When the Morning Glory Blooms

BOOK: When the Morning Glory Blooms

When the Morning Glory Blooms
is a story rich with grace and hope. I loved the way three generations of stories were woven into one another, and the ending was as perfect as any I’ve read in a long time. Cynthia Ruchti has earned a permanent place on my must-read list.”

—Deborah Raney, author of
The Face of the Earth
and the Hanover Falls Novels

“Once again, Cynthia Ruchti has crafted an emotion-wrenching story of hope glimmering through soul-darkness. With deep insight into human frailty and cultural mores, Ruchti exquisitely crafts three intertwining stories of the personal and societal struggles of unplanned pregnancy in three different eras. If
When the Morning Glory Blooms
had been available in the years I served as director of a crisis pregnancy center, I would have made it available to every client.”

—Becky Melby, author of the Lost Sanctuary series

“Covering three women in three different eras, Cynthia Ruchti’s
When the Morning Glory Blooms
will be on my Top Ten for 2013 list. I always look forward to her books, knowing I’ll chuckle, I’ll shed some tears, and I’ll always get a great story. One of my all-time favorite authors, Ruchti is at her best weaving together the lives of Becky, Ivy, and Anna. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation.”

—Ane Mulligan, Senior Editor, Novel Rocket

When the Morning Glory Blooms
focuses on one of my passions—loving those who face unplanned pregnancy. Told through the lives of three women, this is a novel of hope, of truth, and of grace. I lost track of the number of times tears filled my eyes, both tears of heartache and joy. As someone
who faced an unplanned pregnancy myself and mentors teen moms on a weekly basis I was impressed! Cynthia Ruchti told the story beautifully. This novel has made the list of one of my all-time favorite books!”

—Tricia Goyer, best-selling author of 34 books, including
The Promise Box

When the Morning Glory Blooms
is a beautifully crafted story of God’s faithfulness in spite of our failings. Cynthia tenderly, yet truthfully, writes on a subject many would rather pretend doesn’t exist or would sit in judgment upon. For generations, there have been women who have found themselves with nowhere to turn in a crisis pregnancy. Let this book be a reminder and an encouragement to us all that lives are changed when there is grace and love offered and a place to go where hope can be renewed.”

—Melissa Heegeman, Board President, The Hannah Center, Inc.

“True to her exquisite writing style, author Cynthia Ruchti has once again penned a masterpiece.
When the Morning Glory Blooms
exceeds—if possible—her wonderful storytelling in her debut novel,
They Almost Always Come Home
. This deeply relational novel weaves together three stories from three different time periods, carrying readers along on a most enjoyable experience and then leaving us with a bittersweet longing for the next offering from this talented author. Regardless of what type of genre you prefer, buy and read this book. It is exceptional  . . .  and you won’t be disappointed.”

—Kathi Macias is the award-winning author of 40 books, including the Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and Carol Award Finalist, Red Ink




Cynthia Ruchti

Other books by Cynthia Ruchti

They Almost Always Come Home

When the Morning Glory Blooms

Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Ruchti
ISBN: 978-1-4267-3543-1
Published by Abingdon Press, P.O. Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, posted on any website, or transmitted in any form or by any means—digital, electronic, scanning, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without written permission from the publisher, except for brief quotations in printed reviews and articles.
The persons and events portrayed in this work of fiction are the creations of the author, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Published in association with Books & Such Agency.
Scripture on
pages 107
, and
is from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Scripture on
pages 216
is from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been requested
Printed in the United States of America
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 / 18 17 16 15 14 13

For those I’ve rocked

and lullabied

and those who have rocked me


In its embryo stage, this story first found encouragement from author Deborah Raney, who said, “I expect to see these characters in print soon,” or words to that effect. Neither of us knew “soon” meant eight years or that I’d give birth to other books before this one. Thank you, Deb, for seeing something worth waiting for.

Before Barbara Scott moved from editor to agent, she prayed over story ideas I’d presented to her and then pointed to this one. Her radar detected something even I didn’t know would be in the finished novel. Thank you, Barbara, for your well-honed listening skills.

My Abingdon editor, Ramona Richards, blessed me deeply during this process, championing the book and the way it was written, encouraging me when I needed it most, and introducing me to the joy of working with editor Jamie Chavez for the substantive edit. Much gratitude to you both and to all of the brilliant and talented Abingdon Press team. Thank you, too, for a book cover that tells a story by itself.

The true heart of everything I write is tended by friend and agent, Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency. She works and lives with an elegance of spirit that calls me higher.

Thank you to early readers Andrea, Amy, Becky, and Jean. Your comments nourished my soul while my mind wrangled with the scenes. Amy, extra gratitude to you for reading the whole manuscript on a two-inch phone screen and for being the person whose voice first called me Mama. Thank you to my daughter, sons, son-in-law, siblings, and grandchildren for the privilege of loving you  . . .  and for loving me back.

Kathy, Julie, Jeane, NorthRidge family, Twila, Michelle, Shannon, Jackie, Diane, Robin—your labors and support are not forgotten. Becky, thanks for letting me borrow your name
for a character and for modeling what it means to be a woman of excellence.

I’m grateful for my steadfast behind-the-scenes team of friends who pray for my stories without knowing all the details.

Thank you for your influence and education, ACFW.

Deep gratitude to my Beloved, whose magnificent invention—grace—shapes the ink strokes and what lies beneath them. And to my beloved, Bill, who listens to the constant clicking of the computer keyboard and hears the music of hope.

The sound of our falling is the call that sends Him to catch us



The hand on her cheek weighed no more than a birthmark. It fluttered, stirred by the breeze of a dream, but remained tethered to Becky’s face.

Her neck stiffened. A neutral position was out of the question. She was trapped at an odd angle between the arm of the porch swing and the breath of the child.

With one foot planted on the porch’s floorboards, and the rest of her a cradle, Becky kept the swing in motion. A smooth backstroke. Hesitation. Then as she lifted her foot, the forward stroke was accompanied by a two-toned creak the baby must have thought was white noise.

Becky guessed thirteen pounds. The bulk lying stomach-down across her torso like a seat belt might have come into the world a wisp of six pounds—less than a gallon of milk. But seven hundred bottles later, give or take, and he could hold his own against a Costco-sized bag of sugar.

A sweat bee buzzed a fly-by. Becky waved it off. Baby drool puddled at the top of her breastbone. She let it be, let it be.

The rich, woody scent of the neighbor’s cottonwoods melded with the lingering aroma of her caramel latte, the one
in her favorite pottery mug on the small table just out of reach. The mug, her book, sanity—so much seemed just out of reach.

The baby lifted his head. Feather lashes still closed, he nestled the opposite cheek into the hollow of her neck. She patted his diapered bottom with a rhythmic, unspoken “Shh. Back to sleep, little one.”

The buzz returned, but not above them. Underneath Becky’s right hip, her cell phone thrummed. She reached for it, motionless except for the espionage-worthy stealth of her retrieve arm and the unbroken choreography of her swing foot.

The phone buzzed again. She held it away from her, saw the familiar caller ID, and hit the “talk” button with her thumb. “What’s up, Lauren?”

An opportunity, no doubt. Chance
du jour

A finals study group that included two brainiacs and a certified member of the National Honor Society had invited Lauren to a cram-fest.

“Please don’t stay out late.” Becky felt the vibrations of her words in her chest. The baby lifted his head and nestled, facing the other direction again.

Not late, Lauren answered. No. But Becky did realize the group would have to go get something to eat after studying, didn’t she?

Becky disconnected the call. She may or may not have remembered to say good-bye.

The baby oozed awake and pushed against her chest until he’d raised himself enough to lock gazes with her. Those denim-blue eyes looked so like his father’s, if her suspicions were correct about the child’s paternity. She brushed strands of cornsilk hair off his cherub forehead.

“Your mommy called.” Becky kissed one barely there eyebrow, then the other. “She says hi.”

Dodging scattered mounds of clothes—distinguishable as clean or dirty only by odor—Becky crossed Lauren’s room to the crib lodged between Lauren’s dresser and her shoe jungle. Well-practiced, Becky eased the baby from her shoulder to the mattress. She pulled a blanket from the corner of the crib, but its sour smell told her it belonged in one of the piles on the floor, not wrapped around her grandson. Stifling a groan, she bent to the plastic storage tub tucked under the crib. One clean blanket, too thick for an Indian summer afternoon.

Laying babies on their backs? The “let’s change everything we knew for sure” revised recommendation from the pediatric society or some other entity still disturbed her. Hard habit to break. Aren’t they all?

Her dentist wouldn’t appreciate her new habit of grinding her back teeth. She untensed her jaw, laid the blanket up to Jackson’s waist, then exited the room with an armload of laundry she shouldn’t have to wash.

Mid-hallway, she leaned against the wall. Baby socks and a pair of skinny jeans drizzled to the floor as she searched for a way to readjust her load. Not the laundry. The pieces that stuck to the rough edges of her fractured hopes.

Monica’s well-intentioned voice thundered through the throbbing tunnels in her head. “Don’t do everything for Lauren, Becky. You’re enabling her. She’ll never take responsibility if she doesn’t have to.”

Great advice, Monica. And who suffers if I don’t bathe that child, if I don’t put diapers on my grocery list, if I don’t make sure he has something to wear that doesn’t smell like curdled milk? Lauren won’t even notice

Drafting an apology for words her friend would never hear, Becky pushed off from the wall and aimed for the laundry room.

Jackson’s cry stopped her before she recapped the detergent.

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