Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Six years back...

"During a 12-hour period in the evening and early morning of February 5-6, 2008, 87 tornadoes occurred in nine states with 57 fatalities in four states. This is the second largest February tornado outbreak since 1950 (beginning year of official tornado database) in terms of fatalities and the largest since May 31, 1985. Fatalities occurred in Arkansas, Tennessee,Kentucky, and Alabama. There were five violent Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale 4 tornadoes reported; two each in Tennessee and Alabama, and one in Arkansas. The EF4 tornado in Arkansas had a remarkable 122-mile continuous damage path; this was the longest path length of a tornado in the state since at least 1950. A deadly EF3 tornado that touched down northeast of Nashville, Tennessee, carved a 51- mile path of destruction claiming 22 lives. This was the deadliest tornado in the United States since a tornado in Evansville, Indiana, November 2005 killed 25 people." - Taken from the Service Assessment,Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak of February 5-6, 2008, National Weather Service

Six years ago tonight I looked out at what was left of Union University after an a direct hit by an EF 4 tornado. It is by the grace of God alone that no one died that night. I stared at the rubble of not one, but two dorm complexes wondering how many of my friends had died that night. 

We knew bad weather was coming, my roommates and I had charged our phones, put on our sneakers and packed a bag, making a promise that no one would know that we did if nothing happened. We had watched the news footage as the system went through Oklahoma and Arkansas, making its way to us in Tennessee. We saw the news of the "killer" tornado (one of many that night) that was on the ground for over 100 miles and left 13 people dead. We knew it was coming, but we didn't expect this. 

Details. There are a lot of them that I remember. Funny how you remember so many details. I remember the sirens going off and going to the downstairs room's bathroom. Eight of us in that tiny thing. I remember going and getting  a mattress and pulling it over our heads. It was a dorm mattress, so it wasn't going to offer a whole lot of protection, but something was better than nothing.

I remember saying we should pray and then no one volunteered, so I did. I don't remember what was said. I probably rambled. I am not a big fan of praying out loud. The power went out. I remember the sound of glass breaking and the feel of the building shaking. I remember the sound like thunder that just keeps rolling. A high-pitched wind. 

I remember taking my roommates pulse. Not that I could actually count it, since by now we had lost power. I think I wanted to be sure she had a perfusing rhythm. She was born with a congenital heart defect and when the tornado hit, we all had pressure on our ears, but she felt it on her heart. So I'm a little nervous at the moment. I remember thinking that if she didn't, there wasn't even room to lay her down and do CPR. 

I remember getting my flashlight and checking the bathroom after we had pushed the mattress off our heads. I opened the bathroom door to check the living room and see if we could get out. I remember the smell of gas and the thought that I wasn't going to survive a tornado to burn to death in a fire. I remember getting someones shoes out of their bedroom so we could leave. I remember glass had been blown all the way under the bathroom door. I was the one sitting with my back to the door.

I remember after we got out and were walking out of the complex to the parking lot, I looked back and saw the roof was missing on the dorm and telling Jessica not to look back. I remember that just then (maybe 10 minutes after it hit, maybe 15?) that two police officers were coming toward us. I remember telling them I smelled gas. They told us to start a list of our names. We signed so many lists that night.

 Photo Credit: Dr. Jeff Masters,WunderBlog
That night was dubbed "Super Tuesday" in the weather world. The deadliest tornado outbreak in 23 years back then. Even I can see that classic hook echo on the radar :) The Super Tuesday Tornado destroyed or damaged over 80% of Union University's on campus housing.

Photo Credit: Morris Abernathy/Union University

Photo Credit: FEMA

In the aftermath of that night, this photo was taken. I'm on the phone with my mom. They didn't tell her how bad it was until after she had talked to me. She still didn't really understand. She hadn't watched the news. She wanted me to find something to cover my car's blown-out back window since there was another storm coming. Yeah, I knew then that they hadn't told her much :)


They were in a hurry to get us to safety since another line of storms coming through and they didn't know how significant the damage was to other buildings. I tried to help a girl with a leg laceration to the Nursing Building where they had chosen for us to wait until they had a place for all of us to go. Also where my fellow classmates and the professors had raided the supplies to treat the injured that were showing up.

We hadn't gotten far when a police officer showed up in his patrol car and both of us got a ride to building about a half a mile away. I was so grateful! I didn't think I could manage to help her all the way there. I'm short, she was tall. It was awkward. He let us out at the door and I helped her in. I wasn't needed at the first aid station. Which was disappointing, really. I needed to be needed at that point. I felt worthless, though this is the first time I've said those words aloud.

WW0040 Radar 

I was needed though, I found Jessica, my roommate, after searching a couple of the downstairs classrooms. Just in time to sign yet another list and then for them to move us to a different building since they had discovered major roof damage to the one we were in.

They eventually moved us from the second building to the strip mall about half a mile from campus. On foot mind you, since there was so much debris. I remember stepping over plywood and corrugated steel on the way. Walking around cars that look like some child's play toy tossed about.

There had been talk of moving the students to a shelter. Jessica and I had been on the phone with one of our professors and he was coming to get us. We chose to go off a bit to a restaurant bench and wait it out there. We quickly changed our minds and went in front of one of the stores hoping he would get there before they sent us to a shelter for the night.

Not one student spent the night in a shelter. Professors, friends, families stepped up to house students in their homes that night. Spencer and his wife, and their little dog, picked us up and took us to their home. She gave us clean clothes to sleep in, washed ours since they were covered in mud. There wasn't a whole lot of sleeping done. The second line of storms came through, no tornadoes, but for me, thunder and wind made me anxious so there was little chance of sleeping through it.

I had given my go bag so someone to carry since I stayed to help those who might need it. So I didn't have my charger or any of the things that I had packed. Real smart move, Sydney.

The next day we went back to campus. My soon to be Father-in-Law came and picked me up. We were hoping to be able to get to my car and move it off campus. We waited for several hours hoping that they would let us in today. After a couple of hours they didn't, so we decided to make the 2 hour drive back. Half way there they started letting students in. I was just tried and wanting my mama, so we just kept driving. I saw damage everywhere on the way back.

The next day my mom took me back to UU and we picked up my car. I think mine was the only one out of the 4 roommates that actually started. I remember trying to use mine to jump off Leslie's since it was dead, but I don't think it worked. We took some pictures then Jessica (?) and I went to the dealership and dropped my car off and picked up my rental. A minivan. While my mom went to Memphis for my sister's ballet class (maybe?) Jessica and I drove home. I dropped her off at her parents house and went home.

I was able to pick up my belongings that had been cleaned out of my room sometime the next week. Grey 30D. My paint box still has it written in Sharpie on the lid. I got a lot, almost all,  of my things back. Random things were missing like one of a pair of shoes. One of my box sets of DVDs. But tornadoes aren't all that picky with what they suck into the atmosphere. I was lucky. I felt guilty too. The girl in front of me got a scarf back. A scarf. That's it.

I commuted 30 miles to campus for the rest of the semester. A family I taught 3 year old choir with at FBC Jackson took me in and let me live with them. Their daughter was one of my flower girls at my wedding.

We graduated on time. All clinical requirements met. The two weeks of class and clinical that we lost were dispersed throughout the rest of the semester. We were grateful.

So six years later I'm holed up in my house with snow and ice outside, and again I can find a few things to be grateful for. The weather, my friends, my University, my teachers, and most of all, that I am alive to give God the glory!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Day!

I failed to take a look at the weather on Saturday. I knew we were supposed to get snow, I just didn't anticipated this sight late Sunday morning. It seems the saying hold true that if you have a wet summer, you'll have a wet winter too!
 The husband made it safely to work this morning, but I'm glad I can hole up in the house until some of this mess goes away. Might be a couple of days though since we are expecting some freezing rain/sleet mix tonight. I'll have to get out Thursday though and run to employee health to grab my TB skin test paperwork since my other job (yes I have two!) needs a copy of it. I work a 12 hour shift on Friday so have to get it done before I teach clinicals on Saturday :) 

Three of my quilts are ready at the quilter, and I'm just itching to get them, but I don't dare get out in all that snow and ice! So here is some eye candy to make this a somewhat interesting blog post.

Found these little babies on Etsy! Yes, they are for baby C. I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't resist! They match her baby bedding perfectly. (that blue is the color of part of the baby bedding)

In other crafty news, I have made progress on C's quilt! I got waylaid by a head/chest cold so I haven't made much progress, but I have the sashing finished! I added a white and then a scrappy border. I took forever to decide if I wanted another white border the set the scrappy off from the binding. The extra border won out!
This is a haphazard look at the way the bedding and the quilt match without my even trying! It was quite a delightful little surprise! More pictures to come when the quilt top gets finished!

Monday, January 20, 2014

C gets a quilt.

Or she will, when it is actually finished. C's mommy and I thought I was going to make C's baby bedding. We ended up finding an adorable custom one online that was on sale. If you need or want custom baby bedding Little Charlie May on Etsy has adorable bedding! Her current turn around time is 8-12 weeks, so don't wait too long! *Note, I am not reimbursed by Little Charlie May in anyway whatsoever, I just think her bedding is the cutest thing around.*

Okay enough about the baby bedding.  I know y'all really want to see her quilt in progress, don't you?

This was the inspiration quilt. I had originally planned to used this fabric:

But I decided to save this fabric and make a quilt like the one shown here from Film In The Fridge. I could stay on her blog all day just looking at the eye candy.

 So this is the fabric I ended up going with. And true to form, I can never stick to the is like my mind wanders off and starts painting pictures of what it could look like then I end up doing something different! I'm also a little OCD when it comes to fabrics touching....none of that now!

This was the first layout.  I ended up HATING the there went trial one.

Here was number two! Chunked the green, I'm beginning to play with the idea of adding sashing between the blocks. Oh the possibilities.

Really loving this one here, but then I realize I do a TON of square quilts and while I love them, they aren't too practical for a bed or a crib.

Here was a the quilt character, right?

Ta-Da! The semi-final layout. I just HAD to rearrange and couldn't leave it as is! I have all of the sashing sewn to the right hand side of the blocks. Need to join them up and add the rows of sashing and some borders then off to the quilter it will go.  This one will make FOUR finished quilts this month. I cannot believe I'm getting so much accomplished!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Baby C

So my best friend from college is pregnant. Finally! They have been waiting for this baby for what seems like forever! She found out that baby is a girl. We will call baby girl C for the purpose of this blog (I'm not usually paranoid about things like this, but one cannot take chances with honorary nieces, can one?)  So I am so excited about making things for C! You really have no idea.  But I guess you will when this probably has too many pictures  blog post is finished! C isn't supposed to arrive until early May, so I still have PLENTY of crafty time left. 
 My favorite present to date. A stuffed elephant! Adorable. The pattern is free from Birch Fabrics! You can find a copy of it here.

I have been making flowers (usually clips) for awhile now. I made several for a craft fair I did back in 2011ish. They didn't sell overly well, and I sold the rest of them at a local craft store or gave them away to friends with babies.  The ones I made had buttons in the middle. I tried a little something different with these and did beads. LOVE THEM. The Christmas-y one has red beads that are hand sewn around the edge of the lace. The pink one had clear glass beads I arranged in a flower formation. Y'all are going to think I'm crazy, but these are just 2 of 6 that baby C will be sporting. Yes, you read that right. I made 6. I had this compulsive need to keep making them. Lets hope she doesn't mind  things on her head.

 I also made several of these for the craft fair. I sold one and gave the rest away as gifts.  C's mommy has one I gave her one Christmas so I decided C must have one to match her room.  Here's hoping the colors work!

The last show and tell for today is this burp cloth.  I haven't used the embroidery function on my machine much, but decided that I would give it a go.  The first one didn't have stabilizer and ended up in the trash with all the pulling that the fabric did. The second turned out much better with a teeny bit of iron on stabilizer where the initial was going.  The back is minkey and it is oh so soft. There are several more in the works to make the mommy-to-be a nice set. She's going to kill me with all of the goodies I keep making. She already has a huge sack of vintage baby clothes I've been collecting for which ever of us got pregnant first! She said that my husband will be surprised whenever baby Meeks comes along and I get all of the things I've given baby C back! *Cough* he has no idea how much I've bought for this precious baby! I love giving gifts and have never been able to keep a surprise for long. Most everyone knows what they are getting from me for Christmas way before the packages are even wrapped. Good thing God loves a cheerful giver! Sorry this post has been over the top with baby things and quite lengthy. Hope you enjoyed taking a gander at the crafts of the day.  If you have any questions on anything, let me know!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Going back to the start...

Hi there.

I going to try my hand at this blogging thing again.  It didn't go so well last time, so you all will have to keep me honest with this one.  I have added pictures of my finished quilts to the menu bar at the top. I hope to be adding a place for all of my other crafty-ness soon.