Monday, April 30, 2012


One of the things I’ve learned that make us all the same is: feelings. Yes, feelings. We all have them about one thing or another. And every single day, we have feelings that we process. Our feelings can be about the news we watch, the people we do life with, or where our lives and careers are headed.

Sometimes our feelings are great and wonderful and other times our feelings are really not a big deal, not worth talking about or sharing. And yet during difficult times, some feelings can be out right overwhelming, exhausting and consuming. Feelings I’ve learned can be very tricky sometimes and quite dangerous when they’re not healthy.

I’ve learned that if we over think something we can feel a thousand different ways about the same thing. Have you ever experienced that? What a silly question. Of course you have. When we over think something, negative thoughts have a way of creeping in that cause us to experience feelings that are fanatical and unreliable that make us feel a little nuts. Been there? If you have, trust me, you’re not alone. Every one has experienced this at one time or another if they’ve lived long enough.  

If you’re in a tricky season and feel that you’re experiencing and feeling a thousand different ways about something, or someone, give it to God. Give it to God and ask Him to help you. The battle we fight daily is the battle we have with our minds.

I’ve read and heard and have learned through the years that we all have the ability and the power to change what we think and how we think. And what we think and how we think will either produce healthy or unhealthy feelings.

When we choose to seek and ground ourselves with positive thoughts, we equip ourselves to think in a healthy manner, producing healthy feelings and healthy thoughts. But we must choose healthy over unhealthy and refuse to allow unhealthy thinking and feelings to dictate and dominate our lives. Unhealthy feelings happen to everyone but we mustn’t allow those feelings to take over because it sucks the life out of us and robs us of our joy. 

If we want to live a life free of "consuming" unhealthy feelings, it starts by refusing to be led by unhealthy feelings and thoughts and grounding ourselves in truth.

And I’m re-learning that truth has a powerful way of setting us free and producing healthy thoughts and feelings. So today, I choose truth over feelings because real freedom always comes from truth. Always.

Until next time … wishing you beautiful, healthy thoughts and feelings grounded in truth and freedom.

xx, Ruthie

I am the way and the truth and the life. ~ Jesus (John 14:6)

The truth will set you free. ~ Jesus (John 8:32)

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Power of Vulnerability

* Please scroll to the bottom of the blog to pause or mute the music (Playlist).

The above video is a fantastic video on the topic of vulnerability. It's so worth the twenty minutes. I learned about Brené Brown three weeks ago through Shauna Niequist. After learning that Shauna became a big fan and so quickly, I needed to do some research and learn and discover for myself why her message was so fascinating. 

So last weekend I decided to look for Browns talk on the topic of vulnerability on TEDa website I'm not entirely familiar with but it looks cool and filled with interesting content. I'll have to go back and visit again soon. But for now, let's get back to Brown and her talk on vulnerability. I listened and loved it! And today I want to share the video with you. 

So because I loved Browns video on the topic of vulnerability so much, I decided to visit my local Barnes & Noble bookstore the other night in hopes that I would find all of her books. After all I've had $75 worth in gift cards sitting in my wallet for ages! I was hoping to walk out with three of her books but to my disappointment, I only found one. The one I found and purchased was: "I thought it was just me, but it isn't." I'm going to take that as a sign that this is where I should begin. Shauna just started reading this book and admitted that its destroying her in the best possible way and recommended buckling up. Oh boy ... 

Dr. Brené Brown is a writer, researcher, and educator. She's a member of the research faculty at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work where she has spent the past ten years studying connection - specifically authenticity, belonging, and shame, and the affect these powerful emotions have on the way we live, love, parent, work and build relationships. Click here to visit her blog. To learn more about her, visit her welcome page

Brown is the author of three books:

3.) Wholehearted: Spiritual Adventures in Falling Apart, Growing Up, and Finding Joy.

Hope you enjoy the video and if you purchase any of her books, happy reading and don't forget to buckle up! 

Until next time, 

xx. Ruthie

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The True Joy in Life

This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

~ George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the great Irish playwright, awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize for literature. 

The link between gratitude and joy

If you wake up every morning loving the people you do life with and you get to do work that you love whether you get paid for it or not, you are blessed.

If you wake up every morning with deep rooted contentment and gratitude, you are blessed and your life is filled with joy.

Joy in my opinion and in my personal experience is directly connected to contentment and gratitude. I’ve learned that joy is very different from happiness. And while happiness feels absolutely wonderful, we must admit it never really lasts. Happiness comes and goes like the things we buy come and go. And although “things” are nice and some are very necessary, joy is rarely found in the things we acquire or how much we acquire.

I’ll be the first to admit that I super love shopping and I love beautiful things and decorating and creating beautiful spaces and love things that make my life comfortable, convenient, beautiful and happy. But happy is very different from joy. And it's important to recognize the difference. 

Sometimes or a lot of times, we shop when we’re bored and that’s always a dangerous thing. Been there, done that ... a lot! More often than I care to admit. When we shop like that, we’re often trying to fill an emptiness that lives deep inside of us. We rarely recognize it as emptiness but it's a real void, a void we try to fill with "stuff." And that emptiness could never be filled with “stuff.” That kind of emptiness is something only God can fill. It's only His love and His healing touch that can fill that God shaped hole. 

The things we acquire may bring momentary happiness but happiness is not joy. The things we purchase and acquire lose their novelty after a while and when that happens, those things no longer bring us happiness as we once knew it. And so what do we do? We go after the next best thing to make us happy. And so the insanity continues. And whether it's shopping or something else, we find ourselves repeating the same behavior over and over and over hoping for lasting happiness but happiness is always short lived. Happiness is fleeting, it comes and it goes. It was never intended to last because happiness is a momentary emotion. What does last is joy. And what we need in life is joy. And while happiness is wonderful and beautiful, joy fills us up. It lights us up and sustains us in ways happiness can't. 

Joy is very different. I’ll start by telling you what joy is not: Joy is not happiness because happiness is fleeting. And joy is not ridiculous and copious amounts of happiness which is what I thought it use to mean.

The definition of joy is deep rooted contentment and gratitude.  It’s contentment and gratitude for God, life, people and self.

If I had to summarize joy, I would summarize it in two words: God and gratitude. Without God in my life, I could never experience gratitude the way I do today. Gratitude bestows reverence for a holy God and for His goodness and kindness in our lives. And the result is joy

Gratitude for me is just one of the many ways I cultivate joy in my life. Running to and reading God's promises in the Bible produces great joy in my life. Re-reading old journal entries and recognizing that I have a long history of His faithfulness in my life and in the lives of others produces great joy for me. And praising God in prayer and in song also produces joy in my life. It just lights me up. 

I believe many people flirt with gratitude but not everyone lives with it daily. And it’s not because they don’t want it. I think it’s because there’s a huge misconception out there when it comes to gratitude. I think people have come to believe that life must be good, like all the time to live with daily gratitude. Life won’t always be good or feel good but God is good, like all the time. He’s the only constant in our lives and God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And because we can count on Him and His promises, we can experience joy. And because we have a future in Him, we can experience joy. 

If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve learned by now that adversity visits each of us at one time or another but that shouldn’t stop us from living with gratitude. In the midst of our difficulty, we can still be thankful and hopeful because God is in control and God is for us. That truth brings me great comfort and I pray that it will bless you and bring you comfort too. 

I’ve learned that living with gratitude doesn’t “just” happen. It didn’t just happen for me. It came from a genuine desire to live life differently, a real desire to experience joy and a genuine desire to connect and cultivate a relationship with a living God not just sometimes but daily. Gratitude requires desire, intention and practice. Jeremiah 29:13 says, "If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." And Matthew 7:8 says that those who seek, find. 

I have learned to be thankful and to live with gratitude in spite of life's difficulties or the hardship I've experienced in life because God is good. He’s full of love and mercy and has poured out His grace on my life over and over and over. Living with gratitude not only produces joy but it's healthy. It creates positive energy that flows through our body and shines through our eyes.   

I’ve also learned through the years that joy is experienced through giving, giving to others and giving to self. And in order to be good to others, you must learn how to cultivate being good to yourself. I've learned that people can't give what they don't have so learn to be good to you so you can  be good to others. 

And when it comes to giving, we can give in tangle and intangible ways but the most memorable and lasting gifts are rarely tangible but deeds done with love and the words we leave behind when we love and connect with others

In 2004 I read a book that helped me realize and learn that we’re hard wired for connection. I had never really given that topic much thought until I read that book. That was quite eye opening for me. I learned that God created us for community, to connect and to love. That’s why we’re here and so it makes sense to give. Giving is a natural part of community, connecting and loving.

My exhortation to you today is to practice gratitude. And while you’re at it, cultivate and practice compassion, compassion for self and compassion for others. Practice, grace, play, rest and stillness in your life. These are the things that will produce joy in your life. 

If you’re not practicing this with regularity or at all, start today. It’s never too late to start. And it’s never too late to be good to you and to others.

Rehearse this and re-rehearse it as often as you can. Practice and never give up because practicing gratitude and self-care is a gift to self and a gift to others. And when you practice that kind of goodness, it makes you well physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

As always, many thanks for stopping by. Wishing you joy and wholeness always,   

xx, Ruthie

Give thanks in all circumstance; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                    ~1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Did you notice that the above verse doesn’t say give thanks “for” all things but “in” all things?

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~G.K. Chesteron (English writer)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PRAYER: The Great Connector

One day the disciples requested of Jesus: “Teach us to pray.”  Jesus responded by giving them—and us—a marvelous model of prayer.  What is so powerful about the Lord’s Prayer, as it is known, is its utter simplicity.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored and kept holy. May your kingdom come soon.  May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.  Give us our food for today, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.  And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. 
~ Matthew 6:9-13 NLT

The key to prayer is to start simply and quietly.  That’s the idea behind Jesus’ model prayer.  We need a touchstone, a place to start.  Then, as we get to know God better, we will feel comfortable sharing the most intimate details of our lives with Him.

If the Bible is God talking to us, then prayer is us talking to God.  It’s the primary way of connecting to the infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God.  Edward Ferrell wrote that “without prayer, there is no way, no truth, no life.”  Without prayer, you can never get close to God.

Try it.  Start small.  Start with the small stuff in your life.  Talk to God about it in a quiet, isolated place where your self-consciousness isn’t an issue.  As you continue daily, your capacity for prayer will grow larger.  That’s because prayer is like a muscle.  If you exercise it regularly, your prayer muscle will gain strength and your appreciation for God will grow immeasurably.  On the other hand, if you don’t use it, your prayer muscle will shrivel up and your capacity for God will shrink.  And in those times of crisis when you suddenly feel compelled to pray, it will likely be a painful experience.

The good news is that God doesn’t put conditions on your prayer life.  His feelings don’t get hurt when you don’t pray.  But when you do, He connects with you in a powerful way.  Try it today. Talk to God.  He’s listening.

  • Prayer changes things.
  • Pray for people who dislike you.
  • Pray for people you dislike.
  • When you pray, be careful to distinguish your needs from your desire.
  • Prayer without effort will be insincere.  Effort without prayer will be ineffective.
  • If your prayers don’t mean anything to you, they mean even less to God.
  • Live humbly and pray likewise.
  • Don’t pray for a lighter load.  Pray for a stronger back.
  • Become quiet before God in the busiest and nosiest part of your day.
  • Prayer involves listening to God as well as speaking to Him.
  • You can’t stand up against the enemy if you don’t kneel before God.
  • Pray with perseverance and expectancy.
  • At its core, prayer is giving yourself to God.
  • Pray as if the task depends on God and work as if it depends on you.
  • The next time you feel weak in the knees, try using them to pray.
  • There is no such thing as a successful or unsuccessful prayer.
  • People may not talk about their prayer habits, but their lives speak volumes when they pray.

~Author: Unknown

A Note from Ruthie:

According to my journal entry, I read the above words in June 2005. I’m not sure who wrote these words but I do remember that reading this helped change my prayer life and how I connect with God. I hope it does the same for you too. Blessings to you and yours. 

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life, Family, Love

Quiet, pensive, thankful morning. (Yes, the girls [my nieces] are still sleeping.) So thankful for our time together and the new memories we created in four days. Yesterday was a day filled with much laughter. At one point, we laughed so hard, we could hardly breathe. Pure awesomeness! Fantastic moment!

My heart feels so full, and in a way that only these lovely little girls can fill it. We’ve had four great days to catch up on you know … “stuff,” connect and create new memories. I learned that Leila, who is 9 1/2 wants to be a Cryptozoologist which I had never heard of until this past weekend but that's my Leila and Haley who will be 12 next month is thinking about becoming a writer. Awww .... And we’re always a little naughty when they come and stay with me. I let them eat ice-cream way past 8pm and we stay up until midnight most nights, okay every night chewing bubble gum, watching a late night movie or playing games.

This visit has made me realize how quickly they’re growing up. They’re smart, expressive, creative and wild dreamers. I love that about them!  Their company is easy because they're old enough to help in all sorts of ways as we plan and prepare for our days. I’ll miss them terribly after they leave today. My house was full of life, LOTS of energy and estrogen for 4 ½ days. I loved it, my cat Simone …. not so much. Together, we might have been a bit much for her. Leila especially loved hanging out with her big cousin Michael, my son. She never left or allowed him to leave without telling him she loved him, so sweet. She was always so excited when he came home. He's great with kids. 

Yes, today I’m thankful indeed. Thankful for life, family, and love and thankful for how these three things connect us and breathe life into us.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next time,

xx, Ruthie

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How we spent our morning

My nieces Haley and Leila who live in central Illinois have been visiting and staying with me since Thursday. Haley will be 12 next month and Leila is 9 1/2. We've had such a wonderful time since their arrival.

We went to the movies on Friday to see Mirror, Mirror, ... such a funny movie, hit the mall for a while and yesterday we got dressed up and drove downtown with my son Michael to see the Alvin Ailey dancers perform at the Auditorium Theatre. Fantastic performances! Later that evening, we had dinner with my mother (Abuela) and ended our evening watching the movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Today was a much slower day, so thankful for that. No dashing out the door after breakfast. These girls have energy! Our morning was filled with eggs and pancakes, music and art. Below you will find pictures of the art work produced by these two lovely ladies. Love. That's what I’m thankful for and what my heart feels in abundance today.

Happy Sunday!

 "Sol" by Haley, age 11

 "Sun and Moon" by Haley, age 11

 Pinwheels by Haley, age 11

 "Puppy Love" by Leila, age 9

 "The Flower Bunny" by Leila, age 9

 A portrait of Leila and me by Haley, age 11

A portrait of Haley by Leila, age 9

"The Eye" by Haley, age 11 (Amazing, huh???)

"Love" that's what my heart feels.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

my cup overflows

When I saw this print tonight at, I knew I had to have it. It was love at first sight!

I love everything about it: the font, the words, the colors, especially the blue because it's one of my faves and also because I'm always so drawn to blue. Seriously. I've loved the color blue for as long as I can remember. I super love the words 'my cup overflows' because that's exactly how I feel about God, the people I love so much and writing.

These three simple yet powerful words capture perfectly how I feel about our Creator, people and my passion for writing. Yes, I know I'm being redundant but it bears repeating because I love it so much!!! If I didn't know any better, I would say that the artist created this just for me. And you know what? I think He did because Jennifer acknowledges that God is the true artist and that she's the vessel He works through. Thank you God! And bless you Jennifer!

So because I loved it so much, guess what I did??? 

Yep, you guessed right, I purchased it! 

And I can't think of a better weekend (Easter weekend) to purchase art that has such significance. 

To learn more about Jennifer and her inspirational art, click here and to view and purchase her art, click here.

Happy Easter everyone!

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie

p.s. What causes your cup to overflow? Who makes your cup overflow?

Friday, April 6, 2012

It is finished

Today many of us observe what is well known as Good Friday.  And on Good Friday more than any other Friday, we remember what Jesus did for us on Calvary.

As I pondered what Good Friday represents and what Jesus did for us, I recognize that what He did was no small thing and whispered a quiet thank you to Him. A quiet whisper seems incredibly insufficient, don’t you think? But truly I am overwhelming grateful when I sit and ponder His greatness.

“It is finished” are the final words of Jesus on the cross at Calvary before He gave up His life for us. He said, “It is finished,” then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

It is finished means that He accomplished what He came to do. Those who believe by faith are saved by grace. We are not and will never be saved by our own performance. The Bible is pretty clear on that and boy am I ever glad for that because if it was up to good works, I would never get into heaven. Truth be told, we all fail when it come to “enough” good works. I could, we could never do enough good and we could never be good enough. In fact, the Bible says that only God is good.

The truest definition of who we are in Christ means, it is finished. It is "done." I’m so thankful for that.

Today's Prayer:

Thank you God for sending us Your Son Jesus to die on a cross for us. And thank You Jesus for loving us so much that You gave up Your life so we could live. Thank you for helping me understand this mystery. Thank you God for revealing Yourself to me and for helping me recognize truth and for helping me believe. I will never fully understand that kind of love, that Jesus died for me, He paid my sin debt.  I am grateful beyond what my simple words could ever express. Thank you. My cup runneth over ... 

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie


Persist. Persist even though the change you desire hasn’t happened yet.  Persist even when you don’t feel like it.
Persist! Persist! Persist!

Anything worth having or accomplishing or dreaming about is worth persisting.

No matter what it looks like and no matter what it feels like, persist.

You must persist to pray, and to walk and to run in this race we call life. You must persist to choose love over indifference and forgiveness over unforgiveness. It’s easy to cave and live like some others who settle for indifference and unforgiveness. Please don’t settle. Whatever you choose, choose better because there’s no joy in settling and I’m here to remind you that it takes real courage to choose differently, to choose better. Be courageous and live courageously and choose kindness, kindness for others and kindness for self as well.

Persist to seek goodness and persist to live with gratitude and to be patient because good things come to those who wait and seeking goodness and living with gratitude makes life feel so much richer.

Persist to believe and to hope and to keep faith alive. Believe the best, hope for the best and persist to exercise those faith muscles because you were made with purpose and for purpose and God always has new plan for you even when things don’t work out how you thought it would.

You must persist on seeking Him, He who is in control of all things and He who holds the world in the palm of His hands. Remember, nothing is impossible for God and with God. Nothing.

If you’re going to be an active walker, runner and participant in life, and if you want to see the change you desire, and the change you dream and pray about, you must choose to persist.

Choose to partner with God and allow Him to work through you and with you as a vessel of change.

So keep on keeping on. Keep persisting because if you give up, nothing will change and everything will remain the same.

Allow me to remind you today that we are energy and we have power, power to create movement and change and a better world so tap into the Source and keep persisting.

Don't give up! Ever.

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Saying no is necessary

Saying no is very necessary sometimes. Saying no so you can say yes to time and space and self-care and recovery is not only healthy but very necessary. And saying no to honor your priorities and the commitments you make to yourself are equally important and necessary as well.

Yes, saying no is very good indeed. So throw out the guilt. Abolish the negative self-talk and practice honoring your mind, body and spirit regularly and be good to you! We weren't created to say yes to all things and to all people. And we weren’t created to live without periods of adequate rest and soul care. Rest and soul care are very important, very necessary so practice saying no more often and without the guilt and say yes to you, because you’re worth it and because you deserve it!

Wishing you wellness and wholeness today and always.

Until next time,

xx, Ruthie