Connecting to the beach

Connecting to the beach…

We have to cross the boardwalk.

I want to walk barefoot, but usually have to wear sandals to protect the soles of my feet on the heated wood. Once we get to that beach, I kick them off and sink my toes into the sand. We trudge through the broken shells to the best spot for the next couple of hours, set up our chairs, and head into the water to cool off. Then I sit mindfully and listen to the sound of the waves as they come up on the shore.  After a while, we walk along the edge of the water and find unbroken shells for our ever-growing collection back home.

The beach is my favorite part of living in Florida.

 

Water scene

I’ve lived in Florida for a year, and have lots of different water pictures. Of sunsets on the beach, and shore birds, and cloud formations and thunderstorms and even our community pool with it’s refreshing fountains.

But I like this one. I can almost hear the water lapping at the shoreline.

shell shelf
shell shelf

Being Motivated to Stay Motivated

I’ve recently written about steps I can take to keep myself emotionally healthy, and my goals for doing what is necessary. But I’m finding it hard to be self-disciplined, hard to do the things I’m supposed to be doing for good mental health. When I’m not accountable to anyone but myself, where is the motivation to do what I should? In keeping with recent posts, am I putting the pieces in place to stay healthy, the tools that will keep depression away? If I’m not, why not?

I’m thinking about this because I had a blood draw today, and a followup appointment to discuss results next Friday. I’m nervous about the results – the numbers were headed in the right direction last time, but it’s important that motion has continued, and I have no idea what to expect. I need better cholesterol numbers, while keeping my blood pressure and sugars where they were 3 months ago, or even improved. My weight has gone up and down during the time passed, and I believe that changes in my medication may have had an impact – I’ll know next week.

But I can’t blame my meds when I’m not being as proactive as I should. I have reduced my sugar intake, but it’s only recently that I’m really paying attention to food labels. I’m still not exercising, hardly even a little. This is ridiculous, since I live in a beautiful paradise where I can take a walk in the sunshine nearly every day. I could walk to the workout room or pool, or drive to the beach and take a long walk in the waves.

My writing would benefit from some self-discipline. Perhaps a schedule – for daily practice, for blogging, even for my personal journaling. Certainly some discipline of regular writing if I want to be working on a book!

My efforts to reach out to others is good but could improve.  I’ve wondered if I should have said “yes” to that job all those months ago. The answer of “no” was still the right decision, but at least a job would have put me in other people’s lives regularly. Instead, I can stay at home if I want to – don’t have to leave the house if I don’t feel like it. So I’m trying to build in regular commitments:  lunch dates with friends, a Tuesday Bible Study group, a weekly school prayer group that I rarely miss. The neighborhood friendship and prayer group restarted – I’ve attended two out of three times.

And I’m contributing at home, which is easy to do since we’ve become empty nesters and only have one pet. This was much more difficult with two kids, two cats and a dog! I keep house, take care of errands and make the space a respite for my husband and me at the end of his work days.

I’m building my own personal growth by reading about writing and knitting a blanket for the living room (the largest yarn project I’ve ever undertaken). I’m finding both of these things fun and fulfilling, and they stretch me a little.

But some days, on days I chose to not go anywhere, I wonder if I’m doing enough. I know women who do way more than I do in a day, certainly in a week. Working moms especially! It’s easy to write blogs about what I should be doing, harder to follow through in real life. Am I just lazy? I don’t like to think so – I think it’s part of my mental health need to keep “space” in my life, to not do too much. Still I judge myself.

God’s Word says that Jesus has given us everything we need to live a life that pleases God by getting to know Jesus in increasing measure (2 Peter 1:3). Am I living in a way that pleases God? When I have my daily quiet time, when I start by focusing on who He is and when I commit my day to Him, I can trust that I am doing what He has called me to, and perhaps I don’t need to question these things.

It’s always about priorities and obedience – letting God put order to my hours and then doing what He wants me to each day. He wants me to take good care of my body, to get exercise, to reach out to others and share Him, to care for my family. I can remember to ask Him for motivation and self-discipline, and then obey Him when I see He’s given me the time to do it.

Telling Time in Florida

There’s (barely) a downside to living in paradise – no changing leaves, no completely clouded skies, no ice cold breezes, no snow in the air. No visual calendar to keep track of time.

I’ve lived with four seasons all of my life. At least, until this past March. And I’ve been confused as to what month it is ever since!

Shortly after we moved to Florida, I saw a road construction alert sign warning that work would begin May 1st. I couldn’t seem to remember that was just a few weeks away. It felt like mid-summer.  I mean, every day was sunny and warm – how was I to keep track?!

I knew summer was here when the morning temperatures started in the upper 70s with 100% humidity and just got warmer from there. But I’d handled heat and humidity in the Midwest, so that wasn’t completely new. What was different was the fact that those super warm temperatures lasted until mid-November! It rained last Sunday morning, and when the clouds cleared, the weather did too.

Now I forget it’s November – when I look outside, I’m sure it’s early June. The temperatures are beautiful, the humidity is manageable, and we have all the windows and doors open again. I’m grateful for the countdown-to-Christmas signs, because I have no visual clues that Christmas is 26 days away! I’ve never needed those placards before now.

Yesterday at the beach, as I floated in the Gulf’s waves under sunny skies with puffy white clouds, I thanked God for the opportunity to live here. It’s like I live in a picture postcard, and I am truly blessed.

 

 

Local Beach

The weekend comes and we drive to the beach.
We’ve been checking out a different one each time.
Our tote has water bottles, a book and towel each,
Plus a mesh bag for all the shells we might find.
We walk to the water, sometimes without shoes.
There is always a boardwalk and bridge on the way.
Scrub trees and tall grasses on the path that we choose,
The Gulf is before us. Now which way?

We don’t want to sit near too much of a crowd;
We want our own little space – our real estate spot.
That family and friends group is just too loud.
The breeze off the water keeps it from being too hot.
Let’s unfold the towels and set everything here.
Ready or not, here I come, oh Gulf waters dear!

I walk into your shallow and then move
through tiny crushed shells that make up your sand.
The sound of your waves is music I love.
I walk deeper and deeper, and my hand
floats on the top, like I’m caressing your skin.
You call me to walk out ’til I’m deep to my shoulders.
I wait for the next wave, then dive in.
This new rush of water is colder.

I watch for your next wave as I stand on tiptoe.
I’m ready to follow your lead toward the shore.
I hop just a little when you hit me, and we go
closer to the beach. This game I adore!
We play hopscotch until I must sit in the sun.
You drive me home to my towel. You are so much fun!

 

Writing201 Poetry: pleasure (topic), sonnet (poetic form), apostrophe (literary device)