The Day Our House Burned

When I referenced our house burning down years ago on fb this morning it reminded me I've never blogged about it.,

For those of you who know us and know the story I understand if you skip this one after all, you've heard it before so I'll catch you next time.

Our house burned down on  Sunday morning, Febuary 29, 2004.

They girls and I had spent Saturday painting the kitchen and utility room which we called the back porch.
Our sweet little home.
It had been such a job I remember telling the girls I was never going to do that again.

I thought of that later and wished I hadn't said it because I never did.

Mark was down at the chicken barns and I was sitting on the couch looking at my Sunday school lesson when I looked up and saw smoke coming out of the kitchen.

I got up and went in there and then on to the back porch and there was fire running down the length of the ceiling and the length of the floor.

I went down to the cellar to check the wood furnace but it was fine.

I ran back upstairs and got the kids up.

I told Lucas to go get his dad and tell him the house was on fire.

I remember thinking I hoped Mark knew I meant "THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!"  not, "I got the skillet to hot fire."

Mark told me later when he came out of the barn and looked up here he could see smoke coming out of the top of the house on both ends.

I had no idea. I thought the only fire was the fire right there with me.

The house was on fire above us and I didn't even know it.

We weren't able to save anything but a skill saw and shop vac and a few pictures

We have the most wonderful neighbors in the world.

It ended up looking like an auction around here.

There were cars and trucks everywhere.

I watched the house burn and didn't cry, when you have your children and husband safe beside you it's hard to cry over something like a house.  It could have been so much worse.

I did cry when the neighbors starting bringing us things and giving us money to help out until the insurance came through.

I remember one lady brought us barn clothes because she said the work would still need to be done that day.

I didn't want to take it, I tried to refuse and she said, "when my son needed help you helped him and now I want to help you."

I had forgot all about helping her son.

We were never homeless or without for one minute.

It was almost as if God had said, okay your house is going to burn down but don't worry I've got it covered.  I'm sure that's what He said.

It wasn't long before a friend pulled in with a camper for us to stay in because they knew Mark would need to be here on the farm.

The next day Mark's folk came back over and told us the family that owned the farm across the field from us told them the house was empty and for us to go on and move in.

They owned the farm but didn't live there.  It was perfect the house is a couple of miles away but you can see it from our front porch. It made it great for Mark.

The house burned on Sunday and we had to be at the insurance office on Tuesday. After we left the insurance office I told Mark we needed to go to the store so we did. I was putting things in the cart when it occurred to both of us we had no pots, no pans , no nothing. What was I thinking. We put everything back and went to KFC to get supper and took it home to the house across the field.

I can't type this without crying, without feeling very humbled and blessed and unworthy.

We had only been gone a few hours but in that amount of time the neighbors had been there.

The house was furnished, not only were there beds but they were made there were even pictures on the wall, groceries in the pantry, dishes, pots and pans in the cabinet. Three suppers had been brought in.

When I went into the room that we were going to use there was a new nightgown and a picture frame laying on the bed.

Someone had found a picture of the house at the fire, the corner of it was burned, it looked like it had been done on purpose for accent but it wasn't it was real, it had almost burned.  They put it in a beautiful frame and laid it on the bed with my new gown.

It was the sweetest, tender thing.

Someone brought a freezer and someone else gave us beef from a steer they had butchered.

What does a person say to that?  Words can't do it.

Someone had brought us one of those living room chairs that spins all the way around. We had never had one of those before and Lucas was sitting in it spinning when he suddenly stopped and asked with a troubled look on his face, "Mom is everything in this house charity?"  I thought and said, "Well, charity meaning love yes, everything in this house is charity."  Jessica said, "Not everything, this shirt was on the clothesline, so I already had it."  Lucas said, "That shirt used to be mine and I gave it to you so everything is charity."   LOL 

The next day Mark's Uncle Glen was here with a plan for a new house.

He was a builder and helped us so much.

I had never thought about a new house, never thought I would have a new house and didn't have a clue what I would want.

Uncle Glen had a plan on a piece of paper, just a blueprint, I couldn't really tell what it was but we needed a house and I said okay.

I had no idea how big the house was going to be. I didn't until I pulled in over at the house we were staying in and looked across the field. They had got it framed up and I could see it.

It was huge and I was embarrassed.

Not huge as in fancy but huge as in big and open and simple. It's Amish style.

Mark went to talk to our Amish neighbors to hire them to frame it up for us and they told him they had already all talked about it and they wanted to frame it but they wouldn't take money for it.

Mark told them no, we had insurance and wanted to pay them.  They told him, No, they had talked about it and wanted to do it, they were ready to give and we needed to be ready to receive.

So they did.

They framed it in 3 days. Little boys of three or so all the way up to older men came and we were blessed to be able to at least prepare meals for them.

There is so much to tell. I can't even begin to.

I remember the night it burned we were sleeping in the camper, there were beds on both ends Mark was on one side and I was on the other the kids were with us too. I thought they were asleep and in the dark I asked Mark if he was awake, he was and then I asked him if he was afraid when it happened.  He said no and I said I wasn't either.  But we were both afraid that night. It was like fear grabbed us.  Fear of what could have happened. Fear of what could have been.

People often ask me if I'm sad about losing the kids baby things or early childhood things and I can honestly say I never think of anything with sadness that was lost.

It's such a no brainer to me, Mark and I stood and watched our house burn but we had our children, how could we stand before a God that spared our children and cry over a house or a thing.

We couldn't and we wouldn't.

I know I speak for every parent when I say as long as your children are okay everything is okay.

There may be a day when Mark and I are called to walk through that valley. I pray not but I know I'm glad it wasn't that day.

The third morning after the fire I drove over here just as the sun was coming up.

I parked over at the grain bin and looked over here.

The house was just a shell and I could see the sun starting to come through  the frame skeleton that was left.

You know what I saw in my minds eye?

I saw an ark.

I saw an ark of protection.

We had all walked away and we were safe and I'm forever and ever thankful and humbled

We did a lot of the work on the new house ourselves and moved in on Dec 15, 2004, just in time for Christmas.

We never even missed a Christmas at home.

A person can't ask for than that.


  1. Oh my Kelly. I never knew you had experienced that fire. One of my BFF's went through the same tragedy but lost some dairy feeders in their fire. I love the way you thought about the whole situtation though. Ashamedly I think I would have mourned some material things.

  2. Oh I think you would be surprised. It really makes plain to you what your real treasures are.
    When I look at things now I understand either it will leave me or I will leave it so I don't hold on to tightly.
    I'm sorry for your friends loss it would be a sad thing to lose your animals.
    Thanks for taking the time to share I loved hearing from you. :)

  3. No fire, a flood took all or our stuff..... but again like you ..we were all safe. That's the important stuff for sure. Family got together to replace pics for me.

    1. can't spell today either.. more coffee


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