Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Becoming a Real Father

19 Jun

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged June 19, 2021

June 18, 2021

“I am on a mission,” my 42-year-old son Jason wrote in a recent blog post.

A mission? I asked myself. I tried, really tried to raise him with his focus on God, with his commitment to integrity, and with the wisdom to embrace God-honoring goals.

Those were my silent prayers for him and his younger brothers. And, blushing a bit, I admit, those desires of mine were repeated perhaps way too many times.

Did all that do any good? Well…tears fill my eyes as I share this with you:

Jason wrote:

“In case you missed it, I joined a group of warriors. We’re 100% committed to becoming something better, something great.

We are accountable to each other. And we’re ALL-IN on the journey to overcome hardships. We’re committed to become hard(er) to be defeated regarding our Mind, Body, Business and Relationships.

And although I’m not surprised, my 13- year- old daughter has taken to doing my workouts with me every day. She is a black belt in karate (her passion). She hates missing a workout as she’s very competitive.

Today is our finisher. And as we start our run, she looks in my direction. “Daddy, I think I’d like to talk with you while we run.”


Air pods go in the pocket. “What would you like to talk about baby?”

“Well, me and my friend were talking and we were saying it’s no wonder why people don’t want to be Christian. It’s hard to not do certain things when everyone else is doing them. It’s hard when people make fun of you, or say you’re stupid for believing those things. Like, sometimes I pray, and I don’t feel like it does anything at all. Nothing changes. Why would anyone want to do that?”

“Wow. She’s exactly right. Those are great questions. I feel like that sometimes, too.

“Hey” I asked, “Was it super easy and painless to become a black belt in karate?”


“Then why would anyone want to do it?”

I do it for you!

This is only one of many conversations and experiences through the years. There have been tears, mistakes and apologies. All on both ends. There have been times of hard work in our relationship. Our personalities were tested and often conformed.

And in that process, I’ve run through the gamut of frustration, feeling overwhelmed, even bits of depression. But I resolved to never go any further.

As a father, this has been a precarious 13-year investment. But no matter how challenging, failing or quitting have never been nor will ever be an option.

I turn to her. “Look at what I’m doing right now. My legs hurt. It’s hard to breathe. This sucks. Why would I do this?”

She ponders my question as she rollerblades next to me. She smiles as she expresses perhaps the most meaningful words ever spoken by a daughter to her father in the history of time.

“Because it’s worth it in the end,” she says, “Daddy, I’m so glad you’re my dad. I feel bad for kids who don’t have someone like you to teach them. Thank you for talking to me and teaching me in a way that I can understand and really makes me feel good. I love you.”

Tears hidden by my sweat.” Exactly right baby. And you know why I do it? For you.”

She wants to pose for a picture…

It’s always worth it.

Similar to my mission as her dad, our group works out. We record. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always worth it.

And it is because we uphold the uncompromising ideals to which my teammates and I have committed during our lifelong journey to become our best selves.

And in my journey as a team member and as her dad, I am not only willing, I am excited and eager to suffer with and for those who are worth it.

And maybe for the first time ever, I understand I am not only the pinnacle, I am the foundation.

Today God is asking all fathers to be the warriors. To go to battle for their kids. To be willing to suffer because it’s worth it. To persevere because it’s required. And to fight because it’s right.

But the warrior in every father isn’t found in physical strength, financial abundance, or even in brain power.

It’s found in a place where he chooses to reside, where he rests and where he stays. That place is in Christ. He Himself said:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:5-7).

When Jesus remains in a father’s heart, he becomes the ultimate warrior. No stress will defeat him. No fear can bring him down. No worry can weaken him. And no harm can reach his children.

Let’s pray.

Father thank you for your invitation to remain in You and become the strong fighter. I vow to use the weapons of courage faith and perseverance. In Jesus name.

In the challenges of fatherhood, what kind of warrior will you become?



Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Janet Eckles Perez

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

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


Dare to Expect a Brand New Beautiful Tomorrow

20 Jun

With these four promises, we can dare to expect a brand new, beautiful, tomorrow.

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged June 20, 2020

June 19, 2020

Were there dreams or nightmares that waited for me and my family in the U.S.? The ophthalmologist shined a bright light into my eyes. “She did inherit it,” he said to my parents and me. “You need to be prepared. There is no cure.”

He leaned back on his chair. “There’s no treatment or surgery. She’s only 13, She’ll not notice any effects till she reaches 60 or so.”

He was wrong.

At the very same time when I turned 30 and my father 55, bit by bit, the retinal disease robbed our sight.

In a matter of 18 months, our vision closed in completely, leaving us in darkness with no trace of shadows, color…only a dark gray nothing.

My world crumbled as a black curtain fell, stopping my life, covering me with fear and destroying the dreams for my future as a Mom to my 3-, 5-, and 7-year-old sons. And uncertainty about tomorrow kept me tossing in bed at night.

Perhaps like you, many are in that same bed of discouragement. Without warning, all changed. We’re stunned and blinded from seeing what tomorrow will bring. We ask over and over again how will we pay our bills? Will this pandemic ever end? And wonder if we will we ever show a smile instead of wearing a mask of gloom.

We will, and we can. I learned from my earthly father how to move forward, remove obstacles and conquer fear using the white cane of courage.

The Lesson

The lesson began a couple of decades prior to my father’s blindness. We still lived in Bolivia, our native land.

We sat at the table in our tiny, dark kitchen with a window overlooking the Andes Mountains. My uncle leaned toward my father. “You must be crazy to want to go to the United States,” he said, “you don’t know anybody and you don’t even speak English.”

He was right. But although my father didn’t speak English, he spoke the language of faith and tenacity. He left La Paz with an old suitcase, big enough for some of his second-hand clothes. And, with U.S. immigration documents in hand, he entered the Miami airport.

But he didn’t realize he was also entering into a life filled with days and months of hardship, ridicule because of his inability to speak the language, humiliation and intense loneliness.

But he pressed on. He worked night and day in manual labor and managed to save enough money for airline tickets for my Mom, my younger brother, 11, and me, 12. In 1964, we arrived in the land of opportunity where dreams come true. And while we emptied our suitcases, we filled our hearts with gratitude for the privilege of living in the U.S.

Decades swept by, my father is now in heaven, with full sight and with never-ending joy. And today, with my own joy, I celebrate his life.

We can all do the same.

With boldness, we can celebrate God, the heavenly Father who teaches what faith, courage and trust can do. He gives His word for victory and in the midst of a pandemic, He gives these four promises.

  1. Even while the virus of anxiety spreads. In the darkness of the situation, God, like a good father provides the promise that He will be a lamp to our feet and the light for our path (Psalm 119:105).
  2. Even when the economy fails but we don’t fail to bring our first fruits to him, He, promised to fill our baskets until they overflow (Malachi 3:10).
  3. When fear attacks, He gives the path to overcome it (Psalm 27:1-3).
  4. And when troubles pile up, He reassures He overcame all so victory is ours (John 16:33).

During any pandemic, living with joy is a daring attitude, but doable in all aspects. Although we cannot overcome the circumstances, we conquer what goes on inside us. We don’t see the problem; we gaze at the possibilities instead. We don’t dwell in the negative, we dive into God’s pure hope.

We can because even when we’re blinded by painful adversity, we can still set our eyes on His promises that are worth remembering, embracing and worth celebrating this Father’s Day.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for lifting the blinders from my eyes. Thank You for showing me what You are capable of doing even in the midst of the pandemic of fear and virus of discouragement. We praise you because in You, we’re more than conquerors. In Jesus name.

How about you, if you know Christ, do you dare expect a new, fresh, beautiful tomorrow?



Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please share: Feel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

Let’s connect:

Janet Eckles Perez

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

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


How to celebrate a father’s legacy

15 Jun

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged June 15, 2019

At the very same time when I turned 30 and my father 55, the retinal disease began to rob our eyesight.

In a matter of eighteen months, our vision closed in completely, leaving us in darkness with no trace of shadows, color…only a dark gray nothing.

My world crumbled…

…as the black curtain fell, destroying the dreams my husband and I had for us and for our 3-, 5-, and 7-year-old sons.

But when I turned to God for hope and strength, He responded by opening my eyes to see a new revelation—the insight my father had given me.

My father had not only passed on to me the gene that caused my blindness, but also the example of living with determination and tenacity.

Only a couple of decades prior, my family and I lived in Bolivia, our native land. At that time, he defied the family’s opposition to move to America. Instead, he and Mom worked non-stop to satisfy the requirements imposed by the U.S. Immigration Department to enter the country legally and establish residency.

My father persevered.

Once in the states, my father overcame humiliation, intense loneliness, helplessness and uncertainty. But determined to succeed, he got a job unloading trucks. He endured ridicule because of his lack of fluency in English, but he pressed on. And he managed to gather enough money for the basics—rent a small apartment, buy modest furniture from thrift stores and put a down payment on a car. Nine months later, he sent airline tickets for my mom, my brother and me.

He demonstrated that humility is crucial to success. My father is in the glory of heaven now. And this Father’s Day I celebrate the qualities that define his legacy.

Like a baby takes its first steps holding tight to his father’s hand, my dad held onto God as he stepped from the comfort of our hometown in Bolivia to the unknown in a foreign land.

Confidence in God.

I did the same as I stepped into the unfamiliarity of a sightless world. Holding onto God’s hand, I gained confidence and learned the language of appreciation.

Gratitude is what my heart sees. Thankfulness for God’s promise that when in the dark land of discouragement, in a place unfamiliar, and when the path is unknown, His Word shall always be a lamp for my steps, and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

With that light shining the way, I celebrate my heavenly Father’s provision and my earthly father’s perseverance.

Both allowed me to gaze at the beauty of life when choosing to see through the eyeglasses of gratitude.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank you for the lack of physical sight that opened my spiritual eyes. Now I see my life through the window of gratitude. In Jesus name.

What blinds you from living with gratitude?


Source: https://janetperezeckles.com/blog/faith-in-god/how-to-celebrate-a-fathers-legacy.html


Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Please share: Feel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

Janet Eckles Perez

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

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


Father’s Day 2018

17 Jun





I have written about Father’s Day in previous years, and sometimes feel that I’ve written just about all there is to tell about my father, and Fred’s father.  I know that isn’t true – I can’t put a lifetime of memories in just one posting. And so I think of other things along the way that each of those men said or did, and it makes a good memory for me.

I was blessed with a Christian daddy, and the love of God that he instilled in me.  Of course, his job entailed working in the church-related side of life.  But he loved it, and did a wonderful job of it. He was quite dedicated to his job and his Lord.


1942 – Dallas, Texas
Daddy, Bill, Judy, Mom


Fred was blessed with a Christian daddy, as well. His dad was a military chaplain when I met him, and served 28 years in the military as a chaplain.  He had a tremendous love of God and country, and passed that along to Fred.


1946 – Columbus, New Jersey
Kitty holding Larry, Charles holding Sally
Emily and Fred standing


But there are more “Fathers” in my life, not just my father and father-in-law.  My husband is a father, and has been a solid rock for our family to cling to.  His love of God and country is recognized by many – those he’s worked with in his past military days, and those he worked with in retirement.  He was the Church Administrator at our church for just about 13 years.  He was and is still highly respected by those in the congregation, as well as the vendors he dealt with in the up-keep of the church facility.  The vendors sometimes still ask to talk to Fred, rather than the current administrator.


1976 – Panama City, Florida


Fred has loved God for so long, and deeply, and he has been able to share that love with his daughters.  They learned to love God, as well, from him.  They learned that loving God is more than just attending church on Sundays.  They looked at Fred and realized that loving God is living a life dedicated to God – every day of his life.  He is just amazing, and I love him.

My brother, Bill, is another man of God.  He has led his family with faith in our loving Lord, to the belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  His life – and the life of his family – show the love of man for family and man for God.  I am so proud to be his sister, and to share the love of God with him.


1985 – Titusville, Florida


Well, what more can I say?  I am surrounded by the love of God and I couldn’t be happier with that situation.  God has placed me with loving people.  I am blest.


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3



11 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites





I started walking in 1939
And thank the good Lord I haven’t stopped yet.
Mama and Daddy were there for my first steps
And I was with Daddy for his last one.

Believe me, he walked plenty in his lifetime
He walked to school,
Walked to fish and to hunt
Walked on his paper route
Walked to his girlfriend’s house
Then he went into the war
And marched and slogged through mud up to his ankles.

He bought a business and stood behind the bar
Listening to the problems of his customers.
Once he walked down off Pike’s Peak after he and his friend,
Sweak Jeske got caught in a downdraft in a Piper Cub.
God was with them that day.
All Daddy got was a ruined plane and a chipped ankle bone.
His friend walked down the mountain and brought help.
After Daddy retired he walked at least a mile every day.
He showed me how to walk in the Florida woods
Being new here, I was afraid to explore,
It has been my favorite trail for over fifty years.

Dad didn’t usually attend church, but when he was 87
He went back to a Christian Church like the one he had attended with his mother, Marie.
There he either received Christ or renewed his commitment.

It was around that time that he had an accident and had to go into assisted living.
I was present when the therapist came to teach him to
Walk again, and they asked me to help by
Standing at the end of line of support bars, and calling him to come.
It was just like teaching a baby to walk,
“Come on, Dad, you can do it!”
It took all his strength and was all a therapist and a nurse could do
To get him out of his wheel-chair.
He looked up at me with a light in his face
And took a step.
My heart soared, but then
He fell, supported, back into the chair.
But it was not for lack of willingness.
His brain just didn’t have control of his
Body anymore.

Three years after they tried to get him up and walking
I was at my church in Florida for an evening sing-along
We sang “Draw Me Nearer,”
And in my mind’s eye, the hymn book I was holding
Disappeared and I saw Dad walking toward me.
He said, “Would you walk a ways with me?”
I knew then that he was in Heaven.
Early the next morning my sister-in-law called
And told me he had died the night before.
Good night, Daddy.
We’ll see each other again, some glad morning.


Ivan and DiVoran


Father’s Day 2017

18 Jun


Judy Wills





 Another Father’s Day dawns this morning. As someone recently said, it’s such a pity that in today’s world of TV and comedy, fathers are portrayed as clueless and laughable. How are our boys and young men going to grow up to be the strong men of God that we want them to be, when that is their example? I am so glad that my father, my brother, and my husband grew up in times when men were, indeed, strong men of God, and spiritual leaders in their household.

And how are our girls and young women going to grow up, thinking that all the boys/men in their lives are luckless creatures – only to be tolerated? In watching the TV programs that are out there now – unfortunately including some of the current Disney programs – adults in general, and men in particular – are portrayed as stupid and ignorant, while their teenagers – and younger – are the “smart” ones. It just ain’t so, folks!

And since that was a rather depressing way to begin this post, let me get back to the men in my life who were strong believers in God and Jesus Christ, and were able to be strong, safe, places for me.

Let me tell you about my own father.



I’ve written other posts about my father (June 16, 2013; June 15, 2014; September 28, 2014; February 5, 2017) and the influence he had in my life. He was gone quite a bit – traveling around the state – but I always knew he loved me, and I looked up to him.



He was, indeed, the spiritual leader in our household.   He always took us to church with him, and our family life revolved around church and our belief in God.



Fred’s father – a second father to me after Fred and I married – was dedicated to God and His work in this world.



He was a pastor for a while, but then most of his life was doing God’s work as a military chaplain. And yet, with all that work, he was devoted to his family. He, too, was the spiritual leader in his family.



Fred and I both look back on our lives, and are so grateful that each of our fathers-in-law treated us like their son or daughter. I never felt out of place in Fred’s family, and Fred has said so many times that my father enjoyed him as if he were another son of his. We were so blest to have that in our lives.


And because of that, Fred grew up in a household that showered him with love – family love and God’s love. He grew to be a self-assured man that I am proud to call my husband. He taught our girls what a true man – a gentleman – is like, and what they should expect from their spouses.


And my brother, Bill, grew up in a household that taught him how to be a true man of God, as well. He gave his children God’s word, and the strength to be what God wants them to be.


Both of our girls have married men who are strong personalities, and are dedicated to the Lord. We pray for each member of their families, as they begin to have families of their own.






There is a scripture that helps with this:

Start children off on the way they should go,

and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6





















My Dad Could do Just About Anything

12 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites



Author, Poet and ArtistIf my dad were still with us, he would be 102 years old this month. I’m glad for him that he is in Heaven. Life is easier there than on earth. Now that I am older and wiser, and I believe I could understand him better, I’d like to have a visit with him

Dad always worked hard at whatever job he had. Some of his earliest memories were about going out to the barn to get oats for breakfast. He worked in his parents’ beauty parlor/barbershop and delivered papers. He learned to cook from his mother because there were no girls in the family for her to teach the finer arts of homemaking and hair cutting.


Grandmother, Dad as young man, Granddad, Dad’s Brother in front.


He rode his dad’s horse, Smoky, in races against the prisoners at the state penitentiary where his father worked, but he wasn’t allowed to win because it might affect his dad’s job.


Smoky, Granddad, DiVoran- see Dad’s feet in front of the power pole?


When I was a very small child, my mother felt a bit competitive because my dad seemed to be able to do everything. One day she said, “I’ll bet you can’t make DiVoran the cotton slip she needs.” Well, Dad sat right down at Mother’s 1934 Singer Sewing Machine and made the slip. Mother never challenged his talents again.

Every new endeavor Dad went in for required a move to a new town or state. When he and Mother married, he was a meat-cutter for Safeway in a small mining town in Nevada. When Mom’s dad died, my mother and dad moved back home so he could take over the job of keeping the gas company going. Sometime before WWII started, we moved to a small farming community and dad repaired machinery at the tomato factory. Near the end of the war, even though he was married and the father of two children, he was drafted and became an infantry man. When the war was over the couple bought a restaurant and bar. Dad also became a hunting and fishing guide, and a friend taught him how to fly a small airplane.

When it was time for the next change he became a security guard in a town called Los Alamos, but soon worked his way up to courier which required a move to Albuquerque and from there to Livermore, California.

In all he was a: commercial fisherman, farmer, vacuum store owner, lobsterman, and a grower of fruit and nut trees. He could fix just about anything and when he came to visit us, we always had jobs set up for him. I still have the jar opener under my kitchen cabinet.




When I use that jar opener I realize that he installed it about the time his hands started giving out. He had two carpal tunnel operations, but still the strength in his hands deteriorated to where I had to open packages of potato chips for him. I wonder if he thought ahead to the time when I might need something under the cabinet to help open jars, which is now.

Did I forget to mention that Dad liked kids?



Dad did work hard, but he was an artist too. He framed Mother’s paintings, and made birds from abalone shells to hang on the wall. He welded sailing ships and shrimp boats. He also hand-dipped chocolate. At one time in their lives Dad and Mother became rock hounds. Dad made a tumbler and polisher out of a small motor and a coffee can and soon Mother and Dad had a lot of semi-precious jewelry to give away.



Dad didn’t sell his art, the fish he caught, the venison he brought home, or the fruits and vegetables he grew. He gave it all away. One day he gave away his authentic totem-pole because a visitor saw it and asked for it.





Like a lot of kids, I took both my parents for granted. That’s why a visit would be so nice about now. Thank the Lord, they and we are eligible to meet in Heaven because we have given our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. I’d love it if there were a time and place to sit down and talk with people we know and love. That may or may not be part of God’s plan, but if it happens to be, I’m up for it.

Another Father’s Day

15 Jun


Judy Wills


Here we are with another Father’s Day dawning upon us. It just doesn’t seem like Fathers get the same acknowledgment as Mothers do. Seems a bit unequal to me – since it takes two to tango. But Mothers traditionally – and Biblically – are the ones who nurture in the family, while Fathers are bread-winners and head of the household.

And so, because I am so very proud of my Father and what he accomplished in his life, I would like to add another connection in his life.

For many years, I have heard of B.B. McKinney. He’s rather well known in Baptist circles. According to his history (from Google), he wrote over 149 hymns, composed the music for 114 others, and arranged more than 100 more. While not as prolific as Fanny Crosby (1800 hymns) he was still quite talented. He was heavily involved with Texas Baptists and Southern Baptist music. Except for the current up-coming generation, if you ask if they know who B.B. McKinney was, they can usually tell you he wrote a lot of the hymns in our hymnbooks. He was born in 1886 in Louisiana. (Daddy was born in 1892)

The main connection I know of with Daddy and him, is that my Father was born in Louisiana, as well. Daddy and B.B. McKinney both attended Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana. Daddy also was involved with Texas Baptists, since he was the Associate Sunday School Secretary for Texas from 1926 until 1945, when he moved us to New Mexico, where he became the New Mexico Sunday School Secretary. He was in that position until 1961, when he retired. I always knew that Daddy knew B.B. McKinney, but didn’t know just what that connection was. I distinctly remember seeing Daddy approach Mother at church, and with a stricken look on his face, tell her that B.B. had been killed in a car wreck (1952).

It wasn’t until recently that a cousin of ours sent via FaceBook a picture he had found in the “Pine Knot” yearbook from Louisiana college. It was a picture of a male quartet from Louisiana College. The four (plus the director) in the picture, were B.B. McKinney, my Father (W.J. Lites), and his brother (E.O. Lites). They had been in a college quartet together all those years ago! There isn’t a date on the picture, and the best we can figure, it was probably somewhere around 1913 or 1914. (Daddy’s college education was interrupted by World War 1)

So that’s the connection. Daddy had many accomplishment in his life, but this was one that I had not expected, but was proud to see.

The Quartette - Louisiana College




My Father’s Legacy

16 Jun


 Judy Wills



 Since this is Father’s Day, I would like to tell you a bit about my father.  He was born in 1892.  He was 20 years older than my mother.

Daddy’s father was a circuit preacher, going from place to place in Louisiana and Texas.  He fathered 13 children.  Most remained as farmers or farmers wives.  However, several left the farm for other occupations.  Uncle Ed moved to Shreveport, LA, and owned a typewriter store.  Uncle Emory, the youngest of the 13 children, was on his way to being a church-related leader, when he was murdered on Christmas Day, 1931.  He was 23 years old.  As the story goes, he was coaching a youth basketball team.  His team had played a rival team and won.  The other team was not happy about it.  On that Christmas Day, Emory was on his way to see his fiancé, when he was set upon by the other team and beaten to death.  I didn’t learn these details until about 2000 – my father and grandmother had always told the story that he was in a horrific car wreck, and he died.

As a youth, Daddy enjoyed playing basketball.  I remember him bragging about what a great left-hook-shot he had, and how much he enjoyed the game.As I was growing 2up, he always enjoyed watching professional and college football on TV.  The Green Bay Packers were the team to beat during that day.  And on New Year’s Day, he would have four different college Bowl games going at once – a small TV on top of the large TV, and a radio in two different rooms of the house with different games on.  Used to drive my mother crazy.

My father attended Louisiana 3College.  His studies were interrupted by World War I.  He refused to carry a weapon, so they placed him in the medical corps.  He was in France, I know, and stayed there for a while after the war, studying at Toulouse University in Toulouse, France.  It was founded in 122

He graduated with a B.M. in Music from Baylor University, Waco, Texas, in 1924.  He was in the very first graduating class in music from B.U. – and there were only three members of that graduating class.


Baylor University Music Program Class of 1924

He was president of the Baptist Student Union on that campus.  He was also one of the original “Invincibles” – a group of young people that went to different states/cities in the summers and worked with Sunday Schools and Vaca5tion Bible Schools.

I know that he went to Baptist Bible Institute (B.B.I., founded 1917), which later became New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He was the very first paid, full-time Minister of Education in the Southern Baptist Convention.  He was the Texas Associate Sunday School Secretary from 1927 until 1945.  At that point, we moved from Dallas to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Daddy became the New Mexico Sunday School Secretary until 1961, when he retired.  He died April 7, 1967, just one month away from my parent’s 30th anniversary in May.

f you have heard of the Southern Baptist Convention’s conference 6centers in Ridgecrest, NC, and Glorieta, NM, I am proud to say that my father had a hand in getting Glorieta established.  He was one of those that said “we need to have an encampment here in the west.”  Glorieta has a very special place in my heart, especially since my Dad was part of that.

He was very gentle man.  I never heard him speak a bad word about 7anyone.  He always looked for the good in people.  He loved being outdoors and went deer hunting every season.  We ate a lot of venison, and loved it.  The deer in NM ate a lot of pine nuts and good stuff, so the meat was not “gamey” at all, but very flavorful, much like beef to us.  He and mother both hunted sometimes, as did Daddy and my brother.

I have a picture of him and my brother each with a deer on the car.8

I remember one year they each got a deer, and later Daddy got an elk.  We ate really well that year.

9One thing about him – if he hadn’t bagged his deer before the weekend, he would have his own worship service out in the woods.  Someone asked him one time:  “you mean, if it was Sunday and an 8-point buck strolled by, you wouldn’t shoot him?”  Daddy’s reply was that he never even loaded his rifle on Sundays.  He was a very dedicated man.

Being a farm boy, he never got that out of his system.  He tried to grow a small garden in our back yard in Albuquerque, but he was gone so much that the garden usually died out.  One thing he did manage to care for was a huge peach tree in our back yard.  He would faithfully wrap the tree in cheesecloth every Spring, to keep the10 birds and bugs out of the peaches.  He was very successful with that tree, and we used to have peaches that were about 4″ in diameter and the sweetest I’ve ever eaten.  Mother would make peach jam, peach preserves, peach pie, home-made fresh-churned peach ice cream.

He was an incredible man, and I am proud to be his daughter.


15 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis



Back in the late fifties, going to church was a much more sociable activity than it is today. Once the service was over the adults would linger outside the church, on the sidewalk just to chat and enjoy being together. The children, glad to be freed from the trial of sitting still would run around like uncaged monkeys playing tag and screaming until a parent shushed us.  One particular evening, the air had a chill to it and I stood Lucerne Parkshivering next to my dad. Without making a big  “to do” about it, he took off his suit jacket and put it around my shoulders. It covered my small body completely and smelled like my dad’s Vitalis hair oil and a faint scent of cigarrete smoke. I felt completely safe and warm covered by his jacket. That was my first picture of how much God loved me.

My dad and mom loved to fish and we drove to the east coast of Florida every Friday night to fish. In my childhood I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a fishing pole. I started with a cane pole in the local lakes. When I was considered big enough to have a real fishing rod and reel, it was a small Zebco. I remember my dad teaching me first how to bait my hook, release the line and how important it was to “hold your pole Loved catching the big ones.up” when you were reeling in a fish. Next he taught me how to tie a hook onto my line and change the weights. He wanted me to be self-sufficient but he was always there to help me out when I tangled my line or man the long dip net when I had a fish to big for me to reel up. This was my second picture of how God loved me. Like my dad, God would always be there to help me untangle my life and he would be my “dip net” when I called out to him.

Matthew 7:11 says-“ If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”


My dad was a humble man and because of his humility, it took me many years to realize what a truly remarkable father he was.

Me and dad

Me and dad



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