I recently returned from a 30-day respite. Most of that time was spent at my family’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country (outside of Hunt). As I reflect on my time spent at the ranch, here are a few things that come to mind (with the help of Instagram):
Topo Chico – I’ve gotten hooked on sparkling water thanks to some of the CCCC executive staff guys but drinking some of Monterrey, Mexico’s finest out of its ice cold bottle was hard to beat as I drove alongside the Guadalupe River. I’m a fan of this agua mineral.
San Antonio – If you weren’t sure where Texas came from, visit San Antone. It will be clear that the Lone Star Nation used to be a part of Mexico. I love the Latino mix that is San Antonio. It’s a city unto itself. Pure Tejano.
Fandango – For more than a decade I’ve connected with my Baylor buddies for the better part of a week each June. The majority of time we meet at the ranch. It’s always one of my favorite times of the year.
The Auslander – This German-Texan restaurant in Fredericksburg has been a regular stop for my Fandango buds for years. We sit outside in their biergarten and eat the biggest and best chicken fried chicken around! Prosit!
Luckenbach – For a long time I’ve wanted to visit the fabled town of Waylon, Willie, and the Boys. This summer proved to be the reckoning and what a time it was. Driving up I thought the place might play out like a bad theme park but Sunday night found local musicians singing songs in a round. With my friends in hand and the summer evening beginning to cool, it was magical. I won’t soon forget it. Also, I just leveled up as a Texan.
The Hill Country – Growing up, I spent every summer I can remember in the Hill Country. So driving out to the likes of Kerrville, Ingram, and Hunt is like driving home for me. I love the land’s rugged beauty, wide vistas, and open country. It’s full of bluebonnets, Indian blankets, Mexican hats, cacti, cedar (aka Ash Junipers), deer, coyotes, armadillos, and a million other things that make it what it is (watching out for the occasional scorpion or rattlesnake, of course). Best night skies to sit under and talk with your friends as the wind blows, the crickets chirp, and the Chuck-will’s-widows call out to each other.
Little Blue Hole – This is part of the Guadalupe River that’s been my family’s swimming hole for years. It’s especially fun to jump into when the temps soar into the high 90’s during the summer. I’ve fished it, tubed it, and swam it. However, one of my favorite ways to do Little Blue Hole is sitting on the little rock ledges underneath the water so I’m about head-and-shoulder high out of it while my college buds do the same, as we share our stories and lives. Then it becomes the best place on earth for that moment.
Bruce Waltke’s Old Testament Theology – I’ve been working through Waltke’s book off and on for more than a year. It’s a big one but every time I invest in reading it, it always pays dividends. I often leave thinking: #1) I don’t know the Old Testament very well and, #2) the Old Testament is worth knowing well. It rained for almost two weeks straight while I was at the ranch, giving more ample time to spend reading this wonderful book.