Thoughts on my 20-year anniversary with USANA, evacuation notices and gifts that keep on giving…

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.

Elfin Forest Fire

Elfin Forest 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

USANA-at-20-Logo-350x200I 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!




27 comments… add one
  • So glad you guys are safe – thanks for sharing your thoughts! Helps put things in perspective on what really matters at the end of the day. See you at convention!

    • Collette Larsen

      Thank you, Derek. Yes, it will be wonderful to see you and so many members of Team Genesis at convention!

  • You and your family are so very near and dear to my heart . . . thank you for sharing this meaning and full of fun story . . . the whole company appreciates you Collette ❣

    • Collette Larsen

      And I appreciate you, Laura. I love seeing all the pictures you post. Honestly, my dear…you’re getting younger!

  • Dyann Lyon

    Dear Collette, As I read this aloud to Wild, while he was making us a delicious shake for breakfast, I found myself crying, even through your amazing humor, because of the pure love expressed in every part of your story. Thank you for being a friend and making a difference in our lives…thousands of lives! Grateful that you, Ric and Revi are safe and for the perspective you shared about what is really important. xo

    • Collette Larsen

      Sweet Dyann –
      I can just picture you and Wild in your kitchen…the delicious shakes and all! It makes me smile just to think of the two of you. Thank you for your priceless friendship. Love you!

  • Collette, you guys were totally on my heart and in my prayers. I have had to pack those three boxes myself and have been evacuated while a fire consumed the forest around our home and three other houses in our village. (For one hysterical hour I even feared that I had lost Ulrich and the kids in the fire.) So I completely get what you guys were going through. So, SO blessed to read your story and thanking God that all is well! As always, you are a complete inspiration. <3

    • Collette Larsen

      Oh Bee…I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like fearing my loved ones were in the fire. Too much to bear. Thank you for your kind words. You know, every time I see your name I think of the beautiful post about going to your Upline…way, way up! I’m sure you know the one I mean. It continues to impact my life. YOU have inspired me!

      • Given her stance on abortion, she should not have let herself get pregnant at the age of 43! She should have used contraception very cayuTellr.froll. Well, to be fair – if Palin was a liberal careerist feminist who got pregnant at 43, we’d probably all be making snide comments about how she had brought this on herself by giving birth later in life than nature intended.

      • Im a huge fan already, man. Youve done a brilliant job making sure that people understand where youre coming from. And let me tell you, I get it. great stuff and I cant wait to check out more of your blogs. What youve got to say is important and needs to be check out.

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  • Stacy

    Collette – Wow …. I didn’t know all of the details regarding the evacuation and being stuck in your car all night, etc. As always, you hit the nail on the head with what really matters. Sure love you!!

    • Collette Larsen

      Thank you, Stacy. Yes, it was a remarkable few days. We’ve learned some lessons. And it tipped me over the edge on buying a travel trailer. Next time…”hasta la vista, baby!”

      Remind me to tell you what Ladd had to say about you. My stock continues to rise as people realize Stacy is my sister:)

      Love you!

  • Jo

    Dear, dear Collette,
    I so appreciate your sharing the details of your story, which is so much more than, “we were evacuated!” Goodness! I could feel the anxiety, but also your calm resolution and sense of priorities. I also really appreciate Ric’s and your solutions for rescuing puppy, getting through roadblocks, reuniting, etc. Determination and brains. Why am I not surprised!? I am SO GLAD you are all safe! Thank you for, once again, sharing, as a wonderful example to the rest of us not only in how to run a business, but in how to live a life. (And do consider that short…heh, heh, or loooong…book! Xxxx Jo

  • Collette Larsen

    Oh Jo…of course you would leave a lovely comment. Thank you! I miss all our Sanoviv gang. Yes, it was quite an experience…one I hope we don’t have to face again. However, should fires head our way, we’ve learned LOTS of lessons – the first one being we’ll never leave without Revi in tow! Love to you and Charlie…

  • Collette,
    Thank you so much for your update. I have had you on my heart and in my prayers for some time not knowing what happened. You have your head on straight with priorities. I am amazed at you two’s resourcefulness knowing the trails and then I was feeling nervous knowing the back trails could have been treacherous too. I love your writings . Brevity just doesn’t cut it when writing from the heart. At least , I can’t either anyways. I loved your picture in the pool overlooking the grandchildren in the next pool below. It made me think that after so many, many tough things you have gone through, what a beautiful and serene and peaceful countenance you have. You have been through the refiners fire and come out victorious . Love you!

  • Bunny

    We were at that Journey concert! Didn’t know about your drama, although we were worried about you, and your hideaway. Love you guys! Thanks for introducing us to Usana – for all of the same reasons ❤️❤️❤️

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  • I honour you Collette Larsen – you are and have always been one of my greatest inspirations and mentors in USANA. So happy that you and Ric and puppy are safe and sound. GOD Bless you both and I look forward to seeing you at USANA convention this year. I AGREE 1000% with all of the points you mention above – the important things in this life you don’t need to put into bags – your valuables are exactly as you describe. Love you heaps xxx

  • Dear Collette:

    As Robin S. Sharma said in one of his messages:

    “I believe we all have special talents that are just waiting to be engaged in a worthy pursuit. We are all here for some unique purpose, some noble objective that will allow us to manifest our highest human potential while we, at the same time, add value to the lives around us.”

    And that is exactly what has happened to you and your husband. And YOU are one of the most important pillars of USANA. We all love you, respect you and wish the best for you and your family. You’re an example to follow.

    I send you from Guadalajara, MEXICO my warmest feelings.


  • So glad you are all safe !! Prayers were with you when I learned of the fires. See you at convention!!

  • Linda Uhrich

    Hope the fires settle and your home is saved. Great story! Glad you got your pup out!

  • OH MY, you have had such a challenging year. I had the pleasure of hearing more of your stories at Sanoviv in Feb., and I have to say, keep telling them!
    I had to laugh that your son told you to make it shorter. I like to blog and my son says the same thing to me. I swear, those young’uns just do not want to read more than 10 words at a time.
    You are such an inspiration! Keep up the story telling and don’t mince words!
    So happy you are safe.

  • Rosemary

    Collette! You are precious! Loved reading your post about your 20 year anniversary with USANA!

  • You got to the heart of the Matter in the last 5 lines. Some people never hit that realization. Loved your post, short or not

  • Collette,
    I can see why you and my mother, Sandy, hit it off so well, you have the same way of telling stories.

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