This is finally beginning to feel like home.
Finding Peace In Difficult Times
I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, and then it fell by the wayside when the war in the Ukraine broke out. Given the latest tragedy, my plan of posting photos of dogs in pirate costumes seemed frivolous. But in the midst of careening from one disaster to another, we all need respite and joy to shore up our spirits.
I grew up in the 1960s in Miami, with Cuba only 90 miles away. Crouching beneath our little wooden desks during air raid drills while sirens shrieked was terrifying. I remember begging my dad to build us an air raid shelter. His answer? “Sweetheart, if a nuclear bomb drops here, we won’t have a world fit to live in. But we can enjoy life right now.” He told me not to worry. I still worried. But I also trusted my dad, and found some ease in learning to embrace this moment, even in the face of uncertainty.
It is both sad and scary to witness what a mess the world is in, and to feel like we have made no progress at all in learning how to live peacefully on this Earth. But I don’t want to sit around feeling hopeless and fearful.
We fear the future because we are wasting today. ~ Mother Teresa
Taking Small Actions
With that in mind, I choose to focus on what is good and beautiful in our troubled world. And I choose to put my energy into things that are within the realm of my control. I have to remind myself of this every day.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~ Mother Teresa
Banding together with people and organizations who are taking positive actions makes me feel hopeful. One of our favorite charities is the World Central Kitchen, started by chef and humanitarian José Andrés. They’ve already delivered hundreds of thousands of meals to Ukrainians caught in this tragic war. It brings me some small measure of comfort to know that we’ve helped provide a hot meal, the most basic of human needs, to someone who is in need.
At home, in this tiny town in the Florida Panhandle, we’re volunteering time for the birds. Eric has been a dedicated volunteer for Audubon for almost two years, and I’ve joined him in his efforts.
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Every time we spend a day helping put up signage to protect nesting sites, or cleaning up trash, or walking the beach and acting as stewards for the birds, I realize that it helps me at least as much as it helps the birds.
Speaking of volunteering, former full-time travelers and now local buddies Shannon and Ken volunteered for turtle patrol on St. George Island last summer (you can read about their experience here). From May through October, they rose before dawn to walk two miles of beach, acting as stewards for the sea turtles that nest on the beaches here. In January, they told us about a sea turtle that had been rehabilitated and was being returned home. It was a heartwarming event. As long as we have good people doing good things, there is hope for our world.
Time With Friends
We love hanging out with our local friends, and we’ve been delighted by the friends who have come to visit us here on the Forgotten Coast. Good friends make all the difference in life. (We’ve made many friends in our travels, and some are fellow bloggers, including Larry & Susie, Shannon & Ken, and Laura & Kevin.)
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There is never a lack of activities in this area, and many of the festivities support local causes. The 11th Annual Apalachicola Mardi Gras Barkus Parade was a colorful, fun-loving benefit for critters on the Forgotten Coast. The theme this year was “Pirates of Oyster City.” It was a blast.
Projects At Home
Our projects at home continue. Lots of landscaping, installing new irrigation, and fixing up the lanai have been the focus the last couple of months. I also got inspired to chalk paint two of the only pieces of furniture that we kept from my folks. I’m trying to muster up the fortitude to paint the oak kitchen cabinets and all of the interior doors. I’m having trouble deciding on the color—I’m leaning toward some shade of gray for the cabinets since the walls and floors are in gray tones, but I don’t want the inside of the house to look like a battleship. I welcome your suggestions, LOL.
Planning Our Summer Adventure
As much as we’re enjoying life here, we know we do not want to be here in the summer. I’ve been busily planning our summer travels and so far, have made 33 reservations for the four months we’ll be away. It was an enormous jigsaw puzzle to get it figured out. Magnolia decided to bite a hole in the middle of Michigan just as I was trying to plan our route. I hope that’s not her commentary on our travel plans.