Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Two

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Two

Day two of our summer family adventure began with a sunrise over Little Bay de Noc that looked much like the previous night’s sunset.  The haze in the sky made for a bright red ball of light for a long time before it finally diffused into more natural looking sunlight.

After the sunrise and breakfast, we were on our way across the western UP as we made our way back and forth along the Michigan and Wisconsin border.  This section of the trip began a waterfall focus as we eventually found some twenty to twenty-five named waterfalls to photograph during our entire trip (I guess I’ll figure that number out as I work through the days. 🙂 ).  Our first stop was a Long Slide Falls County Park in Wisconsin where we not only found Long Slide Falls but a bonus of Smalley Falls!

Our next destination was LaSalle Falls near Florence, Wisconsin.  In the process, we ended up exploring (accidentally) Spread Eagle Barrens State Natural Area — a well named region, by the way. 🙂  We eventually found a map posted that gave better directions to the falls, and also listed another falls nearby.  While they were better directions than what I started with, they were still rather vague and we ended up on some ATV trails that served as roads whether they were supposed to or not.  In the process we ended up at Washburn Falls first and from there was able to easily find LaSalle Falls.

From there it was time to finish our drive to Hurley, Wisconsin where we would stay for four nights as we explored the western UP and northern Wisconsin.  Our lodging was in a restored farmhouse situated on eighty acres of beautiful rolling pasture and woodlands.  We arrived in time to walk the property before calling it a day.

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day One

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day One

We took a mid-August trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, covering 2,887.3 miles in nine days time!  Over the course of the trip I took about 2700 photos which I discovered are too many to try to deal with all at once. 🙂  So, for starters, I will work on a blog post for each day of our trip to both describe and show some of the incredible beauty of God’s creation that we were able to experience.

Day one began at home with a lot of road time before our first stop at JW Wells State Park near Stephenson, Michigan on the west shore of Lake Michigan.  This was a quick stop to stretch our legs and take a few photos before continuing our journey.

Our next stop for the day was at Portage Point south of Escanaba, Michigan.  This was another chance to stretch our legs as we walked a trail between Portage Bay and Lake Michigan.  Frogs were plentiful as were butterflies and a great view of the lake at the end of the trail.

From there we headed just up the road to the Sand Point Lighthouse in Escanaba, Michigan.


After a quick stop to drop our luggage off at the hotel we would stay at in Gladstone, we were on our way to Peninsula Point Lighthouse across the bay from Escanaba.  It was a beautiful drive down the peninsula and the lighthouse was open to climb to the top.  All that remains of the original lighthouse buildings is the tower itself, but being a somewhat shorter tower than many of them, we all climbed the stairs to the top.

While at Peninsula Point, we were told about Fayette Historic State Park that was across the bay to the east.  There was still daylight so we made our way back up the peninsula and down the next one to visit the park.  It was a great combination of historic buildings and rock-faced cliffs that were extra beautiful in the evening sun.  As we were leaving, a deer came out to enjoy an evening snack from an apple tree.

From there, we made our way back to the shoreline of Peninsula Point where we found a boat ramp to photograph the sunset from.  Along our drive we drove passed a field of sunflowers so we stopped to take a few photos of them as well.  The sun was a brilliant red ball because of smoke in the atmosphere from wildfires to the north and west.

And thus ended day one of our family adventure as we headed back to the hotel for a night of sleep along the lakefront.


As I reflect on another year of life, I find that I often have many more questions than answers. Tomorrow I reach the “double-nickle” mark, at least as far as years go, and I pray that my pursuit of God honors Him and in some way helps others.

Since I’m getting old now,
I should be in bed.
But questions abound,
at least in my head.
Will my life matter,
when I come to the end?
When Jesus looks at me,
will He call me His friend?

Did my life today,
measure up to His will?
Did I listen intently,
taking time to be still?
Was there ever a moment,
that I helped someone up?
And poured into their life,
what was placed in my cup?

Do I lift other’s spirits,
or bring them down low?
Is my life lived with substance,
or is it all show?
Is there a way,
to walk home with God?
With my mind fixed on heaven,
and my feet on this sod?

The questions are many,
the answers seem few.
So I’ll trust God with the unknown,
and share this with you! 
© 2108 by Tom Lemler

In prayer,

A FIRM Standing! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the August 5, 2018 sermon, “A FIRM Standing!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Here are the main points from the sermon:

Doing life as a Christian with a FIRM standing means we have a  . . .

  • Faithful Standing:  1 Corinthians 16:13-14
  • Intentional Standing:  Galatians 5:1
  • Rewarded Standing:  James 5:8
  • Multiplied Standing:  2 Corinthians 1:21-22
A Restful Day

A Restful Day

For one reason or another, or more likely a combination of many different reasons, my mind and body have been yelling at me lately about the need for rest.  So, while the day held the potential for many different things that would have been good and enjoyable, I listened to the warnings and enjoyed a restful day.  As I sat on the porch and enjoyed the refreshing breeze and the beauty of my surroundings; I was reminded that rest is not just a good idea, it is God’s idea!  The concept of a day of rest each week, a sabbath, was designed by the one who designed me.  I believe it wasn’t by accident that God commanded a day of rest, it was because He knew we needed it even while He knew we wouldn’t always listen to that need.

As I sat on the porch watching the hummingbirds show up to the feeders, an aching toe from an old injury brought a short poem into my mind.

There was a day,
Some time ago.
I played a game
And broke my toe!
Now when the weather
Changes so.
That broken toe
Does let me know!

The ache in my toe stuck with me most of the day but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the restful time with God that I needed.  The view from the porch was great and with a long-reach lens I was able to capture some of the beauty with my camera.

After grilling bacon cheeseburgers for lunch, it was back to the porch for a while to enjoy more of the sights and sounds of nature.  As I continued my time with God, another short poem came into my mind.  Considering most of my poems have been rather lengthy, these short snippets were an unusual thing to find in my mind but I’m confident God can use what He gives regardless of length.

There’s often much
I’d like to say.
Until I take
The time to pray.
And when I talk
To God each day.
I find there’s less
I “have to” say!

Eventually I took the idea of rest to the next level and headed inside for an afternoon nap.  The nap eventually led to more porch time as the day of rest continued.  As the day winds down, I am thankful for a day of rest and look forward to the day of worship I will give God tomorrow.

Breaking News!

Today I read some breaking news.
And didn’t know that I could choose.
To keep my thoughts off printed page.
Instead of typing all my rage.
I really don’t know every fact.
But why should that change how I act.
I’ll write with such authority.
That minds will change, just wait and see.

And so I post my thoughts today.
And can’t believe what others say!
It seems they have opinions too.
Though obviously they can’t be true.
For I alone have got it right.
And what I share is great insight.
How dare anyone disagree.
I know it all, why can’t you see?

But what is this I hear You say?
There really is another way?
To hear some breaking news report.
And not reply, no bold retort?
To listen more and speak much less.
And not add to the ugly mess.
To sit alone and quietly pray.
Would be a wiser choice today!

© 2018 by Tom Lemler

It seems like anything and everything has become fuel for the divisiveness that plagues our nation.  It seems like nearly every news story posted on social media brings out people who have to “set the record straight”.  The temptation to comment or reply to someone else’s comment is strong and many times it even “feels” like the right thing to do.  I know, because I read things that cause every fiber of my being to want to jump right into the fray and “tell it like it is”.  Fortunately, it is obvious to me that doing so rarely, if ever, changes anyone’s mind and just adds fuel to an already volatile situation.  Yet when those emotions are stirred within me, I do have a choice.  And my choice is to seek God and pray.  I pray for whatever the news event is.  I pray for those who are responding to the event out of their own hurt, anger, pride, or other emotion.  I pray for the courage to be still when needed and to act when needed.  I pray that God would refine my choices and my words so they are helpful and not hurtful.  I pray that I would be mindful of the enemy’s attempts to engage me in a battle that is not mine to fight.  I pray for wisdom to always make choices that would honor Christ.


In prayer,

Noticing God’s Presence

Noticing God’s Presence

“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
I can feel His mighty power and His grace.
I can hear the brush of angels wings.
I see glory on each face.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”
(Words by Lanny Wolfe)

It seems that the more I pause, even for just a moment, the more acutely I’m aware of being surrounded by the presence of God.  I suppose I could pause and not notice, and in reality that has been the case more often than I care to admit, but once I started to really seek God I began to realize He delights in making Himself known.  

My enjoyment of wildlife and scenic nature photography has served to amplify an awareness of God’s presence as I capture some of the details of His handiwork.  Today it was some time spent sitting on the front porch watching, and photographing, the hummingbirds that frequent the feeder we have out.  Capturing the “brush” of their wings really makes it seem like I can feel “the brush of angels wings.”  And the glory exhibited in each photo I take shouts of the glory of God revealed throughout creation.

For me, photography not only allows me to capture the presence of God, it also causes me to notice that presence in everyday life no matter where I am.  While it is rare for me not to have a camera with me these days, even when I don’t, I find that I always have an eye out for the wonders that are most often simply passed by.  Yes, the world is messed up by sin.  And, yes, there is a lot of ugliness that exists as a result of human interactions with one another that don’t reflect the image of God.  And while there are many distractions to draw us away from noticing God’s presence, there is nothing that can keep it hidden if we make the effort to seek Him.  His promises are sure and He says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

I pray that you and I would always seek God with all our heart and that in doing so we would know that “surely the presence of the Lord is in this place!”