Wednesday, May 12, Evan celebrated his 33rd birthday. Thirty-three years ago, I was sitting in a waiting room at Kaiser Hospital in Fontana as Sondra gave birth. Evan has been a source of joy and fun for these many years. Last night he wanted to eat at P.F. Chang's so we met there for his birthday dinner. There were seven adults and one baby: Evan and Callie, Crystal and Shawn (and Bailey), plus me and Sondra and her brother Alden. It was a fun time, with the portions ordered large enough for us all to try some of each platter even though we all ordered a separate dish for entree. It made it more special as Evan was given his birthday cards and gifts there too.
Evan is preparing to leave this morning (Thursday) for a company trip to the state of Washington for his work. He will be driving a company truck with trailer that hauls the mobile steel processing machinery that he runs. In the past, they would send two workers on this kind of trip, but with the economy and cost-cutting measures they are only sending one person (Evan).
I called both Marti and mom yesterday morning. I wanted to get the latest update on their tornado experience. Marti said their house in Tecumseah was not touched, nor was anything in the yard damaged. They lost power for over a day. Just three blocks away, houses were destroyed and splintered. It seems the tornado's path was Highway 9 from Norman through Tecumseh to Seminole. She and Bill saw first-hand the awesome power of a tornado's movement on land, as they drove around later. Their church is doing some personal assistance to those whose lives have been greatly affected.
Mom lives in Potawatomi senior housing in Shawnee and did not even experience power outage. She was able to see the destruction as reported on the news immediately. One of her best friends from church (a lady named Shirley) had her house completely destroyed by the fury of the winds and hail the size of softballs. The church mom attends in Tecumseh had all its windows blown out, except for the stained glass windows in the sanctuary. The bus barn for the Tecumseh school district was in the path and 19 buses had their windows blown out and schools were closed for damage as well as bus repairs.
Jason and Shelly had little damage, but had some friends whose house was totally demolished. When I talked to little Kylee on the phone the night of the tornado, their power was out. When I asked her what it was like, she said, "It's pitch black here." I said, "When you put your hand in front of your face, can you see your fingers?" She replied, "Nope." Their power is back on now and they are trying to help friends who were affected.
Sondra is doing well with her tutoring work. Her extra class of teaching English to Spanish-speaking parents of school children is completed. She goes in tomorrow for a colon screening procedure at Kaiser, just a routine exam. She has taken care of Bailey quite a bit this week, as Bailey has had an ear infection.
As for me, the Census job is keeping me busy. With my promotion to OOS (Operations Office Supervisor), I have been asked to work a different shift to assist the production output. Today and tomorrow, I work the afternoon shift (basically 4 pm to midnight). Because of the workload of processing paperwork, we may go to three shifts. If so, I have volunteered to be assigned the 4am - noon shift. All of this impacts my time for church work, and many of the men we have ordained in the past years will be doing some of the Wednesday Bible studies and other ministry tasks. God has prepared quite a few to be of great help in this time of my ministry when I need to work a temporary secular job at the U.S. Census Bureau office.
As the unofficial chaplain of Coronado Stone, I have been asked to counsel and spend time with a couple who both work there in Fontana at the manufacturing plant. They are my friends from when I was working there as Human Resources manager quite a few years ago. The wife is dealing with the time of life when her mom has been sent from a hospital to a rehab center, with the diagnosis that her mom will not live much longer. This wife is also helping her husband deal with a life-threatening disease these past couple of years. They have four children, ages 3 to 16. They had Sondra and me over for dinner last Tuesday evening so we could talk about things that will be faced in the days ahead.
God still supplies all our needs and gives us strength to meet any challenges and hurts in life. I can attest to that personally. What a marvelous God who made us, sustains us and awaits us to an eternal home with him.