Archive for July, 2008


Staying Thankful in the midst of a Thankless Generation

We are living in the year 2008. Did you know that 100 years ago there was not one single air conditioner in existence? The air conditioner was not invented until 1902 and then took many years to perfect until it could be mass produced. I think many people believe air conditioning was around in the Middle Ages.

1947 marked the year in which window air conditioners were first mass produced. There were a few before 1947, but one had to be very wealthy or have good connections to get one. Once air conditioners began showing up in windows all across America, the willingness to move to areas of intense heat and humidity grew also. There is little doubt that the only reason cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas have grown like they have is due to air conditioning.

After working outside in 100 heat, there is something extremely wonderful about opening the door and walking into a home that is 77 degrees. One would never think that 20 degrees makes much difference, but it does when the humidity is pulled out. Any of us who live in climates prone to excessive heat and/or humidity understand the significance of and are extremely thankful for the air conditioner.

1939 marked the first year of the first air conditioner in a car. By 1969 only one half of all cars had air conditioning. Most of us can remember the first car we got which had air conditioning and it was cause for great celebration. It was only in the 1970’s and beyond that air conditioning in vehicles became the norm instead of the exception.

The same technology in air conditioning is used in refrigeration. After attempting to perfect the process, in 1915 a refrigerator was placed in a house. It was huge, very inefficient and used ammonia to cool with; but at least the door was opened for people to have a way to keep their food cool without ice. By 1922 there were a few refrigerators for sale, but not many buyers. The average cost for a new refrigerator back then was $714. At the same time, a brand new Model T automobile cost $450.

In 1930 freon was invented which ushered in the refrigerator we all know. By late in the 1930’s the price had come down and more and more homes had a refrigerator and fewer and fewer were still using the old ice box. About the only people sad to see the end of ice boxes were the men who used to deliver huge blocks of ice to be chopped up and placed in the old boxes.

When you look back at when things were invented, it has to be understood that it took years of research, hard work and money to ever perfect the invention and production of it so that it could be mass marketed and end up in people’s homes or work places. Here are the dates of just some of the things invented early in the 20th century. It took years for some of these products to reach the common person.

1. Escalator—invented in 1900

2. Radio receiver—1901

3. Vacuum cleaner—1901

4. Air conditioner—1902

5. Airplane—1903

6. Tractor—1904

7. Cornflakes—1906

8. Color photo—1907

9. Model T—1908

10. Talking motion picture—1910

11. Crossword puzzle—1913

12. Bra—1913

13. Zipper—1913

14. Stainless steel—1916

15. Multi station radio receiver–1916

16. Bandaid—1920

17. Insulin—1922

18. Penicillin-1928

19. Frozen food process—1930

20. Analog computer–1930

Too many times we take way too much for granted. We live in homes with central heat and air keeping the temperature the same night and day. We have electricity whenever we want and need it. We can turn on radios, televisions and computers and have instant access to entertainment, news, sports and weather any minute of the day or night. We have phones that we take with us everywhere and GPS units to keep us from getting lost.

It is just too easy to fall into the complaining trap in America. We need to snap out of it and take stock of all we have and thank God for the unbelievable privilege it is to live at this time in this country with all that is available to almost everyone. There is absolutely no Godly reason to have any other attitude in our hearts than one of extreme thankfulness for all we have and can use on a daily basis.

If somebody disconnected all the electricity in the world today; and there was no way to power all the cool gadgets and inventions we use all day—could you still be thankful? If there was no running water, flush toilets or hot water heaters—could you still be thankful? If there was no television, radio, computer or phones of any kind—could you still be thankful? If there was no cars, trucks or SUVs to drive and no buses or trains or planes to pay to travel on—could you still be thankful?

If it gets to be 100 degrees and there were no air conditioners or fans anywhere—could you still be thankful? If there were no refrigerators to keep your food cold and no freezers to keep your ice cream in—could you still be thankful? If there were no way to receive news, sports or weather except by word of mouth—could you still be thankful? If all you had was the roof over your head, clothes on your body and food in your stomach—could you still be thankful?

99% of Americans would be extremely miserable if they were deprived of even one thing mentioned. Honestly, most people’s day is ruined the minute the electricity goes out during a storm. We should really try to keep the attitude of gratitude NO MATTER WHAT happens or doesn’t happen around us and to us. God has truly blessed us more than we could ever know, but those who had to live without all our conveniences DO KNOW.


The Impact of Hurricane Dolly You Will Never See on the News

Images of devastation are appearing on television screens around the world out of Brownsville, Texas and surrounding areas. Please keep in mind that no one will ever see the images of those whose lives will be wiped out from this storm. That is because those who will be most harshly dealt with are not living in Texas, but across the Rio Grande in Mexico.

There are, no doubt, pockets of extreme poverty all along the Rio Grande valley in Texas. That is not the issue here. The real issue deals with the lack of understanding regarding just how bad conditions are on the Mexican side of the valley. One must keep in mind that few Americans ever venture into the horrible neighborhoods of most Mexican cities where people live in cardboard houses (at best) and survive on nearly nothing. Welcome to the “Third World”.

One does not have to go to countries in Africa or Asia to find living conditions so brutal that no one in this country could imagine. Poverty so deep that there are no solutions and political systems so rife with corruption that there is no hope are the norm in most third world countries. Too many times Americans picture Mexico as a resort country due to visits to Cancun or Acapulco. Also, too many times Americans associate Mexico only with the huge and sprawling capital of Mexico City.

Outside of these areas, there is a huge country locked in poverty with few governmental services available and areas run more by drug lords than any official government. The people live in utter squalor and have for many generations. From these dire straits comes the yearning to come to America where there are jobs (which most Americans refuse to do) and money to be legitimately made. Most of what is made by Mexicans in America goes back to Mexico to support their families.

As fewer and fewer Americans are willing to make a living doing physical work, somebody must to it or it won’t get done. If it were not for the Mexicans who went to New Orleans and the Mississippi coast after Katrina, hardly any roofs would have been repaired or replaced. Americans are simply not willing to climb up on scalding hot roofs and do the hard work needed to make the repairs.

We all know that we would starve to death if not for the migrant workers who make their living picking the fruits and vegetables we enjoy so much. These people spend all their lives doing a job very few Americans would do even if paid $30 an hour. Americans are simply not willing to get down on their hands and knees to do what is needed no matter how difficult or physically taxing.

Yet, in spite of all the good things most of our neighbors from the south have done for us, they are hated and despised and huge numbers of Americans want to deport anyone who snuck into this country. Giant fences are being put up to keep people who are trying to survive out of our pristine land. Since when is this country so damn righteous that we shut our doors to those who are only trying to literally live? Since when are we so high and mighty that we say NO to those who are gladly willing to do the jobs we refuse to do.

Nothing has changed since the days of slavery. Just because official slavery was banned by the Constitution doesn’t mean it does not still exist. What else do you call the importation of legal and illegal aliens to do jobs no one else will do? Slaves were imported to work in the cotton fields and to take care of children and make meals. Slaves were imported to do all the dirty work so that the wealthy land owners could busy themselves with making more money, socializing and traveling.

Those wealthy enough to hire “household servants” usually don’t get them from the local labor pool. No, they scarf them up from Guatemala or El Salvador or Mexico. Why? So they don’t have to pay them what an American would demand in wages. This exact same thing goes on with migrant workers and other menial jobs Americans will not lower themselves to do unless they receive a king’s ransom for doing them.

As Dolly plows up the Rio Grande River valley, it will literally wipe out hundreds of thousands of cardboard homes and probably end of killing thousands of poor people the world will never hear about. Every major hurricane has seen far more casualties than are officially recorded. Eyewitnesses swore under oath that they saw trucks loaded with bodies in body bags leaving the devastation after Hurricane Andrew. The same can be said after Katrina.

Officials refuse to accurately give statistics for fatalities due to fears that they will be held responsible financially or in the court of public opinion. Instead, they downplay the numbers of people killed, especially when they are peasants, homeless, illegal aliens or ultra poor. These tactics are employed in the United States, Mexico Miramar, China, Russia and just about every other country in the world. Ruling governments do not want the world to know just how badly they screwed up by not preparing for a major storm or helping them quickly afterwards.

Please keep all this in mind as you see the handpicked images of particular destruction that will grace our televisions over the next few days. Rest assured that a week or so from now, Dolly will be forgotten except for those directly impacted. The rest of the country will be far more concerned about politics and sports than how “forgotten” people will figure out how to move on when they have lost literally everything they had in this life.

In any major disaster there are those who we see on the news who somehow manage to get all the help they need both economically as well as volunteers. The people we never see are the ones who either fall through the cracks and somehow miss out on all the help provided by social safety nets or worse yet; as far as the government was concerned—they never were there to begin with. God help the invisible forgotten masses whose only means for survival comes from our prayers and the willingness on the part of a few true heroes who look for them and help them exclusively.

I thank God for the small independent relief agencies whose mission is to find those people neglected by everyone else. I thank God for those who are willing to avoid the headlines and the photo ops to search out the one lost sheep no one else cares about. In my books, those who are worthy of being called “relief workers” are those who go where no one else is willing to go to help those no one else will help.


Lessons NOT learned from Katrina; A Bigger Disaster Looms

When Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast almost three years ago, everything within me wanted to pile supplies in my ancient 1979 van and head down to help.  Unfortunately that was not available since my 87 year old mother lived with us and I was her official caregiver.  I prayed daily for those whose lives were devastated by the storm, and I knew from having lived down there the horrible impact that hurricane would have on countless lives.

As the images of destruction started appearing on television, the impact of the storm was far worse than anyone could have predicted.  Initially the majority of the news coverage was coming from the Mississippi coast where a 25’ storm surge had literally wiped buildings and homes off the face of the earth.  But then the levees broke in New Orleans and Katrina’s legacy would be forever changed.

Once the flooding of New Orleans started, the destruction in Mississippi became an afterthought.  While most of the nation’s attention was focused on the horrible and needless loss of life taking place in New Orleans, the unbelievable devastation in Mississippi was hardly noticed and the problems in Alabama were totally neglected.  Not to diminish the horrific loss of life in New Orleans, but the loss of property in other places was the story of Katrina as much as the senseless flooding of a city whose reputation preceded it.

Millions of people were in one way or another impacted by Katrina and a few weeks later by Rita.  The people whose lives were turned upside down by these storms had endured many storms and most of them saw no reason the storms of 2005 should be any different.  Even though experts had been warning of the looming catastrophe ready to swamp New Orleans; little had been done to prepare for a direct hit by a major hurricane.  The city’s trust was put in ancient levees and pumps that would take the water out of their city and put it back in the nearby lakes.

Little had been done along the coast of Mississippi to prepare for a major storm.  From the time casinos brought new wealth to the Mississippi coast, there had been a great building boom which had seen huge numbers of eating and lodging places spring up along with other businesses catering to the influx of gamblers who would flood the area, especially on weekends.  Gulfport and Biloxi were two cities which experienced great growth during the past twenty years and many other smaller areas were getting ready to join in the boom. 

No one ever thought a storm would actually come in with a 25’ storm surge.  Everyone knew it “could” happen, but nobody believed it ever “would” happen.  The apathy and arrogance which ran rampant in both New Orleans as well as the Mississippi coast was staggering.  Everyone from the top elected officials down to the individual home owners thought they were invincible.  Building codes were lax and official preparations for a major disaster were merely words on pages and never practiced. 

The perfect storm of Katrina was not so much in the physical storm as it was in the combination of a fierce storm, public apathy and spiritual filth.  Between the evil of every kind and nature which fills New Orleans with a spiritual stench that can be smelled for miles and the greedy commandeering of the Mississippi coast by huge casinos; the entire area had become a cesspool of spiritual iniquity.  In one sense, it is truly amazing that the number of fatalities from Katrina weren’t fifty times what they were.

Little has been learned from Katrina in the almost three years since it hit.  The first things rebuilt in Mississippi were the huge casinos.  The rationale was that jobs and income needed to be provided.  Anyone believing that can buy some property I have for sale on Mars.  New Orleans made a huge attempt to make sure the nation knew that Bourbon Street was still open and not wiped out by Katrina.  All that led New Orleans downhill to begin with was quickly back up and running.

If another major hurricane came ashore next month in the same areas as Katrina, the results would be about the same.  Although new building codes and regulations prohibit the building of homes and businesses directly along the coast unless able to withstand a gigantic storm surge; if nature decided to push a true category FIVE hurricane into the area the results would be catastrophic. 

I remember when there was the possibility of a hurricane in the late summer of 2006 talking to the various charities doing the rebuilding work.  I asked what would happen if another storm came in and wiped out everything again.  Their response was that they would start over and do it all again.  This struck me odd then and still does.

How many times will man insist on defying nature?  Man is intent on building his dwellings and businesses on top of fault lines, next to volcanoes, in the middle of huge forests with histories of fires, along rivers that flood, and worst of all—along the coastlines where tropical storms and hurricanes hit somewhere almost every year.  The absolute most insane thing is to build a huge city BELOW SEA LEVEL and then depend on pumps and levees to keep the water from one of the biggest lakes in America from swamping the city during a major hurricane.

Man’s stubborn stupidity and beligerant arrogance allows him to receive the recompense of his error which is appropriate.  Jesus said that the person who builds their house upon the sand is a fool, for the storms come and wash it away.  People who build houses on flood plains, fault lines, deep in forests which are prone to burn, on the sides of volcanoes and directly along the coastline of areas known to be prone to hurricanes must live with the risks attached to their choices.

Don’t we all tire of seeing destroyed homes rebuilt time and again in disaster prone locations?  Between private insurance and government help, these people have been able to get away with doing this for years.  I am glad to see one major insurance carrier after another back away from even offering insurance to those who insist on building homes directly on the coast of Florida and Mississippi.  I think the same thing should be done in regard to flood plains and other disaster prone areas.

Hey, it is free country and if a person wants to build a home on top of the New Madrid fault, they should be allowed to.  But, if they do, they are responsible in full for any damages and rebuilding costs.  If a person insists on living on the Mississippi coast, they should be allowed to, but with the understanding they pay for any damage to their property and rebuilding expenses.  If a person wants that cabin deep in the woods of any one of our Western states, they should have it; with the understanding they are responsible for any expenses if it burns in one of the yearly forest fires.

People need to take responsibility for their decisions instead of expecting everyone else to pay for their privilege to live in a scenic, yet disaster prone area.  If a person has enough money to build their dream house in a place that could be wiped off the map next week, they have enough money to rebuild it over and over again if they like that place so much.  I think New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast are pretty much in this category.


So You Think You had a Rough Day; Miracles and Needs at TCCO


Perhaps many of you have read another of my blog posts about the successful effort by Tri Coastal Community Outreach in Mobile county Alabama.  Since writing that blog many months ago, the TCCO has continued to grow and expand its efforts into long term programs to enable those it serves to become self-sufficient and self-reliant. 

It has a very successful program called “It’s All About You” (IAAY) which has captured the attention of many people and groups nationwide because it teaches people basic construction skills among other things so they can fix and repair their own house instead of waiting for someone else to do it.  IAAY also allows local community service agencies to come to TCCO to present material on health and other vital topics. 

Two incidents took place on Tuesday, July 8 which are both miraculous as well as quite challenging to their operation.  I will attempt to share this with a minimum of personal comments so as to not take up too much of your time.

The oral surgery had been scheduled for Tuesday morning since early June.  Everything had been covered at TCCO to allow its director this week to recover from surgery to cut out a wisdom tooth.  All was going smoothly until 1:30 Monday night. 

The director has grown children, many of whom have children of their own.  The youngest child did not have any children and is on the heavy side.  She had been feeling quite ill for weeks and finally her older sister made her go to the hospital Monday night at 1:30 a.m.  She was in horrible pain and her blood pressure was sky high.  The sister who was with her called her oldest sister who had been trying to get the one in pain to go to the hospital for almost a month and told her the hospital had given her sister morphine.

The oldest sister freaked out and said to run back and tell the doctors that only the night before her sister had tested positive on a pregnancy test.  She did and the hospital did their own test and discovered she was not only pregnant, she was 39 weeks pregnant.  Somehow they deduced her water had broken 10 days earlier and still, somehow the baby survived.  They called their mom and awoke her to tell her to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

When she did, the daughter’s blood pressure was 220/117 and she was about to go into kidney failure and/or have a stroke.  The doctors said she had to have a C Section immediately, which she did.  They miraculously delivered a very healthy 6 pound 9 ounce baby girl to a woman who did not even know she was pregnant and still does not believe the baby is hers.  It took some work, but they got her blood pressure back to a safe level and the new grandmother went home to catch a couple of hours sleep before her own oral surgery early that morning.

She had her surgery as planned, and thankfully there were no complications.  While she was coming out of anesthesia, she received an urgent call from her assistant at the center.  She simply told her; “at least she’s still living”. 

Her oldest daughter had left the hospital earlier that morning driving TCCO’s van back to the center.  She was never supposed to be allowed to drive alone, but she was.  About half way there, she had a Grand Mall epileptic seizure (which is why she was never to drive alone).  She slumped down in the driver’s seat and leaned to the left against the door.  The van careened across the four lane highway just missing one oncoming vehicle after another.

The van started hitting telephone poles which pierced the windshield of the van like giant spears.  The van slowed but still barreled through a fence which had numerous large wooden posts which snapped and also went through the windshield of the van.  Finally the van came to a stop in the yard of a PREACHER.  The preacher came running out and immediately laid hands on the driver and prayed.

Before the state police or other emergency vehicles could get there, somehow the oldest daughter came out of her seizure.   They got a door open and she got out with only a gash on her forehead.  The preacher and his wife held her, prayed for her and kept her warm till the emergency personnel got there a few minutes later.

In the words of the State Police officer; “there is no way on earth anyone should have survived that accident”.  Evidently everyone who saw the van was totally amazed that the driver was not killed by the various huge spears poking through the windshield.  In fact, if there had been a passenger, he would have been killed instantly by one such projectile.  The stunned girl was taken to the same hospital her younger sister is at.  What a reunion. 

Please keep this whole situation in your prayers for there are, needless to say, many issues which must be sorted out and dealt with in due time.  Thank God both daughters and the new granddaughter are doing well.  But, among the many problems which must be dealt with is the need for a replacement vehicle to haul supplies up and down the coast of Mississippi and Alabama.  If anyone reading this has access to any kind of cargo van/truck that could be donated to TCCO; please contact Tri Coastal or Carolyn Thompson.  Their number is 251-865-9731 or on the web. 

But for now; I pray hearing about this incredible day will help strengthen your faith and give you the extra bit of spiritual energy to get you over whatever hump stands in your path.  We truly have an awesome God who knows what is happening and will do His best to watch over and take care of situations as He is allowed to.   He most certainly did at TCCO.





The Perfect Economic Hurricane is Ready to Come Shore

At this time a year ago gasoline averaged around $2.98 per gallon and diesel was only $2.72.  Oil was trading at $72 per barrel.  Oil today is trading for over $140 per barrel.  Gasoline today is averaging just over $4.00 per gallon in the United States.  Diesel fuel today is still over $4.50 per gallon in most locations.  These are facts and not mere speculation. 

The longer these kinds of prices stick around, the more this crisis is hitting home for most people.  United States drivers are so used to price hikes and drops in gasoline, that the idea of constant $4.00 per gallon gasoline has finally forced them to change their buying and driving habits. 

With the exception of Honda, every automobile/truck manufacturer showed breathtaking declines in sales in this country in June.  Some, such as Chrysler and Ford showed declines large enough to send chills down the most seasoned experts.  In a clear “sign of the times”, Chrysler announced Monday that it was closing the plant in Fenton, Missouri which produced many of its minivans for years.  No one ever thought they would see the day Chrysler minivans would no longer be popular.

Who would have thought a little over a year ago that headlines would announce in July, 2008 that the SUV was quickly becoming extinct?  Who would have dreamed that in rapid fire succession, each of the giant US auto makers would announce plans to close most assembly plants making even pickups PERMANENTLY?   It seems like only yesterday that GM, Ford and Chrysler couldn’t sell a small car to anyone.  Now they are all making a mad dash to develop and make hybrid vehicles which get good gas mileage.

For those who say the high cost of fuel hasn’t greatly affected most Americans; why else would there be the dramatic changes we are seeing out of Detroit?  The longer gas prices stay high, the greater stress is put on the average family’s budget.  When every trip to the gas pump results in an outlay of $50-100, the grim reality of this crisis rears its ugly head.  For those families stuck with a SUV, a pickup and a minivan; this reality has been the trigger to cause the mortgage crisis to balloon as it has.

Recently we looked at our personal financial situation.  Our income is 100% flat.  We have no more income today than we had three years ago.  Not only have energy prices spiked within the past three years, many items tied to energy prices have spiked also.  The price of food has dramatically increased as well as food for our horses and dogs.  For the first time in many years, our electric cooperative had to dramatically increase rates in April.  Living in an all electric house meant a huge increase in the monthly bill.

We used to have a fairly nice mutual fund account with along with two small Roth IRAs.  As of yesterday, the mutual fund account had lost EVERY penny it had gained the past three years just since January.  It now has in it exactly what was originally invested in it back in 2005.  The two Roth IRAs have LOST value and are worth less now than when started and added to over the last few years.  These were balanced and very conservative funds.

So, here we sit with the same income as in 2005, the same amount of savings as in 2005 (no gain) but the cost of just about everything up 20-100% since 2005.  Guess what?  We are hurting and in trouble.  We have cut back where we can.  We have moved out of the upstairs of our home to save the electricity of cooling it this summer.  We have parked the two gas guzzling vehicles I used to travel all over the country in and try to drive our Corolla whenever possible.  We have cut the horses feed as well as the dogs.

We try to eat from our stash in the three freezers in the garage, especially meat.  We only go out to eat once every six months instead of once a month.  We cut the cable to bare minimum.  We make no trips other than those necessary to work, go to doctors and shopping locally.  We have cut back wherever we can and still we keep falling further and further behind.  When the cost of living keeps going up without a corresponding rise in income; the resulting shortfall in available funds quickly reaches a crisis point.

We are not alone in this predicament.  Millions of other Americans are reaching the point where they must see either an increase in income or a dramatic decrease in the cost of energy and food or they will break.  Add into this mixture the incredible drop in stock prices and the resulting wasting away of profits from mutual funds and retirement accounts, and there are all the ingredients for the perfect storm of economic disaster.

Unlike the early 1970’s when wages increased as quickly as prices, and the resulting inflation just about killed this country; amazingly there has not been the hike in income the past six months to match the incredible increases in the price of everything.  Truckers have “eaten” the high cost of diesel to stay competitive.  Retailers have held the line on prices and seen less profit to stay in business.  Americans have tried very hard to not allow the explosion of energy/food prices to ignite a round of inflation which would destroy the economy.  But, how much longer can this happen?

Soon, unless the price of fuel drops dramatically, the price of just about everything will increase radically.  This is called runaway inflation, and we are at its very doorstep.  Businesses, companies and individual contractors of all types have done their best to not raise prices; but the stark realities of $4.00 gas and $5.00 diesel are starting to set off the chain reaction of inflation that was sure to come.  Hold on and pray for the best as the coming economic hurricane blasts ashore in this country and blows away thousands, if not millions of households in a wave of runaway inflation.




Fires, Floods and Fears of Hurricanes; Disaster Update 7/1/08


As of early this morning, over 1,400 fires were burning in California with no relief in sight.  Many of these fires have been burning for over a week with new ones starting daily.  With the weather forecast calling for a chance of more dry lightning, there is a crisis of epic proportions brewing in paradise.  Even now, there are air quality warnings in effect for much of the Bay area as the smoke from fires settles over the area.  The fire near Big Sur may prove to be especially devastating due to the loss of tourism during the normally busy summer. 

Every tanker used to fight wildfires in the United States is currently in use in California.  This is very troubling since the fire season usually doesn’t peak until the end of July and first of August.  This summer could end up being one of the most physically and financially taxing in many years.  President Bush has already declared California a disaster area and thus eligible for federal help.


Now that the levee has broken at Winfield, Missouri, the flood of ‘08 will be hard pressed to keep its position at the top of the headlines.  As the rivers slowly fall and the extent of the devastation in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois (along with Missouri) begins to be apparent; the full scope of this disaster will shock anyone with eyes to see.  Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes; flooding generally does not physically destroy buildings.  Floods creep in, do their dirty work and sneak out.  The damage done by floods is not seen looking at a dwelling from the outside.  The damage is internal.

Not only does furniture and other personal effects need to be replaced after a flood; of much greater importance is the replacing of ruined carpet and drywall.  If said items are not replaced, there is almost a dead certainty of black mold growing.  One of the problems with a major flood along a river a wide as the Mississippi is how long it takes for the flood waters to recede.  In flash flooding, the water comes up and goes down quickly.  In major river flooding it take a long time for both the water to rise above flood stage as well as to drop below it.


The hurricane season has completed its first month with only one very minor named storm.  Is this unusual?  Not at all would be the correct answer.  Although not unheard of to have a hurricane in June, it is very rare.  The components needed to develop and grow a storm into hurricane strength are usually not there in June.  July is when the various pieces of the hurricane development puzzle start coming together and August through September is usually when the greatest threat of hurricanes striking the United States exists.

Those entrusted with trying to see what the next few months hold are very concerned about the potential for at least one major hurricane hitting the East Coast of the United States.  Most experts are expecting at least one direct hit and possibly two or three by the time the season winds down in October.  Areas from Texas to Florida should be ready to deal with potential development by mid-July and North Carolina and points north by August.  This is NOT  a year to take the hurricane threat lightly.


This has been an exceptionally difficult year for states such as Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.  Many of these states have been hit with repeated disasters starting with ice in December and continuing to the present flooding and violent storm damage.  Missouri saw horrific flooding in the southern part of the state this spring and now has seen disastrous flooding along the Mississippi River in the northeast part of the state.  So far, the only silver lining has been that the Missouri River has not reached levels anywhere near the floods of 1993 and 1995. 

Iowa was buried with record snows this past winter and then inundated with incredible storms this spring and early summer.  It is no wonder that when areas were hit with a half foot of rain a few weeks ago, the inevitable result would be massive flooding.  Earlier this year Arkansas was hit repeatedly with deadly tornadoes which claimed many lives and caused extraordinary damage.  Also this spring the major rivers in Arkansas reached historic levels and caused extensive damage.


It has been a rough year for middle America and the year is only half over.  Although the emphasis now switches to the western fires and potential hurricanes in the southern and eastern United States; I pray all remember the all those who will still be suffering in middle America when the rest of country sits down to Thanksgiving dinner.  It takes time to recover from tornadoes and floods even when on a small scale.  It takes “forever” to recover from repeated disasters impacting thousands upon thousands of people covering almost one third of this country.

I am sure those who have lost everything to storms and floods would greatly appreciate your prayers and any help that you could send via your favorite charity.  Many groups are working as hard as they can to help as many as possible.  They are all spread very thin and have pretty much exhausted their resources.  If you want to help, please contact the American Red Cross, Salvation Army or numerous small independent charities working I disaster areas.