Thursday, September 2, 2010

HELP Erika! (Food Blogger: The Ivory Hut)~ Her Home Burnt Down 8/31/10

Dear readers,

I’ve occasionally visited a food blog called The Ivory Hut. This is Erika’s blog. An unfortunate thing happened to Erika and her family on Tuesday, August 31, 2010. Her home burned down to the ground.

I read this on Erika’s twitter stream:

“Our house burned down last night. Barely made it out alive. Homeless, possession-less. But we're all safe and together. Still richly blessed.
7:05 AM Sep 1st”

I’ve never met Erika. But, that won’t deter me from doing the right thing to help a fellow blogger….or ‘sweet sister’ as I’ve seen it put.

You are welcomed and encouraged to help Erika in her time of need. ANY donation AMOUNT will help. As a collective force, we can all help Erika rebuild.

The lovely thing is…Erika feels blessed. Blessed that her family is alive and safe. It’s true …things can be replaced, but family cannot. She is spiritually in the right place.

If you cannot donate at this time, please send Erika and her family a silent blessing. But remember…ANY donation amount is appreciated!

There is a website called ‘Friends of The Ivory Hut’ which is dedicated to helping Erika and her family.

About Friends of The Ivory Hut
Friends of The Ivory Hut is maintained by Maggy Keet of and Alice Currah of This site was created to help our sweet sister in a deep time of great need.

Maggy Keet of

If you have any questions about the site, ‘Friends of The Ivory Hut’,
please email
Alice Currah of

HOW you can donate!

• Send donations via Paypal
(see payment details on website, Friends of The Ivory Hut)

Or by

You can send donations in the form of checks or gift cards to places such as Walmart or Target, please mail them to:

Maggy Keet
re: Erika
354 East 91st St #2004
NY, NY 10128
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I want to say ‘Thank You’ to Maggy and Alice for their efforts in getting this fundraiser off the ground for Erika!

I am spreading the word, as I hope all of you will too.

Let’s help Erika rebuild!

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You can read Erika’s story on her blog, THE IVORY HUT that she was able to share with us. She was able to write this using a friend’s computer.

See Erika’s story below:


Added Sep 1, 2010

Last night, my head was preoccupied with last minute work on a special project and putting the finishing touches on a post. My husband Tom and I had also been discussing the logistics of possibly attending BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco. These were the things that weighed on my mind.

A mere hour or so later—and instant, really—we were outside, in our shirts and shorts, watching our house crumble as it was engulfed in flames. I’ll never forget that hissing and crackling noise as my husband’s home of almost 30 years practically disintegrated before our eyes.

But we were safe. All of us. Our son Tim, without hesitation, ran back inside when he realized his grandmother was sleeping upstairs. By the time he got to her, it was too late to try and exit the house the same way he came in. Fortunately, Tom had devised a fire escape plan years ago, and Tim was able to bodily carry his feeble 82-year-old grandmother out the window, onto the roof, and eventually down on the deck. The sight of this brave son of mine carrying his grandmother as he ran down the lawn and away from the house is one I will never forget.

Obviously, none of us slept last night. We are fortunate to belong to a congregation that is as close to us as family, and one of our dear friends drove to our house last night to pick us up and take us to her home, which is where I sit right now, typing this.

The magnitude of the loss is almost too much to comprehend in its entirety. So last night, I mentally walked through all the rooms in the house, taking stock of what was valuable in that room, and then systematically making peace with the loss. I said goodbye to my new MacBook Pro, my 500GB drive of photographs, another 500GB drive of music files. My purse, with all my identification cards, and all the car keys—car keys that are useless anyway, since the flames have likely taken our cars too. Our passports and birth certificates. My husband’s prosthetic leg, without which he is unable to freely move around. Our shoes, all our clothes, and our musical equipment. My engagement ring and my wedding ring, and a gold bracelet passed on to me by my mother on my wedding day.

My baby pictures, which are the only remaining proof that once upon a time, I was actually cute. My iPod Touch, the value of which is immeasurable because it held all my half-finished songs, poems, and writings.

But when I weigh it all against the value of being able to hold my husband’s hand and my son’s hand last night as we said a family prayer of thanks for our survival, as well as a petition for strength to deal with the days to come, and the fact that this morning, I woke up to a day with both of them still with me, then I still think I got the better end of the deal.

Oh, and I’m sorry there are no photos in this post. You see, my beloved Canon 5D and all those lenses I had? They’re gone too.

Which stings, I’ll admit. But all I have to do is throw a glance my family’s way and yep, I’m still blessed.
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I pray for Erika and her family as they try to rebuild their lives…

Peace and Love,

Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul




Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)