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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.


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!


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!


February 15, 2008 - 4:13 am

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


how was that? 🙂


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.

A Way Through the Roof

Luke 5:18-20 Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, He said, “Friend, I forgive your sins.”

>Strong’s word for crowd is “multitude” and it means “rabble” or a low class of people.

While I have often been just as paralyzed as this guy: no direction, no vision, no hope of forward motion with Jesus, my issue in reaching Him is just the opposite. It’s not the rabble pressing in on Jesus that limits my proximity…it’s the rabble pressing in on me. While I have this awesome and every-day opportunity to seek and find Him, to ask for healing from my immobility…I let the crowd hold me back. Not everything in the crowd is “rabble” ( a low class of distraction). My family, my home, my job are all certainly worthy of my attention, but lots of things are not. All of these pieces of the crowd – in varying degrees of intensity – push in to absorb my time, my day and even my desire to find a way in to seek Jesus. Actually, I think a LOT of people – especially Americans – give up too quickly when seeking Jesus gets hard to do.

So I love how this guy and his friends just will not give up.

They don’t.

They won’t.

They devise a plan to get him in and quite a plan it is…it’s a gutsy move. He could get hurt, he could be rejected by the angry mob – or even an angry Jesus. Somewhere, it’s clear that this guy developed such a desperation for healing that the risk was worth it. Of all the characters in the enormous Word of God, I think I may identify with this one the most. Somewhere inside of 2007, I got desperate to find Jesus. Desperate to be built by Him…even if that meant being taken apart first. Even if it meant risking everything.

For so many years, I have stayed hidden in the crowd and suffocated by – yet secretly thankful for – their company. Finally, I decided to find a way through the roof. Though it would have seemed ridiculous and impossible a few years ago, the tile that had to be moved was the tile called: MORNING. The very small door labeled “before sunrise” was the opening through the roof that I needed to get through the crowd. In fact, I’ve discovered that the streets are pretty quiet and the ordinarily busy and bustling world is nowhere to be found at that time. The only one pressing in for time with me at that hour is the very One I’ve been desperate to talk to. And finding Him here has been the best thing in my life.

Absolutely the best thing ever.

February 2, 2008 - 7:42 am

Katie Scott - ——- —– ——- — —— — — ——— — —— —- —– ——!!!!!

February 2, 2008 - 7:43 am

Katie Scott - Also, check out my comment on the Janna post

February 2, 2008 - 7:44 am

Katie Scott - Also, I’m apparently trying to steal all possible comments, so here’s one for free.

February 2, 2008 - 8:03 pm

Bo - I certainly love the blanks…I wasn’t sure if you were speechless or just really, really mad (I know how you love your mornings!) and THEREFORE I was glad for the explanation. 🙂 K…checking the Janna post comment…did you see her new tattoo? (I got spell checked on tattoo…I must be over 40).

February 2, 2008 - 10:29 pm

Helen - Excellent post…I too am discovering the wee hours of the morning even on Saturday mornings where I feel one with the mattress…it definitely is a treasure worth digging and seeking.



February 5, 2008 - 6:36 pm

Eric and Lindsay - 1. This blog changed my life.
2. I’m excited for small group on


Steve’s brother, Jon, and his family live in Kenya, where they run Kings Kids Village – an orphanage for children who have lost their families to AIDS. Please pray for them as they are in the middle of rampant violence and unrest and are responsible for many children and workers. Here is the latest update from Jon Stern – it’s long, but important in understanding the scope of the situation. Our God is GREAT and His power will prevail…but I believe that prayer is going to be the key that turns the lock. Here’s the letter from Jon:

Hello everyone, and sorry we haven’t written an update
lately…….we’ve heard from some of you that you are hearing the news
and following that way – you are probably getting as much as we are –
EXCEPT for what’s on the ground here at KKV……so that’s why we are
writing an update today. The unrest is getting worse and worse, and
there is talk that now things will be really bad for the rest of the
week……and it has slowly encroached on to Nairobi and anarchy
ensues. The country is shaken to it’s very foundations.

Here at KKV, like I said before, we have been in a haven of peace. But
today, the unrest comes close. Many of our workers who live in this
area are fleeing their homes with only what they can carry – threats are
coming that whole housing areas will be burned. We have taken in all
of our employees and their families from these areas……, we
went and bought mattresses for the floor and a good stock of food to
cover the extra mouths…..hopefully, enough for a whole week…..and we
are yet to see if more will still come – as many went home early to get
their children out of the schools and to see if their area is

The saddest thing is the tension that is here – right here
among us……pointing of fingers and accusations and side taking. WE
told them ALL that if they are to come here to stay, they must leave all
that outside…..we are Switzerland – TOTALLY NEUTRAL, both tribally and

Otherwise, i don’t know how to tell you to pray – just pray in the
Spirit and let Him guide you…..but please DO pray – we need God’s
protection and KNOW we will have it AND we believe that God has the
only answers……no one else seems to get to the real bottom of the issues.

Thanks and blessings,
Jon and Molly Stern

January 29, 2008 - 11:53 pm

Tess Abigail - It’s so sad that something that big can come from something like loosing an election 🙂 What is wrong with our world???

January 30, 2008 - 2:26 am

Bo - Hey Tess…you’re totally right and what’s wrong with our world is: they really need Jesus. I love you for caring so much – you’re going to make a difference . – Mom

January 30, 2008 - 3:04 am

Tess Abigail - yeah I don’t think I’ve told you this but I love the title of your blog. Oh and thanks 🙂

January 30, 2008 - 8:02 pm

Caleb and Ashley Brown - Hey Bo- we will pray. We have been hearing and seeing the pictures on the news and such… I remember being there and it is just such a weird feeling to know that you were at the same place where all this is happening now. We miss you guys! Hopefully we will see you soon,
Love Caleb and Ashley

February 1, 2008 - 7:32 pm

Helen - Thanks for sharing this letter…I will be praying about something that I can’t even envision that they are witnessing…hard to wrap my mind around but I know that God is able and will step in…

When you get a chance, please visit my blog!