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: openclipart.org

With permission: openclipart.org

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…

View original 491 more words

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—–


Do Frogs Come to Sunday School

8 Dec

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistI’ve had a couple of nature surprises in the past few days. Sometimes on the trail, I find things I’ve never seen before, leaves with perfectly round bumps, cocoons that look like fiber eggs, berries or plums growing on bushes.

Sunday on the playground the children came upon yet another frog.( I’ve been leery since a kid once threw a lizard on me and I had to sit there acting like it was nothing when I wanted to scream and jump and run. It’s not good for you to reign yourself in like that, it can give you bad breath.)

When the children find a creature I rush to supervise their investigations. One day they found a large green frog and were so enthralled with it that they wore it out in spite of repeated warnings to leave it alone,  The next time they found a toad, they announced it, but pretty much did leave it alone after the lecture they got last time.

But Sunday’s frog was the absolute monster frog in every way, and everyone was 1.tube slideinterested in him. He was a Cuban tree frog like the one we have in our tool shedlette and he had ensconced himself inside our tube slide, in a way that made the slide unusable. I wouldn’t get a tube slide again, I have always been afraid there would be something in it that we wouldn’t care for.

It did keep us entertains for quite some time. It was much bigger than the one at home and as ugly as all Cuban tree frogs are with their neutral color and their fat sucker-toes.


The thing was everyone needed to see it and in order to do that you had to get down, by yourself, and crane up into the tube slide. Every time someone did that someone else had to poke whatever body part that  was sticking out and yell, “Boo.” It sounded as if we were having our Halloween party right then and there.

I really wanted to see it, but I knew if they said boo while I was leaning into the slide exit I would jump and bump my poor old head that has already been bumped so many times it’s a wonder I have any sense left at all. I begged the children not to say boo. Have I told you how big he was? He was about the size of a dessert bowl.



The one on the left, maybe a bit smaller, but not much. I saw it for myself and I can hardly believe it.

Anyhow the kids didn’t poke me or say boo. They must love me a lot to do that for me. After I emerged, the boys kicked the plastic slide and hit it with sticks, even though they stopped every time I told them to stop.

The level of excitement was about the same as if someone had yelled big spider or snake.


Suddenly, from out of nowhere came this blood-curdling squeal that made all the wiggling and kicking cease immediately. We looked at each other with big eyes, our hair standing on end. The boys wanted mohawks, anyhow, now they had them. The squeal sounded like a warning or a distress cry. It came again, only not so authentic sounding this time. Tommy was at the top of the slide, it could well have been him calling down the slue. He confessed that some of it was. So I was stuck. Can frogs really squeal like that?

We do know that frogs (and many other critters) come to Sunday School. Now if you want to know whether they squeal like banshees or not, click here.


An Amazing Adventure~Part 7

7 Dec


Judy Wills


The next morning, we slept in just a little, and had breakfast at the hotel. Then we drove around St. George, Brian wanting to show us the town. He drove us by the Mormon Temple there.



We discovered that the very first Mormon Temple in Utah was in St. George, rather than in Salt Lake City. After it was built, Brigham Young decided he wanted the bell tower taller, but the town refused. Then came a lightning strike on the tower, and a fire, that destroyed it. The bell tower was then rebuilt taller “just in case….”

From St. George, we drove north, stopping at Kolob Canyon briefly. It is within Zion National Park.


From there we drove to Bryce Canyon.



All along our drive to Bryce, we were treated to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is actually not within the National Park Service domain but is the first monument administered by the Bureau of Land Management . It covers 1.7 million acres, so it is huge! Brian told us that many people had arrived there, asking where the “staircase” was? They were expecting a wind-worn staircase. But the “staircase” is actually the mountains themselves in multilayers and multicolors (some call them technicolors), making up a staircase effect. The colors are magnificent, and it was, indeed, a treat to watch the mountains as we went by.



I think that Bryce Canyon National Park is best known for its Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion). Neither Fred nor I had ever heard that term before – have you? They can be found on every continent, but here is the archetypal “hoodoo-iferous” terrain. Descriptions fail. Cave without a roof? Forest of stone? (Courtesy NPS). We were told that Ebenezer Bryce said, when describing the canyon filled with hoodoos,“It’s a #*%& of a place to lose a cow!”

We traveled the Scenic Byway 12 (Highway 12), considered by some to be the most scenic highway in the United States. It was awarded the All American Road in 2002. It goes all the way through Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through Dixie National Forest, and on to Capitol Reef National Park. It was, indeed, a lovely route to travel.

Capitol Reef is known for it’s reef-like cliffs, topped by a rock formation that resembles the dome of the U.S. Capitol.



We arrived just before sunset. The rock formations are quite breath-taking and the colors on the cliffs were spectacular.



There are several areas in Capital Reef that contain unusual Native American etchings called petroglyphs. Strange!



We stopped for our overnight just past Capitol Reef National Park, at a Roadway Inn, supposedly near Torrey. It’s located in the heart of red rock country—and the surrounding “rocks” are indeed red. Unfortunately, it is in the middle of no-where. The Roadway Inn, where we stayed, is the only motel within 1½ hours in either direction, and was more than an hour round-trip from any restaurants. Consequently, we had another of our “picnic” dinners in our rooms. We had connecting doors between our rooms, and we opened them up and shared. It was actually rather fun. Unfortunately, our toilet decided not to cooperate, and Fred had to get a plunger from the front office and fix that contraption!

I had been taking pictures of just about everything I could see—even just the dirt, I think. I had taken a flash drive with us, and since Brian had his laptop with him, he downloaded about 600 pictures from our camera to the flash drive. It’s a good thing he did, too, as I took another 300+ before the trip was over!



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



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