A Cold Day In The Everglades

Back in November when I found out that The United States Secretary Of The Interior David Bernhardt made it free for life for U.S. Veterans to enter America’s National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and other public federal lands – first of all I was extremely grateful. It’s probably the best gift that has ever been given to me as a Veteran. After all this is a gift that keeps on giving every single day – not just on Veterans’ Day.

I live between two U.S. National Parks – Biscayne National Park to the east – and Everglades National Park to the west. Both are about 10 miles away from my home. Biscayne does not charge an entry fee. It’s free for everyone. Everglades charges $30 per vehicle for a 7 consecutive day pass, or $55 for an annual pass. I no longer have to pay either fee. I’m free !

I actually got in to Everglades National Park for free during 2 consecutive winter seasons (2015-2016 and 2016-2017) when I worked out there as a volunteer (in uniform) giving tours at the NIKE Missile Site (HM-69). I worked 31 Saturdays out there showing hundreds of visitors from around the world a sampling of authentic military history from the mid-1960s to the late-1970s (when it was an active duty base out in the middle of the Park).

Back in November I said to myself that I would visit the Park on a cold day this winter season, and so last Saturday was that cold day. With temperatures in the upper-40s and lower-50s at dawn I entered the Park for the first time since my last Saturday working out there in March of 2017. It was like a homecoming for me. I actually drove the entire 38-mile main park road down to Flamingo on Florida Bay. It was my first visit there in nearly 7 years. I took a fun 90-minute organized boat tour up-and-down the waters north of Flamingo. I took the same tour almost 8 years ago.

After the boat tour I did a lot of walking all around Flamingo and then at a couple of stops along the way back up the main park road. I took a lot of pictures. I walked over 13,000 steps / 6 miles.

The Park was packed on that Saturday / day after Christmas. Everyone else had the same idea as me to visit during a rare cold South Florida day.

Now I need to figure out what my next fun cold day out will be here in my local area. Maybe Vizcaya ? (also free for life for U.S. Veterans)

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

My Top 20 Hits – 2020

59 hits created 52 weeks of Top 10 Christian hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay. Here it is – my Top 20 hits of 2020:

1 1 22 Almost Home MercyMe
2 1 26 I Will Fear No More The Afters
3 2 25 Alive & Breathing Matt Maher
4 1 18 Rise Up (Lazarus) Cain
5 1 20 No Impossible With You I AM THEY
6 1 20 Keep Me In The Moment Jeremy Camp
7 1 19 The God Who Stays Matthew West
8 1 14 No Hold On Me Matty Mullins
9 1 15 God So Loved We The Kingdom
10 2 18 Your Name Is Power Rend Collective
11 1 12 Rescue Story Zach Williams
12 3 14 This Is What We Live For Big Daddy Weave
13 1 12 Jericho Andrew Ripp
14 2 14 The Father’s House Cory Asbury
15 2 11 Amadeo (Still My God) Ryan Stevenson
16 3 16 Waymaker Michael W. Smith Ft. Vanessa Campagna
17 3 12 See A Victory Elevation Worship
18 3 12 Truth Be Told Matthew West
19 1 9 Miracles Colton Dixon
20 1 11 There Was Jesus Zach Williams Ft. Dolly Parton

# 1 For The Year In:
2019 – “Nobody (But Jesus)” – Casting Crowns Ft. Matthew West 
2018 – “Do It Again” – Elevation Worship
2017 – “Broken Things” – Matthew West

What a great year for positive and encouraging music that tells the story of God. What a great chart to represent His music. What a unique year that 2020 was – a year like no other. 

My # 2 artist of the past 202 weeks – MercyMe – scored my # 1 smash of 2020 with “Almost Home” – a song that spent 12 consecutive weeks at # 1 from late-February to early-May. MercyMe return to my year-end chart after no-showing in 2019. (“Even If” was my # 2 hit of 2017, and “Grace Got You” was my # 2 hit of 2018.)

My # 1 artist of the past 202 weeks – Matthew West – makes it 4 years in a row on my year-end chart, and this year he places 2 songs on it including the still-climbing “Truth Be Told” which is now at # 3 for the week. There’s a good chance that it could compete for # 1 next week.

My # 2 hit of 2020 – The Afters’ “I Will Fear No More” – was my longest-running hit of the year at 26 weeks – from late-January to mid-July. It was quite the timely song to hear during the peak of the pandemic.

Elevation Worship have now placed a song on my year-end chart for the past 3 years in a row.

Unspoken’s “You’ve Always Been” missed out on my year-end chart by just 2 chart points. It’s officially my # 21 hit of 2020.

My Top 20 Of 2020 chart was compiled by awarding 10 points for each week at # 1, 9 points for # 2, and so forth and so on down to 1 point for # 10. The points are then added, and the hits are ranked.

There were 14 # 1 hits in 2020, and 2 of them failed to make my Top 20 – “Holy Water” (We The Kingdom) and “Every Step Of The Way” (Cade Thompson). They were my first and last # 1 hits of the year respectively.

This concludes another weekend of blog posts. I’ll do it again this upcoming weekend – with 4 new entries on Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. I don’t blog on Saturdays. That’s my day of rest.

Your likes, follows, and comments are always appreciated. Thank You for being part of my online ministry to share God’s Good News and win souls for Christ through His music. I’m also on Twitter and Flickr.

Be blessed my friends !  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries