RED OAK (CBSDFW.COM) – Many people started out the week realizing all they have to be thankful for, but a single mother in Red Oak is having a tough time focusing on her blessings after losing everything all at once.

Stephanie Saunders fought back tears as she sorted through the remains of her burned out home.

“It’s very hurtful,” she said. “I’ve lost everything I’ve worked for.”

The 36-year-old mother of three teenage girls told CBS 11 News a burning candle started a fire that quickly spread through her home.

With almost all of her family’s belongings buried in soot, Saunders needed a few days off from work to find temporary housing.

Imagine her surprise when that request led to being fired from her job at dental office in Plano.

Though most everything she has is gone, Saunders was able to salvage some family photos — including those of her late brother, who was killed five years ago.

After his murder, Saunders started a charity for crime victims in her brother’s name. CBS 11 profiled the organization in 2007.

With strong faith, Saunders hopes to overcome the double blow of heading into the holidays living in temporary housing and unemployed. Her story is a reminder of how fortunate those are who have both.

“I think it’s very unfair, especially to my kids,” said Saunders. “I’ve had to cry privately because I don’t want to do it in front of them. I feel like I’ve let them down.”