Changes can be exciting. Changes can be wonderful. Changes can also bring out the grumpiness and negativity in ourselves. This is true with huge changes like moving across the country and also with little changes like the change of seasons or routines. My children have been on summer break for about a week and I can already see the grumpiness creeping in during moments of boredom or frustration with siblings. I have also found that I can personally let my emotions get the best of me, when I don’t check them with gratitude and truth. Check out my girl Erika’s post for extra encouragement on truths to feed a complaining heart: http://redstateramblings.com/4-truths-to-feed-a-complaining-heart/
One way that helps combat these grumpy feelings is to count your blessings. So, in the spirit of embracing the switch into our 1st full summer in Texas, I thought I would share a few of the unexpected and random things that we truly love and are thankful for in our new home state.
And if you are thinking of making the move to the Lone Star State, here are some things to look forward to:
The skies are truly so beautiful here. They are vast and wide and bright blue (usually). No smog or pollution in sight. There are also usually lots of billowing fluffy white clouds. I just love looking out at the vast Texas skies. We also have the prettiest sunsets here. God’s majesty is truly visible, if you take the time to look for it.
Everything is Green:
We are enjoying the lush green that comes from living in a state that is not in a dire drought. We haven’t even started watering our grass and it’s still green. Green, green, green everywhere you look. It’s so pretty!
People seem to care about their property. If you drive around the neighborhoods near us, the lawns are mowed and people seem to care about their spaces. From what I have seen so far, this is true out in the country and in the working class neighborhoods as well as in the more expensive neighborhoods. Parks and common areas are also very well manicured. Fields and grass in public areas are kept cut and free of trash.
Flags are Everywhere:
All along the highway there are the hugest flags majestically blowing in the breeze. Shopping centers and neighborhoods are proudly dotted with the American and Texas flag everywhere. It shows a patriotic spirit and a camaraderie that is appreciated during such a divisive time in our country.
Big City Perks:
Living near Dallas offers a lot of perks, like having access to all of the newest restaurants and popular shops. There are so many activities and fun places to visit as a family. In addition, there are many well known conferences and concerts that we have access to because we live near a big city.
Kindness Goes a Long Way:
From the grocery store to the dentist office I have encountered so many kind people. People wave and smile and will quickly strike up conversations with you. My kids make friends every time we go to a park or pool. In addition, every church we have visited has been full of the kindest and warmest people. I know this is more akin to being brothers and sisters in Christ than to being in Texas, but it still has been such a sweet blessing to walk into a church and be greeted so sweetly even though we are from CA and even though sometimes we look like a circus with all our kiddos traipsing behind us. Texans generally seem to be very warm and inviting.
I know, this is a weird perk of Texas, but if you know you know. The gas stations out here are a thing in and of themselves. Have you ever heard of Bucees? If not, a trip is well worth it. Texans (and other southern states) take their gas stations seriously complete with fresh bbq, specialty fudge shops, quirky gift shops, and every drink or snack you could imagine. My kids get seriously excited to visit Bucees.
So Much to Explore:
Living in a new state means that there are so many new places to see and explore. I have an on-going list in my phone of all the places in Texas (both big and small) that we want to visit. We had our 1st Texas family vacation over Memorial Day weekend in the hill country of Texas. We stayed at Camp Buckner and made many memories swimming, hiking, and exploring the Long Horn Caves. New adventures are so life giving.
Behind our house is a green belt and to the side of our property is a large reservoir. My children have loved all the wildlife that they get to see on our property. We have baby bunnies that live in our backyard and turtles that explore our property. We even discovered a turtle laying eggs in our backyard. The kids can’t wait to see them hatch. There are ducks, geese and egrets that live on the reservoir. They have found snakes and bullfrogs and there are places to fish only a few steps away. My critter loving kids have loved having so much wildlife right out their back door.
People are Active:
Our neighborhood is full of people out going for runs, riding bikes, and walking their puppies. Whether we are on a walk, at the park or on a nature hike, lots of people seem to be out and about enjoying the outdoors. Not to mention, how important sports are out here. The middle school and high school stadiums look like college stadiums back in CA. Texans take their sports seriously. It’s encouraging to look around and see people not living a sedentary lifestyle.
Now this is one that not everyone will agree with me on, but I have already come to enjoy the weather here, humidity and all. The summer breezes every night are so relaxing after a long day of heat. The spring thunderstorms are breathtaking, although sometimes a tad scary. During the winter, the few snow days are a blast and some of my kids’ best memories here, so far. I enjoy that in the fall the leaves change colors. The weather can change on a dime, but so far we are enjoying all that it has to offer.
It is fun to live in a place that people are proud to be from. Texas pride is a real thing. It’s funny to me, but they will literally put the Texas flag on anything. Driving down country roads, you will see it painted on the sides of barns. You walk into Home Depot and you can choose between purchasing a classic orange Home Depot bucket or a Texas bucket. In school, kids say a pledge to the Texas flag after they say the pledge of allegiance. Texans love their state. They are proud to be Texans, which is one reason why I think they are protective of the influx of people moving here–they want the people moving here to love it too.
There are, of course, many other things that we love about Texas. The biggest thing probably being that, over all, the policies are better and that conservative values seem to be the norm instead of the exception. So far the biggest downsides have been the HUGE bugs, the crazy property tax, toll roads, the lack of mountains and missing people that we love in CA. But we won’t dwell on those. God has been so good to us. I encourage you to look for the blessings around you and give thanks. God gives so many good gifts.