Sitting on the beach, reclining in my beach chair soaking in the rays. I can’t help but hear all that’s going on around me. To my right there’s a family that is definitely not from this area, I’m guessing Louisiana? They’re trying their hand fishing. And their young boy, he looks to be 11 or 12 years old, is having the time of his life. He talks loudly enough for all of us to hear, it’s quite entertaining. He is positive, as he is trying to convince his family, that he saw a 5 inch shark (yes, I said inch). 100% positive. And then there’s the family behind me, with young adult children. I’m especially intrigued by them as I can relate. They’re playing paddleball and you can hear the click click click of the ball against the paddle. It’s turned into quite a competition, and I’m curious who is winning, but I can’t quite hear the score. And then there’s the young man out on the float who is whiter than the sand and I’m troubled for him. I just want to warn him, he will hate himself tomorrow if he doesn’t put a shirt on. All the while the boats are coming and going, you can hear the roar of the engine, some speed by others slowly prance. Helicopters hovering overhead from time to time and of course the famous plane with the banner streaming behind it advertising something that no one cares to read. The ocean is blue and is calm as far as the eyes can see, and the reflection of the sand makes me have to squint to get a better look. And in the background of all of this, like elevator music, you hear the waves crashing against the shore. Almost rhythmic. It’s beautiful here, I can feel God’s presence all around me. I sometimes wonder why I need to be out in the open or looking at something majestic to feel him so strongly. He’s with me all the time, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. There’s just something about the ocean that embodies God’s strength. I love it here. I told Jeff we need to sell everything and buy a cottage on the beach and live simpler, beach bum lives. You can imagine what my Norwegian, Minnesotan born, fair skinned husband said. (I’ll leave the answer to your imagination. Don’t be looking for any for sale signs on anything of ours anytime soon.) It’s our last day here, and we are soaking every bit of it in. We have laughed, cried, run from the rain, burned in the sun, played in the waves, watched dolphins frolic, admired the boats, marveled at the paragliding, talked about our dreams, prayed for our kids, and reminded ourselves of why we got married in the first place. God has been good, 23 years later, and I’ll be happy to say that to anyone I meet. I’m going to capture these moments and take them home, but, I’m going to make a conscious effort to be making new moments, I’ve had so many changes in the past year, a lot of loss, I feel like it has numbed my heart. I can still envision my mother sitting in a chair on the shoreline with her fishing pole in the water, wearing her big floppy hat enjoying what she loved to do – being with her family and fishing. I will miss her forever. I will probably see her everywhere I go in my mind’s eye. Well, I feel her with me here and I’m going to take that with me back home. I’m going to continue to move forward through the good and the bad and make decisions that would make her proud. Decisions that will help my marriage and bless my children. It’s been a good weekend. Really good. By the time many of you read this, I will be back at my desk at work, probably sipping a cup of coffee and looking at my computer screen. But, I hope that beyond my sunburned shoulders, and face, that those around me will see a new radiance. The radiance that comes with refreshment. God is faithful, I’ll continue to say that all the days of my life. Because He is.