Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

Short and Sweet

shoutout my iPhone

shoutout my iPhone

On the list of things lost in traditional adulthood (which I am currently giving a go), unless you are an educator of some sort, summer is at the top.

You grow up getting three months off each year, you think it's going to last forever; next thing you know, you're explaining to the teenagers in your youth group that you cannot, in fact, take them to get snow cones at three in the afternoon or go to camp with them because you have this thing called a job. ("But when do you take naps?" one asked me very seriously last Sunday. You don't. Life is hard, kids.)

The flip side, of course, is that the small doses you get are intensified by contrast.

When I get a moment of summer, I seize it. The season comes in sweet little snippets. I can't let it just pass by, because there's not another thousand of them stretched out ahead.

This month, my mom's parents rented a house on the Blanco river. They drove down from Virginia, my uncle and aunt and cousins hopped on a plane, my parents and sisters roadtripped from Houston, and I wound down Ranch Road 12 until Lakeway subdivisions gave way to Wimberley live oak-laden hills.

For Fourth of July weekend, the twelve of us piled into that house, spilling out onto the porch, and fit what felt like a summer's worth of sweetness into a handful of days.

It looked like a cool river cutting through hill country and a parade of cousins wearing a path between the back staircase and its bank; hurling themselves off docks and rope swings and relishing every cannonball crash.

It sounded like the constant drone of cicadas and it smelled like barbecue smoke.

It tasted like coffee in the morning and watermelon for lunch and pico and salsa and guac, because nothing says "Happy birthday, America!" like some tacos! Amirite?!

It felt like heat and it felt like home; everyone stinging with sunburn and colliding in the tiny kitchen and sprawling out for naps and raising voices over country music, volleying jokes overhead and across all corners.

It was cliche in the best ways, making me thankful for strong roots and the people I share them with.

Shorter than I wanted, but more valuable for its rarity, that weekend was summer-sweet down to the last drop. It reminded me to squeeze every second, every last sip out of it that I could. If summer is shorter and sweeter than ever before, I better drink it all in.


Youth Ministry: Compare and Contrast

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