Today began as a blustery damp day. Clouds gave thoughts that rain would not be far away. We had a cool wind with on and off bouts of rain sprinkles throughout the day. All thoughts of laundry drying on the clothesline diminished as the morning wore on. I ended up with a fire in the wood stove and hopes of drying a bit of laundry on the drying rack. As I was listening to the radio, I heard the noon weather report. Rain was definitely in the forecast with severe storms a possibility in some parts of the state. Yeah, no laundry to be dried outdoors today.
I busied myself doing other tasks. Cleaned the kitchen after lunch while the little ones napped. I then made some Corn & Potato Soup for dinner as Abigail finished her homeschooling for the day. Joe got home from work and we had an early dinner. Just after we finished dinner, a neighbor stopped his truck in front of the house and honked his horn several times. I checked to see what they needed and was told that a tornado was coming our way.
Joe gathered up Abigail and Micah as I hurried to get them some drinks from the refrigerator to tuck into the diaper bag. Luckily, I always have an extra bottle for Micah already prepared and Abigail had a water bottle full of Kool-Aid. I grabbed up the diaper bag & 2 blankets from their beds. By the time I got to the car, Joe was nearly done getting Micah in his car seat. I got Abbie in the car and then we went about 1/4 mile to the community's school where the tornado shelter is located.
It was odd. I have issues with enclosed places and being underground. The longer we were there, the more claustrophobic I felt. In all, there were approximately 50 people in the shelter. What a way to meet neighbors! Some children brought their puppies with them, another girl brought a frog she had caught in her yard. It was an interesting experience. Joe stood outside near the shelter door for a time until he saw the tornado forming near our location. Abbie was unafraid and took the whole situation in stride. For once, Micah was able to be in an area with a lot of echoing and not be sent into an over-stimulation melt-down.
We were truly blessed. A nearby small community located just southwest of us was in the direct path of the tornado and was hit hard. The city hall and many other buildings had their roofs torn off or some other damage. There were other towns surrounding us that were also hit. Our little community was spared. After it was over, we all stayed at the shelter a little longer to be sure there were no more tornados in the area. Joe stood outside again with others and was able to take a picture of a forming tornado with his cell phone. That tornado didn't fully form and touch down while in our view.
I know that God's grace and blessing is what kept so many safe across the state as tornados were causing so much destruction. I am so grateful for His protection. While we were still at the storm shelter, I asked one of the neighbors, who happens to be a minister of one of our community's churches, if it would be appropriate to have a prayer to thank the Lord for His protection and ask His blessing of comfort to those who's homes were damaged. She declined saying it would possibly offend some of the neighbors who are not believers. What??? I don't understand this. At community dinners it is appropriate (and sometimes customary) to ask a minister to lead a prayer over the dinner, yet in this situation it is not appropriate? I went ahead and said my own prayer silently. When we got home, we said one as a family before putting the little ones to bed.
We have so much to be thankful for. There was no damage. Our family is safe & was unharmed. Our animals were safely at home and also unharmed when we returned. The garden was spared a bad hail storm. We have caring neighbors who are willing to take that extra moment to stop and make sure we are informed & can get to safety. We live close to a secure shelter. The list goes on and on.
And one huge blessing in the eyes of one of the little kids at the storm shelter - we didn't fly to Oz like Dorothy!