Sunday, August 2, 2015


Growing up in Florida, especially on or near the water it is second nature for us to be on a boat. I was taught at a very early age how to drive a boat and how to navigate the water ways in the proper way. "Red right return" was something that went through my mind as I was learning to navigate through the channel markers. I learned also to use a compass to travel off shore to favorite fishing grounds and return home safely. Safety was part of the learning process and required before leaving the dock. We were required to know the boating rules and regulations and make sure our boat was equipped with everything needed. I must have been around 10 years old when my two sisters and I were given our first jon boat by our mom and dad to use on the Suwannee River and shore line of the Gulf of Mexico. Our little boat was powered by a Johnson 9.9 motor which we were taught to start, run and maintain. We had our tool box equipped with tools that would come in handy just in case and taught how to use these tools. I can remember being checked by FWC for safety equipment and always proud that we passed every inspection!

That little boat had many miles put on it from the river and Gulf of Mexico waters, but even more than those miles were many wonderful fun memories! As we got a little older daddy felt confident enough for us to take the "big" boat out by ourselves. Daddy taught us to water ski behind this same boat, fish off shore in the Gulf of Mexico, went scalloping and many other family outings on the Suwannee River and Gulf waters. I remember taking my friends up the Suwannee to visit Manatee Springs, water ski on the way back and stop along the way just to jump in and enjoy the cool fresh water. The first time I took the boat out into the Gulf of Mexico to go fishing I had such a feeling a pride knowing that I could do all of this on my own, and even better came home with fish to clean and cook! There is something to be said about going out on the boat throwing that line out and feeling a tug at the other end while learning to respect the waters, wildlife, fish and mammals that call the blue waters their home.

I cherish my childhood memories out on the water and wanted my children to experience the same.
Both of my children were out on the boat before they could walk and continue their love of boating and fishing to this day. I have vivid memories of my kids holding onto the T-Top frame while running off shore and could hardly wait to get their fishing line into the water first! It is a passion, it is a way of life, it is a gift that we as Floridians who have been blessed to live so close to so many fresh and salt water bodies of water love. My children learned just as I did how to respect the boat, learn how to navigate it safely and appreciate the gifts of Mother Nature.

Through all of these years of boating I have experienced firsthand some fierce storms. Before radar was available and affordable for everyday boaters we were taught to watch the weather and know the signs of the storms. It is never 100% predictable however, and on July 4th many years ago I was out Scalloping in the Gulf of Mexico out of Steinhatchee, FL when a storm came up just to our south. It was a very fast and furious storm moving quickly towards us. In the time it took us to get everyone back into the boat including my young son at the time, pull our anchor and head towards the dock the storm had consumed us and hundreds of others. We were able to make it back to the dock with only minor injuries from the rough seas and strong winds the storm kicked up, but there were 5 people killed in this storm. It is a hard reminder that Mother Nature deserves much respect. I remember holding on to Chris with every bit of strength I had, I knew that within a blink of my eye things could change for the worse for us. As soon as we reached the dock we turned to help others behind us dock their boat and get others onto shore safely. The search and rescue went on for days looking for all the boaters who were unaccounted for during this storm, a grim reminder that we are human and that the force of the winds and water are far more powerful than we.

As the mother of a son who has a passion for fishing, the last week has been heartbreaking for me watching the search for the two 14 year olds #findPerryandAustin out of Jupiter, FL. It started off as just another summer day for these two young men heading out to catch some fish just as they had so many other days before. I continue to pray for Perry and Austin, their family, friends and countless strangers who have given their time, equipment and money to search the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Florida all the way up to North Carolina. I too would find every resource possible to search if it had been my son. 

We as a people can not judge or second guess others situations, because they are not our own. These boys had the skills to take their boat our fishing and from understanding their experience and knowledge had the correct equipment on board. Mother Nature does not take exceptions for anyone, we can just continue to hold out hope and keep Perry and Austin in our prayers for a safe return to their family and friends. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What's this life for?

Day by day we each have a routine, whether it is going to work or at home. You have the power to keep that routine from becoming a rut. Every day look for something new whether it be a bug or a new adventure. Look outside, there is some much more than many may realize. Look far into the sky and know that it is endless, look deep into someones eyes and know everyone has a story to tell.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


AUTO ZOOM:  If you will stop as they say and smell the roses you may be surprised at what you will find. My Canon 7D goes everywhere with me and on those rare occasions that it gets left behind I truly regret it. Through the course of my daily travels to and from work and especially on my lunch hour I see the world through the lens of my camera. Traveling down roads less traveled I slowly make my way taking time to enjoy the beauty of the world. With only a truck and maybe a farmer on his tractor their is hardly any traffic to worry about. Sometimes it can take me 30 minutes just to journey a mile. Occasionally I do get out of my Ford Explorer to get a better angle or clearer view. Explore and widen the view of life around me.

Fox squirrels, cows, eagles mating, abandoned homes, old barns and farm equipment, empty and abandoned passenger train cars to mention a few of my finds.

The sun through the early morning fog creates streaks of light. Mornings provide unlimited opportunities of Gobblers in Full Strut and Hens gathering around to see their full beauty. A doe and her fawns are off in the distance, keeping a close range to their mom.

 When the temperature is low the steam off the back of dairy cows bellows upward. Calfs frolic, run and jump starting their day in a playfull way.

Farmers preparing for their day unlocking the gates to sprauling fields of corn, watermelon, peanuts and hay. The smell of cutting hay fields is one of comfort to me, knowing that the land and hard work has paid off another year for the man on the John Deere Tractor. The fields full of hay bales is a beautiful site. Large round golden bales atop the green grass is knowing that many horses, cows and other uses will be met. Young boys helping in the fields learning leasons of life while working in the hot humid sun, loading trailers to help their family. Many of lifes important lessons for a young person has been learned on the farm, having the responsibility of feeding the animals, cleaning stalls, and helping with the crops. Oh when old enough to be able to sit on the John Deere and be able to drive all by myself, that is a feeling of accomplishment and pride. Taking care to keep the tractor within the rows as to not damage the planted crops.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Living life along the Suwannee River in North Florida I have seen many of Mother Natures Gifts. The calm beauty of the slow moving waters, the gliding alligators, and the mystical manatees. Although at times her fury does show, as it has been the past week. Most of North Florida was hammered by Tropical Storm Debby (June 25-27, 2012) and she left behind waters of bittersweetness. The farmers and gardeners have been praying for rain, peoples water wells had started to dry up, the town of Cedar Key along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico coastline was without fresh water to drink. Then came Debby and changed everything for so many. Her slow moving counter clockwise movement was at a snails pace, her winds were not to high, but her water was a killer. It took life, love, good times and bad away from so many. In a matter of hours homes and businesses were consumed with the waters from the storm, roadways washed away, the earth opened into sinkholes swallowing whatever was at one time sitting proudly atop. The sun is now shinning and some of the waters have receeded, but for many the worst is to come. The rivers in North Florida are going to crest within the next week, some with record highs. We are all in this together so take time to realize how we can help each other.