Tag Archives: life and death

Get on the Bus

Some things should go without saying. When in doubt, you can usually find a sign to help like this one I spotted last week.

no boarding after bus leaves curb

no boarding after bus leaves curb

Cracks me up. Of course there’s no boarding after bus leaves curb. Theoretically, it would be moving! Doors closed. Game over.

Life’s like that.

We have one life and one death. No reincarnation. No do-overs or second chances from the grave. We die and face judgment. We face God.

But Christ also died once. In Him there is salvation without condemnation, the assurance of eternal life.

What? No one ever told you?

Consider this is your sign. Your ride is parked at the curb. The doors are open. Get on the bus.

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 NLT

Funk musician Frankie Smith says, “Get on the bus!” The Double Dutch Bus.

Will you sit with me on the bus?


Filed under faith

Tornado Alley

You know it’s bad when your yoga teacher hands out weather maps in class.

red fence

“The storms are coming,” said Grace last Saturday morning. “They won’t be here until tonight, but they’re coming. Don’t know what you want to do about that.”

Saturday afternoon, I was inexplicably driven to clean. This was a momentous occasion. Our first chance to come face to face with the legendary storms of Tornado Alley. Needed to get our house in order, if only to have it flattened.

“Tonight we’ll have a slumber party,” we told our son. “We’ll be in the basement together and that’s the safest place to be.” Not counting other states or planets.

Preparation felt cursory. Unnecessary. We moved about in denial. By six o’clock, the twisters had yet to materialize. We shook our fists at the sky. Dined at a teriyaki restaurant called Tsunami. Let our son watch The Wizard of Oz at his Kids’ Night Out party. Drove home uneventfully.


Meanwhile, the sky went black and began to rain. Normal at first. Then in torrents. Hail. Wailing tornado sirens.

Our descent downstairs was a rush of grabbing the child, the dog, bottled water, pillows, a candle, lip balm. We barricaded our troop in a basement bedroom. From there we monitored the storms’ progress online. Posted updates on Facebook. Prayed.

We couldn’t see or hear the twisters from inside our bunker. Online reports were our only source of information. We quickly learned tornadoes are fickle.

The storms have turned south and will miss us. No, they’re headed north into downtown. Now they’re coming straight up the highway. Right for us!

Our camp scrambled into the bedroom closet. We huddled on the floor with our smart phones and prayers. You realize by telling you this I make you accountable. If God forbid we should ever go missing in a tornado, you are to direct rescuers to look for us in that closet.


And then, without warning, it was over.

The next day, the sky was bright, sunny, and blue. We’d awakened to a life that looked the same as it had many mornings before, except for a few broken blades on our outdoor porch fan.

But the dog refused to leave the house. My body was jittery, sore, and fatigued. Miraculously, no deaths were reported in Wichita, though the city suffered more than $280 million in damage.

We wandered through Sunday trying to absorb our surroundings. Watched a storm chaser’s video of the tornadoes. Saw their smoky devil tendrils trickling downward from a smooth expanse of charcoal clouds. Mustering spins. Willing themselves into funnels.

upside down

When Midwesterners learn I grew up in North Carolina, I cannot tell you how many have said to me, “Oh, I wouldn’t want to live there. You have hurricanes!”

Hurricanes are visible on weather maps three days out. Those that make landfall wreak havoc, but most hurricanes sputter and die at sea. They are devastatingly dangerous, yet hurricanes lack the element of surprise.

We’d survived this first round. A fine welcome to Tornado Alley.

Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him. Psalm 103:15-17 NLT

Dust in the Wind, like you’ve never seen or heard it before, by Judith Mateo.

I shot the photos in this post three miles from my home.

What’s your storm story? How did you survive?


Filed under life


the day after the storm

It’s been a week since we experienced our first Kansas thunderstorm. Think Dorothy in a giant, echoing dishwasher.

Last Thursday night, we were nestled all snug in our beds when out of nowhere came the strong wind. Bellowing thunder. Rain whipping against the windows. Four paws pouncing on my back.

The paws belonged to my dog. Her least favorite thing in the world is a thunderstorm. (Her most favorite thing in the world is rotisserie chicken.)

Our bed was damaged in our recent move to Kansas, so my husband and I are sleeping on our mattress and box springs on the floor. Kind of like camping.

This arrangement gives our small dog access to our bed. When the thunderstorm hit, our terrified terrier was glued to my side, trying to burrow under the covers.

It’s not easy to sleep that way, unless you’re like my husband who can sleep through anything.

forward march

Not me. I laid awake in bed, holding my dog, listening to the sky rattle and hum and shake and scream.

As I shared in Moon Walk, where we live in Kansas is flat and mostly devoid of trees. Nothing but God and ground and sky. Thunder echoes and booms like tympani in a large, empty room.

Nothing to buffer the wind. No gusts either. No chance to clear the hair from your face or adjust your vision. Kansas wind is sustained, constant, relentless.

Rain flies horizontally across the prairie. It attacks the house. A smattering of bullets against the siding.

“Jeff, do you hear that?” I whispered. “Should we go to the basement?”

The sounds reverberated, bouncing to the earth and back to the sky then down again. Angry and loud.

In my mind, I knew this was just a thunderstorm. It was not tornadic. It could not hurt me inside my house.

Even if it was tornadic and plowed my house to the ground—even if it killed me, it could not destroy me. Easier to write those words now than to remember them in the storm.

drying out

Storms are like this. They seem to erupt out of nowhere. They are no respecter of persons. None of us is immune.

Storms may devastate, frighten, hurt, and kill. They can last minutes or decades. Afterward, it may take years to rebuild.

But in Christ there is a place storms cannot touch. A place sealed and safe.

And there is a Person present in the storm. He stands beside us in the suffering and terror, even in death.

God, help me remember this because I know I will forget.

Next time the sky tears open and rages against me, next time I tremble, remind me You are with me. There is nothing to fear.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” from Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV

Never Let Go by The David Crowder Band.

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Filed under faith, life