I’m Going Up a Yonder, a spiritual song, was beautifully performed by my daughter’s fifth grade choir class today. She goes to public school… in Texas. The mother standing next to me leaned toward me smiling and said, “Only in Texas would you hear this song in school.”

On the electronic billboard outside our Junior High, “In God We Trust,” scrolls between the school announcements; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

People here frequently end e-mails and conversations with, “Have a blessed day.” They do not stop to think if the salutation is appropriate. They know that blessing someone is a loving and kind gesture.

I have never seen so many crucifixes hung prominently in the main areas of people’s homes. 

Religious discussions are not taboo. Yet, I have never once felt that anyone is attempting to push their views upon me. To the contrary, people simply seem comfortable and at ease within their spirituality. There is a confidence of faith in Texas that I have never witnessed prior.

Facebook posts will occasionally simply proclaim, “I am Mormon.”

Our sister neighborhood had a “vandal” that used sidewalk chalk to scrawl passages from The Book of Mormon. As I ran, I would slow to read the passages. They were beautiful. However, what struck me as most beautiful was the person’s passion for their faith.

Some stores here still choose to close their doors to business on Sunday.

Bible camps are a popular summer activity and our Catholic camps fill up within days of open registration.

My church has been standing room only for every single mass I’ve attended; I attend weekly. The donations to our church are staggering. On Ash Wednesday, there were as many people in attendance as I recall seeing at any Christmas or Easter mass. The church was crowded, likely beyond fire code restrictions. My family found it difficult to hear and of course the procession for ashes took a very long time. My children were frustrated and tired. Yet, as I stood in line and surveyed the entire church, I was viscerally overwhelmed by the beauty of people flocking to be “branded” as Catholics. A massive crowd of people took time out of the normal rush of activities to patiently and humbly wait in long lines to proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ. WOW.

God is alive in Texas. He lives in our homes, our schools, on our sidewalks and of course in our churches and temples. However, God is no more present in the lone star state than he was in my Massachusetts home town. God is everywhere, always. The only difference is, here in Texas, the vast majority choose to see Him, to acknowledge Him, to include Him in their every day life. That, to me, makes all the difference in the world.