Monday, November 16, 2015

Nacogdoches, Texas

We finally got to do some sightseeing in a town I've wanted to visit for years.  Nacogdoches, in East Texas.  We drove through here once, many years ago.  And a friend and I drove our kids out here once to look at Stephen F. Austin University, but I've never gotten to do the tourist thing here.

Our first stop was the Charles Bright Visitor Center in the middle of historic Downtown Nacogdoches.  Here we watched a 10 minute video on the history of the town, and browsed some interesting exhibits.  They were already decorated for Christmas.  Too soon!  But I did like the Christmas trees...each one represented one of the six different flags that have flown over Texas.  
Not a great picture, too much reflection on the glass.  This made me think of my youngest grandgirl, who loves antique typewriters and telephones.

This statue just outside the visitor center represents the early settlers.

Don Antonio Gil Y'Barbo was the founder of modern day Nacogdoches.

The General Store.  Don't you love brick streets?  *sigh*

This is the second oldest house in Nacogdoches.

The Parlor fireplace.

Close-up of the cross-stitched sampler over the fireplace. 
 "Simply to thy cross I cling."

The bedroom.

Sugar cane mill.  
It still works, and they have an Old Fashioned Sweet Tooth Sugar Cane Event every January, when they actually mill the cane they grow on the property.  Sounds like my kind of party!

 All my life I've wanted to go to East Texas in the Fall to see the beautiful Autumn leaves.  I'm finally here, but Autumn is missing.  It looks like Springtime here!  There are beautiful (green!) plants everywhere (even planted in back alleys by the dumpsters!)  Some of the plants are even blooming.

Sterne-Hoya House.  The oldest house in Nacogdoches, the oldest continually settled town in Texas.

This was probably a salesman's sample, but I bet some little girl ended up with it!

This home was owned by somewhat wealthier families than the first house we saw, and it has been furnished to reflect that.

This photo is especially for you, Willetta!  And yes, I did buy something there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Southern Baptists of Texas Bible Conference and Annual Meeting

Whew!  Two weeks ago today, we left home intending to take our time, enjoying the journey, eventually arriving in Houston in time for this important conference.  Well, we took our time.  But it's hard to enjoy our surroundings when we get bad news on top of bad news from home, on an almost daily basis.  A horrible tragedy in our church family, and two of our family members hospitalized with pneumonia left us feeling devastated.  And helpless.

I've already written about the rain in Georgetown, but it wasn't over when we moved to Somerville.  So much wet!  And wind!

We did not do any sightseeing at all.  We did have a nice lunch at Los Cabos in Brenham.  You can read my review on TripAdvisor  here.

At least Charlie Chihuahua was happy.  His humans stayed in the 5th wheel with him all day for several days.

But we did finally reach Houston.  Heart sick and weary, but we got here.  

We've been looking forward to this conference all year.  

We arrived at North Lake RV Resort in North Houston Sunday afternoon, got set up, and drug ourselves to Champion Forest Baptist Church for the opening program.

And we have been floating on a cloud of God's love ever since!

I'll try to write more about the church (biggest church I've ever seen!) later.  

I still haven't had time to sort through all the information we took in at the Bible Conference (Sunday Evening, Monday morning) and Annual Meeting (Monday evening and all day Tuesday).  There were so many excellent speakers, so much information about SBTC programs, so much encouragement!  

Here are a few highlights from my notes (and from Twitter!):

I think it was Jason Crandall, a church planter, who said that when new members join his church, he asks them for their "Top Ten" list of unsaved family and friends, who they will commit to witness to.

The theme of this year's meeting was "Walking in Unity".  One of the speakers preached on Ephesian's 4:1-6:
4:4 Unity of calling
4:5 Unity of confession
4:6 Unity of relationship

SBTC president Jim Pritchard told us about The Haystack Prayer Meeting, held in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in August 1806, viewed by many scholars as the seminal event for the development of Protestant missions in the subsequent decades and century (use the link to look it up). One of the attendees at that meeting told the others "We can do this...if we will". And they did!

This should be our new motto..."We can do this...if we will!"

More quotes I liked:

"In the essential things...Unity.

In the non-essential things...Liberty

In all things...Charity"

"The most sobering reality in the world today

Is that people are dying today

And going to Hell TODAY"

"If you are saved today, you were once an enemy of God"

"Discipleship is leading a person to Christ and showing them how to walk with God, in such a way that they can lead someone else to God" (It's about releationships)

"Disciple Making... Jesus' strategy to reach the world

...implies an intentional plan

...requires personal investment

...results in multiplication"

Too many of us are "Casual Christians" - attending church on Sunday, but not really following Christ.

Ben Stuart of First Baptist Beaumont encouraged us:

"In your pursuit of God for yourself, don't neglect to impart God to others."

"Sow the Gospel broadly, select disciples carefully & invest deeply."

"Look for the ones that want the Gospel, those that want to be discipled, and are faithful. Invest in them."

And from Twitter:

SB TEXAN ‏@SBTexan 15h15 hours ago
Messengers elect @nathanlino youngest-ever @_sbtc president. Dante Wright & @manorjuan also elected. STORY:

Bart Barber ‏@bartbarber 23h
23 hours ago
"Every one of your professors at an SBC seminary is an inerrantist…don't take that for granted." @jasonkeithallen #SBTCAM15

Robert L. Webb ‏@RobertLWebb Nov 9
Blessed to see so many pastors committing to pray about planting churches in the most ethnically diverse city in the USA-Houston @SBTCplant

Bart Barber ‏@bartbarber Nov 9Houston, TX
#SBTCAM15 "Pastors need the tell Christians, 'You're not out of time; you're mismanaging it.'"

Bart Barber ‏@bartbarber Nov 9
Houston, TX
"It's time for pastors to tell Christian parents to rise up and say no to the culture about Sunday sports." -Chris Osborne #SBTCAM15

So much good information. I tried to take good notes, but I didn't want to miss one word that was being spoken. My brain is fried. We returned to our home on wheels last night, exhausted, yet uplifted. Can't wait for next year's annual meeting!

Today we start (slowly) making our way back north.  The tragic situation at church is still...well... tragic.  Our family members are still ill.  We appreciate your prayers in these situations, and for our own safe travel.

Thanks to the faithful few who keep up with this blog.  

And, have I asked you lately if you know Jesus?  
Do you know Him?
If not, can I just tell you a few things?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Rains Came

This past Spring, we had a lovely time traveling through southwest Louisiana, southeast Texas, then back home through the gorgeous Hill Country.  We made it home just in time to avoid being caught in one of the worst floods in Texas history.

This time, we got caught.  But just barely.  While the area several miles south of us was deluged with as much as 18 inches of rain in 36 hours, we only received about 6 inches at Georgetown Lake.  And, high on a ridge overlooking the lake at Cedar Breaks Campground, we were never in any danger of flooding.

On the way to Georgetown, we had to stop at the Koffee Kup in Hico for lunch.  And PIE!  This is the Black Forest Pie.  Yum!

These are both views from our campsite, before the rain.  The lake actually rose 3 feet after the rain.

Happy little wildflowers at our campsite.

Of course the Cowboy played golf.  You know he loves an audience, so I'm sure he was glad these deer were here to watch him play.

This is a picture of our campsite from the lake.  That's our white 5th wheel.

Last Spring we stayed at the Jim Hogg Campground.  We could see it across the lake from Cedar Breaks.  I took this photo from our campsite at Cedar Breaks.

Yesterday we moved about a hundred miles down the road to Lake Somerville, near Brenham.  It's very pretty here, and heavily populated with deer.  Guess this little guy didn't want his picture taken.

But these guys were a lot friendlier.  

This one looks like he's telling Cowboy hello.  

Looks like more rain is headed this way.  We appreciate any and all prayers!  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Branson with the GrandGirls!

Right now, Tim and I are taking the slow route to Houston, for the annual Southern Baptists Convention of Texas meeting.  We're doing our best to stay dry in one of the worst Hill Country floods in the history of EVER.   But as I was getting ready to post a few pictures about this adventure, I realized I still hadn't posted anything at all about our trip to Branson in September.  So, here it is.  I'll keep it short and sweet.

Cowboys and the girls.  At the Arkansas Welcome Center.

Our first view of Lake Taneycomo, just outside of Branson

The Christmas Store is just across from  Mel's Hard Luck Diner, where the wait staff are all talented performers.  They sing as they wait on you.  Literally.  We actually saw a waitress holding her microphone in one hand and pouring tea with the other.  I didn't get a picture of our server, but we did buy one of his cd's.  After our lunch, Cowboy had to stop and chat with his old friend Santa!

We didn't actually go into the Auto Museum, but there were several cool cars outside.  I thought this Mutt Cutts truck was cute.

Since the girls were with us, we stayed in a fully furnished 2 bedroom cabin at the RV Park instead of taking the 5th wheel.  This not only gave us more room for the girls, but allowed us to take the car instead of the pickup.  And the girls loved the indoor pool.  We spent a lot of time here.

We also didn't get around to actually visiting Ripley's Believe it or Not, but GrandGirl #1 wanted her picture taken with the giant Transformer guarding the door.

I don't know why I didn't take more photos of the things we DID do.  We took the girls to see The Haygoods, Six, and Smoke on the Mountain.  There was some hiking, some swimming and a long drive in the country to see the beautiful Missouri scenery.  And there was eating.  Lots of eating!  

It was a super fun week.  The girls were so much fun to be with.  Can't wait to do it again!  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Change of Plans

Well, the Family Reunion was a huge success.  Some of us were in RV's in the campsites at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, and several stayed at the beautiful, newly remodeled lodge in the park.  We met together at the lodge for breakfast, then there were several group activities during the day.  The hostess for this year's reunion was Tim's cousin Kathy, who still lives in Mena.  She has a gorgeous home just outside of Mena, where we gathered Friday and Saturday evening for wonderful catered meals.  

Tim's grandparents - They had 18 children

We had a very good turnout, around 80 cousins and a couple of aunts by marriage, although all of the 18 children are gone now.  I love how family is so important to this family!  They come from all over the country to visit with each every 2 years.  It's great!  And always fun.

Tim's mother and her baby brother, Bill.

Can you stand the cuteness!  Tim and his 4 brothers, and their daddy.  
Tim is the little one, front left.

It was a short drive from Mena to Branson.  We've enjoyed a couple of shows (Pierce Arrow and Dixie Stampede) and we've eaten at a couple of new restaurants.  However, we have decided to cut our stay here short.  We've had some sad news from home, and we want to be there for our family and friends.  But I know we will be back!  There's so much here that we haven't done yet!

We are heading home so that we can help our loved ones through a difficult time, and so that they can help us.  Earlier this week I told a friend that God doesn't give us more than we can bear, but He may give us more than we can bear alone.  I firmly believe that one of the best gifts He has given us is family, and friendship.  Our family and friends help us to bear our heavy burdens.  We feel His love through their kindness.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cowboys and Gators and Bears! OH MY!

Queen Wilhelmina State Park

The Cowboy promises me he won't be trying to catch any bears while we're here. 
I just hope no bears try to catch him!  (Or me)

We're here at Queen Wilhelmina State Park for the Wagner Family Reunion - Cowboy Tim's mother's family.  She grew up here in Mena, one of 18 children.  Eighteen children.  18.  Ten plus eight!  No matter how I write it, or how many times I say it or hear it, my mind has a hard time wrapping itself around that number.  They could have had their own tv show.  Except they didn't own a tv.  Didn't need one.  They didn't have electricity.  

But what fun they must have had, growing up in these Ouachita Mountains!  
It is so beautiful here!  We took Charlie for a little walk last night and I took lots of pictures.  

Cowboy Tim took these pictures (above) for me so I would have to walk through the mud and weeds.
He's pretty handy to have around.  


This is called "The Wonder House."  Built in the 1930's.  It has 9 different levels.  
There's a tour scheduled tomorrow afternoon, I'm hoping to go.

My phone doesn't take very clear pictures of animals.  Can't get close enough.  
I'm really hoping for a good camera for Christmas.  Any suggestions about what kind to get?  
I don't know anything about photography.

This is the lodge at the park, where a lot of our family group will be staying.  It's just been remodeled.  The first lodge was built in 1898 by a railroad company for their passengers.  The company was owned mostly by Dutch investors, so they named it Queen Wilhelmina Lodge to honor the queen of the Netherlands.  The campground is in walking distance from the lodge.  This photo is from the park's website.  Hope they don't mind me using it!

There's a miniature train between the lodge and the campground.  Last time we were here for a reunion, our oldest grandgirl had fun riding the train, and playing miniature golf.

They also played on this old engine.

The reunion doesn't start until Friday afternoon, but one of Cowboy's brothers will be in town today.  And some of his cousins still live here.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone!