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Through the Cold and the Fire…Look Up

Challenges take place in everyone’s lives.  Some take the form of small events, while others wreak havoc leaving ashes and sorrow in their wake.

Here is the story of what happened to my friends Al and Margo this week.

There was a birthday celebration for Margo last Sunday night with family gathered in Al and Margo’s living room…there was love, laughter and fun shared by everyone.  One of their sons and his family were there, along with their daughter and her family.  Six adults and 6 little girls all celebrating Grandma’s big day.

Little did they know there was a chimney/attic fire starting above their heads.

The fire wasn’t discovered until the party broke up and the families were headed home.  A telltale light in the attic alerted them to the fire…you see, there is no electricity in the attic.  911 was called, and thankfully, the family was able to get some of their photos and valuables out.

It became more tumultuous from there.

It took 40,000 gallons of water from local fire departments to finally put the fire out.  The main floor was still in place, with what was left of the ceiling edges sagging down.  The structure and it’s contents were waterlogged and frozen.  You see, here in Ely, Minnesota, the daytime temps were below zero with a windchill sometimes hitting -26.

On Monday, family and friends salvaged Al and Margo’s washer and dryer, bed frames, some clothing from the front closet (that the fire hadn’t touched), and some more family photos.

On Monday night, the fire roared again…leaving just a pile of ashes in it’s wake.

On Tuesday, their daughter Mistaya commented “God gave us a window of time so we could salvage more items.”

On the night of the fire, the shock and stress brought on a health crisis for Margo.  After many tests and 2 days in the hospital, the doctor told her she could go ‘home’.  On her Facebook page, she wrote:

“Fire has taken my (our) house, we lost so much but some treasures were rescued by an army who came alongside my children, as I experienced broken heart syndrome and was admitted to the ICU in St. Marys while the fire burned down my (our) home. A couple days later, it gave a new meaning to “You can go home today, Margo.” Upon being discharged from the hospital it became the ultimate test of the truth that I know ~ my true home, my forever home is my Fortress & my Habitation: my God.”

As you can see by the testimony Margo gave and by the words of their daughter, this couple’s (and all of their children’s) faith shines brightly.  Al and Margo are the very meaning of the words: loving, faith-filled, humble.  This is not a couple that believes in excess…they’re priority is not in earthly goods.  They also don’t want to ask for more than they need as witnessed by the low amount of money the family is asking for on the ‘Youcare’ site (shown below).  This will not build a new house, this will not even cover their second mortgage, nor will it replace their household goods, but they didn’t want to ask for too much.  Many locals have offered goods and services, but Al and Margo want to wait to see what they really need.  (Building cannot begin until Spring because of our frozen winter.)  Local businesses have been very gracious, thoughtful and generous by giving gift cards to help.

More in Margo’s words:

“I (we) do need help…especially if we are to rebuild and continue our hobby or if I may, our ministry, with Boundary Waters Labradors (AKC certified) as our insurance was extremely minimal, covering one mortgage loan only…and this is why I have turned it over. I have to Let Go and Let God. Romans 8: 28 is what I am holding onto. He will meet that need, as He sees fit. It’s time for new beginnings, even though; my husband and I are 40 years strong, plus I am in the 60 and over club now, both by His grace.

I am (we are) grateful and amazed at how much God loves me (us) and manifests His love for me (us) through his creations – you.   What an awesome feeling to be shown so much care and kindness by so many people! May He bless each and every one of you three hundred fold for your prayers, and gifts. I am (we are) humbled beyond expression.”

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And here is where I ask for your help…

Click on the link below and feel the blessing of helping others.  Give if you can.  Any amount helps…$5, $50, $500.  Even if you can’t donate money, I ask that you keep them in your prayers this holiday season.

Fundraiser for Al and Margo Penke

Thank you for your help…and as you walk through the cold and the fire…look up.  It is by His grace and presence that we move beyond them.

Patty O

Photo Credit:  Cheri Debeltz

Words of Affirmation

One of the blogs I read for it’s entertainment value, faith, and good advice through stories is called ‘Morning Story & Dilbert’.  Here is one that I thought I would share with my readers…because we all need to word on our Words of Affirmation.

Have a wonderful weekend friends…

Now go find a mirror and give yourself a compliment!

Patty O

Just a Bit of Schmutz

I keep writing blogs saying “I’m back!”…and then I stall.

Partly because I get busy with projects at home and when I do sit down, my brain feels like that bit of schmutz your Mother used to clean off your face when you were a child.  (Oh what I wouldn’t give for a ‘spit-shine’!)  And partly because I feel like I’ve lost my writing mojo.

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to write funny stories.  I’ve even taken pictures with the intention of using them for a story…and then, something else comes up and when I finally get to it, I have brain schmutz again.

Sigh.

I tell you what…

I’m not going to promise that I’m back.

I’m not going to tell myself – or you – that I’ll write a post every day.

I’ll just write when I feel I can…

Whenever the schmutz clears.

Have a good week everyone!

Patty O

ps…that cute little schmutz-faced kid in the picture is my youngest, Gabi, who turns 14 on Tuesday!  Happy early Birthday sweetie!  I love you!

pps…in case you’re not familiar with the term, ‘schmutz’…it’s a spot of dirt, leftover ketchup, chocolate, or whatever you’ve eaten that’s left on your face when you’re done eating.  And a ‘spit-shine’ is when your Mom would spit on a napkin or her thumb and wipe the ‘schmutz’ off your face.  Of course this is done when there’s nowhere to get water.  But trust me…nothing is as sanitary as Mom spit.  My three girls can attest to the spit-shine method.  They loved it!  (I foresee some major eye rolling when they read this.)

 

Slow Down Therapy

Patty O:

What a wonderful, comforting post. Sit back, coffee in hand, and enjoy.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 27, 1997

Slow down; God is still in heaven. You are not responsible for doing it all yourself, right now.

Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past. Rest there. Each moment has richness that takes a lifetime to savor.

Set your own pace. When someone is pushing you, it’s okay to tell them they’re pushing.

Take nothing for granted: watch water flow, the corn grow, the leaves blow, your neighbor mow.

Taste your food. God gives it to delight as well as to nourish.

Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set. They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.

Quit planning how you’re going to use what you know, learn, or possess. God’s gifts just are; be grateful and their purpose will be clear.

When you talk with someone, don’t think about what you’ll say next. Thoughts will…

View original 466 more words

Don’t Pull Your Pants Down in Class

Thank you teachers…

For all the things you teach our kids to do…

And not to do.

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Hope this brings a smile to your Monday as much as it did mine!

Patty O

Photo credit:  Nathan Cryder

 

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