12.) – 15.): In the Summa-time, when the weatha is HOT

Oh dear gosh it’s been awhile since I’ve updated. And yes, I’ve got a handful of excuses, but who really cares to hear them? I’ll just lay it down by saying that from the end of July until the first week of Fall semester was a bit of whirlwind.

My latest food for thought:

12.) Pushing your limits – there is something so very satisfying about pushing your body/mind, and swimming away in those unchartered waters. How many times have you thought of a crazy challenge and wondered, “Hm. What if I tried to do that? Crash and burn? Or….survive?”  Either way there is a story to tell at the end! Two cases in point, both involving my poor trusting sister. The first…when she and I went back home north, my Dad took us to a local bike trail. It’s a fairly new trail, and it runs all the way to another local town, which is 26 miles away. Roundtrip it would be 52 miles. We rented bikes and decided to try to bike the whole thing. I mean, it’s just riding, right? It can’t be THAT hard, the wheels do most of the work! It was practically flat the entire way down, and we got a phone call from my Uncle at mile 22 telling us he and my dad were getting antsy and they wanted us to turn around. We decided it would take too long to tack on another 8 miles, so we turned around and after about 3 miles realized that as flat as this trail seemed, it was actually a slight downhill (3-4%) the entire way to our destination. Well, dang. Now we have 22 miles of uphill to face. Somehow managed to do it. Our butts were sore by mile 30 and we were almost out of water by mile 35 but somehow we managed to bike 44 miles that day. I think the last thing I’ve done that was this physically and mentally exhausting was an 11-mile run I did with my sister last December. The last 3 miles of the ride were through bear-infested Appalachian woods, so she and I were singing 80’s hits at the top of our lungs (since momma bears especially don’t like surprises). The second story took place this weekend at the Austin Hot Sauce Festival. There is a sauce called The Source that is over 7 million Scoville units, and supposedly is the hottest hot sauce in the world. The dude manning the stand dipped a toothpick in the saucy sauce, wiped it, and then we simply touch the sauce to the tips of our tongues. INSTANT!!! PAIN!!!! It was brutal…we sweat, our noses ran, my friend almost puked, and I made the mistake of letting my tongue touch my lips (which promptly rashed red and tingled for 45 minutes). But we survived.

13.) Beating the heat! – Austin is getting just a little ree-diculous with this heat wave it’s got going on. As of last week, it is the hottest summer in terms of days over 100 degrees, and last Sunday, at the Hot Sauce Festival we tied for our second-hottest temperature EVER. It was 110 with a heat index of like 115 or so. But that did not stop us from going out in the blaring sun and burning the taste buds from our parched mouths!

14.) Spending quality time with family – It was sooo nice to be back in my old hometown for a couple of days. For one thing, the high was only in the 80’s each day, which was beautiful. For another, I miss my parents so much! And this might was the last time we’d spend a couple days all together before my sis ships off to Oz-land (and the last time until my graduation, I presume). We went to our favorite amusement park, we watched movies together, we visited with my Gramma, and we went to a church fair. There is nothing like getting to unwind with my family after a crazy semester-ending. 🙂

15.) New beginnings – I’ve finally managed to unpack (or donate to charity) most of my belongings, and I finally have my room set up to feel like a room. This is a very new situation for me…and is also the first time I’ve had a real roommate since I was a senior in college 4 years ago (except for some couch crashing friends). It’s much more spacious than my old apartment, has a huge kitchen (COOK-ATTACK!!!), has a patio where I’ve settled some plants and herbs, covered parking, and a gorgeous pool. I’m also taking classes that are more interesting to me (dysphagia and fluency). Additionally, I’m beginning a new level of clinical experience and diving into my thesis work. Although research is familiar territory for me, human research is not, and this time around I am researching something I am immensely passionate about. I’ll also be taking on the role of chapter leader for Austin’s NSA Youth group.

Add to that the fact that we are on the brink of fall in Austin (my absolutely favorite time of the year!) and we’ve got quite a mix for excitement and enthusiasm.

Hopefully this semester is one of blessings, and love.

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