Know before you go

 

FLNG and law enforcement confer at checkpoint after Hurricane Michael - courtesy FLNG
Florida National Guard troops coordinate with law enforcement to assist them in road closures, safety and security.  (photo courtesy: Florida National Guard)

Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle with a 155 miles-per-hour fury and extensive storm surge.  It continued into Georgia as a hurricane wreaking significant damage and continues to impact much of the southeastern U.S.A.

Travelers through the southeastern U.S. need to keep aware of travel conditions as they will change regularly even after Hurricane Michael exits.

Thousands of emergency response team members are already working life-saving missions first, along with safety and security.  Thousands more from various areas are currently traveling to the impacted areas.

FLNG CERFP team briefs for Hurricane Michael mission - courtesy FLNG
Florida National Guard Soldiers discuss plans prior to conducting assigned tasks.  (photo courtesy:  Florida National Guard)

There are more than 3,000 Florida National Guard troops on active status already working missions in support of key agencies.

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management is overseeing and coordinating response efforts as directed by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott.   The U.S. Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been planning and positioning support to assist respective state governments and are already performing duties.

It is not feasible to identify all of those responding, as practically every local, state and federal U.S. agency is working on behalf of the citizens and guests.

Some of the first ones responding to help save lives involves the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  They normally respond with a variety of specialized equipment, including shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four-wheel-drive vehicles.  They all work in conjunction with law enforcement and fire/rescue agencies.

If you are considering traveling through the southeastern U.S., please travel only if necessary – at least until the major response and recovery efforts allow you to safely do so.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) highly suggests using one of their preferred tools to monitor roadway conditions.  Florida 511.  Also, please be aware that many of the roadways throughout the path of the storm are closed due to damage or being under water. It is best not to drive through water.  “Turn around, don’t drown.”

FDOT 511 header for hurricane

Know before you go. 

Information on roadway conditions and closures is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on Florida 511. Drivers may dial 511 from their mobile phones to receive updates. (Please stop safety while using the device or let a passenger use it.) 511 is a free resource, however, cell phone minutes and text message charges may apply. Updates are also available on the web at www.FL511.com.

Florida’s emergency management website, https://www.floridadisaster.org/info, provides excellent information to assist residents and guests.

Georgia Tips

Georgia’s Department of Transportation Special Response Teams will begin clearing impacted roadways once the worst of the storm passes. In the event of major flooding, crews will wait until waters recede to begin clean up. Priority routes will be cleared first to ensure the public maintains access to hospitals, trauma centers and other public facilities.

  • Call 511 to report flash flooding, downed trees or other obstructions on roadways or bridges impeding travel
  • Take shelter as the system passes through the state
  • Do not to drive around barricades that are in place for motorist’s safety or through standing water
  • Residents should never clear tree limbs, downed trees or debris from roadways, as live power lines could be tangled in debris and cause injury or death; instead, wait for Georgia DOT and Georgia Power crews
  • Motorists who must drive should always treat flashing red and non-operational signals as a four-way stop

For real-time road conditions, call 511 or visit Georgia511. For weather information, visit the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida, or the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia. http://www.dot.ga.gov/AboutGeorgia/Pages/GDOTAnnouncementDetails.aspx?postID=852

Check other states (typically their 511) if you plan to travel to get the latest on travel information.  It may save time, money and your life.

Thank you for partnering with me on these latest posts.  I felt compelled to provide as much safety information as possible during crisis situations.  I’ll resume my normal travel posts soon.  Thank you!

Blessings!

Ron

Spring forth with new life

Light
Light enters darkness and brings new life and color to the existing, brightening the environment.

When we discuss spring and how the earth seems to regenerate, I think there are applications to our physical, mental and spiritual lives as well.

Why not look at our natural surroundings and compare?

11964881945_f704f38569_oWhen winter arrives it typically demonstrates that fall preceded it resulting in the natural environment becoming dormant.  Leaves dry and fall, and nourish the earth.  Trees, vegetation and even wildlife itself practically draws within.  There is a lull of life, so it seems. And we’re lonely.  3704457713_01276f235b_o

4366528480_6c6fae3345_oThen NEW LIFE springs forth with all its vibrant colors and freshness.  It’s like that which was dead is now alive.  I for one am appreciative of the NEW LIFE – physically, mentally and spiritually; and have embraced it.

12060616073_4498f18aaf_oEven our bodies want to regenerate physically.  We’ve been somewhat sedentary for a season.  They may become more hesitant to move quickly again, or maybe they lost some of the pizazz and strength.3732243545_408c1b1463_o

This slow-down of our lives and the environment around us no doubt can affect our mental being as well.  We ponder on the gloom and cold too much without thinking ahead of the vibrancy of spring.  We need new growth and recovery with our own physical and mental lives.

Pondering on the past spring of life and the dormancy stage of our lives can and will affect our mental picture of life itself.  Let’s think again of the spring of our lives and regenerate to even a new way of thinking.

21647070302_b09086a14d_oWell, how about the spiritual as well?  Maybe we have never given it much thought.  Maybe we have thought about it before and discounted it.  Maybe we recall a time when we were spiritual and then our progress slowed.  Or maybe we feel disappointed in our lack of spiritual regeneration or growth, or someone has let us down.

Part of Wikipedia’s definition of “spiritual” mentions that it traditionally refers to a religious process of reformation which “aims to recover the original shape of man, oriented at ‘the image of God’ as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world.”

3732241853_c69ba6c6dc_oIt seems that all of humankind is in search of something or someone to help regenerate us – to shape us – toward our destiny or calling of life.

While there are beliefs around the world so varied as practically the sand on the seashore we still search.12021324103_7eec8e83ef_o

Life is too short to not enjoy it, right?  Doesn’t God want us to enjoy our lives and the creation He has established around us?  I know there are many who are searching and many who do not consider an absolute or higher being.  That’s each person’s decision and he or she has the right to individual beliefs.

3737384434_fe0d0db0c2_oIs it befitting though that the Christian Easter season coincides with spring?  Easter represents NEW LIFE as recorded in New Testament recordings.3736593171_7da4a7fb6f_o

 

 

 

Google’s definition of Easter identifies this special time as “the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and held (in the Western Church) between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox.”

Compare Google’s definition of Easter to Wikipedia’s definition that modern spirituality is centered on the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Expansion of this definition states: “It embraces the idea of an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality. It envisions an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being.”

3919910882_ab090a07f2_oThe word “resurrection” is referenced in Wikipedia as the “concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of ancient religions, a dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. The death and resurrection of Jesus, an example of resurrection, is the central focus of Christianity.”

There are numerous accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Christian’s New Testament.  I like how Luke, one of Jesus’ disciples, documented the resurrection of Christ.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”8 Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24 (New International Version)

While Jesus lived here on Earth his ministry was about LOVE and PEACE through God.  He talked about drawing all people through Him to God.  He talked about providing abundant life to all who believed and trust in Him.

The butterfly reminds me of the old life and how it served a purpose, created as a caterpillar.  It then died to self  for a higher purpose.  This too reminds me of a transformation in life.

 

So, is it worth the opportunity to leave the dead and dread of winter in our lives to spring forth into hope as Jesus Christ mentioned?  He talked about providing abundant life, not death.  I think that’s a great sign of hope and spiritual rebirth that will complement our mental and physical regeneration as well.

As our external environment springs forth we have a choice to allow or disallow the internal being to spring forth also.  I’m sure happy with my choice and feel that I’m experiencing abundant LIFE today.

Let’s spring forth with color and brightness with new life to help the world wherein we are placed.  Besides, our season is too short to not live life abundantly here before moving on.

3705265370_b525b4366f_o(Photos by Linda and Ron Tittle)

Time’s a changing!

 

Clock in Clinton, OK
Town clock in Clinton, Oklamoma

 

Depending on where you are around the globe you either adjusted your clock or you are about to change with the time.  Maybe you’ll change it later this month.  Maybe it’s time to actually “change with the time.”

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How much daylight does the modern farmer need?

It’s what we call Daylight Saving Time when we turn the clock forward on the second Sunday in March in the U.S.A.  The idea was initially created to help farmers and others to have extra daylight.  Well, I could always use that extra hour of sleep I’ll lose tonight.  Many of you have already lost it.

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Rise and shine with daylight as the sun signals the dawn of a new day.  In today’s modern society do we actually depend on the sun to light our way?

I feel for the person who will be late for work because he or she “didn’t get the memo” or forget to set the clock.  Well – maybe the clock can be blamed for it this time.

What about all of you traveling? Are computers automatic enough to keep up with your travels and the constant time changes?

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Railroads and industry make good use of time and may be impacted by time changes.

Does the time change affect you in addition to the jet lag?

There has been some buzz lately about initiatives to keep the clock the same without having to “spring forward” or “fall back.”  Why can’t we just keep it the same?  I know I feel a little more tired each time we change – whether forward or backward – and it takes about a week to adjust.  Maybe it’s only my mindset.

Regardless, can’t we just keep it the same?  Has the time come where the time change doesn’t really matter that much?  I would like to hear your thoughts around the world.  Do you even change the time to accommodate the season?

In the U.S. Arizona and Hawaii don’t change and Florida has just passed legislation to keep the time on Daylight Saving Time.  I’m not sure if that is the right course of action.  If anything, can’t we keep it on the standard time?  I mean, it’s not like we get extra time.  We all have 24 hours in a day, right?

Maybe I’m not that smart to really understand the issues.

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Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse in Florida shines brightly with upgraded lens compared to years past, still leading mariners and land travelers to their safety.

So, is light relative to the task at hand? Lighthouses are still in use (although more scarce) and provide their intended light.  If we need more daylight maybe, just maybe, we can use solar and other artificial light more effectively and efficiently.

Webexibits.org (http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b2.html) mentions a poll  conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicating “Americans liked Daylight Saving Time because ‘there is more light in the evenings / can do more in the evenings.’  A 1976 survey of 2.7 million citizens in New South Wales, Australia, found 68% liked daylight saving. Indeed, some say that the primary reason that Daylight Saving Time is a part of many societies is simply because people like to enjoy long summer evenings, and that reasons such as energy conservation are merely rationalizations.”

What say ye?

CNN reported that the idea of daylight saving was first conceived in the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin in 1784.  Wow, I didn’t know the idea goes back that far.  CNN has some other good information on the timeline and issues in their post at https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/09/politics/daylight-saving-time-florida/index.html.

“Daylight Saving Time is one of those weird quirks of the Western world — most countries outside Europe and North America don’t take part,” CNN states. “Everyone, for the most part, is pretty excited to fall back in October and bemoans losing an hour of sleep in March.”

I say let’s just make the best of it until we can “change with the time” again.

 

 

Empowered Women

Photo of Mom Gray's painting
Wondering Woman by Bernice Gray

I must admit I wasn’t very familiar with the 2018 International Women’s Day for March 8 so I had to check it out a little further.  I initially heard about it on the news the very day it was beginning but didn’t think much of it.

According to http://internationalwomensday.com the intent for the emphasis is to have collective action and shared ownership to move forward gender parity so there would not be such divides among us around the world.  “Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

In my opinion, progress has to be an ongoing initiative and effort by all – both women and men to achieve gender parity.  Do you agree?

As I pondered the morning news about the day’s emphasis, it must have struck a nerve to trigger my brain – or maybe it was a brain wave (however you want to describe it).

Occasionally during the day the thought entered my mind about how important women are in our world and I thought about the women who influenced my life.

Women, you are appreciated more than you may realize! I know there are so many in today’s society, around the globe, who abuse and mistreat even the lovely name of “woman.”  I’m sorry for that as you are more than deserving of kindness and love as well as respect.  I get it.  In fact, where would I be without a loving and caring mother who taught me the right principles of life and God’s Love, showing my why I need to honor God’s special creation.

While my dad was away trying to find a steady job my mother would take a job to help us survive.  The job I briefly recall is when she worked at a garment factory.  She would catch a ride with others before daylight and would arrive home late in the afternoon.

Mom would come home tired but ALWAYS took the time to ask us about how things went during the day and spend quality time with us.  She walked us a considerable distance to be involved in local sports.  She never complained.  By the way I’m sure thankful for grandparents too as they helped shape our lives during the day when Mom was away.

I remember at times when we would be hungry and there was limited food to eat.  All of a sudden my mother was not hungry.  I understand it now – that she was indeed hungry but she happened to lose her appetite so we would eat.  Wow! What unselfishness and reflection of love.

You see, my mother sacrificed more than I’ll never know.  I can only reflect on just a short piece about how significant she was in my life and that of my siblings. Mom maybe wouldn’t be considered a professional in today’s society but believe me – she was professional in every sense of the word.  Where would I be without her?  She is now passed into eternal peace and rest but her influence remains.

I’m sure Mom could have benefited from some of the work protections and equal pay we have today, even though we still need change.  Our whole family would have benefited.  I’m thankful we have seen many positive changes over the years.

In my eyes women and men ARE equal as God created us.  The laws and workplace policies and procedures need to continue changing to ensure these equalities in every nation around the world.  Why wouldn’t they?

In fact, God Himself is not a respecter of persons and loves us all equally.  He empowers us equally and wants the best from us equally.  Unfortunately, history doesn’t reflect these equalities.  Even societal norms didn’t favor women to the extent they should have.  We need to continue improving  to ensure the gifts and talents of women are used effectively and responsibly.

Did history record successful women at all? Sure but I wonder how many accomplishments were never recorded.

If you would indulge me just a couple more minutes, there is an historical account of a woman who proved herself among a community and gained the respect as a professional – against many obstacles.

Have you heard of Lydia  – the seller of purple? (By the way, the 2018 International Women’s Day color was purple as mentioned on Fortune.Com –http://fortune.com/2018/03/07/international-womens-day-how-to-celebrate-wear-purple )

According to Mary Fairchild at Thoughtco.com (https://www.thoughtco.com/lydia-in-the-bible-4150413) Lydia in the Bible was one of thousands of minor characters mentioned in scripture, but after 2,000 years, she is still remembered for her contribution to early Christianity. “Her story is told in the book of Acts. Although the information on her is sketchy, Bible scholars have concluded she was an exceptional person in the ancient world.”

“Luke, the author of Acts, called Lydia a seller of purple goods. She was originally from the city of Thyatira, in the Roman province of Asia, across the Aegean Sea from Philippi. One of the trade guilds in Thyatira made expensive purple dye, probably from the roots of the madder plant.”

Lydia was influential with her business in a town that was heavily involved in international trade.  She recognized the importance of being a professional in business as well as community involvement.  She no doubt earned the respect of the community.

It is believed Lydia was wealthy because she insisted the Apostle Paul and his companions stay at her home.  You don’t see this very much in the historical records.  It appears she contributed money or supplies for Paul’s further missionary work along the Roman highway.  It is likely she influenced thousands of travelers as well during the time she was at this location.

According to Fairchild, “Lydia ran a successful business selling a luxury product: purple cloth. This was a unique achievement for a woman during the male-dominated Roman empire. More importantly, though, she believed in Jesus Christ as Savior, was baptized and had her entire household baptized too. When she took Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke into her house, she created one of the first home churches in Europe.”

Lydia no doubt was a strong and successful businesswoman who was well respected by her community and succeeded in a society mostly dominated by males.

Are there Lydias in our society today?  You bet!  I’m confident they exist in every facet of life and place of business and employment. We need to recognize them.

IMG_4297
Pathway Ahead by Bernice Gray

Do we need to protect and further the cause of the Lydias?  Absolutely.  I have seen positive changes over the years and while people may not agree with every motive and method to further women’s advancement today, they are nonetheless equal and need the equal parity in all walks of life.

Recognizing this need and keeping the vision and focus before us will make significant improvements toward true equality being a reality.  The path may seem narrow and uphill ahead but the journey must continue.

 

Wow! Where was I?

Wow! Where was I?

Okay, have you been absent from something for awhile and forget where you left off, or what you thought, or your activity?

That’s me.  I can’t believe it’s been a long time since I last posted something on the blog.  When I starting writing it I wanted to express thoughts on a mother’s influence, life experiences and travels (primarily where most people have not gone).

But you know what?  Life does get in the way of our plans and intentions.  With various obligations writing became a back-burner.  Can you relate?  I’m sure most of you have plenty of time to share your thoughts on paper, right?

Well, I’m now entering a new stage of life where the “job” obligations are no longer and I have more freedom of thought – if I establish a sensible, time-conscious routine that doesn’t become a burden.

There are many places I’ve already visited – gathering images and information – but those images and thoughts just sit there.  I look forward to sharing them in the days, months and years ahead; of course mixed with more recent travels as well.

Maybe I’ll plan for one blog post a week, as long as I have something to say.  What do you suggest?

I appreciate those who have offered advice in the past to write “something” every day to stay in the routine, even if only for a few minutes.  I DO want to post meaningful thoughts however.

See ya soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Short venture at Disney – long in thought

disney-castle-front

I wonder how many people over the ages have been to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida?  This blog is not an adventure to gather statistics but as a point of curiosity.

I have made countless trips in the Florida Disney disney-castle-sideTheme Parks and mostly venture to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.  My favorite thing to do is just walk around and pop in a ride if the line isn’t too long.

disney-splash-mountain

In 2016 I intentionally backed off of the visits but decided to return recently.  There remains that certain feeling of adventure, excitement and escape from the daily routine that I missed.

disney-frontierland-2This visit was only for a few hours just to see how the crowds were doing, and if nothing else, just walk around.  I don’t have to ride every ride before I find enjoyment .  In fact, I don’t have to ride ANY rides to find enjoyment.  Have you ever just gone there, or any other favorite park, and simply observe the people, architecture, landscape, colors, pageantry and the like?  That’s what I mostly enjoy. disney-near-aladdin-crowd

disney-retreat-ceremony-3After years of being at Magic Kingdom we just happened to be at the right place at the right time upon entering and noticed the retreat ceremony preparing to start.  I had never noticed this before.  We decided to wait and watch.

With Disney-like precision the honor guard members formed, the band appeared and the color guard stood at attention to receive the flag of the United States of America.

The band strikes the chord and the honors begin.  The sound of retreat is played by the brass section, signifying securing of the U.S. flag at the end of day. Crowds gathered and most rendered their own salute to the Star Spangled Banner (National Anthem), which renews the feeling of patriotism.

The flag slowly flows from its lofty perch on the staff.  It is now secure.  Respect has been shown and the show goes on as people from all walks of life, nationalities and cultures from the world express their excitement in the events that unfold throughout the park.

 

I wonder!  What do people from other nations think about this patriotism?  Also, as one looks over or through the crowds, can you determine who is from North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa?

Don’t we all want to enjoy life?  Don’t we all want to live in freedom, laugh, play, disney-frontierland-2rear our children, make life meaningful and prosper?  What if we had a similar peace throughout the world like we experience at Disney as we are respectful of one another and desire good will upon each.  Wow!  No doubt the world would be better for humankind and people won’t need to live in fear.

disney-carousel

disney-people-mover-2The People Mover is one of my favorite activities at Disney.   It’s just an easy, simple ride on a tram-like cart traveling through attractions and is quite relaxing.  I can’t believe there was a line for this one this time.  We usually walk right on.  However, the 20-minute wait wasn’t bad.disney-people-mover

 

As night erupted, mixed with the colorful sky and the various rides where laughter ring out, my mind focuses on the color exhibited by the vast array of showcases.  Actually, can you see the castle behind this picture of color at one of the attractions.  We traveled on the People Mover and the lights screamed out at me to get my attention.  I couldn’t resist.disney-lights-at-future-land

We get so caught up in instant success and instant gratification we often become very impatient while we’re trying to relax and have fun, right?

Well, I’ll look for another trip and plan around the time when I can just enter attractions without a line.  And, if there is a line, I’ll walk around again and take in the sights and sounds like before.

I am pleased though to see the laughter and excitement on faces of old and young alike, from all walks of life throughout the globe, as they too enjoy the moment to simply “live.”  What is your escape from the harshness and routine of life?

Well, my thoughts wondered again.  I wanted to see another of my favorite Disney hall-of-presidents-at-disneyattractions in the three short hours of this visit.

The Hall of Presidents is always an inspiring venue that reminds me of the leadership and sacrifices of our presidents over the years to keep the United States of America free as a democracy so that all those who seek freedom and peace can still see the beacon of hope.

disney-hall-of-presidents-night-3 disney-hall-of-presidents-great-seal

I often take a look at the items on display in the Hall foyer before proceeding into disney-hall-of-presidents-washington-teeth-scalersthe main auditorium.  I attempt to visualize and absorb what these plain, everyday-type artifacts represent.  To me these are small reflections of those who led our nation at their respective times and still carried on their daily lives as well.

disney-hall-of-presidents-lincoln-pencil disney-hall-of-presidents-hoover-items

 

 

 

 

 

The Hall has a great, patriotic presentation in the auditorium.  I enjoy seeing and hearing the comments from George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, and in the future – Donald Trump.   It’s amazing to see the likeness and interaction of the figurines as each president is introduced.

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disney-hall-of-presidents-washington

 

 

 

 

 

disney-hall-of-presidents-lincolndisney-hall-of-presients-lincoln-items

disney-hall-of-presidents-obama2

 

 

 

 

 

We may not have a long heritage like some nations do but we have a proud heritage – and one that we want to maintain so that other people of the world can still look to the U.S. as a nation that desires peace and prosperity for all, and that we still are a beacon for anyone who wants to live peacefully and make a life full of meaning to benefit the human race.

disney-hall-of-presidents-washngton-and-obama2As the U.S. embarks on another inauguration of a president, how different will President Trump be from President Washington, or Lincoln, Jackson, Cleveland, Roosevelt, Ford, on and on?  That’s what I wondered as I visited the Hall of Presidents again.  Just like all the presidents before, they were given the opportunity to lead a nation – “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  May God help us to still stand undivided in this nation, and the nations of the world, for those who yearn to be free and enjoy life to the fullest, without fear, threat or intimidation.

Life is too short to not enjoy it with full meaning and in peace.  Let’s allow time to become our ally.