Storms Will Do That To You-take a pillow

I quickly glanced at the text I had just received on my phone.

It appeared that one of my sisters who lives right on the “tippy-slopey-slippery-sandy” edge of the Southeast Florida coast was going to be slammed and upheaved and flooded and swept away like a red and white plastic bobber on a 25lb fishing line

right into the vast abyss of the Atlantic Ocean

all a result of the swirling arms of  hurricane Irma!

I said, “The Governor says “GET OUT NOW!!”

Another brother said, “The flood surge is going to be 20 feet deep. That’s over the tops of houses.”

She needed that detail of measurement.

Another nephew said, “I’ll buy you a plane ticket, but you have to tell me now because there is only ONE ticket left.”

Another niece said, “Come stay with us! We have a cement block house!”

At the risk of sounding like an overly dramatic family,

let me state what I’m sure is already apparent and blatantly obvious:

we aren’t dramatic!

hahahaha…oh my!

We are simply a “family of do-ers and figure it out-ers and let’s all put our heads together-ers AND figure out the best way to weather the storm-ers”.

Yeah, that’s what we are.

Having eight living siblings and a multiplicity of nieces and nephews and extended family members who love her dearly,

well…let it just be said that we were “loving”  her

with A LOT of advice about “sweet ole’ hurricane Irma”.

It’s interesting how we are so good at handing out advice

when we aren’t the one in a storm.

In her years on that sandy Florida coast,

she’s weathered quite a few hurricanes.

Some better than others,

though none has come with such an ominous prediction.

Last Tuesday, as is typical for me, (when it appears to me here in Indianapolis that she is in imminent danger of being lost at sea…) I started texting her a list of things to do and prepare for the hurricane…

like I should know…right?

But I LIKE lists.

I find they are a great way to get a lot done rather quickly

AND in the process make yourself feel super accomplished

AND helpful.

SO being happy to help~I started in with what I will dub

“List Texts”.     😉

First on the list was the food deemed important for survival such as:
several pounds of peanut M&M’s, Snickers and Payday candy bars!
You know…the essentials, along with Popcorn and Dr. Pepper.

I suggested she drop everything

and get to the store right that minute

and buy plastic totes to pack all of the essentials.

I suggested that she rush through her home with my “List Texts” in hand, grabbing the suggested items and pile them on her sofa, until the previously stated plastic totes had been purchased.

Never mind that it was Tuesday, and land-fall was expected on Sunday, following.

I suggested that she MAKE SURE she had a COMFORTABLE and COZY

chair to take to the shelter…you know like one of those folding umbrella type lawn chairs, in bright blue maybe, COMFORTABLE and COZY.

I regret that I didn’t put a pillow on the “List Texts”.

I suggested that she use her favorite quilts that mother made,

to cover herself, that way she would have the quilts.

Though, come to think of it, it was humid and 195 degrees when the power transformer blew up and they lost electricity, so I don’t know about the quilt idea…but the pillow still would have been good.

The lists went on:

(in random and circuitous order)

an extention cord (“Why?” you ask. “Uh, there’s no power.”)

wash cloth AND towel


of utmost necessity

write IMPORTANT phone numbers on your arm in  BLACK permanent marker

(like you know, in case you are swept to sea, but happen to find a working land-line phone).

I thought about telling her to use safety pins to pin her pocket closed so her cell phone wouldn’t float away or sink to the bottom of the ocean,

but I didn’t…I  DO still think it was a really great idea though.

Don’t you?

It is interesting to me how people prepare for storms.

So now…back to the text…

I looked at my phone and read the text my sister had sent me:

“One of my friends told me she has almost everything ready to go to the shelter and she’s taking eggs and beans among other staple items.”  I told her that was good. I was bringing snacks!”

In that instant I started laughing…

not the loud hohoho hahaha laughter,

but the laughter where your body shudders like you are laughing in church and you’re supposed to be quiet…and you’re sniffling and quietly gasping for air as you compress the noise…

yeah, THAT laugh.

And I couldn’t stop. I could NOT stop!

I laughed and laughed and laughed.

I used a towel to wipe the tears flooding from my eyes.

Last week I was in agony, with my heart ripping in shreds at the sight of an elderly couple being removed from their flooded home.  And now, here I was days later, silently laughing so hard at the visual image of my sister sweetly texting that she was taking SNACKS!

I wasn’t making fun of them or their conversation.

My hilarious response to the text made no sense at all.

not even to me…

My laughter was ridiculous.

Probably inappropriate and completely incomprehensible…

Tiffany said she’d never seen me laugh like that.  It’s true.

She probably hasn’t.

Storms will do that to you.

Storms will send you

and your emotions

all over the place.

I’ve seen people leave storms behind.

Move on.  Leave it all.

I’ve seen people hunker down,

batten the hatches,

latch the shutters,

pull the ones they love in close,

hold on for dear life.

I’ve seen people

sit on the porch

and feel the storm

spray curtains of mist.

I’ve seen people stand in the storm

umbrella twisting

braced against the elements.

Or a personal favorite:

Daddy would watch the storm.

He would stand in the yard,

in a clearing, to see the sky.

He understood the clouds,

their colors and movements

and he would

watch and ponder and decide

the best path to safety.

He knew if we could wait it out

or should go to the cellar

or sit on the porch and feel the curtains of mist.

He taught us those things too.

Storms will make you feel like you are on a roller coaster

spinning your emotions all over the place

riding forward, maybe sometimes backward..

up side down side

all around,

but forever changed from the storm…

yes, forever changed from the storm…

What is YOUR storm?

Physical, spiritual, emotional, social?

We can’t avoid the storms.

They will come.

It’s not the storm that determines who you are…

but it’s how you weather the storm until the sun shines again.


P.S. If you want a pillow like the one in the photos, fold a hand towel in half and safety pin the edges.  Leave an opening to fill it with pillow stuffing and then pin the opening closed.  No one will know that it’s not sewn “all proper like”.  Well, no one except you and me and about 36,000 other people….give or take a few…or a lot.

AND thank you so much for liking and sharing these blog posts with your friends and family.  I am honored that you have joined this journey with me.  I am humbled by your kind words and comments and truly appreciate each one. If you would enjoy receiving the blog post the minute I click publish, you can subscribe with your email address by scrolling to the bottom of this post if you are on a mobile phone or on a computer go right up there in the right hand corner at the top of this blog page subscribe in the subscribe box and it will be delivered to your email inbox. Thank you again for adding the extra to the ordinary, in every day…the joy in the journey…the sunshine in the rain.


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  1. I loved this piece….I could just see, hear and feel the whole story right with you. Thanks and so glad your sister stayed safe!

    1. Thank you so much Rhonda. I’m so happy you were able to “feel” the story. We are happy she is safe too!

  2. WOW.! Rachel your post almost out did all your other WOW and outstanding post. She can keep the list and add the other things you didn’t get on the origional list.
    I am so thankful for her safely through the storm.

    1. Thank you pse! I wonder if it was really as fun as it sounded? Haha. Thank you so much for your kind words. I love you too!

    1. Oh Gail, I am happy it brought you joy. Sometimes you just have to look for the humor in things don’t you. Thank you so much!

  3. As one of the “multiplicity of nieces” I was kept up-to-date on the “drama” by one of the “eight living siblings” –namely my mother. I got about that tickled as she was telling about it because in the background I could hear my dad offering suggestions and advice as he watched the storm on the news.

    “Is he expecting me to call her and offer these suggestions?” I asked.

    Mother laughed. “I guess so! Would you get right on that?” (This was about Wednesday before the storm hit.)

    “I just didn’t know if he knew who you were talking to,” I told her. I wasn’t sure what I could do for her in Florida from way up in the panhandle of Idaho!

    I did pray, though. I can always do that.

    1. Oh Karla! That’s so funny. I can hear your dad doing that…so funny!! Yes, prayer is always good…the BEST!!! Hugs!

    1. Hahaha…just have to pull the humor in to life someway don’t we? I am glad you enjoyed it and that you could see it in your mind too!

    1. Aaawww! Susan! Thank you so much. That is so kind of you. I see I have a fellow “M&M and Dr. Pepper lover”. I know you understand the essentials now! 😉

  4. I enjoyed this so much. I could just see it all playing out in my mind. Sometimes we have to find humor in our storms. Love your writing Rachel and love you!

    1. Oh Teri, it is SO good to hear from you. Yes, we do just have to look for the humor at times to help us make the best of it!Thank you so much for your kind words. I love you too.

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