Tag Archives: Christianity

2022 Road Trip-Part 4B

21 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 Continued (5/19/2022)

As I checked out the old Sciple’s water mill, I noticed a hand-written sign that pointed to the Water Mill Opry House across the road, and I just had to take a photo of that old place.  It looked to be as old as the water mill and was all closed up.  I wouldn’t have believed it, but their website informs me that on Saturday nights its standing room only for folks who come from all over Mississippi to enjoy the country music of Ed Sciple’s band and participate in some of the wildest boot-scootin’ and hi-steppin’ dancing around these parts.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that wild ride in the countryside, I continued north 60 miles on SR-39 & US-45 to where I visited the Tennessee Williams Home located in Columbus, MS.  I don’t believe I ever read any of Tennessee Williams’ books, but I have enjoyed the movies made from some of his books.  I was the only visitor at the time, and the curator took the time to show me thru the entire house, pointing out little details as we went thru the various rooms.  A framed quote by Tennessee Williams said, “I was composed of a little Welsh wildness, a lot of puritan English, and a big chunk of German sentiment.”  That pretty much said it of the man.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Not far from the Tennessee Williams Home I visited the White Arches house there in Columbus.  This original “Columbus Eclectic” home was built by Jeptha V. Harris in 1857 and is on the list of homes shown on Columbus’ Annual Spring Pilgrimage.  The museum was closed when I was there, but the photo below shows the unique Greek Revival, Gothic, and Italianate design of the house with all its 19th century grandeur.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed north 35 miles on US-45 to visit the Aberdeen City Hall Museum located in Aberdeen, MS.  This 1912 building turned out not to be a museum, but the operating Aberdeen City Hall.  My mistake.  This was another case of me not reading all the words about a given museum or subject.  My wife, DiVoran, keeps telling me, “You have to read ALL the words Bill.”

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was driving around Aberdeen, I noticed an Aberdeen Mississippi Blues historical marker in front of a Blues Mural on the side of a building.  I stopped to get a photo and read all about the Mural.  Not being a big blues fan, I didn’t know about Booker ‘bukka’ White, Chester Aurthur ‘Howlfn’ Burnett, and Albert King being born in Aberdeen, and about the mural dedicated to the Aberdeen Mississippi Blues artists.  Now I’m a little more informed.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued north 30 miles on US-45 to visit the Tupelo Automobile Museum located in Tupelo, MS.  I was expecting to get a look at their 175 beautifully restored cars.  But when I got there, the museum was closed, and from what I have heard, its permanent, and all their cars have been put up for sale.  What a bummer!  So, I headed over to check out the Tupelo National Battlefield located just on the outskirts of Tupelo.  This battlefield was the location of the July 1864 ‘Battle of Tupelo’ otherwise known as the ‘Battle of Harrisburg’ where the Union forces claimed a victory.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed over to visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace there in Tupelo.  Even though DiVoran and I were Elvis fans when we were teenagers, neither of us knew he was born and raised in Tupelo.  So, this was a new experience for me.  I learned that he sang in the local Assembly of God Church choir from an early age and got his first guitar at age ten.  In the years after his family moved to Memphis, TN in 1948, he and his cousins, Jerry Lee Louis, later known as ‘Mr. Rockabilly’ and Jimmy Swaggart, later known as ‘The Evangelist’ spent a good deal of their time hanging out with many of the early black Jazz and Blues performers who frequented the Beale Street clubs and restaurants.  This is where it is suggested that a lot of the Blues, Jazz, and Southern Gospel they heard seeped into their souls and into their music.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now, I gave Greta (My Garmin) the address of my motel there in Tupelo and she took me right to it.  After I got checked in and got my things into the room, I warmed up my leftover fried Catfish dinner from the Blue Crab Grill and enjoyed that delicious meal again.  Yummm!  Then I tried to watch some TV but there was nothing worth watching, so I recorded my days activities and went to bed.  What a long day this has been!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 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

Church-Part 3

18 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

As I mentioned last time, we were in northern Maine only one year – 13 months actually.  The day following our daughter’s birth, Fred looked at me and said, “you don’t really want to stay here another year, do you?”  I nearly jumped out of the hospital bed, with a resounding “YOU GOT ORDERS!!”  And he did.  We were to go to San Antonio, Texas, for Fred to teach at the Officer Training School at Lackland AFB.

Credit Google Search and JBSA website

And so we transitioned from Maine to Texas, with some stops along the way.  We visited Fred’s parents and family in D.C. and New Jersey;

Fred’s grandmother and family

With Fred’s mother in D.C. (Dad taking the picture)

We visited my brother’s family in Titusville, Florida (my mother had remarried five years after, daddy’s death, and they were on their honeymoon in Florida), a stop at St. Augustine, Florida,

St. Augustine, FL – Judy, Karen and baby Janet

before heading to Texas.  I had some family in San Antonio, on my mother’s side, and we were able to stay with Aunt Lillie, while we looked for a house.

Aunt Lillie with Karen and Janet

There was a family stationed at Lackland that we had known in Wiesbaden.  They invited us to visit their church, which we did.  It was a relatively small church, and the husband led the choir.  Since he knew I played the piano, he asked me to play for the Christmas program for his choir…which I did.  However, once again, we didn’t feel that church was exactly where God wanted us to be.  So we visited some others in the general area.

My mother had spent quite a bit of time growing up in different areas of Texas and Oklahoma, and had been a secretary at the First Baptist Church in downtown San Antonio for many years.  During that same time my dad was Associate Sunday School Secretary for the Southern Baptists in Texas, and he made many trips to San Antonio.  I believe he told me he was teased quite a bit from his fellow workers about all the trips he “needed” to make to San Antonio after he met mom.  In any case, they had quite a few friends from that church.

Daddy

And so, being a good daughter, I called one of mother’s best friends from that church.  She was glad to hear from me.  After chatting a while, she asked if we had found a church home yet.  At my “no,” she quite forcefully said, “don’t you join anywhere until you visit First Baptist Church!”  So we agreed that we would meet up with her that following Sunday at FBC.  

For the first time in my life, as I walked in that huge church, the feeling was….home.  I knew almost instantly that THIS church was where God wanted us to be for the next three years.  I don’t believe I’ve had that definite a feeling about any church since.  It was a wonderful and warm feeling, and I loved it.

We joined the church…we joined the choir… we joined the Sunday School that was in our age group.  It was just a wonderful time in our lives.  I was also involved with the Young Women’s Fellowship Group.  To find more about that, please refer back to my post of September 19, 2021 “Friendship.”  It tells about the church, as well as that group and what we did in the community.

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

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in that church.  We didn’t much care for the 30-minute drive to-and-back home from downtown, but we learned that we make time for what we want to do.  And attending that church was what we wanted to do.

I started this series with a question: “…do you love to GO to church?”  Well, this church had us in its hands, and we LOVED to GO to church.  It was a fantastic experience.

WE….ARE THE CHURCH!

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

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 and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Worry

14 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

REBLOGGED FROM 2015

[In today’s world, this is very timely – 

please note that this was written in December – and now it is August]

Worry………..worry……………worry…………

Are you a worry-wart?  That’s a good old-fashioned phrase that my Mother used to say.

And what better time of year to be a worry-wart than December?  It always hits me in the face on December 1st that it is DECEMBER……and I don’t have a single THING purchased or made for ANYONE in the family!  Worry……worry….worry………what will I get everyone, and when will I have to mail the packages…..

And how will I EVER get the house decorated in time for it to be worthwhile?

And how will I EVER get all the Christmas cards done and in the mail before Christmas Eve?

And then there are the Christmas cookies to make…..

And how will I EVER …………   Well, you get the picture.

I found this cartoon (credit Charles Schultz) on facebook recently, and it made me realize just how worthless all that worry is.  See what you think.

And then, there is the directive from the scriptures that really just says it all:

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:27 

And here is the kicker:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

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 and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Metamorphosis

9 Aug

 From the Heart of Louise Gibson

Reblogged from March 15, 2013

 
 

Metamorphosis

 

The struggles in life are many

In those times we begin to grow.

As the caterpillar becomes a butterfly,

Our metamorphosis is tedious and slow.

When God strips us of all vanity,

And we truly search our soul

We ultimately find it is He that we need

The One who can make us whole.

Others may fail us, oft no fault of their own

But if we trust our Savior,

We’ll not walk alone.

 

 
 

Toy Truck

7 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Reblogged from 2015

I admit it – I love to look at the e-mails we are sent, and I enjoy most of the facebook stuff I look at.  I also have to admit that on FB, I usually just look for the “pictures” and videos rather than all the verbiage presented there.

I’ve been really amused by some of the pictures on FB.  This one really caught my eye and had a good laugh over it.  When I showed it to Fred, he laughed, as well.

What do you think?  Cute, huh?

But think how creative that truck driver was to put this together.  It didn’t really take a lot of thought to do this, but gave a great deal of enjoyment to those who saw it.

The same could be said of the things we say and do in our lives, to those around us.  Do we say and do things that bring joy to those we live with?  Or to our neighbors?  Or to our fellow church-goers?  Or have we become so jaded that we don’t have any joy left in our lives?  

Recently [in 2015] I had total knee replacement – not a fun thing, that’s for sure.  It was done to help relieve the pain in my knee, since the “cushion” in my knee was gone, and the two bones in my knee were grating upon each other.  Ouch!!  But through the surgery and the following physical therapy, I’ve tried to keep an upbeat spirit.  One of the best exercises was what they call “foot pumps.”  I joked that I would probably wake up from the anesthesia saying “foot pumps….foot pumps.”

I’ve joked with the therapists and their assistants.  When the therapist commented that I wasn’t “grunting and groaning” when he was severely pushing on my leg, I told him that my mind was saying “I can do all things through Christ who keeps pouring power into me….. I can do all things through Christ who keeps pouring power into me….. I can do all things through Christ who keeps pouring power into me…..(and by the way – that’s what the Greek actually says!)”  And he laughed.  I’ve gone back to see the nurse on the floor of the hospital where I was for four days.  She was such an inspiration – she even pulsed pom-poms as encouragement for us to get up and walk!  She always had a smile on her face.  And she seems pleased when Fred and I go back just to see her.  We get hugs.

My time in the physical therapy clinic is past now….anything else I “recover” will be by my own working out.  Recently on FB, I saw a video clip of a little girl – she couldn’t have been more than 1½ years old, trying to walk to her encouraging Daddy.  The thing that impressed me was that she was trying to learn to walk with a prosthetic leg!  I saw that and said to myself…”Well, Judy, if she can do THAT, you can just suck it up and dig in and work to get this leg back into shape!  No more belly-aching!!”

Everyone says that laughter – a good old-fashioned belly laugh – is some of the best medicine anyone can have in healing.  And that’s why that toy truck struck my funny-bone.  It gave me such a good laugh, that my spirits were lifted.

And here’s a directive from scripture:

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  REJOICE!

Philippians 4:4

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 and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Our LIfe is Meant to Be

28 Jun

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Reblog

Our much loved poetess, Louise hasn’t been able to compose of late. Her poems spoke words of comfort, encouragement love and humor. Just the sort of words our current world needs. So, I am planning to reblog them. Enjoy

May you always remember
God is in control.
He has a plan for your life.

Listen with your heart
As he leads you.
You will ward off the strife.

The events in our life
Are meant to be.
There is a peace that
Can be found.

The challenges are many
Diligence is profound.

We may not have chosen
The path we are on,
But trust it was meant to be.
God works in mysterious ways
As he plans our destiny.

There is a peace that can be found,
Know God has a plan for our life.
Keep your faith strong in him.
You will ward away the strife.

.

The Image of God

25 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Yes, I was born in sin,

But forgiven, created in 

The image of God.

Torn from the sod,

But made like Him. 

God is good. 

With Him, I can

Be good as well,

Let us dwell

In grace and mercy.

God is love, 

Peaceful dove.

Holy Spirit fruit I am,

His precious lamb,

God is wise

In His eyes

I will have discernment

Covered over in His raiment

Divine interventions.

God is giving,

Exults in living

Superabundance

Overwhelming wondering

Omnicreative God

God is light,

Brilliant sight,

Knowledge, understanding,

All together banding,

In His Illumination.

God is bread; He’s the head

Showing always favor

Live in it to savor

Spirit fed in love.

Raining from above. 

All photos from Pixabay

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.”

He Was There All the Time

31 Aug

He Was There All the Time copy

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistSometimes I write down what I think the Holy Spirit is saying to me. It’s as if I were sending God a letter. At other times I sit and wait to hear what He says back. Yesterday I wrote out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That was, of course, exactly what I needed to hear.

After I had thought about it for twenty-four hours I felt like writing some more. I don’t pretend to have any answers, and I’m sure I make mistakes, but here’s what I wrote: (I write in second person because it makes the message more personal. Perhaps you do this too.)

Beloved, I felt God say, sometimes you recall hard things in your life that you wish had happened differently. You feel sorrow that you had to go through those experiences. You try to reconstruct ways in which outcomes would have been better if circumstances had been different. None of that does any good. Do you know why? It’s because I, The Father, set up those circumstances or, at least allowed them for my purposes.

My dear child, wouldn’t it make you angry to think I had set you up for hurt — that I deliberately ruined at least a part of your life?

More likely you think I wasn’t even there and that you caused everything yourself. It is so easy for you to come up with the wrong perceptions. It’s as if there were a part of your brain that insisted on lying to you. It’s a trickster, a devil, a demon, the flesh, the self, the carnal nature. It makes up stories about your life and then you cling to them. It says seek always, but do not find. It desperately needs intimacy with you in order to feed itself. It is false. Only I am true.

You have always had choices. Sometimes the choices you made were less than productive, but I didn’t leave you alone on dark paths of fear, bitterness, and greed. I went with you. I buffered the cold winds when I knew something would be too much for you. I worked always to bring you to my side

Could the same scary things have happened if you had made right and good choices? Yes and no. Every choice sent you down a different path so that every one of them had a potential for a different outcome.

Remember, dear one, your life in Me is a finely choreographed dance. You need to rehearse with me so that our steps will match. I have plans for good for you and not for evil. Remember, you need me and I need you. I have always loved you and I always will. Nothing you could ever do would change that.

“He Was There All the Time”

The Trouble with Church Music

6 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Just mention church music in a group and you will see a variety of responses ranging from a shrug to a terrified shiver. Our enemy is having the time of his life ripping churches apart using this beautiful gift from God. If this were a game show, on the one side you have those who love hymns pitted against those who insist on a praise band with contemporary music. In the end, Satan is the only winner.

I have been mulling this for some time and decided to add my thoughts to the conversation.

Everyone in a congregation is a not singer. I once loved to sing, but my vocal cords no longer make a pleasant sound. A long singing session bores me. There I said it. Feel free to label me shallow.

Singing the same chorus over and over does not make me feel more spiritual. Do you remember the Beatles hit song, Hey Jude? It has three minutes of interesting material and the rest is just repetition.

Older persons in the church may be wearing hearing aides to better understand the pastor’s message and the feedback from praise bands going full blast creates misery for them. (I don’t wear one….yet. But my time is coming.)

Younger members live in a fast-paced world and find the slower tempo of hymns b-o-r-i-n-g.

So what can be done to use music in the church the way it should be, to unify the body of Christ in praise of their Savior?

Consider shortening the song portion or breaking it up throughout the service. Experiment until you find the amount of time that fits your congregation.

Become more creative in how we sing. I love Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone. By mixing the beauty of a hymn with a more contemporary sound, he created a moving and inspiring piece of music. I love it when the song director flows the music from one song to another telling the story of what Christ did for you and I  

Sometimes the praise band at our church would begin a song, but then the instruments were silenced and the incredible sound of voices praising God was so beautiful, I would stop attempting to sing and listen to the pure sounds of the congregation’s voices. I think if those with hearing devices knew they could expect something like this each week, it would give them a time to look forward to, rather than dreading the whole singing portion.

One of our larger local churches tried to solve the dilemma by having two services based on music choice. The obstacle to this was who has to get up early? The young people like to sleep in and the older folks take awhile to get moving in the mornings. My husband and I had to declare Saturday a day of rest and refrain from any heavy physical labor so that we could get our achy bodies to cooperate on Sunday morning!

This past weekend, I heard of a creative solution to the music issue. A largish church in Georgia holds two services simultaneously in separate buildings. One service begins with hymns and the other contemporary. The pastor preaches one sermon in “the flesh” (couldn’t resist that) and he is viewed on a screen in the other building. He rotates each week so that a group has him up close and personal twice per month.

It seems like months of thinking on this would have generated more ideas .My grandfather belonged to the Primitive Baptist and they don’t use any instruments at all. Maybe they are on to something. I’m sure you have some thoughts. How about sharing what your church has successfully done or ideas you have?

 

South of the Border~Part 5

13 May

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Lites

 

Once all the dedication ceremonies were over, it was time for the teams to relax and celebrate. OSM had made arrangements for a cookout at the John 3:16 Church and we were all ready to do our part to help eat everything in sight. This was another opportunity for the entire group to praise God for His continued love, protection and provision toward us during this entire project

1

After we finished eating, several of us headed over to the Carpenter’s Shop to help assemble and setup some new equipment that had been recently donated. The young boys were especially excited about the new tools, and were wanting to know what each tool did and when they were going to get to work in the shop.

2

Early Saturday morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we packed up the vans and started the long trip back toward San Antonio. Our caravan took a short break just before we got to the border to visit the market in Piedras Negras, where I bought DiVoran a 4-foot long Rain Stick. It makes the most wonderful sound (like falling rain), and she still uses it every Sunday, when she sings with the Praise Team, during our morning church service here in Titusville.

3

 

Our border crossing was uneventful this time, and we arrived at the Kennedy ranch in time to enjoy a real American dinner (our first in a week) and boy was that a great meal. Some of us took time to wash some really dirty clothes, and enjoy the quiet surroundings of the ranch, until it was time to head back to the Retreat Center for a good night’s rest.

4

 Sunday, after breakfast, we drove a short distance over to attend a church service at a Cowboy Church (I can’t remember exactly where), which was quite an eye opener for me. It had to be one of the most informal and unusual church services I’ve ever attended. They really know how to praise the Lord in that church, and without any pretensions.

5

 Then we started working our way toward the airport by spending a short time at the beautiful River Walk, where we had a great lunch at one of the many nice restaurants located there along the San Antonio River. By the time we finished lunch, it was time to head for the airport, say our final good-bye’s, and get checked in for our flight back to Orlando.

6

 

I can say, I feel like that was one of the most rewarding weeks I have ever spent in my life. There is nothing like seeing the appreciative look on people’s faces when you hand them the keys to a house that they would never have been able to afford, or that they ever had expected someone would give them. If you can, you should try it sometime. I guarantee you will love the experience, and it will absolutely change your life forever. Our God is good, all the time.

—–The End—–

  

If you, your church or civic group would like to help the OSM with their ministry to the needy people of Mexico and Haiti, you can visit them for details on their website at www.onlyaservant.org or call them at 830-228-4809.

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