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Visitors…Furry is Not my Friend

28 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Our daughter drove up from Florida over Easter, making a stop on the way to spend a couple of days with a college friend. We enjoyed spending Easter together before she drove over to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to spend a few days with an old friend. They both love rollercoasters and were looking forward to some thrill rides.

Rebekah and her dad enjoying coffee on the porch before Easter service.

The big, black bear is definitely back. As I mentioned last week, It was first sighted at a neighbor’s home so we made sure to bring in our bird feeders at night in hope that the bear would not visit. It seems our plan did not work. So far we have recorded him twice on our game camera. His second visit, we were in bed, but not yet asleep when we heard a noise and ran to look outside.

Our family, cousins visiting from Florida heard the same noise we did but decided to stay safe and snug in the bedroom. After seeing the video from the game camera the following morning, it took some coaxing to convince them they would be safe on the porch during the day.

Our cousins have visited several times before, and I knew that they enjoyed exploring and driving back roads. I remembered a quaint church we discovered a couple of years ago, just a few miles away. Saint John’s Episcopal Church. It is a small lovely church surrounded by graves dating back to the 1800s.

While we were there, a volunteer was tending to the church needs and shared the history. We were surprised to learn the congregation meets outside in good weather. Our previous visit there was in summer. This visit the blooming dogwood trees changed the whole atmosphere.

Over the winter our daughter’s much loved friend, Mia the cat died.As she emerged from grieving she began praying for direction in choosing a new companion pet. Ideally, she wanted to adopt one that was given up due to the owners inability to no longer care for it. She was open to a cat or a dog. She brought a carrier with her, to be ready just in case. One day on a grocery run she saw a sign for a shelter with a website listed. She found two dogs, brother and sister that had been surrendered and were available. They were two years old, part dachshund and chihuahua. By the time we arrived the following day, the female was adopted but the male was still available. I think it was love at first sight.

HIs name was chewy, which I thought was a bit ominous, but so far he hasn’t lived up to it. Our daughter has always wanted a dog named Ollie and is in the process of training him to recognize it as his new name. Has anyone every changed a pets name?

The weekend before she returned to Florida, she helped me pot some flowers, which she is good at and I am not, and climbed the hill behind us to anchor a flower basket. I love seeing the petunias waving at me as I sip my morning coffee on the porch.

She also supervised her dad hanging a sign over the door to our porch. It was a Christmas gift and I had waited all winter to be home and have it hung. I enjoy it every time I see it.

Sadly, our time together with our daughter was drawing to a close. She had really wanted to have a campfire one evening and on her last night, the weather was perfect, warm with a touch of cool.e could have toasted S’mores if I had planned ahead. Living a low carb lifestyle would have meant I would have needed to make both marshmallows and graham crackers. We substituted with mango ice cream and Razzle Dazzle coffee. The coffee is from a local Florida roaster and has a delicious raspberry flavor.

5 Steps to Live Without Heartache and Sorrow

23 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged April 23, 2022

April 15, 2022

What was I thinking? While friends at church stuffed Easter eggs with candy, I had stuffed sorrow in my heart.

The loss of my youngest son had me living in the Friday of heartache. The day of darkness. The time similar to the Friday when Jesus was put on the cross, endured horrific pain and shed His blood.

But then something happened, something changed. Something surged, miraculously and supernaturally. Jesus didn’t stay on the cross; He rose in full glory, full triumph displaying sweet victory.

So, crazy gal that I am, why would I dismiss this victory and stay on the Friday of pain?

Jesus washed all the grief with the blood He shed on that cross. He cursed sorrow, rebuked pain and declared it all finished.

That’s why our self-pity and heartache have to also finish. It ends.  And thus, we welcome the freedom to begin relishing in his glorious victory.

Time to celebrate.

The resurrection of hope has arrived. And with the rebirth of new joy, comes a new beginning—our own, personal Easter Sunday.

We then put on the new outfit of healing, of freedom and renewed gusto. We get busy creating a new joy-filled life.

Never looking back, we focus on the road ahead, to the message our life would give and to the legacy we leave behind.

When the day comes and our chair is empty at the dinner table, what will our family say about our life? While they scoop up a second helping of mashed potatoes or more slices of ham, will they remember the way we dreaded our Calvary or will they recall how we lived our Easters?

How about you?

Have you reached your own Easter of triumph for others to see? Whether we display sorrow or serenity, we’re subtly creating a legacy, weaving memories and painting strokes on our own portrait. The one our family will hang on the wall of their hearts.

And for the Easters to come, the portrait will showcase the life we lived, the values we held and the conviction that danced in our heart when we answered these questions:

  1. Did we sink under the weight of our cross?
  2. Did we keep moving with the strength of hope?
  3. Did we relish on our own Easter of joy?
  4. Did we choose to see life beyond circumstances?
  5. Did we look for tomorrow with passion, or did we sink into today’s trials?

No matter what the answer, there is no cross of pain that can hold us down. No suffering that can keep us back because Jesus is alive, declaring He overcame all.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Let’s Pray

Father, I thank you for the triumph. And I pray your everlasting love nourishes my desires, goals and dreams. I ask for wisdom to leave a legacy that honors you, resonates with my children’s children, and reflects my obedience to your precepts. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What legacy is your life preparing today?

Janet

______________________________________

I invite you to dance with me—celebrating one of my books, “Contagious Courage: A 30-Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety.” Get your copy HERE and tell your friends, too.

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.

Let’s connect:

Comments: I welcome your thoughts; please consider leaving a comment. Just scroll down to the bottom of this blog post and look for the word REPLY. You can post your comment there. Please note: Everyone leaving a comment must first log in using the link provided. If you haven’t yet signed up, this link will also walk you through the steps.

An Opportunity for You

If God spoke to you through these writings, would you prayerfully consider joining us in spreading the goodness of Christ Jesus to those who are lost and hurting?

With immense gratitude, JC Empowerment Ministries welcomes your tax-deductible donations.

One click will take you to the place for your gift. You can GIVE HERE.

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

Moving On…Almost on Schedule

14 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Our target date for our annual migration from Florida to North Carolina was April 4th. Our actual leaving date was April 6th. A two day delay is almost a record for us as we seldom leave on the planned date.

We managed this even with two surgeries and an emergency hospital admission for my husband. We did have to promise to return in June for medical follow ups.

Saturday, April 2nd was the annual Fox Lake Spring Craft Fair. For our area it is a pretty big event and our daughter had secured a table to sell books. Of course, I wanted to remain in Florida for that! The weather forecast was almost 100% rain and even though her table was under a large pavilion, a day of wind and rain didn’t sound good for sales. Regardless, the event was on and we went early to set up. Fortunately, there was an overseer making sure everyone was in the correct spot.

Our set up was simple. A table cloth, banner and books. I enjoyed watching the other vendors set up. It was obvious they were well acquainted with craft fairs. Most had help but the vendor next to us set up her whole table alone and did a great job. One thing I will say though, books are heavy, even with a hand cart.

Vendors spaces were not limited to the pavilion. There were a lot of vendors on the outside. I didn’t realize how many until we were leaving for the day. I was too tired to take pictures of them. I did snap these pictures early in the day of a few vendors set up close to the entrance of the pavilion.

Besides my daughter there was another local author there, Jay Heavner. I bought two of his books a few years ago and was hoping he would be there. He writes murder mystery novels set in our county. When people stopped at our table we would ask what type of books they enjoyed. If the answer was murder or mystery, we told them there was an author in the far corner with just what they were looking for. On a side note, since people are moving to Florida in record numbers, his books give a local’s perspective of Florida. Check him out.

I walked around looking at the different crafts for sale. Man, there are some talented people in the area! I was drawn to two of my favorite things, quilts and wreaths.

A man stopped by our table carrying what looked like twisted wire. And that is exactly what it was. Twisted aluminum wire made into art by a retired electrician. Our cousin, Roger, is a retired electrician and I promptly took a picture and emailed it to him with the text, you can do this!

As the day progressed we kept checking our phones for the hourly rain forecast. Little by little the expected rain time pushed further out. With each delay we said, “thank you, Jesus.” The event was supposed to end at 4 pm. Around 2:30 the skies took on a threatening locker and some vendors began packing up. At 3 pm, we decided to pack away most of the books and leave one or two of each title on the table. We were making ready for a quick departure. Hauling books in the rain would not be fun. My daughter scoped out the vendor parking field and found an empty space next to the paved road. I don’t know how she did it, but she maneuvered her car into the space. When we decided to pack and run, we wouldn’t have to pull the cart in mud.

Being in the pavilion recalled to mind memories of church picnics there as well as the year the high school Band Parents association ran the kitchen for the MacDonnell Douglas company picnic. It was a hot, hard work, fund raiser, but when you have kids, you do these things. It was mind boggling that 32 years had passed since then.

The crowd, which had been quite heavy began to dwindle as the clouds became heavy and dark. We decided it was time to go. We almost made it home when the skies delivered the promised rain. Once home, we left the books in the car and made a dash for the house. We were tired, hungry and happy that the day went well.

The following day, my husband and I celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary. We are blessed. And now we are settling into our home in the North Carolina mountains. The hummingbirds arrived two days ago and unfortunately a bear did too. My neighbor captured a photo on his game camera of one a bear sniffing around their children’s trampoline. The neighborhood is hoping that if we all bring in our bird feeders at night the bear will move on. It’s kind of creepy seeing a bear on the porch like we did last year. He made multiple visits.

The following day, my husband and I celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary. We are blessed. And now we are settling into our home in the North Carolina mountains. The hummingbirds arrived two days ago and unfortunately a bear did too. My neighbor captured a photo on his game camera of one a bear sniffing around their children’s trampoline. The neighborhood is hoping that if we all bring in our bird feeders at night the bear will move on. It’s kind of creepy seeing a bear on the porch like we did last year. He made multiple visits.

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 2022 goal is continue to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media.

It’s Been a While

22 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I knew it had been awhile since I wrote a blog, but I am kind of shocked I haven’t written anything since last January. February first brought pre-op visits, surgeries, post op visits, loss of a family member and a lot more, I think you get the picture.

But good things happened too. A twenty year broken family relationship was restored and my heart is dancing with delight. Only God could have healed done it.

I wear funky old people sunglasses that fit over my glasses because I am not responsible enough to remember where I put the glasses I take off to wear shades. Due to an eye condition I have to wear sun shades that do a great job at filtering UV rays and they are expensive. To my dismay I realized my sunglasses were fraying and needed to be replaced. I took them to the optical office where I had purchased them in 2019 to order a new pair and received a wonderful surprise. The glasses were covered with a lifetime warranty! I filled out an online warranty claim on March 18th and received a new pair on March 21st. Amazing! The brand name is Cocoons and I highly recommend them.

Coccoons

Monday was promising to be typical of most days since the first of February, appointments and a tight schedule. I had the day planned. The first item of my to do list was a failure. The office where I needed to drop off my tax paperwork was unexpectedly closed until noon. (note on door). Fortunately our daughter was off work for the day and volunteered to drop them off later. The second and third tasks went pretty smoothly and I thought the 4th one had gone smoothly too, but not so much. The fourth and final errand before going to an out of town doctor appointment was to stop at Publix Grocery. A quick grab and go for some fresh green beans for our supper. My husband is on special diet and can’t eat much, but he can eat green beans.

The grab part went well and my husband agreed to snap the beans while I put laundry in to wash and made his lunch. Then I pulled the beans from the package. G R O S S. They looked fine but…they were slimy. My first thought was I don’t have time to go back to the store.

My second thought was, I’m calling Publix. For those not familiar with the store, they are a great grocery chain and take pride in their products. I wanted to alert them to the problem since I wouldn’t be taking mine back for at least a day. When I spoke with the manager she offered to replace them, which I knew they would. I told her I had a tight schedule and couldn’t return to the store in time to prepare and serve them. She offered to have them delivered right away. Wow!

Probably less than 15 minutes passed before there was a knock on the door. Too soon for Publix I thought. Our daughter answered the door and there stood the produce manager of the store, with a grocery bag in one hand and flowers in the other! Who does that?

The rest of the day went smoothly. We made it to the doctor appointment, took out a loan to fill up the car with gas (joking about the loan.) and even ran the car through a free car wash. My husband had green bean for his supper and I was happy that the doctor had told us the end of his restrictive diet is near.

Life happens with its joys and difficulties and sometimes my mind is too muddled to put coherent words together. I am thankful for my fellow bloggers, dear friends who keep the blog going.

Today is a new day with new challenges. I don’t think the day will end with flowers, but, you never know what sprinkle of joy God has planned for us.

From Dreaded to Delightful

24 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Since January I have been ignoring a date on my calendar. February 23, 2022. For months my time has revolved around caring for my husband. Taking him to doctors, finding a specialist, sending medical reports, coordinating appointments and managing the “arranging” of life. I didn’t feel I had time for February 23rd and truth be told, I was a bit afraid.

At my annual checkup with a specialist in January, the doctor suggested I undergo a diagnostic procedure, as a precaution. My initial thought was I don’t have time for this. Then I remembered that a cousin close to my age had died from a cancer my doctor was concerned about. I agreed to the test but pushed it until late February . I was just too busy.

The day before the procedure I was feeling all grumpy. In the past when my husband or I had to go to this particular diagnostic center, it seemed an appointment time was merely a suggestion. My procedure required nothing to eat or drink after midnight and I don’t do well without food and morning coffee.

Photo Credit-My husband taken at The Ark Encounter

Mid-afternoon the center called and asked if they could move my time to 7 am. Along with not doing well with the hangries. I am not an early morning person. I would have to wake up at 5:30 am.

Ark Encounter

Just as I was about to say no way, sanity hit me. 7 am would make me one of the first cases. No hours wait because they were running behind schedule. I could give up sleep for that perk.

From the time I woke, February 23rd turned from dreaded too delightful. I woke before my alarm and spent some time reading scripture and meditating on it. That always makes my day better. My daughter drove me to the diagnostic center in a nearby town. Traffic was light and we even had green lights at most of the traffic signals.

Once at the center, the staff was friendly and on time. Even the IV line went in smoothly. Not a bit of bruising either. The procedure went well and no signs of cancer were found. Hallelujah! And get this, next to the diagnostic center was a Dunkin Donuts and I really like their coffee.

After my coffee fix, I told my daughter I felt wide awake and let’s run her errands and have some fun. Our first stop was a discount store we had been wanting to visit and look for bargain books. We found some bargains but didn’t buy a single book.

Then it was back in the car to drive to another town to pick up a ship to store order. My original cup of coffee was history and we were both wanting more and as luck would have it, there was a coffee cafe, Bold Cup Coffee a few stores away from where the ship to store item was picked up.

I think it may have been new as neither of us had seen it before, We decided to give it a try and I am glad we did. We asked the barista what drink was her favorite. She recommended her families special brew, a Peruvian cafe con Leche. It was really good.

I think the caffeine was holding off the post-procedure sleepiness and I was ready for the next errand on my daughter’s list. So back on the road to yet another town to have her car serviced, washed, vacuumed and fill the gas tank. Oh, and the car dealership had free coffee, a brand named Jittery Joe. I had to try it but it didn’t come close to the flavor of the previous coffees.

With the errands complete we began to think about lunch. We didn’t see any place interesting along the interstate as we drove home so I decided we should splurge and dine at our local and famous seafood restaurant, Dixie Crossroads.

There was a twenty minute wait and the day was so beautiful, with a gentle breeze, we decided to wait outside. The restaurant has a small pond loaded with fish and turtles. The turtles were taking advantage of the beautiful day to get some sun.

My dreaded day became a delightful day shared with one of my favorite people.

I have become addicted to local roast. Who needs big chains? Well, except I really did enjoy my cup of Dunkin Donuts. Tomorrow we plan to try out a local coffee roaster close to our home. Can’t wait!

PS: Once we were home, I began to feel the effects of my morning anesthesia.I changed in Pjs and enjoyed a two hour nap!

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with over flowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life,

Philippians 4:6 The Passion Translation

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 to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media.

Retail Therapy

12 Feb

My Take

Onisha Ellis

Life has been a bit hectic of late with out of town doctor visits and pre-op appointment at a large and confusing hospital followed by surgery for my husband. Then we had to reschedule a previously planned surgery, get new paperwork and fill out online paperwork for the upcoming surgery. On a side note, this facility wanted us to enter all of his medications into a line by line form. I keep a medication list which is easy to copy/paste, but I draw the line at entering it all into their computer.

After a week of wifely post-op duty I was ready for some girl time! Our daughter was unexpectedly off work on Monday and we decided some retail therapy was in order.

After some rainy days, Monday was sunny and beautiful with just the right touch of cool temperature. We decided to drive north to the Outlet center in Daytona Beach. Light traffic made for a pleasant drive and I could feel my stress falling away as we drove north. Of course we didn’t want to be away from our patient too long so we chose to limit our shopping to three stores.

Our first stop was to the Beall’s outlet. We have one in our town, but the one in Daytona is larger and my daughter was looking for something specific. She didn’t find it, but we did each buy a pair of sandals and I bought a fry pan. I bought this same one when we first settled into Florida for the winter and I loved it so much, I wanted one for our home in North Carolina. When I was paying for the sandals and pan, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my account had a birthday credit on it plus Monday shoppers receive a 10% discount. So basically the pan was free. My kind of shopping!

Our next stop was totally practical, Sam’s Warehouse Club. Our local club was out of several items we regularly buy and we were hoping this club would have them. And they did.

Now, don’t laugh but our third planned stop was Buc-ees, a mega gas station with a huge store (and the most elegant restrooms I’ve ever seen) When we stop there for gas, we are in a hurry and with no time to explore. We were headed there when my daughter saw a shop with the funny name of Duck Donuts. My ears perked up. I told my daughter we had to go there and being the sweet person we adore, she drove around the center to get back to Duck Donuts.

Have you ever had them? They are cake donuts made to order. My husband and I discovered them in Asheville, NC. This is their story.

It all began on the sandy beaches of the Outer Banks in Duck, North Carolina. There, Russ DiGilio and his family would enjoy relaxing and fun vacations. But something was missing – there were no fresh donuts! So, they decided to create their own and Duck Donuts was born. Now, you can enjoy the taste of the Outer Banks in your backyard by visiting one of our 100+ locations across the country!

https://www.duckdonuts.com

My daughter had no idea why I was insisting on getting donuts but she isn’t prone to turning one down.

Screen shot: DuckDonuts.com

We both Chose a peanut butter paradise, I chose a bacon in the sun and she chose a raspberry sunrise and I picked out a blueberry pancake to take to the hubby. Let me tell you, they were delicious! Hot yummy goodness. We could only mange to eat one apiece but we forced ourselves to half the peanut butter paradise and it did not disappoint! If you like donuts, you must try them.

Beck on track, we drove over to Buc-ees. We entered from the gas pump side. Typical gas station items like chips, staples etc were on the left with hot foods, beverages to the right. Also to the right was an impressive array of home decor. Think mini Hobby Lobby. We definitely chose to browse right to left.

We browsed from home decor to clothing, jewelry, children’s clothes and toys, jerky, pastries, cheeses, and charcuterie. We ended up at the one section we were familiar with, the smoked brisket. Their brisket is so good! We bought two sandwiches to eat for our lunch but were only able to eat half thanks to our Duck Donut splurge.

With our sweet tooths satisfied and tummies full we headed back home. It was a much needed break. And since i put a roast in the crock pot before leaving home, I didn’t have to answer the eternal question…”what’s for dinner?”

PS: I wrote better descriptions of the items in the store, but my internet crashed and obliterated it.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay 

We are excited to announce that our daughter’s third book in the Jessie Cole Trilogy is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Legacies are woven that bind fate or ignite dreams.

Jessie Cole worked hard to rise from humble beginnings to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. He didn’t think he’d face a more difficult challenge until he became a father. Now, he must weigh his decisions and endeavor to raise his children with the values of faith, perseverance, and love that shaped his own life.

Mariana Cole has gazed up at the heavens with wonder since infancy. Tales of her father’s trips to space feed her curiosity and drive her to understand why humanity hasn’t traveled beyond our own moon. Will she follow her father’s path or blaze her own trail to change the trajectory of space exploration?

This series is especially dear to our hearts as it is set in our hometown and some of Jessie’s antics came from my husband’s childhood.

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 to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media.

The Big Warm up

3 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Last week here in Florida we were preparing for the “big freeze.” The freeze was freezing! We covered our fragile plants and all but one survived with no damage. We neglected to cover a pot of purple Coleus and it is not looking well. My daughter thinks the roots may be ok and that trimming it back may salvage it. On a positive note, the Crotons did just fine.

Photo Credit: Me!

As i write this on Wednesday night, the air conditioner is running. Thursday and Friday we will have temperatures in the 80s again. Hopefully our northern visitors (Anyone visiting from north of the Florida state line) will be quick to take advantage of the warmth because in true Florida fashion, the temperature will plunge again, though not as far as last week.

Lots of talk and memes for Ground Hog day. Local weather stations have posted some fun memes. I like this one from our Orlando WFTV station.

Not to be outdone, a Jacksonville news station went for the beach look.

I have seen a lot of people posting about snow in Michigan. I went online and found this one. I would never willingly play the game. This Florida raised woman is a total chicken when it comes to snow and ice.

A novel I read this week stated that when well-bred English people don’t know what to say, they talk about the weather. In my not so well-bred American case, when this blogger doesn’t know what to write about, she talks about the weather.

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 to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media.

Freezing in Florida

28 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

According to local news it has been four years since Florida experienced a widespread freeze.

That means there are thousands of new Florida residents and some may have questions about what to expect. A local Facebook group had these questions:

  • Will my car be ok?
  • What should I do to protect my plants?
  • Should I cover landscape bushes and small trees?
  • Do I need to buy special materials to cover my plants?
  • Is there anything I need to do with running water to protect pipes?

Answers ranged from helpful to flippant. I decided to throw in my 2¢ of advise based on living all but my two first years of life in Florida.

Yes, your car will be ok. In Florida we mix water with antifreeze in the car’s coolant system. Not to prevent freezing but to assist with keeping the car’s engine cool during our long, hot summers.(Which I might add seem to go from April through December.) So if your car has antifreeze, no worries.

The need to protect plants and how to protect them is a matter of preference. My rule of thumb is if I have a plant or plants that would be greatly missed, I cover them or if possible bring them inside. I have three hanging baskets of mandevilla flowers that are very sensitive to cold and frost. It’s not very pretty at the moment but in the spring and summer it is lush with flowers

They spend half the year with me in North Carolina and the other half in Florida. I will move them into my daughter’s storage building until the cold passes. We will also be protecting the plumeria, coleus, geranium and poinsettia flowers. Except for the plumeria, they are in pots which we will move close to the house and group snugly together then probably toss a sheet over them.

Big box home improvement stores sell special clothes for covering plants but I think an old sheet or light blanket works just as well. We also use our old beach towels. This might not be aesthetically pleasing but it works. According to the local news station, the trick is to make sure the cover reaches all the way to the ground to retain the days heat. Be sure to put the cover on the plants before sunset so you lose less heat.

I’m not sure about covering landscape bushes. I think it would depend on what one calls a landscape bush. I remember one year we had a nice grouping of crotons.

Image by sandid from Pixabay

We didn’t cover them and they froze. After the cold passed we cut them back and they survived. I often think the occasional freeze in Florida is nature’s way to maintain order. Otherwise, some plants grow to unmanageable size unless one prunes regularly.

It’s not a bad idea to give plants a nice watering before a freeze. It is supposed to help with maintaining heat plus, our cold fronts tend to be accompanied by wind which is particularly drying.

In my whole lifetime in Florida, I have not known anyone whose indoor pipes froze. I am not familiar with north west Florida, so that may be an issue there. The only pipe we had freeze was our outdoor water hose pipe. I remember wanting to turn the water on for some reason and the water wouldn’t flow out. Thinking it had some ice on the inside near the opening, I gave it a few bangs on the sidewalk. To my amazement, the metal fitting on the hose bent. It was Christmas and the year our children received new bicycles. They about froze but were determined to give them a ride.

Freezing temperatures in Florida did bring some fun things. People would leave their yard sprinklers on so that they would wake up to icy fences. The non fun side is the damage to winter crops. At one time Central Florida had vast orange groves and a hard freeze was a disaster. Not far from us is a farm that grows ferns which are very sensitive. They run water sprinklers to incase the ferns in ice which protects them from the lower temperature.

The bottom line for me is don’t put complete trust in the weather forecast. So far in our area, the cold snaps have been colder than the forecasts. But, this one could also be warmer. Who knows? It’s the weather and the weather does what it wants.

And yes, falling Iguanas are real. From a news station a few days ago. Weather is supposed to be even colder starting tonight.

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 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.

Omicron Observations and Making Bread

21 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I have found the use of masks in my Florida town to be interesting. For those who don’t live here, you may not know that Florida is a mask mandate free zone. You would think that would mean mask wearing would be slight, but from my observations, that is not the case. During our October road trip we traveled in many areas with the mandate. With the exception of the Memphis, Tennessee area, I didn’t observe extensive mask use.

As Omicron began to make its presence felt in our community in early January, mask use ballooned.

Photo by Padli Pradana on Pexels.com

I found that to be curious as during the height of the dreaded Delta, masking while present was not prevalent.

Two weeks later on my weekly shopping trip to Publix supermarket, masking levels seemed back to normal. I pondered this. Then I pondered again mentally collecting data reports and personal stories of infection. But it wasn’t until I factored in the CDC suggestions of quarantining for 5 days then wearing a mask for another 5 days that I reached my conclusion.

Data and personal stories told me that our county had been hit hard with probably Omicron. I think our county for the week ending January 13 was 31% positive. The explosion of mask use in early January may have been due to people coming out of quarantine while following the CDC guidelines.

I’m hoping the numbers for last week will be lower. I think Omicron was active in Florida before it was officially recognized and I am hoping we have summited the curve and are on the way down. Maybe my weekly trip to Publix today will give me a hint.

For the record, I am thankful for my community. To mask or not mask is not an issue for harassment (well except on Facebook and I’m not sure who those people are.)

Now to the bread making. We follow a low carb life style and we have missed good bread. I have made various recipes and they are ok but they weren’t wow. Well, I have discovered wow bread!

I am a member of a paid subscription low carb cooking group. I joined as I want to change up my meals to a slightly higher protein and I need help navigating the change. A month ago the leader of the group posted a recipe for white bread followed by a recipe for cinnamon bread to rave reviews.

I decided to give the recipes a try. My first loaf of the white bread didn’t cook through in the middle even though it appeared done. The rest of the bread was delicious and the closest to conventional bread texture I had eaten. Eventually I figured out that the glass loaf pan I was using was smaller than the suggested metal pan, making the loaf thicker. So far all my loaves have come out perfect since. The cinnamon bread is absolutely delicious and would make a fantastic french toast breakfast casserole.

I have also baked the bread in a muffin top pan to make round sandwich rolls. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed eating a burger patty on a bun. I need to make more sandwich buns for the weekend I can’t decide if I want to make a full recipe this week and divide it between rolls and mini loaves, or a half recipe of just rolls.

I almost forgot to share this discovery. Last Sunday I put butter and garlic on some bread slices and put them under the broiler to make garlic toast It was ok but not oh my gosh good. We had one piece left over that lingered in the fridge for several days. I found it when I was scrounging for something to tide me over until supper. I heated it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and took a bite, not expecting much flavor. Woohoo! It tasted like I was eating buttery, garlic Texas toast. So good! The time in the fridge marinated the garlic into the bread. I will be marinating some more bread for the weekend!

Disclaimer: Anything Covid related are just my observations and thoughts.

PS… The Space X launch on Tuesday night was beautiful. The moon was full, the sky almost cloudless and the rocket appeared to be heading directly to the moon. My daughter captured this photo with her cell phone which does not do it justice at all.

A local photographer, Richard Gallagher captured some fantastic photos. Wish I could share them but they are copyrighted. Here is a link to his site.

https://www.rpgphotography.art/new-for-2022ew-for-2022

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 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.

Girl’s Day Out

6 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We are spending the winter in Florida. We arrived around the 18th of December and except for a scattered day here and there, the weather has been pleasant. I tend to get testy when the winter temperature rises to 80 degrees. I know I am being picky, but a perfect day for me would be highs in the low 70s and lows in the upper 40s.

Our daughter’s birthday was last week. We were thinking of an overnight road trip to celebrate the day but we changed our plans due to my husband’s health issues.

We settled on a girl’s day out at Harry P Leu Gardens in Winter Park, FL.

Leu Gardens teems with vigor and beauty, regardless of the season. Discover palms, cycads and flowering trees. Enjoy azaleas, vines, bromeliads and tropical philodendrons. Appreciate the sight of familiar annual flowers and the beauty of roses and camellias. Stroll under the awe-inspiring branches of camphor trees, elms and oaks.

Leugardens.org

Although I lived near these gardens for almost 60 years, I had never visited them!

When we arrived around noon, the parking lot was full, which surprised me. Since we were there during the week after Christmas I assumed most tourists would be at the theme parks. Also surprising was the number of visitors to the gardens who were from other countries. It was nice.

There are many walkways and themed gardens. On the first walkway I was drawn to this tree. The phrase bowed but not broken came to my mind. It reminded me of the hard times the world has faced during Covid.

A little further on the walk we entered a swampy area bordering a lake and I chuckled at a warning sign. I didn’t take a picture, so I created one.

Did the keepers of the garden discover how to limit a swamp to one alligator?

The swamp area had a goodly amount of cypress knees. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of them. I did get a picture of a cypress tree and the green swamp water and if you look closely in the left lower corner, you will see some knees.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the gardens.

I have a particular fondness for poinsettias to the point that I have been known to bring the ones I buy in North Carolina at Christmas to Florida so that I can enjoy them longer. In fact, one very hardy plant survived all of the past year and is now lovely and blooming in a pot with geraniums. I loved this ruffled looking poinsettia and may need to look for one next year. I think it may be called a rose poinsettia.

Towards the end of our time at the gardens, i realized I hadn’t taken a picture of the birthday girl. We couldn’t ask for more in a daughter. She blesses us with her kind and generous spirit, tolerates our aging foibles and loves us.

I was thankful for the plentiful placement of benches throughout the gardens. While sitting at one bench, I was playing with my camera and noticed a heart shaped light shadow being captured in the view finder that wasn’t visible with my eyes. It put a nice finishing touch to our day.

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 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.

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