Thomas Fire, Ready, Set, Go!

Footage from our street taken by neighbor

Ready, Set, Go!

Evacuating our home wasn’t exactly what my husband and I thought we’d be doing at 5:00 AM a few Tuesdays ago, but due to seven years of drought, fast Santa Ana winds, and dry air, we had planned for the event, if and when the time came. We had listened to the numerous fire warnings and heeded to the motto – Ready, Set, Go!

The Beast Had Arrived: The Thomas Fire.

Luna and Cash (cat and dog) would be first into the cars. Depending on the time frame they would be followed by photo albums, hard drives, computers, and my husband’s guitar collection. But when the banging on the door woke us up, I was thankful for a few things: Luna comes to me when I whistle for her, and Cash – for the first time in his life –  jumped immediately into the car. With no power, I was grateful that I sleep with my camping headlamp on my bedside table (the Northridge Earthquake taught me that lesson). My early-morning walks with Cash had me in the habit of laying my clothes out the night before – I think it took me fifteen seconds to dress.

That one moment…

Standing in the middle of our living room, I looked around at all of the items my family and I had collected over the years. I realized that I already had everything I needed in my life waiting for me in the car and in L.A., and far away in Australia. On a whim, I went back into my office and grabbed one book, a favorite that I knew would bring me comfort if our house was to burn down.

Claddagh Ring Door Knocker

In L.A., my dear 92 years-young Mother-in-law opened her home and her heart to us. One evening, as we sat in the living room together I suggested we watch a chick flick. I chose Leap Year. The theme – what would be the one thing you’d grab if you had a moment to leave your home – resonated with me, and the Claddagh ring has a special meaning to my family and I for it represents love, loyalty, and friendship. Here’s a photo of our front door during the holiday season – note the Claddagh ring door knocker.

Thank You To The Firefighters And First Responders

As I write this post, the Thomas Fire has been burning for sixteen days, is 60% contained, and has burned 272,000 acres, making it the second largest fire in California history. Sadly, two lives have been lost; one a firefighter, the other a victim trying to flee the fire in her car.

Friends have lost their homes, wildlife has perished, and ash and smoke still hover over this valley. A shadow of sadness has touched all who live here, and neighbors who are slowly venturing out of homes wearing face-masks, share stories of evacuations, fighting alongside firefighters, and the gnawing shadow of depression, we fight so hard to keep at bay.

If you’re able, please consider donating to the victims of the Thomas Fire. Below are two of the many organizations you can donate to:

Humane Society

United Way 

In the spirit of the giving season, the team at Cricket Publishing has audio copies of A Secret Muse book one of The Creatives Series (U.S. and U.K. only), to give away to the first ten subscribers to email us.

A Secret Muse – Audio

We wish you a safe holiday season filled with friends, family, and beloved pets.


Mandy, Olena, and the team at Cricket Publishing.

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About Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly studied flute in Sydney, worked couture fashion in London, and has been a successful costume designer in LA, working with artists such as Madonna and David Bowie. She’s danced the tango with Robert Duvall, sewn buttons on coats with John Galliano, and discussed the art of sobriety with Alice Cooper and Russell Brand.

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