Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Last Walk on South Padre Island

 As I type this, it's just after midnight.
 Everyone else is asleep in the 2 rooms we have at
the Holiday Inn Express Hotel
 in Marble Falls, Texas.
Just 18 hours ago, we had our last walk on the beach.
Tears fill my eyes as I type that.
In these past 3 months on the beach,
my very favorite thing was walking on the beach
with my 10 year old daughter.
I have a lot of favorite things about our stay,
but this is the most special to me.
We are on our way home to Minnesota.
 Almost every day for the past 3 months, just like this morning,
we'd get up before the crack of dawn,
go to the patio, feel what the weather was going to be like,
look at this beautiful view calling to us to enjoy even closer.
 We sneak out quietly, making sure not to wake anyone,
head to the elevator, hug and say "Good Morning!"
(that's me, my daughter took this picture) 
We walk through the patio area and say "Good Morning!" or "Buenos Dios!"
to the maintenance men working on the pool already.
 We walk down the boardwalk and are stopped by God's gift for us.
His painted sky, as if He painted it just for us.
We thank God for the day and
all the beauty and blessings He has for us.
(and we take a few pictures)
I love the ocean because I can't help but think of
It's so vast and amazing.
We are so small, yet He loves us.
It probably sounds funny to say this,
but I feel humble when I'm at the beach.
God is everything.

 Hello Sun!
Hello beautiful waves!

We are on our way home now...but we turn around one more time,
trying to make this vision last forever in our hearts and minds.
 We take a few more pictures
 I can't explain how very Thankful and blessed I feel to have had this opportunity
to live here on the beach for the last 3 months.
My heart yearns already to go back.
It's like the waves are calling me back.
It is like I'm home when I'm there.
My new friend JC said something similar,
 how while driving across the bridge
to South Padre Island, she gets that feeling of "I'm home!"
It's silly to have tears as I type this.
Really it is. 
There is awesomeness in every day of all of our lives.
I'm looking forward to writing more about our time at the beach.
Not to make anyone jealous, but to share the beauty and the blessings
of life on the beach.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

White Bear Man

 My 10 year old daughter and I hesitated a little before
deciding to leave today for our daily morning walk on the beach.
No sunrise to see, misty rain gushing with high winds,
38 degrees, with a 28 degree wind chill.
 (feels pretty dang cold on the beach)
 With only 2 more days
here on South Padre Island, we figured we better go.
On days like this, we have the beach to ourselves.
There's something about just being there in God's awesomeness.
(By ourselves)
We stopped a couple times to pick a few shells that caught our eyes.
A man caught up with us and greeted us with the normal,
"How long are you down here for?"
Followed by, "Where are you from?"
This happens daily on our walk,
but this man, wearing a bright white hooded South Padre sweatshirt,
stayed and talked a little longer.
He was from Minnesota like us.
One of the million things I love about being down here
is meeting people from all over and finding out where they are from.
People, for some reason, light up when they talk about home.
We have this instant bond because we've left the snow and cold
in search of warm air and sunshine..
This man told me he was from the White Bear Lake area.
(near the Twin Cities)
After finding out where we were from,
he told me where he was originally from.
(now keep in mind, he's probably in his 70's)
Upon hearing his original city, I said,
"You must be Catholic, isn't everyone Catholic where you are from?"
Ice breaker-conversation starter
I do it all the time.
He told me he is Catholic.
(you knew there would be a "but" didn't you?)
that he disagrees with some things.
And that he doesn't go to church because of it.
I half kidded that It's Lent, and it's the perfect time to come back!
Of course, I had to ask what those things were.
he only told me about one.
(because it was freezing cold, otherwise, I think we'd have talked
for hours, he was really nice)
I thought to myself,
Oh, no he's going to go on about same-sex marriages,
or abortion or Confession or the Eucharist.
But he didn't.
What he disagrees with
surprised me.
He doesn't believe in Hell.
I know there are a lot of people that don't believe there is a Hell,
I'm not sure I've met any of them though.
I've met anti-Catholics, ex-Catholics, Atheists, but not this.
I'm always curious.
I always want to know why.
I always want to try to understand people and why they think the way they do.
He told me he doesn't think God would send anyone to such a terrible place.
That, he thinks everyone goes to Heaven, because we are all "wired differently",
therefore, because God made us that way, why would he send us to Hell?
OH, you see, how we could probably talk for hours?
He obviously does not read the bible.
(I know, typical lukewarm "Catholic")
If he read the bible, he'd know that God is just.
(I told him God is just)
He'd know that God gives us free will to choose.
He would know there is a Hell.
He told me all the good things he does all the time.
That one time, when he was younger, and working,
he used to deliver sheetrock and he saw a billfold on the side of the highway,
stopped and his partner looked at him and was surprised that he was going to return the wallet.
I told him what an awesome example he was to this man,
how that one little thing probably effected him
 and has probably made him think more than once in his life.
He told me that he feels the same whether he goes to church or not.
That it is neither good or bad to go or not go.
He feels the same.
How very sad, that he's never been moved by The Spirit.
That he has never felt ON FIRE FOR GOD!! 
I told him about Fatima.
I suggested he try praying the rosary for a month.
He said his parents went to daily Mass and prayed the rosary daily.
The grace is there, it's within reach.
White Bear Man has beautiful white hair, a bright infectious smile,
and he made me think he is probably an awesome grandpa!
He needs prayers though, don't you think?
Could you pray for him?
When we parted ways,
He hugged us both!!
He instigated the hugs!  
See what a nice, sweet man he is?
Just think what our prayers could do for him.
At this point, the wind had gotten stronger and we decided to go home.
We had walked maybe only a half mile down the beach.
We usually walk about 3 miles total.
God has a plan for all of us.
This was no chance meeting.
God knew we'd meet.
And He knew YOU and I would pray for White Bear Man.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reviews and Special Prayers

 Trying to get a good blog header photo in the sun
The sound of the ocean and the sunrise from this morning
 I thought this was funny.
It, for some reason bugs me when people all over the internet
post pictures of their ashes.
I don't know why.
Probably because it seems like bragging or something.
"Look at my ashes!"
Prayer is more of a private thing for me.
(that's why I have a blog--haha!)
When I think about it though, after wondering why it bugs me,
it is actually a really good thing.
Seeing other people making it a "normal" thing to do,
go to Mass, get ashes, pray and sacrifice for Lent.
It's actually a really good thing to do.
 We have TV down here!
We've been watching American Idol.
We haven't watched in like 3 years.
I really like how they do it now,
it's focused more on the talented and not the untalented.
Now that Simon Cowell is not on anymore,
it's not so negative, comments are not made for attention.
All these judges are sincere and really nice.
We don't have TV back home, just Netflix,
so this show will be missed.
 A couple of the girls and I saw this movie here on the Island.
I hesitate to review it, I'm not sure how I feel about it.
Remember, I love happy endings.
This doesn't really end like that,
it kind of shows what happens after the "happy ending"
It is a musical, so if you don't like musicals, you won't like it.
The funniest scene I thought, was the song "Agony" with 2 of the princes:
I loved Meryl Streep as the wicked witch.
If anything, see it for that.
I didn't care for the way some of the characters
were portrayed, after their "happy ending",
I think the writers could have had them go a different bad way.
Or better yet, just a different way.
OH, and Johnny Depp?
He was the big bad wolf!
His part was short, and awesome and kind of creepy.
And kind of funny.
That's kind of what we expect from Johnny Depp though, isn't it?
 I am really going to miss Texas Salsa.
There's something different about it, it's just better.
It's not as thick and it tastes fresher.

 If you love pickles (I do)
they also have the best pickles down here in Texas!
These are the best.  I think I could eat a whole jar!
 We've I've been using a Swifter Sweeper here in the condo we are staying in.
My review for this is:
It just seems so wasteful!
I miss my old mop.
You know, it's a sponge mop
and you use it and use and use it over and over again and again.
It only costs you the price of the mop.
With Swifter Sweeper, sure it's easy,
(so it's perfect for renting a condo)
but those sheets are very spendy, like 12 bucks for 24 sheets.
That's 50 cents each and we I use at least 6-8 each time I mop.
What do you think?
 Farmer's Market Lettuce.
Nothing like it.
I love it, I crave it.
This is the spicy mix, but I also love the mild mix.
(it's clean and lasts all week)
I will really miss seeing the people that sell this.
Lauren is the owner's daughter and she's a real sweetheart.
 I also got some of this yummy drink!
I love their purple beans too!
They turn bright green when they are cooked...veggie suppers, delicious! 

 Another fun product we've found
(maybe MN has this now too, I don't know)
It's really good, and addictive. 
This is Sarah.
She is a close friend of my friend Becky.
Becky is trying to raise money for Sarah.
Here are Becky's words:

"My friend Sarah, who has been fighting cancer for five years now, was just told a couple weeks ago that there are no other treatments for her. The cancer is moving extremely fast and he gave her less than six months. He doubts she will make it to June.

She is not religious but I think she would like to be. She has always been "interested" in the Catholic faith but never has taken the leap to commit to it.

I am more worried for her spiritually than I am for her physically. My brother and I set up a Go Fund Me account with her permission, and there have only been four donors---which one of them is me. It is depressing.

Her husband wants her to go see the Eiffel Tower, as this has always been her dream. I understand that to her, this is a distraction and a way of using her time rather than sit around waiting to die. But in the meantime, my brother and I have something in the works---we are going to also send them to Lourdes since they will already be in France. I think she would be open to it, especially since basically people are paying her to go...

My brother actually has everything lined up for her to go (including her family.) Do you have any idea how happy they will be to go together? Right now, they don't think it's possible for even Sarah to go. This could be her last chance, I so much want her to experience Lourdes. I went there and loved it. She needs healing. If not a physical healing then a spiritual one. She needs graces to get through this without trying to avoid it by using distractions. She needs to face God once and for all."

Sarah and her beautiful family

Will you please pray for Sarah and her family?
If you feel motivated by the Holy Spirit, donate HERE
Thank you so much.
Our time is dwindling down.
We leave for home in 5 days.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

South Padre Island Animals (Part 2)

 These photos are all from January.
It was pretty cool most of January, but looking back on pictures,
I got a ton of animal pictures.
So many, that I'm going to have to break it down
into another post.
 We visited a Birding Center and a Sea Turtle Rescue Center
Those will go into another post.
 Feeding seagulls by the ocean is not like feeding ducks in Minnesota
 I just make sure the kids and their bread are far away from me!
 Some of the kids like to eat the bread along with the birds!
 We've seen several hurt birds.
I wonder if a fish or crab bit their feet off
or if they got caught in something somewhere.
Poor bird.
 This is a Common Gallinule
They hide in reeds.
We found him next to the pond by our condo.
Look how big his feet are!
 Dead sad.
 This one is alive!  We threw him back in, not sure he made it or not.
This particular day in January we found several starfish.
The next day,
we found a ton of birds "fishing" 

 This time there were more than a few starfish washed up.
 There were piles and piles.
Kind of sad, but as fast as they came,
 they were washed away by the tide.
God provides for all.

This Sundial shell still has an inhabitant!

 Here's a (dead) little crab...
 There are always treasures to be found in the seaweed.
 Cuteness break
I told you it was pretty chilly in January.
We were glad we had our hats with us!
 No idea what this is, some kind of crab.
Reminded me more of some kind of octopus or something!
 Look at this cute little dead guy
 Poor thing.

Look at his beautiful shell.
We've found a few of these shells (without crabs in them)
This one lost half his limbs.

 This heron found his breakfast!
 This crab did not.
 This is Conrad.
He's from Canada.
He says "Eh?" after every sentence he says to you.
He's my favorite Canadian down here.
Even Canadians think Minnesota should be part of Canada,
 because it's colder than anywhere else.
 We thought this was a fish scale.
We find these all the time.
We recently found out it is some kind of crab shell.
It's about as big as my hand or maybe a little bigger.
 Washed up puffer fish.
 Another one.
 This fisherman is from Wisconsin.
He caught these Sheepheads off the Jetty.
He says they taste like walleye.
 The Sheepheads look like they have false teeth in.
 This is a Ghost shrimp.
"Ghost shrimp are appropriately named because they are totally transparent.
Despite their shrimp-like appearance,
they are actually more closely related to crabs."
 This is Dave.
He's from Michigan
He reminded me of my grandpa.
He's short and loved the kids.
He showed the kids how to find the Ghost shrimp.
 When the water comes up to shore, as it goes back,
there are holes everywhere
that is where the shrimp are...this tube suctions them up.
The Ghost shrimp are used for bait.
A person needs a fishing license just to use this.
I thought this guy was so cute sitting there with all his bird friends
waiting to see what he catches!

I know that there are opossums in Minnesota,
but it was still fun to see this guy next to the pond by our condo!
 Onto the sand dunes.
There are horses there,
if you park by the horseback riding place!
We never did go because, um, we have 6 kids, and that would 
cost us a small fortune. 
 There are a ton of these hills. ( the dunes)
The sand is the softest sand ever!! 
I dare you to go there and not take off your shoes!
 I let the kiddos run all over the hills
up and down all over the place.
(I'll have to do a separate post just on the dunes, it's so fun!)
The day after we went to the dunes,
I was thanking God it was not sunny when we were there.
someone told me that RATTLESNAKES
live in the dunes and come out on sunny days!
We did NOT see a rattlesnake nor do we plan to.

Well, that's it for now.
I hope you enjoyed some of the animals we've seen.
(We'll be leaving for home in 10 days)


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