Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm Moving!

Well not Me, persay, but my blog. I'm moving to a wordpress account where I have more control over things.

Changes are coming!

Save this link: It's my new cyperhome!

"Fearless" By Max Lucado

It goes without saying that we have all found ourselves paralyzed by fear at one time or another. Whether it was based on real life circumstance or paranoia that a fear might come, we can all sympathize with the grip fear has on our lives. I just finished reading Max Lucado's newest book, "Fearless", which focuses on many typical areas of fear that often paralyze us. In each chapter Lucado offers witty over-exgagerated examples of each of these specific fears and supplements them with a Biblical example when believers are encouraged to trust God's hand and provision.

I could not help but think as I read "Fearless" of times in my life when I needed to hear that message. Lucado's writing style is easy to follow and makes "Fearless" difficult to put down. While I found myself underlining or marking something in every chapter, the final ones were most memorable. In the last chapters Lucado address the fact that things will get worse before they get better. In a world where we are faced with a new "crisis" every time we turn on the news, it is so important to remember that chaos is a part of God's plan. Lucado reminds readers that God provides reassurance that there will be wars, rumors of wars, sorrow and happiness-- but that He remains faithful in it all. It seems to come naturally to freak out when these things come to be, but Lucado paraphrases Jesus in Matthew 24:6 saying "Don't freak out when bad stuff happens" (pg. 153). Bad things have, are, and will continue to occur, but as believers we should hold strongly to the knowledge that our Lord is control of it all.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I know that I will continue to refer to it when in facing fear. Lucado wrote, "Feed your fears, and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will." (pg. 74). Reading this book is one way to feed your faith, not your fears.

If you wish to purchase this book, you can buy it here on Amazon:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brother

Today, August 31st is my brother's birthday-- he would be 23 this year. I've been thinking a lot about this day for the past couple of weeks. I have wondered what it is going to be like to not be able to call and harass my brother all in the name of wishing him well. I wonder a lot about what it will be like to go through this day.

But, Richard's birthday also has me thinking a lot about his life. He was truly someone who chose life in every circumstance. He really lived life to the fullest. I have always admired that about him.

Today, it seems that everything I do reminds me of him. From conversations about politics, to the sweet tea sitting on my counter. But, in all honestly, that's not much different than any other day. But today, it wouldn't be weird for me to go purchase an Ice Cream Cake (like the one in the picture above- his last birthday) even if they are 500 calories a slice.

Neither of our birthdays will ever be the same again. But I laugh because I think that's exactly how he would want it.

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus
-"Cry out to Jesus" by Third Day

Building Excitement

Remember this post about my excitement for Donald Miller's new book? Well, now you can read part of it right here on my blog. I love how high tech Thomas Nelson Publishers are!

A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Monday, August 17, 2009

Moment of Pride!

My second year at Belmont University, I had the privilege of serving as an RA for 60 pretty awesome freshman women. I got the chance to walk alongside them and learn so much about my life and who I was created to be from them. All of these women are awesome, and I am grateful to have known them.

With that said you can imagine my pride when I see one of them on the Today show for a book that she authored that is titled "How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World". I've read a snip-it of it and I think she's right on target!

Clink the link above to watch the Today Show peice or, click here to order her book on Amazon!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review of "The Principle of the Path"

I recently signed up for Thomas Nelson Publisher's Blogger Book Review program. This program allows bloggers to receive copies of Thomas Nelson's newest books to read and review. It's a pretty great deal, because I just get to do what I love-- read and write, and get free material to do those things! Without further ado, here is my first book review for this!

I was initially drawn to Andy Stanley's "The Principle of the Path" for the sub-titles on the cover-- "How to get from where you are to where you want to be". As someone who is hoping to move a community from one place to another, I thought this might have some great insight for my work and life.

Stanley's thesis is pretty clear from the beginning- the choices we make determine our outcome. Making a series of poor choices probably will result in some poor outcomes. While this point is true, and something I hope my students learn during college, that seems to be the meat of the book. Each subsequent chapter outlines more examples of how people were faced with choices and how those choices led them to where they were. I kept hoping the next chapter would provide new information, or more advice on guiding one's self or organization down the path to where we want to go. But, I felt like Stanley left me hanging.

I will say though, the book was a fairly easy read and his examples are relatable. While I felt like I needed something more and deeper from this book, I do think there are those in the world need to know that making reckless choices now will only harm them in the end. I would recommend this book for those who would like encouragement in the truth that making wise choices now is making a choice for goodness in your life. I wouldn't rank it at the top of my favorite books list, but it certainly is not at the bottom either.

You can find this book on Amazon here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Now I Know How the Duggars Might Feel. . .

You know the Duggars. TLC's newest mega-family, stars of 18 and counting. They are a family from Arkansas who have 18 children ranging in age from 21 years to 8 months. I got the feeling the other day what it might be like to be the Duggars on a grocery trip.

Our Community Leaders come back this week and we start training on Monday evening. Part of this means that we (hall directors) have to provide a certain number of meals for our staff during the 10 days of training. So, after some planning with my wonderful graduate assistant directors, I went shopping. I headed to Wal-Mart armed with a front and back shopping list, and the intention of spending several hundred dollars on groceries to feed 19 people for 10 days. Wasn't long and my cart was overflowing and I headed to check out. But the stares and glares I got from people in the Hewitt Wal-Mart were really surprising. I wonder if thats what happens when the Duggars go shopping. I do not plan to have 18 children to find out, however, I will be more careful not to judge people by their grocery cart!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anxious Anticipation. . .

I just pre-ordered this:

And I cannot wait for it to show up in my mailbox on September 30th! Donald Miller is hands down one of my favorite authors.

He's most famous for Blue Like Jazz

But my favorite is Through Painted Deserts. This book came out my Junior year of college and Donald Miller came to speak at Belmont. Because I knew the right people, I got to hear him (it was a Freshman only event) and meet him afterwards (to autograph my books). Aside from falling in almost-love, I was moved to tears to hear him read from this book. There's a section where it talks about how there is a time where we all need to leave home, to find life. I re-read that section often and his voice still rings in my ears. Here is a brief sampling from Through Painted Deserts:

It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.
Everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. ... Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.
No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?

Oh, so good. You should read it. And then Read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years with me starting September 29th.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Enter to win a free Bible!!

Logos is giving away free Bibles to celebrate their new online program! Check it out!

Logos Bible Software is celebrating the launch of their new online Bible by giving away 72 ultra-premium print Bibles at a rate of 12 per month for six months. The Bible giveaway is being held at and you can get up to five different entries each month! After you enter, be sure to check out Logos and see how it can revolutionize your Bible study.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Starting tomorrow. . .

I get to spend my week doing this. And I could not be more excited. With each passing minute my heart gets more and more excited.

Sic 'Em Bears!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Creative Rebellion?

My mom sent me this video via email today. She saw the story on some news channel and thought I might appreciate it. This poor guy had his Taylor guitar destroyed by baggage handlers on his United Flight. After a year of fighting the airline, they have refused to pay him for the damage.

My question is, if my plea to NWA is denied, and I have to "fight" them, what creative venue do I take? I can't sing or act? Here's hoping and praying I don't have to worry. But, I did send the letter Monday, and still have no response. . .

well i won't say that I'll never fly with you again, because maybe to save the world I probably would, but that won't likely happen. And if it did I wouldn't bring my luggage. 'Cause you'd just go and break it into a thousand pieces, just like you broke my heart, when United Breaks Guitars.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I call it Coke!

When reading old posts on Lindsey Noble's blog (a new treat I discovered this morning) I ran across a post about regional differences in vocabulary, like backpack vs book bag. And Coke vs. all the other incorrect words. The best part. She posted a link to this map:

It shows what word is used county by county in the US. How awesome. From my limited perspective, it seems to be accurate. Shelby County is listed as a Coke county. And that's what it is. Coke!

Monday, July 6, 2009

We're Not in Texas Anymore

July 4th is typically synonymous with the Ballard family reunion, sunshine, heat, humidity, fishing, lots of adult beverages and laughter. This year, was a bit different. It was rainy and dare I say, cold! Tuck and I were freezing when the day was spent mostly in the 60s. That's a 45 degree difference than what we left behind in Texas! I wish I would have packed a sweatshirt or jacket!

There was still plenty of fishing, adult beverages, and laughter. More photos of that to come later. I seem to have left my camera cord in the land of 100+ temperatures.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Anniversary Reminder

It's been a year since I started this blog. The name for this blog came from Deuteronomy 30:19 which says "Today I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life that you and your children may live." You can click the link above for a greater explanation of where that verse came from and where my life was at that point. As I reflect on the last year of attempting to choose life, and sometimes failing at it, I am reminded of the lessons I learned to shift my perspective in the first place. In light of those lessons, here is the "testimony" that I gave last year at camp on this topic.

Last night we talked about how even when we love, follow, and obey God, we will receive blessings, and that not all blessings come in the form of a pretty package or a million dollars. When Joseph chose to obey God and run from Potipher's wife, she lied to her husband about the altercation. And, despite Joseph's righteousness, he was thrown into prison- no questions asked. Joseph was clearly following God's lead, but received a blessing that, frankly, sucked. (See Genesis 39)

For me, more often than not, life was pretty good. I went to college at Belmont thinking I wanted to work in the music industry. I quickly realized that God had other plans for me. I found a love for working with college students and the Lord made it clear that I was to go to graduate school and I could not have been more stoked! I have been blessed with the gift of discernment, so it was made very clear to me through the grad school search process I was to go to a school in Texas. I was confident I was seeking and following the Lord. So, you can imagine my surprise when that first year in grad school was one of the toughest years of my life.

It wasn't that the course work was too difficult, it was actually rather easy for me, that sort of thing had always come naturally. I was surrounded by sin, non-belief and moral relativity. Additionally, my younger brother, Richard had almost died of a sinus infection and had two brain surgeries right around my college graduation and departure for the Lone Star State. He continued to have problems, had a third brain surgery and was hospitalized when he later had a pretty serious seizure. As if that weren't enough, I struggled to find people with whom I connected on more than just a surface level.

Finally, (yep still not done with the list!), there was a lot of conflict within my cohort and between my cohort and a professor. I tried to handle it in a mature, Biblical fashion, only to have people lie about what I did. That situation resulted in a classmate telling the faculty member that I tried to get him fired, which was not remotely the case. Imagine the awkwardness when we had him again the second semester! Similar situations happened the entire time I was in grad school.

I just didn't get it! I had gone form being at Belmont where I had been challenged and supported to grow in my faith, all my professors liked me and I got along with just about everyone, even if we weren't close friends. I just could not understand how God could call me to a place and just leave me there! I found myself growing angry and frustrated with God because He allowed this to happen. I also began to feel like maybe I was wrong abut my calling. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be doing this after all. Needless to say, I felt pretty lost and directionless.

Then, last summer (2007), God handed me a phenomenal internship at a college in Texas. He surrounded me with encouraging believers and gave me a chance to be refreshed and refocus before my last year in graduate school. God reaffirmed my calling to work with college students and through a new, but good friend, taught me that He did not leave me. He was there all along. My anger was truly about a lack of trust that God truly had me in His grip.

I left that internship and when I returned to school, the only thing that had changed was me.

But, that was enough.

Life still stunk most of the time, but I became more resolved to live a righteous and godly life. Rather than given into the pressures around me, I became more like Joseph and found God gave me the strength to say no. I found strength through reading about the lives of Paul and Joseph. God called them to live in the desert life from their happy peaceful lives. That calling was for a much larger purpose. They never waivered in their trust in God's purpose and leading in their lives.

I think sometimes God calls us to the desert and to be exiled with no other information than to be still, to love, to follow and to obey.

I know that my time in "exile" strengthened my faith.

That may be it's only purpose.

It may have also been so I could share this story with you right at this moment.

I know that God will call you to a place of "exile" at some point in your life, if He hasn't already. His promises to never leave and forsake us are never more true than when we seem alone in the desert place. My prayer for you is that in those moments, you will chose life and love, that you will follow and obey the Lord. He calls us to both mountains and deserts, and when our trust is in Jesus, He has us. Always.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine, according to his power at work with in us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
-Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This speaks for itself.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oh, so true

I just read this on Heart toHeart with Holley. Her words are so true! I thought I'd share:

Welcoming a New Week

Swirling around me are sounds of a new week beginning. I hear the whoosh-whoosh of the dishwasher, the tumble-tumble of the dryer. Outside twilight descends and closes out the weekend like curtains on a stage.

Already I feel the rush, don't you? My heart beats faster, my mind races, my hands move from one task to the next. This is to be a day of rest and yet by the end of it I'm usually pushing the pedal to the floor and zipping into another week.

I look out my window and see my trees are also getting ready. One has a calendar, another a Blackberry, a third is already checking e-mail.

"No, no," you say, "such foolishness!" And of course it is, because trees don't plan their days. They don't stress out about meetings. They don't worry over their limbs.

And, I'll let you in on a secret, they grow anyway.

That is what I fear, I think--that if I stop all this madness, this rushing, that I will become small and stale. I will stay the same forever.

But this is not true, the trees know. For growth comes from roots and not leaves. It comes from being grounded firmly in the soil of God's love and then clinging to Him, drawing from Him, dwelling in Him each day.

So I pause, whisper a prayer, and begin anew. Surprised, I find that when I empty my heart of all I carry I'm free to lift my arms toward heaven.

We stand there for a moment, the trees and I, hands raised in welcome and feeling as if this week we might just touch the sky.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Memory

Of the King of Pop, I submit, Thriller, 2007 Baylor Line Camp Graduate Assistant version.

Guess which one's me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A few minutes ago this went up to 106. At least the humidity isn't like this:


Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Friday Finds

Two Fridays ago I found something awesome I wanted to share. I logged on and when trying to think of a title I thought, "Fun Friday Find" would be cool and I could do it every week. Alas, I forgot to finally post that day, and subsequently this week too. So, today I'm going to post two Fun Finds, and then hopefully I'll remember to do it every week!

Found these Fruit Strips by accident two Fridays ago at Target when looking for my Fiber One Pop Tarts. They are like fruit roll ups, but 100% real, organic fruit. I tried the pomegranate ones, and they were so good. They are good, but not sit and eat the whole box tasting, like other sweets. They are healthy and a bit filling! Check out the link below!

Archer Farms Organic 100% Real Fruit Strips: A Perfect Snack
Archer Farms Organic 100% Real Fruit Strips, sold at Target, are a great snack for toddlers, kids, and even adults. These all-natural fruit strips are low in calories, feature some great nutritional qualities, and are affordable.

Hungry Girl!!! Walking through the book section of HEB with my parents a cook book caught my eye. It's titled "Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200" and contains 200 recipes under 200 calories. Not only is there a cookbook but there is also a website and an e-newsletter. Seriously, check it out. Click the picture of the book to go to

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home

There is nothing like the feeling of getting standing in my parents yard staring at the millions and millions of stars. I love going home and seeing my family and spending time in the quiet country air. But, since I live, work, and have a sweet dog in Texas, at some point I get a bit anxious to get back and sleep in my bed. After some good, but tough, time at home with the family, I'm back at home in Waco. Monday morning Mom, Dad, and I hit the road in the new Camry to drive back to Waco. We used my GPS to take a fun new route that took us lots of parkways through Western Kentucky and through Missouri into Arkansas rather than the usual route through Tennessee. (We learned, however, that the state line road between Kentucky and Tennessee is called Ken Tenn. How Creative!) We got back to Waco around 11:30 Monday night.

When I walked in the door, I was greeted by a chalked message outside my door, and a vase of flowers on my table with tons of cards from my friends and co-workers here. As I walked through my apartment I noticed another vase of flowers in the bedroom, a message on my mirror, notes with
scripture verses and in the bathroom more messages, and a basket of bath items. As my parents were getting ready to leave my friends Shannon and Megan knocked on the door and had some staple grocery items in their hands. I have good friends here, and I am blessed!

Mom and Dad stayed yesterday and hung out at the hotel while I worked.
Then they came over and visited with their Granddog a bit. I picked him up that morning and then took him to the groomer. His hair was ridiculously long (covering his eyes), and needed a trimming. Tuck loved having attention and playing with his grandpeople. I think they had fun too!

Mom and Dad left Wednesday morning to go back to the homeland. Last night for dinner I decided to make Fried Green Tomotoes!!! On the drive back we found a produce stand on the side of the road in Arkansas (totally shady, I know) and they sold Green Tomatoes. I have been craving them for weeks, and unfortunately my grandpa's tomatoes were not ready to answer my prayers yet. But, the state of Arkansas was. Thank you Arkansas.

Last night I made them for the first time by myself. I had to make a few alterations to mom's usual recipe- like using wheat bread crumbs instead of cornmeal, but they turned out really well! I paired the tomatoes with rotisserie chicken and peas from the dining hall for a yummy meal.

While I miss my parents it's good to be home, to sleep in my own bed, to be back to work and to have my sweet puppy with me. Tuck and I have cuddled and played ball quite a lot. Tonight I had dinner with the women in my Beth Moore small group and it was a blast. I am not the only one to have had some difficult situations in the last few weeks, and hearing how they are confident in God's working in their lives reminds me that He knows the plans He has for us, and that they are for good and not Harm (Jeremiah 29:11).

In parting here is a video a student shared with me tonight from Louie Giglio that I think is pretty powerful about how all things a held together in Christ. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things I've Learned

As it turns out, death is certainly a process. Practically and philosophically speaking. In true blogger form- here are the things I've learned (all serious, some intended to be funny, so it's ok to laugh):

  • Funerals are expensive. Probably unnecessarily so. But who's going to question the prices or shop around at a time like that?
  • It only takes a phone call to withdraw someone from school when they die.
  • HOWEVER- it takes a complete medical history, copy of the death certificate, funeral director's mother's maiden name, your right arm, left leg, and a pound of flesh to fly in for the funeral. Seriously- Read my friend Shannon's blog about my attempt at flying home. Then, NEVER fly Delta or Northwest, or any of their partner airlines again. I forbid it.
  • I will always write, "no card" or "n/c" in the guest book at a funeral. The idea of writing all those thank you cards is completely overwhelming.
  • Also, I pledge to not bring fried chicken when someone dies. Someone probably already has. Any variety of potato is always safe though.
  • It is REALLY easy to figure out what your unhealthy stress coping mechanism is. My mom smokes. I eat. A lot. And sleep a lot. Which is a really bad combination. I'll be joining Bearcycle when I return for sure.
  • The things people do things for you, like bring you food, send flowers, hugs, tears, and prayers mean a lot more than they think they do.
  • Bubbly people might consider a class in appropriateness. Ask me about my Dad's call to the benefit's people at Toyota.
I might have more to add to this list later. I am grateful for all the prayers, calls, texts, flowers, cards, etc from those in our lives over the last 6 days (hard to believe it hasn't even been a week). I am also glad to be in a family where we can cry and laugh together. Richard was a much bigger fan of laughter and joy than tears, so it seems fitting to remember to laugh. Here is a link to some pictures I put up on Facebook. He was clearly more photogenic than I was or am. Thank you all for praying for my family- it really does make a difference.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

If I'd Only Known. . .

How deeply and quickly I would learn the pain of being completely shocked and unprepared for something, I think I might have tried to avoid learning the lesson. So maybe I could avoid the application?

My mom called me late on Thursday to tell me that my little brother, Richard, passed away this week. We are not certain what happened, but believe he had a seizure. It happened earlier in the week, but he was found Thursday.

Please keep my family in your prayers. It is like walking in a fog or a bad dream. However, it is reality. And one that I am certainly unprepared for. I keep reminding myself of the truth that I know. And rest a bit in the knowledge that he knew those truths too.

May God be glorified in Richard's death the same way he was in his life. If we could see of glimpse of that to help with understanding, that sure would be nice too. A little Lazarus action would be appreciated too.

Sorry this picture is huge (I can't figure out how to make it smaller.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It probably comes as no surprise to those who know me best that I really like to be prepared. I've learned in the course of my life that I function with excellence when I am prepared. I crave being able to be thoughtful and intentional with every task and endeavor that I undertake. You may remember my post just a few short weeks ago where I outlined my plan to fast from Facebook, partially in preparation for tomorrow. I wrote:

I feel like 25 marks the beginning of a new era. I really want to go into year 25 intentionally. I want to have a list of things I want to say I am or have done by 30. I really think I need to take a break from vegging out in order to get a clearer grasp on what that means and where I think God is calling me to with the next quarter century of my life.
Now, three or so weeks later, I laid in bed tonight and had a realization.

I turn twenty-five soon.

In 20 minutes if you are losser with when the birthday starts, I have nine hours and 35 minutes if you wait until the moment I was actually born to count it (10:15 a.m. Eastern).

And I have no list. No system. No earth shattering blog post.

I am not prepared. At least, not the way I prepare. I want to push the pause button to keep it from happening until I'm ready! Ironic, since I was actually supposed to be born on May 11th. That means I was born 17 days late. Mom has always said I waited to be born until I was ready.

When I had that realization, I had a flashback to a moment on my campus walk earlier today. I was walking home, and it hit me, that this day, this situation, this birthday, this life, is not at all what I thought it would be. I was struck by how often how things are planned are not the way things actually turn out. On the flip-side, it is always for the better. Casually the verse from Proverbs 19:21 that says "Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails" thought crossed my mind and I thought that maybe, I should quit trying to plan and figure out how things are going to go.

Later, on the way home from the grocery store a song from Hillsong came on my iPod called "Oceans Will Part". I was moved to tears by the lyrics:
When I'm blind to my way, There Your Spirit will pray; As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand,

Oceans will part; nations come, At the whisper of Your call. Hope will rise; glory shown. In my life, Your will be done.

Present suffering may pass, Lord, Your mercy will last; As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand. And my heart will find praise, I'll delight in Your way, As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand.
Despite all of that, I still found myself upset that I have not prepared enough for the passage of time, and the change of a day on the calendar. Truthfully, whether or not I have a "by 30" to-do list, or not, God's purpose in this passage of time should be my concern.

I need to learn that:

Just because I do not have a to-do list to accomplish, does not mean that I am not prepared.

Just because I do not feel prepared does not mean I am not.

When I feel most unprepared, that is when God's glory will most clearly be seen, and His will, clearly done.

My life purpose has nothing to do with my plans, but everything to do with His Glory.

Two of my instead of Facebook hopes from that previous post were: "learn to have the gift of presence. allow the Holy Spirit to develop a quiet spirit within me."

I think the Holy Spirit is working on both those things today. I believe that learning to be less OCD about preparation, means being more present in there right here and now- In the inner workings of the Holy Spirit within my life.

So, from 25 til death, may I remember that the Lord's purpose prevails (Proverbs 19:21), that He is faithful (Deut. 7:9), God has already determined my exact places where I will live (Acts 17:27) and He has prepared me in advance for the work He has called me to do (Eph. 2:10).

What on earth can I do to prepare more?!

Now that it's officially after midnight (central) and now less than 9 hours until the OCD Anniversary of my birth, I leave you with this message my dog wishes to send to my parents in reference to the gift they sent him for my birthday... yes, you read that right.

(He dictated the message, bad grammar and all).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Does The Future Hold?

I saw this video on Michael Hyatt's blog this morning. I think it's pretty powerful, and hope that you will not only watch it, but share it with your friends and family. (Don't forget to turn the music off before you watch it!)

One small editorial comment- please note, that this video does not accurately portray student development, generational theory, or expectations of current college student/20somethings. Generational theory states that Millennials (roughly born between 1982-early 2000's with some exceptions) should be a Hero generation, which is actually considered a "great" generation. The Lost Generation actually refers to those born between 1883-1900. What the video may be referring to is a "Nomad" generation. Generation X is considered a nomad generation". Click the links to learn more about it! Or, go to grad school for educational administration.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer Lovin'

As I type this post I'm sitting in front of an open window, with my ceiling fan going enjoying a cool, quiet summer night with a tall glass of sweet tea. My sweet dog is perched on the chair arm staring out the window listening to all the sounds of summer. A few birds are outside sharing stories about their day, every fifteen minutes the bell tolls at Pat Neff (whose green tower I can see beautifully from my window) and occasionally, a car drives past. But in all, life is quiet. Calm.

I just love nights like this. Especially at the end of a year like this one.

I am about to finish out the last few months of my first year at work at Baylor and I must admit that I would describe the last year as anything but calm and quiet. It has been a full year. Full of lots of fun stories, quality time shared with students, crazy incidents, laughter and tears. It's been good. It's been chaotic, challenging, stressful. But, Good.

I have only begun to process the last 11 months of life, but one truth stands out among it all.

God is faithful and good. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God -Deuteronomy 7:9.

As the days of summer roll past, no doubt more quickly than I might wish, I hope and pray that our Lord will continue to reveal His faithfulness and goodness. That He will continually open my eyes to see how He has been faithful this year, that He would provide a since of renewed hope and purpose as I prepare to start my second year here.

I am so blessed to know that the God I serve has called me for this moment and this work. He has called me to be sitting in this window, on this night, in this place. How thankful I am for that knowledge, my God, and the peace that He gives. I pray that he would give me the strength to remember that always, and to be joyful because of that knowledge always.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
-Ephesians 2:10

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'
-Acts 17:24-28 (NIV)

Monday, May 18, 2009


I have recently had several conversations with several dear friends about how easy it is to allow fear and negativity, especially when that lies with others around us, to permeate our lives. I know that I have been blessed with so much, but yet it’s so easy to get frustrated with circumstances, and I’ve been trying to not given into fear and negativity so easily.

How fitting when I saw this post today on one of my favorite blogs, Radical Womanhood. Carolyn talks about why Joy is so important. I am so glad to start the week out with this! Hope it blesses you too! I pray Paul's words would be true:

I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds
-2 Corinthians 7:4

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hope My Brother Bought a Lotto Ticket

My family is on a lucky streak apparently! You saw my previous post about the lovely plates I won. The day after my last post, I talked to Dad on the phone. He told me that someone on his work team had won one of the cars that his company, Toyota, gives away yearly at the Perfect Attendance Ceremony. This year they chose to forgo the ceremony, but still gave the cars away. He said that one of his teammates (5 people including my dad) had won a new Camry. They would find out when they went into work the next day. After attempting to convince Dad that if he won, he wanted to sell me the new car since my car is the family oldest-He reminded me that he probably wouldn't win, but that he would be willing to sell me my mom's old SUV if they did win.

The next day, during a meeting with my new CL staff, I got this text message from him: "Want to buy a car?"

Holy cow! After 19 years of service (he starts his 20th year at the end of this month), and 18 years of perfect attendance (one day missed because of a snow storm), my dad finally won the car drawing! My brothers and I would stay at my grandparents house when my parents would get dressed up for their yearly date to the Perfect Attendance event. When we would see someone start driving down Maw and Paw-Paw's half a mile drive way, we'd stare out the window looking for two sets of headlights. It was always just one set.

When he called my mom from work, she didn't believe him and he had to put his team leader on the phone to convince her he was telling the truth. I think when these photos were taken she might have actually believed him.

Mom In Her New Car.

I'm trying really hard not to be jealous.

Count them- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Cars for 2 people. A little ridiculous. To be fair, the Camero is my brother's and it doesn't work. The truck is used only for hauling things. But still.

With this string of luck, I hope my brothers bought lotto tickets. And that when they win, they show their sister a little love in the form of checks to Sallie Mae and Ed Financial.

All in all, I must say, I'm really proud of Dad. Not because he won a flashy new Camry, but because he's such a great example of faithfulness and love. Not many people have worked faithfully for one place for 20 years. Fewer many have had perfect attendance for all of those years (not counting the snow storm). Not many people when they win a new car, would give it to someone else.

I hope I'm just a bit like my dad when I grow up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Look What I Won!!

I entered a contest on heart to Heart with Holley and won! I'm so excited because I really like this Dayspring line!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Officially On A Break

I have, after much deliberation (seriously, since February), decided to take at least a month long hiatus from Facebook and Twitter. It has truly become a crutch, and a leach on my time. I come home from work, sit in front of the t.v. with my laptop and play on facebook while watching what's on Tivo. This has become increasingly true since finishing my masters almost a year ago. At least before, I had no choice but to put Facebook aside to do something intellectual. But now, I don't have to, and it's an addiction I have fallen to easily into.

Additionally, my 25th Birthday is in less than a month and I have found myself thinking a lot about what that means. Besides the fact I, hopefully, will start feeling like an adult (I can rent a car without paying extra now after all), I feel like 25 marks the beginning of a new era. I really want to go into year 25 intentionally. I want to have a list of things I want to say I am or have done by 30. I really think I need to take a break from vegging out in order to get a clearer grasp on what that means and where I think God is calling me to with the next quarter century of my life.

With that said, no more facebook, no more twitter. Instead I'll:

read. write. post the things I write on here in some cases. have real conversations with friends. be silent. enjoy more time outside with my dog. finally finish a week of my Beth Moore study more than 20 minutes before I am supposed to be there. iron my clothes instead of wearing the same couple of skirts that don't need ironing. decorate my apartment. pick my apartment up every day rather than waiting until it's a disaster to clean. work out more. stop comparing myself to others as much. quit over analyzing everything around me. learn to have the gift of presence. allow the Holy Spirit to develop a quiet spirit within me.

I think the list could go on and on. The point is- there are so many better uses of my time than my Facebook/Twitter Obsession. So, at least until June, I will be saying adios to Facebook and Twitter. Who knows, I may decide to quit permanently! Freedom has never felt so exciting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


New Template, Shout Out to Mom, Swine Flu, Among Other Things

I recently (i.e. earlier this week) entered an "updating" phase of life. One of the things I updated was the layout of my blog! Gone are the dark and dreary days of old. I also have some fun background music now! These changes elicited the following email from my dear mother:

Hi Daughter,
What have you done to your blog????? I think I like the colors it sure is bright..and I think suits you better. Oh. The music that starts up when I click on it is nice too. I have left it on in the back ground.
Love you sweetie,

It first I thought she was mad, but then I realized I think she likes it better than the old drab blog. Hi Mom. Glad you like it! Maybe next time I'm home I'll teach you how to leave comments! Love you!

As you may have heard, there's a bit of a flu going around. . . of the swine variety. This particular strand has been a bit lethal in Mexico and has officially claimed one life in Texas. (I will point out, that New York has had more confirmed cases than Texas, so don't freak out too much). Baylor's staying on top of it, and we have a webpage dedicated to it, just in case it hits Waco (which it hasn't).

This of course isn't helping the fact that I have been feeling a little under the weather the last couple of days. Yesterday I nearly choked on my own breath during a VP Candidate presentation and made quite the scene. Today I woke up with a splitting headache. Don't worry though- no fever, or other flu symptoms. Stay away little piggies.

It's really hard to believe that my first full academic year at Baylor is coming to a close. This week marks the last full week of class. Last week we had Diadeloso (Day of the Bear in Spanish). The next to last Thursday of Spring Classes Baylor cancels class, let's employees off at noon and there is a huge party. It was a blast! It was sunny, 80-90 degrees outside and a perfect day for concerts, dog shows, huge Tug-o-War competitions (seriously. HUGE). I entered Tuck in the Dia Dog Show and we had a great time. He kind of did a trick on the stage, but got distracted by another dog and the crowd simultaneously saying, "ahhhh" at him. He didn't win, but I am convinced that next year is our year! (Yes, I am a dog-show parent, but he doesn't mind!)

Spending all day outside I got a lot of sun (and of course, I didn't wear sunscreen. Oops). But, This one hasn't peeled, so I think I might actually get a bit of a tan this year! That will be quite the first. This summer I plan to spend quality time by the pool with friends, Tuck and a good book. I just have to find a swim suit first.

Before I get there though, I have to make it through the rest of the year. It seems that life picks up a bit between now and next week, and then for closing of course. Today's my last day with my CL Leadership Class- Having them has been a blast. I'm baking some cookies to celebrate our semester and looking forward to our time together. It's actually about time to head out to class! Enjoy the bright colors and background music!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh How I Needed This:

Today I ran across this paragraph while preparing for my final Captivating book study with my girls.

...And the world simply uses people, then spits them out when they are worn out and no longer "on top of their game." Our Enemy despises relationship, hates love in any form, fears its redemptive power. This is why God sent Eve. Women are needed to protect relationships, bring them back to center stage where they belong. You might at times feel like the only one who cares. But as women we must hang onto this- that because of the Trinity, relationship is the most important thing in the universe. Let us not give way or yield our intuitive sense of the importance of relationship for anything...

You have an irreplaceable role in your relationships. No one can be to the people in your life who you can be to them. No one can offer what you can offer. There are many things God calls us to do, but loving well always comes first. And don't your relationships feel opposed? Of course. They must be fought for... You have been sent by the Trinity on behalf of love, of relationships. Fight for them.
-Captivating, pp 209-210

No wonder I’m emotionally exhausted.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Scared the S*&%. . .

Out of my poor Tuck! We had some really bad thunderstorms come through Waco this morning while I was in a meeting. Tuck was home alone, and terrified. Apparently he is scared to death of storms and scratches relentlessly at the door to get out. Apparently, he also literally had the S*&% scared out of him this morning. Literally.

I couldn't help but laugh. Poor Tuck was terrified of both the storm and of me. You should have seen his face. I chose to offer him some grace and post a photo of it online.

BUT, he wasn't completely alone today. He had his new Easter Present:

My parents mailed a blanket for the Dog for Easter. The put a few pieces of candy in there for me, but most of the box was this really soft microplush throw blanket. It was labeled "For Tuck, the Granddog". Tuck's Grand People chose well- he's been sleeping on it most of the time since!

Seattle and Portland!

It's been a while since I posted an update. Part of that is the fact that life has been clipping along at a fast rate, and the other part is that I spent 10 days exploring the Pacific Northwest. I've never been to the Northwest, and I really enjoyed my trip. After this trip, I only have 16 states left to visit until I have been to them ALL!!

Seattle was the first stop for the NASPA conference. This is a national conference for Student Affairs professionals and was 7 days of sessions, volunteering and "networking".

The trip started at 3 a.m. when Shannon and I drove from Waco to Austin to catch an early morning flight. The flight from Austin to Houston was short and uneventful. Then we flew from Houston to Seattle- a 4 hours and 45 minute flight. This flight was far more interesting. I was in the window seat, getting ready for take off and an almost 5 hour nap, when the lady in the middle seat asked to put her head on my shoulder. I was completely taken aback and awkwardly agreed. The oddity of that situation prevented my sleeping for a while and I got excited when she and the guy on the end both were awake at the same time. (This was about an hour and a half into the flight.) I climbed my way over them to go to the bathroom. For some reason, when i was finished, the flight attendants wouldn't let me go back to my seat. They said there was a spill and I couldn't go back until it was cleaned up. When I got back to my seat, I discovered the lady in the middle had spilled her in-flight breakfast on my seat. . . Total Cereal. That made the rest of the flight much, much longer.

The conference was spectacular. I spent a few days volunteering at The Placement Exchange, both for the conference and for Baylor. When the conference started, I really enjoyed the sessions that I attended and had a great time visiting with old friends and colleagues.

I also made time to see some of the sights in Seattle. We went to Pikes Place Market along the Puget Sound. This is the home of the Pikes Place Fish Market- a fish stand where the employees have a blast throwing fish around and entertaining their customers. If you've ever heard of the FISH! Philosophy, this stand is the inspiration.

Additionally, PIkes Place is home to the first Starbucks. Of course, we made sure to go there. Now, I am not the biggest fan of Starbucks coffee, but they started a movement of which I am a willing participant. The first Starbucks is small and plain. They are currently renovating it, so there are about 4 seats at a window bar. The coffee tasted just like it does at every other Starbucks, but the staff were really friendly!!

One of my life goals is to go to all the World's Fair sites and visit the buildings that were built for the fairs. I was able to visit the Space Needle while I was there too. We went on a day that was mostly clear so we were able to see the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges as well as the Puget Sound.

Here's a slide show of my time in Seattle:

Seattle Slideshow

After the conference ended, my friend Shannon and I took a train ride to Portland to stay with her mom and sister who live there. We were joined on the train by a couple of our friends who used to work at Baylor. Drew works at Reed College in Portand now, and Matt was going to spend a few days with him. The trip took about three and a half hours and was beautiful ride.

While in Portland we went hiking near Maltnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. It was cold, but absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately most of the path to the top of Maltnomah was covered in ice past the bridge, so we did not get to climb to the top. We explored another set of water falls before driving along the scenic route to take some great pictures. Along the way out to Malnomah, we encountered a flat tire on the interstate. Luckily we had Matt with us, so the stop only added 10 minutes to our time.

While in Portland we went to see "Wicked" the musical which was a blast! One night my friends Laura and Brian met us in Portland for dinner. This was after we visited Powell's Bookstore in downtown Portland. Powell's is a four story talk bookstore that takes the entire city block. I could have spent hours in that store, but only got to spend about 45 minutes.

Saturday we went to the Pacific Ocean. This was my first time visiting it. Unfortunately, this was the only day it Portland that it rained. So, we didn't spend much time at the beach but took a nice scenic drive. We ate at Mo's, a famous reastuarant on the beach for clam chowder. Next we headed to Tillamook Cheese factory to walk around, eat some cheese and ice cream! It was a fun day of driving around the Oregon Coast and an awesome way to finish out the trip.

Here's a slide show of our adventures in Portland:

Portland Slideshide

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm Giddy about Esther.

I recently joined a women's BIble Study group and we are working through Beth Moore's latest study titled: "Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman". I have always loved Beth Moore, but I am SO excited about this study. I started on the workbook tonight and let me just tell you why I am almost giddy with a few quotes:

When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a grand ending. And not just in spike of those catastrophes. Often because of them.
-Day One: Page 14

We can count on some drama {in Esther}, however, and if you have my kind of taste, that's your kind of fun anyway.
-Day Two: Page 14

I strongly recommend this study, and I'm only on Day Three! Click on the picture to order it on Amazon!

Soundtrack of My Life

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