I don’t think you would call either Dad or Mom beach people. Mom’s comment about the beach in the summertime usually was something like, “It’s so hot I think I’m just gonna pass on over to glory.” I know her view in heaven is glorious. Our view at the beach just east of Destin was also glorious this past week. And Pop went with Jen and the kids and me. It was a very memorable time.
Mostly great. There were a few down times for me, thinking about Mom. For Pop, too. I know Dad thought about her a ton. Caleb was his bunk mate, which I think they both enjoyed. Almost every morning, Dad reenacted Caleb’s very active sleep habits. From kicking to getting sideways to laughing to mumbling to screaming something, it made for an interrupted and entertaining nights sleep.
This was a trip we had planned actually back before Mom and Dad’s accident. Erik and his wife and kids along with Jen and the kids and me along with Mom and Dad, all crowded into a rental home near Destin. Well, we canceled the reservations back in July when it was apparent that we’d be transferring Mom to Orlando from New Orleans for rehab around this time. As you probably know, we cancelled for that reason, but Mom didn’t make it to Orlando. So, we kind of asked around. We were blessed so greatly with an amazing replacement option.
We are so grateful for a family from New Orleans that has so loved on our family through the years. They own the place where we stayed, and so generously offered it to us the use of their beach home. It is such a great place. The kids enjoyed every inch of it, especially the pool and the oversized golf-cart. Thanks so much to that family (I won’t mention their name, because I don’t think they would want me to). We were really refreshed and blessed by your hospitality.
The most amazing memories that Jen and I will take home with us were of watching the kids with Pop. To see his smile (yes – he actually smiled :-) and the joy in the kids face was something to behold. Hanging in the house in the mornings. Swimming in the pool. Wading in the water on the beach. Grabbing ice cream together. Sipping hot chocolate together. Meals out. Meals in. And so much more. I threw in some really neat pictures below.
Another memorable moment from this week that Jen and Dad celebrated with me – my book appeared on Amazon.com the day we left to come to Destin (click here to see it!). Pretty crazy. My prayer continues to be one of gratefulness that God would give us a message to communicate, one of excitement for this unique opportunity, one of usefulness that people would really be encouraged by the book, and one of praise for the sobering reality that God uses people not because they are great but because they are simply willing to say yes. It’s a bit surreal, to be honest, to see something you wrote on Amazon.com. Be my glory, Lord. And please make yourself known through whatever comes as a result of people reading it. I’m thankful. There is actually a special, creative component to the front cover of the book especially for Mom. Let me know if you notice it.
Well, here are those amazing pics from the week. Hope you really enjoy them. I’ll post at you later. We love you guys.
(where we were, dotted below by the kids' footprints)
(enjoying the beach)
(the kids digging in the sand)
(Caleb preparing to take on some waves)
(Caleb laying the foundation for his sand castle)
(Caleb was braver than ever in the water this year)
(that's Caleb boogie-boarding)
(Katey loves the beach!!!)
(that's Katey boogie-boarding)
(Katey really likes bugs, and here she was trying to nurse one back to health)
(Abby really digs digging in the sand)
(Abby and Mommy checking out the clear-blue water)
(Abby's gotta wear shades)
(Pop and Ella)
(Ella was loving the sunshine and the people time)
(Ella and Pop and I wading in the water. Doesn't Pop look great!!! What a miracle man)
(Ella's first experience with the salt water)
(Ella tuckered out)
(Pop enjoying the clear-blue water and the refreshing ocean breeze – the salt-water was good for his wounds on his foot that are still recovering)
(Pop and I walking out deeper and deeper. We got to neck high)
(Pop and Caleb and Katey in the pool)
(Caleb made Pop laugh a lot)
(Abby made Pop's heart melt a lot)
(Ella did, too)
(taking an outdoor nap with Abby)
(Mommy and Katey enjoying some dominoes one of the afternoons it rained)
(the note Pop left most mornings when he would go to grab coffee for him and us)
(our last night there, we took some special pics of the kids on the beach)
(Abby and Katey running together)
(Katey and Caleb watching the waves together)
(Ella wearing her first clip-in bow. She's so pretty!!!)
(Abby watching the waves)
(the older three looking out at the water)
(chasing the birds)
(I caught a candid of Katey simply walking, maybe my favorite picture)
(the older three standing on the steps)
(all four wonderful blessings)
(all four looking out at the water)
(WOW!!! Thank you, Lord, for such wonderful gifts! We surrender these kids to You.)