Last week was rough. I live in paradise. Even the name of our community – Elfin Forest – has a surreal, mystical quality about it. However, our forest is not a rain forest or even a cool, damp place like the beloved redwood forests to the north of us. During especially drought-sticken years like the one we’re in, our forest is a tinderbox of scrub oak, eucalyptus and chaparral. And last week our forest caught fire.
For two days we sat glued to our local TV news watching the devastation going on in communities just to the north and east of us. My husband Ric soaked our three acre property, which he has lovingly manicured over the years, and positioned our sprinklers to hit the roof of our home. Every hour or so we would go out in our yard to monitor the thick, choking smoke-filled skies around us and at one point watched in horror as flames leapt up on Double Peak Ridge – an area we have hiked dozens of times.
We received a “suggested” evacuation notice. Suggested…not mandatory. It came on the third day of this ordeal when finally, finally the skies seemed to be clearing and we felt we were (pardon the pun) out of the woods. We learned the mandatory evacuation came from a state rather than a local agency – a group of people looking at a map who obviously didn’t realize the fires had moved far to the east of Elfin Forest. The skies were blue! What would you do?
We filled three bins with irreplaceable valuables that could be thrown into Ric’s truck if our suggested evacuation became mandatory, fed our precious puppy, Revi, and got her settled in for the evening and then…okay, I’m going to admit it…went to the Journey/Steve Miller Band concert. Please don’t send animal protection services. I LOVE my puppy! We were CERTAIN all was safe. We desperately needed a diversion. I’d purchased these two great seats at this fabulous concert a couple months earlier as a birthday surprise for my husband – and frankly, I’m just crazy about both Journey and the Steve Miller Band…have been for about forty years.
You know when people say…”long story, short?” Who can do that? Not me, apparently. There is so much craziness to this story – so many hilarious bits, and parts that bring me to tears even now when I think back on them. But I get the whole social media brevity thing. And Dax, my son who edits my musings, wrote these exact words to me:
“Mom, I’m sure you could develop this into a long talk, or a short book, but a 3 or 4 paragraph blog post would be awesome. Thanks. Love you.”
So, I’m already over my limit. A few final points of clarification:
1 – Suggested evacuation became MANDATORY while Ric and I were rocking out at concert.
2 – All roads leading to Elfin Forest CLOSED!
3 – No amount of begging gets a 10-Star Diamond through a hard road-block.
4. Spent night in car, mostly crying.
5. Fabulous husband HIKES in to rescue beautiful white lab puppy.
6. Fabulous husband not allowed to leave property to rescue frantic wife.
7. Years of hiking and “can do attitude” pays off as we reunite using back-country trails.
Now, what does all this have to do with my 20-year anniversary with USANA?
As I walked through our beautiful home determining what would go into those three bins, it hit me. Almost everything was replaceable! When you’re told to evacuate, priorities crystalize. We dodged a bullet this time but should our home ever burn to the ground, I still have EVERYTHING that really matters:
1. My faith
2. My family – including Revi
3. My friends
4. My health
5. My USANA business
I made a decision in 1994 that changed the course of my life. USANA was the primary reason I remained calm as I filled those bins. USANA is the gift that keeps on giving. I have received a deposit in my checking account every week now for over twenty years…that’s over ONE THOUSAND FORTY weekly deposits. That solid, comforting fact has allowed me to release any anxiety about my future…come hell or high water (or fire), I know USANA will be there!
However, even more than the financial stability is knowing I have an extended family of friends – individuals I love and respect. Thank you for your kind thoughts, your positive messages and your prayers. I am blessed beyond words to know you and to associate with you.
Finally, I look forward to seeing so many of you at this year’s convention. I understand the theme is “IGNITE!” Uh, really? Actually, I love it. This girl is on fire!