One Year Later

Last Saturday, I drove to meet with Pastor Doug in Magalia. It’s been a little over a year since the tragic campfire. I’ve driven the road up to Magalia a thousand times and have watched the progression of healing. Pastor Doug and I sat down for a couple hours at a local cafe and reminisced of the past and the journey we have taken together over the last year. In that conversation, what rushed into my mind was all of you that invested your time, money and thoughts towards those in need. I am so grateful of your support of Pastor Doug’s efforts in Magalia. He has stood so strong on the front lines, never wavering in helping those in need.

Thanksgiving is the time of year where we think about what we are grateful for. I am grateful for Tracy and the kids. Chelsea, Tara, and Collin, Chris, Erin and Ryan. As I get older, family is what I seem to be gravitating to most. I am grateful for the people who work at High-Hand and the investment of their time that they have given me.

As I drove up the road, I thought about all the people that you helped and the stories of tragedy and triumph. What are you grateful for? What is important to you? As I spoke with Doug, we talked about what’s next for people in the area. Before the fire, everybody had their life. Perfect or not it was the life they knew. The fire came and turned their life into complete chaos with no clear direction. A year later, some of that still exists. It just looks different. Doug and I talked about the next step of picking up the pieces. Redefining how your life is going to look, can be daunting. I suppose it’s easier when your younger. But when you’re older the task is much more difficult.

For the most part, the area has been cleaned up. I still recognize a few burnt up cars and structures along the way.

This was the hardware store, next to the church, that burnt down.

This is the hardware store today.
This scene repeats itself all over the mountain. The debris is gone for the most part but empty space is left over. On Pence Road on the way up, I counted four structures being built – two were homes. I stopped counting real estate signs, somewhere around 40. I can’t imagine rebuilding in this area.
It makes sense to want to rebuild where you grew up. I can only imagine the courage it takes.

For Pastor Doug, this is the last month that he will be distributing water. A new norm is slowly starting to creep in but it is a norm that looks completely different than it did before. It’ll take generations to recover.

We are completing two more tiny houses. This one is going back up to Magalia. Life is slowly turning around.

From the first days when Tracy and I stood in a smoky Walmart parking lot, it has been quite a journey. It’s a journey that we could not have gone on without all of you. We are grateful, thank you.

Looking Forward To Christmas At High-Hand

Saturday, December 7th join us for our annual holiday light display. We flip the switch at 5:30pm. Stroll through the Victorian Christmas Faire, shop, eat and drink. It takes Adrian months to prepare the nursery for Christmas. I am already thinking about preparing for next years Christmas – crazy, right? We hope you will join us. We have a few dinner reservations that you can make online by clicking here. I hate to tell you this but the only night we have open is December 13th, we have about 70 reservations available. I hope you will join us.

Embrace family and be grateful for the simple things. Happy Thanksgiving!

See you at High-Hand,


Pin It on Pinterest