Starlight

Sunset rays through a tree near the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

Is there ever a time when light doesn’t overcome darkness?  I know some would debate this.  However, this was my thought after looking at the photo from one of our grandchildren during our recent visit to Washington, D.C. 

Each state within the U.S.A. was represented by an array of trees decorated in unique designs. Atop one tree is a star illuminated with the sun, practically not noticed through the camera’s eye.

As I ponder this image, I think light shining so bright.

The one who is Light of the world has indeed come, whether we accept it or not.

The one who loves unconditionally lives today, not contingent on our belief. 

How far does the light reflect shining from afar?

It permeates the universe – down to the micro abode.

Some light provides singleness of color, lighting the ornaments scattered around.

While some lights provide color – like in a tree – for those who behold.

The Light that came into the world still shines as bright,

Unless we cover it to diminish its way.

May we accept the light that shines today,

And not hide it under a basket, nor suppress its glow.

But let His Light shine throughout our being,

By simply accepting the gift of Light and Life within. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12 NIV)

Let the Light of Christmas and this special holiday carry over in our lives as we reflect true Light and Love to others about us. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Holiday special – replica train depots and life

Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot , Utah

One of the unique items I found at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. was a varied display of train depot replicas made with natural materials. Combined with these depots were trains running throughout the display area.

I really liked the festive, natural environment around the displays – with all the holiday color and excitement. Take a look.

Don’t you enjoy the hometown feeling as you look at this artwork and seeing the trains move about the tracks? There seems to be something magical about trains. They tend to let us escape from our stress a little – maybe giving us a sense of taking a trip.

Here is a little video clip of the various trains in the U.S. Botanical Garden and Conservatory.

Replica of Union Station in Washington D.C., made of natural materials

Also, while walking through the Union Station in Washington, D.C. we liked their decorations in the central hall. Travelers were scurrying about to reach their destinations. They appeared to like the festive displays, which provided a little brightness in their day.

So, let’s take a ride and escape the pressures – enjoy the beauty, enjoy the season – remembering the efforts God made to bring peace to this world, allowing us to cast our cares upon Him.

Yes, life gets busy, especially during occasions like Christmas and various holiday celebrations. But, let’s not forget to pause some, enjoy the ride, the sights, the sounds of life all around.

Each of us has our own spiritual thoughts and beliefs as we all have freedom of choice. I choose to believe in and trust in the one born to give us abundant and eternal life – Jesus Christ. We can have peace and love, even in the midst of the traveling and the stress of life.

Where is your train depot and which journey do you want to take?

Blessings and Love along the way!

Ron

Botanic Garden – gem in D.C.

Model of Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. made from natural resources.

Watch closely or you’ll miss it. 

Nestled among the federal buildings, traffic, hustle and bustle, along with trying to drive to keep from crashing while checking for special sites – is a wonderful botanic garden – practically on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

Botanic Garden and Conservatory entrance area with U.S. Capitol in background

I guess it is befitting so those who work in Washington, D.C. to be able to have a garden to provide a little stress relief.  It’s good for guests too!


U.S. Capitol display with natural resources.

U.S. Botanic Garden in D.C. has special displays for Christmas and holidays
Real U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I was pleasantly surprised during our visit in late November to see the special displays mixed with the unique garden and conservatory. 

The White House display with natural resources in the Botanic Garden and Observatory
The real White House in Washington, D.C.

Wow, it is amazing to see some of the monuments and special structures build with natural resources.

The displays fit right in with the Christmas and holiday decorations. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

D.C. bound

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. , capital of the United States of America

I haven’t finished posting from our fall trip out west in the U.S. but I want to divert a little to our more recent trip to Washington, D.C., just after Thanksgiving. 

We had an interesting drive along Interstate 95, with the excessive holiday traffic. 

There is no need to show you the traffic congestion along with the stop-and-go scenarios but trust me – that was the busiest time of travel on the Interstate – Thanksgiving weekend.  Even the rest areas were packed so we had to plan a little more strategy. 

I really liked Virginia’s rest area.  It was clean and provided an excellent selection of snacks and beverages, along with the hostess and in-depth information.   I believe it when they say Virginia is for lovers too.  I’ve traveled extensively through the east and west sides of Virginia.  Each has its own unique landscape and style. 

When you travel north of Richmond traffic seems to increase considerably, any time of year.  No doubt it’s what I call the D.C. influence.  I like to stay in the right lane as much as possible and let those who are intent on speeding excessively just pass by. 

Those traveling during the Christmas holiday need to be extra careful as more people will be on the roads – similar to the Thanksgiving travel time. 

After traveling through the stressful routes into D.C. we worked up an appetite and decided on some good-ole barbeque (barbecue, BBQ).  Hence, we settled on Texas BBQ – yes, even though we were In D.C. 

The staff at Texas Jack’s Barbecue was very nice and professional.  The menu is by item though, so the cost can sneak up on you.  We had a few samplings and they were very good. 

Traveling to D.C. and Texas Jack restaurant
Texas Jack paper image in Texas Jack Barbecue restaurant in D.C.

I was curious about who Texas Jack was, so I took a picture of the paper image in the restaurant. I then looked up information on Wikipedia and here it is if you would like to read more on his background. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Jack_Omohundro

During the next couple of days, I’ll post a few unique displays we discovered in D.C. to emphasize the holiday spirit.  I’m glad you are still traveling with us as we divert a little to this area.

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Where’s your bakery?

Do you have a special bakery nearby? If I could start one I would like to include a good mixture of gluten-free and yeast-free items. Of course that would be difficult since most products have flour and yeast as key ingredients.

Well, while I couldn’t eat the regular bakery items at the Silos Baking Co. (Magnolia Bakery) in Waco, Texas, I sure could enjoy the quaint, hometown, wonderful-looking bakery developed by Chip and Joanna Gaines, former stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper series.

When interviewed in 2016 by Today, Joanna commented: “I’ve dreamed about having a bakery since I opened the Little Shop on Bosque Boulevard in 2003. After our move to the Silos (our market and shops), the little building on the front of the property was the perfect spot to finally open one.” https://www.today.com/home/see-inside-chip-joanna-gaines-bakery-magnolia-silos-t104852.

Guests wait patiently to savor the fresh-baked goodies from the Silos Baking Co. in Waco, Texas.

The line into the bakery was formed beside the building on the day we visited. I’m not the type to wait around but this is a one-time event that we needed to endure with patience.

I did enjoy watching people from practically everywhere enjoying themselves and salivating over the smell and view of the sweet delights.

Here are some views to trigger your saliva glands too.

The family sure enjoyed the cupcakes that ranked probably in the top five ever. Just look at these beauties.

A dozen cupcakes and two gluten-free cookies makes it worth the wait at Silos Baking Co. in Waco, Texas.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Magnolia Market a hit

Old silos at Magnolia Market are icons in Waco, Texas.

Who would imagine old silos would be a magnet for a fantastic business idea and thousands of guests a day? I love the idea to salvage items from the past and re-mission them.  

Are you a fixer-upper enthusiast?  No doubt many have seen HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” series with Chip and Joanna Gaines.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we planned a visit to the Magnolia Market during our fall 2018 trip out west but I was pleasantly surprised. 

“Magnolia Market at the Silos, commonly called Magnolia Market, is a shopping complex that encompasses two city blocks in downtown Waco, Texas. It is marked by two 120′ high silos, built in 1950 as part of the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company. The grounds opened to the public in October, 2015.” (Wikipedia)

Let’s take a closer look and let the images speak for themselves.  However, I’ll provide a separate post for the bakery.  

Main entrance to the Magnolia Market store.
Main entrance on left to the market store.

More details are provided at https://magnolia.com/silos/.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

In-N-Out

In-N-Out fast food is a delight.
Photo of wall image in In-N-Out, Irving, Texas, including modern-day lamp and dining area reflection.  

A restaurant named In-N-Out,

Tasty burgers, fries and shakes. What a delight!

It’s limited to the west but one of the best.

That’s my thought as we wanted to visit this popular fast-food restaurant.

In-N-Out at Irving, Texas.

The chain restaurant is not located near the U.S. east coast so we relished the opportunity to visit and enjoy the dining in Irving,Texas in fall 2018. 

Photo of wall art in the Irving store, blended with reflection of the modern dining area.  Can you imagine getting burgers today for $.25?  

The first restaurant opened in California in 1948 as Harry Snyder introduced California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand in a space barely 10 feet square in Baldwin Park. 

Every day before dawn Harry visited the meat and produce markets to pick out fresh ingredients, which he prepared by hand.  Esther, his wife, took care of the accounting for the new restaurant at their home right around the corner.  http://www.in-n-out.com/history.aspx

Burgers and shakes at In-N-Out, Irving, Texas, including a bun-less burger for the gluten-free desire.

The restaurants are located only in California, Arizona, Nevada,Utah, Texas and Oregon.   I think the reason they have not expanded more eastward is the intent to keep the ingredients fresh daily. 

If you travel near Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, it may be worth a side trip to In-N-Out not far away at Irving. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron