Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cemetery Sunday - vacation day 3

Sunday morning, our second full day in Missouri. We wanted to attend church sometime somewhere. As luck would have it there was a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in the town of Louisiana, just the city I had hoped to visit that day. Service wasn’t until 11:00, so we had plenty of time to find the church and then explore a little.

When we had checked into our resort on Friday, the desk clerk gave me a stack of brochures of things to see and do in the area. I believe that one pamphlet was printed solely for my use – “Tombstone Tours: Visit Historical Cemeteries in Pike County, Missouri”. I had to suppress an evil snicker when I opened it up. The poor hubby had no idea the twist my vacation plans took at that moment.

Just up the street from our chosen church was my first victim. Gates of Peace Cemetery, the only Jewish cemetery in Missouri that was north of St. Louis.  

 As I was closing the gate to leave, I smashed my finger. Now it was the hubby’s turn to snicker.

We killed two birds with one stone at the next stop. The Jackson Family Cemetery was right next to the Catholic Cemetery. Neither one was horribly exciting, but it was time to get back to church anyway.

I do not even know how to build up the excitement for the next cemetery. In my journal I described it as the “holy mother of all cemeteries”. Riverview Cemetery in Louisiana contains more than 14,000 graves, or so my Tombstone Tours brochure told me and went on to say that it is in a beautiful location overlooking the Mississippi River. Not even close to an apt description.   

I can’t believe the hubby made us do anything else that day, but he dragged me away so we could eat lunch by the river and then wander up Louisiana’s historic downtown.

 Then I had to find one more cemetery, the Bowling Green City Cemetery. Finally I discovered a graveyard that awed the hubby.

 He was pretty excited by the names on these headstones and wants to know if they are relatives.

Oh, honey, I said, it's all relative.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Woes Along the River - vacation day 2

Saturday was our first real day of vacation, first day to relax and unwind, to sleep in and not have anywhere to go. If you know me at all, you know it didn’t really work out that way. I had a full schedule planned for every day.

The first day, however, I actually thought we could take it easy, check out our surroundings and the little town closest to our resort.

The Mississippi River town of Clarksville boasts a population of 547. Lock and Dam number 24 is right on the doorstep of town, so we spent much of the first morning watching a barge go through. Why is that so fascinating? Probably because to my simple mind it is a major feat of engineering.

When we finally tore ourselves away from the Lock, we walked along the river front and the hubby started up a conversation with a woman who was checking to see how far the River had risen since the day before. Turns out she was the mayor, JoAnne Smiley. Leave it to my husband to meet the mayor.  

We had a long conversation with her regarding flooding in her little town. Clarksville is the last town in Missouri whose downtown district faces the Mississippi River. Other towns either are set far enough back from the River or they built permanent levies so that they don’t have to worry about flooding. Cute little Clarksville doesn’t have the money (half a million dollars) to build a levy, plus the little shops along the River are so quaint it would be a shame to shield them with a wall of dirt. When it looks like flood waters are moving in, the town rallies with their sandbags and defends their little downtown.  According to the mayor, because of this they have never had losses from flooding, and because of that the federal government won’t give them any money to prevent disaster.  

 A few days later I was sharing the woes of Clarksville with a local from a town up River, and she didn’t have any sympathy for her neighbors to the south. She just thought they should build a levy, and didn’t believe me when I said it sounded like it was cost-prohibitive.

On our way home the end of the week, I told my brother-in-law all of this. He works for the Army Corps of Engineers which deals yearly with flooding of the Mississippi. He had yet another view of this problem.

Because my little pea-brain doesn’t want to hear the facts and figures, only wants to take in what is beautiful, I have no solutions for anyone. All I have is more pictures from our first day. 
Didn't eat here. Sorry, Tubby. 
The old episcopal church which is now the beautiful art studio of Mary O. We spent probably an hour talking with her and touring her home.  
Water fowl at the Clarence Cannon Wildlife Refuge.  I thought the sign said "canyon" so I was hoping for some great scenery. Water fowl is ok though too.  
At Cuivre River State Park near Troy. We didn't stay long. We were getting tired by then and headed into Troy for Dairy Queen and to get the car washed. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Drive through Illinois - vacation day 1

It has been so long since the hubby and I have gotten out of town, out of state, on a real vacation. Holy cow, I thought it just felt like a long time, but I just looked it up and it has been six and a half months. And you know what was on the ground almost that entire time? Snow.

And guess what was falling from the sky as we packed up the car on April 4? Snow. I know, what a surprise.

The snow and slushy roads cleared up about an hour into the trip. But the temperature didn’t get much above 40 and a cold wind continued to blow. This is our first view of the Mississippi River at Savanna, Illinois. Yes, I did get the hubby to drive through Illinois this time.

 Saw a few sites on our drive through the hubby’s favorite state. This is a random windmill someone built outside of the town of Industry.

 This is the Pittsfield Courthouse. I sure wished they still made buildings like this instead of tearing them down.

 Instead they put up modern buildings like this. I didn’t care that day though, because this is where we stayed for the next six days and nights.

And it was wonderful!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where are the dead?

 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

 Luke 24:1-5
New International Version

When my husband and I were on vacation earlier this month, I made him stop at every old cemetery we passed. And we passed a lot of them. I wish I could admit that I don’t know why I find old cemeteries so fascinating, but I do know why I can’t pass up a single one. The old headstones are beautiful, and the really old ones which are broken or crumbling break my heart. Even more heart breaking are the stories each grave holds.

 These are just a few.

And as I read each headstone and imagine the life that led to this burial place, I hope and pray that buried there is only the person’s earthly body. My wish is that every one of them has been saved and now rests in the eternal arms of their Savior. I pray that within all of these cemeteries I visit that there are no dead. That they are alive in heaven.  

Lord Jesus, thank You for the sacrifice You made on Good Friday. Thank You for Your resurrection. Without it, we could only fear death; now we can know the joy of eternal life. Amen.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Vigil

 A man named Joseph was there from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a good man, who lived the way God wanted. He was waiting for God’s kingdom to come. Joseph was a member of the Jewish council. But he did not agree when the other Jewish leaders decided to kill Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that was dug in a wall of rock. This tomb had never been used before. It was late on Preparation day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin.

 The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body.  Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body.

On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses.

Luke 23:50-56

Easy to Read Version

What will these women find come Sunday morning? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

It was about noon, but it turned dark throughout the land until three o’clock in the afternoon, because the sun stopped shining. The curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. Jesus shouted, “Father, I put my life in your hands!” After Jesus said this, he died.

 The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!”

 Many people had come out of the city to see all this. When they saw it, they felt very sorry and left.  The people who were close friends of Jesus were there. Also, there were some women who had followed Jesus from Galilee. They all stood far away from the cross and watched these things.

Luke 23:44-49

Easy to Read Version

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

15 Jesus said to them, “I wanted very much to eat this Passover meal with you before I die. 16 I will never eat another Passover meal until it is given its full meaning in God’s kingdom.”
17 Then Jesus took a cup of wine. He gave thanks to God for it and said, “Take this cup and give it to everyone here. 18 I will never drink wine again until God’s kingdom comes.”
19 Then he took some bread and thanked God for it. He broke off some pieces, gave them to the apostles and said, “This bread is my body that I am giving for you. Eat this to remember me.” 20 In the same way, after supper, Jesus took the cup of wine and said, “This wine represents the new agreement from God to his people. It will begin when my blood is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:15-20

Easy-to-Read Version