Personal Thoughts

Napa Valley Fire Two

Napa Valley Fire OneNapa Valley Fire Three

Napa Valley Fire Four

Napa Valley Fire Five

Napa Valley Fire Six

Napa Valley Fire Seven

The top photos are from my first attempt to find cell service around 7am. The bottom two photos are taken in the same spot just one hour later. The air from these Napa Valley Fires was horrible from the start.

Where do I begin? The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster and one that has shaken me to my core. Just two weeks ago I had spent the day wine tasting with my friends. We were having so much fun and enjoyed getting to take in the beauty of Napa Valley. A gift that I don’t take for granted everyday on my way to work. It still blows my mind that a day filled with so much laughter and fun ended with heartbreak and started what would be considered one of the most devastating wildfires ever.

Even now, two weeks later, my emotions are still high. My heart is broken for those who lost everything. I can’t imagine the heartache of those who lost loved ones and I some how feel guilty that all I lost was a lot of food out of my fridge. It truly shows you what you can and can’t live without when you have to run through your home and figure out what to take and what to leave behind.

While my heart aches for this community I have seen first hand so many incredible things come out of this tragedy. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of people donate their time, effort and goods to families and first responders. I have seen groups of firefighters driving down highway 29 after a long nights shift with exhaustion in their eyes and ash on their faces but still willing to sleep a few hours and get up to do it again. I have seen signs displayed all over town, thanking every first responder. I have spent time with first responders and while they will try to convince you this was just their job, I know different. Whether they admit it or not, they saved families, animals, homes, memories and the lives of so many people.

Words can’t express my gratitude for every single firefighter, EMT, nurse, doctor, law enforcement officer, military member and volunteer who helped save lives. You are the people who make this country so great. You put your lives on the line to help make sure others will live. I am extremely proud to know so many of you and just so you know, I think you are the bravest people I’ve ever met.

The smoke may be clearing the air, but this is far from over for so many people. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has asked about me and checked in on me. You all are greatly appreciated and loved.

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Village Baking Company Modesto

So you’ll notice that the image above isn’t retouched, the lighting isn’t bright and it’s not arranged how I normally would have if I were posting it on Instagram. Well, this is a real life post and that requires a real life photo of my lunch while sitting in a cafe.

Have you ever sat in a cafe and listened to the conversations around you? Now I don’t mean this in a creepy way, that isn’t my intention or the purpose of this post. However, every now and then I love to just sit in a cafe, by myself, completely removed from technology and just be still. While in the pursuit of peace and quiet, I always tend to over hear conversations around me. Some of them are light hearted, girlfriends catching up, talking about their kids. Some are more burdening on the heart, a friend opening up to her other friend about how hard her divorce has been. No matter the place, time of day or type of cuisine, I always hear some pretty interesting conversations. Sitting in a cafe can be very eye opening and humbling.

Why is Michelle writing a blog post all about other people’s business? I’m not, the purpose of this post is to help you stop and realize just how much people are truly dealing with. We get so caught up in our Instagram feed, our Facebook friends and we forget about those people who are sitting in front of us and around us. I am a firm believer that there is always someone out there less fortunate or in a tougher situation than you. In the moment I forget that things could always be worse. Then I walk into a cafe to spend time with my own thoughts and sure enough, I hear someone talking about something that would absolutely break me if I was having to deal with it.

I always love how God knows exactly what I need to hear, or overhear. These last two weeks have been brutal to say the least. I guess my vacation to the East coast was the first real vacation I took where I had a ton of responsibilities to come home to. I guess it was my first “adult,” vacation. I have been in a zone, no lie. I haven’t been as patient, as graceful and as kind as I normally am. Although subconsciously I know i’m not being the person I want to be, it is ridiculously hard to pull yourself out of it. When you are in the midst of the grind, you tend to only focus on that.

Let’s be honest, in today’s generation we are all out for ourselves. When you think about it, that makes the world a pretty cold place. Imagine if we all just took 5 minutes out of our day to listen to others. To respond kindly when someone asks for help. To be graceful when faced with adversity. To be patient when we are running 100mph and “don’t have time to be.” What a world it would be if we all just took a few minutes out of our day to be humble and kind. That is a world I would love to live in. Anyone else feeling this way? Catch yourself before you wreck yourself! 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful day and remember to start small, maybe today it is 5 minutes, maybe tomorrow it is 10. Take the time to notice people in real life and not just the ones filling up your timeline on Facebook.

God bless!

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Hume Lake Christian Camps

Hume Lake Christian Camps Winter Camp

Hume Lake Christian Camps California

California Sunset Dunlap

Hume Lake Without Water

This past weekend I had the opportunity of heading to winter camp with some amazing high schoolers from my church. I was so excited to get to join them on this journey and get to go to Hume Lake Christian Camps for my first time. My sister had gone there when I was a kid but I was too little to go. I didn’t know what to expect. The drive was long and the mountains were steep, so I was a little rattled by the time we got there. However, once I stepped out of my vehicle, I had this overwhelming peace and was so excited for what the weekend would hold. I had a wonderful cabin full of girls that were eager to learn more about God’s love and being able to witness their lives change was something I will never take for granted.

I could sit here and tell you it was all about them but that wouldn’t be true. Just as they didn’t know what to expect this past weekend, neither did I. I had gone into this weekend assuming I would be there to support them in their walk with Christ. I had no idea that I would be forever changed this weekend as well. Yes, my focus was on my girls but through that, I learned quite a bit about myself. I think it takes a weekend of rest and relaxation to put everything back into perspective. I saw kids come to Christ that had never heard His word before. I saw kids rededicate their lives to God and be truly moved by the things they heard. I got to see lives change right before my eyes and let me tell you, the tears were flowing.

I love my church and the people in it. Our leaders were incredible, calm, cool, collected and ready for anything that was thrown their way. One of my best friends, Melinda (in the first photo) was able to be a leader too, so getting to spend some one on one time with her in this beautiful place was priceless. I value her wisdom and outlook on life. It was so refreshing to be in a place where I didn’t feel like my faith was under attack. I got to let my guard down and just be me. A task that isn’t always that easy in your day to day life.

I am so blessed that I was able to be a part of an incredible event where over 1000 high students were able to be surrounded by love, talk about Jesus and have more fun than some have known their whole life. I am grateful for places like Hume Lake that allow students to come and be filled with positivity and hope. My heart is full.

Have a great Tuesday! God bless!

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