Name the Goat

goat's name

We need to name him.

As a child, I yearned for a pet reindeer. My tolerant parents explained that reindeer prefer living farther north. One day, I recall, a little boy arrived at the back door, yelling, “Lady, there’s a reindeer in your yard.” It was love at first sight for me. But, alas! The goat belonged to someone on another street. I always wanted a goat.

My pets loved their unusual names. I named the Rhode Island Red chickens Elsa and Russell Honey. Calling some of the dogs sounded strange in our neighborhood. My dog named 4th of July and another dog named High Water brought notoriety to my parents. Can you imagine calling the dogs to “come?”

Sinder almost lost his happy home for one of his acts. With his black, curly coat and soulful eyes, we trusted him. He managed to destroy my jean vest while he was caged near it. He wiggled the cage close enough to the jacket to pull it into the cage and shred it. Looked a little like fringe when he finished.

Fargo, my current dog, “goes far” with us. Fargo jumps into the car or truck whenever possible. He’s not from Fargo, nor are we.

Recently we visited Jefferson, Texas. The man who sold antiques next door to our Bed and Breakfast offers an array of unique tin animals. When I found the tin goat, excitement blossomed. I didn’t want the turkeys although their colorful tin feathers gleamed in the sunlight. The full size horses and carriage cost $15,000.

metal horses & stagecoach

Our HOA would NOT like this.

I arrived at his door while others still ate breakfast. A few minutes later I coaxed the goat into the back of my husband’s truck for the ride home.

My tin goat needs a name. Three names have been suggested. You, my readers, may find a better name than the suggested ones. I will go with the majority or MOST intriguing. If I can’t decide, I will ask poll my eight grandchildren for the choice.  I should say I’ll ask my seven grandchildren, as the baby is thirteen months old and might not understand this craziness.

The three suggested names are:

Jefferson or Jeff for short: I adopted him when we visited Jefferson, Texas.

Billy: because he is obviously male with big horns and “other attributes.”

Caddo: the area around Jefferson originally belonged to the Caddo Indians.

Can’t we find a better name for him? Please send your name, email and phone number to no later than 5:00 p.m. on 11/15/16 with your suggestion(s). You will win a free copy of my book Gift of the Suitcase. If you have already read it, it will be a good gift for a friend. The goats’ new name and winner will be announced before Thanksgiving on my Facebook page and in the December newsletter of Roving Ruth. It’s your chance to become the “famous-goat-namer.”

Thank you in advance for helping me name my tin goat.

Happy Thanksgiving. May the old goats in your life fill your life with laughter. Don’t take them too seriously.


From Bucket Challenge to Bucket List

Traveling with an Advocate for ALS


Ice Bucket

The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014? Andrea Heaberg, my uncommon friend and former colleague, recalls her participation. She volunteered with the ALSA (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association) with a sneaky suspicion she might have a neurological issue. The Ice Bucket Challenge began as a “grass roots” effort to raise money and awareness for ALS, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Challenge rode the social media wave around the world for a number of months. Other philanthropies joined the melee to earn money and awareness, but ALSA realized $115 Million that year in donations, which helped fund several new research studies.

A Few Statistics

ALS is difficult to diagnose; it is a progressive, neuromuscular condition without a cure. Three doctors and a year of costly medical tests determined that Andrea Heaberg’s weak hands would never become strong again. She is gradually losing muscle control in her arms and legs and has a caregiver, her husband.

More men than women are afflicted by ALS. A new case is diagnosed every 90 minutes.

Military veterans are 50% more likely to develop ALS than the general population.

There are more than 50,000 people in the U.S. living with ALS; the average lifespan, from diagnosis to death, is 2 to 5 years. By comparison, the FDA drug approval process takes twice that amount of time.

Generally, the ALSA  budgets about $39 Million per year to fund research projects and provide grants for specialized equipment, among other support activities for ALS patients; their Board includes patients with ALS. The Muscular Dystrophy Association  is involved in similar activities, but ALS is a small part of their focus. When both groups lobby congress for resources, they compete with each other, except where proposed legislation benefits all patients. But…Andrea does her share to help improve the statistics.

The Conference

at the conference

Andrea with Penny, her fierce service dog, at the conference.

Last May, a major, world-wide ALS conference occurred in Washington, D.C. Andrea attended, along with more than 1000 others. One hundred and twenty-eight patients from around the world attended. Her husband flew with her or she could not have gone; she can no longer carry a bag or fasten a seat belt. She planned to meet legislators at the conference.

I asked her what she liked about the conference. Her response shows her heart. “I loved hearing about the ongoing drug trials. Seeing the new, marvelous equipment to help with my speech issues encouraged me. The drug trial results may not provide hope for me, but may for those in the future. All the patients we met were extremely positive in their outlook.”

The Advocate

Andrea defines herself as an Advocate for ALS in Texas, not as an ALS patient but as a Person with ALS. She expected to speak to the legislators during the conference, but she wound up visiting with their “specialists” whose roles revolve around improving laws for medical care. She met in the offices of six congressmen and one senator to seek support of three specific bills that would provide immediate or short term benefits to those whose lifespan might be measured in months. The legislative update can be found at

Andrea is eligible for Medicare, but because she will not get better, only worse, Medicare refuses to pay for physical therapy. She can pay for it herself or go without. She has learned many techniques to keep her muscles as flexible as possible at home. “Get on living or get on dying. While there is no bright future for me, I choose to find a new normal every day with something positive to keep me going through my journey,” she says. Her daily struggles include finding alternative ways to remain active without the use of her hands and arms.

Using the phone is a chore, because it is difficult to tap a key. She works from her home office for her ALS organization by contacting legislators and sharing the stories of others. She participates with the local ALS organization during fund-raising walking events (while she is still mobile) and support group activities. As technology improves, she will record her voice (in a voice bank) to use when she can no longer speak, and use her eyes to ‘type’ her communications.

Her personal ‘Bucket List’ includes filling The Ice Bucket. The Challenge is still around, but “we need other local events to find new methods to increase awareness and donors; there are ALS chapters in all 50 states where folks can volunteer.”

As she becomes weaker, her will to live is stronger with her willingness to advocate. If you are looking for a new way to serve others, please think about Andrea, who continues to make a difference in the world while traveling with her illness.

A huge thanks goes to Andrea and Jim Heaberg for their help with this article. More statistics are available at the ALS website.





Billy the Kid Rides Again in Hico

Billy the Kid has a long, notorious history in the Southwest.  Strong controversy among historians exists between the two Billy the Kid Museums, one in the central Texas town of Hico and the other in Fort Sumpter, New Mexico.  Since I’m a “naturalized” Texan, I want you to know about the guaranteed good time you and your family will experience, if you visit Hico this spring to see their museum and visit nearby sites.  We may not know if Billy is actually buried in Hico, but you’ll have more fun if you just “forgettabout it!”

red hot rod

One of 100+ cars in Hico last year.

Billy the Kid Event

Hico, teeming with cowboy culture, celebrates it’s 4th Annual Billy the Kid Rides Again on April 5, as 100+ hot rods and antique cars roar into town.  If you have a classic or vintage car you’d like to show, registration ends 3/28/14 with the cars parking outside the Billy the Kid Museum at 8:00 a.m. on event day.  See more details about the event at  Listen to the video to hear the southern drawls of the sweet ladies providing details.  Note the unusual, “classy country” leather jackets which will be rewarded to the best entries on the website. Does this mean the women will get “shabby chic” coats?


If you are a car “nut” or just want to watch the hullabaloo, you’ll need to make reservations for a place to stay.  Hico is small, with less than 1500 people.  Yet, Hico is home to at least three bed and breakfasts.  You may want to stay in a neighboring town if reservations are difficult to find.  Check out the Old Rock House Inn, Hico’s Nothin’ But Time, and the latest entry in the B&B lodging, The Upstairs Inn on Pecan Street.  Be sure to talk with owner, Jennifer Jones, who recently restored the old stone building mid-town with a drink shop on the lower level and  lovely bedrooms upstairs.  Visit the Hico Chamber of Commerce website for additional places to contact. Camping and RV camps are nearby.

Inside chocolate shop

Wiseman Chocolate House in Hico


You will find an abundance of fabulous Texas vittles, including everything from tacos to tenderloin and chicken fried chicken.  When my husband I stopped for a quick cup of coffee at the Koffee Kup Café, we ruined our “healthy eating habits” with biscuits and doughnuts.  We plan to return for the car show and try their glorious looking pies, famous throughout Texas.

Another discovery, next to the café is Wiseman House Chocolates, a fantastic treat.  I visited briefly with the sales lady, who commented, “Our chocolates made it to the last Inauguration Ball.  I don’t know if Obama actually ate any of our chocolates, but we are known world wide.”  Wiseman’s chocolates are in a beautiful, restored mansion, housing, selling not only critically acclaimed chocolate, but gift items and clever t-shirts.  I think I spent more money in that chocolate shop than at my destination.  Don’t plan on “rabbit food” in Hico!

Koffee Kup Cafe

Can you smell the coffee?

Where is Hico

Hico is located in Hill Country, where Highways 281 and 6 intersect.  This is your opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the flowers and cactus along the way.  From the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it will take from 90 minutes to 2 hours from Dallas-Fort Worth.  You could do a day trip, but staying overnight will help you relax and enjoy the day.  Hico is on the road to Fredericksburg (another fun venue), but if you are traveling with a car buff on April 5th, I don’t think you’ll go farther than Hico.  And you certainly won’t care whether Billy the Kid is buried there or in New Mexico!

Please check the previous article to read about the free offer and Ruth’s presentation on 4/1 at Frisco Connect!


Start a Business with Little Investment

Last week you read about three popular ways to start a business.  I promised to share innovative ideas for people who prefer self-employment with little investment.  Today, we look at family businesses and ideas for “tiny”companies, which may grow like mushrooms in the dark.

“I came back home to raise crops, and God willing, a family. If I can live in peace, I will.” -William Wallace ‘Braveheart’ 1995

Family Business

Maybe you grew up in a family owned dry cleaning business.  You started helping your mom and dad at age ten.  With your new degree in Business and the scarcity of jobs for new graduates, you gravitate towards working with your parents. Growing the business might be fun!

If you expect your ideas to be welcomed, think again. Your parents may say loudly, “We’ve always done it this way and it worked.  No!  We’re not investing in your cockamamie ideas.”  Whether you join your family in a thriving, established business or struggling start-up, personality plays the predominant role.

When I asked an HR-VP (non-family) who works for a fast growing, family owned company to comment, he replied, “Family members are expected to demonstrate leadership, both by the owners and the non-family employees. Many talented family members work here, but those with limited leadership skills, cause many issues.”  Another friend with a smaller family business responded that her biggest issues occur when she sees family members headed toward ethical problems.

I’ve been onsite when relatives were terminated.  Talk about pain!  Ouch!

Clear expectations with a balance of personalities keep family members from pulling out their hair or maiming one another.  Some challenges may be insurmountable.  Coming home to run a business may not be an easy way to find work after graduation.   But, you won’t know unless you try!

Start Now to Make Things Happen

Start Now to Make Things Happen

Little Investment: Start Small

Many boomers long for change, but think they lack funds.  Start by exploring alternatives.  Don’t wait until you lose your job.  Start by talking with friendly business owners.  What hobby keeps you busy in your spare time?  Maybe you like to design websites.  Maybe you like fishing.  Hobbies, interests and volunteering often lead to new careers.

You may begin a tiny business from your kitchen table.  It may not grow like Steve Job’s Apple, but by collaborating with other business owners, you will be less likely to flounder.  Learn from your mistakes.  Keep accurate records of what brings the most profit and excitement.  Whether you choose to sell knitting needles or fishing trips online, the ingredients are the same.  1) Research. 2) Plan. 3) Implement. 4) Adjust. 5) Repeat.  You may need a full time job and part time self-employment for several years.

A wonderful article in USA-Today provides several examples, both positive and negative that reinforce that you can do it!  Be sure to read Boomers Take Midlife Cues to Pursue Passions.

I chose the “tiny” business route.  I love being self-employed.  I started with a $28 investment. Although the ride has been bumpy along the way, I know that I am in charge of my destiny, not tethered to some wimpy manager with ego problems or other dreadful situation.

If you start small, there is less risk. Start now, as your business may grow to a point where you can sell it and make millions or use it for a softer landing into retirement.

A few examples of people who changed their careers are: a teacher who started a school supply store, a quilter who began a wholesale quilting supply business and an irrigation company, purchased by John Deere, when the owner decided to retire.

Self-employment is not advisable for everyone, but knowing you have alternatives, since security is a rare commodity, helps with your survival and success!

Crazy Ideas for You

segway tour

Have fun with your business!

Rent Bikes

Artist/Writer/Painter (think George W. Bush)

Golfballs Online

Swim Classes for Special Needs Children and Adults

Segway Tours of Specific Areas

Lawn or Beauty Supplies Online

Antiques on EBay

Sell Useful Products at Industry Conference or Trade Shows

Lawn Service/Snow Removal/Window Washing/Tree Trimming

Fishing Guide

Fitness Products


Dog Groomer

Food Cart in Your Neighborhood

Short List of Resources

Most colleges and universities offer courses and conferences for entrepreneurs.

Small Business Administration-


Texas Technical Enterprise Center

Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship

UT-DallasCenter for Innovation and Entrepreneurship-

Local Chambers of Commerce

Finding Joy

Finding joy can be hard work, if you let worries strangle you. Joy comes from many sources, unexpectedly, in a great wave of happiness or in little dribbles. We need to look for joy each day.

Finding Joy

Finding Joy Is a Choice


Choices exist, such as eating too much or demonstrating self-discipline. Most of us experience darkness and light, yet we must handle both. Mei Mei Fox wrote a list of 40 Ways to Find Joy in Everyday Life in the Huffington Post, an excellent source for commentary. The suggestions won’t work, if you don’t choose joy. Number 6 on MeiMei’s list is, “Count your blessings.” That’s my favorite suggestion. Perhaps a good friend died recently. That friend would not want you to weep, but to remember the good times. We are fortunate to be alive!

Unexpected Joy

Recently my grand-daughter played her violin for me. She is a beginner and the sounds were…well, a little scratchy. I had no clue she would bring her violin when she visited or want me to watch her play. Seeing her standing tall, holding the bow perfectly with her long, blond hair shining in the light, brought tears of joy to my eyes. What happened to you today, which brought a smile to your lips?

Letting Go

Nelson Mandela died after living a painful, yet joyful life. His gentle demeanor changed history for so many. He encouraged peace, never holding a grudge. Perhaps you cling to an old grudge or recent heartache.

You are the one who must let go. No one can do it for you. I’m not saying you should not share sadness with special friends and relatives, but you feel much better not dwelling in the past. Talking is therapeutic, but you won’t find much joy in constantly being angry or sad. Let go of what you can. And share your woes wisely.

Celebrating Joy in Change

Sheldon Clay, Creative Director for Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, wrote a tribute to his family’s new “integration” of various traditions, titled How One Family Celebrated Thanksgivukkah, which was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. His family combined American traditions with Jewish and Catholic song, food and prayers at Thanksgiving. By opening your arms to celebrate change, your life can be vastly enriched. Be sure to read Sheldon’s tribute to the new joy in their family traditions.

Live in the Present

Take time every day to live in the moment. Keep your mouth shut when someone goads you to anger. Remember your mom probably said, “You get more with sugar than vinegar.” If you truly want joy in your life, be aware of your surroundings, letting go of worries, at least once a day.

John 16: 20 “…You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.”

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