17 Sep Stay or Go? Oh No Flo!!
Coastal South Carolina was one of the areas evacuated during the recent intrusion of Hurricane Florence, or Flo as some people are calling the storm. Earlier this week, when authorities alerted everyone in our area to leave now, our family had to make decisions and make them quick. Hotel rooms were booked far away from the forecasted storm zone. Suitcases were packed. Supplies purchased. Medicines stored in waterproof containers. The usual hurricane checklist was followed.
Alan and I grew up in coastal Virginia so hurricanes were familiar to us. When we married, we moved to the mountains. Snow and ice became our constant winter concern. Last year, moving back to the coast brought back memories of hurricanes and tropical storms. We had moved from wind and rain to snow and ice, back to wind and rain.
Making the decision to evacuate still prompted questions. “Should we stay? Should we go? What is the right thing to do?” Prayers all around. We left town.
The sights along the evacuation route will stay with us forever. Lanes on I-26 reversed so all traffic headed away from the coast. Extra “port a potty” stations were set up at all rest stops. Pallets of bottled water were available at each rest stop. National Guard vehicles and personnel drove to their gathering destination. Ambulances lined up 5,6,7,8 in a row headed to help. Police monitored each intersection. We are thankful to all the rescue personnel, volunteers and prayer warriors.
Finding our hotel in another town, we settled into the room. Dinner at a local restaurant was a nice way to calm after the stress of trying to move away from Flo.
On our trip to and from home, every person we encountered was friendly and comforting. From the servers at restaurants, to people at rest stops, to hotel staff, each person greeted us with smiles and friendliness. No one was grouchy or unfriendly. Compassion was being shown to everyone.
Of course, we did enjoy some laughter, along with some trying moments. When we finally ventured back home, roads were still closed so we had to take alternate routes on back roads. Thank goodness for directions on the phone and the highway detour signs.
As we traveled through small towns, we started noticing vehicles lined up on each side of the road. The speed limit lowered in each town and we were able to notice the cars and the people. Along with cars lined up pointing toward the road, we also noticed people sitting on their front porches. They were waving!
Watching the detour traffic was big excitement for the little towns! Several towns greeted the “detour traffic” with waves and honks. Now, that is small town living. 🙂
We are happy to be back home and we continue to pray for everyone and every animal affected by the hurricane.
Have you ever had to make quick decisions? Have you experienced a hurricane or other weather event that caused stress? God is with us in all situations. In times of worry, lean to Him. He is waiting for you.
Shepherdess for the KingPosted at 12:34h, 17 September
I am so glad you are safe and well. I grew up in Virginia as well, Richmond and Charlottesville and my brothers live in the coastal area of VA now. I am so pleased to hear how everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Much better than after Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, they are still living with the horrible consequences of it. I pray God will help people rebuild their homes and lives, especially in towns like Wilmington. I also pray for those who are out serving those who are suffering. I pray God will give comfort for the bereaved as well.
Natural disasters seem to bring out the good in most people. Praise the Lord for this and praise him that you and your husband are okay. Blessings.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 12:44h, 17 September
What a small world! Amazing how we meet people via blogs, etc and find out they grew up in the same state. Wow! We still have family in Richmond area(Mechanicsville) and Charlottesville area(Gordonsville and Earlysville). Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Christy WilliamsPosted at 12:39h, 17 September
Thanks for sharing Melissa! I am so happy you and your family are safe and sound. God is indeed good! You painted such a beautifully detailed picture of your experience. It was overflowing with His grace, provision, and love! #awesome
Melissa HendersonPosted at 12:45h, 17 September
Thank you Christy. You are right. God is indeed good. We continue to pray for all those people and animals affected by the storm and it’s aftermath.Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day! 🙂
onelostcoinPosted at 12:46h, 17 September
This made my heart melt. I live in Wilmington and we had to make the decision to leave and temporarily separate from my husband who works for the county. He eventually made the last minute decision to leave with his family since the county was not being clear at all and he did not feel like they were truly putting safety as a priority, which puts his job at risk. He is in Florida until we can go home and I am in Maryland. Not only are we apart, but we have to wait to see what we come back to. We already know I am coming back to at least two weeks without pay, and he may go back jobless, but we made the decision that God is with us and we will get through this no matter what. He “out of the blue” got a call for a job interview with a Christian organization. If we take a moment to go silent, pray, and then listen to God, all tough decisions will be supported.
Your Story Matters.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 12:53h, 17 September
My prayers are with you all. We know many people in Wilmington and Leland, as we lived in Leland for a few years, Our friends can’t return home yet, even though they have tried. Roads are closed due to flooding and erosion. I am praying for God to give you and your husband and all affected by this hurricane and it’s aftermath the comfort that only God can provide. You are right. God is with you all. Blessings. Thank you for reading and commenting.
onelostcoinPosted at 13:00h, 17 September
Thank you for your prayers. My in laws are in Leland, we love that area.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:10h, 17 September
Beautiful area. We enjoyed living there. Praying for your in laws.
Jennifer HallmarkPosted at 13:00h, 17 September
Glad things turned out well for you…
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:11h, 17 September
Thank you Jennifer. Glad to be back home. Continuing to pray for others. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Melinda Viergever InmanPosted at 13:02h, 17 September
I’m glad your evacuation was orderly, safe, and filled with such encouragement! Disaster responses often bring out the best in human nature, reminding us that we are all made in the image of God. That divine spark of life flames within each of us, beckoning us into relationship with our Creator, showing love for all to see. We see God in each smiling and welcoming face.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:12h, 17 September
Melinda, we truly experienced kindness from strangers. We were blessed by everyone. Have a wonderful day! 🙂
Marcie CramseyPosted at 13:06h, 17 September
I’m so glad you are okay! This was scary for so many and certainly, prayers have gone up for all in Flo’s path. Thank you for sharing your story!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:13h, 17 September
We are glad to be safe. Our friends in NC are in our prayers as they wait to be able to return home. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Kimberly Rose JohnsonPosted at 13:21h, 17 September
I’m glad you are safe and able to return home!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:27h, 17 September
Thank you. Quite an experience but we learned valuable lessons and were able to share the love of God with others. Have a blessed day! 🙂
YvonnePosted at 13:47h, 17 September
Prayers for all the recovery efforts
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:55h, 17 September
Amen. So much work to be done to recover from this hurricane and it’s aftermath. Praying for all.
Vickie@Vickie's Kitchen and GardenPosted at 14:14h, 17 September
I’m so glad you decided to leave. It looks as though it wasn’t a terrible experience for you guys. You found the positive and I love that. So glad your safe!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 14:18h, 17 September
We were definitely spared the terrible weather. Predictions for terrible flooding here had everyone evacuating. The storm turned and we were spared. A few strong winds and some rain but nothing like what was forecasted. Have a blessed day! Looking forward to reading about your savings this week. 🙂
Ellen AndersenPosted at 14:21h, 17 September
Glad to hear it went well for you, Melissa. I live in Greenville, SC and was away on vacation following the news of Florence coming in. We had some strong winds and rain, but no damage in my area, thank goodness.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 14:47h, 17 September
So glad you are safe Ellen. We never know what a hurricane will do and when it will turn. We actually evacuated to Greenville, stayed one night and then, returned home. Very nice people in Greenville. 🙂 We also stopped in Columbia. Nice people there, too. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
Gena McCownPosted at 14:35h, 17 September
This East Coast FL girl has spent a life time of those decisions. Prior to Andrew, we always hunkered down. Andrew changed everything. We knew people who lost everything. After that, every hurricane Cat3+ brings the question to stay or go. My husband’s job keeps him here until the last minute, so that is another factor for us… do we leave him behind to join us, or leave together? Do we go, but he stays? I remember a few years ago, when we had 3 hit us in a row… I was driving home and saw the city preparing for the last stronger storm to come by spray painting street names onto the sidewalks. I had never seen that in my life, and admittedly that made me concerned. The interesting thing was when those 2 smaller hurricanes came through they took care of all the loose debris, tree limbs, etc. By the time the 3rd came, even though stronger, it didn’t do near the amount of damage. Sometimes the small storms in life that seem to knock us down are actually the ones that prepare us to endure the really big ones. <3 Glad you were able to get out, be safe, and get home safely.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 14:48h, 17 September
Oh Gena, you have really experienced a lot with hurricanes. I am glad you are safe. Yes, that decision as to whether to stay or go can really cause problems with our thinking. We are blessed to know that whatever we face, God is with us. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day!
Gena McCownPosted at 21:52h, 18 September
It’s a tough call to make. And when you have spent your entire life here, you also contend with all the warnings of massive storms that end up nothing. It is very easy to get complacent and brush it off. It is finding the balance between being prepared and being anxious/scared. We pray about every storm that God would put our feet to moving. The last one that really had us worried, I was out on a ladder writing scripture verses on our door frames. A girl has to do, what a girl has to do.
mimionlifePosted at 21:56h, 18 September
Making the decision to stay or go involves lots of praying. Amen. “A girl has to do, what a girl has to do.” 🙂
Jill WeatherholtPosted at 14:38h, 17 September
I’m so relieved to hear you are safe and once again, back home. This is wonderful news. Years ago, we evacuated from Jupiter, Florida during Ivan or or Frances. Funny, there were several that season, I can’t remember. You’re right, the people we met along the way were so caring and compassionate…a reminder of the good in the world. Welcome home, Melissa!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 14:50h, 17 September
Thank you Jill. We are happy to be home and getting back to normal. Stores are open and life is continuing. We continue to pray for all those who are in the hard hit areas. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day! Hope we see some hummingbirds today. 🙂
Jill WeatherholtPosted at 17:10h, 17 September
We re-juiced our feeders this morning and now we have some happy hummies! Yes, there are so many far worse off who need our prayers now. Enjoy your day!
Stephen De La VegaPosted at 15:30h, 17 September
Thanks for sharing this reflection and I’m glad you guys are safe and home. When i hear of things like this, I think of people I know and know of in the area and I pray. I’m in earthquake country so I can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with hurricanes. My heart goes out to some who are still deep in difficulty. Praise God for His care.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 16:09h, 17 September
Earthquakes are very scary. Even the slightest quake can cause major damage. Yes, praising God for His care. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day!
Milton GohPosted at 15:47h, 17 September
Glad to read that you are safe, Melissa! That does sound like a stressful time, having to urgently move away. I’m thankful that I live in Singapore where the worst disaster we get is flooding to knee level. I thank God for His grace!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 16:06h, 17 September
Thank you Milton Goh. Life is back to normal here but so many people in other areas are still affected. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Crissy JohnsonPosted at 16:50h, 17 September
Great post! I have been landlocked all my life. Close to mountains and we get some snow. We are on the edge of most storms – mountains on one side plains on the other. Yout post helped me see what it is like in a small way to have to make a quick and important decision. It was a blessing reading how much compassion and love people showed along the way.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 16:52h, 17 September
Thank you Crissy. Even through troubles in life, there are ways to show God’s love to others. A smile truly helps. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
Savoring Sixty and BeyondPosted at 20:43h, 17 September
Praise God you and your family are safe. The news is full of so much negativity that it is reassuring to hear, first hand, how people pull together in such times. The love, compassion, and kindness of strangers is so beautiful!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 22:14h, 17 September
Yes, we were blessed to have found such caring people along the way. Continuing to pray for all affected by this hurricane. Now, our family is Virginia is dealing with tornadoes this afternoon. Very scary.
Savoring Sixty and BeyondPosted at 22:15h, 17 September
I just saw that report flash on my phone. Prayers for the safety of all.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 22:19h, 17 September
Thank you for the prayers. Our niece is still sheltered at school.
Savoring Sixty and BeyondPosted at 23:27h, 17 September
Oh my, prayers the teachers may keep the calm during this storm and protect those precious children.
mimionlifePosted at 23:54h, 17 September
Our niece is home now. Power is going off and on but we are glad she is home with family.
Savoring Sixty and BeyondPosted at 09:01h, 18 September
Thank you so much for the update!
Emily SaxePosted at 20:54h, 17 September
It’s wonderful to hear that you’re safe and that you listened to the wisdom God gave you to evacuate!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 22:15h, 17 September
Yes, listening to that inner voice telling us to “go” was the right decision. God speaks and we listened. 🙂
June FosterPosted at 22:14h, 17 September
Melissa, I am so glad you’re fine and back home again. I really enjoyed reading your post describing the stations set up beside the road and returning along the back roads. This is something you don’t hear on the news. A fresh view of the situation. What a blessing to be able to rely on prayer and the Lord for wisdom. Thanks for your great blog post.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 22:18h, 17 September
Thank you June. We kept wondering what lessons was God wanting us to learn from the experience. We decided God was teaching us patience. 🙂 Now, we are praying for family in Virginia. Tornadoes this afternoon.
June FosterPosted at 23:05h, 17 September
Sounds like our Alabama weather. Prayers for your family.
jmshistorycornerPosted at 05:14h, 18 September
Glad you’re back home. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced a hurricane – although a tornado once briefly hit my town, and a huge hailstorm hit my town while I was away with family on vacation.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:03h, 18 September
We were definitely expecting more bad weather here and we are thankful that bad weather didn’t arrive here. A tornado is scary. Hail is awful, too, especially when driving. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day! 🙂
jmshistorycornerPosted at 22:31h, 18 September
You too! We didn’t find out it turned into a tornado until afterwards – and it was only for a few minutes, thankfully!
Sandra ArdoinPosted at 12:16h, 18 September
I love the story about the small-town waves. Glad you had no damage. Last week (in time for Florence), we returned from a vacation up north and stopped in Knoxville, TN overnight. When the hotel desk clerk saw we were from North Carolina, he asked if we were evacuating. I think he thought we were crazy when we said we were going back home. 🙂 While we didn’t need to evacuate, we did have some hairy moments, but all is well.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:04h, 18 September
Glad you arrived home safely and glad you didn’t need to evacuate. This was the strangest hurricane. The path was so uncertain. Our family in Virginia dealt with tornadoes yesterday. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Lynne Collier/AuthorPosted at 12:27h, 18 September
I’m happy to hear you’re safe 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’ve never had to live through a storm like that or had to evacuate my home. It gives me hope to hear you tell of the kindness of strangers.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 13:05h, 18 September
Thank you Lynne. We are happy to be home and safe. Yes, the kindness of strangers warms the heart. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Bettie GPosted at 14:04h, 18 September
Thank you for posting this update Melissa, I have been wondering how you fared through the evacuation! I have been and will continue to pray for all of those who have been so affected by these storms. Thank God that He never deserts us, and finds ways to show us that, even through small town “honks” and “waves!”
Melissa HendersonPosted at 14:08h, 18 September
Yes, I will continue to pray for all affected by these storms. Family in Virginia dealt with tornadoes yesterday. Power outages, too. God never leaves us, even in storms. Amen. Have a blessed day! On another note, I mailed your book yesterday. 🙂
Bettie GPosted at 14:12h, 18 September
Oh thank you again Melissa! I am so looking forward to sharing the book with my Grandchildren!! Blessings!
stephaniemgammonPosted at 15:58h, 18 September
I’m so glad to hear that you are safe. You were on my mind with every weather report! I’ve never been in a situation where that many people were affected but we do live on a hill right above the Ohio River floodplain and in the 2 years we’ve been here, we’ve almost had to evacuate twice. The river reaches the intersection that cuts our hill off from access to the outside world and I always forget to stockpile food & water. But nothing so dangerous as a hurricane. Praise God you had safe travels.
mimionlifePosted at 16:06h, 18 September
Hello. Very scary to be told it is a mandatory evacuation. Still, some people stayed. Thank you for thinking of us. We are home and safe. I mailed your book yesterday. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
debwilson2Posted at 16:06h, 18 September
Melissa, you made a stressful situation so enjoyable to read about. I love the picture of the small towns cheering you home.
mimionlifePosted at 16:08h, 18 September
Thank you so much. I can just imagine the stories those people can share about all the vehicles traveling by their homes. Have a blessed day! 🙂
karentfridayPosted at 16:59h, 18 September
Melissa, thanks for sharing your “Flo” story. Grateful you were able to get out and go back. Reading this post reminded me of how not matter where we are or where we live, we will always have a reason to depend on a faithful Father to watch over us and care for us.
I received my copy of Licky the Lizard in the mail last week. I’m saving it as a Christmas present for my grandson. I love it and know he will too! 🙂
mimionlifePosted at 19:31h, 18 September
Karen, thank you so much for the encouragement and support for Licky the Lizard. You are so kind. Yes, whatever we are going through, we are blessed to know our faithful Father is with us.
nancyeheadPosted at 18:08h, 18 September
So glad you’re safe. And it sounds like your adventure was just that. The closest I’ve ever come is when my husband called me once–he’s a weatherman–to tell me to go to the basement because of a tornado warning. The winds missed us. All over very quickly. A very brief adventure that didn’t involve eating out.
mimionlifePosted at 19:32h, 18 September
Nancy, glad you all are safe. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
Heather HartPosted at 19:07h, 18 September
So glad you are safe and sound back at home. Our family is very spontanious and sometimes it gets us into trouble. Glad your hurricane vacay worked out… well, for better or for worse.
mimionlifePosted at 19:32h, 18 September
We have discussed what lessons God was teaching us during the evacuation and we decided patience was a big lesson. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
karenringallsPosted at 00:10h, 19 September
I am glad to hear you and your family are safe.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 00:41h, 19 September
Thank you. We are safe and happy to be home. 🙂
Gail JohnsonPosted at 00:31h, 19 September
Glad you are safe, Mimi!
Melissa HendersonPosted at 00:42h, 19 September
Thank you. Yes, we are safe. 🙂
Edna DavidsenPosted at 11:06h, 19 September
Glad to hear you and your family is safe.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 11:53h, 19 September
Thank you Edna. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
Joanne Viola (@JViola79)Posted at 01:29h, 29 September
So glad you and your family are safe.
Melissa HendersonPosted at 14:55h, 29 September
Thank you Joanne. Have a blessed weekend! 🙂