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Giving Thanks 2020

By Diane Bedard Posted on November 25, 2020

As 2020 winds down and families are preparing for America’s biggest holidays, I wanted to just write you some encouragement.

I am recovering from a bad fall and have been forced to slow down for the last month which always makes me introspective.

Dealing with the chaos of the COVID-19 virus has hurt our country dramatically. We have always been a nation of people who love gathering with others to celebrate.

When we risk bringing a sickness that may permanently injure, or even kill, one of our fellow countrymen, our merriment and even livelihoods have been curtailed.

When we are fighting a plague that has no clear-cut cause or solution, our leaders have not given clear direction on how to unite and overcome. We have been left to find our way personally.

As we have to weigh human physical illness against human economic collapse, there is no clear answer as to what to do. Each one must personally decide how much caution we will use to protect ourselves and our countrymen from injury.

Image by Diane Bedard

NatureCoaster is Grateful for You

As an online publication, NatureCoaster has been able to weather this storm fairly well. We have welcomed new partners and new readers to our family.

As a publication that does not cover political news or advertisements, we have been able to focus on the blessing of living in an area with lots of open spaces.

It was very difficult for our Calendar of Events business in 2020, but as several vaccines for this horrid disease are coming to the forefront, I have hope for some return to revelry in 2021.

Meanwhile, we are committed to riding the storm out with you.

We were blessed with an Economic Injury Disaster Loan which gives a cushion that NatureCoaster, as a bootstrap business, never had. It has allowed us to think more about long-term planning and direction, so expect some positive changes from us in 2021.

Enjoy one-on-one attention at a small retailer in Florida’s Nature Coast. This image is from the Red Brick Place in Floral City. It was taken before COVID-19, but now they are wearing masks.

Shop Small Saturday November 28

Small businesses, which make up an overwhelming majority of the businesses and employers in Florida’s Nature Coast, have been hit particularly hard in 2020. Some have given up, but most of the ones we work with have hunkered down and done what is necessary to stay afloat.

We have the opportunity to help them this season. When I began NatureCoaster in 2014, I was more of a discount store shopper. As I began looking around the stores I was selling to, I noticed that their prices were not much, if any, different than what was online – and they had some really unique things! Not to mention the SERVICE, including gift wrapping and shipping by some.

The White Heron in New Port Richey offers everything tea, as well as select gifts, soaps and lotions and a great selection of unique items in all price ranges. Image by Diane Bedard.

Over the years, I have moved toward a Shop Small mentality, choosing a gift for someone (often myself) while visiting one of our magical downtowns or strip center entrepreneur-owned shops.

Grateful for Abundant Outdoor Spaces

Osceola Turkeys are only found in Florida’s peninsula. A Nature Coast rancher, JB Starkey, helped bring the population back on his expansive Anclote River Ranch. Now Starkey Ranch subdivision in Odessa, it has a warm place in my heart. Image by Chad Weber courtesy of FWC.

I am not afraid to go out. I use protection encouraged by the Center for Disease Control to reduce the possibility of me catching or sharing Coronavirus. Having spoken with and visited several Nature Coast small business owners, the ones I have visited are taking things very seriously.

Whenever I get overwhelmed by the responsibility of guiding this endeavor, I go outside.

Kayaking throughout Florida’s Nature Coast can help alleviate the stress of media overload. Image by Diane Bedard.

I find tremendous solace in the woods, the fields, and the water. The sun comes up each morning whether I look for it or not. The flora and fauna continue without any worry about diseases or direction.

It’s lots of fun to pick fresh strawberries together and the time is now through late January. Image by Diane Bedard.

Overcoming 2020’s Challenges Together

Fear is our enemy. Let us unite and defeat our enemy.

If you have needs, there are many programs available to help. Feel free to drop us a line and we will try to guide you because together we can overcome these plagues and share in the beauty of our communities.

Be blessed and be a blessing throughout 2020’s holiday season.


EO says

Thanks Diane...what a nice article!!


Richard K Riley says

What a very positive and affirming editorial/column. Sorry to hear of your injury, but glad to read your gems in your writing.
My favorite this morning is: "The sun comes up each morning whether I look for it or not." A great touch of reality.
Thank you.


Marilynn deChant says

Hi Diane...goodness! You had a fall???!!! I am so sorry to here that and hope you'll be all right soon. Thank you for this lovely message and so it's so fitting for this time of year. I also like to shop in my downtown, New Port Richey. It's just lovely and we have some great shops. Looking forward to a better 2021 for all! My best to you always!



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