"Within the soul of America is freedom of mind and spirit in man. Here alone are the open windows through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit. Here alone is human dignity, not a dream, but an accomplishment. Perhaps it is not perfect, but it is more full in realization, here, than any other place in the world." -Herbert Hoover
Today, I sit here and write this post on a warm, sunny, South Florida morning from the comfort of MY OWN bed with a warm coffee in one hand and of course an Edwards Apple Orchard donut in the other! ;) (Soo good!) All of this may have been a distant memory as of last week and I cannot help but sit here and be so utterly thankful and humbled by this entire experience and all that it has shown about the amazing country we are all so blessed to live in and has taught me, as a human. The last couple of weeks have literally been a whirlwind of highs and lows and going about a normal post about our "Five Friday Favs" just didn't seem to cut it this week. This may not come out the way I want it to, but I hope I do my best and that you all are moved in some way as you go about your Friday and into the weekend.
Usually this weekly post is about beautiful images of homes, spaces, fashion, delicious recipes, inspirational images, etc. Don't get me wrong, that is all perfect and wonderful and will have its' rightful place here on this blog page again soon, but first I have to get this out. I cannot even begin to express how lucky and blessed I am to be able to have a career doing what I love and starting my own business in helping people achieve their dream homes.... Your home is the center of your life and is something that should be a happy place - a place you can go after a long, hard day and feel warm and safe and loved. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a place like this, but we still are. I hope if I do anything with C Studio, it is simply to bring smiles to my clients' faces and to literally transform their lives through the spaces that surround them on a daily basis.
Friday, September 1st, started just as I planned as I headed out in the middle of the night to hop on a plane back to the midwest to spend a fun-filled week with family, friends, and clients. A week where I would be able to spend extra, cherished time with my parents, my grandparents, some of the best friends a girl could ask for and some really awesome clients! And trust me, I did just that! However, after hearing from family and friends, including my sister and husband, back down in Florida, followed by endless news reports, we quickly learned about our friend Irma... a stage 5 hurricane headed straight for our home. I felt both happy that I was up north spending time with family and friends, yet guilty that I wasn't down in South Florida helping them prepare for this horrific storm that was headed our way. The preparation process seemed daunting with supplies so limited at every retail store in the state and gas lines stretching hours long, let alone my mother's mental breakdowns over the fact that my hubby and sister had decided to stay together and buckle down in Florida for the storm, along with our 2 dogs and 3 cats. What a zoo to say the least! We were all praying for and hoping for the best and I give my husband and sister major props for staying strong and brave throughout the entire process, seeing since all of us are from the midwest and know nothing about hurricanes nor have ever experienced one before!
Last weekend, as the storm was approaching, and we were all on the edge of our seats as to exactly what path Irma would take and how good/bad it could turn for us, they hunkered down, calm and cool. All the while, one of my best college friends was getting married this same weekend to the love of her life, and as they say, the show must go on! My husband, Michael, was supposed to have flown up to meet me in the midwest for the weekend of the the 9th and 10th, but his flights were cancelled. I was still so excited to be celebrating my friends and their love for one another and to be able to do this alongside my family and other amazing life-long friends was the icing on the cake... or shall I say cupcakes in this case! ;) It was a beautiful day and we all had a blast, including multiple FaceTime calls to check in back down in Florida to see how the two of them were holding up with the storm. THANKFULLY, for us that is, the storm shifted west and did not have a direct hit on Palm Beach county. We were the lucky ones. Our home only has minimal damage and that is mostly to the yard, landscaping and a couple trees down.
As assumed, my flight back down to Florida was of course cancelled for that Sunday, the 10th. I quickly learned that getting back to our little home and to my little family was going to be difficult. Airports were closed and I am sure flights were affected throughout the United States. Let alone, us all taking a moment on Tuesday to remember 9/11 and the day that will be engrained in most of us forever. However, after having a few extra days with my family, I finally made it back down to Florida on Wednesday night and headed to the zoo, aka my sister and her boyfriend's condo, along with Michael and all of our pets since our home still did not have power. Then, yesterday, with a day starting out somewhat normal, things quickly took a turn for the worse. Our baby girl, Neeko, (aka our dog) somehow got an infection in the paw she recently had surgery on so I rushed her to the vet, while my husband was back to work going around and helping his stops/clients get up and running the best they can. In the meantime, I receive news that my sister and her boyfriend got in a car accident!!! I rushed to their side and thankfully his parents were there and literally were life-savers yesterday with helping my sister get around to the hospital, dentist, and then back home to safety. I cannot thank them enough! Unfortunately, driving down here is still very dangerous due to many traffic lights being out, which resulted in their accident. Then, last night, we received the worst news of all. Michael's grandmother, Grandma Peanuts, had passed away. She was surrounded by loved ones and passed away peacefully in the comfort of her own home, in her own bed. The best way to go in my opinion! We will all miss her dearly!
Ok, so I know I am getting rather long and drawn out with all of this and this is not supposed to be out me or our lives really at all... so let me get to my point. Well, this point has a few points really.
One is that life is short people... really short. I used to laugh at my parents growing up when they would say this to my sister and I, but I have to say it, they were RIGHT! Time really does fly by and only seems to go faster with time. So this weekend, I challenge you to take a step back from your crazy, hectic schedules and make sure you hug your loved ones and tell them just how much you love them! Life can change in an instant and at any given moment. On that note, I also want to send a very Happy Birthday to my dad today! You're the best day in all the world and I hope you enjoy your day! Love you dad!
Second is that out of all of this, I can say without a doubt that I have been most moved and touched by the human spirit. With all the hatred and destruction going on in our world today and across the headlines, it was beyond heart-warming to see quite the opposite come out of this situation.... and not only Irma, but Harvey, the current wildfires in Montana, the recent earthquake in Mexico, etc. For example, as Michael and my sister and her boyfriend were prepping our house for the storm, a neighbor literally dropped everything and came down at the last minute with extra plywood he had, as well as the correct drill and tools it would take to get all of our shutters up, followed by helping us take them down after the storm as well. All the while, he had his own home to prep, along with a wife, dog, and 2 small children. Also, my husband's boss, turned friend, came over to help while he had his own home to prep, including a pregnant wife and 2 small children. A simple act of selflessness and kindness goes a long way. This was followed by a realtor-friend of mine telling me that they were letting clients of theirs, who currently do not have a home, stay at their home, shower, eat, etc. I saw a neighbor down the street this morning take out the garbage for another neighbor who is a family that has yet to return home from the storm. I saw family and friends in Wisconsin who were bringing supplies by the car-fulls to a local Farm & Fleet to be brought down to Texas to help Harvey victims. So much supplies were brought that they literally ran out of semi-trucks to haul it all down there! And don't let me go without saying a HUGE thank you to all of our first-responders, linemen, military men and women, volunteers, etc. They are the ones that are truly helping our world go round, getting us all back to normal life again, and putting their lives on the line not only in times like this, but every day. Family and friends I know all the way from Wisconsin (literally about as far away from Florida as you can get) started the trek down here with their crew, trucks and supplies to help people they don't even know get back to normal life in a place they don't even know. I was told stories of their journey from people honking and waving at them with encouragement and thank you signs, followed by a family at the table next to them one morning literally paying for all of their meals...talk about paying it forward! I am sure I can think of a million other stories in addition to the ones listed above, and this is just in my own little world, let alone the millions of others affected by these situations. Lastly, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of those who called, text, posted their prayers, thoughts, and well-wishes to us during this time, as well as those who have offered to help us clean up! It really is quite inspiring and uplifting and I hope that is the take away from all this, for everyone. Well, that's all from me for now and sorry for being so long-winded, but I couldn't go without saying.
As always, have a fun and safe weekend everyone and stay tuned next week for more from C Studio as we officially have the office back up and running and back to the grind, like normal. xo - Chelsey
Just a few images from over the last couple of weeks...