The best gifts of life.

24 Jun

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

His Way

 

 

 

Doesn’t it feel good when we help another person? A friend visited from Cuba and lamented on the condition of her hair. I took her hand. “Look, you don’t need to worry about fixing your hair,” I said. “We’ll go shopping and get you a lovely wig.”

She hugged me. “In Cuba, we could never afford a haircut, much less a wig…thank you!”

We walked in the store and she chose one to match her natural hair color. As she stood before the mirror, she put it on. Her gasps of delight were heard all through the store. “I don’t want to take it off, “she said. “I look so pretty.”

Then weeks later she wrote me from Cuba. “I’m sorry. I can’t wear the wig because the weather is so very hot here. I put it away in my drawer.”

Did she say she put the gift I gave her in a drawer? She sure did. And that’s exactly what the enemy (the devil) wants you and I to do. He wants us to –put God’s gifts in the drawer of our emotions.

When and how does he do that? He does it each time we face adversity, struggles, conflict, or bad news. He does it by distracting us so we forget God’s gifts.

And the gifts are many. Each one is suited for the situation we face. Each gift is prepared with the answer we need. Each is molded to fit the longing in our heart.

And when we receive them, unwrap them and use them, here are seven results:

  1. When unfair accusations create wounds, we’re protected as we say, I am free from any charge against me.” (Romans 8:31-34)
  2. When life seems uncertain and shaky, I have access to God through the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18)
  3. No painful experience is a match to God’s love. I cannot be separated from the love of God.” (Romans 8:35-39)
  4. The world’s evil cannot affect me because I am established, anointed, sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
  5. When I feel confused about all that’s going on, I remember that all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)
  6. When feeling empty and unable to give, my spirit is revived because I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
  7. When no one listens or has any advice, I may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)

Ready to pull out those gifts from the drawer of your heart? They’re yours. They’re ready to be used. They’re offering the power to ease the pain. To deliver you from strongholds. To bring peace to turmoil. And to erase fear.

Father, when life becomes so very difficult, help me to open my heart and receive these gifts. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Which of God’s gifts will you unwrap today?

Janet

Video sneak peek: (fun, family traditions) https://youtu.be/11HB26idG-8

 

Source: The best gifts of life. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Surely There’s an Easier Way

23 Jun

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

 

 

Before I was afflicted
I did go astray,
but God wanted my attention
to walk in His way!

 

God gets our attention
through suffering and pain.
To be His obedient servant
is truly great gain!

 

I now have a more teachable spirit,
but it came at a price.
Remember your dad’s admonition?
“I’m not going to tell you twice”!

 

Thank you, Lord, for your patience.
It takes awhile to learn your way.
Help us to keep our eyes on you, Lord,
As we strive to be obedient each day.

 

 

 

Repurposing Christmas

22 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

We have been enjoying visits from family the past two weeks and I haven’t had much inclination to spend time on the computer. I do want to take a quick minute to share my latest repurpose project.  I fell in love with this gift bag at Christmas and purchased several to tuck Christmas gifts for my friends into them. When we returned to the mountains in May, I spotted one that I had left on the table when we closed up for winter. It brought me so much pleasure, I set it on top of our tea box as a decoration.  When I cut some hydrangea blossoms to enjoy in the house, I decided the Christmas bag would be a perfect way to dress up the plain vase.

 

Florida Travel~Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

19 Jun

A Time to LIve

Melody Hendrix

 

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a Florida State Park located near Palm Coast, Florida, along A1A just a short distance north of Ponce Inlet .

 

 

 http://www.washingtonoaks.org/

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd.

Palm Coast, Florida 32137

(386) 446-6780

 

The park is most famous for its formal gardens.

 

It also preserves the original habitat of a northeast Florida barrier island.

 

The park has such amenities as beaches (on both the Matanzas River and Atlantic Ocean), bicycling, fishing, hiking, picnicking areas and wildlife viewing. The original residence has been converted into a visitor center with interpretive exhibits.

The Park’s eastern boundary holds  outcroppings of coquina rock , creating a picturesque boulder-strewn beach. It is full of swirling, sculptured coquina rocks piled along the beach, some sporting circular holes, others forming bowls that create tide pools for snails and anemones.

This unusual beach in Florida is a well-kept secret, hoarded by the locals who refer to it as “The Rocks”.

 

 

One quick stop just before Matanzas is Marineland. Hurricanes Floyd and Irene in 1999 forced the park to close for two months. In 2003, all of the park buildings west of Highway A1A were demolished leaving only the original structures along the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004, the park closed completely for renovations, and reopened on March 4, 2006. In January 2011, Marineland was sold again and is currently being operated as a subsidiary of Georgia Aquarium. The facility, now named Marineland Dolphin Adventure, offers several dolphins encounters, educational programs, and conducts research to help care for marine life in human care and in the wild.

The park has a nice boardwalk and restrooms. The beach is also strewn with outcroppings that appear at low tide.

 

 

A little farther north on A1A is Matanzas Inlet. 

It is a channel in Florida between barrier islands connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the south end of the Matanzas River. The inlet is not stabilized by jetties, and thus is subject to shifting.

 

The above picture shows the inlet at low tide and across it is the Matanzas Monument location. It was designated a United States National Monument on October 15, 1924.

Below is a link to the forts history

https://www.nps.gov/foma/learn/historyculture/the_massacre.htm

Hurricane Matthew caused damage. Below, shows (Sept. 6, 2014) and after (Oct. 13, 2016)  the damage hurricane Matthew did to this area. The storm cut a new inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River near St. Augustine, Florida, stripping away a 12-foot dune and carrying sand into the estuary and altered a part of the northeast Florida coastline.

 

Matanzas Inlet is still a beautiful place. One of the treasures that draws me to this place is the sand. With the changing of tides and blending of the swift moving bodies of water, the patterns in the sand are truly master pieces that are sculpted everyday. Tide pools trap interesting creatures to explore. Lots of birds dine on the abundant food available. This area is loved by fishermen.

 

The rocks that add to the unusual look for a Florida beah appear and disappear with the tide.

 

You must be aware of the tides on the south side of the inlet. You can be trapped by incoming tides and forced to exit through private property.

 

There is beauty in all sides of the bridge. The inlet side, and the beach side. There is also a long boardwalk and parking on both sides.

If you love beach walks, photography, birding,  beaching, hiking or just exploring, this would be an enjoyable little trip.

Please join me next week on our last northern stop along A1A to St Augustine before we head west to the Suwannee River and some visit some springs.

 

 

 

 

 

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.
Melody

Father’s Day 2017

18 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

JUDY

 

 

 Another Father’s Day dawns this morning. As someone recently said, it’s such a pity that in today’s world of TV and comedy, fathers are portrayed as clueless and laughable. How are our boys and young men going to grow up to be the strong men of God that we want them to be, when that is their example? I am so glad that my father, my brother, and my husband grew up in times when men were, indeed, strong men of God, and spiritual leaders in their household.

And how are our girls and young women going to grow up, thinking that all the boys/men in their lives are luckless creatures – only to be tolerated? In watching the TV programs that are out there now – unfortunately including some of the current Disney programs – adults in general, and men in particular – are portrayed as stupid and ignorant, while their teenagers – and younger – are the “smart” ones. It just ain’t so, folks!

And since that was a rather depressing way to begin this post, let me get back to the men in my life who were strong believers in God and Jesus Christ, and were able to be strong, safe, places for me.

Let me tell you about my own father.

 

 

I’ve written other posts about my father (June 16, 2013; June 15, 2014; September 28, 2014; February 5, 2017) and the influence he had in my life. He was gone quite a bit – traveling around the state – but I always knew he loved me, and I looked up to him.

 

 

He was, indeed, the spiritual leader in our household.   He always took us to church with him, and our family life revolved around church and our belief in God.

 

 

Fred’s father – a second father to me after Fred and I married – was dedicated to God and His work in this world.

 

 

He was a pastor for a while, but then most of his life was doing God’s work as a military chaplain. And yet, with all that work, he was devoted to his family. He, too, was the spiritual leader in his family.

 

 

Fred and I both look back on our lives, and are so grateful that each of our fathers-in-law treated us like their son or daughter. I never felt out of place in Fred’s family, and Fred has said so many times that my father enjoyed him as if he were another son of his. We were so blest to have that in our lives.

 

And because of that, Fred grew up in a household that showered him with love – family love and God’s love. He grew to be a self-assured man that I am proud to call my husband. He taught our girls what a true man – a gentleman – is like, and what they should expect from their spouses.

 

And my brother, Bill, grew up in a household that taught him how to be a true man of God, as well. He gave his children God’s word, and the strength to be what God wants them to be.

 

Both of our girls have married men who are strong personalities, and are dedicated to the Lord. We pray for each member of their families, as they begin to have families of their own.

 

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There is a scripture that helps with this:

Start children off on the way they should go,

and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing you must do to be truly happy

18 Jun

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

His Way

 

 

Last week, I followed my nightly routine and fixed myself a cup of chamomile tea; not sure why I filled it to the brim, but I did.

Funny thing is that those of us who are blind tend to bump into things, especially when we’re in a hurry. And that’s exactly what I did. As I carried it from the kitchen to the bedroom, I misjudged the door frame and my elbow caught the edge, causing my tea to spill out. UGH!

That’s what happens to all of us. When we experience bumps in life, whatever overflows in us will pour out. If we carry fear and we hear bad news, fear will spill out. When we harbor anger and someone doesn’t measure up to our standards, rudeness and anger will trickle out. When insecurities overflow, a defensive attitude will leak out. And before we know it, we stand in a puddle of unhappiness.

But there’s hope, and it comes in the vehicle called “change.” When faith, grace, patience, genuine love and gentleness overflow in our heart, no matter how hard the bump, these will spill out. “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matthew 12:34b-35).

What we store in the heart is the determining factor between living a marvelous life or a miserable existence.

Father, grant me wisdom to analyze what fills my heart. Show me what I need to remove and replace. Reveal to me what I must store in order to please you; to bring honor and glory to you. Teach me how to store genuine love so it spills out to those around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What fills your heart today?

Janet

Video sneak peek: https://youtu.be/uq9PG0FZjA4

 

To learn more about Janet, follow the link below to visit her website.

 

Janet Speaks

Looking for a motivational speaker? Learn how you can book Janet for your event. She is an international speaker.

 

Source: One thing you must do to be truly happy. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Hear the Cry

16 Jun

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

 

 

 

Open your front door-
Just stand there and listen.
Do you hear it?
Believe me, it is there!

 

This time, close your door-
turn off the television.
Listen to the sounds in your own home.
Hear it? Sure you do…it’s everywhere!

 

To be certain, listen to your own heart.
You hear that?
It’s unmistakable-
It’s coming through loud and clear.

 

“I want to be loved!”
But wait, there’s more!
“and I want to love!”
There is no need so dear.

 

The world cries out for love that heals,
unites, and inspires.
To love and be loved
is a basic need that every soul desires.

 

This is no news to God.
He created us for love.
Our love for God and our neighbor
Fulfills the law of God above.

 

Footnote:
“Love is like the five loaves and two fishes.
It doesn’t start to multiply
until you give it away.”

 

Florida Travel~Ponce Inlet

13 Jun

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

The Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

http://ponceinlet.org/

Located 10 miles south of Daytona Beach in the Town of Ponce Inlet.  4931 S Peninsula Dr, Ponce Inlet, Fl 32127

Situated on the north bank of Ponce Inlet where the Halifax and Indian Rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is a must see for anyone interested in Florida, maritime, or local history.

In 1774, the British put the very first lighthouse on the north side of the Inlet. It wasn’t really a lighthouse at all! It was simply a huge bonfire that was kept burning on top of a sand dune. A real lighthouse was built in 1835 on the south side of Mosquito Inlet.

 

 

This was a round tower made of bricks, and it stood 45 feet tall. Amazingly, the lamp was never lit. Why? The governor never ordered any fuel oil for the light. Next, a storm came and damaged the foundation. Then the Seminole Indians raided it and tried to burn the tower. Finally, in April of 1836, the lighthouse toppled over into the sea. This lighthouse lasted only a year and was never even lit!

The present light station was completed on the north side of the inlet in 1887. The new tower had a lamp at the top that was fueled by kerosene. This little light could be seen for more than 18 miles out in the ocean because it was magnified by a special Fresnel (pronounced Fra-NEL) lens.

 

 

The light station had three houses for the lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as an oil storage building and other small buildings. This light station still stands today! The inlet’s name has been changed from Mosquito Inlet to Ponce De Leon Inlet.

Lighthouse Facts:

The tower is 175 feet tall

It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida

There are 213 steps to the top of the tower

The tower beacon flashes six times in 15 seconds followed by a 15 second eclipse

The light from the beacon can be seen up to 18 miles out to sea

Approximately 2.5 million bricks were used to build the Light Station

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of only 12 lighthouses in the country to have been designated a National Historic Landmark.

 Looking up from the ground floor

 

Looking out from the top

 

Staircase and lighthouse window

 

 

Lighthouse Point Park

5000 South Atlantic Avenue

Ponce Inlet, FL 32127

(386) 756-7488

Consisting of 52 acres of pristine land on the north side of Ponce DeLeon Inlet, this park features fishing, nature trails, an observation deck and tower, swimming, picnicking and birding.

 

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The southern tip of Ponce Inlet. The natural beauty of the undisturbed land has been preserved for all to enjoy. Dolphins frequent the shoreline, gopher tortoises can be found in sandy areas, and other wildlife. There is also a designated area for your dog.

The Ayers Davies Lens Exhibit Building houses one of the finest collections of restored Fresnel lenses in the world, including the rotating first order Fresnel lens from the Cape Canaveral lighthouse and the restored original Ponce Inlet lighthouse first order Fresnel lens.

 

 

Smyrna Dunes Park

https://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/coastal-division/coastal-parks/smyrna-dunes-park.stml

From Lighthouse Point Park, you can see Smyrna Dunes Park on the other side of the river.

 

Although only a short distance away across the inlet, it is a distance to drive from one to another. The lighthouse is entered through Port Orange/Daytona and Smyrna Dunes Park is entered through New Smyrna Beach.

The Dunes Park is also dog friendly.

It has long boardwalks to the beach and river.

 

This park is similar as the same activities available and has beautiful dunes also.

 

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Both of these parks are scenic, peaceful and great to spend the day in.

 

 

Next week we will drive north on A1A to Washington Oaks State Park and Matanzas Inlet.

 

 

 

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.
Melody

My Dad Could do Just About Anything

12 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites

 

 

Author, Poet and ArtistIf my dad were still with us, he would be 102 years old this month. I’m glad for him that he is in Heaven. Life is easier there than on earth. Now that I am older and wiser, and I believe I could understand him better, I’d like to have a visit with him

Dad always worked hard at whatever job he had. Some of his earliest memories were about going out to the barn to get oats for breakfast. He worked in his parents’ beauty parlor/barbershop and delivered papers. He learned to cook from his mother because there were no girls in the family for her to teach the finer arts of homemaking and hair cutting.

 

Grandmother, Dad as young man, Granddad, Dad’s Brother in front.

 

He rode his dad’s horse, Smoky, in races against the prisoners at the state penitentiary where his father worked, but he wasn’t allowed to win because it might affect his dad’s job.

 

Smoky, Granddad, DiVoran- see Dad’s feet in front of the power pole?

 

When I was a very small child, my mother felt a bit competitive because my dad seemed to be able to do everything. One day she said, “I’ll bet you can’t make DiVoran the cotton slip she needs.” Well, Dad sat right down at Mother’s 1934 Singer Sewing Machine and made the slip. Mother never challenged his talents again.

Every new endeavor Dad went in for required a move to a new town or state. When he and Mother married, he was a meat-cutter for Safeway in a small mining town in Nevada. When Mom’s dad died, my mother and dad moved back home so he could take over the job of keeping the gas company going. Sometime before WWII started, we moved to a small farming community and dad repaired machinery at the tomato factory. Near the end of the war, even though he was married and the father of two children, he was drafted and became an infantry man. When the war was over the couple bought a restaurant and bar. Dad also became a hunting and fishing guide, and a friend taught him how to fly a small airplane.

When it was time for the next change he became a security guard in a town called Los Alamos, but soon worked his way up to courier which required a move to Albuquerque and from there to Livermore, California.

In all he was a: commercial fisherman, farmer, vacuum store owner, lobsterman, and a grower of fruit and nut trees. He could fix just about anything and when he came to visit us, we always had jobs set up for him. I still have the jar opener under my kitchen cabinet.

 

 

 

When I use that jar opener I realize that he installed it about the time his hands started giving out. He had two carpal tunnel operations, but still the strength in his hands deteriorated to where I had to open packages of potato chips for him. I wonder if he thought ahead to the time when I might need something under the cabinet to help open jars, which is now.

Did I forget to mention that Dad liked kids?

 

 

Dad did work hard, but he was an artist too. He framed Mother’s paintings, and made birds from abalone shells to hang on the wall. He welded sailing ships and shrimp boats. He also hand-dipped chocolate. At one time in their lives Dad and Mother became rock hounds. Dad made a tumbler and polisher out of a small motor and a coffee can and soon Mother and Dad had a lot of semi-precious jewelry to give away.

 

 

Dad didn’t sell his art, the fish he caught, the venison he brought home, or the fruits and vegetables he grew. He gave it all away. One day he gave away his authentic totem-pole because a visitor saw it and asked for it.

 

 

 

 

Like a lot of kids, I took both my parents for granted. That’s why a visit would be so nice about now. Thank the Lord, they and we are eligible to meet in Heaven because we have given our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. I’d love it if there were a time and place to sit down and talk with people we know and love. That may or may not be part of God’s plan, but if it happens to be, I’m up for it.

Memories of New Mexico~Part 15

11 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

More random memories of New Mexico.

 

I have found some old newspaper clippings that my mother sent to us many years ago, about Albuquerque. And they reminded me of some of my growing-up years there.

I remember going downtown – especially from our church, which was very near downtown. It was located on the corner of Broadway and Central, directly across Broadway from the old Albuquerque High School. That High School was later relocated to another part of town, and the building sat vacant for many years. It was later totally gutted and turned into condominiums. It’s apparently quite “the place” to live in near downtown Albuquerque.

 

The old Albuquerque High School credit Google Search

 

However, back to going downtown from my church….

 

First Baptist Church, Albuquerque credit Google Search

 

It was a quick walk from the church. But to do so, you had to walk under the railroad tracks – and it was very deep ravine to walk through. It was also known by the locals as “the underpass.” I remember that, whenever there was a flash flood, or severe downpour (yes, we DO get those in semi-desert New Mexico), that ravine would flood, and cars were unable to pass through it.

One of the newspaper clippings mother sent is here. The car in the foreground is about to go into the underpass – you can see the “slant” to the road.

 

 

That’s the famous Route 66 you are looking down. Better known as Central Avenue in town. I love the old cars and buses. I remember the YMCA building there on the right. And remember my post about the old movie theaters in town? (Please see my post for May 7, 2017)   I mentioned the Sunshine Theater – and there it is on the left in this picture. I have scanned the picture, and “enhanced” it, so it is more easily recognizable.

I remember always liking the old railroad station there – just on the other side of the ravine and the railroad tracks. It was actually not just a station, but also a hotel. It was the Alvarado station, and here is an old “picture” of it.

 

Credit Google Search

 

Credit Google Search

 

And now a picture of the new station.

 

Rail and bus station Credit Google Search

 

The old one burned down in the 1970’s, and the new one was built to resemble the old one. It is in keeping with the pueblo style of architecture.

This other newspaper clipping is of the original Monte Vista Fire Station. I remember when it actually was a fire station. A new fire station has been built elsewhere, and the old one has been turned into a restaurant. It, too, is in keeping with the pueblo style architecture.

 

 

Fred and I have had a meal or two at this restaurant, and it’s quite good. While the fire station is located near what is called Nob Hill, it is not very far from the house where I grew up. And my elementary school was called Monte Vista Elementary School. So it was all quite close. And if you will see my post of May 7, 2017, you will see I mentioned the Lobo movie theater. This fire station restaurant is quite close to the Lobo theater.

 

Oh my, these are such fun memories for me!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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