Well, I guess it's safe to say that I will never have anything like what you would call "regularly scheduled programming" on this poor little blog. Sorry for the incredibly long absence. There's no real excuse, but here's what I've got . . .
Towards the end of the summer, I got the incredible opportunity to join one of my wonderful friends from camp on a vacation in Florida.
That's right. Florida. I was beyond excited.
Jennie and I had earned a week's worth of paid vacation over the summer to be spent in August or September.
It was perfect timing.
(Also, let's just step aside for a moment and observe how ridiculously grown-up it is of me to be earning paid vacation.)
We planned our vacation for the week after the Summer Staff all went home.
Apparently that wasn't perfect timing.
That also happened to be the week that Hurricane Isaac hit Florida.
After much drama and many days of dealing with airlines and hotels, Jennie and I transferred all of our reservations to the next week and made it to Florida.
It was the perfect "recovery time" from the summer. The basic itinerary for every day there was as follows:
1) Sleep in as late as you want, then change straight into a swimsuit and eat breakfast/have coffee on the veranda while looking at this
Those three boats (or some variation thereof) were sitting still in the the water the entire time we were there. One cab-driver told us they were waiting for permission to dock and would sometimes wait there for weeks at a time.
2) Lay on the beach as long as you want and alternate between reading books and cooling off in the water
That book? It's Bloom, by Kelle Hampton. I bought it because a) I've been wanting to read it and b) I figured what better place to read it than on the beach in Florida? (She lives in Florida.)
I loved Bloom, but there was another book that I borrowed from a friend at the last minute before leaving for Florida that ended up being way better. It was a collection of personal essays called Cold Tangerines and it was honestly so good that, by the third essay, I asked why in the world I couldn't have been the one to write it. Really. It was just so refreshing and real and hilarious and I could go on and on about it, but I won't.
And yes, that's me in the water. You should be aware that I am somewhat (no, incredibly) terrified of sharks and that I have rarely, if ever, put my head under the water in the ocean, but I decided, on the last day of our vacation, to swim all the way out to that green portion of the ocean, which, by the way, doesn't look that far out, but was actually very far. I had been spending a good portion of our vacation looking at the line between the green and blue in the ocean and wondering what happened at that line. It took forever to swim out there and it turns out that what happened was exactly what I thought would happen - the floor of the ocean dropped suddenly and the water got waaaaaaaay colder.
I promptly freaked out and swam back to shore as quickly as I could.
I have to say though, I was rather proud of myself for getting all the way out there.
3) Go to the porch when the rain comes and wait it out. Eventually decide the rain won't go away, and go upstairs to get "dressed for dinner" just like in old-fashioned books and shows.
You see, in Florida, it rains every day at 3 in the afternoon. I never wore a watch, but I always knew when it was 3pm because the rain would come and chase us to the veranda. We "waited it out" on the veranda every afternoon we were there, but every afternoon, the rain lasted at least until sunset, so we'd eventually give up on waiting.
Mostly, the rain was just little drizzles and sprinkles, but that's not something you want to be on the beach in, so we'd use the rest of our afternoon to shower and get dressed in normal clothes to
4) Go to dinner somewhere in town. (Sorry. No pictures of this event)
5) Watch the moon rise
Since we were on the East Coast in Ft. Lauderdale, we didn't have a sunset, but we got moonrises and sunrises. Both were so beautiful! I caught one moonrise and two sunrises.
The first sunrise I watched was the second full day we were there. It was a stormy and cloudy one, but breath-taking nonetheless. I sat on the beach, camera in hand capturing every part of the sunrise - every subtle change in light, every new cloud that appeared, every shade of blue-green-grey the ocean and sky went through - and ended up with a lot of pictures that looked like this:
All during the sunrise, the boats were covered by this giant mass of cloud and I couldn't help but wonder if they were even aware that the sunrise was happening. It looked so dark where they were.
Then Jesus sent me such a sweet message in those clouds. I looked away for a bit, and when I looked back, the sun had broken through and illuminated the boats.
It made me think of those times when you feel like everybody else's life is going well/making sense/coming together perfectly and yours isn't. Then, suddenly, there's the thing you've been waiting for and who knows where it came from or how it got there, but there it is, plain as day.
After that, I went back upstairs and stepped out onto the balcony to see my boats one more time and somehow, in the time it had taken me to get upstairs, the storm had come, concealing all but the closest boat.
But it didn't touch the shore. It just came to that boat and it reminded me of that place in Job where God asks "Who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; when I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, 'Thus far you may come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop'? Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the ends of the earth and the wicked be shaken out of it?" (Job 38:8-13)
The other sunrise I watched was on the last day - the one we were leaving. I woke up not much before the sun and sat down in the sand, propped my camera on my knees and click, click, clicked until the sun had fully risen. I got a lot of crooked horizons, but several good ones as well.
After the sunrise, I turned away to take pictures of the beach/waves/skyline behind me, then turned back to see this little sail-boat making it's slow and steady way toward the sun. Sailboats always make me happy because they make me think of my Pop (my mom's dad), so that was a nice little present from Jesus.
He really out-did Himself that morning actually.
During that sunrise alone, I took 600 pictures.
I know. That's crazy. And, combined with all the other pictures I took during the vacation, it's taken me this long to get them all sorted out and decide which ones I wanted to include on my blog.
(Such a tough decision!)
If there's one thing I've learned from this vacation/absence, though, it's that I love having a blog, and I don't like to take long breaks from it.
Sooooo, you can bet the next time I come back from a vacation with almost a thousand pictures, I will not be waiting to post other things on the blog just because I don't want things to be out of order.
"Regularly scheduled programming" isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway.
1 year ago