Friday we made our way to Fort Worth for a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Security was tight. We left all belongings in the car (as in, they allow NO electronic devices, etc.), entered a small building where we each stood in a tube of sorts (beam me up, Scotty) and were thoroughly scanned. Then we were ushered forward and exited into a bus, where we were driven through more gates and security measures, to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. From there we were carefully counted and assigned badge/tour group labels. We watched a short film on the actual processes of designing bills, engraving plates, and the printing techniques used, as well as ways the government is trying to make it more difficult to produce counterfeit currency.
Then we toured the facility, via an overhang with HUGE glass panels, which was pretty cool. We could make eye contact with the guys on the floor, who would look up and wave at the kids. We saw MILLIONS of dollars...the new $500 bill is quite pretty and colorful. Yes...more color in our moola. (Makes counterfeiting harder.) We saw thousands of sheets of currency and hundreds of stacks of money.
There was a LOT of money in that building.
Something like 90% of what they print each year is to replace worn out currency.
And then we hopped up on the interstate for our next adventure. As we pulled away, we realized our alternate view of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing...doesn't exactly look like home to MILLIONS of dollars...
Next we made our way to the West End Historic District in Dallas for....BODIES, the Exhibition. I hesitate posting this, simply because it's rather controversial.
Months prior to going, we'd read that all the bodies on display were from people who had died of natural causes and had donated their bodies to science. Since going, I've learned that there is great speculation on the validity of these claims.
This is what I know...we went with a clear conscience and the experience left us speechless and in awe of God's incredible handiwork.
I was concerned with how our children would respond. So much so, that I'd suggested we skip it all together. The Engineer assured me it would be fine.
He was right. The children were in awe of the way God has designed our bodies. Sister must have said at least twenty times, "Mama, isn't it amazing how God made us!" To see the bronchioles (am I using correct terminology?) and have the children place their hand over their chest while they took a deep breath and then exhaled...to see the light go "on" as they felt their own chest expand and contract...it was pretty stinkin' neat.
We saw the inner workings of our bodies...we saw a womb, where God knits us together - but to get to show that to Sister - it was very amazing.
I stand in awe of God.
From there we headed Northeast to Mesquite, Texas for the Mesquite Rodeo!
We braided hair, shed a few tears (Sister) because we didn't have cowgirl boots, rummaged through luggage for cowboy hats, and off we went.
The night began with prayer. The Rodeo host/emcee said, "They may take prayers out of school, but they won't ever take it out of the Rodeo." He proceeded to pray and thank God for giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins...I was deeply touched. Everyone around us removed their hats and bowed their heads. I don't recall the last time I saw so many show such reverence at a secular event.
Following prayer, we sang the National Anthem and there were fireworks and introductions for all the big names who'd be ridin'.
Between events, the "Kiss Cam" would scan the stadium in search of married (supposedly) kissing couples.
Then they had the "Dash for Cash." All children were invited to the arena floor, where, on cue, there was an all out mad-dash for the tags on the calves ears...
Then they had "Mutton' Bustin'. " Little Man was beside himself with grief when he learned he had to be four to participate. Sister gladly passed on this one. (Eight children ages 4 & up, 55lbs and under can enter their name to be drawn for Mutton Bustin'. The children are judged on how well they ride for six seconds as well as how well their wooly mount bucks.) It was so fun!
Post rodeo, the children begged to ride the mechanical bull. Once again, being ol' cheapskate, I said no. However, the Engineer pointed out we'd likely not be at a rodeo again for quite some time, and with those beautiful brown eyes, gently suggested we let the children ride.
And with one hand up in traditional bull riding posture (I'm sure in rodeo lingo I'm butchering this!), he rode!
And rocked it!
If we lived closer, I dare say this would become a regular part of our lives.