Shelter from the storm

The storms that slammed South Arkansas and North Louisiana last night left flooded homes, downed trees and frustrated people in their wake. Entergy predicts it will be at least Thursday evening before electricity is restored to all homes affected by the outages. Facebook is littered with pictures of the damage and status updates from users who are sifting through their losses.

Based on the reports I’ve read, it appears there were tornados all around us. One was spotted touching down briefly about two miles from my home, in fact. My next-door neighbor called this morning to see if we made it okay and said their electricity had gone out four times during the night.

Sarah is highly afraid of storms. If it rains heavily, she gets upset simply based on the idea that there might be thunder. If she is in her room asleep when thunder hits (even if it’s just a low rumble in the distance), she immediately sprints down the hall, climbs right over me and buries herself under Randall. For some reason, when it storms, Daddy is the only one who can save her, and it’s a role he takes very seriously. She is not faking fear just so she can get in bed with us – she quakes down to her core.

So knowing all that, you would think we didn’t get much sleep last night, huh?

Not so.

Aubrey fell asleep long before the storms hit and didn’t wake up until long after they were over. She only woke up at 4:30 a.m. because she had to “teeteetee,” as she says. If not for that, she would’ve probably slept until it was time to get up.

Sarah slept for a while when we got home, so she was up late last night. Just as the storms were revving up around 10:30 p.m., she fell asleep. As I crawled into our bed, I told Randall I expected she wouldn’t be far behind me since I was certain the next decent round of thunder would bring her running.

It never happened.

That normally scared little girl slept soundly all night and had to be awakened to get ready for school this morning. I have never known her to make it through a stormy night without waking up and looking for comfort. The lightning flashed every few seconds and was bright enough to light up the room. The thunder sounded like a wrecking ball was tearing down the house around us.

How in the world did my sensitive, heart-on-her-sleeve child make it through the whole night without any fear?

And, better yet, while we’re talking about surprising things, how did all that wind and rain not cause more limbs and leaves to fall? It hardly takes much bad weather at all for us to have to pick up debris from the yard. This morning, though, there was only one small stick that had fallen out of our pecan tree. The yard and driveway were otherwise clear.

The “spinwheels” as Sarah calls them (look to the top of this blog for a visual reference) were right where we left them. If even a mild gust of wind comes along, they get spun around or knocked down. Yet there they were in the same place they had been in when we came home yesterday evening.

The whole thing amazes me. In the midst of all of Mother Nature’s chaos, we emerged unscathed.

Had special, otherworldly Forces conspired to protect us? How did we get off so easily when others are spending their day pulling soaked carpet from their homes and sweltering in the muggy heat with no electricity?

Randall gave a shout-out to Mam-ma and Pap-pa this morning on Facebook. His status said, “Looks like Henry and Evelyn put a good word in for us.”

What a beautiful idea.

My grandparents were very particular about their yard during their time on Earth, and Pap-pa was always extra fond of Sarah. I’m sure he would want to make sure his “Sweet One” got a good night’s rest and was spared any unnecessary fear. He would certainly want to protect his beloved pecan tree and Mam-ma’s red tips, both of which were unharmed by the storms.

I have always thought Mam-ma would get a kick out of Aubrey’s dimples and blue-eyed charm, and, even though they never met in person, I feel like Mam-ma’s spirit is alive in our home and watching over Aubrey. More than once, I have watched Aubrey come so close to falling off the couch and thought to myself that Mam-ma had reached out a protective hand to catch her and to lift her back to safety.

It’s like a special shield was placed over our home last night. Maybe it was the protective love of my grandparents. Maybe it was God’s love offering us shelter from Life’s storms. Perhaps it was simply dumb luck.

Whatever it was, I’m thankful.

To those who were affected by the storms, I can only say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” The next time something happens, it could be us in the direct path of Life’s destructive powers. My sympathies to those who suffered damage to their home or property and to those who spent the night trembling in fearful anticipation of what the next lightning strike might bring.

Today is a new day, and – thank goodness! – yesterday is behind us. The sun is out. Entergy is working overtime. Life is getting back to whatever “normal” means for most people.

We were blessedly spared. Our children slept through the night with no worries. We have no cleanup to do, and our electricity didn’t even blink. We are so thankful for this – and many other – blessings!

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About Rebecca Mixon

If you attend my funeral, please wear red. Make sure my loved ones do not bury me in shoes, and make sure they don't let the undertaker make me look ridiculous. I want beautiful music and lots of storytelling. All that will be great once I'm gone from this Earth. But, while I'm here, give me my flowers while I live. It has come to my attention lately that we don't "give people their flowers" until it's too late for them to enjoy the beauty, the colors, the sentiment. I'm changing that. The people in my life will know how they are appreciated and loved, and they will smell the aroma of their flowers as often as I get the chance to tell them. This blog is about the blessings in my life. Mainly, it's about the people who keep my world spinning on a good axis and help me realize that work, bills and stress mean nothing. Family counts. The rest is just gravy.
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