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Welcome to My Mommy Thoughts. I originally created this blog to document our lives hosting foreign exchange students in our home but I quickly discovered a passion for writing and blogging. This blog has become a little bit of everything.

So sit back, relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy!!

~Randi

Me and My Hubby

Me and My Hubby

My Loves

My Loves

The Princess - Maggie

The Princess - Maggie

Me & my Meg

Me & my Meg

Monday, January 30, 2012

Living Life in the Path of the Storm

Monday, January 23, 2012 will be a day that our family will never forget. It is the first time that we have ever been significantly impacted by a natural disaster. Weather reports on January 22nd called for strong storms overnight into Monday morning. Fortunately we were very weather aware, as you must be in Alabama. I will say that we are very fortunate and very blessed by God to be standing here today. His loving arms wrapped safety around us and we will forever be in awe.

About 3 am Monday morning, our trusty little weather radio sounded off to let us know of a tornado warning in Jefferson County. We woke up and turned on the weather to see exactly where this storm was headed. It is not unusual to have storms with threats of tornadoes. More often the storm is in the clouds waiting to drop at any moment. We watched this storm come through Oak Grove, which has been destructed for the 2nd time in about 15 years. We waited to see if James Spann would include downtown Birmingham in the main threat, once he did, it was time to activate our weather plan. We dressed and headed down stairs. I cleaned out the closet, gathered Noah's helmet, made sure we knew where Maggie's leash was and gathered our thoughts on what to do next. I called Dorinda to make sure they were awake because the storm had turned our direction. Before I hung up the phone, I mentioned that we may come over to her house. She replied with "OK" but it was the type of "OK" that was like "fine, but whatever." We do laugh about it now that we know what happened. Keith told me to go ahead and wake Noah up and get him ready. Let me just say that my baby boy must have been dreaming good because he said "not yet, momma.". I felt horrible for having to wake him. I told Keith that I had a really nervous feeling and felt that we needed to go to Dorinda's. That was all he needed -- off we went. I packed a bag of every diaper and wipe that we had. I included a couple of juice boxes, gummies (because our world revolves around gummies!!) and breakfast bars. I also included my most prized possession, BO! We quickly headed out the door and down the street.

I remember looking at neighbor's houses as we were leaving to see who was awake. Trust me, next time I leave running from a storm, I will lay on the horn and try to wake everyone up!! I never thought that would be the last time I would see our neighborhood the way it was. I called Dorinda at 3:53 to tell her we were on our way. Jennifer called to make sure we were watching. Jennifer was our listening ear, thank goodness, when the power went out. We made it to Rinda's and headed down to the basement. Jamie and Dorinda were working to get his parents downstairs when the storm hit. We were in the basement, I had Noah AND Jack, Keith had Maggie. Dorinda was opening the garage door and Jamie was walking in the hall when both the front and back doors slammed open and the most horrible noise came from outside. Every kind of dirt and dust from Dorinda's basement began to swirl in where we were. Jennifer called to tell us that the tv reported that the storm was over Walmart in Trussville when in fact it had just blown over us.

We realized that things had settled down and we decided to head back home. Dorinda and Jamie's house was thankfully undamaged, thus leaving us unaware of what really had happened. Driving through Dorinda and Jamie's neighborhood was so spooky. There were tree limbs and pieces all over the street. We watched closely to make sure we did not travel over any power lines. As we turned on Old Springville Road, the road was clear again but the closer we got to Georgebrook, tree limbs began to appear again. We came to a spot in the road where there was a road block. We were less than 2 or 3 blocks from our neighborhood when we realized we could not go any further. It was so dark outside that we could not see the destruction. I looked back at my phone to realize I called Dorinda at 4:20 to tell her that we could not get back home because of trees and/or power lines. We were not sure at the moment. We headed to Keith's parents house where we knew we would wait until the sun came up to head back home.

It wasn't long of watching the news that we discovered what would forever change our lives. Georgebrook had been hit by a tornado. I realized I had our neighbor's phone number and I just had to know. At 4:44 am, Candi told me that our house was fine but the entire corner and first street of our neighborhood were completely gone. I fell to my knees and wept. Noah came to me to comfort me. I remember telling him "our house is fine baby. We have a home. But our friends do not."

We attempted at trip home at 8 am but police had the road closed due to a gas leak. When we finally made it at 11 am, this is what we saw:


The front left corner of our neighborhood

Our beautiful neighborhood entrance sign

I think back and I am so thankful that we left. And I am so thankful that we were not able to get back to our neighborhood at 4 am. I can not imagine the devastation we would have felt finding the neighborhood like this.

Here are a couple of other images from Monday:





We are so very fortunate that our home only suffered some shingle damage (which has already been repaired) and some loose siding. Nothing more that we know of.

I've not been able to grasp my feelings from that day. Thankful, fortunate - absolutely. But I also have a sense of guilt - guilt that my house is fine when so many others are not. The scary thing is 6 houses down from us has major damage, 9 down is completely destroyed. Why is our house not more damaged? How is it even possible.

God gave me the title of my blog Thursday when I was getting ready for work. I was dreading leaving for work because it was our first day back home and I was not looking forward to my "new view" when I left for work. God gave me "Living Life in the Path of the Storm". Keith and I have been in the path of many storms in our marriage. They've not been physical storms, until now. God gives us storms each and every day of our lives but it is up to us how we tackle the storms. I'm not sure what all God has planned with this title, but I keep praying for his wisdom and his words through our stories.

I'm going to close my blog post with a verse God gave me. It comes from Isaiah, chapter 43:
        "But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;' "

~Randi



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

God's Calling - Using Fun Source

Who knew that after many months of wondering, worrying, praying, being discouraged, life would be changed with just a simple phone call - at work! Yes, I know that many lives are changed by one single phone call, but this is not the type of situation where that should/could be. Keith and I (and our family and friends) have prayed for months on end for the perfect ministry job to open for Keith. Seriously, the last year and a half have been filled with website researching, resume sending, emailing churches, receiving emails from churches looking for the job. Never thought that prayer would be answered by me going to my job and answering my phone.

It was a typical Friday in the Fun Source office - we were busy gearing up for Halloween, our busiest time of the year. I answer the phone (which there is a 50/50 chance of me answering the phone!) and proceed to start talking about items that are available for a very popular fall festival date. After talking through the available products, we get to the part of needing the information. The gentlemen tells me that the name of the church is HighPoint Community Church. I ask what denomination the church is (it's in my nature, just curious!). He tells me that they are Baptist, a member of the North Jefferson Baptist Association but they have Community in the name so not to "stereotype" the church. I explain that I completely understand what he means because my mom works at the Birmingham Baptist Association, my dad pastors a small bio-vo church in Tarrant AND that my husband has accepted a call to the ministry, works at a local church and is looking for a children minister position at a church. His next words were .... "SHUT UP!" I instantly freeze, thinking a thousand things in that 2 seconds and then I say "Why? Are you guys looking for someone?" His answer, "Yes, we are!" 45 minutes later, I find out the brief history of HighPoint, find out that I am talking to the Senior Pastor of the church, and I have all of Joey's contact information with instruction to have Keith email him his resume. Let's just say that I was so floored that I'm not sure how I finished his order. Was this for real? Seriously?? After the phone call, I walk to the restroom, shut the door behind me, kind of fell back into the door, closed my eyes and I say "Thank you, Lord!" At THAT moment, God told me "See, I told you to be patient, my child! Here is your opportunity!" I instantly felt relief that THIS is where God would have Keith to serve.

2 months later, Keith has accepted the position as Children Minister at HighPoint Community Church and we were officially announced this past Sunday! We could not be more thrilled and honored to be a part of the HighPoint family. Everyone we have met have been extremely nice and helpful and so welcoming. We went for a visit a few weeks after the initial phone call and instantly felt like we were at home.

I will follow up by saying God has had his hands in this for a VERY long time. I'll give you a brief history ... my first wedding ever to actually be the "wedding planner" was for NBC 13's "NBC Throws a Wedding." The wedding took place December 1, 2006. Joey, the senior pastor, was the minister for that wedding. We had no idea after Keith emailed his resume to Joey. Joey forwarded it to the staff and Matt, the Youth Minister and Brother of the Bride, recognized me from Keith's picture on his resume. I have not seen the bride and groom from the wedding SINCE their wedding - literally. Ran into them in Trussville in August (almost 5 years later) and Matt recognized me from that night! How crazy is that??? Talk about 5 years in the making - long before Keith accepted his call to the ministry!!

HighPoint is located in Corner, Alabama which is about 30 minutes north of downtown Birmingham. Right now the position is a part time position with hopes/plans of being a full time position soon. The church is a church plant and is very rapidly growing. We could not be any happier!!

It was such an honor to have our families be with us this past Sunday when we were announced!

We look forward to many years of service at HighPoint and look forward to relocating our family (at the right time) to the Corner area!!! :-)

In HIS Service, In HIS Time,

Randi, Keith, Noah and Maggie