Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

I salute our veterans and active service military with the humblest gratitude.

I pray for their families, that God will comfort and provide for them.

I encourage our Nation to remember why we are free.

And I point to the One Who graced this land with blessings immeasurable, and Who also spilt His blood for me.

Dry Ground observes Memorial Day with the following song and vivid images.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Did Castle break Beckett’s heart for good? Will Gibbs’ father survive the visit from the ruthless cartel senorita? Who is standing behind Callen as he kneels at his sister’s grave? Will the Russians find Jack Bauer in the movie follow-up to the series ender of 24? These are the questions I have for the shows I watched this sweeps week of May 2010. Be sure, I will tune in to find out how these cliffhangers are resolved.

Love them, or hate them, cliffhangers are compelling story-telling tools, fueling the natural desire in us all to get answers to the ultimate question: what happens next?

This literary weapon can do some damage – whack us up side the head with a startling surprise, drag us to the next episode whether we want to go or not, or leave us breathless or weeping or with a hole in our hearts that actually hurts.

The thing with cliffhangers, though, is that usually there’s an opportunity to find out what happens. It’s the cruelest blow of an author to end a story dangling the reader on a precarious edge, and yet sometimes that’s the exact effect required to make a point.

The point gets lost sometimes, though, in the strong emotional reactions cliffhangers cause. Emotions cause opinions and opinions cause discussions, which cause arguments. But we love to talk about it, hash it out, because whatever that feeling is in our gut left there by that certain cliffhanger, requires that we find someone else to relate to it. In doing so, we search for the resolution of said cliffhanger. It brings a semblance of peace.

Sometimes I feel like I’m dangling from the cliff, that my life is the actual cliffhanger. What happens next? How long do I have to wait to find out? Will I fall before then? Can I hold on that long? Maybe I should just let go, forget the struggle? Maybe hitting the rocky ground won’t hurt as much as quivering arm muscles and splitting fingernails.

But then I realize, my story has an ending and the Great Author has it all written out. Oh, and it’s a good ending, so good that it’s actually a beginning. And if I can hang on a while longer, then my happy ending/beginning will arrive and I’ll be pulled off the edge and placed on solid ground.

No matter what’s going on in life, the happy ending/beginning is sure – Heaven. I know, we want everything before that. And thank God all of life is not hanging off a cliff. Yet, when it does feel that way, just think about the last page of the book (some of you read that first, don’t you?? Don’t you??) It has us in a place with no more tears, no more pain, no more death, no more sorrow, endless light, life eternal (Rev. 21:1-7).

If anything, I’ll hold on for that.

Oh, and we’re not holding on with our own strength. We’re not alone. We’re laced up with ropes and carabiners and a Spotter Who’s got us and won’t let us fall.

Thank You, Lord, for holding on to us when we’re done gripping the ledge.

Have a great holiday weekend, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Point Of View – whose eyes are we looking through? A writer using it well has the beginnings of a masterpiece. Apply POV unwisely, however, and you have an insurmountable distraction that could destroy a story.

Now, some of my favorite books are what you call “classics” – Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, A Room with a View – Austen, Dickens, Forester, respectively. So when I started writing novels, I followed their example.

But guess what?!?

They had POV all wrong! They did what today’s experts despise – they “head-hopped.” One second we hear the heroine’s thoughts about the hero, and in the next paragraph we hear the hero’s thoughts about the heroine. Back then, I guess that was okay. But, nowadays, it’s a titanic NO-NO.

So I learned my lesson. I’m particularly sensitive to Point Of View when I’m writing.

But now I’m also aware of it while I’m reading. And I’m so glad because while reading about Daniel in the Old Testament (sorry, just can’t get away from it right now!), POV highlighted an important aspect of the story that, honestly, I’d never considered before.

Daniel is a book of prophecy, some of which has already come to pass and some is yet to be. It’s a sweeping look of history and kingdoms and God’s plan for mankind. It works with the last book of the Bible, Revelations, to tell us what’s happening and why.

Deep stuff that I tend to skim over even though it is important.

Instead, I read Daniel to marvel at God’s amazing acts of deliverance – allowing Daniel to interpret dreams so he didn’t get executed, saving Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace, and protecting Daniel when Darius fed him to the lions. I find encouragement in the fact that God saved His people in impossible situations, because I know He can do that for me too. When I find myself in a pinch or disappointment or danger, I can remember Daniel and his friends and feel hope.

Yet, when I read again the story of Daniel spending the night with a room full of lions, I noticed something new.

The story is written from King Darius’ point of view.

Why? If this is a story about Daniel being saved from the lethal jaws of hungry, meat-eating predators?

But we don’t even go into the den with Daniel. It’s sealed off and we don’t know what happens to him, or how he’s feeling, or how God delivers him. Instead, we follow Darius to his chambers where he fasts all night, refusing his normal entertainment (we can only imagine what that means) and worries that his friend will be delivered.

Then I remember, we didn’t follow Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the furnace either. We watched through King Neb’s eyes as the miracle unfolded. So we don’t know how the boys were feeling or what they were thinking or what they talked about with the angel accompanying them in the fire.

Why? When we’re the faithful followers of God trying to walk in the steps of the saints before us would He not give us an inside look into their circumstances from their POV?

Of course, I’m no theologian, but this is what occurred to me.

The stories are not about Daniel or Shadrach or Meshach or Abednego.

They are about the kings and how they came to glorify the One True God.

The entire point of these stories is that these kings ended up honoring and following God.

So, it’s about repentance, salvation, a life redeemed from sin, imprisoned hearts set free by the grace, power and majesty of God.

Wait a second!! That means, when I face impossible situations, fiery furnaces and lions’ dens, it’s not about me – it’s about someone who needs to see the glory of God so that they might believe in Him.

Wo. Talk about a shift in my POV.

I just hope I can remember that the next time I face a crisis.

For the record, I’m not saying God doesn’t care what happens to us in the furnace or den – of course He does! He loves us! But His purposes go way beyond our comfort. He has confidence enough in our faith in Him that He uses us to show off His mighty power so that others will see and believe.

Now, that sort of sounds likes a… privilege.

Love you, Dry Ground family! Have a blessed day!

(photos by

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kiss It

My Daniel gets the credit for drawing my attention to this one.

We’re in a WalMart checkout line waiting our turn. The only customer in front of us stood a really tough-looking dude, and a toddler with frizzy hair and left-over lunch on her face sitting in the cart seat. She looked agitated, whimpering and patting her knee.

At first, I couldn’t tell what she was saying because, honestly, I just thought she was whining about something. But as I listened closer (which I should always do J ), I found she kept saying two words over and over: “Kiss it. Kiss it.”

Oh. Patting her knee, face contorted, begging “kiss it” – got it. She had an owie. In fact, I think she said that to start out with. I’m just slow when it comes to these things.

So, the tough-dude’s groceries get scanned, he readies to pay, and toddler keeps saying, “Kiss it. Kiss it.”

Finally, she says, “Dad.”

That gets his attention. His voice is surprisingly tender. “What, baby?”

She pats her knee, gives him a distressed look and repeats, “Kiss it.”

Without hesitation, tough-dude leans down and plants a kiss on his daughter’s owie.

Immediately, her expression clears, she stops patting her knee, and says, “Thanks.”

Episode over.

My Daniel looks at me and says, “If only life could be so easy.”

Maybe it should be.

First lesson I learned… was reminded of, rather… don’t judge a book by its cover. At first glance, I could have written an entire story about this tough-dude and his toddler with a smudged face, and I would have been completely wrong.

Second, life bumps and bruises us every day, giving us owies.

And we whine and cry and distress about those owies, wanting most to gain relief.

After a little rubbing and patting, we finally call out to our Heavenly Father. “Dad!”

Guess what? He doesn’t hesitate when we call. He turns and says, “What do you need, baby?”

“Kiss it.”

He does.

How often do we do what that toddler did? Accept that kiss as all it takes to make the owie go away?

Too often, I keep whining.

I bet, though, if she’d done that, and asked for another kiss, she’d have gotten it.

What a loving Father we have.

Do you have an owie? Don’t wait. Call out to Abba, Father, and ask Him to kiss it.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends. Be blessed!

(photos by

Friday, May 21, 2010


Ever stand too close to a campfire? Even when it’s cold outside, eventually the air around the flames can get so hot, your skin feels like it’s baking in the sun.

That, by a fraction, might have been how it felt to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they stood on the precipice of King Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace.

But we’ve already discussed what happened before they were thrown in, how they remained unafraid of King Neb and confident in the one true God. They stated their position of faith admirably and courageously.

Did any of that change when King Neb flew into another of his famous rages and ordered the fire stoked seven times hotter? Did the hair stand up on the back of their necks or did their stomachs do a swan dive? Did their statement still hold up in their hearts that moment when King Neb’s guards seized their hands, bound them, and pushed them toward the furnace? Did the cracking, popping and hissing of the living, breathing fire make their mouths run dry? Did they resist at all? Surely, the guards must have reacted to the heat, screaming or trembling while they burst into flames. Did that send shivers through our three boys’ spines?

It sends shivers through my spine.

I wonder how long it took for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to realize that they hadn’t perished in the furnace.

The story is told from King Neb’s perspective. It says suddenly the king jumped up in surprise because he saw four living figures walking around, unbound in the fire.

I wonder how long the boys would have stayed in there, flame-hopping with their Rescuer, if King Neb hadn’t commanded that they come out.

How cool to walk in the midst of flames with God. Talk about extreme sports. I think I’d want to hang out for a while.

But the miracle wasn’t over.

Think about the campfire again. How does it smell? Personally, I like the charred woodsy scent, but it sure does stick to clothing. You pass within several yards of a fire, and you’re going to carry that aroma with you the rest of the night.

Amazing enough that they still had clothes after being in the flames, the boys’ clothes didn’t smell that way. Every hair in place. Every fiber of clothing in tact. The fire had not altered them physically or harmed them one iota. Not at all.

I bet, though, that spiritually and mentally and emotionally, they were changed forever.

It’s one thing to state that your faith is rock solid.

It’s another to act on that statement when you’re actually inside the fire.

They proved their devotion to God.

And God proved everything else showing up to rescue them.

What’s more, it served as evidence to King Neb that God indeed reigns.

Glory be to God!

He showers us with so much grace, empowers us, mingles in the flames with us. He sustains, communes and delivers.

This story encourages me to face the fire with confidence and courage, endure the flames in the freedom and joy that comes with a close walk with my Lover, and emerge from the furnace stronger, tested, and… ready.

For God promoted these boys to a higher position in King Neb’s administration.

Let the flames ready you for promotion.

I hope you are encouraged as well as you face the heat in your life. Painful as it may be, the results are worth it.

Happy Weekending, Dry Ground Friends! Be blessed!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm Playing It Again, Dan

Tomorrow, my Daniel and I celebrate 15 years of marriage!

It’s been an adventure – there’s been better and worse, richer and poorer, ups and downs, highs and lows, joy and pain, fun and failures, great moments and grave miseries, breezes and struggles – typical… and yet not so typical… of marriage relationships.

But my Daniel is still my best friend. He cherishes and dotes on and spoils me. He’s as loyal as Skinner (he knows who I mean), gentle and forbearing. He may make me frown once in a while, but most of the time I’m laughing until tears stream down my face. He’s stuck with me through thick and thin, the good, the bad AND the ugly.

I am blessed beyond measure and grateful every day. God sure knew what He was doing pairing me up with my love.

I could go on and on, but you all don’t need punished with my mush. I just wanted to pay tribute to my Daniel here today and let everyone know what a great husband he is.

After thinking about and searching for a better song, I realized that the original sung at our wedding (and a billion others in the early 90s but oh well) says it all. Therefore… this is for you, my Daniel.

I'll share a little more about the hot guys in King Neb's fire on Friday. See you then! Thanks for visiting Dry Ground! Be blessed!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Three Hot Guys with Cool Names

I remember a Sunday School teacher trying to teach us the names of Daniel’s three companions. You know, the fiery furnace guys? There was a song and a couple of clever play on words that were supposed to help with the unfamiliar-sounding names. The only one of those I recall is one of them sounds like Into-Bed-We-Go.


Anyway, no matter what their names were, I enjoyed the story of the men thrown into the raging furnace for standing firm in their loyalty and devotion to God. They faced and past the ultimate test of faith.

Although I learned the story as a kid, I’ve garnered so much more from it as I’ve gotten older and faced flames of my own. If you’re facing flames today, and I know for a fact that some of you are, take some advice from three hot guys from the Old Testament – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Here’s the setting. Daniel has just been successful in telling King Nebuchadnezzar not only what his dream meant, but also what his dream was in the first place. God was glorified, even King Neb acknowledged Him.

But…King Neb had some bad habits, such as demanding the impossible, forgetting the miraculous, flying into rages and stroking his ninety foot tall ego.

One second, the King declares that Daniel’s God is the greatest of all gods, and the very next he sets up a ninety-foot golden image (perhaps of himself, but we don’t know that) for all of his subjects to worship. Oh, and if they didn’t, they’d be thrown into the fire to die.


I imagine Daniel feeling quite bewildered at that.

But Daniel’s not the one who got tattled on, for whatever reason (highly debated in the theological world). The other three boys were. And they found themselves facing a furious king and a very, very hot execution.

I don’t know if King Neb was just arrogant, possessed or psychotic, but his noisy temper tantrum thrown at our three guys seems a little over the top. Maybe he was a drama queen… king, rather? Whatever the reason for his disposition, he ends up challenging the God of the Universe to a little contest. King Neb states: If you refuse [to worship my idol], you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?

Wow. That’s like saying: God Himself could not sink this ship. (Titanic, 1997)

So are you facing flames? Probably. Perhaps the flames don’t scare you as much, though, as why you’re facing them. Is there a King Neb in your life? Do the source of your problems seem completely idiotic? Baffling? Nonsensical? Unfair, even? Are they a result of backstabbing, undercutting, blind-siding? Are your prayers full of why, why, why?

Look at what our three hot guys said in response to their King Neb: O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statute you have set up.

I love so much about this speech!

First, it is not spoken in anger or defense. In fact, they state they are not saying this as a defense because that would be unnecessary. And they show respect through addressing him by his title, Your Majesty. This was done without an ounce of contempt.

Second, surely, they do not want to be thrown into the fire. Nothing about their behavior suggests they’re on a suicide mission here. However, they face the possibility of it happening as a reality, and they are unafraid because they are certain their God is able to save them. They are not, however, certain that He will. Their faith lives entirely in God’s will for their lives and in the supremacy of glorifying Him, not in them getting what they want.

That leads to the third point. Bowing is out of the question no matter what. They are saying, threaten all you want, King Neb. God can do what He wants with us, but because we’ve devoted our lives to Him, we will not disobey or dishonor Him by bowing to an idol. Live or die, we’re His. End of discussion.

Do we face our King Nebs and fiery furnaces the same way?

Am I devoted to God so completely that I can make the same majestic speech…and mean it?

Eh… It’s not easy because it takes training and discipline. I can’t control King Neb’s mood swings and whims. And the flames are hot and harmful and horrifying. I don’t want to go through the fire. I don’t know that the fire won’t consume me.

All I know is that God can save me, and that all things work together for those who are called by Him (Rom. 8:28), and that whatever happens, God will deliver me from the power of King Neb. And God will get the glory.

The only question I have to ask myself is: Am I devoted to the one true God… no matter what?

Happy Monday, Dry Ground! I pray you’ll face your King Nebs and your fiery furnaces this week with respect, courage, confidence and hope.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Getting Hot in Here

Have you ever been to a glass blowing shop or demonstration? Like at Disney Land or Gatlinburg or Branson? Seeing both the artist manipulating molten slime and the sparkling figurines it becomes, Cinderella carriages and perching hummingbirds and frolicking dolphins, fascinates me.

They even make images of people in specific settings. I’m in awe at facial expressions, so lifelike. How’d they do that with this medium?

The process is amazing – so detailed and precise. To turn that glob into anything besides the glob takes skill, patience, imagination, heat and tools to bend and stretch and form.

Watch this short demonstration video of an artist in Townsend (near Gatlinburg) explaining glass blowing a human face.

Guess what? Yep, it got me thinking.

In the video, the artist said the face, what the “person” will look like, is the most difficult.

The artist has an intended setting or goal for that particular piece, and forming the expression to meet that intention takes a great deal of care. Also, the fire never stops throughout the process of forming. The relentless blowtorch blasted the emerging face of that little figurine the entire demonstration. Several tools were used to shape the face too, ones that looked like they’d hurt if the face actually had feelings. But used with the skilled touch of the master, the results were amazing. No detail was left undone… eyebrows, nostrils, ear lobes, hair… just when I’d think – it’s done! – the artist would continue with another essential part of a face.

The artist also said the mouth was by far the hardest part to make right.

Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

Life is like a blowtorch constantly in our face. But all that comes at us is in the hands of the Master, Who had to give us His breath to get started in the first place. He’s shaping us into what we will look like – hopefully, Him! He’s got an intended setting for us and knows exactly what our expressions should look like. Along with the heat, He uses other tools to form us, and usually those tools hurt. Just when you think you’ve learned enough, He adds another feature without which you would be incomplete. Often, the mouth is the hardest part to make right.

If we resist the fire, if we cool beyond a certain temperature and are un-malleable, then He can’t form the expression for His intentions. If the expression doesn’t work out, then the piece doesn’t end up at its highest potential.

Good thing about glass blowing… do-overs are possible.

At any point and time, we can become malleable to God’s mastery in our lives… but it requires the heat.

Why would we want to? I mean, the heat hurts. It’s relentless. There’s no breather. It’s not fun and it is tough to deal with.

Well, look at the results.

Blown glass figurines are beautiful. They glimmer and shine. They reflect Light. They are masterpieces, treasures.

You make the comparison. J

For my loved ones facing the flames, I’m praying for you! Hang in there. Your endurance will be worth it. Check out this story about a few guys you might have heard of – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3, who faced the flames, endured, and were promoted! I might just elaborate on them next week. They have so much to teach us through their example of faith.

Happy Friday, my fellow treasures. Have a great weekend!

(photos by

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Dragon Behind the Dragon

You thought the movie I referred to Monday was Iron Man 2, didn’t you?

Well, I saw that too, and loved it, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

On the recommendation of several different friends, I saw How to Train Your Dragon, a DreamWorks animation.

The friends were so right. Awesome film.

Of course, it got me thinking. J

The basic plot revolves around Hiccup, a young Viking who has a problem, he’s puny, and he’s terrible at battling the dragons that repeatedly attack their little island and steal their livestock. It’s not that he doesn’t want to kill a dragon. But he’s less a fighter, like normal Vikings, and more an inventor. To make matters worse, his father is the Viking leader, who is, of course, stellar at killing dragons. Hiccup’s embarrassment is a village-wide joke. He has little place to hide.

One night, though, he manages to use one of his inventions to net a night fury, the most feared dragon. Up to this point, no one has seen or killed this special kind of terror, and so no one believes puny little Hiccup when he claims to have hit one. Perpetually on his own, he searches the forest for his prize, finding the dragon wounded and bound by his net invention. Hiccup finally has his chance to kill a dragon.


He can’t do it. The dragon is wounded and scared and defenseless.

Hiccup actually sets it free.

This sets in motion his opportunity to observe, interact with and eventually train this dragon. He finds out that these dragons are misunderstood, and only fight back when fired upon. He also finds out why they attack the Vikings and steal their food.

Hiccup, via his newly trained pet, sees the nest housing all of these thieving dragons, and discovers that a much, much bigger monster exists and that all the livestock the little dragons steal are for the big guy. So Hiccup, through a set of difficult and extenuating circumstances, manages to convince his people to band with the little dragons to fight the real terror, the gigantic monster living at the nest.

So many life lessons come to mind when I watch and think about this movie. But I might be able to sum them up into a unifying point.

It’s about motivation.

The Vikings are motivated to kill dragons because they attack their island, steal their livestock and torch their houses.

Hiccup is motivated to kill a dragon because he wants to make his dad proud and to establish a favorable reputation.

Hiccup is motivated to free his captured night fury because, in his own words, he saw that the wounded animal was as scared as he was.

Hiccup discovers what motivates the dragons like his night fury to attack his village and steal their livestock – the bigger dragon will kill them if they don’t.

Both Hiccup and his night fury, as well as his friends from school and eventually his father, are motivated to perform heroic acts to defeat the bigger dragon because of love.

So, do you have a dragon in your life? Something that disrupts your home or job or peace of mind? Is it a person who treats you miserably?

How do you respond to the dragons in your life?

This is where I learned a lesson from the movie.

Hopefully I can explain…

The dragons attack the Vikings and carry away their food. Not knowing their motivations and concluding it is purely for sport or viciousness that they do it, the Vikings retaliate with lethal force. In turn, the dragons fire back with equally lethal force. Back and forth and back and forth until the fight is legend, a way of life, recorded in their books of knowledge, passed on to their children, tradition. All the while the dragons are driven by a much, much bigger dragon.

Has someone wronged you today? What do you perceive their motivation is?

Sometimes we’re so focused on how it is affecting us (our livestock is being carried away) that we don’t stop to wonder (like Hiccup did with his night fury) why our opponent is being so nasty. So often, their behavior masks a deeper problem. They are not just being a jerk. Most likely, something else is wrong.








Before we retaliate with lethal force, let’s look behind the little guys to search for the real motivation, the bigger dragon, the one causing all the problems to begin with. If we do that, we might find out that the little dragons are our friends and there is no need to fight them. Instead, we find out that we’re actually allies! And relationships can form that otherwise would never have been.

Cool ones. Like having a pet dragon.

Consider your motivations. But more than that, look further to see the motivations of others, and be willing to extend a hand of grace.

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground readers! Thanks for stopping by! See you Friday! God bless!

(Photos by

Monday, May 10, 2010


A friend of mine sent this to me, and I got a kick out of it. So I thought I’d share it with you all. It was one of those weekends, and I figured starting the week off with a laugh or two might be good for all of us! Plus, we’re still celebrating moms! You know, every day. Enjoy!

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions: 

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is. 

2. Mostly to clean the house. 

3. To help us out of there when we were getting born. 

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us. 

2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring. 

3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts. 

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean. 

2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think. 

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

1. We're related. 

2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mom like me. 

What kind of a little girl was your mom?

1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff. 

2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy. 

3. They say she used to be nice. 

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name. 

2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer? 

3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores? 

Why did your mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot. 

2. She got too old to do anything else with him. 

3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on. 

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball. 

2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed. 

3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad. 

What's the difference between moms and dads?

1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work. 

2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them. 

3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends. 

4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine. 

What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time. 

2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long. 

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery. 

2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue. 

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that. 

2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me. 

3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head. 

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground! Come back Wednesday when I tell you a little about a movie I liked and why I liked it. Be blessed!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Let's Hear It for the Moms

You didn’t forget, did you???

Mother’s Day is this Sunday.

I would argue that your own personal birthday should be celebrated as Mother’s Day seeing as how she did all the work so that you could even be here. That would make every day Mother’s Day for someone.

I can say that, too, because I’m not a mother, so I’m not campaigning for more Mother’s Day benefits. I really think moms should be honored every day.

I’m triply blessed in the mom department.

I’ve got My Daniel’s mother, my mother-in-law, who accepted me immediately as her own, loves me to a fault, remembers my likes and dislikes, has made an effort to get to know me over the years, and implores her son to treat me like gold (which he does). God gave me a gift in my mother-in-law who is a miracle and an angel. I love her!

I’ve got a step-mother. She and her family also accepted me immediately as one of them, she endured my snarky early-teen years during which I was not so kind and very much a know-it-all, she displays a tender and kind heart, she’s thoughtful and sensitive and perceptive. I’m so thankful God gifted me a step-mother more like Snow White than Cinderella’s evil stand-in. I love her!

Then, of course, I’ve got my mom. My mom mom. The one who labored 36 hours to birth me. The one whose DNA I share. The one, as a daughter, I am most likely to reflect in life. The one to whom I am connected in a way impossible to replicate in any other relationship.

But the maternal relationship is based on much more than DNA.

Although everyone has one of these kinds of mom moms, mother/child relationships are like fingerprints or snowflakes. Each is unique.

I know that I have a special one.

She’s worked harder than anyone I know to be a good mother, especially to me, her not-so-daughterly daughter.

For one reason or the other, we haven’t always clicked. We haven’t always been bosom buddies, like some mother/daughter teams I’ve observed. We don’t share the same taste in clothes. She probably couldn’t name my favorite food or TV show (or I hers). I don’t call her up every day just to relay what I had for dinner or that I got a pair of shoes on sale or when I’m feeling PMSy. If there was a version of the newlywed game for mothers and daughters, we would lose and in a big way.

And yet, I’d call us friends. Not only friends, but good friends.

I am 100% certain she loves me. I am aware of and grateful for the forgiveness she’s extended to me through the years. She has been, without a doubt, my number one fan as I aspire to be a writer. She allows me to be myself and express myself with no boundaries or judgments. I can tell her anything, but I can also keep it to myself if I so choose and she does not pry.

She prays for me and with me.

We share some great memories together that will be forever and only between us, like an inside joke between besties.

Our relationship has been a work in progress. I am thankful she never gave up on me. I am thankful she never threw in the towel on herself. Our survival is a testament to God’s goodness. It’s like that pot of clay, so fragile to begin with, that has been fired in the kiln producing the most beautiful, most valuable and most cherished masterpiece.

I love you, mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

Now, all of you Dry Ground readers, go love on your moms. If she’s not present to love on, like my wonderful grandmoms who are with the Lord, thank God for them and reminisce some good memories.

Have a blessed weekend!

(photos by

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


A thunderstorm blew through the Dallas area on Monday.

Nothing special about this storm, typical front that goes through on spring days around here, rain, dark clouds, a little wind, lightning and thunder.

It hit about dinner time. The radar predicted it. All and all, everyone prepared for it and remained safe. For example, I went to my Daniel’s place of employment a little early so that I wouldn’t be driving in it. I had to wait a little longer than usual for him to be ready to go, but it beat getting caught in the middle of the storm.

We went to dinner. The rain kept falling. Low, dark clouds covered the entire sky like night.

As we drove back to our current place of residence (a lovely Homewood Suites), I noticed to the west that the front had almost blown all the way through because I could see a distinct line between the clouds and perfectly clear sky on the horizon.

Judging by the time of day and the intensifying glow, I could tell the sun was fixing to dip below the bottom edge of that front line into the space of clear sky on its way to setting.

Chills swept over me as it occurred …

Rain clouds + rain + sunshine = rainbow.

So I made my Daniel drive me to the top of the hotel driveway, which is on a hill, to wait for the sun.

The contrast between the dark clouds and emerging light took my breath away.

After a few minutes, when the rays began to peek under their cloudy blanket, I got out of the car and turned around to face the storm in the east still pouring rain from over head. The conditions were perfect and anticipation wiggled through me like a happy puppy.

I felt the sun on my back dipping lower.

“Here it comes, here it comes!” I said out loud, jumping up and down a little in my now-soaked flipflops (because, you see, I love rainbows).

The next second, a massive arc of color appeared to my left.

The following second, another appeared to my right.

I watched as they connected at the top, completing the full, brilliant rainbow.

The dark storm clouds behind it just made the vivid colors stand out that much more.

In the cold rain that soaked me from blonde bangs to jean pant cuffs, I snapped and snapped and snapped pictures, which never capture the true beauty IMO, but I couldn’t help myself.

While I snapped, another full arc appeared above the first one, only slightly fainter in color.

I did more of my happy dance and took more pictures.

Now, I’m the kind who has to watch a rainbow until it fades away. I can’t stand going inside knowing that such a brilliant display of God’s love, promise, hope and artistry hangs there in the sky for my enjoyment. So, while my Daniel scooted into the hotel so he wouldn’t miss the beginning of 24 J, I stood in the rain (have I mentioned that it was cold?) and watched. And marveled. And pondered.

It made me think of my little mini-season I referred to a few days ago.

Storms are common in life. We all experience them. Even when we see them coming, the best we can do is prepare, to weather them, to wait. Avoiding them just isn’t an option. Some are worse than others, but they all have those ominous, treacherous-looking, inky clouds. Even if it doesn’t rain, they still blot out the sun.

When I looked to the west on Monday and saw the end of the storm in the distance, hope surged within me. I love knowing, or at least feeling, the end of a personal storm. By faith, I can see the Son emerging from the swirling darkness. I am reminded that He’s always been there, above the clouds, ready to emerge at the perfect time to shine and to produce blessings in my life. Because of His faithfulness in past storms, I can stand in the rain of my present storm jumping up and down and exclaiming, “Here He comes! Here He comes!”

Like the rainbows, often the reward for the wait and for faithfulness and endurance is double. And like the rainbows, the blessings are more vivid and brilliant against the backdrop of the blackest storm.

Are you in the middle of a storm? Or do you see one coming? Have you had enough freezing rain, gusty wind, dark, oppressive clouds?

Know that this too shall pass. When it does, look for the rainbows. They’ll knock your socks off!

One more thought - While watching my rainbow the other evening, every once in a while, I turned around to see the sun.

Without it, all I’d have is a storm. Look for the rainbows after your storm, but remember the Son too.

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends!

(all photos are Lori originals!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Say What?

All this talk about music leads me to ponder the art of listening.

Remember that show, Name That Tune? Contestants would claim to know the title of a song simply by hearing the first five, four, three… notes.

People who can do that are talented.

You’d think for how much I like music, I’d be a practiced and skillful listener.

I can’t do the Name That Tune thing. I’m better at Name That Movie after hearing only a few words or, even better, seeing one frame.

Too often, though, I play this game, sub-consciously of course, with my friends and family. When I’m in a hurry or distracted or tired or self-centered, I jump to conclusions after hearing a few words out of their mouths and believe I know what they are going to say, what they mean, what they want me to understand or comment on.

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Robert McCloskey, Children’s Author

Problem is, I’m not really listening.

That leads to miscommunication, which more often than not, complicates relationships.

I certainly don’t like being on the receiving end of a not listener.

So why do I do it to others?

It’s not out of spite or anything. Laziness? Presumption? Neediness?

Or is it a simple case of habit?

Know when I’m at my worst in this department? When I’m having “quiet time” with God.

I do a heck or a lot more talking than I ever do listening. (Do I ever think of the astounding fact that God is listening to me when I do all this talking?!?)

And just like it does with human relationships, it effects the communication between me and my Perfect Lover.

“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich, Theologian

One-way relationships are not only miserable, they’re unhealthy and unfair for both parties.

What life-changing opportunities have I missed not listening to God?

Do I make Him sad when He has to tell me something again and again because I’m not listening the first or second times?

And what happens when I refuse to listen?

Listening is essential to relationship.

Listening is definitely an art, a discipline that needs learned and practiced.

I’m no expert and I know of no step-by-step program to make me a better listener. Some people make quite the lucrative living talking to eager crowds about how to listen better. I guess the first hurdle for me is to be aware that I’m not listening. And then make an effort, a choice, to listen.

“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.” Igor Stravinsky, Composer

If I do, I just might hear something useful or important or exciting or beautiful… like the sound of God smiling.

One more thing on this lovely Monday. My talented and wonderful writer buddy and sister/friend KM Wilsher (click here to visit her awesome site) awarded me the “Hands Stained with Ink” award, which basically means I’m supposed to answer the following questions and then pass along the award to three more bloggers. Well, here are my answers:

If you could write one word, what would it be?


Use one word to describe yourself:


What is something random about you/your writing that you'd like to say right now?

If I wasn't such a bashful procrastinator, I'd get a heck of a lot more writing done.

Think up an absurd title for a book:

Pussywillows in the Can

What is the strangest sentence you can think of?

Water rocks.

What do you write?

Inspirational love stories in various settings, present day, historical, fantasy

If you had a weird disease and could only make one sound over and over, what would it be?


Rules: 1 – Post about the award, 2 – Award 3 others, and 3 – answer the tag.

Thus, I bestow the Hands Stained with Ink award to… Alison N., Sarah B., and Avily J.

Thanks, KM for passing it to me. I appreciate your friendship and support!

Take care, Dry Ground family. See you Wednesday!