Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Strong Storms....Again

Get ready for another round of strong storms. Some will move into the area late tonight (after midnight). The rest of the storms will move in Thursday morning. Hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes are possible once again. However, this round of severe weather looks to be worse north of I-20 instead of causing damage across the whole state like last Saturday.

Make sure you have your NOAA Weather Radio ready and set to alert mode!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Personal Reminder

I didn't feel good yesterday. I woke up with a sore throat, runny nose and a few aches in my body. Stephanie Bell-Flynt at WLBT had strep throat last week and I was hoping I wasn't next. On my way into work, I stopped by the CVS Pharmacy to try and self medicate. As I was standing in line at the counter, I noticed a lady in front of me who was completed bald. She was wearing a ball cap. When she turned to the side, I saw she was wearing a surgical mask. After she finished her purchase, she turned around and I gave her a smile.

She recognized me and we struck up a conversation. She had a tumor on her spine on her lower back. She had just taken a round of chemo and her white blood cells were gone, hence her wearing the mask. She told me how much she appreciated me growing my hair for women with cancer. We talked for a few more minutes and she said "I told God to use me. I don't care what you do, just use me."

On a day when I wasn't feeling my best, I walked out of the CVS feeling uplifted. With each day, we should proclaim, "Lord, I give this day to you. Just use me." God certainly used her to remind me why I keep these long locks growing.

Monday, February 26, 2007

He's Always There

Saturday night was a rough one! Hopefully, you and your family made it through the storm without any damage. Eric Law and I did team coverage and commentary on the tornadic weather. I left WLBT around 11pm as the storms were beginning to push into eastern Mississippi (out of our viewing area). Not only was it busy in the WLBT Weather Lab, but the emails poured in. All but one were complimentary on our severe weather coverage. Here is the only negative one I received:
Hi Barbie, I'm watching the severe weather coverage tonight and I'm disappointed in WLBT's coverage, or shall I say lack thereof. Where are you? Why aren't you there on top of things? Yes Eric is doing his best but he's not the chief meteorologist! And he's there by himself. I'm also watching WAPT and WJTV and I have to say they are doing a better job. On WAPT Chief Meteorologist David Hartman is on top of things giving wall to wall coverage with break ins every 5 minutes, and WJTV has Chief Meteorologist Tony Mastro AND 2 other meteorologists as well as the whole news team covering everything! You could learn from their coverage and be more dedicated Barbie. Please improve your severe weather coverage for the next weather event. For news I'll stick with WLBT but for severe weather coverage I'll stick with WJTV and WAPT untill WLBT's weather coverage improves. -- Sam Bradison
Just because I am not seen on-air doesn't mean I'm not at WLBT. Since we knew about this severe weather 6 days in advance, we had a plan. Eric was to cover the late afternoon and I would jump in as the weather pushed across the Mississippi River. He and I would switch off and take short breaks to go get water, or for me, I called home to make sure our sitter had our children in the closet during the Madison County tornado warning. Just because Sam didn't see me on TV didn't mean I wasn't there.

On a side note, I have complete faith in Eric's ability. After all, he worked in Oklahoma for several years---home of monster tornadoes. Just because the other stations do something and follow each other doesn't mean WLBT follows, too. Personally, I think that's why WLBT has been successful all of these years. They march to the beat of their own drum.

After getting over the initial "sting" of Sam's email, I thought that's how we feel about God sometimes. We don't see Him during our troubles, so we think He's no where to be found. Truth be told, He's there the whole time. As in any case, we have to listen to Him and keep our mouth shut. It's amazing to me the things He will tell me when I stop "asking/telling" God what I want Him to do and start "listening" at what He wants me to do.

So take a moment today and be silent before the Lord. He just may tell you something you've been waiting to hear.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mean Comments

Someone posted an unflattering remark about me on a message board. It said, "I'm watching Barbie Bassett do the weather right now. That dumb broad doesn't know beans about the weather. I watch for local Jackson weather." I don't know Larry (who posted this), but my parents would be very disappointed to know all of the money they spent on my Masters Degree was for nothing.

Do you ever wonder why you are doing your profession? I do. I haven't spoken about this but me and my family were about to move recently. My husband got a wonderful job opportunity that would've caused us to leave Jackson and move 3 hours away, hence me leaving WLBT. After much prayer, we decided not to leave after all.

After reading the above remark and some of the emails I get on a daily basis, I often find myself ready to "leave" this career. The pressure to look a certain way and be a weatherman (instead of a woman) make it difficult at times. Then I think of Noah. People talked about him in ways I'm sure hurt his feelings, too. But God had a bigger plan and He used Noah to fulfill that plan.

On days when I read or hear mean things about myself, I try to remember that God has a plan for all of us. I can't necessarily go to Africa and be a missionary, but I can be a missionary in the career He has called me to do, even if that means that I "don't know beans" about the weather.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Love This Weather!

Do you have spring fever? I have a bad case of it and so do my children. Every chance we get this week, we head outside to enjoy the sunshine. Enjoy Friday because rain, storms and some severe weather is forecasted for Saturday.

You've heard me speak about the importance of owning a NOAA Weather Radio. WLBT and Kroger stores are teaming up for a special promotion to sell these radios at a reduced cost. They are top of the line and we hope you'll grab one in the next few weeks. You'll see our Weather Team pictured on the display. I hope you'll take a moment to assess your severe weather plan at your home for you and your family.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trials Produce A Ministry

Just when you think you've gone through trials for no reason, you hear from someone who is moved by your own experience. I received this email this week.
I lost my daughter this past year at birth and it seems like someone told me that you had a similar experience. I don't know the particulars of your story but there is really nothing like it. Seeing you with your beautiful babies now gives me hope. We are trying again but the road seems so long sometimes. I am going to Vietnam this April to visit the orphanage where I came from. I hope that this will help in my healing and allow me to have closure on that part of my past. Anyway, you are doing a great job and I appreciate someone who does their work for the glory of the Lord. ---RM
I believe that out of our greatest trials, our ministry to others is born. How can we know how to help someone through a difficult time when we haven't walked that road before ourselves?

In reading the story on Joseph in the Bible, this poor guy had a tough life. His brothers sold him into slavery, he spent many years in jail, and ends up being a major player in Pharoah's kingdom. Joseph shows mercy and forgiveness not only to this brothers, but he saves many lives when a famine hits Egypt. How could he have shown mercy and love to others if he had not "been there" himself. I believe God allowed him to experience his difficulties in life so he would be prepared to minister to others in their time of need.

What is your ministry? How can you help someone today?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

I know you're going to think I'm being alittle silly, but I have never liked the term 'Fat Tuesday'. I'm not Catholic so I'm not savvy on the reasons for the name or why Mardi Gras is celebrated. However, as an overweight child, every Tuesday was "fat" for me. Some people would try to be nice and would refer to be as "big-boned" (ugh! I didn't like that one either because there's not a big bone in my body). Being called "big-boned" was just a nice way of saying "bless her heart".

Children can be cruel. Even though I'm not that chubby, curly-haired, glasses wearing, metal mouth little girl anymore, those words still strike a cord in me to this day. To only make things worse, when I would tell people what I wanted to be one day, they would laugh and point fingers at me while chuckling.

The other day, I heard Gracie refer to baby Will as "fat" and I came unglued. I don't know where Gracie heard fat before, but I made sure she understood she was to never, ever call someone fat again. "But mommy," she said, "somebody in Walmart called baby Will fat." At that point, I knew Gracie was being the human tape recorder that she is.

Dear God, help me to remember that words can make or break someone's spirit, and that I am to build people up, not tear them down.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rain & Warmer Weather

I know the "warmer weather" caught your attention. Unfortunately, we'll have to take the good with the bad. Grab your umbrella and keep it close this week. Not only will our rain chances increase for Tuesday-Wednesday, but another round of rain and storms will arrive by the weekend. We can say 'good-bye' to the 20s and 30s for the next few days as we notice much warmer air coming our way.

The National Weather Service has proclaimed this week as Severe Weather Awareness Week. There will be a surprise tornado drill at schools (and some businesses) across the state one day this week. On that note, let me encourage you to have a severe weather plan at your house. Chances are, you've talked to your children about where to go in the event of a house fire, but do they know what to do and where to go if a tornado warning is issued for your county?

We have a plan at our house. Our house was hit by an F4 tornado in November 2001, so we take severe weather seriously. Assuming I'm not at work during severe weather, which is rare, we meet in a particular bathroom in our hallway. In that bathroom is a NOAA Weather Radio in place and a flashlight. We simply bring our pillow and cellphone (grab the kids) and meet in the bathroom. When we get the all clear from the NOAA Weather Radio, we come out. If neither of us are at home, our sitter knows the plan and has even instituted it at her home.

Having a plan will make your children feel safer and it will make a scary situation much more peaceful.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Forgiveness Isn't Easy

The Clarion Ledger did an article on the phenomenal turnout for the blood drive at Mississippi Blood Services on Valentines Day and the fact that we broke a record. The newspaper interviewed Kelly Scrivner at MBS and Marshall Ramsey, but didn't interview me (although I was mentioned). Several people have commented how offended they were that the reporter didn't acknowledge how I spear-headed the campaign for the blood drive.

I would be remiss if I didn't explain that the C-L and WJTV (our competitor) are in partnership. This means the C-L doesn't promote WLBT, its stories or anchors--only WJTV. It's business, not personal. Also when I left WAPT 9 years ago to come to WLBT, the C-L wrote several unflattering articles about me, always interviewing WAPT management and never once interviewed me to find out why I really left. All of that is water under the bridge and is covered more in depth in my book that will be published in the next year.

I learned a long time ago forgiveness is not about the other person, but about me. I had to forgive the C-L, WAPT and everyone else involved or I would be entangled in a life of misery and unrest. It is the same for the mention in the recent article. No, I'm not offended nor upset. Satan uses principalities to control personalities. That means Satan uses other people, situations, comments, etc to control how I act, perceive myself or how I feel on any given day. I refuse to give him power over my emotions and withhold my joy today.

Don't let him use other people to control you either!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Secret Acts

Have you ever done something in private and think "this will not matter"? I have.

On Sundays, I teach two year olds in Sunday School along with 3 other teachers. The children usually do a craft, play, go to another room to sing songs and learn a Bible story, then return to the room for a light snack. Ever since I started teaching this class, I've been assigned to clean up duty! As you know, two year olds can certainly make a mess with glue, glitter, paper, toys and anything else you put in front of them. While they are in another room singing and having a good time, I'm usually on my hands and knees picking up everything on the floor and cleaning the tables preparing them for snacks. It's not the job I signed up for as I would much rather be with the little ones. There are times when I say to myself, "I won't be volunteering to teach this class again if this is all I get to do. I can clean up behind my own kids at home!" Just when I was saying this same thing last Sunday, I read Matthew 6:18.

In this passage, Jesus is telling us the proper way to fast and pray. The second part of this verse says, "And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Whether it's cleaning up after two year olds in Sunday School or giving a homeless person a few dollars at the traffic light, there are no menial tasks in God's eyes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Best Valentines Day Ever

The Bible says "It is more blessed to give than to receive". Although I've felt the joy of giving, today I feel like I was on the receiving end. Bright and early this morning, I headed out to Mississippi Blood Services for the blood drive and found people ready to donate at 6am. I mentioned to MBS' communication representative Kelly Scrivner that I had prayed over the last few days for this event to be an emense success. She said, "Well, God listens to you because 180 people have already called to make appointments for their blood donation today."

All throughout the day, I enjoyed talking with the donors who came out to get their Marshall Ramsey t-shirt and donate blood. So many of them had moving stories to share with me. Others just wanted to help.

When I drove up in the parking lot shortly before Noon, the cars lined the street and there were no parking spots. I stepped into the lobby at MBS and saw the crowd. The "holding rooms" could hold no more! I got emotional and was overwhelmed by the response.

Mississippi Blood Services' biggest donation day was the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last August with a total of 250 donors. When the doors closed this evening, 317 people had donated blood.

Some say I was the reason why the blood drive broke a record. I disagree. I believe it was the WLBT viewers who saw a need and wanted to "give" instead of "receive" on this Valentines Day. Marshall's t-shirts were flying off the shelves like chocolate in a diet center and the food was delicious that Three Sisters & A Mixer provided at lunch. Working together, we ALL made a difference.

My heart is so full today and I can truly say this has been the best Valentines ever. Thank you for making it memorable for me and for saving the lives of Mississippians.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Long Night

With last night's/this morning's severe weather, I didn't get home until 3:30am. I was hoping the children would stay asleep at least until 8am, like they normally do. But wouldn't you know.. they both popped up at 7am! Talk about running on fumes today----I am. So please excuse me if I don't act as perky tonight as I usually do.

Meantime, some parts of the viewing have been put under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 8pm. Not everyone is included in this watch as another round of storms are possible. If you don't have the WLBT Desktop Live downloaded on your computer, I suggest you have it. It is free and it keeps you up to date on weather conditions while you are working at home or on the job by sending alerts to your computer. You can find it is .

Please consider joining me at Mississippi Blood Services tomorrow for Valentines Day for our blood drive. People are already laying claim to the t-shirts Marshall Ramsey has designed for the event. I'll be a MBS from 6am-7am, at lunchtime, and at 5pm. I'd love for you to drop by from 11am-2pm and have lunch with me courtesy of Three Sisters & A Mixer. Who doesn't like free food?

Valentines will be a long day, but well worth the life that will be donated to others who need it so!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Severe Weather Possible Tonight

Get ready for an active night weatherwise. A strong low pressure area will kick out of Texas tonight and we could see some severe weather. Storms could be severe in the Delta from 10pm-2am and along the I-55 corridor/Natchez Trace from midnight to 4am Tuesday. Damaging hail, gusty winds and isolated tornadoes are not out of the question, so make sure you have your weather radio on tonight before you go to bed.

I'll be at WLBT all through the night keeping you informed of the latest weather information until meteorologist Paul Williams arrives for his Tuesday morning shift.

Meantime, make sure you have a severe weather plan at your home and your children know what do to and where to go in the event of bad weather. Schools have tornado drills periodically and I believe families should do the same in their home. We have a plan at our house and know what to do when our county is under a tornado warning (standing outside in the howling wind and rain is NOT one of them!).

No need to be afraid and no need to teach your children to be scared, but we should all be watchful tonight to the possibilities of severe weather.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Thanks for Being Nice

It's still hard for me to grasp, but some consider me a local celebrity. I don't understand it as I only see myself doing a job and making a living just like everyone else. However, I've come to realize reacting to people with kindness will make you many friends. When I worked for another television station in Jackson, I witnessed a co-worker treating his adoring public with disdain. I made a vow then that if I ever "made it" in this profession to never treat people with an attitude that would make them feel any less important.

Last week, I told you about the death of KK, my husband's grandmother. We were in Kosciusko for a few days attending the visitation and funeral. One night after visitation was over, we stopped at the local Wendy's and sat down to eat before we headed back to Madison for the night. I could hear the buzz behind the counter as we walked in. The workers were whispering to each other "That looks like Barbie Bassett on Channel 3!" We purchased our food and began eating. Within minutes, a few of the employees came over to our table asking for autographs on napkins. After they went behind the counter and back to work, a couple more came out with their cellphones wanting to take pictures with me.

After they left, my husband complimented me on how I reacted to those teens. "I don't see how you do it," he said. "Even when you don't feel good or if we're trying to have a quiet dinner together, you always have time to talk to fans." I explained to him how just taking a few minutes and acknowledging someone else will make those kids' day.

Today, I received an email about our Wendy's encounter.
Hi Barbie
My name is Howard Sharkey. I'm The WasteWater superintendent in Kosciusko. Last week, you and your husband were at Wendy's in Kosciusko. My dauther works at Wendys. Well, that girl came home that night and I thought she had meet the Queen of England she was so excited. We kept asking her who she had meet? She told us that she meet Barbie from WLBT news. We were as excited as she was. Jasmine is a good girl and we are really proud of her and to have a role model like you is great. And thanks for taking time with my little girl. Jasmine is in the 11 grade and I think meeting you did alot for her.
Dear God, help me remember that how I treat others will turn them ON or OFF to you.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of "those" days? Well, I've had mine.

We think baby Will swallowed a training toothbrush and have been waiting on it's appearance (if you know what I mean). So far, nothing. Will is just like a little ardvark---if it fits in his mouth, he will eat and/or swallow it. We are praying we won't have to make an ER visit over the next day or so and nature will take it's course. Better yet, it would be nice to actually FIND the training toothbrush on the floor somewhere.

While I was viewing the commercial we shot yesterday for the Valentines Day Blood Drive (see Feb. 7 entry), one of our producers came to me with tears in her eyes and informed me she had backed into my car. I felt so sorry for her because I've done that before and it is not a fun feeling. It seems she was leaving early because she didn't feel good, jumped in her car, and backed into mine. She offered to exchange insurance information with me then, but I suggested she go home and we would tally up later. There is several thousand dollars' worth of damage done to my car, but her's is fine and without damage.

When I walked outside to look at the damage after she had left, 4 of my co-workers were standing around my car. They all gave their opinion in the assessment of the damage. "Are you not mad?" asked one. "When I was single and cars meant something to me, this would've ruined my week. Now that I'm a parent, there are far worse things that could've happened. Besides, I've been pooped on and vomitted on by my children in public," I said. My boss leaned over and said, "I really appreciate your attitude about this."

When I have my quiet time every morning, I always ask for safety for my family, mercy for the day, to show the world that I'm a Christian in my responses and forgiveness for my shortcomings. Sure, my car is damaged and it will be in the body shop for some time. But God answered my prayer in keeping me safe today when the car could've easily been damaged in a wreck instead.

Speaking of, please pray for meteorologist Eric Law and his wife Kristina. She will be having surgery on her had first thing Friday morning at UMC. This surgery is to correct another surgery that didn't take well after their June 2006 car wreck. I know they would appreciate your prayers on their behalf.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Weather & Valentines

I wore shorts for the first time in a few weeks today. Did you? With a high of 71, I was ready for spring and am in the mood to mow the yard. Better not get my hopes up because the weather is about to turn cool again. Cold air will filter down into Mississippi the rest of the week along with a series of disturbances and bring the chance for rain and more clouds.

If you live in the viewing area, I would love to have you join me at Mississippi Blood Services on February 14 for a blood drive. Surgeries are being rescheduled because of the lack of blood and I want to change that. My dear friend and cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey, has designed a limited edition t-shirt just for the occassion. Three Sisters & A Mixer restaurant will be feeding all blood donors from 11am-2pm for free---yum! Please consider coming out to Mississippi Blood Services on Lakeland Drive on Valentines to give a gift from the heart.

Here is a sneak peek of the t-shirt!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Yesterday was National Weatherpersons Day. Blue Bell Ice Cream representative Jimmy Evans appeared at WLBT Monday afternoon to bestow upon me 4 half gallon buckets of their popular flavors. "What will I do with 4 buckets of ice cream?" I thought. I gave one away to our newsroom secretary and Howard Ballou asked for the other one. Eric Law called to ask if there was any ice cream left and said he would be on his way to taste some.

Earlier in the day, I had resolved to fast until afternoon as a part of our pastor's challenge which he asked our church to consider, plus the fact that I have 5 pounds left to lose before I'm back to my college weight. I asked the Lord to get me through the day with my stomach rumbling.

Once the Blue Bell man came, I convinced myself that I could indeed indulge since I had completed my fast. When I came back to work at 9pm, I opened the station refrigerator to make sure the 2 half gallon buckets of cream were still there. "Oh good! I'll have a bite or two in a few minutes," I thought.

I left to record the forecasts for our Weather Plus station. When I returned to the frig 20 minutes later, the ice cream had sprouted legs and disappeared! I considered getting on the station intercom and chastising whoever "ice cream jacked" my ice cream buckets, but figured maybe God was answering my prayer----to continue on my trek to lose my 5 pounds. Maybe the missing ice cream was an answer to that prayer after all.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Be At Work More!

Some viewers think I work too much and some think I don't work enough. Last week as you know, I had to take a couple of days off due to the death of my husband's grandmother (see Feb 2 entry). The week before, I took two days off to judge the Miss Mississippi College pageant and do some volunteer work (see Jan 25 entry). Days off for me are few and far between and aren't really used as "vacation" days if you know what I mean. This email from a viewer gave me a chuckle:
I really enjoy your weather casts. You are one of my three favorite meteorologists. The only thing is that you are hardly ever on the weather casts. I certainly understand that you deserved several months on maternity leave, as well as, time off for the holidays. However, even with those times included, it seems that I hardly hear your weather forecasts. Is there a reason for your multitude of absences? I am sure that you have a large group of followers, but how long will you keep them, including me, when you are gone so much?
I really miss you when you are not providing out weather forecasts. Please be there more.
Signed, Gracie

I wonder if Gracie is watching WLBT or another television station to think I have had a "multitude of absences"? Hmmm....

On another note, some pleasant weather is on the horizon for this week. Slight chances for rain is present, but the temperatures will be a nice change from the frigid overnights we've had lately. So enjoy!

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Send Off Party

(Gracie & KK at right)

This week, I had to explain death to Gracie. William's grandmother, Kay Bell (better known to us as KK) passed way. KK loved her children, her grands and her great-grands to the fullest extent. Gracie was KK's only great-granddaughter and was wonderful at playing along with Gracie's imaginary games.

We knew this time was coming as KK's health had been going down since Christmas and she was put in hospice care. Gracie prayed for KK every night, asking God to heal her.

I woke up Tuesday morning to the news and asked the Lord to tell me how I could effectively explain KK's death to Gracie and do it in a positive way. I sat Gracie down and told her KK had gone to heaven. "But why, mommy?" she asked. "Well, because Jesus wanted her there with him. You'll see her again one day, but that probably won't be for a long, long time," I said. Gracie's face looked sad. "So mommy and daddy will have to leave in a couple of days this week to go to KK's send off party," I told her. Gracie's eyes lit up. "A send off party! Oh mommy, can I go?" she asked. "No," I said. "These kind of send off parties are for big people." With a big sigh of relief, Gracie didn't ask anymore questions and seemed satisfied with my explanation.

Today as I was getting ready for the funeral, Gracie came up to me and asked "Mommy, did God make KK all better?" "He sure did," I said. Gracie's eyes lit up once more. "Oh goodie! God healed KK! " she said while running through the house.

As Christians, funerals should be thought of as send off parties instead of the finality of life.