Christmas In Okeechobee

Merry Day After Christmas my friends. I hope that you got to spend some quality time with loved ones, or you got to do something that you love.

For the 2ND Christmas in a row I embarked on a Florida road-trip to and from just a few hours to the north of where I live. This time I drove 355 miles round-trip to West Palm Beach, and then over to Okeechobee. It was a 4-day road-trip. I returned home yesterday (Christmas Day) morning.

Over in West Palm Beach I saw Jim Gaffigan LIVE in concert at the Kravis Center For The Performing Arts. He’s my favorite comedian today. I last saw him in 2010. Ryan Hamilton opened for Jim. He was very funny. He reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld. The next morning I spent a couple of hours at the historic Palm Beach Zoo. I got in for free as a military veteran. It was my first visit since 2010.

A few times each year I visit a town in Florida that I’ve never been to before, I haven’t visited in many years, or I’ve only driven through – in order to determine whether or not I wish to move there in a few years after I retire. I selected Okeechobee several months ago, and I spent a couple of days and nights there leading up to Christmas Day. It’s on the northern side of the big Lake Okeechobee.

While in Okeechobee I visited the main attraction – the big Lake ‘O’. I walked a couple of miles high atop the dike / levee known as the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. If you were to walk completely around the lake then it would take you a few days to do so – because it’s 109 miles around the lake !  I also ate at a couple of family-owned restaurants “where the locals eat”, and I toured the town’s old historic downtown district. It was a fun visit, but I don’t think I’d want to move there after I retire. Its location is a bit secluded from other towns. I’ll visit again though. It’s got small-town charm.

I ended up taking over 110 photos of my excursions on this Florida road-trip. 3 of them are up above, and I’ll probably post about half of the remaining photos over on my Flickr site in the weeks and months to come.

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Merry Christmas

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On this Thursday before Christmas (next Wednesday) I take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you following me and reading my blog a very Merry Christmas.

My traditional family “Christmas” actually occurred 3 weeks ago today on Thanksgiving Day. For the past dozen years or so my family has enjoyed a hearty home-cooked Breakfast, and then shortly after that we’ve opened all of the presents underneath the Christmas tree. Once they are all opened it’s time to watch the Macy’s Parade, and then football for the rest of the day and into the night – pausing for about an hour to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at around three in the afternoon.

On the day after Thanksgiving (“Black Friday”) Christmas is done and over for me. Well – sort of. For the first 3 weeks of December I get to observe and celebrate bits and pieces of Christmas here and there by putting up the Christmas tree and decorations in the church sanctuary, listening to Christmas music on the radio, watching Christmas shows on television, writing and sending out Christmas cards to friends from afar, and enjoying several Christmas luncheons with friends and coworkers.

We all celebrate Christmas in our own unique and traditional ways. May you spend this season with your loved ones. Make and share good memories that will last a lifetime. Honor each other. Love one another.

And may we remember why we celebrate Christmas.

And she will have a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21 NLT)

The LORD saves.

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Sunday Scripture

Today at Living Waters (my church family) we honored our Lead Pastor Bob for Pastor Appreciation Month at the start of our service, and I was also honored. Post-service most of us ventured over to the local Longhorn Steakhouse for good food, fun, and fellowship.

Today Pastor Bob preached on the “Healing Power Of Grace”. Grace brings us to the cross where our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ died a brutal bloody death because of all of our sins past, present, and future. We need Grace. Our God has given Grace to everyone in the whole world. Some accept it. Many reject it. For those of us that accept it we must use it towards others because God gave it to us as His gift – unmerited favor that we did not deserve. We are now justified eternally !

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this – not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time – to show us His grace through Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT)

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Weekends Begin On Thursdays …

… and they end on Mondays. Every weekend is a 4-day weekend here at #CountUp – at least when it comes to my blogging. I blog on Thursdays and Fridays. New posts are published at 3 AM EDT (U.S. East Coast Time). On Saturdays I generally go offline, and I stay off social media (for the most part). I may post a tweet or two of Scripture that leads-in to my Sunday.

On Sundays I blog post church service, so usually at or around 3 PM EDT. Finally on Mondays (back at 3 AM) I publish my brand new weekly hit music chart. It’s the continuation of a hobby of mine for the past 40+ years. (Casey Kasem was my idol as a preteen during the late-1970s. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up.)

So this is my Thursday blog that’s unlike my Friday, Sunday, and Monday blogs. My Friday and Monday blogs are music-based. My Sunday blog is Bible-based. My Thursday blog can be about anything that I can think of at the time.

So the big thing this week is something that I’ve been thinking about doing for the better part of the past 6 months. I finally did it this past Tuesday night. I began a weekly subscription with Freshly. Maybe you’ve heard of it ?  Maybe you know how it works ?  It’s basically a service that ships to your front door (via FedEx or a similar company) a certain number of chilled microwavable meals on the same day every week for a set price. I’ve set up my account to receive 6 meals per week every Friday. The meals are cooked by real chefs with high-quality ingredients. I’m not going to say much more about it in advance (prior to receiving and eating a single meal), but I’ve watched a few videos online, and they were mostly favorable towards the service. It’s got its pros and cons. I’ll give it a chance. I can cancel at anytime if I decide that it’s not worth it.

Basically at age 52 I need to take much better care of myself. That starts with eating better. I eat (for the most part) terribly. I don’t cook, so I either eat out (way too much food at one time), or I eat in (prepackaged frozen foods). The Freshly meal service is designed to be refrigerated, microwaved, and then eaten within 4-6 days. Hello Lunch and Dinner !

I’ll have to get used to eating smaller portions than I’m used to, and that’s another goal of mine. I’m actually overweight. My ideal weight (for my height) is right around 165. I’d love to weigh 165. I’d love to be back in the 170s. I’m about 20 pounds overweight. I’m thinking that these Freshly meals will help me lose weight. Oh yeah – that – and far more exercise.

My main form of exercise is walking. How’s that working out for me ?  I’ll let you know on a future Thursday blog.

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Weekend Kickoff Mini-Thoughts

Let’s try this again – a rapid-fire session of thoughts on my mind right this minute:

  • I went on a short weekend getaway last weekend.
  • I left at dawn last Friday, and I returned late this past Monday morning.
  • It was a 76-hour vacation away from home.
  • I drove about 140 miles away from home, so not too far.
  • Once upon a time I’d announce my vacations away from home on social media.
  • I’m much smarter nowadays, as I now reveal vacations after-the-fact.
  • So I drove to Fort Myers Florida on Friday.
  • I ate Breakfast at Perkins along the way in Naples.
  • I like Perkins. I wish we had those here at home.
  • I enjoyed a late Lunch / early Dinner at Outback Steakhouse.
  • I can’t remember the last time I ate there (maybe over 10 years ?)
  • We don’t have one close to home, but we have Longhorn & Texas here.
  • I love to eat steak !
  • I saw longtime comedian Brian Regan LIVE in concert that night.
  • He packed-in a lot of laughs in 55 minutes.
  • I wish he had performed for 90 minutes.
  • He left us wanting more, so he did his job as a comedian.
  • He had an opening act too – a comedian that made us laugh for 15 minutes.
  • The next morning I headed over to Fort Myers Beach.
  • I visited “The Island” (as the natives refer to it) 7 times from 2011 to 2015.
  • It was love at first sight at the end of April of 2011.
  • I thought I had found my future retirement town.
  • On subsequent visits I discovered the “seedier” side of town.
  • I decided not to retire there.
  • I decided to stop visiting there.
  • So this was my 8TH visit, but 1ST visit in a little over 4 years.
  • It’s still a fun place to visit.
  • I’ll visit for a 9TH time sooner rather than later.
  • I did considerable research on churches on the island beforehand.
  • There are a lot of churches along its narrow 7-mile length.
  • A friend suggested a specific church to visit.
  • I watched the previous Sunday sermon from the Pastor.
  • I didn’t care for his style. He was too Jimmy Buffett-like.
  • He acted too silly for me.
  • His use of Scripture was mighty thin too.
  • I like a Pastor with a sense of humor, but this dude was over-the-top.
  • I ended-up watching a LIVE Facebook feed of my own Pastor back home.
  • I like his style.
  • Later on Sunday night I took a fun 3-hour boat cruise that I pre-booked.
  • It was billed as a “Dolphin & Shelling Sunset Cruise“.
  • There were 38 of us including the Captain & Skipper.
  • Both narrated portions of the cruise.
  • We saw lots of birds at play on the various islands.
  • Dolphins jumped all around us at the rear of the boat.
  • Those dolphins know how to get from Point A to Point B quicker.
  • They simply ride the waves created by the boat.
  • I didn’t get any pictures of the dolphins because there were lots of kids too.
  • They blocked my view, but it’s all good.
  • The sunset was beautiful too, but again my line-of-sight was blocked.
  • I did manage to get one reasonably good photo of the sunset.

Sunset (Cruise)

  • You’re lookin’ good Fort Myers Beach !

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Chanute AFB Illinois

I’m coming up on the 34TH Anniversary of my graduation from USAF BMT. That stands for United States Air Force Basic Military Training. I was stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas from June 13TH 1985 (early in the morning – like right after Midnight) to July 29TH 1985 (at dawn). It was the roughest and toughest 46 days / 6½ weeks of my life at that point. (I had just turned 18.)

On July 29TH 1985 (a Monday) I boarded a plane (with others) from San Antonio Texas to Champaign County Illinois. I got food poisoning on the plane. That was when full hot meals were still served on airplanes. After landing we were transported from the airport to Chanute Air Force Base (near Rantoul Illinois). Everyone else was taken to their respective squadrons for in-processing. I was taken to the Base Hospital where I spent a couple of days and nights recuperating.

On the 3RD day I rose again – out of my hospital bed fully recovered, and I was released to my squadron. I moved-in to my dormitory room – my home for the next 3 months. School started soon for me. I would soon learn how to be an Aircraft Maintenance Systems Analyst (think “Statistician”). I was in a class of 4.

Today – 34 years later – I am an Analyst / Statistician, and I work for the United States Air Force.

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Welcome To The Weekend !

It’s 3 AM on this Thursday the 23RD day of May of 2019. That’s 3 AM here in South Florida U.S.A., so 8 AM in the U.K., 9 AM in South Africa, and 7 PM in New Zealand. Welcome aboard wherever you’re reading this from.

I kickoff most new weekends of blogging on Thursday at 3 AM my time, and this weekend is no different. It’s a holiday weekend here in the States – Memorial Day Weekend. Monday is Memorial Day where we honor those military personnel who died while serving their country in a time of war. I’ll have a special tribute to our fallen heroes this Monday here on my blog. That pushes my new Top 10 personal hit music chart back a day to Tuesday. So I’ve got 5 new blog posts for you this weekend in lieu of the usual 4 – starting with this one.

I’m staying in during this long holiday weekend – not going anywhere – staying out of traffic. It’ll be a sunny, dry, and hot weekend here in South Florida, so I just want to relax and enjoy my air conditioning. I’ll do my usual Bible study on Saturday, and I’ll hopefully finish writing my next sermon that I’ll preach titled “Pray & Believe”. I also want to get started on my next sermon after that. We’ll see where God takes me this weekend. Sometimes I think I know exactly what I wish to write, and then God leads me in an entirely different direction. That’s the Holy Spirit at work. I just want to go where He guides me.

I just ate a pear a few minutes ago, and it was absolutely delicious. I then Googled the health benefits of eating pears, and I found this article. I really need to buy and eat more pears. I need all of those health benefits. The results of my recent ultrasound are in. My liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and right kidney were all checked-out. There were 3 “impressions” or anomalies, but nothing to be overly concerned about. My liver is normal size, and it measures 13 centimeters in length. The “impression” there was a “minimal diffuse fatty liver”. If I improve my diet, exercise more, and lose a little weight then the fat can go away. More pears !

I’ve been eating smaller lunches at my desk at work, and then after that I’ve been using the 2ND-half of my lunch hour by walking it off – basically walking around the exterior grounds of my building. My Fitbit likes that. I’ve been walking about 0.6 to 0.7 miles in a nice casual walk after eating. Nothing too strenuous. In fact once I break a sweat I walk back inside. Today my walk after eating was 15 minutes – 3 minutes “peak”, 8 minutes “cardio”, and 4 minutes “fat burn”. My average heart rate was 130 BPM, and it peaked at 145 BPM. More exercise !

I think that most of you will agree with me that blogging peaked about 15 years ago during the mid-2000s (post-AOL and pre-Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). I started this blog in 2007 towards the end of my first year of salvation to begin a dialog online about the God I know. There’s a lot of hatred on social media today. It’s one of the main reasons why I returned to the WordPress community 16 months ago to get back into full-time blogging again. Many of you reading this blog host your own blogs. I know that because I visit them on a regular basis. Some of your blogs surely glorify our God. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. Never be discouraged that you’re not getting enough visits, or likes, or comments. Keep blogging and writing about your life. Keep expanding God’s Kingdom – one blog post at a time.

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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