I have learned in years past that gratitude is the answer to any problem. So I now choose to be grateful because there is so much good that has come from this situation we are in. Listing the things I am grateful for pulls me out of a slump lickety-split. So, without further adieu……
1. New house Luckily, we have insurance. Yes we should’ve had better coverage, but we were insured. So the insurance pays for us to get an all new house. We are choosing to keep the brick exterior to save some money since we were a bit under insured. But with new windows, roof, and exterior lights, it will look as new on the outside as the inside will be. Brand new walls, flooring, appliances. It will be like walking into a brand new updated home. We had just remodeled 80 percent of the house days before the fire but there were areas we didn’t get to. We hadn’t done the master bedroom and bathroom yet. So now that will get done. We now get to move walls that wanted moved but left because it would be to expensive of a project. Well now they have to put up all new walls anyway. We get to choose where they go. We also used to have 8 ft ceilings. But they say it costs about the same to vault or do 10 foot ceilings. We chose to vault the ceilings in the main areas and are leaving 8 foot ceilings in the bedrooms. Since we are keeping the brick, it would look weird to patch work 2 extra feet of brick. It will be beautiful and I can’t wait to show you real pictures of what I have dreamed up in my head.
2. New things Our insurance considered everything in our home non-salvageable besides a few things in the garage. So we get to go buy new clothes, toys and furniture. Most of our furniture was pretty new already because we wanted it to fit the style of our remodel. But it was all bought at different times and had some “kid” on it. So now we will start fresh will all brand new. The couches won’t have popcorn under the cushions. (at least for the first week) Kids grow so fast so they had a lot of clothes that were passed on from their siblings. Now they are sporting brand new outfits and kicks. Same with toys, they had a collection of toys they had grown out of. Now they have new toys which fit their age. Now I have to comment here that we have kinda been stingy on what we have replaced. The insurance gives us a check for what they calculate everything was worth inside the home. We have held that check pretty tight. I don’t feel like it is smart to just go replace everything immediately. We have just bought enough to get us by. Which isn’t much, thanks to gifts from friends and neighbors. My kids were given new and used toys and clothes. So we can hold our check for bigger things that might come up later. This is a first for us, so there might be something we aren’t realizing we will need the money for later.
3. Love and support We were blown away by how much love and support flooded into our space. So many friends, neighbors, and family offered their assistance and love. We were touched to the core. People we hadn’t seen or talked to in years reached out and asked what they could do for us. People we had never met were there to offer aid as well. It was so beautiful to experience the lifting and strengthening of our souls that came from their efforts. I have never felt more loved than those first few weeks after the fire. It has now been 4 months post fire and we still feel that love.
4. Faith in humanity I swear, these days all you hear about is negative society news. You turn on the news, radio, Facebook and the majority of what is reported is about how someone is hurting another person or group of people. Races, religions, and countries fighting against one another. And if they are not fighting, they are talking bad about the other. I witnessed first hand something very different. Without us even asking, people I had never met offered us a place to sleep, clothes to wear, gifts and even money. People who were not paid to serve us. People who were not obligated by their religious calling offered a helping hand. Where we live it, most people belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In our church there is a well organised system in place to help those in need. Someone has a volunteer position where they organize ways to help out anyone who is struggling. So you would think that most people would think to themselves. The church will help the Youngs. The compassionate service committee with reach out to them. But not only did we get offers from the church, but just the good people around us jumped in to do what they could do. They didn’t wait for a call or assignment. They were there asking and just doing without any obligation. Whether they went to our church or not. I could tell that so many people couldn’t hear of a crappy situation for another person and just sit there. People are good and they want to ease burdens of others. We have definitely gained faith in Humanity and have challenged ourselves to rise up and match the great examples we have seen in all those who served us.
5. Learn the value of insurance How many times have you thought to yourself, “Insurance is a waste of money. I pay and I pay but I never get anything out of it” ? I know I have thought that plenty of times. We are a healthy young family. We hardly go to the doctor. We have never had a car wreck. We once had a small flood in a different house we owned. The cost to fix up the affected area was like $3000. After our $1000 deductible, the insurance paid $2000. We could have saved that much up in our bank account pretty quickly if we weren’t paying for all these insurances. So ya, I knew we should have insurance and we have them all. But we didn’t put much thought into them. We would just call our agent and say sign us up. Which is why we didn’t educate ourselves on how much homeowners insurance we should have. We just let the pros sign us up. But now I am SO grateful we had homeowners insurance. If we didn’t, we would be homeless. We would owe the bank a ton of money we could never pay back. (that’s why banks make you have homeowners to carry a mortgage) But I know that there are a lot of people who have uninsured houses or they don’t have the right kind of insurance. I cannot imagine how devastating losing your home would be. So now, I will make sure we have good coverage on all our insurances. Because, even though you think it will never happen to you. We are living proof that it can happen to real people. Most people will have at least one expensive health, auto, home, life, event happen in their lifetime. I now know the importance of being prepared with insurance for those.
6. Adventure of living in a new place Hey, trying new things is good for us right? You may not choose to leave the comfort of your home, and get out and meet new people. You would normally just talk to the neighbors you have been talking to for years. But after a house fire, you get to move to a new place to live. It may be temporary as you fix the damages. So it is just a temporary adventure. You get to meet new people, get out of the old rut. You will be more awake and alert driving a new commute each day, seeing new sights. There really are amazing people in this world and moving gives you an opportunity to meet more of them. Maybe you will choose to downsize for this temporary phase and feel the simplicity of a small home or apartment. Or maybe you will be like us and move in with family. I am planning another post about all the great things I am learning from moving our family back in with my parents. There is always something good from stepping outside our normalcy.
7. Opportunities Doors have opened to us that we never thought would have opened. Brett was a fire fighter and has dreamed of getting hired on the Lehi department. He has always wanted to serve his community, but he was working 45 minutes away in a area where he felt he was enabling drug users by coming to their rescue. (Those are my words, not his) Since the fire, he has gotten to know quite a few firemen that responded to our house fire and the Lehi fire chief has been telling him to come apply. That door is opening for us if he chooses to go that direction. The fire also gave us the opportunity to get into renting motor-homes out for income. We have always thought it would be a great idea to have a fleet of RV’s and outdoor recreation toys that we could use ourselves but mostly rent out as an income source. We have been searching for years for a way to get out of the Concrete Coatings business and have a more passive income. After we heard we couldn’t do anything on the house for 6 weeks after the fire, a friend suggested we just take a long road trip. We don’t have a house anyway, why not go play? Her idea resonated with me and I just had to suggest it to Brett. I was scared because he thinks I will always ditch responsibilities to go play. But I did it. I casually threw the idea out and he loved it. We did a lot of research on buying and renting out RV’s. We prayed and felt on the idea and couldn’t deny that it was what we were supposed to do. We had a tiny bit of cash the insurance gave us to get a hotel or apartment, so we put it down on a motor-home and skipped town for a few weeks. (Future posts about our amazing cross country road trip coming soon.) We listed the motor-home on multiple rental sites and before our trip was over, we had it booked out the rest of the summer. It has now paid for it’s monthly payments for 1.5 years. We plan to let it pay itself off and we will use it’s income to add to the fleet and then we will soon be able to take some of that income to live on. Passive income!
8. Cash Now this part is a huge blessing but I can see how it could also be a curse if not handled carefully. So be smart. The insurance gives you a check to rebuild your house. If you have a mortgage on it, you have to give the check to the mortgage company and they handle paying the contractors to repair the damages. But if you get more than you owe on the house or if your house is paid off, you get to decide what to do with the money. So in our case the mortgage company handles that check. But the insurance also gives you a check for the contents inside the house that got damaged. It is a mess sorting through and deciding on a fair amount, but that will be in another post. But once you get that check, you are responsible in how you spend it. They have some rules on what can be purchased to get the full amount, But you will have some freedom in your purchases. So that is where we are being very careful. We are saving as much of that as we can, so we can put it toward the rebuild of the house if we have to, if not we could have a better savings account, retirement, or business investment. We don’t know how much we will save from this but we know we don’t have to replace every decoration, or nick-knack and those savings will be a major blessing.
9. Change in perspective Brett and I were busy people. We worked until our heads hit the pillow.We’d do business and house projects 7 days a week and would barely take time for connection with friends, family and most importantly our kiddos. We put off most fun and laughter during a 6 month remodel of our house just to see it go up in smoke a couple days before we were to be finished and resume happy life again. We would say, “kids once this remodel is done we will snuggle and watch movies together in the new theater and play games together in the cool game room. But right now mom and dad have to work.” And before the remodel it was once dad gets through fire academy, or once we sell the business, or once we do this or that. The day of happy connection would come between projects but they were far and few between. After we fire we realized that life will just keep dishing out the To Do list if we keep doing it. So now we see that we must put aside the to do list and play with our kids and visit with our friends and family. Work will always be there but our loved ones may not. We were shook by the fact that we almost left Daxton and McKailey at home alone minutes before the fire. We know that had they been there, they wouldn’t be with us today. It made us realize that we can not take time with out loved ones for granted. Connect with them now, because we are not guaranteed another day with them.
10. Awesome Story to tell This event and situation is now a part of your life. Learn from it. Own it. Then whenever you are ready, tell people about it. It makes good conversation. Especially if you are sharing the positives that arose from it. Share how you made lemonade out of the situation, don’t lead the conversation into a pitty party unless you honestly could use some assistance. But everyone will want to know how it started, where you were when it started, how you found out, what damages there were. Tell them all about it and don’t forget to ask them questions about their lives. I bet they have a story to tell also.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. The universe aligns for our best interest. We cannot deny the strong feelings we had that this was a good thing. Even when I was standing in front of my house surrounded by the chaos of scurrying firefighters as my house continued to go up in flames, I had a distinct impression tell me it was more than okay. It will be a building block to something great in our lives. We have already had so much good come from this “disaster” and I know and can feel that bigger and grander things are still to come of it.
Leave us a comment and let us know what benefits there are in your current situation.