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.