Friday, July 30, 2010

Keep On Swimming

My Daniel and I celebrated his birthday hiking at our fave spot here in TX… during record rainfall. We knew it was a stormy day, but we’re tenacious and determined and just a touch on the crazy side. Besides, it wasn’t even sprinkling when we started the hike and we didn’t know until later that it rained so much to break records.

But I could have guessed. I haven’t been that soaked… ever.

By the time we reached the first scenic view, light rain pelted our shoulders. In minutes, the heavens opened. Then opened a little more. Then really threw it down. Like Romancing the Stone, roaming the jungle with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (minus riding a mudslide into a river – thank God!).

We were wetter than our showers that morning, wetter than a swimming pool plunge. I’m talking sheets of Texas-sized rain – and yes there’s a difference between our Texas rain and all other kinds of rain. It truly is bigger.

Hair, tank top, shorts, socks (ew) and boots – all weighted with total saturation. At one point, my Daniel said, “Every time I take a step, water squishes out of my shoes.”

Yea, it was that wet.

No lightening, though, and just a touch of thunder, so all in all, it wasn’t that bad of a hike. Adventurous, actually, and fun.

Of course, we had to be more aware of our foot placement, extra-keen on our surroundings. The path went from dirt to mud to puddles to pools in the course of a half an hour. Danger lurked nearby, but we stayed alert and smart and God protected us.

Fast forward to that evening when I’m having a mental/emotional meltdown. (Not related to the hike, but the two topics intersect eventually…) Maybe physical exhaustion left me vulnerable, but I got walloped up side the head by the Father of Lies, and his insinuations left me in rivers of tears and doubting my entire life.

Illogical, yes, but it seemed so real and relevant at the time.

I slept on it, prayed, talked to a couple of close friends who prayed and encouraged (one being mom – gotta love mom coming through during an emo-crisis!), and turned out leveling off into the right frame of mind and heart.

But it took some decision-making on my part. The biggest – don’t give up.

Although my Daniel and I had fun in the rain on his birthday, the situation was not exactly comfortable. I mean, more than almost anything, I hate having wet socks!! After a while, even in Texas, that rain gets chilly. And I can only wring out my shirt so many times before I’m ready to take it off. I was a little afraid of encountering snakes in the path-puddles, and every stone I stepped on was slippery. On one hand, an invigorating challenge – on the other, I was ready to have it done with by the end.

What if I had given up in the middle of that hike – decided I was too scared or wet or mad or uncomfortable or whatever? Of course, that wouldn’t make sense. I’d only get wetter if I sat down and quit.

Same goes for responding to the thunderstorm of lies I faced the same night that tempted me to do just that – quit. Now, that wouldn’t make sense, would it? You don’t get anywhere if you quit.

So that’s what I decided on. Even when it looks like the sky is falling, I’m not going to give up. I’m just gonna keep on swimming.

Do you feel like quitting today? Be encouraged! Keep moving. God will never quit on you!

Have a fabulous weekend, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Today is my Daniel's birthday!

I am so thankful God made him and gave him life!
I am so thankful that God has had His hand on him.
I am so thankful God blessed me with this wonderful man, husband, best friend.
Today, I celebrate!
As a gift and blessing to him, this song. Perhaps it will bless you too! Enjoy!

See you Friday!

Monday, July 26, 2010

700 Lbs.

If God asked you to lighten your load – i.e. get rid of 700 pounds of stuff from your place of dwelling - could you do it? And let’s say, you can’t chose furniture (or any living thing J ) to make up that quota.

What could you live without?



Music or Movies?

Kitchen gadgets?

A room full of hobbies?

I asked myself this question as I helped my Alaskan-bound friends condense their household into a tiny trailer of cherished essentials. Although that in itself was a challenge, the real test occurred after the trailer was loaded… and 700 pounds too heavy. From the boxes already deemed “can’t-live-without,” they had to shed more.

You might roll your eyes and scoff, “You can take it all. I’d have no problem unloading.”

Or, you might gasp and cry, “No way! That’s too much!”

But when you really go through the process in your mind, it is interesting to see what heavy items you get hung up on. You think twice, bargain, trade out, chose between, evaluate…

Of course, I’m not saying that it’s bad to have things. When you’ve got room and no one’s asking, there’s no reason to give them up.

But what if God did ask you to? How attached are you to your things?

How about if God asked you to unload your spiritual burdens? Sin, guilt, fear, misplaced security and trust… could you do that? How attached to our crutches are we? Have we lived in fear so long we actually fear we’d not be able to live without it? If you were suddenly guilt-free, do you wonder if you could function?

God does not ask us to give up things to be annoying or cruel. He is good, therefore His request stems from good reasoning and promises good reward as well. He’s waiting to fill the space with Himself and all of His benefits, to make life better for us not worse, to teach us and reveal to us His amazing character.

But first, we have to surrender… whatever He’s asking us to hand over to Him… we must do that first.

Take a moment today to sort through it. Hold loosely to stuff. Store treasures in Heaven. Let God fill you up with His eternal rewards.

Happy unloading! And Happy Monday! Thanks for visiting Dry Ground. Be blessed!

(photos by

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Secret to Peaceful Living

More like the key to a mystery, not a secret since there’s no crime in telling. Here it is…

Be quick (as in, as soon as you have the opportunity, while you have the chance and before it passes you by)

… to say I love you.

… to say I’m sorry.

… to say I forgive you.

Then, back it up with your actions.

It’s that simple.

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Heaven's Social Network

One of the benefits of all the moving around my Daniel and I have done is that we’ve met and befriended some of best, most interesting, awesomest people this world has to offer. When I send Christmas cards, they fan out to over half of the states in the U.S.A. as well as a couple countries. Despite time and distance, I carry all of these souls in my heart. I write tons of emails that end with “love and miss you.”

We’ve actually moved so much that we encounter people we know from one place in another place, making a new city feel like home and smoothing the transition.

Thank God for modern technology and social networking through entities such as Facebook by which I can remain connected and keep in touch with all these fabulous people we’ve been blessed to cross paths with.

But even Facebook can’t keep me from missing my special friends and family. There’s something about actual face-to-face fellowship that far outweighs occasional written communication or perusing snapshots of the life all of them lead. Sharing experiences, occupying the same space in time, giving actual hugs are essentials that modern media can’t provide.

Sometimes I wish I could create a neighborhood where I’d collect all of these special people and we could just all live right next door to each other – gather for BBQs, game nights, pool parties, Bible studies, yard sales, and everything else neighbors do (or at least used to do) together. It’d been a pretty big neighborhood, I’m blessed to say!

Then it hits me – oh, yeah – Heaven. That’ll be the day when my wish will come true. For those who have already chosen Jesus, and thus, citizenship in this heavenly neighborhood and for those who, by faith, I’m believing will choose to get there too, the perfect neighborhood awaits – and what fun it will be! Never-ending, too, as we’ll have eternity to fellowship with each other and with the One who loves us enough to invite us to dwell in His Home forever.

Usually, here on earth, I’m the one doing the leaving. I move to the next city, leaving cherished people behind. Today, however, I am experiencing the loss as a close friend of mine here in Austin, who I already knew from Knoxville, moves to Alaska! Can’t get too much farther and still be in the US! I mean, it doesn't even show up on the map, except in an inset box. It's that far!

Of course, I am happy for her and her husband as they go on this new adventure, but also sad and jealous to be left behind. J I know we’ll keep in touch via the social network avenues this world provides and maybe even get to visit each other in the future, but I also know for certain that I can look forward to that day when we’ll live on the same golden street in Heaven.

To my Alaska-bound friends, as well as to all of you out there who hold a piece of my heart (I’m sure you know who you are), I miss you and look forward to an opportunity when I can hug your neck! But I will comfort myself in the meantime with the assurance of Heaven’s social network and thank Jesus once again for the hope of that future.

Be blessed, friends! And thanks again for visiting me here on Dry Ground today!

(photos by

Monday, July 19, 2010


Thirty + years is ample time to collect a few scars. In this case, I’m talking physical ones, the kind you can see on your skin.

Every once in a while, I’ll notice one of mine and remember how I got it, the story behind the mark.

Of course, the memory involves some kind of pain, or else I wouldn’t have the scar.

But I learned a lot of lessons racking up those scars.

And I also smile when I think of each event because they still inspire nostalgia.

For example, I broke my arm in third grade. There’s a little ripple across my wrist where the playground asphalt caused an abrasion on my skin. Looking at it makes me think of my elementary school friends, the good doctor who fixed the bones in the growth plate of my arm, my friends signing my cast but only after I served as flower girl in a wedding until which I had to keep the plaster clean and sparkling white. These and other memories of that time in my life bring smiles as well as stir gratitude. I mean, my arm kept growing at a normal rate, which had been a concern at the time. To say I’m thankful is an understatement!

Each scar brings up similar nostalgic thoughts.

Skimming the top layer of skin along my shin the first time I shaved my legs.

Flipping over the handlebars of my bike when I was in sixth grade, scuffing up both knees.

Gouging a chunk of skin out of my knuckle while tugging on a difficult lock to escape the bathroom stall in my college dorm.

Wearing flip-flops to the zoo in southern Louisiana and paying for it with several fire ant bites in between my toes.

Suffering through a massive case of poison ivy – yea, so bad that it left scars. (Come to think of it, no pleasant memories associated with this one… but I did learn a thing or two. J )

Despite wearing tennis shoes this time, gaining more fire ant bites on my ankle while watching hundreds of bats fly out from underneath an Austin, TX bridge at dusk.

So, although unsightly and imperfect, the scars I’ve received sort of tell my story, in part at least, and serve as reminders to be thankful for the life God’s blessed me with, the health He’s granted, and for all the times He’s healed me, protected me, brought me through a difficult circumstance.

I realize some may have scars more horrendous and damaging than a minor bike ride accident or novice shaving mishap. Being thankful for those, I imagine, would be infinitely more difficult, the lessons harder to swallow. And of course, all of this can apply to emotional scars as well. I don’t mean to say that I rejoice in the pain or suffering from wence these scars occurred.

But God’s kindness surrounds us in any and every circumstance, even the most devastating. He’s also given us hope for the future, mainly Heaven, where all the tears and sorrow and suffering will vanish as if they never existed.

If anything, our scars can help us look forward rather than dwell on a painful past.

I wonder, though, if our resurrected bodies will still bear the scars of our time on earth? Jesus still had His scars from the cross after He rose from the grave.

While some may cringe at such a thought, perhaps, since the pain and sorrow will be vanquished, that the scars left will only produce the gratitude and remembrance of God’s goodness, kindness, protection, mercy and love.

That may be why Jesus’ scars remained, I don’t know.

What do you think?

Scars or no scars, if you are suffering in any capacity, remember to look forward to the time when every tear will be wiped away. Jesus loves you so much, He bore the scars, so that you can live forever without the pain. Knowing and believing that generates hope.

And hope does not disappoint.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Rom. 5:3-5

Be blessed. And thanks for spending a part of your Monday with me here on Dry Ground.

(photos by

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nature Speaks

I like to think that God speaks to me specifically through nature.

Not specifically through nature, but specifically to me.

When I witness some awesome show in the heavens or see up-close the detailed delicacy of a tiny wildflower, I believe God is sharing that moment with me and whispering in my ear. It’s a lovely communion.

The following is a poem (of sorts) I wrote last year during one of those divine interactions.

Thanks for taking the time to read and allowing me to share it with you!

Happy Friday!

Flight Home

Skimming atop the clouds at 30,000 feet.

Chasing the sun – it finally gets away

Leaving a line of blood red dust on the horizon.

Sharing head phones, heads together, listening to Bella’s Lullaby.

Holding hands.

Staring out the window, explosions dancing through backlit storm clouds

Pulsating as to a beat, a symphony for our eyes.

Embracing the moment.

Wishing I could fly.

Thanking the Almighty for what was and is and is to come.

(photos by

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are We There Yet?

The middle of the summer reminds me of family vacations.

Living in Ohio, sure we took weekend trips to King’s Island and Cedar Point, Amish Country and Reds baseball games, but once a summer for a week or two, we’d go on what I considered a real vacation.

Back then, that meant LLLOOONNNGGG trips in the car (a powder blue, four-door 80s Oldsmobile tank). Since I’m an only child, I usually got to invite a friend or cousin (all of whom are also my friends!) along to keep me company.

Boy, we had some memorable trips.

Charleston, SC/Fort Sumter

Gettysburg/Washington D.C.,

Florida, a couple times

Badlands, Moose Jaw Canada, Wall Drug, Mt. Rushmore, and all the key locations in the life of Laura Ingles Wilder in between.

I estimate we covered over 10,000 miles of Interstate in this fabulous, fascinating country.

While road trips are ultimately about destination, they’re also about the trip. How to pass all that time and all those miles – the success or failure of which makes or breaks the entire vacation.

Of course, today they have individual monitors in the backs of headrests, DVD players, PS3 systems, iPod chargers, even lap top computers, all of which did not exist when I was taking road trips – and it wasn’t even that long ago!!

No, we had to get creative – playing I Spy, 20 Questions, The Alphabet Game (where you take turns and say your name, where you’re from, where you’re going, and how you’re getting there using only words beginning with your assigned letter), and License Plate (where you try to find all 50 states during the course of the trip, semi trucks not included) occupied some of those hours – at least until the adults needed some peace and quiet (which meant, it’s time to listen to Billy Joel or Barry Manilow or Bonnie Tyler on the 8-Track player).

(FYI - click the pic to listen to an 80s classic!)

Reading was a favorite past time for me, but then I don’t get carsick.

Oh, there was the time driving through No Where, North Dakota that my friend, Angela, and I counted every grasshopper that leapt from the sizzling, deserted road to collide with the windshield with vivid, audible SPLATs. There were so many, I lost count. We couldn’t see out the windshield by the time we reached the Canadian border.

And let me tell you, that kind of thing sticks with you for years.

Napping, singing, doodling, reenacting Dukes of Hazard or Chips episodes with our stuffed animals, quarreling, and dividing the seat into two exact equal parts to keep from killing or, heaven forbid, touching each other, were all a part of these treks to get to the destination.

When we exhausted every possible option of amusement inside a 6x4x4 backseat, my cohort and I would resort to voicing the mantra of road trips throughout the ages – “Are we there yet?” – Over and over and over, until we drove my parents in sane.

Who hasn’t asked that question?

I find myself asking it on the journey of life sometimes.

Okay, a lot of times.

Over and over and over.

But God just smiles and encourages me to keep doing what I’ve been doing.

Which is?

Well, learning all those lessons you learn taking freakishly long road trips.

Creativity. Navigation. Cooperation. Negotiation. Patience. Endurance. Self-control. Fellowship. Rest. Trust. Even enjoying the view every once in a while.

Our Heavenly destination will be like a never-ending vacation. It’s understandable that we’d ask from time to time, “Are we there yet?”

But the journey can also end up being pleasant.

YOU, Dry Ground reader, are part of my pleasant journey! Thanks for dropping by today. Be blessed!

(photos by

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Might Get a Little Gross

I went hiking this weekend at one of my favorite spots, Friedrich’s Wilderness, hidden in a tiny corner of hill country north of San Antonio.

An hour on steep, rocky paths in the mid-day, Texas sun gives quite a sweat bath, but the good kind, the kind that makes you feel powerful, indestructible, fit and totally deserving of a gigantic dinner.

So after we left it all out on the trail, my Daniel and I headed for our favorite local, Mexican-fare eatery, Habanero’s Grill.

We were both slick, drenched with sweat. But I’d brought a change of clothes for us both, so we went to respective bathrooms at the restaurant, and changed.

I took a wet paper towel, first, to cleanse away the rivers of perspiration running down my shins and arms and back. What a relief.

However, I did not run a cool cloth over my face. Not that my face hadn’t sweat, but after a short ride in the car and air conditioning blowing right at my forehead, it didn’t feel quite as sweaty as the rest of me. And since I was really wanting my gigantic dinner… well, Habanero’s awesome chicken tacos anyway… and probably because I was a little dehydrated, or possibly because I dropped my hair clip on the floor and then smashed my head on the paper towel dispenser when I stood back up, my face got skipped.

Let me tell you, I didn’t even think about it as I inhaled those yummy soft tacos (grilled chicken, roasted tomato salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and the best grilled onions on the planet).

It didn’t occur to me as we browsed through Best Buy looking for a best buy, which we did not find btw.

And while we drank coffee and ate dessert, a Pazookie at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery (have you had one of those??? Oh, my, gracious, goodness…), not a thought of a sweaty face crossed my mind.

Well, we live about an hour from this tight hiking spot, so after all this fun we had, we headed home. Tired muscles, lazy brain, full heart of the great day, rhythmic tire sounds running over the highway, I was pretty relaxed… until I had an itch on the bridge of my nose.

No big deal, though. I scratched it. But then the side of my cheek felt itchy, too, so I scratched that. And what comes off my face under my fingernails?

Grey, squishy, dried sweat.


I rubbed some more, scratched a little, and it dawned on me – I hadn’t run a wet paper towel over my face when I changed at Hababero’s. Now, I’d have to wait until we got home.

Once we arrived, it took a pretty good scrubbing to feel fresh again.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, because the sweaty grime on my face reminded me of sin.

Everybody does it.

There’s a Way to wash it off. We just have to say, “Jesus, I’m dirty. Please cleanse me.” (Heb. 10:22)

A lot of times, we repent of the big, obvious stuff, but forget that which doesn’t quite feel like sin, the little stuff.

We’re having so much fun being distracted by the rest of our amazing lives that it doesn’t occur that we missed some.

Come to find out, it’s often that which is most obvious – like sweat on the face.

The longer we wait to wash, the harder the scrub is going to be, the more possibilities for consequences – blemishes, irritation, and the like.

It’s not like the Water doesn’t work just as well right away as it does later on. But it’s the grime and how long it’s left there to bake, get crusty and clingy, that affects how the skin looks after it’s been cleansed.

I need to pay attention and take the opportunity to wash/repent as soon as possible and not let the sweat/sin linger. My complexion will thank me for it.

Thank God for His Living, Cleansing Water! (John 7:38) Let’s jump in with delay!

Happy Monday! Be Blessed!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Do You Know Who You Are?

I’ve long felt Tenth Avenue North writes/sings poetic, inspired lyrics and many of their songs resonate in my spirit. Here’s a new one that says “it” much better than I ever could. Enjoy and be blessed. Happy Friday!

You Are More

There’s a girl in the corner

With tear stains on her eyes

From the places she’s wandered

And the shame she can’t hide.

She says, “How did I get here?

I’m not who I once was.

And I’m crippled by the fear

That I’ve fallen too far to love.”

But don’t you know who you are,

What’s been done for you?

Yeah, don’t you know who you are?


You are more than the choices that you’ve made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,

You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it

That she’s been given new life,

But she can’t shake the feeling

That it’s not true tonight.

She knows all the answers

And she’s rehearsed all the lines

And so she’ll try to do better

But then she’s too weak to try.

But don’t you know who you are?

(Chorus 2x)

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done

But what’s been done for you.

This is not about where you’ve been,

But where your brokenness brings you to.

This is not about what you feel,

But what He felt to forgive you,

And what He felt to make you loved.

(Chorus 2x)

(photos by

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Remember to Remember

I think a lot of us are dealing with… stuff.

Some new, some never ending.

Some merely pesky, others serious hard knocks.

Not trying to accentuate the negative, just facing facts. Facing life.

God lets us know in His Love Letter the trick to getting through these times.

He tells us to remember.

Psalm 78 shows us how.

It starts by reminding us to remember, and not only for ourselves but also our children (v.6 says – even the children not yet born- that’s very special to me).

Then it gives us a history lesson.

Basically, the author of this song takes each verse to describe something amazing God did for the Israelites, His special possession, then tells us how each time the Israelites responded with ingratitude.

After God delivered them from Egypt and parted the Red Sea for them, they grumbled about water.

When God made water pour from a rock in the dessert, they complained about the lack of food.

In spite of God giving them the food of angels (manna), and they kept on sinning.

Even as Israel spouted mere lip service to the King of Kings, God showed them mercy.

God gave them their inheritance, the Promised Land, but the Word says they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High.

No wonder God displayed His anger. It says He was so angry, He surrendered His glory into enemy hands.

That’s pretty major if you ask me.

Although the language used in this Psalm says a lot about “anger,” I don’t think of it as vengeful anger or some sort of cosmic temper tantrum. The anger here pours from a Lover’s heart that is broken, devastated at His bride’s unfaithfulness.

Picture Prince Charming pursuing, fighting and risking His life for, and rescuing the distressed damsel, taking her back to His castle, marrying her, providing for her everything she needs and more – only for the bride to mistrust His intentions, refuse His affections, beguile an outsider for false-security, and succumb to that liar, cheating on and dishonoring the One who truly loves her.

Who would blame the Prince for being angry, jealous and hurt? If He wasn’t, you’d question His love.

There’s a verse in Psalm 78 that proves to me that this is how God sees us. The end of verse 21 and all of verse 22: Yes, His anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust Him to care for them.

No matter what’s happening around us, great or small, God cares for us. And all He asks is we trust that. Focusing on what He has done for us rather than what He hasn't (yet) will help.

When we do, we find joy.

What has He done for you?

I pray you feel and trust His love today!

(photos by

Monday, July 5, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?

Are you a planner?

Do you like to know what lies around ever corner?

Does it make you nervous when uncertainty clouds your foresight?

When I don’t know what’s going to happen next, all I can wonder about is exactly that – what happens next? Where do I go from here?

The what-ifs are enough to send me to the asylum.

This feeling usually occurs at the conclusion of a major event or holiday, like the back-to-routine feeling after a vacation, or during the doldrums of routine, or smack in between that rock and a hard place when something needs to happen – and fast – but what? Also, when I’m trying to figure out what to write next.

I get frustrated when I can’t even envision the next step during those times. Thinking logically, conjuring imagination, praying, searching the Word, seeking advice, I employ everything possible to figure out where I’m supposed to go, only to be left more frustrated than ever.

That’s because sometimes, I’m not supposed to go anywhere.

I’m supposed to learn to hunker down, seek God, trust and wait.

When I’m supposed to move, God will light that lamp… at my feet. (Psalm 119:105)

He usually doesn’t illuminate the entire path like I would prefer.

One step at a time.

Trusting that He is around the corners, further up the path, ruling the dark spots in my vision.

Making plans isn’t a bad thing. Many verses in Proverbs tell us it’s a good thing, when committing them to the Lord. But Proverbs (16:9) also says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

So don’t despair when the next step eludes you. He will illuminate your path at the perfect time. Until then, keep in close communion with Him.

Blessings on you and your plans this day!

Thanks for visiting Dry Ground! Happy Monday!

(photos by

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, America



…celebrate it.

…cherish it.

…fight for it.

…die for it.

…live it.

…take it for granted.

One thing freedom is not – an excuse.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Gal. 5:13

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

No matter how we define freedom, we have a responsibility – to those who sacrificed their own on our behalf as Americans and to God Who provides ultimate and eternal freedom.

Freedom should be exercised more in regard to how we treat others rather than what we can claim for ourselves. In so doing, we can reflect Jesus Christ since that is how He exercised His freedom – in and for our regard because He loves us.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

During the firework show and indulgence in apple pie and singing the National Anthem, I hope your heart fills with gratitude and spills over into the lives of all you encounter.

Have a super holiday weekend! Happy 234th Birthday, America, and God continue to bless the USA.

(photos by