Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in Michigan: Fall

October 29th, 2017

The colors, the crisp air, the light… fall is a fabulous season. And life is a series of memories, and bonding with your family. With fall schools are back in session and cooler temperatures are moving in, meaning Fall is the perfect time to browse a local bookstore, indulge your taste buds at a cupcake shop, explore an aquarium or even a day trip to a pumpkin patch.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s all about being together because you want to. Fall fun is about creating heartfelt memories to reflect upon in years to come. Build some memories this week.

            

Friday Funnies

October 20th, 2017

I’m flying to visit my family tomorrow morning for a week. This will prove to be full of fun memories, such as over the summer. Many summer days my Dad found himself spending them with his grandchildren. The kids always wanted to play ball and Grandpa somehow always got coaxed into the game.  Heather came outside one day and witnessed her father take a fake shot as Gavin pointed a water gun and yelled, “Bang!”  Grandpa slumped to the ground and stayed there motionless. My sister rushed over to see if he was all right. Grandpa opened one eye and whispered, ”Shhh, I always do this. It’s the only chance I get to rest.” 

 

Families are like fudge .. mostly sweet with a few nuts. In fact, there are a few teenagers in the family and I’m convinced raising teenagers is like nailing JELLO to a tree. And another thing, if you have trouble getting your children’s attention, just sit down and look comfortable.

My cousin Neese decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart. “Wal-Mart?” the preacher exclaimed. “Why Wal-Mart?” “Then I’ll be sure my family visits me twice a week.”

 

 

 

Old West Devotions: Spur

October 18th, 2017

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

If you’re not familiar with what a spur is; it is a sharp metal piece attached to a cowboy boot.  A spur is used for the purpose of goading a horse. It’s an incentive to make the horse move forward.  Christ left us with the Holy Spirit to be our spur. The Holy Spirit is there to prick and guide us as Christians.

When we are sensitive to His leading, we move forward in the direction that the Lord would have us go.  This is a blessing world doesn’t have to guide and direct them. Thank you God for indwelling us with the Holy Spirit.

I love the fact that the Lord brands us with His touch.  There is so much He gives us as His children.  The qualities I’ve mentioned in the “Old West” series are just a small helping of what God gives us when we accept Him as Lord of our lives.

I hope others can see Whose brand is on me.  I want to be identified for Christ. What’s your brand?

I will be gone for a week but will return the first week of November. Have a great week and be a light in the darkness.

Movie Review: Victoria & Abdul

October 15th, 2017

As we crawl out of the summer action movie season, the first of the serious award-contenders moves into view. Victoria & Abdul is the captivating untold story of a hushed-up relationship between an aged Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and her Indian servant, Abdul Kareem (Ali Fazal).

This film is delightful as it unfolds and reveals the special friendship between Queen and servant slowly from beginning to end. The focus of the film is rightly on the scandal (for the day) of the queen of England (and head of the Church of England) having a spiritual teacher who is neither white nor Christian. If there is a criticism to be made it’s the racial references.

Above all, this is an acting tour de force for Dame Judi Dench, reprising her role as the elderly Queen Victoria from Mrs. Brown, which is now 20 years old! I know its early in the season to be placing bets, but Dench’s master performance screams Oscar to me. Dame Judi is the Queen personified.

Relative newcomer Ali Fazal (he had a role in the “Furious 7” film) is impressive, bringing the warmth and compassion to the supporting role that is needed to maintain the overall balance of comedy and drama.

Another star of the show is the Scottish countryside, ravishingly photographed. Victoria & Abdul will probably do more for the Scottish Tourist Board than any paid for advertising could ever do. LOL

The film claims to be “Based on a True Story… Mostly”, and this tease of a caption both infuriates and intrigues me in equal measure after watching it. The ending left me feeling obliged to delve into the original source material to learn more. I guess I know what I’ll be reading this winter.

Overall, I recommend Victoria & Abdul as a delightful, balanced and brilliantly acted drama. I would say this is a must see for viewers over the age of 50 in need of cinematic story telling that doesn’t disappoint or leave them running from the theater in disgust. This film acts as respectable tribute to a remarkable relationship that we all want in our life.

Friday Funnies

October 13th, 2017

Birthdays are a fact of life and a chance to share cake with everyone. Yesterday a CNA I work with had a birthday and handed me a nice piece of cake. I thanked her and giggled as I asked her if she was 29 again. She replied, “No, I’m just turning 28.” Oh my! True story and I was mortified. Birthdays are meant to have fun even if they’re at my expense. I hope you find the rest of these birthday jokes funny:

One of the benefits of getting older is that all your favorite movies are being re-released in color.

After 40 when you get two invitations to go out on the same night, you pick the event that will get you home the earliest.

After 40 you realize you were meant for comfort and not for speed.

The oldest sister Valerie brought her brother a gift for his birthday. Before opening the gift, the brother shook it slightly, and noticed that it was wet in the corner. Touching his finger to the wet spot and tasting it, he asked, “A bottle of vinegar?” Valerie replied, “No.” Again, Vaughn touched his finger to the box and tasted the liquid. “A bottle of green tea?” His sister replied again, “No.” Finally, Vaughn asked, “I give up. What is it?” Valerie responded, “A puppy.” (wink)

And after 40 you sing along with elevator music.

These “over 40” birthday jokes are loving told and dedicated to my sister Tara celebrating her birthday today, and my sister Heather and brother Vaughn who are all having “over 40” birthdays tomorrow. May you each have a wonderful birthday and the joy last all year.

Old West Devotions: Tumbleweed

October 11th, 2017

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Tumbleweeds grow in abundance in the Old West. I saw an awful lot of them in Nevada. Although now they are kept under control for the most part, if you live in the Western United States you’re familiar with them.  They are plants that break away from their roots.

The winds picks them up and carries them with great force usually carrying lots of dust as they go.  Tumbleweeds are troublesome because not only do they nearly cause accidents while driving, but they tend to push other vegetation out and take over.

The interesting thing about tumbleweeds is that they carry seeds everywhere when the wind blows them and more grow.  They typically have around 250,000 seeds.  They don’t all scatter in one spot, as tumbleweeds don’t release all their seeds at once.

Isn’t that so like the fiery darts of the devil?  They keep on growing and coming at us as Christians.

The Lord knew that the tumbleweeds of the world would come rolling by in our lives as His children.  Those tumbleweeds make us rely on Him more.  The world doesn’t have that reliance on the Lord like Christians do when trials and tumbleweeds come.

Having the knowledge that God is completely in control of every situation is something that keeps us rooted in peace.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Rapid City Powwow

October 8th, 2017

Colorful finery, elaborate feather work and intricate beadwork describe the visual atmosphere of a powwow. Spirited drumming and singing filled the air as dancers complete their fancy footwork. The Black Hills Powwow has become one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States and features competitions in categories such as traditional, fancy and jingle-dress dancing. 

Dances are either for men or women, with dancers moving in a clockwise direction which represents the circle of unity and the never-ending cycle of life. Singers are usually between the audience and the dance arena. Powwow singers and drummers play a very important part of the celebration, providing rhythm for the dancers. They sing many types of songs, including honor and family, war and conquest, songs of joy, encouragement, humor and mourning. Attire worn by a dancer is called regalia and often takes years to create and may include gifts which have deep meaning.

During this preeminent three-day event spectators can enjoy a fine arts show, He Sapa Win pageant, wellness symposium for youth, and tournaments for hand games, softball, golf, and archery.

Catch the spirit at the many celebrations across your state.

Old West Devotions: Saddle

October 4th, 2017

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

The western saddle has an interesting history and development and it’s now considered a uniquely American style. From the 1700’s through the 1950’s, the western saddle evolved, with new features to support cattle work and improved construction methods to extend strength, durability, and comfort during the long hours cowboys worked. Like the cowboys, and girls, that worked the buffalo herd last weekend. They depend on their saddles for their specialized work.

Like the saddle, we are also set apart for specialized work. We are here to carry out the Great Commission. God set us apart from the world by making us His ambassadors. We need to be in the saddle, so to speak, spreading the Word and love of Christ in our daily lives.

Sunday in South Dakota: Crazy Horse Volksmarch

October 1st, 2017

The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch is a rare chance to hike 10K through woodlands and scramble up hill to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. This is the most popular Volksmarch, attracting 15,000 walkers – including me.

The first time I went to Crazy Horse, I only viewed it from the visitor center. I didn’t realize how much I missed. Today’s hike was rocky, it was hilly and worth every strained breath, just to experience standing on Crazy Horse’s outstretched arm for a once in a lifetime view of his face.

Along the way hikers were teased by sneak peeks of the mountain carving through the trees, every time just a little bit closer. In the end, the view was outrageous. The level of detail put in his facial features we suddenly visible that can’t have been seen from the visitors center.

Cell phone tower in disguised as a pine tree.

Participating in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch as it is still in progress, is like wishing I could have seen the great pyramids being built. This is history in the making – and I was there. I stood on his outstretched arm! Even if you’re only able to ride up to the base, I highly recommend seeing the Crazy Horse monument from a different point of view, enjoy the fresh air and being surrounded by the natural beauty of the area.

View of Crazy Horse campus and parking areas from Crazy Horse

If Crazy Horse is ever completed, won’t it be amazing to see? And I’ll be able to tell the grandkids how I stood on his arm before he was finished. Amazing.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: 52nd Annual Buffalo Roundup

October 1st, 2017

“Feel the earth tremble.” People told me when I was encouraged to attend the annual Buffalo Roundup. The earth trembled as I felt I was transported to a scene from “Dances with Wolves” as the hooves of 1,200 massive buffalo shook the rolling prairie as they streamed over the hill while herdsmen on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting.

The entire Custer State herd galloped by only a few hundred feet from my seat. Can you believe it?! Once the buffalo are safely in the corrals, spectators watch as real-life cowboys sort, brand, test, and treat the herd. Certain animals were selected for the fall auction. This is a public event you can’t experience anywhere else – and attracts more than 17,000 people each year!

Custer State Park is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup was started 52 years ago as a way to manage the herd and ensure there’s enough grass for all the animals. This keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most return right back to their home, the grasslands of Custer State Park. Once on the verge of extinction, today there are about 500,000 buffalo across North America.

First buffalo sighting of the morning while driving into Custer State Park.

This buffalo showed up early and wandered around the field waiting for his brothers

I don’t know how they managed to feed pancakes to this crowd! It was very well managed and the pancakes were huge.

Custer State Park’s rolling prairies are beautiful

The crowds were entertaining and jovial

This buffalo didn’t get counted.

Neither did this one!

As if a thundering herd of massive wild animals isn’t enough, an Arts Festival is held the same weekend at the Custer State Game Lodge offering food, entertainment, and art booths for the visitors.

This is a Western experience I’ll never forget and will provide great storytelling to anyone willing to listen. If you’re unable to make it, you can put on your hat and watch these short videos from last year’s roundup in the comfort of your home: 1 minute video https://youtu.be/61xtwlEkngQ  the 10 minute video is like you’re there! https://youtu.be/91JoWjpIZS4

 

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.