Sunday, April 29, 2012

Today is a reason why we chase. A day full of excitement. We started out confused as to how the day really would turn out. The northern part of the Texas panhandle was supposed to tp be the best region for severe. Moisture was supposed to return via decent southeast winds.However, storms that went through last night re-enforced a outflow boundary that was  slow to wash out. Additional southeast winds kept upslop clouds in the air for a long time. Some clearing west of the boundary made me think that maybe north was a good thought, but temperature in the 60's and dew points struggling to get out of the 40's soon made me realize that further south might be a better call.

A well-defined outflow boundary was persistent south of Lubbock but north of Midland Texas. There was a persistent cumulus field along that boundary and a sustained theta-e bullseye along it. We traveled south of Lubbock and at Tahoka moved west. Even though the boundary was south, I could tell that moisture and boundary layer destabilization was arcing northwest behind the mesohigh near Lubbock.

Soon, cumulus towers were seen to be pushing up. It was less of a cap situation than a persistent convergence situation. But nature has a way of creating thunderstorms and soon one formed just to our northwest.

We watched the storm develop, initially high-based, but drawing air in. Scud sucking commenced but it became clear that cold air was blowing out. We shot east a little and came across of very well-defined gustnado. As we watched it a few hundred yards away, we saw that it was not doing damage so we decided to drive into it. That was fun. The best circulation was about thirty yards ahead of us. Very cool to watch nature spin.

A little later, we tried to cut north just ahead of the storm to find a road that was paved and crossed a little wet area. As we were traveling north, Ryan attempted to swat a large fly on the windshield with his hat. He missed but the little metal dingy thing hit the windshield and it spidered! We laughed because, I mean really?!?! Breaking the windshield with a baseball cap?!?!

We then laughed and proceeded north. About 200 yards before the turn, hail commenced suddenly. And not just a little...but golf balls and maybe bigger.Of course one of the first stones hit the windshield right where the the spiders hit. Of course it spidered even worse. The windshield needs to be replaced. No one else received damage but we eventually got out of the hail.

Plow winds, gustnadoes, hail, scary was all there!

Then we chased a supercell south of LBB. Chad saw an OFB and thought it might do something. It did. A tornado warning was issued when we were about 14 miles from it. We were unable to see anything with significant inflow dust and the fact that it was dark!

 We all had a great time and were excited and scared and it was intense and fun!

And we had a good chase on trip 1!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fear and Anxiety

You would think after 23 years of storm chasing, I would know one truth: I do not control the weather. But if I knew that truth, I would probably not suffer so much anxiety in letting it be what it is. I need to learn to live each day, try my hardest to understand the patterns, but after all the work I can do, I must let it go.

You would think I would let myself off the hook because I know I cannot control the weather. You would think I would admire and appreciate what it is and just go with it. No. Like the fool I often am, I try to muscle tornadoes out of skies without clouds. And then get mad and depressed because it did not turn out like I wanted to.

If this sounds insane, welcome to my world. I try to muscle great things out of situations where I have no control. In people or situations or anything. As far as I know, only God has control. So I offer up my prayer to Him. But it is not for storms or friendships or anything else. I pray for sanity. I pray for peace. That in all situations I trust in Him.

Of course, I would like a few less storms in my life and a few more on my trip.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Happened on Sunday

"And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself."

What happened the morning Jesus was raised from the dead? It was not in daylight because Mary Magdelene saw the stone rolled away "while it was still dark." Something happened in that dark tomb. Now let us be clear that Jesus didn't just "appear" alive. It is clear that by the power of God (the Father) Jesus was raised from the dead. Perhaps there were angels (messengers or servants really) who removed his cloths. Perhaps they brought some clothing. But He didn't just "get up" without doing something inside the cave. His face cloth was not lying with the linens. It was "rolled up." I do not understand why that is in the Bible but it must mean something. Perhaps it is to state the despite the miraculous (and I firmly, without a doubt, believe this miracle) that the earthly events still must take place. As long as we are on this earth, there are things that happen in this world. The cloth was rolled up, the stone was moved, Jesus was dressed in clothing, which was apparently clothing that a gardener would wear. These all tell me that the everyday work of earthly existence co-exists with the miraculous work of God.

God brings me to life, in ways I do not know or understand. I am unaware of the process of how I am brought to life, of how God attends to my earthly needs. But I know that I am alive and it was He who did it. And now the mundane things of life are things that I must partake in.

There is nothing amazing in this blog. And maybe that is because I am not feeling completely alive. And maybe I am still in the cave and it is still dark outside. In my life, maybe this is just the moment that I am first made alive. I am not aware of what is happening in the cave but maybe the first thing I need to do is roll up the cloth that has covered my face.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dreading Saturday

Most people love Saturday. Its stuck between Friday (still a work day) and Sunday (a day to recover.) If asked a thousand people if Saturday should be longer, I would guess a thousand of them would say yes.

But I hate Saturdays.

Yesterday we celebrated Good Friday, a day we we remember the Passion (suffering) of Jesus who died on the cross. Tomorrow, we celebrate Easter, the day where Jesus was raised by God from the grave. To celebrate the fact that life has conquered death. But what about Saturday?

Imagine the actual Saturday between the day Jesus died and the Resurrection. What was going through his disciples' minds? Now I have heard preachers preach that when we go through times of trouble (Friday) we need to remember SUNDAY'S COMING! But we know the end of the story. The disciples did not know what was happening nor what was coming. To them Friday meant death - death of their friend, their teacher, their Lord. There was no getting around it. There was no hope, no vision of the things to come. Just despair, confusion, anxiety and fear. That Saturday must have been the longest Saturday in history.

If I am truthful, I am living in Saturday. When I talk of things that cause pain and death and suffering (see yesterday's post) I live in Saturday. I feel despair because I do not see how this pain could end. I feel confusion because I do not know how to navigate through the day. I feel anxiety because things are not going as I would like them to go. I feel fear because I do not believe this death I experience will ever be turned back into life. It seems as though my Saturday has been lasting a real long time. I don't know that Sunday is coming. In fact, I feel that Sunday will never come. But that is my lack of faith because I have experienced Sundays in my life before. And I forget. There have been dark times and I have been brought out through them. There have been struggles I thought would never end but they did. And the disciples thought that Jesus was lost to them forever. But He rose back to life. He gave to them a new life as well.

Think of the change in Jesus' followers. On Saturday, they were locked in a room of despair. But on Sunday, they were changed and empowered to change the world. So if you are in Saturday (like me) then I suggest we stick together. Imagine together a life of fullness that might await. Believing in a new life coming is not fantasy. It is a promise made by One who knows what was meant to be. It is made by One who has the power to change the present. It is made by one who knows the pain of Friday, the silence of Saturday and the joy of Sunday yet to come. Let's remind each other of the hope we await.

Friday, April 6, 2012

War Horse

I saw the movie Warhorse a few months ago. There were some beautiful scenes in the movie but I was not a big fan of the story line. There was one very powerful scene that moved the audience to tears however and that was when the Warhorse found himself in the front lines between the Allied forces and the Axis forces. This beautiful and strong creature ran into the barbed wire fences that separated the two enemy sides. The barbs chewed into the horse's flesh and sinew. The more the horse felt the pain and panic of being trapped, the more he ran. And the more he struggled, the more the barbed wire trapped him in the middle of dangerous territory.

It wasn't till yesterday, that I realized how much like the Warhorse I am.

No matter how strong or able I might be, I have run into dangerous territory and became entangled in life-threatening barbs. And the more I struggled to get free, the more barbs ran into my flesh and held me captive. Sometimes I do not know how I got so far into such a dangerous location and cannot believe I kept running, trusting on my own strength to carry me through. I do know a few things.

First, I am helpless to get out by myself. I have not the ability to cut these wires. I am hopelessly ensnared.

Second, I am bleeding and in great pain. And since I cannot get out alone, my own demise is soon to occur. And I am not only in pain, but there is no way to get out without more pain. Pain is inevitable.

Third, there is hope. Because the God who created me has not abandoned me. Even in enemy territory the Warhorse was set free as men from both sides of the front lines took pity on the creature and came to cut him free. Removing the barbed wire from the frightened horse caused some of the barbs further into the horses muscles. The pain was excruciating but it did not kill him. With the patience and skill of others, the horse was set free little by little. And with each barb removed from the horse, the pain lessened. The Warhorse calmed down and quit struggling against the pain. Instead, the horse endured it until it was free.

My pain can be great but there is no escaping the pain. I have run too deep into that field. God has sent rescuers to help remove the barbs. It will take time. It will be painful at times. But with each cut of the wire, I am one step closer to being free. The scars will eventually heal. Pain will endure until I die but I will not die from this excursion into dangerous territory. In fact, I will not die at all, but live.

Because 2000 years ago, my Rescuer was caught by barbs and thorns and nails that trapped him without hope Himself. He endured the pain, and His Father removed the this Great Warhorse from the snares of sin and restored Him to new life. His scars remain, and He remembers the pain. But He who endured the pain and went through dangerous territory is now the One who will come to our aid.