Happy Birthday to my sweet dear husband who agreed to trek all the way across the country with me to a new home. Today Brett turned 40 years old. And he got the most amazing present:

a brand new septic tank

I was giddy as the truck showed up. I’d never seen a septic tank before.  I passed Sid and his tank truck twice today in town too.


As they were getting started Boo and I ran into town to pick up some iced coffee and we got a chance to visit Clampitt’s Hardware store because the guys needed work gloves:

When we got back the tank had been pumped, and the tank was installed:


We ate lunch in town at the Filling Station which is a place I was looking forward to coming back to ever since last summer. And then Boo and wandered over to B&D Furniture to try and find a dresser or wardrobe for her.  I just love the outside of this building and the RC Cola vending machine right in front:


Brett worked all day raking the landscaping back out and I caught up on some email. I still don’t have Internet so I’m trying to get creative on timing for posts etc so I get something done.  I’m sitting on the back patio now and the kitchen is smelling amazing for dinner.  I walked through earlier and I saw the strawberry pies being made:


Some new guests showed up today with kids Boo’s age and we haven’t seen her since. I think we need to buy her a watch that beeps on the hour (every hour) so she has to check in with us.  Or an old beeper.  She won’t have a phone until she’s an adult, but I’ve got to find a way to reign her in a little with all this newfound freedom!

A Year at the Hemlock

First of all, hi!  I’ve missed you all!

I’ve been trying to write but it’s been sporadic not having internet service yet and traveling and moving.  So much has happened it’s a little hard to find a place to start but I guess I’ll just jump backwards.

So you all know that our house was for sale. We were selling our dream house…with 6 years of love and labor put into it.  We had a fair amount of showings but the right buyer never materialized. We started to wonder if God was telling us to keep it. Then suddenly, three weeks ago, we got an offer on our house from a potential buyer who had looked at the property several times. He was in the middle of a divorce, and with small children around Boo’s age, it was the perfect house because it was turn key.  Turn key meaning: we were offering the house furnished: furniture, silverware, artwork etc. Even our pet fish: Penelope and Smokey. (it’s the first time our realtor Lori said she had a family pet listed in house inventory….and by name too….value: priceless of course) Anyway, we agreed to the price as long as the buyer could close by June 2. That was a super short closing and fell within the contingency period which made everyone a little nervous.

Everything seemed to be going okay but then a few days before closing the buyer got hung up on some aspects of our solar lease. I remember Brett being on his cell phone mouthing to me “the deal’s dead” and I just felt like crying.  Feeling helpless with everything out of control, all Brett and I could do was sit back and have faith that everything would work out.  We prayed and prayed for guidance on what to do…..and packed up our trailer planning to move cross country June 1st.  I had sold my car to a friend only days early and we had purchased a 16 foot box trailer to pull to the east coast.  We decided that the only belongings we would take were what would fit into that trailer: mostly books, photos, bikes, clothing and art supplies.

After the trailer was packed up last Saturday, we decided not to stay the last night in our home, we would stay with my in-laws across town.  It was a way to just make a clean break. It’s always hard to walk away from something knowing it will be the last time. As Brett pulled away with our belongings, I stayed behind to mop and clean and make sure everything was just right for the new owner.  I always like to leave things better than I found them. It was dark and I made sure everything was perfect, I organized the keys and instructions on the counter, fed Penelope and Smokey, and walked out the front door for the last time.



We left Palm Desert the next morning, June 1st.  We drove to the Hoover Dam and stayed in Williams, AZ for the night. The next day, June 2nd my birthday, somewhere in the middle of the Grand Canyon, we learned that the house would close for sure. Let me tell you….it is NOT easy to sign documents from the Grand Canyon. There is not a lot of cell reception at Horseshoe Bend. BUT we did manage to get everything finished and at exactly 5pm, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we got a call from our agent that:


I’ve never felt so much gratitude and excitement all at the same time.


We traveled over over 2,800 miles over 7 days. We didn’t even really have the route planned out by day but everything just kept falling into place. Even surviving a tornado. (I still can’t believe that happened.)  We made our way up to Lindsborg, Kansas and found the old farmhouse that my grandfather had grown up in. We found it with a small paper map he had drawn and a few old photos.  I can’t believe we found it. No one was home but we wandered around a little:


We visited two presidential libraries, the Gateway Arch and stayed with my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Steve in Nashville for a night too. And then yesterday we woke up early and Boo announced “It’s North Carolina Day!” and we finally made our way to North Carolina.  Almost 8 years to the day that we left North Carolina years ago to head to California.



We pulled in last night to the Hemlock Inn just in time for dinner. This was what we drove up to:


So I’m sure you want to know where we are living.  We are staying in a small cottage on the property called the Woody Cottage. We are going from 3,500+ square feet to just about 900 square feet. It’s definitely an adjustment but as a family of three do we really need more than 900 square feet?  Plus I can use the inn dining room for writing late at night if I need to (that’s where I am right now) so we won’t need an office addition to the cottage anytime soon.


We are excited to decorate the cottage. Boo got to see her room for the first time and she was ready to start right away:


We had our first breakfast at the inn this morning and met a nice couple from Georgia. We introduced ourselves to a new cook, George, and he said I could help him make biscuits one morning if I woke up early enough. As we talked in the dining room after breakfast, Boo had so much fun helping in the kitchen, especially learning to run the large dishwasher and she laughed hysterically each time Mort opened it and it would fog up his glasses.

After breakfast we ate lunch in town with innkeepers Mort, Lainey and their son Steven and his wife Sara who are getting ready to leave for Germany in a few months. Then we walked around Bryson City….it’s the cutest little town. I love the original buildings and signs that steep visits in history:


Early afternoon we went to a nearby town to buy paint and Brett stocked up on a few bales of pine needles because he was itching to do some landscaping.  (just wait until you hear about what we are doing in the morning….definitely a first for us)  Next on his list is clearing this awesome “bat cave” that runs from the cottage to the shuffleboard court / dining room area for Boo to sneak up to the inn…especially any poison ivy:


Then we stopped by the river to skip a few rocks.  I just can’t believe that we get to live in this place:


There will definitely be an adjustment period. We aren’t used to the rainforest-like climate yet (it was 100% humidity yesterday and we just moved from a place that only gets rain about once a year.) We are living in a tiny cottage with 1/20th of what we owned before, and we still own way too much because we are trying to find places to put everything.  It’s definitely an adjustment only owning one car right now but we are making it work (I am seriously mulling a moped purchase.) I wouldn’t trade this for the world.  It’s amazing and scary all wrapped into a new life. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster but through it all I have never been more certain that God has strategically led us down this path.  How else would everything fall into perfect place the way it did?

Oh and all the rumors that are flying too.  Some that we are buying the inn.  Others that I must be sick again and that’s why we are pursing something so out of the ordinary.  I’d love to clear a few of those up. First, I got a perfect bill of health from my oncologist before leaving California. Second, we are moving to the Hemlock Inn so that I can spend more time writing and have the opportunity to experience inn life. It’s an opportunity to meet people from all over while living in a quaint, beautiful little mountain town. It’s a huge leap of faith and boy are we realizing that we’ve really lept. And of course we are nervous, but as long as we have family and friends and food and a roof over our heads what else do we really need? We are so blessed that Mort and Lainey of the Hemlock Inn have also taken a leap of faith and agreed to let us live on the property for a year. Today Boo disappeared and I found her hanging out in Mort and Lainey’s bedroom.  The innkeepers are going to have to set “Boo hours” or they are going to be in for very little personal  time….but what a great opportunity for Boo to live in a such a place that she can do that. I have to pinch myself even now.

Ok, now it’s late, and I’m the only one awake on the property I think.  I might even have to shut down the inn tonight but I can’t wait to share this journey with you.  I hope many of you will come visit us because that is what this is all about….meeting amazing people from all over and hearing the stories they have to tell.  Come sit in a rocking chair and enjoy the view. Or maybe I’ll challenge you to a game of shuffleboard. It’s a special place.  And as always, most of all, thank you, thank you for reading my story.  For taking the precious time of your day to read these words.  God bless!


P.S. If you are new to the blog and want to read the backstory this post sums up how everything came about.  Or this post on how I found the inn last summer after years and years of wondering if it was still around and my childhood history at the inn.





On The Road

As I write this we are somewhere in Illinois and have driven 2,165 miles so far in our trip. We are headed to Nashville today where my aunt lives.  I will wait to give you a recap of our trip but a few things we’ve learned so far:

1. You can’t take a 16 foot box trailer across the Hoover Dam.

2. You can’t sneak a dog through an X-ray machine at a national monument.

3. Uploading photos through a car Wifi can easily eat up your entire phone plan in a matter of minutes.

And most of all:

Everyone should take the time to drive America, especially the back roads.



Trailers and Tornados

I’m finally back! After a few crazy weeks!  I’ve never gone that long without writing. It took me a few days to figure out how to log into my WordPress from the road, mostly because my passwords were buried underneath a ton of stuff in the back of the truck.

And now I’m typing this in the car connected to the Internet. Sending info to space and back from the truck from somewhere around Topeka, KS. Amazing.

We are on our 4th day cross country to the Hemlock Inn.  Brett has been driving mostly because I am a disaster with the trailer.  It starts swaying when I drive it.  The truck even flashed “sway alert” at me a few times.  I could drive it all by myself and I’d be fine but something about having people in the car causes stage fright:


I meant to write the past few days but the cell coverage has just been really spotty and then I couldn’t remember my password it had been so long.  Then yesterday as I was trying to wrap up a post: TORNADO.

What are the odds that we run into a Tornado?! I kept looking at the doppler and all the weather was way north until a small patch just appeared on the screen suddenly.  Like a bad dream. We had just gotten into Kansas and we were relieved that all the bad weather seemed to be north of us. We were in the middle of nowhere, and it was beautiful:

Then somewhere along the way….where there was literally no civilization for miles and miles…I was teaching Boo how to pee on the side of the road…and she burned her bum tailpipe. (of all the places to sit down she sat down against the tailpipe?!) Before we started out again I took a photo of the clouds and sunset behind us:

Slowly, for about an hour, the clouds were starting to rotate and form a wall:


Brett: That looks circular to me.

Me: I think we might be okay. Anyway, if that was a tornado it would be about a category F100.  That thing is huge.

But then as I watched it I wasn’t so sure.  I crawled across the seats to get a better look of the clouds and what looked like little finger like funnels forming off of it.  It looked like we were in front of it and from the animated radar I pulled up on my phone it seemed like we were too.

As we pulled through the small town of Lakin and just as we did the radio started emitting the emergency broadcast signal.

“a tornado has touched down in Lakin”

Me: We are IN Lakin. That is the tornado!

We kept going because there was no place to take shelter but as the road turned north we soon found ourselves in the middle of it.  Everything was purple and just like the movie Twister farm debris was moving across the road. It was chaos as we tried to determine the best plan of action. Then suddenly we passed a gas station and it gave us an option. and Brett flipped a u-turn and we headed back.

We pulled into the parking lot with the trailer. The only sign of life was an 18 wheeler with its lights on.  I grabbed the dog and Brett grabbed Boo. Boo was so scared she began vomiting all over the pavement. That’s when I snapped this photo:


We left the truck and the trailer in the middle of the parking lot and ran to the door. The gas station had already been locked down…a woman came to the door and quickly unlocked it. Inside she directed us to a small janitor’s closet. The tornado alarms kept going off every few minutes.  The locked doors began to shake and hiss and squeal and we stayed there until it all quieted down. And my life flashed before my eyes and I pictures all of ouse being sucked up into a tornado as the building disappeared around us. And we just prayed that God would keep us safe.

And he did. Thank you God.

And today, except for some hail damage to the truck windshield, everything is back to normal again.

The crazy thing is a few days ago I had an eerie premonition of trying to outrun a tornado. In a matter of a few days we traded earthquake country for tornado country. The difference is that I know exactly what to do in an earthquake… but not in a tornado.

More tomorrow.






Still Here

Yes I am still here.  Just trying to fit a few months of work into just 2 weeks.  Here is my progress:

Becoming Minimalist....literally

Oh and I took a day off to attend Elevate this year too.  It was nice change and I got to see some old friends and make some new ones.  I think this photo proves that I just can’t be serious…I sat next to Ashley Stock (Little Miss Momma) for most of the conference and we had a little too much fun. I so glad she posted this photo….even though I have sideburns from trying to grow my hair out a little:


I finally got a chance to meet Lisa Leonard too.  Love her inspirational message:


Desiree of 36th Avenue was so funny and inspirational too but I spaced out on photography for the 1st half of the conference.  I love that Elevate started at 10:30am and ended after dinner.  That’s my kind of conference.  Oh, and I sold my car so I had to hitch a ride with my in-laws to the beach where Brett was working so he could watch Boo. Just a little hectic…but I tend to thrive on chaos I guess.

So June 1st is our departure date for moving to the Hemlock Inn! Still need to finalize our stops…and yes I might be emailing a few of you still.  Thank you for all the offers of hospitality. I can’t think of anything cooler than staying with readers along the way….even if it’s just parking in the driveway. So we’ll see what works out!

Brett and I drove to Beaumont today to look at a trailer to bring with us cross country.  We won’t be able to fill it anymore because we’ve gotten rid of so much stuff but with a few “renovations” it will serve as a great “writing” room if I need more quiet space at the Inn.

My friend Megan is coming over to help me tomorrow prepare for the moving sale on Saturday.  I’ve still got a “maybe” pile that I haven’t decided on yet.  I pulled some sentimental items out of the pile to help raise some funds for a few readers in need tonight and tomorrow.  You can view those items here. Wish I could help everyone that asks but we are running almost on empty over there. Maybe you need some artwork or a Tiffany bowl? Thank you!


Cleaning House

It’s official: I now have more plastic storage bins than actual possessions.  (although I guess plastic bins are possessions too?)


All those were once full. In the last two months I’ve gotten rid of over 5,000 pounds of belongings. Sorting, selling, weekly trips to charities. It’s quite embarrassing actually. And it’s been an extensive process because I just don’t want things to end up in a landfill….so I have to get creative. We built our house to have unlimited storage….and now all that storage is empty.  I can’t imagine anywhere close to that much stuff ever again.  I will write about this process soon….it’s been a very long one and I can tell you it’s changed me.  It’s changed our whole family.  Our closets are empty.  Our shelves and storage rooms are empty. Of course we still have work to do over the next 2 weeks still.  We’ve started to say goodbye to friends here in the desert and it’s becoming more real that we are making such a huge change.  I have more to tell you about all of this but there are still things falling into place and I will share very soon.  I’m off to the Elevate Conference this weekend in Newport.  Excited for a short weekend break before my last two weeks of wrapping up all loose ends.  And then I can get back on my regular blogging schedule!

We plan on being at the Hemlock Inn by Brett’s birthday, June 9th (his 40th).  We’ll be celebrating my birthday probably at the Grand Canyon on the 2nd (I’m envisioning a candle in a chocolate Ding Dong…that would be so awesome.)  Thank you for all the recommendations along the way…we will be making quick stops. (and maybe staying with a few of you who happen to be on the route…wayfarers on our way to a new life!)


What I Would Take to a Deserted Island

My family. My books and journals. Water?

We were going to go to church this morning but I have a horrendous cough.  We stayed home instead and made biscuits with apple butter.  Brett and Boo know me way too well because I got books from the two of them this morning:

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller
Love Wins by Rob Bell

The Best Mommy in the World. That’s what my card says.


We spent the rest of the day packing up boxes and sorting more things for our move.  I did manage to get a photo of Boo and I yesterday at the Mother’s Day Tea at school:


It’s been a process getting rid of 30+ years of belongings and collections as we gear up for a simpler life. Last night we went to our usual pizza place and Boo took all of her 10K+ loose crayons for their almost empty bins. She even refilled them herself:

This has been good for us.  The more we get rid of the more we want to get rid of. It’s a domino effect.  I’ve made at least 2 thrift store runs a week and we plan to have a big moving sale for the remaining items right before we leave.  And the house we’ll hopefully still sell furnished (furniture, plates and silverware, pots, artwork…even the fish in the fish tank!)

Boo doesn’t want to really keep much at all….just her books and her dolls.  (Goodbye Barbie Dream House!)  Brett and I have narrowed our closets down to the bare necessities.  I’ve kept some craft supplies and tools so I can keep doing DIY on the blog but really we are only taking what we can haul with us.  No movers, no storage.  I feel like I’ve been playing that “what would you take on a deserted island” game for the past few weeks!

Except I do have that one issue: books. I haven’t really been able to get rid of any.  Actually not true…I did remove 2 from the pile, but only because they were duplicates. And I sorted my piles by memoir, fiction, self help, etc.  OCD. And when I try to pack them I end up rearranging piles: might want to read before I leave. pack last. leave out of boxes. hide in suitcase. hide in camera bag.

I did hand pick some items for the blue label page to help fund our move and the next few months as we figure things out.  Thank you for all the support. What’s on the page is just about the last of everything.  I can’t wait to get through all of this craziness so I can focus full time on writing finally.  We are leaving June 1st regardless of whether the house sells. We’ll just leave it. And rely on faith that it will sell in its right time.

(Note: Need to figure out the best way to get Internet in the car on the way cross country: hot spot phone or just stand alone hot spot?)

Hope you had a wonderful day!


Planning a Roadtrip

How to plan a roadtrip via #quote

22 days until we move cross country to the Hemlock Inn! I’ve been plotting out our route using Roadtrippers. I added our start and finish points and then a few crucial stops in between. It’s still moving around but the whole trip is planned around visiting Lindsborgh, Kansas where my grandfather’s old farmhouse still stands and 2 of the presidential libraries on the trajectory back down to North Carolina.You can click here to see the itinerary.  Let me know if there’s any place you think we should stop (as long as it’s not too far out of the way….northern states will be another summer!).

Cross country roadtrip from California to North Carolina


A few cool things about Roadtrippers:

1. It plots the most efficient route and when you add new destinations along the way it’s easy to drag them into chronological order and everything recalculates.

2. You can zoom in and see what sites are nearby and click through for more info.  It’s easy to click and add to your trip or to your bucket list:

3. Each site even has a “rad-o-meter” that tells you if it’s worth stopping:

4. The blogs. That’s how I found this amazing timelapse of the Albuguerque Balloon Festival:


I also like Roadside America. Mostly because I am a huge fan of offbeat tourist attractions.  I also just love wandering and exploring abandoned places.

Oh, and I still have to have a BIG paper map or over-sized atlas.

What was your favorite road trip or one you can’t wait to take one day?


The Prayer that Changes Everything

-From God is in the Tough Stuff


Yesterday morning, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt a profound sadness. I walked past Boo’s room and she was still asleep. I walked slowly out into the living room and past the spot on the top of the couch that Diesel is usually on. Usually I would say “good morning my little D!” and he would strrreeeettttchhhh out and yawn and roll over on his back. Only this morning he wasn’t there. He wasn’t anywhere. He was lost.

The night before the smoke detector in the hallway had been going off from a low battery. Brett was out of town so I had to drag in a heavy ladder myself to try and reach it. I finally was able to change the battery and put the heavy 16’ ladder back outside. And then….it started beeping again. I was so flustered and frustrated…the ladder had scratched the wall…a bird outside was perfectly mimicking the detector’s screech….and now I had to drag the ladder back in. While I was propping the back gate open to bring the ladder back in I let Diesel into the driveway. I didn’t think much of it because I figured it would only be a few minutes and the driveway is gated too. Only a few minutes turned into much longer….and when I finally realized that he was still out there I ran out and he was no where to be found. Boo and I ran out to the front of the house and looked for him. No sign. We checked everywhere. All the sudden the panic set in. We live on busy street where people might not be paying attention to a little dog. Diesel is so tiny that he is not much taller than the curb.

As the sun set and reality set in that Diesel really WAS missing, I called Brett. There wasn’t anything he could do but I was trying to make sure we had covered all of Diesel’s hiding places. I checked the pool. We walked up and down the street with our flashlights yelling “Diesel! Daddy’s home!” because that’s usually what will bring him running from any hiding place. My father-in-law showed up and he re-searched the front yard and some nearby streets. I made some flyers and started putting them on every sign I could think of. It was cold and windy and the large bark from the palm trees was all over the road. Every time I saw a bark piece I would stop breathing and my heart started racing because I thought it was for sure a crumpled Diesel. We had pretty much exhausted our search. I put Boo to bed and I walked the streets a few more times. No Diesel. As I locked the doors for the night I put his bed out back and put some towels at the front door in case he made his way back. And I prayed. And somehow fell asleep.


So I woke up the yesterday morning and felt that profound sadness. I woke Boo and started to make her breakfast and I couldn’t stop crying. Boo walked up several times and hugged me “don’t worry Mommy, it will all be okay.” I told her I knew it would but I didn’t want to think about the next few days if we didn’t find him. We prayed and ate our breakfast. We hurried to get ready and I printed out 100 more “LOST” flyers:

Lost Diesel Sign

I knew I needed to exhaust every option but it seemed so daunting to do on my own. My friend Katie told me about Lost My Doggie, a service that helps with the administrative side. I paid the fee and they sent flyers to all the local vets and shelters. They called 500 of my neighbors within a few mile radius.

Boo took flyers to school and handed them out to her teachers. I was supposed to be at preview presentation for the Global Leadership Summit. I went and checked in but then snuck out to drive around and tape up a few flyers. My friend Shari had emailed a bunch of people she knew and someone said they’d seen a sign at Circle K for a lost dog. I drove anxiously to Circle K and the sign was for a small white dog…not Diesel. I talked to the cashier and asked her if I could hang up my own sign. She said of course and then said she’d seen some large neon signs on her way to work that said a small black and tan dog had been found. I drove quickly to that location, only about a half mile away, and called the number. The woman was excited that I might be the owner but when she used the word “she” my heart sank. I drove back to the presentation I was supposed to be at….a few minutes late. I snuck in and my phone started ringing. I walked out each time to answer. Someone said “they’ll leave a message you know” and I wanted to say “if your child was kidnapped would you risk someone leaving a voicemail?” I felt physically ill sitting there trying to concentrate and decided to leave a little early. I handed a guy a flyer on the way home and he said “I hope a coyote didn’t get him.” An email in my inbox told me to check Craig’s list repeatedly because sometimes people try to sell dogs they steal. My mind was on overdrive: Coyote? Doggy trafficking? Poor, poor Diesel….


At home the house seemed so quiet and empty. Every time I walked past his bed, or his little cave in the pantry or where he sat in the sun every morning it was too much. I couldn’t work or eat. We are moving in almost 3 weeks, what if we didn’t find him by then? It’s not like he could trek cross country. And if someone found him we’d never see the signs once we moved. And I felt horrible because Diesel had been pawing at my leg earlier in the day wanting to be held and I’d brushed him off.  I noticed he hadn’t even eaten his breakfast and his blood sugar would be low. He hadn’t had his medicine he needs daily.  It could not have experienced an ounce of joy in that moment. I walked back to my bedroom and saw Diesel’s beloved dodo bird squeaky toy. And I lost it.



And the only thing I could do was pray:

God, please keep Diesel safe. Watch over him. I know he’s old and we won’t have him forever but this is not the way it’s supposed to happen. Please give me guidance on how to find him. If he’s alive or with you.  Our hearts are broken. I’m listening. I’m know I’ve been off track the last few weeks…sidetracked with minutia. Not able to let go of things. Okay I’ll let go of it all. I think that’s the message here right? That I was neglecting my poor doggy and probably everyone else in my life? Did you know yesterday was our wedding anniversary? I can’t bear to think that it might also forever mark the day that Diesel disappeared. If this is your will then help us see that too.  Please bring good out of this.  I know you will, I don’t know why I said that. Just show us the good. please. please. …..please. I don’t know what to do. Please show me what to do.

And I was on my knees praying. Face up to ceiling. Tears streaming. Pleading. Partially hysterical. It was not pretty. I can honestly tell you I have never prayed like this before. And honestly I didn’t expect it to turn out the way I wanted it to. That would be too easy right?

Me: God, please bring Diesel back to me.

God: Oh, ok. Shazaam.


After a few minutes I got up and grabbed my phone off the bed.

And I saw a notification. I’d been tagged on Facebook by Lisa: ASHLEY HACKSHAW!!!

And then she was calling me on the phone. I picked up:

Lisa: Is that Diesel in the picture? It looks like him but I can’t be 100% sure.

I clicked on the comment and it took me to this:

Diesel found on Facebook




The woman on the phone was named Shannon. After I stopped crying tears of joy she told me the story. She said she and a friend had been driving home late the night before and saw Diesel on the road. They picked him up. He was stressed out and scared. She bought him some food and he ate hungrily. He peed on her floor mat.  She held him in towel.

She gave me her address and I drove that way.

When I pulled up I couldn’t believe it. A few hours earlier, on my way back from Circle K, I had passed a postal truck and had this overwhelming feeling I needed to stop and give him a flyer. I got out of my car and gave the flyer to the mail carrier and asked if he would keep his eyes peeled for any “FOUND” signs.

And I had been standing right in front of the apartment that Diesel was in. I didn’t think it was coincidence.

The Prayer that Changes Everything Stormie Omartian via Lil Blue Boo / Ashley Hackshaw #quote


My mother used to send me so many photocopies of pages out of The Prayer that Changes Everything that she finally just bought me the whole book. Chapter 29 has so much great wisdom in it. When I read this quote by Jim May I realized it summed me up pretty quickly. I have daily experiences with God, but I’m not always so clearly devoted to him.

In the darkness Jim May quote via Lil Blue Boo / Ashley Hackshaw #quote


I don’t know why Diesel was lost and and then found. But I do know that it reset me yesterday. In a jarring way. Sometimes I need to be freed from myself and all of life’s distractions.  To give thanks.

“Praise becomes the very means by which God pours himself into our lives.”  -S.O.

Today I’m thankful Diesel is home and we have more time with him. I’m thankful that our prayers were answered. So many people were praying. So many people were helping.  In any way you could. Lisa found the post of Diesel by searching Google over and over “lost pet Palm Desert” and that’s how she stumbled across the photo of Diesel.  What are the odds of that?  Our real estate agent Lori  announced it at her meetings.  She said there was loud applause when the good news came through. Neighbors I’d never even met before called to see how they could help. A few called just to see if he’d been found after getting the “doggie alert” on their voicemails. My friend Juliet stopped by with neon signs and after hearing the good news went and removed all the “lost dog” signs around the neighborhood. Thank you. Thank you.

And a huge thank you to Shannon who saw Diesel and took the time and effort to scoop him up to provide him refuge for the night.  I can’t imagine he would have made it through the night otherwise. She even fed him organic food.  And let him pee freely in her home.  We are so grateful.

Be faithful in the small things because it is in them that your strength lies. – Mother Teresa


Diesel seems back to normal today. Last night Boo and I asked him if he wanted to go on a walk and he ran and hid in my closet for a few hours.  I think he had enough of the outside world for a while.

Oh, and the smoke detector is still beeping. But who really cares about that now….


P.S. You can see Diesel in real life in the short we made below.  Yes he’s shorter than the curb.



Fighter Fires

On my wall this week:

Nothing in Life is to be Feared #quote #chalkboard

At dinner tonight we sat next to a table of Cal Fire Firefighters (or fighter fires as Boo calls them). As they got their food their alarms started going off and half the group darted out to the ladder truck. Boo walked over and asked the remaining group of firemen why they didn’t have to go too. I guess only one of the trucks was called but it turned out to be a false alarm and they returned a few minutes later. Boo chatted with them for a few minutes.  The firemen learned that becoming a firefighter is probably the last choice on Boo’s list of careers.  Her fear of fire on a scale of 1 to 10 is probably 12,535,105.  They gave her a badge anyways. She wasn’t born with a fear of fire, it’s grown over time.  The fire atop the mountains last year, that threatened friends homes and covered our home in ash didn’t help.  And then there was the house that burned down across the street.  Oh and the Fairfield Inn that burned last week right down the street. I don’t blame her one bit.  Fire scares me too.

She idolizes those firemen….because “they are brave of the fire.”

(i.e. they understand it)

Thank you God for first responders.

I love this GoPro video of a fighter fire saving a kitten:




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