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Orange County Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last Saturday morning I headed northward from my new home in the Florida Heartland (rural South Central Florida). I drove through Polk County – and then into Osceola County – and then into Orange County. (That’s where Orlando is, and I did enter into its sprawling city limits.)

Once I entered into northwestern Osceola County – rural evolved into suburban – with more homes, and stores, and restaurants, and of course – heavy traffic.

I spent the day with my brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces – visiting from the Dallas Texas area. As an aside – news broke that (Saturday) afternoon about the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets. My family lived in Allen for about 6 years from 2007 to 2013, and since 2019 they’ve lived in a nearby suburb within a half-hour of that large outdoor shopping mall. I’ve been to that mall countless times with my family while visiting them. I lift-up to our God Almighty the family and friends of the victims of the shooting. May He comfort them in this difficult time.

Back in the Orlando area – me and my family spent much of the day at the Orange County Convention Center at a national cheerleading tournament. (My youngest niece is a cheerleader with her 9 and 10-year-old peers.) After that we spent several hours at Disney Springs. Once upon a time (mid-1990s to mid-2000s) I spent many vacation nights partying at Pleasure Island – which is now known as The Landing. I even had an annual pass to the nightclubs for many years. We enjoyed a late-Lunch at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Kitchen at The Landing. The food was good, abundant, and expensive. The front of the restaurant faced one of those former clubs that me and my brother loved to hang out at.

It was a fun but exhausting 189-mile day-trip. It was about 14 miles longer than it should’ve been. That evening I accidentally missed the entrance to the hotel that my family was staying at, and we ended-up on I-4 for a frightening 7-mile stretch. As you may know (as a longtime reader of this blog) I don’t drive on interstates, expressways, or turnpikes anymore (with rare exceptions) due to anxiety attacks. Luckily – it was near bumper-to-bumper slow-moving traffic during the entire stretch, so I was sort of fine with it.

It was good to finally return home to paradise in the Florida Heartland after that Saturday adventure !

Next #TravelThursday I’ll look back at a fun cruise from exactly 19 years ago. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Home Sweet Sebring

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. I’m waking-up in my new home in my new neighborhood in northwestern Highlands County Florida for the 6TH morning in a row. It’s the longest streak yet, and I’ll be waking-up here for 3 additional mornings before I head back down U.S. 27 and Krome Avenue to Homestead for a quick turnaround.

Now if you’ve been reading or watching the news lately then you may know about the gas crisis in nearly all of South Florida (from The Treasure Coast southward through The Florida Keys). There are long lines at gas stations that are actually open, and no activity at all at gas stations that are closed because they have no gas remaining. It’s all because of a freak 24-hour rain event in Fort Lauderdale last week where they received over 2 feet of rain – flooding much of the region – including the port where the gas comes in. Here in my new part of Florida there is no such crisis. No lines. No shortages. No closings.

I’m scheduled to return to Homestead this Sunday morning. I’ll celebrate Christ with my home church family, and then I’ll spend 4 nights in my longtime home before I return back north to Sebring. But I may reconsider that schedule if the gas crisis continues.

I can easily fill-up my car with gas here in this area, drive down there, and then return back here on that same tank of gas. I get up to 50 MPG on the open road with my Honda Civic, but why venture into chaos and rage ?

If I take that trip – my next trip back here to Sebring will be even longer than this one – 12 nights in a row. Going forth I’ll be spending about 70% of the rest of the year here in Sebring, and 30% in Homestead. (I have an Excel spreadsheet that tracks all of this.)

Yesterday morning I spent about 2½ hours with my new friends at the Sebring Historical Society (#SHS). We enjoyed coffee, pastries, conversation, and we had an informal meeting. This afternoon I’ll spend about 3½ hours with them as we enjoy our monthly spaghetti dinner (my first one). This Saturday afternoon we have our quarterly pot-luck luncheon and board meeting. I’ll be serving with the #SHS a lot going forth. I’ve been dreaming about this opportunity for a couple of years now, and I’ve been blogging about it since a couple of years ago. My retirement dreams are coming together !

It’s 4/20, and I’m not making this up. We have a big nearly mile-long manmade lake in my new neighborhood. Nearly all of the condos encircle the 10½-acre lake. Its name – Lake Mary Jane.

Next #TravelThursday we’re going to Venus. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Sunday Scripture

There’s an abundance of disinformation, misinformation, and fake news available to us at every minute of every day. You can find it on most of the broadcast and cable TV networks. You can read it in the newspapers (if you still read those). You’re definitely exposed to it here on social media – especially on Facebook and Twitter. Many otherwise intelligent people have been duped and brainwashed by propaganda and conspiracy theories, and they have spread them unknowingly or intentionally online and offline.

This blog existed on Facebook for over 4½ years from 2013 to 2017. I moved it off of there and returned it to its original home on here at the start of 2018. I haven’t posted original material on Facebook since I did that. WordPress seems like an oasis from the clutter and noise of social media. Sure it’s one of the lesser-popular sites, and it’s one of the older sites (almost 16-years-old). But you found my blog, so it’s in a good place.

Any born again Christian who spends any amount of time watching mainstream TV news and talk shows or reading social media knows that we are portrayed as radical extremists. We are those crazy lunatic nutcases on the far-right who believe in a God that nobody has ever seen or heard. We are members of a cult who keep drinking the Kool-Aid. We are hypocrites and bigots who believe that we are better than everyone else.

Radical extremist ? OK I’ll take that one.
Crazy lunatic nutcase ? #Accurate
Far-right ? Hardly. My political views are all over the spectrum on both sides.
A God that nobody has ever seen or heard ? That’s fake news.
Member of a cult ? Not at all. I didn’t discover true freedom until salvation began.
Drinking the Kool-Aid ? No. That’s those who believe everything they see on TV.
Hypocrite ? Sure. All humans are hypocrites.
Bigot ? No. You know what a bigot does ? They accuse others of being bigots.
Better than everyone else ? No. I’m better than nobody.

Jesus replied – “I assure you – no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say – ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 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

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Weekend Kickoff Mini-Thoughts

It’s Thursday, and it’s the start of a fresh new weekend of blogging. Longtime readers of my blog will know that this was once a Thursday night tradition. I only do this every once in a while these days. It’s my ‘Mini-Thoughts’ – a rapid-fire session of random thoughts on my mind right this minute:

  • I got my first dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine a couple of days ago.
  • Right now only Seniors are getting in Florida.
  • I work for the military, so I was lucky to get it early.
  • My second dose will be in 4 weeks.
  • I got the COVID vaccine 18 days after getting the Shingles vaccine.
  • That was my second of two doses of the Shingles vaccine.
  • I am not an “anti-vaxxer”.
  • I didn’t know there was such a thing as an “anti-vaxxer” until recently.
  • Some don’t get vaccines because they believe they do more harm than good.
  • Some don’t get vaccines because it’s against their religious beliefs.
  • Getting vaccines are a personal choice for each individual.
  • I neither promote nor denounce vaccinations to anyone.
  • I recently signed-up for the Discovery Plus streaming service.
  • If I’m not careful I can easily binge-watch shows on it for many hours.
  • Looks like I’ll soon sign-up for Peacock as it absorbs WWE Network.
  • I also like to “Hulu & Hibernate”.
  • I don’t “Netflix & Chill”.
  • I’m looking forward to my upcoming Florida road-trip.
  • Looks like I’ll cover about 575 miles in 5 days.
  • I’ll blog all about it after I return home.
  • Looks like I’ll drive more miles this month than 7 months last year.
  • Next month I’ll drive more than twice as many miles as this month.
  • It’s been a chilly winter here in South Florida.
  • I was shivering in December and the first-half of January.
  • I think it’s our coldest winter since 2010-2011.
  • Recently we’ve enjoyed a few days in the 80s for the first time in 2021.
  • But it’s gonna get chilly again starting today.
  • 50s in the morning is chilly for us.
  • We’ve had 7 mornings in the 40s since the start of December !
  • Exactly 35 years ago today the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated.
  • It occurred right after I got home from work (in England).
  • I think I watched BBC coverage of it for the rest of the night.
  • Exactly 2 years ago today I was in the middle of the Caribbean on a cruise.
  • We were supposed to spend the day on Grand Cayman Island.
  • But we couldn’t reach the island due to ferocious northerly winds.
  • A strong cold front had made it deep into the Caribbean.
  • It was an unusually chilly day on the islands and at sea.
  • So we had an “extra fun day at sea”.
  • I can’t wait to get back on a cruise next year.
  • Here’s my towel animal from exactly 2 years ago:

Towel Animal

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