Thursday, April 18, 2013


I’m reading Hebrews 11 and listening to Switchfoot today. Draw your own conclusions.

Someone reminded me the other day that Hebrews 11 is known as the “Faith Chapter”. By faith this, by faith that. Example after example of people who stepped out on faith and took action. Some who were considered nutjobs by those around them (hello, Noah), some who laughed but still said “ok, you’re God, go for it” (Sarah), but all who saw God’s promises to them fulfilled, either in this life in some way or via future generations. People who kept the faith no matter what. Here’s a little from The Message:
13-16 Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.

Hmmm. Seems like faith and hope are kind of tied together. It’s easier to have faith when you have hope & vice versa anyway.

This week our country is hurting over two separate incidents. The terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. I don’t know, I’ve got nothing … other than we live in a fallen world where evil prevails at times. I’ve read the book, though, and we win in the end. J

The explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas that leveled much of a small town in an instant. Just when we were all still reeling and trying to make sense of Boston while carrying on and moving forward. I do have some insight on that world because I used to live in it.

Btw shout out to Jenny Simmons … I was about to go to bed when I saw her tweets about something bad happening in the Waco area. I had to go searching for it … some of the news outlets hadn’t even picked it up yet.

OK true confessions time. Some of you are aware, but I haven’t always been a free spirit blogger and promoter of health and wellness. After being a good little girl, getting good grades, and earning a couple engineering degrees … I went to work for a “major chemical company”. Basically I designed and built chemical plants … worked on big upgrades to existing plants … and specialized in the automation of said plants. I spent a lot of time on the Gulf Coast – Texas and Louisiana.

I have designed my share of “safety instrumented systems” … i.e. the emergency shutdown systems that put a plant into a safe state if things start to go awry. Someone asked me once if that was stressful or if it scared me. The question took me by surprise. “Of course not, someone’s got to do it, might as well be me.” I do tend to be somewhat fearless, but it seriously had never occurred to me to be scared of being the one to design something to keep a chemical plant from blowing up.

Now having endless discussions about the statistical likelihood of two pressure sensors failing at the same time … that might qualify as stressful but certainly not scary …

I have always taken to heart the war stories of those who went before me … evacuations, skies lit up, rail cars launched, holes in the ground, giant storage tanks unzipped. Praise God I never had to run for the fence line myself, but it’s something we were always aware of.

I did witness an epoxy unit at an adjacent plant go up in flames – six people went to the hospital as a result. Not long after that I was in a plant overseas where there seemed to be a minor fire pretty much on a weekly basis. A few years later I was having a discussion with a plant about why their request for a window in the new control room we were designing was a really bad idea … within two weeks a pigment grinder launched a boulder through the window of the existing control room. No casualties, other than a computer monitor. End of discussion.

The potential for injuries or – yikes – fatalities is not something you ignore or take lightly. A large portion of my time was spent on identifying and mitigating / eliminating those risks.

A short aside … as fearless as I am, I am not stupid. A recruiter called me one day with a job opportunity I would have loved, loved, loved. Project manager of a major control systems rebuild at a refinery in the Houston area. I was all excited until he told me the name of the suburb. “Oh, not that plant,” I said. Yes that plant. People seemed to be running for the fence line there every two or three years. Which says something about the safety culture & it’s not a good thing.

My heart aches for those in West, Texas. I’ll be curious to hear what the investigation turns up, but no amount of learning what to do differently in the future can change the impact on human lives.

So what can we do, what should we do? Pray, assist those directly impacted where we can, and have faith that everything – everything – this week somehow fits into God’s plan.

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