Pray for Alabama

I was born in Alabama, and although I didn’t grown up here, I spent every Christmas and summer in Decatur and Florence with family. It’s a place I’ve always been connected to and have always felt a connection with.

When Mamaw passed away in December 2009, I was saddened to realize that I would no longer have a reason to be in Alabama. I didn’t know at the time that I’d be living there within 5 months. As I like to say, I’ve made it full circle. Not only am I back where I started, but I’ve made friends and once again, have family here.

It’s home.

And so, that is why yesterday, April 27th was a day that left me exhausted and heart-broken.

We knew it was coming and we knew it was going to be bad. Even before Wednesday, forecasters were speculating that it could be “historic” or “epic”, but there was no doubt it would be damaging.

It was such an odd day. Randy was out of town on business, and so I had several backup alarms set for getting the kids ready for school. Instead, I woke up to sirens and within minutes, I heard that initial crash of thunder – that moment that I visualize the warm and cold air finally collide. There was no rain or wind at that point.

Within minutes of that collision, the initial storm hit with rain and strong winds. I watched as my Twitter stream filled with reports of power outages and down trees and damage.

Schools were closed due to fallen trees and widespread power outages. Only 20 out of 55 schools in our system had power.

The rest of the afternoon was amazingly nice. Sunny and windy. But it was coming:

(screenshot of @Spann warning of the tornado on the ground headed toward Tuscaloosa)

Watching it, I felt helpless. I felt awe at the force of nature. I wanted to cry. Cullman had already been beaten up severely, as had many other towns and areas across the state. Seeing this, and knowing what it was doing to the city below it, shook me to my core.

(screenshot of the tornado passing thru Tuscaloosa)

We got into our safe spot as it headed towards Birmingham. Reports were that it could tag the airport, which is about 10 minutes from our home.

(watching the tornado on the ipad from our safe spot)

As it was bearing towards us, news of the destruction in Tuscaloosa and beyond was pouring in.

In the end, we were untouched, physically. But emotionally, we are hurting for so many. It’s almost unbearable to think about what others woke up to this morning. To imagine what they are facing and coping with. The losses that they have been blown. So much loss of life. The starting over.

(screen captures of Cullman destruction)

I’m fighting with that all-too-common survivors guilt. Vacillating between elation of being ok and anger that others can think about anything else. Worried that the hurts will be forgotten. Like any tragedy, we rally around it and all want to reach out. But within hours, we change the channel and speculate about what the Queen-To-Be will be wearing tomorrow.

(tornado debris: a divorce decree from Tuscaloosa County, nearly 80 miles away from us)

And yet, I’m thankful that so many can do that. That they are ok and momentarily carefree. I think we’d all lose our minds if we couldn’t relax our brains from the images.

But let’s not forget Alabama yet. It needs help. It needs prayer.

It’s going to be a long journey back for too many. They shouldn’t have to do it alone.

Governor Bentley pushed back against questions from reporters on Thursday about whether Alabama residents had failed to heed tornado warnings, thus pushing up the casualty toll. “We were very prepared … but it was just the force of the storms,” Bentley said. “When a [large tornado] hits a largely populated area like Tuscaloosa, you cannot move thousands of people in five minutes. When an F4 or F5 tornado hits, there’s not much you can do to change the outcome of that.”  – Christian Science Monitor (emphasis mine)

Additional Links:

137 Tornadoes Reported in the Deep South on Wednesday *(AL.com)
Alabama Tornadoes: How You Can Help Victims of the April 27, 2011 Deadly Storms (AL.com)
‘We’re Alive’: Survivors Recount Deadly Tornadoes (MSNBC)
April 27, 2011 Alabama Tornado Photo Stream (from ABC 33/40)
Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes (Facebook page set up to help people recover debris found in others yards)
Pray for the Tornado Victims of April 27, 2011 (Facebook page filled with thoughts and resources for helping)
Tornado Season Reaches Peak in “Dixie Alley” (Washington Post)

Videos:

http://youtu.be/kxWRS-aFBW8
http://youtu.be/5ohIVzIZLuQ
http://youtu.be/J9Oszy_dGJY*
Storm Aftermath Video Shows Nothing Left (CNN)

*Updated: links no longer available/online

Life keeps on keepin’ on…

I’m still struggling with what to write on here. So much of what is on my mind is personal, and while I’ve always shared that, there are others whose feelings I must be respectful of…

But I would like to ask that y’all continue to hold me and the children in your prayers. I’m still looking for a job and because I’m still looking for a job, that is another reason I have to be conscientious of what I write.

I’ll be back to writing on here soon enough.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

So, once again I’ve been MIA (with a side order of exciting news)

I know several of you have asked where I have been and commented that you miss my regular posts. I’m really trying to make an effort to get back to posting daily. Even if it’s just a short nugget of info.

I’ve been trying to get Modern Media Mom off the ground; it seems to be doing well – it’s been very well received and I get compliments on it daily. Now if only I could get companies to take me seriously and give me products to review and try as well. (helloooooo, Apple!) But until then, I’m focusing on having great content that is relevant to people who are just like you and me: not computer engineers, not professors of software design. Regular folks trying to glean as much as they can from this crazy internet.

Now – in the “totally out of the blue” department: I found out on Friday that an essay of mine is going to be published in a real live book. With pages and a cover and everything!

I was approached about submitting something awhile back, but didn’t hold my breath.

So now, my release papers are in the mail. And I will give you more details as they are released and announced.

I’m still shocked and amazed. I have never ever ever thought of myself as a good writer, but I’ve felt nudged in that direction many times over the past year.

On the day that I left Blissfully Domestic, I had three separate people, with no connections, ask me if I had thought of writing a book.

I’m beginning to sense that the Lord has a story that He wants told through me. I have no idea what it is yet. In fact, I want to vomit a bit when I think about writing more than 700 words about anything.

At this point, I need to pray about it more; to seek direction. So keep me in your prayers, if you would.

And be on the look out for more frequent posts from me.

Praying for your Children

Several years ago I started praying for my children like never before. But I knew there were specific areas that I was forgetting to cover them in. It is such an honor and privilege to parent my children. I want to glorify the Lord in this role He has placed me in.

I had been reading Becky Tirabassi’s book Let Prayer Change Your Life and had done an intensive study on prayer, using the book to go along with it. Her book totally transformed my prayer life. I began journaling my prayers and my prayers became 1-2 hours long as I prayed over so many people and places and situations the Lord brought to my mind.

At that time, I looked online for resources for praying for specific areas of my children’s lives. I printed these out and placed them in a page protector and placed them in the front of my prayer journal (which is just a 3-ring binder filled with notebook paper). This way, each time I start my prayer time I look at my prayer list and pray for that specific area for each child, that day (along with all of the other things I pray for each of them.)

Below are links to the resources I printed out so that you can use them in your prayer time.

40 Ways to Pray for your children.
Praying For Keeps
A Parent’s Prayer Calendar
The Parent’s Prayer
Power-Packed Prayers

I would love to hear your ideas for praying for your children.

(this idea was originally published on my blog on Sept. 26, 2007)

Thank you thank you thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers while baby Declan was in the the hospital. He and I are back home. There’s no place like home. 60 hours is a long time to be in the hospital. And I learned a lot.

May I present you with 13 things I learned in the hospital:

1. There is such a thing as a “skullet” – it is one scary do…
2. I would make a perfect candidate for a style-overhaul show, because apparently, I have no taste
3. Some hospitals actually have good food!
4. It is possible to watch 9 straight hours of “Property Ladder” and still wish for more.
5. Apparently they transport ice cream in ambulances because they keep them so very cold!
6. When you are exhausted, even a chair is a comfortable place to sleep.
7. “I Love Lucy” reruns still make me laugh.
8.
My kids sound a lot older on the phone.
9. People who work in hospital housekeeping are so sweet and they love it when you remember their name.
10. Tiny babies in big hospitals look ever tinier.
11. There are a lot of people who care about us.
12. We are very very very lucky – there were a lot of children in that hospital who will never leave it.
13. Every thing pales in intensity when your baby is sick.

http://www.karlaarcher.com/3866/