School Days Again, Seven

10 Dec

My Take

DiVoran Lites


On my next Wednesday morning with second grade, I needed help finding the room. The vice principal was just leaving the office where I had stopped to get my sticky badge. I stepped over and asked if she might be going my way. She’s a young woman who keeps up with her job as the coordinator for the volunteersand a lot more. You can see her and the principal who is also a young woman all over the campus readily available when and where they are needed. We chatted as we walked outdoors on our way to the second-grade pod. I took in a few more details of where I was and where I was going and my day began.



My first client was the seven-year-old shiny ebony child I’d had the week before. He has a favorite book and clings to it as if it were the only book in the world. We discuss his others, but we return to the first one. We had a sort of breakthrough on the word frilly…the marigold in the story bragged to the pumpkin that she was frilly. I suggested that frilly rhymed with silly which got us started on the concept of rhyming and my little pal made a poem of his own.  We both enjoyed that.

Next customer was an adorable little blonde with big blue eyes. I discovered while working with her that she is an artist. We were together for about half an hour, I didn’t know why, but before leaving her with me, the teacher had told her, “Now sweetie, don’t play.” As we turned out to have so much fun together we both needed the warning. This child said she loved dancing and children’s chorus and when we got to the poem making stage she didn’t want to stop. We segued into taking a walk around the big empty computer lab which was our room for the time being. When we got settled again she insisted on drawing a portrait of me. I gave her my small pad of sticky notes and she began to concentrate in earnest.



When she finished, she showed me the pictures assuring me, “This is your headband, don’t worry, it’s just your headband.” Then she finished off the second figure which was my pet (I don’t know what kind of pet). When she reached for the pad again I had to hide it under my hand because we needed to get back to class. By that time, I knew why the teacher had reminded us not to play. I have the same propensity to flit around and have a good time as my student does. I may get fired too,because the principal walked quickly through the room when we were giggling. As she passed she did thank me for coming. I do hope she never has to thank me for going.



Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”


Fred Remembers-Part 16

9 Dec


Judy Wills



During my senior year at Narimasu,


Tokyo American High School Narimasu


I was concerned about what I was going to do about college.  I knew I wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t sure where.

In the meantime, while we were in Japan, I had come down with some fairly annoying hay fever.  It wasn’t quite asthma, but similar.  Lots of people told me I needed to go to a dry climate, so I was looking and inquiring around as to where a good place to go to school would be.

The librarian at Johnson Air Base – I don’t remember how I got to discussing it with her – talked to me about going to college, and she was from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is little over a mile high.


Sandia Mountains outside Albuquerque, New Mexico – credit Google Search


It is obviously semi-desert and very dry climate.  She persuaded me to put in an application for the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.


University of New Mexico – Credit Google Search and UNM website


UNM lobo – mascot – Credit Google Search and UNM website


I had already applied to Washington State University, Purdue University, Florida State University, and the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.  I actually had line numbers for Washington State and the University of Illinois.

Fortunately, my grade levels had improved over the years, and I was able to be the Valedictorian of my high school class, had done fairly well on the National Merit testing, and received Honorable Mention.  [Judy’s comments here: Fred’s sisters once told me that he went straight from age 12 to 20!  He lost all interest in pursuing girls, and began his absorption in his studies]   All that meant that the universities were sort-of bidding for my attendance.  But the librarian persuaded me that the University of New Mexico would be a good fit, both for the climate, and also the fact that it had a good physics department, which I was interested in.  I was especially interested in astronomy, and UNM had their own observatory there.  I think that was the last school I applied to, and I was, fortunately, accepted.

Since UNM was a land-grant school, even though I was out-of-state, the tuition was very reasonable – as I recall, it was about $323 per semester for tuition and about the same for room and board.  My parents were happy with that, and I happened to get a scholarship from my high school.

With all that in mind, come August of 1957, I left the family in Tokyo…….


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

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Three not-so-secret ways to overcome loneliness

8 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Peres Eckles


Three not-so-secret ways to overcome loneliness.


Reblogged December 7, 2018

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 Christmas tree. The lights that splash all the way to the mountain tops seem to blend with the stars in the sky, creating a unique splendor.

But how sad. That closeness is a contrast to the distance we feel from God when loneliness attacks. When we feel abandoned, we can’t help but imagine God to be distant and abstract. We believe the lie that repeats we have no one. God has forgotten us. And we have no way to overcome loneliness.

Here are three not-so-secret ways to wipe out these lies:

  1. In the silence, in the still of the moment God is present because His Word says that “…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).
  2. If we’re in God’s company, we have already conquered the army—fear, anxiety and depression that equip loneliness. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6).
  3. Embracing God’s promise ushers hope that tomorrow new things will come about. He promised: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Let’s Pray

Father, while in the wasteland of loneliness or the desert of despair I declare that tomorrow you will bring about new ways, new paths and new open doors. I wait in anticipation for the loneliness that burdens my days to turn to the peace that comes from you.  The reassurance that your promises carry. And I will be filled with the joy that doesn’t flow from others but from you. I count on the power of your love. In Jesus’s name, amen.

  • Have you experienced loneliness lately?
  • What brings about your loneliness?
  • How will you receive God’s comfort to overcome loneliness today?



Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please share: Feel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.




Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video:

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

Fun in the Whirlwind

6 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


This week is shaping into a whirlwind of a week. My daughter, Rebekah,  is the coordinator for a community outreach and fundraising event at our church this weekend and I volunteered to be her chief helper and errand runner. The event, Gateway to Christmas will feature a Christmas Tree Walk. We will have 25 freshly cut Christmas trees delivered on Saturday. Each tree has been sponsored and will be decorated, then auctioned at the event. Today we went to the church and sorted the items donated by local businesses for raffling and assessed the supplies we have for the children’s activities.


Rebekah counting boxes of stickers


It was also decision day on whether to continue with the plans for the event to be held outdoors or moved inside. You know how the weather forecast seems to change daily and sometimes hourly? Well not this week. Thunder showers have been in our forecast for a week! The tension was high as Rebekah struggled with the decision but she put on her thinking cap and found a compromise solution.



Rebekah’s long time friend is a professional photographer and volunteered to shoot green screen photos during the event. He drove over from Orlando today to scout out the location and while he was here, he took some photos like the ones above. He also took photos of some of the raffle items so that we can share them on the church Facebook page. The fundraising component of the event is to raise money to replace the roof  of our gym that was damaged in Hurricane Irma last year. The gym houses our totally free to use fitness center. Currently, approximately 100 people from the community exercise there.

This is one of my favorite. Rebekah won the bear when she was visiting us in North Carolina a few weeks ago.



It’s never too early to start thinking about beach days and tightening those abs!



The event is certainly a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. A lot of people are volunteering their time and resources. To take a line from one of my Children’s Christmas program, Angels, Lambs, Ladybugs, and Fireflies “When everyone works together a lot can be accomplished.”









I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 2

5 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 2 Saturday 10/20/2018


First thing this morning I heated up my leftover IHOP Colorado Omelette, and had a delicious breakfast there in my motel room.  What a wonderful way to start the day!  After breakfast, I headed south to visit my first museum, the Palm Beach Maritime Museum located in the Northwood Village area on the Indian River.  I was expecting a museum exhibiting displays and artifacts related to the early maritime history of the Palm Beach area.  So I was surprised to find the museum closed, and the remnants of last night’s local homeless community packing up their things. Since there was no one around to ask about the status of the museum, I just took a photo and was on my way.



While I was in West Palm Beach, next I visited the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in downtown West Palm Beach.  This museum is located in the Mandel Public Library, and is a visual arts organization that displays various forms of photographic artwork.  The museum is noted for organizing the city’s annual FotoFusion photography festival.



Another museum there in West Palm Beach I wanted to visit was the Ragtops Antique Automobile Museum. This museum is known for its beautifully restored classic cars of all type and models dating from the 1930s to the 1960s muscle cars.  And the biggest surprise is that all of these cars are For Sale!  Just bring lots of cash.



Now it was on south another 30 miles to visit the Boca Express Train Museum located in Boca Raton. This museum is housed in the restored 1930s Florida East Coast Railroad depot, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the early development of the Boca Raton area aided by the railroad. The museum also has several restored pieces of rolling stock, including a 1930s Baldwin steam engine, a 1947 Seaboard Air Line streamlined rail car, dining & lounge car, and a 1946 Atlantic Coast Line caboose.



Next I headed just a few miles south on U.S.-1 to visit the South Florida Railway Museum located in Deerfield Beach.  This small museum is situated in the 1926 Seaboard Air Line Railway Station and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of the railroad with respect to the early Deerfield Beach area.  The museum was a little hard to find, as it is located on the south end of the restored, and still active, Deerfield Beach Amtrak passenger terminal.



Another 20 miles south on U.S.-1 I visited the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum located in the Poinciana Park area of Fort Lauderdale.  This museum was created by Mr. Arthur Stone, and is his personal and loving collection of Packard Motor Cars from 1900 to 1958.  The museum also displays a vast array of automobile and oil company artifacts and memorabilia dating from the early 1900s.



While I was in Fort Lauderdale, I wanted to visit the World Jet, Inc. facility to see what they were all about.  As it turned out, World Jet is a full-service Fixed Base Operator (FBO) located adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale Executive airport.  They specialize in the maintenance and servicing of all types of private jet aircraft.  There wasn’t much to see going on this morning.



As part of my research for this trip I had planned to visit my friend, Lucas, there in Fort Lauderdale, for lunch.  He had grown up in Titusville, and his family still lives there.  I found his apartment, which had a beautiful view of the Middle River and many of its more expensive homes and yachts.  He took me to the Tom Jenkins BBQ restaurant where I had some delicious Smoked BBQ Sausage with baked beans and cole slaw.  We had a great visit and he gave me a ride in his new Mini Cooper.  I was surprised at how much room there was in that small car. And the 40+ m/gal impressed me too!



Next I visited the Naval Air Station Museum located next to the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. This small museum displays artifacts and memorabilia mainly related to U.S. Naval Aviation during WWII.  The museum has a section dedicated to Flight 19 that flew out of NAS Fort Lauderdale on December 5, 1945 and vanished into the Bermuda Triangle.  Flight 19 is one of the Navy’s most perplexing unsolved mysteries to date (Google U.S. Navy Flight 19 Mystery for many interesting details).  The museum also honors NAS Fort Lauderdale as the base where future President, then Ensign, George H. W. Bush trained to become a torpedo bomber pilot.



By now it was time to head for the motel for tonight.  I told Greta (My Garmin) to take me south toward to the motel, located in the Richmond Heights area of south Miami.   Traffic was pretty heavy, but we finally got to the motel.  After getting checked in, I heated up my leftover Smoked BBQ Sausage and enjoyed that great meal again.




—–To Be Continued—–



Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10


4 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis



School Days Again- Six

3 Dec

My Take

DiVoran LItes


What a wonderful classroom MS Conner* has. It is full of positive energy. While I waited for my assignment, I read some of the art-lettered signs tacked to the walls. I was interested in the ones that gave the Florida Standards for Language Arts: Reading, Literature, and Writing. One sign said, Life Science, another was Math Standards.


Photo credit Pixabay


The room has several four-part desks that can be reassembled into whatever patterns are needed. If a child needs to be alone to concentrate on his work for a while his desk can be separated from others. At the four-part desks students sit facing each other as if they were at a kitchen table. Sometimes they are supposed to have discussions. Large tote bags full of library books wait where the children can reach them for reading occasions.

Although I am not a math person I did appreciate the way MS. Conner taught it. I wished I had a teacher like that. Maybe I wouldn’t have turned away from math and math teachers as I did. I may or may not have dysgraphia, I do often transpose numbers. We passed out foam numbers to use for addition. It was like counting money. My dad taught me how to do that when we had the restaurant and I needed to know how to make change.

Oh,and by the by, the computers the children have are wonderful. Each child has an 81/2x 11 lap-top they use for almost all classes. When not in use, the devices live in a row hooked up to chargers like piglets getting nourishment from their mamas. Each child has a sign-in, bar-coded card. They are learning to watch their batteries to see that they don’t get too low. One little girl is so proficient that she helps the others. Another was savvy enough to be able to help the volunteer…me.

Photo credit Pixabay


The teacher, instead of writing on a black, green, or whiteboard, projects videos from her computer on her desk. The biology video was lovely. Over the years our country has had questions and fears about sex education in schools. In this second-grade classroom it’s just a part of science, which most of the children seem to love. It explains the stages of life in ways they can understand. Some of the children are becoming aware of plants and the workings of nature by watching them. MS. Conner says one child is making progress faster because her mother selects nature videos at home. If there’s anything our country needs more than any other thing it is more scientists of all kinds.


Photo credit Pixabay


Conner is patient with the children. She only raises her voice when the children are not paying attention in class. She always calls them her friends and compliments them on the things they do right. A few of the children require extra patience and understanding. That has probably been true all through history, but perhaps a bit more so today. To quiet them,she says, “Catch a bubble,” and they puff out their cheeks. They can’t talk or yell with their cheeks puffed out. She explains quietly that her friends must not speak out of turn, whine, or fight. Over and over she calms them with her voice. She is so patient I wonder whether or not she ever loses it.


Photo credit Pixabay


When we went outside for recess, MS. Conner had a new toy. It was a parachute big enough for several children to get under. Two of them took hold of the handles and made it fly up and come back down over them.  They all loved it. One second-grader had on a tee shirt that said, “Be Happy, Be Brave, Be You.”

*not MS. Conner’s real name



Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”


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