Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Change in Perspective

Weather radio is sounding! Emergency bags are by the door! Pillows, blankets and puppies are ready to head to the shelter! This is the 'Norm' for the month of May in Oklahoma!

Just four short years ago, May 24, 2011, sirens were sounding, winds blowing and news radio saying a tornado was close. We looked out our back door and could see it approaching. Grabbing some important things, water, crackers, blankets, pillows, and dogs; Tabitha, Robert and I headed out to the cinder block dairy barn. It was the only place Don felt confident was safe for us in which to seek shelter. Momentarily Don came into in the little room and said "Robert, if you wanna see this you better look now" Robert looked out the dairy barn door then immediately came back in, kissed his wife and said "I love you" I am confident what he saw made him realize the possibility we may not survive this storm! 

We placed our blankets and pillows on the floor under the table, Tabitha and I held and covered the dogs as Don and Robert held and covered us! As the tornado began to tug at the feet of our men I can only imagine what must have been going through their minds. In the moments to follow we experienced every sound imaginable, from the roar of the storm to the intense pressure to crashing, clicking, and utter destruction then......SILENCE! In those same moments we felt fear and desperation as we wondered what was going to happen next.  Then we heard what sounded like a large domino wall being knocked down one domino at a time. It was the cinder blocks of our refuge crashing down around us! At the moment I could feel the earth moving, crushing up from underneath and aside us! I honestly wondered if this was the end. I took a deep breath not knowing if it would be my last. 

There it was....that silence I spoke of earlier. The tornado was gone! It seemed as though it were an eternity but in reality it was less than 3 minutes start to finish. We were buried underneath rubble..... still and quiet, listening and wondering if it was safe to try to get out. 

Then, With one free hand each Don and Robert began to push away block, rocks and debris until finally Robert was out, then Don and one by one we emerged from this place where God kept us safe!

 .....what we saw was unimaginable! "NOTHING" no houses, no buildings, trees uprooted, cars GONE.....everything.....Gone!

cannot even begin put into words the feelings of utter despair, shock, disbelief, and uncertainty I felt at that moment!   Everything.... children's mementos, grandma's heirlooms, pictures, our home full of so much life....gone!

I walked this path into my home for the last time this day!
Rubble and Ruin!

But Praise God we are alive.....we are survivors!

Why am I reliving this with you and what does it have to do with perspective? Here's the deal.....on that day and during the months to follow I became very aware of how temporary life is. Things....houses, cars, dishes, pictures, and just plain ole stuff.....those things tho necessary to live this life...they are not what's most important! Yes, God blesses us with those things and we are to be good stewards of them but....the most important things God gives us are the people in our lives. The time we invest in the lives of those around us and the memories we make will last long after houses crumble and pictures fade. Keep your perspective focused and invest wisely!

The Smallwood Family Plus!

My perspective:

     New Grandson!

Family Fun!

                                                                Big announcements!

Precious Friends!

   Crazy kids!

Memorable Moments!

Because God spared our lives on May 24, 2011

Robert, Tabitha, Elizabeth Hope, and Bella Smallwood

Don and Lorie Smallwood

I thank God for every opportunity He gives me to make a difference in their lives! I only hope to hear when I stand before Him "Well Done My Daughter" 

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