Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


When giving is receiving


Painting: “Wings of Freedom”
from Diane Kirkup / D. Kirkup Designs.

One year as the December holiday season approached, life gave me a precious experience in giving. One of the very last things I’d bought for my father the previous year was a Christmas tree. He’d been struggling to make peace with entering assisted-living care as he also entered the final months of his life. I was feverishly trying to create Christmas around him – in fast-forward — while my heart seemed to be simultaneously breaking in half.

My daughter helped me find an artificial tree, the very last one the store had, with twinkling tiny lights already attached. After my father died the following June, that tree and the box it came in got stockpiled, along with many other things I wasn’t ready to face quite yet. Finally, as the next Christmas neared, I knew it was time to pack it up, along with other things I needed to bring to the thrift shop. But it was very, very hard to think about taking it there.


Find this design at https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns?page=2 – or enter below for a chance to win.

The following day, I drove a car packed to the gunwales to the local secondhand thrift store, feeling the weight of the grief and sadness that had been stirred by sorting through so many of my father’s things.

Then as I was unpacking the tree from my car, they magically appeared — a kind-faced young man with his little girl clutching his hand. They came up to me tentatively and asked very politely whether, if I planned to leave the tree there anyway, it might be OK for them to take it.

I hugged them both spontaneously then said that, of COURSE, I knew that it would delight my father if they were to have it, and I hoped that they were going to have an absolutely wonderful Christmas. The best they’d ever had.

Then I noticed the woman who was with them, standing off to the side. I was thinking that they all must think me crazy when she gave me a warm smile and thanked me, and then the other two, still a bit stunned by my response, began thanking me, as well. Her smile reminded me of my mother’s, I have to say.

In a little book called “The Hidden Words,” Baha’u’llah says of divine design, “To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine.”

What a gift it is to us when life allows our giving to be the precise answer to someone’s need.

From Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details

Through Dec. 18, 2015 – Enter to win the trees pictured above and a signed copy of the book by sending an email to info@phyllisring.com with “Trees” in the subject line.

See more of Diane Kirkup’s work at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dkirkupdesigns

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Snow Fence Road interview at Clean Romance Reviews


When Jennifer at Clean Romance Reviews asked what’s the most rewarding thing about being a writer, I struggled to identify just one thing.

Regardless of how writing work develops, or not, is published, or not, finds readers, or not, the real answer is that the gift remains within the experience of writing itself. If I am faithful to it, it is twice as faithful in the ways that it invites — and requires — that I go deep into an interior “waiting room”.

There, I listen and watch, and do my best to shape what I encounter and discover into something that might be able to attract others’ hearts – and bolster them. Because that’s always my ultimate goal, in writing, and in living.

My big thanks to Jennifer and Clean Romance Reviews. Find the interview at:


Snow Fence Road  A village on the coast of Maine holds painful secrets – the kind only the miracle of new love can heal.

More about the book at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DDVB106/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00DDVB106&linkCode=as2&tag=leaofthetre-20″>Snow Fence Road<

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Snow Fence chat

Snow Fence Road Cover

Thanks so much to book-blogger Cath at My Book Chatter
for interviewing me.
Her blog is also offering a goodie-pack giveaway
that includes a print copy of Snow Fence Road, 945697_266219130187939_1179526444_nlovely
hand-painted earrings from jewelry designer Diane Kirkup, bath salts, and yummy chocolate.
Be sure to visit the
My Book Chatter blog and enter. 🙂
(link below)

Interview excerpt:
Welcome Phyllis 🙂
Why did you want to be a writer?
Possibly the result of too much time alone in my room as a kid, together with the fact that I come from a family of writers. Stories came and found me and have never stopped. My making the commitment to go the distance and stay with them, learn and grow and be shaped by them, as they take shape, until I discover what they want to show me is what feels like the real practice of writing, for me.

Where did the idea for Snow Fence Road first come from?
I dreamt it, more than 25 years ago. I saw the incident that shatters one character’s life (and remains a mystery full of secrets in the story) just as if witnessing it like a bystander.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve always yearned to write about the many-layered complexity of relationships, the recognitions we reach within them about ourselves and others and life, which can set us free, or keep us imprisoned — and the growth and redemption that are the goal in everything of value in life, and in fiction, for me. I’m interested in how souls meet what it is they encounter and work with it and through it in order to recognize and claim whole new depths in themselves and their lives, and accompany others as they do the same. For this book’s story, which explores how compassion heals others and ourselves, sweet, inspirational romantic fiction was the route. Also, the book has a very regional flavor, as well as a small-town one, both vital elements, for me. By contrast, my current novel-in-progress has historical elements, set in Nazi Germany, as well as contemporary, women’s fiction, and generational-story ones.

Read the whole interview at: http://mybookchatterchat.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/interview-and-giveaway-with-author.html