I vacationed with friends and sisters in the People of Praise in beautiful laid back Marco Island, Florida.
I had my morning prayer times here. Somehow this space was more inspirational than my deck back home.
On one of our excursions, I enjoyed this view of the Gulf as we meandered up to Naples.
I marveled at the size of the homes once we were in sight of Naples.
I mean, these are worth multi-millions of dollars.We're talking 47.5 million. Numbers like that.
They are sprawling mansions. They seem to go on forever.
Who lives here? No idea. I saw only one person who looked like a resident in our whole tour of the waterways. Kind of sad, if you ask me.
Coming in to Naples, I briefly thought we made a wrong turn and were in Europe.
We ate lunch at a burger joint and headed back home.
This is the tiki hut at the Marriott that provided the necessary shade for my pasty white skin for our day on the beach.
The friendly server cruising around in her beverage cart provided a cool mojito while I relaxed under the shade to protect my purplish whitish freckled blotchy Irish skin.
This is the beach where I found a few shells to bring home as evidence I was really there. Only one broke en-route to Minnesota.
This is where my husband would have spent his entire week, morning, noon and night, if he were with me. He could live on a boat or be content to watch the waves roll in for hours.
These are the Burrowing Owls that live 1/2 block from our rented house. Mom and Pop Owl kept a close eye on passersby and photographers like me who tried to get a close up view.
These are the kids who reminded me of home when I toured the Botanical Gardens in Naples.
Does anything beat a tree-house for fun?
These are the butterflies I managed to capture in the Butterfly House.
This is the mini-garden that reminded me of mine back home. One that is covered under feet of snow and, at this rate, am likely to not see til August.
This is the planter that reminded me of our toilet back home. It's also blue. Some may say "vintage". I just say "old and needs to be replaced." And you wouldn't catch me dead placing it in the yard sprouting elephant ear plants for all to see.
These are just some funky flowers I liked.
This one is called "Blue Tango." Cool name.
These trees have prickly personalities.They scream, "Don't mess with me!"
These giant lily pads are made of legos. Kind of random.
This is the flower that reminded my girls of koosh balls. Remember the 90's and koosh balls?
This path is a popular aisle for weddings. I was reminded of my lilacs back home. Which I won't see for ages.
This sign didn't scare me at all.
I mean, don't I look right at home cozying up to this little guy?
Really. Despite all appearances, I have never been more calm.
See? I am happy to be holding this guy. I could do this all day long. I could bring him home. For a pet.
No, that wouldn't go over well. I had a pet salamander once and he met with a dreadful end.
He also has two sets of eyelids. Reminded me of the creature from Men In Black that blinks two ways at Will Smith. Creepy.
This is the air boat we took to spot more alligators. My seat was up front, on the edge. I felt adventurous and totally vulnerable.
This is the captain who manned the boat and told corny jokes to keep us entertained. For a minute there I thought I was in an episode of Duck Dynasty.
This is the big mama we stopped to observe. She looks happy and relaxed. She is also protecting her 23 babies tucked away somewhere in those trees.
This is the part of the tour where the captain said, "Are you all okay about snakes? If we see a kingfisher, then there are no snakes in these trees."
Please, Lord, make a kingfisher just appear. Please. I can't tell you how hard I prayed to see a kingfisher. Never in my life would I expect to do that. But I did. It worked. One kingfisher in sight. No snakes.
This is the alligator that the captain beckoned to come and say Hi to us.
Just a little guy. You know. 12 or 13 feet long. No big deal.
Yes, please Mr. Alligator. Come closer so I can get a better look. (My feet were tucked way into the boat at this point.)
Ok. You are just crazy.
Really? Petting his nose?
Yes, that's much better.
Next day was the travel day.
My final hours in Florida included an extra long wait at the airport.
This is the last item of luxury I enjoyed before heading to the Frozen Tundra.
This is what I woke to a couple hours later. No need to explain the difference.
Yep, I am really home.
Thank You, Lord, for a relaxing, fun, adventurous, blessed trip!