When Storm Clouds Gather

By Kathryn Hughes

Being prepared for a storm can make the difference in surviving it. This includes non-weather related tempests that occur such as health storms, sinking financial losses, relationship squalls, and being spiritually adrift.

In stormy weather, authorities warn us to be alert, to have a safe place to evacuate, to let people know where we are, and to have an emergency box with things such as food, water, protective clothing, and flashlights. Hurricane preparation includes boarding up windows and bringing loose items indoors. In wildfire prone areas like California, clearing a fire safe zone is necessary. Many of these instructions can also be applied in dealing with the whirling winds of the storms of life.

Over the next few months I’ll share how we can get through life’s downpours with help from our Lord God.

Be Alert

 Be of sober [spirit,] be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in [your] faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. (I Peter 5:8,9 NASB)

Storms can come suddenly. Like a tsunami, life as we know it can be suddenly changed by a pandemic, a surprising disease diagnosis, or a relationship that ends. Other times we may have a warning. When a company files for bankruptcy and eventually terminates employment, it comes like an approaching hurricane.  The upcoming storm is known, but still brings damage. It helps us weather the storms when we are alert to what is going on, and we stay focused on Christ in the midst of a trial.

The Apostle Peter warned us to stay alert. Being aware helps us to see the devil’s traps. The devil would like nothing better than for us to get depressed and to turn away from our faith in God. If he can submerge us under a flood of despair and anger, it’s harder to stay focused on the blessings we have.

Resist him, firm in your faith. How can we do that? Regularly read God’s Word and commit Scripture to memory. Pray without ceasing. Ask God for help preparing for the storm.

Let’s gather our “emergency boxes” for life’s gales.

  • Write out Scripture and place it where it will be of encouragement. Let’s honestly evaluate areas of weakness that the enemy is prone to attack, and find verses that encourage us to be strong in that area. Use the verses to counter the enemy’s attacks like Jesus did when Satan attacked Him.
  • Tell trusted friends our prayer requests.
  •   Do whatever is helpful and needed to get through the situation. For example, go to appointments as needed. Keep connected with others, even if it is by phone.
  • Need a job? Get the resume ready. Network with others.
  • Gather information needed for that move, life style change, training, or other issues.

We are not alone in life’s storms. God Himself said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,

 I’m grateful that when problems toss me around in a storm, that I don’t have to go through it alone. Thank You for Your promise to never leave me. Please help me to follow You and trust You when I can’t see where I’m going. Please help me to resist the devil and the temptation to fear. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

* * *


Coming Soon!

When Storm Clouds Gather

This has certainly been an unusual and difficult year. I found myself struggling with the social unrest, and with all of the changes caused by COVOID-19 restrictions. Like many of you, I felt like my life at work and at home was swirling about in a storm. I found I need to cast my anchor in faith in my Sovereign God. Out of that was born my upcoming series, When Storm Clouds Gather.

When Storm Clouds Gather is a devotional series aimed at helping us survive the storms of life. On a biweekly basis there will either be a devotional or a short thought or Scripture. The first devotional, Be Alert, will post this Thursday, August 6th. I hope it will help you as it has helped me.

Please leave your comments. How has God helped you? Is there a verse that is meaningful to you? I’d love to hear from you!

Fire Season Tips

It’s Fire Season! Are You Prepared?


Fires strike fear in the heart of most of us who have experienced wildfires. We evacuated our house for the 2003 Cedar Fire and the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, and our daughter ran out of gas in the gridlock of trying to escape the 2014 San Marcos Cocos Fire, prompting my husband to go get her. Several friends had fire or smoke damage or lost homes.

Fire season now seems to be much of the year. What can we do to prepare?

Practice a fire drill at least twice a year. Have an evacuation route planned. Make sure all members of the household know where to go. Keep the evacuation plans for your children’s schools and daycare readily accessible.

Know how to contact each other. Memorize each other’s telephone numbers; it’s hard to recall what numbers are if the cell phone isn’t working and we don’t know  numbers on speed dial. Everyone should know the address and home phone number as well.

Everyone in the home knows how to call for emergency help – dial 9-1-1.

Keep working fire extinguishers visible and accessible on every level of the home and in the garage/workshop.

Use smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Regularly check them and replace batteries as needed.

Make sure everyone who is physically able can demonstrate the Stop, Drop & Roll method to smother flames on their clothes.

Properly extinguish barbecues, candles, cigarettes, cigars, etc.

Create a defensible space on your property and utilize a flame-resistant landscape.  See my gardening article, Defensible Space and Fire-Safe Gardening on this website.

Inspect your home and property for fire hazards and preparedness. The following checklists are helpful:

Cal Fire Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has a Fire and Life Safety Checklist

Portland Fire & Rescue Home Fire Safety Self-Inspection Checklist

Stay safe everyone! Together, we can help prevent fires.

#Fire Safety   #Defensible Space   #Fire-Resistant Landscaping



Farmers Market

Farmers Markets -A Win-Win for All of Us

Thank you for joining me for National Farmers Market Week, August 4-11, 2018. 

I hope you enjoyed exploring your local farmers market as much as I did mine!

Allow me to introduce you to Miguel Galeno of Venegas Creek Roses in Vista, CA. Venegas Creek Roses has much more to offer than its beautiful roses. Miguel and his wife sell so many types of cut flowers you could have a new weekly bouquet for months without repeating. Hungry? They also sell tomatoes. Visit Venegas Creek Roses at several Farmers Markets in the Los Angeles area and in San Diego County, including at Poway Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, 9:00-1:00pm.

I asked Miguel what motivates him to get up early to come to the Farmers Market.

“I do it to help my family. I enjoy the community support at the farmers market for farmers.”

Supporting local families and local farmers. It’s a win-win for all of us.

Miguel Galeno of Venegas Creek Roses -P1210317

#farmersmarkets  #go green  #nationalfarmersmarketweek  #shoplocal  #plantsource



Farmers Market

National Farmers Market Week: Focusing on Farmers Market vendors



Matt Fink of Duel Growers

In honor of National Farmers Market Week, August 4-11, 2018, I’m featuring some of the vendors I’ve met that sell plants, flowers, or produce. Watch for more posts during the week!

I met Matt Fink at the Poway Farmers Market. What brought him into my focus was the knowledge he imparts to his buyers. He freely gives of his time and expertise. He doesn’t just sell a succulent or flowering plant, he makes sure the buyer knows how to successfully care for it, even to writing the needed type of fertilizer on the paper plant sleeve. He instructs buyers on propagation so they can propagate more plants from their purchase.

Duel Growers sells herbs, succulents, a number of flowering plants such as lantana, impatiens, and hibiscus, ferns, indoor plants, and cut gerbera daisies. These fill the space for much of the year, but it is the poinsettia that is the mainstay of Matt’s business. Matt said San Diego is the unofficial poinsettia home. His other plants are so gorgeous that I’ll have to go back for poinsettia season.  Visit Duel Growers at the Poway Farmers Market on Saturdays, 9:00-1:00P.M.

#gogreen     #nationalfarmersmarketweek   #farmersmarket   #buylocal