Sand, surf and sunsets

We’re a couple of days back from our annual fall Rosemary Beach trip with Jon’s side of the family, and miraculously, the laundry is done and the suitcases unpacked.

The drive to Rosemary is always long and even longer coming home, but the time there never fails to delight. This year, Lina seemed to remember the house and the beach and fell immediately into her favorite beach pastime of digging in the sand with gusto. We saw a lot of new confidence in Corin this year, as he charged into sizable surf without fear and logged some pretty impressive bodyboard runs. The waves robbed him of his prized goggles late on our last day, which a thorough search did not discover. Some other lucky kid is probably getting good use of them as I write, though I prefer to imagine them as entertainment for the dolphins.

These days, I find myself deeply valuing any opportunity to unplug, read a good book and spend time with people I love. Add sand, surf and sunsets, and no question, my soul benefited. Of course, we couldn’t ignore our concern for northern California as it burned or so many other places where people are suffering. There are endless, giant worries in the world, and it can begin to feel like I carry them all with me every day. I am learning to leave them with God and let Him show me what my responsibilities are. And for a brief few days, I am so grateful we were able to lay aside our stresses and just be together in a truly lovely place. The memories will last a lifetime.

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Ocean frisbee!

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That golden light, though

Day two at the beach was magnificent: perfect weather, fantastic home-prepared meals, pool swimming in the morning, a bike ride with my favorite budding cyclist after lunch, a lovely late afternoon and sunset at the beach, and priceless time with family throughout. Memory-making doesn’t get much better.

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Making friends, as she did everywhere she went today

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We’ll always have Rosemary Beach.

We’re home after a rather daunting nine-hour drive yesterday. We walked in the door to find the dog had peed somewhere in the den, exact location yet to be discovered. Welcome home, family.

This morning, we experienced that rarest of phenomena in which all four of us slept in. (The kids’ schools are still on fall break.) This was lovely until realizing over breakfast – thanks to the ding of my calendar reminder – that Lina had a Vanderbilt appointment at 10 a.m. We hustled and just made it. We stopped at the store to restock our bare shelves and returned home to piles of sandy laundry.

So, yes, vacation is over. On the up side, it’s the kind of clear, fall day in Tennessee that makes locals thank God we live here. I gave in to a few selections from the season’s ridiculous array of pumpkin products, and tonight we’ll have hot apple cider and a fire in the fireplace. This is my favorite season, after all.

And when I miss the beach, I have our photos to flip through…and the piles of sand still hiding in beach toys and the corners of suitcases.

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Rosemary Beach, day 4

Today’s beach photos are actually from Camp Helen State Park, a 1 1/2-mile bike ride from our rental house in Rosemary Beach. The beach front is another .6-mile slog on foot through deep sand, but the end result was worth it: wide open beach with hardly another soul in sight. Today has been a little cooler and breezy, great for flying the kite, hunting for sea shells, and basking in the sun.

Tomorrow we head home. No one in this family wants to go. I was talking to Corin about this being our last day, and I reminded him the purpose of trips like this is the memories we take with us. It’s a reminder to me, too, as we finish out our last evening and prepare for the long drive back to our daily routine.

My dad used to sing a Gaither Vocal Band song: “We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand.” I’m infinitely grateful for photos and memories and beautiful family relationships forged over so many moments like these.

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