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