Yep. I got nothing. For days I’ve been staring at the catastrophic events unfolding around my little islands of refuge. We evacuated to my sister’s house when the hurricane was bearing down on the Texas coast. Six people and six dogs in 1100 square feet.

Yep. It was stressful. Nerves were raw and people got cranky, because we all handle things differently. As soon as the coast appeared clear, we headed back home. Only to learn the stationary storm had dumped 9+ trillion gallons of water over 50+ counties before finally leaving to inflict its abuse elsewhere, and that flooding under clear blue skies and bright shining sun is a real thing.

Yep. I packed up boxes of photos and negatives and a few things that can’t be replaced, like my red and white checkered Better Homes & Gardens cookbook my Nanny gave me in 1976, and my PaPa’s old Stetson hat that I requested when he died in 1986. I grabbed the chihuahua and I headed back to my sister’s house, while my much braver husband and daughter remained in Jones Creek. From 20 miles away, I kept up with their service through Facebook — how my daughter took care of her 9-year-old “little sister” so Sierra’s parents could try to save as much of their belongings before 8+ inches of water flowed into their home. How my husband and our daughter’s boyfriend filled sandbags and then took them to a woman who had no one to help her protect her home from the waters. How my husband cooked and served hot dogs to our weary neighbors one evening, laughing and joking the entire time to keep their spirits up.

Yep. I’ll admit I still struggle with worry. The fact that our house, which is only 0.6 miles from homes with several feet of water in them, stayed dry is almost surreal to me. For days I’ve watched every county report of waters rising, wondering if we would escape. And now that the county reports the water is going down, I still worry about us, since we are downriver from the communities that have seen the worst of it and are now cleaning up. The river has dropped 2 inches, but the creek is maintaining its level. I’m praying the drop in the river will contain whatever is headed our way and we’ll hold steady with  no further loss to our village. I am hopeful.

So here’s my plan: while I’m no good at filling sandbags or cooking hot dogs, I am pretty good at researching information and I can clean up messes and swing paintbrushes. So I’m leaving the photos at my sister’s (just in case), and I’m heading home today to do what I can do best. There’s so much misinformation going back and forth on Facebook regarding how to clean up after the devastation, so I’m researching the CDC website and other reputable sources to share with the community. While there are hundreds, even thousands that have been affected by the storm, I’m going to work on helping those in my little community by cooking and doing laundry and whatever else will reduce their burden while they try to get back to normal.

And I’m going to give thanks that things aren’t any worse than they are, and that we are all still here, together.

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