Book Squirt

A Fatal Accident

I wrote this a couple of days ago, right after my family and I were at the scene of a fatal accident.

A couple of weeks ago, I could have said “I’ve never seen or helped at a fatal car accident.” I can’t say that anymore.

Now I can say that I’ve watched a car surrounded by flames, knowing that there was a man still trapped inside.

Now I can say that I’ve prayed more than ever before, praying that they could get the driver out in time.

The car that burned – source

Now I can say that I’ve sobbed with a girl when she asked and was told the driver of the other car didn’t make it.

Natalie’s car – source

I wish I couldn’t say any of those things.

I wish that they’d been able to get Dennis Godsave out of that car.  I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was. I’m glad my Dad and the other men at the scene were able to get Drew and his Grandma out. The police (and therefore the news) didn’t know this, because they weren’t there yet, but they had to cut Drew out of his seatbelt. If someone hadn’t had a pocket knife, they wouldn’t have been able to get him out.

I wish I hadn’t seen and heard how devastated Natalie was. As someone who’s learning to drive, this scared me. A lot.  I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was. I’m glad that I could hold her up when the shock started to take over and she couldn’t hold herself up. I’m glad my Mom could talk to her, and tell her that it wasn’t her fault. Natalie kept saying “It’s my fault, it’s my fault” and Mom told her that it wasn’t. That when a car swerves in front of you, your natural instinct is to swerve away and that’s what Natalie did.

I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was.

I’ll never know why God made this happen. Maybe I needed to see it, maybe God just needed Mom and Dad to be there to help. I don’t know, and I won’t. But what I do know is that I was there for a reason.

I’m still coming to terms with what happened. I didn’t really sleep that night, or the next. I cried almost non-stop that night, and for most of the next day. And I wasn’t the only one – some of my siblings were almost as bad as I was. They hadn’t even gotten out of the car, and they were haunted by what they’d seen from a distance.

Watching a car burn, knowing that someone was still inside, that was one of the worst moments of my life. When the men who were trying to get him out had to give up, that was a close second. Holding Natalie (and crying with her) when she learned that he didn’t make it, and hearing her sob that it was her fault, that was a close third. And meeting his family? Well, I’m not exactly sure where that ranks in the list. It was hard though.

Drew’s parents came by our house two days after the accident, and it was really good. Seeing them, being able to cry with them for a bit, it was so healing. Hearing that Drew hadn’t even spent a night in the hospital was wonderful, and they might bring him out to come see us. We’ve since met several more members of the family, and they’re all wonderful people.

It’s going to be hard, but I’m starting to be at peace. Writing about it always helps, and I’ve been talking to people about it and that’s helped a lot.

Everyone has been so supportive and I’m truly grateful for all of the texts, emails, and phone calls we’ve gotten. This reminds me a lot of the tornado. Both the accident and the tornado were traumatic experiences that rocked my world. And just like the tornado, this accident is going to take some time to get over. But like the tornado, once I’m back to normal, though it will be a completely different normal, I know I’m going to look back and see how much I grew through this.

This has been a really difficult experience, but with God’s grace, we’ll get through it stronger than before. And not just my family, but everyone affected by the accident – the Godsave family, the Bomar family, and all of the other Good Samaritans who helped.




PS – the local news did a piece on it if you want to find out more of the details, and my brother Colter also wrote about it.


Has It Really Been That Long?

Exactly a year ago, my Mom sat me down at the table with my younger brothers and said “It’s time for you guys to start a blog.” We picked out our domain names, purchased them, and wrote our first blog posts.

Mom got us each podcasting, ignoring our protests. That very day she brought us upstairs to the podcasting equipment and made us each record our first podcast.

Even though I didn’t like podcasting, I wasn’t going to quit. So each week I forced myself to podcast, praying that it would get easier. And in time, it did!

When I went on Outward Bound, I did my best to get two podcasts scheduled before I left, but it didn’t happen. So I wrote a blog post from the hotel room in NC, explaining that I was sorry, but I hadn’t gotten my podcasts recorded.

When I got back from Outward Bound I jumped right into recapping it, recapping that first day with only two posts. That never happened again! As I kept going I started posting everything I remembered, making sure that I would never forget.

I promised myself that I was going to get back to podcasting. But as time went by I realized that it had been two, three, and then four months, and I still hadn’t started again. Oh well, I thought, I’m having much more fun just recapping my trip. 

As 2012 turned into 2013, I began feverishly writing posts. Starting September 3rd I had been publishing a blog post every single day, and I didn’t want our Florida vacation to ruin that. I wasn’t bringing my computer with me, so I had to get them all uploaded and scheduled before we left.

I wrote my last post the morning we left.

After we got back from Florida I started writing again, glad to be back to recapping. But after a while I wanted to do something different occasionally, so I wrote posts about the time I got the truck stuck while learning to drive stick shift, and the time I did a commercial with our videographer. But I kept up with the recapping.

Then kidding season started, and I wanted to blog about the baby goat births. So I did! I made sure that I wasn’t posting anything too graphic, but real enough that people could see what a birth was like.  I also put together a page with the more graphic pictures so the people who wanted to see them could.

March 2nd was smack dab in the middle of Kidding Season, but I knew I couldn’t ignore it. March 2nd was the day of the tornado last year, the tornado that we saw from our backyard. So I wrote a post about it with lots of pictures, including the post I wrote a month after the tornado.

After kidding season I went straight to another thing, the A to Z Challenge.  I managed to complete it, though I was really glad when it was over.

So, now I’m working on finished Outward Bound. I’m about to start the last day, which, honestly, makes me sad. I don’t want to finish. But I have to finish at some point. 🙂

And when I’m done with Outward Bound? I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might get back to “Book Squirt” and do book reviews. Not podcasting – been there, done that.

Thank you all for being there the whole time. I have gotten more views on my blog than I ever expected, and more and more people just keep coming. In this year I have written almost 300 posts (this is number 280), and I’ve learned a lot about writing. You could almost say I’ve gotten pretty good at it! 😉

It’s Been A Year

It’s been a year since the tornado.

It’s been a year since I came out of my house and saw a tornado almost in my back yard.

It’s been a year since all of our friends were calling us, wanting to know if we were dead or alive.

A whole year. How has it been that long? It seems like it was a few short months ago.

Eleven months ago, I wrote a post on my Mom’s blog about the tornado. The majority of it is still true.


It has been one month.

One month since the tornadoes came.

One month since our friends lost their house, but kept their faith in God.

One month since another friend lost her legs, but kept her children.

One month. It’s amazing what a month can bring.

My old church, Mt. Moriah

It has brought people across the country together, as they send clothing, food, gift cards, etc. to people who lost everything. It has brought fresh hope to people who lost everything, as they start to regain a sense of normal. It has brought families from all over Indiana and Kentucky, to help with the clean-up. And some people from other states!

The school in Henryville

There have been many blessings, because of March 2nd, 2012. I could tell you so many stories of people who helped, who sent us things or brought us things to give to our friends. I could tell you about the week after the storm that I spent at home, answering the phone non-stop because everyone wanted to get stuff to us. I could tell you about how my fingers started cramping from typing out so many replies on our FB Page. I could tell you about the lady who used the money she would have spent on her birthday to buy toiletries to send to our area.

The bags of toiletries someone bought with their birthday money

I could tell you so many things.

I could tell you how I started sobbing when I saw the row of pines that I used to play in at my friend’s house. They were all down on the ground. I did not even recognize that it was the Lynch’s house, until I saw the big rock that sat by their driveway. It was there, split in half. All of the fruit trees were gone; their house was in pieces in front of me.

My friend’s house and car

But I did not see it.

I could not see anything through my tears.

I still have trouble accepting what I saw on that drive.   And I still have not even seen Henryville yet. I just saw a couple of my friends’ houses.

And I still have nightmares about that day.

But I also have good dreams about it. I dream about how we were able to help people by distributing gift cards, taking boxes and boxes (and trash bag after trash bag) of clothes to our friends.  All the while knowing that whatever they did not use, would go to a distribution center so other people could use it. I dream about the day that we went and helped finish Stephanie Decker’s house, so she could come home from rehab the next day. I dream about taking food to a friend who needed it.

As I sit here writing this, I am almost crying. What happened that day was truly horrible. But I can also see that God had it in control. While I wonder why my friend’s house had to be blown to pieces, I know that God had a reason. While I wonder why Mrs. Decker had to lose her legs, I know that God had a reason. And, if God had a reason for it, then it needed to happen.

In many ways, it seems like it has been a month. In some ways, it seems like it has been 3 months. In other ways, it seems like it has been a week.

Two abused cars

I don’t know why the tornadoes that wrecked Clark County, (and many others) happened. But I do know that they happened for a reason. God’s reason. I do not know His reasons, but I know that they will make sense in the long run. To Him at least. They might never make any sense to me. But that’s ok.  Because “we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7


I don’t really want to forget what happened that day. Yes, it means I will always flinch when I hear the weather alarm go off. It means I will never go to my friend’s house without remembering what it used to be. It means I will always be uneasy when the sky turns that sickly yellow color.

For almost four months after the tornado I had nightmares. Nightmares about my friends and family dying, nightmares about being trapped, unable to move. While I don’t want to forget everything else, I probably wouldn’t mind forgetting those.

Every day I drive through Henryville, and the damage is still there. The American Flag is still standing in the pile of bricks, reminding me constantly of what happened. The house with the big gardens is finally rebuilt, but the pizza place on the corner isn’t. There are still houses with tarps instead of roofs, and the hillside will look the way it does for several more years.

The flag in the bricks

The pizza place on the corner

The roof of a church in Henryville

Before the tornado, you couldn’t see those houses

I’ve tried as hard as I can, but I still can’t get rid of the panic every time someone doesn’t answer their phone. Part of me knows that they just couldn’t make it to the phone. But another part of me says, maybe something happened. And for some reason, the sensible part of me listens. So I start freaking out until I actually hear from the person I was calling.

A ruined tree

Maybe one day it will get easier. Maybe one day the panic will go away. I don’t know.

But I do know this – the tornado came for at least one reason, and probably more. Maybe one of those reasons was for me, and I just don’t see it yet.

A house that had been stripped

Whatever the reason, it happened. And we’re recovering from it as a community. Together.



*All pictures taken April 2nd, 2012, except for the first two. *

This is what my Mom said about it on Facebook:

Today is the one year anniversary of the tornado that tore through our area. Thanks to all of you who prayed for the survivors and helped by sending gifts and donations. A quick update on some of our friends. The Hedges family stayed in their home without power and water while it was being repaired. The Lynches lost their home completely and just moved into their newly built home (on the same property) weeks ago. The Deckers chose not to rebuild on their land, but have purchased another piece and are in the process of putting up a new home now. Stephanie is walking on her prosthetics and is doing great. She is working hard on prosthetics equality and has been doing a great job speaking out. In places the area still looks like a war zone with all the downed and broken trees, but there are many new houses and a spirit of rebuilding and healing. It’s amazing how far some people have come in a year, but some people still have a ways to go. PJ

My Goals For 2013

  1. Rewrite and then edit the book I wrote in June. It is really, really bad and needs to be completely rewritten.
  2. Write another book. I’d like to write a new book each year.
  3. Do some sort of exercise daily. It can be anything – jumping jacks, crunches, or even just going for a walk. But it has to be something.
  4. Read my Bible every day. This is a really big one. Right now I don’t read my Bible enough, and I really need to get better with that.
  5. Keep a regular blogging schedule. Right now I’m blogging every day. And that is working for me at the moment. But I have no idea what I’m going to blog when I’m done recapping my trip, and it might require a new schedule.


The Best and Worst of 2012

This year has been a really tough year for me. I grew, (emotionally, not physically :D) and I went through lots of hard things. But a lot of good things happened too.

So, not in any particular order, the good things that happened in 2012.

  • We went to Disney World with some of our cousins.
  • I got my braces off after almost three years.
  • I got my driving permit.
  • I turned 16.
  • I started my blog.
  • I went on my Outward Bound course.
  • Our new soaproom was built.
  • I wrote 150 blog posts.
  • They started building our new house in Scottsburg.
  • We went out to California to film The Doctors interview.
  • The Doctors aired, and we didn’t stop working for the next 6 weeks.
  • We had an awesome Christmas, getting up at 4 in the morning to surprise our cousins.
  • I made new friends.
  • We had 36 baby goats born – our most ever!
  • We got two Great Pyrenees puppies!
  • We went swimming a lot this summer.
  • My siblings and I started taking a dance class (that we love), at the YMCA


And now the “bad”. Except none of this was really bad. I mean, it was bad. But the Bible says:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.     …………                                                                                                             -Romans 8:28, NIV

So all of this stuff happened for a reason. And all of it was good for me, even if I can’t see how it was good for me.

  • A tornado came and destroyed Henryville, Marysville, and many other towns around mine. It turned my friends’ house into a hole in the ground, and a lady we know lost her legs. It was a really hard time for me – I had nightmares for weeks afterwards.
  • My little brother Fletcher broke his leg. That was annoying.
  • We started commuting. 25 minutes every morning and evening, with my siblings and two large dogs. It has been… interesting.
  • Hm… I remember thinking that there were more. Oh well!


This list doesn’t even cover half of the things that happened this year. But these are the ones I could think of, so they are the ones that made it onto the list. 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone!



Why I Love (And Hate) My School

Right now for my schoolwork I am using Switched On Schoolhouse by Alpha Omega Publications.

SOS is a computer based program. The computer does a lot of the work for the teacher, (Mom :D) but Mom can still override anything you and/or the computer do.

I was thinking about why I love SOS, and I realized that for everything I love about it, there is also a bad thing about it! Here are the ones that I came up with:

Pro – Your school is all on a computer, so you get to have computer time.

Con – Your school is all on a computer, so when it dies you lose all of your progress in the grade. *This has happened to me twice. Thankfully I had only  done a few lessons the second time it happened…*


Pro – If you get a bad grade, Mom can reassign it so it does not stain your perfect record.

Con – If you get a bad grade, Mom can reassign it and you have to do that horrible lesson all over again. *You don’t even want to know. LOL*


Pro – Mom can take days out of your school schedule so you can go the the museum.

Con – Mom can take days out of your school schedule so you can spend the entire day reclaiming your bedroom. *This only happened when I shared a bedroom with the little girls. Not anymore!*


Pro – Mom can override the grade the computer gives you if it was a stupid question.

Con – Mom can override the grade the computer gives you if you got it right, but “your formatting was terrible!!”. *This only happened once. I learned from that one time. :D*


Pro – There are special courses you can get if you are really interested in it.


Con – There are special courses you can get if your Mom is really interested in it. *Hm… I don’t think I have actually had to do a course that I did not want to do. Now my brothers, they wish that we did not have to do any courses…*


So those are my pros and cons to Switched-On-Schoolhouse from Alpha Omega Publications.  I think it is an amazing program, and I really enjoy doing school with it!

*These are all my own opinions and I have not been paid to write this blog post by AOP.*

Little Sisters

I love mine. They can make me mad, but I love them.

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted little sisters. And all I got? Were little brothers. Five times, I got little brothers. I cried when we learned that Hewitt was a boy.

And then Mom got pregnant again, and she decided to have this baby at home. And we were not going to find out whether it was a boy or a girl. I was sure that it was going to be a boy. I just knew it. We were going to have a Icarus, Isaac or Issachar. (Or Issaboat, or Issaplane. The boys could not decide which method of transportation they were going to name their new brother after. LOL).

And then it was February 23rd, and the baby was coming! We called my piano teacher to come and keep the boys upstairs. I stayed downstairs, reading “Carry On Mr. Bowditch” and waiting to help with anything. I heated hot socks, and went back to reading. And I heated the hot socks again, and went back to reading. Then Mrs. Cox (the midwife) called me to come get the hot sock quickly. I heated it up as fast as I could, and brought it to the door. Mrs. Cox grabbed it out of my hands, and shut the door quickly. I went back to the couch, but I did not read. I listened.

And in about 20 seconds, I heard a baby cry. I waited for about a minute before I went and knocked at Mom and Dad’s door. When Mrs. Cox let me in, I went and crawled up on the bed. Mom had the baby snuggled up to her chest. I said, “A boy?” And Mom told me they had not looked yet.

Then she asked me if I wanted to look.

I said no. There was no way I was going to look and see that it was a boy. No sir, not me!

So Dad looked. And then looked again.

“Any guesses?”

“It’s a boy…” I said, and I got really close to crying. Then Dad said, “Nope!”

And all I could do was stare.

And then I snuggled up close to my mom, and my baby sister.

I had a sister. 🙂 To say I was happy would have been understatement. I was ecstatic. To be sure, I was not so ecstatic when Indigo kept me up at night, but I was still happy.

I was trying to find some pix of the two of us when she was a baby, but no such luck. I found a couple cute ones though!

You can see more blog posts that I have written about my family here. You can also read this post that I wrote earlier today about my two little growing princesses.


How Far?

One day last week, I had a friend over for a little bit. We were sitting in my room looking at some drawings she had done, (they were pretty nice! :)) when Mom called us out into the dining room.

She asked us how far we thought a person should go to help other people. She told us that there was no right or wrong answer, and she wanted us to think about it. Abigail told my Mom that she had just inspired a poem, and she would be sure to think about it.

I did not think about Abigail’s poem until the next day, when I received this:

“How Far” by Abigail S.


How far should one go?

How much should one give?

How long should one try,

While we still live?


How far should one go,

To meet other’s needs?

To comfort and care,

For each heart that still bleeds?


How much should one give,

To a world torn apart?

Where love has been lost,

To the Shadows of the Dark?


How long should one try,

To live for one Cause?

A City on a Hill,

A Light for the lost?


While we still live,

What ages we be,

We should all care,

And love never leave.


Go as far as you can,

Give of your best,

Try very long,

And others you’ll bless.

As I was thinking about it after reading her poem, I realized you have to be careful when you are helping people. You should help people. I know that; but you can also help too much. Because if you go too far and push too hard when you are trying to help, instead you can hurt.

I struggle with this. I love helping my friends and I hate feeling helpless when they are going through something hard. I think that is one of the reasons the tornado hurt me so much. My friends were hurting, and I could not help them. There was nothing I could do. Because, number one, there was nothing I could physically do. But number two, I did not want to say the wrong things. People have said the wrong things to me before, and I know how much it hurts. My friends were already hurting enough, they did not need me saying the wrong things!

But it hurt. It hurt me a lot, watching one of my good friends deal with her house being a hole in the ground, with all of her possessions except for the clothes on her back disappearing. It hurt me emotionally.  It hurt her physically and emotionally. When she came over to my house the day after the tornadoes, I could see that she was hurting.  Yet I felt helpless. I just kept talking, probing, trying to help her and not do anymore damage. I kept asking her if she was ok, staring at her, or asking her, “Really??” at times. I did not think it would help much, but it was the best I could do.

Two weeks later, I got a letter from her. She told me that I had helped her process the way she was feeling. She said that while all of her other friends joked about what had happened, and tried to make her feel better that way, with my probing and pushing her I had helped her more than her other friends. That made me feel good. I had helped my friend, when she needed help. I had made something a bit easier for her, and that was worth every bit of helplessness I had felt.

I am still processing what happened with the tornadoes. I don’t really have nightmares anymore, like I did when I wrote this post. I still have to see friends who were impacted by it almost daily, and I still feel helpless when they describe what they are (still) dealing with. But little by little, it is getting better.

Right now, I have another friend that I am helping get through some hard times. I will probably never know if anything I am doing is helping, but I think I am helping, and that makes me feel better. With God’s help, I might actually make her feel better! How awesome would that be? 😀