This is not an unusual scene in my backyard:
You might get the idea that we are big campers.
Not that we aren’t, but we aren’t.
(I can’t tell you the last time we went camping, which is actually sort of sad.)
We aren’t opposed to camping, it just hasn’t happened recently. Life is busy, y’all.
If you have teenagers, especially teenagers who have older siblings who go to college or teenagers who have attended summer camps where college students work, you may look out your back door and see the very same thing.
(Actually, if you have college students, you are more likely to see this around their college campus. I see hammocks, occasionally, on the Baylor campus, and I know it’s happening on college campuses all over the nation.)
(I would have LOVED to have a hammock, at college, to lie in while studying!)
(That statement assumes I actually studied.)
(Admittedly, I DID have a hammock in my apartment bedroom during my Junior year at Baylor. It was just for looks, though; it held my stuffed animals and Beenie Babies.)
(Remember Beenie Babies?!)
The hammock is called an Eno, short for Eagles Nest Outfitters. They are fantastically light-weight, small and quite comfy. Both of our sons love theirs.
Obviously, our youngest loves his enough to use his around the house, during non-camping days and weeks.
Sometimes, it’s even strung up directly on the back porch…so he can see the tv.
(I wish I had a picture of it; pure laziness and comfort at its best.)
iPhone pic of our son and a couple of his good friends, last Spring:
The kids are even prone to stacking the hammocks, so they hang directly above and below each other!
My youngest and I recently had a conversation concerning Prom: he said he thinks it would be WAY more fun for his group of friends to get all dressed up, take pictures, go eat at a fancy restaurant, then, instead of going to the actual Prom, they should come back to our house, change clothes, go build a fire down by the river and spend the night in Enos.
(with adult chaperones, of course!)
Enos and S’mores! How fun is that?!
Doesn’t his “non-Prom” idea sound fantastic?!
So, if you are in need of an unusual and uber cool gift for your teenaged (or college-aged) son or daughter (yes, many of our sons’ girl friends own and love them!), you might look into getting them a hammock.
(I’m all for a gift that moves them outside and up into the trees!)
Happy Hammock-ing, y’all!
(This post was written TWO summers ago and for some odd reason I never posted it. What’s good about me posting this now is, you have time to make some summer plans! So…here you go, y’all!)
Ha! Bless the sweet Greeter’s heart, he tried a couple times and just could not get the family in focus!
(I guess that could be said of us on many levels…)
No matter, our main focus, during a recent vacation, was a side trip to the Texas Panhandle to see Texas! The Outdoor Musical!
Our oldest son had to finish up his summer baseball season, so he was unable to join us on the first leg of our vacation, so ThrillCam and I loaded up our youngest and started the drive toward Montana, with an intentional stop in Amarillo. We told our youngest that if he really wants to consider himself a true Texan, then he needed to see Texas!
Texas! Outdoor Musical, is performed, every summer, in the beautiful Pioneer Amphitheater, nestled in the basin of the Palo Duro Canyon (which is amazing and entertaining, all by itself).
Sidenote: Palo Duro Canyon suddenly appears out of nowhere and drops down into the earth, revealing beautiful reds, browns and greens. (see above picture) Did you know, Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States?
(We’d love to go back and spend time there hiking and camping for a few days.)
We planned out our whole route, with a couple stops along the way, obviously, including an extra night just to see the musical.
(As we left town, we stopped here: another Texas must!)
The musical is about…you guessed it…Texas. It’s a little bit of history and a whole lot of entertainment.
Yes, the show is sort of cheesy at times.
Yes, it’s even occasionally corny.
(Would that be cheesy-corny?)
But, by golly, you learn a little Texas history while being entertained.
(And who doesn’t want to learn more about Texas?!)
And, because we drove straight there, we opted to eat dinner, on the grounds, before seeing the show. (Your ticket can include dinner, if you’d like. Click on the first link above and you can see the ticket prices. The earlier you make your plans, the better!)
I’m not going to lie and say it was the best BBQ in town, but it certainly wasn’t awful!
While waiting to be seated, we milled around outside the amphitheater where we noticed a huge map of the world. Folks could purchase a pin and show where they traveled from to see the show. There were numerous people from almost every country of the world. (Shown are the pins from just around the Waco area.)
The stage is set, literally, in the cliffs of Palo Duro Canyon. As the sun sets, the special effects become a little more impressive and way fun for the kids.
(I may not remember any of the songs and dances, but I can still remember, as a young kid, seeing the Lone Horseman atop the cliff.)
(Oh! And, the lightning strike!)
(You just have to go to know what I’m talking about!)
No cameras are allowed during the show (that means phone cameras, y’all!), so I don’t have pictures of the set or the actors/dancers, but I can tell you, the colorful costumes are wonderful, the characters are sweet and funny, and the songs will make you tap your toes. It’s, honestly, not a bad way to spend a few hours.
TIP: When selecting tickets, don’t sit at the VERY front. Choose more toward the center middle to center upper-middle, so you can see the stage and cliffs fully. The place will fill up, so order tickets early for best seating choices.)
Honestly, if you plan to visit the Texas panhandle (or just visit the state), this is a fun event for the whole family! There’s singing, dancing, decent BBQ, a few variety acts before the actual show. Of course, all of this while you sit under the great and vast Texas sky.
(“The stars at night…Are big and bright!”)
(clap, clap, clap)
(“Deep in the Heart of Texas!”)
If you’re a native Texan like me (6th generation, y’all!), I’ll tell you, like I told my son, you can’t truly call yourself a Texan until you’ve seen this show.
When we moved to League City, south of Houston, in 2007, we planted a church. It was just a little different from most churches where we had served in the past.
But, it was a good different.
We tried to take the good from the past and chuck the ineffective/not-so-great, and planted a church, designed on the church in Acts, in the Bible.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
Not every idea worked perfectly, and our church, which is still in existence, even though we had to move, is still trying to get it right. (Aren’t most churches trying to get it right? We are a group of flawed humans, after all.)
But, through all of it, we felt (and still feel) God’s hand of favor was and is upon that little church.
One of the things we did a little different was to have weekly local neighborhood gatherings. (A couple different families would host in their own neighborhoods, getting to know their neighbors.)
There was ALWAYS food involved!
(And, you know how I love me some food!)
Long story, short, we would meet at our house, or at our neighbor’s house, bring a pot-luck meal, and while eating, we would share our lives. The highs and lows of the week. The kids were included in the conversation, as well. It was important for them to hear and be heard.
We invited other neighbors and we shared meals with them. It was not designed to be exclusive in any way, shape, or form.
But, it was bigger than just a supper club.
We served our neighbors together.
We played together. (That link is only one of the many Hunks vs Punks posts I’ve written about…do a search for Hunks vs Punks, and you can read them all!)
(Not only did we play football together, we went to football games together…)
(I actually DO know the lady at the bottom right; I just didn’t when I took that picture. She’s probably still talking to her neighbor because he’s probably still texting…)
We prayed together and even baptized together…
And, of course, we ate together.
It was a beautiful thing.
ThrillCam and I will forever be changed, for the better, because of our neighborhood Table Group.
(photo credit to Jeremy Knight)
So, guess what?
We are trying it, again, with our new neighbors!
We had a group of 4 families over, on Tuesday night (no, I didn’t take pictures…yet!).
We threw out the vision.
We’ll see what happens.
Either way, whether we meet weekly and eat together, or not, I’m excited to see where God takes us, as a neighborhood.
Because, I KNOW how lives can be impacted and changed just by reaching out and loving one another…doing life together.
No, not football season.
No, not Fall weather.
No, not boots and plaid season.
No, not cold and flu season.
It’s HOMECOMING SEASON!!!!!
And, we all know what that means…
In honor of all those moms out there making mums…
Moms and mums.
Mums making mums.
Mum’s the word!
Okay, I’ll stop.
I must, once again, post my most favorite video of all time. If you have ANYTHING to do with Homecoming, anywhere, you must watch this video. You’ll die.
Crazy, no? It just blows my mind, those mums and their mums…
Guess what…I’m doing the mum thing again, now that my youngest is in high school…
(You can read about one of my past mum encounters about two years ago, here.)
Yes, my youngest son has asked a girl to Homecoming.
In fact, he asked TWO girls to Homecoming!!
…to two different Homecomings.
He’s going down to the Houston area to escort one friend this weekend, and then, next weekend, he’s asked another sweet girl to his own high school’s Homecoming!
I’m having to provide TWO mums this year!!!
(Yes, you can cry for me now.)
(If you would like to contribute to the MUM FUND, please send checks or cash…ASAP.)
I’m sure to have pictures to share soon…
There’s really no way you can drive through, or even near, Amarillo, Texas, without making the jaunt over to the Cadillac Ranch.
As the daughter of the now deceased Queen of Everything Texas, whether kooky or historical, there was no way, I, personally, could bypass this famous (or infamous) tourist stop.
(I texted my sister later to say how proud our parents would have been of me for the little side stop in our vacation.)
Honestly, though, even if I weren’t still trying to impress my (deceased) parents, I would so stop at Cadillac Ranch! It’s just one of the Texas things to see and do!
Cadillac Ranch has zero educational value, unless you count quirky “art” and the mere ability to say you’ve been there, educational.
And, I do.
My youngest son has added to his culture bank, fo’ sho!
(Now, to make sure we inserted something educational into the visit, we discussed the importance of Route 66 and the various, often quirky, attractions along the famous highway–Cadillac Ranch is located in a pasture along Interstate 40, but the road the pasture is on is the original Route 66.)
Cadillac Ranch was originally created by three artists, back in 1974 , by sticking 10 Cadillacs into the ground, a la Stonehenge style. (Although, the degree of tilt corresponds to the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.)
The pasture where the cars reside is private property, but it is encouraged to cross onto the land via an unlocked gate.
Once you’ve entered the field where the cars are on display, you begin to notice, unfortunately, trash.
Empty spray paint cans.
Besides “trespassing,” you are also encouraged to “tag” the cars.
We had not come prepared (with our own can of spray paint), but there were plenty of partially used cans on the ground to pick from.
When in Rome…
We all got in on the act!
Once you look closely, you realize just how many years of graffiti/paint has been coated on these cars!
Look how thick the paint is!
There is not a single inch of any of the cars that hasn’t been colored upon.
Really and truly, if you are ever in Amarillo–or anywhere near there–you should take the 30 minutes to see the Cadillac Ranch.
Just to say you did.
My family recently did the Griswolds’ thing and drove to Montana for a family vacation.
We drove from Texas.
(that in and of itself should be impressive)
Three days to get there.
Three days to get back.
Through seven different states.
Worth every hour on the road.
My husband and I put this family vacation WAY high on the list of favorites. (My boys may disagree, simply because the last three days–with nothing planned but hard 8-12 hour driving–really shrouded the good memories of the trip. I know, though, as they forget the boring drive home, they will begin to remember the highlights of the trip. And there were many!)
Here’s a short list of some of our adventures:
We visited new friends in Montana and ate some of the best steak ever.
We drove to Wyoming, more than once–more on that soon.
We hung out Yellowstone–we saw lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!
(Okay, we didn’t see lions and tigers.)
We hiked in Teton National Park–I didn’t pack the proper shoes, so I hiked in flip-flops…
We stopped at every state sign and took a picture. (See picture above.) My boys were THRILLED every time we stopped. Thrilled, I tell ya!
We had F.U.N., fun!
I’ll unpack our trip over the next few posts, if I may.