“You’re from Texas, aren’t you?”

I was in a bus station in southern Spain, chatting with an older American man I’d just met. His statement flabbergasted me. He was right, but how could he know?  Did I really have a Texan accent?

I was born in Texas, lived there for the first 18 years of my life. In 1970 I went off to college and lived up north in Illinois and Wisconsin for five years. The next nine years my husband and I made North Carolina our home until our big move to Bolivia, where we lived for 21 years.  How could an accent have survived 35 years?

I was always proud of being from Texas. My parents were immigrants, went there in 1950 and became ‘born-again Texans.’ I came along in ’52; I love the story that I was the answer to my mother’s prayers.

It was in Texas that my adventures in church began.  We went to church, not just twice each Sunday, but also on Wednesday nights—mission girls group or high school Bible classes – and on many Saturdays. My mom would drop us off, and we’d have a day of roller skating and bowling and playing in the gym. I loved the trampoline. She’d give us a sandwich in a brown bag and some quarters to buy a small coke in the coke machine and some salted peanuts. I would pour the peanuts into that little green bottle. I thought it was yummy. Yuck.

It was in Texas that I sang my first – and only –  solo at a Christmas program. I was five. “I am the donkey, shaggy and brown, I carried His mother up hill and down . . .”  The high school choir had 200 kids and when I was 16 we toured and sang in five countries in Europe. I was too young to properly appreciate that awesome opportunity.

Every hot Texas summer my mom would take us to vacation Bible school and out to camp. The first time I went to camp I was 8 or so.  All I remember, besides loving it, was running to my big sister’s cabin so she could brush my hair into a pony tail.

In Texas I was a Pioneer Girl. Weekly meetings and campouts and summer bus trips and earning badges for swimming and sewing and Bible memorization and more. I loved that club all the way through my high school years.

It was in Texas that I learned who I belong to: Jesus.  Also it was there that I got the sense of what I wanted to do the rest of my life: tell others about Him and give church adventures to kids like God had given to me.

Texans think (know, actually) that “Everything is Bigger in Texas.” Big hair, boots, ranches, and buildings. Big money and open spaces and sky and dreams. And big-hearted people. I am forever grateful for the big hearts who loved me and gave me big adventures.

I don’t think I have a Texan accent but I do hope I have a Texan heart.

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