This is what we get to enjoy each evening outside the window as we eat dinner.
Being here next to the ocean makes you slow down, take a look around, and really think about the wonders of God's creation. How He made this place just for us.
And how life is precious, how much we take for granted. There is so much natural beauty to be seen, if we just take the time to see it.
The ocean is so vast, and I've always had a healthy respect for it. I've usually just admired it from afar, walking alongside it, or listening to its soothing sounds from the beach. But when you have an almost-three-year-old, all of that goes away. "Let's go in da o-sun, Mama!" is a sure way to get me off my lazy duff and into the salty water. There's nothing like the delighted squeals of Marley and my niece Hope as I hold their hands while they jump in the waves that seem so small to me and so big to them...
They are so trusting, holding tightly onto my hand, even when we go deeper and some of the waves go all the way up to their chests. The water is chilly, and they sometimes shiver violently, but still they jump and shriek and smile and yell, "That was a BIG ONE!!!". Every once and a while they lose their footing and I feel their little fingers tighten on mine as they rely on me to right them and put their feet solidly back on the shifting sand. All of this delights me, because I'm the grownup. Those waves barely make it past my knees. I have nothing to fear because I'm an adult and I can see the big picture. I'm not afraid of the shifting sand or the occasional salty splash in the face. I can handle it.
Do you see the parallel here?
Who would have thought that God would use two toddlers to teach me that sometimes life is going to be a lot like the ocean. It's big, it's beautiful, and it can be cold and scary. It's OK to sit up on the beach and enjoy the view. The sights and sounds are beautiful from up there. You don't need any protection from the ocean up there. But your skin is gonna burn (unless you're a brown girl like me...) and you're going to get thirsty and hot. Or you can walk along the edge and look for shells and get your toes wet. You're not going to need a lot of protection that way either. Just a bucket and some good calf muscles. Or you can grab hold of the Father's hand and jump in. You're going to get cold sometimes, and you're going to lose your footing a time or two. But He'll right you, because He doesn't lose His footing. When the waves seem big to you, you can remember that they're never getting past His knees. And if you can summon the joy of a two year old, when you get hit by an unexpected wave, you can shriek and smile and say "Whoa, that was a BIG ONE!".
And then when you've had enough, you can ask Him to take you back up on shore and wrap you up in a warm beach towel and get you a snack.
P.S. I have a confession to make. I didn't take ANY of these photos. I somehow neglected to bring my camera. Duh! My sister Beth took the ones of me and the girls. My niece Becca and nephew Tyler took the gorgeous scenery photos. Amazing!