Thursday, April 30, 2009

Home-made Easter Traditions

Two weeks after Easter might not be the best blog time to post my favorite family's Easter Tradition, but if you know me you will understand. I have the pictures handy, and next year before Easter I may never know how to put my hands on it. Maybe by next year I will have it all figured out and have my digital photos in order. (: In any case, here is a Easter tradition that my family loves.

This is an idea that I thought up (every know and then, I do get an original idea) when the children were very young, and experiencing their first Easters. I wanted to have a way to make Easter lots of fun and filled with anticipation, without using the Bunny.

I wanted to emphasis Jesus' resurrection. I had the children cover a simple tissue box with different color construction paper to make the cave tomb. We also made a solid brown construction paper door, and finally we made a white paper cutout of Jesus, the main person of this event.

On the night before Easter I have the children set up the tomb, place Jesus in it, and enclose Him with the big stone rock to cover the entrance.

I was told by my pastor that you can't take everything away from your child, as a Christian parent, and not give them something good back in its place. I was determined to use this advice to ensure my children never felt cheated out of any holiday.

How would they feel if all the other children got candy from a bunny, but Jesus gave them a special outfit to wear and a longer church service than normal? For this reason, I placed the baskets next to the tombs. When the children were little, child would secure their tomb in their own room next to their bed. Now that my older children would stay up all night to catch me "in the act", I place them all in the living room.

When everyone goes to sleep, I get the fun of bringing all the candy to the baskets. I open up the tomb and take Jesus out, because HE is RISEN, and I fill their baskets with great candy! Now, what child would not be thrilled with a big basket of candy and the excitement of knowing Jesus has risen!

And yes, this year the musical bunnies did eventually end up being part of the "Easter Display". Now that the children are old enough to have no problem twisting the Easter Bunny into the real Easter Story, about Jesus, I have no problem adding springy looking items to our decorations. And we enjoy watching the cats swat the musical bunnies moving around to the Easter Hop Song.

Easter is a very important celebration in the life of Christians. Many consider it the biggest holiday of the year. My children love Easter Morning and when they were little they used to try to set up all kinds of toy soldiers, lego creations and big stuffed animals to "protect" Jesus from being removed from to tomb at night. This was very fun, especially, to see how my boys tried to "out-trick" me with clever ways to keep me from being able to sneak in their room, get Jesus out and placing the candy basket in without them waking up.

I hope it is a tradition my children carry to their own families one day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our Civic Duty

It is now time for the citizens of the United States of America to come together and not allow ourselves to be divided by party lines.

The "Obama Agenda" being placed on our country is not representative of how the majority of the US Citizens want our country to be going.

We don't want :
  • debt we can never pay off, terrorist given secret memo information,
  • NYC citizens to running in fear due to a thoughtless photo op,
  • our federal government running GM (our largest manufacturer), and
  • our government taking over privately owned banks. We are a country of independent thinkers.
We must not forget who we are, our history. Our government is to be 'for the people and run by the people'.

We the people have the ability to come together, cross party lines and unite to save our Nation.

Let your Congressmen know how you feel and how you want to be represented in Washington. Our Nation is changing too swiftly. I would like my Representative to consider people like me who he is representing when he votes on legislation. It seems President Obama has a blank check and that he can push anything he wants through Congress. I would like my Representative, regardless of party line, to vote independent so that he can fully be our voice, the voice of the everyday people in his district.

We each have the responsibility to be involved in the politic. It is our civic duty. Thank you.

How are you going to respond?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Angels Preforming Ballet - Tornado Survival Story!

Angels performing ballet is a unbelievable survival story written by a Pastor in Murfreesboro, TN named David Young. It is his words, his story. I simply wanted as many people as possible to see it! It was sent to me by a dear friend on email. I am sure it will be flying all over by email.

I thought this can’t be real.
I was lying on my side wrapped around a tree like a koala bear looking straight up into the eye of an F-4 tornado. And the debris at the top of the funnel looked just like angels gracefully performing ballet. How ironic. Those few seconds in the eye of the tornado may have been the most peaceful seconds of my life. It felt transcendental and sweet. That is, until the back wall of the tornado slammed against me, hurling two-byfours, trees, and sheet metal at 200 miles per hour.
Here I was caught on the trail in the middle of a tornado.
It was Good Friday, and my mind was distracted. A minister for a large church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a few miles south of Nashville, I was thinking about the Easter program that had required so much preparation over the last several months. I should have been thinking about the Resurrection itself, but I confess that, instead, I was obsessing over the details of the upcoming service.

We were hoping for 2,000 people at
church, and there were so many things that could go wrong. It had been an exhausting week of preparation, and I just kept going over the program in my head.

Here is the rest of the story:
Lindylou - Walking Through Womanhood: Angels Performing Ballet It is fairly long so I wanted to give you the option of whether to continue to read it, but it will be well worth your time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Angels Performing Ballet

Angels Performing Ballet written by Pastor David Young, Murfreesboro, TN.

Angels performing ballet. Unbelievable, I thought. This can’t be real.
I was lying on my side wrapped around a tree like a koala bear looking straight
up into the eye of an F-4 tornado. And the debris at the top of the funnel looked just like angels gracefully performing ballet.
How ironic. Those few seconds in the eye of the tornado may have been the most
peaceful seconds of my life. It felt transcendental and sweet.
That is, until the back wall of the tornado slammed against me, hurling two-byfours,
trees, and sheet metal at 200 miles per hour.
Here I was caught on the trail in the middle of a tornado.
It was Good Friday, and my mind was distracted. A minister for a large church in
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a few miles south of Nashville, I was thinking about the Easter
program that had required so much preparation over the last several months. I should have been thinking about the Resurrection itself, but I confess that, instead, I was obsessing over the details of the upcoming service. We were hoping for 2,000 people at church, and there were so many things that could go wrong. It had been an exhausting week of preparation, and I just kept going over the program in my head.
What I needed, I decided to myself, was a good workout.
I hardly paid attention to the weather reports this Good Friday. The broadcasts
since last night had indicated that storms were expected to blow across Middle
Tennessee around lunch time. At around 11:00 that morning a local traffic reporter had warned Nashville to eat lunch early because of approaching storms. A tornado warning had even been issued 60 miles northwest of Nashville. Most people knew to stay off the trails for the next several hours. I should have known too. But I really needed to run, and somehow I convinced myself that the storms were all north of Murfreesboro.
I’ve been a runner all my life, though I rarely run competitively. I mostly run to
manage my weight, to relieve stress, and to talk to God. Last fall I had trained for a
marathon, but two weeks before the event, I accidentally swallowed a fish bone and
ended up spending a week in the hospital with abdominal surgery for an acute abdominal
infection. Recovery after that had been slow, and I was down from running 35 to 40
miles per week to running 15 miles or so. I was determined to build back up to a
respectable distance.
Today was going to be a good run. In spite of the warnings, the weather felt
great: mid-60’s and overcast. My energy level was up. My motivation was high. It was
my day off, Easter was approaching, and I was eager to run off some stress. I intended to spend time in prayer, which I do in the form of an inner dialogue with God pretty much every time I run. My prayers sometimes take the form of memorizing Scripture or merely offering thanksgiving. More frequently, however, they take the form of character discussions with God. I talk to God about my weaknesses, and together we develop strategies for helping me to mature. I often preach to myself as I run, lecturing myself on the need to be stronger, more disciplined, and more like the One I follow.
I drove to my favorite running spot, a paved greenway that meanders four and a
half miles along the Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Stones River is a small
1 river, but it has a big history. It was here that one of the largest battles in the Civil War was fought a century and a half ago. Ninety thousand soldiers slugged it out on New Years Eve 1862 and on New Years Day 1863, as Federal troops continued their slow push towards Chattanooga, and, eventually, Atlanta, Savannah, and the Atlantic Ocean. A hundred yards from where I parked my car on Good Friday the battle had ended on January 2, 1863, as thousands of Confederate troops forded the frigid river and tried to climb the western bank, only to be slaughtered by Federal canon, canister, and grapeshot.
Twenty-three thousand soldiers fell fighting for this river.
The modern greenway was opened in the 1990s and is a popular place for the
people of Murfreesboro. Any given day you can find people walking their dogs,
bicycling, strolling with friends, fishing, or running. When I parked my car and began
my run, it was a couple minutes after noon, and there were several others on the trail
walking. I had run six miles on the treadmill the day before, so I planned to keep it to a gentle four miles today. I was wearing a headset, a white headband, my favorite running shorts, and a new rain jacket.
The rain jacket was important, because I had just bought it in response to a near
disaster that my buddy, Thad, and I had experienced backpacking a couple months
before. We are winter backpackers, because we don’t like heat. We had gone up into the Smoky Mountains on a four day backpacking trip back in February. It rained the whole way up the mountain on the first day. We arrived at camp just as the darkness came and as the temperature dropped to dangerous levels. A windstorm suddenly blew in, and all my raingear failed. By the time Thad managed to build a fire (against all odds), I was slipping into hypothermia in the freezing temperatures. I couldn’t stop shivering, and for ten minutes or so, I hovered as near to panic as I’ve ever been. By the next morning, I was mad at myself for being so ill-prepared after years of winter backpacking. I was even angrier with myself for feeling panicked.
When I got home, I decided to buy the best raingear I could afford, but I also
decided that, of all people, a minister ought not to panic, regardless of the circumstances.
I began to talk to God about trust, and I began to read about others who had survived
extreme circumstances. I looked inward and asked myself whether or not I have what it takes to manage an extreme situation. I have the kind of brain that can obsess over such matters (I get that from my dad, and I’ve passed it on, I’m sorry to say, to my son). So, I began to role play disasters in my head every single day. I began to tell myself, every day for the last couple months, that I will never go down without a fight. I made a commitment to God and to myself that I will stay calm if ever confronted with disaster. I will trust God, act smart, and be a man. For me, this commitment was not an act of strength; it was a confession of weakness.
So, even as I left my car for my four mile run, I wore my new rain jacket
thinking about the severe weather I had endured in the mountains a few months before.
As I approached the trail I mumbled something to God about the possibility of rain: let it rain, God. Together, we’re strong. Before the hour was over, the jacket wouldn’t make much difference, but the commitment to be a survivor helped me make just the right moves. Through my commitment to be calm God probably saved my life.
The first two miles of my run were uneventful. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I was
clipping along at about six miles per hour. At the end of the second mile, I made a u-turn 2 to begin working my way back to the car. As soon as I turned around, a gentle rain began to fall. I pulled my hood over my head and kept going. Thank you, Lord, I continued in my fixation, for my new rain jacket.
After several minutes, however, the sky began to look ominous, and it began to
hail. I kept running, but I noticed that nobody else was anywhere near the greenway. I was on the most popular part of the trail all alone. Being alone gave me an eerie feeling —did everyone else know something that I didn’t know?
The hail continued to fall, but the hailstones were not that large, maybe the size
of dimes. I was surprised that it didn’t hurt when the hail hit my body. I can run in this, I thought.
When the lightning started, however, I grew cautious. The first few lightning
strikes were a mile or two away (I counted the time between the flash and the sound).
Within a minute or two, however, the lightning was right overhead. I was in trouble, and I knew it.
I had been thinking about survival in extreme circumstances every day for two
months. Here is my first test, I thought. Lightning may strike near me, but I can beat it if I position myself in the right place. I’m going to get a real test of my new survival skills, I thought. Okay, Lord, let’s test my commitment. I was actually pumped.
The first mile marker on the Stones River Greenway lies directly behind
Thompson Lane—a heavily traveled road in Murfreesboro lined with businesses, offices, an auto garage, gas stations, and apartments. The parking lots of two of these businesses, the Greenway Office Building and the Stampede Saloon look down on the trail, which is
about 15 feet below, but separated by a jumble of trees and bushes. From the trail to the river is another 10 foot drop off, also separated by a jumble of trees and bushes. If it weren’t for the trees, you could probably throw a rock into the river from the parking lots above.
Across the river is an established neighborhood on a rise of another 20 feet or so.
The houses in this neighborhood are some distance from the river, and separated by tall, majestic trees.
When the lightning began to strike overhead, I left the trail and climbed down the
bank to within a few feet of the river, crouching beneath some bushes. I was careful to
keep my feet together and plant my hands on the ground, so as to create a circuit in the event that lightning struck near me. I was actually feeling pretty smart, and I was
confident that the storm would blow over in a couple minutes, leaving me feeling good about my survival instincts. I thanked God for keeping me calm. I remember watching a stream of water trickle down the side of the bank, creating tiny waterfalls over the leaves and mud before finally reaching the river. I remember being proud that my jacket was keeping the water out. No big deal, I thought. I’m going to be fine.
Suddenly, after four or five minutes, the rain and hail stopped. It was odd—the
rain didn’t slow down; it just stopped, all of the sudden. After ten minutes of lightning, of rain, of wind and hail, the silence was disturbing. But, hey, I thought, at least the storm was over and I could continue running. I stood up to climb back onto the trail.
When I stood up, however, something didn’t seem right. To this moment I cannot
say what I felt, but I knew in my gut that something was wrong. I don’t remember if the wind was blowing, and I don’t remember much of what the sky looked like. Actually, I couldn’t see much of the sky. I could see the trail, which was about eye level, and I could see the wooded slope leading up to the parking lots, but I couldn’t see the horizon beyond that. In the distance I heard a low rumble.
The L&N railroad runs pretty close to the greenway at mile one, but my gut told
me that the rumble I heard was not a train. It sounded like a train ... I mean just like a
train, but somehow I knew that it wasn’t. So I stood there for a minute, maybe even
more, listening and hoping the rumble wouldn’t get louder. But it did. It got much
At this point, I feel like I should confess that I was terrified, but the truth is that I
wasn’t really scared. Events were unfolding too quickly for me to feel much fear.
Besides, I had been talking to God for forty minutes about my ability to survive in any
circumstance. So, rather than fear, I felt this adrenaline rush and this intense sense of
challenge—my survival skills are going to be tested, I thought. This will be good for me.
I actually felt some bizarre sense of appreciation that God was going to allow my faith to be tested in an extreme way. I know it sounds crazy, but all I could think of was how I wanted to pay close attention to what happened next so I could learn more about survival to pass on to my church. I was thinking that after I survived, I would be able to share what I learned with others, and maybe help someone else survive. Don’t get me wrong—
I was not thinking about glory or fame. Rather, I was thinking that this disaster would
give me a great testimony about the power of God as well as giving me lessons on
survival that I could share with others. I was thinking that I could write about the story and share it with other backpackers to help them develop survival skills. Ever the preacher, I was thinking that I could use my experience in sermons to encourage
Christians to face cancer, loss, or even death with trust.
God will take care of me, I said to myself. I can survive. And I really believed it.
I think I nervously giggled at the strangeness of the situation. I never once thought of
The rumble was very loud by now, and I heard cars honking, metal screeching,
and transformers exploding. Dude, I said jokingly to myself, you’re in a tornado. This is even bigger than Backpacker Magazine. You’re gonna be on Oprah. It sounds flippant now, but at the time, humor was my way of staying in control of my emotions, and it worked. Panic is the number one killer in survival situations. Presence of mind, a sense of purpose, and even humor are often the very elements that determine who will live and who will die in the midst of a disaster. By talking to God, by looking for a lesson to be shared with others, and by kidding myself, I was able to stay calm and to act smart. By the grace of God, staying calm and acting smart probably kept me alive.
When I heard the transformers exploding, I had five seconds to decide what to
I quickly looked around at the options. Bunches of trees, the river, a small dock
built by the park service jutting out into the water. Nothing else. The nearest tree of size
was a few feet away. I quickly wrapped my arms around it at the base, laid on the
ground, curled my body around the trunk, and looked up to monitor the situation. I asked God to forgive me of my sins, then, mumbled something like “let’s get it on!”
Within two seconds I saw the first pieces of debris flying over me. They were
topping the trees above the trail, coming from the direction of the parking lots. I was
impressed by how much debris there was and how fast it was traveling. It looked like it had been shot from a canon.
Then I heard the cracking of wood; not a little bit, but the sound of an entire
forest being split at once. It is not a sound that you can ever forget—wood from a whole
forest violently exploding. If you can imagine ten thousand baseball bats being wildly
broken at the same time, you will know what I heard. I checked my grip on the tree, and thought to myself, “Here she is!”
Immediately afterwards, I saw the wall of the tornado top the crest of the slope
and slam into me. The sound was amazing, and the power incredible. Everything around me, including the ground, was shaking. I could feel my tree groaning as it was trying to leave the ground. The whole forest heaved. Debris was crashing all around me. Static electricity made my hair stand on end. I saw what appeared to be a house fly right over my head, past the river and off into the wild.
Though I had curled myself around the tree, the tornado picked up my legs and
extended my body into the wind. I suppose my adrenaline was working properly,
because I never lost grip of the tree, even though my body was now off the ground
flapping in the wind like a flag. I never thought I’d lose my grip; I was determined that I would not fail this test. I wanted to make God proud of me. I kept thinking that I needed to document the experience in my mind so I could help others. I never closed my eyes.
The front wall of the tornado was bad, but when it passed, I found myself in the
strangest world I’ve ever seen. I was in the eye of the tornado, and I knew it. I dropped
back to the ground and instinctively curled around the tree again. A lot of debris was still shooting across the river, firing across my line of sight like meteors. But now I also saw debris spiraling inside the vortex of the tornado. Close to me, it was traveling at lightning speed, racing around and around just like you’d expect.
But farther up, along the inside of the funnel, the debris was moving slowly,
gracefully, almost playfully at the top. It wasn’t circling; it was dancing, up and down
more than from side to side. I don’t know how far up I could see, but it seemed like
miles. A strange light illuminated the inside of the tornado. It was totally surreal. It was
peaceful, calm, and, I hate to say it, incredibly happy. I fancied that angels were
performing a ballet just for me at the top of heaven’s ladder. So this is what’s inside a
tornado, I remember thinking.
It is not possible to describe the feelings you get in the eye of a tornado. There is
such a mixture of primal feelings—blood pulsing, mouth drying, eyes focused, heart
racing, muscles taut. Everything that has been you, in my case for 48 years, comes down
to one infinite point and freezes; your breathing calms and your mind seems to step out
of your body and look around in amazement. You notice the smallest details: a leaf
blowing past, a small sound, the strange illumination inside the vortex. You watch the
inside of the funnel as though you were watching a movie. There’s a strange sense of
And you feel, at the same time, both all alone and totally immersed in the love of
God. I mean that literally. In the eye of the storm, there is no one else, and as far as you can tell, the entire world is now gone. Nothing looks familiar, and you sense that you have already died and gone to heaven. The peace, the beauty, and the overwhelming view up the vortex above all lead you to feel an intimacy with God. I felt loved in the eye, and even now that feeling moves me to tears. It’s like going to heaven and seeing the book of Revelation. It’s like waking up in Alice’s Wonderland, Deep Space, and your mother’s womb all wrapped into one. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, and no worries. Just peace, calm and incredible beauty. In the eye of the storm, you may not even be you any more.
To be in the eye of the tornado is unforgettable. I want to say to anyone who has
lost a loved one to a tornado that, chances are, your loved one died far more peacefully than you think. Inside the storm the love of God is more intense than you can ever, ever, ever imagine. It is calm, peaceful, and overwhelmingly safe. Your loved one died in the loving arms of God, and I guarantee you that they knew it.
Being in the eye makes you thankful to God, and I remember murmuring some
words of gratitude, at least in my heart, if not with my mouth. I was thankful for the
three seconds—or was it an eternity?—that I spent in the eye of that storm.
Grateful, that is, until the back wall of the tornado hit me. The front of the
tornado had been violent, but the back was even worse. Best I can tell, the front of the
tornado had picked up trees and broken off large branches. Now the back of the tornado began to drop them all around me. Debris was slamming everywhere. Though I had been in the tornado only 10 seconds or so, it already seemed like a long time. The peaceful feeling quickly dissipated; now I had to ride out the worst. I remember thinking, “almost over; hang on; you’re going to make it!”
Meanwhile, stuff was dropping all around me. Two trees fell on me; I saw the
first one coming. I remember thinking it was odd because it fell backwards away from
the river. Most of the debris was flying across the river. The trunk was probably 5 or 6
inches in diameter, and it landed on my left leg, just above my ankle (which was curled up behind my bottom). I saw it hit me, but didn’t feel anything. I think I was too pumped. Immediately afterwards, a second tree fell on me from above. I didn’t see this tree coming. When it landed, it was on top of my body, and must have hit my head, since later I would discover a deep gash above my left ear. I didn’t feel any pain.
Then, just as quickly as I saw the tornado come over the rise, I saw it cross the
river and leave. The back of it looked almost like a curtain; it was distinct. You could see where it began and where it ended. I remember as it crossed the river water danced upward, like a million little dancing fountains in Las Vegas. I watched the tornado move up the opposite bank into the trees and towards the neighborhood behind the woods.
Then it was gone.
For me, the storm was over. I lay there a little while to make sure that there was
no residual debris following it. I couldn’t see much because of the trees on top of me, but
I just kept thinking “I survived! I’m a survivor! We did it, God!” I remember giggling
and saying thank you to God over and over again.
As soon as I knew the storm was gone for sure, I wanted off the greenway fast.
To get off, I had to climb out of the trees that were on top of me. It only took a moment.
But, when my head emerged from the top of the downed trees, I stopped in my
tracks. There before me, where only 30 seconds before had been a beautiful woods, lay the remains of a nuclear explosion. You’ve heard it before, but until you see the
destruction caused by a tornado, there simply are no words to describe the view.

Everything was destroyed. The trees were twisted, mauled, tangled over the ground.
Huge sheets of metal were wrapped around many of them. Two by fours with jagged
nails were lying everywhere. Entire sections of buildings, roofs, glass, twisted pieces of who-knows-what were everywhere. I gulped and realized that this was serious. Very serious. If anyone else was in this storm, I realized, they were probably dead. From what I could see, I assumed that the entire city of Murfreesboro had been wiped out. My heart sank.
I couldn’t walk on the trail, either to the left or to the right, as the debris was
piled ten or fifteen feet high. So I climbed through the debris up the slope towards the
parking lots I knew were above me. It took only a few minutes (I was really, really
motivated to get off that trail). When my head emerged above the slope, all I could see
was devastation. A three story office building to my left had lost the top floor and half of the second. Directly in front of me a pile of trailers was stacked 20 or 30 feet tall in a twisted, smoking pile of angry destruction. Live wires and cables were everywhere, as were trees, broken telephone poles, and tons of debris.
My first instinct was to run to the office building to check for survivors. I
assumed that if anyone had been in the building, they were probably dead. It is hard to describe how bad it looked. As I began to walk, however, I stumbled. I didn’t realize that I had been hurt. My left leg was beat up badly, and the gash on my head was bleeding. I was wearing a white headband, and though I hadn’t seen any blood, it was filling with blood (as well as mud from the storm).
Circling in the parking lot were four immigrant workers. I don’t know why they
were there; I assumed that they had been landscaping nearby and ran over to check the same building I wanted to check. When they saw me, their faces grew white. I could tell by the looks on their faces that I must have looked bad, though, again, I didn’t feel any pain. One of them ran towards me, and as I took a step towards him, I fell. I think I was in a mild form of shock, though I never lost my awareness. He picked me up, threw my arm over his shoulder, and carried me towards a couple of pickup trucks that were
pulling up at that moment. I asked him his name, but we were both in such shock that I can’t remember if he even answered.
“We’ve got to go to that building and check for survivors.” That’s all I could say
as several men gathered in the parking lot. One of them was a rescue squad responder, who was putting on a firefighter’s uniform as quickly as possible. “I’m going in with you,” I yelled out. “No, sir, you are going to the Emergency Room. You are hurt.” We argued for a few seconds, as he continued to put on his uniform. Finally he put his hand on my chest, as if to threaten me, and yelled. “You’re injured and you’re going to the Emergency Room right now. End of story.”
A couple of guys from a landscaping business had pulled up in their truck.
Turning to these guys, he asked them if they would take me to the ER. “Of course,” one said. “Get in the back of the truck,” he ordered me. I must still have been pretty
disoriented, because I stumbled around trying to figure out what he meant by “back of the truck.” I fell again, though I couldn’t figure out why I kept stumbling.
The truck had a double cab, and they put me in the back seat. As we hurried off
towards the local hospital, we turned onto Haynes Drive, a heavily traveled road
dissecting one of Murfreesboro’s largest clusters of neighborhoods, including my own.

We got a couple miles before we saw debris on Haynes—terrible debris. Trees were
down, huge chunks of houses were scattered across the road, telephone poles snapped in two. It looked horrible. Only later would I find out that a beautiful young woman and her nine week old baby had just been killed on Haynes Drive only a moment after the tornado had shaken me. Haynes Drive was completely blocked by mounds of wreckage.
We had to find another route to the hospital.
We drove around for a few minutes trying to find a way to get through the
neighborhood to the other side of town, where the hospital is located. The men who were driving me to the hospital were anxiously trying to call their family members, but most of the cell towers were jammed. We only managed to get a few calls through. Because my wife and kids were, unbeknownst to me, crouching in the back of a grocery store seeking shelter from the same tornado, which they saw from only a few yards away, they were unable to answer their phones. For thirty minutes, we were out of contact, but I wrongly assumed that they were safe far on the other side of town, so I wasn’t worried about them. I only wanted to tell them where I was so they wouldn’t worry about me.
Later I found out that they were all praying for me. Incredibly, my thirteen year old son, Jonathan, was anxiously pacing the floor of the store while a tornado was directly over his head, praying over and over again that God would save me. What others would call “luck” in my survival, I credit to their prayers.
It took some time, but eventually my new found friends pulled up to the ER. I
opened the door of the truck and fell out again onto the pavement. During the truck ride, my head had begun to hurt a little, but I still couldn’t figure out why I kept stumbling. I remember a handful of emergency personnel at the entrance of the ER; several picked me up and put me into a wheelchair. When they wheeled me in, a lineup of ER staff members stared at me with wide-opened eyes. They had already been told to expect the worst, and I was their first patient.
It wasn’t until they rushed me back to a cubicle and removed my clothing that I
realized why everyone looked at me in amazement, as well as why I kept stumbling. My white headband was bright red, soaked in blood. My clothing had blood all over it. Soon the sheets on the hospital bed would have mud and blood on them. The gash in my head was pretty bad; all the way to the skull, and requiring 7 or 8 staples to stop the bleeding.
My leg looked awful—bloody, cut up, and quickly swelling to a large size. Oh, I
thought, this is why I keep falling.
I had a concussion and my leg was badly bruised, but I knew in my heart that I
was okay. I knew that God had saved me; that I had lived through they eye of a tornado, that two months of prayers about trust had been answered in a massive way. Odd, but I felt euphoric; I couldn’t stop laughing. The morphine and the hydrocodone only made me more animated. I joked with the ER staff, who seemed more stressed than I was (they weren’t on morphine). I tried to encourage them to wheel me over to the side and prepare for an onslaught of seriously wounded people, but they were too professional and too kind to do that. Every one of them was super nice to me. Two different women, both named Jennifer, were especially kind to me; I remember thinking that Jennifer was going to be one of my new favorite words. I felt as though we were all in this together. I know I must have talked their heads off. All I could say, over and over again, was “I survived a tornado. Can you believe it? I was in the eye of a tornado. And I survived!”

I went home from the hospital with dear friends, who prepared dinner for me
while my family went to see if we still had a house. Incredibly, our house didn’t have a
single shred of damage or debris, even though scores of houses all around us were hit by the storm. By eight o’clock I was home with my family. We had no electricity, but we had all survived. God is awesome, we agreed, before saying goodbye to the wildest day of our lives.
The Good Friday tornado was one of the worst storms ever to strike Murfreesboro. To this date, no one is even sure how many tornados touched down in Murfreesboro. Were there two? Even three? The tornado that caught me cut a 23 mile path through Rutherford County, sometimes as wide as half a mile. Experts estimate that
the tornado measured four on the Fuchita scale (an “F-4” tornado) when it passed over me; that’s a “Devastating Tornado packing winds between 210 and 260 miles per hour” according to the National Weather Service. Over 800 businesses and homes were damaged by the tornado, scores of them completely destroyed. Fifty-one persons were treated for injuries, some severe. Two precious people lost their lives. I suffered a concussion and a beat up leg. Thirty eight million dollars worth of damage was inflicted on our community.
But Tennesseans have a knack for bouncing back. The very next day, literally
hundreds upon hundreds of people roamed the neighborhoods with chainsaws, shovels, food and water, helping neighbors clean up. A hundred-fifty people from my church gathered at 8:00 a.m. and spent the day helping their neighbors. To date, there has not been a single incident of vandalism. Instead, everyone is pulling together to help each other out. Our community has come together. We’re going to be okay.
Easter Sunday, 2009, was one of the prettiest Sundays I’ve ever seen. The
weather was cool, the sun was beautiful, and the sky was perfect blue. It was an Easter unlike any other in my life. I had already planned to talk about the Resurrection, but now I had felt it. God raised me on Good Friday.
Our church had 2,307 in attendance, shattering our old attendance record. Across
the stage we had over a hundred lilies, looking a lot like angels in front of the empty
tomb. And there I was, hobbling onto the platform with my brother ministers,
surrounded by the white heralds of spring, proclaiming that, no matter how dark the
storm may seem, Christ is Risen!
David M. Young
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
April 14, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Who To Follow On Twitter?

Who To Follow?
With so many people on twitter, how does a person figure out who to follow? I am not asking a rhetorical question. I am just a little puzzled.

When I first started at twitter, I would look for people who had similar interest, or different interest but seemed interesting. I looked at their twitters to see if I wanted to follow them. Let's face it, with this and every other avenue, you get some pretty weird or sick people, and you get some people that you just would not care to listen to a word they spoke (or twoke).

When I see a person that cusses like a sailor (why do sailor's get the rap!?) how about a person who curses like a average r-rated movie character or an everyday common high school student whom their life has been not so kind and/or they haven't been taught or exposed to how to speak in an honoring way....oops...I got carried away.

Where was I ...twittering...I have about 850 people following. It really doesn't matter to me who follows, but what I find amazing is when I look at most who follow I can't figure out why they would choose me to follow. I mean, we are nothing like each other, and for some reason they hit the select to follow button when they saw my profile or a tweet. I would love for people to have to write a few words stating why they are following you. At least I would know if they are just being humored or like to see life from another's perspective or figured out a connection that I don't see or maybe they see an angle that will benefit them, that I don't see.

Quality, Not Quantity.
I went through a rash period in January and tried to see how many twitters I could get to follow me. The point wasn't quality but quantity. When I got real close to 1,000 people that I was following I realized I hated twitter. It got to the point that it was like a dream if I could get one personal response back a day.

When I first started with about 25 twitter friends I got personal responses back all day long. Twitter was so fun...a new way to connect with the world...a place to go for advice or to share something really "great" (or mundane) that just happen...and I was bursting to tell someone but only had three teens that could care less if I spoke.

Twitter had a really great purpose in my life. If felt plugged into the world, even though I was still a mom at home teaching her children, and thinking great thoughts like "what's for dinner"?

I have tapered my list down and down, but it has never happen again. I still can't get a personal level connect that I had before I went on the rampage of rising as high as I could in twitterville. I even would check every few days to see what my twitter grade was. I haven't checked it in a month or so but I was about 98%. Who doesn't like to see a grade that high .... I was ever working to be 100, like I did in my college days. I get I am about 52% grade today. See how easy it is to slip from the top of the pile. The thrill is going up, but once you get there it is real work keeping a top!

Recapturing Twitter Fun!
Twitter was not suppose to be work it was just for fun. So I really do want to hear from you. How do you decide 'who to follow on twitter'? And if you feel like it, tell me why you twitter. What purpose does it serve in your life? If you are following me, why? And if you notice that I am not following you and you really want to enjoy twitter relationships, let me know.

I am a real relationship I don't think much about making business contacts, seeing twitterfriends as potential $$$$ in some way or another, but hey, that is what makes the world go round and not be boring...we are all a little different.

What do you say? Help me figure out how to make Twitter fun again!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Murfreesboro, TN Tornado (Rutherford County)

I am shook up. I live in Murfreesboro, TN where the tornadoes hit heavy today. I went to pick up a teen that was working on a school project with my son. On our way home it started hailing, and I blew it off as no big thing. I laughed with my brother on the cell phone about being a "cool" mom that drove around in hail before it stormed...not that I planned it.

I pulled up as close as I could to the garage door, and we rain inside through the wind, rain and hail. Looking at the TV, we saw that the tornadoes were coming our way, Right our way! The streets the TV Weather Channels were naming where literally all around us.

My two teen sons and their two friends darted to the front porch to "watch" the storm. I ordered them in as lighthearted as a mom surrounded by tornadoes can be and told them that I at least wanted them in the house, in case the tornado hit. "It would be kinda irresponsible for me to tell your parents if you blew away in a storm that I was sorry I let you stay outside," I informed them as they got inside and I dead-bolted the door.

We went to the hall bathroom. Four growing teen boys are not going to fit in the bathtub! Three of the smallest stood in the tub and the other nervously stood close to the tub. I crouched down on the corner.

One of the boys said something about it being OK if we were hit because we were all going to heaven. I know the boys pretty well, but I figured I better ask quick, "Everyone is going to heaven right?" These boys all have grown up in the church so I didn't need to say much more to get right to the point. They all joyfully agreed, and then one of my sons began to speak.

He told us, "I'm sorry guys, this is my fault. I woke up at 3 am when it was storming last night and told God that I liked when it stormed. I actually told Him I could handle a disaster, so....I am sorry that I brought this on us." We all kinda laughed it off and waited about as long as four teens can...a minute...When we didn't hear anything, we went back to hear the TV reports. Then my son announced that he wanted to pray, so he prayed for us and confessed the arrogant way he spoke to God.

I quipped, "Hey, bet you wanted to get that off your chest. It would have been pretty bad, you probably couldn't have lived with yourself if one of us died." Everyone shrugged it off and we listen...well, not quite, I listened while the boys chattered loudly and threw jokes around. They were a little pumped with an adrenalin rush from the tornadoes that where still coming on toward us.

I tried to listen closely to the streets to make sure we were safe.

This all started about 1 pm. It surprises me now, 3 hours later, how blessed we were. And I am saddened, concerned and desire to hear from all of my friends. I have lived in Rutherford County for 16 years. I am wanting to know about hundreds of people.

Getting the dribbling in news reports can be worse, then actually being able to see what is going on. Every time a neighborhood or street is named by eye witnesses seeing damage we know someone that lives there and want to know if they are OK. I am starting to feel helpless. I called our church at 3pm, but got the "we are not here" recording. I signed up on-line to volunteer for the Red Cross, and sent a note to our Murfreesboro City Government office offering to help. I am a LPN, but thank God not many people are hurt.

The past six months, I have been walking through stage four lymphoma cancer with a dear girlfriend, who was my mentor from church a few years back. She just finished her chemo a week ago and is waiting another week before she has her scans and test to see the chemo results. Her neighborhood is reportedly hit hard. It seems the first two confirmed deaths are from her area. You gotta now how hard it is to not be able to talk to her. My heart is breaking. A friend that called me about 1 hour ago said her husband was checking on an older couple in that area. He couldn't even get down the main street that turns off the Hwy about a block from her subdivision entrance. So it is a waiting time.

I so badly want to get in the car and head down the street. Police have asked us to stay off the cell phones and to not leave our homes, so that they can get the search and rescue completed. Also we have been told that a lot of power and phone lines are down. Another one of our family's friends neighborhood reported that the power was completely turned off for safety reasons. And our Senior Pastor's neighborhood is reported to be leveled. Oh, God, please keep all of these people safe. We can rebuild buildings, structures of wood, brick, metal. But we can't bring people back to life. Storms, like these, can cause so much trauma, like what people experience in coastal hurricanes. Friends, families and churches need to be ready to help effective people though the trauma of natural disasters.

A friend driving on Hwy 96 by St. Andrews and saw the funnel cloud form. It went right pass Publix. It cut through neighborhoods. One of the tornadoes cut across I-24. My husband just called (at 5:12 pm). He just got off the interstate and is gassing up. He heard on the radio that our church, New Vision Baptist, on Thompson Lane is being set up as a red cross center. He heard from police reports that all of Tomahawk Street off of Haynes is leveled. There seems to be 100 homes at least in this area that are totally destroyed. The police are reporting the two deaths are a nine week old baby and 20 year old mom that lived on Haynes. The police also reported 7 critically injured.

Other people are reporting damage to property. Starting at the BP on the corner of Thompson and Murfreesboro Road (SR 70) there seems to be severe damage. Heavy tracker trailers and equipment from the building behind the BP are all tossed around. The New Office Building is ripped in half. The trees behind this area look like they have been mowed down. This appears to be where the tornado cut through to Tomahawk. The homes at the beginning of Tomahawk off of Haynes are wind-blown but not destroyed.

Today is Good Friday. There is a concert planned at our church tonight...a pretty big Christian Band, New Song. The lead singers family goes to our church. His neighborhood is one that has had the power turned off. I always questioned why in the world would we call the day Jesus was crucified, "good?" It always didn't seem to fit, even if we know that He rises on the third day. That is the way it is with God. What we mean for evil, He uses for good. What is stolen and destroyed, like locust ravaging crop fields, He restores. What is dead, He resurrects to life. The Bible tells us all these fact, just like it says, "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord." Somehow, someway, God brings beauty from ashes. That is way I love Him so much. He is the only true source of "hope we can believe in!" And you can take that fact to the bank! I, like many, have staked my life on my faith, believing God!

So say a prayer for all the families crying out in Murfreesboro, we will get through this and be a stronger community for it. I will update when I find out more. I will also bring you some real pictures.

I turned to look out my wouldn't believe what a beautiful day it sunny and clear the skies are! Life is full of paradoxes - as I look out of the top pain, seeing the still white fluffy clouds, it is hard to think just a few hours ago a deadly storm with maybe five tornadoes swept through my little city. I hope these skies remind everyone in our city of God and the hope He is bringing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

7 Things You Need to Know to Save Your Life

Seven being the number of perfection to God couldn't be more perfect for this post that is truthful, relevant and a great need to millions - I dare say billions of people around the world.

If you think you don't need this, think again. You need it the most!

  1. God loves you! John3:15 For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) Not only does God love you, He wants to bless your life and family.
  2. You are sinful, we all are! Romans 3:23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glories standards (NLT) We all do things that are wrong - things God would not want us to do. No one is perfect.
  3. Sin has a punishment, a penalty! Romans 6:23 For the wages (cost) of sin is death. (NIV) Since you have sinned (done something wrong, made a mistake), you are like a criminal that must pay the penalty for your crimes. Sinners must pay God the penalty for sinning. Death is something we all must face. We all share the fact that we are sinners, separated from God, and spiritually dead.
  4. Jesus Christ has paid the price (taken the punishment/penalty) for your sins! Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (NLT) This a amazing! Yes, Jesus died for YOU! (and thankfully me). Jesus was able to die for our sins because He lived a sinless, perfect life and He was nailed to the cross to become sin for you. He who never sinned, became sin for us. If that isn't incredible love, I don't know what is!
  5. Salvation (Life with God) is a FREE gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Now this is the biggest bailout in the history of the world. Jesus bailed you out. You had a debt to God that you could never pay, so God figured out a way to pay it for you. Having an eternal relationship with God, starting immediately, is available to you, when you ask for it! No forms to fill out, no requirements to make, no loopholes to find or lawyers to hire - You just ask for it! This gift allows you to live eternity in Heaven with God.
  6. Jesus is even asking you to hear Him and to take His free gift. How easy can that be! Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in ... (NIV) I implore you, I beg you, don't think you know it all and close your ears. Listen, be still, focus your inner heart/soul on hearing - He is speaking to you now! Don't miss it. Don't shrug it off. Give Jesus a chance to love you and save you.
  7. You must receive Jesus. Reach out, open your heart and mouth...Listen to Romans 10: 8b-11,13 This is the message of faith that we proclaim: if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, no one who believes on Him will be put to shame, ...For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord (Jesus) will be saved.

These seven simple steps are all you will ever need to know in order to save your own life and/or the life of everyone you know. We all live eternally. Our life on earth is only a very short time compared to eternity, but the decision you make about Jesus will effect where and how you will live eternally, forever and ever....many more days than 7 trillion!

If you want to proclaim your acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior of you life publicly or if you want help in making this choice, please leave a comment. Also leave names of anyone you want me to prayed for.

31 Days to Build a Better Blog #31DBBB

As of today, I am one of 9,100 bloggers who have accepted the 31 Day Challenge to Build a Better Blog. I am going to follow the lessons each day for both of my active blogs and

I can not tell you how excited I am about this! I have been wanting help to create the best blogs I possibly can make. In fact, I really want to launch my blogs as their own website domain so that I don't have to worry about my blog being removed by a host. Which happen to me in January 2009, when blogger removed and I lost all of my content because I did not have it copied and was never given a reason or given information about how I could get my posts, even a copy of them to put on another site. So giving this experience I am a little leery about using a blog host site, and only do so at this point because I don't have the money to set up a website or the knowledge to know how to do it myself.

Well, that was probably a lot more history and information than you wanted or expected, but it has been my blogging journey.

I also I do want to state that I am a blogging baby. I have only been blogging since August 2008. On that date when I started my blog I knew absolutely NOTHING! Not that I have grown by quantum leaps, but I do blog pretty effectively and regularly. At the same time I am so clueless about what I am doing and eager seek to improve.

If you are interested in joining this challenge, I know you can jump in...we are only on our second day!

Now, with my first task in hand, writing an elevator pitch ( Here is the outcome of my first project!

Each day I will do the task for both of my blogs:

Lindylou-abbott my current tag is "Reflecting Christ through love and laughter". While this is very concise and says a lot about what my site is, this tag could be much better. It is not at all catchy, and it doesn't reflect my audience I am hoping to target, nor does it explain what I really am going to be blogging about. It is way too broad.

Love and Laughter are important to me and to this site. First reason is the Bible tells us that anything we say should be said in love. We are to speak the truth, but if it is not in love I might as well be a clanging cymbal. And if what I say does not lovingly build up my reader, provide grace to grow and truth my blog posting would be un-Biblical.

So let me stab around at some ideas that pop into my head...and then I will pray...or maybe I should first pray, yes, always first pray. I don't even know if God wants me to do this....I can be such a silly daughter of the King. I so often forget to ask first, but to apologize once I get in a big mess.

I will be back....pause, to kneel before the King of Kings.

Walking Through Womanhood, Hand in Hand with My King!

Have ever wondered what being a Christian might be like? What would you have to sacrifice? What benefits would you receive? How would live your days? What impact would being a Christian have on your current life, if you really applied Biblical truths, and gave God a chance to give you a new life. In reading this blog, you will experience posts written with love and laughter that show the joys and sorrows of one woman's life changing as she walks by faith, believing Jehovah-God, the God spoken of in the Holy Bible.

As God delights in both dreams and truth, she is a visionary dreamer, and also a solid factual, realist. This blog journals through a life of a young lady horrifically abused as a child, who is now a wonderful woman. She is a wife of 25 years and a mother of three teens, and she is aiming to receive all the freedom possible in being a Biblical be liver in Jesus as her Lord and Savior. This blog, Lindylou-abbott, is based on her true-life experiences.

YEAH!!!!!! How is that? Yes, I want comments, suggestions, but be kind (: I have a soft spot in me. (:

OK, now to my other blog, Abuseandtrauma-hope

This is my current tag: This blog is a hopeful guide to help hurting victims trying live a life of freedom and blessings after Abuse and Trauma. There is hope for the Hurting!

Let's see. Boring!!!!! It is pretty long...and not very catchy. It need to be more concise and descriptive.

Here I go again...away to seek God in prayer.

"Hope and Healing from Abuse and Trauma found through God and Psychology"

While Abuse and Trauma harms so many people, few find hope to permanently heal and recover. This blog gives true accounts of victories, deliverance, stability and health found in Biblical Truths and in Advancements in Therapy, Medication and Psychology/Psychiatry. Experience the pain of lives disfigured from death, rape, addiction, violence, disease and all other types of disasters/evils and witness the possibilities available for real help for those who hurt. There is hope and healing for anyone abused and traumatized.

I guess that is a rap...or is it a wrap?!?! I would love input. Thank you so much for reading.

Monday, April 6, 2009

We Are a Nation of Citizens

Today will be a day we should all remember as a turning point in American History. April 6, 2009, our American President, Barack Hussein Obama announced at the global economic conference in Prague that "We (America) are not a Christian Nation..., we are a Nation of citizens..."

It is evident that the man the majority of Americans voted for President is not a God-fearing man, and no matter what some may say, Jesus is not his LORD and Savior. He IS NOT a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. President Obama was not making a statement of fact, in a repentful sorrowful way. Instead he was making a Presidential announcement for all the Nations of the world to hear proclaimed, "American IS NOT a Christian Nation..." in the world according to President Obama.

And it is on this day, that our Nation has fallen from its blessing, and covering of grace, not only in practice, but in principle.

This is a very important point that must be understood. Over the course of our last decades our Christian faith has eroded, taken backseat, been denied and ignored by our citizens and leaders. But never in our 2009 years of history has our National leader, our person considered by God to be our authoritative leader ever make such a proclamation.

Though you and I may be innocent, because we did not vote for President Obama, all citizen will suffer the judgement and wrath of God toward a Nation that has publically and world-wide denounced and separated Itself from Jehovah, the one and only true God. He is God, there is no other god!

Let those of us who love the Lord, understand the gravity of this situation. Do not shrug it off or take it lightly. Do not be fooled into thinking God did not hear or see such a statement. We must fall on our face before the one true God, all those who dare to be counted among believers, and repent for our President, our Washington leaders, our greedy citizens, our guiltless debase citizens and PLEAD for mercy. We must pray for our Nation as never before.

Today is the first time in History our Nation has out-right rejected God! Duck, lay on your face and pray and let though who haughtily stand in defiance to Him be struck down in swift and certain judgment.

If you have never before prayed this prayer, please STOP this minutes and beg mercy over your family and other believers, in behalf of our Christian Ordained and Established Nation. Do not surround any spiritual ground that God has already given you. Stand firm, it is time to stand, unmovable before all and to follow His Word for a Nation that has turned their back on Him,

Listen very closely to God's Word:

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night and said to him: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land or send pestilence among My people,

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there fore ever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do accoding to all that I have commended you, and if you keep My statues and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom as I covenanted with David your father, saying 'You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.'

But if you turn away and forsake My statues and My commandments which I have set before you and go and serve other gods, and worship them,

then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, 'Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?

Then they will answer, 'Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them, therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.

(2 Chronicles 7:12-22 NKJV)

God could not be any clearer in His Word that He spoke. We, true believers of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, must obey God's Word and rest in knowing that He WILL hear us, and He WILL obey His Word.

Have Faith! Believe God! Believe what He says in His Word! Stand firmly on what you read in His Word. Do not waver, be ashamed, go with the flow, put your head under the sand, think it doesn't matter, pretend this isn't happening, wait for it to blow over, consider it no big deal, figure God is loving and no longer a God of wrath!

You are responsible for your thoughts and actions. What you do or don't do really does matter and really does make a difference.

Spiritual warriors equip, prepare for battle, be on watch and in everything be in constant prayer! You have nothing to fear! Your God is El Elyon, The God of Most High. There is no other God!