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Lessons from Gracie and Hurricane Florence

How did you weather during Hurricane Florence?


Beautiful huge trees wreaked havoc on our home and we are incredibly thankful to friends and family who supplied food, shelter, prayers and lots of encouraging words. Gracie felt the love, too, but between old age and being traumatized by the storm, on November 1st she took her last breath in my husband’s arms.


Many of you have heard the true story of when I put Gracie in “helicopter mode.” Do you remember that story? Her lessons live on.


1. Be present. Life passes fast. Be the best version of YOU.

2. Paws and Breathe. Take at least three deep breaths when life isn’t going your way. The helicopter story reminds us to breathe through difficult situations in order to shift from survival mode into our executive state. Breathe. Notice your body. Breathe until you’re calm.

3. Take naps. Get sleep. Create a good night time routine. Own your electronics rather allowing them to own you. We all have less bark when we’re well rested.

4. Walk or do some type of exercise that brings joy to your body.

5. Play and get fresh air every day. Breathe. Look up. Look around. Use your senses.

6. Stretch.

7. Unconditionally love.

8. Give yourself and others quiet space just to be. Silence is golden, learn to be comfortable in silence with yourself and others.

9. Greet your children when they come home. Look them in the eye. Be present. Turn off devices. Show excitement. Show love. Gracie consistently greeted us by peering through the back door window, wagging her tail and spinning in circles until we walked in.

10. Drink lots of water-we think, act, feel and look better when we’re hydrated.

11. Visit friends. Call friends. Be face to face with your friends. The day before Gracie died, she walked over to Molly’s house, who was her dear friend! If you want a friend, be a friend.

12. You may be small in size like Gracie, and regardless of your size, finding your voice (not bark) is so important. It’s important to communicate what you need and want in life. It isn’t other people’s job to read your mind, or guess what you want, or guess how you’re feeling. It is your responsibility to speak up and be honest. Gracie would push her dish around when she was hungry or stand right under me when I was cutting chicken. She clearly communicated her needs.




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2322 Mimosa Place

Wilmington, NC 28403

​Tel: 910-262-3211

gailcherryrichardson@gmail.com

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