I’m still here! 

Here I am! Life is keeping me busy as always. We spent this weekend checking out different beach houses and dreaming of waking up to the sound of the ocean. At one point, we drove up to the beach and Jacob’s excitement was adorable! “Beach! Beach! I go beach! Water at beach!” Needless to say, Jacob is a bit of a beach bum – and I would not have it any other way! 😎💚🌊

Visiting the beach, my happy place, made me start thinking about where life takes us. I grew up visiting the beach in Connecticut & Rhode Island since my Dad’s family lived there. When I moved to Florida, I visited the beach often. I took a few years off from it (crazy to think, right?!) but the beach was calling my name all along. I learned that although I enjoy the summers at the beach on occasion, my true joy is winter here. There is nothing quite like walking the beach with a long sleeve shirt and searching for sand dollars. I could spend the day living life just like that. 

So why did I wait to explore this option? Well, I think I’ve realized now that it’s time to make all options a reality. Because…well, why not? Now is as good a time as any. I know that my timing is not actually mine but His. And that although I may not realize it always, His timing is perfect.

So today I ask you, what are you waiting for? What dreams do you have that need (yes, need!) to be a reality? What are you holding onto that is a life goal and yet you can accomplish it now? 

For me, it’s the beach. It’s waking up and feeling the salt air on my face. It’s leaving work and walking the shore. It’s sunsets and sunrises that never get old. It’s seashells and sand dollars everywhere. It’s relaxation. It’s my happy place.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

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Rough seas

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The last week of treatment and fatigue was beginning to weigh on my mind the last few days. So despite the crazy wind and chance of rain, we ventured to the beach yesterday – my happy place – to enjoy some time together. The ocean was rough with the waves crashing against each other over the sand bar and trying to steal Jacob’s sand pail. Each time the water came closer to where we were standing, Jacob would yell “oohhh, oohhh!” and jump back a little to stay away from it. As soon as the water began to rush back out, he would run towards it again.  It made us laugh and he was having a ball doing it. He could sense the water was rougher than usual, battling amongst itself.

About halfway through the day, another family set up on the beach next to us. The mom stopped over to say hello and we started to chat about life. We joke & laughed and shared stories about our kids for a bit. She eventually joined her family again to help her kids bury her husband in the sand and Jacob fell asleep on my lap. It felt nice, normal.

Despite the rough sea in front of us, the wind blowing heavy and the slight clouds in the sky, we were all able to enjoy the beauty and grace of the day.  It was a wonderful afternoon.

We don’t know what battles others around us may be fighting. A kind word or a simple gesture can go a long way and sometimes it is all a person needs to keep fighting. Spread the love, my friends.

The beach

 

Beach 032416This week has been odd. I didn’t have a ton of appointments like usual. I made sure that there wasn’t a whole lot to do since I thought that I was starting radiation and wasn’t sure how I would feel, especially driving to and from the appointment every day. It’s not crazy far but considering the entire appointment should be less than 30 minutes, the 45 minute each way ride seems like a lot.

So, I spent the week somewhere in between not really being sure what to do with my time and feeling like I could do about 100 things a day. I was able to get some things done and yet I was still able to rest when I needed to. I was starting to get a little antsy but also feeling guilty for having a few days to just…be.

When sharing this thought with one of my very best friends since forever, she replied with a reminder that I have been through a lot this year and that it’s ok to take some time to relax. She also reminded me that it was only a few short weeks ago that I beat cancer. It helped to hear that and know that it’s ok.

So today, I went to the beach. With me, myself and I. I indulged in a sweet treat outside while watching the water, the clouds and the sun. I people watched while the spring breakers chatted all around me. I sat out by the water and stuck my feet in the sand. I walked the ocean and felt the cool waves on my feet. I read my book, wrote a little and chatted with the fisherman who setup next to me.

But mostly, I just was. I let my mind settle while the wind drifted away with my thoughts. And although I missed my boys hanging out beside me, the day was wonderful, peaceful, freeing.

My happy place. It was exactly what I needed before tomorrow’s treatment.

An accidental adventure

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In an effort to get out of the house today and away from the four walls of my living room, Joe & I spent a few hours at the beach. Little man was playing at daycare and it was a warm 60ish degrees here. I bundled up since I am constantly cold in between hot flashes and we drove to the jetties at our favorite local beach.

When we arrived, Joe started to setup our chairs and I went to find a bathroom. Typically there are porta-potties in this location but I think since the tide was just going out, they weren’t setup there yet. I started up a walkway that I have always seen but never explored. I asked a fisherman on the way up if there was a bathroom at the end and he advised that there was so I kept on.

Well, that was a rather long walk to the end! The walkway spread over the sand dunes and ended up next to the intracoastal waterway. You could see the local lighthouse in the distance the entire time.  There were multiple walkouts to see the water on the inland side, including lots of areas to picnic and bring pets. About a 10 minute walk later, which happens to be the most I’ve moved about since surgery, I found the end. It was a cute little park that even had free sand toys for the little ones to borrow.

On my way back, I decided to checkout the lookout tower that I had passed along the way. The view from up top was incredible. I could see the waves crashing on the beach and a dolphin jumping in the intracoastal, with the lighthouse in between.

I saw dozens of birds, collected a few beautiful shells and saw a few sea urchins on my walk.  I’ve been to the jetties dozens of times and never explored this area of the beach.  Though I was a little out of breath and tired by the time I returned to Joe, it was a fun accidental adventure!  I was able to relax on the beach while watching the waves afterwards. Such a wonderful way to spend the day with my husband.

I know I’ve said it before but the beach heals my body and soul. The salt water, the sound of the waves and the birds, the wind blowing lightly and the sun overhead…it’s exactly what I needed today.

Have you found yourself on an accidental adventure before?

Back to my happy place…

When going through chemo treatments, the days following each session were relatively consistent. I knew about which day that I would feel my worst, which I would start to feel better, when the metal taste began to disappear, when my appetite started to come back, etc. Each treatment I would focus on the recovery days; the good days where I knew I would start to feel better again. Having these “end” dates in my head helped me to focus on them.  They were my goal dates. I knew that if I could stay strong and get through the hardest days, that the good days were waiting for me at the end.  Every treatment has helped me to stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.

I wanted to take this same approach after surgery. I knew that surgery would be challenging and I knew the recovery would be long. But I also knew that I would eventually start to feel better, one day at a time. After chatting with a fellow survivor, who had surgery in December, I learned that she was at the beach within the first week after surgery. I don’t recall the exact day she went after her surgery but I knew that was the goal that I wanted to set for myself…a visit to my happy place.

I didn’t want to push myself too hard so I decided my goal was to be at the beach by Saturday. Even if it was for a few minutes and even if I didn’t get out of the car, my goal was to be there.

So today, that’s where we headed. It took some extra preparations but we made it!

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The beach continues to cleanse my soul and clear my head. It is my happy place and being there with people I love makes the day even more special.

It was a short visit because the rain met us there soon after we arrived. I am tired and sore from the little bit of walking that we did. But it was worth it. To feel the wind blowing, smell the salt in the air, hear the waves crashing and see the waves moving as they rolled up the sand…made for a perfect day.

I hope you all are able to spend some time at your happy place this weekend with people you love! 💚