Ruth Marlene Friesen
From Saskatchewan & Mennonite
I, Ruth Marlene Friesen, was born in a small hospital that once existed in Warman, Saskatchewan. My Dad often bragged, that he had walked all the way home to Chortitz, so proud, that he never minded the hole in the sole of his shoe.
Mom came from strong, Old Colony stock in Chortitz, her parents were Gerhard and Elisabeth (Friesen) Kroeker. Dad came from the Beaver Flat area south of the South Saskatchewan river where his parents had homesteaded. They were of the Kleine Gemeinde (now EMC) church stream. But my mother was a founding member of the Rudnerweidner church (now EMMC) which began in Chortitz, west of Hague, so that is the one in which I grew up. My genealogy website, AGodlyInheritance.com will give you further proofs of my Mennonite heritage.
Learning to Read
I was thirsty and eager for books and learning. When I started school, I went from only knowing my name and age in English, to where by Christmas I was reading books by myself, and taking home a new one home every day to read to my younger siblings. I was about age 9 when I started to tell myself, that if no one stopped me I was going to write and make books when I grew up!
30 Years Writing a Novel in Secret
At 12 I'd had a dream about writing a novel, but was afraid that others would laugh and talk me out of it. After high school, my shift work as a telephone operater allowed me to cover up and write in secret. When I had re-done it six times on a typewriter, I decided that I would have to go East to find a publisher.
It took me four days driving in 1971 to get to London, a lovely, forested city, where my Aunt Jean lived. I made many new friends and I kept sending out my manuscript, and it kept coming back. Sometimes I put it aside for months on end, but every New Year's Day I took another look at it, and suddenly could see errors and plot changes that were needed. So I'd haunt the library for books on writing, and tackle another re-write. I'd usually finish about the end of May, and then go into a slump while I waited for my miracles.
By God's grace I did have another life. I had a unique job as a receptionist/switchboard operator at Philips' Electronics (a light bulb factory), with enough free time that I was able to be the church secretary for my struggling church, and do the typing from my big desk at Philips. Not only that but I became involved in Pioneer Girls leadership and often planned lessons and crafts on that same big desk. I wrote and directed a summer VBS program for our church too. (There is always work for a willing person in a church).
I kept a bag of library books under the desk and did a lot of reading, and also writing. Sometimes short articles or fillers for freelance writing, and I poured hours into my prayer journal. I'd read that journalling is great for developing writing skills, but I was working through a lot of spiritual questions and issues too, so I prefered to talk to the Lord in my journals. I'm convinced that saved my sanity! For nearly 12 years I did a lot of growing up at that desk.
Mom began calling and saying she needed help at home. For two years I resisted for I was enjoying my very busy life and many friends, but the more I prayed about it, the more I felt convicted that, yes, I should go home and care for my parents in their own home. It was a big, and hard decision, but once made, I tackled it with determination.
I'm sure our Hague community did not correctly understand that move, nor did my parents or I grasp the full impact, and this is not the place to analyze it. It turned out to be 23 1/2 years before I'd fulfilled my promise to care for my parents as long as they needed me. For about nine months that included my beloved Gr'ma Elisabeth Kroeker.
However, mostly I had time to write, make crafts, gifts, bind my self-published books by hand, compile family histories, lay tiles; like Rebecca in the Bible, I have never been afraid of work, and usually water all the camels too! Most importantly, I no longer made a secret of being a writer.
Published at Last!
After Mom died in 1997, another ten years passed, with just Dad to care for, and since he didn't need nursing care, more a cook, housekeeper, and company, I was able to finally pull the old novel manuscript out of the deacon's bench, and re-write it in a whole new way, get a computer able to go online, and learn how to self-publish the new digital way, through Booklocker.com. Then I discovered that to promote it I would need to build a website. So I taught myself that skill too - which led to building them for other ministries and non-profits.
Dad passed away from a fast lung cancer on February 24, 2007, just four days after he turned 91. Cleaning up the estate and settling into a place of my own in Saskatoon was a major and exhausting physical venture until the end of the summer.
Current Priorities and Lifestyle
Words have always flowed easily for me, and I have more books and ideas rattling about in my head than I can shake a promising finger at, but I never could have dreamed up a better invention than the internet! This digital era allows so many options for self-publishing and removes a lot of the cost barriers. Even a poor church mouse like me can do this!
From a dream at age 12 about writing a novel, to writing it secretly for many years, and then discovering digital publishing online after more than 23 years as a live-in caregiver for my parents, I have ended up in a period where I can write every day and all day long, feeling very fullfilled. At present there is no time to be on the author circuit promoting my novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses. Maybe that will happen in a future stage of my life.
Published Writing Credits
1988 - A Godly Inheritance (a Family History)
Other Books and e-Books, Self-published;
April 2006 Angel Encounters in the Bible (an e-book of 32 published articles)
December 2005 - Our Friesens & Assorted Friesens (Revised & Updated; 30 Friesen family trees data reports)
Fall 2005 Heart 2 Heart (reprinted as e-book)
June 2003 - Grandpa's Stories - (Revised & updated, but presently out of print, e-book only available)
April 2001 - Our Friesens & Assorted Friesens - (37 Friesen family trees - data)
December 1996 - Heart 2 Heart - (short-run chapbook of poetry as Christmas gifts)
1990 - A Network of Neudorfs - (genealogy charts/data - presently out of print)
December 1989 - Grandpa's Stories - (First limited edition)
Online Articles & Stories:
2003 - 2005 - Angel Encounters in the Bible - article series (32) (AngelWatch ezine & available as an e-book)
October 2004 - Under the Angel Skirt (Inspiration Station)
April 2000 - to present - articles for The RoseBouquet (some of them in my Sharing Library)
April 2000 - to 2005 - 67 profiles of friends, called Rose Closeups for The RoseBouquet (articles no longer online)
Nov 2000 - My Delightful Friend, Margaret (Relate Magazine, online)
April 1999 - April 2000 - 52 marketing/entrepreneur articles for Journal-Digest (no longer online).
Articles & Stories Published in Print Publications:
40 articles freelanced from December 1977 to October 1997 in various Christian magazines and newspapers. Also a number of tracts and articles as staff writer for Western Tract Mission, Inc.
P.S. Most recently (2012), A Passion for Souls, my personal faith story, was published on the Western Tract Mission site, and I've also published a limited print edition for those who prefer it that way. (It's 9 chapters long).
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
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