Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve





Another year…and I am still here!


In my home…a cup of tea, sweetened with honey, a book to read…perhaps to write, and a warm hand tucked in mine. These things delight me; make my home a refuge from all that would trouble me. Beneath this roof, I find a place of beauty and comfort, things that I love, that offer constant joy and inspiration. Over the years, I have carefully created an ambiance that inspires my soul, that gives and gives, over and over—happiness with no attachments.

At my birth, home was the
Midwest, valleys and hills, creeks and streams, farmland and village. The soil dried between my toes and never quite washed away, so I am part of it, still. Yet, I have known other homes, other climes, places of majestic mountain peaks and blooming deserts. I have known the sun in its strength and the winter snows with icicles that reached to the ground. In every place, I made my home.

Coming from a legacy of Scottish ancestors, I am endowed with the blood of that race, traits that run deep that form character, personality, likes and dislikes, things in nature that are infused genetically and were nurtured and fostered by family. From my grandparents, came a love of the land, and generations before, a love of freedom, both physical and spiritual. The things I leaned from my parents and grandparents are invaluable and a part of who I am.

As a writer, I strive to be true to my self, to my readers, to all who know me, and most of all, true to God. As a pastor’s wife, I seek balance and wisdom to be a blessing and help to God’s flock, to my sheep. To my husband, I am wife, soul mate, his only love and he…mine.

Although the farm in the
Midwest will always be near and dear to my heart, where I now live is the heart-warmth of home this day. As the new year unfolds before me, I will move forward with the times, trusting in God to go before me, to order my steps, to guide me through another year.

With another new year, I will accept the challenges it brings, but I will never forget the past, the things that made me who I am. When I piece together the fragments of my ancestors lives, lived so long ago in a country that rumbles beneath my feet as though calling to a wandering child, I see myself in the people, I understand their struggles, believe in their dreams and know that once, I belonged to them and they are part of me…still…still.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CHRISTMAS JOY AT OUR HOUSE...


All God's children gatta place in the choir!
From my collection of, "All God's Children
"

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."


Praise be to God for our new camera
Cannon's Rebel T 3




Around the house, the colors of Christmas in a bowl of vintage ornaments


"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Like 2:13



Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!!



I'm dreaming of a "Highland Christmas..."



Marmalade, the cat, gets a new hat for Christmas.
She is so easy to care for!



Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:1



Many years ago, my husband hand crafted this set for our children. I took it down from the shelf this year and put the little people in their accustomed place. The figures were made from clothespins, and were dressed for the occasion. This crude little crèche brought back so many fond memories. When my son saw the cherished old set, he claimed it for himself. I have so many "claim tags" on the things around the house!




Angel dust falling on us...from that great multitude of angels that sang so long ago;

"Glory to God in the highest and Peace on earth, goodwill to men!"



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WINTER PLEASURES IN THE SHEEPFOLD -- BLUE AND WHITE


"BLUE WILLOW"

My earliest recollections of enjoying dishes for the sheer pleasure of their beauty and creative appeal was as a child, I watched my mother organize and display her blue and white dishware. She collected what she could afford of any dishware in shades of blue and white. Now…when I visit the farm, I see blue and white in the homes of my sisters, a reflection of those bygone blue winters. Mary has the “Lochs of Scotland” handed down from my mother and in Laura’s farm kitchen, platters of Flow Blue and white adorn the walls. My personal favorite pattern is, “Late Snow at Riverwood by Bob Timberlake




LATE SNOW AT RIVERWOOD BY BOB TIMBERLAKE



WINTER BLUE IN THE HUTCH


CURRIER & IVES


LATE SNOW AT RIVERWOOD


A FAVORITE TEAPOT


Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday preparations...

Wherever you live in the world so wide,
We wish you a nook on the sunny side,
With much love and little care,
A little purse with money to spare,
Your own little hearth when day is spent,
In a little house with hearts content.

A favorite time of year...a time of beauty and reflection. With the month of December comes many wonderful times and many memories of good times and winter love.


Friday, November 25, 2011

THANKSGIVING DAY FUN!

Son, James, and granddaughters, Andria, Audry, and Alicia


We celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional way with a few Scottish customs thrown in for good measure. Although we realize that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, we celebrate victory over our enemies in the spiritual warfare for truth and right. The recipe below is a reminder of our many battles and many victories won with the help of our Lord.
A multitude of thanksgivings to God.


Scottish Warrior Apple Custard Pie

I

Ingredients:

Crust

½ tsp salt

¾-cup all-purpose flour

¾-cup whole-wheat flour

½-cup cold unsalted butter


Filling

1 large egg

1 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon mixed with ¼-cup sugar

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups sliced and peeled granny smith apples


Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl, sir the flours and salt, then cut in the butter until coarse crumbs show. Press on the bottom and up the sides of a nine-inch pie pan. Arrange apples over the crust. In another bowl, stir 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, whisk the evaporated milk, egg, and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then pour over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.


Cut with a sword and enjoy like a warrior!!!


For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 2Co 10:4


No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isa 54:17



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving...

A Time To Be Thankful

THANKSGIVING

Throughout the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving Day is an annual legal holiday. It is one of the oldest and most widespread of celebrations. This American holiday commemorates the harvest celebration held by the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Society in 1621. The Pilgrims had come ashore from the Mayflower on Dec. 21, 1620. During the first hard winter, only about half of the original group had survived. Despite such heartbreaking losses, the harvest was very bountiful. The Indians had supplied them with corn seeds and there was corn in abundance as well as barley and plenty of meat, fish, and fowl.

The pilgrims set aside a day of thanksgiving to God for this wonderful harvest. They invited their Indian friends and ninety Indians and their chief, Massasoit, responded to the invitation. They brought five deer to the feast and celebrated with the Pilgrims as they gave thanks to God. The pilgrims often set aside days of thanksgiving whenever they wished to praise and thank God for His blessings and help but this harvest day feast soon became an annual day of thanksgiving. The actual dates varied according to the end of the harvest season but it was soon an established annual event.

Although Thanksgiving was widely celebrated as an annual celebration during the following years, it did not become a national holiday until Oct, 3, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday. This was during the great Civil War when our nation's very foundations were being shaken. All seemed dark and bleak to President Lincoln but he realized more than ever the need to be thankful. How fitting it is that we should give thanks to God during the time of battle as well as in the time of victory.

To the Christian, every day is "thanksgiving." If we waited until our designated holiday to praise God for His blessings, we would consider ourselves most ungrateful. However, we are glad for the true celebration of Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. It reminds us all of our nations humble beginning and how God has blessed and preserved our land. We must never take this for granted or feel that somehow by our own strength or merit we have made America the greatest nation on the face of the earth. If God had not been our Helper, then our history as a nation would have been quite different. It is God who has blessed, God who has prospered, and God who has kept us to this present hour.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Words from the Shepherdess...



My antique rose lamp above the table in our cottage


Anything with roses is pure delight!

What is so lovely as a lamp with light streaming through the darkness to show us the way?
The soft glow of lamplight is one of my favorite things. Therefore, I love lamps. I love to see light streaming softly from a window when I walk up to a home. The light speaks of warmth and friendship, a place where I want to visit. With light, there is welcome and love waiting inside.

The shepherdess loves the light and brings the sheep to the welcoming warmth of the sheepfold. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” How lovely is that?







Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rearranged…

Rearranged…


What if God rearranges our lives? What if life as we know it now is suddenly turned upside down, turned around and we find ourselves traveling in another direction altogether? I cannot help thinking of my own grandmother, Elizabeth, whose life took a sudden and drastic turn in the road. Her first response was—where are you, God? What are you doing? Where am I going?


My own life has been that way, too. Looking back, I understand that God had a better idea, a plan that was far superior to my paltry attempt to direct my own path. Every bend in the road was for my good.


Thank you , Lord, for ordering my steps…even when I can’t see where I’m going. Still, I feel your hand in mine.


Cover art for “The Wild Rose of Lancaster” book #1 in the Wildrose series.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From the deck at Wildrose cottage...

View from deck at Wildrose Cottage, looking north

Looking east from the deck at Wildrose cottage

SEASONS OF MY LIFE


I cannot return to spring again

To plant when sowing days are gone,

Nor till the still soft earth of spring

When summer suns have come and gone.


Lord, help me know my times on earth

To work the plan Your hand does show,

Oh, let me bring at harvest time

A life made whiter than the snow.

©ruthellinger2000



Monday, October 24, 2011

Ten things about me...

My readers ask about me so here you go...

Ten “Off the Record” facts about myself

1. I don’t Twitter, tweet, or talk on Facebook or other social network sites but I DO answer email from my readers and those who contact me through my website and blog.

2. I don’t watch TV and consider it a waste of valuable time not to mention the moral content is pretty near zero. I do listen to good music and check in on current news and world affairs daily to make sure we’re still okay.

3. I love to write, to be home in the evenings, and nearly always cook dinner. I enjoy going to Panera Bread for lunch.

4. I love my grandchildren, a fire in the fireplace, getting into the spa before bed and listening to audio books until I fall asleep. I value routine when I’m home.

5. I love my cottage up north, love to travel and explore new places. I might have been an explorer had I lived in another age. I am passionate about preserving our American heritage, historic sites, and the US Constitution. I am a member of the Daughter of the American Revolution and feel the rumble of my patriot ancestors in my blood.

6. I love antiquing with anyone who will go with me and love perusing thrift shops for treasures someone else has thrown away and am an avid believer in aggressive rescue efforts for these lost treasures.

7. I love mountains, misty mornings, ocean waves, sunsets, autumn and Christmas time. I love back-roads, bends in the road, brick roads, and country roads. I love driving around and looking at other people’s houses and landscapes.

8. I don’t like sitting at the computer but do so out of necessity. I know I am there too much when my husband leaves notes on the keyboard. I don’t like fast food except MacRib, shopping for groceries or putting them away, unloading the dishwasher or folding clothes. I don’t have a maid but wish for a cook, housecleaner, and servants and gardeners and a chauffeur.

9. I love herb gardens and flowers and am glad my husband does so I don’t have to care for the plants. I can preserve and can food, sew my own clothes, doll clothes, curtains, create and make many useful things, but I choose not to because my family is grown and I find more enjoyable things to do with my time. In earlier years, I managed a myriad of household tasks and was all things to my family. Now I do not stress over such matters. I find new things to stress about.

10. Among my fetishes are antiques, vintage linens, lamps, candles, pictures that tell a story, roses on anything, period novels, lace, feminine clothing, and dishes of all kinds. I love tea and tea things, quaint cottages and towns, porches, and all things Scottish. Most of all…I love Jesus, my Savior, and the knowledge that He knows all this about me and loves me anyway.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn…on the Ohio farm

SEASONS OF LIFE...

I love every season of the year, but I love autumn best. This photo was taken last week on the farm where I grew up, where I experienced life and love and the ties that bind, a place where happy and sad moments are forever etched in my memory. I choose to remember the happy times when autumn arrives with the acrid smells of a smoke-filled hazy days, of drying maple leaves, harvested corn piled high on the wagon, juicy Macintosh apples and golden pears, and always…the familiar and unique aromas of the farm in autumn. I return each season to the place I still call home.


THE RED-BRICK FARM HOUSE

THE BARN AND POND IN THE DISTANCE

My sister lives on the farm with her husband and each year, they sell pumpkins and garden produce which they pile on an antique farm wagon near the road. Customers place money for their purchase in an “honor jar.”


PUMPKINS FOR SALE

By the bend in the road and in the distance, you can see the farm pond and a small cabin made of cherry logs which my father built and spent many happy hours wood-working


LAURA'S HAPPY CHICKENS AND DELICIOUS FARM EGGS


CLOSING WILDROSE COTTAGE FOR THE SEASON
( I am sad )

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Writer...The Reader

It's that time of year again and my Co-Director and I are planning a wonderful writing workshop and retreat. It is situated on the beautiful Alafai River surrounded by majestic oaks and Cedar trees. Writers are coming from all over and once again, we will learn. Posted this time are a few thoughts on writing.

Something to Remember…

There is no greater work in this life, no greater duty as Christian writers than to help others in their journey. Among the many talents God has given, writers possess the ability to create from an expansive vocabulary of words, excerpts from their life experiences. Writers possess the creative skill to impart the wisdom they have learned, to help others keep up their courage, to laugh and cry, to empathize, to proclaim with the written word that God is the answer to the problems of life. Ruth Carmichael Ellinger


What do you know? Write about it. Don’t write about what someone else knows. Write about what you know in your own unique voice and style. Then, put into practice the 3 P’s in this order.

Prepare your manuscript

Polish your manuscript

Pitch your manuscript


A Writer’s Prayer


Oh, Lord, make me respect my mind so much that I dare not write what has neither meaning nor moral. Let my time be valuable enough to spend it wisely. Help me choose with equal care, my friends, my books, and those things my eyes should see, because all influence my life. Show me that, as in a river, the depths hold more of strength and beauty than do the shallows. Keep me from caring more for much writing, than for careful writing, for books more than “the Book.” Give me an ideal that will let me write only the best, and when that is done— stop me. Repay me with power to teach others. Then help me to say from a disciplined mind a grateful…Amen.

Ruth Carmichael Ellinger2011





Friday, September 30, 2011

Thankfulness...

This picture is the first framed art my husband and I purchased when we were newlyweds. We wanted to furnish our home with meaningful art. Money was tight and our purchases must have some significance. This painting seemed appropriate to start out our life – with thankfulness. The Bible tells us to be thankful in every circumstance, even the negative ones. That may be hard to do at times, but even in difficult times, there is always something to be thankful for, something beneficial to us down the road.


Today I was shopping in a retail fabric store that stocks craft supplies and home decor. I wanted some new for Thanksgiving things and didn’t want to wait until everything was gone. I found an aisle for each upcoming holiday; Halloween, Welcome Autumn, Happy Harvest, and Christmas, but no Thanksgiving items. Walking through the displays, I couldn’t find a single item—no pilgrims, no turkeys, nothing in reference to our great American day of Thanksgiving. My heart felt heavy…sad.


Could this really be happening? I spoke to a clerk who told me that “Happy Harvest” was far more “graceful.” I just stared at her in disbelief. Graceful? I assume she meant inoffensive. How very sad that some are becoming offended at the thought of “thankfulness” and celebrating our national holiday with gratitude and gratefulness for all God has given us. I am quite offended at that. I will not shop there again.

In 1918 in the town of Bovey, Minnesota Eric Enstorm took a photo of Charles Wilden sitting at a small table in prayer. As soon as the negative was developed, Enstrom was sure he had something special... a picture that seemed to say, This man doesn't have much of earthly goods, but he has more than most people because he has a thankful heart. Today Enstrom's picture GRACE, is known and loved throughout the world.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Beyond Place...

For some time now, I had watched the old ewe sheep wander closer to the border of the sheepfold, casting her brown eyes on the pasture beyond our highland enclosure. The years had come and gone, and al the lambs she had raised were grown, a long time now. For the most part, she grazed alone. Now and then, I would bring her in from the farthest part of the field, noting the thinning wool, the slight limp, and the curve along her back.


She never complained, though, and caused me little trouble. Winters were hard on her and even in the warm shelter, she cast her eyes beyond… waiting…watching.

One day, she sought out her grown lamb and nestled close, then simply lay down on the grass and was gone. The other sheep gathered around, curious as sheep are. I found her still and quiet. I knew she was gone. Her eyes were still open, fixed on the pasture beyond the enclosure, seeing what we could not see.


I will miss the old ewe. The flock will miss her presence in the morning, when she came quietly from her resting place to nuzzle the young lambs…softly, gentle in her way. The shepherd came and spoke, then we laid her away beneath the earth, near the beyond place where she longed to be.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Lone Sunflower

The time is nearing when we must close Wildrose Cottage for the summer season. Flowers are still blooming in the beds and my herb garden was prolific this year due to an abundant rainfall. Autumn color has not made an appearance, but you can feel it in the air. Winter is waiting, just around the corner. Summer seems tired of itself, ready to return to the earth.


Last evening, we drove the seven miles south to the farm where I grew up and where my sister and family still live. Just one last visit before flying home, I said. While walking through the late summer gardens, I noticed a lone sunflower, set apart from its fellows that were standing in neat orderly rows surrounded by a sturdy wooden fence. Somehow, this one sunflower seed had escaped the enclosure and was growing alone, apart from the sunflowers that held their heads up toward the sun. Outside the fence, the lone sunflower struggled on alone, bedraggled, worm eaten, alone in the harsh elements of rain and sun and wind. The large head was bowed to the earth. I had to have that picture.


The scene reminded me of God’s sheep together in the sheepfold, safely enclosed, together through the storms, the harsh elements, the attacks of predators, but still standing together, heads up, enfolded in God’s love, His care, watched over by the shepherd, by the shepherdess.

No marvel that Jesus went searching for the one sheep outside the safety of the sheepfold. Survival outside the fold is rare, the dangers are imminent, and the comfort and support of other sheep is missing.


How vivid are the lessons of nature! The patch of sunflowers enclosed together were hearty and colorful, filled with seeds, while only a few feet away, the lone sunflower struggled to survive, to produce, lacking strength to hold up its head and stand alone in the waning summer evening.

God’s people need each other and most of all; we need Him to set the parameters in our lives, to structure our life according to His will, the way that is best for us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HEART OF THE NOVEL


If a bodie disagrees wi ye, try ti understaund whit wey, an tak the time ti gie guid raesons whit wey ye think yer ain wey is better.


Overview for:
Sword of the Wild Rose

The protagonist in the inspirational/historical novel, Sword of the Wild Rose, is an ancestor of the Davidson family in previous novels by the author, The Wild Rose of Lancaster, book 1, in the Wildrose series, and Wild Rose of Promise, book 2.

Sword of the Wild Rose is a “prequel” to books 1 & 2. However, all three books can be read as “stand alone” novels.

In the latest historical novel, our story opens with the “Battle of Bushy Run,” final battle of the French and Indian War. We meet Donald Davidson, soldier of the famed Black Watch, who appears at the scene of battle, then vanishes from sight.

Then we follow the life of our protagonist, Derick Davidson, Donald’s nephew, as he struggles through the heart-wrenching years of exile from Scotland and his subsequent effort to gain a foothold in his new homeland—America.

This setting for this novel is colonial America, 1773, just prior to the American Revolution. This window into Derick’s life covers his involvement in pre-revolutionary America and the events leading up to the war. After his ship arrives in Boston in 1773, Derick meets Daniel Morgan, the colorful and controversial character who later becomes the famed Revolutionary War hero of Saratoga.

The Colonies are on the brink of revolution and Derick again finds himself facing his age-old enemy—the English. Throughout his dangerous sojourn in the American colonies, Derick seeks an answer to the age-old question—why God, why me? The senseless murder of his young wife in Scotland, his unlawful act of retribution on the perpetrators, and leaving behind his children in Scotland, continually plague and trouble his mind.

Daniel Morgan takes Derick to his home in Virginia and teaches him the ways of the American frontiersmen. He finds a true friend in Morgan’s young neighbor, the beautiful and winsome Kearan Mackenzie. He discovers in her youthful honesty, a diversion to his grief. Kearan’s heart warms with love for the Scotsman, but her knowledge of his dark and questionable past cannot be overlooked. There must be a resolution. Derick is so self-absorbed with the pain of his past that he never dreams that the lass is falling in love with him. Kearan longs to comfort him, but he is lost in a world of painful memories, a place where she cannot go.

In a fortuitous meeting, Derick is reunited with his uncle, Donald Davidson, a former soldier of the famed Black Watch, a Highland Regiment fighting with the British during the Seven Years War. After the wars, Donald Davidson remains in America, taking up the life of a “longhunter.” Donald is a positive influence on the bitter young man, his brother’s son.

Derick drills with the riflemen from Frederick County under the leadership of his good friend, Captain Daniel Morgan. Derick becomes a skilled rifleman but is reluctant to join the Patriots. Centuries of fighting the English for independence leave Derick with little hope of an American victory.

Throughout the dangerous and difficult pre-war years and the events leading to the American Revolution, Daniel Morgan and Derick Davidson build a unique and lasting friendship that carry them through the unsettling times of revolutionary America.

Kearan Mackenzie eventually wins the heart of the handsome Scotsman, but not before he comes face to face with himself in a tempestuous battle of wills. He has taught her to sword fight, but we find that it is Kearan Mackenzie who holds the tip of her sword to Derick’s throat.

Filled with danger, intrigue, and unconditional love, Sword of the Wild Rose is the story of one man’s spiritual journey from the depths of heartbreak and revenge to the liberating experience of Divine forgiveness. ♦

Saturday, August 27, 2011

LAST OF THE CLAN


Thomas Faed (1826 – 1900)

Recently, someone asked, “Why do you write about the past, about your ancestors and the trials they endured.”

I didn’t have to think long. In the words of Bruce Catton:

"We are people to whom the past is forever speaking. We listen to it because we cannot help ourselves, for the past speaks to us with many voices.”

In my home I have an art print by Thomas Faed titled, “The Last of the Clan.” The painting speaks of an ending for some, a beginning for others, and always; the poignant loss of what is loved and known. The old clan chief sits astride his highland pony by the seashore. His people reveal the mixed emotions etched in their faces. They mill about him, his wife weeping by his side. Some personal belongings are on the dock, left behind like the chief who is too old to make a new life.

A lad, perhaps a son, is pulling up the ropes that hold the ship and this people to the land. Many of the clan people are sailing away, never to be seen again by the chief’s old eyes.

When I first viewed this painting, I connected with the scene emotionally, feeling the pathos of the landscape, the exile, acutely aware of my own ancestral departure from the land of my people’s nativity. The past calls out to me and I simply write about those times of separation from home and country when my people came to America to begin a new life. They carried a sword, a dream of freedom, and I could not help writing about them. When I visit my ancestral home in Scotland, I understand in a deeper sense what it meant to leave all. The blood runs deep and It is part of me…still…still.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD...

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46:10

Be Still, and Know that I Am God,
My Father said to Me,
And I will fill you with My Peace,
And set your Spirit Free.

The Spirit of God waits…listening…hoping that the human spirit, His own creation gone astray, will turn again to Him, and, like a mighty sea, He rushes to the smallest chink in the walls that shut Him out from His own. He is, and always is…all about us…if we only open our eyes, if we are still enough to listen


Ruth Carmichael Ellinger