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: 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!



WPC – What’s In A Shanghai Name?

A trip to Shanghai provided many opportunities to see names in English and the character equivalents in Mandarin.

Shanghai hotelOur hotel in the Shanghai ‘suburb’ of Jiading

Ikea and Amway

Grocery items at the local Auchan (equivalent to Wal-Mart)

A wealth of western shopping opportunities in downtown Shanghai

Shanghai street sign

A street sign on a side street

McDonald’s quarterpounder and KFC/Pizza Hut

A wonderful trip!


Mass in Mandarin

Staying in the Jiading ‘suburb’ of Shanghai or district, as they are called here, our light colored skin, hair and freckles have proved to be a source of fascination for many locals.  Heads have turned as we walk by and many have taken our picture.  Some openly and others, thinking we can’t see them, take our photo on the sly.  It doesn’t bother us and we are happy to smile and pose as long as they are relatively polite and respectful.  Which, without a doubt, they have been.

This morning we went to a very small (300 people) local Catholic Church to attend Mass.  We came in the back and sat in the last pew but, in no time at all, word spread through the sanctuary that foreigners were present. Heads turned and they made no secret of staring at us.  I’m not kidding, LOTS of heads turned.

Mass was lovely and while I understood 4 words total….Ni hao (hello) XieXie (thank you), amen and alleluia I was able to follow along because worldwide the service is the same wherever you go.  Same readings and same prayers no matter the language and no matter the location. It.Is.Awesome. (Plus, with Mass Apps I can follow the readings in English)

Jesus I trust in YouI know what this says!! (Jesus, I trust in You)

Sared HeartThe altar of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Diocese of Wenzhou

And a big kudos to the congregation for the beautiful and roof-raising singing.  It was amazing to hear such joyful voices being lifted unto the Lord!

After Mass we wandered back into the courtyard where we ended up the main attraction for pictures. We happily posed for about 10 minutes while taking different group shots and individual selfies.  It was fun and the Chinese – in all their curiosity – were welcoming and excited to see us.

Sacred Heart

Taking a picture of them taking pictures of us

Sacred Heart

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.

Stormy Day in Jiading

The rain came fast and, because I hadn’t been watching weather reports, unexpectedly.  Thunder followed and a stormy day set in.  It was a good time to relax the schedule as the heat and humidity, while sightseeing the day before, had tired all of us.

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 to us.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Note….Patrick has had two years of high school Mandarin and both my fluent-speaking Mandarin son, Joshua, and me, his mom, (speaking absolutely no Mandarin) are highly impressed with how well he has been able to communicate.  However, this chatting was above his capabilities.

Finding no success in asking him if his teapots were for sale or display we left the shop to find Joshua 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 the 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 though, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day.

Jiading Tea

Confucius Temple and Huilongtan Park


We are enjoying our time as guests of Jiading District – outside of Shanghai – and our sweet little hotel.  Having time to leisurely explore the area and appreciate the sights I’ve been especially taken with the abundance of parks and green space.

Confucian TempleWe saw the Confucian Temple of Jiading also known as the China Imperial Examination System Museum.  This is where philosophers spent much time studying and taking the exams to become scholars.  It was a high distinction to pass these tests.

Confucian Temple

On the other side of the park from the Temple was the Huilongtan Park.  A peaceful area with families, walking trails, a tea room, some amusements and a small lake.

Huilongtan ParkHuilongtan Park Huilongtan Park Huilongtan ParkI really love these gentle oasis’ amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy city.


Life Around Jiading, Shanghai

No desert to be found anywhere near here as we are smack dab in the middle of a very large city.  In other words – We made it to Shanghai!  Despite a setback on our original travel day we did finally arrive, without further incident, on the next flight to China.  Shanghai, being on the southeastern coast of China, is hot and sticky but we are having a good time.

My son, Joshua, who lives here, met us at the airport and got us to our respective accommodations before we crashed for the evening. After all, jet lag does take a toll. For this trip we are staying north of Shanghai in the Jiading district.  It’s kind of like a suburb of Shanghai. My teenage boys – Patrick and Ben are staying at the apartment with Joshua and his Japanese wife, Ema, while my mom (Granny) and I are tucked away in a quaint little hotel in a historic part of the city.   We have been keeping it low key since we arrived – soaking up the local culture and becoming familiar with our surroundings.  It’s been lovely.

Jiading Villa Garden Hotel
Our boutique hotel
Jiading Villa Garden Hotel
The view from our room
Granny waving from the window in our room
Granny waving from the window in our room
Our private patio
Our private patio

Scooters are a way of life and it is amazing how creative people can get with transporting things and extra people.

These children were so cute – following me and practicing their English “hellos”.  I couldn’t resist taking their picture and they couldn’t resist hamming it up.

Shanghai McDonaldsMcDonalds



Adventures in Traveling

07 July 5 (3)

The sun is rising while I sit, looking out my hotel window, with a view of San Francisco Bay, watching as planes land and take-off.  It’s peaceful and I am relaxed and rested after a good night’s sleep. A far cry from the forbidden stress of a crazy travel day yesterday.

Ever heard that saying, “red in the morning, sailors take warning. Red at night, sailors delight.” For us yesterday it was fitting  except I would change ‘sailors’ to ‘travelers’.  When we left the house promptly at 6:00 am I commented on how intensely red the sky was and hoped it wasn’t a sign of the day to come.

It was.

Long story short – for the first leg of our travel we took two separate flights from Dallas to San Francisco.  Don’t ask – it’s just the way it was.  For me and my sixteen year old, Patrick, it was a breeze.  For my mom, aka Granny, and my fourteen year old, Ben, it wasn’t. While our flights were only 30 minutes apart for a variety of reasons we left right on time but they left 2 hours late.

Emma & PatrickIn the end, Patrick got to have a little adventure – taking an international flight all on his own while navigating security on this end and customs and immigration in China.  I can’t wait to hear the details when we finally catch up.

I stayed behind for Granny and Ben and the adrenaline flowed as we attempted to get them off quickly, claim their bags, run from the domestic terminal to the international and get bags rechecked for our next flight.

No such luck and we had to rebook to try again today.

While the day brought it’s fair share of stress we encountered a multitude of angels.  San Francisco peeps rock and we have met several wonderful people who did what they could to help us. It made the stress of the situation a little more bearable.

Ben and Teresa

Today is a new day and it will be a good one.  And, hopefully the next time I write it will be from our final destination in China!

安全旅行 和这一伟大的日子 safe travels and make it a great day in Mandarin (I think.) 🙂

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Small Roads

This challenge took me much longer than I had planned or anticipated.  It’s always fun, though, looking through my archives and taking that inevitable trip down memory lane.

My roads stretch from Texas and Tennessee to Europe, China and Japan.  I’m fond of saying, “Have passport – will travel” and I’m always ready for a new adventure!

St. Joe, TX 2001Visiting friends on their 100 acres in Texas.  So much land they had their own dirt roads.

Tennessee 2003Spending time in Tennessee when my baby was still a baby and my niece was still a little girl.(now she’s in college in Scotland!)

Small road and well-traveled alleyway off the beaten path in Beijing, China.

Great Wall, Beijing 2008

While the Great Wall may not qualify as a small street, alleyway, parking lot or driveway now, let’s face it – at one time or another it probably served each of those functions.

Co Cork 2008This small street in Co Cork, Ireland is similar to many streets found across the Atlantic pond. 

Brugge Belgium 2008The cobbled alleys in Bruge, Belgium took quaint to new heights.

Finally, Taiki-chō, Hokkaido, Japan.  Absolutely stunning country roads with the Hidaka Mountain Range in the background.

Thanks for joining me on my roads-less-traveled adventure today!