Maybe I went to sleep too early! Why am I awake? My hips are killing me. Not sure if it was the sand-walking or this bed. Either way, I'm up for a bit, trying to pace and stretch the discomfort away.
I have moved around a lot in my lifetime. Every move presents new challenges, but greater blessings. I think I've learned to rely on The Lord a lot more than if I'd stayed in one comfortable spot for decades.
The thing I've learned best, though, is that I can live just about any place. Whatever the climate, however the environment and whatever the circumstance, my Home is in Heaven, so where I reside on earth is in service to my God. I am willing to go where He calls or sends us because that is one of my contributions to His work in this world.
It doesn't mean that leaving what's comfortable and good friends or family behind is any easier with each move. It is necessary for my faith and I accept that. But I do struggle with major life change and discomfort.
This part of Texas is really beautiful and the people are friendly. I have no doubt I will survive and thrive here where the gulf is near and there is an even distribution of trees and open sky (a mix between NH and NM). I love that everywhere we go, there are messages of hope on billboards and signs because the nature of the majority of these people is to know about (and love?) The Lord, to vote conservatively and to treat others with respect.
But Texas definitely feels a bit like a foreign country to me. I can't really put my finger on it. There is just this weird sense that Texas is not like any place I have lived so far. Texas is also a diverse land. What type of living here will be God's best for our lives and for raising our kids?
I love having access to places and variety, but as I age, a quieter life calls to me as well. There is an appeal to coastal life where services are distant and must be better planned out to accomplish errands in chunks, rather than sporadically throughout each day. However, living in closer proximity to people and business usually offers more opportunities for us to serve others and to find friendships and support.
I am primarily an introvert. I adapt well to situations and can be more social if need be. But our kids - even our more introverted two - need more social interaction than I require. My husband needs people to talk to, definitely. He is constantly on a mission to learn. He is going nuts as we drive around and his head fills with more questions than we can answer in one visit.
What are people fishing for? How does all this oil refining machinery work? What will this place be like in different seasons? Where are the places that serve to best local catches?
He not only longs for answers, but for personal understanding.
So I'm excited to continue exploring the area this week. I pray that my Lord reveals to us where He wants us to settle in. He has work for us here. He has blessings waiting for us here. But where will we find the greatest opportunity for both? I'm not sure I've seen it just yet. But I am on alert and waiting for His urging.
I fell back to sleep around 6:00am and am just waking now, when C woke me to say he's taking kids to breakfast before the service ends. Yikes! Jumping into a shower in hopes we can still make a 10:30 church service.
Church was great. J and O loved the children's service. H and Z liked the adult service alright, but were disappointed because the Jr. High group has their own Sunday Service during the early service and we were sleeping during that one.
C and I agree that the music was awesome. The message, about The Lord's Supper, was well-presented: it stayed on point and was really interesting. It felt much larger than our home church, but still comfortable and promises opportunities to get involved. We, so far, love the community of League City where the main campus of church is located.
We'll go again on Wednesday to hit the Jr. High service and more of the other services.
It's very wet and rainy today. We are headed to Downtown Houston for some indoor entertainment at the Aquarium.
I am not a big city girl, for sure. Houston falls into the big city category. However, I do like have big city opportunities - museums, concerts, festivals, etc. So, we went to check it out.
Oh, did I mention the gray sky and constant rain today? That's not my favorite weather either. But I did my best to stay positive.
So the Aquarium was impressive. Our kids have never seen one with carnival rides...till now. All other aquariums will pale in comparison from here on out.
I will say that the inside of the aquarium was less impressive than the feeding the stingrays exhibit and rides portion in my opinion. I think mostly it's because my plan to avoid traffic by visiting downtown on a Sunday, backfired into a situation where instead, we were overcome by crowds. The Aquarium was packed inside and downright claustrophobic.
I declare this Aquarium to be a middle of the day weekday stop. In between commute times while other families are at work and school.
It might be better then.
We also ate lunch at the Aquarium restaurant. We checked out area restaurants (all high-priced and/or not kid-friendly) and settled on the Aquarium.
The kids' meals ran about $6.99 each! C and I settled on a bowl of soup each for $8. My chowder was tasty, but not really chunky as I prefer. Oh, and they don't allow picnics or outside food to be brought anywhere on the grounds, so that's definitely different from how we usually do aquarium trips.
After leaving there, we went to the Galleria -- a humongous, upscale mall in Uptown Houston.
Did I mention my loathing of malls?
Anyway, this place had everything, I think. They offered valet parking, they had a giant ice rink, the food court covered a whole level (with ice rink) and included places like Chili's and Rainforest Cafe. There is even an app for your phone to help you find your way. Ultimately, we looked around, shopped at the Lego Store and got the heck out of Dodge.
Thankfully, there are other "regular-sized" malls and even better, plenty of Targets and WalMarts in the area.
Stopped for snack/dinner at Steak n Shake (one of our favorites from last time we visited Oklahoma) and the kids got milkshakes. I wanted one so bad, but ended up opting out.
Went to Fry's - C's favorite geeky electronic store. This one was especially cool because of its proximity to NASA.
C has learned enough so far about the area he can drive back to the hotel with the aid of "Jeepus."
But first, a stop to sample sushi at Masa Sushi. (Note to self for later: C was not happy that he could not sit and talk directly with the chefs. Also, they don't know how to roll them tight enough. And the taste was "eh.")
Goodnight. (I'll post in the morning. I'm exhausted from rain and plenty of mall-walking and stair-climbing.)