Category: Weather

Texas Twister

So lots of adventures for our family have come and gone since the last time I posted. Our family has transitioned from Oklahoma to Texas in a major move that came long before anyone anticipated. It has been quite an adjustment. We moved from lots of trees and green to a much drier climate with windy conditions and some cactus. One major difference related to this change involves the weather. Storms still happen, but there is far less rain. Being a native Oklahoman, we don’t necessarily fear storms. As a matter of fact, we tend to watch them from our porch and choose to look and listen for the tell tale signs of life-threatening weather such as lowering of cloud bases, eery calm wind, and green skies. Even though we may be a bit crazy by hanging out outside, we have a deep respect and healthy fear of the power and destruction these storms can cause. Many of us know somebody who has lost property or loved ones and fully understand that destructive storms during the event are not ideal times for humor…which leads me to the driving force of this note.
Yesterday, we experienced some wicked weather here in the Panhandle of Texas. A tornado touched down about 8 miles south of here and continued westward for quite a while. I was thumbing through social media looking for information from those tracking the danger of the storm. These folks are invaluable to saving lives by giving ample time to take cover.  

One post I ran across wasn’t a big deal at first, but the more I pondered it, the more it bugged me.

It read “New Tornado warning out where the jackrabbits and tumbleweeds roam btwn Dumas and Stinnett”

It was humorous at first, but then I thought to myself, even though there may not be too many folks in that rural area, a life-threatening situation may not be the best time for humor. I would hate to see any person or property suffer.

I replied to the person. “even though color commenting is sometimes cool, places where even one life/home may exist may not be a good time for humor.” To my surprise, he replied. “I wasn’t laughing. And you yourself should be careful to not be so quick to wrongly interpret what I posted.”

Thinking maybe he didn’t understand how the comment may be interpreted just by viewing the words alone, I replied back. “words used are left for interpretation. just pls be careful in the words chosen. ppl do live rural. tornadoes are not humorous.”

Here is the bottom line. I don’t know the guy or his character. I’m sure he is a good guy. I wanted him to know that maybe the words could have been different during a violent event and he seemed somewhat offended at an interpretation of what appeared to be humor at a wrong time.

Honestly, he can say what he wants, how he wants. I just wish as a public figure that he would take into consideration that every life matters and that this particular moment was life-threatening. Maybe during the emergency, think about keeping people safe and save the humor for after the storm when everybody is accounted for.

I really didn’t mean to offend the guy at all. I apologize if that is the case.

Am I too sensitive on this?


Cause I eats me Spinach

Recognize the end quote? It belongs to a sailor from back in the day when cartoons were actually good. The message was simple and the goal was singular. “Strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me spinach” – Popeye the sailor man. What a great cartoon and a great and easy message. But there is one thing that I need to point out…Popeye wasn’t able to perform feats of strength without his spinach. Which leads me to today’s adventure.

After a tough and unfortunate incident in the past few weeks, I got to thinking about sailors. Work with me here. My mind wanders a bit, but it always comes back around to make sense. There is a famous quote out there that says “Rough seas and storms make great sailors.” Yes, I’ve encountered some tough times. Our family is going through a season right now. I have family going through the cycle of life with sickness and ailment. Their health hasn’t been in the best shape and it has taken a toll on the family in general. My job has it’s uncertainties, including still possibly covering for a strike situation in California and also the transition of the finance department which will determine if I have a job and where it will be located. Additionally, even with major steps towards becoming debt free and being smart with our finances, we are encountering the pains of financial stress because of the ignorance of the past. It’s been a roller coaster of a road. Even with these stress points hovering, Amber and I have a mission to use the skills and abilities that God has given us to serve children in a huge way…which is a continuous process until an opening comes available that is the right fit.

But back to the sailor thing. Sailors always have a captain of the ship. Thinking about leadership, I thought about the role of a captain when the seas are looking a bit rough. The captain gives direct orders and mans the wheel to guide the direction of the vessel. Being ADD I wondered what makes the captain a great captain while he is navigating through a tough monsoon with the responsibility to keep the crew alive and well? In my mind, the captain stays at the helm and leads. He trusts the crew that has been trained around him to skillfully handle their job. He delegates to seasoned members of the crew to get the job done. The watchman scours the horizon to ensure the ship is not headed for rocks or other ships. The hands on deck raise, lower, and reposition the sail so that winds are favorable for forward motion. The oarsman below (this is a pirate ship 🙂 ) stroke together in unison with strength and courage. The whole ship moves swiftly across the water with precision and honor.

On the flip side, what would it look like if the captain ventured the opposite direction. What if the captain felt the need to perform all of the positions? The watchman isn’t seeing enough, so the captain decides to climb up and take a look for himself. The wind is not as favorable, so the captain decides to hoist the main sail on his own. The oarsmen are struggling against the waves, so the captain rolls up his sleeves and begins to row away. All of these things the captain does are admirable…but something is happening to the direction of the ship. Who is at the helm? Suddenly, the crew looks up to discover that the ship has been going in circles for hours. Why? Because the leader isn’t present in his designed role.

For the leaders that are out there. Think through this. Are you taking the lead and managing in such a way that the vision and direction of your organization is full-speed ahead with all cylinders firing? Are the seasoned professionals around you fired up about the vision? Or are there signs in the ship that the organization is going in circles? Are the professionals around you wondering when the next tidal wave rolls over the ship? If you take nothing else away from this script…STEADY THE SHIP! Learn to delegate to those you trust. Work as a team to accomplish the goal. Don’t do it yourself!…and most of all, God is the Admiral. Ultimately, He calls the shots. Let Him.

I’m in stormy seas right now. I will come out of it strong because I trust the Admiral. As a husband and father, I will take the lead and steady the ship. For those out there reading, you’re either in a storm, just came out of one, or about to go into one. Make preparations now to ensure the ship is steady through any situation. Lead the way…full-speed ahead!

Finish Line…Dead Ahead

Running. One foot in front of the other. Sounds easy, right? I’ve done it many times, usually only a few miles at a time. I might have done 10 once or twice…and maybe sometime I’ll give a half-marathon or even a marathon a go…which brings me to exciting news for the day!

If you have followed for any decent stretch, you’ll know that a great friend of mine has been traveling on foot for nearly 8 weeks now, running over a marathon a day nearly the entire time! Mr. Brian Hunter as of his last update was within around 2-3 days from running across the entire country of Mongolia. That’s 1500 miles. He has endured brutal conditions including heavy rain (of liquid and freezing variety), sleet, snow, mountains, hills, dogs…and the Eastern border is in sight!

What’s the purpose of enduring all of this? To raise awareness for the orphaned in the country. How cool is that? He is an inspiration to many and will be completing his physical journey very soon. Here is the deal. The reason for the journey is far from over. The expedition needs your support for two important things.

Support the children of Mongolia…Brian and his family endured some tough conditions. However, the kids live in conditions far worse than they have. They eat scraps and survive in the sewers of the city just to stay alive in the extreme cold and the extreme poverty. Supporting will help them continue to contribute to these kids on a continual basis.

Support and their film effort…Brian has had a film crew following his adventures. The hope is that a documentary will be made to continue the expedition of helping the children of Mongolia. Go to their website. Explore it. Engage in supporting it. Spread the word!

ef5I hate it.  One bad tornado killing people is too many, but within 2 weeks…we have 2 (two bigs ones I’m speaking of and several smaller ones not mentioned here)…and the latest one was a record.  El Reno/Union City, unfortunately, will be forever etched in the record books as likely the largest tornado on record, expanding from a mile wide to 2.6 miles wide in one minute.  That means pretty much the whole wall cloud found its way to the ground.  Unbelievable.  Hearing that among the deceased were veteran storm chasers, I had to pause and wonder…were they thrill seekers and got too close?  Was the storm so violent that it overtook them?

As news and facts started to come out, it was realized that this was the storm of all storms.  They had been taken totally off guard.  The storm didn’t react as most they had chased.  It zig-zagged as if it was purposefully defying the evolution of twisters.  It grew faster than any meteorologist had ever seen, and several lives were lost because of it.

I’ve watched storm chaser videos before.  They all had the same feel.  People with love for weather and respect for it’s power.  At the same time they would comment on the beauty of it, despite it’s destructive path.  These folks truly didn’t want anybody to be hurt and took precautions to stay clear of the path.  The thing about the videos for this particular tornado was that the awe and thrill was not there.  It was sheer terror.  Video upon video they would be a safe distance…then at some point, the look of “Um.  We’re in trouble here” took control.  I’m sad for the ones who lost their lives and for their families.  I’m also thankful for the ones that survived after getting caught up in this terrible monster.

I won’t post any video here.  That’s for you to look at if you desire.  I will leave you with this though.  Last week, I went outside to feel the wind and check the skies for the Broken Arrow tornado.  Had the same thing occurred in B.A. as it happened in El Reno, I would have been in trouble.

The moral of the story here?  When these bad boys are anywhere near your neighborhood, take freaking cover!

Cyclone of Hell

tornadoIt was after 3 pm yesterday as I was mindlessly working away on a spreadsheet wishing it was closer to going home time.  My boss came by the desk, which usually results in a meeting or some other mundane work activity.  This time it was different.  “Go home and be safe”, he said.  Being lost in my work, I didn’t know why he said to go home.  He briefly mentioned that there was a massive tornado on the ground near OKC.  So I gathered my belongings and worked my way to the parking lot.  Turning the ignition, the radio blasted out chatter of rotating activity all over the state.  It was going to be one of “those” Oklahoma afternoons.

As home came closer and closer, it became evident that our family needed to make some precautionary steps to make sure we were okay.  I made it home about the time the kids and wife had finished the school day.  We then headed for Nana and Papas…where the newly put in below ground shelter had been placed.

The kids were a bit on edge, knowing why we were headed there.  we snagged up some dinner, kept things light and were on our way.

The evening ended very quiet for us, dodging yet another evening of sirens and strong circulating winds.  But we can’t say the same for our neighbors in Moore.  On loosely the same track as the one in 1999, a large cyclone turned homes into junk yards.

One story stuck out strongly…the one about the two schools in the path of this terrible storm.  Lives were lost.  Kids were hurt.   It hit home…very close to home.  What if that happened in our neighborhood?

Both of my kids attend the same elementary school AND my wife works in the cafeteria there as well.  I work 20 miles north of home.  If that were to happen in my hood, it would go down as the worst day of my life.  I can only imagine the grief families are going through today.  I pray for there comfort.

Which brings me to another thought.  With the tragedy of Sandy Hook, something we have ways of somewhat controlling, what can be done with natural disasters…especially in the area known as tornado alley?  How can we prevent loss of life?

I remember hunkering down in the hallways by the lockers.  For a twister of this magnitude, that doesn’t work out.  I wonder if there is a way private industry (or the unlikelyhood of the education department of government), could help all area schools…to fund or donate turning big closets into safe rooms or maybe a large underground facility made for shelter?  Just a starting point of thought.  Can we work together to prevent any deaths at our schools?  Can we help communities have a known location near their house they can go to get better shelter?  I appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Please join me in praying for our fellow neighbors in Moore as well as the other communities such as Shawnee who have been effected by these awful cyclones of hell.