My Oklahoma-Shaped Heart

Oklahoma

I’ve tried to start this post some 10 or 15 times but never really know what to say. I am heartbroken by the tragedy the struck Moore, Oklahoma in the form of a monstrous tornado yesterday afternoon, just one day after another significant tornado in Shawnee, Oklahoma…and less than a week after the tornadoes that ripped through Granbury, Cleburne and other parts of North Texas.  I can’t remember a tornado season like this in these parts.

After spending four of my best years of life in Oklahoma for college, the state, and particularly the Norman area (just south of Moore) will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s where I learned to live on my own, and to loosen up and enjoy myself more, and where I made the best friends I will EVER have…my forever friends. And because of that, I still have a lot of ties to the area. I guess what made yesterday’s tornado seem even bigger to me was realizing just how many people I love and hold dear were directly the path of that tornado’s destruction. My youngest sister, Caroline, is in school at the OU Health Sciences Center in OKC and she lives in Norman, her boyfriend’s parents and grandmother live in Moore, one of best friends, Ashley, lives on the Norman/Moore borderline…and that’s just to name a few of the many.

I was texting Caroline like a crazy, overprotective mother yesterday making sure she was safe and out of harm’s way. I was praying over Ashley’s storm cellar doors on Facebook….I was totally consumed by the enormity of this thing.  The photos of the devastation are almost mind-numbing. It doesn’t really seem possible. And then the children. Oh the children, Lord. I got home and just sort of dissolved into tears. I couldn’t help it.

OklahomaLRG

But just like good ol Toby Keith said, Moore (and really Oklahoma as a whole) is “strong and will persevere.” There is work to be done and rebuilding to start. What has happened cannot be changed. We can only learn from it and get on with it. We now have a duty to lift this community up in prayer, and to get down and dirty helping them rebuild and repair however we can. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • American Red Cross: Make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999,  donate online or over the phone at 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • Salvation Army: Make a $10 donation by texting STORM to 80888, donate online or over the phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers: Make a donation online .
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: Text FOOD to 32333 or donate online.

I know there are many more and I absolutely encourage you to share resources if you have them! I know sometimes it’s hard to know how to help when something like this happens. Take it from me, with my non-profit experience, if you have any money to give I PROMISE that is the best thing right now. That way they can get the items they most need, and the people who are trained in recovery and cleanup can do the work they are made to do.

My heart is with you, Oklahoma!

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