Aftermath of Sandy – business as usual?

Photo from Atlantic Wire

No doubt about it. Sandy was no lady.

She barreled her way into our area with her high winds toppling trees, tearing away shingles and siding and breaking down power lines in order to achieve her self-proclaimed agenda. Strategically partnering with low pressure systems, other storm fronts and a full moon, she churned the depths of the ocean to ravage the eastern seaboard bringing flood waters and devastation to all in her path. Everyone and everything unprotected remained powerless in her wake. Thousands in our area are still without power. Schools remain closed and the buzz of chain saws and generators continue through the day and into the night. Much like Katrina, Sandy will linger in the minds of those hit hardest, but for some, perhaps even most everyone else, it’s a return to business as usual.

Today only clouds remain and the sun has made its way to peak through (at least at this writing). Some people are back to work and their daily routines, rightfully thankful that they were not more severely impacted by this less than genteel lady. Yet others continue to struggle in the throes of the aftermath.

If you’re wondering how the rest of us want could pitch in to help, there are agencies already at work besides the Red Cross. According to the Atlantic Wire, here are a few to check out.

“Other organizations working to help Sandy’s victims to whom you can donate: the Salvation Army, Feeding America, AmeriCares, World Vision, Save the Children, and Samaritan’s Purse, writes Abbey. The Food Bank for New York and the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey are also accepting donations and possibly volunteers, according to Thriive.”

If you are looking for additional means to help, FEMA offers other national options for donations. Just one word of caution:  Check out these resource providers for yourself and donate responsibly.

One thing each of us can do, and that is to pray for those struggling in the aftermath of this storm. It is the most powerful resource we can offer. (The prayers of a righteous man avail much.)

We have lessons to learn in the aftermath of Sandy’s assault, and it is important that we gain a measure of wisdom rather than immediately returning to business as usual. More storms will come, and we never know how the next ones will touch us.

Waiting for the storm?

Here comes Sandy!

We in the Delaware Valley are waiting patiently for hurricane Sandy to visit our area with her pounding rain and 75 mph winds. Well, maybe it’s not so patiently. She is, after all, a devastating force to reckon with. Already, emergency teams have prepared shelters and most folks are bracing themselves for the worst and have stocked up on food, batteries, candles, etc. (If you still need C or D batteries, don’t bother looking. Everyone’s out.) Thus far, our power has not been impacted, but the electric company fears that it will. I’m waiting for the dentist’s office to open to see if my root canal scheduled for today will be moved to another less windy day. I think I prefer to wait for the storm. Schools have closed for two days, meetings have been canceled and now we wait for the storm.

Living in the Adirondacks for so many years, where storms of great magnitude are a regular occurrence, tends to reduce the angst that could come from these natural events. In some ways, it is a good thing. You can remain cool-headed in the wake of the storm, but you could just as easily become too nonchalant. There needs to be balance. But here’s today’s query. What do you do with this extra time away from your normal routine especially if the power does go out but you can’t? The kids and other family members are home, but computers, TV, movie media sources, etc. are all unavailable. Now what?

After outstanding school projects, review and required reading is completed and the kids tire of the usual board and card games or the batteries run out on their electronic games, you might consider working together on reorganizing closets, drawers, cupboards or any other cluttered space. We’re rapidly approaching the season of food and charity drives and this might provide the needed impetus to get ‘er done. Not only that, there are fringe benefits gained from working together and discussing how outgrown toys, books, clothes, etc. can truly be a blessing to other people. Who knows? It may even motivate them to take better care of the things they have in order to pass them along to someone else later.

Most of us still have some pre-digital snapshots around and looking at them can bring back some fantastic memories. If you have time and resources, you could create a scrapbook. At the very least, you could organize the pictures to put the book together later. If you’re totally into the digital scene, you could discuss fun memories that you’d want to include and print out the pics when the power returns.

See what other ideas pop into your head and let me know how they worked for you. Camping out in your own home, can be fun. Just make sure if you’re using candles or fireplaces, you take the appropriate safety precautions. As I write, the rain is becoming heavier and the winds are picking up. Guess I won’t have to wait much longer for the storm to arrive. If you’re waiting too or if it’s already hit, stay safe!

Will flattery get you nowhere?

Flattery will get you nowhere?

Growing up, one of my dad’s favorite sayings when I’d try to manipulate him to my way of thinking was, “Flattery will get you nowhere!” Dad could see through my schemes because he knew about how people “flatter with their tongue.” That word used for flatter means to divide, share, plunder, allot, apportion or assign. In other words, those who use it are trying to get part of you for their goals and agenda not your own. Dad stood his ground because he loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt or into trouble. He could see beyond my selfish whims.

Does the statement “flattery will get you nowhere” remain true today? After all, we’re continually bombarded with flattery-based rhetoric to pull us in a certain direction to purchase certain products or vote for a certain candidate. Does it even matter? If we are purchasing a certain brand of cereal or article of clothing, we’re not likely to experience any long-term problems. When we’re casting our vote, we could encounter repercussions, some that might extend beyond our lifetime impacting our children, grandchildren and those of everyone else in the nation. It’s important to stand our ground for what is right, so we need to know and understand truth in order to make a wise decision. We’ve got to look beyond that which tickles our ears. Yes, we’ll do our homework, but we can also observe how those trying to persuade us demonstrate their passion.

I read an alarming account on Fox News about  Wisconsin State Legislator’s son, Sean Kedzie, who was beat up trying to protect a Romney / sign in his front yard. Makes you question the discernment and amount of homework these perpetrators did to determine that it warranted violence and destruction of private property. Perhaps in this election, flattery is getting somewhere.

So who won the VP debate?

Covered by Obamacare?

Even the media can’t tell. The morning-after headlines say it depends – are you asking a Democrat or a Republican? Bottom line is the polls are pretty well evenly split unlike the camera shots during the debate. There’s no doubt whose side the networks favor.

Personally, I got tired of Biden’s interrupting to take away Ryan’s opportunity to speak, and Martha Raddatz did not perform perfectly in holding him accountable though she did do a far superior job than her counterpart moderating the candidates for the Presidential race. That said, she was out to pin Ryan down for facts, but let Biden escape with generalities and words like “stuff.”

Did you notice the camera shots? Every time Ryan spoke, Biden’s pearly whites also showed up because of the split screen. (Kudos to Joe’s dentist.) When Biden had the floor, however, he often held the camera’s full attention and the full screen. Is this intentional? Absolutely. We even changed channels to see if this was the case on another station. It was.

Give me a break. I suppose I am naïve in the fact that I want objective news. Give me the facts so that I can make up my own mind. Unfortunately, the networks (Whose payroll are they on?) decided that we, the American voters, are stupid. We are incapable of making a decision without their subliminal messages directing us toward their candidate.

I’m putting my money on Ryan. He listened to the questions and both respectfully and clearly articulated his answers, and to me, they made sense. He even did it without the drama of a smirking smile. But then if I had spent as much on my teeth as Biden obviously has, I’d want to show them off too.

What will you celebrate on Memorial Day?

We can count the hours until the long awaited Memorial Day weekend will begin. For most people you talk to, you’ll find them looking forward to three days jam packed with activities analogous to summer – picnics, swimming, camping, relaxing on the deck and doing just about anything in the outdoors. Some, of course, will remember the intent of the commemoration, a day dedicated to the men and women who have died in service to our country. These may display the flag or attend a parade. But is that enough?

A litmus test to determine if you and your family have the right perspective of Memorial Day is to ask your kids what the day is all about. If they can’t tell you, some remedial work is in order. Why not turn back the clock and see what you and your family can do to honor the brave men and women of our military who risk their lives so that we can remain free? You may know the family of someone who is deployed and can make your tribute more personal, but whether it’s flying the flag, attending a parade or Memorial Day ceremony, or donating to an organization that provides assistance to our service men and women, we do not want to lose sight of their contributions. It is important we remember and that we pass it on to the generations to come.

If interested in donating to an organization that supports the military, Charity Navigator has dedicated a special web page with ratings and additional information to help you decide where best to designate your funds.

Are your eyes open?

“Hello …” you might respond. “I’m reading this post aren’t I?”

Yes, yet I might ask, “What do you see? Just how much of what goes on in the world are you and I truly aware of? We might be cognizant of the world news, though this may also be a stretch. Do we really know much more than Internet headlines? And while we’re talking about world issues, how detailed are we in understanding the impact of these global situations on individuals?

Most of us see what is right in front of us screaming for our attention, and yet while we share breakfast with our family, discuss business over lunch with colleagues, entertain friends over dinner, work and sleep, 16,000 children under the age of 5 will die of malnutrition. Though some of these children are bereft of family, many others live in impoverished countries with caring parents, grandparents and siblings unable to provide for them. In Haiti for example, many children make mud pies – not as child’s play, but to help alleviate the pain of hunger. Do we see them? Do we empathize with their circumstances? What if they were our children or grandchildren?

Some will say, “I didn’t know,” and likely that’s correct, but now we are aware. Opening our eyes is a beginning. Once we see a problem, we can begin to address it.

If you’re ready to do more, click here and watch the video.

POWER prays for jobs

What would you say if you were hurrying to catch a plane and saw 36 people walking through the concourse and praying? 

A group of that size might not be intimidating if it weren’t for their activity. This scene occurred today at Philadelphia International Airport with Bishop Dwayne Royster leading his interfaith group, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Members of the clergy representing Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths directed their prayers to the need for jobs and in particular, at the Philadelphia airport. Their goal is that the Lord will direct Mayor Nutter to go forward with the proposed expansion of the airport. 

Not to detract from their mission, but it does make you wonder if they prayed with their eyes shut – I often pray when I’m driving, so I know that the Lord hears even though my eyes are open and my head is looking forward instead of bowed. Were they praying aloud? Were they taking turns or praying all at the same time? I guess it does not matter. God is all present, all knowing and all powerful, so it would not have bothered Him. Would their actions have bothered you?