Where is my Bo?

In my study of the women in the Bible I of course stumbled across dear ole Ruth. Well I think of Ruth as old because my Grandmother on my mom’s side was named Ruth. She was VERY formal and conservative so much so that I did not feel a sense of love or acceptance from her. In my recent fascination with names and their meanings, I am finding that just because a person’s name has a deep significance to it; that doesn’t mean the person grew up to fulfill their namesake. So finding a youthful, hard-working, caring Ruth of the bible has had me rethink some things about the first impression I have of the name Ruth. Did you know that at one time Ruth was #8 on the most common Christian names?

So as most people know with the story of Ruth, she becomes widowed and chooses to follow her mother-in-law back to Judah (Hebrew territory) even though she is a Moabite-a foreigner. After a series of acts specifically done by Ruth, Boaz takes notice of her and shows her favor. Well actually shows her kindness in line with what the custom of the day expected; but looking out for her even further in who she was around, and in the pieces of grain his harvesters left behind. Then Naomi (the mother-in-law) tells her to show a kindness back to Boaz, which seems a little seductressy in my opinon—I mean sleeping at a guy’s uncovered feet??? Seems pretty scandalous to me. But it works and moves Boaz to take action so he can accept the property of Ruth’s deceased husband, which then gives her over to marry Boaz.

In all the right light, a strong man of business with farms and men, caring and generous man to give to the poor, and a man who saw a good woman and pursued her. He worshiped God and followed the laws of their culture although it gives some indication he was MATURE, it does not say he was OLD. And just as in this story MATURE doesn’t mean that he can’t, we can’t still have children. There is somewhere in me that still wants that. The other part of this story that really struck a chord with me is that it wasn’t something she did to WIN his attention, she just continued to live according to what she thought she SHOULD do to help her mother-in-law and it put her in the right place at the right time. So desperately, I want to be just in the right place at the right time. I am tired of working so hard at doing this or that, trying this or that, attempting this or that, but instead I desperately want to be living life, doing the things I do and have my Boaz NOTICE ME!!! Is that really too much to ask of God? Is that too much of a request of the man that will be in my life?

So in the reading of this I started to think of my hearts desire to be married and have a partner to share this life with. To have someone who wants me and loves me and is willing to work hard in this life as much as there is left. I can’t help but ask the question, “Where is my Boaz?” I mean I don’t know which field I’m suppose to be gleaning in or where I’m suppose to be laying my head to get a CERTAIN person’s attention; but a little hint would be nice. But I honestly want to know, Where is he?

Despite my whining and complaining about wondering where he is… the scripture today gave me hope. It gave me that true spring in my heart’s step that not all is lost, that Ruth was widowed and she did not have much of a positive future. Yet, her history did not determine her destiny. She followed Naomi and God to the land of promise. And it is in these moments of my heartfelt agony, that I actually have more hope than discouragement. It is almost like I now have a man to look for, like all the dating dances and courting confusion in my life has been replaced by this simple notion that I need to just wait for my “Bo” to show up and NOTICE ME (okay I shortened it because it sounds cooler to my American ear, but the image in my mind is still the same). That I need to continue to put my eyes on God and do my gleaning with joy, peace, and contentment; and he WILL COME!!!

And now instead of feeling this hopelessness that I will never find him or that this search is completely fruitless, I am reminded that I need to continue to do what I do (which includes working on my own mind and spirit). Work hard, fulfill my obligations to those I love, and seek out God (even in foreign lands away from home) and he will guide my steps to the right place. I mean even Ruth found Boaz’s field, and I am not buying that whole LUCK thing. So if God was guiding Ruth to the right field, will not God guide my feet to the right field? So now that this has inspired me to pray deeply but continue to work hard, I just know that in time I will see him, and he will notice me.

PS Just a few days after I constructed this post the most hilariously comic post was left on Facebook.  Give the above writing I had to incorporate here:  For all the single ladies , here’s a quick piece of Biblical advice: Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz. While waiting on YOUR Boaz, don’t settle for ANY of his relatives: Brokeaz, Poaz, Lyinaz, Cheatinaz, Dumbaz, Cheapaz, Lockedupaz, Goodfornothinaz, Lazyaz or Marriedaz & especially his third cousin Beatinyoaz. And don’t forget Painintheaz! Also do not fall for the very righteous-looking Lordinitovahyoaz. Please, wait on your Boaz & make sure he respects Yoaz !!

People Pleaser no more… If that’s ok with you?

Somewhere in my vast training I forgot to learn something. I forgot how to learn how to not care what people think. A friend of mine a few years ago sat in my living room and called me a people pleaser. Now that may not seem like much to the rest of you, but in my mind that was the most perfect form of insult you could throw at me. I was aghast, appalled and a few more adjectives I will refrain from displaying. I did not however SAY anything to this person simply because I didn’t want to be rude. Some of you may even ask, what is wrong with that? Isn’t it a good social skill to know what it is that people want and try to adapt a situation to fit it? Maybe if you are a marketing firm trying to sell more chocolates but not as an independent free thinking opinionated single woman who wants to make her mark on the world.

The thing you have to realize is that I have been working for over a decade of my life to shed this character trait. I have been trying so desperately to be my own woman, make my own decisions, and try oh try NOT to do what only everyone else wants. The problem is I think I have revert back to this behavior because I have found a good EXCUSE. Isn’t that always the way of it? We fight against a particular tendency or habit only to discover a perfectly good REASON for us to continue doing the original behavior. So we justify, rationalize, and make excuses for said behavior all in the name of the REASON.

I mean I have been trying to accommodate most of my friends to spend time with them, is that pleasing? I don’t invite people to go out to dinner because I know I will have to compromise on where to go, gotta go with the flow, right? I even censor my opinions and ideas as it could possibly offend, is that for the people? I even took a huge break from blogging because I was afraid IF a certain person was reading it, misunderstanding it, and causing chaos in my life, now that was just SILLY know, I KNOW!

Even this week during MY vacation, I have been in a constant struggle with knowing what to do when, with whom, or in what order. I mean FOR HEAVEN’s SAKE since when did my happiness or relaxation become about whether or not everybody else was pleased? Some how I have lost whatever healthy ground I had gained in this area.

I have started to read about specific women in the bible and have had some genuinely heart-felt connections occur in my mind that I thought would make good blog posts. Only to be confronted with the idea, “No one wants to read about that, its boring; besides shouldn’t you have had these insights like years ago (if you had been reading your bible); it’s this basic bible stuff your JUST now figuring out?” I mean nothing screams trapped than an insecure person having a fight with a paranoid worrying personality with a co-dependant people pleaser. I am not laying a claim to any of the other parts of those (at the moment), but it is definitely beginning to cause me some concern.

So just as the original intent of this blog was to write WHATEVER, WHENEVER, HOWEVER it comes out… I am giving myself permission to view it that way again. It isn’t necessarily about the comments, hits, likes I get—although I must admit its kind of addicting at times—it is about writing and sharing and storytelling. It is with this renewed attitude and focus that I take up the pen, well keyboard and begin this process… yet again.

Is that ok with you?

My Teacher Made ME Dinner

In the same weeks that I cooked the Chicken Enchiladas, one of the students brought a friend home from school to hang out, play video games, and eat dinner. He had been a new student this year, and lets just say the transition was a ROUGH ONE. But despite his rebellion and fight and arguing with the system, I still saw hope in him. I knew he had a good heart in him and it was just a matter of continuing to work with him until he warmed up to life in a place where people cared. In many ways, he reminded me of my brother and of many guys I had known over time. The tough rough exterior with the I have no feelings attitude and I will do whatever I want whenever I want. But there was something in me that made him stand out to me and I would help him if he needed it. So there were days he was riding his bike to school in the rain, so one day I offered to give him a ride instead. It was hard for him to accept at first, but then his need to NOT be soaking wet all day at school seemed to over take his unwillingness to accept my help.

We had our challenging moments in the classroom. We disagreed about what he could or couldn’t do during teaching time, and he completely rebelled against any limits we had on secular music and swearing. He thought he was sneaky, but for some reason I was the only teacher who ever seemed to catch him doing ANYTHING inappropriate. Guess with some students you really truly can read their minds. It was a challenge but it was the good kind. He tested my patience but I never reached the end of my rope. I knew I had a Christ-like love for this student maybe a little bit deeper than the others, simply because he always seemed to be left behind. There were times he wasn’t picked up from school, there were times he didn’t seem to know what to do or where to go. It was almost like so much at home was in chaos or confusion most of the time.

Then a few months later there he was at Nick’s house, his buddy, just kickin’ it like he had done with so many other of his friends over the years. He was his typical distant self with me always keeping the tough guy wall between him and me. Making sure to not get too close and not in any way reveal any sort of weakness. When dinner was served, we all prayed the typical Thank you for the food, bless you and you, may God be with us in the times to come, etc, etc. Then we all lifted our heads and started eating. Passing the dish left and right, napkins reached for and drinks poured, the usual chaos that accompanied dinner with 2 teenagers. But there he sat, just staring at his food. At first glance I thought I had made something he didn’t like. I thought that he was going to rebel in silent defiance to eat what I had prepared; in an almost you can’t get to me through my stomach woman.

So I ventured a dive into the private waters and asked, “Jeff, what’s up?” And there was silence for just a moment. And he looked at his dinner as if it were a peace-offering given from one native tribe to another and said, “My teacher made me dinner.” And in words that cannot be described on a printed page, his expression of shock, awe, and complete disbelief enveloped this one statement. He was so perplexed by the idea that one of his EDUCATIONAL MASTERS (the one who lords over him during the day) had just cooked him his dinner that he had to take pause. It was as if he wasn’t sure how to feel about this situation. He was confused because this was not something that TEACHERS did for students, and obviously had never been done for him.

There was nothing more to say so we continued with our dinner and the boys continued to do what Jr high boys do until I drove Jeff home. In the weeks that followed something was different in the classroom. I don’t know if he made a conscious change or if his behavior really altered from the previous actions; but there was a change. There was a new connection between him and I and a new respect was formed in our teacher and student relationship. To this day, chicken enchiladas reminds me of the boy who sat in awe at the teacher that made him dinner. And me completely oblivious of the impact a few rides in the rain and a home cooked meal could have on the heart of a student. I did it because it was the right thing to do. At least, it’s what I would have done. 😀

Chicken Enchiladas

In my vast pile of half-started blog posts I have been trying to search for good topics to inspire my writing motivation. Then, I was reminded of something a friend told me months ago, “You have so many stories, you should write a book of your stories.” It was in that moment, I first considered this silly blog thing idea that got me writing; thinking it could morph into a book some how, some way.  But as I was sitting under my tarp camping in the rain last week trying to decide what to write, I was remembering a fun story from my teaching days. And it all started with Chicken Enchiladas…

I wish mine looked this pretty.

Although I am not the biggest fan of Mexican food, I have developed a legendary Chicken Enchiladas recipe. As I was planning and plotting my next great cooking adventure I thought I could do Chicken Enchiladas because I have heard the ones I make are fabulous. The last time I made them it was for a pastor appreciation month where I got one day to show my appreciation. So I decided to make a meal and of course I couldn’t JUST make the enchiladas, but added the chips and salsa as well as a green salad to go with. The man was full of compliments and praise about HOW incredibly good the enchiladas were and how it took them several days to eat them ALL. There is just something about that action that makes me feel completely happy and satisfied.

Cooking is something I enjoy and it is one of the things I love to give. I am not as good as a certain gourmet friend of mine. And I do not claim to be a master chef or AMAZING baker, but when it comes to those comfort foods that rock the potluck I usually leave my audience impressed. I have even come to master a delightful chocolate chip recipe that I make and donate at any moments notice. Not to mention the bestest CHOCOLATEY brownies EVER, but alas that was a recipe I found off the internet. But this story is about the chicken enchiladas, because I cannot think about the dish without remembering the first time I attempted it.

I was having one of those summers where I was “house-sitting” with the Jr High and High School children while their parents went to Brazil for a couple weeks. I was also their teacher at the time (private school) and so it just worked out to have me stay in their place and manage the house while they were away. I was in my early 20’s and this seemed like such the perfect natural thing at the time. So I don’t know if it was my idea or the kid’s idea for enchiladas; but there I was attempting to follow a recipe and prepare this dish I had never done before. I also think I was attempting to make them from ingredients I had from the house. But some where in the process I managed to neglect noticing this ITEEEY BITEEEY HOT label on the side of the enchilada sauce until it was too late. And I was under some silly impression that a HEALTHY dose of Sour Cream would counter act the effects. Silly SILLY GIRL!!

But complete them I did and they smelled DELIGHTFUL, and for the first second or two of each bite they TASTED delightful. We had chips and MORE sour cream but NOTHING and I mean NOTHING would lighten the BURNING FIRE that had posed as an innocent enchilada sauce. And I remember the scene sitting around the table watching each of us eat these enchiladas: One bite enchilada, chew, chew, chew, One HUGE drink of water. But that just didn’t work, so the older sister, went to the fridge and grabbed the GALLON of milk and we each had the TALLEST glass you could possibly imagine. It amazed me that we were ALL determined to finish these enchiladas, I guess that means they were good? Because some how we continued to eat with each painful bite until we could not stomach another bite. There were plenty left over and I do believe I had to take them to school to SHARE them because we couldn’t endure another night of the FLAMING HOT CHICKEN ENCHILADAS!!!

To this day I check my labels ALL too closely when it comes to ALL Mexican sauces: Enchilada, Taco, Seasonings, Salsa, etc. It doesn’t matter what I am planning because I never again want to be trapped in a situation where all I can do is eat the flame because buried in there the flavor is just SO GOOOOOD I can’t waste it.

Psalms 45 – Just a Few Things

Months and months ago I wrote a series based on the list I had created years ago called What I look for.  This all started from a few of my friends saying I needed to make my list.  I needed to know in my mind, heart, and print what I was looking for in the man I wanted to partner with in this life.  I even found a section in one of my favorite books that provided a list of things that should be asked when determining if someone is a Person of Character.  I even put it on my blog as a separate page to remind myself from time to time.

Well just as I had completed that series a blast from my past arrived on my door step.  Well maybe not my door step but my Facebook page, and these days that might as well be your front door.  After a series of conversations, dates, non-dates, community dinners, friend introductions, and the like; we have decided that a relationship between the two of us would be a bad thing (we being me).  Bad meaning unhealthy, dysfunctional, co-dependent, draining, chaos causing, and frustrating (is there anything else that would make something bad?) But I am getting distracted from the real topic, which is that I think I found a few more things to add to my list.

This psalm is referred to as a wedding song, so what better way to identify those things I WANT in my future partner than here.  Now I promise not to rewrite the entire chapter, since I realize that would be redundant and most importantly impractical or improbable. But since I get to decide what I want, and what I will pray for and what I am hoping for out of this chapter, then that is what I am going to WRITE.  SO THERE.  I don’t sound a little defensive do I? But in all seriousness allow me a few moments to share a heart felt inspiration as a piece of scripture is inspiring me to draw a connection to my life in this season. 

My heart is stirred
     You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.
          Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. 
               In your majesty ride forth in the cause of truth, humility and justice, let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. 
                    Your throne, O god, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
                         You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, 
                               has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.                          

With grand expectation and hopeful want, I desire a man who will have lips that use words laced with grace and not criticism.  That God’s heart for my well-being and growth would be communicated from him as gracious items of life and not destructive points leaving me bruised and wounded at the mere mention of the words.  Not that truth wouldn’t be spoken, but that he would know that fine art of speaking truth in love to me. 

Although I do not require my man to be a card-carrying member of the sword wielding guild, he must have the confidence that builds him to a place of being the mighty one in his life.  That he know who he is in God and that he knows where he is going.  He is confident in his mind and heart to carry the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith in this crazy world of church, friends, family, and work. (Kind of a compliment to my favorite artist’s picture on my blog.)

That his values run deeper than this is what my parents taught me.  That his life philosophy includes fighting for the cause of truth, humility, and justice.  The world may not be fair and there will be injustices that will be done in front of us and to us; but that does not negate the need to do life towards those goals.  Just as there is a balance between truth and grace there is a balance between confident mighty strength and honest genuine humility; and in these I want him to know the difference and strive to achieve this. 

In the deepest core of my soul lies the belief that it is important to be fair and just in my decisions and actions.  Even if this means someone gets a benefit over me.  So reading this scripture that speaks to the scepter of justice ruling over his kingdom, really resonates with what I believe to be one of my most important life decisions.  So he must also value truth and justice above all else.  (and the American way?)  Funny how certain things end up programmed in the back of one’s mind. 

Finally, the anointing you with the oil of joy, has become so important in my life I cannot imagine living in a partnership without it.  I did not move into adulthood a happy or joyful person.  Too much tragedy, complaining, and hurt had not allowed me to embrace those things.  But as healing, acceptance, friendship, and grace has found its way into my life I began to realize that joy is an important part of everyday.  It doesn’t always FEEL that way, and I may not always express it or live in it, but it is a choice at those times for me to still allow God’s joy to change my perspective and attitude.  So he must also have that same desire to look for the joy, seek out the good, and make the best of any given situation. 

After all, I am typing this in the midst of a rainy Oregon day while camping, in a tent, by herself; if a girl can find the good in that part, well then he is definitely SHOULD be able to as well.

Life is Pain, Highness.

Begins a quote from one of my favorite movies of all time.  Not because it is a romance with all the GOOSHY ICKY girlie feelings in it, but because it tells an incredible story.  And in that story there are some of the finest quotes ever spoken, bit dramatic, well just remember who the writer of the blog is.  Yet as I continue my ever so slow read through “The Shack” I am finding that there are certain pieces of perspective that are triggering parts of my own world view.  And this day it was the “Here come Da Judge” chapter. 

In this season of life, I am struggling with meeting new people, believing their input, trusting the sincerity, and leaning on them for support.  Now each of these things are at different levels of relationship (I understand), but my heart’s goal is to have true community and be able to lean on people for support.  In turn also be there to provide support emotionally, physically, and financially as much as I can.  So at times the first thing is completely bogging down the ability to accomplish the end goal.  For some reason the ability to just relax and enjoy the newness of a potential friendship is clouded by the fear of OH SO MANY THINGS.  So in my giant list of REASONS why I do not step out and reach out and initiate just the simplest of HI how are you?  There is this paralyzing wave that over takes me and I am beyond my normal strength to break through it. 

When reading today it occurred me the part that what I fear is the pain.  The potential pain or the fear or experiencing the SAME pain I have in the past.  I worry that these people will do all those things I fear: laugh at me, reject me, ignore me, humiliate me, make fun of me, and yes most importantly LAUGH at me for trying.  Then even deeper is the thought what if these people cannot be trusted?  What if I put in all this effort and energy and they hurt me ANYWAY? What if I believe this is real genuine heartfelt honest to goodness friendship and they abandon me, again.  Again… What a word that is… and it of course launches me into a whole new pile of analysis.  But that one is the heart of this posting ANYWAY. 

Again… Abandoned again… Left Alone again… Even harsher Hurt again… Ignored Again… Rejected Again… Humiliated AGAIN… All of these phrases take me to memories in my head that are specific to some of the most painful, hurtful times in my life.  But amazingly enough these people (most of them) were and are my friends.  The ones at the time I trusted, leaned on, relied on, opened up my deepest of worries and concerns… but they still hurt me.  Not on purpose, not with malicious intent, not to inflict harm.  Yet they hurt me. 

Just recently I had a situation with some of my nearest and dearest friends (at least so my emotions would tell me) and I feel like I trust them with so many parts of my life and soul.  But our exchange was hurtful, their advice biting, and their understanding of my dilemma was completely absent.  Instead I experienced judgement, criticism, unwarranted advice, and condemnation.  It confused my heart, it baffled my emotions, and left me feeling completely depressed and disoriented. 

With that episode firmly lodged in my recent memory, I was confronted with an ugly truth.  They will always hurt you, they will always disappoint you, they will always come up short.  So if my friends that I trust and believe in will, can, and DO hurt me… how is that any different than the strangers I am so afraid of meeting.  How is my perspective in trying to start something new so scary and insurmountable because they can’t be trusted, when really truly no one can be trusted not to hurt me. 

That is not how this world operates, that is not a reasonable expectation in this fallen world of selfish people… myself included. The next thing in realizing that life is pain, highness is to attempt to remedy life inside a world of pain.  How then does someone walk through this life with reasonable expectation of being hurt, but not allowing it to destroy them or deflate them?  How do I embrace the knowledge that pain is coming without being paralyzed by the fear of its coming?

The Drafts Folder was suppose to help me…

But all it is doing is causing me to think too hard.  I have these great ideas for blog posts, so in an effort to not forget them I start a draft and just leave it there.  Then I assume that hours later (well days or weeks later) I will reopen my nugget of thought and be inspired to continue the thought and bring it to its natural conclusion.  BUT THIS NEVER WORKS OUT THIS WAY!!! Why is that?  Why do I think this idea I am having is so great and connected to what I am feeling or so profound that I must just write my thoughts on it out there for the world to see?  But then I do nothing with it. 

I am even sitting here in the grand outdoors, soaking in all the great nature (some days Oregon can just NOT be beat when it comes to trees, greenery, and peace and quiet) and figured this was the most PERFECT time to drag out those drafts and make them into actual BLOG posts.  And even now I am stuck staring at them going, what was I trying to say there?  Why am I not feeling INSPIRED to write about that now?  Maybe it’s a mood thing.  Maybe I need to realize that not all great thoughts will turn into blog posts. 

Maybe I need a new location for these supposed GREAT ideas because right now they just seem to be LOOMING To Do items.  You know the ones, like the unread emails that sit in your inbox bolded, begging for your attention.  You have the intention of reading them WHEN YOU GET SOME TIME, but they are not high priority.  So there they sit, but the number of BOLDED items ALSO sits in your inbox reminding you of all the things you haven’t done YET. 

So it becomes this new and pressing NEED to cross off the list, or get DONE so that it doesn’t bother you anymore.  Well at least that is what it does to me.  I have worked very hard to attempt to change the wiring my thinking to either get the items read, deleted, or JUST IGNORE THEM until you want to read them.  But that just doesn’t seem to work as well as I want it to.  Why is that? 

Have I been so conditioned to get my “chores” done so that I can play, that I cannot seem to walk by a SOMETHING that needs doing and NOT do it?  Or I can’t just let it be.  You know that box that needs to go in the garage? Or that dirty part of the door that needs to be cleaned? Or the pile of clothes in the corner that just need to be put in a bag to take to goodwill?  I mean my home is FULL of these LITTLE things and not all are my responsibility to fix.  And not all of them need DOING right now or EVER, but there is this nagging feeling in the back of my mind every time I see them.  It seems to get added to this giant pile of obligations I have on my plate or even on my actual physical To Do list.  

But I find that if I stop what I am doing and do those little things I become a little ADD or ADHD (whatever the easily distractible one is) and I have a dozen things started at once.  Cookies baking, dishes soaking, iTunes updating, email reading, counter wash rag waiting, plant watering pitcher needed, phone text reading, and television show watching.  That is just the ones I remember starting. 

Now what was I working on again?  Oh yeah that drafts folder…