Tag Archives: Friendship

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

SUNDAY MEMORIES

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?

As Sweet as Perfume

30 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

On Monday we had the fun of an impromptu friends reunion of the members of the Park Avenue Baptist Church Young Married Sunday School class. Of course, someone had to mention that five of us were turning seventy this year! How can that be? One friend made an excellent point as we marveled over this milestone. She observed that we look much better at seventy than our parents did. We laughed and agreed. In the interest of full disclosure, I must mention that I am the baby of the group! All too soon it was time for everyone to move on and resume their busy lives, but for a brief afternoon we laughed and shared our lives. I would say it was just like the old days but I believe it was better!

Wednesday was another fun day. but it was scheduled. Lynn and I have known each other even longer than my Young Married friends.We met in the tenth grade and remained in touch throughout the years. She and her husband recently relocated to Florida and  live two hours from us. We decided to meet half way for lunch at  De Leon Springs State Park. We camped there during the child rearing years and I had been longing to revisit it and I was sure my nature loving friend would enjoy it.

The park, set on the land of an old plantation, has a unique restaurant, the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House. Pancakes are their specialty but they also serve salads and sandwiches made with homemade breads.

  Their website describes it this way:

“Each of our tables are equipped with a griddle and we bring you pitchers of homemade pancake batters (both a stone-ground mixture of five different flours and an unbleached white flour) you pour them on and flip them over right at your table.”

From their website

After our lunch we walked around the springs area then Lynn and I  settled down under a covered pavilion to catch up while the men people watched near the spring , talking as men do, solving the problems of the world.

We enjoyed both the company and the scenery. It was a beautiful day, with a gentle breeze. I look forward to visiting again.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT

 

 

 

Did you know that DiVoran’s first novel is set at De Leon Springs?

Fun, Fun, Fun

9 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

When I began this blog in January of 2012 I had no idea what I was doing or how I would come up with consistent content. Well five years later, I still struggle with creating consistent content but I have been blessed with a group of bloggers who are amazing. Every week they share their lives with us. Having surgery, going on vacation? No worries, these folks send their blogs to me in advance. I have read that managing a group blog is hard, but I am telling you, these friends are a delight.

Wednesday we gathered for our annual blogger lunch and yea, everyone was able to attend. We have a new blogger this year, Melody Hendrix and since we don’t all live in the same city, she had not met some the bloggers. We had a grand time with laughter from start to finish.

Left side: DiVoran, Bill, Mike, me, Louise, Janice . Right Side: Fred, Judy, Janet, Melody, Janice.

Looking at this picture I realize what an amazing group they are. Each has a life story behind their picture. DiVoran is an author and accomplished artist and  her husband Bill worked as an engineer on America’s space program (He liked to blow things up). My husband, Mike retired from the space program and has discovered hidden talents in painting, carving  and woodworking. Louise, our poetess has written poetry her whole life as she followed her military husband across the country, making a hone for  her family. At the end is her daughter Janice, an antique connoisseur and baker of confections.  Whew!

 Starting on the right side is Judy’s husband, Fred  a retired military meteorologist for the Air Force. Next is Judy.  She is a pianist, a  crafter and a military wife. Enough said on that, we know the important role wives play for our country. Once Fred retired, she became the secretary for her church. Let me tell  you, church secretaries should get an extra jewel in their heavenly crowns. Do you see Janet leaning forward to be in the picture? She is a best-selling author, an international speaker, has an MBA degree and she cracks everyone up with her blind jokes. She can do that, she is blind, and an amazing testimony of walking by faith, not by sight. See the lovely blond? That is Melody, our newest member and a professional photographer and collector of inspirational quotes. Each week she shares beautiful photos with us. Missing is Lynn, she took this picture. She is the daughter of Louise and my very best friend from high school and my go to when Word Press make me crazy. She recently retired from her financial planning business where she counseled women on money matters.  She promises that she is going to begin her own blog and I am holding her to it.

I am already looking forward to next year’s lunch. Maybe this year we can mange a second one. We barely stopped talking the whole meal, yet we still had more to say! Next time we plan to try out “seat shifting,” so can don’t miss anyone. I am not sure how that will work while we are eating .

We met at a seafood restaurant in Orlando and its decor was  “fishy”. The booths were lit by these clever lights. The fish and sea creatures are metal art and they look quite happy. As I study it, I find myself thinking about how Jesus is the light that draws us all together.

John 8:13  Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Enmu

25 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 Enmu

Is that title intriguing? Does it add a touch of mystery? You might figure out the “U” is University, and you would be right. Remember I said in previous musings that I grew up in the great state of New Mexico? That’s where the “NM” comes in. The only letter left is “E” – and – you guessed it – it stands for Eastern. Okay, all together now: Eastern New Mexico University.

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credit Google search and ENMU website

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ENMU Admin Building – credit Google search

 

 

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Concept Art for ENMU stadium – credit Google search

 

That was my first venture into the collegiate world. It is located in Portales (por-tal’-es), New Mexico, about 18 miles from Clovis, NM – also Cannon AFB – and a little farther to Texas. Several girls in my dorm had come over the Texas line to attend ENMU. Portales is about a four-hour drive from Albuquerque, so it wasn’t somewhere where I could hop home very often.

 

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Photo credit Jimmy Emerson

 

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Photo credit Google search

 

I tend to be a “people person” so it would not have mattered too much to share a room in the dorm with someone new.

 

 

However, as God planned it, my best friend, Billie Ann, decided to attend ENMU as well, so we were roomies. Too many times, that situation can break apart a good friendship. I’m pleased to say that Billie and I continue to be super good friends to this day. Here’s a picture of Billie and me the first day at ENMU, before we headed off to church. We hadn’t even had time to unload our bedding and suitcases. (See…we wore those pointy-toed shoes back then! Nothing new here!)

 

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Back in high school, Billie’s older sister, Becky, Billie and I formed a singing trio. As a child, Becky had contracted polio, and wore braces on her legs, and walked with crutches. Billie and Becky are not very tall people, so it was funny to see us – two shorties and one tall girl in the middle. Actually, Billie played the piano for us, so she was sitting during our singing times. Becky and I sang along with her. We were actually pretty good – not bragging or anything, of course. Fred said he thought we could have cut records – but we never did.

Here is a picture of us at my house, during one of our rehearsals. I’m the tall one. Becky is 4’7″ tall, Billie is 4’9″ tall, and I am 5’6″! Can anyone say “Mutt and Jeff?”

 

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We did imitate some of the current trios, and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. I remember Moon Over Miami, Mr. Sandman, and several others.

However, back to ENMU – I was not a terribly good student in high school. And I really can’t remember why I didn’t apply to UNM right there in Albuquerque. But I didn’t, and so went to ENMU. It was a small town, and a fairly small campus, and my first experience with dormitory life. Interesting – and not one I cared to repeat. Fortunately, Billie and I returned to Albuquerque after one semester.

But I found the academics to be quite good, and felt that I learned quite a lot. I actually made good grades while there, but of course, Fred wasn’t there to distract me!

Billie and I attended the BSU on campus (Baptist Student Union), and made some good friends while in that organization.

It was a fun experience, and I’m glad I had that opportunity.

 

 

A friend who refreshes.

17 Sep

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, this month is extra special as you’ll be inspired by other voices with uplifting messages. Here is the first one from my friend Kolleen Lucariello. Enjoy!

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09-09-16 LucarielloAs we flip our calendars from August, ushering in September, we say farewell to our summer vacations and hello to the season of back-to-school, cooler temperatures of fall and one of the highlights of our home: football. Here’s another bonus of September: it’s also Women’s Friendship Month and I love the gift of friendship!

Recently I was reading in Acts about Paul and how difficult life had become for him. He was beaten, bound with chains, accused by the Jews, imprisoned, taken before councils and Rulers, and then eventually sent to Rome. I imagine by the time Paul boarded the ship to begin his journey to Rome he was a tired man; he’d endured a great deal. As I’m feeling bad for him, this verse jumps out at me: “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed” (Acts 27:3 AMP).

I simply adore the fact that Julius, the guard in charge, thought enough of Paul to recognize he needed the care and refreshment of his friends. That part of the story just blesses my heart because I’m so grateful for those who recognized when I needed the care and refreshment only a faithful friend could bring. While my journey, or your journey, may never look like Paul’s, it’s still possible for imprisonment to find us.

We might endure a prison of darkness when depression covers us like a thick heavy blanket. Or chained to a past we can’t seem to move away from. We may find ourselves standing before accusers—relentless in voicing their opinions while refusing to hear ours. Life is full of moments when the waters can become a turbulent sea.

That’s when we need our own Julius, the guard in our lives, to recognize our need for care and refreshment. Who is traveling your journey with you? Who is your guard in life that notices when you’re about to break? Who reaches out when you begin drifting away? We all need a guard like Julius, someone willing to stand by us, giving thoughtful consideration to our needs. And we all crave friends who bring care and refreshment to our lives. The ABCGirl said: Proverbs 11:25b promises, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (NIV).

 

Source: A friend who refreshes. | Janet Perez Eckles

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