Thursday, December 10, 2009

Permission to Breathe Granted AND Book giveaway

Time to Breathe…

Yes, I’m giving you permission to breathe sans the harangue. Just this once, just this time of year.

Breathing is good. Cookies are good. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t taste so dagnab wonderful.

Faith is a blessing, but it needs nurturing. Feeding. “Miracle-Gro” for Christians should be a daily concept.

Grumbling at people because we stress ourselves out should be outlawed. Think stable. Manger. Baby. Child of the poor. If you doubt the magic, the miracle, the mindset, read Max Lucado’s The Crippled Lamb out loud to children. Watch the glory of the Lord shine through those trusting eyes.

Clear the clutter and the chaos. Find a quiet center. Pray. Decorate. Then pray some more. Pray for you, for me, for our children, for our country, for our world.

And then give thanks for the blessings of the season. Your chance to write, your ingrained talent, your breath of life, your family, your heart, your soul.

Eat some really good things and bless God for the opportunity. Diets are for January. Skinny people that are wet blankets about good food should not be invited to parties. End of discussion.

Leave comments on Seekerville, be part of the fun and warmth and grace surrounding this zany bunch of women and possibly win cool things like my upcoming delightful book, Winter's End... I'm going out on a limb and telling you right now it's got an "Awwww...." factor of 10 on a 1-to-10 scale.

Pray for supermodels. They’d be happier if they ate the occasional cheeseburger and fries. Really. I know this to be true.

Pray for babies. For those wanting to conceive, for those with babies on the way. What better time for baby prayers than at Christmas, the greatest gift of all, the gift of a child?

Bless your children, and your neighbor’s children with warmth. Humor. Smiles of understanding. Today’s smelly kid might just be tomorrow’s romance author.

Hey, you never know.

Richard Warren has a new book out, The Purpose of Christmas.

It looks wonderful. It gives permission to celebrate, to enjoy to spread the Good News. Why do we need permission to celebrate our God, our Savior, our lives???

Got me. But give yourself that permission. Talk nice, play nice, write when you can and treat all service people, cashiers, sales clerks and waitresses/waiters with gentleness and class. They deserve it, even if they’re having a bad day. Your warmth and generosity could be the gift that turns that day around, the pay it forward God blesses them with. Be brave. Do it.

And above all, have a blessed and wonderful holiday season. The gift of life, light and hope is yours. Cherish it.



  1. I brought coffee. Lots of coffee. I'm working early and late these days, so coffee is a mainstay.

    An IV drip isn't beyond conceptualization.

    And cookies to celebrate the wonders of the season! Oh, Holy Night!!!!

    And eggs, sausage and bacon with sides of wheat and white toast for your real people.

    And M&M's.


    Breakfast staple at Ruthy's.

    All is calm. All is bright.


  2. Good post Ruth,
    its funny how some people seem to need permission to do anything.
    I love christmas and the whole season. My idea is what isn't done doesn't matter! Like I dont think I will get gingerbread made this year but its not a big drama (except I now have 6 eggs to eat) Hey I dont even like gingerbread. But I did make fudge for the very first time today and it taste yummy so Im sharing.
    Im going away on Wed so need to get my biscuits/cookies out before I leave i have shortbread to share also.

  3. I didn't realize how important it is to give yourself permission to have fun, until I found myself doing the same thing.

    In our fast paced world it's easy to get caught up in getting everything done that you have to which often times leaves no time for fun and connecting with others.

    I'm learning to give myself and my family a TIME-OUT for FUN, FUN, FUN!! It makes everyone attitude much better and it's so fun to laugh, laugh, laugh. Oh, I'm learning it doesn't have to cost much at all.

    I love a bacon,egg biscuit from Biscuit Barn, with grits. The best breakfast treat!! People wait in long lines for this. It's well worth the wait :D

    Merry Christmas.

  4. Jenny, yummy!!!! I love fudge. Thanks for sharing, Dudette!!!

    And shortbread. Aw, Jenny, you're the best, kiddo. :)

    Hey, guys, I should have reminded you to leave your e-mail addresses so I can contact you if you win the book.



    I think I'd love the Biscuit Barn. I love the NAME, and that says so much right there!!!!

    Yup, honey, you take a time out for fun. Eat that breakfast sandwich. Embrace a kid and cuddle a puppy.

    I love your attitude, chickie. It rocks.


  5. Great post! I've been looking forward to this day for seven years. You're probably thinking that it's got to be something HUGE to wait that long.

    It's my mother's annual Christmas party for my aunts and cousins. Doesn't sound like that big of a deal but I missed it for seven years while I lived in Michigan. But now I'm home and I get to go!

    And I agree--read The Crippled Lamb. I tried to read it to my daughter's fourth grade class and had to get another mother to finish it, I was crying so hard. Carly was totally embarassed by her mother balling over a kid's book.

    But it's wonderful, truly wonderful!

  6. I agree with you, Ruthy!

    It's blowing up a gale here in Indiana and I'm praying the 2-hour school delay doesn't turn into a complete snow day.

    I've got an afterschool date with some kids to help at church. They're singing and making angel pictures. I think the pastor said they're painting with their feet.

    What a completely frivolous thing to do. I'm in! I don't do that kind of thing and just breathe peacefully often enough.

    cathy shouse at yahoo dot com

  7. I'm one of those givers of permission too :)


  8. Shall i bring the homemade brownies too ?:)

    Great post Ruth. Sometimes we just 'forgot' to let ourselves to have fun and enjoy the day.

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  9. Patty!!!!

    I'm such a sap I'm tearing up at the idea of you finally getting to be at the party!!!!

    Raising a glass of eggnog (that Dave brought home to me because I was whining that I NEEDED eggnog and it was already December 9th... God bless men who put up with us. Seriously...) to you, Sistah!!!

    And yeah, I cry every time I read The Crippled Lamb. Little Joshua.
    Such a great, simple story, like Sarah, Plain and Tall.

    Sometimes we overdo a story, trying desperately to make a point.

    And sometimes simple is better.


    My weather-challenged friend!!!! Be safe, be warm, and I hope they don't cancel for the day because there's always so much to do in those few hours when kids are in school BUT I'm totally in on the foot-painting!!! Yes! Paint squiggling between the toes.

    LOVE IT!

    Shelby... Good girl. We're such a goofy species. Seriously goofy.


  10. Permission to celebrate. Permission to contemplate. Permission to breathe. What a great concept! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us this morning, Ruth.

  11. Awwwwwww Ruthy, An awe moment this morning. I"ll rate it a 10 while I munch on some sausage and m&m's. Great combination btw. Oh yes, Jenny, you did a great job on the fudge.

    And folks, Ruthy's right. Winter's End is another 10. I've had a sneak preview. Lucky me.

    And this is my favorite time of year too. I love all the Christmas cheer, buying presents, sending cards to my friends and of course celebrating the true blessing of Christmas.

  12. Ruth,

    Your post brought tears to my eyes because I agree whole heartedly!

    I know a couple of people who want to rush Christmas, we've got to do this by this date and that by this date and I'm thinking to myself are you enjoying this season at all?

    Also out shopping with my Mom last Saturday, I turned to her and said, "Look at these frowing people, why are they even out if they don't want to be here." So your reminder to be nice to service people is needed.

    Yes, we all need the reminder to keep the Merry in Christmas!


    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  13. Good stuff, Ruthy! The post and the coffee.

    Even when we're at our lowest, being nice to others should be a priority.

    Hugs, and everybody have a great day.

  14. Thanks for the heartwarming post this morning Ruth! It is easy to get caught up with the motions of Christmas(gifts, decorating,shopping) and we tend to forget the true meaning of the season. I am breathing and working overtime to keep it simple and enjoying the season as it should be celebrated....but that has nothing to do with GOOD FOOD...pies, cookies, oh and those powdered cookie things...I'm getting hungry now lol!

  15. Very sweet, Ruthy. And how do you stay so thin when you think like me? I weigh about 60 pounds more than you do, but we have the same philosophy about food. Something's wrong here.

    Anyway, have a merry and blessed Christmas! And pray for me. I'm the grouchy one who's stressed by all the PARTIES! I promise, if one more person says "party" to me, I'm going to throttle them!

    And what's with Blogger? It never lets me get updates to my inbox anymore and makes me put in my username and password every time I comment!!! GRRRRR

    Okay, I think I better go read Ruthy's post again. Maybe three or four more times.

  16. Ruthy, I absolutely positively can not wait until your book comes out. It'll be great. I know it.


  17. Ruthy being nice? A sure sign of Christmas. LOL Seriously thanks for the post, dear friend, and the reminder to enjoy.

    Thank you, Jesus, for coming to this earth and giving us the blessed promise of the next.

    Joy to the World!


  18. oooo.... Mariska!

    I'm totally in on the brownies!!! Csn I sprinkle mine with M&M's? Pretty please??? :)

    Gimme, girlfriend.

  19. Leigh, AMEN!!!! We're so funny about how we do, what we do.

    Right now I'm contemplating the babies in my care... The trust their parents put in me, misplaced thought it may be!!!

    Did you know some people actually WATCH children? I mean, like, literally.

    My theory is that if they're alive at the end of the day, it's a pretty good day. The Ruthy-Daycare-School-of-Hard-Knocks where if the four year old doesn't mow you over, rest assured the three-year old will. :)

    And we have more babies coming. My mothers keep reproducing, creating replacements for their school-age children. Great gig. (laughing here. You can imagine that writing only gets done before the day begins. Oh my stars...)

    Sandra, Bless Your Arizona heart!!! :) Toasting you with more eggnog. Loving it. And Rose, I made you cry????


    I spent so many years in those service jobs and it's so nice, so special when people are just plain nice. Of course most of them are, seriously, in total reality...

    When I see a big ol' frownie-pants, I make sure I give them a toothy Ruthy grin and say, "Good morning!!! Beautiful day, isn't it????"

    Of course they probably want to smack me, but most of them smile back.

    Out of fear, no doubt. (News flash: Deranged, smiling woman spotted at the Wal-Mart... Film at eleven!!!)

  20. Pammers, tipping my cap to you.

    (I give Pam no time off, not 'til we've got her off the Island, but she's too nice to tell you guys that.)

    Bless her heart... :)

  21. Kerri, I'm from the Paula Deen school of cooking.

    If one stick of butter is good, two MUST be better.

    If it calls for one cup of chocolate, a cup and a half is probably just about right. :)

    And Mel, the stupid weight thing. Oh my gosh, we girls fight that constantly, honey, don't we? All that estrogen stuff? Soft arms, soft thighs...

    Can I say 'soft thighs' here???

    Of course I can, LOL!!!!

    Mel, we'll diet together after Christmas, and yes go read it again.

    First, honey, we don't have to attend every party, or contribute something to every kid's class or join every Kris Kringle thingamabob...

    It wears me out to think of it.

    I go bell ringing for the Salvation Army. Love it. I can make people smile when it's cold, windy, bleak, snowy, raining.

    We adopt a family for Christmas and we scaled WAY back on our own ideas of gifts because it's so much nicer to give than receive.

    I quit everything outside of work, writing and family stuff except for choir.

    Gotta have time to edit, submit, market and when you've waited all your life (no matter how long your life's been at this point), ya' gotta put your best foot forward. People understand that.

    If you've got the guts to say it, that is.

    Do not fret Mel, my pretty. Life's too short and filled with too much, good and bad. Here's a cyber hug... Celebrate with me! Gotta love those miracles.

  22. Walt. Dude. You humble me.

    What if you hate it????

    Oh, man, the pressure's on.


    Thank you. Bless you.

    And you let me know when you read it, okay? I'm tough, with broad shoulders. I can take it.


  23. Ha, ha, ha, Janet Dean.

    Must be Christmas my patoote.

    I'm NICE at EASTER, TOO!!!


    That's twice/year.

    Pretty sweet, actually.

    Laughing in upstate.

  24. This post is a big AWWWW...

    Thanks, Ruthie!

    PS -- Yanks signed Andy Petite and Granderson. Ring number 28?

  25. Ruthy,
    Thanks for the great post! I need someone to give me permission to take a deep breath! Haven't been doing too much of that lately! And it's not even the Christmas "rush" bringing it on as much as work and family! :) Thanks for breakfast too! I'm a Paula Deen cook too - so breakfast was fantabulous!!


  26. Lovely, lovely post, Ruthy! Permission to enjoy the Christmas season? Wow! You're right--why do we even NEED to give ourselves permission?

    And you're so right about being nice. Store clerks and other service people can get really beat up during the holidays. Shining a bit of kindness into their lives for a moment is the absolute least we can do. I try, I promise!

  27. Amen!! You said it well, Ruthy. But Ruthy stopping to breathe?? I'd have to see it to believe it. :)

    But, hey, I beg to differ on the cookies. Though they do taste good, I do NOT like to bake cookies! Too much trouble. ;) Give me a pan of brownies anyday! (and much easier to make.)

    Hey! My word verification is rainice!! Is that in honor of the weather in Western NY?? :)


  28. And I also meant to vouch for the 10 on the "awww" factor in Ruthy's book!! Excellent book!! I can't wait for it to come out so y'all can enjoy it!!

  29. Ruthy, thanks for givig me permission to enjoy the holidays. Funny isn't it? Sometimes it takes something as simple as someone else telling you to stop and smell the pine and bayberry to actually make you do it.

    I have a couple of elves at home decorating and cleaning up the house because work is slow and school stuff is wrapping up. I love this. Both elves are even reeeeally good cooks.

    Yep, I've got it made.

    And not to forget praying. Pray unceasingly, right? Me? I tend to pray all day so talking to myself is common knowledge around the office.

    Good, good works Ruthy. God bless you for sharing them.

    Blessings to all!!

  30. Thanks Ruth,

    I took a long drag of fresh air, of course I should have waited till I came back inside cause we were in the negatives this morning when I went out to warm up the car.

    But Breathing is a good thing. Perhaps we forget how to do it sometimes. Have you ever really sat down or laid on your back and breathed, one can get a major head rush. But it clears up so many things. And our focus needs to be clear,

    And I couldn't agree with you more, if those models would just eat the world would be a better place.

    We need to remember the beauty of the season and not get so caught up in the hype, and rush that's what I wrote about on my blog.

    Thank you so much for the another reminder without the harangue of course. And the cookies, I love cookies.


  31. Hi Ruthy,

    Thanks for the timely advice. I am doing my best not to get grumpy this year. Had a terrible time last Christmas and ended up resenting the whole thing. So this year, I am demanding help from the family -- because I am not SUPERWOMAN!

    My thirteen year old son helped bake cookies and overdid the salt!! Hubby is actually participating and put up the tree. (I usually need several stiff drinks to do the lights!!) He did it in 5 minutes. Not fair. LOL.

    Anyways, so far this year is much better. Hope it continues that way.
    Now that we have snow, it feels more like Christmas.

    Can't wait to read your book. That would be a great Christmas present!

    Cheers everyone,

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

  32. I breathing and relaxing so much I
    forgot to add my email (at)

  33. Beautiful, Ruthy, absolutely beautiful. Simple, profound and deeply encouraging. I cannot wait to read your first book -- I am in awe of your gift which has been held in the wings way too long to suit me. Apparently God had other ideas, I guess, like a grand entrance in the second act that will launch readers to their feet in a standing ovation that will never end. You mark my words.

    Love you!

  34. The Awwwww factor is the book giveaway. It's so exciting, Ruthy. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    We have all worked so long and hard to reach the 'book giveaway' moment.

    I know this is your SECOND, you gave one away when Tina James was here. But YAY!
    You know, speaking of premission to Breathe....I haven't done much Christmas shopping yet or sent any cards.

    I'm running out of time and it's SEVEN BELOW here this morning. Not a day to get out and shop. And talk about your White Christmas. Try BURIED in White Christmas.
    Speaking as a woman who got stuck TWICE this morning getting out of her driveway......Humbug

    But the book giveaway has lifted my spirits. :)

  35. Patricia...

    Pettite and Granderson.

    Sweet. But I'll miss Johnny Damon if he's not in the line-up. My goodness that boy sure knew how to beat us with the Red Sox and how to help us in pinstripes. We'll see.

    And look at you, woman, keeping up on such things!!! Proud of you! :)

    Edwina, work can go ballistic in December, can't it??? All the push to get things done before the holiday lulls, or to make up for time off, etc.

    And Myra, your pretty face and smile is a sales clerk's joy... I'd wait on you in a heartbeat, girlfriend!!! :)

  36. Missy, I stopped to breathe once.


    I think I was twelve. :)

    Naw, even I stop to breathe at Christmas. We're doing an Advent service at church tonight, led by the choir director and a school principal. Sweet. Simple. Heartfelt.

    Just us and Jesus. Love it. :)

    So every once in a while I lock down the manic side and let Mary play within. Not for too long, mind you. I'm getting antsy just THINKING about adopting a totally "Mary" mindset.

    But it's a great opportunity for balance. A slippery slope.

  37. Wonderful, wonderful post, Ruthy. Thank you.

    I'm trying to just live in the moment this season, just enjoy everything as it happens. Loving on my son home from college today and giving my other son encouragement as he goes through finals in high school for the first time. Pats on the head and cocoa and cookies. (I LOVE baking cookies. Eating 'em, too, altho my doctor cusses at my cholesterol level. I may not be the best mom in the world but my kids have always come home to a full cookie jar.) Brought some of my MIL's wonderful sugar cookies to share, they're a family tradition.

    My son and I will both be on the front lines at those cash registers this month, so we know how much the kind words and patience are appreciated! I work at a specialty store and our customers are mostly always wonderful and patient, but he's at one of those big box stores, and in the toy department yet! Poor kid comes home so frazzled from just trying to keep order. Say a kind word to those toy department folks, they need it most.

    Wishing everyone a joyful, peaceful and blessed Christmas.


  38. Jules.



    And I'm so excited to be where I am now, and the chances God has given me. SWEET.

    (Although it's on my list of multiple heavenly conversations to have with the big guy, you know, right up there with the Mary/Martha controversy and an overabundance of freckles.)

    In God's time... In God's time...

  39. Audra, praying without ceasing, yes.

    Gotta do it.

    And don't be shy about it either, right??? Hey, you could do a rent-an-elf. Make some serious bucks.

    And Susan, I know!!!! No Ruthy harangue today!!! That in and of itself is a blessing, LOL!

    Tina P, another one who noted the lack of harangue.

    Hey, Dudes.

    January's coming and I have every intention of HARANGUING AT LENGTH...

    So be prepared. :)

    Right now I'm too focused on eggnog, chocolate (I need elastic waist pants), goofy kid projects with tape and glue, glitter (in my hair, my ears, I think there's even some taking up residence in a left nostril... Very pixie-like) and other things small child Christmas to rag on anyone.

    This will change. :)

  40. Mary.

    Seven below.

    My toes are shivering in commiseration. And stuck twice????

    Oh, yowza. Sorry, kid.

    BUT YES!!!! My second book giveaway. Which I can't REALLY give away until I have some in hand, but that will come.

    So much fun in giving these babies away.

    All letters of blatant disappointment should be addressed to Mary Connealy via Barbour books.

    Mary's way tougher and meaner than I could EVER think of being, so she's going to be in charge of sorting my bad mail. Simply put, that means I get none and she burns it to keep warm. A win/win.

  41. EC, you totally get it, and your son is in the rare position to really, totally, wonderfully affect people.

    Or go bonkers.

    We'll pray for joy, joy, joy and those sugar cookies are splendorifically wonderful.

    Loving them, girlfriend!!! And that frosting. Perfect.


  42. As one of those people with a baby on the way (and a two-year-old I'm chasing after), I really needed this post! I love the concept of Miracle-Gro for Christians. :-)

  43. Hi Ruth,
    Thanks for reminding us to enjoy this wonderful season. Especially loved praying for babies!

  44. He...he...he... Ruthy,
    You're a birth and resurrection sweetner, are ya?

    Thanks for the reminder to breathe. and PRAY. It's so easy in the middle of the rush to remember that prayer can happen anywhere, anytime...even if people look at you funny as you stand in the grocery line. (stick your hand to you ear and they'll think you're on your cell)

    doesn't your book come out sometime near Winter's End? THinking about that while the wind freezes the hairs in my nose is a good thing. Winter's End. Ahhh...or Awwwww

    Can't wait to read it, Ruthy. What a wonderful treat.
    Congrats, blessings, and Merry Christmas.

  45. Ruthy, you won't get any bad mail? Who's gonna be brave enough to do that?

    Not me!!!!!!

    Not that there's any chance I'd be writing bad mail. Because I've read this book and it's fantastic. Some cold weather in it, though, but ah.....we soon reach Winter's End and true love.

    Even at seven below I feel all warm and fuzzy.

    Of course I'm inside.

  46. Hi Ruth:

    Give yourself permission to eat cookies. You can do that?

    Now someone tells me.

    But what do I do about my conscience who happens to be a Dominican nun with a solid oak yard stick which she can swing with greater proficiency than the Devine Derek? I need her permission because when Sister Mary Albert is not happy, no one is happy.


  47. Hi Missy:

    I bake great cookies. All it takes is geometry. I buy the frozen cookie dough and the trick is cutting the roll into wedge shapes and standing them on end just the right distance apart. Presto you get warm homemade cookies without the mess. : )

    Of course, I don’t eat them myself.


  48. Hi Ruth,

    I loved your posting is perfect for this season.

    Merry Christmas.


  49. Ah, Sarah, lass, bless you, darling!!!

    And that baby!!! Oh, yay you!!!!

    I love babies. They're intoxicating. Habit forming. Cute. Little. Dave used to say 'There's always room for a cradle...'

    Of course then they wanted the car keys, lol!!! A whole different story then, but alas, too late! :)

    Debbie.... :) Praying for babies...

    God bless them, every one. Those here, those gone home...

    Pepper, YES.... Laughing out loud...


    Some book comes out at Winter's End... :)

    And Mary, you make a good point. I work the fear factor so that people are AFRAID to diss my work.

    Whatever it takes, Cupcake.

    And Pep, have I mentioned that I love you? Seriously love you????

    Vince, one of my favorite Dudes on the planet... I give you permission, but you have to either employ diversionary tactics (come on, obviously you weren't REALLY a Catholic school kid) OR...

    Send her shopping. Keep a stash.

    The other day I stopped by Beth and Jon's house and opened the STASH OF CANDY drawer in front of Jon...

    He's such a guy.

    He didn't even know it existed. Can you imagine a WOMAN who doesn't have a clue what's in a drawer?

    A rare occurrence. I think I used too many 'r's there, but I don't have time to check. Mary, get on that, won't you dear??? E-mail me. Let me know. :)

    Karen, you sweetheart. Gotcha kid, and I love seeing you stop by. Muchas gracias.

    Hey, one Doodle puppy got picked up today.

    Nine to go... Cutest darn things (besides human babies, of course) I ever did see.


  50. Hey Ruthy!
    Lol about your post...the supermodel one, I HAVE to agree! : D

    You must be getting really excited for Xmas, at least that's the way it looks! Congrats on the puppy!!

    A bit off topic but...I found out I was accepted to the District Music Festival today!!! WOOHOO!! So excited, but it's sis didn't get in : ( My mom and I are really hoping she'll try again next year, though. However, I'm STILL excited! Lol...

    Another bit of good news, I got Mae's (Nunn) Xmas card today! Their family picture is so nice!! Mom wrote the Xmas letter yesterday morning(since we had a snowday). So, the cards are getting mailed tomorrow, I think : )
    Talk to you later!

  51. Ruthy the fudge didn't set right.
    never made it before so not sure whats going on but its still ok to eat.
    my addy is ausjenny (at) gmail dot com
    I can add some white christmas to the list of goodies.

  52. Awww, I needed this post today. It has been stressful at work (holidays + elementary school = chaos and unruly children) I haven't started Christmas shopping, my house is up for sale and is being shown almost every day (stressful to keep clean with teens in the house and me working fulltime!) OH....and I just had my first ever mammogram today. Humph...I'd hear the I know. Sigh...

    So yes, your post was for me. I need to breathe and rest in the goodness of God and the joy of His Son's birth. Thank you!!!!

  53. Ruthie:

    My husband found my desk drawer with the candy stash. Now it's empty!!

    Looking forward to eating...uh, I mean reading your book.


  54. Ruthy,
    Seriously? You love me? Or is that the book talking? ;-) You probably say that to all your spice-named friends, don't you?

    Btw, I have some cornbread chicken getting ready to come steaming from the oven, along with homemade mac-n-cheese (none of that orange powder - REAL cheese and REAL fat), and some chocolate covered Blondies.

    Ahh, I love the spell of fresh-baked...anything!!

    Warm food on this blustering day in Northeastern Tennessee. And lots of love sent right back to you, Ruthy. You're a wife, mom, cook extraordinarre, and PUBLISHED author...gee whiz, you're my hero ;-)

  55. Ruthy! I can't wait to read your debut novel. I could use a book with some seriously high-powered Awwww! factor.

  56. Hannah, congrats to you my young friend!!!!


    And yes, you're right, your sister should keep trying. Rejection bites big time, but it's character building. And Christmas letters, Christmas cards....

    That's a habit I got out of when money was THIS tight and I don't necessarily miss it. Maybe it's because of e-mails, phone service that doesn't charge extra for long distance so I don't have to time my calls...

    I'm not sure.

    Sherrinda, they do mammograms on twenty-year-olds???? Really???

    Shopping can be done in a weekend, cutie. And nicely, we've got one coming up.

    The house selling????

    Oh, man, that's a rough one. The need to sell, the need for peace.

    Dagnabbit, I'm feeling for you!

    Jenny, a lot of new fudge-makers have that first batch too soft. Or two hard. It's the difference in just a few degrees of temperature between soft ball and hard ball stage. The good thing is, if it's too soft, you can warm it for ice cream topping.

    This is never a bad idea.



  57. Pepper, the chicken sounds so good...

    No supper tonight. Prayer service. Just finished work and puppy stuff. Gotta head to church and pretend (these are VERY NICE PEOPLE in our choir) I can sing.

    But calm and peaceful. I love that.

    Still, I'm yearning for some of that chicken and mac-and-cheese. I love homemade, and I love to use Barilla pasta when I make it. Perfect level of chewy to tender...

    Oh, yum. Must stop talking about it!!!

    And Erica, if you don't say "Awww.." or if you totally shrug and "Ho-Hum", you just tell that to Mary Connealy c/o Barbour Books.

    Or e-mail her.

    I love having a dragon at the door. Did I just call Mary a dragon???

    Oops. I think I did.

  58. What a beautiful post, Ruth. :-) And funny you should mention cookies... LOL I just ate a ton.
    Thanks for the reality check. :-)

  59. Ruthy no one said anything about how hot or not to have it! they just said melt together and add vanilla.
    I knew there was a reason I dont make these things! I cant make toffee either. It sort of set in the freezer but if you leave it out to long it goes soft again so I guess i have to suffer eating this batch! and it is a little sickly after a few slices. I hope it will keep ok in the freezer

  60. Hey y'all--thought I'd give you an update on the party. It was fantastic. Momma went all out as usual--a table loaded down with vegatables she'd gotten out of her garden this past summer, a homemade coconut cake to die for.

    Everyone came; aunts, cousins, second cousins!

    There were presents but honestly, I didn't care. I was too busy enjoying lunch with my 88 year old grandma. Even washing dishes for my mom was a treat.

    I'm tearing up just thinking about the joy I experienced today.

  61. Ruth, you are my new best friend! Actually, I am 4 years late getting my mammogram and at 44, I just had my first one. It wasn't as bad as some of the horror stories I've heard. ;)

  62. Helen...

    Darn those husbands anyway. How did he find the stash??? Come on, girlfriend.

    Inquiring minds want to know!!!


    Tell him we're just trying to save him from himself. Practice looking sincere in the mirror first. That helps.


  63. Jessica, there are unwritten laws against counting the number of consumed cookies, cakes and/or cappuccinos and latte's in December.

    Come January I'll sing a different tune, but girlfriend I'm with you. The occasional cookie slam is NOT a bad thing.


  64. Patty, my dear, that had all best go in a book. Picture the homecoming, the feeling, the smiles, the wondering gazes, the assessing looks, the hugs, the whispers...

    Oh, honey, there's some good stuff there! Wonderful, wonderful. You enjoy them while they're still around, sweet thing. Absorb. Listen. Learn.

    And thank you so much for sharing back with us Patty! I love homemade coconut cake. So sweet, tender and delicious. :) I'm glad you had a great time, gladder still you're home to do it.

  65. Ah, Sherrinda, you're gorgeous. And even four years late, you're six years ahead of that goofy new recommendation that puts it off.

    Oh my, don't get me started on THAT...

    So, okay, 44... That's still fifteen years younger than Mary!!!


    (She'll kill me dead tomorrow.)

  66. Jenny, toffee's a tough one. I've tried candy thermometers and the water tests and frankly, the water tests work better for me, but toffee's tough. A real fine line because that's the spin a thread hard crack stage and it's a fine line between too soft and burned nasty stuff.

    Keep going, girlfriend. It takes practice, practice, practice. But it's summer where you are, and if it's humid out, it's real hard to get candy to set right. It needs a higher temp and lower humidity. It's winter here so it's the perfect time to make candy for Christmas.

    I've got faith in you, woman!!!

  67. Wow, I can so hear myself grumbling at slow people right now. Good post.

  68. Great post, Ruth. You're right about everyone needing time to stop, pray, assess, and just be. Thanks for reminding me.

  69. This was an awesome post. I think so often we get caught up in all the "things" we need to do at Christmas that we end up forgetting to really enjoy and dwell on what we're celebrating.

    The things we'll really cherish aren't the running around, the gifts, perfect decorations... it's the time spent with the people we love and the memories we cherish of the things we did with them. It's what will matter to them as well.

    Of course, I don't mind bonding over baking. Chocolate is one of my love languages. :o) lol

    One of the greatest things God ever did to show His love for us was to come and live among us - to become Emmanuel - God With Us. That's what we're celebrating. It only seems fitting that we slow down our "to-do" lists and spend time with Him and those we love.

    Again, what a great post and I'll have to add your book to my wish list. In the meantime, I think I'll pull out "The Crippled Lamb" to read with my son in the morning.


  70. Ruthy glad you have but the cost is to much for more failure! its cold at present. they say we will have a couple real hot days next week then back to this cold weather!
    I think I will stick with the things Im good at.

  71. Shelley, that's so funny!!!

    And very "New York". Every time I got to the Big Apple (which I LOVE to visit) I'm amazed by that huge sense of urgency...

    Get it done yesterday attitude.

    And I've got a little of that, bein' a Yank and all, but theirs is HONED to knife-sharp. It's almost as if they can will the subways to go faster by their collective "Hurry up" mindset.

    Yup, we have to be nice to slow people.

    Still laughing here.

  72. Diana!

    You're welcome. And just chatting, praying and joking with you guys today reminds me right back.

    And our prayer service last night was so sweet. So spirit-filled. So calm, even though the temps plummeted, snow pelted and the winds wreaked havoc with hanging decorations.

    All is calm. All is bright.

  73. Lee, great pic!!!! Beautiful!

    Bonding over baking!


    That's my favorite part of holidays, showers, wedding. The fun time prepping with the girls. And sometimes the boys.

    That blesses my heart more than any other gift.

    You read The Crippled Lamb to your son, and thanks for adding Winter's End to your "Wish" list. I'm honored.

    And as always, kudos get sent to

    Complaints to Mary Connealy c/o Barbour Books.

    (We don't want my nice editors at Steeple Hill to even THINK someone doesn't like my stuff.)


    Thanks, Lee.

  74. Hey, Jen, good point about the cost.

    So: buy candy when needed.

    Bake cookies.

    A win/win. :)

  75. Man you have a lot of comments but I would like to throw my 2 cents in also. I am finished with my Christmas shopping which was not much, and now wll I have to do next week is get everything cooked and ready for Sunday the 20th we are getting together then because all my kids are out on their own with families and 2 of them even have Grandchilden of their own. Will be happy to get them together but I know they will get to me, as I don't take noise very well. Oh well I love to read so please enter me into the contest.

    Merry Christmas


  76. Edna, that sounds wonderful!!! And too much noise...

    Hey, you don't have to apologize for that around here. You just relax and enjoy what you can.

    So good to see you, my friend! Especially when your schedule's been busy with shopping and cooking and planning.

    Merry Christmas!