Feeble Knees

Monday, September 26, 2005

Nice Call

Some other women I know think I'm a little strange for being a bit of a sports nut. It's true I am a bit of a fanatic, and I do enjoy watching games and following my teams. But it's as much for the human element as anything else.

I told Mr. F once that if anyone says they love Shakespeare, but can't be bothered with sports, then that person is a fraud. Shakespeare would have loved a good football game, or a seven-game baseball championship series. Great human dramas and comic farces alike play themselves out on and off the field, and for those willing to dig a little deeper than the box scores, incredible stories are waiting to be found.

New England lost more than just an offensive coordinator when Mr. Charles Weis departed for Notre Dame, I knew it when he first left, and I didn't need this story to convince me. I was sad to see him go, but happy for the opportunity it afforded him, because he worked hard for my team and deserved a big break of his own. While I still miss seeing him on the sidelines, I'll never again feel bad about him leaving us to go to Notre Dame. Turns out it was a lot more important for him to be there for one little boy and his family.

Read the story here: Nice Call

Football is just a game. But what happened on the field during Notre Dame's first possession this past Saturday was bigger than life. And I'll never forget it so long as I live.

Bravo Coach Weis. Bravo Notre Dame Fighting Irish. But Montana made the call. Nice call indeed.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Eviction Notice!

The notice came yesterday. Baby F only has a few more days left to voluntarily vacate the premises, else he will be evicted...

Because I have gestational diabetes, the decision has been made to induce labor (if it does not start naturally on its own) by the end of next week. There's still a fairly good chance things could get rolling on their own in the next few days, and it wouldn't surprise me. (Anyone who'd like to pray in that direction, you certainly have my blessing and my thanks!) Still I understand that because of the diabetes, past a certain point it will be detrimental to both me and the baby to let him stay in his cozy spot. So if we need an induction, so be it and may God help us through it.

Last night I did a bit of Googling to get more information about the particular drugs and procedures that will be used. I did this with an open mind, understanding that:

  • People who share their birth stories with the world tend to be the types who want to give you all the gory, scary details

  • Every person and every experience is different; how a drug affects one person may not affect someone else the same way

  • Not every doctor graduated top of his or her class; but not every doctor graduated at the bottom either

  • My own expectations and understandings of what may or may not happen will go a long way towards preparing me for any eventuality, and I need to trust my own body and instincts about what's right for me

So I found some horror stories about induction, and I also found some "eh, it was no big deal" stories about induction. I got enough clinical information to satisfy my own level of intellectual curiosity (I'm the type of freak who wants to see the needles and surgical instruments that will be used in any medical procedure before hand) and a wide enough spectrum of personal accounts to be relatively well informed about the risks, pros and cons.

Having done all that I climbed into bed, put my head down on the pillow and committed it all into God's hands and asked for His help and reassurance, that however this all plays out, He'll be right there with me. I'm not asking Him to supernaturally keep me from feeling any pain (I understand that pain's been part of the arrangement, from way on back in Genesis) or anything like that. I just need to know that He's there, no matter what, with His hand on all of us. Some reassurance, lots of courage, and strength to do what needs to be done - those are all tops on my wish list right now.

My Mom likes to pray for the doctors and nurses too, which strikes me as not a bad idea. I hope they all get a good night's sleep beforehand, are feeling well themselves and are on top of their game. That would be a help. I guess I'd like them to be in full possession of all their skills and faculties, mentally sharp and focused and ready for anything. I think God can help with that. He gave them all their intelligence and talents, He can certainly help them utilize them to the fullest extent.

Not sure how much I'll be blogging over the next few days. My thoughts are turning ever more inward and introspective as the days go by, and it's hard to express all that I'm feeling and thinking. I will try, try, try to keep it updated and at least sign off when we're heading for the hospital, whenever that may be. But I expect things to be rather irregular in the coming days and weeks.

I've even been contemplating starting a separate mommy blog, though I'm not sure if I'll have the energy or drive to keep two blogs going at once - I haven't been doing a very stellar job just maintaining this one lately. When I started it back in November of last year it was such a cathartic thing for me, and it helped me connect with so many caring people who were truly touched by the things I'd gone through. Their prayers and support (you know who you are people!) have meant so much and have been like a healing balm. It's been good to know I'm not alone, that I'm not nuts, that others have questioned and suffered and wandered just like I have, and yet have found greater riches in God through it all.

Since becoming pregnant last January, it's as though more healing has taken place as my perspective shifted subtly over time. It's no longer just about me, me, me, anymore - and while I never thought I was particularly self-absorbed, there's something about having a child that really makes you see beyond your own self in ways you never imagined possible before. I can't quite explain it, and I'm sure no one ever could have convinced me it was possible before I got up that Sunday morning and saw that little pink line that said "Pregnant!"

So to my faithful readers, this is not goodbye but just "hang on for a bit!" I'll try to keep you posted as soon as I can. (Maybe I can get Mr. F to guest blog an update for me?) I very deeply appreciate your well wishes and prayers, and will be thanking God for you and your kindness towards me in the days ahead.

In the meantime, just in case I don't get a chance to say it later, God bless you and keep you all!

Regarding My Beast

When Little kitty and I lived alone, before Mr. F came into our lives, I got into the habit of talking out loud to him quite a bit. (If you live alone, and you're a pet owner, this seems completely normal to you. Others may view it differently.) When I was particularly nice to him or had given him a treat or special toy, I'd ask him half jokingly, half seriously if I was fulfilling Proverbs 12:10: "Am I doing a good job regarding your life, my little beast?"

It's been over a week now since we put Little Kitty down. I still struggle with feeling guilty for feeling relief that his ordeal is over, but I know that's normal - to feel both guilty and relieved. It's been a process. I figure it's progress that I'm not randomly dissolving into tears on a daily basis anymore. The present condition of our other little beastie, Senior Kitty, isn't giving me too much time to reflect on the loss of Little Kitty.

Senior Kitty and Little Kitty in better daysMy mom hit the nail on the head when she said it's like we're running a Kitty Hospice around here. We have a variety of medicines, IV bags (for the administration of subcutaneous fluids) and a plethora of every kind of cat food imaginable, both prescription and regular store brands. There is even a stockpile of tuna fish and jars of baby food meat on hand for when Kitty gets really picky about what he'll eat.

Senior kitty (the orange guy in the above picture) is getting harder to keep happy. He complains a lot more now than he ever did, and his howling has a tendency to get on my last raw nerve lately. I try to remember that he's not feeling good, and that's why he's so cranky, and that he can't help it. In the morning he follows me from place to place squawking while I try to comfort him with a variety of things - fresh food, fresh ice water (this is a new development; he's decided he much prefers ice water to regular cold water, the more ice the better), a pat on the head, rubbing his chin, carrying him up or down the stairs. Usually I run through all of these motions and still he cries, which tears me up. He's been such a good guy for so long, it kills me when he gets to the point where he can't be comforted or calmed. Usually at that point nothing else will do but that I have to sit with him quietly, let him climb in my lap and stroke his nose and forehead while he purrs.

It gets tough sometimes, and already I find myself wondering if I'm going to have the patience to go through similar soothing routines with a cranky baby. I worry about having to take care of both Senior Kitty and Baby F at the same time. If one or both of them cannot be consoled, it might just send me over the edge.

Usually I hate it when people say "Oh it was a blessing" when someone passes on. It just irks me, and I studiously avoid uttering this cliche whenever someone passes. Yet it has been a bit of a relief to me that I don't have to care for two very sick kitties while also trying to prepare for the birth of my first child. (Again, I struggle with some amount of guilt for even thinking that way, but there you have it.) Given how sick little kitty was, and how much senior kitty now seems to be declining, I'm pretty sure I would have snapped somewhere along the way.

So I'm doing what I can right now to take good care of Senior Kitty and make him comfortable, because I do believe that is the right thing to do. He's honored us with so much loyalty and affection, he deserves to be treated well. I'm just hoping for some more grace and patience so that even when he's difficult I can deal with him lovingly and respectfully and not lose my temper. After all, that's how I'd hope to be treated if I were sick and in need of constant care...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Full Term

This is week 37. We are officially "Full Term", which means, medically speaking, that Baby F could be born any time now. And so the waiting begins...

I'm not great at waiting usually, but in this case I'm not in any particular rush. There are still a few to-do items I'd like to accomplish, including a woefully long-overdue project I've been working on for a family member. Still, I've been prioritize tasks in order of relative importance, not wanting to get caught rushing to the hospital with certain baby-specific things left unattended to.

Baby shower thank you notes went out a couple days after the shower. I've washed and folded and put away all the clothes, blankets, sheets, burp cloths, bibs, and infant seat covers. There is a huge stockpile of diapers at the ready (I've been clipping and saving diaper coupons since February, so every purchase has been at least $1.00 off). In addition to all the diapers, I've stocked up on some necessities like hydrogen peroxide, petroleum jelly, cotton swabs, and a few items I hope I won't be needing post-partum, specifically Preparation H and Tucks pads. (Eeeww! *shudder*)

We're getting our wills, health care proxies and power of attorney documents in order. Scheduled an oil change & routine service on my car. A few weeks ago I bought all the birthday and anniversary cards I need from now until January then addressed and stamped them ahead of time (here's hoping postage costs don't rise before the end of the year).

So, you can see, I like to be prepared. :)

It's all part of my grand but ultimately futile attempt to enjoy the last few days of my life that I'll feel like I'm actually in control of anything.

The fact that all of this seems so completely normal and ordinary is still rather strange to me. Somehow I always imagined that this would be some mind-blowing emotional journey. It has been an emotional journey - just not in the way my pre-pregnant mind envisioned it. Before becoming pregnant, I never could have understood how natural certain feelings and knowledge would be. The most surprising thing of all has been this calm assurance that's attended me throughout my pregnancy (it must be Divine in origin) and given me a quiet confidence in the midst of what always seemed to me a rather risky and scary endeavor. I always assumed I'd be a bit terrified at this point. It never dawned on me how much grace would play a part. Silly me.

So that's been one big significant life and spiritual lesson in all this. God is providing that which I wasn't even looking for, that which I didn't even know enough to expect. This is very good, since had I been expecting kind of grace, I probably would have fretted that I wasn't getting enough, or that obtaining this calm or grace somehow depended on my current state of "spiritualness". Instead, sneaky God that He is, He just quietly went before me and made sure everything was there and in place as I needed it: some grace here, some strength there, a bit of peace tossed in for good measure.

That says nothing in particular about me. I'm as undeserving as anyone of this divine provision. But it does say a whole lot about God, and how trustworthy and dependable He is. It is at once humbling and soothing, to just rest and accept it without question or reservation, whatever may be.

For that I am so very grateful, and inclined to worship with a quiet heart full of deep wonder and love.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Well, They're Right About the Whopper Mistakes...

According to this latest Quizilla quiz:
You are Ephesians
You are Ephesians.

The Empty Spot on My Desk

There's a spot on my desk where a kitty should be. He should be butting my hands with his nose, causing me to type gibberish in a not-so-subtle demand to be petted. He should be trying to lay down on my forearm in an attempt to make me stop working. He should be here. But he's gone, and I miss him so much.

I feel almost ashamed to admit that personally it's been a horrible week for me. Given all that has been going on in the gulf states, I feel silly admitting that my world has come to a crashing halt over a cat. But I'd be lying if I tried to deny it.

About two weeks ago I started to notice all was not right with Little kitty, my eleven year old that I got from the Humane Society when he was just an itty-bitty mewling thing, his eyes barely opened. We counted on LIttle kitty to live a good full life yet. He gave me solace even as I've been preparing to say goodbye to our Senior kitty who's suffering from kidney failure. Little kitty was supposed to be my child's first pet. We anticipated the day we would bring our boy home to meet his kitty 'brother' for the first time.

Long story short, we had to bring Little kitty to the animal hospital a week ago Sunday. He too was diagnosed with kidney failure, only his disease had advanced much more quickly, and his prognosis was very poor. The vet gave him "a couple of weeks, maybe" to live. It was a complete shock, and I was devastated. Here I'd been saying a long goodbye to Senior Kitty for months, and now my baby kitty, the one I raised from a wee thing was fading before my eyes. Little kitty stayed in the hospital for a few days on IV fluids before I made the decision to bring him home. That was Wednesday. Despite many medications and the administration of both IV and subcutaneous fluids, he did not improve very much. He withdrew from us and hid in the bathroom. He stopped playing. He couldn't jump very well anymore. He no longer came to me when I called him. Even when I rubbed his chin, his most favorite thing in the world, he stopped purring altogether.

I agonized all week. I visited him in the hospital and brought him tunafish. I cried. I sat with him. I talked to him. Once at home, I desperately tried to administer various medications that he stubbornly refused to take. I cried some more. I lost sleep. I even found myself getting angry at Senior kitty for having monopolized so much of my time and attention the last few months - something that wasn't his fault at all, but I couldn't help myself. I did not want to put Little kitty down. But I couldn't deny he was suffering. I knew his kidney levels were sky-high, and they were not going to improve. I knew there wasn't any cure. I knew I had to do the humane thing, and it was killing me.

Saturday he made his last trip to the vet. As I filled out the euthanasia consent form my hands trembled and shook. I still don't know how I managed to exectute the final signature through my tears. Mr. F and I stayed with him as they administered the anesthesia, but I could not stay for the final, lethal dose. I cradled his still little form in my arms as long as I could and stroked his fur, which was damp in places from my tears. I told him over and over that I loved him. That it was ok for him to go. That he was a very good kitty, the bestest ever.

I always knew it would be hard for me when his time came. I never thought it would be so soon, or so sudden. Never in a million years did I think we'd lose Little kitty before Senior kitty. I think I'm still in a bit of shock, to be honest.

Every day I miss him more, and find more things that hurt: Passing by the pet food aisle in the market. The bottles of remaining prescription medicine with his name on them sitting on top of the fridge. Seeing another cat frolic outside in the grass. Looking at his food dish, now clean and sadly empty, sitting unused on the counter. Being able to shut a door behind me, and not hear his little paws scratching for me to open it. Sweeping up the remnants of his fur, wispy little black tumbleweeds, from the hardwood floors.

I still am having a hard time coming to grips with it, especially knowing that soon Senior kitty will be gone too, perhaps very soon. It's too much all at once. Too much, too hard.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Guess in a Party Dress

Liz at Messy Christian is wondering how it happened that things got so bad in New Orleans. Was it bad governance or human nature, she asks.

Thinking on her post reminded me of something I read recently in this post in Iraq War correspondent/observer Michael Yon's blog.

Mr. Yon was writing about how even in war the unexpected can happen. The quote that struck me from Mr. Yon's blog was this:

But once the shooting starts, a plan is just a guess in a party dress.

At the time I read this, it reminded me of certain work situations I'd been in where the best laid plans would be shot to heck when something unexpected and unforeseen happened. I remembered a few specific situations in my own professional career where despite careful planning, a project blew up, got bogged down or failed completely - not because we didn't plan, but because we didn't plan for the unexpected.

Now I am remembering this quote again and it seems much more relevant to the situation in New Orleans. There were plans for provisioning and evacuating people from the flooded city. But once the shooting started...

In a comment over at Messy Christian I mentioned that Mr. F and I were talking and comparing the response of the New York City police and fire department's response on 9/11 to the reports we've seen and heard about some Louisiana police participating in or allowing the looting of electronic goods, weapons, ammunition, and even (believe it or not, as I read in one account) fishing gear.

I expect that comment to generate some heat. So be it.

But the local police are the first line of defense in any situation, they are the authorities on the ground, and much of what happens depends on their skills, professionalism and commitment to serve, protect, and uphold the law.

As we spoke about it this morning Mr. F reminded me of the D-Day invasion - of how Eisenhower and all his staff laid out the plans, but in the end it was the men and the sergeants on the ground who carried the burden of executing on the plan. Once the landing occurred and the shooting started, it was in the hands of the individuals on the ground, and there wasn't very much direct control in the hands of the generals and majors. (Any history or military buffs out there care to back me up or take issue with this assessment?)

The mayors and the governors and the cabinet staffs and the FEMA managers are all off in their bunkers somewhere - they were not in direct control of what was happening on the streets of New Orleans or Biloxi or Mobile. That is not to say they weren't responsible for orchestrating relief and rescue efforts - absolutely they were and are. And I'd be extraordinarily surprised if there isn't a congressional inquiry in the coming months into an apparent breakdown in communication and chain of command during the events that followed Katrina's landfall.

But we need to look at the individual actions of the individuals on the ground. We need to look at the individuals who looted guns and ammunition, at the thugs who carjacked ambulances, shot at rescue helicopters, policemen who broke the law and looted themselves, men who took bus seats away from elderly, sick, pregnant women and children.

There will be no shortage of people to blame, if that's what we want to do. There is plenty of blame to go around. But blame doesn't get the relief supplies in faster or the evacuees out quicker. It doesn't rebuild the homes and lives that were lost. It doesn't bring the dead back to life.

The people affected by the storm and the botched rescue and relief operations do deserve answers, and responsible parties must be held accountable at every level - from citizens on the street, to law enforcement to the highest office of the land, the presidency. We cannot control the weather, we cannot foresee when or where the next natural disaster will occur. So it is imperative that we do all we can to determine how to ensure that the best most effective and efficient plans are in place to handle any eventuality.

But we must also remember that plans are just plans, developed by imperfect human minds and based on guesses, estimates, hopes.

Is there a moral in all this?

Probably too many to count.

One that immediately springs to mind is this:

Plan hard. Pray harder.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The World Responds

Offers of help and condolences are coming in, now that the true scope of this thing has become apparent. Some of the most touching offers are coming from countries like Sri Lanka and the Dominican Republic, who themselves can probably ill afford to provide financial help, but are offering anyway because they know what it's like to face such complete devastation.

I'm trying not to think about the criticisms coming from certain quarters, claims that we had it coming because of our policies on global warming. I'm really trying not to think about it.

I'm trying not to think about the people who are celebrating and hailing "Private Katrina", those who say that a natural disaster took part in their jihad.

That would just make it easy to get bitter and vengeful. Too easy.

Remembering instead the well wishes of good and caring people around the world.

Thanks world.

90,000 Square Miles

The U.S. Government has declared 90,000 square miles affected by Hurricane Katrina a federal disaster area. How big is 90,000 square miles?

For a little perspective:

England is roughly 93,000 square miles.

Italy is 116,000 square miles.

Germany is 138,000 square miles.

The total area of our 12th largest state, Minnesota, is 86,943 square miles.

The total area of our 11th largest state, Michigan, is 96,810 square miles.

The combined area of the New England states, where I live, is about 18,000 square miles smaller, at a grand total of 71,997 square miles. Imagine six states, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connected all devasted by a single storm. I can't.

One other tidbit:

90,000 square miles is more than half the total area of Iraq (167,400 square miles).

Now you're getting an idea of the scope of this thing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Women and Children

Stories are coming of women whose babies are being evacuated from neonatal intensive care units in New Orleans. One woman reportedly clutched a photo of her two day old infant, because it's all she has - her baby was med-flighted out to an unknown destination. She doesn't know where her baby is.

Another woman begged someone who was able to board one of the buses heading out of New Orleans to take her two month old baby. Can you imagine having to beg a stranger: "Please take my baby to safety!"

My mother held back tears as she told me about a news report she saw yesterday of a nine-months pregnant woman who was out walking for miles in the heat and the filthy water trying to find a safe place or someone to help her. I'll be nine months pregnant next week. I can't fathom the sheer panic she must be feeling, how fatigued and swollen and hurting she must be. My prayers are with her and her unborn child; oh my dear Lord I hope she is ok.

I was struck by images of some of the buses as they were being boarded. I saw some elderly passengers, and some sick. But I also saw... a lot of young able-bodied men. And the thought struck me: what's wrong with this picture?

In another time, young men might have stood aside and urged women and children to board the buses first, along with the sick, elderly and infirm. But I see healthy strong men in the seats, smiling sheepishly at the cameras. Men who could be helping the National Guardsmen with crowd control, or helping carry people who can't walk. Men who could be responding heroically to do what they can to help those weaker than they.

But I guess times have changed.

Perhaps I should be softer-hearted; after all, I'd be a frantic mess if I had to board a bus to parts unknown, nine months pregnant, and leave Mr. F behind in all that chaos. Perhaps I shouldn't judge. I wouldn't want to be separated from my husband. If I'm honest, he'd probably have to physically chain me to the seat to get me out of there without him.

But seeing those healthy, able-bodied men sitting in those comfy seats....

I dunno. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but it's a little jarring. I can't help thinking of that poor pregnant lady wandering in the streets desperate for help. Or the picture of the elderly woman who died in her wheelchair, waiting for a bus. Someone covered her up. And there her body remains on the concourse outside the Superdome.

And I just can't shake it.

Kudos to Apple

After the Asian Tsunami, Amazon.com replaced their entire home page with a page devoted to the Red Cross relief effort. I'm kind of depressed to see they're not doing that now. Granted they did put a small Red Cross link in the upper right corner of their home page. It just doesn't seem on a par with their efforts back in December and January, and that's too bad.

Just got some welcome spam from Apple's iTunes Music Store - they have replaced the main music store page with links that you can use to make an instant donation to the Red Cross. Nicely done Apple. Now, if only other Web retailers would follow suit and do the same...

UPDATE 9/2/05
Someone must have gotten through to Jeff Bezos and company - Amazon has now posted a large Red Cross graphic & donation link in the center of their home page. Good to see.


More from CNN. People are dying in the streets. Thousands of people pleading for rescue, for food, for water.

Louisiana state officials are now estimating that there are thousands dead. The problem is that the destruction is so massive and widespread, and the situation on the ground is so desperate and now violent, there doesn't seem to be a way to calculate the loss of human life. Bodies are still trapped in flooded houses, attics. Others float down the streets as rescuers try to help those still clinging to life and hope.

We have never seen the likes of this on our soil, not ever.

Wiped Off the Map

CNN is reporting that Waveland Mississippi, a town of 7,000 people has been literally wiped off the map.

What would you do? Where would you go?

Hurricane Aid

A list of aid agencies participating in the hurricane relief is up at the Hurricane Katrina wiki.

We plan to make several donations to the American Red Cross over the coming weeks and months. If you can't give as much as you'd like to now, consider giving what you can, when you can. Even ten or fifteen dollars could buy diapers or infant formula, bottled water, food...

Letters of Desperation and Hope

If you have spare housing or are an employer seeking workers in the Gulf Coast area, please prayerfully consider offering what you can...

If I Was God...

Yesterday morning I turned on the radio for the latest news and heard two things that made me want to dig a hole and jump in it. I heard that emergency personnel and police in New Orleans are being shot at and mugged by looters. Then I heard that close to one thousand people were killed in a stampede in Baghdad, many of them women and children.

Today the world is very lucky that God is God, and I am not.

It is times like this I wonder how God can restrain Himself from just smiting the whole sorry lot of us. There are some who blame God for these natural disasters like the Tsunami and now Hurricane Katrina. But really I find it more incredible that He doesn't smite us every time we as a species rightly deserve it. How can He look upon those looting and terrorizing flood victims in the south and not let a few well-aimed lightning bolts fly?

You can bet if I was the supreme omnipotent deity, the flashes would be flying. I would not exercise the same restraint, I would not have mercy.

This is why God in His infinite wisdom saw to it that I not have that kind of power.

Perhaps it is a misnomer to refer to it as "Man's inhumanity to man". In my gut I am shamed to admit that there is frequently nothing at all humane about human nature. People who are looting and stampeding are just showing their all too natural and flawed human nature.

It takes something Other to rise above primal self-preservationist instincts in times of crisis. Thank God that there are people rising above, doing heroic selfless work to seek and save lives. Pray to God that they are strengthened, renewed, protected and preserved as they give so completely of themselves that others might live.

And while you're at it, pray that the spirit of God convicts the looters, the tramplers, the cowards and brutes in their hearts, that shame would burn their souls. Pray that they are brought to their knees under the weight of their crimes, that they may yet have the opportunity to repent of all their evil and turn themselves in or commit themselves to help and not hurt...

Not Alone...

I guess I wasn't alone in my thinking...

Bob over at CrosSwords was asking the same sorts of questions a few days ahead of me. Bob and other bloggers from the US and around the world are participating in today's Blog For Relief event being hosted by The Truth Laid Bear.

Glenn Reynolds, Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin and others are leading the charge on Katrina blogging... please visit them if you get a chance for more information on where and how you can help.

Utterly depressing news: A local Boston radio station is reporting that the evacuation of thousands of elderly, sick, infirm and homeless refuges from the Superdome in New Orleans has been halted because some sickos are shooting at the rescue helicopters as they try to land. I can't describe the level of disgust I feel as I type these words, how deeply shamed. Please pray for the safety of the rescuers, the police, the national guard troops, the medical personnel, Red Crooss and other relief workers and volunteers who are putting their own lives in jeopardy to help. Please pray for their protection! (Just saw confirmation of the report here, the AP is confirming shots were fired, and that the situation at the Superdome is rapidly deteriorating.)

Michelle from South Africa commented on yesterday's post that there hasn't been much coverage of the disaster in the news where she lives. I wondered if that was the case, if perhaps it really wasn't being reported very much in other parts of the world. Perhaps there is somewhat of an attitude that the US should be able to take care of its own, why should anyone else bother themselves about it? I suppose if I might even hold the same view if I was born and raised somewhere else and had observed the US from the outside over the years.

And it may even be so - Americans are doing what they can, especially as the scope of the disaster becomes more clear. Still, it is heartening to hear that people around the world are at least touched in their hearts by what folks are going through, that they're praying.... these poor devastated folks need your prayers.