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Being enough

It’s been a crazy, busy summer filled with things decidedly un-summery–summer school, football and band camp, and other scheduled events which made an escape to the beach this year impossible. But I have my memories of last summer to get me through. This is one such post from last year at this time.

It’s Thursday, late afternoon. I’m walking down the beach looking for shells and watching the waves roll in. Tomorrow will be the last full day here at the beach. I’m not ready to go home. I’m never ready to go home when I’m at the beach.

It’s been a fairly lazy week. Oh, we’ve been to Waterville and The Track, eaten at The Original Oyster House and Lulu’s. I imagine we’ll go to Flora-Bama for some fried oysters and shrimp before we leave because my friend Amy Sorrells said I needed to go, and y’all know I always do as I’m told if it suits me.

But truth be told, it would be enough for me just to walk on the beach every day. To dig in the sand and wade in the water. The crab catching, castle building, dolphin and stingray sightings are like extra gifts–unexpected and much appreciated.

I’ve often wondered if living at the beach would take away its hold on me. If knowing I wouldn’t have to leave would make me less inclined to appreciate it. I’ve said before I feel closest to God where the earth meets the vastness of the ocean. Here there is so much of Him and so much less of me. And while I know this is the case wherever I am, knowing it and knowing it aren’t necessarily one and the same.

I am never enough and God is always enough.

But here at the beach, there is peace in knowing that with Him, I am more than enough.

Now, if I could just find a way to bring that knowing home with me.

Life’s a beach and then you die

Not only did a week at the beach provide some much needed down time, it also lent itself to some writerly reflections I’ve shared with you here. (Sorry/you’re welcome.) And while there is great beauty and majesty where the waves kiss the shoreline, there is also the ugly underbelly of life near the ocean. I speak, of course, of the seaside gift shop:

A world of capitalistic greed where sunstroke victims can easily be persuaded to part with their vacation dollars. Who among us has not at least been tempted to purchase a souvenir as proof that we were, in fact, at the beach? And nothing says “I’ve been to the Gulf of Mexico” like a coconut painted to look like a pirate’s head.


Really, I don’t object to the coconut head. I don’t believe an oversized nut really cares what happens to it after it falls from a tree. But what of sea creatures? Many of us look forward to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. We marvel at these ferocious, single minded killing machines of nature. We fear them with awe and respect.

Which is why we feel compelled to stuff them in a pickle jar full of formaldehyde and set them on a shelf: to honor their ferocity:

Majestic, no?

Of course, if having a dead shark on your shelf proves too frightening, you could always opt for an alligator head paper weight:

Personally, I’d like to see them turn some of these into staplers. Form AND function.

The little pufferfish is a poor swimmer. In the ocean, its only defense against predators is to quickly fill itself up with water making it an undesirable meal with its sharp, pointy surface.

Alas, in death there are no such defenses against a hot glue gun, googly eyes and a little straw hat.

Not all pufferfish suffer the indignities of the little straw hat, some retain their former appearance

(Save for the googly eyes, of course)

There is no dignity in death, at least if you’re a gift shop sea creature. But what of dignity in life? The hermit crab, both sea and land dwelling, is virtually defenseless, and must seek shelter from its enemies via the abandoned shells of snails or other such creatures.

I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.

Have we learned nothing from the Spongebob Squarepants movie?

Perhaps not.

It’s good to be human.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dress my dog up like a chicken…

Sun, sand and crabs

As some of you may have surmised (or not), I’m on vacation this week. When my sister invited my family to Gulf Shores, Alabama over the Thanksgiving holidays, I fell in love with this place and told my family we would be coming back in the summertime.

So here we are at the beach. I love the beach, and to my pride and delight, my 10 year old daughter loves it, too. There are two things that have occupied our time these past two days at the shoreline: sand castle building and crab catching.

I’ve never seen so many blue crab at the beach. After several unsuccessful attempts to catch one in a bucket, I made a five dollar investment in a crab net. It’s worked like a charm. I’ve caught several so far. And no, we didn’t have a crab boil. It was strictly catch and release.

Why would I spend all day catching crab only to turn them loose?

Because I can.

And because it’s fun.

Especially when they get angry and snap their little crab claws at me. Ha!

And because we don’t let them go immediately…

My daughter and I have combined the art of sand castle building and crab catching to create a luxury retreat for our temporary captives. Something we like to call:


Crabitopia: Coming soon to a katdishionary post near you!