Awaiting the Storm

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Hi Everyone,

Two weeks ago, when I blogged about Houston and the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey in The Aftermath of the Storm, I had no idea that Florida would soon be facing an even deadlier storm. In less than 24 hours Irma– the largest, most powerful hurricane on record— is expected to sweep through my state. I am writing this while awaiting Irma’s wrath; she has just regained Category 4 status. At 350 miles (560km) wide, Irma’s effects will be felt throughout the state. More than 1/4 of the population– some seven million people– have been evacuated; tens of thousands have taken refuge in shelters. Given that I will most likely not have power or internet access tomorrow, I decided to write my blog early this week.

On Friday I posted the ‘Stay Safe’ graphic and a note on my Facebook page:

I feel blessed to have so many people who have reached out to express their concern for me and my fellow Floridians. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers! For those who are wondering why I, and most of the Central Florida community, have decided to stay put rather than evacuate, the answer is simple: the experts have asked those of us who are not in coastal or low-lying areas which could be affected by storm surge, to stay off the roads. “You run from water, not from wind” has become something of a mantra. There are only two main highways in Florida, and tens of thousands of evacuees are using them to try to escape from the storm. There are serious gas and hotel room shortages… and the danger of running out of gas on the trek north is real. People from South Florida are under mandatory evacuation orders— we are not. And so we are doing our best to prepare for the unknown.

I’m not going to pretend that the situation isn’t somewhat scary— it is. When we are faced with uncertainty, especially the real danger to people we love, it’s hard not to be concerned. Please join me in praying for the safety of everyone in Irma’s path; for no lives to be lost; for those who are evacuating to find a place of safety; for those who are not evacuating to feel comfortable knowing that they have done their best to prepare for whatever comes. May the first responders reach those who need help and may the power crews be able to restore power quickly. May we hold hope in our hearts as we face the uncertainty of the next few days; and may we all be blessed with patience throughout the storm clean-up effort.

For my friends and family who are in Florida— STAY SAFE! When you have phone or internet back up and running, please let me know that you are okay. For my friends and family not in Florida, I am truly grateful for you! I’ll try to post an update as soon as I can.

I won’t be weathering the storm alone— my friend Laurie Snow Hein, one of the millions of Floridians who evacuated— is staying with me. Since I recently became an empty nester, it is a huge blessing to have Laurie here and not have to face the storm on my own. We spent most of yesterday praying and preparing.

Once we finished everything on the ‘to-do’ list, we decided to have a ‘hurricane painting party’, and raided the attic for the seven 20″ x 60″ canvases I purchased a few years ago when I decided I wanted to a series on the Seven Days of Creation. We were able to fit five of the seven canvases on my conference table.

More than a decade ago (in the big studio attached to my old house) Laurie and I collaborated on a ten canvas interpretation of the Ten Commandments:

Today we started by pouring dark paints out on the canvases, and experimenting with different texture tools, including our fingers! I took photos of Laurie in action:

and she took some of me:

Here are close-ups so you can see some of the textures: 

Weather, power and light permitting, tomorrow Laurie will begin to weave light throughout the paintings, while I work on the text. The paintings move from dark to light, and I’m thinking about using light metallic lettering on the darkest panel on the left and dark shimmery lettering on the pale, rightmost panel. 

Please keep everyone in Irma’s path in your prayers…

Stay Zenspired,


31 thoughts on “Awaiting the Storm”

  1. Joanne, What a powerful, comforting post this is! I’m so glad that Laurie is there with you. I truly can’t wait to see this amazing creation that you two are working in. Stay safe, my friend, and we’ll talk soon! Hugs~ Holly

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Living on the west coast Hurricanes are such a surreal form of Mother Nature to me. I cannot imagine riding one out. Stay safe. This has been such a massive undertaking for your state to get its people safe from Irma. I am so impressed. We will all wait for updates and see you as you imerge on the other side of Irma. Your art will reflect your surroundings within the storm I’m sure.

  3. Beautiful, my friend! Praying for you, as well as our place on Ft Myers. God is good. And Ps91 is great news. Eager to see your finished work. I’d sure love to come paint with you sometime!

  4. These are magnificent! What a collaboration. I will now have to try this! Lol! Prayers of peace, safety and comfort for you all in Florida. I hope you don’t lose power and have no damages, and I’m so glad you have your wonderful friend to keep you company through this.

    Love and hugs,
    Terri ❤

  5. These are amazing paintings! You are very, very creative, to say the least! Praying for God’s hand iof protection over you and everyone else there in Florida. I’m so excited to see your masterpiece on Creation when you finish!!
    May you be filled with the Lord’s love, peace and hope during thiese very challenging days.
    Holding you close in my heart and in my prayers!

  6. I can’t wait to see this masterpiece! I know you will be Zenspired by this epic storm and the comfort and peace of our Lord.
    Am praying for all in Irms’s path. My family is in St Petersburg.
    Looking forward to hearing from you as soon as possible!!

  7. Bravo Joanne and Laurie!!
    Great project! I remember designing the 7 days of creation for Jamie and Michal’s ketubah—I did the 6 days and Michal’s father painted a kiddush cup behind the text (which he also wrote) to represent the 7th day. The whole design took a lot of thought! Can’t wait to see your large finished product Be safe!

  8. What a wonderful, creative and spiritual way to wait out the storm! I can’t wait to see the results. God Bless you and keep you safe

  9. First and most important – God Speed in your safety with the storm. Second, is there any chance I could buy a smaller version of your 10 commandments work you mentioned above? It would mean the world and then some to my friend who works diligently to keep them. Thank you so much!!! I can’t wait to hear how you weathered the storm!!

  10. Joanne: thank you for being the voice of comfort during this time of waiting for the storm. Thank you for taking the time to post both on Facebook and now with your blog. It is greatly appreciated. With love, Debra & Family

  11. They are eautiful. Guess it kept you busy. The storm hopefully will pass thru quicker at your end than here. We just pray no one gets killed. We can rebuild but losing anyone is horrible. Stay safe, stay calm

  12. let there be light- in your heart as you wait out this storm and in your power outlets soon!

  13. Joanne You have and will continue to be in my prayers. I have been through hurricanes they are no fun. When Julie told me you were staying put I wondered why. Thank you for explaining. May God keep you in the hallow of his hand. Mary Ann Fields

  14. We are here in the Tampabay area as well waiting our turn with Irma. We have prayed over each block window and door of our house. We walked the neighbourhood and offered help and prayed in front of each house. I’m working on a “I will praise you in this storm” art piece. Praise God he wrote this script so I don’t have to have a dress rehearsal for tragedy. The final production is in his perfect hands.

  15. How very beautiful! I wish there was a camera set up in a corner so we could see the transformation.
    Thankful you thought to take pictures.

  16. I’ve been thinking of you Joanne and praying for everyone in the path of all these storms. I’m grateful you have a friend with you, but please stay safe. What a huge undertaking with all the canvases. So far, from what you both have completed, is absolutely stunning. Any plans where this completed set will be going? Wherever its destiny, it will bring many emotions and many, “oh how beautiful ” words coming from onlooker’s voices. again, stay safe.

  17. I delight in Torah every single day. Love the Sh;ma. Love the 10 Words. Love the Hebrew Aleph-Beit, language and Scriptures. I so will enjoy viewing this from afar. Todah rabah! Shalom

  18. Dearest Joanne,

    I love how you have taken something, so scary and destructive, and turned it into something so uplifting!! And I am so happy you had/have someone with you during this unpredictable hurricane!
    Your collaboration with Laurie will be brilliant and I can’t wait to see it! What a delightful way to keep your focus off the weather!
    You all continue to be in my prayers! Sending lots of love and hugs!
    Mary Anne

  19. Thank you so much for this blog. It is comforting me as I pray for my relatives and friends who live in Florida. I am also praying for you and your friend, Laurie. I know she is a Godsend to you and you to her; I’m so glad you have each other. Up here in east Tennessee, we are opening up our facilities for refugees from Irma as we did for Katrina and Harvey. Being at the juncture of two main interstate highways, one north-south and one east-west, we we feel blessed to have these opportunities to help our fellow Americans in their hour of need. Many who fled here from Katrina have remained and are now helping others who are suffering as they did. I’m praying for the safety of all Floridians and for those they hold dear.

  20. Joanne this is such an encouragement and an inspiration. I’m on Mount Dora and we are fine. No power but our roof isn’t leaking! Praise God for many and prayers last night as the wind and rain howeled thru here.
    I am in Genesis Precept now and you and Laurie have lit a fire under me! Blessings!

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