Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

Our New Family Member


On Monday we welcomed our newest little family member into our home. And I do mean little. She’s just under 8 weeks old and weighs 1-1/2 pounds. Her parents were both under 5 pounds so when she is full-grown she should only weigh around 4-5 pounds.


Her name is Bella and she has managed to capture the hearts of everyone who has come over and seen her so far. Bella is a designer breed called a Mal-Shi or Malti-Tzu, which is half Maltese and half Shih-Tzu. As you know if you’ve been following me on Twitter we’ve been looking for a dog for a couple of months now. The longer we looked the more we began to narrow down our search. Early on we decided that we wanted a smaller dog  (nice thing about small dogs? Everything is cheaper – smaller crates, less food, easier to transport). Trying to find that was small enough and cute enough to pass the “There-Is-No-Way-I’m-Going-To-Walk-In-The-Park-With-That” test proved to be the challenge.

We found several adorable dogs online in different states but nothing close to Indy. Then over the weekend Lisa spotted an add in the paper for Mal-Shi pups. She called on them and found out that the parents were both under 5 pounds and that they had two females left. Bingo.

We drove over later that afternoon and fell in love with this adorable little fur-ball.



We’ve gotten quite a kick out of little Bella although we realized just how much like a child a little puppy can be when Lisa and I had to get up 3 times during the night to let her go to the bathroom.


Watching her play in the grass is hilarious because the grass is as tall as her.

And so, after years of waiting we have finally joined the ranks of proud dog owners and our two girls couldn’t be happier. As for Lisa and I? Well, we’re more like proud parents that we would probably care to admit. I’ve already caught Lisa showing her off and sending pictures of her online. If you know Lisa, you know how big of a deal that really is!

So this post is for all the pet owners out there…what kind of pet(s) do you have and what do you love about them?

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Look Dad, We Have Plates!

Those of you who follow my blog know that we’ve been living in a hotel since the deal on the house we were going to purchase fell through (read more here and here). Pete jokingly asked me on Sunday what I’m going to blog about once we’re actually living in our own house.

Extended Stay DeluxeSunday evening we got back from our vacation with friends in North Carolina. We checked into the Extended Stay Deluxe (Chloe always reminds me that there is a “Deluxe” at the end). This will be our home for at least the next three or four weeks while we get try to close on another condo we have an agreement on.

Chloe & Emily were so funny when we walked into our room.

“Look Dad, we have our own plates and silverware! We even have a stove!”

They ran into the bedroom and came running back out to drag us in by the hand to show us how HUGE the bedroom and bathroom were. Keep in mind, the whole 1-bedroom suite with pullout couch and kitchenette is probably less than 350 square feet but to them we had just checked into the Presidential Suite at the Hilton.

Normally Lisa and I are the ones trying to teach the kids to be thankful for what they’ve got but for once they were the teachers. I’ll admit it, last night I wasn’t feeling very thankful. In fact, it took everything I had to keep him from coming back.

I’m thankful that each new day gives me a new opportunity to count my blessings. Right now I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I’ve slept in my own bed or worn something that hasn’t come out of the same suitcase we left Fort Wayne with. I’m tired of walking into living rooms that require a keycard.

But for now, I’m learning to enjoy the journey. If that means jumping up and down on the bed because we have our own plates and silverware, then I’m going to jump away.…

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Our 2,300 Mile Exodus

It’s only 120 miles from Fort Wayne, IN to Carmel where we’re moving. So why are we taking the 2,300 mile route? Good question.

Towards the end of last year we began to feel God calling us to step out of our comfort zone into something new. Little did we know that it would result in leaving a job/church, going back to freelance design work, selling our home in Fort Wayne and moving to a new city where we don’t know a single person!

The past few months has been an amazing journey of faith for my wife and I as we’ve been stretched further than we’ve ever before. We’ve watched time and again as God’s provision and timing was perfect for each need.

So we’re less than a week away from beginning a new adventure! I’m so excited (and a little nervous). We’re going to take the next few weeks and visit some churches and attend a couple of conferences before settling into our new home in Westfield, IN (just outside of Carmel where we’re looking at planting the church).

Here’s a few places we’ll be stopping and things we’ll be doing along the way:

  • Coffee with Pat Rowland (former youth pastor buddy from FW)
  • Lunch with @pwilson (
  • Crosspoint Church weekend service (this Sunday)
  • Relaxing at a condo in Tarpon Springs, FL
  • Exponential Church Planting Conference – April 22-24 (anybody else going to this?)
  • LeadNow 08 Conference – April 24-26 (how’s this for a speaker lineup: Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Dan Kimball, Amena Brown and Margaret Feinberg!)
  • DisneyWorld (don’t tell Chloe & Emily – it’s a surprise!)
  • Elevation Church (May 4)
  • Pigeon Forge, TN

Are you anywhere along our route? Will you be at any of the conferences/churches we’re attending? If so, hit me up on Twitter or let me know so we can hook up!

I’ll be posting throughout the trip so be sure to subscribe to my blog (RSS or by email) and follow me on Twitter so you can hear all about it! Wish us well!…

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