Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What I learned from Rita…

There are so many lessons in life. Hopefully we learn from them and apply them in our lives. Hurricane Rita gave us many lessons. Here are just a few I want to share……

1) Be prepared - Hurricane Katrina was a wake up call for me. I asked myself if my family was properly prepared for a hurricane here in Houston. I had a 72 hour emergency kit, but I had other items scattered all over the house. I started gathering up things and putting them in one place so that we could grab them up as we ran out the door. I was still working on that as there were signs of another hurricane.

2) Make sure you have enough food and water - I didn’t waste any time purchasing 6 cases of drinking water. I had batteries, but I wanted more. I got them just in time, as they disappeared very quickly. Make sure you have enough food for you and your animals. I watched as the stores in Houston virtually emptied there shelves in two days.

3) Have supplies that will protect your house from harm. – Do you own a generator? Do you have ply wood that can protect your windows? I went to Home Depot at 7:00am. on Wednesday morning to buy sand to make sand bags with. The store was already swarming with people trying to buy these items and more. I purchased 6 bags of sand and decided to buy a chain saw. TF and I made sand bags to protect our back patio doors that lead into our bedroom. We had just had new carpet installed in the bedroom and I was bound and determined to save that carpet. We put plants behind the garage in the enclosed dog run for protection.

4) Have extra cash on hand - We had extra cash set aside for emergencies, but I went to the bank on Wednesday afternoon to make a deposit and they had already run out of cash. People were coming in and taking cash out of the bank for there evacuation. This happened all over town as there was a mad dash for cash.

5) Make sure your have plenty of gas for your autos. – Gas was at a premium here as it disappeared very quickly. We gassed up all of our vehicles on Wednesday. TF has extra gas cans that we also filled up but I plan to purchase 2 more 5 gallon cans. We were lucky, I didn’t leave Houston until 8:00pm on Thursday. My husband had me wait till they opened the inbound lanes to outbound traffic. By the time that I left there was absolutely no traffic going towards downtown. I drove from I-45 north, at 1960, going south to Interstate 10. I got on I-10 at the Washington street entrance and got on the contra flow lane going out of town. It was moving at freeway speed. It only took me 45 minutes to go from my house to Hwy. 6. Earlier in the day it took people hours to get that kind of distance. From Hwy 6, on I-10 all the way to Hwy 71 interchange to Austin, it took me 7 hours of stop and go traffic. After that it was basically freeway speed the rest of the way. All in all, it took me 10 hours to get to San Antonio and the place we were staying. I used 10 gallons of gas and got 25 miles to the gallon. I felt very blessed.

Now the hardest part of the trip was seeing all those people who had been in traffic for hours and now they were out of gas and sitting on the side of the freeway. I saw families with children, grandparents and pets standing outside there cars in the 95 degree heat. My heart ached for them. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of cars in that condition. I wish I had the camera with me so that I could have taken a picture of a Loves gas station that was open along the way. There were literally hundreds of cars waiting for gas. I felt so lucky that we had waited till just the right time to leave. You don’t know if the best laid plans of mice and men will work until they are tested. Well, it’s been tested and we have a few kinks to work out. The staggered plan for coming home worked out much better. I got home on Sunday in only 3 ½ hours. I drove freeway speed the whole way, it was awesome. All in all, I think the mayor did a good job of evacuating 2 million people.

6) Take out flood insurance - It doesn’t cost that much. You don’t have to live in a flood plain to get it. After Allison came to Houston in 2000, I decided that we did not need the heartache of wondering if our house would flood. It didn’t and we were lucky. I called my insurance agent and found out that it would only cost $ 248.00 a year for our house. It was worth it for the peace of mind. FYI…Flood insurance doesn’t go into effect until thirty days from the day you buy it. You can’t run to your agent 3 days before a hurricane and expect to get it. We have it and pray that we never have to use it.

7) Stay in touch with your family – My whole family lives here in Houston. We all left except for my husband. The storm was moving further east and the winds had diminished some and he wanted to stay home and protect the house. Several hours before I left we had noticed some gang like characters walking around the neighborhood taking notes on who was going and who was staying. At that point my husband decided he was staying at home. I had my cell phone all charged up but the circuits were busy and it was like pulling teeth to get a call thru. We had made arrangements to use Grandma in Florida as the call center if we could not get through with family members. Everyone was given her number and was informed of the “plan”. It worked. Bonnie has a friend in San Antonio who took in my whole family. They were so kind and we made sure that we were neat and thanked them for their their generous offer.

8) Pray for guidance and use common sense. - I feel very blessed that things worked out the way they did. It seems that we made all the right decisions along the way. Now, I have heard several people say that I probably could have stayed home. Yes, I probably could have, but I would rather be safe than sorry. We were told by the weather men that even if the storm was on our east side that we could have had sustained winds of 80 to 100 mph. for 6 to 8 hours. We have several large trees around our house that could have fallen down and crushed our house. ( As it turned out our neighbor had her garage crunched by a tree.) I was a little concerned about loosing our roof. I decided that it would be better for me to leave with my family rather than stay in the path of danger. As it turned out, the hurricane moved even more to the east and spared our city. I am so very grateful for that. Can you imagine what it could have done to a city the size of Houston? It would have been devastating. I would do it again if I had to. I pray for those that got hit and have damage. We dodged the bullet again and for that I am grateful. My house is in one piece, my carpet is still intact, and did not get wet, and my husband still has his truck so that he can work and bring home the bacon. Other than it looking like it snowed pine needles and one large limb down, we came out smelling like a rose. We actually did use the chain saw. Last, but not least, my family is safe!!! What more can you ask.

Update: Fri. Sept.30th
It's been six days since Hurricane Rita came ashore. Yesterday the grocery stores finally had milk and bread on the shelves. The banks finally have some cash that they can distribute to their customers. The town in finally getting back to normal. The lesson here is that it takes some time for things to get back in order again after a mass evacuation like we had here in Houston. Be prepared!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Yeks…. It’s coming our way…..

Simon and Garfunkel's Concert in Central Park

Right now my husband is watching his new DVD that we got at Target last Saturday night. We found a “Simon and Garfunkel in Central Park” DVD for $ 5.50. We grabbed it up and just now have our first chance to listen to it. Ahhhh….. Classics from our day. Some of my favorites are: The Sound of Silence, Slip Sliding Away, Still Crazy after all these years, Scarborough Fair, Homeward Bound, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Wake Up Little Suzie, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard and others.. Even my 27 year old daughter likes Simon and Garfunkel.

I can not believe we have hurricane breathing down our neck. This is unbelievable. Already Wal-Mart is out of batteries, tuna, bread and anything you would need for a storm. I was going to go to Sam’s this morning to get batteries and ended up doing another chore that took more precedence. By this evening batteries were hard to find. I ended up at Walgreen’s grabbing up type “C” batteries. I went to a connivance store for bread. I guess after Katrina every one is edgy and shopping early. My son used up all my batteries in his fancy radio last week so there I was with out my extras. Well, I have them now. I can’t seem to get my eyes off the weather channel. Tonight my husband made me turn it off.

My son finished painting our bedroom yesterday and today the new carpet came. Thank goodness the new bed doesn’t come till late next week. We have also been finishing up the work on our rent house and it is about ready for the new renters. Tomorrow we pick up the new stove and refrigerator and take it down there. Do you see why I am praying that the hurricane goes somewhere else? I would love to have cancelled the whole thing until after the threat of the storm, but my husband did not want to put it off any longer. Please pray that the hurricane goes somewhere else. We live on the north side of Houston, about 75 miles from the coast, so he doesn’t think we will have too much of a problem as long as it stays under a Category 3. If it is a Category 4 or larger and we take a direct hit, then we have a problem. I am silently preparing to leave if it gets bad. We will take my husbands work truck and the little green car and high tail it. Bonnie’s car and my Toyota will go in the garage at the other house. (Fingers crossed) No, I’m not even going to say it. Never mind, I don’t want to jinx us. Hey Fred, I was thinking about your brand new dining room table and chairs. Ok, enough of this. I will probably be too busy to blog in the next few days. Well see what happens, pray for us. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 19, 2005

Yes…..It will be here before you know it.

What? Christmas! I don’t even want to think about it now, but if you are one of those people who like to use your hands and make things for Christmas, it’s time to start. For as long as I can remember, I have made a certain number of home made gifts. I just like to give something that I made all on my own. I have made homemade vinegars, Cake mix in a jar, 9-bean soup in all kinds of containers, popcorn and seasoned salt, homemade whole wheat bread with a can of beef stew, potpourri in lace, small bathroom baskets, fruit baskets, tin punch ornaments, Cinnamon ornaments and many other things.

I inherited a Gingerbread cookie recipe from my mother in law that I have made every year since. I quadruple the recipe and store the dough in the refrigerator till I make the cookies. Grandpa and Aunt Laura would rather have the cookies than anything else. They are sent to them, in pretty Christmas tins, as well as other family members. It’s one of our traditions that is special to our family. (I’ll do a blog on traditions a little later on. Now that thought is running all over my head.) I keep my mind open all year long for ideas. If I see something on sale, I can buy it and have it ready when the time comes to make it. One year I found some beautiful copper baskets on sale 75% off. I paid very little for them and I knew at an instant that they would make great potpourri containers. Later during the year I found potpourri on sale and purchased it. I already had some lace that would fit on top. Put some ribbon around the top edge and you are ready to go. It was easy to make and they turned out to be a beautiful gift. I gave these to our neighbors alone with a plate of cookies. I am going to post some of my favorite ideas this week at the end of my blogs, so keep your eyes open if you would like to make some inexpensive Christmas gifts. Here is one of my favorite things to make:

Cinnamon Ornaments:

1 can (4 oz.) Ground Cinnamon
1 TBL - Ground Cloves
1 TBL - Ground Nutmeg
¾ Cup - Applesauce
2 TBL - White Glue

In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add applesauce and glue; stir to combine. Work mixture with hand 2 to 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Divide into four portions. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters of desired shapes. Using a straw, make small hole in top of ornament. Place cutouts on a wire rack and allow to dry at room temperature for several days until completely dry. Thread a ribbon through hole.
DO NOT EAT! Makes about 20 ornaments.

Lucy’s Notes:
1) I quadruple the recipe and make about 80 ornaments.
2) I purchase the spices thru San Francisco Herb Co. (check the side bar of my blog for their web address) and save a ton of money on the spice. For those of you who live near a Sam’s Club or Costco, you can buy your Cinnamon by the pound there at a very good price.
3) I have a large stainless steel bowl that I mix my large (quadrupled) recipe in. A glass bowl works good also. If you use a plastic bowl the cinnamon and other spices could stain it.
4) The mixture should be poured out on a floured cutting board or any floured surface. If you don’t flour, the mixture will stick. Flour your rolling pen before rolling.
5) I use some Christmas cookie cutters or you could use any shape you want to make the ornaments. I have used trains, teddy bear shapes, etc. Have fun with it. Be creative!
6) Flour the inside of the cookie cutter, if you are using one with a design imprinted on it. If you don’t, they will stick. Give the cookie cutter a little shake to get the dough to come out. If the dough resists coming out, use the tip of a knife in a corner to get it started.
7) The recipe calls for using a straw to make the hole at the top, but I use an ice pick. It doesn’t make such a big hole but it is big enough to get a ribbon thru.
8) Use a spatula to move the cookies to a wire rack. Don’t let the ornaments touch each other, for they need a little room for air to get through so they can dry. Put the wire rack out of the way of children and pets. You don’t want them to eat them and have an upset stomach. It will take about two days for them to dry completely. They will turn a lighter shade of brown as they dry. Trick: Several times I have put a oscillating fan over them to hurry up the drying process.
9) Once the ornaments are dry, you can dust off any excess flour with a pastry brush.
10)The ornaments will store for several years in ziplock freezer bags. Take a straw and put it in an open corner of the zipped bag and suck out the air. As you pull the straw out, zip the bag shut. This keeps air out of the bag and preserves the ornaments.
11) These ornaments are not hard to make and they can be made in a couple of hours. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

My husband loves it when I make these ornaments because it makes the house smell sooooo good. These ornaments can be given as small gifts to a Sunday school class, school children, nursing homes and hospitals or just neighbors, friends and family. You could tie a couple of them together with ribbon and attach them to a Christmas present.

One year, right after cleaning up from Thanksgiving dinner, my sisters and I made the ornaments together. We had so much fun making them. They carefully took some home on paper plates to dry. Both sisters put ribbon in the small holes and then tied them around their rear view mirror in their cars. I hadn’t even thought about that.

Ok, have fun making your ornaments….. Let me know how they turn out. Email me if you have any questions.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Jury Duty Scam Leads to Identity Theft

From La Grange Police Dept – Chief Mike Holub
I became aware of this recent scam and wanted to share it with you. Our representatives in the County Court System have already heard about this swindle, and so the Police Department would like to pass it along in hopes of curtailing an attempt in La Grange.

CHIEF MIKE HOLUB: Here's a new twist scammers are using to commit identity theft: the jury duty scam. Here's how it works: The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and claims you've failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. The victim will often rightly claim they never received the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for "verification" purposes. Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim's Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private information -- exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft. So far, this jury duty scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state.

It's easy to see why this works. The victim is clearly caught off guard, and is understandably upset at the prospect of a warrant being issued for his or her arrest. So, the victim is much less likely to be vigilant about protecting their confidential information. In reality, court workers will never call you to ask for social security numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via snail mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.

Preventative Action:Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information when you receive a telephone call.

This jury duty scam is the latest in a series of identity theft scams where scammers use the phone to try to get people to reveal their Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information. It doesn't matter “why” they are calling -- all the reasons are just different variants of the same scam. Protecting yourself is simple: Never give this info out when you receive a phone call. For more information, click on the following link: http://www.scambusters.org/juryduty.html Please share this information with your employees, family and friends . . .

Lucy's Note: Several times I have had people call me up for one reason or another and tried to get this kind of information from me. When I don't give the information to them, they hang up. It's becoming a real problem. Has anyone ever tried to scam you?

Click here to see what my computer does at night after I go to bed.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Is Fall coming? I found muffin recipes....

I saw these muffin recipes on the Real Food For Real People site this morning and started thinking about fall. I wish we would get a cold front. Just cool enough to have 70 degree weather during the day. I am READY for fall. Take a look at these recipes and give them a try.

Caryn says: A while ago there was an urban legend going about that was about Jordan Marsh Blueberry muffins. It was Just that, a legend. I grew up just north of Boston where the famous muffins came from. The Muffins hold some great memories of my Aunt Janice and some trips to Jordan's basement on the T. I don't know if this is really the recipe, but boy, it comes so close I can smell the subway! And they taste best if you don't use muffin papers but grease the pan with shortening. Makes them crispy. Recipe by: Caryn Quaker (RFFRP)

Jordan Marsh Blueberry MuffinsRecipe By : Jordan Marsh Stores
Serving Size : 12 Measure Ingredient --
Preparation Method
1/2 cup butter -- softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 c blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large mixing bowl: cream butter, sugar & eggs. Sift dry ingredients together & add alternately with milk & vanilla to the creamedmixture. Fold berries into the batter & spoon into greased muffin pan. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 30 minutes.NOTE : Leave the muffins in the muffin tin 3-5 minutes after baking & they'll be easier to remove from the pan.These next two recipes were submitted by: Cariad (RFFRP)

Cranberry Orange Muffins
1 ½ - cups all purpose flour
2 tsps - baking powder
1/2 tsp - salt
3 Tbsps - sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp - prune puree
1/2 cup - milk
2 Tbsp - butter or margarine
1 cup - cranberries
1 Tbsp - orange zest
Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Stir flour to aerate. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, combine egg, prune puree, milk and butter; add to flour mixture and stir until flour is almost dampened. Stir in cranberries and orange zest, and spoon batter into cups. Bake, 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes: 12 servingsThese are yummy and very moisty.

Best Ever Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins
2-1/2 cups - all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsps - baking powder
1 cup - sugar
1/4 tsp - salt
1 cup - buttermilk (*)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup - butter, melted
1-1/2 cups - blueberries, rinsed & drained (or frozen, unrinsed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin tins well. Sift dry ingredients together into large bowl. Make a well; add buttermilk, eggs and butter. Mix well. Fold in blueberries. Fill well-greased muffin tins 1/2 full and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 2 dozen muffins. (*) If you don't have buttermilk on hand, place 1 Tbsp vinegar in a measuring cup and add milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for a few minutes. If you're using frozen berries, be sure to add them in their frozen state so they don't bleed into the batter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Back from Florida

My husband and I went to Florida to visit his parents this past weekend. We had a great time even if it was short. We left Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm and arrived in West Palm Beach around 4:30pm. We picked up our rental car and arrived in Vero Beach at 6:30pm. I watched as we drive to see if there was still visible some damage from the two hurricanes that visited Grandma last year. Along the side of the highway there we some trees broken in half, others trees that were leaning and other signs that a storm had visited them. We had a light meal with his parents and then they took us to the Holiday Inn, on the Beach, where we would be staying. The water was rough and you could tell that the Hurricane further north was affecting the tides.
We awoke the next morning to take in a beautiful sunrise over the ocean. We had breakfast at a little place on Jaycee Beach and walked the beach. We noticed that there were Condo's along the beach that were still damaged and not yet repaired from last years storm. All in all the town looked great, but there were signs off the past hurricanes. Around noon we went over to Grandma's and had a relaxing lunch of baked salmon, rice and "Granny Salad". My entire family LOVES Granny's salad. I am still trying to prefect it. I watch Grandma Stern make her mothers speciality and took mental notes of how it is done. Her newest thing is to use Kosher Salt. You must know that I bought a box yesterday when I went grocery shopping. We talked till we were blue in the face. The "men" ventured off into the TV room to watch baseball while Grandma and I talked about "women's things". She sent me home with a Sterling Silver fork and spoon, with her name on it, for our grandchildren. What a treasure. Later in the day we feasted on fresh baked apple pie and ice cream. Around 6:00pm., I could tell that they were getting tired , so we excused ourselves and headed off to the Hotel. We decided to take a drive before bed. Let me tell you that Vero Beach closed down at 9:00pm. Every store and fast food place closed down for the night. I suppose I am used to Houston and all of it's late hours. At 3:00am. Monday morning we were up, showered, dressed and out the door. We arrived back at West Palm Beach and turned in our rental car by 5:10am. We were home in Houston by 8:30am. and in our front door by 9:30am. I was woren out from our whirl wind trip and slept most of the afternoon. My husband had calls waiting for him and he went straight to work.

I'm so glad that we can take quick trips like this every once in a while. The house was still standing and the world still spinning. Glad to be back.

Friday, September 09, 2005

A Personal Story from a Shelter Worker…

I read this story earlier today and felt like I was getting a bird’s eye view of what is going on in a shelter in San Antonio, Texas. This woman is a volunteer Red Cross worker and mother of seven children, yet she still finds time to work 12 hours shifts with the Hurricane evacuees. I cried but felt good about the news she was telling. I think we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel for these people. It’s a new beginning for them and I wish them well.

I just want everyone to know that I am totally impressed with the American Red Cross.. They are doing a top notch job of caring for the evacuees. They get an “A” for all their good work and I applaud all their efforts. I’m not so impressed with FEMA who has shown very little organization through out this whole ordeal. Some heads need to roll over at FEMA. I found this article, about their lack of disaster skills/experience, this morning and it made me shake my head in disgust. Check here to see what our local church unit is doing to help the hurricane evacuees.

One more thing…..To whoever left those people in the nursing home to die, I hope they find you and hang you high.

Update: Here is another story about a six year old boy who rescued six children, all younger than he was. He had the hand of God protecting him.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What did you do on your Labor day?

To start a couple of days earlier…..We emptied the water bed on Saturday and it took about 4 hours to get all the water out. I am so glad that is all done. The bedroom is basically empty now, and ready to paint, before the carpet comes and then the new bed. This is a lot of work! I have sorted, thrown away, given away so much “stuff” that somehow fit into that room. I cleaned out my closet of clothes that I will never fit into again, got rid of old shoes and found the floor. It really is off white. My emotions have been like a roller coaster with all that is going on with Katrina and also trying to get things ready in my bedroom……My husband and I are now sleeping in Bonnie’s room while she is on the road on her work assignments. Her bed is really different and much smaller. Probably by the time I get used to it, our bed will get here.

Today, Labor day, I woke early because my cat was climbing all over me, meowing….”feed me…I’m hungry”. She doesn’t give up till you get up. I got out of bed and went down stairs and fed all the animals. By 9:00am. I was out the door and over to Krogers to pick up day old bakery items for our food pantry. They were closed today because of Labor day, so I was told to give it away. I met two friends who were working with different hurricane shelters and let them take the bread. I visited with the receptionist at our Bishop’s storehouse and learned all that has been going on with the hurricane aid for our church. Off to Wall Mart to buy red potatoes for a hot potato salad. By 1:30pm. the hot potato salad and I made it over to a friends house for barbeque. Her son was leaving to go back to his military base and then on to Iraq in two weeks. We were there for a proper send off. His military unit will be relieving the unit that his brother is in. One son is going and one son is coming home. The trees in front of her house have big yellow ribbons tied around them and everyone in the neighborhood knows about the boys. It was a good afternoon of socializing and wishing our young friend off. The rest of the day was filled with shopping at Lowe’s for painting supplies and the Astros baseball game on TV. There was time for reading blogs. A nice day.

My thoughts were full with the events of the past week. I thank my Heavenly Father for so many blessings. We were spared the wrath of the Hurricane; it didn’t miss us by much. We are able to help those who did get hit in many ways. We have some good friends, with sons, who are willing to go off to war to protect our way of life and our freedoms. We have a roof over our head and food on our table and a family that loves us. We have a thriving business that pays our bills and we have plenty for our needs. We have our aches and pains, but we are healthy. We live in a country where we can practice our own religion and not be persecuted for it. We have plenty to share with others. What more can a person ask for. As I think of this Labor Day, I am grateful for Labor. Hope you all had a good day.

Friday, September 02, 2005

This pretty well says it.....

Here is a video That Everyone Should See on the New Orleans Situation. This is a thought provoking 8 minute documentary that someone has already put together on Hurricane Katrina. It is something that really causes you to stop and pause a moment to grasp what is currently going on in that area and how fortunate most Americans are. Sent to me by Richard Sutton

This made me cry. This is not what the media is showing.
Update: The video is no longer working, I guess it was up for one day only. Sorry

How prepared are you?

I think this disaster is of such a huge magnitude that it caught many people off guard. I "wish" the government could have come sooner, but they were just unprepared for a disaster of this grand scale. Yes, it’s bad out there. People are in shock. There are bodies floating in the water and no telling how many dead people in the submerged houses. Phone lines are down, no power, no safe drinking water, no food and no air conditioning. There is lawlessness and looting. The broken levees are drowning the city. I understand that there is so much damage to the Highways that they are having a hard time getting all the buses needed in and out of the city.

I went to as special church meeting tonight and found out just what kind of help is coming in. We were informed of a huge effort to help the people who are arriving at the Astrodome. My son has a friend who is working at one of our county hospitals who has been sent out to the Astrodome to help. There is a call for doctors, nurses, and EMT's to volunteer some time to help with the sick or injured. I know of a massive food drive we are having here in Houston to help the people in the Astrodome and other shelters. I have friends who are working at the NW Assistance Ministries to sort clothes that are pouring in for the evacuees. Food is being donated by the car loads. It really is nice to see all the good in people. Of course their have been some bad things going on too, but all in all, I see much more good. The Red Cross is having training classes this weekend to train people to do Red Cross work. Our local church is going to be putting together hygiene kits to give out to the People in shelters. The churches in the Houston area are working together to get volunteers to work at the Astrodome to help feed people. There are many, many things in the works to help take care of those in need. What can we do to help? We can give of our time or our money or both. We need to try to be positive and quit pointing our finger when things go wrong. Hopefully many things will be learned from this disaster and if it happens again, we will be better prepared.

I took a hard look at myself to see just how prepared my family is. This could have been us, we were only 200 miles west of the storm. We were spared this time around, but are we prepared in the event that this could happen in the Houston area? I hope this is a major wake-up call. I am going to go thru my 72-hour kit and make sure it is up to date. I want to make sure that if we had to leave at a moments notice that we have everything in one place to grab on our way out. Check out a plan, from the LDS church, for a disaster plan for your family. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.