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One.

An Easy Bake oven. Rocky Road ice cream. A baby monkey. A handsome husband.

A Pong game. A better teacher. An awesome locker partner. A pink satin jacket. A handsome husband.

A part time job. A day without back pain. A worthy win. A handsome (and passionate) husband.

A drivers license. A stereo with cassette player. An acceptance letter. A good roommate. A godly (and hopefully handsome) husband.

Another part time job. A way to love a hard-to-love friend. A chance to share Jesus. A decent haircut.

A great marriage. A full time job. A car that would run. A healthy baby. A house of our own. A strong sense of purpose. A miracle for Linda. A message to speak. A new gift of grace. A friend I could trust.

A green light. A paid bill. A break in my speaking schedule. A chance to get away.

All these things I have prayed for at some time in my life. Some important, some not at all. Some long-lasting (23 years with the handsome, passionate man of my dreams), some just vapor (Pong, anyone?)

My heart fairly tumbles over itself with desires and dreams and strategies and schemes. It churns and spins over words and wants and sometimes forgets that all of life…all that I need…everything that works and wins is captured in One Thing.

One desire.

And from that desire springs…well, everything else. Over the past few months, as His presence has become the first and favorite priority of my life, Psalm 27 has become the distillation of my 42-year wish list…the anthem of my existence. Everything. And as I read it this morning, I was amazed to find my own heart woven in the words. I laughed and cried and all I could say is: finally. It’s good to finally and fully want the only thing that I can truly have.

Psalm 27:4-5 I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: to live with Him in His house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at His feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, the perfect getaway from the buzz of traffic.

February 24, 2008 - 10:09 pm

Vitoria Ashley - Congratulations. You’ve done what I’ve always hoped and dreamed and wished was possible but wasn’t entirely sure it was. How wonderful that it has been done by the one person whom I wish the most to be like and am so very inherently similar to. i want you to know that I’m trying. It hasn’t looked that way for a little while, but I really, truly am. I hope someday to be everything you think I can be. Love, your daughter.

February 25, 2008 - 5:55 am

Jessica Carpenter - So… I just have to pursue God for 20 more years and I’ll be able to stop praying for a handsome husband with astonishingly good character :). Meanwhile… we still patiently await The Ultimate List for the Optimistic but Indefinitely Single Gal! Thanks for all the great blogging Bo- you’re so encouraging!

If you’re still looking for yet more books for your parenting class, I’ve heard Parenting with Love and Logic is quite good!

February 25, 2008 - 5:55 am

bolovesjoe - Ah, beautiful Tori…you are real. You’re not made of marshmallow and you’re not a copy of anyone else. You are real, and real people…keep trying and seeking and winning and losing and worshiping in the middle of all the noise of life. I love you more than words can say and I know this beyond everything else: He will be found by you.

February 25, 2008 - 4:18 pm

bolovesjoe - Jessica, two things: 1) Why does it still shock me that I am 20 years older than you…than anyone? Yikes! 2) I feel that you totally have the anointing to write The List because that’s the most inspired title I’ve ever heard! However, I do feel that almost-21 is a little early in life to employ the word “Indefinitely”. I miss you – come visit soon.

February 26, 2008 - 6:20 am

cass-a-rooh - why do i so often cry when i read what you write?
simply amazing.

this is inspiring and encouraging. I know that in 20 years i will write a blog post and say FINALLY! I will also say it many times between now and then… but i am excited for then to look back at now and say WOW and FINALLY!

Weekend Treasures.

Monday is an interesting day, yes? The start of something new (good). The end of the weekend (bad).

A quick reflection on the weekend at the Stern home. Tessie had 10 girls over for her birthday. Ten thirteen-year-olds + 5 hours = WOW. To celebrate the life and liberty of Tess Stern, we made amazing pound cake sundaes. So named, because of the pounds you will gain.

On Saturday, I got to catch up on some reading. I’m working on research for a parenting conference I’m planning for May, and I’ve been sorting through books, books, books…as well as DVD’s and other resources so we can offer the parents and families at our church the very best stuff available. So, my parenting book treasure for this weekend is: Single Parenting That Works by Dr. Kevin Leman. If you are a single parent or you know and love one, pick up this book…it’s just wonderfully balanced and encouraging. (If you know of a great book on marriage or parenting, PLEASE shoot me a comment ASAP. I’m always looking…)

I ran into another treasure in the March issue of Bon Appetit. There, among the glossy food-filled pages was a column on cinnamon rolls that was warm and wonderful (just like the perfect cinnamon roll). I checked out the author’s blog and: MORE wonderful! Even if you’re not a foodie, you gotta check it out at Orangette.

Sunday was my first Sunday in about 8 weeks that I’ve been able to just go to church and not speak anywhere. Oh, truly…SO great! And, my treasure of the weekend was absolutely Pastor Ken’s message called Never Give Up .  If you get a chance, give a listen!  I’m up to bat this weekend in the Moses series and I’m speaking on the 10 plagues and the Passover and I’m SO excited! Studying for it has just been remarkable.

So, that’s my weekend. A little of everything. A lot of wonderful. I wanted to pass the treasures along to you. Can’t wait to see what the week has in store…oh, yeah, Valentine’s Day! OH…I almost forgot! I have a great list for single people and I hope to get it posted before Thursday. I promised Jessica and Mekenzie…it shall be done!

My Tess.

Tess Stern was born on a snowy, 7-degree day in the middle of the heartland.  She’s our only true Cornhusker – thus, the red hair.  She came during a really difficult and dark time in my life and her arrival into our world was the clearest picture I’ve ever seen of how God makes all things new.  He’s always at work.  Always building.  Always beautiful.

Besides her beautiful red hair, Tess walks life out with a quiet dignity that gives her a sense of mystery…like you just can’t quite figure her out.  She’s definitely picked up the Stern woman sass and can deliver a clever line in a way that I’m sure will get her in trouble one day, but for now just makes me laugh and proud.  Her love for Jesus and family is something I treasure and her loyalty to friends is something that I – at 42 – envy.   Without a doubt, I am blessed to know her and beyond blessed to be her mom.

I love you, Miss Stern.  Happy Birthday.

Mom

February 10, 2008 - 10:20 pm

Cher - How well I remember the range of emotions surrounding the planning and arrival of Miss Tess Abigail. I will forever treasure the hours holding her in the hospital and praying over her and your family…a lot like Moses declaring to the enemy, “Let my people go!”. It was intense and it was warfare. I will also never forget the plane taking off…as scheduled…with you and your beautiful daughters heading to the promised land of Oregon and knowing that it was nothing short of a miracle.

Dearest Tess, what a divine appointment God has given to you in His Kingdom. My prayers will always continue just like they began 13 years ago. I love you!

Cher

February 10, 2008 - 11:22 pm

Tess - Thank you so much, Mom and aunt Cheryl. That was an amazing thing to blog about!!!:) I love you so much!

♥Tess♥

February 15, 2008 - 4:13 am

Pam - Yeah so…I’m gonna be profound, too.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TESS! YOU ROCK!

how was that? 🙂

Pieces.

Psalm5:3 Every morning You’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on Your altar and watch for fire to descend…
So beautiful, this picture of letting go of these life-pieces that – as empty or ugly as they are – tend to consume my time and attention. The ones that are okay and well-formed, I feel frantic to push to the front of the stage so people believe that I’m okay and well-formed. The ones that are weak and anemic I have to work hard to hide away to keep them from stealing the show. In fact, I think that I’ve felt in order to really sacrifice my life to God, I have to fix the broken parts first, or get them cleaned up or – at the very least – thrown into neutral. This scripture ends that game. Sacrifice is just putting it all out there for Him to rebuild or renew or start over. A life God can use is not a life already constructed and functioning with no issues…it’s just a life that says ‘yes’ to His plan, His surgery, His therapy and His transformation. And when it’s HIS transformation, it works, it’s perfect…and it sticks.
February 11, 2008 - 4:09 am

helenw13 - Love this Bo…it is the second time I have read it and I still don’t know how to respond because it seems like you have said it all…although I felt very much like this in church this morning as the pastor had us literally and physically push through the door to all that God desires us to possess and pulling it back into us…I want all His stuff and none of my stuff whatsoever…and probably what I should have said instead of adding more of my stuff was AMEN and AMEN!

Oh…and you have been tagged…if you do such things…visit my site…if you are so inclined.

February 11, 2008 - 10:26 pm

bolovesjoe - Oh – that’s a fun tag! I do “random” really well…I think maybe I was BORN for random. 🙂

$15 is the new $10.

I’m glad you found me here at WordPress! As I was hopelessly trying to sleep last night, I was thinking about what a weird amount of money fifteen dollars is. It seems like way less than $20, which seems like real money. I tried to think of things that would really fall under the 15 mark, but would also be tremendously wonderful treats for my life. So, for your hypothetical reading enjoyment, we open with my thoughts on: What to do With $15

  1. MAC Lip gloss. $14. (Smashbox is my favorite because it doesn’t smell like cake batter or 7th-grader, but it’s outside the range by 3 bucks.)
  2. A plate of calamari at Deep. $13.
  3. The Zondervan Bible Handbook. $14.99. I LOVE this book! It’s loaded with maps and charts and commentary and all kinds of great stuff for those looking to unravel the mystery locked in the pages of the B.I.B.L.E.
  4. Six Dozen Life-changing Donut Holes at Richard’s Donuts (except I’m not going there anymore. I’m not. No.)
  5. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. How much therapy could $15 save you? Read this book and find out!
  6. This cute necklace at Forever 21. $12.99. I love jewelry that’s cheap enough to date – you don’t have to marry it!
  7. Lonely Planet’s Travel Guide to Mexico. Only about 10 bucks and I get to spend the day on the beach!
  8. It won’t buy you a cute little baby, but it definitely will feed, clothe & educate one for two weeks.

So…that’s my list. What would you do with $15 bucks?

February 7, 2008 - 4:58 am

cassie - hey Bo…
with $15.00 on a normal day this is what i would do:
$3.50= Lavendar Latte @ Backporch
$2.50= doing laundry
and try to save the rest…

on a “feeling crazy day” $15 would go like this:
$3.50= Lavendar Latte at Backporch
$3.00= lunch at Red Robin(it’s cheap cause i work there)
$2.79= Ben and Jerry’s Fish Food Ice Cream *YUM*
$3.00= Jane Austin Movie at Blockbuster
.99= song from itunes
and then save the rest =)

February 7, 2008 - 5:09 pm

bolovesjoe - Cassie – fun day! Though I’m a tried-and-true “just coffee” person, Dave recently convinced me to try a lavender latte and I was pleasantly surprised. Let’s visit Back Porch together soon. 🙂

February 7, 2008 - 9:26 pm

Katie - I must say that I am quite proud to own 3 of those items already! But if we’re talking about how far $15.00 can go – that’s 2-3 pairs of super cute shoes frugally acquired by my clearance-loving self! 🙂

February 7, 2008 - 10:44 pm

helenw13 - Hello Bo…well, welcome to WordPress…it kind of cracks me up because a few weeks ago, I nearly did the same thing in reverse…I felt like I had made big mistake and should switch to Blogger because there were things I wanted to add to my blog that WordPress won’t allow…such as javascript…but for now I am going to stay put and I may start simplifying…it seems a bit messy…

I like your look…

In my real life…this happened this morning:

gas money for Carlen-$10
goody money for Courtney as she waits for Carlen at her doctor appointment-$5

My wallet…empty!

But in a dream day…

I would grab a Moleskine journal…one that was just under $10
A fine Sharpie-$2
House coffee and ginger molasses cookie at Grand Central Baking-about $3

Maybe I will have to do that tomorrow…but I would only have to spend $3 because I have the rest!

Fun post!

I love your picture!

February 8, 2008 - 9:01 am

caleb and ashley - Based on statistics from a missions base Ashley and I visited in South Mexico in June…a soul costs about 80 cents to win. We exchange $14.40 for the potential of winning 18 souls, and then throw the left over 60 cents in a wishing well and wish for a million dollars!

February 8, 2008 - 4:32 pm

bolovesjoe - Caleb – I hope you win the million so you can build your 18 believers a church, send them a pastor and get the Decker’s a first-class round-trip ticket so they can launch MTI.