Tag Archives: Family

A Trip Down Memory Lane!

I survived my first plane trip and wanted to share a little bit about my trip down memory lane with all of you! Be prepared because as my Pop-pop would say, ‘This might take a while’.

Last week proved to be one of the most stressful weeks I can remember. I have been trying to refocus my life in so many areas. And on top of the everyday stresses of a large family and back to school worries I got the call that I really needed to head back to my childhood home.

While I call Florida home right now I was born in Pennsylvania. I grew up about an hour from Philadelphia in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square.

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Funny the things you didn’t know, huh? We were also very close to the Amish and Mennonite communities. In fact several of my siblings were delivered by an Amish midwife.

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Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

My visit wasn’t about sightseeing or pleasure. I needed to go visit my Mom-mom, our name for grandmother, who isn’t doing very well right now. I had last visited her and Pop-pop, our word for grandfather, around Easter of 2014 when we all traveled to Virginia to meet. It was a wonderful visit and we made some very special memories. Honestly, we thought it would probably be the last time we saw each other.

She is fighter though! She says we get our stubbornness from her. While that may be true we also learned a lot more from her. She was the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman in so many ways. She acted as a mentor to many to teach them skills that their mothers/grandmothers had not taught them. She loved the old ways and she loved gardening.

She suffered many troubles in her life but you never heard her complain. I have never heard anyone speak a bad word about her and she was always willing to help anyone in need. So if I could help her by making a visit I wanted to do this for her. Love can generate the courage we need to overcome any fear or obstacle.

One of the biggest obstacles I had to face was my fear of flying which is up there close to my fear of the water. I have been working on overcoming these fears and I decided that this was something that just had to happen. Granted it wasn’t a decision that came easy as I also had to consider my budget, babysitters, and many other aspects.

Everything came together as my family all helped out. Mr. Awesome said he would babysit while I was away and insisted that I go. Once those issues were squared away I committed to go and my sister soon informed me that a plane ticket had been purchased.

After many instructions about what not to pack I had to decided what to pack. I waited until the last minute to pack but managed to get everything I needed into one small carry on bag. I wanted to keep things simple and I did. Friday afternoon Mr. Awesome and the kids drove me to meet up with my sisters and then we said our ‘Good Byes’.

I really did my best to hide my nervousness and anxiety which by this time was more about leaving my kiddos behind. They were really anxious too as Momma doesn’t go many places without them in tow. I had already decided to make a couple of videos of me reading some bedtime stories for them to watch while I was gone. I got to work on it while I was at my sister’s house.

You can see them all here and I do plan to add some more in the future.

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After that was taken care of it was time to head to the airport and tackle my fear of flying head on. This was a totally new experience and it could have been really overwhelming but I had one of my sisters with me and that helped a lot. I had taken a book to read on the flight but I was a bit dizzy and didn’t think it would be a good idea to try to read it.

Later that night we made it into Philadephia, the city of brotherly love, and we were soon on our way to Mom-mom’s house. Both of our phones lost service/died before we reached out destination so we had to rely on our internal GPS to get us home.

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I had not been to Pennsylvania in over 20 years and I have never driven anywhere in the state plus it was dark so things were a bit strange. Little by little we started recognizing landmarks and places and we found our way. A little after midnight we pulled up into the driveway of that familiar place. While things looked different than we remembered the feeling was the same.

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This was taken the next day.

My mom met us at the car and led us up the stairs that we had climbed so many times when we were younger. The steps where Charlie, Mom-mom’s dog, had once chased me because he wanted to pull the pompom off my hat, the porch where many an ice cream cone had dripped on hot summer evenings,  and the porch where Mom-mom had more than once applied tobacco to a bee sting. So many forgotten memories flooded my mind it brought tears to my eyes.

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Part of my family and Charlie. I am the one in red with the pig tails.

Many more memories were waiting inside those walls. It is so funny how things that once seemed so big were now so much smaller. While many things had not changed since I was younger a few things had. I walked around the downstairs looking and reminiscing as we talked to mom.

We knew the next day would be busy so we headed upstairs to get a little rest. Once again being surrounded by so many familiar things. Although the strange noises coming from the open windows were new they were also kind of familiar as I remember having trouble sleeping there because of the noises and the lights.

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My first birthday party with my older brother and two of my cousins.

The next morning we had a surprise visit from one of our cousins who, along with mom, fixed us a nice breakfast. We shared a few stories over coffee before getting started with our day. We also visited with another cousin on Sunday. I checked in with Mr. Awesome and the kids to see how everyone was doing.

These are some of the messages and photos I received:

Followed by:

And then there were some like this:

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After talking with Mr. Awesome I wanted to walk up the steep path to the garden, curious to see if the berry bushes and the apple trees were still there, but the rain had made everything very slick. I walked up a little ways but decided to make my way back down before I fell and broke something like Mom-mom had many years ago.

She was such a strong woman. She made that trek up the steep hill on an almost daily basis. On one of those occasions she fell and broke her ankle. Charlie stayed by her side as she made her way back down to the house to call for help. You know who she called when she made it home? My mom. She wanted someone to come help her clean herself up before getting medical attention. She said she was so muddy and bloody that she didn’t want anyone to see her like that.

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She did eventually make it to the hospital where she received a metal plate and several screws to fix the damage. I remember staying with her that summer to help her as she recuperated. I also remember her doing several things that I wasn’t supposed to tell Pop-pop about including her driving to the post office and helping her get to her hidden stash of Tube Rose. I hadn’t told anyone until this past weekend.

While we were at the house we looked through pictures like these pictures of Mom-mom and Pop-pop.

They were such a good looking couple, weren’t they?

We also found some that we had no clue she even had like these:

Yep, that’s me in 1988 dressed as a clown. The  right picture is of my granny and some of her great grandchildren. I’m the one in red again.

There were also several older pictures that we aren’t sure of who they are:

One of these is my great, great grandmother.

We spent as much time over the next couple of days at the nursing home. She was so surprised to see us. We had taken her and Pop-pop a couple of jelly donuts as these were one of their favorites.

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As you can see in the picture above she insisted on making everyone take a bite. She wouldn’t take ‘NO’ for an answer. My tears from seeing her were soon replaced with laughter.

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We also brought several other treats to share with Pop-pop. We sat and talked and listened to her sing. She told us stories that we had never heard and some that we had heard many times before. She apologized for things that had happened in the past and explained things that we couldn’t have understood when we were younger.

We looked through old pictures and talked about those already gone. She did talk about how she didn’t have much time left here but that she was ready to go home.

While this was sad to think about, many tears were shed during our visits, she reassured us that she would see us again in her new home. She reminded each of us of how much she loved us and how special each every one of her grandchildren are to her.

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The nursing home staff were wonderful and accommodated us on so many levels as they knew we didn’t have much time to spend with her. We were able to have a ‘family dinner’ with her in one of the rooms that they weren’t using one evening. It was so nice to sit around the table with family. She had wanted to pretend it was her birthday and we had an ice cream cake after dinner.

It was also good to see both of them eating so well. She was constantly reminding us of how much macaroni and cheese we ate at her house.

Our last night there was hard. We didn’t want to go but we knew that we had other obligations, like my family at home, that we had to attend to. My brain tried to come up with a solution to spend more time but nothing feasible could be found.

We were able to stay with her until she went to sleep that night. Later that evening I sat with Pop-pop as we shared a 3 Musketeers bar. His favorite candy bar. He told me that the thought of losing her scared him and he didn’t know what he would do without her. I told him it scared us all and we talked for awhile before he was ready to go to bed.

I cried when he told me he didn’t want me to go and I had to explain to him that I have kids that need me too. We said our ‘Good Byes’ before he headed upstairs as we knew we had to leave early in the morning.

Morning came too early and soon we were in our brother’s car headed back to the airport. The plane ride home was sad but another new experience as well as it was daylight during this trip.

The closer we got to home the more anxious I got. I was so ready to see everyone. I was so happy to see the coastline as I knew I was closer to being back home.

We finally landed and my sister picked us up from the airport. Mr. Awesome arrived shortly after and we headed home. I was exhausted from the trip for various reasons but I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go and I am hoping that I may have a chance to visit again.

My Mom-mom is one of the greatest women I have known. She was wise and understanding. She could be trusted with anything big or small. She was caring and loving in her own way. I don’t remember hearing her say she loved us so many times as she did during this visit.

During our childhood when things were bad or crazy she stayed the same. She was our constant though difficult times and I am so thankful that we had her for the time we did. Even when we moved away she was there for us if we ever needed her but I admit I did lose touch with a lot of family members for a while.

If I could be half the woman she has been I will feel like I have accomplished something. The treasures she will be leaving behind may not be physical and may not mean anything to anyone else but she will be leaving behind a legacy that all of her family will cherish forever.

I am going to do my best to follow in her footsteps as much as I can. I hate that we missed so much time together and I hate that I didn’t have the chance to learn so many of the things she could have taught me. For now, I will keep pulling memories so I can be sure to teach my children some of those valuable lessons that she taught me when I was younger.

If I could just ask everyone who reads this to please say a little prayer for my family as we go through this difficult process. I know this is something that almost everyone must go through at some point in their life but it isn’t easy. Just pray that God will have His way and that He will give us all the strength and courage to get through this. There are still so many preparations that need to be taken care of and I know that there will be so many decisions to make in the next few days, weeks, and months so I pray that He will guide each and everyone of us.

Thank you all!

Do you have someone in your past that was a great role model? What is your favorite memory?

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Preventing The Back To HomeSchool Meal Planning Madness

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

Hmmm… have you thought about what you’ll be feeding those hungry learners? If your kids were in public school you may not have had to think much about it before. If you plan to homeschool then you will be feeding them at least three meals a day and maybe a few snacks in between.

This can turn into a chaotic juggling act if you aren’t prepared. How do we prevent meal time chaos in our home? By meal planning. I even plan out snacks sometimes so I don’t forget to include them on my grocery list. Check out this link for some Healthy Snacks to Go.

10 snacks your kids can make star (1)

It might seem like a lot of trouble but when you find a system that works for then it is so easy. It will actually save you time and money in the long run. This is also a helpful thing even if you don’t homeschool.

Check out this post for some quick and easy breakfast ideas to help you beat that morning chaos and fill those tummies with a nutritious breakfast to start their day off right. Here is another link for even more ideas: The Healthy Breakfast Book. Continue reading Preventing The Back To HomeSchool Meal Planning Madness

13 Fun First Day Back To HomeSchool Ideas

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

I can remember how excited I always was on my first day back to school. I loved school as a kid and I was always so eager to learn. My best memories were of the teachers who let us play games or gave us special treats on that first day. Maybe they were just trying to bribe us but it was something I remember.

As a homeschooling Momma I can find ways to bring that excitement into our homeschool. I try to keep things fun and interesting and sometimes do something a little crazy. Check out my new Pinterest board, Homeschool: First Day Activities. Continue reading 13 Fun First Day Back To HomeSchool Ideas

Elephant Fuzz, Building Bugs, Poodle Skirts and Moon Day; A Week In Review

We have had quite the week again. Fun and crazy as usual. Keep reading to find out about some of our many adventures here in the little house on the pond. We have included affiliate links to some of the products mentioned in this post. These help to support our blog.

Monday

Elephant fuzz here, elephant fuzz there, elephant fuzz everywhere… sounds a bit like a children’s book, doesn’t it? So what is elephant fuzz? I asked the same thing when I first saw this all over the house:

 

The kids were quick to reply that it was ‘elephant fuzz’…. ok, but where did it come from? Here is the answer:

It appears that this little pillow has a hole and is leaking elephant fuzz… lol… kids come up with the darnedest things don’t they? Well, I got the hole taken care of and hopefully that’ll be the end of the elephant fuzz.

Afterwards we made some Haystack Cookies or Noodle Cookies as Mr. Awesome calls them. The kids have been eating them up!

That afternoon Jacob put his Kids Cook Real Food skills to work while helping me make a salad to go with our Red & White Pasta.

Monday our regular club dance was ‘dark’ to support a reunion dance that was being held locally. Here is a short video from the event:

 

We had a good time and got to see old friends plus we made some new ones while we were there. Afterwards we ate at Texas Roadhouse and an exceptional server named Terrence.

Tuesday

I got a call from the Florida Gardiner Scholarship telling me about a glitch in the system which had caused some of my orders to be denied… this meant I had to go back into the system and resubmit the orders… oh what fun!

I also figured out that I can ‘Air Drop’ pictures from my phone to my tablet… this makes life so much easier!

The kids are loving their new routine chart:

I am working on ordering some different magnets because the stars don’t stick very well. I may also paint or paper the board. There will be a post about this sometime in the future.

We read a chapter from the Laura Ingalls Wilder biography before bed and had a short discussion about the things we learned from the chapter. The kids are super excited about the new school year.

They were also very happy that I had ordered more of their favorite toothpaste:

We all love the lemon flavor and I love the fact that it works so great! I always buy the triple pack and the first time I ordered I bought the multipack so we could try out all the flavors. The kids didn’t care for the peppermint or cinnamon as they thought they was too spicy. Some of us older folks liked the wintergreen flavor but lemon was the majority vote.

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I actually found a little time on Tuesday to paint my nails too! Mommas need a little bit of pampering from time to time. 😊

Wednesday

Wednesday morning we changed our breakfast routine a bit. Instead of Muffins the kids had a bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of yogurt.

I’m really loving this new fruit bowl I got earlier this month. It is so much bigger than the one we had, plus it’s not as fragile. The banana holder is a great feature as well. It keeps the kids from dragging out and bruising all of the bananas just to find the ‘perfect’ apple.

While cleaning the bathroom I got a call from Walgreens …. NOT… it was a telemarketer call disguised as a local business. I HATE these kind of calls. They wanted to help me with my interest rate on a card they knew nothing about.

After politely asking a strongly accented Chris Sawyers to remove me from the list I had to threaten to report them to the authorities for FRAUD. He asked me to hold online while he removed me from the list. I did hold, with the phone muted and the receiver set on the shelf, and an hour later I was still on hold… haha Mr. Sawyers from card services you’ve won a mention on my blog. Congrats!

After our morning chores were finished we played one of the new games that we’ve gotten:

 

Bugs Building is similar to the once popular Jenga game. They had a lot of fun playing the game but then we had some major midweek meltdowns!

Luckily I still had a hidden stash of FREE chocolates…

Thursday

Hmmm… Thursday was a kinda gloomy day, very rainy and windy too. We didn’t get our laundry done because of the weather but it got finished up on Friday. We were also without power for a little while that morning.

The kids made the best of no electricity and played some board games. I think they thought they were getting out of chores but everyone had to help finish up the chores when the power came back on. Then it was time for some lunch which was Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

After I got the kids down for quiet time I got this text message from Mr. Awesome:

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Oh boy do I love these kind of messages. I dug my outfit out of the closet and got to work on making some dinner. I had planned to make Spaghetti but opted for Sloppy Joes when I realized I didn’t have any noodles.

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Unfortunately I didn’t get any pics of the Pink Cadillac Dance or our super cute outfits because my phone was acting up again.

Friday

Friday was Moon Day and we celebrated with some Moon Pies for an afternoon snack. That morning we finished up the laundry for the week and caught up on few things that needed done around the house.

After paying a couple of bills I went ahead and renewed our ABC Mouse that the kids have been begging for. They wasted no time getting on their and taking care of their virtual pets. Joey also made sure to update his avatar:

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Those glasses look almost like his and they are just too cute!

That afternoon I went to make some our favorite Cream Cheese Chicken with Rice and Green Beans only to realize I didn’t have any cream of chicken soup… I don’t know what happened when I went grocery shopping last week but I guess I didn’t do a good job. I did finish dinner and it was really good with the substitutions I made so I’ll try to get that updated recipe posted soon.

That evening we went to the square dance. Again I didn’t get any pics because my phone died but I did get that video finished. I’ll have it at the end of the post.

Saturday

I had planned to get the porch cleaned up a bit but the constant thunderstorms kept us inside. The morning was spent tidying up around the house and then we went out to eat at Golden Corral. It wasn’t the best experience and we probably won’t visit that location again but the kids enjoyed it.

After eating we headed to the movies to watch the new Ant Man movie. It was pretty good and everyone had a great time. All in all it was a good week and we are really looking forward to a great time in the upcoming week.

This week I plan to get some of the lessons entered into the Homeschool Manager app and also set a date for us to start school. I will also be working on a couple of more promo videos for square dancing as many clubs will be starting classes in September.

As far as cleaning the FlyLady missions will be in the Master Bedroom this week. I just need to do a tidying up in there so I’m not really sure how much I will get done in there. I would really like to get the porch cleaned off and have some usable space out there but the weather hasn’t been cooperating.

What are your goals for the upcoming week?

Below are some other things that we’ve done this past week and that video we put out for square dancing.

Other books we’ve read this week were:

Be A Good Dragon is a cute book about a dragon with a cold.

Yum! A Preston Pig Story is a variation of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ that kids enjoyed.

We got lots of goodies in the mail this week:

 

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I was really excited to get these books and hopefully the kids will get to use them some this weekend.

This week I also posted these posts here (which may have affiliate links to some of the products above):

We are looking forward to a new week with lots of new surprises. So far we have these activities planned.

Upcoming Events/Holidays:

Here is that video I promised:

Anybody Else Have The Day After Christmas Blues?

We survived Christmas! However the house is a complete wreck. I’ll post some pics below. This Christmas, actually this whole year, has been unlike any other before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it has been hard because we’ve been knocked out of routine so many times. However we always get back on track, eventually, and find our normal again. (Our normal varies from day to day with so many kiddos and their special needs.) Continue reading Anybody Else Have The Day After Christmas Blues?

Reblog: My Families Favourite Bible Verses

I don’t know about you but I have a list of verses scribbled in the front cover of my bible. These are tried and true verses that have comforted me in the past and I know I will need them again in the future.

This post reminded me of the importance of writing down those verses. Maybe one day one of my children will need and find comfort in those notes I have scribbled down. Check out this post and maybe start your own list:

via My Families Favourite Bible Verses

Sneak Peek: November 14, 2017

Below is a sneak peak at some of my upcoming blog posts.

Stay tuned for some more exciting things to come as well!

Have a blessed day!

Getting Back To My Morning Routine

Hey everyone! I’m slowly getting back to routines and really hope to start blogging on a more regular basis. This move has really been crazy but as things are settling down we are starting to get back to our routines, and changing them as needed.

Just wanted to give you all a peek into our morning routine today and share some of what we’ve been up to. Continue reading Getting Back To My Morning Routine

July Holidays

I will try to update this list with some fun activities as well. Feel free to click the links to find out more about the origins and meanings behind these special days. I plan to incorporate a few of these into our normal homeschool routine to add a little fun and excitement to our days. Have fun and maybe make up your own personal family holiday or tradition for the month!

This month is also know as:

  • Dog Days of Summer – July 3 – August 11
  • National Blueberry Month
  • National Anti-Boredom Month
  • National Hot Dog Month
  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Picnic Month

The weeks are known as:

(Links will be updated closer to the dates of each holiday.)

I found this list and more here:

Build A Scarecrow Day – first Sunday in month

World UFO Day (2nd)

Independence Day (4th)

**see Independence Day for more activities

National Fried Chicken Day (6th)

**see National Fried Chicken Day for recipes

Chocolate Day (7th)

**see Chocolate Day for more activities

National Blueberry Day (8th)

**see National Blueberry Day for more activities and recipes

National Sugar Cookie Day (9th)

**see National Sugar Cookie Day for more activities and recipes

Teddy Bear Picnic Day (10th)

**see Teddy Bear Picnic Day for more activities

Cheer up the Lonely Day (11th)

**see Cheer up the Lonely Day for more activities

Pecan Pie Day (12th)

**see Pecan Pie Day for more activities and recipes

National French Fries Day (13th)

Shark Awareness Day (14th)

Tapioca Pudding Day (15th)

World Snake Day (16th)

National Ice Cream Day (3rd Sunday of the month)

**see National Ice Cream Dayfor more activities and recipes

Global Hug Your Kids Day (3rd Monday of the month)

**see Global Hug Your Kids Day for more activities

National Lollipop Day (20th)

**see National Lollipop Day for more activities and recipes

National Ice Cream Soda Day

Hammock Day (22nd)

**see Hammock Day for more activities

National Hot Dog Day (23rd)

**see National Hot Dog Day for more activities and recipes

Amelia Earhart Day (24th)

**see Amelia Earhart Day for more activities

Aunt and Uncle Day (26th)

**see Aunt and Uncle Day for more activities

National Day of the Cowboy – fourth Saturday in July

National Milk Chocolate Day (28th)

Interntional Tiger Day (29th)

National Lasagna Day (29th)

**see National Lasagna Day for more activities and recipes

National Cheesecake Day (30th)

**see National Cheesecake Day for more activities and recipes

Father-in-Law Day (30th)

**see Father-in-Law Day for more activities

Mutt’s Day (31st)

**see Mutt’s Day for more activities

Also check out:

Homeschool: July on Pinterest

Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

Well a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we had a special outing planned. Unfortunately we did not get to go the weekend we planned to go because of the weather. We did go this past weekend and it was so much fun!

As you can imagine trying to take a many kids as we did (we took 7 kids, ages 4-14) can be a bit daunting but we managed. One of my sisters was also able to join us which helped out alot. Continue reading Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

Covered Dish Dinner/New Class

We started a new class this past week and we had enough food to feed an army! There was plenty of fun and dancing all around!

Silver Fox Squares Square Dance Club

Last night, May 9th, kicked off our new classes in Ft. White. We had plenty of delicious food like lasagna, sweet n sour meatballs, cabbage and sausage, chili, and too many desserts to list.

I didn’t take a lot of pics as I was too busy dancing and gabbing with friends but below are a few that I took and a few that were sent to me.

If you didn’t get to make it last night please come next Tuesday, May 16th, and join us.

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A Close Call

It started with a 5am text. I wasn’t expecting it at all but it was a good thing I got it. (I have thanked my friend time and time again for that little message.)

After responding to the text I was unable to go back to sleep so I got up and went about my normal morning routines. When I came to the kitchen for a cup of coffee I noticed a smell. The smell of electrical wires that had gotten way too hot. It was a scary smell indeed and it triggered me to go into emergency mode.

I quickly made my way to the laundry room where the smell was the strongest. I suspected the freezer may have been malfunctioning but it seemed fine. I worked my around the room touching and checking everything in there. When I got to the breaker box it was HOT!

I immediately opened the door and went to cut the power off. Once the house was dark I called for my dad to come to the house. Fortunately  it doesn’t take him but 5 minutes or less to get here. My mind was racing while I waited for him and I had our evacuation procedures in my head and ready to sound the alarm, if needed.  Thankfully though I had caught it in time.

We were able to get the problem fixed and haven’t had any issues since. It was definitely a scary event that still comes to mind every now and then. I was so thankful that God had used my friend to send me that text so that I would be up and ready for what I was about to deal with.

After the event I thanked God for sparing us and for giving us more time together. We hear a lot about house fires and such. A fire is such a devastating event for families to deal with. Often times you lose all of your worldly possessions. It wasn’t the loss of possessions that scared me though. The thought of how fast a fire can spread terrified me and I was glad to know that we did have an evacuation plan and that we had practiced it.

I encourage everyone to not only thank God today for your family and friends but also to let them know how much they mean to you. Also please consider making an evacuation plan for your family and practice it in case of an emergency.