What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Towers of TP

Well, Hello! My name is Rebecca and once upon a time I blogged at Renaissance....

Our internet has finally been restored and I must say thank you to all my Swedish, Australian, South African, UK and American friends who made their prayers and presence known over this trying time. What a blessing to hear from all of you! (and wow! I didn't know this blog was international! wA-Hooo!) Thank you for taking the time......

(no wonder the power was out. It was in the CORN!)

I wanted to post these few grim pictures in order to document the ordeal and then be DONE with it. That way, I can move on to loveliness and beauty and ORDINARY life. (Something I am coveting pretty intensely right about now!)

(blacktop folds like paper, turns out)

I was unable to get out until several days AFTER the flooding, when the water had receded and only then, to a very few spots near home (it was impossible to get to neighboring towns and cities, even if I HAD wanted to go~ which I didn't~ due to impassable roads.)

(I guess I should mention: all pictures are within one mile of our home, some frightfully close.)

(I have no idea where the bridge WENT. It swam far, far away. Now it just a cliff)

In fact, during the storm it was even impossible to GET home:

We were stranded at Matt's parents' house thanks to a day spent helping clean out Grams house and then roads being washed out. We tried to get home, but to no avail. It was hard being away from home~ not knowing the state of our house, not being able to care for our animals and not being able to do ANYTHING. God took care of things, even when we couldn't.

(limp guard rails)

When waters had receded enough (and a morning was spent forging back roads until we were able to find a way home) we were finally able to get home to a home still dry and a garden still planted and animals NOT drowned.

But the power was out and every bridge around us was demolished so we were left considering the possibility that we wouldn't be able to get to town for months. I mourned the hypothetical loss of cheese, milk and other dairy products. And then I realized, we were low on toilet paper and my mourning turned to weeping and gnashing of teeth!

(Storing food for emergencies is SO IMPORTANT! I was worried about CHEESE and TOILET PAPER...not my family starving!)

(this bridge is right off of our driveway. The road crew is our new alarm clock.)

Electricity people came around and said not only was power out in homes, but in their power station as well and not to expect it to come on for quite some time. Immediately, my heart went into my throat at the thought of losing all that hard-earned foodstuff: vegetables, fruits and meat in our freezers, along with the precious time and money it took to feed that livestock and GET that meat/ veggies/ and fruit.

(oil lamps at the ready. I always have TONS of candles everywhere...no worries there!)

That afternoon was a whirlwind as I gathered and filled all the oil lamps, brought up the stored water (Storing water is SO IMPORTANT! Maybe even more important than food!) (I store both drinking and soapy water for washing) , as Corynn and I whipped up some flannel bathroom wipes (ew) so we could ration the toilet paper for the important times (if you're picking up what I am laying down...) and as I immediately began the canning of as much meat as I could before it was too late.

(what was once our poor neighbors driveway... Matt has been helping her as often as he can.)

I worked tirelessly, with no power, and canned 60 pounds of meat~ not even ONE shelf of ONE freezer (we have two chest and one in the fridge). Then~ Praise God!!! (STILL!) He allowed the power to go on before all the meat was ruined!

(canning by candlelight---and the precise reason I insist upon using gas stoves instead of electric!)

We were able to call my parents eventually using a cellphone, and found out that my sisters family was in a shelter so I immediately called her and told them to come.

(Storing food is SO IMPORTANT! I was able to open my home to a family of SEVEN for a week when they needed it BECAUSE I had food enough to feed them and my family without worry!)

(wicked paths of grovelling plants)

After that, it was just a whirlwind of making meals and cleaning up after them before a new meal needed to be made. I didn't accomplish much else~ nope, not even school.

(a fresh batch of homemade playdough and the last of the banana muffins from breakfast)

My children may have not opened a school book the whole week but they learned invaluable lessons that week.

(lovely flat ground no longer)

Elizabeth and Bobs' (my sister and her husbands') church family opened up an empty parsonage for them to live in and so they are safe and together and living in a beautiful home right now. I can't help but praise God for the saints. The Church stepping up in dire times is an outworking of Christ and there is no better witness to God's goodness than the outworking of His love through His people. We are His hands. I am proud to be part of this Family of God.

We are trying to return to a normal schedule and life (though admittedly, it isn't working very well!)

(just a toothpick)

I learned a few things lately: one is that the internet somehow and at some point became the only cookbook I use (a nasty realization when you don't have it!) and that........even without the internet, I *STILL* don't have enough time in the day. ("It isn't the internets' fault" is a happy realization for me since I am always very concerned with wasting precious time on unprecious things.)

The first thing I did when I got back on the computer was marked everything in my google reader as READ and then promptly unsubscribed to more than half my feeds. When a girl has 500 some blog posts to 'catch up on' over two weeks or so, a girl needs to say "UNCLE". Even *I* know my limits.

(this was once a lovely pasture...with all the stone and silt, I wonder if it will ever be again.)

I also learned a few things about food storage. The town we live near didn't have power for almost two weeks. Our storage was perfectly adequate for us but our electricity came on pretty speedily considering.... we would have been toast had we been in town. That got me to thinking about what I needed if I *HAD* lived in town.

(the national guard comes...)

Upon further reflection:

It would be wise to make a few changes to our current setup.

We need to store more drinking water and more soapy water (pondering rain barrels)

We need to have a generator at some point for our freezer foods.

I must get more wicks and oil for our lamps.

We ought to store some gas. (the gas stations were closed or rationing gas. We couldn't get to them for a while anyway.)

And oh yeah~ I want a Great Pyramid of TOILET PAPER accessible to me AT ALL TIMES.


Bonnie said...

Oh my. I scanned the pictures and skimmed the reading (heading out the door) but had to say Hi, so glad your safe. I say that a bunch in the letter winging its way to you as I speak too.

Miranda said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. So glad that your family, home and animals are safe!

Emma said...

Only just caught up with your blog, and I am so sorry to hear what your family are going through. I read a couple of posts down where you talked about how overwhelmed you were feeling prior to this disaster, and thought to myself "hmm sometimes Heavenly Father causes something like this to make us focus on our blessings and sort the wood from the trees!" It's hard to go through that though and come out the other side with faith intact so well done to you. Prayers coming to you from the UK.

Anonymous said...

wonderful to read an update; have been thinking of you and your family often. and that last photo - wow - love it.


Anonymous said...

glad you are safe and glad you are back! and now you are making me think more about food storage : )
much love
oh and God would bring you and yours to mind during the most delightful times like washing dishes : )

Hollace said...

Thank you for the pictures. It really helps us who didn't experience it to understand the losses.

I appreciate your hard-working approach to trouble: get in there and can as much meat as you can, by oil lamp. The lists of what to have on hand and emergency rations are helpful. (When you say 'soapy water' do you mean just plain water ie, rain water, or do you really mean soap is in it? )

Even though it was a hard thing to go through, we can still see evidences of God's helping you and protecting you and encouraging you, too, or you wouldn't have been able to share what you did.

I'm thankful for that.

...they call me mommy... said...

WOW. So glad you guys are ok!!! Praise God the your sister & family have a place to go!

We had some flooding in this area a couple years back and it was bad too...we didn't get much (4 inches in our already yucky basement) but we were kinda stranded like that too. It really makes you quickly prioritize!

Again, glad to hear you are safe! (((HUGS)))

Louise said...

Looking at all your photos reminded me so much of the devastation our city (Christchurch, New Zealand) has been suffered over the past year after huge earthquakes struck our city. We too have experienced the power outages, having to boil water (and no flushing water), huge lines at the supermarket and rationing one bottle of milk and one loaf of bread per family etc.
Anyway! Glad your family and property/animals are all ok and that you have adequate supplies of most essentials!

Davene Grace said...

Wow. Those pictures are stunning...truly conveying how devastated your area is and how long the recovery will be. It's "easy" to forget the aftermath, especially because the news hops onto to something else and it slips from our minds. But these photos you shared - wow.

Although I live in the country, we have city water; and today the water was out for about 7 or 8 hours. With even that minor inconvenience, I was awakened to all that I take for granted. Countless times throughout the day, I go to the sink and turn on the water, never giving a second thought to the wonder that it is to have clean, fresh water. Until it's gone...then I think about it.

I admire your pluck :) in dealing with this disaster, and I continue to be grateful for the way God is caring for you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! Haven't read for a while--and just caught up! Praying for you, your sister's family, and all around there, as recovery will be difficult and take time.

I am so amazed at how you were able to handle things and impressed. What a blessing you were able to be as a result of forethought and diligence. God bless you! It is beautiful to see the Body at work and brings such well-deserved glory to Him.

God's Blessings on you!

Mrs. Rebekah S.

jaya pratheesh said...

glad to know you are safe, and you did not lose the contents of your freezer.

the pictures are eye-catching, but the best part of this post (for me) was the importance of disaster preparedness. not just electricity and water, but cooking and cleaning and storing food.. it opened my eyes to the huge dependency i have on things i have no control over.

thank you for this post.

and p.s., greetings from india!

Matthew said...

Glad that you and your family were safe, and that your power came back on in time!
I know this sounds strange, but I think one of the greatest blessings is getting a "dress rehearsal" like this to test out your preparations! How many of us get to experience a wake-up call like this? How many of us will only find out where our preps are inadequate when it's too late?
So even the sufferings you and your family experienced are a sort of blessing...

Leah said...

Oh, Rebecca, it hits me so differently seeing these pictures from YOUR point of view, from your own camera, your own eyes, rather than just seeing pictures in the news. This is YOUR family seeing this devastation all around, and feeling the effects in YOUR home.

I pray God will restore a full home life to your family (and your sister's family) speedily and sustain you in His peace during this time. May God bless you and keep you.

Leah said...

I would also like to know if you can receive mail at this time.

Mar said...

Glad you all made it through and everyone is safe even if the physical surroundings are damaged. And TP is one of my major stock up items so now I can justify that!

Rebecca said...

Thanks to all who have commented! I appreciate each one!

For those wondering about mail: yes, we are able to receive it now. Thank goodness! Bills, you know. ;-)

And to Hollace:

I store water in laundry soap containers (I buy the BIG ones) When there is so little left you can't get to it (but you know there is a layer of soap coating the container) add your water and should the need arise, you have lovely soapy water to wash your hands in or dishes, etc. (In the case of dishes, you may need to add dish soap as well). You use the last drop of soap and have washing water clearly distinguished from the DRINKING water you are storing.

Amy said...

Wow, that's just terrifying. And they brought the National Guard in too...why did i not hear about any of this??? I'm glad you are all right.

Peggy said...

I am you haven't heard from me in over a year but I wanted you to know I've been praying for you all. It was a shock to discover that several people we know were affected by the flooding. I am so glad to hear you are alright.... how is your sister? We lost our computer due to a virus and I am just starting to recover even though it was quite some time ago. Lets just say things, well life happened and in order to deal I pulled in (still am but its better thankfully!)

Once again so thankful you are all safe and well!

abigail said...

Two things:

1. I think collecting herbal remedies should take a temporary back seat to finding a homemade recipe for toilet paper. Once you've developed it, share with me.

2. Our yurt friends just had a 500-gallon underwater cistern installed, and I immediately thought that I'd like one. Then I read this post and immediately thought that YOU would like one. It's like a giant rain barrel underground. I'd love to have one so that we could water the garden (our well's very shallow thanks to Marcellus and his shale)and have relatively unlimited water for when our electricity goes out. Anyway, something to add to your list of Someday in your Soonday.