Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Piggyback Ride

Well, I’m still tired… and behind.

Apartment is shaping up. I am getting used to the new sleep schedule, new work schedule, even the new exercise schedule.

But the brain is as full as it’s going to get at the moment. Original thoughts are still cowering in the corner, reluctant to push through all the new data.

So, I thought I’d share a little from the message at the church we visited last week.

It was about God’s call on our lives.

#1 – We’re uniquely called. If God went to such lengths for our fingerprints, voice, DNA (just to name a few) to be absolutely unique, why would He expect us to fulfill our life calling in the exact same way as any other person? We don’t need to be exactly like anyone else but Christ.

#2 – We’re currently called. Sort of a bloom where you’re planted idea, God doesn’t make us wait around for Him to give us a calling. He’s already given us one, and it is now. We need to stop making excuses. Start extending God’s love to the neighbors we live next to now, the co-workers we work with now, the people we see every day… now.

The pastor’s illustration for this one inspired me. Those of us who’ve spent any time in church have most likely sat through an overseas missionary’s slide show and talk. He clicks through pictures of the country, the facilities there, and the people. We see… places, things, and humans. But the tenor of the missionary’s voice tells you that, to him, he’s showing you his home, his heart and his family. You have no doubt that this person is called. And sometimes we might just think… I wish I was called like that.

The beauty is… we are! Imagine a slide show that, as you click through, shows your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, your neighbor… your home, heart and family.


#3 – We are passionately called. I loved this illustration too. We think it’s like a kickball team being picked at recess. Two leaders, God and Satan maybe, choosing one by one the top players until only a few are left and the leaders reluctantly divide them up. We actually see ourselves as the uncoordinated, untalented misfits that always get picked last, and God is reluctantly calling us to His team. And that’s so not true!! God passionately chooses every one of us as if we were first. To each of us, He says with enthusiasm – I’ll take you!

This was not a “get out there and serve so God loves you more” sermon. Good thing, or I would not have absorbed one iota of it. This was a “you have great purpose in God’s eyes” sermon. No need to compare to others. No need to feel guilty or inadequate or left out or left behind.

It’s not we that live anyway, but Christ in us. It’s all about Him.

So, I think the idea is to feel… cherished.

Hope you’re having a great week, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!

(photo by

(Youth pastor @ Faith Chapel in Billings, MT, Scott Blakeslee, gave this message 9-26-10.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Movies You May Have Missed Monday

A new feature here on Dry Ground!

I think it’s funny when one person thinks it’s odd or funny that another person hasn’t seen a certain movie. I mean, do you know how many movies are out there? And how much it costs to watch even a fraction of them? Add in personality, genre likes and dislikes and biases (some people just won’t watch certain actors or genres for instance), and the gap widens more. Yea, the media push works in a lot of cases, but believe it or not there are still scores of people who’ve never seen Avatar, Snow White or (*gasp*) Star Wars.

Since I love story so much, especially story via film, I thought I’d start sharing some of the movies I have discovered, liked, appreciated, and even fell in love with.

I plan to do this randomly, so don’t look for rhyme or reason. Just fun.

Okie dokie, then. First up is…

(Montana’s cowboy culture and wide-open spaces may have influenced me a little…)

John Ford’s 1939 version of Stagecoach starring, among many others, the legendary John Wayne.

Before you turn your nose up at John Wayne (he’s one of those you either love or hate), or tune out because it’s a western (admittedly, not my favorite genre), I urge you to give it a chance. Here’s why.

This movie has everything!

Diverse characters, cowboys and Indians, exciting chases and gun flights, wit, depth, history, a sweet and subtle love story, and just the right amount of cheesy western clichés. In fact, I’m convinced that this movie originated all those western clichés!

For example, I now know what “riding shotgun” really means thanks to this movie!

Now, I haven’t seen the dozens of credited and uncredited performances Mr. Wayne gave in the decade before this film, but his character in Stagecoach, The Ringo Kid, seems to me to define John Wayne as western star. No wonder his career was long and illustrious. He’s charming, handsome, a gentleman, but also a fugitive on a mission of revenge, and a slick gunslinger. He sports that famous drawl, exercising it with several memorable lines. Had this been the first movie I’d seen starring John Wayne, I’d probably have become a life long fan.

Of course, some of the movie tempts the eyes to roll or a disrespectful laugh to escape the lips.

For example, a repetition of frantic orchestral music plays over every scene that shows the stagecoach barreling over desert landscape, which happens every other scene at least. At first, it adds to the excitement of the plot. After the tenth time, it’s like sitting at a vaudeville act – cheers for the hero, boos for the villain!

But since it is a classic, and thus deserving of a chance, watching the whole thing brings applause and smiles, the cheesy parts included.

One aspect of the movie I appreciated most was its simple but truthful revelation of the human race. Each character had a flaw (or two), some wore them on their sleeves, others hid it well. But as they are thrown together in a small space in a perilous situation, sins are brought to light. Such exposure addresses issues such as pride, shame, weakness, redemption, grace, sacrifice, forgiveness and honor. The conclusion, I think, is that everyone is flawed, but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of acting with valor. Also, everyone deserves a break because everyone needs a break.

This is a smart film while also being entertaining. It provides action, story, cinematic tension, heart-lurching victories, tender moments and solid performances.

Even if you’d rather go icecap skinny-dipping in the artic circle than watch a western, I hope you’ll warm up to the idea of giving Stagecoach 96 minutes of your life. It’s a ride you won’t regret.

Have you already seen it? What did you think? Are you a John Wayne fan? If you like Westerns, what’s your favorite? I hope to hear from some of you.

Thanks for joining me for the first Movies You May Have Missed Monday. Have a great week, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Friday, September 24, 2010


Since I just worked my first full day of work in over a year, rest sounds pretty good right now.

No matter how much you enjoy your job or tasks in life, rest is an essential part of living because how you rest shows up in how you work.

J.B. Stoney says, “It is from the inner circle, the hive, the heart where Christ reigns, the only green spot, the fond enclosure – the sanctuary, that one should come forth to work. The quality of one’s work depends on the nature of one’s rest – and the rest should be like His own, known and enjoyed with Him.”

So it’s a balance of the right kind of rest that will make us usable vessels and bring us into a deeper communion with our Perfect Lover.

I sure do like how He works. J

Happy Friday, Dry Ground friends. I pray your weekend includes real, quality, Christ-centered rest.

(photo by

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heavy Lifting

Nesting is tiring work.

After carrying all the boxes up the stairs, I empty them, break them down, then carry them back down the stairs to the dumpster. I've done a dozen loads of laundry. I've moved furniture, then moved it again to try a different arrangement. I've played musical piles, moving the same stack of stuff multiple times to clear the way to set other things up properly. Although all the boxes are empty and gone, I still can't find certain things and spend way too long looking for those lost items.
Anyway, I'm telling you this as one big, fat excuse for not writing an original thought today, but relying on a few much more inspiring quotations from the devotional I've been reading lately, The Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford. I'll let him do the heavy lifting today.
"Faith has nothing to do with possibilities."
"Thank God, He has accepted us in His Son, and upon this FACT we must rest our faith."
"To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret."
"We often come across Christians who are bright and clever, and strong and righteous; in fact, a little too bright, and a little too clever - there seems so much of self in their strength, and their righteousness is severe and critical. They have everything to make them saints, except... crucifixion, which would mold them into a supernatural tenderness and limitless charity for others. But if they are of the real elect, God has a winepress prepared for them, through which they will some day pass, which will turn the metallic hardness of their nature into gentle love, which Christ always brings forth at the last of the feast."
"Immaturity considers the Lord Jesus as Helper. Maturity knows Him to be Life itself."
"Our responsibility is to see in the Word all that is ours in Christ, and then thank and trust Him for that which we need."
"The believer does not have to beg for help. He does have to thankfully appropriate that which is already his in Christ."
"We are not saved to serve; we are matured to serve."
"Once in possession of truth, we are to rest - He will produce."
Hope your week is going well! Thanks for visiting Dry Ground today!

Monday, September 20, 2010


While our new home, Billings, MT, is the largest city in a 500-mile radius, it seems smallish to us since we’ve lived in larger cities such as San Antonio, TX and Phoenix, AZ. Yet, when we’ve explored into the areas surrounding Billings, I can see why it is considered the “big” city. Not too far away are ranches that cover miles more than a typical town, and bouquets of mailboxes that indicate several houses but… I don’t see them. It boggles my mind how much land is out here, uninhabited save for a herd of cattle or bison.

So Billings being a “big” town is a complete matter of perspective.

And really, who cares whether it qualifies as a big or small town?

But what happens when perspective means life or death?

Have you ever sat across the table from a friend who knows her days are numbered because of a terminal disease? That when breakfast is over and you part ways, you might not see her again this side of Heaven?

I have. Recently. And let me tell you, it’s a perspective changer.

The most remarkable thing about the time we spent over breakfast was that instead of being the encourager, I ended up receiving a far greater blessing listening to her perspective on life. She glowed with all the things humans usually try to hide for pride’s sake – truth, honesty, love, gratitude. If something needed said, she said it. For her. no second goes wasted. I detected abundance and exuberance and peace.

My petty complaints about life circumstances shriveled into insignificance.

What if death smiled at you every day over breakfast?

Would you forgo saying ‘I love you’ because you’re running late for work?

Would you ignore destructive behavior in a loved one because you don’t want to seem judgmental?

Would you scorn someone for not thinking or acting the same way you do?

Would you turn a blind eye when you see a need?

Would you harbor bitterness or jealousy or malice?

Would you withhold forgiveness because you’re holding too tightly to a grudge?

Would you deny a second chance to someone who’s wronged you?

Yea. Me neither.

This week, consider your perspective.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A "Moving" Experience

So much of our lives is spent worrying and fretting and striving and hiding, that to have a season of feeling safe and secure in the palm of God’s hand is quite a gift.

That’s how I would summarize our move from Austin, TX to Billings, MT.

A little over a week ago when tropical storm Hermine raged ashore covering southern Texas with deluges of rain, I experienced a serious case of trip trepidation. The night before we were to pack the truck, the weather was terrible – rain, flash floods, wind, rumors of tornados, and lightning. When I went to pick my Daniel up from his last night of work, visibility ranked low and water covered the roads enough to cause tire slippage. When we got back to the apartment and stepped out of the car, rising water measured over ankle deep. That night, we prayed the rain would pass before it was time to load the truck the next morning.

Well, we had a slight reprieve from the storm, but soon after we started packing, the rain started again and we had no choice but to get wet and let all our furniture get wet too. The other problem we discovered while removing boxes from “holding” in the second bedroom – the water table underground had risen so much the night before that it came through the floors and soaked the carpet! Every box that had been sitting on the floor, many filled with books and photo albums, was also soaked through.

There was nothing to be done but pack up the truck and hope for the best. I mean, we were on a budget and timeline.

So as we headed north, catching up to Hermine’s moody downpours in Oklahoma yet again, we prepared ourselves to lose everything.

Funny thing, though, looking back, even at that moment, I felt the protective curl of God’s fingers around our lives.

From then on, events occurred that rank nothing short of miraculous in my book. From perfect timing to perfect parking (for a BIG truck toting a car-dolly) to perfect moments with special people during our quick visit in Omaha, God’s hand showed up in tangible, overwhelming, awesome ways.

I’ll share an example with you.

Now you might think this ho-hum, but if you’ve ever driven a 24-foot rental truck and car-carrier across country, you’ll understand.

While visiting relatives in Omaha, we parked the mammoth vehicle in their apartment’s gated parking lot that’s shaped in a horseshoe – one way in, one way out. There was plenty of space out of the way and it was safe. A load off our minds.

Well, on the morning we were to leave, we went to this apartment building to pick up my Daniel’s mom for breakfast with the family, all of us riding in her car to the restaurant. When we tried to leave, we were stopped by a malfunctioning gate – it wouldn’t open. No big deal for a car – turned around, used the automatic opener, got out the exit and went to breakfast.

But after breakfast, we, of course, needed to drive the truck out in order to get on down the road. As my Daniel fired up the truck, I ran over to the exit gate to see what the dealio was – an alarm was sounding and it looked to be off the track. My Daniel’s mother drove her car up to the gate – nothing. Wasn’t budging.

Uh oh.

So, my Daniel attempted to turn the truck in the opposite direction so we leave through the entrance.

Even with his sweet truck maneuvering skills, it wasn’t happening. The parking lot was too small and the truck’s turning radius was too big.

Uh oh.

Not a disaster, I know. But it could’ve put a huge cramp in our traveling schedule.

Without any other option, my Daniel pulled the truck around to the exit gate. I mean, if anything, we could go to the office and get someone to start fixing it ASAP.

But as the truck neared the sensor, the gate opened… as if nothing had ever been wrong.

He drove right out.

Now in the scheme of things, when you’ve got hundreds of miles to go and hotel reservations and a job waiting and a body that can only stay awake so many hours in a row… that was a miracle.

Those kinds of things happened all the way here. Kinda makes me feel like we are where we are supposed to be.

Have a great weekend, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Love Song

Please enjoy this uplifting song while I move into my new place in Billings, MT. Hope you're having the best week ever! Be blessed!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I’m rich!

No, I didn’t win the lottery or gain an inheritance or get a promotion.

I’m rich with relationships.

Too bad if it sounds cliché, I’m totally serious, and I’m feeling it poignantly at the moment.

I often lament that I don’t have siblings or children or a St.Elmo’s gang of forever trues. But then God steps in during those mini pity parties and shows me with striking clarity what He has given me.

We stopped in Omaha to see family and friends on our route to Montana. Throughout our visit, certain little moments with several individuals touched my heart to such a degree, it brought tears to my eyes.

And as we all know, I don’t cry… often.

A kind but honest question about how I’m doing with yet another change/move, an extra-tight hug, a homemade bracelet as a token of affection, and just time spent building and participating in relationships – it filled my heart with priceless treasures.

As we drove away Saturday morning, continuing on toward our ultimate destination, I felt overwhelming contentment in the fact that God has blessed me with special, precious people to know and love and care for.

How could anything in this world be more important?

Even if you’re feeling lonely today, ask God to show you the wealth of souls you possess. A lot of times, He reveals it by asking us to reach out to others in the same boat.

Take time today to appreciate your relationships! Indeed, I appreciate all of you! And though I can’t via cyberspace, there will be a time and space in which I’ll get to hug your neck. Looking forward to it.

Be blessed, Dry Ground friends! Happy Monday!

(photos by

Friday, September 10, 2010

King of the Jungle

Since we're moving to Montana to work at a zoo, my Daniel suggested this oldie but goodie by one of our faves, Steven Curtis Chapman. It reminds us Who is King when life seems more like a jungle! Hope you enjoy!

I'll meet you back here on Monday. Have a blessed weekend, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Be Ye Perfect

First – Congratulations to the winner of Dry Ground’s birthday celebration gift … Sarah! I literally pulled her name out of a hat! Fitting, since Sarah is one of those I've met through Dry Ground, for which I am so thankful. She has a couple of sweet blogs herself, that you can check out by clicking HERE and HERE. I even got to guest blog on one of them once. Anyway, congrats, Sarah. I will be emailing you concerning this soon.

Thank you ALL who left a comment and helped me celebrate this milestone.

I mentioned last Friday that “no one is perfect” and in effect we shouldn’t try to be.

Shortly after posting that, I started thinking.

Matthew 5:48 says: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Eek. The Bible says I’m supposed to be perfect??



As I’ve been reading this awesome devotional lately (thanks, Mama!), I’ve been learning what that being perfect thing is actually about.

I’ve misunderstood that verse, or at least taken it out of context, all my life. I’ve always thought, more assumed, at least acted like I believed #1 – Jesus’ blood forgives my sins, #2 – I’m responsible to be perfect or “good” from here on out.

Problem is, I can’t. I mean, I try, and I do pretty good, judging by my own standards. Yet, I sin. And I feel horribly guilty because I should love Jesus enough for forgiving my sins to treat Him with the respect He deserves and just be obedient. So… why can’t I?

It’s because of #2 and my misinterpretation of the verse in Matthew.

Just like we depend on Jesus’ blood for the atonement (forgiveness and cleansing) of our sins, we also must depend on and identify with Jesus’ death on the cross for our deliverance, perfection, sanctification.

“Be Perfect” was never something required of our own power. As humans, a.k.a. sinners, we have no power over sin. Absolutely none.

Our growth in Christ, just like a seed, starts when we die to self.

Like that seed, our old self dies, we absorb the nutrients of a fertile environment - rich soil, refreshing rains, nourishing sun, a little fertilizer – all of which come from our Creator. In those conditions only will we grow and thrive. A seed for a seed’s sake never does anything, least of which is produce fruit.

Our growth into perfection is a life long process, but not because of our striving and failing. It’s failing, then realizing that it’s all on Christ.

What a Savior. J

We’re hitting the road today, heading for a new adventure in Montana. I appreciate your prayers.

Hope your week is rocking!

(photos by

Monday, September 6, 2010


Today marks the one-year anniversary of Dry Ground!

That may not mean much to you.

But it’s significant to me for several reasons.

Like journaling, God reminds me of things He’s taught me through things I’ve written in the past. I find that I forget a lot of it as I go along. Dry Ground has served as a chronicle of His whisperings in my life. (click here to read the very first Dry Ground)

The responsibility and commitment to writing Dry Ground three times a week has urged me to pursue God more, listen more carefully, obey even when some days I just don’t feel like it. So, discipline, I guess, you could say, writing this blog has given me.

More than either of those, however, are the relationships I’ve gained and nurtured through Dry Ground. I don’t have a church home at the moment, and discussions, no matter how brief, over Dry Ground subjects have linked me to fellow Christians in ways I never would have experienced. Also, I’ve actually met people through blogging, people I’ve yet to see face-to-face, some of whom have become important, cherished friends. I am so thankful for that.

In thanks and appreciation for your support and fellowship this past year, I’m offering one of you a present! A contest of sorts, all you have to do is leave a comment. I’ll put the names in a hat and draw a winner, to be announced Wednesday. The prize? Well, as Willy Wonka says, the best kind of prize is a SURprise, but I will say that it is a gift card of some sort. So, if you want to win, leave a comment on this post today, Monday, September 6th before midnight CST. If you use the “anonymous” option, just don’t forget to sign your name at the bottom of your post. I’ve got to know, you know?

I plan to continue Dry Ground, even as we move again and life routines alter again. There will be a few changes, new features and such, in the coming weeks. I hope you will keep treading along this journey with me. I’ve enjoyed spending time with you!

Happy Monday! And Happy Birthday, Dry Ground.

(photos by

Friday, September 3, 2010

Love Callin'

No one is perfect.

Did you know that?
Are you like me and still try to be?
And yet I constantly struggle and fail.
Who among us likes to struggle and fail?
Look at this shocking (well, it was to me) quote from Miles J. Stanford: The believer who is going through struggle and failure is the Christian who is being carefully and lovingly handled by his Lord in a very personal way.
Can you embrace that today?
Hope you enjoy this song of encouragement!

Guess what? Monday marks Dry Ground's FIRST BIRTHDAY! I can't believe it. Hope you stop to help me celebrate. In the meantime, have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1 Year, 2 People, 3 Moves, 4 States

Yes, it’s the 1st of September… a new season.

Back to school and NFL kick-off, television shows reboot and sultry temperatures ease as we head toward Autumn.

And for the Lundquists, ‘tis the season for moving to a new state.

That’s a joke.

Sort of.

Of our eleven moves in fifteen years, (you read right, 11 moves in 15 years), several of them have occurred in or around the same months, either spring or fall, around March or around September.

So, as we prepare to leave Austin for Billings next week, I’ll pack boxes, my Daniel will alert utility providers and other institutions to which our money monthly goes, and we’ll both field questions from inquiring acquaintances, all of them declaring pretty much the same thing: You guys are moving again??

Yep, we are.

Nope, we’re not crazy.

Just doing what we’ve got to do.

It hasn’t always been our choice, and it hasn’t always been under the best of circumstances, but God’s led and guided and protected and blessed.

This time, I’m excited. The air of anticipation fills my lungs.

Our lives may not seem “normal” as far as your world goes, but I’ve garnered invaluable benefits and witnessed God’s purposes through our nomadic life. I’m even at a place where I can say that I’m thankful for it.

Of course, it’s not easy making new friends only to leave them behind, or adjusting to new cultures and ways of life. I have stood in way more DMV lines than any human should, it’s true.

But I’d be a different, lesser person had I not met those people I’ve had to leave behind. I wouldn’t have had a chance to open my eyes to variety and perspective and possibilities had I never experienced those cultures. And as far as the DMV goes, at least I get more do-overs on that dreaded driver’s license picture than the average person.

Experiences like mine run a colorful spectrum of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the abundantly blessed.

That may sound crazy to some of you, maybe scary or overwhelming or stupid even.

I’ve thought those things myself at times, when I’m lonely or not getting the hang of a new city’s highways or missing an old routine. Part of me wishes for a white picket fence with my name on a cute little mailbox covered in morning glory vines.

I’m not ruling it out. God may just plant us in Big Sky country.

But if He doesn’t, or if we mess up or if stuff happens or whatever…?

Well, this is how I cope with the unknown…

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who we are or where we live or how many times we’ve moved or how long we’ve lived on the same street – if you’re a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, your citizenship lies elsewhere anyway. Home equals Heaven, nothing less.

There, I’ll have eternity to spend time with those friends I’ve had to part from here.

There, I’ll be knocking on the doors of those I never met face-to-face here.

There, I’ll have permanent citizenship, no need for a driver’s license.

There, I won’t be lonely, ever.

There, nothing will be missing.

There, I’ll never have to wonder again if I’m home.

Knowing the certainty of “there” makes the uncertainty of “here” less something to be feared and more of an adventure to be explored.

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends! Thanks for sharing part of your day with me!

(photos by