Road Trippin’ – Schulenburg, Tx

Facebook post June 17, 2017……

I heard the organ from outside…….
I entered the church and heard singing; thinking how nice to have a recording for visitors.
I stood at the alter and listened for several minutes, thinking I was alone…..
I turned to leave……
The Father of the church was singing in the balcony of this historical church.
The most beautiful, acoustic sound.
It was an emotional experience for me…..

Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Dubina, TX

My one day adventure to Schulenburg, Tx to tour the historical painted churches was a day of sweet serenity.

What better way to start a tour of churches than stopping first at a winery; after all they were Catholic churches! Like most of these vineyards, they are in the middle of nowhere and The Whistling Duck was no different. I drove my little red Focus 8 miles down a red rock road; not meeting one other car. I’ve said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again…… thankful for my little cellular device; without it I wouldn’t be able to find these delightful vineyards. The owners are always so friendly and willing to talk about their wines. I visited 2 other vineyards on this adventure; Majek…..where they do their tastings in shot glasses……Texas style! And Moravia…….unfortunately I was not impressed with this winery or the staff and that’s all I’ll say about that. This adventure was focused on the churches……

Saints Cyril and Methodius Church on FM 1383 in Dubina, Tx was built in 1876, destroyed by a hurricane in 1909 and rebuilt and painted in 1912 (according to Google). It was the smallest and quaintest of the churches I visited that day.

Photos below by Jeri Shivers

Second being St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Schulenburg,Tx (Ammansville)
Built in 1918
Painted in 1919
Photos below taken by Jeri Shivers

Third being Nativity of Mary Blessed Virgin, Schulenburg, Tx (High Hill)
Built in 1906
Painted in 1912
Photos below take by Jeri Shivers

Fourth being St. Mary’s Church of Assumption, Flatonia, Tx ( Praha)
Built in 1892
Painted in 1892
Photos below taken by Jeri Shivers

(I was not able to enter St. Mary’s, their sign said “closed for mass”)

While approaching the small church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, I heard the most beautiful singing, in Latin I assumed; it wasn’t English. It was a lovely sound out in the middle of nowhere.

There is something so pristine and surreal about entering an empty church alone……..

I entered the church quietly so as not to disturb anyone.

Who? The heavens?

I was alone……

The church was meticulously hand-painted in blue and white. No stained glass, only frosted windows. This church was filled with light. There were barred doors between the small foyer and the sanctuary. The doors were pulled together but unlocked, so I went in. I touched the walls and inspected the handy work of the painting. I ran my hands along the old pews. I admired the statues of the Virgin Mary and the Crucifixion. I walked along the alter, but didn’t approach the pulpit. I stood for several minutes admiring the huge sculptures behind the pulpit where the sermons are given. All the while listening to the beautiful singing and remembering my grandmother who was a devoted Catholic. It made me smile.

My heart filled with emotion when I turned to leave. At no time did I expect to see anyone else in the church; I thought I was alone.

But there standing in the balcony of this beautiful small church was the Father. Singing like a beautiful songbird with so much clarity and volume, I thought it was a recording. The acoustics were amazing.

I stood in shock for a fraction of a moment. Feeling a little guilty, I felt I had disturbed his praise time. He never stopped singing as I walked quietly back down the aisle. As I disappeared under the balcony and into the small foyer…….the singing stopped.

A surreal moment in time.

As I sat in my car trying to gather my thoughts and write a post for my Facebook page about what just happened; the Father emerged from the church. I watched as he climbed into his Toyota Tacoma pickup……..a pickup I had not noticed when I drove up half an hour earlier.

He drove away.

This time I really was alone; asking myself, “Did that really just happen?”
And yes; it was a twilight zone experience that most people may not “get”……..

but it totally got to me.

I couldn’t begin to write about the other churches I visited. They were bigger, grander and more intricate, but none of them affected me the way this little historical church did. Imagine my surprise to discover (while looking for the correct dates about the churches) this little church is to be viewed from the foyer BEHIND the barred doors. Full access is only allowed by the occasional guided tour and mass on Saturdays and Sundays.

I had special privileges that day.


“Zen” (Tanka)

Meditation time
where all of the world’s tuned out
silence overtakes
it’s but for just a moment
beauty in it’s presentness

“My Crown”

My crown may be a little crooked
but I’m the daughter of a King;
and though I’m no angel
one day I’ll fly with wings.
In my darkest hours
He whispers in my ear;
I may not always listen
but he speaks so I can hear.
At times when I feel worthless
He reminds me who I am;
unimportant though I seem,
I’m His precious little lamb.
When I’m lonely and afraid
He reaches out His hand;
fallen; He picks me up
helping me to stand.
My reflection says unworthy
but He’s standing by my side;
gently He reminds me,
“My child you can fly.”
My crowns a little crooked 
but his grace has set me free;
I am worthy, I am loved;
I’m a daughter of the King!

“The Gift”

A Father,
a Son;
a gift that he gave.
A virgin,
a dream;
born on this day.
So meek,
so mild;
bright shining star.
Bow down,
give praise;
oh come as you are!
all mighty;
forgiver of sin.
The lion,
the lamb;
redeemer of man.
A Savior,
a gift;
God’s most precious life.
a babe in the night.
the heavens proclaim.
A virgin,
a stable;
His gift in the hay.

Mounds of Dirt

It’s been a while since I’ve written/journaled/blogged/documented the events in my single/newly 50/transplanted/empty nester life.  Many times I’ve opened my little notebook to begin an entry and stare at the stark white page; only to close it without leaving the first stroke of lead.  Even the poems that so freely flow have become only a trickle.

Oh, my brain is still a wild hurricane of thoughts and notions; but I’m having a hard time getting my hand to translate my brain.  I’ve had this before, I guess most writers do.  I remember writing a post about it a year or so ago………….computer overload, your system is shutting down……………..or something like that.

Usually my surroundings are enough to spin a story (I’ve been inspired by a bowl of pecans before), or at times I use tools from my writing exercise books.  But lately nothing seems to work.  Not even my 15 month old grand daughter who is falling into her Gigi’s steps; she loves to dress up in all the bling and sparkle; don’t take her shoes unless you want an angry fight and if she brings you a blanket you better tie it around her neck like a beautiful cape and tell her how pretty she is.  If you fail to notice any of this and hurt her feelings, you will get the “stinky” eye.  Lord knows GiGi doesn’t want the “stinky” eye!

You would also think I could find some inspiration in my new job, my new co-workers, my RV living or being a “transplant”; but nothing seems to work.

2014 was a year of struggles for me ~ losing my job last December after almost 20 years; running out of unemployement benefits, but stll having bills to pay and having a mild case (Thank God!) of shingles…………………….

Each morning as I drive to work my radio is tuned to an inspirational station; they play positive uplifting music and have a segement called “Good News”.  This segement gives people the opportunity to call in and share some “good news”.  Early last week a lady called in to share some “good news”, It went something like this…………………

“Good morning, what is your good news?” 

“My husband has been battling stage 4 colon cancer and one day last week he stopped breathing.  The ambulance came and got him and he’s been in the hospital with a breathing tube and heavily sedated.  Today as I was about to go home for a few hours he began shaking his head.  I held his hand and stroked his head; I told him to open his eyes.  He looked at me and squeezed my hand.  I told him, “Do you know how much I love you?”  He shook his head “yes” and squeezed my hand.  I smiled at him and said, “It’s ok, I know you’re tired.”  He relaxed; stayed awake for a little while longer and then peacefully went back to sleep.  Although to most people this doesn’t sound like “good news”, it is to me.  I am so thankful for the time God has given me with my husband and I’m thankful for whatever time I have left.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to tell him that I love him and that it’s “ok”.  I know that shortly God will be calling him to a greater place.  That’s my “good news” and I just wanted to share it.”

I’ve never heard louder radio silence as I did that morning.

Radio hosts are usually full of words……………this morning the hosts struggled for words to say.

A very unexpected testimony of “good news”.

The lady never said her name, but I’ve thought about her often this week and I’m reminded of others with struggles far greater than mine.

My mother wears a crown full of jewels as she struggles with the declining health of my sister.  They both still laugh in the face of frustration; as every day is a challenge for both of them.  My mother is a talented writer and artisan and in spite of struggles manages to find comfort in her creations.

At a time when I felt my struggles were so great, they’re mere mounds of dirt compared to others mountains…………….

Determined to get my writing juices flowing again, I opened a new book of writing exercises.  The first exercise was to write a poem using the phrase from a poem of a famous poet.  I read them and immediately chose a phrase from a poem by Thomas Hardy.

The lady; who’s name I didn’t know, had setteled with me more than I realized.  The phrase ~ “Your troubles shrink not, though I feel them less….”

The poem came quickly……………………………..

Almost Home”

Your troubles shrink not,
though I feel them less;
as my head lays
upon your chest.
“You know I love you,”
steadfast you blink your eyes,
no sickness will break
our love that binds.
Blessed with goodness
by the time we’ve spent;
love and laughter
you’re my heaven sent.
You’re needed in
a far greater place,
to dance with the angels
in our Fathers grace.
A place in heaven
you’re free of pain,
you’ll wait for me
’til we meet again.
My selfless act
of letting go,
I hold your hand,
you’re almost home.

My struggles are so few and small.

Although this is not live radio and only a few will see this, I want to share my “good news”………………….

My good news is, I’m thankful ~

Thankful I’m healthier than most and able to work at the job I’ve been blessed with.  Thankful for the health and safe keeping of my children and family.  Thankful for my little diamond and my new grandson that’s not yet here.  Thankful for the ability and opportunity to explore and enjoy all the Lord has to offer me.  Thankful I still believe in the power of prayer.  Thankful for friends and love.  Thankful for the talents given to me.  Thankful that I’m reminded that my struggles are small…………………

Thankful they are mere mounds of dirt and not mountains I can’t climb.

Although this post is a little all over the place and a bit miscombobulated (Wha???), I’m thankful my hand finally moved around and left some lead on the page………..

“Edge of Life”

The beach doesn’t really have “winter”, but when it’s cold the wind cuts through you like a knife.

I made a quick trip to my home in Jasper this weekend for a few sweaters, my boots and a couple coats. On my road trip back this morning I tuned my radio to my favorite Christian radio station. As I was driving along I began to make mental notes of song lyrics that stuck in my head.

When I reached the ferry landing I knew I had to write them down…….
Happy Sunday!!

“Edge of Life”

Everyday I hear a voice
it says I’m not right.
Unharden my heart;
love me thru my rebel self.
You are my strong tower,
my fortress when I’m weak;
let your light be proof,
proof inside of me.

You’ve never left my side
thru the valleys
and the dark ~
You carry me.
Though my feet fail me
You keep me above the waves;
You hold onto me.

In my Fathers eyes
there’s no mistake;
He knows my name.
I am guilty,
yet you breath life into me
with your mercy and your grace.

You Lead me
with strong hands,
so I don’t feel alone;
and when doubt fills me
stars light up the sky,
You always lead me home.

Whom shall I fear?
The God of angels
is by my side.
I am not forgotten,
He never lets me go;
on this edge of life.

I’m Lost, Wandering in some Foreign Land……….

Transition; where do I start…………………………..

I’ve missed writing………………..

Whoop! Whoop!  Raise the roof!  ~  I have a job!!  But it’s been a long time since I started over…………………

Low man on the totem pole and one of the oldest people there (Ouch!); working with young, ambitious prosecutors trying to take a bite outa crime, is interesting and fast paced……………………to say the least.

Very different from the world from which I came,  where I had an office with a view and when there was a meeting you shut the door.  My new office is a cubicle in a big open space where people yell to one another across the room, call people out in the open and have no verbal filters.  I spend my days filing criminal cases of cute guys and girls that smile and pose in their mug shots like it’s their high school yearbook photo; all the while I’m thinking, “What the hell is wrong with you people?”  It’s a different world; the things I hear and read on sex and crime, just like a “Dateline, 48 Hours” TV show………………………’s real.

I ask the young people working with me, “Does it ever slow down?”

In unison, “No.”

And then my court partner says, “Consider it job security.”

Bug-eyed, I reply, “That’s one way to look at it.”


Then there’s RV living.  Thankfully my parents bought a nice, large, comfy travel trailer with 3 large slide outs; couch, recliners, seperate bedroom with queen size bed, 2 TV’s and nice kitchen……………………….

as big as it is; it’s still small.

Quart size fridge, 3 burner stove with an oven that’s never been used, a toaster oven that has so much shit on top of it, it’s to much trouble to remove the stuff to use it; so I just use the microwave.

My mother is somewhat of a pack-rat, every cabinet, drawer, nook and cranny has something in it……………………………

then I moved in!!!

Let me just say, it cramps my wardrobe style.

I have had to do some serious rearranging to make some room for “working” Jeri.  I managed to clean out some space in the top of the closet to put a couple of small cloth “bins” for my unmentionables, two small drawers (outa 6) for shorts, tees and p.j.’s, a cabinet with one shelf for medications, perfume, nail polish and other personal toiletries and 2 small shelves in another cabinet for my stackable jewelry trays.  I have “over-the-door” hooks on every door I can put one on and after removing all the empty hangers , I made room to hang “some” of my clothes in the closet.

Where are my shoes??   I know you’re dying to know…………………….

I brought 30 boxed pairs and I made a spot in the living room, along the wall, beside the couch; to stack them outa the way.

It’s a tight, cozy fit for me and my little cat.  Oh, what will I do when family comes to visit???


There’s no forgetting I have another home………………………

I went home this past weekend to check on things and collect a months worth of mail my family had been putting inside my house.  The weeds and insects were taking over the outside of my house, so I spent the most part of the day outside cleaning, fighting a nest of yellow jackets not yet mature enough to know to attach the dumb blonde hacking away at their little haven and running like hell from red wasp after pulling a trailing vine out from under an eve housing a nest and if that weren’t enough I discovered a spider the size of a small universal planet suspended by countless nylon ropes; where I had been pulling, hacking and dragging dead tree limbs.  Scared me so bad I ’bout pee’d my pants.

The thing was HUGE!!

I decided I was done for the day.

There was also the problem of nothing in the house to eat.  Dirty and tired, I wasn’t going out.  I scrounged up a can of soup and a bottle of Michelob Ultra.

What more did I need??  I was done for the night.

I never thought I’d not sleep well in my own bed, but that huge ass spider had me freaked out; I tossed and turned all night.  I finally got up at 5:00 a.m. , made coffee and searched for something to eat (again).  I found a loaf of bread in the freezer………………….

I’ll have toast…………………..smeared on a little peanut butter and took a big hearty bite……………………………

OMG!!!  It tasted like raw, stinky fish!!!

In the trash it went………………..the coffee tasted really good.

I wandered back to the room I call my “closet”; there were all my clothes, shoes and jewelry staring at me saying, “Where the hell have you been?  Why’d you leave us behind?”

I spot a pair of shoes and rush over to them; pick them up and ask myself……………….(out loud), “How did I leave these?  I love these shoes.  I’m taking these back with me.”

I shoulda never walked back there.  Before I knew it, I had a huge pile of just a “few things”.  Standing there looking at the pile I asked myself, “Where the hell you gonna put this stuff?  You bearly have room for what you’ve got there already.”  So I put most of it back, but did bring a few things I said I absolutely needed……………………..

6 pairs of shoes, 6 dresses and 2 pairs of jeans (we have “dress down” Friday at the DA’s office).  I boxed up a few more toiletries from my stock pile, washed the few dishes in the sink and made the bed.  I loaded the car in preparation to make the return trip.  On the way outa town I stopped at Mom’s for a visit and to watch the second half of the Texans game.

She fed me.

As I write/type this, I’m back at my RV “home” and started a new work week.  But I feel a little discombaubulated.  My “home” feels a little foreign to me, and here; as great as it is; doesn’t feel like home.  It’s like being Alice and Dorothy all rolled up into one…………………………..wandering in a land were things are not as they seem, while searching for the way things use to be (that kinda shounds like the makings of a country song!).  I can’t find my “roll”, my “flow”, my “way”; I’m on the outside looking in and it all feels very foreign to me.

Why is transition so hard for some people and a walk in the park for others?

I really am trying to look at this as an adventure, but I’ve never been the adventurous type…………………………..

I’m learning…………………..but it’s awfully slow.

Over the Rainbow

I sit here comfortably in my familiar bed, with my coffee, a bowl of fruit, a pencil and my little notebook.  It’s been a month since I’ve scribbled anything of substance and one year since I started this blog.

The blog being an endeavor of escape for all the mumbo jumbo chaos in my head.  A way to release wit and laughter, heartache and sadness, anxiety and fear…………………………..

Some of life’s best laid plans have twists and turns.  Ultimately we get from point A to point B, but it may not always be in our scheduled time frame or in the direction we actually set out in…………………….but we get there………………….eventually.

The year has been an emotional test; a test of my strength, my anxiety level, my belief, my faith and my ability to adjust to unforeseen circumstances.

Unemployment is one of the most frightening situation to face.  when you feel the outside world doesn’t want or need you, you want to give up; but how can you when your very livelihood depends on the world we live in.  It’s then your path takes a different direction and you focus on a different path.  A work-around, so to speak; to give you the feeling of moving forward instead of sitting idle and just spinning your wheels.  It’s also a time when you take matters into your own hands; you maybe forced to make some life changing decisions…………………………….

One year ago, one of my first posts was about my desire to have a place at the beach on the island that I love so much.  I didn’t know when or how; I just knew one day I would.

One year ago, I didn’t know I would be faced with unemployment that would last 8 months either.  After 7 months of searching and 7 months of rejections, I decided to take matters into my own hands; the idleness was driving me crazy.

I began to focus on beginning a Pilates business in the little town where I’ve lived.  A field I’m familiar with and good at (being a fitness instructor for the last 10 years).  A local center offered space to me for just the cost of shared utilities; this was a great opportunity so I accepted it.  I would finally begin to generate some income.  It was going to be challenging; as I needed a certain number of paying clients just to break even, but I would worry about that later; for now I was moving forward.

The announcements were made, the business cards, brochures, music and small equipment bought.  I sent out personal invites to former clients and the calendar was printed.  The first class to be held on September 3rd.  I was prepared and ready.

Then I got a phone call……………………………..

I had been visiting my daughter for a week and had one more day left before heading back to spend a couple days with my son and his girlfriend.  My little cellular device rings with an unfamiliar number from Galveston; I didn’t answer it.

It was 3:30 pm on Friday afternoon.

I went on about my business with my granddaughter and disregarded the call.  Later I’m checking my phone and there is a voice mail, it’s from the Galveston County District Attorneys Office about my resume.

Who????  What????

I had to look in my little notebook I had been keeping with all my job contacts to see if I had applied for something.  There it was…………………….

3 months ago!!

I tell my daughter……………………

“I’m not calling them back.”

“What???  Why???”

“I’m already committed and focused on my classes.”

“You at least need to see what they have to say.”

“Nope.  I’m not calling.  It’s been 3 months.”

“Mom, don’t be stubborn.  At least tell me you’ll think about it over the weekend.”

“I’ll think about it, but I’m not calling.”


She made  one last attempt Saturday before I left.

“Don’t let an opportunity pass you by and that’s all I’m saying.”

I told her I’d let her know.

The rest of the weekend my mind was filled with “what if, what if, what if”.  It wasn’t until Monday morning I threw “what if” to the wind and made the phone call………………………………………

Monday through Wednesday was a blur………………………………………..

Interview, offer, accepted, HIRED!

Wednesday evening on my drive back to my home, I ask myself, “What just happened?”

My path had just made a hairpin turn doing 100 mph and my head is still spinning from the initial shock!

How was I going to explain this to the people I had already committed to?   Would they understand?  (some did, some did not)

The decision was made with very mixed emotions.  It meant leaving family and friends, leaving the place I called home for the last 23 years and starting over basically from scratch.  But it also meant a paycheck and benefits.

I find it ironic; a little case of de ja vu that I write this post one year later about one of the very things I began this blog with.

The last few days have been spent gathering work clothes and shoes (oh how I’ve missed wearing them) and other things I may need to start a new job away from my familiar surroundings.  My car is jam packed and all that’s left is gathering my cat and getting on the road.

I begin a new job tomorrow in a field I know nothing about; I leave my familiar home and relocate to the island I love and I turn 50 in exactly one month from today…………………………………………

I clicked my ruby red slippers and the tornado lifted me up and dropped me in a new Land of Oz; sitting me on a new path.

Just in a short while I will start my slide just over the rainbow and see what new adventure is waiting form me (I do hope you’ll join me).

But for know, I think I’ll sit in the coziness of my familiar bed a little while longer; after all…………………………………………..

there’s no place like home.

Thank You Service Men and Women



God Bless!
the red, white and blue,
where we’re free to live
and do what we choose.
We stand and salute
the flag that waves
for God and country,
the free and the brave.
We sing our anthem
loud and proud,
lifting our voices
above the clouds.
The stars and stripes
and fruited plains,
Gods grace
and waving grains.
Ocean shores
from coast to coast,
majestic mountains
a land of hope.
The life of freedom
doesn’t come free,
protected by people
I may never meet.
America the beautiful
I stand with pride,
I raise your colors
and wave them high.
Remembering the lives
that have served for me
to live in the beautiful,
land of the free. 5/27/2013

Brings tears to my eyes and gives me goose bumps every time I see it.


“Oh, Me of Little Faith”

I decided against posting the poem for my self-made “Daily Prompt”. The prompt was “Something I’ve Learned” and the poem ended up being very negative.

Oh, I tried posting it, but my Internet kept freezing up causing me head popping frustration. So I decided I’d leave it and go take my afternoon walk and try posting it again later.

It had been a chilly, gloomy morning, but around 3pm this afternoon the sun came out and it was beautiful. I laced up my tenny’s and headed out the door. I had been down in the mouth and down on myself all day. The job searching not going very well. I had spent hours yet again on another job database building a new profile and resume (which is still not quite complete).

I have yet to see the fruits of my labor and it puts me in a foul mood.

I needed the walk.

I finished walking and I’m sitting in my car clearing out emails when I look up and see a man who goes to the church I used to go to. He waves, then walks over.

“Hey, what’s going on with you?”

“Oh, not much, just did a little walking.”

“Yeah. You off today?”

“Well, you could say that. I got laid-off.” I kinda laughed.

“Wow, sorry to hear that.”


Well I don’t need to tell you it set the wheels in motion for a whining pity party about how many applications and resumes I had filled out and how frustrating it was. How I do the same thing every day and hear nothing. And on, and on, and on.

He quietly listen to me rant and rave until I finally said, “It’s just so frustrating, I can’t even get one call.”

“Have you prayed about it?”

“Well…………..yeah I pray about it.” Thinking that was a silly question.

“Have you told the Lord what you need and want……………………..specifically?”


“You haven’t have you?”


“If you don’t ask specifically, you may end up with something you don’t want. We have to be careful what we ask for.”


“Jeri, I know you’re a believer. Don’t you believe the Lord can provide you with the job you need AND want?”

“Uh, well………….”

“He raised Lazarus from the dead and he’d been dead 4 days!! Surely you believe He can provide you a job.”


“You’re full of doubt and fear aren’t you?”


This was becoming a one-sided conversation and the side wasn’t mine.

“I see the worry. You’ve lost your faith. I believe. I know He has a job for you. He’s just waiting for you to ask. Be specific. Believe!”

“Uh, yeah………..”

“Jeri, He raised the dead!! He will provide you a job.”


“Do you think this was a chance meeting?”


“I don’t. The Lord put me here to lift you up. As soon as I saw you I knew. Don’t let this steal your joy. Ask for what you need and want.”

“I will…………………”

“And believe it! I’ll be praying for you.”

Waving he headed down the walking track.

WHEW!! What just happened??

I’d just been chastised and preached to all at the same time and I was smiling.

Goodness gracious!! (we say that a lot in Texas)

I drove away my attitude and spirits lifted.

I knew I wouldn’t be posting my negative poem, but would rather share my positive, uplifting conversation.

Tonight I’ll take the time to complete the profile and resume I didn’t want to finish this morning. And just before I hit “submit” I will specifically ask for the job I’m looking for and thank Him for it in advance. 🙂


This little note has been taped to my bathroom mirror for almost 2 years.

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