The first time I ever went to the beach was in 1987 when I was seven years old. My family went on a summer vacation for two weeks to Florida. We spent a week in the Orlando area and another week at Daytona Beach. I remember seeing the ocean for the first time and watching this massive body of water. I was a 7-yr-old in awe! I spent hours in the water on that trip – swimming, jumping over the waves, and of course making sand castles on the beach.
Since then I have gone to many beaches. Beaches have been a part of my life – from living in Hawaii to college trips to Belize and San Diego, to youth ministry trips to Myrtle Beach, South Padre Island, and Destin, Florida, to living on Lake Michigan while in college for five years. Those times never got old or boring to me. Every beach was different and breathtaking. I was able to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, snorkel, swim with dolphins and giant sea turtles, even body board and surf. I was able to observe surfers surfing 30-40 foot waves in Hawaii and watching the thunderous power of God. I’ve had many great moments at beaches in my life with memories that will last a lifetime.
My all-time favorite beach and memory was during my junior year in college. I was part of a group of fifteen students, with five of them being my closest friends, that took a biology class trip to Belize Central America for two weeks during the interim semester. We stayed on a tiny remote island about two miles in circumference and eight miles off shore….no one else on this island but our group. The word “beautiful” couldn’t even describe it. Palm trees. White sand. Crystal clear blue water. This was definitely paradise. While we were there we learned a lot. But most of our learning was done while snorkeling in the water around the coral reefs and watching tropical fish. This type of learning was the most fun I’ve ever experienced. We spent hours a day on the water and on the beach, taking it all in. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t last forever, and soon after we left the island we were back to reality, freezing in the subzero temperatures and snowdrifts up north.
My goal someday is to go back to a beach and island like that. But until that day comes, I spend my days on Seagoville Federal Prison’s Beach – also known as the sand volleyball court. It’s not quite as beautiful as Belize. Actually, it doesn’t even come close, nor is there a vast expanse of water. But we do have a hose and plenty of sand. HA! I like to dream about my future days relaxing in the sun on some beach with my toes in the sand!
What are some of your beach experiences? Any great trips or destinations you’ve been to? Any good memories? Here are some of my runner-up beach experiences in no particular order, just things I’ve enjoyed in my past.
- Camping on a beach in the Boundary Waters
- Winning a sand volleyball tournament in college at Dayton Beach
- Jack and Rose (my mom and dad would understand this!)
- Parasailing on South Padre island
- Cross country beach runs while in college
- Bonfires on Lake Michigan
- Walking a mile through the ocean to China Man’s Hat Island in Hawaii during low tide
- Snorkeling on Shark’s Cove, Oahu
- Body boarding and surfing
God has blessed me with the opportunities to travel, great places to live in my life, and extraordinary experiences that have been etched in my mind forever. On days that I’m feeling down, He allows me to pull them out and reminisce on the good times and bringing a smile to my face. May you, too, remember the places you have been to in your life and all those places that you plan to go in the years ahead! My bucket list is several pages long!!
Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water…and the gathered waters He called seas.” Genesis 1:6 and 9