tornado

tuscaloosa is a part of our story. a big part of our story.
so when we watched with beating hearts the weather radar on the internet,
we uttered prayers that spring day.
we sent texts to friends in tuscaloosa and birmingham hoping to hear that
the storm came and went with very little damage.
for tornadoes are common in the spring
as the weather can't decide between the cold and warm and the mixture
proves disastrous.

disaster came and the tornado did the unthinkable.
wiped out over a mile of homes, restaurants, businesses, college apartments, churches.

[site of our favorite Japanese restaurant and a oil lube station where men found safety below during the storm. in the backdrop were college apartments.]

and what's worse...it took lives. students of the University of Alabama.
residents of the city. though our family knew the dead not personally, we knew those
who rose up to care, rebuild, and restore. our former church, calvary, has adopted one hundred families to walk alongside and help to complete and long-lasting wellbeing. friends and students who have roots in the city returned to love and serve.

[our friend, Rod, owns the Taco Casas in town. a sign says, 'coming back soon.]
during our time in georgia visiting family, me and the boys made a trip to tuscaloosa.
to see friends. to encourage. to make sight the stories we had heard.
to learn to value life itself and those around us.

[Alberta church got hit hard.]
As we drove by the church, we noticed that repair wasn't taking place inside, but the church was serving meals to the homeless in the parking lot. what a beautiful story for me and the boys to witness.

[Sam taking picture of kaylie, me, asher, taylor, elijah, sara, and hannah]
at the end of our quick trip to tuscaloosa, we gathered with
former students of ours from tuscaloosa days.
we hurt for the city.
we pray for those hurting.
we count today as precious and a gift.
we choose to cherish every breath and to love
and celebrate those in our path.