Are electronic devices the doom of family time?

2 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

FrienI'm a winner

The heat wave here in the hills last week, kept me inside chilling with the A/C. This week is much more pleasant, weather wise and fun wise.  We have been enjoying a visit from a Florida forever friend and have taken some short but scenic drives. When we haven’t been out enjoying the sights, we seem to gravitate to a comfy space and spend time on our “devices” At first thought, this seemed a bit anti-social. But today I realized, it is very much like the “olden days” when people would grab a section of the newspaper to read, then share a laugh or tidbit of news with everyone else.

Last evening our daughter Rebekah flew up  to spend the holiday with us. We always have a good time when we are together here in the hills. There was a lot of excitement going on this morning. We could hear a mowing/chopping machine moving through the neighborhood. Our roads are communtiy owned and we hadn’t paid for any maintenance. Those machines are impressive! The saplings that were crowding the road were no match for this beast. I watched, fascinated as it’s arm reached out and leaned the tree over then began chopping and grinding. By the time  the machine moved on, the road looked like a tornado had been through. Can you tell it doesn’t take much to entertain me? Meanwhile, our friend from Florida was so excited about the cool temperature that she insisted on dead heading our rose bushes.I made the barest of protests before handing her the pruning shears. We now have tidy rose plants and clean (sort of ) road sides. What a day!  But wait, there’s more. Our son and his family came for dinner and even though it was raining, the husband set up a large umbrella and grilled chicken. I had brined it that morning and it was so juicy, we all enjoyed it. After dinner we played some rounds of Would You Rather and Apples to Apples with the grandchildren, who like everyone’s grandchildren, are the most beautiful, adorable and smart grands around.

To finish the evening after our son went home  we spent time on our back porch, listening to the drip-drip of the rain and enjoying the fireflies. Rebekah reminisced about the fun she had chasing them each summer and I smirked remembering the blessed relief of not having to entertain her! Then we all retired to our comfy spots and picked up our electronic devices, kind of like the times when cities had a morning and evening edition of the newspaper.

The Greasy Pork Chops

1 Jul

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Rocket Plane


In 1974 I was between jobs and our family took a 6-week camping trip (see “Our Trip Across America“ blog posted 10/10/2012) to see some of the wonders of America and visit friends and relatives along the way. We had a great time visiting some of my relatives in Louisiana and New Mexico and high school friends in Arizona. We stopped to see DiVoran’s brother and his family in Bonita, CA which is just south of San Diego, CA and one of my work friends in Diamond Bar, CA which is located just east of Los Angeles, CA. From there our trip took us up the scenic California coast to Fort Bragg, CA where DiVoran’s parents were living at the time.


Her father, Ivan, was a fisherman who “Lived to Fish” and his longtime dream was to own a commercial fishing boat and ply the Pacific Ocean for its rich verity of salmon. To fulfill this dream he had bought a 50 foot commercial fishing boat the year before and was an old hand at ocean salmon fishing by the time we arrived.


We were having a wonderful visit with Ivan and Dora, but Ivan couldn’t wait to take me out on his boat and show me how he was realizing his dream. The day we went out the weather was overcast and cool when we left. By the time Ivan had finished setting his lines, the seas were up and it was getting pretty rough. As we headed back in, taking in the lines and fish, the boat was rolling and pitching so bad it was all I could do to hold on.


Ivan got on the radio to tell Dora how bad the weather was and that we were heading home. Before she signed off, she told Ivan that DiVoran wanted to say something.

 I have to put the story on pause for a moment at this point and give you a little background on how Ivan had teased Divoran as she was growing up. He was always telling her that the meal they were eating was Bambi or one of her pet animals, and teasing her about how weak her stomach was when she would get car sick during family trips on those winding Colorado roads.

 Well, DiVoran got on the radio and asked Ivan how the fishing was going; how many fish we had caught, how bad the weather was and all that. When he told her he had to go, she said for him to be careful and to hurry home because she and Dora had a nice hot meal of pork chops waiting for him. Nice greasy pork chops…. nice big greasy pork chops, just swimming in grease. Ivan started turning a little green around the gills and told DiVoran to “SHUT UP!” The last thing I heard on the radio before Ivan signed off was DiVoran laughing. “Sweet Revenge!” I thought to myself. Over the many years we had gone fishing together I had never known Ivan to get sick on a boat, but this was the one exception, and it was perfectly played by DiVoran.


After we got back to the marina, got the boat tied up and cleaned the boat and the fish, no one talked much about the incident. But, at dinner that evening (and by the way it wasn’t pork chops), I noticed an occasional smile when DiVoran and Dora would exchange glances. I guess that just goes to prove the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.” At least it did for Ivan that day.


Luke 6:31

Bon Appetit

29 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

       Author, Poet and Artist  It’s always a good idea to stop once in a while and ask ourselves what we have an appetite for. Did you know that God gives us appetites, or desires of the heart, as the Bible calls them?

Many of us have an appetite for reading, even more have one for learning, and then there are those of us who have an appetite for writing.

I started writing in elementary school where I received valuable help from my teachers and family. In my college years, I took as many English and comp. classes as I could. Later on, after Bill and I married and had children, I worked with the publishing group at our church. I learned a great deal from that.

When our children got close to fledging, I knew I needed to invent more of a life for myself, so I started a novel, and became active reading writing books, going to classes, and attending writer’s conferences.

Around the time my grandchildren were born, I began to take painting classes and discovered I had an appetite for art, as well.

Here am I, three published novels later. I’m working on blogs promises, meditations, and a serial novel, Go West. I am now paiting illustrations for almost everything I write. My nest overflows.

If you don’t already know, why not ask God what your truest appetites are for. If He says chocolate, well, you’re in business right off the bat.

Bon Appetit

Psalm 37: 4

Chapter 20 Neiuport Bebe copy

Original art for my Go West serial novel

You can read the first  twenty chapters of Go West at Rebekah Lyn Books


28 Jun


Judy Wills



 Growing up in Albuquerque, my first friend was Shirley. She lived down the street, through the side yard of a house, down the alley, and into her back yard. We were fast friends. I was at her house so often, that her mother had a jar of dill pickles in her refrigerator, just for me.


We were visiting with Shirley and her husband, Jim, a few years ago, as they live just one-and-one-half hours away from us. At that time, they presented us with a couple of pictures. Shirley said, “that’s you (Judy) and me, but I don’t remember what was going on, or why you are on the ground.”

And instantly, the memory came back. Shirley and I were with a youth group from our church (we were about 16 years old), and we had gone to Glorieta (New Mexico) Conference Center for a retreat. As you can see, I was a bit of a clown back then. Shirley was NOT impressed!


As for my being on the ground:   Not only was I clowning around, but some of the others were, as well. One of the guys picked me up and slung me over his shoulder. Fun thing to do, huh? Something guys and girls do a lot for fun. Unfortunately, however, my nose met his back with such force that it gave me an instant bloody nose! So there I was, on the ground, swallowing blood and trying to get my nose to stop bleeding!


Shirley remembered that she had been trying to get the attention of one of the guys – and he happened to be the one who hefted me over his shoulder! She was NOT a happy camper at that point!

But all turned out well….the nose stopped bleeding….the retreat proceeded successfully….and neither Shirley nor I married the guy in question.

But it’s a fun memory of a simpler time.

What’s the difference?

26 Jun

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

There is little difference in people,
but that little difference makes a
big difference.
That little difference is attitude,
The big difference is whether it is
positive or negative.

Robert Collier

Change your perception of what
age looks like.
How you are going to age is up to you.
It is not based on a calendar page.
It all depends on your point of view.

Don’t let your age put you in a box.
There is a part of you that is eternal.
Give free reign to your imagination.
It may even help to keep a journal.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself.
It is simply thinking of yourself less.
It will contribute to your peace of mind,
which ultimately brings you happiness.

The Space Race Part

24 Jun

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane



I started teaching my kids and grandkids all about things related to rocketry and aviation early in their lives. Since I was part of the U.S. Space Program when my children were growing up, they got a heavy dose of rocketry. My son built and flew his first model rocket at age 9 or 10. We went on to enjoy that hobby together for years to come.


When the grandkids came along, the aviation bug that had bit their granddad, in his early years, was still there to infect them while they were young and spending monthly weekends with Grandmother & Granddad. Of course, my son and I had to teach my grandson the art and joy of model rocketry as well, during his teen years (and you know the youngsters are the ones who have the energy to chase the errant model airplanes and model rockets).


I hope you can forgive me for digressing some from my original subject. But, this blog is a quick overview of how “Aviation” and the “Space Race” have influenced and directed my life and work over the 35 of my Aerospace career. And, overall, how those same interests and desires have continued to influence my life to this very day.   I’m just as determined to experience as many “Aviation” related things (museums & airshows) today as I was when I was a teenager. In fact, every time an airplane flies over our house, I can’t resist looking up to see if my first guess as to what type of airplane it is (by the engine sound) was right or not. And then there are the periodic rocket launches that wake us up at all hours of the night. We have to jump up, grab the binoculars, and follow its fiery trail until it is out of sight. I’ve heard it said, “Some people never grow up.”   I guess I must be one of them.



—–The End—–

Letting Go

22 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistWhen Bill retired, I had no idea what I was going to do with him. It was the same old story that happens when people retire. The retiree is lost and feels a need to go back to work. Bill had nothing of his own to do. He could only relate to what I was doing. He told me how and to do laundry, wanted the dishes in the dishwasher placed just right, wanted to take me everywhere he went, and expected my full attention when I was trying to concentrate on my own writing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Bill dearly, even after fifty-seven years of marriage. But at retirement time I had the normal aversion to change, and to adjusting to someone else being in the house most of the time.

It wasn’t long until Bill got a chance to learn to fly model airplanes — something he has loved all his life. Then, thank Heaven, he was out of the house for several hours every morning. That helped.

Eventually I got him to go down for a nap in the afternoons. I take one and I thought it would be good if he took one too. Now he loves it.

As time went on, he added volunteering at a church to help with their Car Care ministry on Saturdays. Then he started going to the fitness center. All was well.

Slowly, though, airplanes started crashing because of electronic interference. He was going to have to learn to fly in an entirely different way – a computer way.

We each have our own computer and have been working on them for years, but we need a lot of help with them. We have computer angels who make house calls and one that we can trust that we pay, so we’re blessed in that way, but none of them is interested in flying airplanes.

Bill had a friend who volunteered with the Valiant Air Command museum and so he decided in order to still have airplane time, to spend one morning a week doing that. He has made new friends and enjoys meeting people from all over the world.



Then he decided he wanted to travel around the U. S. and visit other airplane museums and attend fly-ins. At first he invited me to go, but I’m more of a stay-at-home type. We’re a rare type and most people don’t understand us. Did you know that?

The more he traveled, the more of his non-traveling life it took up. He now spends hours at the computer making the most detailed and meticulous plans you ever saw. Then he goes on a trip. He started out going only for one week, but then expanded it to two. He had to, there are many museums to see. Sometimes he visits as many as eight in one day. He travels fast, and he travels cheap. When he comes home he organizes his pictures, and his notes, and writes blogs. When the whole journey has been precisely documented, he starts planning the next one.

Proverbs 3:5-6Amplified Bible (AMP)

5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.


21 Jun


Judy Wills



Growing up in New Mexico, we had our share of winter snow. As a matter of fact, the mountains just outside the city, to the East, were and still are, some of the best snow skiing in the country.



It’s one of those “best-kept-secrets.”



Of course, some winter storms dropped more snowfall than other years (18″ one year in one night), but it seems like we always had snow.



I was all but surprised to find that Fort Worth, Texas had snow as well! I guess I had always thought of Texas as hot and dry. But there was one winter when we were literally snowed-in for a couple of days. We were in an apartment building, with parking in the back, and we couldn’t get out of the driveway. Yea!!! We couldn’t get to work!




And, of course, when we moved to northern Maine for that one year, we had plenty of snow! More than we ever wanted.



Karen was not quite four-years-old when we left there, and her impression of snow was that we were snowed in – because she could look out her second-story window, down on the roof of the stoop below and see the snow stacked high.


But for the five years we lived in Panama City, Florida, we didn’t have snow. Well, once it snowed about half-an-inch, but that was it. It was funny, actually: I happened to be driving by the elementary school at the time it was snowing, and one child was in the stereotypical stance of standing-spread-eagle, tongue hanging out, trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue! Our girls did a lot of their growing up years there, so they were unaccustomed to snow.

So it was, that when we went to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, they had their first real taste of snow. It happened overnight, and we awoke to snow on the ground. Those of you reading this who are old enough to remember, many years ago Toyota had a little jingle that went: “You asked for it….you got it…..Toyota.” Well, I did a bit of improvising to that jingle, and woke each daughter up singing that tune: “You asked for it…you got it…it snowed last night!” They were up and out of their beds in a flash and dash to the window!

I don’t remember how much they played in it – probably more than I remember. There were other children in our little cul-de-sac, and I’m sure someone had a sled. But after wading through it to school every morning for months, they weren’t so thrilled with it. But that’s part of life, right?

It’s nice to have those kinds of memories, however. Adds a little spice to our life.




The definition of true success. | Janet Perez Eckles

20 Jun

The definition of true success. | Janet Perez Eckles.

via The definition of true success. | Janet Perez Eckles.

What does age look like

19 Jun

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

Getting old is inevitable-
but aging is optional.
How you are going to age is up to you.

As we get older
it increases our confidence.
There is a part of us that is eternal.
Try to keep a healthy point of view.

Don’t let your age put you in a box.
Exercise your gray matter.
A good sense of humor will see you through.

A friend of mine shared this with me.
I would like to pass it on to you.

“Older people do not decline mentally with age.
It just takes them longer to recall facts
because they have more information in
their brain, scientists believe.
Much like a computer struggles as the hard
drive gets full, so do humans take longer
to access information. it has been suggested.
Researchers say this slowing down is not the same
as cognitive decline. “The human brain works more
slowly in old age”, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, “but
only because we have stored more information
over time. “The brains of older people do not get weak.
On the contrary, they simply know more.”

(I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!)

Brains of elderly slow because they know so much


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