Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Friday Funnies

February 24th, 2017

Pierre and Boudreaux was flying Cajun Airlines to Mardi Gras. Boudreaux was flying the plane, and Pierre was in the back fooling with cargo equipment a stuff.  Their plane hit some turbulence a started bouncing around and Boudreaux got knocked unconscious. Then the plane start drifting. Pierre come ran up to the front and Boudreaux was sprawled out all over the steering wheel.  Well, Pierre didn’t know anything about flying and he start to get panicky. He grabs the microphone and holla “May Day! May Day! This is Cajun Air Line 90210. Boudreaux, him knocked unconscious and I don’t know nuttin about flying this plane!”  “This is the control tower,” Someone answered. “Don’t you worry about nothing. We’re going to explain how you’re going to land the plane, step by step, ah gar-own-tee! Just leave anything to us. First, how high you are, and what’s you position?”  Pierre thought a minute, then said, “I’m five foot ten and I’m all day was to the front of the plane.” “No! No! No!” answered the tower. ” What’s your altitude, and your location?”  Pierre say, “Man, right now I got a poor attitude, an I’m from Thibodeaux, Louisiana!”  ” No! No! No!” came an exasperated voice. ” I need to know how many feet you got off the ground and where you are in relation to the airport!”  Pierre, he starts to panic by this time. He says, “Counting Boudreaux’s feet’s and mine together, we got four feet off the ground and I believe this plane is related to your airport!”  A long pause—–the silence was deafening. “We need to know who your next of kin.”

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“Hey man, can I borrow your lawn mower? MARDI GRAS needs cutting.”

Devotions from Baba’s Front Porch: Serving

February 22nd, 2017

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant to all.” Mark 9:35

We all want to do the BIG things for God, don’t we? We watch people go from obscurity to going viral after a Facebook video, and we think that’s what it looks like to be used by God. We hear of someone living among the poor, and suddenly our daily sacrifices don’t feel so impressive. Sometimes it seems as if everyone else is doing BIGGER things for God.

We might be tempted to view our day-to-day tasks as mundane. Or we might analyze our responsibilities and deem some of them holy and some of them boring. If we listen to the world, we’ll begin to believe that the little acts of service don’t matter and that everyone else is living a more glamorous life than we are.

The fact is, there are moments when we must wash the dishes, bath our children, and clean up whatever mess spilled on the floor. Those are the moments that our life might feel menial. But sometimes ministry is in the mess. And sacredness is in the serving.

We live in a culture of competition; that appears to only respect first place. Whether is a sporting event, a black Friday shopping line, or an airline boarding pass, we like to be in front and we’ll Tweet about being first. Even if you don’t Tweet, don’t we all want just a little of the spotlight for ourselves sometimes? The problem comes when these feelings of entitlement carry over into other areas of our lives. Perhaps we’re only happy to serve if we get “Likes” for doing so. But that isn’t service at all. True servanthood begins in the heart. And we must decide if we want glamour for ourselves or glory for the Lord.

Lord, teach me humility, and give me a servant’s heart.

Sunday in Minnesota: Caves of Faribault

February 19th, 2017

Wisconsin may have a reputation for cheese, but Minnesota has its own bragging rights that few seem to know about. Let me share a cheesy secret with you…

Legend holds that the first blue cheese was born in the natural caves of France where ideal humidity and temperature conditions allowed native blue green molds to flourish. That tradition lives on at Caves of Faribault on the site where America’s first blue cheese was made, and where cheese is aged in sandstone caves carved from the river bluffs.  Faribault, MN is on nearly the same line of latitude as Roquefort, France. The atmosphere within the caves is ideal for the curing and aging of blue cheese.

At face value, the sandstone bluffs in Faribault are nothing more than a wall of rock towering over the city as I drive to work. Yet formation of St. Peter Sandstone goes back to the last glacial age. Found only in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and northern Missouri, this sandstone is geologically rare. It is uniquely qualified for aging cheese and lagering beer. The caves began serving this purpose in 1854 when Gottfried and Ernst Fleckenstein used the caves to brew and age their beer. They had to close down that operation due to The Prohibition in 1919.

In December 1936, Mr. Felix Frederiksen purchased the caves and set up shop for the first blue cheese to be made in the United States. The Caves of Faribault produce both AmaBlu and AmaGorg cheese brands at the very same location today. The caves amass nearly an acre of land inside the sandstone bluff.

Inside the plant, employees work the milk into curd, separate it and form it into a wheel. Each wheel is then salted twice and pierced with 72 holes, to allow the blue veining within the cheese, for the final stage of the initial preparation. From there, the production process utilizes the natural surroundings. Faribault’s sandstone bluffs open into a web of twelve caves creating ideal conditions for aging cheese. For three weeks, the wheels sit untouched to work in tandem with nature to create truly delicious cheeses.

Nowhere else in the U.S. is cheese aged in sandstone caves like it is here today. I found this very interesting. Sadly, due to Federal Regulations The Caves of Faribault isn’t open for public tours but there’s a virtual tour online here: https://vimeo.com/36248940

I think I need to go. I’m hungry for some cheese.

 

 

Friday Funnies

February 17th, 2017

An Amishman lived on a quiet, rural highway. But, as time went by, the traffic slowly built up at an alarming rate. It became so heavy and so fast that his chickens were being run over at a rate of three to six a day. So he called the sheriff’s office and said, “You’ve got to do something about all of these tourists driving so fast and killing all of my chickens.”  “What do you want me to do?” asked the sheriff. “I don’t care, just do something about these drivers.”         So the next day the sheriff had the county go out and put up a sign that said: SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING. Three days later, the Amishman again called the sheriff and said, “That sign didn’t help a bit. They are still hitting my chickens.”         So the next day, the county put up a sign that said: SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY. Again, no change. So the Amishman called and called, every day for three weeks. Finally, he told the sheriff, “Look, your signs are just not working. Mind if I put up one of my own?” The sheriff told him, “Sure thing, let’s see if yours works better.”        He was willing to agree to anything to get him to stop those daily calls. Well, the sheriff got no more calls from the Amishman. After three weeks, he decided to call the Amishman and see how things were going. “Did you put up your sign?” “Oh, I sure did. And not one chicken has been killed since. I’ve got to go. I’m very busy.” And he hung up the phone.        The sheriff thought to himself, “I’d better go have a look at that sign. There might be something there that WE could use to slow down drivers…” So the sheriff drove out to the Amishman’s house, and he saw the sign. It was on a whole sheet of plywood. Written in large, yellow letters were the words: SLOW: NUDIST COLONY.

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A young lady visited a dating service and requested, “I’m looking for a spouse. Can you please help me to find a suitable one?” The matchmaker said, “What exactly are you looking for?”         “Well, let me see. Needs to be good looking, polite, humorous, sporty, knowledgeable, good at singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure hour if I don’t go out. Be able to tell me interesting stories when I need a companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest.”        The matchmaker entered the information into the computer and, in a matter of moments, handed the results to the woman. The results read, “Buy a television.”

Devotions from Baba’s Front Porch: Fences

February 15th, 2017

Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. Acts 2:44

When some people being compiling their “must-haves” for a dream home, many add a white picket fence. For my family, it’s because they have dogs and a small child who need a safe place to run. But for some, the fence reflects a desire for privacy. Fences allow us to live among people while still controlling how often we must interact with them.

A fence is a way of saying, “I’m responsible for this, and you’re responsible for that.” Think about it – fences separate people. It might be a cheap chain link or fancy wrought iron, but the purpose of a fence is still to delineate where you end and your neighbor begins.

Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the concept of fencing off one’s personal property. They held everything in common. They would sell of their possessions and compiled the money when needs arose. They lived as a community in the purest sense of the word. Though they lived in separate homes, they lived life together.

I’m not suggesting you do away with your fence. After all, nothing makes loving your neighbor more difficult than when the neighbors cow rips through your garden. Sometimes fences are handy! However, as Christian, we aren’t meant to live in isolation. We’re charged to be concerned with the well-being of our neighbors, seeking ways to serve them and love them.

Wouldn’t it be good getting to know the people on the other side of the fence?

Sunday in Minnesota: National Farmers’ Bank

February 12th, 2017

Today’s adventure was close to home and celebrates one of the world’s leading architects. Let me start by saying Louis Sullivan’s bank in Owatonna is one of the great buildings in the world. It’s a jewel – the proportions, the forms, the materials are all so exquisitely well used. It’s a joy to see it, to be in its space. In rural Owatonna of all places! The building highlights are the gold leaf arches, huge stained glass windows, terra cotta tiles, murals by Oskar Gross and the massive 2 1/4 ton light fixtures. The building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and was featured on a United States postage stamp in 1981 as one of four unique architectural buildings. 

Louis Sullivan completed a series of eight banks in small Midwest towns during the last years of his career. The National Farmers’ Bank of Owatonna, built in 1908, is arguably the best. Sullivan designed the bank to resemble a jeweled strongbox, giving depositors a sense of security.

The building is “bathed in a symphony of color,” as Sullivan described it, the frescoes combine 240 shades of yellow, red, orange and green. Green and brown terra cotta panels and blue and gold glass mosaic bands contrast with the reddish brick walls and the red sandstone base that anchors the bank to its site. Elegantly arched stained-glass windows are mirrored on the interior by murals of dairy and harvest scenes painted by Chicago artist Oskar Gross. The lavish organic ornamentation, designed largely by Sullivan’s partner George Elmslie, carries through all interior elements, from 18-foot-tall light fixtures down to the tellers’ window grills. Builders could take a few lessons from him today.

Fill your world with beauty and color this week.

Friday Funnies

February 10th, 2017

Friday Funnies

Eagle-eyed skywatchers will enjoy a rare space triple-header tonight and early Saturday morning: A “penumbral” lunar eclipse during the full “snow” moon — the flyby of a comet AND Friday Funnies!

Q: Did you hear about the great new restaurant on the moon? A: The food is excellent, but there’s no atmosphere.

Q: Why did the dairy cow jump over the moon? A: Because the farmer had cold hands!

Q: How do you know when the moon is going broke? A: When it’s down to its last quarter.

Q: Why does the Moon orbit the Earth? A: To get to the other side.

Q: Why did the moon burp? A: Because it was full!

Q: How does a man on a moon get his haircut? A: Eclipse it.

Devotions from Baba’s Front Porch: Storm Clouds

February 8th, 2017

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you shall know them. Matthew 7:15-16

Whether you are a farmer tending your crops in Minnesota, a family planning a Sunday drive, or a parent who desperately wants her kids to play outside, people who care about the weather watch the clouds. Some clouds mean pleasant weather, while others indicate an impending storm such as the clouds heading east over the Plains yesterday. It’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs of a coming storm.

Jesus warned that there would be false prophets. There will be those who pretend to be His, but, in reality they aren’t. How are we supposed to be able to distinguish the true prophets from the false ones? We have to be able to recognize the warning signs.

Those who follow Christ have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. When someone exhibits these qualities, it’s evidence that they’re walking in the Spirit. Likewise, we can observe the when the “fruit” is not being produced.

Much as clouds warn of a coming snow storm. Scripture gives clear warnings against a variety of dangers Christians will encounter. Proverbs warns against gossip, lying, and many other activities that the media plays up. Jesus’ parables warn against being disobedient and ill prepared. Warnings are everywhere. It doesn’t take a meteorologist to recognize the need to take cover from a storm cloud, and you don’t have to be a seminary graduate to recognize the fruit of a false prophet.

These are trying times and we all need to keep our eyes open to warning signs around us. All we need to do is open His Word. Thank you Lord!

Sunday in Minnesota: Saint Paul Winter Carnival

February 5th, 2017

Snow & ice can be miserable if you’ve have to drive to work or shovel your sidewalk, but it can also provide creative people with an excellent opportunity to express themselves. That’s exactly what snow artists in Saint Paul, Minnesota do every year for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Saint Paul’s beautiful and historic Rice Park acts as center stage for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, and I arrived in Minnesota just in time to attend! One of Winter Carnival’s signature events, the ever-sparkly ice displays, are free and open to the public and are on display all 10 days of carnival in Rice Park. The beautiful masterpieces are created by area artists using an array of tools including knives, chainsaws and other tools. This year 1,300 blocks of ice harvested from Lake Phalen will be transformed into nine distinct towers dubbed the Tower of Boreas, however many of them had already started melting when I saw them.

Volunteers also created mesmerizing works of snow art at Snow Park at the Fairgrounds. (I was there last fall for the Minnesota State Fair with 200K people, what a difference!) During the weekend, Snow Park features a host of other family-friendly activities, including fire truck rides, scavenger hunts, the snow sculpting competition awards ceremony, and a Special Olympics Minnesota Polar Plunge event. Wow! So much winter fun and creativity in one area.

Put on your coat, hat and gloves and make plans to start building a lifetime of Winter Carnival memories wherever you are this winter. Or maybe just play in the pure white canvas in your back yard. Playing in the winter is fun, easy and well worth your while.

To read the legend of Boreas, “King of the Winds” behind the Saint Paul Winter Carnival click here: https://www.wintercarnival.com/legend/

 

A Dog’s Purpose

February 3rd, 2017

“A Dog’s Purpose” is a profound movie about a dog’s companionship, love and loyalty for their human and portrays many ways that dogs are treated from a dog’s viewpoint. This movie chronicles the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and dogs in a way that reinforces how much these tolerant, playful, and loving companions give to their humans. Its central storyline is that dogs (and love) never die, but keep coming back as other dogs.

It is a charming movie by a director Lasse Hallström, a Swedish director who first attracted Hollywood’s attention with his 1985 film “My Life as a Dog” and went on to do movies like “Chocolat” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” His films sometime wear their hearts on their sleeves, as this one does, but honestly earn their emotional responses.

The mostly-unknown cast is fine, and Dennis Quaid and Peggy Lipton show up in the final sequence to bring the story to a satisfying close.

Overall I recommend the movie, and I also recommend you not believe what the media is spreading about this movie. I had a great time because for 100 minutes I had pleasant relief from all the negativity in the news. This was a tear jerking, laugh inducing, emotional roller-coaster movie. So, get ready for canine love, pain, two scary scenes and lots of laughter that makes this a good movie for families with older children. Just be sure to take tissues with you.

 

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.