What You’ve Done for Alabama.

If anyone still doesn’t believe that “Internet Friends” are just as real as “In Real Life Friends”, then they’ve never been in a crisis situation.

To help with tornado relief, you have ordered over $1,200 of items off of the Christian Service Mission’s Amazon Wish List (you’re part of the reason that UPS had to reserve an entire truck just to deliver there!!), and have given $1,145 to my Mommies Helping Mommies fund – I am completely blown away, and so thankful!!

Plus, you were an invaluable asset to me as I set off into my couponing adventures, trying to make the Mommies Helping Mommies fund stretch as far as possible.  I got great advice, and my mailbox was filled with packages of coupons, diapers, and formula from you!

And I think you’ll be proud of my couponing success.

I did my research, I planned my attack, and I left victorious.  On my first shopping day, I spent $675 of the fund, and by a powerful combination of Formula Checks, Manufacturer’s Coupons, Store Coupons, Cash Back Cards, Store Sales, and Amazon Mom’s subscribe and save program, I saved $376!

(And yes, I did remember to cancel my Amazon Mom subscriptions so that 8 jumbo boxes of diapers don’t show up on my doorstep once a month, every month.)

This is where about $500 of your money went (Amazon hadn’t delivered the rest yet):

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I jammed it all in my car, along with some toys that Ali picked out to give, and with a bit of Twitter research, decided on my first destination:  Henager, Alabama – two hours north of Birmingham.

Henager’s county, Dekalb, had one of the worst outbreaks of tornadoes, yet had hardly received any help – FEMA just arrived there this week.  I knew this was a place that needed your help.

My friend Ashley and I drove up Wednesday morning.  The drive was gorgeous – hills, farms, beautiful countryside, until quite suddenly everything changed.

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House addresses were labeled like this:

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Because many of the houses now look like this:

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We passed out of that swath of tornado damage and arrived at our destination: Henagar Baptist Church.

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It was an amazing place – Church members were busy volunteering to help run their kitchen and their storehouse of goods for the community:

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They were allowing anyone to come, shower, eat, rest, and get whatever they needed – no strings attached, no FEMA paperwork required – and all of this despite the fact that many of the volunteers had lost so much, as well.

The precious Church secretary that I’d talked to Monday never even mentioned that she herself had lost everything – she was joyfully and tirelessly volunteering to help her town.

The Church’s pastor lost his house as the tornado passed through one side of it,

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And then it completely leveled his mother’s house:

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Leaving her every belonging in a pile of ruins.

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And their family was devastated that she herself did not survive the storm.

They told us another heartbreaking story of one of their church families – the mother was picked up out of the house and thrown behind it, and was killed immediately.  The three children – 15, 6, and 2 years old, were all severely injured.  The father was at work, unable to get to their house for four hours due to all of the storm damage.  Fortunately, one of the neighbors saw the two younger children wandering around what was left of their house, and she was able to get them to the hospital.

Despite all of this, dozens in their church were there, joyfully volunteering their time to help their very needy community.

I was so blessed to get to meet them.

I was able to replenish their baby needs tables with your donations:

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One of the workers told me that it was exactly the right timing – they had been nearly completely out of formula on Monday, but God had provided through several people and our delivery, and now they had enough!

She was so thrilled in telling me that God had provided for all of their shortages just like that – right at the exact time they needed it.

She told me that the toy area had been one of the most exciting things for the children, so I was so glad to be able to add to it, as well.

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Despite the fact that so many of their houses looked like this,

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or were just piles of rubble left on the side of the road,

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they were blessing others and, quite frankly, a blessing to me.  Their hearts, their attitudes, their willingness to pour their lives into serving – it was convicting and inspiring.

And thank YOU for being true friends to me and my state!


If you would like to help in these continued efforts, I will be making relief trips to various communities over the next several weeks.

Every penny of my Mommies Helping Mommies fund goes to buy formula, diapers, and other baby needs for tornado victims – just click here to donate.

Also, the Christian Service Mission has been able greatly help dozens of communities by purchases sent to them off of their Amazon Wish List – just click, order, and it’s automatically sent straight to them!

Coupons and formula checks are also greatly helping – if you have some to spare, email me at rachel@graspingforobjectivity.com for instructions on where to send them.

Thank you again!

Thankful Thursday is Back!!

Thankful Thursday is a weekly column where I post what I am thankful about that week, and you have the opportunity (via your blog linked into this post OR via a comment on this blog) to share your thankful thought for the week.

After a two-week hiatus from Thankful Thursday, I figured it was time to get back to it.

Today, I am thankful that kids are so darn forgiving. Being that I have felt extraordinarily crummy all week, I haven’t exactly been up for nomination of Parent of the Year. But Ali has seemed completely unfazed. She is still so happy to see me, and nonplussed when I am not my usual perky self.

Today, I fell asleep while Ali was playing. Not deeply, just dozed. I couldn’t stay awake.

You know, that “heartburn” is bad stuff.

Anyway, she was so kind to continue playing, in the room with me, chattering so that I could be confident in my semi-consciousness that she was fine. Every now and then I would hear her tell herself very matter-of-factly, “Mommy taking a nap.”

So I am also thankful that I have a mostly non-mischievous toddler with which I can doze off and feel confident that she is playing quietly.

And one more thankful note: I am thankful when God rather hilariously gives me an example for which I can say, “I’m not as bad of a parent as I thought I was!!” Here’s one that I had the other day:

Ashley and I were feeding the girls in the food court at the mall when Ali started saying, “Watch that!! See TV!!”. I was looking all around to figure out what she was looking at, when I finally spotted a mother and toddler a couple of tables over. The toddler was younger than Ali – maybe 18 months or so. He was sitting in his stroller, where his mother had a DVD Player lashed to his tray, mere inches from his face. He was, of course, completely glued to it.

I would have taken a picture, but it was just too sad. That Mommy and child needs to rest in peace, and anonymity.

We couldn’t help but laugh, and give ourselves a pat on the back for never having thought to have a stroller with a DVD-Player as an accessory.

(errr. . . if any of you have ever strapped a DVD player to your toddler’s stroller, please forgive me for taking comfort in my mothering skills from this!)

So to summarize, I am thankful that kids are forgiving when we’re crummy parents, that I have a predictable and non-mischievous toddler, and that I’m not always as bad of a parent as I feel that I am. Phew!!



OK – your turn!! What are you thankful for today? Leave it in a comment, or if you have a blog, write a post on your blog and link it in with Mr. Linky (at the bottom of this post), and you can have the pleasure of welcoming my wonderful readers to your site!

To use Mr. Linky to link to your blog, just type in your name in the first slot, then copy and paste the URL of your blog post in the second one and click “Enter” – then there will be a link to your post from my blog! ***be sure to put the link to your actual “Thankful Thursday” post – not just your main blog URL.***

Thankful Thursday: And So To Honor Him

Thankful Thursday is a weekly column where I post what I am thankful about that week, and you have the opportunity (via your blog linked into this post OR via a comment on this blog) to share your thankful thought for the week.

Much like I did at Thanksgiving, I put a considerable amount of prayer this week into my Thankful Thursday post for Christmas. It’s not something that I take lightly or feel qualified to do – write a post that truly encompasses the thankfulness that Christmas brings. And I’m sure that I didn’t do it justice. But here’s my best shot:

. . . And So to Honor Him

Last Christmas, our Pastor’s wife, Karon, headed up a project to compile a book written by our Church members. The name of the book was “And So to Honor Him”, and was supposed to represent all of our different ways that we were choosing to Honor Jesus for Christmas.

For some reason, it really took a long time for me to get my head wrapped around the idea of the book, so I regretfully never participated. However, the concept has stuck with me, and was brought back to me this week as I was praying about what to write for this Christmas post.

We all know the “gift” that God gave us for Christmas. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth, laying in a manger. . . we could all probably quote those passages. But, much like I had trouble grasping the concept of Karon’s book, I wonder how much we grasp the concept of what the gift of Christ really means and does in our lives?

Ephesians 1:3-14 is kind of like the “side of the box” on the present of Jesus Christ. It lists all of the features, bells, and whistles of the gift. I highly recommend reading it, but for the purpose of this post, here is a bullet point list of the features that come with accepting the gift of Christ:

  • We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ
  • We were hand chosen before the creation of the world
  • We are holy and blameless in God’s sight
  • We are adopted as sons through Christ, which brings God pleasure
  • We are freely given grace through Christ
  • We are redeemed through Christ’s blood
  • Our sins are forgiven according to His rich grace
  • God has shown us the mystery of His will through Christ
  • He will work everything out according to His will
  • We are given a deposit – the Holy Spirit – as a promise of our inheritance

Obviously, we can’t come close to reciprocal gift-giving with a God who gave us the above gift. But thankfully, God didn’t ask for that. He just wants us to give Him our best, which is according to the specific gifts and talents that He has already blessed us with.

For the little drummer boy, his finest gift was to praise Jesus through his music.

For some of us, it may be to encourage or bless others. Or financial giving. Or maybe serving others. For me at this moment, it is writing, and teaching my precious two year old about giving to Jesus. And I will continue to be searching for other ways (as many as possible!!) that I can honor my King who sacrificed so much for me.

I hope that you also can find your way to honor Him this Christmas.



OK – your turn!! What are you thankful for today? Leave it in a comment, or if you have a blog, write a post on your blog and link it in with Mr. Linky (at the bottom of this post), and you can have the pleasure of welcoming my wonderful readers to your site!

To use Mr. Linky to link to your blog, just type in your name in the first slot, then copy and paste the URL of your blog post in the second one and click “Enter” – then there will be a link to your post from my blog! ***be sure to put the link to your actual “Thankful Thursday” post – not just your main blog URL.***