It's been awhile, I know. It just seems as though some days I turn around and realize the DAY has turned into NIGHT! What ever happened to "spare time"? or when things "slow down"? I remember when my husband would ask if we had any plans for the day. Now he asks if he's free next Tuesday! I use to be proud to be organized and a "list maker" keeping track of everyone and everything. Now I have so many lists I've forgotten where I left off not to mention where I was in the house when I put the last list down! I use to think the only way to get refreshed was to pack up and leave, once a year, on a well deserved vacation. Only to find that within 3 days of my return, it felt as though I had never left! Then, I discovered a secret weapon. Okeechobee! (You might be wondering at this point when I took my last vacation and whether I'm in desperate need of one now, or just light headed from not having dinner and its already 8:30 p.m.? No, I'm okay. Read on.) What I found in Okeechobee is the secret to calm and refreshed. Try it. It's amazing how quickly you will feel relaxed and calm when you simply walk outside and head to the water. That's right. The water. It could be the canal. Maybe it's the lake. Or maybe it's the Kissimmee River. It really doesn't matter. Just let the air hit your face. Look up into the sky and watch the birds as they gracefully fly by. And if you listen quietly, every now and then you can hear a fish jump in order to catch his next meal. If you're not by the canals or the lake, walk outside anyway. I challenge you. Don't talk. Don't do anything. Just be. And then notice the effect of Okeechobee.
You won't hear the cars or taxi horns blowing as one would in New York City. You won't find any smog unless you leave and travel to L.A. You can head to the beach and find some water, but then you'd have to share it with the other half of Florida. Really, when you stop and think about it, every other town pales in comparison. (By the way, did you ever notice that no matter where you are on the lake or canals, there only ever appears to be a handful of people? And they're all waving at you!)
Then the icing on the cake. Yes, I know. Eating cake, especially if it's my favorite chocolate cake, COULD be stressful. But only if you think about the calories. (Don't think about the calories.) Instead, did you ever stop to think about how convenient the grocery store is for buying all of the ingredients that go into the chocolate cake? Heck, EVERYTHING is convenient. It takes me less than 5 minutes to get to the grocery store, the doctors office, the restaurants, my dentist, the banks, etc. Where we use to live, it use to take us 20 minutes just to get out to the front gate...and another 10 minutes if we were stuck behind someone on a golf cart! (Anyone interested in buying a home? Sell it real cheap!)
My neighbors in Okeechobee all wave as we pass on foot or by car, and when we're out on the pontoon boat EVERYONE waves! (There must be a law.) Before our last home we lived in a place called Celebration. Ever hear of it? Disney built this community in 1994, and it has received many awards for architectural design. All the homes have porches and designed to bring neighbors closer together, giving that small town feel.
What a crock! My first clue should have been Disney built it. The second clue should have been no one was using their porches so how can they be neighborly? (We moved after 14 months.)
So, there you have it. Okeechobee. The best kept secret for peace and quiet in sunny Florida. For anyone who feels overwhelmed (and that's probably most of us these days) remember where we live! And take a walk; watch the birds; get out to the lake; wave to a neighbor. We live in one of the most beautiful towns in Florida and sometimes it's easy to let the "other stuff" get in the way. I know I do. Maybe I should be writing this down on my list as a reminder?
Well, until next time. Thanks, Okeechobee, for giving me peace and calm!
Health and happiness,
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Another great day in Okeechobee! Let me explain. My new found friend and neighbor down the street, Laurie, mentioned that she volunteers 3 days a week at the local mission. I wondered what Mission? What do they do? Can I help? I didn't know there was a Mission.
She went on to explain how the First Baptist Church of Okeechobee has a mission here in town which is open 3 days a week. Monday-Wednesday-Friday, from 9 to noon. Their mission is to provide food and clothing to those in need. Today was my second time volunteering and what a wonderful group of women (and men)! The families are so thankful for what they receive. There was one woman who stopped by looking for blankets as she had no heat at home and wanted something to warm her children. So blankets it was!
The women are a hoot and SO much fun to be around! Laurie and I even "got in trouble" for laughing and talking too much when we were really suppose to be working! We have such a wonderful time and what a great feeling to be able to give back to the community!
Right now, the Mission is looking for food; baby items; men's work clothes and cash donations so they can take the money and go to the Food Bank and fill their shelves with the food they need. If you would like to be a part of your community and give something back....and you really didn't know how to do it before.....this is the place. It's as easy as stopping by and offering a few hours to volunteer or simply dropping off the items I mentioned. Ask for a receipt (it's usually tax deductable)....they'll be happy to provide one.
Okeechobee is such a great place to live! Let's make it a great place for everyone! The Mission House is at 401 South West 4th Street, Okeechobee. (Pass the U-save going from the Lake to Route 70----then turn left at the first street past the U-save-----go about 3 blocks. They're on the left. It's a big "metal" building. It's so easy to find. If I can do it.........anyone can!)
Thanks, Okeechobee, for caring!
Until next time,
Health and happiness,
Sunday, January 7, 2007
What do new comers do when they're in Okeechobee on a Saturday night and they're famished? Well, how about RJ Gator's? (Address, map, etc. at www.okeechobee360.com ) We stopped there last night after being out all day and had one of my favorite meals in town! (not to mention 2 for 1 drinks) And by the looks of the restaurant and parking lot, we weren't alone. We started first with an appetizer of alligator and dip, followed by the main course of fresh tuna on a bed of greens with spicy sauce drizzled all over; finishing with "The Gazookie"! Yes, that's right. The Gazookie. A warm chocolate brownie served with vanilla ice cream, covered with caramel and topped with whipped cream! (No calories here! Or at least that's what I assured my husband.) Until next time,