Monday, July 17, 2017

como park band

There's nothing better than enjoying an outdoor concert on a warm (but pleasant) summer evening in June.  This time I was attending a concert in the Como Park band shell in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The entertainment for the evening was provided by the Fridley Concert Band.  What a delight.  Very good music in an architecturally delightful old building next to the lake.  Rock on.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


This church has a beautiful interior.  I remember visiting here as a teenager while attending MYF youth day during annual conference.  The stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful and they tell a story of various important events in the life of Christ.  I was very happy to visit here again.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

mn capital

I spent some time in Minnesota this June/July.  As I was passing through St. Paul I was able to get this picture of the Minnesota State Capitol building.  This is a quick pic taken from a moving car.  I wasn't driving!! Built in 1905, designed by Cass Gilbert and patterned after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Capitol is a beautiful old building and is visited by many school children each year as part of their Minnesota history studies in fifth grade.  Thanks Miss Medchill!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Herbert Hoover (#31)

I stopped in West Branch, Iowa to visit the birthplace of Herbert Hoover.  I didn't know that much about this former president but I was about to find out.  He was born in this small house in Iowa.  His Quaker upbringing in this small town helped to form him into the generous man that he ultimately became.  He is instrumental in delivering aid to the Belgian people when they were starving.

               He was a big man so it was interesting to see his baby crib.  (We all start out little).

Here is his school.  Even though he left West Branch at an early age to live with an aunt and uncle in Oregon, he always considered this town to be his home.  This is where he and his wife chose to be buried.  The graves are very simple in keeping with their Quaker faith.  His presidential library is located on the grounds.  This site is maintained by the National Park Service.

Friday, July 7, 2017

here he rests

Abraham Lincoln is buried in a very lovely cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.  It is a public cemetery and is beautifully maintained.  His crypt is located inside a large memorial building.

                                            I felt very humbled to stand at his resting place.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lincoln slept here

Then I went to Springfield, Illinois to see the house that Abraham Lincoln lived in while he was a practicing lawyer.  What a beautiful house.  It started out as a small one level house.  The Lincoln's added on to it over the years and it became this two story house.  Not only did Lincoln sleep here in his bedroom, he was also known to take a nap on this very couch.  I can just picture him snoozing away.  This is a very well preserved house.  It is part of a walkable neighborhood of old buildings that have been restored to their original look by the National Park Service.  Go and see.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

a beautiful door

I was walking around Hodgenville, Kentucky and I came across this beautiful door.  The lines on the panels, the greenery and the flowers make for a lovely setting.  Something else that I know is lovely is the date of July 5th.  Seventy five years ago my parents married on this date .  This, too, is beautiful  and I celebrate this date.  To you, Mom and Dad.  Cheers.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lincoln's birthplace

I wanted to see where Abraham Lincoln was born.  I found his birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky.  The National Park Service has preserved the family homestead acreage and opened the area to the public.  It's free and, of course, it's your park to enjoy.  A replica of his birthplace cabin is housed in a rather impressive monument.  It's the FIRST Lincoln Memorial paid for by pubic donations.

There are walking paths and things to note along the way like the trees marking the homestead property lines.  There is a spring well on the property.  This spring, called Sinking Spring, is also the name given to the farm.  Abraham Lincoln lived here for the first two years of his life.  It was a short stay.....but what a beginning!!

Abraham Lincoln statue and quote

Right in the center square of Hodgenville, Kentucky sits a statue of Abraham Lincoln.  His birthplace is located in this area.  There is a museum at his birth site and inside the museum is a plaque with this quote by Abraham Lincoln that I think is very poignant.  "I happen, temporarily, to occupy the White House.  I am a living witness that any of your children may come here as my father's child has."  Such possibilities.

Monday, July 3, 2017

mammoth cave

O.K., here we go ...underground.  I made it to Mammoth Cave.  I stayed the night in Cave City, Kentucky and in the morning I drove the short distance to Mammoth Cave and hopped on the ten o'clock tour.   It is the longest cave in the world.  The rock formations are amazing, especially the pipe organ.  At one point the guide turned out all of the lights (they were low to begin with) and we all sat on benches in complete darkness.  That was scary but what was worse was the absolute silence.  The silence was what drove early explorers crazy more than the darkness.  This wonderful park is operated by the National Park Service.  The park is open for free.  The tours have an admission fee.  It's worth the trip.  I'd go again.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

stone river battlefield

Near Murfreesboro, Tennessee I located Stone River National Battlefield Park.  It is a civil war battlefield and is part of the National Park Service.  The headquarters building housed a museum with historical displays and information.

Probably the most meaningful part of the battlefield park was the National Cemetery located on the grounds.  There is a peacefulness here amongst the green grassy fields and the pines.  It is beautifully maintained and open for quiet meditative walks.  This is another wonderful park operated by the National Park Service.  Come and's yours.

driving through the rain

My Dad told me that sometimes it is better to drive through a downpour than it is to pull over and wait for the rain to stop.  The end of the storm line may just be a short distance ahead.  I drove through one of these storms recently on my way north through Tennessee between Manchester and Murfreesboro.  I could see the rain coming.  The highway was full of cars.  When it hit most people slowed down.  The rain was so heavy that it was hard to see the car ahead of me.  I wanted to be close enough to the vehicle so that I could follow its tail lights but not too close in case I had to stop quickly.  At one point the rain was so heavy that cars were pulling off to the side of the road and stopping.  I really wanted to do that too but I kept on going.  I was out of the rain a short time later and I just kept on going.  What a relief!!  That was scary!  Driving through that rain storm was a total white knuckler experience and I would put it at the top of the fright scale.  I made it through.  I'm fine.  But...hmmm.  Scary.

Monday, June 19, 2017

buildings in manchester

Before I left Manchester I drove around the streets in the center of town.  I like to see the architecture in smaller towns.  In the very center of the town sits the courthouse.  In front of the courthouse are memorial stones presented to commemorate the fallen soldiers in each of the major wars fought here and abroad starting with the Revolutionary War.  It was very moving to read the words of dedication written on these stones.  It is good to remember what has gone on before us and what is happening now.  Later I drove by a church that had a very interesting steeple.  I had to take a picture before I hit the road.  The weather was looking quite chance-y and I feared a storm was a-brewing.  It was.

first umc manchester

I made it to Manchester, Tennessee after leaving Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga.  I arrived on a Saturday night and I was sitting with the congregation in the sanctuary of First UMC on Sunday morning.  The church is right in the center of town.  The service was very good and the people, as always, were very friendly.  After a delicious home cooked lunch at a local cafeteria about a half a block from the church, I was on my way.  Next stop...Murfreesboro.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

lookout mtn

This is the view that the southern army had overlooking Chattanooga during the war between the states.  This is Lookout Mountain and it is part of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga Battlefield Park run by the National Park Service.  The view from the top is spectacular and from this viewpoint high above the city the southern army was able to keep track of the movements of the northern army.

The mountain offered a natural defense line and the army, under General Braxton Bragg, was able to hold off the enemy...for a while.  Eventually the northern army broke through the lines and continued their march toward Atlanta.  Chattanooga, like Atlanta, was (and is) a major rail hub and it was important to gain control of the city.  The island in the distance is called Moccasin Island because it is shaped like the slipper of the same name.  The mountain has many stacked rock formations.  No climbing, though!!  There are hiking paths and picnic areas here and it's a great place to enjoy the outdoors...and the history.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


I drove north on I-75 in Georgia a couple of weeks ago.  Just before the Tennessee border, I turned off of the interstate, drove a short distance and stopped at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga  National Battlefield.  This park is operated by the National Park Service.  Inside the headquarters I was able to read about the history of this area and the importance it played in the War Between the States.  There is a very nice driving tour that can be taken throughout the park grounds.  Monuments and buildings of importance are featured along the route.  The day I visited the park there was an authors symposium focusing on General Braxton Bragg of the southern army.  History buffs loaded with books for the authors to autograph were in attendance at the day long event.  Two battles--Chickamauga and Chattanooga--were fought in this part of Georgia and Tennessee and there are several locations within the park, open to visitors, that pertain to the various battle sites.  They are all located within a relatively short driving distance of each other.  This is another beautifully maintained park that is part of the national park system.  "Came for the history, stayed for the beauty."

Friday, June 16, 2017


I've started my way north for the summer.  Before leaving the Atlanta area I visited Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Cobb County, Georgia.  Operated by the National Park Service, the park is most associated with the battle that took place here in June of 1864.  This location was the last line of defense by the southern army in their attempt to keep the Union troops from marching toward Atlanta.  The battle line was broken and the northern army moved on to Atlanta.  

The maps and diagrams on display in the park headquarters showed where each fighting unit was stationed and how their movements lead to the breaks in the lines of defense.  The topography of the land played an extremely important roll during the battle with its natural walls formed by the mountains, hills and vallys.  There is a hiking path that leads to the top of Kennesaw Mountain and it begins near the headquarters.  Visit the national parks.  They're yours to enjoy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

sleeping gorilla

I had the opportunity to go to the San Diego Zoo recently and I came across this very sleepy fellow.  He looked so comfortable just laying there.  Nothing (and no one) seemed to bother him.  shhhhh

pretty flower

I came across this pretty flower on my walk one morning.  I do like a pretty flower.  I had not seen this type of flower before.  The blooms were perfectly arranged on the plant.  Again, very pretty.

balloon house

This is how to celebrate your birthday.  Tie balloons to your house.  Give it an "UP" look.  There were lots more balloons attached to the house than the picture shows but this will give you the idea of what was going on.  Come fly away!

house of blues

This is how I spent Mother's Day.  I went to the House of Blues in San Diego for the gospel brunch.  Very good food and great entertainment made for a fun filled afternoon.  All mom's and those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries were invited to come onto the stage and join in the singing and dancing during one of the numbers.  The stage was filled with happy people just enjoying the moment.  What a day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

where the Easter lilies go (grow)

I passed this garden on my way to my sister's house.  The lilies were planted along the road next to a church.  I came back later to get a better view of the flowers and stay a bit and enjoy the flowers.

I'm pretty sure these beautiful lilies were once displayed in the sanctuary of the church on Easter morning and after services were over, the remaining flowers were planted in the church garden.  This appears to be what took place over a number of years as the garden has grown to cover a large area.  How wonderful that these lilies have grown back each Spring and bloomed in unison creating a beautiful lily garden along the roadway.  Forever gorgeous.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

I had the opportunity to attend a Memorial Day service in Smyrna, Georgia this year.  The entire program was very meaningful.  

There was a twenty one gun salute to the fallen soldiers.

The speakers were wonderful and delivered very thought provoking speeches.  The army band was outstanding.  The music was perfect.  I'm so glad I was here.

stacked chairs

After the Memorial Day program, the chairs were quickly stacked.  I thought the columns of chairs looked very artistic.  They were stacked very high.  Tall people did this.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


We had the opportunity to visit the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina recently.  What a   magnificently magical place this is!!  Upon entering the formal entranceway, we immediately were drawn to the winter garden atrium.  It is filled with tropical plants and would be a very cozy place to spend some time reading a book or quietly meditating.

The grand staircase led to the upper bedroom area.  While we were there we were able to see theatrical costumes on display in the various rooms.  These were the actual costumes worn by well known actors in the films they were created for.

I liked the lighting in this room.  A large shadow appears on the wall behind the costumed mannikin and it gives off a somewhat foreboding (spooky) look to the room.

I loved the ceiling treatment in this room.  It is created by using yards and yards of rolled fabric.  It softens the hard corners of the ceiling and gives it a very feminine, romantic look.

We enjoyed our visit to Biltmore Estate.  The house, patterned after French chateau architecture,  was built between 1889 and 1895 and has hundreds of rooms.  In the basement you will find a bowling alley, a swimming pool, changing rooms and utility rooms such as the laundry.  The house, the stables, the gardens and the winery fill the day with things to see.  Go, if you can!