It's been a long time.........

I haven't posted for awhile~life has been crazy. Somehow, blogging hasn't seemed so important with all that has been going in Cedar Rapids.

Thank you to all of you who have called and emailed to check on us. Thanks even more for the prayers. I have to say last week I was drained....exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so thankful for my God and the peace that He brings. I am so thankful for my family. I am thankful for our home and will be so much more aware of how grateful I am and will not complain about cleaning it or taking care of it. So manyhave lost their homes and their possessions.

Downtown has been devastated. The Cedar River crested at almost twelve feet higher than ever in recorded history, 20 feet higher then flood stage. Between 6,000 and 7,000 jobs were lost as hundreds of local and national businesses were flooded. Brian's office, 2 blocks from the river was flooded. They have "set up shop" in temporary location for now. The African-American museum lost precious exhibits, as did the Science Station, the Art Museum, and the downtown Public Library. The debris and trash of the cleanup will be enough to fill two football fields 60 feet deep. Early damage estimates are already in the billions. In the state, hundreds of acres of farm land were ruined, and the effects will be felt across the country in the months to come. President Bush declared many counties a federal disaster area and 99 out of 100 counties were declared state disaster areas.
At all of our hotels, there are trailers of workers here for the clean-up.

These are some gracious men who let me take their picture. They "follow the flood." We are thankful for many who have come to help.

Here are a few pictures Brian took when he was able to get into his office. Downtown looks different today with hundreds of disaster relief trucks cleaning up.....



These two weeks have been a blur......

We have been trying to help and volunteer as much as we can. There are so manyhurting people.

More than 4,000 homes were flooded as 1,300 city blocks were inundated with water. Many of these people can not go back home. They have been “displaced”- living with friends, relatives, in apartments, two shelters set up in area schools, and now possibly FEMA trailers. These people have lost everything. Clothing, material possessions, pictures, keepsakes…..everything. My friend has lost eight homes in her family- it has affected her mother, brothers, sisters, and cousins. A piece of history was lost as two of the neighborhoods hit were the oldest in Cedar Rapids- historic Czech neighborhoods- Czech Village and the Time Check neighborhood. Czech Village was home to family residences and their businesses- shops and restaurants handed down for generations from Eastern European immigrants.


One Friday, June 20th, I was able to volunteer in the flood neighborhoods, walking the streets, following a truck filled with garbage bags filled with supplies, passing them out to the residents. It felt good to hug these dear ones, telling them that they are not forgotten, but are being prayed for....trying to help them in some small way. It was heart wrenching to see people's lives on the sides of the street as garbage..


I wish this were the case for just a few homes, but unfortunately, it is the case with THOUSANDS. Street after street......4,000 homes..... So much lost.


We had a lemonade stand to raise money for disaster relief. The kids did great- they raised $84!



We have been going through closets to donate clothing, shopping for toiletries, helping in any way we can.


The biggest blessing that we have experienced is "Mike." Mike is a sweet boy who was displaced from the flood. Actually, he was first displaced last October b a fire. He and his mother have been living with her parents, Mike's grandparents in their home. Well, their home was lost in the flood. So, they are all living in a two bedroom apartment.



We have "taken Mike in", so to speak. We pick him up each day, take him to the pool, m kids play with him, and he even goes to art lessons with them. When m pastor called and asked if we could help Mike have a "regular, fun" summer (this kid has lost his school to the flood, all of his friends are spread throughout the city), we jumped at the chance! What a blessing it has been to spread joy to this family!


God has been good through it all. We have had blessed opportunities to be a family. This is much needed or it gets overwhelming.......





Taking a break at Sonic after passing out VBS fliers to neighborhoods....

A family bike ride........





.....resting at DQ..

The kids first wedding...... We looked pretty good. This was when there was a water shortage and we couldn't take showers!


Ashley's 1st swim meet

1 thoughts shared....:

Leah said...

Tracy,

I was getting worried about you. Glad you are back but I know what you mean about blogging not being high on the priority list.

Take care.

Leah