A few friends have asked what we took with us last Sunday night when we got out of town so we wouldn't have to inhale all of the smoke from the fire. We weren't under mandatory evacuation, but we didn't take chances.
Some things we packed up:
All photo albums/scrapbooks/yearbooks
Framed pictures that can't be replaced
Paintings by grandparents
Clothing for a week
As I was putting stuff away, I thought about how we were so lucky that we had time to grab things, and there wasn't any damage to our house. Watching the news I saw the families that did lose their house. One family has lived there for 30+ years and built their house with their own hands a little bit at a time. All of the baby pictures are gone.
I also laughed at some of the things we grabbed. Things that might have sentimental value to my husband and me, but no one else would have a clue as to why we took it with us. It's as if everything in life needs to be labeled with how and why it is important.
And then I saw a picture of my two babies and thought, "It doesn't matter - you can't take it with you." There are many people in this world who don't have their yearbooks or scrapbooks or even baby pictures. I know who I am, where I come from, who my family is, and most importantly, Who I believe in. I can teach that to my children as long as they are alive - they are what is of most value to me.
We talked about how we will plan for an emergency in the future. We have a fireproof box that we always keep our vital documents in - passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. All of our digital pictures are stored on snapfish.com so that even if we lost them on the computer, we have backup. All of my banking is done online and can be done from anywhere in the world. We will probably get more fireproof boxes and put old pictures in them and put them under our front porch because it's surrounded by concrete and therefore somewhat protected other than total destruction. And we have our 72-hour kits up to date.
Life is uncertain - love your family, friends, neighbors, and let the rest be in God's hands.