Dear [Hurricane] Michael…

Dear [Hurricane] Michael,

You came at us fierce, fast, and angry.

You ripped and roared through our beloved homes, businesses, churches, schools… you wrecked absolute havoc on our communities.

Leaving some with nothing but themselves.

Nothing but flattened land, broken homes and broken hearts.

Devastation and destruction.

But in the midst of the chaos, grateful and humbled humans.

It has been incredible watching our communities in the area pull together, literally band together and help those in need. Hearing the stories of people …the list is so long…but whether it has been helping cut trees from the roadways, out of homes, picking up debris, helping the exhausted, hungry and thirsty out of what is left of their homes, supplying clothing and water, serving hot meals, bringing baby formula, diapers and even birthday cakes to those who didn’t ask for any of this, but still find the love to celebrate the little things, the things that matter.

[Hurricane] Michael you spared our community, my hometown and the beaches I grew up on and call home. Don’t think for a single second that I’m not, that WE aren’t appreciative. Humbled. And feeling a little (a lot) guilty for being spared when so many lost. And please know that I am aware that it very well could be us next time. I have experienced several hurricanes in my lifetime…I lived in Pensacola when Ivan hit… and I won’t ever forget the destruction and devastation then and I lived in Tennessee when Katrina hit and remember talking with and helping evacuees even 500+ miles away there.

Over the last week I have felt a plethora of emotions – immediately after it hit, I was left feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed with the destruction and all that needs to be done. I prayed to God on how I could help and what He wanted me to do, how to act. Because y’all. I just couldn’t move. But as I was enjoying the sunshine in my unscathed yard, watching my children play on their swing set that wasn’t moved by the storm…. as I felt guilty for that and grateful and and helpless and humble all at once, He came to me and said “photography is your gift – use it.” And I listened to that nudge…immediately I created a graphic and announced mini portrait sessions where 100% of the money will be given to hurricane relief efforts. I am sharing this to encourage you … if you are feeling numb and overwhelmed like I was…. praying and asking and listening and acting is what works in these situations. It’s real and it works. Use your gifts and don’t hesitate. Every little thing helps and counts. We need one another right now.

Some aren’t able to give monetarily but they are giving time. And some aren’t able to give time or resources, so they’re raising / giving money. We are all doing our part to help, in some way, be it big and heroic or small and humble.

You see, [Hurricane] Michael, what you did has changed us forever…in many ways, and one of the biggest ways I can see at this moment amidst the obvious destruction, is that you gave us a wake up call, a reminder to connect, come together, love and most of all, you have reminded us of our humanity. How we pull together in the wake of tragedy. How we have come together – as survivors, as humans, to be better than we were. Because we will never be the same. Humans being humans. Connected. Woven together, despite our differences. And that, my friends, my fellow humans, is a dear and beautiful thing.

So, [Hurricane] Michael, I humbly and gratefully say thank you for reminding us of our humanity and for sparing us so that we could step up and help those in need. And to be grateful for all the little things because they mean so much.

This walk is not going to be easy, and we will never be the same, but here in the 850, we have each other’s backs. And that is something that nothing, not even you, [Hurricane] Michael can take from us.

#panhandlestrong #850strong #hurricanemichael #floridastrong #panamacitystrong #mariannastrong #mexicobeach #capesanblas #csb #psj #30A #southwalton #waltoncounty #hurricanemichael2018

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