so grateful

I wrote this text as an email to my friend Dorothy. I'm going to cut and paste it here because I am so exhausted. I can hardly see straight at the moment and need to go to bed....

Oh we are so thankful. Our hearts are full and touched by all of the help that showed up this weekend. And our hearts are heavy and hurting for all the loss around us. We lost six oak trees, each that was 200-300 years old. Huge, beautiful oaks. You can see the gap above our barn that used to be filled with two giant oaks, both twisted on the ground now. We have friends who lost nearly every tree on their acreage. And yet their home and garage are completely fine. It feels quite miraculous as none of our neighbors had major damage to their homes from falling tees. And yet everyone lost old, old oaks and hundreds of trees through the neighborhood.

The loss of landscape is so sad, but the truth is, Friday and Saturday turned into total parties. We never had a moment either day when there wasn't someone here. And we got so much done! Saturday we had 60 people come through, all ready to help or bringing food. Uncle Jake brought his cherry picker, Uncle Carl was on the barn building a temp roof with Rory over the stairwell, Aunt Louie and Aunt Annie brought enough lunch to feed 40, Sarah and Brooks and Jessica and Dan all came with kids and trucks were flying all around pulling out branches, moving loads to the massive burn pile. I had a friend from my homeschool group come with her family and her neighbor's came too. Our friend's Randy and Jake showed up and cut up oaks, hopped on the roof and pulled big branches with their 4 wheeler. The kids were all holding kittens and shucking corn for fun. That night we had the young adults from our church for 2 hours of help, a big shared lasagna meal and then we had barn worship in the upstairs under the stars. It was so great.

And the churches in our town have been incredible. Saturday morning I got a phone call from a friend Bonnie asking if she could bring a hot lasagna meal for dinner on behalf of Canvas Church. She said, "and how many are we feeding tonight?" I said, "well, we have six in our family..." And she said, "yes, but what about your help? Can I bring two pans of lasagna?" It was so amazing! Showed up and I was able to feed a crowd with salad and garlic bread and apple cider and brownies! 

Sunday we went to our good friends and neighbors who were the ones who lost nearly every tree. They are close friends and we decided to all stay home from church and have a house worship together on their porch. It was really special. We ate lunch together and talked through the next few days and it was just so good. And Rory and I got to take hot showers there because they had their water hooked up to the generator. Which was AMAZING. Then we came home, and I took a nap while Hattie and Alden napped. And when I woke up I was over it all. Total mood change. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. So tired. But Rory had big plans for us to lay poly sheeting on the barn floor together, getting it just so. And it wasn't our finest hour! It was our 13th wedding anniversary and I seemed to think we should be doing something a little less practical and a bit more romantic. But he is a good, wise farmer, pressing on until we have things set for the rain Monday night. 

In the end he took me to Culver's, but his parents (who were babysitting for us) saw the unflattering side of me. Tired, crabby, exhausted. And disappointed because we discussed how we can't go to St. Louis this weekend, as we had planned. So I was frustrated and bummed. And did I mention, tired? Though the power did come back on when they were here, which was great! We had gone 3 nights and 3 days without electricity or running water (toilets were the greatest challenge...)

Rory assures me we'll celebrate the big year number 13 another day. 
And now I'm off to bed.

Again, we are so grateful that we were kept safe, as well as all of our neighbors. We needed your prayers in that moment. I know that for certain. We just started saying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. And he held us.

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