I know it has been almost a month since I have updated our blog. It seemed that so much had happened in the past couple months and that we just needed some time to “be” and just “breathe”. My flesh had some struggles as well. 🙂
Three weeks ago today I awoke to find one of our Livestock Guardian Dogs hanging, frozen from our playset. It was at this point that I broke. I was found on the floor sobbing out to God, yelling, over and over, “God!!!!!!!! God!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE!!!!!!!!!! You WILL provide for us!!!!!!!!!!!! You WILL bring us JOY!!!!!!!!!! God!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will NOT let go of YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Next to me on the floor was Steve who had thrown his crutch down and fell to the floor with me, holding me and crying with me, holding me as I had my fit, as I told God how I needed it to be. Was the dog the number one thing in my life? No. But, I had reached my limit of what more I could take and that morning God and all my family got to hear about it.
Our LGD dog, Dasha, was one of our 3 puppies that we had saved. Her mother had died when the puppies were one week old. We took them into our home and bottlefed them until they were too big and then put them out at the barn. There they grew up with our sheep, goats, horses, cows, and poultry. They are the sweetest dogs, but fierce with any animal that nears their “babies”. Their “babies” are the livestock. They love people, but will bark and even attack if need be an animal that comes into the pen/pasture towards their babies. Dasha had been living in the barn with the sheep, goats and poultry when it burned. LGD dogs think they own 500 acres, so, you must keep them tightly fenced in pastures or risk them being killed by local ranchers if they escape. We had to cable her in our backyard for the time being as we no longer had a barn for her to live in at night. She was a big climber. She climbed up the ladder to the children’s playset and during the winter storm, fell or jumped off. Sadly, I was awake I am sure when it happened as I heard a strange yelp. But, I talked myself out of being paranoid and worrying about things as we had already been through enough stuff. I am almost positive that it was her being hung at that moment. That has been a tough thought to deal with the past few weeks. The one thing that I have had impressed on my mind from this fire, Steve’s wreck, and the loss of Dasha is to always, ALWAYS act on my concerns and questions. No longer can I just tell myself that I am crazy and go back to sleep. The other day one of the children came in saying they smelled smoke in the garage. The older boys and I immediately dropped everything that we were doing and investigated. No time to talk about it and rethink what it is…if it smells of smoke, we respond immediately! None of the children picked on each other about it either, like they might have done a few months ago. Every one was concerned. And I was near tears!
We still can’t burn food accidentally without having some of the children come in and express concern about the smell.
The children continue to remember different things that we lost in the fire. We are still working on our personal possessions list for the insurance company.
We found out that Fannie Mae controls all mortgages these days and if you have a fire, watch out! Their policy is to take the insurance money and roll it into what you owe on your mortgage!!! When we found this out, Steve and I about fell over. We could in no way afford to pay to build a barn out of our own pocket. So, at this point, we have been told that it could take up to 5-6 weeks before Fannie Mae will get around to reviewing our paperwork!!! By that time, if they approve us getting the money instead of rolling the money into our mortgage, who knows if there will be an availability for our barn to be built right away. We may be waiting a long time! Meanwhile, our does are due any day now and the ewes will be next. No barn to birth in this year. And hay? Well, no place to put hay, except on pallets on the ground.
Which brings us to another issue. It snowed hard enough to bring the elk down two nights ago. They have been ripping our pallets off and throwing off our tarps to get to what little hay we have!!!! They are dragging it all over the ground and eating it!!!! No, we cannot hunt them now. Hunting season is over and they are here taking away all of our precious hay! Our tarps burned in the barn and we have been using the few that we had in the garage. Still it’s not enough to stop the elk. Plus, the deer come daily and stand and look in our doors and windows while stopping by for a bite from our “pantry”. It is a constant battle.
Today we came home to a sweet surprise! Someone brought us about 25 bales of hay and stacked it for us! If you are that person, THANK YOU! If you know that person, please thank them for us!!!! This will get us through one more week! Steve has taken off to go buy some tarps to help protect it from the elk. Please pray the elk will stay away as they are costing us a lot of money right now! We’ve already lost over $6,000 in hay from the fire and now are losing hay that has been given to us or we have bought recently. We still haven’t recovered all of our lost hay as it is, to get through the winter. But, we know that God WILL provide. He will not leave us. He is here and walking with us. The hay will come and our animals WILL eat. Thank you, Lord, for the hay you will give us.
One night I reached a moment of sobbing out to the Lord about all our losses and how wrong it was that we may not get our insurance money to rebuild a barn. I went on and on for awhile crying out to the Lord (complaining) and then all the sudden I stopped. It all came together for me and I said to the Lord, “Keep the barn, the hay, the tools, the clothes, and stuff. Just keep it! Keep the money too! We don’t want it if it will hinder us being a light here for you. We want to be your hands and feet, Lord. Let those ashes give you glory! Just keep the barn and money. We don’t want it!” It was after this point, that I was able to pull myself back together and move forward. If God doesn’t want us to rebuild the barn at this time, He will provide a way to use this fire for His glory still. He has already and He will continue. It’s only material possessions.
We met a dear lady through another dear friend that went to their bishop and asked him to give her an “order/request” to give to the local Deseret Industries to help us with clothing, a high chair, and many more precious gifts! (I fought with my flesh over accepting this as we are so used to being able to give to others and not only that, but we are not poverty-stricken and we are also not LDS, so, we did not feel that it was right to accept such a precious gift when others in the LDS faith could be much more in need, but God showed me that HIS love can cross over prideful flesh (that would be me!) boundaries and different faith boundaries as HIS love knows no boundaries and can come in any form through any way) The dear friend that introduced us through our beef shares that we sold, is also an adoptive parent! The day I “met” her, she was at the hospital with her second baby that she was adopting! We met before our family moved to Utah! Then she introduced me to her sweet friend, Beth. Thank you, Hannah! Beth and her friends got together and gave Seth clothes from size 6mth up to 12/18mth.!!!! We lost all of these sizes in the fire! We are so thankful for the Lord bringing Hannah and her sweet family into our lives and then bringing Beth and her sweet family and friends into our lives as well. Beth, we thank the Lord for your sweet gifts that your brought to our family the other night. We thank Him for bringing you into our lives! We love you Hannah and Beth!
Then the other day, our chiropractor came out of his office with two big, full bags of baby boy clothes for us! He and his wife had put the word out about our loss and their friends came forward with clothes for Seth! Wanna guess what size they were? Beth’s friend gave us sizes 6mths. up to 12/18mths. Well, these clothes were all sized from 12mths. up to 2/3Toddler!!!! The Lord gave us back 2 years worth of clothes for Seth!!! We had lost all of these sizes in our fire and He provided them all back!!!!!!! We didn’t even ask specifically for all these sizes, we just kinda shared and went on our own way. Can you believe it? Seth has the next two years worth of clothes provided through these sweet friends willing to listen to the Lord and give to us! Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus! We treasure you all!
We plan to write a thank-you letter to all who helped fight our fire, brought us hay, connected us with a hay source, brought us food, brought us clothes, etc. We just haven’t done it yet, but it is coming. We love and appreciate you all SO MUCH! You have listened to the Lord and been His hands and feet with LOVE. His LOVE has come shining through you again and again. Thank you. We have learned so many lessons from accepting these gifts. My flesh wanted to say “no” to many of the gifts, but because I prayed about it and God repeatedly told us to accept the gifts, we have been blessed in more ways than you would ever know! It has grown us even more in our faith.
We also plan to have a celebration with all of you who have helped us through the fire, when it gets warmer. We want to have you all over to meet each other and share stories while fellowshipping. We will let you know the date after we get to some warmer weather! Right now we are thinking it will be more towards June. Can’t wait to see what kind of beauty we will have seen from the ashes by then!
Seth’s adoption is going to be finalized in April! At that time, we will go before a judge and he will become a legal member of our family! We are so excited! Seth is already growing so much! He has started smiling more, laughing with our family, batting at things, and cooing. He keeps all of this activity secret when around others outside the family. LOL! He is very attached to us. Almost every morning, one of his Sissies takes him into the family room to play toys! He is thrilled when he sees them coming to get him for playtime! Sometimes we don’t even finish the bottle as he gets so excited about going to play with a Sissy! Big Bubbies appear later in the morning and chat and play with him as well. Seth loves staring at their legos as they build with them. It’s the girls that are really enjoying the “mommy time” they are getting these days. The boys enjoy the interaction, but could care less about how many diapers the girls have changed or bottles have been given to Seth. 🙂
Steve is getting better each day. He has been working until early afternoons lately. Then he heads to physical therapy three times a week. They say he will have about 12 more weeks of physical therapy. He is slowly progressing with bending his knee. The straightening(surgery) of his leg is what is still slowing him down a lot, plus, the swelling continues. Steve was able to walk around the barn ashes for his first time the other day. We’ve both had to process a lot through this loss, but each time we come back to the fact that we are all still alive and it was only material possessions. We as humans often can talk about material possessions and how we need to be willing to let go of them, but when the flames start burning, our flesh doesn’t always willingly stand back. All I can say is, until you’ve lived it, you cannot have an appreciation for what it means to give up your worldy possessions. Letting go and letting God is not always easy. But, it brings the most amazing blessings.
One more God story before I end this update. We had reached our last gallon size bag of breastmilk for Seth. I had posted the need on Facebook. Well, last Sunday afternoon a new friend of ours called me up and told me that she has a friend who adopted her son and is now weaning him off the donor milk she had been using. Would I be interested in getting her donor’s info.? YES!
The next day, a parent from one of the schools that I had done an Usborne Book Fair at this past fall, emailed me wanting to order some books. She also had been told by the director of the school that we had adopted Seth and were in need of milk! Could she give me some of her milk? YES!!!!
So, on Friday afternoon, I met the parent/school lady at the library and picked up milk for Seth. I was able to introduce her to Seth and some of our children. We visited for awhile. She had just moved here 6 mths. ago too. So, we chatted about moving for awhile and then I headed out of town. I drove to the other lady’s house that had the adopted son. She gave me 160 ounces for Seth to “try” and see how he does on it. If he does okay, she’ll ask her donor if she can give the future milk to us! Is God amazing or what? I had no idea that Seth’s milk would come through these people and yet, here we sit with milk in our freezer! Milk that has given Seth these cute, chunky cheeks! Milk that has brought him to almost 15lbs! Amazing!
God keeps reminding us that He is in control and He is here and He will provide. All in His time. We are so blessed to be walking this walk. We would not have it any other way. We are so blessed by the ashes out our window. We are so blessed by the mountain that we pass and are reminded that God can save one from death even though that person has been thrown into the mountain head-on. We are so blessed that God can bring a baby into this world that has been through a huge range of drugs and still give him the ability to give out the sweetest smiles and coos. We are so blessed that God can take ashes and turn them into something so beautiful. We are so blessed to be walking in faith.
What beauty we are seeing from this blessed walk.