Tag Archives: New Year

Happy New Year 2019

6 Jan


Judy Wills


I can hardly believe that another year has passed by – and it’s 2019 already!!  Remember all the “hoopla” that was made over Y2K (year 2000)?  None of that came to pass, and now it is 19 years past that!!  Amazing. My life is whizzing by!

In thinking of the new year, many random thoughts have come to my mind.  I would like to share some of them.

I wrote a post on December 29, 2013 (Memories of New Years Past) about the “watchnight” service that was held each New Year’s Eve at my home church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Lovely memory of home.

First Baptist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico Credit Google Search

Another memory of New Year’s Eve watchnight service was when Fred and I were in Wiesbaden, Germany.  That New Year’s Eve, the little church we were in was having a watchnight service, and they wanted to do a skit.  They needed an “old year” grownup, and a “new year” young child. They asked Fred to be the old year, and since our Karen was small, they thought she would be good for that.  Fred had a fake white beard and wig to wear. So as not to frighten Karen, we had Fred dress up in the wig and beard and then present himself to her.  She took one look at him and said, “Hi Daddy.” So much for the disguise!  We were quite amused.  (I thought I had a picture of the two of them, but unfortunately, I can’t find it.  Sorry)

Our church in Seaford, Virginia always had some type of watchnight service.  It wasn’t as elaborate as the one in Albuquerque – I don’t remember having a dinner or movie or games or anything.  But we did gather and prayed, shared thoughts for the new year, and frequently had the Lord’s Supper, or communion, as some call it.  Another sweet memory.  I do remember that the year Karen and Brian married (on December 30), that as we were sharing thoughts, I shared that I would have to learn to keep my mouth shut and be a good mother-in-law!

Seaford Baptist Church, Seaford, Virginia – oldest buildings

And that brings us to Orlando, Florida, where we now live.


Because Fred and I have had such good memories of watchnight services throughout our lives, we wanted to have a service at our current church.  We really thought most churches have a service of some sort, so the first year we were in our church here, we suggested to the pastor that the church have a watchnight service.  He wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, saying they had never had one before, but if we wanted to sponsor it, he approved.  And so we spread the word, that the church would have a watchnight service, beginning at 10:30 p.m. on that New Year’s Eve.  We arrived at the church at about 10:15 p.m. and got the church ready for the service.  And we waited….and we waited….and we waited….11:00 p.m. came and went…..11:30 p.m. came and went.  And not one other person arrived.  So we went home.  And we’ve not attempted to have another watchnight service in this church since. In a way, that hurts our hearts a bit, but then, we are now older, and enjoy being at home – and usually in bed asleep – when the clock hits 12:00 midnight each New Year.


I hope and pray that your new year is healthy and prosperous and full of the JOY OF THE LORD!


And so – HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019 from the Wills family!


May the God of hope fill you with all joyand peaceas you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hopeby the power of the Holy Spirit

Romans 15:13


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. 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

New Year 2016

4 Jan

My Take

DiVoran LItes

New Year 2016


Brother Lawrence in the classic The Practice of the Presence of God is quoted as having said, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.”

When we first moved to Florida, in 1965, our pastor, Peter Lord, talked about what morning devotionals did for him. His dear wife, Johnnie, taught her young married women’s Sunday School class to spend time with the Lord every day. She wanted us to know God and keep him in our lives and families.

One day, in a service, Pastor Lord suggested we write letters to God, I liked that because it helped get my troubles off my mind and into the hands of God. I went on to read many Christian books, and to buy big, blank journaling books. Several years ago I started sketching each day so I’d have an easy landmark to separate the days in case I wanted to find something later.

Now, well beyond the age of retirement, I take have an hour or so each morning to journal and be creative. I can’t begin to tell you how it settles me and keeps me going, no matter what is happening in our lives.

At the end of 2015 I started setting up devotional plans for 2016. I ordered a Bible verse, daily calendar so I can tear out the pages and put them in the journal for my landmark. Each day has two scriptures on it from which I may draw inspiration.

For 2016 I ordered a new set of pan paints, which I’ve always wanted. I have come to know that artful expressions of all kinds can be ways to focus on God and to praise him.

Our church gets, “The Upper Room,” and I’m also considering a subscription to, “Jesus in the Morning,” from Guideposts. Sometimes seeing scriptures and ideas juxtaposed can impart thrilling revelations.

I’ve also come across something new to me. It’s called Protestant Prayer Beads. The thought of using prayer beads made me a bit nervous, but I have to say I have liked the idea since I went to church catechism a few times with my dear friend from childhood. Something you can touch helps get you off the worry train and into green grasses. Apparently Christians used them to focus their prayers even before the rosary came along. I have ordered, A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads, by Kristen Vincent, (academy.upperroom.org.)

One of my favorite scriptures is: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” It seemed to be Johnnie Lord’s favorite, too. She said all solutions lie in the Holy Spirit Who is accessible to us.

Slowly, I’m seguing into new and exciting adventures with God. I love His promise never to leave me. (Hebrews 13:5) I know that my prayer request for peace in 1965 continually bears fruit.

Brother Lawrence https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brother_Lawrence

Safe in the Arms of Jesus 

Memories of New Year’s Past

29 Dec


 Judy Wills

Judy Wills

I guess I am just like most people when it comes to New Years – “I AM going to lose those _____ pounds this year!”  “I AM going to get the house in order!”  “I AM going to scan all those pictures and get them in an album!”  etc., etc., etc.

So, resolutions not-with-standing, what are my memories of New Years past?  I guess my favorite memory is of growing up in my church in Albuquerque.


For many years, on New Year’s Eve, the church would have a program that started about 6:00 p.m. with a dinner.  Now, this was a fairly large church, and we had a paid staff who made the meals every Wednesday evening, before the regular activities began.  And those ladies made the BEST dinner rolls!!!  Nothing I’ve ever been able to duplicate!

Anyway, dinner started at 6:00 p.m.  After that, I remember either a movie shown on a large screen in the sanctuary, or games.  Perhaps there were games for the smaller children – I just don’t remember.  But then there was a time of “remembrance” or sharing.  Just being thankful for the year that was passing away, and looking forward to the new one approaching.

But the best thing about the entire evening, was that, after the sharing time, we would – literally – ring the outer edges of the sanctuary, holding hands to make a funny-shaped circle, and pray in the New Year.  We could hear the fireworks going off, and people yelling outside the church building.  But inside, we were asking God to bless the New Year, and us in it, and our part of it.  It was an extremely wonderful time.

And then I remember some New Year’s Eve’s in our small church in Virginia.  We would gather for a time of sharing and remembrance, then share the Lord’s Supper together, and then pray in the New Year.  The pastor would try to do the Lord’s Supper differently some times, to make it more meaningful for us.  I remember a time when he had a loaf of bread, and we pinched off our own little piece.  I also remember a time when there was a community cup for each family to share the “wine” (grape juice in the Baptist church!).


But in all the memories I have, it always culminated with prayer for the New Year.  And I can’t think of a better way to start any New Year, than asking God’s blessings upon it.

May YOUR New Year be blessed beyond measure.

Five Keys to Make This New Year Happy

28 Dec

“We play games every night,” my friend said. “We’re miles apart but we spend time enjoying a game online. It’s great fun.” Imagine that. Sharing time online, playing, enjoying and connecting with loved ones without having to hop in an airplane.

“How cool is that!” I said. “It’s like being close to the person, interacting and enjoying the cyberspace company.” I pondered on what my friend shared. And since I have the habit of trying out what I hear is fun, interesting or enjoyable, I decided to check out this new pass-time.

Sadly, I lack the time to play games. So I thought I’d try my own version of online connection. I’d connect with God, with His Word and with His guidance on a more intimate level.

Here are five ways I plan to connect with Him in the cyberspace of His love.

1. When He makes the first move to open the door to serve Him, I respond with no reservations.

2. When He moves a tough situation my way, I respond by seeing the possibilities, not the obstacles.

3. When He makes the move to bless me, I’m quick to move into the gratitude mode.

4. When He seems silent and makes no move to answer my prayer, I respond with gratitude anyway.

5. When He moves, displaying His discipline, I respond with requests for wisdom to learn.

Maybe I’ll begin that game before the New Year. I’ll make the first move: “…Cast my cares on the LORD…” and He will respond with His promise: “He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22).

Father, for this New Year, I plan the online connection with you to be rich, my efforts to be rewarding and my satisfaction, profound. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• With whom are you connecting lately?

• Who brings the satisfaction that fills your soul?

• What new connections will this New Year bring?


Janet Perez Eckles,

Grateful for the privilege of inspiring you…

My website in English

En Español

My story (video)

Inspirational video  just for you.

Calendar Choices

7 Jan

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

The calendars in the bookstores are on sale now, but we bought ours before Christmas. It may not have been the smartest shopping choice, but one year we waited for the sale and the ones we wanted were all gone.

We bought the Audubon Engagement Calendar with a nature photograph every week. We also got, Live, Love, Dream which has helpful quotation and has pages small enough to glue into my journal every day. I’m crazy about journals and about helpful quotations.

Audubon calendar buyers get a free page a day calendar for 2013, and I chose a Bible version. Sometimes my friends like a Bible verse on Face Book. Besides, as helpful as the helpful quotations may be they can’t deliver the dimension scriptures can.

A long time ago our pastor suggested we try writing out Bible verses as if God was talking directly to us. Almost any verse will bring the Holy Spirit up close and personal. Sometimes I keep on writing in my journal after I finish with the verse. I’m surprised when I go back and read it again, Hey that sounds like God and not like me. It’s so cool!

Here’s a sample:

My Dear Child, I love you. You are unique and special to me. Here is something I deeply desire for you to have: May Christ, through your faith, actually dwell—settle down, abide, make His permanent home—in your heart. May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. Ephesians 3:17 (Amplified Bible)

The Message uses the phrase: “the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.” What does your version say? Try it, you’ll like it.



30 Dec


 Judy Wills




When Karen, our oldest daughter, was still quite young, we were stationed, through the US Air Force, in Wiesbaden, West Germany.  We had joined an English-speaking Baptist church there.  One year, the church decided to hold a New Year’s Eve evenand they needed a “Father Time” (old year) and a New Year’s baby.

 Our little Karen was just about the right age and size to be the New Year, and they asked us if she could do that.  We agreed.  And, so she wouldn’t be traumatize, they asked Fred to be the old year.  He was to wear a “toga” along with a white beard and white wig. We were concerned that Karen would still be frightened by this strange looking man with a tall stick.  So we had Fred dress up in his costume, and present himself to her before the program.  She looked up at him and said, “Hi Daddy!”  So much for a disguise!The program was a lot of fun, and the church group enjoyed themselves.

While we had never seen a drunk German, we were still a little apprehensive on our drive home late that night.  Yes, there was a lot of fireworks, and a lot of reveling all around, but nothing too drastic.  Along the way, as Fred drove very carefully, we spotted an older gentleman on the sidewalk.  Fred slowed down,  just in case this gentleman decided he needed to walk in the street.  The man stopped, looked at us, and tipped his hat at us!  Then he was on his way.  We waved at him and thought how remarkable it was.

We’ve remembered that courtesy all these years.  Such fond memories.

%d bloggers like this: