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The World for the Story

One of my kids left for Mexico today, and two leave tomorrow. Based on this information, can I share two embarrassing confessions?

  1. I didn’t want Tori to go because she leaves for college in a few weeks and I’m jealous for time with her.
  2. I didn’t want Whitney and Corey to go because they’ll be gone over the Fourth of July which is my favorite holiday and our family has never been apart on that day.

Shallow and self-centered? Absolutely. But really, truly living in my heart? Yep.

I’m not a novice at sending my kids to other countries – they’ve gone a lot. But I’ve found that no matter how old they get, I don’t get used to it. It’s not like life just goes on as usual…it’s like a piece of me is there too, and It’s frustrating to “go to Mexico” without GOING to Mexico, you know? It’s like all the worry and none of the turquoise water and fresh tortillas. My regular, ordinary thoughts get jumbled up with wondering what time it is there, and hoping Tori puts her passport back in her bag instead of leaving it on some bathroom counter (which I fear because she is exactly like me). That thought leads to a whole series of questions regarding how to replace a missing passport and/or smuggle a girl out of the country who has misplaced one. I review the things they packed, and then hope they’ll survive if their luggage ends up in Montana instead of Mexico. I hope they’re sleeping well and eating well and aren’t getting sick or lonely or frustrated at the people they would otherwise enjoy being with.

I know these sound like the obsessive ramblings of an overprotective mother…but I also know that lots of mom’s – even the very bravest – would agree with me. You want to let go of them, but it’s hard to get the thoughts of them to let go of you.

We sing a song by United that says, “I would give the world to tell Your story.” I used to love that line, until it stopped being about me. Because it’s a whole new proposition to sing: “I would give my kids to tell Your story.” It’s a big deal to release them to all that’s contained in the unknown…to give them to another place…to launch them into a dangerous destiny. It wouldn’t really be worth it, except for this truth: the story of Jesus is life-changing and world-shaking and it must be told in every corner of the earth.

Eternity insists on it.

And so I will give my kids to that purpose, knowing that Heaven will win and will not be in debt to me.

Viva la Mexico,


June 25, 2008 - 11:10 am

Tara - “Dangerous Destiny” might just be my new favorite phrase

June 25, 2008 - 8:55 pm

Elisa - I live in a different town than my mom, but we still had the anxious “be safe” conversation and I am confident she will worry the whole time. Apparently it is universal. Speaking of Mexico, I should stop reading and go finish packing. πŸ™‚

June 25, 2008 - 9:10 pm

bolovesjoe - Yeah, I think we should form some sort of “irrational fears confessional & support group.” Maybe an 800 number or something so moms have someone to talk to about this stuff…other than dads…who get a little tired of it by day 2. πŸ™‚

Tara – I’m glad you’re back. Coffee soon!

June 25, 2008 - 10:45 pm

Kristin Bryan - This post made me tear up and I don’t even HAVE kids yet. (sometimes I hate being a girl.. mostly only when I cry at things that shouldn’t make me cry.. and about 12 other times throughout the year)

June 25, 2008 - 10:47 pm

Kristin Bryan - We have always talked about how we want to travel a lot when we have kids so that they can see the world and serve the nations.. my mom is perfectly fine with the danger that puts us in, but she says there’s no way she’s letting us take her grandkids.
on the other hand.. that means free babysitter.. so maybe that’s not so bad after all! πŸ™‚

June 26, 2008 - 4:45 am

bolovesjoe - Kristin: crying needlessly? Totally pregnant! Seriously, I keep waiting for the deluge of ’06-’07 weddings to become ’08-’09 baby showers, but it’s pretty slow going so far. You and Luke should definitely pave the way! You’ve almost had a whole year to yourselves and you have free babysitting, so I think now’s the time.

June 26, 2008 - 6:50 am

cass-a-rooh - Seriously, someday your kids will be SO thankful you let them go!!!

It is one of the things i am most thankful for in my parents… they encouraged us to pursue our dreams no matter how crazy and far they took us! They knew God’s call was on our family and in that they would have to release us… however now that we are all spreading out… we are wondering when we will all be together for a family pic… perhaps Easter ’09!!!!!

June 26, 2008 - 7:04 am

Kristin Bryan - I’m for sure not going to show my mom your blog now.. because she would have you hung for that last comment.
she’s the one talking us out of having kids soon.
Our plan was originally to start trying this Fall.. but plans are changing.. the real estate market is slow.. etc…
Plus, you know me and my anal (i mean analytical) planning.. I’ve already figured out the best time of the year financially to get pregnant (insurance deductibles, etc.)

June 26, 2008 - 7:06 am

Kristin Bryan - …so.. by my calculations, it would be financially prudent to start having children on 4:32 pm on October 12th, 2014 (not taking into account any leap years)

June 26, 2008 - 7:08 am

Kristin Bryan - **AT 4:32pm** (stupid typos)

Attention Single Men…

…please marry Mary. I know you like bullet points, so here they are:

  1. While she was still young, God asked her for a really big favor and she said YES. That kind of woman would probably say yes when you need a favor or two as well.
  2. She received some of the biggest and coolest prophetic words in all of history and didn’t tell anyone. A woman who knows the meaning of the word ponder is a rare treasure indeed.
  3. She understood the full scope of the call of God on her son’s life and she walked it out with Him to the very end. No running, fainting, bargaining or manipulating; during those long, wretched hours on the cross – she stood where He could see her (wow, this makes me cry every time). A woman who embraces the entirety of God’s work in your life – and not just the parts that make her look or feel good – is hard to find and worth fighting for.

I know that the Mary’s of the generation are almost as hard-to-find as the Jehoshaphat’s. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, because they’re not a dime-a-dozen, they do tend to stand out.

And a note to all Mary’s and ‘Phat’s (tm: Helen) who find one another: please do the world a favor and have many, many children!



June 24, 2008 - 2:15 pm

cass-a-rooh - yes please! These last 2 posts are wonderful!!
I promise to find a “phat” and have lots of children… or at least invest in lots of children!!! the hard part is fining one!

check out my friend’s blog and the thoughts of a 3 year old about “finding a guy”(it’s the second post down);

June 24, 2008 - 10:59 pm

bolovesjoe - Cassie – not only is a good man hard to find – so is a good blog and I LOVE hers! She has a great “voice”, you know? Thanks for the link! Your man will find you (Katie loves that term “your man”…you should ask her about it). This should give you great peace knowing that it’s all his fault that you’re still waiting. When he comes along, right after you say YES, you can smack him and ask him what took him so long. If he says, “Sorry – I was rescuing children and puppies from natural disaster and nefarious creatures, but I came as soon as I could,” then he is forgiven. Any other excuse? Sketchy, but still – reluctantly – forgiven.

June 25, 2008 - 1:21 am

Kristin Bryan - another bit of advice.. when he finds you.. don’t run away screaming πŸ˜‰ eventually he’ll catch up to you.
…not speaking from experience or anything..

June 25, 2008 - 1:24 am

Kristin Bryan - I’m pretty sure I couldn’t stand by and watch my son be tortured on a cross.. even if God told me too.. so apparently I’m not a Mary, and Luke and I will take that into consideration when planning the number of children to have.
My apologies in advance for the “less-than-stellar” children that will result from my un-Mary-ness.

June 25, 2008 - 5:44 am

Katie - Cassie – I love that blog as well.

Bo – Your cruelty runs deep…and I’m not singing it anymore. Ha!

June 25, 2008 - 5:45 am

Katie - Cassie – Bo really likes bats. She can’t get enough of those winged creatures. πŸ™‚

June 25, 2008 - 6:32 am

bolovesjoe - Wow…somewhere along the line I totally lost control of the comments section of this thing. πŸ™‚

Kristin – I’m glad you let Luke catch you! I have no doubt your children will be stellar and strong and…scrappy (searching for another “s” there and “smart” seemed kind of boring).

Katie – You’re out of the song and the NEW song is “Happpppppppy Biiiiirrrrthdaaaaaaay!” Yay! My Outlook rejoiced the day you were born.

Cassie: Ignore Katie…she’s delirious from the server being down at work.

June 26, 2008 - 6:43 am

cass-a-rooh - ha ha ha!!!
i love this little conversation!

Kristen- can i please actually meet you sometime… other than the fact that i read your blog and have passed you in the halls a million times, we have never actually met, and i would enjoy actually being able to say hello when you come into Red Robin with your mom!

Bo- thanks for reassuring me that i can slap him and ask, “what took so long?” =) I’m glad you like Amanda’s blog.. she’s super great and her “voice” is just as sweet in real life!!!

Katie- glad you liked the blog… I asked Evelyn(little girl) to let me know if she finds a plethora of godly guys… and i will be sure to pass on the news if they appear to be heading to Bend in search of amazing godly wives!

July 5, 2008 - 8:49 pm

Ann Dunagan - Wow Bo.

I just returned from Africa (a wonderfully heart-wrenching time and the best momma-daughter time with Christi I’ve had in a long while). At the moment I’m checking emails and blogs and such. This particular entry is fabulous!!!

Oh, may I be a Mary-kind-of-mom . . . embracing (as you say) God’s entirety for my life and for the lives of each of our kids. And yes, I hope all of ours have many, many kiddos too.

Blessings to you, my dear friend!

July 5, 2008 - 10:11 pm

Bo - Welcome back, Ann! You are, indeed, that kind of mom. πŸ™‚

Attention Single Women…

…please marry Jehoshaphat. Thank you.

Seriously, I read his story again this morning (2 Chronicles 20) and I was struck by the things that make a man truly attractive: 1) admitting he doesn’t know what to do next 2) demonstrating humility in front of God and people 3) leading them in fairly outrageous worship 4) plundering the stinkin’ enemy. Um…can I just say: that’s pretty hot?

Where – by the way – ARE all the Jehoshaphat’s of this generation? I know a few, but not enough. There’s a Jehoshaphat shortage for sure, but if I were single I absolutely wouldn’t waste my time on anything less.

My .02 on a Saturday (I’m going to go spend the rest on coffee),


P.S. Please don’t stop reading my blog because I called a king of Judah hot. I think Eugene Peterson probably wanted to but didn’t want to deal with all the emails.

June 22, 2008 - 7:19 am

helenw13 - Alright…you made me laugh after a long hot day on the softball field…actually in a portable chair watching those on the field but nonetheless hot…

We must be reading the same pages these days…I really should consult you on writing my cover to cover recaps…you are much more succinct and get to the main point…

But I think for this generation you could just call him “phat” for short…I can say that to you because there are no teen creatures around to roll their eyes and sigh at my lame attempt to be in step…ha

June 22, 2008 - 12:16 pm

Angie - I somehow found your site through a friend of a friend of a friend… uh, no real clue how I got here. But I’m thinking that somehow God knew that I needed to read your words. Not just this post, though I’ll keep ‘Phat’ in mind for a future husband. πŸ™‚

Your words are definitely inspired from God and I thank you for being obedient to him. I needed to hear some of the things you wrote. I’ll be back…

June 22, 2008 - 2:28 pm

Jezi - haha, i completly agree with you Bo! ive been woundering the same thing, where all the Jehoshaphat’s? LOL. I think Gods still working on some of them. this is where patience kicks in. πŸ™‚

June 22, 2008 - 10:17 pm

bolovesjoe - Helen – ‘Phat is gonna stick. I’m sure of it.

Angie – welcome! Thanks for the encouragement. I’m amazed at the way the blog world connects through a maze of clicks and twists and turns. I’m glad you found your way here.

Jezi – I’m thinking that you have the perfect name to marry an ACTUAL Jehoshaphat! That would be cute and I would buy you monogrammed beach towels for sure!

June 23, 2008 - 1:30 pm

Corina Burgess - BO:

I have a “Lancephat” who has amazing qualities and with one week left of G42 Internship, no prospects of a wife. HA! My baby boy turns 23 this Friday. (it was tough being a mom at 7!) So, I’m takin applications for future daughter in laws. Chalupas need not apply! Love and miss you! I always think of Whit’s b-day cause its the first day you can get REALLY GOOD watermelon!

June 24, 2008 - 6:50 am

bolovesjoe - Oh, I love Lance! And I’ll put the word out that the line forms at your door. I can’t believe how old our kids are getting. This year, we had the milestone birthdays: 13, 18 & 21. Expensive! Tell Lance I said it really is about time to start getting serious about finding a nice girl to make his mom happy! πŸ™‚

June 25, 2008 - 5:48 am

Katie - Bo,

Looks like you have all you need to write that great teen read: “P.H.A.T. – The best man is a PHAT man.”

All these comments have made me laugh so thanks so all. Especially you Corina with “Lancephat.” πŸ™‚

June 25, 2008 - 10:27 am

bolovesjoe - Katie – the only thing that’s stopping me is finding a killer acronym for P.H.A.T. Pre Husband Aptitude Test seemed a little too clinical. I’m leaving it to you because you’re great at those “wordy” things.

June 25, 2008 - 12:26 pm

Katie - I think the solution can be found, thanks to Stuff Christians Like. I would like to attribute this one to God Flavor – aka (in case you didn’t read the post yet) putting a Christian spin on secular ideas. Well, the original is Pretty, Hot And Tempting. I say you go with Patient, Holy And Trustworthy. I know, I know – it’s terrible and cheesy in ways nobody can enjoy. But such is the rule for Christianized acronyms.

June 25, 2008 - 9:17 pm

bolovesjoe - Well played, Katie.

I also like the very spiritual: Praying Hard and Tenaciously. Or the very approachable: Paying Hardly any Tithe.

Seriously…going to do real life now.

June 26, 2008 - 11:59 am

Katie - Oh so good!

A. Real life is overrated, especially when the network is down.
B. Pursuing Her All Times. (not as good as yours, but those are hard!)

July 7, 2008 - 12:37 am

Joann - Not to downplay “Phat” and his tempting-ness, Bo, but I’ve always been partial to Joshua (just ask Katie). Seriously, the guy was Moses’s sidekick, a phenomenal warrior, had faith when all his peers were freaking out about giants, he hung out partway up the mountain while God & Moses chilled with the Ten Commandments and warned Moses of the partying in the Israelite camp, and he lingered in the Tent of Meeting even after Moses headed home for the day. He’s my Old Testament hunk (kind of like a celebrity crush, but even less likely to happen).

July 7, 2008 - 5:00 am

bolovesjoe - Excellent observation, Joann. Joshua for sure belongs on the If You Could Date a Bible Character Who’s Name Starts with J list. I’d throw Jabez in there, too, because he prayed a cool prayer without even knowing it would one day make him famous.

A Pictorial Journey to Shopping Nirvana

And by “Nirvana”, I of course mean “Bridgeport”, the most wonderful shopping experience in our tiny little state. I love Bridgeport and my family endured my love for it with a mostly-great attitude this past weekend. Here’s a little of the love:

Tess bought a fantastic little shirt at this very store – on sale for like $20 bucks!

Running low on pink dots? Here’s the store for you!

My son, who is also a boy, which is also known as “pre-man” – has already developed a certain, shall we say, distaste for shopping. Yes, let’s go ahead and say it. But let’s also say: how cute is my pre-man son?

And here’s the actual man-sized version:

I like him! He’s a good sport with the shopping!

Fortunately, there are things that men appreciate about shopping at the wonderful Bridgeport. No, NOT Orange-stupid-Julius. Something way better.

Gelato! It is a marvel. I love the shop that sells it at Bridgeport and they were giving out free samples on this wonderfully wonderful day. The one down in the left corner? That’s the one I picked! It’s Strawberry Lemonade and if love didn’t make the world go round, then Strawberry Lemonade gelato would totally get the job done.

Did I mention I LOVE this little shop? It’s so European that it seems it should be spelled Shoppe. Isn’t that the true test of culture?

While my family finished their creamy, dreamy desserts, I ventured into one of my favorite stores on the planet. You know how they used to tie a rope around the ankle of the priest before he went into the Holy of Holies…just in case he never came out? Well, this store isn’t technically holy…but I do feel sometimes that I will need to be drug…dragged?…out by a rope or my purse handle or something.

Oblation sells a plethora of amazing papers. Everything from thank you notes to invitations to specialty ribbons grace it’s lovely interior. Wide, wooden racks hold glossy sheets of gift wrap, but at $4 per sheet, you want to make sure the gift is really, definitely worthy. Seriously, I generally come out of this store speaking in an accent and feeling like I could totally write a novel with only a quill and ink like Jane Austen. Did Jane use a quill? I hope so because the thought of her clicking away on a blackberry is disillusioning. Please note the distasteful chain store trying to get attention in the background.

Tess loves shopping and that makes me love Tess more than I love that other kid in the picture. Kidding! I totally love him but…you know…he’s got to work harder for it. Still, I kid.

Finally, the day ends with a little piece of beverage heaven-on-earth.

It was sad to leave the almost-naked-lady statue and the fountain that has fire billowing out of the top and Z Gallerie and all the other wonders. But, alas, our day was done and so was my family.

Til next time,


June 20, 2008 - 11:07 pm

helenw13 - When I was 19 and studied a semester abroad…I traveled to Italy during our 3 1/2 Easter break…we took in the Pope on Easter Sunday but much of our time was spent trying to figure how we could eat gelato as much as humanly possible…so forget the dreaded freshman 10…I came back to the states with a sophomore semester 10…too much pasta, gelato and Saturday sweet night with Danish family…I am so glad that I don’t need a passport to indulge in one of the best confections ever…

June 21, 2008 - 12:07 am

bolovesjoe - Oh, Helen, your comment made me long for another trip that DOES require a passport. I actually first had gelato in London at a little Italian dessert shop and it reminds me so much of that experience. I’d love to go back and I don’t know what I would call the weight gain – maybe the “tourist 10” – but it would be worth it!

June 24, 2008 - 12:56 pm

Paige - Hi Bo. I love this post and can I just say Yes and Amen? Awesome post. I love it!

Recommended Summer Reading

I thought this was such a great idea for a post until I realized: I don’t have much to recommend. I mean, my job demands a LOT of reading – but I don’t think Understanding Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain is really the kind of stuff you take to the beach to read with a lemonade, you know? So, I’m asking for your help. What books have you loved enough that you would tell someone to spend their precious vacation time on?

I have oneThe Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeanette Walls – and I have to warn you: the language is as rough as the subject matter. It’s not “light” but it is riveting.

Also, my friend, Marla, has recommended Dead Heat by Joel Rosenberg. It’s the fifth in a series of political thrillers that actually looks like just the ticket for my summer, so I’m going to start with the first book The Last Jihad on my vacation in July.

So, the question is: what’s the best book ever to read from the comfort of a lounge chair under the shade of a big tree while someone else does your laundry? (It could happen)

Dreaming of hot sun and cold lemonade,


June 19, 2008 - 12:35 pm

cassie - i am still suggesting the Shack to people, but you have already read that one…
hmmm… most of the books i read are disciplship books or relationship books, all of which you have probably read for work. =)

i’ll think on this and get back to you.

June 19, 2008 - 9:48 pm

Ann Dunagan - For inspiration during my upcoming airplane time (en route to AFRICA in a few days), I’m bringing a big-hefty book about the life and original journal writings of George Mueller (a well-known missionary from the 1800s – known for trusting God and raising thousands of orphans in Bristol England). At the moment, I’m needing encouragement about deeper prayer and an increased level of faith . . . for God and His heart for orphans. It’s not exactly a lemonaid-sipping book, but I don’t quite have time for that at the moment.

Love you!

June 20, 2008 - 12:35 am

Kristin Bryan - I just read the book Escape by Carolyn Jessop (she’s the woman that escaped with her 8 children from the FLDS polygamous community) She is also the one that got the investigation started that ultimately put “prophet” Warren James behind bars.
I have always been really interested in cults and the bizarrity (yep, made that word up) of the people that buy into them.
This book is especially interesting because you normally don’t get to hear what life is actually like LIVING in the cult, because they’re very secretive.. and not many women make it out of the FLDS..
so all in all – very good read!
you do have to be “prepared” though.. she doesn’t hold much back when she talks about what its like to sleep with a 60 year old man as an 18 year old on her wedding night.. and then what it’s like “sharing” your husband with other wives.. she’s not crude, but she is also honest.

June 20, 2008 - 12:36 am

Kristin Bryan - oh, and it reads like fiction even though it’s true.. mostly because the things that go on don’t even come close to seeming real.
and there is a lot of child abuse that you have to prepare yourself for as well.

June 20, 2008 - 3:30 am

bolovesjoe - Cassie – as long as you’re in discipleship mode, you should read Time Peace by Ellen Vaughn. So good.

Kristen – I read some of that at Costco the other day and it was remarkable. And, yes, filled with all manner of bizzarity.

Ann – Me too! I need faith for orphans too! We’ve been putting lots of prayer and planning into how we can help with the educational component of the KKV orphans and while it’s exhilarating, it’s also such a God-sized task that…well…it just requires some big faith. George Mueller’s life is such an inspiration. I’ve been praying for your trip and your orphans and I know God is up to something grand!

June 23, 2008 - 5:43 am

Ann Dunagan - Bo – google is so amazing. I was curious to hear the details of the KKV orphans – and within seconds I’m connected to your family’s project in Nairobi. wow.

Christi and I leave for Africa in the morning. We’re both exhausted from a weekend state homeschool conference (where we BOTH spoke!!!) and I’m going to grab ahold of that “something grand” that you’re expecting. (And btw, I enjoyed your Jehosaphat blog.)

June 25, 2008 - 10:11 pm

becky sipe - By far my favorite book is Authentic Beauty. It’s such an amazing book.

June 26, 2008 - 4:46 am

bolovesjoe - Becky – I’ve heard great things about that book, but I’ve never read it. Thanks for the great suggestion!