(This story was posted on “Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change.”  It is excerpted from my new memoir “Fire Season: Losing Everything and Finding Myself.” With deep gratitude…)

On the morning of November 18th, 1994, my family seemingly had it all: a strong marriage, two kids and a gaggle of rescue pets. My husband Troy and I each had our own businesses that we ran from the home we were renting. We volunteered at our kids’ schools, threw parties, took business trips — it was a great life.

But that night, we went to bed in a burning house. A freak electrical short began smoldering in the walls as we slept, erupting into hellfire in the middle of the night. The fire pressed us up against the windows, gasping for air, our skin burning. We were forced to jump from second story ledges with our children, onto the cement below. The inferno raged, windows blowing out, as the life we had built vanished before our eyes….(read the rest HERE on Maria Shriver’s website)

Watch an excerpt of my live interview on AOL.com:

Also on “Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change”, read Amy Ferris and my co-authored piece “Letting Go of Shame, Thelma and Louise Style

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