Riding Out the Storm

Please don’t think I mean any disrespect to those in the Florida Panhandle or that I am diminishing what they are going through. Rather, I greatly sympathize with them, for they are facing a far greater storm than most of us do in our daily lives. However, I can’t help but think that what has happened with hurricane Michael is the perfect analogy for what often happens to us at certain times in our lives.

Sometimes, we are perfectly happy living a carefree life with blue skies over head and the sun beating down upon us. Even though there might be some warning signs, and those who voice caution, we have no worries because everything is running smoothly and going our way. Then, all of a sudden, we wake up one morning to the news that a category 4 hurricane with 104mph sustained winds is barreling upon us. With barely enough time to register what is happening, we are forced to go into survival mode.

What are we to do during these times of impending disaster? Where do we turn for help? Do we turn for help? Do we buckle down, sequester ourselves, and declare that we are going to wage this war on our own? Or do we look for help, realizing that there are times in life when the storm is too great, the winds are too strong, and the clouds are too dark for us to fight it alone?

It is during those times that I find I need my family and friends more than ever. But more than my friends and family, I need God. Who better to lead me safely through the storm than He who parts the seas, calms the waves, and turns the dark into day?

In a world full of chaos, where everyone seems only to be out for themselves, it’s tremendously comforting to me that God is there. He listens. He offers comfort, help, and hope. Even when I am too distraught to offer my own prayers, I know that the prayers said on my behalf, by friends and family, are reaching a merciful God who knows me, knows my innermost thoughts and feelings, and knows what I need even when I don’t. I’m not always perfect when it comes to prayer, not even close. I often let life get in the way. I don’t always remember to talk to God during those rare, quiet moments of the day when He is listening, hoping, that I will reach out to him. I often fall asleep in the middle of my evening prayers and wake with the knowledge that God knows all things, even those left unsaid. But despite my short-fallings, my failures, my forgetfulness, and even my selfishness, God is there and is waiting for my call for help.

May God’s hand reach down into the lives of those caught in the storm, Michael and otherwise. May they feel His comfort and His healing touch. May we be touched by the Holy Spirit and know that, no matter how dark or frightful things become, God will calm the storm, and He will bring light to a new day.Sunset2

What I was writing about a year ago this week: A Little Time to Spare.

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available in stores and online.

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).

A Little Rain Must Fall

Gram looking outWhen I was growing up, it was pretty much known by all that my grandmother was a meteorologist. No matter the day of the week or time of day, she always knew what the weather was going to be, and she was always right. Today’s weather forecasters could have learned a lot from her. While we all made fun of Gram, we also understood that weather was extremely important to my family. There were always weather-based questions that needed to be answered. Was it going to be calm on the water that morning while granddad was out crabbing? Was hail going to fall on his crops? Could Gram hang her wash on the line? What would the temperature be when the fresh vegetables were gathered and the livestock taken care of? Their lives literally revolved around the weather, and both of my grandparents were quite adept at reading the signs and knowing what the weather would be like each day.

When Ken and I wake up in the mornings, the first thing I do is reach for the remote control. As we lie in bed and watch the news, we talk about what the day will bring and what our plans are. But neither of us talks when the weather report comes on. Ken knows that I cannot begin my day without first seeing the forecast. Of course, we all know that the forecast is not always what we would like it to be. Over the past several weeks, I have sent up many prayers asking the Lord to let the sun shine down upon graduations, prom/post-prom, and this weekend’s culminating graduation party. I may ask for good weather, but I know that I have to continue to make plans and provisions for whatever the day will hold. As a life-long weather observer, there are several lessons that I have learned from Mother Nature.

Acceptance  While I may pray for good weather, we all know that sometimes it does rain on our parade. What can you do when you’re planning Easter for 50 people and hunting for several hundred Easter eggs and the weather forecast is calling for rain? Rather than wallow in self-pity, you just have to come up with a Plan B. Some years we are racing against the clouds, trying to find every egg before the heavens break open and unleash their torrents of rain. Once, when the kids were very little, we even held the Easter egg hunt in our garage. We improvised. What other choice do we have? The weather is what it is, and just as in life, the sun doesn’t always shine. You make the best of things, and accept your situation, doing what you can to make everything work for the best.

Enjoyment – I have to say that not all bad weather translates to a bad time. Snowstorms, thunderstorms, frigid temperatures, and other things that make it impossible to go outside can lead to great enjoyment inside. There are always movies to watch, books to read, games to play, doughnuts to bake, and many other things that can bring a family together when the weather is frightful. When we were young children, severe thunderstorms became a time for gathering together to say the Rosary. Snowstorms presented an afternoon watching Gone With the Wind or the Wizard of Oz. When my own children were younger, it was a time to introduce them to favorites like Star Wars or the Game of Life. Sometimes, it simply means peace and quiet as everyone reads a book or works on homework.  No matter what we do, we are reminded that time spent together as a family, without the need to go anywhere, is always time to be cherished.

There’s Always a Rainbow – We’ve all heard the saying that in everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. And as young children, we’re all taught to look for the rainbow. It’s not just a silly thing to do or a superstition. Looking for the rainbow is what we should do constantly throughout our lives. Storms will come and go, and we will always need to find a way to get through them. Another thing we’ve all heard is that every cloud has a silver lining. Whatever storms you may be facing in life, know that there is something good waiting for you after they pass. Do not spend your time fretting about the storms. Always be on the lookout for the rainbow.

Plan anyway – And when the storm is predicted, don’t shut down or stop living. Continue to make your plans, and live life as if you’re expecting the skies to be clear. Weather is unpredictable, and often, when we are told that the rain will come, it never appears. Think of all the times that people prepared for hurricanes or blizzards, only to wake up with the Sun shining. We humans never really know what is to come or what the day will bring. Make your plans. Prepare for your cookout. Invite your friends. You never know what the day will bring.

Appreciate the sunshine – Much like looking forward to the rainbow, always remember that while there are dark and cloudy days, there are far more sunny days. Count your blessings, and appreciate the good times. Don’t waste a minute of sunshine. Go outside, lift your face to the sun, and breathe in the fresh, clean air. The bad weather always clears, and the sun always rises.

My grandparents were weather watchers, for sure, but they were also mindful of the little amount of time they had. No matter the weather, life goes on, so don’t let a few clouds ruin your parade. Dance in the rain, bask in sun, enjoy the breeze, watch the lightening, feel the snow on your face. Accept each day, whatever the weather, with the knowledge that it is a gift. And even on cloudy days, let your sun shine for all to see.

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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Finding the Way.

Things I’ve read this week that are worth sharing:  The Silent Tragedy Affecting Today’s Children;  The Best New Summer Books of 2017; and The Quirkiest Town in Maryland that You’ll Absolutely Love.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me  and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)