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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..."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lake Georgetown


This is our second day at Canyon Lake.  Yesterday was mostly spent driving here, setting up, then catching up with the world via computer and phone.  Today, we went into the nearest town (I think it is Canyon Springs) and located a church to attend tomorrow, then stopped at General Dollar to pick up a few things. 

I know you're thrilled to hear all about my glamorous life.

So, here's a few pictures from a couple of weeks ago, when we were at Lake Georgetown.  I know.  I'm posting everything out of order.  I just like to confuse you all.

The Lake.  






The day before Easter, we drove into town and walked around the courthouse square.


There was an Easter Egg Hunt on the courthouse lawn.  The kids were getting a little antsy, waiting for it to start.






The older part of Georgetown is lovely.  It was a great way to pass some time while we were waiting for our son to arrive.  We found an art gallery just off the square, where there was a wonderful quilt exhibit.  But, it was another place where I wasn't allowed to take photographs.  Boo.

So, I think that about wraps up our time at Lake Georgetown.  I'm sure we'll have new adventures to report soon.  This area around Canyon Lake and New Braunfels is one of our favorite places.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Garner State Park, Concan, TX

I've mentioned before that this vagabond life is not all sunshine and roses.  Some days are just blah.  And, honestly, some days are downright depressing.  I get bored. I miss my friends and family. I miss my church.

But then. The very next day could be magic.  Like the day before yesterday.

This has been a really good week.  Garner State Park is lovely.  There's not a lot of the wonderful activities they have during the summer, but then, there aren't the crowds they have in the summer, either.  Right now, the weather is just cool enough, the wildflowers are blooming like crazy, and peace abounds.  It's all good.

But.  Wednesday we decided to leave our peaceful little nest and go explore Lost Maples State Natural Area, about 30 or 40 miles away.  And, oh my, I don't think I can even describe the wonder, the awe, the beauty, the magnificent artwork of my God that is the drive along TX Ranch Rd 337.

And my piddly little pictures sure don't do it justice.

It was take-your-breath-away beautiful.

But here's a couple of photos anyway, maybe you'll get a little of an idea.



It's a twisty turn-y two lane road through the most beautiful mountains.  Around every hairpin curve there's another fantastic view.  It was a cloudy, drizzly day, but that just made it more perfect.  Everything looked new, fresh, and washed clean.

The valleys were so green.  Just lovely.

And the Mountain Laurel!  I love Mountain Laurel!  Those gorgeous purple flowers against the green leaves.  And the scent.  Like grape bubble gum.  Amazing.

I'm not kidding you one little bit, when I tell you that I was moved to tears by the beauty and wonder.

Then, I cried because I desperately wanted you all to be there with me, so I could share it with you.

Then, I found myself crying for all the people who don't have a chance to travel at all to see such things for themselves.

But mostly, I was just happy - thrilled, really - that I was there to see it all.  My heart was full.

Okay, enough of the emotional stuff.  On to Lost Maples.  More beauty.  

Maple leaves.  

Maple Tree.  This tree was so perfect.  Almost like the "lollipop" trees I drew in kindergarten.  
Just perfectly round.

The clown...I mean, the Cowboy.

One of the shorter hiking trails.

So peaceful.

Wildflowers.

Tim took this picture of the tree growing up through a rock.  

After our little hike, we were hungry, so we headed to the nearest town, which was Utopia.  I've heard of this little town before, but I always thought the name was kind of ironic.  Until I saw all the country surrounding it.  Utopia, indeed.  We found one one restaurant there, Lost Maples Cafe. Luckily, it was very good.


We took a different route home.  Maybe this is just my crazy, but when I saw this...


...next to a private driveway, I felt like it was a signature, a personal message to me, telling me that Jesus had arranged this day just for me, and He was glad that I had appreciated it.  Pretty crazy, huh.

But, alas, all is not perfect in this Eden.  The trees - these magnificent trees - are being killed by some sort of fungus.  I don't know what it is, but we saw it all through the hill country...Garner State Park, Uvalde, Lost Maples.  We moved to Canyon Lake today, and it's here too.  Looks like this -


 And this is what it does -

So.  This is what I'm telling you.  These beautiful places are disappearing.  Everything changes.  Storms, fires, parasites, people...it's just the way the world is.  I'm begging you, really.  Get out and see some of the things that God has created for us while you can, if you can.  You never know what tomorrow may bring.  

Okay, enough of my preaching.  Here's one last photo of Lost Maples.


So many shades of green!




Friday, April 3, 2015

More Independence

We always try to attend worship services on Sunday, even when we're traveling.  Last Sunday, it was such a privilege to attend the oldest continuing Baptist church in Texas, First Baptist Church in Independence.

We got to town a little early, so to kill a little time, we went down the road to Old Baylor Park.  Baylor University was built in Independence, a well-to-do community with many Baptists, in 1845.  It was later moved to Waco, of course.  But it's not hard to imagine how peaceful this area was for studying.


Ruins from the University.

Old Baylor Columns.

One of the original settlers' homes that has been moved into the park for preservation.

The park is full of live oaks and bluebonnets.  Even that early on a Sunday morning, there were several families there, taking photos.

I could have spent another week in Washington County, there's so much to see and do.  But I'm sure we'll be back!  The grandgirls really need to see this!