Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Documentary

This is my husband, Duane. Doesn't he look dashing sporting his newly scruffy facial hair grown during the "no electricity" days of Hurricane Ike? I really like it. I think he looks sort of cute and dignified. And anyways, he's probably going to need it this winter to help him stay warm, as we keep hearing old wives tales that after a bad hurricane you have an extra cold winter...which for Houston could mean we drop into the 30's or something.

But back to the documentary. And one last hurricane story.

We were going into day ten without power, and it was getting warmer. Well, to be honest, it was back to normal - hot and muggy. I was getting out of the shower and Duane was relaxing in bed watching TV (our morning treat, thanks to the generator cord stretching through our bedroom window.) On the tv was a black cat that looked strangely like our Edgar (see post from Wednesday, September 24) and all these crabs walking out of the sea and up the beach. The following conversation ensued:
Me: "What are you watching?"
Duane: "A documentary."
Me: "It's in Spanish. You don't speak Spanish!"
Duane: "Oh."
Ten days without power can make you crazy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Think I'm Done With Hurricanes

What i really learned from Ike (taken from a very funny email, but most actually verified by personal experience):

1. Frozen pizzas can actually be made on the BBQ grill

2. No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity

3. The Astros can't beat the Cubs in Milwaukee, especially on two hours sleep (Thanks for ruining our playoff chances, Bud Selig!)

4. He who has the biggest generator wins

5. Kids can survive longer than four days without a video controller in their hands

6. Walking around your home in the dark should be a new Olympic sport

7. When required, a Lincoln Continental can float. Doesn't steer well, but floats just the same

8. Your water front property can quickly become someone else's fishing hole

9. Crickets can increase their volumn to overcome the sound of 14 generators

10. If my store sold only ice, chain saws, gas, and generators...i'd be rich

11. Tree service companies are greatly underappreciated

12. People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for

13. There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought

14. There are a lot of freakin' trees around here

before and after clean up

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Chronicles of Hurricane Central, Still Continued

Part Three: Random things about hurricanes that I never thought about before and random things that happened because of the hurricane

1. Two days after the hurricane, I finally saw a few birds again. Where do birds go in a hurricane anyways?
2. You can tell who the people are who don't have power yet. They have "hurricane hair"...a little flatter than the normal blow-dried coiffure.
3. You can’t buy baking soda in a single grocery store in Houston. And you need baking soda, because everything starts stinking after a while…like the drains and the musty insides of empty refrigerators and freezers that have lost a load of food to spoilage.
4. It takes twice as long to get anywhere after a hurricane, because none of the traffic signal lights are working and every intersection has to be treated like a four way stop. Trust me, it's dangerous to drive in Mexico without traffic lights, but it's MORE dangerous to drive in Houston without them.
5. My climbing rose bush was blown totally over on one side of the fence. And it never came back to the other side. Weird.
6. If i paid a kid a nickle for every pine cone he picked up in my yard, i could fund his college education.
7. I am dreaming a lot. Haven’t really dreamed like this in years. Of course since we didn't have power we went to bed about 8:30 – 9:00 when it got dark so we were getting a deeper and longer rest.
8. Oak is definitely heavier than pine. And pecan wood smells good. This was noticed after dragging tree limbs around the yard for a while.
9. It is well with my soul.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Chronicles of Hurricane Central Continued

Part Two: The Cat

This is Edgar. He's the best mouser we've ever had. I think it's because he's inherently evil and likes to kill things....be it a wiggling foot or some other REAL threat.

The world as Edgar knows it was turned upside down by IKE. We found him hiding in the laundry room, behind the washer (no small feat), and he actually scaled the back of the washing machine to escape. It took him two full days to get the nerve to actually go outside, before Duane finally booted him out the front door. Where he sat firmly on the front porch and refused to budge.

Until a rat ran by.

Let's just say he recovered nicely.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Chronicles of Hurricane Central: After the Tempest

Part One: Tranquility in the tempest

A synonym for hurricane is tempest. The antonym for tempest is tranquility or serenity. I like being able to combine tranquility and tempest. I think it says something important about your core.

Another synonym for tempest is brouhaha. I like “brouhaha” because you can’t really say it without laughing, and you can’t really live through a hurricane without being able to laugh, as well. I wish I could find a “b” word that means the same as tranquility to combine with brouhaha, so I could use the word brouhaha and alliterate the title of this post, but I can’t find one. We can try “Bradycardia in the Brouhaha.” Bradycardia is a medical term for a very slow heartbeat, which in our case would mean we were absolutely very very tranquil…

In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13, Hurricane Ike, a Catagory 2 hurricane, made a direct hit on Galveston, Texas. Though we are in Northwest Houston, we are only 62 miles from Galveston. The winds came through Houston at breakneck speed. We lost power about 1:30 a.m. We didn’t wake up until we started hearing the roof creaking and moaning at about 2:30. I got up and looked out at the trees whipping around in the wind, but since neither Duane or I have a spirit of fear, I crawled back in bed next to him and went back to sleep. Once he mentioned something sounded like doors slamming, but we decided it was just limbs hitting the roof and rolling off.

I don’t think Duane ever got up, what could he do, after all? Neither the winds nor the waves obey him… so at first light, about 6ish, we crawled out of bed to see what was still standing.

Since we’ve been without power or internet for ten days, the next few days I will catch you up on life in the city, post- Ike. But first, we want to give honor to the Father for the mercies He showered on us through the storm. Let’s just call them Hurricane Mercies:

1. We lost power, but we never lost water. You can handle a lot, if you can still flush the toilet and take a shower at night.

2. There was no damage to the house, except maybe a little leak in the breakfast room. All the trees fell away from the house.

3. We were kept safe.

4. Sunday afternoon, one day into “no power”, our neighbor’s dad came from Austin with the last two gas generators in town. We had $760 cash on hand to purchase the generator off his truck.

5. With no power, even if there is gas you are unable to pump it. Gas lines were long because so few stations had power and were open. But we were always able to find gas when we needed it.

6. Duane had cold milk even after two days without power. (he loves his cold milk.)

7. We didn’t lose the muscadine juice I had frozen for future batches of muscadine jelly.

8. We were kept from fear.

9. Our phone worked all day Saturday, during the storm and for 24 hours afterwards before it died. We were able to touch base with and check on our friends/family.

10. We could always text, even if cell phones didn’t work.

11. The first cool front of the season came through the day after Ike, so we didn’t have the usual September temperatures in the 90’s. It was in the high 70’s all week, from Sunday until the next Saturday. People would have gotten hostile, if it had been hot.

12. There were no mosquitoes from the Saturday Ike hit til the next Sunday. NO MOSQUITOES. And I mean no mosquitoes, in Houston, in September, after a hurricane.

13. Talked to, worked alongside, broke bread, and visited with neighbors, previously unknown.

14. We were still able to minister to those around us. Duane felt led to start an ICE ministry in the neighborhood. He got people with generators to freeze ice for people without generators. Every day at 5:00 he went around and picked up ice from neighbors to deliver to other neighbors so they could keep the remaining food in their ice chests cold.

That's it for now. I've gotten used to going to bed when it gets dark, and it's waaaay past my bedtime now!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later

Today is September 11, 2008. This morning on television, they read the names again, so we could once again remember...as if we could ever forget. Seven years later there are still tears running down faces. Seven years later there are still children who have never met their dad. Seven years later we still shake our heads in disbelief. Seven years later we still understand that the only safe place is "in Christ".

Seven years ago, I wrote the following thoughts in the Preschool Press (my little weekly announcement page for my preschool Sunday School teachers at church). Just wanted to share them one more time, because they still ring true.

I love America. You know I do. I love everything about it, and I’m so crazy patriotic that I embarrass my kids. I unabashedly wave flags, sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the top of my lungs, vote responsibly at EVERY election, even little ones, and cry at fourth of July fireworks shows. I love all it is, all it has to offer…the pureness of being able to gulp freedom like a jug of cold water, even when it hurts...and sometimes it does. I even loved the frustration of the 2000 presidential election, as we breathlessly waited for freedom to run its full course, as it eventually did. It’s how we live. It’s who we are. It’s all we’ve ever known.

Freedom is an incredible blessing, and an incredible responsibility. I learned that afresh from listening to the limits my daughter experienced being in a Communist nation this summer. I heard the sound of the gate slamming behind her team as they entered their college campus, the sound of the loud speaker that called the students to morning calisthenics at 6:00 a.m., the sound of the blinds being quickly closed as they turned on the VCR and quietly watched the Jesus video with friends.

Freedom. America. You say them in the same breath.

This has been a week of profound sadness for us all. Our blessed America has been attacked in an inconceivable act of evil. And we have all been changed forever. We’ve experienced every emotion possible from shock and disbelief, to sadness, helplessness, emptiness, disgust, and anger. Tears just keep welling up in our eyes and rolling down our cheeks in the middle of the day without warning. However, I most deeply hurt for our children, because their America will never be the same again.

So where do we go from here? How do we live from this day forward? What do we tell our children?

Start here: Hug your kids/grandkids tight, and remember the true source of our freedom: “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” John 8:36. Then finish here: “The Lord is for me. I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6 and “Do not be afraid of those who hurt the body, but cannot hurt the soul.” Matthew 10:28 Now we know first hand, the only safe place is truly “IN CHRIST”.

Hold your head high, and live in peace. You are my precious family. And, God bless America!