Tuesday Tour: Lighthouses

Growing up as a landlubber, I never really gave much thought to them.

Lighthouses, I mean. I knew what they were, I’d viewed pictures of them, but I’d never personally seen one.

Before I became an adult, the closest I ever found myself to water was near creeks, rivers, an occasional lake or pond, and my next-door neighbor/ friend’s swimming pool.

I had never beheld an ocean –the one time my family vacationed in Atlantic City, New Jersey when I was a mere three months old didn’t count in my memory bank – until my then fiancé (now husband), whose family vacationed at the shore every summer, drove me there.

Since that trip, I’ve learned to appreciate the sea. I’m not crazy about being IN it, but I do love to be beside it. And I’ve also conquered my fear of being on the waves in a water craft although Papa still can’t convince me to take an ocean cruise.

I find it interesting that two oceans touch the eastern and western borders of my country, the United States of America, – the Atlantic on the eastern seaboard and the Pacific on the west. Having lived on both sides of the country, some of our travels have taken us to both ocean coasts as well as some of the Great Lakes.

During those travels, I’ve become fond of photographing lighthouses. Those structures served as a continuous or intermittent signal for navigators on the water, be it ocean or lake or even river.  Lighthouses emitted beacons of light from lamps and lenses to give maritime pilots a navigational point they could see.

Once lighthouses provided warnings about dangerous coastlines and locations of hazardous reefs or rocks and showed safe waterways into harbors. But because of the upkeep expense of maintaining them and also the development of electronic navigation systems, the number of operational lighthouses has significantly declined.

However, many of those beacons of light still stand. And you can visit a number of them. In recent years, Papa and I have been doing just that. We actually acquired a lighthouse fold-out brochure guide on one of our trips that lists all of the lighthouses in every state of our country.

We’ve visited some of those sites over the years and we hope to continue to do so. Lighthouses provide some dramatic scenery but more than that, what they symbolize has profound meaning for me as a person of faith.

Life is perilous. We encounter all kinds of storms in this earthly life and it often feels like we are lost at sea, just being tossed around on waves of disappointment, disillusionment, even despair.  At the mercy of a fierce, dark tempest, we look for a light in the darkness. Something to guide us to safety and well-being.

Something like a lighthouse. A shining light in the darkness that leads us safely home. For me, that’s a Savior named Jesus. And a lighthouse reminds me of Him.

You may never have known this, but this Friday is National Lighthouse Day here in the US.  Way back in 1789, Congress signed the Act for the Establishment and support of Lighthouse, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers.

Two hundred years later in 1989, Congress passed a resolution designating August 7 as National Lighthouse Day. The purpose of the day is “to recognize the importance of lighthouses in maritime navigation and for providing ships safe harbor during bad weather.”

Because of my affinity for lighthouses, I’ve decided to share some of my photographs of ones we’ve personally visited over the years in a new series here on my blog. I call it Tuesday Tour. I hope you will enjoy each Tuesday post when I’ll highlight a different lighthouse we’ve visited and a little information about each one.

Please come along on my Tuesday Tour. The light might be beckoning to you.

“Anxiously you ask, ‘Is there a way to safety? Can someone guide me? Is there an escape from threatened destruction?’ The answer is a resounding yes! I counsel you: Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. It calls, ‘This way to safety; this way to home.’ “~ Thomas S. Monson

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: intentional

We decided it was time to see the light, take a step toward normalcy, and catch an aperture of blue sky pinpointed in the midst of ominous dark storm clouds.

Life proved to be a most daunting and unusual period of time in the last few months. Never before in our lifetimes have we encountered what’s been called a pandemic – covid-19 -and all that has transpired because of that tiny virus.

The social and physical isolation we’ve all endured has taken its toll on us, one way or another, and created an even larger raging storm to brave against for many. For some, there have been job losses, a devastating loss of income, or complete closure of their small businesses. For others, the isolation has affected mental and emotional health that is difficult to overcome.

I’m ever so thankful that Papa and I are weathering the dark clouds hovering over us fairly well. We’ve had a few difficult moments but nothing like so many others have faced. Our faith continues to be our strength and a swift antidote for the fear that has pervaded and seems to be enduring thanks to the media.

And yet, we experienced a feeling of imprisonment stemming from so many months of having to stay home, avoiding public places, sequestering ourselves from other people, even some of our own family.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the need to break out of “prison,” what staying at home for so long has felt like.  I shared our trip away from home when our entire family gathered together for the first time in months at our son’s home in another state.

Today I’m inviting you to come along on another one of our road trips when we just had to “get out and get away” from home for a bit.

Papa and I have traveled domestically during our 40+ years of marriage. At last count, I’ve actually visited 40 of our 50 United States of America. Of course, Papa and I hope to add travels to the rest of those sometime in the future.

Not now, naturally, as travel is restricted because of this pandemic. We did manage to travel out west and back home again right as the pandemic panic stormed our country.  And we were relieved to return home unscathed and content to stay there for some time.

But as the months dragged on, we’ve felt the need to escape home from time to time. So we began researching places right in our own back yard, so to speak, that we haven’t been to yet. Places that are within a day’s drive of our country home – alas, we found that we have visited most of them.

But a couple remained unseen, so one fine summer day, we set out for one of those destinations. We intended to visit a well-known state park in a southwestern area of our home state. This particular park is well known for some of the best whitewater rafting in the east.

Now Papa and I aren’t rafters or kayakers; matter of fact, we don’t even own a boat of any kind whether it be a rowboat, canoe, or motorboat.

Regardless, this area also features some waterfalls and one in particular that we wanted to see. We packed a picnic lunch and set out for some sightseeing, but found a detour from our plans necessary.

Once we arrived at the waterfall location, we realized it was inundated with people. I mean scads of people. Since this is normally a busy tourist and camping spot, we expected some folks, but not the crowd we saw during this period of cautious ‘re-opening’.

Throngs of humanity congregated in outdoor seating of area restaurants, parking lots so full of cars we couldn’t locate an empty spot, and hordes of people – all unmasked – walked everywhere not social distancing.

I get it – I really do. After being confined to our homes for so long, we all felt the need to get out and what better place than somewhere in nature? Somewhere that offers camping, hiking, and river recreation?

After circling round and round in search of a parking spot to no avail, Papa and I looked at each other and said, “Do we really want to get out of our vehicle and subject ourselves to this multitude of people?”

We shook our heads no and drove on. Even the hiking trails looked crowded.

Our quiet picnic spot

Fortunately, we located a serene little spot with just two empty park benches overlooking a scenic view. We decided to eat our lunch there in peace and quiet alone…until another vehicle pulled up and four young adults piled out, pulling coolers, etc. out of their trunk.

The sad part of this? We felt like we couldn’t even speak to those other folks let alone engage in conversation with them as we might normally do. Nor did they even look in our direction. Pandemic paranoia? I think so.

Time for us to move on once again. Thankfully, we had devised an additional plan to drive the countryside in search of three different covered bridges.

You can drive through this 1891 bridge

And we were successful in finding all three. At two of the sites just Papa and I were the only humans there and at the third, we encountered a family on bicycles.

Originally erected in 1802, rebuilt in 1906 & again in 2008
Built in 1830, this one is 162 feet long

We made a great choice that day. We intentionally chose to forego the busy foray, which included a large number of people, and make our own way. But I can’t help feeling a little sad that we felt the need to not engage with fellow human beings because honestly, Papa and I are friendly folks.

Just traveling through the scenic countryside, however, was like a balm to our souls and minds and we still got to see people, just not mingle with so many of them.

As an added bonus, I was able to capture some nice photos.

“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”  ― Richie Norton

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Breaking out

I love my home, I truly do, but I’ve found the need to break out of it.

Our current house is the one abode I’ve actually lived in the longest time of my life. My family lived in two different houses when I was growing up, but the longest period of time I lived in one of those was from age seven to the time I went to college.

Papa and I have lived in several houses in different locations over our 40+ years of marriage but this structure situated on our country acreage is the place we now call home. And I’m most grateful for it. I’m content living here. This place gives me peace.

But…even I, a person who loves her home and doesn’t mind being at home, have grown weary of just that – being home.

Being socially and physically isolated and having to follow sheltering in place edicts that have been forced upon us by government officials determining it was to flatten the curve of the covid-19 pandemic, to protect us from widespread outbreaks, to eliminate overwhelming hospitals, etc. has been difficult to say the least.

We are a mobile society. We are accustomed to going where we please, when we want, and for how long we want. That’s one of our freedoms that perhaps we take for granted and have been duly reminded of during this time.

However, I’m not writing this to discuss the pros and cons of everything that has transpired in the last few months. You have your opinion and I have mine and let’s leave it at that. The real reason I’m expressing this is because basically, I’ve become antsy from staying at home for so much of the time.

Oh, I get out a bit. Of course, since we live in the country, I can go outside of my house for as long as I want and weather permits without meeting another soul. Also a friend and I go walking for exercise and sanity a few times a week in an area where we encounter only a couple people here and there.

Papa and I have ventured out for take-out food occasionally. And since our state governor finally opened up our county (even though we had very few covid cases, we were locked down until he moved us to a “green phase,”) we’ve stopped grocery store deliveries to our front porch and one of us, all masked up like a burglar, treks to the market.

We’ve also taken little jaunts in the car just around our neck of the woods along country roads, just driving for the sake of it and getting out of the house. All we encountered on those outings were other cars, some wildlife here and there, and scenery but not any interaction with other human beings, be they friend, family, or stranger.

We’ve Face-timed our grown kids, chatted on the phone, and I’ve led a Bible study via video conferencing for some ladies from my church, but both Papa and I have yearned to just get out and about, seeing different sights and people, taking a road trip, and simply traveling with a destination in mind, Those aspects are just some of the ways we’ve enjoyed retirement and now it’s something we truly miss doing.

So, covid-19 or no covid-19, we decided to change that, mostly because both Papa and I refuse to live our lives in fear. This week, I’m going to take you, my readers, along for a ride or two to spots we ventured to visit. No worries though, we practiced social distancing when it was necessary and yes, we cared enough about other folks that we wore a mask when we landed in public places.

We traveled to spend an entire weekend at our son and daughter-in-law’s home (several hours away and in the state next door). In fact, every member of our family, which included us, our grown kids and their spouses, and our three little grandchildren, gathered together for the weekend there, the first we’ve all been together since Christmas.

It proved to be a joyful reunion and watching our three little ones play together just made us so darn happy. What a world of good it did for us as we enjoyed fun and fellowship with our family, delicious food, and plenty of relaxation outside on son and daughter-in-law’s back yard patio.

It was just the prescription needed for Papa’s and my bit of melancholy over social isolating and to put aside any smidgen of fear that keeps permeating the news and air waves and threatening to engulf us.

Tomorrow, I’ll share our next little journey busting out of our sheltering in place “prison.”

“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.” — Dr. Henry Link

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Blue on blue

I’m thinking blue today. No, I’m not feeling blue, that particular color is just on my mind.

According to several research studies, blue remains the most popular color in several countries of the world because folks claim it as their favorite hue.  I personally like blue as well, although yellow is actually my very favorite color.

The color blue, say those who study such things, promotes feelings of tranquility which is why a room painted blue is supposed to make you feel calm and peaceful.

But blue also is considered a color that denotes strength. In addition, qualities such as dependability, loyalty, confidence, and trust are associated with the color blue. Perhaps that’s why many companies use that color in their logos.

When I think of blue, so many pictures, phrases, and even songs pop into my head.

Phrases like blue plate special, a specially priced meal listed on a diner’s menu. Or a bolt from the blue, totally unexpected bad news.

Or how about blue around the gills? That’s when you’re not feeling so great, ill, or nauseated.

And this one that my own dad used to say when the weather turned hot in the summer, “It’s hotter than blue blazes.”

Pictures of wonderfully marvelous blue aspects flash through my mind. Things like blue ribbons – winning one means you are the very best, the champion. Blueberries that soon should be bursting forth on our bushes – yummy!

Blue jeans. Who doesn’t own those comfy, casual yet durable attire? Blue suede shoes. I’ve never seen any myself, but Elvis Presley sure liked to sing about them.

Beautiful blue eyes. Brilliant blue gems like sapphires and aquamarines. Lovely Blue Willow and Wedgewood, classic blue china.

And then there are the blue blossoms of hydrangeas, forget me nots, cornflowers, periwinkle, morning glories, and blue bells. Seeing them makes me smile and that reminds me of the blue bird of happiness.

Of course, the color blue doesn’t always signify happy feelings. Being blue means you’re down in the dumps, feeling sad or despondent. Often it’s because of lost love and that thought causes song lyrics to ramble through my mind.

“Blue, blue, my world is blue. Blue is my world now I’m without you.” (Love is Blue by Paul Mauriat)

Lyrics from tunes that saturated radio waves of the 1960’s float through my memory banks including: Blue Moon (“Blue moon, you saw me standing alone…“) by The Marcels;  Blue on Blue (“Blue on blue, heartache on heartache…”) by Bobby Vinton; Navy Blue (“Blue, I’m so blue, I’m as blue as blue can be…”  by Diane Renay; and Blue Christmas (“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you…”) by Elvis Presley.    

Songs from the 70’s as well: Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond; Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain by Willie Nelson; Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstad; Bluer than Blue by Michael Johnson;  and Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle.

Of course, not all songs with the color blue mentioned are sad. I recall another old tune from way back when entitled My Blue Heaven. And then there’s always Crystal Blue Persuasion, a song from the late 60’s, by Tommy James and the Shondells.

Blue is a color that conjures up thoughts of nature as well. Sky, of course. Who doesn’t love blue skies? They not only make the horizon bright; blue skies cheer us up just like the words of that old song, “Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see.”

Famous artist Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I never get tired of the blue sky.” Me either.

Likewise, we find that color in nature showing itself in clear, pure water reflecting sunshine. Claude Monet, another well-known artist said, “I will do water – beautiful, blue water.” And he was inspired to do so in many of his paintings.

When Papa and I traveled to Arizona in March, we were treated to several viewings of blue water with blue skies particularly when we took a day trip along the Colorado River from Lake Havasu to Parker Dam on the Arizona-California border.

The abundant sunshine that day certainly succeeded at causing the water to radiate the color blue. My photos from that day proved it.

Blue sky. Blue water. Blue on blue.

Blue might just be the color of joy.

 “If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleanora Duse

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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