Some tough competition...

Alright, folks...we have our first photo contest entry...since it's such an excellent photograph, I just thought I'd share it to get you guys motivated.

This photo is by my friend Julia. Isn't she excellent?

So, how do I interpret this photo? (Remember, our theme is "What is True Beauty?") I think it reflects it in a few ways- first, it is simple. Very simple. And yet, in such simplicity, there is a beauty far greater than that of the flashy pop-culture we see all around us. Secondly, it is God's beautiful creation. Look at the rich colors, the intricate petals, the deep, dark center. It truly is a remarkable witness to God's creation.

Great job Julia...hope this gets some other girls motivated to get out there cameras and go find something beautiful to photograph!


How can a jar of pennies make a difference???

It can make a difference here:

It can make a help women like this:


It can be used to purchase items from stores who give a percentage of their profit to charity like these: Known to Me

It can provide water for thirsty children like this.

Water 4 Christmas

It can sponsor a child through World Vision.

Now, what about that penny you passed by on the sidewalk? What about the penny hiding under your couch cushion or wedged between seats in your car? What about the fifty pennies you spent on a soda today? What about the 200 pennies you used to buy a cup of decaf at the cafe this morning? What about the 1000 pennies you spent on a new t-shirt? What about the 20000 pennies you spent on a new iPod? Do you see how that money could so impact someone in need somewhere in the world...and yet, we say, "It's just a penny."



Hey, everyone- I wanted to post something really quickly- then I have to get back to school...so this will be brief, but I REALLY wanted to post!

So, I don't know about you, but I find that babysitting is one of the easiest ways for me to get money. Even though it can be exhausting, it only lasts a few hours and (hopefully) leaves you with a good chunk of money. Sometimes, though, when I babysit somewhere we run out of things to do. Then it's hard. The kids are bored. You're bored. And they expect you to find them something to do. Usually when this happens, the kids' activity of choice ends up being something like running up and down the hallway as fast as they can, doing flips off the end of the bed, or something else that may result in a visit to the ER. So, here is a list of quick, go-to babysitting activities that are truly easy and that you most likely have the supplies to make. This is not a list I copied from someone else's site...like most babysitting activities usually are. I have searched long and far for these activities. And the best thing is, I have actually tested these things on kids and they loved 'em! Here we go:
  1. "Science experiment"- Yes, I have tried the volcano thing with a couple kids...it was an utter failure. I don't recommend it. I have tried some other science experiments as well, a couple cool ones, a couple more utter failures...but the "experiment" below is the best by far- the kids love it. I love it because it's easy. Everyone's happy. :)
  • Coffee filters (white ones work best)
  • Black/green Crayola markers
  • Water
What to do: Draw a ring in the middle of your coffee filter with either a black or green marker. Then, dab the coffee filter with water. That's it...you're done- but the kids might want to do it again, as did the ones I babysat. So...what happens? Well, when you dab the coffee filter, the marker bleeds, creating a beautiful "tie dye" coffee filter. Plus, you can use it as an opportunity to teach the kids about primary colors. I suppose you could try this with other colors as well, but the site I got it from (familyfun.go.org) recommended black or green. Anyway, see how simple that is? And however boring it may sound to you, the kids I tried it with absolutely loved it and would have used a whole package of coffee filters if I had let them!

2. Ornaments- Looking for a good Christmas craft? Look no further than Sculpey clay. That stuff is da bomb! I believe it's nontoxic (but I'm not sure, so don't try to eat it!), it bakes hard, and you can paint it! A couple years ago, I tried this with 3-5 year-olds. Even the boy loved it. All you need is:

White Sculpey clay
Cookie cutters

What to do:
You may want to soften the clay for the kids a little bit before they start rolling it out- Sculpey does tend to get a little hard. Then, let the kids roll out the clay. After it is rolled out, cut it into shapes- no more than 2-3/child. Write their names with a Sharpie on the back so you don't get them mixed up. Poke a hole in the top of each ornament. Take them home and bake them in the oven as instructed. (I am assuming you're going to see the kids again sometime soon.) The next time you see the children, bring paint, paintbrushes, ribbon. Let the children pain their ornaments (this could get messy!) and let dry- you may have to take the ornaments home again depending on how fast the paint dries. Tie a ribbon through each of the holes and let the children take their ornaments home- this is a great gift for Mommy or Daddy, or just a fun keepsake!

That's it for now...more coming later, hopefully!


Are you walking the walk?

We've all seen them plenty of times- people who profess to be Christians- they go to church, own a Bible, ect...But somehow, their actions don't reflect what they "believe". I know there have also been times when I've been one of those lukewarm, halfhearted Christians. Sure I still believed i n God. Sure I still loved Him. But, there was no enthusiasm in my faith life. I suppose you could say it was, well, dead. Since the time when I felt "dead" in my relationship with Christ, God has brought me closer to Him and given me a burning desire to glorify Him. Here are some key characteristics I can see in my life compared to my life before. Are you a "dead" Christian, or are you on fire for Christ?

Characteristics of a "dead" believer

Jesus is shoved into the nooks and
crannies of our existence

Love self

Content to go with the flow

Content to be average

Morally goes to the edge of the cliff-
"How much can I get away with?"

Oblivious of/unconcerned about sin

Thoughts constantly centered on
material things

Bored with God

Characteristics of someone who is alive in Christ

Life is centered fully around Jesus Christ

Love Christ first, others second

"A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God
is strange and jarring."- John Tavler

"What is the secret to great living?... [A] life that has
made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual
realm." - Amy Carmichael

"How much can I glorify Jesus Christ throughout my day?"

Deals with sin

Thoughts are constantly centered on Christ

Excited about faith!

Let me know what you girls think of this and if you have anything to add!


Princesses...and princes

I appreciate what Lucy said the other day...we are princesses- we need to guard our thoughts and actions and be noble, submissive, and pure. So, sure, we are princesses...so what does that make the young men in our lives? Princes in the making! Our brothers, friends, teammates, classmates, etc. are all going to be men someday looking for a princess- but if they do not have the honor and dignity of a prince, do they really deserve us? :) We should settle for no less than a man who is first fully devoted to God, then devoted to honoring us. I know (at least in my little world) that there are not a lot of young men like this. Sometimes I get a little worried about never being able to find someone who will truly honor God and honor me. So, of course, we need to trust God to bring noble young men into our lives, but there are things we can do to help the princes-in-training along...I've been reading Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy recently and it is a great read. I've been encouraged to set my standards higher than they've ever been before! Anyway, In Authentic Beauty, Leslie and her husband Eric talk about how men need to be "trained" so to speak. A great place to start would be with our brothers! I know for sure that my brother could use a little help in the area of chivalry... So- my question for you Rubies this week is:

How can we, as young women, help our brothers and friends to become more like Christ- and train them to be noble, chivalrous princes?

I already have some ideas from the book, but I'm curious to see what the rest of you ladies say.
Comment, comment!


A Princess

A little less than a year ago, a couple of my friends and I decided to watch the extras on the movie The Fellowship of the Ring. We watched everything about the filming, the costumes, and the actors. But the longest segment, and probably the most interesting, was the actors talking about what the process of making the movie was like for them. We were enjoying hearing about interesting cooking experiences, waking up at 5am, getting to fly over the mountains of New Zealand, and so forth, when something was said that caught my ear. They were talking about Liv Tyler, the actress who played the Elvish princess, Arwen, in the movie. She was in the movie in certain parts, but they were far apart, and so Liv would simply fly to New Zealand whenever she was needed for a shot, instead of staying there for weeks on end for no reason. So they were talking and joking about it, and talking about her role, and everything, when Elijah Wood (Frodo) said something that made me perk up. She was talking about how all the guys were so nice to her, and how she was the only girl actor there, when Elijah Wood said: "She was our princess." He said how, she being the only woman, she was like their princess, and they loved her for it. But I thought that was cool. Just think about it: men need princesses. Women have a beautiful role in life, and I would not trade it for the world. I love the quote I posted a few weeks ago, from the book Caddie Woodlawn. Women have such a special role. But it really struck me that even actors, who are often not the most upright people in the world, really think that way in their hearts. They see it too.

Just think...
Our role is so beautiful!
Let's try to be strong women, God-honoring women, kind women, loving women, womanly women. Let's show the world that we can be strong... AND be virtuous women.