Words for Wednesday: Mackinac Island horses

blogIMG_9554They are everywhere you look on Mackinac Island – the powerful, strong horses. They pull buggies loaded with sightseers; wagons loaded with supplies; shuttle carriages with hotel guests settled behind glass; they even haul the street cleaner.

Take a look at the various shots I captured of these beautiful creatures hard at work during our autumn journey to this quaint and picturesque island in Lake Huron, Michigan.

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“Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,

Friendship without envy,

Or beauty without vanity?

Here, where grace is served with muscle

And strength by gentleness confined…” 

~ Ronald Duncan, “The Horse,” 1954

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: a room with a view


Night time view of Lake Huron

Little did I realize what was behind that curtain.

It was dark and rainy when we checked into our hotel in the town of St. Ignace, Michigan. Tired from our day of sightseeing in Dearborn and then the hours-long drive to the Upper Peninsula, we were more than ready to just relax and unwind.

After settling in a bit, I went to the hotel window like I usually do on our journeys to see what kind of view there was. I absolutely did not expect to see what I saw.

First of all, I was just a bit concerned as I drew open the drapery to find the window was actually a sliding glass door which opened to a small patio. Not that disconcerting unless you were on the lower level, which we were. 

Then I wondered why it was so very dark outside. I knew it was nighttime and raining but it was really pitch dark, no lights to be seen from the view whatsoever. I expected some lights from houses or perhaps other hotels or businesses, but what greeted me was sheer inkiness.

So I switched the porch light on and voilà! There it was – a view of one of the Great Lakes – Lake Huron to be exact. And our lower level room in the center of that hotel wing had a perfect view.

Nothing else in sight but the lake and a string of lawn chairs facing it. What a nice spot to sit and just relax, think, rest, ponder.

But of course, it was nighttime and raining…and did I mention it was a bit on the chilly side?


My husband viewing the sunrise on Lake Huron

On our second morning at this hotel, I awakened early and then it dawned on me that a new day was also dawning outside and I could probably catch the sunrise on the lake.

Again, I pulled open that curtain, stepped outside, and took in the spectacular view as the sun was just beginning to rise in the east.

By mid-morning, there was yet another lovely view outside that room.

blogIMG_9524A room with a view. What more could we have asked for? And what a view it was. I’m so thankful I opened that curtain.

My experience is a bit like life isn’t it? We travel along on our life journey but don’t know what surprises await us just around the corner or just within our reach if we open ourselves up to the experience.

Open the curtain and enjoy the view. I think I learned a valuable lesson on the shore of Lake Huron.

“Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.” ~ unknown

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: A Glass Full

blogIMG_9150 (2)That day, the glass was completely full. Not half-empty, not half-full, but full to the brim. Full of color, full of sparkle, full of beauty.

During our recent journey to Michigan, Papa and I spent an entire day touring the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn admiring treasures from the common to the famous. The entire museum is absolutely a treasure trove.

My museum and history loving spouse reveled in each section of the facility and I found more than enough to whet my appetite for taking photos.

Some of the most beautiful exhibits are housed in the Davidson-Gerson Modern Glass Gallery of the Henry Ford.

Enthralling and intriguing works of art made entirely of glass provided many ohs and ahs from both of us as we viewed the displays.

The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” proves most appropriate since I can’t even begin to describe in words how intricate and amazing the glass art we observed was.

So I’ll show you just a few of the pieces we appreciated.  It was a challenge getting photos of the glass art encased behind glass, but I think you’ll still enjoy these. 

I can’t imagine the creativity, ingenuity, and amount of time it took to create these glass sculptures.

glass art blog collage

Davidson-Gerson Modern Glass Gallery  in the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

“I can’t imagine a world without glass.” ~ Jamie Hyneman, MythBusters co-host

©2019 mamasemptynest,wordpress.com



Words for Wednesday: marriage threads

blogIMG_8866 (2)I never understood those cartoonish caricatures of marriage. You know, the ones that show the husband attached to the old ball and chain as if being married is like being a prisoner.

And likewise, I remember when our children were planning their weddings, I noticed a cake topper which portrayed a bride as ‘catching’ her groom as if she were a spider ensnaring him in her web.

Some folks’ idea of marriage, no doubt, can be explained that way I suppose. But I don’t think of it that way.

Maybe it’s because my own parents’ and my in-law’s marriages were long-lasting and successful. Both of their unions lasted longer than 50 years until the death do us part came to fruition.

It saddens me immensely to see so many marriages fail. And in today’s world, that is the norm. I’ve often read that about half of the marriages in our country end in divorce. But apparently, that figure is changing.

I recently read that according to some studies, the divorce rate dropped 18% between 2008 and 2016.   But in addition to that seemingly good news is another caveat – marriage rates have also dropped. Fewer and fewer people are walking down the aisle and pledging to “love and cherish until death do us part.”

Maybe it’s time we change those tired, old jokes about marriage. It’s true that marriage is a binding contract. You do make vows that should be kept to one another for a lifetime.

But marriage isn’t a prison sentence and it doesn’t come with a ball and chain when two people respect and honor one another. And it’s not a trap you find yourself in when both husband and wife work together, weaving the threads of love and understanding for one another to make their union last.

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.” ~ Simone Signoret

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: summer farewell

blogIMG_8304The summer season’s fading fast, not quite relegated to the past but coming so very close. Officially, summer doesn’t end until September 23 but signs of its demise are in full view. 

Those vivid, colorful flowers on the front porch have just about reached their limit. Here and there, a bright red/orange leaf is peeking out amidst the green ones on our trees. The nights are cooler and darkness descends its inky curtain sooner each night.

And with summer’s ending, my posts about our summer vacation are also coming to a finale.

So it seems fitting to end my series with this photo I shot on the Atlantic Ocean in Bethany Beach, Delaware. This path led to the beach, a favorite spot to relax and unwind on a summer’s day.

But as we herald a new season, there will be many more paths to take. Hopefully, Papa and I will travel a few more times this fall and possibly even during winter. 

Each path takes us to someplace special, to new memories to make, different sights to see. And for each one, we are truly grateful as we enjoy this empty nest semi-retirement gig.   

“Life takes you down many paths but my favorite ones lead to the beach.” ~ Unknown

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


Words for Wednesday: send the light


Hooper Straight Lighthouse

I love lighthouses. And I love photographing them as well. Eventually, I plan to post a lighthouse photograph series from my cache of pictures. But not today. Today, my thoughts about lighthouses are elsewhere.

Because I’m enamored by these structures, on our trips to the sea, whether it be ocean, lake, or bay, we try to catch sight of or visit any nearby. On our Chesapeake Bay trip to Maryland, we visited a few and I managed some photographs of them.

The Hooper Strait lighthouse in Saint Michaels was different from others as it was a screw-pile like the Seven Foot Knoll one we’d seen in Baltimore. Screw-pile lighthouses stood on piles (legs) which were screwed into the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.  

Once plentiful, there are only a few of these surviving. This particular one was moved from the bay onto land at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in order to preserve it and it was open to go inside and take a look around. 

I always marvel at the life that was led by the lighthouse keepers, a lonely life indeed.  I imagine it would be difficult living in such small quarters in solitude, especially if you were stationed at one of the screw-pile lighthouses out in a bay of water with access to land only by boat.

And I wonder if at times, the keepers felt forgotten. A sense of feeling lost even though their jobs were to ensure that sailors didn’t get lost at sea, to guide boats and ships safely to shore, to give those navigating the vessel a landmark for guidance, to shine that light through darkness and stormy weather.


Lighthouse beacon

Those lighthouse keepers sent the light outwards. To protect and serve others. To provide guidance and safety.  To save. 

In a way, those of us who are believers in Christ are like lighthouse keepers, or at least, we should be.

There’s a light inside of us – the light of God – belief in a Savior. Just like the little old Sunday School song says, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”

That light is not intended to just be kept for ourselves; instead we must shine it everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. Why? To rescue the lost, to help souls come to saving grace and belief in Jesus.

An old hymn, Send the Light, rings through my mind and says exactly what I’ve been thinking.

There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!

Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, and let its radiant beams
Light the world forevermore!  

~ Charles H. Gabriel, pub.1888

As I viewed the huge beacon in the Hooper Strait Lighthouse tower, I thought about that. Do I send the light? Do I shine with Christ-likeness? And do the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ do the same?

We’re human. We often fail in our actions and words because we don’t pray for the ability, willingness, and desire to shine our lights.

But now more than ever, in this seemingly dark world of hatred and vitriol, we need to not only send the light, but share the light. May it be so.

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” ~Dwight L. Moody

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


Words for Wednesday: I spy osprey

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Often when we’re traveling with our oldest grandchild by automobile, she and I play a game of I Spy. “I spy with my little eye…” one of us says followed by some kind of clue like “…something red.”  Then a guessing round begins. She’s become quite good at this game and it’s a good lesson for this Nana too.

While traveling, I do try to spy with my little eye. I keep on the watch for unusual things in view or catch a glimpse at sightings that make for a good photo op with my camera. 

Our Maryland trip was no exception. I spied many interesting aspects with my own two eyes.

While on-board two different cruises in the Chesapeake Bay, I captured a few shots of ospreys, often called sea hawks.   The photo above was taken in the Baltimore harbor on an overcast day after a deluge of rain, which gave the water a gray cast and made the birds hard to see. 

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It’s quite a contrast from this picture I captured while on an Annapolis harbor cruise on a beautiful, sunny day. If you look closely to the right of the green and white marker, you will spy an osprey sitting in its nest.

I was amazed at where the osprey built their nests out in the middle of the water. So far away from humans, that’s for sure. Can you blame them?

But they still must leave their nests to gather up some grub as they soar into the air on wings and swoop down to the water to nab a fish for dinner.

Do you suppose birds are thankful for their wings? I surely am when I step out of my comfort zone and spread my ‘wings’ by traveling to places I’ve not visited before.

“A bird in a nest is secure, but that is not why God gave it wings.” ~ Matshona Dhliwayo

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com