BLUEBIRD HILL

Debbiesbluebird2a
Photo courtesy of Debbie Hoofman

My lucky friends post Facebook pictures of bluebirds nesting near their houses making me long to see the beautiful creatures in my yard. Pushing down envy, I lament that we don’t have the right conditions to attract bluebirds. Poor me and all that.

Then my friend, Cliff, who knows more about bluebirds than I ever will suggests a place near the bottom of our yard.

Cliff&Debbie
Cliff & Debbie live on Hoofman Farm out from Greenbrier. They love all kinds of critters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I texted him a picture. You mean here?

“Yes, by the azaleas.”

Flowerbed

But wait a minute, I ask. “Isn’t it too late? Aren’t they already nesting?”

“Yes, but you might get a pair for their second nesting,” he encourages.

My heart sings.

Debbie'sbluebirdcouple2
This feathered couple lives on the Hoofman Farm in Enola.

Humming, I set to work seeking an abode designed especially for bluebirds, and I order one online that night. But when I find it won’t arrive for almost a month, I cancel the order and do what I should have done in the first place.

The next day, I go out and buy one at Birds Unlimited, which makes me feel good on two counts. I’ve helped someone in my city while enjoying the immediate satisfaction of holding it in my hands.

 

Ship
Terry built this ship for Pirates of Penzance

I bring that bluebird house home and begin my campaign for Terry to install it — right away. But he’s a busy guy, building sets at Wildwood for Praeclara and doing his favorite thing–singing in the UALR choir. Not to mention getting a rent house ready to list.

So I remind myself — Give the Guy a Break.

There’s time for him to install that house when it fits into his schedule. After all, we’re in that waiting period.

Once again, I realize how impatient I get when I want something beause

I catch myself nagging

Just a little

Bluebirdhouseviewuntil he buys a 4 x 4 post and brings out the posthole digger.

I give him instructions where to put it at the west end of our lower flowerbed.

But my man of vision suggests the opposite side where we will have a better chance of getting glimpses of blue as the birds come and go.

As usual, he’s right. I give the nod and he plants that baby firmly in the ground.

Having done all we can do, now we are waiting with hopeful hearts.

Birdhouse
Can you think of anything cuter than a bluebird fledgling? Me neither.

Then I resolve that if some other feathered friend takes up residence, I’ll be grateful—because they are all God’s creatures.

Still, I’m murmuring little prayers for flashes of blue at the its door.

You knew I’d find a lesson in this experience.

But aren’t there always lessons if we look for them?

  • It’s okay to share your dreams.
  • Two heads are better than one.
  • It’s wise to accept advice.
  • Waiting is hard.
  • We learn patience by waiting.
  • Prayer usually calms me.

Please tell me if you can think of others.

I’m always in need of a lesson.

A wise man will hear and increase in learning,

And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

Proverbs 1:5

 

LIFE LESSONs FROM A SEA TURTLE

If you know me very well, you’re already aware that I often find spiritual lessons in the things I see in nature. Such was the case with Gigi, the blind sea turtle that lives at Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. Here are just a few things that come to mind when I think of Gigi.

gigi2

Back To Gigi

I still smile when I think about how Gigi adapted to her new surroundings at NBSTCC. Maybe that’s because she:

  • Expects the best from her human rescuers
  • Responds to their taps on the side of the pool and to the sounds of voices
  • Embraces life by fully chomping down on the whole mackerel she favors for dinner
  • Has fun by pulling on the feeder pole to tease her personal butler
  • Continues to inspire people to respond to a bigger cause

Thoughts

As I ponder Gigi’s situation, I’m reminded that we can be blessed whatever our circumstances. If we’ll just watch for God, we’ll see that He has a way of showing up when we need Him most. And He wants us to embrace His provision in the same way Gigi accepted her new benefactors and surroundings.

Even more, when things don’t change, He invites us to

  • Adapt to our surroundings
  • Enjoy ourselves
  • Chomp down so to speak on the sustenance he provides.
  • Remember it’s okay to be playful
  • Laugh and have fun
  • Even bask in His blessings.

Wait–especially to bask in His blessings.

I’d love to hear how He’s met your needs.

Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry

to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?

Job 38:41

TEN FACTS ABOUT LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES

gigi2

Last week I told you about meeting Gigi, a blind loggerhead sea turtle that recently found a new home at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (NBSTCC). If you missed her story, you can read it here.

Since meeting Gigi and her human friends, I’ve done a little research about loggerheads. Here are ten things I learned.

  1. Loggerheads (Genus: Caretta, Species: caretta) are the most abundant marine turtles in the US waters. However, according to National Geographic, they’ve been considered a threatened species since 1978. Their decline in population is due to pollution, fishing, shrimp trawling and development in their nesting areas.
  2. Loggerheads have a slightly heart-shaped reddish brown shell (carapace) with five or more scales (scutes). Their bottom shell (plastron) is yellow.
  3. An adult male loggerhead can measure up to 3½ feet long and weigh 375 pounds according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. However they’ve been known to weigh as much as 1000 pounds. Gigi weighs just a little less than 200.
  4. Loggerheads have massive heads to support the powerful jaws they use to crack the shells of crustaceans. (The better to eat them with.) According to the National Wildlife Federation, babies start out nibbling on small sea creatures found in sargassum mats. As they mature, they move on to mollusks, jelly fish and other fish.  To get to a video of a loggerhead chasing a lobster, click here.
  5. Loggerheads have short thick front flippers with claws. The rear flippers can have two or three claws. Gigi uses hers along the pool edge to orient herself and push off.
  6. Loggerheads don’t mate until they’re ten or twelve, and females don’t fully mature until they’re 35, which is the age Gigi’s rescuers estimate her to be.
  7. Loggerheads can migrate thousands of miles to return to their place of birth for nesting.
  8. In the United States, Loggerheads nest every two or three years along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida and as far as Alabama and Mississippi on the Gulf of Mexico. They also nest in Japan and the Indian Ocean.
  9. Loggerheads lay an average of four clutches of 100-120 ping-pong-ball-sized eggs a couple of weeks apart. Incubation time is about 60 days.
  10. The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the turtles. When the sand is cool, more males are hatched. The warmer the sand, the more females are produced. As one of the volunteers quipped, “Boys are cool and girls are hot.” (Only he paused and let us supply that last adjective.)

One thing gives me hope for loggerheads. They have lots of human friends working to keep them safe. At National Geographic, you can watch a video of volunteers moving eggs from Gulf Shores, Alabama, during the oil spill crisis to climate-controlled storage at NASA Kennedy Space Center. After they hatched, they were released at Cape Canaveral. Lucky little turtles.

Next time, I’ll wrap up with more news about Gigi and the NBSTCC.

How many living things you have made, O Lord!
You have exhibited great skill in making all of them;
the earth is full of the living things you have made.
25 Over here is the deep, wide sea,
which teems with innumerable swimming creatures,
living things both small and large.

Psalm 104:24-25