After our two-day escape on Friday and Saturday and after church on Sunday, our family of four became volunteers for tornado relief efforts.

This was the first time I had seen our city.

Between not wanting to drive in something like Atlanta rush hour traffic while asking myself if I actually still lived in Tuscaloosa and what on God's green Earth ever possessed me to put my vehicle in reverse and leave my driveway just to "look around", not being able to really get anywhere anyway because of the number of road closures, and not really knowing how seeing it all would make me feel, the only direction we went until Sunday was East (Or maybe it's Southeast?  I swear I must have been born with no sense of direction at all.  Just ask Jim.  He has plenty of stories.).   

Everything I saw was like nothing I've seen before - piles of steal and wood that used to be homes and businesses, volunteering, furniture and people displaced, helping hands, hot meals, eyes full of appreciation.

We spent three hours at Central Church of Christ passing out water, diapers, tootbrushes, wipes, sunscreen, formula, toothbrushes, batteries, bandaids, and pretty much everything else you can imagine.  This place was what I started calling a Drive-Thru Target.

And while Jake played with toys that had been donated until he found a child in need to give them to (Yes, he pretty much forced them on them because he was so excited that he was doing his "job".),...

I watched my four-year old show compassion, and watched Parker's feet dangle from my waist while I carried him in his Baby Bjorn carrier.

Parker not only hung ten and slept the entire time, he also got a slight sunburn (Oops!)...

and his diaper changed inside a van. 

The clean-up and relief efforts are definitely far from over.  In fact, it's what we plan to do again this weekend. 

Streets are re-opening and schools are back in session, but this is still the scenery to look at for miles.

We're getting new reports that less and less people are missing.  They are alive and unharmed.  It's hard to believe when I've seen foundations without homes on top of them, steel beams wrapped around tree trunks multiple times, industrial size dumpsters in garages, and buildings without rooftops.

What's not hard to believe, though, is the way this state is coming together as one, and the outpouring of donations and support.  It's incredible, predictable, touching, and so flipping awesome - makes me so fired up just thinking about it, I could just run right out and hug somebody.  

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. ~Psalm 10:14 

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