With great prayers and preparation, we are happy to say all is safe and well at SonShine Oaks!

As with any impending hurricane or natural disaster, it is imperative to prepare! After conversing with the neighbors and hearing their decisions to stay and weather the storm, we decided to stay as well. We would prepare our home and property for Hurricane Matthew and be close by to help neighbors if the need arose. While not taking the evacuation orders or our loved ones concerns lightly, we believe God allowed us to wisely make the decision to stay. We know that the many prayers from our friends and loved ones greatly affirmed our choice to stay, due to the ease of knowing that God was ever present. One verse that validated our decision was Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Yvonne, Sheryl, and Annie – the “SonShine Girls”, spent time removing loose and lightweight items from the property and put them in enclosed quarters so the wind would not blow them around and harm anything or anyone. Scott spent the days prior to Hurricane Matthew prepping the Main House, Boat House, & Pool House by boarding up the windows. Food was prepared ahead of time so that in the event of a power outage we could heat it up in our gas powered oven and eat by candlelight – what a treat! Sleeping quarters were evaluated and we ended up staying in the living room as the high winds were upon us, so that the trees looming above our bedrooms would not harm anyone if they fell.

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The edges of the storm hit and the power was knocked out at 12:30am Saturday morning. When we woke up, we had plenty of food, water, and limited generator power. So we had the refrigerator, freezer, chargers to keep cell phones running, and our favorite part – coffee! Later on in the day, Scott went out to evaluate the damage and ensured all of our neighbors were safe and sound. Praise God, there was only minimal damage that was non-life threatening. On our property, an 80’ pine tree had fallen and the trucks were parked beyond its reach. We actually wanted to get this tree cut down last year by a tree company but didn’t want to spend the $700-$800 to have it removed – God did it for free! A tree at the end of the road had taken down a portion of the power and phone lines, however it was cleared and power restored nearly 48 hours after it initially went out.

Sunday morning, we sat out on the front deck reading scriptures, praising God for keeping us and our neighbors and friends safe and praying for His hand of wisdom, strength, and protection for recovery and cleanup. We enjoyed coffee, smoothies and the beautiful blue sky with the accompanying 65-degree weather with a gorgeous breeze. Then, the four of us spent a little time surveying the work ahead.

While cleanup will take some time, we are fortunate to have only laborious work ahead of us. Scott removed the paneling on the windows of all three homes and began to cut the fallen pine tree to allow our vehicles to leave the confined space they were in. Patio furniture has already been placed back in their respectful space and each day, we’re making SonShine Oaks come together once again. In the midst of chaos and anxious waiting for Matthew, we all learned how to prepare for a hurricane and how great our God really is.