Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Standing Strong

I’m excited today because a truck just came to scoop up the oak tree fished out of my pool last month and the pile of other plant debris carried to the curb since Hurricane Irma struck home.

It’s been heart-wrenching to see so many lives tattered with the uprooting of our beautiful paradise. Christy, a dear friend and neighbor two streets over, will be displaced for months. Memorable pieces of her life and household await pickup as she wanders her gutted house seeking to discern the “gifts” of such tragedy.

Throughout our network of 80+ Natural Awakenings publishers, many have been affected by recent heightened weather events, including: Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and several in Gulf Coast states.

I just received the email below and realized one of our publishers has so eloquently expressed my sentiments that I decided to share them with you all.

I trust and pray that you feel blessed today.

In deep gratitude,

Sharon Signature

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

Special Guest Lecture

As I worked on this month’s issue, I listened to an interview with singer/songwriter Tom Petty in which he recalled the time an arsonist set his home on fire while he was in it. The only material Meredith Montgomerypossessions remaining after the fire were the clothes on his back, yet the horrific experience had a positive influence on his life.

“I'm sure it had a great effect on the music I did, because I came back with this very positive, happy kind of music; I didn't want to go into any dark corner or anything like that,” he said. “I was just so glad to be alive and to have escaped something like that.”

I still had the late singer’s optimism on my mind when I was alerted a day later that the publisher of Natural Awakenings Long Island, Kelly Martinsen, woke up in the middle of the night to an electrical fire burning her house to the ground. She posted on Facebook, “We had a fire and I know that there is word out there that we ‘lost everything’. I want to assure everyone that this is not the case. While our house may be totaled, ‘everything’ I need was found the morning after the fire as I held my kids—all three of them—and my husband in my driveway… for now we have no needs.”

She went on to thank Waleska Sallaberry, who was staying with her and woke Kelly in time to get everyone to safety. Waleska publishes Natural Awakenings Puerto Rico and relocated to New York with her children after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, so she could enroll them in school. Her husband, Luis Mendez, is still in Puerto Rico and together they are doing everything they can to help rebuild their beautiful seaside village.

After having her life turned upside down and then witnessing fire demolish Kelly’s home, Waleska posted a picture of the cover of her new 2018 planner, which reads “Best year ever.”

As headlines are flooded with reports of hurricanes, fires, shootings and the untimely passing of familiar faces, positive stories shine a bright light on the power of perspective. Imagine how freeing it would be if we all lived with nonattachment to material things, and maintained a peaceful sense of trust in what lies ahead.

Thanksgiving arrives this month as a reminder to feel gratitude for all that we have—especially what can’t be bought or burned down. Whether it’s a radiant sunset, a stranger’s compliment or the embrace of a loved one, such things can make us feel truly rich.

With gratitude,

Meredith Montgomery, Publisher
Natural Awakenings Gulf Coast Alabama/Mississippi

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