Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tornado - Yuppers!


The week seemed fairly normal.

Michael needed new shoes, so we went shopping for them.

A very dear friend sent me an incredible selection of vanilla beans, which I can't wait to use!

Michael managed to block a toothbrush shot.

He flew at gymnastics.

We had a nice Shabbat, with another trip to the blueberry farm and a visit to my folks, where I got to make my dad some CC cookies.

Sunday, after church, Michael went on a paintball wargame with friends, and I stayed home and sewed.

It was Monday that got a bit unusual.

We did regular morning stuff, had lunch and did school work...

But in the afternoon we got a surprise cloudburst. I'll copy what I wrote in an email to save some time here... (There's a lot of 'and thens' in there.)

I looked outside and it was raining. Michael ran out to make sure the van windows were closed, by the time he got back it was pouring. The lightning was hitting about every 30 seconds and we had several very close strikes. Then the wind got really strong. Then we got hail stones about 3/4 inches across - the biggest I'd ever seen. And then I wondered about tornadoes. We don't get them very often or very strong in this part of the state, though I'd seen one when we first moved here. But I never expected one to hit right here, where it is rolling hills and large patches of woods.

We saw the debris begin to fly over the house down toward the garden. I turned around to look out the family room window and saw the trees being whipped violently. Then a tremendous crash and the whole house shuddered.

I said "Tornado." to Michael, thinking it has slammed up against the side of the house, as I've experienced wind do before. But we saw the tornado progress along the front, then disappear.

The tornado didn't even move a plastic chair on the front deck, but 30 feet away it lifted and overturned a heavy oak table set, with all the chairs fastened securely on the top. It was a good 5 feet away and upside down. So it was a small tornado, but definitely bigger than the one I'd seen previously.

The big thud turned out to be a huge oak tree, about 80 feet high. We later discovered it must have been hit by lightning, but held until the tornado arrived and pushed it right toward Michael's bedroom. Gladly, it did not reach the house with the trunk, but only the lighter top=most branches fell on the house and back porch, wrapping around his room. I don't think the house sustained anything but superficial damage, though I lost several things out on the patio.

I called my dad, the hero, again, who came out as quickly as he could, considering the storm was still very active with heavy rain, wind and lightning. He brought out a small chain saw to cut the branches away from the house and see if there were any damage.

Here's the top of what's left of the trunk. It's about 25 feet high and 25 feet into the woods, down the slope.

The oak truck diameter is about 2 feet across. It was a tall straight one, having grown up in the woods.

Underneath that pile of greenery is an untouched mower! YAY!!!!

Here lies my beautiful stainless steel BBQ kitchenette. May she rest in pieces.

The checker bench I built for my children 20 years ago. I loved that crushed pile of painted pine lumber.

Dad worked for quite a long while. Others came to help and Dad got to take Mom back home.

Then still more arrived and worked into the night.

We had another work crew out here last night. The guys handled it all and I went to where all of us ladies packed some gift bags for needy kids, then went off to office cleaning.

I'm in need of a nap! We've got a bit more to do on the firewood cleanup. We keep having to work around the afternoon and evening thunderstorms. We are so grateful for all the help we've gotten over the past few weeks of mini-disasters!

When it rains, it pours. Wonder where that came from...?



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Teen Challenge - for help.


I'm going to put in a serious post here. There is a dear family in our church that has a son who tore the family apart. Anger and rebellion defined him as a son, and the family was in so much pain they were at a loss. Nothing, no amount of love seemed to help.

Five weeks ago they contacted Teen Challenge Int. Two large men drove across state lines, arrived at 5 am, and forcibly took custody of this young man with full permission by his desperate parents. The program was for 18 months of residential life, defined pretty much as a Christian teen boot camp of sorts.

The first weeks of contact from the boy, via letters were filled with venom toward his parents and family. No phone calls were permitted as he did not earn them. But by the fifth week he changed.

He wrote the most beautiful letter of love and gratitude to his parents and sisters. He accepted full responsibility for his part in the destruction of the family. His letter went on and on and his parents wept with joy.

He is not coming home. The letter was not a ruse to get early release. He wants to stay and finish the program. He will be about 18 at the end of it. He said it took complete removal from his situation of negative peers and their encouragement of his rebellion, and the focus on basics of living, working, focusing on priorities, and the like to finally break through the walls he'd put up around his heart.

He has also suffered from severe physical maladies. Those have eased to being nearly non-existent in the last month. A nod to the fact that stress, anger, and a rebellious spirit can wreak havoc on your body.

I know many of us either have, or know of a young person who could use something like this. I have no idea the logistics of this program, but I wanted to share it with you. Save the page for someone you love enough to do what may be the hardest thing you've ever done.

Love is not always warm and fuzzy. Real love is doing what is best for a person, no matter how hard it is. No matter how much they may vent their wrath on you. You are willing to take it. Because you love them.

God bless.