Getting More Than You Give

1 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistThe Holy Bible, reminds us that when we give, God returns our gifts in such abundance that we can barely receive them all.

Lately, we’ve been hanging out with different kinds of volunteers, and we’ve seen for ourselves that those who give the most, get the most, not necessarily in material possessions, but in things that mean so much more, such as joy, peace, grace, and unexpected miracles.

Last Thursday, Bill and I attended a University of Central Florida (UCF) Alumni Volunteer awards banquet. I was honored to be asked to condense the bios that would be read at the ceremony. That allowed me to know the nominees better even though I had not met them. It gave an extra edge to my enjoyment of the evening. Of course, being a typical writer, I took mental notes of how I could do better next time.

The UCF mascot is a knight. When a graduate does something notable with his life, he can be nominated for the annual Notable Knight award and designation. Christine F., a nurse practitioner was one of the runners up. She travels from one facility to another tending to the needs of aging and post-surgical clients. She goes to bat for her patients — whatever they need. Bill C. the other runner up, took a central role in the modernization and refurbishment of the Launch Facilities at Kennedy Space Center. Notable Knight, 2014, is Mitch V. the man who changed the Space Coast’s reputation, helping students from all over America by putting on marathons and triathlons to take the place of other less than beneficial pursuits at spring break. Christine, Bill C. and Mitch all make community service an integral part of their lives.

Then there were the scholarships presented to students who excelled at leadership, community service and academics. This year’s nominees came from the fields of medicine and education, but it was apparent from reading the applications that they could do anything they set their minds to.

One graduate who had been awarded scholarships before, returned to thank the UCF Alumni for helping her get all the way through school to the place where she is now – working on her PhD Program. She will be serving the needs of abused children, a tribe she knows well, as she was once one of them.

The people at the ceremony were wonderful, not only the honorees, but also the members of the UCF Space Coast Alumni who raised funds, organized the attendees, interfaced with the caterer, and took care of all the red tape and details that come with event planning. They create and join in many other volunteer events during the year and having known some of them, I know they are truly blessed in return.

UCF copy


“Bring all the tithes (a tenth of our money and time) into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10

Transition to Maine~Part 4

31 Aug


Judy Wills


Winter arrived with a vengeance in northern Maine!  Early in October it started snowing, and we didn’t think it would ever stop.  Actually, that year (1970-1971) we had 156″ of snow.  It was piled up to the bottom of the windows for seven – yes I said SEVEN (7) – months.  We had a blizzard on April 1st.  As it happened, I was pregnant at the time and was outside going from the car to the house, when I slipped and fell.  I furiously told Fred that “anywhere else we would be it would be RAINING!  But here it is SNOWING!”  I was NOT a happy camper


One fun thing is that Karen’s memory of living in base housing is that we were completely snowed in!  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case – it’s just that her bedroom window overlooked the back stoop, and IT was covered in deep snow.


We had so much snow that the housing members (that was us) had to dig a “tunnel” to walk through – especially in the back of the row house.


The base had to keep the runway clear for emergencies, so that was the first thing plowed.  Second were the roads on the base.  Third was the housing areas, and fourth were the garage areas within the housing area.  That didn’t get done very often, so we usually just parked on the street.  Of course, then you ran the risk of getting your car covered in plowed snow.


The garage areas were also in a “row,” and had the capability of hooking up the engine block to a heater, so the vehicle would be more apt to start on a cold morning.  Unfortunately, they were in such sad shape that, while we were there, one of those garage units caught fire – and the entire garage row was completely burned to the ground in five minutes!  The fire department didn’t even arrive in time to salvage any of the building.


A few interesting facts:

1.  All the farmers in the area had snow plows that they attached to their tractors, and helped to keep the roads clear.

2.  Fred purchased studded snow tires, had them mounted on wheels, and just changed out the entire wheel when the snow began to fall in earnest.  He was able to sell them when we were ready to move.

3.  In January, the high for the month was 4̊ below zero!  When in February it got to 25̊ above zero, we thought it was a heat wave and people were running around in shirt sleeves!

4.  While it was still cold, some of the tenants of the row houses would flood the area between the row houses and make a skating rink.  Some would even run their snowmobiles there.


There were a lot of complaints about Maine.  We knew a lot of pilots who volunteered for a second or third tour in Vietnam just to get away from Loring.  Unfortunately, the AF usually sent them right back to Loring after those assignments.  The AF lost a lot of good pilots that way, as they left the military.

There was one man in Fred’s unit who was a Maine native and really loved his assignment there.  He kept requesting to stay, but they kept sending him places like Turkey and Italy and such like.  We kept saying why didn’t the AF just let him stay there, and let us go somewhere warm??!!

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

Does God provide beyond our expectations?

30 Aug

Old Things R New:

Wow, Janet’s post today is interesting. How would you respond in such a situation?

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

ShoppingIsabel sat on the stool in the dressing room of an upscale department store. And I slipped on dress after dress.

Nearly all of them I tried on elicited the same response. “That is you. The color is perfect.” Isabel clapped. “That one is in the must-take pile.”

After the modeling session, she grabbed nearly a dozen hangers with designer dresses. “That’s it,” she said, “we’re taking them all.” Then she paused and continued. “You’re not paying for any of this.”

“Oh no. Maybe one,” I said.

But Isabel wouldn’t listen. “We’re taking them all.”

Taking them all? I was speechless. How…why…would she want to pay for all those expensive dresses?

So, I asked her. And her response was: “Don’t think for a minute it’s me who’s giving you this. It’s the Lord. He’s just using me to bless you this way. All I’m doing is sharing from the abundance…

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The Wise Old Owl

29 Aug

From My Heart

Louise Gibson

author of Window Wonders




Years ago an anonymous writer

penned a short poem about the

merit of measuring our words.


“A wise old owl sat in an oak,

The more he saw the less he spoke.

The less he spoke the more he heard.

Why can’t we all be like

that wise old bird.”


There is a connection between wisdom

and limiting what we say.

It is wise to be a good listener

while holding our tongue at bay.


Be sensitive to the needs of the

one you are speaking to.

Listen to what their heart is saying

before expressing your point of view.



Although there is a time to be quiet

and a time to speak (Eccl.3;7)

choosing to speak less allows us to hear more.

Tree with owl

Parachute Man

27 Aug

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites



When I was six years old (1944) WWII was still raging and most everyone in America was trying to do their part to support the war effort. Children’s toys were among the many things that were slanted toward the war and my parents bought me a small stuffed Parachute Man. My Parachute Man was decked out in a camouflaged battle outfit with a cloth parachute attached to his back. I could wrap the parachute and shroud lines around his body, and then when I threw him high in the air, the parachute would unwind and he would come floating down just like a real U.S. Army Paratrooper. Boy, did I have fun with that Parachute Man! I repeated the sequence over and over, day after day, trying to see how high I could throw him. As you can imagine, the higher I could throw him the longer it took him to float back down to me. I can’t remember how long this went on, but I had gotten pretty good at lofting my Parachute Man way up there.



 Our house in Dallas, TX was on a corner lot, and the side street was usually fairly busy with traffic, going both ways, and I had been instructed to play on the other side of our yard. One day as I was playing with my Parachute Man, and having so much fun, I didn’t notice that the wind had shifted and was now blowing across our yard from the west. On one of the highest lofts I had ever thrown, when the parachute opened, the wind caught my Parachute Man and he drifted across our yard and out into the cross street, right in front of a car. I held my breath. Was he going to be run over and crushed? I ran to the edge of our yard to see what had happened to my Parachute Man. But, he wasn’t there! Where was he? I looked up and down the street, but he was nowhere in sight. Then I realized… he had gotten caught on the front of that car and I would never see him again. I was a sad little boy for a long time after that, but my parents didn’t buy me another Parachute Man; probably thinking it would end up the same way or worse, if I were to run out into the street after him.



The next year, our family flew to our new home in Albuquerque, NM in a beautiful shiny American Air Lines DC-3, and I’ve been hooked on airplanes ever since. I had planned to be a fighter pilot when I grew up, but my astigmatism ended that dream. I even took flying lessons, and soloed a couple times, but ran out of money before I got my license.   Now that I’m retired, the # 1 item on my “Bucket List” is to attend as many Airshows and visit as many Aviation Museums as I can while I can still walk.



Just last October I was at an airshow in Addison, TX to see “FIFI” the only flying B-29 in the world, and happened to run into Bob Bearden. Bob was a sergeant in the 507th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, who parachuted into France on June 6, 1944 as part of the Normandy invasion during WWII. Bob was dressed in his jump gear and boots and he reminded me of my Parachute Man. It was my privilege to meet and talk with Bob and have my picture taken with him, in front of a C-47, painted with invasion stripes, just like the plane he and his fellow paratroopers jumped from on that infamous day so many years ago.




         “Thank you Bob and all those many other Parachute Men for your service to our country.”




Gunnison Adventure~Part 2

26 Aug

A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin

One of the most beautiful trips we took, and one I always anticipate, was up to Paradise Divide above Crested Butte at about 11,500 feet. This is one of our favorite places to go, and we hid a geocache up here years ago, which is still there. We get many great comments about the Paradise area on our geocaching site.



There are several rare flowers on this trip and some of them only bloom for a very short time, if conditions are right. For instance we saw Glacier Lilies that only grow near the snow banks for a short time after the snow melts;


Moss Campion (moss in bloom, with the sweetest smelling little pink flowers you have ever seen); Monument Plants which only bloom once, then are dormant for 20 – 60 years, then will bloom again. Rosy Paint Brush with its different shades of bright pink to pale pink, grows at this altitude. We saw a multitude of Lemon Paint Brush and the bright red Indian Paint Brush, too. Then there is the fluffy little Bistort that is soft and pleasing to the eye, but smells like dirty socks. These are just a few of my favorite flowers. There is a wonderful waterfall on the road up that cascades down 1000 feet this time of year, and a beautiful pristine Mirror Lake at the top. Also at the top, a large red mountain above timberline dominates the scene. You never see a lot of people up here.

Going down the other side, a few miles down you see many more people, as it is a popular area. You pass the Biology Research Center located in beautiful Gothic. They established research plots in this area years ago to study the gorgeous flora here. It looks like they are expanding their research, as they are building a huge new building up here. Also as you come down this side, you pass Emerald Lake, which is very deep and is the color of emeralds. This is a favorite fishing, hiking and biking area, with many bicycle trails in use here in the summer. One popular trail passes the famous Maroon Bells and leads you into Aspen on the other side of the mountain to the east.

We saw a lot of wildlife during our stay in the area this year, including several deer, a couple of herds of elk (mamas and babies),a family of raccoons climbing a tree to spend the night, and 3 deer being stalked by a coyote.



We were parked by the road watching the deer right above us. They were not spooked by us, but kept looking over our heads into the meadow below. So we looked down there and saw the coyote. He was watching them and looked like he was going to try to go around and maybe get behind them. However, we don’t think he would attack on his own. We also had our own little resident doe that stays close to our condo


To Kill or Not to Kill

25 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Author, Poet and ArtistWhile Jay, the owner of the pest control company (a sweet, older gentleman, who has been around for a long time) was here, we asked him if he’d consider taking away the Cuban tree frog that lives in our shedlette and dispose of it for us, but he said regretfully he couldn’t. I didn’t hear the reason, he was talking to Bill then. But later he wanted to talk to me about it. He had answers but none of them would suffice.

“Throw a towel over it, catch it, and let it loose in the woods.

“Can’t do that, it’s an exotic.”

“There’s lots of woods around here.”

“It will breed and take over more territory.”

“Oh in that case it will have to be …” I wish I could recall his euphemism for killed.”


We really shouldn’t let it live. Billy, my ecologist son, and I have been discussing for years what to do with it. Another man he knows has a system for getting rid of them. We discussed taking it to him, but my grandchildren begged us not to. We wouldn’t have anyway, that’s the big problem, really, we can’t kill things.

Known to take food and territory from native flora or fauna, an exotic is a plant or animal that came from somewhere else. Sometimes they prey on the natives which further diminishes their numbers. In this case, the Cuban tree frog is helping destroy our beautiful little green frogs with the gold racing stripes live here. When we moved to Florida in 1965 the green ones were all over our porch slab. They clung to the sliding glass patio doors like suction ornaments. People had to watch their heads when they stepped out because the frogs were known to drop unexpectedly. Now we rarely see one, it’s not all the Cuban tree frog’s fault, pollution has done its worst.

Because of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), The National Wildlife Federation has three categories for plants and animals, 1. Extinct, 2. Endangered, and 3. Threatened. There is also a designation called Critical Habitat. Without the proper places to live and eat, any animal can become f threatened.

I didn’t have to explain all of that to Jay. He knew what exotic meant. He knew about ecology. He said, “I see what you mean.” I’ll be interested to find out what you’ve decided to do.

We may leave the frog out there, he’s been out there since he was a quarter of the size he is now. The thing is, he keeps waking me up with his far-carrying wee-hours croaking. If it were steady I could probably ignore it, but it’s not. It’s a continual call that gets you fully awake and then it stops long enough for you to go back to sleep. Once you do that it starts again. I do have earplugs. And I do have a conscience about plotting murder in the night, so I end telling Jay I’ve decided the Cuban can stay. I wonder how long they live. He has every kind of protection in the shedlette — plenty of bugs to eat, and perhaps a green tree frog for dessert.



Transition to Maine~Part 3

24 Aug


Judy Wills



In addition to setting up house at Loring AFB, we started looking for a church home. There weren’t very many Southern Baptist Churches in that area – actually only one – so we scoped it out. They didn’t have their own building, and were meeting in the Odd Fellows hall in Caribou. It wasn’t ideal, especially on the Sundays after the Odd Fellows had been having a party on Saturday night with beer flowing freely. We frequently had to clean up the hall before we could hold our services on Sunday. (Fred and I were only in Maine for 13 months, and after we left, the church rented space on Sundays from the Knights of Columbus. Several years after that, they built their own building). However, the church was strong and the fellowship was tremendous. One of the best things we found in the churches we were in that had a large military membership – the rank came off when we walked through the door. We were all just fellow believers in Christ. We met many people there who became good friends, and some we’ve even retained contact with throughout the years. We’ve also had the pleasure of meeting up with them when they have come down to Orlando for their time at Disney. That’s such a joy!




The Weather Detachment that Fred was assigned to was a fairly cohesive group, as well. He started in working right away. Loring AFB was a first-defense base with bombers, aerial refueling and interceptor aircraft stationed there. One section of the base was on constant alert. Loring was the closest U.S. base to Europe and U.S.S.R.

Loring AFB was named in 1954 posthumously for Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., USAF, a Medal of Honor recipient during the Korean War. During the morning of 22 November 1952, he led a flight of F-80 Shooting Stars on patrol over Kunwha. After beginning a dive bombing run and getting hit, he entered into a controlled dive and destroyed a Chinese gun emplacement on Sniper Ridge which was harassing United Nations troops, by deliberately crashing his aircraft into the emplacement.


Public schools in Aroostock County started in August. They were in session for three weeks then broke for two or three weeks for the potato harvest. Local farmers hired students and airmen looking for some extra money to help with the harvest. Then school resumed.

There was only pre-kindergarten through elementary grades on base – other grades/schools are in town. Karen was able to attend a part-time pre-k there. She got to ride a bus to school and was thrilled. Unfortunately, Fred and I were in tears to see her go!

Feeling protected and secure.

23 Aug

Old Things R New:

Janet shares what she learned in Bolivia about feeling protected and secure.

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

La Paz House 1

LaPaz House 3

LaPaz House 2

No landscape. No fancy doors. Not even a nice front. None of these are priorities for homes in La Paz, Bolivia.

At the top of the list is the wall you see in this picture to guard the home. Every house has a protective barrier against thieves.

A house without this structure looks naked, vulnerable and defenseless. And no doubt, a tempting invitation to thieves lurking around.

Sort of like you and I without God’s strength around us, without His firm grip and without His shelter.

And lacking the strong wall of His power that serves as our shield, bad news robs our peace. News about violence invades the stillness of our lives, and the uncertainty for tomorrow and worry steals our tranquility.

“But as for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).

Therefore, our soul…

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Where Do I Go To Cry

22 Aug

From My Heart

Louise Gibson

author of Window Wonders

                                    Life presents many challenges-
                                    When confronted, I honestly try,
                                    But when bad things happen,and they surely do,
                                    Where do I go to cry?
                                    It isn’t gender related,
                                    nor is it ruled by a calendar page.
                                    Bad things happen to good people
                                    Regardless of sex or age.


                                   Emotional tears are the body’s way
                                   of reducing stress-
                                   So let those tears flow
                                   in times of sadness… or happiness.
                                  Mathew 5:4
                                  “Blessed are they that mourn,
                                  for they shall be comforted.”
                                  Psalm 30
                                  “Weeping may endure for a night,
                                  but joy comes in the morning.”

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