the vintage ruby giveaway

I'm back!!

And I have so much on my mind and heart that I really don't know where to start.
I thought it fitting to jump back on the blogging scene with a GIVEAWAY for all my lovely friends that have weathered so many seasons with me.... and put up with my absence with patient kindness.

You are all perfectly wonderful.

Here's what I'm giving away:

**|**|**A Vintage Apron of your choice from my 
       Etsy Shop The Vintage Ruby**|**|**


**|**|**A 40% off Coupon Code to The Vintage Ruby**|**|**

To Enter:

1.  Leave a comment telling me which apron is your favorite

For multiple entries:

2.  Follow my blog and/or

Giveaway will be open till February 9th!


guest post: Carmen

When I rewind my life and remember all the milestones that have rooted me in my faith, there is one experience that stands out as a linchpin in my journey. It was during this experience that God brought to life for me, firsthand, one of the Bible's greatest lessons: that of his gentle and unwavering loyalty.

I had been chaperoning a youth group trip to Tennessee and the band had just taken the stage. The music was loud and I sang along wholeheartedly. Until the lyrics of the song, which I knew by heart, reached this point: "Where you lead me, I will follow.... Even if I walk alone, Lord, this I choose to do." Suddenly, I stopped tapping my foot to the beat as the weight of those words, "Even if I walk alone," hit me full force for the first time. They make for a great song, but when it comes to real life, those are hard words to swallow.
I started praying vehemently, God, I love you, but please don't make me go anywhere by myself. Please don't make me have to do it alone. Please don't...

Six months later, I found myself in the very spot I'd prayed against: Making a decision whether to move to a new city where I knew virtually no one and leave behind the city where I felt I had finally come into my own and had forged a rich fabric of kindred friendships. I stood at the cusp, cardboard boxes on one side, comfort and predictability on the other. Which would it be?
Retracing the circumstances that led up to this decision over that span of six months, there was no doubt that God was at work, opening doors in my life and future. But in spite of that awareness, questions still loomed: What if I don't like my job? Who will I hang out with? What if I don't make any friends? Where will I go to church? How is this all going to work? What if this is a mistake? Sure, God had opened a bunch of doors already, but what about the next string of doors?

The decision, then, of whether or not to move, rested on one simple notion: Could I trust God and where He was calling me? Did I truly believe in His loyalty? 

A couple months ago, I was reading back through Genesis 1 and noted verse 29 with new eyes. As God introduced Adam to the Garden of Eden, "God said, 'Look, I have given you all the plants that have grain for seeds and all the trees whose fruits have seeds in them. They will be food for you" (Genesis 1:29). As I read that, I realized the significance of the fact that, even before He created the first man (and later, woman), God had already prepared a ripe environment for His beloved creations. They didn't have to ask for food or even know a world without provision -- it was ready for them as soon as they stepped onto the scene. That was how God worked out of love then, and God was ever so ready to prove to me that that's how He continues to work today, in spite of my misgivings and dragging heels.

Through much wrestling, godly counsel, and prayer, I decided to move. I recognized that by not moving, I would be turning my back on where God was calling me to go, and I couldn't bear that. Even though I had no idea how this would all work out, I decided I had to take that chance and trust Him. With my car packed full of cardboard boxes, I made the 8-hour drive to my new home.
I remember those first days in that new town, when my boxes were only freshly unpacked and I was just learning my way around. I came across Ecclesiastes 11:4, "Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops." In a moment of clarity, I saw that this had threatened to be me and my life. I had almost let imperfect circumstances and fears about the future keep me from acting, keep me from sowing, keep me from having to depend on God for the harvest when I couldn't see how this could possibly be fruitful. For those first few weeks, I clung to this verse, whispering to myself over and over again, "Keep sowing. Keep trusting. Persevere."

And as He did for those first humans, God did for me. As He went before them and so many others throughout the biblical narrative, He did for me. As with them, before I even knew what was happening or what to expect, He was at work, bringing the Word to life for me like never before.
He quickly began showing me the frivolity of most of my fears. I found an inspiring church to call home, outlets for volunteering and meeting new people, and things to do on the weekend. Before I knew it, friendships blossomed all around me -- a lovely-hearted roommate, friends at work and weekly runs to Starbucks, inspiring girlfriends through church, and a vibrant Bible study. It was obvious that my greatest fears and arguments against going had been for nothing. 

Even now, two years after I first wrestled though this decision, God continues to teach me the depths of His loyalty. I carry the reminders and the fruits of that experience with me today, for the times when those pesky questions persist: Can I really trust Him to deliver me this time? How is this going to work? In those inevitable moments, I look back on this milestone and remember to trust that God is at work, prepping the landscape of my future and waiting for me to step forward in faith and sow.

I remember the unwavering loyalty He has shown me, firsthand.
Guest post by Carmen of Life Blessons.  
Read the testimonies Carmen features weekly on her blog and be encouraged!


guest post: Danielle

brody & i, october 2008

saturday brody woke from his nap and i could immediately tell he didn't get enough sleep. you all know the signs of that, right? my two and a half year old baby boy just melted into my arms, right then and there. for some strange reason foster was still asleep in the other room, so it was just he and i. i held him, and rocked him, and kissed his little cheeks. i wanted this time together with him so badly, and i was grateful for even a few sweet minutes. he wasn't tense, or trying to look around, he just laid in my arms and sighed, as if this was just what he needed. it was just what i needed. i started to, subconsciously, sing one of my favorite songs. it was several seconds before i realized what i was singing.

i sing a simple song of love
to my Saviour, to my Jesus.
i'm thankful for the things You've done
my loving Saviour, my precious Jesus.

my heart is glad that You've called me Your own.
cause there's no place i'd rather be.
than in Your arms of love.
holding me still, holding me near.
in Your arms of love.

i could feel the hot tears start to fall down my face.
the cry of my heart for my child,
this precious time with him holding him close,
is the same as the cry of my Father's heart for me.
He is there to hold me near, to hold me still.
if i can just slow things down enough, to give that time back to Him.


Guest post by the lovely Danielle of Take Heart


guest post: Lara


Do you ever stop and ask yourself why?
 Why am I doing all of this? Why should I raise children who love God? Why is life hard? Why is there injustice? Why does anything I do matter?

Then it hit me- the answer to many of the why's of life:

To bring Him glory.

Aside from that, nothing else matters.
 If I raise "successful" children who don't love God with their whole hearts, my efforts are in vain. If I achieve status and possessions, they don't matter unless I use them to glorify God. If I experience all the wonders this world has to offer and in doing so I don't fall to my knees in praise of my Creator, I have missed the point. If I suffer in this world and do not cry out to my Savior for rescue, my suffering is purposeless. If I pass by the pain of others without flinching, I shun the opportunity to use my life for Him. If my sole focus is being happier, more successful and creating a "good" life for myself on this earth while avoiding pain, I will have failed. In truth, I am a vapor. This world offers only mirages of happiness and success that disappear when approached.

He is It. 
Praising Him with every fiber of my being, with my every breath, with all that I have is the only reason I am here. If I fail to do that, it is all for nothing in the end. Even as I type those words, part of me fights them, wants to think that I am my own sufficiency. That I am enough on my own, that it's okay to have goals just for "me." 
Nothing could be farther from the truth.

It's been said that giving birth is the greatest natural pain one can experience. The only thing that makes that pain endurable is knowing there is a promise of new life at the end. Without that, all of the pain would be for nothing. Yet, He beckons us,"Come to me, my yoke is easy, my burden is light." 
He is the promise of life at the end of the pain. 
He is the purpose.

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ - Philippians 3:8


Visit Lara and read the unfolding story of their adoption!


21 days

We haven't had any snow this year.  But we've had our share of rain.  January rain.  We did have a frost and I'm very happy to say more than a few of my favorite roses survived.  

Reminding me to hold on no matter what season I may be in.  

When my mother-in-love trimmed back my rosebush last fall, I cringed.  Once heavily laden with flowers, my bush looked like a stump.  I knew she was the expert and I trusted her, but there was still a niggling fear that maybe my roses wouldn't return until next year.  My fears were for naught.  They returned, vigorous and more abundant than ever, casting their sweet aroma to the breeze, soft pink faces nodding joy.  Whispering peace.

How often I've felt the same way with my Gentle Gardener, my Master, my Heavenly Father.  

I want Him to shape me, I know He knows best.  But the trimming is painful and raw.  For even what was once lovely may be hindering new life.  And I have to yield, I have to trust these hands that are forming me.  Trust that I will bloom again.  Through the warm days of spring and the chilling frost of winter.

Our church is embarking on 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.  I feel an excitement down deep in my bones.  Fasting is a powerful tool in the Kingdom of God.  One that ushers in the miraculous, delivers answered prayers to our doorsteps, that resonates with the desires of heaven and sets eternity in our hearts.  Fasting is humility.  It's says "yes" to God and "no" to our flesh.  Because so often, our flesh gets out of control and before we know it, we've crowded out the new growth of the Holy Spirit.  We've fed ourselves with less satisfying fare and our blooms become sparse.  Whenever we deny ourselves in order to gain more of Christ, we taste the victory we were created for.  And victory is sweet.

 I will be absent from my blog for those 21 days.  Because, to be honest, often the time I spend blogging replaces the time I spend seeking my Father's face.  And I desperately want that to change.  I have struggled with this decision.  I've come up with every excuse possible for why I should not do it.  After all, I'm basically committing blog suicide (according to blogher, right?  lol)  But I guess my rosebush analogy applies here as well.  If He is really Lord, then I have to lay myself down in the dust at His feet and let Him take the shears to my life.  

I will miss you this month, my dear friends!  But I'll be back to visit you and catch up with your lives soon!  In the meantime, I have a few guest bloggers who will be posting every now and then and I know you'll enjoy hearing from them.

Be Blessed this month with more of Jesus!


mel [v] designs

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend!

Joel is officiating a wedding this weekend (his first since he's been ordained).  We joke that they are brave souls for giving Joel free reign at their wedding...and they even know exactly what they are getting into!  Like I said, they are brave indeed!  It will no doubt be memorable.

I am trying to rouse up enough courage to attempt mountain climbing as there is now a pile of laundry in my bedroom that closely resembles a small mountain range.  I'm thinking about renaming my blog The Joyeful Laundress because it seems I mention my laundry dilemma almost every other post.  But that might be a bit misleading...I am not very joyful about laundry.  Especially laundry that shrinks and turns shades of blue and pink...and then turns into the West Andes. 

In other happy news, I'm hosting a giveaway for The Vintage Ruby on the Mel [V] designs blog.  Jolly good fun!  Mel has an etsy shop as well where you can find the perfect camera strap for shutter happy girls.  

I really love them all, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be this one:

Have a happy day!


I wish I could press rewind and relive this New Year's weekend a thousand times.
We celebrated with family at Mimi and Papa D's.  There were only minor injuries (and for our family that is no small blessing!)  We even got pictures of everyone smiling!!  Yes, miracles still happen.  And they stayed in one place for longer than a minute. (I think Joel bribed the kids with candy and firecrackers...aren't we model parents?)  I can even overlook the fact that the pictures were taken after Thaddeus decided to romp in the mud.

During the holidays, God kept bringing this verse to my mind and it seemed I was reading it everywhere.  I'm loving the way The Message Bible phrases it (although I don't recommend The Message translation for studying,  it's refreshing to read every so often):

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:2 )

"Readily recognize what he wants from you and quickly respond to it."
That's what I want more than anything.

all things new

(photo source: my amazing and super uber talented husband)

My dearest Jesus,

I'm about to burst with thankfulness for all the dreams you've made come true for me this year, for all the blessings I didn't deserve but you gave me anyway, for loving me so relentlessly.  Your grace has carried me.  Your arms have comforted me.  Your words have spurred me on. 

I've been surprised by you.  
The gentle way you lead me.  The patience you have with my shortcomings.  The way you teach me...oh, the way you teach me.  Over and over again.  That you are not angry with me.  You're not disappointed with me.  You love me just the way I am.  And you've told me it just like that.  

I think I'm finally getting it. 

Something has been happening in my heart.  When you correct me in that undeniable love of yours, I used to wallow in self-pity and shame.  I used to feel a keen disappointment, as though I had let you down.  But oh how you've been freeing me.  Your grace flowing sweetly, enabling me to change.

Two thousand eleven glistens with promise, all shiny and new and untarnished.  And I have resolved not to blemish it's prospects by adding resolutions well short of it's luster. 

You know I am one of those sorts who are sometimes afraid to aim high because I fear falling far below the mark.

But if you are the mark, Jesus, then how can I fail?

I can only soar.

My one resolution this year will be to love you more fervently, to know you more deeply, to follow you more closely.

Hand in your hand.  

Your heart leading the way.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Do ask. Do tell.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape