Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Seeing God Across the Country: Bayfield, Wisconsin

September 30th, 2015

As he walked along the shore of the Lake of Galilee, he saw two fisherman, Simon and his brother Andrew, casting their nets into the water. “Come and follow me, and I will teach you to catch men!” he cried. At once they dropped their nets, and followed him. Mark 1:16-18

Bayfield was tailor made for travel brochures. It’s a perfectly picturesque village on a hill currently covered with bright fall foliage and apple orchards. The hill slopes down to the vast Lake Superior with tall masted sail boats in the marina.

Bayfield’s location on the northern tip of Wisconsin on Lake Superior makes it the ideal jumping off place for exploring the nearby Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with the famous sandstone sea caves. As I wrote after visiting the islands, they’ve been called “the jewels of Lake Superior” with lighthouses, hiking trails, bird watching and unique rock formations. Kayakers and boaters explore the spectacular formations on their own, but I choose to ride one of the daily boat tours that are available daily. (http://emiling.com/sunday-in-michigan-13)

The Apostle Islands remind us that the original apostle of Jesus willingly entered into a life of unprecedented adventure. For two young brothers, the call of Jesus altered the direction of their lives. There was something about Jesus that immediately captured their hearts. Enough that they dropped their nets, walked away from their business, and gave themselves to a task they had never dreamed of.

Each of us also have the opportunity to follow Him today. And it’s still an adventure! Although He may not ask us to walk away from our careers, He has an exciting future planned for every one of us, no matter who we are or what has transpired in our past.

Simon and Andrew gave themselves to the great adventure and followed Jesus obediently from that day forward. We must be willing to surrender our plans and our agendas in order to embrace His plan for our lives. In order to embrace exciting adventures beyond anything we would ever imagine for ourselves, we must obey His will. Take my word for it! I’m a living testimony as I lift my eyes to see the next adventure He has waiting for me each morning. Won’t you?

Friday Funnies

September 25th, 2015

You don’t need to know much about geography to appreciate the fact that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is in the north. The very, very far north.

Here are the facts: Marquette, the largest “city” and unofficial capital of the U.P. is located 150 miles north of the 45th parallel. Quebec City is farther south!

And there’s lots and lots of rocks and trees up here. Great if you like rock collecting, because the rugged ankle-breaking granite is everywhere. And the forests are so thick that sadly, every year, some tourist gets lost. It happened when I was here this Spring and they lived off Girl Scout cookies for two weeks! I’d suggest staying on well marked trails, but keep in mind that ATV riders and snowmobilers race through the woods and are not likely to slow down. They rule the trails … and take up parking spots at the Hardee’s.

Did I previously mention that there are over one hundred ghost towns in the U.P.? I’ve read the old mine shafts are abandoned and filled with water or home to bats. If you’re given the option of vacationing to a U.P. ghost town or Disney World, vote for the Disney World vacation!

Orlando, Florida, land of endless summer versus the U.P. with nearly endless winter. Locals say if you need to make yourself miserable or atone for a life of sin, then maybe you’re a candidate for their glacier-land. Some parts of the Upper Peninsula gets as much as 300 inches of snow in one winter. And it doesn’t melt all winter. The first snowflake that falls on October 1st is still there under a huge drift on April 27th. Maybe May 17th.

Way back, some Yooper created a “snow scoop” to shovel his driveway. Made from metal, it’s a giant version of the sand scoops his kids used during their Florida beach vacation. I can personally attest that these scoops work efficiently at clearing mountains of snow off porches and walkways. I was happy to have one at my disposal last winter.

But that’s a distant memory while I enjoy the perfection that is U.P. fall weather. Cool overnight and warm days … I know they’ll pay for this later with some terrible, white, climatic calamity.

Seeing God Across the Country

September 23rd, 2015

You ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

“What an exciting life you have.” “How do you handle moving every few months?” “Don’t you miss having a permanent home?” These are a few questions I am asked at every town I serve in. The answer to each question is: Yes. However, I’m choosing to be obedient to God. I believe that I was prepared to be a traveler. I agreed to walk where He led. Now I serve in this way as a direct opportunity to share my love of God and plant seeds of hope in weary souls while healing their bodies. And, yes, it’s an adventure.

God intended our walk of faith to be a thrilling adventure, motivated by our love for Jesus. When we place our trust in the Lord and act on His prompting, life becomes exciting. We shouldn’t be afraid of the future because God has a plan for us and knows the outcome of our obedience. We can trust the He does everything for our good. Even when it means packing up your home and walking away. I trust there is going to be a time that He is preparing for me to have a more traditional home. Right now He needs me to do this.

Walking in faith is so thrilling because each step leads to another blessing from God. The Lord continuously moves us through a variety of circumstances toward His purpose for our lives. He’s preparing us for His plan. This awareness will lead to a lifestyle of walking with the Lord and receiving His best for us.

In the coming weeks I’m going to re-examine some of my adventures from this perspective. Where is your next step going to take you? Will you face it with a sense of trusting obedience?

Sunday in Michigan

September 20th, 2015

This weekend I took a trip back in time on a vintage steam train. I’ve enjoyed trains since I was a young girl gazing with wide eyes at my father’s model train set. As an adult I worked at a train museum in Roanoke, VA for a short time.

Fast forward to this weekend as I climbed aboard the famed Lumberjack Steam Train in Laona, Wisconsin for a journey to the 1800’s. http://www.lumberjacksteamtrain.com/ The train consists of the “4 Spot” steam locomotive which pulls two steel passenger cars, an open air observation car (which it was already too cold for) and three cupola cabooses.

At the depot, where tickets can be purchased for the train ride, just as people did at the turn of the century.

At the depot, where tickets can be purchased for the train ride, just as people did at the turn of the century.

The cupola caboose

The cupola caboose

The "4-spot" is the only "PRAIRIE" style steam locomotive operating in the state of Wisconsin. The "PRAIRIE" style steam locomotive is a classification based on wheel arrangement.

The “4-spot” is the only “PRAIRIE” style steam locomotive operating in the state of Wisconsin. The “PRAIRIE” style steam locomotive is a classification based on wheel arrangement.

Some brave souls sat in the open air car to peek at changing leaves on our way to the camp.

Some brave souls sat in the open air car to peek at changing leaves on our way to the camp.

A happy child gets to sound the train whistle.

A happy child gets to sound the train whistle.

Ticket taker and engineer extraordinare

Ticket taker and engineer extraordinare

The renovated 1916 Vulcan Steam Engine has been running on this track for 90 years. Originally used to haul log cars, today the engine pulls the “Lumberjack Steam Train” to the historic logging camp. Camp 5 has received many awards and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lumberjack Steam Train 12

The Forestry Museum is brimming with artifacts that bring the turn of the century camps back to life. There are tools and machinery the farm used to plant and harvest crops.

While touring the camp, visitors can encouraged to experience the life of the hearty northwoods lumberjack in the museum. Families can step into the world of logging lore and history and even watch men working in the Blacksmith Shop. Later the site became site of the Lumber Company Farm. Today when you arrive, you find some of the old buildings which were a part of the Lumber Company Farm. There is the old Hog Barn which is now the Petting Corral, the Blacksmith Shop which is now a part of the Museum, and the Old Slaughter House.  In the distance is the old Boarding House and several original barns, as well as the “Woods Boss’s House”.

There is a brass bell from a steam engine, which children love to ring. Including this one!

There is a brass bell from a steam engine, which children love to ring. Including this one!

There were many tool displays in the logger musem

There were many tool displays in the logger musem

Pointer boats were used on river log drives to snare loose logs.

Pointer boats were used on river log drives to snare loose logs.

Logger living quarters

Logger living quarters

Lumberjacks worked hard and ate ravenously. Good cooks were essential to keep men in camps.

Lumberjacks worked hard and ate ravenously. Good cooks were essential to keep men in camps.

Hundreds of horses in each lumber camp required much harness care and harness makers employed at the camp.

Hundreds of horses in each lumber camp required much harness care and harness makers employed at the camp.

Ten Ton Holt tractor superceded steam haulers.

Ten Ton Holt tractor superceded steam haulers.

Apples being pressed for cider.

Apples being pressed for cider.

Nostalgic Cracker Barrel store with 1900 Cracker Barrel Country Store with its worn plank floors, potbellied stove, rolling antique ladder used to reach those "high on the shelf" items.

Nostalgic Cracker Barrel store with 1900 Cracker Barrel Country Store with its worn plank floors, potbellied stove, rolling antique ladder used to reach those “high on the shelf” items.

My scarecrow guide to the farm's slaughterhouse.

My scarecrow guide to the farm’s slaughterhouse.

The Animal Barn, which once was one of the original hog barns for the farm, is lined with enclosures now holding smaller, cuddlier animals, and the Corral is alive with shy, brown-eyed calves, frisky little goats, quacking ducks, plodding turtles, parading pheasants, and honking geese.

The Animal Barn, which once was one of the original hog barns for the farm, is lined with enclosures now holding smaller, cuddlier animals, and the Corral is alive with shy, brown-eyed calves, frisky little goats, quacking ducks, plodding turtles, parading pheasants, and honking geese.

Ten foot "Big Wheels" for early logging sleighs.

Ten foot “Big Wheels” for early logging sleighs.

The Blacksmith shop is one of the original buildings at the Farm, and I watched a blacksmith pound and shape  horsehoes over the forge.

The Blacksmith shop is one of the original buildings at the Farm, and I watched a blacksmith pound and shape horsehoes over the forge.

The price was quite reasonable, even though the actual train ride was short while passing a hobo camp and over wild rice fields. But if you have any interest in logging, or desire for an interesting, fun family outing, the Lumberjack Steam Train is a great option if you’re in the Northwoods. It’s something completely different and right now they are celebrating fall with a pumpkin patch for the kids, fresh apple cider and marshmallows for s’mores. Twice a year they have a cowboy re-enactment and robbery of the train for fun and the Slaughter House is already transforming into a haunted house for Halloween.

Lumberjack Steam Train 21 Lumberjack Steam Train 20 Lumberjack Steam Train 17

Where will the tracks take you this week?

Friday Funnies

September 18th, 2015

After careful close observation of the locals in Munising and now Ironwood, I thought I should share truths of the Upper Peninsula. This is how my Yooper friends would want me to share their culture. The first thing you need to know is that it’s miles and miles of not much more then miles and miles. They don’t understand why people would drive hundreds of miles to get here.

You may have seen glossy brochures promising fun in the far north. Residents assure me those are all fairytales. The terrain is rocky and difficult, the weather is terrible, the wildlife can be unfriendly and residents quirky. Especially the last one. After all, this is the end of the road, so there are all kinds of characters up here! This desolate experience could lead to depression, but Yoopers seem to cover it well with odd, special sort of humor.

Consider this typical Upper Peninsula anniversary toast: Elmer and Gladys Trelawny celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a sit-down dinner for ninety-seven guests at the Chenoweth Bar and Grill in the small village of Dismal Seepage. Champagne flowed and toasts were made by several relatives and close friends. Gladys was the last to speak. She raised her glass and began: “I’ve been married to this man for fifty years,” she said, pointing at Elmer. A long pause ensued. “And if I had killed him when I wanted to, I’d be out of jail by now.”

Da U.P. is wonderful, wacky wilderness, eh?

Weekend Making Memories

September 15th, 2015

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13

For those of you who’ve been following my “Sunday In …” series you know I missed last Sunday. I had a free weekend this past week and decided to take a spontaneous road trip to visit family downstate. We had a wonderful few days together and words can hardly express the joy of being with my family and celebrating a year since Gracie left the hospital only to grow into a healthy, squirming toddler. I was thankful to get photos of me and Gracie together. It’s a photo I can show her as she grows older and tell her how funny and loving she was as a toddler.

015 017 025 Me and Gracie at St Francis

Even in the midst of this joy, I was reminded of the fact that we have something even more glorious to come. God spent only a few days creating the entire universe, probably only a fraction of a second on that gorgeous little girl I hated to say goodbye to.

But He’s spent thousands of years preparing heaven as our eternal home, even as we’ve become so comfortable in this world. We get caught up pretending that our time on this world will never end. The reality is that we are only here for a blink of an eye. Still the time we have here on earth is priceless. We need to take advantage of every second that we are given. Even when that means driving 7 hours to visit and hug and laugh and pray over dinner with your family.

Now I’m faced with the aftermath. You know what I’m talking about: feeling bad I didn’t have time to visit with everybody, the pile of laundry, the piles of “stuff” dropped here and there, dishes to be found and washed. I’ve been out of my routine. I haven’t eaten the same. And it feels so good to sit down and write again.

Let me encourage you today! Despite how hectic things might seem afterwards, quality family time matters. It communicates availability and fosters a sense of security. It establishes a solid home base from which children can launch out into the world with confidence and strength. Even something as simple as singing silly songs together or tasting dill pickle for the first time could turn out to be a memorable family experience.

Then after all this joy we’ll get spend eternity together!

Friday Funnies

September 11th, 2015

Gavin comes home from his first day of kindergarten, and his mother asked, “What did you learn today?” Not enough,” Gavin replied. “They said I have to go back tomorrow.”

Why was the teacher wearing sunglasses to school? She had bright students!

Why do magicians do so well in school? They’re good at trick questions.

What’s the king of all school supplies? The ruler.

What’s the difference between a teacher and a train? A teacher says, “Spit out that gum!” and a train says, “Chew! Chew!”

What kind of school do you go to if you’re… …an ice cream man? Sundae school. …a giant? High school. …a surfer? Boarding school. …King Arthur? Knight school.

Michael, I’ve had to send you to the principal every day this week. What do you have to say for yourself? I’m glad it’s Friday!

School bells are ringing! It’s going to be a great year!

Blessing for a New Season

September 9th, 2015

With Labor Day behind us, so goes the Hymns With a Message series. It’s time to move forward with seasonal devotions beginning with the new school year. 

When I was young I quickly learned to associate Labor Day with the last family cookout of the summer and getting prepared to start school. 

Mom loved taking us to pick out new backpacks, school supplies, clothes and shoes for school. We would spend the day knocking it all out at once as we store hopped on a determined buying mission. We checked it all off our lists as we braved the trenches of school supply aisles in the local super center. We would be armed and ready for whatever the new school year would bring.  

As the first day of school closed in on us, endless questions plagued my anxious mind. Would I like my new teachers? Would I get to be in the same classroom as my friends? We would all have to get into a new routine, back to making those after school snacks. There would be rides to dance classes, gymnastics, and piles of homework.  

These days school supplies have been replaced with work uniforms, gym shoes, utility bills and rent payments. There are many times I wish I could go back to the days of making those early morning waffles floating in peanut butter and maple syrup before school. Those days that seemed so rushed, stressed and hurried now are just cherished memories of a time I wish I could have back again. It has flown by so quickly and without my permission. They are suddenly grown and gone. 

I thought about this and I realized that as many are reluctantly handing kids (my niece and nephews come to mind) over to new teachers and coaches, we can simultaneously hand them over to the complete, unchanging, infinite, protection of God. He’s there to pick up the slack for many weary, anxious, parents. God can be trusted to be where parents cannot. Whether the kids are coloring at first grade art table or they are starting high school, almighty God is watching over them. 

I started Tuesday mornings with a cup of coffee and Bible in hand before the sun comes up as I had my personal prayer time. I asked him to bless the day of my niece and nephews, and other children starting back to school. Join me in praying for His ultimate protection over them and that they would make wise choices according to His word. I ask for Him to send a legion of His heavenly angels to surround our children continuously and to pluck them out of harms way. I pray for wonderful Christian friends and teachers to surround them.

 So as we move into Fall and a new school year and as parents are diligently packing up the school gear, waking the kids up early, and sending them out the door, let’s send them securely wrapped in the Lord’s arms with an abundance of favor and blessings heaped upon them, dressed in their new shoes and of course in the full armor of God!!

Sunday in Michigan

September 6th, 2015

Bayfield is a captivating village on the south shore of Lake Superior. It is home to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a beautiful enclave of enchanting islands. The largest of the islands is Madeline Island, which I visited a few weeks ago. http://bayfield.org/what-makes-us-special/

This weekend I hoped the border and into Wisconsin so I could board an Apostle Island Cruise for their most popular narrated cruise which sailed around Wisconsin’s “Crowned Jewels” for 55 miles on majestic Lake Superior. I was delighted with extraordinary scenery, beautiful rock formations, and historic lighthouses on both Devil’s Island and Raspberry Island and got within reach of sea caves.

Bayfield Marina

Bayfield Marina

Basswood Island: Basswood has steep, rocky shores, forested with hardwoods about 50 years old. Off The northeast shore is a picturesque rock the Indians used for a look out.

Basswood Island

Basswood Island

Hermit Island: Site of the Frederick Prentice’s Excelsior Quarry during the late 1800’s, Hermit Island was so named after Mr. Wilson was exiled from Madeline Island. Ten years after his exile, Mr. Wilson was found murdered by his bootlegger friends. Lumber from this island was commissioned to build PT-109, the patrol torpedo boat used by John F. Kennedy in the Pacific.

Hermit Island Stack

Hermit Island Stack

Stockton Island: The second largest of the Apostle Island, Stockton is home to more black bears then any state in the U.S. including Alaska. Yet, it is a popular seasonal camp and visitors spend time on the island harvesting blueberries, fishing and hunting side-by-side with the docile bears.

Manitou Fish Camp: The fish camp has been restored to its time of use in the 1930’s when the camp was actually used by local fishermen.  They depict the fishing industry in the area from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. A ranger lives on the island, alone, year round earning $1 a month and living off the land. I’m sure she’s happy when boaters visit.

Manitou Island Fish Camp

Manitou Island Fish Camp

Devil’s Island: The most northern point of the cruise, Devils Island, has dramatic rock formations and sea caves that wrap around its northern shore. Ice finally left these “ice caves” as of June 28, 2015. The Indians dubbed this Devil’s Island due to the sounds created by the winds and caves. In some places the sandstone cliffs look honeycombed and lacy. It was very beautiful. Devil’s Island Light sits on the northern end of the island and was built in 1898 and later automated in 1978.

Devils Island

Devils Island

Devil's Island

Devil’s Island

Devil's Island

Devil’s Island

Devil's Island Lighthouse

Devil’s Island Lighthouse

Raspberry Island Lighthouse: The “Showplace of the Apostle Islands” is actually a channel marker built in 1863 to mark the entrance to the West Channel.  This lighthouse served as home to several lighthouse keepers through the years until 1947 when the light was converted to automatic operation. It has recently undergone a complete interior restoration.

Raspberry Island Lighthouse

Raspberry Island Lighthouse

Sadly, we didn’t view any wildlife in their natural habitat and only a single sea stack rock formations on today’s tour. However, I learned that Lake Superior’s water is both 4 feet higher than normal and 2 degrees colder than normal. Today the lake temperature was 49 degrees. http://www.apostleisland.com/

All the fresh lake air put me in the mood for fresh, local specialty Whitefish and Greunke’s Restaurant didn’t let me down. Dining in Greunke’s was like stepping back into the 40’s. The Coca-Cola memorabilia, the working Wurlitzer and old soda fountain counter making the perfect malt to waiting customers conjure images reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell cover on the “Saturday Evening Post.” One of their specialties is Whitefish Livers but I didn’t have the courage to spend money on trying it.

Greunkle's Inn and Restaurant

Greunkle’s Inn and Restaurant

Bayfield from the bay

Bayfield from the bay

The Bayfield area is home to many apple orchards and berry farms where visitors are encouraged to pick pails of raspberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries in summer and apples, squash and pumpkins in the fall. I’m already looking forward to my next visit for Bayfield’s annual celebration of autumn’s harvest and apple festival in a few weeks. Fall flavors and leaves should be peaking about then!

Sgt. Pepperorni's Pizza

Sgt. Pepperorni’s Pizza

Bayfield from the bay

Bayfield from the bay

Bayfield biker gnome

Bayfield biker gnome

Kayakers on their way to the sea caves

Kayakers on their way to the sea caves

Friday Funnies

September 4th, 2015

Labor Day is the perfect time to reflect on the end of summer, the American labor system and how sweet it is to get a Monday off (if you have the luxury). It was originally meant as a day to honor and exhibit the American spirit through its hard-working people via the labor unions. This was done with parades and then recreational activities for the workers and their families to enjoy.  This was how Labor Day was often celebrated for a long time. Some feel this was the inspiration for company picnics as well. But, it wasn’t until later on, that politics began to creep into the holiday and speeches by prominent people were introduced into the activities.

Labor Day has now become a rite of passage between summer and into the Fall.  It’s a guaranteed 3-day weekend that many workers and families plan on.  In fact, Labor Day has now become more a day of physical and emotional refreshing from one’s work and time to buy a mattress.  A time to stop and smell the roses, appreciate one’s family and honor the hard work of a diversified American workforce. And a time to laugh …

Dad: “Most people don’t have to work today, because it’s Labor Day.” Son: “If they’re not working, shouldn’t it be `No-Labor Day?”

What do you usually do on Labor Day? As little as possible, just like every day!

Why did you think someone was about to have a baby? Because you said it was Labor Day!

Did you hear the one about Labor Day? It works for me!

Hymns With a Message: Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling

September 2nd, 2015

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 10:28 

Young Will Thompson showed an early interest in music, and had written several songs before finishing high school. After graduation he went on to study music in Germany. He returned home and started a music store and went into the mail order business, selling sheet music and music books. He marketed his music, in part, by sending copies to various minstrel shows. He quickly became successful, and was known as the millionaire “Bard of Ohio.”  He wrote one of his most popular songs, “Gathering Sea Shells on the Sea Shore” in ten minutes.  It sold 246,000 copies.

At this time Thompson became a Christian and while attending a Moody evangelistic meeting decided to devote himself to writing and promoting Christian music.  He wrote “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” in 1880.  It quickly became popular as a hymn of invitation in evangelistic meetings, and was soon incorporated into church hymnals as well.  Thompson wrote “Jesus is All the World to Me” in 1904, and it became quite popular as well.  He was as successful with Christian music as he had been earlier with secular music.  It’s believed he sold two million books of quartet music.

Dwight L. Moody, the most famous evangelist of his day, used “Softly and Tenderly” as an invitation hymn in his meetings.  Thompson visited Moody as he lay dying, and Moody told him, “Will, I would rather have written ‘Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling’ than anything I have been able to do in my life.” That’s quite a tribute from someone as accomplished as Moody.

Even though he became quite rich, Thompson continued to live a life of service.  He supported various civic and religious activities generously.  He was also aware of the fact that small town people had very little exposure to good music, so he loaded a piano on a horse-drawn wagon and went through small Ohio towns giving concerts of his music.

Thompson became ill on a trip to Europe in 1909, and died shortly thereafter.

 

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.