Tattered and Mended: New Release and Giveaway

It’s release day! After living in my heart for so long, the book Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul is now released to the public!

As part of the celebration, Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity have created a wonderful giveaway. Each item speaks to the heart of the book–reclaiming something beautiful from the broken and shattered. The aquamarine bracelet is made from broken guitar strings. The deep blue bracelet is made from broken china recreated. There’s more.

Reviewers often comment about the value of the hope-giving perspective. One reviewer said: “TATTERED AND MENDED needs to be in every church library, counselor’s library, public library, pastor’s office, and Christian home, so the words can reach out to hurting people and help them start to mend.”

Do you have your copy already? If so, what was your favorite quote from the book?

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Hope lives here. Even here.

Hope lives here. Even here.

The idea can change everything.

Even in the surgical waiting room. Even when your application for a mortgage is rejected. Even in the hospice room. Even in the throes of another battle with a wayward child.

I first worded it that way—Hope lives here. Even here.—when creating a centerpiece chalkboard for a table by the fireplace in As Waters Gone By’s Wild Iris Inn—an imaginary establishment on the very real Madeline Island. The proprietess of the inn communicated a simple message to her patrons. One in particular—a woman who thought hope had fled when her life fell apart.

She—like many of us—assumed the emotional, financial, and relationship downturns in her life spelled the absence of hope. She’d read, but couldn’t keep her grip on the truth of Job 11:16 NIV—

“The day will come when your troubles will appear as waters gone by.”

Yesterday, I spent hours creating blackboards with the Hope lives here. Even here. message in chalk paint. Some will become giveaways, or door prizes. Or Christmas presents. Every new one I started drove the truth deeper into my heart. For the person who trusts Christ, hope’s heart muscle continues to beat even in the ugliest of circumstances or the darkest corners of concern.

Hope Lives Here

I can picture one of the blackboards hanging on the nursery door of a home waiting for an adoption to be finalized. Or waiting for the red tape of an international adoption to disintegrate and signal, “Come and get her/him/them!”

I envision a Hope lives here. Even here. blackboard hanging on the wall of the oncology waiting room. Or in the foyer of the safehouse. Or near the kidney dialysis machine. Or sitting on the desk of the funeral director. Yes, even here.

On the mirror of the woman waiting for her husband or son to return from deployment, or be released from prison.

Stamped on the bottom of the divorce decree.

As a paperweight on the stack of bills only God could shrink.

That’s the thing about hope. It’s not dependent on a concern-free life. It thrives in the unlikeliest environments. Its reason for existing becomes clearest when life stinks.

Hope lives here. Even here. If I can’t see it now, I have two options—look harder, or snuggle up closer to God. The light’s better there.

Summer Fun Contest Winner

as waters gone by - 400Congratulations to the WINNER of my As Waters Gone By giveaway, LouAnn Miller! LouAnn, you should receive an email from somebody at Litfuse Publicity Group, or you can email your mailing address to info {at} litfusegroup {dot} com.

LouAnn, I’m excited for you to receive the package and dive into the book. Thank you to everyone who entered and to those who signed up for the mailing list, and to those reading As Waters Gone By right now. BIG NEWS is on the horizon. Until then, here’s a small glimpse at random but true thoughts that helped inspire next April’s novel–Song of Silence:

1. I own a director’s baton. When my father–a middle school band director for 35 years–passed away, each of us five children were given one of his baton’s as a symbol of the life he loved and the children he taught, including us.
2. At a book signing at a Barnes & Noble, my much-beloved elementary school music teacher, Lucy Ramshaw, attended the signing and stayed to chat. The influence of her love for music and the elegance with which she taught it can’t be measured.
3. When I mentioned the topic of writing from home with a retired spouse in the house (Spouse in the House–interesting title, huh?), a woman took me by the forearms and said, “You MUST write something about this!” I assured her I already had. She gripped harder and leaned in. “You MUST!”
4. Riffed and rift share more in common than a few letters.

Curious? Stay tuned as other developments unfold between now and the release of my next novel with Abingdon Press in the spring.

And between now and then? Tattered & Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul nonfiction from Abingdon, An Endless Christmas novella from Worthy Inspired, and Mornings With Jesus 2016 devotional.

Tattered for website

 

Mornings With Jesus 2016

An Endless Christmas novella for website

 

Song of Silence for website

CHRISTIAN FICTION SCAVENGER HUNT: STOP #13 (Purple TEAM)

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NOTE: The Hunt begins at NOON Mountain time on April 16 and ends at midnight Mountain on April 19, 2015, so you have a long weekend to complete all 32 stops and maximize your chances at prizes! Here is information about the basics.

Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! I am a part of TEAM PURPLE, and this is Stop #13. If you’re just joining us, there are two loops—pink and purple—and they begin at Lisa Bergren’s site (purple) and Robin Hatcher’s site (pink) for stop #1 for either stream. If you complete either the pink loop or purple loop, you can enter for a Kindle paperwhite and the 17 autographed books from that loop. If you complete BOTH loops, you can enter for the Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HDX and ALL 34 autographed books. Click here for more details about the PRIZES!

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BE SURE to keep track of the clues at the bottom of every post in the loop and the favorite number mentioned. You’ll need those clues to enter for the loop prize and every number mentioned in order to enter for the grand prize.

ALSO, please don’t use Internet Explorer to navigate through the loops.                        Some web sites won’t show up using IE. Please use Chrome or Firefox.

If you want to help spread the word about our Spring Scavenger Hunt through social media, our hashtag is #ChrFicScavHunt.

Without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my guest for the Scavenger Hunt, Susan Meissner.

I have long admired Susan and her writing gift. I learned so much from her that has affected my own writing, and I appreciate her careful attention to detail. But the details don’t overwhelm the deeply emotional experience of her stories. She makes me smile every time our paths cross.

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Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in journalism. Her novels include A Fall of Marigolds, named to BookList’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014. Visit Susan at www.susanmeissner.com on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at www.facebook.com/susan.meissner

Here’s the summary of her latest book:

Secrets of a Charmed Life

Secrets of a Charmed LifeAn American college student studying abroad at Oxford interviews Isabel McFarland just when the 93-year-old woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades, and which usher the reader back to 1940s London. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters’ lives are forever altered.

You can purchase Susan’s book here: Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.

And here’s her EXCLUSIVE content, that you’ll only find in this hunt! It’s a heartbreaking story. I can’t wait to read how Susan expressed it in novel form in Secrets of a Charmed Life!

Farewell, my little one…

Imagine for a moment that you are a mother of young children, living in London’s East End in the summer of 1940. France has fallen to Hitler’s armies, as has Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Britain has declared war on Germany, and all that stands between the Nazi war machine and you and your little ones is the bit of water known as the English Channel.

For the last year you have weathered air raid drills and black-out curtains and your kids have gone to school carrying gas masks, just in case. But now your government is telling you an air strike of untold magnitude is imminent. The Luftwaffe is poised to fly over the Channel from the coast of France and bomb London. Your children aren’t safe.

Children leave London under the civilian evacuation scheme.The government tells you that you must allow your children to be evacuated to the countryside. It is the only way to safeguard them. You do not know how long your little ones will be separated from you. No one can guess how long the war will last. And when you pack their bags and wave goodbye as they board the trains and buses that will take them away, you do not yet know in whose house they will end up or even where. That information will come later. But in any case, the names of the people or family who will take them in will be strangers to you. You don’t even know how often you will be able to visit them. You don’t own a car and even if you did, gas (petrol) for cars is rationed. Trains may or may not be running. There is so much you don’t know. You don’t know the war will last for five long years.

But you do know this. You know that your heart is breaking.

evacuee postcard_edited-1Before I wrote Secrets of A Charmed Life, I admit I was only minimally aware of what London’s moms and dads did to protect their children during the Blitz. I’d read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis so I knew the four children in those stories had been sent out of London into the countryside at the start of the war. But I didn’t know that for tens of thousands of children just like those fictional Pevensie kids, their stay in the countryside lasted for the duration of the war—we’re talking five years! Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for those moms and their kids to be separated from each other – with maybe just occasional visits – for half a decade, and during a time of fear, danger, and deprivation? Just thinking about the emotional pull of this situation was intense for me as a storyteller. I knew I wanted to explore what this scenario might have been like for two young sisters and their mother, and that’s what I did in the story.

Even now, I still wonder if I could have let my children go.

The evacuation wasn’t exactly Little girl 1940 London2amandatory. It was highly suggested. Could I have entrusted the raising of my children to people I didn’t know? And as the months of separation wore on, would I have snatched my little ones back, even though bombs fell regularly all around me?

What would you have done?

 

 

Cynthia again. Thank you for that gripping insight, Susan.

Now, for the THE SCAVENGER HUNT information you need:

I’m glad you stopped by on the hunt! Before you go, make sure you WRITE DOWN THESE CLUES:

Secret Word: you

Secret Number: 5, a number I chose, because it’s how many grandchildren I currently have. :)

Did you write down those clues? Great!

But the fun isn’t over yet! I’m adding my own gift package to what’s being offered through the Scavenger Hunt. If you sign up for my newsletter (See the form on my home page or the left margin of other pages on this website) I’ll enter you in the giveaway. If you’re already signed up for my mailing list, contact me through my Contact page with the email or Facebook message you use to encourage someone else to join!

MY PERSONAL PRIZE PACKAGE, in addition to what is offered through the Scavenger Hunt, is a copy of my book Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices, a Hope memory box, and a Hope keychain made from antique silverware.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you having fun? Are you learning more about the authors you love and getting insights into new books you want to read? DID YOU SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST for a chance at the additional prize?

Your next stop is #14, Susan Meissner’s site. Click on over there now. And if you get lost, a complete list of the loop with links can be found at our mother host’s site.

Time to head to the next stop in this journey: Susan Meissner’s site.

 

 

OFF TOPIC–Making It Work Without Losing Your Mind

This is completely off topic from my normal posts here, which are rare, but will soon become more frequent as I expand the ways that I interact with you whom I’ve met through speaking engagements, through the radio ministry now retired, or through one of my novels, devotions, or nonfiction books.

Today, I’m responding to several friends who are new to eating gluten-free and feel the dizzying swirl of “How do I do this right? How do I do this at all?”

They’re questions I asked myself about twelve or thirteen years ago when my daughter and I found out on the same day that we were sensitive to gluten. For weeks, months, okay, years, we wandered through this surprising wilderness, thinking we were doing okay only to be sabotaged by yet another place where gluten hid–like hair products.

So here’s a quick, very quick Tip Sheet for those who would like to get their feet underneath them after hearing that they need to eat gluten-free, or choose to. It’s by no means comprehensive. As new ideas come to me or I discover new products, I may revisit the topic. Or as friends like you share your thoughts and successes with me, I’ll compile them to post to others.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter mailing list, please do. We’re about to launch into a season of the release of some of the most meaningful writing projects it’s been my privilege to create. Those releases will also be accompanied by unique opportunities for you.

Here are the GF tips:

MAKE IT WORK WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

Cynthia Ruchti

www.cynthiaruchti.com

EATING GLUTEN-FREE? Of necessity or choice? Either way, here are some quick tips for navigating these sometimes murky waters.  (Imagine a really great picture here. It won’t load for me.)

ENCOURAGEMENT:

It’s possible. Hard, but possible. And most of the hard stems from two things:

  • Gluten is hidden in so many items (food, shampoo, makeup, laundry detergent, lotions…) that seem to have no need for gluten, so we don’t suspect it until it’s too late.
  • Intentionality—or thought—has to ramp up significantly when eating gluten-free.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT:

When you get the hang of it, you may be eating healthier than you ever have. For most people, converting to gluten-free means converting to fewer processed foods, more fresh fruits and vegetables, more raw fruits and vegetables, fewer rich sauces, fewer fried or deep-fried foods.

STILL MORE ENCOURAGEMENT:

Once you find the foods that work for you, you’ll realize that the four things you thought were left to you are really thousands of options and combinations. And thousands? More than enough.

FAVORITE GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCTS to make life have the appearance of normal:

  1. GF Tamari (great substitute for soy sauce, which is processed with wheat)
  2. Lettuce wraps in place of buns or bread (healthier for us anyway)
  3. Udi’s products (toast them, though, to bring out flavor and make the natural dryness of most GF products less noticeable.
  4. Personal favorite bread: Canyon Bakehouse GF 7-grain bread.
  5. Betty Crocker yellow or chocolate boxed cake mix—okay but a little grainy
  6. Krusteaz GF Fudge Brownie Mix* (Yum)
  7. King Arthur GF flour (can be used one-for-one in place of all purpose flour in most recipes)

FAVORITE RESTAURANT OPTIONS:

  1. This is tough, but getting better. More and more restaurants are offering GF options.
  2. The higher class the restaurant, the more likely it is to have a chef in the back who truly understands the needs of GF. But that is improving.
  3. Culver’s fast food chain has a comprehensive allergy pamphlet available both online and in the store. They offer a GF bun that is tolerable. And they use mostly fresh ingredients, which is a boost.
  4. Chili’s has a decent gluten-free menu.
  5. Applebee’s is getting better, but almost all of their meat products are not gluten-free, or haven’t been. I know. Crazy. Just a plain old steak, please? Nope. Probably because of the MSG they use to tenderize.
  6. Olive Garden has some good GF options. But you’ll find that to date many of the GF pasta substitutes there and other places are so gummy, you might as well leave the pasta off the plate.
  7. McDonalds is one of the more difficult fast food places, since their French fries are coated and to my knowledge they haven’t yet moved to a separate fry station for GF.
  8. Hu Hot does everything in its power to accommodate GF and other allergy needs. (Mongolian grill)
  9. When entering a restaurant, always ask, “Do you have a gluten-free menu?” Sometimes it will surprise you which restaurants do.
  10. Some restaurants are getting so smart and noting on the regular menu which items are gluten-free…or which can be MADE gluten-free by leaving off the sauce, substituting a side for another side, etc.

FOODS THAT WORK:

  • Most fresh or cooked fruits. (If canned or frozen, read the label first)
  • Most fresh or cooked vegetables. (If canned or frozen, read the label. Many items like frozen corn have additives that make them unsafe for GF people.)
  • Most undoctored meat (unbreaded, uncrusted, unmarinated…but you have to read the labels of EVERYTHING, including bacon. At my store, only one brand of bacon—Farmland—qualifies. Only two kinds of ham. Some frozen hamburger patties have fillers added, etc.)
  • Homemade salad dressings and sauces, where you watch every ingredient added
  • Sauces and gravies made with corn starch for the thickener (not that we need sauces and gravies all the time)
  • SOME can tolerate GF oatmeal. I can’t. But there are some decent substitutes for a hot cereal.
  • Use ground up GF pretzels as the filler for meatloaf, rather than breadcrumbs.
  • When you travel, take along options that you know are safe—travel packets of a GF peanut butter for protein, almonds, dried fruit—because you may be stuck for at least one meal with no or few options.
  • When invited to dinner at someone’s house, don’t be afraid to say, “May I bring something?” and make sure it’s a dish you can eat, even if that’s all that’s available that you know is safe. Letting your host know ahead of time about your allergy is so much less stressful to your host than having her/him find out at the meal.
  • Consider using more wild rice (actually a grain rather than a starch), quinoa, and loading your casseroles, etc. with a higher percentage of vegetables rather than relying on the starch, as the typical American diet does.
  • Quinoa spaghetti noodles are a nice substitute.
  • They say it takes up to five days for an accidental gluten encounter to leave your system. So it’s often difficult to point a finger to what it was that triggered the reaction. When in doubt, leave it out. Allow yourself to get a little giddy about all the options that ARE available.
  • Create a list of meals that work. Build on that list. Refer to it on the days you feel deprived or at a loss for an idea.

Stay tuned for exciting news soon!

And may you know all-encompassing peace and hope to hem your life today.

Cynthia

TODAY ONLY

Amazon has chosen ALL MY BELONGINGS as one of its March Big Deal titles! Please help spread the word. New readers may have been waiting for the hope within its pages! (And yesterday, ALL MY BELONGINGS was named a 2014 ForeWord Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Finalist!) http://tinyurl.com/nyjbj58

 

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A Life Cut Short

Too many families know the nothing-like-it piercing pain that accompanies the word “suicide.” Our nation felt its reverberations recently. If you know someone affected by suicide’s aftermath, consider pointing them to this video link or the hope-giving pages of Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices.

The Swaddling Effect–Olivia’s Story.

If that family is yours, please know I’m praying for you right now.