Tag Archives: Hurricane

When Hope is All You’ve Got

31 Aug

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles


Reblogged August 31, 2019

“Good morning everyone,” the TV announcer said. “Let me correct that. There is nothing good about this morning of September 26, 2004.”

Trying to maintain composure, we tracked Charley’s path. At first, the action outside was not much different than the usual storms in Florida. But we knew that this was no ordinary storm. It was a preamble of a dangerous hurricane

“Everyone grab a pillow and a blanket,” I said. I made a mental note of the supplies we would need: a flashlight, water and our cell phones. Grabbing the small transistor radio with fresh batteries; a bit of reassurance trickled in while huddled in our confined shelter.

As expected, the lights went out. The TV was silenced. In the dark, the rage of the hurricane became more audible. As the wind howled, it whistled as if to announce, “I’ve arrived.” Its ominous nature intensified our vulnerability.

Charley had a vicious and unique personality. It was capricious. First, giving the impression it was headed in one direction and then at the last minute, changing directions. It had its own madness as it ripped through neighborhoods mercilessly.

“Hush!” I ordered. I turned the volume up on the transistor radio I held on my lap. “Listen!” I added with urgency.

Our family huddled, attempting to tune out the loud roaring outside. We hung on each word coming from the radio, the only device connecting us to the outside world: “It’s headed for Orlando, the winds here are unbelievable. With the last moments of daylight, we could see the roaring winds snapping trees in half like pretzel sticks. In other areas, the trees were yanked with force, their roots entangled in blocks of cement tossed aside like toys. Some static interrupted his description. Then he continued trying to catch his breath: “The huge glass windows of buildings nearby moved in and out in a swaying motion, attempting to resist the fierce wind with no success.”

“Lord,” I cried out in my thoughts, “guard our family.”

Then the serenity of my prayers was interrupted with more reports. I appeared calm on the outside, but with every sound outside and every detail of the report, I wondered if God was indeed listening. I questioned whether He’d answer before the worst happened. I doubted if my words were appropriate enough to reach Him. And I was certain that my emotions were blocking my pleas to Him. The more I tried, the more the hurricane of doubt thrashed in my heart.

“Now the road is in total darkness,” the reporter said. “Even some traffic lights are gone.”

Without air-conditioning, our cozy area turned into a small oven. But safety replaced comfort. Charley’s rage grew closer. The strong winds thrust sporadic bangs, rattling our garage door. The hurling debris against our front and back doors as well as those slamming against the large windows gave the same sensation as a “tic…tic…tic” of a bomb. We knew it would strike, but didn’t know exactly when, nor did we know which window would burst or what part of the roof it would yank away first.

No one spoke. But suddenly I heard a strange noise.

“What is that scraping?” I asked.

“It’s my yogurt cup,” my mom said in her characteristic calmness. “It’s my bedtime snack,” she added with a matter-of-fact tone.

How can she eat at a time like this? Does she not realize the danger we’re in?

“My hope is in the Lord,” she said, “He will protect us. Do you think this hurricane is catching Him by surprise? He is always faithful. Hope in Him is all we have.”

I had heard those same words from the pulpit. They brought mild reassurance as I sense no danger in that pew surrounded by painted glass windows.

But now what painted my mind was images of us under a rubble of destruction.

Outside noises emphasized my imagination. We heard more banging and crashing outside. I changed my please: “Lord, I know you’re in control. I have the certainty that You will see us through. And I know that You will calm this storm in my heart and also outside. But my words still echoed with doubt.

Charley’s furious winds struck with more intensity in some areas, yanking off roofs like box tops, and the roaring winds hurled traffic lights, smashing them to the ground. Some fatalities were reported.

“The tracking shows Charley is now in Orlando’s downtown area,” the radio reporter announced. We all went silent to make sure that we’d heard the good news (for us, at least) correctly, then it was confirmed. Charley had moved north; it had finally passed us.

God did show up timely and swiftly.

We breathed a sigh of relief. And I gave a silent, Thank you.

We stepped out of our stuffy room and headed outside, glancing with disbelief at the mess, the debris and broken pieces of items from tree branches to trashcan lids, to unidentifiable items.

While we all gasped at the destruction, a deep yawn slipped from my mom’s lips, and she tossed her empty yogurt cup in the wastebasket. “There was no need to worry then; no need to worry now. God is in control. Good night everyone,” she said.

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:20)It was in the “waiting” that God worked in me—teaching me to trust in the midst of winds of fear. To be secure when I hear threatening sounds, and to rest secure when others blurt bad news, gloom, or warnings of destruction.

With renewed faith, gratitude removed the last of the dark clouds of the storm, and new meaning. My hope was in God, not in the circumstances or in those around me.

The next morning’s sun uncovered the radiance of God’s promises that He will answer our pleas, timely and swiftly. His faithfulness becomes visible not so much in the calmness of my life, but during the storms and emotional hurricanes that test my faith.

Let’s Pray

Father, as we face all storms that threaten our lives, we rest in the comfort of Your promises that You never abandon us, never leave us. But without fail, You shelter us with Your love and protection. In Jesus’ name I thank You. Amen.

What is testing your faith right now?

Janet

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Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

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Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

www.janetperezeckles.com

Go East Dorian, Go East

30 Aug

One makes plans, hurricanes ruin them.

In the mid 80s until 1990 our church had a vibrant youth group, led by youth minister, Tim Shrader.

At a Church ladies luncheon in May, my daughter and a friend from her youth group days had the chance to reconnect. As they chatted and wondered about others from their group, a plan was born.

Tim and his wife purchased airline tickets and we were thrilled they could come. Others made plans to come from out of state.

The “youth”, now in their 40s would enjoy a cookout on Saturday afternoon then Tim was set to preach on Sunday followed by a church wide pot luck. We were excited!

Then along came Dorian and the reunion had to be cancelled. We are terribly disappointed but trusting that God’s timing and plans are perfect.

Meanwhile, here on the east coast of Florida, I continue to pray the hurricane will go east and out to sea, all the while carrying out storm prep.

Speaking of storm prep, I am seriously annoyed with the local news media, especially on Facebook. Florida gains new residents by the thousands each month and the media is scaring the daylights out of them with their sensational language. The newbies need information given in a calm and reassuring manner.

I read this verse in my quiet time today. I found it to be encouraging, especially with all the storm decisions to make, plus I liked the photo from Pixabay.

Prayers for Florida and every other state in the path of Dorian appreciated.

Hurricane Mania

1 Sep

Woo-hoo we have a guest blogger today! We have been trying to convince our friend,  Pam to try her hand at blogging ( she is an excellent writer) for years-Onisha

Hurricane Spaghetti Plot

A friend, and a new Florida resident, asked for “storm wisdom and suggestions”….so here goes, my tongue-in-cheek, short version of how to deal with Hurricane Mania in Florida.

   

Florida Homeowner 101 Tutorial –

9 Steps for a Safe Hurricane Experience

1. “PREP”  No matter what is happening around you, try to remain calm until 24 hours before landfall (and have a room reservation inland with a 24-hour free cancellation policy).  While remaining calm,  it’s ok to pull out the pre-packed Hurricane Prep Kit/Bin/paper sack from underneath the staircase before, or at the 72-Hour mark before landfall. This action is socially acceptable as a Florida resident. New to Florida?  You are allowed to use your “call a friend, option, search the Internet, wander around the plywood section at Lowe’s, or look helpless by the flashlights. You are even allowed to worry a little as long as it directs you into a smart action plan.

2. “KEEPING INFORMED”  It’s ok to watch local weather folks but remember to breathe deeply between reports/updates. Updates will continue to look differently as the event progresses-lots of times for the good-but you should kinda worry when your outside cat turns up missing (they sense these things) or the weather channel brings on the gray haired experts (who aren’t normally on camera) or they start broadcasting live feeds at the end of your driveway!

3. “FOOD”  Check the expiration dates on canned goods (last BIG Florida storm was 10 years ago). Respect Tropical Storms-they are not “an out of the woods” trump card. Power goes out with 45 mph winds too!  If you lose power have a pact with your family or friend that everyone crashes at the “house with power”; “Tag-you’re it” agreement. Not really a legal document but you may get a free meal out of it.

4. “SPIRITUAL SPIN”  You can remain in denial until the 24-Hr. mark.  Still time to pray the storm away at this point. Others may already be praying; it’s time for you to hop on and join them to make sure you are part of the action (this has worked MANY times in Florida).  When you finally see where landfall is going to happen, and its somewhere else, God will forgive you if you think/say “Thank God it went somewhere else!”.  Just don’t repeat that to your friend who just lost his roof in another state.

5. “PARTY TIME” It’s ok if you have a “cone party” but NOT a Hurricane Party!  Cone parties are for watching the shifting of the cone landfall probability maps on TV.  You can serve a spaghetti dinner, as they are now referring to the different tracking models as “spaghetti” maps. These predictions come everywhere from the National Weather Center, colleges (from Master Program students??!), Weather Underground (from Underground Atlanta? Or Natchez Under the Hill?), and from the freelance “weatherman” who is tracking the storm from his den while watching football and the Weather Channel updates.

Hurricane Parties are still NOT in vogue in Florida or smart!  Give the cops your next of kin’s phone #.

6. “OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER”  “Hope for the Best but Prepare for the Worst -just get ready!” Message from the Governor usually happens before or around the 72-Hour mark or whenever they can’t figure out where it’s going.

7. “COMMUNICATION”   No! You may not have phones, texting, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc available for crucial updates and calls for help. Figure it out. Your phone may not be able to get you help as you are under rubble or broke down on the road, unless you have great confidence that cell tower #20 is up and running or that your phone battery has juice!  Don’t take chances thinking technology (and the Weather Channel app) replaces early preparedness or common sense. Ever heard of batteries, weather radios, and flashlights?  Think ancient survival.  Call an old person if that’s a reach for you. Also, think,”I’m an idiot” for taking a video outside in 80 mph winds for a FB post.

8. “THE ESSENTIALS”  Filling the tub with water is not so you have water if your son’s wife goes into labor (hot water needed for that you know) or to be used for drinking water (is YOUR bathtub really THAT clean?).  Tub water does work for flushing the toilet-do I need to spell it out? Young person-YouTube may have a video for you on this simple procedure.

9. “WEAK MOMENTS”  Know that you may “chicken out” after holding out until the 24 hour mark….especially if Mother Nature decides to deliver a surprise or two-like making a right hand turn straight into the coast, or slowing down until it’s a monster storm large enough to cover Florida coast to coast on the radar!  It’s ok to panic, but only for a moment (you must NOT appear as an unprepared Florida resident a.k.a. stupid). Just pack the dog and cat and RUN if not too late.  Try not to ride out the storm in the road gridlock or at the 7-11 where the line to the bathroom is 28 and one wheelchair deep!  Also remember your fellow evacuees will not be in a pleasant mood, may be hungry or may be regretting their decision to place their lives in the path of a fickle storm-be prepared for glares, lane blocking, horn blowing and……

In conclusion, there’s not a perfect “10 steps for Hurricane Safety” in this post, just an apology from this humble writer that she couldn’t come up with 10, and a reminder that there is no “perfect, tidy” fool-proof plan. Just go back to Steps 4 and 6 and go by that-take it from this storm veteran and be Safe, Smart, and Senile-no not senile!   but you get the idea!

Just be prepared-visit with friends in the grocery store-have a plan and plywood-and know if you live in Florida long enough you will see some kind of storm in your lifetime.

Blessings and in Sincerity, Pam

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