Friday, April 10, 2009

Murfreesboro, TN Tornado (Rutherford County)

I am shook up. I live in Murfreesboro, TN where the tornadoes hit heavy today. I went to pick up a teen that was working on a school project with my son. On our way home it started hailing, and I blew it off as no big thing. I laughed with my brother on the cell phone about being a "cool" mom that drove around in hail before it stormed...not that I planned it.

I pulled up as close as I could to the garage door, and we rain inside through the wind, rain and hail. Looking at the TV, we saw that the tornadoes were coming our way, Right our way! The streets the TV Weather Channels were naming where literally all around us.

My two teen sons and their two friends darted to the front porch to "watch" the storm. I ordered them in as lighthearted as a mom surrounded by tornadoes can be and told them that I at least wanted them in the house, in case the tornado hit. "It would be kinda irresponsible for me to tell your parents if you blew away in a storm that I was sorry I let you stay outside," I informed them as they got inside and I dead-bolted the door.

We went to the hall bathroom. Four growing teen boys are not going to fit in the bathtub! Three of the smallest stood in the tub and the other nervously stood close to the tub. I crouched down on the corner.

One of the boys said something about it being OK if we were hit because we were all going to heaven. I know the boys pretty well, but I figured I better ask quick, "Everyone is going to heaven right?" These boys all have grown up in the church so I didn't need to say much more to get right to the point. They all joyfully agreed, and then one of my sons began to speak.

He told us, "I'm sorry guys, this is my fault. I woke up at 3 am when it was storming last night and told God that I liked when it stormed. I actually told Him I could handle a disaster, so....I am sorry that I brought this on us." We all kinda laughed it off and waited about as long as four teens can...a minute...When we didn't hear anything, we went back to hear the TV reports. Then my son announced that he wanted to pray, so he prayed for us and confessed the arrogant way he spoke to God.

I quipped, "Hey, bet you wanted to get that off your chest. It would have been pretty bad, you probably couldn't have lived with yourself if one of us died." Everyone shrugged it off and we listen...well, not quite, I listened while the boys chattered loudly and threw jokes around. They were a little pumped with an adrenalin rush from the tornadoes that where still coming on toward us.

I tried to listen closely to the streets to make sure we were safe.

This all started about 1 pm. It surprises me now, 3 hours later, how blessed we were. And I am saddened, concerned and desire to hear from all of my friends. I have lived in Rutherford County for 16 years. I am wanting to know about hundreds of people.

Getting the dribbling in news reports can be worse, then actually being able to see what is going on. Every time a neighborhood or street is named by eye witnesses seeing damage we know someone that lives there and want to know if they are OK. I am starting to feel helpless. I called our church at 3pm, but got the "we are not here" recording. I signed up on-line to volunteer for the Red Cross, and sent a note to our Murfreesboro City Government office offering to help. I am a LPN, but thank God not many people are hurt.

The past six months, I have been walking through stage four lymphoma cancer with a dear girlfriend, who was my mentor from church a few years back. She just finished her chemo a week ago and is waiting another week before she has her scans and test to see the chemo results. Her neighborhood is reportedly hit hard. It seems the first two confirmed deaths are from her area. You gotta now how hard it is to not be able to talk to her. My heart is breaking. A friend that called me about 1 hour ago said her husband was checking on an older couple in that area. He couldn't even get down the main street that turns off the Hwy about a block from her subdivision entrance. So it is a waiting time.

I so badly want to get in the car and head down the street. Police have asked us to stay off the cell phones and to not leave our homes, so that they can get the search and rescue completed. Also we have been told that a lot of power and phone lines are down. Another one of our family's friends neighborhood reported that the power was completely turned off for safety reasons. And our Senior Pastor's neighborhood is reported to be leveled. Oh, God, please keep all of these people safe. We can rebuild buildings, structures of wood, brick, metal. But we can't bring people back to life. Storms, like these, can cause so much trauma, like what people experience in coastal hurricanes. Friends, families and churches need to be ready to help effective people though the trauma of natural disasters.

A friend driving on Hwy 96 by St. Andrews and saw the funnel cloud form. It went right pass Publix. It cut through neighborhoods. One of the tornadoes cut across I-24. My husband just called (at 5:12 pm). He just got off the interstate and is gassing up. He heard on the radio that our church, New Vision Baptist, on Thompson Lane is being set up as a red cross center. He heard from police reports that all of Tomahawk Street off of Haynes is leveled. There seems to be 100 homes at least in this area that are totally destroyed. The police are reporting the two deaths are a nine week old baby and 20 year old mom that lived on Haynes. The police also reported 7 critically injured.

Other people are reporting damage to property. Starting at the BP on the corner of Thompson and Murfreesboro Road (SR 70) there seems to be severe damage. Heavy tracker trailers and equipment from the building behind the BP are all tossed around. The New Office Building is ripped in half. The trees behind this area look like they have been mowed down. This appears to be where the tornado cut through to Tomahawk. The homes at the beginning of Tomahawk off of Haynes are wind-blown but not destroyed.

Today is Good Friday. There is a concert planned at our church tonight...a pretty big Christian Band, New Song. The lead singers family goes to our church. His neighborhood is one that has had the power turned off. I always questioned why in the world would we call the day Jesus was crucified, "good?" It always didn't seem to fit, even if we know that He rises on the third day. That is the way it is with God. What we mean for evil, He uses for good. What is stolen and destroyed, like locust ravaging crop fields, He restores. What is dead, He resurrects to life. The Bible tells us all these fact, just like it says, "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord." Somehow, someway, God brings beauty from ashes. That is way I love Him so much. He is the only true source of "hope we can believe in!" And you can take that fact to the bank! I, like many, have staked my life on my faith, believing God!

So say a prayer for all the families crying out in Murfreesboro, we will get through this and be a stronger community for it. I will update when I find out more. I will also bring you some real pictures.

I turned to look out my wouldn't believe what a beautiful day it sunny and clear the skies are! Life is full of paradoxes - as I look out of the top pain, seeing the still white fluffy clouds, it is hard to think just a few hours ago a deadly storm with maybe five tornadoes swept through my little city. I hope these skies remind everyone in our city of God and the hope He is bringing.


  1. I'm glad that y'all were alright!
    We had stormy weather in the early morning as well, and this afternoon when Dad dropped Rachel and me off at the college Library for me to pick up my books, the wind was so strong! The electricity went out at home for awhile and there were tornado watches/warnings all day. Our aunt, uncle and cousins were driving in town from Chattanooga, TN (we're having a family get together at our grandparents' house on Easter), so I'm glad they made it safely through despite the awful weather.
    The weather cleared up in time for Dad to take Mom out to eat for her birthday. :-)

  2. That storm passed through here too! We got bits of it early in the morning the rain pelted down so hard on my window, it woke me up and I literally JUMPED out of my bed. (Crazy, I know - but it sounded like the window was shattering or something.)
    So sad to hear that people died from the storm though :(

    I really like your new blog title, by the way!

    God bless,


  3. Glad you're safe. My daughter and a friend drove from UT Knoxville (they're both in grad school in architecture)home to Memphis yesterday, and passed through Nashville about an hour before the tornadoes hit Murfreesboro. Later I watched the news and gasped. May God bring you peace as you celebrate Easter.

  4. Glad your alright. I live on jester court. I can see the home of the lady and baby that died from my front porch. I thank God we were spared. The tornado was heading straight for our house. I had been watching the news and I am from california and I thought a warning meant to just keep a lookout and a watch meant one was on the ground like watch it, so I relaxed on the couch when warning signs flashed. I did wake my husband when the electricty went off. I said oh know maybe one is coming, because that happened the week before when it touched down on medical parkway. I heard a train sound, terrifying. I still have nightmares. My husband took the boys to a closet and I ran to the other closet. Our tree was split in half in front. When it passed he looked out and the slide from our backyard was floating in the air. What force. I kept screaming wait till 1:15 the man on the tv said the storm will pass through by then. I thought maybe another one is behind this one. My street dead ends straight on to sulpher springs and haynes. I looked out and saw her house was gone. There is one house in front of us on sulphur springs, the man that lived there said he stood by the door praying and it literally turned left in front of him, and then went up the road left and turned right onto haynes. It did not touch his house and our house is right behind him. Did prayer make it veer left, I think we all were praying, I thought this is the end of our lives. A aquaitance I see at yard sa


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