Memories of Manitou

I’m sitting in the grassy tranquility of Manitou Park, and as the river gently winds and flows past me, childhood memories come to the surface. This beloved park has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

As a child, my dad and older brothers would let me tag along to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon fishing on the banks of the river in Manitou Park. The rhythm of the lines cast upon the water would capture my imagination, mesmerizing this carefree little girl for hours on end.

As I grew older, Manitou became a cool hang-out for all the pre-teen girls on my block. In the spirit of Robin Hood, we would each pillage our homes, forging for anything edible that we could use for a picnic. We longed to be all grown-up, so if we were lucky enough to score some hotdogs or hamburger meat that we could cook ourselves, that made our day. And don’t forget the cheese! No respectable Wisconsite plans a picnic without it. We would shout with glee over all the ‘treasures’ we pirated, and then pedal our bikes to Manitou, with our backpacks heavy-laden with booty. After we ate until we couldn’t anymore, we would lie by the river, letting our minds wander off to the usual things young girls dream of, while we watched the billowing clouds roll by.

I remember one particular Saturday afternoon; we picked the wild white flowers in the fields, tied hundreds of them together in a chain, and carried them up to the train trestle in a funeral-like procession. We hung them from the trestle, and then quickly scurried back down to the bottom, hoping a train would come and carry our hopes and dreams off into the future. We waited for hours, but the train never came.

As I entered my teenage years, I still found myself sitting at Manitou Park in quiet contemplation. One night in particular stands out in my memory. It was the night before my first day of school at Lincoln High. I had spent the last carefree day of summer with Mark, my future husband, and his best friend Ron. We headed home late that night, feeling anxious about the unknown of being tossed into a group of other angst-filled teenagers, to make our way into a very uncertain future.

We weren’t quite ready to call it a day, so Mark pulled his rusty old pickup truck into Manitou, and the three of us sat quietly, side by side, contemplating life as the big, bright moon stoically streamed its light onto the rippling river, reminding us that this night was but a flicker in the grand scheme of life.

The mystery of Manitou still draws me close today. I have passed the torch of Manitowoc’s old romantic park on to my children and grandchildren. They must make memories of their own here. I can only share the legacy of this little piece of paradise that was handed down from the Indians who, in their reverence for this park, named it after this historic city, given the name of ‘Manitowoc’ which means “Home of the Great Spirit.”


The Pine Tree

“I am like the green pine tree; all your blessings come from me.” (Hos 14:8)

Look at the pine tree, standing majestically,
Its arms reaching out toward those who will draw near.

Look at the pine tree, with resilient needles that are
Affected by neither the scorching sun nor the winter frost.
They do not wither with age, nor plummet to the ground
With the blowing of the wind.

Neither the seasons of life
Nor the storms raging winds
Can shake its foundation.

In the quiet strength of its boughs
It upholds the drifting snow
And the feathered nests of the birds of the air.
Its aromatic balsam symbolizes an innocent life,
And soothes the soul with its fragrant oil.

Take great care in the presence of the pine tree,
For its needles will prick and sting at the touch of the
Unrepentant heart or the careless of spirit.

But for all who seek the mystery of its life giving branches,
And the beauty of the tender green shoots,
He whispers your name:

“Come, let the gentle stirrings of the wind
Dance within you as you caress my soft pine needles
With the tender stroke of a child’s hand.”

Look at the pine tree and be refreshed in spirit,
For He is like the green pine tree.


From the Garden to the Cross

Let me hide behind the trees
Cover me with greens and leaves
Until with nature I am one
In this garden I’m undone

Cover me with ferns and branches
Hide my sins with second chances
So that I one day appear
As the One who brought me here

It is now in utter anguish
That my heart must fully languish
Cover me so I’m unseen
But as a paltry laurel green

But if in my despair and dread
I were to grace my Savior’s head
Then for this blessing will I live
As a crown for God to give.

The nativity(animated) Pictures, Images and Photos

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.