Hurricane History

by Victoria Duerstock

In the aftermath of Harvey, I have thought long and hard about my experiences once again living on the Gulf Coast of Florida for many years.  We saw many hurricanes over the years, some with very little damage and others with devastating effects for many months.  I hurt for the people of Texas, knowing that very soon, the rest of us will move on with our lives, while they start the very long and difficult process of rebuilding their lives, their homes, and their mental health.

Anytime a hurricane develops, I feel a familiar pit in my stomach.  Although it’s been several years now since the landfall of a major hurricane on the mainland United States, the monstrous effects of Hurricane Ivan on me, and my family personally, remain, likely forever.  As a wife and mom, the effect of the hurricane was not just in the packing and evacuating but also in the separation and difficult decisions that had to be made not just before the storm but after.

While I, my mom, and the kids evacuated from Hurricane Ivan just prior to its landfall on the panhandle of Florida on September 16, 2004, my husband remained behind to help with rescue and recovery efforts.  My husband stayed because he was a volunteer fireman in our local fire department and felt his presence was vital to help our community with recover. He and the crew evacuated just far enough inland to still be accessible once the hurricane had passed through as they were ordered to stay off the roads until the all clear.

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Be an Encourager!

An encourager is one who by definition inspires others with hope, courage or confidence.  Don’t you enjoy being around someone who is encouraging? Aren’t they like a breath of fresh air?

Perhaps you are naturally gifted in this area, and it’s easy for you to speak kindness and encouragement into those around you.  If on the other hand you are like me, and you tend to see all that’s wrong around us, you have to work at it some more.  Just like we work at being purposeful in our daily lives with our activities and goals, I would also like to propose that we be INTENTIONAL with choosing words of encouragement to be spoken to those around us.

Perhaps it’s our family members that need to know they are doing a good job, or that they are appreciated for their hard work – don’t just think those thoughts, be sure to speak them.

Maybe it’s a co-worker, classmate or sweet friend who is battling a difficult time – depression, cancer, loss of a mate, failing grades – what can you do to encourage them through this trial?  Maybe it’s just a verse of Scripture that means something special to you, or an inspiring quote that has been encouraging for you, will be just the thing that will encourage another person.

While each of us do not likely have the capacity to change the world, we do have the ability to change one person’s day.  The opportunity to bring a smile, squeeze a hand or give a hug for one person is something that can spur others to action as well.  In that small action, we do have the capacity to be world changers.  All it takes is a little thought, a bit of openness to share and encourage.  Be light to someone in your world today!

 

The need for Hope

birds-800671_1280My favorite poem about Hope is from Emily Dickinson.  I recall my mom reciting the opening line, and then realizing later that I loved the whole poem.  Here it is

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – 
That perches in the soul – 
And sings the tune without the words – 
And never stops – at all – 
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – 
And sore must be the storm – 
That could abash the little Bird 
That kept so many warm – 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land – 
And on the strangest Sea – 
Yet – never – in Extremity, 
It asked a crumb – of me.

It has been said that Dickinson’s poetry has a similar style as the psalms and other religious hymns – perhaps that’s why I connect with her writing style.  It’s flow appeals to me, and her metaphor here speaks to me visually.

Hope in it’s simplest form is a bit shallow.

“I hope it rains tomorrow.”

“I hope my daughter buckles her seatbelt.”

“I hope you feel better.”

But if we dig a little deeper, hope can add an element of expectation.  When hope combines the idea of wanting something to happen with the idea of expectation, whether because of past results or sheer faith, Hope becomes so much more meaningful.

Today I want to encourage you with a word about Hope.

Daily life can drag us down.  Maybe you wake up like I do, with expectations of accomplishing a large number of things – my lists are long!  but somewhere after the day begins, I start to realize that I am a little too “hopeful” about how I am going to accomplish the day’s jobs – and I start to dwell in reality.  The task lists get rewritten, and I settle on a more manageable “list” for my day.

Reading the news can drag me down.  I try to get my news in small clips now – like twitter for instance.  Reading large amounts of news, hurts my spirit.  I just can’t do it.  There’s so little hope in our world, and because there is such little hope people turn to evil.  The evil is rampant and overwhelming.  I find that dwelling in the difficulties of our present our realities can bury me in discouragement and cause me to lose my focus.

Instead, I’m thankful for hope.  The deeper knowledge that there is something far greater beyond this life fuels me forward.  While there are many wonderful joys in this life, it cannot compare to the hope of our future in Glory.  We should share hope with those around us.  Not a flimsy, shallow hope though – let’s share the reason for our Hope – our expectation of a future more wonderful than we can even imagine.

The Place for Pause

I’m not sure about you but rest doesn’t always come easily for me. As a goal oriented person, I’m typically working on the next project, next job, next assignment, and the list is never ending.  I’m writing and re-writing my ideas, to-do’s and dreams, and I rarely rest.

As a matter of fact, this Saturday was the first time that I can remember since February that I sat down and watched a movie on the television.  I know it seems a bit odd, but when I was determined to finish writing my novel, my tv watching/relaxing days went out the window.

I enjoyed the break this weekend.  I needed it.  Mentally I am drained, and emotionally I’m teetering on discouraged.  I have so many ideas and dreams, but no one idea/dream is actually moving the needle forward currently, and I’m feeling a bit down.  It’s time to work out another 90 day goal, I need to write about my year long experience getting up before dawn, and I need to finish editing a novel so I can force someone to fall in love with it.  I mean, so I can pitch it with passion to an editor who will publish it.

But I am struggling.  Even trying to figure out what to blog about to encourage you my friends and readers was a challenge for me today.  So instead I just decided to be real and hopefully whatever difficulty you face today, the reality that we are all struggling to move forward maybe will be an encouragement.

My pause has become connected to one of the projects the Lord started with me this year.  My pause has ministered more to me than anything, and I just love that sometimes the Lord uses it to bless others.  In just a few days, it will be almost 6 months into this project.  I had no idea I could do this for this long, or that it would be a blessing to others.

So today I want to share a page again that maybe will bless you too – and maybe you’ll find a place to pause and to reflect on God’s goodness and provision for us.  These words encouraged me today and I hope they can encourage you also!

ps62

If you’d like to download this page and print it out to color – just click here.