Hello, Hurricane

Have you ever noticed how the distance between a crisis and oneself determines the level of reaction or response?

Last year I was visiting relatives in the path of Matthew and had to make a choice: Scramble to secure a flight and leave before the storm hit or hunker down and ride it out?

My husband, on the opposite side of the continental U.S., voted for the former.

BUT

Leaving family behind (and conceding to their choice to stay!) also meant grappling with the roiling emotions that followed.

We can’t be in two places at once, even if our hearts are.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the forceful and destructive tropical cyclone reached an unusual category 5 with the highest winds clocked in at 165 miles per hour with catastrophic results: killing 40 people in the U.S. and over 1,000 on the island nation of Haiti and becoming the ninth-costliest Atlantic hurricane with $15.09 billion (yes, that’s a ‘b’!) in damage.

I made it home safely, albeit with more than the customary travel impediments and technology snafus. Our family on the east coast weathered out the massive deluge and was no worse off for the devastating event.

And yet.

We will never forget the impact of that stressful time.

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Recently, I learned of A NASA Mission Like No Other on Jenna Lee’s last day of 10 years in America’s Newsroom via a cable news provider.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season just began on June 1 (and runs through November 30) and scientists have a new tool in their arsenal: the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System or CGNSS for short.

It’s a series of small satellites launched nearly six months ago…and measures ocean surface wind and temperatures.

Rick Reichmuth, a meteorologist said:

The national hurricane center that gives the overall forecast that everybody uses–this will help the process.

Over the last few years we’ve gotten much better at the track of hurricanes–so knowing exactly where it’s going to go with (obviously) a little deviation.

But the strength of a storm we’re not that good at just yet. This (CGNSS) is going to make a big difference…because these satellites are able to pentrate through the rain and get the winds.

This found me wishing there were instruments to measure and warn us of incoming pressures of life. You know, the stress, struggle, and strain that happen in our hearts and lives.

Something like the S-SHWS to gauge:

  • measurements in pressure
  • wind speed
  • storm surge potential
  • damage potential
  • What category will it fall under

While there are no such warning devices available, there are ways to prepare for and overcome the adversities that befall us.

Whether it’s a financial reversal, job loss or change, unexpected or chronic health issues, business or personal relationship strains (or losses!) or any another unwelcome change.

Crawford Loritts, a Senior Pastor in Roswell, Georgia once paraphrased King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes, “If we live long enough every last one of us will face major, catastrophic difficulties and disappointments in life. It’s woven into the tapestry of life.”

Lorritts talked about King David’s lament in Psalm 55, penned during high-pressure points in the monarch’s life: His son Absolom wanted to kill him and take over the kingdom and he’d just been betrayed by a very close friend.

Loritts went on to offer practical ways to handle the problems we face:

  1. Don’t sugar-coat your emotions. Tell God exactly how you feel. (David expressed anger, outrage, and frustration.)
  2. Get rid of jealousy/envy or passive aggressive tendencies and deal with issues head-on. (Get help if necessary.)
  3. Focus on God’s sovereignty. He is never not in control even when it’s our fault.
  4. Focus on the salvation of God and call on Him. He will show up.
  5. Focus on God’s sustaining power. (“You O Lord, are a shield about me, You’re my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3.)
  6. Finish the ride! Do it with joy and surrender to God.

God’s deliverance is not always from something but in something.

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7 Layer Dip

  1. On the heels of the senseless attacks in England recently, I told my husband, “I never want to find these kinds of acts of brutality a normal occurrence.”

2. Rejoicing with the Warmbier family that their son Otto has been returned to them. Grieving for the suffering he endured.

3. A Call for R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

A baseball field in our (USA) nation’s capital. A Congressional game played between Republicans and Democrats to raise money for charity, since 1909, set for June 15.

A deranged gunman. Shots fired. Several injured. A life ended.

Vitriol and rhetoric. Pointing fingers.

In the wake of this horrific event, my prayer is for Americans to stand united so we don’t fall divided.

An online book review at www.challies.com (Challies, March 8, 2008) for The Case for Civility by Os Guinness states:

No question today is more urgent than this one:

How do we live with our deepest differences–and especially our religious and ideological differences?

Guinness answers:

A civil public square is one in which everyone–peoples of all faiths, whether religious or naturalistic–are equally free to enter and engage public life on the basis of their faiths, as a matter of ‘free exercise’ and as dictatd by their own reason and conscience; but always (emphasis mine) within the double framework first of the Constitution, and second, of a freely and mutually agreed covenant or common vision for the common good (emphasis mine) of what each person understands to be just and free for everyone else, and therefore the duties involved in living with the deep differences of others.

He goes on to say:

True tolerance–one that understands and affirms there must be differences. It does not seek to eradicate differences, but instead seeks to respect despite differences.

4. Freedoms.

Norman Rockwell paintings

  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of Worship
  • Freedom from Want
  • Freedom from Fear

5. Looking for good anywhere I can find it!

6. Because you take the time to walk with me on these “footpaths,” I strive to encourage, educate, and entertain you. To somehow offer rejuvenation through uplifting (if at times hard!) conversation so we can keep trekking down this road of life.

7. Healer of Souls

I’m a wife. A mom. A Nana. A relative. A friend. A neighbor. A writer.

Like you, I long for peace in a broken, mind-bruising, off-kilter world.

I find it in Jesus (John 14:27). And you can, too.

As we part, I’d like to leave you with the lyrics from the band, Switchfoot:

“Ain’t we all just running/Aiming for that something/Ain’t we all just limping down the road?/ I want more than just a crutch to lean on/Yeah, I’m looking for that freedom…

So let’s go there…

To the Healer of Souls.”

 

 

 

 

 

Favor 9

Whatever you’ll be celebrating this month be it birthdays, graduations, Father’s Day or weddings here’s a goody bag just for you:

  • TOOTHPICK-To remind you to pick out the good qualities in others. *Matthew 7:1
  • RUBBERBAND-To remind you to be flexible. Things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out. *Romans 8:28
  • BAND AID-To remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else’s. *Colossians 3:12-14
  • PENCIL-To remind you to list your blessings every day. *Ephesians 1:3
  • ERASER-To remind you that everyone makes mistakes. *Genesis 50:15-21
  • CHEWING GUM-To remind you to stick with it, and you can accomplish anything. *Philippians 4:13
  • MINT-To remind you that you are worth a mint. *John 3:16-17
  • CANDY KISS-To remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug every day. *John 4:7
  • TEA BAG-To remind you to relax daily and go over your list of blessings. *1 Thessalonians 5:18

The world does not so much require to be informed as reminded. -Hannah More

Loose Change

This week, hearing about that sapphire-colored airline’s forced diversion and emergency landing got me thinking about traveling in general, unexpected other-routes-in-life, and unintended after-effects.

A press statement indicated that “a flight from New York to San Francisco diverted to Grand Rapids, Mich., following reports of smoke emitting from a carry-on bag holding an electronic device.”

Apparently, a passenger laptop caught on fire.

You know about certain cell phones igniting not long ago, as well?

Gadgets galore still occupy most every seat.

So.

While the recent course redirection affected only a certain segment of people, the unintended consequences may impact all international air travelers.

A live report from New York City revealed that the government’s considering a ban on carry-on laptops and other devices.

Hmmm.

This could spark a larger debate, for sure!

Having flown or traveled without these modern luxuries for a number of my time ticks means shrugging my shoulders and bringing along a hard copy book or magazines to pass the time.

I’ve even been known to engage in what Jon Acuff coined, “real retina time” chats with fellow journeyers.

And my loved ones and colleagues can survive without me for an extended span of incommunicado.

For others, this could significantly shift their way of life.

Down here, on western USA terra firma, warmer weather means construction on what seems every junction.

Yup.

Local parks, too.

Reactions, responses, and rebellions are three interesting results:

“What an inconvenience! Why now?”

“Wow! They’re going to fix some major problems. Nice.”

“Nobody tells me what to do! Hey, how do I get out of here?”

A Forbes online article (Quast, 2012), talks about implementing change:

  • What the specific changes include.
  • Who the changes will impact.
  • How the changes will impact them.

Quast also addressed the five reasons people resist change:

  1. Fear of the unknown.
  2. Mistrust.
  3. Loss…of control.
  4. Bad timing.
  5. An individual’s predisposition toward change.

This reminds me of when my hubby, our two grown sons–then barely emerged onto the planet– and I took a road trip from Washington state to Pennsylvania to visit relatives.

Basically from one northwestern corner of the US to the other waayyy “back east.”

Time and money squeezed to an end-of-the-tube of toothpaste, tight meant expedite with a capital E.

Choosing a more southerly route in April to avoid still frigid weather and dangerous highway conditions our trusty Rand McNally Road Atlas marked in yellow the several state excursion.

While refueling our “Ge0-wel of the Mile” along the way, a gas station attendant said, “Looks like I could fit your whole car in my pocket.” Then he asked if our compact car had front wheel drive.

“Good,” was the only reply to my husband’s nod.

At a rest area somewhere in the middle of our journey, a convoy of freight shippers poured out of semi-trucks in a mad rush to use the facilities.

“They’re closing roads in Wyoming!” One shouted.

We had no clue why.

BUT

we’d learn soon enough.

Not much farther along the highway, eighteen-wheelers whooshed by leaving slush-grime on our windshield.

When a snowstorm catches you unawares split-decisions become crucial.

I caught my husband risking a quick peek into the rearview mirror at our precious cargo napping in their car seats, and then his gone-from-blue-to-stormy-grey eyes met mine.

A popcorn prayer heavenward, then– “Pedal to the metal, and don’t look back!” I said as a semi flew by. The concrete barrier to my right of the passenger seat close enough to tap.

He nodded and several white-knuckle-intense hours later we surfaced on the other side and reached our destination safely if not severely storm rattled.

Images on the television later, found me repeatedly whispering a prayer of thanks.

Without knowing it, my husband and I had successfully utilized a strategy recommended on an online business site:

  • Communication
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation.

Whatever befalls us on these courses of life we track, and whether we control the changes or not, we can choose how we will act to the channeling opportunities available.

AND

God-willing, on the other side, we’ll safely arrive at our journeys’ end.