I hope this picture shows up correctly. If it does, I can almost promise it will cause you to take a deep restful breath. This is the beach in NC where Frank and I lived for six years as we pioneered a church on the coast. Not every day proved to be a serene as this picture looks. In fact, each day at the beach has its own personality. Needless to say, this kind of day with blue skies, sunshine and a lovely breeze is always my favorite kind of beach day.
This lady (and her 86th birthday) was the primary reason for our trip this past week. Mom Hawley still lives in Dunn, NC where she was born, went to school, married, worked for decades, raised five children and eventually retired. In 86 years, she has never lived outside the city limits of her much-loved little town. In this century, that truly is an unusual situation especially given that we just met a couple who have lived in 34 different homes during thier 36 years of marriage. Talk about Contrast!
We took her with us to Ocean Isle Beach for the Memorial Day weekend and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. Frank and I preach for both the beach service and for the chapel service. Then we have the blessing of staying in a baech house they provide free of charge. What a gift! It's always such fun sharing with people from all over the country. Even though it was cold and threatening to rain Sunday morning there were still almost 200 people who brought their lawn chairs and coffee thermoses to hear a sermon. Frank usually has me do the beach service. This is a picture he snapped as I shared.
Now, the beach itself isn't Mom's cup of tea but the house we stay in has a lovely porch overlooking a large canal. She watched the boats, the fish jumping, she enjoyed the sunshine and salt air breezes that kept things cool. Of course, she also enjoyed the shopping and eating out we did each day. One day we picked up sub sandwiches then went to a spot where we could sit in the car and enjoy a clear view of the ocean. We put the windows down and let the wind blow through the car making it a proper picnic - minus any ants.
This was one of my favorite photos from our time together. Frank has always been a dedicated, loving son; it's part of what attracted me to him. My mom had taught me that the way a man treats his mom is usually the way he'll treat you. Good advice! Frank was Mom's firstborn and it was just the two of them for about three years after the divorce. So they share a special bond. (Sure glad she and I decided to be friends right away.)
We also got to meet the newest member of the Hawley family. Lynlee just turned one last weekend. She is the first grandbaby on both sides of her parent's families so I think the celebrating will continue for another week. Isn't she adorable?
In all honesty, this is my favorite way to experience the beach. Frank and I usually enjoy a cup of coffee together as we watch the sunrise and share our prayer time. Then after right breakfast, we change into swimsuits, pack snacks, chairs, sunscreen and an umbrella and head for the strand. Reading, stopping to gaze out at the beautiful waves, watching people and pondering for a while; hitting repeat. What more could one ask for?
During one of our missions trips to El Salvador, Frank forgot we had already purchased a hammock at the local market the year before so now we have THREE! Yep, three hammocks and no where to put them at our house. Consequently, we take them with us to Ocean Isle each year and at some point, I swing.
One evening after taking Mom back home, Frank and I went out to dinner at a favorite restaurant and reminisced about life at the beach when the girls were little. Inevitably, we always circle back to the same conclusion: God was incredibly kind and faithful during our years in Ocean Isle.
Here's a final picture to close:
Now you can see why we enjoy the porch of our beach house, too. I hope you find opportunities to rest, reflect and regroup this summer. It's not an extravagance, you know; it's an investment in your health and well-being. Here's to many Deep Breaths all summer long. Blessings!
What is your favorite summer get-away? We'd love to hear about it in the comment section.