The Joy of Encouragement

29 Jul

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson




What is loneliness?
It’s an unanswered cry for love.
Everyone needs someone.
Love stems from our Lord above.


What is a wounded soul,
but one aching for hope.
Reach out with a helping hand-
You will help the hurting to cope.


Good encouragers have to be genuine.
“Let love be without hypocrisy” (Romans 12:9)
When you lift up the defeated,
it is Christ that all will see.


“Sometimes you think you’re being buried,
when you’re really being planted.
God is using this season to grow you.”
Unashamed Impact



Blue flowers



The Impersonal Internet

28 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Yesterday, after breakfast with friends we made our weekly stop at a produce market that in season, sells veggies from their farm. Often the items have been  picked mere hours before I buy them. This year’s crop of cucumbers, tomatoes, melons and peaches  and lots of others have been delicious! And hurray, green beans are cheaper this year!

Osage veggies

The corn was so pretty I wanted to bring home several ears,  but decided to settle for two. I have a tendency to put  corn in my fridge and forget it.

 Our dinner menu was sweet potatoes, sliced pork barbecue sandwiches (I ate mine without bread but I buttered and grilled a bun for hubby) and corn on the cob. Everything was super simple to prepare except the corn. I didn’t want to shuck it, pull off the silks, boil water and time it. Then I remembered that my friend, Sharon is the queen of  microwave corn and decided to call and get her advice. But I didn’t. Instead, I went online and viewed several recipes and a couple of short videos. I chose a method and the corn was incredibly delicious. (Regretting I didn’t buy more)

Now I feel a bit cheated. I chose the impersonal internet over an opportunity to talk with a dear friend.  Maybe I should invite her up to visit. We can chat and “put up some peas” the easy way. : )

I will supply the freezer bags!

Shelled peas copy

My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 4

27 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Cross Plane


Day 4 (Tuesday)


I made good time on my trip from Houston to Fort Worth today, and my first stop was to visit the C.R. Smith Museum. This museum records the history of American Airlines, which was founded in 1930, and how the airline has developed from its inception, to the present, under the leadership of C.R. Smith.



They had a beautifully restored 1935 DC-3 in American Airline colors (of course!). That reminded me of my very first flight on an airplane. That took place in 1945, when I was 6 years old, and my family was moving from Dallas, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico. And would you believe it, that trip was in a plane that just happened to be an American Airlines DC-3. I wondered if it could be possible that this is the very airplane I flew in all those many years ago? I have heard of stranger things than that happening.


Several museums that I had planned to see in Fort Worth were closed today so my next stop was to visit the Vintage Auto Museum and Grill in Weatherford, Texas. This is a very unique museum, in that it includes a bar and grill all under one roof.


One of the museum’s favorite automobiles is the 1964 Lincoln Continental Convertible that President Lyndon B. Johnson used to drive around his Texas Hill Country ranch, when he was there resting from his White House duties.


I forgot to mention a minor incident I had yesterday. As I was leaving Texas City, heading north on I-45, a truck kicked up a stone that hit my windshield, (left of my field of vision) leaving a chip in it. I told myself, “I’ll have to be sure to mention that chip to the Thrifty Rental Car folks when I turn the car in at the end of my trip.” That thought was based on the fact that DiVoran and I have two chips in the windshield of our 2003 Mercury Grand Marque that you can barely see, and have been there for years with no problem.


But, by the time I got to the motel last night, a crack had migrated about 4 inches out of the chip, toward the center of the windshield. When I got up this morning, the crack was not any bigger.   No problem, right? Well, as the day wore on, the crack kept getting bigger. There didn’t seem to be any system to it. I’d drive along for a while and there would be no progression of the crack. Then all of a sudden, it would grow an inch or more.   So, by the end of the day now, the crack was over 12 inches long, and had progressed right across my field of vision. I was afraid that if the windshield was hit again, it might shatter and I could be in a heap of trouble. Since I had some time left in the day, I called Thrifty, explained the problem, and asked them for the closest office where I could take my rental car for a replacement. That turned out to be not far, at the DFW Airport. Thrifty set up the exchange and by the time I got to the airport, that office had my replacement car ready.




So, then it was back to the motel, with my new car, for leftover Baby Back Ribs, sweet potatoe and cole slaw. It was all almost as good as it had been the night before at Longhorn Stakehouse.



—–To Be Continued—–


26 Jul

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix




Knowing how to be solitary is
central to the art of loving.
When we can be alone, we
can be with others without
using them as a means
of escape.
Bell Hooks
Solitary copy

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.



Nothin’ to Do

25 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Joanie and DiVoran

My friend Patricia and I grew up together from the time she was in first grade, and I moved to her town when I was in second. Patricia was the only child in first grade that year. We had a five grade schoolroom and we sat in rows according to grade. The teacher knew Patricia could handle skipping, so she transferred her to the second-grade row. My friend was so small that on the way home from school two of us would hold her down to keep her from blowing away in a strong wind.

When Patricia and I got a bit older we walked down the dirt road to the Grape creek bridge on the outskirts of town talking and playing word games. Our favorite was to top each other with bigger words that all meant the same thing. Big, huge, gigantic, etc. We loved to stand on the bridge and eat salted peanuts in the shell and say a word each time we threw a shell into the creek. They floated away like tiny boats bearing messages. On our walks, any time we said the same word at the same time we linked pinky fingers and said, “Jinx, you owe me a coke.” Then we’d go to the hotel and get chocolate cokes and sit at the soda bar and drink them and talk to the hotel owner.


In the one solid block of businesses we called Main Street we went in to say hello to Mr. Cope at his pharmacy. He’d hire one of us and then the other to look after the little girls when he took his wife to my parent’s restaurant for a meal out. He also gave us comic books with the covers torn off. The company he got them from refunded his money on the unsold ones. I remember getting a whole stack and thinking I was the richest kid in town.

As we wandered, we sometimes came to the Catholic Church into which Patricia was born and raised. One time she showed me how to “do” the Stations of the Cross. You kneeled at each Biblical picture to pray. I liked that a lot. I attended the Community Church across the street and started teaching Sunday School there at the age of 12.

We’d go to Patricia’s cousin, Louise’s house to play Her backyard had an old barn where we put on our own dramas. Louise had plenty of siblings to act in all the scenes. It’s amazing how much fun we had when there was nothin’ to do.


The Lady and the Cross

24 Jul

Sunday Memories

Judy Wills



I know the July 4th, our country’s Independence Day, has come and gone, but it’s never out of style to be patriotic. Because of the service to our country that my Father, my Father-in-law, my husband, and his brother have done, I find myself fiercely patriotic. I weep when the National Anthem is sung or played. And I am not ashamed of my patriotism.

Many years ago, while in the church choir, we were given a song to sing that touched my heart so much, that I’ve never forgotten it. I would like to print the words below and hope you feel the same patriotism I’ve always felt.

The comparison between our Lady with the Lamp, and the Cross of Christ is absolutely breathtaking.




In New York harbor, stands a Lady

with a torch raised to the sky.

And all who see her

Know she stands for

Liberty for you and me.


I’m so proud to be called an American,

to be named with the brave and the free!

I will honor our flag and our trust in God,

And the Statue of Liberty.


On lonely Golgotha stood a cross

with my Lord raised to the sky;

And all who kneel there

Live forever

As all the saved can testify.


I’m so glad to be called a Christian,

to be named with the ransomed and whole!

As the statue liberates the citizen,

So the Cross liberates the soul.


Oh, the Cross is my Statue of Liberty.

It was there that my soul was set free.

Unashamed I’ll proclaim that a rugged cross

Is my Statue of Liberty.

My Liberty!

Credit to Lillenas Publishing Company

Composer and Lyricist Neil Enloe

Arranged by Tom Keene


How to use your sad yesterdays for a bright tomorrow.

23 Jul

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

His Way

07-15-16 Faith

Meet Faith


Hubby and I sat in the family room as we visited friends in their condo on the beach. Suddenly lights began to flicker. Then electricity went out for a few moments. I sat on the couch while all dashed out to the balcony to see the cause.

What they saw was a fire burning in one of the nearby electric transformers. Fire trucks and police rushed to the scene and took care of the situation bringing safety back.

But the fire was the hardest on a large dog. The fire burned her front yard and the experience scared her so much she won’t walk into the house. The owner has to carry her inside and give her Benadryl to keep her calm. Interestingly enough, this fearful dog’s name is Faith!

Experiences can do that to dogs and to us, too. We sometimes experience the fire of rejection that aches or the fire of disappointment that leaves its mark. We may experience the fire of wounds that sear or the fire of abuse that leaves its scars. Or and even the fire of cruel words that still echo in our head.

All are real and often build a thick wall, keeping us from the happiness and the freedom of joy that can be ours today.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s what God has to say to you and to me when it comes to past experiences of fires of yesterday that smolder in the crevices of our heart:

“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 43:19)

And refreshed by that stream of His love, He will carry you through the front door to the new dwelling where He houses these promises: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:1b-2)

What past experiences is God asking you to leave behind?


Source:  How to use your sad yesterdays for a bright tomorrow. | Janet Perez Eckles


Have you been to Legoland? Janet shared this story in her newsletter:

With backpack filled with snacks and bottles of water, hubby and our two grandkids filed through the entrance to Legoland. And what do we encounter first? A roller coaster which sent the little ones into the excitement mode.

They pulled my hand. “C’mon, Nana, you have to come with us!”

This blind Nana does not do roller coasters. But I wasn’t quick enough with my excuse.

“Nana,” my six-year-old grandson said, “you don’t have to be afraid, and Papa is going to sit right next to you.”

And he did. I shook, and jerked from side to side as the ride took sharp turns, rose up and came down again. But, I smiled because I was beside my strong hubby.

If you happen to be on the roller coaster of life, shaken up with heartache or worry, God is beside you, strong enough for you to hold on to so you can feel secure.

You can sign up for Janet’s newsletter to have inspiration delivered each week to your inbox!

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Think Higher and Feel Deeper

22 Jul

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson




Just as our body requires exercise,
we need to stretch our mind.
Think higher and feel deeper;
To yourself be kind.


Open your heart.
What do you want the world to know?
It’s never too late to plant the seed of optimism,
and stand in awe as you watch it grow.


Every day is a blessing.
Keep looking up, dear friend.
Put your trust in our Savior.
Life on earth is not the end.


Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all ye lands.


“The holiest of all holidays are those kept
by ourselves in silence and apart.
The secret anniversaries of the heart.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

man on mountaintop arms raised

The Robin Story

21 Jul

Patricia Franklin

A Few Thoughts

I think I mentioned that the mother robin left a little egg shell by my door.  Since that time, I noticed she had two babies.  I watched them both and worried that they had left the nest too soon.  She tried to keep them in the branches of the lilac bush.  The young one pretty much listened to her, the other one was a little more independent.  (I’m using my imagination here).
One morning I went out and found one of them dead on the back lawn.  It did not look damaged, so I did not know what got to it…. either a cat or a very angry black bird??   It seemed to be the bigger one that was dead.  I kept track of the little one, who thrived, and learned to fly pretty well.  He discovered our birdbath, and loved it.  Whenever he got in it, he had so much fun he did not want to leave.  He would splash around, then just lay there, then kept repeating it.  He was fun to watch, as he loved it so much. Then he would fly up on the fence and shake out his feathers.  No other bird has ever spent that much time bathing there.

I lost track of the birds for about 3 or 4 weeks while we were gone, and busy running around.  Several times since, I have  seen birds in the back, and several were robins with the spots on their breasts, so I knew they were brand new in the neighborhood.

This morning, I was sitting outside and there were quite a few birds around, some still being fed by their mamas.  Then a robin flew into the birdbath and splashed and played for the longest time.  I was sure it was the one from our lilac, especially when he finally got out and flew on the fence to shake out his feathers.  I noticed he was bigger, but still had some of his baby spots.  I’m sure it was him, and I hope he will be our neighbor for a long time to come. I think I’ll always recognize him by his antics in the birdbath.


From Flickr

My 2016 Mid-West Trip Part 3

20 Jul

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Stars Plane



Day 3 (Monday)

The day trip from Houston to Galveston took longer than I had expected. My first stop was to visit the Lone Star Flight Museum. This was a very nice museum with about 20 aircraft (in one very large hanger) most of which were restored to flying condition.


I was surprised to see they had a German Me-262 Schwalbe (Swallow) jet fighter on display.  I ask one of the volunteers if the Me-262 was in flying condition and he said, “Yes.”  Then he told me it was on loan from another museum, and it was actually one of the three beautiful new Me-262 reproductions built by the Classic Fighter Industries at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.


The next stop was to visit the Galveston Railroad Museum which had a very nice collection of rolling stock. Their train station restoration was amazing and reminded me of several stations I had visited on my travels to and from duty stations while in the U.S. Navy. A large variety of train memorabilia, including original dinning ware, from the 1920s through the 1960s was also on display.



I was disappointed when I couldn’t find the Texas Seaport Museum where I hoped to see the Tall Ship Elissa. Greta took me to the Galveston cruise ship terminal which was bustling with cruise line passengers, taxis and limousines.  The entire dock area was blotted out by the mass of the cruise ship tied up alongside the terminal, taking on passengers. The Elissa is a two-masted, iron-hulled brigantine sailing ship originally built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by the Alexander Hall & Company. The ship is one of the world’s oldest sailing ships, and is maintained and sailed annually around the Gulf of Mexico.


I stopped and took a photo of the famous Willis-Moody Mansion there in Galveston. I had read that the mansion is a 31-room Romanesque historic residence that was built in 1895 by Narcissa Willis. It was later bought by the entrepreneur William Lewis Moody Jr. and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I decided not to take a tour of the mansion and headed back toward Houston.


The route Greta proposed for my return to Houston took me past the small town of Texas City, TX. I was old enough (9 years old) to remember the tremendous disaster that happened at the Port of Texas City in 1947.  So I decided to stop and see if they had a museum or memorial honoring the many people that were killed as a result of that disaster.


The small Texas City Museum is said to have a section set aside for the 1947 disaster, but the museum was closed. However, there was a Texas City Remembers park that honored the people killed in that horrific disaster.

I stopped to pay my respects.



I made it back to Houston in time to visit the site of the Battleship USS Texas

(BB-35). I had toured two other U.S. battleships and a U.S. cruiser, so opted not to tour this ship. However, Wikipedia informed me that the ship is a New York class battleship that was commissioned in 1914. The USS Texas was involved in many actions during WWI, and again during WWII including support of Allied landings on North Africa, Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.


As I was leaving the Battleship Texas site, I noticed right ahead of me was a very tall monument. So I stopped to see what it was all about. I discovered it was the 567 foot high San Jacinto Monument, located on part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. This impressive monument was built to commemorate the decisive 1836 Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution. It was completed in 1939 and is the world’s tallest masonry column (13 feet taller than the Washington Monument). Leave it to Texas to be and have not only the biggest, but also claim to have the tallest!


Next it was over to the William P. Hobby Airport to see if Greta could find The 1940 Air Terminal Museum. And what do you know; she took me right to it! I was surprised to learn that according to Wikipedia, Houston’s Hobby Airport has been around since 1927, and has had several names; W. T. Carter Field, Houston Municipal Airport and Howard R. Hughes Airport, just to name a few. This building was the first airport passenger terminal built in Houston.


Opened in 1940, this art deco structure served as the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal until 1954 when it was renamed Houston International Airport. As the air transportation business expanded across America, Houston’s airport expanded with it, and in 1967 it was renamed, again, to what we now know as the William P. Hobby Airport. Too bad the museum was closed, as I would like to have browsed through the history of this beautiful air terminal building.



On the way to the motel, I asked Greta to see if she could direct me to the ArtCar Museum. As it turned out, this was a small museum that displays mostly post-modern age cars, modified by artists/owners to the specifications of their own idiosyncratic images and visions. I was sorry to find this museum closed for the day, since I would have loved to seen some of those “Artists” handy work.


Dinner tonight was Baby Back Ribs, a sweet potato with cinnamon butter and cold slaw at Longhorn Steakhouse.  It was all wonderful, and put me in the mood to kick back with a relaxing TV show and a good night’s sleep. I couldn’t find any good TV shows, so I just checked out tomorrow’s weather and went to bed.



—–To Be Continued—–


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