Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sorry to leave you in the dark.......but....

Well, my posts were few and far between before, but for the past week, I've had a good excuse. Monday evening we had a horrendous ice storm. If you aren't local, you may have even seen it on the national news. Ice over an inch thick covered every surface after it was finally over following almost two full days of freezing rain. I can easily say it was the worst storm of any kind that I have ever seen in Lawrence County and have verified with my grandparents that it is the worst they have seen in their lifetimes, as well.

My inlaws house

Tuesday morning the power went off at about 8 am. That day seemed like the longest day of my life....... little did I know. At one point, Tate even complained that it was "the worst day of his life." Of course, I tried to gently correct him that a little lack of video games, lights, and TV never hurt anyone and that I'm sure he would live. However, as the days progressed---- in those weak moments, I could sympathize.

That first day we fried bisquit donuts, made homemade playdoh, and played board games and almost got a bit comfortable in the moment. We went to Rob's parents and listened to the limbs start to crack that night. As one crashed down, we would run to the window to survey the damage but we could see nothing but blackness. It was a scary night. I kept wondering about my grandparent's house. They have one of the oldest trees in Walnut Ridge sitting in front of their house. One limb from that tree could completely obliterate their house. Luckily, in our new neighborhood, trees are few and our house was well protected and my grandparents were safe and sound at the time in a "shelter" at the local nursing home.

My mom's

That night we regained power at about 8 pm only to lose it again--for good at 11 pm. We drug mattresses into the living room and took pictures of our little "campout". Oh how fun this would be to remember in the future, we thought. But on Wednesday night, we realized the fun was over. As darkness crept in every night, it was a trick to see how fast you could cook all the food that was spoiling before it got dark as well as light all the candles and figure out what the kids were going to do while all of this was going on. Avery also thought it was so much fun to go around and blow out all of the candles as soon as they were lit.

Night #1

Rodney and Kristi moved in with us on Wednesday. Their help was priceless. We actually cooked up some spaghetti on our gas cooktop (in the dark, no less) and Rob ran an extension cord from the power inverter in the truck to power a lamp! It was a true blessing. We ran the truck for over 4 hours running a lamp and a small tv. We played cards and thought, once again, that this would be laughable tomorrow.

gas lines

By the next day, Rob and I started wondering if buying a generator might be a good idea. We were warm and we could cook (both serious blessings!) but the darkness was enough to send you over the edge. So, on Thursday, we bit the bullet and Rob waited in line for 3 hours for a generator. We ran extension cords that night and wired our house to it the next day. What a dream to flip and switch and see lights, run the washer, blow dry your hair...... the list goes on and on!

Brother-in-laws backyard

Friday, Kristi and I took the kids to Pocahontas to eat at one of the few open restaurants in a 20 mile radius and shop for some groceries to replace all of the spoiled ones. That evening, Rob had to go back to work so Kristi and I decided to take the kids to Jonesboro for some civilization (Rodney was in a meeting at Little Rock). I had found out earlier that day that my grandparents had begged to go home after being ejected from their "shelter" due to overcapacity (long story). Anyway, my uncle put them to bed (he lives just next door) and set out to take care of some other errands. As we arrived home from Jonesboro, we found out that my Papaw had burned his arm badly. I left Kristi with my kids and took off to their house where I had to call an ambulance because his arm was so bad. Neither he nor my Memaw could explain what had happened. He was taken to Jonesboro and Memaw went home with me. He ended up having 2nd and light 3rd degree burns and obviously this was the last straw for them being independent.

We finally got power late Saturday afternoon....... over 100 hours without power ANYWHERE in Walnut Ridge or Hoxie (except for one gas station that had lines for gas that were LOOONNNGG). Many in our area still do not have power, including my maternal grandfather, my paternal grandparents, my good friend Amanda and her family, my uncle, and my brother and his family. We spent the day moving generators-- again! We have missed a full week of school, now, and don't know when we will go back. Our county has been included in a Federal Disaster area.

I have to say that this has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. I have learned so much, though. To say that some things are "fluff" is an understatement. As I watched the video today of shelters in the area, I remembered how blessed we have been. And, although I have had my Memaw for 2 nights and spent the day with my Papaw in the hospital today-- which has been difficult, I remember how close we were to losing them in a tragic accident on Friday.

The hole over Jon and Hillary's bed..... the branch stuck through a few feet.....eek

This post could really go on and on. I could tell you about the limb that actually pierced the bedroom ceiling of my brother in law and sister in law, about how we kept our food outside in a cooler for over two days, about the threat of losing our water supply and running water into every empty container and bathtub for precaution, about my brother working as a lineman every day and then coming home at night to hook up and unhook generators, or about the burned up shirt that we found at my grandparents' house.......... but I'll leave you with this:

Lord, we are so grateful for Your mercy. We are also grateful for those material blessings we receive from You. But, most importantly, Lord, we are grateful for your Son-- our hope for life after this one. We know the things of this world are not permanent and that only You are powerful enough to offer what we need. Please restore us both physically and spiritually. Bless those who need You in whatever way.


The Speight Family said...


I am so glad we all made it though this horrible ordeal safe and sound with a few obstacles. I am so thankful that your papaw is ok. I know that must be hard on all of you. I am also thankful that Adam has been kept safe while trying to help all of us regain our power. He is one of my dearest friends. We don't get to see each other very often but I will always cherish our friendship. It sure has made me remember how fortunate we are and that we all need to take a step back and appreciate the really important things in our lives: God, our family, our health,our friends, our jobs and take a little more time with them and a little less time with the TV, computer, internet, cell phone, etc.

This post really brought me to tears!!

Anonymous said...

It has been a really hard week but again I think we have all learned a lesson from this. The stress, the worry, the fretting, the whinning, the running around with our heads cut off, the cold, the darkness, etc. has made me see also that our family always sticks together and helps one another when needed. We are there for one another no matter what. Thank you Steph for helping your grandparents and being so concerned about their well being. They are blessed to have a granddaughter like you. Thank you also for being there to help me out. Love you and Rob both so much!
God always takes care of his. He is an awesome God!


Amanda said...

That picture of your brother-in-laws gives me chills. That was my fear those nights that the limbs were falling. I am so glad they were not there.

Anonymous said...


I learned early in my career as a electric utility employee that I could only hope that none of my family would have to endure one of these storms. I guess it was inevitable that one day it would happen. I am so thankful that everyone is OK, and that we now have a healthy respect of what mother nature has to offer. I must make this observation based on my 33 years of dealing with mother nature: global warming is real. Strange things are happening on a regular basis. We must (for the sake of our children and grandchildren) take a serious step towards slowing the greenhouse gas buildup. We need to support all efforts to turn the tide.

I'll bet that Tate will always remember this...

Avery, probably not..

Keep your faith in the Lord and allow your gratitude to flourish in the wake of the 2009 Ice Storm.

Love Dad

Amanda said...

Would you please take a break from facebook and get back to blogging?

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time I had a friend who blogged. But then I stayed at her house for a week, and she lost her blogability. That made me very sad :(. Sincerely,
Jack Handy