Every Fourth of July weekend my family enjoys a lovely getaway in Manzanita, Oregon. It's a quaint and quiet coastal town with endless charm and loads of options for ice cream and coffee (two of my favorite things). Going there so often, not to mention living just over an hour away, it's easy to take this special time for granted.
Generally, I'm focused on everything I need to do at home and not over-doing it with vacation eating almost the second I arrive. While I still struggle with that some, I've been deeply challenged recently to live each moment to the fullest and enjoy life....with gratitude.
Gratitude has so much to do with attitude, does it not? Despite that nifty little rhyme I just came up with, I think this idea has really hit home for me in recent months. I'll admit, I'm not a natural optimist. I have to constantly pep talk my heart into believing I can succeed and that there is hope in all situations...whether it be my own struggles or trials of those I know and love. My faith aids me greatly in this as well as the loved ones around me. They inspire me to dive into life despite my own worries and anxiety. I'm often just way too hard on myself.
Over this weekend, however, the Ocean helped me. Jogging (trying to Jog, more like) along the packed sand I felt strong and mighty. Do the waves have this affect on you as well? Ideas like, "Yes! I WILL become a whale trainer" or " I CAN be the new voice in Jazz music in 2013" cross your mind in those moments. I might add I've never sang in public and I've only seen a whale once...at Sea World...when I was 14.
Don't laugh at me but in the presence of such vast landscape, I too start to feel vast and near the stars in my heart. There is a certain joy that lives on the coast line as kids happily roll in the dunes and dogs bound up to anyone who will pet them, simply ELATED to be out of their back yard. The moms look satisfied laying on blankets watching their children play...uploading pictures of their sandy adventures to facebook on their cell phones. The beach becomes a sudden and perfect baby sitter allowing for parents to become true on lookers to their kids sand castle creations and hilarious antics. Boys and girls blush and kiss and they stroll down the horizon line...walking as if they are the only ones on the planet.
It's all so perfect and magical in those moments. For a short blink in time, things are simple and lovely and all together amazing. Maybe that's what peace feels like.
Towards the end of our trip, my family came back from getting ice cream to find two young deer eating grass on top of the dunes near our beach house. Everyone ooohed and ahhed a little while...but it was my sister in law, Brittany, and myself who raced up the dunes with our cameras to catch the special moment on film if we could.
The littlest of the two deer let me get within 10 feet of him, looked right at me...posed for a perfect photo shot and then trotted up the sandy path towards the crashing waves. It was dusk and the sky purple with fog.
And of course, me being me....I made a video about it. I hope you enjoy it.
So here's to the beach...in all their ever changing sparkling glory. Go enjoy one for me before the summer is over...get wet and a little messy. Don't brush your hair....and above all, have fun with some people you love. Dear readers, thank you for coming to this little blog and reading these little thoughts and watching these little videos. You have no idea how much it means to me. I promise.