Sep 23, 2008

Finally Getting To Volunteer

So last Friday, an email mysteriously appeared from the local chapter of the humanitarian organization I have been trying to volunteer with stating there was a training on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Friday evening was out since we were hosting friends plus I didn't want to start my evening in traffic, so I decided I better go to the Saturday morning class so I can get it over with and be able to volunteer without any more hold-ups. Friday afternoon I thought and prayed about the frustrations earlier in the week and decided I would forget about the past and start anew as if none of it ever happened. I reflected on how overwhelmed they are right now and what good they are trying to do. It helped me feel better towards the organization and refreshed my passion to help others through them. It also helped my attitude when I had to get up at what I consider is early on a Saturday morning to drive north of downtown for this training. But I was able to give my friend a ride to her music lesson so being with a friend made it more enjoyable. The church trip to Houston for relief work today was canceled so I decided to volunteer today at the shelter instead plus Thursday. I'm kind of excited about it. I have no idea what it's going to be like other than what I learned at the training on Saturday.

But I will continue to pray for my heart, my hands, my ears and my smile to be guided by the Lord. I know there's a possibility I might just listen my whole shift to evacuees expressing their frustrations and fears. And I want the Lord to give me His ears to be there for them. One thing that's really interesting about this whole process of getting frustrated, forgiving, putting the past behind and starting fresh, and seeing things in a different light, it's been a good example for me for how I need to do the same things with certain people in my life. I can do that with most everyone, but the people I really need to do this for I haven't been. I've been struggling with these particular people for a long time and God's been working on my heart intently since I moved back to Texas last year. I just love how God works. Not only has He been leading me to the scriptures I need during this time, but He's giving me an example of how to do it and letting me learn first hand. I've listed some of the scriptures below in case they can help anyone else. It's best to read the whole chapter surrounding these scriptures. And if you can use a Life Application or Study Bible, I recommend reading the notes to these scriptures. They rock!

  • Book of Obadiah (shortest book in the Old Testament)
  • James 3: 1-2
  • 1 Peter 3: 1-12
  • Philippians 2: 3-4
  • Isaiah 58
  • James 1: 22-27
  • Matthew 25: 31-45
  • Romans 15: 7

I'll let you know how my first day of volunteering goes very soon. Thanks for praying for me.

Sep 18, 2008

I Have To Vent

Okay, I probably shouldn't do this, but I might pull my hair out if I don't get this off my chest. I started last Friday going through the process to become a volunteer at Hurrican Ike shelters for the local chapter of a larger humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. I completed their application and background check and submitted everything to them. On Sunday I received an email stating they received my background clearance. Then I sent an email with the shifts I could work this week. Here it is Thursday afternoon and all I've received from them is a lot of run around, major disorganization and frustration. Every day is something else that is preventing me from volunteering this week. I think I've called them at least three to four times every day leaving voicemail and messages with my name and phone number for someone to call me back with the information I need or the next step because when you call no one knows anything if you actually get a human being and don't get transferred to voice mail of someone who's not even in the office that day. The final instruction I received this afternoon was to keep checking the website periodically tonight (so I guess I don't have a life!) for the time and location for the orientation trainings tomorrow and instructions for how to sign up because they don't know when they are yet and don't know how I'll have to sign up for them yet. Auugghh! I wanted to volunteer with them this week so I could maybe volunteer with my church in Hurricane Ike affected areas next week. Of course, my plans are not always God's plans and it will all work out for His glory in the end and I need help remembering that. So please pray for me.

Sep 15, 2008

Totally Disappointed

I received an email this weekend stating I was receiving a refund for my triathlon registration. I went to the website and could not figure out why so I sent an email inquiring. Then this morning I saw the refund hit our credit card. So I again went to the website for the race and there it was, "After careful consideration, we have decided to reschedule the USWTS - New Braunfels race from September 28 to the spring of 2009." I am completely disappointed. I was so excited about my first Sprint distance triathlon and was so looking forward to the whole experience. Man! That sucks. I'll have to do some research today and see if there is another Sprint distance triathlon near Austin coming up that I can register for. The shorter triathlons are earlier in the year with the longer ones, Olympic and Ironman distances, in the later part of the year. I bet I could find one. It would really suck to have done all this training for nothing. Not that I'm not benefiting from all this cardiovascular exercise (I've lost 6% body fat!), but I was really looking forward to this triathlon. I need to go race walk to get this disappointment out of my system. It is a beautiful 70 degrees right now in Austin so it will be a pleasant walk. I'm sure that will help me feel better also.

Ike Update

Well, all my family is doing well after Ike's havoc on Saturday. Everyone is still cleaning up but no major damage and no injuries. I can't say that for the rest of Houston, Galveston and the other coastal areas. Evacuees are still in shelters and homes all over Texas and can not return yet. Our church service was packed yesterday with several families in our church hosting about 50 people in their homes. Please pray for these families, the host families and the evacuees this week. Thanks.

Sep 13, 2008

Ike's Havoc

Hurricane Ike is moving through East Texas and causing havoc everywhere. I've been up since 6:00 a.m. I don't know why I woke up so early but I couldn't go back to sleep. I wanted to call my family at that time but didn't know if it would be too early or if they might be up yet because of Ike. My sister texted me when their power went out about 8:25 a.m. We texted for a short bit then talked by cell phone before they lost their cell towers and then talked by land line until they lost that. I have not talked to my parents yet. I can't get a hold of them by cell phone or land line. My sister talked to my mom earlier but I haven't been able to get a hold of them yet. I do know my parents are getting hit with a lot of rain and wind right now. They are right next to the eye of the hurricane right now (9:15 a.m.) and a thick band is going over them. When I talked to my sister earlier they were in between bands so they weren't getting hit hard at that moment. But they already had their generator up and running. Their back yard is full of limbs and their shop has been hit by limbs but so far their home is okay. Their neighbors house behind them had a tree fall on it this morning around 5:00 a.m. They are not home so she called 9-1-1 and the sheriff came out. I was just able to talk to my sister again by cell phone and a tree in a neighbor's yard fell on the power lines and that caused them to lose land lines. She said everyone was outside right now getting generators running and dealing with debris and everything else. Roger found a website where you can watch the four major Houston and Galveston television channels at the same time and listen to one or all of them. And all the areas they cover are getting hit hard by Ike and I'm amazed at the really not smart things people are doing right now during this storm. They knew it was going to be bad and they were forced to evacuate but they didn't and now they are begging for help but help can't get to them. It's crazy over there. All we are getting right now is some wind maybe 30 miles an hour but no rain yet. My mom just called me on her cell phone (9:40 a.m.). Their power has only gone out off and on but so far they have all power and phones. My dad might have been on the internet this morning when I was trying to call earlier. They are getting a lot of rain and wind but not much damage. Her uncle's funeral was scheduled for today but she's not driving in this weather so I'm sure not many other people are either. I'm sure they rescheduled it. My sister's about to get it hard. The eye wall is about to pass them by about 30 miles. So they are in for a doozy. Speaking of doozy, I looked up online how to spell doozy to make sure I spelled it correctly and the first result in my Google search was hilarious.

Sep 12, 2008

Austin Missed By Ike

Well, it looks now like Ike is heading straight to Houston. And it's going to be bad. All the reports online and on television are making Ike to be worse than Katrina. But what's crazy is so many people are going to ride it out. And it's because they are being told to by officials. Last I heard Houston wasn't going to open the contra lanes until in dire straights. Didn't we learn anything from Katrina or Rita? Better safe than sorry if you ask me. But I'm way over here in Austin where Ike will skim by so what do I know about hurricanes. We may get some rain now and the winds might hit 70 miles an hour. So I'll bring the patio furniture cushions in today. My sister and her family on the other hand are right in the current line of Ike in Angelina County, north of Houston. They have stored everything outside in their huge shop in their backyard. They have stocked up on all their "hurricane party" supplies. I'm pretty sure they have a generator also. Roger heard this morning the Houston electric company is expecting one million people to be out of power for up to a week. All schools and non-essential businesses have closed in Brazos County, west of Houston, where my parents live. Most schools in the path of Ike are closed today. Even Austin schools are closing early today to prepare for the traffic of evacuations and many schools will be used for sheltering evacuees. Only the low lying areas have been forced to evacuate. Of course, there are those people who refuse to leave. I'll be praying for them and everyone else in Ike's path.

Sep 10, 2008

Yikes Ike!

The current projected path for Hurricane Ike will hit around Corpus Christi, Texas early Saturday morning as a category 3 hurricane and then move as a tropical storm west to San Antonio then straight north to Austin and beyond. The weather folks are predicting 70 mile an hour winds once it reaches Austin. 88 counties have already been declared disaster areas and mandatory evacuation is being considered. Around 500 special needs patients are being flown to Reed Arena at Texas A&M University today. Most of the coastal areas of Texas are getting ready for the worst. So we're in store for an eventful weekend. I know this is selfish, but I hope my Friday swim won't be affected by the storm. It started to get very cloudy as I was swimming this morning and I had to wonder if I would be able to swim Friday. My triathlon is only two and a half weeks away. Of course, all these predictions of the path of Ike could change several times a day until it actually hits, so we'll wait to see where it really goes.

Sep 9, 2008

One More Step And A Praise Report

Today we completed another step towards the construction of our new house. We met with our design counselor for five hours and made about 40-50 upgrades and options to our house. It was a lot of fun in the end but kind of scary since you're making decisions from very small samples and you won't get to see the real result for six months. But it also added a little bit of excitement to the process. We were quite shocked that we came in under our budget with everything we needed, wanted and desired so we added two luxury items and we were still just over our budget by a tiny bit. So we are completely ecstatic about it and can't wait to see the finished project. You can see a few of our selections in a set called New House on Flickr. We will be posting pictures as the construction takes place.

Our next step is to finalize our loan approval and then another meeting to make sure the builder has all our selections correct before they break ground. We met with a real estate agent last Thursday and were very pleased with him and what he had to say about our current home and putting it on the market. We are going to wait a bit before we do that so we have a chance to stay in our home as long as possible. Stay tuned for more news on the house.

On an even greater note... Our friend Yoli, who had the double mastectomy a couple weeks ago, received her pathology reports today and all except one showed no sign of cancer!! The doctors got it all out and the chemotherapy did it's job. The only pathology report that showed cancer cells were from the inner breast which was removed in the surgery and there's nothing to worry about there. Praise the Lord it's all gone! She is still recovering but doing well. She will begin radiation therapy in about a month. Thank you for praying for her, her family and her doctors.