Sharmelle Olson

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Sharmelle's Groups
Members:6
Ruby's Out in The Wild

This is for us to share Wild Animals... Tell stories even if it is something you seen on the Internet, share images.

Members:6
Ruby's Heavenly Angels

This is a place to come share your favorite Angels with us and if you have any angel stories of your own or of...

Members:5
Ruby's Animation Depot

This is a place to add animation you like/you made on your own.

Members:7
Ruby Pet Lovers

This is a place to get together to share and talk about your pets.

Members:11
Ruby Holidays

This is a place to talk and celebrate the holidays.

Members:8
Ruby's Natures Beauty

This is a place to get together and shar Natures Beauty.

Members:4
How to Use This Community

For sharing information and asking questions about the community... Learning and having some fun at the same time!

Members:6
Women Who Blog

Are you a blogger? Post a link to your blog so we can visit you, or upload your latest blog post to share with...

Members:6
Writers Corner

Join us in the Writer's Corner to share your latest inspirational article, blog post, short story, or poem. Let us know if you would...

Members:9
Ruby's Book Club & Reviews

What are you reading? Ruby's Book Club and Reviews is a great place to tell us about your favorite book or author, and post...

Members:6
Our Treasured Ruby's

Tell us about your children and grandchildren in Our Treasured Rubies Group. Post pictures of your family outings, birthdays, anniversaries, or other special events...

Members:3
Treasured Parenting

This is a parenting group for all parents to get together and discuss parenting. We will also have some fun objectives for each month...

Members:6
Where Mamas Connect

Join us for encouragement, advice, prayer requests, and anything else that will be a blessing to you as you serve God through the ministry...

Members:7
Ruby's Craft Projects

What's going on in your craft or sewing room? We would love to see what you are working on! Post a photo, a link...

Members:5
Captured Moments

Upload some of your favorite photos in the Captured Moments group here in the Ruby for Women community. Taking pictures of nature or architecture,...

Members:5
Christian Music to the Ears

This is going to be a great place to get together to share your Christian Music with us. Some people like myself Sharmelle needs...

Members:5
Introduce yourselves & Welcome Members

This is a group for New Members to Introduce Themselves and Members to Welcome the New Members to Ruby for Women Community...

Members:8
Verses and Words of Wisdom

This a wonderful place to get together to share Verses and Words of Wisdom in many different ways.

Members:7
Treasured Ruby Birthdays

We are going to be celebrating Birthdays each month for all members.If you wish not to celebrate you Birthday please send Nina or Myself...

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The Coffee Lounge

The Ruby Lounge is a place to lounge around to chat, get to know one another and just have fun.

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Spring Blessings

About Me
Here For
Friends

Interests
Graphic Arts, Graphic Design, Photography, Writing Poetry, Natures Beauty.

Favorite Music
Trying to get back into Christian Music again. Also Music without swearing in it. And with singers that Dress Properly during Concerts and Music Videos.

Favorite Movies
The Ultimate Gift, The Ultimate life, and The Ultimate Legacy.

Favorite Books
Christian Books, Adult Christian Coloring Books, Mental Health Informational/Work Books

Favorite Quotations
When you forgive, you in no way change the past. But you sure do change the future.

General About Me
My name is Sharmelle but you may call me Shar for short even when I use my full name Sharmelle at the end of each message ok. I am so grateful to be here at Ruby for Women as Administrator. I am here to help you in any way possible so please feel free to ask for help when needed ok. I am a 40 year old Birth Mother of two children plus twin Daughters. My first daughter is 20, my son is 14 and my twin daughters are 13.

Sharmelle's Christian Connection

I Love Angels!!!

I Collect Angels!!!

I Believe in Angels!!!

I make Graphic Angels!!!

 

 

Shout Box
Nov 30th

 I am having a breathtaking day today drinking some flavored cinnamon  sugar cookie coffee  to make my day even more special.

 

Today the  snow is falling on the ground and I  just had to go outside and check just what type of snow this will be, angel snow or snowman snow. Suddenly Giggles and a smile came to  my face  for the snow has a crunching sound  to it as one walks in the snow .I Know what that means, snowman snow so I just had to make a snowman to put in the freezer.

I am  is having fun playing in the snow and seeing it come down from the sky. Now if I could just catch a snowflake with my tongue.

 

May you have a very nice day counting all your many blessings.  Smiles  Gloria

Nov 16th

Thank you ever so much for the Birthday Wishes.  Warms my heart.  Heaven above is bring me snow for my birthday day.  Smiles  Gloria

 

Nov 15th

Nov 15th

Nov 15th

Nov 13th

Hello Shar!  Hoping you had a peaceful weekend and God bless your new week ahead.  Big hugs and love,  Jackie

Nov 12th

A blessed evening to you and a glorious Sunday day. Hugs and smiles Gloria

Nov 12th

Nov 11th

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

A photographer’s dream, Iceland’s Seljalandsfoss waterfall roars over a large recess in the rock wall below. Intrepid explorers, hopefully kitted out with good traction shoes and a raincoat, can walk behind the torrent and capture some truly magnificent photos from the inside out. A short drive from the country’s cosmopolitan capital, Reykjavik, this famous waterfall is only one of a seemingly limitless bounty of astounding sights – volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, icebergs, and yes, many more waterfalls – in a place justly called 'the land of fire and ice.'

Nov 8th

Sharmelle's Blogs
“Love in Bloom” by Pat Jeanne Davis
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Monday, April 24, 2017 at 4:10:42 PM

Love in Bloom

Kate pulled her long, brown hair into a ponytail and looked out on the yard of her new home where robins hopped about, snatching up a meal. The sun shone brightly, announcing the approach of spring. Finally! She visualized a row of multi-colored flowers bordering her driveway.

She squelched a sigh. Had she made the right decision to move so far away from family and friends? At the time, a new position seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. A change had been long overdue, Kate reasoned. And not having a special someone in her life provided further cause to accept the offer. Still, the cold winter had lasted far too long, and she missed the familiar faces back home.

Kate stepped away from the window. With a full schedule next week, Saturday was the only time she had to return to Freddy’s Garden Center. Perhaps the promised shipment of flowers had arrived. She grabbed her car keys.

When Kate entered the nursery, she spotted a figure working at a metal counter surrounded by plants and pots. As she approached, he turned and fixed his blue eyes on her for what seemed like minutes.

“Back so soon?” he asked, grinning.

“You’re the one I saw two weeks ago.”

He rubbed his chin. “You came back just to see me.”

Kate flashed a smile. “Can you help me choose flowers for my yard?”

He laughed, revealing straight white teeth. “I’m your man.” He slapped his palms together to dislodge the dirt. “The name’s Fred.”

She took his big hand in hers, intrigued by his friendly manner. “Kate.”

“Let’s see. You told me you’d moved here recently and wanted flowers that bloomed a long time and didn’t need much care.”

“You remembered.”

Fred gestured for her to follow him. “That’s my job,” he said over his shoulder. “Another supply came in yesterday. You’re in luck.”

They moved down rows of wooden tables overflowing with tulips and daffodils. Kate felt like a schoolgirl on a field trip as she half-ran to keep up, then nearly crashed into him when he stopped and turned around.

“I moved here two years ago to be closer to my eleven-year-old son and opened this garden center last spring,” he said.

Surprised by Fred’s revelation, Kate’s eyes drifted to the bare space on his ring finger. Why hadn’t she done more with her hair and put on a little makeup before coming out this morning? She met his gaze. “It sounds like you’ve been transplanted like these flowers.”

A ghost of a smile crept over his face. “Like yourself.”

Kate nodded. “Came here six months ago after accepting a new position.”

Hyacinths scattered blue, purple, and pink around her. She drew in the sweet fragrance and listened to chimes swaying in a warm breeze.

Fred selected a tray of flowers with little faces. His hand caressed the petals as if they were friends. “Pansies provide a variety of colors that last for months.” He moved to the next table. “The lush blooms on these begonias are hardy as well.”

“I’ll take both.”

He picked up a large white bag. “You’ll need potting soil. I’ll get my son to take these to check-out and to your car. That’s him over there.” Fred motioned for his son.

“Well, what do you know,” Kate said as the boy approached. “Billy is in my class!”

Billy’s eyes widened in recognition. “Miss Haley!”

Fred wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “I finally get to meet the Miss Haley.”

Billy kicked a stone with the toe of his shoe. A sheepish grin spread across his face.

Kate scrambled for something to say to break the awkward silence. “Lucky you, working here with your Dad.”

He looked at his father before taking the flowers and bag. “Yep, I know.”

Fred tousled his son’s blond hair. “I’m the lucky one.”

After Billy left, Fred turned to Kate, pulling his baseball cap forward over his dark, curly hair. “He wasn’t exaggerating when he said you’re pretty.”

Kate managed a smile and lowered her head, feeling her cheeks grow warm.

“And he’s always going on about how you make science come alive.”

“Happy to hear that.” She laughed. “I wish I had that much success with plants.” Or with men.

Fred laughed too. “You’ll need these.” As he handed her a trowel and gardening gloves, their hands touched. Did he feel the same attraction?

Fred shifted his feet. “Take this slip up front and tell them I said to give you a gardening book.” He cleared his throat before speaking again. “If you need any further help, I’m your man.”

“Thanks.” Of course he was her man. Kate recalled her first trip here. Fred answered every question, even the ones she quickly thought up just so she could look into those captivating blue eyes while he answered.

He started walking toward another customer.

“I want to put in some other things,” Kate called after him.

He headed back to where she stood. Her pulse quickened.

“What do you have in mind?”

Kate shrugged. “I need some suggestions.”

“Maybe some shrubs,” he said. “If you like, I could stop by next Saturday, take a look at your yard and give you a few ideas.”

“Sounds good. I’ll keep an eye out.” Kate’s casual tone masked the excitement within. Her heart surged with the wonder of spring and the prospect of a fresh start.

“Write your address here. If you have no one to put them in, just remember, I’m your man. And don’t worry about not having a green thumb.” He winked. “I’ll teach you what you need to know.”

Kate craned her neck to keep him in view as he walked off. Fred glanced back and their eyes met, leaving her with a promise of good things to come.

 

Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She is married and mom to two sons. Pat loves to work in her flower garden and travel. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her at www.patjeannedavis.com

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“Sometimes in the Silence” by Nina Newton
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 1:21:30 AM

James 1:5-6

 

There are days, I know we all have them, in a brief moment of silence, when we wonder if we are doing everything that God intends for us. Especially as women, we often find ourselves busy, busy, busy with daily tasks that frequently seem endless. Which of course, they are. Because no matter how many times you fix supper, you will have to do it all over again tomorrow. And  laundry. You can do a thousand loads of laundry, and tomorrow there will be MORE laundry.

If you are a mom of any age, if you still have children at home, there is a never-ending round of activities that require your attention. Some days I just feel like I’m running in circles, and nothing I am doing, nothing in which I am investing my time and energy, will last. Everything will have to be done all over again tomorrow.

That is when I find myself, in those all-too-seldom moments of quiet . . . sometimes in the silence, I stop and think about all of that. And I’ll be honest, some days I get discouraged, wondering if anything I am doing is making any difference in the world. If you are honest, you will admit that you feel that way on occasion, too.

One day recently I was asking God to give me just a bit of guidance, just so I would have a greater sense of confidence that I am actually hearing Him correctly, and this daily round of running to dentist appointments, piano lessons, volleyball practice, orthodontist appointments, choir concerts, and youth group meetings matters to anyone.

When I finally landed back home, and the girls were quietly doing other stuff (besides fighting like sisters often do!), I sat down at my desk to work on the RUBY magazine – and again I asked God to give me a clue. Does anything that I am doing with my life make any difference at all, to anyone? Or is all of this activity just keeping me distracted from something else, something bigger, something more important?

That’s when I suddenly realized, as I was reading through some of the submissions for this issue of RUBY magazine, that MY writers – yes, MY writers – some of YOU who share your heart and love for the Lord with all of us who read your words – YOU are my ministry. Especially when I read the words of new writers who are timid and afraid to put their precious ideas and thoughts down in black and white and send them off to someone (me!) that they don’t even know – and they trust me to treat their voice and their words with respect.

I have been so encouraged, and truly blessed, by the writing that is submitted each month for our little magazine. And I am so grateful and honored that God has given me the gift of your friendship. I have learned so much from MY writers, and I am so excited to look to the future with all of the opportunities that God will give us, together, to share His words of blessing, inspiration, and encouragement with the world.

So if you ever wonder what you are doing, if God is using you, or if anything you are doing every day is making a difference in the world – know you are not alone, and remember that He has given you a story, and words of encouragement, so that you can share them with the world. We make a pretty good team, I think!

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“Seasons & Waiting” by Cassidy Burdge
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:27:28 PM

Seasons and Waiting by Cassidy Burdge

Last summer I went on a mission trip and one of my leaders always talked about how life is in seasons and we have to be able to keep up even when the seasons change. I loved what was said, but I never really understood exactly what she meant when she talked about seasons and waiting.

But boy do I now! With school and the change of classes and teachers I would always separate my academic year into seasons. But outside of my academic year I never saw my life as a series of seasons.

Until this year (what a grand year 2017!) This year I have gone through seasons of sadness, struggle, hurt, but also the fun ones, extreme joy, growth, and ease. With each season the Lord reveals a different side of who He is and each season is equally important.
As I started doing season hopping, I realized how easy it is to get all caught up in a specific season and forget to spend time with the one in charge of your season… Jesus Christ. This will wreck your season, guaranteed. The most important thing in life is to remember to seek Christ above all things. Whether you’re in the most stressful season of your life or the easiest, you need to intentionally seek Christ.

 

I have also started to value each season, even if at first it is not easy. I tend to enjoy the seasons of happiness and growth way…WAY more than the ones of sadness or grief. But the Lord has revealed to me this year that both seasons are equally important and one wouldn’t be as great without the other.

 

With that being said, one of the hardest seasons for me is waiting. I am so impatient so this time is very hard for me. Seasons and waiting are part of life, but they are definitely not much fun!

Ironically, the season I struggle with is the one I’m in right now (actually not ironic at all… I asked for this). Right now I am waiting to see what my future holds. My family is going through some transitions and taking some new steps which could drastically change my situation. So I am playing the waiting game, all day, every day… woo!

The first few weeks of my waiting season I was not happy and was not waiting very well. But I’m about a month in and can gladly say that I am okay with waiting. I am okay with handing all of my future into God’s hands and letting Him do with it as He pleases.

 

The God that is with me during this waiting season is the same God that was with me just a few months ago during a season of amazingly great joy. The same God that held my hand during seasons of bravery and never let go is the same God telling me to slow down and to be patient.
He has never let me down and He never will. So I will wait and wait well. I encourage you, whatever season you are in, to seek the Lord and see what goodness is in your season right here, right now.

 

XOXO, The Christian Prepster 

 

Cassidy Burdge is the Christian Prepster, a high school student living the Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. She has a deep love for sharing Christ through her writing and blogging, and she is excited to be part of Ruby Magazine. Cassidy blogs about anything from Biblical teachings to book reviews. You can connect with Cassidy on her blog, The Christian Prepster at https://thechristianprepster.wordpress.com/

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“Your Country Needs You!” by Carol Hind
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:14:45 PM

Your country needs you

Lot chose to live in the country of Sodom and Gomorrah but the inhabitants’ ungodly behaviour vexed his righteous soul. However, if it were not for Abraham’s appeal to God, Lot may well have been destroyed alongside those degenerate souls (see Genesis 18:16-33).

Fast forward to today’s world and I think many of you readers will agree that it has reached a similar state of lawlessness and depravity.

The Bible declares that “…the whole world lieth in darkness” or “under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Certainly, as Christians and prayer warriors, the reprehensible acts of so-called Church leaders who abuse their power and position, the various international crises, the troubling escalation of social ills, can seem utterly overwhelming and unsolvable.

But hallelujah! We serve a God who is able (and willing) to heal our lands and deliver the ungodly from the grip of the Enemy (2 Chronicles 7:14). He is merely looking for someone to step into the breach, to seek his assistance, to plead for his mercy, to make a demand upon his miraculous might.

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV).

Will you be that person? Will you allow God to transform your concerns into compassion? Will you don your spiritual armour today and pray?

Dear WoW! follower and visitor, your country needs you! Not as a critic. Not as a self-appointed judge. But as a committed soldier in Christ’s army, as a stalwart warrior. Please don’t hesitate to enrol and take your place on the battlefield. Your prayers can make a difference!

Wishing you all a blessed and victorious week!

 

Carol Hind: I am a God-seeker and recovering perfectionist. From an early age my love of words and insatiable appetite for stories kindled a passion for writing. I’ve enjoyed modest publishing success both in print and online and spent several rewarding years as one of a team of editors for a Christian women’s publication. I like to write devotionals, inspirational articles and poems and on the odd occasion, a short story. Read more of Carol’s inspirational posts on her blog, Women of Warfare.

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“Sins vs. Virtues – Part 1: Envy” by Beth Brubaker
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 10:51:17 PM

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.

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Celebrate Spring Contest! From Kathleen Kohler
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 2:22:03 PM

Celebrate Spring Contest!
(a $100 value)

Drawing May 16

This giveaway includes gifts to help you be a little kinder to yourself and add some sweetness to your life!

How to Enter: Whether an old favorite or a new release, send me an e-mail sharing a favorite book you've read in recent months. I'll post some entries in future updates.

 

Box contains: Devotions from the Front Porch by Stacy Edwards, Count Your Blessings 14 oz. mug by Susan Winget from Lang, Herbal Retreat by Tea Forté, 8-5x7 blank Note Cards from Kohler Studios, Peony & Pomelo soy candle, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness, and a Blue Songbird Scarf!

*** U.S. entries only please

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The Power of Easter Blessings
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Saturday, April 08, 2017 at 10:01:45 PM

The Power of Easter Blessings

With the power of Easter Blessings

we can bring God's love and grace

into our lives by his songs we like singing

And praising the Lord from the surface.

 

The power of Easter Blessings in God's place

Is very profound and loved very gracefully

By your own way of being present with his grace

in so many ways will change your life faithfully.

 

The power of Easter Blessings brings a passage

in a way it becomes a graceful successful  prayer

that will always praise God with a message

of powerful words that symbolizes he cares.

 

The power of Easter Blessings can be a challenge

in so many ways that we can overcome with God's

grace that will send you through the passage

With God's way to represent you as it proceeds.

 

It's the time Jesus rose from the Dead.

 

By Sharmelle Olson

April 2017

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Whispers of Easter Blossoms
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Saturday, April 08, 2017 at 9:57:57 PM

Whispers of Easter Blossoms

The whispers of Easter blossoms coming in silently

are beautiful  in colors that brighten up your days.

As we come closer to Spring the blossoms are primacy

to bring in our Easter devotionals and praise.

 

As the whispers of Easter Blossoms keeps coming softly

The Easter Blossoms can show their Beautiful way

by their vibrant colors that come in surprisingly

gentle and calming through the beautiful day.

 

As the Whispers of Easter Blossoms keeps  coming so radiantly

they grow so vibrantly and righteously with such a radiant glow

that makes them delightfully beautiful, and looks glazed evenly

when you look into them beautiful Blossoms you may watch them grow.

 

As the Whispers of Easter Blossoms keep bestowing upon you

Please remember that they grow in their beauty and style

while these blossoms became to your attention while they grow

They will impress you by their wonderful growing style.

 

By Sharmelle Olson

April 2017

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Easter Blossom Wonders
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Saturday, April 08, 2017 at 9:50:56 PM

Easter Blossom Wonders

Spring and Easter bring the Easter lilies

Easter Lilies are a treat that has a wonderful fragrance

The Easter Lilies have a presents that is earthily

The beauty of these Easter Lilies have a beautiful presents.

 

Daffodils symbolizes friendship, rebirth, and eternal life

They are bright yellow trumpet shaped flowers

Daffodils are so beautiful that they could come in rife

And somehow finds it's way for gentle whispers.

 

Another Beautiful Easter Bloom is the Narcissus

In parts of Europe the Narcissus was the first flower

associated with Easter. It makes you want to make wishes

while in Germany the Narcissus is the most popular flower.

 

Worldwide the third most popular spring flower is the tulips.

The tulips represent the rebirth of perfect love and spring.

The Easter tulips are in so may ways the smoothest

the tulips can be used instead of onions while cooking.

 

By Sharmelle Olson

April 2017

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“A Glorious Dark” by A.J. Swoboda – a celebration of Easter – book review by Michele Morin
Posted by Sharmelle Olson on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 4:54:02 PM

For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts of four sweet boys found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well.

Therefore, this Lenten season, I will be re-reading A Glorious Dark, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and the awkward silence of Saturday with Easter Sunday morning resurrection truth. Where memoir meets theological pondering, author A.J. Swoboda’s story winds through his faith journey, with the bonus of startling spotlight quotes which he aims at himself and at all of us who say that we believe.

Here’s one of the dozen or more:  “Many envision faith as a kind of hall pass for laziness, excusing them from a life of action, doing, and working hard.”  Ouch and amen.

What we believe about one weekend in history, the three days’ journey from Golgotha to the garden tomb, impacts our whole experience of the Christian life. A Glorious Dark challenges the reader to enter into Friday, to “own up to our part of the evil in the world.” This involves trusting for the lavish grace to have our emptiness filled, our requests denied, and our fatherlessness remedied by the Father. On Friday, we turn our faces away from our “sponge” of choice and embrace our identity as pilgrims, lifelong seekers of the will and the voice of God.

With candor, Swoboda describes the bleak-hearted rising of post-crucifixion Saturday, and because much of the Christian life is lived under Saturday-like conditions, it is helpful to hear that we must “sit in Saturday;” we must “squat in the tomb” in order to enter into the grief and disappointment of the original disciples. Saturday is our opportunity to remember our own mortality, to remember that we live with Jesus in his death. On Saturday, we evict ourselves from the center of the universe by “embracing the gift of waiting,” and by mourning our failure to see others and their grief.

Resurrection Sunday not only verifies all that Jesus claimed, but it points to his future coming, the ultimate surprise which will serve to further verify all that we hold true. As the church meets to celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, we also reenact the resurrection, celebrating the mystery with “people we normally wouldn’t love, [who] breathe down our necks, [but who] hold our feet to the fire of our beliefs.” Sunday faith perseveres when my theology cannot account for the chaos I see around me.

A Glorious Dark reveals a God who “stand[s] tall” above human history and invites (rather than scorns) the questioning heart.  After all, of the thirty-one questions Jesus posed in the Gospels, He answered only three. When God does not break into history to rectify the list of problems set forth in my latest memorandum/prayer, it will be helpful to remember the messy way in which that one weekend in history played out for those who were on the scene. Once again, the life of Jesus will be made manifest, a glorious life emerging from a glorious dark.

 

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles.  She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.”

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