Tag Archives: Family

A Quick Trip

18 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Our Covid Tests Were Negative and Other Things.

28 Aug

My Take

Onisha Ellis

On the 12th of August my husband began to feel unwell. I fretted, and he insisted it was a sinus infection. By the weekend he wasn’t feeling well at all and I had begun to have sniffles. On Monday morning I called the county health department and we went for tests in the afternoon. We didn’t get the results until Thursday. Meanwhile my husband’s sinus pain worsened but my symptoms disappeared. Our local hospital has a fairly good urgent care center and as soon as we had the results, we drove to the center armed with his report. My husband was right…sinus infection. Thankfully the medicines are working and he is on the mend.

Our daughter was here for a short visit and was supposed to fly home on the 16th. A few days before her flight, she received a message the airlines had cancelled the flight. That turned out to be fortuitous as around 1 am on the 16th the electricity went out for 10 hours. None of us slept well after that. It would have made for a very long day for her.

Once we were all up and about, I wanted to go into town to get coffee. We have a Coleman camping stove but it was buried in the garage and I didn’t want my still recovering husband to have to dig it out but, well, you know men. He found it and set it up. Our daughter went upstairs and brought down our ancient stove top percolator. As I prepared the coffee pot I wondered if I would still be able to make a decent cup of perked coffee. Once the pot began to bubble, it all came back to me. I adjusted the flames and watched the color change in the glass knob on the top. I told my daughter I was passing on to her the ancient art of making coffee. It turned out quite well.

While our daughter was here we managed to visit a couple of waterfalls in between rain showers.When we arrived at Whitewater falls after an hour and a half drive it was raining and we were starving. Fortunately there was an empty picnic shelter that we could pull up to and unload the food.

We visited this waterfall a few weeks ago with our cousins and were anxious to share it with our daughter.

Our next stop was Silver Run falls. I think of this as a friendly waterfall. The trail is short and well maintained and the falls, while not majestic are pretty and is a favorite place for locals to let their children splash.

Our daughter had rebooked her cancelled flight for Thursday but when our Covid tests results weren’t available on Wednesday she asked for and received permission to work from our home in North Carolina until Monday. We of course, were thrilled to have her with us a few extra days. Before she left, the two of us had lunch at an interesting restaurant near downtown. All of the seating was outdoors, some under a shelter and others covered with large umbrellas. Those umbrellas were came in handy as yet one more rain shower passed over.

On Monday we had to be up at 5 am to take her to the airport. i am not fond of arising before the sun but I do enjoy a nice sunrise. From our home in the mountains, we seldom see sunrise so I was looking forward to a spectacular one! I forgot about fog. I had resigned myself to no sunrise and then we rounded a curve in the road and there it was.

We enjoyed her visit and the house feels a little lonely now.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.


25 Jul


Judy Wills

So tell me…are you a person who likes to be surprised?  Are you a person who likes to surprise someone else?

Well, I am both, to a degree.  For instance, I wrote about how our girls and I surprised Fred for his 80thbirthday (please see my post of March 3, 2019 – Another Surprise).  It was so much fun planning for that day – and it was a total surprise to him!.

As it happens, my 80th birthday was this past Monday.  We had gone to dinner with Bill and DiVoran a few weeks before (which we do about once each month), and DiVoran mentioned that she would like to invite Fred and me to dinner with her and some of her family at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville on Sunday, July 18th.  Since that is one of our very FAVORITE eateries in Titusville (love that Rock Shrimp!!), we agreed and put it on the calendar.  Unfortunately, Bill would be gone on one of his planned trips at that time.

So we eagerly awaited the day – and it finally arrived!  We walked into the restaurant a few minutes later than the appointed time, to find DiVoran and her two children with their spouses waiting for us!  We hadn’t seen those kids in more than a couple of years.  It was WONDERFUL to see them again!  I really looked forward to the food and the fellowship we would have with them.  Lots of catching-up to do.

We waited a few minutes while they prepared a large table for us, then they led us to the back room.  When we walked in, I saw OUR family sitting there!  Karen and her family, and Janet and her family!  SURPRISE!!  I was dumfounded!  How did they work all that out?  The girls told me that, in trying to coordinate things, as Fred was at the church counting money one Monday morning, he texted them to say it was a good time to call.  When he got on the phone with them, he told them that he “couldn’t get away from your mother!”  You see, because we are both “retired” we tend to always be together, so Fred had a hard time finding a time to “get away from” me and coordinate with them.  But they were finally able to set everything up, and the tables were turned, and I was the one being surprised!  

I can’t tell you how much love I felt in that room that evening.  The catching-up was great and we vowed not to let so much time get away from us.

So I’ve been on both ends of the surprise spectrum – I enjoyed so much surprising Fred, and I thoroughly enjoyed being surprised.

As it turned out, our girls had rented a vacation house where both of their families stayed.  And, as it also turned out, my very best friend in all this world (and her husband) were scheduled to arrive for a visit on Monday, my birthday (please see my post of April 6, 2014 – My Best Friend).  We all went to Outback on Monday evening for supper.  Our granddaughter, Katie, had to leave Tuesday morning, so we made the most of Monday with her.  Tuesday morning we all went to Disney Springs to walk around and just absorb some of Disney without actually going to a park.  I cooked my famous teriyaki steak with my fried rice and a salad for supper.  Sue had made a pound cake, so we had strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Then we just sat around the table and talked for a couple of hours.  Sue said it was one of the best times of her life! 

Our girls and their families left on Wednesday morning, so we had that day with Sue and Bud.  We took them to Mission BBQ for lunch, then Culver’s for supper after showing Bud the Shades of Green, where we stay for our anniversaries at Disney.  It was a great and relaxing day.

They left this morning following breakfast.  No tears, but gigantic hugs.  

One last tidbit – on my birthday, my brother Bill, called me from his trip (he was in Buffalo, NY) to sing “Happy Birthday” to me.  He’s a jewel!

God has been so gracious to me.  He has given me 80 years on this earth – and the promise of eternity in His presence.  He has given me the love of my life – Fred.  He has given me two adorable daughters, who married two wonderful men.  He has given me four precious grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

WOW!  What more can I ask for?  God is good, and I love Him!

And I LOVE surprises!!

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.

Cousins, Saw Blades and Pity Pits

13 Jul

We have more cousins coming to visit today and we are looking forward to sharing memories and a lot of laughter. My husband turns used circular saw blades into knife blades The last time we visited with these cousins, they gave Mike a whole box of used blades. They had belonged to his recently deceased dad. Mike will be demonstrating to him how to do this. I think repurposing some of the blades will be special.

Family visitors and laughter are good medicine for the heart. Something else that is good for the heart is Philippians 4:8. Many years ago as a young wife I found myself frequently fuming over petty slights or comments my mother-in-law made. The verse has raised me out of my pity pit many, many times since.

Tomorrow is the 28th anniversary of my dad’s move to Glory. He was a good and imperfect dad. Sometimes it seems I miss him more as the years pass or maybe, I don’t remember the depth of loss from that time.

Fishing With Ivan Part 3A

3 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Then there was the time I took my two week vacation from work to do a family trip with Ivan and Dora.  I had finished college by then and we had moved to Florida for me to work on the Apollo Moon Landing project.  As I remember it, DiVoran and I took the kids and flew to San Francisco to meet Ivan and Dora.  Ivan had heard that the Chinook salmon fishing on the Columbia River during spawning season was really great, and he wanted to try his luck at it.  We all loaded into their car, hooked Ivan’s boat up to the car and headed for Astoria, OR.  We were having a great time when, about halfway there, one of the boat trailer wheel bearings froze up and we had to stop and perform an emergency “Roadside Repair” on the thing.

We finally made it to Astoria and got settled in at a motel.  The stories Ivan had heard about the Oregon fishing reminded him of the time he had gone to Alaska and had a wonderful time catching lots of those big fresh Alaskan salmon.  That time he had his catches processed and canned at one of the local canneries, up there before returning, and I remember he had later shared some of that delicious salmon with us.  I’m sure that was the plan for this trip also.

So as you can see, he was planning on showing me how much fun it could be to do that again.  That was the main reason for this fishing trip.  Ivan had also heard that there were Dungeness crabs to be had in that area, so he had brought along some crab traps, so we could have some variety at meal time.  The other reason for our trip was that Ivan and Dora hadn’t seen their grandchildren since DiVoran and I had moved to Florida, and they were looking forward to spending some quality time with them.

Ivan had gone around and talked to some of the locals and some of the other visiting fishermen the night we got to Astoria, to find out where the boat ramp was, where the best fishing spots were, and what kind of bait we should use.  The next morning we got up and got the boat in the water early (not as early as the locals).  We set out a few crab traps on our way to the fishing spot Ivan had selected.  We dropped the anchor and baited our hooks as we anticipated a fun day of salmon fishing.  We were excited to see other fishermen pulling in some really nice Chinook salmon in boats not far from us. 

The time passed, and we didn’t get a single strike.  We tried various bait elevations, and we waited.  We changed bait and waited some more.  Nothing!  What was going on?  We knew the fish were down there because fisherman in boats all around us kept pulling them in and yet, neither one of us was getting a nibble.  At around 2:00 pm, and totally frustrated, we gave it up and headed for the boat dock.  

We stopped on the way in to check the crab traps, and to our surprise we collected more than a dozen legal sized Dungeness crabs.  Not to let a good thing go to waste, Ivan cooked up the crabs for our dinner that evening.  It was “All-you-can-eat” Dungeness crab and it was a wonderful taste treat!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 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

Making Christmas Memories

18 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Whew! This has been a busy week! Tuesday we hauled the artificial Christmas tree down from the attic along with containers of ornaments, garlands and stockings. After we finished adorning the tree my daughter and I began our Christmas baking.

Christmas baking with my daughter, working side by side in the kitchen, is time I treasure. Making memories of laughter, tasting and collaborating to get the taste just right is one of my favorite holiday things to do.

My daughter made butter cookies in Florida and wanted to make them again for us and we were both craving gingerbread so we added it to the baking list.We follow a Keto eating plan so our deserts and treats don’t always look the same as traditional versions. For instance instead of a dark colored gingerbread, we made a gingerbread bundt cake with a lemon glaze. Without the addition of molasses, the batter lacked the trademark deep rich color and I didn’t want to sacrifice the flavor as well. To try to capture it I added some maple extract and a smidge of expresso powder. Next time I will add a bit more expresso powder. We decided to shave some sugar free pumpkin spice white chocolate on top, then sprinkle with a few whole chips, Definitely not the look of gingerbread but definitely good!

Wednesday arrived rainy and cold. Tuesday we ran out of almond flour, so a trip to town was needed to continue baking. While at the store, I picked up some vegetables to make a pot of beefy vegetable soup. Yesterday we ran out of energy before the Thin Mint cookies my daughter baked were dipped in chocolate so while she dipped, I chopped veggies for soup.

After our supper, (The soup was yummy) we relaxed with soft Christmas music and our TV fireplace. (Don’t judge LOL)

We also watched a livestream of The Little Drummer Boy by King and Country.

Covid has been horrid but an upside to the isolation is free livestream events. We aren’t concert goers so I am getting to enjoy music I would not have otherwise. One of our favorite Christmas traditions is attending Candlelight at Walt Disney World and that won’t be happening this year. A musician friend is recording “One Beautiful Night, A musical and narrated presentation of the Christmas Story. ” It will go live December 23, 2020 at 8pm. Our daughter, Rebekah is one of the narrators. She managed to work in setting up and recording in between baking.

Thursday the temperature only reached 38 degrees. Too cold for me to be anywhere but indoors. I took it as a sign to stop procrastinating and get the Christmas gifts wrapped. Finishing that, I took on sending out Christmas cards. The internet was down, but I refused to get involved with tech support horrors until I finished my tasks. While I worked on them, our daughter spent time doing rewrites on her latest novel and my husband finished a painting. It was a good day.

Now it’s Friday. I don’t have a plan for the day, but I am sure that will quickly change and I plan to enjoy it all.

Our Day on the Farm

11 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Almost everyone has a deep desire for human contact! We hadn’t seen our married daughter and our married son in a long time nor their spouses whom we love. We kept in touch with Zoom, the phone, and email. It all worked well, but we were thrilled when we got a phone call to meet the four of them at Shedd’s U-Pick farm. We would do the sunflower maze. They gave us the address and said we’d meet at the farm at 10:00 A. M. on Sunday when we would normally be at church if the church were open. The digital map said it would take 26 minutes up Highway 1 to get there. 

Bill and I got there first. It was a four-acre maze full of sunflowers. Some were tall, but most came only up to our waists. There was no chance of getting lost, especially when our daughter’s tall husband led the way.

 We walked in joy for over an hour as happy as we could be. No one wore a mask in our party or any other. The air was fresh with a cool breeze and looking up, we saw a large flock of starlings flying over the field many times, tweeting zooming up and down. At first, I thought it was two different kinds of birds because they were mixed colors some black and some gray. The latter was smaller. But on second thought I knew it was males and females.

 I don’t know why they stayed for such a long time. Maybe it was the open space over the maze, or maybe they enjoyed seeing the people as much as the people enjoyed seeing them. A drone hovered causing curiosity, then it landed in the hands of a man right there in the maze. Everyone had their idea of why it was there, but no one knew for sure. 

Our son bought each of us ladies three sunflowers of our choice. That was how they came at checkout.  Some were deep reddish-brown and some yellow. The bees were busy on them sometimes two at a time. Our son practically begged us to ask for the hardest ones to get to because as he said he likes to push his way through tall vegetation in a field. 

Beautiful children abounded. Everyone looked so fresh and pretty and you could feel the love the visitors had for each other. When it was time to leave, we bought a pint of Orange Blossom honey made by the bees that belong to the farm. 

Our next stop was the National Cemetery on Highway one. Our son had never been there, and I think he wished to honor our son-in-law by asking to see where his mother’s ashes were stored. 

Our son-in-law and our daughter cared for his mother in their home with the aid of caregivers. For five years. The couple was able to keep their jobs and bring in people from hospice because even though she was not physically terminal it is the law for people with dementia to be able to receive help from Hospice.  Our two managed to get out for an occasional football game or breakfast at the port. Once in a while, they could visit us to help with our computer questions. Because his dad was at the National Cemetery, his mother was too. 

It’s the most beautiful cemetery I have ever seen with rolling hillocks of grass, birds, and our beautiful Florida sky. Someday… when we fly off to Heaven, Bill and I will leave our ashes there. 

Our daughter got one of her sunflowers from their car to put in a provided metal vase, daughter-in-love gave one of hers and I gave one of mine. We discussed the whole subject of being there. Our Son-in-law looked up the different crosses and other small carvings on the marble fronts of the niches in the Columbarium.  There are 72 to choose from. We took the opportunity to tell them which one we liked best.

Finally, we came to our house in Titusville. We had enough room on our porch to socially space us. We talked for a good long time.  Billy said it was a Mother’s Day gift. It was thoroughly wonderful. Fortunately, they were vigilant to watch that I didn’t accidentally grab one of them for a hug. It was a Mother’s Day to remember.

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.”

Thanksgiving Our Way

5 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We had an untraditional Thanksgiving day. Our daughter flew up around noon and since the airport is an hour and a half away, we decided to not stress about the meal. We could be thankful just as easily on Friday. And we were!

Usually when we make an airport run to Asheville, we do some shopping. Since shops were closed we decided to take a scenic route home along the Blue Ridge Parkway. For some reason, maybe because the area is familiar, we hadn’t driven this portion. It was beautiful and we will be driving it again!

To our surprise there were several cars parked at the overlooks and the passengers were sitting in the sun, some even picnicking. This car was parked next to us and I tried to snap this picture without them noticing.

Saturday evening a cold front moved in bringing with it rain and heavy winds. I heard some noise during the night but didn’t think much about it. I always hear noises. Sunday as we were backing out of the driveway on the way to church, my ever observant husband spotted at tall pine tree down at the back of the house. We have a lot of trees and the downed one was stuck in the top of one. We were thankful for this as it prevented the tree from falling on our roof! Getting it the rest of the way down would prove to be challenging.

I was thrilled that our daughter was here to help her dad. Their brains run on the same track and she works well with him. Me….not so much.

A portion of the tree that was hanging at a 90 degree angle was fairly simple to bring down. The rest of the tree not so simple. As darkness closed in they secured the tree with ropes in the hope that if the wind brought the tree the rest of the way down, they would control the fall.

Our daughter had an early evening flight on Monday and her dad didn’t want to spend the morning working on the tree. That meant that on Tuesday I would be his helper. Uh-oh.

Tuesday morning he brought out a come-along (no idea if that is spelled correctly) and attached it to ropes and then a chain. He cranked and pulled to no avail. Mostly I watched and said “be careful!” I suggested he come inside for lunch and rest a bit. The bit turned out to be a couple of hours and that was a good thing. Because, before I could put my jacket and shoes on, I heard a whoosh. I ran to the window to make sure my husband was ok and saw this.

The tree was down and with only minor damage to a path rail! We are beyond thankful the tree didn’t damage the house and fell in such a way that we didn’t have to pay a tree surgeon to take it down. My husband has plans for the wood and next spring I hope he is able to spend many happy hours in his wood shop.

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.

Fun With Family-Part 3

7 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

After our adventure with my aunt and cousin earlier in the week, we decided to set out on another one, but not so strenuous for my aunt. My husband loves driving Highway 441 through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Even with the twists and curves, it relaxes him and we are blessed to spend 6 months of the year less than an hour from the park.

During leaf season Highway 441 can become congested, especially on the weekend. We checked the weather forecast and decided that Thursday, October 23rd would be a perfect day. We packed some snacks and set out.

The park has frequent turnouts, or scenic overlooks and we stopped at a couple of our favorites.

The walkway in the picture above leads to an overlook and the colors were gorgeous.

The first time my children went sledding was in this park at one of the turnouts. Friends had invited us to visit them at their cabin in Franklin, NC and we were thrilled when we learned the park had snow. Good memories were made with our children and the grandchildren.

Our next stop was the Newfound Gap overlook. It sits astride the Tennessee and North Carolina border and is a popular stop. It took a while but my husband found a parking space.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park now has webcams and I am thrilled. The mountains are always showing a different look. Here is the LINK if you would like to check it out.

Back on the road, we headed down into Tennessee. We planned to shop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for Christmas gifts but stopped at Chimney Top Picnic ground to enjoy our snacks. There are several popular trails off the road and their parking areas were full beyond capacity. We were concerned there would not be any free tables at the picnic area, but the concerns were unfounded. I can’t believe I didn’t take pictures of our picnic, but I did take pictures of the boulders along the stream.

When we arrived in Pigeon Forge, we only visited one shop, a ladies clothing store-of course. We scored some bargains then my husband drove us to his favorite shop…Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Since we don’t usually eat carbs this was a serious treat but we each only ate one and a half of the lusciousness!

My husband was tiring and since he was the driver, we decided to retrace our route to return home. The park reintroduced elk a few years back and the herd has prospered. We were hoping our family would see them when we reached the Oconaluftee Visitor Center area. And they did!

We weren’t the only ones gawking, I mean enjoying them! The park service had made one of the road lanes a viewing lane and helped keep visitors safe.

This is the end of my Fun With Family series. We enjoyed the time we spent with them. Time with family and friends is truly a gift.

The delayed colder temperatures have arrived and the beautiful colors are losing their luster. Even once the color is gone, the mountains still call to me and I love the time I am blessed to spend among them.

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.

Fun With Family-Part 1

24 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Western North Carolina is always beautiful but fall, when the leaves turn to golds, yellows and flame is especially outstanding.

Our daughter enjoys visiting when the leaves are in full blown splendor but unfortunately the color was late this year. On the plus side, it was a short visit and thanks to a conversation in the local home improvement store, we found a new place to explore.

St John’s Episcopal Church is located off of Highway 64 west, on a road appropriately named, St.John’s Church Rd. While it dates back to the 1800s it is still and active church.

Among the cemetary headstones we discovered an Indian Chief and his wife as well as the Rufus Morgan garden where several family members are buried.

I knew that a Rufus Morgan had been instrumental in mapping hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and Western North Carolina but had no idea what an avid naturalist he was.

This is an excerpt from Find a Grave

Naturalist, Author, explorer: Rufus Morgan was one of the early pioneers in the founding and development of the Appalachian Trail. Raised in the far western mountains of North Carolina he was well acquainted with the various peaks and valleys of the area. Following the proposal for a national trail to follow the spine of the Appalachian Trail he was a natural to develop the trail route from the Georgia Border to The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. He was the original author of the Appalachian Trail Guide for this part of the path. Over the years he introduced thousands of people to the Appalachian Trail, the Nantahala Gorge, and the National Park.

Find A Grave.

 After leaving the church we headed to one of our favorite local recreation areas, Standing Indian. We enjoyed a picnic then took advantage of the cool temperature to indulge in a short hike to Mooney Falls.

It is not spectacular, but we find the sound of rushing water to be both relaxing and refreshing.

At home we spotted a doe with her two babies in the woods next to our driveway.

Our neighbors have an awesome inflatable dragon for Halloween. The thing is, the dragon’s movement results in it toppling sideways. Our daughter couldn’t resist posing as a dragon slayer. For fun, I looped the photo so that it appeared as if she kept falling off. Unfortunately, WP wouldn’t recognize the file. (I don’t think our neighbors read this blog but if they do…honest, she was not kicking the dragon!)

It was short visit but we laughed, made memories and enjoyed each other’s company, even if the Fall color was late. We feel blessed and look forward to making more memories.

Next week Part 2 will be adventures with more family. Hint: The Fall color doesn’t disappoint.

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