Grabbing Seashells

by - June 26, 2012

I can find my comfort zone anywhere. I’m in Destin, Florida. In a Starbucks. Listening to Bonnie Raitt. Drinking coffee. Sitting still for a minute. Giving thanks for a bit. Reflecting on this time. Enjoying this moment.

You may wonder why I’m at Starbucks instead of the beach? I have been at the beach; and I loved it. I mean I loooovvveed it. But, Irish white girls from Oklahoma don't build a base tan in 4 days, and will burn wherever sunscreen is not applied...which for me was my back. Uh, it is red. It hasn't stopped me from anything, but today it helped me decide to forego another beach day and have an antiquing, souvenir shopping day. It's amazing the fun you can have, when you don't care what kind of fun you have no matter where you are. “Be free.”

I have repeated "the answer is yes," multiple times this week. Why not just go with the flow? I’ve been thinking through the difference between my actual preferences, and what I am just used to/familiar with, and I’m finding I really have a LOT fewer preferences than I think I’ve always thought I had, and a lot more of what should be considered just what I’m used to. This revelation is freeing me up to have fewer opinions – don’t be shocked, and don’t get me wrong: I do still have opinions…I am just making sure they are reserved for when it counts; and it counts a lot less often about a lot more things. But, when it counts…hold still. :)  I’m enjoying thinking familiarity doesn’t have to mean preference, so I’m changing up my responses a little. The answer is yes. If you get that, then good. If not, let’s just move on because I have  still had to say “no” to a few things this week, as I have the kind of friends who will try to push some boundaries to challenge me when I think I’ve come up with some new theory of living. 

The answer is "No" when the question is:

1) Do you want to do any activity that requires you to be in a harness? - No. Always no.

2) Would you want us to bury you in the sand? – No.

3) Do you want Shrimp and Grits? – No.

4) Do you want to be resuscitated if you get the flesh eating bacteria after playing in the ocean? – No.

Make your wishes known friends.

Here are some other things I’ve realized on this trip:

 - When On Vacation At The Ocean

1) Put sunscreen everywhere. There is no harm in superfluous sunscreen application. You may end up applying aloe to the middle of your back with a Williams-Sonoma spatula if you are not thorough. I’m not naming any names, but I need a new spatula.

2) If you see a seashell you want, grab it right away. As soon as the tide comes in again it will be gone. Then you will only have the memory of it, instead of being able to hold it in your hand. Grab the seashell! If only there were a metaphorical life lesson in there somewhere.

3) It is almost impossible (I say almost, because it may be that just I can’t do this) to take footprint-in-the-sand pictures before the tide comes and washes the imprint of your foot away. I’m sure I looked a bit like a moron as I would take a few steps in sand wet enough to hold the print well, right after the tide washed out, and then flip around really fast to try and capture the image before the water washed it away again…multiple times. I was using my travelling alias, had on a big hat and sunglasses, no one knew it was me, so no harm. I don’t really like any pictures I got, but maybe He thought it was funny. He’s carried me always, but I’ve been really aware of it this past year. It’s been one to remember. Romans 5.

4) If you take a boat cruise that says you will wade in the ocean to find seashells in knee deep water,  don’t believe them. You will be in your cute new white skirt up to your hips in seaweedy-hermit crab infested- ocean water. After returning to the boat, a little bit disheveled at having said “yes” to that adventure you may find yourself telling the kid next to you (after his dad reminds him again to sit down instead of stand on the bench where he is seconds away from falling overboard in swelling waves) “that means butt on the bench kid.” I even snapped and pointed as I said it. He minded me. In my mind I can hear Red or Blondie either one saying “Haley Lougene if I have to tell you again….” That is the tone of voice I had. Sadly, they usually had to tell me again. I would just get excited and forget. Like that kid standing on the bench.  

5) I didn’t see a lot of restrooms at the beach. I’m pretty sure people are peeing in the water. That’s not a pretty-is-as-pretty-does thing to say, but Lady Birds are straight shooters. We like to “Real Talk.”  Just know what you're getting into.  Apparantly its okay.

- Get Fun Friends and Work to Keep Them

Do you need to go out of your way a bit? Do you need to forgive sometimes? Do you need to talk on the phone when you aren't much of a phone talker? Figure out who your true friends are and work to keep them. Should you go on vacation with them? The answer is yes, even if vacation is just a dinner out, or a dinner in. Make the effort. Friends are worth it. Especially those you love. Don’t put spending time with them off.  Drive the miles.  Sleep on the air mattress.  Book the flight.  Here is what I found when I got off the plane:


I love those seashells.

I also got off the plane and saw an old friend from Ponca, she had noticed the signs with my big head on them. Hard to miss. It was so fun to run into her and see her pretty little daughters. P.S. I love Ponca! I hope Brandi and her family enjoyed their vacation!

Some pics from Florida:

Every state should be near the ocean, but Oklahoma has the Thunder so it kind of evens out.

PS...I came home to my new apartment in Plano after this vacation. I can’t even say enough how grateful I am to Kenny and Sara who came down from Oklahoma to move me. I LOVE THEM! They helped finish painting, moved me, and put together my new bookshelves. Before they left that day my new place was already a home. I’m kind of giddy happy to have my things about me. (Imagine the scene in The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara where she explains to him she just wants her things about her. Me too. Now I do. :) Please pray for Kenny and Sara this week as they will fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet their baby girl. Seriously, that is happening.  She is beautiful, and I can hardly wait to snuggle with her.  Wish I were going with them. 

PSS…If you haven’t seen The Quiet Man, you should. Maybe you would like to come to Plano to see me and we can watch it together. I have a new place where a couple of walls are painted Evening Stroll (a beautiful blue), and my things are about me. If you are reading this, it is likely some of my things remind me of you: pictures, vacation reminders (glass alligator, my refrigerator magnets, etc), theology books, my Pioneer Woman statue, my Mamie quilt. All out of boxes. They aren’t my Treasure, they aren’t my memories, but they are reminders of all I’m thankful for.  You can even stay with with me.   

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  1. Haley, I sure love who you are!Love your blog, tears are running, and I don't really know why....I think you just remind me what beauty is in extraordinary ways. Love you, Aunt Jeana