Friday, June 19, 2009

Well, My Goodness!

OK, now I have a minute to tell my story.

Last week was Twilight Camp. Several years ago I learned from my Bishop's wife (you know who you are) that it is worth attending the entire week. Since then, I've gone the whole week with Chandler. This year Chandler is a Webelo and Carter is a wolf. Their camps were the same week so I had to divide my time, based on which group needed me. I was able to go two days with each. It was really fun. Mariah was here all week to watch the younger kids, which was fabulous! We did have one little tornado adventure that I need to document for the boys. Instead of rewriting the story, I've decided to copy and paste an email that I sent to all of the parents of the boys that were with me.

Hi there, parents. I wanted to take a minute tonight and just let you know what happened with the boys and I tonight.

While we were just getting ready to head home (early because of lightning) Brother Pennington called and told me that McKinney was under a Tornado Warning and to be careful. I didn't think he sounded too concerned, so I just hurried the boys on to the car. At the time there was no rain, just some lightning and a little thunder. We got to the car and as I loaded them up I decided I didn't like the looks of the clouds off to the west. We headed out and I couldn't find any weather coverage on the radio so I called my mom. At this point we were about a mile or so north of 380. She told me how bad it was and where it was headed (right where we were) and said that I needed to stop if I could. There wasn't anywhere to stop, just some neighborhoods. I just told her I needed to hang up and would call her back. After I hung up the phone I just said a silent prayer "Heavenly Father, tell me what to do." Immediately I felt like I should not keep heading toward 380, but that I should stop-anywhere. I pulled into a neighborhood, pulled over, told the boys to stay put and ran up to a house. It was locked and no one answered. I heard in my mind "just go get the boys", so I ran back to the van. Just as I got to the car the wind picked up. It was blowing so hard, literally all of the sudden, that it was hard for us just to stay on our feet. I knew that I had to get us to a safer place than the car, so we all ran to the front porch of this house. It was an all-brick porch, with enough room for us. I had the boys line up as close to the house as they could, and get down on their knees and cover their heads with their hands. I knelt behind them and spread my arms out so that each of them could feel me there. Some of them were crying, others were trying to act cool and not afraid. I asked them to listen so I could say a prayer. I prayed for our protection, and then let them know that I had faith that everything was going to be just fine. We would just be wet and cold. All this time the wind was whipping, and leaves and small rocks were blowing. (The boys thought the rocks were just hard rain and I didn't tell them otherwise) The small tree in the yard was bent at about a 45 degree angle. The wind was blowing the rain, leaves and rocks in on us, but I just kept talking to the boys, telling them how we were safer there on the porch than in the car, talking about our great adventure, telling them it will be an awesome story to tell, and so on. I just tried to never stop talking. When I knew the worst of it was over, I told them to look and see how cool it was. Most of them thought it was really neat to watch. (All but my Carter, who is a little younger, and has always been afraid of storms-he never looked) During this time I talked to my mom, my husband (who was on his way home from Arlington), and my step-daughter who was at my house with my younger kids. Through them I had a pretty good idea of when it was safe to head home. By that time, all the boys were laughing and talking about our "great adventure". We were cold and wet so I turned on the heater to warm us up, and we listened to silly songs on the way home.

I wanted to share the story with you for a couple of reasons.

First, I just want you to know that I made the best call I could with the information that I had. If I had thought we wouldn't be safe, I never would have left the camp. When I talked to Brother Pennington I truly believed we had plenty of time. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and if I had it to do over I would have waited it out there.

Second, I want you to know that I absolutely know that the Lord was with us. I was alone with six little boys, and when I asked Heavenly Father what to do, He told me. I did my best to listen to the Spirit and keep us all as safe as I could. I reminded them on the way home to thank Heavenly Father tonight for protecting us. I know He did.

I'm sorry if this experience leaves any of your kids with any extra fear of storms or tornadoes. I felt like they were all OK, but I hope they really are. My two seem fine, they were just glad to get out of their wet clothes.

If you have any questions or concerns, PLEASE feel free to call me anytime. I've had a blast with your boys at camp and so love getting to know each of them. They're such good kids, and now they're bonded for life!

So, there you have it. It truly was an adventure. Fun times.

Moving on, I think we're selling our house. Where are we going to go, you ask? I don't know, but it feels like the right thing to do. I'll keep you posted...


Thompson Family said...

Oh my gosh! I think you did the best thing and I only hope that if I am ever put in such a situation I will be as cool, calm, and collected as you were. I really bet that this experience is something that these young boys will consider an important event in their lives that taught them the power of faith and prayer and recognizing that the Lord is there watching over them. As scary as it must have been it really is a cool story that they will share with their buddies for years to come...and hopefully they will share their testimonies along with it! Thanks for being such a great example Ashley.

Joella said...

What a great experience for those boys. How I love the cub scout boys and that week of camp. I will miss it when we don't go anymore. We did a ward camp this year and it was fabulous. I would recommend it to anyone. If I were a mother of those boys that were with you I would be so thankful to have you with them. What great life lessons come from these experiences. They will always remember that feeling of peace during the storm.

Ashley said...

Thanks, guys. You're awesome!

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