Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Upheaval...In a Good Way

Photo by Mary Vee
I am getting ready for another adventure.

My suitcase is packed. I'm really hoping for no hassles from TSA, a flight with no issues, my car rental ready, and GPS in a good mood.

So, while I am doing all of that, let's talk. 

Anytime the norm is changed, upheaval happens. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Even a flat tire isn't necessarily horrible. Amazing how fast a crucial meeting could be rescheduled, eh? 

For work at home folk leaving for a trip can create a mountain of work up front--and a cavern of work when we return. Sure the family can survive on pizza, dishes mounting in the sink, fruit flies in the air from the food left out, and dirty laundry. 

We over planners like to know there is healthy food in the fridge, the kitchen is clean, all laundry folded and where it belongs, and the vacuuming done before we leave. Sticky note lists separating what needs to be purchased at the grocery store from what needs to go in the suitcase reproduce like rabbits in the days before departure. Weave in preparing and printing materials for presentations, the random solicitor phone call, the doorbell, etc and everything is soon in an upheaval.

But--that is okay. We survive and live to do it again.

Most of the reports about Florida's recovery from Hurricane Irma and Houston's recovery from Hurricane Harvey have been good to read. Men and women talk about not having power, downed trees, or other damage, but -- this is where they fill in the sentence with something positive. Something like, the storm was nowhere near as bad as they thought it would be. Neighbors are sharing and helping each other with the clean up, meals, and shelter. 

Along the border of Uganda and Sudan, the United Nations and other organizations are helping Sudanese fleeing the turmoil in their country. Uganda has opened it's doors to more needy refugees than any other nation, according to the BBC. The Sudanese are not stuffed into camps, but are given a small piece of land to build a home and plant a garden. Uganda is giving legitimate refugees a place to settle. 

Their life isn't easy. They have to build homes and find food. But they have an opportunity to begin in a safe place.

Whether the upheaval is small, like going on a trip and leaving your family at home to fend for themselves, or epic like living through a natural disaster or a threat on your life, waking the next morning to new circumstances is a chance to start a new chapter. 

We stand on our feet. 
We pick up a broom.
And sweep what we can away.
To live and breathe another day.

I hope you have a day that is rewarding. It may not be as good as you planned or hoped. Maybe it is simply a day that gives a story of survival--some hope to someone else.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: UpheavalGoodStories

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Surges that Topped Hurricane, Terrorism, and Fire Power

As a nation we have witnessed a lifetime of surging, explosive power the past two weeks.

Photo Courtesy

The cautious have done their best to protect themselves and their loved ones, and while destruction may have followed in the wake, there are those who lived to tell their experience.

Although we wish we could help those who are no longer with us, our nation rises to help those who have survived. 

Photo Courtesy

So, we built a reminder of those who lost their lives to terrorism in the 9/11 attack a means to honor the fallen, the heroes, the families, the co-workers, and neighbors. 

Much more, we think about where we were at that time. I stood in a school with my class of third graders. How does one tell little ones a terrorist group attack our country? That was my first question after processing the information and wondering whether this was a War of the Worlds hoax or a vicious truth.

Dollars, cards, food, water, medical, prayers and encouraging words surged into New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon long after the tragedy. Songs were written inviting and proclaiming patriotism as one of the best ways to fight back.

What a truth. History cites fathomless cases proving ruthless acts serve to strengthen and unite rather than defeat and demoralize. Even events recorded in the Old Testament showed attacking armies stepped back in fear when they heard Israel's army shout their praises to God echo in the cities, valleys, and mountains.

Unity surges throughout our people this week. 

Photo Courtesy

We prove it by opening our homes for Hurricane Irma evacuees. Help clean flooded homes in the Hurricane Harvey aftermath. 

Photo Courtesy

Firefighters from all over the nation have been sent to help Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and more with devastating fires so powerful sparks leap across wide rivers kindling new fires.

Those of us who cannot go send what money we can, comfort those we know just by listening, and we pray. We guard the news, hungry for updates.

This week, although America has been pummeled, unity has surged. A surge that tops category 5 hurricanes, flood levels, and the strongest fire. A surge that overpowers terrorism. 

And no, this is not intended to be a sappy patriotic post. Haven't you seen...it is a proclamation of a unifying people helping in a time of need.

The theme verse from my college freshman class was so powerful, we kept it all four years and have remembered it long past our graduation:

How good and how pleasant it is 
for the brothers and sisters to live together in unity. 
Psalm 133:1 A song (Psalm) written by David.

This post has been brought to you by the one-word SurgesOfUnity

We are a #NeverGiveUpStory

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Harvey Victims and the Dilemma They Faced

Rescuers have traveled to Harvey affected areas from far away. They probably never realized the tremendous impact their help has made. What happened to folks before they arrived. How very appreciative they were when the rescuers did.

A friend lives in Wharton, Texas, which is south by southwest of Houston, and very much in Harvey's path. C posted over days, keeping us updated. Notice the short posts. Notice the emotion. Notice the dilemma she faced. Notice her focus-wanting to leave but choosing to stay, asking prayer for others. 

8/30 3:40 pm C: Water is now rising in my neighborhood.  Road is flooded and closed.
8/30  4:09  PM C: Neighborhood (see pic)

8/30   5:46 pm C: Front yard (see pic) 
                        (A friend responded) Are you going to leave?
                        C:  No.

8/30 6:21 pm C: water coming through back door.
8/30 6:38 pm C: water coming through front door.
8/30 9:02 pm C: ankle deep in our living room. We are the only ones in our neighborhood
                      (A friend responded) Call 911 if you need to evacuate.
                      C: Can't get mom to leave

8/30 9:28 pm C: Living room (see pic)

8/30 10:37pm C: I'm charging my phone while there is power
(Friend respond) Do you have a place where you can stay on higher ground?
C: Mom won't leave.
(Another friend) Stay as high as you can with a flashlight and bottled water)
C: there is no high place

8/31 12:31 am C: Someone is driving a boat extremely fast through my neighborhood!

8/31  6:53 am C: The flooding is due to a broken levee
8/31  9:02 am  C: Mom and I made it through the night. Power is on. My cell phone is out. The water seems to be receding. Thank you for praying!
8/31 10:16 am C: Mom can receive calls on her cell. She can't call out.

8/31 11:01 am C: A large military vehicle is in the neighborhood. 
                       (A friend responded) Doing What? 
                        C: Picked up neighbors

8/31 3:03 pm C: Please pray! There is someone "playing" in the flood waters on Richmond Road in his jacked up truck!
8/31 3:24 pm C: Avalon, nursing home where my grandmother lives is evacuating to Galveston. Prayers appreciated!
(Responses from many) Praying
                       C: As you are praying, pray for her salvation

8/31 4:01 pm  C: Backdoor view (she showed a pic of water rising in her house at her back door
8/31 4:03 pm  C: Kitchen view (she showed a pic of her kitchen flooding.

8/31 4:14pm C: View from the side of our house.(see pic)

8/31 6:18 pm C: WE ARE EVACUATING!

8/31 8:01 pm C: We are at the Love's gas station waiting for a ride from the Red Cross

8/31: C: One of our bags got lost in transit. Please pray it's returned. Has important papers. Thank you.

8/31: We are at the Super 8

8:31: 11:47pm C: It took the National Guard to convince Mom to leave. A levee had broken
                        (A friend responded) I know you did what you had to.
                        C: Thanks for praying.

9/1: C: The bag was delivered this morning.

9/1: C: Our National Guard is AMAZING! Please pray for them and their families. Our Red Cross driver, Barry, went above and beyond the call of duty!
(note: she is referring to the New Jersey national guard)

9/2: C's friend: I'm so sad. I literally just sent you the book you won and I don't think it will get to you. Sorry. 
       C: The mail will get through eventually

I messaged C asking, when she had a moment to tell me anything more. She said, "The National Guard that helps us were from New Jersey." That was all the more she could say. In her circumstances...I can understand. 

Last I wanted to credit those NJ who are paying back a nation who helped them during hurricane Sandy by helping my friend and others. This is what we do. Help each other. 

 Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that NJ Task Force 1 has been activated as members of the National Urban Search & Rescue Response System and will be deploying to Texas to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the unprecedented and catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

“As Americans, we come together during times of crisis and today New Jersey’s heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas at this very difficult time,” said Christie in a statement Monday. “During Superstorm Sandy, emergency and law enforcement response contingents from around the country came to our aid. New Jersey stands ready to assist Texas with their search and rescue response to the destruction and devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey and the recovery process begins.” Press of Atlantic City.com

This post has been brought to you by the one word: NeverGiveUpStories