HELLO AGAIN

 

Navarre Pier

I  haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been in Florida relaxing, sitting, reading, and sometimes just staring. Except for jotting down observations in my journal, I haven’t written a thing beyond a few short posts on Facebook and necessary responses to email & messages by iPhone. I guess you could say, I’ve mostly been offline. It was a restful time, but I’ve missed blogging. So here I am again with reflections from early one morning.

 

Quiet Beginnings

It’s early as I step out on the balcony, coffee cup and journal in hand. No breath of wind, the sea below is a glassy aqua.

Where waves pounded the shore this time last week, only lulling swells lap against the shoreline in a chorus of swish-swoosh. Each swish drapes the shore with ethereal white lace that dissolves with the next swoosh.

In the distance, small birds rock on blue water looking for a seafood buffet. A barge towed by a small tugboat works its way across the gray horizon, and I idly wonder what their business is this early morning.

The same breeze that cools my cheek and bare arms glides across the ocean below, producing more rickrack than ruffles on its surface.

Surfrickrack

A line of pelicans flies by overhead.

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Another bathwater day as Terry calls it—calm, gentle—perfect for small children or for Mom to soak away the weariness in her soul.

A father, mother, and preteen daughter pause at the end of our boardwalk for a picture of the girl, and she throws out her arms, tilting her head in such a way that I although I can’t see it, I know she’s smiling. They make their way down the steps and across the sand to the water’s edge, where they proceed in follow-the-leader single file, heads tipped down, probably looking for shells or that Elusive Sand Dollar.

Within minutes they switch directions, angling back across the sand toward the boardwalk. Daughter gravitates to Dad, momentarily clutching his upper arm. As they pass beneath my perch, I want to call out, “Enjoy her company. The time is fleeting. Too soon, she may elect to sleep-in instead taking of an early morning walk with you.”

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Caroline Day, Norcross High School 2017 Graduate

Having just attended my youngest granddaughter’s graduation, I’m almost painfully conscious of the rush of time. I couldn’t help wondering if her dad’s short, solitary sojourn on their back patio just before our departure that morning was his way of putting on his armor.

Later when we teased about handing out tissues for the ceremony, he grinned and declared, “I’m happy!”

We all echoed, “So are we.”

And we were happy to celebrate her accomplishments and pleased she’ll be going to college in the fall.

Still, it was bittersweet as is any change of season.

 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19

 

 

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.

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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

5 Ways Gigi Inspires Me

This is the final installment of my three-part series about sea turtles. In MEET GIGI, I told you about a blind loggerhead sea turtle we met at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. TEN FACTS ABOUT LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES provided more information about sea turtles and their plight.

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Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s motto: Giving Sea Turtles More Tomorrows

As you can tell, I’m still pumped about our visit to NBSTCC last month.

I’m Always Up for Shopping

And you probably know, there was  no way I was leaving without visiting their gift shop, the Seamore Store. It’s manned by–you guessed it–volunteers. We met two delightful ladies, Cinnamon Holderman and Christy Meyer.

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Don’t you love Christy’s red turtle girls rock shirt. I want one.

 

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I suppose the largest souvenir we could have carted home from NBSTCC was this turtle chair. We decided to pass on it.

But I did try on t-shirts and admired toys, books, photographs & paintings, along with lots of other items crafted by locals. I can’t believe I didn’t buy a T-Shirt. (Well, I would have if they’d had my size in the one I wanted. Next time.)

I did bring home a few items.

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That red sea turtle circle in the middle goes on the end of your flashlight to soften the light’s impact on the sea turtles that might be hatching on the beach.

NBSTCC didn’t happen overnight. In 2011, this group cast a vision for creating a center to educate the many visitors to the island on the plight of sea turtles and provide a place where rescued turtles could be rehabilitated. You can even sign up to volunteer while you’re there. They told us a couple from my hometown of Searcy, Arkansas, was volunteering soon. How cool is that?

When I volunteer at NBSTCC, I want to work in the Seamore Store, maybe with Cinnamon and Christy. I want to wear one of those blue volunteer t-shirts, too. (Yeah, I want two shirts.)

In closing, if you vacation in Florida, I encourage you to also Navarre Beach Marine Park just next to it. You’ll see the buildings just beyond Gigi’s home.

NBMP actually predates NBSTCC  and is a larger success story that began in 2009. It works for and promotes all forms of local sea conservation through programs and onsite educational offerings. Their latest project involves a grant for a mobile unit to go out to schools and community events.

They cast a large vision when they launched this volunteer organization.

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We saw a model of how they go about restoring coral reefs.

At NBMP, you can snorkel or scuba dive along one of the manmade coral reefs or take out a glass-bottom kayak and watch the sea life from the surface. You might even encounter one of those magnificent sea turtles. (The reefs in the Santa Rosa Sound might be better for snorkeling.)

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NBMP’s story is truly worthy of its own series. I plan doing that–right after I kayak out to one of those reefs in the sound. Next trip.

Life is so much richer when we venture out beyond ourselves. I’m amazed when I look at groups and foundations right here in Arkansas that began by someone seeing a need and embracing the vision to meet it.

What’s your passion?

Where’s your next adventure?

I really want to know.

 

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord 

as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14