Tag Archives: Florida

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.

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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

Beach 1

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,


Happy Birthday America ~ from the sunshine state

American Flag on beach

Home of the free!!!

Home of the brave!!!


Today’s Jacksonville Weather Was Perfect ~ a 10!!!

Ingram Street 4.1

 

 

 

The weather was balmy in Jacksonville today. That’s the only word to describe it. In the low 80s with a soft breeze. I had to mention it.

This is the street Sophie and I walk down twice a day so she can do her business.

 

Since I’m a transplant from Brooklyn, I hate to lord it over anyone…especially since the northeast is supposed to get more snow. Oh, who am I kidding. It’s fun teasing you Yankees about it. All of a sudden, I’m a southern gal. Isn’t that a kick?

Fire Pit 4-17

 

I moved my fire-pit today. I live in what they call a duplex here. In Brooklyn they would call it an attached house. It had been on my neighbor’s side of the property. He didn’t complain. But I knew I’d put it up too far over. So, I remedied the situation. As the day was gorgeous, the little bit of work went quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hurricane Matthew Approaches Florida ~ stay safe

hurricane-evac-routeThere’s a light rain outside, but winds have been brisk at times portending what is to come… and that’s Hurricane Matthew. This, they say, is the ‘big one’. I lived through Super Storm Sandy in NYC, so I know what a ‘big one’ can do. Plenty.

 

There is a mandatory evacuation of Jacksonville Beach. Dangerous winds of 55 mph are expected to hit the JAX area tomorrow afternoon. That will be the outer edges of the storm. As the eye comes closer, the winds will increase. They were as much as 110 mph when they hit Haiti, which was devastated. The Bahamas were very hard hit as well. I love the Bahamas, love the people. Have been there twice. Hope to go again. Many of the buildings on these islands are not up to the ‘hurricane code’ we have in Florida.

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Open air street market, very common in the Bahamas. Many homes are small wood framed structures.

There is a steady stream of cars and trucks, some pulling campers, and RVS pulling cars going north on I 95. The entire city of St. Augustine is under mandatory evacuation. ‘They’ are taking this very seriously. Governor Scott has given several press conferences and local mayors have been giving alerts on radio. The weather channels are doing an excellent job.

I spoke to my cousin Lois early yesterday. She lives in Melbourne with her grown daughter. At that time we thought Matthew would land on Daytona Beach, which is about in the middle of where we both live. We bolstered each other’s moods and said we “thought we’d be okay through it.” Now I’ve heard reports Matthew may land in Melbourne and I’m worried for her and her daughter.

I manged to get outside this morning when the rain was light so Sophie could do her business. She’s’ become quite the Florid1an trooper, truckin’ along between the drops. Unfortunately, once inside, I became ‘mean mommy,’ as I’m holding off on breakfast. It’s going to be a long day with winds and rain increasing and she will probably NOT be able to go out this evening, and might not be able to tomorrow morning. I’ve placed plastic covered by towels by the back door in case she has an “accident.”

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I’ve got all necessary gear. Food that doesn’t have to be cooked that will last me more than four days, a good supply of drinking water, plus water for the pets, a hurricane lamp with batteries, a flashlight, candles. I’m as ready as I can be. Now all that’s left for me to do is pray. Has it come to that? [A feeble joke. I’ve been praying right along and will continue to.]

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10, NASB


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