One Perfect Spot for Kids- Lehnis Train Museum, Brownwood, Texas

When thinking of perfect places to tote a trio of grandkids on a road trip, Brownwood, Texas might not be the first place that pops in your head. However, Brownwood does have a lot to offer. One of those cool offerings is the Lehnis Train Museum. Daughter #3 is in her last semester at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. She also just celebrated her 22nd birthday, so on a whim, Tony and I decided to take a road trip with the trio.

We were super impressed with the space and scale of this museum. The kids loved all the model trains and watching them speed along the tracts. The volunteers are fantastic. The fellow running the model trains was also building new cars and engines as he spoke to us. We learned a lot and will avoid a lot of mistakes when we start building a set of our own.

The museum offers a lot of interactive exhibits. The play area is quite large and offered a lot for the kids to build and interact with, the trio spent about an hour and a half in this area and cried when we said it was time to go. The time spent here was so fun. You could see their brains working as they manipulated the levers, latches, and physics demonstrations. No one asked for a video all day!

But, the highlight of the day was the mini train that we got to ride. The cost is $2.00 per person (4 and under are free) in addition to the entrance fee which is $4.00 per person (4 and under are free). And this was the best spent $2.00 ever! The conductors were fun and let the kids blow the horn at the end of the ride.

Brownwood, Texas offers a lot of fun, low key family fun. The train museum is not the only attraction in Brownwood. You can learn more about Brownwood and other great places in Texas if you look in the Texas Travels category over on the sidebar. I have been traveling with kids for almost 30 years, and simple is a good thing.

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What is a Home?

What is a home?

What makes a house a home?  That question may be slightly different for each family, but it is the family that is essential to the home.  The structure could burn down, but the home would survive in the family that took it with them to the new location.

Home is much more than bricks, wood, or mortgage payments.  It is atmosphere, memories, unspoken or unwritten rules, it is essential.  Think about what you remember about your home growing up- you may have concrete memories of activities but those memories are wrapped in emotions.  That is the crucial key- emotions, atmosphere, the spirit of the place.  Was it a loving home, a home filled with fear, a home filled with laughter?  If your home was not a happy one, the good news it that you get a second chance.  You did not get to choose the home your were born in to, but you do get to choose the home you have now.  Now, you get to make your house a home and choose what you want to fill it with- laughter, happiness, good food, warm aromas and certainly the Spirit and peace of God.

To help women understand and to encourage them to make their house a home has been a long time passion for me.  Not that I have all the answers or make no mistakes, but I was fortunate to have a full time mother in my home growing up and she taught me many invaluable lessons.  I took those and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  improved upon them and set out to create a home in which my children could hear God speak, could be safe and free to be themselves, and would make many happy memories to look back on when they left home.  Not every home has children in it. Children are not what makes a house a home; however, if they are in the home they become a huge focus for as long as they are in your care.  The most essential element in the making of a home is the marriage.  If the marriage is not healthy, the home will not be, either.

Beginning with the end in mind is probably my mantra. If you want a marriage that stood the test of time, you must begin that journey with the mind set necessary to last the journey. If you want your children to leave home with a certain skill set or mind set or both, you have to begin parenting them when they are toddlers with those attributes that you desire in mind.  So that is what I did, I sought God and what he had in mind for my children and that is where I began.  Now, my four kids are 21, 19, 13, & 11.  I am seeing the fruit of all of our hard work- my husband is most certainly very involved- and it is good.  So, I desire to share what worked for me, what did not, & the lessons I learned as we have been on this journey.

Today, I am updating this post as I turn it from a page to a post. I love what I wrote 6 years ago. Those four kids are now 27, 25, 21, & 19. Two are fantastic mothers and business owners, one is about to graduate and go on to law school and one is currently beginning boot camp to become a United States Marine. What I have written is standing the test of time.

I pray that you will find the information in the pages and articles helpful, informative, and inspiring and I also hope you will laugh at the funny parts!  Without a sense of humor- life, marriage, & parenting will eat you up and spit you out!

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Happily Ever After

This guy- I don’t know what I would do without him.

Four babies have come and gone. They are building careers and families of their own.

We are back to the two of us. We loved the years of raising our chaotic zoo and it hurts to know that we are officially done with that season. But, we are excited to be a couple again.

We started young and it wasn’t the easy way (I don’t think an easy way exists when it come to raising a family) but I wouldn’t change a thing.

When we look at our crew, we are SO FREAKING PROUD!

Happily Ever After is a way of life for us.

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What To See In Galveston- Galveston Railroad Museum

Traveling with children is one of the best experiences.  It can also be one of the most challenging.  Galveston is an incredible destination for families.  One of the attractions that make Galveston awesome is the Galveston Railroad Museum.

With 5 acres and over 40 pieces of rolling stock, there is plenty of room for little legs to run.  Many of the cars are open and you can walk though different kinds of cars ranging from dining cars to postal cars.  The different types of engines are on display and open to be toured.

Not only are the cars open, but they are staged with era-specific models wearing clothes or eating a snack from the era in which the train car was in operation.  Its really interesting to see what was considered “luxury” travel at that time.  You can also sit on the benches or take a picture in a berth and imagine what it felt like to travel through the night with the clickity-clack of the train tracks and the sway of the railcars as they rocked you to sleep.

A caboose makes a run down a mile of track most weekends. There is also a Polar Express during the holidays. You can access the website here.

There is also a museum exhibit open that details the history of the railroad in Texas and Galveston as well as how the museum came to be.  The museum is open daily with admission for adults being $10.00 and children ages 3 and older being $5.00.  There are various discounts listed on the website.

So, whether you are looking for an interesting stop on vacation or an interesting field trip while you homeschool, the Galveston Railroad Museum is a great stop.  For more on what to see and do in Galveston, click here.

What is your favorite activity with children?

A Writer’s Day

Today was a perfect day.

I woke up happy.

Spent time with God on my balcony.

Reflected on a sweet evening with daughter #2.

Did my workout.

Snuggled with a grandbaby.

Worked a couple hours at my paying job (transaction coordinator)

Worked several hours and wrote 5000 words at my dream job. (Writer)

Marked chores off my list.

Cooked dinner

Took a walk with the love of my life in the fog and misty rain.

Completed the week’s homework assignment.

Soaked in a hot bath.

I mean, it really doesn’t get better than this! I wanted it documented so I can reflect on it when the day isn’t so perfect.

I don’t want to blow by the sweet everyday moments that add up to a beautiful life.

How You Can Help Say “NO” to Exploiting Children

If you could do one small thing that would shut a child pornography ring down- would you do it?

I’ve compiled some facts and done a little math for you this week.

There’s two parts to this post:

  • The role of child pornography in the sexual abuse of children.
  • One thing we can do to stop the abuse.

You guessed it, this is a Serious Saturday Post.

There are four preconditions that must be met in order for a predator to act and abuse a child. The first two are internal. A person must overcome the internal inhibitors that would stop him or her from abusing a child sexually. There are two common components in overcoming these internal inhibitors: child pornography and the erotic portrayal of children in the media. (Victimology 5th addition, Harvey Wallace and Cliff Roberson)

Child Pornography and the Erotic Portrayal of Children in the MEDIA- enter Netflix.

Netflix has produced the show “Cuties” which is at best an erotic portrayal of children in the media and at worst child pornography.

Waiting on some government agency to investigate or arrest or pull the show from the air will take too long. We as moral individuals must take a stand.

How can we when we are up against a media giant?

That is where a free market and a capitalist economy come in. In our economic system, the dollars do the voting. If it will sell, it is made. If it won’t sell, it doesn’t get made anymore.

There are 29 million people living in Texas. Lets say that the average monthly charge for Netflix was $10. I know some pay more and some pay less, but let’s just use an easy number as the median price. If 10 million people in Texas (1/3 of the population) cancelled Netflix that would me a loss of 100 million dollars PER MONTH to Netflix- and that is just Texas.

$10.00 X 10,000,000 = 100 million dollars per month

So, let’s take another number. There are 205 million Christians in America. If half of those cancelled Netflix it would mean a $1,025,000.00 loss per month for Netflix- over 1 billion dollars per month!

102,500,000 X $10.00= $1,025,000,000.00/month

Thanks to the way our economy works, we do not have to wait on someone else to take a stand and shut the giant down for exploiting our children and creating a pathway for abusers to overcome their internal inhibitors.

Stopping child abuse and sex trafficking is an overwhelming task, but through one action we can stake a stand that will make a difference and send a message.

Will you take a stand and cancel Netflix?

If you continue to send Netflix your money, you are bankrolling child pornography and paving the way for the sexual abuse of children.

Thanks To My Dad, I Am Not A Racist

With Father’s Day coming up, I thought about a gift of a t-shirt or coffee mug- you know the usual. But then things erupted around us concerning the issue of racism. I decided that the best gift I could give my dad would be my words.

To be honest, my dad was a train wreck in many ways. He would never have one an award based on being a father. These words will not come as a surprise, he knows this. We have talked about it and he has apologized and most importantly, many of those bad behaviors do not occur any longer.

But the thing he got right, like really nailed it- was race and gender. We will save the gender issue for another day but it deserves a mention here. Never in all my days growing up, and I spent a lot of time with him in the shop tearing down engines and helping him rebuild those engines (yes, me a girl knew an engine inside and out by the time I was 12), did I ever hear my dad judge a person based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender.

My mom tells the story of when they were first married she made a racist comment, probably one she heard growing up, and my dad told here never to say that again. He said that wasn’t allowed in our house. And just like that, my mom stopped.

This is why I say that because of him, I am not a racist. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have grown up just like the generations before me. I heard the word “n” word plenty and it always turned my stomach because of the bitterness behind it. But that word was never used in my home. I was never tempted to use it and I knew early on that it was not okay- even if people who I loved said it. That wasn’t allowed in our house.

Perhaps, what is a child hears in the home carries far more weight than what is said in the culture around them.

Or, what a child doesn’t hear. My dad and I never had a discussion about this. I learned from his actions and words- both said and unsaid.

He came from East Texas. He may have carried thoughts and attitudes of racism but he didn’t give them a voice and they died without light and air and recognition. I do not carry that baggage that he never handed me.

As I watch with repulsion the acts of racism, I feel a bit helpless. There are big problems in the world. How can I impact such a huge thing? Me, as one person, can’t actually do a lot on a national or global scale.

BUT, what I can do is decide what is allowed in our house. I raised four humans who do not judge a person based on their color, gender, or ethnicity. They, in turn will raise the next generation that know a human’s worth is not based on skin color or heritage or gender. If we all would focus on our own home, society would be fixed. If we all focused on our own home, the world would get better. Matters of the heart cannot be fixed with legislature. Matters of the heart must be fixed at home with Jesus.

That is another thing we did in our home- faith was central. No where close to perfect, but it gave me the foundation to build my life on the Rock and not the shifting sands of culture or society,

My dad was key in that, as well.

I am living proof that one person can stop racism from infecting the next generation, and the next one, and the next one, and on and on.

Thanks to my dad, I am not a racist.

Thank you Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

Five Things Friday

Wow, Friday is here again.  Here are my five things this week that really get under my skin:

#5- 500 people standing in line at Wal-mart and only 2 checkers are open.  Really?  Does Wal-Mart really have to worry about making ends meet to the point that they can’t open a few more lines?  This item would have once been #1 on my things that irritate me but now that I have decided to read while I wait, I don’t mind so much.  Do I carry a book with me?  NO!  I simply read any and all magazines I want to while waiting in line.  I figure that if they don’t want me reading magazines and not buying them then they will open more checkers.  So, now I pick the line that has the best selection of magazines, forget which line is longer- the longer the better means more time to read.

#4- Ants– I HATE ants.  We have been battling them all summer.  They build under every rock edge I have around my gardens.  They bite me every time I weed the gardens.  Trying to control them organically meant putting out dried molasses- which usually works great.  However, the ants seemed to thrive.  I had a chat with my Extension Agent and come to find out I have Pharaoh Ants, also known as sugar ants.  I was feeding the bloody devils!

#3- Smart Farm Animals– Smart farm animals are the most irritating things you can encounter on this earth.  The reason being is they can figure out any gate latch, constantly check all fences for any holes, wait for the moment when a barn door has been left open and never give you a moments peace.   And when they do get out, they will ALWAYS remember where the feed is stored and where your favorite rose bush is planted.  However, the dumb animals- they stay in their pens, eat the feed that you bring them and generally have no plans to take over the world.

#2  The Burn Pile-  Now its not really the burn pile that irritates me, when you live in the country this is just a fact of life.  Trees fall, storms blow limbs down so you usually have a pile.  What bothers me ( I would say “what aggravates the piss out of me” but my mother doesn’t like it when I say that and my city friends get the weirdest looks on their faces when I do, so I will refrain) is when a young person is told to put something in the burn pile and what I get is what is pictured to the left.  What Part of “IN the burn pile did you not understand?”  These boxes are clearly not in the pile.  I would blame his teachers, but he is home schooled.burn pile

#1- When I hear someone say, “Young people don’t…” you can fill in the blank but usually I hear it in regards to young people understanding what it means to work hard, how the country should run or about being appreciative.  Well, if the young people don’t it is because the old people didn’t.  The younger generation only possess what the previous generation gave them.  If the children have not been taught then it is our fault.  I love my young people, they are responsible, kind, courteous and brave.  I put in a lot of work to see that fruit. So, if you don’t like what you see then get involved and build some relationships with young people.  Our future is in their hands, we should invest in them.

la mancha dairy goatNow if you will excuse me, I am sure there is some smart farm animal misbehaving.  Don’t let Salsa’s innocent expression fool you, anarchy lurks behind those eyes!

Five Things Friday

I have seen several of these “five things Friday” posts and they are usually along the lines of things that inspire you or photographs.  Well, my five things are of a different vain.  I have decided to do Five Things That Chap My Hide.  So here we go, we will be counting them down from least aggravating to most aggravating, the same kind of order that David Letterman uses.

#5- Pony tail holders and bobby pins– these irritate me because they can never be found.  A whole package can disappear with in 48 hours leaving all 4 females looking for them desperately while the 2 males help look just to shut us up but really can’t understand why we can’t keep up with these items.  The next time my mother says, “Well, it didn’t sprout legs and run off.” I will submit exhibit A- ponytail holders and bobby pins as evidence that things do sprout legs and run off.  Exhibit B would be the empty black cups and pots that I use for the herbs- they run all over my yard on their own.

#4-Self-filling laundry hampers– I don’t know how we keep managing to purchase these defective hampers, but we do.  Every time I get one emptied I walk in an hour later and it is half full.  I like a glass half full but not a laundry hamper.

#3- Walmart– you knew at least one item would have to do with Wal-mart.  Actually, I could have done a whole list every Friday for a year on this subject, but today we will keep it to just one thing.  There is this huge warehouse behind Wal-Mart and never, I mean NEVER, is there anything stored back there.  If the shelf is empty or just has 2 items and you need 3 of the thing- don’t even ask because I can tell you that they do NOT have anymore in the back.

#2- Flu-shot advertisements– these things should be outlawed.  How these companies can claim that you are protected from the flu guaranteed I do not know.  The truth is there are numerous strains of the flu and one strain can mutate into another strain as the season progresses.  The idea that the one or two strains that you get vaccinated for will be the only ones you are exposed to is ridiculous.  The odds are better at the Black Jack table in Vegas.  If you really want to protect yourself, eat more herbs and use herbal supplements to boost your immune system.

#1- Stupid Questions– Whoever said, “There is no such thing as a stupid question” never had children.  Example: My daughter walks into my room and says, “I spilled milk in the kitchen, do you want me to clean it up?” My response, “No, we have fairies that fly around the house every night and clean.”

Now that I am done fussing, I will go chill like our farm cat- Cheezit
Now that I am done fussing, I will go chill like our farm cat- Cheezit