Monday, May 30, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday – Memorial Day Edition

War movies are a genre all their own as each major war in history has been recorded in some dramatic form on film. So many of them, no matter your view on global conflicts, are worth watching for their historical significance as well as the honor shown toward the military, especially the US Military.

Today, I’ve got two such picks for you, one from an earlier age, and one more recent, both (I’m happy to say) Oscar winners for Best Picture.

The first is a movie made in 1970 highlighting World War II. Patton stars gravel-voiced powerhouse George C. Scott in the lead role, General George S. Patton, Jr. Remember from the clips of best movies ever, the man dressed in full military garb standing in front of a ginormous American flag delivering a motivational speech? That’s the one.

Although I am interested in history, it is not the historical aspects of this movie that attract me. It’s Scott’s amazing performance, the way he delivers the zingers that characterized the controversial general. He commands the screen. He’s mesmerizing, funny, harsh, inspirational.

Patton is a long movie, and it is a war movie involving battles and strategy and other war movie characteristics that often times bore people, but it is worth watching for Scott’s performance. Ironically, though he won Best Actor Oscar for it that year, he refused to accept it, claiming he did not deserve even the nomination.

Patton is not only about American history, it is a part of American history.

The other war movie I’d suggest this Memorial Day showing a perspective on a more recent conflict is The Hurt Locker, While Patton is an epic biopic, The Hurt Locker narrows the microscope and examines the life of one solider in the Iraq conflict whose job is to diffuse bombs. Jeremy Renner gives a raw, convincing performance as this soldier, William James, worthy of his Oscar nomination. The story follows Sgt. 1st Class James through a number of anxiety-ridden, bomb-diffusing moments, at the same time scratching back the tough-guy exterior to reveal the fleshy, vulnerable man underneath. That is not to say that solider James is weak under the mask, not at all. What he is comes as a surprise.

Though one bomb-diffusing scene after another may sound suspiciously repetitive and therefore slow, I’m happy to report that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Each moment captures undivided attention and erases time, kicks up the heartbeat and produces sweat beads on the forehead.

One notable success this movie claims is having the very first female Oscar-winning Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow.

Both of these movies, in my opinion, give a favorable and honorable portrayal of US Military personnel. And that’s why I suggest them today, Memorial Day, the day we set aside to say thank you to all of those hard-working, sacrificing, selfless, incredible men and woman risking their lives to ensure our incredibly free way of life.

THANK YOU to all you vets and active military personnel I have been blessed to know.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

{FYIPatton is rated PG, but does include more than a handful of language and probably would have been rated PG-13 under the current rating system. The Hurt Locker is rated R for LOTS of language and several disturbing images.}

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

Love this Mercy Me song. The message is a tune up for my soul. Hope you enjoy.

"They say don't waste your time
You simply cannot find an ounce of good within the heart of man
They say we've got to lay in the bed we've made
and live this life without a second chance but
I'm inclined to say there must be something more.

We've been told that the heart is just too far gone to save
but grace tells us another story
Where glory sends hopelessness away
Oh, grace tells us another story.

They say we cannot change there is no other way
Get used to it 'cause this is all there is
They say don't raise your voice, we don't have a choice
We're dealt this hand so learn to live with it
Well, I have to believe there must be something more.

And though we may not understand why
You'd give us another chance
We praise You who lets us start again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

POV Wednesday - The Factors

Perspective equals the sum of a number of different components.






Influences – a.k.a. the people you hang with.

The one factor often forgotten, however, is Choice.

Despite all the things I listed first, perspective can be determined solely on Choice.

After unfortunate events, back-stabbings, betrayals, hurtful words, butting heads, agreeing to disagree, impasses, wrong-doings, lies, and every other ugly thing you can think of that could possibly happen to you, the Choice is still yours to forgive, forget, see the silver lining, believe in Hope. It’s still your Choice to keep bad thoughts to yourself, treat people with grace instead of vengeance, to behave as if you really believe that God is able to work all things for your good.

Your Choice.

It’s called, living by faith not by sight.

(photo by

Monday, May 23, 2011

Movies You May Have Missed Monday

A couple summers ago, a sweet little movie with some heavy hitters released in theatres to great critical acclaim. But I enjoyed it, this week’s pick, because, surprisingly, I found myself identifying with the main character.

For those of you who know me, you may find it strange that I identified with Julia Child, featured in the film, Julie & Julia, since she’s one of the best-known and celebrated cooks in history. And I just don’t cook. Ever.

However, other aspects of her life are included in this movie that, if accurate, cause me to feel quite the kinship with her.

She was tall – 6’2. I’m 6’1.

Her husband was a little shorter than her. I’ve got my Daniel beat by a noticeable smidge.

She moved around a lot due to her husband’s job. I have too.

She lamented the fact that she never had children. Sadly, I, too, have not yet been blessed with motherhood.

Though educated and smart, she got to a point in her life where she wanted to know what she should do. Fairly late in years, she picked cooking. I’ve done this or that as need required throughout our journey, but writing has always been that thing I felt I should do.

Her dream of publication was thwarted for many, many years. Mine has been a multiple-year process that is still far from being realized.

But those are just little personal reasons I enjoyed this movie. It’s more than a simple biopic of Julia. The story, as it says in the beginning credits, is based on two true stories. In 2002, Julie Powell, in a search for her own thing to do, started a blog that chronicled her quest to go through 524 of Julia Child’s recipes in one year. The film parallels this quest with tidbits from Julia Child’s life around the time she wrote her first cookbook. The blend is masterfully staged, so both stories stand valiantly alone but work in harmony together as well. It’s heartwarming, funny, and offers yet another amazing performance by superstar actress, Meryl Streep.

It’s a success story, one that seems obtainable and possible despite setbacks and roadblocks, one that fosters hope. In the end, Julie & Julia just makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile too.

Happy movie-watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Tune Up - Anniversary!

Happy 16th Wedding Anniversary to my absolute BEST FRIEND and LOVE!!!

There are hundreds of songs I could dedicate to my Daniel today, but this just fits us. And it's from our marrying era (early 90s!), a great memory.
I love you, Daniel!

Have a great weekend, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

POV Wednesday – What Happened… from my POV

Sometimes two perspectives clash to the point of drawing a line in the sand, throwing a glove across the face, walking twenty paces, taking shots, and letting the chips fall where they may.

It’s sad when a situation comes to this. To think that things are so bad, heads are so strong, that a compromise cannot be obtained is disappointing.

But everyone, no matter how kind or selfless, at one point or another, encounters a standoff where parties disagree, and no one is budging.

So what do you do?

Agree to disagree?

Unfortunately, to agree to disagree does not always prevent consequences or fallout. And when you care very much for something, it is difficult to surrender to those consequences.

Though working at ZooMontana has had its unique and fun advantages for which I am eternally grateful, problems came to light early, after only a few months on the job. The problems had been around for years before we arrived, but the ramifications of these problems were just now blooming. We found ourselves right in the middle.

After working hard to offer new solutions to these old problems, the old problems won out. In the process, my family and I have been hurt, worn out, taken advantage of, and even pegged as the problem.

I’m really trying not to have a pity party here, so forgive me for being vague. I don’t want to vilify anyone. I believe God is my defense and that the Truth will be made evident through facts and consequences, already coming to pass.

I’m faced with additional challenges, side effects to the main malady. I hate to see the zoo fall victim to the consequences we fought so hard against. I hate to feel like the bad guy. I hate lies and being lied about. I hate to be left without employment. I hate disliking or being angry with anyone.

My saving grace is God’s grace. Faith. Forgiveness. Trusting the ultimately trustworthy One. Knowing that I’m not the only one to experience this kind of thing. Remembering that Jesus endured much, much more than I have or ever will have to. And when all is said and done, I’m gonna be okay.

I heard a sermon once about the story of Jesus calming the wind and waves when He and the disciples were out on the stormy sea. The pastor paraphrased Jesus’ words “Oh, ye of little faith” with this: YOU ARE NOT PERISHING. The wind is gusting, the waves are rolling, but we’re in the boat with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One whom the wind and waves obey, and we’re not perishing.

This week, this whole experience, perhaps has been another gust of wind, another wave, but it’s not a fatal blow. Far, far from it.

Well, I’ll keep you updated on the Adventures of Dan and Lori! We’re sure to be packing up soon.

Your prayers and encouragement are appreciated!

Thanks, Dry Ground friends!

(photos by

Monday, May 16, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Mondays

Since this Friday is my Daniel’s and my 16th wedding anniversary, I thought I’d pick one of my favorite romantic movies, a lesser-known gem from 1985 called Ladyhawke.

It features an all-star cast including Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, John Wood and Alfred Molina in a medieval, magical world of love, deception, sacrifice, and survival.

Broderick plays Phillipe, a pickpocket who converses audibly with God on a regular basis. When we meet him, he’s escaping from the dungeons of Aquila and making deals with his Maker that if he’s successful, he’ll be a changed man. He does make it, but only after being pursued by the imperial guard and rescued by a beautiful hawk and a mysterious man riding a black horse.

Phillipe, in gratitude and to get as far away from the prison as he can, travels with his rescuer, Captain Navarre, formerly of the imperial guard. Soon, however, Phillipe finds out that the Captain is on a quest back to Aquila to kill the ruling priest, Imperius. Eventually, Phillipe discovers the reason for this revenge – Imperius wanted Navarre’s love, Isabeau, for himself and so cast a curse on them rendering Navarre a man by day but a wolf by night, and Isabeau a hawk by day and a woman by night. Forever together, eternally apart.

Navarre has lost hope that there’s any remedy for their situation and so has determined to kill the one responsible. Phillipe’s arrival and curious meddling revive the promise that a solution, though risky, is possible.

I love this movie because it’s clever and mysterious, a good story for telling around a campfire or at bedtime. It’s got knights and knaves, romance and heartbreak, determination and despair. The writing is particularly entertaining because of the witty remarks, mostly from Phillipe’s lips, that keep us smiling. It offers us a few sword fights, some nail biting pursuits, and groundbreaking (for 1985) special effects that transport the viewer into its fantastical world. The ending is one of my favorite story endings of all time, and even after watching it dozens of times still brings tears to my eyes and a thrill to my heart.

I also like this movie because it whispers of spiritual principles and the quest my Perfect Lover went on to release me from bondage. Explaining it now will give away too much of the story, which is more effective when watching it first hand. But if you watch it, you’ll know what I mean!

One thing – I don’t know if you’ll notice this or not – but the background music is hysterical because it’s so out of sync with the genre of the movie. I mention this so that you are prepared, and might not hold it against this wonderfully romantic and adventurous movie!

Happy movie-watching, Dry Ground friend!

(photo by

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

I'm a gal of many tastes when it comes to music. I don't know, do people still listen to Elvis Presley? Well, I do when the mood strikes me. And I especially like his southern gospel! Despite what you may think of this genre of music, the words are apt for anyone - encouraging and inspiring. Hope it helps tune up your weekend!

CLICK HERE to listen to this uplifting classic. And/or read lyrics:

When trouble is in my way

I can't tell my night from day

I'm tossed from side to side

Like a ship on a raging tide

I don't worry, I don't fret

God has never failed me yet

Troubles comin' from time to time

But that's all right, I'm not the worrying kind.

Because I, I've got confidence,

God is gonna see me through

No matter what the case may be

I know He's gonna fix it for me.

Job was so sick so long

Till the flesh fell from his bones

His wife, his cattle and children,

Everything that he had was gone

But Job he didn't despair

He knew that God still cared

Sleepless days and sleepless nights

Job said, honey, that's all right

'Cause I've got confidence

God is gonna see me through

No matter what the case may be

I know He's gonna fix it for me

Some folks wonder how I smile

Even though I'm going through trial

How can I have a song

When everything is going wrong

I don't worry and I don't fret

God has never failed me yet

Trouble's coming from time to time

That's all right, I'm not the worrying kind

'Cause I've got confidence...

Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

POV Wednesday

Today, I post not what my current perspective IS, but what it SHOULD BE. Especially line four. I hope God's word meets you where you are today and is an encouragement. I know it will not come back void.

Isaiah 26

Our city is strong!

We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation.

Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city.

He brings it down to the dust.

The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.

But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough.

You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.

Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

All night long I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek for God.

For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.

Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good.

Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty.

O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist.

Show them your eagerness to defend your people.

Then they will be ashamed.

Let your fire consume your enemies.

Lord, you will grant us peace, all we have accomplished is really from you.

O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship.

Their departed spirits will never return!

You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten.

O Lord, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great.

You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory!

Lord, in distress we searched for you.

We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.

Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, Lord.

We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering.

We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world.

But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again!

Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy!

For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!

Go home, my people, and lock your doors!

Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed.

Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins.

The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed.

They will be brought out for all to see.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Mondays

The written word. It’s a powerful thing.” - Mo (aka Silvertongue)

No secret, I love stories. Not just movies, but books too. Movies because they create tangible images and sounds but books because words have meaning. And if strung together with skill and imagination, words come to life.

In our minds, that is. The words come to life in our hearts and thoughts and imaginations.

The movie I’ve picked for this week is about words in books actually coming to life, so it’s no wonder why I adored this film.

It’s called Inkheart. Based on a children’s book by Cornelia Funke, the movie version released in 2008 and starred Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren, Andy Seris, and Paul Bettany.

Meggie, a young girl, travels all over the world with her father who is an antique book restorer. It’s a perfect job since he’s searching for a certain book. Meggie doesn’t understand their lifestyle, but has no reason to question it until one day she meets a strange character, a man named Dustfinger whom her father obviously fears. Soon after, Meggie finds out that her father is a Silvertongue, meaning that when he reads aloud, the words he reads become reality, come to life. The catch is, however, every time something or someone comes out of a book, someone goes in. Silvertongue found this out by accident when Meggie was a baby, when the characters from the book Inkheart came to life, but Meggie’s mother disappeared.

In the course of looking for the book in order to read out his wife, Silvertongue is confronted by the evil characters from Inkheart who want #1 – all the copies of Inkheart burned so that they never have to go back, and #2 – Silvertongue to read whatever they want out of certain books, such as the treasure from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

I love this movie because it’s about words and their power. I love it because, at one point, the author of Inkheart (played by the awesome Jim Broadbent) meets his characters, and I found myself terribly jealous of him! I love it because it shows the impact books and stories make on our lives.

I love it because it makes me think of John 1:1-5:

“In the beginning the Word already existed.

The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He existed in the beginning with God.

God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

For an original, fun, family-friendly, meaningful adventure, I suggest Inkheart. It’s a party for the creative soul!

(photo by

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

Last weekend, my Daniel and I ODed on movies - saw three! One of them was Madea's Big Happy Family, another addition to Tyler Perry's set of iconic characters from his stage plays led by family matron Madea. I haven't seen all of Perry's movies, but I enjoy Madea's rough and tumble humor, moralizing and over reactions. Besides the laughs, I admire Perry's commitment to identifying real people with real problems and offering Jesus' love and forgiveness as remedy and redemption.

I had the pleasure of shaking Mr. Perry's hand about a month ago and conveying my appreciation for his stories. My Daniel shook his hand too and told him, "Keep preaching the Word." Of course, THAT got his attention, probably because in the setting he wasn't expecting anyone to say such a thing. He smiled, though, and said, "I will."
Years ago when Perry's movies started to hit theatres, I got curious about the stage plays. So I rented one of them, a taping of one of their live performances of What's Done in the Dark. That's where I found this song that I wanted to share with you today.
Mrs. Tamela J. Mann, who is known for playing Cora in the Madea-themed plays/movies, has an AMAZING set of pipes. But what makes this selection awesome is her HEART. She starts out singing a song in the course of a play, but ends up praising the Lord with no reservations and exhorting/encouraging the audience.
So, get ready to have some CHURCH!
PLEASE, take a minute to tune up for your weekend and CLICK HERE (because youtube wouldn't let me embed - sorry) to listen to Mrs. Mann sing "Step Aside" during the stage production of Tyler Perry's What's Done in the Dark.
Happy Weekending! Don't forget to give your mom at least a thousand extra hugs and thanks!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dry Ground – 5-4-11 – POV Wednesdays – Moms

This weekend is Mother’s Day! Have you ordered the flowers, sent the cards, wrapped the gifts? Let this be a friendly reminder.

Growing up allots us the opportunity to see our moms from many different perspectives. She can be a disciplinarian, a playmate, a caretaker, a teacher, a nurse. She can be our biggest fan or our deepest scar. She can be our confident, or the source of public humiliation. She can be super hero or villain.

All of these, of course, depend on our perspectives. Age, temperament, circumstance, disposition, mood. As a teenager, for example, perspective is affected by so many things, we might not have had an accurate one when it came to our parents.

Here’s a thought – when did you first see your mom as a person, one with her own thoughts, fears, hopes, concerns, and feelings? When I did, it changed my perspective. The bones I thought I had to pick from childhood were of smaller importance. Realizing her humanity answered a lot of questions, sparked compassion and inspired forgiveness.

Oh, the power of perspective.

Personally, I like the perspective I have of my mom now that I’m 30-something – equal parts mom and friend. I’m enjoying being co-adults with her, even though I’d enjoy it more if we lived closer to one another! But even though we’re friends, she’s still MOM. And I know I can go to her for anything.

Take a minute this weekend to see things from mom’s perspective. Shower appreciation on her!! Most likely, she is even GREATER than you give her credit for.

(photo by

Monday, May 2, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Mondays

In case you hadn’t heard, Prince William and Kate Middleton got married a few days ago.

Over 22 million people watched this event, just in the United States alone.

I admit, I was one of them… via DVR. I may be crazy, but I’m not so much so that I’d lose sleep over such a thing… on a work night. Staying up until 3am Saturday morning is a totally different situation.

I have a theory on why we’re so drawn to anything royal, most especially a wedding. Here it is – in our DNA is born a longing for an eternal kingdom – God’s Kingdom. What a romance, too, the lengths at which He has gone to give us the opportunity to live in that Kingdom. It even involves a wedding!

So we wedding watchers are not as crazy as it seems. We all have the potential to be princes and princesses.

It’s the same reason we’re attracted to romantic movies - romantic movies about royals. And this week’s pick is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

The Young Victoria hit theatres in the summer of 2009 and stars Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) and Rupert Friend (Pride & Prejudice) as England’s eventual Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It tells the story of their infamous romance, interesting because their road wasn’t easy and required a great deal of tact, strategy, patience and trust. Like playing a game of chess, the two had to take great care to make the right moves in order to end up together in the midst of aggressive political ambitions including several vying for her throne.

In my book, this movie ranks in my all-time, top-ten most romantic movies I’ve ever seen. Instead of being sappy and trite, it is smart and real. Though conservative (let’s face it, we are talking about English royalty), the relationship is not devoid of passion. It’s a testament to true, lasting, selfless love even in the middle of conflict. It also shows Victoria and Albert in equal parts human and royal, making them incredibly relatable.

If you’re experiencing withdrawal from the royal wedding now being behind us, try watching The Young Victoria. It more than satisfies!

(photos by