Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Thanksgiving Weekend Report

November 29th, 2014

For the post-Thanksgiving shoppers and travelers, I have received this weather report from my in-house weather reporter.

Looking ahead to Saturday and Sunday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire country, with increased stuffiness around the beltways. During the evening Saturday, the turkey will continue to diminish and taper off, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone. Enjoy!

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Tamara who?
Tamara we’ll have turkey leftovers!

Attitude of Gratitude

November 27th, 2014

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

I’ve nearly completed my first 2 months in Reno, Nevada after leaving the beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida area. And if I’m honest I can’t say I’ve been exactly “abounding in thanksgiving” over the last several weeks. No. In fact, “abounding in grumbling” may be the more accurate phrase to describe my disposition at times. I’ve grumbled about the weather and climate mostly. None of this grumbling, however, has changed anything. And, most importantly, it’s not pretty on anybody.

To help combat this grumbling, I decided to spend yesterday in a mode of thanksgiving. You’ve probably practiced this exercise many times as well: go from person-to-person and highlight things you’re thankful for. After all, it’s tough to grumble when you pause to consider the many blessings in your life. So, I practiced this with each of my patients.

While I voiced gratitude for God generally, I failed to highlight anything specific that cause me to “abound in thanksgiving.” Driving home afterward I found myself thinking, “What is it about God that I am most grateful for?”

One attribute that floods my heart is His promise found in Romans 8:28, the fact that He orchestrates everything in my life for His glory and my good. Thank goodness, because circumstances do not work together for good themselves and I need His help! LOL

This Thanksgiving holiday I want me, my family and our friends to be “abounding in thanksgiving.” And for this to happen we need to be specific for what attributes we’re thankful for. Perhaps you’ll recall His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness (for being grumpy), patience or sweet providence. For this I am most grateful.

May the beauty and blessings of Thanksgiving bring warmth and peace to your home this season.




Sunday in California

November 24th, 2014

This Sunday I felt compelled to leave Nevada, cross Donner’s Pass and descend upon Sacramento, the capital city of California.

I drove into downtown, before going to my hostel, and parked directly in front St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Barbara led a tour of this historic church which proved to be the perfect starting point for my weekend. The church’s architecture is modeled after that of the Old Mission of Santa Barbara. The interior is a blend of Renaissance and Baroque styles; over 40 stained-glass windows from Austria, and numerous murals decorate the ceilings and walls, portraying more than 120 saints and Biblical scenes. The beautiful carved wooden staircase, railing and choir loft are repurposed wood from the 1906 remodeling of the State Capitol Building. The church’s bell, cast in New York in 1859, continues to toll daily. Besides being beautiful to look at, there’s a real palpable sense of the Spirit in the church that can’t be explained. It was a pleasure to spend time there.

Across the street from St. Francis Parish is Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. John Sutter was a Swiss immigrant that fled Europe to escape debt and set upon a series of adventures that ranged from Missouri and Santa Fe to Hawaii and Alaska, Sutter finally made it to California and arrived in Sacramento in the late fall of 1839 and built “Sutter’s Fort”. He was a perplexing man and it surprised me that the state of California would honor his by restoring his fort. Sutter was a visionary, swindler, soldier, debtor, friend and foe to the Indians, patriarch and victim. After all that, he fled his fort and died in Pennsylvania, far from the community he helped to create.

I was ready for a nap before dinner and decided to head for my hostel. I was lucky to get booked into the Llewellyn Williams Mansion, now a beautifully restored hostel in the heart of downtown. Maine native Williams arrived in Sacramento in 1850 and quickly became one of Sacramento’s most successful businessmen. The mansion is a step back in time full of historic appeal as I climbed the steps to the wrap around veranda and entered through the grand entry, looked up at the vaulted ceilings, wood paneling, chandeliers, painted glass skylight, and hand-painted tile work.

After a satisfying dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, I drove with anticipation to see the Global Winter Wonderland light display. I’ve been to many Christmas Light displays over the years, but the Global Winter Wonderland is a spectacular world of enormous colorful hand-sewn silk lanterns and fantasy. It doesn’t all have to do with Christmas, but it is so fantastic that I was giddy and unsure of what to look at first! http://www.globalwonderland.com/public/things-to-do/worlds-of-light/index.cfm A family could easily spend several nights attending shows, riding the rides, etc.

Before leaving I wanted to visit the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and the State Capital Building and park in downtown. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, built in 1887, is one of the largest cathedrals west of the Mississippi. Modeled after the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris it has an Italian Renaissance exterior and exceptional Victorian interior. While breathtaking, it lacked the intimate feeling of St. Francis Parish.

To finish my visit, I spent time at the Capital Building and park. The Capital is based on the U.S. Capital building in DC and set in a lovely, tree-filled park complete with a rose garden. At the base of the portico, seven granite archways brace and support the porch above. I have been to DC and think this was even more impressive. Maybe it was the setting with the large cedars surrounding it, the portrait of George Washington below the State Seal or the gilded Corinthian columns. Anyone entering the chambers would feel compelled to lofty thoughts.

If the weather holds well enough to make it over the pass again, I would like to spend more time enjoying the natural beauty, the history and visiting the museums of Sacramento that I didn’t get to on this short trip. Enjoy my photos at: http://emiling.com/photos/California/






Life Lesson: Why Congregate?

November 20th, 2014

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Last week someone observed that I make a point of finding a church home wherever I travel. And they wondered why I did that instead of simply watching Charles Stanley. I like Dr. Stanley’s televised teachings, however the writer of Hebrews knew that his audience were Jewish Christians struggling with how to incorporate their Jewish heritage into their walk with Christ. Therefore he spends a lot of time explaining the importance of fellowship.

That was difficult for them to accept because Jews were used to participating in a variety of ceremonial washings and offerings to be cleansed from sin, going directly to God was a challenge to their way of thinking. Not only that, but they were instructed to help one another, meet together and to watch out for each other’s faith, knowing that without encouragement they would tend to drift. Sound familiar?

God wants us to regularly meet with other believers. He wants His people in church! How many times I’ve witnessed to people telling me they can worship God at home. They don’t need to go to church. But worship isn’t the only reason we are commanded to meet, otherwise they would have a good argument. And it’s not just to learn the Word, because we can do that through technology. The reason is to safeguard against drifting.

Face it, humans are easily distracted. Very few people have the strength to stay committed. At time we feel like our faith makes little difference. We don’t see the fruit of our labors in our lives and don’t seem to be making a difference. That’s when it’s tempting to pull up anchor and drift … isn’t everybody else?

That’s when we need to drag ourselves to church and discover we’re not alone. The accountability and encouragement found in church anchors us against the tides that work to sweep us away. To neglect the regular assembly of fellow believers is to miss out on this essential element in the development of our faith.

I hope you have a church that is encouraging you to cling to the hope that is in you. If not, I recommend you visit another church that demonstrates God’s love with encouragement.



Last Wishes

November 16th, 2014

There’s a kind, elderly man who is near the end of life in my facility right now. The other day I walked by his room and he was surrounded by his nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons, and they all understand the end is near. As I was assisting someone else in the hallway, I heard him say to them:

“Bernie, I want you to take the houses north of the Truckee River.”

“Sybil, take the apartments over in Carson City.”

“Hymie, I want you to take the offices over in Tahoe.”

“Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings downtown Reno.”

The nurse was blown away by his words, and she whispered to comfort the wife, “Mrs. Schwartz, your husband must have been such a hard working man to have accumulated so much property.”

Sarah replied, “Property shmoperty! He had a newspaper route.”


Life Lesson: How Can I Be More Faithful

November 13th, 2014

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:11-12

Do you want to see the favor of God blossom in your life? I do, and Hebrews offers great advice on how to achieve that goal through diligence. Remember when God told Abraham he would have a son, even though Sarah was nearly 90 years old? And then was asked to sacrifice the son for whom he had waited? Abraham was faithful and blessed for his devotion. I thought it was hard enough to wait three months for my Nevada state license, let alone 90 years for a child!

This experience made me wonder, how can we can learn from that faithfulness in our attempts to pursue God with diligence?

Set clear goals: Olympic athletes don’t begin with a vague notion of becoming an Olympian. Each step requires them to work for a faster time, or improved technique.

Be patient: When cellist Pablo Casals was 95 a young reporter asked him, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?” Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”

Be willing to take risks: We’re need to exercise trust despite our limited understanding. It reminds me of the old saying, a turtle makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. LOL

Be persistent: If God’s given you a clearly defined goal and you sincerely believe it to be His will, don’t let doubt defeat you. Keep at it and don’t give up, you may be greatly surprised at the results.

Be flexible: Remember that the process is the greatest learning experience we have. Learn from mistakes and move on.

Basically, we can be more faithful by being the kind of people that honor Him by consistently acting on our faith through actions and love.


Veteran’s Day

November 11th, 2014

Veterans Day was created to honor and pay respect to all the men and women that have served our nation. The holiday was originally called “Armistice Day” and was first celebrated Nov. 11, 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of World War I. But it was not until 1926 that Congress passed a resolution to observe the day and it became a national holiday in 1938. Curious about when Armistice Day became Veterans Day? In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the appropriate legislation to have the name changed to ensure every individual that served in all American wars would be celebrated.

Below are a few poems to honor the military:

Joanna Fuchs, ‘Take A Moment To Thank A Veteran’ When you see someone in a uniform, Someone who serves us all, Doing military duty, Answering their country’s call, Take a moment to thank them For protecting what you hold dear; Tell them you are proud of them; Make it very clear. Just tap them on the shoulder, Give a smile, and say, “Thanks for what you’re doing To keep us safe in the USA!”

Laurence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’ They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

Philip Freneau But fame is theirs – and future days On pillar’d brass shall tell their praise; Shall tell – when cold neglect is dead – “These for their country fought and bled.”


Sunday in Nevada

November 9th, 2014

When I lived in South Florida I used to tell visitors stories about the heroic Barefoot Mailman. Today I met his match in Genoa, NV. A mailman on snowshoes! The legendary skiing mailman of the Sierra Nevada, John “Snowshoe” Thompson. When it came to traveling in the wintry mountains, he was the precursor of the pack train, the stagecoach and 18 years before the railroad.

After the Gold Rush there was a demand for mail between California and the eastern United States. The result was a lucrative, but dangerous mail contract worth $14,000 a year when two men took on the job in 1851. It took them 16 days to pack the mail by mule 910 miles from Sacramento to Salt Lake City. In order to cross the Sierra wooden mauls were needed to beat down the snow to create a trail for the pack animals. It was exhausting work and became deadly when Indians killed Woodward in November 1851.

During December 1851 and January 1852 brutal blizzards and deep snow in the Sierra turned him back. By February, the mail was rerouted, but the detour increased the harrowing journey to 60 days, which proved too much for man and beast. The communities in western Utah Territory (present-day Nevada) were then effectively cut-off from any communication and supplies during the winter months.

Newspapers published accounts of the dangerous and failed attempts to carry the mail over the mountains during the winter, but it seemed there was nothing anyone could do. In 1855 Thompson saw an ad published in the Sacramento Union: Uncle Sam Needs Carrier. The Placerville postmaster needed someone to carry the overland mail 90 miles east, up and over the Sierra range to the Carson Valley, in the dead of winter. There weren’t any takers until Thompson, whose father had made him “snow-shoes” to ski to school as a child in Norway, decided to answer the call to duty.

Thompson answered the ad and offered to haul the mail over the rugged High Sierra. No one in the region had seen skis before Thompson showed them his homemade long boards and single brake pole. On his first attempt from the snowline above Placerville over to Carson Valley, his rucksack was packed with letters and packages. The hefty load weighed between 60 and 80 pounds. Initially Thompson’s friends and neighbors feared that he wouldn’t survive, but the skiing mailman conquered the hazardous journey in just three days. The return trip up and over the Sierra’s eastern escarpment took only 48 hours.

At least twice a month for 20 years, Snowshoe Thompson hauled his heavy rucksack through the mountains. Fair skies or storm, rain or snow, Snowshoe Thompson always delivered. For personal protection, he carried only matches, some beef jerky, crackers and biscuits — no blanket, no gun, no camping gear or compass. He wore a simple Mackinaw jacket, a wide brimmed hat, and smudged his cheekbones with charcoal to prevent snow blindness. Thompson rarely stopped to rest and sometimes built a fire for heat, but when a blizzard made that impossible, he danced a jig on a flat rock to stay warm. Thompson preferred to ski at dawn and dusk when the snow was hard, crusted and very fast. He navigated in the dark using the stars as a compass and he judged his progress and elevation by observing rock formations along the route.

Snowshoe Thompson died on May 15, 1876, at age 49, from appendicitis and is buried in the historic Genoa cemetery. Three months before his death a journalist interviewed Snowshoe. He asked Thompson whether he had ever lost his way in the mountains. “No,” Snowshoe quietly replied, “I was never lost. There is no danger of getting lost in a narrow range of mountains like the Sierra, if a man has his wits about him.” Wow!

Famous Snowshoe Mailman

Famous Snowshoe Mailman

Hymnal Funnies

November 9th, 2014

How well do you know your hymns? I hope these help start your week with a joyful heart!

Dentist’s Hymn ………………………….Crown Him with Many Crowns

Weatherman’s Hymn …………………There Shall Be Showers of Blessings

Contractor’s Hymn ……………………The Church’s One Foundation

The Tailor’s Hymn ……………………..Holy, Holy, Holy

The Golfer’s Hymn …………………….There’s a Green Hill Far Away

The Politician’s Hymn. ……………….Standing on the Promises

Optometrist’s Hymn …………………..Open My Eyes That I Might See

The IRS Agent’s Hymn ………………..I Surrender All

The Gossip’s Hymn …………………….Pass It On

The Electrician’s Hymn ……………….Send The Light

The Shopper’s Hymn …………………..Sweet Bye and Bye

The Realtor’s Hymn. …………………….I’ve Got a Mansion Just over the Hilltop

The Massage Therapists Hymn …….He Touched Me

The Doctor’s Hymn ……………………….The Great Physician

And for those who speed on the highway – a few hymns:

45mph ……………….God Will Take Care of You

65mph ……………….Nearer My God To Thee

85mph ……………….This World Is Not My Home

95mph ………………..Lord, I’m Coming Home

100mph ………………Precious Memories


Life Lesson: What If?

November 6th, 2014

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, your mind wandering and ponder the devastating “What If?” Everything seems more devastating in the middle of the night. And you lay there and wonder, what if I’m not pleasing to God. What if there’s a barrier between us? What if I’m not really saved?

As Christians we never have to wonder. There is never the uncertainty of being accepted, because we’re served by a loving God. Hebrews 1:3 assures us that Jesus purged our sins, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Take heart, there are no more “What Ifs” for the person who has believed in Jesus Christ. Your salvation is secure. When you feel the late night tremble, remind yourself that you can trust Him because He will never fail you. Amen!


Which Branch is The Best?

November 4th, 2014

A Soldier, a Sailor, an Airman, and a Marine got into an argument about which service was “The Best.” The arguing became so heated, that they eventually ended up killing each other. Soon thereafter, they found themselves at the Pearly Gates of Heaven. There they met St. Peter and decided that only he was the ultimate source of truth and honesty. They asked him, “St Peter, which branch of the American Armed Forces is the best?”

St. Peter instantly replies, “I can’t answer that. But, I will ask God what he thinks the next time I see him.”

Some time later the four saw St. Peter again. They reminded him of the question and asked if he was able to find the answer. Suddenly, a sparkling white dove landed on St. Peter’s shoulder. In the dove’s beak was a note with glistening gold dust.

St. Peter said to the four men, “Your answer from the Boss… Let’s see what he says.” St. Peter opened the note – trumpets blared, gold dust drifted into the air, harps played crescendos and St. Peter began to read it aloud to the four young men.




SUBJECT: Which Military Service is the Best?

Gentlemen, all the Branches of the Armed Services are “honorable and noble.” Each of you serves your country well and with distinction. Being a member of the American Armed Forces represents a special calling warranting special respect, tribute, and dedication. Be proud of that.

Very Respectfully

(Go Navy!!)

Life Lesson: Importance of Scripture

November 1st, 2014

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Before I continue further with this series, I wanted to address a question. Someone asked me why I write about the Bible. My answer is because the Bible applies to everyone in every culture, in every age, and in every walk of life. It’s God’s manual that reveals the mind and ways of God so each of us may know and experience His blessings.

The Bible is God’s written record of His works through the ages. It provides evidence of His plan and purposes so we can confidently place our faith in Him. Because we have the Bible, we aren’t left to our own imaginative guesswork. We know how well that would work.

Through the Holy Spirit, the Bible enlightens each of us to recognize personal sin, the need for salvation, and the best possible life. Without the Bible informing us, we would be unable to know and follow God.

The Bible also guides us with an advantage in every department of life: family, business, and social relationships. It reflects God’s wisdom, and when we abide by His teachings, we are blessed in all areas.

That is why I write about the Bible, because it’s a book for everyone in every walk of life. It’s revelation, inspiration and communication of God our Father.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.