"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘nature’

The butterfly chase

Our first field trip of the school year was to the Museum of Natural Science.  We started with a picnic, of course—the unwritten rule of field trips in our family!

While there, the girls and I explored the Butterfly Center.

The combination of exotic plants and beautiful butterflies made it a dream world for Addison. I think she would happily have moved right in!

Her goal to be landed on was achieved not once…

….not twice…

…but three different times, which made for a very happy Addy.

These photos—not cropped at all—show how closely we were able to view so many gorgeous varieties of butterflies:

I am so thankful we live in a place with lots of fun, educational opportunities.

I’m looking forward to more fun field trips throughout the year, so here’s my question for you: What were your favorite field trips when you were in school? Which outings do you fondly remember taking, and where did you always wish you could have gone?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wild change of plans

Sometimes things just don’t go the way we plan—and for some of us, that’s hard to stomach. But this past weekend was a perfect reminder that even when our plans go astray, the outcome can still be spectacular!

It was supposed to be a family weekend, but at the last minute Troy ended up having to stay behind due to a work-related situation.  I piled all the kids into the SUV and we took off on our own, determined to make the best of our time, even without him along. Within two minutes—and I mean literally, within two minutes on the road—the rain began to pour down, and it continued for almost the entire trip.

Our friend, Cindy, had invited us to stay at her bed-and-breakfast. We arrived in the dark, in the pouring rain, via a circuitous route (compliments of our practical-joke-loving GPS), but at least we were safely there.

The next morning, it became clear that the rain which had made traveling so crazy was also responsible for the incredible smell coming from all the gorgeous, dripping plants around the property.

The place was beautiful and Cindy made us feel right at home. We had this whole wing to ourselves:

What a gift! (Thank you, Cindy!) She also blessed us with some incredible breakfasts.

Even though we weren’t able to do some of the things we’d planned for that day, we all still had a great time together.

Changed plans reigned again the next day as the weather made our original itinerary impossible, but the happy result was that we were able to spend the whole day with my brother and with Cindy and her son, doing some really cool things like visiting this place:

It was one of those drive-through safaris where you get to be up close and personal with lots of different wildlife, feeding them and laughing hysterically when they stick their heads right in through your open window to say hello! The weather was perfect, and the day with family and friends was better than anything we could have planned.

Here’s a small sampling of the animals we enjoyed. (Note that I was using a camera with very little zoom. They were just this close!)

This one was so sweet. It looked exactly like he was wearing a toupee!

We started lining the food pellets up on the windowsills for a closer view.

Addy was riding in this car in front of us, so we got to watch her feeding the animals…

…and hear her laugh and scream whenever they got too close…

Ever feel like you’re being followed? At one point I looked up into my rear-view mirror, and here’s what I saw:

After our drive and some lunch, we headed over to the petting area, where the girls became quite enamored of the little goats.

As you can see, this one especially loved snacking on Remi’s skirt.

Addy’s shirt must have been pretty tasty, too.

I thought all the lemurs were cute…

…but this one cracked me up! Just kickin’ back…

My bird lover was overjoyed to get her hands on a colorful feather from the macaw cages.

At the end of the day, Uncle Kyle gave all the kiddos coins so they could each choose an animal and press a souvenir penny. They took this very seriously…

Thanks for coming along to see what made me smile this weekend. I hope you’re smiling, too! (If not, check this funny guy out. I’m quite certain God has a hilarious sense of humor!)

Thanks for stopping by.

Celebrating twenty in tranquility

Twenty years. I still can’t believe we’ve been married for twenty years.

As much as we love our kiddos, we knew this called for a celebration without them, so we left all four of them with their grandparents and headed to Lake Whitney to celebrate in peace and quiet…just the two of us, and God, and nature. As expected, the trip flew by in a moment. Come along for a little peek at how we spent our time…

We sat around our campfire having long, uninterrupted conversations. We looked up at the stars and tried to find and name the constellations. We relaxed in a hammock hung between the trees. We picnicked among squirrels and wildflowers.

We spent LOTS of time fishing. We fished from the rocky bluff right behind our campsite…

and from our kayaks…

and from places all along the shore.

(Did you notice the little rainbow just below his reel?)

We seined together for bait (which was unsuccessful, but fun).  Troy threw out the cast net hoping for bait, and actually caught several good-sized fish in it.


We both did lots of wading, too.

Silly as it may sound, watching our bobbers floating side by side created a feeling of happy contentment. Very. Very. Relaxing.

Of course, actually catching  fish is just the icing on the cake…

I caught this guy just before midnight our last night there. Night fishing rocks!

We both LOVE to hike and rarely get to do it, but on this trip we enjoyed hiking several trails together…

and taking lots of walks…

and quiet strolls around the lake.

We continued our uninterrupted conversations and enjoyed lots of peace and quiet. Most of the time, all we could hear were things like the wind rustling through the leaves…

and crickets chirping overhead…

and water lapping against the rocks…

and birds singing in the trees…

and our campfire crackling.

(Did I mention we were able to have lots of uninterrupted conversations? NICE.)

Oh, and I sure loved waking up to this beautiful sight…

I also loved that just at the edge of our campsite, this little trail led right to a rocky bluff overlooking “our” part of the lake…

One of my favorite memories of the trip was taking our chairs out to the bluff to watch the sun go down. We turned a bucket upside down to hold our big jug of sweet tea and while we talked (uninterrupted), we were blessed with this for our view:

Troy found these HUGE marsmallows for us to roast…

and they made for some enormous s’mores.

We also roasted jalepeno-cheese sausages to put on buns for our lunch…

and ate Frito pie by firelight and moonlight.

We saw some AMAZING sunsets.

On the first night of our trip, I was sneaking past my sleeping husband to go out for a drink of water. I had my hand on the tent zipper when I saw the shadow of the hefty raccoon that walked right by our tent and started exploring  the area around our picnic table. (Yes, of COURSE I woke Troy up to scare it away!) We saw lots of deer, wild turkey, raccoons, birds, armadillos, squirrels, snakes, and rabbits.

The sunsets, the  lake, the wildlife, the stars…..They all reminded us that our God is The Great Artist.

Even some parts of the trip that weren’t perfect were pretty much perfect. One night there was a magnificent thunderstorm. (Remember, we were in a tent!) We ran to our vehicle in the middle of the night….Our intention was to keep safe, of course, but we ended up driving out to the end of a peninsula where we were able to watch a “show” better than any we’ve ever paid to see.  And, we were the only ones at this drive-in!

I guess the same (imperfect=perfect) could be said about marriage. These last twenty years haven’t been perfect. They haven’t always been easy. But, they’ve definitely been worth it! I thank God for blessing our marriage, our family, our lives together. I thank all of you who have served as our role models. I thank Troy for hanging in there with me for twenty whole years, and I’m looking forward to the next twenty.

Thanks for coming along to check out our trip. Here’s one last photo for you, of something only God can do:

Thanks for stopping by!

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