What do you see... that is still the same today?
What do you see… after nineteen years have flown by?
What do you see… by the dawn's earliest pink light?
What do you see… as we continue our perilous fight?
What do you see… looking down at two holes in the solemn ground?
What do you see… forever searching and maybe still not found?
What do you see… nineteen diligent years later?
What do you see… as you peer into those deep craters?
What do you see… from an airplane’s crash?
What do you see… past all the fire and burned ash?
What do you see… past the smoke and dusty air?
What will you believe… as people begin to not care?
And do you still hear… that valiant band playing through the quiet air?
And will you bear witness… to those fighting still and forever as they must?
As the next round starts... and we have to keep rolling past all the dust.
What do you see… through twilights shining gleam?
What do you see… past all those forces unseen?
What do you see… through those shining bright stars and breathtaking broad stripes?
What do you see… through the horror of all those bombs bursting this very night?
What do you see… through pollution and the reddest of red blood?
What do you see… as free men - and women - stand here in the mud?
What do you see… past Liberty’s smile?
What do you see… from sea to shining sea all those miles?
What do you see… though concealed fighting to be disclosed?
What do you see… as foe’s strike their continual battle blows?
Do you see there is proof?
That our flag is still there?
Oh Say Darling Can You See… her most beautiful story?
As she stands here - proud… in all of her glory?
Yes - I do.
I do see it all.
Yes even in war’s havoc and confusion and nineteen years later.
I even see Heaven on Earth and God our Creator.
I see that reflection shine above all and very tall.
I see Angels in the sky… And God in our hearts as we bawl.
I see reflection bounced off millions of broken chains.
Forever more - unconfined.
I see all those who paved our very way.
With their very lives - they all gave.
Yes, I see those next pages of her remarkable story be flipped.
As her bright blazen stays now - and forever - lit.
And, I STILL see the land of the freest of free… and know that this is God’s Country home, of the very, very brave. ~
~ So Long Summer Sabbatical, Hello Sweet September ~
Remember when you had to learn - or rather, memorize - the dates of seemingly countless historical events, while growing up in school?
I mean - does anyone ever really forget that the U.S. Civil War took place from 1861-1865?
Or that World War I lasted from 1914 until 1918? Added on to that one - y’all know the historical significance of November 11th, right?
And let’s never forget that our country was founded in 1776? July 4th - to be exact.
Throw together just a few more for the heck of it...
How about World War II lasting from 1939 until 1945?
How many of y’all know when we first landed on the Moon?
Or let’s go even farther back here - way back. When was Jesus born? When did He die? And - why did the event of His death have to happen in order for humans to be where they are today in God’s image???
Are any and/or all of those dates burned into your memory at this point in your life? Whether you ever spend a moment thinking about them throughout your daily activities, or not?
They - and an infinite number more days, periods, and good ol’ fashioned chunks of time - helped change the course of human history.
All those dates, and every infinitesimal thing in between - they were, and are, all moments in time. Placeholders in time. Bookmarks in time. Moments of time that were simply one page... of a much grander, and larger, novel.
If you flip to page ninety-nine of a very thick and heavy, weighty and bulky, five hundred and forty page Tom Clancy book… but you read only that single page - you’ll definitely not understand the context of what came before, and will never know what happens later on. Or - even much, much later on. And let’s not forget about those lucrative sequels. What will happen to our beloved hero then?... Once a new book deal is signed.
If Jack Ryan has to jump out of a burning building on page two hundred, but the story doesn’t explain why he’s doing that until you flip to page two hundred one… and all you’ve ever read was page two hundred... You’ll never find out that maybe he was escaping a bomb explosion. A small fire bomb that would be igniting an even larger bomb. Or that he may have been jumping from the first floor - and he’s just fine to continue on with his work after the jump. The spy operation that he being in the middle of - would make no sense to you - the context - having not read earlier chapters.
Context is relevant. To every story. And context is relevant to the entire story of humanity.
So, ohhhhh... with all that being said - Can you believe that Memorial Day weekend was over three months ago now?
I can’t, really. Do you remember that weekend? And the days… weeks, and trials we’ve all had to face, since then?
Memorial Day seems like it is one of those placeholders to me. The unofficial start to summer fun. Just as Labor Day is another placeholder - or bookmark. The unofficial end of summer, and the beginning of the autumnal season and beauty and grandeur of fall. Along with a change of routines, school days, and pumpkin spice and apple cider.
A whole heck of a lot has happened since this last Memorial Day weekend - in this, the grand and mighty year that is, our dearly beloved beast - 2020. This summer was loaded with pages of a massive and thick and complicated novel. We all witnessed a different sort of start to the summer season, we then witnessed a completely different summer altogether, and now we are beginning a different sort of autumn. Yes, it’s been a definite year, and we’re not nearly through with it just yet. I mean - what else can possibly come next?
Yes - my dear friends - Aliens. With all that has happened - I would not be surprised by such a blurb in an upcoming news reel.
So much has changed. And then, quite sadly, so much is still the same. But - the context of the events that are taking place is imperative to the story at this point.
That Memorial Day holiday weekend started out as any other. And, my hubby and I ventured out to a lovely meal during the patriotic and memorable date.
We chose a local German restaurant - the German Schnitzel Haus, located at 13475 Atlantic Boulevard, in Jax. And, just because… well - for no reason other than because I wanted to, I went ahead and vlogged the experience for you.
We ended up enjoying our meal, the entire patio outside to ourselves, grabbing some monstrously sized dessert afterward at Whataburger, and then made our way over to what I call The Bridge.
Jacksonville is a city by the water. Ocean, rivers, creeks, swamps, intercoastal, etc. - so bridges are everywhere throughout town, and I absolutely love them all. And really, I just seem to call every bridge and any bridge in town - the bridge.
I’m quite a huge fan of bridges - by whatever name they happen to go by though. They absolutely fascinate me. Their structure, color, height, curvature, where and what and whom they are branching together in their arch, and then, even what happens to be hanging out underneath them... it’s all equally exciting and thrilling to me.
So we went to The Bridge after we ate. And we just - hung out. Utilizing the shade from the structure, we relaxed. We watched all the activity taking place beneath the massive structure. And I captured a bit of this and a little bit of that, on video, for you.
But since that fateful weekend, America has not been settled. She is very sick right now. She is broken-hearted. And my heart breaks - for her - and with her.
Sure, I saw many, countless precursors to the actions that are currently taking place. I read, and understand the context of the previous pages. But I believe it was that weekend - Memorial Day Weekend - 2020, that helped ignite a flashpoint.
I’ve previously discussed this event with you. I’ve even questioned if we are a world at war with one another?
But when one is at war - the actual name of it is actually quite irrelevant at the time. After all, are we at war today? Does anyone know the answer? Many say yes - and many say no. Are we at war today if people deny it?
Some say it's a cultural war. Some say a revolution? My brain is trying to tell me that all wars are unique. They all have a different appearance. They all have their own reasoning and context. And with any war - there will be those who it doesn’t affect as much as others. Could our national heartache and upset actually be such a fight? Taking place, right now? I really don’t know.
But I do believe wherever we are - that we are at a tipping point. I do believe we’ve been in a lead up to THIS for a very long time, though. This - being whatever THIS is. And I’m talking years here - not days, weeks, or even months. I’ve seen the writing on the wall, and I’ve read the pages.
And, sadly, yes... I do believe we may be currently living on the razor’s edge. I believe we are about to cross the event horizon line of a black hole. And we may be about to go past the point of no return.
And just like a real black hole, way out there in outer space…
It’s size, shape, power, grasp, and gravity…
Some will never see it.
Some will never understand it.
And many - will never even read the books written about it later.
But whether the books are written and read, or not, may be irrelevant to whom and when it is actually taking place. Because, when you’re being sucked into a black hole, your most likely only concern at that point is for your own survival. And as happens with every single thing that is sucked into a black hole - there comes a time, just before reaching the event horizon line, that one can still escape from its force. It’s that moment I am referencing here. With an extreme and heightened awareness of one’s immediate surroundings and what is happening. But it also may be very confusing. As such a force is so powerful and vast, that up close and personal, things may appear quite strange.
Kinda like right now...
What’s happening all around us - is literally and actually happening all around us.
But - What’s been done is done. And we have to figure out how to continue onward.
And it’s up to people to choose to see it. Or not.
And people can definitely turn a blind eye.
And people can deny all they want.
And far into the future, many will just remember the numbers: 2020. And maybe not the significance of all that has occurred in that time period and during this exact time.
And the event horizon line I’m talking about here is FORGIVENESS.
Remember how I asked you earlier WHY Jesus rose from the dead?
It seems there is currently a vast lack of forgiveness taking place in this world right now. We left forgiveness outside the black hole - if we did indeed cross the event horizon line. It didn’t join us on the next pages of our journey. We need to find forgiveness in our hearts - once again.
And it is this lack of forgiveness that makes me question this relationship we have with one another.
Once forgiveness is lost, there’s not much left to keep us tethered together. As a People. As a Nation. As a community. As global sovereign states and neighbors. And as a civil society. As peaceful patrons inside a grocery store.
When someone does something or someone wrong, we have a very civil way of handling the situation. It’s pretty basic… and it’s called an apology.
And after the person who wronged another apologized, this very basic and very humane thing usually occurs. And it happens on the opposing side… The other side of the wronged - by the person or persons who were wronged.
This is where Forgiveness always factors in. On the side of the wronged is where forgiveness always matters the most.
And forgiveness is sometimes, and most of the time, the more important part of the transaction amongst two beings.
And if it happened today - right now - would that be a miracle? Because, is it forgiveness that has been lost?
I see the anger. I feel the sadness. And heartache. But to top it all off - everyone wants everything in the entire world fixed overnight. Seemingly and literally.
But real and lasting change doesn’t work that way. Who can solve such complex issues?
Only you can bring about real change. Yes, that WHO - is YOU.
You - hold all the power.
You - hold the answers deep in your heart.
You - have to understand context and reality.
And - You - HAVE to give… You have to forGIVE. And that’s the only way out, and that’s the only way forward. Forgiveness.
But, beyond forgiveness, there is something much bigger, larger, grander, than any one human - of which you also have to give. And yes, you have the power to give it.
You have the power to give... the gift of Time.
These are big Asks. They are monumental. But wars and revolutions and cultural change and new ways of living are never won easily. And not without great sacrifice.
And you have to do ALL THAT - while having the strength and will power and patience and diligence to sit through the five hundred and forty page novel... And keep reading. While you’re tired. And when you don’t want to. And even when it gets really boring. And really, really sad.
The gift of TIME is a powerful thing. Of all the aspects in our technologically advanced society we are now home to here on Earth - Time is something we have yet to master. It is something that our infinite universe even doesn’t have the power to ultimately control. And it wants to - really bad.
As space and time unite in other worlds, and time itself is bent around curvatures of distant planets and stars and galaxies. Time is still there. It just flows differently. We may not recognize it there if we stumble across it way out there. But it is there. And it never ends. Time is in itself indestructible.
And TIME - holds many - and ALL the answers to this here little problem we are facing today.
So as the summer season began this year, in this year - 2020... And I beared-witness to sadness and heartache throughout the world with my own eyes and ears… I decided to give to myself - and you - something very special.
I gave Time.
I gave myself Time. I watched Time pass. I let Time flow all around me. I blew a wish into Time. I cursed in the face of Time. I yelled at Time. And I cried many tears - over Time.
But I also relished Time. I took advantage of Time. I used Time. I made deals with Time, and I placed bets with Time. I bargained with Time. And I even tried to manipulate Time to my advantage. I talked to Time. I listened to Time. I willed Time. I pleaded with Time. And ultimately, I let Time take over all five of my senses.
And I let come what may.
All through the passage of Time almighty.
Yes, it was because of both national and global events that seemingly ignited over that holiday and the days immediately afterward, that I stepped back from my online presence in the world for a while. A lot of people have asked when I’d be writing once again. As it has now been three months since my last publication to y’all.
I guess you could say I sorta closed up shop for a bit.
And I enjoyed a Splendid Summer Sabbatical.
Away. Away from publication. Away from deadlines. Away from technology in a sense.
Sure, I’ve been on social media. Yes, I’ve been perusing the internet - probably the same as most others in the world. Of course, I’ve been checking the news. I’ve been chatting with friends and family on Facebook. But it’s all been very brief. And as I escaped from technology on one hand, I delved deep into my new YouTube channel with my other. I gave my very own website a little break. And for some strange and unknown reason that God understands, I now crave the art of filmmaking. Of pasting together clips, to summarize a story. To show viewers the beauty that lies on the other end of my camera.
But for the most part, I lived entirely and exclusively OFF-line for a chunk of time.
I worked. On myself.
Yes, I still wrote. I still planned, and plotted. I filmed. I painted - and I painted with intention. And passion. And I painted purple. I painted “Blooms of Wartime” the nights of national and international heartache. The paint and color pouring onto the canvas. My reprieve from sadness overflowing in our world.
I prayed. I exercised. I sweated. I read.
Lots and lots and lots of books. Books of all sorts. Books made from paper - printed on wood from a tree. I read - not by the light of a Kindle. I flipped the pages and smelled the scent of ink and paper. And I rested my eyes far less on the blue screen, and more so on the invisible air around me.
I’ve done this all before. And I’ll do it all again. I’m not sorry in the least for stepping back. Because - Sometimes, you just need to go a different way. To regroup. Refocus. Reset the internal compass… to True North.
I lived my real and true Summer Sabbatical.
And I watched everything taking place around me.
And I highly recommend it.
In fact, I stayed so far away from the online world that I literally let my Macbook Air sit in a corner on a bookshelf and collect dust for quite some time. It sat there, for weeks upon weeks. It powered down. It lost all its energy and strength. I touched it not once.
It literally gathered wispy dust bunnies on top itself. As if a magnetic force. Trying desperately to maintain its power in this world, and to suck life out of the room, and life back into its own body. Dust pooled on top the shiny gold and reflective apple.
Yes - my precious and trusty laptop gathered as much dust as she could reasonably handle… until one day -
She finally screamed at me.
And I picked her up. Like a piece of sunken treasure.
And I plugged her into the wall.
And I breathed life back into her body. And began writing, once again.
So... yeah, while months ago I said goodbye to the online written word... And for someone who runs a website in 2020 - the internet is a very crucial thing to be nestled safely amidst. It was definitely risky to say goodbye to all that. But I love risk. And I loved saying goodbye for a while to the daily digital grind… of website maintenance.
I said goodbye to that oh-so-fancy, and lucrative, techy word - engagement.
I followed no statistical numbers on how my website was doing. I didn’t check my likes, my hearts, my comments, for quite some time.
And while I said goodbye to all of that and then some - I gave myself something in return. Something huge. Something as powerful as a black hole. I gave myself that funny thing called: TIME. The gift of Time.
I personally needed to process everything that was taking place in the world. In my own way. In my own Time. In my own head.
And none of that abides by a publication schedule. So, what the heck... I said goodbye to that while I was at it, too.
I know, I know, you’re saying that as a blogger I need to publish according to schedule. But - just because I wasn't on a publication schedule, with normal posting dates and times, doesn’t mean I couldn’t write. And didn’t mean I could no longer publish. It simply meant I put the ball even more so in my court than it was before. I won!
Yes, I won myself over, and I do win here, in a way. And I’m winning - while America is currently losing. And she’s losing - real bad.
I ache for what is happening in our beautiful and breathtaking and magnificent country. The country I write about. The air I breathe in. And the magnificent melting pot of people who live here under the flag of freedom.
I don’t have any answers to any of America’s problems right now. But I know one thing we can give her…. And we can give her this graciously…. Time. She needs Time.
Have you ever wondered why the Civil War did end up lasting from 1861 to 1865? Why did the war have to last that many years?
Wars are not won overnight - you say?
It took from 1861 until 1865 because the world needed from 1861 until 1865. Period.
What was solvable in 1865 had no context in 1861.
And as I mentioned way back at the beginning - context is crucial to any story. We don’t even know if we should be rooting for Jack Ryan - as he jumps out of the burning building - or not - unless we read the whole story. Is he the hero - or the villain - at that time? Is he jumping from the 98th floor, or from the 1st floor?
There is no magic wand that puts ideas into heads of the past. Thereby granting them the magical power of hindsight - to solve their worldly problems overnight, instead over the course of years.
But today - living in this digital, instant, speed-of-light lifestyle that humanity has enveloped itself in and gladly swallowed whole without checking for side effects first, there’s not a whole lot of room for TIME to actually do its thing, at the same time - no pun intended. Its - almighty and ever-powerful - thing - that may ultimately help - something. Anything.
We need time. Yes, and we need patience. We need MORE patience. We need to respect the virtue of patience more. And the only way to learn that is to give - yourself - time.
There’s an old saying that you may have heard in one form or another…
Fast change leads to no change. Or - Fast change is not lasting change.
In other words…the other old saying...
Slow change is the best change. Or - The only good and lasting change... is slow change.
And I’m not saying I necessarily agree or disagree with those sentiments in some way. I’m just saying those sayings are old because they themselves have withstood the test of their time.
And I am saying a new way of thinking is required to get past all of this heartache. I am saying risk and change are both good. But I am also saying that by stepping back for a few months - I respected that chunk of time. What I am writing to you today, I could not have written to you in the middle of the night, crying myself to sleep, three months ago.
After only one night grieving for our nation… no ideas were in my head to solve any of our problems that we continue to face.
But after three months of grieving for our nation… I have now - new - perspective. I have hindsight. I have reflection. I have brainstormed. I have contemplated. I have lived. And I have new thoughts. And ultimately, I have new ideas - only because of that precious and miraculous gift of time.
If you check my YouTube channel information page, you’ll see the date of release of my channel was just before all this sadness began in 2020. After the beginning of the pandemic - but just before our further national upsets that have triggered so much heartache across the world. And if there is one thing at all that 2020 has taught me, as well as my amazing life in Florida - that is to never give up. So, Memorial Day weekend came and went - my channel had just started publication - and then I punched out for that lucrative Summer Sabbatical.
BUT - I did NOT close up shop.
I did NOT delete everything I worked for. No…. No…. And that’s definitely something the old Christine would have done. I would have given up. And I would have hit the delete button. But, I have since learned of the power of perseverance. The power of patience. And most imperatively, that forgiving power of TIME.
So I did not hit DELETE. And I did NOT give up on my dreams.
I merely put the oxygen mask on myself first. And then simply breathed for a while as my airplane found a safer flying zone - so to speak.
Yes - I’m in this for the long haul. My website and branding and channels and social engagement is all still alive and there and breathing. And I respect the time and patience my dreams need in order to grow. Just as I value time itself. I value my very new and very small channel and my precious eight subscribers on YouTube. I am in no rush here. Nor would I want to be. I value where I am at presently, as much as I value life itself. And I will continue to give myself the gift of time. All. The. Time.
And I’ll do it again any day, and twice on Sunday.
Even if it's risky to my business. Even if I risk everything.
Because TIME is imperative.
And because, ultimately, my personal and business goal and my real DREAM of Christine’s Floridian Dreams - is to help you in any way to make your very own dreams come true. To kick you in the behind with some soft, yet, tough love, and persuade you to get off your couch. To pull off the covers… and get out of bed. Well before you want to. To: March Before You Feel Like It. And take your own action in this world. To live your very best life. Each and every single day. - And, yeah, twice on Sunday - just for the heck of it.
So, after three months of my summer sabbatical coming to a close, and after three months of thought and reflection and glancing into outer space... Dreaming of black holes that lead to other magical and distant worlds. I look out toward the sky and ponder…
There may be no better gift in the entire world for us to give to one another… as that seemingly magical gift of time.
So it is my hope for America today - that we all will grant her some time. That we all can exude the patience of saints. As wheels turn and flowers bloom. And as we sprinkle pumpkin spice on top of our latte foam.
America needs time to process everything, just as we all do. And just as I couldn’t do it all on night one, neither can the rest of the world do it in a few months. Everyone will have all their own ideas, at their very own pace, and at their own time.
We all have to make sense of things. We all have to process. We all have to give.
You may not see much giving in front of your own eyeballs right now, but know it’s there. Just as I know that black holes exist but I cannot see them for myself - I do know there is more goodness in this world than bad. More love than hate. And more forgiveness than we think we have within us to give.
So go ahead and give yourself some time. Shut down that iPhone. Say goodbye to your blog subscribers if need be. Say hello to a new way of doing business.
Yes - close your laptop - a very needed tool in our dearly beloved 2020. Close it up and let it gather a bunch of dust bunnies if need be.
Stop receiving - stop Receiving texts and likes and hearts and follows and tweets… and Give instead. Give to others in the format of real life. And NOT with the Like button.
How? In your own way.
Give… to yourself. And Give… to America. And the world.
And after a new chunk of time - time far into the future from right now and today - I can only hope that we will all look back upon this time period. And we will have that new perspective. A perspective unavailable today due to the vast and mighty power of time. And it is my sincere hope that I have been all wrong here. That we are NOT really at war with one another, or on the verge of. That the shot heard round the world of today has not been released from its trigger. And that war was not in our future together. And that instead we all came together. And we saved burning forests and trees and buildings. We salvaged all the plastic in the oceans and the baby sea turtles thanked us by swimming freely into the ocean. We breathed clean and non-suffocating air. We made true and lasting and realistic reforms to challenges that we are currently facing. That school children twenty, fifty, one hundred years from now will study the numbers 2020 in mesmerization of what we SOLVED - together… Oh so very long ago. And we all walked down the street hand in hand. And not gun to gun. Weapon to weapon. Evil to Evil. Hate to Hate.
Heck - I’ll still welcome those aliens I mentioned earlier, with wide open arms. Besides, those aliens... they do come in peace. Duh!
No it’s Love to Love that I’m rooting for inside my brain.
But, as an old adage and quite familiar saying so goes… Only time will tell, my friends. Yes - Only time will tell. So give her some time, why don’t ya? Just give all of it and then some - Time. ~
Remember when it was somebody’s birthday? Ohhhh, so very, very long ago…
Candles would be lit. A song would be sung. And the birthday boy, or birthday girl, would take in a big breath - with their lungs - and blow out all the candles.
And then everybody would clap.
The cake would be sliced. Every piece passed around - a plate of deliciousness for all at the party. Everybody sharing, in an act of celebration. Another person a year older - another piece of cake to commemorate the occasion.
A fork in one hand. A plate of frosted, sugary goodness in the other.
And without giving it a second thought, everyone would bite into their slice of dessert, even though somebody had just previously breathed upon said cake?
Those moments are now gone.
But a girl can dream - right?
No one will look at a birthday cake the same way again now.
Because, while we all still may eat the cake, the sentiment just isn’t the same. And while we all still may sing a song… and candles can still be blown out… the world has once again changed.
And I miss that corresponding sentiment.
I miss a whole lot more than just that though.
I miss it all...
I miss coffee shops.
I miss restaurants.
I miss saying, “Table for two.” - Instead of “Two dinners to go, please.”
I miss smiles on unhidden faces.
I miss laughter.
I miss jokes.
I miss friends.
I miss family.
I miss parties.
I miss the library.
I miss fairs, carnivals, rides, cotton candy, and sno cones.
I miss Art Shows, Art Walks, Art Festivals, craft shows, and concerts.
And I still don’t miss nfl football.
I miss my once a year and very boring visit to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department. Otherwise known as the FLHSMV. In fact, I miss that a whole heck of a lot more than football.
And I missed out on the opportunity to see Hamilton - right here in Jacksonville, back in March. My tickets - sadly, refunded to my credit card.
I miss the smell of a book, just picked up from the library, as I crack open the spine.
I miss handshakes.
I miss milk shakes.
I miss hugs.
I miss kisses on the cheek.
I miss the darn dentist.
I miss joy and good cheer.
I miss good will to all people.
I miss Christmas.
I miss Walt Disney World.
I miss All-You-Can-Eat Buffets.
I miss unlimited scoops of ice cream, from large tubs, on the dessert line of the above-mentioned buffet. Where I can pick up my own cup, take the cold steel scoop, push it with my own hands into the milky cream, releasing chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry into my own cup. My very own ice cream mountain - as high as I want to make it.
I miss simple get togethers - large and small. I miss people’s faces when I communicate with them. I miss the act of meeting up with those fellow humans - in person. In real life.
I miss being able to hear that fellow human being, clearly, when they speak to me - their unmuffled voice carrying into my ears, and the sound of it not being blocked by a cloth mask.
I miss people treating one another as fellow human beings - and not treating others as the walking plague.
I miss closeness.
I miss happiness all around us.
I miss people leaving their house like it was just another day.
I miss life… I miss seeing other people living their lives.
I miss faith over fear.
But just because I miss all these very simple things, doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing them, and living them, myself.
In fact, I’ve been the busiest in my entire life - during the long and drawn out and quite dramatic duration of this entire, never-ending plague.
Regardless of life outside my own front door. I am breathing. I am communicating. I am celebrating. I am being responsible for myself. I am making my own life decisions. I am sucking it up. I am dealing. I am not only surviving. I am proud and happy to be fully alive. I am living.
I am reading. I am planning. I am dreaming. I am pursuing. I am working hard. I am exercising. I am writing. I am painting. I am utilizing this time to become stronger. To learn. To grow. To try new things.
And most importantly, I am persevering.
And I am coming home from work - and I’m stepping right in the shower, washing the invisible and mysterious and confusing plague off me each night.
And, I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve learned what I already always knew - how imperative each breath we take really is.
So let’s all inhale.
Breathe in - In the face of fear.
Exhale - and keep going, my friends. Exhale and continue onward. Exhale and push forward. Exhale and persevere.
And if it happens to be your birthday, go ahead and exhale a big breath straight onto your very own birthday cake candles...
Yes, I know that’s exactly what we will be doing this weekend.
As we celebrate my hubby’s birthday, we will dine out, along the water’s edge, for our First Supper since the plague began. We will sit at tables, amongst other human beings. All partaking in the common and essential act of breathing, and eating.
And I will pick up the special cupcake creations I ordered from Cinotti’s Bakery. And I will slap some candles on top of the frosted red velvety goodness. I will light the flame.
And I will sing “Happy Birthday!”
And my furry baby will probably sing a lot louder than me.
And most importantly, my hubby will then inhale with his own set of two lungs, and exhale hard on top of all the frosting, extinguishing that flame. And then we will eat all the darn sugar. ~
*How have you been living through this plague? Are you persevering? Are you experimenting with new ideas? Are you at home brewing up new talents? Are you getting fresh air? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, if you’re enjoying my Floridian daydreams, then check out some of my others, right here:
71] My 69 Week Break From Social Media ~ Why I Left & Why I Came Back
68] A Sunday Stroll
65] The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
64] Stay-At-Home Sunday ~ Palm Sunday
63] Mercy & Comfort
62] PERSPECTIVE @ Seaside Sculpture Park
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
55] The Shamrock
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
I grew up without social media.
I consider myself blessed for being able to say that.
While every generation has their “thing” - I firmly believe my generation's thing is the fact that we grew up entirely without social media, but we are now living our adult lives with social media present in the world. And because of those circumstances, we have a great ability to easily and fluidly shift between old-world applications, and the more new-age digital apps - making us uniquely qualified for certain tasks in this world. We shift seamlessly and adapt easily. I call us the Floating Generation.
And regardless if we partake in this modern day medium, or not, it’s there. It has an extremely large presence in the world. For better and for worse. An all almost too-powerful of a presence.
And, sadly, in my opinion, many people revolve nearly their entire lives around this medium.
I graduated college in 2003. I survived four years of college entirely without social media. The only “Facebook” we had was the literal and actual paper face-book that was distributed each year on campus. All incoming students were given a light and thin paperback book with the names, faces, and phone numbers of each of their classmates.
That was our official Facebook at the time. And we used it - religiously. That book was part of our daily life. We would scroll through it to find somebody’s name, browsed to see what everyone looked like, searched to find out where a person was from, and scan to find their four digit campus extension to call them on the phone… a phone with a cord - that was plugged into the wall.
But in 2004, and after I was done with school, Mark Zuckerburg went ahead and invented Facebook. And the world has never been the same since.
It was my first full year after school. I was living in the real world. I didn’t need Facebook, and nor did I want it. Besides, at the time, Zuckerberg’s Facebook was geared more toward being a digital supplement to that old-fashioned face book I described above. Still utilized, on college campuses, to connect with one another.
But over the years, Facebook grew. It grew fast. And it grew big. It grew to be something that is now an integral part of most people's lives.
I personally think Facebook is too big. And too powerful. I think it is hovering on the verge of being a monopoly and in dire need of being broken up. And I’ve never, ever, had a desire to be a part of it. Even still.
But then, after many, many years of living and going through life, without Facebook, and still not wanting any part of it, I was on the verge of making a big change in my personal life.
It was 2016, and I was planning my big move from the state of Illinois, on down to Florida. That move would eventually occur in early 2017.
Every single person I knew, and loved, lived in Illinois - or a variety of other states throughout the country. But I knew ZERO people in The Sunshine State at the time.
I wanted a way to stay connected to all those I knew I would be missing… a thousand miles away from everything I knew.
I deliberated long and hard with myself about potentially signing up for a Facebook account. And eventually, at the end of 2016, I went ahead and registered - for the first time in my life. Knowing that I would be easily connected in a free and easy and modern manner.
I immediately discovered that “the whole world” is on Facebook. I found all my old classmates, neighbors, relatives who live near and far, friends from grade school, people I haven't seen in 20 years, and all my current friends. And I even made new friends. All through Facebook.
But, I did all this right before the 2016 Presidential Election.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past many years, and haven’t paid attention to the news, you know very well that the political side of Facebook, and all social media, is NASTY.
No other way to put it.
It was through Facebook that I discovered people I know and love say things online that I never heard them say in person.
When people are behind a digital screen, they have a lot to say, and they say it loud and proud. Fine. Whatever. Everyone in America deserves their free speech.
I can very easily block out mentally and physically that which I do not want to hear.
But it does get a little old.
I came for social connectivity. I didn’t come for the constant electioneering, and to learn who voted for who - all day long.
So I tried to ignore the politics, and zone in on the photos.
And it turns out my absolute favorite part of Facebook was, and is still, those photos.
I also realized that social media is the single best way to find out all the latest social news, gossip, and any and all information about life changes involving people you know. The stuff I was looking for all along.
I found myself completely up to date on the latest pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, baby showers, births, deaths, obituaries, accidents, injuries, illnesses, new home purchases, engagements, Say-Yes-To-The-Dress days, wedding showers, marriages, anniversaries, birthdays, pet adoption days, Gotcha Days, National Cheesecake Day, International MisMatching Sock Day, Taco Tuesday, Touch-A-Truck Days, Nurses Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Star Wars Day, Bird Day, Hoagie Day, National Roast Leg Of Lamb Day - May 7th, in case you were wondering.
The list is endless.
May 8th - National Coconut Cream Pie Day.
June 26th - National Take Your Dog To Work Day.
And, just so they can give themselves yet another plug, while you’re already on their applications all day long... We have June 30th - National Social Media Day.
Every day is something.
And guess what else?
EVERY PERSON IS OFFENDED BY SOMETHING ELSE.
That’s one of the most valuable things l learned by joining social media.
Why don’t we have:
I learned that everyone cares what everyone else thinks. I learned that people are very sensitive. I learned that when people write something online - they think it is pure gold. And I learned that if any single person disagrees with another, in any way - it’s the actual end of the world for that relationship.
DISAGREEMENT = NUCLEAR BOMBS GOING OFF EVERYWHERE.
Hence all the hate, the back-and-forth, the petty comments, the blocking, the unblocking, the following, the unfollowing. That all - also - never ends.
And since I really don’t care what other people think, I am, once again, able to function with or without social media in my life, just fine.
I joined to see photos of my friends and family and their babies and their wedding showers. But instead, it’s more about why this person hates whoever the current president happens to be.
So, after about a year and a half of being digitally social, and being sick of it all, I gave it all up.
When I left Facebook, I also gave up my Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I had initially joined the mothership, but I had then joined the other big three soon after.
And while I nearly despise and almost hate Facebook, I absolutely LOVE Instagram. I am a very visual person though, and as I said before, I enjoy the photos. Instagram is all imagery. A great place to post all my travel photos and latest artwork, and to see those actual photos that I was seeking out when I joined Facebook initially.
I had used Pinterest just for fun.
And I found that the best benefit of Twitter was for hurricanes.
Yes, you read me right - hurricanes.
No sooner than I moved down to Florida, Hurricane Irma blew through later that year. She was a big one. And caused the whole state to be in an uproar. We were evacuated. Twitter was VITAL to me during the hurricane.
And while lots of apps and websites didn’t work under bad internet service at the time, Twitter stayed on strong. So did Facebook. You’ve heard about how if you have bad cell service during an emergency - when all the lines are tied up - that it may be easier to send a text for help instead of trying to get through on the phone, right? Think that for Twitter in this modern day... I found that utilizing social media during the worst of the hurricane, to get my news, was the very best way, to get the actual news.
We live on an island, with not even a handful of bridges to cross over during a hurricane evacuation. The bridges do close down when the winds reach a certain mile per hour - sustained.
I quickly started “following” the local news channels plus the three local beach towns, their mayors, the City of Jacksonville, and the Jax mayor, all on Twitter. They all provided a wealth of factual information to me all throughout the duration of the storm. It brought some level of certainty - communication - to me, during a time of great uncertainty.
I also followed the American Red Cross, the National Weather Service, Publix, Winn Dixie, our governor and two senators, Beaches Energy Services, Jacksonville Electric Authority - JEA, all the local area fire and police departments, JSO - Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns River Ferry, the National Hurricane Center, JaxReady, the Jacksonville Public Library, oh yeah, and Dunkin Donuts… Because you can’t survive a hurricane without donuts, right?
But after I went ahead and quit social media, I then went through the following storm seasons entirely without social media. Which led to a much more “manual” and old-fashioned form of finding out the news, when the internet was overloaded and the next storms were nearing us.
When the next hurricanes blew through and around us, and I was on my zero social media experiment of 69 weeks, I literally dug through the closet and pulled out an old-fashioned radio. I was ready, just in case the power went out, to listen to the news that way. But nothing I did was in any way a comparison to Twitter. And social media would have been almost priceless to me during those next storms.
But willing to stick it out, I made it through alive and well. No social media. No damage.
Ultimately, I quit all social media after about a year and a half of being on. I did NOT miss it. I was focused solely on my own personal well being and sanity. I left for my own mental health. A completely selfish decision. But very grateful that I did.
When I signed back up after 69 weeks of being away from The Zuck, I had to start my accounts from scratch. I had completely deleted all of them. So it was an official starting over process. Sort of like being a toddler and learning to walk again. I had to re-find all of my friends and family there. It took a while, but I found most of them.
During those 69 weeks without social media, I focused strictly and selfishly on my own well being and daily productivity. And now that I have social media back in my life, after that extended absence, I am able to have a fabulous life balance of living with social media applications in complete confidence. And today, having Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, back in my life, I am even more productive than I ever have been.
I run my life. I don’t let social media run my life. I never did. But some people do.
I think if people can find that balance, they will feel a lot better and at peace with the existence of social media in their worlds.
No, I don’t think social media is going anywhere. I think and see it remaining a huge part of people’s lives into the future.
And that’s also one of the reasons I came back.
In that time away, I set up my own website, a lifestyle blog, an Etsy shop, a place to showcase all my art and writing. But if I want to actually reach people with the things I write and show my paintings to the world, social media remains one of the best ways to do it.
I might write a blog twice a week, but my utilization of social media to help it get out there and maybe reach that one, singular person who may benefit from a specific article in some way, is the point of me sharing it all, on social media.
So while I do despise Facebook, and did have a near love/hate relationship with it in the past… I have now turned that relationship into merely a like/dislike relationship. I can live peacefully with Zuckerberg in my life now, and I know the exact purposes of my visits to each of the other mediums as well.
I still go back to Pinterest simply as a brain teaser, for creative solutions to new ideas.
I go to Twitter for hurricane and rough surf and coastal storm news. Or in today’s new world, pandemic and apocalyptic plague news… charts and graphs and statistics that change by the day. Announcements, once again, by our leaders and representatives on important matters.
I go to Instagram to share all my favorite photos. And see everyone else’s.
And I go back to the now old and trusty and reliable Facebook for those wedding announcements. Babies being born. And yes, in my 69 weeks away, I had friends who had babies, that I never even knew about because I was away from Facebook. When I joined back up I discovered that an old friend endured an entire pregnancy, birth, and had a new baby in her life. Her second child, I never even knew about, in this world. So yeah - Facebook is THE way to communicate with friends and family in this digital era.
And, since I’ve been back, I haven’t missed out on one birth announcement, I know who is pregnant, who is getting married, who died, and I read all the obituaries shared that way. I see in real time who made a roast in their crock pot for dinner, plus which sides they cooked with it. Then, I get the recipe.
I get to see friends travel to Hawaii, and Iceland, and Costa Rica. I see family travel to Disney. I see Dollywood and weekends at a cabin in Michigan. I see special Friday night date nights and fancy dinners out. I see birthday parties and special cakes. I see first haircuts, first baby steps, and first days of school.
I see my nephews' latest milestones as they age from infants, to toddlers, to little boys. School age children who make their first communions and have their grade school graduations. Those pictures, to me, a thousand miles away from all my relatives, are priceless. And all free to share back and forth with these social mediums.
And - I see politics. Yes, politics is still there. And as you may guess, it’s worse than ever. I see Civil War. I call it Civil War 2.0. I see and know who hates President Trump, and I know who loves President Trump. I know who is conservative and who is liberal. And I mostly try to ignore it all - and just laugh at it.
I am glad I left social media for 69 weeks. I am extremely happy with and 100% confident in my decision to ultimately come back to social media. Especially considering how very far away I live from all my family and most of my friends. And I am still, and forever grateful, that I grew up in a world without social media in it.
P.S. - No, I am NOT on TikTok. ~~
*Did you ever go on a social media break? Do you have a Facebook account? Do you live on social media or do you live entirely without social media? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, check out these other adventures in The Sunshine State, right here:
68] A Sunday Stroll
65] The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
56] Shell World ~ Key Largo
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
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