Monday, September 26, 2005

#80 - "Girls Walking Along Pier with Grandpa"

It is a scene worthy of the great Impressionist masters. Two little girls walking along a sunny pier with their Grandpa. They alternate between skipping merrily ahead, or stopping to examine the latest in seagull graffiti. One little head bobs over the railing of the pier, while the top of the other is barely visible. Beyond them the ocean stretches for incomprehensible miles to the distant horizon. Here and there a boat skims along the surface in the distance, moving cargo to a remote port or stopping to let down lines and sinkers. A cool breeze wafts lazily over the beach where Mommy and Daddy rest, chatting with Grandpa's wife. They've only been married for a few years, but she fits comfortably within the family's dynamic, and conversation comes easily.

Mommy tries to capture the idyllic scene with her digitally enhanced zoom, but they're just too far away. Ah, well. The memory will linger.

Santa Barbara is a home away from home for the Woodys. Poppa is the primary draw, but we'd come here with or without such an excuse. Mrs. Woody lived here for a few brief years before striking out on her own, and the place holds a special appeal. We both love all things nautical, and the theme permeates our home decor. The sky is nearly always fresh and clear - certainly far more so than it is in Los Angeles or Orange County. Even when it's gray and foggy it's a retreat that we crave. If it weren't for the long drive home we'd probably just melt in place and stay for as long as we could get away with. As it is, the visits are all too brief, and before we know it it's time to hop in the car and turn southeast.

While we're at the beach, however, no one rushes through the routine. The pier walk is Poppa's special time with his granddaughters. He loves them dearly, and they love him, too. He loves to direct their attention to various wonders: egrets wading in a nearby marsh; a large pile of driftwood that Mrs. Woody remarks is just begging for someone to set ablaze, A&M bonfire-style. The driftwood yields two Woodyette-sized walking sticks that they can keep for a memento of the day. They probably won't last beyond the coming winter, but they'll serve well to the inevitable end. Jelly also grabs a few more treasured rocks from the beach. Her "collection" is burgeoning (I know not where to keep them!), but they fascinate her and she'll continue to collect for the foreseeable future. Doodle just loves the walk. Poppa fascinates her, and her spongelike mind absorbs nearly everything he points out to her.

For the Mom and Dad this is also therapeutic. The salt air combined with the peaceful beach and beautiful vista invigorate us when nothing else can. We don't need to be running in the sand; we just like the view. As with good art the picture draws us in and makes us a part of it. It may be that it appeals to our inner romantics. Or, it may just be that we've both had a lifelong fascination with the sea and it's many wonders. We see the hand of the great Master Painter himself in every breaking wave, and in every grain of sand. We feel at home here.

As brief as are the visits, the benefits are (fortunately) longer lasting. We found another idea for decorating our yard that will be in keeping with our nautical theme, and we can't wait to get our hands on it. A lighthouse for our front planter is just the ticket, and Mrs. Woody is already thinking about finding other sea-related goodies to go with it. Perhaps the Woodyettes will be interested in doing a little scavenging with Mom and Dad over the next few weeks.

With a few more strokes of the brush, the scene is committed to canvas. Our minds will be able to recall this scene over and over for the next several weeks until we once again make the trek north and west. Poppa will once again play tour guide to his knowledge-thirsting granddaughters, and Mrs. Woody and I will once again soak up sun and memories.

It's a heady mixture.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

#79 - Baby Sis Has an Interesting Day


This is too good to merely leave comments on. My youngest sister has three boys, all under age six. In the interests of science we are assured there will be no more than the three. In the interests of my sister's sanity I hope she's correct.

Actually, these are three of the sweetest, most loving boys you'll ever find anywhere. It's simply a problem of critical mass: when two or more bodies of equal energy occupy the same physical space, fission occurs.

I'm certain she counts this as payback for all the grief she gave her parents (although I would never dare speak for Mother... she's finally managed to sublimate all the activities that made us kids so darn'd interesting when we were growing up). On the other hand, maybe her Loving Husband carries at least some blame. Like I would know.

So, on the list of Woody's Must-Reads for Today, I refer you first to "Aaaaaaand Scene!" This particular story is made all the funnier because of another (true) family anecdote involving yours truly and my brother. I had been giving him a lot of grief one particular day, and Dad had called us down for family prayer. This was significant because a) we were not the most consistent of families when it came to family prayer, and b) it was my brother's turn. Being all of, oh, nine or ten years old, reverence was not generally foremost in my brother's heart at times like this. As I recall, the prayer started off just fine, but somewhere in the middle there was a (probably somewhat sincere) plea to "please kill Woody." It was one of those moments where Dad needed to be furious and use his patented Death Ray Stare®, but instead ended up twitching like a politician who's just been offered inside dirt on his opponent. The rest of us just busted up. It was too funny to let go to waste.

(Ma? Sublimated that one, too, right?)

The second Must-Read is "The Boy With All the Answers." Joshua is their middle child. I love this boy because I sense in him a kindred spirit. He has a specific agenda, even if he's not always keen on letting anyone else know what it is. He is also, I strongly suspect, brilliant. Misunderstood, but brilliant. Now we see the beginnings of the Woody Family Hambone running deep in his young psyche.

My Sis is in biiiiiiig trouble.

I repeat: Heh.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

#78 - Telephonic Tumult

[Updated to reflect the proper name of the YL Arts Alliance and a link to their Messiah Sing Along web page]

It's amazing how much power a single phone call can generate. In the last few days, we've had a couple of phone calls that demonstrate this principle, and are interesting because of the reactions they generated.

In the past I have received phone calls from choirs or repertory companies offering me a chance to sing or act for some special occasion. These calls never come at a convenient time. That is, the gig is never planned for a convenient day on my calendar. Just as frequently, the offer will come during an incredibly busy period for our family, and I decline in order to preserve some small amount of sanity.

Mrs. Woody answered the phone first the other day. When she announced that the caller was from the Yorba Linda Arts Alliance I had two immediate reactions: First was, "Aw, nuts. Now what?" Then, microseconds later, "Ooh. Wait. It must be that time of year."

That time of year, of course, is Christmas. Now, I realize that Christmas doesn't officially arrive until after Thanksgiving, but no one seems to have notified the retailers this year. Our local Costco had their Christmas stuff on the floor before Labor Day this year. I can still remember a time when we were scandalized that our local stores put Christmas stuff on the shelves as soon as Halloween was merely a "passing" memory. [Insert your own intestinal fortitude joke here.] Next year I fully expect to see Christmas merchandise on the shelves on July 5th. But I digress...

The beginning of the school year has always been associated with Christmas for me because I am a choir boy. From the time I was able to read music, I have started rehearsing Christmas music almost as soon as school was in session. This drives Mrs. Woody crazy, because I always want to get my Christmas music collections out and start listening to them in September, while she would prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving. And I mean, one minute past midnight on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Two minutes after that, she will expect the Christmas tree to be assembled and decorated. But my digression deepens...

What the Yorba Linda Arts Alliance called for was to invite me back to do the tenor solo for this year's Messiah Sing Along at the Nixon Library. This is deeply flattering to me, and I of course said yes. They had asked me to do this last year for their "first annual" Sing Along, and apparently the lack of bad reviews meant I must have done okay. There's talk of "full Baroque costume" for this one, but I'm not taking that seriously yet.

The second phone call of note came just this evening. In the Church, phone calls from priesthood leaders saying that they would like to "visit with you for a few minutes" are generally about as welcome as hearing from your friendly neighborhood IRS auditor. This generally means that someone is about to receive some new calling that will take you out of your comfort zone, in the sense that Torquemada would like to give you a little stretch on his new rack. When the caller insists on visiting with you that very evening ("Would it be inconvenient if I came by in, say, the next 15 minutes?") the tension level rises accordingly.

I actually fielded this one. The phone rang, and I was late getting it. As I listened to the voice message, I shot a "boy, are YOU in trouble" smirk at Mrs. Woody. When I told her that a High Councilor was wanting her to call him back as soon as possible, her sweat glands began working overtime. (I know, I know... ladies never sweat. Then why am I constantly purchasing deodorant for mine?)

Turns out this was not for a calling. In some ways, this was worse. In just three weeks there will be a 20 year anniversary celebration for our Stake, and the current presidency wants to give the two previous presidents each a scrapbook as a memento. Mrs. Woody's name came up as an expert in this field, and they wanted her to take the job. I say worse, because putting together a good quality scrapbook is not generally something you can just slam together in a few short weeks. Still, Mrs. Woody was relieved that she wouldn't have to give up any of her current callings, and accepted the job.

Mrs. Woody has a wonderfully artistic eye, and it shows in nearly everything she does. She actually studied graphic arts briefly in college before settling on education, and has been asked to create posters in just about every ward she's ever lived in. Now she's becoming known for her prowess as a scrapper, and I couldn't be prouder.

Still, one has to marvel at the ability of a relatively simple piece of technology to cause such a gamut of emotions in a short amount of time. The phone, as annoying as it often becomes (even with no-call laws on the books), can be a harbinger of joy or doom. It can either make your day, or ruin it. It can cause tremendous fear, or generate feelings of absolute elation.

No wonder my Dad always wanted to rip it out of the wall.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

#77 - Support HONDA (Hint: Not the Car!)

Hat Tip: Mrs. Woody

Remember these numbers: S1691 and HR3753. Legislation has finally been introduced at a federal level that will help alleviate (note I do not say "guarantee a lack of") discrimination against homeschoolers. Fronted by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), these bills are designed to "clarify" already existing federal law regarding public schools that have a negative impact on homeschoolers.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. If you've been reading the Woundup recently, you know how I feel about the federal government's involvement in education to begin with. I'm no fan of "No Child Left Behind" because it smacks of "Children Shall Learn at Our Dictated Pace." Furthermore, education was supposed to be publicly supported, not government guaranteed. There's a difference.

In spite of those feelings, however, I'm glad to see this legislation become part of the national debate. If, that is, Congress will give it the time of day. That's a long way from being a done deal. There will be, of course, numerous committee meetings to refine the initial proposals, then conference meetings to hash out differences, and that's only if each chamber's leaders allow the bills to go to committee in the first place. I can understand the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) getting excited about it (they are, after all, a bunch of lawyers), but my own enthusiasm is tempered by my perception that Congress is traditionally adverse to considering any legislation that makes sense.


In simple terms, discrimination is really just the manifestation of someone trying to assume control over something that should never be controlled in the first place. In its most heinous forms, you get racial discrimination and all the ugliness that accompanies it. In other forms, it takes well-meaning attempts to make something happen and turns them into unintended violations of basic rights. Control of education is one such violation.

No one argues that children need to receive a certain level of education, and that certain subjects need to be taught. Where we receive the greatest threat, however, is from those who would dictate how we are to teach. That level of control has no place in my home from anyone other than myself and Mrs. Woody. We have the responsibility to see to it that our girls are educated, and we alone will determine how that is to be achieved.

This legislation may help. Assuming it is implemented more or less as currently written, it should provide a federal mandate that may finally help us get local school districts to see us as less of an enemy. This assumes, of course, that we can get the professional educators unions to shut up and quit whining about all the money that homeschoolers take away from them every year. Since that's not likely to happen, no matter what federal (or even state) laws exist, I don't look for an elimination of discrimination.

I just hope it'll get better.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

#76 - Why We Have Bouncers

Hacienda Woody has bouncers. This does not mean that if you arrive at the Hacienda on any given Saturday night you might expect to find lines of hangers-on and wannabes waiting for a chance to enter our exclusive night club. No, this means that on any given day or night, if you entered Hacienda Woody you would run the risk of being bowled over by one of my bouncing Woodyettes.

We have a big yellow ball. It's meant, of course, to be a playground ball, but the nearest playground is a bit of hike. Consequently, the ball sees way more indoor action than I would otherwise care for. Size-wise it's about the height of any given dining table chair. Unless you sit on it. It squishes down a considerable amount, so that if you attempt to sit at the table (which, you may have guessed, the Woodyettes do), your chin rests comfortably on your lunch.

Jelly Woodyette discovered this phenomenon. She is, by nature, a bouncy child. I have long suspected that she is, in fact, part Tigger; she has never successfully sat in any given seat for longer than, say, five minutes without jumping up as if her derriere were ablaze. This makes for interesting meals at the table, and even more interesting (read: frustrating) sessions in school. Mom and Dad spend inordinate amounts of time asking her to please park her fanny and [insert desired activity here].

Then she discovered that by applying her considerable bouncing talent to the big yellow ball, she could propel herself to virtually any region of the house. It is a wonder to see how she bounces, and at the apex of her bounce, manages to push the ball forward with one hand (in a sort of cowboy, haunch-slapping kind of motion), thus achieving locomotion.

That's when Mommy had the brainstorm.

Being a teacher both by inclination as well as by training, Mrs. Woody figured that rather than see the ball-bouncing as a threat to our inhouse law and order, she would instead use it to her advantage. I happened to stay home the other day to work (ah, the Virtual Age!), and witnessed my Jelly Woodyette bouncing, literally, at the table when she was supposed to be doing her schoolwork. I actually said something about her needing to get into her chair (traditionalist!) when Mrs. Woody stopped me. Relax, she said. This is actually helping. Sure enough, rather than jumping up out of her seat every five minutes and needing to be called back to the table, Jelly could bounce to her heart's content and still manage to get her work done. Some of her drawings might get a little shaky, but she tends to stop bouncing whenever she's focused on such a task anyway.

I was impressed.

So, now, instead of seeing the ball as another threat to my sense of order, the Bouncing Woodyettes have the run of the house. Doodle doesn't do it as frequently as Jelly does, but there are a couple of reasons for this. She's not as inclined to bounce as constantly as is her sister. She has a greater capacity for sitting in one place for greater lengths of time, so bouncing is not a need for her; it's a diversion. On the other hand, Jelly has declared the ball her vehicle of choice, and getting it away from her long enough to indulge in a fun bounce is a hit-or-miss proposition.

I'm not saying that Jelly does nothing but bounce, by any means. She's still a world-class reader, and one does not read while bouncing on a big yellow ball. Indeed, this is the same child that gets car-sick if she reads too much on the road. No, reading demands sitting in one place for as long as it takes to get her fill. I often marvel how this hyperkinetic child can drape herself, cat like, on any piece of floor or furniture and read for a solid two hours at a stretch. My entire immediate family has this ability, although at my age, "draping" myself on any piece of furniture generally means sitting in the most comfortable chair I can find. When I was Jelly's age, though, I could read upside down if the mood struck me. And it frequently did.

So, should you ever visit Hacienda Woody and see a sign warning you about our bouncers, just understand that I'm really more concerned for your safety than my own. I'm pretty sure my insurance will cover being run over by a small child on a big yellow ball.

Friday, September 09, 2005

#75 - A New House for the Woodyettes

One of the great side-effects of the Move From Hades® is the constant state of wonder in which our Woodyettes find themselves. When we rearranged Mommy and Daddy's room, for instance, they both wanted to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed for the next several nights, simply out of a sense of adventure. I used to experience similar adventures as a youngster any time we could finagle Dad into letting us sleep in a tent pitched in the backyard. It's that sense of anticipation that you're experiencing something different. It doesn't matter what, just that it's different.

Likewise the family room. Before the TV got moved there, it was just a sitting room; a place where Mommy and Daddy could entertain guests, or read a book relatively undisturbed by sub-8-year-old interference. Now it is the gathering place for the whole family, and the girls are just as likely to play out there as anywhere else.

Now the Wonderwood Room© is taking shape, and a whole plethora of material previously unseen by our Junior Woodchucks is visible to them. There are, you see, books. Lots and lots of books.

I finished stocking those shelves just three hours ago. Since that time, the Woodyettes have spent quite awhile picking up random interesting books and reading them to each other. Mrs. Woody gets excited because the Woodyettes have fresh material to use and learn from. The Woodyettes are excited because there are books; a whole lot of them and, as far as they're concerned, they are brand spanking new.

In coming days, they will spend hours in here of their own volition. Oh, sure, Mrs. Woody will herd them in here for school starting Monday. (School, I must clarify, has been in session for a month already, but that was in the old, ramshackle schoolhouse built during the Reconstruction that nearly burned down during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and which also serves as our dining room. Monday they move into the sleek, modern, new schoolhouse which was built with your tax dollars. Thank you.) But the Woodyettes will gravitate here, after the school bell rings, to explore the world through new sets of eyes.

Home may be where the heart is. But for the Woodyettes, Wonderwood is where the universe is brought into sharper focus.

#74 - Move From Hades™ Update

Boy, am I sore. It's that bone-deep Ben-Gay kind of sore that requires several Swedish masseuses to aid in recovery. And I mean the kind with arms bigger around than my legs. That kind of sore.

I have designs on the bathtub tonight. Make the water hot enough to make lobsters scream, take a good book, and soak, soak, soak. Get a good night's sleep, and start all over again.

My position at work allows me to work a modified 9-80 shift. This means I work my 80 hours over the course of 9 days, and get a day off every other week. We've come to rely heavily on these days off, and today was no exception. As our longish weekend approached, Mrs. Woody's first question was, "So, whatcha gonna do on your Friday off?" This was not an innocent "will you be putzing around the house?" kind of question. This was a "so how much furniture are you planning to move?" question.

By way of update, prior to today we had pretty much successfully rearranged our living/family room and our master bedroom. Portions of the school/office/scrapbooking room (now called "Wonderwood") had been rearranged, and I knew that the next step was the one I'd been dreading since we decided to do this project. In our current office - the one earmarked for our Jelly Woodyette - we had bought and put together several storage-type units of varying shapes and designs. They all have two pieces that sit one on top of the other, and they're all heavy. I was not looking forward to moving these behemoths. Especially single-handed. They are, of course, the cornerstone of Mrs. Woody's new empire, and the lynch-pin of my entire moving project.

Unfortunately, this is not the sort of project that you can simply call a few friends, invite them over for beer, and have them heft some furniture around with you. For one thing, I don't drink beer [Note to GoogleAds: Please don't assume that this means I want ads for brew-it-yourself beer!] and I don't have any friends that do. Not that are friendly enough to come move furniture, anyway. For another thing, I have to empty out each piece, stage the stuff somewhere long enough to move the furniture, then meticulously put all the stuff back in its new home. There's no way to predict how long each step will take, so I hate the idea of bringing someone over just so they can sit around waiting for me to get everything ready to actually move.

This morning I was determined to move the Big Four (as I think of them), and I predicted that it would take the better part of the day. I was correct.

The good news is that they are all moved, and Mrs. Woody is thrilled. She can now find see and find things she hasn't seen in (literally, in some cases) years. They're all right at her fingertips in the same room where she will begin teaching the Woodyettes, hopefully this coming Monday. All I have left to do is move one desk into the room recently freed up, and move Mrs. Woody's bookcases from the dining room into the new school room. Then we get to buy her a 30x60 folding table for her classroom, and all is in readiness. She's like a kid at Christmas now. The room not only looks the way she was envisioning it, but will also be able to do her scrapbooking in a more comfortable setting. Fun galore!

Woody, meanwhile, will be in traction.

Monday, September 05, 2005

#73 - A Little Nitrous, Please?

I had no idea I needed to laugh.

Yesterday was actually a pretty fair Sabbath, as Sundays go. Nice day at Church; lots of good thoughts about the flood victims and suggestions for how to help; kids were able to be with friends in Primary; Daddy got to do some Family History consulting during second hour. No rush in the morning, either. I was up at a reasonable hour, and had the Woodyettes' church clothes picked out by the time Mrs. Woody was done with her morning routine. Everyone was showered, bathed, dressed, and otherwise ready to go well before our usual departure time, and it was nice.

On the other hand, there was work to be done. We were expecting company for today and the house is... um... well, you know. I was spending time in the Woodyettes' dungeon trying to get things better organized, and failing miserably. It truly is a case where a bulldozer would be more efficient, if I could just figure out a way to get it into the house.

After dinner, Mrs. Woody announced that she wanted a movie. She didn't say so, but the clear implication was that my attendance was required. The girls were ensconced in their CalTrans pit with a movie of their own, and we settled down to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." We enjoy "Greek Wedding" because it requires only minimal editing and hits all our funny bones. By the end of the movie we were both pretty relaxed and I was able to go back into the Den of Condemnation to continue with the reorganization exercise in futility.

It was my wife's parting line as I announced my departure for the Crusades. I mentioned that I always enjoy that particular movie (I probably always say this), and Mrs. Woody rejoined, "Me, too. But I needed to hear you laugh."

Oh? Had my laughter been so absent of late?

As interesting as this question was, I didn't pursue it. Some things require no real explanation. Mrs. Woody has always told me that she loves to hear me laugh. I have taken that to mean that my laughter has a sort of tonic effect on her. It must be a signal that things are right with the world in general. Sure, there is suffering and misery elsewhere, and we are and will do our part to help. But in our immediate world, things are well. And when Daddy laughs, things couldn't really be any better.

I can appreciate that feeling. In my childhood, if Dad was laughing, no one was in trouble. There were five of us kids, and someone was always in trouble. Except for the Baby. The Baby was never in trouble. (She denies this. She contends that we had all left the house by the time she got into trouble, but we don't believe her.) The bottom line was: if Dad wasn't growling at someone, it was a good day. If Dad was laughing, we all laughed with him.

As I sat in the Pit of Woody's Despair sorting through about a kazillion Kelly Doll accessories, I pondered the significance of Daddy's laughter. My native sense of humor is my strongest personality attribute. When I was a punk kid, it manifested itself as biting sarcasm; a trait I haven't completely left behind, you may have noticed. But as I have aged (or, like a good sausage, cured) I have realized that my sense of humor can be a tremendous disarmer. I have the ability to defuse tense situations by finding a way to reveal some small element of humor.

If that's true, then I do my family and loved ones a disservice when I fail to laugh for them. Let's face it, laughter is generally infectious. It always was for me when my Dad laughed. Now, granted, that may partly have been out of relief that I wasn't about to be executed for yet another lousy report card. But when Dad laughed, I nearly always laughed with him.

When I laugh, my Woodyettes can be themselves and have fun. They can be silly without annoying Daddy. When I don't feel like laughing, their silliness can act like a hot poker inside my head. I might snap and raise my voice. Then everyone - Mrs. Woody included - is on edge. What fun is that?

I had no idea I needed to laugh. But I know it now.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

#72 - Prepare Ye

Some thoughts about preparedness:

We in the LDS Church are continually (if not consistently) counselled to be prepared for disaster of any kind. I believe it's a rare General Conference that does not bring at least one mention of having, at a minimum, a 72 hour kit available for minor emergencies, and a full year's supply of food, clothing, and other necessaries in the event of a full-scale disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.

Talk is cheap, though, and countless members of the Church have far less supply than would be considered prudent for their potential needs.

Even Woody.

I have (foolishly, perhaps) prided myself on the amount of storage that I currently have. Then I projected myself into a Katrina-like situation and realized: my storage is vulnerable. We live near a flood-control wash which once was the Santa Ana river. I'm not certain, but I believe the entire river channel is now concrete and probably has been for several decades. During the monsoon-like rains of last winter, that channel got dangerously high. Although my family and I were never in true danger, had the rains lasted just a few more weeks, we could well have been under a foot or so of water.

The thing is, we live in a manufactured home. Like many parks, ours has a limit on the amount of external storage space you can have, and I happen to have a fairly decent shed built next to the house. That shed is jam-packed with the usual assortment of garage-like items, and also houses our not-quite year's supply of food, and our 10-year's supply of hand-me-down clothing. (That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.)

If, heaven forbid, we should ever experience a Katrina-like flood, I would likely lose most if not all of that supply and be no different from so many other victims of Katrina. It's a very sobering thought.

Are there differences? Certainly. I would have been one to leave town as soon as it appeared that the storm was as dangerous as Katrina was forecast to be. I would have had the means because I've been blessed with a good job that allows me to get in a vehicle and move my family to safety. Yet, even in this land of wonder called Southern California, how many are there who are in precisely the same condition as those in New Orleans who were unable to leave a doomed city? I doubt if our own local officials have enough data to make even an educated guess.

We don't get hurricanes out here, but this is hardly a disaster-free zone. We have earthquakes. We build homes on hills that are found, after a good, hard rain, to be completely unstable. One dry fire season can put literally thousands of people out of their homes. We have not yet experienced "the Big One" that seismologists have been warning us about since I was a lad. We've come close, as with the Northridge quake of '94, but that one huge, well-placed shaker will make a laughing stock of all the seismic preparations we've made in this concrete jungle we've created out here.

Am I prepared for a "big one?" Of course not. No one can truly ever say they are completely prepared for such a thing. There's no way of knowing whether I live in a relatively safe zone, or whether my home sits on top of a hitherto unknown fault that happens to be key tributary of the dreaded San Andreas. They're discovering new ones all the time.

This is where the principle of obedience comes into play. Through his servants, the Lord counsels us to prepare. We've lived in this area long enough to know, generally, what we prepare for. If a large earthquake hits our area, we will hopefully at least be able to dig through the rubble of our little shed and avail ourselves of our storage. We would probably feel a need to share those supplies with others, some of whom would likely have little or no storage of their own. And that's the way the Lord intends it to work. If I have been obedient to the call for preparedness, my family will be cared for. Even if, for some reason, my own storage were inaccessible, our obedience would mean we would be cared for by others. We would then rebuild our own stores in preparation for the next event, where we would hopefully be on the giving end, rather than the receiving end.

I cannot sit in judgement of how any given area responds to a disaster like Katrina. Certainly there appear to be egregious mistakes in leadership, and thouands of families and individuals simply were not in a position to prepare themselves for what is now expected to be a months-long evacuation. But from the warmth and safety of my home today, this is arm-chair quarterbacking at its worst. My duty as a fellow human is to do what my family and I can do for the victims, and try to provide for their relief. Somehow. I applaud those who will take the initiative to physically go and help. My own family's needs and challenges prevent me from doing that. But we can (and will) still help.

We will donate to a fund as we will be directed - probably today - by our Church leaders. I trust the Church's humanitarian system because they always deliver. I will then present myself and my veins to the American Red Cross at one of their blood collection centers, or at a blood drive that very likely will be organized by our local Church leadership. I will continue to pray and donate as much as I am able until those people are, at least, out of harm's way.

Then, and only then, will I return to a discussion of what happened, what went wrong, and how to fix it. In the meantime I need to re-inventory my storage. I'm probably short.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

#71 - Mrs. Woody Blogs!

Daddy is so happy! Mrs. Woody now joins the family in blogdom. She has created her first post here, and if I do say so, she has a wonderful writing style. Refreshing if you've been reading my tripe all this time.

Check out Mrs. Woody's Wonders, and drop her a line.