2018 Florida Road Trip Part 10

14 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 10 Sunday 10/28/2018


This morning my plan was to head north on I-95 to visit the Kings Bay Submarine Museum, located just across the border from Jacksonville in Kings Bay, GA.  I was hoping to get a photo of all of the submarine launched missiles (display) that was advertised to be part of the museum.  When I got to the gate entrance to the base, I was informed that the Museum was no longer on the base, but had been relocated to the town of St. Marys, GA. The only thing related to the base was a submarine “Gate Guard” near the gate entrance.  So I took a photo of the Gate Guard and headed for St. Marys.



When I got to the St. Marys Submarine Museum, located on the St. Marys River waterfront, in downtown St. Marys, it was closed.  However, I noticed there was a car parked in front of the museum, and decided to see if it was open after all.  Sure enough, the curator was there doing some work and agreed to let me look around the museum until he was finished with his work.  This small museum is dedicated to the history of the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet, from its inception, and includes submarine memorabilia and artifacts dating from the early 1800s.  The museum also has a submarine control room display, with a working periscope. 



Across the street from the submarine museum I took a stroll thru the St. Marys Waterfront Park overlooking the St. Marys River.  This is a beautiful quiet park where a person can enjoy the surroundings while being soothed by the sounds of the river flowing nearby.  In the 1800s, tall ships frequented the St. Marys harbor, as it was the southernmost point of the United States (at the time), and was a prime trading port.   Today the city of St. Marys offers several areas, within the park, to rent for weddings and other special occasions.



While I was in St. Marys, I checked out the St. Marys Railroad Museum, located just a few blocks north of the Submarine Museum.  This museum was closed, but their website informs me that the museum is situated in the restored late1800s St. Marys SM&K train depot.  The museum offers 1-hour excursions, on “Train Days,” on their restored diesel powered train with open site-seeing train cars.  The museum also displays model railroad layouts, of different scales, inside the building.  The museum building also doubles as the local St. Marys Little Theater.



I headed south on I-95/U.S.-17/SR-200 to visit the Amelia Island Museum of History, located in Fernandina Beach, Fl.  This museum is housed in the restored 1878Nassau County Jail building, and displays artifacts and memorabilia on two floors.  The museum showcases the island’s some 4000 years of Florida history.  There is an emphasis on 8 flags, representing the 8 countries that have occupied this island area over the centuries.   Displays include a Timucuan Indian Village scene, evidence of the Spanish Mission period, Civil War photos, and artifacts from the early Florida settlers.




—–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.

Informed or Transformed?

12 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Today is shaping up to be a busy one starting out with volunteering at Compassion House food pantry but I wanted to take a moment to share this.


“We can know the right words yet never be changed. This is the difference between information and transformation”-AW Tozer



A thank you to Melody Hendrix who generously shares her photos with me.

What Did You Say?

11 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Bill and I kept up with a lot of changes in American English for most of our lives, but now we feel we may be slipping behind. Sometimes younger people look at us as if they have no clue what we’re talking about.

When we were in Colorado a few years ago with our grown children our daughter asked why everyone was saying Back East when referring to the whole East Coast of the U. S. I gave that some thought and remembered hearing Out West once we had moved to Florida. Bill and I have lived on both coasts so we have a mixture of ways to say things. We try to stick with the jargon of the place where we live. It would be hard to go Out West again and be understood because we’ve been Back East for 52 years.

I told my daughter that BackEast was where almost everyone came from in the olden days. Ranchers and sheepherders, gold prospectors, and movie stars migrated west and so Back East was looked upon as a sort of original home.

My mother would say a few words and then warn me not to use them because they’d betray my common background. At night when we went to sleep she said, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed-bugs bite.”  I thought that was a funny poem but when I said it once she told me it wasn’t really a nice thing to say. Another word she didn’t want me to use was: do’less. To me, that is a perfect word. It means you don’t feel like doing any work or patching of clothes which was thought of as rest.



Speaking of work, over the years I read a lot of British fiction and watched Masterpiece Theater offerings. I’ve been putting two and two together about my ancestors and got to thinking my ancestors were indeed just common down to earth folks. I know they were farmers and store-keepers, janitors, and embroiderers. My own closest grandmother was a hair-dresser with a bedroom that had a separate entrance. That was her beauty shop. She and Granddaddy bought a Victorian house and made it into an apartment house with the family living downstairs. Granddad was a guard at the Colorado State Penitentiary, a very dear man. When I went to visit I got to know all the boarders, one of which was an older deaf woman. She would give me sign-language lessons when I went up to see her.





I was a bit of a pill, but Grandmother really did love me. The hand on my arm, however,isn’t affection it is restraint.



During World War II, Mother, my brother and I lived in the biggest of the three apartments while dad was in the infantry in Europe. Thank the Lord he did come back and nothing was hurt except his night-dreams which would wake him up screaming.



My other grandmother was widowed by then. She and her sister worked at the Brown Hotel in Denver as chambermaids and lived on the top floor in a small room. She died when I was seven and my mother cried for a week.



This is my mother’s dad, her Aunt Vera, my mother at 4, her mother and Grandma Hunter, the matriarch of the family. I love this picture.


Our mother and father at Grandmother’s house.

Over the years watching all those British dramas I came to imagine that some of my grandmothers, were maids in the big houses. Perhaps the men were stable men and gardeners.



Notice the shovel my great-grandfather had. He must have been a funny man. Our grandfather is the fifth from the left. To me,he resembles Prince Charles.

In imagination, when I see a young woman on screen walking across the hills to become a scullery maid and to have her bed in the turrets of the house while working up to parlor maid I am glad I don’t have to do any of that. Back East or out West or over the seas, I am who I am and I enjoy my background make-believe immensely.




We enjoy talking with folks our own age because they understand our meaning. The younger people in the family are lots of fun too. They understand our hearts. Whatever people say, one of the very best things in the world is having a family. Thank you, Lord for family then and now.

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.”

Another Sweet Memory~Part 2

10 Feb


Judy Wills


 Last time I talked about the cape I had made for Karen when we were in Wiesbaden, Germany in the late 1960’s.  And that it now is a “garment” for one of our granddaughter’s dolls.  I’m so glad it is still in the family.



Another garment that was part of Karen’s legacy was a dress that our good friend, Frau Katie had crocheted for Karen when she was just two or three-years-old.  I saw that dress on one of our granddaughter’s dolls, as well.  Below is a picture of Karen in that dress, on our balcony in Wiesbaden.



And here is another picture of the three of us, and Karen is wearing that little dress.  I’m sorry we didn’t have the picture made in color.



There was also a German dirndl that Frau Katie purchased for our Karen.  It was basically white, with lots of pink – the apron is pink, and lots of pink flowers on the design.  Karen really enjoyed that dress, and I believe that our Katie still has it, as well. Here is a picture of Karen with Frau Katie, with Karen in her dirndl.  Sorry it isn’t in color, either.



Frau Katie took a real shine to Karen, when she was a baby.  I think it was because I nursed Karen, rather than bottle fed her.  In any case, here is a picture of Karen, age two-and-a half, with Fred, and she has on a lovely sweater that Frau Katie gave her for Christmas.



I made several little outfits for Karen when she was little (see some pictures below), but I found that I could purchase really cute little dresses for her, with lots of “trim” and other appointments that I couldn’t match, that cost less than I could make.  So I didn’t make all her clothes, but did enjoy what I did make for her.



Karen and my mother, 1970, in Albuquerque


Here is one of the ones I purchased for her, and it was a favorite of mine.  She looked so cute in it. (Our apartment is the one on the top right in this picture.)



Here is a picture of Karen in 1969.  We were in our quarters in Wiesbaden, on the third floor.  The dining room window was quite large, and the two side windows opened.  While I didn’t make the little outfit Karen is wearing, this is one of my favorite pictures of her.  Because the window was large, and the window “sill” was wide and marble, Karen liked to sit on the window sill and look out.  This is a perfect picture of her.



As I look back on those days, so many years ago, it brings sweet memories to my mind.  Of Karen as a small child, of the things I made for her, for the beautiful things that Frau Katie gave to her – just for the joy of living and being in beautiful Germany.

God has blest us in so many ways.  And we are grateful.

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.

The Best Valentine’s Gift

9 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles


Reblogged February 9, 2019

I struggled in the kitchen, trying to find the box of cereal for my 3, 5, and 7-year old sons’ breakfast. At age 31, my sudden blindness had darkened my world in all aspects.

Everything in life became more difficult.

My parents observed and with tears, they expressed their concern. But I kept my anguish from them, hoping to avoid intensifying the pain they felt for me.

Then one day, my mom sat beside me on the couch, held my hands in hers and said, “What would you say about your father and I moving in with you? I can help you with the boys.”

I sighed with gratitude. My sons would be thrilled. And my husband pleased to have her help.

The transition for them wouldn’t be easy as they would gaie up their spacious condominium. Once with us, she and my father would be living in tight quarters in our home, but I knew their love could fill a football field. There would be enough to overcome all the inconveniences.

And so, they moved in.

We all began the adjustment period, stressful at times, but my mom’s delicate demeanor and caring nature made it easier for all of us to re-establish our roles.

Mom could have shown her love and support for me in many ways. But looking back, her sacrifice made Jesus’ words come alive for me: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).



Her Jesus-kind-of-love renewed my hope and fueled my desire to move forward. And the fact someone loved me enough to sacrifice for me sparked a new perception of my blindness.

My blindness wasn’t a handicap anymore.

It became a hope-filled adventure instead. Years later, through God’s grace and her support, my life has been filled with success, both personal and professional.

But this lesson she taught ever so tacitly, is the best reward:  Seeing our physical surroundings isn’t as important as being willing to see beyond our own comfort and help those who need us most.

She still lives out that conviction.

Today, at 90, she continues strong, providing much more than physical assistance with the household chores. She radiates the power of love that dispels any darkness.

Like a priceless treasure, I have tucked her gift away in my heart. It’s laced with golden strings of gratitude.

Let’s Pray

Father, teach me how to give, how to show and reflect Your love even when it’s difficult, unfamiliar or inconvenient. Show me how to give the love that adds value to those around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Do you know anyone who needs the gift of your love?



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: 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.


Seeking Peace-State of the Union

8 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


I am pleased, thrilled actually, that I made it through the State of the Union speech without mental fireworks. Much of what we see on the news are selectively chosen sound bites to put forth the narrative of the outlet. Sound bites are deceptive and I shudder to think how sound bites of my words could be contrived to say something completely different from my intentions.

Sound bites don’t require a media outlet to feed our brains.

We do it to ourselves when we mentally replay out of context words from conversations. It seems to be easier to focus on negative words than the positive ones.

Okay, back to the SOTU speech. The things that steal my peace are usually not the words spoken but all the standing or not standing, clapping or not clapping.




The SOTU is supposed to be serious, not a drama show. I try to watch speeches live to avoid sound bites deception and I did watch this speech live, BUT I did not watch the screen.  I highly recommend this method!


Love: Love finds a way to not feed anger. (I am a work in progress. Blew it big yesterday)

Joy:  Joy is like pouring water on a fire.

Peace: Our church posted this verse on their Facebook page.



Seeds For Me

7 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Monday morning I was at the eye surgical center to have a laser procedure. The subject of being blind vs deaf came up as several of us awaited our turn. The consensus was that being blind would be the most devastating. i told them of my amazing friend (Janet who is our Saturday blogger) who does not allow blindness to stop her from fully living life. In the conversation I was able to talk about how strong faith in God enables one to face frightening challenges. Not a lot of witnessing but trusting seeds were planted for someone,  who didn’t know who to cling to.

Fast forward to Monday around 4pm. I was on the phone with a friend and noticed my vision in the eye that had  laser treatment was suddenly blurry.  I decided the eye just needed moisture so I put in drops. The vision was getting worse. How my thoughts ran to worry and fear! What if the doctor had botched my procedure. Eyes are not easy to fix once messed up. Then I remembered the conversation at the eye doctor. I prayed,

“Lord if I am going to lose my sight in this eye, I will trust you. If  you can lead Janet to overcome complete blindness, I know you will do the same for me.” 

It seems the seeds  I was hoping were planted at the doctor’s office, were the very ones I would need.


I called the surgery center and they suggested waiting until morning then they would work me in. Blurred vision was not a usual side effect of the procedure.Tuesday morning, my vision was clear. Tuesday afternoon the blurriness returned. I was worried! I have cornea transplants and was concerned the procedure may have triggered a rejection. Wednesday morning I called the doctor and was given a time to come to the office. Praise God my cornea was fine.  Not so good, my pressure was ridiculously high. My visual disturbance was the result of the elevated pressure and the doctor felt sure it was a temporary elevation and send me home with new drops.

Isn’t God the best?  Psalm 23:5 reads  He prepares a table before me. I never thought before that the table could be spread with  tools to enable me to stand firm in the presence of my enemies. Enemies like fear and worry. He leads us, He prepares us, He anoints us, and in the end we are followed by His goodness and mercy!



The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23


Video highlights of Super Bowl Sunday sermon.





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.

My 2019 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

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