Saturday, July 30, 2011

Elizabeth and Stephen Under the Arbour

Excerpt form

The Wild Rose of Lancaster

Book 1 in the Wildrose Trilogy

"In truth, it is imperative that you leave, for both our sakes, but I must admit, I will miss you. The house was brighter after you came to us—to Amelia and me. The lonely hours were filled with the consolation of a child playing by the hearth and I loved watching you sit by Amelia, quietly reading to her as the snow fell softly outside the window."

He looked away, to the distant hills, as if to find solace in those sweet memories, now only a part of the past. "Yes, I will miss all of you—Amelia and you and Jamie. When you and Jamie came to us, you made our house a home, and honestly—I don't know how I will fill the lonely hours. God sent you and your winsome ways to us in a time when we were desperately lonely and in need of comfort and help. That part of our life is over now and we must move forward again. Who can say what the future will hold, but whatever God has in mind, it will be the very best for me. Will you remember all I have said, Elizabeth?"

"Yes, Stephen," said Elizabeth feeling a rush of compassion for this man who had befriended her in her hour of need, and who suffered so meekly his own sorrow and loss. “I will remember all you have said to me this day. I want you to believe this, Dr. Whitman—not a shadow of dishonor mars your integrity and you are blameless in my eyes. If you thought I believed otherwise—you are mistaken. I have no doubt of your love and devotion to Amelia. I believe you were loyal to your marriage vows and exemplary in your trial. Your actions toward me were above reproach. I have no regrets. And if I have added any measure of comfort to your life—to Amelia's final fleeting days, then I am glad for it.”

To order book 1 in the WILDROSE trilogy,


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Better Than My Best

Better Than My Best

I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile
All sense of nearness, human and divine;
The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart,
The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;
But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone,
The everlasting arms upheld my own.

I prayed for light; the sun went down in clouds,
The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,
The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears,
And all my little candle flames burned out;
But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night,
The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.

I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease,
A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose;
Above my head the skies were black with storm,
And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;
But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew,
I heard His voice and perfect peace I knew.

I thank you, Lord, You were so wise to heed
My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,
Since these rich gifts Your bounty has bestowed
Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;
Giver of good, so answer each request
With Your own giving -- better than my best.

Annie Johnson Flint

Monday, July 25, 2011


Memories never forgotten,

Talks that never end,

I treasure each mile of the journey,

With you…my beautiful friend!

There is nothing quite like sitting down with a friend for a chat over a cup of hot fragrant tea. To make this friendship hour special, it is worth the effort to make tea properly. Tea must always be made in a china pot. Never, never try to make the tea in a mug or teacup. Tea will not steep well in the cup, and all the flavor and aroma that is such a pleasant part of tea making will escape. Choose a good quality tea. The best tea is made form actual leaves and not from bags which often contain crushed and leftover leaves.

The flavors must be steeped into the brew by a snug-fitting lid on the teapot. Fill the teapot first with boiling water to warm the pot before you make the tea. Then empty the hot water, and place the tealeaves into the pot. The usual amount is one teaspoon of leaves per cup. If you prefer strong tea, you may want to use more tealeaves, but if you prefer a weaker tea, don't cut down on the amount of leaves, or you will sacrifice flavor and aroma.

Just add a little hot water to the tea after you pour it into the cup and this will weaken the tea without losing the flavor of properly brewed tea.

Bring the water for the tea to a rolling, bubbling boll, and then pour the hot water over the tealeaves, placing the lid on quickly and covering the pot with a tea cozy.

A tea cozy is a snug fitting wrap or “blanket” to cover the teapot after the tea has been made. The cozy will hold in the heat while the tea steeps. Allow about five minutes for the tea to steep. Pour tea through a strainer into cups and serve with sugar and cream. Ummmm! Lord, please don’t come before teatime!

And since I have naught to give,

And love alone must make amends,

My humblest prayer is while I live

God, make me worthy of my friends.

©Ruth Carmichael Ellinger 7/23/11

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Emily turns “Sweet Sixteen”

I arrived at the hospital shortly after Emily was born. My first glimpse of this new little granddaughter was a cherished moment. Looking into her round little face, I saw passion, raw and new, clothed in peachy soft skin, dark blue eyes that soon turned brown and peachy red hair that made me laugh. “Now,” I said to my daughter, “this little lassie will be a challenge.”

I could have foretold of her passionate nature, her amazing artistic and musical ability, and her natural creative instincts. It was all there…on the day she was born. She was a Highland lassie, no doubt, red hair and all, a descendant of her Scottish ancestors; open, free, tumultuous, and mixed with that combination, a loving heart; intense, sincere and loyal. Emily is lovely, and the world has been far more colorful since she arrived.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The day of “letting go” Can I wear my own shoes?

I remember vividly the day of “letting go.” One of our children had turned to me and said quietly, “Mom, can I wear my own shoes now?” I understood. It was time.

From their birth, God had entrusted my husband and me with the welfare of our children and I had done my best to stay on top of each child’s comings and goings. In their growing up years, I had devoted myself to overseeing their education, developing spiritual and moral character, instilling family values, ascribing to all that entailed raising children to be productive adults, citizens who were an honor to God and country.

Raising a family involves years of hard work. No one can dispute this fact. There are days filled with unforeseen twists and turns to work through. And now that the hard work is over, I am supposed to just...let go? Somehow, this trading of roles doesn’t seem quite right.

How could I ever turn my children over to God’s control or…to another human being who might undo all my hard work? This was an awesome challenge and one that every parent faces. Letting go is not easy, but it is always best to trust our children to God rather than bungle up the future along with relationships.

The knowledge that it was time to “let go and let God” arrived differently for each of our children. The arrival day was unique, singular, the Spirit of God leading me to that place where I didn’t want to go. This divine revelation came like soft summer rain for one child, like a lightening bolt and booming thunder for another, and no words were needed at all for one child, only silence and the sense that it was time.

“Come what may…they are yours, Lord.”

©Ruth Carmichael Ellinger 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



My husband is not only a shepherd, but an avid gardener. He is passionate about plants; growing things, and prunes and removes only when absolutely necessary. His gardening habits are a source of contest between us, but most of the time, I let him win since he is the primary caregiver. I enjoy a well-manicured “planned” garden with flowers and shrubs neatly spaced, a place of organized loveliness. The shepherd, however, prefers a wild, “grow and let grow” until the stone pathways are overrun with blooms and the herb garden yields enough to last a lifetime. I find sweet basil, tarragon, and whatever else might need harvesting, hanging in the laundry room to dry.

Last evening, after the rain, I walked through the garden, my skirts wet with rainwater, enjoying the sweet fragrant whiff of a late gardenia blossom and the vivid color of crepe myrtle. The shepherd was moving some young crepe myrtle plants to pots. (Trust me, he wouldn’t throw them out), and he exposed a lily plant with two beautiful blooms. After working in the garden all evening, I noticed the lily had drooped, the two heads lying over on the stone edging. I stopped to see if the plants were broken and could see no damage.

“Why is the lily drooping over?” I asked my husband.

“Because it has lost a friend, the young myrtle that offered it shade and companionship has been relocated to the back garden,” he said.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m serious. Plants like other plants growing around them. It is hard to grow alone. Plant friends offer shade and comfort. They droop and sometimes die without other plant friends around.”

“Will the lily die?” For the first time, I felt sorrow for a plant.

“If it is strong, it will come through to bloom again, but if it is weak and too sad, it will die.”

“You should have left the myrtle.”

He smiled at me and cocked his head, knowing I had ruthlessly pulled out many a plant and not blinked an eye.

“It had to be done,” he said simply. “Let’s watch the lily; see how strong she is.”

The Psalmist speaks of God being our shade, our shelter, our protector, our friend. I have a greater appreciation for the shadowing presence of the Lord, for friends who stand by me, offering shelter and comfort.

Two things: I have never prayed for a lily before.

I love my husband/gardener/shepherd more today. I understand his thoughts and I will be more patient.

Oh, Lord, be my shade, my shelter from the heat and fury of those who would hinder me; let your shadow fall over me on my right hand, that the sun may not smite me by day, nor the moon by night...”

Psalm 121

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.





Saturday, July 9, 2011


The body language says it all. A sister is protection from anything that would come between.

“I will take care of you…I will hold you close to my heart.”

Sisters…they sometimes drive you crazy, sometimes are your closest friend, your ally against all others. Sisters know your foibles, your weaknesses, your strengths, your ambitions. Like no other person in the world, they know you. And despite it all, they love you unconditionally.

You grow up together, sharing a room, sometimes a bed, always a dream. You breathe the same air, witness life together as one, and observe each other in every phase of life, wondering what makes other one tick. And despite those dissimilarities, you are tied together by blood, by culture, by the common thread of genetics.

To lose a sister is a rending that can never be replaced by any other. Appreciate your sister today. Let her know that she is special, that she is loved.

Monday, July 4, 2011


"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. Far out of that dark nowhere which is the time before we were born, men who were flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone went through fire and storm to break a path to the future. We are part of the future they died for; they are part of the past that brought the future.

What they did, the lives they lived, the sacrifices they made, the stories they told and the songs they sang and, finally, the deaths they died, make up a part of our own experience. We cannot cut ourselves off from it. It is as real to us as something that happened last week. It is a basic part of our heritage as Americans".

-Bruce Catton

Saturday, July 2, 2011

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. Graham Greene

After a special time at our high school class reunion and a stay at our summer cottage, I returned home to the heart of a FL July and over a hundred emails waiting to be answered. I waded through email all morning and then took a break, pulling out a book of Mary Engelbreit’s artistic creations. I was soon lost in time.

As an adult, I enjoy the poignant art and the unique combination of ME’s characters, the vibrant color and contrast of her work, and best of all, the inspiring words that transport the reader to another time when life was simple, where childhood days are reflected from the pages. Her exceptional portrayal of children are doors to other times…cherished memories. Yet, I find her art and words a true fit for today’s busy life as well. I pause and reflect and dream. On this piece of artwork and in the words of Graham Greene; “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”

This particular poster is sooo me. Although Mary didn’t realize it, she captured me in those childhood years; tablet in hand, sitting on a rock under the tree, trying desperately to look into the future, to know what lay ahead. Then one day it happened in a moment of time. The door cracked just a wee bit and I saw two primary things: that God would be my first love and my tablet was filled with writing. This was enough. The door closed again and my future was in God’s hands. Today…I am His shepherdess and I am His writer. No marvel that I love this poster.