The "H" Word: Finding the GOOD in the storm

Unfortunately, living on Hilton Head Island, SC has become to mean that “we” evacuate for the dreaded “H” word every Fall {Well, for the past four years in a row we have}. It is a scary time. The blessing of having technology that can detect Hurricanes days out is great in terms storm preparation but can create loads anxiety and fear for a long chunk of time.

This last evacuation, from Hurricane Dorian, had us all glued the The Weather Channel for about two weeks. As the nightmare storm pounded the Bahamas our hearts broke and fears increased on the East Coast. Luckily, in the end, Hilton Head Island was spared. Phrases heard all over the South East have been “we dodged a bullet!”, “We are BLESSED”, “Thankgoodness” because everyone here remembers storms from a few years ago where we were not so lucky.

Image from National Hurricane Center-EXAMPLE of original DORIAN CONE

Image from National Hurricane Center-EXAMPLE of original DORIAN CONE

No doubt, Hurricanes are terrifying. However, after FOUR years of personally witnessing what occurs before, during and after the storm; I've become more aware of the GOOD that comes from it. Maybe its the collective comradery of being in the dreaded “CONE OF UNCERTAINTITY” or the realization that not only “you” personally will be affected but your entire community. Our daily stresses become insignificant when we realize we could potentially lose ALL of our physical possessions (your house, your business, your “things”), those thoughts make obsessing about the mundane null and void. As I have discussed with many of my friends, at some point you simply “THROW YOUR HANDS UP” and stop worrying about all the “STUFF” and focus on YOUR PEOPLE.

Mother Nature’s wrath is unwaivering and the human brain is fascinating—how are we able to switch focus so quickly in times of need? I think it is amazing that we can abandon the superficial (even if only for a moment) and focus on helping others and not just ourselves. It truly shows the beauty of the human spirit.

From my tiny corner of the world, I wanted to highlight some of the GOOD in the STORM:

Simple gestures of KINDNESS can have the BIGGEST impact.

A mandatory evacuation when you live on an island is daunting. If YOU decide to stay on the island during a mandatory evacuation and the bridge closes you are on your own {Hospitals close, local authorities such has Fire/EMT will not be able to help you out}. Mandatory evacuations are nothing to laugh at and…let me tell you, especially with kiddos, it is S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L!

A LOCAL Good Samaritan placed this sign just before the Hilton Head Island bridge as the evacuation orders were issued. During the stress and rushing of “leaving everything behind” this sign offered thousands comfort. Simple words? Yes! But, that is why I think this is so powerful. Sometimes we can “trick” ourselves into thinking good deeds must be GRAND. I know, I do. I tend to stir myself into a tizzy making things much bigger and more complicated than they need to be {just ask my Husband, ha!}.

I love how much GOOD this simple, but thoughtful sign provided for our community. Reminds us all that CHANGING the WORLD isn’t always the best place to start…starting small with good intentions is just as good, if not more powerful.

Handmade sign placed on the HHI Bridge along the evacuation route.

Handmade sign placed on the HHI Bridge along the evacuation route.

Lemonade for the Bahamas

Want to help, look to the children. They always know the best way.

This story if one of my favorites.

When the mandatory evacuation order was lifted and we were allowed to return back to an island that was spared; many people began to see the devastating pictures flooding in from the Bahamas. It is always a question of “how can I help?”. Well, as in most cases, look to the KIDS! They have an ability to look at things in a SIMPLE yet effective ways. A group of LOCAL Hilton Head Island kids got together {in their neighborhood} and hosted a “Lemondade Stand” that would donate all proceeds to the Bahamas. With the help of social media, word spread quickly. Within hours a few local companies matched donations and just like that….almost $8,000 raised in a just a few days. What?!! Yes, an adorable Lemondade Stand run by a handful of cutie-pie kiddos sparked a community to THINK SMALL in order to make a BIG impact. This truly represents what it means to “BE THE GOOD”.

As for my FAMILY. The “Good” from the storm came from an impromptu Vacation to Greenville, SC {we chose to evacuate here}. We were able to spend a few days walking around the town which is SUPER CUTE! Loads of adorable shops and restaurants. It was precious “family time” and we are grateful for that. The storms allow us to focus on what is important and that is a blessing.

Praying hard for everyone negatively affected by Hurricane Dorian and eternally in awe of our AMAZING Hilton Head Island community that continues to lead by example on how to…”Be the Good”.


Chaos & Spanish Moss Onesies/Tanks — Hilton Head Island

Chaos & Spanish Moss Onesies/Tanks — Hilton Head Island

Jessica Berinato
Lending a Hand: Shady Strong

When a friend of ours needed help during a rough time, it was our pleasure to get to use our talents to contribute in some small way.

We worked closely with our friend Becca and her sister-in-law, Kristen to help design “Shady Strong” tees to support her dad’s battle with ALS. We talked to them about the exact design and style they wanted. I ordered all kinds of tee shirt samples and colors, they chose their favorite, and we ordered them. Then Matt created the design based on what they wanted and they loved it!

We printed everything here in Nashville and shipped it all to NY. This was such a rewarding experience for us, and an important one for the Shadys. We wanted to share the story in the hopes that it would touch you, too:


There are certain days that are ingrained in my memory; graduations, weddings, births of children, because they are such amazing memories and then there are those that hurt so deeply that they too are ingrained - just differently. One of those days was when the letters ALS became a reality for our family. We prayed that it could be Lyme disease or a stroke, anything else. Second opinions and countless tests only confirmed the worst possibility on the table, ALS. We all went through the grief/acceptance process differently, and at different times. But one thing we all did was join together and choose to support my dad in anyway that we knew how.

My dad, Bob Shady, is a veteran, served his country proudly, only to find out 60 years later, that he now has a veterans disease and has no chance of survival and a prognosis of 2-5 years. The Paralyzed Veterans Association was one of our first calls, and from that point forward, the VA and everyone we have worked with has been a blessing to our family. The amount of physical and emotional support, equipment and medical care we have received from the VA is beyond amazing. So when it was time for our family to participate in our first ALS Walk we knew we wanted to honor both my dad‘s time serving our country and this organization that has been truly a godsend. Our goal was to raise $8000 for our first ALS fundraiser and we knew we wanted to go into it looking like a solid team. We wanted a spin off of Army Strong, something that my dad vowed to be. My dad IS strong and his family and friends are now Shady strong and we will support him through every step of this terrible disease. Shady strong will continue to sell T-shirts, hold fundraisers and raise awareness for ALS research because without the research, we will continue to be held hostage by these three letters.

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On August 18, the Upstate New York ALS Association raised over $75,000 with Shady strong being able to donate nearly $10,000 to honor such an amazing man. These funds will go to support ALS research as well as support the families of others with this diagnosis. And it is so needed. ALS makes the brain stop talking to the muscles, until you can't move or breathe. Right now, it's a guaranteed killer. And it works fast - usually under 5 years. Sometimes ALS runs in families. Sometimes it's random. Research has recently uncovered the protein that acts up and starts ALS. Now that we know the protein that causes the disease, we can begin to figure out how to stop it from acting up or removing it! Our family has been fortunate enough to receive medical care and support from the Paralyzed Veteran's Association. But many families don't. On average, an ALS patient will require $250,000 per year in medical care. Insurance benefits and other funds often do not cover these costs.

Shady Strong T-shirts can be purchased at $30 each, with 100% of the proceeds being donated back to ALS research

(check back soon for a link to purchase!)

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Need custom tees for your cause or organization? Let us know!