Where will I Sleep tonight?

I arrived in Texas four days ago from a three month solo minivan journey to the Tampa, Florida area and back. I avoided Interstates much as possible. Out of 3000 miles traveled, only 300 were on freeways. The rest was on two lane highways or local roads. I traveled through parts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Panhandle of Florida, Central Florida, SW Florida, and Mississippi.

Each night I had to face the challenge of Where will I sleep tonight? Every single night! I could not ignore nor put it off. Every day it got dark and every evening I needed to stop and sleep. This was one of the biggest challenges of this journey. I learned the hard way to plan ahead and even make reservations, from a hotel room to a camp-spot on the Overlander app.

This is me at the great Mississippi River

I had along with me one thing that was even worse than having little money. I hated it. This was my irrational fears of someone hurting me, somehow. I have traveled alone extensively, hiked alone in Nicaragua and many trails in the states, yet this fear has robbed me of In the Moment Joy too many times.

My trusty protector and companion Kaladin has gone a long way to help me fight the fear, but it still hung on.

I slept in Truck Stops, which intimidated me incredibly at first. By the time I was returning to Texas, I was missing their safety and facilities. With black out curtains and the great reflecix for my windows for privacy, I could snuggle in my bed and be unseen!

I always parked on the ‘car side’ of the truck stop. One night a Big rig parked next to me and the idling engine lulled me to sleep.

I camped in the woods alone with my dog. Talk about messing with my head!! This was a marathon mind fight. But I improved. I asked myself, ‘what can I do about it? what action can I take to lessen my vulnerability? I bought a safety whistle, I bought pepper spray and I planned what I would do. (blow the van horn like a crazy lady).

Paul Johnson State Park, Hattieburg, Mississippi
Their primitive sites are truly that – no water, no electricity, no bathrooms. Just me, Kaladin and nature.

Many times in the past I have tried to win over my fears by refusing to entertain them or mentally rebuking the thoughts. These processes helped in the moment, but were often exhausting and only a temporary fix. The fears came back. When I decided on a plan and took actions, I finally slept like a baby.

And Here We Are. Maybe you also deal with irrational fears messing with your thinking and your mindset. It is easy for the Covid19 Virus and all it surrounds and all that surrounds it,to bring out the fears because it is such an unsolved unknown. I can testify that fighting our fears by trying to simply silence them does not work long-term. We need to be able to offer ourselves possible solutions.

One my recent journey, I learned a great method for stopping those damaging thoughts. I practiced Being In The Moment. Just stopping and noting what is around me, the sounds, the smells, the colors. I am alive in this moment. Outside, I lift my face to the wind and the sky. I am alive in this moment. Deep breaths. I also leaned on my Spotify music – I have 100 playlists! I learned to take out my anxieties by dancing, just letting loose, just being in the moment with myself. And I have learned over the years to just Sit is also good. And maybe most of all, I acknowledged that I am not in control of my life and I have never been. I will exercise my Faith. It is strong and has saved me many many times.

This too shall pass. We are a part of world-changing history. Out of writing this post, I have reminded myself to Let Go, I am not in control anyway. Dance, sing, laugh, reach out, be productive and keep the faith!!

3000 miles and there were kind people everywhere. If they were not outright kind, they were courteous and respectful. We Are All Here, TOGETHER. We are Human. We can do this too.

showing my true self, hopefully to encourage you

cheri – Nomad with a Cause

I Write or I Starve


These precious boys lost the walls of their home

These precious boys lost the walls of their home

This morning my heart is so very heavy and to be honest, a bit scared.  The what ifs are screaming – I hate what-ifs.  What if we cannot help everyone?  What if we fail?

This is always where I have no choice but to reach down deep in my soul and grab hold of my faith that we are not alone, that there are resources and caring people out there. Hurricane Nate caused massive flooding in our communities in Tola, Nicaragua a month ago.  So many affected families!!  I woke this morning with my neck in knots and my stomach also.  But I also was grateful that I know a remedy – it just takes some effort and taking a bit of time alone.  I grabbed my yoga mat and my Bluetooth speaker and headed out to the sun.  I first chose music that pulled and tugged at the pain in my heart – that made it come to the surface and also caused the tears to flow.  I bent and bowed and reached to the sky.  I cried loud, from my gut.  Nobody was around – I could do this without inhibitions.  It hurt but my heart was thankful that I acknowledged the pain, that I unburied it.  Strangely, it felt right.

Then I chose a song called “It is going to be worth it all”.  I sang it loud.  Then the old one “It is well with my soul”.  Some Yanni, a bit of Cello with the Piano Guys.  30 minutes later, I paused.  I laid down.  I rested.  My heart rested and was grateful.  This feat of helping so many is not up to me.  It is even not up to all the amazing volunteers who are giving of themselves.  We are the hands and the feet, even more than that, we are Love, we are Hope.  WE SEE YOU.  Someone cares.  We are in this together.


Valentina was very thrilled with her gifts. #Ilovedonors

Today I am moving my suitcases out of the comfortable, warm loving home of my daughter and going into the pueblo.  I will enjoy the many meals of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) with my pueblo friends, I might fight off some monster mosquitos, I might not sleep with A/C, but I will be there.  I will see and hug and cry and Know.  I am honored to be an expat here because I have access to resources that my pueblo friends do not.  I have access to the internet and caring people flung across many places.  I am not alone.  We are not alone.


It seems so strange to me but it is true, that when I allow my heart to hurt, I become more resolved and stronger for the fight.   Some families have lost their entire homes but even more have lost walls, as the photo above.  The Wells are contaminated and no clean drinking water.  I will share in next posts encouraging stories of all the hearts and hands that are helping and also stories as I visit the people and take photos and interviews.  Come along with me on this journey!



wHi there everyone.  So strange to be writing a report about Hurricane Harvey relief when I have loved ones hunkering down in Florida for the next hurricane Irma. At the same time to read about an earthquake in Mexico, with possible tsunami waves headed to Nicaragua, where my daughter and her family live by the beach and loved ones by the coast.  Then to open my Facebook and read the sorrow expressed from the fires in the northwest.   Let’s see, what was I writing about again?

But I am going to do it anyway. Maybe my report can help encourage someone out there or maybe it can educate some that will be soon going through an aftermath of a storm themselves.

We put out the word on FaceBook on Thursday, Aug. 31 that we wanted to go search for the smaller towns that need help and ‘are not on the media radar yet.” A young man, Chris Leos, whom I had met a couple times a few years ago spoke up.  He gathered a great crew from his friends and I had a friend of mine volunteer also, Alex George.  Here is the crew:

The first MOG Harvey Crew-smaller size

We left San Antonio about 6 am.  We had three vehicles loaded with donations. Where would we go?  What would we find?   I was on Social Media during the 3-hour drive south, asking people what they knew, any suggestions, any contacts.  We needed gas!  ‘Nope, that station is closed,  no, that station is out of gas’…but behold!  A truck stop with trucks, trailers, jeeps, cars everywhere and all loaded with donations or a barbeque rig!  It gave me chills, honestly, to see so many concerned, loving people – all going to ‘help’, not even knowing exactly what that will mean.

We found gas!

We had been told that towns south of Victoria, about 30 miles from the coast had been hard hit.  It was not easy to really know – so much information was coming in. ‘This town needs help, no no they got it, it is this town,  go over there…

We ended up first in Bayside.  So very sad – so much destruction. But in Bayside, as every town we traveled to, donations were overflowing.  People from so many places want to help.  But this is the thing:  Most people were not back in their houses yet.  They will need those clothes, but right now they are thinking of how to get back home.  This is what Bayside looked like:

IMG_1563        IMG_1558

At this point, we were thinking in terms of all the donations we had in our vehicles and it seemed to us to be the first order of business – find who needs it!  Bayside did not have many hands on helpers, but lots of stuff.  So we drove on.

We ended up in Austwell. This is a charming small bayside community. We spent the rest of the day clearing debris there – talk about hot, sweaty work!! But the locals were very grateful.  We also visited with the leaders at the community center. They actually asked us to please not leave our donations with them. They were overflowing and had no place to store anymore.  This is what they finally had to do:


This is their Pavilion for community events, parties, etc.

Here are a few photos of us in action.  I know that clearing brush is such a small thing, but small things that give hope are mighty big, actually.







And To wrap up this #Harvey Report, I want to give a couple shout-outs.

The so important elec crews

So much depends on these workers, repairing the electricity.  Every time we passed a crew, they had smiles and a tip of the hat for us – but they sure looked tired.


Texas Barbque Come and Get it

This is Danny and Sharlene Tate from Robstown, Tx.  They were such a blessing – not only their great sausage and fixings but that cold watermelon slice on such a hot day.

Thank you, Danny and Sharlene, thank you Texans for caring and coming, thank you community leaders in all these towns – working and giving and directing, while they themselves were suffering.  Thank you MOG crew – you dudes were awesome!

Stay tuned for the next segment – we are going to Port O’Connor Sunday.  Planning on repairing a roof of a community leader, clear debris and most importantly – identify a few families to adopt to help them rebuild.

Any contributions to this cause will go 100% to Hurricane Harvey MOG Relief fund.  We do not pay salaries and have little overhead and great big hearts.

Missions of Grace Donate here

Read more here and sign up to volunteer:   Missions of Grace