Warning Signs

This past Friday night, our family was in the basement as tornado sirens blared and warnings flashed across the television screen. As my daughter clung to my hand, my son checked the radar on his phone, and the weatherman announced local spots within a mile as being in the path of a tornado, I got to thinking about how life can change in an instant.

Last year proved to every member of my family that each day is precious. We experienced some of the worst events, capped off with the unexpected death of my father in December. To say we were happy to see the start of 2012 would be an understatement.

We were fortunate that nothing happened. Our home still stands with very little debris in the yard. We basically had a bad thunderstorm with the threat of much worse. But what if?

Every now and again, God sends little warnings about getting our houses in order, and sometimes those warnings aren’t so little. Friday night, gathered together waiting out a storm, felt like a warning. Did I know what was really important in my life and was I prepared to give up the rest? Thankfully, the answer was yes.

I thought for a fleeting second about my work in progress on my computer, but only for a second. The people I love, my family and friends, are my real works in progress.

What about you? Have you experienced a warning? If so, if you lost every material possession, would you be okay?

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About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on March 5, 2012, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Christy, Great post. Keeping our hearts thankful isn’t always easy, but when we can it makes life much better.

    • Christy Hayes

      I’m thankful for our friendship, Laura! So glad you had a fun and productive weekend at NOLA!!

  2. It was a pretty crazy night. After watching all the TV coverage of towns being completely wiped out, I was just happy my family was all together in one place and whatever happened, we’d face it together. We did all have our laptops with us, though. πŸ™‚

    • Christy Hayes

      Scary night for sure! My computer was in the line of fire, but at least is was in the basement. I was consoled by the thought of my online backup!

  3. We have earthquakes, and you have no warning on those!
    You’re right, Christy — people and pets first. Then, if you have time, photos and family treasures that can’t be replaced.

    I’ve got to look into ‘cloud’ backup – though I keep an updated stick drive of all my books and WIPs in my purse at all times.

    Glad you’re safe.

    • Thanks, Laura! I’d imagine earthquakes serve the same purpose in prioritizing things in life.

      I do love having the security of off-site backup. I haven’t had to test it yet and I hope I never do! It’s worth a look.

  4. Well, I don’t know where Laura lives but I’m in California and this morning at 5:33 a.m. we were all woken up out of our sleep by another 4.0 quake centered a few miles from our house. And if it had been a really bad one, I would have run to get my kids and nothing else would have crossed my mind…until later, of course. Family and pets come first.
    Patti

    • Always family and pets, no question. Sorry about the scare this morning, Patti. I guess you never get used to that! Glad you are safe.

  5. Great post, Christy. You are right…sometimes we do get those little eye-openers that remind us how “surface” we are living. Luckily, we haven’t had a major hurricane in a couple of years, but Rita and Ike came close to wiping our area bare in 2005 and 2006. When we came home to all the trees on tops of houses, and some houses gone, it was like a war zone. No electricity for a month in August, taught us all how to rough it again. We got simple joys of all sleeping together in one room with a fan, playing board games at night, or going outside at night to sit in awe at the stars we could see with no town or refinery lights to dim them. As hard as it would be to lose our things, having our family safe and together was the most precious thing.

    So happy to hear that your house and family survived the storm okay! Those moments are gifts.

    • Christy Hayes

      Wow, Sharla, your family really got tested! Sounds like you made the best of it and can now appreciate the simple joys that come from paring down.

      So interesting to read how the different parts of the country have their issues to deal with. Sounds like we all have our priorities in order, however I hope we are instilling those same priorities to our kids.

  6. Christy, I have never had to face a situation as dire as the one you and your family experienced this past Friday. I have been inside a Manhattan apartment house during a Noreaster, in the middle of a hurricane in South Florida, but I have never really been in a life threatening situation.

    My cousin lost everything “material” in Andrew, good friends lost it all in a mud slide in Calif. but none of this has touched us. However, during the last surge of fires in Calif. a reporter asked families who were evacuating what they were taking. One woman said it all: “My family goes to safety first. If there is time for more, fine … if not they are all that count.”

    You said it so well. When the time comes for any of us to make those decisions, there can be no contest between a loved one and “stuff.” Everything we have ever owned is replaceable πŸ™‚

    • Christy Hayes

      Fortunately, Florence, our situation wasn’t as dire as the weatherman deemed it to be. Advances in weather detection are wonderful and as Patti and Laura said, we are lucky to have any warning at all.

      Sometimes we can figure out what the important stuff in life is by watching those we know or care about lose everything. That was certainly a case for us this past year. So glad you haven’t been tested, but sounds like you’d know what was important. To tell you the truth, I knew the Women Unplugged readers had life all figured out:)

  7. In 1987, we had an F5 tornado go through our area. There were several deaths and much structural damage. It was a shock to everyone because my little part of the world had always been safe from tornadoes and earthquakes and hurricanes. Since then, while we now get tornado warnings every year, we’ve never had anything as big nor as close as the one in ’87, although other areas of the province have been hit hard. While I always think I would grab my computer in that initial rush to get things to safety, in truth, if my family and friends are okay, then I don’t care about anything else.

    Christy, I’m glad to hear you and your family are safe and you didn’t suffer damage. Tracy, too, since she’s in your area. And to those of you on the coastlines and in midst of hurricane season, my thoughts are always with you when I hear on the news that something has happened. May everyone stay safe and sound.

  8. Christy Hayes

    Sheila,
    That is so interesting that you never used to get dangerous weather in your area. I was just thinking about how we used to never have tornados go through our area when I was younger and now they happen multiple times a year. I guess just like in life, nothing ever really stays the same.

    It is okay to think about our computers because we spend so much of our day behind one, but I think we all know what is really important.

  9. As we, too, sat in the basement on Friday night, I can’t tell you how many times during the past week I have thought about losing possessions especially with the complete loss of a friend’s home due to fire. Although possessions can eventually be replaced, family, friends and pets cannot. It definitely woke me up and made me think about my priorities. We sometimes get too busy and lose site of things. I am truly thankful for my family, friends and even my pets that I fought so hard against getting! I love reading your blogs!!

  10. Christy Hayes

    My wonderful friend Kim!! I just got a great visual of your family huddled in the basement. I knew we were fine when the dogs slept through the whole event. I kept telling myself that I know I read that pets were the first to “know” when a storm was coming. Alas, for them, it was just a fun night where we all slept together! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. My heart is with you all.

    “…if you lost every material possession, would you be okay?”
    Can anyone know that before it happens? It is hard to grasp that in advance.

    May God save you in the future.

    • Christy Hayes

      True, Vladimir. That is hard to know in advance and we might be surprised at what we miss most. Thanks for commenting.

  12. So true…

    Ultimately what matters? Our lives and those of our loved ones. Central Florida has a mix of tornados and hurricanes, though that didn’t stop me from having an “anxiety dream” about earthquakes the other night!!! (Too much news on my brain…)

    Glad your safe!

  13. Without our loved ones our lives are not good. I’m glad to hear that the people you love are with you today.

  14. I also lost my father unexpectedly – in october. So yes, 2012 was something I looked forward to -very much so. I am sorry you lost your father, as well – it’s difficult. Our daddies.

    I often wonder what I’d do if I lost everything – there was a time when I was pretty poor and didn’t have much, but I always had something – so the idea of losing everything is inconceivable . . . I wonder how I would handle it. All these “things” I’ve collected and held on to over the years. A question I don’t even know how to answer!

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