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05 May 2011

Post-Tornado Part III (Wrap-Up)

From CNN.com, "Officials say 178 tornadoes have been confirmed as part of the weather that raked the region April 27-28, making it the largest recorded tornado outbreak in U.S. history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that the outbreak spawned a total of 305 tornadoes." 
 
There have been a lot of things going through my mind since last Wednesday, April 27. Beginning that morning and stretching through the evening, a record number of tornadoes swept across Alabama, completely demolishing houses, businesses, and other property, and killing and wounding many people. The numbers of those whose lives have been claimed is tragic, yet thus far it's a smaller number than I'd have anticipated. May God comfort those who have lost family members and friends. (The following photo was taken -- with my poor-quality phone camera -- in the community of Anderson Hills.)
 
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Our power at home was out from Wednesday evening (April 27) through Tuesday afternoon (May 3). When I bought some food yesterday to lightly restock the refrigerator I thought about all the spoiled food we had thrown out, and I wondered how much of it we'd have wasted and thrown out even without the events of the previous week. I thought about waste and how I don't want to do that anymore, even on a small level.
 
As I took cold showers I thought of my trip to Haiti and realized that the hot showers I usually take are actually a luxury. (I did, however, wish that our temperature was more along the lines of that in Haiti rather than the unseasonably cold ~60 degrees).
 
As I boiled water on our charcoal grill, I was grateful that I had a grill, and I thought about how much our situation was like those people I've met who live under bridges here in Huntsville. They live without power, and whatever meals they have to cook themselves have to be heated up over drums filled with scraps of wood they've collected.
 
As we sat in a candle-lit house each of the first few evenings without a computer, internet access, an Xbox 360 to play, or a forensic-type reality show to watch, I realized just how frenzied my level of entertainment has to be on a daily basis for me to consider it "normal."
 
When the power came back on and our rural house became "normal" again, I reflected on how completely abnormal life had become for many of my friends and so many in our community whose houses had been leveled, functionally destroyed, or otherwise rendered unliveable. No, life is not normal. But I can help to ease the burden of other people, and I will do all that I can.
 
I quickly uploaded a number of photos I took on my phone as we helped with disaster relief last week and early this week. You can view them here. They're not all titled, described, or tagged with keywords yet, but you can look through them nonetheless.
 
Hopefully I'll return to a regular pattern of posting soon. I think I may kick that off shortly with some very general, pointless ramblings on a more light-hearted note.

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