Tag Archives: Christmas

6 promises when you’re feeling overwhelmed

12 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged December 12, 2020

December 11, 2020

“Enough already.” Have you thought or said those words lately? Most of us have drawn dangerously close to that overwhelmed state because we’re saturated by the ugliness that paints the country and the world.

Anyone out there ready for a break from all this? Let’s change that mood and find a lighter topic. Here’s my friend’s lighthearted recount to give you a little humor in the midst of the gloom. She stepped into her mother-in-law’s house with a heart filled with the Christmas spirit and with an attitude of kindness. But here’s what she experienced. This is her unedited recount:

This humongous undertaking was under the guise of “helping” (really, read: doing it ALL myself). Put up ALL of her Christmas decorations: 2 full-size trees; a gazillion Santa’s she’s collected over the past 30-plus years of all shapes of sizes; 19 ceramic Christmas teapots (I counted); a dozen Beyer’s carolers, about 500 feet of lighted-green-fake-garland oh-so carefully placed around just about every piece of tall furniture, upper kitchen cabinets, fireplace mantle, even her grandfather clock. (I kid you not!) I could just feel the kilowatt numbers on the electric meter start spinning around like there’s no tomorrow!

Oh, I’m not even finished yet…THEN there was the placement of about 50 battery-operated assorted pillar, votive, and tea-lights on every table, the mantle again (it’s totally jammed between pillars, wise men and carolers), and inside the fireplace—don’t want to actually make a real fire these days, do we now?

I even had to place giant ball ornaments and stuffed-cardinals in ornamental trees (not even Christmas trees) around the house. Oh, yeah, I forget about placing her cutesy Christmas rugs all over the house, too! And my piece de resistance was converting a red, green, and white tablecloth into a shower curtain, using safety pins, so it matched her bathroom accessories.

Here’s a challenge for us. How about if we decorate with the same passion and detail, not our home, but our heart?

Six Promises for You

To avoid reaching the overwhelmed state of our mind, we first check out the divine storehouse of God’s Word. And one by one we pull out His promises. Here are six that deserve an important place:

  1. When broken relationships, strife or animosity bury our peace under the mountain of stress. Wrapped in love, Jesus gives us the perfect present: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to your peace]as the world gives” (John 14:27). The peace that comes when things work out is fleeting. The peace we get from others is false.  But Jesus’ peace when turmoil abounds is true, profound and permanent.
  2. When fear drains our strength, God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). If He will uphold us, nothing can make us fall. If He is God, the Lord of all, what may happen doesn’t alter His promise. If He is indeed the Most High God, what changes come about will find us secure and confident in His protection.
  3. When media reports rob our sleep as we toss and turn at night, each new day rings in fresh hope and with holy boldness. We declare, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). We wait expecting His plans to be at work. We expect His truth to reign. And His Word never to return empty.
  4. When tension fills the air because of the uncertainty for tomorrow, we remember God is already present in all our tomorrows. “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. For this moment, for today and for tomorrow, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Walking on that straight path, firm and secure keeps us from the detours of negative emotions.
  5. When income has dwindled, bills pile up and we join the “financially anxious” club, God’s voice is stern: “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:27-31). Anxiety rises only and only when we forget that God knows. He knows what we need, what we lack, what we miss and what we desire. Our “wants” may come last, but our needs are what He meets first. The secret to get them? Seek Him first above all.
  6. If what we face seems impossible. If what we tried got us nowhere. And even what others did for us brought no results, God’s reminder echoes in Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That promise brings the glow of hope into our Christmas. The best present to give to yourself is to believe, truly believe that If all things are possible with God,” your situation is too.

But we know none of the promises can be ours. None can be at work. None can make any sense without the power of God expressed by His unending love. He put that love in a crib and named Him Jesus.

Because of Jesus, we’re not overwhelmed. We embrace His Word, believe His power and decorate our life with the color of His promises.

Let’s Pray

Father, this Christmas is different than others. Gloom seems to rule. But we know that Jesus was born, to grow up, to become the light, to bring salvation and to conquer all. We sing the Christmas carol of gratitude with new hope and new confidence. In Jesus’ name.

What decorates your life these days?



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 shareFeel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.


Savor the Season

20 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Wow, we have been in Florida for one week and I am feeling a bit exhausted. The 11 hour drive from the NC mountains last Wednesday left my husband and I with “road trip lag.” Thursday started off early with a much needed hair trim. It seems to take a couple of days for me to settle into my Florida groove buying groceries and putting away my must haves that I brought from NC.

Saturday we visited EPCOT at Walt Disney World to experience Candlelight with Gary Sinise narrating. The show is free but getting a seat involves standing in line for a couple of hours on the chance of getting in. We are too old for that these days! Earlier in the year we purchased a dinner package that would give us priority seating . It is expensive, but it’s our Christmas thing. We chose to dine in Morocco’s Marrakesh restaurant. We ate there once before and were pleasantly surprised with the flavorful food. The restaurant itself is beautiful with mosaic tile throughout.

I am uncomfortable taking pictures in a restaurant and invading diners privacy. I shot this one over the head of the couple next to us. In the center section a dancer performed to beautiful music played on a keyboard.

After our meal we visited a favorite store in the UK, Twining’s tea. We stocked up on the flavors we can’t find in our local grocery stores. To my surprise, the park was quite crowded, but it was a Saturday. After exploring shops in Japan and France we made our way to The American Adventure and were fortunate to find an empty picnic table to rest while we waited for our time to enter the amphitheater. I loved the Christmas tree and people were lined up to have pictures taken with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

The music was magnificent, Gary Sinise as narrator superb. As the sun went down, the evening turned brisk. An absolutely perfect evening… but boy were we tired. Thankfully our daughter volunteered to drive home.

Do you ever have weeks where you know you were busy, but it’s all a blur? That is how this week has been. I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas gift or planned our Christmas meal. On the plus side, I have made muffins and strawberry ice cream!

My friends, as we prepare to celebrate this joyful holiday let’s remember to savor the season…time spent with family, cherishing memories and most of all celebrating the birth of the Savior.

I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors. My 2019 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Joyful Christmas

25 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people- Luke 2:10





Finding joy has been my journey in 2018. I could not have followed this journey without the wonderful counselor, whispering courage and truth into my heart.

On behalf of my faithful friends, the blogging team of Old Things R New, we wishes each of our readers and friends a joyful and blessed Christmas.

His Name Will Be Called

18 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government will be upon His shoulder. 



These words never fail to thrill my soul. After reading them this morning my heart hungered for music to celebrate the Savior’s birth.  The music of Disney’s Candlelight Procession is one of my favorites. Often the choir is made up of high school students who practice during the year for this big event. Of late, I have begun to pray that this glorious good news will be planted into their hearts. The celebrity narrator for this one is Chris Pratt. I have to confess, I don’t know anything about his acting career.


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

17 Dec

My Take
DiVoran Lites




We hardly ever have snow here in Florida,










But we do have mistletoe growing wild in our woods.

We don’t ski here, except for water-skiing on nice days.

We do have lots of citizens wearing themselves out

Decorating, cooking, visiting, shopping in stores and online.

Trying to “get ready.”


I wonder what your favorite thing is about Christmas.

Is it the music, the decorations, the food, or

Perhaps the get-togethers and visits?

We have a small family and of course the

Best earthly treasure is our time together.

I like the music next.

I put a Christmas station on Pandora and

Play it all day, every day until Bill is ready to hear

Something else.


No matter how we feel about the holiday itself,

We can never forget the young pregnant woman

Who bore the son of God

And dear Joseph the carpenter who helped

Rear Him.

But most of all,

Christ came to earth and spent his life

Reaching out and he spent his death atoning for sin.

We are charged to invite the Holy Spirit to bless others

Through us,so they may know Him and His Father.

We are invited to receive healing for our bodies

Our emotions, and our souls

Good cheer is available all year round

When each day includes relationship

With Jesus-Redeemer.


Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

A 1960 California Family Christmas

25 Mar


Judy Wills



I know….I know….Christmas was either three months ago – or nine months to come. So I am either WAY late or WAY early with this post! However, in going through my pictures recently – something I really enjoy doing – I came upon the Christmas before Fred and I married, and it was in California with my parents and Bill and DiVoran.

We stayed with Bill and DiVoran in their tiny little house, so it was cramped spaces, but sometimes that can be the most fun, right?



In any case, we drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico early that morning, and drove straight through to Inglewood, California. It was a long drive, but there were four drivers, so it wasn’t too bad. We drove in Fred’s car – that lovely, classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air.


It was a dream to drive and to ride in. And with the four of us in the car together – Mom, Dad, Fred and me – we had a great time together. I remember starting out that there was frost on the windows. It didn’t take long before the sunshine on the car melted the frost, even though it was so cold outside.

Because Bill and DiVoran’s house was small, DiVoran made the best use of the space, knowing we would really crowd the place. There was no room for a Christmas tree, so she made one out of a tinsel garland, tacked on one wall.



She placed ornaments on the “tree” and a star at the top. They had a credenza underneath it where we placed our Christmas gifts. It was quite unique and imaginative. She’s so creative, and it shows in the paintings she does, as well.

I remember them setting up a cot for Fred to sleep on.


Bill and DiVoran sitting on Fred’s cot


There was a couch that I suspect folded down to make a bed, where my parents slept.



I have absolutely NO memory of where I slept, but perhaps there was another cot somewhere in that room that was my spot for sleeping. Perhaps they put me in the kitchen? It was a one-bedroom little house, and Bill and DiVoran slept in their bed. It was quite cozy!

We had some plans for things to do while there. I know we went to Disneyland one day.




We went to Marineland.



To Knott’s Berry Farm.


We kept busy, and made the most of our trip.

When Christmas Day arrived, we had a great meal together. And it was made even better because DiVoran’s parents came and joined us at the table. My mom and dad ate from TV trays, but that didn’t lessen the fun. It was just a great time together.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a lot of space, or expensive tastes, to have a wonderful family time together. And that’s the key – time together. That’s what makes family. We are blessed.



25 Dec

We are happy to welcome our guest blogger, Patricia Franklin to share a heartwarming story for this blessed Christmas day.


A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin




This is the story of “Belle,” our fearless leader at the crisis center, who always begins the day with prayer time. She began this day, shortly before Christmas, by emotionally saying “I was Born For This Time,” and I need to tell you my story. She begins….

“In the Bible, the story of Esther relates, ‘I was born for this time’.” ….

Belle’s youngest child was 9 months old, when she became quite ill. She went to the doctor, and subsequently other doctors, who found something in her lung. After many tests and many doctors, the diagnosis turned out to be a fatal lung disease.  It was progressing rapidly and there was no cure for her. The doctors said, “We can try medicines and treatments to make you more comfortable, but it will continue to progress into the liver and kidneys and will be fatal.”

She decided against treatments and told her doctor. “No doctor, I have my own way of healing.” She went home and continually prayed… “God, please give me 15 years to raise my son.” So she carried on the best she could, and at the advice of her doctor, she continued to see him for x-rays and prognosis of her condition, but received no medicines or treatments, and continually prayed her prayer to God.

One morning she woke up deathly ill and went to see her doctor, thinking her time was up. He took his time and gave her a thorough examination.  When he was finished he said, “Belle, do you believe in miracles?” She told him, “YES, DOCTOR, I DO.”  He said, “There is no sign of the disease in your body.  You have been healed!”

So she raised her family, and along the way, served in her church and community. Then, with her sister and many volunteers, took over running this faith-based crisis center. 37 years later, although her younger sister passed away from cancer, Belle is still going strong. She very humbly said, “There is a reason God wanted me here for this time. Just like Esther, I was born for this time.”

Yes, the center continues to grow, as the need is greater all the time. We are now serving at least twice as many needy people as we were a few years ago.  I heard Belle say after the prayer meeting, that she had just come from the hospital where she had visited one of our volunteers.  And although, she did not say it, she is known to visit the homeless camps, and help as many people as many ways as she can along the way, with her quiet, competent manner. Yes, Belle, like Esther, you were born for this time. We could not proceed or succeed without you and your wonderful compassionate and caring leadership.


Christmas is Coming~Part 3

17 Dec

Judy Wills




More Christmas memories.

I have always enjoyed music. I’m not a terrific pianist, but I get by. Unfortunately, I usually have to have the music sheet in front of me in order to play anything. I don’t have the gift of “playing by ear.” I wish I did, but God didn’t give me that talent.



I have always loved to sing. As I mentioned in another post, my first memory of singing was my first grade class’s Christmas program. I think I did a solo to Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I’ve been in choirs of some sort all my life, especially the church choirs. But I was also in school choirs, as well. (Please see my post of October 16, 2016, titled Music to my Ears)

I have one Christmas musical memory that is precious to me. We were stationed at Tyndall AFB, Florida (Panama City, Florida), and I had joined the Officer Wives Club singing group. We performed for quite a few venues throughout the Christmas season, doing our Christmas music.


Photo credit WJHG.com
 Credit Google search


This one particular time, we were performing our Christmas program for anyone on Tyndall who would like to come to a concert. We did the performance in the Chapel, since it held a large number of people.



I had told Fred to bring the girls, to enjoy the concert. As I recall, they sat near the front of the Chapel. We sang quite a few songs, then I was to do a solo…I Wonder as I Wander. Since I had always done a bit of public speaking, it was my habit to look at the “audience” as I was speaking – or in this case, singing. As I looked out at the audience, I happened to look at my family. While Fred and Karen were invested in my song, when I looked at Janet (she was about five years old at this time), I nearly stopped singing for joy! Her little mouth was open to an “O” and her eyes were saucers! She was completely swept up in Mommy singing!

Perhaps she had never heard me singing before. I’m not sure. I’m only sure that she was entranced with her mother singing. The look on her face was one I’ve never forgotten. It is so precious a memory for me.

That’s one sweet Christmas memory I won’t forget.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued through Christmas~~~~~~~~~~

Christmas is Coming!! Part 2

10 Dec


Judy Wills




More Christmas memories – but these are recent.


Since living in Florida, and purchasing annual passes for Disney World, one of our favorite things to do at Christmas time is to go to EPCOT and see the Candlelight Processional. We’ve done it for quite a number of years now, and have heard many and varied speakers. All of them have been inspiring to us.



If you aren’t familiar with the Candlelight Processional, it is something that Walt Disney himself envisioned (we learned this just this week during the performance), and instituted back in Disneyland in California, many, many years ago.

It is the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, narrated by a “guest” speaker – usually a known celebrity. We’ve heard such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Jim Caviezel, Brad Garrett, Trace Adkins, Gary Sinise, and others. This week we heard Jodi Benson read the story. While Brad Garrett, with his deep voice, was a delight to hear, and he did mention that it was peculiar that he was reading this story, since he is Jewish, it was still meaningful. However, to hear the story of the birth of Christ, read by someone who is a Christian, or proclaimed believer, that put an entirely different light on the story. Jodi testified that she is a believer, and she believes every word of that story and animatedly demonstrated it. She also was singing along with many of the songs. It was wonderful!!

The music the choir sings, is the same each year, but we’ve come to love each and every song they do. While many of the songs are familiar to us – some Christmas carols, some traditional Christmas songs – it is a delight to hear each one repeated each year.

This week, we had the privilege of sitting next to a gentleman who was there with his daughter. She was in the choir. Did I mention that it is a 400 voice choir? Most of those voices are made up of high school students, mostly from high schools around Florida, but some from other states. There are about 40 voices from the Walt Disney World Cast Choir, and eight from the Voices of Liberty, in addition to the high school students and a 50-piece orchestra. It is a truly magnificent performance!


Credit Google Search – this shows only half the choir and orchestra

In any case, this gentleman we were sitting with was on the lookout for his daughter. He told us he had told her he was going to set fire to a napkin and wave it around, so she would know where he was sitting! “No Dad!! Don’t embarrass me like that!!” Of course he was kidding. When he saw her, we saw her looking around, finally saw him and smiled. And she looked for him during the recessional – another smile. He had never seen the Candlelight Processional before, and was amazed at the performance. It was nice to see.

All these things go to make up our Christmas. It’s not just whether we get our house decorated…or the Christmas cards out in time…or who does or doesn’t come for the holiday. It’s everything taken together.

And the best part of all – is that we have the love of God in our hearts, and celebrate HIS birth for the salvation of this wretched world. We thank God He has enabled us to be His children.



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued through Christmas~~~~~~~~~~


You Tube has the complete 2016 Candlelight Processional with Jodi Benson if you would like to experience it this magnificent story.


Christmas is Coming!

3 Dec


Judy Wills




Now that December is upon us, it’s time for more of those Christmas memories.

In the 1970’s, when we lived in Panama City, Florida (Tyndall AFB).

Photo credit WJHG.com


We had a habit – for Christmas – of taking at least one week off (probably two weekends and the week in between) and driving down to Titusville, for several days with my brother, Bill (Lites – another blogger), and his family. We always had a great time with them, and the cousins were able to renew friendship with each other. Karen and Renie (Charlene), being the oldest in the families, seemed to latch onto each other, while

Janet and Billy did the same. After some days there, we would drive across the peninsula to Clearwater to spend a few Christmas days with Fred’s parents in their “retirement” condominium. They hadn’t actually retired yet, but kept the condo for vacation purposes.

Credit Google search


I remember one Christmas especially. It was in 1976. We were planning on our annual Christmas trip to Titusville and Clearwater – when Janet (five years old at the time) came down with a fairly light case of chickenpox! She and I must have been exposed at the same time, because I came down with a VERY light case of shingles on my back at the same time. When Fred was a child and had the chickenpox, he apparently scratched a couple of the blisters on his face, resulting in a couple of “holes” or scars – one on each cheek. When Janet’s blisters erupted on her face, I held her up to her daddy and said, “see those scars on daddy’s face? (She nodded her head yes) If you don’t want those scars on your face – DON’T SCRATCH THEM!” Fortunately, she followed instructions quite well, and never had any scars on her face. Other parts of her body? Not sure!

I called Bill and DiVoran, and asked if everyone in their family had already had the chickenpox. DiVoran’s question was: “why? Are you bringing it down to us?” When I explained about Janet and myself, they both assured us that they were immune to that particular disease. So we made our trip, and all was well.



As just a side note about chickenpox – Karen never came down with the chickenpox at that time. She seemed to be exposed and exposed through the years, but it wasn’t until she was 14 years old that she actually caught the disease – much to her distress!

I’ll post other Christmas memories in future musings.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued through Christmas~~~~~~~~~~








%d bloggers like this: