Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some of the Best Days of my Life

As a little girl growing up on the gulf coast of Texas, I was always aware of water - it's presence, it's power, and it's predictability...and it's unpredictability. I did actually end up packing for college in a home without electricity during the rain and rising tides of Hurricane Alicia. I guess my familiarity with water - with the coast - ingrained in me a deep love for the ocean, a love so intertwined in me that I almost need the ocean. I love rain equally. I have sat many days on my porch here in north Texas and watched and smelled and listened to the rain.

And I can remember taking Philip, our oldest son, to the beach for the very first time when I was pregnant with Andrew. I can see in my mind Steve "walking" Philip through the sand and the waves, and I can see Philip sucking in air, surprised as the tide would come up and tickle his ankles. That trip was just the beginning of taking the boys to the beach at regular intervals. We have lived in four cities in Texas and our first three cities were in close proximity to coastal waters. 

Moving to Dallas landlocked me a little. It feels sometimes like a lot. Getting to good coastal water from my home is harder now. And to add insult to injury, the boys have an annual trip with their church youth group. And when you can go to the beach with 100 friends, why in the world would you want to go with your mother? ;) Seriously, though, I had a span of a couple of years where my toes had not hit the sand and I was seriously aching for a week at the beach.

We were delighted, absolutely and sheerly delighted, when a family that we adore invited us to go to the beach with them. It was an easy and instant yes for all four of us. Steve and I began researching the neighborhood they were renting in and we booked a home right on the beach. Be still my heart. For five months I was aware we would be headed there, and my heart was giddy with anticipation and excitement. God was granting me a huge gift! A week at the beach, at a house on the beach, with my family of four, and with five other precious souls that we love! August that year could not come fast enough.

As the trip approached, it became apparent to me that this was also the last summer that I would have two high school students. It intensified my heart's investment in the week as the departure date loomed on the calendar. Plans were made and menus prepared and sunscreen and spike ball were packed. My friend and I conspired for family photo shoots. I would shoot her family and she would shoot mine. How perfect is that? {I should note here that she has three sons and I have two. I think we should get extra credit for getting five young men at a beach to clean up and dress in nice, coordinating clothes.} ;)

Beach Week came. It was truly a perfect week. A shower here or there was an added blessing for me. See, our beach house had a back porch with 7 rocking chairs on it. I was content to sit on that porch and watch the storms roll in and out, watch the cranes and seagulls soar and land, and even see the shrimp boats trawling with the dolphins in their wake. And that was just all in the early mornings, while the boys were still asleep, and I was sipping my snickerdoodle coffee.

We had separate houses, but ate our meals together. Steve did all of the cooking. I think he truly loved it. Our friends adore his cooking and there is nothing that makes a cook happier than to have their meals gushed over and devoured. Steve got check marks on both of those grids every time he put a platter on the table. I even ponied up for two peach cobblers. The first one just went too fast. Steve and I love to cook for a big crowd.

We played on the beach, we canoed, we rode bikes, we played spike ball, we played Euchre, we played charades, we read books, we played spoons, we told stories, we laughed, we cried. We had community on the beach. It was an amazing week. In the middle of the week, we did our family photo shoot. Their oldest son had an internship and could only be with us for part of the week. So, we had our big celebratory meal when all nine of us could be present, and it was our dress up night and our photo shoot.

I love how these pictures turned out. I love that they bring back memories of such a wonderful week for the four of us, and the nine of us. I love how our two families have shared stories over - at the point of these photos - fifteen years. I love how the four of us nestled together in that coastal cottage and had some wonderful downtime together, in the final stages of life as we had all known it.

Days when we are together and the ocean is involved are truly some of the best days of my life. I am not sure when we will all be at the coast again. I know life itself is like the tide. It is controlled by Someone with a mighty hand. It is predictable...and unpredictable. It is unwavering and relentless. It is refreshing and cleansing. It is mighty and destructive. I hope and pray that another beach week is out there for me, for us. In the meantime, I will savor these memories and trust in the Hand that rules the tide. 

Beach Week ~ Harbor Island, South Carolina ~ August 2012

Paper: Pebbles
Fonts: Pacifico


  1. Another wonderful layout, and the story behind it. Love the Pebbles papers, so perfectly beachy and All American for this story and your family. And to paraphrase you, we must be kin because my favorite beach in the world is in Hunting Island State Park, right down the road from where you were. You had a wonderful spot for your magical week.

  2. Lovely LO! I like the colors and the border punch use chose.