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Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

         This is not going to be good.  We are supposed to be getting a series of heavy winter storms.  We are being told we are getting 6-12 inches of snow  by friday evening…then another storm on saturday-sunday with snow-ice mix which could total up to 20 inches of snow…then on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday up to 80% chance of snow.

           For many people on fixed income this kind of weather is devastating.   One thing is staying warm.  This is when we hear many stories of people who die in fires or of people who freeze to death.  Another issue is heart attacks from people trying to remove snow by shoveling.  Then there are all of the car accidents.  Another issue is the extra expense of having to have the snow removed by snow plows & home heating costs. 

          It is a huge concern here in Michigan where people are struggling just to survive financially with all of the job cuts and job losses.  You have to have heat…but, what do you do when you can’t afford to heat your home?  The agencies that help those in trouble are overburdened and are turning people away.  Businesses who supply the fuel for home heating need paid too…but, many can’t afford to pay. 

          I hear all of the time from people in other states who are feeling the financial pinch these days…but are truly surprised when they hear how “depressed and oppressed” Michigan residents are just in the quality of life.  Keep everyone in prayer.  The whole midsection of the US is going to have a very rough weekend of weather…let’s keep everyone prayed up for safety and warmth.

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       People are funny; when things get tight…their fists often get tighter; but not always.  This year, like no other year in recent memory, people are hurting.  They are hurting in many areas financially.  Many have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings…along with medical coverage.  It is a difficult time for many in our nation.

        Most everyone has something that they have been blessed with that they no longer use.  Those things that you have been blessed with and no longer use just might be terribly useful to someone else.  Have extra blankets (or sleeping bags) in the closet or attic that you have no use for?  Someone else has need for them; donate it to a shelter, a church, or an agency that gives to those in need.  Don’t forget places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Let’s challenge ourselves to find ways to have a positive impact on those around us.

         What about checking out deals, when you grocery shop, that make use of buy one get one free…then, donating that extra item to a food pantry?  In fact, things people often run out of and have a hard time replacing are necessities such as laundry soap, shampoos/conditioners, toothpaste, dish soap, toilette paper; when money is limited…having those things donated to a food pantry can really be a big help.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler that has outgrown their diapers or pullups…and you have a partial package left; donate it, don’t let it set on a shelf somewhere unused.  What good are those items doing sitting there collecting dust?

          Do you have warm clothes that either don’t fit, things that aren’t your style; or, perhaps you just have an extra set of clothes that you could pass along?  What about coats or boots, mittens or hats/scarves?  Items such as these are desperately needed in colder temperatures and climates.  The fall and winter weather is unforgiving if a person is not sheltered and dressed appropriately for cold temperatures.  Children and adults are both in need; so, please check your closets and storage areas for things that you are not using.

          Here is another idea; have you had a tree fall on your property that you would like removed?  Offer it to those who heat their homes with wood for free…just for the taking.  Wow…how wonderful to get it removed and bless someone else with the wood who could use it to heat their homes. 

          So you say…you don’t have anything physical to give.  How about donating your time or possibly a service like raking leaves/shoveling snow for an elderly person who you know isn’t able to do it for themselves?  Maybe you could offer to get their mail so they don’t slip on the snow and ice or offer to run some errands for them.  There really are so very many ways to help another person who is in need. 

          Think about the homeless who are living on the streets.  Do you perhaps have a shelter or tent that is not going to be used in the near future?  Can you live without it?  Find an agency or charity that will use it to house those folks who cannot or will not live in a shelter.  We have many veterans and run-aways who live under bridges and tunnels all around this nation.  Is a tent or a shelter from your basement or garage an ideal place to live?  No but, it may just keep someone safer from the extreme elements, temporarily, until they can get back on their feet.

           Are any of these suggestions going to cure the ills our nation is facing; probably not…but, it may just help communicate caring to someone who is feeling desperate and alone.  Think about what you can do to help someone who has it a bit worse than you and yours.  Your donations could mean the difference between life and death for someone; and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of compassion for others!

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     Today has been one of those lazy, do nothing and enjoy it kind of days.  Those are few and far between…but, so very necessary for the soul to rest and build up strength to do what must be done every other day of the week. 

      It has been cold and wet.  We woke up this morning to a growing blanket of fluffy white snow…the first of the season, to lightly coat the ground.  Of course, it did not stay there because the ground is not frozen yet…so, the warmth of the earth melted the brilliant, white snow early in the day.  This is just a mini preview of what is to come in the next few weeks.

       The snow brought joy to my child’s face…and, a look of acceptance to mine 🙂  Now is the time to contemplate making a nice homemade, chunky sort of comfort meal…like maybe a hot, hearty chicken noodle soup with homemade dumplings…or maybe a rich, smooth, smoky pea soup, or possibly a filling fall harvest kind of soup with some happy orange carrots, and some limey green cabbage surrounding floating chunks of the all american staple of potatoes in a nice rich broth of ham pieces or some pieces of bacon. However, this is work…and, cannot stand alone.  One must complement the meal with some fresh- from- the- oven homemade doughy, buttery rolls.  This is the treat that we offer ourselves when the reality of 6 months of cold, wet, dark and dreary winter comes sneaking upon us.  Oh, if that sounds ominous…then you will have to come back on another day when the snow is cherished and given glory…just not today when i have to grow to appreciate it’s beauty.

       Golly, you will just have to check back in a few weeks, when i paint the picture of a cheery morning; when the snow crystals sparkle in the sunlight and underscore the weight of the evergreen branches that bow under the weight of the heavy flakes of snow that have fallen overnight, much to our surprise.  Then you will see that the human spirit is flexible and has the wisdom to recognize all of the gifts in life. 

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       November is here finally, I am glad for several reasons.  One, the election will be over and things will attempt to settle in the political world.  It will be traumatic for a time; no matter who wins, i am sure. 

       One of the other reasons i am glad…is that it is the first of November and it was near 60 degrees in Michigan and, it will remain in the 60’s during the day for most of the week…Yeah!  That is cool…often by October 31st we have seen our first signs of snowy weather; not this year, that is a blessing.  November begins the holiday season and kicks off spending family time together. 

        But, my November cheer just took a slight turn when i remembered how many days till December; not enough, and by December…we will definately have snow.  In the meantime, I have spent two days raking leaves…with many more days of raking to go.  There are still alot of leaves hanging onto the trees; and, i dont want to go out and rake them when the temperatures drop into the 30’s.   So, come on winds…knock them down so that i can rake in sunshine & warmth with a smile on my face…saying-how lovely fall is!

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        I find things that are the most interesting to me, are often things that are going on right around me; figuratively, in my own backyard.  That is why, when i read an article today about a man who lived less than an hour away from me; and actually at one time in my life, lived less than 10 minutes from my childhood home…i took a major interest in the story of his life and his death.  He was an inspiration to watch and learn from.

         This man’s name was Lewis (Luke) Arends.  He lived in Sparta, Michigan.  You might find by reading this post that you may share a connection with him as well.  Luke was 91 years old when he died on Monday.  But, what i found is that he was the man who “discovered” the Paula Red apple, that many of us know and love.  Paula Reds have a sweet/tart tingle on your tongue and when you taste them, they almost remind you of a ripe strawberry.  When mixed with a couple of other variety of apples…they make a wonderfully, tangy applesauce to feed to your family.  The texture is smooth and cool.  The skins remind me of the old saying, red apple cheeks. 

         It seems that Mr. Arends was an apple grower in the 1950’s.  One day, he noticed an apple tree that was a little bit different than the rest.  He continued to watch this tree grow and eventually, produce apples in time.  He learned that this apple tree was different, in the fact that the apples began to ripen much earlier, in August, than the other apples that he had growing in his orchard.  This new variety of apple tree was good and he decided to name it after his wife, who’s name was Pauline.  The tree is still standing there…a natural tribute to the man; and to the fruit growers who were wise enough to recognize a gift from above.  The tree provided early income needed to bridge the gap from one season to the next…helping fruit producers to ride out the ups and downs that naturally occur due to mother nature’s temperment year- to- year.

         This is when the apple called Paula Red was born.  So, through patenting and propagating the species…everyone gets to enjoy a good tasting, early ripening apple before the first bite of autumn makes it’s presence known.  Thank you Mr. Arends for paying attention to the gift growing in your own backyard.  God bless!

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        It is time to get out of the way, now!  Don’t wait…find a way to get to safety.  Don’t try to stay to protect your possessions…nothing that can be replaced is worth dying for.  There is a new hurricane threat to the coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.  The hurricane named Gustav, is at the moment a category 4 with winds around 150 miles an hour.  It has been pounding Cuba and it is gaining in strength.

         Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin is calling it the storm of the century.  This is frightening…because hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans.  People need to get out of the area now.  There has been a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans ordered by the mayor. 

         To enable the flow of traffic out of the city…the highway is directing all of the lanes of traffic to head away from the coast.  There will be no traffic allowed to travel into the city starting at 4 am Sunday.  Predictions are that the hurricane will become a category 5 by tomorrow.  This is the type of storm no one should stick around to witness.  It is the kind of storm that nightmares are made up of.

          With hurricane Katrina…many people tried to stay and ride out the storm.  The mayor of New Orleans is advising against that…because they will be running the city with a skeleton crew of emergency responders.  There will be no one to help once the storm hits. 

           Remembering the disaster of Katrina…I feel for all of the people of the Gulf.  May God protect them and their homes.  Fear, loss, and depression still lingers from the effects of Katrina.  It is such a terrifying thing to not know what to do or where to go.   It was being reported that some gas stations along the main highways were running out of gasoline to help the people being evacuated out of the area.  We need to pray for everyone who is being affected by this hurricane season.

           Where the Gustav will land is not known at this time…Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and parts of Texas are all under a hurricane watch.  To find out the latest on hurrican Gustav click on the site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here: http://www.noaa.gov/

          

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      Regis Philbin has received an Emmy lifetime achievement award for his 50 years of entertainment on television.  Regis has been a staple in an industry that is famous for chewing up and spitting out performers.  His personality is a lovable mix of charm, crustiness and an entertaining sense of humor.  (more…)

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         Did you ever notice after being gone from home for a while how good it feels to be back in your own spot?  No matter how much fun you have somewhere else; no matter how good it feels to go on vacation; or, to travel to see others that you’ve been missing; there is something very special about getting close to your own home.  It really is true, there is no place like home!

        Just entering your familiar stomping grounds feels good; the anticipation that you feel is measurable, almost like your blood pressure.  Unlocking that door and smelling the smells that are familiar to you or seeing what passes as normal on your walls, floors, or furniture; well, it just says welcome home…we’ve missed you!   The sights, sounds and smells of home….Ahhhhh….there is no place like home!  Put your feet up and just breathe it all in…you are home. 

         While you are doing that…remember those who are going through the trauma of the natural disasters that the world has been dealing with lately; tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and say a prayer for them and their situation; give thanks to God above, for the blessings in your life, while you are at it. 

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          Does it seem like the news scene is exploding with activity to anyone else but me lately?  Geez…each day there are tons of news stories that are equally important…but, there is not enough time to do them justice so i will just touch briefly on the most noteworthy for today.

            The biggest story is that Hillary Clinton the ended her bid for the Democratic nomination for running for the office of the President of the United States…she says that she endorses Senator Barack Obama now and urges her supporters to throw their support to him in his bid for the office of the President of the United States.  This is newsworthy because their duo quest for the Presidency was historic; Hillary because she was a female running for the job…and him because he is the first African American who was running.  Some of Hillary’s supporters are angry and say they will not vote for Barack.  Both Hillary and Barack are calling for unity in the Party so that a Democratic can win the Presidency from the Republicans.

            Today it was announced that Lynda Carter, the actress who played Wonder Woman, found a body in the Potomac River, Washington.  It was a woman and Lynda didn’t have a cell phone so she called to some fishermen to get help.  She stayed near the body until help arrived.   She said it was something anyone would do.  I beg to differ, as earlier this week…a video showed a person being hit by a car and noone stopping to help him out.  The world is slowly becoming desensitized to people in  need.  Good job Lynda for acting with compassion.

            On a sad note….a person of great renown in the sports world passed away.  Jim McKay a wonderful sportscaster who set the bar for todays new crop of televised sportscasters died at the age of 86 at his home in Maryland of natural causes.  I remember watching him while i grew up and he had a voice that you wanted to listen to.  He could create a natural excitement about whatever sport he was addressing at the time.  He was special.

           Also, the weather is playing a big part in the news this past week.  There has been horrendous storms in the central part of the country.  There have been tornadoes, torrential rains, flooding and lightening strikes.  Right now the National Weather Service has issued warnings for 15 counties in Indiana.  There are several dams that are on the brink of failing…and already widespread flooding is occuring.  Parts of several highways have been shut down due to flooding and people are being evacuated in several areas for the same reason.  With rain predicted off and on over the next few days…the threat could become more widespread for the residents of Indiana.

              Last but not least, the Dow Jones dropped 400 points today and the price of oil jumped again making the leap up 13% in the last two days.  The price of gas continues to fly skyward…making many families fearful about their financial future.  There seems to be no end in sight as to the lengths that the gas/oil industry will push the cost of purchasing the much needed precious fuels that make the world go round.  It is frightening to think what this winter will hold when it comes to gasoline and heating fuels. 

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         Ok, it is June 1st, and you know what that means…it is the start of Hurricane Season; get ready.  Each season is filled with predictions of how many storms and how many hurricanes are expected…but, truthfully, there is no way to know for sure how many hurricanes there will be; or, where they will hit.

        The best thing that can be done is to keep an eye on the weather predictions and to be prepared as best you can.  There are some great ideas such as having an emergency preparedness kit available.  Pack them in plastic tubs so that they are water proof; and, are easily put into a vehicle at a moments notice.

          Those kits should include bottled water, batteries,flashlights, matches, candles, extra blankets, important documents, non-perishable food items, a couple of changes of clothing for each person, battery operated radios, extra medications that are taken daily, some baby formula/diapers, a phone/address book that has contact information regarding doctors and insurance company information in them.   Those are the type of items that are needed and they can be quickly accessed if you plan ahead and keep these items all in one location.

       It is wise to also have available tools, nails, sandbags, and boarding to cover windows and doors, in case the hurricane should hit your area.  Plan ahead to have an evacuation route to take, to leave the area early if you are going to do so; this is especially important if you have special health needs or physical challenges.   Keep an extra can of gasoline in the garage, for just such an emergency, if you are being encouraged to evacuate quickly.   Gas prices will go up at a time like this and the lines at the pump will be long and filled with stressed out people.

            If you stay…you are risking your life; and potentially, the life of anyone who may have to “rescue” you later.  Keep emergency flares in your vehicle and maybe in the upper most level of your home.  Stored food and water must be sufficient to last for several days; multiply the amount for each person who stays.  Remember, if help is needed…they may be overwhelmed and may not be able to get to you quickly.  It is best to leave the area than to risk lives unnecessarily.

         Communication with loved ones is very important at a time like this; so, if you have a cell phone, keep it charged and if you don’t have one…keep a calling card with you just for an emergency.  Remember, regular utilities such as phone, gas, and electric may be cut off.  Keeping loved ones informed about where you are and what your plans are, will help to cut down on any confusion and extra anxiety that you may experience. 

              Just an extra bit of advice, if you have valuables or pictures or documents that you absolutely can not afford to lose, you may want to consider keeping them on the upper most level of your home or take them with you.  Many people have lost important papers or pictures that are time consuming to replace or are irreplaceable. 

            With a little bit of planning…if the worst happens and your home or business is damaged…at least you can make it easier for your family to get to a safer place quickly.  Get flood insurance if you can get it.  Lessons learned over the last few years from all of the devastating storms that have been hitting around the world…no things are worth loosing your life over…and, the most important thing is to be as prepared as you can be to lesson the pain and suffering that these horrible storms can cause.  You can check out the hurricane storm situation at:  http://www.noaa.gov/

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