Living a Better Life
(featured column... from the editor's desk)

Knowing What's Really Important

by Michelle Jones 


For most of us, it probably doesn't take a catastrophic event like a level 5 hurricane to remind us what's really important in life, but even still, it can be quite a wake up call.  Everything we have, everything that is dear to us, can be gone in a second.  More...

As I write this column, a second deadly hurricane is bearing down on the the U.S. Gulf Coast and approximately two million people are being evacuated.  Two MILLION people!  We hope and pray everyone will be alright!

It's hard to be fully prepared for a natural disaster, but we can, at least, make every effort to be ready to evacuate. 

Hurricane Katrina caught us off guard, it went from a level 2 to a level 5 practically overnight and we were simply not prepared--though I'm not sure anyone really could have been!  The devastation to families' lives along the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama areas is truly incomprehensible.  It will take a very long time for these cities to be rebuilt and for the families who once lived, laughed, and loved in them, to recover, but everyone can help.  No donation is too small!

Donations to help hurricane victims can be made through the Red Cross at, the Salvation Army at, the nation's food bank network at, Habitat for Humanity at, and the Humane Society at

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in it's various forms."

1 Pet. 4:8-10 (NIV)

If you had to go through your house right now and take only a suitcase full of items with you, knowing that everything else could be blown away in a few hours, what would you take?  

Would you call a loved one if you had time, what would you say?  A cell phone would certainly come in handy but only if you have electricity or a car charger (and a car) to keep it charged.  Important phone numbers can also be stored in the phone book of your cell phone so you'll always have them with you.

Take a walk through your house sometime this week and think about it.  Although you may not live in an area prone to natural disasters, everyone should have an emergency plan.

Would you grab family photos, heirlooms or personal letters?  Your bible?  Maybe an address book with contact information for all your friends and family?  Important papers, financial documents?  

From recent events we've learned that cash may also be important, as you may not have access to your bank or credit cards in an emergency.  So that means you'd better have some cash reserved somewhere so you can get to it if there was a real emergency in your area... and I don't mean an emergency trip to McDonalds. Families that are living paycheck to paycheck can start saving up some cash by putting whatever they can away in a safe place each week, even if it's just a few dollars, it will add up quickly. 

One thing that was suggested after 9/11 was that every family should have an emergency contact list, including one designated friend or family member that everyone should contact in the event of a disaster that may separate families.  It also makes sense that this designated person should not be someone who lives in the same city as the rest of the family.

Also, you wouldn't think it necessary to pack basic supplies like food, water and first aid, especially in the U.S., but that may be something to consider.  If you or a family member has a medical condition that requires regular medication, this should also be at the top of your list.

I hope these suggestions will help you be more prepared should a disaster of any nature come your way, and I pray we will all...

Keep what's really important in our lives at the very top of our list, on a daily basis!  


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Copyright 2005 by Michelle Jones.  All rights reserved.

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