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This was going to be a particularly difficult day. Pressures at work, a long line of demands had been queuing up for months, responsibilities were pushing the limits of our sanity. My bride and I were comparing notes and it was going to be a tough day to start the work week.
On top of our regular routine we have a major trip coming up in a matter of weeks. Details of overseas travel are horrendous! We had to find time to invest in that preparation.
Departure times and dates are already getting tangled in our scheduling. Today we would have to make sure we made those adjustments. Double booking ourselves is an inconvenience for everyone and could easily undermine our efforts to be effective at all of our responsibilities.
We both heaved a deep sigh of dismay, loaded up our car with our bags for our day and drove off into the dark morning for our long commute. My thoughts were lost in our need to get over the financial hump of needed changes, travel expenses and time investments. If I could I needed to think about relieving my bride of the pressure she was feeling.
Now, we discussed possible drastic changes in our circumstances. What dramatic changes could we live with if that meant the relief of life pressures? There were no easy answers.
Then, we rounded the arching on ramp to the Interstate freeway. The Houston eastern skies were waiting to cut short the threatening discouragement. In front of us the Creator was putting on a show.
Clouds burst out of the east, pointing to the west. Behind those finger shaped clouds were the indescribable colors of the divine palate, splashing reds, oranges and yellows in balanced effect. Blue skies in the background were pushing the loud colors , pressing the daylight splendor.
We both smiled at the interruption to our concerns. The God of all gods was breaking into our worrisome souls. It was sensational sunrise.
He was starting the day off with a splendid artistic masterpiece. In massive swathes of colorful strokes that were changing by the minute, we could only watch as He finished up the waking of a new day. No words but just splendor.
We got the message. What did we really have to worry about if He was in charge? Now, we had a day to look forward to instead of dreading.
photo credit: yvonne fong photography
When I checked the weather, the data took my breath away. Today was a scheduled bicycle ride day. In Houston the weather for bike riding makes year-round peddling a possibility. This news, however, could toss a wrench in my day-off plans.
The temperatures were down to 45 degrees. In Houston terms that is very chilly. A 5 mph wind calculates into a wind chill of 42 degrees. On a bicycle with the increased riding speed of 15mph that would feel more like 40 degrees. Brrrr!
Now, it was time to think and remember where I stored my cold weather riding clothes. 40 degrees is about my limit for comfort when it comes riding a bicycle outdoors. Anything colder means that I have to carry an ice pick and stainless steel flask filled with hot chocolate.
My base layer was set. All of the gaps for exposed skin were closed up. Good socks fit into my riding shoes.
My riding jacket was ideal for this kind of weather. Of course my long finger riding gloves were essential. My last item, however, eluded my searching.
That is one of those rarely used items that you relished on your last cold weather ride. But, my short term memory was no better than my long term memory on this search mission.
I looked in boxes upstairs, downstairs, garage, closets and miscellaneous containers. There sure are a lot of miscellaneous containers around our house. Each one is filled with really useful and valuable stuff. One of these days I am going to sort out and organize all of it.
So, I paused to think. Where would I have put that one last cold weather piece of clothing. Ahah! With a quick step into the garage and a look inside my gear for motorcycle riding, I pulled out that special items, Balaclava!
No, it is not a Middle Eastern dessert. There are no nuts or honey with this piece. Instead, it is made from bamboo, making it tough. It is light weight and just enough coverage to make it comfortable for my head not to freeze during a cold weather ride.
Now, I was ready. I pushed off and settled on to my bicycle seat. Soon I was getting into a rhythm for riding. The exposed parts of my face felt the chilly temperatures bite into my tender skin. But, the specialty clothes that I wore kept me very comfortable.
It was a reminder that the world that the Creator gave to us has its down sides. But, with some great choices a careful pattern of dress could easily protect us against the elements. Keep on enjoying His presence and the good feeling of a brisk morning ride.
photo credit: brucefong photography
Stormy weather has been inundating our state. Torrential rains doused our lands with cloud bursts, accompanied with lightening and thunder. In an instant, our three lane streets turn into one middle lane bordered by swift streams of water looking for a place to go.
Not everyone is blessed to live on high ground and in a planned community that installed public utilities to direct massive amounts of water away from homes. Our drainage system and open culverts keep our community safe from flash floods. Yet, our hearts go out to those living near the swollen parts of the San Jacinto River and Trinity River.
Thousands have been evacuated from their homes. They have been given shelter by family, friends, neighbors and churches. Muddy currents have swept away property, soil and vehicles.
Gratefully, public servants have been on high alert. They have responded to cries for help. Alert and courageous, they have ventured boldly into rising waters to rescue lives of people, pets and livestock.
South of Austin, our state capital, hundreds of homes have been washed away. Whole streets have been wiped out and only slabs remain where houses once stood. Lives have been lost and many are missing.
On a busy travel day for the gathering of families for Memorial Day, we all fear for those whose loved ones are unaccounted. Flash floods and water over roads catch the most alert drivers by surprise. Six inches deep is all the water that is necessary to carry away a small car.
My telephone sprang to life on Sunday morning. It was not a text, email or phone call. An emergency alert came through loud and clear.
Tornado Warning: flashed on my screen. This was not a watch but a warning. Added to the alert was an order to seek safe shelter immediately.
Thankfully, the warning was only for the next 4 minutes. I could hold my breath, pray, rest in the LORD and stay safe in our home. No tornado appeared; we were grateful.
Even as I write this another severe thunderstorm is blowing over our home. We can feel our home shake when the thunder claps overhead. The rain pounds against our house like a machine gun spitting out rapid fire rounds.
Yet, the God who created our world is protecting all whom He blesses with favor. His power is far greater and His mercy is even more generous than a flash flood. I will put my faith in Him.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography