Florida Memories: Rainbows 🌈, Suriname 🇸🇷 & Citrus 🍊

“God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us – in the dreariest and most dreaded moments – can see a possibility of hope.” Maya Angelou

This month, marks three years since I left South Florida. However, during my four year stay there, I think I saw more rainbows, than I had seen in my entire life. They were a normal occurrence due to the frequent mix of rain and sunshine. According to livescience.com, “Rainbows are frequently seen in the wake of a rainstorm. They come when the sunlight breaks through rain clouds.”

It was a delight to experience the rainbow phenomenon so often. Rainbows remind me, that God’s light can break through any dark clouds we may face in this life. And dark clouds aren’t always a bad thing, since in them, we can better see God’s light.

Rainbow, March 2018

The rainbow in the picture was one of my favorites. While coming out of work one evening in March of 2018, I saw it. Seeing a rainbow is always fascinating and they are a reminder of God’s promise in Genesis 9:13-17, to never destroy the Earth by a flood again.

God’s promises to us will always stand. As we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”

The month of November (the 25th), is also when the country of Suriname 🇸🇷 gained its independence. So below is a picture of me and my Dutch speaking sister in Christ from Suriname. She is the only person I have ever met from that country. I was honored to meet her. We took this picture on my last Sunday attending church in Florida.

Last Sunday at my Florida church

And lastly, if you ever get a chance to try a Sumo Citrus, you won’t be disappointed. It originated in Japan but I saw it and tried it for the first time in Florida. They are so sweet and delicious!

Sumo Citrus
Sumo Citrus unveiled 😋

Previous Florida Memories post: Be Thankful, Be Content

Florida Memories: Be Thankful, Be Content

Philippians 4:11 ESV, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

It dawned on me recently that it has been quite sometime since I have shared a Florida memory. However, I remember the Florida days often, and still find it hard to believe how quickly those four years there with my daughter passed by.

I remember standing in the line at Publix (Florida’s famous grocery store, that I do miss, especially the $5 Sushi on Wednesday’s), and I ended up getting into a conversation with the lady behind me. She told me she was sending the items in her basket to her father in Venezuela. I looked down at her basket and saw various health items, simple yet needed things, like aspirin and other types of over the counter medicine. She explained that in Venezuela it is difficult for him to get those things.

Photo by: Oleg Magni of Switzerland 🇨🇭

It is important for us to be thankful for the basic necessities of life. It is easy to take for granted walking into a store and grabbing aspirin, lotion, and toothpaste. However, in other parts of the world, many people do not have access to these things or can not afford them.

This Florida memory reminds me to not complain, and instead to be thankful and content in whatever state I am in. I am thankful I had that short, but meaningful conversation with the lady in Publix.

Doral, affectionately called “Doralzuela”, due to its large Venezuelan population, is a city located right outside of Miami. I had a job interview in Doral when I first moved to Florida. Come to think of it, my dentist in Florida was also Venezuelan. Remember to pray for Venezuela and people everywhere who are less fortunate; and keep taking action to help better the lives of others as God gives you opportunities to do so. And always be thankful for the blessings God has so freely given to us.

Florida Memories: Where’s My Car?

In February 2019, my cousin Tanisha who lives in New York, came to Florida for several days on a business trip. When my daughter Shalenah and I found out she was going to be in town, we made plans to visit her. She was staying at a hotel in Miami Beach, which was about a 30-40 minute drive from where I was living. Miami Beach is also home to the very popular, South Beach. It was a nice hotel, and after conducting a brief internet search, I discovered there are only four others like it, two located in Los Angeles, one in New York City, and one in London.

Photo taken at South Beach, June 2015

Upon arriving at the hotel, we had a little trouble finding a place to park, which is normal for a place like Miami Beach. Finding a parking space there can be extremely frustrating, due to the heavy traffic and the lack of available parking spaces. After driving around for a bit, we finally found a space. There were a few confusing signs, but after doing our best to interpret them, we decided it was a safe place to park.

My daughter and I spent about an hour and a half visiting with Tanisha. It was a pleasure to sit and talk with her. It would have been nice to have dinner, but due to an evening work engagement she had, we all decided we wouldn’t have enough time, so we said our goodbyes and my daughter and I started our walk back to the car.

Photo by: JESHOOTS.com of Czech Republic 🇨🇿

When we arrived at the space where my car was parked, guess what? There was NO CAR! We walked up and down the sidewalk hoping we were just in the wrong place. When I heard the words, “No mommy the car is gone”, we decided to take a look at those confusing signs again, and we ended up calling the number on one of them. They confirmed they had my car, so we began our ten minute walk to the place where my car was located.

Upon arrival we entered the building and went to the front desk. The clerk told me the area where my car was towed from was a popular area for cars being towed, because people often misunderstood the signs. I guess this was his way of letting me know I wasn’t alone. I also guessed that the “confusing sign method” was a clever way to bring in revenue.

Photo by: Kelly Lacy of the USA 🇺🇸

After pulling out my orange and green Florida driver’s license to confirm my identity, I was told the only method of payment they accepted was cash; then he pointed me to the ATM that was sitting in the corner. I remember feeling thankful that I had money in my account that I could get from the ATM, because I realized some people would not have had the money at all. After paying the two hundred plus bucks to get my car back, we were escorted to the back of the building. There sat my car with many, many other cars surrounding it. Once my car was freed, we were on our way back home.

Regardless of these inconvenient circumstances, the Lord was still good to me; I ended up getting an unexpected gift the next week that reimbursed my towing expenses! What the enemy meant for evil, God worked out for my good. If you’re ever in Miami Beach, read those signs carefully! This was my first time ever having my car towed, but hopefully it will also be my last.

Psalm 121:8, “The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

My daughter Shalenah, my cousin Tanisha and me, February 2019

Previous Florida Memories post: Florida Memories: Keep Praying for our College Students

Florida Memories: Keep Praying For Our College Students

This month marks one year ago that my daughter graduated from college (May 1, 2019). I always loved my visits to the college campus, which was located right in the heart of Miami. Seeing the young adults around the campus as I drove to my daughter’s dorm, was a joyful experience for me. I felt excited for them. There was something about the atmosphere on the campus that seemed so fresh and promising.

Campus Main Entrance

During my daughter’s four years at the university, she was a resident in almost every dorm on campus. Moving her in and out of dorms became a part of our normal routine. Her favorite dwelling were the campus studio apartments that she stayed in during her final semester of her senior year. It was her first time being in her own personal space, without roommates or suite mates.

Campus Studio Apartments

I learned from watching and listening to her that dorm life is certainly not without challenges. However I’m thankful she was able to endure the ups and downs. She did amazing! I told her Panther Hall (the freshman dorm) would always be my favorite one because that is where her journey began. During her junior year (if I remember correctly), she lived in Everglades Hall. Everglades Hall always gave me a sense of sadness. The year before she moved in there, a young man was found in his room, he passed away from a drug overdose. He was a junior with one more year to go. My heart went out to his parents who lived out of state in North Carolina. Can you imagine getting that call?

Everglades Hall

I will always have fond memories of my college mom days. Especially our time together on the weekends, when she was able to come home for visits. Or those beautiful sunny Saturday afternoons I’d make my way to Miami (about an hour drive) to spend the day with her. Miami has many great restaurants, and we enjoyed visiting them!

The best vegan pizza I ever had!

As a college mom, prayer for my daughter was always of utmost importance. I knew that she was now a young adult who had to start making her own decisions and experience life for herself. That’s never an easy transition for a parent, and it’s prayer that helps us through. We have to trust God that the lessons we taught them will resonate. We have to trust that He has a good plan for their lives.

Photo by: Nguyễn Lâm

College students need our prayers. College is a tough time for a young adult. Many of them are out on their own for the first time. Not only do they have a whole lot of school work, but they also have peer pressure, pressure from society to follow a certain path, big decisions to make about their futures, and many other trials they are trying to work through. They need our support. So please join me in praying for our young adult college students. Thank you for your prayers!

Colossians 4:2 ESV, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Previous Florida Memories post: Florida Memories: The Sweet Fragrance of Jesus

Florida Memories: The Sweet Fragrance of Jesus

2 Corinthians 2:14 ESV, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

A couple of days ago I finally got around to cleaning out my purse. I had been putting it off for awhile, but as the old saying goes, “better late than never”. There were so many papers and other unnecessary items stuffed in there, and it was so heavy. Florida’s tropical climate produced a lot of rain, so it was also nice to remove the little umbrella I kept in my purse at all times.

Amongst the many papers, I even found a few Publix receipts from last summer. If you’ve ever been to Florida, then you know Publix is the main grocery store there. By the way, I do miss the five dollar sushi rolls special that Publix had on Wednesdays. Here’s a picture of the vegetable rolls I loved to eat with soy sauce…

$5 veggie rolls!!

Anyway, while working at my company in Florida, there was this really nice lady. She had worked at the company for quite sometime. I vaguely remember her introducing herself to me in the hallway shortly after I started working there. Although we worked in different departments, I would usually run into her in the hallway or the break room. I always enjoyed our short chats because she seemed so genuine, and was always very kind and peaceful. There was something very unique about her.

Well she ended up becoming very ill and was out of work for several months. I can remember the morning they informed us that she had passed away. After she passed away, her son, who also worked at my company, sent out an email expressing his appreciation to everyone for the kindness shown toward his family during the passing of his mother.

At the end of the email, he shared his mother’s favorite prayer with us. While I was cleaning out my purse, I found a copy of the prayer. I had printed it out and put it up on my desk when her son shared it with us. And during my last week of work, I took it down and put it in my purse. So while I was cleaning out my purse, I found it.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, Help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so completely, that all my life may be only a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that everyone with whom I come into contact may feel your presence within me. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you Jesus. Amen. (author unknown)

Photo by: Mareefe

Coming across this prayer not only reminded me of my lovely coworker, but it also reminded me that when we walk in the ways of Christ, people truly notice. When we are devoted to Him, we will give off a sweet fragrance that will be pleasing to those around us like my coworker did.

My coworker had a desire to, “spread the fragrance of Jesus” everywhere she went. Although we never talked about Christianity, I saw it through her actions and could feel her love for Jesus through her warm and gentle spirit. She allowed the Spirit of God to live through her. When her son shared her favorite prayer, it confirmed what I had already experienced in my encounters with her. I’m glad I had the chance to meet her.

What a privilege it is that we as Christians are a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are privileged to spread His fragrance everywhere we go. When people meet us, they should also meet Jesus.

🌼Previous Florida Memories post: Florida Memories: Sharing With My Sister

Florida Memories: Sharing With My Sister

My big sister Angela who lives in Michigan came to visit me in October, a couple of weeks before I left Florida. She was in town for seven days, and we had a lot of fun! I wanted to share some pictures from our time together.

She flew into Miami International Airport, and we started our afternoon off with a short tour of Hollywood, which is where I lived for my first two years in Florida. The last two years I lived in Dania Beach, but still did almost everything in Hollywood, since it was really close.

We had dinner at a restaurant called GoBistro in downtown Hollywood. We both had the ramen which is delicious (I never eat the seaweed on the side of the bowl lol.)

Later that evening we made these Pumpkin Muffins from Michelle at Blessings By Me. They came out really good! They were very tasty and moist, and all you need is two ingredients!

We were praying for good weather with no rain, and God did bless us to get all of our outdoor activities done, without any interference from rain. One of those activities was bike riding at Key Biscayne. Key Biscayne is a little island near Miami.

Angie & I

After the bike riding, we overcame our fears by going to the top of the lighthouse located on the island. There were 109 steps to the top! It was kind of scary because we don’t like heights, but thank God we both made it to the top. I went first then my sister went.

Cape Florida Lighthouse
Steps inside of the lighthouse (I had to recite Psalm 23 to make it to the top!! Lol)
My view from the top of the lighthouse

I couldn’t let my sister leave without taking her to my favorite place in Miami, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. It’s an old mansion that belonged to a man named James Deering. Vizcaya was his winter vacation home, where he would come to escape the cold winters up North. It was built between 1914 and 1922. It feels like another world when you step in. It’s worth a visit if you’re ever in Miami.

Vizcaya Musuem
Vizcaya’s swimming pool

Miami is a very diverse place and is rich in food and culture. My sister enjoyed trying Cuban and Jamaican food for the first time. She loved the Jamaican Beef Patties! I had to take her back like three times to get one lol. I think I like the vegetable patties best. We also made it to Ft Lauderdale Beach (it was so hot!)

My Cuban plate (fish chunks, yellow rice, and plantains).
My sister taking a picture of Ft Lauderdale Beach
Jamaican Vegetable Patty

Although I was sad to see my sister go, I was thankful for the time we had together. I was also happy I only had four more days after she left before making my move to Virginia. Her visit was the perfect ending to my four year season of living in Florida. We shared talks, laughs, great food, time in prayer and God’s Word. It was a blessing.

Below is a picture of my view from the balcony at my apartment in Florida. I always loved looking out and seeing the trees and the lake, especially in the mornings before leaving for work. I’m thankful for all God’s goodness.

Psalm 126:3 NIV,“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” 🥰

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