Rubies Christmas Open House November 1-2


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Although it may be a little early for Christmas, at Rubies Home Furnishings, we have to stay a step ahead of decorating, so you can get your home ready in plenty of time for holiday guests. Our Christmas Open House will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 1-2.


We’ll kick the weekend off with a BIG storewide sale on everything at Rubies. If that’s not a great way to get in the holiday spirit, we don’t know what is! Also, another highlight of the open house will be a seminar by our very own Darlene “Shorty”  King. We can guarantee that you do not want to miss this, as Shorty will be teaching all of the latest decorating tips that will make your holidays more simple, festive and fun. 

We’ll also have an Earth Grace trunk show at designated times throughout the event, displaying some of our favorite pieces from one of our favorite Mississippi-made jewelry lines. If beautiful jewelry is on your list for someone this Christmas, Earth Grace is the perfect gift. They offer customized colors for birthstones or school colors and more, and, at the open house, you can place orders to arrive before Christmas. 


Speaking of a personalized gifts, we also have a variety of beautiful Christmas ornaments in stock and will have Amanda Mathews, a wonderful calligrapher, on site Saturday morning to create customized ornaments for you while you shop.

We also are very excited to invite some of our wonderful local vendors such as Jones Toffee to offer samples and spend time with us throughout the weekend to allow our customers to get to know the And, of course, refreshments and door prizes will be provided.


Mark your calendars for November 1 and 2, and let us know you’re coming on our Facebook page here.


Favorite Colors of Fall: How to Bring them into Your Home


Ready to decorate for fall but don’t know where to start? We have you covered at Rubies Home Furnishings. Fall is our favorite season for decorating, and we have been getting new inventory in the store by the day to help make your home warm, cozy and the perfect environment for a cup of hot cocoa when the weather starts to cool.

 We are all pretty comfortable with knowing what décor pieces we should break out (pumpkins, wreaths, harvest, etc.), but if you’re contemplating a change in color scheme, consider mixing your reds, yellows and oranges with a fresh color pallet this season. Here are some of our  favorite new colors to consider for fall decorating.  

Hues of Blue

Whether it’s cobalt blue, dusty blue or more of a teal blue color, any way you slice it, blue perfectly complements the warm tones of fall. We love a bright blue statement piece (think candle holders or chargers) on a dining room table with accents of oranges and yellows. Or, keep it simple with blue ribbon in your front door arrangement. We’re here to say, you can’t  go wrong with blue for fall!


Whites and Silvers

Bear with ushere- whites and silvers pair beautifully with neutralsand muted tones inyour home, so if you’re a lover of all things neutral, give these colors a shot for fall. Of course, a great start is white pumpkins or white harvest décor (check out these amazing pumpkins below).


Bring some of your outdoor foliage into the mix (and don’t be afraid to use a little spray paint). Pair it with your white dishes, and you have a fall table that beautifully transitions to  Christmas afterwards with just a few small  changes  (switch out twigs for berries, and add some pine).


Soft and Muted

We really love a touch of feminine for fall. This beautiful color palette was featured on the Love Love  Love blog along with a tutorial for your own DIY wreath. We love adding soft pinks and mint greens to neutrals (also perfect with white pumpkins). And, if you’re feeling really fancy, a splash of gold with these colors is a game-changer. Soft and muted for fall adds that extra calming element to keep things cozy without oranges and reds.

If you’re craving a change this fall, look no further than a simple color change to freshen up your home for the season. We have décor items and custom wreaths that can give you that extra wow factor this year, so come see us at Rubies to get your home ready!


Fall Decorating Ideas for 2019

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The thought of pumpkins, beautiful leaves and warm cider are difficult to imagine during these hot summer days, but nothing makes us more eager for the refreshing cool of fall than planning ways to celebrate the season at home. At Rubies, we are stocked with  all things fall, and helping our customers add a touch of coziness to their home is our specialty. If you’re getting in the mood to gear up for fall decorating, here are four trends with project suggestions to liven your home with the love of autumn.

Touch of Textures

Adding textures from sea grass woven ottomans to furniture made from rustic re-purposed barn wood are all great ways to warm up the space with texture. Texture is all about the crunch of leaves and rough husks of corn that we associate with fall, so search for key pieces that are easy to use as accents.  The mantle, dining table and front door are excellent places to focus your fall textures. 

You can also re-purpose a set of decorative lanterns for fall.  Lanterns are excellent choices for adding texture to a room since they can hold just about anything.  Try centering a candle or plant inside the lantern and filling in with acorns, pinecones or cranberries. The lanterns can be displayed anywhere in the home  - especially the fireplace or your countertop. 


Borrow from Nature

As leaves fall and the woody structure of shrubs and trees are exposed, borrow from their natural beauty. Snip a few branches from a tree with smooth wood and display them in an angular white vase. Taller branches can be displayed from the floor and liven up a corner.  Also, corn stalks and pine cones are great ways to bring the outdoors in this season.

Pair Neutral Colors with Bold Accents

Cobalt blue is a still a hot color this year.  It’s beautiful paired with vibrant and muted oranges, and it can create a coziness that’s unparalleled. Other color combinations to consider are corn husk yellow, blue and earthy brown, or even navy blue with accents of sunflower yellow is a fall favorite.  One of the simplest ways to integrate color without redecorating an entire room is to focus on the small accent pieces.

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Here’s a DIY tip for your front entrance. Find some old flower pots or check out end of summer sales at a local garden center.  Choose your favorite fall flower - pansies and mums make fantastic options. Choose two colors of flowers, and spray paint the old pots the color of your choice to give them new life and pot your flowers. Arrange in sets of two or three down your front steps for a welcoming splash of color.  What colors to try? Orange mums with navy blue pots, yellow mums with muted orange pots and red mums with tan pots all make good combinations.

Get Creative with Squash

Decorating with squash gives you endless potential! A fall celebration can be made magical by the use of hollowed squash as serving dishes. Tall pumpkins also make beautiful vases to hold a bouquet of fall mums or colorful leaves. Keep in mind you’re not limited to pumpkin - similar dishes can be served (and eaten from) hollowed acorn squash and butternut squash.  

We love using pumpkins of various sizes to accommodate the dishes you plan to serve at a fall celebration. Clean the outside of each pumpkin. Remove the entire top so that two thirds of the base remains for use as a bowl.  Scoop out the seeds and pulp and fill each with soup, dip, or a warm side dish.  

As  you can tell, we love fall at Rubies. If you’re looking for decorating inspiration, stop by and let use help you warm up your home with the perfect décor item!


Planning the Perfect Tailgate


Now that you’ve checked back-to-school shopping off the list, it’s time to start making game day plans. Saying goodbye to summer is bittersweet, but let’s face it, by early August, everyone is ready to feel those hints of cooler weather that eventually lead to all of our favorite things – cozy sweaters, boots and crock pots.  

 As we prepare for the next season, one of the things we work hard to perfect is tailgating. In the South, there are few things that compare to the combination of football and food. Whether you’re traveling to the game, or hosting a party at home, it’s never too early to start getting your ideas for tailgating in order. Here are a few simple things that make a regular tailgate a big W-I-N.

Bag Essentials

Coming in at a close second to the actual game is what you carry to the game. We all know the feeling when ice chests, casseroles, dips and desserts are crammed in crevices all over the car, just one sharp turn away from a complete disaster. For long road trips or even quick trips to the neighbors, having the right bag to carry your game day goodies in is critical. Scout Bags transition well from the beach to the ball game, and they have varying sizes and matching or coordinating patters that fit every need from a cooler to a casserole. 

Bags for food aren’t the only ones important for the game. The clear handbags for football games are an absolute must, and if you forget yours, you’re likely walking back to the car. Whether it’s a full-sized clear bag, or one you can hang around your wrist, the new styles of the season make clear bags super trendy and fun.

New arrivals of Scout Bags available at Rubies Home Furnishings.

New arrivals of Scout Bags available at Rubies Home Furnishings.


When it comes to decorating, the first place to start is the center of it all – the table. A simple solid tablecloth in school colors is the best way to start so you can set the perfect table from there. If you’re on a budget, we love using pom poms as a simple way to add some school spirit. 

After the table cloth and a few pom poms or a colorful runner (or both), start adding dimension with crates, cake plates and tiered pieces to give your table a touch of fabulous. One of the greatest pieces to always have on hand is a dough bowl. Whether it’s a long one to hold pork tenderloin or to beautifully display some sub sandwiches, or a small-to-medium one for chips or dip, dough bowls add a touch of casual class to your table.

Dough bowls in all sizes at Rubies Home Furnishings.

Dough bowls in all sizes at Rubies Home Furnishings.

The Ultimate Go-to Recipe 

We could go on and on listing  our favorite tailgate recipes, but there’s one staple to keep in the pantry year round that’s a crowd pleaser 100% of the time. No party is complete without it, and  it’s simple to put together in a pinch. We’ll leave you with the recipe as you start to plan your fun fall parties. Happy tailgating! 

Captain Rodney’s Dip 

½ cup mayonnaise
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
6 crushed Ritz crackers, plus more for serving
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup Captain Rodney’s Boucan Pepper Glaze

Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, onions and ¼ cup Captain Rodney’s Glaze in greased quiche pan. Top with crackers and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Top with remaining Captain Rodney’s glaze.


Marked for Service: The Story of Lisa Cochran and Dwell

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Many in Laurel might know Lisa Cochran as the owner of one of the most successful salons in town, Studio R3, and The Studio in Hattiesburg. But if you take a closer look behind the scenes of Lisa’s life, you’ll see markings of an extreme passion for serving people right where they are – even in the middle of a mess. Today, Lisa oversees Dwell, a home that helps women coming from recovery, incarceration, domestic abuse or divorce, get back on their feet. 

Starting to Serve

Around the age of 18, Lisa ventured on her first volunteer outing with Betty Busbea of Laurel. They went bowling with a group from Ellisville State School. Lisa always had a heart for serving others and, as she grew in her faith, she began to realize what was required of her (Luke 48:12). “In America, most of us have more than enough,” Lisa shared. “And to whom much is given, much is required.” Even if someone doesn’t have the financial means to give, Lisa believes that the  giving of time and creativity is equally as important.

Lisa’s Passion

After 36 years in the beauty industry, it’s clear that Lisa has a heart specifically for serving women. “I’ve had some wonderful older women who mentored me in my 20s and 30s, and now, as I’m in my 50s, I am the older woman,” Lisa said. As a single mom who went through a divorce when her son was two years old, Lisa knows the challenges that women can face through various circumstances life may bring. “In my business, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful women with great potential, great families and great careers who, as a result of divorce, family situations or other life circumstances, spiral into depression and are given a pill rather than proper  tools to live,” said Lisa. On a regular basis, Lisa sees how drugs like crystal meth have wreaked havoc on women and their families, and she believes having someone to walk through rehabilitation from a Biblical perspective offers something that no medication can give.

The Beginning of Dwell 

Lisa prayed about Dwell for 15 years before starting it. She had a vision for exactly where she felt God wanted her to start the ministry. “I would drive by the house and pray two to three times a week for years,” she said. The property was once a part of the historical district in Laurel and was later zoned out. And Lisa was very methodical in her prayers and in the process. She gave the property owner some time to consider the idea (at first he was a bit skeptical). But once Lisa communicated the vision for the home and the potential for life change, he supported her and even offered her a discount on rent since she would be doing repairs to the property.

Susan Vincent has been a mentor of Lisa’s for years. Lisa remembers a City Council  meeting in 2003 when she traveled to Houston with others from Laurel to see how the city has grown and developed. “That trip reminded me of the book of Nehemiah where everyone helped to rebuild the wall,” Lisa said. “It wasn’t just the doctors or lawyers, it was true diverse community of artisans, creatives and people from all walks of life pitching in to help.” She believes this is also the case for Laurel.

The Right Kind of Support

“I don’t think mental illness starts as mental illness,” Lisa said. “We are in a society that’s very much in a box, and we weren’t created to operate in a box.” Lisa believes  that challenges with mental illness can begin as early as elementary school, then add in environmental factors and other challenges children face daily. “I’ve learned that most people with mental illnesses are very creative, but they just don’t have an outlet for it.” 

Lisa shares one story as an example of how Dwell is far more than a quick fix. One day last year, she received a phone call from a woman in need before Dwell was ready to open. Lisa and her husband Mike invited the woman to live in their home for six months. The woman had been homeless for nearly three years, and her boyfriend was also living on the streets. “It was clear to us that they needed to recover together.” Lisa makes it a point to look at each situation individually. “There’s no one formula for recovery.”

Lisa explains the next few months as simply “doing life” with the couple. “Once they were both clean, they got married at our house, in our living room by my father in law,” she said. “It was the first time her husband’s four children had seen him clean.” Through this experience, Lisa and Mike learned that the strengths and gifts the man had were a perfect fit for many of the practical needs they had at Dwell. He helped with the carpentry, laying flooring, molding and paint and now does repairs and maintenance. 

The Gospel Comes with a Housekey is a book that Lisa recommends to anyone who has a heart for serving. “I think the Christian community has forgotten what the Gospel  is,” she said. “We tend to look at it a Southern Living magazine instead of what it really means.”  

The Future of Dwell

Right now, Dwell has seven women living in the home. Lisa’s goal is to soon open a thrift store to help make the ministry sustainable and provide job opportunities, training and benefits. They are also soon looking to offer opportunities for dental care for those who live at Dwell. 

Lisa explained that the property owner of the home had done his due diligence to check on her reputation in town prior to renting her the property. While doing his background check, she said that someone told him, “Lisa will do what she says, and the best thing to do is to get out of her way.” Her passion to see the Gospel lived out here in Laurel through Dwell is inspiring and a good reminder that when God gives us a vision for something, nothing can stop us.

Dwell Registry at Rubies Home Furnishings

Dwell Registry at Rubies Home Furnishings


How You Can Help

Rubies Home Furnishings has a Dwell registry for anyone looking to purchase furnishings and extra touches for the home. To give financially, visit the Greater Pine Belt Foundation at

Summer Salad Recipes from Rubies


Here at Rubies, one of our favorite things about summer is the extra time we get to spend gathering with family and friends. From weekend trips to more local adventures, the memories made are something to truly treasure. Of course, being the good Southerners we are, we have to make sure that some yummy homemade fixins’ are a part of every party!

When it comes time to bring a dish to your next family festivity, there’s nothing more satisfying than a tried and true salad. No, we aren’t just talking about green salads here! From pasta to dessert, salads can be substantial and a great addition to any meal. So, without further ado, we bring to you summer salad recipes from our staff right here are Rubies Home Furnishings. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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WATERGATE SALAD (from Kim Smith)

1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, mix together pudding mix, pineapple with juice, marshmallows, and nuts. Fold in whipped topping. Chill.

FRITO CORN SALAD (by Darlene King)


2 (15 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1 (10 1/2 oz) bag coarsely crushed Fritos Chili Cheese Corn Chips


Mix first five ingredients and chill. Stir in corn chips just before serving.

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JUNK YARD SALAD (by Myra Fountain)


1 can cherry pie filling
1 large can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
2 cups miniature marshmallow
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip


Mix all ingredients in order and refrigerate overnight.


2 lbs of red grapes, washed
1 (8 oz) cream  cheese
2 cups of Cool Whip
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter
½  cup half and  half
1 cup chopped walnuts


Wash and dry grapes. Mix cream cheese, cool whip and confectioner’s sugar and smear on top of the grape bed.  In a pot, melt stick of butter, add brown sugar and ¼ cup of half and half. Cook until thick and you are able to place a drop into cold water and it forms a small ball.  Add walnuts and drizzle over top of the dressing. Chill until ready to serve.

PASTA SALAD (by Sarah Walters)


1 Box rotini pasta
Wishbone Italian dressing
Salad Seasoning (McCormick)
Olive salad
Cubed Cheese (Whatever you like: pepper jack, mild cheddar, etc.)
Parmesan Cheese


Boil Rotini and let cool. Chop pepperoni, cucumber and tomatoes, then toss with Rotini. Add cubed cheese and olive salad, season with Salad Seasoning and Italian dressing (enough to mix together), top with parmesan cheese.


3 pounds red potatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (1 oz) package Ranch dressing mix

3 green onions, sliced
Bacon bits (soft in a bag)

In a large bowl, stir together milk, mayonnaise and Ranch seasoning mix. I usually prepare the dressing mixture at least 2-4 hours prior to making potato salad (overnight is even better). Place in fridge.

Place potatoes in a large pot, add salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and let cool.

Mix potatoes, bacon bits and green onions and stir well. Add dressing to potatoes as needed just as you would mayonnaise. You may not use it all.

Salt & pepper to taste.

With this many recipes to choose from, who needs to think about any other dishes at all? Summer salad party, anyone? 

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Decorating the Dorm with Rubies Home Furnishings

It’s officially summer and before you know it, you’ll be rushing to grab the back-to-school essentials. At Rubies, we are stocked up on bedding, accessories and storage options to make sure you are college ready.

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We know the college experience can be shocking, exciting and above all, life changing. The dorm room is a haven and sanctuary - a home away from home for the majority of a student’s college years, so we believe it should be a comfortable, cozy place where studying and socializing can take place. At Rubies, we think a few well-placed feature and accessories can turn your dorm room from dull to divine.

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The dorm bed will be, depending on the time of day, a coffee table, couch or study table. It is also often the largest piece of furniture in the room, so how it is decorated is key. We recommend making an investment in quality for the bed and make sure you have a good comforter or quilt as well as pillows and throws to accessorize. Since this area will be used the most, it’s important to make sure quality is on point.


The dorm doesn’t give many options when it comes to storage, so you have to be creative here. Storage shelving or crates under a high dorm bed is always a great idea. We also love stackable decorative storage or cute decorative baskets for those extra items with no clear home. Making sure every item in the dorm room has a place to land is a really important part to making sure the dorm stays tidy.

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Wall Space

Step one for wall space is getting clearance on what can go where. Before you start decorating the walls, check your dorm rules for painting, punching holes or putting tape up. Adhesive putty from your local hardware store works well as an adhesive that won't leave any marks. Anything goes on your wall - it's your space to express your creativity. Some of our favorites include frames, tobacco baskets or even cute storage shelves or boxes here to make room for extra books or odds and ends. We also love a large memo board or calendar for a center point of the room to help you stay focused and on schedule.  


An empty wall is the perfect canvas for art! Whether you make your own, or you stop by Rubies for some Baxter and Me, J. Julep or Alex Ladner art, we recommend a nice piece of art above your bed or above the futon 


Curtains make a room seem homey, so if you’re on a budget, a simple drop cloth will do the trick for a warm but neutral look. If your window doesn't have any curtain rods, improvise using staples or thumbtacks. You can tie the curtains back with some pretty ribbon to let light into the room, and let them fall when you want to close them.


Furniture can be a bit tricky in the dorm, but it really seals the deal to make the look complete. Since the bedding and the furniture are likely the two most prominent focal points in the room, it’s important to make sure these two coordinate. At Rubies, we have a lot of furniture options that would fit perfectly in a dorm. From chairs to small sofas and futons, we’d love to help you select the best piece to take with you to college. 


Tie it all Together

The key to making a small space look good is coordinating colors and the look. Keep your pieces consistent in theme and pull all accessories and items to tie together with the theme. We’d love to help you do this all in one place at Rubies Home Furnishings.

A Legacy of Great Leadership


Father’s Day Spotlight on Dr. James Johnson-Hill

If you live in the Laurel area, chances are you’ve heard the name James Johnson-Hill. As a pastor of Agape Church, a thriving church in the heart of our city, James has always been an outside-of-the-box thinker, leaving everything he touches better than he found it. For example, take the two buildings in Downtown Laurel now occupied by Agape Church. The main building sits at the roundabout in the center of town, and the newly-renovated Agape Midtown campus is just up the street. At both locations, you’ll see examples of how, under his leadership and God’s provision, old, dilapidated buildings became flourishing beautiful spaces where life-change happens.


James was raised in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of 14, he moved to Los Angeles. With both parents originally from the Jones County area, James remembers spending much of his childhood in Mississippi visiting his grandmother. “Once I got out of school each year, I would come to Ellisville for the summer,” says James. “It was a huge part of my upbringing.”

James and his wife, Nece, met at church in California when she was 17 and he was 21. On her 18th birthday, James asked her on a date. They stayed in touch but Nece soon left for Spelman College in Atlanta while he stayed in California. When she moved back from college, James knew he wanted her in his life forever. “It took the Lord seven years after we met to get her ready for me,” James jokes.

As a married couple, James and Nece continued the tradition of regular visits to Mississippi. In 2009, when they made the drive back from Mississippi, Nece asked James, “Are you happy?” James was in a time of transition, and it was a question that marked the beginning of a life change for the couple. She told James, “I feel like God’s calling us to build something together, and I think we’re supposed to do it in Laurel.”

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From there, the rest is history. Literally. James and Nece brought a vision to Laurel that has made an impact extending far beyond even what they’ll see in their lifetime. What began as a team from California moving to Mississippi to plant a church has become a place where people of all backgrounds and ethnicities come to know Christ and are discipled.

After a decade in Laurel, Agape Church not only hosts Sunday services but also spearheads events like Downtown Movie Night and the Laurel Farmers Market, which present a great opportunity for people in the church to make a big impact on the entire community. As pastors and Christ-followers, James and Nece have poured out their hearts to meet needs in the community. And sometimes it surfaces in unconventional ways like showing a movie on the back side of a building.  

Downtown Movie Night – Photo by MCE Photography

Downtown Movie Night – Photo by MCE Photography

Leading a Church and Home

Leadership isn’t something James does; it’s who he is. He not only is a pastor, but he also serves as president of the Laurel School District Board of Trustees and in many other local organizations. James believes it is important for his children to see the same father at home that they see speaking at church or leading a meeting. “I lead because I care for them,” he says. “Finding the balance of leading a church and leading in my community comes from the support my wife and my family give.” James sees every accomplishment of his as a way to encourage his children to go higher and accomplish bigger things.

Leaving a Legacy of Leadership

James believes it is also important for his children is to see him modeling how to overcome failure. “I’m the first person to ask them to forgive me,” James says. His desire is to make sure his home is a safe place where his children know forgiveness and where the enemy has no room to bring hostility.

James also prioritizes prayer and believes the most important thing as a father is teach his children to pray. He understands that while they may not always have access to their Bible, they always have access to God. His leadership style overflows into every part of their day-to-day, even the drive to school. James says that from the car, they pray and ask for the Lord’s favor and protection over them for that day, then each child takes their turn doing a faith confession before they step out to start their day.


A scripture that James keeps top of mind as a parent is Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Even when James is upset with his children, he feels it’s important not to provoke them. He ultimately wants them to understand that the Lord charges his children to honor their parents.

An easy way to identify one of the Hill children is by their confidence. “We raised them be confident people who genuinely care for others” says James. “One of my proudest memories as a parent was to see my son, Samuel, work with disabled children when he was young,” James says. “At the end of the week, the director said he was so kind and good with the children that they wanted him back for another week.” James believes it’s the moments in life that show the development of character in his children that are the most important.

And we feel this might just be what the Lord believes of us, too.