Sunday, April 15, 2018

Including Hymns Into a Child's Daily Life

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV



One of the things that the Lord has impressed upon my heart with my children is including hymns into their daily life. Since they were babies, I sought to incorporate hymns into our daily routine and to instill in them an appreciation for the old beloved hymns of the faith. 

I love hymns. I grew up in churches where hymns were sung with power and joy and conviction, not woodenly and lifelessly. 

I love the theology contained in them, the joy expressed within their beautiful metered stanzas, and the deep rich heritage that they hold for us in the faith. 

I love the stories behind them, the lessons held and buried deep and true in their author's lives and in the Lord's dealings with them. There is a vast treasure-house of beauty found in reading about the lives of the hymnwriters--George Matheson, Fanny Crosby, John Robinson, Charles Wesley, Issac Watts and the list literally goes on and on. 

I want to pass that joy onto my children. 

Am I recommending only hymns, exclusively hymns, nothing else? Absolutely not! :-) I appreciate and enjoy praise choruses and songs steeped in the Scripture; I love the Psalms sung out as songs in modern language. I think that these can also be useful and beneficial in our lives, in our children's lives, and in the life of the church. 

But hymns, sung from the physical hymnal or from memory can enrich our lives and our children's lives greatly, and I believe can strongly enrich the church in terms of the deep theology that they hold for every generation. 

So how do I incorporate hymns into our daily lives? 



We attend a church that sings hymns. This is very important to me. It was a blessing for me to find a church in the Midwest that sings exclusively from the physical hymnal. I want that experience to be a strong part of our children's lives. 

We sing hymns at home. We have collected a number of hymnals and sing from them regularly. We sing a hymn in the morning together when we have our daily devotional time and we sing a hymn at night together after supper after a brief time of Bible reading. We sing hymns at night before bed. I rock my children and sing them hymns or very softly play a CD of hymns as they fall asleep (or do both). In this way, hymns are included into our daily life. 

We listen to hymns on CD--in the house, in the car, wherever! We love hymns! :-) I believe, and this is my personal conviction--take it or leave it--that young children are better off listening to slower-paced music that is simple and edifying and fun, rather than the fast-paced "fluff" that is usually offered to them.  Hymns fit this principle wonderfully. Some examples of what I mean by this are below in the CD's that I recommend--

Sometimes hymns are thought of as dreary and droll and boring--but the very opposite is true! It is so much fun to gather together with other believers and sing the great hymns of the faith with a tambourine, a guitar, a piano, or other instruments! It creates and builds a deep bond of fellowship. It strengthens us as believers spiritually and encourages unity and togetherness through our Lord and Savior. It encourages and edifies our children through the powerful reinforcement of the principles in God's Word through the songs of His people. 



So sing hymns! :-) Include them in your daily life with your children, in your family, as part of your home life. I promise you that it will be a blessing. 

Suggestions and Resources that have blessed us greatly as a family (these are clickable affiliate links to Amazon): 

Hymns For a Kid's Heart Volume One (Book and CD)




Hymns For a Kid's Heart Volume Two (Book and CD)



Passion Hymns for a  Kid's Heart (Book and CD)




Christmas Carols for a Kid's Heart (Book and CD)





Scripture-based songwriters and CD's :

The Shadow of Your Wings~Fernando Ortega




Hymns of Worship~ Fernando Ortega




Hymns and Meditations~Fernando Ortega





Peace Like a River: The Hymn Project~ Chris Rice





Helpful Books/Resources: 

The Shaping of the Christian Family, by Elisabeth Elliot






You might find me on these link-ups:


Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word

Sunday, April 8, 2018

An Interview with Christian Fiction Author Ruby Mae O'Dell

Ruby Mae is a young Christian Fiction author who seeks to glorify Christ in her writing and to spread the Gospel through the medium of Christian fiction.  I "met" Ruby Mae on social media a while ago and felt led to ask her to do an interview on my blog. I pray that you will be blessed by her work and testimony! 


Welcome, Ruby Mae! I’m so thrilled to have you here as a guest on my blog and I pray that many will be encouraged through your words and learning more about your writing.




Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm just a small-town girl with a love for God and my family. I'm 25 years old. I received the Ultimate Treasure (God's gift of Salvation) when I was eighteen years old. Since then, I've been called into different ministries, including: Teaching young adults about the importance of purity, singing and writing songs, and writing novels. I live in a small, historic town in Georgia with my family, 2 dogs, 5 Zebus (miniature cattle), and many chickens (the farm's still growing!). Besides writing, I enjoy reading, singing, spending time outdoors, and arts &crafts.
What motivated you to become a Christian fiction writer?
My Lord and Savior, Yeshua (Jesus)! All my motivation and inspiration comes from Him. Everything else is branches off of Him. If I didn't have God, I wouldn't be a writer—actually, I wouldn't be anything. It's God's Holy Spirit who gives me each story I write. I'm merely the pen in God's hand.
What do you hope to accomplish through your writing?
My biggest hope is for my novels to bring others to the saving knowledge of Christ and to strengthen the faith of those who are already saved. All other accomplishments are extra blessings.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
*Whistles lowly* That's a long list. Ha ha!  I'm currently working on 20 novels. 10 are part of my first series, Faith in the Valley, 2 are part of my second series, Echoes of Faith, 2 are part of my third series, Ephesians Guardians Inc., and 6 are stand alone. The titles are: Protective Secrets, Unseen Dangers, Hidden in the Ashes, Ring of Suspicion, A Lassoed Mistake, Barrel of Threats, A Kindred Frame, Obscured Faith, A Turn for the Worse, A Recipe to Die For, Rodeo Storm, The Deadly Love Letter, The Witnesses' Protectors, Assumed Dead, The Samaritan's Bride, A Love Worth Waiting For, Second Chance Deputy, Dad by Choice, An Abduction Reunion, and A Christian County Escapade.
My main focus at the moment is Protective Secrets. It's book three of my Faith in the Valley series and the set goal is for it to release this spring. It's about the youngest Sawyer sibling, Hannah, who works with Search and Rescue, along with her canine partner, Ace. Hannah is the heroine of the story and is infertile; but she's thrust into motherhood at the beginning of the story—which also puts her in danger. The hero is her supervisor, Chance Timmons, a man who was abandoned by his parents at a young age and is struggling to forgive.
Is there a certain time period that particularly interests you in your writing?
I mostly write in the modern time period. Simply because it touches on topics affecting the world/people today. But one of my novels is based in the Civil War era and I'm loving it! I've always loved stories and movies based back in the good old days(especially when they involve cowboys and strong pioneer women). I'm fairly certain I'll be writing many more novels in the cowboy/Civil War/Revolutionary War era in the near future!
How have you seen the Lord work through your writing to encourage others to pursue Him?
That's a tough one since a lot of my readers I never get to meet(or see again after selling them a book). The simplest answer would be by reader reviews. Many of my readers comment on how they connect with my characters and how my characters encourage them to strengthen their own faith. One reader told me that while reading Seeking Refuge(Faith in the Valley: Book 2) they felt like they were doing their devotionals as well. Said it was very uplifting and inspiring. Another reader told me after reading Seeking Refuge that she read another novel that was very similar by another author who has wrote many more novels than I have. She said she enjoyed mine much more. Her explanation of why was that mine had far more evidence of God in it, which made it a more inspiring read. I love compliments that goes back to God! My readers love the evidence of faith in my stories and I love that!
But it isn't just my reader who gets encouraged through my writing through the Spirit of God. I'm always in the front row when the lesson is being given. The whole time I'm writing a story I can hear God speaking to me, telling me what to write. But it's more than that. He's teaching me something important. In Hidden Treasures(Faith in the Valley: Book 1) God was teaching me the importance of staying in His presence and returning promptly every time I stray, and also teaching me about God's gift of memories. In Seeking Refuge I was being taught the power of choice when it comes to faith. How we are to choose to have faith in God. It all comes down to choice. In Protective Secrets the lesson continues; God is teaching me to trust Him no matter what—even when I can't see the whole picture.



And just some fun questions: 😊
Coffee or tea?
Definitely COFFEE!!! With lots of cream and no sugar. Mmm... Mmm...  I can't stand the taste of any tea.
Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Most definitely Israel. I have a deep love for God's first born son and His people who live there. I would love to visit and walk where Yeshua walked and pray in the garden where He did.
How many siblings do you have?
I have 7 younger siblings and also 2 younger siblings who are with the Lord.
Favorite hobbies, pastimes?
I have many hobbies I enjoy and things I do to pass the time. Reading, painting, drawing, singing, yodeling, photography, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and doing crafts to name a few.
Favorite dessert
I've always been a big fan of strawberries. So basically anything strawberry. But my favorite would have to be white chocolate-covered strawberries! Mmm...
Favorite book of the Bible
I have three, Psalms, Acts, and James
Favorite Bible verse
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
—Luke 12:34/Matthew 6:21
This verse is very special to me. As I wrote in my debut novel, Hidden Treasures; that verse tells us that whatever treasure we seek, with the most time and energy, is where our heart lies. It serves as a reminder to ask myself now and then, “What treasure am I seeking? Knowing God and His will? Or worldly goods that won’t last?” It helps us to continuously seek the most valuable treasure we can possess, a close relationship with God Himself and serving Him by following His will for our lives.
A little known fact about yourself

Not many people know that Ruby Mae O'Dell is my pseudonym(pen name) or even how I came up with it. My pseudonym is a dedication to my granny and nana, both of whom I was very close to and are now with the Lord. Ruby Mae was my granny's first and second name and O'Dell is my Nana's maiden name. nana also used to call my “Little Ruby”.


RUBY MAE O'Dell is a young, Christian author, living in a small, historic town in the state of Georgia with her parents and 7 younger siblings. She enjoys using her gift of writing to bring glory and honor to Yeshua, her Savior. Two of her novels have been published and she has 12 more in the making. Ruby Mae also enjoys writing songs and poetry, drawing and painting, crafting, roping(still practicing, ha, ha.), singing and yodeling, playing her bongos, and of course, curling up with a good book. Ruby Mae is also vowed to purity as she waits for the man God created especially for her (Biography taken from her website, Truly Inspired Books).


Find Ruby Mae:




You might find me on these link-ups:


Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Books I Love~~The Story of the Easter Robin

Lately, we took our "Easter Books" out of their storage box. :-) This is one of my most favorite Easter books for children; my kids love it, too--




The illustrations are beautiful and expressive . . . 



The story-line is rich, poignant, and engaging . . .




My children and I love this beautiful legend of the way that the robin's breast was dyed red (tying in to Christ's death and resurrection, but I won't give it away!) and its sensitive re-telling in this picture book. 



This is a wonderful book to find in your local library or to order . . . we own a copy because I loved the story so much that I wanted to purchase it for our personal library.


I think that you will love it, too! Blessed Easter, dear friends! 




You might find me on these link-ups:


Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Spring is Coming~~And an Update


Spring is coming! Oh, how glad I am! The bitter cold winds have softened and my children and I have been able to be outside a little more over the past few days. We were starting to feel cooped up in the house. I love the cozy feeling of winter, but there is nothing like the beautiful new springtime to refresh the heart. 

I joked with my Mom the other day that I would stay outside all day if I could . . .  I love the nearness of God's creation and the freedom of moving beneath Christ's great expanse of sky. I love walking through the paths around our home and thinking of what life may have been like here a hundred years ago. I love smelling the fresh new scents that are rising from the ground, always reminding me of the newness of life in Christ Jesus. 

The other day, I bought some new laundry line; oh, what a thrill! :-) I will wear stiff clothes forever if it means that they can dry under the beautiful blue sky :-). Sometimes, I will admit, I prefer a softer towel, but that is the price one must pay ;-). 

My kids are in their glory playing in the field and pretending that they are Mary and Laura from the Little House on the Prairie series (we read some of the chapter books over the winter). Poor Elisha; he has to play a girl's part, but at least Laura was a tomboy ;-). 

Lately, I've been burning a lot of wood and trying to clean up around our home. I always enjoy the way things look when they are neat and freshly raked, so this has  been a great enjoyment to me of late. :-)

My husband broke three ribs the other week and injured his knee, so that has been challenging for him, but thankfully he is feeling a little better now and able to get around a little more. I know that he is feeling better as he is starting to "argue" with me again over who gets to burn the scrap wood! (he loves a good fire). 

We are looking forward to planting a garden this year and my kids and I have our seeds ready. I used to grow a lot of herbs (easy to grow ;-)) but have never done much with vegetables, so we'll see how it goes. Thankfully, my sister and her husband have had a wonderful garden, and so I can ask them for advice :-) as well as my Pastor's wife, who has a beautiful garden :-). 

My heart is bursting to see the first flowers of spring come out of the ground and paint the yard with beauty and hope. Last year, we planted daffodils before the harsh cold set in and I am hopeful for their arrival this spring. The owners of our home before us planted many beautiful flowers, so it is a real delight to see what has sprung and what will spring out of the ground as it warms up. Last year, I was delighted by rhubarb and we made a couple of pies!


One of my furry friends :-)


Hollyhocks from last spring/summer
I am excited for my animal friends to return  . . . :-), especially my friend the toad, who I hope made it through the winter. The only "friends" who I hope will find residence elsewhere are the flies and the mice. We live next to a beef farm and the flies can really keep us busy trying to get rid of them! And we are working on plugging up all the holes in our old farmhouse, as I like little mice (they remind me of Beatrix Potter's stories :-)) but they cannot take residence again in my boot ;-). My daughter found a stash of corn in one of my boots this past winter--a little mouse must have thought that it was a cozy place to live! And wouldn't you, too, if you were a mouse? ;-) 

I've been planning how to fix up our attic as a place where guests may stay and my heart has been full for excitement for this project. It will be the first step, the Lord willing, in having a set-apart place for people to stay directly related to the ministry that the Lord has called us to here. Please continue to keep my husband and I and our family in your prayers --I believe that the Lord is going to do His perfect work here, in His time and that we will taste of the fruit of His goodness as we wait upon Him. He has shown me over and over this past winter that He will provide for us, that He will take care of our needs, and that He loves to show His power where there is no human way or answer. 

A sweet bird on one of our fenceposts

Last year, I saw the fulfillment of His promise and calling to me 17 years ago . . . I am waiting in hope for how He will continue to work in this place, and I hope to share updates this year as He leads and provides for us. I am still amazed as I look back at how His hand has worked in every little detail--He is the God of details--even in granting me the desire of my heart in preparing a home for us that reminds me of my beloved New England. And yet, my home is in Heaven with Him and He ever reminds me that this is a very temporary place. But I want this temporary place to be a reflection of His grace and glory--and that He would use it to bring rest and refreshing and lead souls to Himself. This is my prayer. And that He would use a weak vessel--strong through Him-- without great human resources to bring glory to Himself--I pray that He will. And the glory is His alone. May the Lord fulfill His vision for this place and ever keep me undistracted and focused upon Him. I covet your prayers, dear friends. 



I pray that each of you will find great rest and peace through our great God as we enter into this beautiful season of resurrection. May His joy dwell in your hearts through faith and may you press on to pursue Him in all that you do. 

A rainbow in the field across from our home



You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday Tea and Word

Sunday, February 25, 2018

What Billy Graham Means to Me



The real story of the Crusades is not in the great choirs, the thousands in attendance, nor the hundreds of inquirers who are counseled. The real story is in the changes that have taken place in the hearts and lives of people.
~Billy Graham

Salvation. That is the word that I think of when I hear Billy Graham's name. What an impact this humble, committed man had for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Possibly millions of souls were affected by his preaching of the simple Gospel of salvation. His level of commitment to the calling that the Lord placed upon his life was so great; he lived and moved and breathed the Gospel. He sacrificed everything for it. He was God's gift to our time. He was God's gift to my family. He was God's gift to me. 

My Mom came to know the Lord through a Billy Graham crusade. She came from a terribly broken background in many ways. But the Lord had His hand upon her even when she was a small girl. Her mother, who left the Catholic faith in order to marry my Italian Protestant grandfather brought her family of five to a little Baptist church in their small country Rhode Island town, giving them a glimpse of Who Jesus was. My Nana listened to sermons of J. Vernon McGee on the radio and herself hungered after a relationship with Jesus Christ, eventually coming to know Him as her Savior. 

And so the Lord was planting seeds in my Mom's heart even when she was a little girl, the time of Billy Graham's early ministry.  

Later, in her early 20's, my Mom experienced severe health issues. Listening to a Billy Graham crusade on television, she came to know the Lord. This was just a few years before I was born. 

Her life was transformed. My Mom, who had come from a broken background, who suffered from debilitating illness, became a born-again, devoted believer in Jesus Christ. Her life was completely changed. My Mom's coming to know the Lord had a profound impact upon our family and the ripples of her decision traveled to our extended family as well. 

Growing up, my Mom talked a lot about Billy Graham. We always received his Decision magazine in the mail.We knew how his ministry had impacted my Mom's life and she encouraged us to read books about Billy and his wife, Ruth. I remember being fascinated as a teenage girl by a book in my Mom's bookshelf detailing Ruth's life and her relationship with Billy Graham. And recently, the Lord has touched me in reading Billy Graham's mother's-Morrow Coffey Graham's small autobiography. 

I am so grateful for Billy Graham. For his life, for his commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the legacy that he leaves through his children, many of who also serve the Lord. 

I am grateful. For the salvation that came to our family, for the Lord's hand upon this man's life, for his spiritual fervor and burning desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 



This is a short tribute for a man whose life meant so much to me, to so many. It was difficult for me to process his death at first and it is still difficult for me to take it all in as his life in a very real way has been woven into mine indirectly. But at the same time that I feel sadness that this man is no longer a part of the world that I live in, I sense a deep joy and peace knowing that He is in a different "world," one that I am traveling to, one whose Builder and Maker is God, the One who wipes away every tear from our eyes. 

Billy Graham is there--in Heaven--with Jesus--what a thought! What a hope--the hope that Billy Graham faithfully preached for so many years and through his life and impact led many people to Heaven's gates. 

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Billy Graham. Please raise up a new generation of men like him who will fearlessly preach the Gospel and bring many souls to the mercy seat of Christ, who are bold and unashamed. Revive Your church O Lord, and raise up committed men and women--committed wholeheartedly to the cause of Christ. 

Thank you, Lord for Billy Graham. For one whose life has meant so much to so many. For one whose life has meant so much to me. Thank you for his example, for his humility, for his strength. Thank You for taking him Home. And thank you for giving him to us. 


 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!"
~Romans 10:15 NKJV

God buries His workmen, but carries on His work.
~Charles Wesley


Books I highly recommend and believe will bless you in your walk with Jesus Christ:










You might find me on these link-ups:


Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter Wednesday