In November 2017, Jim and I took a trip to Texas. We did some shopping for Christmas and stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast in Waxahachie, Texas.
Our hosts were Louis and Linda Brown, who run the Chaska House. We slept wonderfully in our presidential-themed room and they also gave us a delicious breakfast each morning and helped celebrate my birthday with cake in the evening. We recommend them highly! Here’s their website:
While we were in Texas, we also visited the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose. This is a fun way to make friends with animals up close as you drive through the park. Although the signs say to throw the animal food on the ground, those beasts are all up in the window. Take a look!
My sister Terry and I, along with two friends of hers (Jack and Jim), had a wonderful (mostly) silent retreat in August at the Abbey. It is a place of peace and rest, and joy and sanctuary. If you need to get away from it all, this is the place. I was delighted to find that my internet didn’t work most of the time. We wandered over miles and miles of woodland and worshiped with the monks several times a day and spent way too much money buying fudge and things from the gift shop,
We enjoyed a delicious lunch in Memphis courtesy of Bill & Rose and I stayed at Jim’s cousin Pam’s house overnight on the way up and made friends with her nine cats. What an amazing and beautiful house she has! The backyard is a retreat itself. Thanks to all for the hospitality!
The website to reserve retreats makes it easy to contact them, and I do highly recommend that everyone visit at some point, regardless of your religion or lack thereof. The peace enfolds you like a warm blanket.
You can find their wonderful gift shop featuring monk-made goodies here. I encourage you to shop around.
Wikipedia has a lot of information about the history of the abbey, and like any place worth seeing, there is good and bad to be found in the history. It makes it easy to relate, as a fallible human being.
Here is a video I made featuring photos and videos I took and songs I recorded during services.
Sailing, Fishing & Family
We had an excellent adventure sailing with North Star Sailing Charters on Friday night, July 14. Captain Jim King provided an experience that we will never forget. When we started our cruise, he gave us a safety briefing and a drink holder and even had our names memorized before we were out of the harbor. He encouraged us to explore his wonderful boat and let my sister-in-law Andra do the steering. His hospitality was unusually excellent, and he made extra effort to find us porpoises to photograph. The sunset was lovely and we enjoyed every minute of the experience. Jim is a true professional.
On Saturday, a big group of us headed out to do some deep sea fishing with Skipper Charters, where we caught red snapper, shark and a trigger fish. We started out pretty fresh and excited but by 2:30 we thought we were going to die of the heat. The fish were not doing a lot of biting, so we didn’t catch our limits, but we had a great time and nobody got seasick! Although Dennis was proud of catching the first fish, the big winner of the day award went to Gabe and Daniel, who both reeled in sharks that weighed over 50 lbs. They split a good pot and Daniel got to take the trophy home for a while since Gabe went straight to sleep when we got back.
That night, we celebrated Pop’s August birthday with a big party and cake and he even blew out the candles.
Take a look at my video at this link. It may take a few seconds to load, depending on your wifi speed.
It was a wonderful weekend with family, and we had a fabulous time.
A beautiful sight in the sun
We caught Washington State on a gorgeous sunny weekend, with not a drop of rain the whole time. The beauty of the area was intense but it’s a big place and we drove more than we wanted to. Seeing the giant trees and the mountains in the clear air was worth it! See all my photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29887034@N07/sets/72157672121240793
Jim and I visited Pandora the week it opened and the line was 4 hours long. The ride itself was about 4 minutes long. To say it was a disappointment would be an insult to disappointments. You’re basically seated on a simulated motorbike and watching a gigantic movie screen that is about 10 feet in front of you. The ride moves a bit, about as much as the little bouncy horse in front of Piggly Wiggly that we all rode when we were 4 years old. The sides of it move in and out as the creature “breathes” and every now and then you get sprayed in the face with water. The line to get to the ride was very expensive as it was highly decorated and made of some kind of textured cement and fake plants. If the line was 30 minutes or less, I would go again, though. Because then it would be worth it!
We did have a great time on the Safari ride looking at the animals, although some of them (looking at you, warthog) were so still I wasn’t sure they were actual animals.
Still a quiet town on the Atlantic Coast, NSB has everything you need for a great vacation. The beach is a turtle nesting site, so at the right times of year, you may find baby turtles scrambling out of the sand. The coastal breeze keeps the humidity down, and there is very little traffic on the main roads. There are lots of exciting places to visit within a couple of hours’ drive as well.
Bed & Breakfast
Mountain Vacation, Religious Retreat