15 Things You Might Not Know About Me

I follow Inspired by Life…and Fiction because I read three of the authors who blog there. Recently they all took turns doing a “10 Things You Might Not Know About Me” post that was really fun, so I thought I’d steal borrow the idea. It’s ok because they confess they stole borrowed it from someone else as well. πŸ™‚ But as I contemplated what to share, I decided to expand it to 15.

So here we go:

1. I think I come across as a mild-mannered, quiet person, so I think people would be surprised to know that I can be really competitive. Not in anything physical or athletic. But if we’re playing a game, I’m not going to trash talk or bluster or be cutthroat about it, but I am going to quietly and stealthily do everything in my power to sneak up behind you and WIN! (Bwahahaha!)

2. I’ve spent my whole life in the Southeast: I grew up in southern Texas and spent most of my adult life in SC, but I don’t have a Texan or Southern accent.

3. When I get really tired, I get either weepy or giggly.

4. I don’t like for anyone to touch my feet. I can’t stand the thought of a foot massage or pedicure. And don’t even THINK about tickling. πŸ™‚

5. I made a D in my college Food Prep class – and I was a Home Economics Education major. That was quite a blow. Failing at any other subject is one thing, though that would sting, too (#1 applied to academics as well, and I had been an A student all through high school), but failing at food preparation was another. I felt like I was failing at being a woman. I had been cooking since my teens, and my family seems to like my cooking and no one has died from it in all these years. But I did not know how to manage my time well in college, so trying to get everything done on time (and failing to do so and getting lower grades because of it) was a major stressor. Looking back, I was taking more hours per semester than any of my kids did when they were in college plus working part-time. Why did I do that?! I wonder if colleges now have reduced their requirements or if that particular major just required more. I could do better at that part of college life now, but I think there would be other stressors at this stage. πŸ™‚ I couldn’t count that class toward my major requirements, so I took Advanced Child Care to replace the credit, which I think was a big help to me in the long run.

6. I originally wanted to major in English but talked myself out of it, because what can you do with an English major besides teach? Sigh. If I could only go back and talk to my teenage self about that now. With my interest writing now, that would have been a big help. But I saw that most of my female classmates did not go on to college, so I reasoned that Home Ec. would be practical thing to teach. I had thought it would center on…well…home. But I never felt like I fit in to the “professional home economist” role portrayed in college, and yet I never felt the freedom of conscience to change. My husband and I talked about this a lot when we first married and concluded that, no, I wasn’t a failure and didn’t miss God’s will in college. Several of my classes were home, marriage, and child care classes, in a Christian college, so I was taught a lot there that I needed and would have missed in another major. So even though a lot of what learned in college didn’t show up in my grades, it did sink in. (And after all of that, when I graduated, the last thing I wanted to do was teach high school. πŸ™‚ But I think my education classes did benefit me in teaching my children and in general people skills).

7. I don’t spring clean. The thought is overwhelming. I’ve always disliked the idea of having to turn the whole house inside out cleaning just because the calendar says it’s spring. I tend to take care of things as I notice they need attention, whether it’s removing stray cobwebs or cleaning out a closet, so I think I get around to everything eventually. As I was contemplating this post, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to admit this, I was encouraged by Dianna’s post and her quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder. So I am in good company and don’t feel guilty any more. πŸ™‚

8. I secretly would have loved to have been on one of those makeover shows that used to be on. Well, maybe not be on a show, but I would really love for someone to show me how to do makeup, what hair style and clothes would look best on me, etc. I’ve only worn mascara (because I feel like my eyes look half closed without it), and because when I was younger, my natural complexion looked ok (my cheeks always looked like they had a little blush on them – I always figured, why cover all that up and put artificial blush on?) But as I got older, the complexion got more splotchy and too red in places, so it would be nice to know how to look “made up” yet natural. Whenever I have tried it on my own, though, it hasn’t looked right. Plus I have never been completely satisfied with my hair, at least since high school. I’d like for it to have a little bit of a wave to it. In its natural state, it’s straight as a board except the ends, which look like an old straw broom. I’ve never been able to figure out how to put it up attractively. It slithers out of pins and combs and usually has ends sticking out every which way. Even though the “messy bun” is stylish now, I just can’t stand it on myself.

9. I don’t like flavored coffees. I don’t know why – if I did that would give me more of a variety of warm things to drink in the winter. But I guess it saves me a lot of money at coffee places. πŸ™‚

10. Scented candles, soaps, lotions, etc. give me a headache.

11. I am sorry to say I have horrible handwriting and it’s only gotten worse as I write less. My first bad report card grade was in handwriting in 3rd grade. When I was in first grade, I was in a classroom with 1st and 2nd grades combined. I wanted to do what the second graders did (see #1 again), and was trying cursive as they were learning it. When the teacher noticed, I was sorely chastised and told I was not to learn that yet. So I blame my bad handwriting on being traumatized by that experience. πŸ™‚ But that probably had nothing to do with it.

12. I am the oldest of six. We’re spread out across 17 years, five girls and one boy, poor guy.

Me as a teenager with my youngest sister

13. I don’t travel well, mainly due to IBS, but even before developing that, I just always felt yucky traveling. I wish someone would hurry up and develop that Star Trek transporter. πŸ™‚

14. I once dated a mannequin. Or rather, a real guy who worked as a fake mannequin. There was a newspaper article on him around that time where he said the hardest part was not responding to people, especially when they tried to make him laugh.

15. My husband was once in a magazine ad for the company where he was employed at the time. His boss was supposed to be, but they couldn’t find him when the photographer was ready to shoot, and Jim was there, so he was asked. I know we have a copy of it here somewhere – if I knew where it was, I’d scan it in, but I think it used this photograph or one like it:

Isn’t he cute? πŸ™‚ I know this is technically about him and not me, but we are one, right?

And there you have much more about me than I am sure you ever wanted to know. πŸ™‚ How about you? What about you might others be surprised to know?

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Misadventures in the new car

I mentioned on a recent Friday’s Fave Five that we got a new car at the end of the year. We were going to need to replace our van some time in the near future, and my husband went down to the dealership we were considering to see if they had any end-of-the-year sales that would make it worthwhile to go ahead and get a car. They did, and the salesman was eager enough to sell that my husband got pretty much everything he wanted. Plus, since we didn’t absolutely have to get a car right now, when the negotiations weren’t going the way my husband wanted, he could honestly and without remorse and coercion walk away. That, we discovered, was a good position to negotiate from. I’m glad he likes doing that kind of thing. I hate it – I want to know the sale price and any discounts available and be done with it. But because he likes that kind of interaction, we’ve gotten some great deals along the way.

I don’t remember how old our old van is – maybe 18 or so years? Old enough that it has a cassette tape player, and when it came out, keyless entry was the newest, coolest feature. The new one, of course, has all kinds of bells and whistles I need to get used to. Jim took me out to the car after he brought it home and showed where various things were. He set up what was needed for my phone to connect via bluetooth and play through the speakers (Yay!!) and showed me how to activate that and various other things.

I had driven the car briefly when he brought it home for a test drive, but I wanted my first solo voyage to be a very small and short excursion while I got used to it. I had to go to the post office yesterday, which provided a perfect opportunity.

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The car starts with a push button, but requires that you have a “key” that connects wirelessly so that not just anyone can come start and drive your car. So I got in, got set, pushed the button — and everything came on except the engine. The windshield wipers were going full blast because it had been raining the last time we were out. I knew where the controls for it were, so I was turning everything on them that I could, but nothing was happening. I finally realized I had been fiddling with the controls for the back windshield wipers. But I couldn’t see what to do to turn off the front wipers. I accidentally moved the lever, and saw out of the corner of my eye something on the screen behind the steering wheel that said “Off, Int, Lo, Hi.” The setting moved when I moved the lever, so, voila, that’s how to turn the windshield wipers off. That sure seemed more complicated than it needed to be.

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But I still had the problem of how to turn on the engine. I pushed the button again — nothing. I called my husband, but my call just went to voicemail. I got the manual out of the glove compartment, and you’d think “How to start your car” would be on the first page. But, no, I had to go searching for it and found it about halfway in. Turns out I have to have my foot on the brake pedal and then push the button, even though the car is in “park.” Success!

The car has a nifty back-up setting where it shows you what’s behind you and has little red and yellow lines to show you which way you need to go to back up. I had been looking forward to that feature, but I found it disorienting – when I turned the way I thought it was indicating, I went the opposite way. So I had to just ignore it and back out the old way, looking over my shoulder.

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This car has many more warning beeps than I am used to – one for when you veer out of your line, proximity sensors on all sides so you know when you get to close to something, etc.

The actual driving was fine – except I kept stopping too suddenly. Have to get used to the feel of the new brakes.

I kept thinking this all probably looked like a scene in a sitcom. πŸ™‚

I was glad my first excursion was a short one, because I was pretty rattled when I got home. πŸ™‚

Earlier, when we were in the car together and my husband was driving, I got out the manual to flip through it, and was overwhelmed with too much information. What I probably need to do is just go sit with it in the garage and go through the manual page by page.

My kids love the learning curve with new technology. Me — not so much. I’m sure I’ll love everything once I get more familiar with it. But I hope my next drive goes more smoothy than the first.

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Book Review: A Patchwork Christmas Collection

patchwork-christmasWhen I saw A Patchwork Christmas Collection by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson mentioned at Monicaβ€˜s, I thought I might like it as a Christmas read, partly because I had read and enjoyed the first two authors before.

The book is made up up three different stories:

“Seams Like Love” by Judith Miller.Karla Stuke lives in the Amana colonies in Iowa with her family in the 1890s. She was engaged, but her fiance jilted her for another. Feeling she can never trust her heart to any man again, she puts all thoughts of love and marriage away and helps her family provide communal meals in the hotel. Then suddenly her old childhood friend, Frank, returns. He has trained as a pharmacist’s apprentice and been assigned to her village. He hopes to renew their friendship, but finds her distant. When he learns that she is no longer engaged, he wonders if he can ever convince her that all men are not as faithless as the one who hurt her.

I had never heard of the Amana colonies before and found a bit of their history here. The Inspirationists began in Germany, migrated to New York, and eventually established a communal colony of six villages in Iowa. From what this page says of their beliefs, they sound somewhat similar to Quakers, and the returning pharmacist in the book mentioned he was often mistaken for Amish. The “brethren,” or leaders, directed much, choosing who was going to live where and what their vocation or contribution to the community should be.I thought in the book they seemed awfully blunt with each other: I am not sure if that was characteristic of them or the author’s interpretation.

But I enjoyed the story, earning about this group, Karla and Frank’s journey, and especially Karla’s needing to overcome a perception of herself unwittingly planted by her sister years before.

“A Patchwork Love” by Stephanie Grace Whitson. In Nebraska in 1875, Jane McClure finds herself in dire straits when she is not only widowed, but near penniless due to her late husband’s bad investments. A man she met once in another town, Mr. Huggins, has tentatively offered to pursue the possibility of marriage, not as a love match, but to help each other. He provides for Jane and her daughter to come by train to spend Christmas with him to get to know one another better. But on the way the train is stopped by a severe snowstorm and drifts. A man and his mother living nearby come to the train to offer food to the workers and shelter for Jane and her daughter until the train gets moving again. Jane’s daughter has become very sick, so everyone focuses at first on tending to her. But in the process Jane notices that the man, Peter Gruber, whose soul is as wounded as his damaged face, also has a tender heart and ways. As circumstances keep coming up to prevent them from leaving, Jane worries that her one opportunity to save her family with Mr. Huggins is slipping away. But will she recognize the opportunity right before her?

“The Bridal Quilt” by Nancy Moser. New York society couple Ada Wallace and Samuel Alcott are on the verge on engagement: in fact, everyone expects that to happen at Christmas. But one evening when Samuel goes “slumming” in a poor side of town with friends at their insistence, he rescues a young girl from being beaten in the street. When he takes her back to the foundling home where she stays, he is struck with the need of the children, and his life and outlook are forever changed. He tries to reconcile what he feels he is called to do with his life with Ada, and they don’t seem to fit together, bringing him to the point of a major decision that will affect them all.

I enjoyed all the stories, but especially the last one. Each occurs during the Christmas season and involves a quilt and a “second chance at love.” Each chapter ends with discussion questions, a crochet or quilting project, and a recipe.

I had wanted to finish it before the end of the year, but, life being what it is, that did not happen. But I didn’t mind extending the season a bit with this nice, cozy Christmas read.

Genre: Christmas inspirational fiction
Objectionable elements: None.
My rating: 9 out of 10

(Sharing with Semicolonβ€˜s Saturday Review of Books)

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The Saga of the Broken Toe

Tuesday evening I came out of the bathroom door – the same bathroom door I have been coming out if for 6 1/2 years now with no problem – and somehow banged my little toe on the door frame. It really hurt, and after doubling over for a minute, I looked down at it – and it was angled away from the rest of my foot. That can’t be good, I thought. I showed it to Jim, and we discussed whether we should go to the ER. He taped it to the next toes and we decided to just wait, figuring that’s probably what a doctor would do anyway since they can’t put a cast on toes.

The next morning I got dressed early so I could call the doctor and be ready to go in immediately if they had an opening. Unfortunately my doctor was not in, but the nurse practitioner had an opening at 5:15. I asked Jim’s mom’s caregiver if she could come back then, and she could. So I went in, and she took some x-rays and said I needed to be seen by an orthopedic doctor. She said it looked to her like there was a spiral fracture and mentioned the possibility of needing surgery or even pins put in it. (Yikes!) There was an orthopedic clinic that was open til 8 if I could get there. I had driven to the doctor’s office because they are close to us, but, even though the injury was on my left foot, I just didn’t feel I could drive to this place. I called Jim, and he was on his way home, so we met there, made his mom’s dinner, and headed out again.

The orthopedist said the toe was dislocated, so he numbed it up and reset it (or reduced it, as they say, but I am not sure why they call it that.) I asked if it was just dislocated or if it was broken as well. He said, “Oh yes, it’s broken – it looks like a jigsaw puzzle in there.” So he taped it up with the next toes, gave me a stylish boot to wear, told me to keep it dry and elevated and come back in a week.

He said at one point that this would “probably bother you for three months.” I told Jim I hoped he was exaggerating. He said he didn’t think he was. I don’t know if that means wearing the boot and keeping it taped for that long, or just that it will be that long before it feels completely right.

I’ve been on acetaminophen round the clock since it happened. Before seeing the doctor, it actually felt better when I was walking around and excruciating when I was lying down. I thought that was so odd – you’d think it would be the other way around. But last night I slept great. It only seems to hurt now when I’ve been on it for a while, and the doctor said that’s a sign I need to go elevate it.

It was embarrassing that every time someone at either of the clinics asked me how I hurt my foot, all I could say was that I ran into the wall. πŸ™‚ It would have been nice to at least have had a dramatic story to tell about it.

I was thankful that both offices had evening hours, that Jim’s mom’s caregiver was available, that we got it taken care of that evening so he didn’t have to miss work today, and that the doctor numbed the area before reducing it. When I checked out and one girl mentioned the reduction, the other said, “And you didn’t scream?” I said no, it was numbed, she replied, “We have heard people scream sometimes all the way out here.” Yikes!

I’m also thankful I had gone to the store on Tuesday before any of this happened. I was thinking of putting it off til Wednesday because it was raining and we weren’t quite in danger of running out of anything for a day or so, but finally decided that since I had already planned for it, I’d go ahead and get it over with. I’m also thankful that the bulk of the Christmas shopping and wrapping was done: most everything that’s left can be done sitting down, except the housecleaning I was going to do next week before Jeremy came home. Jim is off next week, so maybe he can help me with that.

Trying to figure out how to take a shower without getting my foot wet was a challenge, and the boot is annoying already (mainly because it’s a different height that any of my shoes, so my gait is uneven). But I hope it’s on the mend now with no further complications.

And that’s probably much more than you wanted to know about anybody’s little toe. πŸ™‚

Odds and Ends

It’s a hazy day in Eastern TN. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of the fires in the area. By this report there were some 67 of them as of noon Tuesday. There are fires in SC, NC, and Kentucky as well. We haven’t had rain in weeks, quite unusual for this area, and none is in the forecast for at least the next week. The report I mentioned said visibility is only 50 feet in some areas, and my son said he couldn’t see the sun through the haze on some parts of his drive to work this morning. It’s not that bad at our house, but if we’re out and about even just to run errands, we come home with irritated throats and sometimes irritated eyes and nasal passages. A friend in the Tablerock Park area of SC has seen a fire that has burnedΒ over 2500 acres actually visibly come closer to his house. All his neighbors have each other on a group text so they can alert each other if there is a sudden need to evacuate.

If you think of it and feel so led, we’d sure appreciate prayer that the fires would be put out with as little damage as possible as soon as possible and that God would send rain.

In other news…..

Craft shows used to be one of my biggest joys. The first two cities we lived in had big ones around Christmas time. The third place we lived was not too far from the first, so I eagerly drove over for the big craft fair in December – but it was immensely smaller and looked more like a home and garden show, with businesses selling swimming pools and windows and even teeth brighteners rather than crafters selling their wares. I was so disappointed. I’ve seen one advertised here the last couple of years, but just hadn’t made it out to it. This year I made plans to go with Jason and Mittu. It was so fun. It was still smaller than some of the big ones I used to see, and there were a few home and garden type booths, but mainly it was just a big old fashioned craft show. I was so happy! I did notice an absence of a couple of typical booths I used to see: tole painting and kid’s wooden toys. I always liked the tole painting because I couldn’t do it. πŸ™‚ I wonder if anyone does any more? And I think, with all the light plastic toys we can buy for kids these days, parents got away from the heavier wooden ones.

The only thing I came away with was a wooden heart ornament and a wonderful piece of apple cake, but there are a couple of things I wish I had gotten.

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I would have bought some dish towels – I like the thicker, heavier kind, which is getting harder to find any more, and one booth had them with the little crochet part at the top where you can button it to a cabinet or stove handle. I was looking at them, trying to decide if I liked the crocheted part and looking through the designs, but the older man at the booth just wouldn’t leave me alone to look. He kept saying things like, “These are good an heavy, here feel this one. There are Christmas designs back here – here, come and look,” etc. I just left. I guess I could have said, “Thanks, I’d like to just look at the designs and decide which one I want,” but I didn’t think of it. I’ve never liked craft booths or farmer’s market booths or garage sales where the sellers feel like they constantly have to try to sell to you.

At any rate, it was a fun time, and I am looking forward to next year already.

Speaking of sales people, I got a call last night from a company I ordered a dress from online. I don’t normally answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number, but Jim answered it. The caller said the dress was on the way to me, and I said I had already received it. She said, in an excited voice, “Did you try it on? What did you think?” I said I liked it, but I really didn’t like phone calls like this. πŸ™‚ So she said they would put me on a do not call list. I hope this is not a new thing!!!

Lastly, to leave you with a Timothy-ism…he has been doing a good job learning his colors lately. They were at a restaurant which was playing bluesy music over the PA system, and Timothy was trying to sing along. Jason asked him, “Timothy, are you singing the blues?” Timothy said, “Um….orange.” πŸ™‚

Thoughts on the election

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t think I have said much, if anything, about this year’s presidential election. There have been too many voices carrying on ad nauseam about it, and I figure if I have been sick of it for weeks already, probably most of my readers have as well. Plus I don’t like stirring up controversy, and this election has been the most controversial in my memory.

But there are some things on my heart, and this is my outlet, so I am going to try to lay them out here. Who knows, I may get to the end and then delete it. But I want to take the swirl of different thoughts and try to set them out and examine them one by one.

Most of the blog and social media posts I have seen on election eve have been reminders that no matter who wins the election, God is in control. And that’s true.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Proverbs 21:1

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalm 75:6-7

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.Β  Romans 13:1

Some take these truths to mean, “God’s in control so it doesn’t matter what I do or whether I do anything.” While there is a sense in which that’s true, God most often uses means (like prayer to accomplish His purpose or witnessing to bring the gospel to the lost). We can each only do in good conscience what we feel God wants us to do, but we should at least do that: pray about it and then act accordingly. I don’t think God ever intended for us to take no notice of what’s going on in the world and never participate in it because He is in control. Throughout the Bible He calls people to action even while asserting His sovereignty. Sometimes He works in spite of people or without people, but most often He seems to work through people.

I’ve even seen a few saying that since Christians are citizens of heaven and this world is not our home, we don’t even really need to participate in the election process. That, to me, falls in the category of being so “heavenly minded one is of no earthly good” and seems a slap in the face of myriads who fought and died for us to have this privilege. We have this incredible gift to have a legal say in our government, and I can’t understand not using it. I think the above truths apply here as well.

But most of the chatter I have seen has not been along the lines of opting out or disregarding the privilege to vote. It’s been more along the lines of the best way for Christians to use that vote, often fraught with deep disagreement.

My biggest problem with some of the political bantering on social media is the idea that if person A has a different view on things than person B, then B thinks there must be something defective with A’s understanding, reasoning, intelligence, motives, sanity, character, patriotism, Christianity, etc. It’s possible for good people to have very different views on what should be done and how and who should do them.

Almost every election, I’ve heard the phrase going around about choosing the lesser of two evils, meaning neither candidate is ideal. This is the first year I have heard Christians objecting to that. But no candidate is ever going to line up 100% politically and spiritually with how we think. No one like that would make it that far because that’s not how the majority of the country thinks any more. And we differ so much on some of the finer points, we wouldn’t all agree on a candidate like that anyway (that, in fact, is how I believe we ended up with the Republican candidate we have: most Christians I know were splintered between 3 or 4 of the other candidates in the primaries, dividing their votes and resulting in none of them winning). We can’t hold out for the ideal candidate: we have to choose between what we have, rather than wishing for what we don’t have.

There is such a deep divide over the issues and candidates, I fear that whoever wins, the other side will be discontent and continue to complain for months to come, if not until the next election. But once we’ve studied not only the candidates, but the platforms, and prayed, and before God in good conscience made the best choice we know how to make, we have to accept the results.

We need to remember, too, that no president operates in a vacuum. We do still have a voice: we need to be alert and use that voice to let our representatives know our views on issues.

And once it is all over, our response is to be:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NKJV)

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17

Those verses have all the more poignancy when we remember the kinds of rulers those writers were under.

In some ways, Christians tend to be more watchful and prayerful when their preferred candidate is not the elected one. Otherwise we tend to sit back and relax and trust everything will go well and forget about it all until the next election. But I do pray for God’s mercy in this, and, as a guest speaker prayed in church yesterday, ask that we’ll get the candidate God knows we need, not what we deserve.

And though I do believe the political process is important, and some are called to participate more than others, ultimately that’s not what helps people’s hearts or brings lasting change. Only the gospel can change hearts; only God and the Bible can change people’s thinking. Doing our part to be informed and vote is vital and necessary: doing our part to share the gospel and make disciples is even more so.

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Thankful for God’s protection

Yesterday we left the house for a couple of hours to have lunch at Jason and Mittu’s. When I got back, I noticed a couple of sections of a neighbor’s fence were down and thought that was odd since they had just had part of it repaired a few months ago, but I was in a hurry to get in because it was about time for my mother-in-law’s caregiver to leave.

When Jim got home an hour or two later, he noticed the fence as well as a big black patch on the grass which somehow I had missed. Evidently there was a fire during the time we were gone.It had to have been starting when I left, but the garage is on the other side of our house, and I didn’t look that way, so I didn’t see anything.

We found out later that a neighbor across the street had seen it, called 911, and hosed off what she could while waiting. Somehow we missed all of that. Jim’s mom’s caregiver didn’t hear anything.

The yard the fire was in is next door to the house directly behind ours. The fire started in her yard and spread to ours and the neighbor behind us. Jason took this picture from the vantage point of the neighbor’s yard – I am not sure how well it will show up since I think it’s a panoramic shot. (I tried to crop out any identifying features from the houses around us).

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It’s amazing to me that it went around our fence on the left. It did cause that section of our new (to us) fence that my husband worked so hard on to warp.

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He said some of the edging will need to be replaced as well.

He was outside when the neighbor from the house where the fire started came out and talked to her. Evidently she was burning leaves last week and thought she had put the fire out, but it must have been smoldering down where she couldn’t see it. It has been unusually dry here. She had been out of town until yesterday, and when she came back she was trying to find her dog, went out into the back yard, and saw the evidence of the fire (you’d think the firemen would have put a notice on her door. “Hi, we were here!” I guess they figured she’d figure that out).

We’re thankful that:

  • It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
  • It wasn’t so bad that Jim’s mom needed to be evacuated or needed to be aware of it at all.
  • The row of 52 dead trees that we had taken out a few months ago was gone. If one of those had caught fire – that would have been a disaster and a half.
  • We’ve been planning to put mulch along the fence and create a planting area, but hadn’t yet. Those chips might have been susceptible to catching fire.
  • No one was hurt.

I was a bit shaken that something like that could happen in the short time I was away. But I am extremely thankful for God’s protection.

And a public service plea: please make double and triple sure that any fire is thoroughly put out.