Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado Relief for Our Neighbors

Teacher Friends Around the World,

I live in Norman, Oklahoma. I am a lifelong Okie. To my core. I love this state. It's people are at the heart of why I will never truly be home elsewhere.

Tornados are a constant in my ever-changing world. They are milestones that I mark time with. My first tornado sighting: grade school off my grandma's front porch. My first time actually in the cellar(instead of on the porch gawking): 4th grade. The May 3rd: in a bathroom in Wetumka High School with friends.

This is different.

I am always talking about our Big Oklahoma Sky. This is what the sky looked like from my front porch on Sunday. The picture is of rotation (not a tornado) to the north of my house. This is the exact same storm that ripped through Shawnee minutes later.

storm rotation (not an actual tornado) on May19th

I posted this last week. It's how I prefer my sky

It is hard to put into words the emotional roller coaster this week has brought. I want to start by saying: my home is fine. I didn't even lose power. My family is safe. I have friends and friends and family of friends who were in the tornado, in one of the schools that was hit, have lost a home, have been displaced, and who have spent much more time in distress over the safety of loved ones.

I have been experiencing all of the symptoms of what my friend Byron calls, "Grateful/Guilt Syndrome." I am so grateful for all of my blessings. I am overwhelmed with guilt about the same blessings when I hear about family, friends, or strangers in peril on the news.

The neighborhoods and area that was hit is all too familiar to me. I can picture some of it pre-tornado when I see the news footage.

I turn off the television.

I cry when I hear about the children and the brave teachers who literally put their life on the line for students; their life for a child whose name they may not know. Teachers in Newtown took bullets. A teacher took an entire car to protect children. The little ones who lost their lives weigh on my heart.

I think about what I was thinking while taking shelter in a cozy room of my amazing school a few miles away from the devastation in Moore. I know all of my teacher friends were thinking of who was nearest them in case we were in the line of a tornado. How can I save them? I was.

My heart is heavy friends, but it is also full of love. I know that we are in the hearts of the nation. That the prayers of our country pour into this state and flow over the wreckage of homes to be rebuilt and families that are in need of healing. It won't ever be like it was. Loss of loved ones is too substantial, and even though property can be rebuilt, the ghost of these recent events will be in the background.

I have awards to fill out, a classroom to clean, a summer check-list a mile long, and about 17 loads of laundry piled up. I can say with much sincerity, lucky me. Those things are routine and safe and normal. Little blessings:)

I look my Facebook feed and see pictures of cars full of bottled water, ready to donate. I see posts of people telling loved ones they are okay, that their phone has no service that the wifi allowed them to post updates. I see people recommending where to donate, how to donate, and how else to help.

In addition to local donations, I donated a resource to the Teacher's Notebook Relief Campaign. I thought my Theme Task Cards were a close enough fit, since they deal with the themes of friendship, citizenship, initiative, and other relevant concepts. I do wish the funds helped in Shawnee and Carney, Oklahoma as well. Go donate a lesson if you have a store. Buy the bundle of you can. 100% of proceeds go to local relief efforts to buy food, shelter, and resources. Or, donate to the local Red Cross. Hey, Kevin Durant did:)
Stay safe out there, my teacher friends. I sign-off knowing that my profession is one full of true superheroes. I am proud of what we do. We not only foster learning, but to keep children safe. I know you feel the same.
From "where the wind come sweeping down the plain,"

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