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

Soundtrack of My Life

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