Hello, I would like to welcome all of my readers. I know that some of you are here in Florida as well as several different states and even a few countries. I thank you all for reading my blogs and I appreciate all of you.

Today, as I write I am thinking of all of you especially my readers here in our sunny state of Florida and more specifically the city of Plantation. In the past few weeks, watching neighbors helping neighbors, my heart is full. Full of love for our beautiful community and the caring people that live here. We are grateful and know that our city was spared the worst of Irma. As we clear away debris, cut down branches, fix our fences, get back into our regular daily routines we are thankful that we were prepared and weathered the storm. It is heartwarming that so many people are sending donations and items to places that were hit hard from Irma. Thanks to my husband, I married into a wonderfully, loving family whose roots are the Florida Keys and many of them still there.

I along with many are saddened by all of the devastated areas but I also feel a sense of hope. It is my hope, that if there is a silver lining of our experience with Irma as well as Harvey and any other hurricane is the gentle reminder that what we value most are people and relationships.

We stayed for the storm and my husband’s parents, who live in the Keys, came to stay at our house. Friends and family who decided to leave, shared their thoughts on how they were feeling and what they were deciding to bring. How do you decide what is most precious to you? How do you explain to your child they should choose a couple of items of what they value most? When looking around, most things in the home are replaceable, the people, the memories, the relationships are not.

Tensions were high in some households as we were anxious about the preparations, anxious about the storm and anxious about the aftermath. I heard from some couples and families, “that we had a common fear and that we bonded during this experience. We each had a role in getting our family prepared and as we did this we supported each other with signs of appreciation and affection”. I also heard, “that the stress got to us and the atmosphere in our home changed and we were more on edge and irritable with each other”. I also heard, “that as the winds were swirling around outside, the rain was loudly pounding on our roofs, the voices in some homes were booming as the added stress was too much for some of the already conflicted couples and families”. So many emotions, so many different responses, so many different scenarios. But one theme remained and that was the answer to the question, “What is most important to you?” That answer was, “my loved ones”. Whether it be a parent, a child, sibling, friend or pet, loved ones and their safety was what mattered most.

As I said in several of my Facebook posts, before and after the storm, keep hugging your loved ones. With a heart full of gratitude that is also filled with hope that we all recognize what can be replaced and what is most important.

Your Relationship Expert,

P.S. Here in Plantation Florida, we were fortunate to be able to breathe a sigh of relief in the aftermath. But we do compassionately think of the others who were not as fortunate. Let’s all continue to support the people living in the areas where the recent natural disasters left devastation. We are needed as they heal and rebuild. This is a challenging time for many and being kind to one another goes a long way.

Photo credit: Michelle Young de Ron