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There’s Reading and Then There is READING

20 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Yesterday, I decided that husband and I needed to go on an “outing”. He had spent the early part of the week painting his workshop and we needed a change of scenery. Traveler’s Rest in Georgia is a historic plantation I had been wanting to visit so I went online and found the address and read all the pertinent information. I say I read it, but did I really? I must not have because when we arrived there, Traveler’s Rest was closed. A sign stated its hours to be Saturday and Sunday only. We walked up on the porch and marveled at the rough wood. The original structure was built in 1815. I wonder how many times the wood has been replaced. We took a few pictures and plan to return in August when our daughter comes for a visit.

 

 

We had packed a picnic lunch so we headed to Tugaloo State Park. We have passed the turnoff for the park many times but this was our first visit. The day was quite warm and my phone battery was low so I only took two pictures.  With lake front cabins and campsites it is a boating and fishing paradise! We ate our lunch under a pavilion overlooking the lake.

 

 

We enjoyed our adventure, roaming back roads and seeing new places. On the return trip, husband spotted a new Harbor Freight store so of course, we had to stop and shop! He found a couple of items he needed and I found a nice pruning  shear mounted on a long pole. Just what hubby needs to do the trimming I have been nagging  gently asking him to do.

You can bet I checked out the Traveler’s Rest website when we returned home. Sure enough, it clearly stated Saturday and Sunday. I guess there is reading and then there is reading. 

Life lesson: Never skim a webpage when planning a trip.

Bargains, Blooms and Heaven Too.

6 Jul

On the Porch
Onisha Ellis

 

Have you noticed as one gets older, that days seem to speed by and you can’t really remember where the last week went? Maybe if something exciting happens I can recall that, but for the most part, days and weeks are a blur.

As a child, I couldn’t imagine enjoying heaven where each day would stretch into eternity and I would be bored to tears singing praise songs. Now my quirky mind is wondering if the sensation of time speeding up is preparation for eternity. I can easily see myself  having no clue how long I have been there, that is a good thing, but I sure hope heaven doesn’t include endless repetition of the same eight to ten words like praise songs at church. Somehow I believe the songs will be more creative and glorious.

I did have some excitement last week. Big Lots has a bread rack with reduced prices. When we made our weekly visit to check out their choices, I was thrilled to find Artisan Bread by Sara Lee. I love this bread. It is the closest to home made taste that I have found. It’s too pricey for me to have often unless I find it at Big Lots so I stocked up!

 

 

Our Hydrangea continue to bless up with abundant blooms and I am enjoying them. Yesterday my husband cut some beauties to enjoy inside. While I was stripping off the leaves, I accidentally pulled off some small blooming branches. I looked around the dining and kitchen area for a suitable vessel and spied a small blue bowl and pitcher set.  We had given to  my husband’s mom as a souvenir of one of our trips to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It depicts Clingman’s Dome. Her birthday is this month, so I decided it was a perfect way to honor her memory. She raised five boys and loved them dearly.

 

 

Our July 4th celebration was on the quiet side. Our grandson came over in the evening to have supper with us and watch our neighbor’s fireworks.  It was good to have one on one time. He is growing up to be an interesting young man. The neighbor out did his previous years efforts. Of course the one that went awry was kind of exciting. Nothing like having a ball of glowing green fire heading straight at you!

It seems fireworks can be purchased as a boxed set, just like books!

 

My cousin, Diane Murphy passed away this week. I like to think of the heavens lighting up to welcome her home. She was dearly loved.

 

At her son’s wedding

What Type of Reader are You?

29 Jun

On the Porch
Onisha Ellis

 

This morning I was idly thinking about my reading habits. I consider myself a “fluff’ reader.  I didn’t enjoy what my teachers called the classics. Steinbeck and Hemingway bored me to tears and I really wanted that old man in the sea to just cut-the-line. And what was the point in the Iliad and the Odyssey and sirens luring men to their death? Hello, who didn’t know that men will fall for a pretty face and enticing body. Reading the book was not going to change that. Give me a good mystery or romance novel. I also enjoy a rousing action story.

I definitely don’t enjoy fantasy novels, although I have read a couple that engaged my attention. Thinking about reading made me wonder about authors. What influences their choice of genre?

It seems to me that authors of fiction fall into two very general categories, fixers and story tellers. Fixers write in genres that involve building worlds that are a better place, especially fantasy novelists. The authors who write dystopia and thriller/war create problems then set about solving them. Romance novelist are serious fixers. They create wounded characters and spend the entire book setting them up to be restored, complete with a happy ever after ending.

Story tellers take a more gentle approach. Their characters need to be fixed but that is not the point of the novel. My favorite story tellers are D.E. Stevenson and Miss Read.

 

 

 

Their books and writing style are now considered simplistic and old fashioned but they draw me into the lives of their characters and include me in their journey. James Herriot was a fine story-teller as well.  His books are classics I can relate to.

 

 

Reader friends, are you drawn to fixers or story tellers? To my author friends, I would enjoy your take on my theory. Do you see your writing in terms of fixing or telling a great story?

Repurposing Christmas

22 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

We have been enjoying visits from family the past two weeks and I haven’t had much inclination to spend time on the computer. I do want to take a quick minute to share my latest repurpose project.  I fell in love with this gift bag at Christmas and purchased several to tuck Christmas gifts for my friends into them. When we returned to the mountains in May, I spotted one that I had left on the table when we closed up for winter. It brought me so much pleasure, I set it on top of our tea box as a decoration.  When I cut some hydrangea blossoms to enjoy in the house, I decided the Christmas bag would be a perfect way to dress up the plain vase.

 

Good Friends, Good Food

1 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Yesterday we visited with friends in Anderson, South Carolina. That is like going to the big city for those of us living in the mountains. We did some shopping together and had lunch in a wonderful restaurant specializing in Southern home cooking, Mama Penn’s. Mama P runs a daily meat and three special. For those not from the south, that means a meat and three vegetables. Mama Penn allows one to choose a dessert in the place of a veggie. In the south we love our veggies and we want our cake too. Hubby chose the German Chocolate cake and he is still raving about how good it was.

If you happen to be in Anderson, be sure to visit Mama Penn’s. She even gives you a cup of sweet tea to go.

 

 

Love that they share a Bible verse on the cup!

Do you have a favorite restaurant that serves the food you grew up loving to eat?

Airing of the Quilts with Friends

25 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

That’s right, my favorite event of the year happened on May 13, 2017. I am not a quilter so it may seem odd that I love this event so much. I think it is because I have childhood memories of  heavy quilts made by one of my aunts. I think it was Erma. She could sew anything and always had scraps for quilting. To me, quilts convey love and warmth.

This year two of my friends came from Florida and one from South Carolina to share the day with me.  The weather was threatening rain all morning but only produced a few sprinkles. The breezes from the weather front whipped the quilts and sent their supports swaying.

 

There were some amazing quilts on display and several organizations were raffling off some beauties. One quilting group from Georgia spent a year working on the quilt they were raffling.  My favorite was, surprise, surprise a tea pot theme. I especially liked the color scheme.

 

 

The city government building  was open and housed a texture exhibit complete with someone spinning alpaca into threads and a demonstration of an old form of hook quilting. My friends received a short lesson from the helpful artisan.

 

 

The following day husband and I with Florida friends Pam and Diana headed to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for some shopping and nature.  Of course I made a stop at the Corning Revere store in the Red Roof mall. There are several of these outlets in the area, but the one in this particular mall has a clearance area in the bottom level and I have scored some great deals there.

As we drove up US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I was saddened to see the damage to the forests during the November fires caused by arson.

 

 

 

In Gatlinburg we discovered our hotel was literally down the street from where the fires encroached on the city. This is an overview of the city.

 

We did a motor tour of the Roaring Fork nature trail which begins near the top arrow. Much of the forest had suffered fire damage but the park service had many of the trails reopened and parking areas were full with the cars of hikers.

Of course, sampling the restaurant fare was a top priority. Along with the usual favorites of  The Old Mill and The Apple Barn, we tried out Bubba Gump. They have a yummy dippin” sauce.

 

 

On one of our drives, we had a mixup on directions and took a scenic detour.  I wasn’t sure how we got turned around, then I saw this sign in Pigeon Forge.

 

 

I guess in the mountains, north can be south and south can be north!

On Monday, I received a telephone call congratulating me on winning a gift card to one of our local stores, North Carolina Mountain Made. I was thrilled and knew instantly what I would buy.

 

 

I have been wanting this CD for ages. This man’s soft guitar strumming and picking of hymns is very similar to my father’s playing. The sound of my dad “plunking” on his guitar is the soundtrack of my childhood. I love how God listens to our hearts and delights in giving us sweet gifts.

Life is a Whirlwind

11 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Since we arrived in the mountains, life has been a whirlwind. We took a weekend trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains to meet up with some cousins. This bunch of cousins are the children and grandchildren of a sister my mom was particularly close to and I adored. There seems to be a generational love. On Saturday we went to an old resort named Shatley Springs for supper. There were 16 of us. Family from Winston-Salem drove up to join us. It was a two hour drive for them. When it was planned, I didn’t know that we were reviving an old family tradition. It turns out that an aunt’s family and one of these cousins would drive to Winston- Salem and then all would go to the resort to eat. It was like slipping behind the veil of time for a brief moment.

Apparently the resort’s spring waters are famous for healing properties and they allow people to take it home in jugs for free.  I drank a lot of it with my meal!
Tuesday of this week our son underwent surgery. It had been scheduled for at least six weeks. To my surprise and delight we learned that one of our breakfast buddies would be having surgery the same day and at the same hospital. We couldn’t have planned this, only God could. We sat with his wife in the waiting room, entertaining each other as the hours passed. Both of our family member’s surgeries were successful and they are on the road to healing.  I love how God provides for us.
I am looking forward to a visit with friends from Florida. This weekend Franklin holds its annual Airing of the Quilts. I have my fingers crossed that the forecast of rain will be wrong. I think there is a 50/50 chance it will be!
This is from last year.

Quilts lined street.

Matching My Mind to My Location

27 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Yesterday we loaded up the car and left Florida behind. Today we are saying hello North Carolina mountains. Both are beautiful and we are blessed more than we deserve to have precious friends and family in both places.

My first step toward settling in was a trip to the grocery this morning.  I was intent on mentally checking off the items on my list and taking advantage of the large store to get in a brisk walk. I wheeled around a corner and almost crashed into another shopper. People walk slower here, they take the time to smile and ask how you are. I realized I needed to switch my mind to match my location.

This past weekend I attended a women’s retreat at Park Avenue Baptist Church.  Old Things R New blogger, Janet Perez Eckles was the featured speaker.

Janet’s sessions were filled laughter, but with the purpose of leading us to think more deeply and to see how God equips us with strength and courage. In the days before the retreat I had been mulling a mental change of direction. I was tired of rehashing old hurts in my mind. I knew they were attacks from the enemy and I was so over the attacks.

Step back in time with me, about forty years or so. I was expecting our first child and even though I watched my food intake, I dreaded the monthly weigh in at the Obstetrician office. Being a football fan, I had heard that a good offense is the best defense, so at my next check up I took up an offensive approach. I moaned about my weight gain and was so dramatic in my distress that the doctor ended up comforting me rather than exhorting me!

At the conference I decided to go on the offense with the one who accuses. Each time an already confessed and settled episode comes to mind I am going to fling it like a flaming sword straight to heaven, but on the tip of the sword will be prayers of good  for the person.  I am changing my mind to match my eternal location.

Just One Quarter

13 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I think there is magic in the quarters used for the Aldi grocery store carts. I wouldn’t say there is enough magic to bring about world peace, but for brief seconds in time, people in the parking lot stop and smile at each other.

What brings about this spontaneous camaraderie?  The simple exchange of a quarter as the departing shopper offers their cart to someone heading into the store. Sometimes no quarter is exchanged as people decide to pay it forward. In the current climate of anger, I enjoy these simple moments of kindness inspired with just one quarter.

Photo credit OnMilwaukee.com

 

You might want to visit the blog Ten Reasons to Dig Aldi.

As Sweet as Perfume

30 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

On Monday we had the fun of an impromptu friends reunion of the members of the Park Avenue Baptist Church Young Married Sunday School class. Of course, someone had to mention that five of us were turning seventy this year! How can that be? One friend made an excellent point as we marveled over this milestone. She observed that we look much better at seventy than our parents did. We laughed and agreed. In the interest of full disclosure, I must mention that I am the baby of the group! All too soon it was time for everyone to move on and resume their busy lives, but for a brief afternoon we laughed and shared our lives. I would say it was just like the old days but I believe it was better!

Wednesday was another fun day. but it was scheduled. Lynn and I have known each other even longer than my Young Married friends.We met in the tenth grade and remained in touch throughout the years. She and her husband recently relocated to Florida and  live two hours from us. We decided to meet half way for lunch at  De Leon Springs State Park. We camped there during the child rearing years and I had been longing to revisit it and I was sure my nature loving friend would enjoy it.

The park, set on the land of an old plantation, has a unique restaurant, the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House. Pancakes are their specialty but they also serve salads and sandwiches made with homemade breads.

  Their website describes it this way:

“Each of our tables are equipped with a griddle and we bring you pitchers of homemade pancake batters (both a stone-ground mixture of five different flours and an unbleached white flour) you pour them on and flip them over right at your table.”

From their website

After our lunch we walked around the springs area then Lynn and I  settled down under a covered pavilion to catch up while the men people watched near the spring , talking as men do, solving the problems of the world.

We enjoyed both the company and the scenery. It was a beautiful day, with a gentle breeze. I look forward to visiting again.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT

 

 

 

Did you know that DiVoran’s first novel is set at De Leon Springs?

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