Friday, April 24, 2009

I Missed It!--By Frank A. Pietersz

(Frank is one of my international students at Lonestar Community College. I'm proud to show off his talent for writing--Linda K)

It was two o’clock. The day that everybody was waiting for started quietly. I was reading in the Extended Learning Center at college. I was very concentrated on my lesson when I heard a distant voice. 
“Hey you. You heard me? We have to go.” 

I was in another world. I was aloof even there were a lot of people around me. I was only thinking about my reading. Again, I heard the voice.

". . .the College will close as soon as possible. Ike is here."

This time somebody approached and said to me, "Let’s go we have to get out.”

I raised my head. All the students were taking their books, laptops, etc.

“Hurry Frank. We have to go to the supermarket to buy food before Ike hits this area!”

When I left the building, everybody was in a hurry. There were people locking the doors behind us. Workers were sealing the windows to protect them with sheets of plywood. The cars were roaring by. Some of them were going faster than the speed limit. It looked like real emergency .

By the time I arrived at the supermarket, the shelves were nearly empty. People were walking once, twice, even three times down the same aisle. None of us found what we were looking for. There was no bread, or cans of soup, no cheese, no biscuits, only a few chocolates, and definitely no batteries. People were in long lines to pay for only a small item that they found but held like a treasure. I started to be nervous. Will this be enough with the food that we already have at home? Could we lose power and water for more than a week? Will we lose the food that is in our freezer? 

With the experience of Katrina, Rita and other hurricanes the government must have a very good experience to act quickly. I didn’t believe it would be very bad. 

I walked out of the store, looked up at the sky and thought these people must be crazy. Look at what a nice day it is! The sun is shining, there are no clouds and the temperature is very pleasant. It looks like a day to go to the beach in Galveston.
We came home and I started to watch the trees, the birds. But I noticed that we were alone. Our neighbors were all inside their houses. There were no cars on the street. The dogs that usually bark when my car is arriving were very silent. 

Again I started to think. “It cannot be so bad. Look! What a nice day. We could go to a picnic. We can enjoy this beautiful weather. We can feel the wind, the sun, the perfect time.” However, I decided to take some precautions. Just in case. I removed all small things like pots, pictures, small chairs, tables, and any adornments that the wind could blow away. I putted them in the garage.

The phone rang. A friend advised us to protect the windows. I told her that I did not have plywood to do it and there was no time to buy some. My house has many windows and I could not protect them all. She told me to use some masking tape on the windows. If any of them broke, the jagged glass would not spread around and it would be safer. She advised me to be careful with the trees because I have a lot of them behind the house. I decided to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s looking for the tape. 

Again, we found people running around hysterically. Some of them were carrying sheets of plywood, some buying generators and other goods. I found a bundle of 12 masking tape. I was lucky because the store was announcing that they would close in five minutes. We went back home and I did my job. After I finished, the windows looked like they were decorated by the strips of tape.

Finally we were ready to receive our "guest." We decided to be a little quiet watching the news on the TV while we were tracing the route of the undesirable guest. The telephone rang. My daughter answered. She told me it was my niece --She was going to bring her car to park it in our garage. I went to the garage to make room before she arrived. The skies became dark and I opened the garage doors, so that when she arrived did not have to knock on the door and wait for me. The time passed and I forgot the garage doors were open. (I found out later that my niece had decided not to come but did not call to tell us.) 

I went to my room sat down in front my PC. It was a little late, I was chatting with some of my family. The time passed very fast and I forgot all about the garage door being open. Around one o’clock the power went off. I decided to go to sleep. I was so tired that I slept like a log. My wife told me later that during the night, Ike started to make noise. The wind was fast. The trees started to fall down. The house was creaking. But I was sleeping very deep and I didn’t hear much of anything. 

Around 6:00 a.m. my wife woke me up. She had been scared the whole night while I was sleeping, dreaming with the angels flying in paradise. She heard a lot of noises and when she opened the kitchen door, she saw that the garage door was open. I asked her why she didn’t call me before. She told me that she was afraid I would be crazy enough to go outside the house with the camera watching the hurricane, so she preferred to tell me nothing. Anyway, I jumped out the bed and closed the garage doors. 

After that, just as my wife feared I would,  I started to use my camcorder to record how Ike was blowing. I saw how a tree fell down just across of the house across the street. When I opened the window behind my room, I was astonished. One tree had fallen near and broke my fence. It came to rest only two inches from the window. I gave thanks to God for protecting us and we waited until the storm ended.

I could not believe I slept through my first hurricane! And I put my house in danger by falling sleep and forgetting to close the garage door. But after I saw all the damage that Ike made, I hope I never experience another hurricane.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sardines in a Train--by Kumi Hori

This is a fascinating article written by one of my talented international students (Kumi Hori) for our college newsletter, "The Global Pen" Check out the YouTube link. It is unbelievable. There is NO WAY I would get on such a crowded train, much less commute on it twice a day! How about you?

Just imagine you are packed in an overstuffed suitcase.
Can you stand being jammed into a small rolling space? How about being too close to strangers in that situation?
If you visit Japan and use the railway, you will see an incredible sight at major train stations. Surely, one of the biggest challenges foreigners face when they visit Japan is riding the overcrowded trains. One of the most comfortable things about living here in Texas is that I don’t have to take the dreadfully overcrowded trains anymore. My husband used to take those awful commuters for two hours to get to his office every day and is now very happy with the 5 minute drive to his office. For those who live in such a big state with a less dense population, it must be hard to imagine such a nightmare.

An extreme level of urban overcrowding in Japan is so serious that its train system is known as the most crowded in the world. In fact, Shinjuku (shin-ju-ku), a major station in Tokyo, is used by more than 4 million people every weekday. While the trains arrive and leave within a few minutes in Shinjuku station, masses of people are still in long lines. Once a train arrives and the door opens, people stream out as if a floodgate had just opened. Due to the trains being filled beyond capacity, passengers can’t avoid squeezing in with other people. Sometimes the train door barely shuts and the train staff is required to push people inside. You definitely feel how a sardine feels in a can. To make matters worse, clothing is sometimes caught in the door and only when the train arrives at the next stop, can they be pulled out. The door on your side might not open next, however.

The environment inside of the car is awful, especially when it rains! If you get on the train on a rainy day, your shoes and the hemline of your pants can get wet due to numbers of sopping umbrellas. Also, the car is overwhelmed with the scent of sweat and bad breath. When someone sneezes right in front of you, it is as we say in Japanese, “BANJI-KYUUSU” (ban-ji-kyu-su) which stands for “the game is over.”

Even after you succeed in squeezing yourself into a car, there is still no relief. Now, you have to prepare for getting off the train. Believe it or not, it’s extremely difficult to exit the train when so many people are packed on. Since not all the people get off at your stop, you need to make your way through the crowd to the door shouting, “Excuse me! I’m getting off!” Still, sometimes you miss your stop.
I am so thankful that I no longer have to be a sardine in a train!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Power of the Empty Tomb--by Linda Kozar

In the final three hours Jesus hung on the cross, darkness hung over the land, symbolic of the spiritual darkness in the hearts of men and the absolute darkness of sin upon all of mankind. When Jesus yielded up his spirit on the cross at Golgotha, three most notable things happened.

Matthew 27: 51 "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were split." First, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The veil was not a gossamer-thin cloth one might imagine when the word "veil" is mentioned, but inches thick, strong and sturdy, sort of like a phone book. The veil was meant to keep people out and God in! Except for one priest chosen by lot to enter once a year. But now God and man would no longer separated by sin!

Second, the earth quaked and the rocks were split. An earthquake strong enough to split rocks into pieces would surely have done more damage as well. When Jesus breathed His last breath on earth and paid for all our sins, a monumental change in the universe occurred. Death, Hell and the grave were conquered. Complete victory over the bondage of sin!

Third, in Matthew 27:52-43, "The graves were opened and many of the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after the resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Can you imagine that? Hollywood always skips over that part in Biblical movies. It's too incredible, even for them!

But here's something even more incredible. Take a look in Exodus. "And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solumne oath saying, 'God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.'"--Exodus 13:19. Though Joseph's body was prepared in the manner of the Egyptians, he left explicit instructions before he died, that someday when his people left Egypt, they would carry his bones with them. Why? Was it simply a desire for his bones to rest in the presence of his people? Most likely--yes. But perhaps God had given Joseph something more--a glimpse of things to come, or a revelation in his heart. Regardless, the bones of Joseph left Egypt and traveled with the children of Israel until they settled in the Promised Land. And there, just as he expressed in his last desire before breathing his last, Joseph was buried...

What if Joseph was among those who's graves were opened during the earthquake? Can you imagine seeing Joseph walking around town, perhaps arrayed in his famous coat of many colors?

But if seeing Joseph come to life turned heads, imagine three days later seeing Jesus rise from the grave!

Jesus defeated death, Hell and the grave for us. That open grave is also symbolic of our own--your grave and mine. Eternal death no longer rules over us. All those who receive the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus will not be bound by a grave. In fact, no grave can ever hold you! Your eternal life began the moment you asked Jesus into your heart!

Thank you Jesus for sacrificing Your life for us. Forgiving us and for giving us eternal life!

Category 5 Winners Announced at:

Category 5 Winners Announced at:
the Meet The Christian Authors Event!

Contest Deadline Extended!

Our Category Five Contest deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2011. If you missed the previous (July 31st) deadline, here's your chance to send your entry(s)!

Contest Details--UPDATE

Hi friends,

Janice Thompson here. I'm sending an updated version of an earlier email about our Writers on the Storm Category Five Fiction Writing Contest. We've added more information. We would like to ask three things of our WOTS members and/or Houston area writing friends:

1). If you are unpublished (on not traditionally published) please consider entering the contest.
2). Please help us spread the word to other writers by placing this information on your facebook page, blog, etc.
3). Please pray for our organization as we move forward with this, our first-ever writing contest.

Thanks so much for your support. Now, here's the updated information about the contest (per Linda Kozar):

Dear Writers,

Details for entry to the Writers On The Storm "CATEGORY FIVE" Writing Contest are below. The contest is open to unpublished and non-traditionally published FICTION authors, both members and non-members of the Writers on the Storm group. NOTE: If you have previously been "traditionally" published, you are not eligible. However, if you paid to publish your book(s), you are eligible and encouraged to participate.

Judges are all published authors and/or industry pros, though not members of our chapter. Entering a writing contest is a great way to get feedback or accolades, and we hope you will enter this one with great enthusiasm! The WOTS Chapter Board invite you to BLOW THE JUDGES AWAY with your fiction writing brilliance!

Our Cat Five Writing Contest OPENED on JUNE 1st and CLOSES on Friday, JULY 29th. Judges will receive entries for review on August 1st, 2011. Winners will be announced at our MEET THE CHRISTIAN AUTHOR event on September 17th, 2011 and winners will be notified by phone.
Our Five Categories (novels and/or short stories)
1. Romance (Historical and Contemporary)
2. Women's Fiction
3. General Fiction
4. Mystery/Suspense
5. Young Adult/Children's
Contest Fees:
Members-$20 per entry (Two or more entries $15/per entry)
NonMembers-$25 per entry (Two or more entries $20/per entry).

Make checks out to: Writers on the Storm

The overall grand prize (for the highest scoring entry) is the FICTION WRITING MASTER COURSE from, a $249 value. The grand prize winner will also receive a plaque, a press release he/she can share with others and a news splash on our website. The category winners will each receive a free edit of the first chapter of their book from a multi-published author, along with a certificate. Their names will be listed on our website, as well. We will also post the list to facebook, twitter, the ACFW loop, etc.

Send the first 15 pages of your novel or short story. If you have a prologue, you may send the prologue and part of chapter one or just 15 pages of chapter one if chapter one exceeds 15 pages. The total pages of your entries may not exceed 15).

Entries must be double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point on white paper.
Entries should reflect a Christian world-view.
Entries with inappropriate content (i.e. profanity, pornography, extreme violence) will not be considered.
Entries will not be returned to contestants via the U.S. Post Office unless a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) is enclosed with each entry submitted.
Judges are all published authors and/or industry pros, though not members of the Writers On The Storm chapter.
Send your entries via SNAIL MAIL to:
Linda Kozar
7 South Chandler Creek
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Questions? Contact Linda Kozar at

Category Five Contest Entry Form

Registration Form Name:_____________________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________City_______State____ZIP_____ Email address:_______________________________________________________ Member of WOTS: Yes….. No….. Category Entered: 1. Historical/Contemporary Romance ______ 2. Women’s Fiction ______ 3. General Fiction ______ 4. Suspense/Mystery ______ 5. Young Adult/Children ______ Amount Enclosed: __________ Check:___ Money Order:______ Make Checks out to: Writers On The Storm Checklist: Correct Manuscript Form ___ SASE Envelope ____ Registration Form ____ Check or money order ____ Mail entries to: Linda Kozar 7 South Chandler Creek The Woodlands, Texas 77381 Contact: If you have questions. Linda Kozar: Martha Rogers: Janice Thompson:

SATURDAY, May 7th from 9:30-11:00 followed by a booksigning 11-12:30

The Multiple-Author Booksigning will feature Patrick Scott, Martha Rogers and Linda Kozar!

Patrick Scott currently serves as the Founder / Design Architect for Creative Solutions, Patrick Scott is the creator and author of the Archangels: The Saga™ comic book series. First published in 1995 - 2010; the series has sold over 1.2 Million copies.

Patrick Scott pioneered the Christian comic book market in 1995 and is a 12 time published author, a trading card game creator (Timestream: The Remnant™) and has developed and published 15 inspirational posters. Under his leadership, Cahaba Productions, Inc. received the International Christian Retail Show’s highest honor by receiving an “IMPACT AWARD” in 2003.

Patrick Scott has over 17 years of graphic design, venture capital fundraising and business experience within mainstream and the International Christian Retail Marketplace. Over those years Patrick Scott has developed a professional working relationship with Lovell-Fairchild, Dynamic Marketing, Focus on the Family, Propeller Consulting, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Dickson’s Inc., Cactus Game Design, Universal Designs, Lifeway Christian Stores and many more.

Writers On The Storm presents...

Writers On The Storm presents...
Category Five Writing Contest

Patrick Scott--May 7th Speaker

Patrick Scott--May 7th Speaker
Christian Comic Book Author

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