Saturday, April 19, 2008

Blessings as far as the eye could see.

For as long as I have been in Texas, my friend Gail and I have talked about having her coming down to see the bluebonnet in bloom.

I've lived here for ten years now, and last fall Gail and I decided that THIS would be the year to finally make this dream become a reality. I promised her that when she can, she would be able to stand knee deep in flower fields blooming as far as the eye could see.

Now trip planning is tricky. Bernie and the kids planned our trip family vacation to Hilton Head while we were together over Christmas. After all the arrangements were made, I was a bit dismayed when I realize that I would be in Hilton Head trip during prime bluebonneting time.

When I contacted Gail about when she could come to Houston we discovered that her vacation schedule would only allow a visit a week after my birthday.
This fact put a spin on the whole "see the bluebonnets together" idea.

You see, most years the bluebonnets go to seed shortly after April 14th.
It's not unusual for the whole bluebonnet event to be over by now.
The fields turn brown and grasses hide the wildflowers as they go to seed.

I started praying that this year spring time would be cooler than usual and that the bluebonnets would still be perfect when Gail arrived.
I pictured us standing in fields of waving flowers, surrounded by beauty, gentle pleasant breezes wafting the scent of flowers to us, under a brilliantly clear blue sky.

Friday when we awoke to rain, I decided that by the time we would leave the house it would be clear and pleasant out. Not hot, not cold. Perfect.

Gail was here, and deserved nothing but the best.

Yes, far as the eye can see...bluebonnets.

This year the blood grass punctuated the fields of blue. Two days before Gail arrived I saw a television show that identified this pretty red tipped grass.
(I joked: Crones amidst the bluebonnets)

An added bonus: We watched a newly born calf in a field be washed clean, and wobble up to stand for the very first time. The calf's umbilical cord still was dangling from the mother cow as we watched.

Less than forty eight hours before Gail had been in snowy Colorado Springs. She snapped this picture from the runway before she flew out to Houston.

What a dazzling change.

There were so many butterflies of all colors!

We kept a list of all the flowers we saw. There were quite a few.

(I just love spiders that color co-ordinate with their flowery home.)
Would you like to join Gail and I as we explored Chappell Hill and Brenham Texas wild flower fields?
Click here, and you can see more of our pictures.
Mine are first, her photos begins with the snowy scenes.
What you won't see is the picture of the two of us hugging each other in joyful tears, overcome with realization of the goodness of all that God had provided for us: the beauty all around us and the blessing of our years of friendship.
It was sweet.

Friday, April 18, 2008


The vacation was followed by a birthday, then two days of work, and Bernie flew to San Diego on Tuesday and Jeff flew to San Antonio on Tuesday and Laura on Tuesday decided to fly to Paris and Sweden next week.
Well, what can I say.

We needed some excitement around here.

So my friend Gail flew in from Colorado Springs yesterday.

We took a long walk through the woods together.
You know how many times I walk the woods alone?
You can't imagine how many times I have walked and wished I had a friend with me to ohh and ahh at what is there to see.

Gail really, really liked the cypress trees. The cypress knees, and the feathery new growth delighted her.
"Everything is so green here!" she kept saying.
(Colorado Springs had gotten two inches of snow and was still snowing when she left.)

It was a great walk, capped by something new, as usual:
Yellow iris were blooming in the forest!
How cool is that!

And Gail didn't even mind the three snakes that were sunning themselves on the path.
(I hadn't told her there might be snakes....)

Last night we had a major thunderstorm, so sever it knocked out power.
Gail slept through it. Go figure.

Today it is starting to clear up, and we are heading out to find the bluebonnet fields.
I think we're going to have some serious fun.
Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Travel Journal: Hilton Head South Carolina, Savannah Georgia and Daufuskie Island, SC.

Our vacation week went slow; our vacation week went fast.
It felt like we have travelled to a paradise, and yet it all seemed vaguely familiar.

We flew to Savannah Georgia on Sunday and headed up to South Carolina and Hilton Head Island. We explored our resort a bit, and had dinner out.

Monday was coldish and misty; we explored the "toe" of the foot shaped Island, visiting the harbors and lighthouse, peeking into the shops and admiring the many golf course homes in the area.

Tuesday the menfolk headed out for 36 holes of golf. Laura and I walked the beach, and enjoyed being together watching the surf break against the foggy shoreline, taking jacuzzi dips, and a short bike ride. I tried to blog a bit, but the connection made it difficult, so I decided I would pass on daily posts and report our doings once we got home.

Wednesday we drove back to Savannah to explore that decidedly southern city.

We took a horse drawn carriage tour, then walked through the city, enjoying the many small parks and handsome buildings.

Savannah has a distinctive personality, that is for certain.

Even something as simple as a gate can make you smile

Every where we looked there was another picture worthy scene.

Thursday we took a ferry over to Daufuskie Island where the boys played golf, and Laura and I had a spa day. A day that just went on and on.....

Friday we took advantage of beautiful weather and did some serious kicking back around the pool.

We lounged on the deck, and body surfed the Atlantic: Now we can claim family body surf sessions on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts!

Saturday we rode bikes, and visited some more of Hilton Head.

On Sunday we left to come home.

It all seems rather dreamy now. It all seemed rather dreamy then too: We were struck by similarities to our times beaching it in San Diego, and thought the flora of the area very much like our own flora in Houston. And the architecture: Were we in New Orleans again?

If you'd like to see more of our travels, click HERE to see the composite slide show of Bernie, Laura and my own pictures from the trip. As always, select SLIDESHOW from the top of the screen once you see the thumbnail pictures. It was hard to limit the slides; enjoy as much or as little as you like. I've captioned the pictures as well, if you would like to just see the pictures quickly, you can skip over the word by using hide captions.

Seriously, a vacation should really last two weeks.
But we squeezed a lot of fun out of our seven days, and had time to rest to boot.
What more could any one want?

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Astonishing Year

(Standing on the Savannah River front April 2008)
Since this time last year I've traveled to Switzerland, and visited Germany to see where my family came from. I spent two days in Italy, and a marvelous week in Canada meeting new friends and seeing the beautiful country to the north.
Twice I spend weekends in New Orleans, my favorite getaway city, and had a romantic tryst in another Louisiana town.
I've visited Colorado in the springtime, camped in Utah amidst autumn splendor, and had a beautiful snowy Christmas season in Salt Lake City.
And now a week in South Carolina and a day in Savannah Georgia as well.
And that list doesn't even include all the day trips here within the state of Texas!

Add to that list all the places I've visited via cyberspace.
I've dropping in on spots around the globe and shared seasons and celebrations, creativity and capers unimagined before. Blogging is a very good thing!

I've gotten on with my hat making, novel writing, photography and exercising.

(I NEVER imagined I'd be belly dancing and doing Hatha yoga, not to mention Zumba. Last year at this time I didn't even know Zumba existed!)

My fifty third year was really something.
Today's my fifty fourth birthday and now I wonder:
What adventures will this next year hold?
I've got so much to be thankful for.
I woke up this morning to the sound of birdsong. My thoughts were of thanksgiving, and acknowledgment once again that my favorite three words are
"He is risen."
Without that, all this growing older would just be another day closer to death without future adventures.
Instead I am satisfied that each passing day brings me a day closer to being in a place better than any place I've ever visited here on earth.
I'm not expecting to go there soon, but it is wonderful to know that the trip is already booked and that I have reservations in heaven.
It is so good to know that heaven is the last of all the places that I will go to.
(Pictures from the vacations will be coming up later....we had a great time!)
(The white hat was made the day before we left for vacation. I was going for a bit of Southern plantation style with the classic black ribbon on Panama straw. It isn't a panama, but it was suited the mood just fine.)