May 3, 2009

Bittersweet - Leaving the Beach Behind and Returning To My Own Little Haven

Well, my friends, I'm home! I had the most wonderful time in Florida on the beach. I spent the first ten days with my sister-in-law, who traveled with me from Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico, then I spent the last 4 days with my brother, who lives in Florida. I can NEVER, EVER get enough beach time, but I am truly GRATEFUL for two glorious weeks.

I don't have a lot of blue in my house anymore so I don't typically participate in Blue Monday. However, I can't think of a prettier blue than that of that perfect, natural blue of the ocean and sky at sunset. I'll start with several of those beauties!



Blue Monday is hosted by Smiling Sally. Please stop by to visit her and find links to many wonderful Blue Monday posts!


One of the first things I wanted to introduce my sister-in-law Jeri to after we arrived, is Egmont Key and Fort DeSoto Beach. Both are gorgeous, natural beaches that my husband and I love.



Here you can see that Jeri and I were wind blown messes, but we were loving every minute of the boat trip to Egmont! I'm the wild looking one on the right.

We left the Sunshine Bridge behind us on our trip to Egmont...



This is Egmont Key, as we approached it from the Gulf. It is completely uninhabited and is a haven for nesting birds and turtles. The water is a lovely blue-green, the sand is white and powdery, and it is HOT, HOT, HOT! If you ever go to Egmont, take lots of water with you. We had a fantastic day collection shells and walking on the deserted beach. Unfortunately for four other guests on the boat, stingrays were out in force. They were stung almost as soon as they got off the boat and in the water. Guess they forgot to do the "stingray shuffle". Three of the victims were fine, though in a LOT of pain. One woman had to be taken back to the mainland in a hurry since she seemed to be going into shock. Stingrays - no fun at all!



On the trip back we were lucky enough to be greeted by some beautiful gray dolphins with pink tummies



I wanted Jeri to see Fort DeSoto Beach before I started driving us back to our hotel so we stopped for an hour or so. There are usually multitudes of gorgeous shells to be found but it was high tide so we only picked up a few.



Some more fabulous Florida sunsets. Don't they look like watercolors signed by God Himself?







The day came far too quickly for Jeri to go home by herself. Her son was graduating from college. Who could miss that, even for a few more beautiful sunsets??? We had to take a few last evening pictures before we packed her up for the airport.That's me on the right.

We ALWAYS take a beach feet picture...

I'm on the left in the first pic and the right in the second. Would you look at those knobs??? (Which is what I call those most unattractive middle aged arthritic large toe joints!)

We decided in the two years since we were last in Florida together that our feet had seriously deteriorated!!! They just are NOT cute anymore. SO we opted for a picture with cute sandals! Mine are the silver pair on the left.




I was beyond thrilled when my wonderful brother came to spend my last few days at the beach with me. I don't get to see him nearly often enough - usually just a couple of times a year. We had a short visit together but we had a blast! We spent all day every day sitting in our lounges in the sun, then we cleaned up in time to go to dinner. Then we watched the sunset from the hotel or wherever we were for dinner. I'll treasure those memories with my sweet brother.




Gods world at its best...


The "short" pier - half mile each way from my home away from home...


Baby sandpipers...



A fish dinner for a beach bird...



Gosh - no description necessary...



Seagulls over the setting sun...



The rising moon over the just set sun...


This gorgeous Jacaranda tree was in bloom all over the place in Florida. I've only seen it once before. It's simply covered with lavender blooms. I fell in love with it!



I miss the beach, as I always do, but I really, really missed my sweet husband! I always do when I'm away from him. Phone calls and text messages just aren't the same.

I met a serious goal while on my trip - I walked 5 or 6 miles every single day! I had been working very hard on diet and exercise since January and I was worried about undoing all that work in two short weeks. I can gain in two weeks what it took me to lose in three months! I was proud of myself when I only gained two pounds in two weeks of vacation. I have lost that plus one more since coming home. Yea - don't know what that's all about, but I'm not complaining!Grand total since January - 18 pounds!
I've learned something wonderful in recent years, but especially over the last six months. LIFE IS SHORT and LIFE IS PRECIOUS - enjoy EVERY SECOND of it!!! Most of you know that I have a pretty serious blood disorder. I had a hideous and worrisome winter. Well, God has granted me more wonderful days to enjoy and I am feeling GREAT! I don't mean to sound preachy, but here it is anyway - don't waste any of life being angry or resentful or blue or worrying if you can help it. Enjoy life just as it is - your family, our beautiful earth, the bird's song, the budding trees, sunsets, a rain storm, Spring flowers, music, etc.. Every second we have is by God's Grace. This particular lesson is probably the greatest I have learned since receiving my diagnosis, perhaps in my entire life. Like everyone else on the planet, I don't know if I have one day to live or 30 years - but I do know that I intend to love living every second God allows me to enjoy on His wonderful earth before I go to His wonderful Heaven! I am incredibly grateful for renewed strength and purpose and for the wonderful beach days I was so blessed to enjoy.
I've missed each one of you and look forward to visiting you as time allows. Now that I am home, we are into wedding mode! Only 48 days until Jacob's and Jenni's wedding day! Yikes! I better get to work!!!

27 comments:

ceekay said...

yep, it is official...I am jealous!

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

Kathy, I am so glad you thought of us while you were away and took all those gorgeous photos for us to enjoy. Your time in Florida sounds WONDERFUL and RENEWING...I'm so happy you were able to spend some time with loved ones, those are treasures you can never have taken from you! Welcome back to Michigan, we've missed you!
XOXO
Joni

grey like snuffie said...

WOW...I'm ready to pack my bags.

Blondie's Journal said...

Kathy,

You have quite a talent for taking pictures, they are all just so beautiful and I think you had some "help". Just glorious!

And it sounds like you had such fun with your SIL and brother~you look so happy and carefree in the photos...

Finally, the last part of your post touched me so much. Sometimes when we see what God has given us in nature, we realize how much we long to see one day after another of this beautiful world. And we need to recognize this.

Thank you so much, my sweet friend. I am glad you are home but that your heart is filled with memories of this fantastic trip!

xoxo
Jane

Barbara said...

Kathy, Your pictures of the beach brought back such wonderful memories. I lived at Crystal Beach in Texas before I married Roy. Of course there is not much left there. MY daughter's house and my brother's are completely gone with hundreds of others, but we have our memories, so thanks for the beautiful pictures. I am happy and sad at the same time.
Glad you had a great time with your family.

Come and visit me.

Yira said...

Awesome shots of the sky..I love sunsets and sunrise pictures.

Knitty said...

Wonderful photos!

Smilingsal said...

I live in Florida, so I get to enjoy this stuff every day. You certainly take gorgeous pictures. (I love your dimples!) Thanks for sharing. Happy Blue Monday.

Please leave a comment.

xinex said...

Beautiful photography, Kathy! What a gorgeous sunset! Don't you just love Florida? Looks very relaxing. All our kids live there and we have a home there too so we visit and enjoy that state a lot. Your dimples are so cute!...Christine

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Hi Kathy, lovely pics....I live in Florida...Orlando.

Happy Blue Monday.

Barb

Sandi@ My Yellow Door said...

Hi Kathy,
Stunning pictures! The beach...one of my favourite places to be. Happy Blue Monday.

Blessings,
Sandi

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Beautiful beach photos. Looks like you had some excellent weather on your vacation. Happy Blue Monday.

Heather said...

sounds like a wonderful trip! sunsets in florida are gorgeous! that's one of my favorite things to see when we are there. your pictures are gorgeous!

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Hi Kathi,
So glad you are back, and I am so glad that you got to spend precious time with your loved ones. I so enjoyed all of the pictures, just beautiful absolutely beautiful, thank you for sharing,
Blessings,
Sue

Carolyn said...

Such beautiful pictures you have for us! I am so glad you had a great time.
Take care,
Carolyn

Terry said...

Oh WOW !
What amazing pictures you have ,
I think next time I will have to stow away somewhere just to watch those awesome clouds and the blue color of water .I am so glad you had such a great time.A little blown away by the true beauty of the beach.
Blessings to you and yours.
Thank you for sharing these most amazing scenic photos today.
I shall have to visit them again
whenever I'm feeling a need for a vacation. Maybe tonight before bedtime:)
Happy Blue Monday.

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Beautiful beach pictures! How relaxing!

Hugs,
Stephanie
Angelic Accents

JD said...

Beautiful pictures...

KayC. said...

I sure do miss the beach! have a happy Blue Monday

Barb said...

Oh that all looks wonderful.
wish i were there too.

blessings, and here's to some sunshine in Oregon!!

barbara jean

Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Hope you had a Happy Blue Monday ~ Susan

Clif said...

Wonderful pictures. Wow! You have some great memories. I enjoy your music.

A Hint of Home said...

Looks like you had a wonderful two wks. in the sun and with family. Beautiful pictures.

justabeachkat said...

Hi sweet friend!

I'm finally back from my blog vacation and having fun catching up with everyone. It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. I'm so glad. Your photos are incredible.

Hugs!
Kat

Libby Murphy said...

Oh wow was it ever nice to take that little trip with you. Looks like fun and you should send some of your gorgeous photographs to Hallmark!
Happy Twirls

Jacey said...

Thanks for sharing your pix of FL. I used to live near Clearwater Beach so I am familiar with that area. I miss the dolphins and the sunsets!

Your words of wisdom are so true. It wasn't until my mom died of cancer that I really saw how much I was pre-occupied with meaningless things. Now I try to live each day to the fullest and appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

Thanks for sharing.

dana said...

First, I just wanted to know if I can go to the beach with you gals the next time you do that! My ugly feet would make you squeal with delight--and I don't even own one stinkin pair of cute sandals anymore--so that would make your great trip even greater!

Your photos were just awesome. I can't imagine spending two weeks in such a heavenly place!

I have never heard of The Shack, but I will be looking for it.

I did not know about your med. condition. I do hope you're feeling lots better now--I so appreciate your uplifting words about living life!!!

Welcome home.
L, Dana