Thank you, Gwen, for sharing about your Texas home in our 50 states series.
Until two and a half years ago, I considered Texas to be this strange, foreign country -- albeit very patriotic -- where everyone spoke with a drawl.
But then we became Texans ourselves. I must say that it was a good thing - we moved down here to be part of an amazing ministry. And the laid back living, 2nd Amendment defending, freedom loving side of Texas definitely appealed to us. It was the concerns of snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas that made me wonder if we were crazy moving here.
Our first summer in Texas I was pregnant with (surprise to us!) baby number eight and it was the hottest summer on record. Up north where I spent my whole life, we would have just a few days each summer that were over 90 degrees.
But the Summer of 2011 we had seventy days in triple digits. I ain't a-kiddin' you. Seventy.
Have we learned to love Texas anyway? Absolutely. Here are the Top Four Texas Things I love:
1. Bluebonnets in the Spring. For this Northerner who is used to white-out blizzards in the month of March, the amazing purplish blue wildflowers that carpet the roadsides and pastures nearly overwhelm me with their beauty. I can hardly wait till they bloom again and my oldest daughter, even though she's just 12, has decided that her future husband had better plan on a March wedding in a field of bluebonnets.
2. No More Bundling Up! Put hat, gloves, scarf, snowpants, coat, and boots on Child #1, repeat for Child #2, take everything off Child #1 so he can go to the bathroom, send Child #1 and Child #2 out the door, bundle up Child #3, open the door, Child #1 and Child #2 wail that they're cold, repeat ad nauseam. Can I just say -- I don't miss that a bit!
3. Barefoot Babies in Strollers -- If you're a Northerner like me, you can imagine the joy of doing this in January!
4. Freedom-Loving Citizens -- Although you can find patriotic Americans in any state, there is a certain attitude in Texas of standing up for freedoms and loving independence. Only in Texas will you find a group of moms at homeschooling co-op talking about going to the shooting range.
If you were to come visit us in Texas, first you'd have to step around the chickens, dogs, and cats, and then our eight children would take you on a tour of our property. They'd show you our skunk graveyard (they're known for carrying rabies in north Texas so that's the safest place for them!), they'd show you where you can find wild hog hoof prints in our garden (planted in February), and they'd show you the beautiful flowers that bloom on our cactus plants scattered everywhere.
Yes, we've managed to survive multiple snake sightings and a few tarantulas as well - the children have become highly proficient at identifying the different species. And it no longer worries me too much that we have a five-foot rat snake that calls our attic home. I know he can't get down here where we live (at least that's what my husband assures me) and I'm thrilled to know that he's eating rodents that I detest.
Come visit Texas! Between bluebonnets in the spring, Texas hill country in the fall, deep sea fishing off the coast of Port Aransas, and sunshiny winter days, you can't beat it.
Just don't come visit us in August. I can't be held responsible for all y'all Northerners who can't handle one hundred and fifteen degree days.
Gwen Toliver, a former Northerner who now freely uses Texas vernacular, is also a mother of eight, and the wife of her one true love. She writes about her family and ministry at Tolivers To Texas. Living in the country in Texas with a regular parade of chickens, cats, wild hogs, and skunks provides great blog material. She is also the author of Seed Sowers: Gospel-Planting Adventures – a true, modern-day collection of exciting, sad, scary, and hilarious missionary adventure stories targeted for children and families