May 20, 2013

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.

Since we don't have a television in our home, the weather radio is critical during this season. It screeches at an alarming decibel when the warning is issued.  That deafening warning 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. First things first, 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 interior 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, and our time will be invested in things eternal rather than thrown away to the distractions of the trivial, and we will soar.
 Thank you for indulging me in this re-post.  I thought since I am on a quasi-blog break, it was appropriate to share this post as tornado season has arrived one again in Oklahoma, as it always does. I would also like to request prayer for those affected by the tornadoes yesterday in Oklahoma and surrounding states.  Bad weather is again in the forecast today.  Blessings to you until I return full-time! 

UPDATE:  After I posted this  today (5/20/13) a massive tornado went through the Oklahoma City Metro area.  Yes, I had my bags packed, and I headed for cover right behind my husband and that dog on the leash!  We were safe today, but many were not.  There was massive destruction in Moore.  Lives and homes have been destroyed.  Please pray for God's presence to wash over our city and other areas affected.

Sharing with:  Hear it on Sunday, Share it on Monday, The Weekend Brew, Spiritual Sundays, Sunday Stillness, and Tuesdays Around the World.


  1. Hello,
    I am on a blogging break too but it gives me more time to connect with others. So happy God brought me to your site.
    I would love you to share at either Sunday Stillness or Wednesday's Word - a great post. A great story.
    Many blessings

    1. Thanks Janis! Would love to share! It's a small word because I recently came across your account on Twitter before you even stopped by here!

    2. So many God-incidents lately. I love it.
      Thanks for linking.

  2. Hi Stephani, Powerful post especially in lieu of the tornadoes that have left many without homes etc. WE had one here in Colorado five years ago and it destroyed a lot but only one life was lost. I will say, have lived most of my life in Ca., I prefer the tornadoes-because you get a warning. We try to stock our basement with the necessities during this season. I love all that you have ready in case you need to take shelter. But more importantly, I love your life statement. I have lost several family loved ones in the last ten years and am always reminded that we just don't know when we'll be called home. To love each person as it is our last day too.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. A beautiful post for just such a day! My little sister just moved to OK last week and family and friends have all been anxiously texting and calling my Mother for updates. No one could reach my sister at first because, it turns out, that the weather was fine this morning so they drove into Tulsa to go to the movies...and came out to a lot of chaos :-) Your post helped keep my perspective in the right place...they are in God's hands.

  4. So glad you are ok. These images are awe inspiring. Your words just a well of truth.

  5. What a beautiful post, but oh, the devastation your dear state has endured the past 24 hours. We have been glued to the TV watching all the rescue efforts. Just so sad. Praying God's love and mercy over each and every person affected. Sweet blessings to you!

  6. Stephani -

    I was reading this post as we heard of the devastation in the Oklahoma City area today. My heart is grieved for those who have lost so much. We pray for them and that those who have lost it all will feel the arms of the Father wrapped around them. Your words remind me that my 'easy' life has no meaning if I'm not prepared to say goodbye at any moment - goodbye to all around me, goodbye to those I know and love and goodbye to my own life here on earth. Thank you so much - you always challenge me to draw closer to the Father.

  7. AnonymousMay 20, 2013

    so happy you are ok ! i was thinking of you ... xo

  8. I am so thankful that you are okay. The loss and devastation just breaks my heart. I am praying!

  9. We are praying for all of you in Oklahoma...checked in to see that you were OK today...glad to see this post, Stephani.

  10. Oh, my. I did not realize you live in Oklahoma. Glad you are safe. So saddened for those whose lives were destroyed. Praying!

  11. You have no idea how much this post resonates with my own heart. I talk frequently on my blogs about the concept of living a life "abiding" in Christ. So thankful that you are safe. I am new to your blog via the link up at My Freshly Brewed Life. ;-)


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