"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vacation in the Valley

Officially one of my favorite pics of Jude of all time.

Over the July 4th weekend, I got to drive (and drive and drive) to Jimmy's hometown of Los Fresnos, Texas.  For those of you who aren't aware, Texas is basically HUGE.  I live in North Texas, about 30 minutes from the Oklahoma state border.  Jimmy's family lives in South Texas, otherwise known as The Valley, which is about 30 minutes from "The Border" aka Mexico.  So it was like 10+ hours.  But I digress.  We actually took the long way to drop this cutie off at Camp Nanna and Pops for the weekend.  A part of me really wanted to take the little guy, but I thought it would be easier to get to know so many extended relatives without also chasing Jude around.

Jimmy's 'We are in the Valley' excited face

I was probably right because this drive is heckuva long.  Particularly because when you are at that 'dear Lord make this drive end' point you hit King Ranch.  Which is miles of basically flat shrubbiness.  It would be beautiful if you weren't so tired at that point.  (I happen to think the rustic ranch look of Texas is gorgeous).  

Sunset in the Valley

This bookcase and ladder exist in my dreams

The first day we were there, we toured Chachalaca Bend which Jimmy's parents currently own.  A little side note on Jimmy's family and what they do:  They run a missions training school down here which focuses on sending people into unreached places.  By unreached they mean places like Papau New Guinea and other tribal communities or hostile places such as Iran.  Jimmy's parents were actually missionaries for years in PNG among tribes that were only one generation removed from cannibalism.  The stories they have are amazing- but God is more amazing!  I mean.  One of the remote tribes had a 'Noah like flood story'.  And when his dad came to that part of the narrative of the Bible, they knew he was from God because he knew their tribal religion story.  This tribe had never seen a white person before him and his team, much less been filled with Bible stories.  Just amazing.  You should check out his book here and their website here.  And PS the book is endorsed by John Piper- so you know it's legit.  Ok anyway, the ministry recently bought this beautiful birding, wildlife, and bed and breakfast place which they will be using to train missionaries.  I love the idea of these people who are giving up everything spending two years in such a quiet, restful retreat.  It's really beautiful.

Here are a couple of pictures of me and my favorite guy.  His parents house backs up to this lake, which is absolutely beautiful at Sunset.  We tried really hard to manage a 'selfie' with the sunset in the background.  Anyway, I love all the water around Los Fresnos.  Reminds me of how sad it is to be in landlocked NTX.  Also, his great grandmother lives directly across the lake.  And his grandfather lives up the road.  I mean.  Living that close to family is so ideal to me.  If you read my previous post, you know how much I value strong family relationships.  I want to live within a mile of everyone I love :)

Painted toes courtesy my lady date with Tommi, Jimmy's momma.  

The next day Jimmy and I took a little 'alone' time to go to South Padre.  As it turns out, Los Fresnos is literally on the road you take to go to Padre- and its like 20 miles away.  Talk about convenient!  This was my first time to S. Padre.  Growing up in Nola, we always went to Gulf Shores/Pensacola area for beach trips.  Padre was actually amazingly nice.  I know the sand looks brown in the pic, but its not.  That's just the IG filter we used.  It's actually pretty white.  And the water was a pretty blue green color.  Obviously Florida is still bluer, but it was actually really pretty.  I was expecting Galveston.  Padre and Galveston are like apples and oranges.

The best part of this whole day was that Jimmy and I got to talk so much.  It was glorious to tan and lay around and get in the water and all that.  But with being a momma, I just never get so much time to talk to Jimmy.  Yes, we go on dates.  But dates are often 'doing' something.  Not literally laying on towels and just talking.  I learned so much about him.  We talked about so many important life things.  It was so refreshing.  And I love how in those moments you find yourself completely overwhelmed with how much you love the person.  And it's like 24 hours you would have sworn you loved him deeply.  But within those 24 hours your love has grown so immensely, the two seem uncomparable.  Sigh.  Love him.  Love talking to him.

For the most part, we spent time with his family.  I can't fully express the thankfulness I have that I like his family and connect to them so well.  All of the lunches and dinners and pedicures and afternoons spent with Maw maw were such a blessing.  I have always wanted to love the person I'm dating's family.  That's not always a blessing you get.  But seriously, I enjoy hanging out with all of them individually, when they are all together, what have you.  He just has a great family, and I feel so blessed that I get to be a part of their lives now.

Jimmy and his MawMaw.  When Jimmy and I first started dating, he would tell me how he would go watch John Wayne movies all afternoon with his Maw Maw.  And he'd mention things like how he needed to call her.  That's how I knew he was a catch.  Anyway who loves on an older lady is probably gonna be pretty good loving on a younger lady.  And I was right.  But what a blessing seeing the two of them interact.  Yall- I snagged myself a good man.

On the 4th, all the extended family, as well as several workers/teachers/students from the missions school gathered at Jimmy's grandparents house for swimming and food and fireworks.  The fireworks terrified me as usual.  I am still, in fact, a wimp.  The mosquitoes ate me alive.  I am still, in fact, sweet blooded.  But I loved visiting with family and friends.  And just seeing Jimmy interact with everyone.  Especially when Jimmy hogged a 16 day old baby girl.  I mean.  The sweetest.  And I don't think he woulda given her back except that she had a newborn diaper blowout :)  He melts my heart.

Our last night there we went fishing on the Arroyo River.  This was my first time fishing.  Ever.  Pretty crazy considering I grew up in Nola.  But my dad is not a fisher/hunter type, so I just never did.  I actually liked the casting and reeling in part.  I am not yet ready to commit to touching bait or a caught fish.  And I can't even imagine looking at one being skinned.  But I like the act of fishing itself.

Jimmy's adorable niece and nephew.  They were much braver than I was!

Pic 1- Grandpa Tom, Barbie (his sister), and Emily
Pic 2- his mom and Emily

The handsomest Texas boy in the Valley

Fish were caught by all.  All but the drum Barbie caught were thrown back.  I was sad we were going back the next morning and wouldn't be around to enjoy the fish fry with the rest of em.

My new favorite boyfriend's sister.

The first fish I ever caught.  #terrified

Love love love him.

We ended our trip with lunch with his other Grandma in Corpus Christi.  Then we took the Texas Coastal highway up to Houston.  I don't have any more pictures I guess because I was too busy being obsessed with the perfect beauty that was the drive.  I now have a new dream- to move to the Corpus Christi bay area.  I need some salt water in my life.  Also it's literally smack dab in between my parents and Jimmy's parents.

Anyway, it was really awesome.  I loved everything about this trip :)


katebradley said...

I LOVE how happy you look in all these pictures!!! It seems like you had a wonderful time! Yay!

ThistleAshD said...

Thanks! It was an amazing trip for sure :)

Kelsea said...

It looks like you guys had a great time! I have a friend who lives in South Texas- I need to visit sometime soon! Glad I found your blog- off to read some archives :)

Susannah said...

I'm so glad you guys had such a wonderful time! That story of his parent's missionary experience is amazing! God is so good! :-)

Danielle In The City said...

1) I hate fishing. I tried. Growing up in Plaquemines Parish it was pretty much against the law to not like fishing, so I had to keep this quiet. Not exciting enough. You know me, I don't like quiet.

2) These pictures are GORGEOUS! Love to see you so happy and content! His family sounds incredible. you made ME want to visit them. Looks like they live i one of the parts of Texas I can actually appreciate ;)

Aanie @ The Active Mum said...

Oh Ash! Honestly I'm just so excited for you guys to get to spend such awesome time together.. reading it actually gives me little butterflies (like the excitement ones I used to get when I first met the hubby and I started to realise he might be 'the one'). Eeeek. Special times!!!!! Sounds like a wonderful weekend xx