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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?

Sleeping-Do Not Disturb

23 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Christmas 2015 I gave my husband a life altering gift and the interesting part is that I gave it to him on a whim. Here is the story.

Our granddaughter loves drawing  and painting so each Christmas we give her some form of art supplies. I usually pick them up through out the year when they are on sale. This particular Christmas, I realized that I had more gifts for her than our grandson and we all know that wouldn’t play well. What to do…? Then I remembered that my husband had been taking “night” art classes, as in while he was asleep. Apparently, the voice tone of painter Bob Ross lulled him to sleep. So on aforementioned whim I wrapped the art supplies and put them under the tree.

Christmas morning he was quite surprised when he opened the gift, but he thanked me nicely. Fast forward to January 29, 2016. He was bored and decided to pull out the art supplies and play with them. This is the result.

I think we were both shocked. His success set him on course to actively pursue learning about painting. He watches videos while he is awake! He is also mentored by our friend, DiVoran Lites. I think he is getting better with  every painting and sometimes I am stunned when I walk past his open door and see what he is creating. I particularly like this one he painted last week. I am thrilled with his newly discovered talent. He has always wanted to be able to capture life on canvas, but never dreamed he could.

All of this led me to wonder whether our sleep and or dreams do affect our waking life. I am beyond blessed to know without a doubt that God loves me. I have mused in the past on what my parents did to instill this into my heart. Looking back, I think it came to me while I was sleeping.  As a small child, I found church service made me sleepy, so I would lay my head in someone’s lap and take a nap while the good news of God’s love and Jesus plan for salvation was spoken. Plus, my parents attended a weekly prayer service that was held in someone’s home. They called them cottage prayer meetings.There would be a lot of singing and praying and I would find an out of the way place, my favorite being under a coffee table, and fall asleep. I have vague memories of feeling the  hymns wash over me as I drifted in the half awake/half sleep state.

Science tells us that sleep time is when the body repairs itself. So it stands to reason it can also be a time when our brain carries out its unique functions. Sleep matters and so does what we listen to while we sleep!

Just Twelve Items

2 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Just twelve items per family. That is all our church food pantry is able to give to families in need and it breaks my heart. And yet, the women and men who come are so darn appreciative of just twelve items. One woman was thrilled to get a dozen eggs. She was wanting to make her family a caramel cake. I asked if she had a recipe for it and she pointed to her head. “It’s all up there, if i can remember it, I haven’t made it in so long.” Eggs are a new addition since I worked in the food pantry last winter and they seem to be a big success.  The face of a child lit up, when he saw the eggs. “We get real eggs!”

My job this week was to greet people, assist them in choosing their items by answering questions, then bagging the groceries up and offering help to their car. I was fascinated watching them make their choices. Some knew exactly what they needed, while others browsed. I enjoyed the woman who was planning meals as she put items on the table. She exceeded the limit on soup, but there was no way I could bring myself to disrupt her plans. Imagine planning your meals for the week around just twelve items.

One of our regular ladies brought someone new. As she was showing her around, she placed an arm on her friend’s shoulder and said, “this is not food from the government, this is food from the people.”  We are a small church and went three years without a permanent pastor and many members left. Last December our food pantry ran out of money and our shelves were bare. We are working hard to connect with business in the community to help us serve our neighbors. Another option is asking friends to consider setting up a food donation box in their workplace. It may not seem like much, but just twelve items make a difference in someone’s life.

I don’t take pictures at the food pantry so I decided to share one of DiVoran’s lovely paintings.

mockingbird

Fishing Therapy Part 2

16 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Because my brain begins racing as soon as I wake up, I have asked God to give me a scripture or song to start my day in a grateful mindset. Last Thursday morning I was given the word joy. My first thought was oh boy, what will I face today that I need to count it as joy.

 

We had planned to try out the fishing at Port Canaveral but I wasnt feeling  energetic so we changed our fishing plans and went back  to the park close to home.

A beautiful family from Ecuador stopped by to talk and we enjoyed communicating with my high school Spanish and his pretty good English. Then they went to have lunch under the pavilion.

 

boatramp-pavillion

 

A few minutes later, the little boy around 4 yrs old and his sister around 8 came running up to me with big smiles. The little guy had a fresh chocolate covered glazed donut in his hand for me. God’s joy gift can come in many forms, today it was in smiles and my favorite donut!

This fishing trip resulted in actually catching some fish. I caught a whiting, which is my favorite for eating, a silver trout and my husband caught a speckled trout. We didn’t keep them as they were too small, but it was fun catching them. Even though we tried to be gentle, the trout after swimming away, showed up floating on the water, I wanted to believe it was resting  and I was upset when the gulls tried to make it their lunch.

The fishing reel I use is a bait caster and over twenty years old. It is having some problems. I think I am going to go back to my favorite reel for fishing in the river, a Zebco 33. It’s kind of like having a reunion with one’s first love.

Something scary did happen during our outing. I had placed my phone in the drink holder of my bag chair so I could listen to the radio. It was very windy and when I stood to reel in my line, a gust blew my chair over and my phone went flying towards the water. My heart sank. Then I realized I could faintly hear my phone and when I looked over the side, I saw my phone lying on a boulder. My husband went down on the rocks and retrieved it. I feared the screen would be broken but it was fine. I thanked God for this and added another item to my lessons learned list.

This week we won’t have a chance to fish. I will miss it.

Fishing Therapy

9 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

My family ended up in Florida on the advice of my dad’s doctor. I know, you folks who are digging out of the snow today are wishing your doctor would advise the same. Sorry, but this was 1954 and doctors at time recommended salt air for people with bad lungs. Now they give you an inhaler.

Back in January when we were in North Carolina, my husband came down with a sinus infection that left him with a harsh and lingering cough. After we arrived in Florida for the winter, I decided to try the old-fashioned remedy that worked so well on my dad, Fishing Therapy. When we moved to Florida in the early 1950s, my dad found work in Orlando. It was not close enough to the coast to get benefit from the salt air so for almost every weekend in my memory, we loaded up the car on Friday night or early Saturday and drove to the east coast to fish. It seemed to help my dad, so why not try it on my husband?

We decide our first therapy session should be someplace that would not require a lot of walking so we settled on a park at the local marina. We didn’t catch a single fish but it was a beautiful day and the salt air was wonderful.

There were a number of sailboats anchored offshore and beyond the bridge the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building can be seen.  There’s something about the joining of high-tech space flight and nature that fills me with wonder and contentment.

I saw these birds in the boat ramp parking lot as I was on my way to the facilities. Something about them flocking together in the parking spaces tickled my sense of humor.

bird-parking-lot

We enjoyed our day and I think it helped with his breathing, so we embarked on a second therapy session, this one at a park closer to home. The wind was brisk and cool, which I love.  As a child, both my husband and I had spent many hours fishing and playing at this spot when it was a wide open space with no facilities. I must say I do appreciate the comfort of a restroom.

I caught a tiny fish and a blow fish. My husband caught three horseshoe crabs.

 I had my heart set on having fresh fish for our supper and this day’s catch wouldn’t feed Rebekah’s cat, so after cleaning up, I went to our local fish market, Wild Ocean. They were out of the type of fish I wanted, so I changed my plans and bought two pounds of Cape Canaveral large white shrimp. Oh my, they were good!

The entire front wall of the store is covered in a this mural. If you should be traveling on US Highway 1 be sure to stop in Titusville and check out the murals downtown. You might want some fresh seafood too. Wild Ocean will cook it for you. Take a look at their menu.

mural-at-wild-ocean

I Have Questions

2 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

On a recent shopping trip to our local produce market, I found Kiwi on sale, 10 for $1.00. As I chose ten of them, I joked with the man putting them out that if I ate all ten of the kiwi super fruit, I would live to be 150 years old. It seems that I get emails everyday touting the latest superfood. But I have questions. How many of the “super foods” does one need to eat, to be super?

fruits

During blueberry season this past year, I purchased two quarts from a local berry farm. I think I may have eaten almost a quart the first day. A week later I had some scheduled blood work and the results were the best I have had in years. Does this mean I need to eat a quart of blueberries a day?

I visited the American Heart Association page and it listed some super foods but except for fruits and veggies, It didn’t tell me how many servings I would need to be super. They recommend 4 ½ cups Fruits and veggies. I can do that!

From there, I decided to give WebMd a shot at enlightening  me.  The second food on their list is blueberries. It seems I over did it eating a quart of them. WebMd recommends ½ cup per day. If I eat them every day, they will lower my risk of heart disease, cancer and inflammation. They also mention them being helpful in weight loss. I can debunk that one.

Tea is a listed super food. I guess it makes sense to provide a beverage to wash down all these things I need to eat. Does it make a difference if it is hot or cold? I do live in the south, so this is an important question.

Let’s talk about fish. It seems I need to eat 2-3 servings per week of salmon, mackerel, herring, or sardines. How do I determine a serving?  Sardines are a lot smaller than salmon and mackerel.

Speaking of fish, tomorrow is THE DAY. The universe has aligned, the winds are perfect, the temperature not too hot and we are going fishing! We got our resident fishing license renewed last week, put new line on our poles and we are ready! Now I just have to figure out if the fish we catch qualify as a super food since they won’t be caught in cold water.

Like I said, I have questions.

PS How could I have forgotten this? DARK CHOCOLATE is a super food! There was a caution against eating it in large quantities. Gee, this is one instance when a vague guideline makes me happy, happy.

cat-with-glasses

How do you manage to fill your daily meals with super foods?

After the Snow

12 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We had seven inches of snow last weekend which is a lot for our area. It took four days for the snow and ice to melt and . I  enjoyed our quiet time of being surrounded by snow It was a good feeling to have everything we needed here in the house without needing to leave home, but it was also good to be able to join the world again.
During our snow days I read multiple Christmas romance novellas for entertainment. It seems in romance novels, a person’s heart  thrums instead of racing or pounding when one is near their beloved. I told Rebekah the word is banned from her writing.
 I am going through Jesus Calling again, this year. Wednesday’s reading about storing up treasures in heaven, presented a new way to think about treasure in relationship to trust. By trusting God in the daily non-crisis times, we are storing up coins of trust in heaven so that when storms come, my trust balance will be sufficient to see me through.
I have been thinking about the young people who seem to be without a trust account and need the current “new thing” safe spaces. They are a generation that has been taught nothing is absolute. Rather they have been set free to decide truth on a minute by minute basis. How tragic for them.
Ok, that is my deep thought for the month.  I am looking forward to our transition to Florida for the winter. We are blessed with good friends there, but I will miss my friends and family here in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I am hoping that Rebekah’s latest book will be released sometime in April and we can celebrate with a Tea.

Life After Christmas

5 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I am emerging from my Christmas fog. It began in mid December when I succumbed to a sinus infection. Since I am rarely sick, I spent quite a bit of time in denial. That might have been a contributing factor for the fog. Suddenly, it was Christmas, then Christmas eve. I do remember that we had a lovely Christmas morning with our children and grand children, then the fog descended once more.  I emerged again to celebrate our daughter’s birthday with a drive to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The trip had been planned for several weeks but after the fires roared through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and down into Gatlinburg, it took on a poignant mood. We drove through one of the hardest hit areas, Chalet Village, and the devastation was heartbreaking. Out of respect for the owners and those who had lost loved ones, we did not take pictures.  If you would like to volunteer your time to help the hurting families, visit Volunteer East Tennessee

We ended our day in Pigeon Forge at The Island. The two big restaurants are The Timberline Grill and Paula Deen and there is an assortment of shops as well as an area with a carnival atmosphere including one of the new Eye rides. It is very pretty at night.

The Island

Two days later we drove to one of our favorite places in Franklin, Wayah Bald. Wayah was one of many National Park areas that were targeted for arson during November and December and we were anxious to see how the park fared. We knew that the roof on the fire tower had burned, but we were unprepared for the extent of the damage to the Flame Azalea plants as well as the smaller trees that lined the path. It was also odd to see green foliage next to burned tree trunks.

 I do clearly remember New Year’s Eve. We spent the evening with at least fifty talkative cousins, aunts and uncles. I love them so much! I have high hopes the fog is gone!

Snow is predicted for tomorrow night. We haven’t had snow yet this winter so I am excited and I have the required milk and bread! Hopefully I will have some pictures and a story  to share next week.

If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm. If you are in Florida, you might want to pull out that sweater you seldom have the chance to wear.

coffee-cup-snowman

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