Monday, August 26, 2013

Dear Miley...

I have to admit.  I don't follow Hollywood too much but I do peek at the pictures and catch a few stories on every now and then.  I pretty much never watch awards shows and really don't care at all who won what.  I don't know if that makes me old or not cool or religious but it's not for the sake of religion, I just really never cared... ever.  Maybe that puts me in the "not cool" camp but I'm ok with that.  So, when I hopped on Facebook this morning to every other status update being about Miley Cyrus my initial reaction was a roll of the eyes.  Really, Miley's going through a stage and it's not pretty… so what?  Yet, after a couple of exchanges with people I actually respect who had commented about her, I bit the bait and I watched the video.  It left me with three things that I want to say... 'cause I know people care about what I say, not really, but whatever.

1.  What is the deal with the giant teddy bears?  Seriously.  I just can't get over it!  I looked up the lyrics to the song (hello, anyone read Genesis 3... anyone?) and I'm more confused.  Giant bears… just weird... and confusing... and weird.

2.  Miley is no different than any other person.  She wants to be different.  She wants to be noticed.  She wants to be valued.  Unfortunately, someone told her that this was how to be those things but her performance was not shocking.  Really, it wasn't.  I mean, I grew up watching Madonna.  It's hard to beat that.  For real, the woman was queen of shocking us; cones on her boobs, books about illicit sex, the only redeeming thing about that mess was that in "Papa Don't Preach" she actually wanted to keep her baby!  Sigh.  I digress.  The point is that Miley just wants some attention and to do her own thing.  Who hasn't?  All her life she's heard what she should do and she's questioning that.  You know, kind of like Eve did in the Garden of Eden.  Just like we do in countless other ways.  The thing is that, for most of us, we have questioned certain boundaries but haven't ever had anyone pushing us toward others, like Miley does.  Come on, how many of your friends would tell you to put on a nude colored bikini and grind on a foam finger?  Even if I could get past the nude bikini, which I vehemently oppose, I die at the thought of getting on a stage in said bikini and then the foam finger???  It's simply not a temptation for most of us but it really isn't shocking to me.    Sad but not shocking.

3.  Christians… (side note:  I'm not a fan of using that word in this country due to so many varying definitions but that's a totally different discussion)  Church… people who claim to know and follow Jesus, we're doing this wrong.  We are supposed to be the visual image of the invisible God.  That alone sounds weird to people who aren't believers.  Our character, our actions, our reactions are supposed to tell the world who Jesus is and how he would respond.  I have to tell you something and after reading the world wide webs this morning it might be more shocking that Miley's attention seeking performance;  Jesus was not shocked last night.  He wasn't.  He knew what she would do and he's seen it before… A LOT.  Another thing, no lost person decides that they want to know Jesus because people who claim to know Jesus are appalled by them.  "What is wrong with you?" does not incite a desire to run to the corner church and plea to be a member!  If we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we cannot live shocked at how depraved people can be apart from Christ.  Yes, it should break our hearts.  Yes, we should acknowledge that it's awful and sinful and ugly and even embarrassing.  But our "little white lies" and our church gossip and our efforts to be a good bible study girl so that others will think we're oh so holy… these things nailed Jesus to the cross just as much as Miley seeking for unholy attention and degrading herself on national television.  Let's be careful, Christ followers, to not sin ourselves when we see someone so broken!  Can we for just a second pick our righteous chins off the floor and see that her actions are a symptom of her inner brokenness?  Can we for a second stop talking about how gross she is and see her how Jesus sees her?  Because, you know what?  He died for her too.  He loves her too.  Can we, as his followers, see that what he would want us to do is remind her that his arm is not too short to save and her sin is not more powerful than the cross?  Can we do that?  Because if we cannot, I'm afraid that we might have bigger problems than Miley.  They just look prettier and no one is videotaping us.  

Dear Miley,

Sweet girl, I cannot imagine you'd ever read this but you won't the be last girl I encounter who needs to hear it.  Did you wake up with your head banging this morning?  I remember feeling that way too.  That party life is so hard on the body, huh?  Did you catch the twitter feed this morning?  I'm sure you acted like you didn't care but it hurts, doesn't it?  I'm sorry.  Back when I was your age all that stuff just spread through the gossip mill but it moved fast then too.  I'd act like I didn't care but sometimes I'd cry a little when no one was looking.  It will probably be a while before you believe this and I know full well I wouldn't have listened if someone would have told me but it's not worth it.  All that work you're putting into being "you," well, if it were really you, it wouldn't be so much work.  I know, though.  I remember the rush of being noticed.  I even remember the high of knowing I'd shocked someone.  You just can't help but roar in laughter, can you?  You know what, though?  Jesus wasn't shocked.  Nope, not a bit.  He didn't stop loving you either and he misses you like crazy.  Here's the thing with Jesus, he just wants you to stop trying to impress people.  He doesn't even want you to try to impress him.  You don't have to try to change yourself and be some perfect bible study girl.  There's just as much brokenness there… it just doesn't get videotaped and put on tv.  The only thing in the world that Jesus wants is for you to just be with him, believe him and trust him.  He loves you, girl.  He really does and no matter how hard you try, he won't stop and when you're ready to stop trying so hard, he'll be right there because he made you special and you don't have to prove that to him.  

Much love,  

Been there.  Done that.  Grateful no one taped it.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012


"You better put these up on your blog!"

"Ummm... I haven't done a work blog for a few years."


There are some things that only your best friend of nearly three decades can say to you and when they do, you just laugh.  There are at least a million quotes about friendship...

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ― Elbert Hubbard

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen,

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” Winnie the Pooh

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered.”

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

Each of those quotes remind me of my friend Jill.  I have been incredibly blessed to call Jill my friend for almost 3/4 of my life.  (I'm going to completely ignore how old this post will make me sound and feel.)  Throughout junior high and high school we were "BBB"  Best Bus Buddies.  We sat together each day on the way to and from school.  It wasn't a long ride.  I only lived three miles from the school but there was just something about knowing that someone was saving you a seat.  Every day she saved my seat and we've been doing that for each other ever since.

Of course we don't ride buses any longer (Thank you Lord!) but that sense of knowing that no matter what is happening in life, like Elbert Hubbard inferred in the quote above, someone in the world gets me.  We don't have to say anything at all and yet, we'll sit up talking and giggling so hard that our stomachs hurt the next day and the bags under our eyes have their own zip codes.  Like I said, I'm blessed to have such a friend.

Well, the blog post she commanded ;) is one I'm just as blessed to share with all of you... even though it makes me feel even older!

This young beauty is her oldest daughter, Mekahlia and she is a high school SENIOR...

Sigh.  I can't believe she's a senior.  This gorgeous young lady was the first person to call me "Aunt" and it's a title I have loved with all my heart!  I was there the day she was born.  It was my first experience with natural childbirth.  Jill is way tougher than me and opted not to have an epidural... and let me tell you, while she is a lovely person on any other day of her life, don't talk to her when she's in labor.  I didn't.  :)  In fact, I stayed in the hall... listening.

I can only imagine how the hospital staff had to laugh at us that day.  Both of Mekahlia's grandmothers and myself stood outside of the delivery room with our ears stuck to the door listening to all that was going on inside.  We didn't know if she was a boy or a girl until that day and I can still see the tears spilling over her daddy's eyes when he opened the door and told us the news. 

When she was just a year old I lived with them one summer break.  It was a different time in life back then and I stayed out much too late and every morning I'd wake up to the same sweet sound "Aunt Da!  Aunt Da!"  She'd come toddling in and wake me up just an hour or two after I'd arrived home.  We'd spend the days singing, dancing and watching Winnie the Pooh. Clearly I didn't need as much sleep back then. 

She has since grown into a beautiful, smart and wonderful woman who laughs at me when I try to keep her in line or treat her like she's still my little girl.  She has a wonderfully ridiculous silly side, a great sense of humor and a kindness that makes my heart so happy.  I don't know that she'll ever be able to grasp just how proud of her I am.

Here are just a few more of the crazy ridiculous number of photos we took over a couple of days.

Just so that everyone knows, my payment for this session was Cashew Chicken at Leong's Tea House on Springfield, MO and it was delicious!!!  I guess I should get a sign that says "Will work for food."    :)

Hey Jill, I put them on a blog.  :)  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


per-fec-tion-ism [per-fek-shun-niz-uhm] - noun
  1. any of various doctrines holding that religious, moral, social or political perfection is attainable
  2. a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less

Perfectionism plagues me.  At times it literally keeps me from sharing thoughts, blog posts, and ultimately, myself.  Seriously, I have seventeen blog posts that I have started but haven't published because they just didn't seem right.  This morning I had to make myself take deep breaths because my stunningly beautiful daughter came in to kiss me good morning, all ready for school, and had shoved her hair into a messy ponytail.  Didn't she remember that today was her D.A.R.E. graduation?!  Of course she did.  She just isn't a perfectionist and she thought she looked just fine.  I swear this whole pathetic exchange happened inside my head after she walked out:

It's ok that she doesn't care what she looks like. 

She's not vain and that's good. 

But I really want her to look pretty. 

She IS pretty. You're the one that's a vain perfectionist. She is pretty AND not vain, like you wish you could be. Embrace it and be glad that she doesn't care if she's like everyone else. 

Oh yea, I don't want her to be like the world.  I want her to be set apart, to see her value as it comes from God and not other things.... but if she'd just let me do her hair!!!

So, yes, I'm a vain perfectionist AND I talk to myself.  It's scary in my head at times but that's not the point here.  

Aren't we all a little bit of a perfectionist?  Yes, let's put our attention on all of us instead of just me.  Even the most loving parent starts out that way.  

Someone asks, "Do you want a boy or a girl?"

Everyone knows the right answer is:

"I don't care as long as it's healthy."

Perfectionism.  Maybe it isn't as ridiculous as I am with Madeline's hair but it's still there... whispering... in the heart of us all "I just want my baby to be perfect."

But what do we do when God's idea of a perfect baby isn't the same as our idea of a perfect baby?  

Last year a couple of my friends began a journey to reconcile that very thing in their hearts.  They prayed desperately for their third child and due some unexpected medical issues for her, only had a very small window to conceive that child and conceive they did.  

Months of celebration ensued as they planned to bring their perfect baby into their perfect home when all of a sudden, in the middle of their joy, they ran smack dab into a concrete wall.  She was about five months along when they went in for a routine ultrasound only to learn that the baby they had pleaded to receive had a cleft lip.  Doctors were uncertain at the time the extent of the cleft... would it just be a little plastic surgery on the lip or would the palate be involved too?  Would it affect his growth and development?  Are there other issues or syndromes or defects that they would learn later?  Question after question consumed their every second.  

It's not what we want to hear "You're baby's not perfect" because at the heart of everyone is just a little bit of a perfectionist.  I mean, we can have messy kids.  They can totally wear that Spiderman costume to the grocery store WITH their rainboots on and we're cool with that.  It doesn't bother us ONE.LITTLE.BIT that there's cheetos on their face because that's what they had for dinner, YES, DINNER!  Perfectionism does not consume all of us... 

we don't care, as long as they're healthy.  

Brian and Amey began a journey this past year that has taken them up and down, twirling all around a spiritual and emotional roller coaster and they have learned that what God says is perfect IS perfect.  

Meet Bryce.  

Seriously, is it even possible to be cuter than he is?!  I could just swim in those big brown eyes and that curl on top just has me UNDONE... and you just cannot miss that sweet beautiful smile!  

I asked for the privilege of photographing Bryce while he was on this journey for totally selfish reasons.  AS I mentioned yesterday, life had kind of stunk for a while.  It wasn't turning out like I'd hoped and well, perfection seemed as far away as Pluto.  I knew that I desperately needed to see things more through God's eyes than through mine.  Lucky for me, Brian and Amey said yes.  

When we first began Bryce was just about to undergo his first surgery.  


Everyone had fallen crazy in love with this little man and he was growing like a champ!  Brian and Amey's idea of "perfect" had already changed quite a bit!

The hope for that day was to fix everything on the outside:  connect the lip and form a left nostril. Things, however, did not go perfectly.  

Bryce had such a hard time breathing with the tubes in his nose and his lip sewn shut so Amey stood next to his bed to hold his mouth open to help him breath more easily.

Bryce had to be able to breathe and take a bottle or nurse before they could leave the hospital but that didn't go perfectly either.  The tubes in his nose, even the left one that was meant to form a new nostril, had to be removed. 

Once they got home things were still far from perfect and they finally had to go back to the hospital and get a tube put in to feed him directly into his stomach.  Amey has had to change her diet and pump to give Bryce breastmilk and she'd tell you without hesitation that it's totally worth it.  I mean, he's her perfect baby.  And he is. 

A couple of weeks ago I caught up with the family again to capture the prefectness that is Bryce as well as Brody and Mia.  Tomorrow Bryce will have surgery again.  They'll do a little more work on his lip, try again for that left nostril and hopefully even fix the whole palate.  Even though they are confident that God will guide the surgeon's hand and that Bryce will come out of the surgery just fine, Brian and Amey worry and pray and worry and then pray some more. 

Bryce may not have been the baby they had in mind when they were hoping to conceive but he is the perfect baby for their family.  In the beginning they wondered why the journey had to be so hard but now, they know that it's been worth it.  Perfect has been redefined... for them and for me. 

See, God doesn't answer our prayers the way we expect sometimes.  Sometimes He says "yes" but more often (at least for me), I hear "wait" or "I have something different in mind."  The Bible says that our ways are not His ways and little could be more true.  Believing that God's plan is perfect and subsequently, that your plan is not, requires trust and humility.  Trust that God is almighty and all-loving.  Trust that His ways are higher than our ways.  Trust that His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, even though, sometimes, it hurts...a lot.  Humility to accept not just that our plan wasn't best but that we are ultimately powerless to fix anything at all.... 

But sometimes... if we'll stop trying to fix things ourselves... sometimes we just might catch a glimpse of what God says is perfect and we're blown away. 

I saw it last week when I was editing.  I sent Amey a screenshot of that first photo and a text that read:

"As I am staring into his big brown eyes and smiling back at his beautiful smile, I just wanted to tell you that whatever they do in his next surgery, one thing they cannot do:  they cannot make him any cuter or anymore perfect that God made him.  He takes my breath away!"

God's "perfect" gives us everything we need at the exact time we need it. ALWAYS...especially when it looks drastically different than our view of perfect!

Please pray with me and everyone else who loves Bryce that tomorrow goes smoothly, that the doctors are able to do everything they need to do to help Bryce as he grows up and all transitions post-surgery go smoothly as well. 

Here are a few more of this beautiful family from last week:

Aren't they perfect?!

Brian and Amey, He was born perfectly beautiful.  Thank you for sharing him with me!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finding life...

Day after day I struggle to feel… to feel joy or sorrow or pain or contentedness… nearly anything at all would be fine with me.  On good days the joy does come.  A smile from the boy as he leaps to my arms or the sound of the girl's deep laughter filling the space and then some or a twirl in the kitchen in the arms of the one I love, they remind me that I am still alive.  Breath fills the alveoli of my lungs, only to be pushed back out again.  Blood courses through my veins and so often my heart pounds loudly enough that I hear it with my ears.  Physically, I am alive.  Yet I strive to live.  I strive to feel.  I struggle to be more than just alive.  On good days the joy will come and it rolls in like a summer storm, filling the places so dry, cracked and lifeless… quenching the thirst of the drought wrecked land… and then it blows away as suddenly as it arrived.  

"I'm alive even though a part of me has died." says the lyrics of a song and each time the words touch my ears I'm certain that a part of me has died.  The harsh judging words of a friend left me beaten and unsure that I held any value at all. The betrayal of another left me questioning whether I could even hear His voice.  The unexpected passing of my sweet Papa, the biological father I'd known for way too short a time just left me absolutely undone... in the worst possible way.  The brokenness, the selfishness and the rejection of all that is good, of all that has been redeemed surrounds me at each turn and has left me wounded, broken and bleeding on the spiritual emergency room floor… I gasp for breath, flailing, reaching desperately for my throat as the wailing scream climbs from deep within my soul and fills the room as I cling to life.  I am that drought wrecked land. Barren, exhausted and unable to produce anything that resembles life.  No matter how hard I try, no matter what new thing I commit to my days… my heart wastes away wondering why in the world I am here.  

Why?  Why am I here?  

Surely it isn't just me.  Knowing the truth but not feeling it in my bones.  Believing that I am a new creation, not in my image but His… yet, finding a tired, depleted and weary reflection in the mirror each morning.  Acquainted with the sound of His voice but overcome by the silence penetrating the depths of my soul. 

It is a season of drought... a time in the valley... a time when grief is a constant companion. 

Yet, if I open my eyes, turn them away from myself I can see, off in the distance, the tiniest of flowers growing from the crack in the dry ground... there in that deep valley is a creek... it was the water in that creek that made the valley.  It carved out a space in the ground, washed away the dirt and in the bed of that creek are moss covered rocks big enough to climb, fish swimming upstream... it's there, can you see it?  Life.  

The last couple of years of my life have contained more loss than any of the prior almost four decades, combined.  I've lost pets, friends, family members, passion, hope, dreams, health and the list goes on.  A part of me has died but I am alive.  So, I get up each day and I kiss my babies and my husband.  I find something to be grateful for, every day.  I call (or text) my friends and family.  I pray constantly.  Tullian Tchividjian said something about life being harder more than it is easy.  That's not a direct quote but it's the best I can remember it.  It's so true.  God never promised that life would be easy and it's not, just that He would be with us wherever we go and He does.  It's up to us to acknowledge Him.  So, I choose to open my eyes and see Him...  EVERY.SINGLE.DAY... I look for Jesus... 

                                   ... and I find Him. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Update on my mom and sister after "NADO 2012"

It's been just over two weeks since my mom and sister lost all of their stuff... ALL of their stuff.  While we're so grateful that only "stuff" was lost, going through each day reminds us of how much we rely on our "stuff."  You don't think about these things most days because they're just there but dishes, silverware, beds... they just make life so much easier!

I've had so many people call, message, stop me at school and/or stores to ask what they can do and I haven't been able to give specific answers until now and even now, it's only a partial list.  Kayla and her boys got moved into a house on Sunday and so she's finding, as she goes throughout her days, what she still needs to function.  Here's her list so far:

trike for Rykan (2 1/2) - maybe it's not a need but he really misses his
Any and everything Thomas the Train
Kids movies (He is really missing the following:  Cars, Lion King, and any of The Land Before Time movies)
black curtain
DVD player
Baker's rack
Dishes (Plan please)
Cooking utensils

Basically, she just needs to be able to keep it dark for the boys to sleep, feed them and entertain them!  All of us parents know that it's always all about our kids!  If you're wanting to donate something, you can either drop stuff off at my home or you can mail it to her:

Kayla Houston
PO Box 594
Richland, MO 65556

I know that you're probably wondering how they're doing.  The good news is that Kayla and Daxton (8 month old) are doing very well.  A few days after the tornado Kayla had to go to the ER and discovered that she had kidney stones.  She confirmed what I've always heard, it's worse than giving birth!  She seems to be feeling a bit better this week as far as that goes but is, overall, run down and tired.  Nursing school starts for her next week so please pray that she is all rested up so she can show them how smart she is!  Rykan (2 1/2 year old) is physically fine as well but he is DEFINITELY having some anxiety since the tornado.  If there is a hint of wind or a storm, he needs his momma!  My prayer is that he'd forget and not have any future anxiety about storms.  Sweet baby is just too young to have had such a scare already!

Mom has rented a home but it needs a little bit of work before she can get moved in.  They're hoping to get most of that done this week!  She is still looking for a car so please join us in prayer that she finds one that runs well, will last a long time and is in her price range!  While I'm sure we'll figure out more things that she needs after she gets moved in, here's her list so far:

Queen size bed
DVD player
Cooking utensils
Crib (she babysits three kids every day)
Crib sheets
Rocking chair

I know that there will be more but, like I said, we'll figure that out once she is in the house.  Anything for mom can still be sent to Cari's (my other sister) or dropped off at my house.  Cari's address is:

Karen Doss
c/o Cari Pendergrass
254 Mossy Oak Drive
Stoutland, MO 65567

As always, Wal-mart gift cards are best but Target isn't too far either.

As far as physically, mom wound up with two broken ribs and QUITE A BIT of bruising.  She was holding Daxton and when they slammed into the toilet, she took it all.  He was totally fine and she somehow protected him but at a cost.  She is still VERY sore and fatigued.  I'm praying that she can get into her house and REALLY rest in the evenings and weekends... and that she'll be able to keep up with three kids during the day!

There have been SO MANY that have sent gift cards, money and packages and we are so grateful!  The world is truly full of amazing people with beautiful hearts!  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are you a generous car salesman?

Ok.  That was cheesey but seriously, that's who I'm hoping to reach with this post.  If you are a car salesman who has a big heart and are generous, please keep reading.  If you're not a car salesman but you know one that might have  a desire to help a person in need, please keep reading and pass this post on to him/her.

As I posted here, my mom lost pretty much everything she owned this past Sunday.  She had finally found herself in a place where she didn't owe anything on her car or her home.  Life wasn't perfect. She didn't have a lot.  what she had wasn't extravagant but she was content.  Her 2006 Toyota Prius was totaled and the insurance company gave her the Kelley Blue Book value for it... just as we expected them to do.  They were fair and we are so thankful!

What we are hoping is that she can find another Prius in similar condition to replace what she's lost.  If you're in car sales, (or can use the internet) you can easily find the KBB for this car and know what kind of budget we're talking about here.  We know it isn't a lot and if you are this salesperson, you won't be pocketing a lot.  We know it's a lot to ask but if you are willing to help her, please let me know.

My momma is the kind of woman who would literally take off her own coat and give it to someone in need... knowing full well that she couldn't afford to buy herself another.  Seriously, she was trying to talk me into taking some of the t-shirts that were donated this week!  I'm just praying someone who has a similar heart to my momma will read this and feel called to action!

Additional Update:

The Red Cross came and assessed the damage and gave Mom, Kayla and the boys a donation to get some new shoes, clothes, and some food.  They will also help with the deposit on ONE rental as soon as they find one.  It wasn't a huge amount but we're thankful for their assistance!

Many people in our small town have donated gift cards, cash, clothes and cleaning supplies.  Whatever happens, i don't know that they'll ever have to buy another toothbrush again as long as they live!  ;) 

Many others have already sent word that care packages are on their way.  I'm starting to get donations at my house that I'll be taking with me on our next trip down to visit. 

One thing that they do need is socks.  Just like in the drier, the socks have all disappeared!  They both lost all of their kitchen stuff too, so that is still needed as well

Life will never be exactly as it was but there is hope for a new normal... one day at a time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All that matters is ok

I've been posting about this on Facebook but wanted to simplify and just post in one place because, as it has turned out, SO MANY people have wanted to help, have been checking in to see how everyone is and I just thought this would be easier.

Around 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, my 2 1/2 year old nephew was playing outside. It started to sprinkle and the wind picked up really quickly so he came inside. A few weeks ago my sister, her boyfriend and their two kids moved in with my mom. When Rykan came in from playing and mom noticed the wind, she became alarmed and insisted everyone go onto the bathroom. Mom was int he run with Rykan and his eight month old brother while my sister was checking the radar on her phone. It showed nothing... no stormy weather headed their way... no green, orange or red indicators... no warnings. She actually told mom that it was silly for them to be in the bathroom... and then she felt the trailer start to slip of the blocks.

She jumped in the tub, grabbing Rykan. In the blink of an eye the trailer was jerking them all around. Mom and baby Daxton flew across the room, slamming into the toilet. Each were praying for it to be over and then it was. Kayla opened her eyes and realized that they were sitting on the ceiling.

Somehow, mom still had a hold of her cellphone and it seemed like forever passed as they called person after person and no one answered. Then they heard men's voiced yelling, asking if anyone was there. In shouting back and forth they were able to find on another and a space big enough to hand the babies out and for mom and Kayla to crawl out. They were shocked at what they saw when they got out.

The entire rest of the trailer was splintered and in what looked like a trash pile... everything in one big heap.

The rest of the trailer was flattened. The only reason the room they were in wasn't flattened as well is that it fell right next to Kayla's SUV. If it had fallen just a few inches either way and they would not have opened their eyes in a room, able to look up at the tub and sink... I doubt that they'd have opened their eyes at all.

It actually landed in the street but neighbors, family and friends arrived within a few minutes to hug, cry, pick up what could be salvaged and move it away from the downed power line and out of the street.

Across the street an enormous tree was ripped out of the ground. I wish I'd have had one of the kids stand next to this for reference. That root base is taller than I am.

In multiple places in the bible, the Lord promises the he will never leave us or forsake us. We each have stood before the rubble that was their home... in awe they they walked away... amazed that the one room that wasn't destroyed was the one room they were in and we KNOW that God was in that room with them. He held them and protected them. He knew that June 29, 2012 was not the day that he marked as their last. The fact that they are alive makes no sense at all outside of the great protector giving them more days.

Through this small community and through the seemingly unending community of the world wide web, so many have offered help. It's overwhelming in the most wonderful way. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" and we know that is true. All of you are the good through this. Feeling the love and support of people we've known for decades and those we've never actually met is the love of Jesus being poured upon us and it is so very sweet.

To keep this from being longer, I'll share what can be done to help and how you can pray if you do.

They were able to salvage some of their clothing but not all. I know that all of their socks blew away. Their sizes are listed below:

Mom- size 3 pants size M shirt size 7 1/2 shoes
Kayla- size 1 pants size M shirt size 7 1/2 shoes
Rykan- size 3T size 9 shoes
Daxton- size 12 months size 3 diapers

Nothing else was really salvageable. Many have offered gift cards and that would be very helpful. Wal-mart and Target are both nearby. Obviously, cash is also helpful as they will both be looking for somewhere to rent. Mom had paid cash for the trailer so she is not used to a monthly payment. They will have an appointment with the Red Cross today and are hoping to get mom's ER visit covered along with a new partial dental plate that was lost covered by them at least.

The cars had full coverage insurance so please pray they they are able to replace them. Mom had paid for her Prius and didn't have a payment there either. We are praying that she can just get another without having to have a payment.

So here's a list:

healing for mom's ribs
new homes and furnishings
insurance companies to give fair value for the cars
new cars (no payment for mom)
new dental plate for mom
hospital bill to be covered

If you would like to send something to them, we are having things sent to my other sister's home:

Karen Doss & Kayla Houston
254 Mossy Oak Drive
Stoutland, MO 65567

Thank you so much for the prayers and offers of assistance. This has been such a reminder of how EVERYTHING can change in the blink of an eye... how important it is to really live each moment... and how having each other is really all that matters.

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