Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When Life Messes With Fiction: Dealing with Reality Timelines

Ah, Seekerville. Good morning. And bless you all. From the comments and e-mails I've received since the Weekend Edition blurb about this post, I know I've got brothers and sisters walking a narrow path, feeling the strain of limited power.

The sandwich generation. That's what they call us, because we're sandwiched between adult children and grandchildren and aging parents, all of which may need us at any point in time. And that can prove difficult.

(Um, not for nothing, but the reason this is happening to us is that our parents are LIVING LONGER, which isn't a bad thing... )

Jessica Tandy in Fried Green Tomatoes...
What a cool lady.

It's a good thing, so now we need to buck up and figure out how to 'time-share' our lives. Tricky, but not un-doable. If you are faint of heart or weak in body (think the garden of Gethsemane, willing spirit, tired human body, oops...) then ignore the parts where I yell at you. Gently, of course, because every now and then life hands us tough times and our job is to square up those shoulders, smile and accept.
Weeping may endureth for the night,
but joy cometh in the morning.

I first read that beautiful phrase in Anne of Green Gables, when Gilbert's life hung in the balance. I think I actually prayed for a book character. I'm not even close to kidding, that's how much I wanted Gilbert to be okay and Anne to realize what a treasure he was.

I'm such a girl.

Life doesn't stop because you're a writer.

News flash: It doesn't stop if you're a teacher, doctor or lawyer, either.

Regardless of profession, life can and will hand out reality checks and smackdowns. Your job, oh fearless pliers of pen?

Adopt the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

Life happens.
Death happens.
Illness encroaches.
Marriages end.
Weddings occur.
Babies are born.
Or not...

Few jobs offer a total pass for any length of time. When my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, I had six kids, the oldest was seventeen, and I was working all day with students at our local Special Education cooperative and waitressing four nights a week. Dave had lost his job two years before and his new job was at half the pay. Ouch.

But there's no staving death so we all took turns helping. Cleaning. Organizing. Whatever she wanted done, got done. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and Dickens was right on with that. And when she downgraded into 'imminent' mode, I took the time off of both jobs, even though that pay was sorely needed as you can well imagine.

Ya do what ya' gotta do and keep God as your compass throughout.

Every ship hits rough water. Staying the course isn't easy. Click HERE (but then come back to Seekerville!) to hop over to Inkwell Inspirations and see what was going on in my house right before I got "THE CALL"...

You might want a few Kleenex for the trip. I'm just sayin'...

I've often talked about working "ahead of the curve"... I stay ahead on deadlines and timelines because with two big families and six kids of my own, crises await us. BUT....

I prepare ahead as much as possible. It's a great coping strategy. And it works. And while I appreciate that scripture tells us Mary was wise to sit at Christ's feet, my Martha spirit says things need to get done. There are times during crises when the Marys of this world could and should man up and give the Marthas a break. And if you're a Mary who wants to argue the point, really?


Don't. Because just like Christ needed and wanted his friends around him in the garden, waiting, praying, staying the course, we need to push ourselves a little higher, stronger and faster during a crisis. Especially during elongated ones like debilitating illness. I know how rough it is. I know how fragmented and emotional things can become, to have the stress of work, family, home, medical procedures, doctors' appointments, visiting nurses, hospital beds in the living room, oxygenators, catheters...

Some say why me?

But why not you? Or me? Or the neighbor? I think sometimes we forget this is part of the norm because we've grown accustomed to fixing things. The "unfixable" throws us a curve.

Now go HERE (but then come back for cookies and Easter candy!!!) if you want to see an amazing rendition I found this morning of Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill doing "How Great Thou Art" at the "Girls Night Out" country special... In our fast paced country of instant gratification THIS WAS THE PERFORMANCE THAT WENT VIRAL THIS WEEKEND...

Over a million views and the show just aired last week. Amazing. God. Grace. Hearts. Seeking....

And that fact should give us joy and hope!

I'm blogging today because Sandra's father has hit a rough sea. He's hospitalized and she needs to be there for him. And with so many of us going through the same thing, I just wanted to take some time and offer Seeker hugs. Prayers. Thoughts.

God's people aren't immune to hardship and loss, but we are blessed with the knowledge and grace he bestows on us.

And Jeter, but that's another blog. ;)

We know that days are numbered differently for all, but we're human. We're never quite ready to say good-bye and deal with the void left by someone's passing. And some days we're just plain tired. Or sad. A little ragged around the edges. Shoot, we all get that way.

Like a vial of sweet perfumed oil, God will fill that void with his warmth. I love the image of a "God-shaped vacuum within every man"...

When times get hard, when we're weary, when we're laden...

I love Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water". That album was Dave's first gift to me. We were 16 years old and he knew that song spoke to me. I still love it, and I see God that way, bridging those gaps, laying down his life for mine, unworthy as I am.

But not in his eyes. Never in his eyes!

Please know that the Seekers pray for you. That we share those ups and downs. That you're never truly alone, not with God and his children looking out for you! We're in this together, writers and readers, friends and colleagues. Partners in Christ.

Come on inside. Set yourselves down. Pepper sent along some cookies from Granny's services yesterday, Sandra had a fresh round of chocolate velvet coffee sent in from Dad's bedside and me? Well, I'm thinkin' on what kind of flowers best suit Mom's back garden.... Grab some coffee or sweet tea and tell us what's going on. I'm giving away two promise books today, two copies of Small-Town Hearts, a charming love story of finding home in small town USA.

Love it!


  1. Such wisdom today, but still our girl.

    Thank you.

    So much is so true. In fact, I'm just going to stop right this moment, and pray for all Seekers and friends of Seekers, and family of the same, especially Sandra's Dad.

    Stand by.

    Ok! Just made a quick trip before the Throne of Grace!!!

    Thank you for letting us share in your lives. It's an honor.

    And while you're praying, please remember the Wounded Warrior Getaway this weekend.

  2. Lovely post, Ruth.

    I've been reading a lovely book centered around the theme of caring for our parents through the ups and downs - On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling.

    It's not easy when our normal world gets rocked. Thanks for such a powerful reminder that we're never alone. Offering my struggles as prayer for someone else always helps keep things in perspective too.

  3. Thanks, Ruthy, for your words of wisdom and the kleenex warning. You hit the spot with every thought.

    Praying for Sandra and also all those others who will post after me and those lurkers who may not post but need prayers just as much.

    A big hug for all your girls...and boys. And you too.

    Sending chocolate, lots of chocolate.

    Peace and prayers, Julie

  4. Thank you, Ruthy. Friday was my MIL's birthday. It's been almost two years since she passed away. I miss her every day, and caring for her as she slipped from this life was one of the most demanding, difficult, soul-wrenching things I've ever done...as well as the sweetest, most rewarding, and life-changing, too.

    My one regret is that she passed away before my first book came out. She knew I had a contract, but she just couldn't stay.

  5. This post takes me back to the last days my beloved mother-in-law spent with us this side of Heaven. I didn't understand why the Lord led us to the town next to my husband's parents at first, but I still praise Him for allowing me to be there for Mother during the final days of her long battle with cancer and for Dad when he endured five lonely years without his bride before rejoining her.

    Some of life's most enduring lessons and greatest blessings come as the result of our toughest trials.

    My heart and prayers go out to Sandra.

  6. Hi Ruth:

    I wish all here well. Prayers are good. Prayers are a great help for the person who prays.

    Happiness does not lie in fulfilling the plans you made for the future but rather in making your present life, whatever it may be, itself fulfilling.

    It is very possible to spend all your ‘golden years’ taking care of aging parents and then to die before they do. They had their golden years and they also had your golden years.

    This is a reality. Some say all we have is the present. The past is gone and the future never comes. And yet, even people who think they understand this, often fail to live in the present.

    How many people take time to make the present its own reward?

    It takes courage to do it now. To do the dreams, and parts of dreams, you can do today, today. You may be criticized if you stop and smell the roses while there is still so much to do. The biggest critic may even be you.

    It seems that the universal characteristic of wisdom is that it comes too late. It may have been there all the time but it wasn’t there in a way that was real. It lacked ‘cash value’.

    Learn to invest the fullness of life in the fabric of the present.

    It is said that God is not in time.

    Think what it would be like not to be in time.


  7. Thank you Ruthy. I needed the Kleenex. And said a prayer for those in need of comfort to be touched in a special way by the Lord.

    I know the pain of being there as "imminent" approaches and the pain of having no warning at all and losing someone in the prime of their life, at their own hand. For anyone grieving a suicide death, know you are not alone and not at fault. The book "Aftershock" by David Cox and Candy Arrington is a tremendous resource for those hurting in this way.

    I don't know Sandra but God does and I'm praying for you dear sister.

    Keli, you are so right with "Some of life's most enduring lessons and greatest blessings come as the result of our toughest trials."
    The last two years of my life testify to that, and became the inspiration for my first book.

  8. How I know the feeling of not letting those pink lines get your hopes up, nor the amount of weeks, since for me, each miscarriage is later and later....

    Maybe my babies are playing with your babies in Heaven? That would be nice.

    But the last pregnancy, I happened to mention it on this blog in the comments somewhere I guess(with no pleading for prayer or anything) and I got a nice email wanting a few details so you all could pray. And I got my second child almost 5 months ago.

    I am so appreciative of your prayers. You hardly know me, but I know that what you've written in this post is true. These ladies pray for their readers. What a wonderful ministry.

  9. will remember Sandra and her dad. I do know what its like with a sick elderly parent.
    I can relate to half this post (not the part of adult children and grandkids.
    So I am an open sandwich.
    But in the same way I feel I have been a carer since I was around 30 for my mum (being she was 45 when I was born)and in many ways I guess it was like being a parent. Its not easy but I found with her in full time care I do have more physical freedom but still I am the one who has to visit and do all the other tasks that needs to be done so its still a commitment.
    Praying for the others in the same situation.

  10. You're so inspiring, Ruthy! You're so disciplined and efficient and I can't imagine the juggling you've had to do in order to keep your house and your writing in such tip-top shape!

  11. what a beautiful posting...thoughts and prayers to all of the seekers and friends.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  12. Kleenex and Puffs Plus on the back counter! Had to re-stock.

    KC, thank you. Bless you. You bless us with your presence and ceaseless work for good. What an inspiration!

    MARY C., I offer my struggles as prayer, too! I wonder how many of us do that? When it gets too rough, I just envision that cross. Those nails. Mary's face, watching. And then I bite my bottom lip and try again... Lauraine's work is beautiful, isn't it? Praying right beside you even though I'm in upstate.

    JULIE, thanks for the hugs and chocolate! Right back at ya'... I'm reading "Heaven Is For Real" right now, and the section where the whole church congregation is gathering to pray for a little boy is such a "George Bailey" moment. And Jesus intercedes, according to little Colton's heaven testimony. WONDERFUL STUFF!!!

  13. Erica, thank you for sharing that part of your heart! It was like that for my mother's passing, too. Tough beyond words, but so redeeming. And I'm so glad that I had a chance to know her sober for ten years before she died. I prayed for that gift long ago, and was so grateful to finally 'meet' my mother. Know her.

    Keli, hugs to you! Sometimes it's so much harder being there for the one left behind (and I think it's harder on widowed men because by nature their reserves are different) than the busy-ness of helping someone who's ill. There's precious little cure for sadness, and it's such a heart-tugger. We want to help and fix, and there is no fix but God and time.

    Oh, we humans!

  14. Vince, words of wisdom. I suppose we have to deal with things, go through them and experience them to realize we're not nearly as important as we'd like to think we are...


    That in God's eyes we're beyond special.

    And what if we could fold time, my friend? Like in Carl Sagan's CONTACT?

    I think you're right, though, it's not how MUCH time we have, but how we use it. When I think I'm too time-worn, I think of Mother Theresa.

    That shakes me out of my pity party real quick! :)

  15. MJ, AMEN!!!

    And I believe those babies are having the time of their lives. And that we'll know them, sure enough. And that there are rocking chairs abounding in heaven! ;)

    Congrats on that beautiful baby, my friend! Such good news!

    Beth is expecting her third this fall. While Joseph may be dancing in the clouds of heaven, Elijah is here with us, making us laugh out loud. His little brother or sister (all's well so far) is already a blessing. And my son and daughter-in-law are due in two weeks with "Anna Elizabeth"...

    Every baby is a miracle. How foolish mere mortals are to not realize that. Hugs to you and those babies! You've made me smile!

  16. Jenny, I was thinking of you as I wrote this, knowing the decisions you've had to make, the things you've done.

    I thank God for your strength and faith! And Aussie treats, of course!

  17. Camster, thank you! I think juggling (Oprah would call it multi-tasking, right????) is a great way of seeing it for today's 'mother-grandmother-wife-daughter-sister-friend-brother-father-son-grandpa-etc.".

    Keep those plates spinning, but ask for help as needed.

    It actually makes others FEEL GOOD to help, so it's almost SELFISH to let others help... But not quite. ;)

  18. Karen, thank you! Back at you, my dear!

  19. I love Ruth's writing. I know this book will be great. Would love to read it.

  20. Thank you, Ruthy, for such a beautiful post and for sharing your previous post from Inkwells. And thanks for the Kleenex warning. They were needed.

    A person never knows what they can endure until God shows them. But aren't we blessed He's with us every step of the way.

    I'll be praying for Sandra and all Seekers and Seeker friends.


  21. Patsy, thank you! You're entered, and I think this book is charming.

    And it's centered around a CANDY STORE...

    What could be wrong with that????


    But there's a nice subplot about dealing with adult children with disabilities, and how tough that can be on families.

    Because I worked in Special Ed for nine years, kids with problems hold a special part of my snarky heart!

  22. KIRSTEN!!!

    Thank you! I'm accepting those blessings and prayers and sending them right back to you.

    Laughter through tears...

    And sometimes just tears. Grief.

    If life's a roller coaster, we gotta survive the dips and curves.

    Character building.

    Thanks for stopping in and sharing.

  23. I just stopped by to send out a HUG to those who need it. Have a good week all :)

  24. Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion. (Although, I could do without as many tears.) :o)

    By the way, Ruthy, I forgot to mention how wonderful Reunited Hearts is (I don't know how I could forget this, but you got me all emotional and it slipped my mind). You have a wonderful gift of creating a story and characters that reach the heart.


  25. This is what I love most about you, Ruthy. You have a kind, generous heart but aren't afraid to dole out some tough-as-nails common sense when it's warranted. I've been the frequent recipient of both, and I'm better for it :)

  26. Ruthy -- all so true. We too often get it in our heads that we can somehow control our life, control what gets in and what doesn't--but we can't.

    As writer Edith Schaeffer often said, "there is no good time for bad things to happen." But they are as much a part of life as the "good times" -- and both mingle together freely during our time on earth.

    We can anticipate, prepare as best we can, lay a solid spiritual foundation. But life happens--a reminder that only God is in control and only God can get us through. Thank you for the reminder, Ruthy.

  27. Kirsten says: A person never knows what they can endure until God shows them. But aren't we blessed He's with us every step of the way.

    Amen to that, kiddo. Human nature tells us to take the easy way. God tells us we can do ALL through Him.

    Wow. That's a lot for my little pea brain to grapple through.

    Talk about testing by fire, Ruthy. I think the good Lord has honed you into the finest steel.

    You had me stalled out at the six kids thing...then working multiple jobs and caring for a sick parent? Way too much for me ever think of dealing with well.

    Your strength is evident and shelter for us all. Ever since your post on working ahead of the curve, I've fantasized over what that would be like.

    But God didn't make me that way. He wants me to lean on Him every step of the way and look for the cues and clues He provides.

    Ahh, Ruthy, when I grow up I want to be just like you...

    Blessings and prayers to all the Seekers and friends of Seekerville. God knows how to divy up the petitions being sent to Him.

    So look up and feel the blessings!

  28. Beautiful post, Ruthy! Some of these 'seasons' of life are very difficult to get through. But fortunately they pass and we're stronger for them.

  29. Ruthy, beautiful post and so full of wisdom and truth--it is in those difficult moments when those most profound life lessons make their mark on our souls. And no, you can't stop doing the job God has called you to do just because life isn't cooperating.

    The last few months since getting the call have been difficult for our family. My youngest daughter suffered a nervous breakdown just before Christmas. Not something most people can or will talk about because of a sense of shame, but it hurt--wondering what I could have done to make things different, knowing deep down that this is a struggle she'd have to learn to deal with herself. Everyday is a battle against this disease and every family member, a soldier.

    During this same time, I have been unable to sit or stand for any length of time--horrible, crippling back pain. Five months living like this drove me to tears many days. Throw in health concerns for my parents and 90 year old grandma, and you get the picture.

    But constant prayer helps, and I know God would never give me more than I can bear. I hold on to the words of Paul who asked God three times to take his affliction away, only to learn that God's grace is sufficent.

    And I keep writing--flat on my back at times, but writing all the same. I have too--it's what I've been called to do.


  30. Hey, Ruthy, girl! Thanks for sharing that! Right now is an "UP" time for me, but that could change at any moment. :-) Hubby lost his job in Sept and is still out of work, so I take the "Up's" whenever I can! God is my strong tower and an ever-present help in times of trouble. He gives me what I need when I need it, if I trust him and run to him with my need. He is THE ONLY ONE who can do that.

    Love ya, girl! You are one strong little lady!

  31. PS-And I do pray for the Seekers and other writing friends every day while I'm getting out of bed. (and if you saw me getting up, you'd know I have plenty of time to talk to the Lord! ~grin~)

  32. Oh, Patty, I'm so sorry!!! Sending prayers and hugs!!! For your whole family and for you.

  33. Leanne, hugging you back! Thanks, chica!

    And KIRSTEN, thank you so much for those kind words about Reunited Hearts! I am so grateful for that compliment!


    You've made my day!

  34. Thanks, Melanie. Truth be told, I hate to even mention it, but in not talking about it, I feel like I'm not giving God the glory for leading us through this situation. Does that make sense?

  35. Andrea, my buddy! The same holds true, honey, only vice-versa! That's why we love each other.

    And I always thank God for the day I walked into LCRW and met you. You've been a blessing on my life ever since, kid.

    Words escape me.

    Kind of. :)

  36. Glynna, YES, YES AND YESSSS!

    Life isn't convenient.

    Death even less so.

    Into the valley of the shadow...

    But death should only be a shadow to those left behind. Not those seeing Jesus!

    Yay, God!

  37. Audra, I love you just the way you are! What would the world be like with JUST RUTHYS?????

    Mass murder pales in comparison! :)

    I think a big part of why I feel like I have to work ahead was because of how little control I had as a kid. So in order to thwart that swirling vortex, I kind of prepare for it.

    Just in case.

    And it's funny because I remember my sister quoting a book that talked about CHOOSING your family through God.


    But then as often happens to people like me and Julie Lessman, I calmed down, thought and prayed and realized if God did give a choice, and I saw 'Ruthy-life' I'd have probably been brazen enough to say: "Bring it, God!"

    Because that's my nature.

    Leaning on God is good. And he gives us friends to help, to heal, to lean on as well. I love how it all works out in the end.

  38. Wow, Beautiful, inspiring post, Ruth! You've certainly lived through challenges, haven't you? Makes your words that much more special. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Patty, dagnabbit I am so sorry for what you're going through, honey!

    And I mean that from the sincerest part of my snark-infested-heart.

    Mental illness and emotional instability are cruel taskmasters. I love your image of every member a soldier.

    And we always look for blame, when in actuality it might be as simple (and complex) as genetics gone awry.

    Mental illness was common in my mother's family. There are many relatives who suffer, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for sparing me. (Hush, CONNEALY!!!) In all seriousness, that's a tough row to hoe because the weeds weave insidious patterns. And they fake you out.

    Praying for your physical health and your daughter's health. Putting you on every prayer warrior list I know because parents bear so much guilt if their children have problems.

    God bless you.

  40. Melanie, glad it's an "up" time!

    And God is my strength. I probably didn't make that clear enough, but I promised him if I survived being a kid...

    didn't take the flippin' bridge or WHATEVER....

    If I became an adult I'd make choices to please him.


  41. Patty, that makes perfect sense!

    We don't want to embarrass anyone, but keeping everything a hush-hush secret isn't always a good thing, either.

    And prayers are food for the soul. A pathway to our God.

  42. Beautiful blog today, Ruthy, and after I read your touching post on Inkwell Inspirations, I hope you don't mind, but I gave your name to a wonderful new blog ministry for miscarriage and infertility because they are looking for "brief" testimonies for their blog.

    Here's the information: Hannah's Prayer Ministries is here to offer support and encouragement to families seeking peace through infertility,pregnancy/infant death or adoption loss, and to provide a resource for our extended families, friends, church communities and larger support networks. If you are a married Christian woman dealing with the heartache of any of these
    fertility challenges, we also invite you to join us on the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums. Contact e-mail is: held.submissions@gmail.com

    KC SAID: Ok! Just made a quick trip before the Throne of Grace!!! THANK YOU, darlin', for the prayers for the Seekers and friends -- SOOO appreciated ALWAYS!!

    PATTY ... I still can't believe you write "flat on your back"!!! You have been through the mill, girl, and like KC, I am making a quick trip to the throne of grace for you!!

    MEL ... cannot believe hubby hasn't found something yet, but I have him on my hit list and will keep him there till he does.

    Blanket prayers for each and every one of you precious people out there.


  43. Beautiful, Ruthy.
    "Life happens.
    Death happens."

    It's where character (and characters) are carved and redefined.
    I LOVE your question:
    Why not me?
    If Christ got hit with the worst of all eternity, and even in the darkest hour chose to 'look up' - what a fabulous example!
    I don't have enough faith to get by without Jesus ;-)

    And the cookies are very good, btw. Plus some FABULOUS homemade strawberry pie from Sister Frasier (the best cook at Granny's church)

  44. Btw Ruthy,
    LOVED! LOVED! chatting with you yesterday.

  45. Cara, I agree. Steel gains strength in the forge!

    Although I whine a lot in the process! ;)

  46. Sarah, haven't we all? Sure we have...

    It's just a question of degree.

    But I love how God uses us to help others because that's how it should be. Would the West have been settled without woman's gentleness coupled with her toughness?


    I love that pic of the woman gathering buffalo patties for fuel. We do what we've got to do!

  47. Julie Lessman, THANK YOU! I love that you gave them my name.

    There's such safety in numbers. Too often technology takes the place of the small town mercantile, the grocery store, the quilting bee, the wedding shower we're too busy to attend.

    Women need time together. Just to know we're not alone. Hugs, my friend!

  48. Pepper, me too! What a fun phone call!

    And Sister Frasier's strawberry pie is like to 'bout all et up, so if you could have her mosey on down with another, fresh, of course, we'd be just that beholdin'!

  49. Ruthy,

    Thank you for your beautiful words! I so admire you - your grace, your strength, your kick-buttness! and your soft side. (most of all your energy!) I need a nap just thinking about six kids. Two was my limit!

    Blessings and prayers for everyone today for the hardships we all endure.

    Thanks for that beautiful link to the Carrie Underwood song - what an amazing woman!

    Love your new cover, Ruthy!! Keep em coming!!

    Have a great day everyone!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  50. Ah Ruthy, you made me cry! Lovely words of wisdom -- so heart felt but honest too. I took the little detour to Inkwell Inspirations and I did need a few Kleenex. I have shared in that same experience and found a lot of comfort in your words. And that song by Carrie Underwood is divine, isn't it?

    And I was sure my eyes deceived me, but no -- I checked with eharlequin and your next book is available May 1st which is just a week away!!!! I'm in a tizzy of excitement!!!!

  51. Hey there, Ruthy.
    I wonder if every single person who reads this thinks about themselves. We all have rough times but sometimes it seems like LIFE is an endless 'rough time' for everyone.

  52. Ruthy,
    Your new book cover is BEAUTIFUL!!

  53. SUSAN ANNE, thank you!

    Yeah. Six.

    What were we thinking?

    Why, oh why didn't we just buy a TV????


    Those were tough days, but we got through.

    We didn't divorce.

    We didn't kill anyone.

    And we're in love with our grandchildren, having a ball, and totally trying to balance this sandwich stuff that's now happening with Dave's side. His parents were much younger than mine, but time is catching up with us.

    God has blessed us. AND I LOVE WRITING LOVERLY STORIES!!!!

  54. KAV...

    best compliment ever, to inspire tears with words.


    And I can't wait to see these new grandchildren and tell them how weird their Grandpa is....

    (always blame the man)

    And fill their heads with little stories of WHATEVER!

    So fun.

    Thank you, my beautiful friend. And yes, MAY 1st!

    On eharlequin. And it's such a lovely book. ;)

  55. Wow Ruthy...thanks for sharing your story. Six kids plus many more in heaven...lots of trials:( Very inspiring to know even through all the hard times that God's grace was pulling you through...and still is:) I love your overcoming spirit. My prayers are with Sandra and the rest of the Seekers...appreciate you being real with all of us!

    I would love to be entered for a chance to win one of your books:)

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  56. Ruthy -

    great reminders. Had to take off myself to visit my dad a couple weeks ago when he was in the hospital. Kids have done it to me a number of times. Right now /knock on wood and lots of prayers/ we're all in good shape.

    I'm really looking forward to this next one of yours. I loved Reunited Hearts!

    Praying for Sandra and her family.

    carol at carolmoncado.com

    [I'm over on Peg's blog today - anyone wanna make sure I'm not lonely? ;)]

  57. Mary, we're in the same boat, so many of us.

    Either dealing with kid illness, parent illness, spouse illness, marital problems, loss, grief, mental health....


    Oh, I'm sorry, did I say that out loud????

    I just saw the flooding... levees breached. Dams leaking. Tornados.

    And I think of the scripture...

    "If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray..."

    I want America to be a praying nation again.

    Glad it hit home with you, sweetums. Love you.

  58. I can feel God's love pouring forth from this blog post today, Ruthy.

    He's using technology to minister to His people...and your fingers to pound out the keys and spread his message of mercy and forgiveness.

    Today proves a point He's been telling me for a number of years...all His people are broken or have been broken at one time or another.

    We need the Lord to glue us back together from time to time, and we need sisters and brothers in Christ to support us when we're chipped and cracked and the pieces of our lives are scattered.

    Today drives home another point as well. We ARE family in Seekerville. We support and love and encourage and pray for one another during all the phases of our lives. Whether we're talking about writing or living or the highs or the lows, we reach out with open arms, with prayer and with lots of love.

    I'm holding all of you close today and throughout the Easter season.

    May we experience joy and peace and wholeness today and in the days to come. Alleluia!

  59. Lorna, you're in! And thank you for the sweet words!

    And God is sooooo... God.

    Love him.

    Strength. Power. Gentleness. Force.

    Even in the darkest days, I knew he was there. That didn't make getting through easier in some ways, but it made it WORTH THE GOAL.

    And that was huge.

  60. Carol, don't ya' just love those smooth times???

    And I'm so glad you're appreciating them. Enjoy. Laugh. Love.

    At Peg's blog, huh?

    I'll stop by once baby's fed!

  61. Deb.

    You made me cry.

    Stop that.

    I can't say any more than what you said. That won't stop me, unfortunately, but thank you.

    Bless you.

    Pillar of strength... Dear friend. Gracious woman.

    We are a community, a growing community bound by love. Faith. Strength. Loss. Belief. I love that about us!

  62. Amen!

    Beautiful post, Ruthy.

    And Sandra, we're thinking of you!

  63. Ruthy,
    Just read Inkwell's post during my lunch break. What a story!
    Writing has always been a therapy for me - whether stories, songs, or poems.
    After my miscarriage, I wrote a poem called Heaven Knew You. It was an attempt to express in words feelings that seemed to BIG for words.
    I love that God knows us so well that he even gives us an 'out' when we can't find the words.

    Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will."

    It's so good to know we don't HAVE to have all the answers or words, but we have Someone who loves us enough to pray for us.

  64. Wow, when did you get a picture of me and my wheel-barrow?? :D

    This is such a great post (and Dilbert is such a true hero character!) that I need to read it again... when I have time. :D

    With six kids 11 and under (and two under two) I always think I've mastered the art of beign prepared, until someone springs a birthdayparty on me.

    Right now our elderly neighbor is failing. She's 92, lungs fill with fluid every day and they darin tqurts from her. She went from our 'grandma yum-yum' who trimmed her own bushes and shoveled snow, to a frail old lady. It's crushing for the children, they're so afraid for her.
    But thank God she's Christian and we can talk about how this is nt the end, we will all be together soon. Meanwhile, we do a lot of singing and skits for her, some reading, and some just sitting...

  65. Dilbert??? Him, too! I meant Gilbert!!

    Geez, hahaha!

    Praying for all the healing that is still happening to each one of us. I'm so sorry for the miscarriages and infant loss, which I've never expereicned, thank God. So terribly sad.
    More prays for all the rough pataches for family members with mental illness. That runs in our family too, and my sister and I have a pact to 'watch' each other and be honest if we see signs.
    My husband was out of work for a year and just got rehired a few months ago. What a hard time for everybody. *whew*

  66. What an inspiring post! It helps to know that we are not alone in our suffering, that we have each other and God to turn to when things happen. I have always struggled talking about the problems that are going in my life, probably for fear of judgement from others, but I see it isn't always the best choice. Thank you, Ruth.

  67. Thank you Ruth,

    You're right, I am not the only one dealing with life, good and bad. We all do.

    Thank for reminding me that people do hurt, people do sing for joy and people go on. Thank you for reminding me that people love, lift and pray.

    Thank you for the tears and for the smiles.

    We are in the midst of upheaval and renewal. Plus were getting ready to move to Arizona perhaps. Have to do what has to be done to find work.

    So thanks again for your prayers.


    Tina P.

  68. Missy, thank you!

    And Pepper, thanks for going over there...

    The Kleenex were well-advised.

    But I've got firm confidence that God sees more, hears more, knows more, and the Holy Spirit Dude???



    We are blessed by the spirit.

  69. This is such a sensitive, loving, wise post, Ruth. When you share your personal experience, I see the pieces of your heart that are woven into your books.

    Though my child and my parents are still fairly young and I'm not "sandwiched" in quite the same way others are, I have always found it so difficult to integrate all the pieces of my life as wife, daughter, sister, servant, and self. It is affirming to be reminded that struggle is shared by everyone else, too, if I can only look outside of myself to see.

    I would love to win the promise of your new book, Ruthy! Thanks for today's post.

  70. Virginia, Dilbert's cool too, LOL!


    I hear ya' on the neighbor. An old waitress from our Greek diner/candy shop is now in skilled nursing care. She did so well until this past year, and now she doesn't know people. Or just confuses them.

    But who can argue with 91 good years???

    Oh my stars, our parents would be AMAZED that so many are doing well into their 80's now.

    Two of my grandparents were dead by sixty. My Grandpa Jack Logan (one of God's most wonderful men, he ministered to us children despite my father's ire) was 74 when he died. Grandma Herne was in her 80's....

    So how nice for kids to get a chance to know their grandparents longer these days!

    Yay for that!

  71. Tina, what an adventure!

    And I know it doesn't SEEM like an adventure, but you're our pioneer woman right now. The stuff America is made of. The grit, the iron, the steel.

    You are tough, faithful and strong.

    Every time I have a bad year, I remind myself to read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    Instant perspective.

  72. Mary Bailey from my FAVORITE MOVIE!!!!

    Amen. We're united. And goofy. And strong. And right now I'm HUNGRY.

    I made a big pot of turkey soup. With lots of veggies. Delicious! Had a leftover carcass (doesn't that just sound WRONG????) from Easter and it's ready.

    AND... fresh bread. Soft butter. Peanut butter brownies.

    Dig in, guys, it's only proper to eat well and drink sweet tea and coffee when talking SERIOUS but AFFIRMING stuff.

    I've just affirmed that I LOVE YOU GUYS!

  73. Hi Ruthy (and waves to other Seekervillians & friends!)

    Your post really hit home with me. I’m in the same generation – aging parents, adult children – and going through the same kinds of LIFE stuff. Every once in awhile (usually in the middle of the night) God will lead me on a litany of what He’s brought into my life, and what I find myself doing is thanking Him for everything that has happened over the last 30-some years. Every grief that I have experienced has brought me closer to Him. I know everything is ordained by Him, planned by Him, and done for our good and His glory.

    As writers we have a unique way to help us make sense of it all and to pass on a little bit of what we’ve learned to our readers. Life is meant to be lived and shared, and writing helps us do that.

    The best stories are written by people like you, who have lived both the heartaches and joys that she puts her characters through…

    …or maybe you’re just being snarky and can’t stand to be the only one who suffers? :)

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

    And please enter me in the drawing! Can’t wait to read the next book!

  74. Some not as serious comments about the post:

    1)Love Anne and Gilbert. L M Montgomery is one of my favorite authors. I feel like I've been to PEI after reading one of her books!

    2)I live with two Eagle Scouts. Be prepared goes without sayin' around here...

    3)"How Great Thou Art" was chosen by my grandmother for her funeral 25 years ago. She had Alzheimer's(like my mom) in the 5 or so years before she died, and I never really felt like I knew her until after I heard this song.

    Thanks again, Ruthy. As always, this visit to Seekerville is a highpoint of my day!

  75. Oh, Michelle, I hear you! Sometimes we're just more private people...

    And sometimes the struggles seem faint in light of others.


    I'm so glad you stopped in, and which ever way you 'do' things, just know we've got you covered in prayer and hope.

  76. Jan said: Or maybe you're just being snarky and want to make others suffer like you did....

    Oh my stars, I LOVE THAT!!! How funny!

    Okay, it's PARTLY that... :)

    I see such hope in God, that I know we can not only survive but thrive. Ecclesiastes 3 is my favorite Ruthy-verse....

    So many are so good, but this always spoke to me, that no matter what mere mortals think or do, to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven...

    So we vent, worry and stew... And God settles things his way anyway.

    I bet he wishes we wouldn't worry and stew quite so much!

    And our husbands and wives would probably appreciate less venting.


    But I'm not promising things I can't do, LOL!

  77. Jan, thank you! Having you here with us is a high point too, honey!

    And the Alzheimer's tendency.


    Sorry. That one we know first-hand too.


  78. Hi Ruthie! My goodness--You post was exactly what I needed this week. No wonder I was "seeking" to come here today.

    Some of the strongest women I know are on this blog and none of you mind lending that strength to others.

    I pray for the women of faith here.

  79. Encouraging post! I feel like the past few years I've entered into a new season of life. I'm experiencing the loss of loved ones (7 in about 3 years) and realizing how fragile and short life is...more than ever before. While I'm here on this earth I don't want to waste any opportunities to minister and share Christ with others. Experiencing death has only been one aspect of this new season...I've been experiencing life in the form of my 2 and 4 year olds! It's constant activity, and my mind and body are trying to keep up with the housework, homeschooling, discipline, church activities, and the list goes on! If I turn my back on my 2 yr old for 5 minutes, there's no telling what can happen (today it was black marker all over his arms)! With all of it, I am trying to relax, soak it in, and realize that life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Most of all, I want my life to be a pleasing aroma to the Lord! God bless you all!

  80. Very encouraging post, Ruthy! It's nice to be reminded that everyone's life is busy/hectic/frustrating/overwhelming/heartbreaking, even if that busy/hectic/frustrating/overwhelming/heartbreaking isn't the as what we're facing.

    God's people aren't immune to hardship and loss, but we are blessed with the knowledge and grace he bestows on us.

    Well said indeed.

  81. Darlene, you are a diva in more ways than grammar, my friend!

    And thank you for your kind words on behalf of all Seekervillians.

    I love that: Seekervillians....

    It's like we're really naughty searching superheroes.

    Anyway, don't you love that God does that for us????

    Oh, that God!

  82. STACEY!!!

    You nailed it.

    "Don't sweat the small stuff".

    My friend Donna told me that EONS ago, and she was right. What a waste of energy! Life hands you enough big stuff, so if the socks don't match???

    Who cares?

    If the marker leaves faint gray smudges for a week?

    Point of interest.

    If the diaper overflows???

    Stuff happens.


    We'll sweat the big ones....

    And shrug at the rest!





    These brownies are sooooo good!

  84. Stacey - your story of your 2-year-old reminds me of when mine were little...it seems like ages ago. Enjoy this time, diapers, markers and all!

    /winking to a fellow homeschooler!/

    And Ruthy - I'm snatching a brownie on my way to history...(my favorite subject - I get to read aloud to my boys)

  85. So sweet, Ruthy!!! I love it! Thanks for sharing! Also, appreciate Vince's words. And praying especially for Sandra & Patty! You are SO right about Seekers being concerned for us readers!! In Nov. when hubs had sudden heart attack and triple bypass, I only mentioned it cause I was late in replying to a book-win due to being at hospital so long with him. I was astonished and thrilled to hear from Tina R., Julie L., and even free books from Mary C. What a great bunch all of you are! Just can't wait to read ALL of your books, Ruthy.

  86. Wow! Ruthy! I don't know what inspired such a serious post from you, but thank you for your encouraging words!!!

    Can't wait to read your next Allegany book! :D

  87. PS...that scene in Anne of Green Gables tore me up inside. I didn't read the books. I saw the movie. Wow! What a gift Lucy Maud had! I love Anne and I'm so in love with Gilbert! And Matthew! OH! I cried when he died. I tear up just thinking about it. And even Marilla won my heart over. Diana Berry? What a friend! Love that series!

  88. Gotta say I can testify to the power of Seekervillian (yes that does sound daunting!)prayer. Whew. Got good news from neurosurgeon today that a lesion I have on my spine is NOT malignant!!! Whoo, hoo.

    But I also found out there are those who have received bad news today. So my prayers of praise are mixed with those of strength and healing.

    That is the way life works. We never know what is thrown our way but we do know the steadfastness of God's love and the comforting prayer circle of friends.

    Prayers to all those who need them today and each day forward.

    I brought hot fudge sundaes. Dessert first.

    Peace, Julie
    Peace, Julie

  89. Ruthy, thank you for your wise words.

    Also thank you for reminding me of that chapter in "Anne of the Island" that makes me teary-eyed whenever I read it, even though I have it practically memorized.

    I would love to win a copy of "Small Town Hearts," but even if I don't I'll be buying it ASAP.

  90. Wow! Julie, I'd say that news deserves celebrating with a hot fudge sundae! :D

  91. I saw the song yesterday and loved it. Wow, such emotion and power packed into those words.

    Sure appreciate the post, Ruthy and that cover??


  92. Great post! I saw Carrie singing that song on the internet yesterday and loved it. What a voice!

    Praying for Sandra.

    Sometimes life is hard.

    Please enter me.

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  93. Thanks Ruthy, looking back there are things I would have done differently but hindsight is 20/20 and although at times I feel I lost alot of years I still think I would have still done what I did. Its made me stronger and being on my own has given me time to remember good things mum did when I was younger. When she does go I dont want to remember these past couple of years but rather remember the mum I had who was a wonderful mother who would have a milkshake waiting in the fridge on a hot day when I got home from school.
    Now I am at the stage I need to find a job within about 3 months as thats how long I have left to study.

  94. Thanks for sharing your story and your joyous faith with us, Ruthy. I love to hear testimonies of how God has sustained His children. Each new account reminds me that He hasn’t failed one of us yet . . . I did read this post earlier today. But I was rushing to get my 81-yr.old mom her meds and coffee and check her oxygen machine before leaving for school, and I ran out of time. So I can relate to some of what you and others are sharing here! Praying peace and strength for the many who mentioned needs and heartaches. Blessings!

  95. Yes, Patti, that makes perfect sense!

    Thank you, Julie, for the prayers!!! Girl, you are such a prayer warrior, you must spend a LOT of time praying! Hugs!

    Ruthy, that Inkwell post ... I'm glad you gave the kleenex warning. Love and hugs,

  96. Waving to Grammar Diva Darlene!

    Also to Melanie! See you this weekend, Mel! Can't wait.

    Julie H. S., dear, I'm joining you in praise for your good medical result! God is good, all the time.

  97. Okay, I'm going to make an exception tonight I'm going to comment before reading all your comments.

    My internet, and local TV channels, has been out all day. Just got it back, and five minutes later the thunder started again. So I could be off line again at any time.

    People were filling sand bags downtown last night. McKenzie creek runs the length of town parallel to Main Street. By evening the water was at street level. Thankfully, it didn't get out all over town like 3 years ago. But the rain is still coming.

    Is this a reality timeline?


    P.S. Ya'all gotta keep an eye on the coffee pot for me.

  98. JULIE!!!! Snoopy dancing, happy dancing and just all 'round dancing at your good news!


    So happy for you, but we understand measures of happiness here. Life hands out surprise turns when we least expect it.

    Helen! We've got your back. Rough waters in SO MANY places! Hugs to you, my friend and CEO... ;)

    Jackie, thank you so much!, You too, Linnette. Every now and again I act like a NICE PERSON....

    Do not grow accustomed to this! :)

    Aus Jenny, I agree. We want the memories to be of the strong times, but the service times grow our hearts like the Grinch in Whoville...

    Three times bigger for being nice to old people, LOL!

    And Renee Ann, you got it. Bless you for what you're doing to make things work for your mom. That's awesome, kiddo.

  99. OH, OH, OH, OH!!!!!








    MELANIE, thank you! You're in sweetums!

  100. Melanie Dickerson... glad you heeded the Kleenex warning!

    Good girl.

  101. Faye, hello sweet thing! Yeah, you're right. Life is tough at times. But we're strong.

    Strong in the spirit. And chocolate.

    And Casey, don't you just love that cover???

    So stinkin' sweet .....

    Hahahahahahaha!!! Get it? Candy store?


    Sorry, I get punchy when it gets late and no jokes about 9:32 being LATE...

    I'm a dork!

  102. Oh Ruthy.....what an absolutely precious post today (sorry I'm not able to visit until now--it's 9:40 p.m. here in Georgia *yawn*). You have touched many hearts with this post, I feel certain--because SO many folks are dealing with these situations you've described. ~ I'm a big believer in the Lord having a purpose for everything He allows us to go through. Since I've been through sad, difficult, exhausting (emotionally and physically) health situations with both of my sweet Parents (who are now residing in Heaven) I have been able to offer support and encouragement to my friends who are now going through similar situations with their parents. And sometimes just "being there" for my friends (and PRAYERS, of course!) is the biggest way I can help. ~ Thank you again for sharing these thoughts---you are truly an angel. ~ Even though it's late, I'm bringing an evening snack for anyone who's hungry *grin*---Georgia peach muffins, just out of the oven. ~ Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  103. Ruthie:

    I've had time now to read the coments and articles. Very touching. Thank you for sharing.

    Of course it brings back personal tough times. The worst was losing my 16 year old sister in a car wreck.

    There was one miscarriage before having my 3 children.

    My mother had a massive stroke 3 days after Christmas during my next to last year of teaching. Three weeks later my husband tried to have a heart attack and had a stint put in his heart. So he was in a hospital 100 miles from my school one direction, my mother in a nursing home 120 miles the other direction. I drove my little car to death. Literally.

    Hubby recovered but has had other health issues since. Mom lay paralyzed in the home for 4.5 years. I lost her almost 3 years ago. Stil seems like last week. Dad had already been gone 13 years.

    My oldest son was diagnosed with lyme disease during his twenties. He missed some work but managed to hang onto his job. When the lyme cleared up, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. For years he was on drugs and shots. Now he's in remission and walks 14 miles a day. God is good.


  104. Beautiful post, Ruthy. Thank you. And thank you for jumping in to help with the blog. You know, for a snark, you have a wonderful heart, dear friend.

    Life can be tough. What a privilege it is to lift one another up in prayer.


  105. Melanie, I continue to pray for your husband's job. Keep us posted.


  106. Ruthy, touching post. I'm not at that point in my life yet, but don't know how I'll react when I get there.

    I just finished Reunited Hearts. Wonderful story.

    I keep forgetting to say it, so I'm in for the critique.

  107. Ruthy that was beautiful!!!

    Praying for Sandra and her father and anyone else in need of a prayer :)

  108. Thank you Ruthy, I really needed to read your post this morning.

    I am going through a difficult time with my 83 year old mom. Bless her heart, she had her right shouldar replaced in February 2010 and hasn't been the same since. Up until that time she could out walk me and pretty much out-due me in everything. She was put in an immobilizer for six weeks and when she came out of it she had turned into this feeble little lady that I hardly recognize. I love her so much and hate to see her the state she's in more because of how it bothers her. I keep telling her that she took care of me when I was young and now it's time for me to take care of her. Bless my dear hubby, he helps A LOT too! She lives right next door to us so that helps too. It's just hard watching the people that you love not be able to do the things they've always enjoyed doing.

    Thank you Ruthy for letting me open up this morning. Also, I watched the Carrie Underwood/Vince Gill video last night. Oh my gosh, they did a fantastic job. It brought me to tears.

    May you have a blessed day today.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  109. This posting has been particularly inspiring and encouraging. Thanks, everyone, for sharing.

  110. Helen, I think I recognized the pure light within you the first time we 'met' online.

    You are a living example of get 'er done. A Martha-hand-with-a-Mary heart.

    I am privileged to know you and call you my friend.

    Janet, thank you! And HEY!!!! DO NOT TELL MY SECRETS.

    I'M A SNARK.





    And thank you for sharing a wonderful thing, that you used your experience with your life and your parents to bless others. Even if you're not thinking of it as blessing, it's such a gentle sharing.

    Your heart to theirs. Sometimes just the little gift of time or MUFFINS is a wondrous thing. ;)

  112. Walt, thank you! And yeah, Dude...

    We'll let you learn here and I have no doubts that you'll handle it just fine.

    With the help of that WIFE of course.

    I want a wife.


  113. EVA MARIA!!!

    Still grinning over your contract. WHOOOOEEEEEE!

    Thank you. Hugs.

  114. Cindy, you realize you have a story right there, right?

    The mom next door.

    The daughter living alongside.

    Of course we have to dump the hubby (sorry, honey!!!) and make the love interest, what...

    A cop?

    A mail carrier?

    Dog warden? ;)

    Sorry, I'm in thinking tangent, but just picture that, the heroine with your attitude and beautiful spirit.

    Aw, I might write this one myself.


    Bless you, kiddo.

  115. Cara G., you're welcome. Thanks for stopping in.

    Always a mug or glass waitin' on ya'.

  116. That book looks so adorable! I love small town romance books & movies!

    Thanks for sharing this morning. So true. Life goes on and on and on. We cannot keep from doing what must be done in our writing etc., just because life "gets in the way." Our writing (or whichever special ministry God calls you to) is *part* of our life & it's God's calling for us. It must also go on. <3

  117. I can agree with everyone. Life happens! Thank you so much for your post! It's so important to keep everything in perspective when going through the challenges of life! I would love a copy of the book! Also, will be praying for all here that God meet each and every need!

  118. Thanks for the words of inspiration. Kathy

  119. Thank you for the words of inspiration.

  120. Anne Sperry ConnorsApril 27, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Yea Ruth! Sometimes, the hardest days give us the best stories! Your faith through difficult times inspires, beyond words. Thank you for reminding me of His strength and power.
    For those of you grieving, I have a short story inspired by my mother's passing. Just email for a copy: annesperryconnors@yahoo.com

    My Favorite Things:
    My Mothers Last Days

  121. love the cover of this book

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com