Variety is beautiful

I see colors of red, blue, yellow, white, black, green, orange and beyond,

Colors of size – big and small,

Colors of life, part of us all.

Which will rise, when given a chance,

Release from its anchor and watch them dance.

Is one color more than the other?

One size able to do more than the color?

Life full of variety and thought,

Each of us, regardless of color or size,

Equally important, no matter where we are,

We will love others more when this we realize.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

No beauty and rejected

We the world reflect various beliefs,

Who am I to question what you believe, or do not?

Each has mind, soul and thought within;

Given by divine or simply of women and men.

Lives reflect what surrounds us, products of what was taught, and shown;

My views formed at early age; I searched for truth, released from the cage.

If we seek, we will find, less we desire other paths sublime.

I choose not to judge others’ beliefs; I only speak for myself – and my life’s relief. 

It’s a relationship I learned to love; the Love I found from God above. 

He the sacrifice to atone for me; and answered to my feeble plea. 

He bought me with a very high price; it cost the one who came, His precious life. 

Isaiah relates suffering and pain, of the coming Messiah – the world would not know.

He comes for all, God reflects His Love; life blood poured out – from His veins it flowed.

But who would believe, message from above; He grew like a tender shoot, with no beauty to attract,

Even today, many turn away, allow nothing within; waiting – waiting – for answers to be exact.

Despised, rejected by each of us around; has it really changed from way back when,

No matter how gloom and dark, light overcomes and provides life.

We didn’t believe – one to earth He would send?

Yet He bore our pain, suffering; pierced for the world to see,

But who is to blame, putting Him on the tree?

Was it government, religion, others – but no – it was even me.

Skull Hill face in Jerusalem. Do you think this is the actual site of where Jesus’ cross was placed – on top of this hill with the face resembling that of a skull? 

Where is one today who would die for another?

Would it be sister for sister, or brother for brother?

I’m not able to display such Love, as only God could show.

He gave His life for me; now risen, living – and I am free.

(Inspired by Isaiah 53)

For an image to see what the crucifixion site of Jesus at Golgotha (Jerusalem) may have looked like, you can link it here on Trip Advisor.  https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g293983-d325092-Reviews-Golgotha-Jerusalem_Jerusalem_District.html

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Work hard, play hard – live

This sign at Mission Barbeque (BBQ) caught my attention on Sunday.  They have photos and various items to thank first responders and military, and even play the national anthem at noon.  I enjoy the atmosphere and the appreciation shown by the team there. They also have excellent food at an excellent price. 

I happened to notice the Navy is missing a helmet on the wall.  They are probably refurbishing it.  😊

Anyway, just ponder this thought, that applies to life itself.  “If you knew you couldn’t play tomorrow, how hard would you play today.” 

Doesn’t this statement apply to our lives?  If we couldn’t live tomorrow, how will we live today? 

Blessings along the Way!

El Camino Real

Mission way-station along Florida’s El Camino Real.

From the time St. Augustine (capital of Florida at the time) was established in 1565, Spanish military and religious authorities began extending their reach beyond the town limits.  They developed various modes of transportation between widely dispersed settlements which eventually included forts, missions and ranches. 

Map placed at Ichetucknee Springs near Fort White highlighting part of the Camino Real.

During this period, many roads were established in Spain’s New World colonies, often following earlier Indian footpaths and trade routes. In La Florida, the Camino Real helped move people and supplies between St. Augustine and the more than 100 missions located to its west among native populations living on the frontier.

Rontittle.com photo of the drawing by Edward Jonas depicting movement of an oxcart along the Camino Real toward a mission.

In the 1680s, Florida Governor Diego de Quirogay Losado contracted the services of military engineer Enrique Primo de Rivera to build a formal road across north Florida that was suitable for oxcarts. 

Rontittle.com photo of drawing of oxcart by Edward Jonas.

Although there are no standing Spanish missions in Florida today, important clues found in historical documents, archaeological evidence, and the land itself have allowed researchers to reconstruct this royal road’s path.  So, come learn about, explore, and enjoy the places and stories of La Florida and its El Camino Realhttps://dos.myflorida.com/historical/explore/el-camino-real/

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Dance love

Ballet shoes of a dance instructor, through her childhood.

I recently attended an open house at a dance academy and saw these shoes hanging on the wall. They are shoes of the studio owner and instructor as a reminder to the young dancers to learn, practice and persevere. The shoes reflect years of hard work and labor to be the best one can be – and enjoy the dance. So, below is a simple little poem I attempted to honor instructors and students for their dedication.

The dance is within, from child to aged

Each awaits the moment, to learn and dance. 

When one gets the dream and feels the move.

The mind triggers the thought, but still –

Feet flow without rhythm, striving to become smooth.

Years of dedication and work,

To train the feet the way they should go.

The placement, each muscle learns to conform.

Legs form into the emboîté,

Alternate legs as they are bent,

Or escape with an echappé.

Frappé is quick and precise,

Plié from two into one fondu.

Terms, movements rhythm, grace

Require countless time to improve.

Commitment of years, learn to lead,

Guiding youth steps along the way.

Flowing with grace, beauty,

Standing on tips, learn not to sway.

From pointe on toes – encounter relevé.

Grace, beauty and form now belong,

Countless work becomes perfect, never ending for most.

Love shows through as you dance along.

Grasp every move, on your feet become steady,

Shoes tell the tale, of struggle and growth,

It’s not easy, but dance when you’re ready.

Never give up – achieve the most.

Dance with Love!

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Fuel creative minds

Legos creations by Levi

I’m highlighting this week some of the creations of young minds,

Whether drawing or building something.

What did you create when you were young?

How did that help you toward adulthood?

Take time to encourage our young people,

Letting their minds flow,

Creating not just what their eyes see,

But even what they may not know.

Look at little hands, developing, instruments of the mind,

Applaud them, praise them – don’t let them fall behind.

Sometimes the plan falls apart and pieces crumble,

Don’t let then stop, even though they’ve been humbled.

Engineers, scientists, doctors, builders and creators,

They have it within,

Waiting and waiting,

For us to let them begin.

***

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Eyes of youth

Become – Drawing from Shelby

From baby to child,

From child to teen;

Oh how they grow;

They never stop wondering

Through their eyes so keen.

What is in the eyes of youth?

It’s Okay – Drawing from Shelby

It’s beauty, it’s hope, it’s love.

How we shape them, depends on us;

Or, cause them to withdraw and remove,

We may not know.

Dance – Drawing by Shelby

Shelby the youthful one – long, flowing hair,

With love, energy and blessing from above;

She draws, creates, learning to become,

Young woman of beauty, aspirations, love.

Free to be Me – Drawing by Shelby

We dream for them, encourage them, guide them,

Not just let them wonder of life,

They form and glow, like a shining gem.

We do what we can, to slow the strife.

Vision Beyond – Drawing by Shelby

We behold little things they do,

Praising, lifting spirits high,

You can do it, we know you can,

What a lovely drawing, through mind’s eye.

***

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Women’s Bike Month

Street art at a bicycle shop in High Springs, Florida

Who knew that March is Women’s Bike History Month?  I discovered this while comparing Florida’s Bike Month to the May Bike Month by The League of American Bicyclists, established in 1880. 

So, I’ll combine some of the history of the contribution of women along with come bicycle safety tips.  

In 1896, Susan B. Anthony — one of the most important leaders in the women’s suffrage movement — shared her perspective on bicycling with intrepid reporter, Nellie Bly. “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling,” she said. “I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”  https://bikeleague.org/content/march-womens-bike-history-month

I never realized this.  According to the Bike League article, Anthony wasn’t alone. The article mentioned her friend, and fellow suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote an entire article for the American Wheelman praising the bicycle for encouraging the building of “good roads,” and increasing people’s mobility.  It states, most importantly, though: “The bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect and self-reliance, and make the next generation more vigorous of mind and body; for feeble mothers do not produce great statesmen, scientists and scholars.” 

Well, I’m not certain about the latter part of the statement but maybe that was a challenge enough to encourage women to begin expanding their horizons with confidence.  Could it have been simply a bicycle that helped trigger this progress?

So, when is bicycle month?  The Bike League focuses on May.  https://bikeleague.org/bikemonth

Florida has the emphasis in March. so I’ll concentrate on that.  Do other states and countries have various months to reinforce bicycle safety?

Florida Department of Transportation Alert Today Florida reminder

I can see why Florida chose to emphasize bicycle usage in March – for health and safety.  The weather warms and many are already out on the roads with these two-wheelers, and sometimes one or three-wheelers.  https://floridabicycle.org/march-is-florida-bike-month

So, as you warm up and exercise on your bike that has been sitting around for the winter, let’s highlight a few safety pointers.  First, give your bike a safety inspection and make sure it is operating properly, including lights.

I realize each state and country has its own special rules and laws so I’ll just stick to a few things to consider.  Consult your own local laws where you ride – and when we travel to other locations. Let’s not assume our knowledge is sufficient for where we ride.  Check before your ride! 

Florida is a great place to ride your bike.  If you are driving in Florida, please be aware of cyclists.  Cyclists need to be aware of vehicle drivers as well.  Let’s have mutual respect and protection.

You never know where a bicyclist will appear; like on Interstate 10 in Florida

Florida Department of Transportation’s Alert Today Florida program has key information, and posted the proclamation from Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, for March Bicycle Month.  https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/ Florida knows the importance of doing everything possible to make roadways safer for all users.

I enjoyed making presentations to teens and adults alike to encourage vehicle, bike and pedestrian safety. I had fun re-enacting Larry, the crash test mannequin (which I changed to Larry the Smarty since he now buckles up, rides safely and walks safely.

Here are some simple tips to remember:

– A bicycle in Florida is a legal vehicle on roadways.  Don’t assume though that people see you or know the law.  Better to be safe.

– Cyclists on roadways fare best when they act, and are treated as vehicles.

– Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks as well but must yield to pedestrians and provide an audible signal while approaching them.

– Some local laws may not permit a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk, so check before you ride. 

– Ride in the same direction as the traffic since the bike is an authorized road vehicle.

– If a designated bike lane is in the roadway, some local laws require bicyclists to use it instead of the sidewalk.  That may not be safe for children though. 

Sharrow emblem in Florida

– If you see an image of a bicycle on the roadway, called a sharrow, it means a bicyclist should be expected to be in the roadway.  These are often alternatives to designated bike lanes when there is insufficient space to build the separate lanes. 

There is so much more to reinforce for bicycle safety so please check out Alert Today Florida as well as  https://floridabicycle.org/drive-your-bike.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ichetucknee 2

Trees and wetlands embrace the nourishment and easy flow of the Ichetucknee River.

Ichetucknee Springs near High Springs and Fort White, Florida provides an abundance of life to the natural habitation in Florida’s northeast region, and is an oasis of sorts year round. 

A boat sit still along with the slow moving water flow from Ichetucknee River.

The Ichetucknee 1 post provides information and images of the head water springs and the north entrance to the Ichetucknee River.  The images in this post reveal the south end of the river where water travelers usually exit from the peaceful ride. 

The flow of the springs creates a beautiful river that was once a secret (somewhat) before 1970.  You wouldn’t know it today as thousands converge on the area.  The river doesn’t mind though.  It just meanders along awaiting new people to jump right in and ride along. 

Smooth water from Ichetucknee River allows reflection of the cypress trees.

Ichetucknee River flows about six miles through the shaded hammocks and wetlands before joining the Santa Fe River.  In 1972 the head spring of the river was declared a national natural landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

Crystal-clear Ichetucknee River flows toward the Santa Fe River in Florida.
The shadow from a cypress tree provides a clear look through the pristine water to see the bottom surface.

White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks and great blue herons can be seen from the river. Picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, are available throughout the park.

Woods and swamp area between Ichetucknee River and the south exit to the store, restaurant and eating areas. Doesn’t it look like a Big Foot image in the photo?
Paved walkway between the Ichetucknee River and the concession area.

A full-service concession offers food, refreshments, and outdoor products from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tubes plus snorkeling and diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park. Located four miles northwest of Fort White, off State Roads 47 and 238. https://www.stateparks.com/ichetucknee_springs_state_park_in_florida.html

Ichetucknee General Store and concession area at the south end of the Ichetucknee River

Blessings along the Way!

Ron