CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Jenny LM who won Susanne Dietze's My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho Prize pack!


Congratulations to Elise Jehan who won a copy of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ruth Logan Herne

Hold the applause until she's done . . . Here's my special guest, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Debut Author and all around crowd favorite, Ruth Logan Herne!

Ruth Logan Herne likes to be called “Ruthy”, she loves God, her family, her country and dogs, thinks snakes should always live outside and possums should leave cat food alone. A mother and grandmother to seriously smart (read: know-it-all) young people, she writes stories of humor, hope and faith, embracing God’s love and life’s opportunities.


So I get to do the Friday wrap-up on Battle Wounds week.
Umm…
Yeah…
Great! Super!!! Like, oh my gosh, I can hardly wait, gals!!!! (Deb, please insert verbal chagrined sigh here. Oh. You can’t DO that????? Sheesh…. Why not????)

Now, in actuality I picked this week, morose Pollyanna/challenged girl that I am because wounds happen. They occur regardless of age, color, creed, gender. Life isn’t always easy. Remember Wesley as the “Dread Pirate Roberts” in The Princess Bride? (and if you don’t recognize the name or the movie, really: what planet are you on? Go out, rent the movie, sit back and enjoy, thereby getting the full effect of this Ruthy-blog.)
Wesley told Buttercup: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”

I’m a tough mom. I believe that pain and suffering build character, but that doesn’t mean I welcome the pain or the suffering. As the mother of six grown children, I know I’m blessed to have each and every one of them. I know this more because there are five small souls in heaven, waiting to rock on my knee. Waiting to hear bedtime stories. Waiting to hear what life on earth was like, find out how their brothers and sisters are doing, and laugh about the antics of their nephews and nieces. Five little souls who never made it to the nursery, never saw the light of day, their unique humanness blinked out in utero.

I said I’m tough. I am. I’m also a sap, I cry at EVERYTHING, but I don’t let things keep me down. That’s what bootstraps are for. So I cry, I pull my big girl panties up, and I climb out of the pit and go ‘round again. Partially because of my amazing faith, partly because I’m that stubborn that once you get my Irish up I’ll work double time just to make my mark. And that included the pregnancy roller coaster eleven times to bear six children.

Call me naïve. Call me foolish. Call me silly. I never expected to pass this trait on to my children. It never occurred to me that my problem would become their problem because of five Herne girls, I was the only one to carry this tendency, yet both of my daughters and my beautiful goddaughter/niece have inherited the same trait, the only ones of our large family to deal with repeated miscarriage.

I was less than pleased about this turn of events as you can well imagine.

I found out the hard way that while I’m strong for myself, it broke my heart to see them go through this. Mothers hate being helpless. It goes against our grain. And when repeated miscarriage plagues you, you can’t allow yourself to hope when those two pink lines show a positive result. You wait. You pray. You hope. You welcome morning sickness and dizziness. You know that a well-set pregnancy generally sends a strong hormonal message to the mother: Baby on Board… Prepare to be sick.

Because there’s nothing worse than waking up that first morning feeling good. Feeling… normal. Feeling non-pregnant. That was often the first warning sign that something was amiss, and then things would progress from there. But if we made it into that fourth month, we considered ourselves home free. Successful. From week 14 on, we could shout from the moutaintops: YES!!! WE’RE PREGNANT!!!! HUZZAH!!! HUZZAH!!!!!!!!

Until last year.
Our beautiful daughter Beth was five months pregnant with her first child. He died in utero, a sweet, tiny baby boy named Joseph. As in the past, no reason was uncovered. He just… died.
We were devastated. Stunned. This wasn’t according to formula, it wasn’t part of the plan, we’d been foiled. Duped. We’d faced a rough situation on and off for decades and had emerged triumphant, eventually, as if we had all the answers.

We didn’t, it seems. Little Joseph, that tiny baby boy, a gift from God, has a home in heaven. Will he know me, I wonder? Do little boys play soccer in heaven, and do tough-as-nails Grammys coach angel teams like they coached boys and girls of a more earthly nature?

We’ll see.

After a year beset with trouble, we’re welcoming babies into the family fold left and right. Our oldest daughter adopted a beautiful little boy from Ethiopia last summer. My beautiful niece and daughter of my heart is now in her twentieth week of pregnancy. So far, so good, thank God but we take nothing for granted around here. Least of all babies.

My son and daughter-in-law are expecting “MacKenzie” in mid-July, a precious baby sister to their firstborn, Logan. I have two of my daycare moms adding to the delightful mix. Lisa just delivered a healthy baby boy, “Brody William” and Stacey is due to deliver a surprise baby in five weeks. An abundance of love, blessings and diapers surround us.

And Beth and Jon welcomed Elijah Thomas into the family just two weeks ago, a sweet baby boy who looks like his dad but will undoubtedly have his Grammy’s Yankee-loving “go-get-‘em-Tiger” spirit. (I have to say this because Jon’s from Minnesota and he’s... yes... I can’t believe it myself... a Twins fan. Oh my stars....)



Here’s a clip from Beth’s Facebook page:
I am married to the most amazing man! We have two children: Joseph, stillborn January 9, 2009, is home in Heaven. Elijah Thomas was born March 26, 2010. I love all of my boys! :)


Grandma and Grandpa (Ruthy and Dave) with 'Lijah.

We’ve learned a lot over the years. To appreciate life, and God’s gifts. To cherish little hearts and souls in every way possible. And that each and every baby is a miracle, a gift from God, shared for indeterminate time, a concept we control-loving humans tend to forget. Our job is to make the most of every precious moment we have with them, remembering that Heaven is like the quintessential library and our children are loaned out for who knows how long? Eventually, God wants us all back, and his numbering system doesn’t always match ours.

Which isn’t always an easy thing to grasp down here on earth.



Thanks Ruthy. Boy that pollen count is way up today. Is anyone else suffering from watery eyes and a runny nose? Today's a good day to swap stories. Wounds, scars, healing, or explain to us where all those identical hospital baby blankets come from anyway.


Ruthy has offered to give away one of her books. Winter's End is available now or if you're willing to wait a few months, Waiting out the Storm. Please let us know if you'd like to be in the drawing and leave your email address. Safely now, folks. We don't want any crummy web spam worming its way to you--so put some brackets or spaces in and around that address, okay?

After growing up in foster care, nurse
Kayla Doherty’s finally found a faith to rely
on and a job she loves. But that’s all put to
the test when she’s called to care for surly
Marc DeHollander’s dying father.

Marc’s struggling to keep his cattle farm afloat while
dealing with his father’s illness and
caring for his teenage sister. He doesn’t
have time to fall for the beautiful hospice
nurse. But as the frigid New York winter
turns to spring, can he find a place for Kayla—
and the Lord—in his heart?




Debra says:

I just recently finished Ruthy's book WINTER'S END and I loved it. I'm not just saying that because I only live an hour or so away from her. Winter's End is a deeply moving story dealing with some painful family issues. No fluff here, unless it's the fact Ruthy manages to make a blatant reference to Derek Jeter! It's not only as good as I thought it would be... I couldn't wait to get back to it and finish it. Forget it, I can't do it justice. Really. I mean it. Incredible book. One Amazon reviewer suggested it would make an excellent Hallmark Channel movie. Definitely an"Oh Mylanta!" thought.
Coming later this year: WAITING OUT THE STORM




When family tragedy strikes, Sarah Slocum steps
in as guardian to her two nieces and nephew. But
raising children isn’t like raising sheep, and the
beautiful shepherd soon finds herself in over her
head. Who’d have guessed that new neighbor
Craig Macklin would jump in to lend a hand?

Craig’s always held a grudge against Slocums—
Sarah included. Now the handsome local vet
is helping with her livestock, giving her young
nephew a job and smiling at her every chance he
gets. Sarah must decide whether she can trust
Craig—and God’s plan—and allow him into
her family.

During our prep for this blog, Ruthy told me this of Elijah; "He's the prize that makes the wounds worthwhile." Grandchildren are God's reward for all that other stuff, eh? And there's a good chance I won't be here on Friday morning to comment because as of Thursday, my daughter is in labor for grandchild # 2. Lots of babies involved in this blog, eh? There's no way to describe the joy of becoming a grandparent.

46 comments:

  1. It is through each trial that God makes us stronger--stronger in our faith, stronger in who we are as Christians, and in what we believe in. God used our time of sadness to not only heal, but to draw us closer to Him. He has made my husband and I better prepared in knowing how to pray and fight for (God willing)our future children. If we had children when we had planned to, we would be relying on our own strength and not on God and His power. I've learned that God has His own timing, and until that day comes that we may have children, I will continue to serve in the way that He has called me to.
    Thanks for sharing about how God has been working in your life and your daughters' lives as well.

    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

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  2. Cynthia, good morning, sweet thang!!!

    Honey, I couldn't agree more. God gives us life, hope and love and opportunities boundless in scope, but the minute we get all up-and-up power feeling, like we're all it and a bag o' chips, life has a way of humbling us.

    While I hate being humbled for the most part, I understand the need. And the blessing of children should always, always, always be just that, an incredible gift from God, nothing to be taken lightly.

    Grrrr.... ;)

    Silly humans that take things for granted.

    Stay tough, Cynthia. Rooted and focused.

    Ruthy

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  3. Okay, I'm here. How could I stay away? No sleep? no problem!

    Cynthia, thanks for commenting and sharing your story too. I can't help but think what selfish people, lacking empathy, we'd be if we didn't have our disappointments. We learn and grow so much in them. I even wonder if we grow half as much in the good things we have. And then our blessings are so much sweeter when they come!


    Ruthy, someone is going to get a great book to read today. When does your next one come out? this summer?

    Speaking of things coming out...

    My new grandson, the handsomest boy in the state was born last evening.

    Welcome to the world, Grant Hudson Cotsonas. Now, I'm not just saying this, but he's a handsome 'hearty and hale' young man. I can't wait to get my hands on him again.

    As Ruthy says, so much of the wounds and disappointments we bear in this life all seem to fall away when there's a new baby.

    Elijah and Grant - look out. Crazy Gramma alert!

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  4. You really think she LIKES to be called Ruthy?

    Rats, that takes all the fun out of it for me.

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  5. Deb, hooray for that baby boy!!!

    Grant Hudson...

    What a wonderful, strong name! Resonance. History. Strength.

    You tell them they done good!!!

    Congratulations, Gramma! And now the race is on....

    Who walks first?

    Talks first?

    Eats spinach without an argument???

    Writes the first book???? :)

    Deb, how fun this is! Give my blessings and hugs to your beautiful family! And gentle thanks to God.

    :)

    Grinning in Upstate, about twenty minutes from you, you turkey...

    Ooooops.

    Is it NICE to call your host a TURKEY????

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  6. Mary, I LOVE being called Ruthy, especially by YOU, dear one.

    I have names for Mary, too, but they're not available for publication online at this point.

    No, they're better spoken in hushed whispers around the calf pen.

    Connealy, hey, dudette, thank you for stopping by. And I'm not afraid to say that Mary's gentle love was an amazing addition to Beth's recovery last year. Mary stayed in touch, doing sweet Mary-things (I know, SO HARD to believe, right??? She's such a hardened Midwesterner.... pshaw, she's a pussycat. It's actually a little embarrassing. Or should be)

    And just letting Beth and Jon know they were loved.

    So sweet.

    Love you, Connealy. Most days.

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  7. Ruthy, thank you for visiting with us today and sharing your story.

    Cynthia, thank you also for sharing.

    Both of you are amazing, trusting God through these difficult times, and your stories have touched me deeply today.

    God bless you both!

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  8. PS! Ruthy! I almost forgot to say major congrats on the book, and I really can't wait to read it. It sounds wonderful.

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  9. I hate it when things don't work out as I plan. I guess that's why God thought it would be hilarious to make me a writer.

    Actually I have to admit He knows what He's doing. The toughening process of writing helped prepare me for disappointments in other area of my life. Now it's not a question of 'if' I will finish the race. The only question is when.

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  10. This definitely made me tear up. It's not something I've experienced, but I've seen friends and relatives go through it.

    I love the line that "He's the prize that make the wounds worthwhile."

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  11. Suzie, as one who clings to her "y" ending name with the zeal of a middle-schooler, let me just say:

    I LOVE YOUR NAME!!!! ;)

    And I'm grateful for the invite. You guys have a great bunch of gals over here, although no one cooks like I do.

    Pity.

    :)

    And I did bring along some amazing fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies studded with M&M's because there is NO SUCH THING as too much chocolate.

    Just sayin'.

    And a BIG thank you for the congrats on Winter's End. I'm honored and tickled that Deb loved it because we all know, writers are a tough audience to impress. It's a great story of love, loss and battle wounds.

    But that's where God comes in. He's like the Florence Nightingale of life. Always healing, holding.

    Perfect.

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  12. Lisa, that's the spirit, girlfriend!!!

    God never promised life without strife. He did promise help and strength. So we grab that, pull up our big girl panties and get on with it...

    Because we're the daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and aunts someone will refer back to tomorrow. Or the next day. Every ripple we make becomes part of the next wave.

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  13. Dina, I love making people cry!!!

    Highest compliment, but I did use unfair ammunition. Something about babies does that to you!

    Still, isn't it fun to cry and smile. Laugh?

    Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion! (Truvy, Steel Magnolias)

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  14. Hi Ruthy!
    I love that pic from Beth's FaceBook page. How beautiful! And of you holding the baby with your hubby I'm guessing looking on.

    You said:I found out the hard way that while I’m strong for myself, it broke my heart to see them go through this. Mothers hate being helpless. It goes against our grain.

    I haven't had the troubles that you've had, but other ones regarding first child that I took meds for to get pregnant.

    Anyway, I just love the cover of your book. I grew up on a farm and although it didn't look nearly as beautiful as the one on your cover, the house was white and there were lots of critters.:)

    Thanks for visiting us. I look forward to reading this book. AND, to my buddy Deb, CONGRATULATIONS GRANDMA!:)

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  15. Ruthy. You can call me Turkey any ol day!

    We know Mary C is a softie. And I saw the way you shot her down for missing an opportunity to show HER grandchild photos! So she's welcome to come over and show off any time.

    One nice thing - (this is a secret...so come closer. Our adult children look at us with new awareness when they themselves become parents, right? Now they understand why you love them no matter what, even their annoying sibling... because they realize how a parent's heart is stolen and broken all at once for the love we have the instant our children are born!)

    I can't imagine the pain Ruthy felt during Beth's first pregnancy. How much we want to take on their suffering. Makes us realize a little more of how the Father loves us!

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  16. This post touched me personally I too had a late term still born. I have four healthy children but it effects you. Thank you for such a honest post.

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  17. Jill, so nice to see you and super mega congrats on a long-awaited contract!

    Doing the Snoopy Dance for you!!!

    And I love that cover too! I've sent the book on to the North Country, to people who helped me with research and they're on the same page. The hint of mountain, a farmer/rancher, horseman... a breeder of fine cattle... a man who works with heart and hands despite the weather.

    Ah, Jill, lass, be still my heart!!!

    And that Marc DeHollander is a total hottie, if he could just get that CHIP off his shoulder. Eee gads. Men. ;)

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  18. Mary = Softie

    Oh, please. She's a hardscrabble Midwestern gal and she'd tan my hide for letting you THINK anything else.

    :)

    And yeah, the nice thing about grown up children is that they're grown up, but... those problems... those hills and valleys... Oh my stars, they're WAY harder than skinned knees and melted Popsicles. I could FIX those.

    Broken hearts?

    Not so much. And I won't pretend that there weren't times when God felt very far away through all this. That's when we cling harder, right?

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  19. Ah, Anne...

    With an "E" I noticed!!! (quietly nodding to Lucy Maude Montgomery)

    You never forget. You don't dwell, but you never forget.

    And I found it hard to be asked, "Oh is this their first?"

    Sometimes I said yes because it didn't seem like the right spot to explain...

    Other times we explained...

    It's tough because we don't want to ignore Joseph's existence but there are moments when you know it's not the place or time. Sometimes it's just easier to nod and say yes...

    Dagnabbit.

    I'm sorry for your loss and joyful at your gain. Four beautiful children, so sweet (most likely), so wonderful (most days...)

    God bless you all! And give 'em a hug for me, wouldja????

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  20. I AM TOO A SOFTIE. I'M SWEET AND KIND AND GENTLE.

    AND I'LL SLAP ANYONE WHO SAYS I'M NOT!!!!!!!!

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  21. I've got this mental image of God, creating Lisa, laughing as he slips the 'writer' gene into her.

    I'm not sure that's an image I want in my head.

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  22. A bit Frankensteinish, methinks, Mary.

    Although I'm convinced God's sense of humor is far more developed than we like to admit. The thought that he's actually up there LAUGHING AT US is disconcerting...

    Now I'm A-OK with the thought of him laughing at YOU, but me???? Sweet? Sensitive? Caring? Empathetic??? ME????

    No. Surely the most I'd get would be a gentle smile of appreciation.

    And please allow me to be alone with my illusions, LOL!!!

    Love you, Mare. And Lisa's so stinkin' cute that I think God would chuckle as he set that up and chanced a glance down the road...

    But then he gave her moxy and good friends and tough gals surrounding her.

    We don't let friends fall easily. Nossir.

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  23. Lisa and I hung out when I was in Ohio. She took pity on a homeless, wandering author.

    (well yeah, there was a lovely bed and breakfast where I was allowed to sleep...but homeless except for that)

    It was great.

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  24. So Lisa actually KNOWS you...

    And still talks to us.

    Truly, God is good, all the time.

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  25. I'm just pleased as punch that Ruthy and Mary brought their show on the road today!

    And food!

    I think things have changed in one way - it's more 'acceptable' for people to openly talk about and discuss the loss of pre-born babies than it was many years ago. (like they were supposed to tough it out and move on as if they'd never existed) More and more I see people mention those little babies waiting up in heaven.

    I know a couple I can't wait to meet myself!

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  26. I am sooo late to the party today. I went on a field trip with my third grader. Awesome day, yet I needed tylenol when I got home.

    Deb, I think you're totally right about the times changing, and people being a bit more able to openly discuss their losses. I was astonished to hear about relatives who'd lost babies (one lost twins at 7 months in utero) but these little babies were whisked away, never seen or named. And certainly never discussed in polite society. How sad, how devastating to have to grieve that way.

    We named our baby who awaits us in Heaven. My Thomas surely plays with Joseph and all the other precious babies who we didn't get to hold on this side of eternity.

    Thanks for visiting today, Ruth, and sharing with us so openly.

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  27. Ruthy, thanks for joining us today and sharing your story of hope :-) As I wait on news on someone close to me, praying the ivf procedure will result in a successful pregnancy, I feel so thankful and blessed that I have my kids.

    Deb, congrats on the safe arrival of your new grandson :-)

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  28. Deb, Mary and I have decided if the writing thing doesn't pan out, we'll start a Punch and Judy show on the road...

    Because Mary likes people THAT much...

    Thank God one of is an extrovert. And one of us is, umm... Mary. :)

    And you're right about people being more open and that's a good thing. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who lost her son and then stayed in the bathroom with the water running so no one would hear her cry? Because ladies didn't cry in public....

    And we watched the Kennedy's lose little Patrick to a lung disorder in preemies that's treatable now. So sad. And yet so real.

    And dagnabbit, that shows my age, although I want you to know I was just a VERY LITTLE GIRL!!! ;)

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  29. Suzanne, what a great smile! I love people with toothy grins like mine... :)

    Do you guys remember in the "Anne" books that Anne and Gilbert's first child "Joy" died just after being born. Reading that as an adult just broke my heart, and we're so good at fixing things in book, aren't we? Occasionally I feel callous taking bad things and working them through a book, solving problems on the page, but then I remember all the books I loved, the insights, the stories, the biographies and I see God's hand at work in so many ways.

    Sometimes real life just sucks, but we come out on the other side and we're stronger. Tougher. Hopefully not jaded but wiser. And that's a difficult trail to walk, isn't it?

    And yes, I believe we'll be reunited with these baby urchins and I don't have a clue why things happen as they do, but I'm glad when there's a positive benefit to the world eventually. New treatments, new options...

    You know what's funny? In Elijah's 20 week ultrasound, you could 'see' what he would look like. Not the scary/alien 3 D thing. (Aren't Those Awful???)But the profile shot. I took one look at that and told Jon he had a look-alike and it was true. With our daycare moms we've gotten good at discerning features on 20 week old fetuses. The idea that they're disposable, or less than human is ludicrous.

    They're babies.

    They just need time to grow.

    But I'm amazed that in their tiny perfection you can actually SEE who they are. 'Lijah is a mini-me of Jon...

    Of course we're all praying he's
    got Grammy's panache and style...

    Not in shoes, of course! :)

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  30. Narelle, we've done those prayers for in vitro as well with some of our young couples.

    Amazing stuff.

    Such little blessings to cause all this fuss and bother. Then they grow up to be teenagers and do it all over again.

    Oy vey. :)

    I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  31. Ruthy, in my case, you'd be absolutely right. I definitely don't cook like you do. I can say that with all honesty, even though I've never tasted your cooking. You sure don't want to taste mine. Now, did you all save me some of those chocolate chip M&M cookies? Or did you eat them all while I was slaving at work all day? Hmmm?

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  32. Ruthy (aka Mom),

    Thanks for the wonderful post. Joseph & Elijah are very blessed to have you as their Grammy.

    Thank you to all of the Seekers and other friends for your prayers and support through the loss of Joseph last year and the joy of Elijah's birth two weeks ago!

    Mary, thanks for the card you sent. It means so much to me & Jon to have your support & prayers (and to have you keep Ruthy in line in Seekerville. We're doing our best to keep her in line here in NY)!

    For all of you that have been touched by the loss of a child in any way, we'll be praying for you and for all unborn & newborn babies. :)

    God bless,
    Beth

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  33. Oh, Ruthy,
    If you're still out there I wanted to ask you a couple writerly things. Do you remember when you found out you were getting published for the first time? Did you have any moments of panic? Like, can I do this? etc.:) And, how did you (and do you) discipline yourself to get the work done when life issues interrupt? Really appreciate you being here today and love your smile. I sometimes sign my e-mails with:
    Smiles,
    Jill

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  34. Hey, Ruthy-babe! Sorry I'm so late to the party. I see you and Mary haven't missed a beat : )

    So much to tear up about, but so much to laugh and cheer for, too! If we didn't have our lows, how in the world would be know to appreciate our highs??

    To Ruthy and everyone who survived the heartbreak of infant loss, my heart goes out to you. We so feared we were going to lose our first, but God changed His mind. Five weeks in bed and a definite craving for chili and Snickers seemed to cure what ailed me. Still, the fear born during those weeks has stayed with me. God love you all!!

    Deb! Congratulations on grandbaby!! Grant Hudson. A hero name if I ever heard one!

    Great post, Ruthy!!!!!!!

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  35. Suzie-Q, of course we saved you some, darling. It would be beyond rude to let Mary, Deb and Dina eat them all, although they tried. I, however, stepped in and pleaded your case.

    But then Audra came along and ate the crumbs so sorry, kid, you're out of luck. Writers sure do eat a lot for people who sit on their butts so much. ;)

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  36. Hey, Beth, you stopped in!

    And you brought the baby....

    Here, Deb, we can trade! I'll take Grant for a bit, you hold 'Lijah.

    :)

    So SWEET!!!!!

    Beth, thanks and hugs for stopping by. And for letting me tell your story with mine. You're one tough gal.

    Love you.

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  37. Jill, hmmm...

    Panicked?

    No. No, not really. But that's part of my personality, I love insane deadlines, I thrive on that NY mentality of a NY minute, so that part didn't bother me at all. And when you wait as long as most of us have, I'd have been embarrassed to be not ready, or at least as ready as I could be, so that helped.

    Now juggling...

    Well.

    That's a different matter. First and foremost, I never put writing stuff off. I get up at 4:00 AM every day, pray and write until 6:30 when the first kids arrive for daycare. I don't clean, don't polish, don't do anything else. Bathroom, brush teeth, make coffee, write. And write. And write.

    It's amazing how much gets done in a week of writing for that two hours every day. And when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about how the story should go, prepping my head so that when that fleeting two hours returns, I'm ready.

    I don't watch TV. I do love NCIS and Castle, but I haven't seen a Castle episode this year. I'll catch up when life slows down. I love DVDS!!!!! That way the show comes to me, LOL!

    In the evenings now I edit, answer e-mails, prep for daycare the next day, update things, maybe breathe... ;)

    My website isn't great, but it's doable and self-taught and I take care of it so I can go in and update it as needed. (Like this weekend, LOL!!!) And I've been uploading seasonal pics that I've been taking with the digital camera so that I have winter/spring/summer/fall/Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter pics already in the computer for next year's updates. Then all I have to do to dress up the website is upload them and click, instant season change. I keep a file for my book covers and when someone needs them or blurbs for promotions I've got them at a click of a button. I'm a case of organized clutter.

    I don't try to blog individually because:

    A. Who cares that much about what I have to say?

    B. I worked to establish a presence in Seekerville and that's a great launching ground

    C. I'd bore myself and that would just annoy me. :)

    Family stuff... I work full time, and until the end of September (once the third book was contracted) I worked a night job as well. We have six kids and seven grandkids so that's very important. When someone needs or wants me, I'm there, and I just let the housework slide a little more and work once I'm back home. Eventually I'll be able to afford a maid, so that problem will take care of itself, right??? (laughing here)

    My house is a wreck. We joke about it, but that was the tradeoff the past two years. Now I'm playing catch up with that, but life was crazy in '09 and it's not often that varying editors show interest in your stuff and my entire family said: Just do it...

    So I did. Between the move-ins and the move-outs. And the babies. And the losses. I remember just after Joseph died, I'd been contacted by Paula Eykelhof (Harlequin/Mira) because she saw my stuff and liked it.

    And then Melissa. Both wanted rewrites.

    And then Becky Germany.

    Another rewrite. Beth and Jon were still living with us and they'd been saving for a house... But their hearts had gone out of it with their loss.

    And then came all these requests...

    I'll never forget Beth saying, "You have to do this. Get it done. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. You've worked all these years for this chance, now go for it!"

    So we did. We muddled. We worked. We prayed A LOT. And day by day, piece by piece, it got better.

    It's still crazy. Now I'm marketing, speaking, doing book signings, writing, blogging, editing, meeting deadlines....

    And rocking babies.

    And in all honesty, I love it. The insanity. The crush. The zaniness of being on board. I feel like I came home to the dream I worked so hard for and it's all I dreamed it would be. And more.

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  38. Audra, dahling, hey!!!

    Thanks, sweet cheeks, and I'm so glad you stopped over. And that i made you get all teary...

    Having the Seekers cover my back during rough times is a huge benefit of working together. They know when the face is put on because it needs to be and when a fellow sister just needs a hug.

    Or a smackdown.

    That's what sisters are for, right? And Audra, I can't imagine you without Kara.

    Kara is Audra's gorgeous, model-friendly daughter. Oh my stars, no one should be that tall, gorgeous and totally together. Brat. ;)

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  39. Oh my, I cannot believe it has taken me THIS long to get over here to harass Ruthy!!! I usually get all my harassment done early in the morning when my energy is high and I can really zing them. But, uh, even at my best, nobody zings 'em like Ruthy. She is MY hero!!

    Love the Inkies and love Ruthy, ESPECIALLY Winter's End because I am a real sucker for a hot hero, and Marc DeHollander is one HOT hero, let me tell you. Seriously, he is, but also this book is hands-down one of the best reads I've had this year, and I'm not just saying that because I'm afraid of Ruthy, because I'm not! This woman can not only write, she can write heroes that will curl your toes.

    Can't wait for the next one, girl!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  40. Hey Ruthy, I'm sorry I'm late but family duties pulled me away. Thanks for coming today.

    I could really relate to your post because I've suffered miscarriages as well. My condition, however isn't genetic. It developed while I was in-utero and my mom took a drug prescribed by her doctor (common in the late 50's and early 60's) to cease lactation. The drug worked for all those mothers that took it. Unfortunately, any female fetuses they carried while taking the drug developed abnormal reproductive systems. So I'm not unique. I can't remember the actual name of the condition but we all have a bicornuate uterus and faulty fallopian tubes.

    I have one good tube but the other one isn't connected to my uterus. So the eggs died off during the times they were released from the disconnected side. And my double uterus means I can't carry babies to term because the main chamber can only stretch so far. Most women with my condition can't carry past 30 wks.

    The doctor called my first child a miracle baby because I had less than a 20% chance to get pregnant in the first place. I managed to carry her until my 34th week and that was better than they expected.

    We then lost 3 in the first trimester before another one 'caught'. I spent months on bedrest before she was born 5 wks early.

    Since then, the Lord has blessed us with 2 more kids - born 4 and 7 wks early.

    Praise God for miracles.

    Thank you for sharing, Ruthy. And waving at the other Seekers.

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  41. Ruthy!
    I so needed to hear what you had to say. I wonder if you ever SLEEP. :) My full-time day job has been getting a little more intense and I'm not an early riser soooo, I'm just going to have to find my zone. Prayers appreciated from all of you out there.
    Hi Julie! I see you dropped in and Anita too. It's been a great day.

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  42. So much happens here after I go to bed...

    Actually I took the night off from life, got in the recliner and watched a contemporary romantic comedy.

    Matthew McConnaughey.

    Loved seeing Beth stop in. You dun good, gramma!

    And I loved Ruthy's advice for Jill. Don't dread the craziness, learn to live it (more)!

    Anita, I have a niece that has double uterus. It was supposedly
    inconceivable (how do you like that one) for her to #1 get pregnant, #2 carry. So of course she had one!

    Thanks for a great day in Inktropolis, ladies!

    waving at Julie!

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  43. Jules, hey, girlfriend!!!!

    I love Jules enthusiasm. When she gives you a shout-out, it's a SHOUT!!!!!

    Wonderful. Excited. Passionate. (that doesn't surprise any of us, does it?????) ;)

    Thanks, sweet thang. I'm so glad you loved Winter's End!!!! And I'm so glad Melissa loved the story of such star-crossed lovers. And Marc is a hottie... No denying that. When I can make Julie drool because a guy grazes his knuckles along a girl's cheek, her chin...

    Oh... my.... stars....

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  44. Anita, I know a couple of gals whose mothers used that drug and two have defied the odds, the other two had hysterectomies eventually because things just didn't work...

    I'm so sorry you had to deal with that, but I know you have that wonderful heightened awareness of how special a child is.

    Which does not in any way, shape or form mean I don't consider certain forms of child torture when they're just being plain ol' BRATS.... I'm outrageously normal in that regard. :) Bless you, girlfriend, and what an honor it's been to hang with you guys today. Sooooooo lovely.

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  45. Jill, you'll find what works for you. Use your lunch hour to answer e-mail...

    Or become an early riser. Or a late get-to-bedder...(that's ridiculous sounding, isn't it???)

    Steal an hour of sleep at either end, wherever you're freshest. Remember Ben Franklin's advice: "Plenty of time for rest in the grave..."

    And Erma Bombeck's pledge that when she stands before her maker, she wants him to see that she used up every speck of the talent he gave her...

    Tina heads to a coffee shop after work or the library and puts in a couple of hours there so she's not distracted by home and family. If messiness and kids are a distraction...

    You've got three choices.

    Ignore, avoid or kill.

    I go for the middle road on that one, always, because prisons have open toilets and that's just awful to ponder. (laughing, sorry, but there's a grain of truth therein.) And I can't ignore kids to work... Well, I can do dishes, clean up, tell stories, etc. but not write. Edit. So we carve that niche of time. I promise it's doable, just not always easy.

    But who said life was easy, 'eh, Chica???? ;)

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  46. Girls, thank you again for having me over!!!!! I had just enough time to leave you some homemade rice pudding for the weekend (a lovely family recipe that's popular around here...)

    And I pulled out a couple more batches of those chocolate chip/M&M cookies because a weekend without cookies just isn't a weekend.

    I'm thanking God for each and every one of you guys. And for babies....

    Ruthy

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