Ruby Hinson Stanley’s story will hit you at your core. Orphaned at age nine, Ruby had to start her new life completely on her own.
While that would bury many of us; Ruby chose to create her life. Her story will inspire you. And, Ruby is still in a personal discovery mode. She fashions her professional re-emergence by combining education; mental health; and horse ownership skillsets into equine education/ life coaching and presentation.
Grab a cup of coffee and some tissues, (this one will bring tears to your eyes). Learn from our wise sister, Ruby in week 46 of my Share Your Story series.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
RUBY: I am enrolled in an online Spanish class learning the language and the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world; as well as a drawing class.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
RUBY: Mornings vary. I wake up slowly. I enjoy listening to meditative music for about 20 minutes. Then, I often join my husband for morning conversation over a delicious cup of organic coffee from fresh beans which he grinds MUCH earlier. Ritualistically consumed each morning, in addition to a cup of coffee, is a cup of hot water mixed with organic apple cider vinegar and Manuka honey. I also have a cup of organic green tea. This began some eight years ago to accompany an ever changing vitamin regimen established almost 30 years ago for immunity/aging support
By 11:00 AM I am out the door for a quick walk, vegetable/flower gardening, mowing acreage with a riding or push mower, and/or horse care. Reading, writing, journaling ,and household chores are spread out over the days. Checking on birdhouses/feeders is a favorite spring/summer past time. Beginning in May/June. it’s all about canning vegetables and fruit the day we pick. My part-time work schedule is flexible and usually encompasses concentration over only a few days at a time. On those days I am up by 6:00 AM.
“Sadly, sheer survival required the minimization of personal feelings.”
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
RUBY: My eyes are brim full as I reflect. An only child, I was orphaned and mangled at age nine in a brutal car crash that killed my mom, dad, grandmother, and an aunt. I never returned to my little home, my room, my animals or the farm I had so often explored alone or while playing with two girl cousins. As if a light switch was flipped, my simple life of love and safety ended. Twelve hours of miraculous facial reconstructive surgery left me in a hospital children’s ward in limbo without anyone for two weeks. In ways, I cannot fully explain, I know God was there with me.
To this day, divine guidance moves me through life offering up individuals, situations, and experiences which have helped me sort through the physiological and emotional trauma that ensued. Sadly, sheer survival required the minimization of personal feelings. So, I have struggled as a result. Fortunately, I am getting better at giving myself permission to feel. Moments of struggle bubble up from time to time, however, I recognize them, take a deep breath and embrace the child within. Growth, in self- awareness, has been significant. When hitting on all cylinders, I can actually feel it in my face and see it in my actions.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
RUBY: For me, it has become all about gratitude. A couple of years ago, I committed to making all journal entries from a gratitude perspective for one full year. Every day, including difficult ones, I expressed gratitude. Even if it was only a single sentence with a few words. Gratitude keeps me motivated.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
RUBY: Aging is important. Let go of who you think you are supposed to be. Embrace who you are, YOUR STORY, all of it, especially the unsavory, flawed parts. Moving into your authentic self gives hope and strength to others. Be blown away as you mature into your unique design. You are the only YOU.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
“The realization that vulnerability sources my hope and my authenticity helps push me forward.”
RUBY: Enrolling five years ago in a Brene Brown semester class with thousands around the globe led me down the path of vulnerability discovery. Because I felt so emotionally fragile at the time, it was genuinely a daring decision. For me, vulnerability is about moving into uncertainty and risking emotional exposure while being brave enough to be me. The realization that vulnerability sources my hope and my authenticity helps push me forward. My life has more meaning.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
RUBY: For me, these life shaping events cascade. First of all, acquiring orphan status after the death of my parents displaced me into what was a giant, very unfamiliar world. I lived as one of the separated among us. Persevering through periods of isolation and loneliness, I somehow painfully and courageously turned rejection into elevated awareness. Secondly, the birth of each of my sons seventeen months apart reunited me with the love and nurture of my own mother. Finally, the journey of self-discovery over the last 14 years through earning an M.Ed. with Guidance Counseling. And, stepping into equine therapy: first, as a client, and then as a practitioner actually owning horses.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
RUBY: My mother. She was a brave trailblazer who left this world far too young. She married an American soldier, had a baby, relocated to the states, and proudly earned US citizenship status with very broken English. I remember dancing around the flagpole at the courthouse to celebrate with her. Often, she would sit me down on the sofa in our little house for chats that I instinctively knew were vitally important. Thank goodness. Her wisdom carried me into adulthood.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
RUBY: You can.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
RUBY: Brene Brown. She is plain spoken, the real deal, and her books and coursework are based on twenty years of data which just happen to be the stories of millions of people. Her books and coursework convinced me that story matters. Our stories connect us in profound ways.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
RUBY: I tend to view life in developmental stages professionally. I see myself as aging out of stages, yet growing as I move towards the next until there are no more. I like the idea that parts of me are grown and other parts are still growing.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
RUBY: Nutrition and preferably outside exercise top the list. My body complains when I ignore these. Finding time to be still and pray is vital; especially if it’s in the soft recliner in my bedroom with meditative piano playing on my iPhone.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
RUBY: I hope to eventually speak Spanish fluently enough to not need an interpreter. I hope to visit El Rosario, Guatemala, the place of my mother’s birth. I hope to someday take my granddaughter on a hiking trip to the desert canyons of Utah.