Sunday Grace: Blessings From Disaster

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
  Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
Philippians 2:1-4
It’s been 11 days since horrific storms ripped through the state of Alabama, leaving a path of destruction that one could have never imagined.  Our kids are finally returning to school as our little community here is still reeling from the destruction and asking that all important question, “WHY?”
I sure don’t have an answer, but this last week I do know that the future of our country is going to be OK.
A group of high school students in South Pittsburg (just a few miles away in Tennessee) completely and totally gave away a trip that they had planned to help the family of a young man who was killed in the tornados.  The young man was a classmate of my Madeline, so this story has really held her attention and meant so much to her.
FROM our Local News Channel in Chattanooga….
BRIDGEPORT, AL (WRCB)-  Students from South Pittsburg High School in Marion County, TN are coming to the aid of a storm-stricken family from neighboring Bridgeport, Alabama. The students raised two thousand dollars for an end-of-school-year trip to Tybee Island, but after last week’s tragic outbreak of storms, they have decided to cancel their trip and help a local family.  Here is more information from the Marion County Messenger: 
After the devastating storms that affected our area last week, one group of students at a local high school are ready to help aid storm victims, and in a very unselfish way.
Mary Kathrine Dawkins’ Transition/Life Skills class at South Pittsburg High School have been working hard all school year to raise money for an annual class trip.  At the end of each school year, Dawkins, and her assistant, Elizabeth Mount, accompany the class on a trip (usually to a nearby beach) to celebrate the end of school each year.  Some of these students have never had the opportunity to see the beach, much less travel until this trip.
This year the class worked hard to raise money by selling  soft drinks, making “spirit buttons” for school events and ball games, as well as putting their button-making skills to work to make campaign buttons at election time.  Their hard work resulted in the class raising $2,000, which they decided to use for a trip to Tybee Island, GA later this month.
With the news of last week’s storms and all of the local devastation, the class wanted some way to help victims of the storm from around our area.  They met Monday and unanimously voted to give the money to victims of the tornado that affected nearby Bridgeport, AL.
Teachers Dawkins and Mount gave their full support of their decision and went to SPHS Principal Allen Pratt to get final permission to continue with the wishes of the class, of which he obliged.
Mrs. Mount says she’s very proud of her students.  “They were thinking of others at this time instead of themselves.  It’s a true life lesson, and I’m proud of them.”
The class has decided to donate the money to a Bridgeport family who lost their 12 year old son in Wednesday’s storms.  The family’s home was also severely damaged, and the mother remains in an area hospital in critical condition.
The class hopes the money they raised will help this local family in their time of need to cover medical expenses and funeral expenses for their departed loved one.
When we told one local resident about the decision the class made, they summed it up best by saying, “In times like these with all of the bad press schools are getting around the nation, it’s good to see that we have raised a group of children in our community with big hearts and unselfish minds.”
South Pittsburg High Students
There is more to this story as the story got out, an anonymous donor gave money for the kids to take the trip and a hotel in Tybee offered them free rooms and meals so that they could take the trip anyway!
As I have seen young people work and pull together for the benefit of others by giving their time, it is clear that a lot of good is to come in their futures.



You hear a lot of negative talk about young people today, but all I can say is you really ought to get to know some of them before you speak.  They can teach us more than you could ever imagine.
If you want to help in anyway, please contribute to your local Red Cross or you can contribute to this nonprofit  organization out of Nashville, Church of Christ Disaster Relief.  These two groups have done wonderful things for our little state.

April’s Fury

It’s crazy how things can change in a matter of hours.  Yesterday I was full of excitement of the great weekend ahead of us: plans for a royal wedding tea party, soccer with my children, and the National Cornbread festival.  Today Audley & I have been all over our little community helping people pick up the pieces of what was their lives.
What started off as rain and severe thunderstorms in North Alabama turned into quite possibly the most frightening day of my life, as I stood on my front porch and watched this tornado form.
When I saw this form, I grabbed my kids and headed to safety, not waiting around to see how massive it was to become.  The size of it was to be discovered as we woke to complete devastation in our little town of 2,600.
From the road just behind our property to the small historic district on Battery Hill, devastation is everywhere.


You can see where trees just snapped


An entire neighborhood no longer exists, and another is severely damaged.




Little Country Church


This was a small horse stable with coral panels standing here yesterday 


Part of a subdivision completely wiped out


An 18-wheeler & other vehicles flipped over



Audley checking to see if our neighbor needed any help.


All that is left of a mobile home


One of the old historic homes on Battery Hill


Barn on the road behind us
We had very little damage; some flooding loss of shingles, etc…, but nothing like the damage our neighbors sustained.  There was even a child who lost his life.  Our whole community is in grieving.
Please keep our community, our neighbors and our beaten down state in your prayers.  Alabama was hit hard.  I know the local or national news isn’t really covering it, so I wanted you to know.  

You can copy & paste this link to see more of the devastation in Bridgeport…

An Open Letter….


Dear Rude, “Jersey Shore” Wanna-be’s at Flip Burger Boutique in Mtn. Brook,



from Jersey Shore


I would personally like to thank you for contributing to possibly the worst dining experience of my entire life this past Saturday night.  At first glance the fifteen of you looked like promising 20-something young people as you pulled up in your nice cars.  Then, you got out of those cars and completely ruined the evening for not only us, but for many other people wanting to enjoy dinner out.  Kenzie Grace and I were so excited that we could eat at Flip.  We timed our trip home from Auburn for that very purpose, but I wish we had gotten there earlier than 9:00 because it was definitely the wrong time for us to be there.
I don’t know which I found more offensive …… it might have been the chick in the dress so short that when she stooped down to pick up her purse for a trip to the ladies room that my 13 year-old daughter caught a glimpse of your butt cheeks (which were bare because you were wearing a G-string); or it might have been the excessive drinking of alcohol that began before you walked through the door and only got worse when you sat down.  You were loud, you were demanding, and you disturbed the restaurant with your vulgar language and diva-ish attitudes.
Jersey Shore girls (MTV)
Our poor waiter exhausted himself trying to cater to your every whim and still attempt to give us a nice dinner.  Every time he stopped by our table one of you grabbed him and pulled him away demanding he pay attention to you.  What really got me was when you complained that your food was taking too long.  Common sense says that when you are a group of fifteen, it will take time to prepare your food and have it sent up at the same time.
You got your food before we got all of ours (our fries didn’t arrive until the check did & I never got my salad),  and We were there first!
The waiter apologized for your behavior and for not being as attentive to us as he would like.  In reality you should have been apologizing.
I found it rather funny that you thought you were so beautiful, when in reality any one of you girls looked like you just walked in from a night on the local street corner.  It’s girls like you that have caused our younger generation of girls to disrespect themselves, dress like tramps, and turn to boys for self-satisfaction instead of God.  The way those guys with you were hanging all over you the image you were trying to create was successful.  I just bet your mothers are so proud of you.
As a mother of a young girl, I was disgusted.  And it will be a cold day in **** before my girls ever walk out the door for a date with the likes of you guys.  My girls deserve respect and honor, not to be pawed on and groped at the dinner table!

I did notice that we were not the only ones disgusted by your presence in Flip.  I got tickled watching another couple your age making fun of your diva attitudes, a group of guys from UAB were sitting nearby, mimicking and laughing at you, while the couple just older than me sitting behind us were just stunned by your behavior.  You got all of the attention you wanted, but none of it was out of respect.  Kenzie Grace was making fun of you on Facebook which stirred up quite the conversation.

If your behavior was this way because you felt you were entitled because you live a lavish life, just know, I paid for my dinner just as you did.  It was paid for with money that was rightfully earned, not given to me by Daddy and Mommy or charged on a credit card.  My life is and will continue to be more lavish than your own because I have been blessed with a fabulous husband and four beautiful children.  No amount of money, fancy cars, expensive clothes can ever beat that.

With your “kiss my ring” attitude you will never know this kind of lavish life and I feel sorry for you.

I know you will never read this letter, but I hope that my daughter learned from the evening …..  how NOT to act in public.  Respect for those around you (whether you know them or not) is a wonderful gift.  Maybe if you learned to have a little, you might receive some in return one day.
Jennifer Jones