What are these tiny things floating around my face? We don't have fireflies in this part of California. Then it dawns on me that these tiny particles are actually pieces of ash falling from the sky. The fires in Napa and Vacaville have combined to a strong force that now threatens my home. There is only one small and very dry mountain ridge that stands between me and the fire. The winds are gaining strength and this little ridge isn't giving me much confidence as a shield of protection. I have never experienced a fire for myself but I have seen on T.V. that if a fire is hell bent on crossing a dry ridge, nothing will stop it. A neighbor who has access to a police and fire scanner shares the news with me that time is not on our side and we need to be prepared to evacuate. 

It's amazing how moments like this can become eye-opening, soul expanding experiences. I've been allotted twenty minutes to walk through my home and assess what I really "need" to have in order to move forward in life.  What can't I absolutely live without?

Standing in the center of each room of my home I slowly spin around and examine the "things" I've collected over 57 years of life. Room by room I stand and assess the "stuff" and I walk out empty handed. A container of photo's that haven't been scanned or saved onto a thumb-drive are carefully dragged out of storage and placed into the trunk of my car. Of all the decorations that adorn my walls, a hand carved piece of wood that represents the Lords Prayer is the only "thing" I want to take. My Uncle carved the prayer onto the wood for my Mom as a gift. She cherished this gift from him when she was alive. This piece reminded me of her special love and it just fit inside the front of my trunk. The special pair of high-heels that I once thought I "had" to have for a special event don't get a second glance from me. Only a couple pieces of jewelry with sentimental value are slipped into my purse. Two pair of socks are squished into the toes of my favorite tennis shoes and my favorite pair of summer flip-flops are pressed together and placed into a paper bag. Three pair of shorts; a tank top; a night-shirt; underwear and a bra.....that's it. My medications and supplies for my insulin pump are placed near the front seat so I'll know where they are at all times. The important documents and passports fit neatly into a manila envelope and I'm done.  One cat carrier will be sufficient for two cats and a case of cat food will take care of my two loving critters. With my computer in hand I look at all the extra space I have in the trunk and I laugh. Without blinking an eye, 4000 square feet of home and "stuff" fit easily into a trunk. There is extra room on my back seat but there isn't anything I need or couldn't absolutely live without.

The winds that are fueling the fire have changed. I've just been notified that my home is no longer in threat of being burned and the trunk can be unpacked. Not only have the winds changed; so have I.      Next week when I'm standing in a store or looking on the internet for something I "think" I need to buy, I'll remember this twenty minutes. I want the "things" that surround me to be reminders of the memories that make my life beautiful, lighter and happier.

Get ready! You have twenty minutes. There is room in your trunk for only one more small box. There are two boxes left and you have to choose between the two. You may only take one box. Inside one of the boxes is your prized possession; something you've kept on your mantle for years. The other box contains all the memories of your life. Contained within these memories is the love you have received; the love you have given; the love you have witnessed others sharing with each other and all the joy that life has given you. You will also find in this box, the strength that was developed through struggle and conflict. Which box are you going to grab to put into your trunk?   

Once you make certain that the people and animals you love are safe, you'll discover that within your core sits a fireproof box. Inside this fireproof box sits everything of value. You don't even need a trunk.

Take that twenty minutes.....evaluate and appreciate.