Love, Faith, Peace and Joy

December 25, 2008



xmas-lights-095-1 CUTE!





That is how you can describe some of the lights we saw in Brownsville, Tx.  this Christmas.

Remember the old-fashioned lights from yesteryear? Well, this is them on steroids.


 Lit up, they looked beautiful.


This was the side of somebody’s garage and their front window.


 This was a very large Nativity scene.


This trailer parked in front of a house made us wonder how they made the money to pay for their fancy country club house.


 It was nice to see the ones who went all out.


This Santa with the reindeer in mid-flight looked cool.


This was a garden in someone’s back yard.





This tiny ladder caught my eye.


 These tiny creatures climbing a ladder to the roof had to have been the most adorable decorations I saw.


 Some houses looked spectacular in just plain white lights.


While others jazzed it up a bit with bright colors.


 This house lit up one corner on Boca Chica Blvd.


  This house was beautifully decorated.


The girls put the reindeer’s size into perspective when they stood by it.


This was the sight I longed to show them: Christmas lights reflected off a resaca’s surface. A resaca is the kind of bodies of water we have down here in this tropical area.


We live in a tropical area so seeing a decorated palm tree was nice. This one was 40 feet tall. They had to have thrown the ornaments up there because they were waaaay up there.


This was a regular tree but the lights created the illusion of a palm tree.


 These girls were pooped and tried to sleep on the way back to Port Isabel.


 Tried to, anyway. 


The night I took this picture was the night the father of these beautiful twins was injured in a horrific 30-foot fall. His back was broken and he is paralyzed. Please pray for him, these girls and their mom and brother. If you can contribute to the fund that was set up to help them with the incredible blow that has befallen them, please donate whatever amount you can to the : “William A. Plouffe Fund” at Lone Star National Bank – gift account 2905004843. He is in critical condition and the family needs your help badly. If you and 99 other people give just $5.00 that would be worth a million to us. These girls are only 13 and their world has been rocked by this tragedy. Their daddy was the major breadwinner and now Mom has taken a leave of absence from her Walmart job to be by his side. There is no other income but what is donated out of the goodness of people’s hearts. Please help them for as time passes, people’s interest will wane but their dad’s condition will stay very, very serious. Thank you for your kindness and know that we appreciate everyone’s prayers. May God bless you and your family as well as the family of these beautiful girls who brighten up a room like a ray of sunshine when they enter it. Have a blessed Christmas.

The Fog

December 18, 2008

This afternoon I felt so lucky for living near South Padre Island at the southernmost tip of Texas because I had heard of the incredibly amazing low temps around the nation and here the sun was out and the temps were trying to climb up to their usual balmy selves.


The water in the bay looked like a mercurial mirror.


Then a very thick fog rolled in quickly and caught us all by surprise.


It reminded me of how stupid horror movies always add some military-related accident that is the cause of all the mayhem and blood-slinging.


The mist, the fog, all the eerie lights glowing through the mist made for a spooky evening so I hightailed it home. To see how cool the island is all the other time click here.

Cold Front

December 16, 2008

 Though South Padre Island is certainly paradise,  we are not impervious to cold fronts that have devastated the rest of the United States.

 We got a cold front yesterday that had the fishermen hightailing it out of the bay.


You could literally see the bad weather pushing away the good weather.


I rode my bike, as I had been bicycling and enjoying the beautiful weather before this came in, down to the end of the street to see the beautiful weather that we are so accustomed to be completely pushed out of the picture, literally.


The temperature has PLUMMETTED to a deadly 50 degrees and will be right back up to 85  by this weekend. Why aren’t you here? I spoke to a man who said the wind chill in Iowa was -35 yesterday. I said, “Why aren’t you here?” He said, “I don’t know.” (They are waiting for a grandchild to be born then they are coming to paradise.) If you are in a place that is colder than 50 degrees, you need to consider coming down to South Padre Island on the southernmost tip of Texas where the beach is beautiful, the food is great, things are affordable and life is good. The island gets many visitors in January and February due to the horrible cold weather that is freezing the rest of the nation. To find out more about this wonderful area click here.

Cheapest Gas in the Nation

October 22, 2008

The mention of bargain hunting in a conversation today on South Padre Island reminded me that I had not posted these last photos I wanted to post. These were taken two days ago. It cost $53.00 to fill up four 5-gallon gas cans PLUS the car, where it used to cost just that to fill up the car when this gas price fiasco first started. I also heard on the news that this was the cheapest gas in the nation.

The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Harlingen across from the Olive Garden. It is in front of Walmart and right on the corner by expressway 77/83.











Yet I just drove by the Stripes in Port Isabel and the gas was $2.45/gallon and in Laguna Heights it was $2.75/gal. I must have skipped that day in math class ’cause it just don’t add up.

Sandcastle Days ’08

October 21, 2008

 People came from all over the world to see this amazing sandcastle exhibition.

 The making of the sign.

From glittery sandcastles made of real sand and baked to a crispy goodness  to tropically-themed cards, you could get it all at Sandcastle Days ’08.

The woodwork was exquisite. The fish in the top center is called a mahi-mahi, or dolphin, and is caught in these waters offshore.



This young man told me he just started making stuff out of tires til he came up with this idea, which blew me away. These planters were beautiful, colorful and rust-proof, which is what you need down on the coast with all the salt around. “What an excellent idea!” I told him.

The Jolly Roger crew is a wild, fun-lovin’ one.


 The cool part of going early is being able to see the works in progress.















 Masters of the craft worked with kids to instill a love of the art in them.



 Many people showed up to watch the day’s festivities.

People stopped what they were doing to watch this huge monster head out to sea.

 EVERYBODY stopped what they were doing.

 Face painting was provided by Island Princess Face Painting.



 This is why we do it.



 So many little boys asked for green dragons that we ran out of green paint, so, of course, they wanted blue.

We took our mascot, Princess, and the kids LOVED her.

 A product of the public schools.

This was my favorite, ZZ Top.

Too cool

October 17, 2008

Sandcastle Days is back up on the other Todo Padre site. Seems everyone is going to want their favorite up in the top ten so the top 100 are just that – all equal in the top 100. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Cameron Diaz’s eyes are pretty, but the rest of her is gross. How long can you burp and fart and it be cute? What is beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to another so the list stays.

Amazing Grace

October 3, 2008
The Matamoros dump is a community of people who live along the trash dump in Matamoros, Mexico. This is how they live. 
Kids came running to greet us as they knew what was in the van.
Kids came running to greet us as they knew what was in the van.
One resident led grace before the kids tore into the hot burgers from McDonalds.

One resident led grace before the kids tore into the hot burgers from McDonalds.

Most houses had no electricity.

Most houses had no electricity.

They took to that new ball right away.

 Those kids took to their new ball right away.

This little Pele' was very, very good.

This little Pele was very good.

The gargantuan mountain.

The gargantuan mountain of trash.

No electricity.

No electricity.

Barefoot is a way of life.

Barefoot is a way of life.

A lady said, “Mi casa es tu casa,” which literally means, “My house is your house.” She said in Spanish, “As poor as it is, it is yours as well.” What generosity with what little she owned.
This fancy outhouse had paint.

This fancy outhouse had paint.

Checking out the new backpack.

Checking out the new backpack.

Few can afford to hook up electricity.

Few can afford to hook up electricity.

The ever-pervasive mountain of trash.

The ever-pervasive mountain of trash.

What it's really all about.
This is what it is all about.