Sunday, August 1, 2021

A Good Report

Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, kick off the sandals and put up your feet. I'm writing a long, photo-filled post about my weekend....

birdhouse in Micanopy, Florida

As much as I love the mountains of Colorado (and always will), the charm of "old Florida" with its muggy heat, abundant tropical horticulture, and hard downpours of rain is growing on me. 

me 'n Terri D
photo by Pam Steiner

And the people. Florida has good people. Many of them, like me, did not originate here but have chosen to make The Sunshine State their home. 

Terri D and I became friends via blogging years ago, before I ever dreamed we would be living in the same state, only a 2-hour drive apart. After Beloved and I moved to Florida, we were able to meet in person several times, with our husbands, where a delightful friendship bloomed. 

Cholokkla Blvd.

But also we never dreamed that in a span of less than 3 months, we both would be widows due to COVID snatching our husbands from us.  With God as our help, we have encouraged each other in this season of grief with our blog posts, emails, and in-person visits. Happily, this weekend was a memory-making time we spent together as she came to see me. 

my local mall 

Ever the planner, I plotted out the weekend ahead of time only to see the first event on my calendar snarled with a tree-trimming project by my gated community. After her arrival we were going to spend time relaxing (and cooling off!) in the tropical resort-style pool. But that had to be postponed while tree branches and palm leaves met with the landscapers.

Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs/Ocala, Florida

Plan B was to get our walking exercise in the air-conditioned comfort of the local mall and then to drive out to Silver Springs State Park. It was too late in the day (and just too hot!) to embark on the glass bottom boat tour, so we just drove out to see it from this perspective and also looped around the small square in downtown Ocala.


After the driving tour of my town, we came home to a supper of soft tacos made with a highly spiced pork roast (inspired by my son, T2), and a fluffy orange salad comprised of Cool Whip, sour cream, orange jello, and canned pineapple and mandarin oranges (what's not to like about THAT?!), courtesy of my DIL, Blondie.

The plan for Friday evening was watching the movie "Doc Hollywood," starring Michael J. Fox, provided by Terri D. We had a special reason to see this movie. The filming location was to be our destination on the next day -- Micanopy, Florida.

Terri D 

Just about 30 miles north of my town is this quaint, very southern town populated with huge oak trees draped with Spanish moss. It's a perfect place for shopping, slow walking in the shade beside ferns, flowers, pink flamingo yard sticks, charming old mansions, and escaping from real life for a couple of hours.

Micanopy, Florida

On a more personal note, a few weeks ago I had a day when I just needed to "get outa Dodge," so to speak, to be by myself to ruminate about the direction I was headed and spend time in a pleasant place.

Micanopy came to mind and a day-trip all by myself ensued. It was during that adventure I realized this could be the perfect destination for lunch with girlfriends. 

Yesterday was when "lunch with the girls" came about. All of us write blogs, including Pam's doll, Lily Grace (click on their names below the picture to access their blogs). We had a pleasant time dining at Coffee 'n Cream, which has a large wrap-around porch with ample ceiling fans to [slightly] cool Florida's dog-days-of-summer heat. 

Coffee 'n Cream

Traveling from thirty minutes to nearly three hours to meet, the three of us (well, 4, if you count Lily Grace) had a wonderful time over chicken salad croissants, getting caught up on 'behind the scenes' details of our lives that are too personal to share on our blogs, concluding God has been faithful to each of us in our varied life circumstances. Yes, these girls are sisters in Christ.

Coffee 'n Cream has live
entertainment, too:
Blue Grass to Soft Rock

The time flew by and all too soon we had to hug Pam and her dolly Lily Grace farewell. Then Terri D and I drove to the outskirts of town to visit one of her friends (who is now my friend, too!). Retiring  to a charm-filled home on beautiful acreage, Claire is far from the picture of someone spending her days on the porch thinking about days past. She busies herself daily with vigorous yard upkeep, gardening, canning, brining her own olives, looking in on mom next door, and updating her 1890's house. 

one of many antique shops 
in Micanopy

I took no pictures at Claire's place since I was new and did not want to be intrusive, but let me tell you, I was inspired by her example to move on past my current stage of grief numbness to some of the homemaking skills I've enjoyed in the past.

After Terri D and I got back to my house on Saturday, we spent an hour or so just drifting in the resort-style pool of my community. I could lose myself floating on a pool noodle for the entire day except a sense of responsibility eventually calls me back to good sense.

After a dinner salad and and ice cream for dessert, we settled into our chairs to watch an old favorite movie of mine, My Blue Heaven.

notecard from Dr. David Jeremiah

Sunday morning we went to church to worship the One who has blessed and sustained both Terri D and me this year. It is good to be in the Lord's House with friends of like  mind and spirit. We  know our hubbies are in Heaven worshiping our Lord in His presence as we praise Him here on earth.

Terri D at the WEC

As the church service was drawing to a close, a HUGE rainstorm thundered outside, nearly shaking those of us indoors. The rain let up enough for us to get to the car and we took a gamble in proceeding with my plan for us to visit the World Equestrian Center and lunch.

outdoor arena of the WEC

Happily, the worst of the rain seemed to have passed, so as long as we carried our umbrellas, we managed just fine. The horses were out jumping and trotting, giving us something fun to watch.

the 5-star hotel of the World Equestrian Center

We strolled through several of the shops (very expensive) and the lobby of the hotel (very elegant) eventually finding the real prize of the visit: the horses in the stables.

Some owners post a sign asking visitors to not pet their horses, but others don't seem to mind at all. Terri has horses in her family, so she knows how to talk to them. 

And they respond well to her. This one nuzzled up to her and Terri loved it. 

Me, I like horses, but the many dogs, also in the stables, seemed to understand how much I enjoy them. I had some satisfying scratch-behind-their-ears conversations with several breeds. It was all  good.

Lasagna  at  
Viola and Dot's Pizzeria and Kitchen

The visit to the World Equestrian Center culminated with lunch at one of several venues on property. We both had the lasagna with lemonade and then headed back to my house.

As I type this, Terri D has just sent a text to say she's arrived safely at home and has already put a load of laundry into wash. I am now doing the same, thankful for good friends, new friends, and heartfelt conversations with people who have experienced some of the tough things in life. 

While a giddy joy of life is not where I am right now, pleasant times are becoming a little more frequent, with plans for more in the weeks to come. 

That note card I shared a few paragraphs ago? Here is what it said on the inside:

I have believed this in my head virtually all my life, but the past eight months have put it to the test for me. I do believe it. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Philippians 4:23



  1. What a wonderful, fun, happy and a bet a few tearful moments kind of a weekend. I love Terri, as a matter of fact I think that's how I met you. What a blessing that our Lord brought you together and now you are able to share tears and laughter, and just support each other. It looks like a very uplifting weekend.

  2. I am getting ready to post about the weekend but am not sure I can say anything different from your post, Barb. It was a wonderful time and I share again that your home is so full of peace. Thank you for inviting me and for making me feel so blessed by you and your lovely home. xo

  3. What a wonderful post, filled with so much joy and peace and thankfulness. I am so happy you included me (and Lily Grace) in a part of your special weekend with Terri. It was so wonderful to be with both of you, even if just for a little while, and I feel very blessed to be friends with you both. What a joy this blogging has turned out to be...God bless you dear friend.

  4. So many great pictures! I almost felt like I was along for the fun. The pictures of Terri with the horse are so sweet. How wonderful for you three ladies to get together. Four! Lily Grace, too! ;^)

  5. Squealing with so much delight, my friend...My husband grew up on one of the horse farms, Paddock Mall was our old stomping grounds, as was Silver Springs, Ocala is my "hometown" where I grew up on 7th Street. Most importantly, I am so giddy with happiness the three of you (oh so sorry Ms. Lily Grace!) 4 of you met up. All of you look so great, wish I could of been there to hug your necks, smiles. Thank you Barbara for the many smiles.

  6. What a wonderful weekend you had with Terri, Barbara! I love all the photos you shared here and the descriptions of the places you visited together and with Pamela. Nothing like having friends who truly understand where you are in life right now to keep you inspired and trusting in God for all your needs.

  7. I am so glad you put this together. I know it was good for you and Terri and Pam. It thrills me how the Lord is with you and He will guide you each step on this hard path.

  8. So glad you ladies got together…your blogs are uplifting not whiny or complaining…two of my best friends lost their spouses during the past year…one married 55 years and one 46 years…they only know each other through my texting…I have a group of five ladies in different states…my friends…I call them my fabulous five…we do group prayers…we have all been through trials…one lost her brother right after her husband…prayers for you and your friends…thank you for leaving politics off…it has gotten so old…thank you for masking and vaccinating…

  9. I'm so glad you had this wonderful visit with your friends. I think it's great that you are out and about. I need to do more of that. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. Barbara, it sounds like you had a wonderful weekend with Terri along with meeting up with Pam and also the friend of Terri's. I enjoyed reading about Micanopy as I have a stitching pal who lives there. Have a good August!

  11. So happy you had a good weekend together. As I told Terri, now I want to visit Micanopy!!

  12. My heart is doing the happy dance to see you all three, friends and sisters in Christ sharing some precious time together! How fun. Looks like you all had a great time. I am wondering though.....did you all have to do a "time out sign" so each could take a turn in talking? LOL! Love this post and love all the wonderful pictures. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  13. Oh it sounds like you had such a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed your pictures and hearing about the time together. I've already read Terri D's post and I'm on my way over to read Pam's. I'm so happy for you all.

  14. Well, what a fun, fun weekend was had by you and Terri. That is awesome. So glad that you two are finding enjoyment in your days again. Wishing you a great new week!

  15. I'm so glad you and Terri have each other in your lives, Barbara! How helpful to have someone who truly understands what you're both living now. I enjoyed hearing about the "other" parts of Florida--too often we just think of Florida as beaches and Disney, but there are so many charming places, I'm sure. Hope you have more adventures in August ♥

  16. Great to read your post of the great weekend you had with Terri and meeting up with Pam, too. Sweet photos of Terri and the horse.'s a veg-ge-ta-ble... :)