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. ~
When The Last Supper took place - no one, except Jesus, knew what was to come.
Because, sometimes, you just don’t really know that it’s actually The Last Supper, until The Last Supper is completely over with. Done. Finished... Time, and actions, have both passed. Jesus hung on the cross… and then it hits you - that was the last time you were able to dine with Him.
Would you have done something differently? Had you known it would be the final time? The final meal?
Would you have asked Him a different set of questions?
Would you have had a different sort of conversation?
Had a second helping of bread and butter?
Would you have ordered every dessert on the menu?
Because - what the heck - it IS The Last Supper, of course. Of all the meals in all the world, now is the time to order the chocolate lava cake, with vanilla ice cream on top, draped in chocolate syrup, and then topped with sprinkles and a cherry on top.
Over the last few months, #lastsupper might have well been trending every single day.
Because with every conversation I have had with another human being - this meal - this act - was a topic of conversation…
Where was your last dinner out?
What did you order?
Who were you with?
And even - what did you talk about?
Ahh, who were you with??? Before quarantine took us all over.
Were you with the ones you are with right now?
Were you with loved ones you now have not seen in eight weeks?
Separated by an invisible plague.
A plague that is wreaking havoc on civilization itself.
Were you celebrating a special occasion during that final meal? Or was the dinner out nothing special at all?... Just another day, just another outing. Not really having given it a passing thought.
Yes, everyone has their own Last Supper right now. We all dined out one last time before shut-down orders took over the globe. And restaurants shut their doors. Some for a short time. And sadly, some forever more. And at-home cooking and dining became the new way of life. Either that, or a whole heck of a lot of take-out, delivery, and curbside service, which started enmasse, in the wake of the pandemic.
There are lots of meaningful moments in a person’s life. Many moments that, when they are taking place, the person does not know it’s the last time. That’s why the old adage…
Live each day as if it were your last.
You don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone.
So, maybe now is the time to ask yourself: Are you living each day? Yes, even during quarantine. Are you fully alive? Each and every single day. Regardless of place? Circumstance? Location? Setting? Situation? Finances? Limitations? Roadblocks? Mystery? Scarcity? Hope? Fear?
I am. And I have been, living, each day.
For three years.
I am fully ALIVE.
Or no pandemic.
I am alive. And I am living my very best life.
I was fully alive before the world changed, and I am extremely grateful to be fully alive during it. And I’m still completely and 100% alive, as the world awakens, opens up their front doors, and steps off their front porches… many, for the first time, in a very long time.
You see, I was already out there… standing in the street… looking inward, toward humanity, inside their houses. Just waiting for y'all to come on out again. And join me. In life.
Because life - in Florida - means fresh air. While it was winter, and a cold and rainy spring, in many areas of the country, during this horrific shutdown, living in Florida during this plague was an extra special blessing to be from God Himself.
I was able to still walk outside, and get fresh, warm air, every single day. I was able to sit on my balcony, outside, every single day. I was able to literally soak in my vitamin D. The vitamin they keep discussing in the news as being imperative to fight CoVid19.
So, I’m happy to FINALLY see and hear of many other people starting their own venture outward. Yes, even New York is seeing signs of hope and life again. So, as the weather turns warmer, and brighter, in other parts of the world, many others can now also soak in their daily vitamin D. Have their coffee on their balconies. And get outside.
I’m happy to be joined with the sea of humanity as they open their front doors.
Many are afraid.
Many are terrified.
Many are following guidelines, plans, and executive, gubernatorial orders, or newly enacted city ordinances.
And, yes, many are stepping off their front porch steps at the very same time.
So, I’m out here to say to those who are starting out right now...
There’s a life to live out there.
Life is happening - whether we know it or not - whether we like it or not - and whether we want it to or not.
And life is, merely and once again, your reaction, to other actions.
I am showing you my reaction.
As the national guidelines, and statewide safer-at-home orders were slowly and gradually lifted in The Sunshine State… businesses started opening back up. Over these last many weeks, signs of optimism grew by the day.
Little by little. They opened their doors.
Many, very many in fact, are still shuttered, didn’t make it. But just as many, have once again opened.
With limited indoor seating, and tables spaced safely apart from one another, and nearly unlimited outdoor seating in the fresh air, lots of outdoor patios are having the times of their lives right now.
People are craving normalcy. People want to socialize. And people want to go out to eat.
Well, we, in Florida, were able to finally do just that.
For the first time in over two months.
We dined out.
We sat outside. We were far away from other humans. And we had a great meal. As we gazed at a gorgeous, waterfront setting.
We traveled down the winding Palm Valley Road toward the bridge.
Nestled and tucked under that large expanse of a hovering bridge is the Palm Valley Outdoors Bar & Grill. Located at 377 South Roscoe Boulevard in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the location really is perfect as well.
On a bright and shiny and blue sky day, we arrived at the Grill for a lovely lunch outing.
We planned our outing to go earlier in the day, rather than later. My work schedule has me going to bed early, so we usually end up with a lot of lunches out - instead of dinners.
But considering this was a first meal of sorts, and it was a birthday celebration, both hubby and I were extra excited to arrive - no matter what the time was.
We knew it would take a while. We knew they had just recently opened to the public once again for dine-in service. We were prepared to wait, long.
And all their signage around the building told me another story… That they were open during the worst. That they were doing curbside pick up - and even dock side pick up, for boaters.
I was extra grateful to be a dine-in patron that day.
We had about a one and a half hour wait… They had told us about 35 minutes, it ended up being a lot longer, obviously.
We knew what we were getting into by dining at a restaurant just after an official re-opening to the public. In my mind, I treated this outing as the equivalent of visiting a restaurant on their first day of operation - a new business. A restaurant’s first day is always a huge mountain to climb. Always a challenge. And yet, no one seemed to be bothered by the wait. But it’s kinda hard to be bothered with anything at all when this is the setting:
Besides, what can one expect during a global plague, with food supply chains completely disrupted… We went more so for the experience, and what food we got - we got, in our book. And the wait - was the wait.
During that extended wait, I ordered two lemonades from the bar, and hubby ordered a birthday margarita, and then a beer on tap.
The lemonade was very, very small, and I drank it in about three gulps. Hubby’s alcohol lasted much longer than both my drinks.
We sat, in the partial shade on the wooden dock, feet hanging over the water, for a long time. After a while of watching boats go past, quite peacefully, we found some wooden adirondack chairs and decided to move. The entire wait was pleasant and calm and very enjoyable to watch all the activity going past. In that time period, we saw countless boats arrive and depart the dock. I’d say as many boats as cars coming and going from the parking lot. So this is definitely a popular spot for boaters to stop enroute.
The sun was at its hottest and brightest part of the day overhead. After seeing the dining area patio baking in the afternoon sun, we then asked for a table in the shade. They told us the wait would be much longer.
All the tables had spaces for umbrellas but there were no umbrellas to be had.
When we finally sat at our shaded table we were quite hungry and very much ready to order.
Our hostess had gloves on.
Our server had gloves on.
We ordered two side salads with a balsamic dressing. A delicious salad that, for the first time in two months, we didn’t have to prepare and cut all the fresh ingredients ourselves.
For our main course, we then each ordered two burgers with fries. Um, because, no fried food at home for two months - need I say more?
Hubby had the bacon and cheese burger, and I had the original burger. It was served hot and fresh, straight off the grill. Medium well, and perfectly done. Fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion. It was superb.
I cut my burger in half, and had the other half for dinner that night - my way of watching calorie intake during that outing.
The steak French fries were from Heaven. Because - again - key word being - fried.
We chose not to have dessert there, as I had special-ordered a few cupcakes from Cinotti’s Bakery to act as the birthday cake dessert, that we would eat at home later that evening.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. But the setting was what we especially enjoyed. And it was the action itself of dining out. Leaving the house, driving to a restaurant, reading a menu, and dining amongst others, that was most important to us on that date.
Overall, the Palm Valley Outdoors Bar & Grill was a lovely experience. A great birthday outing. And a fabulous place to try if it happens to be your First Supper as well. The tables are spaced plenty distance apart, and the restaurant is following all the cleaning protocols in place. With employees wearing gloves, and lots of santitzing tables between customers. The setting is more than ideal, with the Intracoastal as a backdrop, and tucked just under and off to the side of the Palm Valley Bridge.
You’ll enjoy the boats coming and going. Paddleboarders going north and south. And you may especially enjoy the countless doggies - sitting on the edge of their owner’s boats. Also taking in all the sights and sounds… and smells… of the salt life, and good food.
It is my sincere hope that for those of you in states where restaurants have also been approved to reopen, just like in Florida, that you use the experience of my First Supper, as a push to get out there yourself. For those still anxiously waiting for your own First Supper. Go ahead and get ready now. Your time is coming. To start your own venture outside. To open your own front door. To step off that front porch. Find yourself an open restaurant. Wait All The Minutes. Get seated. And have a lovely meal. Have your very own First Supper. And, what the heck, maybe even order dessert while you’re at it.
It’s ok to be scared. And by all means, it’s also mostly certainly ok - to be very uncertain. And, just like The Last Supper, it’s ok if you don’t yet know when your First Supper will be. Just keep it in mind. Plan for it. Get it in your head. Because one day, and maybe when you least expect it, it will come to you.
And you can ask yourself - will you be fully alive on that fateful day? Will you be living that day like it’s your last on this Earth? Will you remember the moment - so you know what you’ve got, when it’s gone? And then, finally, who will you be with when that date arrives? ~
And for many more dining out opportunities in The Sunshine State - check out the variety of my restaurant reviews, right here:
57] First Watch on the First Coast
53] Totally Terrific & Tasty Thai @ Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine
45] Dessert First, My Friends ~ Cantina Louie
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
35] Happiest Of Holidays @ Hawkers Asian Street Fare
29] Dinner & A Show ~ The 26th Annual St. Augustine Nights of Lights
15] V Pizza ~ The Very Best Pizza In Jax Beach!
*Part of ~ Bean’s Best ~ Award Winner 2019
11] Eleven South Bistro & Bar ~~ Supper Club Of The South
5] The Reef On SR A1A: Worth Pulling Over For
4] The Boathouse @ Disney Springs ~ Disney Dining At Its Best
Plus, you may be interested in some of my other pandemic related thoughts, theories, activities, and other such ponderings - down below:
73] What I’m Missing Right Now
69] Chaunie’s Coffee Truck
*Part of - Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge - series
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
A day of hope.
A day surrounded in happiness.
A day to rejoice.
A day full of celebration.
A day of sacrifice.
A day of sorrow.
A day clouded in sadness...
While the palm is representative of royalty and welcoming and celebratory achievements and victories…
At the same time of all the rejoicing…
Jesus already knew what was coming for Him.
He foresaw it all.
On Palm Sunday.
He rode into the Holy City, victorious, but entirely in peace.
And this act was paralleled by His own somber thoughts at the very same time.
Jesus knew the events taking place on Palm Sunday would ultimately lead to His upcoming death. His Crucifixion.
He knew His arrest was imminent. He foresaw it all.
He knew He would die. He foresaw it all.
He got on the donkey, and He rode into Jerusalem anyway.
The sacrifice. And knowing that sacrifice was for all of us. Even though we did not know it.
The fiercely strong and bold and thick palm leaves all touching the donkey’s paws on the walk throughout town.
People waving the branches toward Him. And He - feeling the winds of the palms.
All while knowing.
Of the upcoming sacrifice.
Palm Sunday is definitively representative of this Palm Sunday 2020, in many, many ways.
And Holy Week itself.
We have been told these weeks may be some of the toughest of our lives. We have been told of uncertainty. We have been told there will be death. We have been told to hang in there. And maybe most importantly… we have been told to put our foot on the gas pedal during the hardest time...
And to Keep Going.
Jesus sacrificed for us. For the people at the time, yes. But for all of us. And for an infinite number of people - still - into the unknown future.
When people wonder…
Where is God today?
Amidst all the death and destruction?
He lives among us. All of us.
As we all sacrifice something, in some way - today.
Work, finance, careers, family, friends, hobbies, school, health - Life as we know it, itself.
We are all sacrificing today to help rid the world of an invisible evil.
All, in our own ways.
But - All - doing our part.
We don’t know what the future holds - as Jesus did. So we have to have faith. And keep going.
Because Jesus did know what was coming for Him - and He still kept going.
Because we don’t know what is coming for us - but we need to keep going.
Because the more we keep going - the stronger we become.
Because as Jesus knew what was coming forward into the future for Him - He still moved forward.
And just because of that, and in spite of not knowing what lies ahead, we must also live, and move forward, all while UN-knowing what is to come for us in the future.
So let’s all keep going.
And - Keep living.
Surrounded by fear. Surrounded by mystery. Surrounded by death. Surrounded by questions and zero answers. Surrounded by unknowing. We have to keep living.
It will only make us all stronger.
So when you question WHY?
Why did this happen? Why did it happen to us? What is going to happen? What will become of us?
The non-answer is the answer.
No one knows.
But we just keep going.
And in turn, fear goes away. Even if you try to guess what your future holds. You will not be afraid. You will go forward. You will continue in celebration.
And you will then celebrate today.
And you will continue to rejoice today.
And you will be surrounded in happiness.
And you will have hope. And you will have faith.
This Sunday… This Stay-At-Home Sunday. Holy Week.
For more stories, thoughts, poetry, and then some, check out these other entries, right here:
63] Mercy & Comfort
62] PERSPECTIVE @ Seaside Sculpture Park
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
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
41] Minnie The Daschund Mouse & Her Birthday Wish
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
38] The Year Of The Sweater ~ Bean’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
36] The End Of A Decade & My New Year’s Wish To You
34] Merry Christmas ~ And How To Buy For That Person On Your List Who Saved Your Life ~
28] The Scent Of Christmas in the Air
27] Thanksgiving & Pete’s Bar ~ Not All Resolutions Need Be Fulfilled On January First
26] Deck The Chairs ~ BE THAT CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THIS OUR VERY OWN AND SHAREABLE WORLD
24] In Real Life ~ My First Visit To A Southern Living Idea House
23] Faith ~ And Life Lessons Learned Living With Wild & Untamable Hair
21] Cinotti’s ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
6] Nine Eleven: Before & After
2] 3 Wows Plus 1 Piece Of Magic I Experienced At Jacksonville, Florida’s Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens
All 2020 9/11 A1A Acrylic On Canvas Adversity Alan Roberts Al Carius Amanda Moon Art Amelia Island America Angeletti Cookies Angies Grom Angies Subs Another Broken Egg Cafe Appetizer Art Atlantic Beach Atlantic Ocean Autumnal Equinox Autumn In Florida BabylissPro Hair Straightener Bacon Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Beach Boulevard Beach Diner Beach Diner Ponte Vedra Beach Beaches Art Fest Beaches At Vilano Beaches For Australia Beaches Go Green Beaches Green Market Beaches Museum Beaches Oktoberfest Beaches Town Center Beans Baking Series Beans Basement Bash Beans Best Award Winner Beans Coffee Shop Challenge Beans Recipes Beef Stew Before And After Beignets BEPREADY Black Friday Blue Angels Blue Bloods Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine Breakfast Review Breezy Coffee Shop Brewery Review Bryan Pieper Cafe Du Monde Cantina Louie Cat Cafe Celebration Celebration Florida Cell Phone Chaunies Coffee Truck Chicago Food Chicago Pizza Chili Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies Christmas Decor Christmas In The South Christmas Pop Up Bar Christmas Tree Cinottis Bakery Jax Beach City Of Jacksonville Florida Special Events Civil War 2.0 Clover Coffee Coffee Plantation Cafe College Columbia Restaurant Comfort Compass Contagion Cookies Corinne Crabtree Corona Coronavirus CoVid19 Crane Island Crock Pot Cross Country Cummer Cafe Review Cummer Museum Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens Daily Activity Danny Reagan Daschund Daylight Savings Time Deck The Chairs Delicomb Dessert Dining In Atlantic Beach Dining In Jax Beach Dining In Ponte Vedra Beach Dining On The Water Dining Review Dining Review Vilano Beach Disney Springs Dog Days Of Summer Doggie Stroller Dog Life Donuts Driftwood Jax Beach Dunkin Donuts Easter Edens Leaf Naturals Eleven South Review Endless Summer Every Damn Day Fitness Facebook Faith Fall In Florida Family Traditions Film Review First Watch Floating Generation Florida Florida Cold Front Florida Cracker Kitchen Florida Winter Flowers Frank Reagan Grape & Grain Exchange Guy Fieri Hampton Inn Happy Holidays Happy New Year Hawkers Asian Street Fare Hemingway Holiday Holidays In Jax Beach Holidays In Neptune Beach Holly Berry Hotel Review Ice Cream Intracoastal Intuition Ale Works Review Ireland Isle Of Eight Flags Jacksonville Jacksonville Beach James Bond Jamie Reagan Jarboe Park Jarboe Park Christmas Tree Jax Beach Art Walk Jax Beach Coffee Shop Jax Beach Vintage Flea Market Jerusalem Jesus Jimmy Johns John Glaude Joy Key Largo Key West Key West Half Marathon Kilwins Krispy Kreme Life Before Facebook Lifestyle Lime Bubly Love Lumi Bean Candles Manatee Massive Action Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Florida Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Clinic Mayport Cats Metro Diner Mexican Food MFPMilestones Millennial Generation Minestrone Soup Mourning A Loss Muffins MyFitnessPal Nemo Park Neptune Beach Never Forget New Orleans New York City Nine Eleven NOLA Obese To Beast Oceanfront Dining Olivia Shore One Ocean Resort Orlando Overseas Highway Pain Rehab Clinic Palm Sunday Palm Valley Palm Valley Outdoors Bar And Grill Pasta Pasta Party Pastries Patience Peanut Butter Bubbles Perseverance Peterbrooke Chocolatier Petes Bar Petes Bar Thanksgiving Morning Gathering Pet Friendly Pet Loss Phit-n-Phat Phone Call Pink Lemonade Plan Pollyanna Ponte Vedra Beach PRC Pumpkin Spice Purpose Race Expo Recipes Red Sauce Restaurant Review Ritas Jax Beach Riverside Rockaway Garden Routine Sago Coffee Jax San Marco San Marco Bookstore San Marco Town Square San Pablo Island Sea La Vie Jax Beach Seaside Sculpture Park Sea & Sky Jax Seinfeld September 11 Shamrock Shell World Sheltie Social Media Sous Chef Southern Grounds Southern Living Idea House Southern Swells Starbucks Star Wars Statue Of Liberty St Augustine St. Augustine St. Augustine Nights Of Lights Staycation St. Johns Town Center St Patricks Day Sugar Cookies Super Bowl Sunday Supper Club Take Out Dining Teresa Echols Thai Food Thankful The Boathouse The Caffeinated Cat The Dis The Mini Bar The Reach Resort Key West The Reef Time Savings Tinis Martini Bar To Do Downtown Jacksonville To Do In Celebration Florida To Do Jax Beach Tonys Turkey Trot Review Train Ride Twistee Treat Twitter Uber Ugly Cupcake & Muffinry Ulta Products Universal Endless Summer University Of North Florida Valentines Day Vilano Beach Vlogmas Volunteer V Pizza V Pizza Jax Beach Walt Disney World Weight Loss Weight Loss Success Weight Maintenance White Christmas Whit's Frozen Custard Whits Jax Beach Wicked Lick Williams Sonoma Winter Meals World War 19 World War II Year In Review YouTube