Tag Archives: Florida

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.



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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

The Light of God

23 Aug

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

God made two great lights…  The greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars Genesis 1:16
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness,
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate,
only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr
“The light of God surrounds me.
The love of God enfolds me.
The power of God protects me.
Wherever I am, God is, and all is well.”
James Dillet Freman
The Light of God copy



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.

My Love Affair With Disney~Part 1

21 Aug


Judy Will


I’ve been in love with all things Disney for about as long as I can remember. I believe the first Disney movie I ever saw was Cinderella – and I was sold! As I grew older, I kept wishing there was some way I could – personally – have a copy of Cinderella and watch it whenever I wanted to! Fast forward to this hi-tech generation, and I have Cinderella on my bookshelf! Of course, I don’t watch it all the time, but it’s there for the watching if I care to. I usually have to do it when Fred is gone!

When we moved down to Florida, it was more-or-less with the intention of either or both of us working for Walt Disney World, so we could visit the parks just any time we wanted to. God may have wanted us down in Florida, but His plans for us did NOT include working at Disney World! And His plans are so much better than ours!

So we content ourselves with annual passes to Disney World. Fred jokingly says they are our Christmas/anniversary/birthday (and any other special event in our lives) gift to each other. They are rather expensive. But we get free parking with them, and we can come and go just any time we want. Sometimes it’s for nothing more than to have a supper meal there. And we consider if we stay about two hours, we consider it a “visit to the park.”

In 1999, we thought it would be fun to keep track of how many times we went to a Disney park during that year (38 times). And we’ve kept on with that tradition. Our peak year was 2005 when we went 64 times! If it’s raining? We don’t go. We know we can go another time.

And on our anniversary each year, we stay at the Shades of Green resort, and go to each of the parks, one each day. So you can see – we REALLY like Disney!

Because we’ve been enamored with Disney for so long, we have quite a bit of Disney memorabilia around our house. And we thoroughly enjoy it all. Our youngest daughter, Janet, worked at a Disney Store once upon a time, and she supplied us with quite a bit of Disney stuff. One of my favorite things she gave us, were figurines of some of the characters from Disney’s 1939 original Fantasia. I enjoyed them so much, that I had a friend (who is a wood worker by trade), fashion a shadow box for them. That box and those figurines now grace a wall in our house. I think they are adorable! Unfortunately, I have broken one of the pieces, but have substituted another Mickey in its place. And another friend who worked for Disney, presented us with “Mickey’s House” snowglobe that rests upon the top of the shadow box.



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~






9 Aug

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
Ronald Reagan
“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. “
John Lennon
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”   Mother Teresa
 Ibis Playalinda

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.


Fight Your Battles

17 Jul


Judy Wills





During a recent stay in the hospital, Fred and I came upon a plaque on a door that says so much to us, that we wanted to share it with you. It is so very true, and applies to any and all battles in your life. Here’s the picture of it we took:


We happen to believe that this statement is quite true. You might find it a strange place to find this statement – in a hospital – but it defines the hospital. You see, it is Celebration Hospital/Health in Celebration, Florida. It is part of the Florida Hospital chain, and is founded by the Seventh Day Adventist denomination. I’m not sure that all the employees they hire are believers, but every single one that came in contact with me – up to and including the housekeeping personnel – left me with a “have a blessed day.”   And several of the nurses were talking together about the “spiritual” feel to the hospital, and how that makes a difference in their work atmosphere.

I had felt that before – when I had my total knee replacement last year. The nurses were saying the same thing that time, as well.

Although the hospital has pictures on their walls of Florida scenes, many of them have scripture verses along with them. One area has one picture for each of the days of creation. Impressive and beautiful.

I suspect that if more of us – not to mention our national leaders – would spend more time on their knees, asking God’s help with our problems, we would be in much more calm situations than we are in now.

God is my anchor. My battles will be on my knees.



Anchor for the Soul


Hurricane Mania

1 Sep

Woo-hoo we have a guest blogger today! We have been trying to convince our friend,  Pam to try her hand at blogging ( she is an excellent writer) for years-Onisha

Hurricane Spaghetti Plot

A friend, and a new Florida resident, asked for “storm wisdom and suggestions”….so here goes, my tongue-in-cheek, short version of how to deal with Hurricane Mania in Florida.


Florida Homeowner 101 Tutorial –

9 Steps for a Safe Hurricane Experience

1. “PREP”  No matter what is happening around you, try to remain calm until 24 hours before landfall (and have a room reservation inland with a 24-hour free cancellation policy).  While remaining calm,  it’s ok to pull out the pre-packed Hurricane Prep Kit/Bin/paper sack from underneath the staircase before, or at the 72-Hour mark before landfall. This action is socially acceptable as a Florida resident. New to Florida?  You are allowed to use your “call a friend, option, search the Internet, wander around the plywood section at Lowe’s, or look helpless by the flashlights. You are even allowed to worry a little as long as it directs you into a smart action plan.

2. “KEEPING INFORMED”  It’s ok to watch local weather folks but remember to breathe deeply between reports/updates. Updates will continue to look differently as the event progresses-lots of times for the good-but you should kinda worry when your outside cat turns up missing (they sense these things) or the weather channel brings on the gray haired experts (who aren’t normally on camera) or they start broadcasting live feeds at the end of your driveway!

3. “FOOD”  Check the expiration dates on canned goods (last BIG Florida storm was 10 years ago). Respect Tropical Storms-they are not “an out of the woods” trump card. Power goes out with 45 mph winds too!  If you lose power have a pact with your family or friend that everyone crashes at the “house with power”; “Tag-you’re it” agreement. Not really a legal document but you may get a free meal out of it.

4. “SPIRITUAL SPIN”  You can remain in denial until the 24-Hr. mark.  Still time to pray the storm away at this point. Others may already be praying; it’s time for you to hop on and join them to make sure you are part of the action (this has worked MANY times in Florida).  When you finally see where landfall is going to happen, and its somewhere else, God will forgive you if you think/say “Thank God it went somewhere else!”.  Just don’t repeat that to your friend who just lost his roof in another state.

5. “PARTY TIME” It’s ok if you have a “cone party” but NOT a Hurricane Party!  Cone parties are for watching the shifting of the cone landfall probability maps on TV.  You can serve a spaghetti dinner, as they are now referring to the different tracking models as “spaghetti” maps. These predictions come everywhere from the National Weather Center, colleges (from Master Program students??!), Weather Underground (from Underground Atlanta? Or Natchez Under the Hill?), and from the freelance “weatherman” who is tracking the storm from his den while watching football and the Weather Channel updates.

Hurricane Parties are still NOT in vogue in Florida or smart!  Give the cops your next of kin’s phone #.

6. “OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER”  “Hope for the Best but Prepare for the Worst -just get ready!” Message from the Governor usually happens before or around the 72-Hour mark or whenever they can’t figure out where it’s going.

7. “COMMUNICATION”   No! You may not have phones, texting, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc available for crucial updates and calls for help. Figure it out. Your phone may not be able to get you help as you are under rubble or broke down on the road, unless you have great confidence that cell tower #20 is up and running or that your phone battery has juice!  Don’t take chances thinking technology (and the Weather Channel app) replaces early preparedness or common sense. Ever heard of batteries, weather radios, and flashlights?  Think ancient survival.  Call an old person if that’s a reach for you. Also, think,”I’m an idiot” for taking a video outside in 80 mph winds for a FB post.

8. “THE ESSENTIALS”  Filling the tub with water is not so you have water if your son’s wife goes into labor (hot water needed for that you know) or to be used for drinking water (is YOUR bathtub really THAT clean?).  Tub water does work for flushing the toilet-do I need to spell it out? Young person-YouTube may have a video for you on this simple procedure.

9. “WEAK MOMENTS”  Know that you may “chicken out” after holding out until the 24 hour mark….especially if Mother Nature decides to deliver a surprise or two-like making a right hand turn straight into the coast, or slowing down until it’s a monster storm large enough to cover Florida coast to coast on the radar!  It’s ok to panic, but only for a moment (you must NOT appear as an unprepared Florida resident a.k.a. stupid). Just pack the dog and cat and RUN if not too late.  Try not to ride out the storm in the road gridlock or at the 7-11 where the line to the bathroom is 28 and one wheelchair deep!  Also remember your fellow evacuees will not be in a pleasant mood, may be hungry or may be regretting their decision to place their lives in the path of a fickle storm-be prepared for glares, lane blocking, horn blowing and……

In conclusion, there’s not a perfect “10 steps for Hurricane Safety” in this post, just an apology from this humble writer that she couldn’t come up with 10, and a reminder that there is no “perfect, tidy” fool-proof plan. Just go back to Steps 4 and 6 and go by that-take it from this storm veteran and be Safe, Smart, and Senile-no not senile!   but you get the idea!

Just be prepared-visit with friends in the grocery store-have a plan and plywood-and know if you live in Florida long enough you will see some kind of storm in your lifetime.

Blessings and in Sincerity, Pam

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