Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nashville, Day One!!!!

This is the first thing you see when you walk in the Loveless Cafe outside of Nashville, Music City,
home of countless stars of country music...

Signed pics of them, lauding the food, the atmosphere, the staff, and





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bake A Memory Day

This is part of our simpler, gentler, spirit-filled Christmas agenda!  With so many presents for children these days, Dave and I (okay, I might be pulling him tugging and screaming, resisting change, but he is a mere man, after all!) are working on re-vamping Christmas to "Understood Betsy" type memories.

You know the kind.

The ones that stick and make you feel good inside when you think about them twenty years later. Or thirty. Or forty.

Those kind of memories!

Little Dave, me and Emma doing "Mary's Sugar Cookies" from Betty Crocker cookbook...Don't add the cream of tartar!!!       

Cream of tartar is what makes cookies crisp. I like chewy cookies best. So I leave it out. Because I can.  ;)

Logan and Emma are working on the chocolate chip cookie dough. Recipe is over at Yankee Belle Cafe
We started with the most labor intensive cookie, the cut-outs... then the chocolate chip dough, tasting as we went along.... And yes, we eat raw cookie dough. And LOVE IT!!!! 

Here's Elijah helping:

I thought it prudent to help him crack the egg....

This is Xavier.... Next year, Xavier! Promise!

Then the boys needed an itsy-bitsy big muscle energy break:

Logan, Dave and 'Lijah...

And then we baked cookies.... frosted cookies.... and then we made reindeer food for sprinkling on Christmas Eve... With sugar sprinkles to sparkle and attract the deer from the sky.

Our first Bake-a-Memory Day.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Lovin' Angelica, New York!

I'm lovin' Angelica, New York!  We drove down for a fun breakfast and book signing on Saturday and had a wonderful time!  So nice to see old friends and make new ones!

Karen and Don Ash of the Angelica Sweet Shop and the Black-Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe, were gracious hosts and friends as always.

Thank you so much for your time an promotion of the Men of Allegany County series! 

You guys rock!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rising from the ashes...

I love this country. I love freedom. I'm a flag waver. I'm so gut-ornery appreciative of what
people have done, endured, lived to make us free.

Last year I was in New York City with my husband.
Lawyer Boy put us up in the Hilton overlooking Ground Zero.

When he booked the room, the clerk reminded him that work crews were active on site 24/7.
She advised him that there would be constant activity.


People working. Lights. Motors. A hallowed ground being rebuilt.
(okay, those last words were mine)
And Lawyer Boy said:
"Oddly enough, my mother will actually consider that a plus."

Here are the trees going in... August, 2011. Amazing what a difference a tree makes.

One of my favorite scriptures is from Chronicles... God's simple request for prayer.

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

God bless America.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Play Doh Kitchen

First, there's this:

Note that the above contains all essential elements of good eating.
And the tools of a good kitchen:
Rolling pin
Unsupervised Children.


Because then there's this:

PlayDoh Soup.

And don't forget Play Doh Salad:

Lettuce, broccoli and grapes.
I think.

And then:

We must rally the troops and share ingredients.
Trade thoughts.
Help one another.
While the big girls chill-lax on the porch and cuddle puppies
Or kittens...
Or read...


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Princess in need of Prayer...

I will never understand how smart people don't see each and every baby as a miracle.

I mean, seriously:  Look at that face???
This is Anna Elizabeth, our newest granddaughter.
Precious, right?
And healthy. But that's not a given with babies.
Four generations: Beth, Grandma holding 'Lijah, Grandpa and Dave
We are complex creatures. To get all the ducks in a row and all the i's dotted
and t's crossed that need to happen to produce a normal human is not only amazing...

It's a miracle.
And it's not polite to argue with me. I'm old. Set in my ways. I might get crotchety.
Hey, it COULD happen. You never know.

This is Teresa:
Beautiful, right?
But Teresa has a heart defect that requires a heart/lung transplant for her to live.
It's as simple and complex as that.

And here is their family link where you can find out more about Teresa and the 
whole Bartlinski clan.

She needs our prayers, and you guys are great at that.
So tuck her into your heart. Onto your prayer lists.
Spread the word, please. 

The younger Bartlinski girls! How beautiful are they?
 No one knows the day or the hour. 
I get that.
But I'm a big believer in miracles and this family,
this little girl sure could use one.
Right about now, God willing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fight Like a Girl Pink Party

Ten years ago God brought Lisa into my life.
With a baby girl named Taylor.
And a cute husband named Jeff.
They trusted me (silly people!) to watch Taylor.
And then McKenna.
And then Nolan.
And then Brody.
Four kids. Four delightful gifts from God.

And now Lisa has breast cancer.
I hate saying those words. 
But I can't pretty them up like I do in a novel.
Dagnabbit. You can find out more of Lisa's story HERE

So Taylor (now ten years old) got an idea.
A wonderful, marvelous, God-sent uplifting idea.
Why don't we throw Mom a party?
A "Fight Like a Girl Party"
And everyone can wear pink and cover their hair in sisterhood.
Except it was a surprise party so Lisa is in blue.
Which only makes her stand out in a crowd even more than usual.
That and the bald head.
So we did just that.
Pink food.
Pink shirts.

Pink friends.

Girls came from all over. Big girls.
Small girls.

Girls having fun.
Because, well... They're girls. And girls just wanna have fun.

There were messages of love and hope and good wishes:
And a visiting puppy.

The puppy was also a girl.
Girls united in faith, hope and love.
And the greatest of these is love.
These are my girls. My friends. My comrades. My daycare moms.

These gals made Taylor's dream of having a big "Fight Like a Girl" Pink Party a reality.

Rock on, ladies.

Taylor, Lisa and McKenna Tydings.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flower Power, Guys and Gals!

I should have taken a pic of me in full poison-ivy ammo gear.
I'll do that soon. Promise.
I'm allergic now. I didn't used to be. I... well... miss those days.
Those were non-itch/welt/looking-worse-than-usual days.

But I have declared war on the ivy monster!
Now this is tricky. Because it's running rampant through my English ivy which I love.
But one must sacrifice the occasional battle for the war.
This is my rose-toned clematis.
Note the close-up factor for this pic.
Doing a close-up means you don't see the JUNGLE surrounding it and you think:
"Wow, Ruthy's great in the garden!"
(this is where clever editing becomes your new best friend)
And how about this beauty? This is pale ivory clematis with pink veins...
gorgeous for a wedding backdrop, isn't it?
What you can't see is the chicken coop behind it.
But most brides SERVE chicken at their weddings,
so who wouldn't want to be photographed
near chickens?

It's very mathematical.

And then there's this.
This is the reason I do what I do.
Not the puppy. Although I love the puppy.
(Yes, we breed Golden Retrievers. Love it!!!)
This is my friend Taylor. I would walk over hot coals for this kid.
And right now, we're doing just that.
Taylor's mom is my friend Lisa.
has newly diagnosed breast cancer.
She is my friend. My buddy. My confidant.
She has trusted me with her children for ten years.
If you go to the shutterfly site we've made,
you'll see Lisa, Jeff and the gang.
So do me a favor. Please.
Add my Lisa to your prayer list. She's tough.
She's strong.
She's amazing.
But she's got cancer and could use those prayers.
That love.
That healing touch.

She's 36 years old and life did an abrupt u-turn on her.
But around here?

We fight like girls.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Winter's End has finaled in the Carol Awards, the wonderful contest put on by American Christian Fiction Writers!

Huge thank yous to the judges, to ACFW for sponsoring the contest and to Mindy Obenhaus whose time and effort makes this well-run and highly respected contest such a pleasure to enter. And I'm so grateful to Melissa Endlich of Love Inspired books who gave this new writer a chance. God surely blessed me that day, Melissa!

I'm happy dancing here in upstate New York!

And (GULP).... I finaled with Irene Hannon and Linda Goodnight.


'Sall I'm sayin'...  OH MY STARS... I'm honored, blessed and excited to be makin' the short list with these two!

Congrats to Mary Connealy, my good bud! 




Congratulations to all the finalists. It's truly an honor to be with you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Holt Medallion Award of Merit!

Last July, Women's World Magazine called Winter's End a "Best Beach Read"...

And just this weekend, the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion contest awarded Winter's End an "AWARD OF MERIT" which means it placed in the top five in the Best First Book category.

See the list HERE:

I'm thrilled and blessed to have this gentle story of life, love and loss touching hearts and souls. Huge thank yous to the judges and congrats to the winners and Award of Merit finalists in all categories. I'm honored to be among you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring Snippets... Or Snips, LOL!

Do you recognize this beee-you-ti-ful famous author?  
Of course you do!
This is my friend Missy Tippens holding 
We both had books come out in April. How amazing and fun!
Missy's book "A Family for Faith" is a FIVE-AWW book.
It gets five "Aww's" because I was totally captivated by the characters and the sweet story line ...

This is a hinted rainbow. Isn't it cool? Just a tiny reminder of God's promise to us.
Love it.

Here is another light in my life: Elijah Thomas at 6 months old.
Stinkin' cute.

And then there's this:

Ruthy's Cooking School 
starring none other than
Brooke and Nolan:
This is where it all begins. 
The treats for 
all start here.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ah, spring!

This is Brooke and Allison with one of the new baby "Goldendoodles"
This one is "Little Bit".
I named her for Julie Lessman's heroine Faith
in her Daughter's of Boston series.

And this is Small-Town Hearts, available 
NOW wherever Love Inspired books
are sold...
Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes and Noble, Tops,
Wegmans, Amazon, e-Harlequin...
This is a delightful read. Sweet. Endearing.
I just love it.
And if you've ever lived in a small town, you'll understand:

Everybody Dies Famous In a Small-Town
And this is reason to believe in all things good and holy right here:  daffodils.
I love flowers.
Have I mentioned that???

 And this is the rooster in my friend Tess's kitchen.
Isn't he gorgeous?
Tess is Tina's mother.
This is Tina:
This is Tina narrowly escaping arrest in Rockefeller Center in NYC.
We went there for BEA...  BEA is a great book

Amazing, really.
And we got to see these lovely gals from Harlequin:

This is my beloved editor Melissa Endlich, me (duh) and super-wonderful editorial assistant Rachel Burkot. They do their utmost to smooth my rough edges.
And they're stinkin' cute, aren't they?
Tina and I had a great time with them.
When we weren't getting people lost.