I process in words. And, the last 96 hours I have had a hard time processing what was happening, in south Texas and here at home in Houston.
I could really only pray.
Texas has taking a beating.
The beloved coast, where our beaches are the prettiest and generations of memories are held. Corpus Christi, Rockport, Port Aransas seem to be hit hardest but the impact has been along the entire coast from Corpus to Louisiana and into Louisiana now, too.
Saturday night the rain started here in the greater Houston area. About 8:30. The Bayou behind me rose rapidly. The grim, but still completely unknown forecast started, and I went to bed literally saying out-loud “Jesus calm the storm” until I fell asleep, sometime after midnight.
Sunday I woke up around 4:45 am, and started pacing my window and watching the news. By a miracle the Bayou was at virtually the same level as when I last looked and had held steady through the night. The flood gauge closest to me recorded the lowest rainfall of anywhere around.
I got scared.
Homes were starting to take on water. The storm wasn’t moving. I packed up. The few things I felt most necessary and left my place before dawn to get to higher ground, if nothing else to ride it out on 610.
And, I couldn’t get there. I drove back to my apartment and was going to ring my neighbors doorbell at day break to determine a plan to get upstairs with them if necessary.
(If the water got to me, it wouldn’t be slow rising street flooding. It would be a mighty rushing river. The only comparison I can think of is the river rising in the Wimberley Flood. I have great respect of water and certainly didn’t stay to “ride it out”, we were not under an evacuation and I still think that was the right decision from the City of Houston and Harris Co.)
As I turned back to my garage my phone dinged. A friend who’s close, their house was available and on high ground. I was loaded and we immediately headed to their house, through the only portion of road that was open, despite some high water. I am forever grateful for a friend offering me their home, by way of a key from the neighbor, where I felt 100% safe. Their streets held no water after one of the worst nights of rain. They were an answer to prayer.
Eventually, I was able to nap. The rain on Sunday finally saw a break for several hours in the afternoon. I was able to go check my place, which had literally been an island from pictures I found online, since water receded for access.
Rain picked up again, in the evening, when it was dark, but stopped near me by 11pm. Other parts of the city never got a break, which has been disastrous in these days. The nights are the worst, darkness and uncertainty. I did finally go to sleep, while the TV stayed on for updates. My little Auggie dog was an evacuation champ.
Monday morning I was able to come home again, and determined it would be safe for me to stay. I still had/have one eye on the creeks and reservoirs still taking on water as they could affect me. I have been paralyzed to the TV, watching flood gauges, social media, and keeping in touch with others who were taking on water/on the verge and praying.
Praying specifically WITH faith for the storm to move, for rain to cease, for water to recede, for protection over homes and for people.
I’ve lived in Houston for 19.5 years, with the exception of the year I was on the road, but I came here nearly every weekend I was home.
Houston is home.
I love where I live, it’s my most favorite place I’ve lived here in Houston. Even with a Bayou in my back yard.
The greatest miracle of this storm was having electricity, and if power was lost in most cases it was quickly restored.
Having power saved lives. For cell phone alerts; of flash floods, of tornado warnings and call to evacuation.
For tracking the rain gauges, watching the news and communicating status to others.
Many of my besties were like me, by themselves (& with a pet(s)) and we checked in on each other.
To know people were praying for us.
The images coming from these days are absolutely unbelievable. They look like something that has been photoshopped.
But, it is real.
Our first responders have worked through the days and nights and are still at work. Pray for them. They have worked while their own homes flooded and their families were on their own to navigate evacuations.
“Boys in boats” arrived in unbelievable numbers. Launching boats anywhere they could, coming in from neighborhoods, all over our state and outside of Texas. They came to “save lives” and they did, I’m not sure we will ever really know the number of people rescued by these grassroots efforts.
Shelters began to open, and miraculously supplies showed up to them; despite roads that were nearly entirely impassable and hardly any stores that were open. People had a warm and dry place to go. Ten thousand alone at the Convention Center, but thousands in neighborhoods all over the city.
The human spirit is alive and well in Texas! In a time of such great divide, “love thy neighbor” has been the modus operandi. The way the people have mobilized to help is breathtaking.
The sun came out today over Houston. We are weary. But there sun will rise again tomorrow on a new day.
The grief that will settle over the metropolitan Houston area is unfathomable.
I’ve learned I don’t feed stress, I starve it. I could hardly eat these last few days for such a nervous and anxious state.
While I am safe, dry and grateful; I am antsy to get out of the house and start to help. Thankfully today I was able to use my vehicle to get donated supplies from a collection point to a shelter.
This has settled me the most.
If you’d like to help here are a couple of places I would recommend:
For help, to volunteer and to donate money. 100% of every $1 donated will go to recovery, for the City, not just our church members.
Houston ISD: http://www.houstonisd.org/Page/164281
This is my workplace and our students and schools have been deeply impacted to full extent that is still unknown. Students will need everything! Shelter, food, clothes and supplies. If your business/company is looking to help, please consider Houston ISD.
Before you donate please consider the following:
Donate somewhere that 100% of your donation will be used. You can check organizations through Charity Navigator for how funds are used.
Donating to a local organization will allow immediate help where it is needed. Freeways are still flooded and while people are staged and ready to get here, they can’t get here. The streets in neighborhoods are starting to clear and people can get to help their neighbors.
Celebrities, organizations, and large corporations are making a huge impact to RedCross & Salvation Army, who will be critical in the weeks and months ahead to everyone affected. But those funds don’t rebuild neighborhoods. JJ Watt’s fundraiser will also help directly in Houston: www.youcaring.com/jjwatt
Remember, don’t donate something you wouldn’t want to receive if you were in this situation, for more information click here. Most immediate needs are toiletries, socks, underwear, baby formula, diapers, clothes in large sizes. There will be future needs for furniture and such, stay tuned.
Tears are literally at the brim of my eyes every minute over the destruction and despair. I keep blinking them back for fear of not being able to stop. The family and friends who prayed me through these days literally carried me. Jesus has been near.
Houston is resilient. We’ve done it before. We’ll do it again.
This is just the beginning. Recovery will be a marathon.
Birds are singing. Heli’s are circling.
The church is ready. Let’s go!
From the bottom of my heart and home,