"" Writer's Wanderings

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Who Do You Trust?

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sharing the morning message with my church family. Of course with all our traveling, it took on a travel theme of sorts. I showed a few pictures of our trip to Bryce Canyon National Park where I was introduced to Hoodoos. Hoodoos are the stone structures in the canyon that stand stoically while God works his wonder of creation shaping and forming them into amazing structures through the medium of erosion.

Now Hoodoos don't commit consciously to trusting God to form them into new creatures but we do have that opportunity to commit to trusting God to create a new life in us. What keeps us from trusting Him is the question.

When we travel, we often take a plane. Do we know who is flying it? Not usually. Yet we trust that the person at the controls will get us safely to our destination.

Arriving at our destination, we usually need the services of a taxi. Do we know who is driving the taxi? We can see him/her but we really don't know much about that person and in some of the countries we have visited it has been difficult to even communicate with them. Yet again, we trust them to get us safely to our destination.

In both of those cases a lot of prayer often helps--at least to calm the fears we might have but there is one area of trust most people don't even give a second thought to unless of course you are driving on a different side of the road than you normally do. Every time you drive, you trust that the dividing line down the middle of the road will keep the oncoming traffic on the correct side of it. The line in most cases isn't much wider than 6-8 inches or up to 16" or so if there's a double line. Do you trust the double line more?

All of this is to say, we have little trouble trusting the pilot, the taxi driver, or the dividing line in the roadway but when it comes to trusting the living God who walks with us, who loves us, who wants to help us through life's challenges we. . .

What do we do?

Who do you trust?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Futile Fridays

It's not just wandering the world that makes me a writer wandering. I also do a lot of ruminating. Writers need that. It develops plot lines, characters, and quandaries for characters. It also leads to thinking more deeply about life and the journey--or not. Take the case of Friday.

Friday used to be a great day. It was something to look forward to each week. It signaled the end to a lot of chaos created by kids, school, work, schedules, etc. On Friday everything seemed to ease off and even though there might be some things planned for a weekend, it still meant some time of rest or at least a break from routine was coming.

The kids grew up, left home, and routines changed--a bit. There was still a hubby to get off to work and Friday was still a time to look forward to. The weekend meant a couple of mornings to sleep in and time to spend together. And then came retirement.

Don't get me wrong. I love that we are retired. I love that we have all of our days together now--well, mostly I love that. Sometimes I do miss a little "me time" and pushing my own grocery cart around the store. But retirement has made Friday just a day like any other. Actually, it is less attractive because many of those working people are out and about and making popular places a lot more crowded.

Gone are the days of the Friday movie date. Instead we enjoy Senior Mondays at the movies. We sleep in whenever we want to although we do keep to a routine somewhat. Like Bob's favorite saying," When you're retired you can't tell when you are on vacation," it's hard to differentiate between a weekday or a weekend.

So you see Friday is kind of futile except for football season when it signals a football Saturday and usually a football Sunday. Go Bucks! Go Browns! Maybe Friday's not so futile after all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Books For The Road - Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

The early 1900s saw an influx of immigrants through Ellis Island and many settled in New York City. Sometime around that era, my own grandparents came through Ellis Island but they settled farther west in Ohio and they weren't from Ireland like the women found in Cindy Thomson's Ellis Island series. Annie's Stories is the second in the series and is quite a tale of a young woman's struggle to overcome her past in Ireland and make a new life in America.

Thomson paints her story with well-researched historical aspects that add flavor to the story line which centers on Annie who was rescued from a girl's reformatory in Ireland where she was unfairly confined and mistreated when her father died. and Stephen, a postman, who has also lost his family and struggles with his father's suicide. Annie's father was an Irish storyteller who had left to his daughter some written stories which she will learn were part of a secret side to her father. There is a bit of a mystery as well as romance and all beautifully set in NYC at the turn of the century.

While Grace's Pictures is the first in the series, there is no problem in reading Annie's Stories as a separate book. I've read most of Thomson's books and this is definitely the best, although I did enjoy her baseball book, Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story. 

Annie's Stories is a smooth read. A great book for the road.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So You Want To Take A Round The World Trip

It's always been on the bucket list to circumnavigate the globe. That is because we are avid cruisers. For some though the thought of several months on a cruise ship all at one time is overwhelming especially if you have a delicate stomach for sea voyages. I happened to run across an article that was quite interesting from Smarter Travel about things to think of as you plan a Round The World trip.

There are all sorts of ways to book your plane tickets. Airlines offer RTW tickets or you can book your own legs of the journey individually. The article suggests booking business class since in getting around the world you will most likely spend a total of around 50 hours on a plane. He didn't mention how much time in airports waiting for planes but he did say you should plan an extra day here and there for travel.

While searching through the article and later on a search engine, I found that there are several sites that cater to the RTW traveler. Be aware that some are geared to backpackers who live on a minimal budget while traveling. The RTW Calculator site was one. I thought it would be fun to calculate our World Cruise trip if we had done it by plane and car on our own and started entering the places we would go. I immediately got stuck because the first stops in the Caribbean islands aren't on their list. When I saw that Miami, Florida was calculated at a little over $30/night, I realized I was on a site for backpackers.

Another site, The World Travellers Club, gave sample itineraries you can book and estimated airfares. Using some of that information, I tried calculating how much our trip would cost if we were to go the air/land route. Keeping it an apples-to-apples comparison, I could only calculate travel, accommodations, and food and at that it would be an estimate. All of the other things like excursions and nightly entertainment I set aside. I also had to consider our comfort level for accommodations as well. We are definitely not hostel and backpacking travelers.

Our RTW cruise

When I got done, the air/land looked a little cheaper but it required a lot of work. Schlepping luggage from place to place and lots of reservations to keep in line unless we wanted to be daring and take our chances on accommodations and car rentals being available for us. Having to search out places to eat each night on a budget and wondering if the food quality was good. I'm wondering where we would have stayed in Madagascar? And certainly getting to Easter Island would probably have been a bit pricey. So in the end perhaps the air/land would not get us to all the places the cruise does.

On the other hand, the air/land would get us places we couldn't reach by ship. Do I see another RTW trip in the future?

Monday, November 17, 2014

World Cruise - Travel Clinic, Ouch!

There are two things that make me very anxious--snakes and hypodermic needles. Having twins was a good thing to start out with because then Bob had to come with me to the pediatric appointments and he could hold each one as they got their "puppy shots." I've gotten past that a bit but I still don't like getting shots so when we scheduled an appointment with a travel clinic in our area I was understandably nervous.

Before our appointment we needed to go online and fill in a form telling where in the world we were traveling. Are they serious? This is 108 days and let me count the countries. . .23! Knowing that Madagascar, the Amazon area, and parts of Africa (south, not west) are on our itinerary, I knew that we were in for some kind of preventative actions.

When we arrived and were seated with the nurse consultant, she handed us each a thick book listing all the countries and the things to watch out for in each. It felt like looking at all the disclaimers and side effects from every medicine you've ever seen advertised on TV all at once. I feared my arm was going to be a pin cushion!

This beautiful lady narrowed it down for us to the essentials and it didn't look quite so bad. I was current on my tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, pneumococcal, shingles, and influenza. Is it any wonder I hate shots? We would need some meds for preventing malaria (not the lariam we took once before that made us both loopy) and a booster to our original Hepatitis A that protects us for life. Then came the suggestion of a yellow fever shot and possibly typhoid. Yikes!

The bottom line, we will be on a cruise ship with little travel in the countries where yellow fever and typhoid are prevalent and that travel will be during the day avoiding the high activity time for insects and certainly not eating or drinking on land. The only hitch may be that one of the Caribbean islands we visit after we are in Brazil may require certification that we had been vaccinated prior to our visit to Brazil. The jury is still out on that one. We've heard conflicting stories and until we hear from the cruise line that it's necessary, we're going to pass. If we have to stay on the ship that day, so be it. One less shot sounds good to me.

Vaccinations were not the only thing discussed and we came home with the books that are full of information on what to be careful of in each country. It's mostly common sense stuff starting with "don't drink the water!" If you ever do this for travel, be aware that you will get more information than is necessary just so that they cover all the bases and possibilities. It could almost scare you out of going but remember that knowledge is power--power to travel safely.

By the way the clinic we visited was Passport Health. There are locations all over the USA.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Books For The Road - Always, Abby by Linda S. Glaz

Earlier this week I gave you a book suggestion for a long trip but there's always those short jaunts where you need a quicker read to get you from one place to another. Always, Abby by Linda Glaz fills that need. It's a nice read and a good story.

WWII soldier Will Judge brings home an orphan boy from Europe and by doing so, completely changes the direction his life was taking. It's a bit predictable as Will discovers his childhood friend, Abby, has grown into a beautiful young woman but then it is a romance. I won't say more.

The story takes place in the 1940s which made it very interesting for me in light of the novel I just finished writing. I love the sensitivity in the story line with the orphan, Henryk, or Hank as he becomes known.

If you like to immerse in a good romance while you travel and relax, this would be a good one to pick up or download. A sweet book for the road.
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