What can we do?

The storm has passed us by. Yesterday the winds were high. We had moved all the porch furniture against the wall, brought in all plants and cushions and just watched to see what would happen.

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Watching the wind whipping around the trees and pushing the tide water in making waves was eerie. We watched until it got dark. We were blessed that we had power. Very unusual for here. Usually the slightest storm will knock out the power but it never went out. We did everything that we could to prepare for the storm and finally went to bed listening to the wind.

Surprisingly, I slept until about five. It was still dark and the wind had lessened some. I checked things and all was well. When daylight came we had very little to tell what had happened. We only got the edge of the storm.

bahamas

I can’t imagine what it had to be like to have been in the Bahamas. Having that storm sitting in place for so long with winds that will lift you up and blow you away outside….seeing the water rising abound you and unable to do anything to save yourself or your loved ones. The horror of that time….hours and hours of fear and horror….I can’t even imagine it.

Those of us who have not had to experience this kind of catastrophe have been spared. I don’t know how much we are responsible for this increase in the size and number of storms. It is possible that we are more than partly to blame. I hope we can do what we can to help the environment and change things.

Hurricane and the aftermath

Well, no one knows where Hurricane Dorian will go. Waiting to see who will get this devastating storm is like watching doom coming one inch at a time. The storm when it hits is bad enough but most people don’t think about the aftermath. Electricity can be out for weeks or more. The heat and humidity are agonizing. Food goes bad, people have to leave their homes and if they have pets so many places wont’ take them. Then there is the rainfall and the flooding.

During a driving rain, Maggie Belgie of The Cajun Navy, carries a child evacuating a flooding trailer community during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton

Weeks are spent cleaning up debris and if your home is damaged it may take months or more to get things fixed. I still prefer a storm I can see coming to a tornado. At least my family can get to safety.

Please keep the people in the path of Hurricane Dorian in your prayers and good thoughts. This will not be fun or easy.

Below are photos from the storm that hit us several years ago. We were blessed. Some people lost everything.

hurrican savannah

The tree limbs went through the house into the great room. Things were all wet inside. We are high enough that we did not flood. Just wet from rain.house front after storm

It’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the earth and how it works. It seems that each time mankind reaches a level of uncaring about life around them the earth fights back. Just one example is the Black Plague which wiped out so much of Europe in the 1300’s.

I have wondered if the earth has had enough and is now fighting back again. I know the things that are showing up due to global warming and these may be related but (as far as I know) haven’t been linked yet.

poor mother nature

The green tide that seems to be in both fresh and salt water and is killing dogs (and maybe other animals). I have not heard of this happening before. Has mother earth had enough?

How about flesh eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis) which is now being seen in so many places that seem unlikely? Who ever heard of that being in salt water? If it was it certainly wasn’t frequent enough to cause the shut down of beaches.

Is this all due to global warming? Maybe. Regardless mother nature is fighting back. Besides epic storms and weather patterns I wonder what we will see next?

 

Demolish the wall

Sometimes we build walls around ourselves to stay safe. We wall out anything that hurts us…whether physical or mental. An extreme example of how the walls work is the patient written about called Sybil. Dividing yourself into separate people puts up walls between the root person to help her. Another example is Howard Hughes who physically walled himself in.

wall

Our various forms of mental illness can be walls. Ways that we have adjusted to the world in order to survive. The illnesses seem negative but at some time they may have been essential. (this may not include some types of illness)

The walls are hard to pull down. They are worse than masks. Masks seem more temporary but the walls have been built with bricks and mortar. Our anxiety can cause us to retreat from the world. We only seem safe if we stay under the covers on our beds.

When we are suffering it is very difficult to pull down the walls and move out of our comfort zone. When I am anxious I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I curl into a fetal position mentally and physically. I have erected a wall around myself.

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I have been working on the things that help me to remove the wall one stone, one piece of mortar, at a time. Meditation, remembering to breathe, focusing my mind, distraction are all things that help. With persistence these tools help me to keep the wall from growing and even begin to keep sections down. Progress is happening which gives me impetus to keep on keeping on.

Don’t give up. That wall can be knocked down a little at a time. Just keep on!

Find Lucy

After the serious dry spell that we had now we have had rain every day. It doesn’t rain long but enough to help. I hope that it reached the farmers soon enough.

Today I had a call from one of my daughters telling me that my daughter in Texas has lost one of her dogs. She rescued two dachshunds a while back. Both had obviously been badly treated and were afraid of almost everyone. She and her family have been working hard to restore their trust and put their fears to rest. One of them would probably be considered to suffer from PTSD. The dog is on multiple meds for anxiety and panic attacks. While I was there visiting she eventually let me touch her but is still terrified of most things. Apparently last night little Lucy got out somehow. She is so fast. I’m not sure how it happened but my daughter is devastated.

lucy

Lucy will not come to anyone if called. She is chipped and has a collar with her name and address but I don’t know if anyone will be able to catch her. Poor thing she is now lost and away from any kindness she has ever been shown. They also live near what is called “green belt” an untouched area designated to allow water retention and wildlife. I know they are worried that if she is there it will be difficult to find her.

safe place3

 

This makes me so sad. I would be lost if I couldn’t find either of my dogs and Lucy is at risk in so many ways. Dogs become part of our families and touch our hearts in so many ways. Lucy found a safe place and I hope she is found and returned there.

Danger, danger! -Disease outbreaks

This post looks at an issue that has been largely overlooked by the press and, as far as I know, anyone else.

The issue of immigration has been a hot topic mostly dealing with undocumented people flooding into the country. As a nurse I see a glaring problem that doesn’t seem to be a consideration.

outbreak

In recent months there have been outbreaks of disease connected with the influx of migrants who have been hurried through the system. There has been little time for proper medical checks to have been done resulting in some serious outbreaks.

The scary part is that the immigrants could be carrying things that haven’t been see in this country for generations. Today most people are not vaccinated for diseases like Typhoid Fever, Small Pox, Yellow Fever, Malaria (no vaccine) and others. I had injections against some of these but the vaccinations have been dropped since these diseases have not recently been a problem for us. Some of the diseases we have very seldom seen in this country such as Dengue Fever.

TB is on the rise with versions that are highly resistant. Since some people continue to refuse vaccinations there have been cases of Polio and Measles.

 

Our medical system is not ready for a major outbreak of diseases we have considered eradicated or not a danger.

We have no idea what diseases are coming into our country. It has not been talked about. Have officials even thought of this? There is no knowing. We could be facing an epidemic of epic proportions. Are we ready?

infectious_diseases

Below are news clips that document outbreaks that have, more or less, flown under the radar.

Florida:

As state health officials investigate the source, Hepatitis A continues to spread in Florida with 119 new cases in the last week.

The new cases bring the state total to 883, with most reported incidents of the disease in Pasco and Pinellas counties. Miami-Dade (13), Broward (8) and Palm Beach (5) counties now have a combined 26 cases, up slightly from 19 a week ago. Statewide, case counts in 2019 already have surpassed those in 2018.

(Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function.

You’re most likely to get hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.

Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for people most at risk.) from the Mayo Clinic

Los Angeles:

Government officials in Los Angeles are considering ripping out all carpets in city buildings amid a typhus outbreak that has infected workers.

The disease is typically caused by infected fleas, which hitch rides on rats, and their feces. It can also be spread by cats and opossums, according to health officials. Downtown Los Angeles has been battling an outbreak since October that was linked to homeless street encampments, officials said.

(Murine typhus, also called endemic typhus or flea-borne typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Murine typhus is spread to people through contact with infected fleas. People get sick with murine typhus when infected flea feces are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin. In most areas of the world, rats are the main animal host for fleas infected with murine typhus. Murine typhus occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world where rats and their fleas live. Cat fleas found on domestic cats and opossums have been associated with cases of murine typhus in the United States. Most cases of murine typhus in the United States are reported in people from California, Hawaii, and Texas.) from the CDC

Texas: This one hit the news only because of a death. I haven’t heard if the type of flu has been identified. “Flu” covers a lot of illnesses from not dangerous to deadly.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped taking detainees at its main processing center in McAllen, Tex., after identifying “a large number” of migrants suffering from flulike symptoms, the agency announced late Tuesday. The move comes one day after a teenage migrantwho had been held at the facility died after being diagnosed with the flu.

“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the [Central Processing Center],” CBP said in a statement. “Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved.”

Medical staff at the center identified migrants in custody with high fevers and exhibiting “signs of a flu-related illness,” and they are now receiving medical treatment, CBP said.

 

 

 

The light of home

richmond-home-with-christmas-lightsIn the past my friend and I walked the neighborhood each winter. We loved seeing the houses lit for the holidays. All the sparkling lights were so festive. When you walk in the dark you can also see lit rooms in the houses we passed. People living their lives.

This morning our pastor talked about the dark and how the light of home beckons us. It made me think of the John Denver song “Back Home Again.”

“Back Home Again”

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away
The whining of his wheels just makes it colder He’s an hour away from riding on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There’s a fire softly burning, supper’s on the stove
But it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warmHey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, and hey, it’s good to be back home again

The winter can be a difficult time for those of us who crave the light. However, it is a wonderful feeling to turn into the drive and see the lights of home welcoming us. We are pulled into that feeling of belonging and peace. The light from home does draw us in. It is the place we feel secure….the place where we can rest our souls. It is a warm place in the coldest dark. Even in the darkest time that light can brighten our feelings.

ALighttoLead

Through this winter darkness remember there is light and peace not only at home but also coming with the spring. The darkness fades and the light returns.

If you would like to hear this song:

So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.

I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know

so many questionsThere are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.

I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.

So many questions…so few answers.

A safe place

The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, and when you know your dignity, you just keep growing! That’s what we do for one another as loving people—offer safe relationships in which we can change. This kind of love is far from sentimental; it has real power. In general, we need a judicious combination of safety and necessary conflict to keep moving forward in life.  Richard Rohr

wind tree

This is an amazing statement. It is important that we feel safe. That safety has nothing to do with being safe from accidents, guns etc. It has to do with having a safe ground beneath our feet. A tree is able to grow to great heights if its roots are deeply set in the ground. The same is true of us. We can endure the winds of life buffeting our branches if we have that grounding. We can survive and be strengthened by the challenges in our lives. We can grow tall and strong.

This follows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Safety and security are the base of his pyramid. For him it has to do with  food, safe home, basic needs fulfilled. Rohr recognizes that there is more.  We all need someone in our lives to acknowledge our existence and to show us that we matter.

safe placeChange is inevitable. We need to know where our roots are held fast and then we can move with the change. We may find that grounding in God, in a person, or in a community. Where is not important. Find your ground.

 

Life is a team sport

find people

Life is a team sport. The idea of a sports “team” is that they all work together toward a goal. No one player is foremost. Without the others the game would be lost. I know that sometimes there are players who seem better than the others but that person could not go out on the field alone. Each one is important to the outcome.

Some games are not for team players….I’m thinking of tennis (mostly alone) and golf (also mostly alone). This is the place where the individual shines. They do shine at the game but I suspect that it took a team to get them there. They didn’t do it alone.

For most of us life requires a team. We need other people in our lives. Without it life is barren. I once saw a documentary about a chaplain to those on death row. The interviewer asked if he believed in the death penalty. He said no. He was then asked what he would suggest instead. He answered that he would sentence them to life in solitary confinement. For most of us this would be worse than death. Total insanity would likely be the result. We really need human contact.

For some people human contact is difficult. Social anxiety can make being with others difficult. For some, being so needy that wanting acceptance from everyone can make life unmanageable. ( a different kind of social anxiety) However, contact of some kind is crucial to our well being. For those people social media is a blessing especially if it offers a safe place to interact with others. Hopefully this contact will help move them toward enabling a face to face interaction.

When I thought about this I realized that there were people in the past who recognized like minded others through books, letters, and limited contact and who used the written word to communicate with each other. Many formed a bond and later connected in a more intimate setting. So even in the past communication in a non threatening way was possible. Now it is faster and easier.

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Never stop seeking out those who can enhance your life and offer a safe environment for exchanging thoughts and feelings. Life is a team sport. We can’t do it alone.