Many of you have been emailing me sending me well wishes on Ike. (thank you for your concern) For those of us who live down south we know and understand that hurricane's are a part of life in South Florida. Now this is something my family and I DO NOT take lightly. We lost our home and all of belongings when we rode out Hurricane Andrew in our home at the time. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I will never forget my mother singing throughout the night and praising GOD...(Gosh to this day it gets me)...she praised HIM for HOURS and HOURS. The wind would blow and this horrible noise (sounded like a train whistle at time) kept coming at us for those long hours. We never expected what came upon us. The truth is, neither did the forecasters. They thought it was going further up NORTH. I clearly remember the weather being absolutely BEAUTIFUL that Sunday morning....yet come Sunday night...that was another story. The wind picked up and it began getting stronger. The lights went out and shortly after, we heard the first explosion. It was the first window to shatter and (gosh gang..I haven't spoken about this for a really long time and my tears are rolling down my cheeks)...anyway, my dad began to scream and push us all into the utility room. He grabbed a twin mattress and kept it against the door that lead to the outside and my Mom held another mattress against a small utility window in that tiny room. ALL NIGHT. They held those mattresses ALL NIGHT. My mom did not stop praising GOD. She kept singing and kept all of us from loosing control. The windows exploded one by one. Yet, mom kept her family united in one thought...and it was really all about our Saviour. We heard the most ominous sound of something tearing in half yet, Mom kept us focused and even though all 7 of us were petrified, she kept the faith. The wind became a part of the house and you could hear this being devouring our home. You could hear glass break, explosions of unknown sources, objects hitting each other, and wondering what was that breaking sound. We were in a pitch black room and all you could hear was this animal destroying our sanctuary, but you also heard my mothers voice. It was strong, with a mission and it never wavered through that terrifying night. She later told us that she was falling apart...but the truth is, that as I think about it, all I heard was strength, power wisdom and FAITH in her voice. It was the longest night of my life. When Dad and I walked out of the room around 7:40am....(everyone else waited because we weren't sure what to expect) my heart fell. All the windows were gone, the sofa was gone! The wall that connected my sister's room had come apart...as in not attached..as in IS THIS REAL? There was a door in the middle of my room, a gap in the roof, mom's room was destroyed, there was water damage....I still see it vividly and still can not believe something like that can really happen. As we all came out of the utility room, we all began to feel the shock and the overwhelming feelings that accompany someone who is the middle of a crisis. Our home was destroyed. We lost everything of material wealth including, furniture, clothes, home goods, everything that makes a home...well, the house itself was considered a total loss. Yet in spite of all the loss and the sorrow we went through...my family survived. We learned a lot. It was a slow painful recovery, as expected when destruction hits communities on such a large scale. It took us years to reconstruct the house we called home. Dad and mom purchased another house and we continued the journey of life. I am sharing this with you all because it is a serious matter. We must be cautious and prepare for the worst but not forget that in all this we serve a GOD that will take care of us and lead us in times of trouble and danger. With that also comes responsibility as we must take action and prepare as good stewards should. The biggest lesson I learned was: Everything can be replaced except: PEOPLE, PETS and PICTURES. I have you all in my prayers, and I ask all of you to keep us in yours.