Thursday, November 22, 2012

Heifer Black Friday Fun!!!

If you click on that link above, you'll see why I'm smiling...

I get to sleep in.

I get to eat pie.

I get to hang with my kids and talk about cool stuff like Hurricane-Wannabe-Sandy...

Crisis in the Middle East.

Which chickens lay brown eggs?


These are goats.
They give milk, but for a lot less food than cows.
They are crazy adaptable...

They're people friendly. And stinkin' cute, right???

 How adorable are these babies???
Food... meat.... milk.... reproduce in kind....

and then you have a HERD of goats.

Herds provide food for many.

Our Westward expansion in the United States was hugely helped by managed agriculture.
Someone brought the first "freshened" cows....

And started a herd.

The first cats went for .50 a piece and that was a lot of money for a kitten...

But if field mice were eating your seed and your flour and your wheat, then that fifty cent
investment was HUGE....

I love the "teach a man to fish" mindset.

I love that they help the least of our brethren while I'm blessed abundantly.

This is my Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza!!!

Wishing you a Happiest of Thanksgivings and a peaceful, spirit-filled Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Faith of a Child....

That's what I'm wishing for everyone today....

Trusting that grown-ups won't encourage you to be too crazy...

Just crazy enough.

Trusting that someone will feed you.... comfort you... while you're totally helpless to help yourself.

Knowing your friends will share with you... And hug you as needed.

Believing that you're held, nurtured and taught, all the days of your life...

Knowing that the only time to drive with a phone is on your Big Wheel!!! Clearly, she's adding a little unseen hand emphasis!

The faith of a child....

During prayerful November, that's a great wish to have for all of you. That God will bless us with the simple faith of a child. 

Faith in his love.
His caring.
Faith that no matter what the evils of man might bring...
Or Mother Nature might back-smack us with...
Faith in Emmanuel.
God with us.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Join Me in a Prayerful November!

Oh, oh, oh.....

All Saint's Day.

I'm Catholic and we've always viewed November as the month of remembrance followed by December, the month of anticipation and joy. I don't remember if that was taught to me, or it just made sense because All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day are followed by Thanksgiving later in the month.

Remembering those who've gone home to God is good regardless of denomination, right? And praying for the families of those who've lost someone is also good.

These days, I pray for prayer. I pray that God's people will pray. That we'll all gather physically and spiritually and revive the hunger for prayer in our cities and towns. That we'll take as much time for God and church as we do for shopping or trash TV.

That we reach out every time we see someone down on their luck with whatever we have, even if it's just a smile. An unexpected smile heals a great deal of heartache.

I love prayers. I love sacrifice. I love striving to be less of a jerk.  (That last one is a work in progress, which probably means I'm not striving enough!)

I love going to church because it's a public symbol of unity. It's too easy in our fragmented lives to shrug off that public symbol. I find it heartening to set aside that time. Show up. Pray. Sing. Pray some more. Sure I could pray at home. We all pray at home, right? That's what makes Sunday special. Not just an afternoon pot roast or chicken and biscuits or pizza during the game...

That morning spent in communal prayer.

The world is filled with communal people praying against us. That's a bad scenario. We need to link together through God to be the best we can be. To maintain our country's strength.

Prayer is so easy, so awesome. And this month, a prayerful month, is like the world's very best place to start. And then we can celebrate Thanksgiving together, happy. Prayerful. Joyous.

Join me. I don't care what denomination you are. In Ruthy-world religion doesn't matter because faith ranks supreme. Simple faith. The faith of a child.

Join me in a month of gentle prayer. Many voices, rising upward, hands clasped.

What a beautiful image.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"One Last Thing..."

I love weddings!
A lot of you know this. If you didn't know it before, you do now.
I live in a small town.
I love small towns, too.
But I'm near a city, and I was raised there, and in a city there used to be close-knit neighborhoods.
Places where folks watched out for one another.
They were like a "small town", tucked into a city.
Very nice.

I skated on this pond during the winters of my youth. So not long ago, right???  :)

My church family is like these small towns.
So many nice people, looking out for one another. Kind. Warm. Loving.
And a bunch of us raised our kids together, so when wedding times roll around?
We pitch in to help each other.
Cooking. Baking. Organizing. Cleaning. Serving. Cleaning again!
I love this stuff!!!

I helped with one of the prettiest weddings ever this summer. It was a "Vintage Wedding".
Amazing decorations, hung and placed in an old carriage house.
Yes. It is that historically correct and gorgeous. I would write in the top window cupola/turret and see everything from Lake Ontario to the north to the village church steeples due south.

I would love that THIS MUCH.

I was helping oversee this beautiful reception with two girl peeps, Mandy and Sherrie.
Love them to death!
I got introduced to an aging couple, the groom's grandparents. Sweet. Smart. Eager to talk to me because I owned Blackie the Rooster...

And that's a whole other story, LOL!
And they thought it was cool that I was an author, too.

Such nice people. Just lovely.

The woman wore a pink chemo hat.
A cancer patient.
She was slight. A little stooped. Kind of frail. But tough in voice and stature for a little person.

She asked about my books and told me she'd always wanted to be a writer.
I hear that often, and usually I urge the person to jump on board.
Just do it!
But she explained that she missed her time and knew that now.
She regretted missing her time, but loved her memories of helping raise grandchildren.

Her words made me happy and a little sad. Choices are hard in this world. We talked for a long time, Grandma, Grandpa and me. Grandpa shared stories of his youth and wondered if I could use them in a book.
And his story was strong enough that I just might.
Mandy and Sherrie had everything under control, so I chatted, easy, enjoying this time.

Do you see the hanging canning jars? Each one had a tiny, battery-operated twinkle light inside.
Antique stoves and furniture.
The old fridge, stocked with carrot cake and watermelon. Which do you think I ate, LOL???
A few weeks ago I got a call from a friend, the mother of the bride.
Grandma was sick. In hospice. Dying.
Family issues had made people angry. Upset. 
But two granddaughters ignored the "no visitors" rule and drove in to see Grandma.
She was happy to see them.
She was lonely. As they talked, the girls wondered if they could do anything to help?
She hesitated.
Then she told them yes. Yes they could.

Because you see, she was reading a book when she got so sick. And she can't read anymore,
but she'd like to finish the book because it was that special.
She met the author, you see.
At a wedding.
And the author took time to talk to her about life, about writing.
And she really, really wants to see how the story comes out before she dies.

The girls drove home...
Got the book.
Brought it back to the hospital room.
And they read to Grandma until they finished the book.

Writers get nominated for awards all the time.
They go to gala banquets...
Get plaques in the mail...
Their names get posted on websites.
They make bestseller lists.

But none of that compares with this dying old woman's wish to finish the book...
because the author took time to talk to her at a wedding.

God bless you, Grandma/Nana.
And if heaven's got a library, you cozy up a seat next to my mama.
You can read together.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Signing!!!!

This Saturday!!!!

Zarpentine Farms
163 Burritt Road
Hilton, NY


Ruthy (that's me!!!) will be there signing your books!  Books available for purchase and we will be surrounded by Zarpentine's amazing food....


Fall colors!!!!

And Ruthy books!!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Post Season???? Yes??? No????

First there's this:

Derek Jeter... NY Yankee shortstop.....

It's October. Playoff season. Days are shorter. Nights, cooler. Pixie fires. Leaves dropping.

Baseball changed the whole wild card/division champs scenario this year and it's CRAZY CONFUSING because the American League is neck and neck.... which is great for the excitement, but not so much if you want your beloved team LOCKED IN.


So this week will tell the story. By October 3rd, we'll know.... Does the season go on? Or does it end and we clean out the lockers????

(Okay, I wrote that this past weekend, but the Yankees are a lock now.... I don't know if they'll win their division, but they're in the post-season one way or another so I'M HAPPY.)

Have I mentioned I have a Yankee bedroom????


Because why wouldn't you? Think of little boys and girls snuggled under a Yankee comforter... Pics of Mariano, Mantle, The Babe, Joltin' Joe.... and Jeter, of course.

Playoffs. SUH-WEEEEET!

(note to Yankees: Who needs a clean house????)

Monday, October 1, 2012


Dave and I went toddling off on a research trip this weekend...

We cruised the Southern Tier...  Checked out the lakes of Western New York... Fell in love with several for different reasons!

First, Chautauqua Lake in the farthest corner of Western New York, practically shouting distance with Ohio and Pennsylvania....

Here's a map-view to give you an idea of location:

That's Chautauqua Lake in the center. Now it looks SMALL compared to Lake Erie above, right??? Which is why I had to go researching because I live near Lake Ontario and when you live on the Great Lakes, these other things are kind of like farm ponds, you know? But learning riparian culture.... Seeing what's needed and useful in a lakeside town during the summer season... and post-season... that's huge because it's truly different from my day-to-day existence.

We went to church in Bemus Point.... Stopped by Webbs (a must-do for awesome candies!!) We did not stop at the amazing quilt show being held at the Chautauqua Institution (a place to visit in its own right) because I would have been too tempted.  But I did not say "no" to spending some bucks on candy to share!

Webb's Candies

Rushford Lake in Allegany County:

Charming, right????  The "T" shape, the points, the coves.... little harbors. A lot can happen in a little harbor, let me tell you, LOL! Isn't this beautiful? And the colors were at peak in the Southern Tier of NYS this weekend. Just stinkin' gorgeous. The hills were flaming. Amazing.

Here's a shot from the Lakeview Bed and Breakfast:

How pretty is that????

And then we headed to Cuba Lake, on the border of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties:

This is what it looked like yesterday, the colors, the hills.... it's a man-made lake nestled just above I-86 and tucked into its own corner of the world. How pretty is this????

So that was my weekend! Exploring... eating. Maybe a lot of eating.  We discovered how nice Jamestown is , and the set up provided me with GREAT IDEAS.... :)

And the people were so nice.  We ate at the Hometown Grill on Saturday night:

sel monico

Delicious.... great server, April!  And fun, even though the Yankees had just suffered defeat at the hands of those tenacious Blue Jays in Toronto!

Great weekend, now working on applying what I saw/learned to this new series. And loving it!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Xavier!!!

A year ago our daughter was very pregnant.

Huge. (shh... don't tell her I said that, I'll be in HUGE trouble. Really).

Adorable, but huge....

No stranger to "overdue" babies, we didn't worry.

(I'm not a worrier... you get that, right? And even when I DO Worry, I'll pretend I'm not a bit worried because worry is not of God... So I'm always staunch... strong... hale and hearty...)

On September 30, 2011, Beth looked terrible. She'd been having contractions on and off for three days, but nothing settled into real labor.

But she seriously wanted to KICK SOMEONE.

I understood.

I stood far back.

I did not want to get kicked.

Anyway, she looked bad. (I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

I said, "That's good! That means this baby's coming! Go to the hospital..."

I kept big brother here, one of the crowd...

And then the phone call came that there was trouble. 

I went to the hospital... Kinda fast.

Jon called me on the way.... And he said that...

 Beth wasn't in labor, she was sick.  And that they needed to do an emergency "C" section to deliver this baby...

I was scared... (Yes, I'm admitting that, I never fear for me but I'm a scaredy pants for my kids!)

Jon and I prayed....

We waited.

My niece and Goddaughter Barb works in the crisis pregnancy unit. She accompanied Beth into surgery...

And then she brought us a baby.

A boy.

A perfect, wonderful, healthy little boy (with a hint of snark) who does not look like his Minnesota father and big brother.

He looked like a "Bruiser" version of his mother.

We were happy.

Beth was fine.

Baby was fine.

We brought him home a few days later.

End of story, except:

Now it's his birthday. He's walking, climbing, saying, BWEEE!!!  for "please".... (in a very demanding tone of voice, I might add)

He says, "WWWIIIIIIIIIIIJUUUUUH!" for his big brother "Elijah"...

He says "Bwoo"... for just about everything else.

I believe this is a new language.

But it's cute, right?

So here we are, with a birthday cake, just for you, Xavier.

Happy Birthday, Little One.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apple Cider Time!!!


Cool nights.

Snuggy jammies.

Sleeping frogs.

Quiet hens.

Brilliant leaves.

Sweet cider.



Fresh corn on the cob... The late season corn is always best, right?


Chilly toes.

Warm socks.


I love shopping local produce stands, local businesses, local farms. My husband once declared the truism that every dollar spent locally generates seven more...

I consider shopping locally just me, doing my part, right????  :)

Zarpentine Farms, 163 Burritt Road, Hilton, NY  14468...

Zarpentine Farms Website

I love these guys. Seriously love them. Family farm, family business, family bake shop... Go here, visit Kim and the gang, eat apple fritters that melt in your mouth, gobble my faves, apple-cider-glazed fry cakes, buy apples... apple cider... honey... maple syrup... jams, jellies, mixes, Yancey's Fancy cheese... veggies in season.... Oh, they have apples too, LOL!

So spending money on good, home-grown produce for the kidlets is my civic duty, right???

Of course right!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Day in the Life of Least-un's!!!

I am ever in wonder of the miracle of each child. God's awesome mercy and power amaze me. The gift of a child, so precious. So funny. So mind-boggling awesome!!!

When they're not being mouthy little brats, of course!!!  But I just love 'em to pieces, totally.

First, there's this:  MacKenzie, aka:  "Pealie May"... Now I think the nickname is self-explanatory because if ever was born a Pearlie May to this great planet, this kid is it.

"Oh. You want to wear my hat, Meggie??? Sure. Here you go!" We can model it together!"
Now, that's my kind of girlfriend talk, right????  So here's Meggie with her runway model clever way of gathering her shirt hem just enough to be adorable!!!

Now we must change hats. Of course.

 "What do you think of this look?  Does it cover too much of my hair? Do my eyes still glisten?" wonders Pearlie May.

"I don't care what you look like," smiles Meggie. "I'm getting my picture taken and I'm smiling at the camera and the crazy lady behind it because she's got Popsicles for us if we're good... I know when to follow directions!"

"Oh, and by the way, please make note of my breast cancer awareness t-shirt. We gals have to stick together, right!!!  Pink Parties Rule!!!  Fight Like a Girl!!!!"

"Hey, you want me to build you a house for your Pink Party??? In my most manly way?" Logan offers. "Because I'll be glad to do that right after I wrassle us some beef and maybe fish the stream empty.... hang on, lil' lady, I'll be back with some grub later on!"

Who ever supposed a box of hats could be so much fun, right????  Please note that I am not showing pictures of the tug-of-war arguments that may or may not have ensued, LOL!!!   And we followed up hats with Popsicles for one and all!

Each one special, a gift, a miracle. Yeah. That's how my day rolls.  How 'bout yours?

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Oh my stars, I cannot believe I'm doing this, but I must because I know not everyone's on Facebook...

And that's okay!!!  And clearly I don't want to annoy people, (anymore than I do by my mere existence on the planet...)  but I want a way to let them know what's going on so they don't have to surf the web all the time...

And yet, I want everyone to come visit me here. Have coffee. Grab a bite of cake!!!


But it's important to keep up with things/folks/times and so I'm ready to start a three-season newsletter...




Nothing major. Sweet. Simple. I've got a link on my webpage to sign up, but you can sign up right here by commenting... Leave me your e-mail, okay?  I've got a list started and I'll add you to it. And if I get annoying, dump me, really, because my goal in life is to be the LEAST ANNOYING PERSON IN UPSTATE... Note I did not claim the whole planet, just a small corner. Start small and build, right???

OR...if you don't want your e-mail public, just e-mail me at and tell me you want to be on my mailing list and no one else sees your e-mail if you'd like it kept private. I will keep all e-mails private unless I totally mess this up which is a distinct possibility.

Think of my ineptitude as a chance to make new friends!!!  :)

The first issue will come out for WINTER.... and you'll discover I'm sincere about loving winter... Although I do get tired of it by mid-February.

And then if you're a winter-hater you can print the sunny-disposition thing off and throw darts at it. Really, my feelings are NOT hurt. I consider it my way of saving you from jail time. Whatever it takes.

And we're still taking names for our wayward wanderers... And if you comment your name goes in the clean cat dish for a chance to win His Mistletoe Family when my copies come next month...



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spot Gardens, Revisited!

Yes, we're still taking name suggestions for our two little wanderers in the Southern Tier of WNY!!! (see the name list to the right???? How cool is THAT????)

Feel free to keep offering your name suggestions... Leaving any kind of comment gets you tucked into the drawing for a free copy of His Mistletoe Family, due to arrive here next month! And yes... sigh... it's a sweet,  embracing story of a new chance at love. And a first chance at love.  Have I mentioned I have a soft spot for military heroes????

But I wanted to update you on those earlier "spot gardens", the bursts of color that make me feel like I still have time to garden but don't take much time... because time is a scarcity lately for so many of us. In the North, that doesn't quell our longing for flowers.... color... blossoms.... not in the short time we have up here!

Go here to see what they looked like in late June:

And here's what we have now!!!
The "Pig Pot" garden, surrounded by English Ivy...

The lamppost garden... White begonias, a few mums, a Yucca or two...

A little square of the lamppost garden, pink begonias... Dutch Bearded Iris in the background (now cut back to blossom next May!)



This is the planter I bought at Sandy's Place in Allegany County... Notice that my little bushes have spaces between??? and mulch???  If weeds sneak in, I shoot them with Round-up... No weeding.

Color me happy! And the planter adds a burst of color along the porch rails.
Our mild winter left me with a gazillion yellow jackets, tons of weird early May butterflies, and the Katydids woke up early and stopped "chatting" at night way before normal...
But look at this Dahlia, that got left in and didn't die over-winter:


I love gardens, but I have to be realistic. I can't work full-time and write several books a year and spend time in the yard...

So then it's a matter of choice, right?  I love writing. I've waited all my life for this chance...

So spot gardens have taken over.  And I'm delighted with the results. Daytime, I watch sweet babies...

Early  morning finds me writing away....

And the gardens?

Sweet and simple is how I'm going now, LOL!  :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Oh, there is joy in Mudville tonight!!!

I can happily announce that I have just received a new 4-book contract for a delightful series of books set in the southwest corner of New York State, the corner that houses 
Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqa Counties!!!!




The "Kirkwood Lake" series will feature sweet, compelling stories of law enforcement...
Holy Hot Heroes, Batman!!!  

To celebrate, I want your help... We chatted about this on Facebook, but if you didn't see it there, here it is...

Two small children walked out of the forest. Bedraggled. Tired. Bruised, scraped, forlorn. The little girl is a mess, but her eyes show a wisdom beyond her years... The little boy, still in a diaper that's seen better days, is trusting his maybe five-year-old sister to keep him safe.
Two babes... Alone... Wandering...

We don't know anything about their parents yet... Good, bad, indifferent...

We only know they appeared, little wanderers, in need of loving arms... a warm bath... clean jammies.

My husband had this lithograph on his childhood wall. I've always loved it, the simple image of God watching over us in times of peril... Guiding us... If only we'd listen better, right???

So help me name these children!  I'm making a list of possible names, so either be BRAVE and comment here!!!!  

(laughing just a little at lurkers!!!)


e-mail me at and give me your suggestions!

Everyone who offers a name either here, through e-mail or on Facebook will be placed into a drawing for a preview copy of "His Mistletoe Family"!!!

Here's the cover:

His Mistletoe Family (Love Inspired)

"When two orphaned boys and their aunt arrive for Thanksgiving dinner at the church, retired army Colonel Brett Stanton feels his heart tugged. Despite having her hands full, young businesswoman Haley Jennings handles her nephews with a smile. Still, Brett can't get too close to the needy trio.He lost his son and brother to the uniform, and isn't about to set himself up for loss again.
Soon, sweet Haley and the boys remind him of old dreams...and teach him
that new dreams provide the greatest hope for a perfect family Christmas."

I will be giving away FIVE COPIES in October....  And I have large print copies and regular!

And I can't wait to hear what names you suggest!

FYI:  Hansel and Gretel... SIGH!!!!  :)  Have been suggested and rejected, LOL!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Something's happening!!!!!

Oh, oh, oh!!!!

There just might be reason to jump and yell and scream and race around in circles like a happily crazed mutt just over-the-top delighted to see his master come home!!!!


Tomorrow.... Gotta work the details today, but tomorrow....

Oh, happy day!!!!

Oh glorious day!!!!!!

Happy dancing in upstate New York for such a fun, good reason!

Have I mentioned how much I love writing?????  Until you probably want to bop me over the head????

Okay, must go... must keep my mind on work today.

But then tomorrow, it's "WORK" of another nature!!!!  And a contest starting!!!!  I love contests!!!!!

Oh, Joy!!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Remembered

I was a kid when John Kennedy died. And when his brother Robert was shot... And when we lost a gentle giant in the death of Martin Luther King...

Like all momentous events, though, I can tell you exactly where I was, where I was standing, when I heard each of these things, even though I was a child...

How much more chilling to watch the events of September 11, 2001 unfold before us on live television... As adults...

I held a newborn baby in my arms, rocking her, tears streaming down my face in my living room. In my arms, a miracle. In my vision, disaster. We had family friends working there. My daughter had worked there a few years before, interning in the World Trade Center. She called me one day, wondering what it must be like for the thousands of people who worked above her... who came to work every day, knowing they were the number one terrorist target in the world, as if working in the financial district was inherently evil. She was only there one summer... And still felt the chill of evil.

Three years ago Dave and I stayed at the Millenium Hilton overlooking Ground Zero... Here is what it looked like in September of 2001:

Here is the hotel now...

This was our view in 2009...

And here is what Ground Zero looks like today:

Beautiful buildings, rising from the ashes of assault. The reflecting pools... the new trees. The memorial that we'll visit the next time we go to New York. You can get free tickets to visit the memorial HERE

I love going to New York City. Lawyer boy (one of my very cute four boys) lives there. He's not far from Ground Zero and each time I visit him, I must visit there... I believe in the power of prayer and I'm not afraid to pray at Ground Zero, for those gone and those to come. For the past several years it's been a sad sight/site. The housing crash of 2008 left many dull, dingy storefronts, businesses closed by financial upheaval.

This year?

Visiting Ground Zero and the beautiful financial district held hope. So much more so than in years past. And the small shops that closed along the streets of lower Manhattan?

Opening again!!!  I have pics on my smart phone, but it is smarter than I am and I can't get them to upload... and it takes a bajillion days to e-mail them to myself. So much for SMART. Oy.

Again, you say? It's been eleven years!!!  Well, population decreased abruptly as a result of 9/11 and the 2008 crash. Businesses bellied up... What looked like recovery, sank into oblivion. People talk about Wall Street as if it's simply a legion of rich people taking advantage.

But it's so much more. It's people living, working, walking babies, feeding Zelda the wild turkey that lives in Battery Park...

I've personally seen Zelda twice.... She's as real as you and me!

Walking the riverfront and waving to the Statue of Liberty.... Buying nuts from Nuts for Nuts... Grabbing a street dog... (not the kind on a leash)... visiting City Hall, Harlequin Enterprises, The Woolworth Building... Checking out the little diners, well-hidden. And the sandwich shops, so many of which closed not once, but twice.

Regular folks, like you and me. Just trying to live, pay the bills. This is the first time I've visited where you truly felt hope. I visited a colonial cemetery where the graves were mostly pre-Revolutionary War. Babies. Children. Young women, mostly. And lots of Marys, Sarahs and Elizabeths. I imagined them watching the shore from the grounds of their church, seeing the English ships sail in and out of New York's harbor... Wondering what they thought when the English navy sailed into the area...

9/11 wasn't the first attack on America. It won't be the last. Seeing this  image, a beacon of hope for the world's poor, the entrenched, the huddled masses yearning to be free... with the evidence of jealousy and assault in the background...

How sad to envy when learning is such a better choice.

I pray for peace. I pray for people to join me in prayer, to make God's ears ring with the prayer of earnest, faithful Americans, because we didn't gain this wonderful grace, power and strength on our own. Regardless of religion, God hears the cry of the faithful, the hurting, the joyous, the grateful. I would love to join with you in prayer for our country... Any time, anywhere.