The New York Blessing

7 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

One of the positive effects of Covid-19 is music. I have enjoyed live concerts I would never have been able to afford. Yes the fancy lighting, fog and effects are missing but the enjoyment of seeing musicians performing from their homes for the sheer joy of it makes up for the glitz. Plus, I can watch in my yoga pants and baggy shirt!

This video began making the rounds this week. You may have already seen it, I think it is awesome enough to watch again. Hope you enjoy it.

Screech Owl

6 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

I saw a screech owl no bigger than a pint carton standing in our birdbath the other day. I’m so glad they have come back. We had them in the back when we first moved into our new house in Florida. 

When we first moved to Titusville, where Bill had a job at the Space Center, we were thrilled with the quietness and the jungle-like terrain. Driving into town on Highway 50 in our Corvair, we crossed the St. John’s River in a rainstorm. It was raining water all right, but it also seemed to be raining frogs. They were all over the highway, and we could see them leaping in the headlights and hear them crunching as we ran over them. There was nothing else we could do. The heavy rain, the darkness all around, and hoping we were getting closer to our destination, but not knowing where overwhelmed us. Fortunately, our two children, one three years old and one eighteen months, were sound asleep in the back seat. 

We finally landed at a motel reserved for us by the company and dragged our bedraggled selves in for a rest. We were in the motel for three weeks while daddy went to work, and mother established a routine with the little ones. We walked down to the river early in the morning. The heat and humidity were like nothing we had ever experienced or even knew existed. Then we went back to the motel room and read books and played with toys until lunch, blessedly they had air conditioning. We took naps in the afternoon after the fierce and loud thunderstorms. We hadn’t experienced that kind of weather either.

It was July when we got into our house. It’s a fine house, but at the time, we had no AC.  The only times we got cool were when we laid out flat on the stone terrazzo floor, stepped into a cold shower, or took our supper down to the river where a pleasant breeze blew. 

There were many frogs at our house, too. They covered the sliding glass doors and were all over the cement pad that would one day become a full-sized patio. These were green tree frogs; sometimes, they were called tree peepers. You could compare their color with a Key lime, which is small and bright. Golden racing stripes ran down both sides. I figured it was genuine gold because why would God use anything else? 

We lived in Imperial Estates, which was surrounded by scrub and pines. At night when we were sleeping with our windows open, we heard the castanet sound of cicadas so loudly we sometimes put our pillows over our heads. But sometimes we heard other creatures, too. Every evening we listened to the nocturnal Chuck Will’s Widow whose call had three notes. The call is unique, but that was a long time ago, and apparently, all the Chuck Will’s Widows from around here have gone someplace else now. 

Another thing we heard in the night was the baying of hunting dogs in the woods behind our house. Oh, yes, it was a lovely jungly place to be, and we loved it and love it still. To me, the calls of the screech owls were long and varied.

None of the other birds or animals stayed around with that owl there. They are voracious. They have many ways of sounding out. Some of them sound like a cry of agony. It scared us all when we first heard it in the night, but then we asked some old-timers what it was, and they said, “screech owls.” Once we knew, we slept right through it. I like knowing that the screech owls’ nest in hollows in trees and sometimes in the larger woodpecker holes. It reminds me of the stories I read as a child where everybody lived in hollow trees and holes in the ground. 

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.”

The Pilot

5 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I found the following in some of my papers.  This was not MY experience, but one worth knowing about:

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening yet thought-provoking experiences of his life. 

Credit Pixabay

He had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, “We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened.” 

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, “We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us.” 

And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash. 

Credit Pixabay

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, “As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm. 

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. 

Credit Pixabay

Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.” The minister could hardly believe his eyes. 

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid. 

The sweet child replied, “Sir, my Dad is the pilot, and he is taking me home.” 

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. 

Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky. 

Let us remember: Our Father is the Pilot.

He is in control.

Credit Pixabay

And Jesus said:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

 I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

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.

How to Live a Worry-Free Life

4 Jul

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

REBLOGGED July 4, 2020

July 3, 2020

Back in 1970, my parents, my brother age 16 and I age 17 dismissed the 100 degree weather on that 4th of July in St. Louis. Our focus was fixed on that important day that would change our lives.

We entered the courtroom. A hush filled the air and the huge, red, white and blue flag reminded us of the honor we were about to receive.

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

“Raise your right hand,” the immigration officer said.

We did, and with unwavering conviction we renounced our allegiance to Bolivia and pledged our allegiance to the United States of America. We were officially citizens. In awe of that privilege, fireworks of gratitude exploded in our hearts.

You might have subtly pledged a different kind of allegiance, too. Many have. As we face the turmoil that stirs in our world today, we make a pitiful allegiance to our emotions.

Have you been there?

On Sundays we worship. During the week we worry. On Sundays we pledge to believe, to obey and follow God. We commit to embrace his Word and hold on to His promises.

But when we hear another statistic about the virus or see images of the violence, our pledge to trust in God is broken. We then enter a foreign country where the language of fear is spoken. Before we know it, we become citizens of that land of worry.

How can that happen? 

God says not to worry, but we do. He repeats to trust in Him, but we doubt. He offers peace, but we dismiss it.

But the good news is that if we renew our allegiance to His instructions, we will speak the language of faith. It will express His strength, enough to sustain us. It will repeat of His love, enough to cover us. And of His grace to bring out the perfect outcome. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34).

And with worry in the garbage disposal of life, we sing, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

So why do we doubt, shake or fret? After all, we know:

Surely, he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Psalm 91:3-6)

No matter the bad news, the violence, the unrest, the division, or uncertainty, we are governed by Almighty God. We’re citizens of His Kingdom. And with Christ Jesus as the general in charge of our lives, we follow Him as He leads us to victory.

When we wonder if we’ll have enough for tomorrow, the wonder of His provision is enough for each day.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank you for the reassurance that You have me and my family covered for today and all our tomorrows. Thank You for the sleep that comes at night as you silence the turmoil around us. I praise you for the reassurance You whisper into my heart, removing worry from my mind. In Jesus name.

When will you begin your worry-free life?

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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This uplifting message comes to you from JC Empowerment Ministries. JC Empowerment is dedicated to bringing the light of God’s Word into dark places. The ministry survives only through donations from readers like you. Please consider partnering with us through your tax-deductible support. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Let’s connect:

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

Life During Covid 19-Part 17

3 Jul

I am Weary

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I’ve been in a bit of a slump. I checked past posts and saw that I haven’t written anything since June 16, when we were back home in the mountains.

In a normal time, we would be firmly ensconced for the summer and fall and welcoming houseguests. But these aren’t normal times. Two weeks was not enough! We returned to Florida for my husband to have a scheduled surgery.

It’s really hot here. I think I have had trouble adjusting from open windows and cool mornings on the porch to sweltering heat and non-stop air-conditioning. (Having spent my entire life in Florida, one would think I would be accustomed to it.) Or maybe I am simply Covid weary.

I am weary of people being angry and the great mask debate. I am weary of worrying about the people who are out of work. I am weary of wondering how our economy can possibly survive this massive shut down. I am weary of the isolation which draws me deeper into my usual introvert state.

And I am weary of trying to decide if our planned road trip needs to be cancelled. That sounds trite. I know. We had a health scare with my husband last week. He is fine now, but we really wanted to do this trip while he is able.

Yet in the midst of the weariness, I am thankful and blessed.

I am thankful for my friend, Pam, whose indomitable spirit and gift for chatter lifted my spirits this week. I am thankful for my friend and mentor, DiVoran, who understands my unsociable state and loves me still.

I am thankful my husband is doing well, his surgery is rescheduled and we may be able to return to the mountains in a few weeks. And I am thankful our daughter, who works from home has time off to visit with a friend for the weekend. She badly needed the break.

Most of all I am thankful for my faith in God that sustains me when I walk through shadows and teaches my heart to trust in Him. I read Psalm 57:1 this week, written by David when he fled from Saul into the cave. I especially related to the last two lines.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!

For my soul trusts in You;

And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,

Until these calamities have passed by.

In a morning meditation I remembered an old hymn my Depression era parents would sing. I looked it up on You Tube and found this one by a group called Grace Thrillers from 6 years ago. Beautiful and I like that the video showcases scripture rather than images of the singers.

Wishing our American readers a happy, healthy and blessed 4th of July. It’s a special day for our family, my mother’s birthday. She loved her dog Max, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Red-Shouldered Hawk

29 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo by Melody Hendrix

For years I didn’t pay much attention to the birds in our yard and around the neighborhood. Then one day, our friends who lived on a marsh invited us over to admire the hawk nest in a big tree near their driveway. I was thrilled to see one of the parents settle down on the nest to feed the babies.  When our friends moved away, we didn’t think much more about hawks. That is until our Pastor, Bill began to track a pair of courting hawks on the church campus. 

As it happens, we live within the same mile square the church is in, so soon, we began to watch and hear the hawks over our house, too. They were so busy flying around calling to each other or doing air aerobics that we couldn’t ignore them. And when the nestlings grew big enough to leave the nest, we enjoyed watching them fly over or set down on the top of a lamppost. 

About eighteen days before incubation, the adult hawks go into a frenzy of happiness. They become singers and dancers in earnest.  Their loud, short cries fill the air.  One soars straight up then zooms back into the airspace of the other. They chase across the sky, calling as if they are telling the whole world about God’s goodness.

The first time I saw a hawk standing nonchalantly under an oak tree in someone’s yard, I was startled, but he wasn’t. Yesterday, one flew low, then zoomed in and perched on the lamppost in front of our house. He sat quietly with his back to me, and I think he listened as I told him how beautiful he was. 

Pixabay

Hawks are too large to take a bath in a home birdbath, but one afternoon I looked out in the back yard and saw a Red-shouldered hawk perched on our chain-link fence. I felt a bit sorry for him because it was raining, but as I watched, my sympathy turned to good cheer. He didn’t need a bath; he needed a rain shower. He opened his wings and flapped them, and he shook himself vigorously. That was when I thought again about God’s provision for all His creatures and remembered the Louis Armstrong song, “What a Wonderful Day.” 

Pixabay

Learn more about hawks at All about Red-Shouldered Hawks

What a Wonderful World

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.”

Random Memories of Germany-Part 5

28 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I mentioned recently that the pastor of our English-speaking Baptist Church in Heidelberg became our Karen’s future father-in-law. 

Heidelberg castle from the Korn Markt

The congregation of Grace Baptist Church called Greg to be our pastor in the Fall of 1981.  He and his family arrived just after Christmas that year.

The church we met in

As it happened, the church as a group had fixed up an apartment for Greg and his family, in a town just a short ways away from MTV, so when they arrived in town, they were taken straight to the apartment to settle in and rest. 

Some of the ladies of our church had worked a lot to make the apartment comfortable and livable for them.  They made curtains for the windows.  They made/purchased pillows for the sofa/couch.  Pots and pans were provided.  And I believe the kitchen was stocked right before they arrived.

This apartment was located about 10 kilometers from Heidelberg, and MTV.  That’s about six miles, American talk.  Not far, but far enough one needed to either drive there or ride the bus.  Or bicycle if so inclined.

This little town was called Emmertsgrund.  It is actually a suburb of Heidelberg.

Credit Google Search and heidelberg.de

This is similar to the apartment building where they lived

After Karen and Brian became an “item” they began studying together, going on dates, and talking on the phone a lot.  So what else is new with young teens attracted to each other, hm?  I believe their first date involved a bus ride from MTV to PHV (Patrick Henry Village – the other American housing area in Heidelberg), and a movie at the theater there.  

Once, while Karen and Brian were talking on the phone, Fred, in our apartment, sneezed.  Well, if you’ve ever heard Fred sneeze, you would know how loud it is!  After a moment, Karen turned away from the phone and said, “Dad, Brian said he heard you sneeze all the way to Emmertsgrund!”  That’s been a laughing joke in our family ever since!

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

Mourning Dove

22 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photos by Melody Hendrix

I have a confession. I love all wild birds, but I had a mix-up in my mind about doves. We have two kinds that come to our yard day after day, week after week. They never fail to visit, and we are so used to them that we don’t have much to say about them. I guess you could say we ignore them or we take them for granted. Unlike the painted bunting, they stay all year. The only difference between the two types is that the mourning dove is bigger than the other one. 

My problem was I like bright colors on birds and copious amounts of song, and that’s why I never gave the doves much attention.  Of course, if we didn’t have so many beautiful birds on our feeders and using our water bowls, I would appreciate even the doves.  

So, when I looked up doves on Bible Gateway, I discovered that God loves them very much, all of them. Noah loved his dove when it came back to the ark after being set loose to find some land. He took her gently into his hand and put her in her safe, wooden cage. Seven days later, he sent her out again. You’d think that if the dove had found a perch for the sole of her foot, she would have stayed there. But she didn’t.  She was faithful and went the extra mile to make Noah happy. 

I can understand why the people kept doves for food and why they used them for the required sacrifices. The book of Leviticus has nine references to dove sacrifice. But one-day, Jesus turned over the chairs of the sellers of sacrificial doves. I always thought he did that because he didn’t want people doing business in the synagogue on the Sabbath. And maybe that is the only reason Jesus did it. Reading about doves, though, has convinced me that it meant something else to our Lord as well. By this time, he knew he was going to be the last and ultimate sacrifice, and there would be no more need for doves or cattle or sheep in exchange for forgiveness of sin. He knew he was the only sacrifice ever to be required. When He went to the cross to die, he went so that God would adopt us. When we acknowledge our sinful nature, God sets us free to join God’s family. That is the greatest wonder and privilege a human can ever know. 

From the list I was looking at, the last reference in the Bible about doves was John 2:14 that meant no more sacrifices,  no more doves, and nothing more killed in the name of the law.  

Isn’t it wonderful that all of nature teaches us about God and his love for us?

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.”

Random Memories of Germany-Part 4

21 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I mentioned last time that the pastor of our English-speaking Baptist Church in Heidelberg became our Karen’s future father-in-law.  And this is how that came to be.

The congregation of Grace Baptist Church called Greg to be our pastor in the Fall of 1981.  He and his family arrived shortly after Christmas that year.  They spent Christmas with family in Florida before coming to Germany.

Greg and Carol – welcome reception – 1981

The church congregation had a tradition that was established before we arrived, in that as many as could go together, hired a bus and went to one of the American resort areas in Bavaria between Christmas and New Years.  We went with the group to Berchtesgaden for Christmas 1980.  During the year, our family had also visited Berchtesgaden, Garmisch and Chiemsee (which has a Ludwig castle modeled after Versailles in France).  Therefore, when the church group wanted to go to Chiemsee for Christmas 1981, we declined. Essentially the only thing to do around Chiemsee was to ski, and since we didn’t ski, we decided to stay in Heidelberg, so we could be in town  to meet our new pastor and his family.

Chiemsee – 1969

Chiemsee – Hall of Mirrors – 1969

As it happened, the church as a group had fixed up an apartment for Greg and his family, in a town just a short ways away from MTV, so when they arrived in town, they were taken straight to the apartment to settle in and rest.  We had invited them to come down the hill and have supper with us that evening, so Carol wouldn’t have to fix a meal right away.

As it turned out, two things prevented that event: 1) Greg had pulled a muscle in his back shortly before leaving Georgia and coming to Germany and had been in traction.  Also, the long flight from the U.S. to Germany aggravated his injury.  2) Heidelberg had received quite a few inches of snow, and Greg had helped a German push his car out of a snowbank and re-injured his back.

So even though they declined to come to our house, we decided we could take supper to them!  I had made a big pot of spaghetti sauce (with noodles, of course).  I had a salad made, and then I went to our local bakery for bread.  I really LOVED the German bakeries.  My favorite one was just around the corner from our building, and I had gotten to know the owner reasonably well.  She spoke a little English, and I spoke a little German, so we got along famously.

The symbol for a bakery in Germany – the pretzel – 1982

Well, I went to her store, and in my halting German said I needed just a small loaf of bread.  She was already getting ready to close for the night, but she pulled down a long loaf, cut it in half, wrapped my half, then wrapped up the other half and put it back on the shelf!  I was amazed!!  I don’t believe ANY bakery in the United States would do such a thing!!  WOW!

So we made our way up the hill and to their apartment.  Greg was laid out on the sofa and didn’t move until supper was on the table, when he came and sat with us.  Then back to the sofa.  After the meal, we told Karen and Brian (their son – Karen’s age) that they were to do the dishes.  No dishwasher there, either – hand washing and drying only.  Karen told me later that, as we walked in, Brian, after spying Karen, leaned over to his mom and said, “She’s tall.  I like her!”

And that was the beginning.

Brian and Karen – 1985

Greg’s family stayed a total of five years, and we rotated back to the States after our three-year tour ended in 1983.  Brian came to Virginia the following Christmas to spend it with us.  They married December 30, 1986.  We always said Brian took advantage of the tax credit that year – at the last minute!  But they are still together, after all those years, and we love them and their family.  God is good

~~~~~~~~~~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.

Dare to Expect a Brand New Beautiful Tomorrow

20 Jun

With these four promises, we can dare to expect a brand new, beautiful, tomorrow.

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged June 20, 2020

June 19, 2020

Were there dreams or nightmares that waited for me and my family in the U.S.? The ophthalmologist shined a bright light into my eyes. “She did inherit it,” he said to my parents and me. “You need to be prepared. There is no cure.”

He leaned back on his chair. “There’s no treatment or surgery. She’s only 13, She’ll not notice any effects till she reaches 60 or so.”

He was wrong.

At the very same time when I turned 30 and my father 55, bit by bit, the retinal disease robbed our sight.

In a matter of 18 months, our vision closed in completely, leaving us in darkness with no trace of shadows, color…only a dark gray nothing.

My world crumbled as a black curtain fell, stopping my life, covering me with fear and destroying the dreams for my future as a Mom to my 3-, 5-, and 7-year-old sons. And uncertainty about tomorrow kept me tossing in bed at night.

Perhaps like you, many are in that same bed of discouragement. Without warning, all changed. We’re stunned and blinded from seeing what tomorrow will bring. We ask over and over again how will we pay our bills? Will this pandemic ever end? And wonder if we will we ever show a smile instead of wearing a mask of gloom.

We will, and we can. I learned from my earthly father how to move forward, remove obstacles and conquer fear using the white cane of courage.

The Lesson

The lesson began a couple of decades prior to my father’s blindness. We still lived in Bolivia, our native land.

We sat at the table in our tiny, dark kitchen with a window overlooking the Andes Mountains. My uncle leaned toward my father. “You must be crazy to want to go to the United States,” he said, “you don’t know anybody and you don’t even speak English.”

He was right. But although my father didn’t speak English, he spoke the language of faith and tenacity. He left La Paz with an old suitcase, big enough for some of his second-hand clothes. And, with U.S. immigration documents in hand, he entered the Miami airport.

But he didn’t realize he was also entering into a life filled with days and months of hardship, ridicule because of his inability to speak the language, humiliation and intense loneliness.

But he pressed on. He worked night and day in manual labor and managed to save enough money for airline tickets for my Mom, my younger brother, 11, and me, 12. In 1964, we arrived in the land of opportunity where dreams come true. And while we emptied our suitcases, we filled our hearts with gratitude for the privilege of living in the U.S.

Decades swept by, my father is now in heaven, with full sight and with never-ending joy. And today, with my own joy, I celebrate his life.

We can all do the same.

With boldness, we can celebrate God, the heavenly Father who teaches what faith, courage and trust can do. He gives His word for victory and in the midst of a pandemic, He gives these four promises.

  1. Even while the virus of anxiety spreads. In the darkness of the situation, God, like a good father provides the promise that He will be a lamp to our feet and the light for our path (Psalm 119:105).
  2. Even when the economy fails but we don’t fail to bring our first fruits to him, He, promised to fill our baskets until they overflow (Malachi 3:10).
  3. When fear attacks, He gives the path to overcome it (Psalm 27:1-3).
  4. And when troubles pile up, He reassures He overcame all so victory is ours (John 16:33).

During any pandemic, living with joy is a daring attitude, but doable in all aspects. Although we cannot overcome the circumstances, we conquer what goes on inside us. We don’t see the problem; we gaze at the possibilities instead. We don’t dwell in the negative, we dive into God’s pure hope.

We can because even when we’re blinded by painful adversity, we can still set our eyes on His promises that are worth remembering, embracing and worth celebrating this Father’s Day.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for lifting the blinders from my eyes. Thank You for showing me what You are capable of doing even in the midst of the pandemic of fear and virus of discouragement. We praise you because in You, we’re more than conquerors. In Jesus name.

How about you, if you know Christ, do you dare expect a new, fresh, beautiful tomorrow?

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.

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

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