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Yellow-Eyed Cat

3 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Scribe DiVoran 

Hello, my friends. 

You’ll recall that I am strictly an inside cat. That is because I am a terrific and skillful hunter, and my parents are afraid that I would catch all the birds, squirrels, and rabbits in the back yard and beyond. But one of the things in my DNA is to hunt, so I have to find ways to cope. 

The other reason I’m not allowed outside is that somebody experimented to see whether indoor cats or outdoor cats live longer. Most of the indoor cats lived longer than the outside ones, so I’m not unhappy about that rule. 

We have a garage studio with gaps under the door. Small bugs come in, and I catch them. I can sit for hours in front of a place where I have once caught something. My family approves of my keeping the house clear of such creatures. A couple of days ago, I was trying to get to something I knew was under a throw rug. Mama distracted me and lifted the rug for a second.  Then she knew what was under there, but I didn’t. Mama picked me up, and though I struggled to get back to the rug, I ended up on the screened porch.

Later, I heard her telling Papa that what she’d seen was a black snake the size of a short shoelace with a red ring around its neck. Mama picked him up with her grabber and set him down outside. When she looked later, the baby snake was gone.” Hopefully,” she said, “it wiggled away on its own.” She looked it up on that big machine where she sits and stares at so much of the time, but I can’t remember what the name was. If I keep a close watch on that rug and ruffle it up a lot, I might get to find another one. 

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Three Abalone Shells

27 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

This morning, I was on the back porch doing a gentle exercise when our handy-man George*came to mulch some flower beds in the back yard. He walked up to the porch screen and stood looking at the shelf that goes around the inside of the porch.

 “While I’m thinking about it, would you consider giving me one of them abalone shells?” he said, “I see you’d have two more left.” 

While it sounded like a reasonable request, my heart sank. Suddenly I knew I couldn’t give up even one of my beautiful abalone shells. Some time ago, I gave George a few unusual rocks my rockhound parents had found. I believe in giving things to most people who ask, but the force of sadness that hit me shocked me. Another factor in my feeling of guilt was that George works under several handicaps to make our yard look trimmed and beautiful.  He can’t read or write, and he has no nose because smoking and cancer took it. He’s getting a new one someday, or so the doctors say. He has an ex-wife, and two grown daughters and he does his best to help look after them

George voiced understanding about my sentimentality; still, I felt selfish. But then, I thought about all the hard work Dad put into climbing down into the cold water of the Pacific Ocean to pry abalone off the rocks with a crowbar. Then I thought about my brother’s son, who one day went out for abalones with some good buddies, got caught in a riptide and drowned. These three shells are beautiful, and they remind me of my father and my nephew in a subtle way, and for some reason, they give me peace. 

  But when I told Bill my dilemma, he informed me that all George told him he wanted to saw up the shell and possibly make jewelry from it.   Well, I’ll tell you that was one time when I was glad about saying no.  It was a blessed time when the enemy had to flee from me. Here’s how you tell the difference between a thought from God or an idea planted by the devil. If it comes from fear and condemnation, it’s the devil. If it’s God talking, we feel convicted, healed, and cleansed. 

We’re helping a bit to pass out free food from ranches and farms. As bad as I had momentarily felt about refusing George the abalone shell, I now knew that we had a big box of mixed fruits and vegetables to give him from the farms that donate them. Food is better than empty shells or jewelry any day. But that’s another story altogether. 

*Name changed

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Catbird

20 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Pixabay

I’m glad I never set out to learn bird calls. It would take a long time to learn them all. But, I do recognize most of the trillers that come to our yard. One time I heard a sound like a kitten mewing. I looked around and saw a catbird on a branch, and on that day, I made two discoveries.

1. A catbird was named catbird because it mews like a kitten.

2. The catbird wears a handsome pair of russet-colored feather shorts beneath his tail. 

Speaking of the calls of birds, have you ever read The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter published in 1909? One of the things I love in the book is that the heroine, Elnora, could play the sounds of the swamp on her violin. Wouldn’t that be something beautiful to hear? 

A catbird can sing the songs of many other kinds of birds, as can mockingbirds and others. Catbirds practice each new sound and then blend it into a concert of all the sounds he knows. I have only heard mockingbirds do that, but that’s enough to know it is a precious gift from God. 

As I study birds and writers, I become aware that many living creatures have gifts from God to share with the world.  The Holy Bible tells us that God’s people are blessed with gifts as well.  Our personal gifts can be wisdom, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment, languages, interpretations, and many other things. The same breath of God produces all the gifts, just as it creates the sounds of birds. There is one gift, however that outshines all the rest and that is the gift of Love. 1 Corinthians 13.  What a joy that is!

Here are some of the sounds

And

Here’s the love

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Carolina Wren

13 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo provided by Pixabay

While shy of people, Carolina Wrens seem to like being where people are. If your home is in the suburbs and close to woods and shrubs, you may have the honor of hosting them when they nest in springtime. 

When you hear a sweet clear call that insists you stop, look, and listen, you may be entertaining a Carolina Wren. One of our neighbors had a hanging planter on her front porch with a Carolina Wren nest in it. She greeted the family coming and going and could look out the big plate glass window to keep an eye on them.

We had a Carolina Wren family at our house, too. Our pair decided they liked our back yard. As you know, our yard adjoins a Diceranda refuge, so they didn’t have to go far to find items for the nest. For some reason, we had placed a small plastic table under the kitchen window. It had a plant in a terracotta pot in it. We kept seeing the Carolina Wrens when we looked out the window, but we didn’t know they were building a nest that would be so close to the ground.  We started in right away to worry about cats, snakes, hawks, and any other dangers for the babies we could think of. 

The mother and father worked together on the nest. It looked like a woven bowl with a big enough opening for the eggs and could accommodate parent-sitter taking his or her turn. The one that wasn’t sitting searched for food and brought it home.

 I read that the Carolina Wren eats caterpillars, moths, and roaches, along with other delicacies. For a treat, sometimes they catch a lizard or frog. They get plenty of protein, but they also consume plant material such as fruits and seeds from various wild plants. I don’t think they ever get any chocolate, poor things. Oh well, it’s probably not suitable for baby birds anyhow.

The one thing that surprised me most after seeing three tiny babies was that that the parents not only flew in with something in their beaks, but they flew out that way too.  We talked it over and decided that we probably knew what it was. It looked like a tiny white capsule. What do you think it was? Here’s a hint, it’s something we all have to clean up.

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Screech Owl

6 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

I saw a screech owl no bigger than a pint carton standing in our birdbath the other day. I’m so glad they have come back. We had them in the back when we first moved into our new house in Florida. 

When we first moved to Titusville, where Bill had a job at the Space Center, we were thrilled with the quietness and the jungle-like terrain. Driving into town on Highway 50 in our Corvair, we crossed the St. John’s River in a rainstorm. It was raining water all right, but it also seemed to be raining frogs. They were all over the highway, and we could see them leaping in the headlights and hear them crunching as we ran over them. There was nothing else we could do. The heavy rain, the darkness all around, and hoping we were getting closer to our destination, but not knowing where overwhelmed us. Fortunately, our two children, one three years old and one eighteen months, were sound asleep in the back seat. 

We finally landed at a motel reserved for us by the company and dragged our bedraggled selves in for a rest. We were in the motel for three weeks while daddy went to work, and mother established a routine with the little ones. We walked down to the river early in the morning. The heat and humidity were like nothing we had ever experienced or even knew existed. Then we went back to the motel room and read books and played with toys until lunch, blessedly they had air conditioning. We took naps in the afternoon after the fierce and loud thunderstorms. We hadn’t experienced that kind of weather either.

It was July when we got into our house. It’s a fine house, but at the time, we had no AC.  The only times we got cool were when we laid out flat on the stone terrazzo floor, stepped into a cold shower, or took our supper down to the river where a pleasant breeze blew. 

There were many frogs at our house, too. They covered the sliding glass doors and were all over the cement pad that would one day become a full-sized patio. These were green tree frogs; sometimes, they were called tree peepers. You could compare their color with a Key lime, which is small and bright. Golden racing stripes ran down both sides. I figured it was genuine gold because why would God use anything else? 

We lived in Imperial Estates, which was surrounded by scrub and pines. At night when we were sleeping with our windows open, we heard the castanet sound of cicadas so loudly we sometimes put our pillows over our heads. But sometimes we heard other creatures, too. Every evening we listened to the nocturnal Chuck Will’s Widow whose call had three notes. The call is unique, but that was a long time ago, and apparently, all the Chuck Will’s Widows from around here have gone someplace else now. 

Another thing we heard in the night was the baying of hunting dogs in the woods behind our house. Oh, yes, it was a lovely jungly place to be, and we loved it and love it still. To me, the calls of the screech owls were long and varied.

None of the other birds or animals stayed around with that owl there. They are voracious. They have many ways of sounding out. Some of them sound like a cry of agony. It scared us all when we first heard it in the night, but then we asked some old-timers what it was, and they said, “screech owls.” Once we knew, we slept right through it. I like knowing that the screech owls’ nest in hollows in trees and sometimes in the larger woodpecker holes. It reminds me of the stories I read as a child where everybody lived in hollow trees and holes in the ground. 

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Red-Shouldered Hawk

29 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo by Melody Hendrix

For years I didn’t pay much attention to the birds in our yard and around the neighborhood. Then one day, our friends who lived on a marsh invited us over to admire the hawk nest in a big tree near their driveway. I was thrilled to see one of the parents settle down on the nest to feed the babies.  When our friends moved away, we didn’t think much more about hawks. That is until our Pastor, Bill began to track a pair of courting hawks on the church campus. 

As it happens, we live within the same mile square the church is in, so soon, we began to watch and hear the hawks over our house, too. They were so busy flying around calling to each other or doing air aerobics that we couldn’t ignore them. And when the nestlings grew big enough to leave the nest, we enjoyed watching them fly over or set down on the top of a lamppost. 

About eighteen days before incubation, the adult hawks go into a frenzy of happiness. They become singers and dancers in earnest.  Their loud, short cries fill the air.  One soars straight up then zooms back into the airspace of the other. They chase across the sky, calling as if they are telling the whole world about God’s goodness.

The first time I saw a hawk standing nonchalantly under an oak tree in someone’s yard, I was startled, but he wasn’t. Yesterday, one flew low, then zoomed in and perched on the lamppost in front of our house. He sat quietly with his back to me, and I think he listened as I told him how beautiful he was. 

Pixabay

Hawks are too large to take a bath in a home birdbath, but one afternoon I looked out in the back yard and saw a Red-shouldered hawk perched on our chain-link fence. I felt a bit sorry for him because it was raining, but as I watched, my sympathy turned to good cheer. He didn’t need a bath; he needed a rain shower. He opened his wings and flapped them, and he shook himself vigorously. That was when I thought again about God’s provision for all His creatures and remembered the Louis Armstrong song, “What a Wonderful Day.” 

Pixabay

Learn more about hawks at All about Red-Shouldered Hawks

What a Wonderful World

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Mourning Dove

22 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photos by Melody Hendrix

I have a confession. I love all wild birds, but I had a mix-up in my mind about doves. We have two kinds that come to our yard day after day, week after week. They never fail to visit, and we are so used to them that we don’t have much to say about them. I guess you could say we ignore them or we take them for granted. Unlike the painted bunting, they stay all year. The only difference between the two types is that the mourning dove is bigger than the other one. 

My problem was I like bright colors on birds and copious amounts of song, and that’s why I never gave the doves much attention.  Of course, if we didn’t have so many beautiful birds on our feeders and using our water bowls, I would appreciate even the doves.  

So, when I looked up doves on Bible Gateway, I discovered that God loves them very much, all of them. Noah loved his dove when it came back to the ark after being set loose to find some land. He took her gently into his hand and put her in her safe, wooden cage. Seven days later, he sent her out again. You’d think that if the dove had found a perch for the sole of her foot, she would have stayed there. But she didn’t.  She was faithful and went the extra mile to make Noah happy. 

I can understand why the people kept doves for food and why they used them for the required sacrifices. The book of Leviticus has nine references to dove sacrifice. But one-day, Jesus turned over the chairs of the sellers of sacrificial doves. I always thought he did that because he didn’t want people doing business in the synagogue on the Sabbath. And maybe that is the only reason Jesus did it. Reading about doves, though, has convinced me that it meant something else to our Lord as well. By this time, he knew he was going to be the last and ultimate sacrifice, and there would be no more need for doves or cattle or sheep in exchange for forgiveness of sin. He knew he was the only sacrifice ever to be required. When He went to the cross to die, he went so that God would adopt us. When we acknowledge our sinful nature, God sets us free to join God’s family. That is the greatest wonder and privilege a human can ever know. 

From the list I was looking at, the last reference in the Bible about doves was John 2:14 that meant no more sacrifices,  no more doves, and nothing more killed in the name of the law.  

Isn’t it wonderful that all of nature teaches us about God and his love for us?

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Northern Bobwhites

15 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Backyard Birds

To my surprise, I’ve discovered that 130 different breeds of quail grace our beautiful earth. 

Where we live, near Cape Kennedy, close to the Indian River, the quails are Northern Bobwhites. I also learned that Bobwhites need the same habitat as Florida Scrub-Jays. While the Jays build their nests in low shrubs and bushes, the  Bob-Whites weave their nests on the ground. 

Quail are like human tribes that live together, work together, and travel together. Sometimes they sleep in a circle with their tails toward the middle of the ring. That reminds me of western movies that show wagon trains circle up for the same reason.

Years ago, we heard Bob-Whites calling out from the scrub habitat behind our house. We have not heard them for a long time, however, so we were glad to see a juvenile quail wander into the yard and start eating the seeds other birds had tossed to the ground from the feeder. Suddenly we saw a flurry of feathers and surmised the juvenile was in trouble. It got even worse when we saw a blurry show of feathers and figured the worried mother wanted to teach her offspring not to go off on his own.  

Our environmentalist son once told a story about quails where he and his wife take their morning walk. Its a place where there are few houses and many fields. One day they saw baby quails inside a field fence chirping and calling. Then they heard the two-note song of a mature quail. The small birds scurried off as fast as he could go. I doubt if those babies got into much trouble, though, they just wanted to be with their tribe. That was accomplished by staying in touch and honoring whoever was looking after them. 

A Bible verse comes to mind:

“Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” 

Exodus 20:12  

Photo credit Pixabay

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Mockingbirds

8 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo Pixabay

Mockingbirds live in the lower half of the United States, going a little north to breed. We have always had them in our subdivision in Florida, which is semi surrounded by woods. When I put on my white hat and sunglasses and take up my trekking poles to go on a walk, I usually come near a mockingbird or two.

Many times, they seem to follow me and then fly a bit ahead to the top of a low tree to stage a concert. One day I stayed to the end of the beautiful music, marveling how many different songs the Mockingbird knew. The research I’ve read majors on their singing, and I major on it too. During such a song, they will be sitting like an angel at the top of a Christmas Tree.

What I love, is to see one lift his wings and pop up off the tree and quickly land again. It seems he is so full of happiness that he cannot contain it. That is to me, a sign that God gives his winged creatures joy just as he does His people.  

I believe God gave Mockingbirds the gift of singing as an example for his sons and daughters on earth. He wants all his people to love music as much as He does. He wants us to sing and play instruments as praise to him and all He does for us. Our Lord likes to hear us making praise noises, whether we can sing or not. When we read the Bible, we see how much God loves songs. 

All about Mockingbirds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Psalm 100 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Praise God100 A poetic song for thanksgiving
“1 Lift up a great shout of joy to the Lord!
Go ahead and do it—everyone, everywhere!
As you serve him, be glad and worship him.
Sing your way into his presence with joy!

 

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Cardinal

25 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photos by Melody 

You can imagine our astonishment when we moved to Florida from California and saw our first Cardinal. Males the color of fire engines immediately caught our attention. It took a bit longer to acknowledge the beauty of the females in their soft orange and taupe finery and their orange bills. 

After we had lived in our home in Florida for a few years, we decided to make our back yard into a refuge for birds and butterflies, and that was when we began to observe their behavior more closely. We heard the sweet and clear calls of the birds. I’ve read since they have 16 different calls and songs. Last year a female cardinal built a small nest close to our front porch. When it was finished, she patiently sat on the eggs and the male brought her food day after day. Later in the process, he sat on the nest to give her a few short breaks. 

The babies hatched in twelve days. The parents stayed close, one watching while the other gathered food. The babies grew until the nest seemed way too small for them. Then one day they were gone. Oh, no, they weren’t ready! Did something get them? It seemed a great loss and we felt terrible that we had not been able to take care of them.

The next day I went into the back yard, and there I saw two small brownish birds clinging to the stems of the jasmine vine that covered the back fence.  Having seen them in the nest, we knew these were our baby cardinals! In a few days we began to see their parents teach them how to fly, how to take a bath, and best of all how to sing and call. It seems to me all the world sings in one way or another, and it tells me that our Lord God loves all kinds of music. I know he loves to hear it from his beloved people like you and me. 

“All I need to do is to call to you, singing to you, the praiseworthy God.

When I do, I’m safe and sound in you.”

The Passion Translation Psalm 18:3 

Hear the songs of the cardinal

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

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