Everyone went inside the high school with the numerous members of the sheriff's department helping to get items and people to a safe location. There were people lined up in the hallway as we waited for word on what was going on...severe weather or tornado? Turned out to be a tornado warning and about that time my husband called to let me know the tornado was right up the road from our house and he was in the basement with my other two children and the dogs. I had my oldest child with me.
There were a lot of scared crying children, including my daughter. I was able to incorporate what we had learned in our Bible lesson for the week about the "Joy of the Lord is our strength" into a life application through this event for my daughter. She said she thought we were going to have fun and this was not very much fun and she didn't feel very happy and she was very scared. Our lesson had talked about things that make us happy and how those things can be temporary, but the Joy of the Lord is forever. She asked what strength meant in this lesson and I was able to tell her on Saturday that it can mean courage to face any situation and by knowing that God is in control, we can lean on him when we are scared because he is stronger than anything we will face. Once she relaxed a little after we prayed, we listened to the 2008 VBS music I had downloaded into my cell phone. That helped as well.
So, I had left all my paints and brushes and well...everything outside under the tent that we had lowered to cover everything. After a little while, I decided to run out and grab them up to bring in. I figured if we were going to be in a while and the tornado was going the other way, we might be able to set up inside to paint. So, the sheriff deputies let me run out and grab everything and actually helped me. I brought it in, but the lighting was kind of dim for painting and I decided to wait just in case we ended up having to take immediate cover. I still wasn't completely sure what the weather was going to do. Are we ever sure what it will do?
Luckily, Big Sam the Balloon Man was at the event as well and was able to bring his balloons and balloon pump inside. Before he even got everything set up inside, the children saw him and started lining up. The occasional loud pop of a balloon would make everyone jump, but the children were distracted from the weather concerns for a while. My daughter was so excited to get in line. She had brought her balloons to the event with her to twist balloons for the children in line to get their faces painted. She is able to do some basic things and she was amazed at the skill and abilities of Big Sam.
So, finally the severe weather cleared, but the rain continued to pour down outside. I made the decision to not continue to paint since there was only an hour left and with the rain pouring down, there was a very large chance of children crying because the rain destroyed their face paintings. I didn't want to cause any additional parental stress especially after the stress of the weather.
Luckily the tornado didn't hit us or my family at home, but it did hit a community up the road from where I live. A friend of ours who lives there said her home is the only one that was undamaged on her street. She looked out at her neighbors house and thought that it was fine. When she went over to check on them and no one answered at the front door, she walked around the house to see if they were out back and the back of the house was pretty much gone. She found out they were actually out of town on a vacation and were not at home when it happened.
My husband had to go to work when I got home on Saturday and said that there was some major damage and that from what he could tell of the path, it did skim right past our house.
So, that is my update from this past weekend's activities. I am interested in returning for this event next year (when the weather might cooporate a little more), and it will be posted on the calendar if that works out. There were a lot of photos taken as well and as soon as I get a link to where they will be posted I will put it on this and the www.starshinefaces.com websites.