Posts Tagged ‘flood’

I Wasn’t who I am…..

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Minot
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Isn’t it strange, how one day your perspective on things just change? Today as I was just driving along, trying to get where I needed to go, I suddenly thought…Wow….I have forgotten to go to God first! I think I used to be that way….asking, seeking, searching for answers, but most always praying about something first.

The flood…..Disaster…changes who you are and what you think, and how you arrive at what you are thinking. Or maybe you don’t really think at all, maybe you just go from point A to point B and dance to the music.

I realize that I am not who I was before the flood. “Things” have taken a backseat. “Things” have gone away. One day they were all safely in my home, and next they became water logged. Soggy couches, chairs with broken legs, a dining room table folded over, hardwood flooring bulged up across the once smooth and shiny area. None of it really matters, but I matter. It matters that through all the troubles of dealing with slime-water-filled stuff, I was no longer who I am. The really hard part of all that, is realizing one day you are different. Realizing one day that you had been asleep somewhere in the midst of it all. The brain fog…clouded everything….perhaps a coping mechanism.

Oh, yea, I went about doing what needed to be done. I laughed at jokes. I helped others….and accepted help from others. Gratefulness. Emptiness. Sorrow….hoping…but mostly no feelings…no thoughts of returning to life, primarily because of not knowing I had become someone else.

There seems to be no question I know the answer to. For others, yes….I am able to say all the right words, because those words are part of the real me. But for me to help me….

What has not been lost? I didn’t lose Jesus and He didn’t lose me. I didn’t lose my experiences, nor did I lose hope. (well, only part of the time) I didn’t lose laughter, and I didn’t lose friends or family. I didn’t lose ……Those things that no one or nothing can steal. We all have them…and it is good to remember what is left. Somewhere in the Bible it talks about everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Sometimes I feel like a snow globe….I am just one of those pieces of snow, flying all over, and finally beginning to settle only to be picked up and shaken again. When the shaking is done, things never return to the way they were. Anyone who thinks we can go on as usual is sadly mistaken. Almost nothing in our lives will ever be the same again.

People talk about the new “normal”. We have to find our new “normal”. Part of finding that new normal is reminding ourselves, that something of what we have gone through will create in us a new and better person if we will allow it. The Bible tells us that “All things work together for good to those that” 1. Love God and 2. Are called according to HIS purpose. If we meet that criteria, then something out of this will be turned to good. If we don’t, then it may not.

I look around and I see some seriously bitter and angry people. I have been one of them! I think I felt betrayed by God when this flood came….I think I had no concept of how it would change all our lives. I think I was just unable to think very clearly…sometimes even now, I struggle with that.

I work, and all is well! I know my job very well, and I am good at it. But in the wee hours of the night, I wonder. Day by day I seem to awaken a little more. I seem to be finding my way back to me. I wonder what is in store for the rest of my life, and how much life is left. I don’t seem to be concerned about me, but more about my family….What would they do without me? Then I think….how Silly! They would be just fine, they have Jesus, and he is much better at helping than I am…then I tell myself….I know the answer to this….”There IS a time to live, and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to plant and a time to harvest…..” There is a time…and when it is time for those things we can’t shrink back from the things we don’t like and hold on to only the things we do like.

The amazing thing we have to remember is that we are who we are, and we are where we are supposed to be! We didn’t make a mistake! We just were swept into a time of “something”. It is OK….We are never guaranteed another day, and we never have been. We have this day, and maybe we should make the best of it we can. I think I have to be careful not to just think about me. I also think, I have to be careful TO think about me. What do I want? What do I need? Why not stop and smell some roses? It may be winter in North Dakota, but the flower shops have roses! And there is no charge to smell them! Maybe today, I should go find a sled and go sledding….not a big hill, just a small one…..I am way too old to be climbing up a really high hill….or maybe I am not!

So what is the plan? I don’t know, but God does….In Jeremiah 29:11 it says, “I know the plans I have for you. Plans for good and not for evil, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” I don’t have to know the plan…I just have to look to Jesus for the lighted path and follow it. He will take me where I need to go, and get me there, when I need to be there. I have no worries, because it is all good!

I must remember to remind myself to ask God first….then listen carefully (messages from God come in so many different ways) and then follow directions. Just following Jesus is pretty easy. He leads the way, and clears the path, and lights the way. There is no stress….just do what He has for me to do today. Tomorrow the sun will come up, and the day will begin, and if I start it out seeking His direction for my day, then I cannot go wrong. I must watch the path closely, it is so easy to step off it and go face first into the mud…or a snow bank, as the case may be.

I love babies, they are so special! Have you ever watched the anticipation of a Grandma or Grandpa trying to get a baby to smile? Over and over they smile and coax and once that little one breaks forth in a smile, those Grandparents exhibit such satisfaction….and Joy….

I think we have to think of Jesus that way….He has the answer, and he will not give up on us. He will keep trying until we “smile”. and His joy is great, because we have accomplished what He wanted FOR us. It is AWESOME to have a GOD who loves us so much, and only wants the BEST for US!

You heard about the little girl who was walking home from school, and a storm came. Lightning was flashing all around…Her Mother, came looking for the little girl to drive her home so she wouldn’t be afraid….but when Mom found her, she saw her daughter look up and smile and continue on her way, seemingly unafraid.
Once Mom got her daughter safely into the car she asked why she had been looking up in the sky and smiling…and wasn’t she afraid of the storm?

The little girl looked at her Mom….and said of course I wasn’t afraid….The light would flash and I knew God was taking my picture so I smiled for Him!

Blessings to you all in the Mighty Name of Jesus! Let God make you SMILE!

Prayyior

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I woke up Angry this morning….perhaps because I was angry last night when I went to bed, or perhaps because I have been angry for days.

There is a litany of reasons why I could be and am angry, but today, it is over a fund that many people gave to and was created to help the people of the Minot area who were flooded out.

It now appears that those who are managing this fund have determined the only people eligible to receive any of it have to be homeOWNERS. No renters will receive a penny. To top that is the fact that ONLY those homeowners who are rebuilding and have receipts for what they have done will be allowed to receive any of the funds.

There is certainly a need for pre-screening of those receiving any of the funds from this program, because we are all aware of those who want to scam the system, that want to get something for nothing, and don’t care who they are hurting in the process. Those would be the people who see themselves as victims and figure in their own minds, that there is money there, all I have to do to get some is say this or say that.

Now it would seem in most of our minds that 6 million dollars is a lot of money! It most assuredly is. If there were only 6 people injured by the flood, each would get a million…If there were 12 then the amount anyone would receive would be cut in half…and if there 24 then it would be cut by another ¼. Each group that gets funds from that fund, reduces the amount any one person would get if all things are equitable.

Now when you consider the number of homes damaged, the number of renters that had to move, and the number of people who are paying exorbitant amounts of rent just for a place to live, it is horrendous.

If you are the decider of who gets what, every time you eliminate one group from the mix the group that is left gets more. Most people sit by and complain but do nothing when they see injustice happening.

I can tell you that injustice is happening in the Minot Community right now. Everyone was asked to fill out a form detailing how they were affected by the Flood of 2011. The information in those forms is probably the most comprehensive study of how a community is affected by a tragedy of this magnitude, ever compiled.

I was not involved in determining how to give out the money that was donated. I am sure there were many good people who did their best to determine how to give the funds out. I am not sure when it changed from how can we best help the people who were flooded out, to how can we best help our community.

I would expect there was some serious soul-searching in making the decision as to how to distribute, but I think there had to also have been some other serious concerns. Perhaps the questions asked was not “who was hurt the most?” But what can we do with these funds that will assure the status quo. Perhaps the first decision was….Well lets not give it to the renters…they may take their money and leave the area. What if we lose more of our work base? We already have a problem with finding workers for the local businesses. If we give them money they just may pack up and move out of the area. Then who will work for the lowest wages?

Then I suspect they said…Well, what about those who got their campers and Mobile homes out of their parking places before the waters came….They spent a bundle to do that, they found no place to put those homes that were moved, yet…they lost nothing! REALLY????? REALLY???? Because they got their camper or Mobile home out, because they did everything they could to protect their property (this is being responsible) they did not qualify for ANY funds from FEMA , and they have no place to live either. They ended up with friends and relatives or in a place that had no water, sewer, electric or gas. This was the group that thought they were doing things right, and in the end it cost them dearly.

The choice to exclude renters from the funds is what makes me the most angry…..I can tell you that had people known what was going to happen with these funds, there would have been nowhere near 6 million dollars to distribute. If people knew that the “little family in the crappy rental” wouldn’t get any of the funds, they would not have given. I have never heard such underground rumbling about anything like I have about this.. First they explode in anger that it isn’t being distributed to those who they know really need the help, (this is not to say that homeowners don’t need help, because they certainly do). The perception of this is that never again will I give to any of these organizations that say they are going to do one thing and then turn around and exclude some of the people who need it so much. In the future, if I ever give to a needy cause it will be given directly to the people who need it, and it will be cash.

In the first days after people started getting back into their homes, there was someone out passing out envelopes with cash in them. It was a gift. It was hope. It was not given to protect some theory of how to save the city. It was a true gift, even though in the grand scheme of things it didn’t do much more than give a few people money for gas, money for food, money for one night in a motel….but it was received with gratitude, and could be used for whatever that person wanted.

Now we have only homeowners that get funds. No help for the renters, no help for those who had to move out of the area because of allergies, no place to live, no jobs. Many jobs were wiped out in the flood too, and those employees had no way to care for themselves except to get in their cars (if they had one) and find another place in another city to live and to work.

So….What to do about it? Is that a question? How does one fix something they have no vote in and no say in? Does it do any good to complain? Probably not. Is it worth fighting for those people? They are saying out of the 6 million that each homeowner that fixes their house and can provide receipts, can get up to two thousand dollars. First you have to fix…then you get some back. What about the people who are waiting until spring to rebuild, because they are quite aware of the fullness of the Canadian Dams, and the inability of the Corp to manage the river flow to prevent flooding. Will there still be funds available in the spring for them?

It is true that those who are not making house payments and living in a fema trailer in FEMAVILLE, probably have the best shot at getting ahead. Think about it. They were in a rental, now they are in free housing. If they set aside the amount they were paying for rent for the period of time they are in that FEMA trailer, they will have a nice little nest egg, to buy something…..when there is something to buy. They will have enough for a down payment on a house….(ie were renting for $1500.00 per month, stay in FEMA trailer for 12 Months…save the $1500. Per month at the end of the year they have $15,000. In Cash) If they are wise, they will come through this OK…Others who are renting on the open market are not as likely to be able to save anything because they are spending money on rent.

In this world nothing is really equal. People don’t receive equally, nor do they give equally.

This is Thanksgiving Week….We need to focus on what we are thankful for….I am thankful for so very many who cared about this little burg called Minot and the surrounding areas. I am thankful for the Salvation Army and Red Cross and First Pres, and others who provided food for thousands of meals, who brought food to the work sites, and for shelters for so many. I am Thankful for Josh who did so much to raise money for this area, I am thankful many days of warm weather so things could get done. I am thankful this flood did not come in the middle of winter. I am thankful that everyone got out alive, even though many have found it a hopeless situation and cashed in their chips so to speak. I am thankful for people who have gathered sheetrock and coats, and have taken names from the angel tree to help those less fortunate. I am thankful for FEMA and their trailers that are housing so many. I am thankful that the workers who have come to work are cheerful and begrudging the work they are doing. I am thankful that the internet is available so people can touch base with others. I am thankful for family and friends and for food and hope.

I am thankful to God for never leaving us…for providing all that we need. The injustices of the world and this situation, make me angry, but I know the “experts” tell us that is all part of the healing process. So I will work through my anger, and look to God for continued hope in every circumstance and Praise Him in the midst of my anger, and ask…..What is it Lord, you have for me to do today?….

We will move forward….one day at a time…sometimes just an hour at a time…but we will continue to look to the needs of others, and look less at ourselves. When we see the smile on their face, and the peace that comes one minute at a time into their lives, and the hope that can be given and the encouragement that so many offer. Those are the things we have to look to. Those are the things that make life worth living. So for today, and tomorrow, let us find JOY in helping others, and in providing hope, and in loving, and doing what we can to help each other through this process.

Yes, we will survive this, we will succeed and we will go on! Yes, this week I will truly start looking for those things I am thankful for….I hope you will too!

The Guilt of Survival……..

There is a time that strikes our hearts with a sense of guilt…for surviving something. It could be life, it could be having a house when others were flooded, it could be for keeping a job when others were laid off, it could be living when someone else died.

It is not an easy road, this life we live. “In this world there will be trouble” and wherever we go and whatever we do we will run “face first” into it. The question is not what the circumstances of the trouble are, the question is how do we deal with it. Do we scream and curse, or do we help out, oftentimes going beyond what we even think is possible, or do we collapse and crumble under the onslaught.

Many of the people in Minot have had their homes destroyed by flood waters sweeping in under unprecedented circumstances. Many have found themselves in shelters, and others in a friend or stranger’s home. Some are living in tents, or campers or doorways, or in vacant flood damaged buildings.

Yesterday, I found I was one of those who was blessed with a little “rectangular box house“, courtesy of the federal government. (although I am thinking I may have actually paid for it many times over) It arrived on wheels, was jacked up and placed on concrete blocks. Someone came and hooked up a water line, a sewer line and electric. Someone built a wooden deck, someone put in an pole that the electric was hooked to, someone dug a ditch and buried the electric line. Someone put vinyl soffit material cut in pieces around the bottom of it to “skirt it” or close it in for winter. I doubt seriously that the people doing this have ever spent a winter in North Dakota….but they did what they did, and for that I am grateful!

The “little box house“, has a furnace, a stove and fridge, kitchen cabinets (although since I am short, I can only reach one cabinet), a kitchen and bathroom sink, a shower, beds, a couch and a table and chairs a closet with a place to hang things, and hook ups for a washer and dryer……It is an interesting little house. The walls are all covered in multi-brown colors, and it is smooth and easily cleaned surface….I suppose if you were writing a description of it, you would call it “Multi-colored” neutral!

One of the most interesting things it comes with is a weather warning system. If a tornado is approaching the warning system is activated (don’t ask me how….it is one of the many things I just don’t know) There is a white light that will start flashing and I am guessing that if it goes off, there is not one chance in a million that you will not hear or see or know that a tornado is approaching. What to do if that happens….is questionable…..first you have to survive the warning signal, and next take shelter. In my case, I am guessing the only shelter would be in the basement of my house which has just undergone massive flood damage, and where I would prefer not to be…..I don’t think it will go off if a blizzard is coming….in which case I really don’t want to be in the basement at all…

Today, my “little box house” is my castle! It is one of those places that I have never said….”gee, I would love to live in a little box house!” Well…that is not actually true….when you have no place to go and winter is coming, and you know it….you wish for a “little box house” or anything that will keep you warm, as the days turn cooler. It is downright cold at night even now.

I feel guilty….there are so many people who have no where to go. Some of them have little children. Some of them are so tired of the living arrangements they have that the relationships they have with those they are living with, are quickly going downhill. It is not a good thing. There were supposed to be two thousand of these “little box houses” all set up and occupied by now. I think it was about 12,000 people who are without a home.

It is only a matter of time before a good number of people who call Minot home, will be forced to leave. Death comes to those without heat and shelter, in the winter in North Dakota. It is hard to leave here…there are jobs HERE, lots of jobs…..the rest of the nation is struggling with no jobs…..What to do? Oh What to do? Stay where the jobs are…and freeze or go where there jobs aren’t and starve. Wow…what a choice!

Trouble…“in this world there will be trouble”……”but be of good cheer for the Lord God delivers us from them all!”

One of the real problems with each of us, is that we discover as times become more difficult, and the options begin to disappear, we become more self-centered. We loose track of other peoples needs and begin to only see OUR needs. When we recognize that, we begin to “feel” guilty! I think that the “feelings” we have are satan’s way of trying to beat us into the ground and destroy us.

Of Course, you should be concerned about yourself and your family, or group. It is your job to take care of those in that group. It is how it is supposed to be. Each person is to be responsible for those around them, and from that circle reach out to others…..but first we have to take care of ourselves. Without taking care of ourselves, we would be unable to be of any value to others. The Golden Rule says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We usually only see…..love your neighbor…and miss…the part about loving yourself. That Word tells us that it is “normal,” “expected” and “ordinary” that we love ourselves….FIRST!

So today, or tomorrow…or whenever it comes that you have something that someone else doesn’t….don’t let satan destroy you with “guilt”. Jesus came, forgave sin, and took away guilt. That’s as true today as it was the day he did that! Guilt is satan’s way of trying to “kill you”, “steal from you” or “destroy you!” Don’t allow that to happen. Instead of “feeling” guilt that you have something that others don’t have, rejoice, be happy…you have what you have, whether it is life, hope, love or a “little box house.”

In my case I have a “little box house“ aka FEMA TRAILER…..but there is room inside for another person….or perhaps two, or maybe even 3. The couch I thought I had, is really a hide-a-bed….so there is room for someone else. For those who are waiting for their “little box house” to come….perhaps I could share mine, so they have a place to wait. Through it all, we will grow, we will be frustrated, gracious, kind, angry, and hurt. But we will come through this valley, and on the other side….we will realize how we have changed. We will realize that the things that were important once, are no longer and other more vital things have taken their place. We will be better for what we have experienced, what we have learned, what we have endured. We will find we are strong and courageous, and if we allow ourselves, and draw closer to Jesus, we will find that He has provided all that we need!

So for today…let’s not let the “guilt of survival” overcome us, but let us ask….who can we help, until help comes for them? And eventually…..when once again, you have your space to yourself….enjoy it…be free…and be Thankful to God, because He has given us “All that He is, was, and always will be! Above all, remember….we are to Him and then to LOVE OURSELVES….

Be glad! Be cheerful! Be thankful! But don’t be guilty! You survived, and are exactly where you are supposed to be……Be Free!

Blessings to you all,
Prayyior

The Guilt of Survival……..

There is a time that strikes our hearts with a sense of guilt…for surviving something. It could be life, it could be having a house when others were flooded, it could be for keeping a job when others were laid off, it could be living when someone else died.

It is not an easy road, this life we live. “In this world there will be trouble” and wherever we go and whatever we do we will run “face first” into it. The question is not what the circumstances of the trouble are, the question is how do we deal with it. Do we scream and curse, or do we help out, oftentimes going beyond what we even think is possible, or do we collapse and crumble under the onslaught. (more…)

Let’s not let Disaster make us Victims……

There are so many lessons that you learn when you are in the midst of a flood, or any natural or man-made disaster.

It seems first there is this devastation and you live in a period of despair, or perhaps it is shock. What has always been is no more. You know that life has just changed and nothing will ever be the same again. You try to fight off the desperation and defeat, but it clings to you. It is not a pleasant feeling, and as feelings go, they make you think it is all important when actually feelings are just that…how you feel.

There is no right or wrong feeling. Feelings are just that….feelings. (didn’t I just say that?) You don’t control them, you don’t put them away, you can’t blame yourself for how you feel.

Feelings aren’t really important!

What you do because of those feelings is important. It is not OK to act on feelings, because if you do, you will act wrongly. It is those times when you have to reach out and let someone know that you are in a battle for your life. Perhaps someone will come riding in and pick you up, take you away, cheer you up and replace some of the despair with hope. Most importantly we must call out to God for help. He will never leave us or forsake us, and will be there and know and understand our pain and help us through it.

There have been times when I felt absolute joy…..I don’t remember those times much, because the feelings of joy seem to have gone off in another direction, and all that is left is a memory, a faint glimpse of another time, but now there is the helplessness, and the emptiness of houses without walls and floors and windows. There are those who sleep in doorways and it is cold. There are those who are in campers and tents and in shelters, all knowing that winter is coming very fast and they have no where else to go. There is the hand out of a stranger. There is the worry of how to keep your family warm, and will you be able to pay the many many bills that have staggered your existence.

I sometimes think that it would have been better to live in a “soddy” like the early settlers did, because then you would be able to survive without furnaces, and lights, plug ins to run the appliances. Then there was a cook stove with a warm oven door where you could dress your child in the morning. There was no need for make-up and baths were taken maybe once a week in a big tub. It might be easier to have a kerosene lantern for light, and the only TV was hands creating shadow objects on the wall. There were lessons to be learned, and one of those was….save everything because you might need it and you couldn’t afford to buy it. Food was scarce, and for many it is now. But then you carried your gun and hunted your food. You were strong, resolved, determined, courageous……You knew that only you would care for your family, and you had a mighty pioneer character that made you honorable, proud and self-supporting.

Times have changed and now without electricity we can’t operate. We have bought lots of tools and gadgets that require electricity or gas to run. Our lives are much easier, but our spirits are weaker. We still have some of the characteristics of years gone by. Many people have given to others their entire lives…..Those people are the people you hear others talk about and say things like, “ so-and-so would give you the shirt off their back”. Receiving, to those people is difficult, but that is one of the lessons in a disaster that you have to learn. We fail when we don’t ask for help. When we are too proud, to even tell someone we need help. I suspect I am a little like that. It is difficult to reach out to someone and ask for assistance. It is good that there are people who just take it upon themselves to help even if not asked. It is difficult to have someone give you money, even though you needed it. It is difficult to have someone come and clean the gunk out of your house, even though you needed it, and it needed to be done. It is difficult to allow someone to cook for you when you have always done it. It feels like you are going to “owe” everyone for the rest of your life.

Others in disasters become “takers”…..they are the ones who think the world owes them a living. We have raised a whole generation of these people. It is sad, because somewhere they got the impression that work wasn’t honorable, that they were incapable of working or caring for themselves, that if they sat, someone would come and do it for them. I think it happens when parents do “everything they can” to make their children’s lives easier for their children than what the parent had. I think it happens day by day. A child has a problem and the parent “fixes” it for them. What we should have done is let them learn how to deal with their problems by guiding them in how to do it. School may be another area that makes kids think they are not capable of handling anything for themselves. Take a “bully” as an example. Kids in school are told to “tell the teacher” if someone is picking on them or doing something mean. When I was young we learned to handle it ourselves. When that happened all the kids that were being “picked” on got together and confronted that bully, if that didn’t work, then they handled it physically. Bullies didn’t last long in my school, but they are all over the playground in my Grandchildren’s school.

When I was being chased by kids with garter snakes, my Dad said….”Well, what are you going to do about it?” “As long as you are afraid they will keep doing it.” “If you run away“, “they will keep on doing it.” “If you pretend to NOT be AFRAID…it will no longer be fun for them and they will eventually quit.” “Now, what do you want to do?” I chose to pretend, until the day I opened my desk and there was a coiled Rattlesnake looking at me. It wasn’t real, it was an image in plaster, but the first looked scared me to no end, and that was the day the bully no longer even got close to me, because he was beaten up in the classroom and embarrassed because a girl did that, and even though I was sent to see the principle….and had to sit in the hall the rest of the day….it was worth it.

It was freeing. I had handled it myself, and now I was stronger…..no longer afraid….not willing to be a victim anymore. Had the teacher been called into action to handle it, one person would have always had the ability to make me “feel” less competent. I learned that day, that I could take care of myself. I could be strong and courageous.

Our Grandchildren today are not being taught that they are strong, or that they are capable of handling their own problems. We are raising a generation of incompetent kids, that will end up having to be taken care of their whole lives. If we don’t empower our kids now, how in the world are they going to grow up and raise another generation of strong and courageous people….They aren’t!

What does this have to do with disaster? Well, it makes sense that people have to learn to care for themselves and the lessons of childhood, help them do that. Let them learn the lessons so they aren’t sitting and expecting “someone” to take care of them their whole life. Every tough spot we find ourselves in as children and adults will make us more capable of coming out the other side with new found strength and ability to deal with problems. The Bible says that “in this world there will be trouble.” So learning that it happens and that we are to deal with it is the only hope.

God does not expect us to sit around and do nothing and wait for someone to come along and help….He expects us to get up and do it ourselves. If he did he, then the Bible wouldn’t say “ those that don’t work, will not be allowed to eat.”

So what about this disaster business. Some people should be helped….All people need some help….those who don’t ask for or pretend to not need help…should most definitely be helped. Every person has something to learn during and after a disaster has entered their lives. Our job is to help others, and that may come in the form of money, shelter, food, clean-up, encouragement, tears shed together, words of love, a Father in Heaven who loves them and wants to be part of their life, who wants a relationship with them. So many lessons….we also have to learn to say “no” in a disaster. It is not alright to give someone who does nothing but take….more. They have lessons to learn too, and if we keep giving and giving then they will not learn and will not grow stronger.

Disasters are a complete “balancing act”. We are called to help, and feed, and care for each other. What form that takes, is up to each of us. The one thing that we must not do, is to grow weary in well-doing, but be there for people in the way God wants us to. Another thing we must do, is to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must gather with others who have gone through the same thing, and bring encouragement to them.

It has been said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” In a disaster, you can share the love of Jesus, and help them to know HE is always available, ALWAYS there, Always wanting to be their best friend. He is always there with His Gift of Forgiveness and Eternal Life, and all they have to do is ASK.

So as the days in a disaster time go on, we must pick up the pieces of our lives, give and take, love and wait, and watch and be….All that God has for us to be, so that others can become who God wants them to be!

Blessings to you All,

Prayyior

Butterflies may be free….

But we are stuck with our choices.

It is interesting how choices work! Do you want Chocolate or Strawberry Ice Cream? Would you prefer to walk or ride? Do you want to fly or take the train? Do you want to obey the rules, or disregard them? Which rules do you want in your life? Rules are a lot like a fence around your yard. Yes, they keep pets and children confined, but they also keep strangers and animals out.
It is interesting how it works. We like our orderly lives and yet we long for a sense of freedom and wild abandon. We find our responsibilities confining. They prevent us from doing some of the things we want to do. Shall we go to work today or should we go fishing? Shopping? Golfing? (more…)

Greed will take us down…..

Have you ever noticed someone who was “greedy”…just wanted everything for themselves and would not entertain a thought for a stranger or even a friend or family member? You probably know someone who is like this….they stand out in a crowd. You can spot them by their comments. It usually starts with blaming someone else for their problems, and it goes from there to I will take care of me and to hell with everyone else.

In principal it is good to take care of ourselves. We ARE the one who is responsible for ourselves. When a disaster strikes, that is exactly when we understand the need to take care of ourselves and those we are responsible for.

We have just experienced and continue to experience a “disaster” to the Valley of the Mouse, it came as a flood. It came because of mistakes, and weather that brought too much rain at the wrong times. It came as part of a plan to prevent what happened from happening.

Now it is time for the rebuilding of a home, a street, a city. Lives have been devastated by it all. Many people will move on, and not try to stay. Some will have no choice but to deed their property back to the bank/lender who is carrying the loans on property. Many want to stay, but see no way to provide the funds to rebuild and still continue to pay on their loans, they can see no way to keep their finances in a stable position. They are responsible for themselves and their families. It is a tough position to be in.

Unfortunately, when times like these come to us, we have choices to make, and some are not, and never will be acceptable to us. We have believed in honor. We take care of our families, and we pay our bills, and we raise our children “right”, so they respect others, and treat people like they want to be treated.

Greed changes all this! Greed comes out when we forget about those around us. It comes out when someone is handing out money or did hand out money and we didn’t get any of it, or we got less than our neighbor. In any event, it is most likely that we will all have to fight ourselves to prevent becoming greedy about what we have and what we are going to do with it.

There is a story of hell, in which you see a big table with delicious food in the middle, just waiting for someone to eat it. No one smiled and each person was mad at someone else. Each person has their own spoon to use, but unfortunately the handle on the spoon is so long that even though they can reach the food, they can’t get it back to their mouths to eat it. Everyone was starving to death.

The same table was in heaven and the people at the table all were smiling and happy and well nourished. They too had the long-handled spoons and could get the food, but could not get it into their mouth. What this group did was to spoon the food using their long-handled spoon, into the mouth of someone on the other side of the table. Each person fed someone else and in return was fed by someone else.

Getting through this flood will require that we help one another….sometimes before we can receive help for ourselves.

When I was growing up, you had to rely upon your neighbors to help you. If you didn’t, then you were done for. How many houses were built by neighbors helping neighbors. When a neighbors barn burned, the whole community got together and built them another barn. Everyone worked free and people donated what they could. It still happens today…someone is hurt on their farm and the neighbors come in and plant their crop for them. Or harvest the crop. Each of us has a role to play in helping each other through this incredible crises.

We cannot rely upon the Government to help us. There may be some funds to assist, but it appears there will not be enough for any one of us to restore our home on the funds we receive. So What Do WE DO?

Can we form a co-op of people who can assist one another without the full cost of hiring someone to do something. Can we find an Electrician who will oversee the wiring of our houses, can we find a carpenter to do finish work? Can we find a heating and plumbing company who will buy our furnaces and sell them to us for a little over cost, and assist us in getting them in? Can we find someone who will negotiate a large purchase of sheet rock or siding or light fixtures? Can we find someone who will sell us a large quantity of breaker boxes and breakers at a little over cost? How about someone who can cook for a large group while this is going on? How about sharing in the labor. If you can’t pound a nail or put in a screw perhaps you can be the person who is coordinating the build.

I am remembering how quickly a house can go up, even today, after watching or being a part of making dreams come true….we all can hear the sound of “Move that bus”. and a new home fully furnished is revealed.

No….this is not the time for greed. It is not a time to think solely of ourselves. Each of us knows someone who is worse off than we are. Each of us knows someone who without help, cannot do it alone. Each of us knows someone who has given so much to others, that needs a helping hand now.

Do I have the answers….No…and may never have them.. but what I do know is that together we can accomplish what we cannot do alone. What I do know is that North Dakotans are strong and resilient people capable of making a plan and making it work. What I do know is that there are thousands of people who would like to help us, if we give them a chance. I also know that if we rely solely upon ourselves and become a greedy people we will lose.

We will lose in that our houses won’t be rebuilt, we will lose in that our character will suffer, and we will become people we don’t like. We will lose in that the lessons we learned from our parents, will be wasted and our Children and Grandchildren will not know the value of “doing for” or “helping” others. We can’t let that happen. If we want the American Dream to continue then we have to do something about it today. We have to begin to make right decisions and the first is how we are going to behave in this crises. We are Americans, and we are Citizens, and we are honorable, we are trustworthy, we are courageous, we are powerful when we stand together, and weak when we fail to stand. We are people who proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, and as Christians we are united to be as He is.

Today is the day for giving HOPE to each other. It is the day for “thinking” about how to make this work. It is the day to begin anew, trusting that God will be there for us, and with him NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Believe….Trust…. Just Trust….

Blessings to you all…. Prayyior