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Post Script on Harvey’s “Beauty”

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Picture taken near Houston at height of flooding. The horse was rescued.

I am posting an article about rescue efforts that is on The American Thinker blog today. It is written by a volunteer who worked in the Dallas center for flood victims. Distance between those cities is 240 miles. (

What I Saw in the Floodwaters of Houston

By Hugh Reynolds

John Nolte’s superb article in Breitbart, “Houston Proves Everything the MSM Says about Our ‘Divided’ Country Is a Lie” (September 4, 2017) prompted me to tell my own story.  My family and I spent many hours in early September helping out at the “Mega-Shelter” for flood victims in downtown Dallas.  What I experienced there was like nothing I have ever seen.

The Responders and the Services

The response of Texans, and Americans from all across the country, to the catastrophic Houston flooding proves the power and resilience of the human spirit.  The magnitude of the logistics, the care, and yes, the love, is beyond extraordinary.  I know.  I have seen it.

Dozens of organizations virtually built a small city almost overnight in a space the size of 10-12 football fields.  Evacuees from the floodwaters in Southeast Texas came in by the hundreds, then by the thousands.  Hundreds of volunteers rushed in from nearly every state.

The Red Cross set up 5,000 cots and provided people who had lost almost everything with blankets, toiletries, showers, laundry service, child care, relocation and job counseling, and many other services.  Salvation Army volunteers fed everyone, including volunteers, three meals a day.  Volunteers from churches brought in water, juice, snacks, clothing, pillows, and other essentials.  Children were provided school clothes, toys, books, puppet shows, and supervised play areas.  Chaplains were giving out Bibles and providing spiritual comfort.

A small hospital was put together, including units for triage, primary and acute care, and stocked with all necessary medical equipment and supplies.  Scores of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff worked shifts lasting anywhere from eight to eighteen hours.  Medical services included mental health counseling, social work, and transport to other medical centers for dialysis and other critical needs.

Walmart established a fully stocked pharmacy for critical prescription needs like insulin and heart medication.  HEB set up a store providing food, clothing, and other personal items at no charge.  Evacuees were given free transportation to the Dallas Zoo, Six Flags Over Texas, outdoor movies, museums, and other cultural attractions.  I even saw a small boy getting a haircut in a makeshift barber shop.

Texas National and State Guard, local police, firefighters, and EMT personnel, and other first responders, were there to provide security and safety, while checking evacuees in and out of the building.  Janitorial staff worked around the clock to keep the shelter clean and free of trash.  Emergency management volunteers performed countless duties to ensure that the flood victims had whatever they needed.  FEMA was there for logistical, equipment, and financial support.  The VA was on hand to serve the needs of veterans.  The administrative record-keeping needed to keep track of victims, volunteers, services, and supplies was immense.

Personal Observations

I came in with other volunteers representing the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a nationwide network of citizen volunteers organized at the local level and associated with fire or police departments.  My assignments consisted of escorting evacuees through the relief center with their few belongings; helping families navigate the huge facility; getting them settled into assigned sleeping spaces; acting as a runner for their various personal needs; and, unexpectedly, becoming a prayer partner.

I met volunteers from Massachusetts, Arizona, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, and many other states and Texas cities.  I worked with hundreds of people who had interrupted their lives and come from distant places to help others in need.

I encountered one young lady who had suddenly decided to put her personal business on hold, get on a plane, and fly from Milwaukee to Dallas just to see if she could help.  She had stepped out in faith into the unknown, and we caught her gently in God’s safety net as she fell into a strange and unimaginable world of human need, hardship, and suffering.  We gave her a quick tour, taught her to improvise, provided her with whirlwind training, and immersed her into shelter life.  She found a calling and confidence to pursue a life of service.  She also found herself giving and receiving unanticipated blessings.

As I walked the floor (which I estimated to be the size of 10 to 12 football fields), I found that many people just needed someone to listen to their stories and maybe hold their hands.  I saw families and single mothers with two, four, or even six children, including newborns.  I spoke to people who had been separated from families or had no one else in the world.  I prayed with elderly and handicapped people and became friends with an elderly man with no legs in a wheelchair who always had a smile for me.  I procured small stuffed animals and toys for dozens of small children and babies.  I was rewarded with tiny smiles and blessed to hold little hands.

I have been amazed by the courage and hope and faith in God displayed by these victims who did not behave like “victims.”  They kept up their spirits and told their stories and, in very profound ways, ministered to me and other volunteers.  Yes, there was some tension and tribulation, and there were some tears, but I saw miracles of strength and hope, and I love every hour I was there.

Finally, I met a woman who spent 14 hours in chest-deep water in her home – holding her family bible over her head the whole time – before she was rescued.  She thought her son had drowned but had learned that he had also been rescued.  He was later brought to the Dallas shelter, and they were reunited.  We shared stories with each other and read scriptures from the Bible she had rescued.  We laughed, we cried, and we hugged.  I was blessed to meet this sister in Christ.

Funny: I didn’t see anyone there from Black Lives Matter, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Party, Hollywood libs, or any other social justice warriors out there helping the thousands of black families who had lost everything in the flood.  No one but us heartless Christians, conservatives, and other deplorables.

The liberal newspapers and TV networks can continue to try to divide us, call us racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, white supremacists, fascists, and worse.  Let the leftist professors and their student “snowflakes” in the universities whine and cry about “micro-aggressions” and “trigger warnings.”  Let them take offense at every imagined “politically incorrect” comment and run for their “safe spaces” and riot in the streets.

Meanwhile, real Americans – men and women of every race, ethnicity, nationality, and faith – came together and proved them wrong every day through our relief efforts.  Almost overnight in Dallas, and in many other relief shelters in Texas and other states, compassionate Americans built truly safe spaces for thousands of our brothers and sisters and their children in desperate need.

And these disaster victims blessed us every day with their broken but beautiful lives.

Hugh Reynolds recently retired from 32 years in federal service.  He spent his entire government career in the “fraud, waste, and abuse” business, including 18 years auditing that beleaguered enterprise known as the U.S. Postal Service, which survives without a dime of the taxpayer’s money.  He is a lifelong student of public policy and considers himself an American Thinker.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/10/what_i_saw_in_the_floodwaters_of_houston.html#ixzz4vfmLdGu8
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Guest Post: Boundaries

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This is a guest post from Miranda Kate Mixon, a beautiful young  millennial who blogs at First Class Act: Bringing Classy Back. Share it with all the young women in your circle.

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The most important commitment

you’ll ever make

Today we hear a lot about young adults and our fear of commitment. As a generation, millennials tend to switch jobs more often, wait longer to get married and to buy a home. Various sources list different reasons for this. Some say it’s because we value lifestyle over economic stability (i.e. we’d rather be able to have a job that allows us more flexibility than get paid more), others say that we simply can’t afford to get married, or buy a car or a home (potentially due to our emphasis on flexibility > pay). And then there’s those who say it all comes down to our fear of commitment itself.

As a millennial who knows a lot of other millennials, I would say that each of these reasons may factor in to an extent. And while the fact that we may have a fear of committing- especially to other people- is slightly concerning, there is another commitment I’ve come to learn is actually more important.

Commitment to ourselves.

Ooooohhh, what’s that?

I’ll tell you.

As an avid reader myself, one of my favorite online publications is called Verily Magazine. All about lifestyle, relationships & health. I love how the contributors offer refreshing perspectives on today’s various issues and challenges and how we can face them with grace and a good attitude.

A few months ago, I emailed one of the Verily contributors named Zach Brittle. For a while I read Zach’s column called “Intentional Marriage.” I love his style and the great advice he offers as a marriage counselor. Even though I am not married, I  have always found relationships fascinating and love learning about what makes for a healthy marriage (#goals, amiright).

I decided to email Zach because I had recently entered into my first relationship and had a question that  I felt required a more experienced perspective. My question was this:
How can I be more selfish?

I know that may seem like an odd question – it kind of is – but it is also one that I feel is highly relevant and valid. When we start dating someone, I think a lot of us have a tendency to make the other person a priority over pretty much everything else…including ourselves. Family, friends, extra-curricular activities and self-care take the backseat as we focus on this new person who we want to learn more about – which requires a fair amount of time and energy.

The thing is, you can’t expect to enter into a relationship with someone and not expect your life to change. So where do you draw the line? How do you ensure you’re being fair to the other person and your relationship while also staying true to who you are and what you need. We can’t expect to be fulfilled by the other person; to do so would be a) not possible and b) unfair to the other person – so essentially incredibly unhealthy and a recipe for disaster.

Zach’s response was both very wise and very generous- not to mention super helpful. His main point was this:
Before you can commit to someone else, you have to be committed to yourself.

What does this mean?

In his words: ‘Crafting a plan for how to take care of your mind, your body, your heart, your soul.’

Genius, right?

How are you committing to yourself? What is your plan to challenge yourself intellectually, your plan to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually? A plan that you make and stick to. A commitment you make to and for yourself- not for anyone else.

Zach emphasized that really my question was about self-care, which is NOT selfish because it allows us to love the other person without any strings attached. 

You’re no longer looking to the other person to feel confident or to make you happy (again, not possible), but rather appreciating them simply for who they are. After all, isn’t that what we want, too?

We don’t want to be needed, we want to be wanted.

This topic is supremely important to me and a challenge I’ve decided to accept whole-heartedly. I hope you’ll consider doing the same, as your future (or current) s/o will thank you. I may even post this plan at a later date- please feel free to share any commitments you make for yourself! I’d love to hear about it.

Yes, our generation may face a fear of commitment, but that won’t end until we learn to commit to ourselves first.

Thanks, Zach.

Do Not Fear: “God Is with You”

Introductory Prayer

Father, you created me and put me on earth for a purpose.
Jesus, you died for me and call me to complete your work.
Holy Spirit, you help me to carry out the work for which I was created and called.
In your presence and name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—I begin my reflection.
May all my thoughts and inspirations have their origin in you and be directed to your glory. logo-small

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

At the conclusion of every Mass we are sent, sometimes even with the words, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” We are a people on the move, a living Body that desires constantly to grow; we are chosen by God, anointed with His love, to bring good news to all. Jesus promised to equip us for this mission, and assures us that we do not labor alone or unsupported. He tells us not only that the seeds we sow will respond differently according to the hearts we encounter, but that His Word must first grow in our hearts. We are the light of the world, alight with the fire of God’s love; even a small spark can set a forest ablaze.

This mission, this task which Christ has entrusted to us, can be daunting; it is daunting. We are striving to labor with Christ for the salvation of souls, with our own salvation still being worked out at the same time. We may find ourselves completely overwhelmed, helpless, or so discouraged at our failures–actual or perceived–that we are tempted to despair, and giving up altogether seems like our only alternative.

When the storms of discouragement rage around us, when our culture seems unyielding or even hostile to the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), when it seems we are failing left and right and the fruit we desire to lay at our Lord’s feet has not grown, do not be afraid. You might come into a dark time of struggle in your faith and wonder, “Where are you, Jesus?”

Our Gospel today ought to bring us great consolation: Jesus never abandons us. Even should He be asleep, He is yet there; our God is a God that does not slumber (Psalm 121:4) and always guards us. Even when the storm arose at sea and His friends feared disaster, what could befall them if Jesus was there, asleep or otherwise? When God is silent in our lives, when it seems we are abandoned, we must have faith that we are not alone. We are the children of the perfect Father who says, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15) We are members of the Body of Christ; can He forget Himself? We are anointed with the Spirit of God; our Baptism, our Confirmation cannot be undone. God’s silence does not equal His absence; He is there.

Do not fear, then, whatever the world throws at your faith, whatever holds you back from serving the Lord and continuing His mission. His Word never returns to Him without effect (Isaiah 55:11), and that impulse to grow and bear fruit, should we seek to suppress it, will become like a fire in our heart that cannot be ignored. (Jeremiah 20:9) Be not afraid! God is with you; love Him, serve Him as best you are able, and know that all success, all fruit comes about by His grace, even if it seems we have failed. The storms of opposition may blow against you, but the Lord of Heaven and Earth is there with you, and He will not leave. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Jacob Boddicker, S.J.