The death toll from the largest earthquake and ensuing tsunami in forty years continues to rise. At last report, it stands at over 23,500 with literally hundreds to thousands of people still missing. It's a horrible thing to hear. The video from the area are sickening as you watch debris and people being swept to sea. Stories of babies being washed from their mothers' arms are told in the same breath as those about sunbathers and surfers being wiped from the sands. The magnitude of the current devastation will only be compounded once the lack of fresh water and the build-up of dirty water becomes overwhelming and disease takes over the remaining population.The United States has already swung into action. An aircraft carrier has been sent in to set up a floating hospital off the shores of the hardest hit area. The mobilization of aid has already begun with the first shipments expected to arrive quickly. I'm proud that our government and our people are concerned enough to yet again run to the rescue of other nations in need. Even before they ask for help, the U.S. starts pulling it together because the request will come to be sure.I realize I'm cynical and in the season of giving and the renewal of Christ's love I probably should not even point this out...but does it strike anyone as odd that many of these nations are full of people who would wish Americans dead on a large scale and yet, when feet are held to the fire, the hands come out? We take care of our own--case in point, Florida's series of hurricanes earlier this year--and we already start leaps and bounds ahead of many of these locations in Southeast Asia so it's not an exactly equal comparison. However, I would like to point out that we don't consider who it is needing the help...if they need it, they get it. And the folks hardest hit by this tidal wave won't be any different.Just a little thought I had as I continue to watch in disbelief the devastation that some shifting plates and water can cause.
Bryan Adams was right...there is something about Christmastime. Some years the "thing" isn't necessarily a good one, but chances are you can find ONE good thing to smile about. This year seemed on the verge of defeat and actually, it turned out to be one of my most favorite years in recent memory.Christmas 2004 had the odds stacked against it...my husband has been deployed since summer and won't be home until spring. We had a record snowfall in a 24-hour period (even beating the Blizzard of '78) in my area for a total of 16-inches of the white stuff. My designated shopping days were canceled--first by the unexpected death of my dear friend's father and secondly by Mr. Snow. Therefore, I went into Christmas Eve with NO GIFTS...not even for my own kids--you see where this is headed.Things started to look up, though, when I started to get it together yesterday. I took my girls to the grocery store & we bought stuff to make a nice Christmas Eve dinner. My sister-in-law decided not to brave the roads to head to our hometown so she could look after the girls while I shopped. M1 and M2 both slept deeply and well. Our friends, Jon & Rita, gave us an open invitation to come over anytime Christmas Day.So, today we woke up, opened gifts and then...did NOTHING. That never EVER happens on Christmas. It was blissful, relaxing and not the least bit sad. I talked to my husband twice today and that was wonderful too. No driving around. No missing meals b/c we're in between people's houses. M2 napped in her own bed. M1 had a chance to play with and apprecate her toys. We had a leisurely afternoon and then headed to Jon & Rita's for a few hours of egg nog, holiday movies and chit chat. Exquisite.This is the first Christmas in a long time that made me wish it was Christmas every day.