The Veteran and Other Heroes

19 Jan

A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin


The veteran’s story started many years ago, but I will start when I met him last spring. I was working my regular shift at the crisis center when I noticed a man hanging around the center.  He never got called in to be helped, and was there all morning.  He looked like any other bedraggled and unshaven client down on his luck.  Finally, he came over and walked behind the front counter.  I said, “You can’t come back here, you have to wait out front.”

“But I’m working here,” he said.”

I discovered that he was volunteering as a security guard.  Our clientele has exploded this past year, and we are so busy and crowded that the administration decided there was a need for some help with minor problems and crowd control in the waiting area and parking lot.  He showed up and wanted to help because this was the first place he came for help when he was down and out.  And the Vet’s story began to unfold.

He was a serviceman whose parachute failed during a jump and he ended up with permanent damage to his legs, along with other injuries.  He was disabled and discharged. His marriage had ended in divorce, so not only was his body broken, but his mind and his spirit were too.  He could see nowhere to go, no solutions and no means or reason to continue living. He showed me pictures of what he called his home.  Lost and lonely, he had ended up living for years in a crate down by the Arkansas River with just enough space for a pallet and a camp stove. It was neatly organized, with a little shelf for his meager food, but the pictures and his story made me want to cry.

After eleven years of this living hell, God sent him an angel. She worked for the VA, but not just as an employee.  She actually went out to look for these broken vets where they lived.  She came to his camp one day, got down in the mud with him and said “I am going to help you.”  She came back with some papers from the VA and said, “I have a place for you to live.”  And thus began his rehabilitation and transition back to life in a civilized world. He was sent to our crisis center, where he got food, clothes, hygiene items, and a reason to start to live again. After months of treatment, he was back on his feet, still facing surgery and treatment, but healing in mind and spirit.

Now he and two other compassionate veterans are at the crisis center every day volunteering their services. They have made connections in the community and in churches to help other people in dire need.  They know what to do and how to help because they have been there. They have turned many lives around by their presence and helpfulness. This Christmas they were a big part of our special Christmas outreach project, in which we procured supplies, toys, books and entertainment for the needy. These humble, helpful men became Santa and elves to the clients and their families, bringing smiles, laughter and love to those who need it most.

A man came into the center the other day, and tearfully asked: “Do you help with heat?  I just need some propane to heat my place.”  We chatted a little and he informed me that he was out of a job, he lost his house and all his belongings, and now he lived in a trailer behind some building. I was devastated by his situation. He finally said “I’m at the end of my rope, I’ve lost everything, and I can’t afford propane to heat my trailer. I am a veteran, if that means anything.”

“We can help you,” I said with a relieved smile. I called one of our vets over and told him the man needed his help. I knew they’d take him through the line for food, clothes, hope, and so much more. When he left with his arms loaded, he was smiling through his tears.

“Thank You,” he said quietly

Oh yes, and as for my vet friend.  He spent Christmas with his entire family for the first time in 15 years!   Happy New Year everyone!




My 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Trip Part 3

18 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



Day 3 (Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016)

I was surprised this morning to see partly cloudy skies and no rain. So, after I had shaved, showered and finished my breakfast I headed for the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow located adjacent to the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. In spite of the rainy weather over the past few days, the turnout for the first day of the Airshow was amazingly well attended.


Dawn Patrol


Of the 20 Plus World War I replica aircraft entries, between 12 and 15 pilots braved the weather and flew their fragile aircraft here to participate in the first day’s activities. The number of antique cars was limited and there were no antique motorcycles this year. Also, I missed the re-enactment gun emplacements, field hospitals and memorabilia tables that were part of the displays during the 2009 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Airshow I had attended. I even had to look hard to find people dressed in WWI costumes.




The WWI R/C model airplanes (smallest of which was ¼ scale) flying at this event outnumbered the full-size replica aircraft at least 3 to 1. There were some really beautiful model airplanes, and they were also in the air more often than the full-size replica aircraft were. The bad weather over the past few days I’m sure had a major impact on this event.  However, I still had a great time.



1/2 Scale Sopwith Camel (B6313)


The wind came up about 12:30, with a 45° crosswind to the active grass runway, which made it very dangerous for the full-size replica aircraft to take off and land. So, since the flying portion of the air show was going to be delayed for today, (with no time estimate for resumption of full scale aircraft flying), I opted to leave the air show and check out a couple other museums in the area.




The first museum I visited this afternoon was the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum located some 30 miles north of Dayton in Bradford, Ohio. This turned out to be a very small museum, consisting of mostly Pennsylvania Railroad memorabilia.




Strange as it may seem, the museum is housed in what used to be a small bank, and one of the lingering features of the museum structure, that they could not hide, is a huge bank vault on the ground floor at the back of the one-room museum. There was no rolling stock associated with this museum, but the curator informed me that they hope to eventually add some Bradford Ohio Railroad rolling stock adjacent to their museum when funds allow. This was another one of the Ohio railroad depots that witnessed the Lincoln Funeral Train as it passed through the city of Bradford on April 30, 1865.




Next I headed north again, to visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum located in Wapakoneta, Ohio which is the hometown of Neil Armstrong. This is a very nicely organized museum, honoring and displaying memorabilia from the military and NASA life of Neil Armstrong.  The museum also honors the Ohioans, who are noted for having defied gravity, with exhibits that detail the feats of the Wright Brothers and John Glen




Now it was time to head back to the motel for tonight, which was located in Franklin, Ohio. Dinner this evening was a delicious meal of leftover Outback Pork Porterhouse with garlic potatos and some of their dark bread. And as I had hoped, it was double yummy!




—–To Be Continued—–

31 Days of God’s Comfort~Day 9

16 Jan



Picture and paraphrase by DiVoran Lites



Day 9

The Mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:16




You are wondrously designed.

You have the mind of Christ.

When you are inclined to worry–change gears.

Thinking is so important,

You’re designed to always have thoughts.

When you’re awake, you think.

When you’re asleep, you sort your thinking.

You still, however, have the choice to use our mind or your own.

Will you go crazy looking at your past?

Will you try to manipulate the future?

Or will you be still and know that we three are the Trinity:

Father-God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

We want to change your thinking.

Will you consciously allow Holy Spirit to direct you?

And will you be Mine, body, soul, and spirit,

As I am yours?



Tied up in Knots

15 Jan


Judy Wills


In previous musings, I’ve mentioned that I really enjoy crocheting. My favorite thing to crochet is an afghan, in shell stitch. I use big, thick yarn, and a large hook. It goes quite fast, and I like the way it looks.

I have tried knitting – even took lessons at one time – but I could never get anything to fit! Even after making a sample swatch, when the product was finished – it just didn’t fit. It was either too big or too small. Every time. So I gave up on knitting.

And then there was another “phase” that came through – macramé. I never really tried my hand at it, but did enjoy some of the items that my friends made from that. Along about Thanksgiving time, I did a post on the macramé pilgrim that hangs on our front door. He’s rather adorable.




A former sister-in-law made a large purse for me, out of black macramé yarn. I carried it all around Europe on our 3-year-tour there, and really enjoyed it.

My best friend’s husband was in the U.S. Navy for a while, and learned to tie all those knots – and the names for them. When she told him she would like a plant hanger, he got to work and actually made her a lovely, hanging “table” – made with those “knots” – where she could put her plants, and hung it from the ceiling in their family room. I was so envious!! It was gorgeous!!

Okay, all that to say that I am not very savvy about knots. I do know that to make a really secure knot, you must make a “square” knot – and I’ve learned how to do that.




I know about “slip knots” that I use in my crocheting. So I know a little bit about knots.

I can’t remember just where I first saw a cleat with a rope wrapped around it, so that the boat would be anchored at the dock. But somewhere I saw it once, and it caught my fancy. I thought it was a rather interesting way of wrapping a rope – in a figure-eight, but it would definitely make it secure to the dock.



Credit Google search


Remember now – I am NOT a boat person! So why this caught my eye, I don’t know. However, it stuck in my mind. Some time later, I was visiting a good friend and her family, and they decided it was a nice time to take their boat out for a spin. When we docked, she handed me the rope and told me to tie it around the cleat as best I could. The memory of the way it was wrapped popped into my mind, and I just wrapped it as I remembered seeing it. When my friend’s husband went to untie the rope, he stopped and nearly shouted – “WHO TIED THIS ROPE?” I thought to myself, “I am in deep trouble now!” I meekly said, “I did.” He looked at me and said, “where did you learn to do this?” He nearly flipped out when I told him I had just seen it….once. He sputtered, “ONCE??…YOU SAW IT ONCE…and you can tie it like this?   I’ve been trying to teach Lynn to do this ever since we purchased the boat!” That certainly made me feel pretty good about myself! I had learned something about “knots” just by observing it done once.

Sometimes this old brain really DOES retain important “stuff!”

How to turn your weaknesses into strengths

14 Jan

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Guilty. Self-pity nearly won. There was a time in my life when I felt unworthy and useless like the pulp my juicer spits out. Memory of that season rushed in when my friend and I had lunch last week.

“You won’t believe it,” she said.., “After I juice, I use the pulp to sprinkle on my salads…it turns out delicious!”

She didn’t discard the pulp, rather, she put it to good use. God did the very same with me. When blindness struck at the age of 31, I thought my life was over. I thought I’d be relegated to stay inside my four walls, empty of achievements and like useless pulp, ready to be dumped in the garbage disposal of life.

Did you ever have moments like that? Feeling like your value, your purpose and your passion is dry? We all have. But when God is in the midst, He uses what little we may have, what flaws we display, what mistakes we made or how low we feel. He crafts something deliciously beautiful.

That’s because no matter how we try to overcome our weaknesses, God is trying to turn them into strengths. He uses our weaknesses to make great things. He molds sad circumstances to success. And He turns our losses into gain.

He did that with me. I had asked God to remove my blindness. He didn’t. Instead, He turned my physical blindness into 20/20 spiritual vision.

In a different way, Paul also encountered adversity, painful and unpleasant, He confessed:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10).

What weakness of yours will you delight in?

Source: How to turn your weaknesses into strengths. | Janet Perez Eckles

Slaying the Giants In Your Life~ Destroying Discouragement

13 Jan

From the Heart

Louise Gibson




Can you recognize the enemy?
There’s a battle to be won.
Know what you are fighting-
Your armor is the Son!


There are three ways to live:
You can live out-
You can wear out,
You can burn out!


It’s erroneous to say
working too hard is burnout.
Working hard “at the right thing”
is what it’s all about.


Bring everything out of that “anxiety closet”
and expose it to the light.
When looked at as they truly are,
you can put them all to flight!


Emotions are treacherous advisors.
We need to be disciplined and stay on track.
Work can be wonderful therapy.
It will get your confidence back.


The biblical story of David
can turn your life around.
Get your slingshot ready-
“Discouragement”, you are going DOWN!”


Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength.
A very present help in trouble,
Therefore, we will not fear.
Though the earth be removed
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Tho the mountains shake with its swelling.



After the Snow

12 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We had seven inches of snow last weekend which is a lot for our area. It took four days for the snow and ice to melt and . I  enjoyed our quiet time of being surrounded by snow It was a good feeling to have everything we needed here in the house without needing to leave home, but it was also good to be able to join the world again.
During our snow days I read multiple Christmas romance novellas for entertainment. It seems in romance novels, a person’s heart  thrums instead of racing or pounding when one is near their beloved. I told Rebekah the word is banned from her writing.
 I am going through Jesus Calling again, this year. Wednesday’s reading about storing up treasures in heaven, presented a new way to think about treasure in relationship to trust. By trusting God in the daily non-crisis times, we are storing up coins of trust in heaven so that when storms come, my trust balance will be sufficient to see me through.
I have been thinking about the young people who seem to be without a trust account and need the current “new thing” safe spaces. They are a generation that has been taught nothing is absolute. Rather they have been set free to decide truth on a minute by minute basis. How tragic for them.
Ok, that is my deep thought for the month.  I am looking forward to our transition to Florida for the winter. We are blessed with good friends there, but I will miss my friends and family here in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I am hoping that Rebekah’s latest book will be released sometime in April and we can celebrate with a Tea.

My 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Trip Part 2

11 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 2 (Friday 9/30/2016)


I got off to a late start this morning because I wanted to check out the Eddie Rickenbacker Airport again before I left Columbus. The other reason I was not in a hurry this morning was because the first museum I was going to visit did not open until 10:00.




So, after seeing that the Rickenbacker Airport was not open for operations yet, I headed for the Champaign Aviation Museum located just north of Urbana, Ohio. This was a very small museum with only three aircraft which consisted of a  B-25 Mitchell bomber, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and their major project, a B-17 Flying Fortress called the “Champaign Lady.” All three aircraft were under one phase of restoration or another.




One of the volunteers at the museum wanted to know if I had ever visited the Waco Aircraft Museum near Troy, Ohio.  I told him I had not known of it, and he gave me directions to the museum. On my way to Troy to visit that museum, I came across The Depot Coffee House, which is located in the historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot in Urbana, Ohio. This depot was part of what was once called the “Panhandle Railroad” (late 1850s) and was on the route taken by the funeral train, in 1865, which carried President Abraham Lincoln on the way to his resting place in Springfield, Illinois. I stopped to look over the depot and use their restroom. It was a little hard to tell that it had once been a railroad depot.




Now I headed southwest to check out the WACO Aircraft Museum, located adjacent to the Historic WACO Field just south of Troy, Ohio. Wikipedia informs me that the WACO Aircraft Company was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country in the late 1920’s and early 30’s. I didn’t realize this, and as it turned out, this very nice (small) museum is dedicated to the memory of those times. The museum consisted of a dozen or more vintage Waco aircraft dating from the 1920s. The lady at the desk turned out to be my tour guide and gave me a personal tour of the museum and its history.




I know my friend Terry will be jealous of my chance to visit the WACO Air Museum, as he is a “Golden Age of Aircraft” kind of guy that loves any kind of

Bi-plane, especially any WACO variant. I’ll send him photos of the planes in this museum and hope he can visit it someday.




Then it was on down the road to visit the America’s Packard Museum located in downtown Dayton, Ohio. This was one of the most amazing automobile museums I have been to lately. Their collection consisted of 50+ vintage Packard automobiles of every possible description, many of which are one-of-a-kind or special order vehicles, dating from the early 1920s to the late 1940s. Each of these Packard automobiles has been beautifully restored, and all are in perfect running condition.




From there, I headed south on I-75 to visit the Wright Brothers Airport. This airport has a museum honoring the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers. It also operates a growing fleet of “look-a-like” replicas, including a 1910 Wright “B” Flyer, nicknamed the “Brown Bird.” Unfortunately I didn’t get to the museum before they closed (2:30) and they were only open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I’m sure I will see other 1910 Model “B” flyers at some of the other museums I will visit during my four-day stay in the Dayton area.




So, now I headed a few more miles south on SR-123 to visit the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad Museum located in Lebanon, Ohio. This museum features periodic four-mile nostalgic train rides, which are themed with favorite children’s characters including Thomas the Tank Engine and Clifford the Big Red Dog. The museum was closed and only advertised their next one-hour train rides, to be on October 5 & 13. Since these train rides seemed to be tailored more for children, I didn’t think I would be missing too much.




Just another few miles southwest on I-75 I visited my last museum for today, called the EnterTrainment Junction Model Railroad Museum, located in West Chester, Ohio. This has to be the largest model railroad layout that I have ever seen.  I’ve seen videos of the huge indoor model train layout in Germany, but I have no idea how it compares in overall size with this model train layout. I forgot to ask one of the museum hosts how long it took to build this model train layout, but it had to have taken many years. With several representations of American life, built around our nationwide railroad systems, this model railroad museum was outstanding.




After I located tonight’s motel and got settled in, I treated myself to dinner at the Mason, Ohio Outback Restaurant. I had a delicious “Pork Porterhouse” entre’, with garlic potatoes, stewed veggies, and a garden salad,. Yummm! And, I had enough left-over for a repeat tomorrow night. Double Yummm!




—–To Be Continued—–

The Peace of God

10 Jan

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7
“Jesus, I declare you as my Lord, and with you I find calm and peace. Today… this moment… I choose to look to you, instead of focusing on the people and problems that hound me. Because I am your child, you will lift my heart, tilt my head heavenward, and help me to rise above every difficulty. ”   Tricia Goyer
I pray that the love of God and the Peace that surpasses all understanding fill your heart and mind today.

31 Days of God’s Comfort~Day 8

9 Jan


Picture and paraphrase by DiVoran Lites


 Day 8,


Genesis 1:27-28



I was lonely and wanted children and friends to keep me company. I wanted them to act as my hands and feet on earth.

Creating people is my favorite vocation. I carefully put each baby together in the mother’s womb to fulfill a special purpose. No two are alike, not even twins. The various gifts and talents are boundless.

Some of my people have gifts for music: I want them to compose, sing, and play instruments.

Some are engineers and artisans who know how to put things together, and how to fix them.

Some are caregivers, such as mothers and fathers, teachers, doctors and nurses, administrators and helpers.

Some can draw, some can garden, some will travel and some will stay at home.

Some think they can’t do anything at all, but they always can.

I love you whether you know your place in my plan yet, or not.

If you will let me, I will be delighted to show you what I created you to be.



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