Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Through painted deserts

I posted this blog a year ago, but for some reason the link got broken and i couldn't seem to fix it. So, i decided to re-post it. enjoy.

Have you ever read a book and enjoyed it so much you became sad that it had to come to end? It’s like you’ve become a part of the story and leaving the scene is hard for you because you want it to roll on for your continued enjoyment. Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller is one of such stories.Somewhere in early December last year, I was looking up Christian books I could put on my to-read list, and I came across Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It had good reviews and I found out it was even turned into a movie so I got convinced it must be good. Around Christmas I was looking for some good music on Noisetrade when I stumbled on a free audio version of Don’s book, Through Painted Deserts. Was I thrilled? You bet! I mean although Blue Like Jazz was what I was bent on reading, I was like why not give this a listening ear? After all it’s by the same author and if Blue Like Jazz is good, chances are Through Painted Deserts also is. Was I wrong? No!

In fact I’ve fallen in love with the book, seriously! (Sorry I had to scream that.) This is more like say, a short, informal review of the book with a bunch of my favorite quotes from it.

Through Painted Deserts is a memoir that takes you on a journey into how the author found the meaning of why God made us, his beloved creation... about changing, faith, finding light, friendship and beauty on the open road. It’s very touching and warms your heart in the right places. Oh, and the soothing voice of Don reading the book adds such calm and peace to the story itself.

It’s a book I will recommend for everybody especially those whose faith in God is a bit shaky and who doubt the goodness and beauty of God, people who wonder or doubt if God ever listens to their prayers and people who may need to leave their comfort zones and everything behind to go on an adventure to get a better perspective of life. It’s a book for people who get so caught up with life and forget there’s a big world out there full of the calmness and peace of God, people who don’t stop to enjoy the big, blue sky, people who don’t stop to breathe and experience the soothing nature, the works of God’s hands. Although we have to participate in life and go about our duties in order to survive, we need to take breaks every now and then to get away from the pressures and noise of it all and just enjoy God.

Considering I’m a ''small'' town kinda girl in this little country, Ghana, this book encourages me personally to venture out from my all too familiar surroundings to somewhere new, somewhere that’ll give me a new and beautiful perspective about life and God. I so want to leave, to venture out and experience and enjoy the magnificence of God somewhere away from where I call home, sharing His truth and forging beautiful friendships along the way... and I’m trusting God with that. I want to experience Him in canyons, on mountains, in deserts, in falling snow, in the falling of red autumn leaves, on beautiful beaches, on islands, on the open road... in different cultures. Nature has such an endearing way of reminding me not just of the greatness of God and the beautiful works of His hands but it also affirms that God really does exist.

So here are some quotes I totally love from the book. They’re like urm, spoilers of a good movie. LOL They’re quite a number but you can’t resist such lovely words that speak straight to your heart, right?!  Haha, here goes:

“Every person has to leave, has to change like the seasons. They have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing and I want to change because it’s Gods way.”

“Everybody has to change or they expire. Everybody has to leave their homes and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.”

“I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it’s time for things to die.”

“I want to repeat one word for you. Leave. Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It’s a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you’ve always wanted to be. And you’ll not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry, everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who would have changed.”

“No, life can’t 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.”

“It’s a living book, this life. It folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters and it’s almost over for you. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s coming to a close quickly and soon the credits will roll and all of your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold, in still, in silence and they’ll make a fire, pour some wine and think about how you once were and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be.”

“And so my prayer is that your story would have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is that your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born outside of you, about learning to love a man or a woman, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God.”

“Everything is like a symphony if you think about it; birds are perfect and crickets come out of the wet woods like a choir...nature itself worked perfectly to calm the soul.”

“Life is a dance toward God... and the dance is not so graceful as we might want. While we glide and swing our practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes.”

“There is nothing I’m missing. I have everything i was supposed to have to experience the magnitude of this story, to dance with God.”

“I guess I’m looking for what any guy is looking for. I want a companion, you know. Just someone to share life with. I want her to be my biggest fan and i want to be her biggest fan too. I want us to raise kids in a home where they know their parents are in love with each other, with them, and with God. I guess that’s all I want.”

“I want a friend, a true friend. Someone who knows me and loves me anyway. Like, when I’m through putting my best foot forward, she’s still there.”
“Real love doesn’t ask “what’s in it for me?” It just gives unconditionally, it just tries to take the weight out of somebody else’s pack, lessen his load and if it gets reciprocated, that’s great, but that isn’t what you did it for.”

“Don’t kick yourself around, if you can’t climb up out of a canyon real quick, just do it slow.”

“God made a whole beautiful earth and decided to put you in it, to experience all of this beauty. You can’t do that watching television all the time.”

“Life is not a story about me, but it’s told to me and I can be glad of that. I think that’s the why of life...to enjoy God.”

“Months ago I would have told you life was about doing, about jumping through religious hoops, about impressing people and my actions would have told you this is done by buying possessions or keeping a good image... but I don’t believe in that stuff anymore. I think we’re supposed to stand in deserts and marvel at how the sun rises. I think we’re supposed to sleep in meadows and watch stars dart across space and time. I think we’re supposed to love our friends and introduce people to the story, to the peaceful, calming why of life. I think life is spirituality.”

“If I ever get frustrated with life again, if I ever get into river deep debt, I will sell it all and move out into the woods, find some people who aren’t like me and learn to love them and do something even harder, let them love me. I will sleep beneath the stars and whisper “thank You” to the Creator of the universe as a way of reacquainting myself to an old friend, a friend who says you don’t have to be smart or good looking or religious or anything, you just have to cling to Him, love Him, need Him, and listen to Him while He tells His story.”

“Some things have to end, you know. I will be leaving soon and i want to feel this, really understand that it’s happening because God breathed some spark into mud that became us and He did it for a reason and I want to feel that reason, not some false explanation.”

"And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth's shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man's weak praise should be given God's attention."

"It's a wonder that those exposed to such beauty forfeit the great questions in the face of this miraculous evidence."

“I think again about this small period of grace, and thank God for it, that if only for a season I could feel the why of life, see it in the metaphor of light, in the endlessness of the cosmos, in the miracle of friendship. And had these mountains the ability to reason, perhaps they would contemplate the beauty of humanity and praise God for the miracle that each of us is, pondering the majesty of God and the wonder of man in one bewildering context. Their brows are rumpled even now and their arms are stretched toward heaven.”

Whew! (That’s a good whew, LOL) I’ve come to the end of the lengthy but lovely quotes from Through Painted Deserts. It’s such a good read and I love how the acoustic guitar plays in the background at the end of the final chapter. It ends on such a beautiful note that it even gets me teary-eyed (In a very good way.) I hope you enjoyed them and that you’ll read the book or better still get the free audio version right here. It’s a good read (have I mentioned that already) and you could listen to the audio book (all twenty-seven chapters) in a day. I personally didn’t want to consume all the yummy goodness in one day so I chose to listen to it in bits, over a number of days to let it all sink in. God bless Don’s kind heart for giving it away for no cost and for allowing others to go along on the journey with him through the mind’s eye. He sure has a way with words and he writes from a place of honesty and truth.

People travel all the time. Probably you do or you currently are. What I’m beginning to realize is that you could travel the entire world and it wouldn’t really mean anything until you travel with meaning, with the knowledge that God created all these magnificent things in life. Traveling should awaken us to the wonder of God and rekindle our love for Him. It should involve loving and sharing God’s truth to the people we meet along our journeys. Let’s always remember what Jesus said “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31 In our everyday living, we should not lose focus on loving God and people. And if you love people, you would want to share God’s truth with them so that they get saved. So travel to enjoy God and love people along the way!

 Jesus loves you. xoxo



  1. I read this just in time to write it down for my Saturday trip to the library! I'll grab Blue Like Jazz and Through Painted Deserts and I'll let you know what I think!

  2. Great! I haven't read blue like jazz yet but i hope you enjoy it too! :)

  3. I LOVE Donald Miller:) Thanks for sharing this!! xxoo katie

  4. Yayyy to the Donald Miller lovers!


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Soaring Up In Sunshine
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