Friday, May 22, 2015

Second Wave of Wildflowers

Trip buddy Pat Angeley arrived right on time. We were looking forward to the second wave of wildflowers in the Hill Country, myself having enjoyed the blue bonnets earlier. Bland overcast skies followed us, which kept me from wanting to stop every five minutes to take a picture of the yellow buttercups dotting the ditches. I have come to realize that clouds add so much interest to the photo composition, so a plain sky makes it easier to just keep on driving.

Which we did; kept driving, I mean, and this is what we saw:


Later we sort of cheated and found flowers at Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg.
We also came across these pink flowers and have no idea what they are. But they looked pretty.
Blue bonnets were still out, but the red gaillardias and various yellow flowers were coming into their own.
In Kingsland I have found a hidden place that is always good for a photo op, digging up an occasional cactus, and catching a glimpse of a white flag as white-tailed deer flee the scene.
Courthouses are always interesting, especially the older ones. We saw this one in Johnson City, county seat of Blanco County,
and then discovered this rather plain one in the city of Blanco, also in Blanco County. Turns out they moved the county seat from Blanco to Johnson City in 1890, and the original court house was forgotten. Sometime in the recent past, it has been turned into a visitor’s center, offices, and events venue. A few trees and a little landscaping would dress it up considerably.
As we left the Hill Country on the way home, we passed big patches of wine cups like we are used to seeing patches of blue bonnets. I had never seen this many together before and again was tempted to take a picture each time we passed yet another batch of them.
And then the closer we came to Muleshoe, the more yellow buttercups we saw again, our answer to blue bonnets.
These little purple flowers, which I have heard called Tahoka daisies, but which I think are a wild aster, could also be found close to home.
So if we look, we can enjoy wildflowers right here in West Texas.

But road trips are always seductive, and since the grass always seems greener elsewhere, or in this case, the wild flowers seem brighter in the Hill Country, I suspect wild flower trips will never go away.

And that’s not a bad thing. You can never see too many wild flowers.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Welcome to Lifetree Cafe

We have a new program at our church, First United Methodist Church in Muleshoe, a Monday night gathering for people to come and visit with people they know, people they haven’t met before, people they may know but not well, people who aren’t there to judge them, but to talk, visit, discuss, and perhaps find insight to issues that affect their lives or might just be interesting topics for discussion.

This is not a cafe that serves food, although snacks and drinks are available. This is a cafe that strives to provide interesting stories and thoughtful conversation. Food for the soul, if you will. Sometimes we all feel lost  or undecided when facing issues and dilemmas in our lives, and talking about them, unloading the hurt in our hearts, considering perspectives from other angles can many times help clarify how to deal with those issues. And sometimes it is just nice to visit, to talk to someone who is not there to be judgmental or solve your problems for you, but to just allow free discourse that may take a burden off your shoulders and give you some relief.
Lifetree Cafe meets in our transformed parlor on the north side of the building. You can enter by the back door facing the back parking lot or the front door on the north and people will be there to steer you in the right direction. I think the front door by the sanctuary may also be open, but I always come in the back door, so I’ll admit, I am not sure! Dress is casual, come as your are; the important thing is to be there, not to worry about a dress code.

A leader takes the group through a video which presents a topic and then group discussion and participation follows. All kinds of topics are discussed; some that have already been considered were overcoming tragedies in your life; how to deal with the loss of a loved one, how do you realize what it is that God wants you to do with your life, what makes relationships tick, even pros and cons of gun control.  The rest of this month discussions will cover these topics:  Can God Love a Mess Like Me?; Where’s the Justice?; How to Pay Attention; and Low-Cost-No Cost Adventures.
The conversations start at 7 pm on Monday evenings, First United Methodist Church, 507 West 2nd Street. You don’t have to be a member of our church, or any church. You don’t even have to have an abiding faith in God. Come as your are, have some refreshments, make new friends, visit with old friends, be prepared to laugh, exchange viewpoints and ideas without criticism or pressure, and yes, sometimes cry a little to get the weight of the world off your shoulders. You will be out in an hour, but feel free to hang around and just enjoy a little unstructured socializing afterward.

And don’t worry about being expected to answer to roll call, join FUMC or give a love offering. That is not part of the agenda.

Come and give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.