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Brutal: Deuteronomy 22-24. An R-rated, stomach-churning, bloody mess of impossible requirements for relationship.

Beautiful: Galatians 4. A passionate review of the grace-soaked benefits of the cross. Lost to found. Slave to son. Distant to dearly loved.

Brutal to beautiful, brought to you by the miracle of Easter (um, countdown? 10 days!)

P.S. Best .99 you’ll ever spend in preparation for Easter? This song right here.


So, last night I decided to make a big dinner to celebrate having the whole family home from Winter Camp. The whole family, however, ended up consisting of me and two kids. The rolls that I made (from scratch!) burned in the pan and the entire event careened wildly downhill after that. I could go into the dismal details, but here’s the recap:

Joe: “Um…mom?” (yeah, whatever follows these two words is never good news).

Bo (not very nice tone): “What Joe?”

Here there was a long pause while he worked up the courage to say:

“Um…I don’t so much like asparagus.”

This is where I should have paused and perhaps prayed for patience or wisdom. Nope.

“Um, Joe? I don’t so much care. You’re eating them.”

As I was adding them to his plate, I felt the sauce seeping through my oven mitt and onto my naked finger which ended up in the very same condition as the rolls. This made me the exact opposite of happy.

I realized at this point that my dinner was turning into a disaster, so I took a deep breath and decided NOT to care and – instead – to enjoy my kids and this time with them. And I even managed to do just that until Joe, skeptically eying his roll, said:

“Um, mom?”

Bo (Nice? No.): “What, Joe?”

Joe (trying to sound positive and hopeful so that I won’t recognize it as an incoming complaint): “My roll is pretty burnt.”

Seriously, say it like you’re telling someone it’s going to be a bee-yoo-tee-ful! day and you’ll have Joe’s strategy for confrontation in a nutshell.

Bo (snapping beneath the weight of the Very Last Straw): “You are a spoiled American. If you were in Africa, that roll would be the best thing you’ve ever seen!”

Yep, that’s right…it’s a brilliant argument and you can feel free to use it any time someone doesn’t like what you cook (that’s called “Take Home Value”, my friends!)

I silently and soberly reviewed the events of my celebration dinner. Failed food. Failed coping skills. Failed love.

A couple of minutes later, Tess – clearly reading the situation and going for a special spot in the will – said, “Mom, this was really good.”

And Josiah agreed.

And I hugged him and kissed his head and said Sorry for Being so Yelly Tonight – I Don’t Wanna be That Mom.

And he laughed and forgave me and said Can I be Done with my Chicken?

He and Tess did the dishes and I went downstairs to watch Rachel Ray make flawless Greek Chicken Kabobs. Did you know she makes $10,000,000 per year?

So that was it. Not a day full of failures, but definitely a dinner full of them. I’m really so thankful for the idea of tomorrow. For all the days and dinners that are to come. For lots of chances to have the perfect moment with my kids and for lots of motivation to keep working at it.

Failures? They just keep us humble and trying. And that makes them deceptively beautiful.

March 12, 2008 - 6:25 am

helenw13 - Been there…and by the way…Rachael Ray…just has dogs! They only whimper back and then take cover and take a nap!
Aaaahhhh…beauty in the mundane!

March 12, 2008 - 4:10 pm

bolovesjoe - LOL! SO true about Rachael Ray…so, so true. It seems unfair that someone without children to support takes home that kind of cash. However, it’s because of her that I learned the way to my dog’s heart is buttered toast and that has saved many house sitters!

March 12, 2008 - 5:25 pm

Katie - I can say Amen to that! Buttered toast = happy Abby (and thus happy, and much less scared, Katie)!!

March 12, 2008 - 8:30 pm

cassie - Can i say, THANK YOU?!

thanks for being a real mom… and a great mom!

my real-great mom has had many a night when situations were not so great and then the “sorry for being all yelly” talk that always made me cry, and say, “it’s ok mom.”

I love your blog.

March 12, 2008 - 10:45 pm

bolovesjoe - Cassie – it’s so good to hear from an actual well-adjust adult that a mom can mess up a few times (or more than a few – I hope!) and not have her kids end up on Dr. Phil. Phew!

March 13, 2008 - 2:38 am

Lindsey Diacogiannis - Bo… it is refreshing to hear the honesty of your blog! Keep being a great mom and being real!

many blessings! <

March 14, 2008 - 5:32 am

helenw13 - hmmm…buttered toast?! I think that is what our backyard neighbor has been throwing over the fence to quiet our sweet Hazel’s bark…very interesting!

March 15, 2008 - 7:50 pm

Cher - I wish reading your post wasn’t so deja vu! I thought for a moment you were revealing a dinner spent at my house.:) I will forever treasure your comment about the deceptive beauty of failure…and I will activily search for it in those moments when my flesh fails so horribly. The grace of God continues to give strength and new beginnings amidst the sadness of my failures.

What I Learned at Winter Camp

Steve, Josiah & I hit the road to join 400 teenagers (I almost said “screaming teenagers” but decided to be more positive in my approach…though that may be cancelled out by the fact that I told you what I almost said? Hmm…things to consider in my free time) at Wildhorse Canyon for Winter Camp 2008. We both got to speak and hang out with kids and meet some amazing people with really deep and passionate hearts who love teenagers enough to PAY to share their lives and cabins with them. I want to post some pictures and thoughts about this later, but for now, here are a few things I learned:

1) Dramamine. In spite of having been to Wildhorse at least 15 times prior, I still forgot to give my son – who gets sick in the car on the way to school – Dramamine.

2) Jr. High girls never fail to amaze me with their…um….fashion sense. One girl’s look could best be described as Marilyn Monroe meets Winnie the Pooh. Remarkable (and super cute in it’s own “she’s gonna hate looking at these pictures in 5 years but will still probably laugh really hard” kind of way).

3) Kids are hurting. I mean, not just the typical “growing up is hard” wounds but deep and defining things like a dad dying of brain cancer, parents who committed suicide…a kid who’s mom walked out on him two weeks before camp. Things like that flowed out this weekend in countless heart-wrenching stories. If we think this generation looks dark and brooding, it’s because they are, and with good reason. Their only hope for healing is Jesus and our only hope for the future is to help them find Jesus.

4) Parents who love their kids enough to send homemade cookies with them to camp are very rare and wonderful, indeed.

5) Parents who love their kids enough to pay the way of some of their friends to go as well are…simply put, heroic.

6) Don’t eat the scrambled eggs. Something just isn’t right there.

7) Though I speak in all kinds of places to all kinds of people, nothing in the world feels as weighty and important to me as speaking to 200 girls who are deciding what they’re going to do with their future, their bodies, their affections and their destiny. It’s just beyond beautiful to see them choose life. I determined this weekend to take – and to make – more opportunities to invest in this age group.

Those are my immediate thoughts on camp…I actually came home with my head just spinning with dreams and possibilities and ways to reach the young women of the next generation. If there are any other dreamers out there, let’s join forces and create something to equip these brave, beautiful ladies who are the moms and lawyers and school teachers and pastors and presidential candidates of the future.

March 10, 2008 - 3:42 pm

Cher - Amen Sisto!

March 10, 2008 - 8:52 pm

Kaci Bullis - My daughter came home so moved by your girls only session, we had the best talk ever! She said she feels her crown now!
I am with you lets find great people and join our “wonder woman bracelets” together and reach these girls

March 11, 2008 - 4:34 pm

cassie - hooray for Winter Camp 2008…

my blog will soon be posted with pics and stories!!!!

i must say YES AND AMEN to the statement about scrambled eggs and jr. high fashion sense!

Also…i’d love to join the force to love these girls more effectively…and watch them Hit the Mark for Jesus!

March 12, 2008 - 4:16 pm

bolovesjoe - Oh, Kaci – I LOVE the Wonder Woman bracelet! In fact, I often pretend to be deflecting bullets with them and people generally don’t get it.

And thanks, Cassie, for the affirmation on the eggs…I didn’t want to be alone in that.

Church Unlike Anything You've Ever Seen Anywhere, Anytime. Ever.

I recently read about a new church coming to our area, and it’s press release carried the same talking points of about 14 other churches in our town and about 85% (note: all numerical statistics contained herein are completely made-up for my own purposes) of all new churches forming right now. They all include some variation on the theme: church for twentysomethings, different than every other church.

I don’t know. I’m not against new churches – not at all. There are too-many-thousands of people in Central Oregon who are desperate for the gospel and I understand that the job is way too big for one or ten or two hundred churches.

Interesting, though, how the older generation treats change like the enemy while the next generation sees tradition as the enemy. Sometime, somewhere in our future, some prophetic and passionate dreamer is going build something great around the crazy idea that neither change nor tradition is the enemy and neither should be worshiped.

Two things I’m absolutely certain of: 1) The power and promise of The Church is not in its methodology, but in its true, timeless and unchanging Message. 2) There is no hope for lasting revival in any one generation if they are removed from the generations. No hope at all.

“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall tell of Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:3-4

March 6, 2008 - 5:25 pm

Cher - As usual, you said exactly what I feel, but I can’t communicate! It can get so discouraging waiting for that ‘church purpose/vision’ to come into balance. I wonder if I’ll see in in my lifetime? Thankfully, my Father knows me as an individual more than as a church member and the years have brought my relationship with Him to be one as a Father more than as a ‘church’ as well.

The Unorganized & Overflowing Bookshelf

A couple of people have asked about what I’m reading right now and so I’m answering that question because I’m super nice that way. These are in no particular order, but I am a pretty intentional reader so while they may look totally random, they’re all important for something I’m figuring out or working on or working through in my equally unorganized and overflowing head.

Woman in Charge: the Biography of Hilary Clinton by Carl Bernstein. I bought this book in July, when it looked for all the world like she was going to be our next president and I was hoping to find some truly unbiased information that would ease my troubled mind. My conclusion: I’ve rarely seen a life that has so much, that I envy so little (by contrast, see my post on Anna.)

Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore. A study on the amazing life of the apostle John. I got this on the $1 shelf at church and it was quite a brilliant investment.

My Single Mom Life, by Angela Thomas. I’m reading this for a Parenting conference I’m planning and I love it! Thomas manages to be really honest without veering down the slippery slope of self-pity and I think that’s quite a triumph.

What I Saw at the Revolution, by Peggy Noonan. How much do I love the ever-controversial Noonan? SO much! While not quite as steeped in Republicanism as she is, I love the way she uses words. This book is her take on one of the great political eras: the Reagan years. Interesting aside: I bought this book for .01 at Half. I’ve gotten SO many books this way and I’ve never been disappointed.

When God’s People Pray by Jim Cymbala. This is actually a book & six-session DVD study that I’m doing at my leisure and it’s terrifically good. My favorite quote so far: “anything God can do, prayer can do.” Let that sink in for a minute and then get off the internet and go stinkin’ pray something!

Women in Leadership Ministry by Dr. Jack Hayford. Great book, but – as with all Hayford books – I recommend keeping a dictionary at-the-ready. For those looking for a Biblical foundation for gender equality in ministry, this is the ticket. For those looking for women to be quiet, this is going to be mostly annoying. Continuing with the theme of “Bo is cheap”, this little book can be obtained for a mere 3 bucks at, or you can borrow mine when I’m done for FREE!

Wow – now that I started the list, I’m embarrassed at how many more there are that I don’t want to take time to include. I should start fewer books so I can actually finish them! I hesitate to ask, because I’ll probably go buy them and then get distracted from finishing these…but what are YOU reading?

March 3, 2008 - 10:03 pm

helenw13 - Thanks Bo…
I love to know what people are reading…mostly because I am nosy…but it is always great to get a free critique…

I love Angela Thomas…I have read two of her books…A Beautiful Offering and When Wallflowers Dance…who knows if I read them today would they have the same punch but they were both my heart’s cry at that time.

I would love to read or do the study on the Beloved Disciple…I love what she writes and teaches…I am starting Stepping Up with a friend this week…it is on the psalms of ascent…I am looking forward to it…I took my time…probably 6 months and did the Tabernacle study…so wonderful.

I hate to say that I just carried down a large stack of books that I cleared off my bookshelf in my bedroom, my floor, my night table and a few other places…our dog Hazel is so thankful to have some floor space again…most of them had not been finished and some not even started…so I am waiting for what I should pick up again…but you can always find that list of stacks in The Library at my place…

Have a blessed week and I hope Steve is home by now!


March 3, 2008 - 10:27 pm

bolovesjoe - Oh…the Psalms of Ascent…such beautiful, deep waters. I love Eugene Peterson’s commentary on them (Long Obedience in the Same Direction…was that the name? I think it changed titles along the way).

Steve IS home and I – much like Hazel – am a happy, happy girl! I’m gonna check out your library!

March 4, 2008 - 1:22 am

helenw13 - Oh yes…another book that I have really wanted to read for eons…maybe that would be good when I finish the study…the list goes on and on and on…

March 4, 2008 - 5:48 pm

Katie - Ok here we go…

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I love him so much – he’s just such a balanced and wise guy – and a martyr! Though I haven’t gotten very far in this book, I have learned how to spell his name! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Complete Works of Prayer by E.M. Bounds…need I say more? I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading this over and over and over again until the day I die.

Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordiero. I love this book that is refreshing my love for the Word!

The Shack by William Young. Talk about a book that is turning my world upside down. I’ve learned I can’t read this book in public anymore because I cry too much!

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzaro. Yet another book I will be reading until the day I die…

The Message Conversations. Okay, so it’s my Bible, but I love love love it!!!!

So…I’m really bad at finishing books. That’s my story…

March 4, 2008 - 6:29 pm

Lindsay Joy - My turn to admit to also starting a billion books, some of which even before I got married, took on the two week honeymoon and still have not finished…

The Seven Declarations of an Unshakable Life by Frank Damazio…It’s a great book with a million different nuggets. I don’t so much care for his writing style but truth is truth is truth.

Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elisabeth Elliot…I LOVE Elisabeth Elliot and sometimes I want to be her. This book reads more like a devotional so I don’t mind only picking it up every now and then. I think I would be overloaded if I read it all at once!

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas…He is revolutionizing the way I view marriage, and conviction comes every time I read. Maybe that’s why it’s taking me so long : )

And finally – No Greater Love by Mother Teresa…When I read her I feel like my grandma is talking to me.

There you go!

March 4, 2008 - 8:20 pm

bolovesjoe - Three things:
Helen: not to feed your book addiction, but “Long Obedience” is at for three little dollars…such a bargain!

Katie: your book list looks exactly like mine! No wonder we work together so well!

Lindsay: I taught a class built on Unshakable LIfe this year and I totally agree with your critique. Also, I read a little of No Greater Love every morning because I also can’t quite absorb more than that at once but I just love it.

March 5, 2008 - 12:50 am

Jessica Carpenter - A Grief Observed by C.S.Lewis- Its intensely sad, in the eventually uplifting way… and short… so maybe you’ll finish it??

Serve God, Save the Planet- It’s good… but I’ll never finish it until this semester of a million reading assignments is over!

Le Petite Prince- In an desperate attempt to not lose all the french I learned… and on the plus side, you’re at no risk of being tempted into reading it since it’s the wrong language (unless tu parle francais?)

Mountains of psychology articles, case reports, study write ups… Mountains. Try not to be too envious.

Just finished Mere Christianity and Surprised by Joy, loved them both!

Thanks for your blog comment Bo, I appreciate it SO much! I’m a total information super highway nerd who gets legitimately excited that you even read it ๐Ÿ™‚

March 5, 2008 - 1:49 am

helenw13 - Oh…I think I need to fast from buying books for awhile…but I will definitely check out…I was excited because I found the book from my quote last week for 1.99 just waiting to get it…nothing excites me like mail and mail that comes in book form…yippee…
How I love reading what others are reading…it reminds me of past loves and the promise of the future…

March 7, 2008 - 1:06 am

Tracy Hamaker - Hi Bo,
I just found you! How fun to read your words, you write like you speak-fabulously full of life!
I have to share what I am reading, often I read at least 2 books at a time and more often have multiple backups to begin immediately after puttin one down!

Breakthrough Prayer by Jim Cymbala, full of testimonies of the power of prayer! It echoes my heart about holding onto God’s word with the promise that a day will come when you see the fulfillment of it!

Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna
How to raise Spiritual Champions! I actually just finished this one. A must read for any parent pressing toward raising kids that don’t give into the world’s views but resolving to lead them into life-changing TRUTH!

Boundaries with Kids by Cloud/Townsend
I went to the boundaries simulcast and realized I’m really good with other people but my kids often cross them, I’m a softy and tend to be a pushover, I needed to sharpen my skills. It is helping!

Nurutre by Lisa Bevere
Give and get what you need to flourish. I just love Lisa Bevere. We are going to do a women’s book club group in May with this book so I’m getting a head start! Are we far to busy surviving to make the time to assure that tender lives surrounding us thrive?

Thats it for now, I could spend another 3-4 paragraphs telling you what I plan to read but I’ll save that for another time! God bless you!

March 7, 2008 - 2:53 am

bolovesjoe - Tracy – I loved your list! I know how books just multiply. I’ve recently been trying to NOT accumulate anything new til I make some progress on my stack of unfinished stuff…but new ones are SO tempting! Hey, also: I’m gonna shoot you an email this week because I want to talk to you about Parent University. ๐Ÿ™‚

March 7, 2008 - 6:05 am

Tracy Hamaker - Yes I need it, Parent University, that is…I’m sure I would study hard but the lab is always so challenging…