Hurricane Harvey and Houston Texas

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If, like most people, you spent the greater part of this past week glued to your television or device for updates on the news regarding Hurricane Harvey and Houston, Texas; the rain event the weather service called an unprecedented catastrophic event with record-setting historical rain fall, perhaps your heart was grieved at the sight of people young and old rescued by boat, front loader, dump truck, and helicopter from the rising flood waters.

Pilot, Pie, and I live in the Houston area. We’ve been through Alison, Rita, Ike, and now Harvey since moving here from Florida in 2000.

Right now I’d like to thank each and every one of you who faithfully prayed for us, and the rest of the area, during this unprecedented catastrophic event. God was again faithful to hear and answer. Proving it is through placing our trust in him that fear is driven out.

You may have heard Houston Texans football player, JJ Watt, established a fundraiser to help with the recovery efforts. Here’s a link if you feel moved to contribute to help those who lost so much. The storm may be in our rearview mirror when you read this, but the recovery efforts will last far into the future.

I find it interesting that right before Harvey hit Texas, I’d been thinking about Job’s conversation with God. I wrote a post on that conversation before Harvey was a blip on the weather screen. I bumped it from today, and rescheduled it for September 7, 2017.

Near the end of the Book of Job God challenges the man who dared question him. These last five chapters may have been intended for Job, but are written for each of us as well.

In the midst of Job’s suffering he and his friends talked to each other a lot. But they didn’t talk with God very much. Did you ever notice that? It took the whole Book of Job before God answers Job from the whirlwind and asks, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.” (Job 38:1-3)

In the midst of our personal suffering we may talk a lot to our family and friends, without spending much time talking with God about our situation.

I sent more texts to family and friends during the days of Hurricane Harvey than I have at any other time. (I am not a proficient texter as those who receive my texts can attest.) Sissy also served as a contact person dispensing updates on our situation.

Along with communicating with others, I stayed in constant communication with God. As Job showed us, that is key is it not?

Our lives and wellbeing are ultimately in the hands of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God who spoke the world into being, laid the foundations of the earth, told the sea it can only go THIS far, and controls the wind, rain and lightning.

Friends are good to bounce things off and listen to their counsel, but in the end it is better to spend more time listening to God than discussing the hows and whys of things that are beyond our comprehension and control, don’t you think?

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“Who shut up the sea with doors, when it rushed out from its secret place? I made clouds its clothing, and put much darkness around it. I marked the places where it could not pass, and set locks and doors. And I said, ‘You will come this far, and no farther. Here will your proud waves stop.” Job 38:8-11 (NLV)

I wish you well.


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Extreme Heat Advisory

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

(This post was written the week before Hurricane Harvey descended on our area of Texas and delivered several feet of rain. 🙂 )

Once again, our area has been under an extreme heat advisory for multiple days running. Hot. Unhealthy. Miserable. No rain. Little relief.

With the heat comes wilted grass, plants, flowers and shrubs. Not to mention people. Even outdoor-loving Baxter has his limits for how long he will stay outside.

I am always amazed at what a little water does to revive plants that are in desperate need of watering. They are wilted to the point of looking as if they will not survive, then bounce back to face the extreme heat of another day.

As I watered our pineapple sage and watched the leaves spring back to life, I thought of how our words and actions could be the soothing, much needed water for those we meet in our everyday lives. Those facing extreme heat in their lives who need to be revived.

Think back to when the right words or gestures came to your dry and thirsty soul. Wouldn’t you like to do the same for someone else?

It really doesn’t take much to lift someone up. We only need to open our eyes and ears to those around us. Sometimes that may mean closing our mouths to listen.

Is the fast food attendant wiping the counter where you’re filling your soda cup? Tell them they sure are making that stainless steel shine.

Cashier at the store seem a little frazzled? Be pleasant. Tell her thank you when she’s done.

Mother of screaming toddler in a public place? Say a prayer for her, and mean it.

Of course, opportunities to build up our family members and close friends abound.

Do something nice for them, without being asked. Offer to help with something you know they are struggling with.

Encourage their efforts. Applaud their successes. Comfort them when they are distressed. Give a needed hug. A listening ear. Pray.

Is there someone around you who could use a comforting word? A kind gesture? An affirmation that they’re doing a good job? Step out. Open the faucet. Be that gentle shower on a dry and thirsty land. Make a difference in someone’s life.

Just like water on drought stricken plants, your kind words and gestures will bring relief to those facing the extreme heat of their lives in your sphere of influence.

What do you do to build up one another? What have others done to build you up?

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So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now.  I Thessalonians 5:11 (NCV)

I wish you well.


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Does Shunning Work?

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Baxter attended only one puppy obedience class before the canine influenza hit our area, eliminating all gatherings of dogs from his schedule for four weeks until his body builds up immunity from his flu shots.

At the one class he did attend, Pilot and I were taught to handle Baxter’s jumping on us by crossing our arms and turning from him. Pie calls it Amish Shunning, which is a pretty good description of the position. The puppy trainer said Baxter would automatically know not to jump up, and would sit when we turned.

Yeah. Well. I have scratches and bruises on the back of my legs to prove shunning doesn’t work.

Instead of jumping on the front of me, the turn and shun move lets Baby B jump on the back of me.

Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere. And I think I might know part of the problem.

In Amish Shunning, we turn from Baxter and refuse to give him attention, but in the process, we expect him to figure out what his correct behavior should be without actually showing him what it should be.

He’s a puppy for goodness sake. How’s he supposed to know what humans expect from him unless that proper behavior is demonstrated?

All this shunning led me to think about how new Believers are sometimes treated by long-time Christians. Often, long-timers expect new Christians – puppies – to know what the proper way to behave is, and we do the Amish Shunning-thing by crossing our arms over our chest, and turning away from them when they don’t behave as we expect.

In the process we leave it up to them to figure out how they should live.

courtesy pixabayJesus didn’t do that. He stepped right into a person’s messiness, loved them, and lovingly explained how they should live.

He didn’t shun the woman at the well. He purposefully met her where she was and had a two-way conversation that showed her a better way to live.

Jesus did not condemn the woman the Pharisees brought before him to be stoned. He showed compassion, mercy, and grace – ah, yes, grace. Then he told the woman to go and sin no more.

When Simon huffed about a certain woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil, Jesus told a story to illustrate which of the two did what pleased God.

Pilot and I continue working with Baxter to help him learn what is acceptable behavior in the Quandt household, and what is frowned upon. He’s a smart puppy. He’ll figure it out, but we don’t believe shunning will be the most productive way to reach that goal.

Just as Baby B needs to be shown what is acceptable in a loving way, so do those of us who strive to follow Jesus.

It’s a life-long process, so how about we all agree … no Amish Shunning?

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 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? Proverbs 5:12-13 (NLT)
 I wish you well.


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Electricity and Jesus

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

When life is difficult, it might help us to think about electricity and Jesus.

Crazy, huh? Let me explain …

Seems everywhere I’ve lived as an adult there have been storms of one kind or the other that threatened the reliability of the flow of electricity into my house.

When we moved to the Texas Gulf Coast from Florida at the height of hurricane season, one of the first things I did was place candles and matches easily accessible in every room. I put flashlights next to each bed because that is what I needed to do in Florida.

I wanted to have the security of a light within easy reach for those unexpected times of darkness when the electricity was interrupted.

I don’t understand how electricity works. All I know is when I flip the light switch, the light comes on. I expect the light to go on whether or not I see all the wires and turbines that create it.

I believe the electricity will work. I put my trust in the fact the electricity will work.

courtesy pixabayJust as we trust electricity to light the way when we can’t see it, shouldn’t we also trust Jesus to light our way even though we can’t see him?

When the power goes out in our life and the darkness of our troubling situations seem to surround us, isn’t it comforting to have the security of the Light of the World within easy reach for those unexpected times of despair?

Our hope rests in the power of Jesus through his Holy Spirit. He is the one who gives us the peace and the light to endure. He is our hope, our candle in the dark. Even the worst of storms cannot interrupt the flow of Jesus’ power to us.

Might I suggest we flip the switch on, and never turn it off?

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May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope. Romans 15:13 (Phillips)

I wish you well.


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Love One Another As I Have Loved You

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Love, love, love, love, the Gospel in a word is love. Love thy neighbor as thy brother. Love. Love. Love. Those are the words to a chorus we sang when I was at Indian Lake Christian Service Camp during senior high school. Perhaps you sang it, too? Whether those words come to mind from a song, or from the written Word of God, they are words we need to hold onto, live out, and never abandon, don’t you agree?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

“You should love the Eternal, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  The second great commandment is this: “Love others in the same way you love yourself.” There are no commandments more important than these. Mark 12:30-31 (VOICE)

Love does no wrong to anyone. That’s why it fully satisfies all of God’s requirements. It is the only law you need. Romans 13:10 (TLB)

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)

So. How are we doing in loving others as Christ loves us?

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I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good.

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

 Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me.

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.


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Click For Babies Cap Campaign

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, CLICK for Babies is a grassroots public education campaign organized by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) in partnership with hospitals, public health and child abuse prevention groups to create awareness of the leading trigger for infant abuse, frustration with infant crying.

When I saw an article on this, I knew I had to participate.

PURPLE Acronym

After I pulled out my crochet hook, organized the purple yarn I had, and bought more purple yarn, I set about crocheting tiny little purple hats. As I created each hat, I prayed for the baby receiving the hat, and the parent or caregiver in charge of raising that child. Childrearing is a tough job.

While crocheting I paid attention to something that happens every time I knit or crochet … the center of the yarn, the core which is pulled out before the outer section, collapses on itself. When it collapses, the yarn often becomes tangled and unusable. At that point, all creating must stop until the tangled knots are removed.

In my early days of knitting decades ago, I’d get frustrated with the tangled yarn and just cut it. I didn’t take the time to untangled, just tied another section of yarn past the tangle and kept going. That really is not the best way to handle knots, by the way.

Nowadays, whenever I start a project, Pilot asks if I need him to roll the yarn into balls for me. Often the answer is yes, thank you, but not this time.

Life is a lot like a skein of yarn, don’t you think?

We pull and pull and tug and tug at our core working, moving, doing, until our center collapses. We deplete our core, and in the process become a tangled knotted mess. At that point we need to stop and take the time to untangle. To seek God. To pause in order for God to untangle our mess and refill us with himself so we can be useful for his purposes once more.

It’s not a good idea to sever the yarn that attaches us to God like I once did when my yarn knotted. We need to stay attached to the One who is capable of untangling the knots in our life. It’s also a good idea to have people in our lives who are willing to roll that skein of yarn into a manageable ball when the going gets tough before we become all knotted up.

If you knit or crochet, please consider creating some tiny purple hats for the Click for Babies campaign. But hurry. All hats need to arrive at the clearing house by September 30, 2017 to be distributed to families in November.

Thanks for considering helping this important campaign.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

I wish you well.


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