When we left for Florida I had never seen the ocean. I was so excited to be able to see the ocean and mark that off of my bucket list. When we got to Georgia the ocean was not too far away. Rob took a detour so that I could be able to see the ocean. It was neat to look out and see the water. We drove over a bridge and took in the sights of the ocean. I loved it.
God has really been working in my heart about how fearful I am of certain things. For a long time - I think my whole life - I have been deathly afraid of bridges. It was wonderful to drive over this bridge and not feel one ounce of fear or panic. (That has NEVER happened before). I know it may sound like a little thing to some; but for me it was a huge event. I am learning to trust God and know that He will take care of me and that I can depend upon Him and do not need to be afraid. Even on bridges!
I love palm trees. They look so fake to me; because every time I have seen something that looks like a palm tree it has been fake. Youth work and banquets expose you to A LOT of fake palm trees. I found myself having to touch them just to feel the 'realness' of the tree. I love palm trees!
The highlight of our trip down to Florida was being able to spend quite a bit of time at the Hope Children's Home in Tampa. We toured the facilities and were able to eat lunch and get to talk to the kids and staff at the home. God has done great things for this ministry and it was a blessing to hear how He has taken care of these children and provided for the needs of the home as they care for these precious little ones. It was hard to leave after our lunch and tour - this ministry really touched our hearts deeply.
When we were done at the home we drove over to Clearwater, FL to see the ocean. We drove right past Clearwater Christian College. We did not stop by the college; but got a photo that said we were there. ;)
The highlight of the trip was our tour through the children's home; the second best thing about the trip was getting to see the ocean. It was wonderful to experience the ocean. I loved it. I loved the smell of the ocean. I loved the sound of the ocean; and I loved the feel of the ocean. It was wonderful. What beauty God has created! We were able to see dolphins jumping up out of the water. It was breathtaking. It brought tears to my eyes to realize that I was able to do something that I had wanted to make sure I did before I died. It was wonderful. I loved the ocean.
My husband spent a month in Florida years ago when he traveled with an evangelist. He was able to show me a lot of things that he remembered from his time there in Tampa. It was wonderful just to have the time to be together and have him share memories from years ago. I loved having him as my tour guide!!
I loved the white sand and the feel of it between my toes. There were a lot of seagulls there. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not fond of these creatures. I did pretty good with these birds sitting, flying and walking all around us. Once I got a little bit jumpy and grabbed Rob's arm when a bird was flying towards me. (He thought I was telling him that there was a tarantula on his back or something and jumped quite a ways in the air. He had to catch his breath when I told him I was just a bit afraid of the birds flying). So, while I did well on the bridge - the bird thing proved that I have a ways to go with my fear of birds. (I will say though that there would have been a time when I would not have gotten out of the car with the seagulls around - so we are making strides in the right direction).
We were not able to get a picture of our hosts that allowed us to stay in their home. They were wonderful! We enjoyed such sweet fellowship with them and saw once again that the bond in Christ is deeper than can be understood. Thanks Jeff and Allison for the wonderful time there in Tampa. Your hospitality was a blessing to us!.
We came back from Tampa challenged to live a life of faith and obedience to God's will for our lives. We were thankful for the time away. We were richly blessed.