Today I wish to write words of gratitude to my Father in Heaven. Thursday I went to purchase Christmas gifts and brought home a few basic groceries. As I pulled into the Costco parking lot, I looked at the gas gauge in the car and noticed that it was barely below half full. I thought, “I better fill the tank in case we get caught somewhere and need to run the car to stay warm.” I thought that I was simply exercising a little bit of wisdom, but I knew the next day that I had been warned.
I was awoken Friday morning, November 30, 2018, at 8:29 a.m. by the violent rocking of an earthquake and thought that I was safest just staying in bed. I could not see anything because the power was out and the sun had not yet come up. I could not hear anything over the noise of the earthquake. As I lay in bed wondering how long the shaking would continue, I realized that the lamps on the headboard of my bed could come crashing down on my head at any moment, and I reached up to stabilize them before they could fall.
Once earthquake finally stopped, I courageously arose from my bed and began to exam my home. I could see the flashlight because it was shining in its holder plugged into the outlet in the kitchen because the light comes on whenever the power goes out. In the now semi-darkness I kicked something on the floor and realized that it was an unbroken vase that had once been on the top of the kitchen cabinet. I could see some of the cabinet doors wide open and several items that fell from them onto the floor.
I walked into the living room and saw that the top of the piano was bare. I searched for the figurines of Christ that once sat on top of the piano and found both of them unbroken. I found pictures of grandchildren with unbroken frames. I whispered a sigh of relief that I was slow putting up Christmas decorations this year because I feared that many of the pieces of my thirty-plus nativity sets would have broken if they had been out.
I continued into the dining area and almost tripped over the head of a Dall sheep mount that had once graced the wall above the door. It did not seem to have any damage. I checked the bathrooms and found water around the toilets. I did not know if the water had sloshed out of the toilets or had leaked from the tank from all the quaking. I cleaned up the water and determined that there was no more leakage. I checked the bedrooms and found numerous items that had fallen from closet shelves, dressers, and bedside tables. Yet, none of them seemed to be broken.
I went downstairs to the family room and found books spread out on the floor and others perched on the edges of the shelves. I did not see anything broken in this room or the downstairs bedroom next to it. I glanced in the garage and could not see any great damages. I found items had fallen in every room of the house with none of them breaking. This is an absolute miracle!
I received a text from my daughter telling me that she was okay and asking about me and my husband. I later learned that she had taken shelter under her desk at work and barely escaped being hit in the head by a light fixture cover that had fallen and hung over her chair. Her building was later declared unstable, and she was sent home from work. Her husband had been sitting on the toilet at home when the quake started and moved out of the bathroom just before a shelf fell and hit the toilet, breaking the lid on the toilet tank.
I contacted my son and learned that he was okay. He was at his job as a dispatcher for the police department and was extremely busy. He asked me to check on his wife who is currently having chemo treatment for brain cancer. I sent a text and received no answer. I tried to call her cell phone from my house phone and received no answer. I manually opened the garage door to drive the two miles to her home and panicked when I received no answer at the door. I walked back to my car wondering what I should do. Do I tell my son and make him worry? Do I break into the house? As I was pondering possible actions, I noticed a car pulling up behind me and my daughter-in-law getting out. A friend had taken her to the school to pick up her nine-year-old daughter. She told me that she and her daughter were downstairs when the quake hit because she was awakened by a strong premonition to get out of bed and pray.
Even though chaos was crashing all around us, my family and I survived a 7.0 earthquake without any serious damage to our bodies or to our property, and we were prepared to go for a long time before we would need to visit a grocery store or gas station. Other homes, schools, churches, hospitals, stores, office buildings, roads, on/off ramps, and bridges all sustained damaged, but our homes did not. I do not know why my family was so blessed, but we were. Maybe it was the prompting to pray that my daughter-in-law received. Maybe it was simply a loving Father in Heaven who knew that my husband and I were dealing with about all that we can handle this week. For whatever reason for the blessing, I wish to express my gratitude for the wonderful watchful care we received.