My name is Stacie Tipps-Ruch. I live in the same small town in Tennessee where I was born and raised. I am married to the most wonderful husband in the world, Art Ruch, and we have two children, Shelby, age 12 going on 20, and Tad, age 9. Those two really keep me on my toes. I am a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church and still attend the same rural church I grew up in, Harris Chapel UMC. Currently, I hold a couple of positions in my church, those being Pianist, Choir Director, Children's Ministries Director, and I serve as HCUMC's Lay Delegate to Annual Conference. I also work full time in the financial industry.
Why do you blog?
I got started blogging because my dear husband nagged me into it. Well, actually he gently encouraged me to share my thoughts, ideas, and opinions with others and I'm glad he did. It has actually been a great experience for me as I have met wonderful, supportive friends. I thank God for each and every one of them.
What has been your best blogging experience?
The outpouring of love, care, and concern for myself and my family during my father's illness and subsequent death. It was truly a blessing to feel such support from people that I have never physically met.
What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
Start slowly. Don't feel you have to blog everyday just because a lot of other folks do.
If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
Of course I must pick " Art's Strange World" for the obvious reason but I would also choose "Words and Cats " and "Susan as Herself".
Who are your spiritual heroes?
Well, Jesus Christ is the obvious answer here, but I must add Rev. Nan Zoller and Rev. Jack Gilbert. Two people who have enlightened me, encouraged me, taught me and inspired me. And I would be remiss for not adding my late parents without whom I would not have my faith. God blessed me with parents who loved Him and His church and took seriously their responsibility to raise their children in the church.
What are you reading at the moment?
Unfortunately all I'm reading now is my Sunday School book "Building Better Relationships" by Susan Nikaido. I highly recomend it. I have gained new insights about how interpersonal relationships correlate to our personal realtionship with God.
What is your favorite hymn and why?
I love the entire United Methodist Hymnal, so I cannot pick one favorite. Here's a few on my list of favorites: "You are the Seed", "Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore", "Spirit Song", "In the Bleak Midwinter", "Sweet Sweet Spirit", "The Hymn of Promise", and "Praise Him Praise Him", which technically is not in the UM Hymnal, but is in the old Cokesbury Hymnal.
Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've changed your mind?
Practically the entire Bible. At one point in my life, my understanding of the BIble was very literal. But to choose one, I would say the role of women in the ministry. I was raised to believe that women were to be silent in the church. After completing Disciple Bible Study, I learned not to take scripture out of context but to view the scriptures while keeping in mind the times in which they were written and to whom they were written.
What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
Narrowing down to just one is difficult for me, but I think it's vitally important to learn to view all people as a child of God and as our brother or sister. Does this include Muslims? YES! Buddhists? YES! Hindus? YES! Jews? YES! For we are all brothers and sisters under the fatherhood of God. God is the creator and we are his creation. Until we can look at another and view them as our brother or sister and see them as a person for whom Christ came and died, we are in darkness. If we could truly and honestly look at each person we see as our brother or sister, would there be so much violence in our world? Or hunger? Or poverty? Or homelessness?
If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
I would like to see true, sincere, long lasting campagin reform. I fear that the days when a Mr./Mrs. Smith could get elected to any political post are long gone. Why does it take millions of dollars to win an election in this country and how can we make sure that our politicians are doing what's in our best interest and not what's in the best interest of the companies and individuals that bought them? We can't! That's why we need campaign reform so that Joe Schmoe, who cares for his country and wants to serve his fellowman, has a real chance in this system.
If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
It's not necessarily a policy change that I would make, but I would like to see the total inclusion of women in ministry. While a large percentage of UMC'ers may think this is a non-issue, there are in fact places where a woman would not be totally welcome in the pulpit. My own congregation has faced this very issue within the last 10 yrs. We were reluctant to accept a female pastor, we did and we were all radically changed for the better. There are so many small membership, rural churches within our denomination that would not accept a female pastor. We must work to teach and to love these folks into total inclusion.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
See every person as a child of God and love them. Make sure that your loved ones know you love them because you never know when your last day on earth will come. I am so thankful that the last words I said to my father were "I Love You".
What, if anything, do you worry about?
To be honest, I don't worry about anything. I take life as it comes, see the glass as half full, and let the chips fall where they will. Worrying about a problem or issue will not effect a change, so what's the point?
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
I'd live most all of my life the same, except maybe I would have applied myself more in college and stayed until I finished a degree.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
Anywhere along the Gulf Coast.... somewhere around the Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, AL area.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Spare time? What little of it I have is spent playing the piano, surfing the net, reading, and spending time with my family.
What is your most treasured possession?
I'm not crazy about the term "treasured possession" because, for me, it conjures up images of idolatry. That being said, I don't think I have any "treasured" possessions, but I am thankful that I own my mother's piano and my father's Masonic jewelry. These things are very special to me because they are the only things I have that belonged to my deceased parents.
What talent would you most like to have?
The ability to hear a piece of music and immediately play it on the piano.
If you could have any three guests, past or present to dinner, who would they be?
Since I am musically inclined, I would choose Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, and Jimmy Buffett. Ray could teach me a lick or two on the piano, while Elvis and I sang and Jimmy could mix the margaritas.