Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grapevine Fires (IDAHO is BURNING) & Rising from the Ashes


These are pictures of the Charlotte Fire (as it is being called) or the Mink Creek/Gibson Jack Fire in Pocatello, Idaho aka where I live.
On Thursday, the day started out just fine and then went up in flames literally!
I was leaving work and stepped outside to see this fire! Right as I got outside the hospital doors I am facing these HUGE plumes and clouds of smoke darkening the sky. The flames raged wildly. I could see them from where I was standing. It looked like a volcano exploded or a war zone! I was in complete shock. Pocatello was burning. What was the most frightening thing was that my family live up Gibson Jack right where the fire was.
It was the worst fire I have ever witnessed in my life. I immediately pulled out my phone and called my mom. My stomach churned and twisted in knots with fear and anxiety when she answered, crying and freaking out. My heart sunk. My mother explained that the police were not letting people go up Mink Creek and Gibson Jack or anywhere near the fire. She said it was close to our house and that she and Bob (my stepdad) thought the house was going to burn down!
I raced to my grandma's house (where we had all decided to meet) listening to Death Cab for Cutie's "Grapevine Fires" and praying, praying, praying that our house would be saved, praying for a miracle in a situation completely out of control. My mom, Jordan (sister), Chrish (brother), my grandma, Madison (Jordan's friend), and my Aunt Michelle were all gathered together in the living room glued to the TV screen as the news reporters updated us on the fire.
I felt so bad for my mother who couldn't stop sobbing. She was worried because Bob went up to our house, climbed the hill, so that he could save our horses and let them free. He was taking a long time. We couldn't get a hold of him and it scared us because he has bad asthma. 
We were all incredibly relieved when Bob pulled up safe and sound in his truck. My mom ran to him and embraced him. He was upbeat, calm, and positive in the time of such a crises. I love that about him, always optimistic and hopeful. He let the horses go. They got away. He thought our home was going to turn to ashes and burn down. He took some stunning, terrifying videos of the raging inferno that was only yards away from our home.
Everyone who lived in or near the fire was evacuated. For a few hours, we sat, paced, talked, prayed, and waited ever so anxiously and nervously for the outcome. The question that hung heavier than the summer heat in the air was suffocating: will the house be burned to the ground, leaving my family homeless? Or would we be ever so blessed with a miracle, that our house would be spared?
All the while we were reminded of what truly matters, the most important thing is each other, the ones we love, family, people. Home isn't where your material possessions are stored. It isn't a place with polished hardwood floors or chandeliers hanging from vaulted ceilings or big theater rooms filled with every movie imaginable. Home is in the hearts of the ones we love. Home is family. Home is each other.
What a beautiful thing this life is, no matter the fire that burns all around us. If we just stick together, hold onto each other, and never take anyone or anything for granted, then I know we can make it through anything, through everything. Fire doesn't just destroy, it refines and purifies. It may hurt and burn at the onset, but the end result shines bright as the stars. Life is about thriving and triumphing after tragedy, together forever.
We kept getting mixed messages from friends of our family members that our house was burned one minute and the next that it was spared. It was nerve wracking. I felt so badly for everyone in this town. Prayers for rain were on my lips. I was just in total shock and awe that the unexpected always happens. We must always remember that people are what matters. Love matters. Everything else is replaceable, but family, love and friends are irreplaceable. Look at the people struggling with this exact same situation in Utah, Colorado, and other places in the United States. It only takes one spark to ignite a fire that can burn miles in minutes. This could happen to you. 

mY miracle
This is my family's house... a safe place in the midst of disaster and destruction. Some people may believe it is luck, but I know it as a miracle. Life is beautiful no matter the fire that burns around us. Home is in the hearts of the ones we love. Home is family. Our house was saved. I wish I could say the same for others. I heard nearly 60 homes were destroyed. I can't even begin to offer an explanation. I can say God is good. I know this was a miracle.
Just because you can't see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn't mean there can't be one. What matters now is coming together as a community and reaching out, helping, and sending prayers to those who were affected and victims of this fire and the fires all over the country. We all need one another and should never take this fact for granted, never forget it or take it lightly. Caring is sharing. Open your hearts lovelies and lets make this world a better place one person at a time.
I also send my thoughts and prayers with a heart overflowing with love and gratitude for all the brave firefighters who risk their lives and work relentlessly and fearlessly to put out these fires and triumph over disasters. 
Live by love
<3 Charley Brooke
This is what I believe to be true: You have to do everything you can, and if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining and the moon and all the stars that light up the night sky.

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