Chasing Sunsets 2

I love to chase sunsets at the beach. This past April, we went to the Pensacola, Florida area for Spring Break, and everyday we were there, we chased the sunsets in the evening. It was so fun, and we made so many memories. I love the white sands of the Gulf. I haven’t been to all beaches in the States, but I seriously doubt you can find those anywhere else in the U.S.

img_6710I always love sunsets, regardless, my location, but the sun seems to set so much bigger at the beach. When it drops behind the horizon, it appears to just melt into the ocean. The tides sounds peaceful and serene lapping the shoreline, and the seagulls and other creatures give the feeling of calm and tranquility.

img_6706-1Each day we would race to get to the end of Fort Pickens and run the edge of the point to try and capture the beautiful rays of that setting ball of fire. Yet, no matter how many times I clicked that camera, it never seemed to completely grasp the scene set before me. It was simply breathtaking.

I have since missed those days watching the sun with the surf surrounding me…

img_6711           img_6707-1

PS. I posted pictures of our sunset adventures during that week entitled, “Chasing Sunsets;” thus, the reason for my “2” on this post. However, since I’m posting this for the Daily Prompt posts, and I don’t know many here, I thought you guys might not mind my reposting a few of those. I hope you enjoy. 🙂

 

Daily Prompt: BEACH
Beach

Advertisements

The Dance At Sunset

     

   


   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

Chasing Sunsets

Since its late in the day today, and I failed to post this morning, I thought I’d just share with you a little of what we did this past week while on Spring Break. Hope you enjoy.
We chased a few sunsets…  

my son took this beautiful pic!

 

    
  

JGrizz took this gorgeous shot, too!

  
  

my husband captured this breathtaking scene!

 

Made For A Purpose

A repost from August 17, 2014…

Seashells are quite sought after in towns along the coast. People come from all over the world, and so many of them must make a stop by a little tiki hut or surf shop to pick up a bag full of shells before heading home. Some will even scour the seashore for hours to find the perfect white sand dollar or one of those beautiful, large, spiral conch shells.
We were recently in a little beach town, and it was not much different from the beach town I grew up near as a kid. You could find a beach store on almost every corner, and inevitably, someone was there looking for shells. So many love seashells, and they just long to take at least one or two back home.

I think this is because seashells are both beautiful and useful. Some are the most beautiful in color or shape, while others are almost perfect, or partially broken, or all together crushed and, for all in tense and purposes, these are in what appears to be a completely ruined state. However, every seashell was made for a purpose, and each can continue to be useful even after it is removed from the shoreline. Those gorgeous, colorful and perfect seashells are, often, used for decorating a new beach condo or taken home as a treasured memory and souvenir of days gone by. Those partially broken ones, many times, are picked up by a small child who cherishes it as a precious gift for their “sand collection.” Yet, those crushed up and “ruined” ones…what about those? What purpose could those actually have for someone in this life? Have you ever walked into a dockside restaurant, or even into an inland restaurant, claiming to have the “best coastal menu around,” and glanced at the floor? Often, you will see a beautiful mixture of crushed shells and cement. Designers will choose this type flooring to bring “just the right touch” to the business’ appeal. Even though, many would have just discarded these broken pieces as trash, they have been taken and made into a very functional, and rather beautiful, asset by a master designer.

While in that little coastal town the other day, we walked into a restaurant, and I looked down at the floor and noticed the broken shells mixed in the concrete. At just that same time, my 8 year old said, “Look! That’s seashells, isn’t it, Mom? Now, that’s cool!” Even he noticed the beauty in the practical. This made me think about our Heavenly Father and how He creates each of us in different ways and uses us for different purposes. He constructs some to be very loud and outspoken, while others of us, He designs to be of a more quiet and calm nature. He develops some to feel very comfortable in more solitude type settings, while others, He forms within them a more social, crowd-friendly appetite. He molds some to strive and achieve those “high and, seemingly, lofty positions,” and then others, He intricately shapes to be at peace in the “seemingly more simple and humble” places of life. We are all made differently; yet, we are all created for a purpose…His purpose. Just as the tiny creature living within the conch shell cannot determine for what goal that shell will be used after it is removed from the ocean, we cannot predetermine our destiny nor our purpose. We cannot predict, nor can we limit, the future. We just simply cannot know. However, we can definitely make decisions which will propel us to, or hinder us from, such goals, dreams, and even destinies. If we will but submit to His ways and surrender to His will, He will take care of the “big stuff.” If we can ever let loose of the stranglehold we often have on the thoughts and plans we make for this life, and if we can just get to the place of “freely letting go,” we will be astonished at what He can accomplish through us!

You see, if that conch shell “creature” saw only the cracked and broken shell from which it had just crawled, and it believed THAT was it’s destiny, it would surely become desperate, hopeless and in despair! That tiny, “almost perfect” clam shell might grow despondent if it believed it’s imperfections were the end of the road. What these creatures would have failed to observe is the precious little feet walking that way and the tiny little hands that planned to delicately hold that miniscule shell all the way back home in order to just nestle it in their perfect little collection spot. When you’re only at the level of the shoreline, and all you can see is the wave rolling over your head, it’s impossible to see the great big ocean beyond or the miles of beautiful seashore a mere two feet away.

Just remember, where you are right now is only PART of the process! LIFE is a process, and every “shell” is different! So, find your purpose for being here in this “ocean” called earth, and then, relish in every single moment you have before you! Enjoy the seashells in ALL different shapes, colors and sizes; find the one that is perfect for you right here, right now, and remember, most of all, even the most busted up and broken shell can become a beautiful masterpiece in the hands of the Master of creative design.

20140817-072728-26848136.jpg

Wednesday’s Ode #12


I love the beach! White sands, blue skies, blue green waters…Ahhh. What a beautiful day! It can be summer, winter, spring or fall, I don’t care. Let me go and stick my toes in the coolness of the sands. It is a beautiful place to be.

Now, I have to admit. I am a little picky on my choice of beach. I haven’t been to the Pacific since I was like 18 months old; so, I can’t really say I remember it. However, I’ve been to the Atlantic in several places: Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida (Daytona, St. Augustine and Ft. Lauderdale), and I have to say I am simply partial to the Gulf Shores of Northwest Florida. The sands are so white, almost like sugar, and in so many places, you can still find remote areas even in the heat of summer and the peak of tourist season.

I’m sure I’m partial to these beaches, as well, because I grew up in those areas. As a kid, we went to the beach all the time, and I have had more than my share of sunburns, sandy britches and PB&J sandwiches on a blanket (beach picnics), but nonetheless, as a child, I loved splashing in the ocean and get sun-kissed freckles on my nose! As I’ve grown older, I don’t care as much for swimming with the sharks (ha!) and the sand in my bathing suit, but I could sit out by the shore and watch the tide come in for hours. I love to walk barefoot along the shoreline looking for sand dollars and seashells, too. It’s a great pastime. Now that we have boys, it’s so fun to go and watch them swim, boogie board, jump, dive, look for shells and build sand castles. I love to see the beach and the ocean through their eyes of wonder.

What I love most about the beach is the settling within my spirit that occurs every time I sit and listen to the surf. The ebb and flow of the tide calls out to me as if a voice is speaking straight to my heart. This used to amaze me until, years ago, I read these Scriptures:

Psalm 29:3, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters,” and Ezekiel 43:2, And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.” 

Then, it all became incredibly clear. That is why my soul is drawn to these locations, whether it be to the ocean or to a waterfall: His voice can be heard by my heart in those places. 🙂 I am so thankful for those times… 

  

    

Along the Shoreline

IMG_8158.JPG

IMG_8161.JPGIMG_8164.JPG

IMG_8163-0.JPG

Things seem more at peace along the shoreline…

Childlike Distractions

IMG_7401.JPG
Grace* was at the beach with her mother, sitting in the sand, watching the ocean. Recently, her church had sung a very popular song titled, “Oceans,”** and as she was sitting there, she began to sing…..it was so beautiful. Her little 5 year old voice rose with the tide as she lifted her praise to her God.
“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail…And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise…My soul will rest in Your embrace. For I am Yours and You are mine… And my faith will be made stronger…In the presence of my Savior…”**

Her mother sang along with her, lost in this incredible moment of surrender to Her King. They gazed over the waves, feeling the cool breeze as the water washed over their feet and legs.
It was a moment she would forever cherish in her heart.
Then, all of a sudden, in mid-verse, Grace* stopped, and said, “Okay, there is a lot of sand in my bathing suit. I’m going to go get in the water and rinse off now.” Her mother looked at her in shock at the sudden change, and simply said, “Okay ,” and off Grace* went to be a child playing in the waves.
As the mother told me this little story, I was struck at how similar our lives are with God. We can sit down to enjoy a “precious moment” with Him, and we can become so enraptured in His sweet presence when we just let everything else go. We can sing, pray, or even dance, without a single worry or concern. Then, all of a sudden, the waves of alarm hit us, or the tide of time comes in, and we jump up, telling Him, “Well, I’ve got to go now. There’s so many agendas and cares to which I must tend.” Not much unlike this little girl, we, as adults, too often leave Him behind, and go about our business, as if that moment with Him was great, but we leave Him there on the shore as the cares of this world cloud our vision of Him and the moments we spent with Him.
It would be so much better for us if we could learn that He longs for us to remain in His presence throughout our whole day! He does want to hear us say, “Good Morning!” and listen to our bedtime prayers; however, He longs to walk beside us and let us tell Him about every moment of every hour of our day, too. Some might say, “I just don’t have time to stop and pray all day long,” and to those I would challenge with a question, “Why not?”
So many have a misconception that our relationship with God has to be filled with a bunch of “Thees” and “Thous,” and our prayer hours must be enclosed with angels singing and some priest chanting scriptures. Who ever convinced us of that has deceived our wayward hearts! Sure, we should have moments when there is no one else around and we “get alone until we’re not alone anymore,” but Jesus spent time with His disciples off the mountaintop, too. He walked with them; He ate with them. He traveled from town to town with them. He just “hung out” with them. If He did all that with them, while here on this earth, don’t you know He longs to do the same with us while He’s away?
Our Heavenly Father longs to have a relationship with us – a living, breathing, real relationship, one that includes life-altering “holy” moments as well as those simple, seemingly obscure, chats about our day.
So, I challenge you to examine your heart and ask yourself how well you know this Savior, this man who died that you might live. Ask yourself if you have a real relationship with Him or one that may be filled with too many childlike distractions…

IMG_4985.JPG

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

**Credit: “Oceans” by Hillsong United. Album: Zion, 2013
I do not own, nor do I claim to own, any rights to this song, including music, lyrics, or any other contents of this song.