.”

“Trudi. Human Resources,” she said, releasing her hand from his. “Some snow!”

“Yeah, sure is. Any trouble getting here?”

“No. Thanks to a kind stranger who shoveled me out.”

Ben blew on his hands and rubbed them together. “Freezing, isn’t it? Look, I’m off to grab some coffee. Can I buy you one?”

“No thanks . . . Ben. Gotta get upstairs.” Ray was counting on her.

He gave a broad smile. “Maybe another time soon.”

Ben held the door open, and they entered the lobby.

Before she could ask him what floor he worked on, he’d ducked into the coffee shop.

Trudi stepped into the elevator and punched the button for the top floor. Dropping her proposal on the secretary’s desk, she crossed her fingers and hoped Ray would be proud of her efforts.

The next day, her heart flip-flopped when she entered Ray’s office and saw him sitting behind his desk.

He looked up. “Have a minute?” he said, gesturing to a chair. Our department head e-mailed me last night to say he’s impressed with your work.” He grinned. “You put a lot into it, Trudi, and it’s paid off.”

Her knees weak with relief, she sank into the chair.

Ray brought his chair around his desk and sat next to her. “You’ve scored with management, you know.”

But have I scored with you, too? Is the waiting over?

He drew his chair closer. “I think you’re in line for a change of status.

”You mean a job promotion?” It wouldn’t hurt, but she mainly longed for a change of status with him.

He placed an arm over the back of her seat. “Yes, a promotion.”

The brush of his arm against her skin caused her to grow warm.

Ray leaned closer and locked his sapphire blue eyes with hers. “This calls for celebration.”

She bit her lip to contain her excitement.

His whisper brushed her ear. “Could we go out tomorrow evening?”

Could they ever!

She swallowed down her shout of joy. “Sounds good.”

Trudi saw Ben’s tall frame in the doorway. He knocked and walked into the office. “You wanted to see me, Boss?”

Ray winked. “Tomorrow night, then.”

Ben cleared his throat. “I can come back.”

Ray leaned back against his chair. “Trudi, this is Ben. He’ll be working with me for a while.”

She nodded. “We introduced ourselves yesterday. Welcome aboard.”

Ben smiled. “Thanks.”

Trudi stood. “If that’s all for now. . .” She had only until tomorrow evening to wait for something more.

She paused outside the doorway when she heard Ben say, “When you discovered I lived on Trudi’s street and asked me to shovel her drive, I didn’t expect her to be so attractive.”

Ray laughed. “Or that I was seriously interested in her.”

Ben continued, “I tried to get to know her, but it seems Trudi’s had her eyes on you the whole time despite my hard work.”

Trudi smiled. In a roundabout way she’d already thanked Ben in the parking lot. He may have dug her out, but he was only a courier for her admirer.

Hadn’t Mom said good things happen to those who wait?

“Message received, Ray, loud and clear,” she said to herself.

 

Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her at www.patjeannedavis.com

“Patches of Fog” by Judith Vander Wege Tags: Patches of Fog by Judith Vander Wege Patches of Fog by Judith Vander Wege Judith Vander Wege Patches Fog Judith Vander Wege

Patches of Fog by Judith Vander Wege

“Patches of fog won’t hold up under sun.” I clipped this intriguing phrase out of a newspaper, pondering its meaning.

“Patches of fog” reminded me of the confusion and depression I’d experienced.

“Lord, give me clear sailing,” is what I often cry when I feel the fog’s so thick I’d really rather die.

Then, just for a moment, He’ll cause the fog to lift.

But He says, “My grace, sufficient, is the greater gift.

“When at last, you’ve stood the test,”

He gently lets me know, “you’ll receive the crown of life. The trials help you grow.

God didn’t abandon me in the fog; He sent sunshine to penetrate it and break it up. “Patches of fog won’t hold up under sun” became a promise to me that eventually the depression and confusion would be gone. Like most promises, it is linked with responsibility.

I had to choose whether or not to expose my “fog” to the sun.

God revealed underlying attitudes of rebellion, self-righteousness and resentment.  As I confessed these, (i.e. “laid them out in the sun”), He forgave me and cleansed me of them.

God sent His sunshine through other Christians, also. They prayed and talked with me—when I sought them out. I could feel His light and warmth driving away the fog as I attended worship services, sang praises, prayed, read my Bible, and listened to Christian music. The sun couldn’t shine on me if I hid in a cubby hole. I needed to get out into the sunshine to let it warm me and lighten my heart.

Some fog seemed endless. However, God works in fog as well as in light. The Psalmist mentions God riding on the clouds. Perhaps I needed to experience it in order to call out to God. When I called to Him in my distress, God delivered me and began to work out His loving purpose in me.

The Psalmist says, “The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, …. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses,” (Psalm 135:6-7, NIV).

These verses say to me, “When your world is coming to an end, God is the one who makes it foggy and scary and bitterly cold.” Why would He do this? He must have a good reason. I came to realize I’d been clinging to some idols. Other people, my emotional needs, my natural desire to be loved and appreciated, had become more important to me than obedience to God. He knows it is best for us to worship Him alone. It took a storm to rip me away from idols to which I had clung.

Jesus came to me in my cloud of depression and confusion, warming my emotions with reassurances of love. This sunlight gradually broke my fog into patches and drove it away. Now, if I hit a patch of confusion or depression, I turn to God, exposing my heart to His sunlight through His Word, prayer, worship, or Christian fellowship. Soon the fog is gone.

“Patches of fog won’t hold up under sun;” they disappear.

 

Judith Vander Wege: I’m a Christian Writer, Composer, Bible Study Leader, child of God and follower of Jesus Christ. I’ve had nearly 300 short manuscripts published in such magazines as The Quiet Hour, ALCW Scope, Standard’s Devotions, Aglow, Evangel, Foursquare World Advance, Live, Power for Living, Vision, The Lutheran, Upper Room, Light From the Word, and Columbia Basin Herald. You can read more of my bio on my web site’s “about” page at judithvanderwege.org or .com. I have a Facebook page at Facebook.com/JudithVanderWege

“An Unlikely Match becomes the Perfect Catch” by Sharon L. Patterson Tags: An Unlikely Match becomes the Perfect Catch by Sharon L. Patterson Sharon Patterson

Have you heard…Coach P is dating the French teacher?”  That was the scuttlebutt going around the high school where we both taught. I guess, in a way, you could say we had quite a crowd watching the development of our dating relationship in the spring of 1981. There was no Facebook or You-Tube, but there were 2300 sets of eyes on us five days a week that semester.

What an unlikely match we were. He loved the outdoors and camping as well as coaching football and track. His attire included coaching shorts and tennis shoes. He loved math and science.

I, on the other hand, loved fashion and beautiful clothes, trips that included the beautiful outdoors as seen from the window of a lovely air-conditioned hotel room. I loved French cuisine, music and languages.

The French teacher and Coach P?  Would such an unlikely match make it past that spring?  Was it simply a wonderful time of the year when match-making becomes the prime goal of teacher friends who thought these two single parents should be introduced? Were we only a source of great student gossip?

Thirty-two years later, what began as an unlikely match turned out to be the perfect catch for both Coach P and the French teacher.

We continued to be the hottest love story on campus through the fall semester. Everyone grew accustomed to seeing “us” which included my two small sons and his boy at football games and track meets.

In between late-night track meets and football practice, a summer trip to France with my students, Coach P and I would talk on the phone till late in the night, get up and teach the following day. We discussed everything we could possibly think of. That is, except for one thing that nearly caused a final chapter in our love story.

It happened the afternoon we went to apply for our marriage license. We were filling out the requested information. I looked over at his form and noticed the date he put down as his birthday.

“Honey,” I said, “You put down the wrong year you were born!” He looked at me, by now used to my very honest opinions and replied, “Sweetheart, I think I know the year I was born!”

“But…that means I am three years older than you!.”

“So, what difference does that make?”

“Well, that means I am marrying a younger man…I just don’t know about that,” I said. I could not believe that in all our months of dating, through hours and hours of learning about one another, that had escaped us.  Thankfully, his persuasion that it made no difference to him was enough to convince me to make the right decision.

We married December 12th.  We had many witnesses. The story and the school room gossip faded from popularity. “Us” now includes our boys, a daughter-in-law, four grandsons, and one granddaughter as well as thirty-five years of stories and history. The unlikely match remains the perfect catch to this day.

 

Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women’s ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Talent vs. Skill
Category: Member Blogs

Talent vs. Skill

 
My husband is a natural-born chef. Remember Remy the rat in the movieRatatouille? The rat is my husband. This is a man that can make tire rubber taste good. I'm not kidding.

I, however, am not a natural-born chef. I'm a pretty good cook though. The differences between my skills and his abilities almost put a wedge between us because I, the homemaker, was also the main meal-maker in the house- and it galled me every time he came home and 'tweaked' my dinner as I prepared it.

Every. Single. Time.

He'd come home and taste my soups, then add a little of this or that. The problem was he'd never tell me what he'd added, and what he did always improved the dish quite a bit. It drove me crazy- and I'll be honest here- it made me feel like I wasn't good enough.

It was even worse when he tried to teach me.

Not only was I an unwilling student, he was not a natural-born teacher. Arguments would ensue and feelings were hurt, and at one point I stopped cooking altogether. Why bother, when he was just going to 'fix' it anyway?

This was getting us nowhere. Pride was getting in the way, as was stubbornness- on both our parts. Pride goeth before a fall, and we were cannon-balling ourselves right into the chicken soup stock.

Then God intervened.
We began talking with each other and praying together about the situation. 

I have a talent for teaching. Not a great one, but enough to help my husband understand how to teach me to cook. I had to put my hurt pride aside and reallywatch what he was doing (especially because he doesn't measure!), then when I gained confidence, I tried my own tweaks before he came home.

Eventually I learned to ask him for help when the flavor wasn't what I wanted. Oh, that was so hard to do! But the soup wouldn't get eaten if it didn't taste right, and my hatred of food waste was greater than my pride, so I asked- then paid close attention when he showed me what to add.

Miracles of miracles, sometimes I got it just right. I knew I'd done a good job when he went back for seconds!

Eventually I learned enough that he didn't have to tweak things as often, and I had no problem asking him for help if it needed tweaking. We've learned what our talents are in the kitchen, and have taught each other what skills we could. I'm still a better bread maker and candy creator than he is, and he does soup and desserts like nobodies business. He's still learning my pie crust rolling skills- he still has trouble getting a rounded, even crust, but he's getting better with practice. 

We can even joke with each other when cooking now!

It's so easy to envy others their talents. I know I'll never be a great chef, and I've accepted that now. God showed me that not everyone will be good at everything,and that's okay
God wants me to be a writer, not a famous chef- He's given the 'cheffing' talent to my husband. And my husband knows that whenever he creates a talk for his Men's Fellowship group, he can always come to me for editing and rewrites!

It took us a long time to get to this point. It wasn't easy! Prayer, a humbling of our hearts, and a willingness to learn helped us to be a better team in the kitchen- and outside of it. 

Discover your talents through prayer. Learn what skills you can, and understand that not everyone can be the best at everything. Talent (or natural ability) is not the same as a skill- don't envy someone else for their gift! God has enough for us to do without envy getting in the way. 

Be the awesome you that you are, and let His light shine through your talents!
The rich Mans Reflection
Category: Member Blogs

The Rich Mans Reflections

 
There once was a very rich man who stored his hoarded gold in sacks. He enjoyed looking at his gold, but found the sacks cumbersome. He sought a builder to make him a secure storage room.

Many builders came, hoping for the favor of the rich man, but none shared his vision for the storage room. Then one builder got his attention.
"Sir, I can not only build you a fantastic room, it will magically increase your fortune tenfold!"
The rich man didn't believe him at first, but since he was also a greedy man, it didn't take long for him to be convinced. "Build the room first, and then if it's true, I will give you all of the gold I have now." 
Elated, the builder agreed and went to work.

A few days later, the builder returned. " I'm finished Sir! The gold is securely inside. Would you like to see it?"
"Yes!" the rich man said, following the builder to his new treasure room.
The builder gave him the keys to the lock, and when the rich man opened the door, the room shone with ten times the gold he'd had! "This is wonderful! The rich man exclaimed. "You may take the amount I used to have- my servants will count the coins as you take them out. Excited, he went to tell his friends of his newly found fortune.

When he returned with his friends, the builder had long gone with his carefully counted share. The rich man unlocked the door and flung it open to show his friends...an empty room! "What is this?!?" The no-longer-rich man exclaimed. "The room was ten times full of the gold he took!"

One of his friends tossed a single gold coin into the room, and the carefully placed mirrors reflected ten coins after it landed. "Alas my friend, those who seek quick and easy riches wind up with empty pockets!"

There are a few lessons in my story. 

One, the rich man wasn't happy with what he had. We've all been there, me included! But God tells us to be content with the blessings we receive. Sometimes we just lose track and start focusing on what everyone else has instead of the blessings we have. The best way to conquer this is to thank God each day for the big and little things He gives us- no matter how small!

Two, get-anything-quick schemes rarely (if ever) work. You need to invest time in your treasures, whether they be money, relationships, raising children, or building a career. Time is needed to learn, build skill, and know the ropes in order to be successful- no matter whether you're a CEO or a stay-at-home mom.

Three, be careful what you promise. If it seems too good to be true, don't make promises. If you say you'll do something, do it. Pray for wisdom to know when and where to make promises, otherwise you might be taken advantage of- or be so overwhelmed fulfilling promises you miss God's call!

Be grateful. Share what you have. Keep your promises. Be wise. These are all things that make Gods smile! What are you thankful for today?
Valentine Blessings
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Ruby for Women Valentine Blessing Blog Valentines Day

Valentine Blessings

 

Blessings on Valentines Day

are being sent your way;

with a bouquet of flowers

and a box of chocolates.

 

As you enjoy this day think,

about how much of a blessing

it is to Love, Cherish, and think

while you are believing.

 

With that kind of charisma

brings in good love karma

to you and the ones you love

from the lord up above.

 

By Sharmelle Olson

2017

 

A brief note… This poem has been published in the

February 2017 Ruby for Women Magazine.

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