Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I know it's been a while, friends...but it's been a hectic few weeks here in Mena, Arkansas. Even though I can "forget" what happened on April 9th by going to work (where my office is perfectly intact) or to my new home (where every tree limb is perfectly in place), it only takes a short drive thru the middle of town to see absolute devastation. I know I'm fortunate, and I'm not living the true nightmare that others are experiencing, but I still feel an immediate wrenching in my gut when I drive thru areas like this:
This photo was taken by Jim Zornes, the Forest Service Ranger for our district. It gives you a small snapshot of what happened in our little town of 5,600. The F-3 tornado traveled approximately 14.5 miles, with winds ranging between 135-165 MPH. I'm still amazed that so many survived.

Our little house on Ninth Street just isn't the same - and sustained some roof damage. Unfortunately, we were on a waiting list to have the roof replaced for hail damage - so no additional monies for us. It was heartbreaking to see the big beautiful trees, all gone.I never considered myself a "tree-hugger" - but this area lost some of the oldest, grandest trees in town. It makes me sad how our landscape has changed. I can't look at the skyline the same - you can see for blocks and blocks, where before you could only see a few houses down the street. Now, there are roots and bare earth and utility trucks and demolished homes.
This is our back yard tree - it crashed into our shed. We were so fortunate...I just can't believe we didn't suffer more devastation. Others were not so fortunate - they lost everything. So many were uninsured...or underinsured. Some lost their home, their vehicles and their possesions, all in one fell swoop. Our middle school is now uninhabitable, including the auditorium that was used by the entire community for all sorts of performances throughout the years. The college was extensively damaged....it's all so overwhelming. Thankfully, we got word that we will be receiving assistance from FEMA.

I can't describe how bizarre it is to drive thru areas of our town. I cry. I weep for those who have lost so much. I gaze in disbelief at the changed landscape. I can't believe things are so "out of whack," only two and a half weeks since the tragedy. Some told me that their towns suffered for almost five years, before things were "normal" again. I'm ready now. I'm impatient.

But I'm blessed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We Survived!

Thank you to all of you who were concerned about the well-being of me and my family.

For those of you who were not aware, our small town of Mena, Arkansas, was devastated by an F3 tornado that hit Thursday night, April 9th. The town will never be the same, but the resilience of our community has been evident these past few days. I have never been so proud of the strength and generosity of the hard-working people here...

We only suffered three fatalities, which is mind-boggling, considering the aerial photos of the destruction, found at this link.

I also uploaded some photos here on my flickr site.

An image that says a lot, is one I captured two houses down from where my daughter's best friend lost her home:

The chalk on the siding says: "Katrina! Arkansas takes care of its own!"
The day after the tragedy, there were people with chainsaws everywhere. No one "waited to be rescued." We are tough. We will survive. And I thank God above that we weren't in our old home on Ninth Street anymore (even though we still own it). Times like these help us remember what the real priorities are in our lives - each other.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Finding Balance

In speaking with a dear friend the other day, I realized that she and I shared the same dilemma: that of regaining our balance.

Every so often, life circumstances change in such a way that I find myself "off-kilter." The symptoms usually include bank statements that are ignored, haircuts that are overdue, dust bunnies (okay, full-grown rabbits) collecting in and around our bar stools, and the OMG moments when I realize I'm five minutes late to pick up The Offspring.

I tend to throw myself into every project that comes my way, and I am fastidious about keeping my commitments. Good traits, but daily responsibilities can often suffer as a result. Priorities tend to shift, and something always has to give in the end. That's one reason I haven't been blogging much.

However, blogging kept me thinking...kept me writing...and definitely made me more likely to use my camera. I miss it, and I miss you all - my blog buddies. My writing skills are important to me. I still cringe every time I see a misspelled word or a punctuation error (OCD, I know). So, I will recommit myself to this world that I had temporarily abandoned. For my sake as much as yours. Blogging is not and never has been a massive priority but something I have let slide to a point that I'm no long comfortable with.

To re-engage you, I ask: When have you found yourself to be out of balance in life? When have you had to rethink your priorities? And what did you do to resolve the problem?