Tea in Jiading, China

A repost from July 2016:

Last year we spent two weeks in and around Jiading, China – a ‘suburb’ of Shanghai.  Our oldest son, Joshua, was living there with his wife, Emma, and we were fortunate enough to visit.  A rainy day had given us a break from sightseeing and when it stopped we ventured out.  What we stumbled onto ended up being one of my most satisfying and favorite memories.

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When the rain tapered off we ventured out for lunch and ended up exploring the streets and shops in the surrounding area.  Our group split up which left my son, Patrick, and I hanging out together.  JIading shoppingWe were wandering around, ambling in and out of the little shops when I spied a sign with a teapot.  Loving all things tea, and especially drinking tea in Asia, we went into the shop to see what was what. The shopkeeper seemed excited to see us and began talking.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Between using hand gestures – and speaking super slow (as if that would help) – we found no success asking if his teapots were for sale or just display.  We left the shop to find Joshua – who speaks fluent Mandarin-and, upon our return, discovered this gentleman was completely delightful and wanted nothing more than to share his tea while working on his painting and flute-playing.

One of the things I love about staying in less touristy areas is stumbling upon these amazing experiences that you can’t buy with money.  It had been a lazy, rainy day calling for a ponytail and no make-up.  No matter that I was ultra-casual, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day and ended up being a highlight of the trip.

Jiading Tea

If you would like to see other posts from our China adventures check out these pieces:

Eyes of Asia

What’s In A Shanghai Name

Mass in Mandarin

Confucius Temple and Huilongtan Park

Looking Up

Life Around Jiading

 

 

 

 

 

Painted Churches of the Texas: The Tiny One

Leaving the central Texas area around Schulenburg – and not feeling tethered to a strict timeline – we were making our way toward Huntsville and enjoying the scenery.  We had visited all the churches on our list plus one more and were satisfied with our exploration of this small section of the Lone Star State.

All of a sudden we saw a teeny tiny building in the distance that looked like a small church.  As we flew by at 65 mph we saw the sign and, indeed, it was a church!

Hitting the brakes and making a U-turn we quickly made our way back to see what was what.  As the sign states, visitors were welcome to tour the grounds and the building.

 

On the altar was a notebook for prayer intentions along with a note which stated that Mass is held once a month.

St. Martins – It was the most charming stumbled-on find of the weekend.

Thanks for joining me on this journey to visit The Painted Churches of Texas- I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

If you would like to see the other churches we visited that weekend I’ve included the links below:

St. John the Baptist in Ammansville and Queen of the Holy Rosary in Hostyn

St. Mary’s in Praha and Ascension of Our Lord in Moravia

St. Mary’s at High Hill

St. Cyril and Methodius in Dubina

 

Painted Churches of Texas: Freyburg and Dubina

The green rolling hills of central Texas provided a peaceful backdrop as we rambled across the countryside in search of more churches.

We were not disappointed.

The United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Freyburg was a picture of quaintness tucked among a lush landscape.

And, the simplicity of the sanctuary was peaceful.

Moving on to Dubina, Texas the Church of Sts Cyril and Methodius was in the middle of Mass so we wandered around the outside.

A bit of a deserted town lay at the edge of the property and made a stark contrast to the striking house of worship.

 

Along with the ‘bathrooms’.  And this is something to note – not one of the churches we visited had an indoor bathroom within the original building.  Not too surprising, I guess, considering indoor plumbing wasn’t a thing when they were built.  There is still debate among my better-half and I as to whether this set of outhouse amenities was the only one available. Funny – as social as we can be we did not pluck up the courage to ask any of the parishioners.  Or maybe we just forgot.  Either way we didn’t get an answer.

Despite the bathroom debate there was no arguing that the church itself was, once again, beautiful and amazing.

Next up:  We thought we were at the end of our tour until we stumbled onto a gem of a tiny church.

If you would like to see the other parishes we visited on this tour check out those pieces by clicking on the following links: St. John the Baptist and Queen of the Holy Rosary, here.  St. Mary’s in Praha and Ascension of Our Lord,  here. St. Mary’s at High Hill, here.

Painted Churches of Texas: St. Mary’s at High Hill

There is joy in slowing down and relishing the journey.  Preferring to meander and not dash through the weekend we were delighted to experience these amazing, stunning, ornate, intricate and exquisite churches. Attending Mass at St. Mary’s in High Hill, Texas (known as the Queen of the Painted Churches) gave us even more time to slow down and soak in all the beauty.  Indeed, she was a splendor to behold.

I got the distinct impression this parish really loves their barbecue.  Their grills and smokers were some of the largest I’ve seen.  I think I’d like to attend one of their parish picnics!

Next up:  Sts Cyril and Methodius in Dubina, Texas.

Click here to see my post on parishes in Praha, Moravia and St. John.  Click here to see the post on Hostyn and Ammansville.  Each church is stunning.  Enjoy

 

 

Painted Churches of Texas: Praha, Moravia and St. John

No scampering for us as we continued our journey down country roads in search of the next Painted Churches in Texas built by Czech immigrants.

Having started our tour at Queen of the Holy Rosary and St. John the Baptist we meandered down more rural roads in search of our next stop.  We didn’t have to go far since all of the parishes are within a few miles of each other.

St. Mary’s Church in Praha (English for Prague)

The next two churches were only open to guided tours.  Since we were doing self-guided we were not able to go inside.  They were still gorgeous in their simple and quiet surroundings.

Ascension of Our Lord in Moravia

 Looking through glass doors Hubby managed to get a picture of the altar.

St. John in St. John, Texas

Many of the parishes had these wonderful outdoor spaces for gatherings.  What a great concept!

Next up – we attend Mass in High Hill at another church named St. Mary’s and also known as the Queen of the Painted Churches.  You won’t want to miss the beauty!

 

 

Ricki

WordPress Daily Prompt – Final

We lost a beloved member of our family yesterday when our dog, Ricki, died.

A great dog who joined our family as a puppy, we loved her dearly. Full of life and energy, with two different colored eyes, the softest ears ever, and a black, cold, wet nose.  A nose that  she would affectionately ‘goose’ us with – particularly when we were wearing shorts. Yow!  Her personality was sweet and outgoing and she was ever-so-patient with all those around, especially children.   She loved to be loved and was never shy about asking people to pet her.  With a keen awareness of human emotion she instinctively knew if we were happy, sad, sick or excited – and would stay near no matter the circumstances.  When no one was looking she hopped on beds and pretended to be totally innocent when we walked in the room. And, she relished joining the fun no matter who was jumping on the trampoline.  If anyone was hugging – or dancing – Ricki would stand on her hind legs so she could also be part of the action.  And, if you played the harmonica she would howl until the raucous stopped.  She had a ferocious bark but never harmed one person.  She loved to run free off the leash and right into the lake, river or creek – and even the snow – but she always came right back.  Wanting to experience a little freedom she never once drifted too far away from us.  Whenever we came home she always ran up to the gate to greet us.

She was a big part of my heart.

An important piece of our family.

She was joy.

I feel no guilt for the tears I have wept and the sadness I feel as I mourn her passing.  I will miss her but I am grateful she was part of our lives.

Ricki and Lucy, my dynamic duo, is now just a party of one.  And our family as a whole feels a little less complete.

Rest in peace, Sweet Ricki.

WPC: Reflecting

It is wonderful to walk into the church when it is packed with parishioners ready to worship.  It is also amazing to visit when it is completely empty.

I took this picture of the crucifix reflecting  in the baptismal font with my iPhone.

It was just me and Jesus.  The peace was overwhelming and the beauty of the moment wondrous.

WPC – It IS Easy Being Green When It’s Springtime in Texas

An ordinary Sunday afternoon spent enjoying my boys, my dogs and lots of sunshine. (The Hubster was out of town)

Luxurious Green-ness is abundant during springtime in this great state of Texas!

 

 

Waiting for Baby

The ‘official’ due date for my baby girl to deliver her baby girl has come and gone so now we are all sitting around staring at her, waiting for her to announce, “this is it!”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  We aren’t actually sitting.  Or staring.  We are keeping busy and carrying on with life as usual.

Yesterday, in an effort to remain occupied we took advantage of some beautiful springtime weather and spent time at the Dallas Arboretum.

I’ll tell you – no matter what the season this place never fails to amaze me with its beauty.

In the fall you have Autumn at the Arboretum with pumpkins galore

For the Christmas season, it’s the Twelve Days at Night

Right now, it’s Dallas Blooms.  A beautiful array of springtime flowers punctuated with carpets of amazing tulips in vibrant colors.

It is stunning.

This years theme is ‘Peace, Love, and Flower Power’ and showcased Volkswagon’s covered in blooms.

Texas-sized games were available that kids and grown-ups alike enjoyed.

Cute grandkids and lush backgrounds made for great photo ops.

In hopes that a lot of walking would help jumpstart labor we stayed for a long while. Apparently, Baby is quite comfy and all we managed to do was wear mom out.

A lovely family waiting for a small bundle of joy to join them.

Any time now Baby K…

I wish, for my daughter’s sake, that Baby comes sooner rather than later.  Even though she feels, at this point, like she might be pregnant forever, we know she will go into labor.  For now – we continue to pray for the blessing of a safe delivery and the joy of new baby snuggles.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

Getting a License

Oh happy day!  He finally got his drivers license!!

Delays, busy schedules and lack of motivation made this whole process much longer than it should have been. But, finally, our 17.5 year old teenager got all his ducks in a row and we got it done.

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Armed with a book and lots of patience we pulled into the parking lot of the DMV just eight minutes after it opened.  And, there were already a bunch of people in line waiting.  Hence, the book and the patience.

One little snafu delayed things a bit but within 2.5 hours we had everything complete and were walking out with a newly licensed driver.

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Seventeen and a license – freedom and independence are right behind the wheel and to say he is excited would be a bit of an understatement.

I am excited for him, too.  Kinda sort of.

Having a license is definitely going to make life easier for his dad and me.  However, he’s young and inexperienced and traffic is brutal and drivers are a little crazy and, in all seriousness, I’m both elated and worried.

In other words – He’s a normal teenager and I’m a normal mom.

And if you need me I’ll be in the corner….praying.

Psalm 46:1  God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.