School Days Again- Six

3 Dec

My Take

DiVoran LItes


What a wonderful classroom MS Conner* has. It is full of positive energy. While I waited for my assignment, I read some of the art-lettered signs tacked to the walls. I was interested in the ones that gave the Florida Standards for Language Arts: Reading, Literature, and Writing. One sign said, Life Science, another was Math Standards.


Photo credit Pixabay


The room has several four-part desks that can be reassembled into whatever patterns are needed. If a child needs to be alone to concentrate on his work for a while his desk can be separated from others. At the four-part desks students sit facing each other as if they were at a kitchen table. Sometimes they are supposed to have discussions. Large tote bags full of library books wait where the children can reach them for reading occasions.

Although I am not a math person I did appreciate the way MS. Conner taught it. I wished I had a teacher like that. Maybe I wouldn’t have turned away from math and math teachers as I did. I may or may not have dysgraphia, I do often transpose numbers. We passed out foam numbers to use for addition. It was like counting money. My dad taught me how to do that when we had the restaurant and I needed to know how to make change.

Oh,and by the by, the computers the children have are wonderful. Each child has an 81/2x 11 lap-top they use for almost all classes. When not in use, the devices live in a row hooked up to chargers like piglets getting nourishment from their mamas. Each child has a sign-in, bar-coded card. They are learning to watch their batteries to see that they don’t get too low. One little girl is so proficient that she helps the others. Another was savvy enough to be able to help the volunteer…me.

Photo credit Pixabay


The teacher, instead of writing on a black, green, or whiteboard, projects videos from her computer on her desk. The biology video was lovely. Over the years our country has had questions and fears about sex education in schools. In this second-grade classroom it’s just a part of science, which most of the children seem to love. It explains the stages of life in ways they can understand. Some of the children are becoming aware of plants and the workings of nature by watching them. MS. Conner says one child is making progress faster because her mother selects nature videos at home. If there’s anything our country needs more than any other thing it is more scientists of all kinds.


Photo credit Pixabay


Conner is patient with the children. She only raises her voice when the children are not paying attention in class. She always calls them her friends and compliments them on the things they do right. A few of the children require extra patience and understanding. That has probably been true all through history, but perhaps a bit more so today. To quiet them,she says, “Catch a bubble,” and they puff out their cheeks. They can’t talk or yell with their cheeks puffed out. She explains quietly that her friends must not speak out of turn, whine, or fight. Over and over she calms them with her voice. She is so patient I wonder whether or not she ever loses it.


Photo credit Pixabay


When we went outside for recess, MS. Conner had a new toy. It was a parachute big enough for several children to get under. Two of them took hold of the handles and made it fly up and come back down over them.  They all loved it. One second-grader had on a tee shirt that said, “Be Happy, Be Brave, Be You.”

*not MS. Conner’s real name



Author, Poet and Artist

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.”


Fred Remembers-Part 15

2 Dec


Judy Wills


I remember that at both Tachikawa and Johnson, I rode a bus about 45 minutes to get from the housing area  to Narimasu High School, which was in Grant Heights, which was in a housing area in Tokyo.  It was about a 750 student school complex that went all the way from 5thgrade through 12thgrade.  Even the high school portion was about 500 students, so it was a pretty good-sized school.  (The entire Grand Heights area was demolished by the Japanese for the 1968 summer Olympics).


Narimasu High School


It was an interesting situation there, especially going to school in Japan.  I remember several experiences with earthquakes.  We never received any damage, but I remember how the chandeliers in our room would sway.  I remember one time during one of the Baccalaureate services I was attending, and my Dad was preaching, that we had an earthquake.  The whole building was moving around and shaking.  One of the guys accused my Dad of being an “earthshaking” preacher.

In the Fall of 1955, a young airman started and led a Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) that met every Sunday evening in the base Chapel.  I decided to join this group.  I soon recognized that four or five of the teens were different from the rest:  they had purpose; were happy and helpful; and they did not curse or tell off-color jokes.  In fact, they were the real Christians in the group.  I wanted to be like them.

About the same time, my father brought home a book he found in a book store in Tokyo.  The book was Letters to Young Churches by J. B. Phillips.  It was, in fact, a contemporary translation of Paul’s New Testament letters.  As I read the book – for the first time in my life God’s Word came alive to me.



These two events:  the few real believers in the CYF, and the modern translation of Paul’s letters, together with the testimony of both my parents, who were strong believers, combined to lead me to commit my life to Christ.


Chaplain and Mrs. Charles Wills


As stated in the previous blog, in the summer of 1956, my Dad was transferred from Tachi to Johnson AB, on the opposite side of Tokyo.  Johnson AB did not have a CYF, so I started one.  The first meeting was myself and my younger sister, Emily.  Within a month or so, we were averaging over 20 teens attending, out of 28 who lived on the base.

In late summer of 1956, the CYF group from several military bases in the Tokyo area met for a retreat at a resort near the foot of Mount Fujiyama (affectionately known an Mt. Fuji).  The two events I remember from the retreat are: (1) I preached my first sermon (about 20 minutes long), and (2) I climbed Mt. Fuji (12,395 feet above sea level).



The climb over loose rocks and large boulders was somewhat difficult.  To aid the climb we purchased poles about 6 feet long and octagonal in shape.  At each of the 10 stations along the trail, for a few cents, we had the poles marked with a wood burned stamp that gave the altitude and the name of the station.   A few of the stations, including the top station, also sold small flags to attach to the pole.  We started the climb in the evening and stopped at a shelter after midnight.  We got up very early so we would arrive at the top before sunrise.  I still remember that the sunrise at the top was fantastic!


Fred’s sister, Emily, adds

Yes, I did do a hike up Mt. Fuji, and I remember that Fred was with the group. (Actually I climbed it twice) .  Great fun, and good exercise.

Emily still has her hiking stick – here is a picture of it, with stamps and flags


Emily’s hiking stick – Mt. Fuji


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


JUDYJudy 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

How long do I wait for God’s answer?

1 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles


Reblogged November December 1, 2018

It grows and grows, doesn’t it? The love for our grandkids, that is. It brings out the silly side in us. And also creates the loveliest of memories.

Back when my granddaughter was 18 months old, our family spent the weekend in a condo on the beach.

She had woken up from her afternoon nap and was letting us know.

I volunteered to get her.

Bad move. Although the condo was lovely, I was unfamiliar with the layout of the rooms.

So, I did what any blind Nana does. I followed the sound of her voice as my guide.

When I reached her crib, I scooped her up. “Nana is here.”

I kissed her cheek, rocked her a bit to calm her down. Then with her in my arms, I proceeded to make my way out of the room. I took a few steps to my right. I ran into the bed. I stepped to the left only to find a wall with a window. Holding her in one arm, with the other I reached out to “feel” my way out. Although I was going around in circles, I was determined to get out on my own. But my efforts were futile.

“Hey, sweet thing,” I whispered into her little ear, “you get us out of this room.”

You’ve got to trust…

I put her down on the floor. I took her by her tiny hand. Trusting her, I followed her and with ease, she led me out.

We do the same in life. Our own stubborn nature takes over. Blindly, we go around and around, groping for answers. Looking for the solution. We try to “feel” the way out of painful situations. And when no results appear, we still count on our futile efforts.

What if, instead, stretching out our hand toward Him, we allowed God to take it? Once secure, we can declare out loud the words in Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Here’s what we need.

We need His lamp to know what the next step will be. And we count on his light to guide us in the dark room of adversity. We follow His wisdom to take us from heartache to healing.

And unlike my granddaughter who didn’t ask me to trust her, God is asking us to trust in Him. But the trust can’t be a wimpy kind of trust, or half-hearted, superficial.

Instead the Bible instructs: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Are you heading in a crooked path of frustration? God knows. He’s aware of our human blindness that keeps us from seeing what only He can. And He offers the answer to guide us on a direct path. And when pure trust overflows, peace comes back, security reigns and our heart becomes still.

Let’s Pray

Father, how often I lived frustrated by going in circles. But now I know that trusting in You is the direct way to answers and the only way to freedom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Whose hand are you holding on to for guidance?



Christmas is almost here.

Does your list include someone who needs encouragement? Someone who needs a gift for their broken heart? Or a book with engaging scripture-rich content to lift them up? I wrote Simply Salsa with them in mind. Here’s what a reader wrote:

My life was paralyzed with pain. My pastor, my friends or my family couldn’t get me out that horrible place of depression. Even reading the Bible didn’t comfort me. But a friend gave me a copy of Simply Salsa; I read the first chapter and began to sob. You wrote the book for me. For the first time I found hope. I finished the book and now my family says it’s nice to have our Sandy back. Sandy M

You can read more 5-star reviews on Amazon when you place your order HERE.


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

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

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

Please share: Feel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.




Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video:

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.

Today I Choose to Remember God

30 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


This is from the Jesus Always. I read from the Jesus Calling app and love that it allows me to share their branded content.




Edisto Island Get Away- The End

29 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


As Hurricane Michael made its way ashore in the Florida panhandle, we followed its projected path on the television. According to the forecast we would begin experiencing tropical force winds during the night. By the time we were ready to retire for the evening, the winds had begun to pick up. At some point during the night, I think around 3 am the electricity went off. I lay there waiting for the emergency power to come on. Nothing happened. Surely a resort would have back up generators! Apparently not.  As I went back to sleep, I wondered how long the condo would remain cool without air-conditioning. To my surprise, my room remained cool to the point it felt as though the air-conditioning was on.

We arose around 7:30 am and I looked around hopefully to see if the electricity was back on. It wasn’t. Which meant no coffee. As we shared our experiences during the night, it became clear that husband and I fared the best. Our room remained cool and we didn’t hear the wind howling. Not so for our daughter whose room faced the exterior walkway. The winds roared down the walkway and shook the windows. She ended up sleeping on the floor, just in case the windows blew out.

I was a trifle miffed that the resort did not reach out to any of the guests before or after the storm. There were no updates on the power outage or suggestions of what to do about check out. We were due to check out this morning. Were we supposed to venture out into the storm to avoid being charged for another day?

Around 9 am as we sat around, trying to figure out what to do, the electricity came on. Our first thought was COFFEE! Once we all had cups we gathered around the television to learn the status of the storm. Even with the restored power, still no phone call from the resort and they were not answering their phones.

We decided that if the bridge to the mainland was closed, the news would be reporting it. Gradually we began to see a few cars on the road outside our window. Rebekah and Pam were heading south to Florida and should be fine once they were off the island. Husband and I were kind of stuck. If we decided to abandon our plans and head back to our home in Western North Carolina, we would be crossing the path of the hurricane. If we continued with our plans, we would be driving north with tropical storm force winds. Having spent over 50 years in Florida, we had plenty of experience with tropical storms, so we felt confident that we should continue with our plans to spend two nights at a hotel on the North Carolina coast.

The previous evening, in between rain, we had loaded the majority of our luggage in our cars. This morning, we waited for a lull in the rain, then made a dash for our cars. We followed Rebekah and Pam’s car and were pleased to see that the bridge was open and the winds were not bad at all. Soon after, they turned south and we headed north.


Photo credit

I’m glad we didn’t allow the less than ideal weather spoil our visit to Edisto Island. My favorite comment to my husband when we are meeting friends for a meal out and he isn’t fond of the restaurant is “it’s the fellowship, not the food.” In this case, it was the fellowship, not the weather and the fellowship was worth every rain drop.


For photos of Edisto Island visit

Previous installments

Edisto Get Away Part One

Edisto Get Away Part Two

Edisto Get Away Part Three


I'm a winnerAfter 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  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 1 (Continued)

28 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 1 Friday 10/19/2018


Now I headed west, back across the Indian River on the North Causeway, to visit the Missionary Flights International (MFI) facility located at the St. Lucie County Airport in Fort Pierce. One of the missionary families DiVoran and I support ministers to several small communities in Haiti, and uses the MFI folks to transport equipment and supplies to their son who heads up the ministry there in Haiti.  I had called ahead and talked to Leslye, who now introduced me to the President of MFI operations.  Joe was kind enough to take the time, from his busy schedule, to give me a tour of the MFI facilities and their fleet of airplanes, which range from a Cessna 310 to three turbo prop powered C-47s.



Now I headed east, across Seaway Drive to A1A, and a few miles south, to visit the FPL Energy Encounter located on Jensen Beach.  This attraction was closed at the time, but I was informed that this museum is not open to the general public, and that reservations are required for group access, and.   The Encounter displays a collection of electrical and nuclear power exhibits to educate visitors about the various ways of producing electrical power for consumers.


Heading back across the Indian River on Ocean Blvd, across U.S.-1 again, I was looking for the Maritime & Yachting Museum located in Stuart.  This museum displays artifacts and memorabilia which include antique boats, navigational equipment and model boat displays related to yachting.  The museum was  closed, so I took a photo of the building and was on my way.



While I was in Stuart, I decided to pop over to the Witham Air Field and check out the Stuart Jet Center to see what they were all about.  As it turned out, the Jet Center is a flight and service center for all types of aircraft calling Martin County their home base.  One of their most recent winter visitors to the Jet Center is the world’s oldest flying DC-3, the American Airlines Flagship Detroit.  The Flagship Detroit is usually maintained and operates from its home base located at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport in Shelbyville, TN.  As with many older people, and some older machines, the Flagship Detroit now calls the Stuart Jet Center its winter home, where it can enjoy the warm and sunshiny days.



Next I headed south another 25 miles, on U.S.-1, to visit the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum located on the north side of the Jupiter Inlet.  Construction began on the lighthouse in 1853, but was delayed several times (once by the Third Seminole War 1855-1858) before it could be completed in 1860.  Over the years a U.S. Weather station, a U.S. Signal station, and a U.S. Navy Radio Compass station were added to aid navigation in the area.    In 1939 the U.S. Coast Guard took over responsibility for the lighthouse, and the U.S. Navy established a Radio Detecting Station known as ”Station J.”  In 1943 alone, Station J was credited with locating some 60+ German submarines, off the coast of Florida, which were destroyed by the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Navy.



By now I was ready for Greta (My Garmin) to take me, the 20 miles south, to my motel, for tonight, in West Palm Beach.  After getting checked in, I asked the desk clerk for some restaurant recommendations, and he said there’s an IHOP right there at the end of the driveway.  Well, I wasn’t in the mood for breakfast. I wanted some MEAT in my meal tonight.  I got in the van and went downtown looking for my kind of place to eat. Nothing!  I came back to the motel and went the other way.  I just knew there had to be something somewhere. Nothing!  OK, that did it.  I drove back to the motel and went to the IHOP.  I ordered one of their Colorado Omelettes, and to my surprise, it was the most delicious omelette I’ve ever had, and it was huge!  I could only eat half of it, so I will nuke the other half tomorrow morning for a scrumptious breakfast in my room before heading out on Day 2.



—–To Be Continued—–




Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 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

School Days Again-Five

26 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Another week passed and I found a note inmy email from a second-grade teacher who wanted to know if I would like to come and work with her class. Fortunately,the FBI had accepted me. A few more emails and I was promised to second grade.


Photo Credit  Pixabay

At the corner where you turn in at the school, a group of teens with all kinds of percussion instruments tapped out a lively beat. It felt like a personal welcome, but I soon learned that it was walk to school day and the young players had come from the High School to encourage children and parents as they arrived.

Inside, I got lost the minute I stepped into the room next to the office, but there was someone to escort me around the maze of octagonal buildings. Even then I ended up in the wrong second-grade classroom. When I walked into the roomful of children I met a pretty blond teacher in a red dress. She asked what I had volunteered for and when I told her reading, she said, “Oh couldn’t you come yet another day and help us too?” Suddenly, I had a strong urge to cry. It was a coming-home kind of crying because at last,I was where I needed to be. I told the teacher how I felt and she said, “I feel that way every day.” Later I wondered if she was being funny or serious. Either way, I enjoyed the interchange.

Photo Credit  Pixabay

At first, my assigned teacher failed to understand that I was there only to help the children learn to read. At any rate, my real goal was to read one-on-one with as many kids as I could from eight o’clock in the morning until their early lunchtime at eleven thirty.They gave me a large, empty room to work in.

Photo Credit  Pixabay

The first reader, a small ebony boy with shiny golden eyes wiggled in his chair like a puppy and we immediately became buddies. His favorite book was about planting seeds and growing things. I imagined that someday his old grandfather,if he had one, would teach him how to grow a garden. When he left, another child came, then another—three in all.

                               Photo Credit  Pixabay




Back in the classroom,  it was time for the science video and teaching session. After that we all went out on the playground for recess. When we got back at math-time I told the teacher quietly, “I don’t do math,” and she excused me.

I got lost halfway back to the office but there’s always someone to show you the way. As I started the car I counted my blessings. I can’t wait to go again.

Author, Poet and Artist

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.”

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