Good morning friends. Yesterday I wrote about how exciting it is that Spring has finally arrived! Right after writing that post I grabbed my favorite beach blankets and dragged my husband out the door. I was determined to get to the ocean! It’s less than a mile from my house and of course… I drove. Even Clark was like “Why don’t we walk? Why wouldn’t we?” and basically my response was “#sorrynotsorry”. I think I even said the word “hashtag” out loud. Not my finest moment. However, getting him to the beach and onto our comfortable little spot in the sand – THAT was a moment! My happy place! This was just the start of a lot of “firsts of the season” moments today. I’ll get to that in that in a minute!
My whole body responds when I step onto the beach. In an instant I feel refreshed, strengthened, encouraged, and I smile. I can’t help but think God must have made the ocean just for me. Walking out into the sand and getting it in between my toes is therapy. Then we find a perfect little spot to set up my sand blanket… the same one my mom used when we were kids. It’s our family’s beach blanket going on several decades, even before I was born. Then I have my mexican blanket (yes, bought in ACTUAL Mexico before it was cool, not Urban Outfitters) to keep us warm and comfortable as we sit and reflect. Reflecting has always been my husband’s specialty. When we were dating I used to call it “think mode”. Lately I’ve realized how important it is for my own mental and emotional health to clear my head once a week. We are so glued to our computers and tv’s, busy with important things at work and with family and taking care of all the stressful matters of life. If I don’t clear my head and find time to just STOP and rest I find my week isn’t as productive. I often have a hard time with my perspective. I’m quicker to become inconsiderate or ungrateful or let something important go unnoticed. I’ve learned I have to make care of myself a priority in order to then give the best care to those in my life who need me.
My reflective time at the beach isn’t really just thinking either. It’s reconnecting me to God and also to my husband. Clark and I go together and sit, take in fresh air and the beautiful scenery, and talk about what’s going on in with each other. When we got married I realized how easy it can be to see someone every day but still not know what’s going on in their head and heart.
Healthy relationships really are possible, but are not low maintenance or always easy. Clark talks and I listen and vise versa. Even though the sand and sun isn’t his first choice, he knows it’s good for me. I so appreciate when he moves out of his comfort zone to connect with me and make me happy. That’s a respectable husband right there! Mad respect for him. When we are at the beach – it’s just us. There’s no bills to pay, no kids needing our attention, no family member needing care. No distractions (except when annoying dogs come over and try to sniff stuff around my blanket!). I just love it.
The beach also opens us both up. It’s a safe place to be vulnerable. Sometimes when we try to have important conversations at home it doesn’t go well. Still trying to figure out exactly why that is, but in the mean time we always go out to talk. It feels more intentional and it has a purpose in bringing us closer together.
Also God feels especially near when I’m reflecting at the beach. I know my feelings are not really an indicator of close God really is. I know His word promises that He never leaves me. There’s just something about being at the beach – HIS creation – that reconnects me to God and gives me a thankful heart. Honestly, it may just be the simple act of clearing my mind and giving God opportunity to speak to me, fill me, comfort me, or even just have some of my time. I give my time to so many other people and things – maybe God feels close at the beach because I’m actually giving up some of my time to focus on him. When you give God your time and a place in your heart then you allow Him to care for you with his transforming love. You let Him be God. Sometimes we sit around wondering “God, why aren’t you who you said you’d be? My comforter, provider, strength [___fill in the blank___]” but you never actually give Him the place in your life for Him to step in and do what He said He would do. It’s not God who holds back His blessings. It’s us who back our heart and are unwilling to give over our time.
My day continued and really turned out to be better than expected! Don’t you love when that happens? Monday’s has always been our favorite day and family day! I know no one else loves Monday’s but still we love it because t’s our only day off, and has also been my Dad’s day off for decades. We work very hard and long hours every weekend so Monday’s is our favorite! Today I slept in, went to the beach with Clark, and then we headed over to my parent’s house for family dinner. Dad and I decided we needed to buy these AMAZING marinated steaks from a local butcher shop… Mom didn’t exactly love this idea because although they are INCREDIBLY good they are also ridiculous expensive. That’s pretty much my childhood in a nutshell… my Dad always wants to spoil us and my mom always wants to save the money. Haha! So Dad and I snuck out to buy the steaks and Clark fired up the grill. Another first of the season! BBQ-ing smells so good! Smells like summer. Of course Clark was singing and serenading me while BBQ-ing in my mom’s old apron… priceless…
After eating the steaks Dad yells out “WORTH EVERY PENNY!”… so funny. Clark also made this amazing new rice he’s been cooking with curry. I didn’t previously even like curry and I’m obssesed with this rice. Dinner was absolutely YUM. Then my mom insists we all head to Richardson’s for ice cream! This place is a local phenomenon… it’s a big deal for ice cream! It’s also yet ANOTHER seasonal first! That’s three in one day! Beach, BBQ, and Richardson’s… all first of the season AND it’s opening game day for the Red Sox! What?! Amazing. Spring REALLY is here!
So glad I was able to clear my head and get quality time with Clark in the beginning of my day. Then I got the privilege and blessing of ending my day with family and had the best time! We haven’t had this much fun together in a while. Whenever I have day off’s like this I feel like I’m ready to conquer my week and start it off right!
Now, before I close out this post I have to leave you with one disclaimer. The truth is, sometimes I don’t get a weekly opportunity to clear my head. That doesn’t mean I leave my responsibilities to someone else or ignore the needs of my family. That’s life! Sometimes as adults you just have to keep on truckin. I have to care for my husband even if I’m tired. What I am suggesting though, is that you intentionally create time in your busy schedule to clear your head and really connect with God on top of your daily devos. Sometimes you just get a little busy… but don’t go crazy! Schedule something for the following week to look forward to. You can make it!
What do you do to clear your head? How do you keep emotionally and mentally healthy? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below. Feel free to respond below!