Archive by Author

A Quick Trip

18 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

What a couple of weeks this has been. First my husband’s sinus infection that I worried was Covid, then a quick trip from North Carolina to Florida, which seems a little crazy since we have a late September road trip to prepare for.

But and it’s big….I love free and we were gifted a free one night stay in a family suite at a Disney World resort and we would get to spend some days with our daughter. Plus, since Covid, I have been building up a nice nest egg of credit card points that would pay for our food.

What I didn’t factor in was Florida heat in September. We were spoiled with the cool mountain temperatures.

Florida does not have fall. Well at least not until December.

We chose to visit our favorite park, EPCOT and arrived there around 12:30 pm. This is our first trip to Disney with a handicap parking pass. I am so glad my husband has one or we would have never made it into the park. I’m not sure if it was due to Covid or shortage of staff but the trams were not running. We had to take a lot of rest stops. I think my husband is now ready to accept a motorized scooter that was offered to him.

I enjoy the fabulous landscaping in all of the Disney parks. This trip I was surprised at the flower choices. Coleus in different colors were used liberally, accented with caladium, canna lily and penta. There were also plantings of flowers that reminded me of field flowers. They were all beautiful.

I forgot to mention that Disney World is limiting attendance at the parks and requires advance reservations for entrance. We were pleased to be able to reserve both the entrance and lunch in one of the country themed restaurants. We chose Germany. I had checked out the restaurants online and noted that the Biergarten Restaurant was currently serving an all inclusive buffet, minus alcohol. That was extra. With online check in using an app no lines were necessary and that was a plus. The Disney dining app even gave us a count down to check in time notification. That was quite helpful and we resting at a table with an umbrella after the walk to get near the restaurant.

Once our name was called, a funny thing happened. Our party and another one were booked for the same time and had the same first and last name! Only ours was a party of three and they were a party two. It took some paper shuffling for the cast members to straighten it out.

The meal was delicious. I enjoyed the beer and cheese soup and their version of Mac and Cheese. The desserts were yummy too. I filled a plate with one each of the desserts (they were small) and we tried them all. My husband enjoyed a couple of them so much he had to have his own slices. He is very sweet to let me share pictures of him with food.

Our sugar binge is over, done, history. For now.

The Biergarten also had entertainment. Here is a short clip. I imagine this would be a fun restaurant with a large group of friends or family. How do they manage to blow those long horns?

After lunch we received notification our resort room was ready. Once again, check in was done in the app so no line to wait in. It took us awhile to make it to the park exit. When we were close to the parking lot, our daughter went ahead and brought the car to pick us up.

We stayed at The Art of Animation. By the time we arrived there I was too hot and tired to take a photo of the outside. Our building theme was Cars, as in the movie, Cars and the room decor was cute. Along with a queen size bed, the suite had a queen Murphy bed that by day, masquerades as a table.

Thoughts about Covid and Disney. Masks are required at all indoor spaces and some people wore them outdoors as well. It was easy to be socially distant for us, but we did notice that people waiting in lines were not maintaining distance outside. Since I didn’t go into the buildings, I don’t know what it was like indoors. There were a couple of rides we would have enjoyed but we decided to pass on them at this time.Except for the area around Mexico (which I am pretty sure was because people were trying to find a way to get a cold Margarita) we didn’t feel crowded. In the evening, we visited Disney Springs, the restaurant and shopping district. Masks were worn outside there, more so than in the park.

This trip was planned several months ago. The morning after arriving in Florida, we learned our son in North Carolina had Covid and was admitted to hospital and was placed on a vent. We were scared. I cried a lot the first day. Yet I was thankful to be in Florida with our daughter so that we could face this together. So we could pray together. He was in a small local hospital and they were looking for an ICU bed for him in a large facility. We prayed for that bed, thinking he would go to Mission Hospital in Asheville. We were kind of stunned when we learned he was transferred by air flight over 280 miles to Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. The number one hospital in the state. I am thankful God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine. Yesterday was 10 days on a vent and the reports had been up and down. Then we received the call. Our son was off the vent, breathing on his own and talking. We almost had church in the parking lot of Sam’s Club. His wife is going to be allowed to visit him soon and that will be good medicine for both of them.

Our son may have a long recovery ahead and we will continue to pray and give thanks. Through all of this, we have been blessed with comfort that for us, can only come from God. One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament is about the twelve spies sent to check out the Promised land. Ten of them returned saying no way, no how. Those dudes are big. But two, Joshua and Caleb said yes they are but our God is bigger. The Israelites went with the opinion of the 10 and that didn’t turn out too well. A month ago, I made a magnet for my refrigerator that reads, “The Israelites saw giants but Caleb and Joshua saw God.” Daily and sometimes, minute by minute I prayed, “The doctors see Covid Pneumonia but I see God.” That was my comfort, is my comfort and it is available to everyone.

My final thought. I am trusting that our son will recover completely. I grieve for the many, many who have lost people they love to this horrid virus. I like this verse in Romans12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

May our days soon be filled with more rejoicing and less mourning due to this virus.

I'm a winner

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

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

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

Five Promises to Keep You Secure

11 Sep

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged September 11, 2021

September 10, 2021

We can’t blame him. At one time or another, you and I did it, too. And sometimes we can’t even figure it out. Was it simply a shortcoming? Was it jealousy, envy or sorry self-pity?

This scenario plays out in the prodigal son’s story. We all know it. One day he packed foolishness in his suitcase and took off to relish in a wild life.

Eventually, life wasn’t pretty anymore. And like most of us, when life tastes bad, we want to go back to what we had before.

That’s what the prodigal son did. He went back home, remorse weighed heavy in his heart. And when his father saw him coming, he dashed to meet him. He kissed him and called for a celebration.

But not everyone gave him a cheery welcome. His older brother pouted. In his heart and mind his resentment might have repeated, “not fair, it’s just not fair.” In Luke 15:31 the older brother reminds his father how he was the good son, stayed by his side, worked and obeyed him. But there were no celebrations for his efforts. And now that the foolish brother comes back, a party is being prepared. Not fair.

You’ve been there, haven’t you?

You see others being celebrated with blessings. They seem to have an easy life. They have no problems compared to you. Unlike you, they don’t even serve the Lord, yet they live untouched by troubles.

Sometimes we can’t resist the temptation to scratch our heads and complain. “God, you celebrate their lives with good things, why is mine sorrow-filled instead?”

To this good question, the Father gives the answer. It’s filled with profound wisdom. And within it, He brings down the walls of self-pity and shakes out all traces of the poor-me attitude. “’My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’” (Luke 15:31)

What God Offers

Is God saying that to us too? Can all that God has and offers be ours too? When we see what we’re missing. When we focus on what others have and feel we have nothing at all, God hears our heart. With His fingertip, He lifts our chin and says, “But all I have is yours.”

Those are God’s words that should echo in our soul. And because we receive, believe and embrace what He offers, our security is solid and our confidence firm.

And even when the craziness of this world turns to the chaos that robs our security, God reminds us of His love-filled reassurance, His promises and direction. In them is the secret of our security that transcends headlines, social media postings and shouts from dark places. We silence them all with His reassuring truths:

  1. God’s help. “So, we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so, I will have no fear.” (Hebrews 13:6) Lord, when You are our helper, we can conquer mountains, bring down walls of anxiety and delight in the truth that You already overcame the world.
  2. God’s guidance. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 In the darkness of the unknown, I trust the light you shine for each step I take. I walk confidently under the light of Your secure guidance.
  3. God’s strength. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) Lord, with Your promise that You will strengthen and sustain me, my tears stop, my doubt leaves and my worry ends.
  4. God’s security. “… neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38) Lord, nestled in Your love, I can sleep with peace in my heart, with confidence in my thoughts and with expectation in my soul.
  5. God’s protection. “’Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the LORD. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’” (Psalm 12:5) Lord, many seem set out to hurt us, to oppress our values, and harm us, but You are our defender. You are our shield and strong tower to guard us.

Let’s Pray

Father, today is the day I will recognize what You have for me. I will receive the reassurance, the confidence and the security that is found in You. I embrace it to face any attacks, to remove mountains of fear and to restore the peace within me. In Jesus’ name.

What threatens your security today?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please 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: 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

Just a Little Talk with Jesus

7 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Of late, I have been singing myself to sleep with the song “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” One of the many seeds of faith planted in my child heart that now sustains me as our child faces a difficult decision. Oh parents, isn’t it the hardest when we have to stand by while our child struggles?

Isaiah 55:11 is a frequent verse that I have often associated with those turning away from God, praise God it also means the seeds of His truth planted in our hearts will not be lost, but will grow. They will multiply. They sustain me.

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

I have precious memories of my family and my mother’s sister’s family singing this song. My uncle Connie could really hit the low notes. My dad sang tenor and played guitar, mom added her unbelievably beautiful alto and my aunt Della her clear, high soprano. How I wish we had the modern recording abilities then, but memories live beyond every new technology.

I listened to two versions of the song on You Tube. One with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash The other an unknown to me group of African A Capella singers, Jehovah Shalom A Capella. The celebrity rendition was snappy and upbeat but I loved the smiles and blending voices of the African singers.

The days we are living in are hard and some days hope seems to have vanished. Even friends who have remained positive during the season are weary. I am weary. And yes, there is a song from my childhood for that. Come Unto Me. To keep my mind from dwelling on the negative I try to fill my mind and heart with God’s peace.

When churches were closed, so many went online and that has been a huge blessing to me! I regularly watch First Baptist Orlando. The pastor, Dr.David Uth is kind and loving and teaches in an easy to understand manner. The congregation is diverse and the church cares about the community and devotes time and money to it. The singing is wonderful. The 8:30 service music is a blend of traditional and contemporary and I enjoy it. The old songs soothe my heart and the newer ones lift it!

My Florida home church, Gateway Community is also online. The pastor, Clay Stephens is totally different from David Uth but they both love and serve God and although both can be called Doctor, neither uses the title. We call ours, Pastor Clay. He doesn’t have the smooth delivery of many, I am 100% positive the man has serious ADHD but a pastor doesn’t have to be perfect to serve God. Our small church is blessed to call him pastor. He is currently doing a series on Revelations available on You Tube. I have heard this preached many times but I appreciate that Clay admits to not having all the answers.Each week he stresses God’s love for all through the difficult times. Although, unlike the Orlando church we are small, we operate a food pantry to assist our neighbors.

All of the above to say, there is hope and there is peace to be found. You don’t have to venture into a church to find it. You are not alone and you are loved.

I'm a winner

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

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

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

Is It Ok to be Lazy?

4 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

My burning question of the day: is it ok to be lazy?

The weather here in the North Carolina mountains has turned Fall-ish. The last two mornings I have savored time on the porch, enjoying coffee and leisurely conversation with my husband. Morning porch times has extended well into mid morning.

Hurricane Ida tracked through our area as a tropical storm dropping a fair amount of rain. Reports on Facebook of the local falls being full, compelled me to see them for myself. So we did. And they were beautiful.

We have been enjoying Dry Falls for 40 years beginning during our annual vacations. During drought it still flows but not with such vigor. In years past one climbed down several levels of stone steps. At the bottom you can walk behind the falls. It’s refreshing on a warm summer day. A few years ago the park service added an handicap accessible viewing area and that is where we viewed it today. One winter the temperatures dropped very low for several days and we were able to see it with frozen ice surround ing. It was awesome.

Bridal Veil Falls, just a few miles away, was another summer favorite. Its flow is usually gentle and our children enjoyed “mining” for gem stones at the bottom. One year they found several small stones that were either garnet or rubies. I put them in an empty can of Pringles potato chip for safe keeping. Ha ha. In the process of cleaning out the car after vacation, I threw the chip can in the trash.

Now as I write this in mid afternoon I am watching a girl’s television show with my daughter. We watch together using FaceTime. I loved the moments in this day.

I didn’t accomplish anything at all, except for a couple of computer chores for church. I was lazy today, but I’m retired, so that’s ok-right?

I'm a winner

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

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

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

Just When You Think Life is too Much

28 Aug

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

ReBlogged August 28, 2021

August 27, 2021

In 1962, my brother and I snuggled next to my mom. We rode in the back of a dilapidated truck around the mountains in Bolivia. “When will we get there?” I asked her as my ten-year-old mind anticipated fun moments in the tropical area of Bolivia.

But to get there, we risked our lives. The only way to reach our destination was to travel on the most dangerous road in the world.

The narrow one-lane, dirt road had no barriers. One wrong turn of the wheel would plunge the vehicle down the huge cliff. Hundreds of crosses marked the spots where fatal accidents took place.

One such accident reached the news recently. The injuries included a young man paralyzed. His family, American missionaries, sent prayer requests through cyberspace.

How does that happen? He walked only moments earlier, paralyzed the next.

Tragedy barges in.

Why is it that on the road of life, tragedy barges in unannounced? It catches us unprepared, vulnerable to its cruelty.

I tasted that heartache when COVID struck our home. I recovered with God-given natural protocols.

But my precious 92-year-old Mom had a different kind of victory as the Lord called her home.

I experienced the deep pain of having to say goodnight to my joy-filled Mom who lived with us for nearly 30 years. In our human mind, that sudden painful change has no reason. But through reflection and in moments of silence in His presence, I also learned God’s restoring love has no limit. And this truth will allow me to say “good morning” in heaven someday.

7 Promises

When days drag on, and when we think life’s too much, God offers the freedom from the prison of sorrow and heartache. They’re included in these seven promises.

  1. We count on His help, constant and never changing because “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He’s present when tears flow unexplained. He’s present when the burden presses down. And He’s by us when the void aches within.
  2. We silence words of self-pity or sorrow as we declare “My lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live…” (Psalm 63:4a). Even in the midst of sobs, we give Him glory for His power at work. For His love that soothes. and for His promises that hold us up.
  3. Rather than gaze at our pain, we repeat the psalmist words,” I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). His help is timely. His help is perfect. And it’s the one our heart needs.
  4. Our heart may be broken, but our soul is intact. “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:5). Although life may seem unfair, we count on the richness of His provision. He will provide the comfort, the peace and the reassurance for every desperate moment.
  5. We thank Him for the sweet sleep that will come because “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night because you are my help…” (Psalm 63:6). God does not slumber or sleep so that we can. We rest in His presence and sleep on the pillow of His whisper.
  6. We claim His power, knowing where we find protection. “We sing in the shadow of your wings. Our soul clings to you…” (Psalm 63:7). His Wings protect us. His refuge covers us. And His embrace gives us life.
  7. We declare: Lord, we will not faint because “Our soul clings to you; your right hand upholds us” (Psalm 63:8). We may feel weak. We may stumble. But we’ll never fall, His strong arm sustains us.

Let’s pray.

Father, I praise you for already knowing the help we would need, the comfort we would desire, and the reassurance we would call for. Thank you for going before us to prepare the healing and the restoration of our peace. I thank you in Jesus’ name.

To whom will you turn when life becomes too much?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please 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: 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

Our Covid Tests Were Negative and Other Things.

28 Aug

My Take

Onisha Ellis

On the 12th of August my husband began to feel unwell. I fretted, and he insisted it was a sinus infection. By the weekend he wasn’t feeling well at all and I had begun to have sniffles. On Monday morning I called the county health department and we went for tests in the afternoon. We didn’t get the results until Thursday. Meanwhile my husband’s sinus pain worsened but my symptoms disappeared. Our local hospital has a fairly good urgent care center and as soon as we had the results, we drove to the center armed with his report. My husband was right…sinus infection. Thankfully the medicines are working and he is on the mend.

Our daughter was here for a short visit and was supposed to fly home on the 16th. A few days before her flight, she received a message the airlines had cancelled the flight. That turned out to be fortuitous as around 1 am on the 16th the electricity went out for 10 hours. None of us slept well after that. It would have made for a very long day for her.

Once we were all up and about, I wanted to go into town to get coffee. We have a Coleman camping stove but it was buried in the garage and I didn’t want my still recovering husband to have to dig it out but, well, you know men. He found it and set it up. Our daughter went upstairs and brought down our ancient stove top percolator. As I prepared the coffee pot I wondered if I would still be able to make a decent cup of perked coffee. Once the pot began to bubble, it all came back to me. I adjusted the flames and watched the color change in the glass knob on the top. I told my daughter I was passing on to her the ancient art of making coffee. It turned out quite well.

While our daughter was here we managed to visit a couple of waterfalls in between rain showers.When we arrived at Whitewater falls after an hour and a half drive it was raining and we were starving. Fortunately there was an empty picnic shelter that we could pull up to and unload the food.

We visited this waterfall a few weeks ago with our cousins and were anxious to share it with our daughter.

Our next stop was Silver Run falls. I think of this as a friendly waterfall. The trail is short and well maintained and the falls, while not majestic are pretty and is a favorite place for locals to let their children splash.

Our daughter had rebooked her cancelled flight for Thursday but when our Covid tests results weren’t available on Wednesday she asked for and received permission to work from our home in North Carolina until Monday. We of course, were thrilled to have her with us a few extra days. Before she left, the two of us had lunch at an interesting restaurant near downtown. All of the seating was outdoors, some under a shelter and others covered with large umbrellas. Those umbrellas were came in handy as yet one more rain shower passed over.

On Monday we had to be up at 5 am to take her to the airport. i am not fond of arising before the sun but I do enjoy a nice sunrise. From our home in the mountains, we seldom see sunrise so I was looking forward to a spectacular one! I forgot about fog. I had resigned myself to no sunrise and then we rounded a curve in the road and there it was.

We enjoyed her visit and the house feels a little lonely now.

I'm a winner

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

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

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

Five pitfalls to avoid when looking for happiness.

14 Aug

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Dear Friends,

The pursuit of happiness can be a trap. While being happy certainly feels good, happiness in itself can be fleeting. Finding Joy-the deep and abiding-is what we should really focus on.

Today I share a post from 2016, a post to remind you (and me) that joy is what we should be seeking. The joy that can only be found in the Lord.

Janet

Five pitfalls to avoid when looking for happiness.

Reblogged August 14, 2021

August 13, 2021

“I know the guy is not the right one for her,” my friend said some years back. “But as long as she’s happy.”

Her daughter married him and shortly after, it ended in a painful and bitter divorce.

Is wishing happiness what we want for our kids?

Happiness is often confused with joy. Happiness can turn to sadness. And looking for it leaves us disappointed.

Here are five pitfalls to avoid when looking for happiness:

  1. Looking for it in relationships. Happiness cannot be found in another person, for they’re looking for their own path to happiness.
  2. Longing to be happy by pleasing others rather than pleasing God first.
  3. Expecting circumstances to make us happy, for they change as quickly as the weather.
  4. Waiting for someone to change before we feel happy.
  5. Expecting that happiness will last and bring fulfillment.

Joy is what we need.

Happiness is fleeting, often elusive and deceptive. Joy is what the soul longs for. Peace is what our heart needs. Wisdom is what brings the greatest rewards. And contentment is what ushers the richness of life.

That richness is found in complete joy, the kind that’s already in us when we believe:

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:9-11)

His joy can’t be taken away by circumstances, stages of life, unexpected turns or even tragic events. When happiness wanes, His joy in us remains vibrant

Let’s Pray

Father, I admit I have spent too much time seeking momentary happiness, instead of seeking You. For when I find You, then my joy will be complete. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What will you do with your newfound joy?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please 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: 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

Girl’s Day Fun

13 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

My husband and I share our birthday month, August and exactly two weeks apart. Our daughter in Florida plans to visit between our birthdays to celebrate both. Husband’s day was on Tuesday and our daughter arrived from Florida on Wednesday. Not even close to half way between, but who cares? She is here and we are happy

Wednesday was a long day for my husband, what with the trip to the airport, a late lunch, some shopping and then an hour and a half drive home. After a long day, he needs a full day to recuperate, so I planned a fun girl’s day adventure, locally of course.

Someone recently asked in the what’s happening in Franklin Facebook group, where to find a good bakery. I was surprised at the number of bakeries in this small town. I decided our girl’s adventure would be a spin off of the well known pub crawl. We would do a bakery craw

Armed with the phone GPS I typed in the first bakery address, Cinnamon Hill Pastries and Gelato. We wouldn’t have found it without the GPS. I am pretty sure the previous building tenant was a tattoo parlor and I would have driven right past it. Actually Rebekah would have driven past, as I was navigating. Once inside there was no sign of its possible tattoo history with it’s gleaming wood floors and large, bright windows. The owner had a large assortment of homemade gelato and a small assortment of European pastries. We decided to share an Italian pastry with a long name. The owner suggested simply calling it a seashell pastry due to its shape. The outer texture was similar to an italian bread loaf yet flaky like a croissant. Inside was infused with orange flavor and ricotta. It was delicious. For our gelato, we chose hazelnut. I haven’t been a fan of hazelnut, it always seems to taste blah. But this hazelnut was good

Our next stop was Brooklyn Bagels, a recommendation from a friend who heard about our adventure. She spoke so highly of it, we had to try it. Situated on a corner in Franklin’s downtown, it is a good location for those looking for a quick treat or meal. I was impressed with their menu which included sandwich bagels and even a pizza bagel! The owners are friendly and definitely from New York. Their goal is to give their customers good service with wait times under 5 minutes. Rebekah chose an Asiago bagel to enjoy for breakfast Friday.

A customer in Cinnamon Hill recommended Bend Willow Bake Shop for its breads. It should have been s straight shot down from Brooklyn Bagels and it was, we simply didn’t see it. After passing it, GPS rerouted and suggested we turn the wrong way on a one way street. With two failed attempts we decided to move on to La Toluca, a Mexican bakery that had rave comments on Facebook for quality and price. We did make a quick stop at the library used book store so Rebekah could dash in to search for books by two of her current favorite authors. That girl reads so many different genres I can’t keep up with her favorites.

La Toluca did not disappoint. As soon as we entered we inhaled the tantalizing aroma of fresh baking. I admired the lighted display cases with their overwhelming assortment of pastries. After a lot of oohing we decided on a pineapple pastry and planned to stop at a local park to eat it but plans change.

Since we would be approaching Bend Willow Bake Shop from a different direction, we decided to give the GPS one more chance. We found the bakery but not without some difficulty. The bakery is in a lovely, well landscaped. two story house. Everything color coordinated including the sign. Tasteful blending is admirable but blending in so perfectly a business is unrecognized, not so much.

This bakery is all about the ambiance. A wide front porch invites one to sit a while. Inside is trendy with conversation friendly seating and the baked goods tastefully displayed.The assortment of baked items was limited, but it was getting on to mid afternoon, so definitely might have been a contributing factor. We chose an interesting pastry, peach hazelnut, that seemed to have a biscuit type bottom and a course muffin type top.

Standing behind the house is a wooden gazebo and we decided to eat our pastries there, rather than driving to the park. The pineapple pastry from La Toluca was by far the better of the two with a crunchy and flaky outside and an inside muffin texture that was light and fluffy. The peach hazelnut biscuit didn’t have much flavor.Definitely no pop. This may be due to the burnt bottom. The burnt biscuit flavor wasn’t distasteful to me as I enjoy the depth of flavor the burn adds but in this case it obscured any other flavor. La Toluca also impressed with its pricing. Our pastry there cost $1.25 and the one at Bend Willow cost $3.50.

Although rain was predicted, we enjoyed partly cloudy skies with a few rumbly clouds. What a fun way to spend an afternoon. Maybe next time she visits we could do an ice cream crawl.

Ita Entered the Glory of Heaven

3 Aug

The Old Things R New family are sad to learn of the passing of the mother of fellow blogger, Janet Perez Eckles. Her father passed on a few years ago. Her parents story of saving up to come to America is not only inspirational, it is creative as well. They lived their lives full of the joy of the Lord. Below is Janet’s post on Facebook.

My Mom, Lucy, whom we all called “Ita” just entered the glory of heaven filled with a peace that only the Lord could have provided.

Covid attacked her body, but Christ brought the victory. At 92, she was radiant with health, no meds, no ailments. Yet, she often mentioned the glory of heaven that awaits those of us who know Christ Jesus.

She frequently would express her anticipation of living in that eternal glory. She did so with her unique, contagious joy.

Her heart saddened each time she heard of a friend who suffered with Alzheimer’s, or dementia, or cancer, chronic pain or unable to walk on their own. Deep down she wanted to avoid such a life of disease. God indeed honored her by transitioning her from a healthy, beautiful body to a glorious, even more perfectly healthy body to live for eternity. She left those who knew and love her the legacy of joy which characterized her so beautifully.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, please send donations in her memory to her most beloved church:

Greene way Church

3400 Hunters Creek Blvd.

Orlando, FL 32837

As you may know, Janet is blind and finds reading blog posts challenging. If you would like to leave a comforting message, I will pass it on to her.

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

Paul Revere’s Helper

3 Aug

The Storyteller Almanac

The latest greatest episode in my ongoing podcast series, The Storyteller Almanac is now live and available online. The title of this one is, “Paul Revere’s Helper.” It’s a true story about the famous ride of Paul Revere. But it talks about a helper Paul had that night back in Colonial Days you might not have ever been taught in your school days. Presented in the Paul Harvey, “Rest Of The Story Format,” ya’ gotta stick with me until the end of this short story to fully get the impact and surprise ending.

Click HERE to listen

The podcasts can be found on any of the major podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. You can also go directly to my podcast home page at www.StotytellerAlmanac.com 

Also on my homepage is a donation button if you feel so inlcined to make a contribution to help keep the podcast up and running. Additionally, please follow or subscribe to the podcast on any of the aforementioned podcast platforms so you won’t miss any future episodes.

Thanks for droppin’ by neighbor! Mike – The Storyteller” 

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

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

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

MikeThomasImagery@gmail.com

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