Preserving Moments, Part I (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6)

Photography is amazing — it allows us to capture a moment in time to revisit again and again. Some of those moments are heartbreaking. We have seen its power during times of tragedy and disaster … too many times in the recent days and months.

Gratefully, photography also allows us to revisit happier times. Even as the video footage and still photos continue to document the unfathomable destruction that Hurricanes Irma and Maria wrought this fall, I was reminded of the beauty that filled many of these locales, that hopefully will return in full force again.

St. John, U.S.V.I. was one of the tiny islands gutted by Hurricane Irma. It still struggles to recover, as reflected by some of these recent news stories:

One of the local non-profits supporting post-hurricane recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the Community Foundation:  As described on the USVI Recovery website:

To help those affected by the hurricane, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) has established the Fund for the Virgin Islands.

100% of your donation will benefit those in crisis.

CFVI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has been operating in the USVI for more than 25 years. It has supported past relief efforts in the region and is working closely with government and community providers to identify priorities and direct resources for immediate needs as well as long-term recovery efforts.


The USVI is just one of many areas still struggling to rebuild after the devastating natural disasters earlier this year. Consider supporting these regions’ recovery funds, as you are able.

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

A speck of pristine beach and palm trees waving in the breeze, surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Sandy Island, off of Anguilla
Sandy Island, off of Anguilla

Over 20 years ago, for our honeymoon, my husband and I took a laid-back “windjammer” cruise, sailing the sea for several nights on an old clipper ship.  (Since this was before the days of digital cameras, I had to scan in this print photo to share for this week’s challenge!)  Exploring the sea on a tall ship deserves a spot on the travel bucket list!

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Sea” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Weekly Writing Challenge: I Wish I Were

Miles away from the devastated northeast corner of the United States, and even farther away from the storm-ravaged Caribbean, it is easy to watch the news, scroll through the online media sources, and murmur to oneself, “such a shame, how awful.”  Skimming through Facebook posts from friends close to and far from the path of Hurricane Sandy, reports are shared of the damage, the fatalities, the early estimates of reconstruction timelines and costs.  One can sit back and say, “I wish I were closer, then I could help.”

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

I can help.  You can help.  We all can help.

1.  “I wish I were able to help financially.” 

Numerous nonprofit relief organizations are already assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy.  According to ABC news, these organizations are providing shelter, food and other supplies, and are seeking donations:

  • The American Red Cross ~ call 800-Red-Cross or text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or make a donation through their website.
  • The Salvation Army ~ donate through their website
  • Feeding America ~ donate through their website
  • AmeriCares ~ donate through their website
  • World Vision ~ go to their website to donate, or text “GIVEUSA” to 777444 to make a $10 contribution to the organization’s disaster response.
  • Save the Children ~ donate through their website

I encourage you to conduct your own due diligence efforts if you decide that making a monetary donation is a way you are able to help in the wake of this disaster.  Charity Navigator is an online resource I have found helpful in evaluating nonprofit organizations, but there are also charity review and evaluation resources through the Better Business Bureau’s Charities link, and GuideStar nonprofit reports.  I made donations to the Red Cross and Save the Children on behalf of our family today.

2.  “I wish I were able to volunteer.”

Samaritan’s Purse has a “Disaster Relief Volunteer Network.”  Teams of up to 15 people can register to help out with a variety of volunteer needs through this site.  The link for Hurricane Sandy volunteer efforts is here.

3.  “I wish I were able to donate blood.”

The New York Blood Center is seeking donations, and the ABC news article noted that routine blood drives were cancelled due to the storm, further crippling the usual necessary blood supply.

The American Red Cross also is encouraging people wherever they live to donate blood, which can help bolster blood supplies and provide surplus for shipments to those locations in need.  For blood donation-specific information, check out the American Red Cross website specific to blood donation resources.

It is time to change “I wish I were” to “I am glad I did.”

Thank you to ABC News, the Huffington Post, and CNN for sharing these disaster relief resources.

Lake Bay Sunrise ~ Northern Minnesota
Hoping for that proverbial calm after the storm.

“Each of us as human beings has a responsibility to reach out to help our brothers and sisters affected by disasters. One day it may be us or our loved ones needing someone to reach out and help.”

~ Michael W. Hawkins, American Red Cross

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was written in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge, this week’s theme being, “I Wish I Were.”  Join in with your own response anytime before Friday, by completing the phrase, “I Wish I Were” — read more about the challenge here.