What I’m Looking for In a Marriage

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Looking for someone who can handle this.

As a 22 year old female, I can’t help but occasionally have the thought of marriage cross my mind.

Okay – that’s an unfair statement. I’m sure there are 22 year old females who do not think of marriage at all. But the thing is, I’m a 22 year old female who is ME. And I do have hopes to get married one day and have kids or something.

Through my minimal experience of living life, dating, making friends, and talking to people, I’ve come up with a nice long mental list of qualities I am not looking for in a marriage partnership and a nice short list of things I am.  Call me jaded if you’d like – you wouldn’t be far off. I’m not about to type out that mental list for you, because that would be embarrassing, and honestly probably some of it is prideful and wrong and unrealistic and isn’t deserving of being typed out in real words to be remembered forever.

But the other day, I did see something that captured what I’m looking for should I ever get married. Captured the good and true and honest of what I’m looking for. And I’d like to share it with you.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was up in Greenville visiting my wonderful friend Hosanna. She had recently started going to a new church, and we were invited to go to lunch at a sweet older lady’s house.

We went. It was nice. The food was good. There were multiple older people, 60+, and then me and Hosanna. Everyone was very sweet. We talked of chickens and coops, how college campuses seem so dangerous these days, and of various Bible studies in the church.

The conversations kept going on, and somehow the topic came up of how a certain couple in the group had met. The husband was a tall sweet white-haired man with light blue eyes. He was a retired Doctor, wheelchair bound in his older age.

“It really is a great story I think. If you don’t mind me sharing it,” said the Husband.

“Oh yes, please do,” said the rest of us.

And so he began to tell us a story of when he was in medical school in Charleston. He was dating a girl and she broke up with him, because she felt convicted that she was a Christian and he was not and they were unequally yoked. She threw a bunch of Bible verses at him. His pride was hurt, because he went to church on occasion as a kid, he wasn’t any other religion so he must be a Christian, and because he didn’t know if any of the Bible verses she was spewing at him were really in the Bible. So he went home and searched for his old, rarely looked at Bible, and he read multiple verses and chapters and started to feel convicted. And then months later he went to his parents house, and he went upstairs to where he knew his dad had a shelf of Christian books, and he began reading one by Billy Graham. And he thought to himself ‘this is so dumb’, but he couldn’t stop reading. And then the last chapter talked about the Roman’s road and had a little sinners prayer. And he believed. And he felt like all the weight of the world came off his shoulders. And he realized that though he thought he was the smartest most brilliant med student in the world, he was really just a sinner who needed Jesus.

“I was so prideful, and thought I was so smart.. But God saved me,” said the Husband.

“And here I was thinking you were going to tell the story of how we met,” said his wife with tears in her eyes.

And then he proceeded to tell a brief, but cute, story about how he and his wife met at a campus ministry event at med school.

And that is a little picture of the spirit of the marriage I can only hope to have one day.

 

 

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The Best Things in Life are a Million Dollars and I Can’t Have Them!!… Oh, Wait…

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At times I fall into the trap that you must do something fancy to make a good memory.

I’m sure this is true for you as well, especially you parents out there.

There are no little Ruthies running around this world; however, I do have two nephews of the proper age for spoiling. It’s so easy to feel like I need to buy them things for them to have a good time.

But the truth is, I can’t afford to buy them a pack of Pokemon cards everytime we hang out. And I can’t afford to get them frozen yogurt covered in M&Ms every week. And I can’t afford the cool  StarWars Lego thing.

Thinking about those things makes me sorry for myself for just a minute.

And then I remember what my favorite childhood memories were: making 97 cent box cakes with the cousins at Grandma’s house, building forts in the woods, running around in the sprinklers, washing the car with my older sisters, getting piggy back rides from my cousin Hunter, Mom feeding me grapefruit like I was a bird (not in the she chews it up and spits it in my mouth sort of way, but in the me going ‘tweet tweet tweet’ and her spooning it in sort of way)…

It was really about the people and the love, not about the expense of what we were doing…

So while my nephews love Pokemon cards and would certainly love if I purchased them the gigantic Yoda from the Books’a’Million, I like to think they have the most fun and will have the most memories from all the little fun things we do together – no matter how simple they are.

And if you feel pressured to spend more than you have in order to give the best to your kids or your friends or yourself, just remember the best thing you can do is to enjoy life no matter where you are, love everyone, be a good example, and live within your means. This way, you won’t help continue the cycle of people thinking they have to live large to live well. This way your kids can look back at how you chose to live life and have genuine respect for it.

Go for a walk, pack a picnic lunch, dance barefoot on the beach, read an entire book at the library, do side-walk chalk, shop for groceries together, sing really loud in the car.

These are just little Ruthie suggestions though 🙂 Live how you’d like of course! If you’re reading this and are a family member – know that I loved all the spoiling you did for me, and all the money you put into me (ice-skating, eating out, getting chai lattes – you know who you are), but what I appreciated MOST was YOU.

Ruthie

 

 

Because Highschoolers Don’t Budget (Unless You’re The One and Only Josh)

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You are not the same Ruth from high school,” says Katelyn after I explain my very detailed budget to her.

That got me thinking.

True, Ruth from high school was quite a care-free sort. She didn’t care about money. She didn’t care about school. She just cared about her friends, hanging out at Dunkin’ Donuts, ballet, and Jesus. Evidently people thought she was high all the time. That wasn’t the case; she was just very happy.

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Me in highschool

I’m glad that I’m a wiser person now. Being smart with your finances, knowing your reasons for thinking certain things, and communicating effectively are qualities that are very important to me now that may not have mattered to me very much 7 years ago.

But there are some things I really admire about myself from highschool – some characteristics I would really like to not lose, but I can feel ebbing away as I become a slightly jaded adult.

Love and excitedness about everyone

Joy and thankfulness for all the little things (Sunsets. The Beach. Sleepovers. Sitting by friends at church)

Trust in the Lord to take care of my future, instead of myself

No huge desire to seek out the American dream – wanting to be a hippie on the beach for the rest of  all days

 

Now granted, I am definitely seeing my past self through some tainted lenses. I had my struggles then as well – quite a needy, selfish, self-conscience individual I was (and still am). But who I am now and what I face are quite different  from back then – and what I face is the potential for luke-warmness and apatheticness with a career through which I can live very comfortably.

Not saying that careers are bad. Not saying that money is bad. Not saying that I am not grateful for these things.

But I am saying that I want to observe the beautiful sunrises on my way to work and say “Thank you God for your beautiful creation”. I want to love everyone I meet. I want to spread the gospel. I want to keep trying new things. And I want to be willing to give up anything I gain for the furthering of the kingdom.

The only way is to pray, stay in the word, and seek His face.

Let’s all stay childlike amd joyful (but not childish. Keep your budget. Listen to Dave Ramsey.)

 

Camp is About…

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Camp is a little bit about singing “Tarzan”, “Mmm-AH Went The Little Green Frog”, and “Under The Bamboo Tree”. It’s a little bit about swimming, bowling, and pontoon boat picnics – a little bit about creating a glittery rainbow dinosoar with angel wings named Remcckjjtfr (Remcajiffer) who breathes fire, hearts and flowers. It’s a little bit about jumping up and down and celebrating even when your arrow lands 10 feet away from the target. Camp is a little bit about waking up to green tea left by your bedside when you have a cold. Camp is a little bit about being a groovy green bean. It’s a little bit about going to QT at 11 pm wearing a little boys spiderman shirt and painted up face from capture the flag, hearing “looks like you’ve had a fun night” and very genuinely responding “yes. yes I have”. Camp is a little bit about realizing the best way to make sure others have fun is for you to make sure you’re having the best time ever yourself. Camp is a little bit about Space Jam, Tune Squad Tuesday, and alien antennae made of pipe-cleaners . It’s a little bit about sweet notes of encouragement left anywhere and everywhere. It’s a little bit about doing things you could’ve never imagined yourself doing. It’s a little bit about organization and responsibility and a little bit about being the dorkiest and most energetic human being you can possibly be. Camp is a little bit about hugs, hand holding, and shoulders to cry on. It’s a little bit about a game show called The Shower Is Always Right and a little bit about your campers hiding your megaphone from you. It’s a little bit about tearing up during the song Jesus Lover of My Soul, because you now know what it is to ‘lead the blind’ . Camp is a little bit about rain dances, cooking dinner over pinestraw, and painting up with coals.  It’s a little bit about dead phones and a little bit about snail mail. Camp is a little bit about spray paint, wood burning kits, and cutting cardboard. It’s a little bit about Nanny McPhee’s mom. Camp is a little bit about thinking how you have got to figure out how you will come back next year, because once you’ve come you cannot stop going back.

Camp is a lot about faith, hope, love, selflessness, patience, and genuineness – a lot about growth, unity, and making best friends. It’s a lot about seeing a glimpse of how the world is meant to be. It’s a lot about living bright and loving better.

 

 

It’s My Taylor Swift Birthday – Also, I Complain a Lot

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We all know that when I decided to post on the 10th and 25th of every month, it was partially so I could write blogs on my birthday and Christmas!

Jokes on me though, because I am not actually writing this on the day it is posting. At the time this is being written I am not yet twenty-two (ooh ooh), it is actually June 4th. This birthday of mine, July 10th, I am working at summer camp and am likely kayaking, or building a camp fire, or making friendship bracelets with awesome kids or something cool like that. Today just picture me doing awesome outdoor adventure hanging out with friends things, not sitting at a computer somewhere. What I would like to share with you on today, my birthday, is a little reflection/story about complaining and how I can’t keep my mouth shut.

One June 3rd, 2017 (yesterday for me, over a month ago for you), I was going to visit Autumn who was house-sitting for her sister who lives in the middle of nowhere. I left in kind of a hurry, because Autumn had just called and told her she needed my help because her sister’s chickens got out of the coop! As I’m always down for chicken chasing, I got into my car as fast as I could.

Now there are multiple ways to Autumn’s sister’s house that is in the middle of nowhere. There’s the quick/short way that takes you down a terrible bumpy dirt road, and there’s the long way that doesn’t cause you to get your shock absorbs replaced. I drive a little Ford Fiesta; I always opt the long way.

But I have a bad memory. And I still don’t remember how to get there. So I tried using the GPS that night, but it wanted to take me down the dirt road, and I thought I outsmarted it to take me the other way, but it ended up taking me on the dirt road, and it was so bumpy! And driving first in circles and then really slowly made it take quite a long time to get to Autumn’s sisters house. And I felt bad. And I felt grumpy. And I wanted to get there, open the car door, and COMPLAIN and GRIPE about how terrible the drive was and how stupid GPS’s are, because GOSH DARN IT the world owes me smooth rides and easy times, and I wanted to excuse myself for how late I was.

But that’s not the way to act, I reminded myself. Watch your tongue and act graciously, I preached to myself. The only reason you want to complain is to justify yourself and make yourself feel better; If she asks you why you’re late, just honestly respond and say you got a little lost and had to take the dirt road.

Nice Ruth. Wise.

I get to the house. I step out of the car.

Autumn walks up to me.

“You missed it, I just finished rounding up the chickens.”

“WELL I HAVE TO SAY, AUTUMN! I LOVE YOU, AND I LOVE IT HERE AT YOUR SISTERS HOUSE,  BUT I HATE DRIVING HERE!!! THAT DIRT ROAD IS TERRIBLE AND MY  GPS IS TERRIBLE AND IT MADE ME TAKE THE DIRT ROAD AND BLAH BLAH BLAH…” I word vomited.

Someone (me) could use an extra dose of self control… Anyways, my word vomit did not make me feel justified or better, in fact it made me a little disgusted with myself. It’s a small example, but still.

Fast forward to the next day, this morning (June 4th, but you’re July 10th, remember?), I’m doing my daily devotion. It’s Exodus 15-16. God just delivered the Israelites from Egypt, he performed miracles and plagues to display his glory, when Pharoah’s gigantic army pursued them, he parted the Red Sea so they could cross and then crushed Pharoah’s army behind them. WOW! Now they’re in the desert, and they’re grumbling and complaining saying they wish they were back in Egypt as slaves, because they’re hungry and they don’t think the God who delivered them from slavery and performed all of those miracles will feed their stomachs. It’s hard not to throw your hands up and say “For real, don’t you know what God just did for you?”, but I can’t really judge the Israelites there because if I think about it, I do the same thing all the time.

When hard things come about, you have two options: trust God, or complain. Honestly, I choose option 2 a lot of times. BUT GOD HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR ME AND IS SOVEREIGN OVER EVERYTHING AND IS WORKING OUT EVERYTHING FOR HIS OWN GLORY AND MY OWN GOOD. Yes, but I have to drive on bumpy roads sometimes in my adorable car to see good friends and have wonderful community. How horrible.

God had mercy on their complaining behinds and loved them and gave them manna and quail and water by the way, just like he has mercy on me everyday 🙂 . You should go read Exodus 15-16, I’m for real butchering the telling of it.

All this to say, God is good. And He’s got this. And He loves you. So let’s live every day grateful to Him and trust Him when things seem to be going wrong. You could be a person going through something seriously difficult, and hearing these things coming from a girl who’s biggest problem is a bumpy dirt road is probably not very convincing –  but believe me when I say you can cast all your cares on him.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:26-30

Sometimes Your Expectations are to Not Know The Future – You Prepare for It. You Want to Be a Floater. And Then The Future Comes and Lands On Your Nose and Makes You Its Own.

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My favorite part of Greenville – the yellow chairs! Oh, and Autumn.

I am feeling contemplative sitting in Methodical Coffee Shop in downtown Greenville, SC today. It is June 9th, and I am hanging out whilst Autumn has an appointment getting things together to go to Greenville Tech in the Fall. Bear in mind I’m writing this post ahead of time, because I am at camp this summer!!! As you read this, it is June 25th – Fathers day (love you dad!), a Sunday – so I’m probably helping new campers settle in for the week, writing their names on all their belongings, teaching camp songs etc. My heart is probably full of joy and love and completeness, not this sense of “what is God doing in my life?”, “Where does he want me?”, “Why do I love so many places and the idea of doing so many things?” etc. But my today, June 9th, I am contemplative…

I’m not a sad sort of comtemplative – it’s the type of contemplative that is kind of exciting, yet also overwhelming. The type that looks to the future and says, “I know something crazy is going to happen and soon” – the kind that wants just a little bit to stay right where she is.. sitting in a coffee shop in her favorite city by the most beautiful yellow chairs. Young. Open to anything. Surrounded by beautiful family and friends. Content. Looking forward to the next adventure, but unsure of what it will be.

I think I got used to the idea of not knowing. Used to the idea of not having a plan. Who knew that your expectations could become that your future would be unexpected? I thought after I worked at camp this summer, I would go home, search for jobs a little bit. Thought I would probably pack all my stuff up, move to a tiny house in Greenville with Autumn, wait tables a bit until I found the perfect part time job up here… Keep up this kind of free-spirited life style I’ve got going on… See if true love found me in the upstate.. But circumstances have made it so that I might have a job waiting for me right when I get done at camp.

What I think I need to remember in times like these is that God is in control. And that I should be wise – and if a great job with a wonderful boss in a good city to live in literally falls into my lap just a little sooner than I wanted, my heart’s response should be absolute gratefullness and excitedness! Also, just because I might be working a big-girl 8 hour a day job does not mean I can’t be free-spirited, loving, joyful and fun!

I don’t know what life will look like in a few months – where I’ll be living, what I’ll be doing etc. (I actually might know by the time you’re reading this on Father’s day…). But I do know this – life is so much more exciting and wonderful than I could ever imagine it to be (it’s also a lot more broken and lost, but let’s not focus on that for a moment 🙂 ), and I am so excited to do whatever I’m called to do. Wherever and with whoever.

But if it’s not Greenville this year – I’m still going to visit all the time. And if you haven’t been, you should go. Because it’s legitimately the best. And if you don’t like it, keep it to yourself and don’t tell me, because your criticism will break my heart!

 

I Give The Best Birthday Presents

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Michael turned 23 a few weeks back. And because last year we totally forgot to make him a Taylor Swift 22 music video, this year we just had to make him a birthday parody of Mike WiLLMade It and Miley Cyrus’ song 23. Ours is much more appropriate – I definitely do not endorse you watching the original (note: Michael chose the song, not us).

Lyrics were written at midnight (which is super late for grown ups like me and Chaela); I think late night silliness is super helpful for parody writing. Video was filmed from 7:30-9:00 am at our church – the pastor pulled in right as we were leaving… It was slightly hard to explain ourselves. Chaela’s high quality camera’s battery died mid-film, so we have bits of low-quality Ruthie camera shots intermixed.

Wild-Cherry Pepsi is Michael’s favorite, but Chaela and I don’t drink soda, so it all went to him. Lucky duck getting 2 presents.

We recorded the song in my dad’s music studio while he was on vacation. I have never received such clear instructions from him in my life, and it was over the phone! I enjoyed that bonding experience.

Katelyn is pretty much the best music guy/recorder you will ever meet.

This video is a little to embarrassing to post to Facebook, but I’m way too proud not to share it because it’s freaking awesome. And I spent a lot of time on it. So people who read my blog, you are the lucky ones who get to see this. You and Michael… we showed him too..

Side note: this is an impromptu post while I am at camp as a counselor and on time off. We just finished staff training, and tomorrow our first campers come!!! Could I write an entire post on staff training and how wonderful it was and how amazing everyone here is and how organized and intentional camp is and how wonderful and lasting an impact they have on so many underpriveleged and differently abled individuals??? Yes. I could write a whole post on that. But I don’t think my words could encapsulate everything. It would be like trying to take a picture of the moon or the curvature of the earth or a Clemson sunset. So instead I am choosing to show you the music video. Maybe next week I’ll try and reflect and give you an accurate depiction of what it’s like to be here and the growth that is going on in my heart. But as it is, this will have to do.

Much love,

Ruthie