Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving and Painted Churches

After a busy couple weeks, it is good to join Carissa again for Miscellany Monday.

During Thanksgiving week, we visited very special friends in College Station, Texas.  One day while there, we traveled south to Schulenburg, "Official Home of the Painted Churches".

The history of this place is so fascinating.  I know I may lose some of you here but I want to share with you a brief background on this place before sharing the churches.

The land on which Schulenburg, Texas currently sits was part of 4428 acres of land owned by a woman named Kesiah Crier back in 1831.  It was granted to her by the Mexican government.  In 1845, she and members of her family began selling some of the plots to early settlers, many of whom were Germans and Czech-Moravians.  Hence, the development of many of the small communities surrounding the once thriving, farming community of Schulenburg, Texas.

We took a self-guided driving tour to see the four painted Catholic churches.


The very small community of Praha is eight miles west of Schulenburg.  It was settled by early Czech-Moravian families in 1854.  In 1895, the present stone church, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was built and dedicated.
The beautiful vaulted ceiling was painted by a famous Swiss artist and has never been repainted.

The Praha church still stands today with its original beauty as a testament to the hard work and memories of its ancestors who lived there.

High Hill 

In September 1860, several families left their homes in Neudeck, Austria to travel to Texas.  When they arrived in November, these "new Texans" traveled to a settlement that is known today as High Hill.  There was no Catholic Church in this wild prairie land at this time, and St. Mary's Catholic Church, as it stands today, is the third church to be built on the original nine acres deeded to the church  in 1868.
 It is a classic example of the Gothic Revival style.  It is a mixture of Victorian and the European background of the German and Czech-Moravian settlers as well.  It is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
 Hand painted marbleizing
 Beautiful stained glass windows
 An example of the stenciling


Ammannsville was settled in 1870 by Andrew Ammann and his family.  After traveling to other Catholic churches for mass for nineteen years, the settlers finally laid the cornerstone in 1890.
However, in 1909, the church, school and some businesses were destroyed by a storm.  They immediately decided to rebuild.
Eight years later their faith was challenged again when the church burned to the foundation.  During the fire, some of the villagers rushed inside the church to carry out some of the statues which now stand and grace the beauty of the present church.
In 1917, a third and the present church was built.

 Inside this simple little church is purely ornamental painting with stenciling, infill, freehand and marbling techniques.  It is said that the wonderful painting was done by a European drifter.
 After looking at all the intricate work throughout, I found this rather crude little angel sketch an interesting contrast - almost like a signature after thought.


This little community, was the first settlement in Texas to be founded entirely by Czech-Moravian families in 1856.
Before the coming of the Czech pioneers, the Dubina area was known as Navidad, but after the immigrants from Europe arrived, it became known as Bohemian Navidad.  Later it was named Dubina by the Czechs because of the many oak trees around.  And although they aren't as large as the stately oaks in Louisiana, they are beautiful and so uncommon in Texas.

This, the Dubina Parish Church was first built in 1877, but after being destroyed by a storm, the present church was built in 1912.
 Outside this tiny church were plants literally covered with butterflys.  They seemed to pose when I focused my camera.
 When was the last time you saw an outhouse?  Aren't these pictures worth a thousand words?

I can't end my Thanksgiving trip without a few pictures of our precious family in Dallas.

Chandler cuddling with best buddy, Sophie
 Emily playing with Ava Grace
 The kitchen is always the gathering place
 Dick and I visit with Chandler and friend, Bradley
 Christy and Cassidy steal a few quiet minutes
 Miscellany Monday @
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Time of Blessings

Blessing of Friendship
Today I attended the funeral of a woman whom I've not known well or for very long.  In fact, I met her about a year ago at a Sunday School luncheon.  However, she made such an impression on me that day, that I immediately felt an unusual endearment toward her.  I called her a friend.  Earlier this year at another luncheon, she told us that she had been diagnosed with cancer.  As her condition worsened, she moved to be near her daughter.  I missed her.  Pat Thorpe was one of the happiest and funniest people I've had the privilege of knowing.  Evidently, she was the most creative teacher to have taught in Caddo Parish, having been awarded Outstanding Teacher many times.  Let me share with you one story she told on herself:

"I drove my little black Volkswagen into the car wash, and then went inside to wait for the waving towel.  Sure enough, in due time, I saw the guy waving his towel so I went out, gave him a little tip, got into the car and drove off.  Down the road a bit I reached over to get something I had left on the front seat and it wasn't there.  I began to look around and realized nothing looked familiar.  All of a sudden, I realized I was driving a Mercedes instead of my Jetta, so I turned around and went back.  When I drove up there was this weird guy running around waving his arms like crazy.

When I got out of the car he ran up and said "Lady, are you crazy, you took my car."  I told him, "I thought it was mine."  He looked at me and said, "Lady, there is about $50,000 difference in our cars!"  I just shrugged and said, "Well, it was black!"

That was Pat Thorpe.  We will miss you!

Blessed to Give
 Only a few months ago, this precious little James was homeless in Uganda, with nothing to call his own, and now he is excited to share his "shoe box" with another little one who has nothing.  Thank you God for blessing so that we might be a blessing.

Blessed to Receive
 Chris and Starr have been blessed to receive this beautiful little Ugandan daughter for whom they have waited so long.   They got to meet her this week.  This little one has no idea of the love in store for her..

Bless Your People
Israel at War
May we pray for the protection and peace of Israel as they are being fired upon this very hour.
 Lord protect your people, your land, and demonstrate your mighty miraculous power.

Thank you for Your Blessings!
May your Thanksgiving be a day full of God's richest blessings as you give Him Thanks 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Miscellany Monday - Glenwood Village Tea Room

I am so excited about this post today and thank you Carissa for Miscellany Monday.

This is a post I have been looking forward to doing for several weeks.  Since Sunday was Veteran's Day, this is the perfect time to introduce to you a veteran and true patriot. 
Sharon McCullar

When the Lord gave me the title, "Beauty Without Within" for my presentations years ago, I think He must have had Sharon McCullar in mind.
Sharon is without a doubt a beautiful lady on the outside as you will see below.  She is 100% feminine, loves makeup, curls, pink, lace and frills and is seldom without her pearls.
But, her true beauty comes from within.
Let me share with you some interesting things about this pretty veteran.
She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and joined the USAF at the age of 18.  She had a very interesting tour of duty while serving in Japan, Philippines, Burma and Thailand.  She was stationed at Korat AFB during the evacuation of Saigon and had to be air lifted out during the Thai Student Rebellion.
After spending her last six months of enlistment in Fort Worth, Texas, she had fallen in love with the south and decided to make it her new home.  Once discharged, she attended Texas Tech University for two years, then Texas Christian University and University of Texas in Arlington.
She studied Home Economics, Interior Design, Business Management and Food Science.
She was married 15 years before being divorced.  Her true pride and joy are her two sons, Ben and John who are both currently serving in USMC - Scout Sniper and Marine Special Operations.

Sharon has owned and operated The Glenwood Village Tearoom for 25 years.
Sharon established the Tea Party movement in Shreveport/Bossier along with 9 other patriots.
Two years ago, Sharon rededicated her life to Christ and this is the source of her radiant beauty.

I met Sharon about a year ago when we joined First Baptist Shreveport.  She hosts our monthly Sunday School lady's gathering at her Tea Room.  The food is as delicious and beautifully presented as the fellowship is sweet.  Should you plan to visit, you must end your meal with one her specialty scones.  The best you will find!
Come go inside with me!
What else would you expect to find in a Tea Room Gift Shop other than tea sets?  You will certainly find some beautiful sets, but there is so much more to be seen.  Sharon has created so many little vignettes that capture and hold the eye.

 Her office.  I think I could work here, don't you?
Thank you Sharon, for your service, for your inspiration, and for your beauty without and within.