Sunday, December 4, 2011

Disney World!

We just got home from a much needed vacation this Friday.
We got to go to Disney World!
Our pastor sat us down one afternoon and told us that the church wanted to send us out of town. "Your church loves you very much and would like to send your family to Disney World." Not the exact words, but close enough. I cried.

So after a nasty week at work, with Black Friday and Kohls opening at midnight, working 17hrs that day, plus another 9 the night afterwards, I was ready for our trip on Monday.

We arrived in Orlando at our resort around 230pm. Got our "key to the world" and went! Went to Epcot first, rode all the space stuff. Most of our dinner reservations were in Epcot, so we spent a lot of time there before and after dinner. Epcot was really fun, and even with as much time as we spent there, we still didnt even see everything! My favorite ride there was Soarin'.

After dinner that night we went and closed down the Magic Kingdom. They were open till 1am. We got Jade to ride Thunder Mountain, and she loved it. And Beth was right, something about seeing Cindarella's Castle all lit up brought tears to my eyes. It truly felt like a dream.

The next day we woke up and went to Hollywood. Lots of simulators in Disney these days. They mess with my stomach, but you have to try everything at least once, right? Hollywood was neat, lots of shows to see. The Rock n' Roller Coaster,  was scary-awesome. I think we all walked off of that one thinking "Holy crap!" If you can ride that one, you can do any coaster in the park.

"The coaster accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds (making this the second-fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, behind only Test Track and the fastest ride at Disneyland Paris). The riders experience 4.5g (44 m/s2) as they enter the first inversion, more than an astronaut does on a space shuttle launch" -wikipedia

Wednesday we went to the Animal Kingdom. Lots of walking, lots of animals. A couple of neat rides and shows. Safari stuff. Rapid rivers ride, where Matt got soaked (and had to walk around in wet pants all day, poor guy). The Everest ride... whoa. I walked off of that thing and thought I was gonna be sick. THe dinosaur ride was awesome!! It made me laugh a lot. Make sure you're in the front row for that one. Haha.

Thursday we spent almost the whole day at the Magic Kingdom. I've been to Disneyland a few times, and Magic Kingdom is exactly the same, but a little bigger. It brought back memories as we sat through the cheesy Tiki Room show, and Country Bear Jamboree. Rode Thunder Mountain a few more times. Loved the old-school Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribean.

We had so much fun. And the best part was that it was just us, enjoying each other and the sites around us, without being rushed. Just being. Going where ever, whenever.  I thought in the middle of the week that we would be there forever, and on the last day was sad that it was already over. It was such a great experience, and I'm so glad that we got to go.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One year. Six months.

Almost a year ago (this Thanksgiving week), on Black Friday, we drove through various neighborhoods looking for houses for sale. We drove by our soon-to-be house, almost not even wanting to look at it (by that time, I was really tired of driving around and not looking forward to my 14hr shift at work).

A week later, we were shown the house, and fell in love.

During the coming month, we would put an offer on it, await inspections, put a new roof on it, sit in front of it and eat lunch. Drive by it once a week.

January 15th, we closed on the house, and spent the night there in sleeping bags.

Almost 4 months later, it was destroyed by one of the worst tornadoes in over 50 years.

I guess I'm feeling a little depressed about all of it lately. I think it's because so much happened this time last year with our house. I was pretty obsessed with it. There was about a month and a half where everything we did was house-buying related, and the anticipation was pretty intense.

Now, a year later, we're waiting on house stuff again, but it's on a grander scheme. I cant say that the anticipation is worse... not yet anyway. I think that we've been waiting for something to happen for so long, that we've lost the reality of the situation. Once we get our building permit and get this show on the road, we'll be pulled back into the stress and excitement.

I'm so ready.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

5/23/11 Note from Facebook

I forgot I had written this, the day after the tornado.....

Just wanted to give you all an update.
Matt and I went back to Joplin this afternoon to see what we could do with stuff from our house.

We managed to get most of our clothing. Yay for my Levi's! Matt even found a pair of shoes.

I found my knitting needles, but the yarn I count as a loss.

I found my Wii, BlueRay player, and the DS. Who knows if any work.

Someone else's flat screen tv was in my kitchen.

I still had a pot of coffee on the maker, and it was still plugged in on the counter where I left it.

Gas was still spewing out of our meter.

There was a blue X on the wall.

There was a bright orange "GAS LEAK" spray painted on my driveway.

There was a huge piece of metal siding wrapped around the maple tree in the front yard.

There was a pink hoodie hugging the trunk of my poor apricot tree.

My rosemary survived.

My hamper still had dirty (dirtier, now) clothes in it.

I found a pot that had previously had a plant in it. The pot was spotless, but the plant seems to have escaped.

Jade's room only lost the roof, and one wall caved in.

All of the remotes were still on the coffee table.

Matt's purple truck started right up. It has no glass, but the lights work and he drove it to his parent's house.

Everything is covered in debris. Insulation, dirt, pieces of other people's lives.

I hugged my neighbors.

Thank you all for your support. We will be okay. We are alive.

Love you.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rebuilding... hope.

Today we all got up early to go out and have breakfast together. Zoe had a grooming appointment we had to get her to by 8:30am (which is also when school starts) so we all piled up in the car and shivered our way down to Chick-fil-A for breakfast. We got our food and started toward Jade's school. Which is way the hell out east of us. My dad's neighborhood is on the way, and we decided to eat in his driveway, and see what progress he's making in his rebuilding process.

Dad's neighborhood is almost unrecognizable. They got hit pretty bad. Really bad. Even though they were east of us, where the tornado was supposedly smaller/weaker, it doesnt look that way. I still almost cried. And the majority of the neighborhood is being rebuilt! They're making much better progress over there than I've seen in Joplin. Maybe it's just an illusion, because that part of Duquesne is so compact.

Anyway, Matt's afraid that we wont even find Dad's house. But we turn onto his street, and there it is. With 2 rooms framed! We park in the driveway to eat, and I'm just so excited for my dad. I want to get out of the car and go check it all out, but it's wet and cold. So I send my dad a text telling him how excited I am for him.

It makes me excited for us, too. We've told our builder that our budget looks great, so I guess he just has to go downtown to get our building permit stuff going. But I think once my house gets to where my dad's is, it'll really feel like something's happening. And that's a good feeling. :)  Seeing my dad's house this morning has brought back some of the hope that I've felt myself losing.

For a long time, I think I could honestly say that I didnt know what hope was. As Christians, Jesus is our Hope. But I couldnt wrap my head around that. I couldnt understand that my hope should be in Jesus... to take care of everything. To comfort me, to save me, to move me in the right directions. To hold me and tell me that everything's going to be okay, that He's got it all figured out, and I dont have to worry about it. That His plan is perfect. That the world is broken and hurting, but He's there, and He knows. Nothing surprises Jesus.

Maybe I havent exactly been losing hope. Because I know that God's got it all under control. My house will be rebuilt.  Worrying doesnt make anything happen any faster. I just think that I've fallen in a rut. I still have hope in Jesus. He is my hope. But why doesnt it excite me like it should? Where's the fire inside of me that I long to feel? Instead I feel cold, and lazy. Sluggish. Unmotivated. Blah.

But I know where my answers lie: in the Bible. Have a problem? It's in there. Hehe, my friend Jennifer came up with a neat "slogan" so to speak. Instead of "There's an app for that." It's "There's a Psalm for that."  ...Sad? There's a psalm for that. Frustrated? There's a psalm for that. You can use it for just about anything.

Hopeless? There's a psalm for that....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Thoughts

Things have felt pretty stressfull these last few weeks.

1. Work is being updated, specifically, my department. We're unsure of the exact date, and even the process of it, how many people will be needed, etc. Ack!

2. Got interviewed by Kohl's videographers about my experience with the tornado. They're going to be making a video to help with future natural disaster procedures, what they can do, how to respond. Good stuff, and I'm glad that I could be a part of it! Kohls has been great during all of this, they've been a big help, and I'm thankful for a company who does actually care about their employees.

3. Trying not to stress out about rebuilding. So much has to go into it. So many things need to work together. And, I'm worried about not having enough money. But we've been blessed so insanely much throughout this experience, and I know that the blessings arent just going to stop coming. God has his plan for me, to prosper me, not to harm me, to glorify Himself and His works. I hope that people can see my hope in Him through this. I hope that they can see how much He loves us!

4. I was totally convicted about idolizing stuff this week. I think the enemy creeped in and told me that being sacrificial is foolish.  All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with giving something else up to make time for God... Specifically, a question from our group study: "What things in your life cancel out need for and time with Jesus?" And we're supposed to be fasting this week.  It made me think, "What am I giving up for God?  ...Well, I gave up my house, and everything that was in it! I gave up planning anything, I gave up a comfortable life, all the stuff in it, everything I knew, I had, was gone in the tornado. What else does God want from me?!!!" And I was angry.

You know what God wants from me? ME.

God gave up his only son. Jesus laid down his life for us. His life. He gave up everything for me. It's very humbling. Because all of the things that I just rattled off, make no matter. It's all just stuff that can be replaced. The 2 most important pieces of my life here on earth walked out of that splintered mess the tornado left behind. By God's mercy and grace, they walked out.

God gave everything up for me. Why should He expect anything less in return?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

oh my job, oh my job.

I'm looking through pictures of the ruin that was my neighborhood the week following the tornado. Wondering if it would be tactful to bring my laptop to work tomorrow morning to share these photos with some people.

We have a couple of big, BIG corporate people coming to our store tomorrow, and one of the reasons for their visit is to hear from the survivors about their experiences, and take notes on what to do the next time a natural disaster hits, so that the company is better prepared to help their associates.

I'm sort of excited to share my story, hoping that I can tell it in full, and that these people will actually listen to me. Also, I wonder how I can convey the total loss to them. You've all seen the photos and the footage of Joplin... but you cannot grasp how devastating it truly is without seeing it with your own eyes... smelling it...

I wonder if they'll drive through town. I would suggest that they go stand on the field at Joplin High School, and just spin in a circle. The scene from there is heart wrenching.

I have mixed feelings about this visit. I feel that it's good that they want to know how to help better. But I hope that they remember that they have real people that went through a real experience here. And that the entire city was affected. Just because their store is still up and running, and that they have employees that are fine and still working, doesnt mean that there isnt hurt and a scar on the heart of Joplin. That the tornado isnt still in the front of many people's minds. I mean, some people have to drive through it every day. We arent going to forget about it, or move on yet. And I dont think we should be expected to.

So I'm hoping for compassion here. I'm hoping that these people can feel it, the pain, the loss, and also the hope we have. I hope I dont walk into a fake smile, and empty words that try to comfort. Not only do they have associates that lost, but we also deal with customers who've lost as well. Joplin's in this together.

Should I bring pictures? I just might... "This was my home. My husband and 12yr old daughter walked away from that. And we're going to rebuild in the same place. You want to help your associates? Then just remember that we have a lot to deal with after a natural disaster. We need support. Compassion. Understanding. Be there for us. Ask how you can help. Ask how we're doing. Dont forget. Just, dont forget."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life Update

It's almost been 3 and a half months since the tornado ripped through Joplin. I still lay awake some nights in unbelief. I can usually avoid having to drive through the middle of town, but when I cant, it still takes my breath away, and sometimes I still cry.

People are still having conversations about where they were that day. We will never forget it. I dont want to forget.

As for things moving on... they are. Slowly.

Jade's enjoying being in school, and is in the colorguard this year. Yay for parades that I cannot avoid any longer. I suppose I should have a little school spirit.

We have talked to a builder. He's given us a good idea of what to expect. He's sent us a budget list for a floorplan we've sent him. Now we're just waiting for him to get in contact with all of the appropriate people for permits and all that paperwork crap. Hopefully it will be all worked out so that the teams building our house will also be building the Newman's at the same time. That'll be so cool. :)

In October, I will be setting something up for the Art Walk. We're super excited about it. We should have pictures, and I will definately share when it's all done.

And finally: work and the holidays. They have some Christmas ornaments out. All of the candles are spicy, pumpkin and cinnamon, and fall scents that make me think of my mom's house. I found myself almost in tears tonight, while I was scanning some Halloween and fall decorations.

When we found our house last year, we were almost able to close on it before Christmas. We hoped we'd be spending Christmas in a brand-new home. That did not happen, we actually closed the second week of January. But I'd been looking forward to actually having Christmas Eve at my house this year, having the space to actually decorate, and a place I wanted to decorate. I was going to have a new Christmas tree, and smelly candles, and put out all of the cheesy Christmas cookie jars my grandmother gave me.

And now I dont even have that house to decorate anymore. I'm certainly not going to go all-out seasonal decor in THIS house. It's depressing to see all of the decorations at work, especially when I spy something that I would have liked to put in my home, knowing exactly where I wanted to put it, how nice it would look, and how cozy it would feel. But that's not going to happen for over a year. I find myself thinking that I would like to just skip the holidays this year.

And then I feel stupid. Cause it's all just STUFF! More of it wont make me happy. It doesnt make me who I am. My house and all the stuff in it, didnt define me, and I dont want it to. I get wrapped up in feeling sad and mourning all the stuff that I lost...

Sadness can blind you to what you have. You can drown in sadness, let it suffocate you, consume you. And you get to a point where you can just see the surface above you.

God always comes in, and reaches down, and pulls me out. Patiently dries me off yet again, and reminds me that I have HIM, and that He is all that I need.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I cant think of a title for this one.

Got home yesterday from our annual camping trip with my dad's side of the family. It was so nice to be out of town. Being at our usual spot on Stockton lake, enjoying my family, felt more normal than what I've been living recently. I could slowly feel my body uncoiling, all that tension leaving me. My head doesnt feel like it could explode at any moment. I felt like I reconnected with my husband and daughter. I know that they love me. And I love them more than I can say.

Oh man, the stars out there are amazing. You could see Milky Way bands the minute the sun was down. Matt and I took the rain guard off of our tent, and laid there under the stars, enjoying each other's company, not having to say a single word. Truly content. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

Matt made some great food. We had kabobs, steak, ribs, and an experimental chicken. I had this whole chicken just sitting in the freezer. I thought we could throw it in our cast iron dutch oven and throw it on the fire and see what happened. Matt put in some onion, red pepper and carrot, put the chicken on top with salt, pepper and olive oil, covered it up and placed some hot coals on the lid. We checked it from time to time. After about 3 hours, it was gorgeous. Meat just fell off the bone. The skin was beautiful. I wanted to take a picture, but my phone was dead. We love eating when we're camping. :)

Anyway, we're back in town, getting back to the new norm.

Miss Jade is in the process of getting braces. Today we went in and she had some spacers installed. In 2 weeks, she'll be getting an expander. Should put her in braces sometime in October. My poor girl.

Before I go, I thought I'd share a dream I had last night. Just a quick one, where I was singing "What Wondrous Love is This." I was alone, and then joined by many voices singing with me. It was beautiful. And I woke up half humming. I love when I dream about Jesus.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thank you.

I just wanted to take the time to say "Thank you!"

I have been blessed upon blessed in this season. I have had to deal with some of the most frustrating things I can think of. Probably the most I will ever have to deal with. And I have more to deal with in the future!

But so many of YOU have been there for me. Next to me, hugging me, sending me scriptures (even at the ass-crack of dawn) loving me with yarn, loving me with cookbooks, smiles, words of encouragement.

People from near and far have given us money, gift cards, clothes, food, toys, games, furniture, a place to stay. Have come from different states to help with the demo of my house.

This thing has changed my life. Not for the bad. It's going to be SO good!! Do you see that?! Even if things dont end up being the way I want them to be, they are going to end up the way God intends them to be.

In my wavering world, GOD is the only constant. Forever loving, everlasting, never changing.

YOU are a blessing to me. God is using you to bless me. Whether you believe in Him or not. Mercy and grace are abounding. I am so thankful that God has given you generous hearts.

Thank you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Comfort in purpose.

Last night when Matt came to bed, he told me of how the man across the street came over and aske for help moving a piece of furniture. He thinks that the gentleman saw what Jade and a friend had written on our driveway with sidewalk chalk... "Pray for Joplin. God Bless. EF-5 Joplin Tornado survivers live here. Pray for Joplin. Hope for Joplin." Then Matt tells me that the man lost two relatives in the tornado.

I found myself overwhelmed by sadness. And crying, I prayed to God to heal the hearts of those who lost friends, family, maybe faith. And once again, I realized that God puts us all in places for a purpose.

Here I was, thinking that this isnt my neighborhood. I'm a stranger on a strange street, in a strange house. But Matt was here for the man across the street on purpose. We are here for something.

People lived through the tornado on purpose. And people died for a purpose.

I find comfort in knowing that things happen on purpose. It gives me a great hope in God's plan.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the
wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfull his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD endures
Do not forsake the work of your hands." Ps 138:7-8

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Too Hot!!

This year we've had the craziest weather. We've had a blizzard, (for us it was, over a foot and a half of snow) and a tornado, and now it's effing hot ALL the time! 100+ degree temps, and there's no relief in sight. Even the swimming pool at our friend's house was too warm to really enjoy.

You know, I've been finding myself very complainy and "Grr" a lot lately. I dont know why, and I dont like it. Sure, my life was totally altered in May. But is it so bad now? Not really. We have our own house, we have our jobs, our health. We have an amazing family who has given so much support. That's including our church family. With out any of them, I dont know where we'd be right now. Still, somedays it takes everything in me to tell you that I'm okay.

Little annoyances arise when I try to do something, mostly in the kitchen, and realize that I'm missing tools. Do I really need to go buy a baster right this second? No, I can just baste my chicken with a spoon. Must I bake muffins, or should I just find something else to make? But these issues shouldnt ruin an entire day...

Between the hot, the long hours at work, the stress this tornado business had put me through, I think I'm really just exhausted. And it's taking a toll on my attitude, and my family and work friends suffer my complaining and bad attitude as a result.

So I apologize, friends, family. Bear with me. This mourning/trauma/depression, whatever you want to call it, isnt over yet, though I wish I could just put it in a pocket and hide it and pretend it's not happening.

My hope in God is all that is really keeping me from losing it sometimes, I think.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Soul Clings to the Dust.

Just drove through town, down 20th street for the millionth time. Couldnt take it this time. Cried. I'm having a hard time remembering what things looked like.

As we drove, all I could think about was the people who had to endure the tornado's wrath in their homes. People clutching their children, their husbands, boyfriends, parents, siblings. Scared, in the dark. Hearing the destruction without realizing how horrendous it really was outside. Some knowing how horrendous it was, crouching in their "safe place," covering their heads, suddenly knowing that they are no longer "inside" their houses, maybe even taking a peek at what was going on, only to see debris flying all around them.

I think of what their souls cried out. "Help us, save us, dont let us die. Please God please." So many people crying out to God. So many. People that hadnt prayed in years, people who arent believers in the first place. I wonder what that sounded like to God. I wonder how that made Him feel.

My head cant wrap around the experiences some had to go through. It breaks my heart. But thinking about the outcry to God gives me great hope.

My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word! (psalm 119:25)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"home" sick.

Last night Matt and I were watching "Star Trek: Voyager" when all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with homesickness. This house isnt my house. The couch I'm sitting on, isnt my couch. I cant let my doggy out in the backyard to hunt bugs to her heart's content. I cant sit on MY deck and listen to the music of cicadas on a hot summer night. I miss my home.

But it's not really my home.

Today the sermon at church was about putting on the armor of God. Specifically today, "and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." (Eph 6:15)

Then we flipped over to Ephesians 1. And I was reminded that we are sojourners in the world. That we have been given many riches in Christ, the riches of heaven. That is so much more than what we "have" here on Earth. Everything we had/have has been given to us by God anyway. It all belongs to Him. And what I have waiting for me in heaven, my inheritance, is so amazing that my brain cannot even comprehend it.

Since the brokeness isnt in my face all the time anymore, that I'm becoming comfortable in my surroundings, I feel like my dependance on God is slipping away. That I've got it all covered now. Everything's going to be okay.

But difficulties still lie ahead. Insurance stuff, building. And my hope is in God's plan. HE is not slipping away. I slip away. I become forgetful. I forget how much hope and peace He brought me immediately following the tornado. But Ephesians 1 reminded me. God gave His son for me. Jesus suffered loss of home, gave up everything in His comfortable perfect place in heaven to become homeless and poor for 30 years, ultimately to give His life for our sins, for our good.

I am afraid of forgetting. I need constant reminders, and I must look to God's word for those.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter Night!

That's right, baby. J and I are going to go see Harry Potter tonight at midnight. She made herself a wand from a branch from a tree that's in front of our "house." Quotation marks because really we only have the floors left. Anyway, she decorated it, and it looks pretty neat. She also wanted to make t-shirts, but we didnt get around to it. And honestly, I'm getting tired of spending money.

Isnt that a weird thing to hear a woman say? =P I'm tired of spending money on stuff that I already HAD. Stuff that I need again. And groceries are expensive. And I dont even have to buy canned or dry goods. Got a lot of that from donated food at church. And I'm not working as much as I was, AND I was an idiot and paid my car payment twice in one week. Sheesh. Okay, rant over.

Along the lines of ranting... my husband told my pastor last night that I like to be mad. We'd been talking about how we're feeling lately, and I expressed that I dont like this "back to normal" feeling. Cause it's not normal. It's the "new normal" as some of us at church are calling it. Anyway, my pastor asked why, and M told him that it was because I dont have a reason to be angry anymore. And that I like to be angry. Hehehe. Well, Steev has known me long enough to know that I have anger issues sometimes. Mostly at Christmas (I have retail rage). Gee wiz.

So, something happier. I got to hand out "Watch for God" bracelets to some co-workers last night. I shared how I found them in my bedroom while I was digging a pair of jeans out of the debris. So now they know the story, and can tell it too. Definately a neat thing.

Oh. Here is a video I'd like you to watch. This is Beth and Russ. The first people I saw after the tornado. The first people I got to hug. Russ walked me to my house. I love these guys.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


So, we just moved into our rental over 4th of July weekend. It's big. It's more space than I feel that we need. More space than we can fill. Fill it with what? Yeah. We're kind of going to be living more simplified, which isnt bad.

Things are beginning to feel more normal again. M's mom bought J a nice dresser at a yard sale. J's room definately feels more like a bedroom, and I could tell the difference in J's attitude right away. It's amazing how much comfort a piece of furniture can bring. I suppose I'd like the living room a lot more if we had furniture in it. But I guess I really dont mind having a pc monitor as a tv, sitting on a big cardboard box, with an office/waiting room couch. Using boxes as side tables really isnt awful. Who cares if your glass leaves a ring? Hahaha.

The living room really could use the most work. We scored a really nice, big, diningroom table last Thursday. We can now seat 8 people comfortably. Our bedroom really only had a bed in it to begin with, so I dont care if there's furniture in there or not (the walk-in closet is so nice, we dont need dressers).

Honestly, though, I dont really care about that stuff all that much. I'm more worried about kitchen things, because I use those the most. I'm most certainly missing having a toaster, and tupperware. All the leftovers we've had have gone into ziplock bags. Kinda weird, since I'm talkin about soup and tuna helper, haha. And all 30 of my cookbooks, and almost 3 years worth of Taste of Home magazines bit the dust in the tornado. Super Sadface!

I've got J knitting. She's currently working on an elephant, and some coasters for her bedroom. Just like her mama. Cant work on just one thing. I have a Rammy from "Castlecrashers" that I'm working on (my own pattern!), and an elephant too. A pink one. What's wrong with pink elephants?! :)

So life seems to be resuming as usual. I'm not sure that I like that or not. I sort of miss the urgency of things, the uncertainty of things. The uncomfortable-ness and a real sense of trusting God and His plan for my family, and most importantly, His kingdom.

I dont want to forget what this is all about... God.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hurry up July!

It's been 5 weeks since the tornado.
I am still living with M's co-worker. Hopefully, not for much longer. That might sound mean, but I really just want my own place to live. My own space. Not worrying about if I'm bothering someone.

So what's happened in the week or so since I've written last? Almost nothing. Our insurance company still hasnt given us our settlement check. We'll be paying yet another mortgage payment on a house that doesnt even exist anymore.

Oh yeah. They demo'd our house last Friday. I had to leave when they started tearing down J's room. And it sounded awful. Breaking wood, glass... I could only think of how horrible the destruction sounded crashing down around my husband and daughter during that terrible storm.

Also, this isnt over yet. I drove through town like a million times the other day. It was bad. I'm tired of the dusty dirty smell of town. I'm tired of all the brown, splintery wasteland. You can look down sidestreets and it seems like you're looking over the edge of the world. The blackness of night is almost indescribable. Like driving through Kansas at 2am. Just black. Desolate. What remains of the hospital shines on the horizon. I almost expect zombies to attack when I'm down on 20th street. This is what the world will look like someday. After a bomb, or not. Just some day. Broken, dirty, desolate. Lonely. It breaks my heart. Every. Day.

It'll get better at some point. I just wish I knew when.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Patience and Grace

I have come to realize many things these last 3 weeks. Things like, how good people really can be. How much I love my family and how much they love me.

There is evidence of God's grace all around me. He is answering prayers all the time. We will have a home soon. Temporary yes, but a home. My dad, Beth and Russ, they have found homes. Churches from all over the country are sending teams to Joplin to help do anything that victims need. God is pouring out His love on this city, through organizations, people, HIS church, from near and far away. He is opening hearts to give generously. He is providing people with hearts that want to give, to help, to just be there for us.

We were singing a song "All I have is Christ" last week. By the end of the song, I'd had a revelation. THis is not a song to be sung in mourning! I had been singing it as if He was all I had left. My house is gone, all I have is Christ. That's not right. It is to be sung with gladness! ALL I have is Christ. Nothing else matters. One day, everything will look like my poor destroyed house. But Jesus never changes. He is the only constant. Forever.

And so. I'm passing the days in our room, mostly. Sort of regretting that I had told Kohls that I was only available for ad sets. Working during the day would give me something to do.

I'm kind of bored. Zoe sleeps a lot. I feel bad for her... she doesnt really get to run around the backyard. She's on a leash all the time. Our new place wont have much for a backyard, either. We'll figure something out.

Maybe I'll even get to start a new herb garden. Or plant some flowers. I hope so.

We'll see.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God and Elephants

Two amazing things happened today.

1. There is a little girl who is knitting as many elephants as she can before the 17th, and she's asking people to pledge to donate money per elephant she makes. Proceeds go to the Red Cross in Joplin, elephants are going to some very lucky children in Joplin. This little girl is such a blessing. I thanked them for what they are doing, and they offered to donate yarn to me. I am overwhelmed by the love I am feeling from fellow knitters! <3 Thank you "Elephants Remember Joplin."

2. My realtor called today. One of her rentals is freeing up this month, and we are at the top of her list of possible tenants. Thank you Jesus! Thank you, thank you! I cannot even begin to praise as much as is deserved. The evidence of grace is overwhelming. God is good!

Monday, June 6, 2011

2 weeks.

I am sitting here waiting for the gas company to call me back so I can ask them what my balance is, and to shut off our gas (which spewed out of our meter for days after the tornado). I have finished with the electric and water companies. Spending almost an hour on the phone between the two. I will need more minutes on my phone soon.

It's hard to believe that the tornado hit two weeks ago. Since then, we have dug out as much as we can. Clothes survived, some didnt. Sweaters are ruined. The dishes in my dishwasher survived, and so did most of the stuff in my lower cabinets. I lost all of my yarn, but did find my knitting needles. We found our wedding album. There is no reason for us to go back to the house for awhile. The last time we were there, we stayed for all of 10 minutes. I just cant handle it anymore.

I miss my house.

I miss the feeling of being Home. It's the worst at night and after work. Because now I have to go to someone else's home. Try not to be noisy on the staircase. Make myself sleep when I'm not tired. Sometimes I can lay in bed and daydream about going home. Finding my husband and doggy asleep on the couch, while netflix plays on the tv. Making myself a snack in my kitchen. Smelling fresh mowed grass on the wind blowing through the kitchen window. The feel of the cool ceramic tiles on my feet. I want to listen to my daughter practicing her piano. I want to play with my dog in the backyard. I want to smell my rosemary growing near the deck. I want to cook in my kitchen.

I want to go home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The world is upside-down

On May 22nd, 2011 at 5:45pm, my life changed forever.

I went to work early that evening. The sky to the west was black and ominous. Walked into the store and stopped to talk to my boss. She told me about a dream she had 2 days prior about us all standing at the windows and watching a tornado coming. Or going. I cant remember. I actually couldnt remember what I had done the entire day before going to work, until my husband told me later on.

5 minutes after I get to work, we are all coralled into the customer service/bathroom/breakroom area, under a tornado warning for our area. I went and logged on to one of the computers to check the radar. Other's had the news on in the breakroom. Calls started coming in on people's phones that a tornado had touched down somewhere in town, but they couldnt tell us exactly where it was. I just assumed it was somewhere on the edge of town, like always. Tornados never go through Joplin. Just around it.

About 20 minutes later, we are cleared to leave customer service and resume our work positions. I decide to try to give my husband a call. At the same time, someone reports that the Home Depot in town was gone. If a tornado hit coming from the west (which it would have) then that meant there was a good possibility that my house was in it's path. I live almost in a direct line west of Home Depot. I try calling my husband. Cell phone is going to voice mail. The house phone is busy. I try over and over. Finally, fear sets in. What if my house got hit? What if my husband is dead?! My daughter?!! I tell my boss that I cant get a hold of him. I tell her that I have to leave. I clock off and rush to my car. From the parking lot, you cant even tell that there had been a tornado in town.

I drive down one of the major streets. Traffic is insane. So I go down a side street. I travel about 5 blocks and start seeing trees down. My friend calls and asks if we're okay. I dont know if we are okay. I dont know if my family is okay. I keep driving and the damage gets worse and worse. I'm between tears and freaking out. I dont know whether to cry or to scream, or to mourn the loss of my family.

Finally, I cant go any further. There is a huge tree in my way. I realize that I am on the same street that my dear friends Beth and Russ live on. I see their house. It doesnt have a roof on it. I ditch my car, and run to their house, around trees, over power lines, up their steps. I scream their names. Beth walks out of a back room, clutching her 3 month old baby, and she has a look of horror on her face. Her front door wont open, and I'm on their porch. I just want to hug her. All I can hear are smoke detectors and car alarms, people screaming each other's names. I run to the back of their house, go inside and hug Beth. Nothing else feels real. She asks me if I'm okay. If my family is okay. I dont know if they are. Am I?

I start getting texts from J's dad. He's asking me if M and J are okay. I still dont know. I tell him I'm headed home. He is headed there too. Beth's mom shows up, then Russ's parents. I need to go home. Russ comes with me. We drive as far as we can, and then decide to ditch the car and walk. The world is wet, beeping, smells like gas, wood, and rain. People are crying, people are everywhere, and I want to hug everyone. We take on a girl who has to get to Rangeline. We walk down a road by a park. Trees are uprooted. Big trees. Power lines are all over the place. Gas meters are hissing. Stuff is beeping.

We finally hit 20th street and start toward my house. I cant tell where we are. Everything is wood, splinters, trees are stripped of their bark. Cars are upside down. People everywhere. I finally get a text from J's dad saying that they are okay. Thank Jesus!!

Russ asks me if I lived by a shop. I said yes. Apparently we were on my street. We walk and walk and finally I'm standing in my drive way. I can hardly tell it's my house. I fall to my knees and cry. I cant believe that my family walked away from it alive. But they arent there. I must see them.

Russ and I part ways. I go on foot to M's parent's house. They arent there either! Finally they know where I am and come tearing down the street to the house. My husband is out of the van before it even stops moving. I hug him. I touch him and cling to him and never want to let him go.

And that's where things are a blur. I dont get to see J until 10pm that night. And she seems like the best thing I've ever laid eyes on.

Life since has been a dream. I still wish I would wake up from it. My house has been dug through, dismantled. My city is a wasteland, split in two. With a big gash in the middle. A gash that is dry and dusty. Full of insulation. Empty and hopeless.

But not hopeless. I have a great hope. His name is Jesus. His plans are perfect, and he knows what they are. We are in this for his purpose. And his purpose is always good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Missing her already.

Vacation is over. 10 days has come and gone. We dropped Mom off at the airport this morning, and I already miss her.

I hope she wasnt bored out of her mind.

It was very nice to just sit around and enjoy her company. We watched a ton of movies, and drank even more coffee. We cooked, we hugged, we laughed.

The weather didnt cooperate very much while she was here. The day she came in, it was nice and warm out. Followed by 3 or 4 days of wet and rainy and cold. We didnt get to go camping, but we did make it down to Pineville and had lunch at the river. Then there were a few pretty days, and today, when she left, we awoke to rumbling in the distance. Thunderstorms all the way to Tulsa. We drove through rain that was coming down so hard, you could hardly see the lines on the side of the highway, much less anything in front of you. Quite scary.

While we didnt really have anything planned, it was nice just to be able to go eat, or shop or whatever we felt like.

It was just nice to see her face, hug her. I can still smell her soap in the bathroom.

Tomorrow means back to work with an 8 hour shift. Half customer service, half price changes. Fantastic. Maybe they'll just let me wear jeans and tennis shoes for the entire shift. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time off. I really didnt miss working (especially with Inventory this week, haha!) but I suppose it will be nice to get back. I do like my job.

I guess I'll be off then. Husband and doggy are both sleeping, but I am wide awake. Which, at this time of night, often results in the munchies. Maybe I'll go polish off the peanut M&Ms. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

I am on vacation!


And you know, it's sad, cause I might go into work to do some shopping tonight, hehe.

We go to pick Mom up tomorrow afternoon. So in preparation, I've gotten the oil changed in my car, washed it, vacuumed it. Waiting for it to cool off outside before I sit in my car and wipe down the dash and stuff.

Other things to do include picking up the house a bit more, cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen. I'd also like to have M help me clip Zoe's nails. They're a little scratchy.

Oh! So a few days ago was J's birthday. We took her and a friend to the drive-in and saw "Rio" and "Soul Surfer." Soul Surfer was pretty good. My dad stopped by earlier in the day to give J her birthday present, and dropped on off for me as well. Grandma got me an apricot tree. M planted it yesterday. It's supposed to be self-pollinating, so I hope it does well with out a friend.

The garden is doing well despite the warm weather. Which is great, considering it gets so nasty here. I read that putting river rocks or white pebbles on top of the soil helps to keep the humidity down in potted gardens, so we put some white marble on top. I have what looks like the beginning of a bloom on my bell pepper, yay! My strawberries are looking great, and putting off new babies. My rosemary is doing fantastic, as is my parsley. My dill and cilantro are sort of turning red on some branches, I dont know what that means. My thyme is half-dead I think. We'll see how the rest of it does before I consider digging it up and replacing it.

So yeah. Wednesday we're having dinner with my community group, looking forward to sharing my church family with my mom. Then the next day is Thursday, we usually go eat with the nerds, so that'll be fun too! And Mom gets to go to Art Walk this month. Yay! :)

Anyway, I have so much to do before Mom gets here. I'd better get off this thing and go do Something. I guess. ;)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gloomy Horizon

Oh, spring.
How I wish it would stop raining already! I was outside pooper-scooping (one of the joys of dog ownership) and noticed dark clouds looming over the horizon. Fantastic. Glad I didnt decide to water my plants today.

On a happier note: I can breathe again. Nose isnt stuffy, but not quite back to normal yet. Hooray for snot. I still cant smell very well.

Took miss J to the doctor today. It's been years since she's seen someone. Bad parenting? I think not. Anyway, she'd come home from her dad's house the other day with some discoloration on her neck. Freaked me out a little bit. The doctor says he's never seen anything like it. M said he talked to a doctor today who mentioned that it could be some sort of toxin reaction to make-up maybe. Hmm. Also she's got another appointment to see an eye doctor about a stye on her eye. It's not a stye, it's called something else. But they might have to take it out of her eyelid. Eek! Poor J.

Mom's going to be here in a week, I'm so excited :) Cant wait for 10 days off, either. Especially after this last weekend. They worked me too hard, and I'm still tired from it.

Well off I go to pick J up and take her to piano.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh allergies...

I've spent the last 3 days with a stuffy head, my nose is running on one side and stuffy on the other (how does that work?!) and I've been sneezing constantly. My allergies are way worse this year than ever before. And I never had allergies until a couple of years ago. I'm pretty miserable. And it's so pretty outside, too! :(

My plants seem to be doing okay after all those days of rain we got. I thought for sure they'd drown and die on me. One of my strawberry plants is really beat up. It's been real windy today, and it bent the poor thing over and broke two of the leaf stalks in half. :( I cant wait to start using my herbs. I suppose the rosemary is big enough to use a bit of already, but the rest of them would be a single serving at this point. Zoe chomped a bit on my red bell pepper, so he has a few leaves looking pitiful.

Zoe is a good dog. We've taught her how to Come, Sit and Shake. She's working on Heel while she's on her leash, and does okay with it. Stay is one command that is just eluding her at the moment. :) Also she's very excitable when people come over... we need to start coming in calmly and ignoring her when we first enter the house, that should help out a bit.

My mom's gonna be here in a little over a week. I'm so excited. I cant wait to see her and spend lots of time with her. :)

Well, off I go, in search of some relief from this runny nose. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I have a Garden!

Saturday was my birthday. M and J went and bought me some planters, then M took me out on Saturday and we bought dirt and plants. I now have 4 strawberry plants hanging of the deck railing (to keep bunnies away, and Zoe) and 2 pots. One with dill, rosemary and thyme. The other with a red bell pepper, cilantro and flat leaf parsley. I should have thrown some chives in one of them.

April has been extremely wet this year. It rained for 3 days straight. My backyard is thoroughly soaked, and so are my planters. I'm hoping that my herbs arent drowning. Looks like the planters are draining well enough, but the dirt is very muddy and thick. Everyone looks good except for my thyme, which is looking a bit wimpy. I guess if it dies, I can replace it.

Also, it's supposed to get down into the 30's a couple of nights this week. I fear that my herbs will get frosty. Must look into how to cover them up.

I am super excited about having this garden, and would be very disappointed if it died w/in a week of planting.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pretty spring day.

Oh it's so gorgeous outside!

Husband and I went and got some Hacketts Hotwings and ate them on the deck, with Zoe at our feet. Oh man. What a good day it's been.

Also looking forward to dinner with some friends. I am making a great potato salad that I found on America's Test Kitchen. Yum!

I cant wait to start gardening. Maybe I will get some garden stuff for my birthday. I would like to do dill, thyme, basil, strawberries, red bell peppers, green beans, tomatoes. Maybe not all of those. But some. I'd also really love to grow rhubarb. Although I'm not sure if it's too hot here or not. And it's poisonous. So I'd have to grow it somewhere where Zoe couldnt get to it. Maybe on the south side of the house.

We're leash training Zoe. I bought her a harness (since she's so tiny) and it's going much better than when I had her leash directly hooked to her collar. I was afraid of choking her. So leash trained means walks, parks, and camping! Very exciting!

Next month my mom is coming to visit for 10 days. I'm looking forward to it tremendously. Mom needs Jesus. Mom is full of regret, and I think it effects her greatly. I pray that Jesus would use me as a light in the darkness she feels in her heart. I hope that Jesus will save her. That He will make her free from her guilt, shame, regrets. I pray that He will make her happy. I'm hoping to take Mom to a community group meeting, and possibly church. I hope Jesus speaks to her, and that she will hear Him. I so want to see her heart healed.

Many things to look forward to in the near future.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Her needles flashed in the sunlight.

I finally finished my cardigan. I worked on this thing for almost 3 months. I started it 2 weeks before we closed on our house, which meant almost a month of not knitting after we moved, of course. I really like this sweater. I sort of wish I had used cotton instead of wool, to make it more versatile. But that's okay. It's a great spring/fall sweater. I'm also super excited with the fact that I only had 2 ends to weave in (Cast on and cast off ends) even though I went through 5.5 balls of yarn. Learning how to spit splice is definately worth it!

What to knit next? Probably all those Christmas gifts I intended to give last Christmas, but didnt in anticipation of closing on Jan 31st (we closed almost 2 weeks later). That includes a neat viking hat for my uncle, some fingerstaches, and probably a couple of scarflets, also some gloves. I've also fallen in love with a racerback tank called "Coachella" that I really want to knit. But with the way it's been going lately, I wouldnt have that done until it was too chilly to wear!

It's hard to knit with a puppy around. I have to keep a constant eye on her. Thank goodness she's getting used to her crate. I can stick her in there whenever I need a break. She's in there now. I've just cleaned the whole house! Cleaning the entire house hasnt happened all at once since she arrived. So I'm feeling very productive today. :)

Looks like my peace and quiet are coming to an end. Zoe will be up soon, and miss Jade will be home from school. Then it will be crazy until community groups. And ahh, I have tonight off. Husband and I can relax after groups. I am definately looking forward to that. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm lame, tired, and lazy.

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

I feel like I really let down a lot of people yesterday.

I was asked to share a story about how Jesus is changing my life. I bailed. Well, we both did. Husband and I were both asked to share about how we're in charge of taking care of the church building. Somewhere, husband agreed. Then decided not to do it at the last minute. So, if we were supposed to do it together, I didnt feel like it would be right if I did it alone. But I feel so bad about it.

I really hate being put on the spot. Then I feel like I'm supposed to live up to someone's expectations of me, and end up feeling like everything I've said I've just pulled out of my ass. It doesnt feel real.

So where is Jesus working in my life? He's showing me how to enjoy being His servant. That it's okay to feel good about doing good works. It's prosperous for the Kingdom. He's showing me that I am a part of His family. And with that, comes responsibility, but also, joy in having the responsibility. Jesus is doing good things in His church, His people, His family. Sometimes I feel so blind to that. That I can never see what it is that He is doing. Mostly when it comes to seeing what He is doing in me.

He's also testing my patience with this puppy. Zoe is wearing me out. And she's recently started barking. For what reason, I have no idea. But I wish she'd knock it off. She's such a sweetie when she's behaving... lol.

And then, there's Netflix. What a great time waster this thing is. We dont have cable, so it was easy for me to justify the $8 a month for Netflix. We're rewatching The X-Files. Daughter is enjoying the Cosby Show. I found out that the original She-Ra is on the list. Looks like I might just sit in front of my tv forever. It certainly has cut down my facebook time. Ha.

I think I've nailed my last few days. Sad, isnt it?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Feels like spring is finally here.

I found out not too long ago, after whining about it being too late to plant any, that I do in fact have daffodils in my yard. There are other things growing as well, and I am very excited to see what they will be. Also, the maple tree is doing it's thing (may be contributing to my allergies) and hopefully the Japanese maple will not be far behind.

I am always inspired by the newness spring brings. Makes me feel good. Makes me wanna get out and do something. I'm hoping to grow some strawberries this year. Maybe some dill and other various herbs. Maybe even some squash or tomatoes! I mean, I do have a yard now, and it gets full sun almost all day. There are so many possibilities!

Another new thing we're going to be enjoying soon is getting a puppy. We've been talking about getting a Westie for quite some time now, and now that we're moved, the time is right! So we browsed the web awhile and found a breeder that is fairly close by. We will be picking her up on Thursday.

Getting prepared for a puppy has been interesting. I am worried for my yarn, haha. We have been reading a lot about training, and we've had a bit of information overload. I'm hoping all goes well. Westies are very smart dogs, and I'm optimistic about training going easily. This will probably require more patience than I'm used to, and I am also prepared for that. At least, I think I am...

Spring also brings about the beginning of Art Walk here in town. Art Walk is on the 3rd Thursday of every month, from March until October. All sorts of stores and buildings downtown open up their doors to host galleries for local artists. This even brings hundreds of people downtown to see what their city has to offer. There is food, music, art, activities for children, all sorts of things. I absolutely love seeing all of the people out together, enjoying the city. It makes me hope for the future. I hope it's great.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hello again.

It's very quiet today. At least, it will be for another 10 minutes or so.

Husband and I finally moved out of our horrible little apartment. Now we are owners of a home, and we are so happy here!

But today I am feeling lonely. I've been doing laundry, went grocery shopping, watched the first episode of "Celebrity Apprentice," and worked on a bit of knitting. Husband's at work, daughter's at school.

Maybe I'm feeling this way because it's dreary and cold out. I'm so ready for warmer weather.

I just need a puppy to snuggle with. :)