Friday, February 26, 2010

Mama, Can You Believe It?

At 11:58 AM, 36 years ago today, my mom received her reward for 36 hours of labor – ME! I guess my dad was pretty happy too. I spent my first night listening to his heartbeat while I slept on his chest (so they tell me). Thanks, mom and dad, for choosing life and loving me!

And in celebration of my birthday, I give you all this gift – my new favorite song. Please do me the birthday honor of letting loose and totally rocking out to this Funky Jesus Music!

Hey - did you miss my BONUS BLOG that I posted yesterday? If you did, scroll down and take a look! Thanks again for sharing this special occasion with me! Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bonus Blog: Guest Post for

How awesome is the internet when it introduces you to kindred spirits who you otherwise would never have met?

Well, I can tell you from personal experience, it’s WAY awesome.

Because of common interest and spiritual perception of the Twilight series, Sarah Baker and I met electronically several months ago. Before the New Moon movie hit theatres last November, I did a series here on Dry Ground called How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus (see sidebar). Sarah read it and contacted me, alerting me to her blog devoted exclusively to spiritual insight stemming from the Twilight Saga. As I’ve read her posts, I’ve relished her insight and the fellowship of our shared thoughts and goals. I consider her a true friend and sister in Christ, even though we’ve never met in person.

God is awesome that way.

Although I haven’t written or posted anything Twilight-related in some time (despite the pages of thoughts still marching through my brain on the subject), Sarah did me the honor of inviting me to guest write for her blog.

So head on over to (or click here) for a glimpse at another Twi-inspired devotional from moi, and then please take some time to read her posts on New Moon and Twilight and now Eclipse. They are fantastic!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Truth about Fiction

I love fiction. (Duh, right?)

Possibilities are endless whether the story is based in real world or imaginary settings.

Stories, even made-up ones, can tell lies or they can tell the truth.

The power to illustrate truth within a fictional setting draws me like the parched to water. I crave these kinds of stories, and then immerse myself once I find one. (see sidebar – How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus - as an example!)

Sort of like the amplified Bible, fiction enhances what we already know, helping us see what’s actually happening. With words, it paints a clearer picture.

What I’m getting at – I’ve been reading about Sarah, the wife of Abraham. We know a lot about her from Scripture, some details more famous than others. The story about her most often told follows her 85-year wait for a promised son. Oh, and that she’s known for basically laughing in God’s face when He told her about Isaac (his name even means laughter).

I could probably write her resume with the other facts God shares, but I admit that all these years I’ve read about her, I’ve skimmed over those facts and therefore missed some truth about her experience that could help me in my life journey.

For example, and this is the one that has gotten to me most as I’ve read about her lately, is that twice her husband made false statements to powerful rulers that landed Sarah in their harems. TWICE!!

(For the record, I’m not citing this particular circumstance b/c of any personal experience! I’m not drawing direct parallels from her life to mine.)

Anyway, every other time I’ve read this, my thoughts follow the stream of the king finding out through some Divine intervention that Sarah was Abrahams wife, not sister, and confronting said husband with this information while he makes excuses based on fear. And there are lessons to be learned from Abraham’s actions.

But I’m not sure I’ve ever followed a train of thought that took me with Sarah into the harems. I’ve never read the story from her point of view.

As I did so, even with my limited knowledge of harems in ancient Egypt, I finally felt a shudder run through me on Sarah’s behalf.

This is where fiction comes in.

Can’t you imagine an entire novel based on the life of Sarah? (I’ve read one, but it didn’t include this crucial part of her life – and the read was only so-so) It would have to be labeled fiction since the scriptures don’t tell us exactly what happened and we don’t have her diary to tell us her thoughts. But with a little research, we could create a realistic story that paints a picture for us what it would be like to live Sarah’s life. And that kind of story could have great impact on our own lives.

Here’s another example. It occurred to me that Sarah had to move around a lot.

I can relate directly to that.

So I wonder, what did she think about relocating so often? How did she feel? How did she cope? How did she handle it amidst all the other drama in her life?

Yes, it’s possible to write a novel about Sarah full of lies, speculations, uncertainties and improbables. And some could argue that we don’t know the details in her life because they aren’t important.

I disagree. I’m convinced, a treasure of Truth lies in the untold story of Sarah.

It’s possible to uncover deeper truth and inspiration telling the story behind the story.

That’s why I love fiction – one reason, anyway. Truth speaks wherever it may be.

Thanks for stopping by Dry Ground! Enjoy a blessed day!

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Lost Shaker of Salt

No, we’re not going to Margaritaville. J

Last week, while chomping over-eagerly on my gum, I bit my lip. Hard enough to draw blood.


Why is it, though, that once it happens, inevitably, it happens again?

And again.

Mere seconds later, I nailed it again… in the exact same spot.

And when I ate dinner that night, I did it again.

Pretty soon, I had a pretty raw lip.

After a couple of days, it turned into a canker sore.

Tiny problem, yes, but my whole face hurt as a result. And my entire day revolved around the fact that I couldn’t think straight because of this little malady.

Sin is like that.

It starts out small – at least to our unholy logic – in reality small sin doesn’t exist.

Still, after it happens once, it happens again and again until it turns into a festering sore.

It compounds into a mess that makes a big impact.

Problem is, dealing with it often hurts more than the sore.

To heal my ailing lip, I applied salt directly into the wound.

Whew! Talk about sting!

But guess what?

The next day, I didn’t think about it non-stop because the pain had lessened. Not too long after that, my lip healed completely.

It reminded me that I need to keep my spiritual saltshaker handy too.

Because sometimes the small stuff in my life snowballs into a big mess.

I have to ask myself if I’m willing to stop ignoring it and deal with it.

Do I have what it takes to endure the ‘salt’ that will heal me?

Jesus is that Salt. Applying Him to wounds caused by sin may hurt, but it ultimately heals.

I’m not writing this as a camouflaged confession or as a message to someone I know. I’m not even sure why this was on my mind. I just wanted to encourage anyone out there going through junk that it’s never too late to turn around and walk away in the complete opposite direction. There’s never too much shame, because Jesus already endured the consequences on the cross. Whatever it is, don’t let despair win. It may hurt, but a solution exists that will ultimately heal and deliver peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and joy unspeakable.

Here’s another way to look at it…

Instead of rejecting it, an oyster covers a grain of sand in the same substance that makes up its own shell, producing… a pearl.

Thanks for spending time with me today on Dry Ground!

(photos by

Friday, February 19, 2010

What is a Champion?

Wikipedia says: The victor in a challenge or contest.

Okay. Don’t trust them %100?

How about time-honored Websters?

A winner of first prize or first place in competition.

We’ll see lots of those as the Olympics progress.

Champion can also mean:

A militant advocate or defender.

One that does battle for another’s rights or honor.

Thank God for those serving in the military and their families, willing to be our champions. I’d like to see them get as much attention as cultural winners like The Saints or Avatar.

I think we all probably have personal champions, those few people in your life who made such a difference, you’d be a different person without their influence. Maybe someone even saved your life, whether literally or figuratively, it doesn’t matter. They are your heroes.

Being a champion and honoring champions – nothing wrong with that. In fact, I believe we are supposed to do our best, go for gold, as well as reward a job well-done.

Idolizing champions, though – not so good.

Our culture sort of thrives on so-called champions: Heisman Trophy winners, Oscar recipients, Forbes Magazine A-listers, Oprah…

In many cases, those champions have become America’s demi-gods. People look to them for inspiration, guidance, hope and become blinded to Truth.

Yes, I’m talking about the extreme. I’m not saying we shouldn’t admire champions, people who put forth an effort to accomplish amazing feats of strength, intelligence, benevolence, talent. I have my favorites like anyone else.

But I am saying we shouldn’t idolize these folks.

Hate to break it to you, but Oprah did not hang the moon.

Shocker. I know. Take a moment to breathe.

Idolizing is bad all the way around. God tells us not to, and for good reason. First, no one is worthy to be idolized – only God is. He’s the only perfect one, and putting your hope into the persona of human perfection will always disappoint you. Also, it’s bad for the object of admiration, applying impossible pressure, fueling the pride that goes before falling. Ever heard of a golfer named Tiger?

I hope you believe that my intentions here are far from judgmental. I feel so bad for Tiger and can’t imagine the pressure to perform, to keep up the façade of perfection he lived under. But that’s my point. Admiration turned to idolization turns to disaster.

Here is what I’m trying to say – look to Jesus as your champion.

Have you ever seen Him that way?

Well, let’s check the definition.

Is He winner in a competition? The Victor of a contest? In a cosmic sense, I would say, yes.

Has He battled for your rights and honor? Uh… BIG yes. He battled death itself on the cross to give us rights and honor we didn’t deserve.

Does He serve as your advocate and defender? Every day, at the right hand of the Father.

Go on, admire Olympians and movie stars and fire fighters and brain surgeons…

But champion Jesus.

Here’s an oldie but a goodie – watch this! I know it’s seven minutes… but by the end, you'll be glad you took the time.

Have a great weekend, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Olympic athletes are so flexible.

I imagine they spend a lot of their time stretching.

A good stretch feels nice after sitting too long or first thing after a night of sleep. But stretching after prolonged motion, like exercising, also feels wonderful and is actually quite important for feeling pain-free later.

According to, the benefits of stretching include increased flexibility, improved range of motion, improved circulation and stress relief.

In training, athletes must stretch themselves physically and mentally to reach goals, prepare for competitions, in order to jump higher, ski faster, skate with more precision.

A stretch can break finish line tape.

I recently stretched my workouts from running three miles to running four. I take that as evidence of getting stronger, healthier, capable of more endurance.

We may not all be athletes, but we all have muscles that need stretching.

Oh, we’re experienced stretchers in some areas - dollars, time, imagination, taste buds.

Sometimes it’s a stretch to get out of bed in the morning.

But benefits abound when we dare to stretch our spirits, hearts, helping hands.

Making the stretch to forgive someone who’s wronged you increases your flexibility.

Volunteering to work in the nursery at church may be a stretch, but it improves your range of motion.

You may be surprised to experience the warm feelings of improved circulation when you take a minute to drop off a meal to a shut-in.

Getting up early on Sunday morning and making it to church before the singing is over will do wonders for your stress levels.

Is God asking you to stretch some area of your life? The thought of whatever it is may cause discomfort and mental resistance, but following through erases all doubts because you’ll feel better than ever - stronger, healthier and capable of greater endurance on this quest God has set forth before us.

Let’s make stretching part of our daily discipline.

Happy Wednesday! Thanks for spending part of it with me here on Dry Ground!

(photos by

Monday, February 15, 2010


My heart weighs about a ton right now.

My Daniel and I have lived a lot of places in our life together. We’ve had the grand opportunity to meet and befriend more than our share of lovely people, many of whom will be cherished friends for the rest of our lives. Others we’ve met, while not bosom buddies, are valued acquaintances.

All contacts in life affect you in some way.

Well, over the weekend, I heard that one of those contacts, a former boss, took his own life.

He was my age, a newlywed, successful in his decent management position, possessed a sturdy constitution, prided himself on his logical thought processes…

But apparently, trouble occurred, and… there you go.

Questions ricochet back and forth through my head like ping-pong balls.

What could have been so bad?

What must his family be feeling?

Did he know God?

Did I ever talk to him about God?

Did I exemplify God in my own life?

Was I even nice to him?

Could I have made a difference?

On and on…

I know I’m not responsible for other people’s decisions. I know I’m not the number one factor in someone’s life, especially a passing acquaintance like this guy was.

But just as he factored into my life in some way, I did factor into his, no matter how minutely.

And that got me thinking.

Every day, our actions affect someone else. Our inaction does too… every day.

Whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, from spouse to grocery store clerk, we make a difference in the lives of others.

We don’t know if the jerk who just cut us off on the highway is maybe in some sort of trouble.

We don’t know if the disgruntled receipt checker at Sam’s Club might have a tough road to tow at home – sick spouse, maybe?

We don’t know if that telemarketer is just trying to make a buck for her family.

I don’t think about people that way as much as I should. I mean, usually, I’m more concerned with how my day is going, how people are treating me, how my schedule is being affected by nice people or mean people, how I am feeling about my weight or the weather or the ladybugs invading my apartment.

I’m not a psychologist, I don’t know what sends people over the edge. But maybe, just maybe, a kind word from me can keep someone from going over one.

As bearers of God’s love-light, let’s shine.

It could be as easy as a smile, a phone call, a pay-it-forward kind of deed.

I know, we’re tired, busy, struggling with our own messes, shy or unwilling to pry… there are a million reasons not to shine. Sometimes we just don’t have the energy.

The good news, is we don’t have to depend on ourselves. (Col. 1:29) Ask God to shine through you. He’ll give you the energy, the right word, the eyes to see from someone else’s perspective. He can work through you to make someone’s day, if you’ll let Him.

If you’re as close to the edge as the person I knew was, please go to God because He loves you and has a plan for your life that you can’t mess up no matter how much trouble you think you are in as long as you surrender to His perfect will. If you don’t know how to do that, ask someone. A professional, pastor or counselor. Ask me. Just, don’t give up. Even if no one reaches out to you, reach out to someone.

Let’s make the effort to shine. The simplest gesture can block a slippery slope to the edge, loving people back to safety and security in the Name of Jesus.

Thanks for spending time with me on Dry Ground today! Have a blessed week!

(photos by

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eyes on the Prize, Violet

I’m excited about the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies tonight. I love the pomp and circumstance, the historical resonance on a world stage. I get into athletes’ stories of struggle and triumph. I feel the thrill of a perfect performance and the disappointment in a failed one. I cringe at accidents and hold my breath for results. I’m amazed at the talent.

Endless analogies exist in the sport world illustrating our spiritual walk. Even the Apostle Paul told us to “run the race in order to get the prize.” (I Cor. 9:24-27) So there’s lots here to talk about during Olympic season.

But as I sifted through ideas, one word kept popping up-


That kinda irritated me.

I’ve written about the “F” word before, so I don’t want to repeat myself. Besides, what does it have to do with the Olympics?

Nothing, actually, which turns out to be the point.

Olympians have to have a “can do” attitude. If they fear, they fail.

Do you think snow-boarder Shaun White is afraid of flying over and above those massive, frozen half-pipes?

Does downhill-skier Lindsey Vonn fear breaking her neck every time she launches out of the starting gate at the top of a run?

I can’t see speed-skater Apolo Ohno worrying about a slip leading to a pile up leading to someone getting their jugular sliced open with an errant skate blade.


Okay, so maybe these athletes experience some trepidation, like stage fright, before hitting the slopes or ice or… pipe… but they don’t allow fear to win out. Their eyes really are on the prize.

I heard recently that fear not, which shows up numerous times in God’s Word, is a command.

Didn’t seem that earth shattering, until I mulled it over.

I’ve always seen that as a comforting, mama-caressing-her-baby’s-shoulder-and-drying-her-tears thing. A coddle. A hush-now, everything-will-be-okay security blanket from God. It makes me feel better, encourages me to bite my lip and carry on despite my heavy load.

If I keep crying (a.k.a. – fearing), it’s no big deal, I’ll just dial up for more soothing fear not pats on the back from my big mama in the sky.

Things change, though, when I read that phrase as a command.

It’s a Nike foil. Just don’t do it.

Fear is the opposite of faith, and God says that without faith, it is impossible to please Him. (Heb. 11:6) He’s not telling us to fear not so we might feel better about our circumstances. He’s commanding us to fear not because of Who He is, because what He says is true and because He, in His very nature, is trustworthy. Fearing is evidence that I don’t believe Him.

Of course, there is a difference between not fearing and having good sense. The Olympic athletes still wear helmets, take practice runs, learn their craft, and they aren’t jumping off sky scrapers without a parachute in defiance of gravity.

I’m saying that not fearing what God tells us not to fear is smart. Fearing what God tells us not to is… well, not smart. (Matt. 10:28)

Hebrews 12:1-3 informs me that I’m in a race that has been marked out for me – it’s called my life. And I should run that race like Jesus ran His, who sacrificed everything in order to win, His prize being the redemption of my soul. I shouldn’t give up because He didn’t give up, and He had to endure much more than I’ll ever have to. Like an Olympian, I should cast off anything that holds me back, mainly sin. I believe fear is part of that sin, and the one thing that inhibits me the most.

Temptation to fear surrounds us. Epidemics, blizzards, earthquakes, wars, nuclear Iran... tons of bad stuff. It can get overwhelming. From our point of view, fear is warranted. But we don't always have the best vantage. We can be sure God always does because He's bigger and more powerful than anything.

I’ll have to practice at this not fearing thing, train like the athletes, discipline myself. It will take time. And I won’t always break record time, display the perfect half-pike-twist-touch-my-toes move, or gain perfect 10s.

But at least I’ll have my eyes on the prize.

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground!

Happy Weekending. And Happy Valentine’s Day!

For kicks, anyone know which movie is referenced in today’s title????

(photos by

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Confessions of a Closet-Romantic

I recently admitted, here on Dry Ground, that I sometimes cry at movies.

Here’s another shocker.

I’m a hopeless romantic.

I know… *gasp*

It’s a tough one to admit because, well, first, there’s that heightened risk of involuntary tears, but also because sappy romance absolutely gags me. I like clever, original, clean (although, not necessarily sterile – I mean, life is gritty, I get that), classy, meaningful love stories that reflect in some way, no matter how tiny, the Ultimate Love story.

I guess I have a good reason to be a romantic, though. I am designed to be loved by the Perfect Lover, so any hint of that kind of love will resonate. (See sidebar for more thoughts on The Perfect Lover!)

Writing, reading, watching movies, I love a good love story.

So, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday (so-called), and because everyone else on the web is doing it (and I’m such a crowd-follower J), I offer my list of favorites.

My Top 10 Fave Romantic Movies:

10. While You Were Sleeping (1995) –Sandra Bullock & Bill Pullman – “Lucy, I have to ask you a question.”

9. An Ideal Husband (1999) –Rupert Everett, Minnie Driver, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore and Jeremy Northam – “My dear father, if we men married the women we deserved… we should have a very bad time of it.”

8. You Can’t Take It With You (1938) – Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Jean Arthur – “Sometimes, you’re so beautiful, it just gags me.”

7. The Philadelphia Story (1940) –Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart – “The course of true love… gathers no moss.”

6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal – “So what? So plenty! I love you, you belong to me!”

5. Phantom of the Opera (2004) – Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Miranda Richardson – “Anywhere you go, let me go too. Christine, that’s all I ask of you.”

4. Moulin Rouge! (2001) – Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo – “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

3. Ladyhawke (1985) – Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Broderick – “She loves you more than life itself. She’s had to.”

2. The Young Victoria (2009) – Rupert Friend, Emily Blunt, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany – “I had two very good reasons. First, I am replaceable and you are not… Second, you’re the only wife I’ve got or ever will have. You are my whole existence, and I will love you until my very last breath.”

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005) – Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Donald Sutherland, Rupert Friend, & many more great talents – “Then, how are you this evening, Mrs. Darcy?”

(Please note the complete absence of popular titles such as Titanic, Ghost, The Notebook, and/or anything starring Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan. Also, as far as most romantic is concerned, no Twilight. Some of you thought worse of me, I know. J)

My Top 10 Fave Couples in Movies (appearing in films not necessarily romantic in genre):

10. Lars & Bianca - Lars and the Real Girl (2007) – Ryan Gosling – Okay, so the girl was a blow-up doll ordered off the internet, but who among those who saw it didn’t believe she was real by the end of the show simply because he really loved and grieved for her?

9. Clark Kent/Superman & Lois Lane – Superman (1978) – Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder – Some may call it “sap,” I’ll admit to “cheesy,” but still, who wouldn’t want to be swept off her feet… literally?

8. Lady & Tramp – Lady and the Tramp (1955) – Slurping spaghetti to the tune of “This is the night, such a beautiful night, and they call it Bella Notte…”

7. John & Jane Smith – Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – Um… do I really need to elaborate?

6. Robin of Locksley & Maid Marian – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – Kevin Costner & Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio – Can’t wait for Russell Crowe to top this in May!

5. Edward & Bella – Twilight (2008), New Moon (2009) – Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – Come on. You knew they’d show up somewhere, right? As a couple, they rock.

4. Carl & Ellie Fredricksen – Up (2009) - Talk about tearjerker… every time during the first freaking five minutes of this film! The montage of their life is just a heart-wrencher! But in a good way.

3. Aragorn & Arwen – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler – Their scenes together are just gorgeous.

2. Nathaniel & Cora – The Last of the Mohicans (1992) – Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeline Stowe – “I will find you!” Need I say more?

1. Will Turner & Elizabeth Swan – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley – Love how they end up. Love the last scene on the beach when he puts his boot on, then says, “I’m gonna need the other one.”

See, I wasn’t joking. Hopeless romantic. Really.

(But note absence of one notorious couple... a certain Shakespearean creation? Blah... )

Okay, I have to add a few honorable mentions for portraying strong marriages!

1. We Were Soldiers (2002) – Mel Gibson and Madeline Stowe as Lt. Col. Hal & Julie Moore

2. Amazing Grace (2006) – Ioan Gruffudd and Romola Garai as William & Barbara Wilberforce

3. Big Fish (2003) – Albert Finney and Jessica Lange as Ed & Sandra Bloom

My most favorite love story of all time has not yet made it to the screen, although they say they’re working on it – Redeeming Love (1997) authored by Francine Rivers. Man, if they can do it right (right meaning exactly how I have it pictured in my head J), what a powerful film that will be.

Well, there’s my long, opinionated list. I’d love to hear yours! Which stories really squeeze your gut in the romance department?

Thanks for spending time with me today on Dry Ground!

(photos by

Monday, February 8, 2010


Valentine’s Day is coming up on Sunday.

Some might say, “Who cares?” or “Why did you remind me?”

Don’t stop reading! I get it.

This man-made, commercialized, over-accentuated, so-called celebration of love can be irritating, even downright nauseating. It’s not really about love any more, not the real kind anyway.

Still, even in its most idealistic form, Valentine’s Day often backfires to make people question their worth, suggesting that if they are alone or single on this of all days, then they are somehow not valuable.

Of course, the single folks are not the only ones who question worth. I think the devil uses any longing or weakness we have to attack our feelings of worth or significance.

But I heard an analogy at church (thank you, Pastor McGinnis!) this past weekend that resonated with me on this issue, one that I’ll admit I battle. So I want to share it with you!

Take a crisp, clean, new $100-bill.

How much is it worth?

That’s easy, right? $100.

Okay. Take that same bill and crumple it, wrinkle it up into a tight, little ball.

Now how much is it worth?

No, I’m not kidding… or stupid. Just answer the question.

$100, right?

Alright. Next, take the crumpled ball, flatten it out a little, set it on your driveway, and run your car over it.


Stick with me through this hypothetical situation. (Because how many of us have an extra B. Franklin hanging around?)

Where were we? Oh, yes. $100-bill, on the ground, wrinkled, run-over, probably smeared with some oil or dirt.

How many of you would leave that bill on the driveway now? I mean, it’s ruined, right?

Not right.

It’s still worth $100!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like that abused bill – crumpled, dirty, run over, torn up a little. I mean, I’ve made bad decisions, I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, my plans haven’t worked out exactly like I’d hoped, I’ve encountered some pretty hefty obstacles that have left me scarred, beat up, tired. I’m ruined, right?

Not right.

Just like that $100-bill, my worth hasn’t changed. I’m still as valuable as the day my Creator formed me and gave me life. His grace, mercy and forgiveness, not to mention His unconditional love, guarantee that I am never ruined for or unworthy of the life He’s given.

So, no matter how you embrace or ignore this week pre-Valentine’s Day, remember the Source of your value.

Let the following song/video serve as an early Valentine to you from me and from God.

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground!

(photos by

Friday, February 5, 2010

Indecent Exposure

I seldom cry at movies.

Okay… that’s not entirely true.

I do cry at movies, more than I’d like to admit. (end of Glory every time)

But that’s just it. I don’t admit it.

And I go to great lengths to hide it if the tears spring up unexpected and/or uninvited.

Why do I do that?

I possess a very (and I do use that word very, against which I have a grievous pet-peeve) reserved personality. I tend to sit back, observe, let others do the talking, never interrupt. If there’s no getting a word in edgewise, well then, I don’t get in a word. Not that I don’t have anything to say. I just don’t say it. If it can’t be expressed in the written form, then I don’t usually express it.

Unless I know you. Then I am a bit less reserved, but only a bit. Crying at movies is still unacceptable.

It’s not that I don’t feel. I’m afraid I feel too deeply. I guess I just don’t want everyone knowing it, even my best pals.

Why is that?

I think along the line somewhere I got the impression that I am always to have “it” together (whatever “it” is), and that I am always to hold unswervingly to faith in God.

In other words, be perfect.

I shouldn’t need anything besides the basics, I should only want something if it’s good for me, I’m the one who should always be there for others to lean on, and heaven forbid I act out on anything not certifiably worth acting out on.

Ha! What a circus act that is. You know… the one spinning all the plates on a dozen little sticks?

Amazingly enough, this post is not about personality disorders.

It’s about friendship.



Holding “it” together is not a bad thing. In general, in daily life, in the workplace and at the mall and during your kid’s little league game, having control over emotional outbursts is a plus.

But everyone needs ventilation. That’s what friends are for… at least, in part.

Not just “Hey, how was your weekend” friends, but like-minded, trust-worthy, accountability partners who will not condemn you for a little indecent exposure.

And by indecent, I mean: sobbing your heart out for no apparent reason or maybe for a host of compounded reasons, complaining like a three-year-old about the tiniest of stupid irritations flooding your day, ranting about your husband’s dirty-socks-on-the-floor habit or your kid’s refusal to eat cauliflower or your sister’s whining that she hasn’t been to the hairdresser for a whole three weeks (all hypothetical… of course!), wishing out loud that you had enough money to go on monthly vacations and visit Starbucks every morning…

You get the picture… I hope.

I had the opportunity to do this recently (and to the 2 witnesses of my indecent exposure, you know who you are, I sincerely and gratefully thank thee), and the result amazed me.

I felt lighter.

I felt I could keep “it” together even better than before.

I felt loved.

I felt imperfect, which was perfectly okay.

Wow. God sure knew what He was doing when He created friends.

It baffles me to think that GOD needed, or at the very least, wanted friends while walking around here on Earth.

I used to think that the disciples were employed, in a manner of speaking, recruited to (imagine booming, sacred, holier-than-thou voice) do the work of the Lord.

Well, I suppose they did have a commission and were in training as they spent time with Jesus. But I’d like to think, too, that Jesus wanted these men around Him because He needed friends.

It makes sense. He had become fully human, and so he experienced in a human way the human need to be in relationship with other humans.

He was also fully divine. And I forget sometimes that relationship played a big part in His existence (the Trinity) before He created humans in His image.

So, I guess the moral of this wandering story is: no matter what your personality type, and especially if it is a reserved one like mine, opening up to a select group of trusted friends is healthy, important, and following the example of Christ. Also, make sure you serve others in this capacity as well – be a safe place for them in their moments of indecent exposure.

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground! Happy Weekending!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This Day in History

Many good things happened on this very day, February 3rd.

In 1815, the world’s first cheese factory opened in Switzerland.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution (Black Suffrage) passed.

In 1929, Major Seagraves established a new land speed record at Daytona Beach – 231.4 mph.

In 1993, Gloria Estefan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And in 2002, the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl.

None of these particularly make a huge impact on my life, although the world would be completely different without the 15th Amendment and I’m certainly glad it exists. But each event I listed did mean something to the folks involved. A happy day for them. And important for them to remember, a blessing to count.

Counting our blessings is an important exercise. It’s different than wallowing or living in the past. Looking back to commemorate good things, especially when God’s hand was involved, is a good thing.

God told the Israelites numerous times to remember what He did for them, even erect monuments to Him marking great events like the parting of the Red Sea and crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Every time a rainbow appears in the sky, God reminds us of His faithfulness to Noah and to us. Jesus initiated the Last Supper specifically to remember (and even though it wasn’t for a good thing – His death – it lead to the good thing – His resurrection and our salvation!)

Remembering God’s hand moving in our lives and counting His blessings serve as a solid foundation on which to build the future.

So, I shall demonstrate.

This day in history, in 1993, seventeen years ago, my Daniel and I shared our first kiss. J


This day in history, in 1994, sixteen years ago, my Daniel asked me to marry him!

God has blessed me abundantly because of this day and the many others that have followed. My life would not have been the same without February 3rd.

Have you counted your blessings recently?

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Buckeye Chuck and Other False Prophets

Tomorrow’s Groundhog Day, an actual holiday here in the United States.

Even in elementary school when I served in the school play as Miss Frosty February introducing each of my “children,” infamous characters associated with the 2nd month of the year, I didn’t quite understand exactly why we cared about a fickle, weather-sensitive rodent in Pennsylvania (or Ohio, where I’m from, where we relied not on Punxsutawney Phil, but Buckeye Chuck, yes indeed).

With bated breath and crossed fingers, we’d wait and watch for said groundhog to make his prediction, praying (to the groundhog god?) that spring would come early and winter would be over.

What a way to contemplate our future.

Seriously, did our daily lives change much based on Phil and/or Chuck’s prophecy? Did we buy more long underwear or start the bikini diet? What happened if the PA and OH rodents had opposing predictions?

Groundhog Day the movie is another take on this quirky holiday. Bill Murray’s character, Phil (not the groundhog), is caught in the same day, living it over and over and over. Depending on the day, that could either be miserable or fantastic. The bigger moral, though, rested on how Phil chose to live that day once he figured out what was going on.

What would you do? Take advantage of your foreknowledge to punish your enemies and benefit yourself, or learn the lesson fate is trying to teach?

I have two questions for you on this Groundhog’s Day. First, do you rely on furry forest creatures to determine your future? Second, does your past… or present… keep repeating itself and impeding your future?

Putting faith in anything or anyone aside from the One True God is just like trusting furry forest creatures with your future. God says that He has a plan for our future, one to prosper us and not to harm us. (Jer. 29:11)

In addition, we do not get the opportunity to live one day over and over. When we go to bed at night, that day is said and done. Any mistakes or slipups or sins are also said and done. Concentrating on them, letting them accumulate, dragging them along with us in the proverbial baggage, hinders God’s plan in our lives. Pining for the past is also useless. God wants us to live lives that are free and abundant (John 10:7-10) which we cannot do without the clean slate, His forgiveness, His redemption and covering, His righteousness.

So, do yourself a favor as you celebrate Groundhog’s Day this year – first, stop looking backward and start looking forward, and second, look forward on the basis of God’s reliable promises for your future.

We sang this song in church on Sunday, and it greatly encouraged me in this regard. Take a few minutes to be uplifted and empowered.

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground!

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