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    Updated Life

    All Things Become New

    When we are in the midst of difficult times, we have to remember the most important things and not get sidetracked by every other thing that would cause us to lose focus.  This week my mother-in-law passed away into glory after a long illness.  I spent the past year and a half caring for her and her life outside of my own home (three hours away) and was living in her house.  Even though it wasn’t even my mother, Helga, deserved the honor and attention that only a family member could give. Since her own children had to work and lived far away, she became my focus for eighteen months and everything outside of that was put on hold for me.  She was well-loved by the community here and church, and she will be very much missed by all of those who knew her.  Chico State University will honor her by placing the flags at half mast on campus and the North State Symphony is dedicating a public concert on her behalf. (See the obituary below.)


    New Focus

    Even though my focus was elsewhere for so long I haven’t forgotten my followers and blog friends.  Now I can concentrate on you!  I have an update on some of my projects, artwork, and encouragement, so I thought I’d begin afresh.  This year will be the beginning of a whole new journey for me and most of you.

    Today I wanted to encourage you and bring a scripture to cheer your heart.


    Be bold this year! Go out with confidence and do what your heart is prompting you to do! This is a time of new beginnings and finding an updated life, full of promises!


    Helga Was a Grand Lady

    Helga Maria Ruge passed away peacefully at Amber Grove Place in Chico, CA on January 25, 2016. She was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on December 25, 1922 to Karl and Elisabet Kley. She received her Abitur, (high school diploma)  with distinction, in Köln in 1942. She attended the Universities of Berlin and Marburg, Germany, and in later years graduated from Chico State University. She met Neil M. Ruge in 1945 in Bad Wildungen, Germany when he was in the Army, and after a four year long-distance courtship by letter, they married in Palermo, Italy in July 1949. Neil was an American Foreign Service Officer by then and she became an American citizen in two months.

    Helga accompanied Neil to his various posts abroad, living in Palermo, Sicily, Casablanca, Morocco, London, England, Cardiff, Wales, Washington D.C., Munich, Germany, and Guatemala City. Their son Carl was born in Casablanca and daughter Madeleine in Bad Wildungen. Upon Neil’s retirement the family moved to Chico in 1969. 

    Helga Ruge was a member of Faith Lutheran Church, the Chico Guild-North State Symphony and Chico Symphony Advisory Board. She served as President of both organizations. She was also a member of the Cosmos Club, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Family Service League, the No-Host Dance Club, the former Community Concert Board, Chico Museum, Stansbury Home, Foreign Service Association, MOAA, and was a long time member of a ladies bicycle group.

    Helga enjoyed singing in the University Chorus and her church choir, and was very supportive of symphonic music in Chico. She loved to entertain and was the ultimate hostess; one specialty being throwing big garden parties to help raise money for the symphony. 

    After Neil passed away in 2000 Helga wrote and self-published three books:  Flashbacks of a Diplomat’s Wife, a memoir; Whither the Promised Land, a novel; and More Truth than Fiction, Growing up in Europe between the World Wars. She loved giving presentations about her books to all sorts of local groups.

    Helga also enjoyed reading, gardening, traveling and the arts—especially opera and classical music.

    She is survived by her sister Ilse Kley of Köln, Germany, son Carl Ruge and wife Deborah (Annie), daughter Madeleine and husband Tom, grandchildren Micah, Leah, Morgan, Peter, and great granddaughters Peyton Ruge and Layla Ruge.