Brrrr, It’s An Intensely Cccold Winter! What to Do!


WINTER LANDSCAPE Photo by Tesnim Shoemaker

WINTER LANDSCAPE
Photo by Tesnim Shoemaker

Many cities in this country are preparing for an Arctic freeze, meaning a lot of people of all ages and conditions will be experiencing dangerously low temperatures. I affirm that there is NO where Divine Good is not, even where it seems an impossibility. However, it’s not enough to pray for your good, you have to help it manifest. Some of the weather conditions will reach record lows that have not occurred for many decades. Thus, many who are in the midst of these extreme temperatures may have no idea how to handle them.

So, with you in mind, I have written this blog and posted a few links at the end of my blog to further inform you on how to survive, even enjoy, these extreme conditions safely. (Oh, quick shout out to my dearly treasured family and friends  and to everyone facing extreme cold, I, we, are praying you warmth, safety, protection and to fare well during these very intense climatic times. Now, please read on…)

Do wear a lot of layers (4), starting with a soft shell, followed by a layer that gives you wind & water protection. The layers trap air. There are never too many layers. Keep your neck, the back of it, particularly, your mouth & nostrils, hands and toes well covered. It’s better to have too much clothing than too little.

Sitting in your car while it’s idling in the snow can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if the back of the car is buried in snow. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the symptoms of cold, but since the car is running, they may be a bit more apparent: fatigue, nausea, dizziness and headache.

Do use wisdom when keeping warm inside your homes. Fireplaces should have the logs fitting within the fireplace, not hanging outside of it. Also, make certain the chute is open so the carbon monoxide does not overcome your room or home. That actually happened to me a few years ago when I was living in Sacramento. I went to bed as the rest of the logs were burning out. I did not realize my chimney chute had closed. Thank goodness, I went to sleep with my bedroom door closed as I would usually like that heat to keep me warm. When I awakened, I could hardly lift my head from the pillow it hurt so badly. I finally got myself up, dizzy with the banging headache. When I opened the door, the room was filled with smoke. I grabbed something to cover my mouth and nose and opened all the windows. Some writer could have been using me as an example of why you want to be absolutely certain your chimney chutes are open when you are using your fireplace.

The other story is that of a dear friend who cleaned out her fireplace a few days after burning logs and papers. She absentmindedly put the seemingly cold remains of the fire in paper bags and left them on her back deck. By midnight a fire was raging and she and her husband were thankfully awakened by neighbors. Fortunate for them, they were alright and had to wait a couple of years for the renovation of their home after the fire.

Another danger is space heaters. Not only do you have to be certain the cords on the heaters are not worn, you must also be concerned with where you place the heaters. Too many people have lost their lives because they have gone to sleep and the heater caught something on fire or the cord was worn and started a fire. Also, please be careful using your oven to heat your home. Most local gas companies send out safety information for using gas items to keep warm. Any flammable items should be used cautiously and with wisdom. You cannot be too cautious!

If you are out and about during the extreme cold, keep blankets and an emergency kit in your car. It’s also important to know that symptoms of hypothermia can occur very quickly in extreme cold conditions. You may also be on the lookout for any signs in people you pass who may not be as fortunate as you to be properly dressed or sheltered. The following list is from www.mayoclinic.org and lists hypothermia symptoms and here are a few of them:

“Shivering is your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia. Signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Stumbling
  • Confusion or difficulty thinking
  • Poor decision-making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Apathy or lack of concern about one’s condition
  • Progressive loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow, shallow breathing

A person with hypothermia usually isn’t aware of his or her condition, because the symptoms often begin gradually and because the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness.” – By Mayo Clinic Staff

Do phone, text, email, as you are able, family, good friends, or young folks who may not be exposed to how to survive during harsh weather conditions and share these tips with them. This info may be life-sustaining for them. Keep a lookout for others whom you may pass during your time outdoors. Give generously to people who need a hand.

I just want you to know we are thinking of you, praying for you, and knowing that your needs are met. Please keep your tempers and choose to quiet yourselves when needed, keeping your tempers in balance and your fears controlled. This is a good time to reconnect with family members with whom you live. Sometimes life’s hustle and bustle keep us from really stopping to hear and know each other. After awhile, families are more like strangers. So, you may choose to find some games, projects, or the like to keep engaged with each other, especially if you’re forced to be indoors.

This is a time to share with those who were not, are not as prepared, for whatever reason. Kindly put your judgments aside as those folks may be facing life or death situations and you may not be aware of that at first glance.  Please also check on any elders you know, or anyone you know may be vulnerable during this time. Keep your children close and highly informed with common sense approach to being out in the cold. See that they have a list, not on their phones, but in their pockets of emergency numbers they may need to call. Let others you trust know their route from school or perhaps form a team of parents to keep all the children safe, especially the ones whose parents will not be as attentive. Remember: All children are our children. They’re safety is a community affair.

While you’re out, do let your folks know where you’re going and your estimated time of return, just in case they need to look for you because a blizzard occurred.

Remember: There are Divine Angels all around you. Call on them to assist you. You are never alone. Most High bless, guide and deliver you as needed. Be wise, please.

Here are a few websites with more information about how to stay safe in the cold weather conditions:

http://www.weather.com/news/weather-winter/winter-storm-live-updates-snow-ice-latest-20131106

http://articles.philly.com/1996-01-10/news/25652238_1_carbon-monoxide-car-exhaust-poison-control-center

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothermia/basics/symptoms/CON-20020453

http://www.ehow.com/list_6869570_dangers-running-gas-fireplace_.html

http://www.today.com/money/hidden-dangers-gas-fireplaces-6C9675769

http://www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/the_facts_about_chimney_fires.aspx

http://myhomecare.ie/index.php/top-tips-for-the-elderly-in-cold-weather/

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HUNTERS BEWARE: OUR CHILDREN ARE OFF LIMITS!


This morning I watched a video of a 7-year-old girl who was almost abducted at a Wal-Mart in GeorgiaChild fights off would-be abductor.

It reminded me of an experience I had a couple of days before Christmas while shopping at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City.  My granddaughter was visiting L.A., as was I, and she wanted to stretch her $40 to get a few gifts. So, my mom and niece suggested she start at the Wal-Mart located in the mall.

After I made certain the girls kept a good eye on their grandmother/great-grandmother, my plan was to sneak out and get a “Hello Kitty” bracelet made for my granddaughter without her getting a whiff of the surprise.  As I began walking from the back of the huge store to the exit, a little girl, I’ll call “Brandy,” with stringy blonde hair and the sweetest face appeared just a couple of feet from the end of the aisle. Brandy called out to me. Surprised, I continued toward her and she asked me for help.

It’s amazing when little people have the veracity and calm to approach a stranger for help and know exactly who to trust. Brandy told me that she had lost her family, but when I asked about her mother, she said she was at home. My first fear was that  she had been abandoned, but in her gibberish, I realized that Brandy had been with other family members.

Brandy quickly grabbed my hand and we started walking as I called out to the shoppers, “Small child lost! Anyone looking for their daughter?” I asked Brandy if it was alright for me to pick her up so people could see her better. (It was also better for my back.) She gave me a darling smile. Apparently, she, too, wanted to be carried.

Brandy had a remarkably calm demeanor and conversed with me like we were old friends. I was particularly touched by her comfort with me. She kept one arm gripped around my neck,  and at times placed her head on my shoulder, drawing my motherly love around her like a protective tigress.

Hearing my call to the Wal-Mart shoppers, a young male security guard walked up to us and said he’d take the child. I politely refused and could feel her relief as her grip tightened. Our bond had become special and she felt assured I’d take her to safety. I offered the guard to walk with us, guide us to the customer service, and, most importantly, to make a “lost child” store announcement. I convinced the guard, “it’s not personal, dear, but the little sweetheart chose me to help her find her family because she felt safe with me.” It was clear that I wasn’t going to release her to anyone that was not her family.

The security guard left us, but crossed paths with us again a few minutes later. Again, I requested that he make an announcement that a little child was looking to be reunited with her family. It irked me that something as simple as making a full store announcement was not the immediate response of the store security. By now, a male and female security guard were aware of the child’s dilemma, but neither had made any motion to make an announcement.

In the meantime, I heard a voice a few feet away, “Picking up strays now, are you?” Then, laughter ensued as my niece and granddaughter walked up looking amazed and amused. Little Brandy waved her hand from left to right at them both and asked, “Is this your family?” The gesture was so cute that we all burst out laughing. I managed to answer affirmatively. The three of them began a conversation, and then, my mom appeared looking bewildered. She thought I should turn the child over to the store security. We all exclaimed, “No!” That’s when Mom really saw Brandy. That darling child had engaged her, too.  A few moments later, a tattered looking young man with a boy about 5 years old spotted us.

Brandy’s wide smile was indication enough to let us know that they were her family. Still holding on to me like I was her dear friend, she cheered, “That’s my daddy!” It took her a second to let me go, as she thanked me with a squeeze. I handed her over to her worried-looking father. With a look of embarrassment and relief, he thanked me profusely.

Mom, the quintessential grandmother and great-grandmother walked over to Brandy’s father and had a grandmotherly chat with him. As we were leaving Wal-Mart, we asked her what she told him.  Mom shared, with raised brow, that Brandy and her brother had been allowed to play hide ‘n’ seek under the clothing racks  (something her children would have never been allowed to do, by the way) when Brandy got lost. Mom’s wise words to the father were, “This is not the climate to leave your children unattended, even for a moment.” He seemed to digest her words well and with appreciation. We were all glad it turned out so gracefully.

My best advice for a parent is that you teach your children good survival skills while keeping them prayed up. Watch them with a hawk’s eye, as much as you are able. That 7-year-old who was almost kidnapped fortunately got away. It’s often not the case. Keep your little ones close to you, especially  when you are in places where they can easily become lost or get snatched. The beasts who steal children are hunters and have the patience of hunters.

Build a trustworthy network. Your children are worth every moment of your time. Above all treat your children with love and respect. They grow up faster than you can imagine.