Southwest Florida Road-Trip

This past U.S. holiday weekend I enjoyed a 3-day / 3-county / 360-mile Florida road-trip to and from Fort Myers. It was my first visit to the region since last July. I always enjoy visiting Southwest Florida (Collier and Lee County). Usually I venture over there to see a concert at the Hertz Arena, and this trip was no exception.

My first stop though after crossing the Everglades via the Tamiami Trail was the flagship branch of the multi-site Collier County Museum in East Naples. It was my first visit since June 2012. Back then I thought it was my first visit ever – until I saw some of the exhibits outside – and then I realized that I had been there years earlier.

At the end of my 90-minute visit I picked-up a brochure for a nearby place that I never knew existed – the Naples Museum Of Military History – at the main terminal of the Naples Airport. So I went there, and I immersed myself in all of the awesome displays there. They were overflowing at the seams in the two rooms that they occupy there. They need more space, and hopefully they get it.

After that I took a ride out to the country and into the woods for another first-time visit ever – the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. What a wonderful and beautiful place this was – especially on a sunny and coolish day. I’m sure that it would be a miserable place to be during our 9-month bug season and especially our 5-month rainy season, but that was truly a great day to be outdoors strolling the 2.25-mile elevated boardwalk absorbing nature’s beauty – created by my Almighty God.

By the way all of the above was Day 1 of my road-trip !  Day 2 started in Fort Myers at probably their # 1 tourist attraction – the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. It was my first visit since April 2011. I love this place. I could work and have fun at this place after I retire from my military / civil service career. I took the 1-hour and 15-minute guided tour which was a lot of fun (even though I had done it before). I’d do it again !

On Sunday night I went to the Hertz Arena to see Franklin Graham conclude his recent tour of Florida. He led us in prayer for our nation and our leaders, and then he preached a classic Billy Graham Crusade sermon on Repentance & Salvation. That’s a topic that I’m quite familiar with, as many of my sermons are about the same. Jeremy Camp opened and closed for Franklin, as he performed 7 of his greatest hits. I’ll be seeing Jeremy Camp perform again at this very same arena in 6 weeks, as he opens for MercyMe.

Day 3 of 3 started back in East Naples at the Naples Botanical Garden – yet another first-time visit. I walked well over 3 miles for 2 hours at this fun place on a chilly and overcast morning.

I’ve got over 80 photos of this fun road-trip to and from Southwest Florida – also known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. At least 60 of those 80 photos will probably be uploaded and captioned on my Flickr site over the next few weeks. But I’ll close this blog post with a sneak-peek. It’s a photo of the chalkboard at the start of the boardwalk at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary where visitors can write-down what they’ve seen along their walk on the boardwalk. A little less than 90 minutes later – there were more sightings documented on the chalkboard.

IMG_4407

All rights reserved (c) 2020 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:

  • It’s been awhile since I last did this.
  • In fact it’s been since Thursday August 01ST 2019.
  • I’m not sure that some of you “get this” feature.
  • If you’ve been following my blogs for the past 12 years then you “get this”.
  • For those that don’t “get this” no worries – just follow along.
  • Last night was our last sunset at 7 PM or after here until next March.
  • It’s getting darker earlier, and I like that.
  • In a little over 3 weeks we return to Standard Time.
  • I prefer Standard Time over Daylight Saving Time.
  • I wish we stayed on Standard Time all year long.
  • Most people don’t know what Daylight Saving Time is.
  • Pretty soon we’ll start getting cooler here in South Florida.
  • By “cooler” I mean the 60s in the morning instead of the 70s.
  • We’re still a good month away from feeling some 50s.
  • Our 5-month rainy season is almost over.
  • It’s been a below average rainy season.
  • I enjoy our 7-month dry season from October to May.
  • I hope to begin my dry season weekend fitness walks soon.
  • I hope to do much better than I did last dry season.
  • It’s Columbus Day Weekend here in the U.S.
  • I adore 3-day holiday weekends.
  • Maybe I’ll go for a walk in the park this Saturday morning.
  • I mostly plan to continue writing my next sermon this weekend.
  • It’s on God’s “Kindness & Love”.
  • I have another sermon that I’m working on titled “Ways & Memes”.
  • I’ll be stepping completely out of my comfort zone for that one.
  • There’s a few movies that I hope to see on HBO On Demand this weekend.
  • One of them is that World War 1 movie, “They Shall Not Grow Old”.
  • I’m really looking forward to a quiet and productive weekend at home.
  • Tomorrow on the blog my RETRO series continues with 15 years ago.
  • My new blog posts go LIVE at 3 AM U.S. East Coast time aside from Sunday.
  • I blog 4 times per weekend on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays.
  • I don’t blog on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
  • If I were to add a 5TH day of blogging then I’d add Tuesdays.
  • But I have no plans to do that anytime soon.
  • Programming Alert:  The 50TH GMA Dove Awards are coming soon.
  • The show occurs LIVE in Nashville next Tuesday October 15TH.
  • It airs on TBN the following Sunday October 20TH at 8 PM EDT.
  • I’ll be live-tweeting during the entire telecast !
  • Join me that night on Twitter @ChrisMDay as I talk God’s music.
  • The next morning I’ll reveal my brand new Top 10 music chart.
  • Well those are my rapid-fire one-line thoughts for now.
  • Enjoy your weekend and this 10TH day of the 10TH month.

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

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 2004

Every Friday night I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay from either 10, 15, 20, or 30 years ago this weekend (rotating each week).

It’s the 2ND Friday of the month, so I go back 15 years ago. Here it is – for the week ending Sunday July 11TH 2004:

  1. “Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard
  2. “Meant To Live” – Switchfoot
  3. “The Reason” – Hoobastank
  4. “Hey Mama” – The Black Eyed Peas
  5. “Pieces Of Me” – Ashlee Simpson

15 years ago this weekend seems so long ago. I had recently flipped away from electronic dance music and returned to my roots in calmer pop music. I actually don’t remember much about 2004, and I really choose to not remember much about that year. It was a forgettable year. I wasn’t happy at work, and I wasn’t particularly happy at home either. I came home to my cat every afternoon, and he adored me. He was my best friend at the time. I still miss him over 12 years after his passing. #Boots

It’s interesting what I discover when I review old E-Mails. 15 years ago TODAY – the 12TH of July of 2004 (a Monday) I drove about 650 miles from a hotel very near Walt Disney World (like a mile away) to a suburb south of New Orleans. I was TDY (military term = temporary duty) at NAS JRB New Orleans during that week. According to my extensive records I filled-up with gas twice that day during my drive westward, and I paid $1.959 and $1.919 per gallon for gas.

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday afternoon and Monday night with two more blog posts for this weekend. Enjoy your Saturday. Thanks for going RETRO with me !

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

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 1967

Every Friday night I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay from either 10, 20, or 30 years ago this weekend (rotating each week).

This week it’s a special. My birthday is coming up next Wednesday, and the festivities have already begun !  I’ll be 52, and so this week I look back at the Top 5 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 when I was born. Here it is – for the week ending Sunday June 04TH 1967:

  1. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin
  2. “Groovin'” – The Young Rascals
  3. “I Got Rhythm” – The Happenings
  4. “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)” – Engelbert Humperdinck
  5. “Creeque Alley” – The Mamas & The Papas

Birth ID

As I was entering the world these were the biggest hits on AM pop radio stations from coast to coast. I know 3 of the 5 hits above (from Aretha Franklin, The Young Rascals, and Engelbert Humperdinck. My Grandmom was a huge fan of Engelbert, and she had most of her 33s and 45s. Kids, Teens, & Millennials – 33s were what we called “albums” (multiple songs), and 45s were the “singles” of the day. We went to the local record store to buy our music on vinyl, and we played them on “record players”. #GoodTimes

Starting next Friday night it’s a slight format change for “My Top 5 Hits RETRO”. Every month (starting with June) I’ll be following this rotation:

1ST Friday = 2009 = 10 years ago this weekend
2ND Friday = 2004 = 15 years ago this weekend
3RD Friday = 1999 = 20 years ago this weekend
4TH Friday = 1989 = 30 years ago this weekend

For those months with a 5TH Friday (such as today) I’ll be doing a special.

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday afternoon and Monday night with 2 more blog posts for this weekend. Until then – enjoy your Saturday. Make great memories that will last a lifetime !

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

Memorial Day

2008 Memorial Day Poster #3.

It’s Memorial Day here in the U.S.A. It’s not appropriate to say “Happy Memorial Day”, for this is a truly solemn holiday. It’s the day each year that we honor our fallen heroes – those military personnel who served their country in a time of war – and who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our freedom strong. They gave their life.

This is not a day for those like me who once served in the U.S. Armed Forces, for I am still alive. My day is Veterans Day on November 11TH. It is not a day for those who are currently serving in the military. That day is Armed Forces Day – the 3RD Saturday of May.

On this day I remember our fallen heroes. I will never forget.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

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

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 1989

Every Friday night I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay from either 10, 20, or 30 years ago this weekend (rotating each week). Here it is – for the week ending Sunday May 28TH 1989:

  1. “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” – Milli Vanilli
  2. “Into The Night” – Benny Mardones
  3. “I’ll Be There For You” – Bon Jovi
  4. “Iko Iko” – The Belle Stars
  5. “The Look” – Roxette

It’s another strong Top 5 chart from exactly 30 years ago this Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S.A. 4 of those 5 hits are in active rotation on my iPod Shuffles at work. The one lone song that’s not – “Into The Night” – has just been added to my Wish List on iTunes. I had to listen to several different versions of that track to pick out the one that I remembered from 1989 (which was actually from 1980). It’s Benny Mardones’ signature song, and he still performs it LIVE in concert. The song has evolved over the years, but it’s the original version that tops them all. Yep – that’s the version that a young almost 22-year-old Chris cranked-up on Y-100 while driving up and down Dade County Florida’s U.S. 1 / South Dixie Highway in his red 1989 Geo Spectrum sedan.

Well it’s the last Friday night of May of 1989, so what’s on TV tonight ?  Well obviously I’m watching “Full House” – followed by “Perfect Strangers”- followed by “Mr. Belvedere” (my favorite TV show back then). “Just The Ten Of Us” was on after that, but I didn’t really care for it all that much. Prime Time Television was a whole lot more fun back in 1989 !

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday afternoon, Monday morning, and Tuesday night with 3 more blog posts for this weekend. Until then – enjoy your Saturday. Make memories that’ll make you smile 30 years from now !

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