Sunday, September 25, 2005

One Thought at a Time

This morning I was attracted to the view out the French doors of our river and our back yard. It has been days since we’ve seen sunshine, due to Hurricane Rita’s cloud cover. The sun was shining through the oak and cedar and birch trees, the river was sparkling, the wind was gusting, and the chickens looked as lovely as can be as they roamed among the jungle called “lawn” that needs to be . . .

. . . mowed. Badly. And there are broken limbs that need to be cut out of the trees. The logs that are stuck in the river from the hurricanes, what will we do about those? We can’t canoe until we get their massive selves out of the way. More tropical systems may come our way, like Rita. Oh, just great, look, Rita knocked over the lawn chairs and the tarp is in the neighbor’s yard again. And it is so blasted hot! When is it ever going to feel like late September? . . .

In the middle of those unlovely thoughts came an unexpected one:

Never complain about anything. Not even the weather.”*

I remembered something that I read a long time ago: We can only haveone thought at a time.That seems impossible for us multi-tasking moms, but it is true.We can only think one thought at a time. That means I can eitherdwell on our hard times, and negative things, or thank God for what I can find that is good.

Once I was reminded of my choice, I decided to again look at the good in the yard, and I thanked God that we are healthy and can do all of those big jobs we need to do. We will have months of lovely weather soon. And . . . I thought with a smile, if it wasn’t “so blasted hot,” I wouldn’t have lemons and tangerines to pick from my trees!

Now, I know that all of you do not have lemons to cheer you up, but you have something!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sayings:

“Two women looked through prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars.”

Lori Seaborg

p.s. *Both of today’s quotes are from my favorite nonfiction book, Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow.
Click here to view the book on Amazon. Or, click here to view it at Christian Book Distributors.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Today September 23, 2005

Watching...the wind gusts blow tropical - hot and sticky - air across our trees and yard. see where Hurricane Rita will land. We will not be affected in any major way, except our beachfronts and maybe a few tornadoes (hopefully not!).

Trying...again, and again, to get our Florida house ready to sell. Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis have hit it this year, so Tim's over there all week fixing the last storm's damage and getting the house on the market, while hoping that Rita doesn't come East.

Knowing...that sometimes when things don't happen in our timing, God's timing is usually better. The hurricanes slowed down our plans for selling the house, but increased the market price and demand. We got a blessing out of a bad thing.

Smiling...when I saw that I'll be one of the Team Members for Celebrate Moms . Click on the name to sign up to get an email when the site goes live. I'm looking forward to working with the talented women who were selected for the team. I'm the only dork among them, I assure you! I'll try hard to act like I know what I'm doing.

Watching...(when I wasnt' watching the wind gusts) Martha Stewart's new t.v. show this morning. But it's not the same as the old one, and I'm not sure I like it as much. What do you think?

Sorting...through all of the donations that were sent for the Hurricane Katrina survivors. It has been a big job! But we are delighted to help them. house thoroughly. With all the boxes of donations, the house has gotten completely out of hand. I am here to rein it all in!

Reading...Marriage Undercover by Audrey and Bob Meisner. I thought I was just going to skim the book when I picked it up the other day. It had been in a pile of unread books I'd gotten from a publishing conference I attended last Februrary. A couple of hours after starting to "skim" the book, the children had to remind me that they were starving for lunch. I am amazed at the transparency of the Meisner's as they share how difficult it was for them to go through Audrey's marital affair, her resulting pregnancy, and how God helped them through it all. (Note: The above link takes you to Amazon, click on this one for Christian Book Distributors: Marriage Undercover .

by Lori Seaborg (for photos and updates on our Katrina efforts!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Yesterday, I blogged about priorities and someone emailed, asking me to repost the following which I last posted in July:

Over a year and a half ago, I was teaching children's choir, teaching adult education classes two nights a week, singing in the adult choir at church, homeschooling two children with two babies underfoot, taking the children two full days a week to extra classes, preparing to move to a new location for dh's job, and running a website as a business. I was overwhelmed!Knowing that I was reaching my sanity's limit, I prayed for God to help me, with a please!

One night soon after my prayer, I walked into our six-year-old daughter's room and saw a basket hanging from her bunkbed with a stuffed animal and a note in it. I remembered that Brittany had told me she had a surprise for me, and to please come and look at it, but I was too busy filling an order for my business. Later, after I sent her to bed, she called me again to see her surprise, but I said was still too busy and I'd come when I could.Much later in the evening, I remembered that I had never gone back to see Britty's surprise. Feeling a little saddened that I was seeing it after she was asleep, I opened the note.

On it was written: "I want to do 100 things for you."For Brittany, a brand-new 6 year old who had four ear surgeries, writing that note would have been very difficult. It touched me to the core. In tears, I said aloud, "I want to do 100 things for you, too."It was as if a light turned on in that moment as I saw how busy I had made my life. Each activity was noble, of course, and worthy of someone's time, but it was not to be my time that was used. That night, in my little girl's room, I felt God's whisper. I heard Him whisper that I am to be first a wife, then a mother for this moment. He reminded me how quickly children grow up. It is only for a blink of time that they live with us. With my focus cleared, I immediately closed my website. I had always given it to God, so I didn't question that he could provide for us financially without my side business. Since we were moving for dh's new job, I was able to gracefully bow out of choir, children's choir, the extra classes, and teaching committments.

My husband became a top priority. I started caring whether or not he had clean clothes. I began greeting him as he walked in the door from work. Our children also became a higher priority. I started reading to them at night and singing with them in the day. I focused on their little faces and the fun we could create together. The house also became a priority. With practice, it became a joy to create meals and decorate and surprise my husband while teaching our children how to manage a home happily.

It has been over a year since Brittany's note and God's whisper. Lately, I have felt God's nudge to write again, as a ministry and as a home business. It is good to help others outside the family. It is good to make a little extra income. But I know that my ministry, business, or activity must never be more important than my family and my home.

If we young mothers talked to older mothers more often, they'd tell us that children grow up quickly. We already know that, but do we realize it? We fill our days to overflowing with activities; we run after ways that we can serve in the church; we start new businesses or keep old jobs; we agree to be the room mother or the leader of a group; we seek to minister to others.

Meanwhile, our families, the very ones that God specifically gave us to minister to, are set aside.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Ask God to help you, with a please. He just might whisper in your ear, too.

by Lori Seaborg

Monday, September 19, 2005

Priorities (in Order of Priority)

I regularly forget my order of priorities, but when I remember them again, my days run smoothly. I wish I would stay on the right track all the time!

I first learned the order that I use from author Linda Dillow in her book, Creative Counterpart, a book that I very, very highly recommend for anyone who is a wife and a mom! My copy is worn from reading it over and over through the years. Just today, I had my copy of Creative Counterpart out during my "God Time". Some things, always the most important things, it seems, have to be repeated over and over to me, or I'll slip back into my old ways of selfishness. Does that happen to you, too? It seems that my brain has a leak when it comes to all things important. Ah, well, at least we have books to read (such as the Bible!) to keep us on track.

Here is the list of priorities, in order of first priority to last:






Others, which includes anything outside the home, even church activities and ministry

In Creative Counterpart, there is a study section in the back that I am working through (for the umpteenth time). Today's section suggested that we write a specific thing that we can do in the area of each priority.

This is what I wrote today:

For God: Be absolutely committed to a daily time with Him; no excuses, and no skipping! Make prayer a bigger priority.

For Tim (dh): Don't argue; don't complain; each morning, think of one thing that I can do for him that day.

For the Children: Spend time with each of them individually each week. My schedule for this, is: 2yo: Monday; 5yo: Tuesday; 8yo: Thursday; 10yo Friday. I learned this from a dorm mom I had in boarding school. Even though she had 22 kids to be "mother" to, she spent individual time with each child once a week for half an hour. I'm not telling my kids that I am doing this, in case the schedule needs to be flexible, but I will keep it in mind.

For the Home: Right now, I need to work on Menu Planning and making meal prep an easier task. Next, I want to work on decorating by visiting yard sales, and by doing what I can with what we have (scrubbing the walls is free to do!).

For Me: Give myself permission to work on my crafts or reading (or long baths!) daily, without guilt of what housework I think I "should" be doing. Permission granted! Also, walk daily.

For Others: Continue to blog (here!) and keep working on opening a website for other moms. Minister through the Internet, as that helps keep my family first while the children are so small. Also, right now I am helping the survivors of Hurricane Katrina through .

I encourage you to also write down your list of priorities, and think of what you can do in each area. Think of something that is pretty simple, so that you will know success.

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, September 16, 2005

Housekeeping like Nature's Example

Feeling discouraged about my house’s current messiness, I sighed this afternoon, and looked outside the window to the woods nearby.

But instead of a relaxing and orderly view, I thought, “Well, it’s a mess, too!”

I mean, there are all sorts of different types of plants there in the woods, with no rhyme or matching to them, except for their common green color.  The plants grow every which way, tangling themselves together with the help of fast-growing vines.  Some plants’ green leaves have turned brown; some are now yellow.  There is pine straw dangling from most leaves.  Even the birds can’t fly through these woods.  Rather, they tend to dive to their nests.  

I often think that in homemaking we should follow God’s example of creation.  Just as nature has seasons: rainy, dry, winter, summer; our home can have seasons: canning season, candle making season, attic-cleaning season, outside-all-day season.  Just as nature makes use of everything, without waste, so also can we learn to be frugal and careful by making the most of our income, by learning natural health care, and by mulching and composting our gardens.

Could we then follow nature’s example of my messy forest?  Well, we can at least learn from it.  

Some of us keep a messy house with little decoration.  We are like my forest in Alabama and Florida, where there is plenty of scrub brush, and you cannot walk a straight line without becoming tangled by the vines. Maybe once in a while, but you really have to look, you might find a bit of decoration in a blooming plant.  If we are like the Deep South forests, we need to work on cleaning our homes more efficiently, so our family will feel relaxed and guests will feel welcome.  We also need to work on adding a little decoration and scent to our homes.  

Some of us, on the other hand, keep a house so clean that nobody feels welcome in it, not even our own family.  We are like the desert, sparse and neat.  There is beauty in the desert, in occasional flowers or in painted rocks.  We will not get sick here, and we will enjoy the beauty of the house, but we will not feel like we can relax here.  If we are like the desert, we need to work on being more welcoming, by allowing a little more of the forest into our homes.  We’re doing a great job with decorating and cleaning, but we need to remind ourselves not to be obsessed about it.  

The forests of British Columbia and the forests of North Carolina offer excellent examples of good housekeeping to us.  One forest is more majestic, with huge trees and tall mountains, while the other is simpler, with bushes and small trees and large hills, yet each gives us a good idea of what would make a cozy home.  In these forests, you will find neatly kept forest floors, strewn with occasional flowers and scented leaves.  The forest is clean enough to walk through, yet decorated enough to be two of the most beautiful of nature’s Cathedrals.  We feel welcome here.  

I first started writing this article to say, “Choose what type you are, then be happy with that.”  But now that I’ve thought more about it, I think we should not be content to say, “Oh, that’s the way I am.”  What’s the point of a home?  A home is to shelter and nurture and serve your family, and to welcome guests.   If our home is not performing that way, we need to think about what we can do to change that.

Look outside your window.  What example is God teaching you through nature?  

While you’re looking out the window, I’ve got some cleaning to do!

Lori Seaborg (visit often for updates and new photos!)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Survivor Story

Visit our website Survived Katrina for the latest survivor story that I've written. We met the man on Saturday in Mississippi. Click on Hurricane Survivors for his story and photos.

Also on the website is more information on what we're doing.

Lori Seaborg

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Saturday's Trip

Our time in Mississippi was amazing. We received a few dozen thanks, a couple of hugs, and more than one teary eye for our efforts. We were very surprised to see that so many families are living in tents or under tarps in their yards, next to their flooded homes. With all the shelters that are open in the area, we did not expect that.

We handed each family a Family Care Package, full of toiletries, books, pens and paper, a Bible, snacks, candy, gum, Band-Aids, wet wipes, and more. We gave babies a Baby Care Package with toiletries and a baby toy and bottles and a bib; and we gave each child a Kid's Care Package with activity toys in it.

We saw a lot of aid in the area. Churches' parking lots were full of boxes of food and items to get; trash bags of clothing were in store parking lots; FEMA had an occasional set-up.
When we drove through the main street, we thought, "Well, they don't really need us, with all the aid that's everywhere." But then we drove into the neighborhoods, where people are living in or next to their damaged homes. The people we met did not have transportation out, to go get the available aid. Their cars, if they had them, were flooded.

The boxes, full of items that would give the families a bit of comfort for a while, were a good thing to give, but I noticed that the people of Mississippi needed something even more than our donations: they needed a listening ear.

With your help, we were able to be there. Thank you for giving us the blessing of helping these people.

To keep up with what we are doing, and to view recent photos, please go to our new website at .

God bless!
Lori Seaborg

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Survived - site launch!

I'd like to announce our new website to you all! After all that we have been through, Tim and I just want to spend our days helping the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, for as long as we are able.

A wonderful blog reader donated a website to us, with hosting included!

I have it ready for you to see at . Be sure to click on "Hurricane Survivors" for the first of our many stories of survivors that we met. They are amazing people, going through extraordinary circumstances.

Please visit the site often, as I update almost daily!

by Lori Seaborg

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Heading to Bayou la Batre: How You Can Help Update

Today, our family is traveling across Mobile Bay and then back down to the Gulf Coast to the little village of Bayou la Batre, Alabama. Bayou la Batre was the setting of the Forrest Gump movie. It is a fishing village, full of shrimpers, who have all lost so much in the storm. Along with their houses (80% of the homes in Bayou la Batre are now uninhabitable), most of the shrimpers lost their boats in the storm, even though they had taken the boats up rivers and canals to try to save them.

They were never a rich bunch to begin with, these shrimpers. Now they have even less. The shrimp processing plant is destroyed, the boats are destroyed, and the homes are destroyed. Most of the shrimpers are your regular Southern folk, but there is also a large Vietnamese community among them, all fishermen.

We have heard that Bayou la Batre is only receiving FEMA food and water. They are not otherwise getting much aid. So, we'll head to Bayou la Batre today and take some of your donations with us. We created "family care packages" and "kids care packages" and "baby care packages" all day yesterday. We'll be able to help quite a few families in Bayou la Batre. Look for photos at , which is our new website that a kind blog reader donated to us.

We could still use a few items:

Any baby items, including bottles, formula, toys, diapers, wipes, lotion, shampoo, bibs, blankies, pacifiers, and clothes
Snacks: small-sized packages are easiest to distribute, but we'll take any snacks you send, such as crackers, chips, cookies, candy, fruit snacks, etc.
Bibles: We give one to each family, so we cannot have enough of these. Also think of sending children's Bibles and baby's Bibles
Socks: All sizes, new
Underwear: All sizes, new
Adult t-shirts, gently worn or new
Shaving cream and disposable razors
Towels, sheets
Hand sanitizer
Cleaning supplies such as antibacterial wipes, rags, sprays (if you can ship them)
Feminine products (no pads, we have enough): Tampons or feminine wipes, especially
Paper goods: paper plates, cups, napkins
Toys, for any age
Books, for any age
Send items to us here:
Tim and Lori Seaborg
18930 Highland Drive
Fairhope, AL 36532

As always, CASH is the most useful thing, as we are using it to buy items that we have run out of in creating our care packages. We are also using cash to buy water, gas, and tire care products to take to the ones who need it (since you cannot ship those items). When we see a family who needs it, we hand out $50 shopping cards to WalMart, gas, or home improvement. The families in our area have not received any debit/credit cards from the Red Cross or FEMA yet. 100% of your cash is used to help the hurricane victims. To send cash, go to , click on Send Money, and send it to: You should see SurvivedKatrina as the account name.

I will update my website tonight or tomorrow, so look for news from our trip to Bayou la Batre! Go to http://survivedkatrina.orgfor the most current news from our family.

Thank you all so much for your generosity!

by Lori Seaborg

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Evacuees, Refugees, or Victims?

I received an email this morning suggesting that I change my wording from "refugee" to "evacuee":

"The victims of Katrina are not refugees rather they are US citizens displaced by a natural disaster. A refugee is defined as: One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution. This is not the case in Katrina victims."

That definition needs to be attributed to, as it is a direct copy of their definition. Other dictionaries just call a refugee, "one who seeks shelter," or "one who flees." Usually the term is applied to wars and politics and religious persecution, but our world has not seen many cases such as we have in New Orleans.

Reverend Al Sharpton agrees with my reader that the the term "refugee" is not right, assuming that the term strips the people of their dignity. "They are not refugees. They are citizens of the United States," he says. You can read an interesting article about this discussion here, on the NPR site.

From a personal point of view, and as a refugee, evacuee, or hurricane victim, I can tell you that we just don't care. We're simply Southerners who were caught in a storm. We simply want help, whatever you prefer to call us.

(p.s. Even though I think "refugee" has been accurate in this case, I will soon change my wording at the top of this blog, just because I think the people who are homeless will soon no longer be "refugees," needing to seek "refuge." Even though they won't have homes to go back to yet, the rebuilding will begin and "refugee" will no longer seem fitting.)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Aid Update

There was a sigh of relief in the area as FEMA finally brought in enough food, ice and water. They stationed a huge relief effort in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which was an area hit very hard by the storm. The food, water, and ice finally did not run out, and there is enough for today. Even Senator Trent Lott had a home totally destroyed in Pascagoula. It was 150 years old. Think of that. We get lots of storms here, yet his house stood for 150 years. Now, it is not even a frame. It is just ... gone.

Are you wondering if your help will even help? When you hear of the nation giving so much, of movie stars giving millions, of so many donations being sent, do you wonder if there is already enough?

The answer, for this storm, is "no." This is one of those storms where you just can't give enough. There cannot be enough money, or enough donations, or enough volunteers.

I can tell you from personal experience through other hurricanes, that FEMA is not quick to give aid. There is a lot of red tape involved with them. It is easy to sign up, but it is difficult to be approved for aid. We had to mail in various documents, proving that our insurance company didn't cover everything, proving income. Then, a FEMA person had to schedule an appointment to come to our is just a long process. And very inconsistent. You cannot know if you'll receive any money, or what amount. Don't expect FEMA to provide these homeless people with all that they need. We need to help them.

The Red Cross has shelters set up in the area, filled to capacity. The Red Cross is doing a wonderful job, as always. Shelter and food is ultimately FEMA's job, but the Red Cross is doing it until FEMA comes through. This is the biggest relief effort the Red Cross has ever undertaken. We need to help them.

The Southern Baptists are stepping in, as always. They provide hot meals primarily (Jeb Bush said in a recent press conference that "the Southern Baptists always have the best food"), and have even partnered with the Red Cross to provide food at Red Cross shelters. They also bring showers and laundry services into an affected area, along with donations and medical personnel. And they provide yard work for the elderly or sick. When we had a flat tire in Florida after Hurricane Ivan, we were blessed enough to have it go flat while near a Southern Baptist church. A volunteer from Oklahoma drove my husband around town to find a tire shop. It took 4 hours (everyone gets a flat after a hurricane), but that generous man was patient all the time. Meanwhile, the volunteers at the site made sure my children and I were fed while waiting.

The Church of Christ are a generous bunch. They have opened an area shelter in Summerdale, Alabama. They also bring in many loads of donations and are very organized at passing them out.

Local churches are stepping in, like the First Baptist Church of Robertsdale and the Church of Christ in Summerdale to be shelters for the homeless, converting Sunday School rooms into bedrooms. Central Christian Church is providing a place for showers and exercise for the 300 homeless who are living in the Robertsdale Coliseum.

What are the needs?

We need volunteers to offer time at the local shelters, babysitting children so the parents can get a break, reading to the kids, befriending the parents.

We need donations of the items I've already listed. One problem is that people have to drive to distribution sites to receive aid. Many cannot do that, and it is worse with this storm because we are in such a gas crisis down here. There is a need for people to go into the neighborhoods to hand out needed items. If you cannot come, then mail items to us and we will get them to the neighborhoods and small rural towns that usually don't receive aid.

You can help. We can help.

Lori Seaborg
Alabama Gulf Coast

A note: If you want to volunteer your time, you may want to join Cindy Rushton and her family in Laurel, Mississippi. They are going to work with their local church to help in that hard-hit area of Mississippi, about 90 miles from the Coast.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: How You Can Help

You all are a generous bunch. The Deep South thanks you! The need here is great, so I don't think you could possibly give too much, at least for the next month.

We are in an excellent area as far as being able to distribute items. I have already contacted several churches, several homeschool groups and a private school about distributing items. We are able to get items into the hands of refugees spanning from the Florida Panhandle, along the entire Alabama Gulf Coast, and into Mississippi. My husband cannot return to his job since the building was flooded by the hurricane, so he and I both are available to coordinate the distribution of donations.

Since many of you have asked...At this point, we would not be able to receive a semi truck since items are being delivered to our home. We prefer that you send boxes via any mailing system. With a semi, we would have a storage problem until we could distribute items, which would take days in that case. With boxes, we can daily get them into the hands of volunteers.

If you send money to my little grass roots organization (I call it Pocket Change for Katrina), it will go 100% to the victims of the hurricane. We aren't even pulling out gas money, unless someone has specified that. I started this Pocket Change for Katrina because there are financial needs that are not addresed by the charities, and because when I give, I like to know that 100% goes to the victims, not into someone's padded salary. With your money, we are paying for several things:

* Gas money for evacuees to travel to distant relatives, as we see the need (this is a great need, as most lost jobs and/or paychecks are not being distributed).

* Tire care, Fix A Flat, and gas for stranded motorists in the hurricane-affected areas (we had 5 flat tires in just one week after Hurricane Ivan last year, and were stranded 50 miles from home at one point, so we know this need intimately)

* Fast food/grocery food for evacuees as they travel, as we see the need

* Adopting families (as many as we have the money for) at local shelters and giving them $50 WalMart shopping cards and $20-30 gas cards, so they can get a head start (at this point, the Red Cross is focusing only on shelter, food and water, so this is a great need)

To send money, click on the Donate button above.
You may also send a check to our address, below.

The donated items we need are based on our personal experience during other hurricanes. Right now, the evacuees and refugees are receiving only shelter, food and water from organizations. Here is what is needed:

* Bibles: I'm certain that few of the refugees left with a Bible in their hands, and they certainly won't get any from FEMA! :)

* toiletry items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deoderant, combs, brushes, scrunchies, makeup, etc.

* baby items: lotion, baby bath, baby shampoo, formula, diapers, wet wipes, etc.

* cleaning items: whatever is shippable like wipes and some cleaners

* non-perishable foods: They are provided water and meals-ready-to-eat, but these people are not given some of the "comfort foods" that we Americans love so much, like crackers and cookies, dried fruit, small cereal boxes, chips and hard candy.

* children's toys: The children are bored in the shelters. They had to leave favorite toys at home. They could use stuffed animals, small toys, games, coloring books, etc.

* clothing: All types of gently-used or new clothing are needed

Address information:

Tim and Lori Seaborg
18930 Highland Drive
Fairhope, AL 36532

Thank you for being willing to help! We feel so blessed to be in a location where we are able to hand the money and items out to those who need it most.

Lori Seaborg

A Tough Year

I'll try to return to blogging about "home" topics again soon. I don't want to overwhelm you with hurricane posts. I know that it is hard, sometimes, to identify with something that is so far away. Go to my Hurricane Katrina blog to keep up with what's happening locally.

This one really scared us who are here on the Gulf Coast. We stayed for the storm, too. She blew us around at about a Category 1-2 strength in our area, with 12 foot storm surge. But, if Katrina had hopped East by just 40 miles, our family would be one of those with a flattened house....and maybe worse. Only four miles away from my home there are gutted houses along Mobile Bay.

That's just too close for comfort.

Do you ever get to a low point when things just keep going wrong? Like on one of those days when everything bad is happening, until you finally say, "What's next?".

Well, I'm having one of those years...

Last August, Tim lost his job in a very unexpected way when a fellow employee sent an email to the district level, just packed full of lies, because she was in trouble herself and wanted to divert attention. Tim was fired by that district guy, who had never met Tim, didn't look at his past record of working at the company for over 3 years without a single blemish, and didn't ask Tim any questions. Out of the blue, the district guy sent an email back to Tim's store, and he was fired. It's one of those big employers that won't reverse a decision like that, so we were out of our sole income, just like that.

The day after he was fired, our insurance policies were cancelled by the company. But we didn't receive notice of that for a while.

Only 2 weeks later, Hurricane Ivan hits, causing over $9,000 in damage to our home in Alabama and to our house in Florida that was ready for sale (we moved six months before to be closer to Tim's new job - he'd just been promoted). It was a Category 4 storm and crippled our area to the point that it is still very much in disrepair, a year later.

In April, a record flood causes our entire back yard to flood, flooding our neighbors' house but thankfully not ours. We only lost our chicken coop and a chicken. More stress and worry, but we were okay.

In June, Tropical Storms Arlene and Cindy arrives. More preparations; more excitement and a little stress. We're getting tired of these storms.

In July, Hurricane Dennis arrives, causing $6,000 in damage to our Florida home, which had just gotten fixed and ready to put on the market again.

Now, Hurricane Katrina.

Along with all of that has been the little late bills and flat tires (hurricanes cause that) and all the other things that go wrong, nagging at your psyche until you want to become a hermit and hide away.

Of course, there have been countless blessings, and we have not starved or been naked in all this time. Our babies are healthy, we are happily married, we have a home....

But I feel that Hurricane Katrina was a last straw of sorts. I just feel so beaten down. I think that's why I'm focusing on helping her victims and refugees. For one thing, I can identify with them. But for another, it helps me to not focus on me.

It's been hard to be upbeat for the children, who really have no idea of what just happened. It's hard to be upbeat for Tim, or for me.

When things get this tough, we know logically that God is still there.

But sometimes we just can't feel Him.

by Lori Seaborg


Often, I fall asleep with the sound of thunderstorms rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico. Or occasionally I might hear crickets or owls in the night, or sometimes I will hear my rooster crowing (he has a broken clock, but what could you expect from a rooster named Princess?).

Tonight, I hear an unusual sound. It is the hum of helicopters overhead.

We don't get many helicopter or airplane sounds out here. We don't live in a flight path, I guess. Not normally.

But we do live in a direct line from Pensacola, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana. I'd bet my last dollar that the helicopters that I hear tonight, one after another... after another... after another... are coming out of our Navy and Air Force town of Pensacola, and are going to help those in New Orleans.

Thank God for that!

It reminds me of another time when I saw military plane after helicopter after cargo plane, over and over, fly over my head. I was standing on Fort Pickens Beach, Florida, at the tip of the island where I could see the Pensacola Navy Base across the Sound. The planes, having just taken off from the runway, were so close that I could see the pilots inside. The children and I waved and waved. I wished for an American flag.

It was the day that President Bush declared war on Afghanistan, after 9-11-2001.

by Lori Seaborg
Alabama Gulf Coast

Friday, September 02, 2005

We Need Bibles for the Refugees

There is an urgent need for Bibles for the refugees.

I certainly don't think FEMA will be passing those out! LOL! So, we can do it!

We can distribute Bibles throughout the Alabama Gulf Coast, which includes two of Alabama's largest counties. Hundreds of refugees from Mississippi and Louisiana are in our shelters.

We can pass out Bibles, if you can get them to us.

The refugees left their homes with few or no belongings.

Send Bibles via Media Mail to:

Tim and Lori Seaborg
18930 Highland Drive
Fairhope, AL 36532

Or, go to Amazon and have Bibles shipped directly to me.

Thank you so much for helping!

God bless,

Lori Seaborg
(of the Keeping the Home blog and Hurricane Katrina blog)

Olive Baptist Church

My local church is setting up plans to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, with housing, going, supplying, and consulting.

We were very hard hit by Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 storm, last September 15, 2004. In July 2005, we were hit by Hurricane Dennis. Our area has still not healed from Ivan, especially. There are many who are still living in FEMA-provided house trailers. Because of our experience, you will find many generous people in Pensacola, Florida, who want to help the latest hurricane victims.

If you would like to offer help through Olive Baptist Church, visit the website (click on the name).

Lori Seaborg

Local News from the Florida/Alabama Gulf Coast

Mobile County public and private schools closed until further notice (some schools are damaged, but another interesting reason for the closing is that the cafeteria food was produced in Mississippi, in a now-demolished location)

Baldwin County schools closed until further notice (An interesting note: Although Baldwin County, on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, and my area, is quickly healing, the schools are remaining closed because of the gas shortage in the area.)

Atlantic Marina Shipyards in Mobile, Alabama closed until further notice

The Port of Pensacola (Florida) is getting calls from across the world, requesting port access. The ships are already in the Gulf, but cannot go to their usual ports Louisiana and Alabama. As of now, the Coast Guard still has the Gulf waters closed, so the Port of Pensacola is unable to assist the ships who need a port.

7am - 7pm, FEMA will distribute water, ice, MREs (meals ready to eat), until supply runs out.

Hot meals distributed across Mobile County 11am - 7pm

Eastbound lanes of Mobile Causeway still closed. Parts of the road are washed out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Many of you have written me, letting me know that you are seeing news coverage of our disaster. You are letting me know that your church is sending a convoy of aid to help us. You are sending boxes of donated items to me to pass out. Some of you are even trusting me, a stranger in cyberland, with cash to hand out to the hurricane refugees who need a tank of gas or a bit of traveling food so they can go back home to see the damage or so they can drive to distant relatives.

Thank you for thinking about us.

Thank you to the Hollywood stars who are pledging donations to the Red Cross. Thank you to President Bush for sending troops and ships. We will most definitely shed a few tears when we see our military come into our waters. This is a military-loving area, full of patriots.

Thank you to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptists, and Samaritan's Purse.

Thank you to FEMA.

On this, the fourth day, we are not seeing much of the aid yet. FEMA keeps trying, but they are running out of food, water and ice before everyone is served. The Red Cross is trying to open more shelters, but it is not quite enough.

Right now, the aid is arriving mostly through the help of our own.

One local man in Mobile waved bags of ice in the air until motorists arrived to take it off his hands.

A man in Gulfport, Mississippi opened his produce warehouse and let the homeless hurricane victims in his town take it all. He said he could feed 40,000 people with that much food, if given the chance.

Today, someone went to the Alabama-Mississippi border with purchased water bottles and passed them out to strangers.

One man at Sam's Club in Pensacola, Florida, bought six generators and several gas cans to take back to his hometown in Mississippi.

We passed a pickup truck heading to Alabama with a grill in the truck bed and a U-Haul trailer attached to it. On the U-Haul was a homemade sign on a florescent green poster: "Sarasota Hurricane Relief". That family, from Sarasota, Florida, knows firsthand exactly what hurricane victims need and want most: a hot meal. His grill will be put to good use in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Soon, we will receive your aid. Today, we are receiving our own.

by Lori Seaborg

FOX News is in Town to Focus on Our Gas Shortage

FOX News is in our county, showing live video of a mile of cars waiting for gas...that will come in the morning! It is 10pm now. They have a long wait ahead! This particular gas station is the only open station in Daphne, Alabama, they are reporting. Daphne is along I-10, where refugees drive on their way to this county or to Florida to find shelter.

In Pensacola, Florida, today, we were able to get gas after waiting in a line of about a dozen cars. We paid $2.79 per gallon. Not bad. In other places in Pensacola, we saw lines of cars that wrapped around city blocks.

We returned home today to Baldwin County, Alabama, just over the Florida border. We had gone to Pensacola after the hurricane since my parent's had electricity, but we did not. All of our utilities have been turned back on already! We are so, so blessed tonight.

On our way home, there were fewer and fewer open gas stations, until they were completely non-existent.

In Mobile County, Alabama (home to Mobile, and just across the border from Mississippi), there is such a great gas shortage that people are sleeping in their cars at night, hoping the stations will have gas in the morning. To make matters worse, much of Mobile County does not have electricity yet, and without that, the gas cannot be pumped.

The Mobile County United States Postal Service (USPS) is not operating yet, four days after the hurricane. They say that they could deliver mail to most areas, but their trucks need gas, too, and they have none.

Gas conservation is a necessity these days. Especially here.

- Lori Seaborg

Digital Images of Affected Cities

Go to Digital Globe for great photos of "Before" and "After" Hurricane Katrina.

by Lori Seaborg

The Aid is Coming

It is heartening to see on the news that President Bush is going to find extra help for us through former Presidents Bush and Clinton. It is heartening to me, because I can see the news. Because my house finally has electricity.

Many thousands, though, cannot see the news. They haven't yet seen photos of the devastation in New Orleans and in Mississippi. They have seen the damage along our own Gulf Coast, but they have not seen how widespread it is.

What we are seeing, is long lines at the few open gas stations, long lines waiting for ice, water, and food.

We are seeing gas shortages and lack of food and water before everyone is served.

We are seeing people dumping the entire contents of their refrigerators and freezer because the food has spoiled without electricity.

We are seeing that the garbage cannot be picked up.

We are seeing that our mailboxes are empty in Mobile County. The USPS cannot yet deliver mail.

We are seeing heat exhaustion. Our every day is like a heat wave. It is 95 degrees today, with 78% humidity. Today is actually a better day than normal, humidity-wise.

We are seeing desperation. Tempers are flaring because people are so hot and hungry and thirsty.

We are seeing our brothers and sisters in Louisiana and Mississippi come to us for help, but we don't have help to give them yet.

It is wonderful that the United States government is sending so much help to us. It is a beautiful thing to hear that other countries have pledged to help us.

It is beautiful to me...and to you....because we can see it on television.

What we are seeing in person here on the Gulf Coast is quite a different thing.

Where is the Aid?

Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is giving a live press conference right now. He says that millions of meals have been sent, water has been sent, thousands of National Guards have been sent to us.

Meanwhile, in Mobile County, Alabama, the lines to receive water, ice, and MREs (meals ready to eat) are literally miles long. The supplies are running out within hours, and we are being told to return tomorrow. And tomorrow. Tempers are rising, trouble is brewing, people are getting desperate.

Mobile County has around 750,000 residents of its own, and has been significantly damaged by the hurricane. Much of the county is still without electricity.

But Mobile County is just across the border from Mississippi, so thousands of Mississippians are coming into Mobile County to find gas or aid. We have nothing to give them, the homeless refugees, because there is not enough aid.

When you hear the Department of Homeland Security say that so much relief has been dispatched to our area, it sounds like we are fine down here.

But when you see the miles of people waiting in the 95 degree heat for gas, water, and food that is non-existent, you have to wonder: Where is the aid? Why is it taking so long?

by Lori Seaborg

Alabama Online Information

Help Alabama This site is not particularly helpful, but you may want to look at it for a little information on Alabama. If you are curious how close my house is to the water, look for Clay City on this map, just up from Bon Secour Bay. The refugees from Louisiana and Mississippi in Baldwin County are currently being held at the Robertsdale Coliseum. I will be working there, on a shift with the Red Cross. You can see I-10 on the map also, connecting Florida to California. Thousands of refugees came to our area through that Interstate.

Serve Alabama : The Governor of Alabama's site for Faith Based and Community Initiatives. This site lists way you can volunteer or donate to Alabama hurricane victims

Open Your Home: On the day of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, a local radio station in Pensacola, Florida broadcasted calls from listeners. Callers were dialing into the station live, talking about the hurricane. One caller dialed in and asked if there was anyone willing to take him and his family into their home. He had fled Mississippi and had no where to go. He had dogs with him, he said, and the shelters do not accept animals. Within minutes, the radio station was overwhelmed by the dozens of people who called with open homes. Living rooms, extra bedrooms, and entire houses were offered. One woman even offered a corner of her FEMA-provided trailer. We all went through Hurricane Ivan last September, so this is a generous area. I just love it that so many are willing to offer homes to strangers!

Alabama's Governor Bob Riley : Messages from the Governor of Alabama about the hurricane, and about how Alabama is helping our own and other states.

Local Message Board : from WPMI, a Mobile, Alabama news station. People from Mississippi and Alabama often write, asking for information on loved ones.

See the stations below for photos and video footage on the disaster:

WKRG : Mobile, Alabama news station

WPMI : Mobile, Alabama news station

WALA : Mobile, Alabama news station

More links to come, I'm sure! Until then, thank you for reading and thank you for helping!

by Lori Seaborg

Hurricane Katrina: How to Help Us

The local churches have opened their doors to Hurricane Katrina refugees from Louisiana and Mississippi. There are hundreds and hundreds of them. There is no places for the refugees to stay, so our churches have welcomed them, often with the help of the Red Cross. I am so proud to live in the Bible Belt, where there are many generous churches. We all went through Hurricane Ivan last September, which hit us dead on. We are a more generous community than I think we would have been a year ago.

Our area is affected by Hurricane Katrina, too, but we are already healing. Our electricity is being restored, a few gas stations are pumping, the phones are being fixed, and the stores are slowly reopening. The roads are being repaired. Some houses are totally destroyed, but we can rebuild. We have hope, unlike many of the refugees.

Tomorrow, our family will cross the Florida border into Alabama and return home after having been in my hometown of Pensacola, Florida for two nights to wait for our electricity and phone to be restored at home.

Tim still can't go back to his job, but we feel that we are needed back in Alabama to help the victims. Tim's place of employment is still flooded and the beaches where he worked are ruined. So, he is going to make good use of his free time, and take some tools, gas, Fix-A-Flat and water up and down I-10 (this road runs from Florida to California) until he runs out of gas or money. After Hurricane Ivan, we had 5 flat tires in just two weeks. There isn't a federal program for that!

A couple of you sent me money to help the refugees. I plan to volunteer at a local church shelter, and I will make sure your money gets to the ones who need it for gas and food to get back home to Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. We will also keep an eye out for those who may need your cash while we are on the road.

Some of you have asked what else the victims need. I'll first tell you what the organizations provided, based on my first-hand experience in Hurricane Ivan. The Red Cross provided shelters and food and water. The Salvation Army provided hot food and water. The Southern Baptists provided laundry services, debris removal, and hot meals. FEMA provided ice, water, and meals-ready-to-eat. After a couple of weeks, they provided trailers for those who did not have a home. Later, much later, they provided cash reimbursements for evacuating and for food loss, but the aid was sporadic.

Based on that, you can see a big gap. There is nobody providing diapers, non-perishable foods, shampoo, formula, body wash, cleaning supplies, and items such as those. Nobody has a program for handing out clothing.

If you want to get those items to me, I can get them into the hands of the churches (the Church of Christ is one) and organizations who will be willing to pass them out. I can also put the items into the hands of the refugees that I will personally see at the shelter.

If you want to donate cash online, see my donate link above this post. Please don't apologize for a small amount. We are handing this out as cash, so any amount is helpful. Even $5 can buy a hot meal for one person.

If you want to mail a check or mail items, email me at for mailing details.

I'm not a charity organization, keep in mind. But I promise on my Bible that I will be honest with your money and your donated items.

I think that with our first-hand knowledge of what hurricane victims need, and with your generosity, we can help quite a number of people.

Thank you so much!
by Lori Seaborg