Update: Debbie Nelson

My sincere thanks to all of you for your kindness to and support of Debbie Nelson. I told a bit of Debbie’s story and shared with you the sad news that Debbie and her husband lost their home, all their belongings, and their pets in a fire. The outpouring of love for this family has been overwhelming. Three generous readers sent gift cards to craft stores to help rebuild Debbie’s cardmaking and scrapbooking supplies. Many donated to the Nelson Fire Fund. Many more covered our precious friends with prayer.

The good news is that a family who lost their own home in a fire is paying forward the support they received by clearing the Nelsons’ land of the fire rubble and donating a gently used manufactured home. A faith-based group is handling the tie-down and utility hookups, building a deck and wheelchair ramp on the front of the home, and (oh, my goodness!) adding a craft room for Debbie onto the back of the home. Relatives, friends, and strangers have come together to get the home move-in ready–gathering donated furnishings, painting walls, laying floor coverings, installing some new fixtures. The ribbon cutting on the new home is scheduled for March 31.

The way this has all come together has been miraculous. The Nelsons still have a lot of recovery ahead of them, but they will know for sure that they are surrounded by love as they start the next chapter of their lives. I cannot thank you enough for being a part of that.

You can learn more about Debbie’s journey from her blog. You can see and hear her in KATV’s awesome feature story. Donations are still being accepted by the Nelson Fire Fund to help build a storm shelter on the Nelsons’ property, defray some of the expenses of setting up their new home, and reoutfit them with housewares.

Edited 3/10/12: By the way, in the photo above, Debbie is shown not with gifts she received but with gift bags she prepared from her own limited resources for The Jennifer Project, her ongoing effort to express encouragement and love to children hospitalized for cystic fibrosis at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The Jennifer Project honors the memory of Debbie and Richard’s daughter, Jennifer, who died of cystic fibrosis at age 28.


You can donate via PayPal by logging into your account and using the “Send Money” tab to send any amount to NelsonFireFund@yahoo.com. Or you can mail donations to Nelson Fire Fund, Fellowship North Church, 1 East 52nd Place, North Little Rock, AR 72116, USA.

Craft-store chains in our area are Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn. If you would like to donate a gift card for craft supplies for Debbie’s new studio, please send them to Denise Felton, 54 Garden Oaks Drive, Maumelle, AR 72113, USA. (I got overly excited when I made the first delivery and forgot to take photos. I’m so sorry.) If I receive more cards, I’ll deliver them at the ribbon cutting.


  1. says

    This restores faith in humanity — thanks for sharing a sad story with a wonderful ending.

    As for her pets, I believe we will see them again one day, tails wagging and kitties purring. :)

    Hugs to all for your kindness.

  2. Leslie says

    I don’t scrapbook very much and have a ton of things just sitting on shelves. When the time comes, can I send them to her?

  3. says

    How lovely, Leslie! Yes, of course you can send them. If you’d like, you can ship materials to me at the address shown in the story, and I’ll hand-deliver them to Debbie for you. Or if you’d prefer, when the Nelsons are in their new home, I’ll share their address so you can ship directly to them. Thank you so much!


  4. lori ann says

    Hi, Denise :) Thanks for making us all aware of Debbie’s situation. I missed your first mention of it – I am woefully behind in reading my daily fix (you are saved in a separate file!) Anyway…last year, my friend bought a new computer, gave her older one to her dad, who in turn passed his on to me. Which leaves me with a little Netbook-type computer that lives in my closet, unused. I liked it just fine – I mostly do websurfing and stored pictures and recipes. It doesn’t have a disk drive, so she would need to eventually purchase a separate one if she wanted to burn CDs or something. Other than that, it works great! I don’t need it, and wondered if Debie would like it? I would be happy to mail it to her now, or when she was ready for it. She sounds like a lovely lady – and what a trouper! – and I’d love to see her enjoy it. I spend half my day, it seems, looking up crafty stuff online. I was hoping you could mention it to her?

    Thanks. You’ve got my email either way! :)

  5. says

    How generous and kind, Lori Ann! Thank you! I believe Debbie’s sister was able to replace her laptop, with assistance from Dell if I recall correctly. I will confirm, though, and let you know. Debbie doesn’t have an Internet connection at her temporary home, or I know she would be on here thanking everyone herself! She’s that kind of chick. :)


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