Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Our" Flood

Saturday morning my kids came running into my room. "Mom! Mom! A pipe burst and now our back yard is flooded!" Um...uh...huh? I am not exactly known as the world's brightest coin first thing in the morning, and that day was no exception. It took a few minutes for my fuzzy, sleep-induced brain to wake up and figure out something might be wrong.

Sure enough, the faucets wouldn't turn on, and in the back yard I could see a giant swamp attempting to take over the back portion by the fence. Not until going outside to really assess the damage did I come to realize this wasn't just out house. A pipe down the street had burst, causing a river of water to course through a portion of our neighborhood.

Just outside my house a few firefighters and city workers collected in a circle, trying to figure out what was going on and what to do next. After making arrangements for me and the kids to go potty elsewhere, we began to assess the damage to our own home. We weren't too concerned until word that a few of the homes' crawl spaces were beginning to fill with water. Sure enough, so was ours. I think with the rising sun and warming of the land, the water began to find places to go besides six inches above ground.

Here's a picture of our crawl space. We didn't have too much water at the hole itself, but it had gathered several inches in one particular corner. My hubby set up a water pump where we attached our blue hose and threaded it through the kitchen, into the living room and out the front door.

Here we are coming out the front door, with little Miss A's mildly muddy shoes. She couldn't seem to stop wanting to come out into the action. While with daddy she got to sit in the front of a fire truck! Good times. Too bad on the way back to the house she slipped and landed in mud - and with all the water sitting outside the house, rather than inside the pipes, getting her cleaned up wasn't the funnest activity ever.
Turned out the blue hose wasn't long enough, so we had to bring in the green one too. This managed to make it out to the gutter, where we lovingly added to the all ready gushing stream.

Here's a small sampling of our 'almost swamp.' I kept thinking, if it froze, we'd have an awesome ice skating rink! But if you think this is bad, wait until the next picture.

My next door neighbor is an avid gardner. What you're seeing here should actually be the recently cleaned up and immaculate garden area. Instead, I could have sent the kids in for a pretty awesome mud bath. Those from the city working to help with the damage had to bring in a big pump to get rid of this water into the park behind our houses. As this water diminished, so did ours. Ah well. No ice rink this year.

I wanted to take loads more pictures of everything, but when a worker came up to me asking if everything was okay and that they hadn't personally done any damage to our home, I realized I was making everyone nervous. But I still got two cool shots out of it. This first one is the little 'waves' of mud running up the length of our driveway. It still makes me sad to think of the awesome pictures I could have taken while it was "fresh."

Here's the muddy mess at the end of our driveway. I think it looks amazing! Granted, I'm not looking forward to cleaning it up, but hey, I know an awesome display of the force of nature when I see one.

All in all it wasn't the best way to begin what was supposed to be a relaxing Saturday, but I do have to give props out to those who worked so hard to fix it all. The pipes were fixed and water returned to homes by early afternoon. Some of the men stayed until after the sun set in an effort to help make sure certain homes were properly cared for. Thanks guys!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Reason Behind the Season

Hello friends. It's been a few months since I last sat down to write here, and I thought on this most beloved Thanksgiving Day, the one that begins the holiday season, I would take a few minutes to leave you with a few messages about this time of year.

I am one of those die-hard believers that every holiday deserves it's due, which is why I have such a hard time with the few weeks that separate Halloween and America's Thanksgiving celebration. Before Halloween is even over the shelves at stores are first emptied and then filled with Christmas decorations.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas decorations. Just not before Thanksgiving. I love Christmas music. Just not before Thanksgiving. I love the thought of buying presents for my family. Okay I'll do that before Thanksgiving, but I don't go crazy with it.

In the same way I don't like to hurry through our Thanksgiving holiday, I'm not one to simply shove aside the real reason we celebrate Christmas. It's not easy. I myself can be said to have had an attack of the "gimme's" here and there, especially when some of the latest and greatest gadgets flash across the screen or stare at you screaming "you really want me!" as you walk down the aisles of the store. And in that moment, I really, really do want whatever it is. Passionately.

This is when I must take a step back and remember. Today we celebrate being thankful, a truly God-like quality. I am thankful, for everything my life has been blessed with. Even the rough things, for they teach me my greatest lessons. As I begin to count my blessings I remember who made this wonderful life of mine possible, and that is when I remember the real reason behind this season.

A week ago I was invited to participate in a presentation put on by our Relief Society (the women's organization of my church), wherein the people invited would go on a walk with Christ. There were three presenters. One portrayed Peter the Apostle, one portrayed Nephi - a prophet who witnessed Christ's arrival in the America's as written in the Book of Mormon, and for myself, I was given the chance to portray the Samaratin woman Christ met at Jacob's well.

I studied up on my person, finding several books at the library, reading through the Bible passage several times, and using the ultimate guide to interpreting what this woman experienced - prayer. I put together a simple costume, decorated my room accordingly, and sweated bullets until it was my turn. I could hear the first group shuffle in and take their seats, and when all became quiet I entered as though coming from the door flap of my home. It was then I left what was meant to be said up to the inspiration of God.

We were invited by the closing speaker to take the messages shared with us through each presentation home, to ponder upon them, and to remember them as we began the holiday season. It was a remarkable way to begin it all, as it has brought home the need to make Christ central to each day, especially at this time of the year.

I realize not everyone who may read this believes in Jesus Christ as our Savior. I also know many who read this believe the members of my Church do not really believe in Jesus Christ. But I also know this - the only person to whom I am responsible to when it comes to my beliefs is that man whom they revolve around: Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem. He who walked and talked among all people alike. He was no respector of persons. He knew sinner and saint and believed them all to be special and worthy of His time and effort. Him I believe. Him I love. Him I strive to be like. And in His name I invite you to make him the reason behind this season, beginning with the simple task of being thankful.