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Safe and Sound

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much to all of you who prayed for me and my family during the fires.

We all made it without having to evacuate and I’m so grateful. My parents’ (and grandparents’) neighborhood was under official evacuation, but my dad chose to stay behind because of several reasons (looters, the fact that their house is surrounded by other houses instead of being directly in front of/backing up to the hills, etc). We brought their cat and bird over here, and within hours, realized that the fire was headed in our direction. I couldn’t believe it!

Many of the neighborhoods directly East of us were evacuated, but our neighborhood wasn’t. There was a time where we could see horrible flames from our back door, but the wind kept pushing the fire West, not South, and we were spared. We were able to sleep at home in our own beds, although Ryan said he slept fitfully, especially because our whole house smelled like smoke.

In the morning, we found out that although the fire had continued West through the night, the fire department had closed off all of our neighborhoods. My parents’ was still closed, ours was closed – everything was closed (except for the main roads). We wanted to get breakfast at a local restaurant that we often walk to, so we headed down the street and spoke with the policeman. He said that technically, he couldn’t let us back in, even on foot. But, if he “didn’t see us,” we could come back. Thankfully, we were able to make it back in without being spotted, but they didn’t officially open the neighborhoods until that evening.

I am not sure if the fire has been completely contained at this point, but I can’t see smoke in the sky anymore. There is ash everywhere and it still smells smokey outside, but we haven’t heard sirens all day.

What a weekend! I just wanted to make sure you all knew that we’re safe. Again, I’m so thankful for your prayers – it was a close call, but the Lord was faithful to protect us!

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Update on the Fire

Well, the fire missed my parents’ and grandparents’ house, thank the Lord. However, since then, it has traveled West and now, is less than a mile from our apartment. In fact, I can see it from my back door.

Many homes in my parents’ neighborhood burned down, including a recent community-funded and -built park and the park attached to the elementary school. They still aren’t allowing anyone into that neighborhood, but my dad stayed put, so he’s fine at home. It’s just unfortunate because we can’t get to him to give him their bird and cat, or stay with him, now that we’re in danger here.

We’ve packed all of Ryan’s music gear, my wedding dress, some memory boxes, photos, sewing machine, computer, and clothing. I still need to grab our wedding albums and a couple of things from the garage, but Ryan has been busy hosing down the roof and tree out front, in case of flying embers. I am amazed at how long it takes to gather the important things!

Many families have been evacuated in our area, but the police haven’t come this far West yet. I imagine they will. I really just want to go to my parents’ house, but I don’t think they’ll open the area any time soon, even if the threat of fire is gone now over there.

The winds are still blowing. If you’re praying, please pray for the winds to calm, for containment of the fires, and for the safety of the people. We have a lot of family friends around here – I grew up in this city and I am amazed to hear how many have been told to leave their homes. I grew up playing in those homes. The thought of them burning is devastating.

Thanks so, so much for your prayers – I’ll try to get another update out if anything changes.

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Wind and Fire

I am in a bit of a daze right now.

In Southern California, we experience a couple seasons of Santa Ana (or more accurately, Santana) winds several times a year. Basically, it gets hot, really, really windy, and dry. Trees fall over, tumbleweeds roll, and worst of all….fires ignite.

I remember waking up on October 31st a couple of years ago: everything was orange. I looked out my window and couldn’t find a patch of blue (or even gray!) sky. I walked through my parents’ house and the whole house was illuminated orange – it almost hurt my eyes. I went outside and knew the reason immediately. Fire. The sky was literally “snowing” ash and the orange glow lasted all through the day. It was scary, and obviously, very dangerous for the people and homes located near the fires.

Most often, the fires are further east – too far to really affect our city. There have been a few years where we’ve been able to see flames across the freeway – but thankfully, my parents’ home was nestled in the hills, several miles from the freeway, out of range from the fire.

Today, that is not the case. For the first time ever, my dad can see flames licking over the tops of the hills near his home. He called to tell us that his neighborhood is being evacuated (like I said, this has never happened before). Unfortunately, my mom is out of town at a songwriters’ conference, which makes choosing items to evacuate with (such as photos, instruments, and keepsakes) a little more difficult.

When my dad called to tell us the news, Ryan got in the car immediately so that he could help him with evacuating their possessions. I’m only hoping he doesn’t get turned away. My mom called from Washington to ask me if I could think of anything I wanted from the house. I realize my dried wedding bouquet is there.  They’ll be sure to get that.

Like I said, I’m in a daze. I’ve been asking the Lord to protect their home, but I am fearful. That’s the home I grew up in. There’s no way Ryan and my dad will be able to get every single meaningful or valuable thing. I know possessions are unimportant in comparison to lives, and of course that’s of more value to me. I just can’t believe this is happening.

Please pray – pray for my parents’ home, their neighborhood, and the safety of the residents. Pray for my mom as she endures this from far away. Thank you so much.

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