Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Living With Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Living with Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude set so much in motion here on the beautiful eastern coast line of the US that may bring about many unanticipated effects for a long time to come. It seems that any form of pending disaster wether Mother Nature’s doing or one triggered by man can set us back emotionally and physically. We are forced to take not one but several steps back to refocus, rethink, reframe our situation.

For 7 days last week that was indeed the case for me. Many fans of Spanista already know that a few months ago my husband and I relocated from Tampa where we lived part-time happily to the Stuart area, north of Palm Beach, Florida to be closer to our dear family members.

We finally settled into our house with the decorating details in place Spanista style of course where relaxation and comfort are key in this home. We especially love our enclosed patio with a comfortable seating and dining areas. This is my first home with a private pool so I wanted to optimize its potential for self-care, especially private reflecting time as well a make it an inviting place to entertain friends and family. To that end, we just completed a special splash of landscaping to add contrasting magenta color hues to our soothing Caribbean blue pool. It created just the tropical atmosphere we were hoping for so we would enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors together in our own little world.

It seemed a cruel twist of fate as we watched the machinations of Hurricane Matthew forcefully make its way off the African Coast gaining power as it pushed toward Haiti creating devastation the island’s people could not bear with hundreds of deaths. Then turning north toward Cuba with grave predictions that it would turn due north heading for the Florida’s East Coast with a trajectory and intensify to move all the way up to the Carolina Coast impacting millions of people. It had been 10 years since any storm of this magnitude found its way here. I felt chills running up my spin.

May I say, this storm experience is nothing less than surreal. The range of emotions is indescribable. Even to this moment I am still processing it all. When you begin to realize the situation is REAL you begin to take stock. Then you mobilize? Making plans helps you feel in control to a degree – getting busy helps you deal with the inevitable. It is our first intense storm in this new home so preparations to protect it is all new to us. What did we need to do and when? We had under three days to prepare given the weather forecast which was full of ferocious predictions it would hit land here – likely right at where we live!  Things you never think about surface like – What if my life or those of my loved ones is threatened – What if  the severe winds and rain inflict intense damage or even worse we lose our home completely?


I witnessed people mobilizing in our neighborhood with great speed. We were among them. The stores were over run with people. Together my hubby and I faced the crowds to stock up on provisions to last us for a while. Why? The loss of electricity is the biggest issue – one does not know how long we would go without.  Once we accomplished this task we moved to step two. What did we need to do to protect the house? I never thought I would see the day the inside of our new home would be full of our newly acquired patio furniture but we piled it in the living room, hall and dining room. The patio was once again bare. I brushed away the sadness. We did not need to put up protective shutters because our home was built with storm protection in mind. But older homes did not, so off we went to help family members and their neighbors get shutters up with two days to do it in between intermittent rain that would eventually not stop for hours. So we pressed on and got the job done until we dropped from exhaustion.

Storm day arrived.  We sat tight at home waiting for it to arrive. The anticipation is so stressful. Will it hit land with 130 mph winds? Or hug the coast and creep northward? One seeks any distraction possible to stay sane knowing the worse of it was due to arrive in the deep, dark of the night – 3 a.m! We went to bed not saying very much but knowing our hearts and minds were full of anxiety. We heard the storms intensity grow through the night with sparks flying outside our bedroom windows for hours on end. The electricity went out and the never-ending night of fear reached its climax.  Eventually dawn with us wide-eyed as kids on Christmas morning wondering what we might discover when light returned. The rain  commenced and with time the winds started to subside. Looking out, much to our surprise we found our neighborhood was spared bad damage to homes. The neighbors were all coming out of their homes to check on each other, to talk and connect. We survived but what of the rest of the area? Time would tell as we began to venture out of our community. The Stuart News can give you the full details as seen int he picture above.

Living with Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude uncovers something unexpected. What good comes from an experience like this? Spanista has learned that in every challenge we face there is a gift to benefits us – we just have to wait for Spirit to reveal it to us. If we are open, it will reveal itself in the form of a blessing that helps us just when we need it.  Right now there is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the outcome. We all feel that we were spared the traumatic evil that could have befallen us. Where Fear Meets Gratitude is where deep waves of gratitude are freely expressed by family, friends and strangers. For now it is the overwhelming emotion we all feel here on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I will share  the blessing once it reveals itself. Let me know if you want to know when it does.

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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  • Kathleen - Hello my friend! I’ve been thinking of you all weekend, just praying this horrific storm wouldn’t make landfall near you. What a blessing it missed you, but so devastating for those who lost everything. I think of you often and miss you!

    • gshiver - Hi Kath! Thank you for reaching out. We are so grateful. Have been traveling so will return to posting now. Many things to share as the world turns around us. Hope to see you soon my friend. Miss you too! GinnyReplyCancel