|dancing on the shore at sunrise|
Summers in the DC area are hot, humid and sticky. Miserable, right? YES. But, when you have the beach only a few hours away and your in-laws live right on the ocean, it is not so bad.
Every summer since my husband and I started dating over 12 years ago, we spend as much time as we can visiting his parents in Virginia Beach. Today we leave for our first trip of the summer and I cannot wait. Everyone in my house is a-buzz with excitement and anticipation. We’ve been dreaming about having sand in our toes and salt water on our skin for days. We can’t wait to eat fresh summer peaches – so juicy that they drip down our arms to our elbows. We’re looking forward to picking green beans right from the garden for a snack on our way to an afternoon nap in the hammock under the deck.
I love the beach and plan to live there some day. I dream about having a little cottage near the ocean and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves and ocean breezes. Life is simple at the beach. No matter what changes have happened in my life, what challenges I have faced or griefs I have struggled to overcome … the sea has been my place for healing, for happiness and for renewal. Even when I’m not at the beach, when I need to still my busy mind or come to terms with loss or sadness or just connect with God, I close my eyes and breath in and out just as the ocean ebbs and flows to the shore. I imagine the healing saltwater washing over my inner turmoil, cleansing me. Renewing me. Healing me.
I’ve been thinking about this trip for a while and have come up with a list of things I plan to do while we’re there over the next 10 days…
1. RUN ~ Virginia Beach is one of my very favorite places to run. Whether I’m running on the concrete boardwalk along the ocean, through charming neighborhood streets or in beautiful Seashore State Park, I am in running heaven.
2. PLAY ~ I plan to play with my kids with reckless abandon each and every day we are at the beach. I want to ride waves, chase ghost crabs, build sand castles and drip castles, dig really deep holes to “see if we can go all the way to China”, bury and get buried in the sand, and laugh like crazy. I want to totally let go and have FUN with my little people.
3. SLEEP ~ I love naps. Especially in a hammock all cozied up with my snuggly little baby. I plan to nap with baby Gus every afternoon that I am at the beach. If possible I may even take a snooze on the beach by myself at some point, but of course I’ll have to negotiate that little idea with my husband.
4. EAT ~ Summer food in Virginia means local fresh deliciousness. Juicy peaches, ripe blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, watermelon, green beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumber…the list goes on and on and on. I plan to eat massive amounts of it all while at the beach, and to pick a lot of it myself whether at a local farm or right from my mother-in-law’s incredible garden. Also as someone who eats mostly a vegan diet there is one time of year that I make an exception to that and that is summer at the beach. I will probably partake in some freshly caught fish as well.
|bucket o’ berries|
5. CONNECT ~ I feel like chaos of my life sometimes leaves me a bit disconnected from myself, from my husband and from God. I’m looking forward to this time at the beach to unplug myself from some of the craziness and to take time every day to look inward and feel peace inside of myself. To open my eyes and my heart to the blessings that abound in my life. I love my husband so much and am so thankful for the life we share. Sometimes I think our regular routine has us missing out on one another a bit. We both are looking forward to taking walks on the beach together and maybe even going for a bike ride or out to breakfast or dinner with one another.
I am so grateful for this vacation. Each person in my family (well maybe not the baby!) is in need of this time, this change in routine. What about you? Will you take time this summer to live a simpler life, to renew yourself and to spend time with your family and the ones you love?