September 21, 2011


Dear Friends & Family,
It is with mixed sadness and optimism that I write this...As some of you may already know, we were affected by the wildfires of Bastrop County over Labor Day Weekend. That Sunday morning I had gone to Bastrop grocery shopping.  Around 2pm I headed home and could see in the distance, in the direction of our home, smoke filling the air.  I immediately called Rob at home and told him to look and see if he could tell where the smoke was located. I then passed up the fire to the north of our location and made it home.  

We checked our local Bastrop County Emergency Mgmt facebook page to see if there were any posts about it. Soon, they posted that the neighborhood next to ours was under mandatory evacuation.  We kept an eye on the sky, and soon dark smoke filled the forest to the north. We made the decision that we too needed to evacuate. We gathered our firebox/important papers, a change of clothes, and some baby toys and left....thinking that we could reenter the area the next day...that surely the fire would blow the other direction away from our home.
Ultimately, the Bastrop Complex Fire grew to a massive 34,000+ acres and destroyed nearly 1700 homes. (The largest in Texas History and 3rd largest in National History).  We waited 5 days with no news on whether our home had been affected...sadly, as many others, our home and all structures were completely destroyed.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, it has been an emotional journey of anxiety, hope, overwhelming kindness/support, bountiful prayers, devastation, loss, and now- hope again for a new future. Prior to our son's birth in 2009, we had made major renovations to our house, built a guest cabin, and an art workshop completely outfitted for wood and clay sculpture. All that is lost now and clean-up and rebuilding will certainly be an arduous process- however, we remain faithful in knowing that our lives evolve toward our highest good....
We have made the decision that we will rebuild on our property. Of our 7 acres of forest, 5+ acres suffered major devastation on the back portion of the property, but the area directly around the homestead still has trees with some green and shrubs that are drought affected but not burned. Our forest landscape is forever changed- it won't be as it was, but it will grow to become something new and perhaps even more beautiful.
We have mindful gratitude for the blessings that surround us during this time...your thoughts, prayers, and offers in kind...for them, we thank you and we thank our Creator- for God is good, all the time.


With love and grace,
Jamaica & Robert 

Beyond Our Back Doorstep, 2007

Many thanks to Jamaica's sister for creating this video set to a song their dad wrote over 30 years ago...Jamaica grew up listening to the words of this song and took them to heart...that dream led us to Bastrop in 2007.  

"Country Life" by Hank Stegall