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“Extremes We Share” by Kathleen McCauley Tags: Extremes We Share Extremes We Share by Kathleen McCauley Kathleen McCauley Kathleen McCauley

From the Ruby Prayer Corner

The Extremes We Share

by Kathleen McCauley

The ocean is a mystery.
Its quiet majestic power is often times disguised.

Instead it sends off a message of calm, serenity with the constant movement of its waves.

The ocean is a paradox of extremes which is brought about by its depth and currents.

I am a paradox of extremes brought about by my depth and currents as well.

One moment it may look as calm and serene as a lake or be the reassuring constant waves, and at other times it can roar with such a power that it impacts the lives of others.

Some days I live my life in quiet contemplative waves.

Reassured by the rhythm of my prayer and contemplation, and then there are days that the roar from my depths require me to be as demonstrative as a hurricane,  reminding me of God’s energy in myself and in nature.beach

It is the depth and power of the ocean that I understand as contemplation.

How it is displayed in life is different – but the source of the movement, no matter how great or small are the same.

The ocean is one with itself; there is full and complete consumption – and this I seek!!

To be at peace, being still in the greatest of the depth; THERE it is silence, waiting to let God take me to His depth – to accept the peace, the silence, the darkness of the depth and KNOW it is the force that sustains me in the extremes of my work, my ministry, my call.

To not label the extremes good or bad, for the ocean’s extremes remind me of its depth –       so too, my extremes should remind me of the same.

kathleen mccauley

Kathleen McCauley has been an active retreat leader for over 25 years.  She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton.  Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth.  Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at kathleenmccauley1@msn.com

“The Power of Loving Well” by Carol Doyel Tags: The Power of Loving Well by Carol Doyel The Power of Loving Well Carol Doyel Carol Doyel

Flowers LEFTGod has been moving powerfully in me lately, stirring my heart, tenderly revealing deep things to me – sadly some of the things that He has revealed in me are not so good. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about condemnation – but in His loving-kindness, he has drawn me to repentance for “missing the mark” related to relationships and love.

It has taken me 57 years of living to come to a place of humbly recognizing my inability to love well…as much as I have tried in my own strength, in my own way, I realize I have fallen desperately short of loving the way God desires me to. I don’t think, or expect to love as well as He does – but my hope is that as I draw closer to Him, I will learn to love…more like Him.

I believe the two greatest commandments, as referred to in Matthew 26:36-40, are not just for the benefit of the recipients of love, but maybe even more so for the restoration of the soul of the one who loves. God knew when he instructed us to love Him and others that we would be radically transformed in the process of learning to love.

“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8)

So if love never fails, what does it look like in our relationships here on earth? The Lord has been showing me that love is the bond that holds everything together – everything! If we love others; our husband, our children, our parents, our extended family members, our friends and even our enemies, we can overcome evil.

The evil plots of the enemy to destroy marriages tear down families, and to cause confusion and division in the Bride of Christ (there’s nothing worse than a confused bride!)

If the enemy can destroy relationships and isolate us, he can deceive us and convince us that we are not lovable. In our own bareness of soul, needing to be loved and not knowing love, we are destitute. We die a slow death, while under the powerful delusion and lies of the enemy.

Sadly if we are not able to break this pattern, we will see it repeated in the lives of those closest to us – in particular our children and our children’s children. The only thing that can break it– is the power of God’s love.

We must stand up to the wiles of the enemy by standing on truth. To know truth we must know the truth giver – our triune God – God the Father, Jesus our savior and the Messiah and the Holy Spirit. As we pursue God with all of our heart and come to know Him intimately, we will fall in love with Him.

The second greatest commandment will come out of God’s love and our love for Him. As we come to know Him, we will come to know his nature and character- and in doing so, we will become more and more like Him. And since God is love, the primary character of God, as we take on his character – eventually His love will take root deep in our spirit.

The Lord has shown me that the Gospel is not complicated. I’m simply called to live a quiet life following Him, living in community with others and loving those that He has entrusted to me – my husband (if you have been married beyond the honeymoon stage you know this is not always easy to do, but as we do He blesses us for our obedience), my children – who are now all adults, my grandchildren, extended family members that I’m in relationship with (including my church family), and close friends and neighbors.

As I learn to live in community, living in harmony with others, asking God what His heart is for each person in my life – especially those closest to me, I sense the power and presence of God increasing in my life. As I have come to know God’s heart, I recognize how easily my own can veer off the path of love. The only way I know to stay on the path is to seek Him daily, by asking Him to show me his heart for others.

It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and to love others – to love in a way that requires nothing in return: Loving fully, loving completely, loving unconditionally – loving those who are unlovable, loving those who have hurt us, or as is often the case – who out of their brokenness do not know how to love us.

And yet, we continue to expect them to know how to love us, and when they don’t, we become offended, hurt, angry, and often retaliate by holding back our love. This, in turn, causes more pain, and continues the crazy cycle that keeps us in bondage.

quiet

Someone once said that we hold back love as though it’s a commodity that we can run out of by giving it away. Imagine if we loved as though there was an unending supply – which ironically, with God there is. When we lack or lose the courage to love well, the misplaced courage is often directed to less worthy causes like work, or other worldly pursuits.

And if we believe we are unlovable, it can send us off looking for love in all the wrong places…or sadly, many people turn to drugs and/or alcohol to fill the void that only love can fill. I’m sad that I missed the mark for many years. As I look back, I can now see how selfish I have been. Thankfully, His grace is sufficient to overcome our weaknesses and sin.

Love is the perfect bond of unity that holds everything together – with it we can overcome darkness, despair, depression, addiction, divorce, hopelessness – Love never fails.

I plan to use the time I have remaining to learn to love well. I know this will not be easy and may require me to ask for forgiveness as well as to forgive others. Thankfully with Jesus as our redeemer, when we repent He is faithful to come along side of us to help redeem what has been lost. He redeems time, resources, relationships, and even life.

When we learn to love well, there is no limit to what we can do. The power of loving well can set us free, set others free, and transform marriages, families, communities, the Church and the World!

living better 50

For more Christian-encouragement in everything from “beauty-to-business”, click here or the banner to visit www.livingbetter50.com

Carol_head_titled_BW-150x150Carol Doyel has a heart to see women released into their God-given destinies and to become all they were created to be. Carol is a natural encourager and collaborator, having launched a successful online woman’s magazine and blog community, LivingBetter50.com “For Women with Spirit” in March 2011. She has brought together an amazing team and 800+ contributors to create the content rich magazine. Carol graduated from the Full Gospel Bible Institute in 2004. She went on to serve in women’s ministry from 2004-to-present. She serves as the West Coast/Hollywood Regional Director and the National Advisory Board for Christian Women in the Media (CWIMA). Carol’s past community service and board memberships include Washington PTA., Tacoma-YWCA, and Washington Women’s Education and Employment (WWEE). She and her husband of 27+ years reside in southern CA but travel quite a bit due to her husband’s work. They have three grown kids and four grand children whom they love spending time with.

“Help! I’ve Got No Room to Breathe” by Christie Browning Tags: Help! I’ve Got No Room to Breathe by Christie Browning Help! I’ve Got No Room to Breathe Christie Browning

rainy pink flower

Recently, I wrote the following in my journal:

“I am far beyond being stressed. I feel lost…without focus or a plan. I don’t like that feeling. I feel like I’m suffocating and about to run out of air, but there’s no room to breathe. I feel attacked on all fronts. I feel like someone has set off a stun bomb and I am left dazed, confused and blind. All the while, everything is being thrown at me, but I can’t grab anything or respond fast enough to catch what’s been thrown. I feel like I just have to stand here and take the beating.”

no room to breathe 1

It’s been a rough couple of months. Recently, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and it’s been a brutal-downhill slide. That has been a weight on our family in ways I never anticipated.

But…the “suffocating” comes from feeling like it’s the cancer diagnosis coupled with major changes in my business, income shifts and changes, dealing with uncertainty, job stresses, financial pressures and just “life” stuff.

The last straw: My cellphone quit working, and I didn’t have insurance. YIKES! One of these on its own is doable…but all together, I feel crushed under the weight.

Have you ever felt that way? Ever felt like you were losing ground, out-of-options, nowhere to go? As I wrote the above statements in my journal, I felt God’s promises start to flood my heart and mind. I began reading the story of Joshua. In the first chapter, we read the account of God placing Joshua in a leadership role of epic proportions.

Moses led the Israelite nation through some of its most miraculous circumstances…the plagues in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and surviving four decades in the wilderness. Moses had died and God looked to Joshua to pick up and take over.

Can you imagine the pressure, the stress? Talk about uncertainty!

I think about being in Joshua’s shoes. As a natural people-pleaser, my first response would have been, “They won’t like me/trust me/follow me like they did Moses.” And then I would have run through a mile-long list of “what-ifs”.

But, as I continued reading the chapter, and as I reflected on my own situation, I discovered three big truths that put breath back into my lungs:

1.) God promises Joshua, “…you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them…”

God didn’t give this colossal assignment to Joshua without having an end-result in mind. That end-result was more-than-amazing, and God promised to use Joshua to get it done. There was no wavering in God’s choice or His decision to use Joshua.

2.) God promises to be with Joshua wherever he goes.

In verse 9 of chapter 1, God tells Joshua, “Don’t be overwhelmed or uncertain. I am with you wherever you go.” That means God is sticking beside Joshua. Not just physically being present no matter where Joshua goes, but God is on his side, cheering him on, wanting to see Joshua blow the doors off this plan He set in motion.

God gives Joshua the formula for his success (and ours): Meditate on the Word day and night.

3.) God told Joshua if he does this, he will be able to do what is written in the Word. His ways and efforts will be prosperous and he will be able to deal wisely, make good decisions and have good success.

So, what does all this have to do with my “can’t breathe” feeling? Well, for starters, going to the Word for understanding and peace is always the right move.

But, Joshua’s story and the promises God gives him are spot on!

mediocre plan

God doesn’t have a mediocre plan for us. He has a reason for creating us, a plan to see it through, and it’s all good!

Just like Joshua who was told he would get the Israelites to the Promised Land, God is looking at you and me. He is looking past our limitations, circumstances and situations. He whole-heatedly has a plan for us to do something great for Him.

My situation is not ideal. Joshua’s wasn’t either. He was handed a whole nation, and they were standing in the wilderness with a ginormous city and army to overtake in order to claim the land promised to them.

The same promise of God’s presence no matter what is true for us, too.

As we walk out our God-given plan and press forward to the end result, God is with us. He is for us, cheering us on, encouraging us and strengthening us.

He didn’t give Joshua the role of leader and then

leave him to figure it all out on his own.

In the same way, He has given us an assignment and is there to work it out with us.

Life may be tough, but God is tougher. Cancer might take my father-in-law, and there might be one-thousand ripples to shake us up a bit. God promises to be there through it all.

I can make clear decisions, act accordingly and have good success just like Joshua. The same formula works for me and it works for YOU!

overwhelmed

It starts with the Word.

When I was feeling overwhelmed, taking time to open the Bible was the first part of the equation. Reading God’s promises over-wrote the lies and fears I was buying into.

The rest of my day, I went about praying for God’s insight, favor and presence in all I did. The results were much like Joshua’s:

No, I didn’t get a Promised Land full of milk and honey…but I did get a free cell phone!

 

christie browningChristie Browning is a speaker and author with a passion to encourage, empower and inspire women to live as the amazing ladies God created them to be, instead of getting hung up on their pasts, mistakes, shortcomings and insecurities. As a speaker, Christie has been seen on stages across the U.S. since 1996, as well as on television programming such as PBS and FOX. In addition to speaking, Christie is an award-winning writer with five HSPA awards. She is a featured contributor to The Huffington Post, has been a contributor for DaySpring. Christie publishes a monthly women’s magazine read nation-wide and can be found on numerous blogs including her own at www.revisionforwomen.com. Her first book, “Kick the Clock – How to give up on managing your time,”(available on Amazon.com) brings a Biblical perspective to the everyday struggle of time management. She is a wife and stepmom with a healthy love of music, hiking and dogs.

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Click Here to visit Christie’s website!

“Winter Will Pass” by Linda M. Crate Tags: Winter Will Pass by Linda M. Crate Winter Will Pass by Linda M. Crate Linda M. Crate Linda Crate Winter Will Pass Linda Crate

crocust

Winter this year seemed eternal. It kept snowing all the way until the end of May. The daffodils got bowed over and my favorite flowering trees blossoms partially died because of the weather.

It seemed the more I was looking forward to spring, the longer it would take to arrive.

Yet the flowers and the trees persevered despite all the snow and frigid temperatures. It reminded me of God’s word when He says:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,

having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that

the Lord has promised to those who love him.” -James 1:12, NIV

I think this is important to remember because there will always be winters in our lives. There will always be moments when we’re running toward the finish line of a project or everything’s going great and suddenly it’s snowing or there’s a blizzard or an ice ball breaks the window.

However, once we push through these difficulties God will give us great peace and gifts for having faith, patience, and endurance through our trails.

No matter what’s going on in life it’s important not to fret so much over things we cannot control. Even the bible warns against worrying:

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—

it leads only to evil.” (Psalms 37: 8, NIV)

It doesn’t matter what affliction we’re going through or how impatiently we are waiting for spring in our lives. Should we remember He is always with us, He is in control and He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. We cannot do everything on our own and He is more than capable of turning our winters into springs should we give all our troubles to Him. Remember to push on no matter how much snow may be falling around us because His promises are real and eternal.

 

Linda CrateLinda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015.  Her poetry collection Sing Your Own Song is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Series.

“Celebrate the USA Flag Waffles” by Michele Brosius Tags: Celebrate the USA Flag Waffles by Michele Brosius Celebrate the USA Flag Waffles by Michele Brosius Waffles Michele Brosius Michele Brosius

Are you going to be celebrating the birth of our great country with a bang? We found a great way to celebrate the USA with these fun and tasty Flag Waffles.

Patriotic Flag Waffles Recipe. Celebrate the USA with a delicious fruit filled breakfast.

Heat up your waffle irons and make these cute patriotic waffles for breakfast on the 4th of July or any day! Don’t have a waffle iron? You can easily make these on a frozen waffle, too! The kids will have a blast making  and eating these delicious and nutritious patriotic treats!

INGREDIENTS FOR PATRIOTIC WAFFLES
Waffles (homemade or store-bought)
Whipped Cream Cheese
Fresh strawberries, sliced diagonally
Fresh blueberries
Bananas, sliced length-wise and then sliced in half

DIRECTIONS FOR PATRIOTIC WAFFLES
1.  Spread a thin layer of whipped cream cheese on a waffle.
3.  Place a single layer of blueberries along the entire outer edge of the waffle.
4.  Add additional blueberries to the upper left corner of the waffle to resemble the stars of the flag.
5.  Alternate strawberry and banana slices to make the stripes of the flag, the cream cheese will hold the fruit pieces in place.
6.  Repeat step 5 all of the way down the waffle.
7.  ENJOY!

Patriotic Flag Waffles Recipe. Celebrate the USA with a delicious fruit filled breakfast.

INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE WAFFLES
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 T granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups whole milk

HOMEMADE WAFFLES DIRECTIONS
1.   Add all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until blended.
2.   Separate both eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture and placing the whites in a separate small mixing bowl.
3.   Beat the whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.
4.   And the milk and melted butter to the dry ingredient mixture and blend well.
5.   Fold the stiff egg whites into the dry ingredient mixture.
6.   Pour waffle batter into a hot waffle iron and bake.
7.   Remove hot waffle from waffle iron and immediately place on plate to cool.

Patriotic Flag Waffles Recipe. Celebrate the USA with a delicious fruit filled breakfast.

The Flag Waffles are loaded with fruit and easy to make, what else can you ask for. I am sure you will be making this recipe for more than just breakfast.

Will you use homemade or frozen to make flag waffles?

For more tasty recipes, visit Michele’s website by clicking here!

 

About Us

Meet Michele, a married mom of 3 adult children who blogs about real life. Most days she can be found working on a healthy lifestyle, camping or having some frugal fun. Not necessarily in that order!

 

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