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Sonoma Valley Fire Diaries: 10/15/17 (Love)

How was your Christmas? Did you take a moment to breathe and reflect on your year and relationships? Sometimes, we get so caught up finances, gift purchasing, meal planning, visiting and travelling during the holidays we forget about WHY we are stressing ourselves out in the first place We give in to the societal norms of what is "expected" of us rather than celebrating the true meaning of Christmas: LOVE. Love can be defined as whatever rings true for your heart be it God or Goddess, friendship, neighborly, adoration, romantic, etc. In Sonoma County, we all believed in LOVE during the fires. It's the only thing we could hold onto that was real. Hope can be more like wishful thinking, but LOVE is tangible. For instance, during that time, LOVE shone through in the following ways: my neighbors who I barely talked to updating me on the survival of my home, strangers giving me hugs as they couldn't offer anything else to help, my dog who was always by my side, a free hotel stay, friends who offered their home, and neighbors who posted signs all over town. Literally, the Sonoma slogan is "LOVE IS IN THE AIR" as opposed to "smoke is in the air" (clever and sweet, right?!). In this last instance, smoke is tangible, but LOVE won over and is stronger.

What does the word "love" mean to you? Can you find ways in which it is tangible in your life? Think back on your holiday season. How did you celebrate love? How did you give love?


Sunday, October 15, 2017


It's been a week. A WEEK. I think I was starting to feel numb. I was back to my childhood way of the fight-or-flight response. The constant adrenaline rush and the bouncing from place to place was beginning to feel comfortable again. I was self-aware enough this time that the feeling of being OK with instability was bothersome. I was saddened the day before when I learned what the word "containment" actually meant (see below). My best friend decided to stay one more night in the hotel and would leave to her home state the following day, but I knew I needed to get closer to Sonoma and back to normalcy. I decided to head to Santa Rosa to stay with more friends. I couldn't believe I was headed to one of the towns where the fire had started - seemed eerie and unsafe. My friends fed me and tried to cheer me up as much as they could, although they were battling chest congestion from the toxicity of the smoke. One of their friends came over to visit and disclosed that her parent's had lost their home. We were truly all in it together and I gave her a hug though I didn't know her. We sat at the table, laughed and played with unique herbs that changed color in water. We found a child-like innocence in such a tiring time. We found a little bit of LOVE and support.

I'm grateful for LOVE.



Day 7: Morning Everyone- finally found a nifty/all-inclusive daily report of containment, updates, road closures, assistance, etc. (see below). The fires still continue in our beautiful wine country but no major progression happened last night. Yesterday was emotionally tough as the fire progressed a bit into Sonoma but our amazing fire fighters battled it off I heard. Today I head from Burlingame to Santa Rosa to be closer with friends. Containment is increasing around the Tubbs fire (SR) but we have a ways to go still, especially with the Adobe/Nuns fire around Sonoma. I also learned containment doesn’t mean the fire will stop- only that it can no longer spread. My work is still evacuated but my team is wonderful and we have a group text going to keep one another updated. Nilla is safe and happy and I’m thankful every day for those who have helped me and are helping others. I think every tough and traumatic situation is an area of opportunity to find strength and love. Hang in there everyone 💕

Thanks Melissa Beasley for sharing the below (taken from County of Napa Website - Cached Page) 💕


MANAGING STRESS DURING DISASTER If you lost your home, it is normal to have any or all of the following reactions: • Difficulty concentrating or focusing • Feeling numb or extremely sensitive or both • Difficulty sleeping and/or eating • Nightmares • Feeling lost • Lack of energy • Intrusive thoughts • Inability to connect to others • Intense fatigue • Anxiety symptoms • Being in shock and feeling overwhelmed • Increased startle response • Loss of interest in pleasurable events • Feeling urgency to get as much done as quickly as possible (even when it isn’t possible) • Flashbacks and strong responses to noises (such as wind, loud bangs, etc.) • Intense anger and/or irritability

If you have not lost your home, but your neighbors have, it is normal to have any or all of the above reactions and also: • Intense guilt • “Survivor guilt”

• Feeling on the “outside”

WHAT TO DO: • Get rest • Create a routine and/or schedule • Take your time: emotional recovery cannot be rushed • Talk, talk, talk about what happened, how you feel, etc. • Stay hydrated, eat well, get exercise • Connect with others through your community, family, friends or place of worship • Pay attention to and reduce how much alcohol or other drugs you are using to cope • Contact the national Disaster Distress Helpline: Call: (800) 985-5990 Text: “TalkWithUs” to 66746

Remember that having a strong response to this is totally and completely normal. Not everyone will have the same reactions: some will have more, some less, some now, some later. If any of the above last for more than a couple of weeks, reach out for extra help. If any physical symptoms last, please see your primary health care provider. If you or someone you know have persistent feelings of suicide, immediately call Sonoma County's 24-hour Emergency Mental Health Hotline: (800) 746-8181. [OR A HOTLINE NEAR YOU] If it is an emergency, call 911.

Oh my goodness... please have tissues ready. We love you Santa Rosa. #santarosastrong

My friend’s new mantra (which I’m totally adopting).

My friend came up with this slogan to invoke HOPE

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