It has been over a week since my last post. No, I didn’t go on vacation….no, I didn’t win the lottery….but I did experience a life-changing event. Let me start by telling you that I was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about that little EF-5 tornado that ripped through my hometown last week – apparently it’s an international news maker. First I have to get down on my knees and praise God that all my family is safe and well! Here’s my story…
I no longer live in Joplin but I still have lots of family and friends that do, including my mom and stepdad. Last weekend was my mom’s first time to babysit Ava for the whole weekend. Sunday afternoon my husband and I were on our way back to Joplin to pick up Ava from my Mom’s house. It was 5:30 on the dot, my Mom and Ava were taking shelter in the basement with the dogs. Chad and I had to pull off the road to wait out the storm in a gas station – the rain was unbelievable. The cell service was very spotty but I was able to communicate with my Mom and knew that they were okay. Still I was a basket case going through this without my little girl in my arms!!!! As we drove to my Mom’s house, located in South Joplin, we could hear the sirens and see the smoke rising from Joplin. Soon after our reunion with Ava, we got word that my Uncle’s home was destroyed and that my Cousin’s home was literally flattened! The good news was that they all escaped without a single scratch…and with their dogs too!
My mom and stepdad opened their home….which meant there were now 9 people and 5 dogs at their house! We spent the next several days salvaging whatever we could from their homes, and when it was raining we were at my mom’s house. I’m pretty sure we were all in a state of shock! SO….what do you do when a massive tornado rips through your hometown destroying everything in it’s path!?! I don’t know, I still don’t know….but I cooked! People need food and people need energy and, man, did I cook up a storm!
Monday afternoon I baked chicken breasts seasoned with cumin and chili powder, sauteed onions and peppers…
and made creamed corn…..
then the power went out, again! I put a lid on the peppers so they could, kind of, steam until tender then just kept the oven door shut trying to let the chicken finish cooking with the remaining heat left in the oven. About 30 minutes later we had fajitas by the light of the lantern.
We drove to the next town over to get some supplies and I raided the grocery aisles for some “does a body good” type food. That night I made turkey lasagna with shaved carrots and ricotta cheese – it was comfort food at it’s best. And when we were all nearly at our breaking point – I broke out the secret weapon…..my Grandma’s red bowl…..and I made cookies! I’m not talking about Squash Blossom Babies healthy style cookies….I’m talking about the real deal sugar, white flour and butter cookies!!! The first batch was gone within hours! My favorite memory from this entire event was when my Cousin Dani delicately dipped a spoon into the giant red ceramic bowl to taste the cookie dough and her whole body wiggled with delight! It’s the small things in life that can bring such comfort!
I am so proud of my family for being so strong through such tragedy, and I will be forever proud of my hometown of Joplin, Missouri.
I’m not going to post any pictures of the destruction….you’ve probably seen enough online and on TV….sadly that doesn’t even do it justice. If you haven’t had an opportunity to donate to the relief efforts in Joplin, Missouri here are some great ways you can make a difference.
Angels Over Joplin
If you are going to be in Joplin and want to volunteer there are many ways you can help.
Or if you want to get a little more personal there are lots of memorial funds being set up…..here are a few ways you can help
This is a memorial fund that was started in memory for Don Lansaw, whom I went to high school with. He selflessly gave his life to save his wife. You can see more in this video.