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The Nomad Life

It’s Sunday evening, Gambit is snoring, and I’m finally at a point where my brain is slowing down.

Today truly was a day of rest.

When I woke up, my hosts’ dogs were running around the property, so I left mine inside.  T came out at one point, and we began to chat while her son’s precious new puppy, Trump, scampered around.

Check out his adorable name tag.

I do believe that the fix for a sad heart is a puppy.  This one was full energy and quite a bit of curiosity.

Trump was cuteness overload and a welcome distraction, if I do say so myself – especially when he nipped me with his puppy teeth!

One of their other dogs, Jasper, loves to chase a ball.  He was a lot of fun to watch.  Check out this video (that’s me throwing the ball) . . .

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We stayed poolside for quite awhile before T put her dogs up so mine could come out.

Gambit was all about exploring and ventured out of the fence before I could stop him.  Pele followed and played like he was deaf, completely ignoring my warnings to come back.  So, I chased them for almost a quarter mile, nearly lost Gambit, but found him when I saw a flock of ducks take off.

Ahem.

Gambit got his energy out and contritely walked back with me to the house where I kept a close eye on him.

I ran a couple of errands because Pele still wasn’t eating this morning.  I needed to find something to get him going.

I took a short video as I pulled back up to the house.  I am a country girl at heart, and this place has fed my soul with restorative healing that only God can provide through faithful servants such as these extremely kind friends.

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Thankfully, all it took was some baby carrots and dog food pouches.

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After their treats, the dogs were ready to head back outside; Pele even beat me down the stairs.  He scared me silly because his legs aren’t working quite right, but his smile was everything.

I set up shop by the pool in front of the outdoor fireplace/TV area.

The weather was divine – not too hot and not too cold.

I called N, my daughter-in-law, and caught up with her.  She was the only person in the family I had not spoken with since all of the crazy started happening.

I watched last week’s episode of Survivor on my laptop, but mostly I just chilled.

The dogs and I will become nomads again tomorrow, so I knew that we needed one more day to be still.  They’ve been nervous with us changing locations every few days, so having one place to stay grounded has helped all of our nerves.

T came out mid-afternoon, in between her household chores, and chatted awhile.  I have absolutely loved her company.  She’s down to earth, humble, and has a quick sense of humor.  She’s been a balm to my uneasy soul – a true gift from God.

I did repack my clothes in preparation for the next leg of our journey.  It was a good chance to take stock of what I’d grabbed the night I ran away from the storm.

T and L invited me to eat dinner with me.  Y’all, you know you’ve met your kind of people when their idea of a good dinner is a prepared chicken from the grocery store and leftover lunch (for me . . . sesame tofu).  It wasn’t fancy, but it was comfortable, and I felt like family.

The latest update from the Mr. is that they think they may have water in a couple of days.  There are still breaks in the lines, so they are trying to locate those and make repairs.  They are also still testing the water.  When I asked about the sewer system, he sounded hopeful about that as well.  They have to restore power to the lifts, which are used to pump waste out of the system.  That’s something they may do manually until power returns.  It’s still a work in progress.

He did tell me that if I go home, I need to be prepared to sweat.  It’s hot.  It’s Florida.  It’s only October.  We have a couple of people who will loan us generators, but they aren’t strong enough to run the AC – only the fans, lights, and the fridge.

Traffic is a nightmare.  He said that it takes three hours to go a couple of miles because people are either looking for supplies or trying to get out of town.

In other words, it’s still bad.  The decision to go home is fraught with mostly cons and not a lot of pros.

This is definitely one big roller coaster ride.  Every single day brings new emotions.  Last night was hard because the news was still so dire.

Today was much better as I saw that Gulf Power hopes to have ALL electricity restored by the 24th of this month.  Even the Mr. sounded better when we talked, so I’m hopeful that I can go home sooner rather than later.

I saw pictures on Facebook – photos of my church having a service this morning.

Though the building is heavily damaged, as is every single church in town, God is still present because the church isn’t a building at all.

It’s the people.

I saw that other churches had services as well.  What a beautiful testimony to God’s grace and provision.

Things are still so hard, but in the midst of all of it, there is so much more to be thankful for.

The quick messages on Facebook from other teachers makes me miss them SO MUCH.  There’s a lot of love out there.  As one of my friends said, “We will all be together soon my friend.”

I’ll be honest with you.

Before this hurricane hit, I was more than frustrated.  About almost everything.  I had such a sour attitude.

Much of that has changed now.

Perspective is everything – a lesson I guess I must be slow to learn because I keep being retaught it.

This is my view tonight.  It screams serenity and peace.

Thank you for your prayers.  I am 100% positive that God is hearing and answering them.

The progress that is being made is truly miraculous; the outpouring of help has been phenomenal.

Please keep praying.  There is still SO MUCH that needs to be done.  Almost everyone I know has been displaced.  Most people have damage to their homes.  There’s not a single person who hasn’t been affected.

Thanks you guys!!

From a Distance

Today is day 4 post-Hurricane Michael, and I’m sitting in a friend’s pool house in Auburn, Alabama reflecting on the past two days.  I’ll go ahead and ask for forgiveness ahead of time because there is some rambling as my emotions are all over the place right now.

In some ways, I feel disconnected from the cleanup that is going on at home.  I’m keeping up with it via social media and daily check-ins with my friend, Megan, but it’s hard to sit back while others are living out the hard stuff.

With that said, the Mr. has mandated that I stay away.  He’s working with Emergency Management to coordinate relief efforts and the restoration of necessary services to make life livable again.

Meanwhile, I’m watching from a distance and doing my best to put one foot in front of the other despite wanting to crawl into bed and sleep until it’s over.

Yesterday afternoon, the dogs and I made the short trek from our hotel to this beautiful home after spending that morning in the hotel lobby watching guests come and go.

At one point, the manager came out and chatted with me.  I’m glad he did because it gave me the opportunity to personally thank him for waiving the no-pets rule and allowing us to stay.  If you’re looking for one of the most accommodating hotels in the Auburn-Opelika area, I highly recommend the Fairfield Inn at Tigertown.

My car, at that point, smelled like wet dog.  It had rained for a day and a half thanks to the storm that had traveled northeast.

The dogs have been good sports throughout this ordeal.  Pele has been super-stressed, but he has continued to trust me – even when stuffed in a car with a lot of other things.

Notice how much of that stuff belongs to the dogs and how little belongs to me?  Priorities, people!

The house we’re staying at is the same one the Mr. and I visited last year when we came to an Auburn game.

It is akin to a resort, I kid you not.  The amount of land is breathtaking.  The dogs took to the yard immediately.

I have been filled with an incredible amount of sadness and helplessness, so this time to regroup is appreciated.

I haven’t smiled a lot, but being outside in the beautiful weather helped a little.

The dogs and I are leaning on each other with all of the strange happenings.

We stayed outside, poolside, for a couple of hours.

I can’t lie, though.  I feel as though I’ve aged a few years.  Maybe that sounds bad to say given my surroundings, but it’s about as hard emotionally to be away as it would have been to be in town.

My heart longs to be with my people . . . actually doing something to help.

My hosts are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  T, the wife, is as laid-back as they come.  She took us for a ride on whatever the vehicle is called (pictured below).

Gambit was pretty scared, at first, but he settled in as we went from one side of the property to the other.

This place could be used as a mental health getaway, I kid you not.  It’s just so peaceful.

After we got done riding around, we returned to the main house.  T encouraged me to take the dogs’ leashes off because she wanted the dogs to be as comfortable as possible (she’s really my kind of person), and boy, you should have seen Gambit.  He was totally in his element.  I think he was meant to be a country dog.

Pele has been cautious.  At twelve years old, he’s not keen on change, so he’s sticking close to me.

T took me with her to a shindig her sister-in-law was hosting.  Y’all, if you think my current surroundings are something else, you should have seen the house we went to.  It was an architectural delight that I wish I could have taken photos of but couldn’t because it would have been rude.  The house belongs in a magazine – French style with a courtyard and everything.

The Mr. called me during the get-together, and I held out hope that I’d be able to go home sooner rather than later.

I went to bed with homesickness in my heart but also gratitude for a comfortable place to stay.  I slept well, but I found myself getting up fairly early.

The dogs and I made our way downstairs into the wonderfully crisp air.  While I chatted with Chicky on the phone, the dogs kept watch on the robot pool cleaner thing.

Pele refused to eat breakfast.  I’m very worried about him, despite the smile on his face.  That’s a stressed-out smile.

Gambit, on the other hand, is embracing this for the adventure that it is.

He’s loving the extra time with me . . . time when I’d normally be working or distracted by other things.

My hosts graciously invited me to attend the Auburn game with them.  They have a block of seats for each game.  Fortunately, I’d thrown an Auburn shirt into my suitcase when I’d packed in a rush, so I was dressed appropriately.

On the way in, we saw the makings of a wedding . . .

A tailgate wedding . . .

A short walk later, we’d found our way to our seats.

Watching the eagle make its way to the field always takes my breath away.

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The entrance of the band is always fun to watch . . . so full of pageantry.

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I’ve got to tell you, though, that as much as I love these games, and as glad as I was that I was there, my heart was still so very, very heavy.  The band started playing America the Beautiful, and the crowd started singing it, and I started crying quietly, tears running down my face.

I thought of home and the beauty that was stripped away so viciously.

Then, I thought about how resilient my hometown folks are.  Already, debris is being cleaned up, a long process to be sure but one that is proceeding.

I thought about a devotion I’d recently read about God using dust to create beautiful things – how He created mankind from the dust of the earth.

America is beautiful not just because of its landscape but because of the people.

Watching how the people in my city and other cities around the country are coming to one another’s aid is so humbling.

I drew comfort from T, my friend, as she put her arm around me to console me,

I found kind, listening ears in the orthopedic surgeon I met today, a friend of L (T’s husband) as he asked about my home and what everyone is going through.  He was genuinely interested and actually shocked at how dire it is back home.

The game’s preparation continued, and again, I found myself emotional as the flag was unfurled.

I thought of my sweet boy, serving his country and yet still finding the time to text me regularly to check in.

The flyover was breathtaking.

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Y’all, I am a hot mess right now and don’t really know when to smile and when to cry.

I did get caught up in the game, the highs and the lows (lots of lows as our season really sucks this year).

The halftime show was sweet and ended with a tribute to those fighting cancer and those who have survived it.

The final score of the game was sad though.

After tailgating with T and L’s family, we headed back to their house and watched more football.

The Mr. called in the middle of one of the games.

His update was filled with bad news.  There’s still no water, and the sewer system isn’t close to being fixed because they haven’t gotten generators yet.  I told him about the sewage backup I’d seen in a photo in our neighborhood group on Facebook.  It’s backing up into numerous streets.

Sounds third-world, eh?

The Mr. doesn’t want me going home until both the water and sewer are restored.  We can deal without electricity, but the other two things are essential for decent living.

He told me that people are trying to leave our town – that’s how bad it is.

I’ve seen the long lines of people waiting for food, water, and other essential items.  The needs are great.

So, although I am desperate to get home and be with those I live next to and work with, I’m not.

I had told the Mr. that I needed him to be in charge – a rare admission for this go-getter, overachieving gal.

He’s doing that and with much gusto too.

He needs me where I can actually help him once he wraps his head around what he, personally, needs.  It’s funny how he can assess needs for the general public, but focusing on stuff in a more narrow scope is mentally draining.

Prayer Requests:

  • Decision making for those in charge – There are so very many small details that must be attended to before the big things can come into play
  • Wisdom – Something of this magnitude hasn’t been seen in our area before
  • Generators for the lifts needs for the sewer system
  • Protection from looters – Because bad people come out of the woodwork
  • Honest repair companies that won’t try to scam people – This is happening to people in my neighborhood!
  • Those who are living out the daily grind of cleanup, finding food and other basic necessities
  • Those of us who left and are watching from afar – It’s hard to be patient and let others do the work
  • Pele – I’m super worried about him.  He’s hardly eating at all, is drinking a lot, and is struggling physically with his back legs.  I took him to the vet the day we evacuated, and although she ran bloodwork and said he’s doing fine, I know that he’s not.  He’s trying to keep up, but he’s slowing down, and I don’t think my heart can take another loss.  I am praying that this is just stress and nothing else.

The Minutiae of Life, Post-Hurricane Michael

Have you ever read the book, Alas Babylon?

I read it a couple of years ago when I taught 9th grade Honors English.  This was the summer reading my classes had to do, so I figured I’d better be knowledgeable about it if I was going to grade my students’ projects correctly.

The book, although written in the 1950’s, is one that I’ve gone back to many times in the past two days as the reality of post-storm life begins to break through my shell-shocked mind.

I slept nine blessed hours the night after the hurricane, but it only took me moments after waking up to feel overwhelmed again.

I felt out of the loop, desperate for updates from my city, so I stalked the news and Facebook.

A lady who lives in my neighborhood was able to stay connected to the internet, and she walked around, took pictures, and posted them in our Facebook group.  I cried when I saw pictures of my home . . . and the Mr.’s car parked out front.

The back of my house and that of my neighbor’s.  Pieces of her screened in porch are in my back yard.

That broken tree was one I was concerned would fall on my house.  Unfortunately, it fell on the neighbor’s.

My neighbor texted and offered to take a photo of the front of my house.  I was so relieved to see that my front windows were not busted out, although I later learned that the storm had blown off the plywood the Mr. and I had put up.

We fared sooooooooo much better than most.  Here’s my neighbor’s house, with the downed tree . . .

The Mr. wasn’t able to call me until late in the day, and he told me that all was well.  We are missing some shingles, but we are so much better off than most people.

The Mr. told me that to get to our house, he’d had to drive through a few yards to avoid trees and other debris in the street.

He said that he’d talked to our neighbors, and they had felt their walls contracting during the storm, as if the walls were going to fall in.  The neighbor behind us, an elderly gentleman, had actually stood in his doorway and braced it during the storm.  Scary stuff.  We’ll be getting our house inspected when we can to double check its stability.

The situation in my town is very, very bad.  The entire power grid is down; electricity is not expected to be restored for weeks . . . even months.  The mayor was on Facebook Live and predicted at least two months of no electricity.

Isn’t that crazy?

It’s straight-up apocalyptic – like something from the book I mentioned.

There’s no running water.  City workers are trying to get it going, but here’s the kicker.  The sewer system is broken, so it’s going to back up into people’s homes if everyone starts trying to flush even when the water comes back on.

There’s a boil water notice; however, with no electricity, people have to use bottled water.

The only reliable cell service at the moment is through AT&T, a carrier I would never subscribe to but others do.  What a blessing for them and those of us who left since these people are the main ones posting updates.

School has been canceled indefinitely.  The Mr. and I talked about this too.  Some schools are being used as shelters, and with so many people without homes, those shelters won’t be able to close anytime soon.  We can’t run the schools without electricity, and even if we had it, with no gas, teachers can’t get to work, and we can’t get kids to school.

I’ve seen pictures of my church, and y’all, it’s horrendous.  We have two campuses, and both are in ruins.

The inside to the church campus I attend (we have an indoor soccer field, which is what you are seeing)

Most churches around here are in the same sad shape.

It’s surreal.

It’s worse than any movie a producer could conjure up.

I want to go home desperately, but like I told the Mr. when he called me a second time last night, I’m afraid to.

What will I go home to?

Yes, my house is secure, but what about the other stuff that is called my life?  I can’t go and decide it’s too bad to live in and leave.  There’s no gas to fuel up my car once I get there.  You either leave or you stay.  Period.

I feel completely discombobulated.  I went to Walmart yesterday to buy deodorant since I’d left home in such a rush and had forgotten it (along with a lot of other things), and I honestly couldn’t think straight.

I’ve gotten to where I can recognize other evacuees simply from the blank looks on their faces – mirrored by my own.

Y’all want to know something kind of funny but sad?  I didn’t even know that the hotel I’m staying at only had me down for two nights.  I’d lost track of time and had no clue what day it was.  It wasn’t until I was chatting with Super Sis while sitting in the hotel lobby that it occurred to us that I better check my reservations.  Sure enough, I was supposed to check out hours ago.  Nobody had kicked me out.  They generously extended my stay, although I was warned that the hotel was full for the weekend with an Auburn home game looming.

For a girl who can plan out nine weeks’ worth of lessons, this tells you just how devastating the storm has been emotionally.

Now, whatever you do, please don’t judge me.  I like to be happy and funny on my blog, but this is my safe place.  It’s where I come to process life, even when said life isn’t all lollipops and sunflowers.

It’s ridiculously hard right now.  My body may be in Alabama, but my entire heart is with my people in Florida.

I told my friend, Megan, that we are living out a plot from one of our books, and I can’t say that I like it much.

I’d drink wine, but I’m still taking antibiotics for my sinus infection (and feeling a little better each day).

I’m eating, a little but honestly don’t want to.  My appetite is gone.

I miss my husband, my house, my students, and my friends.

When I shared my concerns with the Mr. during our second phone call, he said, “You can’t plan far out.  You can only take it day by day – with each new update.”

I broke down.  I need order in my life and don’t have it.

I finally told him, “I need you to be the boss.  You get to be in charge.  Tell me what to do.”

Sounds funny, but as a planner, I’m usually the one making day-to-day decisions.  I can’t.  He can compartmentalize; all I see are the what-do-we-do’s.  So, I’m letting him take the reins of our life while I hold onto the reins that keep our fur babies in check.  That’s about all I can do right now.

Please keep everyone in your prayers.  The minutiae of this is not something you hear about on the news.  The million and one things that need to be done to survive on a daily basis are not being reported because it’s not personal until you’re the one living it.

Please pray that all involved have patience.  Authorities are encouraging people to stay away if they can since the resources are so limited.  This is probably the hardest thing for me.  Patience.  Why can I sit and patiently work with students who struggle with reading but have little patience when it comes to waiting for order to be restored?

I guess it’s the feeling of helplessness, which all of you know that I don’t do well with.

As always, thank you for your love during this time.  I feel a little alone, enough so that this introvert is actually reaching out to random people in far off Walmarts and hotel lobbies when I realize that they are fellow evacuees.

Our stories are the same; we are kindred spirits united by horrendous circumstances.

God will help us, though.  I continue to trust in His provision and wisdom as I and so many others navigate these uncertain days.

It’s Bad. Catastrophic

Like millions of Americans, I’ve been glued to my TV, tuned in to The Weather Channel.

I thought that leaving would be the easy part.

I was wrong.

I never went to sleep after I got to my hotel; my heart was troubled as I waited to see how things would turn out.

All I can say is WOW.

Maybe it was a tad naive to hope that the storm wouldn’t do much damage.  Have you ever seen the weather that precedes a hurricane?  It’s divine.

Then came the hours after the eye wall passed over my little city.

That’s when people started posting pictures of scenes from my neighborhood, down at the beach, and other adjoining waterfront towns.

The devastation left behind Hurricane Michael has been shocking.

I’ve been looking at pictures from the streets I regular jog down, and I am stunned.

I’d be willing to bet that eight out of every ten of the oak trees in my subdivision came down.

I finally got a hold of the neighbor I share a fence with, and she sent me a picture she had taken from inside her house.

Her screened in porch is gone, as is the fence we share(d) (the left side of the photo) and the fence behind my house (behind the pine tree).

She told me that the oak in front of her house had split in two and had come down on her house, although it was mostly on the ground, so it didn’t go through the roof.

I read that the entrance to my neighborhood is blocked by downed trees and power lines.

Another friend posted these photos of her house (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing).

She was closer to the water.  She happens to be much braver than me.

I had always seen these stories on the news . . . storms that hit places that seemed somewhat remote.

I never imagined that such things could happen in my own backyard.

I am in shock.  I had absolutely no time to prepare myself mentally even though I’ve sat through quite a few storms.  I barely had time to leave.

I’ve been watching the news footage and looking at places I drive by every single day, and the damage is extensive.

Two high schools sustained a lot of damage.  One of our middle schools has been decimated – its gymnasium hollowed out.

Our historic downtown area has been ravished.

The beach fared a little better because it was on the west side of the storm, but I can only imagine what the coastal homes look like at the moment.

I heard from the Mr. around noon yesterday:  “It’s bad.  Catastrophic.”

Then, I didn’t hear from him for eight more hours.

That was in the middle of the storm.

I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I’ve got to admit that I didn’t do so well during those eight hours.  I called his personal and work cell phones several times each hour.

I knew, in my heart, that he was okay, but I needed to hear his voice.

I sent a message to my students halfway into the storm and then again afterward to check on them.  Many, many of them lost roofs.  One has a car that looks like a pancake.  Another told me that she “used” to have woods behind her house.  Another girl was already asking me what we were going to do about grades.  Bless her heart.  My kids are traumatized.  They thrive on routine.  This isn’t sitting well with them.

I finally heard from the Mr. around 8pm, and I cried.  He’d borrowed someone’s phone since cell phone service is spotty.  He told me that personnel can’t even communicate with each other because of that.

He told me that our city looks like a war zone and encouraged me to stay put until at least Friday or he gives me the green light sooner.  Part of me wants to get home, but now that I’m hearing about the infrastructure and safety concerns, I’m not so sure.

This feels like the worst kind of nightmare.  I know I can speak for others when I say that it’s a blessing to be alive, but we are completely overwhelmed by the enormity of what we are facing.  Hearing about the mandatory water boil notices and night curfew is scary.  It seems like something from TV, but it’s not.

I remember years ago, after Hurricane Katrina had passed through, when I drove along the interstate and saw the bent over road signs.  The evidence of the power of nature was jaw-dropping.  It took years to clean all of that up.

Sigh.

Thankfully, God is bigger than the storm and able to do more than human hands.  I continue to trust in His mercy and provision over the next days, weeks, and months.

How can you help?

Please continue to pray.

Our law enforcement officials and EMS workers need our prayers – for physical and emotional sustenance.  The Mr. is drained already.  He’s had little sleep and maybe one change of clothes.

Please pray for safety for those working to restore power.  The job they do is dangerous, especially with the standing water everywhere.

Please pray that the citizenry will exhibit some common sense and leave things that don’t belong to them in the homes of their rightful owners.

Please pray for our education system.  At this moment, we officially don’t have school on Thursday.  I can’t see how they won’t extend that further given the number of educators and students who are either out of town, unable to return, or without power.  Heck, the schools don’t even have power.  With several schools out of use, it’s a bit of a cluster.

Please pray for our government leaders as they seek to make wise decisions.

Thank you so much.

A Woman, Two Dogs, Sweet Tea, and a Couple Dozen Muffins

Confession Time . . .

I am a coward.

I ran away from Hurricane Michael in the middle of the night.

A mere couple of hours after penning my words of bravado, I caved to the fear.

The Mr. called me after the 11pm update with the news that the storm was now a Cat 4 with sustained winds of 135mph, and we made the decision that I should leave.

I quickly called Super Sis.  She and her hubby had fled to Alabama earlier in the day, and she had called to check on me. She was happy when I called her and told her I was on my way.

I ran around the house like a crazy woman, throwing clothes, shoes, makeup, and bathing essentials into a suitcase.

Y’all, have you ever had to pick up and run with nary a moment to plan?

I cannot tell you how hard it was to decide what to take.

I looked around my house and wondered what I could live without because if I can be honest with you, I knew that my home might not be the same when I returned.

Sobering thoughts.

I wound up grabbing a small jewelry box that I keep my rings in and threw in a couple of necklaces and my favorite bracelet.

I snatched my laptop from the table I keep it on, its charger, my phone charger, and my good camera.

As I passed my dining room table, I slipped my knitting bag over my arm and stuffed in my newest project.  I also swiped my recently finished cowl and shawl from the table – items I still hadn’t gotten around to photographing.

I passed the bar in my kitchen and took two or three books from a stack.

Before I could put anything in the car, I stuffed the dogs’ beds in the back so they would be comfortable during our journey.  I packed the rest of my stuff around them once I got them in the car.

Then, I put my newly purchased snacks and water in the car along with dog food and the dogs’ bowls.

It was a frantic thirty minutes.

Before I closed the door for the last time, I ran back in and grabbed the muffins I’d baked earlier and the gallon of sweet tea I’d purchased that afternoon.  A girl’s gotta eat, storm or no storm.

Leaving my house was so hard.  I felt like I was a two-timer.

I prayed over my house as I left.

Such a sad thing.

But y’all, I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  It was late, and I had many miles to cover.

The dogs had gotten used to riding in the car thanks to our weekly jaunts.  It’s funny how God prepares us for such things, eh?

Super Sis called to let me know that she’d reserved a hotel room for me a mile away from hers, and that the hotel was allowing pets because of the storm.  Praise God!

I’d been concerned about the roads being congested, but at that time of the night, my worry was in vain.  There was hardly any traffic.

I gassed up an hour into my trip, called the Mr. to let him know where I was, and continued my drive.

I listened to the Bible Binge podcast along the way to help keep me awake.  My mind was alert, but my eyes were so tired.  This girl doesn’t see well at night, so I drove carefully.

My ultimate destination was a small town outside of Auburn.  Turning off of a main highway onto one of the country roads made me perk up.  I grew up in Alabama, so the route was familiar.

I’d turned off the podcast and had begun listening to a Christian station.  When this song came on, I belted it out, touched by the words – so timely given the storm bearing down on my hometown.

So sad, y’all, but such a great reminder that God never lets go of us.

I finally got to the hotel – thankfully – because the dogs had gotten antsy.

Props to the Marriott folks for the kind lady who was manning the night desk.  She had been expecting me and was so patient as I couldn’t hardly think straight by then.  It was 3:30am, and I’d been awake since 9 the day before.

I’d been given the last room – a handicapped suite – so spacious for my big dogs and their big beds.

They were a little nervous about going into the elevator, but heck, this whole trip has been about firsts so there’s that.

The dogs were a bit out of sorts despite the smile on Gambit’s face.

It took them a long time to go to sleep.  Of course, I still haven’t slept; my heart is incredibly heavy for my husband, who’s still back home, and for my friends and students who stayed behind.

I’m keeping my eyes glued to the Weather Channel.  Between those updates and the ones I’m getting from the Mr., I just can’t sleep.

This storm is one of the strongest my area has ever seen, and some people predict that it could reach a Cat 5 status.  The last update had it intensifying even more.

Please continue to pray for that area.  I’m sitting here sick to my stomach as I type this.  I am incredibly worried.

I’m also glad that I’m where I am because I would have had to sit through that monster by myself.

Thanks you!

 

Hunkered Down

Please forgive me from being absent from the blog.  The beginning of the school year has kicked my butt in every way possible.

A mere three weeks after school started, I got a cold that took me a couple of weeks to recover from.  I tried to wait it out and only treated the symptoms.

The hubby and I celebrated another anniversary – our 28th.  He sent me a beautiful arrangement of roses.

Then, after on a week’s reprieve, the cold came back – with a vengeance.

After ten days of dealing with a runny nose, sore throat, post-nasal drip, and a sinus headache, I went to the doctor.

Columbus Day Hair – Don’t care

I loathe going to the doctor, but I tried someone new, and I really liked her.  She’s actually a nurse practitioner, but she had a lovely bedside manner and even typed instructions for the FOUR prescriptions she was writing me on my phone.

But y’all, that is not the point of this post.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a sneaky hurricane by the name of Michael is threatening my neck of the woods.

That screenshot was taken early – before it turned into a Cat 3.

I am none too happy.  We were supposed to give an in-school SAT to the kids who haven’t passed the FSA – all of my students – and we can’t do that now because this storm is STRONG, and school has been cancelled through Thursday.

Employees at our local Air Force base were ordered to evacuate, as were residents in Zones A-C.  We checked, and we aren’t in a flood zone, thank heavens.

We put up our plywood, moved things to the garage, and bought provisions.

These are the clips we use. Thank heavens we still had them in the toolbox.

I felt so bad for the Mr.  He was such a trooper and put the boards up with a minimal amount of complaining.

Of course, we did have a little chat before we got started.  What I really mean is that I told him that he would not be allowed to get mad at me or fuss at me.  He made no promises, and I had to use my teacher voice a few times, but we got the job done.

We ran into one snafu last night.  I’d marked each piece according to the room it belonged to, but we could not make the holes on the porch boards line up correctly with the holes we’d drilled into the porch.  I’d marked the boards as left and right; however, we didn’t know which left or right – looking from inside the porch or outside.  We tried every combination but never got them to line up, so he drilled new holes into the boards.  Bless his heart.

He decided to add one more piece across what should be a door.  I took that door off a couple of years ago but haven’t had anyone come to put a new one one.

You might be a Redneck if . . .

The Mr. even went with me yesterday to fill up a few sandbags, which we put in the porch doorway and in front of our French doors.

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Once we got the boards up, I ran to Publix.  I had been there yesterday, and they’d been out of quite a few things.  Thank heavens they were able to restock quickly.  I found everything I needed and even ran into one of my assistant principals.  After a quick talk and a hug, we parted ways.  I was so impressed with the patience of the Publix employees – most of whom probably also had families and homes to prepare for the storm.

I got home and unloaded my goods.  As empty nesters, we don’t need a lot.

Then, while the Mr. took a work call, I loaded up the dogs and went for a ride, something I’ve been doing each week.

We ran to Chick fil A so I could get more provisions . . .

I bought a gallon of it too.  Don’t tell the Mr.  Bahaha.

I managed to get my workout in, determined not to be stymied by the incoming storm.

As the day grew later, I was struck by how dark my house was . . .

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Meanwhile, the weather was looking very un-hurricane like.

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While the Mr. rested, I prepared food for him to take to work.  I also decided to bake because, well, one has to cope in the best way possible, right?

I did give half of these to my neighbors.

So, we’ve hunkered down and are staying.

I’ll admit that I’m not thrilled now that the storm is projected to be a Cat 4.  When I invited my neighbor in to get some muffins, she prayed for us.  Both of us were seeking direction.  She’d clearly heard the word “stay” during her devotion this morning.  After she left and I did my own devotion, I couldn’t help but think of my neighbor’s word.  I wondered of God was using her to speak to me – to tell me not to worry – to allow me to feel His peace at my decision to stay – to trust Him.

Please pray for my part of Florida.

Please pray that God slows the winds so it won’t be as bad when it hits.

Please pray that any power outages are restored quickly.

Ultimately, please pray for our safety.  I’m nervous as this is the strongest storm I’ve been in.

I know, from personal experience, that God is in the storm, and while He doesn’t always choose to move it, He promises to never leave us alone in the midst of it.

 

Just Don’t Do It

I am utterly disgusted.

If you’ve seen TV or read social media in the past two days, this might look familiar:

I rarely post about political things, although you’d have to be pretty dense to not guess about my leanings towards various hot topics.

The above, though, makes me sick to my stomach.

I am appalled that a company like Nike would create this horrible advertisement.

The above person and the ‘movement” he started caused me to boycott NFL football.

That’s big.

I love football.  I spent much of my childhood holed up in my room on Sunday afternoons watching the Broncos duke it out with the 49’ers.

I just can’t anymore.

The words in the ad itself are so hypocritical that I can’t even read them without seeing red.

And white.

And blue.

As in the flag that REAL heroes sacrifice their lives for every single day.

An athlete does not do this.

Especially an athlete who refuses to pay homage to a symbol that represents said person’s freedom to play a sport that he may (or in this case isn’t) gifted with.

This advertisement offends me on so many levels.

First of all, I am a consumer of athletic apparel.  I may not be a professional, but I am an athlete nonetheless.  I live in workout shorts, tops, and other such things all of the summer and when I’m not working during the school year.

Of course, I did switch to Asics shoes after my physical therapist told me that Nike shoes were crap.  He didn’t know it then, but he was on to something.

Second, I am a naturalized American citizen.  I take this very seriously and consider it a great honor to live in this incredible country.  Is it perfect?  Heck no.  I despise politics and even turned off my answering machine because I deplore the messages being left on it by so-called “candidates.”  Despite that, I would never disrespect it by doing what the above-photoed person does when in the presence of such an iconic symbol.

Call me judgemental.  I don’t care.

Last, but most importantly, I am the proud mom of a service member.  He serves our country alongside thousands of others to secure the freedom we enjoy in this country and to promote peace around the world.

The above-photographed person knows NOTHING of sacrifice.

Nothing.

Leaving your family to play in an “away” game doesn’t count.

Those serving are away from their families for months and years.

Pulling a muscle or, dare I say, tearing a ligament – well, these are minor compared to the devastating injuries that our men and women in uniform suffer from.

Some people pay the ultimate price, but it’s certainly not a loss of playing time on AstroTurf.

Our brave men and women in uniform believe in something, alright.

It’s called country before self.

They give up everything.

That’s the real definition of sacrifice.

 

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