devastation by design
My name is Matt Yakel and this is my tornado story. My story begins at around 10:30 am on February 10th 2013. Now for my wife this story began before that, but I’m not sure if she can give you the actual date. So let’s skip ahead and then we’ll work our way back. May 20th 2013 I was at work like any other Monday, donuts and all. The news and weather station had forecast severe thunderstorms again. We had just rode out the storm that hit on Sunday, we got a little bit of hail and heavy winds. We watched the news all evening seeing the devastation that happened in Shawnee. So my wife and I sat down Sunday evening later on and discussed getting a storm shelter installed. Our home was built in 1980 and had survived the tornado in 1999. Actually none of the houses on SW 14th Street had a storm shelter.
I have been a resident of Oklahoma since I was two years old, so I have seen a bunch of thunderstorms and tornadoes hit other areas and go over me but I have never had any direct experiences or even close calls. So I typically don’t take tornado warnings very seriously. But I had heard someone mentioning that there were going to be some thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes again on Monday. So I knew that this tornado threat was a little more plausible I told my wife to go to Mustang, OK and spend the afternoon with some good, and now life saving, friends of ours, who have a storm shelter. She had a homeschool co-op meeting that morning at 10 and then just went on over to our friends at around 12:30-1:00 when the meeting was over.
I work on the 15th floor of the Valiance Bank tower on Northwest expressway in Oklahoma City. We had guys running around the office looking at the clouds forming outside, most of that morning had been clear as far as I could see. But then it got dark quick. Everyone came by saying that it was over Mustang so I started getting a little nervous. A bit later they blew the sirens at our office, had us all walk down 15 flights of stairs to the basement. The cell service was lousy, as expected, but even with everyone trying to use it at once, I managed to text Cara and let her know I was safe. It wasn’t five minutes later they gave us the all clear and were letting people go back up. That felt way too fast for me, so I stayed around in the basement for a while. One of the buildings security officers had a weather radio and I heard mentions of Moore and headed towards Santa Fe, then I moved to the lobby of the bank, there they had a tv at each end one playing channel 9 and one playing channel 4. They were showing where Newcastle had just been hit by the storm, so I stayed around for a bit and then I began to see the reports of it hitting Moore. I was trying to contact some other friends to make sure that they were ok, and to let them know that we were ok. Cara was in Mustang and I was up on Northwest Expressway. Then I heard the words, 19th and Santa Fe, I had this gut reaction that this was it. My home was gone!
Honestly I wasn’t frantic at this point, I had not yet heard how big it was, five blocks away might have been enough. Later when I spoke to my wife she was holding out hope that maybe we got lucky and it missed our home. Later that evening my wife received a call from a young lady named Lacey. Lacey had found Keagan’s iPhone; my old 3G that he uses as an iPod, she called the first number listed which was Cara’s and was relieved to learn that we were not in the home, so no one was injured. But now my wife and I knew that our home had been destroyed. As we were on our way to Chickasha to stay the night with some family one of the guys that I work with, who also lives in Moore called me. He and his wife were safe as well, they walked what was probably several miles over to look at my house for me. I could hear the devastation in his voice, he paused and didn’t want to say anything, so I said that I already knew. Then he let it out, I’m sorry man its gone, “there is nothing there taller than I am.” Those words stuck with me like bricks in my stomach, it was strange to hear but I knew that it was true. So here comes the amazing part! My family and I are all completely safe! Not a scratch on us, we were both in completely separate areas we weren’t even in Moore.
My wife has been toying with the idea of homeschooling for probably a couple of years now, but I really didn’t want to. I thought that it would be too expensive, too hard, and way too stressful. Besides our kid needed to be socialized right? Boy was I wrong, completely and utterly WRONG! On Sunday February 10th at around 10:30-10:45 am we were where we usually are at that time, at Lifechurch.tv South OKC campus listening to Pastor Craig Groeschel. Only this time he was talking straight to me, directly to me, maybe even only me. He spoke about how he and his wife Amy decided that God was leading them to homeschool their children, and the struggles that he had with it. Seriously this can’t be real how does he know what I am thinking. So after he explained some details about their situation I thought ok then if he has had some of the same concerns that I have had and look at his kids now and how God has taken care of them, then maybe I should trust God too. So directly after that service I agreed with my wife and I told her that she was right and that we should homeschool our children. So on spring break of 2013 we pulled our two children Keagan and Kate out of the Plaza Towers public school. Yes you read that correctly our children had attended the Plaza Towers public school one of the two schools that was hit by the tornado on May 20th 2013. If it wasn’t for God using Craig’s own example to speak to my heart then my Son Keagan would have been in the Plaza Towers school building during the tornado. Also if it had not been for God letting me actually pay attention to the tornado warnings and advise my wife to go to a friends house then my family my not have survived the storm. So yes I may have lost my house to a tornado but God had orchestrated the saving of my family since February 10th 2013, and probably even before that, at least on my wife’s end (she listens better than I do).
So where is God in all of this tragedy, you may ask? God is in the small miracles that have occurred. He is in the details of exact locations and timing. He is in the small gut reactions and the I think I should do this thoughts. He is the protector in the case where the people across the street from my house rode out the storm in their bathtub. He is the rescuer, because our dog survived the storm and she was found three days later hiding in a truck that was smashed and turned on it’s side. God is in the small stillness where he sends the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, if we would only listen.
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12
So we know that God is in the small things, the things that matter to us. He takes the tragedy and works it to do us good, not harm.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” Romans 8:28
To borrow from Craig’s message again tonight, God is close.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
So to those of you who doubt that God is good and faithful, I pray for you that he would reveal himself to you. And to those of you who believe please rejoice with me! My Family is ALIVE!!
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9
I had a creative thought yesterday, after some strangely short blues. (because, typically when that happens it lasts longer than for me.) I think the Young Oceans helped, they have great lyrics. Anyway got this thought in my head for a photoshop design, I know it’s been a while since that happened to me right? So I sat down to whip this out but kids were hollering (well screaming and taking turns punching each other, to be exact) and dinner was being flung every where. But I had my coffee in one hand, mouse in the other, and a thought in my head; so nothing could stop me… Ok so I had to stop help my amazing wife Cara put the kids in bed. Needless to say my creativity dwindled as quick as my coffee did, so my AMAZING designed turned out to be mediocre at best. So tonight after an amazing LifeGroup it came back, morphed but way better. I started with an HD desktop background for my iMac and ended up with an iPhone background instead, but I really think that sometimes smaller is better. Anyway download it if you want. Enjoy, let me know if you like it.
Into the Abyss… (ok so maybe that’s dramatic)
The drama runs a little deep in our family, at least with my kids. (and my wife thinks it does with me too.) Well 2012 has been a ride so far and it’s barley off the ground. Things have been pretty crazy for us, I was laid off from my job at the end of January or the beginning of February (however you want to look at it). My Beautiful wife posted her thoughts on her blog, which pretty much sums it up so ill let you read the details there. It’s just been crazy that with a loss of a job things for our lives have gotten so much clearer rather than horrible. God is so good, (all the time). So in short I feel that God is setting out on a journey and we’re being called to follow him I don’t know where it will end but I do know that it begins right here right now.
This song seems to sum it up nicely. "Set Your Sails"
Better be gone
It’s half past eleven now
Get onto the deck
You better get on
It’s half past eleven now
Fairly well, we can tell
Nothing but moving will do
And it will be alright
Hey, hey, hey, the night is waiting for you
Take a picture of the silver moon
Oh, oh, oh, she will be shining for you
On your journey home
Better be gone
So find your pocket watch
And all of your hope now
The hour is long
Before I try to say too much
Fair thee well ‘cause we can tell
Nothing but courage will do
And it will be alright
Set your sails upon
The mighty winds of May
Set your sails upon the hope
Set your sails upon the air of
Set your course for Heaven’s shore
Step Lively Matey - There be Pirates afoot!
So my discussion post for this week at school was pretty interesting. It was over the ethical views and dilemma of software piracy. Here is the post and my response.
What is software piracy?
When software gets copied without permission from the copyright holder. This means
that the copyright holder, usually the one who makes the software, will not get any
reward for his/hers product. It is illegal to infringe the copyright law and can result in
imprisonment and/or fines.
Forty-one percent of the software installed on personal computers worldwide was pirated
in 2008, a three percentage point increase from 38 percent in 2007. During 2008, losses due to
piracy increased 11 percent $53 billion.
At 20 percent, the United States had one of the lowest piracy rate of all countries studied. Despite the low percentage, the United States ranked first worldwide in software losses due to piracy at $9.1 billion.
A 2008 study predicted that lowering PC software piracy by 10 points over four years would create 600,000 additional new jobs worldwide (www.bsa.org/idcstudy).
Piracy is not limited to software; it also includes movies, music, and eBooks. Explain your personal feeling on when software piracy is ethical and when it is unethical. Also give personal experiences with software piracy.
After discussing your views on software piracy, you are required to reply to two other students’ posts on the topic.
And here is my post for the week. Just thought that you might want to check it out.
First off Wow, I didn’t know that the numbers were that high on piracy! I knew it was a lot but WOW! It would be great to see more people legally license their software and in turn create more jobs. I also think that the prices are definitely too high. It is good to see that Apple has lowered the price of their new OS and that the license is more generious. I think that they are headed in the right direction to help prevent piracy.
I firmly believe that open source is a really great alternative. There is a ton of pressure on Schools, City, State, and Government entities for budget cuts. They can’t afford to pay the high licensing fees for this software that they “have to have” in order to do their jobs. I think that the piracy issue is in part due to ignorance and part due to the fact that people don’t care or do not view it as theft. It’s easy to do so that deems it “ok” in their mind. The first computer that I built (when I didn’t know what I was doing) had a pirated copy of Windows XP. A friend of mine just loaded it on there for me. When he first helped me out with that computer I truly didn’t understand that it was in breach of license and was considered stealing from Microsoft. Later that computer got reloaded to an Ubuntu desktop. My wife is an english teacher at the local college, she uses NeoOffice on her MackBook instead of purchasing a copy of OfficeMac for $149 the NeoOffice works great it has had a couple of hiccups but patches were released pretty quickly. I do think that it was kind of cynical for Microsoft to force new licensing fees by changing from .doc to .docx, I think things like that just encourage piracy.
Some of the customers that I have at my job don’t understand why they have to pay an additional $150-$300 to be able to type a document on the new laptop they just bought for $600-$700. I was repairing a laptop for a customer and informed her we may nee to reinstall her OS and that she would need her license information in order to reinstall her Microsoft Office. She siad that she didn’t have it that the Microsoft office was just on there. I have also witnessed a scenario where a Sheriff’s office had a server that was required by the state for document submissions, where the software company was ripping them off and Microsoft. Their server crashed and our company sold them new hardware. They software company does not support Server 2008 so we could not legally license their new Server for them that software company had us install Server 2003 with a key that they gave us, which was not previously licensed to the sheriff’s office. So in order for this software company to save money an not forward develop their applications for Server 2008 they have just decided to pirate Server 2003 for their new installs.
I don’t think that piracy is ethical, I do think that the licensing is a little to restrictive in certain areas, like OEM, if your motherboard goes out and you have to replace it with a different model or different manufacture then you shouldn’t have to pay again to license your OS. As far as movies go I do have my DVDs that I own copied to a library so that I can watch them back via my AppleTV. I know that technically that is in breach of license of DVD but If I have already paid for the DVD then shouldn’t I be able to play it back where I choose. Does anyone view this as piracy? I have read a little about the FairPlay act but I don’t know if this fall under that.
Here is a photo of my grandpa Ed. It was probably taken between 1956 & 1958. I never got to meet him he passed away in 1959. My Dad was five years old when he died. I’ve never really thought about it too much, but looking at these old photos last night made me wonder what things would be like if he was still here. Anyway my enjoyment of photography has been dormant for a while now and these old photos are bringing it back. I really want to go take some photos again.
Monday - Friday vs. Saturday
So apparently it’s really hard for Keagan to wakeup before 8am Monday thru Friday. There is usually weeping & gnashing of teeth (of biblical proportion). When I say “Put on your socks.” I might as well be asking him to cut off his foot. But come Saturday morning he’s usually in our room waking me up at 7:30 or occasionally earlier and I have too fight em off or get up and get breakfast in my zombified state. So I’m just wondering what’s the deal with that. Do all kids do this? And where do they learn it? How do they magically know that it’s Saturday?
I am so thankful for Friday’s. Friday’s are my short days at work, God has bless me with a wonderful job so that I can spend time with the family that he has given me. Last year at this time I was recovering from hernia surgery and dreading going back to my job that kept me away from the people that God has entrusted to me. I make probably about $10k yr less at my job now but one main thing that I have learned is that quality of life is not defined by money or possessions. Now I am probably too much like everyone else cause I have times where I want all the things (that don’t matter) and I loose sight of what is really important; my family, and start thinking I need more $$$$. But then it seems like God always reminds me of what’s important with the things that come out in photos like these.