Hi, my name is Shawn Field. I grew up at the foot of Mount Timpanogos in the great state of Utah. As a child my parents raised me to love and appreciate the outdoors, and have a reverence for God. At the age of 3 I was exposed to skiing and was blessed to call Snowbird my home mountain. As a young man I took to hobbies like skiing, skateboarding, BMX, water sports and team sports. When I was a teenager I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which did not slow me down, I kept charging forward.
After high school I was awarded an athletic scholarship to play baseball for a college on the East coast, and had high hopes of becoming a MLB player.
While on summer break after my second year in college, I broke my foot and as a result lost my scholarship. During the time that I was healing from surgery, I found myself longing to be back in the Wasatch mountains, so I decided to move back to Utah, so that I could ski and finish my degree.
All my life I have been enamored by the power and healing of the mountains and have been drawn to them, they have provided me with a sense of perspective. Perspective is everything, change is constant, it's always happening whether we embrace it or not.
After finishing a degree in Kinesiology/Sports Medicine & Outdoor Recreation I married my beautiful wife Autumn and chased after a corporate job for the first 10 years of our married life. Through the corporate ladder, we found one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Redwoods along the coast of Northern California. Even though we were in such a beautiful place, I struggled with finding ways to let go of the stress that I carried from my job and found myself in a place of confusion and despair. I was making really bad decisions and was caught in a mess that I had created in my professional life, which caused major pain in my personal life and for my family.
Two weeks before my daughter was to be born I lost my corporate job, as a result of those poor decisions. I was so lost, and afraid that because of my choices I was going to loose my family. I had so much guilt inside that I considered taking myself out of the whole mess, I wanted to just be done with the pain.
My wife encouraged me to go talk to Pastor Mike. So, I did... that is when I made a decision to turn away from my selfish ways and to put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior, Redeemer, and Leader through this messy life.
As a child I was taught that Jesus was not who the Bible says that He is. I did not know it at the time, but I was being changed from the inside out. Over the next 3 years I got plugged into as many Bible studies as I could, and found a group of authentic men to lean on. I started volunteering in Youth ministry and found joy in taking groups on snow adventures to Mount Shasta. Although it was great to take those adventures, they were only a few times a year. I began to realize that I belonged in the mountains and that I needed to get closer to them. I realized that I needed to immerse myself daily in the outdoors in order to find my own personal balance and positive perspective. My wife and I also realized that our children needed more than what the small farming town had to offer. I was working a job that allowed us the flexibility to relocate to a place that we were hoping to find roots and finish raising our children. We chose the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, Chico, California.
Shortly after we settled into a rental home I started getting sick with stomach issues, that were explained as side affects of 25 years of having type 1 diabetes, bad food choices and bad lifestyle choices. I could hardly get out of bed, and work was almost impossible. I struggled to get well for about 9 months, and by God's grace I was able to go back to work and start doing things that bring me joy and happiness. As long as I can get outside and have fun with my friends and family, nothing else really matters.
For the next 5 years my wife and I worked really hard to live frugal so that we could afford to purchase our first home. Exactly 5 years from the day we made that decision, we received the keys to our beautiful home in Paradise, California.
We were so excited!
Just as we were starting to get comfortable, the Camp Fire exploded and destroyed the town of Paradise and pretty much everything in it's path, our home included. The only belongings that we had were those things that we needed with us for the day.
That day is one day that we will never forget, my sons 16th birthday.
Looking back I am so grateful for our neighbors Shawn & Jan, who brought our son and Toto the dog to safety, because we were stuck in Chico. They are truly ANGELS and I thank the Lord for their help.
I am also super grateful for "accidental saints" like the "Hammer Family" who took us in as a part of their family and just made it happen.
Seventeen days after the fire, we were still sleeping on the Hammers living room floor, searching for a place to live and praying that something would open up. That day we were given the opportunity to purchase a converted bus as a temporary living space and a means to travel with the family. Thanks Alex & Emmanuel for the #buttestrongbus and Christian the amazing artist #594evah who painted it. With the bus, our family has been able to travel together and see friends & family that we have not seen for a long time. It has also provided an amazing way to chase some gnarly winter storms. #iamprosnow
Currently we are blessed with a beautiful home that we rent in Chico. I trust that the #buttestrongbus will encourage others to #abandonhopelessness as we travel.
While the foreseeable road ahead is difficult and challenging, our family is beginning the journey of healing and I trust that God will use this mess as a message of HOPE. And that there is NO other time than NOW, and to live in the moment and most of all HAVE FUN!
As I am starting over in my 40's, God has provided me a sense of peace that I don't really understand and a sense hope that someday I will be able to help others when tragedy happens in their lives.
I realize it could be years before we are able to have a permanent home again, yet I trust that it will be even better.
I now see this horrific experience as a great example of God's mercy and of how a community can love and support a family in a traumatic time.
I now understand that EVERYONE is fighting a battle that we know nothing about, and that God's faithful love endures forever.
I hope that through this experience I can be an encouragement to the world that ALL things work together for the good of those who love God. And that God has plans, plans for well-being, not for disaster, plans of a future and a hope.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with anything that is keeping you from living a fulfilled life, there is HOPE and there is HELP!