Wednesday, June 29, 2011

POV Wednesday – Figure of Speech

Recently, I fell in love with the comedy Parks and Recreation. Its dry wit and sarcasm crack me up.

The characters amuse me. One of them is played by 80s heartthrob, Rob Lowe. He’s the boss at the little city government office, a health nut, and a positive person. Many of his lines emphasize the phrase “Quite literally…” often when it’s uncalled for (which is all the time, if you ask me). But that’s what makes it funny. At work, in love, about himself, his character has a literal view of the world. That’s just his personality.

We all know people like that, right?

Although I am all for analogy and symbolism (love it, actually), I think that I am one of those ‘literal’ people too.

I know people in general have a sliding scale of what to take literally or figuratively in the Holy Bible. From completely literal, to completely figurative, and everywhere in between, people are all over the place as to whether they believe the Word is actual/factual to poetic/symbolic.

While I treasure the artistic nature of the figurative perspective of the Bible, I believe in the literal interpretation whole-heartedly.

For example, I believe the world really was created in six days.

I believe there was an actual flood covering the entire earth.

I believe Daniel's three friends were really thrown into a fiery furnace and lived to tell about it.

Even though I believe in these literal events recorded in the Bible, I find sometimes when reading the more lyrical passages, like the Psalms, I skim over specific words as ‘figures of speech’ (a.k.a. figurative). In so doing, I miss the literal implications. This came to mind one morning when I was reading the following Psalm:

Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise Him, all you people of the earth. For He loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!” (Ps. 117)

Short and sweet, constructed with language I’ve heard all my life.

What if, however, I read it with a different perspective? What if I read it as if I read if for the first time, taking each word literally?

In that case, the word ‘unfailing’ should take on a whole new meaning, shouldn’t it?

The phrase ‘endures forever’ should blow my mind, shouldn’t it?

These are not just figures of speech. When God says that His love is “unfailing,” He means it literally. When He says that His faithfulness “endures forever,” He means it quite literally!!

How then shall I live? No wonder my Perfect Lover implores me to ‘rejoice’ so often in His word. There’s so much cause to!

(photo by

Monday, June 27, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

When you hear the name ‘Andy Griffith,’ doubtless you think of the ‘60s TV show bearing his name, representing the good ‘ole days of Americana innocence. Or maybe Matlock. Right?

Well, one day I ventured into a 1957 Elia Kazan film (he also directed good ones like On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire) because the late greats Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau star in it. But the film, A Face in the Crowd, also stars Andy Griffith… in an amazing departure from his Mayberry days.

Patricia Neal plays Marica Jeffries, a radio show talent scout. At the beginning of the film, she takes a microphone into an Arkansas jail looking for a diamond in the rough. She finds Griffith’s character, Larry ‘Lonesome’ Rhodes, a gritty, crass, loud drunkard with a hefty personality and a set of pipes. He becomes an overnight radio sensation. As his handler/agent, Marcia has her hands full shaping a former nobody into an international star and reining in his wild side. She has a harder time not falling in love with him.

This movie spotlights the destructive nature fame has on the unprepared and immature. It’s not really an original story or even an original take on a common theme. What makes this film worth watching is Andy Griffith’s rowdy, raw, and memorable performance.

Other interesting facts about Andy – he majored in music at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, he won a Grammy for a southern gospel album he recorded in 1997, he starred in one of my favorite movies, Waitress, alongside Keri Russell, and he just celebrated his 85th birthday! He’ll always be a cool dude in my opinion!

(photo by

Friday, June 24, 2011

While surfing You Tube yesterday, I found this mellow, poignant song. A good perspective song, and good for tuning up my weekend. Hope you enjoy as well! Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

POV Wednesday - Around the Bend

This past Sunday, my Daniel and I felt like getting out of town and taking a little hike.

But… it was raining. Dark clouds shrouded the mountains we can usually see on the horizon on a sunny day.

Does this deter Dan and Lori from embarking on another adventure?

Of course not.

We figured if it was raining at our destination, then we’d have the pleasure of taking a scenic drive, maybe explore a little via Pearl (our vehicle).

The trip takes about an hour. The closer we got, the darker the clouds got. We couldn’t see the mountains at all though their several-thousand-feet expanses sat mere miles away.

Our goal of taking a hike seemed less and less likely, so we opted for driving as far as the road would let us.

You see, the road turns into Beartooth Pass, a long and windy, not to mention scenic, path to Yellowstone National Park. But it’s usually closed because of snow. When we went to Yellowstone only a couple weeks ago, the Beartooth way was still closed. June. Still closed.

Since we moved here in September, the road has been closed. We have traveled it several times before and stopped at the large yellow gate crossing the road, dreaming of the time we could continue on down it, wondering what lie around the next bend.

As we got started, a sign told us the Pass was open as far as the MT/WY border. Fine. We’d go that far then.

The terrain looked vastly different than when we’d been there in winter – so green! And Rock Creek sprinted alongside with snowmelt waters. Beautiful.

We reached the point we’d never passed, and the gate was open! We drove on, anticipating what lie ahead.

Funny thing. It was nothing like we’d imagined it.

The incline started climbing right away, hairpin switchbacks that took us high in a short amount of time. Soon, the peaks that had a minute ago towered over us sat eye level across wide, deep valleys. Narrow edges between road and cliff began to disappear under banks of old, dirty snow. The rain clouds from below swarmed us, hiding the peaks and the valleys. We could only see the road in front of our car.

Then, we drove around a bend, leaving the familiar side of the mountain.

White out. I mean, I couldn’t tell the difference between the banks of snow lining the road and the pure white sky. Every once in a while, a buried street sign would peek over the top of the snow, allowing us reference to the depths surrounding us. The road was a complete snow tunnel now, at one point looming nearly two stories high. The curl at the top even had long icicles dangling from it.

At times as we drove, the sun snuck through a ray or two, highlighting the mountains and valleys, casting shadows on the snow, giving us an expanded view of our breathtaking surroundings.

Oh, and the sign earlier telling us the road closed at the border was wrong. The road was open, and we had the pleasure to follow it several miles past what we expected.

Now, I hate snow. Well, the cold, and that’s required for snow. I’d much rather be sizzling somewhere on a sun-bleached, desert rock. However, this experience ranks way up there with all-time best. What a unique treat! Absolutely gorgeous.

It all got me thinking.

Sometimes what we’re looking for sits behind the rain curtain. You’ve got to go through it before you get there. Looking at the cloud and assuming it’s raining everywhere could keep you from going for it at all. But if you move around a little, change your perspective, you find that, like going behind a roaring waterfall, you can venture to the other side of the stormy weather and find sunshine.

Sometimes, the goal you think you’re reaching for alludes you, but going for it anyway puts you in just the right place where God gives you the experience He had waiting for you.

Sometimes the greatest blessings occur in the midst of the one thing you despise the most. Giving thanks in all things allows us to open our eyes to the beauty and majesty around us even if it isn’t the blessing we’d been searching for to begin with.

We don’t get to see around the bend. Sometimes, God permits us only to see what’s right in front of us, tunneling us so to speak. We get to see the beauty around the corner as we continue to trust and press forward.

Sometimes we encounter a sign that warns us that the road leading to our goal is closed. Let not these sign foster doubt! Press on, go as far as you can, and find out that you can go father than you ever hoped.

I could go on and on, but I think the point is clear. God is able to accomplish in and for us infinitely more than we might ask or imagine. (Eph. 3:20) And there’s a reason to give thanks!

(photos by yours truly!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

In his thirty-plus year career, Cary Grant made more than seventy films!

Even I, as a classic film lover, would be hard pressed to name a dozen of them off the top of my head. The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, An Affair to Remember, North by Northwest… but he made many films that flew under the radar as well, many that are worth noticing.

One that I particularly enjoy is called The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. It also stars Myrna Loy (whom I love in The Thin Man series with William Powell), and a precocious teenaged Shirley Temple. Grant plays Richard Nugent, an artist known for getting into trouble, unintentionally of course. Myrna is Judge Margaret Turner, the over-protective guardian of her sister, Susan, played by Temple.

They’re all thrown together when Nugent gives an art lecture at Susan’s school. Susan immediately falls in love with him. An opportunistic teenager, she twists the conversation he tolerates with her and shows up to his apartment to sit as a model for him to paint. Judge/sister panics when she can’t find her and issues an all-out manhunt. Finding Susan in Nugent’s apartment, which surprises Nugent more so than anyone else, the Judge gets ready to throw the book at him. But Susan’s adolescent agenda is obvious enough. To help her get over the infatuation, the Judge ropes Nugent into posing as Susan’s suitor long enough for her obsession to cool. The other hand in the pot, though, namely Margaret and Susan’s uncle, has alternative motives. He’s been looking for a suitor of Margaret for years and thinks Richard fits the bill.

Cary Grant’s comedic talent shines in the light of this fluffy story. The situations they get into are silly, but entertaining nonetheless. And the romance that emerges is delightful.

Sure, there’s a reason The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer isn’t one of the more memorable films Grant starred in, but it’s worth a watch. A dose of good humor is always worth it.

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground Friends!

(photo by

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekend Tune Up - Word to the Father

Here's a retro jam session for you to get you amped up for the weekend and dancing around for some plain old fun.

Happy Father's Day!
And to those missing their daddies for any reason, or daddies missing their children, I pray the Heavenly Father will wrap His love around you in tangible ways this weekend and give you peace the passes all understanding.
Love you, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

POV Wednesday – Fathers and Daughters

Many movies I like feature strong father/daughter relationships. I’m drawn to those stories, I think, because from my point of view, I am blessed with a strong relationship with my dad, who I think is the greatest. Although I probably could have tolerated a few siblings, I enjoy being his one and only baby girl. I wish we lived close enough that I could hug his neck on Father’s Day this Sunday. This cyber-hug will have to suffice.

In honor of great dads everywhere, here’s my top five list of favorite father/daughter flicks!

#5 – What a Girl Wants – A tween comedy starring Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth about a New York City girl who finds out her father is English royalty and hops a plane to search him out. Their awkward meeting and falling in love with each other offers lots of sweet moments and laughs.

#4 – Hairspray – This musical recently redone featuring an updated, star-studded cast is not primarily about the relationship between Tracy and her quirky father played by equally quirky and wonderful Christopher Walken. However, the story advances at key points because he lovingly intervenes on his daughter’s behalf and empowers her to reach for lofty dreams.

#3 – Despicable Me – Steve Carell voices the main animated character, Gru, a ‘bad guy’ who’s not such a ‘bad guy.’ In his line of work, professional villainy, he’s prepared to do anything to get ahead of the other bad guys, including adopting three adorable little girls to use to gain access to his arch-rival’s fortress. Barely tolerating them at first, Gru comes to love the girls, learning much about life in the process.

#2 – Pride & Prejudice – I read this Jane Austen book every year or so because it’s one of my favorites. Though many versions have been attempted on film, my favorite is the Keira Knightley edition from 2005. Whoever acts it, the fact remains that Mr. Bennett has a special calling in life to be father to five daughters, especially in his 18th Century time period. He excels in his fatherly duties, however, because he knows his daughters and their differences, thus treating them as their disposition requires. His relationship with Lizzy is special because he recognizes her intelligence and does not penalize her for it. His actions and decisions make a happy life possible, and eventually a reality, for her.

#1 – To Kill a Mockingbird – Also a great book, by Harper Lee, the 1962 movie treats the story with great respect and excellence. The late great Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the South a few decades shy of civil liberation. He has a unique daughter in Scout, a scruffy tomboy who also is smart as a whip. I love the scenes he explains things to her and answers her questions, with so much patience and wisdom. He instructs, disciplines and loves gently, consistently, purposefully, bravely – not only with words, but through bold actions and example. And in so doing, he changes Scout’s life for the better forever. No wonder Atticus Finch is rated AFI’s #1 hero of all time.

How fitting that a good father receive such a title.

Happy Father’s Day, Dry Ground friends! Hug their necks, say ‘thank you,’ and appreciate all dads today!

(photos by

Monday, June 13, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

I’ve mentioned before Judy Holliday – a talented comedienne from the classic era of film. Her performance as Billie in Born Yesterday proves one of the most Oscar-winning worthy in the Academy’s history. It’s one of my favorites.

But any of Ms. Holliday’s few films (she died young of breast cancer) are a delight to watch. Her last from 1960 is today’s pick.

Bells are Ringing is a forerunner to the modern romantic comedy. This one wouldn’t have won any awards, although it was nominated for its music, but it’s so fun to watch, it’s a winner nonetheless.

Judy plays an operator for Susanswerphone, the first of its kind phone answering service. She’s a little over eager in her job, giving a little more help to her clients than is necessary – introducing Mrs. So-and-so who has a female Siamese cat to Mr. So-and-so who has a male Siamese cat, recommending a remedy for an opera singer’s hoarse throat, and encouraging a down-and-out writer that a success is right around the corner. But her friendly intrusion into the clients’ lives causes her two problems. First, she falls in love with the writer who only knows her as ‘mom,’ and she comes under mistaken investigation for running a much more solicitous business.

I love this movie because #1 – Judy Holliday is awesome (as I’ve mentioned), #2 – Dean Martin plays the writer and he’s awesome too, #3 – it’s FUNNY, #4 – it is an inspiration to WRITERS!, #5 – the romance is sweet.

This film uplifts and entertains, leaves you with a smile. For a good time, call on Susanswerphone in Bells are Ringing!

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

This week's song selection is intended to encourage, uplift, and strengthen your FAITH. What better tune-up can you give yourself? Yes, it's lengthy, but just click it on and let it add a little bounce to whatever you're doing (brushing teeth, filing reports, fixing dinner).

You won't be sorry!
Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!

Lyrics to "He's An On Time God"
Verse 1 -
You can ask the children of Israel,
trapped at the Red Sea
by that mean old Pharaoh and his army.
They had water all around them,
and Pharaoh on their track,
from out of nowhere, God stepped in
and cut a highway just like that.
Verse 2 -
You can ask the five thousand hungry souls He fed,
on the banks of the river
with two fish and five loaves of bread.
What a miracle, He performed for the multitude,
oh, what He did way back then,
He'll do today for me and you.
Chorus -
He's an on time God, yes, He is.
Oh, on time God, yes, He is.
(Job said) He may not come when you want Him,
but He'll be there right on time;
I tell ya, He's an on time God, yes, He is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

POV Wednesday – Old Faithful

My Daniel and I (still) live in Billings, MT (for the time being). Yellowstone National Park sits only a couple hours away. Since moving is probably in our near future (please, God), we decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit.

Everything about our 36-hour adventure was perfect, except for some pretty nasty hotel waffles for breakfast. But those are but a fading blip on the radar compared to all the beautiful nature-stuff we saw. Yellowstone is truly all it’s touted to be.

Old Faithful’s a must when visiting Yellowstone, right? Though the famed geyser is almost at the furthest point in the Park away from our residence, we took the trek.

It delivered a majestic display that I’ll never forget. But seeing Old Faithful was not the highlight of the visit. Not by a long shot, actually.

The whole area (I believe most of the Park) sits on what amounts to a volcano. It’s been years (thousands to millions, depending on who’s talking) since any eruption that we’d characterize as a volcano, but the hot springs and geysers, like Old Faithful, are the evidence that rivers of molten magma bubble close beneath the surface.

So, in addition to Old Faithful, countless other geysers and springs sizzle with scalding water, puff billowy white steam into the air, and create colorful yet stinky (because of the sulpher) craters in the earth’s surface. When visiting Old Faithful, you can walk along a series of boardwalks snaking across hundreds of acres to get a closer look at each unique, beautiful crater. Some of them burp up bubbles of gas through muddy holes, some look like refreshing pools but churn with clear boiling water, and others actually shoot streams of water several feet into the air.

Of course, when we first arrived at the Old Faithful grounds, we looked to see when Old Faithful itself was going to blow next. I mean, that’s the attraction, right? Our timing proved perfect, we only had about an hour to wait. We walked around a bit, but claimed front row seats on one of the benches circumnavigating the crater in plenty of time. Steam spews from the vent constantly, but intermediate spits of water built anticipation for the eruption of one of America’s best-known natural landmarks. Hundreds of people gathered, filling the benches, pointing cameras. Eventually, and with no preamble, a towering stream of water lifted out of the crater to touch the cloudless sky. The slight breeze spread the mist into a wall of white. It was truly amazing.

When it was over a few minutes later, I must admit that while thankful that I’d witnessed this natural marvel, I felt like I’d just checked something off the bucket list. Okay. So we’ve seen Old Faithful. That was cool. *shrug*

We took time to walk around the boardwalk then, taking pictures of all the other interesting pockets of hot springs. We’d been most of the way around when several other tourists started hurrying toward a common point on the boardwalk. We heard one of them say, “There’s water in the beehive!” Not understanding the excitement, we meandered in the same direction without much expectation. A Park Ranger stood close by to a small crowd. We asked her some questions about the area, talked for a little bit. After we thanked her and were about to head down the boardwalk, she said, “You aren’t leaving, are you? The Beehive’s going to erupt in about fifteen minutes, and you don’t want to miss it.”

Well, since she’d been so nice, we thought it’d be rude to walk off. So we took our place with the growing crowd to wait for the Beehive, whatever that was.

A short fountain of water, about three feet, spouted from the ground right next to a mound of earth about the same height, sort of squarish, that had steam puffing out. From our perspective, only twenty or so feet away, nothing amazing was happening or even seemed to be getting ready to happen.

For fifteen minutes, we waited, watching the unchanging scene.

The cloudless sky allowed the sun to beat down on us, the wind had a little chill in it raising goose bumps on my warm skin. After seeing Old Faithful, the main event, I wasn’t sure what could warrant the growing crowd, the long fifteen-minute wait, ignoring the growling starting up in my stomach.

The mound of earth burped a couple streams of water to tease us, but then kept puffing away steam. It seemed like the fifteen minutes had come and gone a couple times.

Then, again without warning, water rocketed from the mound, like a fire hydrant on steroids, straight into the sky. The water shot out form the vent for a good five minutes. The plume of white steam blotted out the sun it was so large. After a minute, cooled water droplets rained down – right on top of us, drenching us to the bone! That continued the duration of the eruption. The constant power of the geyser amazed me, and it indeed sounded like a waking swarm of bees racing from their hive.

In decreasing intervals, the water lessened then stopped, returning to a puffing vent of steam.

I felt like I’d been on a roller coaster. To be immersed in the experience of an erupting geyser is exhilarating, a rush unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, an endorphin high causing long-lasting smiles.

One of my first thoughts – ten times better than Old Faithful! How was this Beehive geyser not the main attraction? How would a clueless tourist like me even know it was there? Come to find out, it only erupts every ten hours to five days! Unlike Old Faithful, it’s unpredictable. Our experiencing it was a miraculous case of ‘right time, right place.’ What a gift!

My Daniel and I always learn something on our adventures. God speaks to us through our experiences, especially in nature. Well, immediately following the Beehive thrill ride, my Daniel pinpointed it perfectly.

Patience is a difficult thing to come by. Gaining it only occurs through testing. And often times when we’re waiting for something important (like a job!), panic will set in and the temptation not to wait on the Lord will bite. Bad decisions, depression, complaining, hopelessness, doubt result.

Even though God is as ‘old faithful’ as you can get, His blessings are sometimes unpredictable. But if we practice patience, wait for the Lord’s leading, even if it looks like nothing is happening or even going to happen, without warning, the exact right thing will happen. And most likely, it will be the gift of a lifetime.

"So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32

(pictures are Lori originals!!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

For today's pick, please click HERE to go to and read my review of a movie now in theatres that you probably haven't heard about called The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. It's a clever, witty, unconventional but revealing look at... well, go ahead and click on the link above.

One thing I neglected to mention in the review... a HUGE thank you to director, Morgan Spurlock, for my new running socks. Because he did this movie, because he got the sponsors he got, and because my Daniel was in the right spot at the right time, we won an Old Navy gift card which in turn supplied, among other things, my new running socks. They fit perfectly. So, thank you, Morgan.

Alright, off you go, to Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekend Tune Up

This song by Thousand Foot Krutch is on my workout playlist (the cool down section). I've always liked it, but part of the second verse popped out from the rest of the lyrics this week, and therefore I was inspired to share the whole song.

The line that stuck out for me... "So take my broken glass and help me make a window, so I can see Your face after all that I have been through..."

Hope you enjoy AND have a restful weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

POV Wednesday – What Doesn’t Kill You…

The theatres are full this summer of comic book movies, each featuring a legendary super hero fighting against the odds to accomplish some big deal or another. Many of them have been around for decades, and the technology we possess now in film making bring them to life with such pizzazz they will be sure to intrigue audiences for decades to come.

Special effects in the movies really make the super heroes’ super powers awesome. Spiderman flying through the skyscraper alleys on his web, Wolverine’s healing ability and very real-looking spikes popping out between his knuckles, Iron Man’s life-sustaining arc reactor embedded in his chest…

It got me thinking.

All of these super heroes with super powers endured great pain in order to receive these powers, and in some cases maintain a level of pain to keep those powers. And often, those powers, while causing pain, also are the source of life.

The super villains also have super powers, again which they obtained through some sort of painful experience – A Spiderman nemesis, Doc Ock, got zapped and his experiment went awry; Victor Von Doom, arch enemy of the Fantastic Four, went through the same cosmic, cell-altering space cloud as they did; and Batman’s foe, Harvey Dent/Two-Face, fell into a leaking vat of acid.

How then, did the heroes become heroes and the villains become villains if they both experienced pain?

It’s the part of perspective I wrote about last week – choice.

The villains allowed the root of bitterness to grow in their hearts in response to pain. The heroes opted to apply the strength they received from the painful experience for good.

All of us experience pain. Toxic situations. Hardships. Faith-building circumstances that make the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” more than a cliché.

In a sense, the “stronger” part is like obtaining a super power.

Question is, do you use it to become a hero or a villain?

(photos by