This week was just one of those marathon weeks that you aren’t sure you are ever going to make it through.  And as I type that sentence I feel guilty –how dare I complain about MY week after the hellish week that the residents of Joplin went through?   And that is exactly where this week began . . .

After a gorgeous Sunday afternoon spent at the Block Street Block Party, Gracie reminded us that she had an end of season volleyball party to go to in Rogers in . . . oh . . . 15 minutes.  Needless to say, I was NOT PLEASED. But I ran her up to Fast Lanes and then I went to Walmart to look at patio furniture.  When I left WM I noticed that someone had KEYED the driver’s side back door of my cute, new, little car.  WAH!  

Back at home, I noticed on FB and Twitter fhat people were commenting about the tornado in Joplin. At about 9:30 the local news station called, “Is this Jody with the Red Cross?”  Uh . . . no.  I haven’t worked for the Red Cross for almost 5 years.  That was my first indication that this tornado was BAD.

Monday morning an old Red Cross friend who I met on assignment in Daytona, FL (Hurricane Ivan or Francis) and haven’t talked to since Katrina  — called me out of the blue.  He wanted to know what I was doing.  Neither of us work for the Red Cross anymore, but both of us felt like we SHOULD be doing something. I hung up and called my pastor and asked what we could/should be doing as a church.  His response was perfect (and perfectly Lutheran.)  So many people, groups, and agencies will be rushing to the aid of Joplin in these first days, but we know that the rebuilding effort will take months, possibly years.  He suggested we organize a relief team and go up this summer.  In the meantime, I simply helped get information out to our congregation re: what type of supplies were being collected and where.  We also sent out information which discouraged people from “self-deploying” (and winding up getting in the way!) to Joplin, but to get in touch with relief organization on the ground and make sure they could be put to work.

Tuesday there was an eerie weather prediction that indicated a series of super cells with the possibility of softball sized hail and prolonged and deadly tornadoes.  After seeing the photos of the devastation in Joplin, no one in NWA seemed to be taking this warning lightly.  Mark and I decided to pack up the kids and our supplies (including a chain saw) and camp out at my office, which is a basement.  We ended up having a 12 person campout/tornado party.  Luckily, NWA was spared, but 4 people were killed by tornadoes about 90 miles South of us.

Wednesday – after only a few hours of sleep on a very UNFORGIVING concrete floor, my auditor arrived bright and early to begin three days of audit field work.

Thursday – more audit.  But here is where my week turned around.
I volunteered with Northside Fayetteville Rotary Club and the Fayetteville Rotary Club at our Joplin Tornado Relief truck.   It felt good to “do something” albeit very small.  It was also great to see people from all walks of life come out to help folks that they don’t know and probably never will.  I think every single person commented “its the least I can do” or “I wish I could do more.”

When I got home on Thursday I went to my first ever

Okay, I didn’t actually “go” anywhere.  I sat in the media room with my iPhone in one hand and Twitter pulled up on the computer in front of me.  I used the phone to keep up with the #AWBU hashtage and used the computer to Tweet my input.  Fun!   So what is a Twitter Party you ask?  Read here.   And what is AWBU?  Read here.  And as if I weren’t already looking forward to a weekend in the woods with a bunch of soon-to-be-new girlfriends . . . I’m SUPER excited now! 

Friday – Finished the audit.  YAY!   And went to a fun house party where my Sangria Slushie was a major hit!

Saturday – It’s looking pretty good, folks!  Hope to be posting photos all weekend of “THE DECK.”  We’re planning on making significant progress on this three day weekend.