An Amazing Adventure~Part 9

21 Dec


Judy Wills


I would like to make a “disclaimer” here: Some years ago, Fred and I purchased “Lifetime” passes to our U.S. National Parks. For a very nominal fee, admission to our NPS are free—for our lifetime! They came in very handy on this trip, with all the NPS parks we entered. If you are ever thinking about making such a trip—it is very well-worth your money to purchase a pass. Karen and Brian had theirs, as well, but probably paid more than we did, since we purchased ours as “seniors.” Look into it….

We finally made our way to Arches National Park.


There are over 2000 natural stone arches in this park. There are massive pinnacles, fins, and balanced rocks. It’s one place you won’t want to turn your head for fear of missing something amazing. And you should recognize the Delicate Arch—made famous as the desktop picture on a lot of computers! It is also on some of the Utah license plates, and the Utah state quarter. It looks like it isn’t very big—and we only saw it from a distance—but it’s 65’ tall—that’s about as tall as a five-or-six story building! I’ve seen pictures of it with people below it, and they look really tiny!


The entrance to the Visitors Center at Arches has some amazing bronze animals.

We saw a great video about the formation of the arches within the park, and are told how they are continually changing—and eventually will collapse with just the right time, wind, rain, and snow.

Brian was more adventurous than the rest of us, so he plowed ahead, while we took our time climbing Park Avenue. We’re told that it was named that because the massive rock formations reminded the Arches National Park discoverers of Park Avenue in New York City.


It was a bit slow-going for me (I’ve GOT to get my knees fixed!!), but we made it, and saw some fantastic formations along the way. There was Bowed Rock, Windows, Turret, Caves, Pothold Arch, Queen Nefertiti,



the Three Gossips,



Panorama Point, Delicate Arch and others. Fred and Brian went on further to see and photograph Landscape Arch.



We saw the balanced rock from several angles. We saw lots of “fins”


and some arches within large rocks.


It’s just beyond description. And we walked along side some massive rocks, just lying around. Again, Brian is more adventurous that the rest of us, and climbed up on a couple of them. He’s nuts!!

As sunset was approaching, we headed out of Arches and went into Moab. We stopped at a Wendy’s for supper, and at a grocery store to refill our cooler. Then we drove over two hours to Grand Junction. We stayed at the Grand Vista Hotel there.


~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~






How to decorate the perfect Christmas tree.

20 Dec

Old Things R New:

Our Christmas tree isn’t decorated yet. I will be thinking of Janet’s words when we do decorate it.

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

12-19-14 CHRIST    mas treeMy five-year-old grandson pulled out a tiny, worn out sleigh—a tree decoration from the box we brought in from the garage. “This is a cool one,” he said, “but it’s missing something.”

“Sorry,” I said to him and his 7-year-old sister. “Nana didn’t buy you any pretty tree decorations.”

“That’s okay,” my granddaughter said with tenderness in her voice, “you give us enough stuff. You tell us stories about Jesus; you do plays with us and teach us so many things.”

My heart did a back flip. Her words carried the best Christmas gift for this blind Nana. And quicker than you can say manger, my mind raced to find another memorable lesson for their hungry minds.

The obvious popped out—God’s display of His love in the decorations we place in the tree of our life. The adornments that come in each of God’s promises that make our life shimmer with hope. Like the picture you see here, these are…

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A Servant’s Heart

19 Dec


From my Heart

Louise GIbson

Louise Gibson


The true spirit of Christmas is one of giving.

To give of yourself is the greatest gift of all.

To follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

we learn to develop a servant’s heart

in answer to our Savior’s call.


Jesus welcomes, “Come, follow Me.

I will make you a fisher of men,”

“Oh, yes, dear Lord, I want to follow you.

Life on earth is not he end!



The three Marys who served


The three most prominent women in the gospels

were all named Mary. The first was Mary of Nazareth.

God chose her to raise Jesus because of her servant’s


“For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;

for behold, “henceforth, all generations will call me blessed,”



The second was Mary of Bethany. She was His student.

Whenever she appeared in the gospels, she was at

the feet of Jesus.


The third was Mary of Magdala. Though successful in

business, she had deep spiritual needs in her life.

Jesus freed her from demons, saved her, and she

became His zealous supporter. She supported His

ministry from her own resources, according to Luke 8:1-3.


Mary and Joseph xmas 1001 (2)


* Painting by DiVoran Lites

My Colonial States Trip~Part 5

17 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Stars Plane

The next morning I planned to start the day with a visit to the Maine Maritime Museum located in Bath, ME but they didn’t open until later in the day and as                                                                                                                                                      the poem by Robert Frost goes, “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” So I just kept on trucking up US #1 toward Owls Head, ME and the Transportation Museum there. This is one of the best transportation museums I have ever visited, where many of their over 150 transportation vehicle collection are from the pre-1920s era, and they all operate as originally designed. I got my first ride in a 1915 Ford Model T, and it ran like a sewing machine. What a thrill that was!


I would like to have stayed longer in that museum, but I headed north on US #1 again toward my next stop at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, ME. This museum is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and is designed to preserve Searsport’s unique maritime and shipbuilding history. It is laid out as a 19th century seafaring village, with thirteen buildings, housing a collection of archival items focusing on the maritime history and life in New England during the early 18th century.


Now I was headed for Bar Harbor and Acadia Nation Park, located near the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, at the northeast edge of Maine. It was a beautiful day and the drive around Acadia National Park was breath-taking. The leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn, making the scenery that much more beautiful.


Next it was back thru Ellsworth, Maine and the long drive up US #1 thru Columbia Falls and Jonesboro to Calais and the Canadian border, where I was asked where I was going and what the purpose of my trip was.   After I crossed the border into New Brunswick, for some reason, Greta wouldn’t recognize the motel address. It was after dark, and I didn’t have a map of the area, so I called the motel and the clerk told me which exit to take and then talked me into Fredericton, NB and to the motel. Wow, that was a life-saver, and what a relief it was! The next morning I visited the Christ Church Cathedral before heading out of town. The beautiful cathedral was built in 1853 and has continued to hold services right up to modern times. The front door was open and wonderful organ music was being played by someone on the church’s four-manual Casavant Freres Opus 2399 organ (which has more than 2500 wood and metal pipes). What a beautiful way to start one’s day.


I headed west to visit the Kings Landing Historical Settlement which is a late 18th century living museum, made up of almost 70 buildings, located on 300 acres, where period life of the “United Empire Loyalists” is re-created by costumed interpreters that bring to life the era with explanations of how the people lived, worked and played during that time in New Brunswick. As I walked toward the bridge, I was pleased to hear a mellow singing voice echoing across the water to me. When I arrived at the King’s Head Inn, there was the singer, sitting on a bench with his guitar, strumming more early British folk tunes for the people passing by. The village was very interesting but the usual transportation wagon never showed up and it ended up being quite a walk back to my car!





—–To Be Continued—–

Christmas Miracles

15 Dec

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Last year after I got HD lenses implanted in my eyes to replace my natural lens, which had grown cataracts, the surgeon, Dr. Tresplacious said I had the eyesight of a fighter pilot.


Well, I loved being able to see, especially colors. I told my friend, who had cataracts too, and the wonderful doctor removed hers. A month later she had to have a capsular haze removed. That’s when cataract material starts growing back. As far as I know it doesn’t often happen, but is not uncommon. She also had a shunt put in to treat the glaucoma diagnosed by this doctor. Essentially her eyesight had been saved.

My miracle is that I’ve gone a whole year without a capsular haze. Now it is happening to me, but the six months grace-time, tells me mine is growing more slowly. The scraping is a routine procedure. It doesn’t hurt because they have these great anesthetic drops they use.

In the doctor’s waiting room, I heard about another miracle. As a woman approached the chair next to mine, I admired her perfect appearance. I wanted to her how much I liked the way she looked. After all hadn’t Grandmother taught me to compliment strangers? This woman was a young seventy-five to eighty. Her hair was that beautifully striking black and white. She wore a white quilted jacket, black pants, and black pumps.

Of course, telling her how nice she looked started a conversation.

“This jacket won’t be warm enough when I go to the Northwest,” she said. She’s on her way to Washington State to be with her daughter and son-in-law. I asked if she had grandchildren.

“Yes, and I even have one great-grandchild.”

She asked if I had grandchildren. “They’re in college,” I nodded. “We saw them a good deal when they were growing up, but now they’re in college and it’s pretty much over. Can’t be helped, that’s just the way things are.

Then she told me about her miracle. He husband died on Father’s Day this year, and this will be her first Christmas without him. Even though I could see her heartbreak she kept insisting she was doing all right. No self-pity there. But here’s the miracle part. After her granddaughter had decided college wasn’t for her, she got a job at Disney. She needed a place to live until she could get out on her own, so she asked her grandmother if she could move in temporarily. They had a wonderful time together. Then the granddaughter got married, moved out and had a baby.

Next the grandson got a job at The Space Center and asked to live with her until he got settled closer to work. Now she has both grandchildren and a great grandchild on this coast instead of the other and sees them frequently.

“I expect my daughter and her husband will be moving here from Washington,” she said. Those are all the children they have.

We celebrated together. “Thanks for saying what you did about my appearance she said. It made my day.” Mine too.

You might like to look up Proverbs 31 in the Holy Bible and read it again. It’s a model of women for all ages.

Nut Cracker lake eola

An Amazing Adventure~Part 8

14 Dec


Judy Wills




The next morning, we had breakfast at our out-of-the-way hotel. It was surprisingly good—make your own waffles and all the stuff that goes along with that.

We went through the little area known as Fruita. There is a bit of history about it, as well. It was settled by the Mormons, and they planted all kinds of fruit trees—apple, pear, peach, cherry, apricot, mulberry, even Potowatomee Plum (I’d never heard of that one). They made their living off all the things one can make from fruit. The original name of the place was Junction. After the success of the fruit trees, they changed the name to Fruita.

The residents (usually no more than about 10 families) built a one-room school house, which still stands today, after some renovation. The National Park Service purchased most of the land—and trees—and razed most of the buildings. But the school house survived. And while the land and trees belong to the National Park Service, the public is invited to help harvest. According to their website, any fruit consumed in the park is free. If you pick the fruit and take it out of the park—you are charged. Interesting. Here is a picture of that one-room schoolhouse.


From there, we headed on to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, in Moab, Utah. It took us a while to get there, so by the time we arrived, it was time for lunch.



I found it interesting to know that Canyonlands National Park is the LARGEST park in Utah! When looking at the map, there is an area five or six time larger than Canyonlands, but then I realized it is the Grand Staircase Escalante National MONUMENT—not a national park Big difference—I suppose mostly who controls the area. Canyonlands has deeply eroded canyons interspersed with sheer-sided mesas and a variety of spires, arches and unusual rock formations

We had a picnic lunch near the Grand View Point, at an outside picnic table. We were joined by some chipmunks and either a raven or a crow (we aren’t sure just what each of those birds looks like, so…..). They must have had some scraps from other picnickers, because they were quite bold.



After lunch, we drove around Canyonlands, as much as we could. Again, of course, I wanted to get out and take pictures of just everything I could see. So Brian stated that when we stopped, it was for a “two photo stop” only. If I took more than two photos, he would go off and leave me (he never did)! Of course, if HE got out to take pictures, the deal was off!


We stopped at Buck Canyon Overlook. Fantastic scenery. It’s like I just couldn’t get enough of it all. Apparently the Green and Colorado rivers confluence carved out what we saw. Absolutely amazing! Breath-taking! And frankly, I thought some of the rock formations were as spectacular as what we saw in Grand Canyon.

The elevations in Canyonlands range from 3,700’ to 7,200’ above sea level. That makes for hot summers and cold winters. Sometimes the temperatures can change as much as 50° within one day. The area has less than 10” of rain per year, usually in the summer by monsoons, which can cause flash flooding.

There is also an area within Canyonlands called Upheaval Dome. The “experts” still aren’t sure—even after all these years of studying it—whether it was a salt dome that exploded, or a meteorite impact. It was a bit of a hike—classified as a “short steep trail” to get to the overlook, so Brian was the only one who made that trek. We contented ourselves with the sign.



~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~

Three not-so-secret ways to overcome loneliness.

13 Dec

Old Things R New:

Do you find yourself feeling lonley during holidays, especially Christmas?
Have you experienced loneliness lately?
What brings about your loneliness?

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

With permission:

With permission:

How can it happen? Whether we’re in a crowd or in the darkness of a silent room the battle to overcome loneliness begins.

I was stunned. CNN reported yesterday that among thousands of entries, my hometown, La Paz, Bolivia, where I was born and spent my childhood was named the No. 1 wonder of the world.

But let me share a native’s point of view. In La Paz, being the highest capital in the world because of its altitude, visitors can become deathly ill due to the decreased amount of oxygen.

On the other hand, on a sunny day, the vibrant shade of sky blue that canopies over the city is breathtaking.

La Paz is built inside a sort of moon crater. Houses of all kinds dot the mountains that surround the city. And at night, a visitor may seem as if he were inside a gigantic…

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Life is Just a Minute

12 Dec

From my Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson



Just a tiny  little minute,

but eternity is in it..


The Great Creator.

the Great “I Am”,

knows exclusively

who I am.


Dear Lord, You are our reason for living.

You have put purpose in our life-

The desire for loving and giving.


Help us to maximize our morning,

to have a standing appointment with you.

Lead us into paths of righteousness,

so that to ourselves we will always be true.


There is power in plodding.

Work persistently in small increments.

As we age, to yourself be kinder.

There will be less cause for laments.



“Do not have your concert first,

and then string your instruments afterwards.

Begin the day with the word of God and prayer,

and get first of all into harmony with Him,”

Missionary J Hudson Taylor

What is Your Favorite Christmas Activity

11 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Baking is my favorite Christmas activity. For me it beats decorating hands down. Usually I bake with my grandchildren but this year “the baking season” began in my daughter Rebekah’s kitchen which is a treat for me as usually we are six hundred miles apart. Today’s baking by Rebekah  yielded five different types of cookies,  loaves of vanilla tea bread and muffins large and mini. I contributed a fudge experiment which was a failure as fudge, but it will make some fantastic hot fudge sauce. My major contribution was washing up, you know all the bowls, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have sweet memories of working side by side in the kitchen with my mother and aunts. I think we created some memories today too. Soon we will be back in North Carolina and three generations will be baking together.  I am sure I will be continuing my role as dishwasher-in-chief.


Rebekah’s favorite recipe source Tea Time magazine


As a child, my mother and I had matching aprons. Hers wore out but mine was packed away and brought out for Rebekah, then my granddaughter, Karyssa. The apron Rebekah is wearing in the photo below is a memory apron with three generations of cooks embroidered on it. It will soon be time to create a new apron for my granddaughter.


Vanilla tea loaves coming out of the oven.



My Colonial States Trip~Part 4

10 Dec

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane


My first stop the next day was to visit the Albacore Submarine Museum in Portsmouth, NH where I took a quick tour thru the U.S. Navy’s unique research submarine that was used in the 1950s to study streamline hull/propeller designs along with various propulsion systems. I had toured other submarines, but this one was by far the most compact vessel I had ever seen. I don’t have claustrophobia, but I sure wouldn’t have volunteered for duty in that sub.


Just a few miles up the road I crossed the border into Maine and stopped to visit the Kittery Historical & Naval Museum in Kittery, ME where I discovered a small but amazing collection of local Kittery area historical memorabilia, including many maritime and military contributions.



Another 5 miles up US #1 was the Old York Gaol (jail) which served as a colonial debtor’s prison in York County Maine as far back as 1656. The present structure was an expansion of the original jail and was in use from 1719 to 1879 when it was closed and converted to a school. It was not open when I was there, but I took time to take a peek thru the windows.


Then it was on north to visit the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME which is one of the oldest and largest museums of mass transit vehicles. The price of a ticket will get you a 30-minute ride into yesteryear on the museum’s 1918 electric trolley that was once used on the Eastern Mass Street Railway line.  


As part of my research for this trip up the Eastern Seaboard, I had Googled “Lobster Restaurants” and discovered that a guy named Mike Urban had come up with a list of the “12 Best Lobster Shacks in New England and one of them was “The Clam Shack” right there in Kennebunkport, ME.   So, of course, I had to try one of their lobster rolls for lunch. Yummy, was that ever good! If you are ever in Kennebunkport, try to find a place to park, and walk across the Kennebunk River bridge to “The Clam Shack, and whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to try one of their famous lobster rolls. You won’t be sorry.


Next I visited the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, ME where they have a collection of narrow gauge rolling stock and artifacts that were used in Maine during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The museum operates a 1½ mile long narrow gauge railroad, using vintage equipment, which carries passengers along the waterfront of Casco Bay and parallels Portland’s Eastern Promenade.


While I was in Portland, I visited the Portland Observatory which was built in 1807 and is the last surviving maritime signal tower in the United States. The observatory is an 86 feet tall hexagon shaped structure which sits atop Munjoy Hill, which itself is 222 feet above sea level. Originally located to be seen from the open ocean and the Portland wharfs, the observatory served as a primitive means of ship-to-shore communications for merchantmen and was even used successfully as a watchtower during the War of 1812. Then it was on north another 25 miles or so to Brunswick, ME where I spent the night.



     —–To Be Continued—–



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