14 January 2011

Gathering Gratefuls - Hope Floats

Today's post is challenging to write as I'm conflicted between feeling ever so grateful for my own blessings but aware of the magnitude of devastation that is being experienced by so very many at this time.

If you are an Australian you are aware of all that is transpiring with the floods in my State of Queensland.
If you live anywhere else in the world, I'm sure that you've either read about them on blogs or seen footage in the media.
Water is such a vital part of our everyday lives but in recent times it has rained in such abundant amounts that the land has lost its capacity to contain it. What was a rare commodity just twelve months ago across much of Queensland is now flowing in such great volumes that it is has become a force to be feared.

In times such as these you very quickly realise what is most precious and important, and my grateful list for this week focuses upon the blessing that is the safety of my family and friends.
Even as I write this I feel selfish and guilty as there are many families dealing with the grief of losing their homes, livelihood, pets but most tragically family members and in the most horrific cases their entire town.
The only consolation I have is that Australian's are renowned for possessing a truly resilient spirit and already there have been examples of everyday valour filtering through the media.

And so, to my list.  I am so very grateful for....

1.  My parents who are high and dry & safe in Gympie.
They live in a wonderful neighbourhood of people who banded together to evacuate one of their own when the waters started to encroach on her home.  I'm so relieved that although my parents street was cut off and they were isolated for several days, their home hasn't been directly effected.  I'm proud of Dad for having the foresight to purchase a generator which has meant that they have had power to their home when others around them lost theirs for over 48 hours.

2. My brother and his small family who are safe in Brisbane.
My SIL works in Brisbane's CBD and was told to leave work early on Monday, she had a very nerve-wracking trip to pick up my niece from daycare but they are both safe and well.
My brother works in Central Queensland and was not only able to fly to Brisbane on Wednesday but safely drive to his home to be with his partner and my 3yo niece - a great relief!
Although their car was washed away in the floods, their home is safe and they are together.

3.  Cpt. V's family who all reside in Brisbane are safe and well.

4.  My friend Melissa, who with her husand has four young children under 10 - two with disabilities - has had her home flooded.  She is optimistic though saying that it was only waist height and didn't reach the first story floor boards.  Blessings Mel!

5. Cpt. V, the Gifts and I - that we are safe.
Although our property is VERY wet [a swift flowing stream has developed through the front of our yard] our home is OK and we have been able to continue on with our everyday lives.
Cpt. V has dug and dug and dug trenches around the exterior border of our land to successfully divert the water away from our house.  Our tennis court and pool are both a mess, and all of the efforts we have made in preparation to sell our home have been lost.
Without a doubt we know that these are very small sacrifices compared to what many others are experiencing.

6.  That we have such a wonderful resource in the Australian Defence Forces.  These brave men and women have been doing so much to assist with this tragedy and it is reassuring to know that they are there. Thank you to their families who lose them regularly so that we may live in a safe and free country.

7.  For Blogeristas who demonstrated over and over again how powerfully positive our community is.
A special mention to Naomi who gave such practical advice before the real destruction set in and Toni Coward for providing us with a way to help.  I know that there are many, many more but these are the two who helped me the most this week.

8.  For the enabling tool that is the internet and social networking.
Throughout this week it has been a godsend to be able to know what is going on without the necessary filter of the media which would have previously been my only source of news.
Thank you to all those who shared images and wrote about what was happening in your corner of the world even as the water was swallowing your neighbourhoods.

9.  For sunshine.

10. For hope.

There will be many lists of gratitude gathering over at the lovely Maxabella's, so please pop on over for a read and then add in your own so that we might be bouyed up by the positive in these challenging times.

Oh and apologies if you opened some posts of mine in a Reader and then wondered where they went to on my blog. I removed them in light of what's happening at the moment - but rest assured our first 'Word of the Week' for 2011 will be up and running next Wednesday - come rain, hail or [hopefully] shine!

Biggest of hugs to you on this day - and if you're looking for another great read or three you will find them at Allison's Weekend Rewind.


  1. Beautiful post Felicity. It has made me smile to hear so many Queenslanders face this with such optimism. It will be terribly difficult cleaning up I know, but I do hope everyone's willingness to pitch in and help will continue for the months ahead. Glad everyone in your family is fine.

  2. This is a good post and necessary. I don't think focusing on the doom permanently helps anything, ever. We know through talking to friends and family that in their darkest days it is talk of hope and love and gratitude that gets them through.

    There is always tragedy and so there is always hope.

    Don't forget to link up tomorrow, sweet you. x

  3. Felicity, it's been a very tragic week. I sit here in the dryness and safety of my home in Melbourne, watching what is happening in SE Queensland. From Toowoomba, Lockyer valley, Brisbane and north of Brissy. All areas that I have either family or friends in. Places I have either lived or stayed at someone's house in the past. Places I know so well as I have spent most of my life there. The devastation is numbing. I can only try to imagine the grief and disbelief that the victims are suffering. Thank God the rain stopped when it did!

    I love how you have written this post. I wish I could express my thoughts and feelings for those in the midst of it as well as you have.

    Glad to hear that you and yours are safe and no harm has come to anyone.

    Stay safe, Ky xx

  4. what an uplifting post Felicity - just beautiful.

    So glad all your family is alright and that you are being spared some of the grief that is everywhere right now.

    Good on Capt V for all his digging effort in trying to save your home. So sorry to hear about all your previous efforts to prepare your home for sale have been lost. I hope you are able to restore it quickly and you get the sale you want.

    So sorry to hear of your friend Melissa - what a tragedy - seriously if you need me to do anything to help her out - please let me know - I am not that far from the city and would love to assist.

    I am a big softy where children are involved :)

    I am loving the community spirit going on and feeling very small in my efforts compared to most.

    Take care and give Capt V a big pat on the back from us. naomi xx

  5. Just beautiful xx Its hard to look at the wonderful things we have while others are suffering...its like guilt isn't it? But the power of social media and the like has done wonders to help our fellow Qlders and Australians..we are shoulder to shoulder together in this xxxx

  6. i'm glad to hear that you and your loved ones are safe. Keep on the positivity and am praying for this to be over soon (and hopefully the floods won't happen in other places as I heard some parts of VIC are flooding this morning). Be strong and look at the bright side *i'm sure there's always a thing or two, as you've proven here:)*

  7. Oh, Sweetie, a touching and heartfelt post. You did well. I know it helped you to 'get it out' in an attempt to make sense of what is going on.

    I'm so pleased to hear you and your extended families are safe. What a relief. And kudos to Capt V for his handiwork, although it's such a shame you have a mess to clean up. Sending you ♥♥♥ from Hobart tonight. J x

  8. Felicity I wish you all the best for the days to come. It wont be easy but we your readers are here for you. If you need help in anyway or just want to vent we will listen. xxx

  9. Glad to hear everyone is safe and well. I am picturing a few of Gympie's finest hills and hope your parents are atop one of those!

    Great post. Love that image.

  10. Thank you for your thoughtful comments everyone.

    I do feel like I may have misled some of you though - we haven't been in flood although we have had inches and inches and inches of torrential rain.

    Our property is sodden and we do have a swift flowing stream but nothing and I mean nothing compared to anyone in Brisbane, Toowoomba & her surrounds or any of the areas to the North and South West.

    Cpt. V has had to do lots of diversionary digging to redirect the water flow around our property but I daresay this is the norm for acreage living in many parts of the Sunshine Coast.

    There have been several times when the rain was so bad that it threatened to come into the lower levels of the house but we have managed to avoid this.

    I truly thank you for your thoughtfulness but cannot accept sympathy because our lives are going ahead as normal [if not spent mostly indoors] and it is to those living in the aforementioned areas that really deserve your thoughts and prayers.

    x Felicity

  11. I have been amazed at the generosity of people from all corners of the world, their time and concern, their prayers for all affected in this crisis, it has touched all those who realise that any of us are at the mercy of mother nature, and made me realise that amid this devastation the vast community, global community, shines with love and the ability and need to help in some way, their fellowman.

  12. Watching the tragedy unfold on tv this week has been heartbreaking--I hope that the weather clears and your lovely country heals

  13. my thoughts are with you, from the other side of the world. I hope things go back to normal soon, without too much damagae.


  14. OH this is lovely, all so heart felt & my handsome soldier is out there cleaning up Brisbane. Thanks for the special mention.
    Gympie, that is where that shot of the massive crocodile is from, are you SURE your parents are OK?? Crocodiles were always a worry during cyclones in Darwin, we've been through a few of them!! Love Posie

  15. This past week I have felt like silence might be the best post, because nothing felt appropriate. I've been feeling so blue about stuff, while feel like just donating isn't enough. That's the aid worker coming out in me. But I love your hope and your positivity. I can see how many others are feeling positive too despite the tragedy. The human spirit is just amazing. xx

  16. Oh, there is so much to be grateful for. I've been a bit scared to be grateful, because I don't stand in among the tragedy. I know, it hardly makes sense! But the human spirit is truly powerful. Makes me think there is more to us than just blood and bones. Love to you, your family and friends during this very difficult time. xx

  17. Felicity, your post was so beautifully written, its all so devastating, as I write this the sky looks dark and the rain has started again, fingers crossed we have only showers not heavy rain. Thank you for my lovely comment on my blog xx

  18. I can only imagine ... it really makes you grateful for what you have....

  19. What a lovely heartfelt post. Thank you for the hugs and here's some for you too HUGS! Katherine

  20. Such a well spoken list. I love the optimism of your friend Melissa!

  21. I'm grateful for sunshine too - and the sun did come out tomorrow...thanks for cheering me up yesterday (I hate to admit it, but I needed it)

  22. It has been a difficult week for so many - I have felt helpless in the face of the Queensland floods, and other unrelated tragedies that lovely bloggers have been dealt. It's not just in our own backyard of course. Mudslides and flooding in Brazil this week claimed more than 500 lives, and the rain continues there.

    Oh, may the sun shine for everyone next week, and on you Felicity!

  23. I'm so glad to hear so many people you know are safe, and love hearing how your friend Melissa is remaining positive.

  24. I am nodding along as I read...

    Despite minor flooding down here in Vic which has damaged our home and beginning building works, I am so very grateful that we are all safe and well....

  25. beautiful post..I am glad to hear that you and your family are safe and I just hope that everything gets better soon!

    take care

  26. Late last week, I asked for a miracle, a sign. Something that would help me see the purpose in my life. Very quickly, I added, it's gotta be good!! I am so tired of these messages the universe sends me that kick me up the bum in the direction I'm meant to be going.

    Unfortunately for others, the signs turned out to be the devastation experienced by so many in Queenslad, as well as the death of someone I didn't even know. And both those events made me realise just how much I do have going for me. How much I have to be grateful for. How little some of the stuff I'd been crying over, really matters.

    I have a home. I have two healthy, well adjusted children. I have a job. I have skills. I have reasonable health. All the pain I experienced is now behind me. I truly have a second chance at life, at making it what I really want.

    And I have hope. No matter how bleak things get, I always return to hope...

    It's going to be such tough going for all affected by the floods, for quite a long period of time. My heart goes out to them and I am mesmerised by the outpouring of assistance that was seen from day one. It truly demonstrates that we can treat one another with compassion. It is such a pity that we only seem to be able to do it in crisis....

  27. I got goosebumps reading your post. Glad all of your family are dry and safe despite the car.

  28. I started my grateful post so many times and I never ended up finishing it. It's so hard to be grateful in challenging times. You worded it so perfectly.

  29. A postscript for Saturday evening 14.01.11

    The sun did come out today and it has meant that everything has dried out a little and the window of hope has opened a little more.

    My friend Melissa mentioned in the post has put up photos on her Facebook page of the damage to her home and it was very sad. She has had a mighty army of friends and family helping her and her husband clean up and tonight she posted photos of a sparkling clean unit.

    I'm sure it still smells though [no amount of cleaning products will be able to eradicate the odour of floodwater and sewerage] and it will be quite some time before they are able to settle back in.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments and well wishes, you are the most special bunch of people ever,

    Felicity x

  30. So nice to find you Felicity...thank you for your very sweet comment and there is so much love and beauty in this blog - i can't wait to read more!

  31. Felicity your post is so touching I am so so glad that all your family & friends are safe I went to visit my sister in Brisbane last Sat for a week we were high & dry & just watched the devistation unfold I to feel so blessed that my family were safe as many were not I had to leave today with a heavy heart watching every one turn up with a broom & I could not stay to help if there is anything that I can do to help any of your family or friends up here in Mackay please let me know I have a great sewing machine if anything needs making. x

  32. Great post! All the important items are covered there. :-)

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro this weekend.

  33. Hi Felicity. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my blog yesterday. It was lovely to wake up this morning to see them and find you as a new follower. So pleased you found me via Life in a Pink Fibro - what a fantastic blogger / writer Allison is eh.
    And now I've had a read of your blog here. I've watched in horror on the tv at the devastation happening in Queensland. I cannot imagine how frightening and terrifying the flooding is. I am sure there are many people grateful that their families and friends are safe and yet know of many people suffering enormous losses. The past year across the world flooding has taken so many lives. It is heartbreaking to watch.
    I wish you and all your family a safe and happy 2011 and I hope life gets back to some normality for you soon.
    I shall be having a good read through your lovely blog this weeknd. Chat some more next week.

  34. Visiting via LBS Tea Party - so glad you and yours are safe and sound; am looking for ways to help others in a real way in this time. It does make us look at all we have and express gratitude but also makes us want to reach out and help - that is one of the best things about internet - ability to reach out!

  35. Sending bunches of Warm Winter Wishes your way for a Wonderful Weekend, Felicity xoxoxo

  36. Beautiful post. Visiting from the LBS Tea Party!

  37. your blog is SO lovely. I love when I click a blog and let out a *sigh* because it is so peaceful. visiting from LBS and love your blog. SO happy you and yours are safe. PTL. Sending hugs and love from England and the USA. (im from the US, living in England..so I feel like i have the right to send hugs from both countries...) ;)


  38. Hi there visiting from Lady Blogger Social Tea Party... your post was touching and inspiring!! Prayers and blessings to you and your family and friends may you all remain safe from the floods are you. HHL

  39. I have found your site via Life in a Pink Fibro and it's just gorgeous.

    I'm so pleased to see a post about the Queensland crisis and my thoughts are very much with you all over there. I am in the UK now, but did live in Sydney for a while and have tremendous pride and fondness for Australia.... it's just awful to see what is happening over there.

  40. Hi Felicity,
    Just wanted to say thank you for your lovely comments on my blog yesterday.

  41. What a truly beautiful & moving post Felicity, I think those of us unaffected do have a little bit of Survivor's Guilt. So we need to channel that in a +ve way for those Queenslanders affected in so many ways.
    Millie x
    P.S. I absolutely love the new look here, so stylish & crisp & sleek, bravo!

  42. Dear Felicity,

    I have just return from the warmth and comfort of my family in friends - during the lovely holiday my heart and thoughts were with you and the very serious situation all are facing in QLD. I am so very glad to hear you safe and well. I will back into the swing of blogging and creating as soon as our computer is fixed (it crashes constantly) I would also like to donate a cot quilt for you to do with as you like (auction sell gift.....) Please give me two weeks to shake off jet lag and make one love ingrid

  43. Ingrid this is such a thoughtful and generous offer - thank you so very much!
    x Felicity

  44. Well put, and an important reminder for all as to how important it is to be grateful, especially for the things taken for granted. A visit from Lady Blogger Social Tea Party. Best, Traci

  45. Hey there I have located a unsold quilt at one of my vendors (is unsold a word). If you email me with your postal details I will send it as soon as school starts - impossible to do anything before hand - will start blogging then too!!!!

    love ing


Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Each new comment is a gift - unexpected and lovely.
Although I'd love to reply to each and every one, this isn't always possible, but know that I read and appreciate them all.

Felicity x