Tag Archives: summer

South Llano River

Water is precious in Texas, especially at the end of August.  When friends suggested we go kayaking on the Llano River last weekend, I might have wondered how many times we would find ourselves stuck as we scraped rocks on the riverbed bottom.  (This is how I’ve kayaked before while burning myself in the blazing heat of a Texas summer.)  Fortunately, my thoughts were full of promise as our more experienced kayaking friends had told us there is “always water in the South Llano”.  My husband took them on faith, too, even though he had recently driven by the North Llano River and found it to be darn close to dry.

I’m so glad we went.  It was a beautiful day, with overcast skies all morning keeping the temperature down and visibility excellent.  We saw blue herons and hawks, buzzards and sparrows, catfish and minnows, quite a few snakes, and one wild boar.  We floated past fields and limestone cliffs, saw caves and the bloom of late summer flowers.  Yes, we scraped bottom a couple times, but I never was stuck on the rocks of the riverbed.  It was relaxing and easy, we paddled steadily for just over two hours in the quiet perfect morning of a Texas Hill Country summer day.

We left the river at our take-out place a full hour ahead of schedule, and enjoyed the sprinkle of very light rain while having snacks and easy conversation with our friends.  Home in early afternoon, there was plenty of time in the day to call another friend and catch up on a long overdue talk.  When I told her of our kayaking trip, she said we were always on some kind of adventure.

I was about to insist that all we had done was say “Yes” when our friends invited us along, to protest that we hadn’t planned the adventure – our friends had – when it occurred to me she was right.  We are often out on some adventure, usually resulting from our own effort and planning.  This time the opportunity came right to our door and invited us along.  All we had to do was agree to go along.

It would have been easy to turn down this opportunity, to be too busy, imagine the weather too hot, or the river too low.  We could have put it off until after fall rains or simply decided an hour drive to Junction, Texas not worth it.  I’m glad we didn’t.  I’m happy we instead eagerly packed our cooler for a morning of fun.   We can’t wait to introduce others to the South Llano kayaking adventure and repeat this experience over and over again!

 What might you enjoy if you say “Yes” when an adventure comes knocking?!

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Family Roadtrip

We just returned from a ten-day three-state tour to see family members in the Midwest.  It has been years since we visited, and there were many homes filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, my sister and new twin nieces to visit, plus two thousand miles of driving after we flew to our starting point!  We planned to see my family, my husband’s family, and even some of the outlaws that used to be in-laws.  It could have been a disaster, but I was determined it would be fun – lots of fun, even better than the famous Griswold summer vacation.

All I had to do was plot well, try hard, try harder… and find a way to reach all those kinfolk.  You see, we lost our home base since the last visit.  For the past few decades, we went to see my folks and everyone gathered at their place.  Family from far away could fly in and stay with them, too.  For my entire adult life, Mom set everything up while I only thought about what we had to pack.  This time, the home place belonged to someone else – because my parents had moved to be near us.  (It only took about twenty-five years to convince them everything is better in Texas!)  So, we had no place to center our visiting.  Sure, aunts and uncles offered to let us run rampant at their places, but that’s a pretty big favor, so instead we laid out a circuitous course that took us to seven homes and three different states. 

The trouble began when I tried and tried… and tried to accommodate every possible combination of who could meet us where.  All of us travel over the summer, so it’s hard to gauge who will be home and who will be at summer camp, traveling out-of-state, or visiting their own extended families.  I tried to plot it out, “Will this person be able to meet us downstate by their home, or upstate at her uncle’s birthday party?” I thought to myself, “Will my niece and nephew be with their mom or their dad in mid-July?”  (I realized this question needed an answer quick.)  There was the unexpected challenge of having used Facebook for so long I didn’t have direct contact information for some family members.  Not all of them regularly checked Facebook notifications.  Oops!

As we neared the start of the trip, I only had a couple visits nailed down, basically those involving homes in which we were spending the night – and what days we would be in Iowa.  I was holding out to hear back from the downstate Michigan folks before I made plans to be hours away upstate.  I hadn’t even tried the niece and nephew who (it turned out) were staying with their mom, until I knew which day worked best for us, risking making a huge mistake and not seeing them at all.  Plus, some of my efforts to contact people went unanswered as I had old phone numbers or email addresses and my messages didn’t reach them.

Then I let it go.  I quit trying so hard to set everything up just right and finished preparing for the trip by making plans with those I could.  Guess what?  When I realized enough effort had been put into planning and trusted myself to move forward with or without every piece in place, it worked out beautifully.  We saw each and every person we hoped to see, plus a couple more family members and friends joined us along the way!  It turned out even better than what I had tried to orchestrate!

Yes, I needed to plan, contact people, and make contingencies to create a trip worth taking, but it all came together when I simply trusted it would.

When I let go of control and held onto trust, everything came together.

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