Summer showed up in Austin big time this week. For me, that’s a wonderful thing. My husband, who is not a fan of warmer temperatures, holds a different opinion and he has a point- it gets hot. Really hot. But if you can manage to ignore the stifling heat attempting to suffocate you every time you walk outside, it really is a lovely season in my city.
Without a doubt, Austin is filled with people who love spending time outdoors. There are lakes, swimming springs, hiking trails and parks just about everywhere. You can’t make it through downtown without dodging runners, cyclists or even the occasional man on horseback. If you so desired, you could listen to live music every night of the week, inhale sno-cones until you overdose on sugar, eat from food trailers for every meal of the day,including dessert, all within walking distance of your favorite swimming hole. The pace of life slows down, and what is a buzzing, rushing city 9 months out of the year transitions, ever so slightly, to an island mentality. We soak up the long days, eat too much barbecue and take a swimsuit with us anywhere we go just in case. It’s summer. It’s Austin. What could be better?
Lately, I will confess that everything… anything has sounded better than Austin. It’s not that I don’t love this city. I do. The years spent here have shaped and formed my beliefs about life and God more than any others. But I also love traveling, experiencing different cultures, seeing new things, change. I rebel against settling down. I can’t wrap my mind around working at a job for more than two years, much less living in a place for any extended period of time. Some people struggle with being too comfortable, too content with where they are and slipping into apathy. Not me (at least not right this very second). I struggle with a lack of thankfulness for the blessings I have been given, and coveting what I don’t have. That is ugly stuff. It’s ugly to look at the condition of my heart and realize I’ve been telling the God of the universe that what he’s given me isn’t more than enough, and simply choose to not enjoy it.
So, I have been trying to practice thankfulness and ask God to give me eyes to see the world as he does. By nature, I have a restless, wrestling heart. I don’t think that’s all bad, and I don’t expect the restlessness to fully disappear this side of heaven. But I do want to re-learn how to live in thankfulness despite what circumstance, and city, I find myself in.
This is my commitment during Summer 2013: I’m going to live it up in Austin.
I am going to practice fully enjoying the place and the people God has landed me with for this season of life. I’m going to soak up all that an Austin summer has to offer… and I’m going to tell you about it each week. Kind of like you’re my accountability partner. You probably didn’t think you were signing up for that, but here you are.
My hope and prayer is that in the midst of wild good times, my heart will begin to change. That I’ll grow to be more present, more thankful and more at peace with this season. That I wouldn’t miss out on what this season has to offer in search of the next one.
Summer in the City: Blues on the Green
Yes, I’ve already started. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to live it up.
Wednesday marked the first Blues on the Green (BOTG) of summer 2013. This is a classic Austin summertime tradition. I’ve lived in this city for a total of 6 years and this was my first time experiencing BOTG. First off, not ok. Secondly, I’m absolutely kicking myself for not going sooner because it was absolutely wonderful.
Here’s the premise: Get a big group of your friends together. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic food and head to Zilker Park.
Pick your spot..
maybe get wine spilled on your white shorts making you look like a true hippie…
enjoy live music for 2 hours…
drink adult juice boxes…
play with puppies…
and watch the clouds put on a show while you bask in the glory of summer…
Basically, it’s like a huge lawn party with all your friends- old, new and ones you’ve haven’t been introduced to yet. It felt like I was sitting at the heartbeat of the city, with my soul filled.