First of all, thank you SO MUCH for all of your thoughts and prayers last night.  We had no power, no television, no phone service on our home phone or cell phones, but we could get spotty Twitter, Facebook, and email on our phones, and it was really wonderful to be able to focus my nervous energy into reading your sweet comments, emails, and tweets while we waited.

We spent about three hours in the basement last night, and those three hours ranked in the top 3 most intense times in my life.

God was graceful, though, and Ali seemed completely oblivious to mine and Chris’ nervousness and horrified reactions to the news we were hearing on the radio.  I’m not sure how, because she usually picks up on every emotion and intonation, but she was able to happily eat, play, and read while we paced, listened, and prayed.

Although we had no further damage last night, I am beyond heartbroken by what has happened to Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Cullman, and to other cities in and around Alabama.

Here are the three major tornado touchdowns that hit our state yesterday (out of over 160 total tornadoes yesterday):

The Cullman tornado was the first large hit that our state took:


Soon after, an even larger tornado decimated parts of Tuscaloosa:

The debris that was picked up in Tuscaloosa fell out of the skies for over 100 miles.

Yet the Tuscaloosa tornado grew in size and nastiness and traveled over 50 miles to hit Birmingham:


If you know our downtown area and skyline, you can imagine how gigantic that storm was.

If you have caught any news, I’m sure you’ve seen some of these photos, but the damage is nightmarish…

Tuscaloosa …


Concord, outside of Birmingham:


Gardendale, suburb of Birmingham:


Photos from around Birmingham:



(Photos from,, and Twitter.)

There have been so many times in the past 24 hours that I’ve gotten choked up about the intense pain being felt in our city.

This morning on Twitter, someone posted a birth announcement photo of their beautiful newborn baby that was missing and they were searching desperately for.

That could have been Noah.

Others are trying to find their children, begging people to let them know of any news about them.

That could have been Ali.

It’s so close, so real, and so painful.

Although I was glad that Ali was oblivious last night during the unknown, this morning I wanted her to understand and desire to help those that are hurting.

We packed a bunch of clothes, toiletries, bottles, formula, and other items and took them to a Lora Lynn, a blog friend who was collecting for three families that lost everything, including one of the families’ Fathers.

Ali and I talked about them, prayed for them, and hopefully helped them.

Later, we were watching the news (we got our power back today around lunchtime), and Ali was listening to an interview with one of the tornado victims.  After she finished talking, Ali asked..

“That girl said she was looking for her sister.  Why is she looking for her sister? Did the tornado suck her up?”

It took me a minute to choke back tears before I could answer her.

“I don’t know – it might have.”

And then, with a loving and trusting voice, she said,

“If you were sucked up in the tornado with me, I wouldn’t be scared.”

Hug your children.

Kiss your children.

And thank God for your children’s safety today.

42 thoughts on “The Aftermath.

  1. I have to admit I have teared up several times looking at the footage and I am an outsider. Although I do have friends and family in Alabama. Some of the stories are overwhelmingly heartbreaking and I continue to pray for everyone affected. I wish that there was something more I could do other than offer prayers and give money to the red cross.

    We are suppose to get what is left of the storm tonight and mercifully it is not predicted to be as awful as what your state has experienced. But I will go home tonight and hug my family after reading this.

    1. I am working on compiling a listing of relief efforts that people can help or donate to – I hope to post it here or at Alabama Bloggers tomorrow – I’ll let you know.

  2. The devastation around Alabama and surrounding states is terrible. I have never witnessed anything like this before. It’s unbelievable. By the Grace of God, we did not receive any damage and our family is safe, but my sister’s house (she has a 3 week old baby) was destroyed. Thankfully they were not home at the time. I have been crying off and on all day over their loss, as well as the loss of other friends and people who I don’t know. In times like these, I love seeing the human race come together and take care of each other. Praying for all those affected.

  3. I’m not from Alabama but I did spend 4 pretty amazing years there. We were actually just there 3 weeks ago visiting and I have the weirdest creepy feeling that 3 weeks ago, everything was fine. But now it’s not. And this looks worse than when Hurricane Ivan came in 2005 (which was also awful but as a college student was kinda fun to explore after it was over) I’m so glad to know that your family is ok but Ali definitely made me cry saying she’d be ok as long as she had her mommy. You’ve got great kids =)

    1. Definitely, definitely worse than Ivan. And yet at the beach, there are still broken down houses from Ivan. I’m afraid this is going to take a LONG time to recover from.

  4. Honey,
    I cannot even begin to get my head around that devastation – we don’t get tornado’s here in the Uk. It’s totally crazy.
    I’m so happy that you guys are OK and my prayers too will be with the people of Birmingham.

  5. I’m so sorry! Glad you guys are safe. I will be praying for your state and those in need. I’ll be looking for your list tomorrow too.

  6. I cried and prayed all morning for all those lost and survivors that are trying to begin recovery. I have to thank God my family and friends are all accounted for, but many more need prayers.

  7. So pleased to hear you are all alright and so shocked to see the complete devastation of those photos! Nature really seems to be on the warpath at the mo. with the quake in Japan, these tornadoes and a very bad earthquake in a city in New Zealand (Christchurch) that no-one would have thought in a million years would have an earthquake.

    God bless :)

  8. I’ve been a wreck over the last 24 hours. Pleaes know that prayers are being lifted up. Ever since the 2008 tornado hit Prattville, I’ve been terrified during bad weather. My thoughts and prayers are with people all over the south east right now, and I’m so glad that you and your family were safe.

  9. We made it through the storm here as well. I’m mourning with those who have lost so much and living with the realization that if I lived just 5 miles west of where I do things would be totally different.

  10. Oh my goodness, those pictures are horrible. Since we don’t have TV these are the first I have seen. It hurts to look at them and think about the people whose lives will never be the same. I am so sorry that this happened, but very thankful that you and your family are safe. We’ve been praying for you and will continue to do so. Stay safe!

  11. I’ve been reading your blog for a while – love it! – but this is my first time to comment. I am so sorry for the tragedy you’ve been through. Thank you for sharing this with us. Please know that my family will be praying for those hurting and are eagerly looking for ways to help in the here-and-now.

    1. Thank you so much!!! And thanks for saying hi! I just posted a few options of ways to help, but there are hundreds of options out there.

    1. I know. But I’m a bit gun shy now – even with the gorgeous day outside, I have a bit of illogical fear in the back of my mind that another tornado is going to suddenly appear.

  12. Rachel, thank you for the reminder of how precious our children are. In the safety of our day to day homeschool craziness.. I forget. I get caught up in the “to-do” and the bickering. As I sit here bawling, my heart goes out to the people affected by this. Looking forward to knowing how to help! May God continue to protect you and yours.

  13. I”m so glad you’re okay. I prayed during the storms as they passed over my beloved home state of Alabama and into Georgia where I live now. I sat in disbelief as I watched the tornado live on the Weather Channel as it was in Birmingham. Thankfully, my parents are out of town. I called my Dad’s cell phone, and he didn’t answer, so I called Mom’s cell phone. She said, “Your dad’s calling the neighbors to see if they’re okay and to figure out if we have a house to come home to.” Thankfully, they do have a house, but there is still no power or water. The neighbors moved the debris out of the yard and took a chainsaw to the uncounted number of trees that fell. They also got my parents’ generator started, and Dad told the neighbors to stay at their house and cook their meals there and watch TV there. I am so grateful for the neighbors I grew up around who took care of my parents’ property while they’re gone and for my parents’ ability to give back to them by letting them use the generator. I wish I lived in a neighborhood like that again. We were blessed here in Marietta — we got some heavy rain and hail, but the tornadoes went north of us. I thought about my tiny daughter sleeping in her crib and how some mothers may have lost that.

    1. Wow! Where do you parents live? Have they gotten power back yet? Our power came back on Thursday at lunch, but a lot of people still don’t have power.

  14. So glad you are okay. We made it although it was very scary at times. There was a tornado touched down on the street next to us. Jennifer (my neice) had intense damage, but they are okay. We are all just sorta shell-shocked.

  15. After I could find a station that felt the devastation were not as important as the royal wedding, (Thank you FOX news!)all I could do was sit and cry and pray for you all. It breaks my heart to watch that. We live in a tornado zone and have been spared and blessed countless time…watching it makes you realize how precious each moment is.
    Praying for those in need… will help as I can.
    Blessings, Rachel, I am so glad you are all physically well…

  16. God bless your sweet little Ali, that made me tear up. We are definitely counting ourselves as very lucky. Our house is OK and though we had a lot of debris, no permanent damage. Had that tornado been a mile or two more northward, we may not have made it.

    I’m happy that you guys are together, safe and sound. *HUGS*

  17. Glad y’all are ok. We are so fortunate to not have any damage – and to have only lost power for about 18 hours. My heart just breaks for everyone else not so fortunate.

  18. Oh my word! I just had all the dots connected! This will probably seem rambling but it makes sense in the end…. You mentioned the baby that got separated from his family in the tornado. One of my old roommates from Samford told me one of our classmates was killed in the tornado. She was a nursing major living in Pleasant Grove. A different classmate just posted a video of Fox 6 news from Sunday night about the baby being reunited with his father because his mother had died while protecting her nephew in the storm. It was her baby that got lost while she died saving another. Wow.

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