Sunday, August 28, 2011

Storms and Beauty.

We were without electricity for a couple hours this morning and just got it back a few minutes ago so that’s why I haven’t had a chance to update till now.

I want to start by thanking those of you who followed our adventure so closely and passed along kind words and offered heartfelt prayers for us and the people in our community.

We cancelled our church service this morning as most of the island doesn’t have electricity and many are dealing with flooded homes. In lieu of preaching, Steve performed his pastoral ministry by heading out to help a church member clean up his business and then visit some of our folks who are dealing with flooded homes. Sometimes a pastor can preach better sermons by what he does than what he says.

We’ve also opened our home this afternoon to a local policewoman for a shower and a nap before she has to go back on duty at 6 pm for yet another long and wearying overnight shift. Her house has no water and no electricity so it’s a bit of a challenge for to get cleaned up or to get any rest. Steve just arrived home for lunch and then will leave in a few minutes to help someone cut a tree out of their front yard. (He gets to use his chainsaw! Hurray!)

As we’re coming out on the other side of this experience, we have been reminded over and over of how fortunate our family has been with no damage, no flooding and (almost) uninterrupted electrical service. We want to use our blessings to do everything we can in the next few weeks to lighten the load of those around us who are dealing with tough stuff. I think that one positive outcome of natural disasters is the way it turns strangers into neighbors; in an increasingly disconnected world, that’s a really good thing.

I want to share a few pictures with you from the past few hours.

This shot (taken by a local person) shows a restaurant on the main highway through Manteo; it’s about two miles from our house.

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This was taken by the same person, showing our downtown area last night.

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(The rest of the photos are mine.)

This is the mailbox across the street from our house.

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The street leading from our house to the main road.

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The restaurant where we recently had Sarah’s birthday dinner with her friends.

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Broken deck boards.

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Uprooted trees.

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Debris of all varieties.

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Thankfully the Queen Elizabeth (shown in the background) weathered the storm in fine, heroic fashion.

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Our favorite bookstore took some hits.

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A downtown side street.

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Another side street.

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And to close out, here are a few pictures I’ve compiled of Hurricane Before and After Shots.

Sarah and I on the night of her birthday dinner, sitting in the “camera chair” in front of the restaurant. On the right is what the camera chair looked like this morning.

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Steve and I sitting on some deck chairs on our first visit to Manteo. Those same chairs, covered by trash and storm debris.

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On the left is a downtown restaurant we like to eat at; the view there this morning.

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A pathway leading to a bridge near downtown. In the after picture, you can’t even see the bridge because of the tree debris.

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I took a picture of this flower right before the storm and was sort of sad about the fact that it wouldn’t survive. Well, I went back this morning and there it still stood, a bit tattered but unbowed!

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Sarah and her dear friend Victoria visiting the Manteo Booksellers in happier days.

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And lastly, what our downtown looked like as of this morning.

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It’s been a rough ride but I’ve discovered that these Outer Bankers are a tough and hardy lot and I know that I’ll be taking pictures of loveliness again very soon.

I’m especially thankful today that storms never last and beauty always returns.

13 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

lifebythecreek said...

It WILL return, and faster than you think. The locals, the ones who've grown up with hurricanes and high waves and flooding realize that it's all a cycle... "lather, rinse, repeat". And in order to live on the coast,I think you have to have an abundance of resiliency and a smaller measure of sentimentalism. I'm just so thankful that much is left standing from which to rebuild, and I'll be praying for strength, endurance, and even joy in abundance for all of you as you work (knowing that STEVE has a great chance of joy as long as that chainsaw is in his hands!).

simplykristi said...

The Outer banks will return as beautiful as ever after cleanup efforts. I am thankful that you and your family came thru the storm OK. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Manteo and the rest of the Outer Banks.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Steve might get to use his chainsaw a whole bunch in the coming days. Living close to a river which floods during times of heavy rain in the winter I was amazed to see similar pictures of your downtown. Know when that happens here things are cleaned up and repaired in nothing flat, I expect the same will happen where you now live. I just remain so thankful that the damage isn't worse and the Smiths came through just fine.

Looking forward to future updates with happier pictures.

Cindy from Sonoma

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been a part of the OBX for many years. And those hardy folks always rise up out of the ashes. I so love that part of N.C. My parent's home only had wet carpets that came up from all of the water under the house. They were very lucky , considering the neighboring island, Goose Creek...where I grew up. All but three houses were completely under water during the storm surge. But they too, will rise back up as they have done in the past.
Thankful that you came away relatively unscathed from your first hurricane.
By the way, is that Darrell's restaurant in your first pic? Eaten many fried shrimp there...:)
Buff

Anonymous said...

last night when I googled manteo, the LA newspaper said that the bookstore had a foot of water. It looks like it has certainly gone down. I was hoping that the inventory had been moved to higher shelves before Saturday.

just so grateful that the Smiths are all okay, and I know you will be such a help to all those who turn to you.

mrs pam

Anonymous said...

I am so very thankful that you're all doing well. I want to say you were very lucky, but I think we all know that luck had nothing to do with how things turned out for the Smith Family.

Hopefully, the clean up efforts won't take too long and the damage will be easy and cost effective to fix.

It's troubling too think that Mother Nature, in all her glory, can shower us with so many beautiful things and in the blink of an eye, the amount of despair, horror, and destruction comes pouring down on us in the blink of an eye.

Continue to stay safe, and when you have a minute please continue to let us know how you are doing.

Your congregation is very lucky to have Steve and the rest of the Smith family leading the town of Mateo in prayer and blessing.

Love,

Jodi

Jan said...

The sermon in my church this morning was all about celebrating, finding joy, and saying "Hallelulia!" It feels like your post today is a continuation of that theme. So much destruction, yet so much joy, so much love and sharing in your hearts.

I'm so glad you're all safe, that Steve fortitously bought his chain saw and has the energy to go and help his neighbors/flock. I'm so happy that you can and will open your home to someone so she can pause and refresh. Hallelulia!

Jan Reuther

CJ said...

So glad you guys are doing ok. Praying for you all still.

Anonymous said...

Hi Smith Family;

This story should put a smile on your weary face,,,when I FIRST SAW the photo of the pan of fudge or brownies I thought she really filled the tub with chocolate...then I looked more closely and saw it was a corning dish. Haha...I told you it was funny.....

Praising God for answered prayer...no loss of life, no loss of property, no injuries...Thank you for all these things; in Jesus Name, Amen and amen!

Godo is go good and I Love Him immeasureably.

Blessings..Fran from Texas

PS: Saarah Keep speaking to those mountains (and storms) It workkks!!!

Rachel said...

So glad you and your house are ok. The flooding is awful but I am just so happy to see all the houses standing -- I am sure everyone will pitch in and you will have your beautiful piece of heaven back in no time.

Can't believe those flowers survived. wow. I guess you should have been camped out next to them??? LOL.

Anonymous said...

You are right about life in a hurricane area - the resiliency is present from the folks that live there right down to the humble flowers and wildlife. God made them to withstand and grow! And so they do..... :o)

Looking forward to more pictures and stories of healing after the storm, and am grateful that all is well in the Smithellaneous World!

PS - are there many left without shelter?

Lynie

The Pennington Point said...

Oh my goodness I had no idea! I knew you were near there, but that is amazing. How great is our God that you are all OK and your home is fine?

Thank you for the pictures that give such great perspective! Lisa~

Rachel said...

We absolutely LOVE the Manteo Bookstore! I'm glad it came out mostly okay. And I'm really glad you guys are all okay!! I hate to see all these pictures of the flooding and Hatteras and not just run down there to help out. And trust me, us OBX vacationers are some serious people, i'd be there tomorrow if I could!!

My aunt and uncle live in Jarvisburg on the sound, but my uncle works in Duck and had to be there for the whole thing so we've definitely been keeping an eye out even after the storm has passed!