These pictures were actually taken a few weeks back. I can't believe how cloudy it looks in these photos because it seems like nearly every day we wake up to the sun blazing brightly at 7AM, its rays already heating us up to 80 degrees. (According to our computer it's a balmy 84 degrees right now and it's nearly midnight. Is that crazy or what?) The day we took those pictures though was a very hot and sweaty day, in spite of the clouds. Which is weird coming from California. If I see clouds or rain I automatically think - bake cookies, curl up on the couch and watch an old movie, read under the covers. But here it tricks me. My brain still associates those things with rain but then I step outside and it's not 60 degrees, but 100 degrees. Not the best kind of day to bake.

As long as I'm already on a little rant about Texas weather peculiarities, it's funny too how our bodies have acclimated to the heat. Take for example the other day - we walked out to the car to head to the grocery store and said to each other, "Wow, it doesn't feel very warm today." Then as we were driving we passed by a bank thermometer that said 93 degrees. Normally it says 98 or 100 so we were right in thinking that it was cooler, but how demented have we become to think 93 degrees is not very warm?? Did I mention that we have no air conditioning in our car?

These pictures were taken in the King William Historic District in downtown San Antonio. The photos pretty much speak for themselves, so I don't really feel that I have anything to add except to point out that in the one vertical picture of Paul he's standing on what we believed to be some sort of step for getting out of your carriage. Neither of us had ever seen that in person before. Also pictured is the checkerboard sidewalk - I don't know if it's original or not (it didn't really look like it) but a few houses had patterned walkways instead of boring pavement between the street and their gate. Pretty nifty.

Oh, and the cat. A random cat came up to us and then proceeded to follow for quite a distance. Remember the cat we saw at Becker Vineyards? Cat karma. Which reminds me that we have been watching a lot of My Name is Earl lately. Carson Daly.


Oh, how we have longed to be back at St. John's Anglican Church! We miss the beautiful historic building (which is no longer theirs now anyway), we miss our friends, we miss Rev. Miller, and we miss having a place where we feel at home on Sunday mornings. St. John's was the first and only church we ever attended in Petaluma, no "church-hopping" required. It was too easy.

It has not been so easy to find a church here in Texas, even if we do now live in the so-called Bible Belt. Prior to today we visited three churches in Boerne: St. Helena's Episcopal Church (too liberal), St. John's Anglican Church (no one under the age of 60), and St. Mark's Presbyterian Church (just not right).

The Sunday that we attended St. Mark's Presbyterian church Paul and I were discouraged - to the point of wondering aloud if we weren't really supposed to move to Texas. It seemed like everything fell into place so naturally when we had moved to Petaluma. Though we realized three weeks of visiting churches is nothing compared to how long some people search, we were eager to become a part of a new church family in the same way that we had been at St. John's in Petaluma.

So that Sunday afternoon we sat down in a cafe and wrote out on the back of an old receipt a list of the things that we were really looking for in a church in order of importance. I'm pretty sure it went something like this:

1. Liturgy - Basically any church where we would actively take part in the service by reading Scripture and praying corporately.

2. Communion - This is really #1 for us, but we didn't think we could place it in the top spot because so few churches in Texas celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday. At St. John's I loved/hated saying the first line of the confession every week that reads, "we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone." For me at least, that means a lot of repenting if it includes my thoughts, words, and deeds, and then, if that weren't enough sins to confess, it goes on to include not only the things that I have done, but the things that I have not done?! I never once got callous toward saying that every week, it always stung a little. But then you feel a great relief from confessing and receive the assurance that your sins are forgiven through Christ's death, and you get to celebrate the feast! It is a great way to start a new week! Perhaps for selfish reasons alone, I don't want to go to a church that relegates this to once a month.
Here's the full confession in context, by the way:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
This confession alone seriously almost makes me want to become an Episcopalian, no matter what else they may get wrong.

3. Fellowship - Preferably we would like to find a church with some younger couples/single people/families to befriend, but also older, wiser people too. We're finding in Boerne that it's difficult, and maybe even impossible, to find a church that meets all of the first 3 criteria.

4. Proximity - We used to be able to walk to St. John's and I think the majority of the congregation lived in Petaluma, maybe even the on west-side. =) We would prefer to find a church in Boerne, but know that this should not be the most important factor in deciding upon a church.

That was our list and we set out today with that criteria in mind. (But knowing that no matter what kind of Church service it turned out to be, we were there to worship and glorify God - I hope I don't give the impression that it was like we were out apartment hunting or something. We've been glad to be able to go to church at all every Sunday since we've been here.)

And this is the church we attended today. Well, really this not an actual picture of the place, but it did meet in a school cafeteria. (Quite a stark contrast to the old St. John's building in regard to aesthetics.) Despite its not-so-reverence-inspiring- appearance however, I am soooooo happy to be able to say that it meets criteria #1, #2, and #3 beautifully. It is in San Antonio, meaning a 35-45 minute drive, so it doesn't fit criteria #4. We don't feel like we can complain about the distance too much though as there were people there from Austin (who, by the way, recognized Paul from attending Redwood Chapel in the late 90s/early 2000s - small world).

But most of the elements of the liturgy that we so enjoyed at St. John's were present - we read Scripture responsively, sang the Doxology, confessed our sins corporately and privately, recited the Nicene creed, prayed the Lord's prayer (but not necessarily in that order), and stood up, sat down, stood up, sat down, stood up, sat down. We both found the sermon to be very thought-provoking and challenging too. And, hooray, they celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday! (I like that rhyme.) We even got to eat lunch (melt-in-your-mouth brisket, no less) after church with everyone and the people at our table included a young couple with a 4 month old baby, a single guy who was also there for the first time, a middle-aged mother with 7 kids (who was so nice that even though we had just met, she hugged me when we left - and it didn't seem weird), and a dad in his early 30s - a pretty nice mix to enjoy fellowship with.

We came away feeling like we were finally at home in Texas.


Some day last week we visited a really neat town called Fredericksburg. (As a side note, we spend every day of the week except Sunday not knowing or really caring what day it is. It's strange - like we're old people or something.)

This is a really nice winery just outside of Fredericksburg. Yep, a winery! We moved from wine country to more wine country apparently. By the way, there are trees everywhere in Texas it seems, so it's hard to take panoramic-type pictures. I probably could have moved to get a better shot, but I'm trying to convince Paul that I need a better camera. =) (Hey, he tricked me into buying a Wii because he needed a better video game system...)

A lavender field at the winery.

It might not show up well here, but there were huge ants where we stood to take a picture of the lavender. It was fascinating to watch them, but from a distance as we were wearing flip-flops and have been warned to stay away from ants in Texas.

I told Paul I wanted to take his picture on the porch of the winery and as he was about to pose he noticed a cat sleeping peacefully next to him atop a wine barrel. So we took pictures of the cat instead.

Another building on the winery property. Every building is made out of stone in Texas.

Part of the inside of the winery. We didn't taste any wine because it was morning, but we did purchase an award-winning bottle. (And we're waiting until YOU visit us to open it!)

After visiting the winery we went to a place called Wildseed Farms. It's basically just a nursery but they have flowers and grasses planted too and you can take a walk around the mini-fields.

Fredericksburg not only has wineries, but also a local brewpub.

Paul was pleased. (Not necessarily ecstatic about taking this picture though.)

I was excited by this bread muffin thing that came with my salad. It was half pumpernickel (or is it rye?) and half wheat! We have a new-found love of pumpernickel/rye since moving to Texas because of all the German culture here.

There is a lot more to share but it's now 12:20AM CST. So, goodnight.


I found this sign in a store window near our house in Boerne and I love it. It seems to speak volumes about our new hometown. As does Jim's Beverage Barn, a drive-through liquor store. Er... a beer, wine, soda, water, cigarettes store - Texas has interesting liquor laws. But more on that later. (I'm sure you're dying to know!)

So there's your first peak into our new neighborhood. A more formal update will follow soon. =)