Friday, November 30, 2012

Legacy

Today's thought for the day ... 

It’s never too late and it’s never too early to think about the kind of legacy you want to leave behind. ~Ruthie




Monday, November 19, 2012

A note to my girls

Below is an e-mail that I sent to my favorite girls this morning. These girls are the women I do life with. These are the women that I love and trust, women who have blessed me immensely through the years, women who have been there when I needed them. Through the years, we have done so much together: coffee, dinners, movies, dancing, concerts, road trips, sleep overs, drive by's for hugs and flowers and countless of hours talking and listening. We've cried together, laughed together, prayed together and have loved and supported each other through life's most difficult seasons. Today, I'm super thankful for these amazing women and for the gift of friendship. 

Several years ago, I ran into my 4th and 6th grade teacher at a grocery store in Park Ridge, IL. Her name then was Miss Farrell and yes, she was my teacher both in 4th grade and again in 6th grade. Our encounter occurred as I was shopping for dessert, I was headed to a dinner party that evening and she was shopping for provisions. We spotted each other somewhere between the produce section and the dessert area. I was thrilled she remembered me, probably because she taught me for 18 months and even happier when she shared with me that my face hadn't changed a bit since she last saw me. Really??? Bless her heart for sharing that with me. That made my day! As we chatted and tried to catch up on twenty-five years of life, she shared with me that she eventually married but had just lost her husband that year due to an illness. I think she said cancer but I can't remember clearly. She shared with me that she met and married him late in life. She added that although she met him late in life, she experienced a beautiful marriage and the years that she had with him were wonderful. I was really glad for her because he left her with fond memories of love. That's a beautiful gift. 

I will never forget what she taught me that day. She said to me, "You know, Ruth, if it wasn't for my girlfriends, I would have never survived such a painful season in my life." She added that she was grateful that her years as a singleton allowed her time to invest in her friendships because it was her girlfriends who were there for her when she needed love the most. Her parting words to me that day were: "Invest in your friendships and never take them for granted because it's your girlfriends in life who will be there for you when it matters the most." Two and a half decades later, this lovely woman was still teaching me. Isn't that amazing? God bless her where ever she is. I have never forgotten those words!  And I will never forget her or her teaching spirit. Thank you Miss Farrell!

Below is the note I sent to my girls via e-mail this morning:

Well Good Morning my darlings, 

How are you on this fantastic Monday morning???

The verse below from the book of John really ministered to me and encouraged me yesterday when I read it and again this morning when I re-read it. Seriously, this verse makes my heart smile. Sometimes, God's word just WOW's me. Doesn't it WOW you sometimes? I love those WOW moments. I live for those WOW moments! And last night and again this morning, this is the verse that has me saying: WOW! I wanted to share it with you, my lovelies who I love so much! Each of you bless me in your own unique way and if I haven't told you lately, thank you. Thank you for being you and for being part of my life and for your goodness and for how you bless me. I never want to take for granted that I have such amazing, beautiful women and friendships in my life. 

The coming days and weeks will be busy, no doubt. This is always such a busy season but this year, during this season, I'm being super intentional about spending extra quiet time with God. I even deactivated my Facebook account so I can stay focused. I know!!!! Can you believe it?!!! Even Michael is shocked! LOL! (I think he thinks Jesus might be coming if Mama deactivated her Facebook account. LOL!)  ; )

Dear ones, I'm wishing for you an awesome week filled with gratitude, gratitude for life, love and God's goodness and blessings. Girls, He is so good to us and He loves us so much. Even though our lives are less than perfect, life is still so beautiful and filled with such beauty. I'm being intentional these days about so many things and lately, I'm looking for beauty in the ordinary, in our every day lives. And you know what? It's there. We just need to look for it, even when things feel hard and dark, even when we feel frustrated and sad, even when things don't look like they're changing. 

My sweethearts, may God's favor be upon you today and every day and may He bless you with wisdom, discernment, good health and peace. And may He provide for your every need during your journey. I love you. Never doubt that. 

With Gratitude for our friendship,

xx, Ruthie

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. ~John 16:13




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Intimacy with God

Below you'll find a great sermon, a You Tube video on the topic of intimacy with God. It's a fantastic message delivered by Dr. Charles Stanley, one of my favorite teachers who I listen to on television or on the internet when I get a chance. I heard this message a few weeks ago and decided to listen to it again tonight as I was folding laundry.

Before I gave my life to Christ in June 1999, it was my cousin Lisa who e-mailed me on a daily basis, sending me devotional messages written by Dr. Charles Stanley. Bless her heart for doing that. Everything he wrote I remember just made sense to me and made me think alot about many things during that season in my life. Often times I would read things that related to my very specific circumstance and that both amazed me and would freak me out a bit.

Lisa e-mailed me faithfully for well over a year and then one day, much to her surprise, I surrendered my life to God. It happened in a church in South Barrington, Illinois during the summer of 1999. I was led to to this church by three different people who didn't even know each other. Lisa was not one of the three people. During that season in my life, Lisa was a seed planter in the equation, a person who God placed in my life to share the Gospel message with me in bits and pieces, sometimes through conversations but mostly through these e-mails, these devotional messages written by Dr. Charles Stanley.

To this day it still amazes me that three different people who didn't even know each other kept inviting me to this church in South Barrington. Each of them insisted that I come visit this church and each of them insisted that I would absolutely love it. After a while, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe God might be up to something. I remember thinking: this HAS to be God. I think God wants me to start going to church again.

I grew up Catholic and attended church until I was about sixteen. I stopped attending because I didn't enjoy it and also because I worked on Sunday mornings. I began church shopping a little in my mid twenties when I lived in Lousiville, Kentucky but never found a church that helped me understand that life is about a relationship with God. I didn't learn this until 1999, until I started attending Willow Creek Community Church, until I gave my life to Christ. It was in that church that I could really hear the Gospel message and after a while I started reading it for myself. When I started attending services at Willow Creek Community Church, I loved it! My friends were so right, I loved it there and I looked forward to attending every single weekend. Imagine that???!

I still remember the day I shared with Lisa that I accepted Christ into my life. I gave my life to Christ within a 4 week period of attending that church in South Barrington. When I shared the news with Lisa, I remember where we were. I remember that we were in my kitchen. She was visiting and sitting at the kitchen counter. I was living in Elk Grove Village at the time. I was standing in the kitchen in front of my white stove talking with my hands in the air as I usually do and waving a black spatula back and forth in my right hand. I must have been cooking something simple like a grilled cheese sandwich or a quesadilla as we were talking.

Anyhow, I remember Lisa's eyes welling up with tears, when I shared the news with her. I could tell in her eyes that something really important had just happened to me. I don't think I really realized in that moment how my life would change and how amazing it is to have your eternity in heaven sealed. In the coming weeks and months and years after I gave my life to Christ, life changed, and my heart changed too, they changed in really good ways. That singular decision I made in June 1999 was one of the best decisions I have ever made in life, one that I will never regret. Today, I'm so thankful for that decision.

So take a listen to this message, delivered by one of my favorite people, Dr. Stanely. I hope God speaks to you through this message and may this message bless you richly.

Until next time,

xx, Ruthie

The greatest miracle in life will always be salvation. Always, always. 
Siempre, siempre mi gente!



May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you, lift you up and bless you with His peace.  ~Numbers 24-26

When God’s face shines upon you, that’s Big Daddy smiling at you, beloved.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creative spirits never "really" retire

Here's what I've observed through the years about creative people: creative spirits never "really" retire. They may take sabbaticals here and there but they always return to do what they love. For me, my creative thing is writing. I love to write. Seriously, I just love, love, love to write. Professionally speaking and by definition I am not a writer, but at the very core of who I am, I am a writer. It’s what makes me feel most alive. It’s what I love to do when I have down time. It's what I love to do when I want to communicate to a loved one what I'm feeling and what they mean to me. Writing for me is easier than speaking because I'm able to share and express myself from the heart in an uninterrupted manner. It's an opportunity for me to leave people with words, my words, words of encouragement, words that communicate: "You're important to me, you matter and I love you." I never want to minimize the power of words. Words are SO incredibly powerful. And the gift of words, the right words, words expressed with love and gratitude are incredibly valuable. When you write someone a letter to encourage them or to communicate how much they mean to you, you are giving them an indelible gift. They will then be able to read and re-read that letter as often as they need to. It's something tangible for them to keep, to hold on to, it's something valuable that will help them remember. And sometimes, we just need to remember. 

From a very early age, I have always loved words and how people string words together to communicate. Seriously, it has always been so fascinating to me. And rarely do I meet people who share this same passion but when I meet one of these lovely creatures, I get ridiculously excited and our conversations are always fantastic!

When I sit to write I feel like it clears my head and helps me record and communicate what I’m thinking, what I’m processing, and what I’m learning. Writing has been very good therapy for me through the years. At times, it’s been incredibly cathartic and sometimes we just need to find a way to release what we feel. For me, writing is that thing that helps me communicate what I feel. Writing is my release. For others, it’s calling a friend or talking to their therapist or praying to God. Admittedly, I have done all three but writing is what helps me the most, it’s what heals me, it's what helps me learn because as I write, I learn so much about myself. Undoubtedly, writing is that thing that makes me feel most alive. And I think it's because there are so many emotions involved when you write. Writing for me is my safe place, a sacred practice a very necessary thing for me. People feel most alive when they do the thing they love to do, what they were wired and created to do in life. And I believe I was born to write.

Many people have shared with me through the years that my writing inspires them. It's such a blessing to hear that because it's confirmation for me. It confirms that I'm doing the very thing that God created me to do. Writing is important to me and the content of what I write about is important to me. It makes me feel really good inside to know that my writing is making a difference. One of the reasons why it makes me feel good is because often times when I write, the heart of many people are on my mind and I trust and pray that when they read my words, it will bless them in some small way.  

Not today, and not tomorrow but one day I will be old and if I get to have my way in life, I will continue to write until I take my last breath. I may take a sabbatical here and there, but I will always return to what I love the most. And what I love the most is writing and who I love the most is God. Today, I am thankful that God created me to write. 

Love and blessings to you and yours ...

xx, Ruthie


May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you, lift you up and bless you with His peace.  ~Numbers 24-26

When God’s face shines upon you, that’s Big Daddy smiling at you, beloved.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Proverbs 3:1-35

Have you ever read Proverbs 3? I mean, have you ever REALLY read this Proverb??? Well if you read the Bible with any regularity, you've probably read this one more than once. And I've read it more than once too. In fact, I've read it alot through the years but NOT like today. Today I read this Proverb three times, yes three times S-L-O-W-L-Y. Today, I was so-o drawn to this Proverb and to every single verse in it. I read each verse slowly, soaking in every word and I gave myself just enough time and space to pay attention to what I was thinking and what God might be trying to communicate to me through this Proverb. What a blessing and what a gift to experience this today.

My conclusion: This REALLY is a GREAT Proverb! And God is a GREAT God! This Proverb is too great and wonderful not to share. So that's why I'm here, blogging about it. It's brilliant and covers so much. These are great words to heed. And I can already tell that I will need more time soaking it in. My goal for this week is to continue reading Proverbs 3. Something in my spirit tells me that I've only experienced a glimpse of what God wants to reveal to me through this Proverb.

If you've been following my blog for a while now, you have probably already gathered that I love God, like alot. Yeah, I'm a pretty big fan. :o) And I super love His Word. One of my favorite things about reading God's Word is how a specific verse or how specific verses can jump out at me, speak to me, teach me, bless me, comfort me and encourage me right when I need it. Those are oh my gosh, AMAZING moments. I super LOVE those moments! The right verse at the right time is ALWAYS such a blessing and it's just one of the many ways God speaks to us. 

Today, for the very first time, I'm experiencing an ENTIRE Proverb in ways I hadn't experienced before. I super loved every single minute I spent reading this Proverb. It's rich, so rich in content and the experience was rich. Rich, rich, rich! Can I say the word enough??? And I hope you'll read this one too. I hope you'll read it slowly, soaking in each verse. Today, I'm believing and praying it will bless every single person who reads this Proverb in rich and surprising ways. 


My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
    and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
    and your vats will overflow with good wine.
11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
    the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
    and her wages are better than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
    and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
    all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
    happy are those who hold her tightly.
19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
    by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,
    and the dew settles beneath the night sky.
21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
    Hang on to them,
22 for they will refresh your soul.
    They are like jewels on a necklace.
23 They keep you safe on your way,
    and your feet will not stumble.
24 You can go to bed without fear;
    you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
    or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
    He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
    when it’s in your power to help them.
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
    “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”
29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor,
    for those who live nearby trust you.
30 Don’t pick a fight without reason,
    when no one has done you harm.
31 Don’t envy violent people
    or copy their ways.
32 Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord,
    but he offers his friendship to the godly.
33 The Lord curses the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the home of the upright.
34 The Lord mocks the mockers
    but is gracious to the humble.
35 The wise inherit honor,
    but fools are put to shame!



Give God time

Sometimes when we're going through difficulty, we need to remember that we must be patient in our afflictions. Beloved, if you're experiencing a storm, a difficulty or a difficult season, give God time. Give God time because Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that He makes ALL things beautiful in His time. I've learned through the years that His time table is not our time table. Timing is everything. Sometimes we think we know the right time but God's time is always right and He's always right on time. Isaiah 55:8 says, "His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways." We must trust His ways over our ways. His ways are better so don't grow weary in waiting or in your difficult season. God knows what He's doing so don't get discouraged and don't lose hope. Difficult seasons happen. They happen to the best of us but they eventually pass. Dear one, keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep declaring God's promises over your life, and your circumstance and over the lives of others. I know it's hard sometimes, especially when you don't see anything changing but don't give up! He knows what you're feeling. He knows your heart. He knows your desires. He knows your every wish and your every dream. He knows you intimately beloved. He knows you better than your best friend, your parents or your spouse. He really does. And He see's you and He hears you. Don't believe for a minute that He doesn't. He knows your every thought and every word you speak even before you speak it. 

What ever you're going through, what ever you're feeling, it's not over. It's not over until God says it's over. Here's what I've learned through the years: If God is in it, there is no limit in the blessings He will pour out, no limit. So if He hasn't whispered that it's over, you be patient. You hang tight. Keep praying. Keep believing because He's working things out. (Romans 8:28) You have to believe that. So don't give up, don't throw in the towel because you might be "feeling" weary. Remember, life isn't based on "feelings." Feelings come and go. Life is based on truth and the truth is: God is for you and He loves you and He wants to bless you, so give God time.

Until next time, hope fully!

xx, Ruthie

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD. And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. ~Isaiah 55:8

He makes ALL things beautiful in His time. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11

God causes EVERYTHING to work together, for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. ~Romans 8:28

Trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you. ~1 Peter 4:19



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6: Gratitude

Day 6: No one, any where under any circumstance is ever too lost for God to redeem. If He could do it for me, He can and will do it for anyone. If you’re praying for the lost or someone who is lost, don't lose hope and never give up. Give God time. Keep praying even though you don't see change. Keep praying even if its been years. Keep praying because that's why Jesus came and that's who Jesus gave His life up for. Jesus came for the lost. He came for you, He came for me. He died for you. He died for me. I once was a very lost girl, lost and spiritually blind and dead. I'm no longer lost or blind or dead. I've been redeemed and saved by a great Savior. His name is Jesus. Our faith and our prayers activate God's power and that's why I pray, that's why we should pray and keep praying. And when you pray, pray in the mighty name of Jesus. There is power in that name. 

There are many who are blind, spiritually dead, lost and broken and they need our prayers. Don't stop praying. Don't give up. Let's keep praying. Let's keep believing! Love unconditionally, hope fully and believe. Remember believing is based on faith, not feelings. Faith is believing the unseen before it happens. Believe and your feelings will eventually catch up with you. 

Today I'm thankful for so much. I'm thankful that God was relentless in His pursuit for me, so thankful! I was a stubborn one, no doubt about it. God is so patient! I'm also thankful for those who prayed for me through the years and for those who never gave up on me, who believed in me, encouraged me, helped me and loved me. We all need people to believe in us. I'm also thankful that God is the God of second chances, thankful that He is full of mercy and for His amazing grace.

Lastly, I'm also thankful for the gift of prayer and that now I'm able to pray with faith for those that God places on my heart who are lost and weary, those who are hurting, those who struggle to forgive, who live with anger and bitterness and brokenness, those who need godly wisdom and discernment and those who need a revelation from God and His healing touch which will transform their lives in beautiful and radical ways. A touch from God will transform any soul in ways that they could never imagine. It's something super-natural and it's something that has to be experienced for anyone to understand it. 

Do I have any believers reading this today? If you're a believer, say: Amen. If you're not a believer, or if you struggle to believe, pray to God and ask Him to help you believe. I learned a few years ago through a Beth Moore Bible Study that we receive little, because we ask for little. Learning that changed the way I prayed. Beloved reader, God is a big God. So let's pray boldly and confidently because nothing is impossible for God.  

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie


May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you, lift you up and bless you with His peace.  ~Numbers 24-26

When God’s face shines upon you, that’s Big Daddy smiling at you, beloved.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude


For three years now, I post something every day during the month of November on Facebook sharing with friends and family what I'm thankful for. I do this because I want to encourage others to think about gratitude and to live with gratitude and also because this practice helps me slow down long enough to share what I'm grateful for. It helps me recognize how blessed I really am to be alive and to experience such blessings. Every day may not be a perfect day but every day has something in it that we can give God thanks for. 

Living with gratitude is a practice and I live with gratitude daily to a holy God for His goodness in my life. Everything I experience I've learned has something to teach me and I've learned to be thankful in all things. Someone once said that gratitude turns what we have into enough. Such true words ... As I get older, I'm learning to become content in all things. I don't have everything I want but everything I need I have and for that I'm grateful. I never want to take for granted that I live in such a rich country. When I consider how others live in other countries, it makes me feel like a spoiled brat when I want more, more, more. Sometimes, I just need a reality check and I must remember, that I have all I need. In fact, I spent most of 2012 purging and gave away so much. It wasn't easy but in the end, it felt good and I feel SO free! Less really is more. It's about dynamic equilibrium. That's just a fancy way of saying: balance. ; ) 

At age 45, I've come to recognize that I want to live the rest of my life appreciating every waking moment as much as possible. I realize its not always possible but every day I've learned is a gift from God filled with beautiful and sacred moments. I want to recognize and acknowledge these extraordinary and sometimes quite simple moments and whisper quiet thank you's to God Almighty for allowing me to witness and experience such beauty.   

I found a video on gratitude tonight on Pinterest. I really enjoyed how it slowed me down for six minutes and how it made my heart smile and feel grateful. I'm pretty sure it lowered my blood pressure too. It's a lovely and ponderous video. Click here to view it. I hope it blesses you.

So ... tell me. What are you thankful for today?

Until next time, love and blessings to you and yours ...

xx, Ruthie


May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you, lift you up and bless you with His peace.  ~Numbers 24-26

When God’s face shines upon you, that’s Big Daddy smiling at you, beloved.