Friday, February 29, 2008

Prayers For My Sister

Rhonda is out of surgery, but the doctors weren't able to do what they wanted. The cardiologists wanted to make her heart race so they could correctly identify where the problem was specifically on her heart. They even put her in a "twilight sleep" so they could raise her up and down to make her heart palpitate, but for some reason, her heart wouldn't cooperate. So after 2 hours of trying, they decided to suspend the surgery. At this point, the doctors will give her beta blockers and hope that will fix the problem for a while and will be closely watching her for more episodes. Otherwise, the doctors tell our family her heart looks good. Thank you for all of your prayers. I'm hopeful the prayers cured her problem and perhaps that's why her heart wouldn't act up. (We may need to explain that to the doctors!)

Please join me and my family in praying for my 46 year old sister Rhonda. Rhonda is married and the mother of 3 children. She had heart palpitations last weekend combined with some heart "skips". This is something she has never experienced before. Because of my brother's heart attack last summer (see August 10 blog entry) and my mother's November surgery with two stints put in her heart, Rhonda took her heart arrhythmia seriously and went to the doctor first thing Monday morning. After a series of tests on Wednesday of this week, the doctors diagnosed her with ARVD--Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia. We've never heard of this before, but it is a rare form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fat and/or fibrous tissue. This makes the right ventricle dilate and it contracts poorly which means the pumping of the blood is usually weakened. ARVD causes abnormal heart rhythms and can increase the risk of a heart attack or death. It is the main cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes (and my sister is the athletic one of the family). Today at 11:30am, the doctors will put dye into her veins to see if she has any blockage. Assuming she doesn't have blockage, at 1pm this afternoon the doctors will go in with a heart catheter and do a procedure called "ablation", where they burn off the bad part of her heart. Once that fatty/fibrous part is burned, then her heart can heal and they normally treat the rest with some type of medication. Although she thinks about the worse case scenario, as we all do, she seems to have a peace about it all. Please pray for her well-being while on the operating table and for the Lord to give the doctors tending her knowledge about her situation and to see what they need to see so she can get back on the mend. My parents and siblings will be with her today at the Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock, but I have had to make the difficult decision to stay here. Although I have another 6 weeks before baby girl arrives, I know babies have a mind of their own and I feel the need to stick close to home. It pains me not to be there with my family for her, so I ask you to pray for Rhonda and for a successful procedure so she can get back to playing the piano at her church, teaching her Sunday School class and teaching AWANA to children at her church; not to mention, getting back to mothering her children. I'll post an update once I hear from my folks.

Here is a picture of Rhonda taken last month with the rest of my family at my grandmother's 90th birthday party. Rhonda is one wearing pink.

"I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord." Psalm 118:17

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's OK to Say "No"

I was the guest speaker yesterday morning at First Presbyterian Day School's mother/daughter breakfast. I always enjoy doing those kind of events because it gives me a chance to think of how I'll be when my own girls will be old enough to participate in something like that. I told the moms that it is "ok" to say no to their daughters and the many times I was told "no" when I was growing up.

I remember when I was in high school, pagers were all the rage. Everyone had one, except me. I don't know what the big deal was with a pager, but I just wanted one. So I went to my daddy and made my plea. "I need a pager so if you ever need to find me, you'll know how to get in touch with me," I explained. Daddy looked at me matter-of-factly and said, "If you're where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there, I'll know exactly how to find you!" End of discussion. I remember begging for cable so we could get MTV and VH1, after all, my other friends had it. Surely, we were the only ones in Marks, Mississippi who didn't have cable! The answer was "no". All of my classmates had a car when they turned 15. Where was mine? "When you start making a car payment every month and also paying for the insurance, you can buy yourself a car," said daddy. That never happened. And I just HAD to have a telephone and television in my room. You know, "so I won't bother you and momma at night when I'm on the phone or if I want to watch a different tv show that what ya'll are watching," I told them. "You'll be studying at night so there is no need to talk on the phone or watch tv in your room," daddy said. Boy, was I mistreated or what?!

I was surprised at the number of mothers who came up to me afterwards and told me how hard it is to raise children these days and tell them "no" because all of their friends' parents are basically giving them anything they want. One mom said, "I feel guilty; like I'm not being a good parent because we don't live like that."

The Bible says although we live in the world, we are not of this world. Matthew 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world." When we get to heaven, God will hold us accountable for how we raised our kids, not how we raised someone else's kids. In saying no to our children, setting boundaries and holding fast our values and morals, we are being a light in the world. Verse 16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." I want people to look at my children and praise God for the choices they make in their lives and how they exhibit God's love to others. And yes, that's probably going to mean that we have to tell them "no".......ALOT!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Praying for Your Family

With over half of this country's marriages ending in divorce, I noticed the Mississippi Senate yesterday passed the proposed "covenant marriage" law. It's clear Satan has targeted the family unit for destruction. His success is phenomenal. Why the family? Satan has targeted the family because the relationship between the husband and wife and between the parents and children are to be earthly examples of our heavenly Father and His family. Ephesians 5:24-25 says, "But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her."

If people what to know what it's like to belong to God, they should be able to look at Christians' relationships and homes and get a taste of heaven.

One of the greatest threats to Satan's progress will be a committed Christian husband and wife who are determined to raise godly children for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. Families such as these will be on Satan's target list. The family is the backbone of any nation, because families produce the nation's leaders. The more committed Christian families there are in a nation, the greater their collective influence will be upon that nation.

How vital it is, then, that we pray regularly for God's protection and guidance for our families!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good Friends

Monday was a long day, but boy, did I have fun. I had a doctor's appointment to get another update on baby girl, had to buy some groceries, drove to Clinton to teach my class, went to work at WLBT and stayed for much of the night watching the severe weather, and had a speaking engagement between newscasts. In between all of this, my co-workers at WLBT gave me a baby shower. We had so much fun that I had forgotten everything that was on my plate to get done for the day. The laughter and fellowship was second to none. I sat there and looked around not at all of the diapers (it was a diaper shower) and the delicious food, but just took in all of the friends I have at WLBT. I felt blessed to have such good companions.

God's love for us is shown through our friends many times. Their support, their laughs, their encouragement, their prayers...God uses them all to build us up and help us get through another day. I'm reminded of what I John 4:19 says, "My love for Him comes as a result of His loving me first."

What kind of friend are you? Are you one who encourages and supports? The Bible says God will honor those who serve others along their pathway of life.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Being Obedient vs "I did it my way"

My children have been learning alot about obedience lately. With a 4 year old and a 2 year old, there is a certain amount of hard-headedness that is a part of their personalities. On some days, I think they are miniature Frank Sinatra's and could sing every word of "I did it my way"! One of my sisters told me about what she's been dealing with when it comes to her own spiritual obedience and someone with whom she's had a difficult time with. (The name of the person has been changed.) I thought I'd share it here.

"I’m been going through a bible study by Priscilla Shirer and it’s on “Discerning the Voice of God”. It’s about obedience whenever God requires something from you. I was doing the very last lesson today at noon and God said to "Call *Jane*". All through this study, I’ve been saying “Sure God, I want to be obedient because I want to live in your will.” Well, I wasn’t expecting God to require that. For 1 ½ hours, I struggled with what I was supposed to say. Finally at 2pm, I called and it sounded like her fax machine picked up. My heart was pounding something awful. About 2:30pm I called again—same thing. I had been eating a few chocolate kisses left over from Valentines Day and after I made the 2nd call, the piece of paper sticking out of the kiss read “Way to Go”. I was so blown away!!! Most of the papers had read “I love you” or “I like you”. Those were the only messages I’ve seen in the kisses that I’ve eaten for several weeks now. But, that one read “Way to Go”. I have no idea if God really wanted me to talk with *Jane* or if He wanted to see if I would obey. Guess I’ll see where God leads."

Why are we so hesitant to obey what God asks of us? Is it because we are afraid of rejection? Saying the wrong thing? Failure? Isaiah 54:17 says, "No weapon formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against me in judgement I shall show to be in the wrong. This is my inheritance because I am a servant of the Lord." God is not looking for us to impress Him. However, He is looking for an obedient heart. If we are obedient to whatever He has asked us to do, He takes care of the rest and His word says if we are a "servant of the Lord", we will want to do what is right.

Friday, February 22, 2008

When Life Goes Dark

I was prepared for bad weather to hit during my shift Thursday, but wasn't prepared for what actually happened. Just as the WLBT 6pm newscast was beginning and as the floor crew were about to give us our signals, a large boom was heard outside the studio and we found ourselves in the dark. Pitch black. Howard, Maggie and I sat still thinking the studio lights would flicker back on momentarily. They didn't. People rushed in to check on us and a few made their way into the studio with flashlights. Then word came: the Entergy substation in downtown was hit by multiple lightning strikes and all of downtown was dark. It would be at least an hour before we knew what to do. There were only a few flashlights in the building so most of us used our cellphones to provide enough light to help us walk the halls; others grabbed decorative candles in their offices and lit them to provide more light. We were even locked inside WLBT for a short period of time due to the security doors and gates. We sat, we waited, we talked.

When the lights came back on at 7:05pm, the first problem had been solved. The second issue we had a in place as big as WLBT is to get the computers up and running again. That took quite some time. By 9pm, all systems were completely back online and we could prepare for the rest of the evening that would see bad weather.

Have you ever been caught off guard by the lights going off in your life? What a mess you can find yourself in. Everything is going well for you, then *boom*, lightning strikes and you find yourself wandering down a dark hallway in your life just scrambling to put the pieces back together again.

John 14:18 says, "God will not abandon me or leave me an an orphan in the storm--He will come to me." James 1:2-4 goes on to say, "I will be happy when the way is rough, because it gives my patience a chance to grow. So I will let it grow, and not try to squirm out of my problems. For when my patience is finally in full bloom, then I will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete."

Hanging tight in the middle of a storm can be hard, especially when you want everything fixed right then! But God is the master in the middle of the mess and teaches us how to persevere, even when it's hard to find our way down the dark hallway of life.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prayers & Severe Weather

I received a post yesterday on the blog from the family of Landon Arrington. He is the little boy who desperately needed blood transfusions and platelets. I posted his picture on Valentines Day (see February 14 blog entry) and mentioned how critically low blood donations were, hence the reason why Marshall Ramsey and I teamed up to do the blood drive. His family posted this comment yesterday:

"Thanks to everyone who gave blood to help out sweet little Landon, but sadlly he lost his battle on Monday 2/18/2008. We will all miss his bright smile and bubbly personality. Thanks again, the Newman family"

My friend Chuck also sent me this request for prayer for a friend of his:

"I have a really good friend who has a friend in need. Kelly is my friend and Nana is her friend. Nana has found out that her cancer has returned and that it is inoperable. Kelly is rallying up all of her blogging friends and is asking them to pray and ask their readers to pray. You can never have too many people praying. In Nana’s daughters words to Kelly “what if everyone that blogs posts a prayer request for Nana…think of how many people would be praying. do you think that’s a good idea?” Kelly’s reply was “well, let’s just hunker down and pray like mad women….she’s strong and if anybody can fight through it, she can”. So, I am asking if you have a blog, please pass this along to your readers. If you don’t have a blog, then please just pray for Nana. Kelly tells me she is a wonderful lady. So, say a prayer for Nana and anyone else you know that is in need."

As you go through your day, please pray for the Arrington family and their loss of little Landon. Landon received the ultimate healing but I know his family would covet your prayers. So would Nana and her family.

Now for the weather....once again, it looks like we could be in for some severe weather late this afternoon and tonight. A strong cold front and several disturbances will move in producing gusty winds, hail, heavy rain and the possibility for tornadoes. The worst of the weather looks to be confined to the I-20 corridor and points south. If you don't have to travel in this mess, don't. It could be a long night (or early morning, whichever way you want to look at it), so please have your weather radio on. I've posted the latest graphic from the National Weather Service so you can pick out your county and see what is likely in your area.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Old Self

Saturday night, I had the chance to speak to the Shady Grove Church of God in Smith County and had a wonderful time. The church is in the middle of a building program and was using the Saturday night event to help raise money for new pews in their church and I was honored to be a part of it. One of the things I spoke about was the importance of serving.

Have you allowed your past to keep you from serving God? Have you thought because of where you've been or what you did, that you would always be a second-class citizen in the kingdom of God? Are you afraid someone will find out what you were or how you used to be? Anyone who did would have to open up a coffin because that's where the old you lies--it's dead. Romans 6 tells us that your "old self" died and that a new you has been raised from the dead to walk in newness of life.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:18, "All these things are from God," so anyone who comes against you will have to do battle with God. And if God is for you, who is against you? And does it really matter? Romans 8:33-34 says, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was rasied, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."

Don't buy the lies of Satan as he uses other people to get to you. Listen to God and believe Him. Know who you are in Christ---a new creature, if you are His child. Thank God! We are not what we used to be!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why Can't I Please Everyone?

Most of my viewer emails are critiques of superficial things--my hair, my makeup, my belly, my clothes, etc. Very rarely do I receive emails concerning my forecasts. I received an email yesterday from a viewer who complained about our severe weather coverage over the last few weeks.
In today's Clarion Ledger, Saturday 16, there is an article in the opinion section about the erroneous weather forcasting in this area written by Mr. Warren Nader of Ridgeland. I tend to agree with him as we here in Annandale in Madison have had some of the same experiences that Mr. Nader has had with weather forcasting.

On Feb. 5th we watched the weather that morning and at noon. We were told both times that it would be storming by mid afternoon, with baseball size hale, and strong straight line winds. Sure enough about dinner time it got dark and started to rain. In less than 30 min. the sun came out and showered for about another 20 min.

At 1:00 my brother -in-law from Kosciusko called and asked if we were OK? I said yes, why?He said that he had his radio on and they were reporting that Annandale in Madison had straight line winds of 80 miles an hour and that houses and trees were down everywhere. After I assured him that that had not happened in about 20 min.our son called from Flora with the same concerns.

I don't know if the radio stations get there info from the T.V. folks or where all of you get your info from but here lately it is erroneous. It didn't cause us any harm but it alarmed a lot of other folks for no apparent reason.

We watched the weather this morning and your people reported that it would rain most of the day but there would be severe storms in the area tonight. It has rained most of the day but at 11:00 tonight the sky is clear as a bell. Whats going on??

You keep telling us to get a weather radio, do you have one?


L. C. Calhoun
Annandale, Ms.

(As always, I like to respond to our viewers.)

Dear L.C.,
Thanks so much for your email concerning our weather forecasting. I appreciate your concerns and will be more than happy to address them.

February 5 sticks out in my mind because I spent the night at WLBT covering the storms along with meteorologist Eric Law and Paul Williams into the wee hours of the morning of Feb 6. I did not watch the morning/noon weather on Feb 5 so I cannot address your concerns that said "it would be storming by mid-afternoon, with baseball size hale (sic), and strong straight line winds." However, for the days leading up to that event, I had specifically stated this would be an overnight severe weather event and it was. WLBT never reported there were trees down and winds of 80 mph in Annandale, so I'm not quite sure where that information came from (the National Weather Service must come out and survey the damage to determine if indeed it was a straight lined wind event or tornado, which would not have happened until the next day. That is not something we would've been able to report immediately.) Perhaps your brother-in-law and son were watching another tv station? However, the NWS did classify a tornado that hit the Kearney Park area in Flora as an EF0 and another tornado that hit just south of Bentonia as an EF1 that same night. That was the same system that was near you, but fortunately missed your subdivision. If you would like, I can provide you a long, comprehensive list of all of the damage (including classified tornadoes, hail reports, building damage, etc) from the severe weather event that happened that night. This was the same system that caused the tornadoes in Arkansas, Mississippi and 50+ deaths in Tennessee. To say that our forecasting "alarmed alot of other folks for no apparent reason" is a comment I respectfully disagree with. Hopefully, we saved one life, which would've made the endless hours without sleep well worth it for me. After that event, we received over 100 emails from viewers who thanked us for giving them the information they needed to help keep their families safe.

As to the severe weather event last Saturday, meteorologist Eric Law was on duty Saturday morning. Eric plainly stated we would have severe weather roll through the overnight hours, which I had also predicted on Friday night for Saturday night. Although we did see rain on and off throughout the day Saturday, we knew it would get progressively worse by Saturday night. Sure enough, it did. I was surprised to read "at 11:00 tonight, the sky is clear as a bell." I live just down the road from you and I had clouds and wind at 11pm Saturday night. By 2am, the winds really picked up and so did the rain; hence the NWS issued numerous severe thunderstorm warnings. By 3am, a tornado watch was issued and between 3:30am and 6am, several tornado warnings were issued producing some damage in our southern-most counties. We predicted this event just as it happened, too. That's why we encouraged people to have a weather radio to alert them. I've already heard from viewers who were informed about the weather while they were sleeping because of their weather radios.

Although I did not see Mr.Nader's original letter to the editor at the Clarion Ledger, I have already heard about it from several viewers. They are outraged that someone who has never been affected by a tornado or damage would have the audacity to think he's the only one who exists in this world--that if his house isn't the one blown away then the weather people must've gotten it wrong. It is true, meteorology is not an exact science. I always like to say, "God reserves the right to change His mind." Because it is not an exact science, many times we give approximate time frames for the severe weather to arrive all the while noting that those times are indeed "approximate". The weather can quickly change without a minute's notice. That's why it is so important viewers are prepared for the worst but always hope the best happens.

You may not be aware that WLBT has the largest television coverage in the state. We don't forecast for the metro counties like other tv stations do. WLBT forecasts for 24 counties in MS; 4 parishes in LA; and 2 counties in ARK. That's quite a bit of real estate. Everyone will not experience the same weather in that area. That's why we have to sometimes be more general in our forecasts, but also give areas that could be specifically targeted. For instance, for the event Saturday night, we plainly stated the worst of the weather would be south of I-20 and that's exactly what happened. Since you live in Annandale, you were not included in that outlined area, therefore, you did not need to be as concerned about the event as others to your south.

I know what it's like to rebuild after an F4 tornado and so do many of my neighbors. When I make a mistake, I don't mind admitting it just like I did when I predicted in January that we would have snow north of I-20 and the snow was mostly south of I-20. Personally, I learn from every mistake I make and want to know how I can do better next time. But in the last 2 severe weather events our viewing area has experienced, I wouldn't say the forecasting was erroneous. It happened as we stated it would. Fortunately, because so many people have weather radios now, Mississippi has not recorded any deaths this year whereas other states have.

Yes, WLBT has a weather radio in our weather lab as do all of our meteorologists in our homes. We believe they are a valuable tool in alerting people, no matter where they live, as to the severe weather in their area.

Again, we welcome your opinion and are glad you decided to share it with us. More importantly, we thank you for sharing a part of your day with WLBT!

Barbie Bassett
(Last night, his response.)

Dear Mrs Bassett,

I believe you mis-read my E-Mail! I said that at 11:00 here in Annandale , Saturday night, the sky was clear as a bell, I walked out on my porch and looked up before going to bed. I could see every star that God ever put in the sky.

A few years ago I retired from M.P.&L. as a lineman. I'm quite sure that many nights while you were asleep I was up working ,during storms over the last 30 years. Please don't seek sympathy for the long night you spent inside watching the weather machines.

Please accept my regrets for ever questioning your predictions. I'm sure the 100 people you referred to in your e-mail would also agree. Mr. Nader and I should be ashamed of ourselves !!!!!

L. C. Calhoun

(If anyone knows a profession where I could please 100% of the people 100% of the time and make everyone happy with my clothes, my weight, my makeup, and my forecasts, please let me know. I'm considering a change!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Day Off

Barbie is taking the day off, but will return on Tuesday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blood Drive Success

Valentines was a special day because I had the chance to meet many who came out to donate blood yesterday at Mississippi Blood Services. The parking lot was always full and people were constantly walking through the doors. Marshall Ramsey and I signed many shirts and thanked many of those donors. We had so much fun just visiting with each other and talking to those who had given up some of their day to help save a life. If you've never seen a picture of Marshall, here we are hamming it up for the camera. He's a great guy and dear friend. Thanks, Marshall, for being so dedicated to a cause!

I had the chance to interview a heart transplant recipient while I was there. Liz Carpenter was born with a congenital heart defect and needed a transplant several years ago. She received the heart of Lindsey Miller, a Mississippi College student who was killed in a horrible car accident along with two other students four years ago on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When Liz was telling me her story, her eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. Not only did she receive a new heart, but she had to have 6 units of blood through a transfusion. Liz was there to thank some of the donors who gave a few minutes of their time and were willing to have a close encounter with a needle because she knows first hand the difference blood donors make.

At the close of the day, 457 people had donated blood! Although I know many will benefit from yesterday, including little Landon Arrington (see February 14's blog entry), I think walked away with the biggest blessing of all--watching complete strangers gather to give something to people whom they will never know.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day

Today is Valentines Day. This day isn't only important to me because of it's holiday significance, but because I was up bright and early at 5am at Mississippi Blood Services for our bi-annual blood drive. After doing some interviews for our morning show, I did a quick phone interview for my friends Scott Steele & Karen Lowe on US96.3FM about the importance of donating blood. I mentioned I had gotten an email earlier in the week which told of Landon Arrington's need for blood. He is a sick little boy and needs blood transfusions and platelets in order for his body to fight a form of childhood cancer. Shortly after my interview, I received this email from a family member of Landon's.
Thank you so much for supporting the blood drive today. Landon is our nephew and very precious to our family. He has overcome so many obstacles and the doctors are absolutely amazed by his accomplishments, but he still has a long bumpy road ahead of him. He is truly an angel. I wanted to share his picture with you and thank you for helping him out. He does have a rare blood type A- and is in need of platelets. Signed, John & Judy Arrington

What a beautiful child. Who wouldn't risk hell and high water to see their child live to fight another day?
If you are close to Jackson, I encourage you to drop by Mississippi Blood Services today and donate. There are several other locations taking donations, too: Millsaps College from 10am-4pm, Walmart in Vicksburg from Noon-6pm, and Walmart in Natchez from Noon-6pm.
Yes, Valentines Day is for lovers, but it is also for those who rely on the kindness of others.
"When I walk in love, God is present." I John 4:12

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Are You Sure?

Do you remember the old Sure! commercial? The commercial was for a deoterant and the jingle went something like this: Raise your hand, raise your hand if you're Sure! Are you sure you're going to spend eternity in heaven when you die? How do you know? John understood how important it is that we be assured of our eternal destiny. In I John 5:13 he wrote, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."

Ask anyone about their relationship with Jesus and why they believe they are going to heaven. These are some of the responses you'll get: "I know I'm a Christian or going to heaven because..
..I'm a good person...I've been baptized..I'm a member of the church...I walked the aisle and gave my life to Jesus...I've been a Christian ever since I was born...I've invited Jesus into my life, I've believed on Him; therefore I'm saved."

Let's suppose you answered in one of the above ways. Truthfully, all of those answers are connected to the past--either something you believed or something you did. So let me ask another question: what present evidence in your life shows you and others that you really are a child of God....that you are really Sure?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Severe Weather Possible

Just last week at this time, we were talking about the high probability of severe weather. Once again, the bad weather is in the forecast for today.

A strong cold front will swing into the state today bringing periods of heavy rain, large hail, damaging winds and the chance for tornadoes. As I mentioned last night, what makes this system different is the timing. Whereas last week's cold front brought severe weather in the overnight hours (the worst possible time because most people are asleep and don't care), this cold front will arrive during the daylight hours. However, the afternoon and evening commutes could be alittle rough. The National Weather Service has released this graphic this morning. Take a look at where you are located and have your weather radio on throughout the day and early evening hours. Let's hope it speeds up and is out of here before dark!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Handprint of God

When I come home between newscasts every night, the first thing my children do is jump in my parked car, close the doors and play. I don't know what it is about a parked car that isn't running in the garage, but from what I can tell, they use their imagination well. I usually hear Gracie giving a countdown like she's the commander of the space shuttle: "three, two, one...blast off!" Will just punches any and every button he can find and plays with the steering wheel. That usually keeps them occupied while I put dinner on the table.

While I was driving to Clinton last week to teach my class at Mississippi College, the sun's rays shown through the driver's side window. There was an image on the my window that caught my eye. It was a tiny handprint with all five fingers and palm. I grabbed a napkin and put it up to the window to wipe Will's handprint off. Then I stopped. "That handprint won't be that small in a few years. I'll keep it on the window as a reminder," I convinced myself.

In the same way Will left his sweet handprint for me on the inside of my window, God has left His handprint on you. When He created you, He made you to have all of the characteristics He wanted you to have. More importantly, God made you for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This means when God created you, He annointed you to do something specific for His kingdom. When I make a cross-stitched piece of artwork, I have a purpose for it....a reason. And while I'm making it, I'm already thinking about where I will display it once I'm finished and the kind and color of frame I'm going to put it in.

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? Ask God why He made you. Ask Him to reveal what task He has designed you for and ask Him to give you the grace and mercy to accomplish that task for His kingdom. If we are just in this world to live as WE want and do as WE please, we are being wasted.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Blood Donors Needed

I've never needed a blood transfusion, but I've known plenty of people who have--all different ages. Last year, I went to our marketing department and asked if there was something we could do to help get more blood donors in to Mississippi Blood Services. We brainstormed for a while and I asked my good friend and editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey, if he would lend his drawing pen in designing a t-shirt for a Valentines blood drive in 2007. He graciously agreed. We not only did a blood drive on February 14, but also did one for Halloween. Due to the popularity of the t-shirt and the good hearts of Mississippians, we broke all previous donation records set in 2007 for Mississippi Blood Services (even broke the record for their blood drives the week of September 11, 2001.)

We're doing it again and we're asking for the donors to roll up their sleeves and help. This year, not only will donors receive a new designed t-shirt from Marshall, lunch by SoulShine Pizza Factory, and Valentines sweets from Three Sisters & A Mixer, but donors receive a chance to win: a weekend getaway package from Horizon Casino and a diamond & sapphire necklace from Sollberger. Over the next few days, you'll see the commercial on WLBT, but I wanted to share it with you here.

We've added some satellite donor locations this year for the first time: Millsaps College in Jackson (10am-4pm), the Vicksburg Walmart (Noon-6pm) and the Natchez Walmart (Noon-6pm). Those locations will have the Marshall Ramsey t-shirt, too. So if you're in town on February 14 or close to any of those locations, please come out and give blood to those who are in desperate need to have surgeries and other procedures but can't due to the lack of it.

Serving God or Serving Things?

I took a look at my personal calendar the other day and shuttered. It seems more and more things get piled onto my duties of everyday responsibilities. I could feel the Holy Spirit pose the question to me, "Are you serving things or serving God?"

You cannot serve both. Paul had fixed his eyes "on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus," in Philippians 3:14. He served One and One alone, Jesus Christ. Consequently, Paul tells us that he learned to be content in whatever circumstances he found himself in. The word "learned" is important because it is an aquired skill. He learned how to get along with humble means and how to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance of life, he learned the secret of being filled and of going hungry, of having plenty and of suffering need. Paul would not permit anything to matter to him except that which had eternal value. Now that is something to learn, isn't it?

What are you giving your energy to? What do you want above all else and more than anythng else in this life? What possesses you? Is it a passion for God's word or a passion for the temporal things of this world?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What a Night!

Oh, what a night. As expected, the severe weather rolled in--just alittle behind schedule that my original thinking on Monday. Across the south, 47 people were killed not the mention the damage across those same states. Mississippi did not go unscathed as we had numerous injuries and damage to buildings especially in north Mississippi. Reports of power outages and trees uprooted began in our viewing around around 11pm and continued into the wee hours of the morning. Although in some respects we "dodged a bullet" when compared to other parts of the southeast, on the other hand, this system did not disappoint here in Mississippi.

I began with wall-to-wall coverage around 10:45pm and didn't quit until 2:30am. Needless to say, I am running on fumes but so thankful my family is safe. I am always torn when tornado warnings are issued for Madison County because I find myself wanting to sprint out of the doors of WLBT and come home to help protect my children. My husband was working just as hard as I was, so I have to trust the good Lord to be with my ever-faithful sitter.

Going LIVE for hours at a time will make your mouth say crazy things. Last night/this morning was no exception. At one point, I was giving the tornado safety rules: be downstairs, underneath something, get in the center of the house and keep away from windows. However, when it came to the "get underneath something" part, I said, "get underneath somebody". Whoops.

When my co-worker Eric Law and I decided to take a break at 2:30am, as all of the tornado warnings had expired, Eric mentioned it was "time for us to find a bed". My mouth (not my brain) chimed in, "but not together". Whoops again.

For now, I'll blame it on the lack of sleep, my swollen feet and my pregnancy brain.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Severe Weather Possible

This is one of those days that will make you sober. Last week, I started talking about the possibility for severe weather today and nothing has changed. In fact, the prognostications have gotten worse for this afternoon and tonight.

A strong cold front will be moving into the state late tonight causing strong storms (some which could be severe), damaging winds, large hail (golf ball size or larger) and large tornadoes. The computer models yesterday had this system coming in around midday along the Mississippi River and continuing east into the early evening. Now that has changed and has slowed down a bit. This system looks to really kick off in the afternoon and continue tonight and into the overnight hours for the eastern portion of the state. Once again, please have your NOAA weather radio on and be weather aware. If you don't have to drive in this weather, don't; stay home. Also, be prepared that I may have to break into programming many times throughout the afternoon and evening hours or stay on continuously, especially if we start detecting tornadoes (I'm sure some viewers will complain about that.) So, I'll go ahead and post a graphic sent out this morning by the National Weather Service and find your county. You can see for yourself what a significant weather event this could be for portions of the state. Pray for safety and for the safety of those who have to work out in this type of weather in the emergency services positions.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Serving with Gladness

Superbowl Sunday didn't start off so "super" at my house! My husband went to the doctor last Friday and was diagnosed with the flu. He decided to stay home on Sunday morning as not to infect everyone else at church. I was having contractions all weekend and decided Saturday night that I would stay home, too. We would all skip church--after all, we had valid excuses, right? Sunday morning, I was awoken by the ringing telephone. It was one of the ladies I teach Sunday School with. Her son had been sick all night and she would not be coming to church to help me teach. She had spoken with our other teacher (3 of us teach the two year olds) and that teacher woke up with a bad rash. I realized if I stayed at home, there would not be anyone to teach the two year olds. I proceeded to get myself moving and get the children going. I wasn't in the best of moods. I piled the children in my car and got everyone buckled in, only to turn the ignition key and my battery was dead! Oh joy. I waddled back in the house to get my husband's keys (he was still fast asleep from the flu medicine he was taking), unbuckled the kids, piled them in his truck in the pouring rain, and headed to church. The whole way down the interstate, all I could think of was "What a crummy way to start the day! I don't feel good, I don't look good, my car won't start, it's raining and I have two kids to get out of the truck and into the church under one umbrella!" It was almost as though the Holy Spirit was shaking His head listening to my complaints and reading my attitude.

When I walked into my Sunday School class and saw twice as many two year olds than normal, I felt my bad attitude turn up a notch. Then I remembered Ephesians 6:7, "Serve wholeheartedly with gladness, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does." I was not serving "with gladness". I was letting the frustrations of the day get the best of me. How was God going to use someone with a bad attitude?

I was wanting to pity myself because I wasn't feeling well and now I was left by myself with a large class and no help; not to mention, a car that wouldn't start back home and a sick husband. I had to make a decision: stay mad about my day or get over it. "Serving wholeheartedly with gladness" is a choice. Through all of the ups and downs of your day, which choice will you make?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Viewer Calls & Emails

This have been a very active week for the phone callers to share their opinion about my pregnancy. Here are just some of them:
"Barbie, how do you get around being so big? I mean, how do you walk?"

"Barbie, please go home. We're tired of seeing you pregnant all of the time!"

"How many more kids are you going to have, Barbie?"

(And, I received this email.)

You are my favorite meterologist on tv. I have always felt you are beauiful and have beautiful hair! I have only one problem, your blouses do nothing for a pregnant woman. They all seem to be belted below your chest which does nothing for your look as a TV Meterologist. I realize it is bit to late for my letter but after tonights show I felt I needed to send this note because tonight was the worse one blouse. I could see your skin from your chest to the black pants. The "see-through" white material was not flattering for a pregnant woman. You have too much class for that. Please take this as a suggestion. I am one of your top fans! Good luck with the new baby. Signed, Mark Peoples"
As always, I respond to my viewers and want to acknowledge that I received their comments. On Thursday night, I wore an off white shirt with a belt that tied in the back (like most maternity clothes are made). Because the numerous complaints I've had about my "chest" getting bigger (as most expectant mothers do), I started wearing a camosole underneath all of my clothes which has spandex in it and acts as a chest girdle (oh, the things we'll do to appease the viewers). What Mark was seeing was not my skin showing through, but the beige cami. Even though I was wearing the cami underneath as a girdle to push everything in, I still got a complaint that the shirt did "nothing for my look".

And then, I sat down and took at look at the pictures we had taken earlier this week of our baby girl through the 4D sonogram. If you'll look closely, you'll see she barely opened one eye and was sleeping with her hand and arm underneath her chin. The other matter you see in the picture is the amniotic fluid that is constantly moving and shows up as a 4D substance. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to disappearing for a while, enjoying this little one and being criticism-free (until I return, I'm sure).