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


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   

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

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

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


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!