Harvey in Review: Straddling Two Worlds

This week, we completely embodied the dichotomy that *is* Houston right now. This piece articulates what life here is currently like: A City Split in Two. Life in our house has the luxurious ability to be 100% normal, (minus the fact that the kids were out of school; they go back tomorrow, 9/11.) JB got back into work (although his usual hour-long commute morphed into THREE HOURS with the insane traffic, as so many main roads are still randomly shut down.) Annelise got back to cheer, I got back to teaching PiYo & Zumba, our school district allowed two optional football practices (10-noon Th & F) so Will got back to football, and we took care of every upcoming pediatric well-check & dermatology appointment, so I don't have to pull the kids out of school for those in the coming weeks. Why was there so much availability? Because so many people in our community are *not* able to keep their appointments, as they are still flooded.

Like my BFF, Mimi. This is a video of her home, taken by her husband. It's crushing. Her home wasn't flooded in the initial Harvey deluge, but in the controlled reservoir releases afterwards, so that the dams wouldn't break. The water will not recede until the reservoir levels go down enough that the Army Corps of Engineers can stop doing more controlled releases. It will be WEEKS. (Adding insult to injury, Mimi is a Katrina survivor; they relocated here after their home there was destroyed. Pray for them.)

So, yeah - survivors guilt is a real thing. It's heavy & creeps in everywhere...like the mold covering our friends' homes.

The ONLY way I know to combat it is to GET OUT & HELP!!! I spent a lot of this week working with FEMA, registering people for 1-on-1's with FEMA agents re: their individual cases. ❤️ Thank goodness for Google translator: ¡No hablo español, pero este sitio web me ayudó a comunicarse con mis solicitantes de FEMA hoy mismo! I know how funky some translations can get when I read German/English, but it seemed to work well enough to convey the correct info: "El tiempo de espera es muy largo - probablemente 5 horas. Si desea salir y volver más tarde, no perderá su lugar en la línea. Conserve su número." Will & Annelise were such good help, too, entertaining random kids while their parents waited those hours & hours. ❤️ On Thursday, even my friend Dalyce came to help with me:

FEMA moved from our church to a new, permanent-for-now location on Friday, so we went back to beast mode: sorted cleaning supplies, assembled cleaning buckets, and hauled hundreds of pounds of tarps, rakes, brooms, & cleaner:

I hesitate to close with pics of "normal"...but I'd be lying if I pretended we weren't getting more & more normal each day. (#survivorsguiltagain)

One of these precious friends came to my Zumba class Wednesday & stayed after here to chat...
...because she couldn't get a flat bottom boat to take her into her neighborhood section to check on her also-still-flooded home. People boat in every once in a while, when they can get access to a volunteer boat, to check on things; but that's dangerous, too, b/c the water is so contaminated with sewage - people are already getting MRSA & staph infections - and there's mold everywhere. People with 2-story homes are now concerned that everything they put upstairs to try to save will be lost b/c of the mold taking over the homes... But Zumba helped bless my friend, allowing her to escape & let go for a bit; she got her endorphins pumping, released some anxiety...and got to enjoy her *familiar* gym hot tub & shower - the same spa-level fancy locker room she's relaxed in for years...instead of her awkward, temporary FEMA apartment. The gym may sound like a luxury, but it's truly a haven for our displaced friends.

Like the cheer gym is a haven for our girls. Lots of stunt group practices this week:

Keep praying for us, even as Irma lashes FL & eventually passes over our last home in Lee County in southwest Georgia. Everyone just beginning the recovery process needs major prayers of physical health & protection, as they retrieve bits & rip out their old lives to rebuild. Also, as school starts back Monday, there will be kids starting back while living in a FEMA hotel or host house - not *their* flooded home. Pray for stability & mental/emotional health for everyone in limbo as they're required to get back to the grindstone. ❤️


  1. Thanks for continuing to share what's actually going on in the Houston area! Sounds like there's so much more recovery ahead - both physically and in other ways.

  2. I'm trying to catch up on blog reading. I'm so glad that you didn't flood, and it's wonderful that you were able to help other with the whole FEMA process. I've head that it can be a nightmare.


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