Flying Legends Airshow~Part 1

26 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Rocket Plane


1Somewhere around the middle of last year DiVoran’s brother, David, sent me a video “teaser” of the 2014 Flying Legends Airshow that had been held at Duxford, England. I was so impressed with the event depicted in that video and all the magnificent aircraft that took part in it, that I decided right then and there that I had to make an effort to attend one of those airshows as soon as possible.


As I looked into the event closer, I discovered that the theme for the 2015 airshow was going to be the “75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.” Well, that did it for me! All those wonderfully restored WWII fighters and bombers brought together, in one place at one time, was more than I could resist. I decided to attend the 2015 airshow, and committed to that decision by using my Delta Skymiles to book a roundtrip flight from Orlando, Florida to London Gatwick for July 1, 2015.


Since one of my retirement hobbies is visiting Aviation Museums wherever I go, I started my research by Googling aviation museums in the UK. That gave me a huge list, and I discovered that they are located throughout the country. I started looking for museum locations that would allow me to transverse the entire UK, from London clockwise, and as far north as Glasgow and Edinburgh Scotland.This was made somewhat easier, just by chance, when I picked up a copy of the May 2015 issue of “Aeroplane” magazine, which just happened to include a 32-page “UK Aviation Museum Guide.”


I needed to arrive in the Duxford area in time to attend the Flying Legends Airshow on the 12th of July. This required pacing daily museum visits to keep driving averages reasonable. Once the basic route and museum locations had been established, next I had to locate and book lodging accommodations at the end of each day. In addition there were several special ticket arrangements that needed to be made, and all this kept me busy for a good six months.


Day 1 – Wednesday July 1st



When “The Big Day” finally arrived, I was really excited about my flight that day. I would be flying on a Virgin Atlantic (Delta’s “non-stop” partner airline) Boeing 747-400; leaving Orlando International Airport at 7:25 PM and arriving at London-Gatwick Airport at 8:35 AM the next morning. This would be the first time I would be flying on a Boeing 747 and I hoped I would be able to get some sleep.


After reading the passenger reviews for seat selection for this particular airplane, I selected an Economy seat in the upper deck. A friend of one of my doctors, who works for Virgin Atlantic, was going to try to see if she could upgrade my ticket for this flight. Well, as it turned out, she was able to upgrade my ticket to Premium Economy (kind of like Business Class) which made the trip much more enjoyable.


Boy this airplane (White Rose) is really big! Just the upper deck of this airplane can seat as many people as some smaller airplanes. We took off right on time, and as we climbed out, banking east from the airport, we actually flew over our house. As we did that we were flying above a rain cloud and there was a rainbow. I had never seen a rainbow from an airplane before and wasn’t surprised to see that both ends reached all the way to the ground.

I have to say the service on the flight was first rate, and our English flight attendant (with a very interesting hairdo) made the flight quite enjoyable for us all. The food was wonderful, but I didn’t get much sleep.


—–To be Continued—–

The sure way to find direction in life. | Janet Perez Eckles

22 Aug

On my last trip, I leaned toward the escort who was helping me get from the airline counter to my gate. “I need to visit the ladies’ room.”

“Sure, it’s right up ahead,” he said.

I left my suitcase with him and entered using my white cane for guidance. The place was empty. That meant no one was there to direct me to the right place. Yikes! What to do? Walk around aimlessly? Or go back out and ask the guy to come in help me? Can’t do that. How embarrassing!

In the midst of my dilemma, I happened to hear a trickle of water from one of the sinks nearby. Using that sound as a point of reference, I went to this side, then to the other. Finally I found the place I needed.

And when it was time to exit, that trickling water gave me the reference point again. I made my way out like a pro.

As I settled in my seat at the gate I grinned. How beautiful that God provides what we need, when we need it. Yes, in bathrooms. But when lost in life, He provides what we need, too.

He offers the living water that trickles through His Word. When lost, when confused, when blind, and unable to find our way, His Word trickles a delightful sound. The sound that gives direction to our life. The sound that gives us meaning and the sound that brings hope when lost in the place we don’t want to be.

via The sure way to find direction in life. | Janet Perez Eckles.


Janet’s weekly newsletter has a “What’s Been Happening” section. This is what she shared this week.

I wish you could see me grin with gratitude when I get comments to my blog posts. And this one particularly made my heart smile.

“I like your vibrant faith, too. It’s simply amazing that you love Him so much in spite of your blindness. Have you ever questioned the Lord as to your condition?”

What a great question. Of course, I questioned God in anger, in fear, and in frustration. Then He spoke to me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

And His strength, His peace, and His comfort in the midst of my physical darkness shined a light of hope, of peace, and of unexpected success. Now I still question Him: Why did You choose to bless me in such an undeserving way?”


Trusting the World With Your Dreams

21 Aug

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

I simply want to communicate.
I am not writing in rhyme.
I know you are accustomed to that,
as I do it all the time. : – )

Trusting the World With Your Dreams

Everyone wants to cross the finish line triumphantly,
But you don’t have to prove yourself in order to be loved.
Be open to be vulnerable, conquered by love.
Let us love one another-
Keep your eyes on our God above.

God is something like an electrical outlet.
There is much power to be had, but only if we are connected.
The connection is faith. Faith releases the power of God.

The importance of knowing that love is a gift from God is this.
We will more surely receive this gift when we know that its
source is God and not simply a matter of using our own powers.
Most of us first have to try our own little formulas for relationships
of love. Eventually we come to a moment called ego-desperation.
It is a moment of admitting “I cannot do it by myself”. I must turn my
life over to the enlightenment and empowerment of God as I
understand Him. I must ask God to make me a channel of His
love, to fill my wells so that I can give the thirsty a drink from my supply.
We are only God’s instruments. Our love is the channel through which
God’s healing and helping grace will flow.

* Most of us do not have great talent, but we can do small things
with great love.

You Can’t Outgive God~Part 3

19 Aug

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Red Spot Plane


DiVoran remembers that when it was time for lunch that day, we went upstairs to a fancy Trattoria. After we were seated, Erika discerned a small spot on the white tablecloth. When the waiter came to take our orders, she insisted, in rapid Italian and much hand waving, that the waiter immediately change the tablecloth for her American friends. DiVoran and I really felt sorry for that poor waiter but, the way Erika brow beat him, it was all we could do to keep from laughing out loud.


On the train back to Venice, we joked and laughed so hard, about all of our experiences of the day that the four hour trip passed like one. We were each given a small package of cookies as a snack and, later, when DiVoran said she wished she had more, a young man who had been listening and enjoying our jokes, tossed his package of cookies onto her small table as he walked past to get off at his stop. That brought on another round of giggles.


That day’s experiences will give you just a small idea of how many of our wonderful Italian vacation days went for us. Some were better than others, but they were all marvelous and we treasure the memory of each one of them. We really hated to leave when our vacation time was up, but all good things can’t last forever. We also learned that Marcia was instrumental in helping Erika’s father Lorenzo get a job with DCL as translator and Italian coordinator with the shipyard workers. She really had her hand on the pulse of that DCL office.


So, when construction on the “Wonder” was finished Marcia and Erika, along with Lorenzo and his wife Ornella, were among the Disney team members who worked their way across the Atlantic, on the ship making it ready for its first Disney cruise from Port Canaveral, FL. DCL had made some special arrangements for their two cruise ships to arrive at Port Canaveral at the same time for PR purposes. The “Wonder” was arriving from Italy, and the “Magic” was returning from a regularly scheduled cruise. Our whole family went to the port to see the two ships arrive and it was quite a sight. There were news helicopters everywhere, “Welcome“ signs towed by airplanes, daylight fireworks fired off from the two ships, and “Mickey” hands for all of us to wave at each other with. It was a typical Disney gala event.


DiVoran and I invited Marcia, Erika, Lorenzo and Ornella to a birthday dinner for my sister Judy, where they were able to meet our entire family. Judy and her husband Fred, our daughter Charlene and her husband Ron, our son Billy and his wife Lisa, and their two children Jacob and Lacey all crowded around the dinner table, getting acquainted while we ate. It was Lorenzo and Ornella’s first trip to America and they were interested in everything they saw and heard.


We all had a great time and Erika invited DiVoran and me to be her guests on the first training cruise to the Bahamas on the “Wonder.” You can imagine our surprise! Neither of us had ever been on a pleasure cruise of any kind, so this was too wonderful for us to believe. And let me tell you, it was every bit as WONDERFUL as you might imagine!


As you can see, that original gesture of love and acceptance DiVoran showed Marcia way back in 1987, began a friendship that has lasted many years. And, for us, has been returned many times over and in many different ways over in the years since then. Our God is so good about keeping His promises to us when we listen and follow His instructions and directions.


Luke 6:38


—–The End—–


Old Age is Not for Sissies

17 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistWhen the movie star, Bette Davis, became elderly, she had a pillow with these words embroidered on it. “Old age is not for sissies.” I admired that platitude and to this day, I try to live by it. Last week we met a woman in a rehab facility who is an example of courage in the face of aging.

In 1919 when World War 1 was ending, Helga was six years old, and it was almost Christmas. The teacher was busy planning a Christmas program so before school one day, Helga took an empty paper sack and smoothed it out so she could create a poem. It is a medium length poem about the birth of Christ. Helga recited every word by heart. She’s also a modern day, on- the-spot poet. Here’s the one she spoke for me.

“There’s a lady in a jacket of pink.

When she used to wash dishes, she stood by the sink.

Her blouse is full of flowers.

I hope the Lord gives you many happy hours.”

After the poem Helga invited us to sing along as she played on a battered harmonica about twelve inches long with key of G holes on one side and key of C holes on the other. She sat in the seat of her walker and told stories of her childhood. She asked us to say the words from John 3:16 with her, which we did, and to sing, “You are My Sunshine,” while she accompanied us. Here’s a bit of her story:

“In 1913, I was born of German parents in a Hoboken cold-water, walk up flat. By the time Americans entered WW 1 in 1917 I was four years old, and I thought Germans were nice. Mama taught us that Jesus wanted us to love people, and that we should never put ourselves above anyone else. I was amazed when I learned during the war that we could be thrown in jail for speaking The Father Tongue. All along American Germans were persecuted as spies. When word came that the war was over, the streets filled with people. We hugged and sang. Folks in wagons and cars drove past waving or honking their horns. One wagon was pulled by a white horse and had a saloon woman sitting on the seat next to the driver. I knew she was from around the corner where we were never allowed to go. In the back of the wagon someone had stuck a dummy, head first, into a toilet bowl and everyone was saying it was the Kaiser.”


Hoboken, New Jersey


Helga will be 103 in February of 2016. I wanted to ask what she believed had kept her going this long, but I thought I knew the answer. I had once asked another 103 year old woman and her husband, who was 105 what kept them strong. They said it was being a follower of Jesus. I believe it. The joy of the Lord is Helga’s strength, too. That makes Helga no sissie at all.

Sunday Memories-Safe

15 Aug

Old Things R New:

Judy is taking a break for the next month. She suggested I go back to her first post and repost it. I liked the idea and for the rest of her break, I will choose some of her most popular post and share them again.

Originally posted on Old Things R New:

We at the OldThingsRNew blog  are  so pleased  to be growing and adding a new feature, Sunday Memories. We welcome Judy Wills as our very first contributor and hope she makes it a weekly event.

Judy Wills


“I’m sorry……….but it’s cancer.”

Those words are probably some of the most dreaded in the English language.  I certainly never expected to hear them about myself.  My husband was standing by my side as I took the phone call, and laid his hand on my shoulder as I immediately looked into his face and told him the results.

“It’s very small – it’s probably only been growing a few months – since Christmas perhaps.”

Well, that’s one bright spot in all this – if there can be such a thing in………cancer.

Make the appointment to see the surgeon.  Take time off work to see the surgeon, then schedule the surgery.  My boss…

View original 241 more words

Five promises to keep you safe and secure. | Janet Perez Eckles

15 Aug

“Well I did something kind of interesting,” my friend said.

I was all ears because this is a friend whom I truly admire.

“I went target shooting,” she said.

I gasped. “Shooting? Like with a gun?”


I learned that many women are taking that measure for safety. And thinking that was a good idea, I asked, “Can I go with you next time?

She laughed. And I did, too, when I realized that blind people might not have the best aim.

That night, I wondered about my protection, and that of my family. Like everyone else, I need to feel safe, secure and protected from intruders, thieves and the evil that lurks around. Unable to handle a gun, how could I manage that?

God was quick to give me the answer. Actually in Psalm 121, He gives us all the same answer. It’s found in these five promises to feel safe, confident and secure no matter where we are:

via Five promises to keep you safe and secure. | Janet Perez Eckles.


What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love

14 Aug

From the Heart

Louise GIbson

Louise Gibson

Have you ever asked yourself
“Who do I love, and why?”
Wouldn’t you amaze yourself
if you sincerely tried to reply?

“Do I truly love my neighbor
as well as I love myself?
Should I continue my endeavor
to “touch someone”-
or “put it on the shelf”?
“Just continue, dear Lord, to prod me
if I hesitate too long…
Put my priorities in order, please,
Remind me of this song.”

Composer:  Burt Bacharach

“What the world needs now is love. sweet love,

It’s the only thing there’s too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,

No, not just for some,

But for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow;

There are corn fields and wheat fields enough to grow.

There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine-

Oh, listen if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love-

No, not just for some, but for everyone.”

You Can’t Outgive God~Part 2

12 Aug

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Cross Plane

 One of the people Marcia made friends with during her time in Italy was Erika, a 26-year-old single Italian office worker who had agreed to be Marcia’s Italian teacher. When construction on the “Magic” was finished, Marcia and Erika were among the DCL Team members who worked their way across the Atlantic on the ship making it ready for its first Disney cruise from Port Canaveral, FL. Upon completion of that “Shakedown Cruise,” Erika went back to Italy and Marcia went back to work with WDI here in Florida. DiVoran and Marcia reconnected and it wasn’t long before she asked us to join her, as her guest, for another “Employee Day” at Disney World’s Epcot Center. It was a wonderful day, and we loved every minute of it


When the DCL crew was assembled in 1998 to support the building of the second DCL ship “Wonder” in Italy, Marcia was part of that group from the start. About six months after she got to Italy and settled in, she invited us to come to Italy for a visit and to stay with her for part of our trip. In February of 1999 DiVoran and I took our “Italian Vacation Trip of a Lifetime.” Most days were hazy (with some heavy fog) and very cold (30F – 40F) but we just bundled up and enjoyed the adventure.


Marcia introduced us to Erika and many of her other Italian friends, who received us into their circle as if we were family. “Any friend of Marcia is a friend of ours.” We stayed with Marcia in her apartment in the small town of Mogliano Veneto and she and Erika were our very own personal traveling companions, tour guides, and interpreters, which made our visit to Italy the best and most wonderfully memorable trip it could have been. One of the funniest things was the day (early in our stay) when Erika confided in us, out of Marcia’s hearing, that it was her opinion that Marcia really had limited language skills and she would appreciate it if we didn’t tell anyone that she was Marcia’s Italian teacher. We kept her secret. Our special tour guides showed us all the beautiful and interesting sites as we visited places like Venice, Padua, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Murano, Burano and the beautiful little mountain village of Asolo.


Just to give you an idea of how many of our days went, I remember it was cold and foggy the morning the four of us hurried to Venice to catch the train to Florence. There were so many wonderful things to see, that upon arrival in Florence, Erika and DiVoran took off one way and Marcia and I went another. There is not time enough to tell you about the beauty of that city and the vast historic art treasures housed in their museums and cathedrals.


But…as the story goes, sometime during their stroll around that beautiful city of Florence and its marvelous museums, DiVoran told Erika she would like a warmer pair of gloves, to wear over the thin leather ones she had. So, Erika took her into a glove shop and asked to see gloves.


The very proper clerk behind the counter showed them several styles and colors. DiVoran picked a pair she thought she would like, and the clerk propped her elbow on a wooden stand made for that purpose. He carefully smoothed one beautiful bright red glove and then the other on her hands, and buttoned the small round buttons at her wrists. DiVoran liked them so much that she asked Erika to help her use her credit card to pay for them. DiVoran has always loved those gloves, but to this day I don’t think she has ever asked anyone how much they cost.



   —–To Be Continued—–

More Thoughts on Church Music

10 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistWal  pardner, now that you have asked, I have a couple of  things to say about church music. Loved your blog, by the way, Onisha. Opening a dialogue may help.

The church we are now attending has a contemporary service and a traditional one. The traditional one is at 9:30, which is okay with us. It gives us time to get ready in a leisurely way and gets us out by 11:00. That’s when the contemporary service starts. We get the beautiful sanctuary, they get the big fellowship hall. I’m sorry to report that stained glass windows and real pews are pleasurable to me.

Stained glass png

They don’t seem to label the two services, so we first attended the 11:00 o’clock contemporary service. I, who have not yet lost my hearing, had to wear earplugs, not only for the music but for the service as well. Oh, by the way, in case anyone needs to know, I’ve used about all the earplugs on the market and I’ve found the white wax ones work best. I can still hear but it’s not painful. Soon all the children will start to turn deaf and then no one will need earplugs any more. There are only so many decibels the human body can stand without deafness setting in.

But I digress.  Our grandchildren’s parents used to invite us to Christmas specials at churches around their town, but they had to stop because even when we didn’t complain they could tell the service was just plain too loud for us. That was one pleasure forfeited, but the grandchildren are all grown up now and out on their own, so I suppose it’s not a huge loss.

I read that one of the churches in town is going to have a “Swing Low,” evening. I’ll bet that would be fun, but I’ve been fooled too often to think the volume will be something I can handle, so I have decided not to ask Bill to take me. That’s okay, as a young performer said in a contemporary service: if you want to hear hymns, listen to them on your iPod. Believe me, I do, I listen to them frequently and I sing along too. iPod,  iPhone, and You Tube are my go-to devices. Really, if we didn’t want to, we wouldn’t have to attend church at all. We could just use the T. V. and the Internet and send our tithe to them. A friend told me that their minister of youth made a teaching out of “why we don’t use hymns in the church anymore.” I wouldn’t have minded hearing his thinking on the subject, but I probably would have had to wear my earplugs in order to do it.

Believe it or not, loud sounds distress me in a way I can’t control. One time, I had to walk out of a church because the music gave me such a panicky feeling I felt driven out. It would be all right not to have instruments, as Onisha suggests, but perhaps it’s not so much the instruments that raise the decibels as it is the powerful microphones and speakers.

Any good rant has the phrase, when I was a child:  When I was a child and we had plays in school, we were taught to speak loudly enough so we could be heard all the way at the back of the room. I know from personal experience that it’s easier to use mikes, but at least everything didn’t have to shut down if the candles blew out.

The church we’re attending now seems to have some decent long-range plans for making more people on both sides happy. We’ve been going there for a couple of months now and haven’t heard the same music group twice. This church has a long history of highly valuing its music and musicians. Sometimes the young people come in and sing hymns for us, too. They seem to like them fine, even though they’re not particularly easy to sing if you aren’t used to them. Many younger people, learn real music in chorus and band. I’d love to hear the fruit of their labors reflected more in church services – and we are hearing that now, so I’m not complaining about what we currently get.

The church we’re attending has a small, but good band. They have an admittedly senior choir. They had a “younger person” play a gorgeous saxophone piece last week. The pianist is top-notch and well educated in music. She lives for it. During the week she may be seen popping into the library in a lovely dress on her way to a nursing home to play.

One good thing has happened with the hymns here, they’ve been jazzed a bit. Maybe the no-hymns group will like them better that way. I do. You could actually waltz to them now.

The church we were in before was so casual they even valued having me as part of the praise team because I could sing loudly and usually carry a tune. We had a keyboard, acoustic rhythm instruments (yes, tambourines – gasp!) and six or seven singers. We had one hymn a week. Other than that we sang the older choruses that had melodies and the songs that the minister of music wrote herself. We had no hypnotizing droning. Everyone could hear the music very well, but it wasn’t so loud that anyone would be deafened by it.

I dearly love the younger church set. I love their enthusiasm for church and what they are doing for the children in giving them pertinent and exciting activities.  Such grace, such variety, such hard work. Sorry if you feel that we older people are a burden because we won’t or can’t change. We’ll be gone before you know it. You’ll miss us, though. Is it possible that even God cannot deal with this problem? Now why would that be? I thought he could do anything.

Here’s an old one made new. I like it, how about you?


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