Tag Archives: Christian bloggers

Random Memories of Germany-Let’s Eat!

3 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I had never really eaten any type of “international” food as I was growing up, just what was around Albuquerque.  You know – pizza, Mexican food, Chinese.  But I don’t remember there being a German restaurant in Albuquerque – at least one I knew about.

So I didn’t really have any kind of frame of reference for what to expect in the way of food when we got to Germany in 1967.  I am most happy to report that my experience with German food was off the charts!  It was wonderful – or as I used to compliment the server – “Ausgezeichnet” (outstanding!!).  That always got a chuckle from the server – whether it was my pronunciation or what the word means, I’m not sure.  But I like to think it left a good impression.

And let me make this statement right now:   we NEVER had a bad meal in any German restaurant – no matter where it was.  It could have been in the town where we were living at the time – or it could have been along the roadside where we would stop as we were traveling.  It was ALL good!

Our first experience was in the hotel where we were to stay for about a week when we first arrived in Wiesbaden – the American Arms Hotel.  We ate many of our meals there and were pleased.  Our military sponsors took us out to eat that first evening, and it was at the zum Keller in Wiesbaden.  I had my first taste of schnitzel there, as well as the wonderful salad they make (you know – cucumbers and onions in a vinegar sauce on butter lettuce…yummm!), and the French fries (pomme frites).  Wow…my mouth is watering just remembering!

Credit Google search

Credit Pixabay

In later years, when we returned for Fred’s second tour of duty in Germany, we found a wonderful restaurant, called Grimmingers, that was just down the street from our apartment.  They had the most wonderful schnitzel there – and we each had our favorite.  Fred always wanted the Jägerschnitzel (hunter’s schnitzel). 

Credit Google search and Quick German Recipes

Our daughters both loved the Rahmschnitzel (topped with a cream sauce). 

Credit Google search and German Culture

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the exact name of my favorite schnitzel, and it’s possible that it was a house speciality.  It was the usual schnitzel with a couple of stalks of Spargle (white asparagus) on top, and covered with a cream sauce.  Delicious!  Also unfortunately, our daughter, Karen, told us following a visit to Heidelberg in recent years, that the restaurant is no longer there – it is now a bank!  Shucks!

In a previous musing, I mentioned that we had a favorite Gasthause, the Schwartzeradler (Black Eagle) where we always stopped on our way to Rothenburg.

Credit Google Search and swartzer_adler_rothenberg.com

It was in a very small village, right on the road we drove on.  I believe we always got their schnitzel there, rather than trying to eat somewhere within the walled city of Rothenburg.  Our girls didn’t understand that, until we told them that the “local” restaurant had to have good food, or it wouldn’t survive, while the restaurants within cities that attracted tourists didn’t – the tourists probably wouldn’t return, so it didn’t really matter how good the food was.  It was an eatery that was well attended by the local population.  If the locals didn’t like the food, they wouldn’t return – and this one was well-established.

I have nothing but good memories of food in Germany.  It’s one of the things I miss the most about living there.  We are grateful God allowed us that time in our lives – and the memories that accompany it.

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.

Random Memories of Germany, Trips to Italy-Part 6

26 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

For the last of my memories of trips to Italy, I would like to tell you about when we stopped at Trieste.

Trieste is located in the northern part of Italy that has been dominated by many different nations throughout its history:  Austria/Hungary, Italian (Roman), France (three times during the Napoleonic Wars), Germany (with Mussolini as head) during WW2, Yugoslavia.  It was finally officially annexed to Italy in 1954.  The border questions with Yugoslavia and the status of the ethnic minorities (Slovenes in Italy and Italians in Yugoslavia)  were settled definitely in 1975 with the treaty of Osimo.  (Please see Wikipedia for more information)

Trieste is a natural port on the Adriatic, and is nearly surrounded by Slovenia.  Here is a picture that Fred’s father took while stationed in Trieste following WW2.  Don’t know the name of the Navy Cruiser, but it is a U.S. ship, and it is in the port of Trieste. 

 Another picture says it was possibly bringing Omar Bradley to visit.  Sorry, no picture of Bradley.

Fred’s parents lived for a while in this building in Trieste following WW2, 

on what he calls the “mezzanine” – it was the level under the “arches” – but not the ground level.  Between the ground floor and the second floor.  And here is our picture of that same building.

Here is a picture that Fred’s dad took of the living room of the apartment in the mezzanine, in July 1948. 

 And also in 1948 is a picture of Fred, his sister Emily, and their mother in front of the Fontana dei Tritoni in Trieste. 

One of Fred’s fondest memories of Trieste (and why he wanted to show it to me) was the Miramare Castle.  The Castle was used by the U.S. military as an Officer’s Club following WW2 (the British assigned to Trieste could use the O’Club as well).  Fred says they would attend church on Sundays, then go to Miramare Castle for lunch.  That was not the case when we visited in 1970 – we didn’t enter the Castle, as I remember.  But we toured the gardens, and they were beautiful.

1948

1970

1970 – some of the gardens, Miramare Castle – Judy by statue

Fred said he would take a G.I. bus to Miramare Castle and essentially spent all day swimming.  Here is a picture of his family – probably him and his siblings and parents – in the water. 

And here is a picture of that same spot that we took on our 1970 trip.

He said the beach was pretty rocky, so some sand was brought in to make a sandy beach. 

Another view of the beach

 Also, a “platform” or float was built on top of some large empty drums, where one could sit and sun, or dive off into the water.

Fred remembers walking to the docks when he lived in Trieste – it was only a few blocks to the docks from where they lived.  He would go there and watch the ships come and go. 

It was a lovely time of remembrance for Fred as we toured that city.  And an interesting city, as well.

A street in Trieste-1948

~~~~~~~~~~And so ends our trips to Italy~~~~~~~~~~

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.

Friendship

19 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Back in the early 1970’s we were living in San Antonio, Texas.  Great place to live.  We really loved it there – even considered living there when Fred retired from the U.S. Air Force.  However, that was not to be.

The Alamo-San Antonio, Texas Photo credit Judy Will

We were members of the First Baptist Church in downtown San Antonio from 1971-1974.  It was an “old” church – established in 1861.  It was, at the time we were there, the 15th largest in the nation.  This sanctuary was built in 1925, and completely remodeled and modernized in 1964.  We thoroughly enjoyed that church.  The first Sunday we visited there, we walked in and the feeling was…home

First Baptist Church, San Antonio, TX – from a post card

Since it was a quite large church – somewhere around 5,000 members – it was in the Sunday School, choir, and other groups where we got to know other members.  Janet was still in nursery age, but Karen was school age and old enough to sit in the worship service.  Since Fred and I were both in the choir, I found an older couple she could sit with.  She always found her way to the choir room to meet us following the service.  

One Sunday morning, just before Sunday School started, I was sitting next to an older woman I didn’t know.  She tapped the coloring book I had on my lap (for Karen to entertain herself quietly during the service), and said, “I know how you keep yourself awake during the preaching!”  We both laughed.

I later found out that she was the Senior Pastor’s wife!!  Oops!

One of the organizations within that body of believers, was a young women’s group that we called “Friendship.”  The idea was for each of us to find one international wife who spoke very little English and bring her to the church.  I must say that the only thing “churchy” about this entire program was the prayer we said before we had refreshments.  No preaching…no church teaching…just pure love and friendship.  

We had a one-on-one hour of teaching them English via the Laubach Method of teaching English as a second language.  It is a highly successful method, and even those of us who were not fully trained, could help someone learn the language.

Following the hour of English, we would have some time with refreshments and getting to know each other.  And then we would have another hour of arts and crafts.  We had an exercise class; we had art painting, etc. My specialty was teaching crocheting.  My girls each crocheted a shawl from yarn.  Most seemed to enjoy it.

It was a lovely experience, and one I have treasured.  San Antonio, being a very “military” city, has many international women married to our military men.  Some had never had occasion to attempt to learn English – and sometimes, the U.S. military husbands didn’t necessarily want their international wives to learn English.  But it did my heart good to know we provided that service.

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 Quick Trip

18 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

What a couple of weeks this has been. First my husband’s sinus infection that I worried was Covid, then a quick trip from North Carolina to Florida, which seems a little crazy since we have a late September road trip to prepare for.

But and it’s big….I love free and we were gifted a free one night stay in a family suite at a Disney World resort and we would get to spend some days with our daughter. Plus, since Covid, I have been building up a nice nest egg of credit card points that would pay for our food.

What I didn’t factor in was Florida heat in September. We were spoiled with the cool mountain temperatures.

Florida does not have fall. Well at least not until December.

We chose to visit our favorite park, EPCOT and arrived there around 12:30 pm. This is our first trip to Disney with a handicap parking pass. I am so glad my husband has one or we would have never made it into the park. I’m not sure if it was due to Covid or shortage of staff but the trams were not running. We had to take a lot of rest stops. I think my husband is now ready to accept a motorized scooter that was offered to him.

I enjoy the fabulous landscaping in all of the Disney parks. This trip I was surprised at the flower choices. Coleus in different colors were used liberally, accented with caladium, canna lily and penta. There were also plantings of flowers that reminded me of field flowers. They were all beautiful.

I forgot to mention that Disney World is limiting attendance at the parks and requires advance reservations for entrance. We were pleased to be able to reserve both the entrance and lunch in one of the country themed restaurants. We chose Germany. I had checked out the restaurants online and noted that the Biergarten Restaurant was currently serving an all inclusive buffet, minus alcohol. That was extra. With online check in using an app no lines were necessary and that was a plus. The Disney dining app even gave us a count down to check in time notification. That was quite helpful and we resting at a table with an umbrella after the walk to get near the restaurant.

Once our name was called, a funny thing happened. Our party and another one were booked for the same time and had the same first and last name! Only ours was a party of three and they were a party two. It took some paper shuffling for the cast members to straighten it out.

The meal was delicious. I enjoyed the beer and cheese soup and their version of Mac and Cheese. The desserts were yummy too. I filled a plate with one each of the desserts (they were small) and we tried them all. My husband enjoyed a couple of them so much he had to have his own slices. He is very sweet to let me share pictures of him with food.

Our sugar binge is over, done, history. For now.

The Biergarten also had entertainment. Here is a short clip. I imagine this would be a fun restaurant with a large group of friends or family. How do they manage to blow those long horns?

After lunch we received notification our resort room was ready. Once again, check in was done in the app so no line to wait in. It took us awhile to make it to the park exit. When we were close to the parking lot, our daughter went ahead and brought the car to pick us up.

We stayed at The Art of Animation. By the time we arrived there I was too hot and tired to take a photo of the outside. Our building theme was Cars, as in the movie, Cars and the room decor was cute. Along with a queen size bed, the suite had a queen Murphy bed that by day, masquerades as a table.

Thoughts about Covid and Disney. Masks are required at all indoor spaces and some people wore them outdoors as well. It was easy to be socially distant for us, but we did notice that people waiting in lines were not maintaining distance outside. Since I didn’t go into the buildings, I don’t know what it was like indoors. There were a couple of rides we would have enjoyed but we decided to pass on them at this time.Except for the area around Mexico (which I am pretty sure was because people were trying to find a way to get a cold Margarita) we didn’t feel crowded. In the evening, we visited Disney Springs, the restaurant and shopping district. Masks were worn outside there, more so than in the park.

This trip was planned several months ago. The morning after arriving in Florida, we learned our son in North Carolina had Covid and was admitted to hospital and was placed on a vent. We were scared. I cried a lot the first day. Yet I was thankful to be in Florida with our daughter so that we could face this together. So we could pray together. He was in a small local hospital and they were looking for an ICU bed for him in a large facility. We prayed for that bed, thinking he would go to Mission Hospital in Asheville. We were kind of stunned when we learned he was transferred by air flight over 280 miles to Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. The number one hospital in the state. I am thankful God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine. Yesterday was 10 days on a vent and the reports had been up and down. Then we received the call. Our son was off the vent, breathing on his own and talking. We almost had church in the parking lot of Sam’s Club. His wife is going to be allowed to visit him soon and that will be good medicine for both of them.

Our son may have a long recovery ahead and we will continue to pray and give thanks. Through all of this, we have been blessed with comfort that for us, can only come from God. One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament is about the twelve spies sent to check out the Promised land. Ten of them returned saying no way, no how. Those dudes are big. But two, Joshua and Caleb said yes they are but our God is bigger. The Israelites went with the opinion of the 10 and that didn’t turn out too well. A month ago, I made a magnet for my refrigerator that reads, “The Israelites saw giants but Caleb and Joshua saw God.” Daily and sometimes, minute by minute I prayed, “The doctors see Covid Pneumonia but I see God.” That was my comfort, is my comfort and it is available to everyone.

My final thought. I am trusting that our son will recover completely. I grieve for the many, many who have lost people they love to this horrid virus. I like this verse in Romans12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

May our days soon be filled with more rejoicing and less mourning due to this virus.

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.

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 5A

15 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 – 7/16/2021

This morning I headed northeast, from Roanoke, on I-581 & I-81 toward Staunton, VA.  About 55 miles up the road I stopped to visit the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Museum located in Lexington, VA.  This museum and its 15,000-artifact collection are dedicated to the history of the first state sponsored military college (1839) and its alumni.  Founded in 1856 by then Superintendent Francis H. Smith, the museum now resides in the Jackson Memorial Hall there on the VMI campus.  I passed up a cadet guided tour as it didn’t start for another two hours.

Photo Credit: https://www.vmi.edu/

I continued north on I-81 another 35 miles to visit the Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum located in Staunton, VA.  This museum is located in the Staunton Fire & Rescue Station #1 and has the distinction of displaying the oldest motorized Robinson Fire Engine (1911) in Virigina along with other firefighting artifacts and exhibits dating from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving Staunton, it was only a few blocks to where I visited The Camera Heritage Museum.  This small museum displays a unique collection of antique cameras and camera equipment dating from the early 19th century to the present.  Many of the cameras were used by well-known personalities, which makes their history even more interesting.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed northeast about 10 miles on US-11 to visit the Augusta Military Academy (AMA) Museum located in Fort Defiance, VA.  The museum is housed in the original 1869 home of Charles S. Roller and displays artifacts and representations of 1800s AMA cadet life as well as the accomplishments of many of the AMA alumni. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued northeast another 10 miles on US-11 & I-81 to visit the Harrisonburg Fire Department Museum located in Harrisonburg, VA but neither Greta (my Garmin) nor I could find the museum.  Not too far down the street I tried to visit the Virginia Quilt Museum, there in Harrisonburg, but it was closed.  It was too warm for a quilt today anyway.  Ha!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As I was leaving Harrisonburg this historical marker caught my eye and I had to stop for a photo.  After reading the marker, I was shocked and amazed at the story it told.  As it turns out, the barn of Mr. Henry Sipe, a prominent Rockingham County citizen, was burned down on February 28, 1878, and Charlotte Harris, a black woman, was accused of instigating the deed.  After being apprehended, Harris was given a preliminary hearing, before local magistrates, and was ordered taken to the county jail in Harrisonburg, 15 miles away, for trial. That night an angry mob of armed local citizens stormeded the building where Harris was being held, dragged her out of town and hanged her.  Not the kind of thing I would think a town would be proud of, much less prominently display on a historical marker there on Main street.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I continued northeast another 20 miles on I-81, to visit the Virginia Museum of the Civil War located at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, VA.  This museum sits in the middle of what was the New Market battlefield and displays historical artifacts and assorted memorabilia related to that famous 1864 battle.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next on my list of places to visit in this area was the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory located another 10 miles northeast on US-11 in Mt. Jackson, VA.  I got a quick tour of the factory and was surprised to learn that they only got about 10 pounds of chips out of every 100 pounds of potatoes they processed.  The free sample I selected to munch on was their Onion & Chives flavored brand.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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

Random Memories of Germany-Trips to Italy Part 5 B

12 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Still thinking about our trips to Pisa, Italy…

We still concentrated our visit to Pisa on the Cathedral and it’s Leaning Tower.

The Cathedral with the Leaning Tower (bell tower) Picture by Fred Wills

I’ve mentioned previously that we stopped in a shop in Pisa that specialized in marble, alabaster, and “composition” figurines.  Here are pictures from a brochure from that very shop.

Last time I presented pictures of the marble lampstands we purchased,

as well as the composition tumbling angels, 

and the composition figures of Moses and the discus thrower.  

Here is a picture of some alabaster “fruit” they had. 

We have enjoyed all these things, ever since 1968.

I noticed in the brochure that they had marble stands that look very much like the one I inherited from my Aunt Jessie.  However, I KNOW she never went to Italy, and am not sure where she acquired hers.  She had it a long time – as here is a picture of her in 1949 standing by it in her house in San Antonio, Texas, 

and another of her living room in Albuquerque in 1954.

And here it is in our living room, in Orlando, Florida.

Wikipedia also states that there are several medieval palaces in Pisa.  Wow did we miss a lot!  I don’t remember visiting any palaces in Pisa!  

Also from Wikipedia:   Pisa was the birthplace of the important early physicist Galileo Galilei. It is still the seat of an archbishopric. Besides its educational institutions, it has become a light industrial centre and a railway hub. It suffered repeated destruction during World War II.

Since the early 1950s, the US Army has maintained Camp Darby just outside Pisa, which is used by many US military personnel as a base for vacations in the area.

I believe we stayed on Camp Darby when we visited Pisa.  It was a nice place to “base” our explorations of the area.

~~~~~~~~~~~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.

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 4B

8 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 – 7/15/2021 (Continued)

Leaving Burlington, NC I headed north on US-87 toward Roanoke, VA.  On the way I crossed the border and stopped in Ridgeway, VA long enough to take a photo of the famous Martinsville Speedway.  Built in 1947, this ½ -mile oval track is home to the NASCAR Cup Series races and is referred to as “The Paper Clip” by many drivers.  I’ve watched a lot of NASCAR races that have taken place at that track, over the years, and wanted to at least be able to say I saw the track.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 10 miles north on US-220 I visited the Rucker’s Antique Emporium located in Martinsville, VA.  I wanted to check-out the Telephone & Telecommunications Museum which I was told was on the 2nd floor of the Emporium.  This museum uses antique artifacts displayed to allows visitors to walk thru the history of the telephone and other telecommunication devices dating from the early 1800s to the present.

Photo Credit: https://didyouknowscience.com/top-technology-breakhroughs-in-the-1800s/  

Now it was another 50 miles north on US-220 to visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation located in Roanoke, VA.  This large museum is housed in the old 1918 Norfolk & Western Railway freight depot and displays many 1940s era steam locomotives and other rolling stock.  The museum also has on display several restored 1800s antique cars, in addition to the Big Lick; a 1940s era passenger station replica and much more.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just a few blocks away I visited the O. Winston Link Museum, there in Roanoke.  This small museum is located in the restored 1852 Norfolk & Western Railway passenger station and displays the photographic works of Winston Link, who is said to be considered the 20th century master railroad photographer.  His railroad themed photographs are nationally known and have appeared in many books and magazines over the years.

Photo Credit: https://hddsite1.com/

In another few blocks, there in downtown Roanoke, I visited the Virginian Station which is the old 1909 Roanoke Passenger Station.   Renovated after a fire in 2001, the station now displays historical exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia as they relate to the influence 

of the Virginian Railway Line on the early city of Roanoke and the surrounding Roanoke Valley area.  Passenger service from this station was terminated in 1956.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before leaving downtown Roanoke I stopped to check-out the Roanoke Pinball Museum located at #1 Market Street, in the Market Center, on the 2nd floor of the Center in the Square building.  This museum has 60 fully playable pinball machines and other interactive displays dating from the 1930s to the present.  And yes, I remember spending a lot of time playing pinball machines as a teenager.  But Snooker was really my game of choice.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I was running out of daylight, and by now it was time to locate my motel, there in Roanoke, and get checked.  Once I got everything in my motel room, I ask the motel clerk for restaurant recommendations close by and he said he liked the El Cazador Mexican Restaurant down the street.  I had their Chili Verde plate with Spanish rice and refried beans.  It was wonderful, and I had enough left over for tomorrow night.

Photo Credit: http://elcazadortaqueria.com/menu.php?cat=19&item=46&loc=5

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 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

Letters from Mother episode 15

6 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites

September, 1983

Dear Ones, 

Well, it’s finally cool after one more very hot and humid day. Dad went to San Diego with Dave and a friend to hunt doves and pigeons. I hope they don’t meet up with rattlesnakes this time. The men hunt in a field outside the city of Mexicali. It’s only about ten miles across the border, but it’s quite a way over there from Bonita, where Dave lives. Last week when Dave hunted, he was searching through the tall grass for a dove he had shot when he almost stepped on a large rattlesnake. He shot the snake with the gun he had on hand. It turned out to be two rattlers. One had ten rattles; the other had eight.  He skinned one and left the other. He nailed the skin to a workbench and salted it, planning to give it to his hunting buddy for a snakeskin belt for his wife. I have forgotten what the belts cost in stores, but it’s a lot. 

2021:

(Authentic snakeskin is rare.  Handbags can run as high as $15,000USD, while snakeskin boots average about $2000. The delicate nature of the skin and the level of workmanship that goes into assembling an item adds to its cost.)

Snakeskin-Photo Credit Pixabay

                                                                                 Before Dad left with Dave, I made a long list of things I wanted to do while he was away. I got quite a bit done, but not the things I planned. I started catching up on my bookwork, and five hours later, I was finished recording and keeping track of all transactions from our summer’s adventures

Tom and Betty, around the corner, brought me a slip of paper and an ad for a free painting, drawing, and sketching class at the college, so I went to Palomar at San Marcos-next town east of here. I went to class and sat in from nine to twelve. 

Photo Credit Pixabay

We did a lot of sketching of a slim young lady in a bikini. Our teacher told us to draw her in three minutes, two minutes, then thirty seconds, and next, we drew her in five minutes, and then half an hour. She held each pose as long as he said to. She took different graceful poses, almost as though she was dancing. That took some concentration and practice! 

Three or four of us were first-timers and as the 20 or so students were in various stages of learning the teacher wasn’t after perfection. I liked it very much and felt more relaxed than I had at our all-day Salton Sea workshops. We each paid fifteen dollars to the model and five dollars for the campus health insurance.  Not free as they had said, but worth it. 

Love Mother 

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.”

Random Memories of Germany-Trips to Italy Part 5

5 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Another Italian city where we stopped was Pisa.  I’ve written about Pisa in previous musings, but I want to talk about just Pisa today – not as part of other trips.

I think the most renown aspect of Pisa is the “Leaning Tower.”  However, I was reading about Pisa in Wikipedia, and found that it has some very interesting facts that I didn’t know.  For instance, Pisa was a major city by the sea.  According to Wikipedia:

The maritime role of Pisa should have been already prominent if the ancient authorities ascribed to it the invention of the naval ram.  It was the only port along the western coast between Genoa and Ostia (Rome).  Also according to Wikipedia: The power of Pisa as a maritime nation began to grow and reached its apex in the 11th century, when it acquired traditional fame as one of the four main historical maritime republics of Italy.  The Arno River played an important part in that.

The University of Pisa is located in Pisa, and, according to Wikipedia:  is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, and The University has Europe’s oldest academic botanical garden… founded in 1544.

There are many churches and museums in Pisa.  I guess we just didn’t know or realize all that when we visited, because we didn’t go to any.  Our main emphasis was on the church (the Piazza del Miracoli) and the Leaning Tower – which is the bell tower of the city’s cathedral.

Photo by Fred Wills

The Cathedral with the Leaning Tower (bell tower)

I’ve mentioned previously that we stopped in a shop in Pisa that specialized in marble, alabaster, and “composition” figurines.  Here are pictures from a brochure from that very shop.

Last week I presented pictures of the marble lampstands we purchased, as well as the 

composition tumbling angels, and the composition figures of Moses and the discus thrower.  Here is a picture of some alabaster “fruit” they had. 

We have enjoyed all these things, ever since 1968.

~~~~~~~~~~~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.

Just When You Think Life is too Much

28 Aug

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

ReBlogged August 28, 2021

August 27, 2021

In 1962, my brother and I snuggled next to my mom. We rode in the back of a dilapidated truck around the mountains in Bolivia. “When will we get there?” I asked her as my ten-year-old mind anticipated fun moments in the tropical area of Bolivia.

But to get there, we risked our lives. The only way to reach our destination was to travel on the most dangerous road in the world.

The narrow one-lane, dirt road had no barriers. One wrong turn of the wheel would plunge the vehicle down the huge cliff. Hundreds of crosses marked the spots where fatal accidents took place.

One such accident reached the news recently. The injuries included a young man paralyzed. His family, American missionaries, sent prayer requests through cyberspace.

How does that happen? He walked only moments earlier, paralyzed the next.

Tragedy barges in.

Why is it that on the road of life, tragedy barges in unannounced? It catches us unprepared, vulnerable to its cruelty.

I tasted that heartache when COVID struck our home. I recovered with God-given natural protocols.

But my precious 92-year-old Mom had a different kind of victory as the Lord called her home.

I experienced the deep pain of having to say goodnight to my joy-filled Mom who lived with us for nearly 30 years. In our human mind, that sudden painful change has no reason. But through reflection and in moments of silence in His presence, I also learned God’s restoring love has no limit. And this truth will allow me to say “good morning” in heaven someday.

7 Promises

When days drag on, and when we think life’s too much, God offers the freedom from the prison of sorrow and heartache. They’re included in these seven promises.

  1. We count on His help, constant and never changing because “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He’s present when tears flow unexplained. He’s present when the burden presses down. And He’s by us when the void aches within.
  2. We silence words of self-pity or sorrow as we declare “My lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live…” (Psalm 63:4a). Even in the midst of sobs, we give Him glory for His power at work. For His love that soothes. and for His promises that hold us up.
  3. Rather than gaze at our pain, we repeat the psalmist words,” I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). His help is timely. His help is perfect. And it’s the one our heart needs.
  4. Our heart may be broken, but our soul is intact. “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:5). Although life may seem unfair, we count on the richness of His provision. He will provide the comfort, the peace and the reassurance for every desperate moment.
  5. We thank Him for the sweet sleep that will come because “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night because you are my help…” (Psalm 63:6). God does not slumber or sleep so that we can. We rest in His presence and sleep on the pillow of His whisper.
  6. We claim His power, knowing where we find protection. “We sing in the shadow of your wings. Our soul clings to you…” (Psalm 63:7). His Wings protect us. His refuge covers us. And His embrace gives us life.
  7. We declare: Lord, we will not faint because “Our soul clings to you; your right hand upholds us” (Psalm 63:8). We may feel weak. We may stumble. But we’ll never fall, His strong arm sustains us.

Let’s pray.

Father, I praise you for already knowing the help we would need, the comfort we would desire, and the reassurance we would call for. Thank you for going before us to prepare the healing and the restoration of our peace. I thank you in Jesus’ name.

To whom will you turn when life becomes too much?

Janet

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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.

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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

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