On August 28, 2005 our family was evacuated to a church in Gulfport, MS. We lived in Pass Christian, MS, a small dot on the map where most of James' mother's family lives. We had only moved to Mississippi about a month and a half before, so most of our stuff was in boxes stored in James' cousin's barn, while we looked for a house. After the hurricane, we would joke that those boxes landed somewhere in Oklahoma. Katrina made landfall just to the southwest of our little town, which meant that the Pass was hit with the ocean surge - in this case it was a record breaking 25 foot wall of water. Our church building was a perfect refuge. We had minimal damage. The hospital, only two blocks away, was flooded up to its third floor. We were quarantined for two weeks. Once we were allowed out, I was speechless. I will never forget the look of the leafless trees and needle-less pines - all swept in one direction, like God himself took His comb to the landscape. Our family was labeled as a victim, but, I will tell you one thing for sure. We are not victims. We are survivors. I can recall many stories of generosity; of humanity; of altruistic service. Every year, on the anniversary of Katrina, we talk about what we learned, about how we've changed, and I try to keep the memories and the stories alive so the ladies can identify with a part of who they are. I don't ever want to be in a category 5 hurricane again, but, at least we learned a little about what we can do in the face of nature's fury and how we can rely on each other, and that's enough to get through most anything.