Are Free Rangers Happier?

21 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Our home in North Carolina is in a rural setting. We may have leash laws for dogs, but if so, they are not enforced. I have spoken several times about our porch dog, Gus. He belongs to a neighbor and is a “free ranger.” He roams our small subdivision making sure that his territory is secure from invaders. He misses his family while they are away at work so he spends the day visiting with us on our porch or waiting by the door of my husband’s workshop. I took the picture through the screen of Gus waiting on my husband to climb the steps from the workshop.


There is also a pack of dogs that roam the main road. They don’t cause any problems for us but they aren’t friendly either. Then there is the very annoying small dog that lives less than a quarter of a mile away. It is a car chaser. It takes all my will power to not stop when it takes off after me. I really don’t like the idea of hitting an animal. I drive on, hoping I won’t hear a clunk. For a time it stopped chasing cars while it nursed an injured leg. I was hoping the animal learned a lesson but alas, it is back to chasing again.

In Florida there are strict leash laws and I haven’t seen a “free ranger” in years. I see neighbors briskly waking their pets and we have a nice dog park so that the animals can socialize.

I wonder sometimes if we are being kind to our animal friends by keeping them locked inside. Yes, they are safe and will most likely live a longer life, but at what cost? The free rangers appear happier.

Now before you become outraged, I know that having free ranger dogs roaming our streets would be a safety issue. I do see a parallel here between those who want to live as free rangers versus those who feel it is better to allow an entity such as government to protect them and provide for their needs. For me, I would choose to live as a well-loved free ranger who has the freedom to come and go, yet has a soft bed to come home to at night.


Our pastor shared a very good message on Sunday, titled Something to be Thankful For.  I like the music in the highlights video.



I'm a winnerAfter 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  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2019 goal is to use 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.

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 10 (Continued)

20 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 10 Sunday 10/28/2018



Now I worked my way back to I-95 and headed south to visit the Jacksonville Fire Museum, located in the Midtown area of Jacksonville.   This museum is located in the restored 1886 Fire Station #3, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related the evolution of the Jacksonville Fire Department from the 1850s.  This includes various hand operated, horse drawn, and motorized firefighting and rescue equipment, that have been used by Jacksonville firefighters over the years.



The Museum of Southern History located in the Fairfax area of Jacksonville was my next stop.  The museum was closed today; however, their website informs me that this museum depicts the lifestyles and cultures of the antebellum South.  The museum also covers the cultures of the early Florida Native Americans and those who settled Florida, with respect to the Civil War and more recent times.  As it happens, the Civil War Governor of Florida, John Milton, whose plantation site I had visited, near Marianna the other day, is also mentioned in this museum’s website write-up.



Now I headed a few miles west to visit the Norman Silent Film Studios Museum located in the Arlington area of Jacksonville.  This studio complex (museum) began as the “Eagle Film Studios” in 1906.  This was a typical example of the northern U.S. film studios wanting to be able to continue filming throughout the winter months. Between the years of 1908 & 1922, as many as 30+ northern film studios moved their operations here, where the area soon became known as the “Winter Film Capital of the World.” Richard E. Norman purchased the Eagle Film Studios in 1908, and moved his Midwest film operations to the Jacksonville area, where he renamed it the Norman Silent Film Studios.  Over the years the Norman Film Studios gradually declined as the Jacksonville film industry moved its operations to southern California in the 1930s.  Finally, after many years of very little activity, in about 2008, as part of an overall restoration project, one of the existing buildings was opened as the museum (Google Norman Silent Film Studios to see how the film studio has progressed over the years).



Next on the list, I travelled across town to visit the Kingsley Plantation, located in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve on Fort George Island.  This 1797 plantation house, and out buildings, are situated conveniently on the Fort George River, where the owner’s docks gave him access to all types of river traffic, and for his own needed supplies and crop transport. Zephaniah Kingsley was a slave trader and shipping magnate, and owned several plantations along the St. Johns River, by the time he became the third known owner of this plantation in 1814 (Google “Kingsley Plantation” for more interesting details about Zephaniah Kingsley and the Kingsley Plantation).



By now I was ready to head for the motel, and gave Greta (my Garmin) the address.  After leaving the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve and St. George Island, I spotted the Sandollar Restaurant and decided to stop in for a seafood dinner with them.  That was a very good choice.  Their Fish Tacos were out-of-this-world good, and the view of Mayport across the St. Johns River, from my outdoor patio table, was beautiful and restful, with the soothing river sounds and the whole scene being painted golden by the setting sun.




—–To Be Continued—–


Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




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

Tying Flies

19 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


i spent Monday, thinking about my Tuesday post. I was hoping to share something humorous, but it’s hard to find humor these days without a political spin. Monday evening I came across a posting by my North Carolina neighbor giving instructions on how to tie the CDC Carrot Nymph. My first thought was is he working for the CDC? (Centers for Disease Control) On second thought, I decided that carrots and nymphs probably weren’t disease related.

I knew my North Carolina neighbor, Gordon, was a fishing guide in the Smoky Mountains, but I had no idea he had a YouTube channel!

 What could be more fitting for a blog that celebrates the past and future than a post about the timeless art of tying fishing flies? According to  Fishing Museum  http:

“The first mention of fly fishing is in The Treatyse of Fishing with an Angle, published in 1496… . If you want to read more about The Treatyse visit the “origins” page“.


So, if any of our readers like fly fishing, here is one of my neighbor Gordon’s videos.



Should you be interested in a fly fishing trip in our beautiful Smoky Mountains, visit Gordon on his website for information.



My Name Is: DiVoran

18 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites


For most of my life, I’ve been explaining how I got my name. This is how it happened: My mother, Dora, and my father, Ivan, lived in Lovelock, Nevada where Daddy worked as a meat cutter for Safeway, and Mother worked at a laundry mostly patronized by miners.




One morning toward the end of her pregnancy she got up with so much energy, she thought she’d clean the coal-burning cook stove in the kitchen before she went to work.

While she cleaned she was thinking about her friend Walkama, who worked there too. Walkama had had a baby earlier. Her labor started while she was at work. I don’t know how her husband knew to come and get her, but he took her home, then she had the baby. Maybe some of the tribe’s women were with her, and in the same day, her husband brought her back. Dora had never heard of anything like that, and she knew she was going to have a very different experience with her child’s birth.

About the time Dora was ready to put the stove back together, her labor started. Ivan came home for lunch and walked Dora to the hospital a short distance away. Her labor commenced in earnest and by 4:00 P. M. I had arrived. She always said, “Just in time for tea.”

In those days white women were held at the hospital for two weeks to recuperate from the ordeal of having a baby. Given Dora’s enjoyment of work of all kinds, she had a long and probably boring time there. One startling thing happened though: on Halloween night three days after I was born, the radio program, “The War of the Worlds,” scared people half to death all over America.

The radio program was presented as a newscast about something that was happening right then. People all over America were scared out of their wits, including Dora. It was one of my birth stories.

The War of the Worlds

The story about my name went like this: toward the end of the two weeks, the nurse came into our room and told Mother and Daddy that they had to name me or they couldn’t have a birth certificate nor could Mother and baby go home. Now,this is what I think had happened. Daddy really wanted that boy and they must have had boy names picked out, but no names for girls. When the nurse saw that they were flummoxed, she suggested they put their two names together. They worked on it on a scrap of paper and finally came up with DiVoran, with two capitals, one from each of their names.



We left the hospital the day the birth certificate was issued. When we got home, Daddy had the stove all put together clean and shiny. The next day, Mother took me to work in a light-weight baby cot and Walkama, perhaps, carried her baby in a cradle-board on her back as they worked.

I was surprised and pleased to learn in later years that I was born on the Lovelock Paiute Indian Reservation where the town was located.

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

That Cockroach

17 Feb


Judy Wills


Back in 1990, our Aunt Jessie died.  She was the only “Auntie” on my mother’s side, and was quite special to my brother and me.  She was an antique expert, and had many items of antiques in her home – be it furniture or dishes, or whatever.


Jessie and some of her antiques


At this point, I want to copy from an older post of mine about Aunt Jessie:

Unfortunately, Jessie never thought any of us wanted anything of hers.  Because none of us had expressed an interest in any of her things, some time before she died I suggested we should all make a list of her things we wanted, and give it to her.  If there was a duplication in “wishes” – hers was to be the final decision. She was quite delighted to see how much we loved her things, after all.  And, I must admit that, after I had made my “list,” I finished it with the statement that we would rather have HER in our lives than anything of hers….but that we loved her and wanted to have keepsakes of her.

Consequently, we all were able to acquire something of Jessie’s that we loved, and reminded us of her.  One of the items was her car.



Bill and DiVoran drove it from Albuquerque to Florida.  He kept that car for many years.  Here’s his description:

Jessie’s car that I bought from mother after Jessie died was a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, that had only about 75,000 miles on it. It was in excellent shape, having been a “high-desert” car (no humidity) and having been kept in the garage all its life (no rust). I had the entire car Ziebart rust-protected and undercoated as soon as we got home to Florida.  After all the years I drove that car in our Florida weather (and with it parked in our driveway), it still had very little (if any) rust on it (and still had just over 150,000 miles on the speedometer) when I traded it in on the 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme we bought in 1988. That’s about all I can remember.


At one point, Fred and I (and I think Janet) came down to Florida from Virginia for a visit.  It was probably Spring Break, but I’m not sure.  I do remember Mother was with us.

We were out one day, riding in that Olds.  It was a two-door car, and I was sitting in the back seat.  I saw a “movement” of some sort out of the corner of my eye.  I looked down and saw – A COCKROACH!  I let out a yelp and Bill, who was driving, said, “what’s the matter?  What is it?”

I said, “there’s a cockroach back here!!”

Bill looked at DiVoran and said, “I thought you took care of that roach!”  And DiVoran then looked at Bill and said, “I thought YOU took care of that roach!”

We continued on our journey, but I made good and sure that I didn’t see that roach at any other time on the trip!  I hate cockroaches!!!  I’m sorry God saw fit to make that particular insect!


Credit Google Search and




JUDYJudy 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Five signs the person you’re dating is not your future spouse

16 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles


Some months ago, three college friends and I sat in a hotel lounge, chatting about our younger days. “What was I thinking? The signs were all there, telling me he was Mr. Wrong,” one of them said as she sipped her latte. “I didn’t see the red flags ‘cause I was too busy being in love with the idea of being loved.”

“Me too,” my other friend said. “Why didn’t someone write the book on how to find the man of your dreams?”

All four of us chuckled.

We graduated from the same college, lived in the same dorm. And, though none of us would admit that ever so secretly, , we shared a slight restlessness about finding the right man. We attended classes but in that college campus, the temptation to  study the male  population was alive. ,

And in the process, , the search was fun. But at times high expectations ended up in deep disappointment. And other times, the “love” we chased ended up with heartache chasing us instead.

But even with a few scars, we made it through. And now after visiting the ugliness of divorce, we possess a wealth of insight. Most of which comes from experiences lived, episodes endured and lessons learned in the classroom of pain.

How different our lives would have been if we, as single women, had the wisdom to seek God first, and heed these signs.

Sign No. 1: He allows his romance to turn into physical roaming.

And with soothing words, he attempts to invade the boundaries you clearly established more than once. Yet time and time again he insists, whispering he’ll love you forever hoping you’ll give in. Caution: that’s his testosterone talking, not a man of integrity who values and respects you. That’s when Satan goes into action repeating, “You’ll lose him if you don’t give in.” False. You’ll only lose your own integrity and gain the heartache that disobedience brings.

Time to assess: Should you fail in this area, God will forgive when you ask. He will grant you renewed clarity and peace. And with confidence, you can declare: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” (Psalm 66:17-18)

Sign No. 2: His sincerity is questionable.

When you speak of your Christian convictions, he agrees with you. When you invite him to visit your church, he goes along. But when you ask him to pray with you, he squirms. Or when discussing deeper issues regarding spirituality, he is ambiguous and distant. Warning: he might be going through the motions to win you over. This red flag needs to fly high reminding you he’s not the spiritual leader, the kind you need should marriage plans appear in the horizon.

Time to assess: Be true to God first and be sincere in your asking for His guidance to identify the strong spiritual leader with sound convictions and good character to be your future husband. Then confidently repeat, “Let me see your kindness to me in the morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for my prayer is sincere.” (Psalm 143:8-10, The LB-Paraphrased)

Sign No. 3: Others are warning you.

You think he’s the one because he “makes you feel so good.” But those around you who know you well and whom you respect give you warnings. They point out flaws you overlook because you’re so much “in love” that you’ve become deaf to their wisdom.

Often feelings can be wrong. And emotions can blind one from seeing potential pitfalls.

Time to assess: Your own path to happiness might not be God’s way to bring you lasting joy. Reflect on the advice given, and no matter how well-defined your plans are, welcome wise counsel from those who love you because “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)

Sign No. 4: Criticism becomes a pattern.

Sometimes you might mistake humility and patience when he is free with harsh criticism toward you and others. But when experiencing this during dating, it might be a sign of potential emotional abuse only to increase after that wedding day.

Time to assess: Because you are the daughter of the King, you mustn’t endure painful words, insensitive treatment or even rudeness. Expect to be treated with upmost respect because you know who you are—the masterpiece in God’s hands as you declare: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)

Sign No. 5: He’s in the red.

Although money or finances are not the No. 1 aspect of a relationship, it is the No. 1 reason for divorce. And if marriage is a possibility with the man you’re dating, observe his attitude toward money, his spending habits and his commitment to tithe. Each will give you clues on what to expect should you become his wife. If he’s a creature that flings credit cards at every turn, that’s your clue to dig a little deeper. Otherwise, entering into marriage with debt, money issues and financial troubles will surely have you walking down the aisle toward the altar of disaster.

Time to assess: What does he treasure? What is he storing in his heart? This is the standard by which you must measure him: “… store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20)

Whether you’re 20 or 60 years old, or whether it’s your first date or you’re about to send out wedding invitations, bring your girlfriend with you. Her name is “wisdom.” God’s wisdom will help you answer these two vital questions: Does this man love God more than he loves me? And do his words, actions, attitude, demeanor, dreams and character reflect this conviction?

The answer to these questions will determine whether decades later you’ll be drinking the latte of regret or sipping the fresh water of true happiness.

(The above writing by Janet Perez Eckles was first published by

Let’s Pray

Father, show me the path you need me to take, grant me wisdom to recognize Your guidance and Your plans. In Jesus name. Amen.

What is God showing you during your  current relationship?



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 share: Feel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.





Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video:

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.

Seeking Peace-Annoying Opportunities

15 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


This has been an interesting week. I’ve been musing about the positive aspect of annoying people. I’m talking about a wide spectrum of people from a spouse to the driver who cuts you off in traffic, or even more annoying the one who pulls out in front of you, then drives 15 miles per hour under the speed limit.

I believe God knows all and there is nothing that happens in my life that is a surprise to him. In the same way that he knows all, he knows me, with  my weaknesses and strengths. If I am driving down the road  and God said prayer for that person in the blue car next to you, I would question whether I was hearing from God or imagining it. But if that person cut me off in traffic, I would certainly be thinking strongly about them.



But hey, God got my attention and in my seeking peace quest, I am learning to turn my angry/annoyed thoughts to prayers for them. At this time, I am about 1%  successful.

Every annoyance is an opportunity. My days are filled with opportunity, how about yours?


Love: Love extends grace.

Joy: Joy is always available to me. I need to pursue opportunities to be joyful.

Peace: I have peace when I don’t make myself the center of my attention.

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