Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Saturday in Michigan

March 29th, 2015

I expected this to be a “Sunday in Michigan” edition, however Mother Nature had other ideas and decided to snow on my parade. That’s fine, I met up for family fun at Tahquamenon Falls on Saturday which was fantastic.

Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub. Located at the Upper Falls area where we met for a hearty meal pre-hike.

Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub. Located at the Upper Falls area where we met for a hearty meal pre-hike.

A local tradition, whitefish from the very cold waters of Lake Superior.

A local tradition, whitefish from the very cold waters of Lake Superior.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is the second largest Michigan state park covering over 46,000 acres including two waterfalls. The Tahquamenon Falls include a single 200-foot wide, 50-foot drop “Upper Falls”. During the late-spring runoff, the river drains as much as 50,000 U.S. gallons of water per second, making the upper falls the second most voluminous vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi, after only Niagara Falls. The winter snow and icicles surrounding the falls were very beautiful.

We walked the 1/4 trail through the woods from the Tahquamenon Brewery to the Upper Falls.

We walked the 1/4 trail through the woods from the Tahquamenon Brewery to the Upper Falls.

The walk from the parking lot to the Upper Falls is 1/4 mile. This is from the first overlook.

The walk from the parking lot to the Upper Falls is 1/4 mile. This is from the first overlook.

The Upper Falls from the second overlook.

The Upper Falls from the second overlook.

At the end of the 1/4 mile hike there are 94 stairs down to the viewing platform. This view is quite a reward!

At the end of the 1/4 mile hike there are 94 stairs down to the viewing platform. This view is quite a reward!

The “Lower Falls”, located four miles downstream, are a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island which can be reached by rowboat. A hiking trail runs between the falls along the riverside, or take a seasonal shuttle service between the two.

The Tahquamenon "Lower Falls" during my visit last summer.

The Tahquamenon “Lower Falls” during my visit last summer.

Tahquamenon Falls is also called “Rootbeer Falls” because of its golden-brown color, caused by tannins from cedar swamps that drain into the river. In winter, the ice that accumulates around and in the falls is often colored in shades of green and blue.

The Brewery makes homemade root beer to keep with the theme of the "Root Beer" falls.

The Brewery makes homemade root beer to keep with the theme of the “Root Beer” falls.

Giant icicles along the river bank. Can you believe they've been melting and it's the end of March?

Giant icicles along the river bank. Can you believe they’ve been melting and it’s the end of March?

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!

I can't wait until Gracie gets old enough to make snow angels with me.

I can’t wait until Gracie gets old enough to make snow angels with me.

At Tahquamenon Falls where the temps were subzero but our hearts were warm.

At Tahquamenon Falls where the temps were subzero but our hearts were warm.

Friday Funnies

March 27th, 2015

July 25 – Visited Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula with my brother Vaughn. It’s so beautiful here. The falls in the woods look so majestic. I can hardly wait to come for a longer visit. I’m going to love northern Michigan!

Me and my brother Vaughn in front of Tahquamenon Upper Falls having great sibling time.

Me and my brother Vaughn in front of Tahquamenon Upper Falls having great sibling time.

February 9 – Moved to my new home in Munising, Michigan. It’s so beautifully white here. The very frozen Lake Superior looks so majestic. It’s snow covered. I’m going to learn to love it here!

Munising snowmobile road onto Lake Superior to their fish houses

Munising snowmobile road onto Lake Superior to their fish houses

February 14 – Went for a ride to Marquette to see the dogs cross the finish line of the UP200 Sled Dog Race while sipping hot chocolate. The dogs are amazing athletes having just endured going through a blizzard for the past 24 hours. Certainly they are the most hardy animals on earth. The UP is definitely the most exciting cold place on earth! The pines are all covered in fluffy white snow making this a magical place. This must be paradise, I LOVE IT HERE!!

UP200 winning team 4

February 21 – Snowing heavily creating an igloo effect in my cottage. I get to spend time perfecting my still life photography over the weekend. I love it here. The snow drifts look like rich shag carpet. HOW BEAUTIFUL. Shoveling the porch will be an opportunity for invigorating exercise in the cool crisp air Monday morning.

February 23 – Ah, more snow and more exercise.

February 26 – Good grief, still more snow. Guess it’s best to wait until it’s done falling overnight before I shovel again. Where is all this snow coming from? My right thumb is white and numb. Should probably remember to wear gloves.

 

The view I had from inside my cottage  before shoveling myself out this morning.

The view I had from inside my cottage before shoveling myself out this morning.

February 27 – Had a strong wind off the lake last night and my porch is covered again even though we didn’t have new snowfall. Oh well, maybe the wind will shift and blow it away from the door. Otherwise shoveling will just have to wait until after work.

February 28 – It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed deeper in white. It looks like a postcard. I went outside and shoveled the porch so I could clean the snow off the car. Then the snowplow came by and I had to shovel the end of the driveway again.

February 29 – What a beautiful place the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is on a crisp winter day. Drove to Trenary to see the Outhouse Classic with 3,999 of my closest strangers and had a fantastic time! My toes are numb from standing in the snowbank, but I’m loving it here. I even learned a good lesson today. You should ALWAYS keep your tap running so your pipes don’t freeze like mine did. Time to call the plumber.

The Magic Stool outhouse with Spiderman running by.

The Magic Stool outhouse with Spiderman running by.

March 4 – Still more snow last night, but I suppose I needed some more exercise. I’m loving it here, but I’m tiring from shoveling morning and night. As if dealing with the snow wasn’t bad enough, now I’m getting blisters on my hands from shoveling. (I must remember to wear gloves) I think the snowplow hides around the corner and waits until I’m finished shoveling the driveway. Jerk.

March 6 – So happy this morning as I look out and realized it didn’t snow last night. I don’t have to shovel my way to the car and wipe the car free of snow. Then I look at the end of the driveway. Seems I won’t be getting to work without shoveling after all. If I ever get my hands on the snowplow driver, I swear I’ll smack him. Don’t know why they don’t use more salt on the roads to melt the ice. Sand even!

March 8 – More white fluffy snow today keeping me from driving to see the Eben Ice Caves. Have been inside for two days except for shoveling out the driveway so the plow can go by. My hands are frozen. Co-workers think it’s just a mild case of frost bite, disfiguration is probably only temporary. My little green Kia is nearly stuck in a mountain of white. The weatherman says this is the last of it and says snow total for the week was 10 inches. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10 inches is?

March 20 – Finally got out of the house to hike Wagner Falls and Valley Spur today. It felt so fantastic to get outside and stretch my legs. On the way home I passed the garage in town. Cars and trucks are rusting out from all the salt they put all over the roads.

Munising Valley Spur Trail 5

March 25, 26 and 27 – The weatherman was wrong. We got 6 inches of new snow and it’s still snowing, very chilly and windy. At this rate I’ll never get to turn off my water and the snow won’t melt until summer…and I’ll be gone by then. The plow got stuck up the road and the driver came to the door early this morning. He wanted to borrow a shovel. After I told him I’d already broken six of them shoveling all the snow he pushed into the driveway, I broke my last one on his head.

All I can do is shake my head and laugh thinking about how I would be at the Palm Beach Yacht show if I were in Florida this weekend. How could it be that sunny and warm somewhere when I’m still up to my thighs in snow?!

137 Superyacht Bread seen at the Annual Palm Beach Yacht show

137 Superyacht Bread seen at the Palm Beach Yacht show

March 28 – Meeting at Tahquamenon Falls with my brother for a winter perspective. It’s so beautiful here. The falls in the winter are going to look so majestic. I can hardly wait to return for a summer visit. I’m going to love northern Michigan in the summer!

 

 

Lenten Roads: Trials and Temptations

March 25th, 2015

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

For some reason I woke up remembering a time last year I was sitting in my Maine living room reading the news about a train derailment that had taken place in Lynchburg, Virginia.

It happened right outside a restaurant and I could imagine the servers and patrons looking out of the window in horror. You may remember the story. No one was injured in the derailment and the world kept turning. (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/04/incredible-images-of-train-derailment-in-lynchburg-virginia/)

What struck me about the story was the way people dealt with this challenge showed their true character. Despite the uncertainty of the situation, according to the news people were helping others to safety, even though doing so had the potential to cost them their own lives. Everyone worked together to get all the people in the vicinity safely away.

How we act under pressure shows our faith’s true character. Despite dangers we encounter in our lives we don’t need to be afraid. We’re never alone. We can have inner peace knowing God is always with us.

You can weather life’s storms knowing Jesus knows what it’s like to be tested, and He is always with you. You can trust that God will use the trials in your life to make you stronger according to His plan for you.

Sunday in Michigan

March 22nd, 2015

This weekend I decided to bundle up and take a few winter hikes. The first was a short, easy access boardwalk hike to view Wagner Falls. Even though it’s winter the 20 foot falls are stunning. It’s easy to imagine how outstanding it would be during the Fall season. Note the snow depth compared to the height of the boardwalk railings. I was walking even with the highest railing even after a week of snow melting weather.

Wagner Falls boardwalk and creek

Wagner Falls boardwalk and creek

Wagner Falls 20' drop

Wagner Falls 20′ drop

Five miles south of Wagner Falls, in the Hiawatha National Forest, is a popular cross country skiing destination, Valley Spur. Open 24 hours a day, the 27 miles of trails through the woods are groomed daily during the winter months and are a truly unique skiing and snowshoeing experience. It was perfectly peaceful and serene walking among the hemlock. http://valleyspur.org/

Valley Spur pond on trail "B"

Valley Spur pond on trail “B”

Munising Valley Spur Trail 5

My last short hike of the weekend was in town to view the Munising Rear Range Light. Established in 1908, the Munising Rear Range Light shines a continuous red light, is painted white and stands 33 feet tall. The Rear Range Light works with the Munising Front Range Light to project a line of light out into Lake Superior in order to guide boats from the open lake into the safe harbor at Munising.

Munising Front Range Light

Munising Front Range Light

Munising Rear Range Light

Munising Rear Range Light

I’m choosing to enjoy winter’s beauty. I’m realizing what I’ve missed for years. I’ve waken to find branches bent low under heavy weight of snow. I’ve tromped out into the frosty air to knock snow off the branches and my car.

I agree winter in the Upper Peninsula isn’t for the faint of heart. Winter’s inevitable cold and darkness only add insult to injury. There are mornings where the air made my face and pipes freeze. Yet, there’s a unique beauty that is more of a nuance, but it’s there.

I made a choice to enjoy it. I could have hunkered down, begrudging the subzero temperatures and waited for it to pass, but I choose to get outside and ponder its quiet miracles. I’ve learned enjoying winter is a choice I remind myself of each day as I get out my camera and open my eyes. I start looking for those quiet miracles and come home to write them down. Enjoy!

Friday Funnies

March 20th, 2015

Exchange your shivers for some giggles as we celebrate the spring season with silly Spring jokes:

Q: What season is it when you are on a trampoline? A.  Spring-time!

Spring is always eagerly awaited after the long, cold winters. When I arrived at work Wednesday, I noticed a sign gaily decorated with flowers and butterflies. It read: “Think Spring.” Yesterday it was bitter and today, the first day of Spring is supposed to blow in with a freezing temperatures, however, and another flowery sign was posted. This time the message read: “Forget Spring. Think Summer.”

A man had spent the late winter months waiting impatiently for signs of spring. When the first warm, sunny Saturday arrived, he eagerly unlocked the storm door and stepped onto the patio deck. He was pleased by the sight of green sprouts and the sounds of singing birds. More than anything else, he delighted in the sweet aroma of the spring air. Knocking on the kitchen window, he beckoned to his wife to join him in enjoying the pleasures of the season. She quietly brought him back to earth when she reminded him that he was standing over the dryer vent, inhaling the scent of fabric softener!

Four high school boys afflicted with Spring fever skipped morning classes. After lunch they reported to the teacher that they had a flat tire. Much to their relief she smiled and said, “Well, you missed a test today so take seats apart from one another and take out a piece of paper.” Still smiling, she waited for them to sit down. Then she said: “First Question: Which tire was flat?”

Lenten Roads: Going Solo

March 18th, 2015

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted” Psalm 116:8-10a

I might best describe my life as a series of physical, emotional and spiritual journeys. The most significant of these journeys has been as a solo traveler. The phrase, “He had to walk it by himself,” from the hymn Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley reminds me that because Jesus walked the lonesome valley we never have to feel alone.

Over the past year I’ve experienced the tension of loneliness as both burden and gift. Aloneness through the death of a loved one, and career disappointments have transformed by relationship with Jesus. In order to stay on course I realized quickly I must nurture an authentic relationship with the One whose journey leads mine.

Lonely no more, we can thank the Lord for hearing our cries and for His extravagant love. It’s with boldness and faith that enable us to trust in Him to always be there as close as the air we breathe. Have courage knowing He is ready to comfort you during this Lenten season and every season of your life.

Saint Patrick’s Day

March 17th, 2015

Saint Patrick’s Day isn’t about turning rivers green, it’s a cultural and religious celebration of the foremost patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. Celebrations typically include parades, wearing green and exchanging Shamrocks. Since I can’t do any of those here, I hope you’ll accept an exchange of Irish jokes to make you merry.

Why did the Irishman iron his Shamrock? He wanted to press his luck!

*************************************************************

Even though O’Malley was an experienced scuba diver, he finally got an answer to a question that annoyed him for years. Out on a dive he asked his friend Murphy, “Why do scuba divers always fall backwards off their boats?” Murphy replied, “If they fell forwards they’d still be in the boat.”

*****************************************************************

Little Paddy was listening to a long and excessively boring sermon in church. Suddenly the red sanctuary lamp caught his eye. Tugging his father’s sleeve, he said, “Daddy, when the light turns green can we go?”

*****************************************************************

A Dublin wife was keeping a close eye on her new neighbors. “They seem perfectly devoted to each other.” She told her husband of many years. “He kisses her every time he goes out and even blows her a kiss from the sidewalk. Why don’t you do that?” “But I hardly know the woman.” Ryan replied

May your purse always hold a coin or two. May the sun always shine on your windowpane. May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you. And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel … and Pi

March 14th, 2015

Today is Pi Day (3.14.15). That means today isn’t just transcendental or irrational, it’s mathematical and there’s pie! That’s all the encouragement I needed to head to Lagniappe Cajun Creole restaurant in Marquette for a slice of delicious Mississippi Mud Pie that transcended all rational thoughts. I can’t wait to go back for the frog legs or jambalaya. http://marquettecajun.com/

Marvelous Mississippi Mud Pie

Marvelous Mississippi Mud Pie

Lagniappe Cajun Creole Restaurant

Lagniappe Cajun Creole Restaurant

As if the Pi wasn’t sweet enough to put me into diabetic coma, I went to see the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was like visiting old friends with a familiar comfort. I’ve been waiting for this film since the day I saw the original Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And it was lovely and amusing.

This film allows viewers to reunite with the incredible cast and their charming characters, which made the first film such a hit. The action picks up a few months after the story in the first film ended, with the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel doing well, and some of its mature long-term residents beginning or contemplating new romantic relationships and even jobs in their new hometown of Jaipur, India

Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) are the highlight of the film for me and seeing their tentative romance unfold is a joy to watch. Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) also comes to the forefront of this film, providing her expected acerbic, hilarious one-liners but with the film also allowing you to see a softer side to her, which comes to a particularly emotional point at the film’s conclusion. Those three were the real highlights of the film, but the rest of the cast did just as brilliantly, especially the Indian cast who I’m glad to see had a lot more to do this time round. Lillete Dubey was wonderful as was Tina Desai and Seema Azmi. And although he caused quite a stir when the cast was announced, Richard Gere was fun to look at, however wasn’t a particularly exciting addition. Still, it was an amazing cast who all played their parts flawlessly, all bringing something different to the story. I don’t think anyone can really argue with that.

The story stays true to its characters, taking their journey forward in natural and meaningful ways with new conflicts to shake things up. A lot of the laughs are aimed at the ages of the hotel’s residents, but they’re in on the joke laughing at themselves while demonstrating what a life well-lived is about. The characters conversations shows common doubts and struggles while reflecting upon a lifetime of experience. (I must be aging myself because I felt the script carried some great lessons for a younger audience if they would make the effort to really listen.)

Honestly, Marigold isn’t a perfect, flawless film. Nor is it “ground-breaking” story-telling. However, I’m still going to recommend seeing it if you like romantic comedies. I just enjoy these movies and it’s pretty. It’s a gentle, harmless film filled with warmth and isn’t there to be picked apart for every little plot failing it may have. It’s there to be enjoyed and if you let yourself, you will. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it makes you reflect. It delivers the point of the film splendidly: that it’s never too late to love, to learn or to really live your life. That life can be an adventure at any age. That’s it. It’s all that you want and need it to be, a form of uplifting escapism.

I’d happily check in to a Third Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

 

Friday Funnies

March 13th, 2015

And now for some thoughts from the aging:

The biggest lie I tell myself is …”I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller!

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet!

I don’t trip over things, I do random gravity checks!

I don’t need anger management. I need rude people to stop ticking me off!

Lenten Roads: His Presence

March 11th, 2015

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

Like David when he was in the desert of Judah, we long to be close to God. We long to know God, to feel God’s presence, and know that He’s with us. We’re desperately thirsty for God’s living water. And yet we busy ourselves. We keep our eyes on our day-to-day tasks, and let our priorities rule.

Is it possible that we create distractions to keep ourselves from doing what’s harder? We say we long for God, but we don’t want to do anything about it. We never offer ourselves to God, we never place ourselves in God’s presence. What’s holding us back? What are we afraid of?

Being in the presence of God isn’t a time for us to run around doing busy work. It’s a time to wait and wonder to see what God has in store for us. Nature is loaded with heaven. Every snowflake a sampling of God. But only those that see take off their hats and gloves. The rest stand around with their shovels.

We’re so busy shoveling snow every day. The snow piles of our homes, our families, and work. Paying bills, meeting obligations, doing our duty. We fill our days with activity, usually impatiently, and always on the go. But God calls us to put down our snow shovels to wait. To watch. To wonder. And simply be in His presence.

Sunday in Michigan

March 8th, 2015

While it isn’t a sunny day in the UP, the temperature was 32 degrees which is a call to action after being stuck inside due to below zero temps. After church I wasted no time pointing my car towards Eben Junction and the Eben Ice Caves.

To get to Eben one must drive through Chatham. No worries, I had already planned to stop by the Rock River Café for lunch. What I hadn’t planned was what a treat that would be. The café is housed in The Pacific Hotel, built in 1904 as a boarding house for loggers coming to work in the area. A few incarnations later, including a speak easy during the prohibition, the building is now the farm-to-table Rock River Café. They pride themselves on supporting the local economy by serving breads baked fresh locally, eggs and produce come from farms down the road where chickens and cows roam, and fish is harvested from Lake Superior. My maple steamer was a dream come true, but the real treat was scrumptious sweet potato apple soup served with a dark bread. It was the best meal I’ve had since being in the UP and with any luck I’ll be back for more.

Cozy interior of the Rock River Cafe

Cozy interior of the Rock River Cafe

Rock River Cafe

Rock River Cafe

Needing to walk off the maple steamer I drove on toward Eben Junction to hike through the woods in search of ice caves. One of Michigan’s prime winter attractions, the Eben Ice Caves are actually located in the Rock River Wilderness area. They start to freeze in December, forming when melting snow runs over the edge of a small cliff and freezes, forming “ice caves”. If you were to visit here in the summer there would be little to no water running over the edge. Weird! But it’s the combination of slow snow melt and frigid temperatures that causes these “caves” to form.

The ice in this area is dark due to roots in the ice. It was fascinating to see.

The ice in this area is dark due to roots in the ice. It was fascinating to see.

These kids are trying to catch ice water into their water bottle as it thaws.

These kids are trying to catch ice water into their water bottle as it thaws.

People and dogs out enjoying a winter day in the woods.

People and dogs out enjoying a winter day in the woods.

Looking out from inside the ice caves.

Looking out from inside the ice caves.

One of the "entrances" to the ice caves.

One of the “entrances” to the ice caves.

I quickly figured out this isn’t an attraction where I could pull up in my car, walk a few feet and be done. It’s not a long hike, but I had to get out and stretch my legs. The trail was full of families, couples and more than a few dogs on the trail. One dog in particular took a liking to me. Lila’s owners were concerned she was bothering me, but not a bit. She was my hiking companion.

My temporary dog companion Lila

My temporary dog companion Lila

Farmers property

Farmers property

Entering Rock River Wilderness area

Entering Rock River Wilderness area

The first ¼ mile is through a very flat field, then it’s another ¾ mile through the woods. I was told if the farmer ever decided to cut off access it would be a much longer walk. On top of allowing access through his property, he supplies free portable bathrooms and a parking area for visitors. His family runs a concession stand with hot chocolate and small snacks. It’s a unique set up that seems to work for everyone.

Before going I had asked my boss if I should take snowshoes and she advised me to wear ice cleats instead. She was right! The ice cleats went a long way toward enhancing my experience. About half the people visiting the caves are wearing cleats, and the other half wish they had. By having the ice cleats on I was able to walk up to, and into the ice caves with relatively sure footing. It was pretty treacherous for those without the cleats since the ice was very smooth and traditional rubber boots were just sliding around.

This is one of the areas I was grateful for cleats. I had to cross a frozen, snow covered log

This is one of the areas I was grateful for cleats. I had to cross a frozen, snow covered log

A very slippery area at the entrance to the ice caves ... but very beautiful too

A very slippery area at the entrance to the ice caves … but very beautiful too

Besides that, the trail itself had several steep ups and downs. There were areas where some people had to slide down on their bottoms then struggle to get up on the other side. But not me! Ice cleats were well worth the investment to feel secure.

Save your bottom, get the facts and a good lunch before you head out for your next adventure.

Eben hike 1

 

Friday Funnies

March 6th, 2015

Do you need some funnies as much as I do this Friday? If so, keep reading. Today’s funnies come to you straight out of the mouths of some senior patients.

“By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step he’s too old to go anywhere.”

“Old age is when you’ve stopped growing up and start growing out.”

“Old age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.”

“A man has reached old age when he’s cautioned to slow down by his doctor rather than by the police.”

“Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.”

“Old age is when you don’t care where your spouse goes so long as you don’t have to go along.”

and lastly, “Old age is when it takes longer to rest than to get tired out.”

Oh dear. And this is happening to all of us!

Lenten Roads: A Little Child

March 4th, 2015

But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:14b-15

The majority of my family has settled in Michigan, so, living as I do in Florida I don’t get to see them very often. Our contacts are mostly by phone, emails and occasional Skype sessions. So it’s nice when I’m out for me to witness families interacting like I did this past weekend at the Trenary Outhouse Classic.

One particular little girl and her father comes to mind. She had been running ahead until she saw a large dog that stopped her in her tracks. The dog wasn’t doing anything wrong, it was just something new to the little girl. And without saying anything she ran to her father’s side, put her hand in her father’s and held tightly. That was such a personal and heartwarming moment to witness between them.

As I’ve recalled that moment, I thought about how it relates to my relationship with God. How often I don’t pay attention to God until I encounter something I can’t control or that frightens me. That’s when I put my hand in His and my fears are calmed. How happy it must make God when one of His children puts their hand in His demonstrating complete trust and faith in Him.

What a blessing that we can rest safe and secure knowing that He loves us and we are His children.

 

Saturday in Trenary

March 1st, 2015

Turn up the heat and grab your coffee, because this morning I’m going to tell you the very cold tale of Trenary.

Since 1993, this town of 554 has played host to the Trenary Outhouse Classic. According to The Trenary Outhouse Classic website, “Once you enjoy an outhouse race, you’ll have memories that you just can’t erase.” Ain’t that the truth! (www.trenaryouthouseclassic.com)

Other towns hold outhouses races, but very few during the winter with wind blowing fur hats sideways. Bringing in around 4000 spectators, the event is serious business for Trenary, an Upper Peninsula farming town of two bars, one flashing traffic light and a grocery store that posts snapshots of customers in its window. This year’s race is expected to raise $7,000 for new town welcome signs and other community projects through entry fees, souvenir sales and donations from the bars.

I was among the 4,000 souls braving the below freezing temps fighting for the privilege to stand along the 500-foot long by 10-foot wide track stretching between the First Lutheran Church and the Silver Dollar Bar on Trenary’s Main Street. One by one, 33 teams lined up at the start of the track as the hooting crowd waited to see them run by in a blur.

Some outhouses are very simple and some are so elaborate I may find them in somebodies backyard next week! The homemade outhouses are made of wood, cardboard, plastic, tape, grand piano crates, you name it somebody used it. The outhouses must have a toilet seat, a roll of toilet paper and be placed on skis. After being approved pairs of “pushers” race the clock as they propel the outlandish outhouses down the track one-by-one.

In addition to the races, Main Street Trenary provides for a day of the 4-F’s: Fun, Food, and Family Festivities. That includes the yearly best fur hat contest. I wondered why I saw so many exquisite furs. Not so much in the way of food and festivities though, unless I missed something. I don’t know how I could have in a one street town, but it could happen. I ate a large turkey leg from the town co-op specified as special event food.

Speaking of food, Trenary is best known for Trenary Toast. It’s made in the style of Finnish rusk bread. It’s then made into a crispy “toast” meant to be dunked into the hot beverage of your choice. I bought the cinnamon Trenary toast and dunked into a toasted marshmallow cappuccino. It was worth every calorie!

Check out photos at: http://emiling.com/photos/trenary-michigan/ and until next time, stay warm and stay on course.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.