Tag Archives: Friendship

Missing s Sweet Friend

11 Jul


Judy Wills

Recently, the pianist for our church celebrated her 40th anniversary as pianist.  The church as a whole celebrated with her.  We gave her gifts, and then, after the morning worship service, we held a luncheon for her.

One of the gentlemen in our congregation had a bunch of pictures from past church events printed up and put around on a table.  The picture below was one of them.  It was taken in about 2004 and includes Fred, myself, and a sweet friend, Lynn Latham. 

Taken at South Orlando Baptist Church

There is a story behind this friendship:  When we lived in Virginia, Fred was Chairman of the Personnel Committee with the Peninsula Baptist Association (PBA), which is a network of all the Baptist churches in the area that cooperate together, as Southern Baptist churches do.  Lynn Latham was part of the PBA staff, but I’m not sure just what her title and expertise was there.  Fred, being involved with the PBA, knew Lynn fairly well.

We moved to Florida in late 1995, and I became the church secretary in September 1996.  I was in that position until 2008.  During that time, I dealt with our local Baptist association, known as GOBA – Greater Orlando Baptist Association.

Credit Google searched GOBA website

So imagine my surprise one day at work to see the name Lynn Latham in the GOBA flyer that we get every month!  I called the GOBA office and spoke with the secretary, asking if Lynn had been with the PBA in Virginia.  Yes, she had been.  WOW!

So I spoke with Lynn, and gave her our home phone number (Fred wasn’t working at the church at that time), and told her to give Fred a call.

He was beside himself when she called and told him who was calling!  They had a very nice conversation.

Lynn and I became more acquainted through the years I was church secretary.  She had a heart as big-as-all-outdoors.  I’m not totally sure what all she did at GOBA, other than being the Director of Community Relations, and working with the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.  But I also remember she worked a lot with the “working girls.”  We had a luncheon one day at our church with some of those ladies that Lynn worked with.  They had left that life; some went to school, but all were all dressed well, and looking for honest work.  All that was Lynn’s influence.  She was a jewel!

We learned, quite incidentally in a conversation, a few years ago that Lynn had died.  I believe it was from an inherited disease.  It was difficult to get past that, for us.  Although we weren’t that close – and Orlando is a big city – it still hurt that we didn’t know of her death.  She never married, and didn’t live close to her parents.  

But in spite of all that, we know she accomplished on earth what the Lord wanted her to accomplish, and is now rejoicing with Him in Heaven.  And we’ll get to see her again, when we join her in Heaven, ourselves.  

Until that day…..We Miss You, Sweet Friend!

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.

The Engine Overhaul Part 1

30 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

In a recent post about camping, I mentioned our first small tent camper and the following story takes place around 1972, not long after we bought that camper.  It all started with what was supposed to be a family camping trip, with friends, for a fun weekend in the Everglades National Park, located at the southern tip of Florida.  On the first day, as we were heading south on I-95 from Titusville, FL we were all excited about the little four-day ‘mini-vacation’ we had planned.  We had both cars packed full of all the food and camping equipment we thought we would need, to ‘rough-it’ for the trip, along with our canoes and our tent camper.  

Photo by Bill Lites

As we approached the exit for Melbourne, FL (only 35 miles from home) our 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne sedan suddenly made a loud rattling sound from the engine, and the car began to slow down.  I immediately put the car in neutral, and coasted onto the emergency lane, where the car came to  a stop.  There was no indication on the dashboard instruments that there was anything wrong, but the car would not run.  My friend Dwayne pulled in behind me, and we tried to assess the situation.  The starter would turn the engine over, but it would not run.  We finally decided it was probably something to do with the timing and we needed to get my car off I-95.  

Luckily, I had an emergency tow-strap and Dwayne was able to tow my car and camper off I-95.  There just happened to be a campground next to I-95, where we could hold up long enough to make some new plans.  We decided to transfer the camper to Dwayne’s car, but he didn’t have a trailer hitch on his car.  It was a holiday weekend, and we had no idea where to go for a trailer hitch.  We borrowed a phone book (no cellphones) from the campground owner and finally found an auto parts store that was not too far from us.  By the time we found the store, bought a trailer hitch, and got it installed on Dwayne’s car, we were all tired, and realized it was too late to make it all the way to the Everglades Park (200 miles)  before they closed for the night.  So, we paid for and spent the night there at the friendly campground and were glad to be able to take a shower after all the day’s hectic activities.

After the campground owner heard our story, he was kind enough to let me leave our car parked there until we got back from our trip.  We packed everything up and headed out early the next morning with four adults and five children in Dwayne’s car (no air conditioning), and with him pulling my camper and both canoes on top of his car.  We finally made it to the park and had a great, if short, ‘Everglades Adventure.’  You can read all about the camping trip in the three-part referenced blogs on this same website (Ref. Bill Lites blog titles “An Everglades Adventure Part 1, 2, & 3 dated 09/24/2014-10/08/2014”) if you care to.  Now, as Paul Harvey would say; for the rest of the story.  After we got home and got everything unloaded, Dwayne drove me back to the campground, in Melbourne, to get my car.  He towed me home and helped me get the car into my garage where I could work on it.

—–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

Life During Covid-19 Part 16

5 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

As I said in my last post, plans are made to be changed. We planned to have lunch on Tuesday with friends we had not seen in 4 months. Well, Monday morning my husband woke up with a sniffleszx and sneezing. Of course, my first concern was is he coming down with the virus? I let our friends know we wouldn’t be meeting for lunch, because and I am not sure how this happened, but we are all in THAT age group.

He spent a lot of time outdoors over the weekend, tidying up the yard and installing a backup camera on the truck. It took three mowings to get the grass down. I decided to treat his sniffles as allergy and after two days he began to clear up.

Our lawn a combination of grass and weeds looks much better!

Sunday we attended church. North Carolina ordered churches to shut down (Unlike Florida which suggested it and the churches willingly complied) so our church began to hold drive-in services in March. I was looking forward to seeing friends and curious how it would be done.

Our sanctuary sits on a hill with parking on a lower level. A tent was erected with a pulpit. The congregation tuned their radios to a specific Fm station .

One of our members brought a visitor, and I must say the visitor was very well behaved.

Overall it has been a good first week back. My husband’s health and energy, aside from sniffles, has been great and he has enjoyed getting resettling chores done. Thursday he replaced the front brakes on the truck and still felt well enough to join friends for a night of card playing. I treasure the good days.

In a matter of three weeks, the county has gone from less than five cases of Covid to over 80. I sense a level of anxiety and resentment in their social media posts. The first case in the county was a visitor from New York and now the summer people and part-time residents (Like us) are invading .

I understand how they feel. South Florida’s Covid cases soared as residents from New York fled there to escape the virus and its consequences. I rarely see a New York license plate in our Florida community but I saw two within a week. I admit to feeling a moment of resentment. Our area had been doing well without these “infectors”. Awful, right? I confessed my unkindness to God and asked forgiveness and for my heart to change.

And then Sunday arrived our church was finally allowed to gather. As we waited for service to start, one of the greeters escorted a woman inside and introduced her to the pastor. I made note of where she chose a seat. It was on the other side of the sanctuary.

I felt compelled to speak words of welcome to the visitor and as this was to be our last Sunday before returning to the mountains, it was now or never. I made my way across the room, being mindful of social distancing and began a conversation. I felt a connection and hoped she would choose to attend our church She shared that she had only been living in the area a year. Of course, I asked where she was from…New York. And not just New York, but NYC.

God definitely has a sense of humor as he works on teaching me to love as He loves.

This is from one of the albums I played with my children. I think I am going to re-listen to them. Simple truths.

Ok, the trip down memory lane with the kid’s praise album made my heart ache a little for bygone days. My son was my instant gratification child. I not only played this song, I would sing the chorus to him as well. I think the message remains relevant and it is fun!

We rescheduled our lunch plans with our friends for today. Both my husband and myself have been checking our temperatures just in case our supposition that allergies caused the sniffles is wrong.

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.

I Am a New Creature

5 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Today was our bi-annual blogger luncheon and I planned to post early until I had a mishap. I’m not big into make up and hair, but for this special occasion, I borrowed my daughter’s curling iron in an attempt to tame my wild hair. Two passes with the curling iron went well. Then I decided to be cautious in handling it. Big mistake. After looking at it carefully, I grabbed the HOT BARREL. Ouch! I flung it down and of course it landed in the sink. Fortunately I had enough sense left to verify there was no water in the basin before quickly unplugging it. I put ice on my hand and ran cold water over it, then I asked my husband to pick some aloe, which I rubbed over it. Looking around the kitchen, I decided to put some colloidal silver on it as well.

The good news is that it did not blister and although I packed a thermal bag with ice for our trip to Orlando and the restaurant, I didn’t need it. I did send up a prayer for healing, so am giving God credit. It truly did hurt for a time. After returning home I spied the curling iron on the vanity and cringed. I think it will be a good while before I attempt using it again. Wild hair rules!

I am blessed with my fellow bloggers who love me, even when my hair is wild and I thank God for them.. And isn’t it great that God doesn’t judge us by our appearance? In him we are a new creature and each day brings more grace and mercy.


“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, all things become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17



Let’s walk in the newness of the Spirit!

Seeking Peace-No Matter What

1 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Every time I read this verse it resonates in my soul.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

—HABAKKUK 3:17–18

Today I was blessed to enjoy a picnic lunch with precious friends at a new park on the river. My happy places always involve water or mountains. There is something elemental in them that calls to me and soothes.


Today the humidity was high and a haze blurred the V.A.B. (Vehicle Assembly Building) that stands proudly across the river at Kennedy Space Center. I love the swings. Tonight this small park will be jammed with locals and out-of-town folks, hoping to witness the first flight of the Space X crew module.


UPDATE ON SPACE X Launch:  We got up at 2AM to view from the river. Liftoff was exactly on time, the rumble was a roaring success. Heat lightning flashed behind the rocket, adding drama.  Loved it.



After lunch  my husband and I drove the road to Playalinda Beach to get photos of the rocket on the pad. The beach road crosses marsh and if you like that sort of thing as I do, it was peaceful and beautiful.

Love- Experiencing the love of friends who accept me with all my flaws and models Christ’s love for me.

Joy- Being rooted and grounded in No Matter What.

Peace- Savoring the beauty that God created in nature and in friends.

The Dandelion

12 Aug


Judy Wills



In a previous post, I wrote about my best friend, and the things we’ve given to each other (please see my post of April 6, 2014 – My Best Friend) .  We have similar tastes in jewelry and collectibles, so it has been fun to find just the right gift to give each other.

One thing that I found and gave to her – and then, of course, had to have one for myself – was this dandelion, encased in plastic.  It sits on a shelf where, of course, I have to dust it, but also where I can see it all the time.  It’s one of those “how did they DO that” kind of things.



Fred and I have seen another kind of dandelion recently.  Well, at least, I call it a dandelion.  The brand name Tupperware is probably familiar throughout the world by this time. I began my Tupperware collection back in the 1970’s.  If my readers have any Tupperware containers, just look at the embossed inscription on the bottom of the item, and you will see the words “Orlando, Florida” on it. The Tupperware corporate headquarters is located in Orlando, Florida.  Actually it’s just over the Osceola County line, making it in Kissimmee (that’s pronounced (Kuh-SIMM-ee), but I’m sure no one had heard of Kissimmee when Tupperware began their business.  So it’s known as being in Orlando.

All that to say that, Fred and I drive by the Tupperware buildings on our way to one of our favorite eateries, Culver’s. The main entrance to the Tupperware building has a rather large open area, perhaps even called a courtyard, and in the center of that is the dandelion.  It is a metal structure with “spokes.”  During the day, when Tupperware is open for business, the structure is turned on and water shoots out of the spokes, making it look like a dandelion, and so I named it that.  It’s quite pretty.



I’m told that there was something else there, but now there is the dandelion.  I like the dandelion.  What do you think?




JUDYJudy 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.
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
She was a stay-at-home mom for many years.
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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Horseshoe Lake

16 Jul


My Take

DiVoran Lites


Patricia Franklin



If you see the video first you will better appreciate the rugged terrain in the story.





This is a reply about last week’s blog from my childhood friend: Patricia Franklin.

Dear DiVoran,

Your blog, “Hermit Dam” reminds me of the time when I was a kid and I went to Hermit Lake with three of my brothers to go fishing (what other reason was there?!)  The older ones had done odd jobs to earn money to buy the pickup, and once they had it, they used it for all kinds of work around town, and for going fishing. Since you had to park at the beaver dams and hike to the lake we always started out about daylight to get there in time for plenty of fishing.

But, we never stopped at Hermit really, everybody fished there, and the good fishing was up higher at Horseshoe Lake. The problem was, it was a cool, cloudy morning, and instead of clearing up, it just got worse. By the time we got to Hermit, we were in the clouds.

We started on up to Horseshoe and got to where there was a break in the clouds and you could look down into the valley between the two lakes. There are (or were) three ponds between Hermit and Horseshoe. We got to that point and, looking through the fog, the ponds looked large enough to be a lake. At first,we thought we had reached Horseshoe, but we walked up further, and then back down again to the ponds, and knew we had a ways to go. By then it was raining and I was freezing cold, even though I was wearing a waterproof poncho.  We were above timberline, and there was not much shelter there. I sat down next to a large boulder that gave me a little protection from the rain while the guys decided what to do. We were never worried, just cold and wet. Our parents would only have worried if we had been out after dark.


Google search


Our eldest brotherBill, a teenager and a Boy Scout decided we would go back down to Hermit where we might find more shelter among the trees and some wood for a fire. We got down by the lake and started looking for some dry wood, and twigs under the bushes.  Bill started a nice little campfire to keep us warm and give us a comfortable spot to eat our bologna sandwiches.



By the time we finished lunch we were too cold and too wet to go fishing, and as there was no sun to dry us out, we walked back down to the pickup. We were home soon after not disappointed about the fishing, but satisfied with the fun day we’d had trekking into the mountains.

Later, they improved the road and people could drive all the way up to Horseshoe. I do not know if that is a wilderness area now or not, but I too am deeply grateful for adventures like this in another time and place.






Author, Poet and ArtistDiVoran 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.”

As Summer Settles In

7 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis



We are settling into our home in the mountains of North Carolina where we look forward to spending the summer and fall.  We decided to stay in Florida until after Mother’s Day to spend it with our daughter.

Peonies are my favorite flowers and I have sweet memories of rocking on the porch of my friend, Karen’s home in North Carolina, and enjoying them. They don’t grow in Florida and Karen’s peonies were the first I had seen. Before she passed away, I asked if I could take a piece of one of her plants, so that I could savor the memory of those summer days in the coming years. Since we were late arriving in North Carolina, the flowers were past their prime, but I did cut some and bring them in. The white ones are from Karen’s stock.

Our daughter gave me two raised bed planters for Mother’s Day. They come complete with a watering system. My husband set me up with tomato plants and built a perfect height table to place them on. I am thrilled with the table. It will save my back and hopefully discourage the nasty tomato worms.

It’s good to be back in the mountains. The mornings are soft and I enjoy watching the mists float across the peaks and down through the valleys. The hydrangea are starting to bloom and will last all summer, along with the roses.


Life is good in the mountains!

Scriptures From The Heart

29 Apr


Judy Wills



Back in 2000, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my church family gathered around me with so much love and support, that I knew God’s hand was in it.

Since my tumor was slow-growing, my surgeon and I decided we could wait a month for the surgery. I told him that we had a trip planned and paid for coming up before that month was over. And, as it turned out – he and his wife were going on a trip to Greece during that month, as well. So the month-away was a good decision.

We had a great trip. We met with my brother and his wife (Bill and DiVoran Lites), and went to Albuquerque, New Mexico – our home town. DiVoran is a writer, and had a writers conference to attend. We just went along for the ride, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in Albuquerque. We met up with quite a few of our growing-up friends while there.

When we returned from that trip, our mail box was overflowing – with cards from people in our church family. And each one presented me with their favorite scripture verse!

Now, I had already been given a couple of scriptures that meant a lot to me (please see my post of May 18, 2014 – Be Still and Know



And the post of March 2, 2014 – Earthquake1 Chronicles 29: 10-11).   But these scriptures just homed in on how great our God is, and how He was taking care of me.

One scripture that I’ve enjoyed, is John 16:33. So many times I’ve heard people read that scripture and say “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” Now, that really is what it says, but then I correct the speaker by saying, “no, you are saying it wrong; it should be said:

“In this world you will have trouble.

But take heart!

I have overcome the world.”

That middle section really must be said with GREAT emphasis!! Jesus Christ, our Savior, has OVERCOME this puny world! And he’s OUR Savior! Woohoo!!

Here are some other scriptures that were presented to me then:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

Under His wings you shall be safe.   Psalm 91:4

When I said, “my foot it slipping,” Your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.  Psalm 94:18-19

O Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me….  Psalm 7:1

God is with you in everything you do.   Genesis 21:22

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.  Psalm 55:22

O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us…..   Psalm 12:7

Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge. Psalm 16:1



Can you see why I was in tears after reading some of these scriptures? Not only these scriptures, but the words of comfort from friends was just what I needed to strengthen my heart and mind as I prepared for the surgery, and the future treatment.

I just wanted to give you these scriptures – they are from my heart to yours. Perhaps someone reading this post will need one or more of them in the near future. They are yours for the asking.





Good Friends, Good Food

1 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Yesterday we visited with friends in Anderson, South Carolina. That is like going to the big city for those of us living in the mountains. We did some shopping together and had lunch in a wonderful restaurant specializing in Southern home cooking, Mama Penn’s. Mama P runs a daily meat and three special. For those not from the south, that means a meat and three vegetables. Mama Penn allows one to choose a dessert in the place of a veggie. In the south we love our veggies and we want our cake too. Hubby chose the German Chocolate cake and he is still raving about how good it was.

If you happen to be in Anderson, be sure to visit Mama Penn’s. She even gives you a cup of sweet tea to go.



Love that they share a Bible verse on the cup!

Do you have a favorite restaurant that serves the food you grew up loving to eat?

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