Hurricanes & Recovery:* It's been surreal to see the photos come in of the Florida Keys and other places hit hard by Irma, particularly when I was just there in May. I pray for the people affected.
* In the meantime, recovery from Hurricane Harvey goes on in Texas. My brother and his family, along with several of my Texas friends, are part of this effort: 11,000 volunteers work to save homes. With black mold threatening, there is great urgency to pull out drywall and clean out the flooded houses.
* I got a kick out of this story: In Crises Such as Harvey,You Want an Outdoorsman at Your Side. I have to add that even without a crisis, a good outdoorsman cannot be overrated. Take my son, Joey, the fisherman, for example. His skills tying flies and stalking fish have certainly come in handy in lots of other ways around here. He's fixed necklaces and earrings for his sisters and when one of the little ones got a sliver deep inside her foot, he was the one I called in. With his steady hands and fine motor skills, he was able to fix what I couldn't.
* Along those lines, here's a Facebook video someone posted of all the trucks and boats lining the highway on their way to rescue people in Texas on August 28. Can't help but get choked up!
* I love how God answers prayers in the midst of the storm: Finding Norma Jean
* This is one of my favorite Christian songs, and the message couldn't be more timely:
Interesting:* Why is Utah one of the most upwardly mobile states in the nation? This New York newspaper writer traveled to my "weird" state to find out. This upward mobility, or the ability of those from the lower classes to lift their way out of poverty, was also mentioned in a fascinating book I read called Hillbilly Elegy. In it, the author notes that one reason the poor never escape poverty is that they never come in close contact with another way of life. They never see anything but poverty modeled, so they just don't know how to escape it. He said his own upbringing in an economically diverse town gave him friends whose parents were middle class and that helped him set goals for his own future. He pointed to Utah as a place where our congregations, which often include very diverse classes, give opportunities for many of those from poor or underclass backgrounds to interact with and see a different way of life modeled.
* Homelessness has a Face, and it's Mine
* Slavery in America? A truly jaw-dropping story: My Family's Slave
* I Planned My Wedding in Five Days. You Could, Too. My own wedding was a simple affair, but we had 7 weeks to plan it, not 5 days.
* Ever wonder why English is so weird?