Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.


April 29th, 2015

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalm 51:12

I believe I’ve reached that point. I’m old. You know the point where you want “those kids” to turn down their “noise.” And you wonder what “those kids” are thinking, are they thinking? You sat next to their parents and them in church over the years. They should know better, right?

However, it’s not unusual for people in their early 20’s to defect from their early teaching. There are a lot of reasons. Perhaps their exposure to unbelief “took” better than their exposure to belief. This is usually the case. The Bible says, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things.”

The human heart is prepared to easily accept unbelief as faith. Some person they respect has undoubtedly influenced their thinking, and for the time being they look on their early training as senseless thinking. As someone has said, “A little learning may take a man away from God, but full understanding (or a strong parent) will bring him back.”

Some of the most respected Christians I know are people who had periods in their life when they questioned the Bible and God. Haven’t we all been there, shaking our fists to the sky and walking into a spiritual desert? But as we continued to examine the matter, God never stopped working on us and our testimony. In the end, there’s overwhelming evidence that only “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

Don’t be discouraged by “those kids” unbelief. Pray that they stay safe during their journey, remembering times in our lives when unbelief reigned, but God never left our side.


Sunday in Michigan

April 26th, 2015

Continuing to explore my local highways, I decided to drive west and check out the recently opened seasonal Highway 58 between Munising and Grand Marais. My first stop was Sable Falls. After viewing multiple U.P. falls, I think Sable Falls could just be the most underrated waterfall in the Upper Peninsula. Tahquamenon Falls gets all the glory, but the 75 foot drop of Sable Falls is just as worthy of your time and the 178 steps to the viewing platform.

Sable Falls

Sable Falls

As part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this spot is also one of the trailheads for the Grand Sable Dunes, so if it were warmer you could spend quite a bit of time here hiking the trails or playing around on the beach.

Sable Falls dunes and beach overlook

Sable Falls dunes and beach overlook

H-58 is a seasonal highway and was only cleared a few days ago. By cleared, I mean to say it appears as though an ice breaker drove down the center of the highway breaking a path through the 3-4” ice. It was still an interesting challenge without the 6 feet of snow and I was happy there weren’t many vehicles coming the opposite direction.

You can easily understand then, why the first time I drove past the unplowed entrance to the Log Slide, I drove passed it. Upon my return, I was more careful and pulled off the road to hike the 1 mile stretch. I’m glad I did. The Log Slide is a piece of U.P. logging history, and an access point to one of the most stunning views of Lake Superior I’ve seen.

View of the 500' slope slide looking east from the viewing platform

View of the 500′ slope slide looking east from the viewing platform

The still snow covered road into the Log Slide

The still snow covered road into the Log Slide

The innovation of “big wheels,” was invented in the 1870’s and was responsible for increasing the transportation of logs regardless of the weather. These ten feet diameter wheels were pulled by a team of oxen or horses and allowed rapid movement of logs without the need for snow cover previously needed to move over stumps and rough terrain.

Ten foot high "Big Wheel" used for hauling logs in winter

Ten foot high “Big Wheel” used for hauling logs in winter

The loggers would haul the mostly pine logs to the edge and slide them down this very steep 500 foot slope into Lake Superior, where modified barges would hook, load and haul them away. Legend has it that logs sent down the dry log chute would sometimes generate enough friction to cause the chute to catch fire. Today there’s no evidence of the chute. http://www.grandmaraismichigan.com/Printables/Logging.pdf

Log Slide as seen from the Au Sable Light Station

Log Slide as seen from the Au Sable Light Station

You can view and/or hike to the awesome Au Sable Light Station from the Log Slide. I decided my legs needed a break and drove to the Hurricane River trailhead instead. The Hurricane River empties into Lake Superior and is supposed to be a good trout fishing area. From the parking area it’s a 2 mile hike to the Au Sable Light Station.

The Hurricane River emptying into Lake Superior

The Hurricane River emptying into Lake Superior

In the summer you can walk the beach along Lake Superior to the Au Sable Light Station

In the summer you can walk the beach along Lake Superior to the Au Sable Light Station

It’s still very early in the season, which meant the closer parking lot/trail weren’t yet groomed and the light house buildings weren’t opened so I’ll focus on the hike. It was mostly a flat 2 mile hike through snow and sand and even climbing over the occasional fallen tree that leads to the historic U.S. Coast Guard light station. Whew! But it was worth it because the Au Sable Light Station is THE standout light house in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Built in 1873-1874 to protect North America’s most beautiful and most dangerous shoreline, the light tower’s base diameter is 16 feet with a height of 87 feet. The lens focal plane is 107 feet above lake level. A fog signal building was finally built in 1897, which may be way several ships ran aground prior to that.

Wooded trail to the Au Sable Light Station

The 1.7 mile wooded trail to the Au Sable Light Station

Au Sable Light Station

Au Sable Light Station

Au Sable Light Station

Au Sable Light Station

Along the trail there were informative signs about the “Graveyard Coast” areas where, if it weren’t buried in snow, you’re able to get up close and personal with three ships that ran aground there. I’d recommend this as a fun, family place to camp during the summer. There’s a long beach, shipwrecks and a cool lighthouse. What more could you want? To see podcasts on the area, click: http://www.nps.gov/piro/learn/photosmultimedia/multimedia-presentations.htm

Today’s adventure was the first time this year I’ve really noticed signs of spring. I saw the slightest hint of buds on trees and while walking through the woods there was a noticeable change from the crisp smell of my winter hikes to the organic scent of spring soil in the woods.

Spring is really coming … yeah!

Friday Funnies

April 24th, 2015

And now some random thoughts to make us smile because it’s been one of those weeks. And you know what I mean …

So Lord grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and friends to post my bail when I finally snap!

When I asked a patient if they could touch their toes, they responded, “If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would’ve put them on my knees.”

I find it amusing when patients ask me where or when I would like to retire. I don’t know where, but someday I’m going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I’ll do that second week.

I had to call customer service this week. Why did I have to press one for English when they just transferred me to someone I couldn’t understand anyway?

After all this during the week I’m getting more wise. That’s right. I’m not getting gray hair. I have “wisdom highlights”. I’m just becoming very wise.

Be happy about the simple things.

Earth Day

April 22nd, 2015

He alone stretches out the Heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. Job 9:8-11

Happy Earth Day! I’m fortunate to have traveled around the United States, Canada and Europe. The immense differences and beauty in the landscapes and skies are incredible. This blog is full of photos of the scenery. From ocean beaches to the Sierra Mountains, to waterfalls – it’s amazing how God created it all.

Job is the oldest book in the Bible. And I’m enjoying Earth’s beauty today. Job had traveled and seen the constellations, mountains and the seas that he mentions throughout the book. Can you imagine the untouched, unpolluted beauty Job was able to enjoy?

I want my nieces and nephews to enjoy nature.. I want them to appreciate and be good stewards of the earth God made. I want them to care for it and to maintain the 3R’s that we’ve learned. (reduce, reuse and recycle) Even more importantly, I want them to grow up praising God for the beautiful earth He created.

Thank you God for allowing me to see and explore so much grandeur. You are an awesome God!

Saturday in Michigan

April 18th, 2015

Friday afternoon, while at a laundromat on M-28 in Munising, I saw an announcement on the bulletin board: Moose Lodge Meat Bingo. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It makes perfect sense if you’re a Yooper. Because if you’re a Yooper there are two things above all others: meat and bingo. Brilliant Yooper logic follows that it would be even more awesome to put the two together … and they’ve done just that! MEAT BINGO? Do you mark your card with cocktail weenies??

Munising Meat Bingo

Munising Meat Bingo Announcement

The fun doesn’t stop there, folks. You can drive along M-28 to Munising and witness chicken poop bingo during the 4th of July celebration. Yep, Yoopers celebrate our nation’s independence with chicken poop bingo. Figure that one out. Obviously, chicken poop bingo sounds way more fun than boring old vegetarian bingo. Too bad I won’t be here because that would be a great blog entry!

That’s when I was realized I needed explore what else I could find along M-28 from Munising to Marquette. Have you ever stopped to consider think about exploring a stretch of highway in your area? America’s highways are gateways to adventure where no two experiences are the same. Highways link us to America’s heart and soul.

Between Munising and Marquette M-28 closely parallels the Lake Superior shoreline, providing scenic views of the lake and beaches. West of Munising is a ferry dock offering transport to the Grand Island National Recreation Area, and easy access to Painted Rocks National Lakeshore, which I hope to see before leaving the area. (Most of the U.P. doesn’t open until some time in May.)

Au Train is in the heart of the Hiawatha National Forest, yet only 12 miles west of Munising. With miles of sandy beaches, this would be a beautiful place for a summer get away. During the spring mushrooms peek through the ground, and I’m hoping to go mushroom hunting with a co-worker. During the winter it’s very popular with snowmobilers, but now the beaches are quiet offering me solitude.

AuTrain Beach path

AuTrain Beach path

Boats waiting for visitors on AuTrain Beach

Boats waiting for visitors on AuTrain Beach

Rock River Beach Cottage

Rock River Beach Cottage

The Lakenenland Sculpture Park is located even further west in Chocolay near Shot Point. This roadside attraction is owned by Tom Lakenen and features fanciful, eccentric works of art made of scrap iron. This park is great for families. It’s FREE, has something for everyone and is situated in such a way that you can drive or walk through to view the 80+ sculptures. There is also a picnic area and playground for children. I wish I could have found more about the creator and his motivation, but I couldn’t. If I lived in the area, I would take all my out of town visitors to see this local landmark.

Marquette Lackenland Bog Walk 2 Marquette Lakenland Flowers Marquette Lakenland Olympic Hockey Players Marquette Lakenland Owl Marquette Lakenland Phantom 506 Marquette Lakenland Snoopy Marquette Lakenland Turtle Marquette Lakenland Woodcutters Marquette Lakenland Junk Art

Maruqette Lakenland Snowmobile

I completed my M-28 exploration at the pocket ore dock of the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad in downtown Marquette. The dock was the first of its kind constructed on the Upper Great Lakes, making it a historically significant part of my trip. The ore dock cost $1.35 million to build … in 1932! Before closing in 1971, the pocket dock spanned four railroad trestles wide and handled over 1 million tons of ore. The trestle spans were dismantled and recycled. There was enough trestle to build ten railroad bridges. Today, the wood pilings leading out to the dock remain just above the waterline, and the south walkway to access the offshore portion remains intact, visible on the right side of the dock. Of course, it is fenced and gated. The town of Marquette is making motions to create a special place on the waterfront, including a historical preservation of the ore dock. That would be a smart idea, it’s stunning.

Marquette Ore Dock 3

View of the ore dock while having a delicious lunch at Sol Azteca.

View of the ore dock while having a delicious lunch at Sol Azteca.

Marquette Ore Dock 2

Marquette Lower Harbor 5

Fisherman shack on the harbor in Marquette

Fisherman shack on the harbor in Marquette

What will you find along your stretch of highway?

No Friday Funnies

April 17th, 2015

I am not posting Friday Funnies today. One year ago today I posted: I appreciate your understanding while I take time off to process my grief over the passing of my significant other Glen Constantine. I take comfort knowing he’s in heaven and free from pain.

One year ago … it feels like yesterday. Take time to hug your loved ones every day.

Grateful for Taxes?

April 15th, 2015

I lift my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? Psalm 12:1

Getting outdoors and lifting my eyes and my feet to hike along beaches and through the woods has always restored my soul. From childhood visits to national parks, being outdoor to experience God’s handiwork in nature, has been as sacred as any church sanctuary.

“I lift my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come?” reminds me of that truth. The timing is good for this verse. Not only because many of us are starting to begin to witness the miracle of spring. But also because today many of you are signing your 1040 and putting an IRS check in the mail. Nobody really enjoys paying taxes, myself included, however I know those national parks, that inspired me as a child, were open to my family because other people paid theirs.

The fact is, lots of good things have happened in my life because people filed their 1040s. So here’s my prayer of thanks for tax day:

Thank you, God, for everyone who paid their taxes in years gone by. Because of them my childhood was blessed with:

  • mountains to climb and parks to explore; • an education offered by public schools and libraries; • safe drinking water and clean air to breathe; and roads to drive • Medicare for my grandparents when they got sick; • free vaccinations against polio and other diseases; • the county extension service and its 4-H programs for youth; • and most importantly, the assurance that my country cared for me and my family.

That’s my prayer today. I bet you could offer a similar one. As the Psalmist affirms, our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. But throughout my life, and probably yours, help has also come through a host of government programs.

Let’s thank God for those who have blessed our lives through their taxes in the past and for the chance to bless the lives of others with ours. Amen.

Sunday in Michigan

April 12th, 2015

This Sunday was spent driving north across the Mackinac Bridge after spending a marvelous time visiting with family downstate.

The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension toll bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. First envisioned in the 1880’s, the bridge wasn’t designed and completed until 1957. The 8,614-foot bridge is known to locals as either ”Big Mac” or the “Mighty Mac”. The Mighty Mac is the world’s 16th longest in total suspension and the longest suspension between anchorages in the Western hemisphere. The town of St. Ignace is on the north end with Mackinaw City on the south.

The "Mighty Mac" over the still partially frozen Straits

The “Mighty Mac” over the still partially frozen Straits.

It was a very nice day so I decided to take my time driving through St. Ignace on the way home. After all, St. Ignace is the gateway for Yooper’s to the southern part of Michigan. Native American’s had inhabited the area for thousands of years before it became Michigan’s second-oldest city founded by Europeans in 1671. The city was named for St. Ignace of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order hoping to convert the Native American population. In the 1880’s it began to be popular as a summer resort and for its connection to Mackinac Island. Since then the city has continued to play the part of a popular summer tourist destination.

Notice the word “summer” in my previous paragraph. That’s a very important word to note because right now it’s April, not summer. And the town is closed for the season. I wanted to visit a very interesting looking shop and tower called the Curio Fair. It was closed.

Curio Fair Tower

Curio Fair Tower

So I got back in the car and heading west and pulled over to see the popular Deer Ranch. It was also closed until May. You can learn more about it at: www.deerranch.com/

Deer Ranch entrance.

Deer Ranch entrance.

Finally I thought I would be ridiculously touristy and follow the giant “Mystery Spot” signs and see what The Mystery Spot was all about. The part of the sign that says open rain or shine doesn’t seem to apply to winter. The “Spot” is also closed for the season. Again, thanks to the wonder of the world wide web you can learn more here: www.mysteryspotstignace.com/

Even with those disappointments I could not be discouraged after the quality time spent with family over the weekend. Thank you Vaughn and Hillary for having me down.

A family very happy to see Spring!

A family very happy to see Spring!

Come on, May!!

Friday Funnies

April 10th, 2015

A woman in New York City hailed a cab. After giving the taxi drive the address she relaxed. After a few minutes she tapped the driver on his shoulder to ask him about a restaurant. The driver lost all control, driving over the curb and onto the sidewalk. This went on for several blocks until the driver finally brought the cab to a stop. The man was sweating and shaking when the woman asked him what was wrong. He replied, “Lady, this is my first day as a taxi driver. Before this I drove a hearse for 30 years!”

An elderly couple in Boca went to the pool to swim. John started choking and gasping for breath and had to be saved by a lifeguard. Mary was told it was safe to take him home, but advised to keep an eye on him. That evening Mary called 911 to come over as John wasn’t responding. When the EMT arrived Mary directed them to the bathroom. The EMT came out and sat down with Mary, telling her, “Ma’am, I’m very sorry to have to tell you that your husband has committed suicide by hanging.” Mary said, “No, I hung him up to dry.”

Be Strong and Courageous

April 8th, 2015

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Each of us have verses that speak to us in the core of our being. Joshua 1:9 is that verse for me. In the first few verses of the book of Joshua, God tells Joshua three times, “Be strong and courageous.” That’s our first warning that living a Christian life isn’t always going to be easy.

When God called me to be a traveling therapist, I was a successful pool therapist and Glen was dying. To obey, I had to give up the pool I loved, leave my house and my beloved Glen behind, and move north with two suitcases. Everything I’d accomplished in 14 years in Boynton Beach, FL had to be abandoned. My whole understanding of stability had to change. “Be strong and courageous.” I had to step out in faith. “The LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Jesus promised he would never forsake us; he would send the Comforter to be always with us.

While all my life has been an experience in learning to walk with God, the past year and a half has been much deeper. Learning to trust him, and to cooperate with him hasn’t always been easy and has frequently required me to “be strong and courageous”. But God has supplied the strength and courage when I would have faltered. God’s been faithful through it all.

Let my experience reassure you that God will always be there for whatever physical or emotional needs you’re facing. You can be of good courage knowing He’ll be there through it all. Amen!

Good Friday Funnies

April 3rd, 2015

One day just before Easter Eddie pulled into the supermarket car park.  His wife Brenda had picked up a few things and was waiting for him. “Hi, honey,” Eddie cheerfully said as Brenda got into the car. “How was your day? “I can’t believe it,” Brenda said. “It looks like our bank is in trouble.” “What?” Eddie asked. “It’s closing at the end of the week,” Brenda replied. That can’t be right,” Eddie said. “It’s a national bank!” “Well it’s true,” Brenda came back. “I have seen the sign in the window.” “What sign?” Eddie asked. “Drive by the bank and you’ll see,” Brenda replied. Eddie headed in the direction of the bank. “Right there,” Brenda said as they drove by the bank. “See the sign? It says, ‘We Will Be Closed for Good Friday!’ ”

What do you call a rabbit with fleas? Bugs Bunny!

Young Ernie and his family were invited to have Easter Sunday lunch at his grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served.  When Ernie received his plate he started eating straight away. ‘Ernie, wait until we say grace,’ demanded his father. ‘I don’t have to,’ the five year old replied. ‘Of course you do, Ernest,’ his mother insisted rather forcefully. ‘We always say a prayer before eating at our house.’ ‘That’s at our house,’ Ernie explained, ‘but this is Grandma’s house, and she knows how to cook.’

What does the Easter Rabbit get for making a basket? Two points just like everyone else!

One Easter Sunday the Reverend Jones announced to his congregation, ‘My good people, it’s Easter Sunday and I have here in my hands three sermons……  A $100 sermon that lasts five minutes. A $50 sermon that lasts fifteen minutes. And a $20 sermon that lasts a full hour. Now, we’ll pass the offering plate and see which one I’ll deliver.’

What do you call a line of rabbits walking backwards? A receding hareline!

May you be overcome with the joy and hope of Easter this weekend!




Lenten Roads: Check-up Time

April 1st, 2015

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.. Matthew 22:36-39

Most of us get annual check-ups to ensure physical health. Likewise, Lent is a time to check up on “soul” health. Such a check-up helps me get in touch with how well I am doing in my relationships and soul-care.

There’s a biblical test I can take to indicate how I’m living out my claim of being Christian. In trying to trap Jesus with their question. And as Christians we’re called day by day by day, to love. How are you doing with that? Can you pass the test?

These commandments show us what’s important to God. God wants to know we’re loving one another. Are we really following the command to love one another or are we simply giving lip service to God’s will? Is what we are doing and saying reflecting an indwelling of the Holy Spirit? After all, the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us to help us love. Is Christ-like love shaping your life and your relationships?

It’s Lent. It’s check-up time.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.