Another Year……Memories

Most of the time I enjoy looking back on my year.  However, this year I slacked, a lot, and I have to make some changes.  I just didn’t get out as much as I normally do.  Even during camping season it seemed it was always interrupted with something I “had” to do.  I wasn’t as intentional as I had been the past few years.  I didn’t create good content for my Facebook page and actually neglected it.  I had something happen that set me off into the “not good enough” thought process, which in turn caused me to  purge a lot of unneeded stress in my social media life. But I would go out and take photos and think, “these are not good, what am I doing trying to create good photos when I can’t do it?”  I really had to shake that mindset; I am my own worst critic.

Life was  disrupted with a move in the middle part of the year and it was during a very stressful time.  I’m still trying to adjust. Then, in September we were hit by one of the largest hurricane’s in recent history. Irma totally upset my world, but I came out a whole lot better than many of my friends did and I can tell you I am most grateful for that blessing.  Yet, the stress was still there and even guilt that so many lost so much and I didn’t.  I can’t explain why it was that way, but it was; again I am so grateful to not have had any damage.

Sometimes life gives you those old lemons and it’s not always easy to make the lemonade.  In fact, I have thrown a lot of lemons away because I just could not bring myself to make them work.  Ever feel like that?

I’m looking forward to a clean start with 2018, I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I will put a lot more effort into making it an incredible year personally and professionally.

Here’s a look back on what I did accomplish photographically:



In the Blink of an Eye

We all have seen the images of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it has created in the Houston Texas area.  The massive flooding, the ruined homes and lives.  We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t want to try and help as we watched the graphic images of families being rescued, a toddler hanging on to her deceased mother and the boat loads of family pets.  The problem with Harvey is he stayed well past his welcome if there is such a thing as a hurricane being welcomed.  But as Harvey was churning away in the Gulf and over Texas, a lady was chasing close behind him full of fury;  Hurricane Irma is now the largest hurricane to ever hit the United States.  Barreling down as a category 5 Irma hit the Caribbean Islands with a force never seen before in a storm and once she was done with her deluge of violence in the Islands she set her sights upon the Florida Keys, with complete devastation.

Reaching a span of over 400 miles in diameter, and packing winds at one point of over 180mph with gusts of 200mph Irma continued  her drive to South Florida.  Hitting  The 10,000 Islands in full force.  One of the islands hit was a little fishing village called Everglades City.  I know about this town, because I used to live and work in this place.  It’s full of lovely people who are hard working and generous.

These are some of the images taken during the storm, during the 8 plus foot storm surge. I didn’t take these images, they were provided by a friend. The little church is one I and my children had attended when we lived there, the homes belong to friends; Heartbreaking.

Photo Credit: Brenda Johnson who stayed during the storm in a safe house and took the city flooding images.

Photo Credit: Pastor Lynette Morris who stayed and took the Image of her church after Hurricane Irma passed through.

Ladies, these are incredible.

Where was I during this?  Well first of all I live in a mobile home and I had to evacuate to a friends house 40 miles north.  Once my kitty and I arrived and got settled she received notification that once again we would have to evacuate.  We packed up her two dogs and once again my cat and drove to Columbus Georgia.  After two days we headed back with a crowded interstate and gas running low everywhere, we finally made it home at 1am on Tuesday morning.  After a partial nights sleep I packed up my kitty once more and headed home, grateful for friends and for a place to be safe.

What many didn’t realize is how afraid I truly was.  You see I put on a good face, but deep inside I was afraid that I may not have a home to return to.  I know I had friends praying for me, and this helped me to process the fear and not allow it to manifest.  As this storm was churning and affecting the entire state of Florida the troops were already being assembled.  National Guard was deployed, thousands of power company trucks, including some from Texas and all across North America were heading into Florida even before the storm hit.

Once I arrived home after finding out my place didn’t have any damage, in fact you can’t even tell it went through a devastating storm, I did a walk around and found that my lovely little park suffered so much damage and a few homes were destroyed beyond repair.

Four homes down from me.

I was one of the really fortunate ones… electric was on within an hour of returning home, and I returned to work on Wednesday to help with cleanup.  I waited for family and friends to check in to keep me abreast of how they were doing and that they were safe.  It’s been an emotional two weeks, I am not sure I will ever be the same; I hope I am more compassionate and less impatient, that I have a lot more gratitude and thankful for what I have, yet understand it’s all temporary.  I hope I see that God was the guide in my life who protected me and reminded me if I rely on him, I don’t need to fear.

I pray for my friends in the Everglades who lost everything, yet they are standing strong and helping each other and I know they will rebuild and become stronger than ever.  I pray for those who have damage to their homes and still don’t have any electricity and have young children.  I pray for those who are struggling just to get by.

Hurricane Irma – Everglades City

If you are so inclined:

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