#28 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

You know how it is when you’ve gone someplace you were really looking forward to – then you head home. Oftentimes that drive home is simply a boring drive. There’s nothing more to see. Your trip is over and you just want to get home. I did not want to end  this awesome month-long journey in that manner!

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The Calm After the Storm

Storms. They’ve hit hard of recent. All over the world. Oftentimes in a rage I can’t even imagine. I’m mostly familiar with storms in the two areas of the country where we reside, winter and summer: Florida and Michigan.

We often watch the path of storms persistently brewing in the Atlantic. Haiti and Cuba know and suffer their wrath time after time. Year after year. Death and Destruction. Then they aim toward Florida.

A few years ago, we closely followed Irma, a hurricane headed for our little house near the Gulf of Mexico.  It made landfall just south of our house, then miraculously went inland, lessening its force. An answer to our prayer. As I write this, tropical storm Fred lurks in the distance. They’re all named, of course. Nice names. Common names. But their nice names cannot  camouflaged their fury. We’ve seen their wrath. They are wicked.

Instead of tropical storms, Michigan sometimes gets hit with thunderstorms and tornadoes. One summer day in Michigan, when I was young, Mama was fixing supper in the old kitchen of the big yellow house. Daddy stood by the back screen door, looking out to the back yard. I don’t remember any lightning or thunder – or even rain – but suddenly Daddy hollered, “Head to the basement..” And we did, along with our dog, Tippy. As I rounded the steps through the woodshed to the basement, I saw the huge Box Elder tree in our back yard uprooting. It was the biggest tree in our yard, and when we came up from the basement, it was laying flat, its massive roots extending twelve feet in the air and the length of its branches extending  well over 50 feet. The next day, my brother Larry and I converted the massive downed tree into a jungle, climbing its branches and hiding behind its massive trunk. It was a playtime for me, but now I know what an extensive and exhausting job lie ahead for my Daddy, as he cleaned up that tree. After the storm of that summer evening, I noticed that Mama kept a flashlight, lantern, and blankets in our big basement – just in case – and they were used more than once during storms in the years to come. Within a few years, I realized that storms didn’t mean playtime.

Unlike those in the tropics, storms here in our area of Southern Michigan aren’t named. We seem to refer to them by dates instead, such as The Palm Sunday Tornadoes. Occurring in 1965, we older ones remember that day when two killer tornadoes blasted through the county. Younger ones merely see the lasting results of the landscape and hear our stories.

After The Palm Sunday Tornadoes, we school children donned heavy pants and solid shoes, carried a sack lunch, and were bussed south of town to pick up debris in the hundreds of acres destroyed by the tornadoes. Observing fence posts drilled through trees and galvanized roofing wrapped around buildings like wax paper wrapped around a tootsie roll, we began to see the unlimited power of a tornado. 

I’m not sure yet what this summer’s storms will be called. Perhaps The Storms of ’21. Within the last week, our southern Michigan area has been hit with several storms which have caused destruction, downed power lines, and wreaked havoc. 

May be an image of outdoors and tree

When whole trees blow down and their roots are pulled right out of the ground, you know you’ve had some powerful winds, very possibly tornadoes. 

Our local newspaper headlines read, “Two days, three storms: 75% of county without power.”

Our power immediately went off early Thursday morning, as did all of our friend’s and family’s in the county. Most were off for three days, but some are still off as I write this post. Some people have lost fresh and frozen foods in their refrigerators and freezers. Some struggle to find power for their medical devices. Some have generators to use. Others do not.

Even the hospital was using an emergency generator for a time. 

Two-dozens trucks with crews from Pack Power in Ohio rendezvous at Coldwater Wednesday night before beginning power restoration work for Consumers Energy.
Photo by Don Reid. Two dozen trucks rendezvous at Coldwater before beginning restoration work.

But the loss of electrical power isn’t the worst things about storms for many. The Palm Sunday tornadoes killed people, and they devastated farms and property.

Unlike The Palm Sunday tornadoes,  no one was killed in this week’s storms – although one man was nearly killed when he was stirred out of bed by his little dog, seconds later, a massive tree crashing through his travel trailer, crushing his trailer in two – landing on the bed he had been sleeping on seconds before! In Isaiah 46, God tells us He uses whatever He chooses to fulfill His purpose. In this case, He used a little dog!  His purpose? To save that man. Isn’t He an amazing God? I wonder what He might have used to fulfill His purpose for me in that storm. And for you.

Although no one died, these Storms of ’21, did  cause significant property destruction. Our friends own a campground south of Quincy. Their livelihood was stricken, along with the falling trees around them. Campers sent home. Campground closed. Assessment of losses begins.

Another friend owns a wedding venue. Three trees damaged the pavilion, which is booked this weekend and each weekend thereafter. Booking of his VRBO rental lost as well. Money refunded. Income lost. Dreams shattered. Property destruction often results in losses beyond the structures themselves, but losses of income, as well.

As I wrote earlier, these storms wreak havoc. The damages seem overwhelming. Sometimes we suffer great losses. Oftentimes we’re at first in shock. It takes a bit to put things in perspective.  I recently wrote about fears of the prophet, Elijah. (Click here)

Well, Elijah also went through a dreadful storm:

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. . . “

Instead, the Lord spoke to Elijah afterward in a gentle whisper. (1 King 19) It’s a wonderful thing to hear God speak, most often through His Word, after a storm. Sometimes we just need to be quiet to hear His whisper.

All of our storms are not in the physical atmosphere around us. They more often occur in our every day lives. They are destructive and they create havoc just like a tornado or a hurricane. We know they are not from God. Jesus makes that clear to us. (John 10:10) They are from the enemy. But God helps us through them. Psalm 107 tells us how God’s people cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He “calmed the storm to a whisper . . . What a blessing was that stillness that brought them safely into their peaceful haven again.”

You know, this chapter, Psalm 107 tells of the things we go through, but ends with, “Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see. . . the faithful love of the Lord.”

I’ve been through some difficult storms in life.  And the physical, atmospheric Storms of ’21 hit us, as well.  Like that first big storm of my childhood, there was no warning – no thunder or lightening – no rain – until the first part of the tree hit our house. Then the fury of the storm hit us. We lost power. We lost 7 trees in our beautiful yard, one hitting our house, lost numerous limbs and branches, and we ended up with a dreadful mess, which will take the kind of extensive and exhausting clean up my Daddy endured!  And like Mama prepared our family with light for a power outage, we need to prepare ourselves with the Light of God’s Word.

In perspective, we know God used whatever He chose to fulfill His purpose in our lives, and we trust that purpose to be good. For He is a good Father. Let’s be wise and take all this “to heart,” as the Word says, and “consider the great love of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43)

He calmed the storm to a whisper.

What a blessing was that stillness . . .

after the storm 

that brought us safely into harbor.

Psalm 107:29,30

One of the fallen trees on our house.

Following is Psalm 107. I hope it speaks to you. It’s the Light that brings us promise of God’s faithfulness.(Maybe in a whisper!)

1, Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!

His faithful love endures forever.

2Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out!

Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.

3For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,

from east and west,

from north and south.a

4Some wandered in the wilderness,

lost and homeless.

5Hungry and thirsty,

they nearly died.

6“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,

and he rescued them from their distress.

7He led them straight to safety,

to a city where they could live.

8Let them praise the LORD for his great love

and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

9For he satisfies the thirsty

and fills the hungry with good things.

10Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom,

imprisoned in iron chains of misery.

11They rebelled against the words of God,

scorning the counsel of the Most High.

12That is why he broke them with hard labor;

they fell, and no one was there to help them.

13“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress.

14He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom;

he snapped their chains.

15Let them praise the LORD for his great love

and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

16For he broke down their prison gates of bronze;

he cut apart their bars of iron.

17Some were fools; they rebelled

and suffered for their sins.

18They couldn’t stand the thought of food,

and they were knocking on death’s door.

19“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress.

20He sent out his word and healed them,

snatching them from the door of death.

21Let them praise the LORD for his great love

and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

22Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving

and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

23Some went off to sea in ships,

plying the trade routes of the world.

24They, too, observed the LORD’s power in action,

his impressive works on the deepest seas.

25He spoke, and the winds rose,

stirring up the waves.

26Their ships were tossed to the heavens

and plunged again to the depths;

the sailors cringed in terror.

27They reeled and staggered like drunkards

and were at their wits’ end.

28“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress.

29He calmed the storm to a whisper

and stilled the waves.

30What a blessing was that stillness

as he brought them safely into harbor!

31Let them praise the LORD for his great love

and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

32Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation

and before the leaders of the nation.

33He changes rivers into deserts,

and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.

34He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,

because of the wickedness of those who live there.

35But he also turns deserts into pools of water,

the dry land into springs of water.

36He brings the hungry to settle there

and to build their cities.

37They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,

and harvest their bumper crops.

38How he blesses them!

They raise large families there,

and their herds of livestock increase.

39When they decrease in number and become impoverished

through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,

40the LORD pours contempt on their princes,

causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.

41But he rescues the poor from trouble

and increases their families like flocks of sheep.

42The godly will see these things and be glad,

while the wicked are struck silent.

43Those who are wise will take all this to heart;

they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.

The Last Waterfall of the Trip – And I Missed It! Post 9 – From “The Getaway . . .”

Daddy bought a new Kodak 3 mm in 1955, so my family, including my brother and sister, inherited a plethora of photos, most preserved in slide format. Some years ago, I transferred these slides to digital form, saving them on disks for my family.  I’m nostalgic, to say the least. I thrive in a mid-century décor shop. Program my TV to record 40’s and 50’s  movies on Turner Classic. So when I view those digital photos or browse through my mother’s photo albums, I seem to “go back in time.” And I love it!

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Who Knew the Time Had Changed? There’s a time for everything. Post 7 – From “The Getaway…”

When I was a teenager, I had a clock radio much like the one pictured. Mine had a “snooze” button on top, which I used a lot! An analog clock is rarely used today, is it? Instead, nowadays we most often look at the digital clocks on our dashboards, ovens, and especially on our phones. Occasionally, when Ron and I are driving, we’ve crossed a time zone line, and one or both of our cell phones didn’t “catch up!” That was confusing. Well, something similar happened to us during our time camping in the Porkies.

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I Hate Bats! Post 6 – From “The Getaway. . .”

I had looked at photos and articles in the brochures, pamphlets, and travel guides of the park, considering which sites Ron and I might want to see. Much to my distress, one article had a photo of a bat, which I immediately covered up by folding the corner of the paper over it.

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Mid Morning Favor – Post 5 – From “The Getaway …”

Contrary to the report on Ron’s weather app, the sun was shining today, so we drove up the mountain, 1000 feet above Lake Superior to the “Lake of the Clouds.”

With my Mama in 1955

It was a beautiful drive to the top of the mountain. And today, as we parked and walked the 100 yard embankment to the cliff above, years of imbedded memories surged in the form of droplets in my eyes, welling up and rolling down my cheeks. I’m sure that my daddy and mama would have never thought that the memories of this very place, which they had created within me and had kept alive through photos taken with Daddy’s new 35 mm Kodak in 1955 would stir up fresh within me all these years later. You’ll see me as the little blonde girl in the older pictures. See more pics below.

Until today, I had never been back to The Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains.

But I’ve wanted to.

I’ve hoped to.

And I’ve thought about it ever since.

This was a desire of my heart.

Today was the day.

Oftentimes God grants us the desires of our hearts. He loves to do so. He knows those things – even the little things – that will delight us. In fact, He surrounds us with His favor. His favor is like a shield around us. I had lived much of my adult life unaware or unknowing or not believing that I was favored by God, but about eight years ago, in the most difficult time of my life, I became cognizant of it. I believed the Word of God. And I embraced it, finally trusting that God loves me and wants to show me favor.

The Oxford dictionary defines favor as “act of kindness beyond what is due.” And that’s just what God did for me once again – at the Lake of the Clouds. He granted me an “act of kindness beyond what is due.” He allowed me to go back to a very peaceful time in my life, remembering all those years ago, on the edge of this same cliff but feeling absolutely no danger because I was protected by my Daddy and my Mama. And God allowed me to know the same serenity of this peaceful setting today, completely protected by Him, my Heavenly Father. 

My Mama 1955 (My Daddy stands in the same spot in the featured picture at top of post.
I’m standing in nearly the same spot as my mother – 65 years later. My heart is full!

Then He opened my eyes to see even more: the beauty of this place. He filled me with the joy of being there with my husband, Ron.

We hiked miles across the encampment and down to the base of the lake below. My heart was full-of God’s favor.

God loves to give you the desires of your heart. Ask Him. Then look for it. Sometimes it’s huge. Sometimes it’s in the little things. 

Undeserved. Unmerited. But it is mine. And it’s yours: the Favor of the Father. And it is all because of Jesus. Grasp it. Hold on.

Click here to learn to become a believer: https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

Click here to read Post 6 in the series.

Further reading: Psalm 37:4

With Grandpa and Grandma Locke, my mother, my brother Larry, Aunt Carolyn, and Uncle Dick. 1955

I think my plans are the best!? Post 3 in the series, “The Getaway: Seeking . . .”

Ron and I have a passion for waterfalls, so today we made plans to see five waterfalls in surrounding areas outside this huge park. We marked them on our map, set our gps for directions, and headed toward Ironwood on the Wisconsin border. Our goal: five waterfalls.

We saw one.

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Little Women – The Dream

I usually rode the school bus home, but when I needed to stay for 7th grade cheerleading practice, Mom picked me up after she got out of work at 3:30. The inside of the  car was toasty from having been in the sun on the warm fall day. Mom greeted me with a hug and a smile, but she was tired from working in the shop, so we did little talking. Instead, the car became a cozy setting for reading. I pulled out Little Women and read all the way home – and continued reading after she pulled in the drive and went into the house to start supper. 

I read – and I dreamed – about Jo. When Mom called me in for supper, my mind was still spinning, trying to concoct a plan for a writing area for myself – like the attic in which Jo wrote – the one on the cover of my book. During those days, I began to clear out a small loft in our “woodshed,”  packed with broken fishing poles and worn window screens and coated with 60 years of grime. But cold weather soon arrived, and my plans were thwarted. 

Dreams of writing and publishing were pushed to the back of my mind, and replaced with high school years and marriage and children and summer vacations and golden retrievers and music and home décor and .  . . many beautiful and wonderful experiences, until one day, the laptop making it so much easier to get those ideas in print, the dream materialized. And now it’s a reality! Instead of an attic, my private writing space is a Michigan porch or a Florida Lanai. It’s a “Kathi” space instead of a “Jo” space!

So, I invite you – to read my writing – to browse my website and social media pages – to step into the shelter of my scripts and to discover commonalities between us. I invite you to purchase my published books and look for upcoming publications this year!

May God bless and speak to our hearts!

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

When Kathi Waligora faced the worst day of her life, she didn’t know that many more days would crash down on her in the weeks that followed. She cried out to God as her life roared; in reply, the gentle whisper of Jesus gave her peace, comfort, and hope to continue forward.

You’ll connect  to Kathi within each chapter of When Life Roars Jesus Whispers, finding God’s Whispers of Truth, Grace, Faith, Mercy, Comfort, Hope, and Promise.  Then you’ll apply these whispers to your own life through personal introspection at the end of each chapter. 

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

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$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

We stepped through the steel doors of the jail. I couldn’t imagine my daughter in this place . . . No façade remained of the candy-coated lives we had lived for so many years, and I doubted that any façade would ever cover us again.  We, too, were a ‘rough group of broken people’ ~ just the kind of people Jesus loves . . . and through the toughest times, we discovered favor of God as if we had always fully recognized it.

(An excerpt from:  When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers)

Recent Reviews:

“A powerful story that encourages our confidence in Christ when our own stories go off the rails.” 

Bill Crowder, Bible Teacher and Author

“This book was hard to put down. It is a book of loss, despair, HOPE and whispers. It gave me strength. It gave me chills and even tears. In the end, it left me with HOPE.”

“I read the book in one day! When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers is a wonderfully written book filled with heart-wrenching events, heart-warming love and heart-lifting promises of hope!”

” . . . powerful, poignant . . .”

“This is an amazing book that I could not put down! Kathi, thank you for your courage and candor as you shared your heartbreak, struggles, and victory in the light of God’s Word!”

“Very touching story! I cried and I rejoiced! This is a story that can encourage and give hope!”

“I have to say that When Life Roars Jesus Whispers by Kathi Waligora is the best I have read . . . easy to read and love the devotions at the end of each chapter. Each chapter brought [me] back to the promises of God . . . very helpful , encouraging,  and God centered. Thank you Kathi for opening your heart to the world and pointing us back to what matters – that Jesus understands and is with us throughout everything.”

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

PayPal or other major credit card accepted

$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

Shh! Listen to His Whispers! is the new Bible Study that complements When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers but stands alone as an individual or group six-week study. In this Bible Study, you’ll learn how Kathi began to listen to the whispers in God’s Word, and how you can hear those whispers, as well. Learn where the storms of life come from and where  you can seek shelter. In your individual study – or together with others – you’ll learn to recognize storm warnings  and discover how to speak life for yourself, your friends, your families who stand in the paths of these storms.

You’ll love this sturdy, beautifully-covered book with heavy pages – perfect to write upon.

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

8.5″ X 11″

71 pages

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Recent Reviews:

“This Bible Study enriched my life!” 

~ Mary Jo

~~ ~~

“Kathi, You have an amazing gift . . . helping people to listen for God’s whispers.” 

 ~ Evelyn

~~ ~~

“This study made me realize my hope in all circumstances.”

 ~ Eileen

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts 10+ books

PayPal or other major credit cards accepted

$10.99 plus shipping cost $3.00




Who is Traveling? (Post 1 in the series, “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

Today’s highway is paved, flat, barren, and ugly, but adequate and necessary, nonetheless, for our purpose of journey – to pull our little “home away from home,” headed north to our destination, yet 600 miles away. The eyes of my driver, the man I’ve journeyed with nearly 50 years must scan the road, follow the lanes, obeying the signage and lineage. I choose to observe the landscape  – instead of the road.

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