This past week, Eliza, Rachel, & I took a road trip to the Florida Keys. The road going from Miami to Key West is supposed to be one of the most beautiful road trips in the US and we wanted to find out for ourselves. Eliza & Rachel are moving to Missouri soon to perform with Story of God, so this resulted in last minute planning and a surprise road trip to sunny beaches and warmer weather.
Savannah was our first stop. I love this city. The eerie spanish moss blankets the trees throughout the city creating a tranquil atmosphere, reverent and whimsical. The old brick buildings sit on the water, full of history, serene and peaceful. We detoured through the beautiful Canaveral National Seashore before stopping for the night in Fort Lauderdale.
The next morning we did a quick tour of Miami & South Beach before heading to Key Biscayne where we explored the state park, teal water sparkling all around us. Everything I read about Key West said the Card Sound Road and Alabama Jacks was a MUST. I’d skip that if I did it again. The conch fritters were nothing to write home about and the atmosphere of the haphazard restaurant was nothing special. The Card Sound Road was fine, but I don’t know that it gave us a better experience than if we had taken the main road.
The Keys don’t have very many beaches. We drove along route 1 and stopped at the parking lots at several of the bridges. They usually have observation points, walking bridges you can go out on, or rocky shorelines that are fun for exploring. We ate at Harriette’s which is a MUST. The Key Lime muffin is absolutely to die for. They serve it to you warmed up with its key lime filling all warm and oozy.
When we got to the Seven Mile Bridge, we stopped to walk on the old railway bridge that has been there since 1912.
We camped for one night at Boyds Key West Campground. The spaces were TINY but we had a spot right on the bay so it was fun to wake up and look out at the sunrise over the water.
At the very end of Key West is Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. This was a good beach and a great place to hang our hammocks. We spent most of the day there. Walking the shoreline, soaking in the sun and swinging in hammocks in the shade.
We meandered back to the mainland. Stopping on Big Pine Key at theNational Key Deer Refuge where we saw turtles, alligators, and Key Deer, which are much smaller than the White Tailed Deer we are used to. They are also very friendly. One licked Eliza’s hand! Next we stopped at Robbie’s in Islamorada where we had read about feeding the huge tarpon. It was $1 per person and $3 for bait and so not worth it. We watched for a while and decided against spending our money. If you walk around at Robbies’s, there is another pier you can go out on where there were fisherman cleaning fish and feeding the pelicans. This was so fun and we spent a lot of time watching the hundreds of birds fighting over fish and clamoring all around the harbor.
Back on the mainland we stopped at a fruit stand called Roberts Is Here. I know, weird name. Amazing place though. They had probably 50 different flavors of fruity milkshakes. We split a strawberry, key lime shake which was absolutely delicious. We browsed through the shop reading about the different types of fruit we had never seen before. They also have a strange petting zoo type area in the back with macaws, huge tortoises, emu, and other animals.
We drove straight through the everglades, stopping to see more alligators, and landed in Naples Beach for sunset. Naples is beautiful. The beach was nearly empty and we sat there enjoying the waves crashing onto the beach and the orange sun setting over the horizon.
Orlando was next. We got up super early and spent the day at Universal Studios exploring the world of Harry Potter. It was even better than I expected it to be and we had a BLAST! If you are a Harry Potter fan this is something you absolutely must do.
On our way back to Asheville we swung by Blue Spring State Park which is a place where hundreds of manatees go for the winter. We watched they floating lazily around the river for a while and began our long trek back to Asheville.
It was an amazing trip. One I hope to repeat again someday soon. The Keys are beautiful and that teal water… there’s nothing like it.
Do you ever get so wrapped up emotionally in the people around you that they can change your emotions in an instant? This happens to me sometimes. I get so emotionally involved that I go crazy trying to please everyone and make sure no one is upset with me and everyone is happy and wants to spend time with me. If a friend can’t hang out I think they don’t like me anymore. If someone doesn’t talk to me at church, I assume I’ve done something wrong and they’re upset with me. If I see my friends went out without me I’m hurt and think they intentionally left me out. On the flip side if someone sends a nice text, my mood instantly flip-flops. If someone calls to do something I go from sad to happy. Then someone cuts me off in traffic and I’m frustrated for the rest of the day. And on and on it goes.
This week has been exceptionally emotional and I just sat down and realized I am basing all my emotions on PEOPLE. People. Who will always fail me. Who have a sin nature. People who make mistakes, fail and make poor choices, the same way that I do. I can’t base my feelings on people. My brain gets jumbled. I can’t focus on anything and I get so caught up in it. I read texts over and over trying to see if there are hidden messages. I replay conversations in my head. I over-analyze everything. By the end of the day I can’t sleep because my brain is processing a million things and I worry about things I imagining are happening with all my relationships.
James 1:5-6 says: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (ESV)
This is such a great description of how I so often feel. I doubt. I doubt God’s goodness. I doubt the people around me. I lack the wisdom necessary to be grounded in Christ and I get blown and tossed by the wind. Happy, sad, angry, elated. Rollercoaster days abound.
In the song, My Anchor, Christy Nockels so beautifully expresses the answers to my emotional blowing and tossing.
My anchor, forever
My shelter within the storm
You’re my deliverer
You never falter
You’re the rock I stand on
I should be grounded in Christ. I shouldn’t be blown and tossed by the wind. I should be holding so tightly onto my anchor. He should be the Rock I am standing on.
In an article about managing emotions, Joyce Meyer says: You cannot control what everybody else does, but you can control your reaction to it. It’s time to stop letting someone else’s bad behavior steal your joy… With God’s help, you can learn to manage these and every other negative emotion that comes your way…in Christ Jesus, you have the power to change your response. You can rise above your emotions. After all, you are not what you feel.
I am not what I feel! How glorious that is. This week has definitely been one full of blowing and tossing. But today, I am asking God to calm the storm. I am grabbing tight to my Anchor. I am choosing to rise above the emotional waves and praying they would release their power over me. I am not what I feel.
How to Manage Your Emotions God’s Way: Joyce Meyer