Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New Wheels

I saw one of these on my way home from work today. When did three-wheeled motorcycles get invented? Where was I? Who buys these things anyway? The driver of the one I saw was a white-haired man who looked like someone who was having a late-life crisis and decided a motorcycle would be just the thing except that his wife worried so much that his life would become separated from limb that they had a huge fight but eventually reached a compromise, with him managing to convince her that this variety of motorcycle would never tip over, thus making it quite safe while still being loads of fun, a superb attention-getter, and much better than taking up sky-diving, wouldn't you say?Very cool.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Imaginary Disaster

What's this, you say? Well, this is what happens when you anticipate your first hurricane and it completely passes you by. Becca (9) and Laura (6) decided to pretend the house was flooded yesterday. You'll see in this picture a house (not to be mistaken for a cardboard box) on stilts, and a multitude of floatable stepping stones. These were carefully set up in convenient paths all over the house. At least now we know who to call on if the house ever really does flood!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Now We Can Laugh About It!

I was reading the news on the Houston Chronicle this morning, but it didn't really get interesting until I checked out the last couple of columns of one of their staff writers. It's laugh-out-loud funny to read about his hurricane preparations and his disappointment afterwards. Let's hear it for a sense of humor!

Don't get me wrong though. The hurricane was pretty much a joke here in Houston, but other areas definitely had a lot of damage.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

SPARED!!!!!!!!

We truly have a lot to be thankful for today. We had absolutely no wind or water damage, and the power is still on! All we got out of this hurricane was a lovely breezy day and a much needed rain shower. Praise the Lord!

It is still fairly windy today (kind of like it was every day when we lived in Wyoming!), but the worst is past and we came through completely unscathed.

Here's a picture I took on Friday when we took a short drive just to see what things were like in the neighborhood. You don't see Walmart this deserted very often! The western sky was beautiful last night. This was right at sunset, and meanwhile, rain clouds were rolling in from the northeast.
Here you can see the extent of our hurricane damage: a few twigs blown down in the backyard! Seth was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more drama, but I think he'll get over it.

We are certainly rejoicing today, but there are many, many people in our area who are without power, we please continue to keep them in your prayers. Thank you to all of you who sent us emails of encouragement and prayed so faithfully. We praise God for friends and family like you.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Calm Before the Storm

We are making last minute preparations today before the storm starts moving in tonight. Yesterday and today have been strange days because they have felt a bit like a vacation. We're calling it the "hurricane holiday." It's weird to be waiting for a storm this way. It's an absolutely beautiful day because it's actually breezy. It's a sign that something is up in the gulf when we have a breeze!

Seth is certainly ready for a storm! I think he's more concerned about rain than wind.
We weren't able to buy any plywood because it was gone from the stores, but we got these pieces from our neighbors. They will at least help to protect the windows from falling branches. We did have one large piece of plywood that Papa and John put over the large kitchen window.
We've been filling jugs, pitchers, and bottles with drinking water all week and have a good supply now.
We also have big buckets of water in the garage. We'll be able to use this water for washing or for flushing the toilets.

We are very glad to be in our snug house instead of stranded out on the highway like so many. This may be my last post before the storm, but I'll be sure to post a report when it's all over. Thanks again for your prayers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Coming Storm

For the first time since we moved to Houston, we have a major hurricane coming our way. Actually, we have a category-5-third-most-intense-in-history-165-mph-winds hurricane coming our way. Having never been through a hurricane before, the gravity of it really isn’t sinking in. We’re actually a little excited to see what it’ll be like! We know in our heads that there could be flooding, trees could fall on our cars, the roof could blow off, or we could be without power for weeks, but it’s still hard to even comprehend what it’ll be like. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Since we are the northwest side of the city, we do not have to evacuate. Our neighborhood is very unlikely to flood, and although we may have wind damage and power outages, it’s not expected to be severe in our part of town.

We’re busily filling water jugs, cleaning all loose objects out of our yard, especially our new 15-foot trampoline (!), and making other preparations. I sat in line at the gas station to fill up, and was one of the fortunate ones because I only had to wait in line behind two other cars. I also went to the bank to get some extra cash. I certainly wasn’t the only one with that idea, because the ATM was out of money, and the drive-through had a sign that said, “$200 limit on cash withdrawals.”

I’ll be going to work for a while tomorrow morning because we want to make some preparations there. We’ll take our computers to the back room and also pick up small items and take the pictures off the walls so we can reduce damage if the windows blow out. Then I’ll be back home to sit it out over the weekend.

There are so many unknowns right now. We have good friends who are evacuating tomorrow morning because they live in a mobile home, and they don’t know yet if they’ll have a house to come back to. No one can know how much damage there will be or how many people will be affected. We just have to remember that God is in control, and he will provide for us no matter what happens.

As you watch the news, please pray for us that we would be kept from harm, that we would have wisdom through the whole situation, and that we would be able to help our friends and neighbors if the need arises. Please pray also for our city as we go through this storm and whatever aftermath there is. Houston was already stretched because of all the people who came after Katrina. I’ve been encouraged so far at how smoothly the evacuations are going and how many precautions are being taken both by individuals and by the government. I know everyone is extra nervous after Katrina. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for all those people who already lost everything once to be facing another monster storm. But, like I said before, God is still in control.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sick Days?!?

I know I really should try to do more writing for this blog instead of just linking to other people's writing, but I've been insanely busy lately. My goal right now is to try to get more sleep than I've been getting, and to try to stop saying yes to absolutely every activity that comes up. Anyway, here's a funny essay about lousy excuses for calling in sick at work.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Excellent Article

I just read this article in World magazine. It has some very thought-provoking insights about the destruction of New Orleans and the demise of other cities throughout history. It's interesting to think about how easily everything we take for granted can be taken away. That's why we can't depend on anything of this world for our security.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Goodbye, Astroworld

For those of you who don't live in Houston or haven't been paying attention, :-) Astroworld will officially close its doors at the end of October. Apparently, the rising land value and declining attendance have made it foolish for the owners to not sell the property. Now, I'm not one to be nostalgic about amusement parks, or anything for that matter, but it is a bit sad since the park has been a Houston fixture for so long. I've actually only been there once, and it wasn't the best experience. I rode five roller coasters in a row, including the Texas cyclone which I thought was going to kill me. After that, I ate a bit of lunch, went on a combination swinging/spinning ride, then promptly threw up in a bush. Oh, yeah, that was fun. When I got home that night, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck! My mother said, "And you paid money for this?!?!"

As my father is fond of saying: "Too soon old, too late smart."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Titus 2 Friendships

My church is starting a new program this fall that is designed to help women follow the principle of older women teaching the younger, as described in Titus 2. They'll be matching women up to basically be friends for the year. I think it's a great idea and will help the different ages of women to get connected with each other. It got me to thinking, though, that it's really a little sad that this is necessary. The reality of our modern lives is that we tend to not get out of our circle of peers, and it takes an organized, official effort to make it happen.

I think it takes quite a bit of self-sacrifice to build relationships with those outside of our age group. The young women have to be willing to slow down a little and have the humility to listen to the counsel of older, wiser, more experienced women. The older women, for their part, have to reject the attitude that they've earned their peace and quiet and shouldn't have to help young people with their foolish problems.

Even though you may not have as much in common, relationships with older and younger people can be a great blessing. I think it's healthiest to have friends of all different ages.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We've had some beautiful blooms in our yard lately. Three red roses are one example. We also have a row of hibiscus bushes that are taller than the six-foot fence! We had a visit from a butterfly, too.
One thing I do like about the Houston weather and seasons is that we have lots of flowers almost year round. There's always something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Skateboard Lesson

Just in case you always wondered exactly how those skateboard tricks are accomplished, Google's ehow has very detailed instructions. I like step 8: "Come back down." :-)

Or, if fine dining is more up your alley, they have tips for that too.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Birthday Party

We celebrated Becca's ninth birthday on Saturday. Here's the birthday girl! The pie has either a "9" or a "b" depending on which way you look at it. :-) Beware of the birthday smoke:
We all had a great time!

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Pondering the Storm

It's been extremely sobering this week to hear about Hurricane Katrina and all the aftermath. It's such a huge tragedy with extremely far-reaching effects. Because so many people have come here to Houston, I feel like I'm closer to this sort of crisis than anything I've ever experienced before. I was at a nearby church today that has been set up as a shelter. They actually couldn't take any more volunteers because they already had so many, but we got to spend a little bit of time talking with a few of the people. My mother and several of my siblings were there yesterday also. We met families who had lost absolutely everything. It was especially heartbreaking to hear their experiences of literally fearing for their lives. After spending nights on bridges and going through unspeakable things, they were thankful to finally be in a safe place. Now, they are faced with the reality of needing to start over from scratch. Several of the people we met doubt that they'll ever be able to return to their homes.

I also met a young woman who was in a considerably different situation because she was able to stay with family and is pretty well off financially. But even she doesn't know when or if she'll be able to return. Even if her home can be salvaged, she doesn't know if she'll have a job. She said it's strange to think of herself as a refugee, and she's the cleanest homeless and jobless person she's ever heard of!

It's hard for me to even fathom the overnight and nearly complete destruction of an entire city. We take so many things for granted, and we really never know when the things we depend on may be taken away. I keep thinking, "It could have happened here."

It will be interesting to see what an impact there will be on our city. Of all places, Houston is probably one of the most capable of absorbing that many people. We have the space, the infrastructure, and probably the job market to handle it, but it will still have a big impact.

I've been thinking also that we have suddenly had a huge mission field arrive right on our doorstep. Thousands upon thousands of people with huge needs are right here, and there are so many opportunities to show the love of Christ to them. It's overwhelming in a way, but if each of us does what we can, we can make a huge difference. I know God has a purpose in it all, and He is in control.