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Come heck or high-water……after the flood….

Two Thursday’s ago, I woke up to my Hubby yelling, “Jen, we have water, the downstair’s is flooding!”

Something woke him up around 3:30am and he heard  water running. I ran down stairs in my pj’s, at that time it was about 8 inches high in our sub-level family room. There was a current. At that time we thought it was just us. We have never been through  flood an almost didn’t know what to do.We panicked and started calling family and some wonderful neighbors at 3:45 am who cam to our rescue with pumps and hoses and at one point when we lost power, a generator.

I threw on some rubber boots and started throwing everything up to the top of the stairs that we could. That sub-level is our family room, our laundry room, a bathroom and a crawl pace with our furnace.We live, watch TV, and hang out there. Our guests have slept on that sofa sleeper,and the kids spend a good part of their play time there. We managed to save some of the kids toys, books, some pictures and a few other things that I hurriedly chucked up the stairs. The water came up so fast after about 8 minutes I had to get out and we just had to watch it fill up.

What we didn’t realize at the time is it wasn’t just us with out a working sump pump. All along our street, everyone was getting 1-2 feet of  storm water and just a half mile away, the river was breaching a weak point at some construction area and filling homes up with 8 to 9 feet of water. People had to be rescued on boats. This was the same week as the Texas fertilizer explosion and the Boston bombings. It was like it was the apocalypse was happening.It was a rough week for the nation.

Luckily, through the entire thing, we had several amazing neighbors who were willing to answer their phones at 3:45 in the morning. This is one of those times I really wished my Dad was still here. He would have known what to do. It’s funny that at 41 years old,there are still things I have no clue what do to or how to handle. We just stood there watching water rise. One of our amazing neighbors (New block captain!) who’s house is at at the top of the hill (reminder next house…top of a hill.), brought us down a few back up sumps and extension cords.We managed to throw  a pump in every window and keep up with the water so the highest it crested was about 2 feet and it settled finally at pumping at about a foot and a half for about 5 hours until it stopped raining, and the pumps could actually catch up. Our main sump pump had failed at some point, and we have  a smaller battery back up that kept going, but it was just too much water.

As we went outside in the rain and the dark to check the pumps, we noticed neighbors doors opening and people running cords and hoses. We all got water. We are at the bottom of  a hill, but we aren’t the lowest point.Our home has never had water, not even seepage. In fact in the 13 years we’ve lived here we have NEVER gotten  any water in our sub-level at all. Our neighbors who have lived here over 30 years even said they don’t remember our house ever flooding, even in the last big flood.
It’s humbling to be on the receiving end up help instead of giving.It’s also hard to accept help. When people called that day to ask if we needed it, my pride almost made me say no, but I knew it was too big of  a job for us to handle ourselves, so I said yes.
Sometimes, you have to say yes to help, even if you don’t want it.
The amazing thing is the way the Lord has brought us so many blessings during this. We consider ourselves lucky because there are so many people in our area who have already had FEMA red-tag their homes and they can never go home. We have friends still at extended stay hotels and living with other neighbors. I served at church dinner for flood victims Wednesday night because our church is still hosting 20-25 people who are currently homeless and don’t even know if they can go back. I know many people who were in Hurricane Sandy are still people displaced from there too. It’s sad when you can’t go home.
We cried a lot that first week. You just can’t believe it happened to you. You are almost gun-shy and every noise you hear makes you jump. There were people garbage picking our dumpster and curbside and you just want to scream “Seriously people, that was poo water.”Your stomach hurts and your mind reels, and you are so very tired. I was actually sick for a while from the water and had to get antibiotics.Your life is in complete chaos and it just doesn’t feel like your home anymore. You’ve thrown out everything that had made it your home.
But the thing is, we were still blessed.
We could stay in our house. We can fix most everything eventually.We had amazing help from friend  who had the entire level gutted to the studs by 9pm that night so we could disinfect and dry out….and even strangers. I had one person anonymously leave an envelope with a gift in it for me at the place I sell. It’s incredible how the Lord has seen us through this, and works through other people. And how our church, other churches, and the community have rallied around people in need. The people who have been guest posting for me have been incredible, and it’s been such a huge help for me. I hope I can return the favor someday under less dire circumstances.

And thank you all of your kind support too. We’ve had amazing support on the blog, Facebook and e-mails,and amazing blog friends do things like drop off fans and cookies and post for you on Facebook so your stats don’t drop… I am so thankful, and so blessed.I am also looking forward to getting back to normal and re-entering the real world in the next few weeks.
My hubby and I have hashed over some of the really hard times we’ve had together  since we’ve been married: My Dad dying, and then my sister in law. Trying to help my brother raise his two little girls that first year and a half, health problems, having a child with issues, kitchen pipes exploding, and big financial drains that just as we thought we were just getting ahead, and then something kicked us hard in the rear and we were pushed back down again. The thing is, they were so, so hard, but we’ve made it through them all. It’s so easy to get down about it, but I think instead we should be proud. We’ve stuck through it together,sometimes even when I think one or the other of us wondered if we could, because it was just too hard. But the two of us are still here,still standing together, ready for the next thing.When you are going through something so awful, it’s so hard to see that it will ever be better, but the thing is, it is, and it does. One minute you are knee deep in your neighbors poo, and the next it is two weeks later and you are enjoying the little things. Life moves on; wonderfully so.
Today, our new washer and dryer came. Oh my gosh, when I pulled out that first load of lavender scented, warm, clean clothes it was heaven. I actually put them to my face and took in a deep breath.
I am so blessed.

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58 Comments

  1. Oh Jen…..how terrible. The pictures of your lovely home brought tears to my eyes! But you have learned something that MANY people never learn….material possessions, as much as we love and cherish them, cannot compare with the people and relationships in our lives. One can be replaced (and will) …….the other never can.Sending blessings you’re way!

  2. That’s awful that you’ve gone through such an awful time! Thank God for your friends and family to help you-you’ve got a great, thankful attitude!
    Susan

  3. Wow! Obviously, Someone nudged me to read your post. I am sorry to say I haven’t been around for a bit (hanging head in shame!) as my own life has been one battering episode after another..since this past October. I’m still on that upward climb but do know that the crest of the hill is up there somewhere. And I’ll get there and enjoy the walk back down on the other side. I wake up and thank God for the day He has given me and for the little signs of support along the way. Such as your post. I am so very sorry for the all the troubles you went through with this past flooding. What a nightmare for sure! Here’s to hoping you’ve finally reached the “crest of your hill” and it will be easy walking on the way back down! xo

  4. My goodness, how horrible. What an incredible testimony you are, though, and blessing to so many others through it. Hoping things are back to normal soon:-)

  5. I am so, so sorry for what you and your neighbors have been through. It humbles me, too, to see people helping people in hard times. I hope and pray your lives get back to normal soon, as well as those that have been displaced.

    XO,
    Jane

  6. Jen,
    Your struggle really has touched my heart. I feel for you and pray for you. You have been through a lot and it is so inspiring to see that you are coming out of this so well and in a positive frame of mind. I know you will make a beautiful living space again where the old one was. It is wonderful to have so many friends and family to help you through this amazing journey.
    Kris

  7. Jen, Oh how I know how you are feeling! Been there, done that but not to the same extent. Our town here in Indiana as well as several others were hit as well. It made my heart literally break as the area hit the hardest in our area was a nice neighborhood which offered good rentals to lower income families… virtually all of those homes have been devastated…. some beyond repair. Some of these families have no where to go and are now staying at the rescue mission. But it also does my heart good to see our community come together! To reach out and help each other! The donations that are flooding in, the volunteers who started up their boats and helped folks out of their home, drivers who pulled cars out of rapidly flooding streets… volunteers helping total strangers empty basements of a life time of living. Praying for your community as well because I know you all were hit even harder than we were! Just know that we continue to lift you all up in prayer!! ( and continue to help out how we can…)

  8. This is a wonderful testimony of the grace of God in your life over the years. He gives it when we need it, not the day before or the day after, but always right on time!
    Mary Alice

  9. Oh my god ! Hope you feel a little better now. Receive all my prays and thoughts from France, where rainings alerts are on to day..
    Excuse me with the emotion at the reading of your post I’m not able to write very clearly because of language barrier. But I’m so so sorry for you all.
    Many many kisses

  10. Hi Jennifer – please know that you and your family and everyone in the flood areas are in my thoughts and prayers. I just started following your lovely blog and am so sorry to hear about the flood.

    I would like to donate a gift card and can be reached at erinsart@ca.rr.com.
    Blessings,
    Erin

  11. Wow, Jen. I can’t believe it was so crazy. Praise God that you are all safe and that He has enabled you to smile again. Take care.

    Rachel

  12. Wow, what a difficult thing to go through! You’re right though, we just have to keep walking THROUGH those valley times and with God’s help we do get through them. May God bring great blessing to you out of this!

  13. I am so sorry to hear about your flooding. I can only imagine what a horribly difficult time this has been for you. We had a flood in our house years ago from a broken pipe under the kitchen sink – it was “raining” in our walkout, and our wood floors upstairs were all damaged – but that does not even remotely compare to what you are going through. God Bless you and your neighbors. I can imagine many tears of frustration.

  14. I know this was a terrible thing to go through, but you’re right – you were blessed that you had the help of neighbors and friends to get you through this. Our basement flooded a few years ago and then again when yours did…though not nearly as bad as yours, we didn’t have any help and had to call a restoration company both times. Our contractor still needs to come and put up new moldings, drywall, trim, etc.

    My hubby and I have been married 28+ years and have been through some horrible things as well ~ the death of his mother only 6 wks after we got married (she was only 51); the death of my father 14 years ago; a horrible car accident resulting in the death of someone involved in the accident; financial problems; my two major surgeries; drug and alcohol problems with a child; and the worst ~ the death of our oldest child 3-1/2 years ago. If we can get through all this so far, then we can get through anything. So can you and your hubby. God bless.

  15. Oh wow. I am so, so sorry :(. We had a flood here a few years ago when the river rose 30 feet and entire basements filled with water. We were miraculously spared, but it just broke my heart and I cried and cried to see our neighborhood in that state. Praying for recovery and glad you have been blessed through the nightmare.

  16. How awful! A terrible big mess to go through…somehow I know that area of your house will end up being gorgeous when you redo. So sorry you have to go through this. I know having been through natural disasters myself, the best thing about it is how everyone pulls together and you find out that people really do care about you.

  17. Oh Jennifer, I know the pictures do not really do it all justice, so devastating for you and your family. I will continue praying for you all and the rebuilding process ahead for you. So happy to hear that you had helpful friends and neighbors who were there for you. You are right, that is so humbling, but they are the hands and feet of Jesus at moments like this. I pray the days ahead will become brighter with each one. Thank you for sharing this with us and reminding us all that bad things can happen to us all, but there is always hope for tomorrow. I pray the Lord will provide for all your and your neighbors and friends needs. Blessings, Linda

  18. My gosh! While all of us were glued to the tv all week with the Boston bombing, you all were suffering your own hell. I’m so sorry. Thanks for sharing your positive attitude with us.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Jen! It will be an encouragement to others, I’m sure. We had a sump pump issue that left 6 inches of water in our basement for about 10 days this winter while we were on a trip. What a shock to come home, too! Hang in there!

  20. Jennifer,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank goodness you have such loving, supportive family and friends to help you all through this upsetting time. I think you have a great attitude, despite this hiccup…thank goodness stuff can always be replaced.
    Blessings,
    Sarah

  21. Jen, I want to cry just looking at the pictures, I can’t imagine if it was my home and happening before my eyes. I can understand not knowing what to do, I would be the same way. It sounds like you have wonderful friends and neighbors to help you. That in itself is a testimony to what type of person you are. I sure hope to meet you one day, maybe at a blog conference. Kathy

  22. OMG! You are still truly blessed since it could have been so much worse!!!!! Keep your chin up and forge on dear, this is a big blessing in disguise. 🙂

  23. June, I am so inspired by your positive attitude at a most difficult time. I love that you are focused on the blessings surrounding you. Thinking of you.

  24. hey chickadee! I dont know what my heart leaped out for more the fact that Ive been through loosing home in a hurricane or that someone else has to be struck with this horrible thing. I wish I was rich and powerful so I could help so many people who loose their homes. It was when we lost our home that we knew that our marriage could and would make it through anything. Dealing with fertility issues, family problems, moving at least 10 times our first 6 years of marriage due to job transfers, and then loosing our home.. it hit us that wow we really dont need all this stuff we had each other and when we laid down on the blow up bed in his parents out door kitchen, that we knew we would be okay and God always had and still has a plan and a place for us to be! Funny thing is that now I look back and think…I am so happy we got a “fresh” start because I know what matters now! We are so happy( just moved again and still no babies) and living everyday to the fullest and thanking the Lord for every moment we have because you just never know what will happen and what will be taken from you. I will be praying for you but honestly I know that your already blessed and that God has your back! You seem to have an amazing hubby and support team aka family and friends who will be there with you till the end and believe me thats all your going to need because it ALL seems to fall into place the money, the new home(room in your case), and the things you cant replace like pics(family had some of ours but that was the hardest thing I dealt with loosing). If you need a shoulder to cry or even vent on! I am here! I know you dont know me from Adam but were sisters in Gods eyes and I am always here for my sisters!!! I hope you and the family can return to 100% normal life soon!!! BIG BIG BIG and DRY HUGS!!
    Toodles-
    Sarah

  25. No words… I’ve tried to write this comment multiple times, but I’m at a loss for what to say…

    May each day be better than the day before.

    Judith

  26. This sucks, plain and simple. We made it through Sandy. We had warning, we were prepared, we were scared shitless (it’s okay to drop “s” bombs and even “F” bombs if you have been through a natural disaster. I just declared this law). I can’t imagine waking up without warning and having to spring into action–unprepared. It certainly puts everything into perspective and most certainly makes you appreciate your first responders and volunteers in your community. Good luck to you, although you won’t need it. You are a survivor, clearly. 😉

  27. Jen,

    I am so glad you are all alright, the other things, while awful, can all be fixed or replaced. I lived through a flash flood in NC a few years back as well as Hurricane Sandy this year so I understand how scary it can be. Fortunately, I didn’t have the damage you are dealing with. I know you are strong and have faith that will help see you through this. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you, and your entire community. This is something you will be dealing with for some time to come, but if you all pull together you will be amazed at the strength you find.

    God bless you always,
    Maureen

  28. Oh Jen! What a horrible thing to go through! I had no idea you were going through this. Life really is a rollercoaster ride, isn’t it. I’m glad to hear that you are on the upswing of this, and that you and your husband still appreciate the blessings that you do have. I pray that things get smoother for you. Take care! Linda

  29. Jen…so glad you’re getting back up on your feet. I’m sure you were all frightened beyond belief and it doesn’t matter that your 41 or 57(my age) I still think if my Dad were here he would know what to do!
    Your thankful heart is what will get you through!
    Blessings,
    June

  30. Oh Jennifer I am so sorry I cannot imagine what it has been like for you and your family and so many others dealing with a flood.But yes like you we have been through some trying times.And although it is hard God will see you through it.He will be your light and guide you every step of the way!
    xx
    Anne

  31. I feel just sick for you, looking at the pictures, and thinking about all the big and little things lost that mean so much to us.
    Just to share–While out of town, my home was very badly burglarized and just trashed. It took the longest time to feel safe and cOMFortable in my home again. But it happened–and eventually, I quit crying over the loss of so many treasures (family jewelry and antiques).
    Apparently God thinks you are made of steel to put you through such challenges–a testament to your character.
    Know that your family and neighbors are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Catherine

  32. If you need anything from us far away blog fans, let us know. Do you need things for your family? Do you need supplies, art supplies, etc.? Please let us know, you know we are all “hoarders” but we just display it in a cute way! We all have extras of everything and can help. So just post the S. O. S.

    Hang in there.

  33. Jennifer, so sorry you had to go through this. We’ve been through it but our basement was unfinished at the time, just used for storage. Nevertheless, it was no fun.

    Hang in there!

    Polly

  34. Wonderful post Jennifer! So glad you have people who rally around you to help out. So sorry about the loss of your stuff – I know it’s just stuff – but it’s the stuff that makes your house your home and it’s hard when you have to lose it. Prayers and hugs!

  35. God bless you, Jen & your family. You are incredibly strong!
    Thank you for sharing your hardship….I know that had to be difficult.
    Enjoy all the small things……xoxoxo

  36. Thanks for such an inspiring post, Jen. May God be with you and your sweet family as you progress on to get all back to normal. One thing is for sure, it will be something for your children to tell their children and to share how they survived and were stronger yet for it.

  37. So glad you are okay and recovering. I’ve been through two floods- rising water during hurricanes. It is devastating and overwhelming. The support of friends and family is a blessing 🙂

  38. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about all of this. While I’ve never been personally flooded, I helped people recover after the floods in Nashville three years ago. It was incredible how damaging and horrible a flood can be. I’m praying for your recovery!

  39. Hi! I am a new reader. I finally sat down to visit the blogs from when you were published in Somersets artful blogging. Your blog is a delight to visit! I am so sorry to see what you guys have had to endure. You have an amazing attitude and this was sad to read but also so inspiring. Thank you! Will keep you and your family and community in my prayers.

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