Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday in Ashdown

I have mixed emotions about Sundays on the road.  On the one hand, I miss everyone back home.  I know and love the people there, and I know that they know and love me.  I know how everything works.  I know the songs we usually sing.  I know when to stand up and when to sit down.  I know our pastor, and I know I can trust him to preach the Word, straight from the Bible.  It's just..., well, it's just comfortable.

Going to a new church can be a little scary.  Especially for an introverted, socially awkward person like me.  But it's also exciting.  Will the people walk right past us like we're invisible, or will they rush to greet us and make us feel welcome?  Will the preacher rant and rave about his own not-so-scriptural ideas?  Or will we be blessed with a fresh insight into God's Word?  More often than not, visiting a new church is a wonderful experience, but believe me, we have run across some crazy stuff!

Since Millwood Landing is one of the RV Resorts where we can stay at no charge (because of our membership in Ocean Canyon), we come here often enough to have a church we call "our church" when we are here.


We attended Sunday School and the morning service today, and felt like we fit right in.  
Pastor Butch Riddle grew up in Texas.  He remembered us from our previous visits, 
and made us feel so welcome.  More importantly, 
he preached a very solid, thought-provoking sermon.  


After church, we had lunch at a restaurant we'd been to before.  (There's only 8 or 10 restaurants in Ashdown.  We've tried most of them at least once.)  This is one of our favorites.  The food is pretty good, but my favorite thing about it is the name - 
Jim's Place (but Carol runs it).  
Isn't that great!  There's got to be a great story behind it, don't you think?  
Next time we're there, I'm going to ask about it!

The rest of the day was spent napping and watching tv and...well, that's about it!  I have no idea what we will do tomorrow.  The main reason Tim likes to come here is because of the golf course on the property, but most of it is literally under water right now.  I like the swimming pool here, and there's water aerobics scheduled for next week.  There's also some craft classes in the activity center.  

One thing I won't be doing is taking Charlie for long walks along the lake.  They tell us several alligators have been spotted here, since all the rain has them on the move.  So I'll be sticking pretty close to the RV all week!  The Cowboy, however, would never let a little thing like an alligator keep him from going fishing!  Although, thankfully, he doesn't plan to put the inflatable boat in the water!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Honey Grove

Here's the photos from Honey Grove, Texas.  Honey Grove calls itself "The Sweetest Town in Texas."  I had to see for myself, so Tim graciously indulged my whim and drove the 15 miles to see what was so sweet.  He hunted for a geocache while Charlie and I walked around the square and took pictures.

According to Wikipedia, David Crockett rode through the area on his way to the Alamo in 1836.  He wrote home about all the honey-filled trees he found, and that's how the town got it's name.  He helped found the town, and told friends he intended to settle here, but then history happened.  

One other interesting factoid I found while searching the 'net is that an episode of the TV series One Tree Hill was filmed in Honey Grove.  The episode was titled "It Gets Worse at Night" if you want to look it up.  I've never watched that series, but I may have to take a look!

But, by far the coolest thing about the town are the many old buildings still surviving.  Here's just a few.

McKenzie United Methodist Church

First Baptist Church of Honey Grove

Honey Grove City Hall.  These brick streets run all the way around the spacious town square.  Love!


Bertha Voyer Memorial Library.
An inscription on the side of the building says 
"HONEY GROVE CIVIC CENTER
for the Cultural Advancement 
of the Citizens of 
the Red River Valley"


I have no idea.  


The post office is in the middle of the square.  
Honey Grove is in Fannin County.  
Bonham is the county seat.


First State Bank Building.  
Looks like it is being restored.
The buildings may be a little tired and run down, 
but these streets are perfect!


Another building I couldn't identify.  These days it houses an antique shop.  
I saw at least three antique shops around the square.  
It was too hot to leave Charlie in the car, so we didn't do any browsing.


I haven't seen too many wildflowers this trip, but someone had planted these 
beautiful Passion Flowers along the sidewalk just off the square.  


We left Bonham yesterday morning and drove to Millwood Landing RV Resort, near Ashdown, Arkansas.  So many of the bridges crossing the Red River are closed, we felt blessed that the crossing Tim chose was still open.  So yesterday was pretty routine...just unhooking from our site, driving, then hooking everything back up in the new site.  

We've been here so many times, it's almost like coming home.  We went to our "favorite" nearby restaurant for dinner last night (the only restaurant within 15 miles!) We even have a church in Ashdown that we consider "our" church when we're here.  Not that any of the members there know us.  But we did meet the preacher a couple of years ago, and he's a Fort Worth native, so we somehow feel connected.  

Millwood Lake is totally flooded.  The Millwood State Park, which is right next to the lake is completely under water, except for the office.  And it rained again last night.  We need to drive into Texarkana today, if we can find a bridge that's open.  



This is our constant prayer.




Friday, June 26, 2015

Bonham State Park

We had never even heard of this park.  Evidently, no on else has, either.  Small as it is, there were only about 8 campers there, not crowded at all.  Yesterday morning, Tim was the only one on the lake.  Charlie and I walked right past him on our morning walk.  
He said he hadn't caught a thing, not hardly even a nibble on his line.  


Right now, there's water everywhere, but there's still evidence of the recent drought.  
I hate seeing dead trees.  Fortunately, there weren't many.  And they were at the 
opposite end of the park from where we were camped.


This is much better.  This "tree tunnel" on the entrance road to the camp is about half a mile long.  Beautiful.


But wait...there's more!  Lol! 
We drove into Bonham later in the day, and found lots of stuff to do.




Fort Inglish Village - This is a recreation of the fort built by Bailey Inglish (the founder of Bonham) and other settlers, to protect from Indian raids.  The town was founded in 1837, and by 1843 the fort was abandoned because the native Americans had moved further west.


Sam Rayburn Library  -  Sam Rayburn (1882 - 1961) was a Democratic lawmaker from Bonham.  He served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years, the longest tenure in U.S. history.  Completed in 1957, the Classical style building contains many mementos of Rayburn's life and career.  One of the most interesting features is said to be an exact replica of the Speaker's office in Washington.  The furniture was in the national Capitol office from 1907 until 1957, and the massive crystal chandelier hung first in the White House and later in the Capitol.  We didn't go inside...have to save some stuff for when we come this way again!  

Statue of Mr. Rayburn in front of the library.


Sam Rayburn House Museum   -  Now a museum, this home was built by Sam Rayburn in 1916.  Contains the original Rayburn family furnishings.  You can also see Mr. Rayburn's 1947 Cadillac!  This is a National Historic Landmark, a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 
and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.    

After exploring Bonham, we drove 15 miles east to the tiny town of Honey Grove.  I'll try to get those pics posted later tonight or early tomorrow.

God bless all our friends and family.  These are strange times we live in, but one thing I know, God is still in control!

One more picture of my Cowboy.  Just because!













Thursday, June 25, 2015

Starting Out with a BANG...

Well, we didn't actually hear a bang, but we did have a flat, if not a blow-out, just 50 miles from home yesterday.  Bummer.  But thanks to a "Good Samaritan"  with a better jack than the one we carry, the spare was put in place and we were soon back on the road.


First stop - Bonham State Park
What a gem!  Tiny little park, surrounding a tiny little lake...but absolute perfection!  Here's the Visitor Center.  I've talked to 2 of the park employees so far, and they are just so laid back and friendly.  One gentleman worked at Mineral Wells State Park several years ago, and vaguely remembered one of our friends.  So we talked about our love of small towns, and how we avoid Dallas whenever possible.  Nice to find a kindred spirit! 


Group Picnic Pavillion


Paddle Boat Dock

These campsites are vacant.  There are only about 21 water/electric campsites here, and most of them are vacant right now.  It is so peaceful and quiet.  The sites are quite level, and most are shaded.

The view from our site.


Canada Geese



More views of the Visitor Center.

I took more pictures this morning when I walked Charlie, but I haven't transferred them from my phone to the computer yet.  I'm not sure why it's so much easier for me to get outside and move when we are traveling.  Maybe because when I'm home, there's just too much to do in the house?  I'm always thinking I'll get some exercise after I make the bed, or sweep the floors, or whatever.  According to my FitBit, I walked two miles this morning, before breakfast! 

Thinking about lunch now, then after lunch we're going for a drive to see what's in Bonham (just 4 or 5 miles away) and the surrounding area.  We like to pray over each town we stop in.  It seems so peaceful here, I'd love to forget all the problems our dear country is experiencing, but problems are popping up even in the most unexpected places.  There seems to be trouble in small towns as well as in big cities.  I am so thankful that we can take all our problems to our Heavenly Father, and place all our concerns in His hands.  And so, that's what we do.  Because, Praise God, in this country we can still pray!  And He still hears!

God Bless You All!  
More later!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Last Day


"The Heavens are the Lord's Heavens,
but the earth He has given to the children of man."
Psalm 115:16

We are heading home today.  It's been great to travel Texas in the Spring, when all the wildflowers are blooming.   It's also when all the violent storms are hitting the area, but we've survived, so it's all good.

We've been at Inks Lake State Park the last couple of days.  Tim took me to Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls for lunch today.  And, oh my goodness, it's all true what they say about the pie there.  We shared a piece of peanut butter pie, and it was yummy!  Our first choice was lemon meringue, but that one wasn't done yet.  After my first bite of the peanut butter pie, I was sort of glad.

The lunch special was great too.  We had smoked chicken, which comes with 3 veggies, rolls and cornbread.  Oh, and the cornbread had corn in it!  It was all so good.

I don't feel too bad about eating all that, though.  We certainly worked it off this afternoon.  We started out to take a short stroll through the park.  We ended up on the Devils Watering Hole hiking trail.  And I figured out why they call it the Devil's Watering Hole.  'Cause it's the devil getting to it!

You're lured onto the trail by a nice wide and level gravel path.  Then you get to this...

I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but this is a very very tall granite hill that we had to climb up.  Then, the trail leveled off just a bit, then it started climbing again.  We just kept going uphill forever! 

Here's some of the things we saw, that made it all worthwhile.



There were huge granite boulders like this all over the place.

I loved this little fern growing next to the pink granite.  Actually, all the granite here is pink, but for some reason it looks sort of brown or orange in most of my pictures.




I love reflections in the water!

We got back to the trailer just before sunset, and this was the view from our picnic table.  
I just want to live here forever!

And I would live here forever, if all my friends and family would come live here, too.

 Whatcha think, Harmony?  Ready to move the whole church to Inks Lake?







Friday, April 17, 2015

Wimberley, Texas


Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.
Psalm 107:28-32

Some days just don't go the way they are planned.  Some adventures turn out to be a lot more "adventurous" than we'd bargained for.

Two of the most helpful websites I use for planning trips are Roadtrippers.com and TripAdvisor.com.  Both also have handy-dandy apps, so I can find stuff on my phone when we're on the road.

Yesterday was going to be great.  Cowboy reluctantly left his fishing.  It was cloudy and cool.  I had checked the websites and made my plans.  First stop was Frank's Bait and Taco, a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with rave reviews on TripAdvisor.  I love finding quirky little places like that.

But.  It was closed.  For some weird reason, they don't open until 2:00 p.m.  

No problem.  We're flexible.  There's lots of restaurants in Wimberley, where we were planning to go after lunch anyway.  To get there, we drove along the Devil's Backbone Scenic Drive, a lovely stretch of road.  You can see for miles.  Sheer dropoffs on each side of the road give way to beautiful green valleys.  Really, one of the prettiest drives in Texas, especially in the Spring.

We ate lunch at The Wimberley Cafe.  Good home cooking.  No complaints there.  Evidently, we were there on the local ladies' MahJong club day.  There were three tables of ladies playing MahJong.  I started to say "older" ladies, but they probably weren't much older than me.  Anyway, made me want to live in a small town and play MahJong with my girlfriends in the local cafe.  If I knew how to play MahJong.  And, really, I'm just assuming it was MahJong.  I don't know much about it at all.

After lunch we headed to Pioneer Town and the Cowboy Museum.  It also had great reviews on TripAdvisor.  And it sounded like something my Cowboy would enjoy.

But.  It was also closed.  Only open on Saturdays this time of year.

Oh, well.  They might have tried to keep Tim as an exhibit.  

Onward.

Next stop, Blue Hole Regional Park.  Closed for swimming, but the sign said we were welcome to walk around.  Perfect. It was nice to be able to explore without huge crowds.  I bet it gets pretty wild in the summer.

I'd wanted to walk around town, then go to Jacob's well, but by the time we left the Blue Hole, it was really looking like rain.  Sure enough, by the time we got out of town, the rains came.

Did I say rain?  Make that downpour.  Flash flood.  Waterfalls!

And then, there was the quarter size hail.

And that beautifully scenic Devil's Backbone drive?  Not beautiful at all, when you're fully aware that there are drop offs to the valleys below on either side of the road - but you can't see the side of the road!

It was intense.

It was very good for my prayer life.

And by the time we got back to the fifth wheel, it was over.

It had taken us a little over an hour to drive 32 miles.  I found out later that we had driven through the very worst part of the storm.

Luckily there doesn't seem to have been any real damage to the pickup or the trailer.  Or us.

Charlie was so glad to see us!  Can't imagine how he dealt with all the hail hitting the fifth wheel.  Poor baby dog.  



The calm after the storm.



I didn't get many pictures at the Blue Hole.  The sky was dark, and the water is shaded by all the trees.  Someday, I hope to have a better camera - and the skills to use it.




I loved these picnic tables.
 ( Brother, you really should do something like this at the camp.)

So, that's how we spent yesterday.  It's still threatening rain today, but my goofy  brave cowboy is back on the water.  In that silly dandy little inflatable boat.  He's caught a lot of fish this week, but he's still after "the big one."  

We're heading to Inks Lake State Park on Sunday, so we'll probably just kick back here at the park until then.  Getting closer to home!

Praying He stills all your storms to a whisper.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Singing His Praises Today


Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion, 
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

Sometimes when I say that I'm grateful for God's blessings, maybe people think I mean I'm thankful for the material stuff.  Well, I am.  Of course. Not that we have a lot, but I am thankful for what we have.

But mostly, I am thankful, for His Presence in the tough times.  And believe me, there have been plenty of those.  No one's life is ideal. But through the losses, the setbacks, the turmoil, the illnesses...He's always been there for me.  

The only times I haven't felt His love and compassion, were the times I turned my back on Him.  I don't even want to think about those times.  

Like life in general, living in an RV is full of ups and downs.  Some days you get majestic beauty.  Some days you get weeds.  Most days are a combination.  But, wherever we go, we know we are not alone.  He's always there, wherever "there" is.

This is one of those weeks with weeds, but also with flowers. 

We are at Cranes Mill Corps of Engineers Park at Canyon Lake, just outside of New Braunfels.  I love CoE parks in general, and this is a nice quiet park, and not crowded at all.  But, literally, full of weeds.  On the bright side, there are lots of flowers among the weeds - maybe that's why it hasn't been mowed in a while.  And, we are very close to the lake, so Tim can take his little inflatable boat out fishing pretty much every day.


And, Sunday, we found a very nice friendly church right down the road...Cranes Mill Baptist.

Yesterday, we drove about 30 miles to Guadalupe River State Park, which is a truly fantabulous place!  We hiked along the river until I thought my legs would fall off.  It was just too beautiful to leave.

I think I got a few good photos, but as always, my photography just doesn't measure up to what God has done.


Love those roots!

 We talked to some people who were wading in the river.  
They said the temperature of the water was perfect.  
Unfortunately, we didn't bring our wading shoes.





 One of the most beautiful sights in the world is clear water rushing over rocks. 
 It makes my heart sing!


Back at Cranes Mill CoE, I found this weed.  It grows into a horrible ugly thing, about 4 feet tall.  This one was about a foot tall.  This would be a lovely addition to any garden, if it would just stay like this.  I guess my point is, even the weeds in life are a gift, if looked at in the right way, at the right time.

Last night, we went to a concert in New Braunfels.  The Howard Payne University Music Department had come to town and put on a program they called "A Joyful Heart."  It was very entertaining.  It had caught my eye, because my brother, son, and my nieces and nephew all graduated from HPU.  I was interested to learn that HPU is now holding classes in New Braunfels, and are planning to build a campus here.  Pretty exciting stuff.

Well, today is laundry day, so I guess I'd better get after it.  And the Cowboy is wondering what's for lunch.

It's 9:15 a.m.

"Grace to you and peace..."