Canadian Thanksgiving 2014: The blessings of family and Nature

One choice I’ve been consciously making this past year is to find things to thank God for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not because of the food, but because it gives me an opportunity to really focus on the many blessings in my life.

This past weekend my husband and I decided to take our children to Three Hills to spend time with my parents and two of my nieces. The week before Thanksgiving was hectic for both of us. In fact, we planned to leave at 1 p.m. and finally made it out of our yard at 4 p.m. However, making the trip was well worth it. Here are some of the blessings enjoyed this weekend.

Rainbow
A rainbow – the first of many wonderful surprises I encountered over the weekend.
Cockatoo
A cockatoo at the Three Hills Guzoo delighted us with its clever sayings
Dandelion gone to seed
Another unexpected delight
Skunk
Holding a skunk? Don’t worry, this one was de-scented 🙂
Sunrise
This beautiful sunrise greeted me when I stepped out of our camper on Sunday morning.
Fall scenery
My dad and I enjoyed the fall scenery by taking a walk
Ruth's parents
We enjoyed conversations, food, singing, and laughter with my parents
Ruth's nieces
Although my sister is in Africa, her two oldest daughters are in Canada. It was good to spend time with them this weekend. We especially enjoyed singing together.
camp fire
What’s camping without a campfire. Yet another delight we were able to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend.

If God is your partner, make your plans BIG - D.L. Moody

How Big is Your God?

D L Moody Quote

There is a lot to be discouraged about in this world. We don’t have to listen to the news long to hear about wars, violence, destruction, and every sort of evil. Instead of focusing on the negative, today I’m choosing to focus on God. I hope you’re encouraged as you join me in celebrating our God.

Stuart Hamblin captures it well in his song, How Big is God?

Though men may strive to go beyond the reach of space
To crawl beyond the distant shining stars,
This world’s a room so small within my Master’s house
The open sky’s but a portion of his yard.

How big is God, how big and wide is His vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start,
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.

As winter chill may cause the tiny seed to fall
To lie asleep till waked by summer’s rain;
The heart grown cold will warm and trod with life anew
The Master’s touch will bring the glow again.

How big is God, how big and wide is His vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start,
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.

Here are some more encouraging quotes:

“Everyone who believes in God at all believes that he knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow.” C.S. Lewis

“THE STATE OF YOUR HEART DICTATES WHETHER YOU HARBOR A GRUDGE OR GIVE GRACE, SEEK SELF-PITY OR SEEK CHRIST, DRINK HUMAN MISERY OR TASTE GOD’S MERCY.” Max Lucado

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” Joseph Scriven

“ONLY GOD CAN FULLY SATISFY THE HUNGRY HEART OF MAN.” Hugh Black

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Thomas Jefferson

“THE WORSHIP MOST ACCEPTABLE TO GOD COMES FROM A THANKFUL AND CHEERFUL HEART.” Plutarch c. A.D. 100

“There are three stages in the work of God: impossible, difficult, done.” J. Hudson Taylor

 

Beauty is God's Handwriting

 


When you need encouragement

 

Phil 4,8

Sometimes we just need to step back from our every day life and take a deep breath. Some days we need encouragement, a fresh perspective. If that’s where you are today, this post is for you.

1. Take time to read God’s Word and let it nourish you. Here are some of my favourite passages:

  • Psalm 37
  • Isaiah 40
  • Matthew 5
  • Romans 8
  • Philippians 4

2. Take a walk outside and enjoy the beauty of creation. Here is some of the beauty I found on a recent walk around our property.

 

Bean sprout
Miracle of new life displayed in a bean sprout

 

Bluebells
Fragile beauty of bluebells

 

favourite pathway
A favourite pathway of mine

 

3. Read encouraging words. Here are some blogs I find encouraging:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Do you have other things you do when you need encouragement? Share them with us 🙂


Blog Tour for the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour LogoIn preparation for the official launch of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas paperback on Thursday, May 29th, many of the 12 authors are participating in a blog tour. I invite you to come along as we get to know other authors who participated in the collection. Here is the blog tour schedule, along with links to the authors’ blogs:

Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour

May 19 – Ruth L. Snyder at http://ruthlsnyder.com/

May 20 – Anne Baxter Campbell at http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/

May 21 – Marcia Lee Laycock at www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca

May 22 – Mishael Witty at http://bluebrownbooks.com/

May 23 – Christine Lindsay at www.christinelindsay.com/

May 24 – Sheila Seiler Lagrand at http://sheilalagrand.com/

May 26 – Jessica Ferguson at http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com

May 27 – Kathy Bruins at  http://www.kathybruins.com/writing-speaking-and-other-interests/

May 28 – Peg Phifer at http://www.whispersinpurple.com

May 29 – Jeanette Hanscome at http://jeanettehanscome.com/

What Does Christmas mean to you?

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christmas”? Snow? Turkey? Family get-togethers? Gifts? Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Decorations? Sleigh Rides? Church? Caroling?

Sometimes we don’t stop and think about what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a different country, on a different continent. In Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, my main character, Cecile, is spending her first Christmas in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. There is no snow. In fact, the temperature is hovering in the high 30 degree range (Celsius). She is hot, and sweaty and dealing with bugs and poverty and corruption. There is no air conditioning. There is no turkey, or family to get together with, or decorations. Obviously, without snow, there are no sleigh rides, and many of the Christmas songs she grew up singing don’t fit. Well, maybe I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas does. Although the people she serves have strong beliefs, most of them don’t believe in Jesus Christ because they’ve never had the opportunity to hear about His birth, life and death. They have no Bibles. In fact, many of them don’t know how to read.

Here in North America, it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Often we get caught up in the commercialism of pretty wrapping paper, exquisite decorations, expensive gifts, and lavish meals. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. However, we need to remember who and why we’re celebrating. Jesus Christ, the God-man was born in a humble cattle shed and laid in a manger. He left the splendor of Heaven and laid aside His rights to take on the form of a servant. He walked this earth, ministered to people, and lived a sinless life. Then, He chose to walk the road to Calvary where He willingly gave His life as the Lamb of God. He took my place and yours on the cross. He accepted our punishment so that we can have a personal relationship with God. Then He rose again. Some day He’s coming back to earth to gather all who believe in and follow Him so that we can spend eternity together in Heaven.

It’s my hope that Cecile’s Christmas Miracle will show you what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in a different country. It’s also my hope that you will remember people you know who are overseas, whether in the military, as missionaries, or for work. Make time to send them a care package, or schedule a Skype visit with them. Better yet, go visit them and take a “walk in their shoes”. The first Christmas was about giving. Will you follow in Jesus’ footsteps and give what you can to make the lives of others better?

Enter a comment below for your chance to win a free paperback copy of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. I will be making the draw on Thursday, May 29th and will announce the winner on my Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRuthL.Snyder. NOTE: You must be 18 years or older to participate in the draw.


Coming Soon: Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas in paperback!

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. SnyderOfficial release date: Thursday, May 29th

Includes: Cecile’s Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Individual Christmas stories that cover a 12-day period – to be celebrated all year long! That’s the heart of this unique Christmas collection, compiled by best-selling author Kathi Macias and including historical, contemporary, romantic, mysterious, and even Amish tales that will warm your heart, whether sipping hot cocoa while sitting in front of the fireplace in winter or under the shade tree in the summer, nursing a frosty glass of iced tea or lemonade. Beginning with a scene set 12 days before Christmas, these stories move readers, one day at a time, toward that spiritual hush of Christmas Eve, where anything is possible. Authors from various geographical locations and walks of life have spun tales that will enchant readers, even as they are drawn closer to the greatest Gift ever given. And each story, though vastly different from the others, makes the same offer: will you make room in your heart for the Christ-child as He shows up in  your life and beckons you to join Him?

Available from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or your favorite retail outlet. You make also purchase copies from me. (Send an e-mail to sun dot beam3 at yahoo dot com).

NOTE: This book is available for Kindle and Nook as well.

 


5 Steps to developing good habits

good habits

Happy New Year! It’s a greeting we exchange every year at the beginning of January. None of us know what 2014 will bring us. Many people try making resolutions only to have them fall by the wayside. Some people even refuse to set goals, explaining that only sets them up for disappointment and failure. Many of us want to make changes in our lives, but how do we set ourselves up for success rather than failure?

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”   -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Choose your thoughts – UCLA claims that we have approximately 48 thoughts per minute, 3,000 thoughts per hour, and 70,000 thoughts per day. Those thoughts affect what we do or don’t do and how we feel about ourselves and others. What kind of food are we giving our thoughts? Are we feeding on the truths of God’s Word? Philippians 4:8 instructs us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (NIV)
  2. Choose your actions – Just because we think about something doesn’t mean that we need to do it. We need to carefully choose our actions, sorting out our thoughts and picking out what should take precedence. As the quote above says, it’s easier to give up good habits than bad ones. Will I choose to be thankful today or complain when something doesn’t go my way? Will I choose to react when someone is mean or will I choose to love them anyway? These are little choices, but they all lead to results.
  3. Choose your habits – I find that my morning routines set the tone for my day and make it easier (or harder) to accomplish what I want to get done. I’m a morning person, so getting up at 5:30 works for me. If you are a night owl, perhaps what you do just before bed sets the tone for your next day. Find out what works for you. In my routine I include time to read the Bible and pray, time to sort through priorities for the day, time to catch up on e-mail, and time to share something inspiring on Facebook. This year, I’m also including 20-30 minutes of exercise because I want to do more than think about becoming more fit. Although some people say that a new habit is formed in 21 days, some researchers from UCL say it is probably closer to 66 days before something becomes “automatic”.
  4. Choose your character – When was the last time we stopped to think about what kind of person we want to be? What character qualities do we want to develop in life? (Check out Character that Counts if you need some ideas.) Some of the character traits that are important to me are: godliness, dependability, empathy, and joy.
  5. Choose your destiny – Where do we want to end up? What do we want to accomplish before we die? These are questions we often avoid. However, if we don’t tackle them, we will probably be disappointed. Those who do set goals start with a destination in mind. We have to dream before we can get down to work. Some people think it’s morbid, but what epitaph do you want on your grave? Martin Luther put it this way: “If you’ve got nothing worth dying for, you’ve got nothing worth living for.”

Lately I found myself thinking I should lose some weight and become more fit. These thoughts would flit in and out of my mind on a fairly regular basis, but that’s where it would end. In her book, 100 Pound Loser, Jessica Heights gives some helpful tips, including breaking goals down into small, attainable steps, like losing 1 pound a week. Last night I chose to take some steps towards healthy weight loss and fitness. This morning I shared my decision with my husband, so that he can keep me accountable. He also made my treadmill accessible so that I can use it again. I know that there will be ups and downs, but I plan to keep my destination in mind.

What about you? Did you make any resolutions or set any goals for yourself?


Christmas Is . . .

Last Sunday we were sitting in church with our five not-so-angels. As you mothers know, Sunday morning can turn from peaceful worship preparation to frantic survival mode in less than a second. This particular Sunday had more trigger points than usual:

  • It was Christmas program day. Not only that, but it was also last minute rehearsal day and we were having a potluck at church between the rehearsal and the actual program. I had promised to take sandwiches and squares.
  • I was expected to curl my youngest daughter’s hair and she doesn’t like anyone touching her. She didn’t want me to use rags in her hair the night before, so that meant I had to plan extra time into my Sunday morning routine.
  • The children had been promised horse-drawn wagon rides and caroling, adding more excitement to the already frenetic activity of the day. The wagon rides were supposed to happen the day before, but the weather had been frigid and the activity had to be post-poned
  • My husband was in the shower when I had hoped he would lend a hand.

Despite all the extra stress, we made it to church on time with everything done and all the props, clothing, and food we needed.

That’s when it happened: Pastor Kelly called all the children up to the front to say a prayer with them before they went to Sunday School. Our four younger children said goodbye to us and walked to the front. As the children were finding a place to sit, Pastor Kelly asked, “Are you getting excited about Christmas and presents and . . .”

Our son, Luke, blurted out, “Pastor Kelly, Christmas is NOT about chocolate or presents or trees or anything else. It’s about the KING!”

Wrapping paper

Those are words I’ll treasure for a long time. Some days when we are instructing our children, we wonder if anything is sinking in. This was a rare moment when we glimpsed the depth of understanding Luke has about Christmas. It’s even more special because although Luke has celebrated 13 birthdays, his comprehension is closer to that of a 5 or 6 year-old. He may not be able to understand numbers beyond 10, but in my mind, he understands something much more significant and important than anything he’ll ever learn in school. He knows that Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and King. Not only that, but Luke enjoys a personal relationship with his King and tells anyone willing to listen.

How would you finish the sentence: “Christmas is . . .”?

 


Area author publishes novella | Cold Lake Sun

Area author publishes novella | Cold Lake Sun.

By Theresa Seraphim, Cold Lake Sun

Monday, December 16, 2013 12:03:24 MST PM

“Cecile’s Christmas Miracle” is, indeed, ready for Christmas.

Glendon author Ruth Snyder’s story was released on Dec. 4. It is currently available on Kobo and will be out in print in the New Year.

Snyder, who has had articles published in Testimony, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and FellowScript magazine, said the story is about a girl who turns down her boyfriend’s marriage proposal to go overseas to help at a medical clinic.

“He can’t forget her and she can’t forget him,” noted Snyder.

She used the years she and her family spent in the past in South Africa and Botswana as reality background for the story. Historical events played a role, too, especially the discovery, in the early part of this century, of a cache of diamonds in Botswana, resulting in the forced eviction of people in the area. For example, in the novella, Cecile is told she has one day to pack up and get out of the clinic.

Snyder said she has always enjoyed writing, a pleasure that came with the exercise of letter-writing skills when her family lived in Africa.

“The only way of contact was through letters, so I learned to describe what was happening,” she said.

Then, several years ago, Snyder competed in a contest called Fiction in Five, in which writers were given a prompt on Monday and asked to use it to write a story by Friday.

“One of the prompts was ‘Christmas in the desert is so boring,’” she said, adding that’s the summer season over there.

“We used to eat watermelon and go swimming on Christmas Day.”

Snyder knew in August she would have to have “Cecile’s Christmas Miracle” written by Nov. 1.

“I wrote most of it in October,” she commented.

Snyder is currently at work on a full-length novel called Olga’s Discovery, a Canadian-based mystery dealing with a woman whose fiancé passes away – or may not have, as the case may be.

Snyder said her editor “is waiting for the first 20,000 words of (that) novel and she’ll give me a contract if she likes what she sees.”

Snyder is also president of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.

@ColdLakeNews