Recently (as in last week), I paid a visit to Florida. I lived in Florida for my High School (in Kissimmee) and College (in Tampa) years. And, yes, I even worked at Disney World when I was in High School – aka the BEST JOB EVER!! My Mom still lives in Kissimmee and I made a visit to Florida to be with her during a major surgery and her initial recovery.

No one likes to have surgery (and thankfully, knock-on-wood, I still have yet to have one), but I tell you, if you’re a woman and need surgery, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies is the place to go!

Winnie Palmer Hospital

What an absolutely First Class hospital! Most importantly the staff is amazing, the facilities are gorgeous and immaculate AND the “room service” feature is fantastic (yes, even for guests of patients).

Winnie Palmer Hospital menu

That may sound silly, but trust me, it’s all the little things they provide that give comfort to patients and guests while they’re staying there.

Winnie Palmer Hospital
View from Mom’s Room

Mom’s surgery went well and THANK GOD she has no cancer! The biggest blessing we could have asked for and we’re so grateful for those results. Sadly, all the news from Orlando during this week wasn’t so positive. We certainly count our blessings extra hard and send out love to all those affected by the Pulse Nightclub shootings and the family of the little boy killed by a gator at Disney during this week of tragedy. By sharing this upbeat post about my recent visit to Florida, I, in no way, want to take away from these horrible events. My prayers go out to all those affected!

Once I got Mom home for her recovery, I was able to enjoy the local beauty and “wilds” of Central Florida that I had all-but forgotten about in the past few years. It’s easy to get caught up in visiting Florida for theme parks and other tourist attractions and lose a sense of the beauty that can be found in the nature that abounds there. It’s truly amazing how wild this area still is even with all the development that has gone on.

My Mom lives near Boggy Creek, a beautiful area to hear and see the local wildlife and imagine what this area was like years and years ago. (It’s also a popular area to take Airboat rides to experience all this area has to offer as far as wildlife and nature.)

Every morning I would take an hour plus walk to enjoy the sights and sounds of Central Florida. Here are some photos I took along the way – and yes, if you’d like to know, it is HOT in Central Florida in June, but somehow I didn’t mind it too much, probably because I was only out a little more than an hour each day.

Kissimme nature walk photo

Kissimme nature walk photo

Kissimme nature walk photo

Kissimme nature walk photo

Yes, I was out looking for wildlife and beautiful foliage – though as I walked on one trail along the creek and heard a rustling in the bushes and then a splash in the water, I did sort of turn and run (and possibly shriek out loud) showing what a really big chicken I am!

Kissimme nature walk photo

Kissimme nature walk photo

Kissimme nature walk photo

I saw lots of birds – BIG birds – um, why do they have to be so tall??

Kissimme nature walk photo

And this little cute armadillo (who really wasn’t interested in me at all).

Kissimme nature walk photo

Oh and of course, lots of tiny little lizards (which are everywhere).

Kissimme nature walk photo

Though it was quite warm (meaning HOT) and I was far away from my life here in California, I’ve actually found that I miss these morning moments now that I’ve returned. Something about hearing all the noises of the beetles, birds, etc. and seeing the lush colors of the area foliage was really appealing to me during my stay.

Kissimme nature walk photo

Kissimme nature walk photo

Of course, my mission on this visit to Florida wasn’t these morning walks, but, more importantly, being there for the most amazing woman I know and get to call Mom. I really enjoyed just being present with her in her home that is filled with so much love and artistic expression – she, and my Dad who is no longer with us, are such creative and inspiring people. It was actually a treat for me to have a break from my normal life and routine to be with a person I’m completely comfortable with and whom I’m able to enjoy time together with doing even the simplest things like watching movies, her favorite shows and, of course, HGTV!

Mom's home

It was so nice to be able to help and be there for someone who has ALWAYS been there for me and I will always cherish this week we had together AND always be grateful for such an excellent outcome to her surgery.

As I was grocery shopping for her to keep her stocked up after I left, I was also able to stock up on a few of my favorite “Florida” / Cuban food items to take home with me. Such a shame I can’t find these items here.

yellow rice

I did also tease Mom a bit about filling her kitchen and refrigerator with “vegan” treats.

Mom's Fridge

I was a bit sad to see my stay come to an end, but also happy that I was able to head home and she didn’t need my help anymore. Her recovery is going very well.

On my flights home, I download “The BFG” book so I could read it and be ready for my movie screening next week.

The BFG Book

Time to get back to my “real” life – no complaints here as I know I’m blessed! “The BFG” movie opens July 1st in the U.S. It is directed by Steven Spielberg and is sure to be a fabulous adventure. Look for more information and my review here early next week.

I hope everyone had a fabulous week. I’ll also have more Thailand adventures posts coming soon!

 

Lita

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