Tag Archives: Christian living

My Children in Church~Part 1

13 Jan


Judy Wills


A memory came to my mind recently that caused me to giggle.  When I described it to Fred, my husband, he chuckled, as well.  Hope you think it’s funny, as well.

You see, in most Baptist churches (we are Baptists, as you might surmise), children have their own Sunday School classes, divided by ages.  That way, they can learn about church and God at their own age level.  We as parents try to do our part in that, teaching them by the way we live, speak, and act, that we are children of God.  In any case, by the time a child reaches the age of four, they are allowed to go to the regular worship service, rather than still being in a nursery/classroom setting during that time.

Because Fred and I have always been in the adult choir during worship services, we usually enlist the help of an older couple to “sit” with our children in the worship service itself.  If we are in a small enough congregation to allow the choir members to leave the choir loft and return to the regular congregation, we then will pick up our child/children and sit with them during the remainder of the service.  However, if we are in a large church, the choir usually remains in the loft during the service.  What I am about to tell happened in a large church.


I guess we had not told Karen (our oldest daughter)


Karen about the age of this incident



that when Janet (our youngest daughter) was “promoted” to the five-year-old class, she would be going into the worship service. Or if we did, she didn’t absorb that information.

So, what to my surprise, did I see Karen ANDJanet beaming at us from the second pew, as we entered the choir loft the first Sunday after Janet turned four-years-old! Karen had taken it upon herself to go and get Janet from her class that day!

All went fairly well for a while, but then Janet, being the tease that she was,


Janet at the age of this incident


decided she wanted to sit on the front pew!  So she eased herself around the end of the pew. I saw Karen trying to coax Janet back to the second pew, i.e. face set in an imploring expression (head tilted up, mouth in a hard, straight line, eyes closed), index finger stridently indicating that Janet should return to Karen’s side!  And, of course, Janet was ignoring her completely.


Well, Janet made it to the front pew, just as the preaching began.  As it turned out, the minister of music (who was a good friend of ours) had just left the stage area and sat down next to Janet on the front pew.  I watched them throughout the remainder of the service (I have no recollection what the Pastor preached on – I was too busy watching the drama enfold!).  Every time Janet wiggled, our friend just patted her hand, and she stopped wiggling. Whew!

We managed to get through the service, and thanked our friend for taking things into his own hands.

And we made sure that Karen understood that Janet was not to be taken into the service until she had been promoted to the next age class!

But, as I said, as I look back on it – it makes me giggle to remember.


Children are a heritage from the Lord….

Psalm 127:3

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.

South of the Border~Part 3

29 Apr

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Stars Plane


Tuesday morning after breakfast, we drove to the building site, where our visiting group was split up into two teams, with two Kennedy Team Leaders in each team to keep us on the right track, and we got started. Each team was assigned to build a house on their pre-finished slab, and the race was on to see who could finish first.



It was amazing how organized the Team Leaders were, as they assigned the various tasks to our team members. There were materials coordinators, wood cutters (my main job), wood shapers, painters and builders all working smoothly together at one time. A lot of the wood materials had been ordered cut to length, so the assembly process was fast and fairly easy.


The 2”x 4”walls were assembled on the slab, and then each was raised and braced in place, while being attached to the slab floor with pre-installed j-bolts, nuts and washers.

Next the joists were built (I had a hard time keeping up with all the angle cuts for our house on the chop saw) and the corrugated galvanized tin roofing was nailed in place. Once that was done, a plywood loft was built over the rear half of the house, where smaller family members could sleep. As you can see in the photo below, the tail-end of the joists were pre-painted (on the ground by the painters) to save time and reduce the use of troublesome ladders after assembly. As I mentioned earlier, this was also done with the soffit and fascia boards as well as the window and door trim.



Then heavy insulation was fastened in place between the joists, under the tin roof, and covered with plywood to help keep the loft area from getting so hot. A sturdy and child-safe ladder was built to give access to the loft area.



While the roof and loft work was going on topside, another team was drilling holes and running electrical wiring in the wall studs. Once that was done, the exterior plywood sheeting was nailed to the walls and gables, the window and door holes were cut, and the windows were installed.



While all the time these activities were going on, the shaper team was busy at work cutting scalloped trim boards, and the painting team was busy painting window and door trim boards and the completed (ventilated) soffit and scalloped trim boards. The small (3’x 3’square) shower enclosure was plumbed (cold water only) to provide the much-needed hygiene that most of the colonia (unregulated settlement) dwellers did not have access to. I understand that a latrine system was used by the colonia families, but I don’t remember seeing it or being told about it at the time. The only toilet I ever saw or used was located next to the John 3:16 Church, and it was very small. A kitchen area was not designated in these houses, as the colonia families were accustomed to doing most of their cooking outside their “homes” and would most likely continue to do their cooking outdoors when the weather permitted doing so.




—–To Be Continued—–


Broken, But Beautiful

6 Feb

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson



Have you ever seen a collection of sea glass,

also known as beach glass? The varied bits of

colored glass are sometimes pieces of pottery,

but often are pieces of shattered glass bottles.

Originally the glass had a purpose, but then,it

was casually thrown away and became broken.


Our lives are like that. Unexpected events

present challenges, often taxing our emotions

or causing physical pain or injury.


The Great Creator is always busy molding

our character.  He truly wants the best for you and me.

He introduces challenges to prepare us for eternity.



“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.

Only through experiences of trial and suffering

can the soul be strengthened., vision cleared,

ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Helen Keller



Sea glass

Giving Thanks for Goats

24 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and Artist



This is the photo our mother sent to our father when he was in the infantry on the European front during WWII. The story is about the time just before he went away. He did come back, so the story’s not about that, it’s about goats.1

In 1943, my family had a nanny goat. We called her Nanny. When she had a kid, we called him Billy. I loved the warm foamy milk Nanny gave and Billy was glad to share with me. This is all when we lived down in Crowley, Colorado and Dad worked at the tomato factory keeping their machines going. We lived in a “railroad apartment.” That’s a long house built with a room or two going back in a row like train cars and an indoor side hallway to enter them by.

Speaking of trains, we did have one rumble past, practically in our back yard, every day. When we heard it coming David and I would be waiting to wave to the conductor who was always there in his dark uniform and square looking hat to wave back. Something tells me he stationed himself on purpose to say good morning to the two little kids who were so glad to see him.


Anyhow mother had more jobs than kids, housework, and animals. She cooked dinner, which we now call lunch, for all the men who worked at the factory, so with that, and the care of children and animals, she was a busy woman.

When the tomatoes were ripe, dad would bring some home and I remember sitting outside, on the stoop in the sun, with a salt shaker and salting each bite of that delicious fruit before I bit into it. You can be sure I was “all over” tomato juice when I finished, but I was washable and so was my dress, so that was all right.

Sometimes, Mother would take my brother who was about two, and I over to the factory to see daddy. Everybody went, walking the aisle between tomato plants. Here’s the line-up. Mother, DiVoran (5), David (2), Red, the Irish setter, Nanny, Billy, and Chanticleer the rooster. The baby goat wasn’t so bound by the aisle that he couldn’t divert to where the newest plants lived under panes of glass. Mother said his little hooves went trip-trap, over the glass and he never broke a thing.

This Christmas I’m buying a goat in memory of Nanny and Billy, but I don’t have any place to keep her, so I am sending her to a far away country and the people who live there will keep her, breed her, use her milk. Did you know that goat’s milk is especially nutritious for people who have AIDS? I’ll see my goat and all her progeny in a big tribe spreading over the hills when I get to heaven, (after I see Jesus and my family, of course). I’m looking forward to the whole scenario.





Matthew 25:35

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,


A Self Pep Talk

21 Nov

From my Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson


Here I am at a ripe old age-

and I can’t argue with a calendar page.

My body is bemoaning.”Woe is me,

Arthritis can be a catastrophe!”

But my mind is saying,

“Go, girl!, you have a life to live.

Good deeds to be done each day,

and much love to give.


Keep in mind, your biggest cheer leader

in life is YOU.

Choose a positive attitude in reaching your goals,

and watch your dreams come true”..


You go girl

Talks with Johnnie Lord

20 Nov

Talks with Johnnie Lord

 DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

I was in the first Sunday School class Johnnie Lord taught when she and Peter first came to Titusville. We met in the house next door to our church, the First Baptist, downtown. As I recall, it was a space-filled room with sunshine splashing through the windows and over the wooden floors.

Johnnie talked slow and southern. I, who had just come from California with my husband and two small children, was fascinated by her. She used her hands in teaching, and did I say she was soft-spoken and kind? No? Well, she was the kindest and wisest woman I have ever personally known. I am by no means alone in feeling this way.

One of the first things I recall Johnnie telling us was that a woman was responsible for dressing modestly instead of trying to draw attention to herself by wearing what might be called alluring clothing. That was the first time I ever heard that idea, although I’m sure my mother and grandmother had done their best to instill it in me. Of course she was teaching the Bible, but in a new and accessible way I’d never heard before.

The first time I knew Christian books, besides the Bible, existed was when Johnnie introduced us to, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whithall Smith. It’s a wonderful book. I recently bought a copy to see what had helped me so much. Basically it’s about looking to God instead of to our own thinking- patterns for guidance. It was written in 1875, and is still very popular. I’d say the principle is more needed today than ever before.

Johnnie suggested that if we didn’t understand something or couldn’t put it into practice we might stop reading until we could. That was good advice, but once I was onto Christian books I gobbled them like a starved child. Blessedly she also gave us a hunger and thirst for scripture, and for time spent alone with God every day. Renie and Billy watched Captain Kangaroo first thing in the morning and I, a stay-at-home mom, got started studying the Bible and learning to pray. Peter’s 9:59 plan about journaling inspired me to write letters to God, which I still do today.

It would be hard to say whether inspiration came to us through Johnnie or through Peter. They were sometimes called the dynamic duo, and I know they depended on each other’s relationship with the Lord in leading the congregation. They had many a sore trial, but they eventually counted them all for good.

One time I was sitting across the table from Johnnie and jokingly told her I had stolen Bill’s Bible. She said, “If you stole it, you probably needed it.”

Johnnie would often quote Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: …” I didn’t get it, but it stuck with me, and after I actually asked Jesus to be my master and savior, I began to understand what it meant.

In the seventies, Bill and I had some trouble in our marriage, and we consulted with Peter. He helped us through it, and there is no doubt that much of his counsel came from what he and Johnnie had learned in their marriage. The idea was that most people, when left to their own thoughts will try their best to figure it out or battle it out, but that if they focus on God and His will, His Holy Spirit will do the work. The prayer we prayed was: “Lord, change this marriage, beginning with me.” Bill and I just celebrated our fifty-seventh wedding anniversary. I hate to think where we and our family would be now, if we’d never met Peter and Johnnie .

Recently I was talking to a friend who grew up at Park Avenue with our gown children. She and I are both deeply grateful that the younger generations of each family are now thriving in goodness. We know that would not be so if it hadn’t been for our beloved leaders, and for the dear helpers and teachers at the church.

Thank you Peter and Johnnie. We hope your crowns in heaven aren’t too heavy with stars. Ah well, you probably won’t wear them anyhow, neither of you was ever looking for personal glory.

Johnnie went to be with the Lord this week. I know He is delighted to welcome her home-


Thou will keep in perfect peace

Wow Look at Me!

7 Nov

From My Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson



Still making mistakes at my old age.

Wisdom doesn’t come by a calendar page.

When do we accept ourselves with all our flaws?

Does society rule?  Or our self-inflicted laws?


Lord, I need your power to live victoriously.

I can’t do it on my own.

None of my good intentions will work

unless You are “on the throne”.


You have placed eternity in our soul.

To be your obedient servant is my goal.

There is one main truth none of us can deny.

We can’t fully enjoy life-

Until we are prepared to die.

“If any of you lack wisdom,
 let him ask of God, who gives to all
 liberally and without reproach, and
 it will be given to him.”
                           James 1:5

So, Why Should I Be Thankful?

17 Oct

From My Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

A thankful heart causes us to look upward.

It causes us to look around,

and causes us to look within

where the peace of God is found.


The number one secret to happiness

is a grateful heart.

Beginning our day with a prayer of gratitude

brings tranquility from the start.


Fear is the father of failure-

a negative emotion, to be sure.

Replace it with a positive thought-

Failure you will no longer endure.





When we choose not to focus on what is missing

from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance

that is present-  we experience heaven on earth.


Do You Read Self-Help Books

29 Sep

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Author, Poet and ArtistIt’s confession time. Raise your hands if you like to read self-help books. I see not many of you have them up. Mine would be, though, if I didn’t have to keep my fingers on the keys. Yep, whether it’s The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale, or How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, I love a good, well- written, intelligent self-help book. Some of the more modern ones I’ve read have been Inspired and Unstoppable, by Tama Kieves, and A Course in Miracles, which, not knowing that it majors on Jesus Christ and His Atonement, I avoided for years. I’m so glad I read them all. The list would reach all the way back to Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, and The Feminine Mystique, which patrons recommended when I was working as a stylist for Magic Mirror Beauty Salons in Inglewood California.

Even now, I could give you the central idea from each book because they changed my life for the better. When I was a young mother I read Dr. Spock. I lived in that metropolis which is Los Angeles and had no one to tell me what to do with a brand new baby. In subsequent years we heard a lot of complaining about that one, but not everyone who criticized it had actually read it. Our children turned out so well, I was grateful for it. When I became a Christian I liked Dr. James Dobson’s books on child rearing. I’ve read books on psychiatry and psychology, religion, and Christianity, cooking, and cleaning. I’ve read How to dress, how to write journals, poems, novels and memoir. I couldn’t begin to tell you all the books I’ve read.

One that really stands out is, A Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whitehall Smith. I’d recommend that one to anyone who wants to live a truly happy Christian life.

Long ago, I decided that I needed a standard for all these books. Oh, it wouldn’t matter, maybe about the cooking ones, but I wanted a solid philosophy to measure ideas against. I decided on the Holy Bible and it has never failed to keep me on track. I’ve read it over in many different translations and in different ways, such as topical studies, memorization, verse comparisons, and as straight story.

I majored for a semester to become a media specialist so I could work in a school library. It seemed people in the library world did not believe in censorship. That was a change for me, because I’d always been told in one way or another which books I could read and which ones I couldn’t. Books exist that could lead a person in the wrong direction, that’s for sure, but in general, I’m now of the opinion that I can read what I want because my wants are lined up with those of the Master.

I can’t imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t had all those wonderful and interesting books to read. It has been my major education and I’m deeply grateful for the much needed healing they have brought to me and to the ones I love because they have changed me for the better.

The one thing I’m seeing now is that I can read synopses and blurbs and decide whether I need that book or not. For a while, I was interested in various religious practices that show you how to live in the present, how to seek angels, etc. But I’ve found a wonderful secret now, I can short circuit all the hard work, study, meditation, that comes with that sort of thing and just ask Jesus to tell me the truth about anything and he puts thoughts in my head that because of my acquaintance with the Bible, I know are true, right, and good. These thoughts set things straight for me in a miraculous way and I thank the Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit for being there for me.


John 8:23

You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free



Halloween Hat

17 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites


I don’t remember just what year it was, but late one October when our kids were young, and we were in our early camping years, we decided to try camping in the Ft. Lauderdale area of Southeast Florida. We found a beautiful State Park situated on the Atlantic Ocean and set up our small pop-up camper with a view of swaying palm trees and the ocean.



We played in the warm Gulf Stream water and walked the beach enjoying the beautiful, warm Florida weather. We had noticed, as we drove to the campground that there were coconut palms and coconuts everywhere. In fact, people put the coconuts out on the street for the trash men, just like we do with oranges and grapefruit here at home. We just wondered around the area picking up coconuts, opening them to drink the milk and eating the pure white meat. What a great time we had doing that. Later, as we wondered the campground, we came across this guy weaving hats out of strips of palm fronds. He had several different hat styles on display and asked me what style hat I would like to have. After I selected a style, he measured my head size (no laughing), and we watched him strip the green fronds and weave the hat before our very eyes.



He told us that when we got home to put the hat in the freezer overnight and it would turn the hat a beautiful dark mahogany color. Well, we did that, and it did change color just as he had said it would. As it turned out, we were camping there for the Halloween celebrations, and would you believe it, we had to deal with trick-or-treaters coming around to the campsites for handouts. Bah-Hum-Bug! Later that evening we had front row seats on the beach for the Ft. Lauderdale Halloween fireworks display. What a treat that was.



In 1967, when Titusville celebrated their 100th anniversary, the city fathers decided that as part of the city’s celebration there would be a requirement that all the men should grow a beard and wear period costumes when walking around town. All the women were required to wear period clothes and go without makeup. If a person was caught out of costume by any of the city “Enforcers” they could be fined.   I never did know anyone who was caught and fined, so I never did learn what kind of fines could or would have been imposed. Off course, most of the men didn’t mind letting their facial hair grow (there were some really unusual designs) but it was a different story for the women. Those heavy dresses they had to wear were bad enough, but they really didn’t like walking around town for everyone to see what they really looked like without their makeup on.


As the years went by, when I worked around the house or went for a walk in the woods, my favorite hat for the occasion was what I came to call my “Halloween Hat.” I continued to wear my palm-frond hat on all our camping trips around the many Florida springs over the years, because it was waterproof and kept the sun out of my eyes and the rain off my head. As a matter of fact, I still have that hat all these many years later. How’s that for durable?




—–The End—–

%d bloggers like this: