Interview with a Renaissance Mom - Ruth Simons


Welcome back to our series: Interview with a Renaissance Mom. Today we're featuring one of the mom-artists who helped start it all. Back when the book, Life Creative Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom was just a dream, I reached out to artist Ruth Simons and asked for her thoughts on motherhood and creativity. This is what she wrote: "Never has there been a time like this for creative and artistic women to embrace the high calling of motherhood and the unique giftings God has given to each of us. There is indeed a movement-- a renaissance -- of the creative woman, the creative mom. I'm grateful that Wendy and Kelli have chosen to encourage this generation of women, right now, to embrace their God-given creativity to the glory of God, and to steward it well. This book is right on time."

And so it is with great joy that I introduce you to the art of Renaissance Mom, Ruth Simons.


photo credit: Elizabeth Wells Photography

Please introduce yourself to us by sharing who you are, where you live, and a bit about your kids.

I'm Ruth Chou Simons. I'm married to Troy and we live in Albuquerque, NM with our six boys, ranging from age 3 to 14. I am the founder of GraceLaced, a blog I began almost 10 years ago that expanded into an online shoppe featuring my artwork. I share daily from Instagram and am looking forward to the release of my first published book this Fall.


At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. This is especially true of creative personalities. What did your creativity look like as a child, throughout school, or into your early adult years before motherhood? And what form does it take today?

I always loved art, drawing, painting, and pretty much every form of creative arts. But being raised in a Chinese home and community, studying art seemed not acceptable if I was an over-achieving straight A student. I began college at UC Berkeley while still in high school, and prepared for a major in Biochemistry. Despite being on track to succeed in culturally approved ways, I soon realized how much I truly loved art and writing, and I ended up graduating with a fine arts degree instead.

Ironically, I set aside my art degree for over a decade when we started a family. I served alongside my husband as he pastored and headmastered, but I never stopped creating...with food, with fabric, with crayons, and even with paint when naps were in session. I never could've imagined that God would ultimately use my talents and desires in this way (business, book-writing, speaking) many years later. I am grateful for this path where He has showed himself faithful instead myself capable.


In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and the space to fit your passions within the practical places of family life. Where and when have you carved out the time to create in your busy days?

Even though it is now my job to create, I still have to find time to create for the joy of it, and not simply to fulfill deadlines. Sometimes that looks like a Saturday alone while the boys and their dad hike or do yardwork, but most of the time creating happens in the middle of all the family activities, and next to my kids. I've been known to paint in the living room while the rest of the family is watching a movie together.


I believe that God purposed our creativity to be one of the vehicles through which we can respond to the Great Commission call on our lives. How has God given you opportunity to share His love with others through your creative gifts?

I planned to be a missionary. I planned on my graduate work at seminary taking me overseas for the rest of my life. But, the Lord chose instead to use my words and my art to first minister the gospel to my kids --my most important mission field-- and then online, through the platform that GraceLaced has become. I really had to decide what I was online for, and how I was willing to share, sell, and spread the word on my art and the words that accompany it. For me, it became a decision to adorn the gospel...share the truth of our hope in Christ...through social media, writing, and each print that ships out from GraceLaced Shoppe.

[Tweet "I had to decide what I was online for. For me, it became a decision to adorn the gospel..."]


We spend our days caring for “our most beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with our readers?

I dream of having a physical place/space that would bring together my business, art studio, heart for hospitality, and love for gathering women. I don't know if that looks like a conference, weekend workshop, or a boutique for the business, but I know that the Lord never wastes anything He gives us, so I look forward to seeing how He will use all that He's placed on my heart and in my hands.


Would you share with us one of your “creative crushes” – another creative mom who inspires you and why.

I'd have to admit that Joanna Gaines inspires me. I'm of course inspired by her creative entrepreneur journey, but I'm mostly inspired by how she involves her children and is unwavering about who she is and what she stands for.

If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?

Think process before product, always. Get caught up in the living out of the art in your personal, unseen life first, and all that you hope to produce flows so much more easily from that. Nothing depresses my creativity more than trying to perform my way into a creative existence. God is the original artist and creator; when we live in Him, we reflect His artistry and creativity so much more naturally.

[Tweet "Think process before product. Get caught up in the living out of the art in your personal, unseen life first..."]


Ladies, today is the launch of Ruth Simons' brand new Be Still Series, a small collection to encourage us to wait on the Lord and trust Him through seasons when He blesses...and when He takes away. This series reminds us to rest in His sovereignty as we pray and await Him to redeem all things and make all things new. We pray these new prints, canvases, journals, and notecard sets will bring assurance and peace as we remember that God is STILL on the throne. Use Coupon Code BESTILL for 15% off your GraceLaced order today!

Check out all of the be still prints (some were featured in this post) over at the GraceLaced Shoppe:


Thank you, Ruth!

Watching you blend your palette is always fun. However, hearing how you blend the art of home and the art of motherhood amidst canvases and paint brushes is most inspiring of all.

Ladies, if you have enjoyed this interview, check out our conversation with Renaissance Mom Mellissa Fischer, who listed Ruth as her "Creative Crush." And don't forget to grab a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom for yourself, or the creative mom in your life. (It would make a fabulous Valentine's gift alongside one of Ruth's beautiful prints!)

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A tree firmly planted by streams of water


I have always loved Psalm One. Like a promise for good and not evil, it has wooed me to righteousness:  

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.  (Psalm 1:1-3)




Trouble is, sometimes I forget the over-arching reality of a sin-stressed world, and feel sucker-punched and surprised when difficulties come:


I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b, NLT)


Trials and sorrows. Other translations promise troubles and tribulation, distress and disease, and suffering, but through it all... He offers us peace.




Peace is not what I imagine when I think of prospering. The prosperity Gospel I've heard preached, promises wealth and health.  But what if our prosperity is Peace?  Peace with God eternally and His Peace here and now, though the storms rage.  Peace, because of the nourishing streams that our roots drink up as we abide in Him. Peace, rather than blown chaff. Peace. So we take heart, time and again, each hard day, driving roots of faith down deep into streams of living water, believing that God overcomes it all.


And all that's good and true, though still, as a Christian, I find myself blindsided each time pain and loss come close to my skin.  Oh, how very sly the prosperity Gospel can be, sneaking into our lives, whispering again, health and wealth. Telling us that we deserve joy and ease and every good fruit because we've believed - and to top it off we've not sinned too terribly bad, compared to some others. "Suffering should be reserved for those who make us look good, the true sinners."  But suffering shows no partiality. No, that's not true, Christians are promised a greater degree of suffering this side of glory, for we are called to share in the sufferings of Christ.


In light of that, though it just doesn't seem right or fair to my ease-loving sensibilities, I am intensely grateful for deep roots, living water and peace.


Job: A man God Himself described as righteous in all accounts, and still the sorrowing, suffering shame of tribulation buffeted him terribly, as He cried: "I always expected to live a long time and die at home in comfort. I was like a tree whose roots always have water and whose branches are wet with dew." (Job 29:18-19) Shaking his fists toward heaven, Job sought the water that would revive, and survived the pruning that brought life again to his bones. "For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant." (Job 14:7-9, NKJV)



Tree, by Laura Willingham Walker 


As a child I believed God's Word, and all the sweet Sunday School teachers, and the simple promise: Abide, and you will bear fruit.  But at 41 I'm seeing now that fruit doesn't simply grow like a trophy on a tree.


[Tweet "Fruit is hard earned through the refining fires of real life. "]


Today I am taking a moment to rest under the shady boughs of peace, believing, standing firm like a tree firmly planted by streams of water; drinking deeply regularly, day and nighttime too.


No matter the sincerity of your heart, the tenacity to which you cling to our Savior, nor the way you share your faith with others, we still live in a battle-field wrought with trouble, loss and disease, and an unrelentless enemy.


But do not loose heart, dear friend, though your back is wracked with pain, your child is struggling with emotional instability, your husband's test results have come back positive, and money can't stretch near enough. Shake your first at heaven if you must, but in the end let us each one choose to take heart and believe that God is good and will indeed overcome this world's sin-stained sorrows, and bring water to the sun-scorched places.


"And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." (Isaiah 58:11)


[Tweet "God is good and will indeed overcome this world's sin-stained sorrows."]


Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (1 Peter 4:12-13)


I am reading through the bible and painting my way through as well.  And you are welcome to join me on this journey.


If you are currently reading God's Word, please share in the comments below where you are and what His active Spirit is revealing to your listening heart. I love to learn from you all as well. Sincerely,