As a child growing up in California many years ago, the only encounters I had with tornadoes were with the annual viewing of The Wizard of Oz. It wasn’t until we moved to Texas in the mid 1970’s that my family learned how a thunderstorm and tornado siren could keep you up all night. My sister Sharon, who had autism, although she had not been diagnosed with it at the time, was extremely frightened of thunderstorms. We had never lived in a place with such storms. We were learning that the phrase, “everything is bigger in Texas” was true when it came to storms. We tried everything to console Sharon when those storms rolled through. Our standard phrase that seemed to help was, “the storm is going to Houston.” Sharon didn’t know where Houston was but she knew it wasn’t in Dallas. My dad was known for moving our family quite often, he was a rainbow chaser. Imagine the fear he created one day when he came home and announced that we were moving to Houston! Needless to say, we stayed in Dallas and I don’t believe my family ever drove to or through Houston with Sharon, even to go to the beach. The vacations to the beach involved a much longer trip to another Texas shoreline.
Now I know that 1) Sharon had autism and sensory issues 2) a visual tool could have helped her understand what was happening tornado alarm 3) noise cancelling headphones might have helped
I was thankful the day after Christmas 2015 that I could leave my safe place after the Texas storms had passed over my house with everything untouched. This was such an unusual time of year to have thunderstorms and tornadoes and many other people in surrounding communities did not fare as well as me. Out of gratitude and in honor of others I had the privilege of serving with an outreach team from my church, Elevate Life Church, to assist some of the survivors of those tornadoes. I learned so much in those two days of service. I wanted to pass along my take away from the survivors I met in hopes that others may be prepared for such surprising events that can happen in the blink of an eye. Tornado Survival Tips
I took the photos because we were in awe that in so much devastation we saw the power of the cross.
There was a cross and angel wings left hanging on the walls that caught our eye as we arrived.