I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
When the fire was mostly out and I’d spoken with the investigator, Doug and Jan asked us to come to their home. We were quite a strange and macabre circus in our neighbor’s living room: Kyle, me, my in-laws, my sister sweet sister Bonnie, Doug & Jan, Mark & Katie, Jason, Katie, & Berrik (who took turns walking Berrik by the pool outside), Jenny Rose & Jason, Jay, & Jonathan. Before leaving Oliver Circle, I went over to see the damage for the first time. I ended up being able to direct firemen to where I hoped they’d find my imac and wedding ring (they found one of them). The Drinka’s came and helped Jay and Jonathan gather up a few things before we left for the first time. That night, Torey’s camp directors drove her from Waco so our family could be together. Craig’s roommates brought him to Austin and Meghan got in her car and got here as fast as she could. My girl is loved!
We were to head back the next morning (Saturday) to meet with the investigator again. Our neighbor Ron was waiting for us and just cried with us again. He was truly hurting with us. A man was there boarding up windows and doing what he could to help. He was looking for my wedding ring in the kitchen where I’d left it. Before we’d finished our meeting, the people began to arrive. They were wearing work clothes and carrying ice chests full of water bottles. They brought sunscreen, breakfast and lunch, sodas, and beer (yes, please).
Our insurance sent two guys from a cleaning and restoration company who sort of wandered through the house looking shell-shocked and disgusted. They bagged up a few things and left, telling us a full clean up crew would arrive on Monday. But it wouldn’t be necessary. I can’t count or remember all the faces of friends I saw that day. I’m guessing there were around 150 people who came in shifts, ruined their shoes, and went home sunburned and smelling of soggy ashes. They removed everything that could possibly be saved. They dug a trench so that the water standing in the house could drain. They set up a washing station and saved my china with the English castles on them.
Jan stayed with Kyle and I as we met with the insurance adjustor and took copious notes. Doug took charge of all the amazing volunteers and helped them help us. And people worked their tails off. And they came and hugged us as we all sweltered in 100-degree heat with no power or water in the mission house in which to escape it.
The best part of the day came around 11am. Many fireman and the insurance contractor and I had looked for my wedding ring. I’d left it on a glass holder next the the kitchen sink. We just couldn’t find it. Doug and Bob began looking. They, as all before, sifted through soggy sheet rock and insulation. An hour or so later, they found it. It was covered in soot and scorched on the inside. It was on the opposite of the kitchen behind my olive oil and pepper grinder. I was in Torey’s room gathering what I could save and looking for her laptop when I heard someone crying. I went to what used to be my entry hall and saw Kyle and Doug hugging each other. Then Kyle asked me to marry him again and put the dirty and beautiful ring on my finger. We prayed and thanked God together. It was truly a miracle that we found it in that rubble. Thank you God and thank you Doug and Bob!!