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35 Years In Homestead Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. After a 1-week hiatus last Thursday for the #Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S.A. – I’m back for an all-new season of travel adventures every Thursday !

I recently spent 10 days with my family over in the Dallas Texas area. It was cold and rainy and dark and dreary for much of that time with 30s and 40s at night and in the mornings, and 40s and 50s in the afternoons. It was a bit unusual to be so cold and dreary for such an extended period of time in mid-to-late-November. I was prepared for the temperatures, as I’m a skilled weather forecaster – by hobby – not by occupation.

I returned back home to Homestead Florida last Friday November 25TH 2022, and the heatwave continues here in South Florida. Temperatures were approaching 90°F (low-30s Celsius) as I drove home from Miami International Airport. It’s been an unusually warm and humid November here, but that likely won’t continue much longer.

My favorite part of South Florida is indeed the weather. I want to live with this weather for the rest of my life. When I move away from here in 2023 I’ll still experience much of this weather – 3 hours north of here in Highlands County along the Lake Wales Ridge (“spine”) of Florida. Winters will be a bit cooler, and summers will be a bit warmer.

So today – the first of December – marks 35 years since I first arrived here during the early-morning hours of Tuesday December 01ST 1987. With the exception of nearly 19 months immediately after the catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew on August 24TH 1992 – I’ve been here ever since. I arrived here as a young 20½-year-old USAF Airman, and now I’m a soon-to-be-retired 55½-year old USAF Civil Servant.

I feel like I grew up in this city. During the first 18 years of my life – I lived in 5 homes in 5 towns in 3 states. I have no friends from those years – only memories of what could’ve been. I consider my 20s and my 30s as my “childhood” here in Homestead, and my 40s and my 50s as my “adulthood” here in Homestead. I’ve lived here in Homestead longer than most people have lived here in Homestead. (Most of the growth of the city and the surrounding area has occurred since 2002.)

It’s been a fun 35 years in this town. I’m looking forward to new sights and sounds in the new year. #2023

Next #TravelThursday I’ll hit the ice. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

1980s Animals Blogging Holidays Home Life Weather

The Legend Of Fluffy The Manx Cat

Merry Christmas to all of my friends all around the world. I wish you God’s abundant love and everlasting peace on this day and on every day.

Today it’s the return of a Christmas classic that’s been featured on my blog before in various forms. It’s the story of the greatest Christmas gift ever – the arrival of a cat.

It started out as a morning like any other, but just a few hours later it would become a morning that forever changed the lives of me and my little brother, and our Mom and Dad.

Exactly 38 years ago tomorrow morning on Friday December 23RD 1983 me (age 16½) and my little brother (age 8½) looked out our living room window at the snow and the ice on the ground of our backyard. It was a bitter cold morning in McLean Virginia 2 days before Christmas, and we were happy to be warm and comfortable inside.

But there was a creature stirring outside that was not warm and comfortable. It was a lonely young cat with no tail that was wandering around aimlessly on our ice-covered backyard patio deck, and it was shivering in misery. Me and my brother decided rather quickly that it did not belong in the harsh elements of the outside at that moment, so we opened the door and she walked right in to our more sheltered screened-in ‘Florida Room’.

We gave her some milk to drink. She loved us for it. We gave her some love. We heard a strange sound coming from her that we hadn’t heard before. It was the friendly and inviting sound of her purring. We let her in to our warm and comfortable home. She never looked back. In fact she refused to leave after that. We pretty much named her ‘Fluffy’ that day, and she instantly became an important part of our family – the missing link if you will.

That’s a young me in 1985 holding a young Fluffy. I was about 60 pounds lighter than I am today.

She was the 5TH member of our family, and she was the start of nearly 30 years of felines in our family. Fluffy loved us all, but she clearly adored me the most. During her younger years she anxiously awaited me to open the basement / laundry room door for her first thing in the morning so that she could run (and beat me) to my bedroom upstairs for a long round of petting and purring. During her later years in Jacksonville Florida when she was slowly dying she literally came back to life over and over again and jumped and loved on me and ran upstairs to my parents’ guest room whenever I arrived for a short visit. She lived a long, happy, and healthy life (until April of 2001), and she provided lots of love to our family starting with that very first Christmas of 1983.

There have been other cats and dogs within our family over the years since then. Fluffy eventually gained a feline roommate with Barney (also known as “the cat that never liked me”). After Fluffy’s death Barney eventually gained his own feline roommate with Pumpkin. Boots was my own loving cat and housemate for 12½ years here in Homestead Florida until his (expected) death on May 17TH 2007. He was the coolest cat that ever lived.

But it all started with “Fluffy The Manx Cat”. She was the Matriarch of all of our family pets (to this day). She was the Queen of her castle. She was the stability of our family. She was our family’s common denominator. She was the center of attention. She was the most lovable cat that ever lived.

Fun Fact: This WordPress blog is a spinoff of my former hit music based web site that I created in 1995. That web site grew out of a previous web site known as “MANx On The Net”. That first web site was a spinoff of “MANx Cat BBS” (1993-1997) – a dial-up bulletin board system run via MS-DOS typical of its time that was inspired by and named after Fluffy.

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

1970s Blogging Church Driving History Home Life Photography Scripture Travel

Lanham Maryland

#TravelThursday continues, and in this edition we visit the unincorporated Washington D.C. suburb of Lanham Maryland – my childhood home from 1975 to 1980. It was my favorite childhood home. The biggest mistake that was made by my Dad back then was when we moved away to Northern Virginia in November 1980. It changed my life forever. I lost all of my friends. My run with Scouting ended. My education suffered in that I entered a much tougher school system than the one I grew up with. I probably would not have joined the military 4 years later if we had stayed put. I probably would have gone to college (likely my Dad’s alma mater – the University Of Maryland). I may have embarked in a career in Meteorology or Radio Broadcasting. But we moved away in 1980, and my life took a different turn.

Via Redfin I recently viewed 35 photos of the house that me and my family lived in 41 to 46 years ago. (I love modern technology.) It was quite eerie yet fascinating to look inside and outside of that house – all modernized all of these years later. It looked gorgeous. It looked like it went through a massive HGTV makeover. When I saw my old bedroom I reminisced about all of the memories in that room (good and bad) as a 7 to 13-year-old. (I’m 54 now.) The backyard still has the original railroad ties landscaping done on it by my Dad back then. We bought the home brand new just after construction was done on it early-on in 1975. I think we paid about $59,000 for it. (It sold for $450,000 a year ago. Its current Redfin estimate is $534,153.)

Our house was located in a neighborhood right behind our previous apartment complex neighborhood of 1969 to 1972 (about a half-mile away). My Grandmom and Granddad lived exactly a mile away. My Aunt, Uncle, and many Cousins lived a mile-and-a-half away. My elementary school (Kindergarten and 3RD through 6TH grades) was imbedded within my neighborhood. I could literally walk up my street, cut-through a yard, climb the fence, and be on school grounds within a few minutes.

6 summers ago me and my family returned to Lanham Maryland as part of a vacation to drive-through our old neighborhoods. Here’s our family Catholic church from the early-to-mid-1970s. It’s where I attended 1ST and 2ND grades from 1973 to 1975. It’s where I observed my First Communion on February 15TH 1975.

Join me next #TravelThursday as we visit another location on the face of this earth.

They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear. You will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. (Proverbs 3:23-26 NLT)

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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Sunday Scripture

This past Friday – late in the morning – I was sitting at my booth at Buffalo Wild Wings awaiting the arrival of my traditional wings (with sweet BBQ sauce) and wedges, and I was listening to the random hits that were being played loudly on the sound system. (They have a really nice sound system in there.)

Suddenly – out of nowhere – “Child Of Love” from We The Kingdom began playing !

I let out a big smile. I even laughed a little bit. It’s a hit from my own chart earlier this year that spent 14 weeks in my Top 10, 8 weeks in my Top 5, and 6 weeks in my Top 3. I thought to myself, “How on earth did this song end up on Buffalo Wild Wings’ playlist ? !”

It hasn’t crossed-over to the (secular) pop charts (yet). Their debut hit – “Holy Water” – actually did cross-over early-on in 2020. It peaked at # 106.

Buffalo Wild Wings was fairly empty at the time (during the 11 AM hour), and perhaps I was the only one in the restaurant who recognized, acknowledged, and appreciated that song being played loudly. (I don’t think I’ve ever heard it played so loud before.)

“Child Of Love” tells the life-changing story of salvation. It tells my story from exactly 15 years ago:

♫ I was walking the wayside
Lost on a lonely road
I was chasing the high life
Tryna satisfy my soul

All the lies I believed in
Left me crying like the rain
Then I saw lightning from Heaven
And I’ve never been the same

I’m gonna climb a mountain
I’m gonna shout about it
I am a child of love
I found a world of freedom
I found a friend in Jesus
I am a child of love

I’ve felt the sting of the fire
But I saw You in the flames
Just when I thought it was over
You broke me out of the grave ♫

You know salvation can begin unexpectedly for anyone at anytime in anyplace. Most of us who are saved by our God’s great grace didn’t see it coming. For me salvation began on a dark 2-lane street in my city early in the morning as the first hint of daylight was appearing in the eastern sky. God used hit music to save me. Our God is powerful. He’ll even use Buffalo Wild Wings to save another lost soul.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair – out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground, and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing – a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-3a NLT)

Thank you for reading my blog for this day, and may:

The LORD bless you, and keep you.
The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries