Day 7 – Diet, exercise and…gardening gloves

I keep on pinching myself and asking God why He’s given us this wonderful pocket of time away. What are we supposed to do with it? What’s it for?

This morning as I asked those questions again and I got my answer.

For the longest time I have imagined what I’d like my life to look like on a daily basis. I know when I’d like to wake up, what I’d like to do first thing. What I’d like to spend my days doing. What circumstances I’d like to live in and with whom I’d like to spend my days. I know what I’d like to achieve and what contribution I’d like to make. And I’ve dreamed about that for a long time.

  • This place we’re staying in is quite similar to what I’ve asked for.
  • I’m staying here with the love of my life – my husband.
  • I’m free to spend the day creating, writing and thinking.

So, the thought that kept on going round my mind this morning was:

“I’ve put you in circumstances that are close to what you’ve asked for and now I want to see what you do with it. I want to know if you will keep your word and do what you said you would, when you were here”

Phew… Shape up, or ship out!

I love challenges like this! They motivate me to action. So, I’ve spoken to Frans and we’ve been thinking about how we are choosing to rise to the challenge. I already…

  • Wake up at a certain time
  • Spend quiet time
  • Write the blog/work
  • Have started exercising
  • Am getting enough sleep

We’ve been looking at how we want to eat, when and how often we’ll exercise etc. We’ve chosen to start a new way of eating tomorrow and have put an exercise plan in place.

We want to be honour God’s trust in us and we’ll be relying on Him to help us do it.


4th ‘Florida Essential’

Wherever it’s hot, there’s bound to be lots of insects! Florida is no exception, so almost every window in the place has a very fine mesh screen attached to it, so that you can have the doors open, but most of the little insects can’t get in to BITE you!

Bug screens


My sweetheart and I

My favourite…  picture of the day


Question of the day

How are you taking responsibility for the life you’ve been given?

If you’d like to share any of the images or the journey with your friends on Facebook or Twitter, then just click the links below. Comment and share your idea of a dream home with us, too.

Sleep well and see you tomorrow


Day 6 – Getting out of ‘Blah’

I absolutely love to learn. I consume books, blogs, articles (knowledge in any format) at an alarming rate and I am what is known as a ‘Maven’, a ‘Salesman’ and an ‘Encourager’.

Wikipedia describes Maven as: ‘those who are intense gatherers of information and impressions…’. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, ‘The Tipping Point‘ describes salesmen as ‘select group of people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing’ and an encourager is someone who ‘inspires with courage, spirit, or confidence’ according to
One of my greatest passions and delights in life is to gather information, compile it into a useful format and then distribute it as needed and requested – passing on the opportunity for people to change their course in life, if they so choose. This passion stems from my natural abilities of being a Maven, a Salesman and an Encourager.

The funniest things happen to me. For instance. I’ll be standing at the top of the escalator in my local IKEA store, waiting for the person I’m about to meet for coffee, and the people that pass me by will stop and ask me questions – ‘where can I find a trolley?’, ‘how do I get to the toy section?’ etc. It’s like I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘Ask me!’

Conversely, I also constantly pick up on situations around me for which I have a relevant piece of information that can help the people in said situation. We’re not talking about my opinion here, we’re talking facts and truth and information that can help. Another thing I like to do is to compliment complete strangers, at the drop of a hat. It’s as if I feel when they need a little encouragement.

To boot, I am always so honestly enthusiastic about giving this information away – completely convinced of its ability, once applied, to remedy/aid/ease the situation, that it is almost always received with gratitude.

So, after my ‘Blah’ day and video yesterday, I sat down and started to allow my natural love of seeking knowledge and truth to lead me to a)why I’d felt so blah (Maven) and b)what I could do to remedy it (Salesman), with enthusiasm (Encourager).

The particular way that I do this, is by praying. After all, if God really is who He says He is, then He has the exact wisdom that is needed.

So, I…

  • Remind both He & I that I totally rely on Him to get me through life, well
  • Spent the day being quiet, instead of agitated (like I used to do)
  • Stayed grateful, thanking Him for all His goodness and love
  • Allowed my body and mind to rest
  • Specifically set aside time to hear what He wanted to say, in response to my questions
  • Listened to teaching that encourages me
  • Reminded myself of the promises God has made to me

Today, I feel much better. I make it a point never to stay feeling down for any extended period of time. There’s too much life to live. So, the lesson I’ve learned is that it’s perfectly OK to feel down every now and then – it’s all part of the journey. Stay with it, figure out what’s really happening, learn the lessons that come and then move on.


My favourite…  motivator of the day

So, may I encourage you today to…


Question of the day

What are your natural gifts and talents and how do you use them every day?

Sleep well and see you tomorrow


Day 4 – Ebony, Ivory and orange tape

Ebony and Ivory, live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keyboard, oh LORD, so do we!!
There are many different types of skin in the world. Mine is the type that is full of freckles, goes red in the sun and takes about a year to change colour after that. Frans, on the other hand, has skin that just has to see a glimpse of a lightbulb, and he goes brown instantly.
He has delighted in showing off the difference in our skin colours over the years and even though I’ve had just over a month to tan already (and he’s now having to wear a t-shirt in order to stop tanning) – this is the result.

Ebony & Ivory

As you can see, we were on the beach when this was taken. One of the biggest blessings about being here is that the sea is just outside our window.
We ate supper last night and then went for a wander, to see what we could see. Here’s a selection for you:

Frans’ collage

The tall grass that grows on the dunes

Turtle nest

We saw these on the beach one day and asked about them. 3 out of 5 of South Florida’s turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Because of pollution, destruction of their natural habitat, demand for turtle meat and the upsurge in artificial lighting, all of these turtles are on the endangered list. So, whenever the tracks of the Mama turtle are seen emerging from the sea and into the plants, someone from a wildlife preserve comes and marks the area, so that people can be aware of the nest and not disturb it.
Everyone along the coast is given information and asked to help the turtles survive.
For instance, one of the major factors in their decline is that when the little turtles emerge, they crawl toward the brightest light source they can see. This would normally be the moon reflecting on the water, but on a developed beach the lights attract them and they crawl in the wrong direction and die. So, we’re all asked to keep out outside lighting really low during hatching season.

And…a sea louse (we think)

Sea louse

Last of the outdoor photos is this sequence of photos of the beautiful sky we look at every day.


Full moon over the sea


What a beautiful, beautiful world we live in!


3rd ‘Florida Essential’

It is seriously hot here and it’s going to get even hotter as Summer progresses. So, we alternate between using the fan and the aircon -absolutely essential!

Fan/Aircon – which is better? F I G H T! 🙂


You can take the girl out of Britain but you can’t stop her drinking tea!

My favourite…  beverage of the day

Coffee & tea


Question of the day

What is your idea of the perfect place to live? Do you like the mountains? Would you prefer the sea? Or is the view from a penthouse in a major city more your thing? Let me know – it would be so cool to hear what everyone thinks.

If you’d like to share any of the images or the journey with your friends on Facebook or Twitter, then just click the links below. Comment and share your idea of a dream home with us, too.

Sleep well and see you tomorrow


Day 3 – How much?!!

I woke up this morning all excited about going to a new church that I’d researched last night. Dressed up in my Sunday best and Frans & I navigated our way there. We pulled up outside and there were only 2 cars in the parking lot, which seemed a little strange as the service was supposed to start in 10 minutes. Turns out that I got the name of the Church we’d seen when driving past slightly wrong and it was a totally different place! So, we decided to wait until next Sunday and try again and headed off to find a local Farmer’s Market that we’d heard about.

We followed the instructions we’d received and drove and drove and drove. By the time we got to the ‘end of the road’, we found ourselves in Fort Pierce (which is on the mainland) and there was no Farmer’s Market anywhere!! We decided then that we’d programme the GPS to take us back home but we’d go the long way round and drive though Fort Pierce and Port St Lucie and see what there was to see.

For those of you that haven’t been to the US, here’s a picture of a ‘strip mall’. It’s a collection of shops that are advertised on a big signboard on the side of the road. There’s everything from pawn shops to thrift shops (charity shops) to beauty salons to insurance brokers. It’s kind of like the collection of shops we see on our High Street. There are then, of course, malls that are just like our shopping centres in the UK.

Strip mall

Pawn shop

Salvation Army Thrift Store

Unfortunately, we’ve seen lots of businesses that have closed up and the once thriving premises are boarded up with ‘For Sale’ or ‘For Rent’ signs up outside. Really sad…

On our way back, we passed a lovely residential area. Along our routes we’ve mostly seen luxury houses and bucks of luxury condos so I was fascinated to see just a normal looking bunch of homes. You know, the type where us normal people would live and mow the grass, fix the car with kids playing outside. Take a look at this video below…(Click ‘Play’ and then ‘Pause’ for a couple of seconds to give it time to load, then press ‘Play’ again)

On our way back to the condo we passed this trailer park

Trailer Park

and then we passed the most expensive house on the whole of Hutchinson Island. It cost $8million to build and is now worth close to $50 million!

50,000 square feet

So we really did the rounds of the property in this area today. All the way from trailer park to mansion and everything in-between.


When we came home, Frans sound the coverage of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations on CNN for me. I must admit that I absolutely love the pageantry and meaning of occasions like this. It reminds me of honour and respect and working hard – and all the fruit that comes from living with that mindset.

Thank you Prince Philip and your Majesty for the truly exceptional work you’ve done and the legacy you’re leaving.

64 years and still going strong!


Once I’d had my ‘moment’, I decided to go down and join Frans at the pool. He’d taken his flippers and snorkelling gear and had already had a fabulous time swimming in the sea. By the time I got to him, he was relaxing in the jacuzzi and all I could see was a floating pool cap…which is today’s

2nd ‘Florida Essential’


I was listening to this song this morning and I just had to share it

My favourite… song of the day

Francesca Battistelli


I’m sitting here listening to the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach and loving my life! Hope you’re loving yours too, wherever you are.

Please leave a comment, share on Facebook and Twitter below because I just love hearing what you think and seeing what you have to say.

Sleep well and see you tomorrow


Day 2 – Fleas everywhere!

OK, OK not literally fleas (although there are sand fleas almost everywhere), but a huge Flea Market!

Frans LOVES to go to Flea Markets, Auctions, Garage Sales; in fact wherever there is other people’s ‘pre-loved’ junk for sale. So we saw an ad (and were recommended by Carol), to go to the B&A Flea Market which is on every Sat & Sun. We arrived underneath an almost completely overcast sky (thank goodness for some coolness) and proceeded to start browsing the first of literally hundreds of stores. You name it, they had it, including…

Matching yellow (and brown and red and lime green) crocodile skin belt and boots

Jalapeño pepper sweet & fiery jelly

No, I did not go and try a free sample…………..


Board Meeting – Surf Style!

And instructions on how to proceed…

Oh yeah!

We passed two amazing vendors that really stuck out in their originality. The first was this guy who creates art on a t-shirt. You tell him what you want and he makes it for you. Fab!

Then, I walked past a young lady who must have been about 15. She had neatly set out a table and on the left hand side of this table were about 20 huge  individually wrapped chocolate chip cookies. She was just diligently sitting there, by herself, displaying what she had for sale. We walked on past the table, but then I just felt that I had to go back and buy from her. I told her that the cookies looked irresistible so I had to come back for one. She said she’d made them herself and that they were 75c each. As I walked away, I opened the cookie and had a delicious bite. I turned around to find her looking at me. As I gave her the thumbs up, her little face broke into a huge grin. OH MY WORD! I started to cry just thinking of all the wonderful possibilities her life holds and praying that she’ll take hold of them and live an amazing life.

Bestest cookie in the world

By this time the clouds had started to blow away and it was SERIOUSLY hot (and I’d forgotten to bring water with). I was beginning to walk like the Hulk because everything was sticking together in places where they just shouldn’t.

The Hulk

Frans & I tried to ‘pose’ for a picture next to a Golf Cart (which we secretly hoped we could take home with us), but just ended up being totally blinded by the sun and collapsing with laughter at ourselves.


Fab experience, with lots of things we wanted to buy but couldn’t. Seriously, how are we supposed to comply with a 20kg airline suitcase weight limit? Good lesson in budgeting though 🙂



Talking about that weight limit (yes, only 20kg’s), I’ve had to learn what to ‘acquire’ and what to do without. There are a couple of things that I’ve learned however, that are essential to Florida living. Here’s…

My 1st ‘Florida Essential’

Water with LOTS of ice

I drink it by the bucketload and it’s life saving!


I also love to learn something new every day and so this is…

My favourite… quote of the day

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams, cartoonist


Well folks, we’re just winding down at the end of another brilliant day. I’m living the dream (mine at least).

Please leave a comment below because I just love reading and replying to them. Tell me…what does your ‘dream life’ look like?

Sleep well and see you tomorrow


Day 1 – The Beginning…(a very good place to start)

As the old song goes…this is the “beginning – a very good place to start!”

I’ve been awake since 3:30am – just so excited to start this blog.

It’s going to be quite a journey for me (and hopefully for you too), as I step into the great unknown and  see what the next phase of my life has to offer. I’m praying that it’s going to be a time of discovery, a time of learning and a time of wonderful new adventures!


Day 1

Frans and I are staying in a beautiful condo on Jensen Beach, HutchinsonIsland in Florida. We’re here for 2 months until we return to the UK on 1st August.

This Sabbatical has been given to us (I believe), so that we can step into the next phase of our lives.

The story so far…

Frans has worked away from home for the past 12 years, mostly coming home only on weekends after travelling all over the UK and sometimes, the world. In the meantime, I’ve stayed at home to raise our daughter and have often felt like a ‘single, married mum’.

Then, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer just over 2 years ago. We’ve all heard the stories of how people reassess their lives when they get a diagnosis like that, and my experience was no different. Everything came into sharper focus and both Frans & I began to look at our lives and wonder…

I’m glad to say that I’ve now got the ‘all clear’ and life is good, but the combination of the years away from home and the Cancer began to wear on my wonderful husband. One day he just looked at me and said, “What is the use? What’s life all about if I’m away from you most of the time and you had to walk through Cancer almost alone because I was away?” This really set alarm bells ringing in my head because Frans just doesn’t talk like that. I realised that something had to be done and we had to get away and really look at where our lives were headed.

Bianca is 20 now and she is well able to look after herself and my Dad (who lives with us), so we took some of our savings and have come ‘away from it all’ – together :-).

Our view…

Beautiful, isn’t it?