A Little Too close For Comfort

A Little Too close For Comfort

With fires raging all over California, living in a forest is a bit scary. When a blaze started only a couple of miles away from our house two days ago, it was way too close for comfort for Tommy and me. We have owned our Shingletown, California property for over seven years but only recently moved into our finished home on it. We have friends who have lived here for more than ten years, and they have been evacuated due to fire only once. That contributed to my sense of optimism about living in a wooded area and remaining safe from fires: that, and daily prayer.

Our friends, the Frisbee’s, are part of a fire watch team and are notified immediately about any local threats. When Dave called us on Tuesday afternoon, we assumed it was just to chat. Instead, he informed Tommy that there was a car fire on Shingletown Ridge Road and that five acres had already burned because of it. Our home is on Shingletown Ridge Road, so this was a bit disconcerting. I was working on my computer when Tommy jumped into the ATV to take a drive and see how far away the fire was and how bad it looked. If I’m honest, I wasn’t in a panic at all. I was typing away on my computer when Tommy came blowing through the door and said, “Pack a bag! We’re leaving!”

My calm demeanor went right out the¬†window with that statement. My natural instinct was to ask my husband what he meant, which was a stupid question in retrospect. He’d gone down our road far enough to see lots of firetrucks when he stopped to talk to a man in a truck headed the other way. The man told him that the blaze was enormous. Tommy turned around and headed home. While Tommy was battening down the hatches outside, I wandered around the house in a bit of a stupor. Since the Frisbee’s hadn’t said that we should evacuate, I wondered if Tommy was overreacting.

I had thrown a couple of changes of clothes and some toiletries into a bag when Dave called again and told me that the fire had jumped to a hundred acres. Now I was in full-on freakout mode, chastising myself for not having a plan in place for this very occasion. I was frantically running around the house, trying to decide what to throw into my car when Dave called again and said that someone had shared information about the wrong fire. Our fire was at 15 acres, and they seemed to be getting a handle on it. Linda Frisbee called back shortly afterward and told me that an evacuation had been ordered and that we should come to their house, which is further up Highway 44. She said I could put our cat, Paddy, in her office and hang out with them until it was okay to return home.

Of all of the times to have the motorhome in for repairs and warranty work, this was very inconvenient. Paddy is very comfortable in the RV, and packing him and necessities up in the motorhome would have been much easier and less stressful. I threw our laptops and other items that I thought were important into the back of my car, and Tommy put some of his guns in his truck. He got Paddy into his carrier, which is something that he always leaves for me to do. This was serious!

I’m sure our poor cat was feeling our tension. Paddy screamed at the top of his lungs all the way to the Frisbee’s house. This made an already difficult situation even more distressing. Once I was situated in Linda’s office with Paddy and a much-needed cocktail, I started to calm down a little. Apparently, my emotions hadn’t told my face. Linda kept asking me if I was okay and assuring me that the first time something like this happens is the scariest. Damn skippy, it is.

Paddy calmed down and was busy checking out the new surroundings and enjoying some food that Linda provided. However, I insisted that I was more worried about him than anything else. She rolled her eyes a little when she told me that he was handling the situation much better than I was. I hate to admit that she was right.

I’m thrilled to tell you that Cal Fire and the Shingletown Volunteer Fire Department were fantastic. Within an hour of arriving at the Frisbee’s, we were informed by the Shingletown Emergency Defense Radio Service that Highway 44 and been reopened, and the evacuation notice had been lifted. I declined Linda’s kind offer to stay longer. I just wanted to be in my own house with my cat. Tommy stayed a little while and visited with Dave.

This scare brought to light the fact that we had no plan in place for evacuation. I’d been reading many posts on Facebook from people who were either in harm’s way and scared or evacuated. A friend who survived the Paradise fire but lost everything had posted an excellent readiness list, sharing from her own experience. And yet, I had done nothing. I was so sure that we are protected because of prayer that I failed to use wisdom. God promises his protection, but he also advises us to use sound judgment. Being prepared in case of an emergency is the wise thing to do. I’m now working on a better plan. I’ll have to look for my friend’s list again.

We dodged a catastrophe, and I am so grateful. I’ve walked The Ridge, which I refer to as “the hill” every other day since we got settled on our property six months ago. I’d walked it the morning of the fire, and I did again today. Seeing the burnt-out area up close and personal made me even more grateful. Firefighters were hosing down the area to make sure there were no hotspots left. The car that had started the blaze was sitting where it landed, wedged up against the tree that stopped its descent. I checked it out from every angle and wondered how the heck it got into that position. A huge boulder and another tree were enveloping it. It just didn’t make any sense to me.

I continued my walk farther down the hill, and on my return, I stopped to talk to a firefighter that was inspecting the area close to the car. I told him about my confusion as to how the car got there. He said that the car died while driving up the road, and without its power brakes, the driver couldn’t stop it from sliding back down the hill. The driver made it out okay, but apparently, the car caught on fire. As of the last report, the reason that car burned is still unknown. The whole thing is a bit odd to me. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how it happened.

As you can see from the pictures, the firefighters stopped what could have easily escalated into a huge disaster. Beyond every burnt area is dry brush and trees. There is a house within 100 yards of where the car landed. I thanked the firefighter profusely before continuing my trek up the hill. I said, “God bless you and keep you safe.” He was so unassuming and humble. “Just doing our job as best we can,” he replied. I can not begin to express how grateful I am for our public servants. So many of them are being treated horribly. Our dictator, governor Newscum, had the audacity to cut our firefighters’ wages by 7.5%. Meanwhile, he failed to take the 10% payout that he promised he would. He is the highest-paid governor in the United States. And look at the mess we are in.

I don’t want to make this a political post, but if you haven’t signed the Recall Newsom Petition, you should do it as soon as possible. This man needs to go, and we need to take back the state that we were once all so proud of. I’m praying for a Red Wave in California. I hope you all get out and vote.

Gratefulness Abounds

Gratefulness Abounds

Thirty years ago, when our relationship was just budding, I told Tommy when we retired, it would be great to see the country in a motorhome. I believe it was a desire God placed in my heart. He knew that it would one day become a reality. He saw all of the difficulties that we would face, tackle, and overcome. Back then, I had long turned my back on Christ and was living the life of a heathen and Tommy didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. But God knew what was to come. He knew that we would both turn to Him in our hour of need one day, and He would give us the life that He had planned to bless us with.

As a bona fide, type-A, control-freak, letting go and letting God was not an easy thing for me to do. But it’s the best thing I ever did. The miracles and blessings that Christ has bestowed on me are too numerous to count. He wants to bless all of His children. Sometimes He needs to turn our lives upside down to get us to turn to Him. That’s how it was for Tommy and me. If you’ve read my memoir, Born Again in a Biker Bar, you know our story. If you haven’t, I invite you to check it out on Amazon.

¬†Now God is giving me another story to write. This cross-country trip has been so amazing. We are actually doing it for the second time. Last year we took off in July and returned home in October. We saw so many amazing places, much of it with me rolling around on a knee scooter because I’d broken my ankle. This year it officially started in September, and we won’t return to our property in Shingletown, California, until March.

Cat’s Commentaries

Cat’s Commentaries

We are living in unprecedented times. Hostility and upheaval are the words of the day. Sadly, some of you want to blame it all on our president. I’m thrilled to be living in a more conservative part of California now. I can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like for me if I was still living in Hollister and running Johnny’s Bar & Grill. With a monthly nut of over $4600.00 for our lovely home and a requirement that I close my business for four months, only allowed to open with restrictions put in place by a tyrannical governor, it would not have been pretty. I thank God every day for sparing me from the horror that would have been my life.

In my 22+ years as the owner of historic Johnny’s Bar & Grill, I made many incredible friends. We were indeed a family. We are blessed to be living close to some exceptional friends who came into our lives through the bar. These friends were there from almost the beginning. They were a part of our wild and crazy party days. It’s truly amazing how we have all changed, not just in age but also in life’s priorities. We are all on the same page spiritually and politically. The Lord sure works in mysterious ways.

Now to my Trump-hating friends. Some of the comments I see on Facebook from people that I know and love absolutely break my heart. The real haters will not bother to read this post. You are not open to hearing a positive thing about our 45th president. He could personally find a cure for cancer, and you’d find a reason to slam him for it. The reasons for your hatred are unfounded and ludicrous. Did I lose most of you?
I’ve had friends go on about the fact that Trump has been married three times. I’ll bet there are quite a few of you that have been married more than once. I am Tommy’s third wife. We have been together for almost 31 years. I’m glad that our friends aren’t so judgmental about divorce, where my husband is concerned. Why is it so different when it’s Trump?

Another thing that makes the haters crazy is Trump’s brash personality and penchant for saying what he thinks. He doesn’t beat around the bush, and he tells it like it is. If you’ve known me for very long, you know I could just as well be describing myself. I’ve come a long way in that area, but I still have some work to do, which brings me to the fact that Trump has also changed a lot over the years. His views on many issues have changed just as mine has. All of you perfect folks out there that have never put your foot in your mouth, or said something tactless, go ahead and throw the first stone.

Those that knew met me in 1995 and those that met me ten years later would undoubtedly see me through different lenses. By 2005 I had been walking with the Lord for a few years. It changed me a lot as a person. The controlling, manipulative, my-way-or-the-highway, woman had to go if I was going to be all that God wanted me to be and have all that He wanted me to have. He had to slam me to my knees through Tommy’s request for a divorce. Our story gives credence to the vernacular that God uses bad things to bring about a good result. You can read the tale of our miracles in my memoir Born Again in a Biker Bar.

Why is it so hard for you haters to believe that I could change, but our president can’t? Have you folks changed any of your beliefs in your adult years? Have you become a better person? I would hope so. Have you ever done things that you regretted? If you say that you haven’t, I’m going to call you a liar. There I go with that brash, straightforward mouth. We ALL have areas in our lives and personalities that can use some growth. I’m glad that God has been so patient with me. My changes didn’t happen overnight, and I’m still a work in progress.

I can be reckless and occasionally insensitive, but I’ll tell you what I’m not. I’m not a racist, and neither is our president. Apparently, because I support Donald Trump, some of you have decided that I must be racist. That’s ludicrous. If I addressed all of the lies that the media is shoving down the hater’s throats in one post, it would be way too long. I’m going to talk about one issue at a time. Today it’s the lie that President Trump is a racist. I’m going to share some concrete facts that prove otherwise. If you’re still with me and are not a hater, you may want to jot some of this down to share it with your hater friends. That is if they still talk to you. I haven’t written anybody off because they believe differently from me, but many have written me off. That’s just one example of the difference between Trump supporters and haters. With haters, there is no room for a difference of opinion.

Here are some facts that blow the racist falsehood right out the window. I pray that there are a few open-minded, undecided folks that will read this. First of all, the unemployment rate among black, Hispanic, Asian, and minority Americans plummeted to the lowest rates in history under President Trump. If you don’t believe me, look it up. As a matter of fact, I challenge you to research every statement I make. You should know for yourself. No one needs to take my word for it. Under the Trump administration, poverty rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans reached an ALL-TIME low. Please don’t even try to tell me it was because of anything that Obama did before leaving office. That is easily disputed.

President Trump implemented the First Step Act in 2018 and did more for minorities than any other president in history. That includes our first black president. I’m willing to bet that many of you have never even heard of the First Step Act. I’m going to tell you a bit about it because it was life-changing for many minorities.

First of all, it enacted reforms that make the justice system fairer and helps inmates to return to society successfully. The reforms addressed inequities in sentencing laws that disproportionately harmed black Americans and reformed mandatory minimum sentences that often created injustice. It expanded judicial discretion in sentencing for non-violent crimes. Judges can now look at all the extenuating circumstances and give sentences that they believe are fair.
The First Step Act provides rehabilitation programs to inmates, helping them to successfully take their place in society and not return to a life of crime. Here’s a big one for you, folks. More than 90% of those benefiting from the retroactive sentencing reductions are black Americans. Where does that fit in the racist rhetoric?

President Trump is promoting second-chance hiring to allow former inmates to live crime-free lives and find meaningful employment. He launched a new “Ready to Work” Initiative that helps connect employers directly with former prisoners. Too bad, our first black president didn’t come up with the fabulous First Step Act.

Now let’s talk about the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Trump increased its funding by over 14%. He also signed legislation forgiving Hurricane Katrina debt that threatened many of the HBCU’s. He made those colleges and universities a priority by creating the position of Executive Director of the White House on HBCU’s. You’d think a black president would have done things like that, not a racist. Trump received the Bipartisan Justice Award at a Historically Black College for his criminal justice reform accomplishments. Would a black college give the award to a racist? I think not.

One of the most significant accomplishments our president made, and you won’t hear about from the media, is the historic tax cut legislation that included the new Opportunity Zone Incentives. They promote investment in low-income communities across the country. Here’s a quote from the Economic Innovation Group about Opportunity Zones: 31.5 million people call Opportunity Zones home (35 million, including Puerto Rico and the territories). The majority of Opportunity Zones residents, 57 percent, are non-white minorities, compared to 39 percent of the country as a whole. Black Americans are particularly over-represented in Opportunity Zones, constituting nearly twice as large a share of the zone population as they do the national population. Would a racist president insist we help bring back abandoned cites like Detroit with these initiatives through tax cuts? According to my Trump-hating friends, he only cares about the rich. Opportunity Zones are expected to spur one hundred billion dollars in longterm private capital investment in economically distressed communities across the nation. That is if we can put this COVID crap behind us and get on with making America great again.

I’m pretty sure the only people still hanging with me at this point are either Trump supporters or undecided folks. This is way too much positive information about our president for the haters to handle. I’ve been reading a lot and doing a lot of research. I got many facts from Ralph Reed’s book, For God and Country, The Christian Case For Trump. You should check it out and also read David Horowitz’s book The Dark Agenda. It will blow your mind.

We all need to step up to the plate if we want to save our nation. If we don’t want to see America become a socialist country, we need to reelect President Trump. You don’t need to like the man, but you should examine the policies he’s made that make America great. Compare them to the policies of Biden and Harris. When you do, the choice is clear. Just imagine what Donald Trump will accomplish when he has a Republican House and Senate working with him. It will be epic!

Thanks for hanging with me. I hope I’ve enlightened you a little. I plan on talking about more of President Trump’s accomplishments as we head into the election. The media has no intention of sharing the truth with the American people. They are in the back pockets of the Democrat’s. Tommy and I refuse to watch the news anymore. The slanderous lies, misquotes, and twisted scenarios are only going to get worse. It would be best if you made your decisions based on your research and your gut. You need to follow your moral beliefs when you check those boxes. I won’t even get started on abortion. That’s for another day.

God bless you, our president, and God bless America. Trump 2020 and a big Red Wave coming. We need to pray daily for all of it.