Friday, September 28, 2012

Not a New Beginning

It’s no secret that my Daniel and I have moved around quite a bit – at least more than the average couple. Some of that has been by our own choice, and much of it not. Either way, it’s a fact.
Sometimes, we’ve needed the change of venue as critically as we need to breathe, because situations have been so hurtful and/or toxic. When, by the grace of God, change did come, we sighed in relief and rejoiced in another new beginning.
Turning over a new leaf, having the opportunity to wipe the slate clean, getting a redo or restart – it’s all good and comforting and even necessary… sometimes.
But this time – as we load the truck to head from a short stay in Florida to what we hope is a ‘career’ job in Richmond, VA – I don’t want to look at it as a ‘new beginning.’
Here’s why –
Ever play a board game that uses a little plastic marker to represent you and with a roll of a set of dice, you move forward toward the goal – the finish line? Winning. Along the way, though, are spaces that help you out or throw in a roadblock or two. Sometimes you get to advance extra spaces, sometimes you’re sent back a few. But I’ve played games that have the most disheartening of all commands – return to start. Go all the way back to the beginning and start again.
Technically speaking, that’s a ‘new beginning’ right? But in that context, who wants it?
So I’m not looking at this move as a ‘new beginning.’ Not this time. Instead, I prefer to see it as a continuation in a journey that started long ago. We’ve come a long way and experienced life-altering events and relationships that have torn down and built up our character, strengthened our faith, taught us what is truly important, what’s worth living and dying for. I wouldn’t trade all of that for a ‘new beginning’ or redo. God isn’t wiping out what He’s already done in us to start over. He builds upon the foundation already laid throughout the years – from good and bad times. He doesn’t have to get rid of the old or bad or used because He has the power and desire to transform and redeem that which already has been and is. That’s what salvation is. That’s the process of sanctification. That’s what we look forward to in Heaven on a New Earth and in new bodies.
So as long as we define new in the transforming sense not in the start over way – you could call this a new beginning.
But I’m just going to call it wonderful.
See you in Virginia, Dry Ground friends! During moving/unpacking week, I’ll feature some highlights from our time in Florida. Hope you’ll stop by.
(photos by

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is It Getting Hot in Here?

Though I suspect I will be saying the above phrase more and more often as I am rapidly approaching what could be defined as older, I can assure you that this particular post is not about hot flashes.
It’s a complaint aimed at my air conditioning. Because of the particular temperature needs of my sweet Fluffy-Faced Ninja Chinchilla, Fiona, I was adamant before moving into this apartment that the air conditioning worked. Oh yes they said of course it works. Well, technically, that is a true statement. However, I don’t think the sultry Florida summer days are the only reason my thermostat consistently reads 76 degrees every afternoon. 
Imagine my surprise, then, when after three days of little cooling effect going on, the other extreme registers on the thermostat – a cool 67. At first, it perplexed me. What will it do next and will it remain, even if by a hair’s breath, within the ‘safe’ zone for my chinny?
It occurred to me that perhaps the thermostat, which is designed to represent the Truth of temperature was faulty or at least off the mark. When I set it for 70, I expect 70, not 76 and especially not 67. How do I know just by my feeling hot or cold if the air is actually 70 but the thermostat is just reading 67? I am relying on the thermostat to tell me the truth. But even if the thermostat is not working, the actual temperature is a constant. Just because the thermostat says it is 67 doesn’t mean it actually is unless the thermostat is working properly, in other words calibrated to the truth.
Spiritually, we are all thermostats. The actual temperature is the Truth. If we are calibrated to the Truth, we will accurately represent it. It’s not based on what we or anyone else feels for we all run hot or cold. It is based on the facts of God’s Word.
Have you taken your temperature lately? Are you calibrated to the Truth?
Hope you are having a wonderful week, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!
(photo by

Monday, September 24, 2012

PB&J (The Property Brothers & Jesus)

 Have you ever watched the HGTV program The Property Brothers? My Daniel and I catch most episodes, mainly interested in the designs and transformations they accomplish. Quite creative, innovative and visionary.
The shows have a sort of pattern. They go like this…
Person or persons desiring ‘dream home’ ready to move in with all the modern amenities and upgrades – we hear the wish list. Drew Scott, the realtor brother of the twin set, shows them the perfect house, which the people fall in love with, but oh no – the price is at least twice their budget. Angry, the people express shock and disappointment that Drew would elevate their hopes with perfection just to dash them in such cruel fashion. Drew assures them his purpose was to give them a reality check, bring them back down to earth, and consider an option that will get them the dream home they want within their budget – a fixer-upper. The people reluctantly agree to give it a shot. They see several run down, absolutely nasty properties Drew believes could be ideal, and the people sigh in despair – I just can’t see it.
Enter Jonathan, the contractor/designer/carpenter of the set, who mocks up renovation designs for the top two house choices. Every time, the people exclaim – Wow! Is that even the same space? It looks amazing! Is it within our budget? This all by looking at a computer representation of what could be. The brothers assure the people that yes, indeed, it’s all possible. The people choose one of the two options. The renovations start.
It’s hard work. They inevitably run into budget-threatening problems. The people persistently doubt Jonathan’s ability. Some even say out loud – I don’t think you can do this. To which I yell at the T.V. – of course he can! He’s the professional! How many times has he done this? And how many times have you? You think you know better than him? Geesh!! Jonathan just continues to ask for trust. The people roll their eyes and plow on since they have no other choice.
In the end, the ‘dream home’ is completed on schedule, on or under budget, and in a way that always has the people proclaiming through their tears – Oh, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined.
After several episodes, I start to wonder if their reactions, doubts and joys, are scripted. Probably, right? I still watch it b/c the different designs interest me and well, let’s face it, the brothers are really cute. And funny. So it’s entertaining enough.
But it got me thinking. The process is familiar b/c in life, I feel like I do the same thing as each person/persons appearing on this show.
Check it out...
Life is like a renovation. We’d like to have the move-in ready, dreamy life, but we can’t afford that because of the cost of sin (that would be ‘death’). So God has made a way for us to have life, but we have to go through the fixer-upper process to get what we want. We might wrinkle our noses or roll our eyes or sigh dramatically, but God assures us that if we commit to the renovation, He can perfect our life over time and under budget – meaning, we don’t have to pay the price of death b/c He’s already done it.
He takes us on a tour first, showing us everything we don’t want to see – the nastiness and filth of our sin. We gag and complain, but He says – Don’t worry! I can transform all of this into beauty! We can’t see it – it looks too dirty, run down, impossible to improve. As we read God’s Word, though, we can see His vision for our lives. It’s amazing! Gorgeous! Incredible! Can He really do that? Can He really transform such an awful looking life into something awesome and acceptable and desirable? He says – YES! If you trust Me to see you through the renovation.
We commit.
First, demolition. Knocking down walls, tearing out unwanted features, uncovering hidden issues that compromise structural soundness or safety. It’s tough going, stressful, a challenge to the faith you’ve put in the Renovator. Worries set in, discouragement, and out right doubt. You find yourself, in weariness and fear, ranting at God – Do you really know what You’re doing??
We forget – He’s been around a while. He’s done this before. He’s the Master. He even knows a thing or two about carpentry.
After demolition, only a gutted space and a firm foundation remain. Ever feel like that? Gutted? Empty? And too tired to conjure up the slightest image of what you and God were aiming for in the first place? But God is concerned about bringing us up to code, making sure our structure is safe and secure and ready to be built upon. Usually, we’re only interested in cosmetics, right?
However, an empty space is also a clean slate. And if the Property Brothers can do wonders with a clean slate, don’t you think God can do infinitely and amazingly MORE?
Our problem is impatience. Life renovations take a lifetime. And though we’ll see improvements and upgrades along the way, the finished product lies beyond time. But imagine, no matter how life on earth ends for you (and it will end, mind you, unless Jesus comes back first), opening your eyes and seeing, like going through the front door and seeing for the first time your perfectly renovated home, Heaven. Two things, other than physically giving Jesus a grateful embrace for His sacrifice, we can look forward to. #1 – New – a.k.a. renovated – bodies. #2 – a dream home tailored perfectly to you. I’m pretty sure we’ll have the same reaction every featured couple on Property Brothers does when they see the finished product – Oh my, it’s more than I could ever have imagined.
So when I get down or discouraged, I think of the Property Brothers and Jesus. If I keep the faith, the results will be overwhelmingly amazing.
Have a wonderful week, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Truth About Shadows

 On life’s journey, we don’t always have the best angle to see things as they really are. Hard times, confusing times, and painful times blur our vision to the point that all we see is shadows.

Shadows hold a reputation of being most at home in scary worlds. For example, Hitchcock brilliantly uses shadows to amp up intensity, mystery and anxiety. We tend to fear shadows because of their uncertainty and lack of clarity. As children, the shadow of tree branches outside our bedroom window dancing on the walls somehow conjured up visions of monsters in the closet. Peter Pan was even afraid of his own shadow.
Looking at the pictures of these shadows illustrates, though, why shadow and fear should not coincide.
The shadow that we see rarely resembles the object it represents. Depending on how we look at it, the shadow changes, sometimes for a clearer picture but often for a more obtuse image. 
Our perspective changes as we adjust to the angle of the light source casting the shadow. This brings up the revelation that light is required in order to have a shadow in the first place.
Also, the shadow has no substance. It isn’t real, in the sense that you can touch or hold it. A shadow is a phenomenon of light, really, and therefore nothing to fear.
The Bible talks about shadows. One well-known spot is in Psalm 23 – “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” Why? Because God is with us. As the Light, God’s presence turns death’s reality into a mere shadow.
God also refers to shadows in a positive context. Numerous places, He tells us to hide or take shelter in the shadow of His wings and His hand.  So shadows are actually a good thing – like on a hot day when shade offers a cool reprieve. A refuge. A covering.
My point here, as it came to mind while taking the walk and observing the shadows in these pictures, is that if there are shadows in your life that are tempting you to fear (or doubt), consider:
#1 – God never leaves you or forsakes you. The Light is there. Otherwise, the shadows couldn’t be there.
#2 – The shadows are not real in the sense that they can harm you.
#3 – The shadows may or may not accurately represent reality. Adjusting your angle to the Light, gaining God’s perspective, clears up the image.
#4 – We’re not going to know everything from our standpoint here on earth. As we grow, we’ll be able to identify things like the stop sign merely by its shape, but not always see every detail like the words identifying #7 as the ‘children at play’ sign. With this in mind, remember Who does see it all and defer to His expertise – His Word which is Truth. That’s called faith.
#5 – And think on one more thing. Shadows have been used to tell time throughout history. How does that work? Not because of the integrity of the sundial. If it’s cloudy outside, it’s just another slab of stone. It is the constancy of the sun that casts the shadow by which we tell time.  You can depend on that constancy without questioning or fearing the shadows.
Hope you’ve had a great week, Dry Ground friends. Happy Weekending!
(photos by

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Whole Picture

Monday, September 17, 2012


For my thoughts this week, we start out with a test... or game. I'm posting ten pictures. You'll notice they are all shadows, and I will tell you that they are of common items I saw walking through a neighborhood. But it's up to you to identify the actual item.











Any guesses? Some are more obvious than others, and some may surprise you. I'll share the 'answers' on Wednesday. Hope your week starts out with tons of smiles and blessings! Take care, Dry Ground Friends!
(photos by yours truly!) 

Friday, September 14, 2012


One of the bright spots of my week included watching Snow White and the Huntsman on BluRay. I love the story, the amazing effects, and it's no secret I'm a Chris Hemsworth fan. In it, the Kingdom has been taken over by the evil step-mother. Of the many consequences of evil enthroned, one that has quite the visual impact is that Nature too has retreated. Plants ceased to grow. Flowers refused to bloom. Animals hid out in fear. The sun shone less bright. Darkness manifested and infected, leaving little hope. Of course, Snow White turns out to be the hope the Kingdom needed, and through a series of battles and other strenuous events (including death and resurrection, come to think of it), all is set right.
Got me thinking.
This past week we commemorated a particularly dark moment in our recent history. To compound matters, evil-doers added more dark deeds to the record and seemingly are not done. Though political unrest abounds worldwide, our own country's campaigning for this year's election also flows on the undercurrent of unrest if not out right nastiness. I also heard news of earthquakes and erupting volcanoes, which follows a summer of drought, floods, and fires.
If what we see was all we had to go on, hope would be fleeting indeed.
But the 'fairest of them all' does exist in the person of Christ Jesus. And because of who He is and what He's done, His purity - holiness - has and will save those who have faith that He is who He says He is.
By far, I am no expert on end time theology. I understand it for the most part, but can't explain it very well. I do know that the darkness we are seeing in the world is directly related to it. (For information from someone who knows what they're talking about and can be trusted, CLICK HERE.)
I also know that our Redemption is on His way. This time, He will come as warrior prince, claiming His bride, vanquishing evil and redeeming Nature itself with life everlasting.
Because of that, I am hopeful, vigilant, and adamant. Life is not meant to be chaotic, random, purposeless or imaginary. God has a plan for His Kingdom and for you.
Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends. Be blessed!
(photos by

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


 Found out that TobyMac’s recently released album is the first Christian album to go to Billboard’s #1 in 15 years. Cool, huh? I’ve always enjoyed his music, usually while running on the treadmill or dancing around my apartment when no one is looking.
Here’s one of my faves of the new songs – “Speak Life” from Eye On It…

Proverbs 18:21 – The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Hope you’ll remember when speaking to your family, your co-workers, the cashier at WalMart, fellow drivers… even yourself. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

God's Green Thumb

I said last Friday that I like to take pictures of flowers, like the ones I include throughout this post.
Who doesn’t like flowers? Their beauty and variety never cease to amaze me whether in nature while I’m taking a hike or in a store observing the artistic arrangements of talented, creative people. I’d venture to say that most people can appreciate the beauty of a bloom and marvel at its splendor.
But how many of us stop to consider the struggle of growth that had to occur before a bloom was produced? A seed is buried, dies, sprouts, and grows by millimeters before reaching the point of budding and producing a flower or a piece of fruit. It takes TIME and during every second something happens that is crucial to development, even if we can’t see it happening or see the results.
Many places in the Bible compare our spiritual growth to plant growth. In fact, the two follow the same ‘growth’ principles. And just like I love flowers while hardly ever thinking about the process it took to make said flower, I long for, beat myself up about and search for flowers in my spiritual walk without often considering the process of producing spiritual fruit.
What I’m trying to say is – everyone wants flowers, few want the process it takes to get the flowers.
I know when we’re talking natural gardens, I am NO green thumb. I don’t know if it is ignorance, impatience or neglect that have caused all my growing attempts to fail, but I just can’t seem to tend a plant properly – at least not to get to the stage of flowering.
Ignorance, impatience and neglect can get us derailed in our spiritual journeys as well. When we don’t see results right away, we can get frustrated and give up or let up – either way impeding the necessary tending it takes to get to the flowering stage. Often times, we even raise our fist at God for not producing the desired result in our lives.
I’m rereading a devotional right now called The Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford. The second chapter is about time. I wish I could just copy the whole chapter right here. But one of the first, starkly honest statements he makes is – God is not in a hurry. Not only that, but since our spiritual growth follows the same principles as natural growth, we can be assured that the process of producing spiritual flowers will take TIME. Furthermore, there are no shortcuts. Burial, death, sprouting, development all must take place FIRST. We can’t skip that part. Doing so would prevent the flower.
God has so much more in mind for us than we expect for ourselves. Our perspective is affected by so many temporary and distracting things that encourage us to give up when we don’t see anything happening. I’ve even been witness to a few churches that promote (willingly or not) this world view. The trick is doing what God has asked us to do on a daily basis and allowing Him the reins for results. He knows what He is doing. Just look at the magnificence of the flowers in these pictures. THIS is His intended result for you. Allow Him every necessary step to produce it. You won’t be sorry.
Have a beautiful week, Dry Ground friends. Be blessed!
(photos by yours truly!)

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Sea to See

I've always enjoyed photography. With the right inspiration, usually something in God's amazing creation, I've been known to take some decent shots. Not b/c I'm a good photographer, but b/c of the details God points out to me in nature. I have way too many pictures of tiny little flowers in random beds of gravel or cracks in sandy boulders. I also like turtles, clouds, insects, birds, paths and rainbows - none of which are super easy to get a good picture.
For a while, my camera lay dormant. I mean, years. It wasn't as if wonderful things to take photos of were in short supply... but I wasn't seeing. I wasn't stopping to smell - or capture in time through the art of photography - the roses, in a manner of speaking.
How we feel can determine our perspective. That's too bad b/c I know I miss out on wonderful things God has for me b/c I'm too into how I feel instead of the facts of reality. The solution? Oh, I don't have one. Maybe you do? What I do know is that God has been tugging me out of the darker places lately and helping me see. It doesn't hurt that I've had the opportunity to go to some gorgeous FL beaches in the past few weeks and literally soak up His majesty through one of my favorite places in Creation. That has inspired me to get the camera back out. I thought I'd share a few with you, my Dry Ground friends!
Happy Weekending! I hope you are able to 'see' the majesty all around you, which will inspire creativity, hope, joy and praise!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dry Ground

When I started Dry Ground, I was at a place in life where it seemed the flood waters were rolling back for my Daniel and I to walk through to promises on dry ground. Like the Israelites crossing the Jordan River on dry ground after years in the wilderness, finally entering into the land God had promised them.
That kind of dry ground is a good thing. When flood waters rise, as they have once again in my old Louisiana stomping grounds, the smallest morsel of dry ground to stand on is a life saver.
But during drought conditions, such as the US plain states have endured this summer, dry ground is in too grand of supply, and that single droplet of water becomes more precious than gold or diamonds.
That’s the kind of dry ground I’ve been feeling in life lately, and the reason for avoiding contact with my blog – and writing in general, truthfully. Besides personal circumstances and challenges, I’ve also been bewildered by current events. When I am bewildered, I am much more likely to clam up then speak out thanks to my inherent introvert nature. It’s not that I don’t have thoughts, feelings and opinions on the Aurora Colorado theatre shooting, Chick-fil-a Day, Hurricane Isaac, the RNC or DNC, or the sudden death of actor Michael Clarke Duncan, I just lost the drive to express it all. I’m all pruney – wrinkled up and parched for water to give me life, perspective, and hope.
I think another thing that keeps me quiet is the assumption that no one else ever feels that way – all dried up and fruitless.
Good thing Jesus describes Himself as ‘living water’ then, huh?
That’s where I’m at. Just wanted you to know. Hope that as we enter ‘harvest’ season, that you are indeed at a fruitful point in your life. If it is winter, I encourage you to do what I need to do more, spend time in the Son.
Love you, Dry Ground Friends. *hugs*