At The Beach

Making Time

I’ve heard it said that people make time for the things they love. Or maybe it’s that we should make time…

For what’s important. Things like family and friends and chasing after dreams or sitting down to finish that book that was started weeks ago.

Other important things always seem to make their way up front first, demanding the time, things like laundry and dishes and bills and answering e-mails. For some it’s hard to set these things down for a minute and go watch a sunset or run outside after a rain and look for the rainbow. But I love moments like these. These refresh me and give me the energy and creativity for the all the other important things.

Sometimes I have to gather up my family and pull them along with me on late sunny afternoons to enjoy this place we live in.

We pause long enough to get sandy and be tumbled along in salty waves. We look for shells and seaglass and read books. And we let the stress of the long weeks at school and work get carried away by the tide.

And we’re happy for making the time together.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
At The Beach, Birds, Photography

Shore Birds

Noisy, playful, insistent, curious…

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I’ve got an idea in mind for a new book. And in this little book is where a seagull lives. I needed to get to the beach and  find my seagull. Thankfully this weekend was a perfect beach day kind of weekend. We packed all the usual, sunscreen, towels, body boards, and beach buckets.

My family picked out their spot on the sand and before I could even lay out my towel I spotted a group of my little shore bird friends, in between beach umbrellas and ocean waves. Shore birds and snow birds basking in the Florida winter sun.

Here are some of the images I captured

Shore bird study:

Flight

 

 

Poses

img_5432img_5420Sanderlings 

Not seagulls, but so incredibly cute! Seriously.

 

img_5417img_5431Laughing Gull

Happy little seagulls!

 

Ring-billed Gull

John James Audubon was a fan of this gull…

Or at least according to my interpretation of my Reader’s Digest Book of North American Birds– “John James Audubon himself called it ‘the great American gull.'”

 

The Flock

img_5341Black Skimmers

These are the birds with the long beaks and bright orange coloring. The lower bill is longer than the upper bill and skims the surface of the water as they fly above it. They look as if they love nothing more than to fly just for the joy of it. Maybe it was the morning I was there to see these birds, but they did not seem content to sit still for long. They would take off, rise and fall in synchronized harmony out and up over the ocean– up, down, around, land, repeat.

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An Unfinished Story, At The Beach

Thus Far, But No Farther

Who enclosed the sea with doors
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
When I made a cloud its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
And I placed boundaries on it
And set a bolt and doors,
And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop’?

Job 38:8-11

This passage came to mind as the kids and I explored the beach as hurricane Sandy passed by along the open sea. I couldn’t help but be in awe of the mighty power of the waves and the boundary that was breached.

Sometimes God lifts the boundaries.

One of my favorite speakers is Ravi Zacharias. I listen to his podcasts when I fold the laundry. One afternoon I listened to him tell the story about how his daughter’s eye was injured when she was just a little girl. He told how the surgeon marveled at where that injury stopped. If the cut had gone just a little farther the outcome would have been much worse.

Ravi Zacharias spoke those words from Job in the powerful way that he does, “Thus far you shall come, but no farther!”

Those words brought stinging tears to my eyes. I thought of my brother and his injury when he was just a little kid. I wanted to ask right there, “Why God, was his injury farther?”

An eye that wasn’t severely damaged and a brain that was-

Was my brother’s brain injury too far? Or did God say, “Thus far and no farther!” when my brother was hit by a car?

The surgeons didn’t marvel to my parents. They only told them David wouldn’t make it. But David did make it! I know that even with a severe brain injury his life is a miracle and a gift from God.

Still sometimes I want to ask for more.

I don’t know all the places this story goes or how this story ends. There has been a time when I didn’t want to know where God was taking my brother’s story. It didn’t seem an answer to that would be good enough.

God is gracious though and He is patient and answers me gently when I question.

I wish I could read ahead and skip to the ending and tell you all about it. I can’t yet.

God is still busy writing this one.

I only know that if we are created for God’s glory that He will be glorified. If all is for God’s glory then so is a brain injury.

Time is not a healer

It is only a revealer

of how God heals the pain

~Ravi Zacharias

from his message The Ultimate Answer: Jesus Christ (click to listen)

His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”

But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   -Job2:9,10

Does pain and suffering cause you to question your faith in God or does the pain and suffering make your faith stronger?

I’m still in the process of counting my gifts. A Joy Dare. A dare to count one thousand gifts. I haven’t been good at keeping it here, but I take my journal with me everyday and of course my camera. Where would I be without it? Yep, my camera is quicker than my pen at capturing all my gifts of thanks.

~This time with God along the shore taking in all His power is one of those one thousand gifts.

~I’m thankful for the book of Job

~For showing us God through suffering

~For Job reminding us that we can not only accept good and not bad

~For God answering Job and reminding us of His mighty power

read Ann’s words today, her beautiful reminder of the power of thanks and I know that this is what God is trying to show me gently through all these years of prayers for my brother

What you think you can’t handle — might actually be God handing you a gift.

God asks us to give thanks in everything — because this is the way you live through anything. ~Ann Voskamp

 

Join the community in counting your gifts too!

At The Beach, Baptism

Baptized

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. -Jeremiah 29:11,12

This is my prayer for my son. I pray he will always remember to call upon the Lord and pray. Because God is in all the details and plans for our lives. Even when we don’t see or understand.

My husband and I made the decision to dedicate our son to the Lord when he was just a baby. I think as parents it’s something we have to remember daily. God loves our children more than we ever could imagine. We must continually trust His plan for their lives.

Today my son made his own decision. He asked to be water baptized. It’s something he said, “came to him and wanted to do.” I know God is working in his young life. I don’t know the plans God has for my son, but I know He does. I am grateful and excited to be a part of it!

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That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. -Romans 6:3,4 (the Message)

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At The Beach

A Day At the Beach With a Ballerina

 

If I had a ship,

I’d sail my ship,

I’d sail my ship

Through Eastern seas;

Down to a beach where the slow waves thunder –

The green curls over and the white falls under –

 

(From The Island by A.A. Milne)

 

She sings her own songs and dances away.

Six is quite wonderful.

A.A. Milne must have known and my little girl knows too. We read poems together from When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. She sleeps with the book and carries it to school in her backpack. But today we sailed our ship to the beach, me with my camera and her with her tutu.