June 2, 2012

This LIfe

It's tornado season in Oklahoma.

I'm not sure that I ever get used to it, but I do get prepared, especially since I've survived one before.

The weather radio screeches at an alarming decibel when the warning is issued.  The screech is followed by a robot sounding voice coming on over the intercom explaining exactly what the weather is doing and what we should be doing.  Moments later I get a text message from the local weather station; a warning has been issued for our county.

I've been outside taking photos of  God's extraordinary sky when it becomes clear that we may have to take cover in our neighbor's underground shelter, so I start the routine. I make sure I'm dressed in something other than my pj's, and I put on my boots.  Boots are good for slogging through rain, mud, and debris. I'll be ready for anything.  Once I'm ready, I get my things ready.  I pack my briefcase making sure to include my Bible, my laptop and charger, my phone and charger, my wallet, makeup bag,  and some important papers.  I can't forget the proof of citizenship - just in case.  I wasn't born in the US, but I was born to US citizens abroad.  I bring my paperwork that proves this.  I also grab my camera bag.

Once I have my briefcase and camera bag ready to go, I grab a few important items for safe storage in the hallway closet:  my photos on disc, a few photo albums and books, and a few more important papers.  I place these in the closet and cover them with pillows.

If we have to take shelter, I'll grab the two bags now sitting by the front door.  I'll put the leash on the dog, and follow my husband across the street.

This whole process takes about 5 minutes, and I do it in advance of the arrival of every storm that could hold a tornado.

As I sit and look at the photos I had taken earlier in the evening, and I wait for the core of the storm to arrive; I begin to think about my routine and the items I've selected to save.


What I pack when a storm is coming shows a little bit about what is important to me.

God's Word
My US Citizenship
My family photos
My photography in general
My camera
My laptop (which holds a lot of my photography)
Being able to connect with the outside world.
Putting on the best face possible.

I do all of this because I know of the reality that my home could be destroyed.  It doesn't usually cross my mind that I could be destroyed.


And so today I wonder about how I am living my life in light of the fact that I'm not promised tomorrow.  As I have cared for my elderly parents over the last several months I have become more in tune to my own aging.  When I wrote my mission statement recently I included these words. "I will love others as if it is their last day on earth, and I will live with the reality of the brevity of my own life at the forefront of my mind."  

Being keenly aware of the fact that the moment that just passed can't be regained should cause me to make wiser decisions.  I'm reminded of the meaning of my blog title. A defined life has a deliberate form.  It is not passive or without intent.  I am choosing to live my life moment by moment and I'm beginning to realize that wasting time or killing time is far worse than throwing money in a trash can.  Killed time grieves God, and it accomplishes absolutely nothing beneficial for anyone.



I'm challenging myself, and I'd like to challenge you, to spend our moments abiding in Christ.  Living moment by moment in fellowship with Jesus will place us directly in the center of his will, our time will be invested in things eternal rather than thrown away to the distractions of the trivial, and we will soar.

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25 comments:

  1. So glad I clicked on your thumbnail. This is such an inspiring post and your photos are just glorious for Sunday Best!

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  2. Oh my goodness Stephani - these are incredible images. I can see you selling these!
    Powerful post and one I've been thinking about a lot also. I'm helping my Mom and grandmother more and more as well as contemplating my own mortality and living a single life. My mission statement needs to include to trust Jesus with whatever lies ahead because I don't have a daughter or granddaughter or husband or sister to help me when I'm older. TRUST AND live is hard for me but I will do.

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    1. Stacey, I worry about the same things. No children. I am married, but so are my parents and they both need lots of care from their kids. I truly believe I will not be a the mercy of other people, but at the mercy of God alone. He will protect me and carry me for as long as I am on this earth.

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  3. Stephani - will you please contact me? I want to buy the one with the verse on it. Please?

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  4. Visiting here from A Rural Journal. Wow, wow, wow. Spectacular shots! Love your inspirational, spiritual blog. Each day I'm trying to live better and be more attentive to God and His word. I usually fail, but I can see improvement. :)

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    1. Gail, you never fail when you trust the Lord. The best thing you can do is to continually humble yourself before him, expose yourself to his word daily, and he will mold you and shape you. Sometimes the change seems microscopic, but you will look back in awe at all that God has done.

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  5. Oh WOW, these photos are truly amazing! I love how He paints the sky.

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  6. Amazing photos - and very inspiring post today!

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  7. Amazing pictures! How smart of you to make sure you have all of those things with you...just in case.

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    1. Thanks for the kind comments to everyone! Mary, I don't know if I'm smart or just too attached to certain things. There are certain things though that would truly benefit me if my home were destroyed. I guess you can't be too prepared!

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  8. So very beautiful, Stephani--both the words and the photography. I love your list of things most important to save. (((Hugs))), Peg

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  9. gorgeous photos...May you be safe.

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  10. Awesome link. We bought a weather radio last week. The week before a tornado blew close by and we didn't hear the warning sirens from town (only 1 mile away). I love the Midwest, and that includes a healthy respect for mother nature! Thanks for linking.

    Bobbie

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  11. How scary that must be - waiting for a tornado!!! Your pictures are truly stunning. Thanks so much for sharing!! Visiting from Sunday Best.

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  12. What a lovely post! I know all about those Ok. tornados from when our daughter lived there. She and her hubby took cover many times and I don't think she took anything with her. :o) She was too scared to think of anything but her life.

    Loved what you prepare each time to take with you. Good choices I'd say.

    Have a lovely week!

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  13. New here...just wanted to say how gorgeous your photos are. Very moving. I always say to my kids when I see sun rays like that "God's Coming!". Thanks for this post and my prayers are with you.

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  14. WOW! These are amazing! I had to go back and read what you wrote again, I couldn't keep my eyes of the photos! Abiding in Christ. our Savior who calmed the storm! Perfect!

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    1. I'm humbled by everyone's kind words, but even more humbled by the God who created the sky in those photos. I was at the right place at the right time while God was shining his flashlight. (Doesn't it sort of look like the light from a flashlight?) This photos humble me because they are simply a reflection of an almighty God.

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  15. the photos gave me goose bumps. thanks for sharing

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  16. So beautiful! I love these!

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  17. It can't be a coincidence that I'm bumping into a lot of end-of-life discussions. Thank you for this reminder and refocus on what to consider with the time we have. And I hope the storm passes you by!

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  18. Amazing how something so beautiful, can turn into something so deadly. We survived a tornado as well. And have had a few here in East Texas over the last few years. Beautiful photos!!!

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  19. Stephani, I saw your link on "Your Sunday Best." Simply Stunning pictures!

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  20. What gorgeous photos. I can sure relate to the storm thing. We lived in Oklahoma (Lawton) when I was in high school. We didn't have a storm cellar, but a couple of times we went in the one right next door when the wind got really bad. I remember one time going to their cellar and later hearing we had a hundred mile an hour straight wind. I'm glad it wasn't a tornado. No storm warning signals in those days and if they did have them we wouldn't have heard it because we lived in the country. I love the preparedness you make on these occasions. It's a good lesson for preparing for the storms of life. And it's so true that life is short. Doesn't seem like that long ago we were dealing with my parents aging and death and now we're getting pretty close to that age. Life is definitely like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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