Beach life, best life <3

I should have labeled this a bunch of randoms. Also be forewarned, it is as much photos as words, but both are important so bear with me.

We stayed at Santa Rosa Beach this time and found it to be quite family friendly area. The condo we stayed in provided public beach access within walking distance, lots of food and ice cream places and miles of walking.

It is not as congested and built up as some areas closer to Destin and we enjoyed the beach area, although one day we did enjoy a beach located in a state park area.

Once again the trip coincided with dear friends and the kiddos had a blast whether on the beach, in a pool, ordering ice cream while their parents had a date night…

or stalking reptiles in the wild…eeeeek….

all good.

I pray protection over these ties that bind in the years to come and hope these two families grow up and grow old together. We have been blessed to enjoy the ride and be included in the fun.

Friendships are fragile.

Sometimes they are lost on ground that one or the other or both cannot move past.

We know the heartache of this kind of loss and we know the joy of longevity that decided there was nothing more important than the relationship.

One day we enjoyed a little “golf” outing on Zach …

reliving Rachel’s childhood.

We took our three to Big Kahuna’s back in the day and as far as we can tell they have not changed one single thing except the prices….$$$$$$$$$$

Rachel proved she still has it with a couple of holes in one…

and while we sweated off several pounds of water, we had a great time.

And this one proved you don’t even have to swing a club to enjoy Big Kahuna’s:

Russ treated us to a Dolphin Cruise again.

We did one two years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.

The first one we did was on a smaller craft, this one was a double decker – both wonderful.

We saw a lot of dolphins and even some jelly fish which was interesting to watch.

At the end, the captain thanked us for joining the fun and reminded us that Jesus loves us.

That was a perk we weren’t expecting <3

As I looked through other photos, I realized that beach pictures can reveal more of us and our children than we need…but I am vulnerably sharing this one because it represents a most tender realization that this may have been the last year Caroline comes to tell me she’s tired and would I please hold her so she can rest a widdle bit.

I also share it as proof positive for those of you in my life who, when I say I cannot just wash my hair and go and you have told me you are sure it would be fine…it isn’t.

Now let’s all thank the good Lord I live in an age of blow dryers, curling irons and enough hair product to transform that hot mess into something that is presentable <3

We talked some with the kids and adults about the value of returning to the same place annually and landed on the fact that it is exciting to go and see new places, but there is also a kind of comfort in returning to an area and visiting familiar restaurants, doing the same night time crab hunt, ordering ice cream at the same window, hitting up the beach one night in your good clothes for a sundown pic…that feed the soul.

In a crazy world that changes hourly, there is something about the ocean that reminds me of the constancy of God.

Day in…day out…

the surf rolls in, the tides ebb and flow…

They bring their treasures up from the deep and return for more…

while we go on with the daily…

trying to keep our footing on calendars and schedules and relationships….

God is in control.

He created the vast ocean and all that lives in it and He created us.

He cares for us and He holds us together.

He sustains our lives and our times are in His Hands.

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