Friday, January 20, 2017

Texas...Part Two

Loaded up with kolaches for us and our hosts, we finished the journey South to our final destination for the day...Waco.

Waco is home to all sorts of things and we were blessed to see several. Since we had almost an hour before we could check into our house rental, we headed toward a pilgrim site of a different kind... Check this out if you think I'm joking.
Yes, it's the actual store of Chip and Joanna Gaines, of Fixer Upper fame

the now-famous silos

You may notice that the pictures were taken from the passenger-side window. From this you can conclude that we did not go in to tour ourselves. I have nothing personally against these people or the show but it was a fantastic example of how we have made TV into a god. First you pay $10 to park within a reasonable walk (because the neighborhood is not great...but kudos to the Baptist church who charges this sum to use their lot and makes their own bundle in the bargain!). Then you go inside and purchase all sorts of stuff, mostly to say they were from Magnolia Market...DH's friend who lives there said when he went to check it out an older husband was following his wife around complaining, "I threw out a bunch of this stuff thirty years ago!" lol.

Cotton Stem
For instance, you can purchase one "small" cotton stem for $6 (you would need many to fill the standing vera vase that sells for $58) Take note as the cotton plants will come up again in a future post.
Can't beat Capitalism, right? The woman who rented us the house told us the Gaines's had to pull their kids out of school because pickup became somewhat of a mob scene. Fame and fortune have their costs; good and bad.

We checked into the house and headed out to meet DH's friend from graduate school (whom he had not seen in a quarter of a century...bad friend) and who now teaches at Baylor University. He was still teaching when we arrived so we headed straight to the Mayborn Museum on campus. 
The GIANT green thing is a ROSEMARY plant...yes, they use them as shrubs down here. Man, I want to live in Texas.

We made it an hour or so before closing so we had to rush right in because there was a special exhibit going on...

Yes! It was all about Pilgrimages! AHEM. Sometimes I just shake my head and laugh at the Holy Spirit (and I am so very grateful that He continues to present us with such amazing opportunities.)

They throw this god in the Ganges to purify the river

It was such a wonderful time, in the middle of our journey, to show the kids that other people actually do this...we're not crazy in our faith or our desire to travel to see holy places! It is such an innate desire that even those of different faith traditions do similar things!

As if that wasn't enough to cover the price of admission, they had one of the greatest children's play areas I have ever seen. A great way to occupy the kids while the two friends caught up on the last 2+ decades.


Navigating the Brazos

He was so sweet "driving" this little girl around :0)
We spent the evening at DH's classmate's home with his lovely wife and beautiful girls. What amazing people these are...they traveled to China on two separate occasions to rescue these sweet girls and give them a home to grow. I wish I had pictures but, alas, there was too much fun to be had. Good, fun, simple times with good people. What a great respite.

The respite was important because about 2 AM #3 decided to vomit all over his little brother, and his bed, so mom was hanging on the couch, washing laundry all night. It was all good. We only had a 3-hour journey the next day and we had a washer and dryer right there in the house.

Besides, it was the cutest little Texas house you could hope to see :0)

Next time; popes, Holy Doors and the Gulf of Mexico! Stay tuned! We are blessed.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Texas...Part One

If you've ever been to Texas, you know it's going to take more than one post to cover the bounty. We were only there three days (and covered less than a third of the state) wow, so much to see and do.

After leaving Oklahoma City, we headed south into Texas. We were barely over the border when we saw this:
Sherman, Texas in the birthplace of my sweet nephew! How coincidental (ahem) that in all of Texas (it's a big place) we would drive right by the exit to his entrance into this world. Great thanks were given to God for bringing this wonderful boy into our lives (and many thanks to my nephew's mom who chose life!).

By that point we were just over an hour from Dallas (a fairly short distance on this trip) and it was a beautiful day to look at the vast fields of cattle and land. (Disclaimer...I'm kind of miffed that, in all of our travels through the Lone Star State, there were no long-horns to be found.)

We arrived at the hotel, had some dinner, unpacked a bit then headed out for evening Mass, again, hoping for confession prior. We arrived an hour before Mass was scheduled to begin. I bet there were 25 people in line. Glory to God! What a beautiful sight!

The sacristan told those of us at the back of the line to come back tomorrow because Mass was starting. I feel slightly bad about springing it on our kids but I was hoping someone would notice when the sanctuary looked like this...
Yes, that is Our Lady of Guadalupe! We were at the Cathedral Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dallas, Texas!
I felt badly because this was Spanish Mass. Our kids, even though well-traveled, are used to what they know. It's not often that they can just immerse themselves into another language and feel comfortable (which is exactly why I do it).

The language was unfamiliar (we're studying Latin at the moment) but it was an amazing experience. The faith and reverence of the Hispanic community is impressive. So different from up north - if you took Communion by hand here (or without genuflecting first) you were the odd one! This would only be our first experience of deep reverence in the south. They understand what they have in the Mass and Eucharist. In my experience, having lived in the south, it is more clear when you are the minority and, definitely, Catholics are a minority (but growing) down South!

Home for cooking shows and bed. Sleeping in the following morning because, already, we were kind of over the driving. Luckily Dallas has an amazing place to burn some energy...
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science was fantastic! Lots of fun and interesting things to see and do, several in line with what people are studying (homeschool science, check!). Best of all, admission was FREE - reciprocity with our Science Center membership. On the way there we even drove past the site of Kennedy's assassination - double bonus.

for the kids studying astronomy

for the kid studying botany

corpse flower...puke

building things

building more things

H2O molecules

xylo court

and because it's Texas, there was a random cantaloupe plant growing in the parking garage behind our car. It wasn't intentional, it was growing among the weeds...someone probably just tossed a seed there when they were eating and sun/rain/God's handiwork. There were even baby cantaloupes on the plant!

Saying goodbye to Dallas, we got back on the road due south. It was a short driving day and Waco, our next stop, was less than an hour away. We stopped in West, Texas (yes, that's the name), about midway on our journey. West is the site of a deadly fertilizer plant explosion in 2013 but also the Czech capital of Texas (promise, I can't make this stuff up!). With Czechs come kolaches...mmmm. We stopped at Slovacek's, home of the Kissing Pig Cafe!
No idea...she was inspired.

A-maz-ing. They also come in savory. YUM.

So cute! Come back next time when we arrive in Waco :0)

We are blessed.