Tag Archives: Easter

A Season of Praise

13 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Description: Pasqueflower, Pulsatilla Vulgaris

Pixabay

It has been about a month since the coronavirus became big news and the churches shut down along with many other places. We have been ordered by the governor to stay at home except for essential things such as food and medical care. We are now being told to wear masks and to stand six feet away from people we don’t live with. 

As for Bill and me, we are enjoying the restfulness of this season, and the rules are not hard for us to obey. Some folks online are making jokes about being bored, so we are glad to have things to do…many that we have put off for years. 

 We have been successful with our grocery buying. Once, though we accidentally bought 36 rolls of 1 ply toilet paper. I wish we had read the labels, but even if we had we might not have been able to get our favorite four-ply. Sometimes in the past when hurricanes were predicted the shelves would be emptied. Even then, toilet paper was a big deal. 

It seems as if everyone is getting food and being cared for. I hope not many are falling through the cracks. When we were out today, we saw a huge bight, beautiful American Flag attached to a high crane lift.  What a glorious sight. 

We are old and everyone is good to us. However, we don’t like the label, elderly. We are not all frail and helpless. We prefer the name of Elder because we have lived a long time and most of us have gained wisdom in plain living that some youngsters  do not have.

 I don’t sew anymore, but I was given a handmade mask. Bill has a good mask and we wear them when we go out. It’s kind of sweet the way we ladies would like for our hand-sewn masks to match our clothes just as we expect our jewelry to do.

Our grown children are showing us ways to communicate online. One couple is loaning us a camera to use for a skype situation. They will be calling us on our Smart Phones and telling us how to install it and use it. We have already had two Sunday conference calls with our married couples. 

Two young people in our family live far away from Florida. One of them lives in Queens, New York but she is now staying with a friend further north which seems to be safer than Queens. Another young relative has been visiting a tiny Japanese island off Taiwan. We don’t hear much from either of them except through their parents. The one on the island has been told that he doesn’t have to come back to America after a three-month visit. He can stay until August which is when his business there is over. 

We’ve been having a good time with some of the Christian shows on the internet. Friends send funny videos and Bill disburses them from his computer. I love the ones about animals, especially goats…especially baby goats.

We decided to put in some house plants. Taking care of them is fun. They are lovely to look at, and they will help keep us healthy as well.

Every morning, we each have devotionals on our own.  We get plenty of time to read the Bible or to write in a journal. We can look up a chain of pertinent scriptures and immerse ourselves in them. That seems to lift us into a higher plane with the Lord. 

Our weather has been springy and beautiful. Every year we have six months of hot weather and six months of what we call cold weather. In the winter we usually need the heat on. Summertime demands air conditioners. Right now, we are between hot and cold and can open the house. Aren’t we spoiled, though? I don’t think we’re helping anybody much. Is it because we have not been called to do anything different than what we are already doing? We are praying for people. We especially like to pray for children, for those who are in the Good News Club and for those who are not.  Before the CV, volunteers and wonderful teachers worked together to help the children get the education they will need. 

After supper, Bill and I take out our “Then Sings My Soul,” hymn books compiled by Robert Morgan. We have finished singing through and reading the stories of the hymns on the first volume and are waiting for volume two. It is wonderful to sing the beautiful old songs we grew up on. They have deep meaning for us and easy for us to sing. Robert Morgan says there are many things that music can help us with. One is being connected with people from other generations. Robert Morgan says,  “Each week millions of Christians in local settings around the world, using hymns composed by a believer from every era and branch of Christendom, join voices in united bursts of praise, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord.”  We, like the author, think it would be a shame for the legacy of those hymn writers to disappear. 

We can walk in the neighborhood. We like to listen to audiobooks as we go because it makes the walk go faster. We do the rest of our talking at the table, in the car, or just going from one room to another to ask questions.

The last thing at night we search for a decent movie to watch. I’m working on finding a way to find good and decent movies on the TV. How can it be so hard to find a good movie out of the millions we can access? 

For all these happy days we give thanks and praise to our wonderful Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who supernaturally protect us and show us the way. If you want to know this trinity for yourself, just ask any one of them how to join in.  In other words, get to know them by talking to them and opening your heart to listen to what they have to say. Then you will know how to become one of his children and have all your sin taken away. That’s why we celebrate Easter. If he is ours and we are his, we know that whatever happens, He is in it and He is with. 

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.”

12 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Easter Sunday 2020

Created with GIMP

(Rebloged from 2014)

I really love Christmas!  All the brisk weather (in the colder climes), the Christmas trees and wreaths.  The decorations.  But especially the music.  It’s so much fun to hear and sing – both sacred and secular.  It’s such a special time of year.

But for me – and all of Christianity – Easter is the very, VERY best!  Of course, Christmas had to come first – to bring the Christ Child into this world.  But Easter brings us eternal life…and that beats the socks off a fun, cute song any day!

The songs associated with Easter are so exciting – and uplifting – and inspiring – and so full of hope and promise.  They tell of Christ’s death, yes, but also of that glorious moment when HE AROSE!  Can you imagine it?  God’s power is so tremendously great that He actually raised Jesus from death back into life!  Amazing!!  It’s so easy to just say…He arose.  But just think of it – He actually rose FROM THE DEAD BACK TO LIFE!  That never happened to anyone else, that didn’t physically die again.  Our Savior lives again and still, and forever.

There’s a lot of anti-Christian stuff going on right now, that borders on persecution.  Yes, I know – I really haven’t a clue what true persecution is like.  But this is the most anti-Christian attitude in this country that I’ve ever felt.  And it doesn’t feel good.

Seems like every Easter there is something that happens to a church here or there that actually backfires on the perpetrators.  For instance, when we lived in Panama City, Florida back in the 1970’s, there was a Lutheran church who put up a “tomb/cave” on their front lawn every Easter.  They would have a “stone” rolled across the front, that on Easter morning was “rolled away” to reveal the open/empty tomb.  One year, the whole thing disappeared!  Turns out, some teenagers, on a dare, took it away.  So, instead of harming the message – the newspaper got ahold of the story – took pictures and all – and it made the front page news! Backfire, see?

And then when we lived in a small town in Virginia, our church had put up some sort of display on our front lawn – and some of the “soldiers” disappeared.  Same thing – the city newspaper (and possibly the TV stations in town) got wind of the disappearance, and interviewed the Pastor about it.  Again, it made the headlines and news stories.  The culprits were found and the soldiers returned.  Another backfire.

All that to say that I am convinced that there is still a remnant of believers in this country, and that God will honor those who still trust Him.  What is done in the dark will be brought to light – and God’s name will be glorified.

HE IS RISEN!   HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

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.

Daily Life During Covid-19 Part 6

11 Apr

Passover Week

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

So much has happened this week it is hard for me organize my thoughts. Some impressions I am still internalizing. Maybe writing this blog will help to gel my thoughts.

For only the second time in history, the Jews in Israel have been told to stay inside their homes during a portion of Passover. Many found this to be significant.

If you aren’t aware of the history of Passover, it began in ancient times when the people of Israel were captive slaves in Egypt. The Egyptian Pharaoh refused to set them free even though God sent plagues to torment him. The final plague would take the lives of every first born unless the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb was painted on the doorposts of their homes.

From Wikipedia:

the Book of Exodus, God helped the Israelites escape from slavery in ancient Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release the Israelite slaves. The last of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.

Tuesday, we decided to join with the Jewish tradition and pray for the passing of the Coronavirus. Coincidence or God that all week the virus models of deaths has changed downward almost daily?

Passover occurs with the full moon. Tuesday night the news said the moon would be pink tinged. My daughter, Rebekah and I decided to drive down to the river for a better view. I love the river at night, especially with a breeze. It is peaceful yet empowering. The moon looked white to me but it was beautiful.

The lights across the river are Kennedy Space center to the left probably Cape Canaveral Air Base to the right.

Wednesday we treated ourselves to dinner out. I am seriously tired of cooking. Dinner out was take out from the Moonlight Drive-In. I had planned to eat there but Rebekah and her dad voted to eat in the car by river. That evening we watched a live stream Seder. Rebekah participated in one last year, but this was our first experience. It was intriguing.

For a couple of days, my husband had been going through what I call a rough patch. I felt that if I could get him out of the house, he might perk up. Our daughter agreed to drive. Guess where we went? That’s right, the river. I thank God for the river. We found an unoccupied pavilion and covered the table with a nylon picnic blanket to protect us from germs than may have been lurking. It was warm but the breeze was nice and steady. The trip perked him up, his breathing settled down and we had a good evening.

The part of Passover week that I have been processing is what we did on Wednesday at noon. We received an email earlier in the week suggesting that as Joshua led the Jewish people to march around the city of Jericho for six days, then on the seventh day blow their shofars and shout, thus bringing down the city’s walls, that we could call out to the Lord in a similar manner to end the virus.

This was way outside of our comfort zone, but we felt we should participate. We downloaded a Shofar app onto our phones. Our daughter suggested we do this in our local hospital parking lot.

When we arrived at the hospital, there was a group of around 10-15 gathered. With social distancing in mind, we didn’t join them. (Also we are a family of fairly introverted people) As the clock moved to noon, the group began blowing their shofars, (They had the real thing and they were loud) We activated our apps and sounded the shofar and prayed. We prayed for the passing of the virus and claimed God’s glory and fire. We shouted victory over the virus as well as over the evils the have spread over the earth, lying, greed, murder, hatred and deception, I have never felt such emotion flooding my soul.

Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” He was there.

And then we got into our cars and went home.

I spent Good Friday enjoying messages from various churches and making a low carb chocolate raspberry cheesecake. As I write this blog I am listening to a live stream of Handel’s Messiah – Easter Concert with The Tabernacle Choir.

I almost forgot! Since our churches are not meeting physically our church staff made up these simple Easter bags and the pastor dropped them off at homes today. I was thrilled to discover a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I texted him that it was the best ever Easter bag!

Treats like these are usually taken to members who are homebound or as we used to say, shut-ins. We are all shut-ins now!

May your Easter be joyful.

UPDATE Florida Stay at Home allows for outdoor activity as long as social distancing is followed.

Good News That Never Has a Downside

7 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Last night I began to hear positive news about the Coronavirus. It was exciting. Sadly I also heard the news of a friend’s mother passing a week after her father in law and another friend whose mother was taken by ambulance to hospital with pneumonia.

I am thankful there is one piece of good news that never has a downside. The news of the empty tomb. And because of the empty tomb we have hope. God had a plan!

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:10)

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18a)

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Our churches are closed but the message of Jesus cannot be contained.

Three Most Powerful Words

27 Mar

 

He is risen 2016

How to live happily ever after.

4 Apr

After Easter “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley”

26 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran and David Bowers

DiVoran and David Bowers

My brother and I on Easter circa 1949. Mother made the dark blue and white dotted Swiss dress for me. David wore that sweater all winter for several winters. This story isn’t about us; it’s about this past Easter many years later.

 

Do you like routines and schedules? I like them so much I plan carefully so that they won’t go agley, as Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, put it:The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” (“To a Mouse”)

People in our church want me, as the children’s Sunday school teacher to put on an Easter egg hunt every year. So I bought the eggs last year. We already had the baskets to gather them into. I got the candy in the last weeks before Easter, but had to go back for more. I spent an hour or two putting candy in the eggs.

The plan was to go out on the playground during adult Sunday school and “hide” the eggs, but when we left the house, a misty rain was falling onto the windshield of the car and my plans began  to go agley so I asked Bill to be praying about what I should do. He surprised me by praying that the rain would stop in time for the hunt. But, still, when could I hide the eggs?

In the middle of praise team practice, I recalled that I hadn’t brought my camera. I didn’t want to miss taking pictures of the beautiful children in their Easter finery, so I asked Bill to go home and get it. I could hide eggs while he was gone.

It had stopped raining by the time praise team practice was over, but three feisty boys were using the playground and I didn’t want to make them go inside. I decided I’d just let them and the two girls who had arrived hide the eggs with me.

The girls and I walked out and I started to get the eggs out of the trunk of the car, but guess where the car was? It was with Bill going home to get the camera. The girls and I went back inside. Church started. We’d have to make do with the kids hiding the eggs during the time they were supposed to be hunting for them. Finally, it was time. By now, we had five girls and three boys. It seemed everyone was having a good time except for Trivona. She’s being reared by an aunt who loves her and who is a capable and efficient person.

“Why do we have to hide our own eggs,” Trivona asked.

“It’s fun, isn’t it?” I asked hopefully.

“The Easter egg hunt we went to yesterday was more fun—the children didn’t have to hide their own eggs,” she answered.

“It’s a long story.” I patted her head patronizingly.

She looked up at me with interest in her big brown eyes.

“You don’t want to hear the story do you?”

“Yes I do.”

“Oh, well…” I told it all, the rain, the car.“Is that a good story?” I asked when I finished.

“No,” she said.

“Oh, then I’m sorry I told you,” wishing I hadn’t bored her.

“It was a good story,” she said carefully, “but if you plan better next time, the children won’t have to hide their own eggs.”

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

Someday maybe Trivona will read Robert Burns and surely, then, she will understand.

100 Years and Counting….

22 Apr
Today we are pleased to have our friend Patricia Franklin on Old Things R New. It is so good to have her back for the day~Onisha
Patricia Franklin
A Few Thoughts 

Easter Morning!  I’m sitting here in my backyard contemplating and marveling at the meaning of Easter and realizing He really does make all things new! 
There is new growth on my rose bushes. The new blossoms are out on the tree and a brand new baby squirrel explores the branches and discovers the delicate new growth and enjoys the sweet taste for the very first time. There are new blossoms on the strawberries in the garden and plenty of new weeds and dandelions that popped out since our much needed wet spring snow of two days ago. 
But I have been impatiently waiting  to see if our 100 + year old plant will grow this year in our garden. We brought this plant several years ago from the old family home and transplanted it here.  It was very sparse last year, and we were not sure it would make it another year.  Yesterday, I spotted little dark green leaves coming up in the garden spot. Was that the beginning of this special plant, or just another weed taking over the area?
This morning after greeting the newly risen Christ at church, I hurried home and ran to the garden spot to search again for the new life of the plant.  Lo and behold, three strong green leaves were open and reaching for the sun (Son) !!  It is not a weed, it is the 100 year old plant…. alive and well!  I realize again, He really does make all things new on this Day of Days!  Praise God!

Easter 2014

20 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

I really love Christmas!  All the brisk weather (in the colder climes), the Christmas trees and wreaths.  The decorations.  But especially the music.  It’s so much fun to hear and sing – both sacred and secular.  It’s such a special time of year.

But for me – and all of Christianity – Easter is the very, VERY best!  Of course, Christmas had to come first – to bring the Christ Child into this world.  But Easter brings us eternal life…and that beats the socks off a fun, cute song any day!

The songs associated with Easter are so exciting – and uplifting – and inspiring – and so full of hope and promise.  They tell of Christ’s death, yes, but also of that glorious moment when HE AROSE!  Can you imagine it?  God’s power is so tremendously great that He actually raised Jesus from death back into life!  Amazing!!  It’s so easy to just say…He arose.  But just think of it – He actually rose FROM THE DEAD BACK TO LIFE!  That never happened to anyone else, that didn’t physically die again.  Our Savior lives again and still, and forever.

There’s a lot of anti-Christian stuff going on right now, that borders on persecution.  Yes, I know – I really haven’t a clue what true persecution is like.  But this is the most anti-Christian attitude in this country that I’ve ever felt.  And it doesn’t feel good.

Seems like every Easter there is something that happens to a church here or there that actually backfires on the perpetrators.  For instance, when we lived in Panama City, Florida back in the 1970’s, there was a Lutheran church who put up a “tomb/cave” on their front lawn every Easter.  They would have a “stone” rolled across the front, that on Easter morning was “rolled away” to reveal the open/empty tomb.  One year, the whole thing disappeared!  Turns out, some teenagers, on a dare, took it away.  So, instead of harming the message – the newspaper got ahold of the story – took pictures and all – and it made the front page news!  Backfire, see?

And then when we lived in a small town in Virginia, our church had put up some sort of display on our front lawn – and some of the “soldiers” disappeared.  Same thing – the city newspaper (and possibly the TV stations in town) got wind of the disappearance, and interviewed the Pastor about it.  Again, it made the headlines and news stories.  The culprits were found and the soldiers returned.  Another backfire.

All that to say that I am convinced that there is still a remnant of believers in this country, and that God will honor those who still trust Him.  What is done in the dark will be brought to light – and God’s name will be glorified.

 

HE IS RISEN!   HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

 

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

Teodor Flonta~Memories of Easter in Transylvania

19 Apr

On Facebook today my friend, Teodor Flonta shared  his childhood Easter traditions growing up in Romania during a Communist regime. With his gracious permission, I am sharing them with you~Onisha Ellis

From Teodor

 

HAPPY EASTER! 
to all my friends from around the world with #Tasmanian eggs coloured with onion skin, just as my Mama used to do long time ago when I was a little boy in #Transylvania! You can read an excerpt from ‘A Luminous Future’ about my Easter there.

Mama borrowed an old Bible from Piţurca, the only one in the whole village, and started reading to me in the evening. On Thursday night, we would creep into the church, terrified that we would be seen and reported to Comrade Petroi. The church was dimly lit. We would sit on the cold and hard floor in front of the altar, jumping at any slight flicker of the shadows. Father Iordan said that we were like the early Christians, who had to practise their religion in secret. At the end, we would leave only after checking that nobody was on the road. This went on until Easter Thursday, when we were allowed to hammer on the toaca until sunset, to announce the death of Christ. The toaca was a 20cm wide board on a 2m pole in the church courtyard. After sunset, neither hammering on the toaca nor the ringing of bells was allowed until Sunday, the day of the Resurrection.


On Easter Sunday women placed little baskets full of coloured hard-boiled eggs and cross-shaped loaves of white bread in front of the altar for the blessing. The children, dressed in white shirts, took the first Communion in front of the congregation. However, the spectacle we were waiting for was to come later in the church courtyard during the frenzied egg-cracking competition. We wrapped one hand across our egg, exposing only the pointy end, and hit each other’s eggs hard. If your egg cracked, you lost your egg.

“Mircea, I bet I can take away your eggs,” I challenged him outside the church.


He gave me a push and responded, “Try this, smarty.”


I tried and lost.


“You want to try another one?” he asked.


I suspected he was so confident because there was something fishy about his egg. So I accepted the challenge, pulling out from my pocket my special egg. I hit hard and a funny, thick sound, not at all like the sound of an egg cracking, was the result.

What did you do, stupid? You have a wooden egg,” said Mircea.


I ran away laughing.


“And yours is filled with pitch. I could hear it,” I said.

 

Transylvanian born Teodor Flonta is a retired academic, author of ‘A Luminous Future’ – a memoir about life under Communism in the 1950s and 60s – and of multilingual proverb dictionaries and apps (available on iTunes and Google). He lives in Tasmania, Australia, with his wife, Ariella, surrounded by beautiful grandchildren.

 

You can find Teodor’s books on:  AMAZON   BARNES AND NOBLE

 

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