typhoon soudelor

typhoon soudelor saipan

typhoon soudelor saipantyphoon soudelor saipan
typhoon soudelor saipanThis post has been in the works for almost two weeks. Every time I sit down to actually write, no words come to me.
typhoon soudelor saipantyphoon soudelor saipanOn Sunday, August 2, Typhoon Soudelor tore through our small island home of Saipan. And guys, it left devastation everywhere. Everywhere.

We are no stranger to typhoons and tropical storms. In fact, this was our sixth typhoon since we moved to Saipan. Usually, we have some minor damage (banana trees knocked over, patio furniture all over the yard), and a few days without power.

But this was completely different.

I mean, the warning and prep was the same. In fact, even though the projected path predicted a head on collision with Saipan, Soudelor was still a Tropical Storm Sunday morning. Losing power Sunday evening was pretty par for the course, storm wise. We’d filled our tubs and sinks with water earlier that day (so that, should we lose power, we’d be able to flush toilets and rinse dishes for the next few days) and settled in. In fact, since we have a small generator that powers the internet and fridge, we were watching movies on Adam’s computer around 10 pm, commenting on how it hadn’t been too bad so far.

And then everything changed.

Water was pouring in through the windows and doors, all of them, flooding everything. Windows and doors were blowing off and exploding in. It was like the typhoon had moved into our house- I can’t quite describe how loud and how strong and how crazy the wind was.

typhoon soudelor saipanAnd then our ceiling started caving in, room by room. The kids and I were actually in the guest room when that ceiling fell (downstairs was completely exposed, the kids’ room was getting the brunt of the flooding and the master’s was a mess of glass [plus, also no ceiling]), so the three of us were in the guest room.

We moved to their room briefly, but could hear their ceiling cracking as the wind whipped through.

I talked to 911 again (Adam got trapped in the master for a couple hours earlier in the night, so I had chatted with them several times at that point) and they warned us not to drive anywhere, that the winds were actually picking up and that driving was unsafe. (Sidenote- when we saw all sorts of big trucks flipped on their sides the next day, we were glad we heeded that advice.)

Since our carport is nestled into the least exposed front of our house, and has concrete on three sides, we gathered a wet bag with electronics and a change of clothes for each of us plus the blankets and pillows that weren’t soaked and waited out the next couple of hours in our car, in our carport.

Around 5:30 AM, we ventured up our driveway. We’d originally planned on heading to one of the shelters that were set up in schools around town, but quickly realized that we wouldn’t be getting that far. Every tree taller than 20 feet was snapped in half, uprooted, or blown over, making the roads a tangle of power lines, foliage, and pieces of homes. We made it about half a block to our neighbors’ home and waited out the rest of the storm with them.

typhoon soudelor saipanThe following week was a whirlwind of mopping water out of our house, trying to salvage our stuff, throwing away our stuff that couldn’t be salvaged, no power or water, and making plans to evacuate until we have somewhere to live.

typhoon soudelor saipanWe’re stateside now- staying with family and trying to piece together a plan for the immediate future. In the meantime, our island home still reeling, still without water and power, still recovering bit by very slow bit.

typhoon soudelor saipanWe’ve been overwhelmed by people’s prayers and offers of assistance. For those of you who have asked how to help- the following are a couple of organizations that are doing fantastic work on the ground-

United for Saipan (a grassroots organization headed up by some really talented friends of ours- dedicated to distributing water, food, and other essentials to those in need in Saipan)…

…and Billy and Joylynn Jones Typhoon Relief Fund (the pastor of our church and his family- they have been meeting needs of families who’ve lost their homes and also have partnered with Salvation Army to provide meals for those needing food during this time).

typhoon soudelor saipanThe thing we love about both of these efforts are that these people started out just meeting needs that they saw, spending their own money and resources, while trying to raise awareness. Adam and I trust that any contributions given to these efforts will be managed well and will go directly to meet needs in Saipan.

I can’t say this enough- thank you for your sweet concern, for your assistance, and especially for your continued prayers for Saipan.

*Pictures gathered from friends’ Facebook feeds (or off my own phone).

cannes coverup & tunic pattern

the cannes pattern- a coverup and tunic pattern for the Sew What Pattern Club!

Remember last month when I shared about my dear friend Kelly’s Sew What Pattern Club genius? Well I am over the moon to be this month’s featured designer. Of course, with our current all-seasons-are-beach-weather set up, a swim suit coverup was my natural pattern choice. Luckily, for those of you who are heading into fall, […]

accidentally unplugged

cannes pattern preview

I always imagine that being unplugged from all internet and cell service and media for a little while would be refreshing and wonderful- filled with iced coffee topped with sprinkles. And hammocks. But when our island was entirely cut off from the outside world and plunged unexpectedly to a few weeks of forced unplugged-ness, it […]

easiest ever DIY bar cart

easiest ever DIY bar cart

Guys, I haven’t been this excited for a project in a long time. It started back in Denver, when I bought a bar cart to use for all of the parties, and then promptly put it in storage (ugh!). But not before I’d fallen in love. Bar carts, y’all- so versatile. Naturally, a DIY bar […]

rainbow fruit lemonade


I will be honest- this rainbow fruit layered lemonade mostly came to be because dragon fruit is back in season here in Saipan. And we keep seeing pink ones (at the grocery store, they sell some dragon fruit already halved, so there is no ‘which center color am I getting’ dilemma)! And, seriously, what is […]

the sew what club!

sew what pattern club

Friends, I’m so excited for today! Because today my dear friend and ohmygoodness talented sewist, Kelly from Sewing In No Mans Land, is launching the Sew What Pattern Club! Coming from a girl who easily gets stuck in a sewing rut, but buys fabric like it’s her job (discovering fabric stores that ship to Saipan […]

easy linen dress

easy reversible linen dress

School has officially been out for two weeks here in Saipan and I can pretty much sum up our summer so far in three points- 1. Beaches/Hikes to Beaches 2. Pools 3. Summer Reading Program. In other words, we love summer. Not that it hasn’t been an adjustment, nor has it been all sugar plums […]

homemade coconut key lime sugar scrub

the perfect compliment to a DIY pedicure- homemade coconut key lime sugar scrub (bonus- it smells like summer in a jar!)

Y’all know that summer is my very favorite. Ice cream! And grilled pizza! And swimming pools! And sundresses! And sandals! Living in the land of perpetual summer means that I’m pretty much a DIY pedicure expert. My key ingredient- homemade sugar scrub. And this coconut lime one is pretty much summer in a jar (what could […]

bright & modern pirate birthday party

bright and modern birthday party ideas- pirates & pajamas themed party

Although I anticipated several consecutive years of Lego birthday parties, our proximity to the beach wooed Burke toward buried treasure and pirate patches this year. Black and white with pops of color made a bright backdrop for a “Pirates & Pajamas” party. Brunch was Burke’s birthday party meal of choice. His requests were Voodoo donuts […]