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The Big Picture

What We Like About Florida

Last week I took the chicken out to thaw.  And the ribs.  I cooked everything in the freezer, then I took down the pictures and began packing up the house.  The Sims family is headed to Virginia.
Spending a year in south Florida has been like having a long beach vacation. Imagine after almost a decade in the northeast, having thirteen months without winter! And here's a fact for you:  South Florida winter is warmer than Vermont spring.  I dressed Hope in only a sleeper in January, but years ago had to bundle Dorothy up when it was May in Vermont.  The things you learn from living different places.
New opportunity awaits us in Virginia, but before we make our exit, I tweaked the Sims' family birthday tradition a bit.  Instead of "What I Like About You" it's "What I Like About Florida."
The Captain said the beach was his favorite thing.   He liked it best when the kids and I came along, but he often went alone for a solitary sunrise.  Ever the romantic, he always, always found a "shell of the day" for me.  In Vermont it was "leaf of the day" and NY was "wildflower of the day".  Husbands, watch and learn. 
When I asked Mom Dot what is her favorite thing about Florida, she said, "The road that leads out of here."  No offense, Floridians, she just doesn't like the heat.  Virginia, I think, will be more to her preference.  "Florida has the most beautiful sky of anywhere I have ever seen," she added.   I agree.  There is just something intriguing about those clouds.
Mary said she has learned so much about herself and life--eighth grade was a hard year to move. And she won't brag on herself, but we have discovered that she is beast (to borrow a term from Ben)  in the pool--third fastest girl on the swim team and only a freshman.  "She needs to be swimming," her coach said to me when I  stopped to thank her for helping Mary find her niche.  Her dad has already found a team.
Emma is my nature girl (and one of the best cooks I know, but that's a blog for another day).  She likes the "crazy animals and plants".  With grasshoppers the size of small birds, leapin' lizards darting across your path, and birds as tall as her brother, Silas, it is a nature lover's paradise.  And Emma has the pictures to prove it.
Ben said he liked the people.  And since Ben is about to attend his third high school in three years, I am glad Ben likes people--and people like Ben.  He will do well anywhere you move, folks often say.  I agree, but I know I have to be careful not to leave him on auto-pilot. And I would add to anyone who has one or more low-maintenance kids, be sure and keep your finger on their emotional pulse.  Never stop paying attention. 
As for me, I would say the same thing I say every time we move:  the friends I've made. It didn't happen right away, but as our year in Florida unfolded, I made friendships as deep as the Atlantic.  The folks that surprised us with everything from dinner to donuts this week, that helped us pack and clean on loading day, that had Silas over to play when he seemed a little lost watching the furniture go onto the truck.  Friends that hugged my neck at church Sunday morning and rang my doorbell all weekend to tell us how much they would miss our family.  Mom Dot says I have a gift for friendship, but I tell her I am just needy that way. 
As soon as Hurricane Issac simmers down, our caravan will once again hit the road.  And while I can't take the beach with me, or the south Florida sky, I know I will take along the friends  I've made.
And that's what I like about Florida.  

7 Comments to What We Like About Florida:

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Debora Paretti on Monday, August 27, 2012 12:02 PM
Hi Margie, as you can see, I can't get enough of you.I love the way you write. If you ever publish a book, I'll be the first one to buy it. I love this post. May God bless you guys everywhere you go. Thank you for everything you did. I still hear your voice in my head helping me through motherhood. And Robert, I'm so glad you are in the center of God's will and that you obey Him because the verse you couldn't let us leave without has brought harmony and peace to my family. There's so much to say about you guys that I could sit here all day. I say this as tears roll down my eyes but, yet, I am not sad, I am happy that I was so blessed to have met you and I know the plans God has for you, to prosper you and give you an awesome future! God is sending you out there to win more hearts to Christ and to bring more families together. I'd better go ... I only have one heart to lose. Love, love, love, always your friend, Debora.
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Margie on Monday, August 27, 2012 1:10 PM
Debora, you are one of the friends I was describing! I love you. Come, come, come see us. I really mean it!

Debora on Monday, August 27, 2012 3:26 PM
We'll put it in our plans to take a trip there sometime. Thanks. Drive safe guys! Can't wait to see pics of your new place! Debora.

Barbara on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 3:20 AM
I have cried BIG TEARS at your leaving us, but couldn't be more grateful for answered's not about OUR will, or certainly ya'll would be staying! The blessing of knowing your family will be forever with me: the fun at camp in NC with your kids this past summer, the hugs & friendship & fellowship, the hunger in Mary & Emma & Cory's eyes for Jesus that I saw in Sunday School, the passion in the drums Ben plays for Jesus, his love for people, & the ability he has to make everyone feel like a million bucks, the heart of Matt & Bethany as they touched our lives on their visits here too, feeling like Miss Dot was my Nana visiting earth here with me again, your ready smile, quick friendship, and easy laughter about everything crazy life offers, your husband's tender heart but strong leadership of his family in the ways of Christ. My life is BETTER because I know you, and I love you guys with all of my heart...I miss you already! XOXOXO

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