It has been suggested that I resurrect the poor neglected blog again to document our crazy journey. So here goes. Backtracking to November 17, 2013 when everything in our world turned upside down. I had spent the month of November posting things I am thankful for on my Facebook wall. This was posted the morning of the 17th, the day (26 years earlier) that our youngest son was born and passed away.
Shortly after I posted this we went to church. Just after the morning service got underway the tornado sirens went off and we were told it was a serious threat. We sat in the hallway with friends waiting for the all clear. Andy and a few others were outside for a bit and did some video of this storm. We could tell it was headed right toward our neighborhood. Once it was over we decided to head home to see damage (totally thinking windows or roof damage). It quickly became apparent that we were not going to be allowed near our home which is on the main road through town. We could see downed power poles and began to get really frightened. We decided to try to go in through the back of the neighborhood. We got in...rescue workers had not yet arrived. The first thing I saw that really terrified me was a man driving a mini van that had every window blown out. As we got into the neighborhood the damage got more and more severe. When we got to within a couple of blocks of our home I saw a home I recognized (the others were mostly piles of wood). I started calling out names of neighbors and friends whose homes were gone. I was pretty much hysterical. We saw no people. We were both thinking that everyone was dead. We got onto our block but couldn't keep driving so we got out to try to walk to our house. We got somewhere within four or five houses from ours before we had to turn around because of debris that we couldn't get around blocking the road. We could smell gas and were stepping over live power lines. At that point, even though we couldn't see anything we knew our home was gone. Looking back I'm sure we were both in shock at this point.
This picture was taken by our neighbor literally a few seconds before the EF4 tornado hit our lovely little home.
This picture was our first look. It was taken within the first hour and sent to us by a first responder friend who was there.
We woke up the next morning homeless, in the comfortable guest room of our friends (our son Tom's in-laws). It was our 34th wedding anniversary. The following is my Facebook post from that morning.
The next day we finally got to go see what was left for ourselves. Driving into the neighborhood was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I literally could barely breathe and Andy thought he was having a heart attack (which he didn't tell me till it was over). The following was my fb status that evening.
The following was written early the morning of the fourth day:
I am also so very grateful that God led me to spend 2012 reading and rereading and leading Ann Voskamp's Bible study One Thousand Gifts. Because of that I not only have a completely changed view of gratitude and the difference being truly grateful makes in my life but I also have (safely on Facebook, not lost in a destroyed home) 900 plus pictures, many of my home that no longer exists! The picture below was one of the last ones my husband took when we first arrived at our home after the tornado...only the jacket of a beloved book but seeing it in the rubble was a reminder and a gift in itself.
I thank you for your prayers, dear friends. Keep them coming for a long time. It is still hard to put one foot in front of the other sometimes. But I KNOW that God is faithful and good and kind and He can be depended on no matter the circumstance. He has shown that to me over and over and over theses last few days and I know He won't stop now!
To be continued...
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