“The Calmness”

DSC_0044-2lsp

The sun has not yet risen over the water but the sky begins to lighten in its wake. The waves gently lap the shore and my feet sink slowly into the smooth, glass-like terrain that the water creates as it retreats back.  The pull of the waves leave a beautiful impression upon the sand. It is another form of our creator’s artwork. His art isn’t framed and hanging in a museum. It is beneath my feet, within my eyesight and felt in the wind.

securedownload

As I walk and wait for the multitude of colors to appear with the sun, I think about all that is troubling me. The thoughts and emotions that crisscross through my mind and down into my heart are threatening to steal the peace I am searching for here. I push it away and it creeps back. It is true that the ocean can calm the mind and soul but only briefly. I search for more.  A permanent peace. One that won’t abandon me once my feet leave the sandy shore.

I continue to walk as the sky begins to produce a warmer glow. My thoughts progress into tangled knots and tears begin to flow. I look upward in a desperate plea. My shoulders slump and I hang my head. Suddenly I feel a Presence. I look to my right and my gaze falls upon Him. He walks alongside me in all of His glorious wonder that outshines the sun emerging from the water. “What troubles you my child?” He asks, as if He is not already aware of all that weighs heavy on my heart. As we walk, I speak to Him aloud about my fears, doubts and anxieties. He slowly nods, His hands clasped in front of Him and His eyes filled with compassion and understanding. It is as if we are two friends having a simple conversation. The heavy burdens begin to lighten but they are still there. “How about I take those for you?”, He gently suggests. I hesitate. Can I relinquish control of them? Can I truly say Thy will be done, not mine? And can I leave them with Him and not ask for them back when I feel uneasy about not knowing what is ahead?

His hand rests upon my shoulder, His eyes penetrating into the depths of my soul. I surrender. I suddenly feel a calmness that I have never felt. My shoulders no longer carry the weight of a thousand burdens and my steps become lighter as the water laps at my feet. The sun has shown itself fully as it hovers over the water. I take in the sight of the different shades of yellow, pink and orange. I turn back to my side and there is no one there. But the calmness remains.

DSC_0246lsp

I find a spot to sit in the sand. I let my senses take over. The sight of the sunrise is breathtaking. The smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing to the shore surround me. I look upward once again. This time not as a desperate plea but to simply say “Thank you”.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

“Where The Water Meets the Sky”

I just returned from seven beautiful days of sunshine and peaceful relaxation. You know, that place where the water meets the sky and the sand meets the sea. The beach. The ocean. God’s little slice of heaven where anything can be cured.

I’ve realized after my second trip to Edisto Island in South Carolina that I have become a bit of a “beach-snob”. But in doing that, I have also been able to make memories for myself, Callie and Greg that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise at one of those crazy, overly-developed beaches. I have been to one of those and I will say-not impressed. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those beaches, they just aren’t for me.

DSC_0190lsp

In Edisto, or Edi-slow as it is sometimes called, life really is slower. It’s laid back and you don’t have to rush. You are on “island time”. There are no high-rise hotels, only rental houses. There are no big name restaurants, only small, locally-owned eateries and diners. Most people bike to where they are going and the beach is quiet. Plenty of room to stretch out and not be run over by crowds. No amusements parks, water parks, go-carts or arcades. Last week, Callie’s “thrill ride” so to speak, was her boogie board or her bike. One evening we spent an hour passing a football. We made seashell necklaces and sat on the porch waiting for the sound of the ice cream truck. We climbed the live oak behind our rental and took a bike ride around half the island.

lsp

The most amazing thing about Edisto though, is taking in all of God’s unspoiled beauty on the island. There is no shortage of shells, starfish and sand dollars. The land is sand and marshes with a canopy of live oaks and palmetto trees draped in spanish moss.

DSC_0161lsp

Greg and I woke at 5:00 one morning to go to Botany Bay. We took our bikes and rode the path to the beach to catch the sunrise on the insanely odd, yet gorgeous Boneyard Beach, where trees bleached by the sun, stand in the sand and the water. It is truly one of God’s masterpieces, in my eyes, and I was so fortunate to see the sun come up as a bright pink and yellow ball and then light the entire beach in its yellow glow.

DSC_0090lsp

On our last full day there, Callie and I were walking along the beach and I asked her if she ever stopped in the moment to consider all that was around her. I told her that she should always take a minute to just breathe it all in and not forget how that moment in time felt. There were so many times during our trip that I would stop and thank God for where I was and for the beauty all around me and for the complete absence of any type of anxiety, worry or stress. I’ve heard tell that Edisto is a magical place and I really have no doubt about that. God blessed this little slice of South Carolina and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

DSC_0212-2lsp

If given the choice, I would encourage anyone to take the time to visit a place like Edisto. Enjoy those slow, lazy days with your family. Don’t spend them waiting in line for some over-priced attraction or sitting in traffic on a crowded street. Take in all that God has given you. Most of it is free! That’s the real beauty of it because after all, time spent with family is priceless.

More pics of beautiful Botany Bay on my website at www.luckyshotphotography.zenfolio.com 🙂

“Relax and Renew”

Lord, help me to remain childlike in my appreciation for life. Please slow me down…that I may always see the extraordinary in the ordinary. That I may always wonder at the shell in the sand…

Four relaxing days at the beach…they were much needed days of anxiety-free living. Being near the ocean renews the mind and spirit. How can it not? There is something mesmerizing about watching the waves roll in and cleanse everything leaving nothing but a few shells and smooth sand in its wake.

While we were there, I walked into a little shop and as I wandered around my eyes fell on a book sitting on a shelf. It was called “My Beautiful Broken Shell” by  Carol Hambler Adams. I started reading it as I stood in the store but I started to tear up because it reminded me so much of myself. Instead of puddling up right there, I decided to purchase it and read it later. It is beautifully written and I wanted to share some of it in this blog. Here is an excerpt from the book.

“Dawn has broken on a beautiful day here at the ocean. I’ve come to refresh my weary spirit and to refuel my tired soul. I’m so grateful for the peace and the calm of the seashore, where time stands still and unrushed…

I walk by a broken seashell…and leave it to search for more perfect ones. But then I stop…go back..and pick up the broken shell. I realize that this shell is me with my broken heart.

This shell is people who are hurting…lost loved ones…people who are frightened or alone…people with unfufulled dreams. This shell has had to fight so hard to keep from being totally crushed by the pounding surf…just like I have had to.

Yet this shell is still out on the beautiful sandy shore…just as I am. Thank You Lord that I haven’t been completely crushed by the heaviness in my heart..by the pounding of the surf.

If our world were only filled with perfect shells, we would miss some of life’s most important lessons along the way . We would never learn from adversity, from pain, from sorrow. Thank You Lord, for all that I learn from my brokenness…for the courage it takes to live with my pain..and for the strength it takes to remain on the shore.

Broken shells mean lots of tears…lots of pain…lots of struggle…but they are also valuable for teaching faith, courage and strength. Broken shells inspire others and demonstrate the will to go on in a way that no perfect shell could do. Thank You Lord, for the great strength it takes to simply be…even when I hurt so deeply that there seems to be nothing left of me.

As I walk along the beach picking up shells, I see that each one has its own special beauty…its own unique pattern. Lord help me to see my own beautiful pattern…and to remember that each line and each color on my shell was put there by You.

I watch the rolling surf toss new shells onto the shore, and I am reminded of the many times that I, too, have been tossed by the storms of life and worn down by the sands of time.

Thank You, Lord, for being with me to share my life…to help me carry my burdens. Thank You for the precious gift of faith that keeps me strong when I am weak…that keeps me going when it would be easier to quit.

As I look at my beautiful broken shell, I see that it has nothing to hide. It doesn’t pretend to be perfect or whole…its brokenness is clear for everyone to see. Lord, may I be strong enough to show my pain and brokenness…May I have the courage to risk sharing my feelings with others so that I may receive support and encouragment along the way. Lord, help me to reach out to others…especially to the broken and discouraged…Lord help me to realize that I am not the only one hurting…that we all have pain in our lives. Help me to remember that in my brokenness I am still whole and complete in Your sight.

Somehow, here at the ocean, I recieve so many gifts. I am grateful for the inner peace that fills my soul.”