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“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

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