I want to chat with ya’ll for a moment this morning about an issue very near to my heart. But first a quick Earl update. We are absolutely fine, he did not bring us any winds or even rain. Thank you so much to everyone who reached out with concern and blessings, we truly appreciate all of the love. We were fortunate and do count our blessings. Not everyone is lucky enough to dodge disaster or tragedy.

You may or may not have seen a post I shared on my Face Book this week, so I wanted to mention it here. The post came from Maggy with Three Many Cooks and Alice of Savory Sweet Life. Maggy and Alice (as well as many others, including myself) have a wonderful friend who is in dire need of help. A very dear, sweet, generous woman Erika of The Ivory Hut, that I had the pleasure to meet in NY at the Big Summer Potluck. She and her family met with a grave tragedy this week. In the early wee hours of Monday morning their home burnt to the ground and when I say burnt, I mean completely reduced to ashes & dust. Here is what Erika wrote later that dreadful morning from a friend’s computer…

Sept 1, 2010

Last night, my head was preoccupied with last minute work on a special project and putting the finishing touches on a post. My husband Tom and I had also been discussing the logistics of possibly attending BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco. These were the things that weighed on my mind.

A mere hour or so later—and instant, really—we were outside, in our shirts and shorts, watching our house crumble as it was engulfed in flames. I’ll never forget that hissing and crackling noise as my husband’s home of almost 30 years practically disintegrated before our eyes.

But we were safe. All of us. Our son Tim, without hesitation, ran back inside when he realized his grandmother was sleeping upstairs. By the time he got to her, it was too late to try and exit the house the same way he came in. Fortunately, Tom had devised a fire escape plan years ago, and Tim was able to bodily carry his feeble 82-year-old grandmother out the window, onto the roof, and eventually down on the deck. The sight of this brave son of mine carrying his grandmother as he ran down the lawn and away from the house is one I will never forget.

Obviously, none of us slept last night. We are fortunate to belong to a congregation that is as close to us as family, and one of our dear friends drove to our house last night to pick us up and take us to her home, which is where I sit right now, typing this.

The magnitude of the loss is almost too much to comprehend in its entirety. So last night, I mentally walked through all the rooms in the house, taking stock of what was valuable in that room, and then systematically making peace with the loss. I said goodbye to my new MacBook Pro, my 500GB drive of photographs, another 500GB drive of music files. My purse, with all my identification cards, and all the car keys—car keys that are useless anyway, since the flames have likely taken our cars too. Our passports and birth certificates. My husband’s prosthetic leg, without which he is unable to freely move around. Our shoes, all our clothes, and our musical equipment. My engagement ring and my wedding ring, and a gold bracelet passed on to me by my mother on my wedding day.

My baby pictures, which are the only remaining proof that once upon a time, I was actually cute. My iPod Touch, the value of which is immeasurable because it held all my half-finished songs, poems, and writings.

But when I weigh it all against the value of being able to hold my husband’s hand and my son’s hand last night as we said a family prayer of thanks for our survival, as well as a petition for strength to deal with the days to come, and the fact that this morning, I woke up to a day with both of them still with me, then I still think I got the better end of the deal.

Oh, and I’m sorry there are no photos in this post. You see, my beloved Canon 5D and all those lenses I had? They’re gone too.

Which stings, I’ll admit. But all I have to do is throw a glance my family’s way and yep, I’m still blessed.

I can not begin to imagine the terror Erika must have felt to stand there and watch her child run back into a burning building for his grandmother. Not to mention having to stand there for what must have seemed an eternity while she watched her home, the sheer essence of her inner self and her family fall to the heat and flames. It is unimaginable.

So here is what Maggy and Alice have done. Seeing as how it will take weeks for any insurance issues to be resolved and Erika and her family have absolutely nothing to their names but the clothes on their back, they have started a donation at Friends of Ivory Hut to help them out.  The donations will go to Erika in order to replace everything from toothbrushes to heavens knows what all you would need to make it through the day. I honestly can’t fathom it?! This a 100%  donation going directly to the family. Maggy lives an hour away so she is taking the Paypal money directly to Erika. There is also a set monetary goal, once that is reached the account will be closed. As I said this is just to help them meet their immediate needs.

Now I know that we are all experiencing hard times in this economy, trust me I know, but $5 goes a long way when you add it up. If 25 people donate $5 each that is $125, if 50 people donate that would be $250, you get my point.

Erika is truly a rare beautiful woman, inside and out. She is selfless, private and an absolute nurturer. I can bet you anything that she is not even thinking of herself now, rather she is the one being the stalwart rock of strength for her family and friends through this crisis. As I sit here listening to the radio writing this I remember how much Erika loves music and this song is playing. How appropriate… don’t you think so?

The Bravery


So give me something to believe
Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

Something’s always coming you can hear it in the ground
It swells into the air
With the rising
Rising sound
And never comes but shakes the boards and rattles all the doors
What are we waiting for [x2]

Let us be what she can believe in. That though she might be everyone else’s rock now, we are here to be her support. And that the rising sound she hears is not the echoes of loss, but rather a glorious cacophony of love, friendship and community welling up around her…even from people that she has never met. I know that we can all give up our Starbucks and Big Mac’s just this once and show Erika how great our southern/surf/blogging communities are. Please ya’ll, go to Friends of Ivory Hut and make a small donation today. They will stop taking donations after 9-8-10. I tried to put the Paypal link up here to make it easier but as you all know I am a techno dork.

Thank you Maggy & Alice for putting all of this together for Erika and passing on the information, along with the Paypal link .

And ya’ll…thanks so much for listening to me today and letting me bend your ear about helping out this wonderful family. I also truly appreciate how you guys looked out for us during the storm.

Love you all,

Tickled Red