Irma’s Gone, but the Keys are still Strong

Today I had the opportunity to come alongside my Rockstar friend Raquel as she continued her work this week as a first responder assessing and meeting the basic needs of the residents of Key West.  Upon entry to the upper keys, the devastation depicted in photos  was now stretched out before me for miles and miles.  This was going to take a long time to rebuild.

The streets were lined with the debris that Irma had dropped like splintered crumbs on her war path.  As I continued the ride down south, I noticed cars parked like a drive-in theatre along the median.  After watching this scene play out several times along US-1, I began to realize these vehicles were intentionally positioned to ride out the storm.  Raquel later informed me that drivers chose higher ground to leave their cars in hopes Irma’s winds would have mercy.

Entry into the lower keys, brought more of what the upper keys forewarned.  Cudjoe and Big Pine Key seemingly suffered some of the hardest blows.

…I could continue share much more about what I saw, but I would rather share what I felt.

Driving in solo, I felt surrounded by a sense of protection, purpose, a drive to take care of this community by the governing bodies who stepped in to secure the islands and prepare for their residents’ return.  From caravans carrying port-o-lets, to telephone and cable companies working overtime to re-establish connections for their customers.  The Florida Highway Patrol, and the surrounding counties’ law enforcement united forces to set up perimeters ensuring safe environments for this work to continue.  The large-scale military presence was comforting to those there for good will and a strong deterrent to those with other plans in mind.

Free water, ice, meals and even tire repair was offered by locals, in addition to what the Red Cross and FEMA provided.

I had the chance to chat with a principal of a private school in Key West.  He shared that 90% of their families had evacuated and now in preparation for their return were asking what they could bring back.  He was hesitant to make requests, knowing these families had yet to see what they were actually returning to.  Still, I love that their desire was to care for the needs of others, before they had the ability to assess their own.  This was the overarching spirit of the Keys.

Florida Keys you have served as a refuge, retreat, a beautiful escape for us for so many years —now it is our time to give back to you.  We will rebuild and we will see an even brighter, stronger community in the months and years to come.  Though the damage is great, the heart of what makes you our favorite getaway still beats strong.

It may take a long time for the Keys to look like it used to, but it will not take that long for it to feel like home again.

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What a year may bring

Last year around this time I was in great anticipation of my 40th birthday.  I had planned an intimate gathering, but I was excited for life beyond the celebration.  I was excited to live out the mantra that had first entered my mind in my late teens/early twenties, "when I turn 40 I will become a woman".  It was an odd thought I knew, but I knew it to be true.  It was a thought that would continually present itself over the course of the next two decades.

I hadn't deferred my growth leading up to this year, but I will tell you I've known for nearly two decades in my spirit that my life would take a dramatic shift…and it did.

40 was immediately met with the death of my father, which unearthed a hunger for authentic living.

40 brought a little less patience for nonsense, but an unbridled boldness for walking in truth.

40 solidified the importance of planning aggressively for what's to come, while living actively today.

At 40, I reminded myself of the value of doing one thing at a time.  Multi-tasking dilutes performance.

Leading up to 40, I learned to fine tune my ability to drill deep into the singular voice of Discernment over the chaotic volume of the masses.

I moved beyond just trusting my gut, in my personal life, to blindly following my gut.  In turn, I found myself constantly walking in the blessing of doing what discernment called.

At 40, I learned that the overnight changes in my metabolism only created necessary changes in my overall view of health.  From there I found food freedom and it was just that — freeing.

This year I made time to write, to write, to write and to share.

I took the time to send that text, make that phone call, have that coffee, show up for the things that mattered and gave myself a break for not always being available for the things that I could not.

I purposed myself to plan time to rest my mind.  I prioritized decompressing and refueling daily as highly as I did sleep, and I reaped the benefits of renewed energy each morning.

At 40, I sought out new challenges and adventures and chose to do them even if I was afraid.  I intuitively knew each accomplishment was enabling me to achieve higher heights.  I know I am still climbing.  I hope to always be climbing.


My hope is that each of you finds your '40', and purposes yourself to live your best life knowing there is no ceiling that limits you other than the one that you create.  I hope you break through and break down the obstacles that stand in your way — that you not be content with remaining hopeless and muted, knowing there's a world that awaits your participation.  Your participation may just be the game changer the world needs.

Joycy

 

 

 

 

 

 

A copy cannot produce the original

In having a conversation with a friend recently this phrase found its way out of my mouth: A copy cannot produce the original.  This is true, we cannot fashion ourselves off of any other person and produce anything greater than the original.  What we need to do is improve on who we are as individuals, looking to the only person we should imitate —Christ.  Even in that He created us unique — with unique gifts and purposes, ultimately for His purposes.

My pastor David Hughes said it succinctly this weekend, “You are an innovation not an imitation.”  I don’t think it’s wishful thinking to think that if we all spent more time dialing in on our identity, celebrating our uniqueness and less time playing the comparison game we would progress as a people.   What are some of your gifts and talents?   When did you first discover them and how?  Although I always recognized a uniqueness in myself, my confidence to display and develop my gifts came through the support and encouragement of good friends and family.  People that saw something in me and were not threatened by it, but instead celebrated and encouraged me and for that I am eternally grateful.  Who are your cheerleaders in life? More importantly, who are you a cheerleader and encourager for?  If you find that vicious jealousy bug popping up when you witness the success of others, chances are that you are not upset at the success in their life, but disappointed in some area of your own.  Yikes! Did that strike a chord?? Good!  If you’re reading this, you are still living and breathing and that is great news!  You have the basic criteria to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  Start today, spend time journaling, dreaming, talking to people who know you well and step deeper into those areas you know you are gifted in and see where that leads.   Your life is truly what you make it – live well.