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.

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