There is so much I am thankful for with each Thanksgiving. It’s crazy to think that this year marks twenty years since I moved to San Francisco from Belarus with my family, not knowing what the future, or even tomorrow would hold. I am endlessly grateful for my beautiful family. Having my parents living so close to us and seeing them enjoy quality time with our girls, melts my heart every time I see them together. Getting to do what I am passionate about, which is a long road, the course of which I am glad I stayed on. Finding a partner, I can truly say is my best friend.
When I think about all of these things, I can’t help but feel a pang of anxiety. It’s too good to be true. What if something happens and it will be all taken away? I usually try to brush these thoughts off, and remind myself that it was not an easy path to get to this little fleeting moment in time when everything in my life just seems ‘fine’, but this year it’s different.
This year I saw firsthand that you can indeed have your whole life taken away in a matter of minutes. Eric’s dad called him at midnight that Sunday morning when the Sonoma/Napa fires started, but we were asleep and missed the call. In the morning while watching the local news over our 6am cups of coffee and scrambling to get the girls fed and ready for school, we saw the first reports starting to come through. There were fires. Multiple ones. Spreading fast and carried by unheard of winds. Leaving everything in their path in a pile of ash. “Oh my god, my dad babe! He called me!” Eric was terrified. His dad lives in the heart of where the fires were spreading and we spent the next five hours hopelessly trying to get ahold of him. When we finally did, he told us that he had to get out of the house as quickly as possible and had no idea if it was now still standing.
The Safari West (an animal sanctuary), which is right next door was the only other property spared, and has its own amazing story of survival.
Greg’s girlfriend lost her house. Everything. Gone. And what’s left is just the ‘why?’ Why does one person get ‘spared’ and another loses everything in a blink of an eye? And most importantly what can we do to help the 3,000 families who lost their whole lives pick up the pieces and try to start over?
One of my favorite things about the blogging world has been getting to meet some amazing ladies, with hearts bigger than their vast shoe collections. I have such a hard time with the vapid side of the blogger sphere, or at least the perception that because someone is into fashion, that’s all they are into. So, when my friend Erika of “Whiskey & Lace”, who lives in Sonoma county reached out, saying that she wanted to organize something to help create greater awareness of all the help that was needed in the area, I was all in. She and her family had gone through the wild ride of almost being evacuated from their home, and she was now seeing that after just a few short weeks, volunteer efforts and donations were already drying up. So she decided to have a group of local blogger gals come together for a day of volunteering and spreading the world on what everyone can do to help.
We got an opportunity to volunteer at the Redwood Empire Foodbank, which is has had an overwhelming spike in meals needed. They have made over 3,000 additional meals in just the first few days after the fires.
Below are some links (provided from Erika’s post) for the Redwood Empire Food Bank, and other places to which you can donate or volunteer your time. We all have to remember that this type of tragedy will affect these families for years to come. That having at least the assurance of a hot meal for themselves and their children will go a long way. Let’s come together this holiday season and truly give back.
A shout out to all my amazing ladies, each of whom used their influencer voices to spread the word on this very important cause
Hannah of “Vogue in Vines” blog
Katie, owner of “Lola & Ivy” PR firm
Lisa, who also represents Lola & Ivy
Kara, owner of “The Stylist LA“
Stephanie, of “The City Blonde” blog
Erika, of Whiskey & Lace Blog who put this entire day together and has been an amazing advocate for helping her beautiful community get through this difficult time. Please take the time to read her incredible story and how it has affected her own family and friends.
Thanks for reading friends, and have a great holiday weekend!