Texas 2015 (Part 1- Houston)

(This post is going to be LONG! This is my online version of scrapbooking. I just thought I should prepare you in advance!)

We left for Texas on a Wednesday.

I was really unsure about leaving my children while I joined Paul on one of his trips for work but if I hadn’t, we would have only spent a day together out of the entire month. That just wasn’t going to work.

I packed and planned. Most often, I stay in the hotel room and see Paul in the mornings before he leaves and in the evenings when he returns. That leaves me time for homeschool planning, Bible study and general homemaking organization/paperwork that I can work through efficiently while I’m sitting in the quiet. *smile*

We do usually try to fit in a special meal, but mostly Paul works.

I was challenged by a sweet friend to get out a little more and see some of the cities I would be visiting. I took it a step further and prayed the Lord would allow me to make some good memories with Paul, try things I’ve never tried and see some new and wonderful places.

Our first stop would be Houston.

The trip there was long, of course. We made it a little longer because I asked Paul to stop so I could hold a baby alligator. *smile* He laughed and told me if I wanted to pet and alligator, we would certainly stop. (isn’t he a sweet man?!)

About mid-day, we started thinking toward lunch. We were both shocked to see a sign for Rotolo’s. We have only eaten there once (in Gulf Shores). They make the best calzones! We’ve spoken many times about returning and here was another location!

I really couldn’t resist posting this one:

It was a beautiful drive. The wildflowers are amazing along the side of the interstate this time of year.

Our arrival in Houston was at such a great a time of day. The sun was beginning to set and the colors across the Texas sky where amazing.

It is true, I think, everything is bigger in Texas. Our hotel was no exception! It had multiple meeting rooms and ballrooms. There were several conferences going on in the building all at once. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many folks in one place in my life!

It rained almost the entire time we were visiting Houston but I did get out to walk around the area. Because of the hotel location, it was hard to see much of the city.

I managed to wander around the hotel a good part of the first day. I found a Nestle store with delicious hot cocoa! This hotel also had a dentist, real estate agent, florist, jewelry store and food court! I think they were set up there for the locals who worked in the surrounding buildings. Most of these places were closed for the weekend.

The hotel also had fresh water and hot cookies for every guest checking in:

In the evenings, I would video chat with my littles. I think they enjoyed watching themselves as much as the conversation with me. At some point, Meredith started making faces at herself. She never realized I was snapping photos!


I also found this favorite street in Houston:

Paul stopped for a visit at Fry’s (it’s an electronics superstore).

One evening, when Paul returned from work, we slipped off to a place called “House of Pies”. He had a slice of keylime, I had coconut. We came back to the room, turned off the lights and ate our pie by the light of the beautiful Houston skyline. This was a perk to staying on the 19th floor!

It was beautiful and unbelievable. How many times do we see something so lovely and don’t stop to just appreciate it for a while?!

When Sunday morning arrived, Paul took me out to the local Walmart. On the way back, he mentioned that there were people dressed nicely and taking their Bibles as they walked into a building that shared our hotel parking deck.
We saw police officers directing traffic and signs that read Lakewood Church Parking.

It took me a minute to realize where I knew that name- it was Joel Osteen’s church!

I got Paul off to work, got dressed and left for church!!

I most definitely differ with Joel Osteen’s theology, but I very much enjoyed his service, and believe he has a gift of encouragement.

I had been praying most of the night before over a specific issue and he spoke on that very thing- even called it by name that morning. I had gone to the church mostly out of curiosity, but I knew in that moment, the Lord was answering a prayer.

Joel Osteen greeting visitors and signing autographs:

When the service ended, I enjoyed my time looking around the bookstore. When I was standing in line, the computer system for the bookstore went down and I ended up chatting with the lady in line before me (you didn’t think I was going to leave without at least buying a mug, did you?!). She had not yet been to the service but started talking to me about the same thing that had been taught- again, the Lord giving me encouragement where I needed it most!

Lakewood Church is a lovely church full of sweet folks. I was impressed with their outreach and their ministries. I’m glad I took the time to visit that morning.

Houston, Texas is a beautiful city. I pray the Lord would allow me to visit again sometime and make new memories.

Stay tuned for the next post (but I’m not posting it tonight! *smile*)- San Antonio, here we come!


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Comments: 5

  1. Sheryl Colle April 26, 2015 at 3:44 am Reply

    Really loved reading about your adventures and seeing the pictures!!

  2. Mary Ann April 26, 2015 at 10:26 am Reply

    Enjoyed reading this! My sister and family live in TX now and she talks about how some of the hotels they have stayed at during weekend trips serve Texas shaped waffles. Her children really like that. 😉 Anyways, the state is so big that they’ve been doing weekend trips occasionally to different parts so they can see a lot of things. (They are still 4-5 hours from most major cities!) They loved San Antonio and I look forward to reading your post.

  3. Jennifer April 28, 2015 at 2:59 am Reply

    Love it all, but I think the pictures of Meredith are my fave!

    Interesting comment about Osteen…you know I have to take you up on it! So as someone who has heard him in person (I’ve listened to him on TV all of twice), you believe he has the spiritual gift of encouragement as opposed to being a teacher for those with “itchy ears” as in 2 Timothy 4:3?

  4. Tracy April 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm Reply

    How do you see him exactly teaching to itchy ears?
    I have heard several of his teachings.

    What I hear is a resounding theme of God wants you to prosper. God wants you to have good health. God will pour these blessings out on you.

    Obviously, the Bible gives us very clear examples of suffering and speaks of times when we will suffer- not because we’ve done something wrong. I don’t think I’ve heard him speak on this but I’ve not listened to many of his messages and certainly that is not what I’ve taken away when I have listened.

    Also, in the Bible, I read over and over of the dangers of wealth and about giving riches to the poor. I don’t read about God wanting us to be wealthy and have what we want in life.

    I differ very much with Joel Osteen based on what I have heard him teach on some of these issues.

    Likewise, I have never heard him speak on hell and the dangers of living in sin. That concerns me (even for those I’m related to!) since I know there are many who will listen to him on television and never realize they aren’t even saved. They may be living life thinking they are just fine because they “came to Jesus” on Sunday, but then they live in sin every other day of the week. We both know this is not consistent with the life of a believer.

    The very nature of a television program and not having the discipline and fellowship of a local congregation of believers (which the Bible is very clear we should have!) makes me sad for the lives of those listening to his program week after week.

    All that said, yes, I think he is an encourager. I also know he teaches if you want the things above, you need to work toward them. I truly believe his heart is in a good place and that he is just misguided in the way he is using his gift? (Maybe I’m just too much of an optimist?) I found myself praying for this group of folks while in attendance (who were delightful, btw!). I pray that his teaching become more complete. While I think there probably are those who attend/listen to have their ears tickled, I think many do have a relationship with the Lord.

    • Jennifer April 28, 2015 at 3:34 pm Reply

      Oh, I was totally asking for your view. Not giving mine. Like I said, I have heard his teaching in it’s entirety twice and have not read any of his books. I have watched some interviews with him, but nothing else, so I’m not trying to “make an argument for my point” if that makes sense. I’m totally just asking what you thought/perceived/discerned as being someone who was there in person vs. what the other views of him are. Thanks! I appreciate the info.

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