Saturday, September 2, 2017

HoUSton Strong

It is day 6 of Hurricane Harvey aftermath. I'm still home. It's been a tremendous storm that hit the southeast region of Texas. We never could have forseen the consequence this storm would bring us.

Day One: Friday night in Houston was rather calm. Some rain came in, but it was light. It appeared to be not as strong as anticipated at first. But the news did continue to warn us that it wasn't over yet. Thursday night the Texans game played side by side from the weather reports.

Day Two: Saturday is when it really hit. It hit. It. Hit. Hard. First it hit the southwest and southeast areas of Houston. I have a teacher in southwest and a sister in southeast. I couldn't sleep. I stayed up most of the night. I may have doze off for an hour around 3 a.m., but jumped up and immediately checked back in with my sister. She was still safe. So was my teacher. 

Day Three: Sunday got even worse as the rain continued to pour in with no end in sight. Streets began to flood. Rivers, creeks, name it! It all began to slowly rise. It became a nightmare. Television stations ran around the clock coverage with no commercials. Celebrities-JJ Watt, Kevin Hart, The Rock- started challenging each other and the public to donate to the recovery of this what we didn't know at the moment to be the most catastrophic storm disaster to hit the United States. 

Day Four: Monday was a day of saving grace. All day long the news reporters reported all the lives being saved from flooded neighborhoods by first responders, neighbors and strangers. The sight of water everywhere was unimaginable. Water continued to rise in neighborhoods. Freeways looked like oceans. Streets were no where to be found. People climbed into the second story of their homes (if they had a two story!)  Others were on the roof of their homes. All desperate to be taken to safer grounds. The 911 emergency line could not even keep up with calls. Fortunately, dozens of volunteers from Louisiana-Cajun Navy showed up with boats ready to work; ready to rescue and save lives. Shelters began filling up. More shelters were opened to accommodate all the people needing a safe haven; a warm dry place to eat and to wait the storm out. All the while the rain continued to pour in. We still anticipated the last of the rain. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations continued. 

Day Five: Tuesday arrived and shelters were ripping at the seems with people from across the city. Those that could get away from their homes lined up at shelters to provide dry clothes, toiletries, blankets, towels, diapers, baby formula etc... Others lined up to volunteer. Most did both. The amount of service from people all over the city was astounding! Reservoirs were released early Tuesday morning which led to more flooding in neighborhoods. There was recession in some areas, while other areas began to get more water. Grocery stores and some restaurants began to open to provide warm meals. People slowly came out of their homes; those that could anyway. Grocery stores were only opened for a limited time. They opened under controlled conditions.  Lines began to form to get in because their staff was limited and they could only service so many people at a time. Breads, meats, milk and produce was still scarce, however most other foods could be found in some stores. The news began to report the loss of one of the Houston Police Department officers. He was missing since Sunday. He was finally found under water. He had taken over 2 hours to find a way to get to work. He had left his home at 4 a.m. and never made it. He had unknowingly driven into flooded waters and lost his life. He had served the department for over 30 years. The Chief of Police spoke on the unfortunate news. It was an emotional message he had to deliver. I cried.

Television stations still ran 24 hour news about the storm and its effects- with no commercials. Then mid day came and a beam of light peaked through the clouds. It was a beam we had not seen in days. The sun shined upon our city. We knew the end of this horrific storm was near.

Day Six: Wednesday morning appeared like a normal morning if you looked out the window. The sun shone like it should in the morning.  Much of the water had receded. Many people were starting to venture out to see where they could go. More restaurants and grocery stores opened; the ones that could anyway. Bread and milk was still difficult to find in most places. Social media continued to run rampart with stories of saving lives and long line grocery stores. Since much of the water was beginning to recede, missing persons announcements became evident. People searching for people they have not heard from since the storm hit. A family of six who had attempted to evacuate the flooding waters had gotten swept away in their van during the storm. Their van was located. None of them survived. There was talk of a possible plant explosion. Local television stations started having breaks for commercials.

Day Seven: Its 6 a.m. The news is covering a story of the plant beginning to have explosions. Its a plastics plant. The chemicals from the plant needed to be kept at a certain cool temperature. Due to the flooding, they lost not only their normal power but the power to their back up generators.  A fire is burning and several officers were taken to the hospital as a precaution from their exposure to the chemicals. I was able to finally get out of my vicinity. All freeways leading out were blocked with water the past days. My kids and I visited with a couple of my staff members that had been displaced and took them groceries. Grocery stores still had controlled lines. Fast food places began having long lines as people needed something else to eat. Television stations slowly started returning to normal programming. Some of my teachers went to help another teacher who needed help with her home.

Day Eight: The first day television program returned to normal. The news still covered the aftermath of the storm through most of the broadcast. However, the regular shows where shown. JJ Watt's fundraising efforts had reached 15 million. I got away again. This time going to assist our senior high hand out supplies to people in need. It was emotional to see the wealth of volunteers out in the heat there to help others in need. 

The freeways began looking like freeways. Stores were opened with exception to the ones that flooded. The sun was shining on our city again. 

The city has slowly begun to come back to what will be a new normal. It will take time to heal, time to rebuild and time to feel normal again. We are getting through this in each other's own way. Those who suffered floods, home damage, relocation all have to gain their strength and their persistence to feel normal again. Even those who were saved from the physical damages of the storm still have rebuilding of their own. It isn't a physical rebuild, but rather a spiritual rebuild. 

This city has truly made a huge impression on our country. The city endured the storm together and is rising above it together. When you can say there are so many volunteers that you have to turn them away? That is a blessing. When piles of donations continue to pour in to shelters and churches that you have to start denying some. That is a blessing. 

Harvey taught me more about determination, persistence and the basic foundation of human kindness. There is still many more ramifications from the storm that we will hear throughout the coming days. These stories will bring tears of sadness, but not without strength. We will stand strong through it all. Texas Strong. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Twenty Sixteen

Twenty sixteen will definitely go down in my books as the most treasured year yet.  I almost do not want it to end. I continue reading through news and social media about several celebrities passing away and other people just wanting 2016 to end for different reasons. Several celebrities I grew up with passed away within just a month much less the year-Prince, Nancy Reagan, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, George Michael and most recently Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and her mother Debbie Reynolds. These just to name a few. Quite sad.  Twenty sixteen also can be considered a crazy year in politics with the most frustrating and challenging election that practically divided our country. 

However, twenty sixteen won't be remembered or defined by any of those things for me.  Although each of those in itself were sad and challenging events.  In my small world there were a handful of events that were a central point in my life that this year will go down as the most memorable and beautiful year yet because...

Our son graduated from high school. 

We moved into our new home.

Our son began his freshman year of college.

Our daughter got married.

No, I don't want 2016 to end.  It has so many special moments that I don't want to leave behind.  It was an emotional roller coaster that flooded me with joyous tears at a random moments notice.  The review reel ran through my mind often times that I would sit and wish all the times back.  Where had the time gone? Yes, my husband and I were practically empty nesters and the world we were now living was a totally new thing.  I wasn't quite sure if I was ready for it, but it had arrived.  I didn't know how to handle it.  I was feeling overwhelmingly blessed because it was as if all that I ever wanted came through in one year.  The thought of 'what did I do to deserve this' came through my mind and then I stopped to do as we are told to do, accept His blessings. This sign that sits in my kitchen says it all.

I am grounded enough to know that this was just our year.  Not every year can be as amazing and blessed as this one, however I don't stop praying. As a matter of fact, I continued to pray even through all the good thanking God for all his blessings.  Every year of our lives can not be lived in high.  Sometimes we have to live the low moments to appreciate and treasure the most blessed ones. 

Cheers to twenty sixteen!  The year that will forever be in my heart as OUR year! Thanks to God. May twenty seventeen be celebrated with many blessings for everyone.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Wedding

The Wedding Day finally arrived!  It seemed so far away the night they got engaged, but it crept up and happened before my eyes could blink.  It was an amazing, emotional and beautiful day. I could not have asked God for a more blessed day. 

My daughter and I at the church rehearsal. My shirt said "Mother of the Bride." It was one made by one of my staff members from work.  This was the first and last time I was able to wear it.  

All the girls got their hair and make up done at the house.  I set up the formal living room into a "make shift salon."  I had fruit, pastries, juice and coffee for them to consume during the morning. The first of the the bridal party arrived about 8 a.m.  It turned into Bridal Central in a matter of an hour.  It was everything she wanted. It was everything I wanted for her. 

The Bridesmaids
Each one of these young ladies played a special role in my daughter's life.  They all undertook the bridal party job to heart and treated my sweet girl like a queen the entire engagement and we had plenty of pre-wedding things to do and events to hold.  There was never a dull moment with them. I could not have asked for a better group of girls to stand beside my daughter as she took her first steps into marriage. 

My daughter was as poised and calm as I have ever seen her. I will never forget this day. She knew what she wanted and she had no ounce of fear. She was ready, even if I wasn't. She was confident in all she was and all she was about to become. A wife.  Yes, my sweet girl was about to become a wife. 

A quick pic with little brother
Little brother was ever so proud. He was excited and happy for her.  It was a first for me to see my two sweet kids be so grown up. I knew this was the end of their little childhood and the beginning of the next chapter. A chapter in which they will grow as responsible and beautiful adults. My cup runneth over.

I pronounce you husband and wife!
Sweet kiss after church

The beginning of something beautiful
We were proud parents of our new son in law and gorgeous daughter. We couldn't be any happier.  It was such a wonderful day.
Let's share this delicious cake!
Father Daughter dance

This was my favorite photo of the day caught by the photographer.  It describes the entire day- just magical.  This day was all theirs. Every little detail was all about the two of them.  This picture couldn't have expressed it any better. 

I pray God blesses their union today and always.  May their life together be forever blessed, bountiful and full of a fun amazing life. 

"What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Mark 10:9

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude

Each month has its own feel or mood to it. November to me gives that mood of thankfulness and gratitude. I'm going to attempt to take this 30 day journey of gratitude to express all that I am thankful to God for.  Hope you can join too.

Day 1: I'm grateful for this man I call my husband. He is a provider and caregiver. He is a supporter and a fighter. He has no fear. His adventurous spirit makes life so fun! He makes me laugh and brings me tears of joy.  He's my life partner and I couldn't see life without him.🍁 #30daysofgraditude

Monday, October 10, 2016

College Bound

My son left for college the weekend before the first day of school for us regular folk in the public school system. It was a weekend of so many emotions that it will be hard for me to describe it, but I am going to try.

Saturday morning I woke up to seeing this cross my social media page.
The thought of moving my son out to another town to live on his own just gave me a nervous chill across my body.  The once feeling of excitement I had for him to get to experience what I did not get a chance to do, now turned into feelings of nervousness and sadness.  Was he truly ready to be on his own? Can he take care of himself? Will he know what he needs to do?  Will he make good friends? 

All sorts of questions ran through my mind as I helped him pack the final of his belongings.  He literally waited until the last moment to pack his things.  When I say last moment, try that morning! Son! You are driving me crazy! 

I gathered all his things we had just recently purchased and had those bagged up and packed by the door. All he had left to get were his personal belongings. I had to make sure he had everything he needed.... toothbrush, bed sheets (two sets), TP, deodorant, towels, pillows, comforter....yeah everything he allowed me to buy.  He kept telling me he doesn't need everything and that he will get what he needs when he gets there. So, I had to back off some and allow him to make those decisions. I still couldn't help being a mom. 

So we follow him to school with my parents in tow. We get to the dorm during the last hour of move in time.  We timed it perfect because all of the rush from moving in had subsided.  He was able to check in, get his key and get all moved in without all the fuss and rush of everyone else moving in at the same time. My mom started to hang his clothes in his closet and I was adamant his bed was set up for comfort. He allowed us to organize his room-thank goodness! 

Once we got his things moved in we went to eat at a nearby country kitchen.  We had a full meal with a great funny waitress that served us.  I can't forget her laugh! After dinner we stopped off at the nearby Walmart to get some last minute things for him.  I promise I felt like he needed so much!  I couldn't stop wanting to get him things I felt he needed. He had to tell me "stop mom I really don't need all that." At first I was angry, but then I became sad.  Why didn't he want to listen to me when I said he needed these things? Why didn't he just take my word for it that he will need these things? 

We take him back to his dorm and by the look on his face I could tell he was ready for us to go.  He had just went to Freshman camp a few weeks before and had met some friends.  Apparently they had plans to do something and he was ready to go. 

I promised myself I would not cry in front of him.  I really didn't think I would cry.  I knew I was sad, but I also felt he would be okay.  Crying was not on the agenda. But then the moment to leave my little boy in his big boy dorm room came.  And something inside begin to hurt. I hugged him once and then released and his dad hugged him.  Then I hugged him once more and could not let go without feeling this huge lump in my throat along with the large hole in my heart. My tears begin to shed. 

The ride home was quiet.  Just small talk.  Until we got home and it was bed time, the world was okay.  Sad, but okay. I walked into my son's bedroom that he just left earlier that day and felt a piece of sadness.  My son was now out there on his own to fend for himself in the real world and all I could do was pray for him.  Pray that he keeps his focus. Pray that God surrounds him with good honest people.  Just praying that he will be okay.  I knew deep in my heart that he would be okay, but praying helped me know for sure. 

I never anticipated the emotional roller coaster I would go through sending my son to college.  I don't know if this was normal or I am just an emotional mom who has close ties with her son. It has been about 6 weeks since we dropped him off and let me add that HE has adjusted quite well-quickly.  I knew he would, just this mommy here took a little longer to do so. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blog Binge!

It has been a world wind these last few months.  We have managed to graduate our son, move in to our new home and in the final planning stages of our daughter's upcoming wedding. As much as I wanted to capture each of the moments on the blog, time hasn't allowed for it.  So, here is a binge post on these last few months.

Our son graduated early June, class of 2016.  It was a proud day and a fast one at that.  He graduated within the top 10% of his class.  All our family were there to support him.  We later transitioned him into college life, but I have a separate post coming on that. 

We celebrated our daughter's 25th birthday with her closest of friends. This will also be her last birthday as a single woman.  We are just a couple of months away from her big day! 

I had the most blessed pleasure of hosting my childhood friends for lunch at our new home.  I made green chile chicken enchiladas with rice. We shared a bottle of wine and talked for hours! We talked about our upbringings and shared old stories. We even celebrated one of us (not me) becoming a grandma! It was such a wonderful day. 

We visited the Bridal Extravaganza once more before wedding day.  The event is a huge marketplace with all sorts of wedding related vendors.   It was just my daughter, her fiance, my husband and myself that attended.  We went to walk around and get some last minute things covered. It was a fun day! 

So, there it is.... a blog binge! There is more to come! We are wrapping up the final details to the wedding day.  This is the day, the only day... I get to have the Mother of the Bride title.  I am doing my best to take in this moment as much as possible.  I want this season to last as long as it can. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016


My son participated in marching band and Indoor Drumline all four years of high school.  When he began Indoor Drumline his freshman year, I had no clue what it was all about and neither did my son.  I do remember him coming home one day and was excited once he was informed.
His teacher at the time showed all the kids a video of what Indoor Drumline was all about.  It basically encompasses only the Percussion section of the band.  They perform indoors on a basketball court arena.  It is a mixture of percussion, dance and drama.  Each show has its own theme.  My son's school would choose a more deep topic for their show that related to the real world.  They never did anything simple.  After the first year, my son loved it.  He looked forward to participating in it every year.  
In the 2014 season they competed in a World event in Dayton, Ohio and took 4th place!  That season was the one he says he cherishes the most.  Those kids put in a lot blood, sweat and tears that year.  It was a pretty solid year. 
Now we come to his senior year.  Their final competition took place at Texas A&M.  I took a ride up there along with some of my family.  Their performance was the second to the last to perform that day.  It was a long day. They came out and gave their all.  They looked amazing!
It took forever for the Awards part to take place or so it seemed.  They called each school's order they placed.  The top three place teams in each category would come up to receive their medal and get a picture taken.  It seemed to take forever especially considering my son's category was last.  At first I sat there a little angry that they were taking so long.  But then something hit me.  I thought to myself, okay God.  I know what you are doing.  I'm looking over at my son as he was lined up with his team and thought- you are making this moment last as long as you could just so I can cherish the moment I am in.  My son the senior.  His final competition.  His final show.  His final Drumline Awards show of his school years.  There wont be another moment like this again. 

So, I sat back, continued to snap pictures from my phone and relished the moment.  Then they got to my son's category.
His team got first place! I was super over the moon excited! Seeing the excitement on my son's face as well as all the rest of the team's faces-it was all worth it.  I was so proud! I ran down onto the floor and gave him a hug and snapped even more pictures.  What a moment! I will definitely cherish this moment forever. 

Seniors 2016