Find Your Piece of Heaven on Earth
It’s better to give than receive. —Acts 20:35
When you really think about how many amazingly beautiful places there are in the world, it is astounding! We have curated our favorite travel features from over the past decade for you to enjoy, to inspire new bucket lists, or just to marvel at in gratitude and see how lucky we are to be alive. We have big news to announce from two of our brand advertising partners and Florida neighbors, Alys Beach and Seaside: Architectural Digest recently announced its fifty most beautiful small towns in America, with the famed Alys Beach ranking third and Seaside eighteenth! Make plans to visit Scenic Highway 30-A where both towns are located and where you can find some of the best beaches in the world. We truly do live in paradise.
Life is beautiful, but we all need to remember this fact as things do not always go according to our plans, hopes, and desires. Gratitude is key. I am a practicing student of walking in gratitude. It always lightens and brightens my day, and I am forever grateful for this gift. We are forever grateful that VIE headquarters, located about thirty miles west of where Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10, is still standing and that we all have our homes intact. To say this storm has been a hardship for our neighbors to the east would truly be an understatement. Please consider helping with the various hurricane relief programs when you read this issue’s feature story, “Faith in the Wake of Disaster,” and give as big and as deeply as you are able. Churches, businesses, chefs, homemakers, and those who could cut trees out of the way have poured into the areas ravaged by the storm to help. Seeing this has been heartwarming and inspiring and has restored my hope in the kindness of humanity.
When someone else’s words are better able to express what the collective mind-set has been for many of us living and loving the Panhandle of Florida since Hurricane Michael left its mark, I believe it’s important to share those words. I saw many social media posts of horrific images of loss and destruction in Panama City, Mexico Beach, Lynn Haven, Port Saint Joe, and many other places—and then there were the posts about how our area could help. Angela Ragsdale, who co-owns The 30A Company with her husband, Mike, had this to say a few days after the hurricane:
“Those of us in the 30A area are blessed and lucky beyond measure. I’m sure we’ve all offered our prayer or energy for and of gratitude and thanks. Now, we turn our attention to our neighbors. We all have talents—talents different from others and the same as some. Pick one or all of yours and give them humbly and freely. No gesture is too small. Those who pray, PRAY hard. Those who build, BUILD! Those who can cook meals, COOK! Even if that means bringing a hot meal to one of the families in the trenches. It all will trickle down!”
You can travel the world for experiences that delight and give you adventure or a long-needed respite—but you can also travel to help those in need, and that is what so many have done and need to continue doing to help rebuild what was lost. Creating heaven on earth might actually mean going to places of destruction rather than to places of beauty.
—Lisa Marie Burwell
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