Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sunset - a Daily Dose of God's Majesty

We've been having very hot weather, in the 90s, which is pretty typical for this time of year. It starts to cool off in the evening so we often go to the beach to watch the sunset. Sometimes the kids go swimming, sometimes just a walk to look for seashells and treasures. 

My mother enjoys going to the beach, but it's hard for her to get there in a wheelchair or with a walker. The wheels don't push through the sand easily. I've been scouting out places where we can go that are easily accessible. The other day we found a place that we hadn't been to yet. It was a little more crowded than we like, but we settled in to watch the sun set and watch the people too. The kids headed straight for the water to have a swim. I sat down in the sand next to my mother to keep her company. 

There were lots of families with small children and next to each family were kids playing in the sand and building sand castles.

My mother and I watched the families interacting with each other. All of a sudden my mother asked "Why are we at a baptism? Who is getting baptized?" I looked at her and asked why she thought that. "Well, there are so many people and people are going out into the water" she replied. I reminded her that we were at the beach and people often swim at the beach. Usually we go to places that aren't so crowded, maybe all the people confused her. Then she asked "Where are your brother and sister?" I quietly reminded her that  my brother had died 7 years ago. She sighed and acknowledged "Oh, yes, you are right"  Mom's been having memory lapses more and more these days and she's often confused about events. 

At first it looked as if we would just have an ordinary sunset.....

.... but then some clouds started forming in the distance.... we could see that it was raining far off on the horizon and the sky began to take on a golden hue that just seemed to magnify the blueness of the sky above the clouds. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stood to watch the majesty of God's work.  

A man carrying a case walked up along the shore and stopped in front of us. He set the case down in the sand at his feet, opened it and removed a trumpet. Just as the sun began to  dip below the horizon he began to play Taps. 

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

 All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,

 And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

 From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,

 'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;

 As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,

 Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

 Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,

 And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

 To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

The man finished playing and everyone burst into applause. Then the people started to disperse, families gathered up their belongings and children. We continued to sit and watch the last of the sun.

When almost everyone had left the sky became even more beautiful. We watched a while longer and then it was time for us to go home.  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mini Vacay

About 55 years ago, before my parents got married, my father visited Florida and bought some land. The plan was that once he was married he would move his family to Florida and build a house there one day. 

Time passed, there was marriage and then one child, two, three, four and finally five. My father's work brought him to Florida from time to time. He decided to look into relocating his business. He looked in the vicinity of the land that he had bought, but found it wasn't suitable. The area wasn't built up enough. In the end, my parents found a house in the Tampa Bay area. They decided to keep the land as an investment, possibly to sell in the future. 

From time to time my parents were contacted about the land to say that the city and county were making improvements; streets were paved, sewers, telephone and cable lines installed. My parents paid yearly taxes while they continued to hold on to the land as an investment. A few times they drove out to have a look and indeed found the city was improving, but it wasn't growing very much. They decided to continue to hold on to the land.

This summer my mother and I discussed visiting the land. Actually, it isn't very far away, about an hour and forty-five minutes, but that's quite a journey for my mother, especially to go there and back on the same day. I suggested we go for a few days and turn it into a mini vacation.

Packing up the car required a long list of 'to dos' and 'don't forgets' - there was medicine, a wheelchair, a walker, an oxygen concentrator, a nebulizer, a supply of portable oxygen tanks, and so on. We enjoyed the ride and settled into the hotel when we arrived, sorted out ourselves and had a short rest. Then we headed out to have a look at the land. 

Port Charlotte is a small city that is well planned with a shopping mall, most of the major fastfood chains and restaurants can be found there and schools have good ratings. It was named to Forbes' list of "25 Best Places to Retire in 2015", listed among the ten best places in the United States to retire for the year 2012 by U.S. News & World Report, and was ranked at #1 in's 2009 list of 25 Best Places to Retire. (,_Florida) 

What was most noticeable to us was that the place looked like it was built and ready for a big housing boom, but the boom never seemed to happen. There are signs everywhere: Land for Sale, 12 Acres for Sale, Lots for Sale... even signs that said 620+ Acres for Sale. The roads are all paved, phone lines strung, sewage systems in place.... and cheap land everywhere! 

Everything is in place, plotted out and ready, eternally waiting for the big housing boom.
The neighbourhood where my mother's land is located is mostly lot after empty lot, but there are some houses scattered around, mostly on plots of land along the rivers and waterways. A lot of houses had For Sale signs on them. A quick online search led me to a 9 bedroom, 9 bathroom house on my mother's street that is listed as being valued at about 3 million dollars, but sold recently for a mere $80,000. We wondered who built the house, and why? 
Mom posing in front of her land.
We got out of the car and walked around, snapped a few pictures, sighed a few sighs.... The land isn't worth that much. Actually, the land value hasn't increased much since my father purchased it about 55 years ago. My parents probably paid more in taxes on it over the years than it is worth. We headed back to the hotel and the kids had a swim. Later we went out for dinner and then watched TV. 

Mom catching her breath. 
My mother's health issues require that she is on oxygen most of the time. Her oxygen concentrator makes a continuous 'whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh' sound when it is turned on. That combined with the television that my mother insists should be on all night long made me worry that someone would complain, but thankfully no one did. In the morning my mother asked if it was alright to go to the restaurant to eat breakfast in her pajamas. I said "No! You need to get dressed!" Mom is not really a morning person, but we had planned to spend the day at the Myakka River State Park so I had to get everyone up and moving and pack up the car for the day out.

The ride to the park was beautiful. Along the way were small farms, cattle ranches and an abundance of 'Land for Sale' signs. We had a lovely day at the park. The weather was perfect and there were plenty of things to do that were accessible to my mother. Part of the time she rested in the car. 

The views of the river were stunning. Alligators popped up for a breath of air from time to time, but quickly sank below the water's surface.

There is a suspension bridge up in the tree canopy that stretches out between two observation towers. 

A walkway leading out into the water. 
Plenty of alligators hanging out along the shady banks. 
Saw Palmetto
We enjoyed the park, the scenery, the small visitors center and museum, hiking around and the boat ride. After a very pleasant day we headed back to the hotel. The kids went for a swim to cool off before dinner.

The next morning I woke up to find my mother missing. She wasn't in the room. I quickly got dressed and went out to find her. Where was she? She was in the dining room of course, happily eating her breakfast - in her pajamas!

After breakfast we packed up the car and headed for home. No decisions were made about my mother's land, but we had had a lovely mini vacation.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Feeling stressed!

They say that if Plan A doesn't work go on to Plan B.... there's an entire alphabet to try. This doesn't always work when it involves anything to do with Libya! I'm feeling rather frustrated about things today. Maybe it's time to stop trying to plan things my own way and relax and let God deal with it. I am totally stressed out and that's not helping. Go with the flow.... go with the flow... go with God's plan....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Updating and Reorganizing

I've finally taken the time to sort out all the links that were on my sidebar and put them on their own separate page which you can find on the tabs at the top of my blog (Link List). It took me a while to sort it all out - I had to check each of the links individually. So many of the blogs had been removed and the links didn't work anymore. I found myself stopping to read new posts. Some of the blogs haven't been updated in quite some time. I guess we can blame Facebook for that.

I think I've put together a pretty good list. I'll keep adding to it as I go. Let me know in the comments what you think, or if you know of any links I might have missed. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Eid wishes

Best wishes for a safe and peaceful Eid El Fitr to all who celebrate. 

Eid Mubarak!

My Link List