Monday, October 31, 2005

Just for Halloween, Let Me Show You My BOOBIES!

Seriously, let me show you my cute little boobies, just in time for Halloween!

 

Scroll down.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep going.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just about there!.........

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  Trick    or   Treat !!!!!!!!!!   Told you they were cute little boobies!      LOL  

 

 

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Storm Stories: Getting the Necessities

So the first few days is a time of absorbing all that has changed, praising God for all that remains, and working toward taking what you have to get what you need.

Necessities really do come first.  And of all that is necessary, water cetainly tops the list!  Sure, there is plenty in that overflowing pond for the horses that are free to roam and the chickens lose on the ground.  But what of the Stud horse, DBoy, in the pen?  The three hogs in their pen?  The dogs that live in a pen or are chained up here and there?  And especially, us?!  Thankfully, Pete had accepted as trade in some deal or the other an old prehistoric generator.  He and Bubba got it to run after a little tinkering and a lot of sweat!  But the darned old thing didn't push enough juice to run the pump.  However it did push just enough juice to run the compressor that brings the water out of the ground and into the holding tank!  (See, the pump just sends it through the pipes into the house.)  So, battle half won.  How do we get the water out of the tank?  You don't.  You turn the pipe from the well to the tank around, put a turndown on it, and fill Bugs plastic wading pool!     Hurrah!  With a strapping teenage Bubba around, you dip that out with a 5 gal bucket and distribute it to all the animals.  Mom fills every pitcher and milk jug around for our drinking, cooking, etc.  THEN, you take turns getting in the pool to cool off and clean up.  And it is so icy cold, thank you Jesus!

Well, Mama enjoyed it quite a bit, but then again I am a 45 year old woman, if you know what I mean.  And Bug took to it pretty good too....just another day in the pool to her.  But the guys had a little problem with it.  Something to do with their plumbling, apparently.

Next on the list, how to eat.  That's not too hard for folks who dear camp every year with none of the modern conveniences.....except all our stuff is in the deer camp.  Would probably take Pete and Bubba a week to get there and back through all the downed trees.  Well, there is the butane burner.  And Pete keeps a fire hole dug out all year and has a grill on a swivel above it.    Don't know how soon we can get more butane, but the Lord has given us an abundance of firewood!    So you do what you can slowly over the fire and the rest on the cooker.  And at first you eat fairly good.  Got lots of stuff to eat on before it rots. 

Let's see....water, food, and the third necessity, shelter.  That little front that turned Rita away from Galveston held us with clear skies.  And our long dry spell left us with no mosquitoes, at first.  But the heat is something awful.  Thank God for shade!  And did we ever chase it, all day, from one spot to another in the yard.  At night we went in the house and all slept on pallets on the living room floor.  This is so we could all get the benefit of one small little fan that Pete took out of an old van and mounted to the window-sil.  Pull the truck up to the window and hook the fan wires to the battery and you have cool evening air blowing across you.

Now, gradually, things improved in each of the three areas.  Pete got an old bathtub and cleaned it up.  Set it out near the firehole.  Then each evening he'd heat a couple of large pans of water over the fire and pour into the tub to cut the chill and warm the well water.  We took turns as to whose night was first in the tub.  (Come on, someone out there has surely bathed in a number three washtub?! )  You washed your hair on your night to be first.

Eventually the food in the freezers was all beyond consumption and MRI's and canned soups and Chef Boy'r'd type meals became the standard fare.  It took about 5 days for FEMA and the National Guard to get setup and distributing food, water and ice in our area.  Oh, how we celebrated to have ice!!!  A cold drink of water.  An icy jug of koolaide!

And our nighttime hours got a little better once Pete's cousin relented and let him borrow another small generator that he uses to light his wagon when he rides at night.  With it, we could have 8-9 hours of a large box fan in the window running and even watch an hour or two of the Western Channel on satellite!  Yippee!

Thus was our lives for two weeks.  Next installment I'll begin to share some side stories with you.  And, sorry Mary, no pictures.  We aren't the kind to always keep a camera around loaded.....and the nearest store up and running was probably two hours away.  By the time there was a place you could get a camera or film, there just wasn't the same pictures with the same feel to be had.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Storm Stories - There's Got to be a Morning After

Remember that song from the Posiden Adventure?  That is very appropriate to how we felt in the wee hours just before dawn.  As we stepped out onto the porch, the first thing we noticed was a profusion of green.  Now we had been long not having any rain, so this wasn't grass......it was branches and leaves from the trees!  Several inches thick across the whole yard.  Our eyes instinctively went up to the horizon, where we saw our whole view had changed overnight!  Where there had been trees so thick in the edge of the woods you couldn't see between them, there were now spaces of light cascading in.  One third to half of the leaves on every tree had been stripped from their limbs!  Trees still green with no sign of autumn upon them.  Trees that are evergreen.  All the trees. 

Many trees had blown down.  Thankfully none on any structure! Although one very old shed did blow off it's flooring.  Funny that all the things inside the shed were sitting on that bare floor, totally unhurt!?   One did crash upon an old truck, a junker.  It was easy to tell the ones that Rita got by the sheer force of her winds from the ones the tornadoes took.  Those downed by Rita all lay in a straight line, roots to the North, tops toward the South.  Odd isn't it how something blowing in from the South, spun those trees down from whence she came?!  That circular motion just ain't nothin' like a Blue Norther blowing in.  These trees were either broken off about a foot from the ground in a clean break or had went over pulling up their entire root system with them.  Those that met their fate at the hand of the tornadoes were harshly twisted off midway up, some still hanging, and strown around all askew.

The green, the view, then you notice the entense quiet!  Like when you are somewhere remote in the cold.  No road noise from anywhere.  No animal sounds.  I have never experienced an outside world so quiet.  I wondered if that is how it was right after God made the Heavens and the Earth and before He started on all the creeping things upon the face of the earth. 

Everything, every where looked brighter and cleaner.  Especially the horses!  Wow!  They all shone in the dim morning light like new copper pennies.  We joked about God's high pressure washer. 

There was one dead chicken....otherwise the horses, the hogs, the dogs, the cats and the poultry were all alive and well.  Even the monsterous little gator!  We live in a very good place as far as standing water goes, so we had none on the ground anywhere.  But our pond that had been almost a scummy mudhole the day before was full and overflowing into the marshy place behind it.  And all of that stood with water.

We first got out the butane cooker and drip coffee pot and made us some coffee on the porch.  We pulled my car up to try to get some reports on the radio, but it was hard and sketchy, as most all local stations had sustained damage, and the ones near enough to hear like Houston, were pretty much cut off from our area and had nothing to report on. 

Later, Pete and Bubba walked through the pipeline to check on his brother's house.  (They had been fortunate to be invited by friends to go to Oklahoma.)  There was a tree down there on their master bedroom.  The guys went on to check on Pete's sisters house, which sustained only minor damage.  Our pastor lives across the street from her and they found him out serveying the damage to his property, and feeling very trapped by all the emensly large trees fell over the road.  Just a tangle of trees!

Pete later tried going down our road in the truck, to check the damage in that direction.  He could not get far, but was able to observe that our neighbors homes were standing. 

We were hot and sticky and miserable.  That Texas humid heat had not abated one bit!  Way later in the evening, after one of our neighbors who had left came in and over to visit, we all loaded up in the truck to get a look down our rural road.  Our neighbor had cut a pig trail through the debris just large enough for a truck to fit through.  We were constantly driving over power lines, but as everything was as quiet as it was, we figured the nearest live wire had to be miles and miles away.  When we saw we could make it all the way down our little road to the blacktop, Pete said we'd ride down and check on my sister Edna.  She and her husband had also elected to ride out the storm.  Maybe in part from stubborness, part ignorance, and in large part not to desert their livestock......horses and cows. 

Low and behold, as we snake our way through the cut out trees on the road, we see them headed toward us in their truck.  My heart felt a burden I hadn't realized was there lift off!  (See, she's all I have left of my original family unit.  Just nephew, nieces, cousins and a scattered aunt or two besides her.)  They had done and decided the same as we.  So we just stopped there in the road and had a tailgate reunion.  Plenty of hugs and damage reports.  They had somehow had a good bit of water come in their home, that they mopped up in the middle of the night!  lol   Think most of it blew in under the window sill!!

Then the trip back to the house and a lot of hard work, figuring out how we're goin' to get water to the animals, get clean, stay cool, etc. etc.

I'll be continueing with different tales of how we coped.  Just let me tell you all right now, if you are going to be affected by a natural disaster you need either a very wealthy man who can just wisk you away to a luxurious vacation while the peons fix your home OR a wonderfully ingenious redneck jack-of-all trades husband like my Pete!  Doesn't hurt if he's a pack rat that never throws any tool, object, motor, etc. away either.  ;)

Beautful flower passed to me by Jeannette.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Storm Stories - Friday of the Big Night

                                             

Friday was just another hot/humid Southeast Texas day.  Everywhere there were updates on Rita.  Updates on evacuation routes, school closings, etc.  Our own children had been released from school on Wednesday, as we lie along the evacuation route for Jefferson County and they didn't want the buses cutting back and forth through that mess.  And of course there was always the possiblity we'd get a mandatory evacuation order.  And we did.  But sorry Charlie, this is a day late and a dollar short!  Absolutely no funds for motel rooms.  All our friends and family either were also in the path or lived so far away we'd never be able to buy the gas to get there. 

So, we made plans.  Smart plans we thought.  I put changes of clothing for everyone in three seperate locations outside the main house.  I put boxes of canned food and a jug of water in each of these also.  Surely at least one would survive.  We filled jugs with water and both bathtubs. 

We saw that we might run out of a few things before places opened back up.  We expected everything to be down and at a standstill for 3-5 days.  (Yeah, that's the Lord you hear laughing.)  So, thankfully we had backroads we could run to the closest feed store where I got extra milk, bread, feed, canned drinks, etc.   I started supper and we began to turn the kitchen into our "safe place."  We chose the kitchen as it is part of the main house, not the trailer add on.  There would be three ways to get out of it if we needed to.  Also, we have a solid wood dining table there with a top that is about 1 1/2" thick.  We would put pallets under there to sleep.  Our heads and torsos would have that extra layer of protection. 

Pete and Bubba turned all the horses loose and put the gaps up across the road and the pipeline.  He figured they would cause damage and hurt theirselfs if they were trapped in a pen or stall when things got spooky. 

Well, wouldn't you know it, we lost our phone and electricity around 9:00 pm!  Before anything to speak of had started !  That's what happens when your lines run through a pipeline in the midst of the Piney Woods.  All it takes is one large tree limb to give way.  So we lit the hurricane lamp and finished our supper. 

The rough stuff seemed to begin around midnight.  We all sat on our porch which opens into the kitchen with the door open.  Wondered what the night would bring.  The winds steadily increased.   It drove the rain parallel to the ground.  With no artifical light, it was next to impossible to see what was going on.  But from the glow of the oil lamp you could tell the large cedar tree by the house was bending nearly double and slapping the tin roof of the porch.

This was solid, steady wind....ever increasing from midnight on.  The kids finally gave in and lay down.  Managed to "catnap."  We heard the tin on Pete's shop shudder and rumble, like it was about to leave.....but it never did.

I finally was exhausted and lay down.  Nothing approaching real sleep.  Each time things sounded really bad, I sang a verse of "Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee." and reflected on the prayer Trish had sent.  It brought instant relief.  Bug seemed to appreciate it.  And maybe even Pete did, as he didn't tell me to hush!  lol  (Don't judge him harshly if you've never heard me sing!)

From 2:00 am on things really intensified.  Occasionally you could smell the scent of pine strong in the air and you knew a tree had given way and breathed a sigh of relief it wasn't on the house.  There were sounds of things bouncing off the walls outside.  Even sounds like things blowing through underneath as the home sits up on blocks!  Twice we heard the "train" sound of a tornado.  But you could just barely make it out over the sound of the constant, steady pounding winds!  As 5:00 am rolled around you could tell that things were abating and we began to give a sigh of relief through thankful hearts. 

Pete said he prayed that night like he never had before.  I never had the fear I thought I would have.  But each hug, from each dear one in our home that morning did seem extra special.

                                            

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Storm Stories - Thursday, the day before Rita

I want to take you back in time to Thursday evening, Sept. 22nd.  Rita was still a catogory 4 hurricane......the strongest ever on record in the Gulf waters.  Most were still uncertain of an exact place of landfall, but it was continually narrowing in on the Beaumont/Sabine Pass region.  I had signed on to post that I would probably not be available for some time (I thought 3 days to one week.)  I decided to go ahead and peek in on what the AOL weather had to say.  There I found an advisory issued that made my blood run cold.  It stated that if she kept her current strength, Rita would cause flooding up to I-10....which runs through the center of Beaumont.  Okay.  I'm North of that.  The part that got me was predictions that as far inland as 100 miles, 1/3 of ALL TREES would snap in to or be layed over by the winds!  People, there is no place apart from trees in our area.  Too late to run.  No where much to hide.  I'll just keep this to myself.  No need to alarm my household.

I noticed I had received an e-mail, and I thought "Why not just see what it was."  It was from my friend and sister in Christ, Trish.  It was a hurricane prayer!  It mentioned the calming of the Sea of Galilee and put in my mind the many other times God stepped in to intervene in natural occurances.  Peace replaced the cold blood in my veins.

As a quirky side note, on Thursday afternoon, Pete found a baby gator under his shed!  Now if you go back in the bottoms, sometimes you run across one here.....but this ain't Florida folks.  They don't just wonder across your yard here!  He searched diligently for a Mama.....no sign of one.  So, we placed the little mad fellow in a wire cage and made him a guest.

There is more to come about the peace of Christ in the midst of a storm, the power of a prayer, and the faithfulness to do what God is leading you to do, no matter how small it seems.  But that was Friday.....actually the wee hours of Saturday....as we huddled and watched and rode out the worst thing any one of any age can remember in these parts.

KFDM  -  Local station with news of how things are in our area and a Rita Photo gallery.

Today I leave you with a copy of sister Trish's prayer.

 

                                          I would like to share this prayer that I found today for our nation during this hurricane season. May God bless each of you and keep you and your families safe. Hugs, Trish :)   P.S. Barbara I am praying for you and your family. Let us know how you are when you can. God bless you We love you. :)   O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children.  The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea.  We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control.  The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster.  During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father.  Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time. Father, all the elements of nature obey your command.  Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Father God I am so very grateful that You are all knowing and all things have to submit to You. I pray Lord God for mercy for these in the hurricane areas. Father I pray that we as a nation of people will once again turn to You and say You are God!
Father I pray for good to come out of all this devastation. I pray for souls to be saved, I pray for spiritual health of this nation and the world. I pray we will lift Your name on high and put Jesus back on the throne instead of all our other gods we have tried to put on His throne.
May our people and our nation be healed and back under Your protection Father God. In Jesus name. I pray we completely surrender to You and spare ourselves from more destruction. Amen!

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me,
and I will hearken unto you. Jeremiah 29:12    

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I love you folks!!

What a wonderful, wonderful welcome!!!   Thanks to each and every one of you!  God is so good and He does answer prayer!

Our electricity was restored on Saturday finally!  My hats off to the guys from Georgia that went thru a swamp to get us hooked up!  Over 50,000 have come to our area to help with electrical restoration from all over the US of A.

My phone worked after an SBC fellow came thru this morning.  So now I finally have internet access at home!!!  You know what that means.....I'll soon be posting again!  A series of Storm Stories are coming. 

Notice the slight color change to my journal?  That is for Sam.  ;)

You are the best bunch of folks anywhere! 

Love to each and every one!

Barbara

 

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Alive & Well!!!!

Just to let everyone know we are alive and well.  No damage to our house.  Still no lights, phone, etc.  But I did come back to work yesterday.  Will be back with lots of new stories as soon as I can use my own pc/internet connection.  Thank everyone for your prayers and well wishes.  God DID watch over us!
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