O’s celebration is for OH MY, OH MY! It’s BAT APPRECIATION DAY

Tuesday, April 17th: O’s celebration is for OH MY, OH MY! It’s BAT APPRECIATION DAY. Just seeing this daily celebration brings back childhood memories of watching Dark Shadows. Most people shudder at the thought and I probably would have in the past. But to celebrate the day, I’m sitting here contemplating building a bat house to put in the backyard. This thought is probably fueled by the earlier-than-usual mosquitoes in northTexas following our milder-than-usual winter. I’m dreading summer and our mosquitoes this year. Because, ‘I do declah,’ (picture good ‘ole’ Scarlett Ohara here) ‘those dreadedTexas skeeters are large enough to plumb carry me away!’

However, much to my surprise, not all bats eat mosquitoes. I lived inArizonafor a year and one morning I got up and the hummingbird feeders were all dry. Knowing they’d been almost full, I started looking around on the ground, thinking that it had been a windy night and the wind-tossed feeders dripped out on the ground. But the ground below was totally dry. A little confused, I refilled the feeders and went to work. The next morning … the same thing. Stumped, I mentioned my minor dilemma to my co-workers. It was the bats! The bats migrating toMexicoand back are nectar & fruit eaters. They left a swathe of empty hummingbird feeders and barren fruit trees in their wake.

Bat Conservation International, located in Austin Texas, sponsors Bat Appreciation Day on April 17th, because that’s around the time that bats begin to emerge from hibernation. Their webpage, www.batcon.org, is full of fascinating information about bats. If you’re around Austin, Texas between April and October (with August and late summer being the best viewing times), the bat flights over the Congress Avenue Bridge are supposed to be spectacular. That’s one item on my “must do” list that I haven’t seen yet. This summer. See this page for information at the Austin bats. http://austin.about.com/od/austinattractions/p/Bats_in_Austin.htm

According to Bat Conservation International, there are more than 1,200 species of bats. “They range from the world’s smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny to giant flying foxes with six-foot wingspans.” More than two-thirds of the species hunt insects, consuming up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour. They also tell us that a pregnant or lactating female can eat the equivalent of her entire body weight in insects each night. Move on in bats, for that feat I’ll set you up in a house. The remaining third of the species feeds on the fruit or nectar of plants (or hummingbird feeders). In their search for fruit and nectar, they are vital pollinators. Y’all can move on it too.


Monday, April 16th: C’mon, you can do it. I double dare ya! N’s celebration is for NATIONAL CARD & LETTER WRITING MONTH. This technological age, ruled by w-w-w, has efficiency reigning supreme. Texting, instant messaging, emails, twitter and Facebook status updates; the digital age has us expecting instant communication born of a new era.

“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters.
You can’t reread a phone call.”

~Liz Carpenter

An instant message or email is quick an efficient, but lacks the flavor and delight of a handwritten, postage stamped letter. Who does enjoy receiving an actual note in their mail box? Especially when the sender conveys personal sentiments, remembrances, or encouraging words, a letter can be a treasured surprise. A note or letter is something that can be pulled out and re-read time and time again.

What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.
~Author Unknown

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month. (Sponsored, of course, by the post office) I don’t mind spending forty-five cents to send a written piece of correspondence that is personal and tangible. Last month I was overdue in emailing a dear friend. I was so far behind, and had so much news to catch her up on; I sat down and wrote her a letter instead. And yes, it took a few days longer for her to receive, not mere minutes. But she was so surprised to get an actual letter that I got the nicest note back from her. It as worth the time and effort involved.

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Celebrate life and celebrate your loved ones and friendships. Send them a note and tell them that you love them. Add a mention about what you find special about them. What funny, or touching, memories do you have of them that you will always treasure? Celebrate the month by taking a few moments to sit down and write a note, address it and stick a stamp on it. I think you’ll be surprised – and pleased- about the reception it gets.


Sunday, April 15th: Today marks the start of a week to give back. April 15th to 21st is NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK. Established in 1974, this week is sponsored by Points of Light Institute & Hands On Network. The week may be a national celebration for the past forty years, but it only echoes the spirit of the people making up our country and our communities.

According to http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/calendar/national-volunteer-week-2012, “National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, in unison, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. National Volunteer Week is about taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change—discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.”

How can we volunteer and help our communities? Are there any ways to help at your church? Your local library? Your child’s school? Your local animal shelter?

What needs are special to your heart? Children? Animals? The plight of the homeless?

Do you have any special talents that could help others? Construction that could help Habitat for Humanity? Organizational skills that could help countless non-profits? Can you walk or run for one of the many benefits, such as for diabetes, cancer or heart?

For a list of how you can incorporate volunteering into a busy schedule, see this site: http://www.handsonnetwork.org/files/resources/A_Ten_Ways_to_Volunteer_on_Your_Own_Schedule_2009_Kathleen_King.pdf

Let’s celebrate life this week by giving something back to others who need a helping hand.

April 2012

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