From His Heart

10 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

My dear Daughter,

Your grandchildren are fully capable of walking in a suitable and holy manner for the high rank given to them in their divine callings. Each was given a path to follow, which unfolds as they mature.  With tender humility and quiet patience, they demonstrate love toward each other and toward others they know and people they meet. I guard them and keep them whole.

Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness with longsuffering, bearing with each other in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3

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.”

Mother’s Day 2021

9 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Credit ChurchArt

Here we are, another Mother’s Day.  It seems I’ve told you about all I can or know about my mother and my mother-in-law.  And so, I may share some snippets from other posts I’ve done about them…and then add some new thoughts.

My mother was unique

in that she met and married a man 20 years her senior.  And yet, that marriage was rock solid, and one I looked to imitate in my own marriage.  I like to think Fred and I have achieved that.  

She loved to sing and to play the piano.  She had a good ear and would just go and sit down at the piano and begin playing. 

She was a great cook!  I’m sorry to say I didn’t let her teach me much about cooking.  Most of what I did/do I more-or-less learned on my own.  I also can’t duplicate much of what she cooked.

Her work ethic was one to be admired.  While I am a good “starter” I’m not necessarily a good “finisher.”  Mother was good at both – if she started a project, she didn’t stop until it was finished.

I loved her dearly, and miss her terribly.

Fred’s mother 

was a joy to be around.  Her love was her husband and her children – all four of them!  And after Fred (her first born) and I married, she treated me like one of her daughters!  She was, truly, a second mother to me.

She was also a great cook, and she taught me several of her recipes that her family loved.  And I still use some of them to this day.

To know my husband as I do, I can see her hand in his up-bringing.  She was a gentle soul, but must have had a firm hand in child-rearing.  

She loved to have fun, and was a bit of a cut-up.  I will always remember her with me on the beach in northern California, dancing barefoot through the wet sand and kelp.

She was funny, cute, elegant, classy, down-to-earth, loved to laugh….

She left us far too early with Alzheimer’s Disease, and I miss her terribly.

Both mothers – above all else – taught their families to love and honor Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

And I like to think we have passed that along to our daughters, as well.  Both of our girls are God-fearing and God-loving women.  They have taught their children about Jesus Christ, and I’m pleased to say that Jesus is the guiding light in their families.

We are so proud of both our daughters.

Our Karen

has loved libraries and books as long as we can remember.  And so, her chosen field is to work in a library.  She started out as a “page” in her high school years, and is now a “researcher” in her local library.  She’s the expert!

Our Janet

is the Human Resources Director for a county.  I was always amused to hear her say that she didn’t need to take a typing class in high school, as she would have a secretary to do all her typing!   Didn’t quite work out that way, hmm, Janet?

They are both professional women, and yet love and care for their families.  

We thank God for our Mothers and the lineage they have passed down through us to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Credit ChurchArt

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY 2021

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.

This is the greatest need for a Mom

8 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

May 7, 2021

Reblogged May 8, 2021

While I folded laundry, Joe, my four-year-old son, and his friend played with Lego’s on the family room floor.

“My mom has eyes at the ends of her fingertips,” Joe said to his friend.

I chuckled at first, but then marveled at his insight. He was absolutely right. After losing my sight, I used my hands to feel my surroundings, find items in the kitchen, sort the family’s clothing and pick up toys from the floor.

Seeing the world through my fingertips.

In reality, my whole world became “seen” by my fingertips. When I touched something, the image was immediately transmitted to my brain, allowing me to see with my mind. Eventually, I learned to use my other senses so I could still be a mommy to my little ones.

Although I managed the chores, the idea of living the rest of my life without sight kept me awake at night. And during the day, my muscles tensed each time I tested and noticed my diminishing side vision. At first, it narrowed to the size of a keyhole. I pleaded and begged God to allow that vision, though small, to remain so I could still see their smiles.

Some afternoons, while my youngest son napped, I’d stare at his features, attempting to memorize every detail—his long eyelashes against his chubby olive cheeks. His curly hair that framed his round face.

With tears blurring my diminishing vision, I engraved those images in my aching heart. Uncertain of the length of time I’d have that tiny amount of sight, the rope of anxiety and worry choked me.

There was no hope.

And ophthalmologists dug more anxiety as they offered no hope. One told us to wait for the inevitable. And he was right. A few months later, my retina stopped working and my vision closed in completely.

I was horrified.

The gray nothing before my eyes shoved me into a dark prison. “Why me, Lord!” I cried out.

After weeks and weeks of sobbing and asking and begging, God wasn’t silent like I imagined. His answers came gently tucked in verses of the Bible.

I listened to them with my heart. After I put my three sons to bed, I put on my headphones. My heart delighted in God’s promises. My soul drank His comfort. And my mind embraced His teachings.

He taught me the correct order of priorities. I realized my sons needed me more than I needed my sight.

What I really needed…

That’s when I recognized what I desperately needed was to trust not in my own abilities, but in God’s ability to provide the guidance and help I needed.

And one by one He did just that. Armed with a new attitude, a greater trust in Him, and a deeper faith, I rolled up my sleeves and took on the task to care for my 4-, 6- and 8-year-old sons.

And that care took energy as they were healthy and active. With each of their moves, my ears became tuned to their every sound, alerting me to their constant antics or whimpers of pain.

Within that busy schedule, learning Braille dropped to the bottom of my list of priorities. Unable to see, the daily tasks of running the house took twice as long to finish and left me drained.

Although exhausted, I still found creative ways to get things done. I swept and mopped the kitchen floor barefoot. This way, my feet picked up any crumbs or sticky spots I’d missed.

My memory also developed. I memorized lists of phone numbers. I needed them so I could call other moms for rides, for updates in school activities.

That sharper memory also helped me to find the location of items in the pantry. When hubby brought groceries home, I wrapped rubber bands around certain cans. I placed boxes of cereal, cake mix, etc. in specific places on the shelves.

My taste buds and sense of smell also became more acute as I invented my own recipes.

One day, as I stirred spaghetti sauce on the stove, I sensed a chocolate aroma near me. “Come here young man,” I ordered my six-year-old. “What are you eating?”

“Nothing,” he said, his voice muffled, no doubt trying to hide something.

I drew closer as the smell of chocolate wafted even stronger. I held out my hand. “Give me those M&Ms. It’s dinner time.”

They soon learned Mom was still in control. Often, I wondered if they truly knew I saw nothing. But I knew what my heart saw—a lesson my sons would learn from their mom who couldn’t see. I’d teach them with my attitude, a sense of humor and most of all, trust, complete trust in God to show me what to do.

With your permission, I will now switch from my story to you. 

You may not be encountering physical blindness, but you may possibly be blinded by the world’s standards. Or by the culture’s message that repeat we need to be great moms, cool in every way, strive for perfection and do anything so our kids lack nothing. Lies, all lies from the enemy. He wants to steal your peace and pour anxiety into your days.

On the other hand, God longs to pour reassurance and confidence. They arrive when, in the midst of the turmoil, we invite God to be our divine partner.

We don’t need more pressure or more posts on social media. A Mom’s greatest need is to partner with God. Through the eyes of His love, He watches our every move, He knows our deepest secrets. He’s familiar with our ways. He sees the guilt that nags, the flaws we try to hide, the mistakes that steal our joy. He even knows the insecurities that echo in the silence of night.

He knows it all, Yet, when morning comes, we pour a cup of stress and head on our way. That’s when fear visits. We fear we don’t measure up. We fear we’re not doing enough. And sometimes, we fear we’re inadequate moms.

But God, our Divine Partner says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

We don’t have to fear. He’s with us when we doubt. He lifts us when we fall. And He holds us when we fail.

Let’s Pray

Father, Thank You for granting me the confidence I need to be a Mom, secure because You are with me. In Jesus’ name I thank you.

What is your greatest need as a Mom?

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.

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

If you enjoyed these moments of inspiration, consider supporting JC Empowerment Ministries. We keep going, keep inspiring and keep bringing Jesus light into the darkness only through your cheerful tax-deductible giving. It’s simple. Just hop over to this LINK. https://janetperezeckles.com/about/non-profit-tax-exempt-authorization-letter

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

Oh April-50th Anniversary Part 2

6 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

April 10, 2021-Day 2

We began our first full day in Pigeon Forge with coffee on the porch, followed by a breakfast of peanut butter waffles and precooked bacon. I prepared the waffles before leaving home, so it was a simple matter of popping them in the toaster. Over breakfast we discussed our plan for the day. Afternoon rain was forecast so we decided to venture out to a short nature trail behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

The trail was an easy 1.1 mile walk, more like a stroll through the woods leading to Cataract Falls. Perfect! Shortly after we began walking, we felt a few sprinkles of rain, but nothing more. We came across multiple signs like this one, It was interesting to know not only the name of the plants, trees and bushes, but how they were used.

Of course, no self respecting mountain trail would be complete without a cheerful stream running alongside.

Just before the bridge was this odd tree stump. What stories it could tell!

When we arrived at the falls, a light rain began, but it didn’t last long enough to wet us. An interesting interaction happened where people were having their pictures taken in front of the falls. A bystander saw a group posing and called out a man’s name. Surprised laughter followed. To the best of my eavesdropping ability, it seemed they were acquaintances from the same town and I think they were involved in a sport. You just never know who you will see. We did the picture thing too.

Husband and daughter

After leaving the falls we discovered a shortcut back to our car. Not nearly as picturesque, but with rain threatening, it seemed like the best choice. We followed a couple who were walking confidently and seemed to know where they were going. I’m glad we chose that route as it brought us out in front of the stone ranger station. We admired the stone work. There’s just something about it that says strong and enduring.

Back at the timeshare we had lunch then banished my husband to take a nap. My daughter and I decided to brave the impending rain and do some shopping in Sevierville. I got a kick out of the ducks in front of the Dollar Tree store. Just before I snapped the picture their faces were pressed close to the windows.

Taco soup that I made ahead at home was a perfect rainy night supper, followed by streaming one of our favorite TV shows ended day 2 of our anniversary celebration.

I'm a winner

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

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Fishing With Ivan Part 7A

5 May

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Having been raised most of their younger years in Colorado, Ivan and Dora both liked the high cool Colorado areas for their hot and humid summer months ‘get-a-way’ living when possible.  One of the Colorado areas they found to their liking was Sapinero, CO (elevation 7621’).  This small community is located on US-50, roughly halfway between Gunnison and Montrose, and on the southern edge of the Gunnison National Forest, adjacent to the Blue Mesa Reservoir (the fishing hole).

Photo: https://maps.roadtrippers.com/us/co/nature/blue-mesa-reservoir

They liked this location so well that they made arrangements with the RV Park owner to permanently park their 30’ Silver Streak travel trailer on one of their upper level lots overlooking the lake.  They had spent several summer seasons there in Sapinero, and were even allowed to build a permanent wooden roof over the trailer to protect it from the winter snows.  They extended one side of the roof (on the door side of the trailer) to include a very nice covered Patio deck.

Photo by Ivan Bowers

The time DiVoran and I visited Ivan and Dora in Sapinero we stayed in one of the ‘Rustic Cabins’ there in the RV Park.  I use the term rustic loosely, as it looked like it had to be at least 100 years old and never been painted.  As I remember, the lap-siding boards were nailed to the 2x4s that held up the roof and that was it!  There was nothing much on the inside to stop the cold and wind from coming thru the cracks in the siding.  There was a small table, two wooden chairs, a sagging double bed (with squeaky springs), and a small stained and chipped porcelain sink with a single faucet.  The water was ice cold and drained on the ground outside the cabin.  The single pull-chain lightbulb hanging from the ceiling gave off barely enough light to see your way around the cabin at night.  The outhouse was about 25 yards away, and seemed much further than that at two-o’clock in the morning.

Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/309622543126549588/

DiVoran remembers that there was a good sized gap under the door.  We didn’t pay much attention to it until, in the middle of our first night in the cabin; she almost gave me a heart attack.  She woke me up screaming and jumping up and down in the middle of the floor.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said, “Something was crawling over my head!”  In the poor lighting, we searched the cabin but couldn’t find anything.  It was really hard to get back to sleep that night.  Visions of what might be scurrying around the cabin didn’t help.

The next morning, when we told Ivan our story, he just laughed and said, “It must have been one of my little friends that like to come in from the cold.   You wouldn’t blame them from wanting to get in there where it is warm would you?”  DiVoran didn’t think it was funny.  The next night you better believe we stuffed a towel in that gap under the door, to keep any visiting critters from bothering our sleep.

Image: http://clipart-library.com/laughing-man-cliparts.html

—–To Be Continued—-

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

Stoneface

4 May

The Storyteller Almanac

Greetings Everyone!

The latest episode in my podcast series The Storyteller Almanac is live now.

This one is called, “Stoneface – The Old Man Of The Mountains.” The State Seal of New Hampshire has been the profile view of The Old Man Of The Mountains since 1945. As you can see in the picture herein, The Old Man Of The Mountains is a natural rock formation on the side of The White Mountains up in Franconia Notch, NH which resembles a profile view of an old man. ‘Stoneface’ was discovered back in the 1800’s. Sadly, he crumbled and fell in May 2003 after being there for about 25,000 years according to geologists and historians.

Listen to the podcast for the whole story. You can find it on the major podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and similar.

Or if you wanna go direct, you can find it at www.StorytellerAlmanac.Com. And please, if you feel so inclined, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss any future episodes. No obligation. No charge. No salesperson will call . 

Thanks for droppin’ by, neighbor!

Peace – Mike T.

This is a beautiful piece of music.

You can listen HERE as well.

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

The Blues

3 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo Credit Pixabay

I’ve been listening to a wonderful Christian speaker on YouTube every morning while I exercise. He uses 15 minutes to talk about God and to pray with the heavenly host. Bill and I like him a lot. Everything he says makes sense and is uplifting. 

But somewhere in the last month, I have lost something. I’ve been worried and somewhat depressed and couldn’t figure out why. I came in and out of experiencing peace and then rolling back to fogginess and disappointment. Never in my life could I measure up to what the morning speaker suggested we be and do as Christians, but I loved the power and the intelligence of his speaking. And that was all I heard every day for a month because I had stopped doing my devotions. They no longer fit into my morning routine.

Yesterday I got up sad and felt sad all day. I didn’t have anything to do. Oh, I could clean out a closet and write a blog, but nothing felt right. I sat down at my desk to figure out what action to take, and since I had nothing else to do, I started to write in my journal. The journals have been the most important stabilizing action for decades.

Photo Credit Pixabay

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron speaks of morning pages like this: “Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness. Nothing in it is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included.

Our pastor, Peter Lord, also taught us about journaling, only his emphasis was on Jesus and the Heavenly Host. He wrote out his prayers early every morning for at least sixty years as did many in his congregation. He created some small journals with guides and told us to write letters to God. 

Photo Credit Pixabay

Over the years, I have read several experts on prayer and journaling, and now it is the only way for me. In my journal, I complain, thank, and request. It may not be for everybody, but this past month I have found my morning pages and the advice of our dear pastor necessary for sanity. When I ignored it, my emotions slid back into the miry clay of loneliness and emotional pain. Then I started writing again, even a little, and the sun came out, and the blues pushed off and away whether I had anything to do or not.

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.”

Music and Me-Part 6

2 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I loved to sing…as I’ve mentioned in previous musings.  And while my favorite way to sing was in groups – trios, choirs, mixed groups – I did occasionally sing solos.  As I sang, I usually had the copy of the music in front of me, “just in case…”  Well, it was a good thing I did, because once, as I was beginning a solo, the intro had been played, and I opened my mouth to sing…and the words had completely left my memory!!  The pianist continued to play as I scrambled to look down at the music to find my place.  I was so totally embarrassed by that, that my confidence was forever shattered.  I never again did a solo without the music “just in case” – it was always there to support me.

I’ve mentioned that I sang with wives groups at all the military bases where we were stationed.  I sang with a wives group in Wiesbaden, West Germany, and later with the wives group in Heidelberg.  Unfortunately, while in Heidelberg, the pianist for the group had rotated back stateside with her family, and they needed a pianist/accompanist more than a singer, so that’s what I did.  I remember once we did a fun number (sorry, I can’t remember the name of the song we did), and about halfway through the song, was a piano interlude.  The director thought it would be a fun touch for the accompanist to stand up and play that piano interlude.  So when it came to that part – I actually stood up, Cheshire-cat-smiled at the audience (and winked at them) and played the music standing up!  It got a good laugh from the audience!

Last week I posted a picture of the entire music program at my home church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Photo credit First Baptist Church, Albuquerque

First Baptist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico

 While that picture included the children, there were over 60 adults in that choir…no small thing. 

(Please see my post of February 21, 2016 – The Cruise of a Lifetime – Part 4.  We met Richard and Judy Bradford on that cruise, and he was the Minister of Music at my home church in Albuquerque in the 1970’s!)

When Fred and I first married, we moved to Fort Worth, Texas, for Fred to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary – Rotunda

We joined Travis Avenue Baptist Church while there, and became members of the choir.

Travis Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas Photo credit Google search and website

It was a great choir, and we had some amazing directors.  There were probably 80-100 members of the adult choir at that church.  We had some classically trained voices, and the first director was a voice teacher at the Seminary.  However, other directors who followed her were also great.  The one we sang under the most was Bill Pearson.  I remember we did The Seven Last Words of Christ,

Photo credit Google search and Biblio .com

and later a musical called God’s Trombones.

credit Google search and Amazon.com

That was so much fun to do – Bill had the choir members scattered throughout the sanctuary.  Someone had a large handbell, and when it began to toll, we got up, one or two at a time, and made our way to the choir loft.  And then we sang.  It is a wonderful piece of music, that would probably be considered “politically incorrect” in today’s world, unfortunately.

~~~~~~~~~~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.

Oh April-50th Anniversary Part 1

29 Apr

On the porch

Onisha Ellis

April 9, 2021-Day One

Our daughter arrived the previous night. She drove up from Florida. We made the decision over supper to not rush around in the morning to get an early start. We would be spending 5 nights at a time share in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that our friend generously gifted us and check in was after 4 pm. The drive would take two to two and one half hours, depending on how often we stopped while driving through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

After coffee on the porch, a leisurely breakfast and some last minute packing, we loaded our daughter’s Toyota Rav 4 and set out. (Remember from last week, our car’s check engine light was triggered on our trip from Florida.) Over the years we have spent many happy hours in the GSMNP, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In our younger days we would day trip with my husband driving late a night, back to our rented cabin in Franklin, NC. Often the fog was swirling thick, but my husband handled the driving well. Many nights I held a sleeping, exhausted child in my arms. Sweet memories. Since we are well past our younger days we haven’t been able to explore our favorite places on the Tennessee side. We would have 5 days to visit favorite places and maybe find some news ones.

We were almost to the Oconoluftee Visitor Center when we saw cars parked alongside the road. This usually indicates elk in the fields but we didn’t see any. Our daughter spotted the elk in a river partially hidden by trees. We had seen pictures of the elk in the river but never witnessed it. My daughter and I grabbed our cameras and strode across the fields. They were beautiful.

The ducks enjoyed the water as well. There were more elk on the opposite shore but we didn’t get them in the pictures or the video.

This website

Where to view elk in the Great Smoky National Park has helpful information should you be planning a visit.

When we arrived in Pigeon Forge, we easily found our holiday retreat. We weren’t sure what to expect, as the property had several room options.

At check in we learned that we were assigned a Pedestal townhouse. I was thrilled.

The stairs were a bit of a trial, hauling our suitcases, coolers and the assorted things we felt we just had to have. After settling in, we were ready for some supper. In Pigeon Forge the main highway is called The Parkway. It is lined on both sides with every kind of business and restaurants. We decided our first holiday meal would be at Cheddars. It’s a chain restaurant but one we don’t have in our small town.

Our meal was excellent. A good choice for our first night. We returned to our rental and discovered the wi-fi surpassed our expectations. We brough out our Roku and settled in for television streaming.

Next week, day two and the hunt for wildflowers.

I'm a winner

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

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Fishing With Ivan Part 6

28 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I remember one trip to visit Ivan and Dora when they lived in Vista, CA.  This trip took place sometime around 1985.  DiVoran and I started this trip by flying from Orlando, FL to San Diego, CA.  After we picked up our rental car, we met with our high school friends, Jim and Charlene, who had moved to San Diego from Flagstaff, AZ.  We had a wonderful visit with them, remembering fun high school times and other times we had experienced with them in days gone by.  Then they took us to their favorite Mexican food restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious meal and more memories.

Photo by Bill Lites

After dinner, we said our goodbyes, and drove about 50 miles north to visit DiVoran’s brother, David, and his wife, Susan, in Vista, CA.  David was in the middle of restoring an off-road vehicle project, and enlisted me as his helper and go-fer.  DiVoran and Susan spent most of their time discussing children and grandchildren.  The two ladies conspired together to cook a wonderful meal that everyone enjoyed.  After an evening of more reminiscing, we finally called an end to the fun.  After that wonderful visit they put us up for the night at their lovely home.

Photo by DiVoran Lites

That year Ivan and Dora had decided to spend some time fishing at the Salton Sea.  So, the next day we drove east from Vista thru Escondido, Ramona, and Santa Ysabel (elevation: ~5000’), and then back down and thru the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, to somewhere on the west side of the Salton Sea (elevation: -226’).  I ask Ivan why he didn’t stay at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area where they had camping facilities (located on the northeast side of the lake), and he said it was too expensive and the fishing wasn’t any better in that part of the lake.

They had their 30 foot Silver Streak travel trailer setup near the water’s edge with nothing around them but a few other campers.  I never could figure out what had attracted them to this desert area, where there was nothing around them but a few scrub bushes and tumble weeds for as far as the eye could see.  

Photo: https://saltonsea.com/events/seafest-october-21-2017-7-am-to-7-pm-salton-sea-state-recreation-area/

I don’t remember much about that visit, but somehow Ivan had heard that the Mozambique Tilapia in the Salton Sea were plentiful that year, and he was determined to catch his share of them.  I don’t know how good the fishing had been for him before we got there, but that first night we didn’t have fresh fish for dinner.  DiVoran remembers that Dora had apologized for having to serve us canned salmon patties for dinner.

The only thing DiVoran remembers about that trip is that Dora had learned to paint there from a lady who lived there at the lake, and that she and Dora spent much of their time painting.  This activity ended up creating a new and very special life-long bond between DiVoran and her mother.

Note:  For an interesting read, check out Wikipedia for the details of how the Salton Sea was formed over millions of years, from a natural Salt Sink to a thriving 343 sq. mi. size lake, and how it has now been transformed to its present day ‘dead sea’ condition by mankind over the years.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

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

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