Monday, June 27, 2011

A wedding, a marathon, and a tornado

This weekend was my little cousins wedding. Our adventure started early Friday morning about 3am when our alarms went off. We had decided to drive in the early morning so Jude would still have his sedation medication in his system. It also helped us avoid traffic until we hit Oklahoma City in rush hour, but it wasn't to bad. To our surprise Jude woke up at 5:50am and never really went back into a solid sleep. He was actually really good and didn't complain to much. We got rather adapted to scheduling our stops to start his feeds, give him his medication and change him. Once we got to the hotel we laid down for awhile and tried to get some sleep prior to the rehearsal that night. The rehearsal went well and when my cousin showed her future husband the ring she had bought for him he we all got teary.

The next day we went on an early tour of my uncle's chocolate factory which was amazing. If you haven't tried his really should.

Emily had fun tasting all the chocolate

Then Mike and Emily listened about all the charitable work Shawn Askinosie does. He spoke about how they went to Tanzania to drill a well for fresh water. The town was having to travel several hours just to get fresh water. He has done countless missions regarding educating and feeding people in Africa.

Later that night we all got ready for the wedding. Lawren (my cousin) didn't have bridesmaids. She just wanted the little cousins to be flower girls and it turned out perfect. All the little girls looked beautiful.

and so did Lawren

The wedding was beautiful and her husbands words made me cry like a baby. They were from his heart and you could tell how much he loves her. Later we traveled to the reception location. Just would have NO part of the reception. The noise was loud and he was very upset. Since it was time for his medication we decided to start everything and give him his sedative. This calmed him down, but he still didn't fall asleep. He then had his daily throw up routine, but it ended fairly quickly. It again stressed that our lives are not normal and it's frustrating. We wanted to hang out, but we decided to pack everything up and head back to the hotel. Although we did enjoy the yummy cakes.

My little cousin Faith supplied the cute sheep for the top of the primary cake

About 7am the next morning we got up to eat our breakfast and start to head home. We knew that we would need to get gas for our trip. We decided to drive an hour into Joplin, Missouri and stop there for gas and other items. While we were there we went into town to survey the tornado damage. Why? For several reasons. 1. I am an insurance agent and an adjuster so putting people's lives back together after a catastrophe is my job. 2. I just felt my family needed a reminder on how important life is regardless of our situation. It worked! We drove around a bit before until I saw a little black car turning up a small road and I told Mike to follow it. As we came down a hill our mouths hit the ground. The devestation was more than any words could ever describe. We were all pretty quiet until we passed a make shift memorial on a house slab. There was a Mother Mary statue with lit candles and flowers all around it....I started to cry. Then Emily asked what the numbers on the houses meant and Mike was honest with her "They are body counts Emily". We passed a house that had "0" and "clear" written on the front door and under it someone had spray painted "We'll be alright". Other make shift signs would appear that said "rebuild Joplin" and even some with humor "Joplins first outdoor skating park" stood within the rubble. It was a humbling experience. I talked with a lady from FEMA and let her know I worked for Nationwide. She talked freely to me and said 98% of everyone killed was in their home and the need for storm shelters. It is widely known I am a freak about weather and I really want a shelter, but I just cannot afford it right now. The tornado was the deadliest in US history since 1947. Anyway, we left there in silence and I think we all said a few prayers for those that were affected. We then remembered we have a whole lot to be thankful for.

This is not a mobile home.....this was a house. The trees were all stripped away.

This was a shopping center. There are cars entangled in it.

This was a make shift place they were bringing cars, boats, semi's, and buildings.


x o x o u i said...

This is probably one of my favorite entries since a.) you got to go on a little vacation, and b.) you got to visit the Askinosie factory. Yeah! You know I am a big fan. :-D I found out about your blog through Askinosie (I don't remember exactly how--it's been that long!)

We are making a trip to see friends in northern Arkansas, and I am hoping we'll get to go to the factory, too.

As for the flattened's just a trajic sight. I have a friend from Pierce City and she said that you have to go into Joplin "for anything good--like to see a movie." :-(

The Henrys said...

I can't imagine how you felt going through Joplin. My aunt and uncle's house was taken by a tornado a couple of weeks ago, and it was so horrible. I can't imagine seeing a whole town like that...

Warren Baldwin said...

These photos of Joplin are unbelievable. I can see where driving through there with your family would certainly make you focus on the important things of life. Sobering post.

benilhalk said...

Weddings that turn into an adventure party is mind-boggling! I am up for it any day! My friend is also getting married in one of the NYC wedding venues next month and we are planning to go camping after the wedding. It’s going to be so much fun.