Luxurious Living in Nebraska

September 4, 2017

The smoke in Rapid City has only gotten worse each day. Yesterday, it was downright horrible. The air was thick and everything was hazy. You couldn’t even see the horizon. The air quality index hit 178, which crosses the threshold from unhealthy for sensitive individuals to unhealthy for everyone.

Not only was it burning my throat, it was affecting my whole body. My pain levels were rising, the little strength I had turned to weakness, and my brain was just as foggy as the sky. Not to mention, I was anxious and almost depressed. Brett was stressed and angry. It was 95 degrees out and we were both sweaty and miserable. Ramona couldn’t stop panting.

We decided to go to Blaze Pizza in the afternoon so we could be indoors while we tried to figure out a game plan. After I shed a few tears, we both admitted what we already knew in our hearts. We needed to leave again. This level of smoke was just too much for all of us! I was especially concerned about Ramona. She’s such a small dog and she couldn’t escape into the indoors like we could.

So, Brett told the employees at the restaurant what was going on and they said it was fine for me to sit in the building while he went back to the ranch to pack up. It was a bit ironic to realize that in this case, I actually felt better indoors than I did outdoors.

Brett got back a little over an hour later and we set out to escape the smoke. First we thought we’d try southern Wyoming but it became clear that the smoke was about to overtake that area as well. So we decided to try Nebraska. The smoke map was showing that a lot of Nebraska was still clear. So we headed towards Sidney.

It was a very unpleasant drive! The smoke was palpable. Then we got pulled over for going over 70 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone! Thankfully, we didn’t get a ticket.

Several hours into Nebraska it became clear that the smoke was following us into the state. We weren’t going to get out of it by continuing to drive south! We thought about continuing onto Colorado but we were exhausted! When we finally reached Sidney we decided to look for a hotel. Maybe we could get out of the smoke that way? I hadn’t slept indoors since February but my reactivity has come down a lot since then. It seemed like a long shot but worth a try.

First we stopped at a Hampton Inn only to find that they didn’t allow pets. So, I pulled up a list of dog friendly hotels and saw that the hotel right next to the Hampton Inn was one of them. Brett went by himself to check it out for me. He emerged with the news that it wasn’t going to work. The building didn’t seem very good and it was over 20 years old. The good news was, they told him about a Comfort Inn & Suites that allowed pets and was less than a year old. That sounded really promising! I could hardly contain my excitement!

We got to the hotel at around 11:00pm and Brett got a room for us. Then he came out to get me and Ramona. I stepped into the hallway eagerly but not without a little nervousness. Everything felt fine. Phew!

When Brett opened the door to our room, I squealed with delight! There was a small arm chair in the corner! I hadn’t seen an arm chair or couch in nearly 6 months! I had almost forgotten such cushiony marvels existed! I ran over and sat down with a satisfying sigh. It was glorious! I can hardly describe the simple yet overwhelming joy I felt!

The hot shower I enjoyed a few minutes later was just as glorious. I couldn’t stop oohing and ahh-ing! To think this was all commonplace just six months ago. Now it is a marvelous luxury. Warm water that pours out from the ceiling at a moments notice! And keeps washing over me for as long as I wish! At the perfect pressure and temperature! Wow! I couldn’t stop smiling and squealing at the wonder of it.

It’s sobering to think that for most of my life, I was completely oblivious to the pleasures of soft couches and warm showers. It makes me wonder how many daily pleasures I am blind to still. What joys do I experience every day that would feel like miracles if I was experiencing them for the first time? How do I reconnect with that awe and wonder? I don’t know the answers but I have a feeling that asking the question is the first step. 🙂

By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.

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  • Laura Davison

    Ana, this is amazing! I’m so glad you found a hotel that works for you!! And isn’t it so true? We do take so much for granted! How amazing that you’re able to enjoy the luxuries of a sofa and a shower. And, as always, I’m prating for you. ❤

    September 4, 2017 at 4:57 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thank you so much friend! You’re the best! ❤️

      September 4, 2017 at 5:39 pm Reply
  • Katherine Forster

    Yay! Praise the Lord, I’m so glad you found a good hotel. Praying you find a more stable place to live soon!

    September 4, 2017 at 5:59 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much Katherine! It’s a huge blessing! 💕

      September 4, 2017 at 6:52 pm Reply
  • Leslie

    I breathe a sigh of relief on your behalf. A good hotel room is indeed a blessing.

    September 4, 2017 at 6:36 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I know! It’s amazing! Such a relief!

      September 4, 2017 at 6:53 pm Reply
  • Natalie Julson

    YAY! I’m so happy that you guys got out of that smoke and were able to find a hotel that you didn’t have any problems with. Praying for you guys always

    September 4, 2017 at 6:46 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much Natalie! You’re the best! So thankful for your prayers! 😊

      September 4, 2017 at 6:53 pm Reply
  • Ruth Meyer

    We have a lot of smoke where I live, so we are all staying indoors in the air conditioning, and trying not to breath in the falling ash. It’s crazy. So glad you got a moment to rest, and a comfy chair too! 😀 Praying for your safety, and strength for the added strain on your body. Hope Ramona enjoys the break also 🙂

    September 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much Ruth! I’m sorry you’re being affected too! Stay safe friend. 💕

      September 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm Reply
  • Stephanie Lyon

    This is amazing. The smallest things can make a huge difference! What an immeasurable number of things I take for granted every day. I love you, sweet friend! Celebrating your progress and praying for continued provision of what you both need to feel good on a daily basis. Hugs!

    September 4, 2017 at 9:55 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Stephie!!!! I miss you! So good to hear from you dear friend. Thank you for your prayers and kind words. Hugs back! 💕

      September 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm Reply
  • Chris Barratt

    Wow!! This post is sobering. Just thinking about how many things I take for granted every day is amazing. And imagine others who live in third world countries. We are so blessed (and spoiled) here in America!! Thank you for this reminder to count these blessings. And it’s exciting that you got to experience so much and didn’t react. Praise God!!

    September 5, 2017 at 6:08 am Reply
    • Ana Harris


      September 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm Reply
  • Bethany Rose

    We’ve been in Montana (there have been 500,000 acres burned so far!) the last couple days and it’s been tortuous to breathe that thick smoke. All my Lyme syptmoms grew worse. I’m so glad you got out of it! And praise the Lord that you can sleep in a hotel again! ❤️ I pray you recover from the relapse soon.

    September 5, 2017 at 9:22 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Oh Bethany! I’m so sorry! I pray you can bounce back quickly. 💕

      September 5, 2017 at 2:28 pm Reply
  • Charis Rae

    I loved this post, Ana! It really gives a perspective on small things like running water. So sorry the smoke affected you guys so much but praying it passes and you can find a more permanent dwelling!

    September 6, 2017 at 9:23 am Reply
  • Melissa Mulkey


    Was so so happy to see you in a buildimg!! Was jumping up and down( in my heart of course). This illness brings up new perspective and appreciation! Little things like a comfy chair or actual shower, wow, Yes! Getting ready to relocate from TX and sell our camper and looking forward to finding a good hotel for a few days in btwn the move.
    This might be your stepping stone to finding your new winter place♡
    Love, hugs and prayers for you everyday. Everyday Ana♡

    September 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm Reply
  • Carolyn

    You look so happy! For some reason I hadn’t before seen a picture of Ramona — she’s adorable!

    Does your lessened reactivity mean that you might be able to live in a rental in a newer, safe building sometime in the near future? Wishing you all the best.

    September 7, 2017 at 12:09 pm Reply
  • Erin

    Wow!!! Hallelujah!!! That is AWESOME!!! 🙂

    September 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm Reply
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