Friday, August 24, 2012

Then and Now

There's a storm brewing out there.  Isaac isn't in the Gulf yet, but he's headed this way.  And he's going to come ashore very close to the 7th anniversary of Katrina's arrival.

I remember being in church on August 28, 2005.  As it was the last Sunday of our literature's quarterly cycle, the new quarter's books were in our classroom, ready to be handed out.  We joked about the picture on the front:  it showed a photograph of a house after a disaster.  My memory tells me the house was laying on it's side, either fallen or blown over.  We laughed and hoped that our houses didn't look like that the next day.

So many houses DID look like that on Monday as the storm moved inland.  Or the houses were completely gone!  And then in the following days as river water flooded into New Orleans, more houses became uninhabitable with rising water and mud.

Seven years have passed and I'm not in that Sunday School class any more.  I'm working in the children's Sunday School department.  This month we are studying contentment.  We've looked at several people who weren't content:  Adam and Eve in the garden, the Israelites as they were fed by God in the wilderness, King Ahab as he looked over at Naboth's vineyard.

I know that as the children come into church this Sunday morning, some will be worried about the weather.  They will have heard their parents or school teachers remembering other big storms.  Most won't remember Katrina, but the stories will be told in their hearing.

I believe it is no coincidence that our bible story this week will be coming from an unlikely place for a "story."  It's a part of the Sermon on the Mount.  There are no action figures, no miracles, no kings or serpents or water from a rock.  It's simply Jesus telling us not to worry:  not about our clothes or our food or how long we will live.  The Bottom Line, as our lesson puts it, is "When you trust God, you don't have to worry about tomorrow." You don't have to worry about Isaac.  Yes, you should prepare.  (or as we would say it to the kids:  you need to make the wise choice to get ready)

But Trusting is so much better than worrying.  I'm glad this will be the picture we take with us this week.

P.S. I'd like to say thanks to the nice people at Orange for giving me permission to use their image here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wildlife Rescue

I like to set my 6 ferns under the edge of the roof to catch rain water when I can.  Since Em was mowing the yard, I watered them well and was in the process of hanging them back up on the porch.  It really is a process for me because it involves a reptile check.

I pick the fern up by the hook in a quick motion then check the grass underneath to make sure no serpents are lurking.  It has happened to me before and I am always expecting it to happen again.  While I'm looking in the grass, I shake the basket gently to dislodge anything that might be hanging on to the bottom of the basket.  (It could happen!!)  Then I hang the basket on the chain attached to the porch.

Today there were no serpents, but there were other critters.  When I picked up the 2nd fern, something moved.  It took me a few seconds to locate him, but this toad was hiding underneath.

And when I lifted the 5th basket, a little tortoise was hiding under it.  El has an turtle habitat in her room, so we're used to this kind of critter.  This one is much smaller than her pets.  I got her to put her hand in the picture for size reference.

So that they wouldn't be accidentally run over by the mower, I asked El to move them to the shade under the tree across the road.  She got a box and lifted the tortoise inside.  When it came to the toad, she was less eager to touch it.  I got him corralled into the box with his new friend and she carried them to the tree.

 The toad was trying to get out the entire time she carried the box.  When she set the box down, I was ready to take a picture as she took the cover off.  I wasn't quick enough!  That toad was ready to get out.  In the process, he upset the tortoise who had to be assisted from the box.

If you look at the picture below, you can see the toad as a slightly darker spot in the center.  He didn't want to hang around any longer than he had to.

 The tortoise may still be sitting in the same spot in the shade.  He was not in any hurry to get away.