Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Fire... with a Miracle

Two weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon,
 I received a text from my mother with this picture, 
The text said: "Mom was home alone but got out in time".  
Those were all the details we were given.

Looking at this picture now still gives me chills and it just doesn't seem possible. 

Later... we heard the rest of the story. 

This tragic fire took place in New Brunswick, Canada.  My Gram, who is blind and 90 years old, was home alone on Sunday afternoon.  She was waiting for my mother's weekly phone call, sitting in her chair, with the phone in her hand, when she heard what sounded like something falling off the roof.  She got up to go outside when the fire alarm began to go off.  She left the kitchen, walked through the porch, past the fuse box, and through fire and flames reached the outside porch.  My aunt, who lives just down the hill, had run up to try to get Gram out.  She had been banging on the windows and could not get through the door.  She heard a noise and turned to see my Gram standing on the porch steps, bewildered at what was going on.  My aunt grabbed my Gram and helped her walk to safety, and minutes later the porch was in flames, as can be seen in the above picture.  My Gram's animals, a cat and a dog did not make it out of the fire.  The dog was found on the porch that my Gram walked through!  

Gram did not have any smell of smoke or fire on her clothes and was completely unharmed.  It has been a miracle that we have rejoiced over, even as we have grieved the loss of the 103-year old home.  My Gram moved there when she was married, living there for 73 years! All of it, gone, in just a few minutes.  Treasures, keepsakes, pictures, memories, a lifetime of living, gone in just a few moments of time. My Aunt Jenny lived with her as well and had all of her life's possessions in that home too.  Gone in a short moment of time.  One of my uncles had just finished putting in over 10 cords of wood in the basement for the winter.  Gone... in just a few moments of time.  Treasures and keepsakes brought over from Denmark by my great-grandparents when they emigrated to Canada, gone... in just a few moments of time. 

But the miraculous thing is that my Gram was able to get out.  Even the dog, who was on the porch, did not make it out.  But Gram did.  Gram has been telling everyone that the Lord got her out, and we believe that the Lord walked her through the fire on the porch, and kept her safe.  Later, when you see the video, you will see what my aunt saw as she was running up the hill to try to get my Gram out.  She couldn't get to her.  But the Lord walked with Gram out of that fire, and we are so thankful to have Gram with us today! At 90 years old, she has become an evangelist, telling everyone what the Lord did for her! 

A picture of Gram with her cat just a few days before the fire.  She loved this kitty, and it sadly did not survive the fire, was found in my Gram's bedroom.  Had my Gram been taking a Sunday afternoon nap with kitty, it would have been a different story.  But she was sitting up, waiting on my Mom's phone call. God's hand of provision! 

The old home sitting up on the hill, in all of Fall's glory. 

The house that sat on this hill for 103 years... gone in just a few moments of time. 

My beautiful Gram, standing on her porch, this picture taken in early springtime. 

A recent picture of my Mom and Dad with my Gram and Aunt Jenny.  

Family members gathered to go through the ashes and save what little could be saved.  
One of the first finds was this book I made for my Gram after our 2018 visit. 

Out of the flames, a page from the book. 

This devotion was found in the fire... an incredible thing for all of us to see! 

One of the earliest finds was this beautiful devotion that survived the fire, with one of my favorite scriptures on it, Isaiah 26:3  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee." I had mentioned this verse in my last post, as a verse that was bringing peace to all of us as we mourned the loss of this home full of such treasured memories.  And, the Lord truly has been the support, the glue, the foundation, and the strength for my Gram and Aunt Jenny as they've had to cope with the immensity of this loss in their life. 

More relics found from the fire... 

This picture of our family was also found! 

Another picture found, fire-damaged, but of my Mom, my Gram and myself. 

The grief all of us felt at the loss of this home, what it means for my Gram and Aunt Jenny, and how grateful we are for their lives being spared was shared in many different ways.  One of my cousins organized a GoFundMe account.  They are trying to get a place secured for Gram and Aunt Jenny before winter.  You can find more information about the GoFundMe account here:  Skaarup GoFundMe

Callum Smith, a TV reporter in Moncton, NB with Global News heard about the fire, and reached out to me and asked me if I would do an interview with my Gram.  He didn't realize that I live in Idaho!  I put him in contact with one of my aunts who helped him arrange the TV interview, and my Gram was able to tell her story to the world about how the LORD saved her from this fire.  You can watch the video here: TV interview with Callum Smith

My heart was full of emotion at the loss of my Gram's home of 73 years, and one night I sat down to write about it.  I'll share it with you below... 

The Old House on the Hill

A wooden beacon of love

Standing tall on the winding steep hill

Its stance intact for over one hundred years

With doors always open and its heart always full.


This was a home of the extraordinary

As God-fearing and hardworking Fred and Eva

Knit this home together in kindness and love

With generous doses of love and fun

That flowed from its inward being.

The oversized kitchen table with room for just one more

Fed many a hungry belly until they could eat no more

And not just with food for the body

But laughter, love, and great joy

Rich nourishment for the soul.


Oh if those walls could only talk once again

And share the memories within

Whispers of late-night conversations

Music played from the living room piano

Steps that ran up and down the stairs

Pitter-patter of furry animals that lived there

Yes, there were the pranks that were played

Jokes that were told, meals that were cooked

All while sharing great fellowship and love.


Little toddlers happily played, darting around

With treats on the sly when parents weren’t looking

Mounds of food graced that table

With the kitchen always open, night or day.

And even if one couldn’t eat another bite

Somehow they were pressed to make room for more.


Cries of praise and prayer daily lifted their wings

To the lofty heights of heaven’s throne room

From the generous rooms of this home.

While the creaky floors held their own secrets

And walls burst with their knowledge

Joy ran its river out the banks of its doors.


Outside great blooms and flowers swung on the porch

With many birds and bees enjoying their bliss,

Apple trees in fall shared their harvest

While wild strawberries in spring were a sweet treat.

Large pastures brought in loads of hay

And baseball games played with cow patty bases

Kept energetic grandkids entertained.


Always a bit of excitement when a car sped up the drive

Gram would peer out the large picture window

In the anticipation of a visitor from afar, a friend or a child

Coming to visit and brighten up her day.


She knew the cars by their sound in later years

When her eye’s light grew dim with darkness and shadows.

The large chair by the window became her resting place

And she managed the world of her home

With careful scrutiny from that chair.

Nothing missed her gaze and she could spot

A hungry stomach a mile away and insist it get fed.


Oh the games that were played at that kitchen table

Skip-Bo and Rummikub the family favorites

Helping hands came often to prepare meals

in later years and to provide company for Gram

As darkness and quiet pervaded her world.

The company of their help a great blessing.


The old homestead sat ready for winter

With its large appetite for wood satisfied

Down in the dark basement below.


Fall had settled in for a visit while

Winter was just a cold breath away.


But suddenly on that beautiful Fall day

the home’s sturdy beams now lay under piles of ash,

as the old house crumbled beneath

the heat of the flames,

its doors never to open again

or its walls to hear the sound of voices

mingled in laughter, praise, and delight.


But even though the old home’s remains

lie dark in ashes deep

its voice will ne’er grow silent

and its memories will forever speak

For its grandest work was done in the hearts

Of each one whose footsteps it did greet.


The memories made over one hundred years

Live on in sweet places deep within our hearts.

Its grandest days on earth may have ended

But its greatest work will last forever

In the hearts of those who loved and lived here.


Indeed, the greatest lesson

this old house aches to share

with all who mourn its loss

is one that we too, all must learn.


The lesson is simple yet diligent in its task

It speaks to us today a message,

Listen close and hear its groan

as this old house whispers its last bequest:


“Nothing on earth will remain the same

But your soul and its eternity

Will be that which forever will last.”



Marilyn Moseley, Granddaughter of Fred & Eva Skaarup

I went through some albums I have here with me, and found some old pictures I'd like to share with you of my grandparents and their home. 

A picture of my Gram & Grampie on their 25th wedding anniversary. 

Danielle, with Grampie, and my Mom. 

Danielle's first visit to Canada, she was 18 months old,
standing on the landing of the creaky old steps. 

The porch was filled with beautiful flowers! 

Here is a picture with my dear uncle who passed in a tragic accident 8 years ago, and my Grampie who has been gone for almost 20 years... my Gram busy working in the background... and you can see that table piled with food.  Good times!

From a little child, Danielle loved the piano, here she is trying to play,
while my Mom plays the piano in the living room.  Many happy hours were spent with piano music, as my mother, many of my aunts and cousins play the piano. 

This was the last time I saw my Gram, back in 2018, as we were saying our goodbyes. 
She was sitting in her chair, and it was hard for her to see us all leave, even though we'd had such a wonderful time.  We had plans to be there this summer for her 90th birthday celebration,
but covid changed all that.   

Ryan with Gram, saying goodbye in 2018.

My precious Gram... I miss her so much. 
We are so thankful that the Lord saved her from the fire,
and pray that we can all make it back to visit her someday
when all this covid stuff has settled down. 

Please keep my Gram and Aunt Jenny in your prayers,
this is a difficult time for them, yet the peace from the Lord that passes all understanding
is giving them strength for the days ahead.  

Isaiah 26:3 
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on thee. 


  1. What a miracle, Marilyn. How good is our Lord. Poor Gran, she will be in shock for a while I'm sure.

  2. Such a heartbreaking loss, Marilyn, but what a miracle that your grandmother walked through the fire to safety! Yes, I'd say God's hand was in all of it in a big way. Praying for all of you!

  3. Such a heartbreak to lose the house but such a miracle is right! Such strong women will find their way through this with the love an support of family and friends.

  4. Oh my goodness!!!! I am so so sorry, Marilyn!!! Keeping in prayer.

  5. This made me cry - both sorrow and gladness. God is good indeed! When next you see Grams - give her a huge hug from all who hear her story and her heart if you will.
    Blessings ๐Ÿ’•

  6. Oh, my, my heart aches for the losses but rejoices for the miraculous safety of your gram and aunt Jenny. It must be devastatingly hard for them right now trying to cope with all that's happened. Virtual huge to you all.๐Ÿ’–

  7. Oh if ever the Scriptures came to life this one did for me reading your grandmother's story.

    “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2

    How precious to become an evangelist at 90. God is so good to use us when we are willing to be used. Still, it is a heartbreaking thing to lose beloved pets and treasures of a lifetime.

    Much love to all and lots of prayers.

  8. Oh Marilyn. My breath caught in my throat when I saw that first photo and again as I read your post. How like our God to send angels to walk through those flames with your Gram and just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo, have no whiff of smoke on her. I'm sure her heart aches for her beloved animals and all of the memories in the house. It wasn't just a house to her was it? It's easy to see where your love of flowers comes from. Your Gram and Aunt Jenny will definitely be in my prayers as they travel this new path together. I'm sure the entire family is pulling together to do everything they can for them.
    I wish I could give you a huge hug.
    "The Lord is my Rock, in Him I hide." Psalm 94:22
    Blessings and love,

  9. I had to keep reading over and over about your sweet Gram walking through that fire and completely unharmed. God was watching out for her and He guided her to safety. I'll be praying for your Aunt Jenny and Gram. And I will pray you all will be able to visit some time.

  10. Hallelujah! Your Grandmother was safe from that horrible fire. I know that the house held so very many memories and it will be mourned just like the lose of a family member, but the fact that your grandmother got out without a burn or scrape is truly a miracle.
    Praise God and bless your family.

  11. I also read and reread this, my friend. I am moved beyond words by the faith your dear grandmother displays! What a beacon of light in this unsettling time. Prayers and love!

  12. What a miracle! I am in tears as I read this story, and I just praise the Lord your grandmother was able to escape the fire unscathed. So very sorry about her home and all the precious memories contained therein, but what a reminder to all of us that our true treasures are in heaven, and also that our life is the greatest treasure. Wow, what a story! Truly a miracle. (((hugs))) to you as you grieve the loss of this special house. I love the poem you wrote...I can feel your heart in this. So amazing. Praying your grandmother and Aunt will find a good home.

  13. Unbelievable ! Yes, all the material things are a huge loss, but a life was spared and that is the most important .

  14. Wow- that is an amazing testimony. I love that she shared it on the news. So tragic to lose pets and all her special things, but thankful she is ok.
    I really like your poem.

  15. I'm so glad your dear Grandmother was saved from the inferno that the old house became.
    It's sad that the house is gone along with all the treasures of a lifetime but the wonderful escape of your gran is miraculous. I hope a nice secure home will soon be found for her and your aunt.

  16. Clearly your Gram is a woman of faith and strength. I cried when I watched the interview. Praying for Gram and your aunt as they adjust to the loss and a new living situation. {{hugs}}

  17. Oh, sweet friend! I have been thinking of your dear Gram and Aunt Jenny since you told me about what happened. Your beautiful poem moved us to tears and was so eloquently written and conveyed such emotion. It is plain to see how close all of you are and how much you dearly loved the old house. May God continue to comfort all of you in such deep loss and with constant reminders of His great love for you. SO thankful your dear Gram and Aunt Jenny got out of the house and were unharmed. That is just so miraculous and proves the faithfulness of our great God. Sending much love and many hugs to you today.

  18. God was surely watching over your Gram. There is no doubt in my mind that He walked her through that fire, step by step and was holding her hand every step of the way. Oh my heart breaks for the loss that has happened here but I so rejoice in the tender care of our Lord and His hedge of protection. Giving God Praise and there is no doubt that He will take what was bad here and make something good from it. I have been there...and loosing those things that are precious to us that hold such wonderful memories is like experiencing death. The stories I could share on loss due to fire. Praising the Lord with you for His love and looking out for Gram. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  19. Our God is so awesome! What a fantastic miracle story about your Gram! I am so sorry the family home has been lost along with so much else and the two beloved pets and pray that she and your Aunt Jenny will soon have a place to call home once again. ~ Thank you Jesus for saving Gram and that she is sharing her miracle story of how YOU saved her. Bless her, meet needs, heal hearts. In your name Jesus, Amen. ~ FlowerLady

  20. An amazing story of her survival. Praise the Lord that He helped her escape. So much to process...

  21. Oh my what an incredible story this is. I can't imagine going through that let alone being 90 and doing it. God truly had His hand in this situation. I'm sad for the loss of her home, belongings and pets. Words just can't convey what I feel after reading this.

  22. Hello,
    This story is so very powerful. Praise God! And He is alive and moving. We can not forget that.
    Continuing to pray.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this story.
    He is good!

  24. Oh Marilyn
    An incredible story and a wonderful miracle.

    Thinking of you all and saying prayers

    All the best Jan

  25. Oh my goodness, Marilyn, such an incredible story filled with tragedy, devastating loss, heartbreak; but determination, faith, love and of miracles, too. Truly the Lord and his angels walked your Gram through that horrendous fire. I am so sorry that all your Gram's and Aunt's precious heirlooms and keepsakes, a lifetime of memories went up in flames. So sad that your Gram's beloved dog and cat died. Your Gram has indeed a wonderful story of her Lord's protection and grace to to tell all who come her way. Truly, an amazing and miraculous story! I will be thinking and praying for you all as you come to terms with all that has happened. Take care, lovely Marilyn. Xx

  26. Oh Marilyn... I am SO SAD for this loss of your grandmother and aunt! How very very sad.. that lovely old home carried a lifetime of memories for them... and I am so thankful and prayerful that your grandma was blessed to get out without harm! That is indeed a blessing and a miracle. I am so glad to see that a few things of precious honor were saved.. how amazing that is! Your poem is so heartfelt and beautiful.. frame it somewhere special for your grams and aunt. I loved seeing the old photos and the pictures of the house in all its grandeur. Wow.. what a wonderful place it was and I can imagine it is so very sad for your mom too. I would like to contribute to the GoFundMe account but will have to wait until our next "payday"... as two sick kitties and a sick hubby have eaten into our little bit of savings.. or I should say "have eaten it up!". I will write it down to remind me in a week and a half. I hope funds are raised to find your grandma and aunt a new wonderful comfy place to reside. Sending hugs... Marilyn

  27. Awww your poor grandma! What a heartache to lose her beloved pets and all those years of memories! What's most important is that she is ok though.

  28. So scary, Marilyn. I am so glad that your grandmother is safe!

  29. What a miracle that your gram walked out of her home safely. This is a big loss though, all those family mementos and her dog and cat. I hope she and Aunt Jenna find a new happy home. I like the last line of the poem you wrote.

  30. OH I'm so very sorry to hear this! It is such a deep loss of your families history and memories. I do praise the Lord that no one was killed! Sorry about the animals though. Praying the Lord's provision for a new home and the things that are needful!

  31. Oh, this was so sad to read! But very touching at the same time, of the wonderful power of God protecting your Gram. The Lord is good that He brought her safely out of the house. I'm sure it is a sore trial to lose her home, though. She will be in my prayers! I have a sister who lives in Canada. I will have to pass this story on to her.

  32. Unbelievable!!!
    Praising God for His hand on your Grandma. Truly a miracle!!!
    I noticed that the devotional is now in the shape of a butterfly.

  33. It indeed was a miracle that your Gram got out unscathed when even a cat or the dog couldn't. I am reminded of the poem "Footprints in the Sand". It's too sad that a 100 year old home got burnt. Regards Naomi


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