Breathe Deeply

As the tide rolls in and out in the salt marsh
and the egrets dance in the waving grass
Breathe deeply
Know that God is near.

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When the seagulls gather to gossip and feed
and the waves push in, scattering with the foam
Breathe deeply
Rest in the beauty of the Creator.

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As the sea oats rattle in the evening breeze
And we hear the thunder’s rumble across the marsh
Breathe deeply
God holds you in the storm.

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When sundown comes and you stand with friends
And watch the colors fade into darkness
Breathe deeply
Remember how much you are loved.

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Video blogging

Some slight technical difficulties (my ignorance on converting files!) but I think we are ready to roll. The video blog is actually two videos in one.

The first part uses Jennifer Knapp’s song “Peace” to express how I find a deep sense of joy and peace when I spend time with God at the beach. And the second part takes a piece called “Lotus Blossom” and is an invitation for you — the next time you walk on a beach or some solitary place where God’s Creation out-shouts the noise of the civilized world… sign up for a “Meet-up” with God.

The photography was taken during the last week… the beauty and the artwork is all God’s.

Enjoy… The direct link is here…

From Where I Sit… Seeing God

As kind of an end-of-vacation post, here’s some pictures that I’ve found via my camera viewfinder. They help to express visually the restoring work of God when I’m truly on vacation — and not just traveling! The places I’ve stopped to rest and reflect vary from the porch swing overlooking the salt marsh, to a screened in porch on the seaside, to a short rest on the sand as the waves lap at my toes. The moments are a flick of my camera shutter… and like the day-to-day events we walk through, they can be missed unless you truly look for them.

Perhaps, for me, that has been the lesson for this week. To stop and see glimpses of God, wherever I go. They are always there. I just have to open my eyes.

from Psalm 36

Common English Bible

…your loyal love, Lord, extends to the skies;

your faithfulness reaches the clouds.

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Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;

 your justice is like the deepest sea.

        Lord, you save both humans and animals.

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Your faithful love is priceless, God!

    Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.

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They feast on the bounty of your house;

you let them drink from your river of pure joy.

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Within you is the spring of life.

   In your light, we see light.

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Overcome

The last lingering light at sunset
The last lingering light at sunset

I have been overcome by the beauty and richness of our life together, those early mornings setting out, those evenings gleaming with rivers and lakes below us, still holding the last light.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

— o0o —

I am always amazed at how quickly a week at the beach can disappear. We settle into a rhythm of getting up late, enjoying a leisurely breakfast, and sitting with our coffee or a glass of iced tea on the porch, just drinking in the peace. We make as few trips into town and civilization as possible. We read, talk, laugh, and unwind.

On the porch
On the porch

Some people use the beach as a time to get a golden tan. We’re more in the fry-and-burn category. Others use vacation to get out and do as much as possible, cramming in theme parks, shopping and “must-see” sites. We work hard at — doing nothing.

We take our beach walk after the heat of the day, strolling to the point where the sea meets the end of the sandbar, around past the dunes with the plover nests, and back home again. The birds, the air, the sound of the waves… it is healing and comforting to stand and experience them without the raucous sound of traffic, music and people.

We tend to go to the beach at the end of the summer. Seasonal jobs are finished, and the back-to-school rush is just around the corner. More than anything, it has become a time to reclaim a piece or two of our souls, ones that got worn down or perhaps forgotten in our crazy work week.

FishingIt’s healing. It’s peace. It’s a chance to reflect and enjoy beauty and Creation.

Part of me wants to cling to this week, to make it last for 10 days or two weeks. But even when we can do that, it still ends too quickly. The peace and soul-quieting moments stick with me, in part because I seek to experience them fully, without trying to accomplish much of anything, without wishes or regrets.

Just to be.

I try to keep these days as precious. As a chaplain, I know that life comes with twists and turns and changes. A hurricane bulls-eye could wipe out this sanctuary. Another year we might not all make the time to travel together. Or it could be that in future summers, we will have “+1’s” increase our family circle. And that will be wonderful, too.

So instead of regrets, I allow the memories to swell, ebb and flow, and to store them up for colder nights and darker mornings. I’m grateful down to my toes for God’s goodness. I’m overcome by grace.

Thanks be to God.

a rainy day at the beach
a rainy day at the beach

Quiet Days, Celebratory Nights

This week is vacation week. We are hanging out with family, reading, doing some shopping and baking, and watching lots of football. Among the things I’m not doing:
– writing papers
– reading professional journals or books
– answering emails from people at home (no offense to my friends, because I am Spacehooking a bit…)

Even though it’s cold and windy, the sun is shining and I am reveling in the birdwatching and “doing nothing” agenda for today.

Across the lonely beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I,

And fast I gather, but by bit,

The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.

The wild waves reach their hands for it,

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,

As up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I.

-Celia Thaxter