The Fire

I cannot sleep. It took me forever to fall asleep last night. I kept seeing images of the fire, and the smoke and the kids and the things that were burned up – and my body keeps jumping. Finally I did doze for probably about 10 minutes and woke up again with a jolt.

A few years back, when we were pastoring in Virginia I was in a tornado. I was truly almost killed and so I remember how I had to talk about it to help process it. It was therapeutic.

I thought maybe you, my bloggy friends, wouldn’t mind being my sounding board this morning. I am hoping that talking can help to begin me to process it and help with the grieving and begin the healing.

I have to back up quite a few years though so that you can understand what all this means to me. My mother was in three fires when she was a girl. It turns out that her dad (my grandpa) was setting the fires to collect insurance. He was not a nice man and even told my mom and grandma to go lay down because “nothing was wrong” after he had set one of the fires. It appears he hoped that they would perish.

That being said, my mom talked often about the fires when I was growing up and I am became very fire conscious. Almost every single night of my life I think about escape routes being clear. I think about stuff being in front of doors at night. I move stuff off the stairs. I move stuff away from the top of stairs. I think about what I would do if there was a fire. And I buy smoke alarms. I have (well they are melted beyond recongition now) a collection of smoke alarms upstairs on top of the book shelves. If I heard of someone who didn’t have one I would give it to them. I have given many, many away.

I was talking to one of our staff pastors, Mark, yesterday about this “giving smoke alarms away” as our house was burning and he smiled and said, “Linn you gave us two.” Totally forgot. Yes, I had given them two.

When I sent a care package to Bill and Lynsay in China I enclosed one or two smoke alarms (can’t remember) and a carbon monoxide alarm.

I have given them to kids who are my kids friends when I hear that they don’t have one in their home and I ALWAYS ask when our kids are invited to spend the night at someone’s home if they have a smoke alarm and is it working properly??

And I have prayed many, many, many, many times, “Lord, please don’t let our home ever have a fire.”

So with that as a backdrop….

We have a security system in our home. Just a few years ago I had a man stalking me. We had just moved here to pastor (literally days before) when he saw me and started stalking me. He eventually entered our home. He was up to evil and we had to go get a permanent protective order. At the court hearing he was clear that he was waiting for the PERMANENT protective order to end so he could come “talk to me” again. It is another Memorial Box Monday story, for another day, but suffice it to say that that is why we had a security system installed in our little log home.

On the security system there was a smoke alarm. To me it was a “back-up” since we had several other smoke alarms that we had put up. Well when we were in California at Abby and Ryan’s for Thanksgiving we got a call that the alarm company was saying that there was an error with our smoke alarm. It happened several times and eventually we had to call our neighbor and ask if he could come and unhook it.

We returned from Thanksgiving and three days later I left for Africa. We didn’t even think about the alarm (after all we had several battery operated ones around).

I returned from Africa on December 18th and we had two new babies and Christmas and New Years and somewhere in there I had a dream. I woke up with a start. I dreamed that our home had burned down. Because of Africa, the babies, Christmas, etc., I don’t know exactly when that dream was, but I do know that it was probably about 2-3 weeks ago. I woke up and started praying. I was exhausted and don’t remember much, other than I prayed and prayed (once again) that our home would not be lost to fire. I should have taken note because I had never dreamed that our home had burned down before.

Somewhere around this past Saturday night I again dreamed that our home burned down. When I awoke I felt such an urgency that we needed to get that alarm system fixed, re-hooked up and ready to go. Dw was about to leave for his prayer retreat and on Sunday I asked him to please call Kyle about coming to fix the alarm.

Dw called him on Monday morning. Infact, a couple of posts ago I mentioned Kyle coming. Well Kyle is our electrician and owns the Alarm company. He is a tender hearted young man and he said he would come first thing Tuesday. Before lunch he had come and gone having fixed the smoke alarm hooked to the Alarm Company system. I was thankful he came before lunch because that afternoon I had to take Emmy and Graham in to town to band practice.

Emmy and Graham are on the worship team and I drove them in to band practice. I thought, since Dw was away, why not have some fun? I took the four little ones to the grocery store and bought stuff for subs. When I went back to pick up the big kids we decided to go picnic upstairs in the conference room. Because THEN we were going to go to dollar scoop night at Baskin Robbins.

I didn’t eat any ice cream because I was beginning to feel uneasy. I can’t explain it, but I knew something was wrong.

When we pulled in the driveway I said to the kids, “I think I should turn the car around in case we have to leave in a hurry if we have an emergency.” That was a weird comment in retrospect. So I turned it around.

When we got home I got the babies jammied and into bed. In the meantime Emma had been spearheading (on her own) a major clean-up by the kids in the kitchen/living room. I came out and was so thankful. It looked awesome. Sparkling clean. I thanked the kids. I have awesome kids.

When Liberty and Isaiah were tucked in I was in the kitchen and I said to Emma, “I don’t know what it is honey, but I feel so uneasy.” I can’t say when I have ever said that. I felt so uneasy. I actually said it to her a couple of times that evening.

Emma and Graham were Facebooking and I was on my computer and eventually around midnight I went to bed. Before long I was awoke to a steady beeping. I had a hard time waking, since I hadn’t been asleep long and went downstairs to see what was up. It was the smoke alarm that Kyle had fixed. I kind of stumbled around, still very sleepy and thought it must just not really be fixed and that I had better call Kyle in the morning and they probably should just replace it. I went back to bed and wondered why the alarm company hadn’t called because it had beeped probably more than a minute (they call after one minute of any alarm to see if everything is okay.)

About two hours later I woke up again to the smoke alarm going off. I went down again. And again, before long it stopped.

I woke up again around six to it going off again. I got my bathrobe on to check it out and also spend some time alone with the Lord. I love my early morning times with my precious Lord with the whole house asleep. He has ALWAYS been soooo faithful to me.

But this time the alarm didn’t just quit. So I got a photo album and started fanning it. I thought how weird it was that the alarm company didn’t call. I kind of smelled some smoke coming from the laundry room so I went down there to look. Yes, it smelled like there was smoke in there. But the alarm had quit. I went to build a fire.

We heat our home with hot water baseboard, but mostly the wood stove. Within minutes the alarm started going off again. I looked at the clock. It was about 6:15am. I tried to think of someone I could call to come and see if there was a problem.

Within a minute or two it was really going off. I went back to the laundry room and got down on my knees next to the box that heats the water for the baseboard. It is an old box, but I distinctly remember the home inspection man tapping it and saying, “This thing will last forever. It’s old, but they never give out.” So as I looked under the box (it is raised off the floor a couple of inches) I saw that there were two little trails of smoke inside heading up. I thought, “that’s weird, I wonder if that is normal?” I ran back out to fan the smoke alarm cause I didn’t want to wake the babies.

I looked at the clock and thought, “I will call Dw at 7. He is so exhausted and I don’t want to wake him out of a sound sleep.” I tried to think of someone who could come and see if they thought those little trails of smoke were normal. (I am kicking myself. How could I have been so silly? I should have called 911 right then. Please, dear friends, learn from my mistake.)

So for the next 40 minutes I stood fanning the smoke alarm which was now going off steadily. I kept looking at the clock waiting for 7 to call Dw. Then I noticed that there seemed to be smoke I could see near the laundry room door. It was almost 7. Only a couple of more minutes. I also couldn’t figure out why the alarm company hadn’t called.

At 7 I dialed Dw. He had been sound asleep. I told him what was going on and in his sleepy stupor he told me to turn some dial off. I had no clue what he was talking about. I went down to look at the hot water baseboard box in the laundry room. I couldn’t figure it out. He was still on the phone with me and then the alarm started beeping faster. NONE OF THE OTHER ALARMS IN OUR HOME WERE BEEPING OR BLARING – ONLY THE ALARM KYLE HAD FIXED!! So I ran to wave the photo album at it. It stopped. I ran (still on the phone) back to the laundry room and this time when I opened the door there was lots of smoke. I yelled to Dw, “Oh Dw! I have to call 911 there is so much smoke.” I hung up on him. I ran for the house phone (which I found in my hand) and ran back to the laundry room. At this time I entered the laundry room and saw the flames. The floor was on fire!!

The 911 operator answered and said, “What is the address of your emergency?” I tried to speak clearly and told her. Then I said, “I am home alone. My husband is out of town and I have SIX children sleeping. I have to hang up.”

She said, “I can’t understand you.”


She said, “I cannot understand you. What is your emergency?”

I repeated myself – enunciating every word as slowly as I could yet knowing there were now flames, the laundry room floor was on fire and the babies were asleep right next to the laundry room.

Right next to the flames is the hot water tank. I wondered if a gas hot water tank can blow up? (I still have no clue, but I guessed that time was of the essence.) I was getting frantic.

After repeating myself that second time she again said (to someone near her): “I cannot understand her.”

At that point I began to feel hysterical. Why could she not understand me? I was repeating things slowly and enunciating carefully.

Another lady came on the phone, she said, “Are you trying to report a house fire?” Oh my gracious I really got hysterical….my house is on fire, I can see the flames and they can’t understand me. (In hind site our home phone is muffly, so maybe that’s why…cause although I talk fast anyway, I was enunciating as slow as possible every word.)

I am so panicked even as I type this. The emotion was so powerful and I was desperate for them to understand.


She seemed to understand and said, “Stay on the line.” I screamed crying, “I CAN’T – I HAVE TO GET MY BABIES.’ and i hung up on her.
I ran down the hallway: Boys door first on the left – Girls directly door across the hall on the right – I was banging the doors and screaming, “Get up, get up, get your coats on…help me get the babies…get up..get coats on…grab some blankets..get coats on..get the babies..the house is on fire…” The bathroom door is next on the right and next on the left was the babies room. Across from the babies room is the laundry room. I opened the door and the smoke was choking me. I ran back to the phone and called Dw (although I don’t remember this). I said, “The house is on fire.” He threw his stuff in the car and ran toward the cabin owners, yelling, “My home is on fire.” and he sped toward home (which is about an hour and a half away.)I could not find my purse. My cell phone was completely dead. I frantically ran around the kitchen/living room trying to think what to do. Emma and Graham were getting the babies coats on. Liberty was crying hysterically. I yelled at her, “You can’t get hysterical you must think – get your shoes on and your coat.” I had no idea where Isaiah was. All the while the ONLY smoke alarm that was blaring was the one that Kyle had fixed less than 24 hours before!! (Yes this is a Memorial Box story and I will have to think about what to put in our Memorial Box as a symbol of God prompting us to have Kyle fix the only alarm that worked.) If you are new to A Place Called Simplicity here is the background on a Memorial Box. Seriously, I could not have done it without my big kids. They could think much clearer than I. I couldn’t find my purse and I needed my keys so we could start the car for the kids to stay warm. It was no where. Graham appeared with our handheld fire extinguisher. He went with me to the laundry room and on the way we realized the extinguisher wouldn’t work. Dw had mentioned flour so I ran to the kitchen for flour. I know how rural we live and knew that the trucks would take awhile to get here. I thought (foolishly) that maybe I could slow the flames. Emma was with me this time and as I opened the door we saw the flames leaping and the smoke was so thick. I closed the door. I then yelled to Graham, “Do you think I should try to run through the laundry room and open the outside door of the laundry room?” I again, opened the hall laundry room door and the smoke made me choke and cough and it was more than difficult to see. To go through to try to open the door would be stupid. And now, in hind sight, how could I have been so stupid to think that I should open the door? My house was on fire, a broken door in the back was not going to hurt anything. It must be part of denial. I was already thinking that we would be back in our home in a few hours…and Dw would have to repair a broken door….it would be maybe a little smokey. What a ridiculous thought!! Somewhere in there 911 called and I guess one of the kids answered. I didn’t talk to them but yelled to the kids to tell them to ‘hurry up’. She said that they were in route. I had a nightgown and bathrobe on so I ran to my room to get a pair of sweatpants. I couldn’t find any. I ran back and forth trying to think of a pair of pants I could pull on. It has been about 1 degee in the mornings when I had last looked. It was bitter. I ran back downstairs to see where the kids were. I looked around. I wondered if I should try to get my photo albums from upstairs. I didn’t know but Graham ran upstairs to start carrying them down….but the smoke up in the loft was so bad he couldn’t breathe. Emma finally found my purse (she had put it away in the cleaning the night before). The kids were in the car. I couldn’t think of what to take and I was so concerned that the gas tank would blow up. I ran out of the house and made sure the kids were in the car. And then we sat and waited for the fire department. Smoke was coming out the back of the house. In a minute or two smoke was coming out of the crawl space vents. In another minute it was pouring out. Just pouring and pouring. I made some phone calls. I called Tiffany to see if she could bring diapers to Kims. Tiffany answerd her cell all chipper…I was hysterical. I tried calling Kim (friend and neighbor) to see if the kids could come there. I called Jo (as of JoJo) my dear old friend who has been through thick and thin with me since I was young. I knew she would pray. I was sobbing and sobbing and wondering what was taking so long as I watch my home burn and smoke fill the air. I called Bill and Lynsay, but they didn’t answer. I called our grown kids. I called, Chelsea, my prayer partner who is away because her husband’s job has taken him out of state…..Many didn’t answer…so I’m sure I sounded like a hysterical nutcase while I was leaving them a message. I then called Lori and asked her to put it on my blog so our sweet friends around the world would be on their knees for our home to be saved. I knew you guys would pray and I don’t say this lightly..I love you all. I wish I could personally thank you for praying for us through the fire, through Uganda and through our sons upcoming depl*yment. You guys are the best – how gracious of God to give us such wonderful friends here in our church, community and bloggy community. When I realized I didn’t have diapers for the babies, clothes, anything, I felt so unprepared. It is starting to make me cry just thinking about it. It is just so weird to have your home burn up. Simple things we take for granted, just gone. I eventually wanted to brush my teeth. No toothbrush. I wanted to put boots on. Inside and gone. Yes, these all can be replaced; BUT it is overwhelming to this mama to even think of going to the store and getting 8 toothbrushes, deoderant, diapers, underwear, clothes, floss; much of it dumb stuff but all necessary. When the first person arrived on the scene it was the sheriff. He was very nice and so concerned that the kids were all out. (Yes, Nelly was safe in the car, as was Polly.) I assured him they were all in the car. A firetruck arrived next, and like I said it got completely stuck in the narrow plowed drive that is embanked with snow. They could not move it. They started laying hose around the truck and had to set up a pool at the road which they had to fill with a pump truck from a neighboring pond I guess. The set up pool was about the size of a long backyard pool. Before long 15 fire trucks were there lining our country road. The smoke was pouring out and they were carrying oxygen tank after tank from the road back to our little log home. Dw arrived about an hour later. He had sped as fast as he could. As he approached an intersection about a mile from our home he looked in the direction of our home and saw the huge cloud of smoke billowing up into the sky and said, “Oh no! THat’s our home!” Our neighbor, Curt, was wonderful. He loaned me a coat and hat. Friends of ours started arriving: Mark (one of our staff pastors), Jerry, Durango Joe (owns several local coffee shops), Terry, Pat, Dane. Thank you gentlemen for holding up our arms. We watched as fireman/woman after fireman/woman came out of our home took off their mask, red-faced and coughing and spitting junk out. They would switch tanks and go back in again. I asked the Fire Chief if he thought they would save the house? I held my breath. I wanted him to say, “yes, no problem. Everything is going to be fine.” He didn’t. (I guess they only do that in movies.) He said, “I don’t know. I am concerned for the safety of my people. I am concerned that they will be trapped in the crawl space. There is a danger that the floors will collapse.” (Which they did in the hall and laundry room.) The kids were taken early on to Kim’s. My sweet friend Jill went to Kim’s as well to help care for all the kids. Carie showed up at Kim’s with donuts and chocolate milk for all the kids – oh and stuffed animals. Little did the kids know that their treasured stuffed animals and dollies were all burning up. Carie then came and held my hand and cried with me. Deb came and checked on our horse Daisy. Someone came and got Daisy and took them to their barn for us. Friends started texting and calling. The news had traveled fast. Seth called the Christian Radio station here and was put on the air asking the Christian community to pray because our home was burning down at that very moment. Dw and I have ministered here now for almost five years and people in our community started praying. Prayer chains were mobilized *tears welling* – oh how thankful we are.After two hours the fire was still going. I called some to keep praying. The fire captain said that there were multiple fires still in the crawl space that they were having trouble getting to them. Eventually they were put out. Hours later we were allowed to go in our home. Like I said in yesterday’s post, it appears that the inside is a total loss. The outside we are not sure. We have to find a rental. Please pray that God will give us clear direction. We have to find furniture. Being a Mom of Many it is not so easy to outfit beds for eight people. Don’t forget we have no sheets…and no spare sheets incase someone throws up or has an accident. Like who thinks of that when there is a fire?? We went to see the kids at Kim’s eventually. Elizabeth looked at me (sucking her thumb) as if to say, “I am not sure what is going on, but are you leaving me here for good?” I scooped her up and told her over and over how much I loved her and that I was her Mama FOREVER! She started to smile. She seemed relieved. We went to Seth and Maria’s to stay the night. By the time we got there to shower and for me to get out of my nightgown and robe (it was now 2 in the afternoon) there on the couch in the living room was a set of clothes for each of us. Jogging suit for me with underwear and even a bra in my size. I was so thankful. The ladies from our church had already been shopping and had picked out an outfit for each of us. Thank you: Irma, Sara, Linn(same name and same spelling as me!). Kim and Martin brought us dinner. There is so much more I need to say. But I am feeling a bit sleepy. I will try to go sleep for a bit. We are going at 9:30 am to begin doing an inventory of the contents of the house. We have masks to wear as it smells horrible. We will need to get some gloves as everything is black with soot. We have to sift and count what’s there and take pictures of everything. Your prayers are not only needed, but deeply appreciated. Thank you for all of you who posted it on your blog to ask people to pray. We are truly humbled by your love. Please pray that the babies will know peace and that this disruption will not interrupt bonding. Thank you so much! We stand in awe of God’s Faithfulness in Allowing us to Be Prompted to Fix (less than 24 hours before the fire erupted) ONLY smoke alarm that would work….HE, again, is our Miracle-Working, Mountain-Moving, Awe-Inspiring, Gasp-Giving God – we continue to PRAISE HIS NAME – though our world, as we knew it, has drastically changed – He is completely faithful but oh how desperately we need your love, kind words and prayers!

103 thoughts on “The Fire

  1. I am so sad that you had to face this fear your entire life and your nightmare came true. I will be praying and so will my children. We too, live in a log home and your story has touched our family. HUGS from Kansas!

  2. Dear Linn and Dw and children, there are just no words to convey how terribly sorry we are for all that you have lost and for the frightening experience that you have been through. There are also no words of appreciation adequate to convey how incredibly grateful we are that you are all together and safe.

    Linn, you led me to this verse during a tough time in our family's life. I am certain you have said it many times over already, but I need to offer it up to you by way of returning love…

    "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will stregthen thee: yea I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
    Isaiah 41:10 & 13

    You are in our hearts, in our thoughts and in our prayers. Please call on us with ANY need.

    With Much Love,
    Amy, Chris, JT, Harry, Mac and Grace

  3. On your blog right now, I am hearing…You give and take away…my heart will choose to say Blessed Be Your Name. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow–as your world has been flipped completely upside down, He is still God. I’m praising Him for your smoke alarm, for His prompting in getting your family out safely. We will continue to storm heaven on your behalf!
    Love to you all!

  4. I am so very, very sorry! What a gift it was that God was “warning” you even though you didn’t know it. Praise God that smoke alarm wouldn’t leave you alone and praise God all of you got out safely.
    I wish so much I could jump over and give you a hug and go shopping for you. You have many, many people reading you blog that would love to help in anyway that we can so please don’t be afraid to ask.

  5. Linn, I am praying for you all and just asked others to do so via my blog. Your post brought so many tears…and I would so want to save my pictures too. Hugs from Virginia~

  6. Oh, I am so sorry. If I feel this shocked, I can only imagine what you are feeling. We adopted through AHH this past summer so I check on you occassionally to see how things are going. Your whole family is in my prayers during this overwhelming time. Thank God everyone is out safely.

  7. Another person in Kansas continuing to pray for your family. Have thought of nothing else since I checked your blog yesterday. My heart goes out to all of you and I will continue to PRAY,PRAY,PRAY.

  8. We will continue to lift you all in prayer. Your life story God has given you to tell others touches us deeply.

    I am first of all praising God that you and the children got out safely! Thank you for letting us know your pets escaped too!

    In Christ,
    Janet and Kevin

  9. I’m so sorry for all that’s happened, but I’m so glad for everyone’s safety. Praise God! You know, I was thinking when I first heard about the fire, and it came to me that while I think there’s an element of spiritual warfare going on, I KNOW that our amazing God is going to show Himself in more-than-amazing ways! He is going to be SO triumphant in more-than-providing for your needs! So, in your face, enemy! I can’t wait to see how God goes above and beyond, to see our faith strengthened, to win our love for and and trust in His wonderful mercies again and again!

  10. It is sooo good to hear from you. I am standing hear in tears as I can not imagine what you just went through. We will be praying for all of you. You are one strong family and will get through this.

    Lisa from Ohio

  11. Linn! We have not nor will stop praying!!!! My son and I prayed all the way to school for the children! Our hearts are aching for each of you; we know the faithfulness of the Lord will once again continue to be shown!!

    Love from Texas

  12. God will open up heaven’s windows, and rain down blessings and provisions. I know there are deep losses and things that cannot be replaced, but God can restore(note not replace) what the devil has stolen.(isn’t the promise seven fold?) And the enemy cannot steal our precious memories and the seeds of love you sow every day. Your babies will be secure where YOU are! No matter that their things are different, their room is different. God has set them in your family and THAT is the same. My precious sister, rejoice, for though there are tears and weeping, joy comes in the morning. HE will turn your ashes to joy, and your mourning will be dancing. Rise up sister and know your heavenly Father has it all under control and your family in the palm of His hand.You are to REST and love your family, sew tightening stitches on the quilt of the family. and rest. Know you are loved deeply even though we have only just met, sister of my heart!

  13. This has completely moved me to tears. I along with a lot of other people are praying on your behalf through this incredibly difficult time. Although you have experiences this unimaginable tragedy you have not let it alter your faith one bit and I admire you greatly for that. You guys are an inspirationt to all and have helped me grow in my relationship with Christ. Thank you so much for all you do, YOU ALL are a TRUE BLESSING. May the lord be with you today as you sort through the ashes.

  14. I am another one in Kansas that is praying for you and your family. Have thought of little else since I checked your blog yesterday. My heart goes out to you all. When something like this happens God shows us who our friends are and you apparently have to many to count. You are trully blessed. Will keep PRAYING,PRAYING, and PRAYING some more.

  15. I have wept with you and your family as I read your posts. I am so sorry for your loss and how difficult this must be for your whole family. I especially think of the little ones as this disruption comes at such a crucial time in their transition into your home. I continue to lift you all in my prayers.

  16. Oh sweet Linny—-there just are NO WORDS! I cannot imagine what the last 24 hours have been like for you. I do know this—every time I pray for you and your family the Father keeps giving me one word—-RESTORE! He is going to RESTORE everything to you that has been STOLEN from you. Our God of RESTORATION is already at work. He is truly going to give you beauty for ashes, and it is going to be STUNNING, my friend. My prayer this morning is that you will already begin to find little treasures in your home, things you thought would surely have been lost to the fire. The the RESTORATION will already have begun.
    Sending you a HUGE hug today.

    PS—Okay so I had to chuckle—I posted on my blog late last night—asking friends to pray for you and your family. For some reason I wrote that you had 11 kids! I got into bed and thought “did I write 10 or 11?”. I was just too darn tired to get up a check. Yip—I wrote 11! mmmmmm, prophetic ‘mistake’???? πŸ™‚

  17. Tears are streaming down my face, and my heart is broken for your family. I am praying and I am sending your story out to every one I know. I want to send you a care package. I don’t know when/if you’ll see this post, but if you can please respond to me via email and let me know how to mail something to you, I will do so immediately. My email address is

    Many, many prayers from Georgia.

  18. Hi, I am praying for your family. I think I need to take a few deep breaths and let my heartbeat slow down after reading your post. Our God is so good!!!
    I only have 1 child and her name is Liberty. I will consider that a word from God to add you to my daily bloggy reading.
    God Bless,
    Cindy, Fl

  19. I just recenlty came out as a “luker” but I have been reading your blog for a long long time. My heart is so heavy for the burden your family is facing right now. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading the past couple of entries. I can’t even imagine the grief your going through. I want you to know that I have been praying for you and your family through all of your trials and this is definatley a BIG one. I wish we weren’t so far away, I would come and give you all a warm meal and a big hug! I am truly sorry for the losses, yes they are material things, and I know you are greatful for the spared lives of your family, but they were things that you kept for memories and are so dear to your heart!

    I will continue to pray for your family!

    God Bless
    Mom of 3 bio sons
    and 2 treasures from China

  20. Oh Linn, My heart cries out in your pain but also am rejoicing that the Almighty God kept you all safe from harm! I am praying for strength, wisdom and understanding as you face going back today. Remember….the coffee is ALWAYS brewing here. “Come” whenever you need to!!
    Sending lots of love from Indiana,

  21. I am another friend in Kansas that is praying for all of you. I have thought of little else since I read your blog yesterday morning. When something like this happens,we realize how many friends we really do have. God blesses us in so many ways and this is just one way but as you know we all will continue to PRAY,PRAY, and PRAY some more for you and your family.

  22. Oh Linn, I am weeping for you as I write this,and I know I only know a fraction of your heartache. But there is another part of me who knows that our Father is holding you all in His arms and as you rest there he is going to reveal His glory once again. It is not a coincidence of timing that you have a network of people to lift you up to the Lord. So we are doing spiritual warfare for you all. I wait in anticipation to see what the Lord will do, for He is great and mighty to be praised. Praying for peace, comfort, strength, bonding for the little ones, and God’s provisions for you all. Love and many cyber hugs,

  23. Praying for you and your sweet family. I just heard of your story through CC over at His Heart. Praise God that everyone is safe. I pray He shows you know which direction to take as you climb out of this mess.

  24. Simply must de-lurk for this. But I have no words…just that you are most definitely in our prayers. The tears won’t stop falling. I am going now to check our smoke alarms.
    Many (((HUGS))) from NC.

  25. Wow, what a testimony, we will hold you up in prayer and thoughts. not much we can do physically from here but that, If Ty needs any support before he deploys Rach said that he is stationed near us, he is more than welcome to come to dinner and hang out.

    I know that Dad is with you and holding you all in his hand, Rest easy sister in the lord

  26. Thank you for sharing your incredible story Linn. I am sitting here crying and praying for you and your family. I am SO sorry this has happened to you. I think the reason this is hard is because you see EVERYTHING you have ever received from people or been able to purchase as a gift from the Lord so, when a fire gobbles it up…it’s painful to your heart. Please know that we love you and we feel for you. I could never know what you are going through but my heart breaks for you. lv u girl, jen

  27. Linn & Dw and all the kids –
    I an weeping with you. Praise the Lord for guiding you to get that alarm fixed. Praise Him for your protection and for providing you with so many people that love you to help you through this time.
    You are constantly in my prayers. I woke so many times through out last night and I prayed for you all.
    Fire is also one of my greatest fears. This weekend, I am buying more smoke detactors and carbon monoxide detectors… in hopes that if something happens, at least one of them will work. I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this heartache, but thankful that God lead me to your blog for so much insight and guidance, in my faith, in adoption, and even in smoke detectors.
    May God continue to bless you and carry you through this difficult time.
    I love you all.

  28. Oh Linn! Prayers have been non stop from your side of the country to ours, and surely across the oceans. You have touched many lives along you and Dw’s journeys and for each life you have touched I feel there is triple that number for people praying for your family and finding ways to help! I pray you can all feel some peace and comfort and above all I have been praying for the two little ones that this not interrupt their transitioning. Will continue to praise God for the safety of each of you and pray for comfort and quick fixes! Much love to you and yours!

  29. WOW… that was confirmation.

    I read through the comments and Adeye got the same thing I did. I woke up praying this morning and the word was RESTORATION.

    He will PROVIDE and RESTORE. And yes, PROVIDE for AND RESTORE your hearts. Linny, He knows your deepest fears and has walked you through them. He can heal your heartache and restore you.

    DW – I cannot even imagine getting that call. And I told you to quit messing around in the crawlspace buddy!

    Between the two of you, I’m on my 14th REFRESH button. And I still delight in coming to your posts to hear how God is working mightily on your behalf. Don’t let the enemy have this one. Lean on your brothers and sisters and know we are holding you up in prayer (and allowing God to provide through us as He is able).
    Much Love and HUGS

  30. Dear sweet Saunder family,
    We just heard about the fire. Please know your friends from CARE in Pagosa are PRAYING and getting it together to raise support. Please know we’re here for you all.
    Big hugs,
    Mark, Lisa, Ellen, Chris, Anita…

  31. Praying for you, is there a place donations can be sent. I have an overabundance of children’s clothes and could put together a box if sizes needed were listed somewhere. God Bless you and your family in your time of need.

  32. Linn
    I have sat at the computer the past two days constantly hitting the refresh button. I have been mourning with you. I simply could not imagine.
    I thank you for being so open and willing to share your heart with us all. You are truely an amazing women, and I am delighted to have ran across your story.
    I praise God for his awesome works. I read you story and sit in awe of how He worked through this all. I praise him for that smoke alarm, that it prompted you to get everyone out of the house, I’m simply praising God.
    I will continue praying for you and your family. And for you Linn, I pray that you would be able to have restful sleep in the comfort of the Lord Almighty…Praying in Iowa,
    Jaime D.

  33. Hi! I am SO very sorry for this loss. I read MckMama’s blog every morning and came over from there. Please know not only are our prayers are with you but I would love to send you a care package. I know right now is not the time – as you are very overwhelmed – but if maybe in the next days, weeks, and months if you could post what you all will be needing and then we could sign up to get it to you – I cannot imagine how overwhelming this is BUT how great is our God? WOW – I cannot wait to read more on your blog – I have to go and start the school day for my little ones…but know our prayers are with you! Sunshine

  34. Linn and Dwight,

    There are prayer warriors all over Florida praying for your family. I read your words today blinded through tears. I continue to pray our Savior for prompting you (and you for being obedient) to fix that fire alarm system. God remains faithful!

    Sending you hugs wrapped in prayers…


  35. I just read on MckMamma’s twitter about your fire… I came over to read, and I am in tears hearing about your tragedy. I am so sorry. I am praying. I don’t believe there is anything more precious to God’s heart than those who take in orphans, and I also believe that those who praise Him in the midst of tragedy are right there too… so that puts you so close to the Father… and I pray you feel that today and every day.

  36. I don’t know your family personally but I found your blog through MckMama’s blog. I will be prayer for your family. God has blessed your family and he will continue to be the Almighty God we all know! We are starting the process of adopting from Korea. Our first internatinal adoption. So thank you for sharing your story. I will be reading more of your blog

  37. Found your blog through Rachel’s and I am in TEARS! I cannot begin to fathom the depth of loss you guys have suffered, but thank our MIGHTY God that it is ONLY stuff lost and not family.

    WOW…You are in my prayers, and I’ll stay updated on your blog!

  38. I am so sorry that you are going through this and while I know those words don’t change things…I am praying for you and I posted about your family on my blog. I have visited your blog a few times and I think I have commented a few times. I am committed to posting ways to help you all as they become clear. I hope that you are flooded with prayer, support and help.

    Sending a big cyber hug,

  39. Thank you Linny for once again sharing your sweet (yet aching) heart with all of us, and for giving our AWESOME God the glory. Oh how His mighty hand was protecting you, and IS protecting you . . . even as you sift through your memories, and begin anew. Praising Him for all who have stepped in and surrounded you with loving care. May He meet your every need, now and in the days to come. More importantly, May He who is Able, give peace to your weary heart, and strength to your tired body.

    Praying in Texas, love you all ~


    β€œWhen my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

  40. Oh Linn, My heart just aches for your family and I continue to lift you up in prayer. Thank you for sharing all that took place. I cannot imagine what all of you are feeling right now but please know that we are all praying. Blessings, Lisa C.

  41. Everyone who wants to help – go to Lori's blog (see sidebar – Joy Unspeakable). She has an address for Dw & Linn's church that gave an OK to send gift cards etc. to.

  42. I choked up on the thought of losing that beautiful jacket that God gave to Elisabeth. The house you can replace but it’s more than that. It’s the memories and the little things that reminded you of those memories. We are praying that God miraculously saved many of those precious things for you so they can be restored and become another reminder of God’s huge love for you. We love you guys.

    And yes. You did give us two smoke alarms with a threat that they must be up the next time you can over. They were! And I’m so thankful for them and you. Love you!

  43. Linn….I’m praying and I know that God can move mountains, so building your family another house…is in the works already. Nothing can replace your memories….but let us ask and it will be given! May sound silly , but I’m asking anyone who is reading this and feels led to contact X-treme make over and tell them Linny’s story! see here for a video:
    Hugs to you Linny! love from Fort Leavenworth

  44. Prayers are coming to you from Florida. GOD IS SO GOOD..your family is all safe. My parents lost their home is a fire a few years ago. Today they have a bigger, better home. God has turned their attack from the devil into a wonderful praise report. God has blessed them beyond words for their faithfulness to Him. GOD will take yet another attack against your family and turn it into a wonderful moment in your lives. The only problem is you have to live in that yucky moment right now…We are not able to be there with you in body but please know we are with you in prayer and spirit. We can not be there to help sort thru the debri or help hold and love your little ones but we can send whatever is needed to get you thru the next few weeks until you are back on your feet. Whether it is supplies or money, please let us know. Those of us that are not within driving distance would love to box somethings up and ship them off to you.
    We want to bless you. You are a wonderful daughter of Christ. Blessings, Lisa AKA forever mom

  45. I am soooooo sorry for your loss, I know how scary it must have been. You and your amazing family are in my prayers. I know something amazing will come out if this, I just know it! So Thankful you are all okay~ Blessings from Montana

  46. Checking my smoke alarms today. God has blessed you so many followers of your blog. And you just thought he was giving you an adoption story to tell to win the hearts of others for orphans, but oh my Linny God has even BIGGER plans for you!

    I love you!

  47. I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like for you all right now. However, I’m glad that you have the blog so that people all over the world can pray for you and your lovely family. And also so you can have a place to get out your feelings, thoughts, and fears.

    I was working yesterday morning and I kept feeling like I had to check my Google Reader and there was your Urgent Prayer request. I prayed all day until I went to sleep last night for you and your family. I pray that you are able to salvage some of your belongings.

    If you have the time or energy it would be great if you could post sizes you all need for clothes and shoes so we bloggy friends can send you all things.

    Praying for you all in Panama City, FL.

    -Becky C.

  48. Linny, I’m praising God for His prompting to get that alarm fixed. I’m praising His name for the safety of your family. I’m praising Him for what will rise from the ashes. I’m also praying like mad for your and your family. My first thoughts, too, were of E and E and how they were just relaxing and bonding so well. I will continue to pray for that. Linny, we care so much about your family! PLEASE let us know how to help!

    (Earlier this week, before all of this, I mailed you an hourglass for your Memorial Box… it will arrive with rotten timing, I’m sorry!)

  49. Prayers for comfort and peace are being prayed in West Texas! You did an amazing job, under awful pressure! In the midst of chaos and confusion, you had enough clarity of mind to get your children (and even your pets) out and safely into a WARM car!!! Praising God for his protection! And praise him for the smoke alarm miracle! None of this caught Him by surprise…He never let go of you and your family!!!

  50. Linn-
    I saw the prayer request on Amie and Stef’s blogs…I hopped on over and want you to know prayers for your family are being lifted up in a little town in Alabama. A good friend of mine had a house fire just last week. I am praying provision, grace, and continued protection over your family. I am blessed to read how your church family and friends are taking such good care of you. Go God! That is the body of Christ! Praise the Lord! I have read some of your latest posts and the Lord has spoken to my heart. Thank you for your faith, it builds mine! And I love the way you refer to our God as the most-miraculous, mountain moving, awe-inspiring, gasp-giving God! Amen and Amen!
    May the joy of the Lord be your strength in these next days and weeks to come as you re-group and adjust and re-arrange. I am reminded of how though our circumstances change in an instant, our God remains the same! Praying strength for you, sweet mom of many.
    From another Mom of Many…Laine

  51. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your home and belongings. I can hardly even imagine how devastated you must be. But thank Heaven your smoke alarm was fixed in time to get you all out of there safely. Today is the first time I have read your blog – I found a link to it on someone else’s, saying what had happened. We will be praying for you over the coming days and weeks, and will be following your blog. With love to you all, from us across the pond in Cardiff, UK. XXX

  52. Dear Family,

    First let me tell you how truely sorry I am for your loss. I can’t even begin to imagine. You are in my prayers!

    I am a member of the adoption community thru my niece Kenli ( I have been following your blog and praying for your from the time you were in Africa getting your 2 newest little ones. To be honest, I don’t even remember how I found you. I remember someone having a link to your site and I began praying for you and checking up on your daily. Yesterday (of all days)was the first day that I didn’t have a chance to check up on the happenings at Simplicity-and I was horrified as I read about your tragic loss today on my lunch hour. Please know that I am praying for you and sending your site to more of my prayer warriors. I want to help somehow- but am at a loss at what to do-so I will pray!
    Your family has blessed and inspired many! Please let us in your blog family help in anyway we can!

  53. Linn, DW and kids,

    My heart simply broke as I heard the news yesterday about your home. I have to admit I wanted to ask God “but why them?”, but then I stopped mid-sentence and said “God is in control”.

    I know that those items lost were earthly possessions but they were your memories, your stuff. I too am so grateful that you were able to save your most treasured gifts, your children.

    I will continue to pray for each member of your family and I pray that the God of all comfort will meet each member right where they are and comfort them only as He can.

    II Corn. 1:3-4 ~ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts is in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

    In His care,

  54. We are still and always praying for you here in Ohio. Your story is amazing, and I am so deeply sorry for all you have gone through. I have thought about it constantly since yesterday. God bless you all! We will keep you all in our prayers.

    All the best,
    Nicole A. in OH

  55. Linn,

    I am so sorry for your loss and that you are having to deal with this. You literally just went through every moms nightmare. Please know I am praying for you diligently and will continue to do so. I also posted your info on my blog so that my blog readers can also pray. I am just so sorry and while I know words do not help much, I pray you will feel the support of the many many around the world covering you with prayer. I will continue to post your info on my blog.

    Big hugs from Southern California,


  56. I’ve never been to your blog before – but read a post on McMuffin’s Miracle Baby site – and had to comment and tell you that your last post about the fire brought me to tears literally while I’m sitting at my desk at work – you lived through everyone’s worst fears – and you will go on – I will pray for you and your family and will read your story on your blog – a family with all those children and all that love and faith – I’m intrigued and want to learn more – God Bless all of you

  57. Linn,

    Just wanted to let you know that my family continues to lift you up in prayer. Thanks once again for sharing your heart with the rest of us. Praising Jesus that He urged you to get the smoke alarm fixed. Your post made me check each of the smoke detectors in our house. I just seem to think that something like that won’t happen but I am reminded once again that it does happen. Praying for peace for all of you especially the little ones.


  58. I don’t know what to say to you. I found your blog via my charming kids blog as an urgent prayer request from her. We are praying, HARD!!!
    Brandy πŸ™‚
    God bless all of you!

  59. Linn, Words can’t describe how my heart hurts for you in the loss of your home but I am so thankful to God that you and the kids are ok. What good Mommy and Christian instincts you have my friend. Lifting you up in prayer, Kathy

    P.s. I emailed you this morning

  60. I really have no words – just that I am so, so, sorry. I know we don't know each other, but we are parents of 5 (4 bio, 1 little love adopted from China) – and as I have read your blog I am always in awe of your strength & faith.
    We are praying for God's continued leading & blessing on your family, that He will continue to provide for all of your needs, physical, spiritual and emotional – and that he will draw especially near to you at this time.
    With love & prayers,

  61. Ohh! Tears just stream down my cheeks reading this. How terribly awful for you to have gone thru. Praise God you were able to get your kids out! While of course that is the most importnant thing, it still has to be tramautic to have went thru it all.
    I pray God will ease the pain on your heart, that your kids will be able to feel loved and secure and not have the panic I am sure you are feeling.

    We don’t know why things happen but we all know HE is in control. He is the same. He loves your family the same today as last week.

    Keeping your family in my prayers,

  62. I found your blog today through MckMamma…and I just wanted to say that I will be praying for you guys! I can’t imagine what you are going through right now! I praise God for keeping you all safe! And praise Him that He will give you the strength to get through this!

  63. Linn, I am just so sad for you all. Bless your heart you guys are such a wonderful family. I know God wil bring you through even stronger. I am praying for peace for you all.

  64. Dear Saunders family, I am so, so sorry for your loss. My heart just literally hurts with you guys. We are praying, praying, praying for you guys. I have sent out this request to our entire church here in Missoula. We love you guys and stand with you during this time, and for Graham as well. Praise the Lord that you obeyed His promptings to get the alarm fixed! It literally just blows my mind!! Thank You, our Lord Jesus!!

  65. I know these are difficult times. In 1996, I lost my entire home and its contents in a house fire. We literally made it out of house with the clothes on our back. With the exception of our cat, everyone made it out okay and that’s what matters.

    If I could offer up a bit of advice, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do whatever is necessary to make sure that your insurance company is doing what it is supposed to be doing.

    Dealing with our insurance company was a nightmare – almost worse than losing our

    Good luck!


  66. Dear Linn…..I am sure that everyone reading your post cannot help but cry with you, just as I did, and feel panic while reading about you needing to get out of the house. Thank God that you knew that the smoke detector needed to be fixed. I can only imagine the devastation you are feeling and the feelings of being overwhelmed you are all having. You are in my constant prayers and will continue to be……I am praying that Graham is now through surgery and will recover quickly, I am speechless about the timing of that, just speechless.

  67. I am so deeply sorry for your loss and all your family is going through.
    Please know that I will be praying for you and your entire family. Your blog has been such an encouragement to me and your life gives glory to God in all you do.
    In His love,

  68. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers and will check in to see how we can help. I lived through a much more minor fire as a teen and know what it is like…the smell (which persists in almost every article of clothing, etc.), the devastation, the loss of personal items, photos, etc. We are so sorry for your losses but are thankful you are all safe. I’ll pray for your son as he recovers as well.

  69. It is a true grieving process when you lose your house to a fire. It’s all the little things, like bras and toothbrushes that seem overwhelming. Reading your story has brought back alot of anxiety for me, but I am just thanking God that your family is safe. I’m praying for you.

  70. We’ve never met, but I feel like I know you and my heart breaks for what your family is going through. Your faith and testimony should be able to move mountains when you reach the other side of this valley. I will continue to pray for your strength and a peace for the children as you face the days ahead. May God hold you tight in the palm of HIS hand. Praise Him for everyone’s safety!

  71. Linn- I am so sorry this has happened. My heart aches for you , for your family and all that you are going through. I know that you will come out of this showing us the glory of our dear Lord but for now your loss is so great and so painful. YOu are in my prayers and you are in my thoughts throughout the day. God bless you and your dear sweet family.
    Love ,

  72. Wow, I can’t even imagine the magnitude of such loss, but your grace and faithfulness are awe-inspiring. I am truly sorry for all that you are going through and will cover your family in prayer.

  73. I come to your blog through Angie Smith….praying for your entire family this evening. Praise God you all got out safely! May you feel the peace only He can give in a time like this. God bless you all!

    Wendy in Kentucky

  74. I was brought to your blog thru MckMama’s blog ( I read her twitter that your house had burnt down. So I read a couple of your blogs and realized what good people you and your husband are for adopting children and for having so much love for God. I made my way to your blogs about your house and I started crying. I know you live near the Rocky Mountains, but don’t know what state. I live in Tennessee and wish I could help so bad. I feel for you and your family so badly. I am praying for you and will continue to do so. I’m so so sorry. And I’m so glad your smoke alarm was fixed by Kyle, even though your other smoke alarms should have alarmed you.
    What a miracle that you and your kids were able to make it out. I know that clothes can be replaced but souvenirs and photos can’t, but thank the Lord your family is still here. I will regularly read your blog and pray for your wonderful family.

    ~~ Andrea from East TN

  75. I came to your blog tonight somehow. I am so sorry your family had this happen. So sorry. Thank you for sharing with us so that we can prepare better for emergencies. I will hold you all up in prayer. I would like to add your story to my blog too.

  76. Linn:
    I dont even know what to say except that I am so sorry that this has happened to your family and I am so humbled by your grace and faithfulness. If you need a vacation, youre always welcome to our home in Florida.
    ~Rebecca (Ladyblog)

  77. What a story! You know, you showed human reactions (panic, confusion, despair) yet the Grace and Glory of God was there all along, too. What a testimony. I pray that as you live in the “interim,” your kids would be at peace.

  78. Linny, I havent read your blog in a like 6 months! so sorry about the fire. God has a place in mind for your family. Two new kids and one more soon. I had better read more often. I am the one who sent you the kazakhstan adoption prayer request. Little Jarrod is doing great. just turned 3. He still lives in saudi arabia with his 50+ parents….

  79. what an ordeal you have all been through, i will pray for healing and the Lord’s provision for every need, big and small.
    thank you for sharing, much love xxx

  80. Oh my! I’m in tears and panicking w/ you as I read this. I’m so,so,so thankful and in awe of our Lord – praise Him!!!! I got your blog address from Shonni. I told her we are praying about adopting from Uganda, and she sent me to you! ; ) I wish I could go on your trip!!! Sounds amazing!!! I’m hoping to read more b/f my kiddos wake from their nap! bless you!

  81. Linny,
    I'm just now finding your adorable blog site and was just catching up on your beautiful life and kiddos and then came across this past blog on your house. I'm so sorry for your loss! Tears came to my eyes as I relived your experience via your description. I can't even imagine!

    May the Lord bless you and continue to keep you and your wonderful family safe!

    Many hugs and love!

  82. I've only been following your blog for a few months, but came upon this story today. Wow. Thank God for protecting you and your little ones! In the mid 80's we came home from town to find our house on fire. That was traumatic itself, I can't imagine how much more so with your scenario. We had six kids at the time, and how I identify with even getting enough toothbrushes for everyone being overwhelming. So thankful you were all ok.

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