The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Pantries and Preparedness. The fires. January 2020.

For weeks now Australia has had terrible fires.  This week it was our turn.  Australia is burning and the whole world knows about it as it is in the headlines everywhere.
I have been working on our preparedness now for several years.  I felt a persistent nudge a few years ago and this has continued until now and still I feel it.
In my life I have learned (the hard way) that if you have a feeling about something to never ignore it. God is telling you something.

In the Prepper world everyone refers to SHTF.  This is Shit Hit the Fan, it kind of covers every bad situation!   It might be personal i.e.  your marriage broke up and suddenly your security and income is gone or it might be global.
Well, this week in Australia SHTF.  Both for us personally and for the nation.
Some states are in a State of Emergency.  The Army and Navy have been called in.  They are evacuating people off beaches.  Whole towns are virtually wiped out.  Many towns are cut off and have no communication, no power, no shops, no food... not fuel.
People are trapped and even if they could leave there is no power or fuel to fill their car.
Hundreds of trucks that haul food and supplies are stranded with fresh food rotting in the back.   There are air drops to give people radios and satellite phones.
One town on the news last night had one working radio that was connecting them with the news outside.  Everyone was gathered around this one radio.
The size of the areas now being evacuated are bigger than some European countries.

The news mainly covers the east coast since the bigger populations are there.   We are in the very southern area in South Australia.    We have had a lot of fires over the years.   On Monday we were on alert due to a very hot day with high winds and dry lightening.  Most of our fires seem to start from lightening.   There was already a big fire a good distance north of us.   So everyone was concerned about that.   Monday morning it began...
The weather quickly deteriorated.   When things are bad we drive to the top of our hill to have a look.  We could see smoke.  And fairly near by.   Things happened quickly and we knew lightening had already started a fire East of us.

This is what it looked like at first...


This is what it looked like shortly after....


From there things happened too fast to take photos.   The next time we went to the top of the hill we saw there were CFS people down the corner of our property where a track meets the main road.   We drove down to them to see what they could tell us.  I guess it took two minutes to drive that far.

They were closing off the main road as east of us the fire had jumped the road and was traveling south.  This was what had made us feel ok... everything was moving south.   We maybe spoke to them for one or two minutes.   Suddenly the everything went dark and the smoke was thick and all around us.  The man said "the wind has changed, go!!"   We raced back to the house.  The smoke was thick and moving fast.    Andy headed off to set the big sprinklers going on the east side of the house. I grabbed the dog and put her inside and ran down to the bottom paddock and opened the gate so the cows and sheep could hopefully escape into out yard and on to the lawn.
But the time I go inside I had breathed a lot of smoke.   Andy yelled out "the power is out!"  and so the sprinklers would not operate.   He went then to start the generator and get the over the house sprinklers going.

I rang 000 and reported where the fires was.  This was pretty hopeless as the girl on the phone wanted to chat all day and I said sorry but there is a fire coming straight for us!

By now the sprinklers were running over the roof.   The smoke was thicker and thicker.   It started coming into the house.
Just then a firefighter started banging on the door.  As the door opened I saw his face. It was my brother!  He said "you have to get out, it is catastrophic."   Now my brother is an understated kind of guy.   He meant it and I knew this meant we had to leave.
I grabbed my bag, my iPad and a few things.   I slapped a note on the door that said "Evacuated." We jumped in the car with the dog and headed fast to my brothers and sister in laws.   This is only fifteen minutes away but they have irrigation all around them making it pretty safe.  He promised to go get Chloe and we would meet there.
Driving out the smoke was so thick.  I looked back and the sprinklers were going.  This was the only thing that made me feel maybe the house would survive.  But it was no certainty.

We got to my brothers and Chloe was there.   Checking she was there was the first thing.
There was electricity and communications.   We let everyone know where we were.  From then on it was a day of listening for news.
A couple of good things were my nephew who was fighting the fire could report later in the day the house was ok.  He also came in and added fuel to our generator.  This would give us eight more hours of over head water.
I know I am so lucky to have somewhere to evacuate to.   We were all together and cool.   The smoke did begin to become thick here as well but the house was fine.

The day was a bit unbelievable!  There we were in a situation I had not envisaged at all.   There were some encouraging moments and some bad ones.   Chloe got a phone call that the fire had reached her house.  I saw the could drain out of her.  She held it together and called Luke to tell him.  For a while we thought her house would be gone.   But it was not!  It was ok!  
For a time I thought what if we lose the house, animals and garden we worked so hard to build up?  I was doing a lot of praying.

The fire was now moving north easterly so going up and past us.  We knew the back of our property was on fire.  We knew the neighbours was on fire.   We were communicating with her, she had evacuated also.

As the day wore on (and boy was it a long day) the fire continued to head north.  This was good for us... now it was going towards Mum and Dad!  Oh great.   My brother,  nephew, niece and Luke were all out there fighting.  There were bombers and so many crews.  A big plane came here too from the USA!

Late in the night we came back home.   This is how it looked ...


The air stank.  The over head sprinklers never faulted and the house was drenched.  The animals were ok!

With no power we began to use the generator to keep the fridges and freezers going.    This continued on through the night.   All efforts now were further north and to keep Mum and Dad and other houses safe.  So much effort, big machinery ploughing fire breaks,  so many exhausted people. 

As I write this it is another bad day.  My brother just rang to say if the wind changes we may have to evacuate again.   So we are watching closely.  To be truthful it is good to have things to work on in the cool (while we still have power!) and keep my mind occupied.   However the noise of the wind is now too loud to not be frightening. 

We have a map now that shows the burned area. You can see it was in a semi circle around us.


Ahhh it is giving me a bit of a picnic attack writing this especially as we are waiting for the wind to change.

Now from this all I learned a lot.  We did some things right.  These were:

From the day we moved here we began cleaning up and clearing around the house.  The first few months we had thirty something big bonfires, removed man many trees and extended the lawn.
In our second season we had over forty bonfires and they weren't little piles of leaves most were the size of a car, some were the size of a small house!  We hauled, stacked, cut and needed a tractor to help at times.
We got a generator so that if the power is out we have water and  can  put on high pressure sprinklers.
Andy made an over the roof sprinkler system.  It absolutely drenches the house.  This can also be run with the generator.
We bought a back up generator.
We have sprinklers that are powerful and cover long distances.
We signed up for all weather and danger updates via phone and email.
I keep the fridges and freezers very full so if the power goes out they will stay cold longer.   I succeeded with three out of the four.   Empty space in a freezer will mean it will stay frozen solid a lot shorter time.
My fridge and freezers are full of cold and frozen drinks.
We have battery operated fans, plenty of torches and lanterns.
We can cook and boil water on a gas BBQ so are never without the ability to cook and have a cup of tea.
I have all emergency numbers in my phone, printed and stuck inside our emergency cupboard.
We have a non electric landline phone.   The walk around phones need electricity.  The mobiles fail even if you have them charged as the towers that repeat the signal only have short back up batteries.  They all reply on electricity.  Only the old phones require no power.  Having this to plug in was important.
I have enough food and general supplies on hand to last a few weeks.
Also enough animals supplies to last.
We have extensive first aid and medical supplies.
I keep mops and buckets for extinguishing embers if this occurred.
We have a wide area clear and the wood etc all stored a long way from the house.
The next day when we had no power I still had a hot cup of tea, eggs on toast for breakfast so this was good.
We have a battery operated radio.
We had professionals take down two huge gums that were in a position should they fall they would go straight through our roof.

Ok now for things I did wrong or could do better!
I was not packed.  In my mind we would stay.   So I never packed a thing.  Luckily we were able to return home. If not I would have had no clothes, nightie, pillow, nothing.  Pretty dumb.
I did not have documents packed or in a fire proof safe.   So now I am getting a safe and just keeping all important stuff in there.
I left with phone and iPad and no charger.
My most recent freezer addition was not full.  I should have had that full even if just bottles of water.

As I write there are thousands, tens of thousands, Australians who have no communication, no food or water and no toilet paper etc.  Oh, and no fuel.  The government have been dropping satellite phones, food and water to many.
Now if you have lost your house or evacuated then of course you don't have much.  But many are in trouble that still have their homes.   But the power is out.  The supermarkets are mostly shut.  Those that are open have empty shelves.   I am seeing photos posted of completely empty shelves.   And queues that last hours to get in to any open shops.    It is hot and smoky.  You would just not want to be having to queue.  It would be much better if you had your supplies and could wait it out.
On top of this the roads in and out of many towns are closed.   There will be no trucks re stocking the supermarkets.  

This could affect any town or city.  If trucks are stuck between capital cities the food is not moving.  If the power is out for any reason the supermarket will probably not be open and the fuel will not be pumping.   How long would you household supplies and pantry keep your family going?   Would you be listening to radio updates on your battery radio?  Would you be able to keep the fridge and freezers going and manage to put food on the table?   Would you have fuel to keep your generator going for a week or two?  Do you have a generator in the first place!?
Does anyone in your family need medication?  How many days do you have left?
Do you have bags packed if you have to leave at a moment notice?
Are important documents safe or coming with you?
How long would it take you to get out the door?
Do you have a check list to work through... in a crisis it is hard to think.  If you have list of what to grab and why to do this can help.
If you have no mobile phone do you know anyones phone numbers?
Is your car kept full of fuel?
Do you have somewhere you could evacuate to?
There is so much to think about and there is no time to think about it when the crisis comes.   And if you do head off to get a generator or fuel or fuel cans they are not going to be available. It will be too late by a mile.

We have had a time of if it doesn't "spark joy" throw it out.   Well, right now that old radio, the old phone,  the woollen blankets and many other items would spark a lot of joy!  So would a well stocked pantry and supplies.  

As I type the fires have got going again.  We can see massive smoke clouds.  If the wind changes we will be evacuating again.  This time I am packed and the bags are at the door.  Including my documents.

I am sure I will think of other things and my list is by no means comprehensive but I hope it will inspire you to be prepared.   When something is really big the government cannot help everyone.  Help might not be coming. You need to be self reliant as much as possible.  That means you can also be helping others.  I was able to take drinks and snacks to some of the fire fighters.  We have more than we need.   We are ok.    I think of things like the families with babies on bottles and half a tin of formula in the cupboard.   Trying to keep cool with no cold water available...  don't let this be your family if you can avoid it.

I have a whole preparedness series on my blog.  I wrote this weekly for a year.  There are many ways to be prepared that are completely free and many ways to inexpensively greatly increase your preparedness.  This is a good place to start Totally free ways to get better prepared.

If you are able please help your local fire and emergency departments in some way.  They work like you wouldn't believe.  And the farmers too, everyone is fighting the fires.   Please pray as we need it. xxx

124 comments:

  1. Wishing you well Annabel! Where we love the Eyre Highway to perth has been cut on and off for the past 3 weeks. It is 5 days until it reopens. People are stranded along the way, some with no accomodation, fuel. Now we have a new fire started in the Yumbarra Conservation Park which is about 30 kms away. Can smell the smoke and sky is a terrible color. Trouble is there are warnings now for thunder storms which may start more, and severe winds up to 90kms an hour which can carry embers. Those that leave, perhaps take in car wool blankets and towels, with jerry cans of water. If you become trapped due to smoke or poor visibility, douse towels with water and cover your head to aasist brething. Remember those USB back up sticks with photos that can't be replaced. God Bless us all.

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    1. Dear Robyne, Thank you, I did not know the road has been closed so long! This explains a lot as I heard supermarket shelves in Perth are affected now. The colour the sky goes is truly scary! We all keep woollen blankets in out cars. That is a rule, plus water. Things are much better here today and we could sleep here last night but we took turns to get up and check conditions and smoke. So not much sleep! With love Annabel.xxx

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  2. Also don't leave without clothing to fully cover body and footwear to protect from radiant heat.

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  3. Annabel, thank the Lord you are safe! I am praying for you and your family and for all Australia. I am so glad that you are even more prepared now after the first evacuation. Your lists are so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing; these lists and your preparedness posts have helped and will help many people! Bless you! Lots of love and prayers, Teresa

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    1. Thank you Teresa! We have lived in smoke this week but so far the fires are contained and mostly out. What a week! Thank you! xxx

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  4. Oh Annabel! That is so scary! Many more prayers going up for you and your family. I'm so thankful that you had somewhere to evacuate to.

    My husband is a prepper in some areas and being prepared is one. Everyone of us has a bug out bag in the house and we each have a get home bag in our car. All of our important documents are in a safe place and we have a plan for our animals (pets), along with emergency food for them.

    If there is a situation where we do not need to evacuate, but do not have electricity, well, we are getting more prepared. We don't have a generator, but we do have plenty of food and about six ways to cook it. We purchased two very large water containers (I can't remember how many gallons they hold, but it is in the hundreds). They will be filled with rainwater. We have a portable washer and a clothesline.

    Continued prayers, Annabel. Stay safe.

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    1. Dear Jennillee,
      Thank you! I am so glad your husband is so organised with this. I think lack of electricity is becoming more and more common for different reasons. Being prepared for that is so wise. I would love a non electric washer. This would be a major help. I know of them... I might look into this. People have them in caravans...
      I am so pleased for you and your husband, continue on with your efforts! With love Annabel.xxx

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  5. I'm so grateful to God that you are safe, Chloe and Luke are safe, your parents, and your brother and his family. Reading this reminded me of the chats we had about different things - the wind-up radio and torches, the gennie,the back-up batteries, even the stockpile, and again, I thank God you were there to chat with and bounce ideas off. Right now we are covered in smoke. We had a scare this morning - some lunatic set the bush on fire about 3km from us as the crow flies - Hannah was glued to the apps, I put our bug-out bags by the door. Thankfully it was quite quickly brought under control and right now it's smoky but quiet. And we're in suburban Melbourne - but being suburban isn't necessarily safe from wildfire. I'd add solar chargers for your phone/ipad, they're not expensive and work really well and quickly, and a stock of batteries for replacements as power could possibly be out for days, if not weeks. You're so blessed to have water, we've been looking at dry dams on the farm and praying for rain even harder; they had a fire scare on NYE, now we're waiting to hear if our friends in Batlow are safe, the phones are out. This will be a summer to remember,that's for sure. Praying the wind will die down and the change will be cool but calm. Cath xxx

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    1. Cath,
      I don't think I can recall a time where I have heard about concerns of fire for Australia's major cities, until now. To think of fires reaching the outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne is unbelievable. Like you we have bug out bags, animal food, water, etc, only in our situation, if we have another earthquake. Take care and stay safe.

      Mandy (NZ)

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    2. Thank you Cath, So many fires are being started by idiots. I hope you have had no more problems there. We are doing well today but yesterday the smoke in the area was like pea soup. Tomorrow is hot so we hope no flare ups...xxx

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  6. Congratulations on your preparedness ! By the grace of God, that quiet still voice, you two have made it alive through a catastrophic situation. May our unseen spirit of Jesus continue to guide you both and keep you safe.

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    1. Dear Renovator, Thank you so much. I appreciate your prayer and kind words. xxx

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  7. Annabel you and Andy have done a wonderful job, in keeping your family and pets safe i would of been in a real panic, John and i went away to golden beach on boxing day for a few days and we also looked around lochsport we would concider buying down their sone day its very peaceful we nearly went to Mallacoota so lucky we didnt with me having asthma i would of been in real trouble but instead i got bitten alive my mozzies even in the day time with insect spray lol Watching everything on tv is really upsetting and i have shed a few tears for all lives lost and people losing thier homes, sending prayers your way and do stay safe xx

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    1. Dear Melissa, I am so glad you didnt go to Mallacoota! You could have been stuck there. We had shocking smoke here all yesterday. I got a headache and tried to stay in but really it is terrible for your breathing.
      Thank you for your kindness, so far so good, we just hoping things ok tomorrow as the heat returns... With love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Oh what a harrowing experience! You may not have felt like everything was done perfect but to me it was amazing how much you were prepared! I'm so glad everyone is ok and the animals are fine.
    We love those old radios we find at the yard sales and we now have a few stored and ready. We have even sold a few to people who prepare. Best things to have ready.

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    1. Dear Vickie, Those radios are so valuable. If you see them still get them as you could give them to family. If we had not worked on all the preparedness we did I dont know where we would be. The over head sprinklers were the best thing of all. So we sure got to test them out! With love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

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  9. Praying for you all, we in UK cannot believe what we are seeing in australia, keep safe. Sue x

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    1. Thank you so much Sue. And it continues in many places still but we are ok and hoping hot weather tomorrow does not cause flare ups. Thank you!xxx

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  10. What a timely post Annabel with so much information to mull over. It is very smoky here as we are in NE Victoria. Tomorrow will be interesting!!Good luck, stay safe.

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    1. Dear Barb, I am sorry to take so long to reply. We still had thick smoke yesterday. I hope you are safe in your location. Victoria has been just so badly affected. I hope the week didnt get worse for you. We have heat again tomorrow so are a bit concerned about flare ups. Hope you are ok. With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. This is heartbreaking to read. Our thoughts are with you all in Australia. Be safe.

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  12. Annabel we are praying that the wind direction does not change and you and your family are safe.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and we realise we are unprepared in a few areas we could work on as funds become available so thank you. There are many areas we are also prepared in. It is all a work in progress here.

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

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    1. Lorna, glad to know that you are safe since I was unsure where in Australia you lived.

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    2. Thank you Lynn for your concern :) . We are inland South East Southern Downs region.

      We have had fires around 30 km one way of us and 60 km the other way but so far none really close thank goodness. There is a State Forest that surrounds our town on all sides as well which is a bit of a worry.

      Keeping our fingers crossed that a bush fire doesn't come our way but we have done a lot of property cleaning of underbrush and the like to minimise the risk.

      Have a great week :).


      Lorna.

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    3. Dear Lorna,
      Sorry for my slow reply. We were still in a thick blanket of smoke yesterday. this has made things interesting. It causes a headache and terrible for breathing. Mostly I had to stay inside but you still have to water the garden and feed animals...
      I am glad if any of my experience helps you prepare. We have things listed to do now. We have heat again tomorrow we we hope there are no flare ups of the fire hear. So much work has gone into pushing up burning logs etc but the foreground is huge. I hope everything is ok there. With love, Annabel.xxx

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  13. Dear Annabel. Will be praying for you and your family. Love and hugs.

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  14. I cannot imagine the turmoil and stress you are all under at the moment. Our news shows us photos & we can hardly believe what we are seeing & we cannot understand the size of the areas affected. But we have a God who sees and knows all things, is more powerful than this fire and loves you like no other. We are praying for your safety, thanking God for the gift of practical common-sense He has given you in abundance, and that you are using to help so many others. You are amazing Annabel, may he continue to give you the strength you need to carry on, and we will continue to pray xx

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  15. I am so glad that you are all safe! What a terribly scary time it was for you all. And so many others around the country.
    And will continue to be, unfortunately.
    You have so many good points made for preparedness, and a few extra added in these comments :)
    As for the safe, I bought one recommended by The Barefoot Investor. It came from Bunnings, and cost less than $100, if I remember correctly. I can look up exactly what it was, if you like.
    It's small enough that it can picked up and taken with you, if necessary.
    Keeping you all in my thoughts, and hoping that you all continue to be safe xxx
    With love, Fiona

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    1. Thank you so much for this tip Fiona. I will follow this up, it is something we most defiantly need! I hope your place in Sydney is safe.xxx

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    2. Annabel, it is a First Alert safe. It has a key lock, not combination. I have kept the keys separate, but have stuck a note on top of where the keys are. I am not worried about someone stealing it!
      We are perfectly fine at the moment, however know that it can change very quickly should a fire start in the National Park. But there are a few smallish fires nearby our holiday house where we spent Christmas and New Year - enough to close the road in. They are still burning, but under control. Absolutely nothing compared to what is happening elsewhere in our state, and the country xx

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  16. Praying for your whole family. Thank you for writing all this out. It helps us all.

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    1. Dear MamaHen, Thank you! I am so glad if it helps you prepare in any way! With love Annabel.xxx

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  17. Dear Annabel, your story is a perfect example of why we need to be prepared. Thank you for taking the time to post this as it could be life-saving! My heart breaks for your country and the loss of lives, plus all the precious animals that have died in the fires. So many are praying for this to end and for the safety of all. I know I am.

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    1. Dear Pam, Thank you so much! Thank you for your prayers, they are appreciated. With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. God bless you. I was worried for you. I am praying you stay safe. It breaks my heart as to what is going on there. Beth Masontown Pa.

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    1. Dear Beth, Thank you! Thank you for praying. We are doing well, we have had a lot of thick smoke around. Tomorrow will be hot again so we are hoping and praying the fries dont get away again. But so far so good. With love Annabel.xxx

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  19. I am so sorry you are going through this. I can not even begin to imagine what is has been like. I am sure you have all been terrified. I am glad you and yours are safe. I have been praying and praying that the heavens will open up and rain will pour on your country.
    God bless you and your family and your country. Continuing to keep you in my prayers.

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    1. Dear Cheryl, It is looking like we could get rain on Friday! If we do this would help so much! Thank you so much for your concern and prayers. With love, Annabel.xxx

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  20. I can only imagine what that was like. Stay safe in God's hands.

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  21. Oh boy it was kind of like I was there with you. So scary. I am so thankful that you were spared there. We continue to pray but now we can really see the reality of what Australia is going through.

    Here in the USA we are told by our government to have supplies packed at all times to leave at a moments notice. We have large sealed buckets in our coat closet with all sorts of supplies that would allow us to survive on our own for several days. I also have a list taped to the inside of that closet door with everything else we would need to grab. I am hopeful that in a time of disaster those things would supply us for several days. You made a good point about phone numbers being in the mobile phone. I pretty much don't know a single phone number anymore so that needs to be addressed.

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    1. Thanks Lana. If the phone is dead then phone numbers must be somewhere on hand. This seems to trick a lot of people. Today the weather has cooled so it is looking much better for us. Not so the Eastern States though things are looking dreadful. Everyone is battle weary! xxx

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  22. My heart is breaking for you all. A year ago a friend was squarely in the path of a huge hurricane. She was well supplied and prepared, yet she still went through days of shock. One new thing we learned from their ordeal was the essential need to have on hand a stash of money.....small bills. The towns closest to her suffered massive damage and her bank was essentially blown away. There was a branch of her banking nearby city. However, since that main building was destroyed, power was out, and therefore the computer system was not working at the bank. They could not make a withdrawal of more than $100, and that just once, and only with proof with them that they had had an account. Had the local bank still been operational in some way the local people would have recognized them and could have given them more. What local stores were still operational were on a cash only basis.....IF....and they weren’t giving out much change. Small bills were essential. Of course since there was no power no credit cards were being taken. How many of the young especially never carry cash? They also learned that having solar showers on hand was useful. There is a bag you lay out in the sun to heat the water. And of course that meant you needed tarps to set up around you.

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    1. Thank you so much. You are absolutely right, a card will not buy you anything at all. If a credit card or phone is all you have you have nothing. Many people dont seem to realise this. And also banks and ATMS go out... no way to get cash either. For anyone reading this make sure this never happens to you. I see this issue in itself causing absolute disasters. Thank you this is a great comment! xxx

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  23. Oh Annabel, I've read your blog for a few months and not posted. I am so sorry for the fires there and thank God you and family are ok. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings to you, Celie in Wisconsin USA.

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    1. Dear Celie, I am so glad to have you here and thank you for posting. We are doing ok and hoping heat tomorrow does not cause any flare ups of the fire. Thank you so much. Love Annabel.xxx

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  24. Dear Annabel,
    Your first hand experience of why it is wise to be prepared is irrefutable truth. May God protect and bless your entire family and all he has entrusted to your care.
    The past articles on preparing for the 'what if,' are well worth reading and rereading. I hope this experience enlightens those who have rejected the Biblical wisdom of being prepared.
    Thank you, so much, for a first hand report and the analysis of what worked and what needed improvement. I am sure that spoke to many; I know it did to me.
    Sending you love, hugs, and many prayers,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thanks so much. I am so glad we were as prepared as we were and determined to add the things we learned. Now we have been through ongoing smoke issues. This has been an education too. Many thanks Glenda, With much love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Oh wow, I cannot believe this. I am not one to read the news so I had no idea about the fires other than your blog. I teared up reading about how close the fire came to taking your daughter's home and your own. Praying for safety and wisdom as the fire continues! And for your mum! Being elderly, I'm sure this is even more frightening. Praying!!!

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    1. Dear Gigi, I dont like the news much. And a lot of it is pure rubbish. But from a preparedness view the news and water can give us a heads up about what is coming and forewarn us. Time is of such importance i preparing. So see if you can find a way to sign up for alerts to keep you safe. Thank you for your prayers and thinking of my Mum too! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  26. Oh Annabel! I felt like crying when I read this post! It almost seems unbelievable to those of us sitting here in Canada. We saw a map on the TV news the other night that showed the areas of Australia that were burning and, truly, it looked like the whole country was on fire. I said to my husband that I bet Annabel is glad she had all those bonfires at her farm. You really were well prepared with that and with all the other things you have done. Will continue to pray for you and your country.

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    1. Dear Marie, The map still looks pretty bad. Yes we were so glad how much we cleaned up and for every single thing we did! And we will continue again come Autumn. Thanks so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  27. Annabel, Praying. You were in my thoughts, as were all the families in danger, as I watched the NEWS about Australia's fires with the massive loss. Praying. Be safe. Oh Lord God, protect all who are in danger. May God command His angels to guard you, Australia! Protect and rescue all who calls on You, Lord. Amen

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    1. Dear Dots,
      Thank you for your prayers! I really do appreciate this! With much love. Annabel.xxx

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  28. We are praying for all of you in Australia. You may already have these, but face masks to keep the particulates out of your lungs. Scanned photos of your documents and scanned photos that cannot be replaced on a usb stick that is in your "go bag". We live in Arizona, USA and remember our big fires and that your firefighters who came to help us was so important to keeping us safe. Please be safe and know that we are praying. C

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    1. Dear C, I am so glad our firefighters came to help you when you needed them! That is wonderful that we can help each other. Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  29. Annabel,
    It is with heart felt prayers that the fires stop soon and people are able to start to rebuild their lives again. You are wise to learn and prepare. I am very big on being prepared because we just never know and I can never stress enough how much water is important to have and toilet paper. You did very well getting through and I pray you don't have to evacuate again.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you! They say in terrible times toilet paper is better than gold. Might be true! And water as you say! Thank you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  30. This all sounds terrifying - I am praying that you and all Australians will be safe Annabel. What a dreadful time your country is going through - we are all thinking of you and willing it to rain.

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    1. Dear Penny,
      Thank you for your prayers! Rain could be coming on Friday, we hope so! With love Annabel.xxx

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  31. Dear Annabel,

    Something was nagging at me to come check in on you today to make sure you and your family were ok. Thank you so much for posting to let us know and also for sharing what you are going through. You are amazing with all you do to stay prepared and take care of your loved ones. We could use bugout bags too and I will pack some, thank you for the reminder. Very thankful you are safe!

    Kathy

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    1. Dear Kathy,
      I have been packing my bug out bag. This is where I can improve the most! Thank you for your kind words! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  32. Prayers for you and yours. I am so sorry.

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  33. Thinking and praying for safety today

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  34. I am so sorry for what you are going through. Praying. Nancy.

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  35. So glad to see this post - I've been checking daily to see if there was any news. It must have been terrifying but you are so well prepared - all that hard work has paid off.
    About 90 firefighters from Canada have been sent to help and to give some of your firefighters a rest - they look simply exhausted on the news reports.
    Your tips are incredibly detailed and have such a ton of useful information - thank you.
    I have a "bug out bag" - complete with a few bottles of water and snacks (reminder to self to update contents). I have a landline that works during power failures, a battery powered radio and a decent pantry but I do need some more flashlights and batteries. I have copies of paperwork stored in my safety deposit box at the bank but I'm going to go through your posts again and update my preparations.
    I hope you, your family, and your property stays safe. Please update us when you can.
    Take care.

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    1. Dear Margie,
      It is wonderful about the 90 firefighters from Canada! So grateful. So many are just exhausted.
      The bug out bag is what I have been working on.
      We are going ok, there have been some flare ups when it has been warm and windy and heavy machinery has been used to push up smouldering logs etc to try and contain this all. Tomorrow is going to be hot and windy so tomorrow is the next worry. We have had a lot of smoke... it gives a headache and smells bad! Considering though the week has been ok and we have been tired! Now to get through tomorrow it is a bad day for the state as many fires are still going. Thank you so much, with love Annabel.xxx

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  36. Annabel, I am a bit late reading this. I hope you are okay today as the forecast isn't good for the firezones. Big hugs to you and your family and I will continue to pray for your protection.

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    1. Dear Nanna Chel, It has been up and down with a lot of smoke and a few flare ups. Tomorrow is the next issue as expected to be hot and windy. So fingers crossed! Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  37. Dearest Annabel, praise be to God our protector forever ! He literally guarded you !! Even I here in the city in Sydney feel on edge. I have begun to put some cash away in case. I stockpile food when I can. People can laugh they say I'm old fashioned. I don't care!! Proverbs tells us to be prepared ! And when you fail to prepare you're setting yourself up to fail !! I was supposed to work today but after yesterday , but after 13 hours in a casual job I just felt it was right to stay home with my little dog to make sure she's ok,to look after my body. If I feel up to it I will go in tomorrow. I see the red sun and the eerie sky. I can't go out anyway because of my asthma. Thank goodness for those filter masks. A good investment for me. I continue to pray for rain. Steady soaking rain (we don't want floods). I'm praising God because after not having a break for seven years I've been able to save some money for a break. I was going to go to the south coast to the beach with my friend. With one road in and only one out. And now the Rd closed I'm so glad we didn't go !! Thousands of tourists have fleed. Many stuck in their cars for hours. Food and fuel and water as you know are gone. I love your list. !! Stay safe, hydrated, and send love to your family. Wonderful you're all together and the animals are safe. Sending you love and prayers. Sonia in Sydney

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    1. Dear Sonia, Thank you so much! No doubt you have had days with terrible smoke there. We had thick smoke all yesterday. I get a headache from it. You stick to preparing, you are right to. I have asthma too and you do need to really limit your smoke exposure.
      The sky and moon or sun looking so red and spooky is very unsettling!
      I am so glad you didnt head down the coast. As you say people have been trapped and in the most dire situations. I was glad you weren't in that positions. Thank you so much, with love Annabel.xxx

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  38. Annabel, I read all your posts, but haven’t commented in a long time. Reading this, I’m reminded of Queen Esther being “born for such a time as this.” You have helped so many of us be better prepared for disasters, we who live all around the world! What a good work you are doing for this “community.” It is frightening what you have written. A few years ago we had fires in the Great Smoky Mountains, about an hour from where I live. It sprang up quickly and became out of control as tornado force winds blew through spreading the fires and feeding them. An absolute nightmare situation for a community that had not experienced anything like that. It was heartbreaking the loss. I can’t imagine the fear and exhaustion you are dealing with. I am praying several times a day for you and your family, and for all of Australia at this time. Remember, God gives us strength for today, sometimes just for this moment. Not for tomorrow, for today. Keep on keeping on, relying on the One who is strong and never sleeps. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 -CarlaM

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    1. Dear Carla, Thank you for reading and commenting! I do appreciate your comment. I love your photo from Queen Esther. There are times we all feel this, we were born for such a time as this! I very much appreciate your prayers ad the verses you have shared. Thank you. And I am not afraid and not discouraged. We will work on and learn from this and Praise God that we came out so well. My whole family is grateful that no one was killed and our houses were safe. Now tomorrow is more danger as it is going to be hot and windy so this is our next hurdle. Thank you so much Carla, with love Annabel.xxx

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  39. Praying for all in Australia. The fires are voracious and you are do dry. Praying for enough rain to put out the fires and replenish the water supply, but praying for no flooding! Your post today will help people you don't know and never will know. I put a link to your post today on my Facebook, to hopefully help others. So glad you were able to come back home and everything was still there. I'll be making some changes to the farm I live on when I get home! I'm so glad the USA sent some of their planes that drop fire retardant and water. Those guys are amazing heroes, just like the firefighters and farmers working to the point of exhaustion to save others. May they be kept safe!!

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    1. Dear Farm Quilter, Thank you so much for sharing my post. I hope it does help someone. We have work to do from the things we learned. Currently we have had a lot of smoke and tomorrow could be abad day again. We dont want any flare ups in the hot and windy conditions.
      Thank you for your kind words as yes the farmers are out fighting the fires as well as the firefighters. With many thanks, love Annabel.xxx

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  40. Dear Annabelle,
    I am so sorry for all you and your fellow countrymen are going through. It amazes me that even during this horrific time you still are able to be such an inspiration and example to others. Thank you! Thank you also for the update, please keep us posted as to how you are doing. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Dear Brenda, Thank you so much! We are going ok. We had a lot of smoke especially yesterday it was so thick. This is from fires all around. Tomorrow we are a bit worried about the conditions might cause flare ups. But so far we are ok. Thank you! With much love, Annabel.xxx

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  41. I have been checking to see if you are safe. Thank you for the updates and God keep you and give you wisdom.
    Susan

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    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you so much! We are doing well, just have concerns about bad conditions tomorrow. Many thanks, With love Annabel.xxx

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  42. What a week you had! So glad everyone is safe, and hopefully there will be rain to put the fires out xxx

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    1. Dear Tania, Thank you! Rain could be coming Friday... I really hope so! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  43. Oh Annabel, I am so sorry for what y’all are going through! I knew you were prepared as far as supplies, and my first thought was how glad I was that you had burned all that brush and foliage on your property. Things could have been so much worse. You are in our prayers as well as those who are in crisis/homeless and for the animals. Stay safe!

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    1. Dear Kathy, Thank you. Thank you for your prayers. We have concerns about it being hot and windy tomorrow. But so far we are doing well despite a lot of smoke! Many thanks! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  44. Dear Annabel,

    I was without internet yesterday, so am just checking this now, and am distressed to see how close of a call you have had! I pray today finds the winds down and the fire decreasing and all of you safe and sound. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed post...my heart was pounding and I had to read ahead just to see the outcome!!! and then go back and read the details. But writing about your experience and listing what you have done and what you should have done, etc. is so helpful to all of us! I appreciate all the helpful comments others have made, too, to help us all be better prepared for disaster...fire, hurricane, blizzard, etc. Praying for you and your family and all of Australia!

    Love, Jen in NS

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    1. Dear Jen,
      Thank you! We have been ok except mainly for a lot of smoke. We have a hot windy day tomorrow so this is our main concern now. Big machinery has been working to push up all the logs that continue to smoulder and teams are keeping an eye on it all. But it is a big area to watch! Thanks so much, With love, Annabel.xxx

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  45. Hi,
    I'm so so sorry that your beautiful country and its wonderful people are suffering such a terrible catastrophe - my thoughts and prayers, from here in the UK, are with all of you.
    It has certainly put the crazy car crash madness of Brexit into perspective, which seems so trivial compared to what you are going through.
    Stay safe and take care.
    With all my prayers, Jill.

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    1. Dear Jill, Thank you! Yes it has been a catastrophe for out country.
      Brexit also would have been draining to say the least! We all must watch our preparedness just in different ways! Thank you so much, love Annabel.xxx

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  46. Annabel, I'm so sorry you all are going thru this. My heart goes out to you and I'll be keeping you in good thoughts and prayers. I'll be praying for rain for your country.

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    1. Dear Belinda, Thank you! I appreciate your prayers! We might get rain Friday they are saying. I hope so! Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  47. Your post is a sobering reality of how quick life can change in a minute's notice. Annabel, thank you for the updates. Wanting you to know that many are in prayer for Australia. Praying for rain to come. Praying. Praying. He knows, as we are interceding much for all affected by these fires. Keep watch for possible dangers. May God help swiftly.

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    1. Dear Dots, Yes I agree... things just changed in a few seconds to mmm this is concerning to !!!.
      I really appreciate your prayers. Thank you! We are being very watchful.. bad weather conditions tomorrow... With love Annabel.xxx

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  48. Dear Annabel, thank you for posting, it's so good to hear from you. What a terrible time of things you've been going through, you and all of Australia, I have been praying for safety and rain. God keep you. Thank goodness you are so well prepared. Here in England we don't really see devastating weather except for the floods and luckily I don't live in any of those areas, so many people have lost there homes because of them. God bles you and your family. Regards Mandy xx

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    1. Dear Mandy, Thank you for your prayers. I am so glad you are not in a flood prone area. I have seen these reports on the news. Thank you so much! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  49. I am glad you and all of your loved ones are safe. I am praying for you.

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  50. Oh Annabel, what a frightening account. I'm so thankful that you and yours are so far safe. The pictures of Australia we have seen in the US have been absolutely heartbreaking. The information you have presented is helpful in many situations.

    I live on the coast with frequent hurricanes so have a preparedness plan, a generator, fuel, stockpiled food, etc. I lost my house,however, due to a house fire- not wildfires-so am extra aware of the ramifications of fire. The recommendation for a flash drive for back up was a good one. With our fire, I had back up disks(2005!) but they melted along with the computer (we weren't at home), so a back up somewhere else is certainly needed. An inventory of belongings, just in case, is helpful along with precious pictures and the important documents.

    Know that many people around the world are praying for Australia and all of her citizens. Sending ((hugs)) across the miles and hopes for improving weather to insure safety for people and animals. God bless. Lynn from NC Outer Banks, USA

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    1. Dear Lyn, Thank you so much. I am really sorry you lost your house. That is just awful. I hope you are rebuilt now. Thank you for your tips from that experience also. I have a list of things to do now. We are so very lucky as the danger has passed now and we are ok as are Mum and Dad and Chloe and Luke. Just tried! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Oh thank you Annabel. As bad as losing the house was, we lost only things. We were so thankful we weren't asleep in the house when it went up and were safe. It took about 18 months to get rebuilt and back. It's hard to believe it has been almost 15 years now. People were so kind and generous to us.

      The season prior to our fire a strong hurricane was coming out way. In anticipation of it, I had videotaped and taken pictures of all our belongings including what was in our attic. Luckily, the tape was spared and I had it to help with the inventory for insurance. It's a good idea to take pictures before hand. In the case of fire, many things are unrecognizable afterwards. Also, be sure your insurance is in effect and sufficient.

      Thankful you and your family remain safe. Rest up. Hoping the news will soon be better for all in Australia. Lynn from NC Outer Banks, USA

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  51. If you are able, can you please give us a little a more frequent update on your safety? I’m worried about you and your family.
    Sheila Michigan USA

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    1. Dear Sheila, Thank you for asking. The fire is out now and the weather has cooled. We are so lucky to have come out of this ok. We almost evacuated again but hung on and took turns watching and got through the night as the wind changed. It wasnt until last night that we could sleep and actually relax. So tired! Thank you for your concern. Now we are ok but a huge population of people still are not as the fires continue in the easter states. It is terrible. With love Annabel.xxx

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  52. Dear Annabel I have been praying for you and Australia. Heavenly father thank you for equipping Annabel for a time such as this. I ask that you would encampment angels round about her, her family the animals and all of Australia. I ask that you would calm this fire storm. Just like when you woke up in the boat and commanded the storm "Peace be still". I ask that you would continue to give her wisdom and peace in all of this. Your word says when we are weak you are strong. I thank you for your protection. Annabel is the child of a king,seated with Christ in heavenly places,above and not beneath.No weapon formed against her,her family or Australia will prosper. Lord I ask for strength and wisdom and unmerited favor for Annabel and all of Australia.
    I remember years ago when I needed a miracle an older woman from my church told me that she used to live in Florida and there would be hurricane forecast all the time and her and a few ladies would get together and pray and the hurricane would head back out to sea.She would tell me God is in the miracle business so ask. Annabel I am praying for a miracle for you and Australia.
    Much love,
    Patti from San Diego

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  53. Annabel sending much love,hugs to you Andy,the girls,the grandbabies and your parents. I am So sorry about the fires.It is very hard to understand wild fires,unless you live through them. Kristi and I took turns with the night watch. It is important because wild fires create there own winds and can change direction. It was wonderful that you put a note on the door evacuated, it really helps the firefighters. It was amazing to see the community come together after the fires to help each other here in our city. We left a case of water out for the firefighters. One community left notes on the doors for the hungry firefighters to go in and shower and take a nap and have some snacks.You made an important point that they can't get supplies at the grocery store either. Sorry about typos in this and previous post.
    Much love,
    Patti from San Diego

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    1. Patti I am so pleased to hear from you. Your health was bad last time I heard and I was worried. Thank you so much for posting. The fires are out now and the weather has cooled. We are so lucky as we came out of it ok and apart from a good shake up we are alright. So so lucky.
      I am sorry you and Kristi have also been through fires. So you know how scary it is!
      I love that people opened their homes to fire fighters. This is wonderful to hear. There are always things we can do to help. Thanks so much, with love, Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annabel I am so glad that you and your family are okay!!! My health is still a challenge but God is good and I am blessed.���� to know him!
      We are praying for you,your family and all of Australia. Psalm 3
      Much love,
      Patti and Kristi from San Diego

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  54. Annabel I am so glad that you and the family are OK.

    There is always something to learn from every situation.

    One thing I am going to be investigating when I get a chance to will be masks - there is a specific one needed to be used for fires.

    I saw a report a few weeks ago that the smoke in a certain area was equal to smoking 30 cigarettes a day.

    A fireproof safe is on my list for this year.

    I was told by a fire fighter at the beginning of December that removing the gutters from any buildings is highly recommended - I know I couldn't do it and I doubt that anyone would have time to do it. All I know is that there is going to be a whole new set of rules and regulations that we are all going to be faced with, especially those who want to rebuild or even build a house.

    We have a large uncared for block of land opposite us that would go up in a flash should a fire bug decide to flick a match which is of concern following all of the fires we have seen on the TV.

    Lynette

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    1. Thank you Lynette, I dont know how you would remove the gutters so fast either. Filling them with water though, that is more possible.
      A safe is next for us too. For several reasons a safe is good so that is on the list.
      Can you request the council deal with that block? Here if the owner will not maintain it the council will and they send the owner the bill. I would kick up about that as also it is a snake hazard.
      I know you are having a not normal week this week so I hope it is going well! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  55. Dear Annabel,
    I am so glad you and your family are ok. I have been praying and praying for you. May God keep a hedge of protection around you and your family, and may He also preserve your homes and property. To me, nothing is as scary as a fire.
    You have done so well to prepare for this. I was just thinking the day before reading this that I need to move some important documents out of the file cabinet into the fireproof safe. I also want to put together a small photo album for the safe as well.
    Please stay safe above all else. I will continue to pray.
    With much love, Kelsey

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    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Thank you so much for your prayers. I so appreciate you praying Kelsey.
      Thank you for the prayer of the hedge of protection. I have always prayed for myself and often for others for protection around the property and angels to watch over.
      Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  56. Praying for you all now from the middle of the USA.

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  57. Annabel, so very glad to read, in your reply comments, that you did not need to evacuate again and that you are safe now. All you've learned from facing this situation will stand you in good stead should fire spark again close to you. We live very close to bushland here, just one property removed from state forest, and so I will be reading all your advice very closely. Much love to you. MegXx

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    1. Thank you Meg. Bug out bags are now packed so I have improved there! Being so close to forest you need to be able to leave quickly. It is an awful reality. The forest and bush are so beautiful and a joy to be near but not when there is a fire. I do think every area has their hazards, some get their tornados, some cyclones... ours is fire... With love and thanks, Annabel.xxx

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  58. So glad you are all safe. We get wildfires where I grew up, and it's really one of the most terrifying things. I will continue to pray for all of Australia.

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    1. Thank you for your prayers Allegra they are most appreciated.xxx

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  59. Annabel, I don't comment very often, but you and your family have been in my prayers. We live in Colorado and we were under evacuation for a wildfire....it is an experience like nothing else. I am so thankful that all of you, including your darling animals, are safe. I know there are some USA firefighters heading to Australia, as it was on the news today. I pray that this terrible cycle of wind and fire will die down and you can feel safe again. God bless you and all of Australia.

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    1. Dear Shan, Thank you. It sounds like you are too familiar with the fright of fires. We have been very grateful to the USA and Canada for their kind help. Thank you so much, With love, Annabel.xxx

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