Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

Here's a great song that say much more beautifully what I meant about "scale." Also, it's heartfelt and poignant after such a tough week for so many people across this country. Praying for those in tornado-ravished places and for the Wilkerson family. Hope that wherever you are or whatever you're experiencing, this song brings you peace!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to Nichole Nordeman's "Small Enough"

And/or read the lyrics here:

Oh great God
Be small enough
To hear me now
There were times when I was crying
From the dark of Daniel's den
I had asked you once or twice
If you would part the sea again
Tonight I do not need a
Fiery pillar in the sky
Just want to know you're gonna
Hold me if I start to cry

Oh great God
Be small enough to hear me now
Oh great God
Be close enough to feel you now
(Oh great god be close to me)
There have been moments when I could not face
Goliath on my own
And how could I forget we marched
Around our share of Jerichos
But I will not be setting out
A fleece for you tonight
Just wanna know that everything will be alright
Oh great god be close enough to feel me now

All praise and all the honor be
To the god of ancient mysteries
Whose every sign and wonder
Turn the pages of our history
But tonight my heart is heavy
And I cannot keep from whispering this prayer
Are you there?

And I know you could leave writing
On the wall that's just for me
Or send wisdom while I'm sleeping
Like in Solomon's sweet dreams
But I don't need the strength of Sampson
Or a chariot in the end
Just wanna know that you still know how many
Hairs are on my head
Oh great God (Are you small enough)
Be small enough to hear
Me now

(photo by

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

POV Wednesdays - Scale

Bless the English language, the word “scale” means a lot of different things.

As a verb, it means “to climb.” As a noun – a weighing apparatus, the overlapping plates that cover the outside of fish, or a set of musical notes on a staff.

But it also applies to the idea of perspective because “scale” measures and compares for us the size of… well, anything we want it to.

With that in mind, I share with you that I was flipping through the channels one night and caught a few minutes of a show on the ScyFy network, one I’d heard had quite the following but had never seen, Firefly. I watched it for a few minutes, recognizing the character from the movie Serenity that I had seen (and liked, fyi). For being a little cheesier than I expected, the television version entertained well enough.

Anyway, one of the scenes I caught featured River, the young lady whose mind is so brilliant she comes across a little… unsocial, and Shepherd, the religious character who totes and quotes the Bible as well as acts as sort of a guide/father-figure to the rest of the crew. Shepherd finds River tearing out pages of his Bible and marking notes in the margins. When he inquires what she’s doing, she says that she is “fixing” his Bible because it doesn’t make sense.

Okay, not a surprise that Hollywood makes this accusation. And Shepherd’s response only half satisfies.

But that’s not my point here. One of River’s conclusions was that there is a problem with Noah’s Ark, claiming that no boat is big enough to hold 500+ species of mammals.

I had to think about that for a second.

And then…

I thought about scale.

Rarely do humans think on the same scale as God does. In fact, I’d go as far as to say never. Never are we even able to think at His level. He is so BIG, that in comparison, what we know – even if we’re the smartest person in the galaxy – is miniscule.

A boat that fits on our known waterways, even the Pacific Ocean, may not be able to hold as many animals as Noah’s Ark claims to have held; but what about a boat built on a larger scale, one built for a larger waterway – a.k.a. the flooding of the entire world.

Just because we can’t picture it doesn’t make it false.

Besides challenging me to think on a larger scale, this perspective leads me to consider that #1 – although I don’t understand completely everything going on in this world, I can trust that God is in control because He operates on the grander scale, and #2 – the fact that this grander-scale God would lower Himself to tinier-scale me to care about the intimate details of my life… well, it fills my heart with gratitude.

What’s your perspective?

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Monday, April 25, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Who in history has written better stories than William Shakespeare? His genius has lasted numerous generations, influenced fellow writers through the ages, and shown up in every artistic medium through the present day – including the silver screen, of course.

Though countless films have been made from Shakespeare’s plays, including adaptations and modern translations, few come across with the clarity needed for actual comprehension, especially for those not particularly fond of the Queen’s English. Worse than subtitles, needing an interpreter or Shakespearian dictionary to “get it” isn’t the best way to watch a movie.

I’ve found one film, though, of a Shakespeare play in the original language that makes sense as is, and that is my pick for this week’s Movies You Might Have Missed Monday.

Much Ado About Nothing hit the theatres in 1993, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who sports a resume packed so full he can be considered nothing less than a master in all things Shakespeare. That’s obvious as he puts forth this star-studded and witty production.

The actors claim most of the credit for making this film work for a wider audience. Besides Kenneth Branagh taking a role, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton (the absolute best), Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Beckinsale and other recognizable faces give brilliant performances that with every eyebrow arc and smile convey the meaning behind the words. All the doublets and quips and poetic lines backed with feeling, verbal intonation, and physical context unlock the door to understanding the story, and therefore enjoying it.

Full of humor, romance, deceit, heroes, villains, tragedy and triumph, Much Ado About Nothing starts out with soldiers coming home from war. They stop off at the villa of an old friend whose daughter is the object of one of the soldier’s affections. During the days they wait before the wedding, the heroes distract themselves with stealthy match-making while the villains plot to destroy the happiness of their adversaries by wrecking the romance of the two betrothed, resulting in assumptions, misunderstandings, false accusations, and hard lessons learned. The only deviation from the normal Shakespearian story is that this one (I have to spill the beans) does not end up in tragedy.

This film is most likely an out-of-the-box experiment for many of you. And I’ll be honest, you’ll know in the first five minutes whether you can get through the whole movie or not. In fact, if you make it through the credits, you will be fine because that’s the most in sane that it gets (promise). I remember watching it the first time with my mom, and after watching the beginning credits, looking at each other and saying, “Well… yes... that was much ado about nothing.”

But don’t let the title fool you. There’s depth here, a great story, lots of fun, and lots of drama too.

Feeling adventurous? Try Much Ado About Nothing. You might find something you really like.

Happy movie watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Weekend Tune Up

Today is Good Friday, when we acknowledge and celebrate the beginning of THE defining moment in the world's history, in the lives of us all, whether we know it or not. The Son of God was sacrificed for our wrong-doings, giving up His very life so that we, through depending on and trusting in Him, can have the opportunity to live forever.
So, in honor of that, and as a way to tune our hearts toward Him as we celebrate Easter and His victory over Death itself, I share with you the following song - Avalon's "The Glory". The lyrics follow, then a link to listen (it wouldn't let me embed this one). Take a few moments to listen, reflect, give thanks and honor the Savior of our souls.

In the solitary moment of His birth
On this barren dusty land
All of heaven kissed the face of the earth
With a miracle of love
God became a man
But He was sent away to draw His final breath
When He was only thirty-three
And in the shame of dying a criminal's death
He cleansed an angry world
And in His suffering I see

The glory of the blood
The beauty of the body
That was broken for our forgiveness
The glory of His perfect love
Is the heart of the story
The glory of the blood

Now I have tried to find salvation on my own
In a search for something real
But there's a guilty heart inside this flesh and bone
Fall upon His grace
And I begin to feel

repeat chorus

And when I close my eyes I can see Him hanging there
Oh the precious wounded Lamb of God
All the majesty in this world cannot compare to the glory
The beauty of the body
That was broken for our forgiveness

repeat chorus

But He was sent away to draw His final breath
When He was only thirty-three

Happy Easter, Dry Ground friends! Rejoice!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

POV Wednesdays – A Simple Equation

Do you ever wonder what God’s will is for your life?

I do. A lot. For some reason, I’ve always seen it as a place to go, a goal to accomplish, a circumstance to happen, even a gift to receive (some day).

Well, I was reading First Thessalonians (5:18), and something new popped out at me about God’s will. (You'd think I'd never read it before!)

Here’s the verse: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

And here’s what I thought – whittled down to a simple equation (even though math isn’t my favorite)…

Give Thanks To The Lord = God’s Will Be Done

In other words, whenever you’re contemplating such universal truths as what is God’s will for your life, simply give thanks to Him, and by doing so, His will indeed has been accomplished.

What do you think?

(photo by

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Tomorrow, one of my favorite movies in recent years arrives on DVD/Blu Ray, and be sure I’ll be first in line to pick it up and watch it again. That movie is 2010’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The King’s Speech.

The story follows the yet to be king, George VI, the current Queen Elizabeth’s father, and his desperate attempts to find a cure for his stuttering problem. In a last ditch effort, he visits a man by the name of Lionel Logue, who claims to specialize in speech defects. Though tumultuous, a friendship arises between unlikely teacher and pupil making a significant mark on history itself.

Historical movies are difficult to sell, unless they be of war or scandal or some other sort of plight over humanity. Tougher yet, historical biographies run the risk of boring a mixed-interest crowd with mundane details, even assuming that the proverbial “they” wouldn’t make a movie about someone uninteresting. But this storytelling is so engaging, the writing so exact, and the acting even more so, it leads any audience through a perfect journey of intellect, humor, emotion and triumph.

Let me just tell you about the acting here. Yes, Colin Firth (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Mama Mia!, and my personal favorite What a Girl Wants) delivers a stellar performance, worthy of his Golden Globe and Academy Award wins. His portrayal of the reluctant monarch is believable, heartbreaking, captivating. But he shines because Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean, Shakespeare in Love, Shine) is such an amazing support. Offering comedic relief in awkward situations, Mr. Rush adds depth and heart to his character and to the movie as a whole that wouldn’t be there without him. I call him the Subtle Genius. And then Helena Bonham Carter, who we usually see in wackier roles such as Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts, even walks with Elizabeth’s (the current queen’s mother) signature gait.

In past years, award time has made me wary, though I’ve applauded heartily at the past two years’ Best Picture winners (The Hurt Locker – 2009, Slumdog Millionaire – 2008). I don’t like the higher-ups telling me what I should like or appreciate. So I go into nominated and celebrated films with a skeptical eye, each having much to prove for me to agree with its accolades. Now I can also applaud 2010’s top film, The King’s Speech, which goes far beyond my expectations, outdoes the nice things critics said about it, and resonates with me, a movie nerd, as one of the best movies I’ve seen.

So, if you’re looking for a smart, adult, impressive film to see, The King’s Speech is that film. (Again, releasing on DVD/Blu Ray tomorrow!)

(It is rated R, but only because of one rather humorous scene involving adult language. It’s a MPAA technicality, actually. Otherwise, this film could easily be rated PG.)

Happy movie watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

These beautiful, bright yellow flowers made me smile!

Hope this rockin’ song encourages you and tunes you up for your weekend!

Kutless – All Alone

Icy chills round your heart, a heart that’s made of stone

It seems like life is out to get you, to destroy what you want

I know that, that you blame me for all that you go through

It could be so different if you would just let it go

You’re all alone, running out of ways to

Hold on to hope and it always slips away

You’re all alone but you don’t have to

Pretend to cope, there is a bright way

If you would change your perspective you’d see that it is true

Life is not always what you want, sometimes it’s hard to bear

I’d be with you and help you in all that you go through

I love you, let Me change your heart by coming in

You’re all alone, running out of ways to

Hold on to hope and it always slips away

You’re all alone but you don’t have to

Pretend to cope, there is a bright way

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

POV Wednesday – Element K

This morning, I launched out of bed in excruciating pain – leg cramp.

Woke me from a deep sleep. The alarm (a series of soothing, not-so-alarming music) had played more than half way through, meaning thirty minutes past the time it started.

Not the best way to start the middle day of a stressful week. Late. In pain. Startled and flustered.

I was tempted to let that set the tone for the whole day.

But then I considered a different point of view.

I’ve been trying to get a few more things done in the mornings before going to work. Start the day out productively, shake the desire to grab every second of sleep possible that only results in me hurrying around, skipping key points of my routine, trying to get to work on time.

Needless to say, mornings are not my strong suit.

On this particular morning, the leg cramp got me out of bed in time to accomplish the productive route instead of give in to the temptation to follow the wish-I-was-still-sleeping, frenzied route.

Sometimes, pain wakes us up. Sometimes, it spurs us to accomplish our goals, to put forth an effort we otherwise wouldn’t have attempted. Sometimes, pain in exactly the cattle prod we need.

Sometimes, pain is… good. And it’s okay to be thankful for it.

This morning, I was thankful for the pain. And that changed the course of my whole day.

Still, I think I’ll beef up on the potassium so that doesn’t happen again. Eat a banana or something.

Today, I encourage you, count your blessings, even if they come in painful packages.

For kicks, press play. And have a good day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

…or as I’d like to call it today, This Movie You Don’t Want to Miss Monday!

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Soul Surfer for some time now, and Friday I got that chance as it hit theatres.

Based on a true story, it chronicles Bethany Hamilton, a promising competitive surfer who lost one of her arms in a shark attack, and shows her amazing journey of acceptance, adjustment, heartache and triumph. Without being cheesy or preachy, this film sets a high bar for the faith-based genre. It spotlights the impact point of rubber meeting road, asking the hard questions of actual situations, inspiring audiences to walk in someone else’s shoes on a path most of us would never dream of treading. And it puts in perspective the circumstances in our own lives, showing us what counting your blessings really means.

AnnaSophia Robb, you might remember her as a little girl in Bridge to Terabithia or Race to Witch Mountain, gives a credible performance as Bethany in her teens. Other faces you’ll recognize are Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt and Craig T. Nelson who lend experience and professional weight to a well-written, well-made movie.

To be honest, much of this movie caused tears to well up in my eyes. Bethany’s testimony humbled me, at the same time challenging me. She and her family unashamedly glorify God in a tragic set of circumstances that would bring so-called stronger, even more “spiritual” people to their knees. Her story defines victory because the people in it choose to look at life through the eyes of Jesus, to trust Him in all things, and even to thank Him for all things. This is as real as life and faith get. And we can all learn from it.

Set aside a few dollars and a little bit of time to support Soul Surfer in theatres, for their sake, but also for yours. You won’t be sorry.

(photo by

Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

For me, this is a bottom line kind of song. Listen or read the lyrics or both. Wherever you find yourself this fine Friday, I hope this brings a measure of peace.
Happy Weekending, Dry Ground Friends!

Oh, for a heart that does not ache
For a backbone that won't break
For some steady feet or sturdy ground
A road that isn't gonna let me turn around and run
For a thousand tongues to sing

To wear wisdom like Solomon's robe
For the patience and perspective of a man like Job
Just to soar on wings of eagles
For no other reason than the bird's eye view
For a flight or two
And the list gets longer
Who I wish I was, and was no longer

I never could be good enough
To measure up
But You want to take me as I come
You're the only one that can
Take me as I am

Oh, to feel hope in hopeless times
Never mind the silver lining 'cause the clouds are fine
To breathe prayers that move the heavens
Or save hundreds from the flames
To know my place, to know my name
But the gap grows wider
Betwen who I am and all I aspire to be


At the end of myself, at the end of the day
I can find little else but the courage to say
I need You
That's all
I need You

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

POV Wednesdays - Greener Grass

“The Lord…He makes me lie down in green pastures…” Psalm 23:2

The pursuit of happiness, written into the very Constitution of our United States, defines the quest of many Americans. We’ve been reared to seek out the best of the best, whatever that looks like in our individual psyches. Companions, jobs, houses, cars, clothes, reputations... the list is endless.

It’s the search for greener… the greenest… grass.

When the absolute greenest grass is idolized, though, seeking it fosters a discontent spirit. We can waste an entire lifetime in pursuit.

Then again, sometimes the grass is greener in a different field and there’s nothing entirely wrong with going there.

What I need to remember is that the pastures my Perfect Lover leads me to are the best available – found in that quiet and peaceful place of communion with Him. In that place, He tells me where to go, guides each step, leads and fills me with contentment (Is. 30:21). And those green pastures should be the object of my quest – my true and eternal pursuit of happiness.

(photo by

Monday, April 4, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Greetings, Dry Ground friends! I missed you! Though, I must say, I had a great time on vacation, resting and refueling.

I’m up and at ‘em, though, this Monday morning with another favorite film pick that you might not have taken the time to see yet – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from 1958.

As you know, film icon Elizabeth Taylor passed away recently, leaving the world minus one more classic Hollywood actor. I must admit, I have seen very few of her films, although I can’t explain why. I don’t have anything against her, of course, I just haven’t gotten around to seeing too many of them. The ones I have seen, though, are evidence enough to understand why she was considered so great in her industry.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was my favorite, but not only because of Elizabeth. The whole cast makes this worth watching. It’s set in New Orleans, and the whole family is gathering for Big Daddy’s birthday. Played by Burl Ives, Big Daddy is the gruff patriarch of the prestigious Pollitt family. Elizabeth plays his daughter-in-law, Maggie, who is married to treasured but troubled son, Brick, played by Paul Newman. An alcoholic, he laments the glory days of high school football, despises his father’s unrealized expectations for him, and suspects his wife of infidelity because of an incident years beforehand involving his now dead best friend. To say he’s not the life of the party is an understatement, but he threatens to be the death of it as he butts heads with his father.

Yes, there’s lots of drama in this story, but also a bit of comic relief as well as opportunity to think, ponder, and consider a different perspective especially when it comes to family relationships.

I like this movie for its performances, its colorful dialogue, and its gritty look at family dynamics.

Though Elizabeth was nominated for her role as Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, to really see what she could do as an actress, watching her Oscar winning performances is a must. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a difficult movie to watch (IMO), but Taylor’s performance is truly amazing. I haven’t seen the other one, Butterfield 8, but on April 10th (this Sunday), TCM is paying tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, and all three of these movies are on tap if you want to check them out.

It’s good to be back. Hope you all are well. Be blessed today!

(photos by