Tag Archives: Florida

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

17 Dec

My Take
DiVoran Lites

 

 

 

We hardly ever have snow here in Florida,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we do have mistletoe growing wild in our woods.

We don’t ski here, except for water-skiing on nice days.

We do have lots of citizens wearing themselves out

Decorating, cooking, visiting, shopping in stores and online.

Trying to “get ready.”

 

I wonder what your favorite thing is about Christmas.

Is it the music, the decorations, the food, or

Perhaps the get-togethers and visits?

We have a small family and of course the

Best earthly treasure is our time together.

I like the music next.

I put a Christmas station on Pandora and

Play it all day, every day until Bill is ready to hear

Something else.

 

No matter how we feel about the holiday itself,

We can never forget the young pregnant woman

Who bore the son of God

And dear Joseph the carpenter who helped

Rear Him.

But most of all,

Christ came to earth and spent his life

Reaching out and he spent his death atoning for sin.

We are charged to invite the Holy Spirit to bless others

Through us,so they may know Him and His Father.

We are invited to receive healing for our bodies

Our emotions, and our souls

Good cheer is available all year round

When each day includes relationship

With Jesus-Redeemer.

 

Author, Poet and Artist

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.”

Take a Hike

1 May

 

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

As far back as I remember, I have felt a deep connection to the natural world. Even as a kid, I felt a longing to explore when I saw a patch of woods. I would wonder, what mysteries lies beyond the palms, what earth treasures might I find in the mossy limbs of the oaks.  What creatures roam there?

Going out in nature wasn’t something my family did, so I am not sure how or why I was born with such a strong lure to seek out the answers to the mystery of nature. Today that connection is there, stronger than ever. When I want to find peace, and well being, I spend at least a few hours walking somewhere that isn’t man made. Where the sounds sooth the soul and the presence of old trees awakens your sense of place. The smell of earth and life renewing itself, all encompass my being in the love of God. Thank you dear Lord for your precious gifts.

 

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.  unknown

Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world   John Muir

 

 

Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.  David Suzuki

 

 

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.  Aristotle

 

Florida provides a unique hiking experience in the United States. Our hiking season, is October to April, and the best backpacking is January through March. Florida is so diverse in environments and scenic habitats. We have forests, rivers, lakes, springs, swamps and ocean.

Hiking in Florida can be tough but so rewarding. Education is the key to keeping you safe and comfortable so you are free to totally enjoy the beauty of Gods creation.

If you know what is out there, what to avoid and how, what to enjoy and how, you don’t have to fear the unknown and can free yourself to be at peace.

Florida is a beautiful and diverse state. The link below will guide you to a wonderful and safe outdoor experience. There are also many driving trails available in Florida. This is a great alternative in the heat of the buggy summer.

 

 

 

Log off, shut down ….  Go outside

https://floridahikes.com/floridatrail/plan-your-hike/

 

 

 

 

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.
Melody

 

Geese

26 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

I don’t know much about geese.

I know they are big birds with attitude.

I know they are wild or domestic.

I know there are a lot of them in some places.

 

I know Daddy bought a goose

To fatten for Thanksgiving

And kept it in the shed.

I was supposed to feed it,

But I thought too much and let the goose out

Daddy sent the kids to look for it

All we found was a hut woven of willow branches

Among the willow bushes

Next to Grape Greek.

Inside we saw a mat on the floor

And a picture of a woman

With an old fashioned hair-do

Propped nearby.

When we got home,

Daddy was perturbed, but didn’t punish.

 

In a big lake in Orlando where swans live too

Geese challenge people for the right of way

And you have to stand up for yourself

After all, God gave dominion did he not?

 

In that park we saw a woman filling

A plastic bag with large white eggs

Goose eggs or swan eggs?

And taking them to an official looking car.

Where were they going?

Florida Travel~Blowing Rocks Preserve

1 Aug

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

Blowing Rocks Preserve    574 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound, FL 33455

Blowing Rocks Preserve is an environmental preserve on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Martin County, Florida. It is owned by The Nature Conservancy. It contains the largest Anastasia limestone outcropping on the state’s east coast.

 

 

 

The dark, jagged rocks are a specific type of sedimentary rock called Anastasia limestone.

 

 

Scientists disagree on exactly how far inland the limestone extends, exactly when it was formed (most likely around 120,000 years ago, in the Pleistocene Age) and whether it was formed by a single event or by multiple changes in sea level.

A few things scientists can agree on:

Anastasia limestone extends along Florida’s coast from St. Augustine to Boca Raton, and

Blowing Rocks Preserve harbors the largest outcropping on the U.S. Atlantic Coast.

The exposed rock at the preserve is unusual, not because Anastasia limestone is particularly rare, but because it is commonly found either underground or underwater.

 

 

Also known as coquina, from the Spanish for cockleshell, Anastasia limestone is composed primarily of shell and coral fragments, fossils and sand. Small fossils are clearly visible in the rock faces, most commonly the shells of small clams and oysters or pieces of a large snail called Busycon.

Why is so much of the limestone above ground at Blowing Rocks? No one knows. The land here might have once been part of an exposed sand ridge or the top of a reef, or for some other reason higher than surrounding areas.

At their height in winter, the Blowing Rocks are worth a visit in every season. The wind- and wave-carved limestone forms chimneys and shelves, burrows, blow holes and rocky pools. These offer great opportunities for exploration and imagination, as well as a rare window into Florida’s natural history.

 

 

You may want to check the tide schedule for Jupiter Island.

When the tide is high the water shoots up holes in the rocks. It can be a spectacular sight.

 

 

It is also beautiful to visit at low tide when you can walk the beach and explore the rocks and caves.

 

 

There are some great places in this area to enjoy. One of the places I liked was

Coral Cove Park    19450 County Hwy 707, Tequesta, FL 33469

 

 

This beach also had rocks at low tide, but it also had a nice sandy swimming beach. Coral Cove Park is a waterfront park located in Tequesta, Florida, right outside the city of Jupiter at 19450 State Road 707, Tequesta, FL. Excellent park with beach access. Facility has restrooms and a shower to wash the salt and sand off after a day at the beach. Lots of parking.

​​​​​Carlin Park 400 S. S.R. A1A Jupiter, Florida was another very nice beach park.

Carlin Park is a great place to spend the day. It has many amenities including a beach that has lifeguards. There are pavilions for picnics, a nice small restaurant with good food, a playground for the children. I have been taking my family there for years and it is always well maintained; a very pleasant place to bring the family.

There is a beautiful lighthouse and museum that is a must.

Jupiter Lighthouse and Museum

If you love to beach hop, take a beach tour on your way back home. Start from Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse A1A to S. Beach Rd and follow it north to SE Bridge Rd back to I-95, stopping at all the beautiful beach accesses and explore each beach along the way. Most of them are uncrowded quiet beaches.

 

 

Please visit next week as we leave Florida and go to Savannah and Tybee Island Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

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.
Melody

Florida Travel~Florida Keys

25 Jul

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

I have been going to the Florida Keys for 40 years. It is so tropical and so different from the rest of Florida. If you love the sun, beach life and water, this is paradise.

 

 

Drive the Overseas Highway across a 113-mile chain of coral and limestone islands connected by 42 bridges, one of them seven miles long.

 

Each Key is a little different and offers it’s own uniqueness.

 

 

My favorite Key is Bahia Honda State Park.

 

 

All of the Keys are made up of hard coral and most first time campers are surprised when they try to hammer their tent stakes in the ground. They are useless. One must buy very large nails and drive them in to hold down the tent ties.  This is true also here, but this park is actually one of the few with stunning shallow white sandy beaches and are awarded the worlds best beach.

Henry Flagler’s railroad to Key West turned the remote island of Bahia Honda Key into a tropical destination.

https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Bahia-Honda

The island’s name, Spanish for “deep bay”.

A walk on the Old Bahia Honda Bridge offers a panoramic view of the Gulf and Atlantic waters.

The National Key Deer Refuge On Big Pine Key was established in 1957 to protect and preserve in the national interest of the Key deer and other wildlife resources in the Florida Keys.

 

 

The Refuge is located in the lower Florida Keys and currently consists of approximately 9,200 acres of land that includes pine rockland forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh wetlands, and mangrove forests.

Marathon Key – Snuba dive Sombrero Reef

 

https://www.tildensscubacenter.com/

I have been a scuba diver for many years, but snuba is truly the way to go. Anyone can do it. We dove Sombrero Reef with this company and was very pleased. Check it out if exploring the beautiful underwater world is on your bucket list.

Another delightful thing to do in the Keys is to swim with the dolphin. There are a few places that offer it.

http://www.floridakeysswimwithdolphins.com/

Key West  The Southernmost Point Buoy is an anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida marking the southernmost point in the continental United States.

 

 

Key West Lighthouse. 

As you walk the shops and restauraunts of Key West,

you can see the lighthouse in most locations.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_West_lighthouse

 

And don’t forget to end your day at Mallory Square to enjoy eats, entertainment and celebrate a gorgeous sunset.

Join me next week to enjoy Blowing Rocks. An unusual beach for Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

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.
Melody

Florida Travel~Sanibel

18 Jul

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

Oh Sanibel. I love this place. The white sand beaches and beautiful clear water are spectacular.

 

 

We so enjoyed our stay there.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g34481-Activities-Captiva_Island_Florida.html

Sanibel is a city on Sanibel Island in southwest Florida. One of the features on the island is a beach with a fishing pier called Lighthouse Beach.

 

 

The Causeway Beaches are a water-sports hub and have picnic facilities.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge covers about half of the island. Popular for wildlife enthusiast and bird watching.

The Sanibel Island Light or Point Ybel Light was one of the first lighthouses on Florida’s Gulf coast. The towering, 19th-century Sanibel Lighthouse and a boardwalk winds through marshes.

 

 

The light, 98-foot above sea level, on an iron skeleton tower was first lit on August 20, 1884 and has a central spiral staircase beginning about 10 feet above the ground. It is located on the eastern tip of Sanibel Island, and was built to mark the entrance to San Carlos Bay for ships calling at the port of Punta Rassa, across San Carlos Bay from Sanibel Island.

 

 

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

 

 

The northern part of Sanibel is a little quaint town of Captiva. Different than the lower part. Colorful shops and restaurants. The beaches seem to be even better.

 

 

Below is a list of things to do.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g34481-Activities-Captiva_Island_Florida.html

One of my favorite events was the Sanibel Thriller boat ride. If you love dolphins you will be delighted to see them riding the boats waves and jumping out of the water. It’s a bit of trouble to get there, but so worth it.

 

 

Join me next week for a trip to the Keys.

 

 

 

 

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.
Melody

Matching My Mind to My Location

27 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Yesterday we loaded up the car and left Florida behind. Today we are saying hello North Carolina mountains. Both are beautiful and we are blessed more than we deserve to have precious friends and family in both places.

My first step toward settling in was a trip to the grocery this morning.  I was intent on mentally checking off the items on my list and taking advantage of the large store to get in a brisk walk. I wheeled around a corner and almost crashed into another shopper. People walk slower here, they take the time to smile and ask how you are. I realized I needed to switch my mind to match my location.

This past weekend I attended a women’s retreat at Park Avenue Baptist Church.  Old Things R New blogger, Janet Perez Eckles was the featured speaker.

Janet’s sessions were filled laughter, but with the purpose of leading us to think more deeply and to see how God equips us with strength and courage. In the days before the retreat I had been mulling a mental change of direction. I was tired of rehashing old hurts in my mind. I knew they were attacks from the enemy and I was so over the attacks.

Step back in time with me, about forty years or so. I was expecting our first child and even though I watched my food intake, I dreaded the monthly weigh in at the Obstetrician office. Being a football fan, I had heard that a good offense is the best defense, so at my next check up I took up an offensive approach. I moaned about my weight gain and was so dramatic in my distress that the doctor ended up comforting me rather than exhorting me!

At the conference I decided to go on the offense with the one who accuses. Each time an already confessed and settled episode comes to mind I am going to fling it like a flaming sword straight to heaven, but on the tip of the sword will be prayers of good  for the person.  I am changing my mind to match my eternal location.

As Sweet as Perfume

30 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

On Monday we had the fun of an impromptu friends reunion of the members of the Park Avenue Baptist Church Young Married Sunday School class. Of course, someone had to mention that five of us were turning seventy this year! How can that be? One friend made an excellent point as we marveled over this milestone. She observed that we look much better at seventy than our parents did. We laughed and agreed. In the interest of full disclosure, I must mention that I am the baby of the group! All too soon it was time for everyone to move on and resume their busy lives, but for a brief afternoon we laughed and shared our lives. I would say it was just like the old days but I believe it was better!

Wednesday was another fun day. but it was scheduled. Lynn and I have known each other even longer than my Young Married friends.We met in the tenth grade and remained in touch throughout the years. She and her husband recently relocated to Florida and  live two hours from us. We decided to meet half way for lunch at  De Leon Springs State Park. We camped there during the child rearing years and I had been longing to revisit it and I was sure my nature loving friend would enjoy it.

The park, set on the land of an old plantation, has a unique restaurant, the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House. Pancakes are their specialty but they also serve salads and sandwiches made with homemade breads.

  Their website describes it this way:

“Each of our tables are equipped with a griddle and we bring you pitchers of homemade pancake batters (both a stone-ground mixture of five different flours and an unbleached white flour) you pour them on and flip them over right at your table.”

From their website

After our lunch we walked around the springs area then Lynn and I  settled down under a covered pavilion to catch up while the men people watched near the spring , talking as men do, solving the problems of the world.

We enjoyed both the company and the scenery. It was a beautiful day, with a gentle breeze. I look forward to visiting again.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT

 

 

 

Did you know that DiVoran’s first novel is set at De Leon Springs?

Fishing Therapy

9 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

My family ended up in Florida on the advice of my dad’s doctor. I know, you folks who are digging out of the snow today are wishing your doctor would advise the same. Sorry, but this was 1954 and doctors at time recommended salt air for people with bad lungs. Now they give you an inhaler.

Back in January when we were in North Carolina, my husband came down with a sinus infection that left him with a harsh and lingering cough. After we arrived in Florida for the winter, I decided to try the old-fashioned remedy that worked so well on my dad, Fishing Therapy. When we moved to Florida in the early 1950s, my dad found work in Orlando. It was not close enough to the coast to get benefit from the salt air so for almost every weekend in my memory, we loaded up the car on Friday night or early Saturday and drove to the east coast to fish. It seemed to help my dad, so why not try it on my husband?

We decide our first therapy session should be someplace that would not require a lot of walking so we settled on a park at the local marina. We didn’t catch a single fish but it was a beautiful day and the salt air was wonderful.

There were a number of sailboats anchored offshore and beyond the bridge the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building can be seen.  There’s something about the joining of high-tech space flight and nature that fills me with wonder and contentment.

I saw these birds in the boat ramp parking lot as I was on my way to the facilities. Something about them flocking together in the parking spaces tickled my sense of humor.

bird-parking-lot

We enjoyed our day and I think it helped with his breathing, so we embarked on a second therapy session, this one at a park closer to home. The wind was brisk and cool, which I love.  As a child, both my husband and I had spent many hours fishing and playing at this spot when it was a wide open space with no facilities. I must say I do appreciate the comfort of a restroom.

I caught a tiny fish and a blow fish. My husband caught three horseshoe crabs.

 I had my heart set on having fresh fish for our supper and this day’s catch wouldn’t feed Rebekah’s cat, so after cleaning up, I went to our local fish market, Wild Ocean. They were out of the type of fish I wanted, so I changed my plans and bought two pounds of Cape Canaveral large white shrimp. Oh my, they were good!

The entire front wall of the store is covered in a this mural. If you should be traveling on US Highway 1 be sure to stop in Titusville and check out the murals downtown. You might want some fresh seafood too. Wild Ocean will cook it for you. Take a look at their menu.

mural-at-wild-ocean

8 Fun alligator facts you may not know

7 Feb

A Life to LIve

Melody Hendrix

1.  American alligators have been observed using lures to hunt birds. They balance sticks and branches on their heads, attracting birds looking for nesting material.
2.  Alligators are ecosystem engineers. Alligators play an important role in their wetland ecosystems by creating small ponds known as alligator holes. Alligator holes retain water during the dry season and provide habitats for other animals.

3. Alligators are carnivorous but recently reported to also eat fruit such as wild grapes, elderberries, and citrus fruits directly from trees. Alligators may help spread the seeds of these fruits throughout their habitats.

4. The temperature at which the eggs develop determines their sex. Eggs exposed to temperatures above 93°F (34 °C) become males, while those at 86 °F (30 °C) become females. Intermediate temperatures produce both sexes.

5.  Alligator courtship is sophisticated. At the start of the spring breeding season, males bellow to attract females. The bellows have an infrasonic component that can cause the surface of the water around the male to ripple and dance. Other courtship rituals include head-slapping on the water’s surface, snout and back rubbing, and blowing bubbles.

6  large individuals bite down with 13,172 Newton’s or 2960 pounds–of force, one of the most powerful bites ever recorded for a living animal.
7.  Serum in American alligator blood is incredibly effective at combating bacteria and viruses, meaning that even alligators that lose limbs in mucky swamps often avoid infection.

8 Alligators mate in June. Males may fertilize several females in one mating season.
gator-2
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