Rick and I spent two weeks this past November, following one of our favorite Fall highways. We drove up to Pennsylvania to a shell show. We made a long days stop at Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA. Then drove to the Delaware shore to stay at Dewey Beach, DE. After several days we began our drive south along the Outer Banks. Rick posted many pictures from this trip, including two spectacular sunsets. We beach combed, ate plenty of seafood and enjoyed the cooler nights at Cape Hatteras and on Ocracoke Island, NC.
What I wanted to share with all of you is how we found Peace in our hearts on this trip. Many people look for a sign from God to guide them through their life. Instead of seeking a sign, we should listen for God always. Where will we hear his voice?
We met this morning at the Delnor-Wiggens Pass State Park in Collier County. It was the perfect day to spend a morning with fellow believers at the beach, sunny, windy, cool water. Our lone fisherman had plenty of thinking time as the fish were not biting. We had prayers, manifestations, food, swimming, beach combing, and sharing on how we let our light so shine.
Hurricane Irma and its aftereffects have been on all our hearts. Our homes and gardens have needed repair. There is need everywhere in our physical world. It is good that we can step aside from all of our schedules, to take time to enjoy the beaches that God so brilliantly provided for us.
We can take the time to listen quietly to the waves, jump in the water with others, and speak God’s Word. For me, I like to walk slowly along the flotsam of the high tide line looking for small shells. I use them in crafts and to remind me of beach visits.
Sometimes in those quiet moments, we are reminded how large our God is and how He looks after us. How did my light shine? I got to shine in listening to others today.
We wanted to post a chronology of Hurricane Irma’s track, and got stuck in the aftermath and sunk in the mire of fallen vegetation and powerlessness. Bummer right?!
Here is our edited chronology.
Hurri-cane Irma Date
Day & Date
Events or Comments
F- Sept. 8
All plants tucked into inside greenhouse – guest room. Found camping stove, and lantern. No battery operated box fans available.
S- Sept. 9
Extra water, propane, lanterns and flashlights in house. Cleaned out stored mangos from freezer by making jam and chutney. Placed water bottles to freeze in freezer (best idea)
Wind picks up, not much rain.
Rather than evacuating, (where would we go? We wanted to avoid the parking lot that was I 75) we had wine and watched movies – Laws of Attraction (Pierce Brosnan) and John Tesh Live at Red Rocks… (an old video from 1995)
S- Sept. 10
Windy more, rain intensifies. Rick is typing teachings from his notes from the “Our Identity in Christ” weekend and Robin is working on quilt blocks. We stop mid afternoon to watch the wind and rain outside, when we turn around the power is off. It’s about 2:00 PM. As the sky darkens, we pour more wine and turn on the battery-operated radio and listen to the commentary as we watch through our hurricane impact-glass living room windows horizontal rain, wind gusts up to 100 mph, steady winds over 50 mph and listen to how Irma as a CAT 4, hits Marco Island, and begins plowing her way north to our home. By the time she reaches Cape Coral, Ft. Myers area, her eye is just about disintegrated, she is down to a CAT 2, and because she hit land, no expected storm surge. She spreads power outages and water everywhere, rips trees up by the roots. Trees too big to rip up, she bends, breaks and tips over. Leaves fly everywhere; we are mesmerized by the sound of wind and rain on our metal roof. No sleep till late. Hot showers still available since our water heaters cool down very slowly.
M- Sept. 11
Christ’s Birthday (according to the Bible and astronomical evidence). Still windy and the rain keeps coming down. We are over 10 inches. Not as much as our 20 inch rain two weeks ago. Since the soil is so soaked, more trees and shrubs tip over. After two days in a shelter, our dear friend and sister in Christ arrives. She sleeps on the couch as the guest room is the temporary greenhouse. We start the outside assessment and begin the clean up process. Our morning coffee and tea is fixed on the Coleman stove. Right outside on our patio.
T- Sept. 12
Blur of cutting, dragging, stacking, assessing, and doing it again and again for two days. No power, no internet, only texting to keep in touch with friends, and family. No use listening to the news as the stories repeat and repeat, and are not based in our local-personal reality. Drove to Fort Myers to check on our friend’s house (still no power there, and no working redlights at major intersections in Ft. Myers though they worked in Cape Coral). On the way back home we noticed our favorite Mexican restaurant in Cape Coral had just opened, so we stopped in for a nice hot lunch (and $4.00 margaritas)…
W- Sept. 13
Ditto of Tuesday, only we are out looking for ice to replenish our coolers. Other folk are in line for gas to run their generators. We take warmish showers. We work to right trees down in our and others yards. Some peoples’ yards look like there was never a hurricane. Ours – definitely hit by hurricane force winds and rain. Our neighbors across the street graciously offered us the use of their pool and grill, so we took most of our thawing foods over and grilled lots of food – sausage, chicken, shrimp, calamari, lamb, etc, then hung out in the pool and watched the stars above. Yes for the first time in SW Florida, we saw the Milky Way!
T- Sept. 14
Thursday begins the same, we have the hunt for ice, but include a lunch in a local Publix that finally had internet access. We all catch up on email and FB accounts. Many pictures of different sorts of damage are posted on local groups. Back home, I’m lying on the floor with a small fan blowing on me when our power flickers once and then is steady on. I’m wondering how different our electric bill will be since we were cut off for 4+ days. Our friends come for a swim and bar-b-que at our neighbors’ and our weekly Bible Fellowship. See our Sept 14 Blog.
F- Sept. 15
Did we mention that when the Chaya (Mexican Spinach shrub/tree) went over, it took four panels of the fence also? Sheared off three four-by-four supports at the base. Had to prop it up and lo and behold the native pitch apple that had been smushed under the fence was alive! So many of our plants have surprised us with their resilience. Looking wilted and dead-like one day, sprouting new growth the next. That is the definition of Florida foliage. Because of the instant loss of shade from the shrubs falling over and branches being lost from trees, several of the bromeliads succumbed to sunburn and had to be removed and quarantined so their pups (offsets) could grow and replace the damaged plants over the next couple months. Today, we tacked the big inside job of cleaning out the Fridge and Freezer. Oh my, it looks as clean and almost as empty as when we first hooked it up. Shopping soon.
S- Sept. 16
Shopping for fence repair wood, plants and food. We found a new tree for the fenced yard to replace a Bay cedar and half of the native Fiddlewood that broke off: a weeping podocarpus. With several other fenced yard trees gone or severely trimmed, we need more shade. Many of Rick’s bromeliads have burned leaves from too much sunshine. We also finally planted our Norfolk pine, a garage-sale special that has lived for at least two years in a pot as it tripled in size. Now to repurpose the pot.
S- Sept. 17
Planted new purple passion flower vines to entice the zebra longwings and fritillary butterflies back to the yard. Our wild lime is just bare bones, we hope the giant swallowtails don’t mind. Rick is sawing downed limbs and dragging to the piles on the edge of the property.
M- Sept. 18
Same as Sunday
T- Sept. 19
Ditto – the days are running together. More of our friends, neighbors and Christian family are receiving power. They have had rivers for streets, downed trees leaning on their houses, pool cages fly away or twist in the high winds. Our friend who had been staying with us since the day after got power at her house so was able to return back home.
W- Sept. 20
Rick is ditto of earlier days. Robin starts to clean the gutters. She got 43% of the way around the house. Only 155 linear feet to go. Did she mention she can do about 5 feet and then have to move the ladder!
T- Sept. 21
Took a brief time out to drive to Sanibel and visit our friends at their shell shop then have lunch at the Sanibel Café.
We find out that a contracted company that will begin the debris clean up will not pick up anything in a bag or bin. We have 10 bins and about 15 bags of material we have to empty. Thus grows the piles around the edge of our property.
Christian Fellowship tonight. See separate Blog on our Justification in Christ.
F – Sept. 22
Ditto in working in the yard. Rick picks out a small section, and works the area. Much more to do. Eventually all sections of the front, back and fenced yard will be re-worked. Tomorrow tree trimmers will come. We believe they will be able to remove the broken limbs that are lodged in the trees.
Today my sister asked me if we were back to normal? We are not sure what the new normal is, we are not there yet. Blessings to all. Here are some pictures of our trials and tribulations. If you want to see more details of our yard, come and visit.
Robin grew up in Southern California, just as the school doors closed, the beach busses expanded their routes. We were able to head to the beach and come home again without Mom’s Taxi. This was just fine for our mom. June, July and August were times to work on our beach volleyball, snorkeling, body surfing, beach combing, reading, and sit and dream –dreams of the future. Most days were sunny, lo 80’s, with an onshore breeze picking up in the afternoons. Sometimes we walked along and picked up bottles and cans to recycle. Our limited budget made recycling a good idea. It often paid for the next beach day’s bus fare.
Fast forward to 2014, Sanibel Island, Florida’s Gulf Coast. You will often find us on our summer holidays between teaching semesters at the beaches in Florida. Now we drive Rick’s Red Ranger: too much stuff for the bus. Our fossil collecting gear is mixed in with our snorkeling, beach combing and other stuff. We mix research with beach walking. Last Tuesday we were hoping for calm seas, light breeze and sunny with a bit of clouds. As you can see from our photo series, we were disappointed. After all we are in Florida’s rainy season. July, August, and September temperatures stay in the high 90’s and the high humidity makes it feel like it’s over 100+. And then there are the storms. They are best watched from an air conditioned high rise, from many miles away.
We are ever hopeful for a great beach day. Our diligence is often rewarded with small shell treasures. Robin is happy when she finds a wentle trap, Rick, a few perfect fighting conchs or an alphabet cone. Often, we point out a dolphin pod, or several pelicans as our treat. Tuesday’s beach combing was short. Rick started taking pictures of the incoming storm. By the time it hit the beach, everyone including us had left for safer grounds. The sea was rough, the wind strong and the rain was heavy.