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!

 

 

Painted Churches of Texas – Hostyn and Ammansville

Mention Texas and the first things that might come to mind are cowboys, horses, oil wells, Tex-Mex and barbecue. Or maybe it’s our love of all things football and our flare for doing things BIG.  While all of that is true it only describes a portion of who we are here in the Lone Star State.

The reality is Texas is very diverse culturally.  And, one of those cultures I recently experienced is the Czech heritage.  I was born in Dallas and have been back in Texas since 1979 and yet, I had no idea what a strong influence Czechoslovakian immigrants had on Central Texas.

First arriving in Texas in the mid-1800’s they built some of the most beautiful European influenced churches I have ever seen.  Who knew Texas contained such amazing dwellings for worship? Still in active use,today they are known as the Painted Churches of Texas.  My mom, having seen a piece on television about them, encouraged us to take a weekend trip and begin exploring.  A total of eight were in the area of Shulenburg which is off of I10 – smack in the middle between San Antonio and Houston.

We were overwhelmed by their beauty and the heritage which has been preserved so lovingly.  For this piece I bring you the first two churches we saw located in the towns of Hostyn and Ammansville

Our first stop was not actually one of the painted churches.  However, we were in the mood to explore and so we followed the signs to see what was what.

We were not disappointed.

The Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Hostyn had something going on and we did not step inside.  That was okay, though, because the outside was enough to make us say, “wow”.

The Lourdes Grotto was the largest.

Smaller grottos dotted the church property.

The cemeteries at each church were similar and different from a typical American style.

From there we went to St. John The Baptist in Ammansville.

As we pulled up we saw a sweet little country church.

The quaint white building gave no hint as to the beauty inside.

The detail was amazing and intricate.

The back of the church – containing the choir loft – was also pretty.

Wandering around this sweet and holy property we were in awe of the magnificence we were experiencing.  Knowing we were at the beginning of the tour we couldn’t wait to see what other beauties were out there.

Tomorrow – St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption in Praha, The Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Moravia and St. John’s Catholic Church in St. John, Texas

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

02-feb-8-drivers-license-1

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.

 

The Sacred In My Life

Jesus said to him,“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me  John 14:6

Groom, TX

My faith is more than just Sunday Mass.  It’s keeping sacred every single day the realization of how Jesus suffered and died for me.

Groom, Tx

Along with remembering and rejoicing in His triumphant victory over that death.

Groom, TX

These pictures were taken in the Panhandle of Texas in a town called Groom. The Stations of the Cross are depicted in life like bronze sculptures with a 190 foot tall cross which can be see from 20 miles away.

The Heard on Black Friday

 

It’s not this time of year without the madness of the Black Friday frenzy.  And, while I have, in past years, jumped on the bandwagon in search of savings, this year I had no desire to join the crowds.

However, I did feel the need to get outside and make the most of the sunshine and mild temperatures.  With such good weather my daughter and I made  a plan to visit dinosaurs and explore trails at   The Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas.

Arriving earlier than the rest of the family I was able to get in two miles before we met up.  I enjoyed the solitude in nature as I encountered fewer and fewer people the farther out I went.

The water, the turtles and our version of autumn

When they arrived I met them on the dinosaur trail, and as I came up behind the kids I was met with the wonderfully familiar sound of “NAAANNAA” as they caught sight of me.

Dinosaurs – oh my! Let’s take a a selfie.

As we wandered along we came across a trail that none of us had been on in a while and decided to follow it.  Five year old Kolbe was convinced that this was the trail with the giant white sycamore and really wanted to find the tree.  Despite the rain a few days ago everything had been relatively dry so we thought, “okay!”

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-16It may have been a little muddy in a few spots.

We were thoroughly enjoying our hike when we came across areas that had obviously been flooded.  Seeing a bridge which had been washed away from who-knows-where along with all of the piled up branches, trees and debris we commented on the damage.

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See the bridge?

Walking a bit further we suddenly found the spot where the bridge had been.  And, it was where we needed to cross. 11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-1We wondered, “Should we turn around and retrace our steps or see if we can get across?”

Now let me set this scene for you.  We were a party of seven.  One Nana – that’s me, one daddy, one pregnant mommy, two school-age kids and two young-un’s.

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The littlest ones

What the heck – it was time to be adventurous.  If we fell in the water or slipped in the mud it wouldn’t be too bad.  After all, it was 62 degrees with sunshine and no wind!

It’s an adventure payoff!  We all got across and no one fell in!

Time for another selfie.  Or two!

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-7AND – we found the giant sycamore!  More than 160 years old!

As we came to the end of the trail we realized we had been hiking a closed trail.  Due to damage from flooding. Oops.

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-17I don’t know what happened to the sign at the start of the trail, but our ‘adventures’ made a good day truly memorable.

 

Big Tree, Little Baby

A couple of years ago I was playing around and took a ‘scale’ picture of my small granddaughter against a big tree.  At 4.5 months of age she was too young to sit by herself so my husband held her up while I backed away some distance.  Then with a “ready, set, go!” he ran out of the shot, I click,click, clicked and then he ran back in and grabbed her before she could fall over.

Teamwork!

Little baby.  Big Tree.

Therese

 

Mar 20 Scale

Overall, she really wasn’t too thrilled with her modeling gig.  But, she’s a happy baby and quickly forgave us as soon as we catered to her every whim. 🙂

And, just because I can….here’s her adorable face today.