Texas Still Stands & We Stand Together

Texas

The last few days have been akin to falling into the dark end of the rabbit hole.  We have been living in a surreal nightmare that kept us in fear while caging us with wind and water.

Boats

This is not a river.  This is a street.

As I have lived in Texas my entire life, heavy storms are not unfamiliar territory.  However, from Friday through Tuesday, we received more than one hundred forty tornado warnings as well as dozens upon dozens of flash flood alerts.  Those are actual numbers of alerts, not exaggerations.  Spending hours worrying if you are going to lose your home is exhausting. Spending those same hours worrying if your family is safe is exponentially worse.    rescue

I was so afraid for my children’s safety that we set up little mattresses in my husband’s closet, and that’s where they slept for the past few days.  They are just returning to their rooms tonight.

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This was taken in a nursing home to the southeast of us.  They were rescued and relocated, but my heart feels raw when I see this.

The news just said that we received 52″ of rain in this storm.  52″.  It seems unreal, but the deluge was impossibly heavy and pummeled our homes relentlessly hour after hour.  I joked to my friends that I expected to look out my window and see pairs of animals walking toward a big boat.  It was beyond belief.

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harvey

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God bless the Cajun Navy.  I can’t put into words my love for these people.

Incredibly, our home and neighborhood never lost power.  We were able to keep track of the news while keeping in touch with our friends and family.  We quickly learned that we would not be facing this alone.

cajun navy2Before the rain showed any sign of stopping, many dear neighbors from surrounding towns and states were in the water rescuing those in need all around Houston.  I have friends who were picked up by boats and oversized construction vehicles at their flooded homes.  Firefighters, police officers, members of the military, and overall amazing people continue to risk their lives to help us here.  A few beautiful souls have lost their lives in the process.  I cannot express my sadness at these losses.

Countless people have lost their homes.  Hurricanes are known for their destructive natures, but Hurricane Harvey drew a tremendously broad stroke of destruction unlike any other we have experienced.

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This neighboring family was extremely lucky.  They lost a beautiful tree, but it fell away from their home.

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These dear friends were less fortunate.  It makes my heart ache to see this.

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This photo was taken by a close friend of my sister.  She took the picture right before first responders transported her and her family away from their once beautiful home to safety.

The three images above are neighbors and family friends.  There are thousands upon thousands more homes that have been terribly damaged or destroyed.

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I saw multiple military transport planes overhead as I left the neighborhood today.  I was overjoyed to see them.

Although the rain stopped at last today, we found ourselves facing yet another complication from all of the water.  The flood control authorities have initiated controlled water releases from the reservoir dams in an attempt to maintain the integrity of those critical structures.

Certain neighborhoods are expected to experience additional flooding given these releases, but I understand the need to sacrifice a small area with controlled water releases for the sake of preventing a very literal tidal wave of water flowing over miles and miles of heavily populated areas.  Despite my ability to understand the need, this does not change the fact that my parents live in the high risk zone impacted by those releases nor does it change the fact that their home will be washed away if the dam fails.  Water is already spilling over the top and around the sides.

rescue2

I wish I could tell you that this was me in my car, but it was another rescuer in a better vehicle.  Thank you for coming to our town!

So I did what any tenacious girl with stubborn parents would do.  I jumped in my 4×4 Texas mom-mobile and headed to their house to drag them out while they raged.

A dear friend (I love you K!) stayed on the phone with me as I drove.  She guided me to the best possible (and sometimes only possible) routes to allow me to avoid the innumerable streets that were closed due to high water or road failure.  My parents are about fifteen miles from me, but it might as well have been a hundred.  I weaved back and forth and backtracked repeatedly.  There was water everywhere I looked.  Thankfully there were military trucks, high water vehicles, and boats in abundance as well.

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The raw truth is that my tenacity did not make the trip any less terrifying.

Meandering through high water on unfamiliar streets and knowing that you are deliberately driving into an area with rising water that may turn catastrophic is incredibly scary.  I tend to be rather steely in a crisis, but this one had me on edge.  When I arrived, I was met with angry parents who didn’t want to go.  No surprise there.

My father recently had knee surgery and can’t walk well, and my mother has somehow hurt her shoulder.  They have no power at that house and aren’t expected to get it back for several days.  It isn’t the safest area to begin with and looters are likely to begin their hunts.  The water is rising – not receding – in front of their house, and they are within tidal wave range of the dam if it blows.  Naturally they would want to stay.  (Argh!!!  Seriously people??  Do we really have to discuss this??)  Thank heavens my rabid bulldog style of encouragement worked.  No surprise there either.  Off we went once more to head back to my house (the house with power and without rising water).

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I thanked God every single time I saw a military chopper or truck.  I said a prayer of protection for all of the people I saw working to help others.  They were everywhere I looked despite the incredible water levels, and we were blessed to make it home safely.

The drive to help others has been amazing across the board.  The rain did not cease until mid-morning, but the shelters were already bursting at the seams with donation items and volunteers within a couple of hours.

donationsPeople are doing everything they can to help those in need around them.  The response inside and outside of our community is stunning.  On a personal level, I can’t tell you how many people have invited us to their homes should we need a place to go.  They have offered everything.  Family, friends, coworkers, and total strangers – all have stood with us.  It overwhelms me emotionally.  I can’t adequately articulate my feelings, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is more goodness in this world that we could ever imagine.

The news should cover the beauty I have witnessed here.  It is truly a spectacular sight to behold.  I am captivated by your kindness and your love.  I am enamored by your strength and your courage.

When I say that Texas still stands and we stand together, I am saying that Texas still stands and we stand together with you.  In our greatest time of need, so many of you have served as our shelter in this physical and emotional storm.  You have extended the lifeline we so desperately needed, and now we are able to continue that with you as we move to help each other.

There is no division of economic class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, or politics.  We are one united people, and we are all here for each other.

Texas still stands.  Thank you for standing with us.  We truly stand together.

Much love to all of you. Joanna

Texas1

Enamored

Structure

55 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Writer Lori
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 08:19:08

    Cannot imagine how terrifying and draining these past five or six days have been, Jo. Sending ALL the good energy I can muster streaming your way. xxx

    Reply

  2. misifusa
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 08:35:16

    Jo, I am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I admire you. I am inspired by you. I am grateful for your loving presence in my life. I am sending you and yours big heartfelt hugs dear girl. You have been so courageous. Let the flood waters recede quickly and no further damage to anyone or anything. You’re bathed in white light of protection always xoxoxo

    Reply

  3. James J. Cudney IV
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 09:10:41

    Amazing post. No other words will do it justice. I’m so glad you are OK.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 30, 2017 @ 23:50:41

      why are you not my neighbor??? i know that we would be such good friends! (i already adore you anyway so in my book, you already are a good friend, but the neighbor designation would be a big fat bonus!). xoxox

      Reply

  4. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 09:47:11

    Much love to you!

    Reply

  5. restlessjo
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 12:54:19

    What a horror story you’ve lived through, Jo! The nursing home image is terrible. So brave of you to rescue your parents, but, I know- what choice did you have? I’ve watched and worried. God bless!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 30, 2017 @ 23:53:10

      i can’t even talk about the nursing home images. i get such heaviness in my throat. the sadness in some of these images weighs me down like lead. so i try to focus on the incredible beauty i see everywhere and i mean – everywhere. people are so much better than we know. we are blessed to be given each other. thank you for being one of those amazing lights in my life my friend.

      Reply

  6. Mischenko
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 13:10:08

    Joanna, I was thinking about you and your family while watching the news last night. It’s really great to see everyone working together and caring for one another. Still praying for all of you. I hope this will be over soon… ❤ Hugs

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 30, 2017 @ 23:57:44

      so this will make you roll your eyes at me – i’m so nervous that we are going to end up on the news at some point and i stress that i won’t have on makeup. wow. what is wrong with me? don’t answer that. too many options. 😉 but in all seriousness, thank you. i’m still mentally digesting it all, but the emotional flood is still untapped at this point. you may hear about that one on the news once my one floodgates blow. i’m going to be a mess once it hits!

      Reply

  7. I tripped over a stone.
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 14:14:23

    I can’t speak. I have a lump in my throat the size of Tesas. I have no doubt you will all come through this not only stronger but better! Texas always finds a way. Blessings! ~Kim

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 31, 2017 @ 00:01:24

      it’s heart wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. it’s impossible to articulate but i am in awe of the people in my life. amazingly beautiful moments. amazingly beautiful people. and that so includes you my spectacular dear friend. i just adore you.

      Reply

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  9. magickmermaid
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 14:57:03

    Thank goodness you were able to rescue your parents and your home and family have been spared the devastation! The photos are heartbreaking.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 31, 2017 @ 00:04:56

      my parents may lose their home, but they will be safe if they do. that’s all that matters. the city will rebuild. i’m just so saddened at the people who have lost their belongings that cannot be replaced, or unimaginably worse, their lives. it’s hard to fathom that this is all going on here and in neighboring towns.

      Reply

  10. simpledimple
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 18:07:12

    This is a huge disaster and very saddening. A devastating environmental catastrophe I’d say. My heart goes out to all those affected. May they be consoled and comforted.

    Reply

  11. sustainabilitea
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 19:44:47

    Heartbreaking, but also full of brave and loving people! Prayers for all of you.

    janet

    Reply

  12. MoJo
    Aug 31, 2017 @ 00:13:09

    Reblogged this on Rockhound Family.

    Reply

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  14. mainepaperpusher
    Aug 31, 2017 @ 02:06:06

    Reblogged this on Everyone Else Has the Best Titles and commented:
    What a wonderful tribute to everyone who has suffered Hurricane Harvey’s devastation…and also those who have worked tirelessly to help.

    Reply

  15. Tracy
    Aug 31, 2017 @ 09:07:28

    It must have been terrifying for you all. However, I am glad that you have been able to find the good in what happened because there is good to be found in every disaster if we look hard enough. Big hugs. X

    Reply

  16. Robin @The Robin's Nest
    Aug 31, 2017 @ 10:31:31

    My heart goes out to you, your family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy. I can not put into words the sorrow I feel. Your tribute was so beautifully written. I can only send blessings and heartfelt love your way and to all those involved.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Sep 04, 2017 @ 00:25:30

      Thank you so so much darling friend. It has been a roller coaster but there have been so many blessings, too. ❤️

      Reply

      • Robin @The Robin's Nest
        Sep 04, 2017 @ 07:13:29

        Yes there has been tremendous amounts of blessings pouring in Texas. It makes hearts proud to see such an abundance of love coming from all over this wonderful country and the surrounding country that wants and are waiting to help. The show of love and compassion gives us all faith in knowing that we can come together in a desperate time of need. Be safe as can be dear friend and may God continue to bless you all.

      • MoJo
        Sep 04, 2017 @ 09:34:09

        It’s been beautiful stuff. Truly. I worry about some of the smaller towns, but we are there to support them, too. We just need someone to let us know that they need help!

  17. inspirationpie
    Aug 31, 2017 @ 11:31:59

    Can’t even imagine…So glad you and your family are okay! (((HUGS))) ❤

    Reply

  18. David Urie
    Aug 31, 2017 @ 12:25:15

    Joanna, I can only imagine what it was like getting your Mo. And Dad out, I’m glad they (I should say your Dad, lol), relented and left with you.
    I love your blog and I thank your Sister for directing me to it. I know she has been worried about y’all. Take care, I’m glad you guys are ok, as well as my goods friends, your Mom and Dad.
    DDU

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Sep 04, 2017 @ 09:07:51

      That’s so kind David. I’m thankful that everyone was ok. So many people around us are rebuilding together (and I mean that literally tearing up sheetrock and floors to be able to rebuild together), and I’m so glad that we all want to support each other. Take care my friend.

      Reply

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  20. shalini
    Sep 03, 2017 @ 03:55:11

    Omg, it was so horrifying to see those pics. I am glad you and your family are ok. I pray that everyone else get back to their normal lives soon. I hope your government is helpful with funds for rehabilitation during times like these

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Sep 03, 2017 @ 14:31:53

      There’s always lots of red tape but I sure am thankful for the military and first responder presence. They are such blessings.

      Reply

      • shalini
        Sep 03, 2017 @ 15:53:36

        I am glad you are ok with family. Loved your humor about your parents. I was wondering as to why you didn’t pick them up and put them in your car. Hehehe. I was pretty sure you were exasperated enough

      • MoJo
        Sep 04, 2017 @ 09:32:46

        I would have, but it’s never that easy with them! You would love them. They are amazing people. We always tease each other, but more than that, we always look out for each other.

      • shalini
        Sep 04, 2017 @ 09:33:46

        That’s fabulous… Beautiful.. And that’s the way it should be. You are such a good daughter, girl..

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