Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

29 Mar


Judy Wills   





I hope you are enjoying my postings about flowers as much as I am enjoying writing about them. Although my “green thumb” is as purple as can be, i.e. I can’t grow ANYTHING – I thoroughly enjoy flowers. We’ve been to many “gardens” in our lifetime, but I think the most magnificent is the Keukenhof Gardens by Lisse in Holland (pronounced koy’-ken-hōf). We’ve been fortunate to have been stationed in Germany for a total of six years, and have made the Holland trip quite a few times.


One of the first times we visited Keukenhof was in April of 1968. Spring had not yet fully arrived in Holland, and we were treated to winds and bare trees. However, the landscaping of the gardens was still beautiful.



And when we returned later, when Spring was in full swing, we were amazed to see how the landscape had just exploded with flowers.



There were blankets of flowers.



And when we climbed up into one of the many windmills there, we could look out and see fields and fields of tulips. Beautiful!



Even though there weren’t many flowers outside around the grounds, there were tulips in abundance in the hothouses. We’ve been told there are about 700 different varieties of tulips there.



I was fascinated to see some that were absolutely black – named “Black Beauty.”



Another time we visited, we saw more black tulips called “The Ace of Spades.”



We were amazed to see all the different colors and styles of tulips – lots of hybrid work going on there. Although tulips are the main flower, there are many others there, as well. There were blankets of hyacinths. I saw my first Amaryllis, and was amazed at the size of it.



The next year, 1969, we visited again, but in May, when my Mother came to visit us. Not only were the gardens in full swing, the flowers were just everywhere




Not only in the ground, but in planters, as well.



Just about everywhere flowers could be – they were there. You can see the difference in the trees and the tulips and other flowers from the early Spring of our 1968 visit. We thoroughly enjoyed both visits.



We visited again in March of 1981, with our two daughters, during their Spring Break. The weather was rather chilly, windy, and brisk. We were in jackets at the time. Once again, Spring had yet to arrive, and nature was still rather bleak. We had been wandering around the area and thought we would freeze if we went to the gardens, but really had no choice – it was then or never. Much to our surprise – inside the garden, with all the trees, the wind didn’t reach us very much, and we were quite comfortable.




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



Five ways to bring balance to your life.

28 Mar

Old Things R New:

So many times “if only” is a lament. Janet shares the promise of God’s “if”

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

Among the relentless demands, is it possible to find balance in life?

I found my answer last Saturday in the park. I went down on one knee and held my granddaughter’s smooth face in my hands. “Look sweet girl,” I said, “if you keep your eyes ahead; if you keep pedaling, and if you don’t look to the sides, you’ll be riding your bike in no time.”

She gave a long sigh. “That’s a lot of ifs, Nana.”

She was right. But she obeyed. After a few dozen attempts, I was glad no one had a camera to capture the out-of-control cheers this Nana gave. She moved those legs and then with a shout, she told her Papa to let go. That princess rode that bike in perfect balance.

I clapped and did a dance of victory on her behalf.

That’s the same reaction God must have when He finds that you…

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Be the Message

27 Mar

From my Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson


Stop comparing yourself with others.

God created only one of you.

He fashioned you in your mother’s womb

so you would have your own point of view.


When you compare yourself with others

it shrinks your very soul.

You don’t need status symbols.

In Christ you are made whole.


Suffering comes to everyone.

God wants to conform us to the image of His own dear Son.

Nothing worthwhile is easy, my friend,

But the battle has already been won.



“Let us keep fresh in our minds

all the tender mercies God has shown us,

Think of the tears He has wiped away

and the pain He has helped us bear.”

Writings of E.G White


God Created only one of you


Settling In

26 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

I’ve spent the past week settling into our home for the summer. The way I can tell I am settled in is that my previously tidy house is no longer tidy. What can I say, I am messy.

The weather has been cool, but not cold and I have enjoyed it. Florida was beginning to heat up. This morning we took a drive down to Cornelia, Georgia to pick up a meat order. We pass Cornelia frequently on our way to Gainesville or Atlanta but have never explored it so I was looking forward to the trip. After we picked up our order I asked Siri to find the local McDonalds. It was time for a bathroom break and some coffee. Siri was not very cooperative but she and I finally worked it out and she set us on our way.

Have you ever heard to the Habersham Candle Company? They make wax pottery vessels. Mike’s cousin gave us one for our North Carolina home and I love it. I knew they are located in Cornelia so I nicely asked Siri to route us there and she complied. To my amazement. It isn’t a small company like I had imagined. , I thought I could go there and buy one or two. Wrong. I was too intimidated to go up to the door so I called them to see if they are open to the public. Sadly, they aren’t. I’m not sure why I had it in my mind that they were.

After we came home, I checked email and found one from a blog I follow, Marketing Christian Books suggesting the reader try a cool website that can make marketing fun. Who wouldn’t want to learn that? I spent the rest of the afternoon playing with it. Here are a couple I made.


Cold weather is supposed to return this weekend. I am looking forward to it. It will be nice to have a chance to wear the winter clothes one last time. How about you, are you sick of the cold or enjoying it?

My Colonial States Trip~Part 19

25 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites


Next I headed east on SR #138 across Narragansett Bay to visit the Breakers and the Mansions of Newport, RI where I was surprised at the number of tourists there were lined up at the Newport Visitor Center trying to get on a tour bus ride of the area. The affluence of the area was brought home to me in an unusual way, when I stopped at a Shop-N-Go to pick up some granola bars. The first thing I noticed was the parking lot had an overabundance of expensive cars in it with names like Mercedes, BMW and Lexus. Then as I was walking the aisles looking for the granola bars, I saw this elegant looking woman, dressed in a beautiful flowing black silk dress, with her hair done up in some kind of fancy French looking hairstyle and 7-inch heels, pushing a shopping cart down the aisle. What a picture that was!



The Newport mansions were huge and unbelievably beautiful! They were too spread out for a walking tour (for me), and I didn’t want to take the time to go on a bus tour, so I just drove to a few of them, parked in their free parking areas, and toured outside the mansions and their grounds, taking photos. I had a brochure of all the different mansion locations, so was able to see several before I got bored with all that extravagance and moved on to the next museum on my list.

While I was in Newport I dropped by the White Horse Tavern just to say I had seen the oldest tavern building (1652) in the U.S. and get a photo of it. Over the years the building was expanded and used for other things, such as a boarding house and as a meeting house for the Rhode Island General Assembly. It’s rumored that a pirate (name unknown) ran the tavern operation during the early 18th century. It wasn’t actually named the “White Horse Tavern” until 1730, and during the American Revelation, Tories and British troops were quartered in the building around the time of the British occupation and the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778 (also known as the Battle of Quaker Hill).



Battleship Cove is a maritime museum located on the Taunton River in Fall River, Ma and is said to be the home of the world’s largest collection of naval vessels in one place. Included in the collection are the U.S. Battleship USS Massachusetts (BB-59), the U.S. Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850), the U.S. Attack Submarine USS Lionfish (SS-298), the German Tarantul-class Corvette Hiddensee and the U.S. PT Boats, PT-617 and PT-796. As I mentioned earlier, since I have toured several U.S. Destroyers, Battleships and Submarines, my main interest at this museum was the PT Boats. I was impressed with their size, armament, speed and ability to go up against some of the enemy’s largest ships, sink them, and live to fight another day. It reminded me of the day I was walking with DiVoran in the woods near our house when I got too close to a wasp nest. I never saw the wasp that stung me and was gone before I knew what had hit me. I would guess that was just how some of those enemy ship’s captains must have felt like, after being torpedoed by a PT boat, and their ship beginning to sink under their feet. I can just hear them screaming, “What was that and where did they come from?”



—–To Be Continued—–



Crowley, Colorado

23 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Dora, Ivan, DiVoran, David at Grandparents Apartment House in Canon City, Colorado


When I was five years old my parents took my brother and I and moved to Crowley, Colorado. It was 1943 and WW2 was raging in Europe. At that time they weren’t calling up married men with children, but that would soon change. Dad went to Crowley to keep the canning factory machinery running and mother’s job was to cook a noon meal everyday for the bosses.

We lived in a shotgun house which meant all the rooms were in a row. I recall mother handing me a tomato warm from the sun and a shaker of salt and telling me to go sit on the front step out of the way and eat it. I haven’t had a real tomato since, but that may not be a fair comparison.

Another thing I remember in the food department was the goat milk. We had a Nanny goat and a kid. The kid got all the milk he needed, and our family got the rest. I called my daily portion a milkshake because mother gave it to me warm, fresh, and foaming from the goat. I sat on the front step to drink that, too.

Sometimes, mother wanted to walk down to the factory to say hello to dad. When that happened, she had her own entourage. We all went in a line. Mother and brother, David, then DiVoran, Nanny Goat, and Billy the kid. The baby goat walked on the panes of glass covering the tomato plants to keep them warm and never broke one. The proud and beautiful rooster, Chanticleer took his place at the end of the line.

At night, Daddy came home tired. He recline on the couch and I sat on its arm next to his head and ran my hands through his crisp and curly dark hair.

One day we got the news that Daddy had to go fight Hitler in the war. Mother and the children would go back to Canon City and live with the grandparents. The day we left Crowley, we were all packed up, but we took time for our noontime dinner before we left. It was chicken and noodles, which was one of my favorite meals. Suddenly I got suspicious … where did the chicken come from. Did it happen to have anything to do with Chanticleer? It did. I lost my appetite and thus begun the battle of the meat between my father and I. It got much worse after I saw the movie, “Bambi,” and dad started hunting after the war.

During the last nine months of the war while Daddy was gone, Mother, David and I lived upstairs in our own apartment at Grandmother and Grandad’s house. Granddad worked as a guard at the Colorado State Penitentiary and Grandmother had her own beauty salon there in the downstairs of the house with a separate entrance. Mother and Grandmother had many altercations over everything that comprised our daily lives. I was a diligent messenger between them never realizing how I was stirring things up.

For one thing, Grandmother was determined to keep Mother busy so she wouldn’t get sad missing her husband. Because fabric was vitually unavailable and David and I were growing children, our female guardians took all the clothes stored in the attic and made them into dresses, coats, pants, and shirts for us kids.

One time I got so tired of standing for fittings that I grabbed the unfinished neck of a dress and ripped it right down the middle. Apparently, that particular material was a bit older than they had realized. But my rebellion didn’t do me any good. The next day, we were back to making clothes again. I was probably the best dressed and best coifed child in first grade that year.


Even though Daddy was far away he was still a big part of all our lives as the war lumbered on toward its conclusion. I have his letters from that time that tell how much he missed us. What a wonderful legacy that is.

 Mark 13:7



22 Mar


Judy Wills







Last time, I wrote about the beautiful Texas Bluebonnets. Today I want to write about Forsythia. Never heard of it? It’s a lovely Springtime-flowering bush. It can be a bit “straggly” (like a “bad hair day”) or it can be thick like a hedge – depends on how it is planted and cared-for. From what I gleaned from some Google sites, many prefer the casual look, rather than manicured. It’s a personal taste.


There was this lovely unkempt bush that grew under the window of my parent’s bedroom in Albuquerque. It was always a favorite of mine to see it popping out in Spring. Here are a few shots of it in full growth. Not quite as straggly as I remember, but still not a severely shaped shrub, either.

Also from some of the Google sites, I learned that it is a member of the olive family. I never would have guessed that!   I also learned that it is named after English horticulturist William Forsythe. I don’t know whether or not he actually did the hybrid work, but it bears his name, in any case.

While we lived in Virginia, in Springtime, when all the flowers and wild flowers were just beginning to bud, there was a hedge along a county road that was just a riot of those beautiful golden yellow forsythia blossoms. We took some pictures of it, and as you can see, even though the rest of nature is still caught in the clutches of winter and bleak, God’s promise of Spring bursts forth with the forsythia just over-flowing with color. We loved to see it every Springtime, and looked for it.



I was so amused, some years ago, to see a joke in a Reader’s Digest. Seems this gentleman was on an elevator, on his way to his office one fine Spring day, when a young lady stepped onto the elevator with some sprigs of forsythia in her hand. Trying to be polite, and make conversation, he asked her, “Are those forsythia?” Her surprised reply was, “No they are for Cynthia!”

Here are a few more pictures we took, as well as what I gleaned from some websites. Such a beautiful bush. As you can see, they can be rather large, if left to grow uninhibited. But the shrubs are beautiful, no matter what.


Three steps to finding the correct direction for your life.

21 Mar

Old Things R New:

At our recent blogger dinner I marveled at Janet’s confidence. We dined in a restaurant that had a huge salad bar. Judy described each choice until Janet had two plates piled high with salad.

Originally posted on Janet Perez Eckles & Friends:

Sometimes it might be tough, but never too late to find the correct direction and head in the triumphant path for our lives.

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When Does One Get Old?

20 Mar

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson




I woke up in the morning,

mind refreshed and full of hope.

There is so much I want to do-

all within my scope.


My spirit is willing, my mind alert-

I’ll spring right out of bed.

My mind is saying, “Go Girl”-

but my back says “Whoa”, instead.


Ego!  Yes, ego is the culprit

in this aging game we play.

I don’t mind saying “I”m 86″,

But “getting old?”  No way! “,




My March Madness

19 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

I know now why March has been named March Madness and it has nothing to do with basketball! I don’t think I have caught my breath yet. I even set my alarm clock an hour earlier to pack more into my day. That is a big deal for me.

The disturbing part is that aside from doing first round edits on Rebekah’s upcoming release, Spring Dawn, I can’t tell you why is has been “mad.” Isn’t this how life goes most of the time, busy, busy, busy with little to show for it.

As I began writing this, the phrase “Be Intentional” came to mind.

Keepand Be Intentional


.So I decided to be intentional as I think back on my March activities. I realized that I had accomplished more than I thought.

  1. Created a blog for my son’s travel business, Oasis Travel.
  2. Created and posted content to his blog.
  3. Searched for travel blogs to follow and connect with.
  4. Regularly maintain this blog and Rebekah Lyn Books.
  5. Edited fifty chapters of Spring Dawn.
  6. Actively participated in two book promotions.
  7. Then there is the every day routine of social media networking.

The best part was spending time and sharing laughter with friends and family. I think I will choose to be intentional and be thankful for the things I did accomplish and not fret over what I did not.

If you haven’t visited Rebekah Lyn Books stop by and see our new projects. On Sundays, DiVoran is sharing her serial novel, Go West. It is a historical western romance complete with original artwork. Wednesday is Promise Poster Day. You will certainly want to view them.

Rebekah Lyn Books is a part of an exciting book sale and giveaway March 16-20. One lucky reader will win over FORTY digital books and registration is very easy.

That’s all for now. Our time in Florida is over for a few months and while I will miss my precious friends and family, the beautiful western Carolina Mountains are calling my name!


PS I forgot to mention that Rebekah is giving away an autographed copy of Summer Storms. For a chance to win, leave on comment on the blog hop post.

Created this as part of my March Madness

Created this as part of my March Madness photo license free from bing images


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