Kind of a Big Deal

17 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon launch and landing is kind of a big deal in my hometown and all across the Space Coast complete with street parties and an old fashioned Astronaut parade in Cocoa Beach.

We are in North Carolina and missing out on the activities but our daughter, an ardent fan of space exploration has been enjoying the activities. Saturday she attended the parade complete with astronauts riding in vintage Corvettes!

One of our downtown businesses, Hotpoint Boutique commissioned an artist to design a unique print that celebrates the 50th anniversary. The design is sold on tee-shirts and a fluffy blanket as well as the 11×14 print.

If you enjoy historical fiction based around the race for the moon, my daughter is running a giveaway of this print in 11×14 size and a signed copy of her award winning novel, Undaunted. (Previously titled Jessie)

Entry is very easy!

Enter

For my friend outside of the US, she can substitute digital copies of Undaunted and Destiny’s Call, books one and two of her Jessie Cole Series. Unfortunately she cannot include the print.

My daughter wrote an entire blog about the activities on her website, Rebekah Lyn Books including some photos of her dad, my husband at his job as a mechanic on the shuttle fleet.

A Block in Each Hand

16 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I really must brag a little bit here…you will understand as this missive progresses.

Our oldest daughter, Karen, was born in Wiesbaden, West Germany.  She was already on-the-way when we flew over there for Fred’s Air Force assignment.  We were absolutely thrilled that she made her appearance pretty much on schedule.

I have a picture of her – and a cute memory – of an occurrence when she was seven months old. 

She wasn’t walking yet – or talking yet – but she looovvvved her Daddy.

I had her sitting on our bed this one particular instance and was talking to her, when Fred happened to walk past the bedroom doorway.  He did NOT come into the room.  Karen saw him walk by, and reached out her arm, as if to say – DADDY…COME HERE!  And here’s that picture.

Karen – 7 months old, Wiesbaden, Germany

I’m not quite sure just when I learned the following “trick” for when children are learning to walk, and whether or not I used it with our two girls, but somewhere along the line, I learned to do this, and have passed it along to many new mothers and fathers.  I thought I had told both of our girls when their children were growing up, but neither remembers me telling them about it.

To describe it:  I might have mentioned in previous postings that Fred and I have a great-grandson, Silas. 

Silas – 8 months old

Karen and her husband, Brian, get to see him quite often – about once a week, as they go to Forrest and Alyssa’s house to “babysit” so Forrest and Alyssa can have some time off and together time.

Forrest, Alyssa and Silas

Recently, while they were babysitting, Karen did a “duo” cell phone call with us, where we can see that adorable great-grandson of ours, and he can see us. He was a busy little bee that day. He also had one of those push-type toys that he was pushing and walking behind throughout the house.  At one point, Silas took Brian’s fingers in his little hand and began to “walk” around the house.

And so – here comes the “trick” – I mentioned to Karen and Brian that they – or Forrest and Alyssa – should put a block in each of his hands, and he would walk! He thinks that he is holding on to something or someone, and it gives him the assurance that he can really walk!

Credit Pixabay

And what to our surprise, but Karen sent us a VERY short (six seconds!) video of Silas walking – with a block in each hand!!  She said they had suggested it to Forrest and Alyssa, and they actually did it.  And they gave me credit for the suggestion!  (That’s where the bragging part comes in!)

So…if ever you or someone you know wants to encourage a small child to “walk” without help – just put a block in each hand – and watch them go!  It really works!

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.

My Grandmother, Dora Bell Dice Morgan Hunter

15 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story Dora Jane Bowers

“We only have two pictures of Dora Bell. This one was taken late in life yet it gives you a hint of what she looked like. The man in the picture is Daddy Hunter, the only grandfather I ever knew. He was good and kind and I loved him. ”

Dora Jane

Dora Bell Dice had a calamitous life. Her parents lived on a farm outside Warsaw Missouri where she was born June 4. She had nine brothers and sisters.  She died in 1942 at the age of 73. In between, she had sorrows and pain aplenty. Her first two calamities were when her father died after a fall from his horse. The second other was when her mother died from a burst artery in her leg. She was working in the garden when it happened.

Grandmother Dice didn’t tell me when the calamities occurred. When she was 14, however, she married the son of a Welsh miner named Frank Samuel Morgan and moved on with him to the goldfields of Colorado. At some time they had two children. A boy, Charles, and a girl, Vera. 

Modern Day Breckenridge  Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

They ended up in Breckenridge sometime around 1875. In that day, the town was called, “Colorado’s Kingdom” or Swan River Valley. The name Breckenridge didn’t become official until 1961. Now it is a resort as famous for skiing as Aspen is.

The Morgans lived in a log cabin among the pines. It had belonged to someone who had moved on to another mining town. It had the luxury of a few glass windows and a porch. In the summertime, the temperature was mild and breezy, but wintertime brought freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. 

The town was as wild as any mining town has ever been. It had too many bars and an active house of ill repute. Miners with wives and families were scarce, but the wives stuck together and helped each other survive. Most of them made quilts, not just for a past-time, but to keep their families warm. They would have quilting bees from time to time in the home of the woman who had the best quilting frame, and unless they went to church that was the only social life they had. 

Trees, birds and flowers along with other needlework such as quilting and embroidery helped to fill the lonely hours for the women while the men were endangering their lives both in the tunnel mines and on the gold dredges, which would remind you of a steam shovel, except that the buckets on the dredges were much heavier so they could break up the rocks at the bottom of rivers and pull up the dredges to see if there was any gold in it. Many men died doing this kind of work, and any who fell off the dredge and into the freezing water died of pneumonia if he didn’t drown. 

Dora Bell remembered giving biscuits fresh from the oven to hungry Ute Indians who came to the cabin. 

The food for the family was biscuits, gravy, pork, beef, deer, grouse, quail, rabbits, and pheasants. They raised lettuce and rhubarb (which was called pie plant). Other vegetables grew quickly in the short summer and were harvested and canned. Wild raspberries grew at high altitude but needed to be harvested just when they were ripe to beat the bears. Sugar, coffee, and flour were necessary ingredients for many meals cooked on the wood stove or baked in its oven.

Another calamity was set to happen around the time that Frank and Dora Bell’s third child was about to be born. 

To be continued.

If you want to know more about the mines, the miners and the old timey families of Breckenridge get hold of a copy of Prayers for Sale, a wonderful novel by Sandra Dallas

Location of Breckenridge 

A gold dredge 

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.”

Seeking Peace-Be Willing

12 Jul

I read this promise a few days ago.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. Isaiah 55:12

Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the Spirit as love followed by joy, then peace. I believe without God’s gift of love, joy and peace in my oh so fallible heart, I am incapable of reaping the rest of the fruit: forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

To be honest, I am hesitant to move beyond peace. Compared to forbearance, peace is a picnic.

I am claiming the promise of Isaiah 55:12.

He has promised, I need to be willing to be led.

Flower Talk

11 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Cool mountain mornings have lured me to spend time on the porch each morning. My husband built a small water feature near the porch and it sets a calming beginning of my day. Usually, tendrils of cool air tinkle the wind chimes he also made. It’s easy to spend time in prayer and meditation there.

Except this morning. The tendrils of cool air tinkling wind chimes were replaced with sticky stillness and a buzzing insect. If the benefits of porch time outweighs my fear of buzzing insects, I will suck it up and not give up my space. Today, I gave it up.

We haven’t figured out how to grow vegetables in clay soil, so I have resorted to having two small raised beds. I am growing three tomato plants, basil and an okra plant. They are doing well so far. Hopefully the tomato worms won’t climb up to them. I do not like those worms!

Last summer I had a pot filled with coleus and tall grass. When we returned to Florida for the winter, we took it with us. If the Florida winter is mild, we have had success with extending the life of our summer plants. One flowering basket is on its third summer.

I can’t remember the name of this plant. Do you know?

The coleus survived but had become quite “leggy.’ My husband repotted it, cut off the leggy stems and put them into the new pot with the original plant. To my surprise, the coleus has flourished while the grasses have taken all summer to rebound.

Last fall, my friend Sharon shared some pansies with me. They were kind of puny when we left for the winter. To my surprise and joy, they survived winter and are thriving now. I love them!

Repurosed stepping stones and cement column. I love repurposing!

When have been blessed this summer with visits from family and friends and I like to have a cheerful greeting at the door. This summer I chose coleus mixed with what I call, Polka Dot plant. In Florida, I could only grow the spotted plants on a window sill, due to the heat and they never grew tall. It seems they love the North Carolina mountain temperatures. They are getting out of hand!

I had no idea what I was going to write as I started this post. I knew that I wanted to share the photo of the coleus, but that was it. I had fun sharing about the plants. I wonder if that is because my ancestor roots are firmly attached to the soil?

This week I began researching my family tree I knew my parents came from farming families (well except my dad’s time as a moonshiner), but I had no idea how many generations farmed in the same county. As in back to the 1700s. I am in a love\hate relationship with the research. It is addicting. Have you explored your ancestors? Suggestions appreciated.

Desert Highways

8 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Pixabay 

     When I look at this picture, I am reminded of an inexperienced twenty-year-old couple leaving California for Albuquerque New Mexico where our parents lived. Now I wonder…what if we had run out of gas? What if the car had broken down?  What if we got lost and were never found again?

     On New Year’s Eve, 1958, Bill took me and all our effects home from San Diego where we had married and where he was stationed in the Navy. As soon as he returned to the base he’d get on a Navy repair ship going to Japan. By the time we got out of the San Diego area starlight and our headlights were the only illumination we had. We saw no other cars on the desert road, filling stations were almost nonexistent, and the ones we did see were closed. 

     Sometimes I wonder why we weren’t afraid. Bill likes to say that young people think they are indestructible. And I guess that’s it. It helps that we both had mothers and fathers who taught us well and so, we could handle anything. 

     It’s amazing now to think about how we traveled across the desert at night. When the outside air temperature dropped toward zero, there was no thermostat in the 1950 Mercury, and the heater only put out cold air. Then one of our water pumps sprung a small leak and we had to stop at every station we saw to get water from the spigots out front. 

     Now, sixty-two years later, we are no longer naïve and foolish. We know that anybody can die or be trapped in a bad situation. And when either of us or our loved ones are in pain or in trouble, we may become anxious. And then we hear a still small voice saying, “I am here, trust me.” And we do. And though we may still have to battle anxiety, depending upon the severity of the problem, still we trust our Lord. When we come to that point we begin to sing in our hearts and we know that no matter how hard things get, our Lord God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will never leave us or forsake us. Neither Scorching desert nor freezing cold can destroy us or change the way the Father God loves us. We can settle down in peace and even sleep because we know we are not alone. We now know that however hard things may get, this too shall pass. 

Be content with what you have. God has said: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.  We, therefore, can confidently say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not  fear. What can man do to me?’        

Hebrews 13:5-6

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

        

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.”

An Expensive Fish

7 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I would like to tell you about an event Fred and I had while we were in Germany.  As it happens, this took place in the same place where Fred and his family stopped back in the 1940’s.  From his posts he wrote about a trip he and his family took:

I remember one of the places we stopped was in a little town called Scherpenzeel [Holland].  I was really taken aback while we were there – not only there but other places in Holland, just in driving around, we would see many, many women out in front of their house or the place where they worked, actually scrubbing the outside of their building – to keep it clean!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that any place else where I’ve lived.  We stayed in a little inn there, which was called the DeWitte Holevoet, and I think, as I recall, we even ate there.

Hotel DeWitte in Scherpenzeel – 1948

1948 – Hotel DeWitte – Kitty and Emily (by the door) – Scherpenzeel, Holland

While Fred and I were in Germany (Wiesbaden, 1967-1970), we hired a church couple to take care of Karen (she was only two years old) while we did a road trip.  On that road trip, we also stopped in Scherpenzeel, Holland.  Fred remembered the trip he and his family had taken, and the Hotel DeWitte where they stayed and had meals.  So we thought it would be a fun memory for him to eat there again.

Hotel DeWitte in Scherpenzeel – Credit Google Search and tripadvisor

We stopped and looked for a menu for the restaurant.  First rule of thumb when eating out:  never…NEVER…NEVER eat at a restaurant if the menu isn’t posted – that means it is ultra-expensive!  And so, even though we couldn’t find a menu, we decided to eat there, anyway.  Big Mistake!!

When we were given the menu in the restaurant, we swallowed our pride and ordered a fish dinner.  We knew it was going to be expensive, but had no idea just HOW expensive.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was so expensive that it was our “splurge” for the entire trip!  

And then we waited…and waited….and waited…and WAITED.  After about an hour or so, they finally brought the fish out on a platter – the WHOLE fish!  They had actually gone out and caught the fish after we had ordered it, de-scaled it, and then cooked it whole – head and all!  Well, okay, it was REALLY fresh!

Credit Pixabay

In all our other travels in Holland – and many years later with our daughters with us – we never again ate there.  It had changed from a hotel and restaurant, to a gourmet restaurant with a few rooms to let!

We learned our lesson about eating at a place that has no menu displayed!

As a side note – in researching the sites for pictures of this beautiful hotel and restaurant, I was saddened to see that they are “permanently closed.”  No explanation was given.  Unfortunate, since most, if not all, reviews were highly complementary.

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.

For Mom and Country

4 Jul

Title is a play off the name of a Christian band, For King and Country, one of my daughter’s favorite bands.

My mom was a fiery lady, full of fun but didn’t take any guff. Maybe the guff part came from growing up during the Great Depression in a tenant farmer family of 3 boys and 9 girls. The girls worked the fields, picking cotton and barning tobacco alongside their elder brother. The other two boys came along later, once they had moved to town.

All of her siblings grew to become successful adults, some owning businesses, raising families and living a better quality of life than their parents, at least materially.

That is one of the things I love about my country. With hard work, one does not have to remain in the circumstances of their childhood.

Today was her birthday and I find it fitting that she was born on a day celebrated with fireworks, food and family. She moved to Glory 18 yrs ago and I still miss her.

The Race Horse

1 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story Ivan Bowers

Scribe DiVoran Bowers Lites

                  Pixabay

Ira Bowers   DiVoran’s Vintage Photos

Colorado State Penitentiary  Vintage Pictures Canon City

Ira bought Smokey 
When he and Marie 
Moved to Canon City with
Their boys, Ivan and Lowell.
Ira became a guardat 
Colorado State Penitentiary.
The Warden, big tough Warden Royst* 
Ordered Ira to race Smokey
Against his convicts and horses.

 

Convict 1919   Vintage Canon City

Jockey Ivan  DiVoran’s Vintage Photos

Ira’s Ivan, spare thin- -teen
Jockeyed in the races
Everybody in town knew 
Ivan and Smokey could beat 
Royst’s best easy
But he felt he HAD to win
With his horses and his cons.
Ivan asked Royst,
“Let Smoky run like he can 
Just one time.”
“Nosiree. YOU HOLD HIM BACK.
OR YOU’LL BE SORRY!”
Said Warden Royst*
Smokey never ran
As fast as he could
Ivan held him back
And Smokey never won.
 

*Name Changed

Cooper

30 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Have you ever thought about your family name? Where did it come from?  Has it been changed or “revised” through the ages?

My family name has done just that.  One of my father’s siblings did a genealogy research some years ago, and found the name of our original immigrant from Germany in the 1700’s.  The original name was Leitzinger.  I have so much regret that I wasn’t that interested in genealogy while we spent those six years in Germany to do any searching on my own.  Time wasted.

In any case, Leitzinger was changed to Leitsey, and eventually down to Lites, which is my maiden name…as well as my brother’s name.  I kind of like it – it is unusual, and there are many, many relatives throughout the United States.

But that brings me back to my topic – Cooper. Did you know that, back in the Middle Ages (and probably before), people were named for their occupation?

The blacksmith in the village was called “Smith.” 

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The baker was called “Baker.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The one who fashioned crockery was the “Potter.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by cstibi

The one who worked with stone was the “Mason.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Henryk Niestrój

The one who made your clothing was the “Tailor.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Erik Lyngsøe

The one who made rugs and tapestry was the “Weaver.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Sabine van Erp

 And so on. However, the one I want to talk about today is the Cooper.  

Credit to Pixabay and Image by kaufcom

According to Google search and ThoughtCo. – The surname Cooper is an English occupational name for one who made and sold casks, buckets and tubs. The name derives from the Middle English couper, cowper, adapted from Middle Dutch kuper, a derivative of kup, meaning “tub” or “container.” Cooper may also be an Anglicized version of a similar sounding surname such as the Dutch Kuiper, or the Jewish Kupfer or Kupper.

What brought this to mind, was that I learned about “cooper” while we visited Colonial Williamsburg many years ago.  Since then, I have seen several restaurants named “Cooper” or Cooper’s” – and the symbol on the restaurant sign is a barrel.  I mentioned that to my mother once, while I was visiting her in Albuquerque. We saw a sign for “The Cooperage ” and it had the barrel on it.  She had no idea. 

Credit Google Search and the cooperage website

 Even Cracker Barrel uses the barrel in their sign:

And so, even today, when I see the name “Cooper” I visualize a barrel.   I just found that to be interesting.  Perhaps not to you, but it is to me.

Credit to Pixabay and  Image by Herm

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top. Fred says he has walked on top, and his parents danced on it.

Credit to Pixabay andImage by K. H. J. / MCI.

Old postcard drawing.  It holds 221,726 liters of wine.

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top.

Think about your surname – see if you can find where it came from – and where your ancestors are from.  Interesting stuff.

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.

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