How do you tell a great story? Mabel asked her friend Gertrude.
Mabel imagined herself a great writer. Gert grinned, and quietly said It has to be about love. Her face soft, her eyes turned up at the corner, she sat back in her chair, proud for coming to such a magnificent conclusion.
Gert recalled her cousin Sophia telling her. I know exactly what love is Gertie. Maybe you will be lucky enough to fall into love. Nick is the man for me. He understands me. He’s my missing piece, my better half. I’m going to spend the rest of my life thanking him for making me so happy.
Gertrude had fallen in love and remembered that conversation while rocking her baby to sleep one night. Tears slid from her eyes. Nick had been abusive and critical, spent Sophia’s savings, broke her heirloom china and left her alone. Sophia was wrong about love.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Mabel’s rapidly tapping pencil. Come on Gertrude, you have to give me more than that to go on, she moaned.
I have a friend who is in love, Gertrude rambled. She says that you love when you are ready to give up everything for someone else.
Mabel smirked, tried to hide or soften her reaction to Gertrude’s ridiculous idea. She sighed impatiently.
I think I can help you get started Mabel, People always enjoy a good love story. When I was eleven my Aunt Grace took me for a walk. This is what she told me…when you love a boy, Gertie, you will feel very different. It is amazing to kiss, to be held in someone’s arms and gazed upon as if you were a sparkling diamond. That leaves you feeling important, cared for and protected. You realize good things about yourself for the first time. He looked at you so long with those eyes filled with care. You must be beautiful. He held you as if you might break. You must be precious. And there is more.
He told everyone he was going to spend his life with you. You must be intelligent, fascinating, and creative. He sold his bicycle to buy you an engagement ring. You must be priceless. He wants to build you a house, sleep with you in his arms all the rest of his days. He must know you are worth every sacrifice.
When you are loved, you start to see love around you. You see a teenager smiling at a baby, a woman arranging flowers in a florist window, a policeman holding the hand of an elderly man as he crosses a city street. Doves flying in pairs.
Just then, Mabel’s granddaughter Kimberly walked into the room. She held three cups of tea and asked if she could join them. “I heard you talking about love,” she said. Her smile was radiant.
She was intrigued by these older women. It was not unusual for her to join them, armed with tea, a deck of cards or a checker game board. Kimberly always made Mabel and Gertrude feel loved.
Well Mabel is writing another story, said Gertrude… I said it should be about love. What do you think?
Kimberly passed out warm teacups and gently sat in the chair between them. She was recently graduated from college and working with young children.
Grandma, we sang together when I was little. Remember Shower the People You Love With Love? You explained that love has many meanings. You said if we could come up with one definition and put it into a bottle everyone would want to buy it. I tried to talk you into doing that and you laughed.
You said that love never means the same thing two days in a row. It is one of those amazing words that get used too often, used for the wrong things, even misused; that love changes, love is an evolving experience. I wrote that down and thought about it all through high school and college. Love is an evolving experience. I thought you were amazing then and I think you are amazing now.’ She smiled, finished her tea and stood to leave.
Give me a big hug and kiss beautiful girl, Mabel said softly. I want one too, said Gertrude. And with care, poise and love, Kimberly kissed and hugged them both.
I might never get this book written Gertrude, said Mabel, tears glistening in her eyes. Gertrude thought her heart would burst. Love, she thought, is as alive as we are, as different as every living thing and every piece of art or gown or greeting card. Love happened, didn’t ever stay the same, and existed whenever you realized that you were special.
She opened her mouth and said to Mabel, Your story has to be about experiences of love and how you can’t hold them; you need to enjoy them and let them go.
Mabel looked back at her friend, shaking her head and then her finger in Gertrude’s direction. Girlfriend, you are just confusing me. I will never get this story written.
They smiled and reached out to hold hands as they finished their tea.
Deb Ilardi is a registered nurse and has written professionally for decades. She was the Clinical Editor of School Nurse News from 2001-20016. Now she is retired and living in NC with her husband where she enjoys life near the ocean as a freelance writer.
A woman has multiple roles and responsibilities in real life. It is this diverse range of responsibilities that makes them garner respect, admiration, love and attention from all quarters of life. Although, women are trying to balance a lot of things at the same time, they are never short in fulfilling the various aspirations associated with a particular relationship or role.
Here are a few gift ideas for the woman who is trying to establish the much needed balance in her different roles. Let us check out the various gifts for this dynamic woman based on her ability to succeed in her different relationships.
Gifts to honour the efforts of a mother – Mothers are the backbone of a family and the root that holds the entire family together through difficult times. It is impossible to describe the true worth, importance and greatness of a mother through words, and the best Mother’s Day gifts will show your true appreciation. You can check out a wide range of gifts for mom’s day that consists of personalized coffee mugs, designer tote bags, dry fruits collections, exotic floral bouquets, fruit baskets and other items from online gifting stores to celebrate motherhood in an extraordinary manner.
Gifts to celebrate the unconditional love of a sister – Sisters are the shade of the trees that protect us from the harsh rays of the problems in life, and offer us a comfortable environment. This special bonding between a brother and sister is cherished by people throughout the world. Although, the unconditional love between a brother and sister does not need a particular day for its celebration. However, in a vast country like India, the exceptional relationship between a male and female sibling is best described through the occasion of “Raksha Bandhan” which is celebrated throughout the country. To make your sister feel special, you can give her the gift of a cushion which says “The best sister in the world,” offer stylish personalized coffee mugs, personal care gift hampers, designer leather accessories and other such gifts to express your love towards her.
Gifts to reward the devotion of a wife – A wife is dedicated to her husband and in-laws after marriage to the bridegroom. She takes care of her life partner and performs various responsibilities of her wedding life with full dedication. To reward her efforts, you can gift a personal beauty care kit, a box of exotic chocolates, a spa kit, floral bouquets, healthy snack gift hamper and others for the woman who has always stood by your side during tough times.
Gifts to match the sweetness of a daughter – A daughter is a sweet little princess that has arrived in your life to bring lots of joy and happiness. She reminds you about a lot of things and brings the much needed stability in your personal life. There are several gift options that can complement the charm and innocence of a daughter such as a baby shower kit, a pretty baby girl dress, a hair grooming kit, the collection of her favorite comic books and a lot more.
So, it is important to pay adequate respect to the woman who is single-handedly playing all these roles in a wonderful way. Words would not do justice to her, so it is time to shower her with women’s day gift ideas that can simply make her feel more valuable and special.
This is a sponsored post from Ferns n Petals, an online gift shop where you can purchase everything you need to make Mother’s Day special for your mom, grandma, sister, or daughter. Visit Ferns n Petals when you are shopping for your Mother’s Day gifts!
I sat up in bed, still startled from what I had just experienced. For a moment, I questioned where I was until I looked to see my husband sleeping soundly bedside me. Was that a dream I just had? It seemed so much more. It was SO REAL! As my husband stirred from sleep I felt compelled to share the dream with him.
“Honey, this is going to sound really strange to you, but I feel like I have just spent time with Mother.”
His quizzical look prompted an immediate response, “I know-it’s impossible.” Mother had passed away a few years earlier.
“What makes you say that?” my husband queried back as he got out of bed to get ready for work.
“Well, to begin with, I can describe the atmosphere of the room we were in. I can still see and smell the flood of sunshine coming through the large open window. It felt like a cool spring morning. I was conscious of the freshness of it.”
“What do you mean you could smell the sunshine?”
“When I was a girl, Mother and I would hang clothes on the line. When they were dry, and we brought them inside, you could smell the sunshine. That is how the room smelled.”
Before he thought me completely daffy, I continued: “There were silk organza ruffled curtains on that window – mother’s favorite. She and I were sitting at the kitchen table. You know, the dinette like the one she and dad had forever.”
“What did you talk about?”
“Mother apologized to me.”
“For all the things she did that she knew hurt me during the years when she was drinking.”
There had been no time for us to talk about much of anything as mother’s death at forty-four was quite sudden and unexpected. She had an acute epileptic seizure and was gone in an instant. I was at school when I got the call. I remember thinking, “I didn’t even get to tell her good-bye.”
But today, somewhere between heaven and earth, Mother and I met at the kitchen table. We had time to talk about things in both our hearts.
I don’t know what exactly happened, but I know that the conversation led to a great healing in my soul that is just as real at the smell of fresh sunshine that flooded that room.
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. You can read more of Sharon’s inspirational articles in the April 2017 issue of RUBY magazine.
Mary wrapped barley bread, dried olives, dates, and figs in a cloth and placed them in her husband’s pouch. Cleopas extended his arms, allowing his wife to tighten his girdle with a clasp then tuck coins in one side of it and on the other side a small serving of figs and nuts.
When Cleopas lowered his arms, Mary beckoned him to raise his left again so she could slip a water-filled goatskin up his arm and over his shoulder. Mary tugged at the sword fastened to his girdle.
Satisfied that it was tightly in place, she took a step back and looked him over. Her sad penetrating eyes grew with concern.
“I wish you would stay with us,” Mary whispered. “There is danger.”
Cleopas kissed his wife on the forehead then held her tight. “I will return before nightfall tomorrow. Do not worry.”
Mary gazed over her shoulder at the disciples. “Everyone is so worried what the Romans will do next. I am afraid for you.”
“Meydad is with me and we will protect one another if anything goes wrong. There is no need for concern. If Ha’Adon is willing, I will return.”
“Be safe,” Mary said.
“Meydad, come. We must go.”
Cleopas took one last look at the disciples, each one standing or sitting in various areas of the room, their faces perplexed from the stories they had been told by the women, and Peter.
Earlier this morning they discovered Yeshua’s tomb was empty.
Peter fled the house with John (whom Yeshua loved), Cleopas and several other disciples at Peter’s heels, all rushing to the tomb. It was as the women had said. The tomb was empty. Yeshua was gone. Distraught and weakened by what he had seen, Cleopas returned to the house, wondering what all of this meant.
The disciple hugged his wife again then he and Meydad set out for Emmaus on foot. They took time to labor through memories of the last three days, how they had gone from joy to that of sadness. Cleopas couldn’t believe that one day he had witnessed Yeshua riding into the city on a donkey, everyone rejoicing and praising the Messiah. Then the next day, Yeshua was carrying his cross on that long walk to Golgotha.
Cleopas couldn’t reconcile the live Messiah with the dead Messiah who had succumbed to a torturous beating and crucifixion. To complicate matters, the women and Peter claimed to have seen him. Cleopas didn’t know what to make of this.
I am the resurrection and the life . . .
Those words burned in his soul even now, but he no more understood them today than he did yesterday.
“What are you thinking, Cleopas? You have not said a word since we left Jerusalem,” Meydad said.
“I am searching for understanding.”
“I am too. Do you still believe Yeshua was the Messiah?”
“I do, but there is so much that does not make sense to me.”
“Now that he is dead, the answers may have been buried with him,” Meydad said.
“I do not get it, Meydad. One day he is preaching ‘I am the way,’ and the next day he is gone. And we do not even have a body to prove he died. I know he died. I saw him. Bloody linen in the tomb attests to the fact that he was there.”
“You think the Romans took him?”
“Perhaps. No! I do not know. But if the women and Peter saw him, then where is he?” A long silence wedged between Cleopas and Meydad as the two men pondered the question.
“You should have seen him in the temple, Meydad. There has never been anything like it. He sat among our people teaching with authority. He spoke of love and unity . . . of G-d the Father. He spoke of a new heaven . . . a new earth. His words brought peace and hope.”
“That may be, but we are still under Roman rule,” Meydad said, stating the obvious. “There is no new heaven or earth here. He failed to rescue us from the hands of these butchers. All he may have done was make things worse for us. Our people are nervous . . . scared. They have no idea what will happen next. It seems to me that we are far worse than we were at the beginning.”
“I do not believe it,” Cleopas said, trying his best to hold on to hope.
“You mean you will not believe it.”
“Here is what I know, Meydad. Yeshua was crucified for a debt he did not owe. He died in place of Barabbas. It is Barabbas who should have died on that cross. Not Yeshua.”
“Why do you think Yeshua let it happen?”
“Meydad, what makes you think he allowed it?”
“For one thing, he never defended himself. Is that not odd?”
“That is so troubling to me.”
“For another thing, the miracles he performed are widely known. Are you forgetting about Lazarus, how he raised him from the dead?”
“How could anyone forget Lazarus’s resurrection?”
“Then why Yeshua did not prevent his own death? Did he not have the power?”
“Of course he did. He fed five thousand people with three fish and two loaves of bread, Meydad! He made the blind see and he healed the sick. Of course he had power.”
Cleopas stopped for a moment and dragged his hand across his face. “That is the very part of all this that I cannot comprehend.
He did not need to suffer.” Cleopas walked ahead, his feet pounding the dusty road in anger. ”
There he was standing in the midst of all Roman and Jewish authority at a perfect time to destroy them and declare his kingdom.
He had the power to end all Roman rule with a mere word from his mouth, but he did not do it. He never said a mumbling word. Why? Why?” Cleopas was clearly frustrated.
“Maybe it was just his time to go,” Meydad concluded.
“But there is so much more work to be done,” Cleopas said. He wasn’t quite sure who he was trying to convince, Meydad or himself.
“Do you believe the women? Do you believe Peter? You think he is alive?”
“If so, where is he?”
“Are you the only one in all of Jerusalem who has not heard what has happened there?” Cleopas asked, his emotions on the brink of collapse.
“What things?” the traveler asked.
“The things about Yeshua of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of G-d and all his people . . . how our chief priests and rulers ridiculed him, falsely accused him, then delivered him to Pilate to be crucified.
We were hoping he was the one who would redeem Israel. But now he is dead. He has been gone away from us for three days. Our hearts ache for him.” Cleopas choked up, tears welled in his eyes.
“Then something strange happened this morning,” Cleopas continued. “Our women went to his tomb with spices to prepare for his burial, but they came back to the house claiming he is alive . . . that his tomb is empty . . . that they had seen him.
I followed Peter to the tomb and we found it indeed empty. How can all this be? How is it that he is now alive? What does it mean? And where is he?”
“Oh, foolish men who are slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for Yeshua to suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moshe (מׄשֶׁה) and all the prophets, the traveler explained to them all things found in the scriptures.
By the time they reached Emmaus, it was nightfall and they pleaded with the traveler to stay with them.
Women and children helped prepare the evening meal, lit candles, and set wine on the table before their guests. There was something different in the air—an unusual warmth, a welcomed peace that neither Cleopas nor Meydad understood.
They enjoyed the traveler and admired his knowledge of the scriptures. In fact, Cleopas hadn’t heard such teachings since . . .
Cleopas furrowed his brow as memories of the Messiah flowed through him like warm honey.
“. . . have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
Cleopas also remembered, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”
He almost fell to his knees when he recalled how Yeshua sat on the mountain, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth . . . .”
The disciple wiped away tears and forced himself to leave the memories behind him and join the others at the table.
When everyone was poised and ready to eat, the traveler gave thanks and broke bread, passing a portion to each of them.
At once, fear and elation rushed through Cleopas, then Meydad, for they recognized the traveler as Yeshua!
“Yeshua . . . Ha’Adon!” Cleopas and Meydad shouted.
Then Yeshua disappeared.
Cleopas and Meydad stared at one another, in awe of what they had seen. Their hearts pumped with joy.
They were so excited that they tried to talk at the same time, but it was Cleopas who was the most outspoken.
“Did our hearts not burn within us while he talked on the road and opened the scriptures to us?”
Cleopas asked. “Hurry! Hurry!! We must go to Jerusalem and tell the others.”
When Cleopas and Meydad returned to Jerusalem, they pounded the locked doors of the house where the apostles were gathered.
John (the one whom Yeshua loved) opened the door and Cleopas rushed pass him and declared, “It is true! The Lord has risen and he appeared to Simon just as he said. And now he has appeared to us!”
Cleopas grabbed Nathaniel by the arms and shook him. “ It is true, Nathaniel. Thomas, James, Philip, do you hear us? It is true! We have seen him! We have seen the Lord! We have seen Ha’Adon! He is alive. I tell you, he is alive!”
Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the RUBY Magazine (http://rubyforwomen.com) since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com. Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna’s political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.
"Plans - Useful or Useless?" by Beth Brubaker
What is the most useful, yet useless thing we do as human beings?
Plans can be great things; we can plan vacations, plan short-term goals, and plan events with friends and family. Plans help us stay on track, organize our lives and save us tons of time.
However, we can get so mired in plans that we cease to be productive. This is one of my many foibles, because I love making plans. In fact, I'd rather write plans than do them!
Useful plans for our family involve the finances- the household budget, debts, and making sure the Internet stays connected. Trips and visits are also well planned, and most times run smoothly.
The plans that usually fall under the 'useless' category in my house entail things like the family chores, scheduling my day, and life goals. Any of these plans get rewritten so many times I could provide enough confetti for Mardi Gras for the next century. I had to stop writing these plans down before I became personally responsible for global deforestation.
Family chores get done when they have to because our schedules are so wonky and are always changing. The same thing goes for my day, and though I can loosely plan to get a few things done, nothing is ever set in stone. When work calls, I drop what I'm doing and go- that's just the way it works here.
As for our life goals, Those have changed so much over the years, that it's not worth the effort to make long term career or life goals. We had grandiose plans for opening a B&B, a restaurant, a fabric/craft shop, or a cafe. Each was planned out as much as possible, only to wind up in the recycle bin the second God decided to point us in a different direction. To be honest though, I think what He has planned for us is going to involve preparing food and being creative!
Now I'm not saying don't make chore schedules or write out life goals. I'm just saying that doesn't work for us. You might be having similar issues with another part of your life; some plans work, and some seem like a waste of good ink. You need to find those out for yourself.
God has other ideas for us than what I wrote down. Have you ever watched that scene in Even Almighty when the businessman says he has all these plans, and God just laughs and laughs? Oh yeah- I make God laugh on a daily basis, because He knows where I'm going and I only think I know.
In general, plans are a good thing, but try not to get upset when God throws a monkey wrench into the works. That's just His way of saying I have something better for you. And His life plans are more awesome than any plans we can make!
Brubaker, Assistant Editor is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth's passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. Don't miss Beth's columns and puzzles in every issue of Ruby for Women! You can read Beth's posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud
or email her at email@example.com
Kate pulled her long, brown hair into a ponytail and looked out on the yard of her new home where robins hopped about, snatching up a meal. The sun shone brightly, announcing the approach of spring. Finally! She visualized a row of multi-colored flowers bordering her driveway.
She squelched a sigh. Had she made the right decision to move so far away from family and friends? At the time, a new position seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. A change had been long overdue, Kate reasoned. And not having a special someone in her life provided further cause to accept the offer. Still, the cold winter had lasted far too long, and she missed the familiar faces back home.
Kate stepped away from the window. With a full schedule next week, Saturday was the only time she had to return to Freddy’s Garden Center. Perhaps the promised shipment of flowers had arrived. She grabbed her car keys.
When Kate entered the nursery, she spotted a figure working at a metal counter surrounded by plants and pots. As she approached, he turned and fixed his blue eyes on her for what seemed like minutes.
“Back so soon?” he asked, grinning.
“You’re the one I saw two weeks ago.”
He rubbed his chin. “You came back just to see me.”
Kate flashed a smile. “Can you help me choose flowers for my yard?”
He laughed, revealing straight white teeth. “I’m your man.” He slapped his palms together to dislodge the dirt. “The name’s Fred.”
She took his big hand in hers, intrigued by his friendly manner. “Kate.”
“Let’s see. You told me you’d moved here recently and wanted flowers that bloomed a long time and didn’t need much care.”
Fred gestured for her to follow him. “That’s my job,” he said over his shoulder. “Another supply came in yesterday. You’re in luck.”
They moved down rows of wooden tables overflowing with tulips and daffodils. Kate felt like a schoolgirl on a field trip as she half-ran to keep up, then nearly crashed into him when he stopped and turned around.
“I moved here two years ago to be closer to my eleven-year-old son and opened this garden center last spring,” he said.
Surprised by Fred’s revelation, Kate’s eyes drifted to the bare space on his ring finger. Why hadn’t she done more with her hair and put on a little makeup before coming out this morning? She met his gaze. “It sounds like you’ve been transplanted like these flowers.”
A ghost of a smile crept over his face. “Like yourself.”
Kate nodded. “Came here six months ago after accepting a new position.”
Hyacinths scattered blue, purple, and pink around her. She drew in the sweet fragrance and listened to chimes swaying in a warm breeze.
Fred selected a tray of flowers with little faces. His hand caressed the petals as if they were friends. “Pansies provide a variety of colors that last for months.” He moved to the next table. “The lush blooms on these begonias are hardy as well.”
“I’ll take both.”
He picked up a large white bag. “You’ll need potting soil. I’ll get my son to take these to check-out and to your car. That’s him over there.” Fred motioned for his son.
“Well, what do you know,” Kate said as the boy approached. “Billy is in my class!”
Billy’s eyes widened in recognition. “Miss Haley!”
Fred wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “I finally get to meet the Miss Haley.”
Billy kicked a stone with the toe of his shoe. A sheepish grin spread across his face.
Kate scrambled for something to say to break the awkward silence. “Lucky you, working here with your Dad.”
He looked at his father before taking the flowers and bag. “Yep, I know.”
Fred tousled his son’s blond hair. “I’m the lucky one.”
After Billy left, Fred turned to Kate, pulling his baseball cap forward over his dark, curly hair. “He wasn’t exaggerating when he said you’re pretty.”
Kate managed a smile and lowered her head, feeling her cheeks grow warm.
“And he’s always going on about how you make science come alive.”
“Happy to hear that.” She laughed. “I wish I had that much success with plants.” Or with men.
Fred laughed too. “You’ll need these.” As he handed her a trowel and gardening gloves, their hands touched. Did he feel the same attraction?
Fred shifted his feet. “Take this slip up front and tell them I said to give you a gardening book.” He cleared his throat before speaking again. “If you need any further help, I’m your man.”
“Thanks.” Of course he was her man. Kate recalled her first trip here. Fred answered every question, even the ones she quickly thought up just so she could look into those captivating blue eyes while he answered.
He started walking toward another customer.
“I want to put in some other things,” Kate called after him.
He headed back to where she stood. Her pulse quickened.
“What do you have in mind?”
Kate shrugged. “I need some suggestions.”
“Maybe some shrubs,” he said. “If you like, I could stop by next Saturday, take a look at your yard and give you a few ideas.”
“Sounds good. I’ll keep an eye out.” Kate’s casual tone masked the excitement within. Her heart surged with the wonder of spring and the prospect of a fresh start.
“Write your address here. If you have no one to put them in, just remember, I’m your man. And don’t worry about not having a green thumb.” He winked. “I’ll teach you what you need to know.”
Kate craned her neck to keep him in view as he walked off. Fred glanced back and their eyes met, leaving her with a promise of good things to come.
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
There are days, I know we all have them, in a brief moment of silence, when we wonder if we are doing everything that God intends for us. Especially as women, we often find ourselves busy, busy, busy with daily tasks that frequently seem endless. Which of course, they are. Because no matter how many times you fix supper, you will have to do it all over again tomorrow. And laundry. You can do a thousand loads of laundry, and tomorrow there will be MORE laundry.
If you are a mom of any age, if you still have children at home, there is a never-ending round of activities that require your attention. Some days I just feel like I’m running in circles, and nothing I am doing, nothing in which I am investing my time and energy, will last. Everything will have to be done all over again tomorrow.
That is when I find myself, in those all-too-seldom moments of quiet . . . sometimes in the silence, I stop and think about all of that. And I’ll be honest, some days I get discouraged, wondering if anything I am doing is making any difference in the world. If you are honest, you will admit that you feel that way on occasion, too.
One day recently I was asking God to give me just a bit of guidance, just so I would have a greater sense of confidence that I am actually hearing Him correctly, and this daily round of running to dentist appointments, piano lessons, volleyball practice, orthodontist appointments, choir concerts, and youth group meetings matters to anyone.
When I finally landed back home, and the girls were quietly doing other stuff (besides fighting like sisters often do!), I sat down at my desk to work on the RUBY magazine – and again I asked God to give me a clue. Does anything that I am doing with my life make any difference at all, to anyone? Or is all of this activity just keeping me distracted from something else, something bigger, something more important?
That’s when I suddenly realized, as I was reading through some of the submissions for this issue of RUBY magazine, that MY writers – yes, MY writers – some of YOU who share your heart and love for the Lord with all of us who read your words – YOU are my ministry. Especially when I read the words of new writers who are timid and afraid to put their precious ideas and thoughts down in black and white and send them off to someone (me!) that they don’t even know – and they trust me to treat their voice and their words with respect.
I have been so encouraged, and truly blessed, by the writing that is submitted each month for our little magazine. And I am so grateful and honored that God has given me the gift of your friendship. I have learned so much from MY writers, and I am so excited to look to the future with all of the opportunities that God will give us, together, to share His words of blessing, inspiration, and encouragement with the world.
So if you ever wonder what you are doing, if God is using you, or if anything you are doing every day is making a difference in the world – know you are not alone, and remember that He has given you a story, and words of encouragement, so that you can share them with the world. We make a pretty good team, I think!
Last summer I went on a mission trip and one of my leaders always talked about how life is in seasons and we have to be able to keep up even when the seasons change. I loved what was said, but I never really understood exactly what she meant when she talked about seasons and waiting.
But boy do I now! With school and the change of classes and teachers I would always separate my academic year into seasons. But outside of my academic year I never saw my life as a series of seasons.
Until this year (what a grand year 2017!) This year I have gone through seasons of sadness, struggle, hurt, but also the fun ones, extreme joy, growth, and ease. With each season the Lord reveals a different side of who He is and each season is equally important.
As I started doing season hopping, I realized how easy it is to get all caught up in a specific season and forget to spend time with the one in charge of your season… Jesus Christ. This will wreck your season, guaranteed. The most important thing in life is to remember to seek Christ above all things. Whether you’re in the most stressful season of your life or the easiest, you need to intentionally seek Christ.
I have also started to value each season, even if at first it is not easy. I tend to enjoy the seasons of happiness and growth way…WAY more than the ones of sadness or grief. But the Lord has revealed to me this year that both seasons are equally important and one wouldn’t be as great without the other.
With that being said, one of the hardest seasons for me is waiting. I am so impatient so this time is very hard for me. Seasons and waiting are part of life, but they are definitely not much fun!
Ironically, the season I struggle with is the one I’m in right now (actually not ironic at all… I asked for this). Right now I am waiting to see what my future holds. My family is going through some transitions and taking some new steps which could drastically change my situation. So I am playing the waiting game, all day, every day… woo!
The first few weeks of my waiting season I was not happy and was not waiting very well. But I’m about a month in and can gladly say that I am okay with waiting. I am okay with handing all of my future into God’s hands and letting Him do with it as He pleases.
The God that is with me during this waiting season is the same God that was with me just a few months ago during a season of amazingly great joy. The same God that held my hand during seasons of bravery and never let go is the same God telling me to slow down and to be patient.
He has never let me down and He never will. So I will wait and wait well. I encourage you, whatever season you are in, to seek the Lord and see what goodness is in your season right here, right now.
XOXO, The Christian Prepster
Cassidy Burdge is the Christian Prepster, a high school student living the Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. She has a deep love for sharing Christ through her writing and blogging, and she is excited to be part of Ruby Magazine. Cassidy blogs about anything from Biblical teachings to book reviews. You can connect with Cassidy on her blog, The Christian Prepster at https://thechristianprepster.wordpress.com/
Lot chose to live in the country of Sodom and Gomorrah but the inhabitants’ ungodly behaviour vexed his righteous soul. However, if it were not for Abraham’s appeal to God, Lot may well have been destroyed alongside those degenerate souls (see Genesis 18:16-33).
Fast forward to today’s world and I think many of you readers will agree that it has reached a similar state of lawlessness and depravity.
The Bible declares that “…the whole world lieth in darkness” or “under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Certainly, as Christians and prayer warriors, the reprehensible acts of so-called Church leaders who abuse their power and position, the various international crises, the troubling escalation of social ills, can seem utterly overwhelming and unsolvable.
But hallelujah! We serve a God who is able (and willing) to heal our lands and deliver the ungodly from the grip of the Enemy (2 Chronicles 7:14). He is merely looking for someone to step into the breach, to seek his assistance, to plead for his mercy, to make a demand upon his miraculous might.
So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV).
Will you be that person? Will you allow God to transform your concerns into compassion? Will you don your spiritual armour today and pray?
Dear WoW! follower and visitor, your country needs you! Not as a critic. Not as a self-appointed judge. But as a committed soldier in Christ’s army, as a stalwart warrior. Please don’t hesitate to enrol and take your place on the battlefield. Your prayers can make a difference!
Wishing you all a blessed and victorious week!
Carol Hind: I am a God-seeker and recovering perfectionist. From an early age my love of words and insatiable appetite for stories kindled a passion for writing. I’ve enjoyed modest publishing success both in print and online and spent several rewarding years as one of a team of editors for a Christian women’s publication. I like to write devotionals, inspirational articles and poems and on the odd occasion, a short story. Read more of Carol’s inspirational posts on her blog, Women of Warfare.
Envy is defined as ‘a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another person’s advantages or possessions; a resentful dislike of another who has something that one desires.’
Let’s face it – we’ve all felt envy at one time or another. Joseph’s brothers were so envious of God’s preference and Joseph’s specially made cloak, they sold him to slavers- not exactly the warm-fuzzy family feelings we should have for siblings.
We envy neighbors for their new car, new baby on the way, or that others have more money/influence/things than we do. Envy is definitely not hard to muster if we keep our eyes on everyone else’s prize.
God listed seven deadly sins – and Envy is a biggie on that list.
‘Thou shall not covet’ is in the Ten Commandments, so you know God means business when it comes to not wanting other peoples’ stuff. But what do you do to fight being envious of others?
You love others. Be kind to others. It also helps to get perspective and really look at those we envy. Why are you envying them?
Are you envying their things? Things get old and break. Things are temporary. Fight this urge by looking at all of the good things you have- and can share with others.
Are you envying their money? Money doesn’t mean happiness and spends way too fast to be completely enjoyed. The best way to fight this is to come up with a budget that allows you to splurge once in a while.
You can also budget to get gifts for family and friends, or to save for something special for you and your loved ones. God doesn’t want us to hoard money for its own sake – it’s not like we can take it with us when He calls us home!
Are you envying relationships? Look into your heart to see why you feel that way. God isn’t done molding us yet and that soul mate or bestie might just be around the corner – He’s just waiting for you to get through the road blocks.
A great way to start fighting this is to strike up a conversation with the one you envy, asking about them instead of talking about yourself. Eventually you’ll see why they are a relationship magnet, and you’ll either learn from them or realize you’re not the same type he/she is.
And that’s okay!
Believe me, this is one issue I’m an expert on – It took me a long time to stop envying my husband for his vast amounts of friends. He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. There was no way I was ever going to be the magnet he is. The circle of friends I have is a small, but a good one. Once I realized this, it was a whole lot easier to stop envying him and cherish the friends I have!
Are you envying the attention they get? This is another heart issue that you need to talk about with God. You might not be ready for all that attention and need a little more tempering or training. Ask me how I know.
Being in the limelight might seem glorious, but when you’re up there, seeing an ocean of faces looking back at you, it can be an entirely different story!
Fight this by earning that attention – whether you want to be a speaker, a writer, or a good storyteller in social situations – by learning the skills needed for the attention that you want.
The person you’re envying might be years ahead of you and look like they’re a natural, but trust me; it’s a very rare talent that is considered ‘natural’!
The one you envy probably worked very hard to get to that point, and all you’re seeing now is the polished version of their efforts.
Envy can destroy what God wants for you, because you’re too busy trying to be in someone else’s shoes. If you’ve ever gone to the thrift store and tried on shoes, you know what I’m talking about – the fit isn’t always good because that shoe molded to someone else’s foot.
God wants you to put on the new shoes He made for you, not someone’s cast-offs. The shoes He made for you are perfectly suited just to you, and there you are, trying on thrift store shoes!
Don’t envy your neighbor. They might have that new car, but the rest of their life could be a mess. Instead of envying them, get to know them, and introduce them to God. That, my dear readers, is the best way to fight off envy!
Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth’s passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. Don’t miss Beth’s columns and puzzles in every issue of RUBY magazine! You can read Beth’s posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You never know when you'll find a diamond in the fertilizer.
Since I messed up my knees, walking has become problematic- even with a cane.
Stores have become daunting experiences. I tried walking amidst the aisles of the mega stores I usually frequent, only to find myself out of commission for the next few days because my knees retaliated. Even the cane wasn't much help.
I almost stopped going to stores altogether because it just wasn't worth the down-time.
Then I noticed those little motorized carts plugged into the wall. Was I allowed to use them? Yes- I was. Reprieve!
Once I learned how not to run over anybody, grocery shopping had become fun once more- even more fun because the cart had a little horn- I'd tap it, and announce "Watch the tram car please!"
If you've ever been to the Jersey shore, you know exactly what this means. If not, there was a little tram shuttle that would go up and down the shore boardwalk, and if people were in it's path, the driver would announce "Watch the tram car please!" And people would scurry out of the way. People took delight when I did this in my local Sam's Club- and yes, they instinctively scooted out of my way!
I never cease to find the fun in everything I do. Immaturity is awesome.
Yesterday I had to bite the bullet and go into a craft store to get some items for my daughter's sixteenth birthday party. God tweaked my ear and told me to ask about shopping scooters. When I did, they said they didn't have anything motorized, but they did have a wheelchair with a front basket.
That was all I needed!
The gratefulness I felt was overwhelming. I was able to take my time. I couldenjoy the craft store and do some exploring, since I hadn't been there for a very long time. And it was pain-free, since my legs were elevated. What joy!
God is indeed good. Not only was I able to get my errands done, but I didn't suffer much after-effect since I wasn't on my feet the entire time.
I didn't have to depend on bringing a 'partner' to help me shop. Partners can be fun, but sometimes I just like meandering and finding things on my own instead of taking my husband or kids along.
My knees are still wonky, so please pray that this is something silly that can be remedied with elevated feet and my husband hand-feeding me chocolate and fruit.
In the meantime, Beep Beep! Watch the tram car, please!
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