Category Archives: Florida

Visiting the Jacksonville Zoo ~ gorgeous autumn day

 

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Moi and this beautiful lady scarecrow

 

 

 

My gal pal Deborah Williams and I took off for the Jacksonville Zoo yesterday. And what a great time we had in perfect fall weather.

 

 

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Deborah in the pumpkin patch with another beautiful lady scarecrow

 

 

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King of the jungle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Python

 

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Giraffe feeding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moi on the carousel

 

 

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This guy wasn’t impressed at all that his photo was being taken. I leaned in pretty close and he didn’t bat an eye. Like, “Lady, your the 59,362nd person to snap my picture.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Bad Dream ~ demonic or just repeating pizza

 

woman-aloneThis morning I awoke half in a crazy dream state.

I was standing alone in some utilitarian building holding a framed photo of my mother, staring at it. Then the scene changed and I was homeless, on the street. Then it changed again and I’d been committed to an antiseptic mental hospital where I was questioned by sympathetic doctors in white coats.

I startled awake and said aloud, “Devil, you will not have my mind. As Jesus is in heaven, so am I in this world.” This, being my version of 1 John 4:17. I was amazed at how quickly I became free of any fear of this dream. Remembering dreams is kinda of new for me. For years I claimed I didn’t dream. However, dreaming and remembering them, or snatches of them, isn’t uncommon lately.

Was this dream demonic, or just bad pizza acting up. Well, I hadn’t had any pizza or any spicy food. My evening had been routine before going to sleep. So, I said to myself, “Self, this definitely is not of God.”

But was that true? I don’t have a photo of my parents hanging in my new home in Florida, and I’ve been here almost two years. It’s been on my heart to have an 8X10 of them in a golden frame. There was a beautiful photo of them at some senior affair. My dad held a glass of wine and my mom a glass of seltzer. They were smiling and radiant, having a good time. My sister-in-law, an amazing woman who I love dearly, does beautiful paintings from photos. She offered to do a painting from it, then somehow lost the photo.

I don’t have any digital photos of my parents, they passed a while back, which belies my claim that I’m still 39…but that would be quite another blog article.

Emil Navor WWII

Sgt Emil Navor WWII Pacific Arena

My cousin sent me a photo he digitized of my dad from WWII and of my mom’s immediate family, also from that era. I have photo albums I’ll have to go through to find one of them I can have enlarged. This is the God part. I should get going, find a photo to enlarge, and give it a place of honor in my home in a golden frame.

Grandma, Grandpa, Family

Helen Novogrodsky Navor,  1st row, 2nd from right

It’s quite interesting how “the dark side” lurks in the subconscious mind, twisting, and adding guilt and fear.

It’s also amazing how easily fear and guilt can be dispelled with the Word of God. Poof, it’s gone.

 

 

 

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Kicking Back in Kissimmee ~ a writers’ getaway

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The resort train which Dalyn and I rode to get to the miniature golf course on the grounds

Florida Christian fiction writer Dalyn Woods and I took off to relax for a week in central Florida. It was my first vacation since my husband passed away, nearly one year ago. We had a terrific time, yet it felt strange being there without Joseph. Daylyn and I stayed at Westgate Town Center and Resort in Kissimmee. [Disclaimer: this is a time share resort and I know they are somewhat controversial, but my husband purchased and paid for a time share thinking he and I would use it.]

 

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Moi in front of the glof course

 

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Dalyn put-putting on the golf course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westgate Waterpark Then it was off to the on-site waterpark where we floated in the lazy-river, had lunch, then lazed in lounge chairs watching children playing in the water.

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Moi at the kiddie pool

The resort is affiliated with Disney. While we were there we watched at no charge (in their little theatre) two Star Wars movies and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

 

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Sophie the wonder-dog travels with moi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A word about FOOD…

 

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Drafts is a sports bar on the resort and the food is great. Here I had a turkey club on multi-grain bread. Dalyn had a Philly cheesesteak

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Dalyn’s Philly cheesesteak. The beer-batter fries were to die for.

We also went off campus to eat at Giordanos for Italian and the Wildside Barbeque and Steakhouse. I took photos at Giordanos but we were so hungry when we went to the Wildside we just dove in and I didn’t get any shots. The food was real good in both places. BTW, we got coupons from the resort for both.

 

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Cheesy garlic bread. Each slab has four slices. You dip them into the sauce (which is e frin scratch)

 

 

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I got the spaghettie with meat sauce. As you can see, they’re generous with the meat.

 

 

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Dalyn had Linguine with Alfredo sauce, which she said was yummy.

 

 

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Fall in Florida ~ a simple pleasure

They say Florida is one place where the rule ‘You can’t wear white after Labor Day is null-and-void. In general, attitudes and lifestyle are more relaxed here…and that’s a huge reason why I moved here from The Big Apple. I love the simplicity of the lifestyle in Florida.

This year, after the hot summer months, and debilitating hurricanes, the nip in the air that comes with autumn has been welcome. I couldn’t wait to put away my summery outdoor decorations. Yes, I admit, I had pink flamingoes out allIMG_2452 summer…but only in my backyard near my fire pit. I’m all in for colorful, fanciful, Florida-friendly objects ‘d art in the front, but don’t go wild with pink Flamingoes. Truly, I don’t.

So, I hauled the bin out of my sheld where I store fall decorations. I put up a swag of fall leaves over my front door and some harvesty colorful fake flowers in a small flower pot along with the smiling face of a little girl scarecrow.  My fall decorating is a work in progress and I’ll add a few pumpkins to the stoop. I love scarecrows and I’ll put out the ones I’ve collected over the years in the house.

So, how do Floridians dress for Fall? It’s safe to say, folks add rust, gold, and ruby tones to their wardrobe. But, yes, we still wear shorts, short sleeves or no sleeves, and flip-flops. In fact, flip-flops are the official shoe of Florida.

But seriously, I find simplicity dovetails beautifully with my spiritual life.

2 Corinthians 1:12 [ESV] ~ For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.


THAT SPECIAL ONE ~ Hurricane Irma and brownies

TSO Cover 2

What on earth has my new release, THAT SPECIAL ONE, got to do with Hurricane Irma and brownies. Read on and find out…

Last week, with Hurrican Irma bearing down on Miami at something between a category 4 & 5, I sat at my laptop furiously trying to finish final editis before the storm reached Jacksonville. It was a race against time, trying to get my first attempt at a New Adult novella published on Amazon (downloaded) before JEA ran into serious service problems.

Alas, due to the high volumne of downed trees and flooding, the power went out in nearly all of Jacksonville. My next door neighbor was kind enough to run an extension chord from his generator to my refrigerator. That still meant, no lights, no a/c, no TV or audio system, no Wi-Fi, and manual toilet flushing for three days as the temperatures climbed (is that too much info?).

After three days, the power did come back on. I think I must’ve looked and felt much like Jonah had after three days in the belly of the great fish. The upside was, I was able to continue with edits offline…but, still no Wi-Fi. I couldn’t download the novella to Amazon. Finally, the Wi-Fi came back on and I was able to launch THAT SPECIAL ONE.

Where do the brownies come in? I made a batch for my very kind next door neighbor who shared electricity from his generator with me. When I handed him the plate full of brownies, he broke out into a huge smile and said, “I’ll have to pour a glass of milk.”

THAT SPECIAL ONE in a nut shell…

New Adult Contemporary Christian Romantic Suspense

College freshman Ivy Chalmers moved in with her aunt and uncle in Arroyo, Texas. She needed to get away from her alcoholic and weed smoking mother.  Ivy longed for a different life than the revolving-door-men in her mom’s life. Making a one-eighty, she vowed not to make a serious dating commitment unless she knew it would be that really ‘special relationship ‘.

Corey Jones had been the man in his house since age twelve, when his alcoholic dad abandoned him and his mom. Once in a while, his dad showed up trying to extort money from them using threats. Then his blue-haired, self-centered cousin Ava came to live with them and the way she treats his mom enrages him.

Ivy is thrilled when she meets an upper classman from a neighboring college and thinks he might be ‘that guy.’ When she is horribly betrayed, her world is thrown upside-down, and she plunges into a depression.  In a steady and kind of clumsy way, Corey is there for her during her worst moments. But his family is plagued with alcoholism, the life she had with her mom, the life she ran away from. What’s wrong with her that she attracts the wrong guys? As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s an arsonist terrorizing their tiny village.

Purchase on Amazon.

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I Came To NE Florida For A Simpler Life ~ reflecting as humongous storm Irma approaches

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One and a half years ago, I moved lock stock and pets to Florida from Brooklyn (NYC). I’d lived in the rush, rush, rush of Gotham for over 33 years and was more than tired of it.

I love the Atlantic Ocean and crave being near it. I’d lived in Miami for 2 years, but that was before my marriage to a guy from Brooklyn. Even in Brooklyn, we lived in the Marine Park neighborhood which is only a few miles from the ocean. On days when the wind blew from east-to-west, we could smell the briny, salt air. Loved that. But didn’t love the rush, the mania, the grit in the air that comes along with living in the Big Apple.

Moi, Jax Beach

NE Florida immediately brought serenity, and I craved that after 33 years of a city in constant animation, always busy. Slowly I got rid of my all-black wardrobe (the NYC uniform) and relaxed into what I call a pulled-together beach-bum style.

Hurricane Irma is now 2 – 3 days from its approach to northeast Florida and I went to with my doctor’s referral to get blood drawn this morning. I guess, that qualifies me as a true Floridian. Afterward, on the way home, I so looked forward to a cup of hot coffee. As I drove, I prayed for the houses on my right and left, that angels would protect them from the storm. I prayed for the broader community. Prayer is definitely part of ‘the simple life’ I lead here in Fla.

Yes, I’m preparing. All Floridians are. In my house, preparations are intentionally simple. Simplicity doesn’t mean complacency. Today I’m making sure my freezer is full of ice so that if the power goes out, whatever is in there will keep. I shopped yesterday and didn’t buy anything frozen. Today and tomorrow I’m eating what needs to be cooked. Following a phoned-in tip I heard on the radio from a survivalist, I filled up small plastic containers with water nearly to the top and froze them. This will help keep my entire refrigerator cold (milk, veggies, cold cuts, etc.) if there’s no power long-term. As the water defrosts it can be used to brush teeth, etc.

There is order to simplicity and calm. Am I always calm? No! In the past, I made whining and complaining into an art form. God’s worked a lot on me in that area. I’m also a ‘Plan A, Plan B, Plan C’ type person. I do keep my plans simple. However, I like to know not only what the plan is,  but what the alternate plans are. I’ve learned, however, the Ultimate Plan is God’s plan.

I continue to pray for all those in the path of Hurricane Irma, now considered the biggest and most ferocious storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

Isaiah 4:6 [NASB] ~  There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and [a]protection from the storm and the rain.


GLAMOROUS ~ the writer’s life, not

hand held ac

When a/c’s on the fritz.

The drainage system of my central air conditioning system needs to be flushed. Hey, this is Florida people! This is a big deal.

Today threatens to be a hot one. Hotter than Hades. So, until the a/c repair person arrives, (I don’t know if it will be a man, so I’m going gender neutral) I’m giving my a/c system a break. Water is accumulating in the metal pan beneath the system. If too much water accumulates, it will spill over and begin to create water damage in the house I rent. But before that happens, this unit has a shut off switch and will shut itself off. My fear is it will NOT turn itself back on after some water has evaporated. That would leave me with no relief at all from what threaten to be scorching temps this afternoon. So, I raised my thermostat and in effect turned the unit off to let some water evaporate. Then if the said repair person doesn’t get here today, after some water has evaporated, I can turn it back on during the hottest part of the day. Remember, this is Florida and the temps are brutal right now…and he/she probably has a long, long client call list today.

So,, here’s the glamour part…don’t want you to miss that!!! I’m sitting before my laptop in my coolest, cotton, shortie PJs with my window’s open to catch the small breeze out there, a fan is blowing on me, and I’m sweating some while typing this out. Of course you can see the glamour in that. Why, it’s akin to Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War. No? Not quite? Not close? Well, anyway, I do need a hand-held A/C system right now.

Romans 12: 12 [NASB] ~  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,


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