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Monday, May 20, 2013

Not Just A Piece of Paper


I won’t waste time or space apologizing or making excuses for my absence. It will probably be more of the rule for a while here than an exception. That’s just the way life goes at the moment. Not a bad thing! Simply a change.
But today – the 18th anniversary of marriage to my Daniel – I felt like sharing a few thoughts if y’all will indulge me.
While the institution of marriage has been under constant attack for pretty much forever, one of the more popular disparages is the belief that marriage is just a piece of paper – an expensive legal document binding two individuals, so fragile that another expensive piece of paper can un-bind the two individuals just as easily.
Whether you believe in then necessity of that piece of paper or not (for the record – I DO believe in obtaining that piece of paper), belief systems lead to behavior and if one believes that marriage is just a piece of paper, then any relationship/marriage that one enters into has little hope of being treated any better than a mere piece of paper.
The serious truth is, marriage is much much more than a simple, flimsy, worthless piece of paper.
Marriage is…
A covenant.
A vow.
A promise.
A design.
A higher calling than any other relationship.
Hard work.
A miracle.
A state of doing – not just of being.
An active occupation, not a passive label.
A purpose.
A destiny.
It’s forgiveness…long suffering…patience…responsibility…sacrifice…
Living 1 Cor. 13 every second of every day.
Friendship.
A muscle to strengthen – one that atrophies and dies when ignored.
It’s a messy collaboration – like a dance meshing patterned choreography with ad lib free style creating one fluid motion of two individuals.

It’s all the excitement of mud wrestling – along with all the dirty slime.
It’s playing game after game in the Major Leagues, winning some – losing some, but not quitting because the goal is the World Series.
It’s family vacation – a maddening but memorable adventure that barely escapes attempted murder.
It takes the effort of a gladiator – life and death on the line.
Marriage is selflessness – a monumental task for us humans.
Marriage blends polar opposites – happiness and sadness, highs and lows, the good and the bad, bliss and misery – to accomplish a beautiful, unique, solid, miraculous goal.
It’s the ultimate vulnerability and the ultimate security.
A piece of paper doesn’t hold a candle to a marriage.
All of this and more for eighteen years – by the grace of God – with full-hearted gratitude – for as many years as the Lord will tarry – may the adventures of Dan and Lori go on and on.
Daniel Lundquist, I love you.
(photo by yours truly!)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lasting Lines Friday - Answers!


Answers!

1. Give me a scotch. I’m starving. - Iron Man (2008)
2. For lack of a better option, Dummy is still on fire safety. - Iron Man (2008)
3. Hogan, drive. Cheeseburger first. - Iron Man (2008)
4. I told you I don’t want to join your super secret boy band. - Iron Man 2 (2010)
5. You know what keeps going through my head? Where’s my sandwich? - Iron Man 3 (2013 – a.k.a. TODAY!!!!)

Lasting Lines Friday


Test your movie quote trivia here! Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!

1. Give me a scotch. I’m starving.
2. For lack of a better option, Dummy is still on fire safety.
3. Hogan, drive. Cheeseburger first.
4. I told you I don’t want to join your super secret boy band.
5. You know what keeps going through my head? Where’s my sandwich?

Today begins a summer full of movie-geek eye candy. That’s your only hint.
Answers later tonight.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Cash Register Finger


You know those black levers that are in cash registers to keep the stacks of bills in each row orderly? Well, they’re useful, but they are also kinda annoying. Especially for a box office employee on a busy Friday or Saturday night. Transactions are done at a pretty quick pace. Not only speed, but frequency like when a group of teenagers meet up to go to the movies together, paying separately.
Teen: One for such-n-such movie.
Me: 8.75.
Teen hands over a $20.
Me: Out of 20. $11.25 is your change. Thank you.
Repeat – Repeat – Repeat – etc. etc. etc.
Each time, I hook my index finger around one of those black levers to put the bill in its place, then hook and lift another to get change – again, over and over and over.
Guess what? I have a sore index finger at the end of the night. Sometimes even a bruise!
Here’s the lesson I gain from that – anything you do repeatedly shows.
Whether it is something good or bad, whatever we do as a habit, on a regular basis, over and over – it’s going to show in our bodies, our attitudes, somewhere in our lives.
That goes for sins – hidden or otherwise. So don’t kid yourselves.
But it also means that making of habit of allowing God to reign in your life – guaranteed, it’ll show.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Return of the Weekend Tune Up

Soap box thoughts tumble through my mind. Instead of venting, I'll just share this song. Listening to it, even now, I am centered in His peace. *bigsigh* I hope your weekend is peaceFULL, Dry Ground friends!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Word

Psalm 32 - A Psalm of David
(FYI - after his most notorious fall and suffering some of the awful consequences)

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the Lord."
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.

The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control."

Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, April 22, 2013

To Card or Not to Card, That is the Question


Indeed, the question I face most Friday and/or Saturday nights when I’m working the box office and the new blockbuster movie is rated R. The MPAA, United States Congress and our theatre’s policy all require me to check picture I.D.s because those under 17 years old are not permitted to buy a ticket to a rated R film and/or attend without a parent or guardian present. Also, anyone under 21 years old is not permitted to buy more than one ticket and supposedly only for themselves.
In general, I don’t really like carding people. I’m not a super great judge of age. I carded a 35-year-old guy once who laughed and might have been flattered, and a 40+ year old mom who just rolled her eyes at me.
Sometimes, though, I get a kick out of carding people – the kids who are obviously too young. What’s funnier are their reactions. I’ve had stomped feet – kind of a shucks she caught me kind of mini-tantrum. I’ve had tag-teams huddle a little to the side and each try their luck. One couple told me they “just realized” they were too young to watch the requested movie. I’ve had kids say, “Really?” “Are you serious?” and “Oh, come on!” as I just shrug and smile. Then I’ve had youngsters get angry, expressing ire through a spectrum of degrees from rolling their eyes to cussing me out. Oh, and I did have a guy try to convince me that he was a mature 16.
This past Friday, one of my last customers of the evening trying to purchase a ticket to a rated R movie confidently presented his identification card that clearly stated that he was 16 years old. When I informed him that I would not be selling him a ticket, even though his 17-year-old friend just purchased one, he decided it was his duty to tell me that this is “crap” – except that he didn’t exactly use that word.
It got me thinking.
Famously, our culture has embraced the ‘rules are made to be broken’ mantra – or ignored or changed to fit our personal preferences. We have all made excuses to exempt ourselves from certain rules. It’s our sinful human nature to do so. We switch things around so that we define Truth, rules and even God mostly because we want to do what we want to do. Respect for authority has been turned upside down. In the name of not offended anyone, including ourselves, we’ve thrown absolutes out.
Even as Christians, we get surprised by consequences to breaking rules we know perfectly well are in place for our best interests. How often do we offer up lame excuses to God for His blocking the road we are determined to barrel down? When God interrupts our plans, do we stomp our foot or swear or attempt sweet-talking God into taking our incredible maturity into account before He puts the final decision down on that road block?
The difference here – the place where this analogy stops – is that God’s rules don’t evolve like the guidelines set forth by the MPAA, Congress or company policies. People only use that word to disguise their true intention, to belittle the God of the Universe and to exalt self.
Dangerous business if you ask me.
Not all rules are or have been, historically speaking, good. The bad ones, however, have been man-made. And have you ever noticed how many man-made rules there are? God only set down ten – and every single one for our benefit. And to make it even simpler, He summed those ten up in two – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. Those rules were definitely not made to be broken – but to protect and guide and prosper you. And, to set you free.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!
(photo by photobucket.com)   

Friday, April 19, 2013

Top Notch

It's been a long couple of weeks - lots of hours worked - but lots accomplished too. However, as it seems I've been saying a lot lately, I'm tired! Twelve hours of making a giant paper mache tree stump (among other things) can do that to an old girl like me.
So today I thought I'd share a song from my favorite contestant on this year's American Idol. Although the top five girls are all amazing, Candice Glover makes me tear up almost every time because she's that good. I smile, too, of course. It's a happy combo.
I hope you enjoy. Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Great and Knowable God

In response to Monday's sad event at the Boston Marathon, a young man my Daniel was speaking with said, "Times like this just make you want to pray." True that. But as the conversation continued, he also stated, "I'm not a Christian or anything, but I do believe there's a god."
I thought it so interesting that this person voiced his desire to pray. I believe when senseless tragedies such as the bombings in Boston occur, our DNA kicks in - that built-in desire for help from Someone stronger and more powerful and able than we our tiny selves are. We suddenly feel small, helpless, and a mite bit like sitting ducks.
It saddens me, however, that this person was quick to clarify he did not in any way ascribe to a certain god.
So... who is he planning to pray to then? And... why?
One thing I rarely ponder, but sit back in awe whenever I do, is the fact that God - THE God, the ONLY God  - is indeed knowable. He desires relationship with us and has gone to great lengths to introduce Himself to us in a personal way.
By all means, my friends, listen to your instincts to pray! Especially now. Just be sure you are not praying to the air! There is a God and He sees and hears and He's able to speak and act and answer. If you don't know to Whom you pray, don't fret. Just... ask. Ask God. He promised - seek, and you will find.
Hug some necks today, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Knuckle Ball

One sound in my memory banks from early years is the 60 Minutes television program ticking stop watch noise. Back then, it was a standard. I don't watch it much now because I'm just not a fan of their perspective in general. However, while waiting for Amazing Race to start (it was delayed b/c of the Masters), I caught this story about last year's Cy Young award winner, baseball pitcher R.A. Dickey. Inspiring. I thought so anyway. So today instead of pulling something out of my tired brain *smile* I thought I'd share. CLICK HERE to connect to a good way to start your week! Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Trail Blazing

Pioneers of anything have it pretty tough.

Just watched '42' - the Jackie Robinson story.
It's a good one. High on the compassion and guts meter.
Standing for Truth is hard.
It always has been and it will always will be.
The trick is to learn how to stand for Truth in love.
Well, it's not a trick. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is love.
I hope your weekend is indeed - fruitful!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Monday, April 8, 2013

How My Chinny Mary/Martha’ed Me


Now that I’m working again, my schedule is much more regimented. I mean, I’ve got a certain amount of time in the morning to get my routine done before I have to go to the theatre, like any other normal human being I guess. *smiles*
Well, one of the things on my to-do list is to feed my little ninja chinchilla and clean up her palace a little bit. Obviously, it is important to feed her every day, but sweeping up daily is also important as she can drop 200+ fecal pellets a night! They don’t stink or anything, but of course we don’t want those piling up. Also, she chews non-stop, grinding some of her toys to literal dust.
Now, I’m a task-oriented person both in personality but also because I think in the 80s that was the most popular educational method and I’m a shining product of that. So more often than not, I am, I’ll admit it, more of a Martha than a Mary.
You know the story I’m referring to, right? If not, CLICK HERE. In a nutshell, Jesus visited the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (yes, the guy Jesus brought back to life after he was dead a few days – but this occasion was before all that). Martha felt it much more important to spend Jesus’ visit accomplishing tasks while Mary felt it better to sit at Jesus’ feet – spend time with Him while she could – build a relationship with Him. And Jesus agreed with Mary.
Okay. So one morning last week, I headed into the task of cleaning Fi’s cage. A lot of times she is asleep by this time since she’s been up all night playing, so I can get the place cleaned up without her even waking. But this morning, she popped out as soon as she heard me and poked her cute little nose through the bars, which means ‘pet me’ and/or ‘hold me’. After making sure her food/water was sufficient for the day, I did open the door to scratch behind her ears. She climbed into my hands and laid down on my arm, her way of snuggling. Now by nature, chins aren’t really too snuggly. And with my increased work schedule, I’m missing the prime hours of the day Fiona may get snuggly. Usually by the time I get home, she’s hyper and awake and ready to play – NOT snuggle.
So she’s laying there and I’m looking at the stuff that needs cleaning – not badly but could use a sweep – and I figure with the time I have left I’ll need to split it between snuggling and cleaning.
My chinny had a different plan. When I went to put her back inside her house, she wouldn’t go. She climbed up more of my arm and buried her nose.
Melt my chin-mom heart.
I urged her to go another time, but no.
If I could put words into her mouth, I’d like to think she was saying – mama, forget the cleaning for this morning. I just want to spend time with you while we have a chance.
She just Mary/Martha’ed me.
So we snuggled. And I cleaned the cage later, like the next day I think. No problemo.
Society is so task-oriented, isn’t it? I know tasks need to be accomplished – cleaning, cooking, working, paying bills, mowing the grass, giving the car an oil change – I mean, necessary tasks are endless and indeed necessary. But as I mulled over the little moment I spent with my pet, it dawned on me that those necessary tasks are really just tools for – relationships. And in our task-oriented society, we have all but discarded relationships for the sake of tasks.
Maybe that’s what Jesus was trying to tell Martha that day. It wasn’t that the tasks Martha did weren’t necessary, but her heart focused on those tasks so keenly that she was sacrificing relationship. And in this case, THE most important relationship she’d ever have.
Perhaps this week we can try a different perspective. Yes, do the necessary task, but see them as tools – opportunities to build relationships with each other in the Name of Jesus. It may just be the better way.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!
(photo by yours truly)

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Time to Give Thanks...

Sorry, but we're not doing movie trivia this week. HUGE prayer answered for us this week, so I needed to have 'church' this morning. Hope you'll join me!



Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just win the game!


If you’ve been watching T.V. at all the past two days, you’ve seen the coverage of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware breaking his leg.
Breaking. I don’t know if that word covers it. I mean, I didn’t see it happen, but if network television stops showing the replay because of how gruesome a headlining story is, you know that it must be awful.
Anyway, trumping the horrendous nature of the injury turned out to be this young player’s response to what happened. As reported by his coach, Rick Pitino, Ware’s parting words as they carted him off the court were, “Just win the game. I’m fine. Just win the game.”
And they did.
Twenty-four hours later, Ware already underwent successful surgery and was up hobbling around on crutches. News is, he’ll travel with his team to the Final Four game in Atlanta this weekend.
I’ve seen Facebook posts hailing Ware as their new hero.
Mostly, I agree with all of this – depending on how you define hero. But I’ll let that slide.
It all got me thinking…
As Christians, when we encounter a devastating injury – to our bodies, minds, souls, or hearts – are we as willing as Kevin Ware to see the bigger picture even in the midst of obvious agony?
How dare I make such a comparison, right? I mean, I haven’t experienced it all. I haven’t experienced half of the heartache I know some of my friends endure even as I write. I get that. 
Besides, they’re predicting Kevin Ware to be back next season! His life isn’t over…
Hold up, though. He did not know that when he said those words – just win the game. As far as he knew, he might never play again, or even walk again. Try to imagine the terrible things that must’ve been barreling through his mind. Still, he said what he said, and he meant it.
This is not to negate the gruesomeness of any life event. Whatever it might be – possible career-ending broken leg to lost loved one to keen betrayal or abandonment – the experience itself is absolutely terrible. No question.
Though life is influenced and directed by these terrible events – what would Ware be thinking if his diagnosis had been any different?? -  the goal is still to win the game. Or… in our case… the race as the Apostle Paul described it in Phil. 3 (CLICK HERE to read). The goal is to keep faith until the finish line.
That’s why using the ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ argument is not a good excuse for allowing faith to flag. Where would the Louisville basketball team be if they thought that way? If Ware had thought that way? Well, chances are they wouldn’t be in the Final Four.
If we can laud Kevin Ware for his selfless cheering his team on to victory in light of his horrible circumstances, why can’t we believe in the faith that praises God in every circumstance?
Kevin Ware did not win the game himself, obviously, because he wasn’t able to finish it. But he remains part of the team that pulled together to win largely because of his enthusiasm and insistence that they do so. Likewise, horrible events in our lives may sideline us, but that’s why it’s important to have a team to carry you through to victory. Whether you’re sitting on the bench, on the DL or swishing every shot you take, keep the faith, play as a team, don’t let anything keep you from the win.
Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends! God is great and God is good. Be encouraged!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sermon Link...

I knew they'd post it asap! Here's the link to the sermon I mentioned in yesterday's post - it's called 'Scandal of Grace' CLICK HERE! Happy Tuesday, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sufficient


You’ve heard the phrase, “His grace is sufficient for you.” right?
Depending on your frame of mind, these words can be a comfort or a huge annoyance when you are going through a dark patch.
It comes from 2 Corinthians 12:9 when Paul is talking about his burdening affliction. After asking God to take his ailment away, Paul is faced with God’s answer: My grace is sufficient for you.
The word ‘sufficient,’ though defined as enough to meet the needs of a situation, has somehow come to mean it’ll do as if it isn’t ideal but it gets the job done. A reluctance has tainted our understanding of the word, confusion that leads us to believe we are just getting by with ‘sufficient.’ I believe our worldview influences this watered-down definition because it tells us that ‘enough’ is never enough. Extra is always better. Slush funds, stock piles, and rainy day savings are essential while down-to-the-dime living is a sort of scarlet letter and something to be ashamed of. In other words, sufficiency is shameful.
I think this, in turn, influences our thoughts on grace. Sufficient as it is, and ‘enough’ by definition, we live our lives outside of that sufficiency. We seem to think there has to be more to it than that, or that grace only applies to the holy.
The simple, overwhelming, amazing truth is that His grace IS sufficient. In other translations of the same Biblical passage, it says that God’s grace is all you need. In another, God’s answer to Paul is this: I am all you need.
When it comes to our relationship with God, He is all we need. When it comes to our sinful condition, our selfish nature, our mistakes and failures and regrets – He is all we need. His grace is sufficient.
While ‘sufficient’ is one word that can be used to describe grace, a thesaurus of others follow once we grasp that very sufficiency of grace. Wonderful. Astounding. Incredible. Outstanding. And yes, even amazing.
The Easter sermon I heard this past Saturday night says it better. The pastor at the church we go to in our new Alabama home town has such a clear, concise, wonderful way of speaking Truth in love. I encourage you to listen if you have a few moments. (CLICK HERE) NOTE - This link takes you to the church's media page. The Easter sermon has yet to be posted (as of Monday morning) but I'm hoping it will. Sorry for the delay. But keep checking back if you're interested. Really, really worth it!
So, in the meantime...
Or if you don’t have time to listen to a sermon, perhaps a few moments with this song will also show you what I’m trying to say.




I pray the message of Easter – of Resurrection Sunday – stays with us the whole year through. Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

THE Game Changer


O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
Happy Easter, Dry Ground friends!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

No Greater Love...

Everything. Motivated. By. Love.

Good Friday, Dry Ground Friends!

(photo by photobucket.com)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Motive Matters

I'm a story person, as you know - books and movies, but also television shows. As you also know, I like to find analogies or examples of God's love in these stories. I'm most delighted when I find that love in unlikely places like a simple cartoon or a horror movie.
For all the morsels of God's love I find in stories of all genres, it saddens me to see the many many instances of the misunderstandings of God's love. So often, God is represented as a big meany, unfair, vindictive, confusing, inconsistent, haughty and spoiled like a too-powerful kid with a magnifying glass getting his kicks sun-scorching ants. Countless Bible verses are quoted or mis-quoted or taken out of context to prove such points so that personal rebellion or anger or hurts have a 'legitimate' excuse.
Well, I got to thinking about that this past week after watching one of my favorite television shows during which the bad guy accuses God of being this kind of mean, disgruntled God. And I have to admit, I can see how so many people question God's motives. Because from the world's perspective, which is to say a 'human' perspective, we attribute characteristics to God that are merely human because we are human. And as humans, we are, to our fellow humans, mean, vindictive, unfair, inconsistent, haughty, spoiled. The list goes on... and on...
Be honest. You just thought of a couple people you wish you could use a magnifying glass on, didn't you?
The whole problem with this is that GOD IS NOT HUMAN. Jesus, who is also God, became a human, though He never stopped being God. But God Almighty is not and never has been and never will be. Therefore, He doesn't operate as we humans do. His motives are pure.
The bottom line is, God's every action and word is motivated by Love. We, as humans, can't even come close to saying that, which is why it is tough for us to believe it.
That's where faith comes in.
What if we read the Bible, any part of it from cover to cover, with the 100% belief that every word, every action, every commandment is motivated by Love? Perfect Love in fact.
It's guaranteed to shift our point of view. We'll see God in a clearer, new light that deepens faith, increases peace, opens understanding, draws us nearer to Him. And that's just the tip of the ice burg.
Beware! Implementing this promises to be challenging! You have an enemy whose number one goal is to make sure you never believe God loves you. So be ready. DETERMINE that no matter what you read, the irrevocable truth is that the words in the Bible are backed by Love - and see what happens.
Have a great week, Dry Ground friends! How many of you are on Spring Break? I get some company from OH because it is, so I'm excited. Talk to you soon!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Answers!


1. “Knowing is half the battle.” – 2009 – G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra – sequel Retaliation comes out 3-29-13. (We’ve waited a year since it was supposedly done – let’s hope they give us something entertaining!!)
2. “Give me a scotch. I’m starving.” – 2008 – Iron Man – sequel released 2010, #3 due to hit theatres 5-3-13! (The trailer gives me goose bumps every time and I see it a lot since I work at a theatre…)
3. “You can whistle really loud, you know that?” – 2009 – Star Trek – sequel Into Darkness opens 5-17-13! (Since we work at a theatre, my Daniel ‘gifted’ me one morning a sneak peek private screening of the new trailer for this one *squee*. I love that he knew that would make me smile!)
4. “You will not cry or whine or laugh or giggle or sneeze or barf or fart! So, no, no, no annoying sounds.” – 2010 – Despicable Me – sequel will be released 7-3-13! (It’s so fluuuuuffffyyyy!!!! Still the best line from that one. And love those minions!)
5. “My whole life, I felt like an animal. Then she came along.” – 2009 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine – The Wolverine opens 7-26-13. (Hugh Jackman – ‘nuf said.)

Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends! 

Lasting Lines – Summer Sequels Edition


TGIF, Dry Ground friends! I hope you have a wonderful Palm Sunday weekend planned.
This week’s Lasting Lines Trivia Challenge highlights the movie industries favorite way to make money – sequels. So, that’s the hint. Each line comes from the original film to which a sequel is being released this summer!

1. “Knowing is half the battle.”
2. “Give me a scotch. I’m starving.”
3. “You can whistle really loud, you know that?”
4. “You will not cry or whine or laugh or giggle or sneeze or barf or fart! So, no, no, no annoying sounds.”
5. “My whole life, I felt like an animal. Then she came along.”

Happy guessing. Answers tonight! Have a great day!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The 'I's Don't Have It

When I was in grade school, my dad gave me a challenge one day - to go as long as I could without saying the word 'I.' Apparently, my focus had been not only introverted but also self-centered and this exercise showed me how extensive my thoughts and words concerning myself really were. Eye-opening (pun intended!)
I thought about this task the other day and gave it another try all these years later. Not sure I've learned much! It was still tough!
I'm glad the Lord is SO patient with me!
We sang this song in church last Sunday. Perfect for a little focus readjustment. Hope you enjoy.



Chris Tomlin - Lay Me Down (Official Lyric Video) from chris-tomlin on GodTube.

Keep on trucking, Dry Ground friends! It's Wednesday!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Express Pass


My Daniel and I enjoy watching The Amazing Race. The places they go and the cool experiences the players get to have, let alone as they compete for great prizes, sounds like the perfect vacation to us.
The game incorporates a few twists and turns, like a life-size board game, that make the race tougher or easier. For example, sometimes teams get ‘U-Turned’ meaning they have to do both of the ‘Detour’ tasks instead of just the usual one required. That, obviously, slows teams down.
On rare occasion, a team can win an advantage called an ‘Express Pass.’ It’s exactly what it sounds like – a fast forward to the end of the leg, bypassing all the tasks, winning that leg’s prize, keeping that team in the race. Once this golden nugget is obtained, it is that team’s strategic discretion on how to use it. The logic, however, is that if the team in possession of the ‘Express Pass’ gets hung up on a task that puts them in last place, and therefore in danger of being eliminated from the race altogether, then they use the ‘Express Pass’ to complete that leg of the race ahead of everyone else.
Well, a couple Sunday’s ago, history was made when the team with the treasured ‘Express Pass’ came in last place and were eliminated! Ousted from the race while still in possession of the Pass.
How in the world did that happen? I mean, how can you give up the chance to win a million dollars, keep running a pretty cool race around the world, when all you had to do was cash in the pass and move forward?
It seems to me, from what I saw while watching the show, that the only reason they didn’t use it was to prove they could get through the tasks.
That, my friends, is called PRIDE. And not the good kind, by the way.
Amazingly enough, while the host, Phil, was telling this team they were no longer in the race, they insisted they did the right thing.
Even Phil shrugged his shoulders in bewilderment.
It got me thinking.
We’re all in the race of life. I like to think of it more as a journey, but Paul did encourage us to ‘run the race to obtain the prize.’ In the case of life, the prize he’s talking about is Heaven. The good news is that, unlike The Amazing Race, we don’t have to jump through hoops or attempt near-impossible feats to earn the right to continue. We don’t have to win the ‘Express Pass’ because it was purchased for us by Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross and His resurrection.
And it is for everyone – but you must choose to USE it!!!
Pride keeps us from a lot of benefits in life. Self-dependency is perhaps one of the most dangerous cultural conspiracies of our modern world. It’s much too common for people these days to make their own rules and still expect to win. The team holding the Express Pass doggedly stuck to their pride in their performance, almost ignoring the fact that they no longer had a chance to obtain the goal.
Paul tells Timothy, “…athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.”
The Bible clearly tells us the rules of life that lead to winning the prize of Heaven. It may seem complicated at first, but really there’s only one rule – believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. THAT is the Express Pass. And all you have to do is USE IT.
Don’t find yourself on the mat without having used the pass. Know the Rule. Follow the Rule. Win the Prize.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends! Happy racing!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Answers!




1. “I don’t want to be a good man. I want to be a great one.” – 2013 – Oz the Great and Powerful
2. “What have they got in there, King Kong?” – 1993/2013 – Jurassic Park
3. “Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.” – 1986/2012 – Top Gun
4. “Kids these days. They just don’t get scared like they used to.” – 2001/2012 – Monsters, Inc.
5. “So, 38 of New York’s finest versus one guy in a unitard? Am I correct?” 2012 – The Amazing Spider-Man

Lasting Lines – Re-dos, Remakes & Re-releases


The hint this week on Lasting Lines is that each comes from a movie released recently that is either a re-do (same subject, rebooted), a remake (same story, different cast) or a re-release (exact same movie in theatres again, often in 3D).
Hope you’ve had a great week full of peace, letting the ‘moss’ roll off as you avoid making mountains out of molehills, and expressing gratitude to the Author of our Faith through praise and worship.

1. “I don’t want to be a good man. I want to be a great one.”
2. “What have they got in there, King Kong?”
3. “Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”
4. “Kids these days. They just don’t get scared like they used to.”
5. “So, 38 of New York’s finest versus one guy in a unitard? Am I correct?”

Answers will be up later today. TGIF, Dry Ground friends. Happy Weekending!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

We all meet challenges during a typical day - at work, in our family lives, financially - there are tons of ways for life to disrupt peace like the kind I talked about Monday. We might spend ten or more minutes every morning in praise and worship, even take the song with us as we drive to work. But as we all know, the heat of a day can rise quickly, unexpectedly, startling us into a momentary peace-paralysis.
Recently, in the course of my customer-service oriented job, I encountered such a situation. In my attempts to adjust and adapt, a picture came to mind - that cartoon caveman and his giant millstone. Why?
Well, because I felt like the best thing I can do in the annoying situation was - roll with it.
This seems elementary as I write it out. But at the time, it hit me with a powerful wallop. I don't want to be a cube or I'll get stuck on an offense or make a mountain out of a molehill. If I picture myself or the situation as a circular anything - anything that rolls - then I can move on, shake off the dust, keep on functioning.
So, no matter how inconvenient, annoying, or frustrating the day-to-day gets, remember that most of the time, we should just roll. That way, we'll stay connected with the Peace in our hearts.
(photo by photobucket.com)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Unlock the Box


Sorry about being absent on Friday. Still adjusting to my new work schedule.
Everything is going great, though, here in the Redneck Riviera – so it’s called and free from the intent to offend. (I kind of like it, actually). One awesome thing is we have already found a church to attend. The pastor is a phenomenal teacher – and this week I’d like to pass on a tidbit from the first sermon I heard from him.
We read the verse: For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17.
Goodness, or ‘righteousness’ in other translations, is the gift from God when we believe in Jesus. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit produced as we spend time with Him.
But peace… in this world, it seems elusive and out of reach. Yet, this verse tells us we have full access to peace because it is the essence of the Kingdom of God, of which we are part.
So why aren’t we more peaceful and why aren’t we the ones to bring peace to the party?
The pastor described the key to peace as… well, a key. Two keys, actually. The treasure, peace, is ours, but it is so valuable, it is as if it is in lockbox – the kind at banks where people keep their most prized possessions.
What does it take to access your lockbox?
First, your name needs to be on the list. If you’ve trusted Jesus as your savior, you’re on the list.
Second, it requires two keys to be turned at the same time. The keys have been given to us to unlock peace, and those keys are praise and worship.
Ever wonder why a really good song just makes you feel better? That’s the tip of the ice burg. Singing praises, or speaking them if you are tune-shy, aimed at the Most High focuses your thoughts on the Prince of Peace, unlocking the limitless storehouses of peace promised to us in His Word.
Try it. These keys will turn in that lock. It works.
The really cool thing, I think, is that we don’t have to go anywhere special to use the keys. I mean, the ‘bank’ in this analogy is not a church building or some sort of sacred temple – the bank in this situation is our own hearts. And the peace is already there because Jesus, the Prince of Peace, already lives inside via His Holy Spirit. But our hearts get distracted, jaded, wounded, tired – and those things disguise and lock away peace from our consciousness and ability to feel it and apply it to our lives.
Cue – praise and worship – the keys.
Always available. Always with us.
Here’s a song to get you started turning that key, unlocking the peace we’ll sure need to start off this week. Sure, it's ten minutes long, but #1 - it's an AWESOME song and #2 - it's been a while since some of us have used the keys and we have at least ten minutes of rust over the lock. The treasure is well worth those ten and many, many more. Agreed?
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!
(photo by yours truly)


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Good News/Bad News


I was going to voice my absolute disgust with the news story about the nurse who refused to administer CPR for an incapacitated person who eventually died. The heartbreaking pleading of the 911 operator crushes me as does the emotionless voice of the nurse who called but would not help because it was against her employer’s policy.
Excuse me? Saving a life is against policy???
What a sad day when we choose personal protection, job security and threat of income loss over the sanctity of a life that isn’t our own.
I can allow that I don't know all sides of this story. I am reacting to the highlights from the news, which I understand can be seriously incomplete.
Perhaps, if any good can come of this it is to see the stark contrast of what Jesus has done for us – no greater love, but He laid down His life. And I believe we are called to do the same. ‘Think of others more highly than yourself…’ and ‘Lean not on your own understanding…’ and just depend on the Lord to take care of you as you continue to do right.
But…
It feels bad to highlight something bad. 
So…
I want to conclude on the upswing with this entertaining, LOL video. I hope you enjoy… while keeping in mind ‘do unto others’ still is the way to go.

Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Another Edition of The Adventures of Dan and Lori

For those of you who haven't heard or realized it yet, Dan and I now live in Spanish Fort, AL. Among all the other things to be happy about because of this relocation, we are super jazzed to be in the warmer climate and SO CLOSE to the Gulf. This past weekend, we went exploring. And in less than an hour, we were on Dauphin Island having a blast. Thought I'd share some pics -












I hope you all have a great start to the week! Count your blessings!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grace


As you have noticed, I have been internet-deprived for a while. But I’m back! Yay! Amazing how life revolves around this modern marvel.
Anyway, I have had time to read, and I’ve dived deeper into the Dr. Jeremiah book, Captured by Grace, that I mentioned before. There’s so much I would love to share, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read. Chapter three retells the prodigal son story like I’ve never heard before.
So, since I can’t just type the seven chapters I’ve read thus far, I’ll share some of my favorite quotes that have inspired me. I hope they spark something in you too.
p.12 Grace suggests that human beings may be something more than honor graduates of the animal kingdom.
p. 30 Grace can only shine in its ultimate brilliance because it emerges from ultimate darkness.
p. 37 Christ removes not only the penalty for our sin; He cleanses us completely from its slightest tint. You and I stand before God as if we lived a life of utter purity and perfection.
p. 57 If the sincerity of the son is ambiguous, there can be no mistake about the heart of the father… The power comes from the father’s grace, not the son’s guilt.
p. 62 There are two sides of the same coin: law and licentiousness. Either one makes slaves, and only in grace is liberation possible.
p. 108 Men and women who do the pursuing can only capture empty air. Nothing satisfies. This indeed is the definition of religion. What sets apart our Christian faith is the story told in reverse – one of a loving Father who pursues us because we are too foolish and too sin-stained to go to Him.
p. 109 I never had the experience of looking for God. It was the other way around: He was the hunter (or so it seemed to me) and I was the deer. He stalked me… took unerring aim and fired. And I am very thankful that this is how the first (conscious) meeting occurred. It forearms one against subsequent fears that the whole thing was only wish fulfillment. Something one didn’t wish for can hardly be that. –C.S. Lewis
p. 136 The weakness of humanity is the proper container to glorify God.
My birthday was yesterday. My 39th year has completed and I am now on the road to the big 4-0. As I reflected on those years, GRACE is the defining factor – without a doubt. On SO MANY levels in EVEY facet of my life. God’s grace overwhelms me when I think of His speaking to me at such a young age, giving me amazingly loving and supportive parents, showering me with a wealth of relationships both family and friends, gifting me a best friend and lover to be my companion for more than half my life now, His protection and provision and patience with me… and much MUCH more. Sure, sometimes, life has been heart breaking and worse than tough. But His grace has been and will continue to be sufficient for me… and for you, no matter what you’re facing today.
Hope the last week of February 2013 is treating you all well, Dry Ground friends!
(photo by yours truly)

Monday, February 25, 2013

not yet

hoping to restore internet monday. overall enjoyed oscars. what do ya know argo won. hope you all have a great start to the week. talk to you soon dry ground friends.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

down time

hi dry ground friends. i am without internet... so sorry. enjoy the oscars this weekend. i am hoping for silver linings playbook best pic but i think argo will win. argo was good. anyway... i will be back as soon as i can. happy weekending.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Answers!


Happy Weekending, Dry Ground Friends!

1. “Now, an army is a team – it lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap.” – 1970, Patton

2. “There has to be a mathematical explanation for how bad that tie is.” – 2001, A Beautiful Mind

3. “Forgive me, Majesty. I am a vulgar man! But I assure you, my music is not.” – 1984, Amadeus

4. “Well, I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.” – 1934, It Happened One Night

5. “You want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s the love of a lousy buck. It’s making love of a buck – the cushy job – more important than the love of man!” – 1954, On the Waterfront

Lasting Lines


So, I put a little twist on the game this week for a couple of reasons. First, finding the actual last lines of all these good movies isn’t as easy as you may think, and for the next couple of weeks my resources are limited. I’m good, but not so good that I have them all memorized. Second, when we’re talking Oscar season, we’re talking the best movies of all time, and therefore the best dialogue. How could I limit us to the last words uttered? So many good quotes have proved memorable through film history – see if you can guess where these lasting lines originated! Hint: Every quote comes from a film that WON Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

1. “Now, an army is a team – it lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap.”

2. “There has to be a mathematical explanation for how bad that tie is.”

3. “Forgive me, Majesty. I am a vulgar man! But I assure you, my music is not.”

4. “Well, I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.”

5. “You want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s the love of a lousy buck. It’s making love of a buck – the cushy job – more important than the love of man!”

Answers will be posted later on this evening. Happy Friday, Dry Ground Friends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Other Words


I was listening to this song the other day. The words tell in different words what I’ve been meaning in the past couple of posts on ‘dirt.’ Keep in mind the whole garden/tender/planting/growing analogy. Hope you enjoy Addison Road's 'Change in the Making'! (CLICK HERE to listen)

There’s a better version of me
That I can’t quite see
But things are gonna change
Right now I’m a total mess and
Right now I’m completely incomplete
But things are gonna change
Cause You’re not through with me yet.

This is redeption’s story
With every step that I’m taking
Every day, You’re chipping away
What I don’t need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I’m closer to who I’m meant to be
I’m a change in the making.

Wish I could live more patiently
Wish I could give a little more of me
Without stopping to think twice
Wish I had faith like a child
Wish I could walk a single mile
Without tripping on my own feet
But You’re not through with me yet.

(Chorus)

From the dawn of history
You make new and You redeem
From a broken world to a broken heart
You finish what You start in everything
Like a river rolls into the sea
We’re not who we’re going to be
But things are going to change.

(Chorus)

I’m not who I’m gonna be
Moving closer to Your glory.

How’s the week going, Dry Ground friends? Remember we’re all a work in progress!
Oh, and HEY – Happy Valentine’s Day!
(photo by yours truly)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Shock Therapy


Whenever I read a story about grace, mercy and forgiveness – specifically a tale that details a heinous, unthinkable crime that is forgiven by the victim – I tear up. I can’t help it.
Like a story I read recently in Dr. David Jeremiah’s book Captured by Grace about a woman who, via a horrible traffic accident caused by some joy riding teens, had every bone in her face broken. The pain she suffered physically, the surgeries she endured for reconstruction, the scars she bore all described in the book send shivers down my spine. The teen driver stood trial, pleading guilty, clearly remorseful and sorry while standing in the courtroom mere feet from his innocent victim. But when it came down to sentencing, though some of the expected jail time was included, the judge drastically reduced the penalty because the victim requested it. She told the teen that day, “I forgive you. I want your life to be the best it can be.”
Come on. You got warm fuzzies, right? A little choked up? Smiled at least?
Why? Because it describes an amazing act of grace.
In the same chapter, Dr. Jeremiah says, “Grace is shocking – something like the heavenly converse of a traffic accident. When love is returned for evil, we can’t help stopping to rubberneck. Grace is the delivery of a jewel that nobody ordered, a burst of light in a room where everyone forgot is was dark.”
Love that. Grace is shocking… because it goes squarely against our self-centered, sin-hungry flesh.
I wonder if I’d have as much grace and courage to impart in a situation like the one above, even though I know God has done the same and more for me. If faced with such a thing, would I be able to forgive?
I’d like to say yes, but who knows until the experience occurs. Still, we can allow our minds to be cultivated to that end for not only the tragic events in life, but for the every day ones as well. Here’s how…
Remember that you’re the dirt.
Last Wednesday, I wrote about the same idea in a general sense (CLICK HERE if you missed it). But I’ve been thinking more on it and I decided that more than anything I need to remember that I’m the dirt. Not the farmer or the seed or the rain or the sunshine. I’m the dirt. I am that which is being tended for crops, growth, harvest – I am not the one tending my soil neither the soil in another field. And just like I need the grace of plowing, planting, fertilizing, rain and sunshine, so does my neighboring field. Because, we’re all dirt. Equally dirt. My dirt is no better or worse than my neighbor’s dirt because anything good coming from either plot will be of the Holy Spirit’s tending. In fact, there should be no comparing dirt at all. Because, like I said, we all are… dirt, that is.
So when a situation like I retold at the beginning comes about, neither party suddenly becomes not dirt. And since The Farmer has already deemed your dirt valuable and redeemable, how can another clod of dirt deem another clod of dirt not valuable and redeemable?
Pain and suffering offences and absorbing wrong done to you is tough, and a lot of times it lures our self-centered selves into a attitude of being owed something or being better than someone. Not exactly the environment in which grace can thrive. Remembering that we’re all dirt and that The Farmer found value in us while we were yet fallow and worthless ground, that’s when grace can grow. After all, The Farmer… okay, Jesus, I’m talking about Jesus obviously… He endured more pain, suffering, offences and wrongs than all of us combined – literally. And He still said, “Father, forgive them…”
Shocking.
Have a beautiful week, Dry Ground friends!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Last Lines Answers!


Answers!

1. “Really… what I want to say is I’m… I’m so glad you bought me that ice cream.”
     “ Me, too.”
2011 – Crazy, Stupid Love

2. “I haven’t?! Weeelllll… as Old Reliable used to say… he’d say…uh, he’d say, uh…    Dog gone! You know, I clean forgot what it was he used to say.”
1955 – Lady and the Tramp

3. Gregory – “I don’t care if you are pretty, I love you anyway.”
    Rose – “Listen, everything is going to drop as I get older and I’m gaining weight as we speak.”
     Gregory – “Well… that’s comforting.”
1996 – The Mirror Has Two Faces

4. “Because the one thing that turns the world from a lonely place to a beautiful place is love. Love in any of its forms. Love gives us hope. Hope for the new year. That’s New Year’s Eve to me. Hope and a great party.”
2011 – New Year’s Eve

5. “And so, ladies and gentlemen, you too, like this satisfied customer, can solve all your problems by subscribing to an answering service.”
1960 – Bells are Ringing

Enjoy your weekend. Although you have six days before the ‘official’ day, why not make every day Valentine’s Day and make sure yours knows you love him/her right now.
(photo by photobucket.com)