Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful for What We Do Have

Seven years ago around this time, I was homeless with two small children. Why? Because Florida had 3 major hurricanes hit within a few months and although, my home did not suffer any damage, I was about to deal with another kind of catastrophe that would take State Farm insurance adjusters over 2 weeks to respond and give me funding and instructions on where to go next after my....

.... accidental house fire.

Few people know about this in my life. I do not write about it in my book 'Living with Something Moor' and unless you were my neighbor at the time or a family member, you probably never heard me talk about it.

Started by a candle off my Master Bedroom when a friend unknowingly set an  inflamed votive near my outdoor porch draperies and a plant with some dry brush. Somehow, it caught on fire while I was downstairs and lit up the east side of my home very quickly. Fortunately, my neighbor saw it from her window as it spread onto my roof and she ran over immediately to help me evacuate my two sleeping children and take them to her house as to spare them the harsh reality about to transpire.

I returned trying to put out the fire myself with no success until the firemen arrived and insisted I leave my home immediately. Leave my valuables, computer, photos. It's hard to explain the devastation of a house fire. The senses are what I remember the most. The smell on everything. The suet smeared felt everywhere. The charred pieces of twisted iron, shattered glass and black water dripping from the ceiling. The silence of any kind of life existence. The voice in my head wondering where I will go now because Thanksgiving was coming.

I needed clothes, underwear, food...I was scared and weight of the world was felt on my shoulders.

My dear neighbor who saved us, a woman I dearly love, invited us to stay in her studio apartment about her garage. A very small space with a full sized bed and guest kitchen ironically looked out onto my burned house across the way. What a new, awful perspective.

My daughters clothes were saved. I washed them and preceded to go about life and take them to school as if it were another normal day. Truth be told, they saw this as an adventure and honestly, my attitude and approach with them was this- 'you keep doing what you do and be kids' and 'I will take care of all this mess as the leader of our family'. No worries. But I was plenty concerned as I laid on that bed unable to move with the tears falling down my face at what to do first. It was paralyzing.

I was struggling once again. Was it not enough to loose my husband 5 years prior? Looking back, that one year of renovating my home, maintaining my business, caring for my daughters solo and simply surviving again gave me a new appreciation for what I do have.

This catastrophe gave my dear friends the opportunity to do kind things for us. I learned to let them do it. My ego was demolished, just like my home. I lost many 'things' and realized those 'things' can be rented and borrowed. As an interior designer, I rented a whole home of furniture in our new rental home around the corner. I found myself making it ok.

The long hours of burning my 'personal candle' at both ends went towards an existence between two homes: one we lived in temporarily and one I owned that we'd move back into once I renovated. It was the worst year of my life! This dream home I loved was designed by both my late husband, an interior architect, and myself, an interior designer like I said. So this renovation was a very new start in many ways for me. I re-designed it the way I wanted, for Carolyn and not the way 'we' were in that house as a couple.

I think you will find it interesting to know that the ONLY area of my home that was damaged comprised of the Master Suite, porch, closet and bathroom I used to share happily with Chad... The area I could not bear sleeping in again after he died. Since then, I had occupied the Guest Bedroom and was quite content being across the hall from my young sleeping daughters. So, I often wonder, why did all this burn away? I believe God was at work here. In many ways, I was forced to move forward and to see what my future would hold.

One year later, a week before Thanksgiving, I moved back into my newly renovated home that was truly all mine. A home I felt was mine to do whatever I wanted from this point forward. I had earned that right fair and square. No one could say I had what I had because of my late husband.....I felt empowered that I was capable and I felt I could accomplish anything!! All my hard work inside and out was paying off. I will always remember this Thanksgiving of GREAT joy and gratitude. I was home once again.

I had let go and let God in this process. I knew without a shadow of doubt what it felt like to live by faith every second of the day. And you know what happened after that? TLC called and I began filming 'Shalom in the Home' right after the last driveway paver was put into place.

A few months after that, I sat next to Oprah on her stage in Chicago and the rest is history. I promised her to always be an inspiration to my girls first and foremost. Today, I'm thankful for what I do have. My daughters, my home, family, friends, Modern Widows Club, CLOVE, neighbors, New Hope for Kids, clients and most of all for God never never letting me go and always fulfilling James 1:27 where I am told that He will provide for the widows and their children. I have personally experienced this. It is beautiful.

So, today when I drive down to Servants Heart Center to pick up 12 Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets and give to my Modern Widows Club ladies, please know, I am very grateful for what I do have and today I am celebrating those who have lost so much. May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving Day. If I have inspired you to be kind to ONE widow today, I have done my job here. Please find time to be kind to a widow today :)

Much love & hope for the widows in the world,
Carolyn Moor

P.S. One month after Thanksgiving, a tree fell on my house:) After that, I decided it was time to move onto another home and see what the future held for us. Best decision ever!
To be continued......