No Home for Complacency

I am weary. Weary to the very depths of my being.

Broken and broken hearted.

I am so tired of complacency. Unawareness. Dangerous unawareness.

I think that I am happy. I think things are good. I am complacent. I’ve allowed satan to slowly blind my eyes. To the point where I don’t see the issue. I don’t see the danger.

Then, because He is merciful, God tears away the blinders… and I see.

The mess. The horrible, devastating crippling disaster that I have allowed to happen right in front of me.

It brings me to my knees. How could I have let this happen? How could I have let satan, the ENEMY of my SOUL, get such an anchor in?

Shame, horror, pain and a grief so deep drive me to my knees. I see who I am. I see the rubble. The complete devastation of myself.

I see Him. Through a mirror dimly, but Him. The light of His glory. I see how I have no idea of the size and power of the King I have promised my all to.

The mess can be made clean. The destruction… restoration.

Not by me. Only by Him.

I am done with dangerous unawareness. I am no home for complacency.

The blinders are off and I will fight to keep them off.

Thank you, Lord. The revelation is painful, but I know You are with me in the clean-up. You faithful will remain.

‘HAWK’ by Ronie Kendig ~ A Review

HAWK large

Raptor’s communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an “other than honorable” discharge. Plagued with corrupted intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms, or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.

Go RFF

I made this graphic not long ago, but I’ve felt this way since I first delved into Ronie’s military-suspense world! Hawk is possibly the most rapid-fire ever. I could not catch my breath and, once I started reading, did not want to put it down until I finally hit the last page.

Brian ‘Hawk’ Bledsoe has, in the past, been my least favourite of Ronie’s heroes. Though he only played a supporting role, I didn’t like his attitude. Numerous times I felt he deserved a good punch in the face. I wondered at Ronie’s choice to make Hawk front and center in this book. Well, as usual, I should not have doubted her. This was not only a fantastic thrill ride, I really enjoyed learning more about Hawk. This was another good reminder that I can’t judge a character by his cover. I need to learn where the character comes from to make a judgement. I came out of this book with a deep respect, and possibly a kinship, with Hawk. He is all passion and heart. While he doesn’t always direct that passion well, he learns a lot in this book and is a much richer character at the end.

Fekiria is a fabulous character. I love the depth of her right from the beginning. The struggles she faces and the danger she lives each day make you root for her from the beginning. Her chemistry with Hawk is amusing. I won’t say much more since I don’t want to wreck it for you. Fekiria is brave, bold and confident in herself. She doesn’t think that she needs help until her world starts crashing down around her.

HAWK is a one-two punch of adrenalin. Each chapter will leave you guessing and dying to dig into the next. Raptor is facing a huge threat so it’s AHOD (all hands on deck). Strap on your combat boots, grab your ruck and join the team as they track down the threat!

Well done, Ronie! Can’t wait for FALCON! (Due out in May 2015)

P.S. Only downside: I miss Candyman on the team.

HAWK quote

Find RONIE on Facebook, on her website, on Twitter and on Goodreads!

Ronie Kendig

Get your copy of HAWK here:

Amazon

Chapters

Christianbook

Barnes and Noble

~Sarah

 

 

Greater Love Hath No Man

sarahssundry:

I posted this two years ago and feel the same way this year. Lest We Forget.

Originally posted on Sundry & Specifics:

From Pinterest

‎”Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Around the world there are men and women giving up their lives for friends, for strangers… like me.

Today we remember all who have fought and all that are fighting for ourfreedom.  For our freedom to sleep in peace, do coffee with friends, hug our children and even blog.  This blog feels even more insignificant now.

This year I am even more grateful for these men and women.  I’ve learnt more in the past year.  Seen more, of what the Military men and women go through, have gone through.

Some went so young, and died so young. Some went and left families behind… forever. Some still serve around the world, sadly still needed.  Some still serve in their dreams, in their nightmares, though their days of battle are…

View original 41 more words

Tornado Hunters on CMT ~ Review

Tornado Hunters

Let me start out by saying a huge THANKS to Ricky Forbes for the invite to the sneak peek screening of the Tornado Hunters TV show set to hit CMT on October 26th!

If you haven’t already watched the webisodes that were released a few months ago, you should! It gave me a pretty good idea of what I would be seeing in the TV show. Here are my thoughts on the webisodes (which I really enjoyed).

I’ve been a fan of storm chasing shows for many years. I’ve watched a lot of them but I found this one unique. I like the focus in Tornado Hunters on the realities of chasing. Yes, many of them show some of the ups and downs of chasing, but I found that Tornado Hunters showed a uniquely honest point of view. The webisodes showed us some of the ugly downsides of chasing and that continues in the episodes for TV. I really liked how they showed the comedy,frustration and action of the profession.

I love the moments with amazing storms, tornadoes and the almost palpable thrill of the team as they capture some amazing footage. They also addressed the tough part of the profession. The fact that slow storm years, being out of position and being unable to chase, all contribute to huge pressure on the guys. This is another reason why I think these guys (and all chasers who do this for a living) are brave. You can learn all there is to learn, you can be in the right place and yet the storms do what they do. There’s predicting, but there’s no predicting when you’re going to go bust. Miles and miles of road, hours and hours of sleeplessness, anxiety and pressure building, it all adds up to one heck of a way to make a living. Makes me extremely grateful that these guys are here to track the weather that is on our doorstep!

This show is a very clear look into the lives of these guys and the realities of storm chasing as a profession. All the thrills, frustrations, joys, angers, laughs and tornadoes that go along with it.

Make sure to set your PVR’s or just cancel all plans and check out Tornado Hunters, airing October 26th, 2014 on CMT!

Thanks again to the guys for letting me come and a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Ricky, Greg and Chris on TORNADO HUNTERS! Can’t wait to see the episodes again and I sure hope that it turns into a whole series for you!

Ricky Show Shot

Ricky proudly showing off the poster he got us to sign at the party!

~Sarah

Chaser Chat with Nick Schenher

Nick S

Welcome everyone! I’m grateful today to be chatting the Nick Schenher (aka Nick the Body). Nick was one of the first chasers I ever started to watch. There was a day back in 2012, an incredible season and my first as a storm enthusiast, when Nick was out chasing a nice tornado near Wadena, SK. Nick makes mention of this day too. Nick was near another team that was right in there, but he was hanging back. It was amazing to watch the tornado on Nick’s live stream. The other team was too close for us to see the tornado well but Nick kept an awesome view for those of us watching. It was so cool.

Thanks, Nick, for chatting with me. I appreciate it! Tell me, what drew you to storm chasing?

I was always interested in storms from a young age. Not sure what the draw was, but I always knew I wanted do pursue some kind of career/hobby in weather.

How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to chase storms?

The first time I found out what a storm chaser was I was about 10 years old, watching a National Geographic documentary. It was about that time.

Tell me about the first tornado you ever saw.

The first tornado I saw was extremely brief, and occurred in southwestern Saskatchewan. The only thing I remember was that by the time I got my old film camera out and fired up, the tornado was over. It kicked up a lot of dust, and I was immediately into heavy rain and hail right after.

I bet that was so cool to see! Nick, what is your goal when you go out storm chasing?

My goal is safety – being able to provide whatever entity – whether Environment Canada, the National Weather Service, or the general public information about severe weather so loss of property or life is minimal.

That’s a great goal! What vehicle are you chasing in this year?

I have chased almost exclusively in my 2006 Toyota Yaris. It is a subcompact car that I trust. My goal is not to get into the middle of severe storms like other chasers, but to be able to stay dry, and keep a visual on rotation. With this in mind, there are times when I choose to stay a greater distance away from severe weather. I always want to give myself as much time and as many directional options as well in order to report and escape, if necessary. The Yaris relieves me of my temptation to go off-road or get into more precarious situations, as it does not handle well on anything but pavement. I also have a 2007 Jeep Compass which I utilize if storms are going to be a little more unpredictable, or if the road system in the area is less favourable than around the City of Regina.

I like that you deliberately drive a vehicle that will keep you, hopefully, out of danger. When you are out chasing, do you chase alone or do you have a team you usually go with?

I typically chase with a local photographer named Chris Graham (@cgphotography). I am not a photographer, and hate taking pictures of storms. The set up in the car allows me to live stream HD video in real time, but that I can set and then forget about. My dashboard camera captures any images I wish to reproduce, but Chris captures incredible images which are nice to look back on. I usually attempt to take another person for a ride-along when possible.

Now I have to ask how I get on that list for a ride-along! ;) What do you find most amazing about chasing storms?

The fact that there are never any guarantees despite favourable conditions or high-risk ingredients atmospheric ingredients mixing together. I am always intrigued by how every chase is different, and always produces different memories and moments, and often times I hear myself saying, “Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”

What was the most memorable chase you’ve ever been on?

Probably the Wadena tornado in 2012. I had two persons with me who had never seen a tornado before, and the progression of the day was excellent. We were correctly positioned all day, never got touched with a drop of rain, and had a clear and safe road with which to run parallel to the storm until it fizzled out.

That was an amazing day even to watch on the live-stream! What was the scariest moment you’ve ever had chasing? Was it when your car caught on fire?

My car catching on fire was more frustrating than it was scary. Even though we were under a tornado warned storm, with a wall cloud rotating a short distance away from us, it would have passed a few 100 metres to our north, so we would have been fine. Scariest for me is always chasing at night with little visual. I have had a couple of tornadoes pass not far in front of me, one of which was not noticed until a lightning flash while we were parked on a highway.

Yikes! That would be scary for sure! If you could go back and experience one tornado again, which one would it be?

I probably wouldn’t go back. Each experience is different, and with the chaser community being so large now, tornadoes are rarely missed. I am passionate about the weather, but the reason I chase is to keep people safe and educate others about storms, their risks, and why people do not need to fear the weather.

That’s one of the most unexpected storm-chaser answers I’ve ever had, but I like it. What advice would you give to aspiring storm chasers?

Do as much reading as possible, get comfortable understanding severe weather, watch as many videos observing movement and structure of tornadoes and storms, understand the risks, and then just go and do it. It astounds me that many chasers have a problem with so-called “members of the public” chasing or taking pictures of severe weather rather than huddling in a basement somewhere. I firmly believe people have the right to do whatever they want as long as they are not harming anyone else. There are certainly risks involved, but to say, “leave it to the professionals” when the whole system is reliant on the public is crazy to me. Many chasers will be happy to take anyone out with them for a share in gas, and if it’s about fulfilling a thrill or desire for excitement, then that is the way to go. If you are interested in weather or photography or contributing to the chaser community, then get educated and do it.

As someone who is trying to get educated, I can say there is a LOT to know. Nick, what is one thing that you wish the public understood better about storm chasers?

Nothing here. I think the public knows exactly what they need to about chasers – some do it for photography, some for the adrenaline rush, some for education, some for science, many for a combination. Some take a lot of risks, others not as much. The chaser community, like any other community is filled with an eclectic bunch of people who all have their own reasons for doing it, and any of those reasons are acceptable. To try and box everyone in and say that the chaser community is filled with a bunch of safe, responsible role models would be incorrect, though there are many out there who do fit that role. They all serve a purpose, and that is that. Let everyone do their thing. 

What do you like to do in the winter? Do you chase blizzards?

In the winter I curl a few nights per week, and watch a lot of hockey. I enjoy getting out a couple of times to show everyone what a good Saskatchewan blizzard looks like, and why people should be much more afraid of cold weather over and severe summer storm.

When you’re not out chasing in the summer, what do you do? Professionally, and for fun!

I have a job where I get to help people 365 days per year, which I love. I am currently finishing a graduate degree in science (psychology). I love playing tennis in the summer, spending time with my wife and daughter, and reading as much as possible.

Anyone that you’d like to give a shout out to that supports you in your chasing?

Just thanks to everyone who enjoys watching the live stream and conversing on twitter. I appreciate the conversations we have had.

Thanks so much, Nick!

You can find Nick on http://www.stormwatcher.ca, Stormwatcher on Facebook, stormwatcherca on Instagram, and @NickTheBody on Twitter.

~Sarah

Chaser Chat with Notanee Bourassa: Part Two

Welcome back to my Chaser Chat with Notanee Bourassa! If you missed part one, you can find it HERE! If you already checked that out, let’s dig into part two!

Notanee, if you could go back and experience one tornado again (or see one you missed), which one would it be? 

If I could turn back time. I would experience the EF-5 Moore Oklahoma Tornado of 2013. It would be in my fantasy, to go west instead of east, making the intercept well outside of Moore, getting the truth into the National Weather Service and contibuting to saving lives if possible. That very afternoon, I felt it in my guts, I saw the sky before I left Norman heading south. Greg J and myself happened to meet on the highway prior to going through Oklahoma City towards our separate targets. After only just leaving the Norman area, I stopped for gas at a Shell on the main highway and saw the stormcells forming. I decided to go east towards Norman instead of west towards the cell heading to Moore. I am slightly grateful I didn’t intercept that EF-5 as I would have personally seen it unleash unimaginable damage on Moore. After several days I went to Moore and documented the damage discretely on foot, as I needed to have that to show my family and children. As part of the respect nature value I want to program in them.

Chamberlain Tornado Notanee

That tornado would have been incredible to see. We’ve talked a lot about storms and the fascination of chasing. I ask all chasers this, what advice would you give to aspiring storm chasers? People who would love to get out and do what you do? 

My advice for aspiring storm chasers is to make safety the number one priority. Perform your chase safely. Don’t endanger others by anything you do. Report the weather immediately for the safety of others and THEN take your photos and videos. Also keep YOURSELVES safe. You and the occupants of your vehicle rely on the ability to move out of danger. Don’t risk getting stuck while in front of the storm. Don’t chase a storm without an escape plan. Have a plan B. Have a place to drive to get you out of danger. Personally, I think aspiring chasers should start out as “spotters” until groomed by experienced chasers by accompanying them on many chases. As far as CANWARN is concerned. CANWARN wants spotters not chasers. No one is encouraged to endanger themselves or others to report ground truth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a spotter. But I do come to realize Environment Canada and the media will take whatever they can get. Particularly if it can buy time to warn others of impending danger heading their way.

You don’t only love storms, you also have another favourite thing to chase. Tell us about your passion for the Northern Lights! 

My favorite thing to chase is supercell thunderstorms. I particularly love their formation, shape and tilt. The amazing power. The unimaginable amount of physical weight in that storm. How you can see the ingredients coming together, wind shear, moisture, low level jet. Textbook stuff. You can read so much but when you see it, you are much more confident and a believe of the science you’ve studied. Speaking of science, my grandfather taught Physics and Astronomy at the Univeristy of Regina and taught me to appeciate the night skies as well. I learned of constellations, meteors and the aurora borealis on my sleep overs at his place in Silton when I was a kid. Throughout my childhood in Moccasin Flats in Regina, I was always looking to the nightsky in hopes of a glimpse of heaven to take me away from the reality of living there. I remember one particular day in the eighties when an awesome geomagnetic storm had joined the north and southern bands of aurora together! I stayed up late watching it dance overhead while I stood in the back alley in the cold for hours. Since then I watched it whenever possible. After my tornadic intercept of April 12th, 2012, my mother bought be a DSLR camera in May 2012. This allowed me for the first time to potentially capture the magical lights (aurora) in the sky. A dream come true. Since then I have taken every opportunity within my price range to learn about how to use my camera and be better at shooting severe weather and the northern lights. To this end I have grown successful. I have learned to timelapse these events and CTV has invited me to share with them my knowledge and experiences with the northern lights after I released a YouTube video timelapse aurora compilation of the year 2013. I had an interview on the weekend at my house and then later in the week, their producer invited me on their morning show for 10 minutes or so. The aurora is a reflection of the awesome power of our closest star and is unpredictably beautiful and humbling. It is yet another reminder of how humble the human race should be in the face of natural power. Be it tornadoes or the northern lights, as both have the power to send us back to the Stone Ages.

Space Weather Prediction Center issued a G1 Magnetic storm WARNING

They sure are amazing to see! What do you do when you’re not out chasing in the summer? 

When summer is over and chase season is done, I shift my focus to capturing the colorful turn of nature when fall heralds the end of life (winter). I continue my obession with the northern lights and capture foggy mornings in the valley. In September, on the 19th, I fully participate in International Talk Like a Pirate Day! I dress completely as a pirate and bring a prop replica of “Dead Man’s Chest” from Pirates of the Carribean to work full of gold coin. I participate also in Regina Costume League, as the character Darth Maul from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This allowed me to be a part of the Regina ExPo parade for the past few years and help fundraisers for various charities. I DJ for 91.3fm CJTR – Regina’s Community Radio since January 2002. I host a radio show named Hardwired featuring a futuristic industrial atmopshere for my listeners from 10-12pm on Friday nights. I also DJ at clubs in Saskatoon when opportunities arrive. One such opportunity lead to me making a tornado intercept near Craik in 2008. I have volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors for Radius Communications, the membership commmittee, fundraising committee and also volunteers countless hours to help 91.3fm keep the computer systems running and sometimes completely rebuilding after catostrophic hardware failures. I professionally work as a Trunking and Switching Techician for SaskTel. I sheppard IP traffic from cellular towers, optical cabinets and analogue cabinets throughout the province which supply internet and IPTV. All the way from the user end points to the IPcore to the IP transcanada backbone.

Notanee Darth Maul

Chasing takes a fair bit of time and money, anyone that you’d like to give a shout out to that supports you in your chasing? 

My family unit, the most important shout out has to be to my family. My wife is an incredibly understanding woman. Over time, we have witnessed the disintegration of other family units engaged in similar activities. It can put an unfair workload on your partner at little notice. I must give respect to every social networking contact who has come to trust my words. I try tremendously to give brief accurate information and secure trust in others. I have reached out to contacts in the Environment Canada, The Weather Network and local media to establish trust. I shout my thanks to them. I also thank everyone who has placed their faith in me and perhaps grown to like me over the years. I try to be a good person. Finally I shout out to the TVNweather.com family whose patience and generousity makes the live video streaming coupled with live positioning and reporting possible in the internet world. I thank Severe Studios (Kory Hartman) for allowing the public to follow Andy Gabrielson. I’d like to thank Sean Schoffer for allowing me to setup Dominator 3 video streaming.

Thanks again, Notanee for chatting with me! Where can people find you online and follow your chasing? 

I can be followed at www.tvnweather.com as RAIDEN, SpotterNetwork.org and also http://www.hardwiredradio.ca/raiden/ I have two sites under development. www.skstorm.ca and www.theflyingcow.ca.

You can also find Notanee on Twitter!

Thanks for checking out this Chaser Chat, you can see the rest of them HERE! Also, check back regularly as I have some more very exciting Chaser Chats coming up!

~Sarah

Chaser Chat with Notanee Bourassa: Part One

Notanee

I ‘met’ Notanee first on Twitter. Then at a few of events locally I was able to chat with him more. Notanee has a definite passion for weather and it’s contagious when you talk to him. You’ll see that in his interview below!

Hey Notanee, thanks so much for being willing to chat with me about your chasing! It’s awesome to be able to chat with Canadian chasers!

So, tell me what drew you to storm chasing?

Since my enchantment with the sky since the tornado of 1979 I was drawn to chase the storms because they frequently would miss Regina or a part of it that was extremely interesting would pass through and I would want to pursue it to see what happens. I grew up in Mocassin Flats of Regina and didn’t have a vehicle while growing up. So I biked to the nearest field to get an open view of the storm front. Then I joined the Navy and terribly missed the raging violence of a good prairie storm for a good decade. My only reprieve was to watch Twister in the theatre on the west coast at least thirteen times.

Love that you’ve seen Twister so many times! Do you remember your first tornado?

The first tornado I witnessed was when I was 7 years old living on 12 block McTavish Street in Regina and remembered that I was playing in the front yard in a very warm clear afternoon. When the storm hit in later afternoon, I remember the incredible horizontal rain. Trees bending to unnatural angles, branches ripping, VHF/UHF TV antenneas torn from roof tops, debris flying. We had a windowed front porch and watched the show from it but retreated into the bedrooms after a while, especially when the windows were bowing inwards.

Wow! That would be one heck of an experience! What is your goal when you go out storm chasing?

While chasing in the United States, my goal is to gain experience to be better at spotting, recognizing and learning from models, my forecasts vs others vs NOAA. I also participate in forwarding ground truth through SpotterNetwork and also transmitting video through TVNWeather.com. Photos I take are for my personal reference and also to teach my family and children the respect nature deserves. The United States provides a longer season in which to chase. So It’s a great warm up to chasing here in the Canadian prairies. While chasing in the Canadian Prairies, my goals are more focused as I have personal attachment to my country and province. I push myself alot harder and am challenged and frustrated by the lack of information from Environment Canada. I truly desire to get that ground truth in as expeditiously as possible. Brief, clear and accurate. Leaving out speculation.

What do you feel is the best thing about chasing storms?

There are many things that are close to “the best thing” about chasing storms, but from a personal view, it is scoring a tornado and calling it in successfully to Environment Canada. There are other romantic things about chasing storms, such as the personal escape from the city life so many of us are familiar with. The open road. The open skies. The landscapes. Mood appropriate music (which is a big deal for me as music is close to my heart). Time to think. Then as you approach your target area, you awaken. Data and radar can only get you so far. Then the eyes have to do the rest. Especially when chasing alone. Heavy rain, insane howling winds, escaping hail, dodging congestive traffic and finally getting to the mesocyclone. A particularly satisfying feeling having travelled hundreds of miles to be in the right place at the right time. A winning feeling. After that it’s gravy, the photos, the videos, the memories of soaking in the moments of what mother nature shows you from that point onwards is up to yourself to absorb and learn from.

Thunderstorm in Regina

Where do you like to chase? How far into the US have you chased storms?

I primarily prefer to chase in the open plains if possible. For example, treed and large hills as seen in Missouri can be very difficult to perform proper any spotting. The terrain itself dictates where the roads are and therefore dictates where traffic is funneled. Very difficult to scan the horizon from such a vantage point. The furthest south I believe I’ve travelled for storm chasing was Marshall, Texas. The furthest west I’ve gone is Artesia, New Mexico. The furthest east I’ve gone is Texarkana and ALL points north to the Canadian border. States experienced chases in: ND, SD, MT, MN, NE, IO, KS, MS, NM, AK, OK, TX.

What was the best storm chase you’ve ever been on and what made it so special?

For the moment the best storm chase was the experienc of April 14th, 2012. Greg Johnson and myself had chased on several occasions since May of 2011 and we had been looking forward to 2012. Greg just picked up “Flash” before the orange makeover and we met at his house where Ricky Forbes met us. Both Flash and Ricky were chase virgins, which Greg and I took pleasure in introducing them to the experiences we both knew were forthcoming in the south. We departed and met with Chris Streaks who is from Great Falls, MT in a hotel in North Dakota. What made the April 14th, 2012 chase so special was the fact that the team was on fire. Clear, concise communications between all of us. ESPECIALLY on our first visual contact. Both Greg and I spoke aloud, “WEDGE on the ground” as it was on our right about 6-7 miles distant. For me since I was doing navigation, radar and giving driving recommendations it felt good to keep the team on the EF4 tornado for the next 2 hours. The storm occluded this tornado multiple times. Our team work kept us nipping on the heels of this tornado. Tim Samaras was there, it looked like Vortex was there too, many chasers were onsite, but we dared a few road options which allowed us best access to the twister where there was NO ONE. It felt so good to have such an exclusive experience of that tornado that no one else had. In fact we had beat the traffic because of the road options we took, otherwise we were going to be stuck behind twenty chasers. All of us did the best we could. I even tried to stabilize Chris Streaks DSLR camera on multiple occasions while still focusing on radar and roads. There were only few occasions where I could take my point and shoot camera (which I borrowed from my wife) to take a few shots and a FlipVideo UltraHD camera (which I borrowed from my co-worker Lori-Jo ) to take video. I felt this was the best chase as we all contributed to a very successful tornado interceptive chase and worked as a team. Words really don’t describe it with justice. It is experienced.

Filmore Tornado Notanee

Thanks to Notanee for chatting with me! Part Two of this chat will come out on Friday and I hope you’ll come back for it! Meanwhile, check out my other CHASER CHATS with other storm chasers like Ricky Forbes, Chris Chittick, Craig Hilts and Sean Schofer!

~Sarah