Monday, November 30, 2009
As promised, here are some pics of our time down in the Hill Country last week. Blanco is about ten miles from the monastery and is a lovely little spot to camp. They also have covered shelters which are screened in.
The Blanco River runs through the park and it also has a couple of great playground areas. There are several great climbing trees and a hiking trail.
Our first night in the park we went to sleep with lovely 60 degree weather, but were awakened at about 4:00a.m. by a cold front which brought the temp down to about the mid 40's. The following night we slept in 30 degree weather. Hey, we're Texans, we're tough right?
Well, I'll just say that if you had told me that the weather was going to drop to 30 at night, I'm not sure I would have been up for the trip. However, it wasn't bad at all. Once we all got in our bags and cozied up we were snug as bugs in a rug-and warm too!
We probably won't make another camping trip until the spring, but I am excited about our new little spot. Well, I should say early spring-before the rattle snakes wake up. One of the brothers showed us a rattle snake head and the rattler preserved in a jar. It was quite large. I really didn't want to ask if there were lots of snakes in the area, but I couldn't help it. His answer, "Oh yeah, they're all over the place."
Did I say I was a tough Texan? I take it back.
We were all very motivated to get up at 5:00a.m. the next morning and get to the 6:00a.m. liturgy, where it was nice and warm.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
It's been a little too long since I've been able to write here. My computer has proven to have a fickle personality. Some friends stopped by for a surprise visit today and Fr. Basil just so happens to have the magic touch. He got my computer running again. Let's hope it lasts.
So much has been going on down here in the south. Most recently we celebrated Thanksgiving, took a glorious trip to Holy Archangels Monastery, and took part in the blessing of our new women's monastery, The Nativity of our Lord, in Kemp, TX.
We started out on Monday morning by driving down to Kendalia to Holy Archangels Men's Monastery. I love this monastery. The brother's there are absolutely wonderful. They are so gracious and loving. Every time we go none of us ever want to leave. It was truly a time of spiritual refreshment for us all.
We camped out at Blanco State Park (women are not allowed to spend the night on the monastery grounds). The park is about 10 minutes from the monastery and is really nice and very kid friendly. The park ranger told me that this is the most beautiful time of the year to be there. He was right. The trees were bright orange and yellow and the brown and gold of the grass was so lovely. We spent most of our time at the monastery, but during the "quite times" of the monastery we went to our camp and fished and played.
Thanksgiving was spent at my brother and his wife's house with all the immediate family in attendance. I have a sweet family and resolved to make more of an effort to spend more time with them.
Saturday morning we drove out to the women's monastery, The Nativity of our Lord. Metropolitan Jonah came out to bless the property and gave a wonderful sermon on monasticism. Among other things, he talked about the necessity of monasteries and what a blessing they are. I agree. I wish all Orthodox christians had monasteries close to them so that they could be blessed by the love, grace, hospitality and words of wisdom the monastics share. They are excellent examples for those of us living in the world-especially our children.
My girls never want to leave monasteries when we visit them. They always love the monastics and they seem to somehow comprehend the beauty and holiness of that calling. I feel the same way.
Well, there's much more to share, but no time now. A blessed week to you all!
I'll post pictures as the week progresses, but I'll leave you with a pic of this tree that overshadowed our camp.