The Beach // Beauty and Simplicity

Last week our family enjoyed a much anticipated and relaxing week at the beach. This summer for a number reasons was more hectic than most. While we always look forward to vacations and holidays, this particular time away was one my wife and I (and the rest of our family) were especially excited about.

One thing my wife and I have discovered is that we both love the beach. Dragging chairs, umbrellas, snacks and towels to the ocean to sit and soak is something we both relish. The beach is our “happy place.” There are some families that love to go camping or make the trek to Disney or Harry Potter World or visit state parks or national monuments. We have done those things and may plan trips like that in the future, but, for us, the ideal place is the beach. Give us sand, sun and ocean and we are good.

As I stood on the beach one day, I was reminded of why we enjoy going there. Two words came to mind as I looked out at the ocean that morning.

The first word was beauty.

You see it quite often on social media feeds: pictures of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, mountain views, lakefronts and much more. We are captivated by the beauty of creation. To sit on the beach or stand at the edge of the ocean and look out at the waves rolling in, you are struck by the beauty of what God spoke into existence. I was reminded of the beauty of what our Creator made.

The second word was simplicity.

The ocean is like an escape. You are not too concerned about your phone or social media feed (unless you are capturing pics of the kids playing in the surf or the sand). Other than the beach necessities (towels, chairs, some snacks, sunscreen, sand tools and a good book), there’s not much else needed for the day. There’s swimming, sitting or even sleeping in the sun, searching for sea shells, sand castle building, reading your book or just taking a walk along the shore line. Simple really. The beach is less about doing and more about just being.

Beauty.

Simplicity.

Just a couple of reasons why we enjoy going to the beach.

Annual Report

Each year we put together an annual report for our church family. It recounts what took place in the past year and includes reports from ministers, the elders, financial records and other things.

It is a challenge each year to boil down the previous 12 months onto 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper. This year was no different. I took a look at my calendar and reviewed some of the things we did. It was kind of funny, because some of the events seemed like they were a couple years ago, rather than just a few months ago.

I think the report should remind us that what we do matters. I know there is the expression that just because you have a lot of motion, your aren’t necessarily going anywhere. As I look back at the year I have to conclude (or hope at least) that what we do does make some difference. A highlight for us the last couple of years has been our small groups. We have more students involved this year than we ever had. I will take that as a win!

The report also reminds me how fast time goes. That seems so cliché, yet true. The months seem to scroll by faster and faster. I think we do need to take time to celebrate what good things have happened and learn from what didn’t go so well.

As we move toward wrapping up this calendar year, it will be good to both celebrate and reflect and also trust that God will take our efforts and use them in a way that only He can.