Freeze frames of lightning bursts through dash cam video

Nashville had a doozy of a storm come through the other day, and of course I was caught driving in it. Not fun! But! I did manage to capture beautiful lightning through my dash cam video. Take a look!

Nashville 10/06/2019

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Surviving Hurricane Andrew: 25 yrs ago today

It was one of the scariest nights of my life. The house was shaking. Water pouring in. Trees blowing sideways like they were Lincoln Logs. Huddled under a mattress not knowing how this would end. But as frightening as it was in the wee hours of Monday morning, just a day earlier couldn’t have been more different.

Put on your tie, it’s time for church.

We were new to Miami, having moved there from Stafford, Virginia only a couple weeks prior to this particular Sunday. So what does a church-going family do when they arrive to a new town? They try out churches, of course. We dressed up in our Sunday best, only this time we arrived to a church with no people. We soon found out the church was “closed” because of the approaching hurricane. Closed on a Sunday!? What is this, Chic-Fil-A? What’s going on here? Weird, I thought. But no church? Hot diggity dog!

I know, it’s terrible that I was excited about that.

Sunday afternoon went pretty normal. A few hundred feet from our house on the Coast Guard base in Miami, Florida, my brother and I and our new friend John played tennis. A mild breeze, partly cloudy. A beautiful August Sunday. All the schools were about to begin the new year, including where my brother and I were brand new students, a private institution called Westminster Christian School.

The weather people got it wrong.

The weather people down here must be crazy. I mean, it’s a beautiful day and they keep talking about a huge storm coming. Have they looked outside? There can’t be a hurricane coming, I thought. How bad can it be, I thought. Little did I know they were not wrong, they were not crazy. They were very right about the dangerous weather that was about to hit south Florida.

hurricane-andrew-satellite

Evening came and still all was calm. At home that night was myself, my brother, my mother, and our dog Belle, the wonder dog. My two sisters were about 8 hours north in Tallahassee because one was starting her freshman year of college and the other was on a mini vacation. My dad, a captain in the United States Coast Guard, was called in to head up a search and rescue team, preparing for action once the storm hit, and for the aftermath. They were based in an underground shelter at the Cape Canaveral shuttle center. Check out some of his storm recollection here.


Predictions had the storm making landfall in the middle of the night, so we went to bed not really knowing what to expect at our house.

Boom.

The storm hit somewhere around 2 or 3am and it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. My brother, mother, and I gathered with Belle and were shocked at what we were witnessing. It was pitch black outside, but what we could see were trees flying by our sliding glass doors. Sideways rain and wind blowing so fast. Our screened-in porch, well, we didn’t see that because it was gone. OK, at this point I’m starting to believe the little weather thing they’ve been talking about might be serious. We had the radio on, listening to Bryan Norcross.
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Based on his expert advice for surviving a hurricane like this, we all climbed into the bathtub and tried to hold a mattress over us. Then we moved to the hallway and laid down side by side, three-wide. I was laying with my left side pressed up against the wall, and I kid you not, the entire wall was rumbling, moving side to side, the power of the storm shaking the entire house. We had the mattress above us, also trying desperately to keep hold of Belle, by her collar. She was obviously spooked by the weather, and kept pulling away from us. Eventually we let her go and she found safety under a chest cabinet in one of the bedrooms.

Then we felt wind blowing. Never good when you’re inside a house. And remember, it’s the middle of the night so it’s really hard to see anything. Was the roof coming off? Was the house about to be blown away? I had no idea.

Thankfully things calmed down, the radio advising to stay alert, though, because this was just the eye of the storm. In other words, we were only halfway through.

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Storm damage in the area from Hurricane Andrew

We were ready to hunker down again after a quick assessment of the damage. There was a hole in the roof, a hole in the kitchen wall. Water on the kitchen floor. The porch blown away. Backyard fence missing in action. Then the good news… we weren’t in the eye of the storm, the storm was over! As it turns out the Coast Guard base was just outside the path of the eye, so there was so much damage to homes and buildings basically next door to the base. I became very thankful for government housing, our home being built well enough to withstand this historic hurricane.

The next day we began cleanup around the base and also began wondering about how we would get food and water. Well, remember how my dad was preparing for the worst? The Coast Guardsmen showed up with water buffalo trucks so we could all have clean water to drink. Truckloads of Gatorade. Canned food like tuna and spaghetti o’s.

They were heroes to all of us.

Hi there, don’t worry about unpacking, your stuff is about to be blown around town. -Andrew

All in all, it was an unique and peculiar way to be welcomed to Miami. And on top of that, school was supposed to start that week! It didn’t. Public school started a couple weeks later, and at Westminster, it took a full 6 weeks to get things back in order. So I guess, as a middle schooler, that can be seen as a silver lining?

-Out of the Wilderness

Flood, Pain and Prayer

It was the summer of 2010 and Nashville just experienced a 500-year flood that devastated houses and families.

There were many opportunities to get involved with the clean-up effort; through churches, charity efforts, and even places of employment encouraging employees to help by lending a hand in the hardest hit areas. The building where I work lost power for the entire week after the flood so once I caught up on my own long overdue yard work, I volunteered in neighborhoods needing assistance. At one house, I helped pull up soaking wet carpet. At another I helped with a washer/dryer extraction. One task was simply sweeping water out of a kitchen into the backyard. Joining in with some other folks, I helped take torn up drywall out to a trash pile near the street. At this house, we had two wheelbarrows, one with a flat tire. Some may say it’s because I’m awesome, others may say it’s because I’m double awesome, but I used the one with the flat tire, without gloves and pushed it up hill in the snow. That makes me a triple threat guy. Ok, I had gloves. And there was no hill. Or snow.

The wheelbarrow rolled well enough until the flat tire hit a hole in the ground and immediately came to a halt. The problem was that I kept walking. My shin was pierced by a screw from the wheelbarrow. Yes it hurt. Yes it bled. A friend nearby had a first aid kit and was more than willing to attend to my new wound. Here’s how it went down before she applied ointment:

Me: Is this going to hurt?
Her: Yes.
[pause]
[pause]
Me: Ok, go.
[cuss word]

In the few seconds between anticipation of pain and actual pain, I was able to prepare for what would happen next. And if it pleases the court, I’d like to make clear there was no cuss word, that was a joke.

That experience has finally served as a good example of how to handle the storm I’m currently in the middle of. This little storm started and I didn’t have time to prepare, just like my leg and the wheelbarrow. But as the rain falls and the thunder rolls, I’ve made time to seek shelter. If nothing else good comes from this storm, I can at least treasure the shelter and perhaps remember that the Lord loves me enough to carry my burden when all I can imagine happening is me crumbling. There will be resolution to this storm, the suffering will pass. It says so in the Bible: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Either this statement is true, or none of the Bible is true. So I’m going to, again, take my chances that once the storm passes, it will still just be a storm. But me? I’ll be restored (which is enough) but then I’ll also be stronger, more firm, and more steadfast than ever before. That’s where I win and the storm loses. So when the next one comes, guess what my prayer will be?

Me: Is this going to hurt?
Lord: Yes.
[pause]
[pause]
Me: Ok, go.
[cuss word]
[just kidding]