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 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

For My Grandma

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This one goes out to her, because she made me feel pretty special the other day.

You know, it doesn’t take very much to make someone feel very special. Usually all it takes is taking  a moment to show a little honest care for them.

What my Grandma said to me was this:

“When are you going to write in that blog of yours again? You haven’t written anything lately  have you? I always love reading them!”

Dawww, Grandma! That is heart warming!!!

I haven’t written anything in a very long time. To be honest, as I become more of a professional adult, I can’t fight the feeling that I shouldn’t put so much of myself out there – that I should keep my silliness and insecurities for just me and close friends and try to keep my exterior very put together and edgy. That I should stop posting on my goofy blog. But goodness knows my accomplishing this goal isn’t going very well. Me edgy and put together? No, not quite.

Me responsible? Yes.

Me organized? Most of the time.

Me diligent? Definitely.

But I never want to lose the sense of wonderment for life, or of having fun, or of being a relatable human being who sometimes has problems too. I’m the girl who lost $1000 in a sock and thought she donated it to the Salvation Army for goodness sake!

And I think having a blog helps keep me grounded and humble and who I want to be as a person (unless you start complimenting me to much. Then my blog will fill my big fat vain ego. You’d better keep any compliments to yourself, only my grandma can say those things). So even though I’m nervous and slightly insecure about putting my weird self out there again, I’m going to start posting bi-weekly. Bi-weekly is a stupid sounding word – but y’all, once a month makes me too infrequent, and my busy sometimes uninspired self cannot handle once a week.

I guess I should do some dorky pattern where I post on certain days of the month because those numbers are significant. How about I post the 10th and 25th of every month, because those numbers are very dividable and remind me of how edgy and put-together I am as a person.

My first “official” bi-weekly post will be on Saturday. I better make it good.

Sorry this post isn’t full of actual content, Grandma. I won’t let you down this summer!

Note: Autumn is also very encouraging and sweet and makes me feel very special. She has been telling me to post for months. She has my blog as a tab on her Google Chrome and checks it sometimes. I don’t want her to feel like her encouragement isn’t appreciated and effective – but everyone knows grandma encouragement is the trump card, right?

I Gots It Easy.

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Sometimes I feel like the world is out to get me.

My tire rim gets busted in a pot hole. I get stuck for 20 minutes at a railroad crossing. I can’t get the door open to the house I’m supposed to housesit for.

But then sweet mechanics hammer out my bent rim free of charge. But then I eventually make it home. But then the landlord (with a cute son *cough*) helps me inside, and I find myself welcomed by sweet cuddly kitty cats and black bean brownies.

It’s these times that I remember that difficult things and set-backs are part of life. And even if someone is out to get me, He who is within me is greater than he who is in the world (e.g. God > Satan).

But where is the rejoicing in my sufferings? Where is the trusting God and joy even when the mechanic doesn’t hook me up, when the Sun never comes out from behind the clouds, when I’m persecuted and spit upon and tortured because of the Lord and savior I love?

I don’t know that the joy would be there. Not in of myself anyways, and it never could be in of myself. If I’m not praying for and seeking joy and patience right now when I get stuck behind a choo choo train or have to roll a bunch of silverwear… well… How can I expect to be joyful and patient and hopeful in the things that are actually difficult in life?

God really is so good. And I really do have so much to be thankful for- most of all that I am his child and he is making me new. New in the sort of way that dances wildly with rejoicing when all seems to be going wrong in her own life, but who mourns with the sorrows of others.

” Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” _ Romans 5:3-5