Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Easter 2021 Camping Trip to Lake Belton

 Happy Easter to all of you!  

Easter season is 50 days, so we are still celebrating Christ's conquer over death right up to Pentecost Sunday.  This year, our oldest daughter had to work at the hospital down by her university.  We decided to take the family to her, setting up camp at a nearby park.  It worked out well.

On Good Friday, we commemorated Christ's passion by reading through the Stations of the Cross.  We brought the books along with us and the kids were happy to remember this holy day even while camping.

Early on Holy Saturday morning, Sarah dropped by for coffee after her midnight shift.  It was a good to visit with her and hear about her work experience.

On Easter Sunday morning, the kids woke up to find their baskets on the couch, warm coffee for the taking, and kringles from O & H Danish Bakery (I had them shipped to home and froze them until the night before)  :)

Our future son-in-law drove down early to spend Easter Sunday with us.  Our other daughter's boyfriend, from Ft. Hood, joined us as well, camping out in his tent.

Time to dress up for Easter Sunday Mass! 

This was the last Easter as just our family.  With the wedding coming up this fall, we will have a new, permanent face in our family photos!

Easter Mass!  It was uplifting, alive, celebratory (as it should be), and packed with overflow.  

Oh my gosh, y'all!  My daughter belongs to the most amazing parish!

The priest stated, "If it bleeds, it leads.  Turn OFF the news!"  This parish has been 100% full capacity for a couple months, has a vibrant, courageous, and quick-witted priest, holy water in the fonts, missals in the pew (NO ridiculous QR code to scan inside a church), mask is encouraged but NOT mandatory (never was), no roping off, no tape on the floor marking your distance, and the church is ALWAYS full to 100% capacity.  Turn off the gloom and doom and go out amongst the living.  It is Easter and Jesus has conquered death by his death.  Our Easter experience could not have been more opposite than what the president said that day.  The priest said that he is in the business of saving souls.  Turn off the news and go live your life!  It's Easter now,  and we are an Easter people! Alleluia! 

After Mass, we headed back to our campsite where David cooked hamburgers and I had put cheesy potatoes into the crock pot.  We had fresh fruit and dip, and there were potato chips as well.  We feasted!

By the way, these are my two seniors!

Miss Sarah graduates from University of Mary Hardin-Baylor early in May.  She just accepted an amazing nursing job as a future neuro-ICU nurse at Baylor Dallas, a brain nurse!!  (She was homeschooled through high school.  It really does work!)

Miss Mabel (I'll use her knick name until she is 18) graduates from Seton Home Study School early in May as well.  She will be attending the local college working on her associate's degree and her certification as an EMT.  Her dream is to work up to being a firefighter for the state of Texas and a paramedic.

My heart is bursting with pride and joy for these two, young ladies!    

Of course the older kids hid the eggs for Miss Clementine to find.  You have to have an egg hunt even while camping.

I snapped these photos of Stan the Man fishing down by the lake.  It was catch and release for him since we weren't having a fish fry.  To be honest, we had no idea he'd catch so many!  We were not prepared for a fish fry.  It was a great fishing spot!

On Easter Sunday, all the older kids left for their apartments or back home.  David, Miss Clementine and I stayed an extra night.  There was so much action over the weekend that my first time relaxing was after they all left.  

My Easter Sunday night view~

Wasn't it beautiful?!  Just like the entire weekend.  I was certainly feeling so blessed at this point.  Christ died to conquer death, and my family was able to celebrate together.  

Oh!  This was a new campground for us.  We chose the Live Oak Ridge Park on Lake Belton, down by Belton, TX.  It was a quaint and quiet park with lovely views of the lake.  This particular park is run by the Core of Engineers (COE).  We had never stayed at a COE park before, and the experience was a pleasant one.  

As we continue to celebrate the Easter season, I pray that you and your loved ones continue to experience the joy and celebration of Christ's Resurrection and what it means for us all.

Happy Easter!


Thursday, April 1, 2021

March Feast Day Celebrations 2021

Posting these for posterity sake...

St. Patrick's day shamrock shakes

And with it being the Year of St. Joseph, I did this Consecration to St. Joseph with a group of lady friends.  We met each week at my house.  What a beautiful consecration it was!  St. Joseph, patron of families and workers, pray for us!

I highly recommend this beautiful 33 day retreat/consecration.  Oh the things I learned about this holy man!


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Birthdays Galore

 First up, there was Miss Clementine's Baptism birthday that we celebrated.  She received one of the ceramic saint plaques (St. Cecelia) like her siblings received this past year.  I purchased all of them through Saint Andrew's Abbey in CA.

Last week, we celebrated both my birthday and Miss Emma's.  My young lady is growing up so quickly!  She is finishing up her second year of college, is a nationally certified EMT, works at a volunteer FD, and has started helping her daddy with the family business.  

I'll be having fun celebrating a little bit more when I fly to FL to visit a friend in May!  I'm so excited for that trip!!!

In the meantime, we are starting to see the smallest hints of green around here.  Everything was frozen and pretty much killed during the big storm.  I'm waiting to see what survived and enjoying the golden sunshine and blue, Texas skies.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

When It Rains It Pours - First Hailstorm of the Season

 Less than one week after coming out of a deep thaw from our frozen Texas, we were clobbered with a pretty good-sized hail storm. Un-freaking-believable.

This was NOT in the weather forecast.  In fact, the hail was in an isolated area of the DFW metroplex, which ended up being pretty much directly over where we live.  We have damage. A lot of it.

David's (brand new) truck was on the driveway.  He bought it in early January.  It is riddled with pock marks. We are not sure if we should make a claim on it or not just because we are not even in springtime yet!  We'd hate to make two claims - insurance is costly here due to the population and the claims from bad weather.

I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine because we just had a long day with our roofer.  David climbed up onto the roof the other day and stated that we have enough damage to call the roofer.  (And David is usually pretty conservative about these things.)

Our roofer - owner of the same company we used just a few years ago - is a great guy that runs a fantastic, family-owned business.  You may have heard of him, Maury Buford, the kicker for the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl team. ;)

We spent 2.5 hours in the kitchen just talking about life.  He is so down-to-earth and pleasant and truly cares about his clients.

I know we are in great hands.  So many others have it worse and are still structurally recovering from the storm.

Tomorrow is a new day!


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Arctic Storm in Texas 2021

 I wrote about the beginning of the storm starting with that horrific 150 vehicle pile up in Fort Worth. It has been a deadly week for the state of Texas.

By Feb. 16, we woke up to extreme temps and a phone call from our daughter who was without power down at school.  It had been over 24 hours without power and water for her.

My husband and daughter Emma drove 316 miles to pick Sarah up and return safely to home. 

We hunkered down, held our breaths, and prayed that the power wouldn't go out for us.  It never went out. We later found out it was because we shared the same grid as the nearby fire station.  

There was nowhere to go since the roads were snowed and/or iced over.  We have NO plow trucks or salt trucks.  We are at the mercy of warm temps and sunshine. 

By Thursday morning we had received another 6" of snow, the temps were in the upper 20's, and I had Emma drive me in her jeep to a grocery store about one mile away.  I heard it had just reopened after being closed due to power loss.

See those roads in the picture above?  Those are four lane roads!  They have since melted but remember, we have no plows, no salt trucks.  

When we arrived at the store, all refrigerated produce, dairy, meat, and all frozen foods had perished when the power went out.  It was sickening to see and quite unsettling as you can imagine. We found enough pantry items to help us get through a couple of days.

The temps have continued to steadily climb, making their way back up to normal, the sunshine has been bright, and driving around today  feels so surreal.  It's hard to believe that we have just lived through hell freezing over. This has been a horrific storm.  With over 4 million folks losing power, pipes froze and burst. And yes! People let the faucets drip steadily and opened cabinet doors.  Many of our friends have busted water pipes and damaged homes.   I'm afraid it is going to be a long recovery for so many folks down here.  Please continue to pray for them.  

As of today, the death count is up to 58.  

58  people have died from the weather in Texas, many frozen in their own homes.  It's heart breaking, tragic, and this should never have happened. 

May God bless Texas and may her recovery come quickly.

The beginning of the Arctic storm and St. Valentine's Day 2021

 First, we are doing well down here in Texas.  We are part of the FEW that had power - come to find out we were on the same electrical grid as the fire station, hospital, and nursing home all within one mile of our house. Praise be to God!

*Here's a hint for anyone shopping for a new home, see if you can find one located close to a fire station!

All of our friends down here, including our oldest daughter down at school, lost power.  In fact, over 4 million people were without power.

 In addition to the lost power, many also lost water, including our daughter.  

This past week was a nightmare, starting with that horrific crash in Fort Worth on Feb. 12  that involved nearly 150 vehicles, 6 dead, and 65 taken to the hospital.  We do not have plow trucks or salt trucks - because they are never needed.  They would just fall apart sitting around, not being used.

On St. Valentine's day, we woke to extremely cold temperatures, especially cold in our southern climate.  We knew it was coming, but I couldn't believe what I was being told.  It ended up being a 100 year storm! 

Our homes are not built to stay warm.  They're built to reflect the extreme heat that comes with the Texas climate.  Our pipes are not buried 3' under ground.  They are in the slab foundations - we do not have basements in Texas due to the movement that occurs in Texas soil. We lived here for 14 years and have never experienced these temps, and it only grew more bitter as the days went by.  

We had shopped for enough food to get us by for about five days.  David cancelled his business trip to Houston, Emma cancelled her valentine plans with her boyfriend down near Austin, I cancelled the St. Valentine party we were hosting with some of our friends, and we celebrated quietly in a warm house that day.

There was only a dusting of snow that morning.  Miss Clementine had fun in what little there was.  

On the evening of the 14th, as I tucked Miss Clementine into bed, we saw this view from her bedroom window.  It had started to snow.

I took pictures because it is rare and beautiful to see down by us.  

In the morning, we woke up to even colder temps, snow, and the reports of power outages.  

The temps continued to drop throughout the day, and that's when we knew this was going to be really really bad.  

In our house, my husband had taken the necessary measurements that he was able to take and then we prayed very hard.

More to come!



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