Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Found below info on The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) WebPages

Help After a Disaster: Applicant's Guide to the Individuals & Households Program
http://www.fema.gov/about/process/ Downloadable guide in pdf format
http://www.fema.gov/register.shtm Register on line or FEMA Telephone Registration:

If you would like to apply for Federal Disaster Assistance by telephone, you can contact us at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or for the hearing/speech impaired at TTY: 1-800-462-7585. The current days and hours of operation are 8:00 am EDT - 8:00 pm EDT, Monday through Friday.

Katrina - Locating Your Loved Ones

If anyone is searching for a loved one...text messaging seems to be the best way to get through.

There is also a new site www.katrinacheckin.org or you can go to the Forums on www.NOLA.com

Katrina Aid - Brooklyn, NY

Out of the population in New Orleans affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, 85% were African-American. People lost everything. This clothing drive is to aid the families
as they try to rebuild their lives.

Please give whatever clothing you can new or old, but in good condition.

Drop off locations:



Just Hair Barber Shop
794 Nostrand Avenue
btwn St. Johns & Nostrand Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11216
&
177 Quincy Street
btwn Nostrand Ave & Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216

Please contact Camille at 347-526-8373 for further info or you can contact your local RED CROSS at 1-800-HELP-NOW.

Katrina Aid - Memphis, TN

This information was posted by a group member in Memphis:

In light of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the City of Memphis is working with the business and non-profit communities to provide assistance for people in our city. If you know of anyone that evacuated to Memphis and will have to remain here for a while, please pass this number along to them (1-901-543-5300).

We are opening shelters and our schools to those who will have an extended stay.


Thanks for your assistance in seeing that this number gets into the hands of those who need it most!

Peace,
Dee

Assist KATRINA Victims

This is a quote from an acquaintance who is actually there in the trenches, so to speak:

"...it is truly devastating here. There is water everywhere, no electricity in some places, people dead and floating in water. There are no words to explain. I left early enough and went a little north to Baton Rouge, my daughter's house. We experienced loss of power and lots of wind. Where I actually live (Laplace) there is just loss of power. However where I lived all of my life (until two years ago), New Orleans it is like a war zone. We will not be in livable conditions for several months...we all need prayers...thanks for being concerned. "
Okay people, this is where we get the opportunity to demonstrate the compassion we've been feeling for the Katrina victims. Choose one (or all of the following agencies, farbeit for me to limit your generosity). There are also more agencies listed under the how you can help section below. Were I alone in this endeavor, I'd probably be overwhelmed by the magnitude of my undertaking, but thankfully, I can have confidence in the fact that together we can make a difference.

Peace,
Dee

AMERICAN RED CROSS
www.redcross.org
1-800-435-7669 or
1-800-HELP-NOW

AMERICA's SECOND HARVEST
www.secondharvest.org
for hunger relief
1-800-344-9338

CATHOLIC CHARITIES
www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

CHURCH WORLD SERVICES
www.churchworldservices.org
1-800-297-1516

SALVATION ARMY
www.salvationarmyusa.org

Related Links:

How You Can Help
IMAGES: Damage from Katrina - 8.31.2005
VIDEO: David Murphy's AccuWeather Forecast
Hurricane Katrina Satellite
Hurricane Katrina Rain Forecasts
Hurricane Katrina Severe Weather Warnings
StormTracker 6 Maps
INTERACTIVE: Learn about hurricanes
Complete Hurricane Katrina Coverage
Friday, August 26, 2005

Overcoming All Odds

By Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

..."Because you have prayed to Me...." ~ Isaiah 37:21
Have you ever had your back against the wall so badly that if something didn't happen to change your situation, you were sunk? King Hezekiah was one of Israel's greatest godly kings. One of the greatest challenges to his reign came when the king of Assyria threatened to attack Israel and wipe them out. The Assyrians were the local bullies of the region and had wiped out all other enemies in their region.

They mocked the idea of having a God who could save them.

Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, "The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria" (Isaiah 36:14b-15).

The workplace is full of "Assyrian kings" who mock the idea of a living God who delivers. Without God's help, Israel would not overcome. Their backs were against the wall. They would be destroyed.

King Hezekiah saved Israel because of one act. He prayed; and because he prayed, God moved on his behalf. In fact, God moved so powerfully that Hezekiah did not even have to fight the battle.

Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning, there were all the dead bodies! (Isaiah 37:36)
The king of Assyria was even murdered by his own sons. Imagine seeing your enemy totally destroyed without one hand raised in battle!

God wants to act on behalf of His children if they will call on Him. One of the motives Hezekiah had in seeking God's help was "so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God" (Is. 37:20). This is what happened. God was glorified.

God wants to let your workplace know that God is a living God. He can deliver. Seek Him today for the crisis in your life. Keep your motive pure and God will surely answer.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Love: In Search Of

I attended a bittersweet worship service on Sunday. My family and I didn't travel to New York for services as is the norm. Instead we visited a Lutheran church here in Pennsylvania. We were invited by my nephew's best friend, Xavier. (Isn't it wonderful when nine year olds feel comfortable enough to desire to worship together?)

We were told to arrive by eight thirty a.m. if we wanted to have a seat for the nine o'clock worship service. I was unsure of what to expect, but ready to worship and tickled pink that I wasn't traveling all the way to New York that day. Better yet, I was tickled at the fact that I was "off duty" that day.

The sanctuary was modern in style, a scaled-down version of mega-church architecture. No plush chairs, no stained glass and definitely no organ with pipes.

The worship service began just the way I like it. It was like a mini-concert. The musicians played in harmony, not competitively, and the worship leader had the gift of oratory, which combined with the anointing of the Holy Spirit was quite effective. In addition, the signing ministry was an act of praise all in itself. I assimilated these facts even as I worshipped, and as I continued to worship, I saw hands begin to raise, heads begin to nod and bodies begin to sway. I felt at home in the presence of God.

After the lengthy praise and worship session ended, the Pastor came up to the front of the church. His appearance was unassuming. The only reason I knew he was the pastor was the fact that his picture had been displayed on the overhead projectors when I'd entered the sanctuary earlier. He was dressed informally and sat on a tall stool. Just as I began to think, Hey, this is a really informal service, he apologized for the fact that there were no outlines for the morning message. And then said,

"I'd like to read something to you this morning."

He opened what looked like a diary and proceeded to read.

"Thursday, August 11, 2005:

“I need to be driven by the concept of Eternal life with God."

He then closed the diary and sat there silently for a moment.

I'll admit I was a little confused. I wondered what that excerpt had to do with the morning service. I looked to my right at my neighbor. She looked pensive, but not confused. I glanced surreptitiously over my left shoulder--the folk back there looked sad, but not confused either. Just as I was about to shrug my shoulders to say "It must be me,” the pastor resumed speaking.

"As you know, last Sunday, I preached about the purpose-driven life. Erin, one of our members, a young Christian, took it to heart. She broke up with her boyfriend earlier this week; the entry I just read to you was the last entry she made in her diary at work Thursday morning. She was shot and killed later that evening by her former boyfriend. She was twenty-four years old. She leaves behind a four-year old daughter and her parents. Her former boyfriend was also considered a Christian."

Although stunned by the announcement, because I hadn't even seen it coming, I was holding up okay--until the lights were dimmed and a single white candle was lit and placed on the stool vacated by the pastor. Before I could even appreciate the symbolism, the pianist began to sing a slightly revised version of "Candle in the Wind” by Elton John and it was sooo over for me.

At this point my copious tears caught the notice of the woman next to me, and she passed me tissues and patted me on the shoulder. Running through my mind were many thoughts--What a waste... It's so unfair... Just as she started making different choices--and alongside them a renewed urgency in my spirit to reach women and young women with the message of "choice."

As I cried, I identified with Erin and so many other women who have at some point in time made poor choices. Women who, like Tamar, became impatient waiting for what was promised, for what was rightly theirs; who decided to take matters into their own hands and play the harlot, so to speak, in order to obtain, sustain or retain a man.

As I cried, I guiltily, silently thanked God that I'm still here. But for His grace and mercy, the name on the pastor’s lips could have been Dee.

As I cried, I thought about the young teenage girls I see hanging outside my building, already putting up with and at times encouraging the disrespect of the young boys with whom they hang.

As I cried, I thought about the great commission to go tell--not to exhort people to come to me so that I can tell--but to get out of my comfort zone and actively seek out candidates to tell about the love they seek. The love they are in search of can only be found in Jesus the Christ. He is the only one who can make us complete. As the prime example of perfected love, our love relationship with Him primes and prepares us for a love relationship with others.

As I cried, I resolved to live up to my motto: “Reaffirming the bonds of sisterhood, one sister at a time!”

Sisters, we have the right of choice. A good or bad relationship begins with the choice made. Let’s give that right due consideration when it comes to who we choose to allow into our lives, our hearts, our minds, and our bodies.

And please, please, please don't let a gunshot or one last beating be part of your obituary. You don't need anyone to tell you that you're in an abusive relationship. You already know it, but maybe it's your pride that stops you from admitting it--because in all other areas of your life, you've got your act together and you're making the cheddar. Or maybe it's been your reality for so long that you're scared of change, because at least this way you know what to expect, and if you just do everything just right... Sister, that's called denial.

How do I know this? Because I've been there. No, I'm not a small woman and no one would think to lay his hands on me, but abuse doesn't always have to be physical. Carter G. Woodson said it best when he intimated that, if I can be convinced that I'm still a slave in my mind, then there's no need to physically enslave me, because I will continue to act like a slave.

I remained in a relationship for years with a man who said that he appreciated my intelligence, my wit, and my beauty. He said he trusted my opinion above everyone else's. However, before a thought was fully out of my mouth, it was challenged for supporting evidence. I began locing my hair and he had a coronary. I'd predict certain occurences in his job situation so that he'd be prepared and he'd "pooh pooh" what I said and do what he wanted, then tell me two months later that I was right.

I think the beginning of my wake-up call occurred one Thanksgiving when, in front of my family, he commented in an audible whisper on the brevity of the amount of food on my plate. Although my elder sister (my second mom) "didn't forget him and gave him good," as we say back home in Trinidad, I was mortified and thought to myself, When did I get here? Is this the message I want to send to my daughter?

I've said all of this to say, denial: don't get caught up in it.

Choose you...click, read, email or call!

To be continued…
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Love: Introduction


I'm a Christian. I haven't always understood what that really meant, but as I grow older I'm beginning to get a handle on what being a Christian means.

I've learned and now understand that God loves me! An important point, because if there's one thing in this world we can all agree on, it is the need we all have to love and be loved. However, it is also important to point out that as much as we all want and need love, the message of love gets skewed time and time again--through circumstances beyond our control or the mores of the society in which we live. As a result of this:
  • We have women who believe that abuse is a demonstration of love;
  • Teenagers who have learned (erroneously) that indiscriminate sex is an expression of love;
  • Children who have experienced incest, starvation, beatings, enforced pornography, prostitution and a host of other unmentionable acts at the hands of people who love them.

It's important to know that God is love, because the more we realize that God loves us unconditionally, the more we realize that we are worthy of love. Not the kind we've experienced heretofore, but love that is patient, kind, longsuffering, slow to anger, always ready to make up, holds no grudges and never ends.

My part in all of this? To share what I've learned about God, to share what He's done to and for me, and to celebrate the fact that at forty, I’m still here!

Why do I celebrate being alive at forty? I celebrate the fact that despite suicidal tendencies, which began around fourteen with the onset of bi-polar disorder and several traumatic experiences, God saw fit that I should still be here. Maybe because He knew that someone else who is wallowing in the guilt and torment of being a Christian struggling with thoughts of suicide would need to read this post and feel His total love.

Maybe you're not suicidal but a friend or family member is touching you inappropriately?

Maybe you're dating someone who gives you an occasional slap but is apologetic right afterwards?

Maybe you and your date/boyfriend were alone and things got out of hand? You said stop but he kept on going? Now you blame yourself because his argument is that he loves you so much he couldn't stop? That's not love, that's date/acquaintance rape and needs to be reported.

This doesn't negate your faith, it just means you need a little assistance to work out your situation, or get out of it altogether.

Take it from a bipolar, incest survivor, date-rape survivor, prescription drug addiction survivor, and ex-pornography addict. I know that life is not going to be easy, but I've learned to love the me God says I am, and I'm confident in the knowledge that I have the tools to make it through.

  1. Faith in God to move my mountains.
  2. Wisdom to know that prayer changes things.
  3. Spirit of Praise that illuminates my blessings.
  4. Obedience that will ensure that I receive my blessings.
  5. Pen and voice to show and tell exactly how good God is, by personal experience.

So--love you, get help.

Peace,
Dee

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ability Versus Availability

by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. ~ Psalm 147:10-11
Do you ever feel so skilled in what you do that you require little help from others? Perhaps you may feel that you are more skilled than any other in your field. Does God need your skills and abilities in order to accomplish His purposes on this earth? The answer is NO.

One thing God does not need is our skills and abilities. However, He does give us the privilege to exercise our gifts and abilities for His service. That service may be as a computer technician, a secretary, an ironworker, or even a lawyer. God calls each of us to our vocations to work unto Him. To believe that He needs our skills to accomplish His mission on earth would be to lower our understanding of an all-encompassing and all-powerful God. The psalmist tells us that His pleasure is not in our strength and ability, but His pleasure is in the attitude of the heart. It is what we find in the heart that helps determine whether ability is translated into availability. You see God is looking to and fro throughout the earth for a man or woman who is fully committed to Him. A man or woman who is committed to fearing the Lord and placing his hope in His unfailing love is the person God seeks to support. "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" (2 Chron. 16:9a). When our agenda becomes His agenda, we can expect God to fully support all that we do.

If we want to see our skills and abilities multiplied a hundredfold, then we must make them completely available to His service. Where are the opportunities in which God is calling you to be available to Him? Next time someone asks you to be involved in some activity, before you say yea or nay, make sure you check in with the Master of our decisions to ensure that your gifts and talents are being used, as He desires.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Song A Day

Did you ever notice that sometimes, only a song will do?

Not many of us realize the power of the written word, put to music, that is commonly known as a song. Music has the ability to creep into the dark, dank and hidden recesses of our minds and hearts wherever needs soothing the most.

As far back as I can remember, singing, listening or dancing to music, has always been a part of my life. It comforted me when I felt lonely, celebrated with me when I felt victorious, assured me I was okay, when I doubted my sanity, protected me when I was scared, instructed me when I was confused and most of all it planted a seed of hope that kept me going when all roads pointed to the end.

I shared this love of music with my daughter, and I hope also to share it with you by way of the links to lyrics and/or music below that will uplift, guide and comfort you as well.

A song a day, will help keep the gloomies away!

Peace,
Dee

All in All
Battle is the Lord's, The
Healing
His Eye is on the Sparrow
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