Monday, July 5, 2010
I have decided that hair dressers are a source of great wisdom. Mine certainly proved her knowledge of things very Austin-tastic by recommending that I go visit Krause Springs to cool off from the Texas summer heat. I've been wanting to go for a while, but Andy and I have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We've had almost opposite schedules- me working nights and weekends and him a more traditional 9-5 schedule. We haven't had time for much together-fun in weeks.
But, after my recent trip home to North Carolina, I was compelled once again to devote more time to finishing my book, and working on relationship-building in our new home. But to do that, work needed to change. So I'm taking a two month hiatus from BR, which means that I have weekdays to work on my book, and weekends to play with my hubby.
I worked my last shift at BR on Saturday evening, and was excited to have my first day of this new period of "free" time as an official celebration of freedom in this country- Independence Day! I LOVE the Fourth of July!!! I think it is my second favorite holiday. I've really enjoyed filling Andy's ear with stories of childhood summers with friends at the beach or the river. I don't think I've ever had a "bad" Fourth of July- at least, not one that I can remember. They've always been full of fun and sun, water, food, friends, family, and plenty of red, white and blue.
So this year, I had high hopes for a day in keeping with the "good ole days" on the Carolina coast. Of course, there are no sandy shores around here, no ocean breezes or briney boat rides, but, there's plenty of patriotism and people are more than willing to relax and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with you.
I started the day by getting up and making an all-American favorite- apple pie. We had plans to meet up with friends from small group for dinner and fireworks, and I was determined to make an authentic American treat for dessert. I had worked on the pie crust the day before, and left it to refrigerate overnight. But when I went to try to roll it out and make it look pretty in the pie dish on Sunday morning, things didn't go very smoothly at all. I got pretty frustrated, and Andy had to eventually come and help me transfer the fragile dough from the cutting board to the pie pan. I continued to whine about it and toss flour and dough fragments around the kitchen (to the dogs' delight). The dough became less and less malleable, while I kneeded it and rolled it out, in an attempt to make a lattice-top. It wasn't easy, and I definitely understand now while people pay Pillsbury to make their pie crust for them, but eventually, it all worked out. The pie went in the oven, and Andy and I buzzed around the apartment getting things ready for church and then our Krause Springs adventure.
Austin Stone was packed out. The fireworks show that evening required that Cesar Chavez, one of the main roads to get to the church service, shut down, so church attenders had to make the 9AM or 11:15 services. The service was great! I was really excited about the message- about faith and God's authority- something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. And, I was especially thrilled when I saw that the Stone is welcoming some guest speakers in July- and that one of those speakers is J.D. Greere, the pastor of Summit Church in Durham, where my friend Liz attends.
After church, Andy and I stopped at a mall food court to pick up some sandwiches to take to Krause Springs. My morning pie-making had kept me from being a good picnic-packer. We headed southwest and arrived at Krause Springs about half and hour later. Krause Springs is a privately owned park, of sorts. The Krause family owns the property and, for $5 a person, you can camp, picnic, or swim in both the spring-water-fed swimming pool or natural swimming area. There's also a really pretty garden area with giant wind chimes, which you see in the picture. Andy and I were not at all disappointed with this natural oasis. The spring water was deliciously cold, and it was incredible to dive into the pool and then get back out and sit on the warm, sandstone benches. We had a great time exploring the surrounding area, swinging on the rope swing and Andy jumped from the bluff above the pool. We just didn't have enough time, since we needed to head back to town to meet up with friends for dinner. But we will be back!
We met up with two couple from our small group for dinner at Home Slice pizza, on South Congress. Austin Stone has a website set up to help you get connected with a "missional community" (fancy name for small group) within the church. The groups are all over Austin, and can fit in any number of genres. There are groups for just women, for singles, for young married couples, for families. They meet all over the city at different times and different locations. Andy and I found the Starnes Missional Community on the site, and saw that it was close-by (literally down the road from us) and that it was for married couples. We first went about a month ago, and have since really enjoyed getting to know the couples in the group. Everyone is in their first few years of marriage, super nice, friendly, and very interested in forming relationships with people new to the church, and also with people who don't know the Lord. We've been overjoyed to get to know these folks better, so last night was a great time of fellowship with these new friends.
After pizza, we made our way over to the downtown area in search of parking, which was sort of stressful. We ended up having to move our cars around several times, trying to find a place that wasn't towing cars parked for the fireworks event. Eventually, God provided some good spaces, and the stress of the situation melted away. We stopped at Amy's ice cream and got scoops to plop on top of the pie, which Andy and I brought with us in a cooler. After everyone was completely stuffed, we walked in the direction of Town Lake, searching for a good vantage point for the fireworks. We landed some spots along the side of a bridge, which proved to be an excellent place to watch the show. The fireworks were really beautiful and the show lasted about 25 minutes, which was a lot longer than I expected. The weather was wonderful, really breezy and not super humid. Just after the finale, I was almost sedate with contentedness and thankfulness for this country, when I heard an odd noise down at my feet. Soon water was spraying, and people were squealing and rushing as they attempted to pull their lawn chairs and blankets off the grassy area we had been sitting on. It was the sprinklers! Dozens of laughing, soaking fireworks-viewers rushed out into the street, where, fortunately, traffic had practically stopped while the show was going on. Some people were drenched and we were all really amused at watching the herd try to escape the water. It was a good way to end a great day- with a laugh and a little spray of cool water. :)
So that was our Fourth of July. I could write more about all that I was thankful for yesterday and the fun and peacefulness of the day, but, I am supposed to be writing a book these days, and I need to get back to that now. Hope you had a great Independence Day, wherever you were! :)