Tag Archives: University of Central Florida

Getting More Than You Give

1 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistThe Holy Bible, reminds us that when we give, God returns our gifts in such abundance that we can barely receive them all.

Lately, we’ve been hanging out with different kinds of volunteers, and we’ve seen for ourselves that those who give the most, get the most, not necessarily in material possessions, but in things that mean so much more, such as joy, peace, grace, and unexpected miracles.

Last Thursday, Bill and I attended a University of Central Florida (UCF) Alumni Volunteer awards banquet. I was honored to be asked to condense the bios that would be read at the ceremony. That allowed me to know the nominees better even though I had not met them. It gave an extra edge to my enjoyment of the evening. Of course, being a typical writer, I took mental notes of how I could do better next time.

The UCF mascot is a knight. When a graduate does something notable with his life, he can be nominated for the annual Notable Knight award and designation. Christine F., a nurse practitioner was one of the runners up. She travels from one facility to another tending to the needs of aging and post-surgical clients. She goes to bat for her patients — whatever they need. Bill C. the other runner up, took a central role in the modernization and refurbishment of the Launch Facilities at Kennedy Space Center. Notable Knight, 2014, is Mitch V. the man who changed the Space Coast’s reputation, helping students from all over America by putting on marathons and triathlons to take the place of other less than beneficial pursuits at spring break. Christine, Bill C. and Mitch all make community service an integral part of their lives.

Then there were the scholarships presented to students who excelled at leadership, community service and academics. This year’s nominees came from the fields of medicine and education, but it was apparent from reading the applications that they could do anything they set their minds to.

One graduate who had been awarded scholarships before, returned to thank the UCF Alumni for helping her get all the way through school to the place where she is now – working on her PhD Program. She will be serving the needs of abused children, a tribe she knows well, as she was once one of them.

The people at the ceremony were wonderful, not only the honorees, but also the members of the UCF Space Coast Alumni who raised funds, organized the attendees, interfaced with the caterer, and took care of all the red tape and details that come with event planning. They create and join in many other volunteer events during the year and having known some of them, I know they are truly blessed in return.

UCF copy


“Bring all the tithes (a tenth of our money and time) into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10

Gopher Tortoises and My Biologist Son

3 Aug

I enjoyed the tortoise story so much, I wanted to go ahead and post the next installment. Plus, those days with the grandchildren are great fun but sure do a number on my energy and creativity, so I am happy to take a pass on my blog post this week.

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Nature specials on T. V. are great, but most of all, I love to observe nature in action for myself. I had what I thought was a real adventure with two gopher tortoises the other day. I saw two gopher tortoises in the same few feet of trail and figured they had to be together. I thought maybe the dinner-plate sized one was the mother and the salad-plate sized one who was about to wander into my subdivision and get hurt was her son. I picked up the small one and took it over to the big one.

Later I asked my Biologist son who has studied gopher tortoises since he was at the University of Central Florida if I’d done the right thing. Seems I was all wet in every department, but he graciously gave me the real scoop on the life and times of gopher tortoises.

“The salad plate size is about eight years old and close to the maturity necessary for mating. The bigger one would be from twenty-five to fifty years old.”

The minute I set the small one down the big one started bobbing his head.

“The scientists call it head-bobbing.”

Was it gopher tortoise communication?

“Yes. They recognized that they were of the same species though their ages were vastly different.”

Was it threatening?

“It would be easier to guess about that if we knew the sexes of the two animals. “If it’s a boy the shell is indented at the back, but if it’s a girl the shell is flat.”

I didn’t think to check that.

The head bobbing could have signaled an interest in mating or it could have signaled a territorial dispute. In the field, I’ve seen two tortoises sitting on the apron and bobbing heads for hours.”

The apron?

The sand hill at the opening of the burrow is called the apron. It’s where the mother tortoise lays her clutch of eggs so the sun can warm them and the sand can keep them cool on hot days.

I asked if mother tortoises look after babies when they hatch.

“No, when the baby tortoises hatch they’re soft and about the size of a silver dollar. That’s when they become food for dogs, feral cats, raccoons and birds of prey.

At about six months of age, gopher tortoises dig three to five burrows, over a two-acre area and roam from one to another on a rotating basis.

I didn’t want the little one to go into the subdivision.

“That’s right,” says B. “The biggest danger to any tortoise is a dog. They crush them with their teeth, and bite off any parts they can get to.

So the big one wasn’t the small one’s mother and even if she had been she wouldn’t have cared what happened to him.

That’s right, but hey, Mom, you have a great imagination, and in reality you may have saved the smaller tortoises life, so yes, you did the right thing, you just went the long way around to do it.

I guess it’s great to have a good imagination, but I need to keep in mind that there are things I can’t figure out because I don’t have all the facts.

In other words, we don’t know everything, and having a good imagination doesn’t always help.

I Corinthians 8:3 We never really know enough until we know that God knows it all.



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