Full Disclosure!

I have never cared much for the beach. It is hot, sweaty, sandy, windy, and generally irritating. I go to the beach because I am head over heels in love with my wife and I find few pleasures better than serving her. She loves the beach!! This does not even get into the issue of women running around wearing something akin to their panties. For me it has had less to do with my spiritual walk as my practical walk. Though the beach is a spiritual downer if it is summer and well-attended by women, I don’t like the hassle of the other things I mentioned above.

This week has been different. The difference is more than subtle. There has only been two other beaches that I have thoroughly enjoyed. They were in Hawaii and Sea Brook. The St. Pete beach has been a joyful third candidate. There is hardly anyone down here. The heat is not bad at all and it is not as windy as some of the SC beaches.

I told Lucia today that if we could swing it, as far as finding another place, I’d love to stay a couple more days before we go to Disney. We had planned on heading inland Friday, but we may stay until Sunday morning if we can find another place.

It has been a joy.

Haydn and I went roller blading today. We picked up some smoothies at the Paradise Grille and then bladed on back to the girls. I used my ski poles, which caused quite a few looks from the beach goers. I guess they have not seen ski poles at the beach, but for me it was all about pragmatism. One older person did see the wisdom in the ski poles.

And the good news? I was unscathed from our roller blading excursion.

Another evening under the gazebo after a “swim until it is pitch dark” adventure.

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Of all the beaches, in all the towns, in all the world…

…there is nobody at this one!

Amazing. Day two of our vacation we awoke early and headed out to the beach. We’re in the Gulf of Mexico, in St. Petersburg, FL and there is hardly a soul to be seen. Amazing.

The beaches are clear, the water is clear, and it’s all our own. We have to walk 99 steps to get to the beach from our bungalow. The kids are way over the top stoked. Lucia asked, “Do you think they will be like this all week?” Rick said, “Probably.” I’m not sure if they could get any more excited. They have no fear and no worries.

Oh, to be like them. The security they have in their parents is off the charts. Note to self: I want to be like them, as it pertains to my Dad. I’m preaching the Gospel to myself right now: “If God is for me, who can be against me.” And he is “for me.” The Gospel tells me so. I’m good.

Tristen found three sand dollars. Haydn found two. Three of them we kept because they were spotless. Ansa got hungry. We walked 99 steps back to the bungalow to eat under the outside gazebo. Haydn and I are about to go roller blading downtown. While the mosquitos were out in force last night at dusk, they are all gone during the day.

I finished chapter one of “God’s Healing for Life’s Losses.” I’m reviewing the book for my friend, Dr. Bob Kellermen. I hope to do some thinking and writing on “sufferology.” Chapter one was good.

There is very little wind. The heat is minimal. The people are all gone, for the most part. Of all the beaches, in all the towns, in all the world, this is one of the better ones I’ve been to.

Relaxing in the sun, with a slight breeze.

Thank you, my Father!!

Rick

“Daddy? Ansa won’t share her cereal.” -Haydn

I gotta go…

I’ve got my blanket, my teddy, and my gun, Daddy!

…and how else would a boy begin his vacation?

We left the house at 6:38AM this morning. My kids heard the garage door go up, which is right under their room and Haydn was seemingly buckled in the van before the door got all the way up. He wasn’t that quick, but nearly so. Surprisingly, he was the most stoked this morning about the beginning of our two-week journey.

I told them four months ago that we were going to Disney World in September. They have been patiently waiting ever since. We actually began putting money in our “disney jug” several years ago, so the anticipation had been building for a lot longer than four months, but the reality hit them four months ago when I gave them the official date.

Today is the day!!

We’ll spend the first week in St. Pete, kicking the white sand of the Gulf Coast and enjoying the clearer waters of the gulf before we head inland to see Mickey. So off we went at 6:38AM this morning.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • 6:40AM: “So, this is how the school people live.” -Haydn, my late-sleeping home school boy!
  • 6:59AM: “Are we out of South Carolina yet? -Haydn
  • 7:24AM: “I need to pee.” -Haydn
  • 8:56AM: “Are we out of South Carolina yet.” -Haydn
  • 9:03AM: “Are we there now?” -Ansa

We arrived in St. Pete at 7:33PM. We made numerous stops for food, gas, and ….. God gave us much grace because we were tired. I think I was the only one who sinned. I asked my kids to forgive me for getting angry when they got too loud. Other than that, it was a seemingly sin-free trip.

By the time we unloaded, there was enough sunlight left to hit the waters and the kids appeared to be launched out of a canon. They were jumping, splashing, laughing, and swimming until we could hardly see them anymore. They are so stoked right now as I type this. They are in their room, giggling, hugging, laughing and enjoying one another.

Our bungalow is a two bedroom, full-kitchen house that is quite nice. It is 99 steps from the ocean, which is super-convenient. We’re looking forward to five days of water fun before we go see the mouse.

Buttprints in the Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream
One set of footprints there was seen
The footprints of my precious Lord
But mind were not along the shore

But then some stranger prints appeared
And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?”
Those prints are large and round and neat
But Lord, they are too big for feet

My child he said in somber tones
For miles I carried you alone
I challenged you to walk in faith
But you refused and made me wait

You disobeyed and would not grow
The walk of faith you would not know
So I got tired…I got fed up
And there I dropped you on your butt

Because in life there comes a time
When one must fight and one must climb
When one must rise and take a stand
Or leave their buttprints in the sand

–Unknown