Fire at Midnight

We were sleeping hard when Dagmar woke us up last night. It was almost midnight.

“Hey Dad – they just called the ambulance out. There’s a fire at Heartland.”

The news took a minute to sink in.

Heartland is the small wind turbine company where Jan works.

We laid back down – in shock.

Mentally I gave Jan fifteen minutes to decide to drive in and see what was going on. He only took twelve and half. As soon he jumped out of bed – so did I. There was no way I was letting him go to this fire alone.

We scanned the horizon as we drove through the blackness of midnight. The last time we were speeding through the dark at that time of night – I was in labor. We both wondered if this event would be as life-changing.

The smoke was heavy in the air as we pulled up to the building. No flames could be seen – just thick heavy smoke and lots of flashing lights.

The fire was in the second building, where the blades are manufactured.

Volunteer firemen from 3 different communities were there.

Yes, volunteers. Risking their lives with no pay. I will never again look at the firemen tossing candy from the pumper truck in the local parade the same way again. Those guys are heroes. Just saying.

We carefully maneuvered our way through the labyrinth of fire trucks and hoses to the small huddle of Heartland employees, watching the scene with shocked expressions.

It was a little surreal.

And sad. Very, very sad.

What would this mean?

How can a small 6 year company recover from a blow like this? How much damage would there be – not just to the building but also to the equipment?

This is special equipment – much of it designed and made by the guys themselves. Six long, hard years of labor.

As we watched the firemen cut a hole in the roof and lower themselves down – I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that God was still in control.

And there was peace in the midst of the chaos.

We managed to get a few hours of sleep last night but Jan was back at Heartland early this morning when the firetrucks were called back in to put out a flare-up.

Before he left, he held my hand and prayed over his hastily prepared breakfast, “Lord, we know that none of this is a surprise to You. We know that you are in control. We trust you.”

And there is still peace.

Facing My Fears – Or Not

I’m terrified of heights.

Really. Really. Terrified. As in “panic and freeze” scared of heights.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to a trip out west. I knew there were mountains – but I guess 14 years had dimmed the memory of how high they were.

It started coming back to me as I watched the kids climb around the Veduvoos and later as we traveled down the pass from DuBois into Jackson Hole.

But the real terror hit when we took Teton Pass into Idaho. I went into full panic mode. Traveling around those sharp curves as we climbed up and down the mountain – I freaked. My foot kept slamming the imaginary brake on my side of the Suburban.

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When I looked out the window I saw steep mountain sides – and thin little guard rails. I tried to close my eyes – but I soon discovered that not knowing what was coming next was worse than knowing.

Then my dear wonderful husband stopped at the top.  He thought we needed some pictures.   He actually allowed my sweet babies to get out of the suburban and walk to the edge of the guard rail.

But wait. There’s more!

He then let our children go down a trail to a snow field and have a snow ball fight – in flip flops.

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They were having the time of their lives – just making memories.

Mom, however, was not.

All I could see was the height – the danger. They were on the side of a mountain. Do you see the dark line near the top of the snow ?! That’s where they were!

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To say I was scared would be an understatement.

But I somehow kept it all together the entire week. I even managed to climb a mountain, and endure the mountain passes in Yellowstone (you know the ones that hang you out over nothing while supported with steel posts?) without totally losing it.

(Although I would tremble at the sight of the steep grade signs and often go to my “happy place” as we careened around the steep curves.)

Yes – I managed to keep it together – until we hiked Harney Peak – the highest point east of the Rockies located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The hike itself wasn’t that bad – after all – we had just finished a mega 9 mile hike in the Tetons just days before. This was nothing.

Until we got to the top.

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The views we spectacular! I guess. If you weren’t hyperventilating from fear. The rock look-out at the top was really cool – if you like rock structures perched on top of rock cliffs at 7000 feet.

I was doing fine – very proud of myself for accomplishing the hike when I looked out and realized that my children had left the relatively safe rock walls of the look-out and went exploring on the surrounding rocks – with their father.

They were prancing like mountain goats at 7000 feet.

I had a meltdown. I yelled over to them “You better come back – that’s illegal!”

The guy next to me said, “Actually it isn’t illegal.”

I looked at him and said, “I’m the mom.”

He said, “You’re right – it’s most definitely illegal!”

Little Buddy yelled back, “It’s okay Mom, just go to your happy place – we’re having fun!”

It didn’t help that complete strangers would be enjoying the view from the Look-out and suddenly exclaim, “Whose crazy kids are out there on those rocks?!”

Umm… they are mine.

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Oh yes. They are mine.

Those are my sons – the little dots on the rock with their arms stretched in a victory sign.

And they are having the time of their lives.

They were doing what God intended for them to do – climb rocks – conquer mountains – explore their world.

What was I doing? Freaking out. Holding them back. Trying to tuck them back in safely.

I failed.

I let my fears win. I sat in a miserable heap on the stone steps overcome with panic and worry.

Where was my faith?

The Almighty God created those mountains. The Almighty God created my precious children. The Almighty God – that I love and serve  – had everything under control.

But I didn’t trust Him.

Psalms 111:6-7

“..a righteous man will be remembered forever.

He will have no fear of bad news;

his heart is steadfast trusting, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is secure,

he will have no fear…”

Another life lesson learned.

I’ve linked this post up at Friday Fails over at My Blessed Life.

Feast or Famine

I had a lovely conversation with a dear friend today. She shared openly how, as farmers, they did very well last year, but it looked like this year they were going to barely break even.

We decided in rural America it’s often either feast or famine.

But in time, we’re learning to accept it.  We’re learning to be thankful for the blessings in the good years and trusting God to provide in the lean ones.

We’re discovering that God really does see the big picture where we see only a glimmer.  His provision and plan for us is perfect, whatever our situation may be.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot
, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul…”

~ Horatio G. Spafford

Feast or famine, good times or hard ones, our God is still in control.

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” ~ Phil. 4: 11-12