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Tuesday, May 10, 2011






Sunday...Mother's Day...this year it seemed even more meaningful as I saw so many families hurting, thought of the mother's who lost children and children who lost mothers. It makes me realize even more than I already knew how blessed I am! Each of them called to tell me Happy Mother's Day and to top it off...my most wonderful kids had flowers delivered to my hotel!!! Now how special is that!!!!









I was sent to Tuscaloosa to start client casework. My first day there, I had the morning free, it was Sunday and normally Red Cross has us take the morning off so that those who go to church can do so. I asked at the front desk of my hotel for directions to one and set out to find it. On the way, I came to one of the areas that was severely hit by the tornado. It cleared out everything! It didn't matter if it was a home, business, fancy or poor home, it tore down trees .




and light poles and churches. Clothes still hung in closets, books on shelves, roofs off and windows blown. That is in the homes that were still standing, other areas had NOTHING LEFT! It was clear from one side of the neighborhood to the other.









As I was driving through one area, there in front of me, in the middle of it all, was a church. It was not the church I was headed for, but I decided THIS was the place I was going to attend that morning. I was so happy that I had. It was the first service that they had held since the tornado. It had been hit as well, the whole recreation hall and office wing was totalled, one side had all the stained glass broken out and boarded up, you can see in the photo how the it looked before the storm by how the other side looked. The photo with the pillars is the front of the church. It was an awesome service. Beforehand, I could hear small conversations whispered between the people, "How are you?", the answer (add in a southern accent as you read these) "Tired, everybody's tired". "Did you see Shelby's place? I don't see how in the world she ever survived!" "Elvin didn't make it" "I hunkered down in the tub" "I know God was with me, but I was still scared!"...I just sat there absorbing it all. There were hugs and tears and smiles and hugs. There was a hushed atmosphere. One of the songs they sang was so meaningful, I have sung it before, but I will never hear it again and not think of that day and that service.




Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

by Matt Redman













I never really thought about what would happen to a cemetery in a tornado. I found out yesterday as I rode through with my team to meet clients outside the city. This little cemetery used to be fenced...but there was no sign of it except the gate and a few sticks. The marble headstones were in pieces. Some of the headstones were ancient. I hope that the families of these people are around and can help put this graveyard back together again.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Here are a few shots of the damage I have seen so far. This shot really made me smile...something much needed around here...I spent most of the first week in a rural area, not many homes, but the ones hit were a mess. There was one life lost. It just amazes me how a tornado can totally destruct a metal building and leave flowers blooming...bent metal around a tree, but leave the tree standing, take a roof off but leave up the walls, take off a wall, but leave the photos hanging on the other walls. It will take one home and the neighbor's home is not touched. I saw one neighborhood wiped out but ONE home was left. I stopped and talked to the man sitting out front of that house and asked him what he thought about that, he said, "God just didn't want me to go yet"...he had waited out the tornado inside holding onto his aging mother. From the front, this place didn't look too bad, except for a tree on one side of the roof. But looking closer, you can see how the pressure cracked the bricks and popped up the roof. From what they tell me, the whole house gets squeezed.








This empty pad is where a mobile home used to be. It was lifted up and tossed across the street. The man inside was 98. He was a leader in his community and the funeral was HUGE!