Fourteen Florida Fun and Festival Tour – April 2014

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Blueberries seem to be a constant in our lives. The Queen often eats blueberry waffles with blueberry syrup for breakfast. We have blueberry popsicles in our freezer. I have a K-Cup holder that almost always has Wild Mountain Blueberry Coffee. Even the flavor in my vape pen is blueberry. Plus, they’re good for you. So it was only natural when we scanned the festival list to hit the 3rd Annual Florida Blueberry Festival in Brooksville, Florida.

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 Anything and everything blueberry in Brooksville, which is a small, quaint little town about 3 hours North of Fort Myers and just a hop, skip and a jump from Tampa. The streets along the main drag are cobblestone. Pretty cool little town, if you ask me.

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Upon entering the festival, I was surprised at how many people there were and how large it was for only being the 3rd annual event.

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As we entered, there was a main tent where the locals were selling their blueberry wares. Blueberry Syrup, Blueberry Pancakes, Blueberry Mustard, Blueberry BBQ Sauce….anything you can think of, these folks figured out how to put a blueberry in it.

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So we settled on some Blueberry Preserves, which should go nicely with a toasted bagel for brefass. Nom Nom Nom!

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 After a long drive, your boy was hungry…and let me tell you, the sweet smell of meat on a stick was in the air.

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It seems that I’m always two steps ahead of the Queen. That’s because when you’re running point, you have to look out for booby traps while you’re scanning the landscape. If anyone ever tries to make a booby trap with meat on a stick, well…they’d get me.

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Like I said, anything and everything blueberry. Like this blueberry soda with honey. Not too bad. Sweet and thirst-quenching.

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The Queen and I love honey. Not just because it tastes good, but it’s healthy and good for your immune system. So we always have some on hand. Soon as we spotted Blueberry Honey, well you know we had to grab a few. Honey with my honey…awwwwww

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We saw Ginger’s Booth from Ginger’s Jams and had to take a peek. She had a delicious assortment of goodies. I tried the Jalapeno Jelly, then promptly bought a jar. A-maa-aa-aa-aazing!

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I’m a sucker for old muscle cars, so as soon as I saw the street lined with classics, I had to stop and drool. The guys over at Monster Transmission and Performance put on a nice display of some of the sweetest rides around.

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This ’57 Chevy had me in awe. What a beautiful ride. This was how you styled and profiled in 1957. Classic beauty.

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And this 1968 LeSabre had me giggling. Good lord that’s a beautiful car. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

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But this one here….if you ever wondered “What kind of car would the Shell King drive to the beach?”, this would be it. The orange paint job on this ’68 Beetle was immaculate. I said to the Queen, “We would look awesome in this car!”

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See the guy on the right? You know he’s saying, “Oooohhhhh sweet Jesus.” Drooling. Shaking.

I was too.

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 We settled for a couple of corn dogs. Yeah I know, it’s not really meat at all. But it was on a stick and we were hungry.

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Queenie washed it down with a blueberry smoothie, which was really good. One thing we noticed there was that every ingredient in every blueberry dish was fresh.

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Beef Jerky soaked in Moonshine. Yeah I tried it. It was pretty good, but too expensive. I guess the cost of running your own still has increased in the past few years ;)

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On our way out, we saw a booth for Blueberry Pie in a cup. You know I had to try one, and yes it was deelishis!

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Since this was only the 3rd Annual event, no doubt it will be bigger next year. Although it was a pretty long drive with a lot of toll booths along the way, it’s worth the drive. With the food and events, there is plenty to enjoy, no matter what your age. This event definitely gets the SK/SQ stamp of approval.

Of course, we had to stop at Yoder’s, since it was on our way home. You know, to stock up on cheese curds, whoopie pies and candy.

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 A few of our delicious wares from the day:

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We ended the weekend with a day of power shelling  on Sunday with our friend, the Shellinator himself and half of his wonderful family. I look like I’m wearing daisy dukes. Striking.

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 Today, we are beat, worn out, sunburned and exhausted.

And we’d do it again tomorrow if we could.

Totally worth it.

Hope and Humility

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Every once in a while the Queen and I get to talking about things outside the shelling and beach world and I wonder if I should blog about it. After all, the Queen and I are more than just shellers. We’re people too. The Queen presented some things to me that she had been praying about and it hit home. The topic? Being a humble person.

So how do you write a blog post about being humble without being not very humble? On a shelling and travel blog, no less?

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I don’t know, but I’m going to try. I do know that being humble is a very challenging and difficult task, especially for a guy like me. I like to talk and share and contribute.

I’ve always wanted to succeed at everything I do. I fail often. I set the bar high. Rarely do I jump over the bar. I’m a musician and I love my craft. When something good happens with my music, I like to tell people. In my heart and mind, I know I’m not telling people so they can pat me on the back. But I realize that deep down inside, I’m unconsciously seeking validation. It’s a weakness. Humble people don’t seek validation. I realize that my talent is a gift. Not an ability.

That’s just one example.

The Queen showed me a picture that laid out Mother Teresa’s Ways to Be Humble. I read them and I immediately felt a pit in my stomach.

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After having that deep discussion with the Queen, I see that I’m not a humble person. After reading a list of things humble people do, I realized that I do too few of them. It was like a slap across the face. My own slap, of course, using my own hand across my own face.

Ouch.

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I took it to bed with me. I dreamed about it. I had a hard time sleeping because I was beating myself up. I realized that I needed to be more selfless. I need to let other people get the last word. I need to give in more. I need to listen more than talk. I need to overlook things. I need to be more pliable in discussions that don’t follow my lines of thinking. I need to be less significant.

In short, I need to be less Tobias/Shell King and more Most High. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and it’s clear that mine’s really weak .

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When we shell or travel, we take pictures. We love to share our experiences with everyone. We’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ll mention it again – We enjoy life and living it. We enjoy taking trips and having fun and want to show on this blog that you can do the same things we have been blessed to be able to do, if you have the desire to do so.

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Wanna take a trip? Do it! Wanna eat meat on a stick at a festival? Hey, you can do that too.

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Pre-dawn shelling? Hey, let’s go! Unfortunately, sometimes it may come across (unintentionally, of course) as a “Ha ha! Look what weeeee’re doing that yoooooou’re not!”

God forbid that ever happen. If it ever does, we’ll shut this blog down.

But it’s hard to blog about your experiences without it coming across as in a way, bragging. But I assure you, we are not doing that.

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We want to be humble people. Selfless people. Pliable people. Our hearts are not built to insult, hurt, wound or lessen anyone. Sometimes, we just love to share what we do.  Our inspirational posts are not posted to put anyone down and in turn, build ourselves up as something we are not. We are human beings and we struggle with things just like everyone else does. We just like to show how we have been able to overcome and instead of sorrow, add joy to our lives – and show that you can do the same.

We want to continue doing that….and we want to do it with more humility.

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