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

Words for Wednesday: break

We all had to take a break whether we wanted to or not – at home.

Because of the pandemic and the resulting edicts to “shelter in place,” all of us, in one way or another, were forced to take a break.

Oh, I know, those who were fortunate enough to retain their jobs because they were deemed essential workers still worked hard and we’re so thankful for them. And scads of others, who were able, worked from home.

But a vast majority of us took a break – albeit a longer one than we thought it would be – from the daily routine and normal life.

Since both Papa and I are basically retired, we didn’t have to worry about jobs. We were busy though caring for our oldest granddaughter during that time.

But for the most part, we seized the opportunity to step away from the normal busyness of life and enjoy our time at home. And we didn’t squander that time at all.

“The opportunity to step away from everything and take a break is something that shouldn’t be squandered.” ~Harper Reed

So what did we do? In between playing with our granddaughter, helping her with her preschool homework, and providing new things to discover and learn, we enjoyed some simple aspects of life. And I took quite a few photographs to prove it.

I’m sharing some of those photos from our “break” with you today. Despite the trying time that it’s been, we managed to find joy. And doesn’t that make every day worthwhile?

So how have you managed staying home during this time?

Enjoyed the blooming flowers
Spruced up the yard
But we still had time to just relax outside

“Find what brings you joy and go there.” ~Jan Phillips

©2020 mamasemptynest,wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: cars, cars, cars

blogIMG_1274I grew up enjoying cars and car rides. My father traveled daily by car around his multi-county territory for his job as a newspaper circulation supervisor. No company cars provided, he used our family vehicle which tallied a lot of miles on our car in a year. So Dad almost always traded our car in for a sparkling new one every two years.

It was always exhilarating when Dad arrived home from work one day driving a brand new car up our driveway. Immediately, we would hop in for a ride in the new one and I so vividly remember that “new car smell.”

Dad liked cars and he even kept a list of all the cars he ever owned which we found shortly after he passed away at the age of 90. That list was fairly long!

Papa and I certainly don’t adhere to the two-year trade-in routine that my father did during his working career. Instead, we hang on to our vehicles as long as possible – even 10-12 years. But no other purchases quite beat the excitement of obtaining a new car or a new to you car for me. 

The car I enjoyed owning the most was a new 1981 Audi 5000 that hubby and I purchased when he was still a military officer. Boy, that car was fun to drive! Now, I’m just happy with our all-wheel drive Subaru Foresters that easily transport us up a wind-blown, drifted shut, snowy driveway every winter.

Yesterday I posted about a classic car show, our brother-in-law, Papa, and I attended in Arizona when we were visiting there.

It was a fun blast from the past and just in case you enjoy a walk down memory lane like I do, I’m posting some more photos I took there.

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And last but not least, one of my personal favorites – traveling with God’s Holy Word in the front seat.

blogIMG_1230“People who, like me, grew up in the 1950s and 1960s after World War II, grew up with cars.” ~ Martin Winterkorn (former Volkswagen AG Chairman)

©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

Words for Wednesday: heavenly scent

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I bring this offering to you today to brighten your world.

Several of these bloom right off my front porch.

They are of the most beautiful bluish purple persuasion.

They are one of the reasons I welcome the season called spring.

Those delicate petals exude the most luxurious scent.

And I wish you could delight in their delicious aroma.

They are hyacinths. One of my favorite spring time flowers.

“Man needs bread and hyacinths: one to feed the body, and one to feed the soul.” ~ Sharon Creech

©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

 

Words for Wednesday: timeless

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“To provide meaningful architecture is not to parody history but to articulate it.” ~ Daniel Libeskind

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“Architecture is not about space but about time.” ~  Vito Acconel

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“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.”  ~  Frank Gehry

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com