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Monday, March 05, 2012

picking up the pieces

***If you have time to read nothing else in this post, PLEASE fast forward to the bottom to find the simple ways you may be able to help the tornado victims and a family particularly close to my heart!***


Thursday the warnings came. The meteorologists did their best to predict the weather as usual, but there was an intense urgency with their predictions for what was to come on Friday.

They used phrases like “severe tornadic activity” and “particularly destructive weather patterns”. Our weather map in central Kentucky shown pink on some stations and white on others… the colors chosen were said to only show up on the national maps 5 or 6 times a year and were the worst of the worst, usually applied to the flat lands of the west. Next to never seen in Kentucky.

Friday came and with it brought Jim Cantore to Lexington, the storm chaser for The Weather Channel, the harbinger of doom. Jim’s celebrity status is not one you normally want to grace your town when he’s on the job. He brings no tidings of good news.


Strangely enough, news of his arrival is when I truly started shaking in my boots.

Friday morning we loaded the basement with storm survival supplies. Nick’s mom and brother were both visiting and having company helped calm my nerves. We hunkered down for the worst.

During this time, my mom was visiting in Louisville with her family and I worried for their safety as well. Louisville’s weather outlook was just as grim ours, as Jim Cantore took off in their direction later in the day.

Coincidently, my mom survived a tornado in 1974 in her parents’ basement, the same basement she found herself in again last Friday.

My dad was still in far east KY, where they were only given severe thunderstorm warnings. We worried least about this region and prayed a little harder for those we knew in the “pink” region of the map.


We {and the weather channel} were entirely off base.


While we received strong winds, thunderstorms and some larger than usual hail, we thanked our lucky stars.


But we are now grieving and praying heavily for those in Eastern Kentucky who were hit the hardest and where 19 lives were taken on March 2nd by the storms.


{My family and Nick’s family are all safe and sound and our hometowns left largely unscathed. The following pictures are from neighboring towns close by where just a quick change of the winds could have brought this kind of tragedy to our families as well!}


Clothes still hanging neatly in the closet, a piano still standing seemingly undamaged. This image reminds me of a doll house, it’s so hard for me to fathom the force a funnel cloud had to produce to leave all of this in it’s path.



A, aerial photo of the town of West Liberty, which has been completely shut-down with no entrance allowed at this point. Just two days earlier, this town was already hit once with a tornado on Leap Day. Twice is unfathomable. This is the same sweet town I loved to visit each September for the Sorghum Festival. My heart is broken.



The hills are littered with complete destruction.


We frequently visited this McDonald’s In Salyersville on our trips back home. The perfect pit-stop before Prestonsburg/Pikeville for a sweet tea and a bathroom break… I know it’s odd to romanticize about memories of a McDonalds, but it’s unreal how much of the landscape of our lives was so quickly and irreversibly changed on Friday.


A hotel in Salyersville, KY.



A train derailed into the river.


The pews of a funeral home.



Even a cemetery, destroyed.


Several schools have been completely destroyed and many others left severely damaged. These children have lost homes, possibly family members and even a possibility for a sense of normalcy in the routine of school.


A hospital damaged.



Images of what use to be a Subway and an Advanced Auto Parts.


I use to admire this house and their property each time I passed it on my trips back home. Unreal.


Cell phone towers destroyed.


Large coal trucks tossed about like toy trucks.


My mom drove back home on Saturday after Friday’s storms. She said traffic was bumper to bumper in the hills, as you can see here. The damage she drove by was so much she didn’t know if she could continue driving from sobbing so hard. I find myself terrified for our next visit back home and completely unprepared to see in person what I’ve seen only in pictures so far.



Lastly, a friend and past coworker of mine, whom I worked with at CVS pharmacy in London, KY, posted this picture on Facebook of what’s left of her family’s home – only a small piece of deck still stands. Her mother, father, sister and her are currently living in a hotel until they find a new home.



A couple video clips and accounts of the storms:






 In my personal goal to raise funds for my friend whose family lost their home in the last picture, I’m offering advertising spots on the top left sidebar of my blog where you see the title “Disaster Relief Sponsors!”

For $25, you will have a spot to show off your blog button in support or to advertise your Etsy shop or business through the month of April – that’s two months! I have never before offered any type of advertising opportunities on this blog. Every dollar you give will be given straight to this family in their endeavor to rebuild their life from the ground up.

Please contact me if you’re interested in this opportunity at

If you don’t already have a blog button but would like to participate, I can make you a simple one with your photo of choice for free like you can see I did for my friend, Sherri and Baby D’s Debut. It will then also be yours to use on your blog if you wish!

***UPDATED: I have already received an email of someone wanting to donate but did not have a blog or want to advertise. I have installed a “DONATE” button at the top left of the blog for people to use paypal to send any amount of money they would like to help – small or large, every bit helps! This is also how you will send your money to buy a spot for you blog/business button.

If you mention and link to this post on your blog to help get the word out about relief help needed in Kentucky, leave me a comment on this post letting me know you did so and I will also be honoring/rewarding blogger’s endeavors to help in a special way very SOON!! :)




For more opportunities to help:

Following information copied from

Important Information for Storm Victims - How to Help and How to Locate Victims

Victims of Kentucky's devastating tornadoes need your help and support. Here's how you can make a difference:

Join LEX-18, Newstalk 590 WVLK, 92.9 WLXX and Fifth Third Bank in our Red Cross relief effort.

Text REDCROSS to 90999. You can also donate online here or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Donations are also accepted at any Fifth Third Bank in central Kentucky.

There are several locations where you can drop off items for the Kentucky Tornado Victims, including here in Lexington.

The Christian Appalachian Project and The Community Inn are asking for donations.

Right now, they are collecting bottled water, drinks of any kind, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food items, paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels and paper plates and trash bags.

The drop off truck is located at Walmart in Hamburg, 2350 Grey Lag Way Road.

You can drop off these items, starting Sunday, March 4 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
And on Monday, March 5 from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Kroger stores throughout the region have set up collection points for cash donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Fund as well.

The Salvation Army is also helping with relief efforts across Kentucky. The Lexington Mobile Kitchen has been deployed to serve Peach Grove in Pendleton County, as well as several other areas.

If you would like to help, donations can be dropped off at 736 West Main Street in Lexington.

Donations they are accepting:
-Cleaning supplies
-Brooms, buckets, mops, cleaning solutions
-Hand sanitizer
-Bottled water
-Jugs of water
-Non-perishable food, especially peanut butter

The Salvation Army is also accepting monetary donations. Checks can also be dropped off the West Main Street location. If you would like to make sure your donation goes to a particular county in Kentucky, you can specify on the check.

The Salvation Army is not taking clothing at this time.

Customers can donate any amount they wish as they purchase groceries. Their donation will be added to their total and will be listed on their receipt.

If you are missing a loved one, contact the Red Cross 859-253-1331. Also be sure to check out the website here.


  1. Hi! I'm from Tuscaloosa, AL, and a new blogger, but I've been reading your's a while and it's heartbreaking to see that kind of loss. I linked to your post on my blog. I can't donate personally but I hope this will bring some to your site that can.

  2. Thanks for this blog post- I live in Alabama and am all too familiar with the sound of tornado and tornado sirens. I'm so glad you're OK and my thoughts and prayers are with you and the state.

  3. Hey! Love to help. Don't know how to make a blog button though!

    1. Hey sweet girl! Email me a photo you would like to use as a blog button - it could be a real photo or a cartoon image or even just a pretty background pattern you like that I can add your blog name or Etsy business name to and your link! The "DONATE" button is at the top left of the blog now and that's how I'm accepting payment for the spots. Thank you so much, Meg!

  4. Someone said the people of Eastern Ky were some of the most resourceful people they had ever know. This shows it. Great idea.I am so proud of you and thankful for you.

  5. I've been reading your blog for about a year now and I've never posted here before. But today is different because I want to be able to help out your friend and her family. That picture of their home was all I needed to see to know that in times like these do questions need to be asked, we all just need to buckle down and help!Please send the paypal like to and I will send my donatation right away. I do't have a blog button, so I would love for you to make me one.


  6. Tornado's are my biggest fear - and I live in Maryland where they come far and few in between. My heart aches every time I hear about something like this happen. When I heard KY was going to get hit, I honestly said a prayer for you and your family. I'm glad you escaped unharmed and am so sorry about the mess left behind. I can't donate much, but I donated a little. I hope it helps.

  7. This is just worse than awful. I feel horrible for everybody affected by these horrendous tornadoes and awful weather. My thoughts are with each and every one.

  8. Just made a donation and emailed you. You have a HUGe heart...good luck....there's a link on my blog as well.

  9. so sorry to hear about your friends and area that was affected by this storm. I will donate later this week when I get paid. I can't even fathom how it must be to go through this. I fear the time this will happen in Chicago but sometimes I have those thoughts that the city is indestructible.

  10. Looking at those pictures gave me chills. I am glad your family was safe! I cannot imagine going through something like that!!! My sister's friend lives in Joplin, and she knew one of the people killed in that horrible tornado last year.

    I pray that everyone is able to rebuild their lives without anymore chaos.

  11. I would LOVE to help, and coincidentally, just made my very first blog buttons :) Isn't God's timing perfect? Is there a size preference that you have? I have one 250X150 and one 250X199. Bless your heart for raising money for these people who so desperately need it. You inspire me :)

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! You are so kind :)
      Since I've never had any sponsors, I'm not hip on button sizes - haha. Just look at the others and send me the one your choose or let me know where to pick yours up at - is it on your blog? The paypal button is on the top left now if you want to donate.
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    2. Hi Stephanie! I'm not very hip on button sizes either, haha. I actually do have one on my blog, so feel free to grab it! Do I donate the $25 through the button on your blog? So happy to help you raise money for this, thanks for the opportunity :)

  12. I'm so sorry to hear about the devastation that hit so close to home. I'm glad you and your families are all okay!

  13. Hey girl, just posted a link to your blog on mine....thank you for including me in this!

  14. I can't even imagine seeing that destruction. Absolutely devastating.
    Thank God you and your families are okay.

  15. Dear Meg,
    This is so graciuos of you and so in keeping with how Kentuckians are.
    My goodness, for such a small town, West Liberty, has such a large place in so many hearts. My daughter's friend has many relatives who lived there and my son's best friend's grandmother and two uncles lived there also. One uncle is an opthamologist and lost his entire practice on main street. Thankfully they all survived!
    Both of these families as well as ourselves are homeschool families. With our flexibility with regards to schooling and schedules we are hoping to go to West Liberty to help out however we can.
    I so admire your posting here and sharing across the blogging world to help the good people of this community.
    Best regards,

  16. so glad you are doing this. we are providing donations to families in west liberty but I posted your link on my blog

  17. This is a place on facebook for the lost and found pets of the tornadoes

  18. Those images are just devastating. My SIL & her husband live in Louisville. I was so scared for them Friday afternoon as I was hearing reports about the area. Our Pastor has family in those areas too. So scary. Thanks for the links that we can go to to help!

  19. I blogged about this but wasn't able to link it. So glad you and your family are safe. What a horrible time!

  20. I wasn't able to post a very long blog however I did provide the link to your page. Thanks so much for this.

  21. Praying for everyone in Kentucky. My heart hurts for all those affected. So glad to hear you, your family and friends are alright. I tweeted the link to your blog to spread the word.!/AmandaPauling

  22. I found this through daveandbritplusone! I know Brittany from a while back! Praying for everyone in our homestate. My husband and I both linked up to family and friends on our facebook, and he is passing the link around his work in an email! No recognition necessary, just wanted to let you know if you get confused by any sources!!

  23. I, too live in Kentucky (south central) and I am heartbroken by the devastation of our neighbors to the east. So glad that you and your family are safe. I will be linking in my next blog post and I also tweeted to help get the word out. Our prayers are with those who have lost so much. God Bless!!/kentucky_wife

  24. Wow. Just... wow. I think the scariest part of tornadoes is that a house can get completely destroyed and the one next door can be perfectly fine. The unpredictability and random path blows my mind. I'm so glad to hear that your family is safe but my heart is breaking for all of the families who lost loved ones. So, so sad.

  25. Very Scary time and horrible devastation with the weather of 2012. This year will probably set too many records weather related but I pray God will keep all my family and friends safe! When something does occur, I pray we help our neighbors out! Whether it be the next street, county or state over we are all neighbors. God Bless! ~Nikki S.~

  26. Hi there! I came accross your post from Dave and Brit Plus One. I re-posted your blog post and I hope that I can help to get the word out.

  27. This is so tragic!!!! Know I am praying for so many of you....the heartbreak is unthinkable. Many blessings...

  28. I wrote a post about the tornadoes, and I used your link in my post, so if people wanted to donate, then they could come to you :)

  29. Just posted your link on my facebook, may god bless you all! Praying for you and hoping to collect more donations for you all.


I just shared my thoughts, I'd love to hear you share yours! {Besides, I'm tired of listening to the voices in my head.} I kid, I kid... ;)