Words for Wednesday: More Kicks

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If you ever plan to motor west,

Travel my way, take the highway that is best.

Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six. 

(Lyrics to Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by Bobby Troup)

The second time proved to be just as relaxing and entertaining as the first.

When Papa and I journeyed to Arizona for the first time two years ago, we flew into Las Vegas, Nevada where our southwestern family members picked us up and drove us south to their home.

The rest of our time spent sightseeing we traveled by car (road trips are the best in my book!) and one day we enjoyed a scenic drive on old Route 66 to Oatman.

Just a couple of months ago on our second trip to Arizona, we flew into Phoenix, secured a rental car, and explored parts of the state on road trips. Yesterday, I posted about our leisurely and pleasant drive on old Route 66 again, only this time from Williams to Kingman.

Today I’m sharing some of my photos of the stops we made and sights we viewed along the way when we were getting our kicks on Route 66.

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“The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Give me a road trip any day

blogIMG_1126Now that we’re opening up a bit and not sheltering in place by staying at home, I’m looking forward to more road trips in the near future. I used to love to fly, but in the last few years, I enjoy it less and less.

Obviously, you can get from point A to point B much more quickly by boarding a jet but for me, there’s just something way more enjoyable about packing up the car and setting out for destinations by highway and byway. You can view the most interesting sights and stop whenever and wherever you choose and I enjoy that so much more.

Maybe it’s because when I was young, my father used to take my mother and me on Sunday afternoon drives and I have such fond memories of that. Or maybe it’s just that I like the peaceful, quiet aspect of a car trip consisting of just hubby and me and an open road when we can pick and choose where to go, how far to go, and where we want to stop and check out the scenery.

Back in early March before the stay at home mandates were issued, which seems like an eternity ago, Papa and I flew to Arizona to visit family. Upon arrival at the Phoenix airport, we picked up a rental car and hit the road northward for our Grand Canyon visit.

The day we left the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, rain poured from the overcast, foggy sky. We headed south to Williams, AZ where we could catch an intersecting highway traveling west. But instead of entering the interstate in Williams, we opted to drive westward on old Route 66.

blogIMG_1117With each mile on this less traveled two-lane byway, we encountered blue skies, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Just what we needed! As an added bonus, Burma Shave signs along the road kept us amused.

blogBurmaShaveWhat a fantastic way to spend the day it proved to be! As we traveled along, enjoying beautifully different scenery and stopping in quirky and interesting little towns, I couldn’t help but remember an old song, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, written in 1946 by musician Bobby Troup. (Click on his name to watch/hear him perform the song.)

We surely did “get our kicks” traveling this mostly empty stretch of pavement. And eventually, my mind rolled back to an early 60’s television show, entitled Route 66, which I recall watching with my dad.

That show may have appealed to Dad, who enjoyed driving and traveling by car, because two characters, played by Martin Milner and George Maharis, wandered across the United States driving a Chevrolet Corvette along Route 66. Imagine my surprise as Papa and I were traveling on this remaining section of the old, historic highway when we saw a number of Corvettes coming towards us. Serendipity!

blogIMG_1175The original Route 66 highway extended from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through America’s heartland (an area you pass OVER when you’re flying). We stayed on Route 66, which first opened in 1926 and was decommissioned by the 1980’s when newer, larger highways took its place, all the way into Kingman, AZ.

The trip proved refreshing and fun and we delighted in every mile of the way.

blogIMG_1136“Look for chances to take the less-traveled roads. There are no wrong turns.” — Susan Magsamen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Never agree to nevermore

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Raven at the Grand Canyon – I really was this close to it

Every time I notice them in our yard trying to gobble up the suet cakes or scaring away smaller birds from the bird feeder loaded with seeds, I do one of two things. I either open up a door to clap my hands and shout at them or I pound on a window to frighten them away.

They are crows – black ol’ ugly crows that seem to be in abundance in our neck of the woods.

Last month while Papa and I were traveling in Arizona, we visited the Grand Canyon. If you’re a regular reader of Mama’s Empty Nest, you’ll remember my previous posts about the foggy conditions that prevented us from seeing this natural wonder and then miraculously, the rain stopped, the sun appeared, and the fog lifted.

At the lookout point where that occurred, I was camera happy – shooting photo after photo trying to capture as much of the magnificent sight as I could. As we were walking back to our rental car, however, another sight stopped me in my tracks.

A raven. Not a black crow, but a jet black, hooked-beak huge raven. He was just sitting on a tree branch alongside the paved path to the parking lot. Close, and I do mean close. So close, I could have touched him.

A bit startled to see such a large wild bird up close and personal, I stopped and thought my presence would surely make him fly away or at least move away from me.

Nope. He wasn’t skittish at all but instead just peered at me with those coal black eyes, cocking his head back and forth. I imagine he might have thought I was going to throw him something to eat but I wasn’t.

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Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you!

And he just kept staring at me. I raised my camera thinking “Now, he’ll move away.” Instead, he posed for me and I took a couple of photos. Finally, just a bit unnerved by his nerves of steel and thinking I really didn’t want to get pecked by that long, hooked beak, I walked away.

As we continued our drive along Desert View Drive, the fog began to reappear. Once more, it settled itself down into the craggy rocks and began to obliterate our view of the canyon.

blogIMG_1047I couldn’t stop thinking about that raven and marveling over its behavior and obvious lack of fear around humans. And I just couldn’t get over the way that raven peered at me so closely. So what would anyone with an age-old college degree in English think?

Of course, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven”, came to my mind. Was that huge black bird trying to tell me something? Was that the last glimpse of the Grand Canyon I would get to view? Was it even worth continuing on in hopes we would get another chance to set eyes on it again?

After all, in the poem the famous line is “Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

I’m happy to report the raven was dead wrong. The fog did continue but as we neared the end of that section of the national park, clouds shifted away, the sun made its appearance once more, and the fog dissipated.

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Taken with telephoto lens

We were gifted with yet more scenic views of the grandest canyon on earth. And I was reminded of something my mother used to tell me, “Never say never.”

It’s a good reminder for life. Never give up. Don’t wake up in the morning with regrets because you didn’t keep going. If you get a chance, take it. If that chance changes your life, so be it.

“Take a chance and go for it. It’s that simple! Don’t say, ‘No.’ Saying, ‘No,’ may result in ‘never,’ and you don’t ever want to subscribe to a philosophy of ‘never.’ ~ Charles Sullivan

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Words for Wednesday: Stepping stone to better things

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The Grand Canyon was out there…somewhere

Whoever said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” was right on the money.

Our first day on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park back in the early part of March began as a huge disappointment and I wrote about that in yesterday’s post. If you missed it, click here.

That amazing wonder of nature was socked in under thick pea soup-like fog. Fog so dense we couldn’t see one tiny bit of the canyon. This huge, mile-deep, 277 mile-long wonder of the world was out there covered in fog and we absolutely couldn’t get one glimpse of it.

Disappointing? Very. Discouraging. For certain. 

In addition to foggy conditions, the day was dreary, rainy, damp, and chilly, so we discussed what we should do. We took some time to eat a late lunch in the Market Plaza area of the park at the Yavapai Cafeteria, sitting well away from other folks there. We opted for a window view but all we could see was rain hitting the windows. 

Since the weather was definitely not improving, we decided not to try any hikes but instead continue on in our rental car, hoping for some break in the rain.  Driving down Desert View Drive,  a scenic road which leads from Grand Canyon Village to one end of the national park, we planned to stop at several overlook points along the way.

At each overlook,  we hopped out of our car, hoping to catch a glimpse of what we came to see. And at each point, we were dismayed by more misty weather and fog.  A few hardy souls were doing the same and as we reached the lookout, it was almost like you could hear a collective sigh and an inward groan. 

After greeting us hello, one gentleman shook his head and exclaimed, “My wife and I came all the way from San Antonio to see this and we can’t see anything!” I gave him a sympathy nod but decided not to one-up him with “Well, we came all the way from Pennsylvania!”  I surmised it wouldn’t make either one of us feel any better about the situation.

After the third or fourth still foggy stop, Papa walked in one direction and I ambled along in another. My path crossed with a long-haired woman about my age dressed in a bright red sweater. We nodded and said hello to one another and then she spoke, “Not much to see here I guess.”

“No,” I replied, “and unfortunately, it’s been that way all day for us.”

She asked which direction we came from and I answered. Then she advised me to not give up but keep on going. She had come from the other direction and for one brief moment, she said the fog lifted and the sun shone so that she could see the colors of the gargantuan gorge, but then it descended once again.

But she looked me in the eye and stated, “I know you are going to get a break. You (said with emphasis) will see the canyon today. The sun will come out just for you (again said with emphasis).”

A little bit startled by her announcement, I think I just mumbled, “I hope you’re right.” Was she clairvoyant or something? Why did she declare what she said with such conviction? We said goodbye and Papa and I climbed back in our rental car. 

And you know what happened? When we stopped at the next spot, a number of folks were congregated. The fog was edging its way up out of the canyon!

blogIMG_09512Papa and I ran to the edge to see and for me to grab some photos. A gentleman asked me to take photos of his wife and him with his cell phone posed in front of what we could see of the canyon. In turn, he graciously took a picture for us.

blogIMG_09542Driving on, we got an even more pleasant surprise at the next overlook. The fog completely dissipated and the sun showed its warming, illuminating rays.  What a display!

blogIMG_1007We stayed for quite some time and I just kept snapping photos with my DSLR camera until we noticed we were practically the only people still there. We just didn’t want to leave that glorious sight.

A father and son duo joined us and again we exchanged cameras to take photos of one another. As the four of us stood in absolute silence just gazing at the beautiful and amazing sight before us, the older man spoke with a sense of awe and wonder.

“How can anyone see this and believe there is no God?” he wondered out loud. I said, “I so agree.”

blogIMG_1008It was a moment I will remember for a lifetime because it reminded me of the awesome power of our Creator God and also of His perfect timing.

Just when we start to feel discouraged and are tempted to throw in the towel and give up, God delivers exactly what we need exactly when we need it.

“What do you do when disappointment comes? When it weighs on you like a rock, you can either let it press you down until you become discouraged, even devastated, or you can use it as a stepping-stone to better things.” ~ Joyce Meyer

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

When travel plans go awry

blogIMG_0891It’s been on our “bucket list” of places to see for years now.

The last time (two years ago) that we ventured into the state where this spectacular place to visit is located, we had to cancel our plans and reservations due to a health problem Papa encountered prior to our departure.

Disappointing? Yes, it was. But we were relieved when Papa’s situation rectified itself and we managed to still fly to our destination even though we couldn’t visit that particular place.

The place? The Grand Canyon in Arizona. Two years ago, we didn’t get to see it, but we still experienced a grand old time in the Grand Canyon state. We spent all of our trip instead with my sister and brother-in-law in their home and sightseeing all the attractions in their part of that southwestern state.

Fast forward two years – March 2020. Once again we had made flight, hotel, and car rental reservations for a trip to Arizona. By golly, this time we were going to see the Grand Canyon prior to a visit with our Arizona family. Then news about covid-19 permeating our country erupted but we decided to keep our plans intact.

We flew into Phoenix one evening in early March, picked up our rental car, and drove to our hotel in Flagstaff in the dark. The next morning we planned to drive to the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park and view this amazing place in nature.

blogIMG_0893Hmmm…one problem arose. When we awakened that morning, overcast, rainy skies greeted us and fog. Nevertheless, we hopped into our rental car and began our journey. The further we drove, the more it rained and the foggier it became.

One highlight as we entered the national park was spotting female elk along the road just eating and minding their own business instead of paying any attention to the long string of vehicles driving into the area.

blogIMG_0896We drove to the park visitor center, found an empty slot in the parking lot, and since it was raining pretty steadily, we decided to go indoors where we watched an excellent film about this natural wonder.

Raindrops still falling our heads after we exited the visitor center, but we were excited to finally view what we planned for so long. So we decided to walk in the rain along a pathway to the Mather Point lookout.

What did we see? Not the Grand Canyon. Well, we were sure it was out there…somewhere. But it was completely, and I do mean completely, fogged in.

blogIMG_0906I took photos even though we couldn’t see a darn thing. I kept saying, “Well, there’s the Grand Canyon…we just can’t see it.”

Disappointed? Yes. We certainly were. Our thoughts were running along the lines of “Maybe we just aren’t supposed to see this natural and amazing wonder.”

But…tune in tomorrow to see what happened next.

 “Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.” ~ Unknown 

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: desert adventure

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My brother-in-law leading us on an adventure

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That view!

 

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Arizona sunshine and beauty

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies, and adopting new viewpoints.”  ~ Wilferd Peterson

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

When home is the safest place to be

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Can’t get too much more social distancing than this!

My first thought as I write this post sitting at my desktop computer in our home office while I practice social distancing is to ask you, all of my readers, how are you doing during these crazy times of the corona virus (COVID-19) crisis?

Are you well? Are you staying at home to protect yourselves and others? Do you have enough food and necessary supplies?

I pray daily for all of us. And I want you all to know that if you have prayer concerns, please leave those in the comment space below and I will pray for you and your family.

My second thought as I write is this is not the kind of post I want to write, so I’m determined that I will try my hardest to continue to post only encouraging, uplifting thoughts to offer bright spots of hope during this difficult time in our world after this.

Papa and I just returned last Wednesday, March 18, from a trip out west. It was not a trip taken without some trepidation and careful thought. We had this trip planned some time ago. Airline tickets purchased, hotel and car rental reservations made. Our daughter too was taking a stay-cation from work to be with her child, our granddaughter, who we provide child care for, just so Papa and I could go.

We flew to Arizona on March 9 with supplies of anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer in our bags. We tried not to touch areas at the airport before departure, washed our hands often, wiped down our seats, and practiced social distancing by sitting in an empty gate area away from people as we waited to board our flight.

Once on the plane, we disinfected the arms of our seats, serving trays, seat belts, lights and air valves above us, and we were relieved to see the flight was nowhere full. We had our row to ourselves, just the two of us.

Our itinerary was to drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff, stay the night there, and depart the next morning for the Grand Canyon. We accomplished that part of our trip and I will write more about our Grand Canyon experience later.

Next on our schedule was to drive to my sister and brother-in-law’s home in southwestern Arizona. Once we arrived there, the four of us hunkered down a bit due to rain (a full day of steady rain was abnormal for there) and my sister experiencing some back pain.

Since we had visited them two years ago, we really had seen most of the interesting sights in their area, so it wasn’t that difficult to just spend our days visiting and talking with our loved ones in their beautiful home.

We did manage some ATV riding out into the desert, a Sunday afternoon drive to view something we hadn’t seen before, walks in the nearly deserted neighborhood, and just soaking up sunshine outdoors by the swimming pool.

But for the most part, we truly did practice social distancing even though we weren’t that aware of the fact that we should. We chose not to watch TV news because we didn’t want to surrender to the panic that seemed to flood the airwaves and we had very limited access to the internet. Looking back, I count that all as a good thing.

Our concern arose as we neared our departure to fly home. Would our flight be cancelled? Was it safe to fly in a plane full of people? What about exposing ourselves at the airports (both the departure and arrival – fortunately we had a direct flight)? Should we just keep our rental car and drive all the way back home over 2000 miles?

Concern ran high, especially with our grown children, who texted and called us often to check on us.  We prayed a lot for wisdom, guidance, and peace.  The day before our flight, we drove the three hours or so from our dear ones’ home to Phoenix, stayed the night in a mostly empty hotel, and the next morning waited for our flight back home.

Again we sat far away from others, used caution in what we touched, washed hands, sanitized seating areas, etc., and did the best we could. Again our flight was not completely full so Papa and I were seated by ourselves.

blogIMG_1412Everyone on board seemed to be wiping down surfaces and the flight attendants collected all of our now contaminated wipes in garbage bags immediately. We were only served drinking water in pull-top cans, no cups, no ice, and were also given some packaged snacks.

We arrived ahead of time at our destination in our city’s airport, deserted more than I have ever seen it before. I texted our daughter to wait in the cell-phone parking area outside the airport until we collected our luggage at baggage claim and stepped outdoors. We texted her then, she pulled up, we loaded our bags into her vehicle, and we headed for home.

Were we completely safe? Only time will tell. But I know one thing for certain. I have never been so glad to get home, sweet home in my entire life. Since then, we are continuing to practice social distancing as I hope you are.

My greatest concern is now not for myself. It’s for my sister and brother-in-law who are  nearing 80 and not in the best health. My sister has several autoimmune diseases and I pray that she and my brother-in-law stay safe from this pandemic.

But I also pray daily for our daughter, a hospital nurse, and all of our healthcare workers.  Just yesterday, she learned there is a patient with a confirmed COVID-19 case in her hospital. We have already put an action plan into place – our granddaughter will stay with us until this crisis is over – because our daughter worries that she may bring the virus home to her child or to us.

I urge you, if you are a person of faith, please pray as well for those on the front lines of dealing with this new and unknown virus. They are selfless and are putting not only their selves at risk but also their families. 

I have to ask would we do the same for them? We can. By staying put in our homes, not going out to public places, and not socializing face to face.  Instead if you’re able, go outdoors where there aren’t any folks; take a drive in your car but stay in your car; take a walk around your house but keep your distance from your neighbor.

I’ve read often times that God told us 365 times in the Bible (that’s once a day for an entire year) to “fear not.”  I take those words of my God to heart. We will trust in the Lord of all to protect us, but we also will use the good sense He gave us to continue to practice good hygiene, eat healthful food, and stay home.

I pray you all do the same, even if you aren’t ill and don’t think you’ve been exposed. Think of others before yourself.

Be safe, my friends. Stay home, shelter in place, and be well.  Staying home is the safest place for us all right now.

Come back to Mama’s Empty Nest for words of encouragement, hope, and some light in the darkness. I will try my best to provide it.

“No matter who you are or where you are, instinct tells you to go home.” ~ Laura Marney

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Unchanged hall of beauty

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Hall of Architecture @ Carnegie Museum

Over 50 years ago as an elementary school-aged child on a classroom field trip, I visited the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Art for the first time. 

Just to offer a bit of historical reference about this famous Pittsburgh, PA landmark, the museums were founded by the wealthy businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, in 1895. The original building which housed the fledgling museum was called the Carnegie Institute and also held the Carnegie Library.

The next year, the first Carnegie International, an exhibition of contemporary art, took place.  After that, the museum began acquiring a vast collection of artwork.

When Carnegie learned that prehistoric creatures’ bones were being uncovered in the western part of the United States, he sent crews of scientists to Wyoming where they discovered the first dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Hall was one of the aspects of the Carnegie Museum that I remember well from my first trip there. The other portion that I recall was the Hall of Architecture. When Papa and I visited the museum last month, I was pleased to find it still looked like it did all those years ago.  It was just as impressive and awe-inspiring as I remember it to be.

blogIMG_0583The Hall of Architecture, which first opened in 1907, is beautiful with its expansive space lit by a skylight ceiling. During that era of time, collections of casts were popular, so Carnegie’s institute began collecting architectural casts, plaster reproductions of classical sculptures, and bronze replicas. Today that collection is the largest in the United States.

blogIMG_0585To say the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Art is a gem is an understatement. Those who visit Pittsburgh should definitely include it on their list of “must see.”  They will not be disappointed. We certainly weren’t.

“As an architect you design for the present with an awareness of the past for a future which is essentially unknown.” ~ Norman Foster

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

On a silent night

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Silent Night Memorial Chapel, Frankenmuth, MI

As one season ends, another begins. It’s that way in nature and it’s that way in life as well. Autumn is past and I must say farewell to it as we enter into winter.  I must also say farewell to my recent postings about our trip to Michigan.

As I wind up this series while preparing for and anticipating Christmas, I find it serendipitous that my last post highlights a well-known Christmas song, Silent Night.

You probably know the one: Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…

That beloved hymn, originally written in German and titled “Stille Nacht,” was composed by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr in Austria in 1818. Mohr, a pastor in Oberndorf bei Salzburg had written a poem and was hopeful that his friend Gruber, the church choir master and organist, could set the words to music for Christmas Eve’s midnight mass. 

It is absolutely amazing that this beautiful song was composed in just a few hours and first sung on that same Christmas Eve. However, because of a flood, the church’s organ had been damaged and could not be used.

So instead, Gruber composed the music to be accompanied by guitar. The church, which had its foundation damaged in the flood, was later demolished and when a new church was built, a small memorial chapel was also constructed, the Silent Night Chapel.

Many decades later in 1945, a man named Wally Bronner opened a CHRISTmas Wonderland store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. As his store succeeded and grew, Bronner began importing Christmas ornaments and on a trip to Europe, he visited the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria.

An idea became reality for the Christmas store owner. He had reserved space on his many acres site where his store is located for something to thank God for blessing his business. Bronner acquired permission from authorities to build a replica of Austria’s Silent Night Chapel.

Built and dedicated in 1992, Bronner’s memorial chapel stands 56-feet tall and is open for visitors every day during store hours; there is no admission charge to enter the chapel. Inside you may view a lovely altar behind glass and the words to Silent Night are portrayed all around the chapel walls in many different languages.

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Altar inside the replica chapel

Click here to see a video of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel.

It’s a tranquil spot to sit and meditate on the lyrics as the song, both vocal and instrumental versions, plays quietly in the background. Another interesting fact is that every Christmas Eve, carolers gather inside the chapel to sing Silent Night, first in German and then in English.

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Two of the stained glass windows

We found the chapel to be an inspiring place to visit and it definitely reminded us of the real reason why we celebrate Christmas, the purpose for setting aside this time to recall what happened on one silent night over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem.

That silent night became the most miraculous silent night of all time, when the Messiah, the Son of God, was born as a “holy infant so tender and mild” and was named Jesus. 

Bethlehem was just the beginning. I call Jesus Christ’s next appearance, Bethlehem, Act 2. No silent night this time, however. The skies will open, trumpets will blast, and a new kingdom will begin.” ~ Max Lucado

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Christmas wonderland

blogIMG_9801That calendar on my wall tells me it’s December already. I know it sounds so very trite, but honestly, where DID the year 2019 go?

Regardless of my incredulousness at it being the last month of the year, that calendar also shows me there are only 19 days until Christmas.  Yikes! This empty nest Mama needs to get her Christmas preparations jump-started.  

The empty nest will be filled to the brim with three grown up offspring, their spouses, three adorable grandchildren, and a grand-doggy for several days over the Christmas holiday. And my heart is so very happy about that!

But there is MUCH to do – hauling out the holly, illuminating the outside of our country home, decking out the halls, adorning the Christmas tree, menu planning for meals (carefully due to one family member with celiac disease who must eat gluten-free), grocery shopping, gift wrapping, and devising Christmas fun activities for the family to enjoy.

Thankfully, three items are already checked off my list – the Christmas cards have been signed, sealed, and are in the mail to be delivered, gifts have been purchased, and Papa handled the majority of the outside decorations.

Yet Mama’s plate is full of plans to make our home this year a Christmas wonderland, especially for the grandchildren.

But while I embrace this blessed season, I still have a couple more stories and pictures to share about our autumn trip to Michigan. Appropriately, the subject is Christmas, “the most wonderful time of the year.”

When we stopped at the quaint town of Frankenmuth, MI, our goal was to visit the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, which has been in business since 1945.

blogIMG_9802And what a wonderland it truly is! The store is open 361 days a year and is gigantic (they claim it’s the size of one and a half football fields!) and filled with everything you can imagine that has to do with the Christmas holiday.

I’ve shopped in many Christmas shops, but I’ve never been anywhere that comes close to Bronner’s with 50,000 decorations and gifts in 15 store sections.

The half-mile lane leading into this huge store is lined with thousands of lights and outdoor Christmas displays everywhere you look. We arrived in the morning as the store opened, so I can only imagine what a spectacular sight it would be to view the lights at night (dusk until midnight).

Onsite adjacent to the Christmas store is the Silent Night Chapel, a replica of the original chapel in Austria where, on Christmas Eve in 1818, the well-known Christmas hymn Silent Night was first sung.  (I’ll highlight that in an upcoming post.)

Papa and I spent at least three hours just browsing, being amazed, and purchasing some gifts and special ornaments to add to our Christmas tree.

Tree ornaments are grouped by categories in some sections, by colors in other areas, and by country in yet others. And there is a large area with ornaments that can be personalized (free while you wait).

Looking for Christmas jewelry? It’s there. Nativity sets? For certain. Nutcrackers? They’ve got them. Advent calendars, wreaths, Christmas trees, stockings, garlands, ribbon, cards, angels, lighted village sets, books, linens, snow globes, figurines, lights and displays, Santa suits….you name it, Bronner’s has it.  

It’s a Christmas treasure trove and certainly puts shoppers in a merry spirit for the season no matter what time of year you visit.

Even though I have a checklist a mile long to prepare for Christmas with my family, I pause for a moment to remember our visit to that Christmas store, admire the ornaments we purchased there, and smile as we enter into the “hap-happiest season of all.”

“Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.” ~E. C. McKenzie

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com