Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Friday Funnies

February 23rd, 2018

There was once a Rapid City boy who hated using the outhouse because it was hot in the summer and freezing in the winter…plus it stank all the time. The outhouse was situated on the bank of a Rapid Creek and the boy determined that one day he would push that outhouse into the creek.

So one day after a spring rain the creek was swollen so the little boy decided today was the day to push the outhouse into the creek. He got a large stick and started pushing. Finally, the outhouse toppled into the creek and floated away. 

That night his dad told him they were going to the woodshed after supper. Knowing this meant a spanking, the little boy asked why. The dad replied, “Someone pushed the outhouse into the creek today. It was you, wasn’t it, son?”  

The boy answered yes. Then he thought a moment and said, “Dad, I read in school today that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and didn’t get into trouble because he told the truth.” The dad replied, “Well, son, George Washington’s father wasn’t in that cherry tree.”


Sue was in the kitchen fiddling around when she hollers out.” Joe!  You need to go out and fix the outhouse!” Joe replied, “There ain’t nothing wrong with the outhouse.”  Sue yelled back, “Yes there is, now please go out there and fix it.”  

So, Joe mosied out to the outhouse, looked around and yelled back, “There ain’t nothing wrong with the outhouse!” Sue yelled, “Stick your head in the hole!”  “I am NOT sticking my head in that hole!”

Sue shouted, “You need to stick your head in the hole to see what to fix.” Wanting to make her happy, Joe stuck his head in the hole, looked around and yelled back, “Sue!  There’s nothing wrong with this outhouse!”  

Sue hollered back, “Now take your head out of the hole!” Joe proceeded to pull his head out of the hole, then started screaming, “Help!  My beard is stuck in the cracks in the toilet seat!” To which Sue replied, “Hurt’s, don’t it?!”

Terrible jokes with a common thread as a hint to this weekend’s adventure. Hope it’s as amusing as the jokes!

Devotions From the Black Hills: Snowstorms

February 21st, 2018

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? Job 38:22-23

If you’ve ever driven in the Black Hills in a snowstorm, you may feel like you’ve seen God’s storehouses of snow! I know, because I drove home during a snowstorm Monday night. When a storm rolls in, clouds envelop the Hills. Snow was flying thick toward my windshield and the tall evergreens lining the road were cloaked in white. My co-workers had the day off because their children didn’t have school. Tuesday I heard how enchanting the kids thought the snow was, meanwhile I was behind the wheel about to swallow my tongue as it was nearly impossible to tell where the pavement ended and the soft shoulder off the side of the hill began. I’m very glad I invested in good snow tires earlier in the season because there wasn’t a single snowplow in sight. By this morning the plows and sanders had been out and driving conditions were mildly improved.

This photo taken Monday by the local newspaper on the road I drive every day.

In town President’s Day

Storms of all kinds are painful reminders of just how powerless we can be. How do we respond? How do we approach the Lord in those tumultuous seasons? Poor Job was hit with so much: the deaths of his children, the loss of material wealth and comfort, and the ruining of his physical health. When he questioned God, the Lord’s response was to remind him at length exactly who He was, and who Job was NOT. Snow was one in a long list of things that God created, understands, and has power over. Though He never explained any purpose for Job’s suffering, Job was chastened and replied, “Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” How often do we respond to God with that kind of trust and humility in our storms?

Snow is beautiful in it’s infinite variety of those tiny flakes. We can trust that God is in control even during our very personal storms of life – blizzards and every other kind! He will bring you through in ways that are far beyond our understanding.

Sunday in Wyoming: Sundance Winter Festival & Devils Tower

February 18th, 2018

This weekend I joined the Ski-Joring fun as a cowboy on a galloping horse pulled a skier down Sundance’s Main Street through an obstacle course complete with snow jumps. No joke! Later on I witnessed creative locals compete with a barstool and an old pair of skis in the wild and wooly Downhill Barstool Races. What people won’t do to beat the winter blues.

Sundance! Let the name spark your imagination of days long ago when rowdy cowboys whooped it up on Saturday nights or perhaps you envision serene Native American villages camped at the base of the Sundance Mountain where they performed their sacred Sun Dance ceremonies. This historic town welcomes visitors to come and explore the rich history and soak in the vibrant vistas where the beauty of the rugged west comes alive. This weekend it’s the 4th Annual Sundance Winter Festival and had sledding for the kids, food vendors raising money for mission trips and live entertainment at the pubs. I’m looking forward to other year-round events.

Nearby is Devil’s Tower National Monument standing 867 feet and not to be missed. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”. The first time I saw Devils Tower I was a child, traveling with my parents. I don’t remember if they told me about it; I just saw it as we came around a curve in the road. I was dumbstruck and pretty much still feel the same way today.

According to the Native American tribes of the Lakota, a group of girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower. When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the stars of the Pleiades.  There are similar versions from the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes.

In recent years, climbing Devils Tower has increased in popularity. The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. Today, hundreds of climbers scale the sheer rock walls of Devils Tower each summer. I will NOT be attempting this activity.

Let the adventures begin! 

Friday Funnies

February 16th, 2018

It’s a little-known fact that the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang were specifically organized so they would coincide with the UK’s National Pun Day – an under-publicized event which took place on February 12. And a day which the International Olympic Committee are surprisingly keen to raise the profile of. Really.

After all, we all enjoy the Winter Olympics. From the jaw-dropping skills of the half-pipe to the excitement of the skiers and skeleton bobbers. This year seems to be the year of go-big-or-go-home snowboard big air as well! Another thing I enjoy nearly as much as the Winter Olympics is making bad puns about the Winter Olympics. Here it goes:

The Olympic skiing started really well but it was all downhill from there.

It turns out when the Russians said “dope” they weren’t just pretending to be cool in front of the snowboarders.

Fourth place in the Olympic luge? You win some, you luge some.

I’m a huge fan of Skeleton Bob. I liked Living Bob too, but he’s really mellowed out since he died and lost his flesh.

I went to the Winter Olympics with 3,000 cans of hair spray. Turns out Big Hair isn’t one of the events.

My favorite Winter Olympic event is the one where two opposing teams go on the ice, pass the puck to each other, pay each other compliments, and make everyone involved feel good about themselves. Nice hockey.

My friend has bought three snowboards and now he can’t stop. He’s on a very slippery slope.

The Speed Skaters refused to spend much money on equipment. Cheapskates.

Wishing you a pun filled weekend!

Valentines Day Love

February 14th, 2018

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about her sons upcoming Valentines Day party. She told me the night before she’s helped her sons get valentines ready for their preschool party. They had the typical cards, which featured a variety of bright characters, that must be pulled apart at perforated seams. Small heart stickers were included in the box to hold the folded cards together.

Chelsea said they were pushing the bedtime limit, sitting at the kitchen table in a circle of overhead light. Drake, five, laboriously printed his name over and over. His brother, three, attached heart stickers, while his daddy wrote BROCK on all his cards. Her job was licking all 68 envelopes.

Brock finished his stack first, and as he was leaving to go up to bed, he went over to Drake and stuck a red heart sticker on his brother’s shirt. Drake stopped his printing and looked at the small bright spot of color on his sleeve. “Look, Mom,” he said, “Brock gave me this. He must love me.” Aww! What a touching family moment.

Sometimes we grown-ups make love way more complicated than it needs to be. A simple gesture, a kind touch, an unexpected card can all say, “I care about you.” And, of course, so can a bright red heart sticker.

God loves us unconditionally every day. Pass that love along today to someone who needs it.

Sunday in South Dakota: Journey of Friendship

February 11th, 2018

The dictionary’s definition of a good friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. A real friend is there when you are struggling and need someone you can count on when times are tough. A true friend is someone difficult to find. I am incredibly fortunate to have such people in my life and I can only hope I’m as honorable of a friend as they are to me.

My friends are in various places, both geographically and economically. What makes these friendships so rare and precious is that they are trustworthy people, we’ve listened to each other through the years, we’ve offered good advice and support to each other when needed. Most of all we eat until stuffed and laugh until we cry together.

With technology today, I can keep in close contact with my friends. I deeply appreciate that while saying “goodbye for now” they demonstrated our friendship in special ways, each giving me their hearts, without resentment of my excitement over moving to Rapid City, SD and all the fresh opportunities that come along with the move. I know that they miss me as much as I miss them, but they want me to do well and will always be looking out for me. I am honestly humbled in this moment. (PS: I’m sorry I didn’t get photos of my neighbor John the best neighbor I ever wanted, Pam who has been a longtime friend and took sure good care of my things, Bob my mailman who has also been my personal favorite baker, Lenny who I always enjoy visiting, Andrea who I unexpectedly ran into at the Morikami, Valli & Paul, Bridget & her family, and Jack all of whom I wasn’t able to visit with for different reasons, Howard my movie buddy and Maria whose photo I took and lost. I also failed to photograph my Sisters & Brothers at St. John Missionary Baptist Church and the folks at the YMCA that opened their arms and welcomed me as if I’d never been absent. I thank you all.)

Take care of your friendships and commit to love them and hold them close as a most precious jewel.  

Bill Ross

Irina Veselovskaya

Jodi Pascuzzi: recruiter extraordinaire

New friend Mark Laliberte

B. Michael Paschkeyes


Richie D’Angelo

William Murry

Last look at Atlantic Ocean

New beginning – thank you for all your well wishes

Dear friends Alexandre & Elaine

Friday Funnies

February 9th, 2018

Give me the beach please. One of the wonderful things about being at my favorite beaches include watching the sun rise, swimming in the salt water, warm breezes on my skin, and visiting with friends. The scent and sound of the ocean makes me happy to be alive. Happy enough to make up silly jokes for you!

Why don’t oysters give to charity?… Because they’re shellfish

What does a mermaid wear to math lessons?… An algae-bra

What did the Pacific Ocean say to the Atlantic Ocean?… Nothing, it just waved

What is a blue whale’s favorite James Bond Film?… License to Krill

What did one tidepool say to the other tidepool?… Show me your mussels

Where does seaweed look for a job?… In the ‘Kelp-wanted’ ads

A salmon walks into a vegetarian restaurant and the waiter says, “Sorry, we don’t serve fish.”

What did the beach say to the wave?… “Long tide, no sea.”

To all my Florida friends living near the ocean, I will always have you in my heart with a smile on my lips.

Sunday in South Florida: A Moving Experience

February 3rd, 2018

After living in South Florida for nearly two decades, I felt I would always return here to my friends and the ocean and the wetlands and the food and the …. You get the point. This whimsical coastal area is home, isn’t it?

That’s what I thought until a few months ago when everything changed. That’s when I realized I would be leaving my friends and moving to South Dakota. NOT temporarily traveling, but actually putting down roots in a new community.

It came time for visits and saying my goodbyes to all the people that I have known and loved in this community for 15+ years and its bittersweet. We’ll keep in touch, however that’s not the same as looking in each other’s eyes and laughing together at a movie or over a plate of chicken livers.

My friends and I have shared many grand adventures exploring unique nature and great restaurants across Palm Beach county. This week I have indulged in a few including visits to Johnny Mangoes, Gumbo Limbo, Fran’s Chicken Haven, Green Cay and Wakodahatchee.

Fran’s Chicken Haven – no frills, just good food




Green Cay Nature Center overlooks 100 acres of manmade wetlands with 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk allowing visitors to enjoy the migratory birds and alligators safely. This is the 2nd constructed wetlands after Wakodahatchee opened in 1996 with ¾ mile boardwalk that crosses pond areas and is prime breeding area for wood storks. Each day, the Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps approximately two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wetlands, which in turn acts as a percolation pond, returning billions of gallons of fresh water back into the water table. I’ve put many miles in at both locations of the years with family & friends. http://discover.pbcgov.org/waterutilities/Pages/Wakodahatchee.aspx

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is another natural gem in Palm Beach County. This coastal preserve and training center covers 20 acres and is surrounded by a rare remnant of tropical hardwood hammock, located on a barrier island in Boca Raton. The preserve has changed much over the years and once included a tower that you could climb and view both the ocean and intracoastal waterway. Today the focus is mainly on sea turtle protection and includes a turtle hospital and release program. It’s a fun and informative place for families to enjoy. http://www.gumbolimbo.org/

I’ll be visiting Morikami with a dear friend next week, but I want to include it in today’s post. Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is a very special treasure in Delray Beach, Florida. I consistently maintained a membership and watched it expand into a premier destination founded on century old farmland owned by a Japanese colony that intended to revolutionize Florida agriculture. When it didn’t come to fruition many returned to Japan while Morikami stayed behind to fulfill his vision. Today the 1-acre park has strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection, and lakes teaming with koi. I enjoy how each area flows into the next seamlessly while walking. It’s a very special place. https://morikami.org/

Moving is change. Change is difficult for most people. But I believe this move is going to be the experience of my lifetime. And I’m going to continue to encourage each of you to love one another and explore your outdoors.


Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.