Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My thoughts on love

Those who are close to me know full well that I am not a morning person. And when I say that, I don’t mean that I’m grumpy or grouchy. What I mean is that I’m a chronic snoozer and that I’m mostly quiet and prefer my mornings to be quiet so I can hear myself thinking. I know it’s totally oxymoronic and completely incongruent but I believe that some of my best thinking takes place in the morning. Strange for someone who is undoubtedly nocturnal, huh? Mostly, I wake up happy and filled with gratitude for a new day I love that about me. For me, mornings feel like the most sacred part of my day. And not all mornings feel sacred, but today my morning felt sacred. Nothing extraordinary happened to make it feel sacred, it just did. I don’t know how to explain that kind of peace or contentment but if I could bottle it, I’m sure I could sell it. And between you and me, if I could bottle it, I would give it to you as my gift of love. This morning, my heart felt full and light and filled with expectation. I have a one hour commute every morning to my office and so I have 60 full minutes before the noise really begins. This morning as I was driving to the office, the following quote was birthed. It's as if the Holy Spirit (God's spirit) whispered it in my ears, but I could hear it in my spirit:

"Love is more than a four letter word. It's the most powerful word on the planet."

Don’t you just love that??? My friend Cindy reminded me today that it’s the most powerful word in the universe. She’s so right. When I think of love, I think of God because a long time ago I Iearned that God is love. God and love are synonymous. Everything beautiful in life was and is created by love and because of love and everything beautiful is inspired because of love and by love. Love is simply and extraordinarily amazing. It breathes life into people, and circumstances; not sometimes but always. Because of love, we thrive and flourish. Because of love, we let go and let God be God. Because of love, we heal. Love heals and nourishes like nothing I know. A balm or salve doesn't exist that can heal like love heals. It’s what makes the difference in life. It's the most necessary of things. It’s what sustains a life when hopelessness threatens to set in. Without it, there is no forgiveness. Without love, we perish.

I love: love. Can you tell? Is there anything more delicious than love?

Consider the above quote to be your thought for the day. Ponder it and see what God reveals to you today.

Be well my friends. And today, let’s all decide to love well ...

Until next time,


God is love. ~ 1 John 4:8

We love because he first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins, it forgives and disregards the offenses of others. ~ 1 Peter 4:8

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bittersweet, a book recommendation

‘Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way' by Shauna Niequist

A year ago yesterday, my copy of Bittersweet was delivered to my home. Bittersweet is a lovely book written by an extraordinary young lady in her thirties. It became one of my summer favorites last year, one that I’ve decided today I will re-read again this summer. I’ve experienced a lot since the arrival of this book and for me, books reveal different things about myself when I re-read them. Something in my gut tells me that this book will be an even bigger blessing to me the second time around. I can’t wait to dive in again to soak in each word, each story, each lesson, to uncover in this season what I might be discovering and learning about myself. This time around though, I'm going to take my time and read each chapter slowly and carefully paying close attention to my thoughts and what I'm feeling.

Bittersweet is the author’s second book. Her first book called Cold Tangerines was a great read too. I love her clever expressions and honest truth telling stories and while Cold Tangerines was great, Bittersweet was different, different in a really good way. It’s richer and deeper and more evocative and you’ll find brilliant and clever expressions in this book as well. Reading about the author's life experiences, her struggles, and lessons learned caused me to think about my own experiences and struggles and the lessons I've learned and the one's I'm still learning. This book was incredibly captivating and many of her stories tugged on my heart strings and caused me to cry. Yes, I cried. I cried for her, I cried for me and I cried for the many who experience pain because pain has an interesting way of waking us up and revealing things to us we never noticed before. I've learned through the years and I'm still learning that pain teaches us. Pain not only teaches us but it helps us to pay attention and discover things about ourselves that we probably would have never uncovered if we hadn't gone through that one horrible hard thing in life or a series of hard things in life. I've learned through the years that pain is inevitable, in fact, its biblical. That's where I learned it, and life, my life has reinforced the message through the years. But what I've learned through the years is that pain can help us grow if we let it. And I love that we have a choice about that. We can either choose to be bitter or we can choose to be better. I choose better. In fact, I want everyone to choose better. Yes, pain is awful and dark and makes us want to stay in bed all day and healing is a process that takes time, sometimes alot of time. But we can't let bitterness win. We must press against it. We must fight against bitterness and persevere in spite of our pain, our fears and our sadness. I'm so grateful for Shauna's courage. It took alot of courage to write Bittersweet and to share her stories. Here's what I know for sure about Shauna: She's one brave gal who isn't afraid to be vulnerable. Gosh, I love that about her. And I believe that everyone who reads this book will be richer because of it. If you pick up a copy, I hope it blesses you richly and beyond measure.

Happy reading and happy summer to you dear ones ...

Wishing you peace and wholeness today and always,


We've all been sorry, we've all been hurt. But how we survive is what makes us who we are. ~ Rise Against

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Plant it Pink!

As a breast cancer survivor and as a woman who absolutley loves pink tulips, I would be remissed if I didn’t share the following with you:

The Plant it Pink Northshore Campaign is aimed at informing Illinois residents about the need for advocacy in the fight against breast cancer and to raise the funds necessary for the ACS CAN (American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network) to continue its lifesaving work by the planting and blooming of Pink Impression tulips.

For a $20 minimum contribution, you will receive a membership to the ACS CAN and 10 pink tulip bulbs to plant in honor of those diagnosed with breast cancer.

For more information and to make your contribution, please visit: http://www.acscan.org/events/view/event/1237

Isn't this a super cool idea??? I love it, love it! Tulips always signal the first sign of spring, and next spring, I hope to see a sea of pink tulips. :o)

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and to consider this! 

Wishing you a spectacular day!!!

Until next time,



Gardening Tulips:

  • Tulips should be planted in the fall at a 6” depth.
  • While the hole is exposed, apply bone meal over the top of the tulip bulb and then cover with soil. Water the bulb like you would a summer flower.
  • Tulip bulbs need to set their roots over winter to produce a good show. A proper root system is very important for the life of the tulip bulb.
  • In the spring once the flower head has flowered, remove the flower head leaving the stalk. When the green stalk turns completely brown, cut it at ground level. The flower stalk takes in sunlight (the process of photosynthesis) enabling the plant bulb to reproduce again next year.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Little Things ...

It’s always the little things, and sometimes the very ordinary things in life that can make a person happy. This was a short work week for me. I only worked three days this week but it was three intense work days and by the end of my day yesterday, I was super exhausted and felt like I had contributed 40 work hours in three days. I slept well and hard last night and was incredibly thankful for 9 hours of sleep. That never happens during the week, ever! I’m the kind of gal who works so she can play. I love my down time and I love my play time and weekends are perfect for play and for doing things you love, that help you feel alive and help you decompress. I try to squeeze a little bit of play during the week as well but I play way more on the weekends, that's for sure.

There was nothing extraordinary about today but today I felt super happy and super thankful.

Things that made me happy today:

  1. a slow morning
  2. my first cup of coffee, always delicous, always sacred almost
  3. spending the entire afternoon at the pool
  4. sunshine
  5. a great book
  6. my nano (great music)
  7. meeting new people
  8. great conversations
  9. laughing
  10. ending my afternoon with a great workout that wore me out!
Even my trainers (gym shoes) look exhausted! LOL!  Life feels good today. Thankful.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trust, Confidence, Hope

Blessed is the person who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Dear Friends,

The word trust is a word I'm running into alot lately. It's seems to be everywhere. It's in the books that I read, the e-mails I receive and the articles I happen to glance at in the magazines that I pick up. And now I'm discovering that I'm running into this curious five letter word in the verses I'm reading in my Bible, not randomly but like over and over and over!  Between you and me, I kinda think God is up to something. This is so typical of Him. It's His mode of operation with me and this is how He drives a message home. I'm thinking He's trying to communicate something to me, yet again. Yes, sometimes God needs to reiterate ... ALOT because I don't always get it the first time and sometimes I don't always listen well. Probably, because I have the propensity to become distracted and or I get caught up with life and all it's busyness and lately I'm sure it's because I have menopause brain. In fact, I'm sure of it! The word "trust" stands out super loud and clear to me these days when someone brings it up in conversation, especially when its not even a conversation I'm engaged in. I find that I get all nosy about it and find myself eavesdropping when I hear someone mention the word "trust." The little voice in my head says: "Really, so what are your thoughts on trust??? ... Please do tell, I want to know." But of course, I'm not involved in the conversation, so I don't really ask the question and continue to eavesdrop and try really hard not to make it obvious. Allow me to tell you what all of this is causing me to do lately. It's causing me to sit up straight and to pay attention because I can tell that Father God, yes Big Daddy upstairs is talking to me alright.

This morning after I read verses 7 and 8 in the 17th chapter of Jeremiah, I became curious and decided to look up how the dictionary would describe the word trust. And here's what I discovered: I learned that the dictionary describes "trust" as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of a person or thing; confidence. Another description I found is confident expectation of something; hope. Did you notice what I noticed? I noticed that trust requires confidence and hope.

So here's my conclusion: I believe that trust, confidence and hope are all born of faith.

I believe faith is an important aspect when it comes to trust. The Bible says that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).

It was during my quiet time with God this morning that I came upon the verses in Jeremiah that I referenced above. I thought this was going to be a quick 5 minute quiet time with God because I had plans and had alot I wanted to accomplish today. I had quite the To-Do-List waiting for me and fortunately for me, being the planner that I am, I scheduled the day off to extend my holiday weekend to get these things done. Well, needless to say, practically nothing got stratched off my list, instead I spent alot of time thinking, praying and writing. My phone rang quite a bit but I was disciplined and didn't take any calls. I stayed focused on writing. As a side note, can you believe the word trust was in the very first verse I read??? LOL! Only God!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 became one of my favorite verses last year during the spring. When I saw these verses this morning, I smiled and thanked God quietly for getting me through a very difficult season (spring 2010) in my life. That spring I found myself feeling sick and fatigued the result of medication I had taken for 3 months to help fight the recurrence of breast cancer. These side effects came after my radiation treatments ended. I had Radiation Therapy in November and December 2010 to eradicate cancer cells in my body. The radiation also caused fatigue and left me fatigued during the treatment season which lasted for five weeks and for three months after my treatments ended. My body was exhausted and experienced significant trauma surviving three surgeries at that point, 20 radiation treatments in total and medication I was taking daily. I didn't understand what was happening in my body or to my body and after awhile it began to trouble me. It seemed like my health problems began to scatter through out my body like marbles thrown on the ground. This was now month seven after learning I had breast cancer. I felt concerned that medication which I thought was suppose to help me began to harm me. At times I felt frustrated because some days I felt utterly and completely helpless. Feeling helpless is an awful feeling. I can't even stand how I feel when I reach that point. I limit who I speak to because I refuse to bring anyone down with my negative energy. We all experience low points, feelings of helplessness during our darkest hours but I refuse to park myself in self-pity. Pity-parties are just that: a sad little party for one, not a way of life. So one day last year (4-14-10) during the spring, in my quest to find some encouragement and a fresh word from God, I opened my Bible and fell upon verses 7 and 8 in chapter 17 in the book of Jeremiah. Oh how I loved the imagery my mind formed after reading these verses. I read those verses slowly, over and over and over. Reading those verses did something to me that day. It restored my hope. Suddenly I felt encouraged. And while my circumstance (my health issues) didn't change overnight, my attitude toward my circumstance changed and that made a world of difference. It took five additional months and one more surgery in July 2010 before I felt well again. But here's what was different about those five months: It was five hope-filled months filled with days and nights trusting and believing in a God who is able, more than able. These verses became a real source of encouragement to me and served as a wonderful reminder that I believe and serve a great God whom I can put my trust in, believing that He loves me and will take care of me. He's a real promise keeper I learned. I remind myself often that I can trust in His promises for my life. God's word does not promise us a life without difficulty or pain. What He promises is to be with us, to walk with us through our difficulty. And my friend, that's exactly what God did for me. And He can and will do that for you too. Did you know that when we exercise faith muscles, trusting God and believing God, that that's when His power is released in our life? It's true. Our faith and His power work hand-in-hand.

So what are you holding on to that needs to be released to God? Are you struggling with something in your life right now? Do you need to begin trusting in something BIGGER than yourself, that is reliable, able, sure, and strong? My friend, I have the answer. The answer is God. You can count on Him. And He is the One you can put your trust and hope in. He's a loving, forgiving and patient God. He waits patiently for you to invite Him into your life, your circumstances, and your struggles.

Remember, your faith is what releases His power in your life. The result: peace and confidence. Peace and confidence among many other wonderful things is what He desires for you and offers you, not the way the world offers it but as a result of trusting Him, your Maker who loves you no matter what and who will always be in your corner.

Today's Prayer:

Dear God,

Forgive me when I begin to lose sight of where true hope is found. Infuse my heart and mind with hope that can only be found in You. Please quench my thirst for understanding during my difficulty with reassurance of Your faithfulness. I ask that You guard my heart from the temptation to focus on the problem, instead of the One who holds everything in His hands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

The above short prayer is one that carried me through some very difficult days as I battled breast cancer. I can't even remember where I found it or where I first read it. What I know for sure is that I loved this prayer so-o much and needed it so-o much during that season in my life that I hung on to these words like a child hangs on to a security blanket. I hung these words on a wall in my home because this prayer was the prayer that helped me. It helped me feel peace every time I uttered these words. I hung these words on a wall in my home shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis (Sept. 2009) and today you will find these words on that very wall. Thanks to God Almighty, who's my comforter and my healer, my health has been fully restored. I'm healed and healthy and thankful. So thankful! I have prayed this prayer a hundred times since my cancer diagnosis because I believe it’s such a great prayer any time I begin to feel the least bit discouraged. I pray and I hope that if you need encouragement, it will bless you too.

Yes, indeed. Blessed is the person who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.

Blessings to you. Wishing you peace and wholeness as you trust God for all things, today and always ...

~ ♥ Ruthie