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Heaven Sent Spring Blessings by Sharmelle Olson Tags: spring blessings Christian poetry

Heaven Sent Spring Blessings

by Sharmelle Olson

Heaven Sent Spring Blessings in parts of the world

that have the season of Spring this time of year in great depth.

May it become your place in your dream world that twirled,

from Spring Blessings to bringing a new spring in your step.

 

Heaven Sent Spring Blessings to us for a beautiful Spring

day; that can bring so much to be delightful in many different ways.

Which brings a spring in your step that makes you want to sing

Will this work while being able to give the Spring Blessings away.

 

Heaven sent Spring Blessings our way for us just to enjoy

the beautiful weather and the beauty in all of the blossoms.

We will bring the Spring Blessings to all of the hoi polloi;

that love to work with the chrysanthemums.

 

Heaven Sent Spring Blessings through lovely Angels

that bring us a lot of pleasure in a spring balance.

As we noticed our archangel with celestial

hierarchy around a biblical palace.

 

by Sharmelle Olson

April 2017

 

celestial hierarchy ~ a traditional hierarchy of angels ranked from lowest to highest into the following nine orders: angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim.

hoi polloi ~ Common People.

chrysanthemums ~ The flower of any such plant.

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Faith and Family Every Day Tags: Faith family Christian life Christian family

No matter where you are on your walk with God, there may come a time in your life when you feel you need to refocus and strengthen your faith. Life comes with many ups and downs and it’s our faith that keeps us moving forward through the good and the bad. You don’t have to wait until your faith is tested during a trying time to renew your faith. In fact, actively working on strengthening your faith will help you have better relationships with your family and loved ones, inspire your family and loved ones to improve their relationship with God, and can help make the trying times feel less so.

The best part is that we are already equipped with everything we need to make our faith stronger – God is on our side! Here are four inspirational and practical ways for you to strengthen your faith and help others find and strengthen theirs.

Practice Prayer and Patience

When was the last time you spoke with God? If you’re not regularly speaking with Him, renew your prayer practice! When speaking about physical strength, experts recommend that you create and nurture a regular exercise routine, and the same can be said for your faith. Build spiritual strength by creating and nurturing a regular faith routine, including church and daily prayer on your own and with your family. Remember, prayers aren’t always immediately answered so practice patience in your faith and remember that He has a plan for you.

Practice Positivity

When the going gets tough, it can be incredibly difficult to not let doubt creep into your mind – doubt about your faith and your purpose. By practicing positivity, you can feel more secure knowing that you are already equipped to overcome difficulties, it’s a matter of knowing that God has a plan and is by your side every step of the way. Find small ways to practice positivity in your daily life– read verses that give you comfort, follow blogs and publications like RUBY with stories that inspire your faith, and lift your family and friends up with encouraging, positive, and faithful acts of kindness.

Spend Time With Your Loved Ones

Stay close to friends and family who you trust and share your values. Encourage regular conversations with your family about your faith and find teaching moments in everyday activities for your children. Remember, it’s important to talk to your children, but it’s especially important to listen to them. Children are full of curiosity and questions, so you will have no shortage of questions and discussions about God with them. Turn to other family-friendly resources, like Pure Flix, that provide value-driven and wholesome content to help instill your faith and values into your children. Plan a movie night with your family or your church and stream from their wide selection of Christian movies to spend time together and spark meaningful conversations inspired by stories with a great message.

Get Involved In Your Community

Renew your faith by taking action through community service. Giving back and helping others is a great manifestation of God’s grace. Choose to get more involved in your church or find another faith-driven organization in your area to help your family and church community get more involved with those who may need God’s ministry the most. Recently, Pure Flix partnered with Convoy of Hope, a faith-based, humanitarian-relief organization, to provide $100,000 worth of food, medicine, and general supplies to families in need. Involvement with amazing organizations like Convoy of Hope allows you to spend time with your family and teach your children valuable lessons about giving and sharing God’s word.

Convoy of Hope

These are just a few ways to focus on your faith today. Practicing your faith and focusing on it every day is what keeps it strong when you need it most. What are some other ways you choose to build your spiritual strength and relationship with God and your family every day?

“Love’s Sacrificial Mindset” by Carol Hind Tags: Love sacrifice God's Love

A Disturbing Narrative

There’s a story in the Bible, which grabs at my heartstrings whenever I read it. I’m troubled by the tragedy that unfolds, by the unnecessary waste of a young life, by the foolishness of a man’s vow, by the fact that our sovereign God did not intervene to save this young woman. It is hard to understand love’s sacrificial mindset.

I’m referring to the story of Jephthah’s daughter.  Have you read it? If not, or should you need to refresh your memory, it can be found at Judges 11:29-40.  In order for you to fully appreciate the message of this article, you will need to be familiar with this disturbing tale.

A Devoted Daughter

Now I’ve often heard about the special bond between a father and his daughter. It is not something to which I can relate, since I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my biological father. However, having walked with God for some years now, I believe I’m beginning to enjoy a similar bond with my Heavenly Father.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jephthah’s daughter loved her father very much. She was obviously watching and waiting for this mighty man of valour to return home from war.  As soon as she sees him, she runs out to meet him. She’s overjoyed at his safe return. She celebrates his triumph in customary fashion, with tambourines and dancing.  Alas, her love and devotion for Jephthah becomes her undoing. Her love for her father costs her life.

Now let’s apply this scenario to ourselves on a spiritual level. Do we love our Father God to the extent that it costs us our lives? I’m not referring to a literal death here. I’m referring to the demise of our old way of thinking and living, which runs counter to God’s commands, his word and his will. I’m referring to our constant challenge as believers.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Do we love God with ALL of our heart, soul and strength as He requires? Have we crucified our flesh with its affections, appetites and desires, as His word demands? (Deuteronomy 6:5; Galatians 5:24).

Whilst I reflected on the various elements of this story, I wondered: where was Jephthah’s wife? I imagined her busy at home, tidying up, or preparing a special home-coming meal. And then I remembered Martha.

Martha, who hadn’t chosen the ‘better part’. Martha, who became preoccupied with serving food instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Are we like this? Too busy with our personal business, or too busy ‘serving the Lord’ to sit at his feet, to make him a priority in our lives?

If this is the case, may I remind you of Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:38-39? (See Amplified Bible). May I remind you that to be his disciples, we are required to lose our lower life (the life focused only on earthly quests and concerns) and pursue the higher (God-quality and spiritually focused) life?

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com/

God’s Measure of True Love

Now, with regards to our relationship with the Lord, we learn from Revelation 3:16, that He prefers we are cold, rather than lukewarm. Fellow Christian writers and readers, let us not be deceived into thinking we are ok because we go to church, participate in Christian activities and believe in God. Don’t forget, the devils also believe! So let me ask you—are you guilty of loving God with your lips, whilst your lifestyle declares otherwise?

Jesus revealed in no uncertain terms that there will be those who are convinced they are in the right place with God, working his works etc., but the Lord will turn to them and say: I never knew you; depart from me. And let’s not forget the five foolish virgins who found themselves shut out from the marriage feast, to whom the same damning words were spoken: I do not know you!

Are we paying heed to these stark warnings? Do we take them seriously? Do we yet understand love’s sacrificial mindset?

The ‘S’ Factor!

God requires an intimate knowledge of him. Relationship. Not words. Not unfulfilled intentions.

It can be easy in this age of grace to become careless. To be like the prodigal son, to avail ourselves of the rich resources of God’s Kingdom (his love, forgiveness, grace) and squander them selfishly, without care or consideration for the high price paid for us to enjoy our inheritance.

Wake up daughters of Zion! Wake up to the fact that the only life worth living is in our Father’s house, under his protection, submitted to his rules and regulations.

Wake up to the fact that we have an enemy, who hates us, and seeks to deceive and destroy us 24/7. Those suggestions that we can take God’s resources and use them for our own ends, where do you think they emanate from? Satan of course! Embraced and endorsed by our selfish inclinations, by our own carnal appetites and agendas.

We don’t even have to commit terrible sins.  Just not be fruitful.  Just not be concerned about the issues on God’s heart. Just be too busy with our personal dreams and desires to care about the needs of our neighbour, to participate meaningfully in the work of God’s kingdom, to fall on our knees and pray.

Daughters of Zion, I speak to myself and I speak to you all – wake up! Let us understand love’s sacrificial mindset.

Love’s Mature Outlook

Moving on, I’d like to focus on another admirable quality of Jephthah’s loving daughter. She is not bitter with her father, or about her fate. How about you?  Have your experiences of life caused you to become angry with God, resentful about your experiences and negative about your future?

Dear reader, I suffered many years of spiritual malaise because of wrong attitudes. I carried around in my heart an ever increasing record of offenses and was both inwardly and outwardly hostile towards those who hurt me. Yes, life can be unfair. However, spiritual maturity, faith and trust in our Father God, enables us to overcome and carry on with the right attitude.

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com/

Cultivate A Friendship Circle

Jephthah’s daughter called upon her friends and shared her sorrow. They mourned with her.  Do you have good, genuine, spiritual friends whom you can call and depend upon when needed? Who will pray for, and support you if, or when things fall apart?

Now don’t be discouraged if you don’t have such supportive friendships. There’s always the help and counsel of the three Godhead members to fall back on. In fact, you should be pursuing close fellowship with them anyway.

I believe your relationship with each (Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), is vital to your spiritual health and strength. Your relationship with them should not be superficial.  But deep. Strong. Like Paul’s—so that you are convinced in your heart that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.

The Heroine’s Finale

As mentioned at the beginning, the story of Jephthah’s daughter always tugs at my heart.  I usually take issue with God about it. Why did he allow her to die?  It seems so harsh and unfair. I’ve never really gotten an answer.

However, I do acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than my thoughts and ways.  We are not qualified to judge.  Yet isn’t this how we can feel about the things we face in our own lives sometimes—about that false accusation, that persecution, that sudden catastrophe?

Unfair!

Jephthah’s daughter may have lost her life but she made history. God saw to it that she was inscribed within the pages of the Book of books.

There are those seeking to make history, to make a name for themselves, to make it according to worldly standards but in doing so, lose their own lives—whether literally, mentally, or spiritually.

Dear readers, let’s make sure we aren’t so foolish as to gain the whole world, yet lose our own soul.

Let’s remember we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. Let’s ensure that when all is done and dusted, our names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Join us in the RUBY community for more inspirational posts and discover opportunities to connect with other Christian women.

 

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com/

I’d describe myself as 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 occasionally a short story. My blogs are Women of Warfare and Purpose Driven Achiever where you can read inspirational and thought-provoking articles.

Carol Hind Links

Mother's Day Brunch Recipes from Marilyn's Treats Tags: Mother's Day recipes brunch recipes spring recipes Mother's Day recipes Marilyn's Treats

Check out these sweet Mother's Day Brunch recipes from Marilyn Lesniak at Marilyn's Treats! You can visit her blog for more amazing recipes . . . visit our RUBY Recipe Kitchen for the links to all these recipes that would be perfect for your Mother's Day.

Negativity
What is it about negativity that breeds confusion? I have had many negative words spoken over me. I have learned how to ignore them. I had to learn to let them go and remind myself that I am not that person.

I get that it's all around us and that we can't help it. It's from the media to our very own mouths. How can we stop being so hateful to ourselves? You know, I've had to deal with a lot growing up and I'm not dead. I'm still here. I hate when people talk about me in the past tense. I am here. I am living and breathing right in front of you.

I struggle with self acceptance. I struggle with battling with my mind. I know who I want to be and I know what I need to do to get there, but my negative mindset is becoming more of stumbling block than anything else.

I have fought hard to be here. I have fought my own thoughts of insecurities. I know that I don't talk like you. I know that I can't hear well and I know that I'm not tall and skinny. I am however smart, beautiful, inquisitive, and positive despite the fact that I could have a horrible and negative outlook on life.

I have certain people that I know that have spoken negative words over me and my life. They stick to the soul like glue. They leave a lasting impression in the heart. I wish people understood how harmful words can be and I think once they realize the strong impact they have on a person's mind then maybe they will think twice about it.

The power of life and death lie in the tongue. No one can tame it. I think God knew the damage just one negative word can do to a person. They embed themselves into the soul and take root. The tree doesn't produce good fruit instead it is breeding ground for hate, comparison, confusion, and neglect.

All it takes is one word to ruin someone's day or their life. Take bullying for instance, it all started with a single thought that lead them to speak the word over someone. You have got to watch what you say to people. You cannot take them back once they go out.

I know we say things we don't mean when we are hurt and angry. I know we let words slip when we are mad. I know that I have to watch what I say when I get mad because most of the time I don't mean them and I instantly regret the words I said after I spewed them out like fire.

I felt like I needed to speak out against negativity in the kingdom. There is so much jealousy and it's sad. I went to clear something up because I may get upset at times when I see other people being successful and then I am quickly reminded that I have no clue how long they had to wait. I don't know their battles. I don't know their frustrations. I have zero clue how long it took to get to where they are now.

You should be extra careful when you speak about someone and their new found blessings. You will not ever know the hell I had to endure to be here today. I will not hesitate to educate you.

If you want to read proverbs 18:21. I suggest you do it. I also suggest you be careful in your words and your actions towards the lost. They are watching us ever so closely. We need to set an example of Christ and His love for humanity. I urge you to read your bible and study all about the power of words.

So, in closing I want to speak life where death has made its bed. I want to speak health and wellness over you. I want to speak peace. I want to speak love instead of hate. I want to speak hope to your hopelessness. I want to speak with love and understanding to your situation.

I want you to know that life is hard and it's so easy to dwell on the negativity all around us. In Romans 12:2 we are told to renew our minds daily. It can be hard when nothing seems to be going our way. It can cause frustration and confusion. Also, in Philippians 4:8 tells us to think good thoughts.

I hope that you are encouraged and blessed by this blog. I know it is a long read, but it is going to be well worth it. I promise. I hope you have a beautiful day.
Even the Flowers Face the Sun Tags: Christian blog wisdom Creation God devotional encouragement inspirational
Funny how a simple walk up the pasture can reveal the wisdom of God.

I do well with pictures. When someone is trying to explain technical or difficult things to me, it’s better for all of us if they can paint a picture with their words, or show me a drawing. God knows this. He created me and is well aware of my idiosyncrasies and brainwaves.

As I wandered through the grass, I noticed the wild flowers. The sun was bright and lit up the pasture like a coat of many colors—yellow, lavender, blue, pink, fuchsia.

The yellow flowers grabbed my attention the most. Every one of their countless little faces, faced the sun—petals outstretched and unhindered, soaking up the life-giving rays. They took full advantage of the sun’s offering before it dipped behind the horizon.

And God spoke to my heart: “Even my Creation looks to Me, turning their backs on the shadows to receive the nutrients they need.”

My husband, Bruce and I are facing a pretty huge challenge. We’ve faced some big ones in the past, but this one’s a doozy. And there is nothing we can do about it, except stand firm in our beliefs and pray.

The flowers in their silence spoke volumes this morning. No matter how strong the breeze, they flexed and bent, but never turned away from the sun. They didn’t shake their fist at the sky and complain about the wind. They didn’t huff at the cow pies that littered their green carpet. And they didn’t scoff at their fellow flowers who seemed to be enjoying a calmer existence. They just kept their focus on that consistent sun that rises every morning to give them what they need.

I was encouraged: the winds of life are opportunities to learn endurance; the cow pies add much needed fertilizer that promotes growth; and the calm others enjoy, well, praise God they’re getting a break for awhile.

So, I’m taking my cue from the flowers, from God’s voice teaching me through His Creation: Keep my eyes on the Son. No matter what the outcome in this challenge, I know it’s all good. Whatever plan He has for us, it will be a good future, full of hope, and a great testimony of His goodness. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

And if, in a weak moment, I start to wilt with worry, I think I’ll take a stroll back out in the pasture and sit next to those little yellow flowers … just to remind me.

Psalm 25:15: My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. (NKJV)

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“From the Back of the Crowd” by Lesley Crawford Tags: Jesus healing hope Lesley Crawford

As the crowd jostled and pushed, attempting to get close to him, she stood at a distance. She watched them as they laughed and chatted, shouting greetings to one another across the busy street.

She felt invisible. No-one welcomed her, or talked to her, or even glanced in her direction. It wasn’t that she expected them to acknowledge her; she knew her place- standing at the back of the crowd, on the outside, looking in. She hated it, but she was resigned to it; it had been twelve long years since life had been different.

Twelve years of sickness and suffering, of doctors and medicines, of hopes raised and dashed. Twelve years of being excluded and avoided and branded “unclean.”  Twelve years of wishing and praying, and hoping for a cure that would bring an end to her isolation. Twelve years of disappointment.

And yet she wasn’t quite ready to relinquish hope, because she knew that right there, in the centre of the crowd, was Jesus.

She had heard stories of the amazing miracles he had done: turning water into wine at a wedding, healing leprosy, curing blindness, enabling a paralysed man to walk for the first time ever. Surely if anyone could help her, it was him.

If only she could figure out how to get through the crowd to approach him. The thought terrified her. Surely someone would notice and send her back where she belonged.

Even if she did get to Jesus, what would she say to him anyway?  Why should he help her? And what if it didn’t work? She had literally tried everything else – there was no other hope.

She was distracted from her thoughts as the crowd suddenly parted and stood aside. A man made his way through to approach Jesus. He made it look easy.

Well, it was easy for him. She recognized him. He was the leader of the local synagogue. Of course Jesus would have time for him.

She could see that something was badly wrong though. The anguish was written all over his face as, close to tears, he fell to the ground before Jesus and pleaded with him: “Please come and help. My daughter is dying.”

Jesus’ concern and compassion was evident as he helped the synagogue leader to his feet and set off with him, reassuring him that he would come to help. It was an expression of such love and tenderness that her mind was made up.

She had to do this – there was nothing to lose. She had to find a way.

She knew there was no way she could walk up to Jesus like that – she wasn’t important enough – but she knew he was powerful – really powerful. Maybe just getting close enough to touch his robe would be enough.

She hurried along to catch up with Jesus as he strode through the town. Running along by the side of the crowd she overtook them all, until at last she was in line with Jesus.

It was now or never.

Before she could lose courage, she made her way through the people surrounding Jesus, she timidly reached out her hand, and she touched him…

And everything changed. It came over her instantly- a feeling that she had almost forgotten. The bleeding that had plagued her for so many years had stopped and she was well!  She could hardly believe it! She was clean at last!

But something was wrong. Jesus had stopped. He turned to the crowd. “Who touched my robe?”

Silence…

At first she thought she might get away with it. One of his disciples tried to persuade him that someone had just brushed against him by accident. It was perfectly possible with the huge crowd pushing and trying to get close. But Jesus waited- he knew that it had been deliberate.

Now she wished she was invisible. She tried to blend into the crowd. What if Jesus was angry that she had touched him? What would the people say? She could feel herself shaking with fear.

Her heart was pounding and it felt like every eye was upon her as she finally stepped to the front of the crowd and fell, trembling, at Jesus’ feet. The words came out in barely a whisper:

“I touched you. I wanted you to heal me.”

She stared at the ground as she waited for his response. She had no idea what to expect. But then gentle hands lifted her head and as she looked into his eyes, she could see only kindness. He smiled at her.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

And as instantly as the sickness had left her, the shame departed. No longer an outcast at the back of the crowd, but someone loved and valued by Jesus. No longer “unclean” but “daughter”.

Thanking him, she rose to her feet and she went, in peace.

(based on Luke 8:40-48)

 


 

Lesley Crawford – I live in Scotland and work doing youth work with a Christian charity.  In my spare time I enjoy music, theatre, reading and writing.  Since August 2015, I have been blogging at http://lifeinthespaciousplace.wordpress.com/ and I write to encourage people that, whatever their circumstances, there is always hope to be found in God.

 

“Intentional Fruit: Patient Endurance” by Mary Dolan Flaherty Tags: patience endurance trust

I don’t have a lot of patience. I don’t wait well, and I don’t endure gracefully. I hear the words, “I don’t have patience for this!” come out of my mouth more times a day than I’d like.

Usually, a string of words that are not fit for this holy magazine follow. Guilt and her twin Shame are quick to rescue me, and Grace is pushed aside, useless in her comfort. I’d rather wallow in my self-pity.

I’m not worthy. I messed up again. Why don’t I have any patience? Why don’t you help me, God?

Also known as forbearance, or patient endurance, this is the fourth fruit of the spirit. Perhaps these fruits are listed in no particular order…or maybe they are.

I believe they’re connected. I have no Biblical evidence or documented research to back my theory. It’s just what I think. Don’t take my word. Test it for yourself. But here’s why I believe this:

If I’m lacking patience, another fruit is most likely missing.

Recently, my brand new coffeemaker decided to blow up pods, and I threw a hissy fit. The problem was I had company. Granted, it was family. Thank God. My mother laughed when she heard the string of profanity that followed and said I sounded just like my sister.

But I’m supposed to be the Christian—the one who sets the example for Christ-like behavior. And I messed up.

My husband came to my rescue and patiently (yes, I did use that word—he has what I lack) attempted to fix it. But it kept happening and each time it did, my anger grew. Everyone said they could live without coffee. It was a trivial thing, really. But it threw me.

Why?

Because I was exhausted. Because in my mind, I’d already failed at something earlier in the day, and I felt I failed again. Because everything in me has been off lately, and little things have been getting to me.

The joy I usually have has been missing, and I’m not sure where I left it. Peace like a river that I once experienced is attendeth-ing someone else’s way, making it well with their soul, while mine is struggling to understand just what’s going on. Sorrows like sea billows are rolling (although I’m not quite sure what sea billows are).

The thing about fruit is that you usually don’t see just one apple on a tree, one cluster of grapes on a vine, one berry on a bush. If you do…well, it’s probably not a healthy source of fruit.

If joy and peace are not active and low-hanging fruit, patience will be hard to attain. See, they’re all connected.

But there’s one fruit that comes before them and is the foundation for all other fruit.

Love.

And I still have that. I may not act very loving right now, but I desperately cling to the love God offers me, knowing that even when I reject His offer of peace, joy, and patience, even when sorrows like sea billows are rolling through my life…it is still well with my soul. Love never ends, and is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:8 & 4).

He’s a very patient God. I wish I were as patient with myself as He is with me. But as I live by the Spirit, I do my best to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25).

I do my best. The desires of the flesh are constantly at war with the desires of the Spirit, and the flesh too often wins. I can allow guilt and shame to move in with me, or I can accept the grace God offers and move on.

I cannot exhibit patience unless I accept the love of God that is patient with me. And so, I will wait. I will patiently endure the dark night of the soul, knowing that God’s got this.

And I thank Him that the fruit of the Spirit never dries up—it’s always there, ripe and fresh. Kind of like God’s mercies—new every morning. Patient, loving, and kind.

 

Mary Dolan Flaherty

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.

“The Wisdom of Women on the Meaning of Love” by Deb Ilardi Tags: Wisdom Women Love Deb Ilardi Ilardi

Wisdom of Women

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.

Yellow Tea Cup

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.

Celebrate the Different Roles of Women with these Gift Ideas Tags: women gifts Mothers Day celebrate

Mother's Day Gifts

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.

                 Ferns n Petals Logo

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!

“At the Kitchen Table with Momma – Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth” by Sharon L. Patterson Tags: kitchen table momma heaven earth Sharon L. Patterson Patterson

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.”

“What for?”

“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.

"He is Alive!" by Donna B. Comeaux Tags: Easter Resurrection Christian life Christian History Bible Stories

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?”

The Road to Emmaus with Jesus

“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

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.

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