Every now and then, something absolutely wonderful happens and the world is a better place because of it. A number of years ago, my good friend Ruth was born, and the world is a much better place because she's in it.
Ruth is more than a friend; she exemplifies the expression "grace under pressure," and despite the fact that she's recently been handed a raw deal, with the lemons she has, she's made the sweetest lemonade.
The only person I know who could've done so well was my mother-in-law, Jean, who would've been 100 years old on Friday.
Every now and then, we are gifted with kind, beautiful souls, like Ruth and Jean, and for those of us lucky enough to get to know them and be part of their lives, that's a special treat to cherish.
Ruth has been and continues to be my spiritual guide, my minister, and believe it or not, my inspiration. If you've read some of my more gruesome suspense romance novels, that might be hard to understand, but she seems to say exactly the right thing at the right time. She makes me a better writer because she encourages me to go out there, just a bit farther, in search of the perfect image, the perfect clue, the perfect hero, and of course the perfect villain.
Ruth knew exactly who was the Fire Angel in my first novel by that name because she was privy to an inside joke. If it hadn't been for that faux pas on her part, the villain might've had a different name.
Today, because it was her birthday, we went out to lunch with a few close friends, after attending church. This was not the church I was used to attending, the church where she'd preached and filled me with inspiration to get through the week, but Ruth suggested I try it, and I'm glad I did. It's very different from the subdued Presbyterian worship I'm used to, but I enjoyed it. The evangelical style is far more relaxed, but the music and the message were uplighting. People were warm and friendly--no one was pushy, and eveyone was willing to say hello and shake my hand. No one appaeared to be judging anyone. Come early, come later--no problem--just come. I felt welcomed. Most importantly, my granddaughters, who came with me, loved the Sunday school program and want to go back.
Will this be my new church home? I don't know. I need to think about it, pray about it, but after three weeks of not going to church, I can honestly say. I feel better for having gone today.
So, in conclusion, thank you, Ruth. My muse is chomping at the bit to write a new story inspired by today's message and Ruth's comment. Picture it--a romance novel about a person who refuses to accept love. The possibilities are endless. So, as I've said before, Happy Birthday. Without you, I'd be Ruth-less.