Tag Archives: Florida

Beach Therapy

19 Sep

Be at rest, once more, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7

With great excitement, she leaned across the dinner table and asked me if I had ever been parasailing.  I giggled as I quickly responded with a ‘no, but I would love to!’

For you see, on August 9, I stood in the surf on Fenwick Island Beach, Delaware watching a boat pull a pair of parasailers.  I allowed my mind and heart to daydream about how fun it would be to someday parasail in Florida with my best bud.  That day, just 8 days after her husband’s death, Becky and her family were part of my every breath and thought as they were celebrating Joe’s life in Crowley, Louisiana … some 1300 miles away.

Back to the dinner table in Florida on the evening of September 11th … with great animation, I told my story to Becky, exclaiming over the fact that her invitation to me to join her for some beach therapy was not presented for nearly another 2 weeks later after my Fenwick Beach moment.  In fact, it was the same day I finally took a small zip lock bag of sand that I had gathered from that weekend on the beach and mailed it to her, the sand representing her hope of getting to Florida soon for some much needed rest.  I placed that sand-laden card in the mail … and later that morning I chuckled out loud as I read Becky’s email invitation to me to join her and her momma in Florida in September.

God does things like this in my life quite often.  I guess He knows He must keep it somewhat simple, but yet for me they are Red Sea moments.  Sand in a zip lock bag, just picked up by the mailman, followed by an immediate invitation to Florida.  Thoughts and hopes of parasailing with my dear friend on the same day as her husband’s memorial service  …  to be parasailing with her a month and 3 days later!!  Also, my airfare was provided by a frequent flier charge card that had accumulated enough points to send me to Florida for a minimal fee.  I do not believe in coincidences … my steps are ordered by the God Who loves me in every way possible.

A man’s mind plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
Proverbs 16:9 amp

I flew on September 11th.  I arrived in Tampa without incident and was warmly welcomed by the hug of a lifetime … one that expressed deep sorrow and disbelief, but a gratefulness and excitement for the few days we had together.  Two friends reunited after tragedy and loss … together for some beach therapy.

Therapy comes in different forms – for Becky, the beach has always been a place of relaxation and respite.  Her parents retired several years ago in Florida, giving her the perfect setting for fun vacations with her family.  Now just one month since Joe’s death, Becky and her momma planned a short time to get away for some much needed quiet time and rest.  Becky and her family have been extremely busy in the past few weeks while they sort, toss, organize, box, and donate items that have accumulated over the past 22 years of living in the church parsonage.  A much smaller place just down the road is where Becky and Pauline will call home … anticipating a move-in date of early October.

Our days together in Florida were full – leisure morning time with coffee and a simple breakfast followed by a couple hours of beach time.  Most early evenings were spent with Becky’s extended family who also live in the area, giving me a chance to see people I had not seen in many, many years, and to meet others who are newer additions.  Hallmark movies were the choice of late evening entertainment, sending us to bed with hearts full of gratefulness for another blessed day.

Enjoying the surf and sun

Enjoying the surf and sun

The highlight of those days together was the beach therapy.  The white sandy shore of the Gulf of Mexico welcomed us as we slathered on protective lotions and creams and enjoyed the late morning sunshine and the silly antics of the birds.  The original email invitation requested my presence and a listening ear … so every time I heard the name Joe, my heart smiled, knowing that she needed to say his name.  I needed to say his name … and we both needed to hear it.  We talked about their family, their kids and grandkids.  We talked about our past … mentioning people of years gone by and laughing about those days in our shared childhood and teen years.  She shared moments of heartache as she recalled Joe’s last days, things said and events that took place, painting a mental picture for me of those personal and intimate moments in her life.  Tears mingled with our sunscreen and sweat as we laid there on the beach for those brief hours each day, tears that were soon to be washed away by the salty waves of the gulf waters.  How refreshing it was as we enjoyed just being in the water, rolling with the tide and swimming … all the while we continued to share hearts, thoughts, and chatter.

Parasailing fun!!

Parasailing fun!!

Did we go parasailing?  You betcha!  A bright yellow smiley face chute carried two best buds high into the sky where we chatted some, but also found ourselves quiet, lost in the moment.  I’m sure we were both thinking about Joe and why we were together, doing what we were doing.  Just like a camera captures moments in time, I wish there was a way we could’ve captured the emotion of those minutes together … the exhilaration and blessing of flying so effortlessly through the salty air of the Gulf, high above all of the noise and commotion of life … up near the heart of God and the one we just lost.  It was a special time that ended all too soon.

I don’t remember a specific moment or at what age Becky and I first met, but sometime in the mid 1960’s, two little girls found themselves next to one another and must’ve felt a kindred spirit. A spirit that grew deeper as the years clicked by …  Barbie dolls and board games, her house or mine, Bible quizzing and memory verses, nail polish and curlers, alto and soprano, piano, reading, sewing, sleep-overs, boys, … all the way to Joe and Tim.  The two boys that stole our hearts … along with our own love and devotion to the God Who set the course for the rest of our lives.  Many miles have separated us through much of our adult lives, focusing on family, ministries, and the busyness of life.  Often I am finding that it takes crises to pull hearts back together ~ hearts that sometimes do not fully realize the distance that had crept in.

People all around us are hurting.  Some are grieving the loss of a loved one.  Others are in financial trouble while others are terminally ill with no hope of recovery.  Unresolved matters have been left to fester, leaving pain and disconnect in families.  Marriage relationships are dissolving or an accident has turned someone’s world upside down.  In the midst of our everyday, someone you know and someone I know needs therapy.  Therapy comes in different forms … on purpose, be creative and offer some much needed attention to someone today.  Be a listening ear, a warm body to hug, a heart full of compassion that will laugh and cry, and just be there.  Pray. Be there for whatever it takes for healing of their soul to begin.  Won’t you join me?

Until next time,
Debbie

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“Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of our recent move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.
 
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** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my trip to Florida
that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!
 
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Vacation

3 Apr

When I think over the past two weeks, each of the days together creates a big huge colorful blur. This blog entry will be more for my personal sanity probably than for your enjoyment, for as the miles click away and we get closer to home, work, and responsibilities, it will be nice to remember the morsels of mercy that God gifted Tim and I with these past several days.

Cole Michael

Cole ~ 1st bday

Our vacation started so many days ago in the home of our precious grandchild, Cole Michael.  Late night snuggles, walks to Dairy Queen and to the city park, scrambled eggs for breakfast, and bedtime routines were some of the highlights leading up to the day of celebration … Cole’s 1st birthday party.  The day was full of excitement as friends and family gathered in to give all attention to this cutie little man who stole our hearts a year ago.   Accessorized in the appropriate bib for the day “Birthday Boy”, Cole’s face glowed with delight as his own personal cake was set before him.  As his gifts were opened, anything and everything with wheels immediately became his favorite toy, and he genuinely seemed excited to unwrap clothing decked out in monkeys!  Grami and Gramps were the official photographers of the day ~ yielding snapshots and video that documented another special day of family history.  Once the crowds subsided and all was quiet, I escaped to the solitude of our futon where much-needed rest enveloped my aching body and churning tummy.  The stomach flu had attacked me early that morning.  While others were enjoying the novelty items such as ants on a log, pigs in a blanket, and other tasty treats, I was feasting on Pepto Bismol.  Our vacation itinerary was picking up great speed the following day and we had 1300 miles to travel before boarding a cruise ship on Monday.  I had to feel better.

And I did.  Leaving behind the sweetest little boy who wonders why these silly people come and then go, we headed south.  A full day of travel on Sunday, followed by an early start the next morning, ended at the Port of Miami around 1:00 Monday afternoon.  Lots of excited travelers and rain greeted us as we gathered our belongings and set sail for the beautiful isles of the Bahamas.  Being the first time cruisers that we were, we felt like little kids at an Easter egg hunt … going here and there, seeing what we could see, eating a little of this and a little of that … hoping to get the golden egg, which for us, was our luggage delivered to our stateroom.  Tim forgot to put his anti sea-sick patch on earlier in the day and it was in our suitcases that had not been brought to our room yet.  By the time the magical little circle was attached behind his ear, we both were feeling a big queasy.  Before we left for our first true experience of cruise dining, I also peeled the sticky off of a patch and walked away confident of having a grand evening of scrumptious food and entertainment.  It seemed like with every passing moment, however, my stomach felt worse, my appetite left me, and the musical drama lasted for hours … or at least it felt like it.  At evening’s end, I was so disoriented and shaky, that I had to firmly hold on to Tim in order to not fall down while walking to our room.  At some point during the wee hours of the morning, I realized that my distress had to be caused by that magical little patch I thought would cure all … so I yanked it off and prayed for quick healing.  Needless to say, what became Tim’s best friend and allowed him to enjoy his vacation had the adverse effect on me. 

March 24, 2010

Tim & I on our cruise

Tuesday morning found us docked in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island where we followed the masses off the ship and into the coastal town of Lucayan Beach.  Having our blue/white cruise ship beach towels along, we spread out underneath overcast skies and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the surf. After our 3 hour shore excursion ended, we made our way back to the ship where we spent the remainder of the afternoon poolside…so grateful when the sun would shine through the clouds and warm the air.  Hours later, we were once again reminded that the sun still shines and scorches fine white skin through cool breezes and clouds.  Tim’s new best friend was now the green Aloe Vera gel. 

Nassau and New Providence Island was our port of call on Wednesday.  Not spending the extra dollars for a cruise ship sponsored excursion, we opted to find a local guide and take his 4-hour tour of the island.  We visited a small inlet row of hometown eateries where conch was the main menu item.  We received a personal demonstration of how the meat is taken out of the shell and cut up to serve fresh and raw in salads.  Lennix, our guide, also treated us to conch fritters, much like hushpuppies, but with conch meat inside.  He then drove us to various areas of the island, showing us great poverty and great wealth, including Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort.  Several different stops gave us opportunity to shop, to drink fresh coconut milk and take lots of pictures.  It was a fun day … except for the ever-increasing bloat to my tummy.  Oh my … in my quest to cleanse my system from the effects of the patch, I had been drinking a lot of water.  Bottled water on the ship was expensive, so I splurged and bought one, then continued to re-fill it as needed.  Mistake!  Somewhere, I got a hold of bad water and its little gremlins wrecked havoc on my stomach.  Despite the uncomfortable state in which I found myself in for the next few days, I kept up with all the fun and frolic. 

March 25, 2010

Me ... snorkeling

Tim and I set our alarm for early Thursday morning so we could enjoy the sunrise from the deck of the ship.  We were also there to watch as it settled into a ‘spot’ off the coast of the Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, where we would spend part of our day snorkeling in the warm ocean waters. With rented mask, life vest, breathing tube, and flippers, we set out for the reefs and fish.  What an amazing experience to be right there with the fish and sea creatures, trusting the floatation device and air tube to keep me alive as I oohed and ahhed while capturing each Kodak moment with my underwater camera.  Our day in the sun was brought to an end back on board and poolside where we treated ourselves to ice cream cones and Pepsi. 

There are details in between the lines of activities that made our cruise special to us … the cruise director was quite unforgettable with his quirky one-liners, there was food everywhere, all the time, and we enjoyed trying different items on the menus … and we had a favorite quiet spot on one of the outside decks that not many people knew about.  We have also made notes that we will take fewer clothes, a case of bottled water AND Pepto Bismol with us next time.

Friday morning brought us back to the Port of Miami.  Tim and I gathered our belongings and our memories … good and not so good, and headed to our awaiting parked car.  For us, our vacation continued for several more days.  The sunshine of Florida shone bright and gifted us with hours of enjoyment, while an occasional rain brought quiet time and rest. 

The first evening of the cruise my heart took notice of a particular scripture.  I took this verse personally and claimed it throughout the remainder of our vacation as an embrace from Jesus Himself …

You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there myself.
I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel. 
Numbers 35:34

“He lives!  He lives!  Christ Jesus lives today!  He walks with me and He talks with me, along life’s narrow way. 
He lives!  He lives!  Salvation to impart.  You ask me how I know He lives … He lives!!  Within my heart!”

We are home now.  My heart is full and overflowing as I reflect on the blessings that are mine … and yours, too!!

Happy Easter!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4

Till next time,
Debbie

 

March 30, 2010

Hollywood Beach, Florida