Friday, May 31, 2013

Moore, OK Tornado Clean-up

On Friday the 24th I left after my shift at work to head to Hastings to meet up with Bailey, Josh and Travis to start our adventure down to Oklahoma City. We ended up having to take two vehicles because we had so many donations of clothes, bedding and water! Bailey and I took the Honda Pilot and with Bailey as our Pilot we headed on the road. I fell asleep shortly after we started driving and that way the trip didn't seem so long :) We ended up getting there Friday evening and it took us about 7 hours total with the many potty stops we had to make for Bailey. We stayed with Josh's friend Thomas and his girlfriend Amanda. They have a little house in OKC that they rent and even have a hairless cat named Paisley. I was pretty excited that they had a cat and I had never seen a hairless cat so it was quite the experience. Amanda warned us about the cat before we went inside the house and after we got in Bailey said "I'm so glad you warned us about the cat" because we may have mistaken it for a large rat!

We all went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant and it was delicious! We all enjoyed some margaritas (minus Bailey of course) and had a great time. Bailey and I watched a couple moves while the guys and Amanda played drinking games. Then we got up bright at early at 7 to go start volunteering. We met up at a volunteer site that had shovels, masks and gloves for us and we waited in line for the buses that took us to the different sites that were damaged.

As we got closer and closer I kept wondering and wondering what it was going to look like in person. You see the images on the news but it was still a big shock when we finally saw all the piles of brick, wood, trees and belongings through the bus windows.

Poor Kitty that was found after being buried for 6 days! He didn't even have enough strength to drink water. The owner is holding him in this picture and had 3 other cats that were still lost. She had to take him to the vet and we wont ever know if he pulled through or not. While we continued to clean up at her house we made sure to keep an eye out for the other cats but had no luck. 

Through the destruction a symbol of how America will prevail! This picture was taken on the second day we were there in Moore. We were helping at Steve's house that was in a neighborhood that Obama had just visited hours earlier. 

People would spray paint their insurance company and address on their houses. Unfortunately we heard there was a cap on the amount of money people would receive from the insurance companies so who knows if they would get the value of their home back so they could rebuild. 

This carpeted area is where Steve's wife was during the tornado. She was in this closet with her two dogs covered up with a robe. Remarkably she did not even have a scratch! Steve was at work when the tornado passed and was worried about finding his wife when he returned home. The storm tracking in Oklahoma is so precise that they can pinpoint the street intersections that the tornadoes are crossing at that moment. 

Bailey and I with Steve, the homeowner. He wanted to take pictures of Bay's belly so he could remember who was helping him that day :)

Pretty leery finding! However the movie is based on Oklahoma tornadoes.

Spray paint reading "Love this home. Demolish per owner. we don't want it anymore!" Sad but not uncommon site in Moore. Houses could be categorized between repairable, demolish or pick up the remains. We sorted through the 2x4's and insulation to find photos, clothing or salvageable items that could still be used. Steve was excited to find a framed picture of his daughter but most of the stuff had to be set to the curb to be picked up for the junkyard. 

View of the OKC skyline as we headed from Moore to Oklahoma city. We could only stay about 3 hours each day because we would get so itchy from the insulation we were picking up. Travis got a pretty bad rash from it and Bailey and I got pretty sunburnt. We spent Sunday night putting vinegar on each other to help sooth the burns. Saturday night we went to Dave & Busters to play some arcade games and have supper and then Sunday night we ordered Papa John's Pizza (my request of course) and ate out on the deck. The weather in OKC was great and afterwards all of the girls went for a walk while the boys sat around the fire. 

The trip was quite an eye opening experience. Through the past years I have helped with major disasters including flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes now. When we helped at Katrina it was years after the hurricane had hit so they were in the rebuilding process. And as messy as flooding is, most of the houses are still salvageable but with this tornado the houses were knocked down to the foundation and only a very small percentage of Oklahoma homes have basements because of the high level of ground water. A homeowner can install a small shelter in the ground for about $2000. We also heard that they may put a new law in affect requiring all new homes to have a shelter installed. It is weird to think what you would do without a basement with winds reaching 200 mph. When we were younger we always had to go to the basement during storms and that was still scary. I can't imagine not having a place to go in that horrible storm.  You could definitely tell that the people of Moore had been through horrible tornadoes and all of the volunteering seemed to be very well organized. I'm sure the "shock factor" had already passed and everyone there was so nice and grateful for the help! I just wish we could have stayed longer!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Last minute road trip to... Moore, OK

Hi everyone! hope your week is going great!
I know the tornado victims and damage has always been in the back of my mind this week. Surprisingly I learned that Josh and Bailey are going down to Oklahoma to help volunteer and bring supplies and I figured well that seems like a perfect way to spend my 3 days off! I will miss the color run of course which I am very sad about but there will be plenty more of those races I can run in and this is a one of a kind opportunity. I am going to drive to Hastings to meet them after my shift and then sleep all the way down to Oklahoma probably. It will be devastating to see and I will have to prepare my heart for all of it. I can't imagine my home and neighbors' homes flattened! This will be Bailey and I's second misson trip together.

I made fun of her and said she is a lil crazy to go down there when she is 6 months pregnant but she replied "I'm pregnant, not a cancer patient.. I can rest when I die!" That is my attitude and I will also be able to cross off a goal on my list because I have been wanting to volunteer somewhere recently. From Hastings it is a 7 hour drive and I really wish Alex could join us but he has to stay home and make the money. We will be staying with one of Josh's friends down there so we won't have to pay for a hotel.

I will post all about it when I get back on Monday. Please pray for us and pray for the people we are helping because they need it oh so much!

She could see how every trouble is like a flood and you can either rise up on it or sink down in itand if you lean the weight of you — of it all — on the wood of the Cross, you always still rise.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Holy Experience

One of my friends on facebook posted this article from a website that I just couldn't not share! The author of the website is actually the author for  the book "A Thousand Gifts" which I have been meaning to read! She is a farmer's wife and has 6 kids but this particular post was about the tornado that struck Oklahoma on Monday. The tornado was an F5 and the death toll is at 24 which includes many children.
As you can see the houses in the tornados path were leveled

Astonishing map showing the path the largest recorded tornado in 1999 and the now largest tornado path. Literally  being in the exact same spot at one time! What are the chances?
This aerial photo shows the remains of homes hit by a massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday
you can see the dirt that was tore up where the tornado hit

Kay James holds her cat as she sits in her driveway after her home was destroyed by the tornado that hit the area on Monday

All this woman has left is the clothes on her back and her little kitty.

This article really made so much sense. Some people that aren't believers and even believers struggle with the fact that "if God is so Great then why does he allow bad things to happen?" My only answer is that these storms, shootings and hatred are all a result of the devil and his plan to knock us down causing frustration and widening the gap between us and God. Or maybe the answer to that question is that in order for us to see all the Good in this world we must first live through the bad. Because why would we even need God if our lives were perfect? Yes He would be there to thank but how grateful do you think we would be for all these blessings if the blessings were all we had and we didn't have the bad days.

Lord God I pray for every soul affected by these tornados. I pray that they may find a glimmer of hope in all this distruction and that they may become even a little closer to you through all of this. Help them to understand you hold all their tears in Your Mighty hands! Lord please bless Oklahoma with the money, supplies and volunteers needed to recover from this storm.

Here is another post from her site that I really enjoyed. It is so beautifully written and expresses what a lot of Christians feel I think.

You shut off the screen, pushed back the chair, found your feet, didn’t come up with an excuse or a distraction or an eyeroll, but you simply came to the child, to the man, to the lost, with the name of Jesus on your tongue and the fire of Christ in your belly and the heat of your Savior in your bones and the thing is: When you’ve been saved, you can’t stay.
When your Savior is in you, you can’t stay still.
When you love God, you have got to go.
Yes, there is no other way to begin or become or be: Be still and know He is God. And once you know He is God… how can you not let other people know? Experience Him? Know. Him? There’s simplicity for a soul: Stilling. Knowing. Then Going.
And it comes unforced, like a reviving wind – When the gentle stillness of God fills you … the burning love of Christ fuels you.
To. Go.
Christianity means someone goes. Christianity means someone comes. SomeOne left heaven, SomeOne went to a manger, to a Cross, to the dying and trapped and the buried. And if no one goes across the room, across the house, the sidewalk, the street, the country, how many will grow cold and fall asleep and drift off and away?
How many will be held captive and chained and bound and who will go and break down doors and break down walls and break down small boxes and the only way for your life to yield anything is to go.
Take one step, reach out your hand.
You don’t have to have anything — but Christ.
Don’t let the Great Commission be your life omission by thinking it’s a function of distance — instead of going the distance right where you are.
You’ve just got to go down the hall, across the room, to the end of the street, across town, over high walls, across county and state and country lines and reach right across barbed wire fences. If we’re the hands of Christ — how can we just sit on them? If our feet are shod with gospel of good news — how can they not go where there’s bad news?
Isn’t this always the holiest work of all — to lay aside an agenda to carry a cross and the presence of Christ just. one. step. further.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Birthday Weekend!

Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a great time celebrating the day of my birth ;) just kidding! I just thought I would post a little something about the events of this weekend. Saturday Alex and I loaded up mom's pot stand gift and headed to Marcus! We got home about an hour before Mike's party started and Julie, Kim, Jean were already there getting all the food ready. I put together the pot stand in the garden and showed it to mom. She loved it! I wish I would have got a picture of her with it. Everyone thought it was pretty cool and was definitely a great addition to the house. We had lots of family show up to celebrate Mikey. Rachel, Bill, Liam and Jack came from Chicago and Randy Rupp came from Denver! He surprised my dad and we were really glad to have him there. They of course did their traditional zambuka shots where they dip their fingers in the alcohol, light their fingers on fire, take the shot and blow out the fire. Fortunately there was a lot of wind and the fire would blow out very fast.
So after all the family left and there was only a few people left at the party I took a dip in the hot tub to ring in my birthday :) Everyone sang a very off key version of "happy birthday" to me at midnight which was pretty nice!
Little Mikey, His cute shoes and the Chocolates Aunt Lynn made with Mike's picture on it

Hannah and Kyla feeding the Bucket Calves - I teased the girls and said that they had to try the milk before they could feed the calves...they didn't fell for it ;)

Sunday Alex and I slept in and then had a quick breakfast before getting ready for the ceremony. We got to the high school early and mom had saved us seats in the front. The ceremony was great and here are a few facts about the class of 2013 from MMC.
* They received over $430,000 in scholarships
* They were the first class to graduate as 8 man footba ll champs from MMC ( Marcus has never won first in any sport..ever)
* They lost 2 very special classmates and referenced themselves as "a Family, not just a class". Amber Brownmiller died in a car accident when Michael was in elementary school and Sawyer Leavitt died in a car accident his Junior year.
* Sawyer Leavitt's family donated $325 to every senior in his class.
* Michael received a Faith & Farming Scholarship
* The ceremony was held on a rainy day but that didn't stop the gym from being packed to celebrate this great class!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Great Start to a Fantastic Weekend!

Alex told me a couple days ago that his family was coming over Friday night. I didn't really think to much of it and didn't put two and two together that it would be a celebration for my birthday! So when Alex got home from work he had a DQ ice cream cake in hand and was ready to mow/clean the house to get ready. I woke up at 4 pm because I had worked the last 3 nights and had to still go get an outfit for this weekend and pick up some groceries so I was pressed for time. But I found everything I was looking for clothes wise at Old Navy and got an awesome deal by signing up for their card ( I don't normally do this and would have said no right away but it was $15 for just checking to see if you were approved and 25% off additionally if you were approved = $40 savings for me!!)

After a quick trip to Hy-vee I was back home where the party was already starting. Easton was playing baseball in our backyard with Julie and Alex and Eric were getting the grill ready. We had PLENTY of food..brats, potato/pasta salad, watermelon, baked beans, corn on the cob, bacon wrapped chicken, chips and salsa. I was in Carb Heaven! This was the first day in 2 weeks that I didn't count my carbs and aim for staying below 100 grams so I indulged a bit :) I counted them after everyone left and lets just say I had never seen that high of a number before! But on Monday it is time to buckle down because I am actually enjoying this low-carb diet and seeing results!
Alex's friend Cody and his friend Megan came over too and Cody even got be a card and gift certificate to Banana Republic. Alex's mom and dad got me a fancy garden accessory and a cute card. Debbie got me a lilac plant.

"I was worried you weren't going to get a birthday card with a cat wearing a sweater on it"

It was a great time and the ice cream cake hit the spot! Alex doesn't want to run our air because we need a new filter so it has been pretty stuffy in our house but thank goodness the fans work!

I just feel so blessed to have a husband that put all of this together and remembered me on my birthday enough to plan a little grill out. And I feel especially blessed to have been welcomed into an amazing family!


My Life This Second!

Favorite Funny Moment

Favorite Song
"Starts With Me" Tim Timmons
It's so catchy and has a beautiful meaning..Check out a sample here
You're my revival song, you start where I belong
On my knees, on my knees 
When I am weak or strong you meet me here
When I'm on my knees, on my knees 
Oh, it starts with me

Favorite Read 
Just finished The Great Gatsby in preparation for seeing the movie. I read it in High school but needed a refresher. Currently I'm on Book 2 of the Fifty Shades Series and I'm trying to finish it soon because the plot is kinda BLAH. 

Favorite Moment
Tonight Alex's brother Eric said that they have been doing a bible study with their neighborhood block. Eric told Alex that he would really enjoy it and he told me that he is going to try and get Alex to go. Makes my heart jump for joy because Eric is one of the biggest influences in Alex's life right now and I know that if someone he looks up to can give him the push to go to a bible study then Alex would really enjoy it :)

Favorite Goose-bumps Story
I heard this story briefly at work this morning and then heard more about it on Klove today. This man lost his 14 year old daughter after she had several seizures in August 2012. He was finally cleaning out her room and found a winning lottery ticket priced at $4.85 Million. The man was facing foreclosure and now he can pay for his kids to go to college and is even donating some of the money to his church. His daughter listened to Klove and it is just so amazing what God does when you least expect it! I truly believe this was a way that the girl could wrap her arms around her family after her loss and let them know that everything will be ok.

Favorite Piece of Mail

My business cards came in the mail today for my Etsy Shop :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Whew... Blog Transfer Complete!

Well thank goodness I decided to switch servers now rather than later because that was kind of a taxing switching everything over. I wanted to have everything on one site and one blog so I switched over all my pages and posts. And added category labels to make things easier to find. I think I will like this blogger site...I have been using it for my personal blog for a while now.
It is my last shift of 3 and my last shift until Alex and I go home for Mike's graduation! I am super excited!!!
I am happier than this kitten with ribbons!

and I will be also celebrating my Birthday at home with my family which is always a good thing!
I will be a quarter of a centery old! Holy Crap!

My Brother will be going to Iowa State in the fall and I am very happy for him. I know he will love it there and have lots of fun..and hopefully learn a little something too. A lot of Marcus people go there so he will feel right at home. And I'm also excited to tailgate and go to some ISU football games.

On a separate topic, I wanted to post a really good article about my low carb diet that I found helpful and motivating. Here is the link
It explains that 0-50 grams of carbs a day is for rapid weight loss/ketosis and is helpful for diabetics. and 50-100 grams of carbs (which is what I am doing) is beneficial for steady weight loss such as 1-2 pounds a week. I have noticed a 2 pound weightloss in about 1.5 weeks but I don't like to go off weightloss so much as to how my clothes fit. The article discusses that depleted energy is normal and I sure have felt that which is not good in conjunction with the night shift. But I think that eventually my body will get used to it. And thankfully the author of this article also discusses how it is good to take days off and eat carbs to replenish.

Another exciting thing is that I found out what resort we will be staying at when we go to the Dominican Republic. It is Ocean's Blue & Sand Resort..Here are some Pics!

It is an all-inclusive resort with a rock climbing wall, bowling alley and 2 huge beautiful pools. It will be the first time Alex and I have been to an all-inclusive and I'm sure he will be very excited about all the food! I can not WAIT and it is a great place to celebrate Dacey and Kyle. I have a feeling after looking at this place we are going to want to stay longer than 4 nights.

That's all for now, have a great weekend and I will post lots of pictures soon from Mike's graduation.

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