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Hurricanes are unpredictable
August 30, 2019
Julie Shematz one comments

While studying for my undergraduate degree at one of the top universities in the nation, Purdue, I was required to take two Science classes for my “well rounded education”. I took Oceanography, (even though I grew up in the Midwest,) and Dinosaurs.

One thing that I remember the most about the class was that hurricanes are unpredictable, that even with the world’s best equipment tracking them and saying where they will go, they can literally turn on a dime anytime they opt to.

While Florida braces for Hurricane Dorian and the rest of the nation watches with concern because the news maximize ratings of their coverage of it by literally trying to scare everyone in it’s potential path, and I look at the predictions myself, I remember that it can change directions in an instant, turn on a dime (literally), and dissolve for no reason.

If you struggle with anxiety, please shut off the news, especially the weather broadcasts. The news media loves this stuff because their ultimate goal is to get you glued to their broadcast. Watching it, I’ll admit, temps me to become anxious as well. That’s why I don’t watch, but I do prepare for the worst.

Prepping a 5 acre farm, 6 horses, including 3 minis plus a miniature donkey + chickens, cows, bunnies and of course our house pets is an undertaking. Key is being prepped for this type of weather ahead of time so that it’s not so strenuous. My dream is to build onto our home a large open art studio that will serve also as a hurricane shelter for our horses and livestock. Until that happens, we’ll do the best we can to be ready for a worst case situation.

Yesterday, we burnt the brush pile that was supposed to be a bonfire one night and the fire pit wood in it + any other sticks or branches we had that could become projectile injury creators for our horses and cows. Steve already started buying water last night and will pick up more cases as the next 2 days go by on his way home from working in Tampa. Additionally, he’s taking gas cans to fill them each day as well, on his way home from work. That way the generator will have fuel in case we need to fire it up due to a power outage, which is more than likely to occur.

We’re good on food and we know from surviving hurricanes over the past 17 years, including a direct hit from a category 4 and 5, that within 24 hours or less there will be multiple locations where water will be made available for free immediately following the passing of the storm. Essentially, I’m not too concerned about the water situation either. Worse case, we have water purifying system we acquired for such a situation or when the grid goes out and the apocalypse happens, whichever comes first.

Depending on where the storm hits the opposite coast we are closest to, we may or may not pull the horse trailers up in front of our home to protect the front windows. It worked wonderfully the Cat 5 hurricane a few years ago. BTW, we only had one board come off for that one and bunch of small tree branches all over the yard. God’s hand upon us was obvious, especially when He dissolved it while we were in the center of it. BTW, the back side is more damaging than the front of it, and that’s what He literally dispersed as it approached us.

Our house when Hurricane Irma arrived, 2am September 12, 2017

Hurricanes are the most destructive natural disaster there is due to the variety of wind, rain, flooding, lightning, storm surge, thunderstorms, and tornadoes that often accompany the storm. We’ve taken on enormous amounts of rain, so I’m not concerned about that and with horses in Florida, I’ve learned to trust God to protect them from the lightning.

We’ll tie open their stalls and put hay in them, but they more than likely won’t want to be in the barn because of all the noise it makes with the winds. That is except Spirit, who went from stall to stall, eating the hay during the Cat 5, while Candy Man and Handsome Boy stood in the barnyard, butts towards the storm with heads down.

Horses prefer to be in open areas, at least ours do, except for Spirit until the hay is all eaten. They will point their behinds towards the wind and rain, drop their heads and wait it out. That way, too, if anything comes flying at them they will see it and have plenty of room to get out of the way from it striking them.

As for the minis, well, we’ll have the garage ready if need be to put them in. That will depend on the storm’s winds. If by Saturday late afternoon, it’s predicted to be strong enough to lift them up and away, we’ll put them into a make shift stall in the garage, to be safe.

We can’t do much for the chickens, but their coop is in a horse stall inside the barn, so I figure they will hunker down in there. And as for the cows, well, at least Flicka was out in an open field for the Cat 5 and she survived just fine. It will be Ness’s first hurricane, but I doubt he’ll fly away or be hurt out in an open pasture.

As for the rest of the prep, depending on the course and category of it by Saturday, we’ll likely put all the potted plants and patio furniture into one of the horse trailers. They will help to weigh it down, too. We’ll tie the picnic table down in one of the horse stalls, along with the two huge fans we use for the horses and secure all the bird feeders, swings, etc. away in the trailer. The bunny cages will either go in the other horse trailer or possibly in the garage, we’ll have to see how that works out when we get to that decision making time.

Tomorrow, we’ll get extra hay and feed for the entire farm and Saturday we’ll do the majority of what was mentioned above. Like I said, it all depends on what the forecast is saying, although I’m one to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

On Saturday, we’ll use a permanent marker and write my phone number on the inside of one of each of the horses’ back legs and braid a waterproof tag with it on it into their mane or tail, maybe both. We’ll set the thermostat real low Saturday night to get the house super cool and I’ll likely sleep in my big walk in closet while Steve stays awake and alert throughout the night.

When the Cat 5 hit us head on I woke up as we were in the center and it was peaceful, but nearly lost it when I realized the worst was yet to happen, typically. However, God executed a miracle and the storm dissolved literally over the top of us. As soon as I could, I grabbed the flash light, rain boots, and coat and headed to the pasture to assess the horses, who were all just fine. Not a mark on any of them, although they all looked at me like, “what the heck just happened, mom?”

Waiting is the worst part, although I like it when they hit at night as I find it pretty easy to sleep through it. Steve read the Bible to me the first hurricane we experienced as newlyweds while living Fort Myers. It was Cat 4 direct hit that was unpredicted, but we were ready.

The worst is not having power, as the heat and humidity is horrendous this time of year. We’ll run our generator moderately, but do have battery operated fans that work wonderfully in such cases.

Bottom line, also, is that all we have to do is look back at how God has protected us in the past from not only raging hurricanes, but so many other things and been our Provider. That assures us that His hand is still on us and as we trust in Him, the anxiety really doesn’t have much to stick to.

So, thanks for all the messages and prayers to us. We appreciate everyone’s concern about us and most definitely your prayers! I hadn’t blogged since last week and since this is likely what is on most people’s minds, I figured it would be quite the relevant topic. Some might not know what it’s like to do hurricane prep, so it’s a peek inside our system.

Oh, one of the most important preparations is deciding whether or not you’re going or staying. We stay due to the fact that we can’t trailer all our horses out in one trailer, so we make sure we’re ready with batteries, lights, food, etc., all the little things throughout the year. That way when the panic starts to set in for everyone else, we’re not in that chaos.

By being prepared, it also helps to reduce anxiety for me. We’ll be intentionally feeding my spirit lots of life giving, trust building, God’s in control, reassuring spiritual food from the Word of God, praying, and worshipping as we wait to see where the hurricane goes. Although hurricanes are unpredictable in reality, our God, Creator of everything is not. We will be trying to keep our focus on Him, not the storm coming towards us if it hits us. He has the ability to calm it, like He did for the Cat 5, and/or us in the middle of it. He is predictable, trustworthy, and a good, good, Father who protects and provides for us.

What do you do to prepare for big storms in your life?

Battening down the hatches in central Florida at the Shematz Sanctuary Farm,

If you’re interested, I’ll be posting stories and updates via my instagram and facebook fanpage and would love to hear from you.

Latest Post on Anti-Trafficking
Hurt and Healing
11 Mar 2019
Julie Shematz one comments

“Don’t let the person who hurt your heart mess up the One sent to heal it! #letitgo”, Paula White. 

2019, Paula White facebook fan page.

Matthew 5:22 says that in God’s eyes being angry with someone in our hearts is the same as murdering them. 

We all know that do not murder is in the big Ten Commandments.

By remaining angry towards someone, we give satan a way (aka: open door) to creep into our lives. It’s only by the grace of God that he doesn’t take us out. Don’t ever forget that that is his ultimate goal.

Anger can steal our joy, take away our fun and steal our opportunities. Anger makes us bitter, struggle with vain imaginations, and can literally drive us crazy

Forgiveness is so critical … it boils down to life and death; spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Many of us suffer with ailments whose root is unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness is rooted in pride.

It has the potential to steal, destroy and kill us. It’s vital that we choose to forgive those who have wounded us, whether it was intentional or unintentional. I realize that some of us have been severely wounded by betrayal, but there are no exceptions to the command that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and that means forgiving everyone who has ever hurt us. 

God’s grace will enable us to do this, if we lean on it, rely on Him, depend on, have faith in and believe in Him to do it.

Our sins are literally not forgiven unless we forgive others.

Choose today who you will serve. Choose life or chose death. Either way, it’s your decision and regardless of which we choose, we will reap the consequences of that decision. I appeal to you, to choose life and life abundantly. Let it go. #EmbracetheJourney. It’s time to move on, be healed, and fulfill your God given destiny. God loves you more than we’ll ever likely completely be able to comprehend and He’s got a good plan to prosper you and to give you hope. Let His love cover and heal those wounds.

Lord, help us to forgive those who have wounded us and give us the courage we need in order to go to them, if it’s your perfect will to do so. We thank you for your grace, for forgiving us of all of our sins and that you throw them as far as the east is from the west and remember them no more. We thank you that your grace is sufficient and that we can do all things through you, who make us strong when we are weak. Thank you for your amazing, extravagant, and relentless love. Help us to understand it more today than ever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you’re new here, WELCOME! I’m really honored that so many people are signing up to receive my blog … actually shocked, but really grateful. I apologize that there appears to be no comment button. We’re trying to get one put in, however if you simply hit return after entering your comment, I’m pretty sure it will come through. Yes, I’m screening them. This is not a place for controversy and drama. I’ve learned to have very strong boundaries over the years, not just to protect my emotional health, but those who are trusting me to be in their sphere of influence. This blog’s purpose is to be a safe place for encouragement, spiritual enlightenment, growth and healing. I hope to inspire you to walk in the fullness of your destiny and to encourage you in the lavish love our Creator and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

If you’d like to connect with me to do bible studies together, I’m on YouVersion. I’m hosting a free online art class now every Tuesday 9-10am EST through a closed group on facebook, Art With Julie Academy. Feel free to send me a DM for the password. I’m posting daily on my instagram, twitter and facebook fanpage, JulietheArtist. Check out the stories for the latest in creations from my art studio and day to day activities around the ranch. I’d love to connect with you. If you need prayer, please don’t hesitate to contact me! If you’re an intercessor and feel called to pray for my husband and I and all that God has entrusted to us, please send a request to join our closed facebook group, Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries Prayer Team

Above all, know that you’re, loved, valued, and cherished, and that your life has a very special place in the purposes of God! If you’re holding onto unforgiveness, LET IT GO! God will enable you to do, if you allow Him to. He’ll turn the ashes of your life into beauty, if you allow Him to. But it’s on His terms, not ours! We simply gotta trust and obey. 

In His lavish love and amazing grace,

Forgiveness, Matthew West (video)
Stand in Your Love, Bethel Music and Josh Baldwin (video)

25 So Discard every form of dishonesty and lying so that you will be known as one who always speaks the truth, for we all belong to one another.
26 But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. 27 Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you!
Ephesians 4:25-27 TPT

Confidence and strength flood the hearts of the lovers of God who live in awe of Him, and their devotion provides their children with a place of shelter and security. To worship God in wonder and awe opens a fountain of life within you, empowering you to escape death’s dominion.

Proverbs 14:26-27 TPT

22 But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insultsc] a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell.

Matthew 5:22 TPT

Shelley Lubben: The good, bad and ugly, Part II
20 Feb 2019
Julie Shematz one comments

Part II: Wounds in need of healing.

Ten symptoms that indicate wounds that are in need of being healed: 

  • You avoid specific places.
  • You avoid certain people.
  • You have made a silent inner vow.
  • You suffer from emotional triggers.
  • You engage in addictive behaviors or have an unhealthy attachment.
  • You wound others.
  • You experience ongoing, unresolved grief.
  • Your thoughts bully you.
  • You have a secret you’ve never told anyone.
  • You struggle to verbalize your hurt.