Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Less is More

Ruthy here, and the best of mornings to you!

How can this be a bad day? How can this possibly be anything other than a rise up and give praise and sing out our joy in this gift called life?

Ruthy theory #1:  How you view the day affects your day-long perspective. Which means if you're Negative Nellie, knock it off. Shake it out. Shake it up. Behave yourself and grasp joy. Which usually means getting our minds OFF ourselves.

Less is more.

This came to me as I was cleaning for Easter, and that made cleaning therapeutic and a tax write-off, right?

I have to say a big fat YES on that!  So I can pay myself to think-as-I-clean and subtract the cleaning bill from 2012 taxes. 

A tax professional may find fault with that, but it makes perfect sense in Ruthy-world.

Less is more.

My mother-in-law started me on this track years ago, when she told the story of her ironing board.

It was a gift, given to her by her young-and-broke-like-so-many sister-in-law for their wedding. She remembered Aunt Jeannine apologizing for how small a gift it was, obviously embarrassed.

Mom said, "I've had that same ironing board set up in the basement for nearly forty years. Ain't nothin' small about a gift that lasts like that."

Less can be more....

An aunt gave Dave's mother a pretty rectangular dresser scarf for their wedding. Simple. Sweet. Embroidered. This was post-Depression, World War II era, when tin foil balls and gas tickets were daily  reality. Scrap drives, tire drives, air-raid sirens, hints of the coming Cold War...

This isn't the one Mom gave me, that one is at my daughter's now...

Mom gave me the dresser scarf about ten years back and when she handed it to me she said, "You like old things, and this would look nice on your grandma's dresser in your room." (My grandma was an orphan train child who ended up as a serving girl/foster child to a lawyer in Rochester, NY. The dresser in my room was one of the dressers her lawyer benefactor gave her when she married my grandfather).  Mom looked at the dresser cloth and said, "Folks gave simple gifts then, but I used that pretty piece on my dresser since Dad and I got married. First on the old set, then when we saved enough for the new."  (The new is now forty years+++ old)... "And if you can love something for all those years, it's not so simple in the end."

Dave is fond of saying that if our house caught fire, the first thing to be saved would be Great Grandma's stool.

He's right.

Grandma Herne was a tough cookie, strong and active. Her daughter, my Aunt Isabelle, was just like her.  Hard-working. Ambitious. Face-forward. I think that's where my tough side came from. But they always told me I was special, and how crucial that is in the life of a child. "Understood Betsy" type crucial. To feel special amidst the rubble.

So the old red stool was given to me by my mother before she died of cancer. She understood I'd never let anything happen to that stool. Its history was in a Civil War era kitchen... Lawyer Brown (my grandma's foster father and benefactor) got it next, passed on from his grandmother. Aged, old, bent and worn but with lots of good service left it it, he passed it on to my grandma as a young bride.

She left it at our house when she moved into my aunt's home when I was about five...

And now it lives here, in my always-needing-patching farmhouse and it fits perfectly. Me and the stool are copasetic, a little aged, but well-worn and feisty.

Old-oak solid.

I'm perched on it now, typing, wondering how many shucked peas, shelled beans, peeled peaches, and womanly stories went before me. Over 160 years worth....


What has this got to do with writing, you ask? What great awesome lesson is to be learned by senseless Ruthy-chatter (over very good coffee which I've brought to share...) about dresser scarves, ironing boards and stools?


(Hey, that's your problem, not mine, I'd have stopped after the first paragraph. Maybe two. Then I'd yawn, make yaddi, yaddi, yah finger motions and eat chocolate from Easter. Why are you still here????? Oy.)


Many famous authors (Nora Roberts is one of the few who do not do this) fall in love with their own voice. Sales numbers allow them latitude.

They take it.

And then some.

They prattle on about facts, figures, psychology, lecture, and they know their editor will let it slide because their numbers ALLOW THAT.

Don't do that.


Let's make this our solemn pact, that if we make it big, if we turn THAT corner, where the editor's influence is directed by the marketing team, let's make a solemn pledge to NOT PRATTLE ON FOREVER ABOUT STUFF THE READER DOESN'T CARE ABOUT.

In simple writer terms:

When we're allowed latitude, we will use our common sense to draw back... Just because we're allowed to breach rules, doesn't mean we always should. Sometimes the BRILLIANT move is to write less. 

Our natural inclination is to push, push, push.

That's not always the smartest or right thing to do.

And is this opinion?  Yes.

But it's common sense, too, and that brings me to:

Ruthy-theory #2:  All people should be required to spend at least two years in a service job, dealing with the public. Waitressing, retail, counter service, etc.... Two years to realize that you're not the most important person in the world, and that the world is full of real people with real problems and you should be on your knees thanking your creator for more things than can be humanly listed on a blog.

Doing this takes you back to Ruthy-theory #1, that our world view, either positive or negative, whiny or accepting, gracious or degrading, kindly or self-serving is reflected in how we greet the gift of each new day.


He is risen!

Thanks be to God!

Hey, not for nothing, here is a pic of MY NEW COVER FOR "A FAMILY TO CHERISH" !!!!

It's available for pre-order HERE

And it's a delightful book... Are you not TOTALLY LOVIN' ON THIS COVER?????

I might just sit here and stare at it  a while. That's Sophie with the dark hair and her little sister Rachel with the blonde.... Two little jocks, finally getting a chance to be little girls.

I just love it!


HEY!!!  HEY!!!!! HEY!!!!!!!!!

Here is Julie Hilton Steele's antique Peacock Fireboard:

Jules, I'm so glad you sent it along! Isn't this gorgeous?  I love it, Julie. Totally!!

Coffee's on! Breakfast is served, Dave's bringing home muffins from the Tops Bakery. And we've got your choice of any Ruthy novel as a give-away to some lucky comment-type-person today. You can have a North Country book or a Men of Allegany County book.... And feel free to bring some of your Easter candy inside. We are lovin' us some chocolate here in Seekerville!


  1. Did my service job years, thank you. :)

    And I tend to have a positive outlook MOST of the time.

    Since you have the coffee, I'll provide tea and ornage juice.

    I have all your books but the latest.


  2. It is a very dangerous thing to remind people that they have Easter candy in the middle of a post, but I returned. I've got Twizzlers in front of me now. You may pull some out of my hands if you dare.

    I did the service years. Check #2

    Less is more??? Um, I have crit partners that help me cut, though I work hard at it. I always get a kick out of Glenn finding a way to cut 12 of my words for 1. HOW ON EARTH can I be that wordy?

    I'm a Negative Nellie - I prefer to say I'm realistic, but I know that others don't see it that way. But it does let you know that if I give out a compliment - it's a real one.

  3. I love Ruthy days at Seekerville. There is always plenty to talk about!

    Okay, Ruthy theory #1 - I'm with you on that one! And if for some reason you start your day as a Negative Nellie, get your act together and behave like you're the most positive person on earth. Make a list of your blessings, and you will be.

    Then pass it along to someone else!

    Now, Ruthy theory #2 - I'm with you there, too. My husband has spent his life in a service job and training other people to work in service jobs. He's a hospital food service director. Who else gets the grief hospital food service does? But he trains his employees to look at the customer. "That person in front of you is the reason you're here. Serve them."

    It goes along with the quote I keep on my computer desk top: "I am a sinner, I am a servant, I am a small one. I am a saint."

    More or less, we're simpatico, Ruthy dear.

    I love your stool. It reminds me of why I keep my great-grandmother's butter paddle.

    Anything else to talk about? I'll catch you all in the morning. Meanwhile, I'm leaving a plate of Ghiradelli Chocolate Brownies on the buffet. I'll have mine with a cup of herbal tea...

  4. There is no such thing as senseless Ruthy chatter as far as I know. When Ruthy talks, I want to listen! That 160 year old stool is amazing. It reminded me of the jeweled dagger heirloom in the MS I just finished. Its such a blessing to have tangible heritage.
    I agree less is more and I'm so making the pact that if my name is ever bigger than my titles on my books and I can get away with doing whatever I want, that I won't try to. My readers and my stories deserve better than that.

    I've done retail. Banking, which I can tell you bankers have it worse than healthcare professionals when it comes to the customer always being right, even when they're wrong. I do remember a client of mine who I learned was a famous violinist. I asked her if she still played and she said no. The moment she knew her arthritis had begun to affect the quality of her music she gave it up. She said it would have been selfish to try to continue performing in a diminished capacity and she needed to step back and create opportunity for others.
    You would have liked her, Ruthy. I'm sure of it. And I like the new cover. You can't not like a cover with kids on it. Seriously. =)

  5. Hi Ruth:

    “Less is more.” Did you ever notice how objectively false statements can contain the greatest truths?

    Start the day in affirmation of life. I do this every day by reading the Unity Daily Word. How right you are.

    ”Work two years in a service job". I worked as a checker in a supermarket for two years, 17-18, and I saw housewives of every age, in their natural state, and it took me until is I was 33 to recover. Never before did I realize the wisdom of the statement: “The Future is now.”

    Sometimes the BRILLIANT move is to write less. Yes, write less but say more. Say less but love more.

    Don’t let latitude change your attitude. Dance with the one who brung you. Don't become the person who stops to let the roses smell them.

    Why read a post about old things? To think new thoughts. To see the universal in the individual. To touch the lives of those long past who are here now in the form of ourselves.

    The cover of “A Family to Cherish” is so beautiful. It will sell many books. If I were you I’d get a copy of the original art, without the type on it, and frame it in my home. (Some publishers will actually sell the original artwork).

    I hope I can get a copy from eHarlequin a month sooner than Amazon. While heaven can wait, your books cannot. :)


  6. I LIKE to read about old ironing boards and dresser scarves. I felt by reading those things that I was learning a little more about Ruthy. I understand and promise not to do that in books but I guess I care about and am interested in people and all their stuff too. Maybe I am not getting this.

    I would love a book.

  7. Four service years here :) And that post was brilliant and so true.

    I was reading the latest book by a well known author recently and I ended up giving up because the lack of editing drove me up wall!

  8. I've got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Yes! Down in my heart, yes! Down in my...

    Okay, now that we have that song stuck in our heads, I AGREE with Ruthy! My sister has always shored up my family with necessities, like kid shoes or coats or gloves or socks or anything she saw was needed... She was born a big sister and will die a big sister. Always had a really well-paying job and looked out for me and mine. Now, the good job has disappeared and I finally get to be the 'big sister'. Hoooray me! I was thrilled to switch places.
    But I realized something she'd been saying all along. Money comes and goes, it's just stuff. As the receiver you're so grateful, but the giver knows that REAL treasure is family, memories, trust, faith, old stools and desk scarves.

    Sometimes you learn that when you're given something, and sometimes when you give it.

    Does that make sense?

    Anyway, I saw you making those yadi yadi signs so I'll get off my soap box.

  9. VINCE:

    I saw housewives of every age, in their natural state, and it took me until is I was 33 to recover.

    Darn it! I snorted with laughter and woke a sleeping baby. For shame, curb that humor!

  10. Love the dresser scarf as you call it. its pretty. I have some doilies etc mum got for her wedding also and some she made. I just got some cheap mini easter eggs to share.

    Haven't done the 2 years of service well maybe I have. I have been at the bookshop around 20 years doing at least 2 afternoons a month so I guess that could count.

  11. Helen, did you bring juice with no pulp? I got lots of pulp Tropicana for Easter and almost caused a riot...

    All because Lawyer Boy said he liked pulp. But he wasn't here for Easter and the rest of the fam let me know they don't like pulp and they ain't so fond of lawyer boy either, 'bout now! ;)

    MELISSA... You and Helen did service years, awesome! I really think that if you miss that bend in the road, there's no easy recovery of the life lessons learned.

    Negative Nellie, huh? A little cryptic, mayhap? I tended more that way when I was younger... If you can believe this, I think I softened.

    TO THIS!!!! ;) I think I realized no one really cared what I said so it was easier to smile and be quiet.

    But then, Melissa.... Oh, THEN!!!! They thought I was NICE!!! Oh my stars, I can still remember the pressure, the stress and strain of pretense!!! ;)

    Okay, you be however you want to be because I've figured out that God molds us by way of other people's reactions and/or opinions... That he is truly a master potter!

  12. Jan, we might be sisters! Except my sisters may or may not think I'm nuts.

    But we can be blood sisters. Remember that? You prick your finger, I'll prick mine.

    After extensive medical testing clears us of radical exotic disease, of course.

    Childhood isn't as easy as it used to be.

  13. Jan and Nancy love the stool. Isn't it marvelous? (Hey, just a reminder that some folks still use the word "marvelous!!!")

    I dreamed about shopping for a new stool last night. Obviously I dozed off with the blog on my mind, but I found one to take the wear and tear off this one. I wonder if my dream stool would try to take over the kitchen? If they'd get along? Would it be like adopting a child????

    I am one sick puppy.

  14. Nancy, thank you! Please send Teeeeena and Mary a note saying there is no such thing as senseless Ruthy chatter.

    They don't believe it.

    And I only missed ONE LITTLE TURN going to Tulsa. Just one.

    I blame Mary.

    Oh, bankers put in service. Any place where you have to deal with the vagaries of the public is service, unless maybe you're branch manager... That might be two steps too far removed.

    But yeah, Nancy, you get it! ;) And I accept your solemn pledge that we won't get the big head.

  15. VINCE!!!!!

    I spewed coffee!!!!

    What a funny line, "It took me to age 33 to recover... The future is now."

    Oh, my stars, rolling on the floor, I'm fairly dusting it with my mumuu and wrapper!!!!


    (Trust me, this floor could use someone to dust it with something!

    Oh, Vince, hysterical. But you served our country too, and that kind of service makes you a breed apart.

    "To touch the lives long past who are here now in the form of ourselves."

    My mother once said that as long as Beth and I were alive, she'd never truly die.

    Wonderful way of word-smithing my friend.

    And that cover!!! (Vince wisely put his finger to the pulse of publishing and said: "That will sell lots of books.")

    Because I agree. It's a touch magic, a touch whimsy, a touch ethereal and you know there's got to be light at the end of this Ruthy-made-tunnel.

    Love it! :) Thank you for loving it too!

  16. Mary Cline, you are getting it perfectly! I needed to give the head-scratchers an 'out' so they could back away from the computer (or run, screaming) with little duress.

    But hey, us Anne-of-Green-Gables types, the race that knows Joseph, the gathered salts-of-the-earth, the kindred spirits among us!!!! WE TOTALLY GET A POST ABOUT IRONING BOARDS, DRESSER SCARVES AND STOOLS!!!

    And I showed you my famous punch cups over at Yankee Belle Cafe, the delight of my children, my little friends AND NOW my grandchildren...

    So far all twelve punch cups have made it through, year by well-used year!

  17. Kara Isaac, thank you and hugs to you for the brilliance remark.

    May I frame that and send it (expedited delivery, of course) to Mary Connealy who has (on occasion) doubted my brain power????

    I'm just saying if she sees it in writing, Kara, if a smart, wonderful person like you says I'm all that and a bag of chips, maybe Mary will get a clue...

    Whaddya think??? :)

    But yeah, you've got it... And it happens across the spectrum, you can almost draw a line in the sand and say "Editor respected" and "I'll do what I please because my figures say I can"...

    No one's voice should be that powerful. Right???

  18. Virginia, that's awesome! I love your sister from afar, because I believe that about money. It's transient.

    Faith, hope and love are keepers.

    I love paying the bills. And I love that my bills are diminishing after raising six wonderful kids.

    BUT... Money is simply a means to eat and buy occasional cute shoes. I do not lust for it.

    ALTHOUGH... My freshly stoned-no-more-potholes driveway is a thing of country living beauty, LOL!!!! ;)

    But helping others. I love that. Quietly. Remember when Jerry Lewis used to do the Labor Day telethon? He'd talk about how giving is selfish because it makes us feel that good.

    He was right. That simple message resounds in your comment. Toasting you and gentle souls everywhere with Jamaican Me Crazy coffee!!!

  19. Jenny, you're close kid! Anything that puts you in the mainstream and dealing with folks works for me!

    I do think it's a little different if your livelihood depends on it, though. Your thought process is different if you have to make money at this job and make the most of it, right?

    But I'm still counting it because it's most assuredly service-oriented!

    And you brought the reduced price candy???? Me, TOO!!!! ;)

    I love that we see eye-to-eye on opposite sides of the world, LOL!

  20. Connealy wants my stool.

    Come visit my stool.

    We'll talk.

  21. Ruthy, I guess the bookshop is volunteer and not depending on a wage (infact I have said you can sack me if I cant listen to cricket when its on the radio, and its oh thats right you dont pay me!). At the same time I look at it as a job and would like to think I would do the same job if I was getting paid for it. I remembered I was a CMC (Creative Memories Consultant) for 10 years (a poor one at that) but it involved service.

    yes its good to see eye to eye at the different sides of the world.

  22. I'm still doing public service years (gotta pay the bills). People amaze me on a daily basis.

    Yesterday I commented to a co-worker that I hoped a man was telling me the truth about a certain situation, because I'd hate to be disappointed. Again. I try to believe the best about people, AND there are a lot of amazing people in this world. But she shook her head and smiled at me, because she was sure he was lying about the situation.

    Bottom line, I try to look at the world in a positive light.

    He is risen indeed.

    Jackie L.

  23. Jan - our hospital has THE BEST chocolate cake. I always ordered 2 ;).

    I've done my service time. Spent well over 10 years doing it - 10 years at Chick-fil-A and a couple here and there elsewhere. Sometimes I miss the people. The connections.

    The rest of the time, I like working only two days a week. ;) Like today. Which means I need to get ready for work :D.

    BBL - Ruthy dear! Love the cover!

  24. Oooookay...I'll share from my secret stash of Laura Secord cream eggs...but just because it's Seekerville. Wouldn't do that for just anybody, you understand.

    Ruthy -- with that rich heritage and your active imagination why on earth are you not writing historicals?????????????

    And service jobs. Oy. How about chambermaid at the Holiday Inn? (believe me it wasn't a holiday!) Or housecleaning for the elderly? (I still shudder at the memory of having to scrub the kitchen floor all over again -- on my hands and knees -- because I washed it in the wrong direction the first time!) And the s in library stands for service...oh, wait, there isn't an 's' in library -- well there should be because it's all about service. :-)

  25. Good Morning, Ruthy!

    I totally agree with you on the attitude you leave your house with will follow you all day.

    Your book cover is beautiful!

  26. RUTHY ... Absolutely DELIGHTFUL post, my friend, VERY thought-provoking and inspirational (like you!)!

    Ruthy Theory #1: I am a natural optimist, but I have to admit that as a writer, I have had to tone it down because expecting too much ALWAYS leads to disappointment in this highly competitive business. Of course, expecting from God and expecting from the world are two different things, so I am high on the first and VERY low on the second. :)

    MELISSA SAID: "It is a very dangerous thing to remind people that they have Easter candy in the middle of a post, but I returned. I've got Twizzlers in front of me now. You may pull some out of my hands if you dare."

    LOL ... see how funny you are??? Put THAT in your writing, girlfriend!!



  27. Ruthy, how did you know I just finished printing out 50 pages of manuscript and need to be slashing?
    Moving on....

    I finished the last of my Easter candy yesterday. Let's just forget I said I was going into sugar detox last Monday.

    Negatives run in my family so I work at being positive. Doesn't mean I don't have my down days but I use gratitude as my secret weapon. There is a reason why my email signature is the following:

    "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~Melody Beattie

    I was a table cleaner at our local mall food court growing up, helping old folks up from their seats, cleaning up after children who used ketchup as finger paint and fighting off the unwelcome attentions of the mall owner's son. What a learning experience. Then there was that fifteen year stint as a minister....

    In our house, the family knows the peacock fireboard is the first thing out the door if there is a disaster. Don't you love those things that connect you to your family's past?

    Love your words of wisdom, Ruthy. Always.

    Peace, Julie

  28. Ruthy~

    I love the stool, but if you don't mind much, I'll let Mary and Julie fight over it.

    I have a little kid size rocking chair my great grandma gave me when I was 5. It moved with me everywhere while I was growing up (which is saying a lot). In one house it sat in a shed for two years and the rockers nearly rotted off, so it wasn't useful for a long while.

    Then I had a daughter, and I decided she needed Grandma Ida's rocking chair. I happen to have a very handy dad, and I asked him to fix it up for her. She is named for him (Eric/Erika), so he had to say yes (that, and he's incapable of saying no to her, his first granddaughter).

    He did a wonderful job. He had to replace some parts entirely--the rockers included. But the chair back and arms are original. My little girl sits in it every day. She knows it was mine and that her Poppa Eric fixed it up for her, and doesn't that just make it extra special? I think so.

    It occurred to me just now...that little chair may have to appear in a book some day. And I may know just the little girl who will enjoy it...

    Nancy, I love the story about the violinist. It's wonderful when people recognize that some things are more valuable than their own egos. I need to learn that, I think.


    "Don't become the person who stops to let the roses smell them."

    I love that!

    Service? I've worked as a janitor, a waitress, a secretary, Municipal Court Clerk, receptionist in a law office, and a few temp jobs scattered in there, for a total of about 6 1/2 years. For the last 6 I've been a housewife/mom.

    Ruthy, have I paid my dues?

    I would love to win a Ruthy book.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  29. Ruthy, I loved your post. The pictures, the stoies, your "right-on" life lessons. I love old things that have memories attached to them. An aunt showed me pictures of her parents (both of whom died before I was born) in a book. I borrowed the book and made copies of them. I have a few old plates from my other grandma, that I cherish, because they were hers.

    Less is true. Loved your examples. In this "more is better" society, your profound truth brings me back to simplicity.

    Serving.....I bused tables, hostessed, and taught. I learned a lot about people in those jobs, and in how to respond to different personalities. :)

    A friend has taught me the importance of respecting writing deadlines and boundaries. I hope to always maintain a spirit of humility and respect for the authorities on my writing journey. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. They stirred my thinking in good directions.

    BTW, if that's "chatter," I like it. :)

  30. Aw, that is such a beautiful cover, Ruthy. I love it. :-)

    And I did read your whole post, every word. Because it was great. I love your stories. It made me want to come to your house and see it first hand, your amazing old farm house and all the old things and old stories.

    Hugs to you, Ruthy!

  31. Totally. Lovin'. The. Cover.
    Totally. Lovin'. Ruthy.

    See? I pulled back.
    Minimalist today.

    And ok - I can't help myself.
    This place has a story WAITING to be written.

    Please... Somebody. I'm busy with K9 Spies...

  32. I'm back.
    May & Gretchen wante something like - breakfast!!!
    Just read through the comments.

    Seekerville is the BESTEST.
    Love you guys... and gals...

    And I want to feel the love as we watch the stool fight.

  33. I decided I needed to show my face again--until my next book comes out. LOL!

    BTW, I worked as a waitress, as a cashier at a pharmacy, and at a clothing store. I've had people take out their bad day on me, just because I was standing behind a counter and looked harmless. I've had people lie to my boss about me so they could get their prescription for free. I have been cussed out by a college fraternity brat for writing "beer" on his credit card receipt! Ha! He thought Daddy Big-Bucks wouldn't know he was buying booze at the pharmacy!

    Yeah, I can be passively aggressive. :-)

    I have actually because something of an optimist in my middle age. It's a wonderful thing. It's also wonderful when you can just feel happy, just because you have a good song playing in your van, the sun is shining, and the weather is cool but comfortable. And because you know God loves you and you don't have to do anything to earn it. He just loves you.


  34. Jackie, you've nailed an interesting situation in service...

    You see all kinds.

    Some are honest.

    Some aren't.

    When I was head waitress for the Greek restaurant, the drawer kept coming up short...

    So I narrowed it down to three possible people because I knew it wasn't me.

    One was shifty. One wasn't. One was squeaky clean and upset about the fact that someone was helping themselves to money! She cried....

    She was the thief.

    I learned that overly-sincere reactions are just as untrustworthy as suspicious ones. A good actress gets that way through practice.

    Now I use those experiences in my books. I swear (even though it's so WRONG TO SWEAR) God gave me all those service jobs to deepen the emotions and characters in my books.

    And to minimize the need for some research, LOL! I pre-researched!!!

    Grinning in upstate!

  35. Ruthy, I love that old stool and the story of who sat there before you! Wonderful! Reminds me of a child's chair we have from my dh's family. Grandkids, kids, dh, dh's mother and his mother's uncle all sat in this chair. Simple things are precious indeed. I'd never get rid of that chair. Guess that makes you and me sentimental slobs. :-) Nice to use details like that in a book.

    Love your cover!! I agree with Vince. Get a copy somehow.

    Vince, you are a hoot. I have an image of young you checking out women in curlers--remember curlers?--sans make up. I'm glad you weren't scarred for life. I'm sure none of the Seekers will be surprised I don't shop anywhere without makeup. LOL

    I didn't get Easter candy this year but have a bowl of Hershey kisses for anyone craving dark chocolate. I want one of your twizzlers, Melissa. Only one, I promise. Too many give me a stomach ache.


  36. Carol, 10 years at Chick Fil A.....

    Do you think my longings for their chicken would cease if I worked there for ten years, honey????

    Still praying for you and your brother. Praying for your patience and good humor to thrust you over the waves life is sending your way.

    And if you sent me some chicken from our fave restaurant, I wouldn't say NO!!!! ;)

    I love the cover, too. Excuse me while I go look at it again....


  37. There are people who still have Easter candy left? Seriously?
    You must have willpower. I do not.

    I do love Ruthy's new cover. A total delight.

    Service - been there, done that. Then there was the factory job. Now that taught me about life. It also made sure I stayed in college.

    Of course some might say that teaching is a service job, so then I'm still doing serious, but with total joy (most days).

    Must take the dog to the vet this morning - then a glorious day of revising. (How's that for a positive attitude?)

  38. Kav, I love your life! I totally get it!

    You've got a servant's heart... You love to help.

    And I think that part of us, inside, is a huge thing that kind of gets overlooked in today's technological society.

    Looking within, to that servant's heart. And developing it if we don't have it naturally, right?

    Jane and Elizabeth Bennett had servants' hearts in Pride and Prejudice. The other girls didn't.

    I think that was the core of the conflict and the sympathy they garnered from so many of us.

  39. Rosie Zediker, you got an evening with Connealy!!!!

    I'm very un-Christianlike jealous, you know!!!


    Happy to see you, darling, and I'll forgive you for living closer to my snarky friend IF you bring chocolate...

    But complimenting that gorgeous cover is almost as good, Rose!!! :)

  40. Julie and Mary must BOTH come to upstate NY to use the stool.

    It will be worth it.

    Wait 'til the puppies and kittens are sold.

    So... June. ;)

    Julie, I love counting on God!!! That just makes me smile from ear to ear!

    And you fight dirty????


    Scarlett lover!!!!

  41. Kav, I had to google Laura Secord cream eggs, but Oh My Stars (I can say that today because it's a Ruthy Day) those look amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  42. I encouraged all four of my daughters to work as waitresses in high school.
    Working as a waitress will teach you life skills that never stop being valuable:
    How to useful for a wife and mother.
    How to smile even when some idiot is being rude and unreasonable.
    How to be excellent at any job, whether high powered or lowly. I told them, "Any job can be done well or be done poorly. You go in there and be the best waitress you know how to be."
    And it taught them one other FUNDAMENTAL THING (drumroll).

    >>>>They didn't want to be a waitress for the rest of their lives so they needed to go to college.

  43. Ruthy, that reminds me - I thought of you yesterday when I was walking along 6th Ave with Fenway and I saw a bumper sticker that said

    My Doodle is smarter than your Honor Student!

  44. Love the cover of your new book Ruthy! Less is more... I needed to hear that this morning.

    We've spent the week staying in a hotel, living out of a suitcase
    (pillow case actually... they pack better in the van. We hold our heads high as we march through the hotel lobby with our hill billy luggage tossed over our shoulders.)

    I'm so looking forward to going home this afternoon. I miss that little cabin in the woods.

    I thought I'd get a ton of writing done this week but didn't write a word. I can't remember a time I went so long without writing. Negative thoughts need to go away. Your post was just the kick in the pants I needed. Thanks

  45. No Easter chocolate here.
    It mysteriously disappeared out of the children's baskets while they were at school.

    I hate it when a favorite author's book comes out and is filled with stuff. Some I think were added to reach a certain word count. I've been known to dump author's because of this.

    I'm a harsh critic, but I'm smiling as I write this. Yes, I have the joy, joy, joy down in my heart. (Thank you, Virginia for the song. *g*)

    I thought my serving days were accomplished at Hardee's during high school. But I've recently opened a resale shop. I love helping people find what they need. Yes, Mary I to can smile at an idiot while they insult me.

    (FYI: If you leave appliances in the rain, they tend not to function properly.)

  46. Ruthy, I love the post, the reminder about the positive attitude and the stool. But I'd rather come snuggle the puppies and kittens! And play with the grandkids.

  47. Ruthy - no it won't cure you. We're there about once a month and that's only because it's far. Otherwise, it would be more. So maybe that's good.

    I'm trying to stay upbeat. We'll see how it works. I don't have today's blog post written yet, but I have it titled...

    Whine and Cheese

    You had to know some whining was coming. For crying out loud. Only half my mouth works and they've got me taking EIGHTEEN pills a day :D

  48. Ah, Ruthy waxes sentimental. Love it!

    You reminded me of the little stool my father made years before I came along. It's small and brown and the perfect spot for my Synonym Finder and a cup of tea while I sit in my "modern" Ikea chair and write on my laptop.

    Oh, and I keep all my Seeker novels in the little bookshelf my daddy made. (Which might have to change in a year or two at the rate Seekers are getting published!)

    Sadly, I barely remember my dad. He passed away before my fourth birthday. But I'm glad I have these things to remember him by. Thanks for the reminder, Ruthy!

  49. I agree. Less is definitely more. I'd rather be happy with my family and friends than own a huge mansion and be by myself:) Like the Bible says, Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Not material things:)
    I like how y'all always give us opportunities to win books.

  50. I'm working in my service years right now. 8 months down, a little over a year to go. I wonder what my supervisor who is training me would think I'm going to abandon her in two years. ;-))

    What a rich history, Ruthy! I loved that you shared all that. Shows all that surrounds us can be such a legacy and inspiration. :)

  51. Hi Ruthy,

    Thanks for the perk-me-up today! I was just grousing to myself as I came into work and tried to give myself a good talking to - about choosing joy. And then I read the first few words of your post! Talk about a smack upside the head! Stomping out that Negative Nellie! LOL.

    Love your cover and can't wait to read your next book!! (When does it come out, btw?)

    Count me in for the draw please!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  52. THUD! There. (Dusts hands) That's every single piece of Easter candy from my house. It's all chocolate -- chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate-covered almonds, chocolate-covered pecans, chocolate.Chocolate, chocolate. Puhleez take it. Puhleez.

    A job working with the public -- one of the many such jobs was as a member of a newspaper staff. Sign on the wall in the room where we did page layout, ad design, wrote articles and editorials: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

    The book cover is delightful, Ruthy. It shows a sense of wonder and beauty and discovery. And what a nice account about Great Grandma's stool. There's a story in there, ya know?

    Smiles to one and all -- and thanks ever so much for taking the Easter candy.

    Nancy C

  53. Imagine that stool, a Yankee soldier sitting on it, bleeding, exhausted. A southern woman ministering to him with trembling hands as she puts stitches in the bullet that sliced across his lower side, his broad chest bare as she kneels at his side.
    He came to the door with a fully primed gun and demanded her help, threatened her sleeping children. This man is one of the Northern aggressors who killed her husband. Now every day is a fight for survival for her.
    But as she takes stitches in human flesh for the first time in her life, her hands trembling, terror fades. She feels his warmth and vitality. Beneath his threats she sees he's just a man. Fighting for his life. Not evil. Trapped in a war he didn't welcome but feels honor bound to fight.
    The red on the stool's legs is splattered blood.
    Pounding at the door are the men searching the area for an escaped prisoner.
    "Please, ma'am, don't turn me over to them. I swear you'll come to no harm."
    She feels the steady beating of his heart as she takes the last stitch. Looks up into flashing blue eyes, honest eyes. The kindest eyes she's ever seen.

  54. hello Ruth, you are so right sometime less is more...I love your post today of all the small things given that became so much more-the eye of the beholder. and Mary making such a wonderful story about the red stool-love it.
    you girls are amazing. I am so glad that you share your talant and I get to read wonderful stories from you making my life a little sweeter...
    thanks Paula O(

  55. Mary -

    Is that Seth's story ;)?

    I <3 it!

  56. I did pretty good about avoiding the Easter candy this year, not totally mind you...
    I read Yuletide Hearts recently, would love another in the series!


  57. Thought of something else your post reminded me about, Ruthy. When we were trying to sell our house last year and had already moved into an apartment in our new city, the Realtors went in to do some staging.

    Well, one of the first things they did was remove and HIDE all the treasured hand-crocheted doilies my mother had made ages ago. I'd been displaying them for years on the piano, china cupboard, and other wood furniture.

    But the Realtors said it made my house look too "old lady." Good grief.

  58. Julie Hilton Steele must e-mail me a pic of the Peacock Fireboard!!! I'll post it...

    I'll be watchin' for it, Jules.

    AND... I had the greatest long chat with Julie the other day. That was actually a prize for ME, not her, it was that delightful.

    And now she has my number...


    Wonderful, beyond words. AND as I came downstairs from chatting about EVERYTHING COOL with Julie, Fauna (wildcat from last year's hidden litter) gave birth to her first of six baby kitties...

    Two orange, two black, one stripey-von-stripe-a-lot and one calico.

    I'm naming one "Julie" and one "Steele".

  59. Mary Connealy - When is that book coming out? I see a whole future of Civil War themed books for you! I'd read them.

    After all, even war needs a dash of grim humor, doesn't it?

  60. Andrea, I'm checking you off: No Stool for Andrea.

    I do have an antique child's rocker so that you could have two! We'll talk.

    Hey, I love your life of service, and I'm not a bit surprised, chickie! And I love how Grandpa fixed up the rocker for your Erika.... What a great hand-me-down heritage tale that is! And yes, definitely needs to be in a book. I'm smiling, envisioning it.

    Aw, Jeanne, you got me a little misty-eyed.... I'm glad you like this kind of chatter, sweet thing!


    Now I'll smile all day, just thinking of what you shared about learning from your friends, your time, your jobs. Those little things that make up the pages of life are our stories, engraved on our hearts.

    What we do with them???? In our hands and God's perfect timing. Thank you!

  61. Hmmm, I'm back for more.

    Less is more - especially when it comes to words. One thing I learned back in my poetry days (eons ago), is how powerful the right word can be.

    The best poetry uses words that conjure up a wealth of feelings and images, paired with the right phrases that bring the reader to the emotion the poet is trying to invoke.

    And all without even mentioning the desired emotion, and within the constraints of meter and rhyme.

    John Donne is one of my favorites. Just read the love poem he wrote to his wife, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning".

    Prose can do the same thing - the right word at the right time saves you chapters of explanation.

    And Ruthy, yes, I'll be your blood sister any time. Grimy fingers and all.

    And you need to name one of the kittens Remington.

  62. Ah, Ruthy, lovely, lovely post today. Those treasures from your family are beautiful.

    And there is a story in that orphan train gramma.

  63. Oooh, I forgot to mention the service years...
    When one of my kids had a HUGE doctor billw ecouldn't pay, I tucked my degrees up in my cap and took a job at our local deli. I thought it would be fun! I thought I would be making delicious sandwiches for witty customers!

    *Waits for laughter to subside*

    I lugged 80 lb drums of dirty grease around after draining fry vats. I wiped deli windows about 60 times a day. I mopped with vomit smelling mops because someone's kid had urped in aisle 6 and no one rinsed the mop with bleach. And I was supposed to look tidy and professional and sound cheery.

    I will NEVER look at service workers the same again. NEVER.

    Oh, my favorite moments came when someone changed a menu item with 12 additions and subtractions to the inredients, then complained it tasted bad. Well. Yeah. You CHANGED the RECIPE.

    Thanks for the coffee!!

  64. Mary Connealy, that's just mean. I want the rest of that story!!!

  65. Try nursing for a service career. You realize the full gammit of life and different personalities. Most important you experience God's love for his creation.

  66. Oh Ruthy....this is one of the BEST posts I've ever read (seriously) and you are one wise lady (not to mention hilarious and cute!). Less is more--so true in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your Ruthy-wisdom with us today. ~ LOVE the cover of your new book--PRECIOUS!! ~ And I SO agree about everyone needing to work with the public (I've been both a salesgirl and a waitress). Eye-opening experiences for sure, but I wouldn't trade those valuable "people lessons" for anything. ~ I'm bringing more Easter candy to share, so hope it gets eaten. Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  67. So I was just writing on my blog about today being DROP EVERYTHING AND READ DAY and I come here and read Mary's awesome tale and now I want to drop everything and read the rest of her story!

  68. Hi Ruthy!

    Great lesson. I put in some service years in college, and now, working at a newspaper, I definitely think it qualifies as service. You wouldn't believe some of the people we deal with! :)

    Less is more: I think Michael Crichton got that way in many of his latter books. I used to call the first chapter of all of his books the "I'm so smart" chapter because it always felt like he did all this research on scientific theory and stuff, and then couldn't fit it in the story, so he made the first chapter an essay dump of information. Sometimes it was interesting, most of the time I could have done without.

    LOVE your little stool and dresser scarves! I have some antiques in my home, like our dining room table, bedroom dressers and coffee table. Our coffee table is about 80 years old, as my grandmother got it in Mexico in the 1930s.

    Ruthy, I'm from the race that knows Joseph, too. One thing I will make sure gets out of the house in a fire is a first edition copy of Rainbow Valley my hubby got me for our first Valentine's Day. I haven't had it since 1919 (when it was published), but I love it all the same, and it is cherished.

    Love the new cover!

  69. MARY CURRY--DEAR! My favorite time of day in my class room, once upon a time, a long time ago. Now, I have to make excuses to drop everything and read. :) I'm with you, I wanna read the rest of Mary's story!

  70. I don't know if you count working at daycares in the service industry, but I do.
    I remember one mother who always dressed her little girl up in fancy clothes ask, "Do they go outside everyday?"
    Really? You stay inside a little room all day w/15 three year olds. I remember wishing every mom had to volunteer to work for 2 weeks before they could leave their child.

    I always try to be respectful to all service personel. I worked several years at Dairy Queen before my last name was Queen.

    Love the stories of your family and their valuable gifts.

  71. Jeanne T,

    First 15 minutes after lunch every day in my classroom - DEAR time. They may be my most favorite 15 minutes of the day.

  72. Hi Jan:

    You wrote:

    “The best poetry uses words that conjure up a wealth of feelings and images, paired with the right phrases that bring the reader to the emotion the poet is trying to invoke.

    “And all without even mentioning the desired emotion, and within the constraints of meter and rhyme.

    “Prose can do the same thing - the right word at the right time saves you chapters of explanation.”

    Thank you so much. This is an ideal definition of poetry and also of what I call ‘crystal clear’ prose. I believe with Archibald McLeish that a poem should ‘be’, not ‘mean’. That John Doone could reach out, with rather antiquated English, almost four hundred years later, and cause me to feel as he felt then, demonstrates both the power of words and the commonality of the human experience. Simply wonderful.

    I also believe that ‘the right word at the right time’ can act like expensive wind chimes which have each chime in perfect tune so that whichever way the wind blows, the chimes make beautiful music.

    I’ve been trying to find a definition like this one since I first read, “Courting Miss Adelaide” by Janice Dean. The writing in this book is so crystal clear that I could hear the music in it as I read the story. I highly recommend that aspiring writers get this book for their Kindle (or computer) and increase the type size so that a single sentence fills the entire screen. Examine each word in each sentence and you will hear the music. I’ve read all of Janet Dean’s books (even the novella) and I’ve yet to have to re-read a single sentence to understand its intended meaning.
    I know this is all a little esoteric but your poetry comment was very insightful. Thanks again.


    P.S. RUTH, I love you.

  73. Aw, Ruthy, you are so sweet. Folks, she really, truly, sounds like the person you want taking care of your babies, raising your puppies, and writing your favorite romances!

    I have been writing and revising since we spoke. Just amazing how your questions inspired me.

    Kittens, we have kittens? In all my favorite flavors too. If you name by color, I was born a redhead! If you name by personality, maybe I don't want to know!

    Peacock fireboard email has been sent to you.

    Peace, Julie

  74. Aw, shucks, Dickerson. Now I have to be NICE to you.

    Dagnabbit, I don't know if I can summon that much energy.


    Thank you, sweet thing. I'm clinging to this cover AS IF I HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT, which of course I didn't, but God bless our Toronto art team.

    They rock.

  75. K.C., I don't want to write about it, I want to live there.

    Oh my gracious sakes to Betsy!!!

  76. All right, who are you and what have you done with Melanie????


    If you are indeed the Melanie Dickerson (the one and only person Mary openly tried to kill through her inept attempt at mentoring anything, ever) then prove yourself by giggling....

    I know the sound of that Melanie giggle!!!!

    Although some might call it a chuckle.

  77. Janet, we are kindred chair spirits...

    But you would never go to the lobby in your jammies and no make-up.

    I figure, what's the harm????

    The paparazzi already know what I look like, LOL! ;)

    But I'm okay with you being beautiful and coiffed. (is that really a word???)

    Because we balance one another beautifully. As long as no one smudges my tiara.

    Or steals my Chick Fil A...

    Hey, where's that Carol chick??? Shouldn't she be bringing us food????

    Oh, wait. That's my job. Pshaw!

  78. Mary Curry, that is a wonderfully positive attitude, Dudette!

    Revisions... edits... I love delving into a story and tweaking it.

    And you give that Boston-lovin' pooch a hug for me! Fennie!!! We love you in Seekerville!

    You're PAWSOME!!!! (thanks, K.C.)

  79. I have not had Laura Secord candy in a long time....

    I used to love the Fanny Farmer cream eggs with the orange "yolk" center. Dark chocolate outside.

    Oh, yum. No wonder I was a pudge!!! Hey, where do you buy Laura Secord candies now? Just online? Gotta go check.

    Oh. My. Stars.

    I want those eggs. And they're running out!!!!

    Stop me. Please.


  80. Connealy-meister, I agree. Beth and Sarah both waitressed through college...

    And Matt worked at a restaurant serving and carving meat... and then as a bouncer in a bar in Philly...

    Seth worked at a convenience store...

    Zach was the "ENGINEER" for a little kid's dinosaur train ride that went 2 MPH....

    And Luke worked with us in the tuxedo section of Bridal Hall and learned about brides, grooms, fittings, wedding planning and running a business.

    He is, by the way, still single but with multiple degrees, LOL!

    Oh, yeah, the best way to inspire more school is to immerse them in life without school!

  81. My Doodle is Smarter than your Honor Student!!!!

    Oh my stars, LOL! ROF, LOL! That's a hoot.

    Doodles are mostly smart. But I bet there's a few back-of-the-class Doodles around.

    Not mine, of course! ;)

  82. Jamie, I get so messed up when I leave home... It really takes me out of my work zone. And conferences throw me to the wall.

    So I hear you completely.

    But I love the pillow case of goods! Oh, Jamie, you've got to use that in a book. That's such a fun, backwoods look! And so normal!

    Hugs to you, glad you're getting back home, and God bless you! Even with a kick in the wazoo.

  83. Bridgett, I'm with you!

    Put appliances away.

    And smile at the dolts.

    I'm always reminded of the very strange woman who confronted me when my kids were little. She was rude, antagonistic and in my face while I was working.

    I smiled through it, and she tried to commit suicide three days later.

    She had nothing against me.

    She was fighting the urge to die, to give up.

    She didn't die, and last I heard she was doing all right, but it taught me to remember that a lot of water goes under the bridge before I step my foot on to cross it.

  84. Donna, plenty of all of the above! Come on up.

    I've even got the spare room clean!


    And some Easter goodies left.

  85. Carol, dagnabbit, I don't mind telling you that EVEN A SNARK LIKE ME is sorry this happened.

    It's disconcerting.

    It looks weird.

    It feels weird.

    And you may or may not drool.

    Oh. Wait. This was a PEP talk, right???? ;)

    Hugs, honey. If there's anything I can do, you e-mail me because I sincerely am sorry you have to deal with this, but...


    I know you're tough and faithful. Pull on that faith.

    And this gives you a glimpse into the strange reactions people have when something isn't exactly right.

    Use that feeling, those reactions in your work. Make use of this entire experience.

    It's real.

  86. Myra....

    You keep your SYNONYM FINDER on your beloved stool????

    Why does that make me weak-kneed, laughing!!!!

    Not a quaint, old-fashioned doll... Not a 1913 Teddy Bear....

    Not a gotta get a Gund...

    A Synonym finder....

    I may or may not have spewed just a little, and I'm blaming you if my laptop freezes!


    Glad to touch those lovely memories though. There's a blessing and a half, sweet thing!

  87. Courtney, Amen. And again I say, "Amen."

    And you're welcome, kiddo.

    And I love how you guys hang out with us, eat imaginary food but become real friends.

    Kind of wonderful and weird all at once, isn't it???

    I blame Mary.

  88. Can't agree more on the positive outlook Ruthy!

    Love the trip into your historical artifacts. I have plenty of those too. I just can't help being sentimental :)

  89. I have a bunch of Chick-fil-A nugget trays and spicy chicken strips for anyone who wants some. ;)

    I'm home and want to sleep. I'm trying really, really hard to stay positive about all this but it's hard sometimes. I 'whined' on my blog earlier and after I posted it, my cheek started swelling :(. Looks like I just had work done in my mouth. Maybe I bit it or something. Believe me, Ruthy darlin', this is so going in a book.

    Somewhere. Even if my crit partners are the only ones who ever read it ;).

  90. Laugh all you want, Ruthy. But I'm putting my daddy's stool to good use. It's keeping him close to me in a way.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention the wooden lamp base he also made that is now sitting atop one of my office bookshelves.

    See, I've got my dad's stool, bookcase, and lamp all within a few feet of where I spend most of my writing day.

    I'm just very, very sorry I never knew my dad during his woodcrafting days.

    Actually, hubby could use some of that woodworking ability right now. He's outside trying to turn an old fort (the kind kids play on) into a storage shed. He's making it up as he goes, and I'm trying to stay out of it!

  91. Ruthy, I like the dresser scarf much better than the stool, but I can see why the stool has sentimental value. Do you ever use it?

    I love your positive outlook on life!

  92. thank You ruty thank you thank you. Thanks for saying i am part of the salt of the earth. Wheew I needed that.

    My son wrote in his blog about his years doing service work while he was waiting for the job he has now. I could post a link but thought I should ask for permission.

  93. I haven't written that book. I thought the Civil War with the southern belle and the yankee soldier was kinda forbidden, overdone, you know.

    I was more thinking along the lines of a reclusive mountain baron, hostile, savage and alone in the Rocky Mountains and the beautiful feisty woman that turns to the only man who can help her save her son after outlaws killed her husband.

    I may have sort of written this book before. It sounds familiar.

  94. Umm, I mean Ruthy, sometimes the h doesn't work on my key board. Oh, and permission from Seekerville. He wouldn't care if I shared.

  95. There may be no senseless Ruthy Chatter, but take out the word 'senseless' and I've gotta say, "Yes, it exists."

  96. I never, ever, ever doubt your brain power, Ruthy.

    In fact, I believe I've got your email address saved under the name Evil Genius.

  97. Julie, that is a gorgeous fireboard. Beautiful patina and, maybe best of all, it looks loved.

    Nancy C

  98. Ruthy ... why did you not believe it was me? Was it because of the passive aggressive thing? Or the open optimism? Yeah, my giggle betrays me every time.

  99. I love the picture of the old ironing board. My paternal grandma gave my mom her old wood ironing board many, many, MANY years ago and that has been the best ironing board I have ever used. I think that's why I love to iron. :) Sadly mine is just a 'normal' every day one that loses height every time you run your iron over it. :(

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  100. Casey, your memories are in the making... the early ones, the seeds of change blossoming around you.

    ENJOY!!! While you write great tomes, of course. ;)

    SUE... I hear you! Don't you love God's perfect timing??? I hear that on K-Love all the time and it's so true. I'm continually amazed. Little nudges or HUMONGOUS slaps upside the head... So much to thank God for.

  101. Enjoyed looking at the cherished family heirlooms! They would sure be inspirational for a historical writer.

    I agree. Everyone should have to work with the public. I waited tables for 3 years, worked retail for 2 years, and am still working in sales, only in a much better capacity. I have a hard time not being cynical at times about people (okay, a lot of the time!), but it definitely shows you some things about the world and yourself.

    The new cover is beautiful! I love the colors. : )


  102. Nancy, I've shared the Easter candy with an old-timers home here! They're lovin' you big time!!! ;)

    Thank you for lovin' on that cover! Doesn't it just smile back at you???

    And Dave will love that I used the stool for a story. One of these days it will get a spot in a book, and you'll all know the truth behind the tail before anyone else.

    I LOVE the sign in your newsroom.

    I need to print that up for here. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  103. Mary, you write it, I'll buy it.

    Or I'll write something contemp and the stool will come to life, helping the inhabitants of an old house...

    Without them knowing it.

    Or the stool could recount the stories throughout generations, starting with the Civil War story, and then going to Philadelphia with their youngest daughter, the one who decided she wanted an education at Penn...

    And then it moves to rural Northern Pennsylvania where I hear there is a tri-generational feed fest going on....


  104. Paula O, I just love you!

    And I love Mary's story, too.

    She's clever but I try not to tell her too often.

    The big head, you know.

  105. Patty, I'm glad you liked Yuletide Hearts....

    Oh my gracious, wasn't that just delightful??? :) I love that double soldier story.


    Now you've made me smile even bigger than I was!

    You're in for the drawing, and thanks for the smile.

  106. Hi Ruthy, I so love all the antiques. They are so you.

    I can so see you sitting on that stool and carrying the family traditions--instilling them in your children and grandchildren. Love it.

    I'm glad you are always looking from the bright side. Hugs.

  107. Lovely cover Ruthy! Those pink tones are beautiful. And the stool stories (both your fact one and Mary's fiction one lol)--I love them.

    My Granny recently gave me all her duplicate crochet needles. They're not antique, but the art certainly is. She learned from her aunt and taught me. It's something I cherish now.

    Less is More. I like it, and I REALLY needed the reminder. I'm shocked at how much cutting needs to be done in my rewrites.

    My mom and brother raided Walmart at 12 am after Easter and got all their candy 50% off. LOL. They came in with 4 bags of the stuff, so I bring you Reese's peanut butter eggs, marshmallow eggs, assorted chocolate, Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, and Crunch bars. ...I already ate the chocolate bunny. :)

  108. Feeling blessed today, Ruthy. Even with the 101 degree fever, fountain nose and sore throat. Even with the knowledge that the neighbor's dog welcomed himself into my house and marked my walls. Even with the killer dust bunnies and the pile of weekend laundry dotting my house. It's all good. Thanks for the reminder though. Always helps to be surrounded by joyful people, doesn't it?

    Also loved Yuletide Hearts. Have two other Ruthy's on my Kindle TBR. Love me some a dat der good readin'...Hugs...

  109. Love the book cover, Ruthy! And that's the book I would love to win! I've read all your others and loved them. I had lots of "people lessons" when I served 31 yrs. in a church office!!

  110. Stopping by much too late. Loved reading about the ironing board, dresser scraf and kitchen stool.


    Pass the chocolate, please.

    Love your new cover too!

    I have a set of three Pyrex mixing bowls that were my mother's. Saw a similar set in an antique store on sale for $75. Mine are worth far more than that to me. As the commercial says, they're priceless. Not too pretty, but they're filled with memories.

  111. How did I miss a Ruthy post???? Thursdays are crazy days, so I guess I never got by. And I missed out!

    What a lovely post, Ruthy. You try to act tough, but you're actually quite sentimental and all marshmallow on the inside. :)

    Love the photos! And the new cover!!

  112. It never pays to be too busy to make my morning stop at Seekerville. I missed a Ruthy day!!! Agh!!!

    Your book cover is wonderful, your theories should both be written in stone somewhere, I love your Grandma's stool and the dresser scarf... AND you can prattle on anytime, as far as I'm concerned. You always make my day. Well, in this case, you've made my night since it's late here. Bless you!

  113. Oh, Myra....

    Too "Old Lady", huh?

    You know that's interesting, though. My sister in law stages homes for sale, and she's got it down to an art.

    Warm, open, welcoming, smelling good. She'll rent furniture or use her own furniture to give a home a welcoming feeling.

    Salesmanship... Good stuff to know for a book though, right? But I would have loved your doilies and pretty things and I'm not an old lady.

    (Note to self: Buy more anti-wrinkle cream, STAT!)

    Mary, I like Jan's idea, but I wonder how you'd handle that?

    I think the dry humor is a great idea.

    And there were plenty of guns around. Anyone want some chocolate bunnies????

  114. Jan, I totally agree! Poems and musical lyrics touch hearts and weave stories with a few dozen words...

    Sometimes our craft makes us word-greedy.

    Erica, thank you! :) And you're right, there's a story in there, I'm not sure I'm the one to tell it, but one of these days I'll give it a shot.

    Here, honey, would you like some tea? A coke????

  115. Patti Jo, thank you THIS MUCH!!!!

    Oh, Easter candy, honey.... This is the place to leave it and know it will not go uneaten nor unappreciated!



    Genteel poverty.

    Somehow we've lost the feel for some of this as time, money and technology race around us.

    Glad you liked it!!!! Hugs to you!

  116. Mary Curry, I agree! Mary Connealy, get writing...

    Your public awaits!

    Stephanie, I love Crichton's books, but I agree.

    You know who did that and DIDN'T bother me? James Michener. Because he did a historical time-line to open his sagas and I loved that glimpse into the past that built to the future.

    Oh my stars, I devoured those books. Pages fell out. I need to re-read him, and see if I love them as much on this side of the fence, but Hawaii????



    Loved it.

    I can't think of one I didn't like.

    Herman Wouk got word-heavy, too, but I loved the stories within...

    And maybe I notice it more now because I'm writing category-length and have to pinch words? Whaddya think????

  117. Oh, Connie, I have my little daycare here and yes, it's a service job! But so fun, with all my urchins! ;)

    And we have a farm so if someone needs to die, there's ample burial room.

    Mothers sometimes mix up THEIR desires with their kid's needs. The moms who love to help their prom daughters find sexy-mama dresses because their daughters "have a great shape, might as well flaunt it!"

    Yes, that is the reason I stayed on the bridal side of the bridal store I worked in... I wanted to slap mothers.

    Better that I stay with the brides than the pampered teens... Oy. Oy. Oy!

    So I hear you, loud and clear, and going outside should be a REASON to choose a daycare because kids need outdoor time. Unless it's raining or too bitter, we love going outside. Getting dirty. Playing in puddles or driving Tonkas over freshly paved wood-chip roads.


    Dairy Queen??? We had one here a long time ago... I try to stop at one when I travel, and get a blizzard. Which makes me think of Braum's ice cream in Tulsa and how much I miss The Teeeeenster!!!!

    This is a big country.

  118. Aw, Vince.... Honey did you feel you HAD TO SAY THAT becauee you waxed on about Janet's work on my day?????


    You can sing Janet's praises ten ways to sixty and I will heartily agree! And I love you too, big guy. Hugs from upstate.

  119. JHS, good girl!!!!

    So I get to name a red one Julie????

    Why am I not surprised? ;)

  120. Eva Maria, I suspected you'd be a kindred spirit as I read your book! Delightful, wonderful and dare I say marvelous?????


    Thank you!

  121. Carol, honey, this too shall pass.

    I promise.

    And make it a small part of the book... because on the Cosmos timeline, this temporary aberration is but a dot at the end of a sentence.

    Which is easy for me to say because it isn't my face! Catholics have that old-world "offer it up" mentality. I don't know if other Christian faiths talk about that, but I believe it helps me through tough times.

    When things are horrid, when I'm tested, I offer it up to Jesus, as thanks for the cross.

    It helps me rationalize my pain vs. his.

    He wins.

    Myra, I think it's lovely to have Dad's things around. And your synonym finder.

    That Mac doesn't come with a synonym finder in word, huh??? ;)

    (Kidding, Myra... kidding....)

    I keep a small statue of Mary on my writer's shelf because it was my mother's. She won it in a school writing contest. I FLUBBED my sixth grade writing contest and wrote about the wrong thing, so someone else got the statue of Mary that May.

    I need to listen more!!!!

  122. Cara, I use the stool every day. I type on it. Well, wait the GQ will kill me for that horrible sentence.

    I sit atop the stool whence I type.

    How's that???? ;)

    And thank you, my beautiful Florida friend. Now I'm smiling for today!

  123. Mary Cline, post away!

    And you may have a toast crumb under the "h"....

    I do that often.

    I have been known to pry keys up GENTLY and clean beneath them to restore world order.

    Obviously my methodology is in the infancy stages.

    Mary Connealy, obviously the book is meant to be written...

    Just move it a few degrees west.

    Although you did that in The Doctor Wears Petticoats, right?

  124. Connealy....

    Just because some of us like to fill the void with gentle and whimsical conversational flow, doesn't make us evil....

    Genius, mayhap.

    But I kind of like the moniker.

    You may keep it.

  125. Cindy, mine does that too! 'Sup wi' dat??????

    Yeah, those old ones are just a work of art although our mothers would DIE LAUGHING at that.

    But they didn't grow up in an age of plastic.

  126. Whitney, yes, yes, and yes!

    We learn so much by what we do in those service jobs.

    And high end sales jobs?

    That just teaches us more, on a different level.

    All great book research!

    LYNDEE!!! Sending you a new lock for the door.... and hugs and some Airborne to keep away future germs! Honey, get better soon! But yes, smile in the face of your enemies...

    It drives them crazy.


  127. Sandra, as a former kindergarten teacher, I knew you'd appreciate that side of the lesson!

    Thank you!

    Natalie, I have a tiny wicker basket on my wall filled with old crochet hooks... I can crochet (not well or fancy) but enough to do it... badly... and I love the feel of yarn and a hook-in-hand. So old-world.

    And I love teaching my older daycare girls to sew. Letting them use Mandy's machine... (that's what she gets for leaving it here, right???)

    Lost arts, re-found.

  128. Jackie, you're in!!! And thank you for the sweet words!

    That book's not available yet, but if you win I'll put it on the list when it gets shipped, 'kay?

    And Deb, I love those Pyrex bowls! We have two "retro" shops in our local antique co-op and they're such fun! Who would have thought that stuff would be SOUGHT AFTER????

    I still love my first Corning Ware "Spice of Life" baking dish. We're women with a past, LOL!

  129. Missy Tippens, SHHHH.....


    Oh my stars.....

    Carol, this way you had a fun Seekerville NIGHT and hugs from me...


    What could be better??? (You are not required to answer that, honey.)

  130. sorry I'm coming in late to this , Rurthy - but THANK YOU!
    WHAT a treasured post...I didn't yawn one time.
    But I did get a little misty eyed.
    That's a pretty packed word right now.

  131. btw, I have 3 salad plates from my great, great grandmother who came from Ireland during the potato famine. Actually, she smuggled aboard a ship to get here - landed in New York and had a living any way she could utnil she had enough money to get a respectable job.

    It's amazing to think of how much those three plates have been through.

    I have a handkerchief from my grandfathter's side of the family - it made it through the first world war and was given to my grandfather as a child. he gave it to me because I was the only grandkid interested in 'old stuff'.
    Still am :-)

    When you think about how many memories are packed within those 'simple' items, they really don't seem so simple anymore

  132. Hi Ruth:

    You are so right. I did feel so guilty. Almost “Catholic’ guilt which is the worse kind. (Catholic means universal, after all.)

    You see, Janet and I tried to come up with a definition of ‘crystal clear’ writing for a blog and we couldn’t do it. It’s not an easy concept. Jan’s post was very close to what I need for a definition. And while each Seeker does something better than any other, Janet’s prose is the gold standard in advertising copywriting. (e.g., how many times have you read something like this: “Hurry, these recliners won’t last long!”?) When you write advertising copy, it has to mean just one thing…and that is what the writer intends it to mean. This is so hard to do because who has time to look at each sentence and determine if it could mean something else? You just have to take the time.

    In any event, Janet is the only Seeker who comes into my area of expertise and shows me up! This is not intentional please understand – but I do think I appreciate her prose more than most.

    BTW: If you read my post on “Guys Writing Romances” you know that now, after saying those three words, I have to help you more your apartment and pick you up at the airport. However, since you are married and live over 1500 miles away, I think I’m safe from those hundreds of obligations! . : )

    As Brutus said, “It’s not that I love Caesar less but that I love Rome more.” (Rome being the search for excellence.)


  133. P.S. I’m so shook up I wrote ‘more’ instead of ‘move’ your apartment. I think I will have to settle for ‘somewhat understandable’ prose. : )

    I'm just thankful that no one reads these very late posts.

  134. I work at Chick filA and never tire of the food:) Just thought I'd throw that out there!

  135. A belated thanks for the post, Ruthy. The stories were so heartfelt and so beautifully told, I didn't care what it had to do with writing. Thanks for sharing.