Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Two quotes and a promise

Two of my current favorite quotes in this season are wise words from Charles Swindoll:

Anything under God's control is never out of control.  ~ Charles Swindoll

The longer I love, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past ... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our attitudes.  ~ Charles Swindoll

"Because she loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life will I satisfy her and show her my salvation." ~ Psalms 91: 14-16

The above verses from Psalm 91 are God’s promises to us. Isn’t it lovely???  This promise was revealed to me in such a special way in September 2009 and its one of my favorites. Hope it blesses you too! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unconditional Love

Today is Mother's Day and as I pondered what I've learned about motherhood, I realized that I have both learned and discovered many things about life, love, God and myself through out this journey. One of the most beautiful things I learned through out my journey as a mother is unconditional love. And motherhood has helped me understand "clearly" God's 'unconditional' love for us. 

No matter what, I love my son unconditionally, period. And no matter what, God loves us unconditionally, period.

When I was a rebellious teenager, my mother reminded me that I was and am a person of value and a person of great worth, no matter what I've done because God does not make junk. What a blessing to have a mother share those words with me. I have never forgotten them. 

We are not defined by our poor decisions. We are valuable simply because we exist and because we were created by a holy God who loves us "unconditionally." 

Dear ones, Love is the greatest gift of all. 

Thank you mommy for loving me unconditionally! Thank you for your wise words, they have served me well. And thank you Michael for being patient with me and forgiving me when I didn't always get it right. I will always love you more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet Josie

This evening I was remembering something my beautiful friend Josie shared with me this morning. Josie is the one in the picture holding her beautiful daughter as she sleeps. Aren’t they beautiful??? What a beautiful moment! It’s my very favorite picture of her.

Josie and I spoke this morning as we were traveling to our offices. I was in my car driving and she was on the train traveling to her downtown Chicago office. We talked about setting a date to get together, joining forces to help encourage other women and we talked about God’s goodness in our lives. I was also sharing with her how I got to spend an evening with my parents “together” on Saturday evening. I haven’t spent an evening with my parents "together" since 1998. Through tears in my eyes, I shared how grateful I was to witness my parents kissing each other after such a painful and bitter divorce 12 years ago. Saturday was the first time my parents saw each other in 12 years. I'm so grateful to God for our he healed their hearts and prepared their hearts for this reunion. We both agreed that God is so,so good!  And as we continued talking about God's goodness, Josie shared something really poignant with me. She said to me, “You know Ruthie, if God decided to never do another single good thing in my life, I would be okay with that because what Jesus did for me on Calvary is enough, more than enough.” Isn't that a beautiful and amazing statement? My response to her statement was: Wow! Those words scream contentment and deep gratitude. Just yesterday I wrote about people who are joy-filled and how these people have deep gratitude for God, life and living. Josie is def one of those joy-filled people.

I met Josie when we were in high school, 32 years ago. She was such a bright light to everyone who knew her then and she's still a bright light in the lives of many today. I remember she was different in such beautiful ways. We lost touch after we graduated but thankfully through technology, we reconnected a few years ago. I remember writing to her a few years ago and sharing with her that she was one of the first people I wanted to reach out to shortly after giving my life to Christ to share that I “finally” get how much God loves me. I finally "got" the Gospel message. The month was June, the year 1999 and I was 31. This revelation came to me 14 years after we graduated high school. In 1999, I wanted to share with her how my life and heart and my relationships were changing. Things weren't perfect, but my life was shifting in really good ways and that shift had everything to do with God's love and favor and His amazing and extraordinary grace. 

Josie is a very special person to me. She's the kind of woman you want to become best friends with ... like immediately! She’s absolutely adorable, loveable, funny and extraordinarily beautiful both inside and out. She has a way of listening, speaking, encouraging and loving on people in a way that is absolutely unique, beautiful and extraordinary. My heart always feels full when I speak with her or leave her presence. In my opinion, everyone should have a Josie in their life and if you don’t, pray for one or contact me, I’ll introduce you to this gorgeous woman of God.

I love you Josie!!! Keep shining!

With deep gratitude to God and for our friendship,

xx, Ruthie

My mom is so cute!

I received a Mother’s Day card in the mail from my mother yesterday that made my heart smile. I love that she takes the time to send cards to brighten my day even though she knows I will see her on Mother’s Day. During some of my difficult seasons in life, my mother sent me some of the most beautiful, heartfelt and encouraging cards. They always lifted my spirits. And she manages to always find a card that speaks right to my heart that makes me feel loved and honored. It’s a gift I treasure. I have kept each and every single card she has given me or sent me through the years. So back to the card I received yesterday …. What made this card I received extra fun is what she wrote in it.

When I call my mother, I always identify myself by name. I never say "Hi mom, it's me." I almost always announce myself as "me" on most calls to friends and family. Identifying myself by name to Mom is absolutely necessary because my youngest sister Nidia and I sound exactly the same on the phone. Our voices and diction are so similar that we can fool just about anyone for the first few minutes or so. We’ve had a lot of fun with that through the years.  

When I call my mother, I always say, “Hi Mami, it’s me Ruthie.” And she always responds with, “Hi Ruthie, it’s me Mami.” She's so cute! Makes me smile every time. Mami is pronounced like the American-English version of mommy.

So in her card to me, she wrote those very words (picture included in this post) and it made my heart smile. I’m so thankful for a mommy who knows how to make me smile and laugh. I’ve had some of my best laughing moments with her. And we laugh over some of the silliest things. When I got cancer, she ran to my side and dedicated her time and energy being my primary care-giver and when I can’t hear the voice of God when I need to make a wise decision, I can almost always hear hers ever so clearly through the wise words she has spoken to me and written to me through the years.

Thank you mommy for the gift of words, laughter, your time, your love, for taking caring of me when I needed you the most and for always encouraging me and reminding me where my truth north is. Thank you for being you, extraordinary and lovely. I will always love you more … 

The Greatest Love Story by Edna Tolento

Below is an absolutely beautiful poem written by my colleague Toni's second cousin, Edna Tolento. Toni sent this to me via e-mail today and I was absolutely wowed over it. Edna shared in her e-mail: "I want my life with Jesus to be the greatest love story of all time." Isn't that beautiful???  

Thank you Edna for allowing God's Spirit to guide your pen as you wrote these beautiful words and thank you for allowing me to share it with my readers on Ruthie's Corner. Keep shining! May this poem bless everyone who comes to read these beautiful words. 

The Greatest Love Story
She weeps,
He consoles her

She falls,
He catches her

She needs,
He provides for her

She is lost,
He finds her

She questions,
He answers her

She is angered,
He calms her

She is sad,
He cheers her

She is harmed
He defends her

She is heartbroken,
He heals her

She is in danger,
He protects her.

She is rejected,
He accepts her

She doubts,
He reassures her

She repents,
He forgives her

She rebels,
He is patient with her 

She is weak,
He holds her

She is alone,
He accompanies her

She makes mistakes,
He corrects her

She leaves,
He waits for her

She yearns,
He satisfies her

She is misunderstood,
He understands her

She is scared,
He watches over her

She grieves,
He comforts her

She is tired,
He refreshes her

She feels unworthy,
He treasures her

She is forgotten
He remembers her

She looks up,
He smiles down at her 

She dreams,
He inspires her

She believes,
He believes in her

She is faithful,
He restores her

She forgives,
He renews her

She prays,
He listens to her

She praises,
He adores her

She surrenders,
He blesses her

She loves,
He loves her

She lives for him,
He died for her. 

Jesus, You are the lover of my soul.
~ poem by Edna Tolento

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My thoughts on the energy we produce

I’ve come to learn in recent years that while we are spiritual beings doing life in human bodies, we are also energy and the energy we produce is directly related to how we think and what we believe. How we think and what we believe is directly related to our happiness and joy or lack there of. What we think, how we think and what we believe has everything to do with how we spend our time. It has everything to do with what you feed your mind with. I’ve also learned that we are all individually responsible for the energy we bring into our relationships, our homes, our conversations, the workplace and the spaces we occupy. In this last sentence it is permissible to replace the word energy with attitude for it applies as well.

I’ve learned that joy is energy and incredibly palpable, wouldn't you agree? I super love that feeling and I love being around people who are joy-filled. Joy is a sense of utter contentment with life. Contentment and joy is internal and independent of circumstances. I’ve also learned that negative energy is incredibly palpable too. Negative energy I've learned is often toxic, suffocating and draining. Have you ever been in an environment or around a person who emits this type of energy? Makes you want to run for this hills, right? Negative energy stems from wounds that have manifested their way into deep rooted anger, bitterness and resentment. It also stems from a need to control and an unhealthy way of thinking and living.

Stop for a minute right here and ask yourself today: 1.) What kind of energy am I producing and why? 2.) What kind of energy am I permitting to enter into my inner circle and why?

If it’s not positive, ask yourself what steps you can take to change the energy you're producing. Remember, you have the power to change the energy you produce and it begins with tapping into the Source, God. Everything is possible with and for God. If negative energy (chronic negative people) has made its way into your inner circle, it's time to set some healthy boundaries. 

If you’re energy is producing joy and promoting joy, thank God for that gift and that blessing, it’s no small thing and it’s something to be thankful for. The people I know who are joy-filled are those who have deep gratitude for God, life and living. Their lives are not perfect but they do life and lean on the One who is perfect. And that's the secret, that's what makes the difference. These joy-filled people have less-than-rosy pasts and experiences and stories filled with disappointments, struggles and pain. Life wasn’t always easy and sometimes it’s still not easy but they chose and choose better not bitter and they choose to invite God into their lives and into their hearts. They learned that joy is internal and not based on circumstances.

So ask yourself again: What kind of energy am I producing?  What kind of energy am I permitting to enter into my inner circle?

Until next time,

xx, Ruthie

p.s. Beloved reader, if you’re in a place of emotional healing, bless your little heart. Take all the time you need to heal emotionally. I’m sure reading this today wasn't easy. Emotional healing is hard work, messy for sure and rarely easy but it’s so worth it so keep going. Don't give up. Healing and moving on is a process, a process of time and surrender. It takes many little steps and it takes patience, courage, self-care, a healthy support network of trusted people and it also requires you to invite our true Healer into the process. So hang in there, the future is promising and it will get better. You must choose to believe that even if you can't see it or feel it yet. 

For I am the LORD who heals you. ~ Exodus 15:26

Dear Friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, just as you are progressing spiritually. ~ 3 John 1:2

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What your heart needs to know

When you walk through the storms of life, hold your head up high and do not be afraid because the God who fashioned you in your mothers womb, the God who loves you endlessly, walks before you and beside you and behind you. How wonderful is that?! So walk courageously and confidently in the knowledge that you are not alone. You are never alone and you never will be.

Because He over came, you can and will over come too.

What your heart needs to know is this: You are loved. You are beautiful. You matter and you are never alone. Please mark these words on the tablet of your heart dear one. 

Blessings to you and yours ….

Until next time,

xx, Ruthie

p.s. When I wrote these words, I had the heart of many of you in mind. I hope these words comfort you, encourage you and bless you in immeasurable ways. Below you will find a song posted on youtube that I thought was quite fitting for this post. The artist is Jason Gray and the title of the song is called: Remind me who I am. Sometimes we get a little lost in our pain or our discouragement or in our storm and we forget who we belong to (we belong to God, and God is for us, not against us) and we forget that we are loved and that we matter. Sweetness ... you are so loved and you do matter to Him. Don't believe the lie that you are not. God bless you ...

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. ~1 Peter 5:7

Friday, May 4, 2012

Movement in Time

Movement in Time
Happy Friday dear readers! I trust you're all doing well and ready for the weekend. My weekend has begun with falling in love. Yes, I fell in love with this gorgeous necklace and pendant (picture included in this post) called "Movement in Time." I purchased it from the Vintaj Jewelry Co. located in GalenaIllinois, a small eclectic antique, art-inspiring town widely known for its beauty, charm and history.

I fell in love with this piece because it screams "vintage" and I super love all things vintage, especially vintage style jewelry. And although this isn't a true vintage item, I love that it's hand designed in the U.S. and made with vintage revival elements. I love its uniqueness, charm and beauty.

I think it's both wonderful and surprising that I have an appreciation for all things vintage or vintage looking items because as a young adult, I never loved nor could I appreciate antiques or vintage looking items. I think it's because I grew up with alot of "old" stuff. And because of that, I wanted new, new, new. I wanted modern, modern things and modern furnishings and I wanted to live in a modern new home. Today I live in a modern new home but I would prefer to live in a home built in the late 1800's because of it's charm, character, irreplaceable architecture and because it was built in an era so different from today. Through the years, I quickly learned that "new" isn't and hasn't always been better and much of it is because of planned obsolescence which makes me want to scream: stop already! 

The older I get, the fonder I become with all things vintage because of its artistry, beauty and period of origin. Vintage items, antiques and older homes have a history, and a charm and a life of their own. These things have a story to tell or a story to be discovered. And I'm always curious and wonder what life would have felt like living in the era a piece was imagined, created, made or built. I can only imagine what life was like for the creators, the artists, the builders and for the people who owned the vintage and antique pieces we love so much because each of these people have their own stories. Yes, I can only imagine what their stories were based on an era I can only read, imagine and dream about. 

How about you? Do you love antiques or vintage looking items?

Until next time ... wishing you and yours a fabulous weekend!

xx, Ruthie

p.s. You can find Vintaj Jewelry on Etsy as well by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What I've learned ...

I read something incredibly ponderous today that got me thinking about what life has taught me through the years. And as I pondered, I decided to pen my thoughts, post it on my blog and share them with you. I really enjoyed putting this list together because it really got me thinking about a lot of different things that have taken place in my life. I'm glad I took the time to sit quietly with my thoughts and to document this list. It was a wonderful writing exercise. Below you’ll find my list. As you read each one, read them slowly and think about how they speak to you. 
  1. I’ve learned that giving birth is w-a-y easier than raising a child.  
  2. I’ve learned that being a mother is the hardest job I’ve ever loved.
  3. I’ve learned that how you view life changes with each passing decade.
  4. I’ve learned that the only thing I can control is how I love God.
  5. I’ve learned that trusting God is not always easy but it’s worth it.
  6. I’ve learned that you will learn a lot about people when you learn to really listen to them speak, when you take the time to really listen to their hearts.
  7. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person and their character by how they handle stress.
  8. I've learned that it's okay to not always be okay. 
  9. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not always have an answer.  
  10. I’ve learned that I will always have more questions than answers and that’s okay too.
  11. I’ve learned that there is more joy in giving than receiving.
  12. I've learned that living with gratitude is directly tied to soul satisfaction and increases the level of happy in your happy meter. 
  13. I’ve learned that grace really is amazing and it’s not just a song written by an English poet.
  14. I’ve learned that it takes courage, strength, and wisdom and sometimes a little time to forgive.   
  15. I’ve learned that there is healing power in forgiveness, healing for self and healing for others.
  16. I’ve learned that peace begins on the inside and it always starts by telling the truth to yourself and telling the truth to others.
  17. I’ve learned that when you apologize sincerely, it’s incredibly healing for the recipient and incredibly healing for self.
  18. I’ve learned that God works through some of the unlikeliest people to speak wisdom and healing into your life.
  19. I’ve learned that every day there is something to be thankful for and to celebrate.
  20. I’ve learned that I am deeply loved ... by God first and also by family and friends. I’m incredibly thankful for love.
  21. I’ve learned that love has amazing power and it changes and heals people in extraordinary ways.
  22. I’ve learned that I absolutely love everything about love.
  23. I’ve learned that it’s impossible to love God as much as He loves me, but I'm pretty sure I will die trying to love Him more anyway.  
  24. I’ve learned that life is filled with disappointments and when you embrace this truth, it becomes less shocking when disappointments occur.  
  25. I’ve learned that life can be hard sometimes but it’s still beautiful even when we can’t see it.
  26. I've learned that just because someone no longer loves you the way they once did doesn't mean they never loved you in the first place. 
  27. I've learned that saying goodbye and watching someone you love walk away is one of the most difficult and painful things you will do in your life. 
  28. I've learned that tears are never a sign of weakness but how God designed us to express emotions. 
  29. I've learned that God will help you love the most difficult people in your life if you ask Him for help. 
  30. I've learned that God gave me two ears and one mouth so I could spend more time listening and less time talking. How clever of Him! Perhaps this is why I blog. ; )
  31. I’ve learned that when you get serious with God, God will get serious with you.
  32. I’ve learned that every connection we make, every encounter we have, every season in life has something to teach us.
  33. I’ve learned that the best is really yet to come and I like that.
  34. I've learned that I love inspiring, encouraging and helping others. 
  35. I've learned that I will probably always lie about my weight when they ask me at the DMV. ; )
  36. I've learned that cooking is not my spiritual gift and I'm okay with that. : )
  37. I've learned that I'm an encourager by nature and love to help people through their healing process as God slowly restores their brokenness. 
  38. I've learned that I have more compassion and kindness than I realized and all the credit goes straight to God and only God! 
  39. I've learned that God still works miracles in the lives of His people.
  40. I've learned that sometimes the best gift you can give someone is the gift of time. 
  41. I've learned that each new day is a new opportunity to love and to be loved, to make a difference.
  42. I've learned that each new day is filled with God's mercy. (I'm so thankful for this!)  ~ Lamentations 3:22-23
  43. I've learned that God loves me (us) ridiculously and unconditionally and I absolutely love that about Him. 
  44. I've learned and witnessed that God can do exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
  45. I've learned that living with faith is the key to everything. 
  46. I've learned how powerful it is to pray God's promises over my life, the life of others and our circumstances. 
  47. I've learned than I am more than just a survivor or a warrior or a woman but I am "more" than a conqueror. God's Word says so! More than a conqueror is pretty amazing!!!
  48. I've learned that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) I never feel condemned about anything anymore. Conviction maybe, but never condemned. When I fail, I repent and now know that God's grace and mercy is more than enough. 
  49. I've learned that it's never too late to accomplish everything God places on your heart. 
  50. I've learned that love is the most delicious thing in life that you could ever experience. 
How about you? What sorts of things has life taught you? What are you learning in this season?