Sun, Sand and . . . Blizzards

Fall quietly arrived in Virginia while we were on vacation. We are home now, surrounded by colorful leaves and all things pumpkin. Our daughter held down the fort while we were away and confessed that she finally turned on the heat. We were glad for that warmth when we arrived home.

The photo above was taken in Little Sarasota Bay on the morning of our last day of vacation. Tropical Storm Nestor had blown through  overnight, and was just making its exit during my morning walk. The rain had ended, but it was quite blustery and overcast. If you look toward the opposite shoreline, you will see that the ocean was still churned up with white caps in the outer bay. But the shallow waters and mangroves within the inner bay were protected. I was happy to be safe onshore.

🌊🌊🌊

Blossoms and Beaches

This was a relaxing time away. We found time to meet up with friends and relatives, but also set aside time to just relax and explore. One of the highlights of our week was a visit to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. We discovered an amazing exhibit on the Blossoms of Asia, which is a stunning collection of colorful orchids.

On the day of our visit, Selby was launching their annual fall concert series. We grabbed a couple of chairs and enjoyed our lunch while listening to Big Band tunes beneath a huge Banyan tree. Relaxation at its finest! 😎

🐚🐚🐚

On our last full day of in Florida, we took a day trip to Sanibel Island. We hadn’t visited Sanibel since Hurricane Charley tore the tiny island to pieces. It had been our favorite vacation spot as newlyweds, and again as a family after the kids had outgrown Orlando’s theme parks. We have many happy memories of our days on Bowman’s Beach, swimming, snorkeling and shelling. I remember feeling heartbroken as I watched news footage after the devastating hurricane.

Sanibel has changed a lot over the past 15 years, but some things have remained the same. The Gulf water is warm and inviting, seashells are abundant, and the Dairy Queen still serves Blizzards. We sampled them all, and my heart was full as we drove back over the causeway. 

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived. Hearing about the massive damage, I thought it would be unrecognizable.  But in the face of adversity,  Sanibel not only survived, but thrived in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley.  With determination and compassion, neighbors and snowbirds alike worked together to restore and rebuild their island paradise into what it is today.

I’ll be back, sweet Sanibel!

Seeking Serenity

After a week of tragedy in our nation, I’m feeling somewhat numb. This comes on the heels of the cancer diagnosis in my own family last week. Sometimes life can be overwhelming.

Yet amidst the chaos, I look out the kitchen window and see all the flowers in our garden that continue to bloom. Thankfully, they are unaffected by the day’s news.

The colorful zinnia at the top of today’s post is a reminder of the beauty that surrounds us. Each new day, as one flower wilts and drops its petals, another opens its face to the sun. And from that flower, comes life-giving nectar for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Amazing! Some would call this the circle of life. I see it as a reminder of God’s love for us.

🌸🌸🌸

My favorite times of serenity are spent walking in the woods, sitting in the garden, or listening to the birds. It is a pleasant way to shut out the world, or at least hold it at arm’s length for a while.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. – ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬

When you take time to seek it, you will always find peace in the stillness of God’s presence.