Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Friday Funnies

June 30th, 2017

WRONG E-MAIL ADDRESS A lesson to be learned from typing the wrong email address!!

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of their hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel dates. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.

After arriving the husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.  

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read: 

To: My Loving Wife Subject: I’ve Arrived Date: April 13, 2017

I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I’ve seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was. P. S. Sure is freaking hot down here!!!!


Hymns With a Message: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

June 28th, 2017

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with the truthEphesians 6:14

Traditional hymns are filled with wonderful truths set to music. As a child I sang many over the years in the little church on the hill. Last Sunday we stood up and sang Stand Up, Stand Up as a group from the same pews.

Dudley Tyng was only 29 in 1854, the year he succeeded his father at the large Philadelphia’s Church of the Epiphany. It seemed like a good fit, but the honeymoon didn’t last once Dudley began preaching against slavery. Loud complaints resulted in his resignation in 1856.

He and his followers organized the Church of the Covenant. He began Bible studies at the local YMCA and the church grew beyond its walls. Dudley felt a calling to lead husbands and fathers to Christ and organized a great rally to reach men. Over a thousand men were converted that day.

Two weeks later while visiting the countryside, he became intrigued with a corn-thrasher in a barn. His hand moved too close to the machine and his sleeve was snared. Dudley’s arm was ripped from its socket. Four days later he lay dying, Dudley told his aged father: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, father, and tell my brethren of the ministry to stand up for Jesus.”

Rev. George Duffield of Philadelphia’s Temple Presbyterian Church was deeply moved by Dudley’s funeral, and went home to write Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, inspired by Dudley’s words. The song soon became a favorite and inspired many and continues to inspire today as it did me last Sunday.

Live inspired and filled with light.

Sunday in Ohio

June 26th, 2017

Imagine you’re wearing your favorite yoga pants and t-shirt, sitting down with your coffee and proceed to open your Facebook. Then you choke when you see the announcement about the pending family reunion only six months away. There is no way you’ll lose 20 pounds in time, so you tackle a bag of cookies before it gets stale. And you wonder, how did six months already pass since the last reunion?!!  

I just returned from my native state of Ohio, where the annual reunion includes all ages come together to reminisce, shake their heads at the rambunctious youngsters, and moan about new parking rules at the campground, the cost of ice cream and/or the loss of (fill in the blank).

I vaguely remember having a conversation that went something along these lines: “Kids can’t even play anymore,” they mumble. “I remember how we fell out of trees and rode our bikes without a helmet. I hit my head so many times I forgot my name. (knee slap & laugh) These children will never know how to have fun like we did.”

The old-timers (which I found myself a part of this year) nod and pontificate about the pending doom of society. Then someone’s truck radio begins playing a concoction of Country/Blue Grass and the mood changes. Even the kids hop off the swings, put down the corn hole bags, stopped painting rocks and began moving around in sporadic rhythms. Suddenly, we’re all children running up the hollow together again.

Even if you had some falling out, thought the kids stayed up too late or hated holding your nose in the campground bathrooms, you don’t want to miss the excitement and renewed camaraderie that could result from attending next years reunion.


Hymns With a Message: Rocks of Ages

June 21st, 2017


Many families spend weekends together going hiking or to the movies. This weekend I’m traveling to a family reunion, which differs from a typical family visit in that extended family members are present. Reunions are a memorable time. Perhaps bonds will be formed with younger generations of cousins and fences mended. Naturally I’m enjoy seeing my relatives, but I can’t wait to step across the threshold and into our family church in Tyndall, Ohio. My maternal grandparents sat in these pews, my mother was baptized and married there, all of us were baptized there. We had several traditional hymns that are my “go-to” hymns when I need peace, however the one I requested most from my seat in the wooden pew was Rocks of Ages.

Tyndall United Methodist Church, Tyndall, Ohio

The author, born in England in 1740, was Augustus Montague Toplady. His father died in a war, his mother spoiled him, and his relatives disliked him.

Good thing Augustus was interested in the Lord. By age 12 he was preaching sermons to whoever would listen. At 14 he began writing hymns. And at 22 he was ordained an Anglican priest…that didn’t care much for Methodist theology. Ironically, this hymn that I grew up singing in Tyndall United Methodist Church, was part of an article Augustus wrote in 1776, intending it as a slap at John Wesley.

Oddly, it’s remarkable similar to something Wesley had written 30 years before in the preface of a book of hymns: “O Rock of Salvation, Rock struck and cleft for me, let those two Streams of Blood and Water which gushed from thy side, bring down Pardon and Holiness into my soul.”

Perhaps the two men weren’t as incompatible as they imagined. Please enjoy what has been hailed as “…the best known, best loved, and most widely useful” hymn in the English language: https://youtu.be/GAfAko5dwoM



Sunday in Michigan: Hackley and Hume

June 18th, 2017

Visiting the Muskegon area? Be sure to tour the city’s historic waterways, squares, mansions and museums. The City of Muskegon has always been linked to the fresh waters that inspired its growth and have maintained its quality of life. During the lumbering era, pine logs traveled these waters to market, and Muskegon boasted more millionaires than any other town in America.

Lumber partners Hackley and Hume were two of these millionaires that built their fortune in Muskegon. The families built their home side-by-side while sharing a massive City Barn located between the houses. Serving as an architectural bridge between the two houses, the barn housed horses, equipment, and their coachmen, who each had living quarters on the second floor.

City Barn

Architectural details of barn bridging the two homes

Hume House

Hume’s coachman’s quarters. Thomas earned $40 a month and Hackley’s coachman making $25 a month. Historians believe the difference may be because Hume had 7 children and therefore his coachman had extra responsibilities.

Built between 1887 – 1889 the Hackley House is a unique example of Victorian architecture and of late nineteenth century interior decorative arts. I have toured many historic homes and each one has something unique to offer. The Hackley House had exquisite examples of ornate Victorian woodworking, stenciled ceilings and a radiator food warmer in the dining room. I’d never seen one of those anywhere! The entryway of the Hackley House has five carved heads, representing the five races of man.

Hackley parlor

Hackley spared no expense impressing guests with stained glass windows. All are still original to the home.

The entryway of the Hackley House has five carved heads, representing the five races of man. This one represents the Native American.

This radiator-style, cast iron food warmer is not the one in the Hackley dining room, but very similar. It had shelves and allowed courses to stay warm during the meal.

Each of the Hackley fireplaces had ornate tiles fitting to that room.

Carved bat along Hackley staircase

Notice the hand stenciled border and ceiling work. Beautiful

This Hackley fireplace was unique because it was built with split flume in order that he could put a stained glass window above mantle.

The interior design of the Hume House is more open and modern than the Hackley House. Filled with spacious living areas and nine family bedrooms decorated with simple patterns, David S. Hopkins designed the house for comfort and a large family. The Hume family expanded the house after the turn of the century creating a beautiful library, a large dining room with geometric tile flooring, and a sleeping porch off daughter Helen’s room with a terne metal floor.

Hume massive front door and delightful tour guide.

Hume’s windows were less ornate

The Hume house was a typical family home.

Following our tour of the historic homes, we visited the Muskegon Museum of Art to view the North American Indian photography of Edward Curtis. The event celebrates the artistic genius and lasting cultural legacy of Edward Curtis, an early-1900s photographer who followed his dream and sacrificed everything for his art, died in obscurity, but left behind one of the greatest artistic collaborations and photographic achievements in history. In addition to the iconic photographs, the exhibition included all 20 bound volumes of the western Indian tribes, historic objects from Curtis’s life and work, and examples of cultural artifacts represented in the photographs. To view Curtis’ extraordinary body of work, click on the link below: https://edwardcurtis.com/?gclid=CPeax7n5wtQCFYSPswodcvsMZQ

Vacations are never complete without a sightseeing tour! Thank you, Tara, for suggesting these ideas for our outing.

Friday Funnies

June 16th, 2017

I’ve learned more about Michigan’s logging history this week. By 1880, Michigan was producing as much lumber a its 3 neighboring states combined. But, enough with the facts. Trees are our best antiques. Help me honor them with some tree related Friday Funnies:

How do trees access the internet? They log on.
What did the tree do when the bank closed? It started its own branch.
Why did the pine tree get in trouble? Because it was being knotty.
What did the trees wear to Mother Nature’s pool party? Swimming trunks!
Do you want a brief explanation of an acorn? In a nutshell, it’s an oak tree.
What type of tree fits in your hand? A palm tree.
How do you properly identify a dogwood tree? By the bark!

Walk tall as the trees and keep the sun in your heart this weekend.

Hymns with a Message: Brighten the Corner Where You Are

June 14th, 2017

You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14a

In August 1874, a Methodist minister organized a Sunday school training camp beside beautiful Lake Chautauque in upstate New York. Families came for 2-week camps that combined recreation, entertainment and Sunday school sessions. It was an enormous hit, and over the next several decades, the “Chautauque Circuit” spread to other areas and quick outgrew its origins.

Performers, musicians, lecturers, and motivational speakers traveled the country, staying at these camps. Enormous audiences gathered to enjoy Broadway hits, popular plays and even stars from the Metropolitan Opera, and Theodore Roosevelt called the Chautauque Circuit, “The most American thing in America.”

In 1912, Ina Duley Ogdon received an invitation to be a Chautauque Circuit speaker. Having long felt God’s calling on her life, she was tremendously excited by the opportunity. But, as she was packing for the tour, her father was seriously injured in an accident. Ina, deeply distressed, cancelled her travel plans to care for him.

Though bitterly disappointed, she surrendered her disappointment to God and trusted His purposes. Making up her mind to be a blessing wherever she was, she concluded that even if she couldn’t minister to thousands, she could be a blessing to her father, and those around him. She sat down and wrote… Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do; Do not wait to shed your light afar; To the many duties ever near you now be true; Brighten the corner where you are.

After this poem was set to music, it was discovered by the song director for Billy Sunday’s evangelistic campaigns. He was so taken by the song that he made it the theme song of his ministry, and became one of gospel music’s most popular and uplifting songs.

Instead of speaking to thousands, Ina has ministered to millions. Including each one of us today. Brighten the corner where you are this summer:


Sunday in Michigan: Michigan Heritage Park

June 11th, 2017

Hands-on experiences await you along the trail of Michigan’s history! Michigan’s Heritage Park in Whitehall is a perfect family activity, promising outdoor adventure for all ages. A short stroll covers 10,000 years of Michigan History in a natural woodland setting.

While visiting with my family, I learned about military and civilian life at the time of the Civil War during this special weekend at Michigan’s Heritage Park.

Along the trail we experienced daily life in a Native American Wigwam Village (1650) and interacted with a fur trader (1760) stocking her shelves in the Fur Trade Post. In the Settlers Cabin (1830), we learned about the life of early settlers, but didn’t help with daily chores. We visited with Civil War Soldiers (1861 to 1865) in their winter camp and heard about the dangers in camp. We drew the line at stretching out on a bunk in the Lumber Shanty (1880), but not before learning what “small game in the bunk” means. Afterwards we continued the stroll to find out what it took to put dinner on the table in the Farmhouse (1900) and learn what the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933) did in Michigan.

Civil War Calvary

1630s Indian Wigwam Village

1830s Settles Cabin

1830s Settles Cabin

1830s Settles Cabin

Village Singers

1860s Civil War Camp

1860s Civil War Camp

1880 Lumbar Shanty

1900s Farmhouse

1900s Farmhouse

1900s Outhouse

1900s Kitchen

CCC Tent

Civil War Demonstrations

Trying out the atlatl

Develop a passion for learning together and you will develop a history working together successfully.


Sunday In Hawaii: Hawaiian Plantation Village

June 4th, 2017

One last step back in time to when “sugar was King” and experience the real Hawaii. Hawaii’s Plantation Village is the perfect location for all ages to explore a living history museum and botanical garden. My visit opened a door to a time of true hospitality and cultural sharing that sprung from Hawaii’s plantation life. http://www.hawaiiplantationvillage.org/

What am I talking about? Hawaii’s Plantation Village, of course. It’s an outdoor museum telling the story of life on Hawaii’s sugar plantations (circa 1850-1950). The Village includes 25 authentic restored buildings and replicas of plantation structures, including houses of various ethnic groups featuring personal artifacts, clothing, furniture and art placed in their original settings. Also, community buildings such as the plantation store, infirmary, bathhouse and manager’s office. The village tells the story of Hawaii’s many: including Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Okinawan, Portuguese and Puerto Rican.

Chinese Society Building 1909

Barbershop. Women were the barbers here to pick up extra money.

Wakamiya Inari Shrine 1914

Infirmary 1915

Camp Office 1930’s

Plantation Store 1900 & Saimin Stand 1940

Korean House and garden.

Okinawan House interior. Okinawans regard themselves as victims of Japanese invasion. This Obon was traditional Okinawan.

Puerto Rican kitchen. Puerto Ricans were sent to Hawaii after Hurricane San Ciriaco destroyed their sugar cane fields in 1899..

Portuguese home sewing machine 1918

Elaborate prayer shrine depicting life in Heaven, on Earth and in Hell.

Chinese wood stove to burn paper money or objects to send to the dead. Still practiced today.

Chinese Society Building entrance 1909

Chinese Kitchen 1909

Chinese Kitchen 1909

Female Korean Totem Pole

Calabash Tree gourd used to make maracas

Portuguese bread oven

This weekend marked the Obon Festival at the Hawaiian Plantation Village. Brought by the Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, the Obon honors the ancestors that have passed on with dances and festivals held across the island throughout the summer. What I’ve appreciated about Obon celebrations I’ve participated in is that it doesn’t matter whether you have “two left feet.” The important thing is to leave your ego behind and simply express your joy and gratitude for life through the dance.

Dance like every day is a bonus.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.