Around 1 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2009, my town of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was slammed by an F-4 tornado that killed two people, injured 50, completely destroyed 59 homes and damaged 291 more. Numerous businesses were damaged or ruined completely. The National Weather Service reports the path of the tornado extended 23 miles.

I was overwhelmed with relief when my husband told me our house, located in the southeastern part of the city, was not affected by the tornadoes. (There was also another smaller tornado reported, an F-1, that hit closer to my house, but luckily all we saw was hail, rain and green skies.) All of my friends and family members are safe, though a few have some damage to their homes.

I wanted to blog about this earlier in the week, but I’ll be honest: I have been pretty freaked out. Ever since my apartment building was damaged by a small tornado (or perhaps straight-line winds; the jury is still out on that one) back in 2003, I have had a great (and admittedly irrational at times) fear of tornadoes. My husband was at home on Friday, which, while I was concerned for his safety, also brought me comfort in that I had a direct line to what was going on at my house while I was stuck in Nashville waiting out the storm until I could drive home.

This was a huge tornado that has affected so many people in my community. There is so much damage and devastation, and my heart breaks for my fellow Murfreesboro residents. I can’t imagine what I would do if the tornado had come through my neighborhood as well—and at the advice of others, I’m trying to stop thinking about that. Tornadoes are just random acts of nature’s vengeance, and in Tennessee you have to expect them and deal with them.

So in an attempt to stop focusing on what could have happened, I’ve been concentrating on what I can control: Buying a fireproof safe (in case my home ever does get blown apart, my valuables will be sturdily contained). Knowing where our safe spot is should we be home if one comes through our area (the downstairs bathroom, the most interior room in the house). Making sure our homeowner’s insurance is up-to-date. Loving on my (four!) cats a little more each night when I get home.

And I’m also ready to help with the recovery. I’ve got clothing and household items to donate, and I am ready and willing to help with any clean-up or rebuilding projects. Murfreesboro is a great city and has been good to me. I know it will rebound, but I also know it will take time.