A Special Memoria Day Podcast:”A Soldier’s Last Waltz”

1 Jun

The Storyteller Almanac

Reblogged 6/1/21

 

Greetings Y’all

This weeks episode in my ongoing podcast series, “The Storyteller Almanac” is a tribute and recognition to all persons who gave the supreme sacrifice defending this country while serving the U.S. Military. It does, however focus in and gets based on a true story about a guy named Vince. Please tune in and listen to hear the whole story.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

You can find the podcast on any of the major podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. You can also navigate to www.StorytellerAlmanac.com and find it. Please feel free to subscribe to the podcast on any of the aforementioned podcast platforms so you won’t miss any future episodes!

Until Next time, Be kind to each other, pray peace, do good deeds and help those in need. And as always – follow your path oof heart!

Make it a good day – Mike T.

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

Letters From Mother-1

31 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

My goal has been to learn to write as beautifully as my mother,Dora Bedell Bowers did. We started corresponding when Bill and I got married in California in 1957. Dora and Ivan, my parents were in Albuquerque, and my brother, with his wife and baby, were already in California.  When Mother went to heaven in 2006, the letters stopped. I’d like to share her love-letters with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  

April 15, 1983

Dear Ones:

I worried and worried the other night about serving my nephew and his wife when they visited. It was a bit of a shame because we have all kinds of different foods to choose from.

In the morning, Roger called and said they would be here after lunch but could stay only a little while. They came at two and left before four. They picked some Valencia oranges from our tree, sampled the lemon iced tea, and ate some Ruby Red Grapefruit from Coachella Valley. Later, I took two pictures of them and served strawberry shortcake. Not the kind Mother would have served, sweet, mashed strawberries over sweet biscuits with fresh, heavy-whipped cream from one of the cows I had milked. Mine was bakery cakes, strawberries from right here in Vista, and cool whip.

Photo credit Pixabay

I think they will remember the stop, anyway. Dad gave them a bouquet of roses, some grapefruit, oranges, and lemons from our little grove. I gave Nancy a hot-dish pad that I crocheted when we were fishing at the Salton Sea.

Photo credit Pixabay

Well, the sprinklers at home work. I told my sister, Judy as long-range planning, I prayed for new stucco on the house, the sprinklers to work well, and a new carpet, and we are moving right along in the Lord’s good timing.

Today, we are going to your Uncle Lowell’s for dinner and the night, then on to your cousin Kathy’s for lunch tomorrow. It’s about a 5-hour round-trip drive to Victorville. Then Sunday, I guess we’ll go back to the Salton Sea. You’ll recall that your Grandmother surprised us all by getting on a jet and flying from Colorado to see Kathy. 

The wind blew and tore our awning at The Salton Sea last week. We were able to repair it. Fishing isn’t really good yet.

We have renters for the house, but they won’t keep our cat Patches. We’re getting along fine with the neighbor’s cat here at the Salton Sea. He spends the days with us and goes home to the trailer next to us at night.

Photo credit Pixabay

You would have enjoyed the desert in bloom at the Salton Sea. We saw a dainty and lovely.desert Indigo bush. The bloom was like a single pea bloom in Indigo. A fishhook cactus was interesting; it had stickers in the shapes of fishhooks. There is a museum at Borrego Springs that is great for learning about the plants. The hills are covered with Orange Ocotillo and yellow brittle-brush, lavender, verbena, tiny white flowers, and white ones close to the ground. Best I’ve ever seen it. I have an article from our paper and a picture of the hills at Borrego Springs. In the fall, the colors change with the seasons.

Photo credit Pixabay

                  Love you all lots.

Is there any chance of your coming to WA this year. We’ll pay for between LA and WA again.

Remember how cool it was.

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

BBQ Time! Part 1

30 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

BBQ TIME! – PART 1

This is the final Sunday in May 2021…so this month is almost over.

And yet, I’ve only recently heard and seen that May is BBQ month!

Of course, our favorite bbq places are the ones advertising that fact!  So let me tell you about our favorite bbq restaurants.  Since there are two of them, and they are both amazing, I’ll share one of them today, and the other one next time.

I guess the bbq eatery we patronize the most is 4Rivers Smokehouse.

We first learned of it from our Minister of Music, Rick Steele.  He grew up eating there, since it wasn’t too far from his house.  The original eatery was in Winter Park, Florida, quite a ways from us, so we only went there to eat when we were in that part of Orlando, which wasn’t very often.  But in the past few years, Johnny Rivers built another of his smokehouses in Kissimmee, and we manage to eat there at least once a week.  Really good bbq!

 Our Beginnings:  It all started in a garage:

4 Rivers Smokehouse began with the launch of the “Barbecue Ministry” in 2004, when John hosted a cookout fundraiser to support a local family whose young daughter was battling cancer. This one event resulted in a passion for supporting local schools, churches, and charitable organizations, and a few years later, smoking thousands of pounds of meat out of a garage just wouldn’t cut it anymore.

4 RIVERS WEBSITE

Also, a   FUN FACT:

Why four Rivers? In short, it represents our family, John, Monica (wife), Jared (son) and Cameron (daughter). But they also appreciate the serendipitous double meaning with Genesis 2:10, where four rivers branch from that which flows out of Eden. Now you know!

There are 14  4Rivers locations in Florida and Georgia.  

There is even a 4Rivers Cantina at Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney)

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

A Wonderful Serendipity

26 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

For those of you who have followed my most recent ‘Fishing With Ivan’ blog series, you will be familiar with the major players in my wife, DiVoran’s family.  For those of you who are just joining me, her father is Ivan and her mother is Dora.  Her younger brother, David, rounds out the family members.  I have had the privilege of being a part of this wonderful family (by marriage to DiVoran) for over 60 years and would like to share with you one of the more delightful stories about this family.  

Photo: https://www.gograph.com/vector-clip-art/group-older-adults_4.html

The ‘Fishing with Ivan’ series of blogs described several of the more interesting trips DiVoran and I had taken when visiting Ivan and Dora over the years.  However, the family trips were not all made by us.  Ivan and Dora made several trips to Florida to see us after we moved here for my work in 1965.  By the time this story took place, DiVoran’s brother, David, had become an airline pilot and Ivan and Dora were able to fly to Florida on family passes.  They enjoyed spending time with us and their grandchildren. 

Photo by DiVoran Lites

Photo by DiV

David’s wife, Susan, was a ticket agent for the airline David flew for, and she made all of the flight arrangements (space available) for Ivan and Dora when they flew.  Sometimes they had to make connections as far north as Cincinnati, OH or as far south to San Juan, Puerto Rico in order to make it to Orlando, FL when they wanted to get there.  If I remember right on this particular trip, for some reason, Ivan and Dora had to make connections in Guatemala in order to get to Orlando, FL.  I believe that was the worst hassle they ever had with a trip to Florida to see us.  DiVoran and I were surprised that they agreed to come see us again after that incident, but lucky for us they did.  

Photo: https://www.canstockphoto.com/vector-clipart/ticket-counter.html

We had a wonderful visit with Ivan and Dora on that trip. Our son, Billy, and his family (the grandchildren) live in Orange City, FL which is near the beautiful Blue Springs State Park.  On the weekend, our daughter, Charlene, and her husband, Ron, joined us for a trip to Blue Springs where we met Billy and his family.  Everyone enjoyed a great time visiting and watching the Manatees.  There were many other very enjoyable times with Ivan and Dora before they had to head home.

Photo: https://thatadventurelife.com/2020/01/21/blue-spring-state-park-orange-city-fl/

On the day we took Ivan and Dora to the airport for their flight home, we had no idea David had a surprise for us.  He met us at Security and we were all speechless.  DiVoran couldn’t believe her eyes!  She asked him, “What are you doing here?”  He said, “I’m going to fly Ivan and Dora home.”  DiVoran asked, “How in the world did you manage that?”

His short story was that he had arranged a swap with another pilot.  I’m sure it was a lot more complicated than that.  So now he was going be the Captain of the Boeing 777 flight for their return trip to Los Angeles, CA.

  

Photo by Bill Lites

Of course DiVoran was concerned about her entire immediate family being on the same flight.  She told me later, “As we rode the tram out to take my parents to the gate for their flight, I prayed that they would have a safe trip all the way home.  Then DiVoran said, “That’s when I saw this angle hovering over my parents and my brother.  That assured me that they would be safe and I felt so much better.”

Photo Credit: https://naturalhealthcourses.com/2015/12/be-someones-incognito-angel-this-christmas/angel-in-the-sky/

DiVoran and I not only had a wonderful visit with Ivan and Dora, but we were wonderfully surprised to see her brother, David, and to be able to visit with him, even if it was only for a short time before their flight left.  What ‘A Wonderful Serendipity’ that was.

Photo: https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/woman-goodbye-airport.html

—–The End—-

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Hope- A Full Blown Emotional Story

25 May

The Storyteller Almanac

Reblogged 05/25/21

The latest greatest podcast episode in my ongoing podcast, “The Storyteller Almanac” is live now. This episode quite different than anything I’ve put out there so far. Let me explain.

Several years back, I had this idea of creating sort of a ‘stories online’ type thing. These were all original pieces I’d conceived of and written. They were basically fiction but partially based on some of my real life experiences, interactions and people I’ve known during my lifetime. Each story is / was about 25 minutes long. The stories contained music mixed in, sometimes sound effects etc… They distantly resemble an old time radio program. Or perhaps to use a more specific analogy, they might remind you of a portion in my favorite radio program of all times, “A Prairie Home Companion” and the segment of that radio show that (original host and creator) Garrison Keillor used to call, “The News From Lake Wobegon.” If you’re not familiar with those references, not to worry. My podcast stories will make sense to you when you tune in and listen.

Hope” is one of those stories that has a twist ending. But I’m not gonna explain. You’ll just have to go listen and hear for yourself . If you like emotional, feel good stories then this is for you. I’d love to hear from you and what your thoughts and feelings are on this type of podcast / episode. 

As always, you can find the podcast at www.StorytellerAlmanac.Com or on any of the major podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple. podcasts, Google Podcasts etc… And if you feel so inclined, ple ase follow / subscribe e to the podcast via one of those podcast platforms. No charge. No obligation and no salesperson will ever call . 

Thanks for droppin’ by neighbor!

Peace – “Mike The Storyteller” 

“Follow your path of heart”

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

From His Heart 3

24 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo Credit Pixabay

God says,” Honor your father and mother that your days will be long on the earth.” Although the Bible says we shouldn’t worship our ancestors or get too tangled in studying their lives, remembering them like this is a way of honoring them. 

Our friend Patricia sent us a video entitled “The last Boom Town, Creede Colorado.”

Bill sent the video to my brother in California. It was a complete story about mining towns and the people who lived in them.  

Have you checked lately to see whether you’ve ever had miners in your family? They are all over the world, you know. 

Photo Credit Pixabay

After my husband sent the video, my brother wrote back about our great-grandparents in another mining town, Paonia, Colorado. He wanted to know who it was that he recalled being there. Our great-grandmother was buried there. I wrote him back and told him the story of the family trekking from Illinois to Colorado in 1921 when our dad was only five years old. I’m sure dad had told it, but it was a long time ago. Granddad traveled to Paonia because it was a wonderful place to raise food and cattle. The friend that had told him about the area was a miner along with the other males in their family.  We met some of them in 1983, and they showed us some of the rocks from the mine. 

Counting Pa, thirteen people traveled for a long time from Illinois and had plenty of flat tires to fix. They had the necessary foods such as flour and salt in the big old stake truck and could sometimes find small woods along the road. They slept wherever they could find a place, for the small ones, sometimes it was under the truck. 

Many years later, when Mother and Dad were both in Heaven, my brother sent me, as requested, all the old family photos and Mother’s writings about everything having to do with the family. I have loved going over them for all the years I’ve had them. And I have been surprised at all the people we know who were tied to the mines in one way or another. 

I met Patricia Franklin when we were in second grade in another mining community. We have kept in touch ever since. The area where we lived was two towns a mile apart. One was a mining town, and the other more of a support town. 

My friend Patricia’s family, meets every Memorial Day in a beautiful little cemetery on the floor of a valley near the mountains. Covid messed the reunion up for a while, so I hope they’ll be able to go this year. 

About the video, Patricia says this: 

“This is a great video about Creede.  My Grandmother and her Dad were there during the silver boom.  My grandmother taught school there around 1892, the year Bob Ford shot and killed Jesse James. My great-granddad worked for several years at “the Creede Candle,” the local newspaper, and was the “Spar City Spark” publisher.  Spar City was a little town northwest of Creede. He, John David Vaughan, was quite active in promoting the mining of silver in Colorado back then.”

DiVoran again.

Having just read the novel, Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas and discussing it at our church Book Chat, I realized that my brother and I had a mining family that lived in the mountains in Breckinridge, Colorado, in about 1887.  Our great grandmother, Dora Bell Morgan, and her husband Frank Samuel Morgan lived and worked in the mining town, and I imagined that Dora Bell’s life was like Hennie’s, the heroine of the book.  

Photo Credit Pixabay

Our son-in-law’s grandfather was involved in the mines in West Virginia, and a church friend’s father was too, in Pennsylvania. 

My dad did a stint in a Molybdenum mine in Leadville Co. 

All those mentioned had ties to the mines. It was a pitifully difficult life, but it enabled them to survive.

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Music and Me-Part 8

23 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

In addition to the choir in Seaford Baptist Church (Virginia),

Seaford Baptist Church ( Old Sanctuary)
Seaford Baptist Church (old Sanctuary) Choir

I also played the piano some, and sometimes the organ (again).  One of my joys in playing was when the other pianist and I played two-piano duets during the offertory.  We usually pulled a piano in from the choir-practice room, set it near the main piano, and we played next to each other.  We had some fantastic arrangements of hymns, and the congregation always enjoyed those times.  I had a couple of books that were for piano-organ duets, but I re-arranged the organ part so I could play the piano instead.  That was so much fun!  I’ve not been able to do that in the church we are in now.  I just have to remember and enjoy the times I have had.  God has been so gracious to me, and I am grateful. 

Perhaps that is why I have always enjoyed the two-piano recordings we have of the team of Ferrante and Teicher.  Hearing them play together is how I actually discovered how stereo is supposed to sound!  

That came about when we were living in San Jose, California, in 1965.  We had arrived in June for Fred to begin his meteorology study at then-San Jose State College for the Air Force.  He took a summer class, then had a few weeks between that class and the regular semesters classes.  He wanted to “unwind” some, so decided to actually build our stereo system.  He spent many hours wiring and soldering together all the parts that he needed to make the system work.  We purchased two speakers and set them on either side of the doorway.  Our first record purchase was a Ferrante and Teicher album.

Photo Credit Google search

I’m not sure why we purchased that, as I had no idea who “Ferrante and Teicher” were!  One day I was sitting on our couch – probably crocheting something – and listening to that album.  And then I heard it – the piano sound came out of the left speaker – and then another piano sound came out of the right speaker – bouncing back and forth!  I was amazed!  You must remember – this was wwaaayyy back in 1965 – the dark ages to some!  And if I had heard stereo before that – I didn’t realize it.  I was delighted!  We purchased quite a few more Ferrante and Teicher albums throughout our lifetime.

It actually reminded me of some of the antiphonal singing we had done in our large church in Fort Worth, Texas.  Some of the choir members were placed in the balcony, with the majority of the choir in the choir loft.  The larger choir would sing something, then the smaller choir would echo.  It was a great sound.

I think that about finishes my thoughts on Music and Me for now.  If I think of anything else, I’ll write about it later.  I hope you have enjoyed this little side jaunt through my music memories.  It has certainly brought to my mind some things in my life I had forgotten – and that’s a good thing!

~~~~~~~~~~The End….for now~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

7 Ways to Conquer Rejection

22 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged May 22, 2021

May 21, 2021

“I wanted to die,” my friend said as she dabbed tears. “I never expected he’d cheat on me. I never, ever saw it coming. I asked him if he still loved me,” she said in the midst of sobs, “and he said he stopped loving me a long time ago.”

You or someone you know might have tasted that bitterness of rejection. It crumbles our world, leaves us stunned, and shakes our security.

And when we try to make sense of it all, rather than peace, self-blame adds to the heartache.

But in the cold winter of rejection, a spring day appears. Here are seven ways to make the transition:

  1. Take your turn in rejecting. Reject the enemy’s attacks. He’s a master in bringing on guilt, self-pity, and bitterness. Close your mind and heart to those intruders.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

  1. Embrace new habits. No more nights with pillows wet with tears. Lonely moments are filled with the confidence in the truth God is actively preparing the best.

…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

  1. Redefine your identity You’re not a failure, a loser, worthless or unlovable. Instead, you’re God’s child. Strong enough to keep going, open enough to receive His love, and able to embrace His promise for your future.

I am convinced that 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 8:38-39)

  1. Change the view. Look beyond the circumstance. When your eyes are on the Lord, a new kind of hope and an expectation of new beginnings replace worry.

My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. (Psalm 25:15)

  1. Exchange guilt for hope. The path to healing is paved with confidence, not in our own ways, but in God’s guidance.

…teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,

and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4)

  1. Increase prayer and praise even when there’s no visible sign of the solution, boldly thank God for the outcome.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4)

  1. Expect the best. And while waiting in expectation, embrace joy as you trust in God’s ways, count on receiving His best and watch as His answers appear.

… blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7)

As spring flowers bloom, a new beginning blossoms when embracing these seven steps. And in the midst of the thorns of rejection, a new rose bud. That’s when the garden of life has the scent of a new beginning

Let’s Pray

I pray your steps are firm, your convictions are sound and your dreams are sparked by God’s love.

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 shareFeel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

If you enjoyed these moments of inspiration, consider supporting JC Empowerment Ministries. We keep going, keep inspiring and keep bringing Jesus light into the darkness only through your cheerful tax-deductible giving. It’s simple. Just hop over to this LINK. https://janetperezeckles.com/about/non-profit-tax-exempt-authorization-letter

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

50th Anniversary Part 4

21 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Monday April 12, 2021 Cade’s Cove

Planning this day of our trip was frustrating. Our original reason for choosing Pigeon Forge for our celebration was to visit Dollywood. From their website:

Spanning 160 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood offers more than 50 world class rides, high-energy entertainment, award-winning dining and the friendliest park atmosphere in the world! We even received an award for being so friendly!

40 years of visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we hadn’t made it to the theme park. The call of the outdoors and nature had always been more powerful. Credit card in hand, I read online the requirements for visiting the park, make a reservation, wear a mask, purchase tickets ahead of time and reserve a scooter for my husband. With my husbands unpredictable health, it felt impossible. I slipped the credit card back in my wallet. We would see how the elements came together.

Sunday night we decided to once more pass on visiting Dollywood. Instead we chose to visit one of our favorite places in the park, Cade’s Cove.

The valley has a rich history. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. 

Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. Pick up the self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the loop road for information about the buildings you’ll see in the cove and the people who lived here.

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htm

Years ago when our children were small we enjoyed an evening hay ride along the loop road. It appeared the hay ride was not being offered when we would be there but a carriage ride was. The carriages were booked on a first come basis. We needed to get moving early! And we did. We were the first ride of the day. Unlike the hay ride, the carriage ride was through the woods.

Our driver was a “talker” and shared funny and interesting stories. At one point he stopped on the hewn path and explained we were riding on the equivalent of an 1800s interstate. I have a new appreciation for earlier generations who rode in carriages and wagons. I understand why they are shown traveling slowly. It was bumpy!

After the ride, we circled back to the loop road. We hoped to see deer and maybe even a bear. We didn’t see a single one even though we drove slowly and peered into the woods. I guess they had retired for the day. We did see some of the beautiful horses and spring fresh trees.

Our last visit to the cove, I saw a family picnicking in the field next to the cabin above. I had my heart set on picnicking there this trip. My husband being more forward thinking than I, wasn’t excited about the idea, but he went along with it. As he was taking a picture of my daughter and I, a woman in a truck on the loop road called out and offered to take a family picture. Wasn’t that awesome?

I soon discovered my husband’s forward thinking. I easily sat on the blanket, but getting up with nothing to hold on to was tricky and embarrassing. Notice he didn’t sit, merely knelt.

We were pleased to learn that one of the lesser known roads out of the cove, Rich Mountain Road was once again open after being closed due to the previous year’s pandemic. It is an unpaved one lane road that was used by the early settlers. In the past we have seen wildlife and even a bear on it, but not this year! From an overlook into the valley there is a beautiful view of one of the churches. It was a gorgeous day.

After leaving Cade’s Cove we headed back to the time share for a little R&R. While my husband rested, my daughter and I went to the swimming pool area. She was anxious to spend some time in the hot tub, loosening her tight muscles. I totally forgot to pack my swim suit but I enjoyed sitting under the shade of an umbrella and enjoying the view.

We weren’t in the mood for dinner out, so I made a run to a nearby Publix grocery to get my husband’s favorite meal, Publix fried chicken.

At the end of the day, I was completely happy to have spent the day in the cove, rather than in Dollywood. Maybe after Covid has passed and we can make a spontaneous decision, we’ll try again.

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.

Fishing With Ivan Part 8

19 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I believe it was somewhere around 1995 that I had another business trip to Edwards AFB to support a Space Shuttle recovery operation.  DiVoran flew out with me a nd stayed with Ivan and Dora in Vista, CA for the week I was at Edwards.  After the recovery operations were complete, I took a week of vacation to visit with Ivan and Dora.  In addition to the local fishing that Ivan usually did, he had obtained a commercial license, to take lobsters from the waters off the coast of southern California and sell them locally.  I went out in the boat with him one day, while we were there in Vista, to help him with the boat while he pulled in his lobster traps.  He showed me how to inspect the lobsters for gender and how to measure them for legal size.

Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/lobster-trap-wooden-lobster-fishing-4346279/

Ivan regaled us with his frustrations about some people who were stealing his lobster catches.  It had been going on for a while before we got there for our visit.  He had called the local Sherriff for help about the problem, but they were never able to catch the poachers in the act.  That didn’t stop us from having plenty of fresh lobsters from Ivan’s traps, to eat while we were there.  They were plentiful and they were delicious!  Every dinner with Ivan and Dora on that trip was an ‘All You Can Eat’ lobster feast.   

Photo by DiVoran Lites

DiVoran’s brother, David, and his wife, Susan, lived just a mile or two from Ivan and Dora, there in Vista, so they would join us occasionally for a lobster dinner at Ivan and Dora’s.  David is an avid hunter and he invited us all to his house for dinner one evening.  He had just returned from a bird hunting trip to the interior of Mexico.  He told us many of the local farmers there, were being inundated by doves, and that the Mexican government had requested hunters to come help reduce the threat to the crops.  After the hunt, the hunters were allowed to freeze and bring back as many of the birds as they wanted to into the U.S.

Photo: https://www.getducks.com/hunts/mexico-white-wingeddove-hunting/

These were fairly large White-winged doves and we all enjoyed that tasty meal (except for DiVoran who never eats any kind of wildlife). After that interesting meal (being careful not to bite down on a lead pellet), the six of us continued a wonderful evening together with a walk down memory lane. 

Photo by Bill Lites

If I remember right, I don’t’ believe Ivan’s commercial lobster business lasted very long after our visit that year.  With the high price of fuel, the cost of commercial licenses, and the fact that the Sherriff was never able to catch Ivan’s lobster thieves, he just didn’t think it was worth the effort.  That was a shame because I believe he enjoyed the work and, if it hadn’t been for the poachers, it could have helped with his retirement income.

Photo by Dora Bowers

Ivan was good at, and had always liked, tinkering with mechanical things, and as it turned out, he bought a vacuum cleaner repair shop, there in Vista, and worked at that job for several years (between fishing trips).  But that’s another story for another time, and doesn’t involve fishing.  This concludes the series of memories we have of ‘Fishing with Ivan‘ and I hope you have enjoyed our memories of the times we have spent with Ivan and Dora as much as I have enjoyed writing about them.  Join me next week for a surprise blog that I hope you will also enjoy.

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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