Coming  Full Circle . . . Almost

Coming Full Circle . . . Almost

I received a package this morning and it made me think of a similar package from many years ago.  


While this may not seem that remarkable, for me it was a journey back in time to the first clothes that I bought for myself some forty years ago.  Last week I went to the store to buy some new work jeans as my current ones were starting to wear thin in a few places in a way that was becoming more and more noticeable as the outdoor temperature keeps dropping.  What I discovered was that the work jeans display at the store had shrunk considerably and they no longer carried the style and size that I wanted (needed).  After checking another store with no luck, I went online and found what I wanted so I ordered them and today I have new work jeans to wear.  

While there is a lot of talk in many circles about online shopping causing the demise of so many “brick and mortar” stores, today’s package reminded me of a time when the “brick and mortar” stores were much smaller and many of the goods we have come to expect stores to stock were purchased for delivery from a store’s catalog . . . at least that’s the way it was in the rural America I grew up in.  In fact, to a young boy on a farm, there was little that brought as much excitement into life like a certain mail delivery could each year.  A delivery that brought a catalog, but not just any catalog, “The Catalog”!


This catalog each year was the beginning of many dreams and more than a few disappointments.  It was also from a catalog like this that I filled out an order form and sent in a check in order to have the first clothing I had ever purchased on my own delivered to the mailbox at the end of our drive.  It wasn’t anything fancy, just some pants and shirts, but it was something different from the homemade and hand-me-down clothes that most of my wardrobe consisted of at the time.

And so today brings me full circle, almost.  While the print catalogs have nearly disappeared, an online catalog did for me what the catalogs of years gone by had done — brought me the goods I needed that a local store didn’t stock.  Technology has brought changes, but in some ways; the more things change, the more they remain the same.  

Anniversary Poem

Anniversary Poem

It seems a moment ago,
or perhaps maybe two.
We stood face to face
and we each said, “I do”.
And the journey began
as we stood hand in hand.
With no real idea
of all God had planned.

Through the ups and the downs,
the happy and sad.
We kept moving forward
with all that we had.
Yet, through days that felt slow
and years that seemed fast.
All of a sudden,
thirty-seven years have passed.

So, Happy Anniversary
to my beautiful bride!
Life’s so much better
with you by my side.
And whether walking a trail
or some peaceful shore.
Here’s to the moments
of thirty-seven more!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

While some said we were too young and it wouldn’t last, today my wife and I celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary!  As I reflect on that accomplishment, I have to say it was God who carried us this far together and it is only He who can successfully carry us into the future.  And while I don’t know if either of us have another 37 years of life on this earth, we can always count on our walks continuing on a more beautiful shore once our time here is done!

With prayers and much love,
Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Nine

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Nine

Since this summer family adventure was only a week’s vacation with the weekend attached to each end, day nine of our journey was the “heading home” day. 😦  But we weren’t about to let the vacation slip by quietly, so we left Bay City, Michigan and headed for the Lake Huron shoreline to photograph a few lighthouses before finishing out the day driving home.  As we were driving some back roads to the first lighthouse stop, something on top of a telephone pole caught my eye and I said, “Hey, there’s a snowy!”  After turning the truck around when it was safe to do so, we went back and sure enough there was a snowy owl sitting on top of the pole keeping watch on us and on the field.

After enjoying the beauty of the owl, we made our way past a lot of sugar beet fields en route to our first lighthouse stop of the day, Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse.

From there we continued our way down the shoreline with stops at three lighthouses that were quite different from each other.  The first, Harbor Beach Lighthouse, was at the end of a pier and our only view was across the water from the end of a different pier.  The second wasn’t on our list so we weren’t expecting it.  In fact, we drove past it and I had to turn around to see if it really was a lighthouse I had seen.  It turns out that the White Rock Light is a house/lighthouse that an individual built to commemorate the lighthouse history of the area.  The third, Port Sanilac Lighthouse, is now a private dwelling but we were able to manage some decent photos from the areas surrounding the property.

We finished our photo stops for the trip a the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.  While it was the last photo stop of our adventure, it wasn’t the last stop as we took a slight detour on our way home to stop in Goshen, Indiana for ice cream at The Chief.  All in all, it was a great family adventure and I hope these blog posts have helped you to see at least a glimpse of the incredible beauty God surrounded us with throughout this nine day journey . . . and throughout life!

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Eight

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Eight

Day eight of our summer family adventure was the beginning of the end as we made a quick drive back through the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and a quick stop at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse before making our way to the Mackinac Bridge to leave the Upper Peninsula for the mainland of Michigan.  The wildlife were still very good at hiding in the refuge but the clouds reflecting on the water was beautiful and the swarms of bugs at the lighthouse kept us moving along rather quickly. 🙂

The next stop on our journey was just across the Mackinac Bridge at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse where we were able to photograph both the bridge and the lighthouse.  Before we left Mackinaw City to continue our travels, we stopped at an interesting restaurant near the bridge and since their lunch special was a homemade pasty (pronounced with a short a sound), we tried them and had a delicious lunch . . . not sure why they can’t just call it a meat pie, but it was very good!

The rest of the day we worked our way down the shoreline of Lake Huron on our way to  Bay City for the night.  On our way we stopped at the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse, and the Tawas Point Lighthouse.  We were able to go up the lighthouse tower at Forty Mile Point and photographed the other two lighthouses from the ground.

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Seven

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Seven

Day seven of our summer family adventure took place in the greater Grand Marais, Michigan area.  Our morning began with a trip to the Crisp Point Lighthouse.  There is not an easy way to get to this lighthouse, so the journey there is a great part of the adventure . . . though I am disappointed I somehow missed Rabbit Patch Road this time.

After miles of gravel, dirt, and two-track roads, with an occasional section of pavement, we arrived at Crisp Point Lighthouse where we spent time photographing the beauty of Lake Superior, the lighthouse, and the surroundings.

We eventually left Crisp Point and made our way to Paradise, Michigan hoping to have lunch at the Brown Fisheries Fish House.  When we arrived, any available parking was taken, so we found a place where we could get the truck off the road to see how long of a wait it would be for lunch.  As it turned out, we were seated right away and soon had baskets of wonderful, fresh fried fish setting before us.  🙂  It was all gone before there was any thought to take photos, so our next photo stop was at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge near Seney, Michigan.  On our way there we drove past the entrances to Tahquamenon Falls State Park, but traffic was backed up all the way to the highway waiting to get in so we kept driving. 🙂  It was a beautiful day at the wildlife refuge even though much of the wildlife seemed to be hiding.

From there, we headed to Munising, Michigan for a stop at Munising Falls before heading back into Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for the evening.

After a quick stop at the falls we spent some time at the Miners Castle Overlook and Beach for some good views of the rock cliffs that help make Pictured Rocks famous.

As the sun began to set through the wildfire smoke haze, we made our way to the mouth of the Hurricane River to watch the sunset from the place where the river flows into Lake Superior.

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Six

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Six

Day six of our summer family adventure found us traveling from our farmhouse lodging in Hurley, Wisconsin to a small motel on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Michigan.  This 260+ mile drive covered maybe two-thirds of the width of the Upper Peninsula as we moved from west to east.  When we arrived at the farmhouse to start the week, I took photos of the property and the outside of the house but saved the interior photos until we were ready to leave.  It truly was a beautiful place to stay both inside and out.

From there, the day was filled with sightseeing opportunities as we continued our adventure.  The primary road we would have taken as we left the town we were staying in was closed, so we had to start with a detour.  As it turned out, this detour took us right past Bond Falls!  This turned out to be one of our favorite falls to photograph during this trip.  I had actually looked at it online before our trip, but thought we had somehow missed it during our drive up the Keweenaw Peninsula as I was looking for it near the city of  Ontonagon.  As it turned out it was on the Ontonagon River, but not really anywhere near the town of the same name . . . though the river does flow into Lake Superior where the town is located.

After leaving the falls, our route took us to Marquette, Michigan then the road followed the shoreline of Lake Superior to Munising, Michigan where the rest of the journey  was through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore property and into the town of Grand Marais, Michigan.

After getting our things unloaded at the motel, we headed back into the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to see a few sights until Susan had another seizure which brought us back to town.  We did manage to get some photos at Sable Falls, the Log Slide Overlook, and at Grand Sable Lake while we were out.

We made it back to town for dinner at a wonderful little diner and Susan was feeling enough better that we caught some photographs at the Grand Marais Bay during the “golden hour of light” then headed to the beach for the sunset over Lake Superior.

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Five

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Five

Day five of our family summer adventure was filled with variety as we made our way through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and through the length of the Keweenaw Peninsula with a return stop at the Lake of the Clouds on our way back through the “Porkies”.  Our first stop was at the Summit Peak Scenic area where we took a 1/2 mile walk (each way) to an observation tower overlooking the Porcupine Mountains.

Our next stop was at the Lake of the Clouds overlook also in the “Porkies”.  It was a beautiful place and I was able to observe several bald eagles from a distance and heard others of them calling across the forest below our position.

From there we drove up through the Keweenaw Peninsula with stops at a variety of lighthouses and waterfalls.  The lighthouses were Sand Hills Lighthouse, Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Copper Harbor Lighthouse, and the Mendota (Bete Grise) Lighthouse.

The waterfalls included Eagle River Falls, Jacob’s Falls, and Silver River Falls.  We went by a few other falls that weren’t running enough water to make it worth photographing. 🙂

Finally, we made an evening stop back at the Lake of the Clouds overlook as the sun began to set behind us over Lake Superior.

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Four

Summer UP Trip 2018 — Day Four

Day four of our family adventure across the Upper Peninsula was another day filled with waterfalls and stairs.  Our first stop for the day was just a few miles from where we were staying and included two waterfalls, I think.  Some say it is the same waterfall with two different names, but we definitely found two unique falls areas so I’m going with having found both Peterson Falls and Interstate Falls.

From there, we drove north of Bessemer, Michigan where we photographed and enjoyed five different waterfalls along the National Black River Scenic Byway.  These were the Great Conglomerate Falls, Potawatomi Falls, Gorge Falls, Sandstone Falls, and Rainbow Falls.  At the end of the road Black River flowed into Lake Superior through Black River Harbor.

Our final stop of the day was at the Presque Isle Scenic Area of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  This stop included the climbing up and down of many stairs that was rewarded by three named waterfalls and an unnamed rapids area near the end of the river that was even more beautiful than many marked falls.  The waterfalls were the Manabezho Falls, Manido Falls, and Nawadaha Falls.  Susan had a seizure somewhere between the last two falls, so we pushed her back to the truck in her wheelchair and then drove to a parking area closer to the falls so we could see it before heading back to the farmhouse for the night.