This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

And So.....


Yesterday afternoon I spoke with Dave's wife on the phone.

We had a really nice talk, and I told her that I'd really had her family on my mind and heart lately.

I told her that I had shared her story with many people I knew.
I told her that there were MANY people praying for them, and I'd received many offers of help for her family.
I told her that RH and I would love to take them to lunch if they were willing and figure out if they had any needs that we could help with.
I asked her if they had attended any churches around here and if they would want to come to church with us Sunday and have lunch afterwords.


She told me that after the tornado they made their way to a church they'd heard had free food.
They camped there and helped volunteer in the distribution tent for a full week.
She (Dave's wife Brooke) was "saved" at this church the week before Father's day.


Can you guess what church it was?


I mentioned "divine appointments" before....but apparently I now have my own personal secretary making those appointments?!?!

That "church" was my church.

My family's church.

Same church we've attended for 7 years.

So we went to church together today.
She grabbed my hand and we praised and cried together.

We had lunch with them and had a WONDERFUL talk.

We have ideas.
We have many things to pray about.
We have tons to figure out.

Since we've learned of Dave and his story....many people I know have offered to help Dave and his family.
All of this help is needed.
REALLY needed.
Financial and otherwise.

If you really are willing....
Pray about it.
Think about it.
Discuss it with your family.
Pray some more.
Then....send me a message.
Or an email.
Or call me.

I got the honor of meeting a brother on a street corner.
I got the blessing of being able to hug him and his family.
I got the privilege of hearing an amazing story first-hand.

And now....I am seeing a glimmer of how I might be able to be a small small part in passing on some of the blessings God's given me.....

I'd be more than thrilled to fill in details and share ideas if you feel led to know and help.

Pray....and let me know.

And let me just say....

For the record....

God truly rocks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A New Hope....

Today was so cool.

Really super very cool.

Way cool.

Today the kids and I loaded up in the car again and set out on the road looking for people we could force-feed our cookies and Kool-aid to who would show us what "believers-in-action" looked like.

And by "believers-in-action" I mean those amazing souls who VOLUNTARILY come to this crazy-hot city (our associate pastor called it "Mars" the other day) and sweat their tails off to help us fix Joplin.

Now some of these people are Joplin natives who are hired by large national companies to help with the clean-up.

Others are paid (such as FEMA employees or people with the Corps of Engineers) but they volunteer for extended-stay jobs (some for up to 6 months) because they feel led to help.

Still others come with groups: church groups, mission groups, international assistance groups, school groups, friends-ditching-summer-vacation-plans-and-coming-here-instead groups and more.  They are here solely because they feel called to help us.

And there is another group of people who came here on there own...people who felt God calling them and followed Him and have been here for weeks and will stay for weeks until they feel led elsewhere.

It is...all in all....UNBELIEVABLE to see how many hearts and souls and hands and feet God has sent here to help us.

I hope and pray and hope some more that these people realize how very much we appreciate everything they are doing for Joplin....and for our individual spirits.

Anyway....after we loaded the cooler we stopped to pray before heading out.
I prayed that God would help us find our way to the divine appointments He had scheduled for us today, and that He would give us the right words at the right times.

As we drove toward the DZ (that's PT lingo for"Disaster Zone"---aka 1/3 of the town) I asked the kids what they hoped would happen today.

Bennett said he hoped we would be able to really show people how thankful we are.

Carolyn said she hoped she could give people cookies.

Ethan said he hoped we could help people who were helping other that we were really helping LOTS of people by just helping some people (I think it's the 7 year old version of the "trickle-down" effect).

I said I hoped we would hear God's directions on where to go, and that we could meet up with Dave again....if it was His plan.

You see...since last week, I can't stop thinking about Dave.

I have shared his story over and over, and I know that many people are as touched by him as I am.

Now I have always been the kind of person who wants to just jump in and do something right away.
This trait very often every now and then leads me into trouble.

So I've been trying to pray for guidance instead of just leaping into MY own personal ideas.

That being said....I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY feel like there is something more I should be doing for this poor man and his family.    (Click HERE to read the blog on Dave's story)

I have had lots of people ask me if we could get in contact with him.....if there was more we could do.

I have such guilt that I didn't do more last week.

SO.....I prayed and hoped that we would find him today.

Mind you....there are probably literally close to 400 people in orange and yellow vests doing work in this town right now.

So we headed back to our old neighborhood and Carolyn got to hand out cookies.  (Hope achieved!)

Then we made our way east and met a group of Corp of Engineer guys who told us how much it meant to them to see the thankful hearts of Joplin residents.  This man actually got choked up and told us what a privilege it was to be here in the 104 degree heat directing traffic! (Hope achieved for Bennett).

Then we found a group of guys from a church in Minnesota clearing a stranger's lot.  We talked with them about our experience on May 22nd and told them how awesome it was that we could finally have our acts together enough to come out and thank the volunteers who had helped all of us so much.  One gentleman responded, "Because of what people like you folks are doing (thanking them) we are able to keep our spirits up and continue helping other people."  (Hope achieved for Ethan).

Then.....guess what?

There he was.

On the next street corner...trying to hide in the shade made by the stop-sign he was holding.

Hope achieved Shannon.

I honestly probably scared the poor guy to death I was so excited to see him.

He broke into a huge smile and told me how the gift card I had given him last week (Thank you Molly, Sarah, Cate, Sirena, Ann and Ashley!) had been an answer to prayer because they were totally out of gas.

I told him that there were LOTS of people praying for him and gave him another gift card (Thanks again girls!!).

He teared up again, as did I.

Then I asked him if he'd found a place to live yet, and he said that he thought they might be able to move into a FEMA trailer on the 13th of August.  He said he hadn't thought that they would qualify for one...and then smiled at me and said that maybe all of those prayers were working.

I asked him if his wife had started working for the company too, and he told me she had started that Saturday afternoon, but had a heat stroke that same evening and ended up in the hospital.

I asked him how his kids were doing over at the Children's Haven and he said they were doing ok.....but he couldn't get there to see them last night because he got off of work so late.

I told him that I had been thinking about him and his family a lot...and was hoping to find some way to help them.  
Then (and what the HECK was I thinking I've never done anything like this in my life was I crazy??????) asked if he'd be comfortable sharing his phone number with me so I could check on them.

And he did.

He gave me his wife's cell phone number and told me she had it with her at all times.

So here is where I stand.
I feel led to help Dave and his family.
I am sure that God let me meet him again for a reason.
I now have a way to contact Dave.

But....I have NO idea what to do next.

Believe me.....I'm praying about it.
Praying and praying and praying.
I asked RH if he had any ideas....and he doesn't know what to do either.

So.....I'm putting out another request here.
It's a little more selfish than my last one.

Will you please pray for me to figure out WHAT TO DO????

Maybe it's not my deal.
Maybe I have his contact info because one of my friends or a friend of a friend or a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend is being called to do something for Dave.

If that's the case....I have a number and I'd be THRILLED to use it.

Please pray about it.
Think hard about it.
If you know someone who might know how or want to help.....please pass it on.

And meanwhile....I'm just going to sit here and smile for a bit.
God gave me my "hope."
And I know He is faithful to finish the works He started.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just Keep Swimmin'.....

Yesterday several people were talking nearby where I was sitting.

One of them said:
 "I'm so sick of hearing about the tornado.  I just wish everyone could stop talking about it.  It's been almost 2 months!"

Two months today, in fact.

Time to get over it.
To move on.
To just let it go.

Bear with me while I share an analogy my friend and I concocted.

When you are in a swimming are wet.
Everyone is some degree or another.
At some point everyone wants to get out of the pool.

For those who were standing near the edge....they can just climb right on out.
For those who are dangling their feet in the water, they can stand up and dry off.
For those who are only wading in the shallow end...they can easily walk out to their chairs and towels.

But....for those in the middle of the pool, it's a longer route to dry land.
They may still be in the deep end and need to swim to the edge before they can pull themselves out.
They may be over in the diving well and have to come up for air before they can swim to the edge and then pull themselves out.
They may be stuck out in the middle of the pool gathering everyone else's goggles and water guns and children and rafts before they can make it to the edge and pull themselves out.

And while some people are still trying to make their way to the side of the pool....those who got out easily are all dried off, cover-ups in place and sippin' a cocktail wondering what's taking everyone so long.

So if this analogy makes any sense.....people are different degrees of "wet".

Today my kids and I had the blessing of meeting a man named Dave.

He was wearing a bright orange and yellow vest and holding a sign to block vehicles from going down a street where demolition and clean-up was taking place.

We pulled over to offer him some Kool-Aid and cookies and I asked him where he was from.

He explained that he was from Joplin, and had been hired by a national company that had come in to help with clean-up efforts.

Then Dave went on to tell me that both he and his wife had lost their jobs because the tornado had destroyed the businesses where they had worked.

THEN he said, and I quote (or paraphrase....but you get the general idea), "I am so lucky to have this job and have an income right now.  They (the same company) just hired my wife and she starts this afternoon."

As Carolyn handed him some cookies I asked him if his house was ok because that is the new normal 2nd or 3rd question that strangers ask each other in this town now-adays.
He told me that his house and vehicles had been destroyed, but then stressed AGAIN how lucky he was to have this job.

(Did I mention that his job was to STAND IN THE STREET IN 104 DEGREE HEAT AND NO SHADE because there are no trees left?)

"Where are you living now?" I asked.

"In a tent right now," he replied, looking down, "But me and my wife finally had to take the kids over to  Children's Haven because it just got too hot for them."

Oh wow.

"But now I've got money coming in....and my wife will we hope that soon......."

"How old are your kids?"

"Ten and five," Dave answered, and then turned away as he started to cry.

I reached into my purse and pulled out a Wal-Mart gift card (that I had just purchased that morning with an amazing donation my sorority sisters had sent me) and asked him if he would let me pass their caring onto him.

Then I asked him if I could pray for him.
He said yes...and I did.

I reached across Bennett and held his Dave's hand, and prayed that God would reveal His purpose in Dave's life, and help Dave to feel His presence and His peace.
I prayed for God's protection over Dave's wife and children, and I thanked Him for the blessing of a divine appointment on some broken-down corner in Joplin.

Then Dave took his Kool-Aid and walked back to his post.....and the kids and I rolled up the windows and drove off in our air conditioned SUV.

You see....I am out of the pool now (to continue that analogy).
I am not totally dry...but I've finally located my towel.

But Dave and his family....well...
They just aren't over it.
They can't just move on.
In fact.....they are still treading water out in the middle of a pretty big pool.

I'm very grateful that this "pool" has a lifeguard who won't let us slip all the way under....
who lets us exit at different rates....
who loves us no mater how "wet" we are.

If you read this....will you please pray for Dave and his family?
Thank you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random Memories II

When I first went upstairs after the storm and saw the glass and shattered wood and twisted metal all over the house, I realized because I am such a dang intelligent person that I needed some shoes.

(**Note**When making a "disaster kit" to keep in a safe place....include shoes for all family members)

I told John where to find some of my tennis shoes (he was a smarter person than I and was wearing his shoes!) and he went climbing over random things to get to my closet.

I turned to go back downstairs and check on the kids when I spotted the birthday gift that Bennett's godparents had brought him laying under part of a rug in the foyer.  I picked it up and shook it off and brought it back to the basement.

As John came back down with my shoes I told the kids that he and I were going to go outside and that I wanted them to stay in the basement where they would be safe.

You could tell they were starting to get a little panicky.

I remembered that my step mom had taken Ethan to get a birthday present for Bennett earlier that week (while we were on our relaxing beach vacation.....did that really happen?) and she told me she had hidden it in the guest room downstairs.

I told the kids that there was a birthday gift hidden somewhere in the bedroom, and asked them to try and find it.

I told them that Bennett could open those gifts while John and I were outside.

They actually listened to me...and went running off in search of the present.

When we came back later, they were all sitting around the dark basement checking out the presents.

(Isn't it funny how a person can shut their mind down completely to certain things when needed?)


After we'd left our house we drove out of the south entrance of our neighborhood.

Spencer, my brother-in-law, was driving my car with me and the animals and Barrett was behind us in his truck with the boys.

We maneuvered over lawns and trees and wires and only heaven-knows-what-else until we were able to make our way up 32nd street.

As we came to the corner of 32nd and Maiden Lane we saw St John's hospital.

I remember we both just kind of gasped.
I felt like I was crying...but I think the shock was too deep for tears.

We continued down 32nd until we came up to Freeman hospital.

Then we stopped and waited for the road to clear.

There was this strange procession going across 32nd street.

People carrying other people on gurneys.

People laying in the back of open pick-up truck beds with other people holding them.

People carrying other people on what looked like boards, or doors.

People performing CPR on those people laying on the boards and gurneys and wheeled hospital beds as they crossed the street from St John's to the other hospital.

There was a steady steady steady stream of people.
There was no shouting or yelling....just people steadily (and it felt like silently) moving southward to the "whole" hospital.

(In retrospect I believe that these people were the ICU and other patients from St John's being transferred by volunteers, hospital workers, neighbors and other saints to a place where they could be helped.)

I was so very glad that my boys were in the truck BEHIND me and prayed they were spared seeing some of this.

When we pulled up to the intersection of Main St and 32nd in my car the radio guys were saying that more tornadoes were touching down in the area.

We scanned the sky in every direction.

We heard the highway was impassable.

We looked north down Main St and saw smoke billowing up from many many locations.  I remember saying, "This is what a war zone would look like..."

The sky was so black to the east......

The rain started again and I was scared I wouldn't be able to see if something was headed our way.

We turned south, away from the fires....and my bil tried to figure out a way to get us back to his house.

Amazingly a call came through on my bil's cell phone (mine was soaking wet at this point).

It was the head of maintenance at St John's and he called to ask for help finding a certain kind of diesel fuel to run the generators at the Brady Building (which is for long-term acute care patients).  He said the generators were running out of fuel and they needed that electricity to keep the life support systems going.

Then the phone went dead.

With my bil giving me phone numbers as he tried to navigate a way to the north side of town I dialed and dialed various people to find fuel....but by then there were no cell towers left and none of my calls went through.

I remember the frantic feeling of trying to simultaneously dial the phone and look in every direction to make sure we weren't driving into another tornado and check behind us to make sure RH and kids were still following........


Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Better Base....

How do you "break-in" a house?

How do you make it "yours"?

How do you make it feel like "home"?

Some people throw parties.
Some people paint it their favorite colors.
Some people clean it with "their" cleaner so it has "their" smell.

I fill it with kids.

THAT'S what makes it fell "homey" to me.

So....after almost 6 weeks despite the fact that we still haven't found all of the "essentials" and the fact that I've forgotten to get milk for almost a week and the fact that RH has gotten a brand new 8 week old dog, and the fact that I somehow literally have more snuggies than pool towels.....
it was time.

Yesterday Ethan and Bennett had some buddies over.  While RH took the puppy and Carolyn to Duck Camp, the 5 boys and I hit the pool for a few hours, then came home to change.
Carolyn left with her cousin for the night and RH and I took the boys to dinner and to see Green Lantern.

Then the 5 of them settled down in the boys' room and talked loudly for almost 2 hours about various bodily functions and who smelled the worst for a little bit until they finally crashed.

It was a good night.

It was a GREAT night.

It was a familiar night....if that makes sense.

We all got up bright and obscenely early.

RH left for a meeting at church and I got the boys fed, the dogs fed and put out, the laundry folded, the kitchen cleaned and the yard watered.

As I was upstairs cleaning up the blankets I heard the boys all giggling.

Man....I hadn't realized how much I missed that sound.

Then I heard a couple of thumps and a loud CRASH SHATTER BANG.

No more giggling.

A little panicky whispering....but definitely no more giggling.

I climbed down off of the top bunk and in my calm collected kool-aid mother voice asked the boys what had happened.

Seems the three 11-year olds had decided that it would be a fun idea to bounce a ball off of the walls and play catch in the living room.

Seems they accidentally bounced the ball off of one of the 8 funky-70's-style sconces built-in to the wall.

Seems that aforesaid sconce shattered ALL OVER the floor, the rug, the new couch (which had come in Thursday after 4 weeks of waiting and 6 weeks of no couch at all) the carpeted built-in couch, the puppy and his padded kennel and the 7 year olds trying to calmly play Star Wars.

I must tell the truth.
Kool-aid mom began to turn into Red Bull on a bad trip mom.

As I felt the steam begin to build behind my eyes I told ALL OF them to GET OUTSIDE before I said something I shouldn't.

Then they went super quickly outside and I said MANY things I shouldn't.

Oh boy.

I was mad.

Mad MAD MAD MAD mad.

It took me almost 45 minutes to clean the entire area (and I STILL got a piece of glass in my foot later that afternoon) before I sent the boys in to get dressed for church.

You wasn't just the broken light...that's happened before and it'll happen again(worse things will break too....I have sons and I get how this works!)...

It wasn't so much that they knew better (although they ALL are like my own kids and they DID)....

And it wasn't so much that they'd disobeyed or disrespected a normal obvious household rule...

All of those things....while not great.....are just part of being kids and being a mom and life.
I know those things will happen...and we can ALL learn from them and move on and no use crying over spilt milk (or broken glass) or whatever.

In retrospect....I think the reason I got SO SO SO furious is this:
That previous night and that morning....I'd started to really feel.....well.....
Dare I say.....normal?

Having the kids there...
Doing what we'd always done PT....
Having an actual couch and coffee table (which I know is SO STUPID but really made me feel like a was in a real home and not some weird period-hotel)......
Bringing a gang of boys into church with us.....
Feeding a bunch of kids and smiling while I grumbled at them about how much they ate....

That was how I rolled.
That was what I used to do.
That was the same feeling as the home I'd had and made for my family.
That was the base I used as my springboard for my life.

And then a stupid light shattered.
Then there were stupid exposed wires hanging off of the wall.
Then there was glass all over our only 2 pieces of new furniture.
Then there was the knowledge that I'd have to find time to find 8 new matching lights.
Then things were starting to slightly unravel again.

And I snapped.
That's it....
I just snapped.

The "normal" I had started to feel was now hanging off of my new main wall and spilled all over the living room.

So...when the boys were trapped in a place they couldn't escape my wrath in the car I began to talk to them.


I began to lecture them on many things.

They were silent as mice and good as gold on the ride to church...and as my anger fizzled out and their faces showed real repentance things cooled down.

I cooled down.

We had hugs all around before going into the building....and we were all ok, I guess. I should have predicted would happen....our pastor opened with a little chat about how now....6-8 weeks post when people would begin to experience a different kind of stress.  He quoted a newspaper that explained it as (and I paraphrase liberally here) the idea that the shock has worn off and everybody is in the "Holy crud this is the new forever" mode.
Apparently this will be characterized by flaring tempers....among other things.


The pastor also said that this was the time when those in our community who did not have faith in Christ...who put their faith and hope in things of this world instead of things OUT of this world would begin to crumble as they see their world STILL crumbled around them.

Well now....I know I have that hope.
I do truly have that faith.

I think I am just having some not-so-occasional setbacks here and there.
But I tell you....the "here and there"s are coming less frequently.
Thank you, God for that.

So then I did what I probably should have done after I sent the boys outside that morning.
I thanked God for the broken light.
Apparently I need frequent reminders of that.
Apparently I'm a slow learner.

One of my friends and I discussed the other day how we both felt like as we grew in Him, we were learning to lay more and more things at His feet.
We also discussed how we're apt to pick those same things back up and take them for ourselves again.

Hence the many reminders.

I DO want my "homey" home back.
I DO want that comfort level.
I DO want that coziness.

But....I don't want to NEED that in order to feel "stable".

One of the songs this morning in church said:
"Sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity....
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity..."

THAT'S what I need to feel stable.
That's what I WANT to need.

Sure would be nice if I could take His corrections and reminders with just a little more grace and gratitude than I did today.

Proverbs tells me to not hate His corrections, because He corrects those whom He loves as a parent corrects a child.

I'm quite an impressive specimen of "child", if you ask me.

So....goals of the week for this child:
Learn not to cry over spilled milk.
AND remember not to bounce balls on walls in the living room.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Can't Complain....

Around these here parts, people are excitedly getting ready to move into FEMA trailers.

I've heard that some of them will be quite nice.  Quite decent, anyway.
Some will have 3 bedrooms...others will have one.
BUT all will have air conditioning (which is SO IMPORTANT considering it got up to 102 today and doesn't look much better in the weeks to come...)  and running water and some sort of a space that people can call "their own."

How many families will be using these? 
I'm not sure...but quite a few I think.

The man who's in charge of our alarm systems is also partly in charge of "Tent City."

According to my buddy....there are currently over ONE HUNDRED tornado-displaced-people living in tents on a piece of private land that some kind man has given them for refuge.  

One hundred.

Among these people are infants (yup....there are pack 'n plays in those tents), families, elderly, singles, teenagers and more.   
My friend told me that a few weeks ago his group of "helpers" were able to construct a building with 2 showers and 2 toilets that the "city" has been using.

He said that there is a very organized woman living there whom they've dubbed "the mayor".  Apparently she has a few pre-paid cell phones for people to use in emergency situations.

This friend of mine emphasized the gratitude these people had for that building....for being able to stay on one piece of land....for the food and drink donations that have been coming their way.

102 degrees.
Pack 'n plays.

Have I SERIOUSLY caught myself privately loudly often quietly grumbling about not yet having furniture?  

Have I SERIOUSLY mumbled not-so-nice words into my soft cushy pillow when RH slams frying pans into the walls and sounds like a bar-brawl makes a little noise in the kitchen (which is easy to hear because our new place only has super-70's pocket doors) when he wakes up to go into work at 4:30am?

Have I SERIOUSLY gotten frustrated to the point of tears when the back hatch on my working car finally totally broke and the kids (and groceries and boxes from the warehouse) have to go in and out through the back window Dukes-of-Hazzard style?

Ummmm.......embarrassingly enough......yes.

So as I would say to my kids....I say to myself here...


My friend and I got to go for a run and have a panting-infused chat this week.  

We were discussing perspectives....and how important they were to make us realize just how amazingly wonderfully blessed we have been.

Now wait....I've said before and I say it now....I KNOW I am blessed.
Know know know know know it.

But sometimes it's unfortunately easy to get caught up and halfway buried in the muck and mire of LIFE....and that's when perspective comes in handy.

Being in a tornado is not such a great thing.
Having your house ripped apart while you're in it....not so great either.
Not knowing where your child and nephew and aunt and uncle are......pretty very incredibly bad.
But....I CANNOT complain.

I have my family.
All of 'em.
I have a solid home (with a basement!).

The people who are still living in hotels?  They can complain.

The people who are moving for an indefinite amount time into FEMA trailers?  They can complain.

But....people still living in shelters can complain more.

But people living in tents can complain more.

But people who are STILL RIGHT NOW in the hospital trying to fight off weird fungal infections from horrible tornado injuries can complain more.

But people who have lost friends and family can complain more.

But people who have lost their homes, jobs, and family members can complain more.

But that poor woman who lost her husband and two children in Home Depot....well....what can I even say about her?  
I pray for her daily.  
I don't know her personally....but I've heard she seems so very strong and brave....and I can't even begin to imagine how strong and brave she will have to be every second of every day for the rest of her life.

A blessing for sure.

Last week our pastor taught out of Luke again.  
He chatted about a verse I've heard many times....but I heard it differently this time (must have been my perspective!).

"For everyone to whom much is given, 
from him much will be required; 
and to whom much has been committed,
of him they will ask the more."
Luke 12:48

I just put 3 amazing gifts from God to bed.
I peeked in on my husband, sleeping hard because he's been working so hard at his stable business.
I am sitting in an air conditioned house.

This list could go on for pages and chapters and many things He has given me.

So many things I am thankful for.
So many things I'm guilty of griping about....ugggggh.

Time to square my shoulders....
put on my "big-girl panties".....
get my mind out of my "issues" and onto the possibilities of what I can do to help.

Directly after the tornado when we came out of the store-room, Bennett started kind of flipping out.
I remember taking his face in my hands to talk to him, but that's all I recall.

My mother-in-law says that I told him:
"That's ENOUGH, Bennett.  God kept you safe because He has a purpose for you...and that purpose is NOT to sit here and freak out.  He kept you safe because He has something for you to do....and you job is going to be to find out what that is.  Right now your job is to hold the dog and keep her safe so that Uncle John and I can go check on our neighbors."

(I don't remember saying that....but I have to say I like it.  I  am relatively sure that God let his Holy Spirit speak through me at that moment though...and I'm pretty darn grateful and in awe of that.)

So....recap of this super long rambling overly-detailed possibly-incoherent post.

Much has been given and committed to me.
God saved me for a purpose.
My job is to find it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Random Memories I

This post isn't going to communicate a point, necessarily.

I'd mentioned before that there are lots of things I don't want to forget from this time in my life.
So...I need plan to record them here and there...every now and bits and pieces...and then not re-visit them until I want to.

I've found that if I read my personal account of May 22...I start shaking.

When I talk to the people who were with me...or who were in the middle of it...I get goosebumps and start shaking.

So...I won't read what I write...for a while anyway...but I'll have it for when I want to read it.

I think it's important to have theses things....because while I keep griping and moaning and blabbering on talking about finding "normal" again...I don't want things to go back to the same "normal" as before.

I want to keep (and I want this city to keep) the new perspective that came with the EF-5.
The perspective that things are.....things, and people matter more.
The priority switch that came on May 22......the one that made all of us hold each other a little closer...grab hands in the parking lot, and hug people we don't even know. time passes on and we become "normal" again....(and by "normal" this time I mean a little more jaded, cynical, impatient and intolerant (which I know that I have been....and I don't want to be again...)) I plan to re-visit these memories and stories.

I hope it will help me re-remember my new/old/newish/ (huh?) priority system.

Or maybe I just need to get these things out of my mind and onto "paper".

Either way...they will be here.

A short time after the tornado some organization on Main St made t-shirts they were selling for $20.  $15 of the cost goes directly into Rebuild Joplin.   My sister-in-law got the kids, RH and I shirts.  They are grey and say "Restore Joplin".  The kids love them and grab them as soon as they come out of the dryer. Ethan was looking down at himself and (i guess for the 1st time actually) read his shirt.

"What does "restore" mean?"

"It means to try and turn something back into what it was before."

"Oh," he answered....only half-listening to me.

"I think it should say "Ruined" Joplin."



When we were in my basement during the actual storm there was a time when it got lighter briefly and RH said he was going to go take a look.  I told him not to (this is all in my original account earlier in the blog so you KNOW I'm not making it up)...that it didn't "feel" right yet...and then it was dark and yucky and loud again.

At the pool this weekend my friend Kerry asked me if we had been in the middle of the tornado...if the eye had passed over us.

I told her I didn't know......that I wasn't sure how I COULD know that.

She asked me if the wind and noise ever lessened for a few seconds (4-5 is the professional meteorological estimate) and then got bad again.

I thought about it....and out came the goosebumps and full-body shakes again.

That was when Barrett said he might go upstairs.
That was when the green light came under the door again instead of pitch black.


That's all for now....but I will add more blabbering useless potentially annoying memories as they occur.

And if you want the link to the t-shirts, you can find them here.   It's a great site and a great cause.

Thanks for "listening"....but I understand if you don't want these stories.
They're pretty yucky to me, too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Little Slice of "Normal"....

Happy 5th of July!

You be honest (because there seems to be a "let me be totally honest and potentially offensive and blunt" pattern developing in my PT life), the 5th of July used to be one of my very favorite days. 

While I have always enjoyed the 4th...the awesome Americana party at RH's family's house...the lake (which we had to forgo due to an infestation of toxic blue-green algae)....the cute matching outfits on all of the kids (including mine of course)...watermelon and red white and blue desserts......I have always found myself VERY TIRED by the time the actual night of the 4th rolled around.

I love living in a town where kids (of ALLLLLLL ages) get so excited about fireworks and love shooting them off several evenings before the holiday....but I kind of sort of possibly got a bit tired of of not being able to get to sleep until close to midnight 3 or 4 nights in a row because I live in a town where kids get so excited about fireworks.

True confession. 
Makes me old and unpopular.
And grumpy.

So by the time the 5th comes....I am ready (and VERY grateful) for an early-ish bedtime and a full boom/crash/bang-less night of sleep.

This year.....
Well, this year was a little different.

This year, the celebrating was different.

Yes...we had sparklers and watermelon and cute matching outfits (although for some reason no one in MY family could seem to wear them at the same time and actually MATCH) and great patriotic themed food....but there was something different about all of it.

I am searching for the right word to describe this difference.....


Something like that, anyway.

As I've mentioned....six weeks PT things still aren't like they used to be....and these "things" include emotions.

But...last night and the previous 3 nights when we were up to un-holy hours experiencing loud loud loud explosives there was an honest-to-goodness taste of


Sure, we had a great time with the kids on our weekend getaway, but all 5 of us knew that being able to order 2 desserts every night was a "celebrate being away from the disaster zone we call our hometown" treat and not real life.....

Sure we've had a wonderful company and dinner brought by dear friends but we all sat on the carpet (and by carpet I also mean the carpeted couch) and carefully avoided speaking about the fact that our real furniture was currently located under 2 tons of shingles and glass....

Sure I've taken the kids to the pool to swim but inevitably we run into "old neighbors" whom I haven't gotten to talk to since May 22nd and our discussions quickly turn to "Where-Were-You" stories....

But these last few nights have been DIFFERENT. 

For some reason, the underlying "disaster-mind" (that strange almost-physical feeling of slight pressure on every inch of your skin reminding you that life as you knew it is totally gone and you can't look back because there IS NO back) wasn't present.

Instead....there was loud laughter.
Louder (happy) explosions.
Glow bracelets on happy girls.
Glows sticks being used to smack unsuspecting friends for happy boys.
Blueberry and strawberry tarts.
Parents yelling "Don't chase your sister/brother/friend/anyone with that sparkler again!"
Filthy children....who were smiling.

Maybe the chaos and the loudness "drowned out" anything else?

Truthfully and unfortunately (but probably realistically) that anxiety is back this morning.

Today I woke up thinking about the stupid stupid stupid stupid inventory list I need to finish....
the insurance claims I need to sort out for furniture restoration and fixing frames of pictures that are salvageable....
the fact that the hatchback to my car is now completely broken (thanks to the rear-ending I received 3 weeks ago) and how I'm going to find the time to get that fixed....
the possibility that (according to my mom) there are still cabinets and light fixtures in my old driveway because the people from Habitat either didn't want them or forgot to come and get them.....

Just life.
Just stuff.
Just the "new normal" again.

But was so so so great to feel that "old normal" for a while last night.

In Psalm 116: 7 (which is the one marked forever by pine needles in my bible) it says:

"Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you."

Please remind me to remember....

My soul doesn't need a "certain kind of normal" to be at rest.
My soul can (and SHOULD) rest in the certain knowledge that God has dealt bountifully with me....
has taken care of me...
has taken care of my family....
has BEYOND supplied for my needs.

Now I KNOW that this family is not going to be staying up till midnight-ish every night doing fireworks (please dear Father in heaven no no no).....
but we found some of that old-fashioned non-anxiety ridden joy last night.
It's still out there.
It comes in little slices and pieces.

I am working on praying myself into the rest God wants me to return to....
It's slow-going some days....but I think it will come.

I also think I have to get that hatch-back fixed before it squashes one of my kids.

Got a lot of work to do today......
Better pray up and get moving.