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

Road Trippin’………..Wharton, TX

Logbook entry January 15, 2017……….First stop on the map of discovery fell into a category (when googled) as “a small town with unique things to see.” I’d never been to Wharton, it’s fairly close to home; only 97 miles, so I decided this would be good place to begin my year long journey of discovering new roads.

This would be good 1, of 2, day trips on my year long plan.

It was gloomy and rainy when I got up; causing me to want to change my mind. “No Jeri, stick to the plan. Hit the road.”

It’s about an hour and 45 minute drive and I wasn’t looking forward to driving in rain and traffic (I hate to drive).

But I set out……….

I put my destination in mapquest and closed my garage door.

First stop before the freeway…….Starbucks. I needed coffee to deal with rain and traffic.

About 20 miles down the freeway my GPS takes me off of the freeway.

“Why am I getting off the freeway?”
“Damn it! Already I’ve screwed up!” (my ditzy, directionally challenged mini me screamed in my ear). Anyone that knows me or has read any of my stories, knows that I am seriously directionally challenged… SUCKS.
I argue with myself, “NO! I haven’t screwed up! I’m following the GPS!”

The further I went the less populated it became. The rain had stopped and I began to relax in my drive. I realized the GPS shortest route was down back roads. I found myself driving down 2 lane country roads where there were no Starbucks, no Buckees, no Loves Truck stop and no traffic. Only miles and miles of cattle pastures and long country roads.

Who knew less than 50 miles was one of the largest city’s in the states…….Houston, TX

I arrived to Wharton to find a quiet little town, with a Junior College, life sized dinosaur (in one of the city parks), a quirky Tee Pee Motel; built in the 1940’s and still operating today and a beautiful courthouse.

I took a chance taking my first day trip on a Sunday, most of the little shops were closed. But I found one shop on the historical courthouse square with so much hodge podge, it kept me busy for an hour. My next stop was the city park where I was greeted by a friendly dinosaur. I felt like he was watching over the iron bridge that was not longer operational; but still lead passage over the Brazos River to the other side. It began to rain, so I bid my friend farewell and headed out in search of the quirky Tee Pee Motel.

There on the outskirts of town, in the middle of no where stood 10 structures in the shape of Tee Pees. When you round the bend, it was an unusual sight. One that makes you turn around and go back. I pulled in to check them out. They were indeed quirky! Lucky for me I walked upon one being cleaned. The girl cleaning was very friendly and laughed when I asked if I could check it out.

Much to my surprise; it was round inside! I guess I was expecting a square room in a round tee pee……..LOL! It had all the modern conveniences; queen bed, sofa, flat screen TV, shower and air conditioning. The only thing missing were windows. Go figure! She explained they were rented just like regular motel rooms at $75 per night. I thought it was a little pricey, as I didn’t find much to do in this quiet little town. I graciously thanked her for letting me poke around and I jumped in my car and headed back to G-town.

I came.
I saw.

Although it was not a grand adventure, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and a good beginning to my goal of discovering new places.

February’s destination ~ Waco, TX, where Dr. Pepper was created!






Road Trippin’ 2017

Social media is a wonderful tool. It allows us to spy on our enemy, keep up with our family and friends and live vicariously through your 31 year old cousin.

Ashley and her son Kayson live in Utah.

Ashley has traveled all over the world with a back-pack and roll away suitcase.

I’ve lived Ashley’s adventures through Facebook and Instagram.

She is single, yet she hits the road and lets nothing hold her back. She is a great inspiration.

Each December; like most people; I reflect on the previous year and make plans for the new year ahead of me. A few years ago I began using a “vision board”. Most are probably familiar with them………Using visual aids such as pictures from magazines, pamphlets or hand written index cards; they represent the goals you have for yourself for the year and/or your life. You group these things together on a “board” and place it in a “visually” predominate place so you can see it everyday. Mine hanges on my closet door. They are very effective. Last years “vision board” had a beach condo on it. I closed on my beach condo May 21st, 2016. I removed that “vision” from my board. That vision is now a reality.

Did I accomplish everything on my vision board for 2016?


Are they still dreams or visions?


I just moved those things to the 2017 vision board and then added to it.

Ashley took her son to Paris and the surrounding areas this year. Then they were skiing on Christmas Day. As I looked at her pictures I asked myself, “Why can’t I do that?”, and a little voice said, “You can. You can face your fears and you can do anything you set your mind to.”

I allow being single to hold me back from doing things. I don’t like to go to places alone. Who does? But I miss out on things because of my fear of being alone.

What if something happens to my car?
What if something happens to my reservation and I have no place to stay?
What if I lose my phone?
What if someone talks to me?? God forbid!!!!

The “what if’s” were holding me back.

As I worked on my plans for my 2017 vision board, I watched it evolve into a year of discovery. Discovering new roads and places……..literally. I realized there are so many places in this big state of mine, that I have never seen.

And the wheels began to turn…………

Visit one new place every month.
Incorporate it with work holidays so I don’t have to take time off (save that for my Cayman Island trip).
Stay and do on the cheap.
No more than a 4 1/2 drive (I hate to drive).

So to the internet I went. Google, mapquest and Pinterest were my best friends for a couple of weeks.

I searched.
I pinned.
I mapped.
I reserved.

I have booked myself 12 trips to places I’ve never seen; to do things I’ve never done. Ok……..a couple places I’ve been before……….Waco, TX. My grand babies live there, but I’ve never explored the city. In February, while visiting; I’m going to the Dr. Pepper museum and The Silos (or Magnolia Market, Chip and Joanna Gaines shop from HGTV). In May I’m going back to Fredericksburg, TX to hike Enchanted Rock and watch the bats take their evening flight from an abandoned railway tunnel. I’ve been to Fredericksburg twice and never knew these things existed.

Wimberly, TX to see Jacobs Well.
Lampasas, TX to Colorado Bend State Park to hike Gorman Falls.
Fulton, TX; a little beach town (you knew I’d have to through a beach trip in here somewhere)
Mineola, Tx to a yoga retreat
Brenham, TX to the Blue Bell Creamery, wineries and lavendar farms.
Ft. Worth, TX stockyards
Rusk, TX to ride the train.
Wharton, TX to visit the Tee Pee Motel.
Schulenburg, TX to tour the painted Churches.
Shiner, TX to visit the brewery where they make Shiner Beer

Though the places I have choosen are not as grand as Ashley’s travels, she has inspired me to do grand things…..for me.

Leave the “what if’s” behind.
Leave the fears behind.
Just hit the open road and make 2017 a year of discovering new places.

Road trippin’ 2017……………..

“Carnival Lights”

Roller coasters
and Ferris wheels,
the lights of the midway rides;
take me back
long ago,
to life in a simpler time…….

“Step right up!”
yell shady folks,
“Come and test you skills!”;
cotton candy
and hot corn dogs,
rides in an ole hay field.
and carousels,
“Let’s go to the petting zoo”;
baked cookies
and red snow cones,
so much for us to do.
“Where ya been?”
“How’s your mama?”
neighbors greet each other;
Kids squeal
wide eyed;
tugging on their mothers.
Flashing lights
ringing bells,
the kids all running ’round;
loud music
out past dark,
the carnival’s come to town.

Pleasure Pier, Galveston Island, TX 2016

“Morning Thunder”

I love the sound of thunder
rattling my window panes
It’s rumble so soothing
I just may stay in bed all day.
Or maybe I’ll sit and watch
the rain from my patio doors
Or ride to the beach
and watch it beat upon the shore.
Or maybe I’ll just stay
under my covers a little longer
Listen to the thunder
as its rolling’s getting stronger.
Close my eyes and drift
in and out of peaceful slumber
Snuggled in my covers
listen to the early morning thunder.

“Red Lipstick”

I twirl it in my fingers,
it’s my red lipstick;
I push back the tears
before lining my lips.
Talking to myself
’cause no one else is here;
“What’s wrong with me?”
I ask the reflection in the mirror.
“Can you be more specific?”
asks the person that I see.
“Why am I alone?
What’s wrong with me?
I know I’m getting older;
but I’m really not that bad.
I’ve gained a little weight,
but really I’m not fat.
Is there something missing?
Something I don’t see?
What’s it all about?
What’s wrong with me?”

I squint at my mirror
not liking what I see,
the lights are so evil
the ones at my bathroom sink.
The truth is there
it’s staring straight at me
every wrinkle, every line;
all so plainly seen.
“Hello in there!
I know you hear me!
Always so talkative,
now you won’t speak…..”

“I try to tell you;
but you don’t listen.
You worry about nonsense
instead of what your missing.
Stop dwelling on things,
letting life pass you by.
Sands of time don’t stop,
don’t even try.
Put on your red lipstick
embrace the day;
don’t be afraid,
say the things you want to say.”

I get close to my mirror;
face to face.
I see all my flaws,
with my finger I trace.
I twirl it in my fingers,
it’s my red lipstick;
I push back the tears
before lining my lips.

“On My Shelf”

It’s built in ~
the only one I have,
holds some little treasures
I look at day to day.

A jar with little shells
I collect from off the beach,
a dollar store sign
that says to always dream.

A cross I painted from Goodwill
reminds me of my faith,
four wine bottle stoppers,
just a few that I collect.

Two “message in a bottle”
I found lying on the shore,
I refuse to break the seal;
and ruin all their charm.

A little glass fish
I bought for just a buck;
a less than perfect sand dollar
I say will bring me luck.

The flea market plate
that says “Made in Mexico”,
the antique bottles
I find and keep bringing home.

Trashy little treasures
everyday, ones I see;
one little shelf,
that’s just a reflection of me.




Throw the covers back
hide my head,
it’s nice and cozy
inside my bed.
The only advantage
to sleeping alone,
when nights are long;
days long gone………..
No one bears witness
to my rumpled hair;
my ratty sweats,
or my granny underwear.

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………..

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