Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Happy Texas Independence Day!

fireworks, Texas independence Today is a big day in Texas history– Texas Independence Day. I know I have a lot of readers who don’t live in Texas, and you might not know that Texas was a part of Mexico until we declared our independence in 1836. (Though we Texans think that EVERYBODY knows all about Texas!)

Texas Independence Day

For 9 years Texas was an independent republic with Sam Houston as our 1st President.

Texas Independence Day

In 1845 Texas was annexed to the United States, as the 28th state. At that time it was even larger than it is now.
Texas Independence Day
Mr X and I were born in Texas and have lived here all our lives and though we love to travel, we can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s truly a beautiful state with unbelievable variety. (I wrote a little bit about it in A Texas State of Mind.)
We’ve seen a good bit of our state and I’d love to share it with you!
This is a roadrunner photographed by Mr X in the Hill Country, in Central Texas.
This is leaving my neighborhood going on to the highway (actually a “farm to market” road). We live in the Big Thicket, and pine trees have been a large part of our local economy since the beginning.
Bluebonnets (our state flower) and Indian paint brush blooming at a historic church in Independence, Texas. April in Texas is a wildflower explosion!
Houston was once the capitol of Texas. but now is just our largest city. It’s 2 hours from our house and we go over several times a year. We’ve seem wonderful museums, parks, historic buildings, and very fine musical theater venues.
Here’s a view of Downtown Houston, in Tranquility Park.
The very tasteful Beer Can House, just minutes from Downtown.
Nacogdoches (Pronounced nak-uh-DOH-chis) is home to Stephen F Austin University and the beautiful Ruby Mize Azalea Garden.
One of my favorite places, The Antique Rose Emporium outside Independence.
Dallas is another large city in Texas. We visited last spring and toured the Sixth Floor Museum, which was the Texas School Book Depository, from which JFK was shot.
Dallas has one of the most beautiful arboretums I’ve ever seen! Tulips by the thousands were blooming.
You can’t talk about Texas without mentioning crazy Texas weather. We have a saying– “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes!” Every summer we hold our breath and pray that no major hurricanes will hit. 2005 stunned us with a Category 3 storm named Rita.
Here’s our front yard viewed from the porch after I got back from evacuating for 10 days.
Sara,s birthday and Hurricane Rita 2005 014
And here’s my back yard after our Snow Day of 2008. It hadn’t snowed like that since 1971 so we were thrilled.
There’s lots more to Texas– but I hope I’ve shown you enough to see why we love it!
Happy Texas Independence Day!
Leave a comment »

A Merry Heart– February 3

A merry heart is good medicine…

Proverbs 17:22

Today I can’t really decide what to share, so I’m sharing a bit of this and a bit of that! (This picture is showing Texas wildflowers in April– I’m sure this is in our Hill Country. Beautiful, yes?

For your spirit

If you have never had the opportunity to be blessed by Thelma Wells, you have missed out! She used to be a regular speaker with the Women of Faith team and I got to hear her speak several times; she tended to be my favorite. She has quite a lot of material available on Youtube– here is just a teaser.

For your ears

Billy Joel performing “Piano Man” live in 1975. Many artists rely so much on studio manipulation that live performances are awful– but he is such a good musician, it’s still really good.

For your eyes

I’ve seen pictures of Butchart Gardens on Pinterest– this is really pretty and for you poor folks in the snow this will give you some hope of Spring!

For your funny bone
Don’t be put off by the length of this one– it’s a medley of short clips.

Leave a comment »

A Texas State of Mind

Texas is big. I mean, really big! It’s the second largest state in the United States, both geographically (behind Alaska) and in population (behind California). It’s about twice the size of Japan and Germany, and a bit bigger than France. It’s close to 900 miles from El Paso in the west to Orange in the east– less than El Paso to San Diego on the Pacific coast, or Orange to Jacksonville, Florida on the Atlantic coast. (Both are close to 750 miles.)

A Texas State of Mind

Auntie Em’s house is a bit north of  Beaumont, and 50 miles from the Louisiana border in Orange. We are near the Big Thicket National Preserve, which is a remarkable phenomenon– Wikipedia says it well:

Today the Big Thicket retains numerous species, and has been described as the “biological crossroads of North America” or the “American Ark”. The area contains over 100 species of trees and shrubs, but is dominated by Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris), which reaches heights of over 30 metres (98 ft). The National Park Service lists more than one thousand species of flowering plants and fernsthat can also be found in the thicket, including 20 orchids and four types of carnivorous plants. Animal life includes 300 species of migratory and nesting birds, many endangered or threatened. The thicket is also home to numerousreptile species, including all four groups of North American venomous snakes and alligators.

But there are other distinct geographical areas in Texas- the Hill Country, with its beautiful wild flowers…

the Panhandle, right in Tornado Alley…

and the West…

Texas has a very colorful history- we have been Spanish, French, Mexican, Confederate, United States, and of course, our own independent country. (Hence the “Six Flags over Texas” theme parks)

We’ve got famous Texas shrines — The Alamo being probably the most well-known.

We have our own “national” heroes– Sam Houston is my personal favorite, but also Davy Crockett and  Jim Bowie, among MANY others…

(If you don’t know Sam, check him out! He was a Congressman from Tennessee, a Senator, Governor, and President of Texas, plus a whole lot more!)

We like lots of things in the unique shape of our state..

jewelry …….

food….. (When we stay at an out-of-state hotel, I’m always surprised to see a ROUND waffle maker!)


garden accessories…

Some really hard-core Texas lovers build pools and homes to honor Texas!


“Texas” comes from the earlier “native Texans” (We all claim that title!), whose word for “friend” gave us our name. I’ve heard that some non-Texans think that our Texas pride makes us obnoxious, but we’re too friendly to notice…

Texas bumperstickers say a lot about the Texas mindset:


and my favorite:

So if you’re not fortunate enough to live in Texas, come visit!  Practice saying Y’ALL, and you can be an honorary (or we sometimes say “ornery”) Texan!

Jewelry, dishes , waffles Quotes, history


Candid Diversions

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living... And whatever else grabs my attention!

Christie In A Year - Extended

All About Agatha Christie's Work and Her Legacies

Gourmet Quilter Blog

.....because quilting is delicious!

European Royal History

Exploring the History of European Royalty


my searches for health

Bag of Cupcakes

celebrate. reward. encourage.

the domestic fringe

making life extraordinary