Thursday, November 19, 2009
As I look back on my life, one thing that I remember from my twelve years in Texas is visiting the Painted Churches. We took almost every visitor we had to see these gorgeous little churches, west of the Houston area. I don't know how many times we visited this area -but it was SEVERAL times.
Research says that there are about 20 of these little churches--but we only visited about 5-6 of them near Schulenburg in Fayette County in the Texas Hill Country (Dubina, High Hill, Ammonsville, Praha, etc.). These little churches --dotted on the country hillsides--- were built by 19th century immigrants, mostly German and Czech. We found it breath-taking as we drove on the little country roads, especially when we would go around a curve or up a hill and see those gorgeous churches with their steeples standing tall throughout the little communities.
These churches were called the "Painted" Churches because when you entered the sanctuary---you would see all kinds of bright paintings, exuberant murals, and TONS of color all around. The wooden columns and baseboards would shine like polished marble in shades of green and gray. The stained-glass windows were incredible. Each of the churches told a story---a story about a people striving to succeed in a new country and yet still preserving the values and culture of their homelands.
If you ever get to Texas, be sure and check out the Painted Churches. They are truly awesome.. The picture above was typical of all of them---showing the color and elaborate designs. The picture above was from St. Mary's Catholic Church in High Hill. This church was built in 1906 and painted in 1912. Below are a few more.
I show you this one so that you'll see just how 'ordinary' these little churches look like from the outside. BUT--when you go inside, WELL----all you can say is "WOW".
The inside of one of the churches
The inside of another one of the Painted Churches
One of the gorgeous stained-glass windows
Here's a close-up of the ceiling area in one of the churches. When they say "Painted"---they really mean PAINTED all over!
Here's one more close-up picture of one of the churches.
You just have to see these churches to believe their beauty. I have many more pictures--which need to be scanned. SO---I'll post more at another time.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Yesterday, I received some fabulous pictures from my Texas family. Son Mark is the coach of his youngest daughter's softball team. When we visited them in April, we had hoped to see both daughters play softball.. WELL---you may remember that it rained all weekend and we didn't get to see ANY games. I was so sad---but one of these days, I hope that we'll get to see them play!
In the meantime, photos are the next best thing!!!! This past weekend Coach Mark's team won a big tournament. Here is what Mark wrote on the team's webpage:
You brought home the Championship Trophy in this past weekend's Ballerz Bash tournament held in Southbelt. Great defense, clutch hitting, and outstanding pitching highlighted the weekend for the Surge. Led by tournament MVPs Sarah and Stephanie for their outstanding pitching performances, the Surge never gave up more than 2 runs in any inning and held their opponents scoreless in 14 innings. The Surge were tied in or trailed in four of their five victories, but showed incredible heart and desire by never giving up and finding a way to win those games. It was a FANTASTIC weekend to be a Surge! Great Job, Ladies!!
Pictured above is my son and my granddaughter (who incidentally is the team's catcher). Below are more pictures of the happy team.
This granddaughter of mine (age 12 --in March) is certainly VERY happy after the big win!!!! Isn't she a cutie????
Here is a picture of the entire team. Mark is on the back row in the center--barely visible!!!!!
After a big win, there's celebration for the ladies. They had a pool party at Mark and Lara's beautiful home. AND---as you can tell---they enjoyed their CAKE, in many ways besides eating it!!!! ha ha (Oh to be young again!!)
This is my oldest granddaughter (Mark and Lara's other daughter--aged 15 1/2) who is also playing softball this summer. However, she is now EMPLOYED...... She took lifeguard training this spring and will be a lifeguard all summer at one of the local pools in their area. I wonder what this gal will spend all of her money on??????
It's hard to believe that I have a grandchild who is old enough to be gainfully employed... Yipes!!!!!
Finally, after showing you my beautiful grandchildren (and my wonderful son), I will close with another beauty. This is my all-time favorite ROSE. I am partial to red ones --and this one is named VETERANS HONOR. It is a big rose (which I love)--and it smells SOOOOOOO good!!!!!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today I will share with you more from our 'interesting' visit to Texas. First, since some of you asked, I will show you some photos of my son's beautiful home in Seabrook, TX. This son (age 39) is in the home-building business ---and with the help of his company, Mark built their new home. They moved in a little over a year ago and the home is truly a dream-come-true for them. Above is a picture of their swimming pool which takes up most of the back yard. See the little round pool in the middle??? That is a hot-tub---which George and I always enjoy!!!! Below are more pictures.
Their home is an 'open' floor plan --with a large living, dining, office and kitchen area downstairs. Upstairs are 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a recreation room. This picture was taken from the kitchen area --looking toward the front door. You can also see a small part of the upstairs and staircase. The staircase and the upstairs is carpeted, and the downstairs is tiled. You can see their doggie, Annie, in this picture.
This picture was taken from upstairs looking down toward the living room and kitchen area.
This is the front of the house.. See that basketball goal near the garage????? WELL---in the bad storm on April 18 (when we were there), the goal fell on their two vehicles (van and truck). It put a dent in their van. The storm was strong enough to break the bungee cords which were attached to the concrete --holding the goal up!!!!! We had some really strong winds (and flooding) that afternoon. George had to move our Prius out of the street --onto the driveway due to street flooding. Scary!!!
Speaking of that storm on April 18th when we were in Texas, WELL----look at their heavy propane grill... The winds were strong enough to turn that heavy grill over. It's so heavy that it takes two people to lift it..... Mercy Me!!!!!
This storm hit their area with NO warnings... If we had have known that there were tornados and heavy winds around, we could have picked up all of the lawn furniture. We stood inside their home---watching the lawn furniture go flying all over the yard. This one chair propelled RIGHT through their wooden fence, putting a hole in the wood. Can you believe it?????
On a gorgeous Sunday (following the storm on Saturday), Mark drove us all around the Galveston Bay area --showing us the damage STILL left from Hurricane Ike (which devastated that area last September). When I saw that pile of rubble, I almost cried---thinking that this was someone's LIFE before Ike hit!
This is the area along Galveston Bay south of Seabrook, TX.. Mark and Lara live 'inland'--so luckily, they didn't have any damage much. But--all of the homes near the bay had total devastation. Only the people with MONEY have rebuilt... Many folks have just walked away and left everything. It's just so sad!
This is a typical house --near Galveston Bay in the community of San Leon. This damage is typical of what most of the homes look like. As I said, many people just left. Others are living on their property in RV's. They seem to be trying to renovate and rebuild as they can. The homes on the water are more expensive homes ---but the homes near, but not on the water are more modest homes. There are many shrimpers in that area. Even the homes built on several levels not only had water damage, but also had lots of wind damage.
Some people just totally cleared their lots---and all we could see was a slab and maybe a driveway or sidewalk. After leaving the San Leon area, we drove down to Galveston. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Galveston is coming back nicely. The strand area (which had 7 or 8 feet of water) is beginning to come back. They have brought in new sand for the beach areas --and the businesses along the seawall are thriving. There's still alot to be done --especially on the back streets where there is so much damage to many of the older homes. But---Galveston WILL come back!!!! That is the good news...
I don't want you to think that Texas is all about storms.. I lived there for 12 years --and we never had storms like these... It's a gorgeous state and area (southeast of Houston) ---and my kids love it down there. Here's one last picture of my son and his sweet little family...
P.S. We drove to Hendersonville yesterday to check on George's Mom and Dad. They still seem to be doing well in their home, despite the fact that both of them have macular degeneration. Mom will be 89 in May and Dad will be 97 in August... Neither of them take ANY prescription drugs. Amazing, isn't it?????
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
We are home from our vacation in Texas, visiting my middle son and family. We had an 'interesting' trip to say the least. We went to Texas not only to see this wonderful family--but especially to see the girls play softball since I've never gotten to see them play. WELL----we got to see NO softball at all.
While there, they had some of the worst storms and flooding and hail and wind and tornadoes that I've seen ---EVER!!!!! There was a tornado that touched down a few miles from their house---and even though they didn't get the tornado (thank God), they did get alot of wind and rain... It blew their VERY heavy grill completely over.. Their lawn furniture went all over the place---and one chair even propelled through the fence leaving a big hole in the wooden fence. I'm sure the winds were 60-75 miles per hour.. Scary!!!! Their basketball goal blew over and put a dent in their van... Unbelievable!!!!! AND---there was alot of FLOODING.
All of these heavy rains and storms finally stopped on Sat. night. BUT--the ground was too wet on Sunday for the tournament. SO--Mark took us all around the area to see all of the storm damage from Hurricane Ike (from last Sept)... There is still so much damage down there --it's totally mind-boggling. We also went down to Galveston and checked out the beach, the Strand and Seawall. I was pleased to see that Galveston has done SO much to make the area look better especially along the main streets. We drove a little ways down West Beach---but didn't get to go across the ferry to see all of the damage in Boliver (east side of Galveston) this time.. The worst damage we saw was in San Leon ---south of Kemah. There are houses and houses all along the bay area that are just totally empty (and very damaged). People just seemed to walk away from their homes. Only the people with MONEY have been able to rebuild.
George and I took everyone to Kemah (which also has done a great job of rebuilding since Ike) for dinner on Sunday night. That was nice!!! Kemah is a recreation area (restaurants, boardwalk, shops, all kinds of rides, a little train, boating, etc.) We went to Babin's Restaurant---for seafood and cajun food. YUM!!!! We sat outside ---with the bay behind us. It was a gorgeous day --and when we got back to their house, we got to sit by their pool for awhile. As bad as Friday and Saturday were, Sunday couldn't have been prettier!!!!
Here are some pictures for you. Above is Grammy with her grands. The picture was taken at Babin's Restaurant in Kamah (on Galveston Bay)--near Seabrook, TX. Below are more.
My wonderful son and daughter-in-law; This picture was taken at Babin's Restaurant.The picture was dark--so after I lightened it to see their faces, you now can't see Galveston Bay in the background.
Mark and his youngest daughter (age 12) on the beach in Galveston ---on Sunday, April 19
Mark and family---in front of their beautiful hone in Seabrook, TX
A close-up of this little family; As are most young families these days, they are all VERY busy.. The oldest daughter (15 1/2) is being trained to be a lifeguard this summer (Summer job). She is also learning how to drive. (Brought back memories of me teaching my three sons to drive!!! "Been there---done that" and don't want to do it again!!!! ha)
All in all, it was a great trip---and so much fun to see the all four of them... Maybe someday, we'll get to see the girls play softball!!!! Oh Well!!!! It's colder than cold here.... Our low tonight is 35 degrees. GADS---why aren't we in Texas sitting by the pool?????? ha
Hope all of you have had a great week/weekend. I will catch up on blogs this week!!!!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
George and I are 'hitting the road' again. This time we are going to Texas to see my middle son and his adorable family.. My two Texas granddaughters both play softball---and do it well... I have yet to get to see them play, so we hope to see some games this weekend . We're headed down there today and will be back home on Tuesday night, the 21st. We won't be near the computer, so I won't post any blogs or leave comments until we get back home.
However, my son called today saying that the Houston area is supposed to get RAIN this weekend. Just our luck!!!!!! SO--we may or may not get to see them play softball. Oh Well!!!! We're going anyhow---and will enjoy just getting to see them.
My granddaughters are growing up so fast. The older one is 15 and the younger one is 12... Mercy Me... This Grammy will be going to a high school graduation before too many years! The girls are pictured above. This picture was taken at Christmas. Aren't they just beautiful???? Of course, Grandmothers are prejudiced. (If you recently read my post about taking the grandgirls to Stone Door, well--these are the same two girls... Gee--how they've grown up in 3 yrs.) Below are a couple more pictures.
This is the older grand---and her high school softball team. In the top picture, she is in the middle on the first row--- you know---the pretty one!! Be sure and enlarge this picture!
This is the younger grand, after a tournament last summer. Isn't she a cutie???? I can't wait to see the entire family.
I hope all of you have a wonderful week/weekend. I'll miss you ---and will catch up with your blogs when we get home.
Love and Bunches of Hugs,