Tag Archives: Family

Tea Party

5 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites





My friends love tea parties and so do I.
Grandmother Marie left me her
Collection of fancy teacups and
Mother Dora gave me her creme1940-s
“Ovenware” Tea Pot with flowers on it.
Mother told me all the stories in her world.


I heard about when she was a young mother
With two small kiddies. Every day
She would cook oatmeal on a coal stove
Like the one she was cleaning
Just before she went into labor
And had to go to the hospital g-r-u-n-g-y…


In those days the men went away
And the women held down the fort
Dora kept a clean, uncluttered house
After every meal.
She washed and dried the dishes
She gathered eggs,
Milked the goat
At five years old, I got to sit on the front step
And drink a glass of hot foamy milk
Dora fed chickens and gathered eggs.


Sewed clothes, repaired clothes
Washed clothes
Hung them on the line
To be examined by the neighbors.
And Grandmother Marie.


Early every morning
Mother hurried with her work so
She could dress up and
Walk her children down the block to
A neighbor or neighbors
Wanting to save her own cleaning effort
She couldn’t stay long
She had letters to write
To Daddy who was at the front.

Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren

21 Jan


Judy Wills





Fred and I have two sets of grandchildren – one set (boy and girl) from our oldest daughter, and one set (boy and girl – twins) from our youngest daughter. There is a wide age difference between the two sets – about 12 years in fact. So while they know each other, and probably like each other, they don’t really see each other that often.

Our oldest granddaughter, Katie, has complained that I have written about all the grandchildren except her! So this one is for Katie. As I think of or remember other things that have happened in her life, I will share them.

Since we moved to Florida when Katie was just a little thing, most of the time that family has come to visit during the Christmas holidays. Therefore, Katie has seen our house almost exclusively decorated for Christmas. It’s really funny to have her visit now – at a non-Christmas time and as she looks around the house and exclaim that “this is just wrong!” We have to rearrange the furniture in the living room to accommodate the Christmas tree that is placed in the center of the front windows. I guess she feels it should always be there – because that’s the way she remembers it.

They arrived one year for Christmas and I had made a different arrangement on the kitchen bar. The minute she walked in, she said, “that’s wrong! Where is the candle you usually have here?” So she got out that candle and replaced it with what I had done already. She’s a hoot!

Katie was a good student in school, and has recently graduated with a degree in Theatre Design and Management. Her specialty is stage management. And she’s very good at it! We were visiting with them last November, and were able to see a stage play that she had managed. She did the lighting and the sound, all by herself – in addition to being the stage manager! She has managed about 10 shows in the Chicago area. Five or six of them were in college, with some being the assistant stage manager, but she has managed four professionally, and is currently working two shows at the same time.

While in high school and college, she actually performed in some plays. Perhaps that’s where she felt the itch to manage. Here she is in a play. Her character was “Sadness.”

On another note, when our daughters surprised me for a late 75th birthday in Virginia last year (see my post  Surprise!)



Karen asked Katie if she was prepared to be idolized for the weekend. When Katie asked her what she meant, Karen said that her cousin, Hannah, would probably hang on Katie’s every word that weekend! And she did! It was so fun to watch.

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












31 Oct

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix


Cherish your family and friends
For they are your treasure,
A God given wealth
beyond measure.




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

Gone Fishin’

24 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites


Photo from Pinterest


My dad learned to fish from his dad. He loved it the best of all recreations. The first fishing trip I recall going on with dad was when we lived in Westcliffe, Colorado. We had a little restaurant and bar on Main Street called Min’s Café.

One early fall, Mother and Dad closed the restaurant and we went up into the Sangre de Cristo Range to fish in a creek. We drove our black 1946 Ford two-door car to about 9,000 feet elevation. We took a tent, fishing gear, and an aluminum set of pots, pans, and flatware that all fit together in a cozy kettle.

It wasn’t far, so we arrived early in the day and found ourselves in a high meadow. Dandelions with their green leaves grew all around, some of the flowers were yellow, and some were dressed in white fluff. The air was cool and fragrant. Grasses along the creek had begun to change colors. As soon as the tent was set up Dad took my brother and I down to the creek to start fishing. Our poles had two hooks each so we’d have a chance to catch more rainbow trout and more browns. Dad thought that since I was such a big girl I ought to be able to thread the worms he’d brought along onto the hooks. They were wiggly and squishy and I didn’t like doing it one bit, because I knew it had to hurt them. Dad was proud of me for doing it, though, so I was proud, too. He wanted us both to learn to enjoy his favorite sport. Dad and my brother went to fish further up the creek. Mother was resting in the car after a long week of working in the café. Feeling lazy, I released the fishing line into the creek in a quiet place and propped the rod against the bank with rocks. I then crawled into the tent and picked up my Nancy Drew mystery from the library. Reading was already my favorite recreation. Before I got through even one chapter I heard a commotion outside and crawled out of the tent to see what was going on. Dad and my brother were waiting for me. Holding up my fishing pole to show me that I had caught a fish on each hook. Wow, was I ever satisfied with my talent for fishing. Dad took them off the hook for me, thank Heaven. We put them in the creel, then Dad and brother went back to fish for our supper. Mother was ready to pick dandelion greens and wanted me to help her. I had never heard of such a thing as eating dandelion leaves before, but she said said Auntie Elvira had taught her in Camp Fire girls when she was younger.

After we picked a batch of green and started them cooking in the kettle, mother gave me a bar of soap and told me to wash my hands. I got down as close as I could to the water and put my hands in holding the soap. Whoosh, the creek took it, and it was gone. I went back to tell Mother and she was understanding about it. “Oh, well,” says she, “we’ll just have to wash our hands with sand.”

Dad had brother and I watch him clean the fish so we’d know how to clean our own next time. I’ve never had to do it, but I can see clearly in mind mind’s eye how he slashed it from the bottom of the belly to the gills and pulled out the guts. It was pretty cool and then after it was fried in cornmeal in a skillet over the camp stove dad taught us how to get the bones out. We started at the tail, got hold of the inner skeleton and pulled all up together. We then pulled that from the side and had two clean sides.

During supper, my brother kept casting bright-eyed glances at my dad. Did they have a secret? What could it be? I would find out one way or another.

As I was finishing my canned peaches for dessert I looked up and saw that gentle snowflakes were wafting down. I’d never seen it snow in summer

Later on when no one was looking I got my brother in a headlock and made him tell. Did I mention he was younger and smaller?

Anyhow he talked. He said that after he and dad had caught a few, they sneaked in and put a couple on my hooks. “That’s what you get for readin’ when you’re supposed to be fishin’” my brother said. He then ran away. I gave chase, but I never caught him. Did I mention that he was swifter a well?



Life is a Whirlwind

11 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Since we arrived in the mountains, life has been a whirlwind. We took a weekend trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains to meet up with some cousins. This bunch of cousins are the children and grandchildren of a sister my mom was particularly close to and I adored. There seems to be a generational love. On Saturday we went to an old resort named Shatley Springs for supper. There were 16 of us. Family from Winston-Salem drove up to join us. It was a two hour drive for them. When it was planned, I didn’t know that we were reviving an old family tradition. It turns out that an aunt’s family and one of these cousins would drive to Winston- Salem and then all would go to the resort to eat. It was like slipping behind the veil of time for a brief moment.

Apparently the resort’s spring waters are famous for healing properties and they allow people to take it home in jugs for free.  I drank a lot of it with my meal!
Tuesday of this week our son underwent surgery. It had been scheduled for at least six weeks. To my surprise and delight we learned that one of our breakfast buddies would be having surgery the same day and at the same hospital. We couldn’t have planned this, only God could. We sat with his wife in the waiting room, entertaining each other as the hours passed. Both of our family member’s surgeries were successful and they are on the road to healing.  I love how God provides for us.
I am looking forward to a visit with friends from Florida. This weekend Franklin holds its annual Airing of the Quilts. I have my fingers crossed that the forecast of rain will be wrong. I think there is a 50/50 chance it will be!
This is from last year.

Quilts lined street.

What’s in a Name

5 Feb


Judy Wills

Have you ever considered your name? I mean, really thought about your name…why you were given the name you have…if you were named after someone…if so, who and why? And do you think that you were only given a middle name so you would know when you were in trouble?

In olden times, names were given to a child, and that child was expected to “live up” to the meaning of that name.

Perhaps because I’m older now, but I wonder about things like that. I remember asking my in-laws to give me their childhood memories. My Father-in-law started in with the statement “Don’t you know that within five generations you have a million people? There’s no way I can give you that!”

When I explained that I didn’t want those millions – I only wanted his memories, and my Mother-in-law’s memories, and he said, “Oh!” And that’s how the memories book came to be. They were true to their word and we have some wonderful memories about themselves, that would have been lost if I hadn’t insisted.




Within that memories book, are the stories of how their four children were named. When my husband was born, Fred’s mother wrote: We took a long time deciding on his name, but we finally decided to name him for his two grandfathers. They both had the name Charles, so we took the Charles from the Wills side and Frederic from my side (Dad Wills had an initial only for his second name! His parents could not agree on Henry or Harry so named him Charles H. Wills!)




And because both Grandfathers as well as Fred’s Dad were named Charles, they called him Fred. So he is Fred today – except for the military. They insist on “First name, Middle initial, Last name.” No exceptions. It was sometimes difficult, since both of their names were Charles F. Wills.

I do know that Fred’s middle sister is somewhat named after Fred’s mother. She was Charlotte Emily, and Fred’s sister is Emily Ann.




Within Dad’s memories, he told of how they named the twins, when they were born. He wrote: ……made a friend in the person of the Company Commander of Company L, a First Lieutenant Earl S. Eaves…… He became a life-long friend: our twins, Larry and Sally, are named after him and his wife, Sally. We gave his name Earl to Larry as his middle name.




Fred’s Mother told me once that there was actually a fourth daughter born in her family, Lillian Elspeth. But she only lived to be two years old, and then died of spinal meningitis. Sally was named Sally Elspeth. When I told Sally about this, she was surprised, as her Mother had never told her that story.

On my side of this family, my maternal Grandmother was Addie Mae.




She named her first daughter Jessie Mae.




My Mother was named Agnes Anita,




and they named me Judith Anita.




I also remember my Aunt Jessie telling me that sometimes, when Granny was upset with either of them, she would get exasperated and yell “Jagnes!!” They weren’t sure just who Granny was upset with, but they both knew they were in trouble!

My father was one of 13 children, and they named him William Jacob.




When my brother was born, they named him after my father, version 2.




When my brother’s son was born, they named him William David (David after my sister-in-law’s brother).




All-in-all, we decided that, if we had sons, there would be NO Charleses and NO Williams! There had been enough of both in our families. But we only had daughters, so there was no problem!

So…..what’s in YOUR name?



My Thanksgiving Letter

24 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 I am writing this as a letter because, I think of our readers as friends. You come and let us share our lives with you and share yours in return. That is what friends do. I am beyond thankful for the friends who faithfully blog here each week, DiVoran, Bill, Louise, Judy, Melody and Janet. They inspire me with their commitment and wisdom. I love you guys!

Dear friends,

It is funny how circumstances change our thankful list. Usually on Thanksgiving our  list is for family, health ,friends, and of course, our Savior.  This year, we woke up to wet grass and the wonderful rain is at the top of our list.

Our beautiful North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee mountains that are part of the forest service lands, have been viciously attacked by arsonist and thousands of acres  are affected.  I pray it was enough to give our firefighters and those from across the country who came to help, a rest this Thanksgiving day.

This morning, I pulled out old favorites as well as new cookbooks to get our meal started. One of my “must have” books is an old one from Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC. It has been a part of our Thanksgiving meal for years. They have put out newer ones, but I love the old version. This year, I have added a new favorite, Janet’s Appalachian Cookbooks. Rebekah mixed up the School House Rolls recipe and I can’t wait to sink my teeth in their yeasty goodness. Of course, I had to go to the internet to find a recipe so we have a beautiful blending of old with new. Our turkey is in the roaster and the oven is almost ready for the side dishes. It has been a joy working side by side in the kitchen with my daughter. We each have our quirks when it comes to cooking and how we do things, but we can laugh about them and it adds to the fun.

I won’t pretend that my heart does not have a tender spot, missing the large family meals with my parents, brothers and their families. We don’t have any children’s voices laughing and arguing or the camaraderie of a bunch of women in the kitchen. I miss it but I am so blessed to have had that time. I hope wherever you gathered today, that you treasured the moments and you loved richly.

Talk to you later, the oven is ready!




UPDATE: One of our favorite places in Macon county is Wayah Bald, with it’s rustic fire tower and breathtaking views. It is also a favorite rest stop for hikers on the   Appalachian Trail. I read on Facebook tonight that one of the forest fires burned the tower. I can’t conceive of the anger a heart must hold to destroy so much beauty. I fear the damage to the stone structure might be too damaged to repair. I am thankful for the memories we made there and hopeful it will be restored.

An Anniversary with a Thanksgiving

20 Nov


Judy Wills



This Thanksgiving week marks an anniversary of sorts for Fred and me. 21 years ago, on a Tuesday, we left Virginia, our home for nearly 13 years,




and drove down to Orlando, Florida. On that next day, Wednesday, we signed the papers for our new house in Kissimmee, obtained the keys for the house, drove to our new house and unloaded all the stuff we had packed in the car for the trip.

From there, we drove over to Titusville to spend the night with my brother and sister-in-law, since we had no furniture in our new house.

The next day was Thanksgiving, 1995. We celebrated that day with my brother and sister-in-law, their daughter and her husband, and her husband’s family.




We will always cherish the memory of that time – that everyone opened their homes and hearts to us on such short notice. After a few weeks of sorting, disposing of stuff we had managed to collect after 13 years of living in one place, and cleaning the house, it was quite nice not to have to do anything but enjoy a good meal, and have wonderful fellowship with those around us that we love.

And so we remember the 21st anniversary of our arrival in Florida, along with our first Thanksgiving here, and the love that was just showered upon us.

And after that wonderful meal and a good night’s rest, we were up early on that Friday and drove back to Kissimmee in time to meet the moving truck with all our household goods. So we got to work setting our house in order.




We are so thankful….and this is the week to express that thanks.

I found this pilgrim couple a few years ago, and they have decorated our Thanksgiving table ever since. I think they’re cute.




A friend did a macramé pilgrim for me some years ago. He proudly welcomes any and all to our door this time each year. I love his bushy beard!!









Courtesy Google Search

Man Angels~Part 3

14 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites


On Saturday morning my son and I set out for Titusville in separate vehicles. He took his trailer so he could put the shutters back in storage. He didn’t get any breakfast because he planned to eat at a drive-through. All of those were swamped. So he decided to go on and though I had planned to get gas I decided I had enough because the lines were long.

We got home while the day was still young. The power was out, but I had my cell phone so I called my neighbor had been looking after my cats to tell her I was home. She came right down to deliver the house key. We’ve known each other for almost fifty years and our children played together when they were small. After I made our son a chicken-salad sandwich, (yes, I could tell the mayonnaise from the refrigerator was still fine because he didn’t get sick) he got to work setting up the generator. He had done his own shutters and generator for the storm at his house. So at my house he was an experienced starter-upper. As I followed him around and we casually visited, he said he was enjoying himself tinkering with the generator. He also said he didn’t envy the house-cleaning I had in store, which I assumed meant he preferred machines to dust-cloths.





He finished starting the generator and taking down the shutters by noon. He took the shutters in the trailer and I drove my car so I could bring the key back home. He then took off in search of a fast food line he could get through. My neighbor told me later that he stopped at her son’s house to say hello.

Our power was out for five days. Dear son-in law-gassed up the generator and it ran another fifteen hours keeping the food cold and giving me places in the house where there was light as well as a room AC in our former garage. Our yard man came and set to work cleaning up after the storm. Our lawn men came. They did their work and asked if I needed any more help. One of them was getting married the following Saturday. He indicated that he’d much rather be mowing lawns than tending to his fiancé and her mother as they fretted over the wedding plans.

One of the neighbors came by and noticed the tire was flat on my car. Later that evening, I discussed it with my husband over the phone and he told me just what to do—get the yard man to help me fill it at the gas station I watched carefully and I now I can do it by myself if I have to.




The next day, five houses on my side of the street had power, but I didn’t know it until my neighbor told me. I still had no power. I called my daughter and she asked if there were any line men around. There sure were…just across the street. I walked over to talk to them and apparently, it was the way the generator was permanently wired into the house and had something to do with pulling plugs and turning on breakers to get it on. He started to explain it, but sometimes my short-term memory takes a break, so when he said he’d come help if I had any trouble I asked him if he could come right then, before I burned the house down. I’ve had a fear of electricity ever since I was a small child. It’s my very first memory. I saw an electrical outlet in the wall and a bobby-pin on the floor. My baby brain said they belonged together. I stuck the metal bobby pin in the electrical outlet and va-va-voom. It fit. I got quite a buzz out of that.





The linemen had come from Indiana which is where my husband was. I asked the lineman about his family and about the hours they were working. He had three children and was now working sixteen hours on and eight off. He was cheerful. He missed his family, but to all the men I met the challenges seemed as if they were welcome adventures.




Today on my walk I heard the shrill screams of children coming from the school grounds up the street. When I got there, I saw a line of kindergartners looking small against a huge fire engine. They were watching a demonstration of the distance a fire hose could shoot into a retention pond. Every time the fireman who was hunkered down with the hose made an archway of water, the children cheered. The two men with the fire engine were as slow-moving and patient with the children as could be. Surely they were man-angels, too.

The End

Man-angels~Part 2

7 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites


I appreciated my caring family’s offers to drive me to our son’s and wife’s house, but I knew I was perfectly capable of driving myself to Orange City. It turned out to be the best vacation I’ve had in a long time. Because we are all busy, active, and productive, we have not had much time to talk lately. Now we did and it was glorious. I see my daughter because she lives closer, but my daughter-in-love and I have enjoyed conversations since we first met, so we were glad of the opportunity to catch up.

The evening of the storm we three sat and talked after supper. That night in my absent granddaughter’s beautiful room, I heard the wind and rain and something flapping, but I had my earplugs in and I felt loved and safe, so I didn’t have much trouble going to sleep. The power went out the next day, so we had no electricity, but the shutters were off and we did have plenty of water. We made up a hurricane casserole, using cooked wild rice layered with spinach and turkey-roast chunks. The man-angel cooked it on the outside grill with the lid down. It tasted delicious and the man-angel finished it off after we two ladies were full. It was a meal to remember. Every light in the house went on after we finished it.




On Friday afternoon people began coming out of their houses and driving by in their cars. We heard chains saws revving up and trees protesting as the half blown-over ones came to rest on the forest floor. I talk to myself sometimes, so I asked myself: “What shall I do now?” I had some writing to do and a good book to read and daughter-in-love had a puzzle. But she came right into my self-talk and made the wonderful suggestion that we go for a walk now that the storm was over. We got the dog’s lead and ventured out. It is a semi-rural neighborhood and the pastures were green and the fresh air smelled of cedar and pine. We discovered we had two more miles worth of talking to do.





We saw a large herd of domestic Alpacas that came right up to the fence, to say hello to Laika.




At another property, something ran down a small incline from the house to greet us. We thought, from the way it trotted, that it was a small black and white dog, but it turned out to be a little pig instead.



Tuxedo pig

We then saw two sand-hill cranes in a field and our menagerie felt complete.





To be continued



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