The girls and I left Gulfport yesterday evening, just after 5:00 p.m., and headed to Texas to avoid the worst of (now) Tropical Storm Isaac. It was the first time I had made the 6+ hour trip by myself with the girls. It was definitely more challenging without another adult to help, but, thank goodness, it was mostly uneventful. We pulled into my parent's driveway at 12:30 a.m., the girls were in bed by 1:30 a.m., and I was in bed by 2:00 a.m. Thank goodness Lorelei slept until nearly 8:00 a.m. (Sydney slept until 9:30 a.m.). I am tired, but very happy to be here!
Last week Chet and I started preparing for, not only Isaac, but for hurricane season in general. We didn't do an ounce of hurricane preparation last year, even after Tropical Storm Irene blew through last Labor Day weekend and caused a ton of flooding in our area. Maybe we were still shell shocked from our July move? Maybe we were too preoccupied with Lorelei's impending arrival? Who knows, but looking back, it was awfully risky not to have done any preparation. Oh, well.
This year we got our act together. Last week we purchased a good stock of canned food, MREs, bottled water, batteries for our flashlights, and a hurricane lantern. Chet would like to acquire a generator too, but we haven't done that yet. We don't have a perfect hurricane disaster kit, a perfect supply of rations, or a perfect plan in case we need to evacuate (again), but what we've done so far is much better than nothing.
Chet is currently in charge of the group of people on base who are on call to deal with disaster relief (in this case, hurricane relief). We've known for a while that if evacuation was necessary, we would be leaving town without Chet, who is required to stay on base (in a very safe concrete bunker, thank the Lord). All last week, while we were assembling necessary hurricane supplies, I was in the mindset to ride out the storm and deal with whatever power outages or flooding occurred. Chet came home from work Friday and stated he thought the girls and I should head for TX, just in case (at this point the storm was still projected to hit much further east than it is now). I agreed. We decided we would leave Monday morning.
As we were casually packing on Sunday afternoon, Chet and I had the seemingly simultaneous epiphany that the girls and I should leave as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the morning. Like I said earlier, we were on the road a little after 5:00 p.m., and only stopped twice. There was no traffic, no lines at gas stations, and no bad weather to run from.
I'm not trying to be dramatic, but no one has any idea what this storm (or any storm) will do. It could cause some rain and a little flooding and down a few trees, or it could be another Katrina. Only God knows. As Chet and I were scurrying around the house packing, I would tell him every now and then, "Just let me know if you think of anything we don't want to lose, and I'll take it with me." Neither of us could really think of anything, which I take comfort in. We have both considered the possibility that our house could blow away in this storm and that we could lose everything. But that's okay, as long as we are all safe. We are thankful for our house and the things we own, but we are not so attached to our earthly belongings that we are worried sick about the possibility of losing them. Pretty much everything we own is replaceable, and nothing that we own will go with us to Heaven anyway, so we are at peace.
Okay, that got much deeper than I expected. Some things I did pack that I don't normally pack when we go on trips is our wills, birth certificates, marriage certificate, and passports. I also brought our external hard drive, which we regularly back up our computer files onto. And Chet's (now Sydney's) Cabbage Patch doll, Bubba, who was "born" in 1982. And our framed "love chit" (the document that Chet had to submit while we were at the Naval Academy, asking permission for him to switch to a different Company so that we could officially date...it even has an original sticky note on it...I'll take a picture of it some time to show all of you...)
I always struggle a little with natural disasters. Basically, they terrify me, and I never want them to affect my family. But I don't want them to affect anyone else either! So what do I pray for? For the storm to dissipate altogether? For it to make landfall and do it's thing, but not hurt anyone or anything in its path? My prayers surrounding natural disasters are always a little disorganized and intelligible. But I believe God knows what's on my heart and hears my prayers, no matter how fuzzy they sound in my own mind.