Woke Up to a Tornado Warning at 3 a.m.

Woke Up to a Tornado Warning at 3 a.m.

Woke Up to a Tornado Warning at 3 a.m.


Over the past month, I have been reminded that life is filled with the unexpected and that every moment we are present for it, is a gracious gift from God.

I awoke with a start at 3 a.m. while on vacation in Florida last week. The Emergency notice on my phone started beeping and announced, "Seek shelter immediately, a tornado has been spotted in your area!"

We were staying in a quaint cabin directly on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico as tropical storm Nestor was moving in to the north of us. With no basement and the only interior room containing a big glass shower, I made a plan to protect my 7-year-old daughter who was tucked in bed (next to the only wall without a window). Thankfully she did not wake up as I sat listening for any sound of breaking glass as a que to spring into action.

God and I talked a lot that night...about the storm and other challenges.

Since September 12th, I have been maneuvering my brother Phillip's medical care, after he fell which caused a severe brain injury. Through the ER, the ICU, a long hospital stay, and skilled nursing care we have traveled. One day he was teasing me that he wanted to to go to Florida with us, and the next he could not walk or talk.

I had so many questions to answer, so many plans to make and things to figure out, all while stressed and praying for healing. It is tough to make good choices when you are not at your best, so I just keep praying that God will lead, and I won't get in the way.

I write to you about this because the length and breadth of our life is known only to the Lord, and sometimes, the unexpected happens. Last week was Estate Planning Awareness Week and Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch featured articles to help people prepare for the unexpected and to give serious thought and prayer to the legacy they hope to leave.

As the storm raged around me, I heard branches falling on the roof. If Johannah survived and I did not, was there information easily accessible to the person I would want in charge of decision making? Did I really make sure the support I want to leave for my brother was set up in a way that would effectively support his needs going forward? Like I said earlier, God and I talked a lot that night. Because of that, I am reanalyzing what I have in place for my own estate. I talk about this stuff all the time and I'm still in a place where I need to adapt my plans as life goes on.

If you are feeling like I do and are interested in reviewing your own estate, the link below connects you to a financial organizer to help you get things in order.


I hope you know that your support of children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is such a blessing. We could not provide this critical healing ministry for these special souls without your kindness.

Thank you for your continued prayers for and support of our ministry.

Your friend in Christ,

Janet Zinke
Senior Development Officer

Learn more about Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch at DakotaRanch.org.

You can also follow the Ranch on Facebook.

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.

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