The weather forecast was iffy for the weekend but Friday was predicted to be the best day. We chose to drive about 30 minutes north to Polk City where the southern trailhead for the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail begins. It is a 29 mile paved rail trail which is also designated a National Recreation Trail. This is Florida so the trail was basically flat and only has one curve and it’s on the northern end so we didn’t even see it. We rode through swamps with lots of cypress trees, pine forests, and cattle ranches. We road the first 10 miles, so a total of 20 miles for the day. Good exercise, on a beautiful day, and not too many people on the trail. It was a great ride. We also enjoyed the drive – went one way and returned another – seeing more of this central part of Florida. And, of course, we stopped for ice cream on the way back.
Saturday we finally discovered the time to do grocery shopping and avoid the crowds. We went to Publix at 7:30 am and there was no traffic and open aisles. Since there is some minor sports event near here today and the home team is playing, we knew it would be crowded with people stocking up on game day supplies later in the day. The predicted rain arrived in the afternoon. We had some storms thru the night and were under a tornado watch for a time. More heavy rain this morning but it stopped before time to go to church. Some have wondered about us attending in person worship. We were assured by our team leaders that Dundee UMC was doing everything possible to ensure everyone’s safety. The first Sunday we sat in the very back so that if we felt uncomfortable we could slip out. There are maybe 30 people in the sanctuary, so people are spaced out nicely. Everyone uses hand sanitizer on entering the building, has their temperature checked and are required to wear a mask. At the start of each service everyone recites their COVID Covenant:
“We respect our church and will follow all the COVID-19 protocols during our in-person worship and fellowship. To protect our church we agree to wear masks, social distance, sanitize our hands and have our temperature checked.”
After the first Sunday our anxiety was reduced, but we still sat on the back pew. Sure will be glad when we can get a vaccine. We were on the wait list here in Florida but then the governor kicked all out of state people off the list. We have three more weeks in Florida, so just trying to stay safe until we can somehow get a vaccine. We are tired of how COVID continues to affect our lives, but we know that God’s got this!! Hope everyone had a good weekend.
Tuesday we started the day with a mediation based on Psalm 1 and Bill reminded us that there are two ways to live, the way of God or the way of wickedness. We get to choose. Bill encouraged us to not sit, stand or walk with wickedness but rather be always thinking about what God wants us to do. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
For work on Tuesday, Nell stayed at the camp with Max and Anne to assist us in the LED project. Having someone on the ground to flip switches and assist in other ways, saves time and trips up and down on the lift. We were working 14-18 feet in the air most of the time. The lift moves around more the higher up you go. We felt like we were doing balance exercises all week. We completed 15 more of the LED conversions. Gene and Mike stayed at the camp too and worked repairing the porch on one of the cabins. Since we were not at the church we don’t know exactly what all was done there and don’t have many pictures. We are hoping to get some from some of the other team members and will share those later. We do know that a new changing table was installed in the nursery and many floors were scrubbed on hands and knees.
Wednesday there was more of the same work done. There was more cleaning at the church including the big stove in the church kitchen. There was also more pressure washing, mulching, and a dryer was purchased and installed for a church member. Max and Anne with the help of Barb completed the light installation. Gene and Mike continued to work on the priming of the exterior of the gym. Thursday we all stayed at the camp doing many different jobs. In the gym we used the lift to get back up to the ceiling to clean the air conditioner vents and return airs as well as clean the upper walls and ceiling, removing all the spiderwebs. We wanted to get it looking better for a quinceañera (15th birthday party) that will take place Saturday. Anne took Barb and Mary Ann up in the lift for the first time. Proud of both of them for facing their fears but don’t think either of them are anxious to take another ride. There was lots of outside work going on too. Pressure washing, limb trimming, deck repairs, just to name a few. We also found out Thursday that they want us to change out some additional LED lights, but these won’t be quite so high. We will be using ladders for these so there will be more ups and downs, but not so many highs. Hope everyone has a great weekend.
It’s COLD here! OK, compared to our northern friends we know it’s not cold, but we have a wind chill warning here in central Florida with a prediction of wind chills as low as 30 degrees in the morning. The wind has been gusting to 30mph. Where did our beautiful weather go? We want it back!
We began our day with a thoughtful devotion based on Matthew 22:34-40, presented by Nell. She concentrated on verse 38, “and the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.” Some define loving others as meeting their needs. Do you notice displays of love by others? When/where did you see examples of love today? Did anyone observe you displaying love today? Thanks Nell, good way to start our day.
Lots of new work today. Max and Anne stayed at the campground and began working on changing the fluorescent lights to LED in the gym/multipurpose room. We got a slow start due to the lift not being charged but ended up getting 8 of 36 lights changed out today. Now that we have a system in place we hope to get more done tomorrow. Gene worked on spray painting the gym exterior. Barb and Mike got their RV repaired and arrived Friday afternoon. Today they worked on the exterior of a church member’s home that needed a little help. They did some pressure washing on this cold day. (a real display of love.) Nell and Randy worked on repainting the church sign, Becky worked on mulching some of the flower beds at the church and Mary Ann tried to keep us all headed in the right direction. It was a busy day for everyone but a lot was accomplished. Another day of blessings – given and received.
We celebrated our weekend by touring around the area. There is so much more to Florida than the beaches and the theme parks and sadly that’s all so many people ever see. Friday we started our weekend by dropping by the Florida’s Natural visitors center. Of course, we enjoyed the juice samples, but they also had lots of great displays, a very good movie on the industry, the citrus business and horticulture. We learned a lot.
After making a few gift shop purchases, we left the visitors center in route to the Bok Tower Gardens located in Lake Wales, about 10 miles south of Dundee. The Bok Tower Gardens is a bird sanctuary, gorgeous gardens, and 205 foot tall carillon tower with beautiful bells. The Singing Tower is built of beautiful pink and gray Georgia marble and coquina stone from St. Augustine. It stands on the highest point in the state of Florida. The pink marble was amazing in the bright sunlight. We made sure we were there for the carillon concert at 1:00. They have 205 acres of gardens and we kept thinking of our mothers and how much they would have enjoyed visiting here. We got lots of steps in the gardens.
Saturday we did some additional exploring in the area. We went to Lake Wailes park, located in the town of Lake Wales, and did our walking there. There is a nice, paved path around the lake. There are so many lakes and so many beautiful parks in this area. Max always says if there is a puddle in Florida you better look for an alligator. We saw a big gator in Lake Wailes, at least six feet long.
We have had beautiful weather while here in Dundee. Today was another beautiful day. After church and lunch, we found another park in Dundee to do our walking. Maybe if Alabama put more money in walking paths and places to get exercise we wouldn’t rank so high in cardiovascular disease and stroke. Of course, I suppose our diet has something to do with it too.
We are feeling so blessed to have our health. Please continue to pray for everyone continuing to struggle with COVID.