travel tales for family and friends. . .

wild horses. . .Theodore Roosevelt NP - North Dakota

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back "Home" for a month

The skyline of Downtown Houston was a beautiful sight as we pulled in from San Antonio.

The very first Sunday home was Easter Sunday, which just also happened to be the first weekend that our church family was back in the building for regular services.  First Church was severely damaged from Hurricane Ike, so the entire year we have been gone, the congregation has been having service in a school auditorium. . .they call it their time in the wilderness.

Here are a few pics showing the auditorium in it's original decor circa 1998 versus present day decor. ..

1998 Dedication Service

Friends Day Service April 2010

Stained Glass in Baptistry 1998 (this pic does not do it justice)

Baptistry 2010, absolutely gorgeous
Our favorite pastor in the whole world, 1998, and there is his beautiful wife, peeking over the keyboard
and again, 2010, still looking good 12 years later. . .
as you can see in the background, not everything is completed, 
the sound system is still a work in progress, but it feels so good to be home.

Just a brief synopsis of the rest of our time at home.  It has been a whirlwind of visiting with the grands, not near as much as we would have liked, but everyone is busy with schedules, and sports, and church.

Our oldest grandson plays on the High School baseball team, so he has had a busy schedule.
Did I say he was busy?  I'm pretty sure he has a cell phone in each hand! 

 The youngest grandaughter plays softball, so we were able to make it to one of her tournaments.
She is a Daddy's girl, and definitely has him wrapped around her little finger!
This is our little missy in action. . .she was a pro as catcher!
They simply cannot be this big already.

The middle two grandaughters are still an hour away, and while they were able to come and stay for one entire weekend, their life is busy with school and church activities.

  Our oldest grandaughter will turn 13 tomorrow, which to me, just simply cannot be possible. 
 Where have the years gone? 
 Her new interest is scrapbooking, and since her Grammy is a craft nut, you know I am loving that.  She chose to spend part of her birthday money on scrap booking supplies, so here she is working on a project.

Her younger sister is quite the little ham, and is always available for a photo shoot. . .
She has informed me that she is going to be a designer, and I have no problem believing it.  She and I created this outfit on one of her visits, she helped with the designing and some of the sewing.  She purchased all of the accessories necessary to complete her ensemble.
She drew me this horse picture several years ago, and I will treasure it forever.  This was the inspiration for the purchase of the fabric with horses in the previous design. . .
and here she is designing her next masterpiece.

As you can tell, we are crazy about our kids and grandkids, and feel so blessed that they are willing to let us go off and create memories in our retirement years, but are always there to welcome us back with open arms.

Looking forward to our next adventure!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Painted Churches Tour - Schulenburg TX

The wildflowers were stunningly beautiful, as we traveled from San Antonio to Schulenburg, however, it was impossible to get any great shots while traveling 65 mph down the freeway, so I had to be satisfied with  a shot of this gorgeous pasture just out of Schulenburg, as we traveled from one painted church to the other.
Dave and I discovered painted churches  while on a cruise in Hawaii, and have been fascinated by them since.      

What, you ask, is a painted church?  Well here is a beautiful example.

This artwork was done by a Swiss artist, in 1895, and can be found at the 

I managed to bring my camera, but did not have a flash card in it, so was trying to take pics with our pitiful, little instamatic, so needless to say, my pictures do not do justice to the grandeur of these paintings.

The link above will give you a much better view of how truly beautiful the interior of the church is.  I am amazed that these paintings have never been retouched.  
Just goes to show that some things can last forever.  
This little church in Freyburg was my favorite.  Although it did not have the artist renderings that I normally associate with a painted church, I had a feeling of home as I walked through the door.  I could feel the love from the moment we turned in the driveway.  Everything was just immaculate, and there was that musty smell that only an old building can have.  I wish I had gotten some pictures of the old wooden benches, and railings.

I could sense the feeling of pride this little community must have felt, each Sunday,
 as they gathered in this place of worship.
  It definitely made the history books come alive for me.

  The next time we travel I-10 from Houston to San Antonio, I want to return to this little church. 

 I loved the artist rendering of this church building in Swiss Alp, TX.

As with many historical buildings, there was a lot of modern additions blocking the view of the building, so I just did not get any good pictures, however you can see a beautiful professional portrait here

This community chose to build their church and cemetery in the traditional sense.  They are adjoining on the same grounds.  I would have loved to have spent more time exploring everything, but alas, there were still many more things to see, and places to go.

I am sure that St Mary's Catholic Church at High Hill, TX, was, as advertised, "the Queen of the Painted Churches," however, they were evidently cleaning and doing repairs in preparation for Easter weekend, so scaffolding was up, which prevented us from really being able to enjoy the majesty of the building.  

I did get this one shot from the rear of the building, but you can't really see too many details.  It was very ornate, detailed, and beautiful, and we will return on another trip to take it all in.

When you are traveling between Houston and San Antonio on I-10, you would never dream Schulenburg has so much to offer.  It is really a very interesting little town, with German and Czech history galore, and definitely worth a return visit.

Because we had the RV with us, we stayed at the Schulenburg RV Park, right off the freeway, and very easy to get in and out of.  Although they advertise that you can walk to nine different eating establishments, it did not seem that convenient to me.  We got in late evening, so just walked to the Dairy Queen next door.   The next morning we did drive down to the Kountry Bakery  for kolaches, or as they call them, pigs in a blanket.

We thoroughly enjoyed Schulenburg, and would recommend a day trip from Houston or San Antonio.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

One last trip to the River Walk in San Antonio

Not knowing how long it may be before we return to San Antonio, Dave and I, along with friends, Katie and Eddie, felt the need to make one last trip to the River Walk, and the Alamo.

The entire time we have been at the RV park, we have ridden the bus downtown, but for this trip, we decided to take the truck.  Big mistake.  Parking in San Antonio is at a premium, and finding a space big enough for our truck set our friends pocketbook back $15.  Ouch.

Once you are parked though, you are within walking distance of all the sights.
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First stop, the Alamo.  Although we have been there on several occasions, we had never had an opportunity to take pictures of the gardens, which are beautiful, so that was my top priority. 

  Walking straight across the street from the Alamo, and through the Hilton Hotel's lobby,  leads to the River Walk, which was our actual destination. 
This beautiful mosaic depicts major historical sights with the city. . .

and then at last, out to the River Walk.  Since we had some time to kill, before dinner, Katie and I shopped, and Dave and Eddie found a nice spot in the shade and entertained themselves, people watching.
We enjoyed our time in San Antonio, and met lots of new friends that we hope to see again down the road.

We are off to Schulenburg next to tour the painted churches.

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