Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chicken Soup for the Soul... and the Common Cold!

There is wisdom in brevity.

I didn't happen upon this organically, I had to teach myself to hush up and let others talk. To listen. To learn. Basically I talk too much and wrote in similar fashion.


Distance runners can train themselves to run farther, stronger, faster in mile+ races. It's amazing how the human body can be schooled to become a better version of itself in some cases.

But did you know that in shorter distances, the winner's circle will be narrowed by the amount of "fast-twitch" muscle fiber you're born with... and then choose to develop. If you weren't born with fast-twitch muscles, you're never going to give Usain Bolt a run for his money. The physical aspects of that muscle movement cannot be imitated or duplicated. Refined, yes. Improved? Most assuredly. But if you're NOT BORN WITH IT, you can't achieve the greatness.

Writing is different! Oh, thank you Lord!  :)

I was a ridiculously verbose writer. Shame on me! I thought it was BRILLIANT, to boot. Oy. Oy. Oy.

But I've learned how to tighten, how to become more concise and how to parse words like mincing fresh onion.... Poignant and/or pungent, it makes the point when less is more.

I've had many teachers. Tina Radcliffe set a firm example with her eleven published short stories for Women's World... Melissa Endlich has worked to hone my "focus on the romance" skills for Love Inspired. And now, writing novellas has taught me which parts of a story to pick out to frame a narrow timeline. And that's a trick in a twenty thousand word story! But I find that the primary basis for all of these, the ongoing theme in most stories is wrapped around one thing: Forgiveness.

Self-forgiveness, forgiving others, old guilt needed reconciliation, seeking God's forgiveness. The key to most conflicts comes back to the simple-sounding and not so easy-to-do art of forgiving.

"Seventy times seven"... we've all heard Christ's instruction, but, whoa! Easier said than done.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..." The perfect equation. An absolute equalization ratio. Freely and simply given. An examination of conscience says the reality is harder than the simple prayer lets on... and yet, those are God's words. His teachings. Christ's command upon that mountain.

They should rename this book "Story Fodder For Authors" or at least give it an AKA... because it is filled with 101 story ideas already fleshed out! From these simple seeds come next year's novels. Beautiful!!!!

My entry is on page 47.... "Mary's Girl".... and it was a story worth telling because while the theme is forgiveness, this poignant short story is infused with hope... because that's the other side of the forgiveness theme. If the story, YOUR STORY, isn't laced with hope, you've automatically limited your reading audience.

My sister once gave me a copy of a best-selling book, a dirge of anger/hate/want against a drunken/alcoholic/self-absorbed mother. Her words were "Read this! It says so much about our lives! You'll love it!"

I made it almost through the first chapter and threw the book away. Why?

There was no hope. Not a vestige of hope. No sweet light of faith, joy, warmth seeping through. I mean, shoot, peeps, who wants to have the entire history of dysfunctional families soaking into their pores?????  EEEEEK! RUN SCREAMING!!!!! (Note that our Seeker Novella Collections are geared around "hope"... because we all need hope.)

Give me hope! Give me that joy! Give me the people who can look back, nod and say "Well, then." to all that's gone on and move forward, the grandmas and grandpas who survived hard times, challenged the West and won! We wanted the theme of sweet hope to run throughout the collections, the contemporary above... and the historical collection below.

Give me smiles! Give me babies, oh, sweet babies!!! Give me kittens and puppies and calves and Nigerian dwarf goats and women of strength and men of courage. When those elements combine with the grace of faith and forgiveness, it works for me!

Now mind you, the book I threw away was a BESTSELLER.... But I'm okay with shrugging a shoulder to a lot of bestsellers. Books that plant seeds of doubt and discord into the human psyche are not my cup of tea. Give me heroes and heroines with the power to overcome, willing to make a leap of faith and fun....

And to forgive as God instructed.

Do not live in the past. There is nothing for you there. Instead, claim the past as a key toward the future, your future! Use it. Own it. Wield it! (Think Luke Skywalker and that light saber!)

"The Power of Forgiveness" is a beautiful book, and by the power of forgiveness we set ourselves free to love... to hope... to shed guilt... to claim the future. Embrace the future by forgiving the past... and moving on.

Our souls need feeding, but we're suggestible creatures by design. Our brains absorb and can become self-absorbed, so we've got to be especially careful about the images we feed ourselves. Darkness begets darkness. Light blossoms into light. Choose light and tiptoe through the darkness... Or run, if you prefer! But light is always, always, always the better mental choice!

Now what's this got to do with the common cold, you ask? How is Ruthy going to tie that in or was it just a silly play on words???

Nay, doubters! :)

For generations wise mothers made fresh chicken soup for their families nursing colds. Laced with pepper and using the whole chicken, they believed that something about chicken soup helped their familes feel better.

"Old wives' tale".... "Silly talk..."  "Nothin' to it!".... "Ridiculous!!!!"

Mothers ignored the scoffs and continued to make chicken soup for their families. Because they trusted their instincts. And then... THIS!!!!!

"Chicken Soup Really Does Help You Feel Better! Grandma Was Right!"

Multiple studies have now shown that either a key ingredient... or a combination of ingredients... in chicken soup help cold sufferers feel better! And furthermore, if you don't have time to make homemade, you can BUY IT.... and it still helps!


The key to this component is this: Trust your instincts. Take your story into the deepest corners of its origins and let it unfold from there, the seeds of forgiveness, forgiving, faith, fear and fun, weaving a backdrop that draws the reader in with a "been there... done that" mindset... but showers them with hope as they're drawn to that happy ending. Because everyone deserves a happy ending, even if their beginning was darkened with despair...  And probably more so, then!

As we enter this season of Advent and anticipation, let's grab the joy of Christ's birth... a child of the poor... and infuse that joy into everything we do! By unleashing forgiveness in our stories and our hearts, we open ourselves to the best joy, ever!

The joy of an unfettered heart.

Today I'm giving away (well, they're on PREORDER so I'll actually give them away in two weeks when the book is released officially!!!) an electronic copy and a paperback copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness". Come in inside, leave a comment or carry on a whole flippin' conversation, youse know I love to talk! I'll toss your name in the cat dish and we'll mosey this day away! I've got Christmas music playing, and we're in serious cookie-baking mode in upstate New York...

Right now I'm listening to  "Joseph's Song..."

I love that song.... the image of a simple man, a working man, teaching the Son of God.... How can it be???? Let me always be of the race that knows Joseph...



Ruthy Logan Herne is a multi-published, best-selling author from upstate New York where she shovels snow, feeds a wood-stove, wipes noses, teaches kindness and sharing to an earnest bunch of pre-schoolers and writes love-infused stories of hope and healing in the wee smalls of the morning! You can e-mail her at, visit her website at or play with her on facebook where she loves to exploit small animals and cute kids to sell sweet books!


  1. And some want coffee with their chicken soup. There's plenty of it brewing.

    Great post, Ruthie.

  2. What a beautiful post, Ruthy! I love chicken soup! And the power of forgiveness... That's an amazing theme I find never wears out. Because we all need it!!! Thanks for a great post!!!

  3. Morning, RUTHY. The only way I can safely say that is if I start at 12:01am since I rarely keep RUTHY HOURS. You know that though, 'cause I always tell you when I do. Count them on one hand, I know.

    Great teaching post.

    I'm curious about 'that' book. I think I did the same with my copy! It was a dark and painful first chapter that, sadly, I identified with, but at that point in my life I didn't want to go back to that place. I'd come to a time when I made a conscious effort to leave that stuff back there - out of sight and mind, but resolved by the grace of God through forgiveness. Now I'm working on trust. Always space for growth.

    Congratulations on the Chicken Soup publication!

  4. Helen! Thank you for the coffee!!!!! Thank you, sweet thing!

  5. Natalie, good morning! I agree, that power of forgiveness is huge. More than huge. It's like God's grace on us!

    And you're right, it's a theme that keeps on giving. I'm mathematically minded, so I reduce things to numbers automatically, but I hadn't thought about a baseline of forgiveness until Melissa Endlich once said, "In the end, it's all about forgiveness, isn't it?" and she was right.

    I'm not about to tell her she was right because she might get the big head!!!! :)

  6. Lyndee, ha! "THAT BOOK"... You know, these days there are so many of them! Gosh, for a while they prevailed as literature, and honestly... I started reading more non-fiction because I didn't want my brain to contract or my dark side to rise up and take over the world as we know it!

    So yours might have been the same book or a different one, but I've learned over the years to avoid people who are so sure something can't be done... while I'm standing in front of them, doing it, mind you....


    And books/articles that talk about why things can't work/won't work/couldn't possibly work, ever!!!!....

    While clever, hard-working people are riding the waves of success doing it.

    I remember someone scolding me for using so many teachable moments when my kids were small and I smiled, nodded and ignored them. She distinctly said: It Won't Make A Difference In The End

    Well, six college graduates later, five with masters degrees, two with doctorates, two with CPA's and multiple majors in audit and finance and a handful of Ivy League degrees mixed in, I'm glad I shrugged her off because yes...

    It did make a difference. Teaching children... and grown-ups!!! To reach for the stars is a good thing! :)

    We can't let the naysayers win because honestly? They're never happy, even when they're winning!

  7. HI Ruthy! I love the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Years ago, when there were only a few on the market, Jack Canfield came in to our television station for an interview. He came over to my desk and offered me a copy of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul. He autographed it to my mom. It was so sweet.

    I would love to have my name thrown in the cat dish.

    It looks like you are really doing some serious baking up yonder. Go for it Ruthy!

    Have a blessed day.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  8. Hi Ruthy! Reading this post was an inspiring way to begin my Wednesday. Thank you and congratulations on your story! I love the Chicken Soup books...we need more publications like this.


    It's 4am in the Land of Lincoln and I have churned my editing fingers to the bone for so many long hours that I have reached -


    And now to bed! Morning Seekerville and Good night!

  10. Too true about hope, Ruthy. As much as I like the Hunger Games trilogy and the questions they raise, I always felt sorry for the characters. "What if" there was God in that world, because that's really who they needed in the end ... I mean, they did survive and there's a bit of hope at the end (I would have been really upset at Suzanne Collins if there wasn't after that plot twist), but it didn't feel as fulfilling as I was used to from reading Christian/Inspy fiction.

  11. Good to know about chicken soup, as presently I can barely breathe through my nose. LOL

    Sweet post. Forgiveness always seem to make it into my books. It's so important and so hard.

    Have a wonderful day!

  12. Hi Ruthy, How fun that you wrote a story for Chicken Soup series. I love those books.

    Have a great day.

  13. LYNDEE, Congrats on staying up so late. You are a stronger woman than I. chuckle.

    And congrats on getting all that work done. Yay.

    And HELEN, your coffee is yummy. Thanks.

    RUTHY are there some cookies to go with that? I've been watching on your FB pages all those little ones baking. So adorable.

  14. When I feel a cold coming on, I always want chicken noodle soup. My dad has an expression for it, but I'm not sure it's politically correct. He's 77 and can get away with it though, so I'll just smile and keep it to myself.

    Ruthy, thanks for the great post. I've noticed forgiveness is a common theme in many Christian novels, and now we know why. I can't wait for the book to come out.

    Have a great day!

  15. A men to to every word,Ruthy!! :-)

    I throw books like that away, too! Discouragement and lack of hope go to the trash as quick as foul language and 'peeping tom' love scenes.

    Life is short, choose faith, hope and love—and chocolate! :-)

  16. Good morning, Ruthy! This looks to be an exceptional "Soup" collection!

    I love that we can write books with HOPE--that no matter how hard the circumstances, how terrible the mistakes made, how great the losses, how dark the future, God is there to forgive, heal, comfort and guide.


    You said: "By unleashing forgiveness in our stories and our hearts, we open ourselves to the best joy, ever! The joy of an unfettered heart."

    SO profound and SO true!!

    Write on, my friend!!


  18. OHHHHH Ruthy. Are you sure you're not called to preach? That was one of the best "sermons" on forgiveness I've heard of late.
    The older I get, the more I realize that, "It's not worth it." It's not worth it to carry a grudge, or to carry anything. It really does hurt us more than it hurts them.
    You are a testament to the power of God to overcome.

  19. So excited to read this, Ruthy.

    Now pass those cookies, immediately before they are gone.

    You have extra hidden don't you??

  20. It's snowing here too. I may bake later. I want to make my "fake fruitcake," which is a blond brownie recipe with fruitcake fruit baked and then iced with white icing. Better than the original if you ask me.
    Forgiveness is the theme of the novel I'm shopping around right now, "Trail: A Novel of the Oregon Trail." "Michael once betrayed Caroline's trust, in the worst possible way. Can she trust him to get her to Oregon, and can he trust himself to accept God's forgiveness?" Caroline wrestles with the need to forgive Michael for most of the 2,000-mile journey, and he wrestles with his guilt. Fun stuff. But I think "forgiveness" runs like a golden thread through most Christian writing, because in the process of coming to Christ we have to forgive ourselves and accept His forgiveness. I know it runs through everything I've written so far. Forgive as we have been forgiven.

  21. I may have shared this here already, but what the hay. A few years ago I was angry about a lot of things and I put the blame on my sister-in-law, even though none of it was her fault. And I treated her like dirt, even though we had been very close. This went on for a couple of years, despite her efforts to reconcile, one of them with tears. I finally realized what I was doing and I came clean to her, over several hours and several cups of tea. When I was done she looked at me and said, "That must have been terrible for you to go through."
    THAT'S forgivenss, ladies, Walt and Vince. It gives me chills to think of it, and I decided that from there on, I was going to love like that.
    Because who knows how much time we have left?

  22. LYNDEE, sorry you had a rough childhood. My heart breaks for children. They don't deserve a lot of what is meted out to them.
    Was it "The Glass Castle"? Just curious. I had a relatively smooth childhood, but I couldn't get into it either.

    1. Contact information for Emily Krupin? She said in October that Villagers could submit to her directly, and I am closing in on a possible project for LIH.
    2. Anyplace besides Amazon where I could review books without having my own blog? I don't have the [insert resource] to start or maintain a blog right now, but I love books and read inspy fiction all the time. I did a few reviews for the Christianity section of before they closed the door to submissions. I don't even necessarily need review copies, my local librarian has excellent taste and I bring home CBA titles by the armload. Just curious...

  24. Cindy W, what a great story! I love it when folks do just nice, normal things like that! What a nice thing for him to do, and super nice for Mom. ♥♥♥♥♥

  25. Jill, I agree! I love inspirational stories, short-shorts that encapsulate overcomers.... I've loved them since I was a kid, little stories in magazines, Readers' Digest, etc. So this was a wonderful honor to share this story and have it chosen... If it helps one aching heart, that's huge, right?

    Love it!

  26. "SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN", Jesus knew we would need a big number example to understand the concept. There are some people who push the limits of forgiveness, but I must say along about #157 it gets tedious and HARD.

    I want that forgiveness in my own life, so I can do no less than extend it.

    Thank you Ruthy for reminding me to LIVE FREE of unforgiveness. Great devotional for today.

    Blessings and happy baking, looks good!

  27. I want some Chicken Soup. Congratulations Ruthy. I can't wait to read it.
    Helen, don't stop with the coffee just because Ruthy brought soup - they go well together!

  28. Thanks, Ruthy, I always love your posts, and your books.

    I made home-made chicken noodle soup for the first time last week. It's better than canned. The greater effort, the greater reward.

    Blaming takes no effort, forgiving takes a lot.

  29. Chicken Soup? That's a main staple in our house! Comfort food. Works best if all homemade, but that's a stretch. For me, forgiving others is so much easier than forgiving oneself, so why don't we read about that in the Bible? Probably just because God forgives us, so why do we feel we can too? But He is greater than us...just random thoughts, since I'm not really awake yet this morning. Loved the post! Thanks.

  30. I'll bet Ruthy's got a killer recipe for chicken soup up her sleeve. :)

    This is a great post. Forgiveness is such a touchy subject sometimes.

    I've learned a couple of things about it.

    1. God is the chief victim of all sin. Period. If he can forgive, I have no business holding a grudge.

    2. You can decide to forgive people and love them for who they are, knowing they may (or in some cases, certainly will) hurt you again. Or you can let them break your heart over and over and make you angry and bitter.

    These two lessons are immeasurable help to me when I face the seemingly insurmountable task of forgiving. I am grateful to God for helping me learn them relatively early in life.

    If I may change the subject a moment, Tina Radcliffe, your profile photo here is beautiful.

    Please throw my name in the cat dish, but only if the cat's not using it. ;)

  31. I've always thought Jesus used "seventy times seven" knowing that we'd lose count long before we got that far, and we'd have to start over.

  32. A timely . . . and timeless . . . message, Ruthy!

    Just finished reading A Town Called Christmas last night. Sweet, sweet story! Definitely filled with hope!

  33. Ruthy, I just love the point you made about trusting your instincts! I've been wrestling with a story about forgiving someone for their role in a great tragedy, and I've been stuck on one thing that isn't working. I've been ignoring what my mind is telling me I need to do with it because it's going to be difficult, but you've convinced me to give myself the all clear to do what my instincts are telling me. Throw my name in the cat dish--I love the Chicken Soup books and have read them since I was a teenager.

    P.S. I received the books I won a few weeks ago and dived headfirst into them. I've never read either author but I'm enjoying them. From one verbose lady to another, thanks for giving me two new things to talk about!

  34. I always LOVE a Ruthy-post - - what a wonderful way to start my day. :)

    I'm not sick (knock on wood) but would love some chicken soup and one of those cookies---along with Helen's coffee, of course. ;)

    Thank you Ruthy---you truly are amazing.
    Hugs, Patti Jo

    p.s. Am definitely buying that Chicken Soup book---can't wait to read YOUR story. :)

  35. Ruthy, thanks for this post! Our stories do center on forgiveness and offer hope. The novella collections fulfill that promise to readers, as all inspy fiction does. What a blessing to fill readers mind with light.

    The Chicken Soup short stories on forgiveness sound better for healing than Mom's chicken soup, which was canned by the way. :-)

    I do not know Joseph's Song. Must find it on You Tube!


  36. How inspiring you are Ruthy....always!!
    I want to be in the cat dish for your giveaway. I have been looking each week (Walmart) for it...did not realize the pub date!
    Thanks, Ruthy!!

  37. Kaybee, here's Emily K's email.

    All emails to LI follow this format.

    You can review books on


  38. Lovely, Ruthy!

    Forgiveness is often at the heart of my stories too. Usually my characters find it most difficult to forgive themselves.

    Congrats on your story in Chicken Soup. Love the fodder all the stories will provide for your writing.

    I'm hooked on Hallmark Christmas movies. They make me smile and remind me of the wonderful Christmas releases this year...filled with forgiveness and hope.

  39. LYNDEE!!!! Ruthy hours rock!!!

    I'm glad you had a great work session, that always makes me feel good.

    I'm in and out today because even with two adults here, getting 5 kids ready for Christmas presents for Mom and Dad, Christmas cards (handmade, of course!) and cookie trays, our morning is disappearing. Oy, what a hoot and what a pleasure!

    Lyndee, I find that grasping those old childhood emotions of hope in darkness is easier now because we look around and see it everywhere... and if our words are soothing balm, if they're helpful, oh gosh, there's just such joy in that!

    Well, and in tellin' folks to pull up their big girl panties, LOL!

  40. Hey, my little Artist Librarian friend, I agree.

    I would have liked a dose of C.S. Lewis mixed into The Hunger Games. Again, that hope....

  41. Ruthy, I will be looking for this book when it comes out. It looks good!

    I am getting my lesson ready for Cubbies tonight and hoping to finish putting all the ornaments on the tree.

    I love Christmas!

  42. What a beautiful post, Ruthy!! Now I'm feeling the Christmas Spirit and also feeling inspired to write!

    And yes, my new proposal idea is of forgiveness. :)

    I can't wait to read your story in the Chicken Soup book!! Will pre-order now! (Or maybe I already have?? I'm so glad Amazon will tell me.) :)

  43. Beautiful post, Ruthy! And so encouraging. I don't understand the 'world's' penchant for glamorizing the negative in books and movies. It's particularly prevalent YA media and I find that downright scary! Hope is so important in order to find balance.

    I just finished Hope for the Holidays - the Contemporary Collection and LOVED it. So many different ways of finding hope. Love how that's what tied the collection together and yet each novella was so distinct. Personally I think Seekerville's nickname should be Hope. :-)

  44. Jessica Nelson, yes. Forgiveness and hope, love, romance = Story Basics for romance authors and life!!!

  45. I'm pretty sure I have fast twitch muscles, Ruthy.
    It's a fight but they can be controlled.

    Mary "Bolt" Connealy

  46. Jackie, I was chatting with a NYT bestselling author about ten years ago...

    And we were talking about redemption, and its use in stories. She pointed out that forgiveness and redemption (or self-forgiveness) is a huge basis for romance tomes.

    And she was right. I love that in a faith-based novel I can stress the faith of the emotion, good or bad.... and that deepens the story.

    But of course I have to be told not to bash the reader over the head with it!!!

    Luckily I take direction well!

  47. YAY! I bought Chicken Soup for the Soup (which should be subtitled) The Ruthy Edition.

    I mean if they WANT TO SELL BOOKS, RIGHT?????

  48. Mary Hicks, I agree!

    My sister thought I was crazy, but I know better than to let the darkness infringe on the light.

    To me, it's a no-brainer.

    We are like-minded!!! Yay!!!!

  49. Glynna, raising a mug of eggnog your way and a rousing "Amen!"

    I love that hope-infusion!

    The gift of faith, freely given!

  50. Aw, Julie....

    Thank you.

    I probably stole that line from some unsuspecting author.


    Don't tell.


    You're so stinkin' sweet.

    Let me backtrack that I came from a father who held grudges, anger and silence as close personal friends. So that example taught me I never wanted to be like that.

    But then when I was a young mother that belief was upheld when a Sister of St. Joseph delivered a powerful homily about forgiveness and the sin of grudge-holding and I truly saw how empty that anger is... except that its emptiness can consume US!!!

    YIKES!!! I DO NOT WANT TO BE CONSUMED! Certainly not by anything evil or dark or scary or rude.

    I'm rude enough as is!!!! :)

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hugs to you!


    You will love them.

    They are amazing and we're getting the freezer stocked with treats for the parents' Christmas cookie trays. The kids make the cookies/treats and we freeze them and then put them together the last day of school...

    But it takes 4 year olds a little while to bake hundreds and hundreds of cookies!!!! YIKES!!!

  53. Kaybee...

    That's a Chicken Soup for the Soul type story, dear girl.

    Go type it up and smooth it out and show that beautiful story to the world.

  54. Ruthy, thank you for this beautiful post. I think forgiveness is a lifelong lesson. I will definitely be ordering Chicken Soup for the Soul.

    You've gotten me thinking about several things. One being that even antagonists stories can be based on forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness.

  55. Love this post, Ruthy. And I totally agree with you. Give me a story with a hunky hero who either needs to forgive himself or the heroine, and I'm there! Forgiveness is a powerful theme, grace in action, for fiction and real life.

  56. So that's where I went wrong... nobody to make me chicken soup to fight the nice cold given to me by potent pre-schooler germs. Guess I need to make some and freeze a few portions for next time.

    Love this post Ruthy! I guess forgiveness is the chicken soup of a Christ-led life - it fixes so much. I do agree that the forgiving others as we have been forgiven can be uber difficult. Praying the Lord's prayer sometimes convicts me and sends me on the path to forgiving someone because the Lord knows I really need forgiveness most days...

    btw, I pretty sure I was NOT born with that fast-twitch muscle. I'm a plodder. No inborn speed, no matter the good athletic skills I may possess. *heh*

  57. p.s. Ruthy, I LOVE your winter scarf picture. Just sayin...

  58. erm, Ruthy... having more than one four year old at a time "helping" with any baking activity? wowzers... you're brave. (I can barely handle my one, just turned five munchkin).

    it's a bit like herding cats, isn't it?

    you rock, Lady!

  59. Lyndee and Kaybee, the book my sister gave me was Angela's Ashes... Frank Mc Court.

    Honestly, he won a Pulitzer Prize for it, but I was in need of gentler, sweeter reminiscing!

    TRACEY!!! I remind myself of the 70 x 7 all the time. That as much as I might think I do in my self-centered, it's all about me, me, me stage!!!!! That it's really never what God said, and I need to hush up... move on.... and be nice.

    Oh, that God!!! EXPECTATIONS!!!!

  60. Cindy, yes to soup and coffee!!! They both sound good right now. Crazy early morning, even for me, but I got my February novella "All Dressed Up in Love" final author approval done, and it's such a stinkin' sweet story! Love it. :) I have so much fun writing about the bridal industry, thanks to my buddies at Bridal Hall in Rochester, giving me a job.

    Paid to research!!!! #awesome

  61. What a beautiful post, Ruthy. And I love, LOVE Joseph's Song. I am going to have to go put it on and have a listen.

    Thanks for the reminders in your words. Forgiveness does so much for our own hearts, giving freedom where we were bound. And hope? You're so right--can't really live without it. Stories with these elements bring me to tears. Pretty much every time.

    And I can't wait to try your Heath bar brownies. One of my true weaknesses. :)

    Please do put me in the drawing. I'd love to read your story. And be inspired by the others in there as well.

  62. Where do I start? Hope, forgiveness, babies, LIFE!

    I get so frustrated reading things written by people who have no hope in their lives! They write as if they have all the answers, when really they've turned their back on God and are running as fast as they can down a dead end street.

    We don't have to run with them. And we can give our readers stories that help them look toward real hope, joy, and forgiveness.

    When anyone asks me why I started writing, that's why. I want to be a sign post, pointing the way toward that hope.

    And that's why I love your stories so much, Ruthy. You and all of the Seekers and villagers take uncomfortable and tragic circumstances and point your readers to hope, forgiveness and love. To our real HOME.

    Okay, now it's time to play some Christmas music. I love Joseph's Song. I also love A Strange Way to Save the World -

  63. Jeanne, you're in! Oh my stars, we turned a huge pan of Heath bar brownies into Brownie/Cake balls dredged in Ghirardelli milk chocolate....

    OH MY STARS. These are for our parents' Christmas trays on the 18th....

    So they're tucked in the freezer now, next to a big tray of carrot cake balls dredged in Ghirardelli white chocolate...

    I want happy parents that know I love 'em. Especially since I use them.. and their children... and their lives.... to inspire me!

  64. Elaine Manders, aw, thank you!!!! You made me smile this widddddde!!! :)

    I love your line "Blaming takes no effort. Forgiving, a lot."

    So true!!!! Simple truths are often the best, aren't they? And of course no one said it would be easy, but shucks if it was easy, it would barely be worthwhile.

  65. Andrea Strong, how is that new baby???? Our little chunk a monk????


    I'm so glad you stopped by today, chickie!!!!

  66. You are inspiring me to get up and make that turkey soup I was thinking about. It has become a tradition in our family, following Thanksgiving.

    I agree with your focus on hope, joy, forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption. Excellent story ingredients! My book involves a struggle between good and evil but does include much of your list. (Ok, maybe not the bunnies and babies so much!)

    I will be thinking about your post as I add ingredients to my soup!

  67. Confession: I've never read a Chicken Soup For the Soul book. I really need to live a little more...

    It's easier to forgive after I have messed royally than when I feel like I have my act together.

    Great post, Ruthy.
    BTW I loved Hope for the Holidays Historical collection!!!

  68. Ruthie friend,
    No matter the topic, you always hit it on the nail! And you make it interesting and enjoyable to read. ANd you make us laugh, and sometimes, you make us cry. You make us think, and reassess, and forgive. And for that, we are truly grateful.

  69. Hope is really the crux of it all, isn't it? Thank you for inspiring us all and helping us keep our eyes on the goal in our writing and outlook!