As the storm surge rushed into Galveston, the newscasters were catching all the news. And apparently someone was trying to get their 15 minutes of fame in a bearsuit. If you are the person in a bearsuit, what were you thinking?!!

I'm now the owner of a Scion xD, so my Jeep needs to find a new home. Sorry to say, I had some thoughts that the Jeep might get an assisted suicide from Ike by become victim to a falling tree. Ike had a tree fall right behind my Jeep, damaging the back wiper a bit. But that was it. I still have about a million hidden pine needles to find.

The Caffey's neighbors woke up in the middle of the night to a tree coming in on their bedroom ceiling. Yikes!

I met an 86 year old man at Central Market on Sunday. We ate lunch together at the coffee bar. He gave me his card, and asked for my number, so I gave it to him.  After I wrote down the number, he got out a magnifying glass to read it. He also ate almond butter with his own gold spoon. And he kept telling me he had the secret to living to be 125.
I don't think I want to live to 125. But right now, I am on the Abraham/Sarah track for family planning, so we'll see what God has planned!

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Saturday morning, I experienced some pretty sweet joy. I absent mindedly turned on the bathroom light, and discovered something amazing -- electricity!!
During this time of the great Houston blackout, I thought about my trip a few years back to Kenya. My sweet friend, Mr. Mayoli, lives in his village with rainwater and no electricity. And it's a pretty comfortable life.
Maybe it's just the spirit of Mr. Mayoli which helps him not to mind not having those conveniences. Before becoming a widower, he lived for many years in the city, and during his retirement, moved back to the village where he grew up. I tried to keep a positive attitude and be grateful for things I did have: cool air (provided by God) and hot water (also provided by God through my gas water heater).
In Houston, not having lights has created a panic. Everyone rushes to the be the first to have every available D-battery in town (I'm assuming that one person hogged them all, because it took me days to find a store that had them). And finding a flashlight is like finding a brick of gold. I really wanted a flashlight that doubled as a latern, but did not have the luxury of finding anything nearly as cool as that during the high-demand.
Over and over again, the best thing that I've heard that has happened during these days (Lord, please not weeks) of no power, is getting to know/talk to neighbors. It's bizarre that the lights have to go out to realize that people are home.
I sometimes get frustrated with the constant noise of the city, but when all the power stopped working, and everything was dark and quiet, it was pretty scary. I wasn't really that scared of predators, mainly just roaches and possums.
So, thanks to the power company and friends for lighting my world. And prayers for all the workers' safety, and for those who are far from home helping out the Houston area.

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I have one lamp in my house that is being powered by a DieHard Portable Power thing. It's so amazing to have a light after the dark. I've learned lessons during this time, but my thumbs are too tired to type it.
Modern pioneers suffer from different ailments than old school pioneers such as tired thumbs from excessive PDA use for entertainment.

Having no power makes me feel powerless.
Actually, things are going pretty well. I have a portable battery to take home tonight, and I have a battery powered fan. It was really bizarre the favor that was shown to me at the Ace Hardware store. I had never been in that store in my life, and I was being treated like I was the President of Ace Hardware or something.
I keep hearing over and over at work how this storm has helped neighbors to feel closer. I've heard stories of families that got so close that they bumped heads with arguments, and others that have been blessed by the compassion and community of their neighbors.
Houston is a fast city. Something that had kind of been flowing through my mind a few weeks ago was the pace of the city. The cars move fast. The people move fast. The chips and salsa move fast. It's hard to fit everything I need to do into the day. And I sometimes feel like life is going so fast, I'm not doing the things that are most meaningful.
I know that God's glory will prevail no matter what the circumstance looks like, and I believe His glory is shining through the craziness of this storm. I am comforted knowing that God is bigger than any storm, whether literal or figurative, that comes in life. I am comforted by the ways He has physically and emotionally comforted me, when I don't deserve it. He shows me grace. I pray I can be that to people around me right now. Others before myself--a difficult concept to live out as a high-maintenance American woman.

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Starter questions:
1. Is your family okay?
2. Did you get any damage?
3. Did you stay in town?
4. Do you have power?
Follow up questions:
1. Have you found a place that has gas?
2. When do you go back to work?
3. Have you talked to anybody else we know?/Did you know anyone that was in Galveston?
4. Is your cable working?
Next set of questions:
1. Would you evacuate next time?
2. Do you have cable?
3. Is your pool green?
4. Can I come over?
Beth's answers:
1. Family is in KY; lost power with a post-Ike wind storm, but they are okay. I'm fine.
2. I have no damage to my casa.
3. I did stay in town with the Caffey family. THANK YOU CAFFEY FAMILY and neighbors!
4. I still do not have power.
1. Lines are too long.
2. Today, I'm at work. There's water here! We lost some windows, but now they are fixed.
3. Everybody is doing pretty good.
4. No cable to begin with. I'm hoping they'll forget and turn mine on by mistake for free. :)
NS of ?:
1. Yes. It was too scary.
2. See above.
3. Pool is green.
4. Come on over, but bring a light!

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I'm taking advantage of electricy and a wireless link at the minute. I'm hunkered down in the Northwest side of Houston waiting...for what I don't know.

This morning, I opened up my bible and read what it unfolded to, which happened to be Nahum--not very encouraging text for times like these. But nonetheless, I read it, and prayed for whatever might happen today.

My friend, Lisa, and her family have offered me a great haven. We've got boarded windows, closets to hide in, and more food than you can imagine. Lisa's mom just left to go check on her grandmother a street over, and I just heard Lisa yell to her mom, "No looting!"

So far, the storm surge is already bringing a lot of water into Galveston. There are many idiots appearing on t.v. One lady had two little blonde girls and explained to the newscaster she couldn't get out because she had animals. She had her girls at the beach to show them how strong the storm was. Then, the top idiot, was unidentified, because he was wearing a bearsuit. I thought I had seen it all. But dancing in a bearsuit in the hurricane surf? I had wished my city and area would handle the disaster with some class.

My friend, Eric, sent me a message that I would probably be experiencing the connectedness of neighbors, and he's right. People seem to have let their guard down, and communicate more easily with each other as strangers connected by craziness. The neighbors in this community helped us board up all the windows today which was such a sweet gift. I got to help a bit. It was my first ever hurricane boarding session. Lisa's mom even let me decorate the boards with spray painted messages.

Our biggest fear now is tornadoes that spin off of the hurricane, and also being without power for maybe days. Who knows.

My brother told me that gas in Owensboro, Ky was $5. CRAZY! I guess the whole country will feel the effect of this hurricane on Houston. We always knew we were an important city!

We've all torn ourselves away from the news for a little while. And are finally calming down after a hectic morning of last minute preperations.

I keep thinking of more and more friends that are out there...somewhere...and I hope and pray they are all safe.

Everytime I close my eyes I see a big swirling Ike moving ominously towards the armpit of America I call home. Please keep praying for us. Quite a few of us live here.

All things to God's glory.

It's hurricane season. That means, if you're a Gulf Coast inhabitant like myself, you spend a lot of time on websites like It's a bizarre feeling to be waiting and watching for hurricanes. You make plans for work and weekends, and then, everything can suddenly be put on hold, and you're no longer worried about Britney's second comeback on the VMAs or the Palin family, but you worry about things such as food, water, and air conditioning!
As a child, our family had safety plans. Because our house was really old with windows that wouldn't budge, our fire plan was for me to break the window, place my quilt over the glass and crawl out. We never did a practice, but I always believed it would work.
On a few occasions, we got stuck in our house in snowstorms. During one, all my other friends were stuck on campus, but I was with my mom and dad, and we had to drive the 5 miles of curvy roads to get to my grandmother's house so we could have heat.
In Houston, it's a different type of preparation. As we wait for Ike, the buzz starts building. A little less than two days before projected landfall, there is a slight sense of nervousness and tension in the air. In a way, it's exciting to have work canceled, but on the other hand, life is severely interrupted. And you're left with worry. Everything you own could either be waterlogged, molded, or blown to the next town when you get back. You don't know. Your neighborhood gas station has a line of cars that wraps around the street. Water bottles are more precious than gold. Canned food is a delicacy.
And you start to wonder about everyone you know. What are they going to do? Where will they be?
I have many gracious friends that know I'm a loneranger Richards out here in Texas, so they have been kind enough to provide safe havens for me. I'm planning on spending my time with the Caffey family. They're precious friends, and in a weird way, I'm looking forward to spending time with them, despite the circumstances.
So, we'll see what's in God's plan. Happy Little Trees could become Happy Little Stubs, but whatever happens, God is good. All the time. For that is His nature.
Please say a prayer for all the Gulf Coast peeps on the road and those hunkering down.

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Well, America, it's time.

After Hurricane Ike has left the building, I'm going to buy a baby Scion. That means, my beloved Jeep needs a new home.

If you know anyone who is interested in purchasing a lovely Jeep Cherokee Sport (2WD, 90K miles, nice aluminum wheels, new tires, cruise control, power everything, 1yr old battery, recent oil change, easy to take over bumps) for a price around $4,000(will also except Canadian dollars or Starbucks and Target gift cards equivalent in value), please let me know.

I love this Jeep. We've had some good times.

I realize that I really might need Jeep therapy after I sell it, and that has been factored into the price. My dad had a Jeep for years when he worked for different oil companies. Being in the Jeep feels like home. In a sense, it kind of has been my home. (No worries potential buyers, the interior is still super sharp!)

Me and the Jeep have laughed together. We've cried together. It puts up with my radio singing and station surfing. It has moved my belongings all around town.

But it's time.

I pray that it's next adventures will be just as fun as the adventures it had with me. I pray that the future owner will be blessed by owning the Jeep.

Pictured above is my little Jeep hanging out at Camp Olympia. My Jeep has lived a city life, and would prefer to retire to the country, but loves Houston. It's a great Jeep. I will miss it.

I have a hard time avoiding this in the grocery store. But I manage. I just slowly drive the cart away. Very slowly.

A friend of mine told me about the wonders of the NYC Ballet Workout DVDs. So, I ordered them on Netflix and have been quite pleased by the fun I am having.
When I was a kid, the main dance teacher in the county was Miss Debbie. I always wished I could be slathered with Mary Kay makeup and in a sparkly tutu with the rest of the kids and take her classes. But because I was the youngest of three children growing up in a poor farming and coal mining community (insert sad fiddle playin' here), my parents didn't have the resources to send me to Miss Debbie. I could be typing this blog post from NYC right now on my break from rehearsal for Swan Lake, but because the plan was different, I am just a wanna-be post-30 ballerina doing DVD work-outs.  
Okay! Okay! I had everything I ever needed/wanted and more as a child, and I probably enjoyed making up my own dance routines in the kitchen more than I would have enjoyed Miss Debbie's studio.
The DVDs are a bit weird to do in the living room, but it really is fun. And I am really thinking about purchasing some ballet shoes if I prove to be dedicated to my new found artistic movement. And I'm hoping it will help with my posture. It also gives new purpose to wearing my hair in a bun.

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I read an article yesterday in my Health magazine that said people that have dogs can lose about 14 pounds in a year. It's probably because they have no appetite after picking up dog doo and serving stinky dog food.
I still want a dog. I just have to get my back patio area all ready. I need to landscape a special area for business meetings for the pup. If I can figure out how to put a doggie door in my sliding glass door, I'll be really ready.

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I get updates from InStyle magazine that tell me how to dress for less in a movie star's outfit. It's a great little tool. This week's look-for-less included a lovely J. Crew top for $15. I didn't think J. Crew sold anything for $15, except for maybe last year's rafia belt. I did some clicking, and found several J. Crew items on sale.
I normally have a tendency to avoid catalog clothes shopping. It scares me. Items frequently fit me different than they appear on the mannequin, so I figure the same applies to J. Crew's or any other catalog's models. And I hate messing with shipping items back and forth. I don't find the process to be convenient or cost effective, since shipping can add at least $7 to the item.
But, I was going to put aside my opinions on catalog clothing shopping and splurge for a fun top or two from the J. Crew sale, and then I got two e-mails:
1) The first e-mail was from my friend who is going back to Kenya soon, and will be able to take some money to the recently orphaned girls I met there. The three young teenage girls are supporting themselves. My friend also told me of how helpful the $500 that we gave two years ago was to the girls.
2) The next e-mail was from a friend in Cuba right now. He told about many families there that had lost homes. He said that some homes were basically shanties, so they blew away easily.
After these two e-mails, my J. Crew tops seemed less appetizing. When I got back from Kenya two years ago, I didn't buy anything for a long time. I realize that there can be extremes to spending and not spending. But in the matter of J. Crew, I really don't need those tops. And I know by just cutting out some little extras, I can do a lot for someone else.

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