Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Tornado that hit near Elder Swanger

My Parents had a ward member call them the night (Sunday May 22nd) that the tornado hit Joplin to let us know that Dustin was safe. The next day was Dustin's day to email us. We were not expecting to hear from him because of all the damage that happened in the area. In the late afternoon while Dustin and his companion went to a members home. They called me to again let us know that he was safe and that they (Elder Stoddard too) were going to be on their computer so they could email us. The internet kept going out on them because there were still storms going on, but the following is information we got from Dustin over the course of about an hour and a half.

"We are all good but the damage is really bad. We are going to be there doing service for a long time. We have heard that about 75% of Joplin is gone! We were taking point talking to the other elders to see if they are all right. That was fun all the internet is down and phones are a joke. We are just able to get into the city to help out but we can't go out to help until Wednesday because we are going to mission tour tomorrow. It is bad.
I really don't know where to begin. There is just nothing. There was supposed to be another tornado here but it was in the farms.
They think that it was an F4 or F5 which are really rare. There is much to be done here. But my companion says that the tornado was closer to our house than that but we were other side of town and were really far away.
OH, there was another thing that went on that I should say while we are here and able to type. We found a new investigator that is really sweet and is really asking alot of questions. Matt says that he is embarrassed about the markers (scripture crayons- we sent in a package) but is really grateful. Well we are going to be cleaning and rebuilding things. I don't know when the church is going to be up there (rebuilt) but there are supplies on the way. I don't know what we are going to be doing and all, but we are going to be working hard.  I will have to send you a letter about the new investigator. His name is Francisco from El Salvador.
People here are going crazy here trying to get all the stuff that they need just in case we get another storm. Everyone is jumpy because we have other storms that are going to come through. We have had three just today and we are going to see lots this week they say.
Right now we are getting thunder that is shakin the house every once in a while and lots of rain but the saying is that the Indians even knew that the tornados. There hasn't been one here for a long time, about a hundred years. Just around us and there was not one here, just the one that was coming from Joplin but it went back up to the sky."

Dustin did say that he wanted to see tornadoes, guess he got his wish. We're glad he is okay. I had heard about the tornado but I didn't realize it was so close to him (He was transferred recently) until Mom and Dad called us to tell us. They are currently in Idaho visiting Alisha, Marc, Tori and snuggling Sera Jean.

Interesting Fact: Dustin's current companion is the same companion he had in the MTC.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19th is a special day...

It was my Great Grandpa Johnson's birthday,
It is my Mother's birthday,
and it is the birthday of my newest niece,

Sera Jean Bready
May 19th, 1:56pm
 8lbs 11oz.

We will be meeting her in June! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Take that DSHS!

(Department of Social and Health Services)

We loathe you!  You have been nothing but a HUGE pain in our behinds. We have been fighting you for over a year now! And all we want us basic health insurance for Joseph. We really don't want to need government insurance, but we have no other choice. You've denied us multiple times and the first time we were approved, you wanted us to prove over $5,000 "spend down". which would have been possible  if you allowed us to use his $3,000 a month medication against spend down. Then come to find out you thought we were making $1,200 more a month than we do, (if we did we wouldn't be applying for state insurance!)  and instead of fixing YOUR mistake you made us re-apply. (for the 4th time)

Finally you got it right, but we still had to prove spend down of $1,277, over a specified time period. This was a difficult job, because at the same time we were trying to avoid debt, so we worked with the doctors offices and pharmisuedical companies to get services and medications subsidized or get discounts for paying up front. Which while smart for us finacially,  it did not help to us fight you.

Luckily for us we found our loop hole: we can use the medical expenses of anyone who lives with us. We live with family, so they were all included every single time we applied and we got to use their bills with ours. These last few months we've compiled all the bills that our family has incurred over the last 6 months, bills that include dates of service and cost incurred . This last week we copied them and wrote Joseph's name and DSHS number on each and every paper we were preparing to send them to you. And just to be sure you wouldn't misunderstand,  or over look them, I also highlighted the charges on each bill. By the time we were done the pile of bills wouldn't fit into the postage paid envelope you supplied us with. So I folded everything and stuffed it into a Manila envelope and taped your tiny one on top. Taped the whole thing closed and prayed that the mailman wouldn't send it back.

Just so you know, and just to be thorough, I didn't stop when we reached $1,277. I wasn't sure you'd accept all our proof. We've never been so happy to get bills in the mail, but because we were going to use them to prove spend down, they were welcome.  Our grand total came to $3,644.91  oh yea, take that, and I hope you have fun going through that stack of papers.

P.S. I do have more that I can dig up, so watch out!
P.P.S I have been drafting a letter to send to our congressmen and congress lady, with great detail of our fight with you and how you are part of a broken system. How an other wise very healthy young man who has MS, and is legally blind  is denied multiple times for state insurance. However, if his wife was to quit her job, and get pregnant we could all be on state insurance, that is wrong! 

In other words the war is on, I am going to win and you are going down, I will be heard!

Monday, May 16, 2011

the bricks we gave Mom

We will be making one for Alisha, Marc and Dustin. Sometime...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A mothers day poem

Co-written by Joseph, Valerie, Cassandra (adopted sister of sorts) and I. We gave our Mom bricks for mothers day, we engraved our names on them and painted them. We are as a family in the process of bricking part of the front and Mom wanted bricks. We presented her with the special bricks and cards and also this poem:

Roses are red,

violets are blue.

We bought you these bricks,

cause you asked us to.

Just to show

we’re not being funny,

to get what you need,

we’ll give you some money.

And to put them in place,

we’ll do you a favor,

without complaining,

we’ll give you free labor.

As kids we were twirps,

with our naughty little tricks.

we will try to make up

with these wonderful bricks.

Some days are easy,

 and some days are rough,

But in the end, Mom;

Like these bricks,

You are tough.

Monday, May 2, 2011

catching up...

I feel so behind, it's May and my calender is still in March (the one in my room, I use my ipod mostly). So back to April, Joseph had an awesome April Fools Day. He was substituting for the 2 morning seminary classes that week. He went in dressed like this:

And yes, he did that without help! I was sick and sleepy so when he came in and got his goodbye kiss, I told him that he looked weird. Mission Accomplished, right? And since it was the day before General Conference he gave a test, what do you remember from last General Conference. Sis. Wright doesn't believe in giving tests for seminary but Joseph had this set up good, it was a double-sided test and on the front was a normal test and on the bottom of the back it said "April Fools!" in bold. Yea, he got them good. The best part is after he was finished teaching we went grocery shopping in WinCo and man, the looks he got were awesome. A real Aprils Fools Day success.