Thursday, October 29, 2009


Praise the Lord! My friend and co-designer Justin Turley and his wife are celebrating the birth of their firstborn son! Visit to read about the arrival of Calvin Blair Turley.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm 20!

What more is there to say?

Actually, now that I'm 20, I'll try to post more. I know, I know, what does being 20 have to do with blogging more often?

Absolutely nothing... But you can expect some more posts, I promise. Especially things related to cooking (like my recent key lime pie experiment, and my Dr. Pepper pork roast!). Stay tuned.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Texas Coast

Even though I live in Texas, and the sun is out nearly every day (yes even in October!) I don't get to enjoy it very much. Sometimes I compare myself to a cave fish...but that's another story.

Last Saturday I decided it was time to go find the sun. What better place than the beach!

You know you're in Texas when there's cactus growing on the beach!

After a week of anticipation and checking the forecasts, I decided to make it happen. The night before I packed everything I would need - flip flops, towels, folding chair, water, sun tan lotion, and bananas (seemed appropriate being so close to Mexico). At 5:00 a.m. the next morning I was on the road making the 2.5 hour trek down to Padre Island on the Texas Gulf Coast.

If you're not familiar with Padre Island, it's a long stretch of land along the TX coastline which is divided into several different sections. On the northmost end there's the Port Aransas wildlife refuge, directly below that is Mustang Island, then below that is Padre Island National Seashore (where I went), and just south of that is South Padre Island which is disconnected from the upper island - it can be reached from the mainland. Look it up on Google maps to get a visual.

The grasslands on the coast

I arrived around 8:00. The sun was already up and the sky was overcast, but the weather looked promising. The forecast predicted a high of 80, and it was pretty much spot on. Between noon and 3:00 the sun was out almost constantly, making for a very pleasent afternoon.

I made one big mistake, however. Since I've never been to the TX coast, I failed to remember how much closer it is to the equator than the beaches back home. That doesn't necessarily make it "hotter" but the sun is certainly more intense. In hindsight, it would have been nice if I had worn some sunscreen.

But then again, if I had worn it I wouldn't be able to look like an Indian for Thanksgiving! Seriously, I'm more burnt now than I've ever been in my entire life, and it's not too fun. Aloe vera has become my close friend over the past few days.

Another thing I should mention is that there was a phenomenon known as "red tide" going on. It's basically an algae bloom which kills a lot of fish and produces a muddy reddish tint in the incoming breakers. From what I read it's not necessarily dangerous to swim when red tide is happening, but there's the potential for skin irritation and other side effects. I got wet and it didn't seem to bother me thankfully. Of course, even if there were no red tide, the deeper you go the greater the chance of encountering sharks, so you have to choose your risks carefully.

A big ole' dead fish.

A Western Sandpiper - he had a broken wing, and there wasn't anything I could for him (the park rangers apparently couldn't either), so I picked him up and placed him out of the reach of the waves, then took some photos and left the poor little guy alone.

Well that pretty much sums up my first experience on the Texas coast. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Next time we'll go camping over the weekend, make a bonfire on the beach, and I'll grill up some shrimp!! Can't wait.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I miss you Kaylee!

I can't wait to see you in a few months!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

From the Thundercloud

“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways, and how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” - Job 26:14

I saw this spectacular sight this past week on one of my evening bike rides. I just had to pause to take this shot as this massive thundercap caught the last glowing rays of the sunset, and as I continued riding I could even see streaks of lightning within the cloud! It was incredible.

On a related note, we had a massive thunderstorm last night. It went on for hours and every once in a while I would wake up to hear the roar of thunder, the downpour of rain and every few seconds flashes of lighting would illuminate the room. We woke up this morning to find the floor of our little house flooded! It seems that there were leaks along the patio (which happens to be tile just like our floor), allowing a bunch of water to flow in overnight. In some of the corners it was nearly an inch deep! Thankfully, not too much was damaged.

The local park was a swamp too. Normally there's a little trickle running through the creek into the culvert, but last night it rained so much that the creek not only overflowed its banks but also the road and covered nearly the entire park in several feet of water! And we're supposed to get more rain this coming week...

But praise the Lord for His goodness! We've been needing the rain for a while. Now we just need to figure out how to deal with all the water we've been given!