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David Ballard

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!

 

I have been through a lot in the last 4 months.  On September 20th, I had a motorcycle wreck, breaking my leg in two places (and am still on crutches).  I lost my grandmother a few weeks later on October 4th.  Not long after that, at work I received a “job modification” including a 30% cut in pay that will begin on January 4th.

In spite of all these things and maybe even because of them, I am more grateful than ever for God, my incredible wife, Jill, and our 2 boys - Judah & Mace.  Having them in my life is the best Christmas gift ever.

I’m grateful that on the day my grandmother passed away, we were able to tell her about our new baby on the way (due sometime around the end of May 2009).  I’m thankful that we have a house and decent vehicles and all the necessities.  I’m thankful for extra freelance work I’m able to do.

Family and the things that really matter are becoming more and more important to me.  Did I mention I turned 40 on November 21st?  Maybe it’s age, but I’m constantly aware of the continued blessings of God on me and my family.

We’re not doing a lot of the typical glitz and bling of Christmas this year or probably ever again.  Though our celebration will be low key, our hearts and lives will be so rich with time spent together and the reality that God is in control and truly loves us.

This marks my first blog post (of hopefully many more future, consistent posts) since June of this year.  In these 6 months a lot has happened… good and not so good.  I’m ready to crawl out from under whatever it is that’s been oppressive, and breathe a little fresh air.  I believe 2009 will be a great year.  A year we can fully lean on the everlasting arms and let God show us what HE can do.

Merry Christmas!
-David

Setting Down Roots

 

This is a Water Cooler Wednesdays post…

One of the biggest things I’ve wanted to do in my life is actually put down roots and live somewhere for more than 2 or 3 years.  For much of my life, it seems I’ve lived a nomadic existence.  Since 1994 when I went off to the University of Oklahoma, I haven’t stayed in the same place for very long.

I want the relationships and familiarity that can only come with living or dwelling somewhere for a long period of time.  We never guessed that place would be Fort Smith, Arkansas, but here we are.  After living here for 10 months in an apartment, the perfect house for us went on the market and we acted quickly. God has been in control of this whole thing and has been very faithful to help us during this process of putting down roots.

The last few weeks have been quite tiring and difficult… juggling job, family and moving.  All the packing, U-Hauling, scraping, painting, ripping up, laying down, measuring, cleaning, fixing, buying, installing and aching has been worth it.  I haven’t been to the gym in 2 weeks and haven’t walked in almost as long, but I’ve been burning calories and pumping the muscles in other ways.  We didn’t expect this to be such an ordeal, but it’s totally worth it to settle into such a great community, church and job.

I really need to take some time to write down my life list.  Up until now, I just sort of have this running list in my head… and there are still lots of things I want to do like skydive, go to Australia, take an African Safari, visit Tokyo, Israel, Ireland and Montana.  I want to do a marathon, write a lot of great songs and have a few more children.  I want God to change me into who He has always wanted me to be.  I still want to get an MBA and a PhD… mainly just for me, but to keep learning.  I don’t ever want to stop learning, growing and experiencing something outside my comfort zone.

I believe setting down roots is going to play a major role in the great things that are yet to come and I can’t wait to see where God takes us as we plant ourselves and serve him with our lives and all He has blessed us with.  Check out the song Roots Before Branches by Nikki and Adam Anders on iTunes.

The Little Things

This is a Watercooler Wednesday post…

We were having dinner tonight to celebrate Mace’s 5th birthday.  My parents had driven an hour to watch the boys’ t-ball game and then we ate at one of our favorite places - Joe’s Pizza & Pasta on Rogers Avenue.  We were having fun, laughing and talking but at some point I became aware of a guy sitting by himself across the room from us.  He was a military man, easily recognizable by his uniform.  He was a married man according to the ring on his finger.  And he seemed quite lonely, judging by his reaction to the other families sitting all around him.  He would smile and nod as he looked from table to table at the moms & dads interacting with their children, sharing their meal together.

I thought about this man and the sacrifice he is making to keep us free and have the ability to sit in a restaurant with our family and enjoy our time together.  He was far away from his wife & children.  I could just tell by the way he looked around the room that he missed them and home.

I often like performing random acts of kindness and saw the opportunity to bless this lonely soldier who missed his kids & wife.  Maybe I felt a little guilty that I was sitting there enjoying my family - all of us together.  I asked our waitress about his bill and she pointed me to his server.  I got his check and paid for it when I paid for ours.  It wasn’t much for us to do, but I know he appreciated it because he found out it was us and walked over to thank us.  As we headed out the door, I thanked him for what he is doing for our country.  Sometimes it’s the little things that add up.  Those unexpected opportunities to bless someone who isn’t expecting it.  I’m glad God is putting this in my heart more and more and can’t wait for the next opportunity to develop.

What’s the coolest, random act of kindness you’ve done lately?  If you haven’t what do you think it could be? Remember the little things are important and can make a huge difference in someone’s life and even make an eternal impact.

Emergent Holiness

Watercooler Wednesdays

I have to admit… it’s already 2:30pm CST on Watercooler Wednesday, May 21st and I hadn’t even read Randy’s post for today yet, but interestingly, we had a conversation about this very thing at lunch!

Besides wine, we also discussed the use of profanity (or what most would consider profanity to be).

I believe my church is against wine.  We have grape juice during communion and no one really talks about drinking (wine or otherwise).  It’s a fairly traditional church, with a bit of charismatic/holiness history.  I personally don’t see anything wrong with wine, but do try to be sensitive to those around me… leadership, those I serve, etc.  It seems to be a good rule of thumb to err on the side of caution. A good friend of mine once said “too much of a good thing is not a good thing”.  I agree with her.

Josh Mayo and I were discussing the emergent church and holiness at lunch. We talked about how the lines are continuing to blur between “the world” and “the church”.  We talked about a well known pastor I saw last night on the web who said what some might consider a cuss word.  He quickly apologized and even mentioned editing it out.  It didn’t offend me, and I laughed to my wife and said “Cool… see, he’s HUMAN.”

Some people would have been deeply offended to have heard that word come from this influential pastor’s mouth.  Others wouldn’t have even noticed he said anything wrong at all.  Many of our differences boil down to preference, beliefs and morals.  Just as racism and fear are learned, we get some of our beliefs about things in incorrect ways and places.  My grandmother never wore pants… never cut her hair… never wore jewelry (unless you call her watch jewelry).  I grew up Pentecostal Holiness and there was so much legalism.  To this day, I point out “holiness” people to Jill.  She laughs at me because she knows there will be some story or anecdote to follow about my life experiences and my take on legalism.

But at lunch, we talked about where holiness is in the emergent church.  Is there a place for it?  Is it something not being considered enough?  What exactly will be our way of letting others know we are Christians?

This is a very interesting topic and much more could be said about wine and so much else regarding what churches believe and why they believe it.  I’ve often heard the reasoning that wine (even during communion) would not be good for, say, those who struggled with alcoholism.  I can see the point.  There are lots of things that are not inherently wrong, but when viewed through so many different lenses of people in church, it gets tricky.

Thank you Randy for such a great topic of discussion.  I think I said a whole lot without saying anything, but I believe this is the kind of discussion we all need to be having with each other… hammering out what we believe and why we believe it.  I love the story about the mom who was baking a ham for Christmas… Her daughter asked, “Mom, why do you cut the end off the ham before you bake it.”  The mom replied, “It’s what your grandmother, my mom, always did.” She then said “let’s call grandma and ask her.”  So they called grandma to ask why she cut the end off the ham and grandma said, “it’s what my mother always did.”  They then called great-grandma to ask her why she always cut the end off of the ham and her answer was funny and enlightening.  She said, “Because my pan was too small and the whole ham wouldn’t fit.”  I think we do a lot of things that have just “always been done that way” without ever questioning or discovering the reasons behind it all.

Happy Watercooler Wednesday everyone!

Permission to Succeed

 

Keeping with the title and ideas of this blog - Dwell In Possibility - I love finding stories of those who endeavor to do that very thing.

I was encouraged to read today that South African Olympic hopeful Oscar Pistorius will be allowed the opportunity to try and qualify for the Beijing Olympics.  Read that again… he was just fighting for a chance that may not even come to fruition.  He has to qualify and might not make the time necessary.  But he really wanted the opportunity that was, up until today, being denied.  I’m proud of him for going for it and regardless of the outcome, he is pursuing his dream and living squarely in the middle of possible.

How many times do we give up when we’re told “No”, or “It can’t be done”? Maybe too often we look for someone’s permission to take chances or try something daring, when we should just go for it, despite the nay-sayers.

There’s a lot said about those who play the devil’s advocate in the 10 Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley of IDEO.  And the book describes different personas you can assume to get around the “can’t-be-done” attitudes and move into the “let’s at least try” mindset.

So, what’s keeping you from “dwelling in possibility”? (a poem by Emily Dickenson)

Do you really need permission from anyone but yourself to try?  To fail?  To succeed?

Just a little encouragement from me to you: Try really hard - at all costs even - to live there… in possibility. You have my permission to succeed. (even though you don’t really need it)