It’s been almost 3 months since we closed the store ……..can’t believe how fast time has gone by….. These months have been so vital for us to remember and stay focused on how important it is in having a healthy soul. Worry, fear and stress can destroy a healthy soul.
The stress level that we have been undergoing is not for the faint of heart.
We feel the biggest impact or influence that has helped us to keep a healthy soul has been God and our new family here in South West Florida. The people we met because of our store have truly become more than just friends—-they are family. Their desire for us to reopen has kept us focused and energized through these weeks.
As much as we would love for things to move quickly —-sometimes it’s God’s way of ensuring we are growing in the process. There are days that we feel like we are closer and then there are days we feel like there is no end. I just keep telling us that it’s in God’s hands and to trust in this journey.
We wish we had more to share with you all and for us the positive continues to be our focus—-we have the faith and hope to be reunited in our store with you all !
Keep checking in and please stay in touch by sending us suggestions of food or drinks that you would like for us to consider adding in our store.
I have learned in the last year more than ever the importance of being ‘purposefully active”. In the late nineties we saw an explosion of communities being developed that focused on setting up seasoned adults who were finding themselves as empty nesters with homes that fit more their new life.
The concept of keeping seasoned adults active was taking off and it was exciting to know that after retirement you still would be moving around and enjoying activities or hobbies that you had not otherwise had a chance to nurture because you worked. The conflict that I have noticed over the years even with my own parents who moved into one of these communities has been that being active without a purpose fizzes out and ultimately leaves the person feeling disconnected from the society.
See we are by our nature designed to work and add to our society our community …In other words when we are working we feel like we are actively adding to the future and we are connected to others. When a person retires even though they are staying active by playing tennis, golf, cards and other numerous hobbies or activities the social well being of a person does not rise to the same level —-at some point that activity just becomes more of routine and leads to somewhat disconnecting from society even though they do this activity everyday.
By nature we humans need to feel needed, wanted and productive. It is in our makeup and although our physical bodies may not be able to handle heavy lifting or strenuous long days at the office —-we need to recognize the difference from being just active to being purposefully active. I have watched over the years as my own parents have become disconnected and feeling as if they have nothing to contribute to this world.
During five weeks —-they had an opportunity to share in daily responsibilities of the store —I saw a sparkle in their eyes, I could sense their excitement to get down to the store, and above all I could see them connecting with the world again in more than just routine but rather in a way in which they were contributing to society. We have been conditioned to think that retiring is the desired outcome but what that really leads us towards is a discontent and disease with life.
While my parents had a place to go to everyday to contribute by arranging the magazines on the coffee table, sweeping the floors or making the empanadas —-you could see them feeling productive and actually starting to participate in life again. Wanting to learn and looking forward to seeing people. When we had to close our store due to a rule in the HOA of selling of alcohol —I noticed a decline in their self-esteem. They no longer felt a purpose and although they were staying active by walking around and going out with me —it was not the same. The store gave them a purpose to get up and go out to contribute something again.
I realized then that seasoned adults can stay in motion by playing tennis, cards and any type of numerous activities but they are just that….. activities. The missing link is the “purpose”. We need to feel that when we are actively in motion there is a more profound and rewarding feeling than just doing it …to do it and stay active. When we incorporate activity with a purpose —we become “PURPOSEFULLY ACTIVE” ! The key is to find some activity that serves the community in a way that gives back instead of just being active for the sake of staying active.
Seasoned adults have so much to still offer to our communities and society—the wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding is priceless. I recently wanted to learn how to Knit or Crochet so that I could make scarves to send to an organization or church in northern states were the winters are brutal. It is my way of giving back to society.
I enlisted the help of women in my building to teach me how to acquire this skill. These women are amazing —the skill level of these women is priceless and I was in awe at how beautiful their creations are. We started the ‘Knitting Angels’ and one of our members offered an amazing project to work towards —-Linus Blankets. This a non-profit organization, that provides new handmade blankets to children in need.
The Knitting Angels embodies the very idea of what I have been speaking about—these are retired women staying active but more importantly they are “PURPOSEFULLY ACTIVE” they are not only teaching me and others but also creating blankets for the community and others are creating scarfs to send to veterans in need in cold areas of the country.
I hope to somehow create opportunities in my store in which seasoned adults can come and contribute their knowledge, expertise and experience with me and others in a way that we can contribute to our community and society. To me it’s like leaving an even stronger impression on this earth with a legacy that will speak on its own.
I was recently reminded listening to Joel Osteen’s podcast. He is the Pastor of the Lakewood Church in Texas “Set-backs are set-ups for a comeback”. These words could not have arrived in a better time than now.
As difficult as these couple of weeks have been I realized that in these moments we grow and nothing was a surprise to GOD. I know in my heart that all of this is preparing me inside in a very special way. It has made reflect on how blessed I am. The outpouring of love and support from customers, friends and family has been so amazing.
I recognized that I am too blessed to be stressed and that I know GOD is guiding me through all of it.
In my heart I am open and excited for what he has prepared for me. Whether I get to return to the same location or if he places me in a different place. The one thing is that the dream he placed in my heart 12 years ago is still very much alive. If he has not given up on me —-I will not give up on my dream.
My hope for us all is to always remember that we will always face moments in which the doors close, a person may not be for us, or challenges and difficulties are before us but GOD never abandons us. My faith and love for GOD keeps me grounded and my hope for his continued guidance helps me feel safe.
I believe we will all be together enjoying each other and creating new memories.
It will be a a year since I signed my lease for the store and as the year comes to an end —I can’t help but to reflect on the many adventures, trials and tribulations I have experienced this year.
Some were daunting and others were exciting but my constant was my love, faith and hope for life that made it all worth while. From cleaning and setting up the store –to learning about ordering and filing for licenses, permits and tax forms all of it has reminded me how important it is to enjoy every day even the ones that don’t work out the way we planned it.
I traveled every weekend from July to now, I delivered over 284 sessions this year to hundreds of teachers across the country as far as Wyoming to as high up to Wisconsin while working countless hours in the store. There were weeks that I put in over 80 hours of work between the two jobs. Added by a sell of a home and moving into my condo and renovating/decorating it, sprinkled with family & friends visits topped with my John’s 21st birthday celebration and the planning of Gracie’s & Josh’s wedding.
Challenged with hurdles of post COVID delays, relationship hiccups, Hurricane Ian and governmental red tape —causing me at times to doubt if I was doing the right thing in following my dream.
I am blessed to have experienced it all the good, the not so good and the in-between! Life is an amazing gift that so often is taken for granted —-this year I have lost many dear friends and acquaintances that I am reminded every day how valuable life truly is and what we choose to do with it.
Thank you God for all of it and I look forward to the coming year as I know you have already ordered my steps!
At 2pm I was dropped off by the UBER driver ready to catch my flight to Dallas from Ft. Myers to then connect to a flight to San Antonio—which was my final destination. See while I have the store —I also work another job training teachers. After getting through TSA I decided to grab a sandwich which normally I never do before flying but today I had a gut feeling to grab something to eat.
I soon realized that my flight to Dallas was delayed by 25 minutes. I ate my sandwich and soon after we were boarding our flight. I was so happy that the seat in the middle was not filled. I felt like I had hit the lottery…lol little did I know how much more special I would feel later on…
After watching a movie and going over my presentation for tomorrow’s training —I realized that the plane was slowing down. The captain came on and shared that it was storming in Dallas and that we would not be able to land but that we would be held in a holding pattern until we could be cleared for landing.
After 40 minutes circling up in the air—the captain shared that they had just told him it would be another hour and a half before he could land the plane. So, he said that we would not be able to stay in the holding pattern because we needed fuel so we were going to be heading to San Antonio for fuel. At that point I could not believe it —it was where I needed to go. I got up and asked the flight attendant if we were going to San Antonio to fuel up would I be permitted to get off since it was my final destination. She said she would ask. I used the restroom after speaking with her and upon returning to my seat —the gentleman sitting in the aisle mentioned that the captain had shared we would refuel but we would not be deplane.
I did not panic instead I closed my eyes and thanked GOD for keeping us safe in the air. We landed in San Antonio and the captain shared that that it was going to be longer wait in San Antonio because something was not working with the refueling of the plane. Shortly after the lead flight attendant came on and told us that all of the connecting flights in Dallas were cancelled due to the storms.
We were then instructed to use the call button if our final destination was San Antonio—-I hit the call button along with 2 other people. The flight attendant came around to check the boarding pass to confirm that San Antonio was the final destination. The other two people were asked to stay seated because their final destination was not San Antonio. As the flight attendant walked up to my row —I could see her look of disbelief that my final destination was San Antonio….she saw my boarding pass and asked “did you check luggage?” I responded “No, I have a carry on in the over head compartment.” She says “ok, you are the only one with the final destination of San Antonio —go ahead and grab your luggage.”
As I looked around people were in disbelief and smiling then they began to applaud because I was the only one who had a final destination to San Antonio and would be getting off. While the rest of them would be waiting on the plane until they could fly back to Dallas but by the time they arrive in Dallas —they would be making arrangements for lodging instead of another flight. All flights were cancelled for tonight because of the storms.
See if we would have arrived in Dallas to wait for the flight to San Antonio like my original flight plans were—our flight to San Antonio would have been cancelled because of the storms. Instead —-God decided to fly the plane to San Antonio to refuel and to deliver me a half hour earlier than my original flight plan was scheduled for….
Thank you GOD for being my “way maker” and delivering me in San Antonio safely and timely.
For anyone that thinks there is no GOD or that he does not grace us with signs of his love —then I pray and hope that you will get to feel his love one day like I just did.
I know I should not be surprised but God and my family are a powerful force and this week I was reminded! My aunt Maria and Uncle Hernan both came to help me with the store.
See this week my son John turns 21 years old and I promised him we would celebrate in the Keys. My aunt and uncle both lovingly and so generously agreed to come and help with running the store.
They have been learning so much and doing so much that I can’t even begin to understand how to repay them for all their help and support. I also have learned this week from my aunt Mari how to make ‘pique’ which is a hot savory sauce we put on our ‘Empanadas’ to enhance the flavor of the empanada.
If you have not stopped by this week to say to my aunt Maria and Uncle Hernan—make sure you do and remember to order an ‘Empanada’ with pique and guacamole. You won’t be disappointed. They have been very excited to be there helping with the store and meeting all of the great residents and customers.
With God and my family all things are possible!!!
I am wholeheartedly supported and it is a great feeling to be so blessed.
I had hoped to open before the busy season was over for 2022 but God’s plan was different. I have learned that this time —has been God’s way to allow me to keep learning and understanding what works and what needs to be adjusted.
I updated our menu recently and plan on continuing to adjust it as I learn about our customers’ needs and wants. It’s funny because it’s what I coach teachers to do…to pause and reflect on their teaching practice. Life is asking the same of me —this is no different in the sense that I need to pause and reflect on what is working, how can I make it better and what do I need to learn.
In the same timing –the condo is getting painted and new flooring added to the bedroom. I would have preferred doing all this either before I opened the store or further down after the store was more established. I don’t choose the timing —God has and I have to trust he will deliver everything in the right time.
This upcoming week is filled with so many moments with Trusting God’s Timing. I headed out today, Sunday, to Wyoming to train teachers on how to use the assessment their school district has chosen for this school year. A flight from Ft.Myers to Atlanta —from Atlanta to Salt Lake City to then drive about an hour and half to Evanston, Wyoming. Even as I typed this —I can feel my heart racing at the thought that I have so much to do upon my return to Ft. Myers on Tuesday after catching the red eye on Monday night.
Tuesday will be full of so much —-picking Sonja up, unpacking , washing clothes, running out to pick up things for the store and then heading to the condo to clean it. I also have to squeeze a moment to go out and purchase a bed and a sofa bed because next week my kids arrive. If only the timing would have been differently but God has planned it this way and in keeping with his fun timing —Friday after closing the store I will once again need to travel out to Miami to train on Saturday.
I keep reminding myself when I find myself breathing a little faster — “Paula TRUST IN GOD”S TIMING”. I can’t explain it but when I say those words to myself I can feel a separation of my mind from my body and a soothing feeling comes over my body and I know that it all is working as GOD planned it need to be.
My life has been full of these moments and I have needed to rely on trusting GOD’s timing. I believe that GOD provides the right time, people, places and things in our lives even when we think it’s too chaotic for this to happen. GOD brings it to show us with him all things are possible.
As if opening a business in this month of July wasn’t enough excitement for us….we are getting the condo ready. I purchased it last year but had a tenant until recently. In between —cooking for the shop and ordering —I am scheduling appointments with painters, flooring and becoming informed of the HOA requirements.
My days seem to quickly be moving along —-I can’t believe how fast every day goes by. I have recently started spicing up my Pilates class by taking Suspend Pilates…WOW! It’s all I can honestly say. If you thought Pilates was a work out try Suspend…it challenges your body and mind to another level.
Add learning Pickleball to the list. The Condominium community hosts lessons on Monday mornings at 9:30 am and this past Monday I joined the class. Connie was our instructor and she was so patient and inspiring that I am hooked to this new sport. I not only learned how to play but I met new people and got a great workout all in an hour.
The running theme for me in this month is ‘Challenging Myself ‘. Everything I am embracing is challenging me to grow, learn and adjust. All these things are never easy but I have realized that in order to be actively present — I need to be open to these challenges.
Don’t misunderstand me —my body does get achy and I am tired by sunset but what a great feeling it is when I lay down at night knowing that I embraced the day by being actively present.
Seasoned residents are actively present in this state. Florida is truly the “Fountain of Youth’—-there is something mystical about the sun and the warm air accompanied by the soft breeze that invigorates people to be actively present everyday. Any time of day you will see people walking, cycling, swimming, boating or running through out the area. It is very hot in these summer months but you still see people out and about doing what they love.
(PLEASE MAKE SURE TO VISIT AND ADD A NOTE IN OUR BEAUTIFUL JOURNAL; THESE ARE SPECIAL HAND MADE JOURNALS SOLD IN OUR STORE)
We went through our final inspections SOOO EXCITED —we are ready to move forward !!!!
Sunday, June 12th from 9 am to 12 noon we will have a ‘House Warming’…. Stop by grab a cup of hot or cold coffee and a lite snack on us! We won’t be open for full service but rather looking to meet you:)
For the first few weeks we ask for your patience as we establish the level of quality and assurance we expect to offer to our guests. That being said we will gradually add days and times giving us the opportunity to reflect and improve on our flow and service.
Below is a schedule for June as well as the official schedule starting in July, 2022.
ONLY FOR JUNE, 2022
Sunday June 12th House Warming 9am – 12 noon
Thursday, June 16th 12 noon – 7pm
Sunday, June 19th 9 am – 12 noon
Wednesday, June 22nd 12 noon – 7pm
Thursday, June 23rd 12 noon – 7pm
Sunday, June 26th 9 am – 12 noon
Wednesday, June 29th 12 noon – 7pm
Thursday, June 30th 12 noon – 7pm
July 1st – starts our official schedule:
Monday and Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday – Saturday 12 noon to 7pm
Sunday 9am – 12noon
Our goal is to provide that level of relaxation and comfort you seek along with quality service and product. We appreciate your support and look forward to meeting you all in person.
It has been an amazing ride these past few months learning and growing in so many areas. I celebrated my birthday recently and what a great surprise to have family and friends come and visit me!!! I also received my final pieces of equipment I needed in order to move forward with inspections. Woohoo!!!!!
The store continues to evolve and grow. I am working on finalizing the menu and have already begun ordering beverages. I am so excited to be able to offer Nespresso Coffee. As I mentioned before my family came to visit—we are big coffee drinkers. It was so pleasing to hear from my dad that he enjoyed his cappuccino….”its so smooth and easy to drink…its not bitter like other coffees that are served in other places.” My daughter who was also here visiting jumped in to add “I drink cold brew but mom this coffee is so smooth …I like it warm like this.”
I have always known that good tasting coffee is a delight to the tastebuds and to your senses. It creates a feeling of calmness and peace and that is what Nespresso does. Whether you prefer a shot of espresso or cappuccino or maybe you rather have a latte……..your tastebuds will thank you.
We are also extremely excited about our wine portfolio—from Winc’s Natural Merchants line —“clean” wine (pesticide-free, low in sulfites, made with organic grapes, vegan-friendly and contains no added sugar). Their vineyards produce clean, fresh superior wines that are both good for the earth and tantalizing for the palate. I love wine but my concern had always been the sulfites and the added sugars. I was so happy to connect with the representative of Winc Natural Wines and after sampling several of their wines—I was hooked. The taste of each of their wines is clean light and refreshing. As we grow my goal is to provide a large selection of these wines in our store.
Wines and coffee are not the only beverages we will offer….we have hard seltzers, ciders and craft beers. We will continue to grow our selection as we become more familiar with the likes our customers. We have other items that may tickle your fancy….from beautiful handmade journals, to custom fine jewelry or sweet snacks.