Hurricane Harvey Update

Tuesday, August 29th 

Hi friends.

If you follow me on social media, then you know my family and I live right outside of downtown Houston and we are currently dealing with the heartache that Harvey is causing as it wreaks havoc across our beautiful city.

We are so very fortunate to live in one of the houses that remains dry from flood waters. I haven’t actually left the house since Sunday morning, but last time I checked, the main roads to get me anywhere outside my house are completely underwater. But I’ll take being bored, cooped up, and a little stir crazy on my island of a home over being stranded, cold, and without much of anything like so many are. We really must pray for those people.

Anyway, I didn’t know if some of you all had seen my Instagram posts to let you know how we are fairing, so I thought I’d post here that we are good. Thank you for checking in with me to see how we’re doing. Again, no water in the house, just the streets. We still have electricity and water, and our food supply looks good. I know they are letting 75 people in at a time at the Kroger near us, so if we really needed more food, I believe we could make a trip.

I’ve had so many different emotions over the past few days. If you didn’t know, I am a Christian. When tragedies happen, I feel an odd sense of peace which is probably hard to explain to someone who doesn’t share my faith. But every time I’ve been through a major rough patch, I’ve always felt this sense of hope inside me. I know who holds me and the rest of the world, and I know to keep faith in His plan.

But there is some sadness and anxiety. Every now and then I feel a bit of anxiety due to claustrophobia and hydrophobia. I’ve been in a car during a flash flood before – last year driving to get a friend from the airport. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. (Even scarier than when I was in an actual car accident if you can believe it.) I remember the way the rain slammed my car and made it shake and I remember the fear that chilled my body as I lost my sight completely, only being able to see water and the faint flicker of my windshield wipers. So if you know me, you know I’m a huge scaredy cat of rain. Luckily (or unluckily maybe) I definitely can’t get out and drive this week, so I haven’t felt so anxious about that.

I thought I’d feel anxious about being stuck in the house, but I’ve actually been working from home for my internship as of yesterday. For those who don’t know, I work for Houston Public Media. We are the radio station FM 88.7 and if you’re in Houston and you tune in, you’ll hear my coworkers sharing Harvey updates and more. I know we have a show called Houston Matters where Craig Cohen is going live on the air to answer listener questions regarding the weather and disaster relief. I don’t work for the radio or TV (Channel 8 – Houston PBS) sector; I actually work in digital. This means I help post stories on our website. The website is usually full of a variety of stories from Texas Tribune pieces on the Special Session to the latest updates on Venezuela or North Korea, but right now it’s Harvey, Harvey, Harvey.

We have a current list of evacuations, a current list of shelters, information on local relief operations, FEMA information, and first-hand stories from Houstonians themselves. We are also posting all of this, as usual, to our Facebook pages and Twitter pages. 

It’s hard working in news because you have to look at the sad, broken parts of our world each day. I worked for HPM during the Manchester bombing, the Barcelona attacks, and other terrorist attacks that have happened outside of our country this summer. But it was always not so close to home.

Now I sit at home posting pictures of my own city in distress. Yesterday, I was instructed to call the Deputy Sheriff’s office for a fatality count.

It’s hard.

It’s hard watching the news and going, “Hey, that’s my friend’s neighborhood!” Or “Hey, that’s our old grocery store!” It’s devastating, and it’s hard to think about how long it will take to rebuild.

I hadn’t cried at all until yesterday evening. Cameron told me that my childhood church shared a video on Facebook of the sanctuary….completely underwater. I watched as the priest who normally is cheerful and joking walked solemnly up and down the pews, filming as the water reached the seat cushions of where I sat every Sunday and Wednesday evening as I grew in my faith life. I truly believe that church saved my life sometimes, and now I just wish I could save its life.

What makes me feel better during this time is to serve. I’m so thankful my job is allowing me to do that.

If you are in the Houston area or you know someone who is, go ahead and follow Houston Public Media on our Twitter and Facebook.

This is not self promo, I honestly believe in the quality of this information. The reporters I work with are doing an incredible job. My coworkers are up at 5 a.m. gathering information and they don’t stop posting until around 10 or midnight. And they live here. They are working while the water gets closer to their homes and while they try to entertain their young children who are stuck inside. I believe in this information and I know there’s a lot out there, so if you see something you think is helpful, don’t hesitate to retweet and share so it can be seen by many who may need it.

Now I’m going to share a few places you can donate if you wish to do so. There are obviously so many places to donate (which is great), and even the smallest amount will help.

I know for the local Houston shelters, they really need clothes (for all different sizes of bodies) and blankets. Also, diapers for babies. But it’s hard to get to these shelters because they are pretty much surrounded by flood water, but if you know of one in your neighborhood you can easily get to, don’t hesitate to go.

If you’re out of state or unable to leave your house like me, check these out:

Updated 9/23

I was contacted by some nice folks at Soundly music who shared a song with me by the group, Humming House. This song is called “Make it Through” and the group is using this sound to help Houston heal during this time of rebuilding.

Listen here:

Thanks for your prayers! We are Houston strong.