Thursday, April 3, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 1

I'm trying something new...blogging on my iPad. So if there is crazy spacing or excessive typos, I hope you'll extend some grace.

Since I'm on leave from Instagram, I thought I'd try sharing our trip to Texas in blog form. Here it goes.

Day 1

On the road by 9:00am (an hour later than planned), but we don't need fuel or breakfast, so no need to stop for quite a bit. Also, it dawns on me now that if we had left on time we would have been completely stuck in commute traffic.

The fact that we are heading to Texas with bags full of shorts and swimsuits, while it is snowing here in Albuquerque, New Mexico today, gives me a big smile. This is what vacation is supposed to be. We are fleeing the storms of everyday and setting out for adventure and relaxation. 

But this is more than a typical vacation for us this time. 

We will go to the Houston area to get a closer look at neighborhoods and communities that suit our family because some time in the near future we will be calling Texas our new home. 

We still have no clear idea of the Lord's timing or how all things will come together, but we are fairly certain of where His path takes us next. So we are accepting His call and heading in the direction He's leading, trusting He will provide for the way when the time comes. 

But today, well, today we are mostly driving. Destination: Sweetwater, TX.  There, we will stop for the night before driving the rest of our way to our hotel in Clear Lake City, TX, just southeast of Houston. 


Just drove through Fort Sumner. That small, bleak town is famous for the Billy the Kid Museum at the very least. For us, the name of the town brings reminder of our daughter, S, who stayed with a family in that town for a stint last summer. It was the last town in New Mexico where she resided before returning to New England to live near her birth family. 

Most days, we are at peace about S's distance from our family. Though we wish she'd learned to make a more graceful exit when she set back out on her own again just before Christmas, we are grateful that she is finally making some contact with us again through text and email. It's not much, but it's enough. 

This morning though, I needed a bag in which to pack our toiletries, and the only bag available (in sight) was a duffel given by the Easter Bunny during her first year in our care. At once, I refused to take the bag and I rifled through the box of random totes and too small bags in our closet where we pile the luggage between trips. I grew quickly agitated as I could not find another more suitable option and I yelled at God in argument before bursting into tears and breaking down into my husband's waiting arms. 

The whole situation was ridiculous, in hindsight, but as a mother of a prodigal, some days are just like this. I think of her daily, but only sometimes does my mama's heart overflow with emotion from all the joy and pain and memory I carry around about our ten years spent with S. Those were ten of the most soul-crushing, faith-testing, spirit-filling years of my life so far and sometimes I cannot contain all that behind dry eyes and a composed exterior. 

C helped me pull myself together and we opted to use the bag as it really was exactly the size we needed. He promised we'd remap my connections with the bag on this trip and I'm trusting we will because I just don't have time to ignore available resources or breakdown emotionally every time I am reminded of our girl. 

The snow ceased long ago and now the sun is literally cooking my right arm through the window. We will be entering Texas very soon. 


We just finished our first stop for the day in Clovis, NM, where we had lunch and a bathroom break at Wendy's. I ordered a salad, forgetting my recent realization that I have a sensitivity to Romaine lettuce of all things. It does a number on my intestines every time I eat it. So I basically ate the chicken off the top and left the lettuce in the bowl since we'll be on the road a few more hours today. 

I used to blame those problems on other foods I was eating, but now I eat a lot healthier and the symptoms arise after every Romaine salad, but not spinach or those leafy spring mixes. I started doing some research and found that this type of sensitivity is not entirely uncommon. So I do my best to stay away from it. Difficult to do on the road, where Romaine salads are the only usual "healthy" option in our most likely stopping off points. 

1:31pm MST/2:31pm CST

Crossed into Texas. Dust abounds. We lost an hour. 


Awhile ago, we stopped in Lubbock at a cute ice cream shoppe called Holly Hops on 34th Street. The ice cream was homemade and delicious (more so since not having eaten real ice cream for a few months now). The service was polite and friendly. 

I had a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of chocolate, because I couldn't decide. Everyone else was a bit more adventurous in their selections ranging from mocha almond fudge to birthday cake ice cream. 

As I write this, we have less than 90 minutes left on our drive for today. This is a good thing. My feet swell after too many hours in the car and my shoes start feeling unbearable. I'm getting to that point, but also my sunglasses started to bring on a headache, so now I'm squinting into the bright, sunny, dusty horizon ahead. I'll be definitely ready for a lengthy break by the time we arrive in Sweetwater. 

Also, before leaving Lubbock, we stopped for fuel. $3.29/gallon. 

H was irritated, blaming his brother for losing a baggie containing the Nintendo DS game cartridges they trade around to stay entertained on less interesting sections of the drive. Thanks to C's patience, he helped H find the bag. It was on the seat next to H, behind the birthday gift for C, taking up residence between H and Z for the trip to Houston. 

C's birthday is next week. I'm really looking forward to celebrating him and to seeing his reaction to our gifts. I think I was struck with a fun idea this year. We'll see if he gets it. My sense of humor and interests and his aren't always found within the same chapters of a book. 


Just arrived in Sweetwater. Looking for our hotel. 

The wind farms in this part of the state have been phenomenal sights to be seen. Hundreds and hundreds of turbines all seemingly running at full capacity. Awesome. 


At our hotel. We opened the car doors and Z spoke first. He said, "What the heck? J, it's so warm out here!"

She replied, "Duh, it's Texas."

Our thermometer is registering an outdoor temp of 81 degrees Fahrenheit. We barely remember the snow from this morning. 


Checking in went smoothly. The kids were in the pool within our first twenty minutes after arrival. They live for that on our road trips. 


Ate some good Texas BBQ at Buck's near our hotel in Sweetwater for dinner.  I ate brisket and chicken and sides. Satisfying. 

I'm heading to bed for the night. If all goes well, I'll post again tomorrow evening. 


  1. I've been wondering about your trip! So yeah, just take little notes all day like you did here--that's good.

  2. Oh how excited for all of you...a vacation with a purpose! Thinking if is ok to have mommy tears over your prodigal! Enjoy the sunshine!!

  3. Sorry I've taken so long to get back to your blogs. Of course I know most of this by now, but it is great to follow as you blog in the car.

    Seeing the kids jump in the pool so quickly reminded me of your dad's Aunt Ruth (who lived in TX) saying that when she was a kid she wanted to live in her swim suit.

    Thank you for this days blog, love, Mom