Lord, I’m About to Faint

14 Sep

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged September 14, 2019

Photo Credit Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Feeling weak these days? We all do. We face those struggles. There’s so much on our plate, so much to resolve and so little strength to keep going.

I was there many times. And it began when in my freshman year of high school, while on that race track as I held the baton. But in my heart, I held anguish. Before me was the distance I’d have to run between the starting point and the next runner where I’d hand off the baton. In relay races, the distance is short. But for me, it ran the length of the world.

All eyes would be on me.

Dreadful thoughts would rumble like thunder—what if I should stumble, drop the baton, fall, or cause my team to lag far behind? All of these visions would torment me just before every race began.

Have you ever felt that way when one more stretch of life is before you and wonder if you’ll make it? All eyes are on you, observing your performance. Before you are on a journey, painfully foreign to you. Sweat pours out and you wonder if you’ll make it one more step.

That’s when God makes an announcement only for your ears to hear. “Let me run by your side!” And, with the firmness of His Word, He whispers confidence to begin the race. With His grace, He lifts your burden to lighten the load. With His promises, He cheers you on. Should you stumble with His mighty Hand, He’ll scoop you up. When anguish and pain sear and burn, His compassion will soothe calmness to your soul. And should fatigue run you dry; His grace will pour renewed hope. Should doubt flicker through, His lips will speak the reassurance to build your strength.

I wish I had known that…

I wish I’d known back then that, no matter how long the distance, how arduous the journey, how threatening the obstacles, my legs didn’t need to tremble. My heart didn’t need to race wildly. And I didn’t have to dread the races before me.

On the contrary, God was renewing my strength. He said, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Here’s the catch. That promise is reserved for those who hope in the Lord. Victory comes, triumphant ending awaits, and the winning prize is ours. All that’s needed is to hope in Him, count on Him, and release the baton of our burdens to Him.

Do you think today is the day you’ll be handing God your baton?

Janet

______________________________________

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.

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Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

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.

www.janetperezeckles.com

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 2

11 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 2 – Wednesday July 24

I was glad things worked out as they did yesterday, since one of the main reasons I picked this area for this road trip was to visit the Air Zoo Museum in Portage, MI.  This is one of the most amazing aviation museums I have visited.  Their 35+ beautifully restored aircraft are strategically positioned and lighted so the visitor can get good photos.  Their restoration building is one of the most organized and clean facilities I have ever seen.  This museum was one of the high-lights of this trip!

After this great museum visit, I headed northeast on SR-43 about 25 miles to visit the Gilmore Car Museum located in Hickory Corners, MI.  This turned out to be another fantastic experience!  The museum consists of some 18 individual buildings, situated on 90 acres, filled with 300+ beautifully restored automobiles, motorcycles, and vintage memorabilia dating from the late 1890s.

The collection actually had on display more vintage Duesenberg motorcars than the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, IN that I visited in 2016.  There is also a replica 1930s full service Shell Station where gas is always $.18 cents a gallon.

And if you’re hungry, there is the 1941 “Blue Moon Diner” where visitors can stop in for lunch.  I could have spent a whole day at this museum, but I had miles to go and other museums to visit, before this day was going to be over.  

From here I headed southeast on SR-89/37 to visit the Post Cereal Museum located in Battle Creek, MI. Started in 1892 by Charles Post, on this site, the Postum Cereal Company produced cereal drinks and breakfast cereals such as Postum, Grape-Nuts, and Post Toasties before becoming the General Food Corporation in 1929.  Through the years the company grew and was purchased by various conglomerates, until it became a part of Kraft Foods in 1989.  I didn’t have time to wait for the next scheduled tour to begin, so I opted to move on to the next museum.

Now it was east on I-94 to visit Ye Ole Carriage Shop in Spring Arbor, MI.  Because of road construction in the area, this small museum was very hard to find.  I was looking forward to getting a look at a 1902 JAXON steam car in their collection.  The JAXON (which I had never heard of) was built by one of the 24 companies building cars in nearby Jackson, MI during the early 1900s.   When I finally did find the museum, it was closed.

Just a few miles northeast I planned to visit the Cell Block 7 Museum in Jackson, MI.  The museum is located on the grounds of the operational State Prison of Southern Michigan.  What originally began as a log structure in 1839, housing 35 inmates, has grown over the years to become one of the largest walled institutions in the world, housing as many as 5000+ inmates at any one time.  As with the Post Cereal Museum, I didn’t go through this museum as I would have had to wait for the next guided tour.  I have found that these guided tours usually take 1½ to more than 2 hours, and that is more time than I usually like to spend to see a museum.

While I was in Jackson, I tried to find the Hackett Auto Museum, but discovered they were in the process of restoring an old building for their collection and wouldn’t be ready to open until sometime in 2020.  So, I headed east on I-94 again to visit the Waterloo Farm Museum located in Grass Lake, MI. This farm museum is built around the original 1854 farm home of Johannes Siebold and his family.  The museum honors the Michigan pioneer farmers of the 1850s, and has a restored farmhouse,  farm buildings, and farm equipment used during that time period.

Now I headed east to visit the Argus Museum located in Ann Arbor, MI.  One of my first cameras was a 35mm Argus C4 that my Aunt Jessie gave me for high school graduation.  I used that camera to take tons of pictures in the many foreign seaports I visited while I was in the U. S. Navy (1956-1962).  According to their website, my camera was built in this building sometime between1951-1957).  The museum consists of camera displays, artifacts and memorabilia related to the company’s history from 1936-1969.

Since the Saline Depot Museum in Saline, MI was only open on Saturdays, and would take me 20 miles out of my way, I opted to bypass that museum and head east on I-94 to visit  the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum located in Ypsilanti, MI.   This museum is housed in the building that housed the longest operating Hudson dealership in Michigan (1927-1955).  The museum has 30+ beautifully restored cars, including a 1952 Hudson Hornet and a 1948 Tucker  movie prop. The museum name was changed around 1995,but the name on the building is still Hudson Auto Museum. 

By now I was getting hungry, and I asked Greta to take me down the road a few miles, to the motel in Romulus, MI.  The desk clerk recommended Leonardo’s Italian Grill there in town, where I had their delicious Baked Lasagna dinner with fresh baked rolls, and Tiramisu for dessert. Yummm!

—–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.

 

Bill

 

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

Marie’s Notes

9 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

A Story From the Mid-1800s

My grandmother Marie told my Mother Dora everything she could remember about the history of her family. Here is one of the very-short stories. In the mid-1800-s, three generations before my grandmother, Marie Bowers was born, William McElwee came to America from Ireland on a ship. He had red hair. Out of ten children Marie’s family had five redheads and Marie was one of them. I wanted to be a redhead, so I went to beauty school and then I became one.

Paul, the next to the youngest of Marie’s brothers and sisters was one of the redheads. Because William McElwee, (Bill) bore the label of bound-boy, he was probably kidnapped from a big city and placed aboard a ship coming to America. He may have been no older than seven. When he got here he was taken to Illinois to work as a slave. An indentured servant expected to be paid for his work, but bound-boys and bound-girls expected nothing, not even love. He worked off his passage and then worked off his room and board and it took his entire childhood. The man who had bought him had owned a slave and the man who took the money for the voyage grew rich stealing and selling children.

Somehow, Bill overcame it all and became a homesteader and a wealthy horse breeder. One day he and his partner, Harry, who was a known gambler loaded their best stallion, Ace, onto the train and took him to Texas for a sale. The family had heard Bill say he expected to get at least $2,000 for the prize stud, ($60,000 today).

The family waited a long time, but Bill never came home. One day, however, in a nearby town, a relative saw Harry and heard that he had come up with a lot of money. Perhaps no one in the family was able to go after Harry or ask questions. We will never know what happened, but we do know that after Bill was gone, the family still fared well.

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.”

On the Street Where You Live…Part 6

8 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

About half-way through Fred’s school at San Jose State College, my Dad died.  

My Dad – his official photo

I was pregnant with our first child, and Daddy’s death hurt dreadfully.  We already had our orders to go to Wiesbaden, West Germany, so Daddy knew it before he died. Mother came to visit us in Germany, and I so wished Daddy had lived to accompany her.

We sold our car, and flew from San Jose by helicopter (my first and only helicopter ride) 

Credit Pixabay

to San Francisco, then flew to Albuquerque on a jet.  We visited with my Mother, Aunt Jessie and Granny.  As it turned out, Fred’s brother was graduating from the University of New Mexico at that same time, and Fred and Larry’s parents were in Albuquerque as well, so we were able to visit with them, too.

1967 – Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Fred’s parents and his brother; My mother, Granny and Aunt Jessie – and me

We then flew to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to stay the night with Fred’s Aunt Anna and Uncle Lyn.

1966 – June – Philadelphia.  Fred’s Aunt Anna and Uncle Lyn

The next day we went to the Pentagon to retrieve my Passport, which had not been finished before that.  We then flew to Frankfurt, West Germany.

There was no base housing available for us when we arrived, so we contracted with a “local” to live in another furnished apartment, on the economy (that’s military speak for off-base housing).  It was an upstairs apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom.

1967 – Wiesbaden, Germany – Upstairs is our apartment – with the balcony

As an aside, the landlord and his wife were Herr Minor (pronounced meenor) and Frau Minor.  She stated that we would be the last Americans she would rent to.  Many years later, in 1982, we drove by that house. There was a gentleman outside, washing his car.  It had an American license plate.  I stopped to talk with him.  I told him what Frau Minor had told us 15 years earlier, and he said she told him the same thing!  Guess she liked the American money too much.

There was a fairly large room that was the living room and dining room combined.  There was a balcony off the living room.  The bathroom was next to the larger bedroom, the kitchen on the other side of the bathroom. We had a geyser in both the bathroom and kitchen (above the sink) for hot water.  I didn’t understand how that could heat enough water for a tub bath (no shower), but it seemed to do the job nicely.  There was a pantry/store room off the kitchen.  The washer and dryer were in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, they gave us a brand new wringer washing machine!! It ruined so many snaps and buttons on our clothes that I was ready to pitch it out the window!

The view out our back kitchen window

The second bedroom was opposite the kitchen. Down the hall was the bathroom, bedroom, and living room/dining room.  Quite compact and open and airy.  The heat was radiator heat, which was controlled by the landlord.  After our Karen was born, they made sure we had enough heat in the winter to keep the house toasty and warm.

The house was just down the street from a beautiful park, and we would walk there and back quite often.  After Karen was born, we would take her in the buggy for our walk.  The German people – especially women – would stop us and ooh and aah over her.  It was delightful living there.

The park where we walked

The church down the street.  We always heard the bells ring

We lived on Albrecht Durer Strasse.  He is the artist who painted The Praying Hands you might know.  It’s come to mean a great deal to me, since we lived on the street named for him!

Credit Pixabay

We lived in that apartment for one year before we were able to get into a furnished government apartment.  More on that next time.

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

Judy 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 as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Dorian Went East But Too Late for Abacco, Bahamas

5 Sep

As Dorian drew closer to us without turning, we grew tired of trying to figure out what to do, so we booked a hotel room inland to wait it out.

Our daughter’s townhouse does not have room to store hurricane boards and we debated buying the plywood for the storm and chalking up not being able to store them as a worthwhile loss. The next problem would be how to hang them. When we owned a home in Florida, we used hurricane clips to hold the boards in place. That way the frame of the window was not damaged. Unfortunately, once a storm approaches the clips disappear quickly from the store shelves. The exterior of her home is solid concrete covered with colored stucco and we were hesitant to drill holes in the wall as her neighbors did.

On Monday we packed up food, water and our daughter’s cat, Mia and headed west. To our surprise, traffic was light, unlike previous evacuations which tend to be bumper to bumper for miles.

This was Mia’s first road trip and we were concerned about how she would handle the stress. She is by nature an introvert. We traveled in two cars and our daughter said that after her initial distress, Mia stopped voicing her anxiety.

Mia lying on Rebekah’s manuscript. All work and no play makes a bored kitty.

Once we made it to the hotel, Mia found the tightest spot she could squeeze into and stay there or another hiding place most of the two days. She did come out in the evening to eat, use the litter box and snuggle up to our daughter.

We were relieved when the storm finally began to move after being stalled for so long over the Bahamas and heartbroken for the people on Abbaco. The pictures from phones on Facebook of people praying for help were beyond wrenching.

I don’t have any answers to why the storm stayed so long there beyond meteorological analysis. Our community is thankful we were spared and many groups are preparing to send aid to the Bahamas. According to the news, one man in South Florida spent $49.000.00 on generators and supplies to send to them. The proximity to Florida will make it possible for many small groups to deliver aid and politics aside, we are a generous people. Will join with those praying for the people of the Bahamas to heal from this tragedy?

As Dorian heads up the eastern seaboard as a Cat 2, almost 3 please pray for those in the path. Already tornadoes are being spawned across North and South Carolina.

On a positive note, Florida was prepared for the storm. I have never seen so many power company trucks stationed around our community, ready to restore power once the storm passed. These crews came from across the country, giving up their personal time for us to work in what could have been horrible conditions.

A big Thank You to the linemen who came to Florida to restore power.

Our big box home improvement stores were fully stocked with plywood and most stores had ample supplies of bottled water. We were truly blessed.

You see odd things during hurricanes. One of the neighbors wraps their cars in clear plastic. I kid you not! Three cars were wrapped and one was left free to drive. They are still wrapped maybe in an abundance of caution as there are a couple more storms brewing.

This year they added cardboard to cover the glass.

My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip~Part 1

4 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Prelude:  The original idea around a Great Lakes region road trip was that there is a lot of history in this area and there are many areas of these northern states that I had never seen.  What little of this region I have seen, during past trips, was so different from the Southwest where I grew up, and Florida where I have lived for the past 50+ years, that it made the idea of visiting this area in more detail, very intriguing to me.   And of course, the summer time was the only time for this southern boy to venture that far north.

Day 1 – Tuesday July 23

I started this road trip with a great non-stop Southwest flight from Orlando, FL to Chicago’s Midway International Airport.  They didn’t serve peanuts on this flight, only miniature pretzels and miniature Oreo cookies.

My cousins, Brien, Karen and their daughter Katie picked me up at the Midway  Airport and we went to the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, not far from the airport, for lunch. I had a delicious German Sausage plate, consisting of Vienna-style Frankfurter, pork & chicken sausages, served with imported sauerkraut, mashed potatoes & onion mustard.  Yumm!  That helped me get over the Southwest pretzels. 

We had a wonderful visit, all be it very short.  Katie has a new job as Stage Manager for a small theater company in western Illinois, and I got to hear all about it.   After lunch they drove me a few miles from the restaurant, to the Avis Rental Car location in Franklin Park, IL to pick up my rental car.  I ended up with a brand new Hundi Forte with all the bells and whistles (I never did learn how to operate all those electronic accessories). I thanked them for lunch, and we said our goodbyes.

I headed east on I-90 for Gary, IN to see the Aquatorium.  I was not sure what to expect there, as the original Lakefront Park Bathhouse has been converted into a museum of flight to honor Octave Chanute and the Tuskegee Airmen. I found the museum, but it was closed. 

So, I moved on northeast another 30 miles or so to Michigan City, IN where I hoped to visit the Old Lighthouse Museum.  Now you would think a structure as tall as a lighthouse would be easy to spot, but neither Greta nor I could find it.  The internet picture I had of the lighthouse showed that it really wasn’t all that tall, so I felt a little better not being able to find it.  

I was sorry to miss visiting the New Buffalo Railroad museum located in New Buffalo, MI.  This small museum was closed, but their website tells me that the museum is housed in a replica of the original 1920s Pere Marquette depot located on the historic New Buffalo rail yard site.  Three of the original 16-stall roundhouse and coal tower are an interesting part of the museum.  Displays include restored WWII Pullman Troop Sleeper Car & a C&O Chessie  Blue Box Car.

Just a few miles east on U.S. 12 I stopped to check out the Three Oaks Bicycle Club Museum, located in Three Oaks, MI.  This small museum was closed, but here again, their website informs me that it was really a one-room-museum, with a collection of some very old bicycles, whose ages date from the early 1800s.

I got to Kalamazoo, MI late in the day and decided to wait until tomorrow to visit the Air Zoo Museum, as they were closed by now (I hope that decision doesn’t throw my Wednesday schedule too far out of reach). While I was planning this trip, I had researched the best restaurants in each of the cities where I would spend a night.  So, I asked Greta (my Garmin) take me to the “42ndLatitude Restaurant” there in Kalamazoo, for a bowl of their Jambalaya.  It was delicious!

By the time I finish that wonderful meal, I was ready for Greta to take me to the motel, so I could rest my weary bones.

—–To Be Continued—–

Mother’s Family-Marie Part 1

2 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Noah, Marie, and Amy Dulgar

My grandmother, Marie (Dulgar) Bowers was born and raised in Jasper County Illinois. When she was twenty-one she married Ira John Bowers, a farmer’s son. They had two boys and continued to live in Illinois until the eldest was five and the youngest two years old. Marie knew a great deal about rearing children because her mother and father had produced ten of them, and Marie was the eldest of them all. 

The family move, “Heading West,” is described here.

After the death of her mother, Marie and Ira reared Marie’s youngest sister, Helen, and the youngest brother, Paul along with Ivan and Lowell, their own boys. That gave Marie two five-year-olds and two, two year-olds. Eventually Noah took his two and headed back for Illinois. I think it was to spare Marie and because the other grown-up brothers and sisters would be able to help with the children. I wish I could talk to them all now and get the details. Thank heaven Dora and Marie both told me family stories for all the years we were together. 

I’ve always loved one story Marie told about getting herself and the four children ready for church. Of course, they would have had their tin washtub baths in the kitchen the night before. All that was left in the morning was to dress them, brush their hair, and keep all four clean until they could get in the car and go to church. Marie was a good thinker and planner so she came up with the idea of setting the children on the floor with a bedpost holding them down by their clothes.

After going to school in Pueblo, Ira and Marie opened a beauty and barbershop in this house on Main Street. Later they bought a Victorian house to live in. They divided the upstairs into apartments and arranged a back room as a beauty shop with its own entrance.

Once the women’s block, now the prison museum. 

Ira went to work as a guard in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Marie once told me that the families of the prisoners were always polite to the guards they met in the town because they wanted to make sure theirfamily members were well treated. The penitentiary had the first electric chair in Colorado and also had a horizontal whipping post the men were forced to bend over for punishment. If you ever go through Canon City on vacation. You can stop in and see these items of death and torture. 

Marie and Ira Bowers married 63 years

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.”

On the Street Where You Live…Part 5

1 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

We left Texas behind us, visited in Albuquerque, then stopped in Colorado for the wedding of Fred’s youngest sister, on our way to San Jose.

1966 – Colorado Mountains

Fred’s sister and her to-be-husband

Since San Jose State College (now University) was a “city” college – located within the city itself, there was very little parking.

Credit Google Search and San Jose State University website

 Consequently, we rented an apartment near the campus.  We could just park the car in our space at the apartment complex, and Fred could walk to class, without having the hassle or time trying to find that unavailable parking spot.  Frequently, I would walk to the public library – gave me good exercise, and an excuse to sit and read.

This little apartment – again, furnished – had a small living room, a very small kitchen with an eat-in nook at the end with a table and four chairs, where Fred did his studying at night.  The living room had a couch and one chair, with some lamps for light.  The bedroom and bath had very little except the bed and small dresser.  The bathroom was standard with tub/shower, sink and toilet. Very efficient.

Our apartment complex Credit Google Search and Redfin

This apartment was in a fairly large complex, with lots of apartments and students.  We became fast friends with our very next-door neighbors, as the husband was also an Air Force person, studying right along with Fred to become meteorologists.  We have continued that friendship even to this day.

Credit Google Search and SJSU – Meteorology Department

We found a church to join, but later discovered it really wasn’t where God wanted us to be.  We learned a good lesson from that one.  You see, the pastor was an old friend of my Dad’s, and he and his wife practically begged us to join their church.  They could use Fred’s Seminary experience in their Sunday School program. They could use my experience with the piano or organ in the worship services.  And so, we joined.  We knew it would be only for one year, since Fred would be assigned somewhere else following his schooling at SJSC.  But what we learned is that, whenever we moved to a new place, and began searching for a new church home, we would only join a body of believers if we absolutely KNEW that was where God wanted us to be.  And we could tell people from churches who visited us that, no it wasn’t that we didn’t feel God present in their church…just that we didn’t feel that’s where God wanted us to be.

Consequently, we have been quite at home in all the churches we’ve been members of in all our moves.  God has planted us in places where, yes we could be used, but also right where He wanted us.  Sometimes it was for a specific reason that we didn’t realize at the time, but would find it later, frequently after we had left that location.  It’s always best to follow God’s leading.

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

Judy 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 as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

When Hope is All You’ve Got

31 Aug

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles


Reblogged August 31, 2019

“Good morning everyone,” the TV announcer said. “Let me correct that. There is nothing good about this morning of September 26, 2004.”

Trying to maintain composure, we tracked Charley’s path. At first, the action outside was not much different than the usual storms in Florida. But we knew that this was no ordinary storm. It was a preamble of a dangerous hurricane

“Everyone grab a pillow and a blanket,” I said. I made a mental note of the supplies we would need: a flashlight, water and our cell phones. Grabbing the small transistor radio with fresh batteries; a bit of reassurance trickled in while huddled in our confined shelter.

As expected, the lights went out. The TV was silenced. In the dark, the rage of the hurricane became more audible. As the wind howled, it whistled as if to announce, “I’ve arrived.” Its ominous nature intensified our vulnerability.

Charley had a vicious and unique personality. It was capricious. First, giving the impression it was headed in one direction and then at the last minute, changing directions. It had its own madness as it ripped through neighborhoods mercilessly.

“Hush!” I ordered. I turned the volume up on the transistor radio I held on my lap. “Listen!” I added with urgency.

Our family huddled, attempting to tune out the loud roaring outside. We hung on each word coming from the radio, the only device connecting us to the outside world: “It’s headed for Orlando, the winds here are unbelievable. With the last moments of daylight, we could see the roaring winds snapping trees in half like pretzel sticks. In other areas, the trees were yanked with force, their roots entangled in blocks of cement tossed aside like toys. Some static interrupted his description. Then he continued trying to catch his breath: “The huge glass windows of buildings nearby moved in and out in a swaying motion, attempting to resist the fierce wind with no success.”

“Lord,” I cried out in my thoughts, “guard our family.”

Then the serenity of my prayers was interrupted with more reports. I appeared calm on the outside, but with every sound outside and every detail of the report, I wondered if God was indeed listening. I questioned whether He’d answer before the worst happened. I doubted if my words were appropriate enough to reach Him. And I was certain that my emotions were blocking my pleas to Him. The more I tried, the more the hurricane of doubt thrashed in my heart.

“Now the road is in total darkness,” the reporter said. “Even some traffic lights are gone.”

Without air-conditioning, our cozy area turned into a small oven. But safety replaced comfort. Charley’s rage grew closer. The strong winds thrust sporadic bangs, rattling our garage door. The hurling debris against our front and back doors as well as those slamming against the large windows gave the same sensation as a “tic…tic…tic” of a bomb. We knew it would strike, but didn’t know exactly when, nor did we know which window would burst or what part of the roof it would yank away first.

No one spoke. But suddenly I heard a strange noise.

“What is that scraping?” I asked.

“It’s my yogurt cup,” my mom said in her characteristic calmness. “It’s my bedtime snack,” she added with a matter-of-fact tone.

How can she eat at a time like this? Does she not realize the danger we’re in?

“My hope is in the Lord,” she said, “He will protect us. Do you think this hurricane is catching Him by surprise? He is always faithful. Hope in Him is all we have.”

I had heard those same words from the pulpit. They brought mild reassurance as I sense no danger in that pew surrounded by painted glass windows.

But now what painted my mind was images of us under a rubble of destruction.

Outside noises emphasized my imagination. We heard more banging and crashing outside. I changed my please: “Lord, I know you’re in control. I have the certainty that You will see us through. And I know that You will calm this storm in my heart and also outside. But my words still echoed with doubt.

Charley’s furious winds struck with more intensity in some areas, yanking off roofs like box tops, and the roaring winds hurled traffic lights, smashing them to the ground. Some fatalities were reported.

“The tracking shows Charley is now in Orlando’s downtown area,” the radio reporter announced. We all went silent to make sure that we’d heard the good news (for us, at least) correctly, then it was confirmed. Charley had moved north; it had finally passed us.

God did show up timely and swiftly.

We breathed a sigh of relief. And I gave a silent, Thank you.

We stepped out of our stuffy room and headed outside, glancing with disbelief at the mess, the debris and broken pieces of items from tree branches to trashcan lids, to unidentifiable items.

While we all gasped at the destruction, a deep yawn slipped from my mom’s lips, and she tossed her empty yogurt cup in the wastebasket. “There was no need to worry then; no need to worry now. God is in control. Good night everyone,” she said.

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:20)It was in the “waiting” that God worked in me—teaching me to trust in the midst of winds of fear. To be secure when I hear threatening sounds, and to rest secure when others blurt bad news, gloom, or warnings of destruction.

With renewed faith, gratitude removed the last of the dark clouds of the storm, and new meaning. My hope was in God, not in the circumstances or in those around me.

The next morning’s sun uncovered the radiance of God’s promises that He will answer our pleas, timely and swiftly. His faithfulness becomes visible not so much in the calmness of my life, but during the storms and emotional hurricanes that test my faith.

Let’s Pray

Father, as we face all storms that threaten our lives, we rest in the comfort of Your promises that You never abandon us, never leave us. But without fail, You shelter us with Your love and protection. In Jesus’ name I thank You. Amen.

What is testing your faith right now?

Janet

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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.

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Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

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.

www.janetperezeckles.com

Go East Dorian, Go East

30 Aug

One makes plans, hurricanes ruin them.

In the mid 80s until 1990 our church had a vibrant youth group, led by youth minister, Tim Shrader.

At a Church ladies luncheon in May, my daughter and a friend from her youth group days had the chance to reconnect. As they chatted and wondered about others from their group, a plan was born.

Tim and his wife purchased airline tickets and we were thrilled they could come. Others made plans to come from out of state.

The “youth”, now in their 40s would enjoy a cookout on Saturday afternoon then Tim was set to preach on Sunday followed by a church wide pot luck. We were excited!

Then along came Dorian and the reunion had to be cancelled. We are terribly disappointed but trusting that God’s timing and plans are perfect.

Meanwhile, here on the east coast of Florida, I continue to pray the hurricane will go east and out to sea, all the while carrying out storm prep.

Speaking of storm prep, I am seriously annoyed with the local news media, especially on Facebook. Florida gains new residents by the thousands each month and the media is scaring the daylights out of them with their sensational language. The newbies need information given in a calm and reassuring manner.

I read this verse in my quiet time today. I found it to be encouraging, especially with all the storm decisions to make, plus I liked the photo from Pixabay.

Prayers for Florida and every other state in the path of Dorian appreciated.

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