A Near Disaster

Last weekend, my husband had our girls doing a bunch of chores outside: Leveling dirt, hanging vines on a trellis, and oiling the outside dining table with teak oil. We were all on our different tasks. My husband was wiring the front fountains with power. I was working in the garden and chopping vegetables for a party we were hosting the following evening.

The night before, we had been asked to go out to dinner this night, but we declined, as we really needed to stay home and get prepared for our party.
This is a key point to this story…

As the day of chores ended and just before we all hit the showers, we all began to smell a really strong smell inside the house. My husband thought it was the sealer from outside. (We just had the slate around our pool sealed that day.) But I knew it was a different smell. We all went outside, and the smell was not there. So we walked around the house trying to find the source from where the smell was coming. The smell was everywhere, but it was really strong at one end of the house, near the laundry room.

All of a sudden, it hit my husband! He asked the girls where they put the rags they used to oil the outside dining room table and chairs. “THE LAUNDRY ROOM!” they said! We went in there, and the smell was so strong, it nearly knocked me out! He ran for the fire extinguisher to have on hand, grabbed water from the laundry room sink, closed himself in the laundry room, and put out the soon to be fire!

Those rags were smoking and burnt and were about to spontaneously combust!

Have you ever been in a situation like this where you feel like you have escaped something that could have been really tragic?

All that night I kept thinking about the “what if’s”. What if we had gone out to dinner that night and left our kids at home…they would have gone to bed and then what? What if we had all showered and gone to bed without smelling the smoldering towels? What if our home had caught on fire?

That night I also kept thinking how grateful I was. I was grateful that we did not go out to dinner. I was grateful that my husband was home and handled the situation. I was grateful that our home did not catch on fire. I was grateful that I was able to tuck my kids into bed that night and that they were all safe and sound.

As the different scenarios ran through my mind, I couldn’t shake the feeling of this potentially having a not-so-happy ending. I kept looking at my kids, hugging them, and feeling such respect for life. It can be gone in an instant. It can take a turn at any moment. This near disaster shot me straight into the present moment. I was soaking up my life and my loved ones with all of my senses. Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes a near disaster to do this.

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s cherish our life and our loved ones and be fully present. Let’s not wait until a disaster or near disaster happens to fully appreciate the people and things in our lives. Let’s be grateful!

Because Together is Better,


  1. Wow — This is a case where curiosity saved the cat. This is such a good reminder for all of us on several levels. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Yes listening to our inner voice is so powerful and in this case a lifesaver.Thank you for the quotes

  3. That is an amazing story that sent shivers down my spine. Thank goodness you checked out the smell and didn’t just go out! The “what ifs” are endless here but thankfully it ended well 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you listened to that inner voice Deanna! We’re always guided, and just need to pay attention.

    • Martine, you are so right! Sometimes we push that inner voice to the side, and there is always regret. I appreciate you being here and sharing! -Deanna

  5. Oh yes! Such a close call experience does trigger a change in perspective in ways nothing else ever could. Have had a few myself. They may well have been on my path too as a call to being more present. And yes, grateful! Thanks for sharing this, Deanna!

    • Nell, I think we all experience these things, we just need to be aware and pay attention to the lessons! I appreciate you being here! -Deanna

  6. Deanna ,some might call it luck, I believe it was a timely intervention … an awareness that was called up on your husband’s part, with that understanding of what could the result could have been. He remembered …
    A reminder to all about consequences of seemingly innocent actions …
    My post is also about gratitude and it just shows how we experience and connect in ways we do not fully understand as yet, but the connections are there.
    Keep safe and keep welcoming awareness into your lives. Happy New Year!

  7. Oh my goodness, you guys had it lucky! What on earth did the girls use that would do that?! A product to avoid going forward and so glad you and yours are safe 🙂

  8. What a great reminder on the new year. It is so important to pay attention and cherish what we have and thank our lucky starts when disaster is averted.

  9. Wow Deanna……… So glad you guys are all safe…. I have a crazy story to share with you about Dick’s grandparents. Hugs and Happy New Year!

    • Thank you Jill Bug…yes, that was a close call. We are very grateful we were home and it all ended well. I can’t wait to hear your story. -Deanna

  10. Deanna,
    What a powerful and terrifying experience. I love the statement “This near-disaster shot me into the present moment.” It is amazing how catastrophes can do that. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Wow. That was a close call and I am so glad everyone was safe. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and there was a definite reason you changed your plans. It is scary sometimes to let our minds wander to “what if”.. it’s happened to me, too – all of us probably. I agree with Jo- thank your lucky stars and move on – you did the right thing and luckily you are safe and sound. Nice blog – thanks for sharing it.

    • Thank you Laurie for your wise words, yes, things happen for a reason. Sometimes near disasters come about to help us feel gratitude and present! -Deanna

  12. Oh gosh! How scary! I have never had anything like this happen to me before!

  13. Oh clicked submit before I finished Deanna – I wanted to say that I am so glad this story turned out so well for you and your family. It is good that you can see the positive spin on it. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I am so grateful all the time for the great outcomes in my life. I begin my day in gratitude and end it that way too.

  15. And just a footnote on that story from hubby: I knew that Linseed oil was prone to spontaneous combustion if disposed improperly, but I have used teak oil for years and never knew it could cause the same reaction. I’m telling you, those rags (balled up in a cloth laundry hamper) were actually smoldering and in IMO would have ignited shortly! So, another moral of this story is always read the lables!

    Now let’s be safe out there people ;~)

  16. Dov Shapira says:

    I have learned to stop thinking ‘What If ?’

    I learned that in the military
    Happy new year Deanna

    • Dov, that is a very good thing to lose from your mind. I think the “what if’s” brought me to gratitude though! Thank you for being here! -Deanna

  17. Deanna, I am so thankful that what could have been a really tragic situation didn’t happen to you and your family. It’s great that you guys were home and caught the potential danger. Life is so valuable and it’s wonderful that your children know that by the love and hugs

    • Thank you Veronica! Yes, sometimes we don’t express our gratitude through words, hugs, and love as we could. This is a great reminder! Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  18. Yikes! This story could have easily turned out differently, count your blessings for the new year!

  19. so glad you guys found the source unharmed. i’ve felt similarly–when you escape something by the skin of your teeth, i like how you’ve articulated it!

  20. Excellent post. What a scary experience for all of you. I am grateful everyday and before I go to sleep, say out loud those things for which I was grateful during the day!

    • Meli, drifting off to sleep while “counting your blessings” is a very powerful practice. I am so glad you do this! Thank you for sharing here! -Deanna

  21. Thank God! you are all safe and sound. Gratitude is such an easy thing but I seem to fall short in that area. Thank you for the reminder on what is important. I am grateful for you, my family, and everything that we are blessed with and without. Life is short! I’m working on being in the present.

    • Kristy, I love that you say you are grateful for everything that you are blessed with and without…so powerful! Thank you for being here…Keep Reading, Growing, and Sharing! -Deanna

  22. Thank you for the reminder about family and safety!

  23. I had no idea something like this could happen. Good thing you had a fire extinguisher on hand and that’s a good reminder for us all to start off the New Year with one on hand and cherish your family.

  24. What a great post to help remind us all not to take anything for granted. This is quite scary to read and so glad you wrote about this story! Happy New Year!

  25. WOW! I’m so happy to hear it all turned out well. I never thought about his being something that could happen…YIKES!

  26. So happy to hear you were proactive in your thinking! I would have never thought of this. Great reminders.

  27. I am so loving your post this week, after our health scare of last week. I agree, never wait for the worst to happen to fully cherish our loved ones and the lives that we have. It can be gone in an instant. Thank you Deanna for being in our lives!

  28. So very glad that you and your loved ones escaped disaster! Your post is a powerful reminder of how easily and quickly it can strike, and a beautiful reminder to cherish what we have right now because there are no guaranties that we will always have it. Thank you!

  29. Deanna
    I m grateful that you are all safe and sound and that you are part of my life.
    Thanks for the opportunity to realize that this morning.

    Love Aunt Judy

  30. Wow, that was a close call.. I have never been faced with something like that, and i am glad i have not.. Glad it all was ok, and nothing happened except some damaged rags..

  31. Gigi Peterson says:

    Wow! That is so scary! A great reminder to cherish our loved ones every day.

  32. It’s so scary when something like that happens isn’t it – you’re right, it’s the ‘what ifs?’ that go through your mind. In these situations we have a choice – stay on high alert and feed the fear, or be thankful for what was averted. I’m so happy you were able to choose the latter.

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