25 Sep


Judy Wills


Is that title intriguing? Does it add a touch of mystery? You might figure out the “U” is University, and you would be right. Remember I said in previous musings that I grew up in the great state of New Mexico? That’s where the “NM” comes in. The only letter left is “E” – and – you guessed it – it stands for Eastern. Okay, all together now: Eastern New Mexico University.


credit Google search and ENMU website


ENMU Admin Building – credit Google search




Concept Art for ENMU stadium – credit Google search


That was my first venture into the collegiate world. It is located in Portales (por-tal’-es), New Mexico, about 18 miles from Clovis, NM – also Cannon AFB – and a little farther to Texas. Several girls in my dorm had come over the Texas line to attend ENMU. Portales is about a four-hour drive from Albuquerque, so it wasn’t somewhere where I could hop home very often.



Photo credit Jimmy Emerson



Photo credit Google search


I tend to be a “people person” so it would not have mattered too much to share a room in the dorm with someone new.



However, as God planned it, my best friend, Billie Ann, decided to attend ENMU as well, so we were roomies. Too many times, that situation can break apart a good friendship. I’m pleased to say that Billie and I continue to be super good friends to this day. Here’s a picture of Billie and me the first day at ENMU, before we headed off to church. We hadn’t even had time to unload our bedding and suitcases. (See…we wore those pointy-toed shoes back then! Nothing new here!)




Back in high school, Billie’s older sister, Becky, Billie and I formed a singing trio. As a child, Becky had contracted polio, and wore braces on her legs, and walked with crutches. Billie and Becky are not very tall people, so it was funny to see us – two shorties and one tall girl in the middle. Actually, Billie played the piano for us, so she was sitting during our singing times. Becky and I sang along with her. We were actually pretty good – not bragging or anything, of course. Fred said he thought we could have cut records – but we never did.

Here is a picture of us at my house, during one of our rehearsals. I’m the tall one. Becky is 4’7″ tall, Billie is 4’9″ tall, and I am 5’6″! Can anyone say “Mutt and Jeff?”




We did imitate some of the current trios, and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. I remember Moon Over Miami, Mr. Sandman, and several others.

However, back to ENMU – I was not a terribly good student in high school. And I really can’t remember why I didn’t apply to UNM right there in Albuquerque. But I didn’t, and so went to ENMU. It was a small town, and a fairly small campus, and my first experience with dormitory life. Interesting – and not one I cared to repeat. Fortunately, Billie and I returned to Albuquerque after one semester.

But I found the academics to be quite good, and felt that I learned quite a lot. I actually made good grades while there, but of course, Fred wasn’t there to distract me!

Billie and I attended the BSU on campus (Baptist Student Union), and made some good friends while in that organization.

It was a fun experience, and I’m glad I had that opportunity.



Prosper where you are planted.

24 Sep 7

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Unhappy where you are? Not pleased where God put you? Joy is around the corner. Find out how you can blossom where God plants you with my friend, Kathy Carlton Willis’ uplifting insights.


09-16-16 Kathy Carlton WillisWe were excited about our brand new home, but not so much with our new sod and landscaping. It struggled to survive the move. Of course, the 100-degree heatwave didn’t help matters. The crux of the problem was transplant shock. Those green leafies were traumatized by being uprooted from their comfortable setting and placed into strange new surroundings.

We did all we could to “love on” our greenies. We refreshed them frequently with nourishing drinks of water. But even with the proper care, the bright green leaves of grass, trees and plants dimmed to a straw-like gold. Transplant Trauma.

It takes time and the proper care for transplants to adjust to new surroundings, and then they snap out of the shock and turn green again.

I know what it’s like to be a transplant, and perhaps you do, too. You wonder how it’s possible to prosper where you’re planted when you’re dealing with your own version of transplant trauma. We didn’t get to stay in the hometown of our childhood. No, God uprooted us. Took us from the comfort of what we knew and loved, and moved us to a new area that needed us. God often sends us to parched places—to rejuvenate others with refreshing green ministry.

Sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated. We go through a period of transplant trauma. Shock. The refreshingness of the lush green we offer others temporarily turns to dry hay. With the right amount of time to adjust, and with the loving care of our new surroundings, we green up again. It’s good to know it’s just a temporary condition.

Sometimes we come to a new place still grieving the loss of what we left behind. We bring that trauma with us until we come to accept it. Other times, we are eager to get started in the new ministry, but are confronted by the culture shock of the new area. We adapt. We add the water of the Word, confirming our calling to our new spot. We soak in the SONlight. We allow our Heavenly Master Gardener to tend to our needs while we tend to the needs of others.

Are you yearning to prosper where you’re planted? Repeat this phrase with me: “Transplant trauma is temporary. God’s tender loving care is permanent.”

Source: Prosper where you are planted. | Janet Perez Eckles

Make a Joyful Noise

23 Sep

From the Heart

Louise Gibson


“The holiest of all holidays are those kept

by ourselves in silence and apart.

The secret anniversaries of the heart.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


I applied Longfellow’s words to my heart

and brought Christmas into view.

I decorated my Christmas tree.

I wish I could share it with you.


A beautiful glass cross adorns the top,

and tiny white angels express their song.

When I keep my thoughts on Jesus, our Lord,

I have Christmas all year long.


The Christmas Gift

My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 12

21 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 (Wednesday)


I got on the road from Huntsville by 8:30 am, and arrived at my friends, Terry and Mary Simmons, house at 9:30 am. Their house is located just a few miles northwest of Lester, AL on the Alabama/Tennessee border. The plan was for Terry and me to drive over to the local R/C model airplane field and watch the members fly their models. As it turned out, by the time we had breakfast and got to the airfield, all the members had finished their flying for the day and were gone. So we headed back to his house for some lunch.


Terry was telling me about the owner of the property, and how he had built his own grass landing strip next to his farm house. When he mentioned the owners name I was surprised! The man’s name was Epps, and the reason for my surprise was that we have a replica of a 1907 Epps ultralight aircraft on display at our VAC Museum in Titusville, Florida. I’m wondering if the man in Alabama might be related to the man who built and flew the original 1907 Epps aircraft in Georgia. That, by the way, was the first airplane recorded to have been flown in the state of Georgia. Terry is going to find out his full name so I can Google him to see if he might be related.



After a delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a short nap, Terry and I looked at airplane books and he related many stories of aviation enthusiasts and historical events. Mary cooked us a wonderful Milk Can supper. I had never heard of that, and when I asked her about the name of the dish, she related the history of the Milk Can supper to me.



Mary used her Chef’s Oven to cook our small Milk Can supper, but I understand that people still use the traditional milk cans when cooking for large 40-50 person gatherings. I also discovered there are lots of Milk Can recipes on the internet, and even some “How-To” YouTube videos on the subject. After supper, Terry and I talked airplanes until past my bedtime. I finally called it a night, and settled down to a nice quiet (no traffic sounds) night’s sleep. He and I had made plans to visit aviation museums and car museums together tomorrow in Birmingham, Alabama, as my trip took me in that direction.




—–To Be Continued—–


20 Sep

A Life to LIve

Melody Hendrix

God gave us eyes to see the beauty in nature…. and Hearts to see the beauty in each other.   Unknown
All the marvels of nature are glimpses of His divine power and expressions of His love.  
Elder M. Russell Ballard
How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies, looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.  Unknown
Let the rivers clap their hands.. let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord.  Psalm 98:8-9




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


19 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites





Herd animal, grazer,

Needs other horses

Or a goat

Or a dog

Or a gentle human

Big soft eyes

Long Eyelashes

Easy gait

Follows faithfully without complaint.

Long-legged foals.

Horse therapy.

Horse sense.


Photography by Melody Hendrix


18 Sep


Judy Wills


Fred and I have just returned from a nearly-two-week stay with our youngest daughter,

Janet, and her family in Virginia. You see, since Janet and her husband both work,

our 10-year-old grandtwins go to a before-and-after program at the local YMCA during the school year. During the summer, when school is out, they go to the Y every day. However, the final week before school starts, the Y closes down. They either “clean” everything, train new employees, or…..we don’t know exactly what they do during that week. Consequently, the twins have nowhere to spend their days. Upon several occasions, Fred and I have gone there to watch over the twins during that week, since they aren’t quite old enough yet to stay alone.

Before we left home for our trip, Janet had told us that the Saturday we were there, Tom had reservations for supper at a fairly nice restaurant, so we should bring one set of “nicer” clothes with us. Sunday “best” do? Yep.

Saturday was a nice day – a bit rainy, as the tropical depression was headed to North Carolina and heading up our way, and we were getting rain from that, but a nice day, all-in-all. Come time to go eat, we all dressed up and headed out. We arrived at the restaurant and waited in the foyer while the guys parked the cars.

When the hostess asked us to “follow me” we proceeded down the corridor. When she stopped at a large table, she held out her hand, as if to say, “Here ya go.” I glanced at the table, and my first thought was, “there are other people already seated there. Why is she seating us here?” Then I did a closer look at the “people” sitting there grinning up at me – and gave a screech! Sitting there was our other daughter, Karen, her husband, Brian, and also our granddaughter, Katie – all the way from Chicago!

Turns out, they all had planned this for a couple of months, as a belated surprise for my 75th birthday! We had a great meal time with them, then back to Janet and Tom’s house for dessert and just some fun visiting together. They stayed through church on Sunday, then until about 3:30 p.m. when they had to head back.

I am nearly in tears to think that my whole family was there, together, just to celebrate me (well, our grandson and his wife couldn’t make it, but everyone else was there!) Even Fred knew about it and kept it quiet for all these months.




I love family!



A friend who refreshes.

17 Sep sunflower-big-loose

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, this month is extra special as you’ll be inspired by other voices with uplifting messages. Here is the first one from my friend Kolleen Lucariello. Enjoy!


09-09-16 LucarielloAs we flip our calendars from August, ushering in September, we say farewell to our summer vacations and hello to the season of back-to-school, cooler temperatures of fall and one of the highlights of our home: football. Here’s another bonus of September: it’s also Women’s Friendship Month and I love the gift of friendship!

Recently I was reading in Acts about Paul and how difficult life had become for him. He was beaten, bound with chains, accused by the Jews, imprisoned, taken before councils and Rulers, and then eventually sent to Rome. I imagine by the time Paul boarded the ship to begin his journey to Rome he was a tired man; he’d endured a great deal. As I’m feeling bad for him, this verse jumps out at me: “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed” (Acts 27:3 AMP).

I simply adore the fact that Julius, the guard in charge, thought enough of Paul to recognize he needed the care and refreshment of his friends. That part of the story just blesses my heart because I’m so grateful for those who recognized when I needed the care and refreshment only a faithful friend could bring. While my journey, or your journey, may never look like Paul’s, it’s still possible for imprisonment to find us.

We might endure a prison of darkness when depression covers us like a thick heavy blanket. Or chained to a past we can’t seem to move away from. We may find ourselves standing before accusers—relentless in voicing their opinions while refusing to hear ours. Life is full of moments when the waters can become a turbulent sea.

That’s when we need our own Julius, the guard in our lives, to recognize our need for care and refreshment. Who is traveling your journey with you? Who is your guard in life that notices when you’re about to break? Who reaches out when you begin drifting away? We all need a guard like Julius, someone willing to stand by us, giving thoughtful consideration to our needs. And we all crave friends who bring care and refreshment to our lives. The ABCGirl said: Proverbs 11:25b promises, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (NIV).


Source: A friend who refreshes. | Janet Perez Eckles


16 Sep flowers-sketch-copy

From the Heart

Louise Gibson



Today is the “tomorrow” that I thought about yesterday.
Then why is it said, “Tomorrow never comes”.
when it came today?


I have so much to do today,
I’ll have to think this through.
If I can’t complete it all,
Here’s what I’ll have to do.


I’ll set myself free from stress-
more time I’ll have to borrow.
I’ll reschedule today’s events-
“Thank God for tomorrow.”


P.S. I’m going to stop procrastinating-
(Once I get around to it.)

40 Days of Generosity 2016

15 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

In the midst of the never-ending divisive speeches and billboards that characterize the Presidential election season, I saw this small sign that trumped (pun intended)  them all.


Guitar, Vocals, Percussion 40 Days of Generosity


Last year, our town, Titusville, Florida joined together to encourage and strengthen this community that had faced massive job losses and homes whose dollar values made underwater look like an improvement. It was a month-long event and according to Florida Today, the community raised more than $200,000 for a splash park at Sand Point Park and $42,000 to help rebuild a Salvation Army building that would be used as a family emergency shelter in Titusville.

It was a joy to see and read about the large and small ways the community came together and that bonding had lasting results. I believe that hearts are intended for generosity. All hearts. In the past two months we have seen floods wipe out towns in West Virginia and Louisiana. It wasn’t FEMA who worked hand in hand  with the communities to salvage their homes, it was everyday people. Some were from community organizations, others church groups, and still others folks who loaded their vehicles with supplies and showed up. In the midst of the campaign frenzy, let’s remember that we are not what those seeking power choose to label us. We are good people. Generous people.


If you would like to learn more about 40 Days of Generosity visit LovingBrevard.org

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