Tagged with "Beth Brubaker"
“Sins vs. Virtues – Part 1: Envy” by Beth Brubaker Tags: Sins Virtues Part 1 Envy Beth Brubaker

never envy the success of another woman

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 bethatruby@aol.com.

"The Hospitality Gift" by Beth Brubaker
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: hospitality Christian life Beth Brubaker

The Hospitality Gift

 
My husband and I are hospitality oriented. I'm a more homey, welcome-to-my-fridge type, while my husband is more the let-me-be-your-butler-for-the-evening type. But there are ups and downs to having this gift.

We love making others happy. Seeing someone who is clearly enjoying themselves is the best part of serving. We like feeding people our homemade goodies, but we also like the anticipation of hosting an event. We might have to make five-hundred hand-made meatballs, but we are grinning our faces off as we make them, knowing people will like them at the first taste. We like decorating and preparing for guests as well as serving them!
And guess what? There is no greater compliment to me than someone who is clearly exhausted who falls asleep on my couch! That tells me they feel safe and comfortable enough in my home to do so!

We miss a lot of events. Whether it's a community or church event, hospitality people are in the thick of it. We are there setting up, decorating, preparing and serving food, breaking down and cleaning up afterwards. Most of us are doing at least two items on this list, most times more. Who has time to listen to the speaker or engage in great conversations when there's people who need a place to sit and eat? Most of us forget to get something to eat ourselves, and wind up falling over after the event because there weren't enough 'leftovers' for the volunteers. 

No, I'm not kidding.

I saw this happen at the many churches I visited. When it happened at mychurch, I made sure to state that feeding the helpers first is key to keeping everyone going- not to mention it will attract more helpers! Once fed (before the crowd comes in), people will be much more congenial when serving others. It took a while for them to get used to the idea- it went against the 'serving others first' mindset- but when I explained that eating first is a better blessing to the attendees than being served by grumpy, starving, and fainting servers. They relented- and never looked back.

Hospitality conventions don't exist. Why, do you ask? Ever try to serve those who love to serve? You can't. We're too busy trying to help. "Sit down while I get you something..." "No, you sit down and let me get you something..." "No, you.." "No, you!" 

99.99% of the time we are the party hosts. Why? Two reasons. One, we love serving people in our home, and the second the evening is over and everyone goes home, we can just go upstairs and collapse. Two, no one invites us anywhere because they're afraid we'll judge them on their hospitality skills and lack of homemade everything-must-be-from-scratch foods. 
Yes, people told us this! 
For the record, we don't judge anything that we're eating for free, and it's nice to have take-out or store-bought instead of home-cooked meals once in a while.

We have trouble not helping. The host tells us to relax, but we see the chips are low or the Stove Master looks a little overwhelmed and we want to help. No, we need to help- and they won't let us. This is exactly what we do when we have guests, but when the slipper is on the other foot, it drives us crazy not to be able to do something. Anything

On the opposite side of that particular coin...

We are never guests at a party. Oh, we might get invited, but either we volunteer to come early and help with the event, or we're asked to help at the last minute, 'because we're so good at it'. The former is self-imposed, so it's our own fault for asking, but the latter can be quite problematic when we need some down time to be fed instead of being the feeders.

We bring too much. Hospitality people try to think of everything when it comes to potlucks. We don't just make enough potato salad for the ten people you invited, we make enough to feed twenty-five, just in case someone invites a friend or you get raided. We also bring enough plasticware, napkins, and plates (just in case you run out) and we keep a plethora of dressings and condiments in the trunk in case the host forgot to buy something. 
This usually sparks us to have a party at our house the next day because we have a lot of extra potato salad and party goods!

These are the triumphs and perils of being hospitality oriented. If you see many of these happening in  your life, you're one of us, if not, that's okay, I'm sure you know at least a few people around you who are. Be kind to them- they are a tired bunch! 
Perhaps I should write a book called The Care and Feeding of the Hospitality Oriented, but it might not be out in print for a while. I have to make dinner for my family and at least five next-door neighbors for the next month or two!

 might even make extra. Party, anyone?
Life's Sandy Anthills By Beth Brubaker
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Life's Sandy Anthills By Beth Brubaker Life's Sandy Anthills By Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker Life's Sandy Anthills Anthills

Posted by Beth Brubaker on July 5, 2016 at 12:30pm

 

Life's Sandy Anthills

Ever see ants trying to dig out of the sand? They dig and dig and dig and dig- they never seem to stop digging.
Yep- that's me.

Just when I think my anthill is safe and secure, someone comes along to dump sand to block my front door. This past year has been one of struggles, and the sand just keeps piling on.

But I'm not going to stop digging.

First it was money. so I got a job. Then I got six of them. Financially, life was starting to even out.

The second was time. I had none left for fun and family, not to mention the housewifey stuff. I also had no time to exercise, so I gained all of the weight back that I lost, and then some. Ugh.

The third was energy. By the time I was done work, had some family time and maybe had time to cook or clean (never, ever both), I was ready to collapse into bed. Sometimes I'd collapse before bed, unintentionally falling asleep on the couch during family time. Oops.

God got me through the rough stuff. I'm still not through all of the rough stuff-it keeps fluctuating between the three- but it feels like there's hope. God never does anything without reason, and so far I've learned a lot about myself, my family, and a ton more about God. And things, as crazy as they were, were still working out.

Then there was Four. 

I won't even mention what Four is (at least not yet in this blog), but it hit me like a sledgehammer. The funny thing is I was half-expecting this fourth pile of sand- just not when I was still digging out of the other three piles. This ant is getting really, really tired of sand.

But there is good news. God is there helping me dig out. 

I should be going nuts right now. Stark, raving, climb-a-stucco-wall-to-the-rooftop-barehanded-and-scream-like-a-banshee crazy. But I'm not. I'm calm. Nothappy, mind you, but calm.

It's the weirdest feeling I've ever known. 

The feeling is familiar though, because God has done this before to me. It was weird then too. It's also awesome. No one wants to deal with a bat-crazy banshee!

I don't know what's going to happen in the near future, but God will handle it. He'll have to- I'm too focused on the sand to take much notice of anything else. But everything- everything- works out for His good. It always has.

So I'll keep on digging.

I'm just glad God's shovel is bigger than mine!
Thirty-Eight Hour Days ~ Beth Brubaker
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Thirty-Eight Hour Days Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker Thirty Eight Hour Days Beth Brubaker

Thirty-Eight Hour Days

There is never enough time in a day.

Never enough time to get everything done.
Never enough time to rest.
Never enough time to eat.
Never enough time to relax. And never enough time to spend with God.

I put in a request to God the other day: "How about a few more hours in a day Lord? Fourteen more ought to do it."
In my heart I heard His answer. "Oh sure- I give you fourteen more hours a day, and all you'll do is fill it up with more stuff. Nope. Besides, the calendars for the next few years have already been printed. That's a lot of wasted calendars."

Well, crud. 

Fourteen more hours would have been nice. I could get a nap in. Maybe get some more errands or housecleaning done. Maybe I can even get that at-home business started! Maybe I could...um...

Maybe God has a point.

Back in the olden days, we never used to be this busy. Or maybe we were, but we still took out time from farming and harvesting to rest and do crafty things. The Amish did it all the time - and still do.

Even in more modern times we had time for friends, families, road trips, and vacations. Now we burn ourselves out until we're too blurry-eyed to function and fall into our beds for a restless nights' sleep.

Imagine what we would do with a thirty-eight hour day. I wonder if we'd get anyrest. This is the age of 'Do Everything- Always'. The pressure is on to outdo not only those around us, but ourselves.

Better. Faster. More productive. Manage time better. Manage life better. And be the best parent/worker/whatever in the universe.

I think we've forgotten how to have fun. I know I've become much too serious for my own liking. I crave being creative and silly, but I need to reign it in because one can't tape multi-colored balloons to oneself and slip on a clear trash bag and act like a bag of jellybeans when one is on the job- unless that job is to act like a bag of jellybeans. 

Sometimes I'm so busy managing my time that I forget to make time to have fun. And I really, really, really need to do that.

It's getting to the point where I'll need those thirty-eight hour days just to get some sleep!

But God is right. If He gave me all that time, chances are I'd fill it with more stuff, and none of it would be about Him. I need to make time for God too!

I was put here to glorify Him. Not to micromanage the life He gave me. I also know that God is grinning His face off right now, because He knows that no matter how hard I try, I'll probably be micromanaging tomorrow- maybe even sooner. But He still loves me anyhow.

Well, you can't say I didn't try. Thirty-eight hours days would've been nice. So I'll take the twenty-four hours He gave me and do the best that I can.

Now where did I put those multi-color balloons and that clear trash bag?
Vehicular Misadventures ~ By Beth Brubaker
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Vehicular Misadventures By Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker

Vehicular Misadventures

You never know when life is going to throw you a curve ball.

This week was a week of accidents. All three were involving vehicles- but not all driven by me. I swear!

Monday was full of promise. The van was washed and ready for a day of driving- or so I thought. I forgot to put gas in the night before. A half-full tank is better than none, but I prefer a full tank before starting any driving job. So instead of logging in after dropping my husband off to work like I usually do, I headed out of the driveway to the gas station.
Unfortunately one of the employees was coming in after I was half-way out and didn't see me. I stopped right before she hit me. My nice shiny van bore some not-so-shiny scratches and dents and the bumper was a little kinked. The woman's huge truck seemed to have more damage than mine- her bumper was up against her tire. (Hyundai 1, Toyota 0.) We were both okay, but it's going to take most of this week for the body shop to fix the damages to my van. I'll be given a rental, but I won't be doing any of my driving jobs this week.

A church friend was in traffic when someone hit her full force from behind, knocking her into the vehicle in front of her. Basically her van looks accordion-ish and was considered totalled. She sustained injuries to her back and neck, and she's wearing a neck brace. I know that because this wonderfully tough lady came to church on Sunday! I offered to drive her to and from work this week, but she has a rental and is still able to drive to work.

My husband was on his way to Adventurefest (a Christian Men's camping weekend) when the van he was driving (not ours) blew a tire while he was doing sixty on the highway. A trucker saw the tire blow and moved so no traffic would be in the way in case my husband lost control. 
By God's grace he was able to steady the van and move to the side of the road to replace the tire. (He did thank the truck driver for his forethought!)
They got to the event later than expected but everyone was okay- just a little shaken up. They had a trailer hitched to the back of the van when this happened and I thought the trailer steadied them, but I found out later it made the blowout worse, not better! Everyone was surprised that he retained control of the van- including my husband.

Three accidents this week that could have ended badly, but didn't because of God's grace. I pray for protection every day- not just for me, but my family and friends. He was definitely watching out for all of us this week.

Please pray for my church friend who's still hurting. And don't forget to pray for protection for you and your loved ones- He is listening!
Getting Teched Off ~ by Beth Brubaker
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Getting Teched Off by Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker Beth Brubaker

Getting Teched Off

by Beth Brubaker

Tech is everywhere. It permeates our homes, work, and family life. We have immediate access to anything and everything, as long as we have our little devices with us.

The problem is, we're losing ourselves in it so much, that we've lost touch with everyone and everything around us.

This isn't a new concept; in fact this has been an ongoing problem for years. The question is...what can we do about it- especially when raising a family?

The answer is a simple one, but very hard to maintain. Limit the tech.

For example, from the moment my kids were born they had a propensity for the computer. At the time we had two in the house. One became the kids' computer, and one was for the adults. 

That didn't last long.

Fights ensued. Timers were bought. Schedules were made, and time limits were set. Very small time limits. It's really tempting to let the little ones play on the digital babysitter while mom and dad get things done, but kids need to interact with parents regularly to learn social skills- this was before I found out my son had Aspergers!

As the kids grew, schools required computer use at home for homework, research, and learning games. We had to extend the time and watch them like hawks- I was amazed at how fast they could switch screens when I walked by! 
Unbeknownst to my children, I placed a mirror nearby in such a way that I could see what my children were doing from the other room before I 'walked by'. Like I said- it's not easy! Parents have to get clever to make sure the kiddos stay on track.

When the kids were in their teens, we had laptops. That was nipped in the bud swiftly when they both decided to use them as personal TVs when mom and dad weren't home- and sometimes when we were. Earphones and a laptop can make a really bad combination- it makes it so much easier for teens to ignore you.

Cell phones had to be the hardest tech to resist. I have to admit, the monthly cost made it a lot easier to say no, but when the my teenagers went into separate high schools (both far from home and each other), it was time to get them both a cell phone. For emergencies only. Yeah right, Mom.

One thing has remained consistent through all of this tech evolution- when guests come over, the tech goes off. My offspring's friends are quite surprised by this rule. Some even became panicked!
The rule is that any and all techie devices are put into a bowl on the dining room table. No tech is allowed anywhere but the living room and dining room. Absolutely no tech up in their bedrooms. At first their friends balked, but when they accepted this as the rule, they actually had a fantastic time! Most kids made plans to come over again soon, because they had a lot of fun and interacted with my kids- and us adults.

So here are the basic rules we live by to limit tech- and some additions for the younger generation:

Limit playing with Mommy's or Daddy's cell phone. It might be better to not let toddlers use it at all and only let them play tablet games with no internet. You never know when the wrong button will be clicked and phone contacts get deleted or see something they shouldn't!

Don't let them play anywhere/everywhere. Children get used to having it all the time, and when thwarted, kids can cause a lot of problems. The two worst places I've seen tantrums are in the car and in church. Oh yeah- this one will get you known really well by the congregation! 

Schedule tech play time. With little ones, let them play fifteen to thirty minutes at a time. When they're older, extend it- but no longer than one to two hours for teens. 

Don't give little kids their own phone. Phones were designed for communication, not a game console. Toddlers don't need it! Tablets with games are much better, and have bigger screens- or better yet, read a book with them!

Designate a tech space. We'd like to think our kids taking tech in their rooms with the doors closed won't get them into trouble, but why take that chance? Have chargers in one room and designate that as the room (or rooms) for their gadgets. Not only can time be monitored, so can the content.

No ear buds in the house. This helps prevent them from playing unapproved music or videos. Trust me- this is a really good idea.


Tech can be our friend, but it can also allow the Enemy to get into impressionable young minds. It's not easy to do this, but if you're diligent, it really pays off- and you'll have kids who actually enjoy talking to people!

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