Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Touring the Hill Country in Texas

We had such a great time on Monday.  Took a drive for about 4 hours.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery gorgeous and saw some interesting activities.  Hope you enjoy our drive through the Hill Country of Texas.

The sign on the front says "Waiting Station" -it is on the outskirts of Uvalde.

Made Ron drive around the block twice so I could get this is a May pole with different tea kettles.  Bet it looks good full of flowers.

John Nance Garner, Vice-president with President FDR.  He is buried in his home town of Uvalde.  One thing we found interesting, he died when he was 99 and his son died 11 months after him.  Garner's wife pre-deceased him by almost 25 years.

One of many beautiful homes we saw on our drive.

This one was built with different rockery.  To the right and in back there is a tree house just like it.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Uvalde.

Another view of the church.  The stained glass windows were gorgeous.

And they like their trees in Uvalde.  This one was in the middle of the road!

A close up of the tree in the road.

One of many beautiful gated entrances on our drive.

A group of buzzards/vultures.  They are huge!!!
Saw a small herd of dear in someone's yard.

Thought this was a great sign.  We decided we didn't want to go up their drive.

Another beautiful entry way.

This bull was right by the road next to this sign (a close up is below).  He stood perfectly still

One of many crosses we saw along our ride.  Many of them have bouquets of flowers placed by them.

Another gated entrance.

Don't know if you can see the horse/mule on the post. 

These mules were behind the fence of the above entrance.  They cane right up to the gate.  I thought of trying to pet one but changed my mind when I saw their teeth...big and lots of them.

Another beautiful cow.

One of the large homes behind those gated entrances.

We cracked up when we saw this sign on a back road.  We never thought of renting our pigs out...we just sold them.

A big eagle...the first one we have seen in a long time.

Look at those horns....maybe we should get a set and put them on the front of the motor home.  What do you think?

Another beautiful long horn.
A sign at the end of a private road.  We have seen many beautiful signs by gated entrances.

A garden scene by a driveway entrance...there was another one just like it on the other side of the drive way.

I thought these were bluebonnets but Ron said no, because they were purple.  Not sure what they are but I wouldn't mind having these growing in my yard ... that is if I had one.
Hope you enjoyed are drive today.

Wild Hog Festival - Sabinal, TX ~~ 3/27/2011

Isn't this guy just the cutest!!!
What a fun time we had in Sabinal, TX for the Wild Hog Festival.  Had deep fried mushrooms and a BBQ pork sandwich.  And shared sweet tea and lemonade.

The mushrooms tasted great but were pretty pricey.

Ron showing off his new hat....pretty dashing I say.

Just lovin these wild hogs.

Sat next to a family that had four members of their group participating in the Catch a Wild Hog contests. The contestants (two to a team)  have to corner, catch and put the hog into a burlap bag and then drag it across the line.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Aren't these babies cute?

And this one was our favorite!!!

All the little kids who grabbed or touched a wild baby hog.

Another view of the kids who were busy trying to catch a wild baby hog.

And this is Jacob showing off his blue ribbon!

These two boys won their division.
A mom and her son-in-law trying to get that darn hog into the burlap bag.

And this is Cassidy & Alexa...they won 2nd place in their division.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ramblin' Thoughts

Want to write, just don't know where to start.  

First off I want to say thank you for all the thoughts and prayers when I was sick earlier this week.  I had decided Wednesday night if I was not feeling better by Thursday morning I would be making that fateful trip to the ER.  I know lots of prayers were said because I felt so much better Thursday morning.  Each day I am feeling a little better and for that I am so thankful.  I still have the cough but my chest does not hurt and I am sleeping well at night.

Today has been a day of mixed emotions.  We found out early this morning that one of our community members here at Lone Star Corral passed away.  Mae was 89 and a very sweet lady. She had not been feeling well and went to the hospital on Monday evening.  Late Wednesday evening she was transferred to ICU and very early this morning she went home to be with Jesus.  Once we heard the news Ron went and put the park's flags at half staff.  They will stay that way until her memorial service.  Mae was a sweet lady.  She always came in to the office to say hi and see how we were doing.  She was one of the ones who had really made us feel welcome here.  I didn't know her very well but I will miss her morning greetings.

I can't say enough how much we are enjoying it here in Texas.  Though I do miss seeing our kids and grandkids and all our friends.  We have been able to Skype a couple of times with Brandon and his family and that is always fun.   The other night when we Skyped as soon as Christopher got on the computer he wanted to talk to his Grandpa.  What am I chopped liver???  It was fun to listen to Grandpa and Christopher talking.  Christopher wanted a kiss so Grandpa kissed the camera and Christopher just giggled and giggled.  He has the sweetest little laugh.  Then we talked to Max for awhile.  We are excited as he is coming to spend a couple of weeks with us this summer.  We gave him an assignment.  He has to find 10 things to do within a 100 mile radius of D'Hanis, TX.  And then he has to email us his list by June 1st.  We told him we weren't promising to do all 10 but it would give us an idea of what he would like to do.  

We know we are going to go to the Alamo and the Riverwalk in San Antonio and hopefully to a rodeo in Banderra (there are three scheduled to happen while he is here).  Not sure what else we will be doing but we know it will be fun.

Tomorrow we are going into Sabinal (about 12 miles from here) for the Wild Hog Festival.  I have the camera on the charger so will definitely be writing a post about that on Wandering Workentins.

I just looked outside and the sky is beautiful this evening.  There are streaks of light orange with blue.  As I look out the window of the motor home the view is framed by two big oak trees, at least I think they are oak trees, full of lush green leaves.  It is a serene, peaceful picture.

I am missing writing but I just can't think of what to write about.  If you have any questions or ideas please don't hesitate to share them with me.

Wishing you each a great day!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Texas ~ One Month Today!

Can't believe it was just one month ago today we pulled into the Lone Star Corral.  On one hand it seems like we just got here and on the other it feels like this has been our life for quite awhile.

We are asked often how we are doing?  We are doing great ~ other than me being sick right now.  We are really liking our jobs.  No two days are ever the same.  Yet we are pretty much getting into a routine.  Our work days usually start between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m.  I have been able to have my quiet time with the Lord.  Right now I am doing a Bible study on James with a group of women called "Good Morning Girls."  We connect via Facebook each day.  I think I am the only one without young children at home.  

By the time I am done with my quiet time, Ron is up and getting ready for work.  We then have breakfast and spend about 20 minutes on the computer checking emails, Facebook or blogs.  Then we walk to work.  It is all of 25'.  We each have things that need to be done each morning.  Ron goes and reads the water meters and drives through the park checking to make sure that things are well in the park.  I get the file drawers unlocked, get the till ready for the day, check work emails, check the calendar to see if there is something specific that needs to be done that day and open the office window.  Ready for business.   Throughout the morning I answer the phone, work on projects and visit with different residents and guests as they come into the office.

And then it is lunch time.  We close the office window from Noon to 2:00 p.m.  We take lunch from Noon to 1:00 p.m.  Sometimes we make a run to the post office or the bank at lunch.  After lunch we head back to work.  Me in the office and Ron around the property.  Some of the projects Ron has worked on is organizing the different sheds, cleaning out the Manager's shed so we could put our stuff in it.  He has done some plumbing, mowed lawns, and checked for a water leak.  Ron says working here at the park is like working at our own place ~ making sure that everything is in working order, doing yard work, making sure the tools, lawnmowers, and the tractor are in working order.  He is definitely enjoying himself.  Yesterday he was mowing lawns and one of the gals came in and I mentioned I had been trying to reach Ron on the radio.  Judy said he was out mowing the lawn and had the biggest smile on his face.  Yes, I would say he is enjoying his work.

My time in the office in the afternoon is more of the same from in the morning.  Yesterday one of my projects was to organize some of the files.  I ran out of hanging file folders so that project is on hold till Tuesday once my order from Office Depot comes in.  I am enjoying my work in the office and figuring out where things are and where they go.

When we first started here at Lone Star Corral we decided we wanted Sunday & Monday as our days off.  But we are finding out that a lot things happen on Saturday's in the neighboring communities and not so much on Sunday's so beginning April 9th & 10th we will be taking Saturday & Sunday's off. 

We continue to look for a church to attend while here.  We know we will find right where the Lord want's us.  And that it will take time...patience, something I am not very good at. We are making friends here and that is good.  We were invited to play Mexican train last night but I was not feeling very well.  I was thinking it was allergies but now believe I just have a bad cold.  I am coughing, wheezing and just feel plain crummy.  So today we are laying low.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for me.  Guess that's all for now.

Not Feeling Well

I don't feel very well today.  I thought it was allergy issues but this morning I think it is a bad cold.  Hopefully it won't turn into bronchitis. 

I started coughing the raspy cough yesterday and this morning I am wheezing along with coughing.  I just feel kinda crummy.  Last night I took Nyquil and some generic allergy medicine and went to bed before 7:30 p.m.  I woke up a little after midnight for a few minutes and then went right back to sleep.  Woke up in the night a couple more times from coughing. 

Got up this morning and made some chicken noodle soup.  It sure felt good going down my throat.

I hate being sick.   What can I is no fun being sick.  I want to write but can't even think of what to write about so I think I will go back to bed and sleep some more.  Maybe I will wake up feeling better.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Good morning.  Sorry I have been absent the last few days.  The time change really takes its toll on me.  And I have been struggling with a few things.  I will share more at the end but first, God's word this mornings says to me "don't make all these plans that I am going to do this or that but instead say I will go and do that what is God's will."  So often I get BUSY doing what I want or think I NEED to be doing when actually what I need to be doing is spending time in the word and BEING in and with the Lord

I identify with some of my Bible study girlfriends when they say they read the word and then quickly move on and forget what I have read or even prayed just five minutes ago.  And then when I can't remember I start to beat myself up and asking myself am I really a Christian or am I just putting on a show and then that starts me spiraling down and down into a depression.  Not a good thing at all.  Right now I am just reminding myself daily that I am a daughter of the King and that i love the Lord and that I need to be as gracious with myself as I am with and to others.  Extending mercy to myself as I extend it to others.

I am struggling right now with a couple of things.  I so miss being at our home church.  I feel discomboomerated and disconnected even though we have been going to different churches.  I am tired of being the guest I want to be part of the family.  And I am missing my best friend.  I want to be able to go out and have coffee or lunch and just laugh and talk and just be with her.  I KNOW it takes time to meet new people, to make friends and we are slowly doing that here at the park...but as Ron and I talked Sunday afternoon as we were out for a drive that we need more than just go to work and come back to the motor home...we need to connect with people outside of the work environment.  And I have Skyped with a couple of friends and that helps but I really MISS my best friend.  I know I need to make some friends here.  No one will replace my best friend but I need to make some new friends.

And we did a little of that Monday afternoon when we sat with four other couples for oven an hour chatting about different things.  We laughed and shared stories and that was good.  And then last night we joined a group from here at Lone Star Corral at Pizza Hut for dinner $6 per person for all you can eat & pop.  We visited with two couples for about an hour.  It was fun and I did feel better connected.  I also KNOW I need to be patient with myself.  We haven't even been here a month yet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our First Three Weeks at Lone Star Corral in PICTURES

Thought some of you would like to see some of the things we have seen since our arrival here in D'Hanis, Texas.  For ease in showing you the pictures I have put them into collages.  Let me know what you think of collages vs individual pictures.
Let's begin with this one.
1.  Ron busy at work in the office.
2.  The view from our home here at Lone Star Corral.
3.  We have never seen a pickle packaged like this - tasted great!!
4. & 5. Are of a little town we came across on our way home from San Antonio last week.  The "clubhouse" is a little brick building.  We can say we have never seen quite a clubhouse like this.
And this is D'Hanis State Bank.  The bank building was built in 1906 and became the bank in 1925 and has been in this spot since.  Inside there is a deer hanging on the wall.  The vault that is still used today is the same vault that was built in 1925 just with some added security measures.  The tellers actually sit behind the barred window openings.  Ron told me not to take any pictures because people get quirky when people "case" the joint.  So I asked and the tellers said go ahead, everyone new does. 
Opening an account at this bank was quite interesting.  Everything is done by paper, no, nope, no computers.  The bank closes at 4:30 p.m. so that one of the tellers can take the days transactions to Hondo (7 miles away) so that everything can be inputted into the computer system.  When I asked for some temporary checks I was handed 5 green checks that look like play checks.  I used them to pay some bills ~ sure hope they go through.

One evening we had blogging friends Don & Pidge join us in D'Hanis at Bill & Rosa's Cafe.  We were all amazed at the size of the soda pop's that arrived.  No refills needed here.

The inside of Bill & Rosa's Cafe.  On Saturday and Sunday they have different musicians come in to play & sing.  It is quite the fun place to go and spend time eating & visiting.

After working all week we joined Jerry & Jane in Dunlay, TX for a fish dinner.  Ron had catfish (that I snuck a few bites of) with fries and Texas green  beans.  He said they were pretty tasty.  I had cod & prawns with a baked potato and a green salad.  We arrived at Dunlay Market & Seafood Restaurant about 6:00 p.m. and left just before the restaurant closed at 10:00 p.m.  We laughed so hard at time I had tears running down my cheeks.  We look forward to getting together with Jerry & Jane as well as many other residents at Lone Star Corral.

We are enjoying our jobs here in D'Hanis and are getting into a schedule of sorts.  Each week I set our alarm for 15 minutes earlier than the week before.  We are wanting to get up at 6:00 a.m. so that I have time for my devotions & time with the Lord as well as get an half hour walk in before getting ready to go to work.  This week the alarm will be set for 6:15 a.m.  One more week and we will be getting back to our walking schedule.

Today we attended First Baptist Church of Hondo again.  It was a great service.  The sermon this week was about the same thing we heard last week at Church on the Hill.  You can read our observations and reflections of our first visits to both churches here.  But boy was the sermon today different from last week.  No theatrics just basic Bible teaching that we are heirs of the Lord.  And He loves us just for us, just as we are, just as He made us.

Next week we will be attending First Christian Church of Sebinal with Mike & Norma from here at Lone Star Corral.  We look forward to checking out another congregation here in the area.

Tomorrow we are having a stay-at-home day.  We need to do some cleaning, reorganizing, and the never ending job of laundry :)  Also need to get some stuff in the mail for an upcoming birthday boy as well as make some banana bread.  Bananas don't last but about a day here in the heat...will have to figure out what other fruit to eat that will last a little longer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our First 4 Months Together....

As I get ready to write this I need to preface this with a little history of me.  I was raised by a single mom who was very strong willed and did not teach me tactfulness...that being goes:

In Spring of 1975 we (my mom, younger sister and I along with my Grandpa) were living in Indio, CA (near Palm Springs).  In March of that year Mom announced she and Joanie (my little sister) were moving to Las Vegas.  She was leaving her job as Manager of the local bowling alley.  I late found out the bowling alley had been bought by a new company and she didn't want to deal with the new owners.  I told her I did not want to move...I was in the last semester of high school.  I was in the top 25 of over 500 students.  I was head majorette and I was trying to get into the University of Maryland in Baltimore.  I had too much too lose if I moved.  So I talked to my Grandpa and to my French teacher.  Both said I could stay with them so I could graduate with my class.  Yippee!!!

Fast forward four months.  I graduated #25 out of 529 students with a 4.0 GPA on a Friday night, June 6th.  On Sunday, June 8th I moved to Las Vegas with my mom and little sister.  The first two things on my agenda was to find a church (I had accepted the Lord in May, just  a few weeks before I graduated) and to find a job.  I found a job right away at Lerner's Dress Shop at the local mall (this is important information for later in the story).  Now I just needed to find a church.

Remember I am 17 years old, been practically living on my own for the last four months.  So I called a Baptist church I found in the phone book.  I spoke with Linda, the pastor's wife, and asked her if there were any young guys that went to her church.  She immediately replied "young lady you need to go to church for the Lord not for guys." And I promptly replied, "you are right but the Lord won't put me in a church where there aren't any guys."  Linda said "there are three: a 17 year old, a 19 year old and a 21 year old."  Okay, now so I made plans to attend on Sunday, June 22nd.  The story as I tell it is: the 17 year old was too young, the 21 year old walked in with a gal on his arm, and Ron was the leftover :) (he was the 19 year old).

He said hi to me that morning and then again that evening at the evening service.  I was then invited over to the pastor's house for some fellowship with the young people.  Tammy, the pastor's daughter, asked me my phone number.  I told her.  Ron memorized it.  We visited a little at the pastors house.  Then we went to our separate homes.  What I later found out was that Ron wrote his Dad a letter that night and told him that he had met the girl he was going to marry!!!!!

About a week and a half later Ron got a letter from him mom asking all sorts of questions about me.  In fact, 26 questions!  And me being me, not very tactful I sat down and answered every single question and ended the letter saying "the next time you have a question about me, ask me."  Needless to say we did not hit it off at the beginning of our relationship.

On July 20th Ron and I went on a picnic.  One of the things we talked about was Ron going on a visit to Washington to see family and friends.  He asked me if I wanted to go along.  I said sure!!! but one problem, I wouldn't go on a trip like that unless we were married.  Ron got very quiet and changed the subject.  The next day, July 21, 1975 Ron proposed to me.  I was so excited and yet scared wondering what my mom would say.  So we didn't tell anyone.  That is till the Monday of Labor Day weekend.

I was getting ready for work and my mom asked me if Ron and I had talked about getting married.  I quickly said no.  She then asked me if I loved him.  I replied no.  And went to work.  As soon as I got to the mall I went to Sees Candies where Ron was working a part-time job.  I walked up to the counter and told him we need to talk SOON!  When he got a break he came down to Lerners and I took a break so we could tell.  I told him about the conversation with my mom and that we needed to talk to her.  I don't lie and lying to my mom was just wrong.  He said okay.  So I called my step-dad and asked him to tell mom to come home right after work.  She got off work at 11:00 p.m.  She did not get home till 2:00 a.m.  I was sleeping on the couch and Ron was sleeping on the floor.  When she came in she asked what was up.  I told her that I had lied to her earlier in the day.  That in fact I did love Ron and Ron loved me and we were getting married on Dec. 20th.  She asked the dumbest question: Well I want to know are you going to love each other when you are old and gray?  We both laughed and said yes and she said OK.  So all was good and Ron left to go home.  He had to be at work at 7:00 a.m.

Immediately after Ron left mom went into her bedroom and yelled Margaret Alice Nelson, get your a** in here now.  Now I knew I was in trouble ~ big time.  She wanted to know why we had not told her earlier.  I said I was afraid of her reaction because of how she had reacted when Kathy had to get married.  She said that was different and it really was.  And then she said I could marry Ron but I needed to remember two things.  One that no matter how tough it got in our marriage I was not going to be allowed to come home and live.  And then she said it again in plain old English : you make your bed, you sleep in it.  And then she hugged me.

Like any 17 year old I was giddy with happiness and super excited.  So I wrote "our wedding day" on the calendar and then counted backwards to see how many days till the big day.  We also decided to tell Ron's parents when they arrived in Las Vegas.  A week and a half later Ron's family arrived.     As they say "whoever they is" the best laid plans.....we had talked that we would tell them over dinner.  Well they went to Ron's apartment and member of Ron's family started snooped looked around and saw what I had written on the calendar.  So we didn't even get to share the news.  Lots of things then happened. 

1.  Ron's mom said we should have told her because now they had to make two trips to Las Vegas.  Oh well.
2.  I got my first taste in how cheap frugal Ron's mom was.  She did not want to spend money going out to eat while they were in Las Vegas (one week).  So Ron and the family came to Lerners and walked through the store (I had not met them yet) and I just kinda looked at them like I should When I got my break I went to Sees and was introduced to the family.  I can't say I felt all warm & fuzzy all over at that first meeting.  Anne (Ron's mom) asked me what color dishes and cookware I wanted.  The only thing that came to mind was avocado green!  Our first set of dishes was melmac avocado green with brown mushrooms and avocado green cookware.  We still had some of those plates and one pan when we gave away our 16' travel trailer in 2005.  The dishes and the pans went with the trailer.  That was thirty years we had those.  They sure don't make dishes and cookware like that any more.

I could share more but this post is plenty long for now.  I will continue this saga in the next post.

Got any questions...ask away and I will try to answer them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coming Out of Hiding

Sorry I have not been posting much.  Getting used to regular work hours, keeping a schedule and trying to keep organized has kept me busy and tired.

Last week I got up at 6:45 each morning to have my quiet time, eat breakfast and get ready for work.  We leave our cozy home at 7:55 each morning to walk the 20 or so steps to the office. (I promise to get pictures and to post them soon).  We get lunch from 12 to 1 or there abouts.  Yesterday it was 12:15 to 1:15 but we get an hour for lunch which is nice.  We return to the motor home and make lunch.  Some days it is a sandwich and fruit or left overs or soup - we don't go out for lunch ~~~ yeah not spending money!  Before we return to work for the afternoon we close the afternoon blinds on the passenger side of the motor home to keep the hot afternoon sun out of the motor home.  A couple of days we have turned the fan on as well to keep the air moving and somewhat cool in here.  And then we return to work till 5:00.  We have had to work over 15 minutes twice and that was to park a guest coming into the park.  Which is no big deal as we are paid for all our time we work.

Our evening usually spending about an half hour to an hour just relaxing watching the news and checking our emails ~ not really thinking of much.  Then we make dinner.  We have worked out a pretty sweet deal ~ whoever makes dinner doesn't do the dishes that evening.  Usually I am the one making dinner though Ron cooks a couple of times a week.  One of the things I am trying to do is get organized and back into planning our meals and using our crockpot more often.  A couple of times I have wished that I still had our breadmaker because fresh bread would go well with some of the things I have fixed.  Hmmm...maybe Ron will get the hint when he reads this post and we can look for a breadmaker at a thrift store when we are out exploring the area.

After dinner we have done laundry or spent time on the computers veging and watching TV and/or Skyping with family or friends.  A funny story about Skyping with Brandon and his family.  Christopher was talking to us and could see us on the computer screen.  He kept trying to hand Grandpa the microphone and couldn't figure out come Grandpa could not grab the microphone.  It was quite funny.  He kissed his fingers and put his fingers on the computer screen and we put our fingers up towards ours so we could share kisses.    We are thankful for the technology to be able to see and talk to our kids and grandkids so easily and conveniently.  If you want to Skype with us you can reach us at ali.workentin.  The best time to Skype is around 5:30 p.m. our time.  Remember we are 2 hours ahead of Pacific Time. 

We talked this weekend that we need to get out and start meeting the people in the park so we can make friends.  Don't get me wrong, we have met lots of people here but we have always been working ~ we need to do some socializing and making friends. 

We are missing the fellowshipping with our church family though we are attending and checking out churches in the area.  You can read about my blog post here on the first two churches we have attended. 

Last Monday we made a trip to San Antonio, not to do any sightseeing but to do some shopping.  First thing on our agenda was to open new bank accounts in D'Hanis so we can cash our paychecks.  Then we were off to San Antonio and H.E.B. Plus and Costco.  H.E.B. Plus is like a Super Wal-Mart with more groceries and less clothing but about the same size.  And then we went to Costco.  First up was lunch ~ we like the Polish Dogs and that is our special treat to ourselves when we go grocery shopping.  And boy did we go grocery shopping.  It was the first time in who knows how long that we were able to just buy the groceries we wanted and not worry about did we have enough money.  Thank you LORD for our new jobs and the regular paychecks we are now getting!!!!

And then we took the scenic way back to D'Hanis.  It took us about 2 1/2 hours to drive 49 miles.  We found a cool little town, Helinotes, with a couple of antique shops, a glitzy/glam shop where I found a couple of cute gifts for some of the girls in our family.  We also found some Easter gifts for those special grandchildren of ours.  We enjoy going on drives and are looking forward to some more day trips in the near future.

That catches you up to how our days go around here.  Will write again soon.

Two Churches ~ Two Very Different Services

One of the things that is important to Ron & I is being able to fellowship with other believers as well as be fed God's word.  So we have started looking for a local fellowship to participate in while we are here in Texas.  On Saturday we drove around Hondo checking out where different churches were located.  We stopped at First Baptist Church as there were some cars parked out front.  I went in and met Alan & Yvonne.  Told them we were new to the area and were thinking of checking out their church.  I was told the service starts at 10:45 (found out on Sunday it starts at 11:00) and that there would be a potluck following the service and to please plan to attend.  So our first Sunday off we went to First Baptist Church of Hondo.

FBC of Hondo was a very typical Baptist church.  They have Sunday School the first hour followed by the worship service.  We attended the worship service.  They had a choir that opened the service with a hymn.  Right now they have an interim pastor while they look for a new pastor.  I was told by the previous pastor (we had emailed back and forth before our arriving here) that he left on good terms after being there for over seven years.  Continuing with the service we were led in singing a couple of hymns (we like hymns) and then a special time of singing lots of Sunday School songs.  The reason for the special songs was because the church was celebrating those who turn 90 and 100 this year.  We were amazed as there were 8 or 9 people celebrating those special birthdays.  After the singing there were announcements, taking of the offering and then the interim pastor brought the message.  It was a good sermon on relationships.  Our relationship with the Lord as well as our relationships with those we interact with each day.  The service closed with another hymn and an altar call, something very common in a Baptist church.  We felt very welcomed before the service and during the meet/greet time.

After the service ended the Pastoral Search Committee came forward and said they had chosen a man and his family to come and candidate to be their new pastor.  They are coming on 3/13.  And then we were excused to attend the potluck.  As typical with most church potlucks there was plenty of food.  What was disheartening was that no one spoke to us until we were almost finished eating.  We had tried to sit at 3 different tables but were told each time that those seats were taken.  So we sat by ourselves which was very uncomfortable.  Just as we finished eating a woman came to our table and visited with us for about 5 minutes and then excused herself. 

The service was good and we will attend on 3/13 to meet the couple who are canidating, stay for the potluck and the Q&A time with the canidating couple.  If FBC is where we feel the Lord is leading us we feel we should know, as much as we can, the new pastoral couple.  We don't know if that is where we will land.  One concern I have is that it is a huge church 350+ people attend.  I don't want to just be a pew warmer (yes they have pews) or get lost in the crowd.

Then last Sunday we went to Church on the Hill.   When we pulled into the parking lot about 5 minutes before the service was due to start lots of cars were leaving.  We got out of the car and Ron asked a young man (later found out he is the Youth Pastor) had we missed the service.  Nope, it was being held at Hondo Park #1.  So we followed him to the park.  There were about 80 people there.  Steven, the Youth Pastor introduced us to the pastor, Alfonso who in turn introduced us to his wife and a few other people. 

We expected the service to be a little laid back as it was being held in the park but we were not ready for dancing during the praise time and we only knew one of the songs of about six that were sang (none were hymns).  We took Communion as a group and Alfonso shared from scriptures that we are very familiar with which made us feel good.  We want to attend where the preaching is from the Bible.  And then they took the offering ~ that was very different.  Alfonso went into this long speel about "returning the tithe not giving of tithes."  It was confusing to me.  Not sure if it is just skemantics in my brain or not.   And then they put a small table where the altar would be with a basket on it.  And then the pastor and his wife stood in front of the basket, held the envelope (they passed out envelopes for all the money to be put in them ~ we did not take an envelope so I don't know what information was asked for) and then prayed together.  And then the rest of the congregation lined up and family by family unit went up and did the same thing.  It seemed very awkward to us as we were the only ones that did not go up, hold up an envelope and pray.

Then the pastor said the Lord told him this week that First Lady (that's what he calls his wife, introduced us to her as Sheila) was to bring the message.  And she did.  For almost an hour.  She did preach from the Bible.  The sermon was on we are God's precious child and He wants the best for us.  We are special and important to Him.  And she preached a lot about health/wealth - pray and God will give abundantly to us, we will not want for anything including healthy bodies without sickness... RED flag for us. 

After the service we were invited to stay for their potluck.  The first Sunday of each month is Family Sunday and they have a meal following the service.  Everyone was very welcoming to us, escorting us to the front of the line where people were getting their plates/silverware and we sat with a couple across from us and another one beside us.  And we visited for a little while.

As we got in the car to drive away we acknowledged we felt very welcome there but we were both uncomfortable during the service and then in reading their bulletin that one of their beliefs is as a confirmation of your salvation you speak in tongues ~ we do not believe that is true for every person.  Yes God can give the gift of speaking in tongues but we don't believe every person has to speak in tongues.  And the dancing/singing and outbursts throughout the whole service was uncomfortable to both of us.

This next week we will be going back to FBC to hear the canidating couple preach and answer questions and we will once again stay for the potluck - we will see if we are made to feel welcome then.

I will write another update about checking out churches after Sunday's  visit at FBC.

I hope what I have written as not offended anyone, that was not my intention but to write about the two churches we have attended.

Talk to you all again soon.