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.

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

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

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 2009

WELCOME TO NOVEMBER !  It’s my favorite month of the year for a bunch of reasons, and I’m looking forward to the next 30 days of family, fellowship, food, and fun.

Yesterday I went RETRO all the way back exactly 55 years ago to October 31ST 1964 with a captivating performance of “Monster Mash” from Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett. I had never seen that performance before until I compiled that post.

Some fun facts – Bobby was 26 – almost 27-years-old when he did that. He was 24 when the song hit # 1. He actually had a comedy nightclub act in Hollywood where he did a lot of similar impressions of stars from horror movies. He was also a Veteran of the U.S. Army from age 18 to 21.

Every Friday 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 1ST Friday of the month, so I go back 10 years ago. Here it is – for the week ending Sunday November 01ST 2009:

  1. “Forget And Not Slow Down” – Relient K
  2. “Rolling With The Punches” – Ruth
  3. “Trying” – Eleventyseven
  4. “Where To Start” – Philmont
  5. “You’re A Fake” – I Am Empire

A decade ago right here on this blog I posted a regular feature under the banner of “My Fantastic Journey: It’s In The Lyrics” where I testified God’s Word using the lyrics of a popular song at the time. This is from the October 21ST 2009 edition of my blog where I used the lyrics of “You’re A Fake” from I Am Empire:

If you ever think that nobody loves you – then think again – and think long and hard about this fact, for this is about as real as it gets. God loves you. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. He loves you more than you can ever love Him back. You will never ever in your entire lifetime love Him more than He loves you right now. It is as simple, honest, and real as it gets. You can experience this true love right now – by simply believing in Him. Love Him more than any one – more than any thing. Love Him overwhelmingly. Love Him like your Life depends on it – because it does. Just walk away from everything you were. Believe. Love. It’s in the lyrics.

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday and Monday 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

Hate

A couple of nights ago I tweeted this @ChrisMDay:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. (Ephesians 4:31). That applies to everyone – including those who accuse others of all of the above while declaring themselves pure.

Bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and evil behavior is a pretty good description of our nation today. It definitely describes our media and the entertainment and information industry – television, radio, newspapers, magazines, social media, et al. Nobody is exempt. Not even myself, yourself, and everyone around ourselves. That includes all of our leaders too – political or otherwise. We’re a messed-up nation (putting it mildly), and hatred rules the day. Hatred divides nations. Hatred destroys nations.

It’s easy to accuse others of espousing and spreading hatred, as we’re all pretty good at it in our own unique ways. We go around denouncing hatred online and offline, as we continue to hate certain types of people – because of the way they look – because of where they came from – because of where they live – because of what they do for a living. A lot of us believe that you can only hate other people if you’re a certain skin color or ethnicity. My friends – hatred comes from all skin colors and races. Hatred is colorblind. Hatred comes from deep within our hearts and souls. Hatred will continue to spread like wildfire as long as we have people deny that they can’t or don’t hate – while simultaneously spewing forth hatred.

Hiding hatred makes you a liar. Slandering others makes you a fool. (Proverbs 10:18)

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible, and keep your mouth shut. (Proverbs 10:19)

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

Burt Reynolds & Football

It’s the start of a fresh new weekend, and this Thursday night blog is always the most difficult to write because I usually don’t know what I’m going to write about until my fingers hit the keyboard at 75 WPM. My Friday, Sunday, and Monday blogs are always the same – hit music charts on both ends with Scripture in the center.

I got home from work early this afternoon, and I quickly discovered via Facebook that Burt Reynolds had passed away this morning at 82. I liked him. I saw his “Smokey And The Bandit” and “Cannonball Run” movies for the first time ever with friends in my (Air Force) dorm when I was 18 years old several years after the movies were released. We laughed hysterically into the night. I decided then that Burt Reynolds was one of my favorite comedic actors. I once visited his museum in Jupiter Florida (about 125 miles from my home), and it was quite the unusual experience from the very start when I entered the premises “improperly”. I’ll share that amusing story with you in a future blog.

NFL Football (regular season) begins tonight on NBC with “Football Night In America”, and then of course all day on Sunday. I’ll be busy keeping up with it every Sunday through the start of February. Aside from the WWE it’s the only sport and league that I actively follow during its season. I’m a lifelong Washington Redskins fan. (That’s where I grew up from 1969 to 1985.)

Hail to the Redskins !
Hail Victory !
Braves on the Warpath !
Fight for old D.C. !

Run or pass and score. — We want a lot more !
Beat ’em. Swamp ’em. Touchdown. — Let the points soar !
Fight on !  Fight on !  ‘Til you have won — Sons of Washington !

Rah !  Rah !  Rah !
Hail to the Redskins !
Hail Victory !
Braves on the Warpath !
Fight for old D.C. !

Sunday Scripture

Earlier this week I stated that I attended the Greater Miami Youth For Christ annual fundraising dinner after church service last Sunday.

Today following our Lead Pastor’s sermon I talked about a young man by the name of Billy. He was a young Pastor in his early-to-mid-20s serving at a small Baptist church in the far-western suburbs of Chicago. His friend was the Founder of a local Youth For Christ movement in Chicago, and he himself was a fellow Baptist Pastor. One Sunday he came to the suburbs to see his friend Billy preach. He was impressed with what he saw and heard. He asked Billy if he’d be interested in hosting a radio show in Chicago. Billy accepted, and thousands heard his messages on the radio.

Billy was asked to kick-off the first night of the Youth For Christ meetings in Chicagoland. He accepted. Billy served as the first full-time evangelist of the Youth For Christ ministry. He eventually became the first Vice President – with his friend the Founder as President – of Youth For Christ International – which was established in 1946.

The Founder – in his mid-30s at the time – could’ve had any famous preacher from the big city to move Youth For Christ forward to the next level, but he wanted to work with a small circle of younger ministers who shared his vision and truly understood the youth of the day. These young ministers were all born and raised Chicago men – except Billy – from the western mountains of North Carolina. The Founder was totally convinced that there was no one better than Billy to deliver the message of God’s Good News to the youth of the day.

Billy is the Reverend Billy Graham. He held his first Crusade soon after in 1947.

When you are called on this fantastic journey – accept the calling – receive His gifts – and trust that God will lead you every step of the way as you fulfill the purpose that He has given you. God didn’t give us The Holy Spirit to do nothing with it. God gave us The Holy Spirit to change the world.

And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15 NLT)