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All of God’s Creatures

17 Apr

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix


I am blessed to have Gopher Tortoise live in my yard. They come and go seasonally. I experienced an amazing sight last year that sadly I didn’t have my camera with me, but I must tell the story.

The young female tortoise in the video had just discovered an area in my yard that was full of edible delights. When she was finished eating and returning to her burrow, another tortoise over twice her size had wandered in the yard. When the young tortoise saw the stranger, it immediately ran over to it, lunged and started biting its neck and head, trying to protect her newly discovered food source.



The larger tortoise got a little irritated and pushed her over on her back, then righted her back up again. Still the little female aggressively attacked. So the larger tortoise pushed her over and righted her repeatedly, about 5 times. Then the larger one saw me and ran away leaving the little female on her back. I righted her and sent her home.

I don’t believe she would have been left that way had I not been there. It was only a display of power and not death.  It was an amazing sight for me. I enjoy their presence in my yard. They are ancient gentle souls and so vulnerable in our busy and dangerous world. Below is a video of one of the female tortoises laying eggs in my yard.



Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature. Pope Francis



Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. Meistes Echhart

Jesus says of the birds of the air that not one of them is forgotten before God. How then can we possibly mistreat them or cause them harm?  Pope Francis



We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.  Immanuel Kant

Our task must be to free ourselves…. by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.  Albert Einstein

Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.  Frances Hodgson Burnett



Creatures will praise God on Earth … I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and on the sea. Every creature in those places was singling, “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and power forever and ever.”  Revelation 5:13

God has given human beings all the other creatures for our benefit. We are entrusted to care for the earth and everything that lives on it. We must respect every creature’s goodness and place in the order of creation.

Walk gently upon this earth.


Painting by DiVoran Lites




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

Masterpiece of God

10 Apr

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

The Living Water of Life

3 Apr

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix



A river is a conveyance of the most primordial element of life—water.
This river of water of life is a symbol of God in Christ as the Spirit flowing Himself into His redeemed people to be their life and life supply.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14


Ancient civilizations sprang up around rivers for good reason. Humans can only survive 3-5 days without water. We need water for basic life functions like circulation, respiration, and converting food to energy. After oxygen (another symbol of the Spirit), water is the body’s most important nutrient.



A river has three aspects.

Such a flowing river has a source, a course, and a flow.  (Rev. 22:1).
In these three aspects of a river, the persons of the Triune God, the move of God, and the eternal intention of God are all profoundly typified.

The Water Of Life.



Most Relevant Verses.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38-39 

Verse Concepts.

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. Proverbs 18:4 



Verse Concepts

He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.
Psalm 110:7

Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. Isaiah 12:3

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– Genesis 3:22-24 

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1-2


Verse Concepts.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14

It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Ezekiel 47:9




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

Dolphins…Angels of the Sea

27 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix



Dolphins….angels of the sea
Our hearts are with you, little souls, stay strong.


Although our oceans teem with life, few creatures of the great blue expanse are as magical as dolphins.


 10 fascinating dolphin facts that will make you love them even more.


1. Nearly 40 species of dolphins swim the waters of the world. Most live in shallow areas of tropical and temperate oceans, and five species live in rivers.

2. Dolphins are carnivores. Fish, squid and crustaceans are included in their list of prey. A 260-pound dolphin eats about 33 pounds of fish a day.

3. Known for their playful behavior, dolphins are highly intelligent. They are as smart as apes, and the evolution of their larger brains is surprisingly similar to humans.



4. Dolphins are part of the family of whales that includes orcas and pilot whales. Killer whales are actually dolphins.


5. Dolphins are very social, living in groups that hunt and even play together. Large pods of dolphins can have 1,000 members or more.



6. Depending on the species, gestation takes nine to 17 months. After birth, dolphins are surprisingly maternal. They have been observed nestling and cuddling their young.


7. A dolphin calf nurses for up to two years. Calves stay with the mothers anywhere from three to eight years.



8. Dolphins have acute eyesight both in and out of the water. They hear frequencies 10 times the upper limit of adult humans. Their sense of touch is well-developed, but they have no sense of smell.


9. Dolphins have few natural enemies. Humans are their main threat. Pollution, fishing and hunting mean some dolphin species have an uncertain future. In 2006, the Yangtze River dolphin was named functionally extinct.


10. Because dolphins are mammals, they need to come to the surface of the water to breathe. Unlike land mammals that breathe and eat through their mouths, dolphins have separate holes for each task. Dolphins eat through their mouths and breathe through their blowholes. This prevents the dolphin from sucking up water into the lungs when hunting, reducing the risk of drowning.


Here is more interesting information:


 The evidence for this evolutionary history can still be seen in dolphins today. Adult dolphins have remnant finger bones in their flippers, as well as vestigial leg bones.</divv


Dolphins stay awake for weeks on end.


Recent research has shown the surprising capabilities of dolphins for staying awake for days or weeks on end — or possibly indefinitely.  On the one hand, the ability makes perfect sense. Dolphins need to go to the ocean’s surface to breathe, so they can’t simply breathe automatically like humans do. They have to stay constantly awake to take a breath and avoid drowning. How do they do this? By resting just one half of their brain at a time, a process called unihemispheric sleep.


Brian Branstetter, a marine biologist with the National Marine Mammal Foundation, and fellow researchers conducted a test with two dolphins, seeing how long they could stay alert. According to Live Science:
The scientists found these dolphins could successfully use echolocation with near-perfect accuracy and no sign of deteriorating performance for up to 15 days. The researchers did not test how much longer the dolphins could have continued. “Dolphins can continue to swim and think for days without rest or sleep, possibly indefinitely,” Branstetter told LiveScience. These findings suggest that dolphins evolved to sleep with only half their brains not only to keep from drowning, but also to remain vigilant.
Breathing and not being eaten are two excellent reasons to keep at least half of the brain active at all times. But what about baby dolphins? Turns out, they don’t sleep at all either! For as long as a month after birth, dolphin calves don’t catch a wink of sleep. Researchers think this is overall an advantage, helping the calf to better escape predators, keep the body temperatures up while the body accumulates blubber, and even encourage brain growth.
“Somehow these seafaring mammals have found a way to cope with sleep deprivation, facilitating rather than hindering a crucial phase of development for their offspring,
Dolphins can’t chew. If you’ve ever watched a dolphin eat, you’ve noticed that they seem to gulp down their food. That’s because dolphins can’t chew. Instead, their teeth are used to grip prey. Sometimes, they’ll shake it or rub it on the ocean floor to tear it into more manageable pieces. One theory for why they’ve evolved to do away with chewing is because they need to quickly consume fish before it can swim away. Skipping the process of chewing ensures their meal doesn’t escape.”


Dolphins have worked for the Navy since the 1960s.


The idea of dolphins being employed by the military to scan harbors for enemy swimmers or pinpoint the location of underwater mines may seem like the plot of a B-rated movie. But it’s true and has been for more than 50 years. Since the 1960s, the U.S. Navy has been utilizing dolphins and training them to detect underwater mines. Much the same way bomb-detecting dogs work by using smell, dolphins work by using echolocation. Their superior ability to scan an area for particular objects allows them to zero in on mines and drop a marker at the spot. The Navy can then go in and disarm the mine. The echolocation abilities of dolphins far outstrip anything people have come up with to do the same job.
Dolphins are also used to alert the Navy to any enemies in harbors. Business Insider reports
“The Navy Marine Mammal Program at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (or SPAWAR) in San Diego, California trains 85 dolphins and 50 sea lions, according to SPAWAR spokesman Jim Fallin.”
There has of course been a good deal more speculated about the uses to which the military puts dolphins, including claims that they train them to kill people or plant explosives on ships. None of this has been confirmed by the military. Still, animal activists have long opposed the use of dolphins for military purposes.


Dolphins teach their young how to use tools.


A 2005 study by researchers revealed that a population of dolphins living in Shark Bay, Australia use tools, and they pass that knowledge down from mother to daughter.
Individuals in this small group of dolphins will search for several minutes to find cone-shaped sea sponges that are shaped for the task. They tear this sea sponge free of the ocean floor, then carry it on their beaks to a hunting ground where they use it to probe the sand for hiding fish. The researchers think this helps protect their sensitive snouts while they hunt. The behavior is called “sponging,” and the researchers found it was not only the first instance of tool use in cetaceans, but it’s also evidence of culture among non-humans.


According to National Geographic:
The hunting tactic was almost wholly confined to a small group of females and their daughters among the Shark Bay population, with just a single male showing the same behavior. The challenge for the study team was to find out whether sponging is acquired through social learning — and therefore evidence of culture — or is transmitted genetically. The researchers analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (DNA passed down by females) of 13 spongers and 172 nonspongers. They found the trait appeared to be passed on mostly within a single family line from mother to daughter and that sponging most likely originated in a recent ancestor. “
It’s clearly culture, and a behavior taught by mothers to their offspring. It’s another bit of evidence showing just how intelligent and social dolphins really are.


Dolphins get high on fish toxins.


We know that pufferfish have strong toxins. Apparently dolphins know this too, and they use this for recreational benefit. Normally, pufferfish toxin is deadly. However, in small doses the toxin acts like a narcotic. BBC filmed dolphins gently playing with a pufferfish, passing it between pod members for 20 to 30 minutes, then hanging around at the surface seemingly mesmerized by their own reflections.


Reports The Independent:


Rob Pilley, a zoologist who also worked as a producer on the series, told the Sunday Times: “This was a case of young dolphins purposely experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating … It reminded us of that craze a few years ago when people started licking toads to get a buzz, especially the way they hung there in a daze afterwards. It was the most extraordinary thing to see.”  Apparently humans aren’t the only species to knowingly dabble in strange substances to achieve an altered state of mind!


Dolphins call each other by name.


Dolphins have names and respond when called. Dolphins within pods have their own “signature whistle,” just like a name, and other dolphins can use that special whistle to get the attention of their pod mates. Considering dolphins are a highly social species with the need to stay in touch over distances and coordinate together, it makes sense that they would have evolved to use “names” much in the same way people do.
According to the BBC, researchers followed a group of wild bottlenose dolphins, recording their signature whistles and then playing the calls back to the dolphins
“The researchers found that individuals only responded to their own calls, by sounding their whistle back. The team believes the dolphins are acting like humans: when they hear their name, they answer.”
What’s more, they don’t respond when the signature whistles of dolphins from strange pods are played, showing that they’re looking for and responding to specific information within whistles. The research opens up whole new questions about the extent of dolphin vocabulary and also could reveal clues about the evolution of our own language skills.



I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

God Exists

20 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

How to “SEE” the abstract world

6 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix


In this post I hope to help you see and photograph abstracts. Since this is new for me too, many of the images are from the Internet for demonstration. Abstract photography is a challenge but there are some basic tips to get you started off in the right direction.


Believe it or not, your smart phone is the easiest way to take abstracts.


You can just hold up the screen and go on a search for cool close ups, walls, floors, architecture, nature, etc.. Most abstracts are seen by looking at a scene and getting closer and closer to it until you start seeing elements such as patterns, lines, shapes, colors and textures that photographed in a certain way (good composition) can make an appealing image.

Some of the best places to go to look for abstract opportunities are recreational places for kids. It’s always colorful with lines and boldness everywhere. Malls, tourist entertainment areas, gardens, etc are all places that surround you with possibilities.
You could just go around the house and use your phone as a frame and zero in on things that make  it’s own little picture. We  tend to see the entirety and the big picture of life. But looking at the world only through a tiny frame, gives you an entirely different perspective. If you imagine this grid inside your frame. This is an overlay grid in your camera that will appear on your screen. It will be in your menu. Or you can just imagine it over what you are photographing.


The idea is to place the most important features in your picture on one of the lines. Better yet, on one of the intersctions of the lines. You can hold this frame up to things letting your eyes only see within that frame. Turn your frame vertically, horizonally, diagonally. The idea is to see little miniture pictures within your frame.


There are no rules, but it is helpful if it has at least one of the items listed below.

The most important thing to remember is that after you find your point of interest, adjust your view of it by turning your frame in many directions until you find a good composition.


Composition takes some time to learn and feel, but basically it can be easy using a rule of thirds overlay from your camera or just imagine it over your scene.

Composition is one of the most important elements in any art form.

As well as being visually interesting, abstract photography can create a sense of mystery, making the viewer wonder what it is and whether there’s more to it than first meets the eye. But why you would want to create an image of something that the viewer won’t be able to immediately recognize?

The main purpose of abstract photography and art is to evoke some kind of emotional response from the viewer.
The viewer can create their own story about the image, based on their own reality, experiences and feelings.

Below are some other things to look for.

Look for Lines and Curves


Line and curves are going to give your viewer something to base their new meaning on and add visual interest. Without these shapes, your eye wouldn’t travel through and across the image. Lines have other uses too, like in visual design.

Go Macro.


As we get increasingly close to some subjects, the detail that was not apparent at regular viewing distance may emerge as an abstract photograph separate from the object photographed. Fill the entire frame with the subject, eliminating unwanted backgrounds which is essential for abstract photography.

Shoot Through Another Object


Abstract photography often makes use of objects and turn them into filters. Shooting through a glass bottle, a rain splattered window, or even water might give you just the distortion or light refraction you need to create a really interesting and truly abstract image.

Seek out Texture and Patterns


Emphasizing patterns is one way to take a picture of a normal object that is composed abstractly.

Abstraction by Movement

One way to reduce information, thus creating an abstract photograph is by using motion. This may be subject motion, photographer motion, camera motion, or a combination of any of the above. The easiest way to do this is to put your settings on scene mode landscape and take a picture moving the camera up and down, twirling around, back and forth, diagonally or wiggly is low light.

Choose Strong Shapes


Look for pleasing, interesting or dynamic shapes. They will add structure to your photograph and attract the viewer’s attention. Strong geometrical shapes with straight edges and angled corners will give your photo the most powerful visual impact. For a more subtle impact, choose softer organic shapes such as pebbles and flowers. Think about how to best capture the shape in the image and what angle to shoot it from.

Use Color To Grab Attention


Color is one of the first things that attracts the attention of the viewer, especially from a distance. It also serves to hold their attention for a longer period of time. Using highly saturated or intense colors is another way of grabbing the viewers attention. Contrasting colors will create dynamic photographs.

Look For Repeating Patterns

Emphasizing patterns is a great way of creating an abstract image out of an ordinary object. Using patterns can help to draw your eye around or into the image.

Photograph Reflections

Reflections in water or other shiny surfaces provide a fantastic source of abstract scenes to photograph. The distorted effects you get from rippled water or uneven reflective surfaces create an abstract alternative reality.

Most of all, have fun with your photography. It’s a rewarding hobby.
Next week will be a new adventure.





I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

The Abstract World

27 Feb

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix


I wasn’t sure what I was going to blog about next. I thought and thought about it.  The next morning I was to go on a morning shoot to Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

My friend and I set out to do some abstract photography of the buildings and water reflections. This is a new thing for us and an exciting one. So I decided that I would share this new interest with you. I have always loved abstract photography, but it is something that you have to be focused to see and do. You have to re-program your eyes to see differently. And we were ready.


All photography works on an instinctive and subconscious level, but more-so with abstracts. When we look at these types of images we don’t necessarily have a rational response. The images are suggestive, sometimes shunning the logical and expected. They are mystifying rather than explanatory, unusual, quirky, idiosyncratic. Their uniqueness makes them very powerful and can engage our imagination very quickly.

The ocean/beach horizon at twilight.

Abstract photography is based on the photographers eye. We’re looking to capture something in a way that it would not usually be seen. Looking for the details, the patterns, the lines, the form, shape and colors that complete a subject and utilizing those key features to make an engaging image.

Sun lit palmetto leaf.


To capture an image in nature as an abstract, you don’t need any special equipment – just a camera, and the most importantly, your own imagination. What matters most is that your photograph reveals an eye-pleasing image, whether you can identify the actual subject or not. In fact it usually doesn’t have a subject. Only pleasing aspects that both calm and stimulate your mind.

Reflection in the water of a building.

If you want to try something different – the challenge of making something new out of something familiar couldn’t be better. Take an ordinary, everyday object in your home or yard and turn it into something of wonder and beauty.
You’ll never run out of subject matter. Imagine the possibilities – everything around you is potential material. You’ll uncover a whole new world. I love taking everyday objects and transforming them into something completely different and unrecognisable. It’s a great challenge to go beyond what we see and create an alternative view of the world.
Surface texture and color of an outdoor pottery flower pot.


There are no clear rules to abstract photography. The object of the photo may or may not be recognizable. Abstract images may contain a small portion of an object or multiple objects. An abstract will often concentrate on a limited area of a subject that reveals a shape, pattern, form, color or texture. Movement can also create abstract images, such as rushing water or the wind blowing a flower.

Tree landscape – the camera was moved up and down while the shutter was open. 


Beach waves at twilight. the camera was moved back and forth horizontally while the shutter was open.


In the next weeks to come I will talk about abstracts in detail. I will try to help you see. This is a rewarding type of photography because you can simply use your phone or any camera. There are no rules and once you get the hang of it, it can be come an obsession. Next week “How to look at things differently and zero in on another world.


The bow of a boat and it’s reflection.





I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
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