“Momma, why does God keep punishing Florida with hurricanes?”

“Wow!” says Dottie Sauter of Melbourne, the mother of the 13-year-old inquisitor; “I took a deep breath on that one, silently prayed for guidance.

“God doesn’t ‘punish’ people with bad weather; bad weather is a fact of living on this wonderful planet.” Dottie tried to explain that “sometimes good can be found amidst the bad.” So, they made a list of the good things and here are the highlights.

1. We sang songs in the long traffic jam that we forgot we knew.

2. We saw scenery and wildlife we normally wouldn’t have noticed; we made friendships we would have missed.

3. We discovered how deep our faith truly is as we drove back home through two tornado warnings and torrential rain.

4. We surveyed our damage and learned how very much we love and value each other rather than the “material things” that clutter our lives. How much better can it get?

In the city of Viera, Seaton Holt relearned some of the lessons of childhood.

“Work together, play together and help one another. Sometimes, we forget to have people in our lives.” A former firefighter, Seaton wonders if “we are really as ‘poor’ or ‘needy’ as the politicians say we are?”

Seaton admits that trusting in God “isn’t a bad plan. However, perhaps it was meant to be left to us mere mortals to remember we’ve got brains and brawn to use; and remember that storms come and go throughout life, don’t let panic get the “best” of one.”

Denise Voyik of Cape Canaveral spent some time with neighbors as they were preparing to leave. Together they were discussing what items they could leave and what items they would take with them on the evacuation.

“Everyone seemed to easily determine what was replaceable and what was not; what was important and what was not. It’s not a hard decision to make when it comes down to it,” she admits. “We can replace possessions; we cannot replace family, friends and the memories that keep them alive in our minds and hearts.

Voyik tells of a “neighbor who drove 200 miles to retrieve the pictures of his wife who died from cancer three years ago. His wife was in her early 50’s and those pictures were all he had left, except for his memories. They were important.”

In the midst of the storm, Karin Gillett of Melbourne found inspiration in the 23rd Psalm and penned these words.

The Lord is my center of calm. I am centered in him.

When storm clouds threaten, I will be still and listen

to know my safety

to know of safety

to know in safety

so I can feel the certainty of safety all around, including all.

Storm winds can take many forms.

They can be of the weather, or they can be of the whether.

Whether I stay or go, I am still in him.

Whether I stay or go, he is still with me, and I in him.

Whether I stay or go, I am with him and he with me.

Whether I do this or that, here or there, my surety lies in him.

Finally, Rachael Yunis of Merritt Island says she’s learned at least three things.

First, she’s “learned to be thankful-but not for particulars. We get lost in the particulars and fail to see what’s important.

“Second, I’ve learned to be patient. Someone always has it worse. We shouldn’t just wait our turn in line, but rather assist those who need it most.

And “Third, I’ve learned that more people care than you can count. You should let those people know that you appreciate them being in your life.

P.S., she adds, she learned that “if you ask small children to help pack; your suitcases will be filled with toys, and the sharpest ones will always end up hiding in the seams of your undergarments.

Rachel, that’s way too much information.