Nothing Exciting Going on Here

30 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

I don’t have anything exciting or interesting to say today. Life seems to be hurrying along, pushing me with it. We took two drives while Rebekah was visiting, to enjoy the Fall color. The trees in our front yard are putting on quite a show this week and I am amazed the Knock Out Roses are still in bloom. This morning, fog was hovering low while the sky was a crisp, clear blue. Colder weather has moved in and the”S” word has even be mentioned for the weekend.

Foggy Fall

We are enjoying a visit from my aunt and cousin who live in Raleigh. Since today is chilly, I am going to cook Pasta Fagioli with bread sticks for supper. The recipe is suppose to be as good as Olive Gardens. We don’t have an Olive Garden in our town so this is the next best thing. Rebekah will post the recipe over on Rebekah Ly Books.

Pasta Fagioli

I don’t have all the ingredients so that gives me a good reason to take a trip into town. I have some mulled apple cider that will be just the thing to warm me up after the outing.

Hubby has been busy in his wood working shop. Last week he finished up a tortilla press for our son. Today he is working on a bread rack for our daughter. It should be a practical fix for her lack of kitchen counter space.

tortilla press copy


I would like to add here, that our son, Matt, is doing wonderfully well after his hip surgery. We give thanks to God for His perfect plan and timing, although watching Matt suffer was very difficult.


Well, this pretty much sums up my last few weeks. What have you been up to?

The Best Job I Ever Had~Part 3

29 Oct

A Slice of Life

By Bill Lites

Bill Lites

Bill Lites


One of the largest assignments I was responsible for was the 1st /2nd stage separation system. This system was used in two places on the S-II stage of the Saturn V launch vehicle; to separate the first stage S-IC from the second stage S-II, and again 30 seconds later, to separate the protective S-II Interstage from around the S-II engines. The S-IC and S-II stages were both 33 feet in diameter, so the test fixture used to test the full scale separation system was massive.



The test fixture was designed to lift a simulated section of the separation plane off the ground so that when the explosive system fired, the lower portion could be photographed while it fell to the ground. This was the closest we could come to simulating the actual event, and we learned several important things from these tests that would drive the final design of the separation system itself. The first thing we discovered, was that the originally designed charge assembly would warp as it was unreeled from the installation spool, making it difficult to keep it lying flat on the tension plates it had to cut. Next, we found out that any amount of water between the charge assembly and the tension plate would diffuse the cutting ability of the explosive. The Los Angeles fog taught us this fact. This happened when we installed the separation system one day for a full-scale test the next day, and when the fog rolled in that night, the moisture ran down the stringers, onto the tension plates, and collected in the “V” of the shaped charge in several places. The final design consisted of a vinyl wrapped charge assembly that kept the moisture out of the cutting area, and a retention system that held the charge assembly tight against the tension plates. The manufacturer of the charge assembly also supplied a disposable holder that kept it from warping as it came off the installation spool.



This separation system did not use a large size explosive charge, but because it had to cut the 216 tension straps around the 103 foot outside circumference of the vehicle, it ended up being a large explosion. After the first three tests, we had to move the entire test fixture to an El Centro desert facility because of complaints from the local Downey, CA residents.


After finalizing the ordnance systems testing for the Apollo and Saturn S-II vehicles, I was transferred to the NAA Field Operations Group and moved to Florida in 1965 to be one of the Field Test Engineers responsible for the processing and installation of many of those same ordnance systems I had tested in California. My job now was to write the procedures for, and supervise the processing and installation of, these flight ordnance systems on the Saturn S-II launch vehicle that helped boost the Apollo Astronauts and their spacecraft to the Moon. What a thrill it was to be able to watch that giant 363 foot high Saturn V launch vehicle lift off, in all its glory, and see those systems work as they had been designed and tested. But of course, as it turned out, that job wasn’t near as much fun as the job of blowing up those system test specimens back in the early days at the home plant (Will I ever grow out of being a kid?).



You may have seen the picture below or a video clip of it in an Apollo documentary or an advertisement, but this was the S-II Interstage falling away from the S-II Stage booster 30 seconds after separation from the S-IC stage, which occurred during each Apollo/Saturn V launch from the Kennedy Space Center.



Most people have no idea how many unseen systems have to work perfectly, and in the proper sequence, during any rocket launch. I still get thrilled every time I watch a video of one of the Apollo/Saturn V launches, and see each of the many ordnance systems function as they were designed. And, it’s gratifying to know that I played a small part in that historical program to place the very first men on the moon.






—–The End—–


The Accidental Death of my Cell Phone

27 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistDid you notice the smudge on my new hot-pink purse in the picture in my last blog – the one about getting my new driver’s license?pink 31 bag

Here’s what happened. Rebekah Lyn asked if I wanted to go downtown with her Saturday evening when they were having an algorithms art show down there. Please don’t ask me what that is, I still don’t know.

But, I’m usually up for an art show of any kind so I said yes, and I would pick her up. As I pulled out of my driveway I noticed that the hood ornament that rode home with me from the driver’s license bureau was waiting on a windshield wiper for another ride, a traveling brown lizard as common as a butterfly here in Florida where I live.

Gotta be honest. I’m not crazy about lizards, but I don’t like to see the cats get them or see them blown off a car only to get run over by another car. When I stopped in front of Rebekah Lyn’s condo, I reached for a spatula I’ve been meaning to give back to my daughter and 1tried to chase him off into the grass. He ran this way and that. Rebekah came out of her house laughing at me. Has she never seen a person chasing a lizard with a spatula before?

The window was open on her side and she said he was going to go in it. I knew she was right so I threw down my spatula, jerked open the car door so I could get to the key and put the window up and slammed the door, not thinking about having stuffed my purse in the door pocket before I left home.

The lizard ran down into an opening where the windshield wipers go. I didn’t see him again until Bill and I ran errands in his van yesterday and he was there to ride along. Everybody likes Bill better than me, but I don’t let it get to me. I like him better too.

Anyhow, after we parked behind some businesses down town and I reached for my purse, I realized it had fallen out, so we got back in the car and drove back to Rebekah Lyn’s. We saw the purse lying in the street right where we’d left it, grabbed it and headed back downtown. However when I checked to see whether everything was still there I noticed one of the zippers was very stiff, then I noticed the tire marks on the purse. Then Rebekah Lyn asked how my cell phone, which was in a pocket was, then I got it out and it was d-e-a-d, dead. Old cell phone from long ago. I rejoiced. It was finally time for a smart phone. Lots of people have phones now that are smarter than they are, and I will no longer be an exception, except I suspect that my old phone was… Never mind.

That was it except that when I went to use my credit card at the pet store the next day, they said it wouldn’t work, so I had to buy ten cans of salmon with cash.

Our daughter and her husband are helping us with new cell phones. Bill gets one too. We’re getting I Phones 5 c or s I can’t remember which and I’m looking forward to having a good camera with me always so that when I get a lizard on car I can take his picture before I brush him off.

“A lizard can be caught with the hand, (not by me, and Rebekah Lyn wouldn’t catch him, either) yet it is found in kings’ palaces.” Proverbs 30:28

An Amazing Adventure~Part 1

26 Oct


Judy Wills


I’ve just had the most A..M..A..Z..I..N..G adventure! Fred and I, with our oldest daughter, Karen, and her husband, Brian took on the National Parks in the southwest. We covered nine National Parks in about five days! That doesn’t include the National Forests and state parks. Yes, it was a bit tiring—especially to us “old” folks—but we loved every minute of it!

We started out our adventure by flying into Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the best airport near where Karen and Brian live near Chicago. (Just a side note here: In the Milwaukee airport is the area just past security—you know, the area where you put your shoes back on, your belt back on, put the stuff back into your bag, etc. Well, at that airport, there is a sign that names it the “Recombobulation area.” I’ve never seen that area named such in any other airport. Cute, huh?!)

We spent a few days with them—visiting with their two children and new granddaughter-in-law.


The four of us then flew out to Denver to begin the real work.

The first thing that Brian did was to rent a van for us to travel in—one with captain’s chairs in the middle row. So much more comfortable to travel in than a car, and the windows are bigger so we can see more from the “back seat.”


The next great thing was to purchase a $2.27 Styrofoam cooler, along with ice, and lunch meats, bread, condiments, etc., for those times we would be having a “picnic” out. Almost always once a day and occasionally twice, if we were out in the boonies and had no other place to eat. We replenished the stock whenever it was needed. It was great. There’s just something about eating “al fresco” that really satisfies the appetite, you know?!

Since it was afternoon, we drove to our hotel and checked in. We were not far from the Garden of the Gods, so we drove through it, not stopping right then. We would do so the next morning. Fred and I had been there on our honeymoon, 53+ years before. Lots I don’t remember about it, and I suppose the wind and weather has changed it a bit. Fascinating. Here are a few of the sights:



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And Balanced Rock was just about the most fascinating to me. How does it stay up there?



We drove through Manitou Springs, but took no pictures. Lots of “springs” around the town, with supposedly healthy/healing qualities to the water. We didn’t have an opportunity to test that theory out.


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


Five easy ways for you to be one of those ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

25 Oct

Old Things R New:

Wow, this one really hit home with me and goes along with Louise Gibson’s poem on Friday. We all have gifts.

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

With permission:

With permission:

Is that possible? Do ordinary people do extraordinary things? I asked myself that when my grandmother hugged me and kissed my cheek as we stood beside the old taxi cab that would take us to the La Paz airport and head to our new home in the U.S. “Someday, you’ll do something great,” she said.  I was only 12 years old then, and wondered if she realized I was just an ordinary kid.

Years swept by. And God placed the perfect example. My good friend went from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

On our way home from dinner, I sat on the passenger’s seat beside her. We stopped at a red light and she quickly reached in her back seat. “There’s one,” she said as she rolled down her window. She quickly handed the homeless man a plastic bag filled with a can of Spam, a washcloth…

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Identify Your Gift- God Gave You One

24 Oct

From My Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

“The gift of fantasy has meant more to me

than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge”.

Albert Einstein


Lord, I know there is a lot to be serious about in life,

but there is a need for levity, too.

Laughter is good medicine and lowers your

blood pressure quicker than a pill can do.


You have given us the gift of “Helps”

Look around.  There is always a need.

The good Lord turned my home into a “cat haven”

I now have eight cats to feed!


The gift of fantasy has served me well throughout the years.

Born during the “Great Depression”,

I wrote poetry to dispel my fears.


Magazines were a great source of material

used in composing cards for family or a friend.

I cut out a “knight in shining armor,”

which pleased my father to no end.


Have you identified your gift from God?

There is no doubt you have one.

God has created us in His own image.

We now have fellowship with the Son.


The Best Job I Ever Had~Part 2

22 Oct

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites



I would design and have built any test fixtures required. Then I would coordinate with the various support groups necessary for each test. In most cases, the specimen would have to be tested in at least the three realms I mentioned (high temp, low temp, vibration) to verify that they would function under those conditions. This meant the Ordnance Design Engineer had to have at least three of his system specimens built and supplied to the Test Group for testing. It was something to be able to blow up these various test specimens when they worked as designed, but when they didn’t, and the Ordnance Design Engineer had to take the mangled pieces back to his office and his drawing board, to figure out how to make the system work properly, it was rather sad for him. You might have heard the old saying, “Well, it’s back to the drawing board.”  Well, that’s just what he had to do. This would go on until the system was perfected and the test results satisfied the original/modified system designed acceptance requirements. Of course, everyone had their own critical time schedule that they were working to, and any delays caused by malfunctions or unexpected test results only added to the pressure each group involved would feel.



Many of the system specimens we tested were small, which made them easy to setup and test. They included mostly self-contained fuse assemblies and guillotine type cutters, used for cutting such things as parachute shroud lines, etc. The guillotine cutters used pressure cartridges to instantly force the cutting blade thru the lines. The reason most of the explosive systems used on the Apollo Spacecraft and the Saturn V Launch Vehicle had to be self-contained was to prevent damage to the vehicle in which they were located.


For example, one of the main explosive systems used to ignite solid rocket motors was Confined Detonating Fuse (CDF). This was a small flexible lead sheathed explosive core wrapped in alternating layers of plastic and fiberglass weaved cloth. This allowed the explosive train to be routed thru various parts of the vehicle to the rocket motors, or other explosive devises, and still confine the explosion. Then there were the parachute mortars, which were used to deploy the various parachute systems during spacecraft re-entry.  The diagram below shows an example of how CDF was routed and connected for use on a retrorocket system.


There were also various methods of separating the multiple components and stages from each other. All of these explosive devises had to work as designed and exactly when required to insure specific component and overall mission objectives.


—–To Be Continued—–

Driver’s License

20 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistWe have a new driver’s license and tax office in our town, directly behind the sheriff’s department building. And of course we have a few new rules, as well. When I went to get my new driver’s license I took every piece of identification I had from my whole life just in case: passport, copy of birth certificate, marriage certificate and so on. Bill called ahead to see if I’d have to take the test, and they said it wasn’t based on age, it was based on the opinion of the agent who waited on me at the license bureau. That was scary. Sometimes I forget shor-term stuff so recent it happened only a tick ago. I had tried for weeks to get a driver’s license handbook in case, but they are very hard to find and the directions on the internet looked daunting.

I meant to take my iPod in with me so I could listen to my audible book while I was waiting, but I’d already drawn my number by the time I noticed I’d left it in the car, so I stuck it out. They have news and entertainment notices on a screen now, so what with that and looking around I did all right until it was my turn.

One thing I had noticed while I waited was that the young woman at desk 10 seemed to have plenty of patience, exactly as if she had plenty of time, which she obviously didn’t because of the waiting crowd. Besides that, she looked like a little girl in a well-filled black dress, wearing a good sized hot-pink bow in her long curly hair with highlights. She didn’t look as if she could ever hurt anybody in any way. Guess what. She called the number just before mine. She called it again, and again. No one got up. Then she called mine.

It all went as smooth as rain on a window, even the part where I showed her the report from my optometrist that said I now have twenty-twenty vision so we could take the glasses restriction off the license. She seemed to give a little hum of delight that such a good thing could happen for someone.

She stood me against a blue backdrop and took my picture with a mounted camera. I said something pink 31 bagabout how bad driver’s license photos usually are and she asked if I’d like to see it. I had the impression that if it was awful she’d take it over, but it was better than the one I’d had for ten years or however long it has been. The new license popped out of a machine, no temporary paper license, no waiting. I slipped it into a slot in my hot-pink combination purse and wallet. Then I purchased a voucher for a new license plate which is being put out by the sheriff’s department. I asked for a driver’s license instruction handbook for a friend who has to take the test, but who isn’t equipped to read it on the internet. They just got them in, no problem. She handed it to me.


I went away rejoicing.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

Isaiah 55:12

How We Met~Part 3

19 Oct


Judy Wills




As it turned out, Fred was attending the same church where I was a member. So we kept seeing each other there, and were in the same youth group.


It didn’t take long for me to realize the he was probably the most shy guy I had ever met. He also had never been on a date – so I was his first! And as for the first date – the youth group was having a hay ride up to the mountains – and I had to ask HIM if he would like to go with me! I told you he was shy!! He also didn’t have a driver’s license, so anywhere we went, I was the driver.


Chapel service at the UNM BSU Center


I remember that the BSU had a Halloween haunted house, and I went there with Fred. It was a neat thing. In a darkened room, they had you put your hand in a bowl of peeled grapes as eyeballs, spaghetti noodles as brains…you get the picture. One of the adult sponsors of the BSU was good at story-telling, and she had on a black outfit with glow-in-the-dark gloves, and told some sort of tale. Everyone had on some kind of costume. There was bobbing for apples and other such games. It was really a lot of fun. You remember – the way we used to do it.



The group had retreats in the mountains outside Albuquerque (Sandia Mountains); they had retreats at Glorieta Baptist Conference Center near Santa Fe; all those things Fred and I went to together, becoming more familiar with each other.



Fred started coming to our BHiU meetings – by walking from UNM to the church where my group met – about a three mile hike – and all before he had to go to his own classes! He said he doesn’t remember ever riding the bus there – perhaps the bus schedule at that hour of the morning didn’t fit our meeting time. In any case – he walked there.


Fred started spending time at my house, getting to know my parents.


My brother, Bill, had already gone into the Navy and wasn’t there to meet him. It wasn’t until we were engaged to be married that Bill and Fred met. We had been dating for about 18 months before Fred popped the question. I said “yes – but not yet.” We were engaged for another 18 months before we married.

Fred, my parents, and I drove from Albuquerque to Los Angeles (Inglewood), California, to spend Christmas with Bill and DiVoran in 1960. They had a little house and we were really crammed into that space.


Dad told me later that Bill had pronounced Fred to be “a man’s man” as we left. Bill had always been my protector – when Daddy was out on the road as much as he was, Bill was the one to meet my dates. And intimidate them, if possible! He was bigger than most of them. But he and Fred got along, right from the start.

The last year of Fred’s UNM experience, he roomed at our house. He paid my parents what he would have paid the university for room and board. It made us very comfortable with each other – we saw each other last thing at night and first thing in the morning. So we both went into our marriage with our eyes wide open!

 We married on June 20, 1961. It’s been a great 53+ years of marriage. We are grateful to God for all these years together.



~~~~~~The End~~~~~~

Seven easy ways to begin conquering fear and anxiety.

18 Oct

Old Things R New:

I believe everyone will be blessed by Janet’s message this week.

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

10-17-14 7“You just wrote about fear,” a reader wrote, “but how about conquering fear and anxiety?”

She’s right. Fear and anxiety are like vinegar and water. Mixed together, they clean out our serenity and wipe away our perfect peace.

But can you blame us? How can we have peace when bad news blares every day and at every turn—more wars, more attacks of deadly disease? Peace, confidence and serenity seem elusive.  And instead of feeling secure, we tremble.

But although shaken, we’re not defeated, down or discouraged because God has the answer, the perfect answer. Among the vast amount of instructions God’s Word gives, these are the seven ways that we can use as weapons to fight against depression, fear, stress and anxiety.

  1. Be hopeful, Jesus is near.
  2. Be anxious for nothing, absolutely nothing.
  3. Be grateful Christ already overcame the world.
  4. Be sure that He hears all requests.
  5. Be diligent in praising Him in all things.
  6. Be…

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