Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Family Trees

Saturday night is our church Mother and Daughter Banquet and I will be speaking. Yikes! I've been working hard on the devotional message on "Legacies" which led me back to my roots.

One of the neatest things I inherited from my parents was a thick genealogy book on the Ruth Family. Through that voluminous tome I can trace one branch of my family tree back to 1717 when Joseph Ruth, a Swiss-German Anabaptist immigrant left Europe and landed at the Port of Philadelphia.

His son, Henry Ruth, born somewhere around 1690 in Europe, purchased a farm in the southeastern PA area around Salford. What amazes me is that most of my family still lives in that area of PA.

Henry had a son - John Ruth, born in 1725, who became a weaver. John's son, Henry, purchased a farm of 145 acres which was valued at $755 - a far cry from real estate in that area today!

This Henry had a son Jacob Ruth, who followed in his grandfather's footsteps to become a weaver. Jacob had no sons, but he did have a quiver full of daughters - 7 of them! Poor man...I wonder if that's what drove him to an early grave? Might make an interesting story someday...

Jacob's daughter Amelia was born in 1812 and married a man by the name of Shoemaker. She died at age 29 birthing a son, Jacob in 1841. Jacob's daughter Hannah, born in 1866 married a Swartley. She named her son after her father Jacob in 1895.

In 1930, Jacob had a daughter - my Mom - who married my dad and of course, they had me. The Ruth Genealogy book was published in 1972, so though I'm listed in the book, none of my children are.

Now, I know, the last thing you wanted to read here today was a long list of "begats" so I'll stop with the names. But the really cool thing as I looked through the book was the number of preachers listed in the family - not necessarily from my particular branch, but in some of the other family lines descended from Henry Ruth. Most of them are Mennonites and most lived and worked in the Southeastern PA area.

I feel so blessed to have received such a legacy of faith along with their strong work ethic and values. To be in ministry myself and be passing on this faith of my ancestors thrills my heart.

But the truth is - all of us who claim to be followers of Christ have a strong "family" history filled with examples like David, Abraham and Moses. We are part of Hebrews chapter 11, the faith chapter, living our lives according to His plan and passing on a legacy to future generations.

Consider these powerful words from the song "Future Generations" by 4 Him:

"I won't bend and I won't break,
I won't water down my faith
I won't compromise in a world of desperation.
What has been I cannot change
But for tomorrow and today
I must be a light to future generations."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Don't Worry - Mama's Happy...

"'If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!'" We smile as we read the wall plaque in the novelty store. But our smile quickly turns to a frown if truly "Mama ain't happy." This is because the wife and mother in a family often "sets the tone" in the home. The "tone" God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism, and a delight in the Lord and in her family. If your family were called upon to describe you, what would they say?"

~Martha Peace, "The Excellent Wife"~


I think I have a love-hate relationship with this quote! While I agree with the truth of it - that Mama's carry a lot of weight in determining the tone of the household - what happens to the Mama who hides her own inner workings and puts on the happy face for everyone else to see?

I remember one supper meal as a teenager when I was upset about something that had happened in our family. I sat at the table and fumed. I wanted to be sent to my room where I could pout out loud, but instead I was made to sit there and pretend to be happy; to choke back my feelings with food - because Mama said so.

In my life, it was always "choke down your real feelings and put on the pretend face." You never let on to anyone outside the household what happened there or how you really felt. And inside the household it wasn't any better - no one talked about the deep feelings of the heart.

Little wonder when I married and had a family of my own, I put on the happy face for everyone outside to see, but at home Mama wasn't happy. This Mama was angry - so angry inside it led to a cycle of yelling at my kids, then feeling so bad because I had yelled that I'd cry myself to sleep that night.

Well, Mama can't live that way forever so the depression came. I stopped yelling and started beating myself up on the inside.I hated what I was becoming and yet was helpless to change on my own. Mama set the household tone all right - everyone had to walk on egg shells around me. This Mama was a big mess!

Thank God He loves Mamas. He wasn't content to let me stay that way because He knows how important Mamas are to the tone of the household. He healed and encouraged, built up and restored this Mama as I put Him first in my life. By His grace He helped me raise three wonderful kids who love Him.

Now I tell Mamas to nourish the vertical relationship between themselves and God. Even if you don't think you have time or the energy to do it, put that relationship first because hurting Mamas hurt the whole family. Do it - even if you have to set something else aside because nothing is more important than becoming a happy healty Mama! And only when Mama's vertical relationship is strong can she nurture and set a healthy, happy, Christ-filled tone in her home.

Today, my daughter marvels at the patience I have with my grand kids - more than I ever had with her while she was growing up. Is it from maturity? Nope! It's the difference putting my relationshop with Christ as top priority has made. Now, Mama's happy and it makes a BIG difference.


This week, Christin is our hostess for In Other Words. Check out her take on the quote at her site As Gold Refined and be sure to leave her a comment!

If you'd like to play along - blog about the quote on your site then visit Christin and leave your blog URL in the Mr. Linky connection at the end of her blog.

Feel free to visit the blogs of the other participants at her site as well and read what they wrote today!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Jesus loves me...

I love being a Grandma!
These are 4 of my wonderful Grand Kids singing Jesus Loves Me to cheer me up - and believe me, It worked!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Funeral Saturday

To all my dear friends who may have been wondering where I am:

This has been a rough week. My father was in the hospital with severe pneumonia and the doctors wanted my brother and I to make a decision regarding long term care for him. He was on a breathing tube but that needed to come out because it wasn't helping.

We opted not to do the tracheotomy and feeding tube, just having the doctors keep him comfortable. He has been through so much and is a Christian. Since Mom passed away in November, he really missed her and longed to go to be with her. He was 82 years old.

Dad passed away quietly on Wednesday afternoon. The funeral will be Saturday morning.
So that's been my week. Keep my family in prayer if you will. Thanks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

When "community" happens...

"To be intimate with others is to reveal our innermost selves to them, including our emotions, thoughts and desires. For such deep sharing of the soul and spirit to occur, people must respect and trust each other. ... In a world controlled by sin, however, to choose to be intimate is to choose to be hurt. Yet Jesus calls us to this kind of intimacy with Him and with one another."
~ Kenneth A. Schmidt ~

I participate with several other writers in an online writing group. When this group started meeting over a year ago, we were individuals - our relationship was more on a surface level as we wrote and critiqued each other's work. We shared the obvious joys or successes, but it took longer for us to begin sharing our rejections and needs as writers.

I'm not sure when it happened - when we crossed the line from being writing associates who were Christians to a Christian "community" of writers who care deeply for each other and support one another in prayer, in joys, in rejections and even in our day-to-day struggles, but it happened.

Several months ago, a few members of the group that were available at the designated time began to meet for an online Bible Study. Each week as we met together to study God's word, our relationship deepened as we began to be honest with each other and open up about what was really happening inside ourselves as writers.

It was a scary thing as we addressed the question of why we have to suffer as Christians and how God can use those sufferings to minister to others. For several weeks we talked about it, then one day I began to really hear what the others were saying. For the first time, I wept as I listened to one of my fellow writers because I felt I could really see the suffering she endured from her auto accident - the pain she went through then and the pain she continues to experience.

I shared the pain of depression I had experienced and felt as though my heart had been heard, understood and affirmed. I hope the others felt it too.

That day we went from being a group of individuals who wrote together to a group that really understood each other - with all our flaws, pain and inadequacies. This is the very intimacy Jesus calls us to with Him and with one another.

Now it becomes scary - in opening up to this group of caring friends, I have opened myself up to be hurt. Because we are sinful people and because we have suffered, we have the ability to hurt one another, perhaps not intentionally, but the possibility exists nevertheless. Hurt people hurt people.

But the truth is - Jesus knows I need the support and care of my friends. I need the intimacy of these relationships. I need the lessons of trust I am learning. As He walks with me He helps me to be vulnerable, open and honest in spite of that potential for hurt. He helps me to grow as a person and in my relationship with Him. If hurt happens, He will be there to walk me through it and help restore those relationships.

He said, "This is how people will know you are my disciples - because you love one another." May I paraphrase a bit? "This is how others will know you are my disciples, because you are open, honest and vulnerable with each other; because there is a trusting and strong, supportive, intimate relationship."

Can all Christians develop this kind of relationship? Probably not but Jesus is faithful to bring us to the point we are ready for such relationships. He will bring those across our path who will help us grow in intimacy; to fulfill this calling for our lives.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New "We've moved" card design

Seems like every time I turn around I need a gift for someone. In the near future, there are two dear friends moving away, 2 new babies coming and a wedding. Whew! I'm gonna be busy.

So it's back to the design board. Here's what I came up with for my two friends who are moving - a set of lime and aqua color cards with plenty of room inside to notify their friends of their new address!

Materials used:
- 1 sheet white or neutral cardstock cut in half to make two 4.25 x 5.5 inch cards
- 2 sheets patterned paper cut into 4.25 x 2.5 inch pieces
- Scraps of aqua blue, white and lime colored card stock for birdhouse stamped image, mat, "We've Moved" stamped image and center strip between patterned papers
- blue embossing powder and heat gun- silk flower and brad
- gauze cream colored ribbon with picot edging
- 2 blue eyelets and 4" piece of aqua blue ribbon 1/4 inch

Cut and position two pieces of patterned paper on front of card and use a thin strip of aqua paper to separate them .

Stamp /emboss bird house image and mat it. Fasten silk flower in corner with brad.
Glue strip of gauze ribbon and birdhouse image to card.

Stamp and emboss "We've Moved" to lime cardstock. Use 2 mini blue eyelets on left side to thread blue ribbon through and glue to card.

Inside the card I like to use a liner which is one sheet of copy paper with the sentiment printed on it. I try to line it up on the computer so I get 2 liners which fold to fit inside the card, This covers up any brad legs or other messy things that might show on the inside of the card.

Just a note to let you know
we’ve moved…
Our new address is:
Happy crafting!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Are you using the right cup?

A young man struggled to breathe the stifling air of the overcrowded train car in Dehli. It was hot outside, causing the temperature inside the railway car to reach 120 degrees. Around him, several passengers suffered from varying degrees of heat exhaustion. From the front of the car, a voice cried out, "Will someone bring a cup of water? There is an ill man here."

The young man made his way to the water fountain and drew a cup of water, then made his way to the prostrate man at the front of the car holding out the much needed water. He noticed the ill man was a Brahman, a member of the highest caste in India. Though the young man held out the water cup, the Brahman man ignored it. It was as though the young man wasn't even there.

Someone nearby suggested, "You must use the Brahman's cup."

Once more the young man made his way to the fountain with the Brahman's cup and filled it. This time when he held the cup out to the ill man, the Brahman reached for the cup, gulping the water down.

"Thank yo so much." the man said. "I was so thirsty. I really needed that. "

The young man made his way back to his seat, saddened by what had occurred. His neighbor leaned over to him and said, "Don't be upset. Yes the Brahman man needed the water you offered and your help was appreciated. You just used the wrong cup."

After hearing that story, the Lord spoke to my heart. There are so many who need to hear the message of the unconditional love of Christ. It is the cup of water which will save their lives. Yet even when He is held out to them, they act like He isn't even there. It is as though He is invisible.

Perhaps it's because I am handing Him to them in the wrong cup. As a writer, do I use "church-ese," a language commonly understood by believers - or do I present the Gospel in words those outside the church can relate to? What type of writing do I use to deliver His message - devotions which appeal to Christians or other genres which will capture the attention and imagination of all who read it? Am I blogging on Christian sotes or on other networks where the thirsty can read it?

We have a life-giving message for those around us. We just have to use the right "cup" to deliver it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love in the Little Things

This week's quote is:

One of the most wonderful things about knowing God is that there's always so much more to know, so much more to discover.Just when we least expect it, He intrudes into our neat and tidy notions about who He is and how He works.

~ Joni Eareckson Tada ~

This is our first spring in our new house. The pastor's wife before me must have been somewhat of a gardener because I am enjoying the sight as all the spring bulb plants are coming up. All around the house are crocus, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and more! It makes me love being here even more as I see each new thing.

It's a little like that with God. The longer I walk with Him, the more wondrous little things I discover about Him. I already know He is a BIG God - infinite, all powerful, all knowing and all seeing. But those attributes boggle my mind. I simply can't understand eternity with my finite mind.

I prefer to get to know Him through the little things, like the heavenly hugs He gives me. For instance, last evening, I lost an earring. Not a big life shattering event. But I was disappointed because a dear friend had given them to me. I looked all over and couldn't find it. This morning, as I went into the bathroom to shower, there was something in my clog.

When I bent down to see what was in there, I was surprised to to see it was my earring. Understand, I had already been outside with the dog that morning and hadn't felt it in my shoe at that point - it could have gotten lost outside and I never would have known. But there it was. As I thought about it, I realized that's the third pair of earrings where I have lost one and God "found" it for me.

It's just a little thing. But in reality, it's huge! Each time He does something little like that for me, it reaffirms His care for me. It's like a heavenly hug from my Father that says, "You matter to me!" It strengthens me to trust Him in the big overwhelming things when it is hard to trust.

I have had such a hard time really learning to trust Him because of the emotional baggage I've carried since childhood. Trust for me requires retraining my thoughts so I am no longer listening to and believing the negative lies about myself.

When I consciously stop to look around, there are so many little things He does to say "I love you" each day. New flowers, things He helps me get done, new friends. When I least expect it, He is there, blessing and loving on me. He intrudes into my notions about who He is and how He works effectively helping me change the way I see myself so I can believe I am His daughter rather than a slave to the old hurts of my past.

Now, that's a wondrous God!

This week, Susan is hosting "In 'Other' Words" at her site, Forever His . She has chosen a quote from by Joni Eareckson Tada. If you'd like to participate today, simply blog about the quote on your site them visit Susan and leave your blog URL along with a comment. While you're at it, visit some of the other IOW blogs and leave a comment for them as well!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Missions Banquet recipes

We kicked off our Missions convention this week with an International Pot Luck meal at church last night. I decided to make a dish to pass from each of the countries represented by the missionaries who will be speaking this week - Russia, South Aftica, Breece and Bulgaria.

Because it was a big hit, I thought it would be fun to share the recipes I used and if you have any from these countries - please leave your recipe and a comment - I'd love to try them!

The first three recipes I found on the World Heart Circle of International Cooking . The last recipe was from a really cool pastor's wife friend of mine who lives in Russia. They were all delicious and went over well. My personal favorites are the Almond Raspberry Cake and the Salad Olivier!

Greek - Almond Raspberry Cake adapted from The Universal Kitchen by Elisabeth Rozin

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Quake Oats
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Butter -- Chopped
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Medium Eggs
1 Cup Almonds -- Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 Cup Seedless Raspberry Preserves
Confectioner's Sugar

Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and chocolate chips, mix well. Cut in chopped butter. Pat the crumb mixture into 9 inch buttered pan. Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs, beat well, add almonds, salt and almond extract, mix well, spread preserves over crust, pour almond batter over the preserves, bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees, dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.


Bulgarian - Cheese Bread (Tutmanik) adapted from Bulgarian Rhapsody By Linda Joyce Forristal

1 Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Medium Eggs
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Pound Feta Cheese -- crumbled
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds

In medium bowl, mix together yogurt, eggs, oil, feta and salt. Sift together flour and baking powder, slowly add the yogurt mixture and stir well. Pour into a well-greased 8x8 inch baking dish. Lightly sprinkle with paprika and caraway seeds. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


South African - Sosaties (South Africa) adapted from rice dishes of the world

4 Cups Cooked Rice
4 Pounds Pork -- cubed
4 Large Onions -- chopped
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Medium Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
1 Tablespoon Turmeric
1/2 Cup Vinegar
Salt And Pepper -- to taste
Paprika -- to taste

Combine all but rice in large bowl. Marinate 24 hours. Pour into large skillet, Boil until pork & onions are tender. Thicken marinade with cornstarch if necessary. Serve over rice.


Russian - Salad Olivier (From a Pastor’s wife)


· 1 ½ Cup ham cubed
· 3-4 cooked potatoes
· 2 pickles
· 4 eggs
· ½ cup peas
· ½ cup carrots diced
· salt and pepper to taste
· mayonnaise

Directions Cook eggs and potatoes. Cool and dice. Add to ham, pickles, peas and carrots. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mayo as desired.

Friday, April 11, 2008

You're Invited Notecards

During the Victorian era, the personal invitation note was an essential part of etiquette. These notes were hand-written with one's best penmanship. Often a card bearing the sender's name and formal title were enclosed along with a separate note to RSVP.

While we still use personal invitations for events such as weddings, showers and parties, sending personal notes and cards has largely been replaced with Instant messaging, texting, and e-mail because it is cost effective and let's face it - FASTER.

But according to church growth specialists, personal invitations are one of the best ways to invite people to participate in your church e vents, whether by the new techie tools, word of mouth or hand written notes.

It's the personal touch that counts - that a person took the time to actually pick up the phone and call or to send the personal note.

For our Mother and Daughter banquet this year, we are going with a Victorian decorating scheme and have created some vintage looking invitations to hand out to those "special" people we want to invite.

for our invitations we took cream v=colored card stock - 1/2 sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inches so we get 2 invitations per sheet of cardstock. The front panel consists of a contrasting purple cardstock sheet cut into 4" x5 1/4" pieces (4 per sheet).

I separated and tea dyed paper lace doilies (found in the cake decorating section of the craft store). When dry, I glued one of these doilies on each purple rectangle

The message: You're Invited" may be stamped or printed on vellum paper then I use my Xyron so it self adheres to a small piece of cardstock in light purple that is slightly larger than the writing. I used 26 point in a script-type font to print the message on my computer.

These messages are fastened to the card with2 minibrads. Then the lace covered purple sheet is glued onto the cream colored card base.

The lace embellishment is a 6" piece of lace made into a circle with a running stitch along one edge. strings of pearls and ribbon bows are glued on with mini silk flowers. On the back, we put pins so the embellishments can be removed from the card and worn if desired. I "glued" the embellishments to the card with a ZOT so it can be removed.

Inside I printed up information about the event. These hand made notes are being given out now in preparation for our event on May 3rd. It's shaping up to be a fun time! Wait till you see what we have planned to follow up with those who attend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What? No Play Stations in Heaven?

I love those deep conversations with my grandkids.

Jack is 6 years old and loves Jesus. I'm not sure what prompted the conversation last week, but as we sat at the kitchen table he asked if he could play games on my computer. While he played one of his favorite games, he turned to me and began talking about heaven.

"When I get to heaven I'll be able to play with my Play Station whenever I want to. And if I ask Him to, Jesus will play with me." He was sitting there grinning from ear to ear, very serious about the whole idea. Jack loves to play with his Dad, but they don't get to play as often as Jack would like.

I didn't have a chance to respond to that because we were interrupted. But his mother told me today Jack brought it up again. "When we get to heaven, is God going to destroy the whole earth and make a new one?" he asked, worried about where he would live in the event of world wide destruction.

His mom tried to give him a 6-year-old version of Christ destroying the old earth and recreating the new heaven and earth. After reassuring him we would have a place to live, he grinned and said, "Good. I'll be able to play Play Station all the time."

"No, Jack," said his mom. "All of your Play Station Games are fighting games and there won't be any fighting in heaven."

"Aw, Mom..."

Dear Jack, I guess you'll just have to find something else to do with Jesus!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're home!

We're back - arriving home about 11:15 last night following a whole week with the grandchildren in Florida. What a great trip.

We were up early last Tuesday to make it to the airport by 5:30 am for our 7:00 flight. Since we flew out of a smaller local airport, security wasn't so daunting. It is so amazing to me that it only took a half a day, even with layovers to travel 1000 miles!

Yes, we had flown before, though it had been over 35 years ago so it was a real treat.

It was much like the changing of the guard at the Orlando airport as my son-in-law brought his mom and sister to the airport for their flight home at the same time we arrived. Three year old Abby was so upset that they were leaving until she found out her daddy was bringing us back with him!

Of course the best part of the trip was spending time with the grandchildren and holding the new baby. Katie is such a good baby - I guess it's because with 4 other siblings, she got used to the commotion even before she was born. We had to watch 2 year old Sam every minute because every time the baby cried, he would go over to her and try to pick her up.

Besides just hanging out, we did get to the ocean for a day so I brought home lots of shells and a little sunburn. We also got to see a lot of alligators around the area where the grandkids live (though not up close!) though they tell us there is at least one living in the canal behind their house.

Anyway, it's back to life as usual. I'm thankful for the memories of the last week and now am motivated to start saving for the next trip.

Thanks to so many of my online friends who e-mailed to say they missed me!