Parzen family #Houston #Harvey update: helping our neighbors and praying for Tracie’s family on the Louisiana border

Just a quick update today to let everyone know that we are doing fine. Thanks for all the notes of solidarity and concern. The thoughts, wishes, and prayers really made and make a difference. They really do. Thank you…

We were finally able to leave our house yesterday and we began helping our neighbors with recovery.

That’s just one image of a thousand I could have shot yesterday as I was finally able to move around beyond our block and see some of the damage.

Once water gets in your house and the mold starts to spread, you essentially lose everything. And by everything, I mean everything. That’s a house I helped clear yesterday.

It’s hard to convey the extent of the damage: there are just miles and miles of homes that have all been devastated.

There are long lines at the supermarkets but they are beginning to open and thanks to social media, I was even able to find milk this morning for the girls and for some of our neighbors (Westbury/Meyerland neighbors: if you don’t already use it, check out Moms and Ladies of Southwest Houston on Facebook; that’s where we’ve been getting our news and updates and it’s also where we’ve been able to connect with people who need help cleaning up their homes or who need shelter etc.).

Many stores are still shuttered but a few are starting to get deliveries of perishables.

Beyond helping out locally, our biggest concern is Orange, Texas and the Golden Triangle (Beaumont area) near the Louisiana border where Tracie grew up: Harvey made a third landfall this morning (yes, a third landfall!) after it went back out to the Gulf a second time.

They are now underwater as well. It’s just awful. Please say a prayer for them and send some positive vibes their way. I’ll post an update on their status soonest.

Please also say a prayer for the people who are still flooded here in Houston. I’ve read that 30 percent of our city is still underwater. And in many areas, the water has nowhere to go. Water has subsided in our neighborhood but some parts of Houston will remain underwater for three weeks. It’s just awful.

I’ve been in a major natural disaster before but nothing like this. Sunday morning we were really scared for our family, for our house, and for our lives. And our girls could see how frightened we were.

Georgia and Lila Jane have been real troopers as we dealt with the most scary thing that has ever happened to our family.

It’s a surreal experience when you’re watching the national news with your family and the lead story is the disaster that’s happening in your city, in your neighborhood, and all around you. Last night was the first night that Tracie and I didn’t take turns getting up every hour to check the hurricane trackers and the water levels outside our house. There is still a ton of water in our backyard. It’s just been really draining, emotionally and physically. The sunshine this morning FELT SO GOOD ON OUR FACES! We were among the luckiest and now it’s time to help our fellow Houstonians get back on their feet.

Tracie, when I fell in love with you, I never imagined that we would be huddled together someday with our children in our living room in the middle of a five-day, unending, Biblical rainstorm, wondering if we were going to have to abandon our house and belongings to get our girls to safety. I knew then and know now — more than ever — that I found the right partner in life to share the worst and the best of times… I love you.

Thanks for all the solidarity, everyone. I’ll be posting updates as things develop. And we are working on resources for helping aid efforts.

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