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What are we grateful for

18th May 2011

How the time has disappeared, already we are at the back end of May and it feels as though January was only yesterday.

You might have noticed that the website blog has not been updated for some time and this posting will, in a way, explain the reason, but first I have to give a bit of background.

The year started with a serious “bang”, not what we wanted or anticipated, but then nature has a way of getting our attention.

In early January we experienced some devastating floods in Queensland Australia, where we are based. The floods peaked on the 13 January but the reverberations are still being felt all over the state.

Flood Pictures - Click Here

It is hard to explain the full impact of such an event as one has to experience it to really understand. When an event such as this happens, one can not simply sit on the sidelines or get on with life, while the natural disaster happen around you.

We started with the cleanup process on the 14th of Jan and thousands of volunteers turned out to help cleaning and clearing. Many houses were fully inundated and had to be stripped down inside while thick brown mud covered all surfaces, not an easy job.

Businesses and offices went down in the floods together with homes and in some cases entire communities were wiped out. The rebuilding efforts are still in progress and people are struggling with everything from bureaucratic stupidity to fine print in their insurance policies.

Once we had cleaned up the basics and got some sense of normality returned, we were still left with thousands of affected people who had nowhere to go or nothing left to start with.

Volunteer groups arose spontaneously and collected everything from fridges, washing machines, beds to food and clothing. This was truly a massive undertaking and I salute all those who helped.

As a small family business we have limits in terms of our resources and had our own problems to resolve, but we were determined to help those less fortunate.

We turned all available space into storage areas and started collecting stuff from friends and in many cases bought things on Ebay. At one point we had 6 fridges and a similar number of washing machines, piles of beds and mattresses, toys and clothing filling every available space.

As we started distributing these goods, more came in and it turned into an ongoing process of collecting and distributing. We cleared the last items from our garage last week, so for us, that is the end of that chapter.

One might say we did our bit as best we could, but one still has a question in the back of ones mind as to what else we could have done or did we miss something?

Now at last, we are at the subject for today’s posting.

During this period of some four months we spent more time with non business related activities than we could really afford, but what we gained in the process outweighs those considerations.

We met hundreds of people and witnessed acts of kindness, resilience and courage, tears and desperation, hope and survival, people picking themselves up from nothing and starting again, getting on with life and not complaining.

Each one of us has much to be grateful for, but we are often too busy to notice. The “being busy” and not having time, is often just an excuse and it blinds one to what really matters in life. Your family, friends, children, relationships, being healthy and sharing our good fortune with others, to name but a few.

The lessons we learnt from all the people we interacted with and the friends we made, will be with us forever and the time we all waste on nothing in particular often leaves no residue. We should consider the value of our time and how well we use it.

If you do nothing else today, make a list of the things you should be grateful for, hug your loved ones and show them that they matter. Then during the next month find one way to help anybody less fortunate than you are, just once, we know you can do it.

Good luck and remember life is all about choice

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