Have You Been Kicked on a Bad Day?

What do you do when you’re feeling hurt? Do you call a friend? Do you eat some chocolate? Do you say a prayer, read the Bible, go for a run? What is it that takes you from a place of pain to a place of joy?


I imagine the answer is different for everyone. I know at some point I’ve done all of those things to combat the feelings that come with being kicked on a bad day. But I’m reading Rising Strong, by Brené Brown and I’m hearing her say something that I’m not sure how to do. She talks about leaning into the hurt and the pain rather than shrinking from it. Being curious about why we’re feeling the way we are. Then she talks about really wrestling with how we feel and taking a hard look at the story we’re making up about our struggles.


She says people who rise strong after a fall are willing to rumble with their stories. And by “rumble” she means “…they get honest about the stories they’ve made up about their struggles and they are willing to revisit, challenge and reality-check these narratives as they dig into topics such as boundaries, shame, blame, resentment, heartbreak, generosity, and forgiveness.”


That’s a mouthful. But it’s interesting to me. Rather than hide from the feelings…or bury them, she says to feel them and then challenge them. How much of our frustrations are due to a narrative we’re telling ourselves that’s full of assumptions rather than facts?


For example, you walk into the store and down the aisle you notice someone you haven’t seen in a few years. Suddenly you feel a little sick to your stomach, remembering the last time you spoke had been a bit of a heated discussion and you never really resolved it. At one point, you notice this person look at you and then look away in disgust, turning her cart around and moving the opposite direction. Now you’re hurt and ticked off. She can’t even say hello? What is that?


You carry this with you all day, building a whole narrative in your head as to what she’s thinking and why she’s angry with you and how unjust it is. You snap at your kids because you’re rehearsing in your head what you will say to this woman next time you see her. You go to bed and toss and turn because you’re running your last conversation with her over and over in your head.


Now the same situation from the other woman’s perspective: She needed to get dinner supplies. She’s in the bread aisle when she realizes she forgot to grab the ground beef and it’s all the way on the other end of the store. She rolls her eyes at herself, whirls around, and heads back the way she’s just come to grab the ground beef.


That’s it. That’s what really happened. (Well, I mean, this is a fictional example so it didn’t really happen…but you get the idea.)


I guarantee this kind of thing happens all the time. We spend a lot of time assuming things that have little basis in fact. So I love that Brown challenges us to “revisit, challenge and reality-check these narratives…” We can build up a story in our minds to epic proportions, consuming so much energy on anger, hurt and frustration, leaving no energy left to actually deal with our reality. I’m so guilty of this. I never would have thought that I would be. I’m not the type to assume someone is mad at me, in general. But I can look back over the last several years and see times where I’ve built a whole narrative in my head around a situation that was way more rooted in my insecurities than it was in the actual facts of the situation.


However, that’s not to say there aren’t times when we are dealing with real stuff. When someone has intentionally or unintentionally hurt us and it’s painful. When someone kicks you, it hurts. Whether they meant to or not…makes little difference. And letting someone tell you not to feel the pain isn’t the answer. Brené Brown would say to lean into that pain. Be curious about why you feel the way you do and be deliberate in how you respond.


She says, “It doesn’t matter whether we are ready for an emotional adventure—hurt happens. And it happens to every single one of us. Without exception. The only decision we get to make is what role we’ll play in our lives. Do we want to write the story or do we want to hand that power over to someone else? Choosing to write our story means getting uncomfortable; it’s choosing courage over comfort.”


I’m still wrestling with how to do what she’s talking about. But that last paragraph really resonates with me. I don’t want others to write my story. I don’t want to be passive. I want to write the next page and the next, not hand the pen to someone else.


So I’m learning how to distinguish between a story I’ve built up around a non-event and the real pain of being mistreated. And I’m going to continue to work on rumbling with my feelings and not allowing myself to shut down or disengage. When you’ve held your hand out and it’s been slapped, the natural reaction is to stick your hands in your pockets and tell yourself the story that nothing good happens when you put your hand out. But if that’s where the story ends, you’ll never receive any of the gifts that people want to put in your hands either.


If you close yourself to the bad, you’ll close yourself to the good. Let’s choose courage over comfort. Continue to risk because without it, there is no reward. Continue to be open to pain so you can still feel joy. And of course, good friends; chocolate; prayer; a run…all those can help too.


*Quotes from Rising Strong by Brené Brown. 

Photo credit: 
Danny Huizinga on Creative Commons

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Cyber Monday Special! $35 Two-Book Gift Set

So, for those of you who don’t know, my second book, Where the Yellow Flowers Grow is now out (yay!) and if you have any readers on your holiday list, (especially those who are suckers for a good love story, like I am) here is the perfect deal:

For just $35 (plus shipping if you are out of the Buffalo area) you get a signed one of these:

Pink Houses 3D cover

And one of these:

Yellow Flowers 3D cover

All wrapped up pretty like this:


And I’ll probably throw in a book mark and something sweet like a candy cane. So that’s a signed copy of Where the Pink Houses Are (the most updated version), and a signed copy of Where the Yellow Flowers Grow.

You could order both books on Amazon, but it would cost you around $40 plus shipping and handling and tax. And you wouldn’t get the pretty ribbon either. So, what a deal, huh?

All orders must be in by midnight Pacific Time, today Monday 11/30/15. To order, simply shoot me a quick email me at: 

reb@rebekahruthbooks.com. I’ll send you a Paypal invoice and I’ll ship it out in time for Christmas. (If you need it earlier, please let me know!)

Thanks and Happy Holidays!!


p.s. Click the book titles to see the reviews on Amazon!

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How Do You Do It All?

Someone asked me recently, “How do you do it all?”

My answer? “I don’t.”

I am busy. This is true. I have four kids ranging from 11 to 20 and that means a lot of driving and juggling schedules, etc.

I am a full-time Realtor and I am an author in the midst of launching my second book. Yes, there’s a lot going on in my life. But I think that when people see success in one area of your life they assume you must be successful in all areas.

Those people have not been to my house. I have a lovely house and if someone would come over here on a regular basis and de-clutter and clean it for me, it would look wonderful.

But the reality is that something’s got to give and for as long as I can remember right now, that’s the house.

Now I know some would say, “Your children should be helping you keep your house clean.” (Insert laughing/crying face here) Yes, I agree. So if someone wants to come over here and figure out how to make that happen on a regular basis, be my guest.

I know what my kids should be doing. (They also know what they should be doing.) I know what I should be doing. But, it’s just not happening right now. (You may wonder about my husband…well he’s awesome and he irons his clothes and he does mounds of laundry—very kindly folding the laundry into random piles on the dining room table—and he will do the shopping, he’ll cook dinner, he’ll wash the dishes. All those things. As I said, he’s awesome.) But the problem is that we’ve had a ton of change in our family over the last couple years and we just haven’t figured out how to make it all work. We haven’t nailed the adjustment yet.

So we are moving at the speed of light and we are reacting to life instead of being proactive. And at some point, Bill and I are going to slow down long enough to discuss it and make a plan. But until then, the laundry will still be sitting on the dining room table and the dishes will be in the sink and my younger boys will make themselves ramen noodles for lunch because there’s nothing in the fridge.

Is this ideal? No. Is it easy to ignore. No. But sometimes you just have to admit you can’t do it all and live in the mess.

I know I’m not alone. How do I know that? Because I posted the following picture on Facebook the other day …


My kitchen. Right now. ‪#‎reallife‬
My kitchen. Right now. ‪#‎reallife‬


… and I received a lot of “Me too!”s and other such commiseration. That’s so comforting. But my favorite comment came after about 15-20 people who were “right there with me.” One lovely young friend simply said, “Pretty dish, I love it.”

How adorable. Everyone else, including me, focused on the mess. She found the beauty.

So that’s what I’m going to try to do during this topsy-turvy time of life. I’m going to look for the beauty amidst the chaos.

I hope you can find a pretty plate amongst your mess today, too.

~rebekah 🙂


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Get my newest Irish Love Story here!

UPDATE 9/28/15: We did it!! Thank you to all of you who supported my Kickstarter campaign by pre-ordering Where the Yellow Flowers Grow! We made the goal with some time to spare. The book is currently at the editor’s and the cover design begins in a week or two! More updates to follow 🙂



Hi friends! I’m so excited to tell you that my second Irish love story,  Where the Yellow Flowers Grow, is written and will be ready this fall! Many of you are on my blog email list in order to get updates when new books are ready…so this is the first true update of that kind. In order to get my book out, I need people to pre-order it on Kickstarter.

Check out my kickstarter video below and click on the white K logo in the upper left corner of the video to see the details. I have ten days left to reach my goal (and if I don’t reach it, no one is charged and no Pre-orders will happen…so please pass this on to all your reader friends! Thanks!!!).

Many of you are also members of book clubs and I have some great book club rewards on my kickstarter campaign. Check it out!

Kickstarter is a way for creative projects to come to life with the support of the people who would buy the products anyway. There are rewards to every level of giving and if we meet the goal, it means I’ll have the books out in time for Christmas! (If we don’t meet the goal, no one is charged their pledge amount and obviously, no books will be out by Christmas.)

If you’re a fan of Where the Pink Houses Are, please share this link (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1536869021/where-the-pink-houses-are-millway-novel-book-2) with your reader friends! The more people we have involved, the easier it is to reach the goal!

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Introvert? Extrovert? Neither or Both?


I’ve always been so confused by the whole Introvert/Extrovert thing. Because I identify more with the Introvert side of things—I recharge by being alone, not around a bunch of people, I’d rather read than anything go to a party—but, I’m also friendly, I enjoy new friends and I have no problem talking to the girl behind me in the checkout line. So what the heck am I?


Recently, I noticed people are shocked when I say I’m an Introvert. They react as if I’m insulting myself and they want to convince me that I really am an Extrovert and all is well. Haha. Well, I don’t think one is good and one is bad. I think they are just different ways of moving through life. So, yes, I lean toward the Introverted side of things, but apparently a good actress can seem like an Extrovert when inside she just wants to go home and curl up with her book.


Ask anyone I went to high school with…I was rather shy. I did not like to be the center of attention. I was quiet unless I knew you really well. The only time I put myself out there was when I was singing and it took a lot of convincing on the part of my music teacher to get me up on that stage. And even though people said I looked calm, I wasn’t. I was terrified. I just didn’t show it. (I still feel that way when I’m in a room full of people I don’t know. Calm on the outside, sick on the inside. But at least now I know why I feel that way!)


Once I graduated, I found that I had to be more outgoing to be successful at my job. So I adapted. I became more Extroverted when I needed to be. But despite what people think, I didn’t actually turn into an Extrovert.


Still, over the years, I’ve been confused about how my brain actually works. I thought I was supposed to be one or the other. But I finally came to a place of realizing I just didn’t fit the mold and I started thinking of myself as an Outgoing Introvert.


And then, last week, my sister Leah (I included her name because she’s leans toward Extrovert. They like seeing their name in print.) sent me a Wall Street Journal article that made so much sense. Did you know that there is a third “vert?” It’s true. There are Extroverts, Introverts and Ambiverts.


An Ambivert is in the center of that spectrum. They can lean more toward Extrovert when needed and then back toward Introvert when that is called for. The majority of people actually fall into this category! Why had I never heard of it before? It would have saved me years of confusion when answering questions on personality quizzes. 


So, it turns out I’m an Ambivert (and you probably are too). It’s not an either/or situation. It’s more of a both/and situation. I’m probably 70% Introvert, 30% Extrovert and I can adapt toward either side, depending on the situation.


Why does any of this matter? Well, I think it’s good to understand how we tick. Learning that Introverts recharge by being alone may give someone with that tendency the feeling that they aren’t strange because they’d rather be alone after a long day at work.


Or, it may help the “non-stop talker Extrovert”  realize that not everyone is like him and he might want to give his girlfriend some alone time—not because she doesn’t like being around him but because she simply needs to recharge.


Or it may help a mom to understand why her six-year-old son asks to go on a play-date every day after school when she’s not wired that way and would rather just stay home. He needs that recharging time with people. It’s how he’s wired. (Not that I’m saying he should actually get to go on a play date every day. But you get the idea.)


If you’re not a believer in all the personality profiles and Introvert/Extrovert talk, that’s okay…not everyone is interested in this kind of stuff. But I know a lot of people who are. As a matter of fact, I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the DiSC personality traits and I still get hits on it every day. It’s one of my most read posts. People are fascinated by this stuff and I am too. So tell me, dear reader, where do you think you fall on the Introvert/Extrovert spectrum?


*Note: When using the term Introvert, I’m talking about someone who leans heavily to that end of the spectrum. And the same with Extrovert. I don’t believe anyone is completely one or the other. But I think there are some people who are pretty strongly to one side.


Photo Cred: Nguyen Hung Vu (Introvert)

Dominic Alves (extrovert)


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What’s your Story?

photo credit: docbaty on Creative Commons
photo credit: docbaty on Creative Commons

A few years ago, a pretty young woman approached me in a Panera.

“Hi, you’re a writer, aren’t you?” She held out a business card.

Now, at this point, I had written my book and started my blog but I certainly didn’t think I would be recognizable to anyone! I figured we must have mutual friends or something.

“Um, yes, I am.” I held out my hand. “I’m Rebekah.”

“Lisa.” She shook my hand and told me that someone had told her I was a writer, and she was too so she wondered if we could have coffee soon and talk.

Why not?

That was the beginning of not only a wonderful friendship (because she’s amazing), but also the start of what would become Ink&Keys Writers Group. We are a small group of women (we keep our numbers small on purpose) who meet regularly as often as we can, to encourage one another and give each other feedback on whatever we happen to be working on at the time.

Some of us write fiction, some write Bible studies, some write blogs and some are still figuring out what we’re writing. But we all have come to realize that God  has given us a story to tell, in one way or another.

And that’s the message we hope to share. All of us—and yes, that means you too—have a story to tell. There is something in your story that someone else needs to hear. You have a voice and without your voice, something is missing in the overall story.

So how are you supposed to tell your story? Is it through writing? Maybe. But it might be through painting or graphic design or public speaking. There are so many creative ways that we can express ourselves. We are made in the image of The Creator, after all. It’s only natural that we would create.

And here’s the thing, everyone has a different size stage and that doesn’t mean the the stadium ones are better than the living room ones. You can shine in whatever arena you find yourself in.

If you write a blog and only fifteen people regularly read it, you are speaking into the lives of those fifteen people in a way that is impacting them.

If you create art and it only hangs on the wall in your mama’s house, you’ve brightened her day and that’s awesome.

The important thing is that you are creating. You are finding an outlet for the creativity that God designed you with. When you’re doing that, no matter how many or how few people are “consuming” it, you are more whole.

So go for it! Dust off that old paint set (and if they’re dried up, just go get yourself some new ones!), start keeping a journal, sign up for that public speaking class, drag out that sewing machine to make some doll clothes for your grand-daughter. Whatever it is that makes you feel more alive…that is what you need to do more of. It’s important enough to set aside time in your crazy, busy life to have a creative outlet.

You and your world will be better for it.



P.S. Ink&Keys will be on the radio today discussing this very topic. You can listen live at 1pm (Saturday 3/21/1/5) on WDCX or I will post the link to the archive after the fact. Hope you can tune in!

And click here for some of the resources from Ink&Keys.

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My Ten Year Old…the Quilter?



Had a conversation with Ten yesterday that went something like this:

Ten: “Mom, I’m bored out of my mind.”

Me: “Well, boredom isn’t necessarily bad, buddy. It helps you learn to be more creative. Makes you find something interesting to do.”

Ten: “Mom.” He gives me the look—you know, chin down, looking up at me with furrowed brows. “I’ve literally googled what to do when you’re bored. Literally.” He pauses for dramatic effect. Then, in a completely serious, exasperated voice “…and it’s QUILTING!”

I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help myself.

It had been such a serious moment for him. Tears pushing on his lower lids. Talking about how he hates being the youngest because everyone is too busy to do anything with him. And then—quilting.

He smiled in spite of himself, dimples flashing. I could just picture him sitting at the computer, awaiting the results of his query. Maybe Google would have the answer to his all-important question.

And up pops a picture of ten women in a quilting circle.

So, while it was a funny moment, it did have me thinking about what I can do to help him. It’s got to be hard on him after having me home for most of his life and now I’m working and not as available. He’s right. Everyone else is so busy and he’s not. He’s taught himself to draw and he does his homework and his chores. He practices his drumming and reads his book. And then he’s got about…oh…hours still to fill.

I mean, we have sporting activities, and other things going on some nights. But after school I can see why he’s bored out of his mind.

So I’m just kind of curious, dear readers; What do your kids do to occupy themselves? Obviously there are times that we can do things with them but they really do need to learn to entertain themselves. How do you manage that?

I’ve got a few ideas I’m going to try. We are going to work on taking his bedroom from kid-like to middle-school like. That’s long overdue. I’m willing to bet he still has Dora the Explorer dominoes in there. And probably a copy of Cat in the Hat. So that will help. And since he likes to draw, I’ll stock his art supplies. But I still need ideas of things that ten year olds enjoy doing.

So, save my son from the quilting circle. Give me some ideas. Ready, set, go!


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