Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘Beach’

The Scent of the Ocean

Each morning I awake and visit my old friend the coffee pot. After creating the juice of joy, I venture outside to smell the day. Immediately my senses are activated as I take that first deep breath of the outdoors. For the last 5 months, that deep breath has been a salty sort.

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The air breathed at the Oceanside is sweet when you come to love it. It grows on you. It is mixed with salt, natural musk, sand, and a hint of marine life. The breeze is constant from the sea. There’s peace, tranquility, and grace.

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To visit a beach is an experience, but to live here is different. There’s a unique oneness that develops as you give your senses over to something larger than yourself. Being no stranger to beach side vacations, I used to think I understood the Sea. Only recently have I truly tuned in though.

Almost everyone I’ve ever known who’s been to the ocean declares, “I want to live here!” Some people even begin to look at real-estate as they dream of one day moving. They have in there minds that living here would be full of relaxation and everyday spent on the beach. Smiling, watching kids play & bury each other in sand, and applying sunscreen over & over again while chilling with a sangria.

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Reality of living here though is much different. We seek out the places few tourist go and avoid the downtown tourist traps like the plaque. It’s not possible to go to the beach everyday. Some days the beaches are closed due to the massive rip currents that tear away at the beach line, other days it is too cold. (Yes, even Florida is somewhat affected by the weather.) On extremely windy days, which come often, it’s painful to walk on the beach as there’s sand in that wind. If you ever get beach side sand blasted, it goes a few degrees beyond exfoliation. But, even with these things being considered, I love it here.

The sun is different here (compared to the Smoky Mountains where I’m from). It hugs your skin from every angle even when you’re fully clothed. It penetrates your bones and brings back life. Sunscreen is a definite must as this sun is unforgiving on the skin. The elevation is very low, so there’s very little pressure bearing down against your joints. The low pressure also helps hearing as it is gentle on the ears. The air is always salty and every breathe is healing and savory sea flavored. The sweet smell of the sea life is present in every breathe. Vision changes here as well. It’s bright most days, but the eyes adjust acutely and vision improves.

Homeownership is a bit more expensive here with the local, county, and state fees/taxes. Home maintenance is a regular neccessity. The salty air eats away at all things man-made. So setting aside a maintenance fund (at least 1\2 your home’s value) will be an absolute requirement unless you are filty rich. In that case, enjoy yourself freely!

I don’t know if they really can, but it seems as though the island birds begin to know and recognise you. We have a dove that feels very at home with us and receive frequent visits from various cranes looking to eat our endless millions of earthworms. They come regularly, with no fear, perching atop cars and freely walk our neighborhood streets.

Time slows to a crawl. Each palm waves in the wind in slow motion and the locals move in the same rhythm. Annuals become perennials, fruit is harvested in the winter, and palmetto bushes bring medicinally juicy berries.

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The sounds of the ocean are loud & ever present. The waves crash in and out creating their own unique song. It is the sole sound of the night. There are no crickets. The toads & frogs are silent. For they cannot compete with the mighty ocean. There are no morning song birds with their gentle morning wake up call. They live on the main land or bayside possibly, but definitely not seaside. The ocean is jealous of all other sounds and pushes them away with its mighty strength & winds.

Life on the Oceanside is beautiful, peaceful, and calming when you understand the Sea – its power, jealousy, and fickleness. It’s unpredictablely majestic and magical…and it smell grows on you over time.

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Hilton Head, SC Sunrise

Here is the beautiful sunrise on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

 

With Love,

Chrissy

Scenic Chincoteague Island

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Assateague National Shore, VA

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2013

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Finding Serenity

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Chincoteague island Bay-side

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Peace on the bay

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Brother’s Love (a PTSD check-in)

A brother’s love is a strong, sensitive, and unfailing.

While we were on vacation earlier this week, I saw so much evidence of my boys’ healing.  I noticed some changes in their interactions with one another over the last few weeks as we took in a new family addition. It is nice to see them bonding once more instead of being arch enemies with each other 🙂
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On vacation, we went to a small non-commercialized island where we had the beach practically to ourselves. This of course meant we also had the ocean to ourselves for the most part as well. Before the trip, both boys had concerns about safety. Neither could swim and were worried that I may not be able to save them.  They worried about the heat, the sand, the frogs,…practically everything. I think they were afraid of a new experience, but knew I was not going to leave them home – they were going to see the ocean, like it or not!
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On day 1 we drove all day and each of us crashed on our prospective beds at the hotel late at night.

On day 2 we drove the short distance to the beach and they faced their fears. Nick coaxed them out into the water as he laid down a few ocean rules. He showed them how to get past the breaks, not to worry about the sand, what brushed against their feet, and showed them the tranquility of body surfing the gentle waves. I was truly amazed. They did it – with no reservations. They went straight into the water, conquered that fear. Later that day, I watched my oldest son write in the sand to his daddy. I guess he was showing dad that he hadn’t forgotten him. Then, he wrote to his girlfriend (his name and hers in a heart) multiple times! It was sweet. I had a few minor concerns about their PTSD flaring up on this trip and wondered if they would reach out to my deceased husband. My concerns were confirmed, but not anything to worry about yet. image

On day 3 they experienced the beach again, this time with stronger waves. We drove about an hour and 45 minutes to Ocean City Maryland. We went to the beach and the boys were awarded the opportunity to witness commercialization. They experienced mass traffic, city culture, saw what they thought were hot bodies (very little bathing suits and a lot of skin), odd people, live musicians, men and women flirting among the masses, and much more turbulent waters of the ocean.  We spent about three hours on the beach and in the ocean before we toured the boardwalk. The waves were crashing into the beach, the wind was stronger and people were elbow to elbow. The boys approached the water apprehensively. Nick went with them, but warned them about the undertow currents and told them how to make it back to shore if sucked out to sea. image

I could see the fear written on their faces and I knew that I would run out there and save them if I could. They feared losing each other as much as they had feared losing their daddy. They feared losing me and were relieved that I stayed on the shore line this day. I stayed with the towels and our belongings. The honesty factor flew out the window when we left our favorite island on Chincoteague. This was wild, crazy, and chaotic. image

I didn’t interfere as they bonded together, encouraged each other “they could do it” and reassured each other that they’d be okay. I can’t express how hard it was as a mother to watch and not jump in there and erase all of their fears.image

They went into the ocean. Holding hands. Forming a chain of protection as they had vowed to save each other if the need arose. They stayed close to Nick in the water for comfort. Before long, my oldest was waaaaay out in the ocean on his boogie board. He was a natural. He took to the waves like a dolphin. My youngest was not far out though as he stood aside and watched his big brother adventure out into the deep. image

They had learned to swim and hadn’t realized it!! They had conquered a fear and were not aware. They were out there swimming with fish, crabs, jelly fish, sting rays, sand sharks, and lord only knows what else 🙂 image

From the side lines, I watched. From the side lines I was proud of them and couldn’t tell them. They’ve told me that they are fine if I just help them and not actually say “PTSD” or “Are you okay”. My Momdar (mom radar) is supposed to go off at just the right time in their minds to save them from their own thoughts. image

On day 4  we were back on Chincoteague Island and we went to the beach at Assateague Island. They were beginning to wear thin, tire down – like a tire going flat.  The hot sun, wind, and ocean water was beginning to take a toll of them. Irritable and grumpy, we promised them a break on day 5.  I saw more sand writing on day 4 to their daddy and they brought him up a time or two in conversation. No one cried, no one withdrew. They were healing nicely. image

On day 5  Nick rented a bike for my youngest son and Josh to ride around town. My youngest conquered another fear. He learned how to ride a bike! He rode that bike all over the town while Nick and I went to the beach. He conquered a fear of independence and being alone also. He was rather happy with himself that he rode as long and as far as he did on the Island. By car, the entire island can be crossed in less than 10 mins if you obey the speed limit of 25mph. It was very small. My oldest also conquered a fear of being alone in a new place. He didn’t tell me he was afraid with words, I read it on his face. He talked to his girlfriend all day (I’m guessing) as he walked around the island.  Both boys are still healing and growing on day 5 🙂
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On day 6 the boys didn’t want to go to the beach, they wanted bikes again. Nick rented bikes for them and they rode all day through the town. It was day 2 of a new-found freedom and they loved it! On this day all three boys had an argument blow out and they resolved it mostly on their own. Nick and I only had to intervene slightly. They were growing, bonding, learning each other and developing a new brotherly love (whether they realized it or not). image

On day 7 we went back to the beach one last time for shell collecting. They had all formed a new bond and were unaware of it. Each of them I saw talk to each other, interact with each other, and show concern in a new way. image

This vacation was a healing experience for them. Therapy could not have provided what this trip did.

Praise you Jesus for your Love, Grace, Peace, and Healing!!  🙂

Adventure in the Chincoteague Bay

While on the Island, a popular question asked by tourists is “what is there to do on this small island?”  The answer to this question literally cracked me up: Catch crabs! What? The good news is antibiotics or other medications are not needed if you catch crabs here. 🙂

On the bay side of the Island there are docks available for public use & a fishing license is not needed. Many forms of life thrive in the bay. There are crabs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, billions of variations of snails, and much more.
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A couple of mornings/evenings Nick & I watched the fiddler crabs perform their mating dance rituals. These dances are composed of the male, with his one oversized claw, waving it wildly in the air. He pranced back & forth waving this club claw to show his manhood for the females delight. Once he’s caught the eye of that special female, he hopes she’ll pick him over the hundreds of other males dancing. Childish delight swallowed me & I asked playfully, “Could I take one home?”
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In Memorial Park on Chincoteague Island, fishing is bountiful and no license is required also. We bought a net, some raw chicken, a crab line and off to the park we went 🙂 This is where we went crabbing. While there, a boy came to us and asked us if we were trying to catch crabs just before the sun began to set. Nick answered him that we were & this young man wished us luck. He said he’d been trying to crab there for years & had not done well. He took his fishing pole and walked away from us along the small dock.
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Within 30 minutes, the dock began to clear out. The other fishers began to leave and take their catches with them. Some people were drinking beer, some people were sharing a moment with each other, and other people were teaching their kids how to crab or fish. Steadily, they all left the dock except the boy we met and his 2 friends.
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After dangling our chicken leg in the bay for a few minutes, the crabs started to swim by us. Even though daylight was leaving us, we could still see the crabs skimming the water nearby. We caught a few small crabs here and there.  It was peaceful and quiet. (Our boys did not go with us. They had other agendas for the evening. I think they were looking the island for girls.) There was one blue crab that we caught over and over again. We would admire him, take pictures, then send him back home to the ocean water in the bay. This little booger kept coming back to us. He was like an attention needy child wanting to be admired. Perhaps we flattered him? 🙂
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After all daylight had disappeared, the moonlight brought out the more unique and larger sea life. We saw a beautiful blue/green light in the water.  several times when bringing our net in, we had caught cute little jellyfish. They had no color when out of the water, but when the net was submerged again, the jellyfish began to light up. They were small and graceful. I was thankful I had not seen any of them while in the ocean. I knew they were out there, but not seeing them made the ocean water more enjoyable. I decided Jellyfish are show-offs. They wanted to be admired. The way they lit up for us, danced, and would not leave our area said it all…either that or they like chicken 🙂 image

Nick called to me, “Chrissy!  You have to come see this!!” He was standing over near teenage boys. They had caught something very large. Through teamwork, they managed to bring the large thing across the water line of the dock and they were coming straight at me. I looked over. It was a gorgeous sting ray! Her underside was white and her top was a deep brown color. Her tail whipped and swung from side to side. The boy’s rod was bent under the weight of such a large creature. They handed the pole from one boy to another as they made their way across the dock to the boat landing. She was too heavy to pull straight up out of the water.  Once she was docked, one boy stood on her tail/barb while the other boy gently removed the fishing hook from her back. They turned her over, checking to make sure she was okay and poured water from the bay into her breathing holes. We snapped some pictures and touched her. Then the sweet boy petted her and encouraged her back into the water safely.  I asked the boy his name: Jess.
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“Jess, you did a great job with  that beautiful sting ray!!”, I bragged.
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Shortly after the stingray had been released, the boys were all calling out to me. “Hey, Hey lady. Wanna see?” They brought me an eel to admire that they caught on their line. It looked like a huge slimy earthworm snake thingy.  I took pictures and gave them another pat on the back. We ended our crabbing adventure not long after that. image

It was a wonderful bay adventure!

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