Friday, May 20, 2011


I was going to travel the world and take pictures of it.  A storage unit and a PO Box would be my “home” and my camera would be my best friend.  National Geographic would turn from a monthly subscription to inspiration into my ticket to ride and my pay to eat, aside from the free bugs and berries I found along the way.  
As I got older, things would meander in and out of that dream but nothing about it’s core ever really changed.  Things like jobs and friends and boys.  A long time boyfriend, who loved to write, was at one time my companion as we aspired to marry and share our lives as we trekked around the world.  He would write and I would photograph and all the angels would sing in perfect harmony.  But then we broke up.  In parting, I snatched my dream back, tucked it closely to my side and marched on, planning how to set up a tent alone and trying to remember the words to those catchy rhymes that taught you which snake was safe to eat and which one would kill you dead on the spot.
I loved knowing what I was going to do with my life.  I took classes in college, I bought really cool cameras on ebay and spent most of my free time perfecting my craft. 
I got pregnant.
At 22, with a budding career in private aviation and a tall drink of water for a boyfriend, I found out I was pregnant.  Of course, this was shocking and as unexpected as these things could be but…it wasn’t bad.  As I would smile and tell them how excited I was about the pending baby, their faces were twisted and weird.  Sometimes judgmental, sometimes confused but most of the time, the first response was “What about National Geographic?”
See God did this funny thing.  I wasn’t really “tight” with him at the age of 22.  I hadn’t been for quite some time.  If I was really honest, I would say that he was a packed-away afterthought in most of my days.  Until I had this little person growing in me.  I didn’t know what I was doing?  I could barely stop swearing let alone be in charge of building a precious little child’s moral character.
And how to answer that constant question at first reveal?  I didn’t feel like anything was lost…like anything was being taken away or that my dreams were crushed.  While I still didn’t know God in an intimate and personal way, he was wooing me.  I was excited to be a mom and, for some reason, knew that if I was supposed to be a photographer…it would happen.  
That was seven years ago.  That tall drink of water?  He’s my husband and I am his wife.  That little baby a brewin’…she’s one of three (soon to be four) and those kids are my everything.  Me and God?  We tight.  I set myself down for a second and realized my need for Him.  Lucky me, He was waiting with open arms and grace everlasting.  We talk all day, every day and He is slowly opening my eyes to how things are done in His world. 
National Geographic?  Photography?  God is so amazing.  While I continued to dabble in my love of the art, I never really felt a time to make it a career.  And I may never.  But with my kind husbands support and prompting, my loving God’s perfect timing and amazing people who give me nice compliments, I am able to practice my love-never-lost.  I may not be storing my belongings in a storage unit or calling home by PO Box 1122, but I get to go a few places and do a few things.  No moment’s notice trips or lizard tails over a rainforest campfire but this life He granted me…it’s way more exciting.  
As I prepared for bed the other night, I pulled the rubber band out of my dread-lock-like-locks to set it down and give my mane a rest.  It was the rubber band I pulled from the asparagus bundle I cooked for dinner in an attempt to quickly get the do out of my face.  Blue with Mexico written all over it.  Thought bubbles floated over head with images of mayan ruins, swimming with dolphins and underwater camera equipment carried by my photo team.  I didn’t long for it and I didn’t regret a single MOMENT in my life.  But…I tucked it close to my side and marched to bed.  If God wants me to be there, doing that…it will happen.  And if not?  Well…I am happy to just wear Mexico in my hair.

PS.  God helped me replace my swear words with a much better vocabulary.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect…but credit to Him for as far as it has improved. 


  1. love your words, amy ballard! and i can so relate to using the asparagus band for your hair accessory in a pinch (or not!).

  2. I must correct myself...I actually prefer the purple, broccoli bands. A much more regal look. You should try it. They could change your life:)