What a beautiful day in Orange Beach. It was so fun to sleep in and not have to set an alarm. Definitely a great way to start the day, seriously! It’s been a while since I sat on the beach, first time this summer for sure, well, this year. Come to think of it, I haven’t been to the beach much at all over the last 2 or 3 years. So, to say this trip was anticipated is an understatement. We took our time getting out to the water, but it did not disappoint. I have to say though, I forgot walking in the sand was so hard, major calf workout! The water was calm and beautiful, so blue and clear. Well, except for the algae coming in, but that’s pretty normal for this time of year if I remember correctly. I was actually born and spent a lot of my life in Florida, used to be quite a beach bum back in the day. That seems like a lifetime ago. Once we got settled, I realized that we “accidently” sat in the beach reclining chairs that were behind the condo where we were staying. You know, the ones they charge you money to sit in? Well, no one was using them and no one was there to guard them, so… (Technically, no one saw it, so it’s like it never happened, right? Yeah, I’m going with that.) Anyway, it was so gorgeous we couldn’t take our eyes off of the ocean. That’s when I spotted it, a fin. After all the shark attacks I’ve heard about this summer, and after Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, I was nervous for a moment. (Although, I must say Shark Week was a bit of a disappointment for me.) But, it didn’t take me long to realize it was a dolphin, then two. They were frolicking in the water, playing and completely unaware that we were watching them. It was such a beautiful sight. I looked around and realized that no one else seemed to notice them. I started to say something to the folks next to us, but decided not to. I just knew as soon as I said something they would never surface again! So, Jeff and I enjoyed them together. Like our own private showing. I think it was a momma and a baby, so cute! It didn’t take us long to decide we were too hot though, and tired. For some reason that combo made me decide we needed to eat. (I know, weird, huh?) We wanted something fast, so we located a Shrimp Basket. It was so beautiful out and I had the bright idea that we should sit outside. As soon as we sat, Jeff noticed that it smelled kind of like a dumpster. I, of course, couldn’t smell a thing. (I have a terrible sense of smell.) And within minutes after we were seated the fruit flies started gathering. Just one at first, but then more. We slapped and swatted at them while we ate, I have bites on my leg to prove that they are vicious little things. (I got so tickled thinking about the chances of this happening and what we must look like hands flailing everywhere. No wonder no one else was sitting on the porch! This weekend started off so unromantic! Ha!) Why didn’t we go inside, you wonder? I do not have an answer for that question. We ate as fast as we could and just kept on beating them off until we got into the car. Well, we said we wanted somewhere fast. After lunch we went back out on the beach and enjoyed walking and watching the boats come in and talking like we did when we were a young couple with no children. Back before life got so complicated and busy. Remember those days? Jeff and I get so busy working, completing obligations and being “adults,” that we forget to stay connected to each other. Times like these remind me what great friends we really are and why we’ve stayed together after all these years. We were talking about that today, just how tough it has been off and on throughout the years. Tough getting along, tough times financially, and raising kids is tough. Jobs, friends, church, life and the losses we face are all hard and it can cause a relationship to wear thin. And then there’s always that little voice that wants to give up and let it go, it’s too hard or too much work or the grass looks greener somewhere else. We agreed today that we are so thankful, so incredibly thankful, that we hung in there, we didn’t give in to what might’ve seemed easier. I know it’s hard and sometimes separation is unavoidable for perfectly legitimate reasons. But, for us, it would’ve been because it felt too hard. So glad that my sweet momma let me know that if she could do it, stay married all those years, so could I. And you know what? She was right; best and toughest decision I’ve ever made. I wouldn’t change a thing. Anyway, we went to the Wharf for dinner (an outdoor shopping center with lots of cool shops and fun places to eat); so fun. We ate outside this time and it was wonderful. We looked over a marina and the weather was glorious. Only one horse fly flew by – made me nervous, but it went on its merry way, thankfully! We tasted a salted caramel gelato milkshake, which I HIGHLY recommend! And topped it off by listening to a band play some really good music out by the water and watched little ones dance their little hearts out. Sadly, we ended up wrapping up our evening sooner than expected because a fruit fly found us and was merciless. I am scratching bites tonight while I giggle about all of it. Amazing how something so small can help determine your decisions, but that’s another story.