So I will begin with saying how grateful I am for so many amazing people in my life. I am grateful for Orville and Heidi Thompson (owners of Scentsy) for being such humble, loving, and inspired people and for listening to the promptings of the spirit to begin such a beautiful company that attracts such beautiful people. They are changing the world and have changed my life! My family has been so blessed by many of those beautiful people! We were also very blessed from ward members and friends and family that were on the scene quickly and helped clean debris and board up windows! I am grateful for ALL of the people that included us in your prayers, donated financially, blessed us with your service, comforted my children while I was out of town, fed us, did our laundry, offered a vehicle to drive, offered sky miles to get me home so quickly, sent cards, emails, FB messages, voicemails, Voxer messages, text messages, home cooked meals, trips out for ice cream, car rides here and there, gift cards for food, and etc.
I can honestly say, "The windows of Heaven were opened up through the hands of my Scentsy family!" I don't even know how we could have managed without such LOVE! Sometimes words don't express what the heart truly feels....But pure gratitude is close!
I have needed some time to sort out all of my thoughts and am now ready to share. It all started on Tues, April 3rd. I was in Utah visiting dear friends after my leadership retreat in Vegas. It was an absolute beautiful morning. I was sitting on the balcony and I wrote a post that morning that said this...
Sitting on the balcony taking in a beautiful view, feeling the warm sun on my face, enjoying a gentle breeze and thinking of ALL the beautiful people in my life! Awwwww... Love moments like these! So if you are reading this then YOU are one of the people I am thinking about!
I remember feeling such a peace! Then about 1 hour later...EVERYTHING CHANGED! I remember hearing that there were some storms and possible tornadoes in Dallas area. Being someone who has grown up around tornadoes I didn't think much of it! I have never been affected and I always think that it hits somewhere else but not us. I decided to call and check on family members and make sure they were good. My mom had traveled in to watch my children while I was out of town. She told me that it was pretty dark but seemed farther away and that she was watching nonstop to make sure she followed the path of the tornado. I felt a little bit better but something told me to go turn on the news and just make sure. As I watched the news from Utah I could see that these were tornadoes like we had never had before! Massive destruction anywhere it touched!
I began to watch a little more closely as it was headed in the direction of my city. I remember saying a prayer and praying that my family would be safe. Before I knew it, I was watching this devastating tornado move toward Forney where we live. Forney is not very big and I was glued to the TV with such panic. I remember calling and not getting through. Then I texted and heard back from my mother that she did not like the way the clouds looked and that they were going for cover. I then talked with my husband who had just gotten home from work and realized that our son was not home from school yet so he drove to pick him and his bike up and came home again. At this point he could see the tornado headed towards our direction. That was the last I talked with him after a dropped call!
This was the most devastating part for me as I can no longer communicate with anyone and I am watching on the news with this horrific tornado and then the words that made me lose it... They said it is on 548 which is directly alongside our neighborhood. I then watched this tornado move through our neighborhood from the news.
Such anguish, such emotion, I could hardly breathe...I had no idea if my family had survived! I could not reach anyone for 30 minutes. Having experienced much loss in my life...the thoughts of losing my whole family including my mother in an instant were very real and debilitating. I prayed and prayed to hear from someone. Then I finally received a very frantic and scary call from my daughter. She was in a complete hysterical panic attack....I couldn't even understand her! Then all I heard in a shrill scream was.."MOM,,,MOM,,,MOM OH MY GOSH...MOM ...I CAN'T BREATHE!" I just fell to the floor...I thought someone had died because I could hear it in her voice. I then recognized my mom's voice in the back crying and loudly saying..."WE HAVE BEEN HIT WE WERE HIT" I had no idea where Kolby and my husband Shay were! I later found out that my son told my husband that his best friend was home alone and so Shay and Kolby left in the storm to drive through our neighborhood, dodging the tornado to pick up his best friend. On their way back still dodging debris....they watched two tornado's form into one huge tornado headed straight for our house. The tornado was right at our backyard and took a last minute turn and completely wiped out the house 3 doors down.
It still took a huge toll with major destruction on our house. But then they watched it continue to take a toll around the neighborhood and then went back up into the sky and went away! Shay was the very first person to drive down our street and see the devastation. He ran into the house to see if my mother and Hayley had survived. He also checked on Monica's brother who was upstairs when all of this happened. Once he realized that they were alive (not OK but alive) he ran outside to check on neighbors. He immediately saw a grandmother screaming for her child and Shay looked around pulling debris and searching for her. He heard a cry and pulled her out of the rubble and brought her to the arms of the grandmother. He then went down the street going in every house to see if everyone was alive. Finally the streets were flooded with firetrucks, paramedics, police, news people, onlookers, and you name it they were there! He said it was so surreal!
I later heard that Shay was a real hero and that all national news crews wanted to hear his story! But, if you know my Shay...he didn't want to and felt like he was only doing what he should have done! They finally talked him into telling a small part of his story to Good Morning America. So here I am in Utah watching my husband on national news. It was so weird and surreal. I couldn't get home fast enough. I ticket was not for 4 more days and someone anonymously donated sky miles and purchased a ticket to get me home to my family! I got home the next day and COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES! I quickly learned that this was the scariest thing that anyone had ever been through in their whole life! They described it just how you picture it on the worst movies...pipes breaking and train sounds and electrical noises, windows busting and glass hitting everywhere.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE AFTER HEARING ALL OF THE STORIES THAT NO ONE WAS HURT BEYOND SOME SCRATCHES. BELONGINGS CAN BE REPLACED BUT NOT YOUR FAMILY. WE LATER DROPPED TO OUR KNEES IN GRATITUDE FOR THE LORD SPARING EVERYONE. TRULY A MIRACLE!
There are so many stories this is only a small portion from my view. I can't believe those that had to endure and witness this massive experience. I always keep my eye on what is important but something like this just completely without a doubt reminds you of exactly what is important in this life! It is your family and your relationship with your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Tell your loved ones that you LOVE them, make time to see those in your life that are important, and last but not least make amends with family that has hurt you in the past and rebuild relationships because you just never know when tomorrow may be your last day. How fortunate we all are and we count our blessings daily! Livin in a hotel is NO BIGGIE..I could have been here without my family! Grateful, humbled and Blessed!
This has sooooo not been easy...but I know that God has so much in store for my family. So I will just keep believing and hoping for what is to come. In the meantime, I am feasting on the lessons learned and the growth that comes from such hardship. Good things and all blessings come in disguise of trial..
Find Joy in your your life experiences. It takes time to find the Joy in an experience like this but it didnt take long to start counting our many blessings once the initial shock wore off!