May 222013

It has been two years. In some ways it feels like it was yesterday, and in others, it feels like an eternity ago. It is still hard to put into words all the feelings from that day.

To our brothers and sisters in Moore, Oklahoma who are now starting one the same journey that we have been on these last two years, hang on to God. He is the only reason we have made it so far. He is the provider and sustainer of our faith. Trust in Him despite the circumstances and let Him work it for His glory.

In so many ways I wish we didn’t have to start on this journey two years ago. Yet in some ways I see the good through it.

If we hadn’t had the tornado, the churches wouldn’t have had such a reason to band together to show our community the love of our Savior. We got to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting community. We got to meet so many people from all over the United States who gave up vacation time to come and help us dig out and rebuild. We allowed others to be a blessing to us in their service.

If I have learned anything, it is that life is fleeting. Make the most of your time, love on your family, be present in each moment. You only have one chance, make the most of it. Don’t put off whatever it is God is calling you to as you may not have another chance to obey.

Don’t let a chance to show someone the love of Christ to slip away. Hug your kids more, laugh more often. Enjoy today and the many blessings you have been given. We are not promised tomorrow, so live in today.

I am going to close with what I posted on my Facebook page earlier:

In some ways it doesn’t feel like it has been two years. In other ways, it feels like it was an eternity ago when it happened. From out of the chrysalis of pain and chaos, we are emerging stronger and more beautiful than before. May we continue on, remembering what happened, yet moving on in faith and hope, as we continue our journey in this life. May 22, 2011 was just a moment in history, may it mold our future without defining it. May it serve as an Ebeneezer without being made into an idol. Let us remember while moving on with hope. Let us bear witness to the glory of God about what He has done during the trial and as we continue past it. While I will never forget that day and the start of a new direction in our journey, I look forward to the future and whatever it may bring with hope and anticipation to see what blessings will come. Our prayers go to Moore as their similar journey has just

Mission: Small Business Grant Contest

 Joplin Tornado  Comments Off on Mission: Small Business Grant Contest
Jun 082012

Last year, the small business my husband works for was leveled by the tornado. Thankfully they were closed at the time as the center hallway where they would have gathered for safety fell in with the rest of the building basically on top.

They quickly moved into the boss’s basement and within the week they were back to work. And work they did. They had customers who needed fixed, new residences to install satellite television for and then in the coming months, new installations of security, VOIP systems, sound systems and whatever else was needed by businesses and people rebuilding. In the months after, they found a new storefront to rent and moved in there. And life is resuming back to normal.

However, due to the tornado, they lost inventory. A lot of very expensive inventory. You see, those satellite dishes and everything needed to install them aren’t exactly cheap. Neither are phone systems, computers, security access controls and the like. Plus they lost a lot of equipment to do the installations, they lost their show room, furniture, and basically everything. While there was insurance coverage, the tornado put their plans for expansion and growth behind by three years as they are trying to recover the lost revenue from after the tornado.

Now they have a chance to earn a grant that will put them back close to where they were financially pre-tornado and get their plans for growth back on track. Wireless Connections has applied for a small business grant through Chase Bank and Living Social through their Mission:Small Business program. I’ll let Denise (co-owner) explain how this will help:

A $250k grant would equate to phenomenal opportunities for our business, enabling us to advance to the next tier of success. Such a grant would give us the capitol necessary to expand deeper into three areas of our business that are currently in the early development stages, but which hold promising potential for our future.

The first area is the Commercial design, installation and maintenance of Satellite TV Systems for Hotels, Casinos, Hospitals, Assisted Living Centers, restaurants, and Apartments/Duplexes. The grant would give us the flexibility and necessary capitol to purchase the large headend systems required for installation, without cash strapping the company until payment arrives. In addition, it would enable us to invest further into the development of our install team by additional training and higher levels of certification for our present technicians, as well as hiring more technicians to help carry the increased work load.

The second area greatly affected by a grant of $250K, would be our Digital Signage Department. In its infancy now, this grant would allow us to create a showroom/conference area where our lead Digital Signage Designer could invite local business leaders to gather and witness for themselves the huge impact Digital Signage can have on their business. Whether it is the menu boards at a fast food restaurant, the interactive informational display next to the air filters at the auto parts store, or the interactive displays for a child to explore at the museum, the possibilities for Digital signage are endless. We would like to further train and certify our designer, and as the department grows, bring on more support staff. This would include an additional designer, as well as additional technicians to install and program the equipment.

The third area immediately benefited by such a grant would be our department for Access Control. We would continue to grow and develop in this field, offering commercial establishments the Access controlled security systems necessary to keep their businesses secure, and to comply with mandated government regulations.

Being awarded a $250K grant would provide the business capitol needed to break through our ceiling, further train and develop our current staff and ensure the availability of funds to add personnel and work vehicles to the company as it grows. The funds would provide the foundation on which to grow each department. With fiscal shrewdness, personnel would be added simultaneously as the growth occurs, thus assuring long term stability. The capitol foundation would allow this new staff to be trained and brought up to the level of knowledge required to further enhance growth. The growth would build upon itself, enhancing a fiscally sound business and ensuring long term viability. Finally, an influx of capitol would allow Wireless Connections to expand our area of operation, reaching more customers in regions and states beyond the area we currently serve.

You see, everything she described there had to be put on hold last year in the effort to recover from the tornado.

To get a feel for Wireless Connections’ and what all they offer, go visit their website.

Here’s where you come in. All you need to do is go to Mission: Small Business, type Wireless Connections in the search businesses box and click to vote. You can vote once for each small business that has applied. We need at least 250 votes to be considered for the grant. Please help support small businesses and vote.

Thank you so much for voting and spreading the word. This grant would mean a lot in Wireless Connection’s rebound from the tornado.

52 Fridays 5/25/2012

 52 Fridays, Crazy Life, family, Joplin Tornado  Comments Off on 52 Fridays 5/25/2012
May 252012

Today is FRIDAY!!!! So that means that it is time for another 52 Fridays post.
Where to begin? Or shy away from beginning?

This past week on Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the Joplin tornado. To commemorate it, the girls and I decided to participate in the Walk of Unity that was held. I am still not totally sure what I was thinking. I had been doing some Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone and figured I was up for the challenge.

I was sadly mistaken.

Well, partly mistaken…

You see, when I do my walking at home, I’m in my living room. My nice, flat living room. And when I walk at home, I’m not toting about 80 pounds of children behind me in a heavy wagon either. It was fairly cool in the house when we got ready and since the day before had been pretty chilly, we dressed in jeans and t-shirts for the walk. Totally forgetting that there is still no shade at all on the tornado route. The sun was shining beautifully straight down on us.

Then the girls decided before we even got to leave Wal-Mart’s parking lot that they were tired and wanted to go home. We had gotten a ride from a friend over and she had already gone back home so we were stuck following through.
The girls rode a lot in their wagon (a great off road/yard work wagon, but I can’t recommend it for long walks or great distances) and were very cute. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of them in it, but I was stopped by people thinking the girls were cute and wanting pictures themselves. I should have asked for someone to email me one now that I think on it. The girls waved the American flags they were given and smiled and waved to lots of people. We met up with some friends, made it to nearly the half-way point and walked to our friends’ home to watch the events at the park on television. We figured we would get to see more that way and we were right. By the time we had made it back to their house, we had walked nearly the whole amount of the planned route. On Wednesday, my legs throbbed and I was extremely stiff. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t pulling the girls behind me and had real walking shoes. I had a pair of cheap tennis shoes on that were more of a minimalist design. I guess I’m getting old and should consider buying myself a good pair of tennis shoes with more padding or something.

The girls finished their history this week for school. All that is left is science and we don’t have a lot of that left and should be done before we leave for TPA next week. I’ve been letting them play outside since the weather has gotten so nice, and before it gets unbearably hot (which is happening this weekend from the look of it).
In the housekeeping department, I’ve at least kept the kitchen decent. We’ve been outside playing and working in the garden instead of spending time indoors. I am needing to deep clean the master bedroom and the bathroom this weekend.

Food wise, I’ve been doing decent. I’m purposefully not eating as much as I used to and trying to eat way more veggies. I need to go and get some more fresh produce actually. Though I don’t want to over buy as we’ll be gone for TPA for four days and I hate wasting money on food if it isn’t going to be eaten.

I really need to start in on a good Bible reading plan. I just got a book to review in the mail about how reading the Bible through in a year can change you. I hope there is a good plan to follow in it. I’ve printed off the Bible in 90 Days plan that I’m thinking of attempting again. The only thing is I prefer my NASB Chronological Bible over the traditionally laid out ones and I can’t find a B90 plan for that. Have you seen one?

Well, I have chores to get done so I need to get off the computer and get to work. Next week may or may not have a 52 Fridays post as I will be live blogging at the TPA Convention. Which will include all of next week prepping laundry, packing and everything that goes along with being gone for a few days.

May 222012

What a difference a year makes.

On this day a year ago, it was like any ordinary day. And what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and keep it that way.

It was a day of relief as our tax return had finally come in a few days before, I had gotten to stock up on groceries and had gotten to order our homeschooling curriculum for the upcoming year. We attended church that morning and life was looking up. We even got to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch as a special treat.

That evening, you know what happened. The town of Joplin was nearly wiped off the map. We had friends lose their homes, cars and nearly their lives that evening. At 5:41 we lost our aense of normalcy, my girls lost a lot of their innocence and we all felt violated.

However, when people started to emerge from the wreckage, something extraordinary happened. We all started to band together to start the recovery process immediately. Neighbors were out searching for neighbors. People who didn’t lose their homes showed up to dig through the rubble and clear streets. Churches opened their doors. We had supplies and people show up to help in an amazingly short period of time.

I look back and still feel the shock and horror of May 22,2011. I’m reminded of it every time we have to drive through town. Every time we pass the hulk of what used to be St. John’s I hear my eldest ask the question of “If God is good, then why did He let the tornadod happen?” Bugs asked that at the age of four. No four-year-old should ever have those thoughts come into their head. Every time we have a storm, I remember the girls cuddling in my lap the entire day after because they were terrified. Their dad was woeking relief at the church, the radio was on so I could get some sense of what was going on, and I had never felt so alone in my life as that day.

And yet, through the horrendous event of the tornado, so much good has come from that day. I can look back now, a year later, and and while I will forever have the bad memories, I can see the hand of God through it all. More good has come through this tragedy than I could have ever expected.

People got over themselves and served selflessly from that day on. We all banded together to clear debris, serve meals, distrubute needed items. Neighbors who never spoke to each other were now talking and helping each other out.

Churches who formerly would have nothing to do with each other were now meeting in each other’s buildings and aiding each other and the community together. It was amazing to witness the community of faith come together and be the church. To ignore their doctrinal differences and fulfill what we had been commanded to do. It was the way the church should be all of the time.

People were more open to hearing about matters of faith and were more receptive to the gospel. People who never would have darkened the doors of a church building were coming in for help, and while they were given things they needed physically, they were given living water. I wonder how many seeds were planted because of the tornado. How many people came to a saving knowledge of Christ because of it?

I know for us personally, and a lot of others, we value our families more. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of how blessed we have been. Not just with physical stuff, but with each other, our health and our faith. We hold our possessions less tightly now. Having things doesn’t matter now. It is our relationships that do.

Driving through town is still hard. However, it is getting easier as time goes on. You can watch the rebirth of Joplin daily now. Many businesses have rebuilt or relocated or are in the process of it. New homes are springing up from what was once fields of debris. Joplin is finding her new normal. We’ve discovered our new sense of community pride. We have discovered hope and faith and love through this experience that has bound us together.

While I wouldn’t wish for a catastrophe like this to affect anyone, I do wish everyone could experience the brotherhood of Joplin. The binding together, setting aside of agendas and the renewal of community that we have experienced. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.

So today, on this one year anniversary, please hug your loved ones closer, look for the gift that is today and be thankful for the multitude of blessings we share in. May we remember the past, yet also at the same time look towards the future with hope, preserverance and our faith. Not only faith in our fellow man, but faith in our Creator and Savior. The One who has sustained us through this dark time and on into a brighter future. It is with Hope that we continue on.

Next Week

 Faith, Joplin Tornado  Comments Off on Next Week
May 182012

I’m sitting here writing while the rest of the family is at Judo. I appreciate them getting to go to Judo at Christ Community Methodist Church here in town. The girls really enjoy it and they have made several friends through it. It is great to count for P.E. class.

trees bare and wreckage from tornado May 22, 2011

I’m putting off writing the one year anniversary post about the tornado. Next Tuesday is the one year anniversary and I’m dreading it. I don’t want to deal with the emotions that I know will boil up this next week.

This whole town is dealing with the fact next week is the one year anniversary. Please pray for those of us in Joplin as we are dealing with the emotional turmoil this anniversary will be bringing.