As promised, here are some pictures from our beach vacation! :)
This is resort we stayed at! Isn't it so pretty? The palm trees make it look especially tropical.
The view from our balcony, looking towards the south.
The resort grounds were beautiful and full of plants and flowers and lots of palm trees as you can see here. ;) See that winding path? It was part of the "boardwalk" they had a couple blocks away.
Of all the pictures, this photo was the one I was most excited to share with you. Don't the clouds look SO PRETTY? I couldn't stop taking pictures. ;)
Thankfully, the weather was mostly sunny! I loved these clear, blue days. :)
The view of the clouds on the beach only made it prettier! Look at those puffs!
The last day we were there, the ocean was so calm and later that evening, the waves were only breaking at the shore. They were really small, not good for boogie-boarding.
Another pier picture because it's beautiful!
I know the quality isn't the greatest but it captures the coastline as far as your eye can see. The first day we were there it was hazy over that way. It wasn't until the next day, when it was really clear, that we noticed the buildings.
"Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth."(Psalm 104:9)
Take me back! :'(
Hope you enjoyed this little gallery from our vacation!
Take one look at this picture and you'll probably figure out what has kept me occupied for one of the two weeks I took off. THIS VIEW!
My family and I were blessed to be able to head down to Myrtle Beach for a week and soak in the warmer temperatures and the abundant sunshine. I took lots of pictures, mostly of the ocean. :P (Be on the look out for a smattering of photos in my next post!) *Cue the heart eyes emoji!*
On this particular vacation, a couple of verses stood out in my mind. Usually, I do a word search in the Bible app on my phone to write out a list of the verses with the word "ocean," "sand," or "sea" to take along with me but this time I didn't do that. Instead, verses popped in my mind all on their own. :)
For instance, this one from Jeremiah, chapter 5.
"Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for a bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?" (verse 22)
My thoughts ran along the lines of the boundary the Lord set by the sea. I remember looking out over the ocean from our 8th floor balcony and thinking, "I'm looking at the boundary the Lord set there for the sea."
It was a relatively new thought that filled my heart. On all the vacations I've gone on before, never once had that particular thought entered my mind. It's incredible, isn't it? Some people might look at the ocean, see its power, and become fearful of the future. (What if the ocean comes up and floods the entire earth? What if there's a huge tidal wave that washes over the whole coast?) When I look at it, I don't feel fear at all. I feel comforted by the truth that I know the One who controls the sea, Who set the boundary in place that has held steadfast for thousands of years.
Other verses flitted across my mind from Psalm 139. Some of you may even know which ones I'm about to quote. :D
"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. . ." (verses 17 and 18a)
I thought about this verse while I was sitting on the beach the one day, picking up handfuls of the sand and seeing just how many millions of little grains make up the bounty we see in a single handful.
God thinks about us, even more so than we think of Him. The psalmist David goes on to say that if we should ever begin to count the number of thoughts God has toward us, it would be MORE THAN the sand! Wow! It's an infinite number. . . I mean, the sand is innumerable as it is. . . but MORE THAN sand is amazing to try to grasp.
He's thinking of you SO MUCH. Your Creator, who made the heaven and the earth, is thinking on YOU. Take comfort in that!
That truth reminds me of a quote I saw online recently. I'm not sure who it's by, but I'd like to share it anyway.
"Nothing is too big for God to handle. Nothing is too small for God to notice."
So take courage in these truths, readers! We serve a great God. =)
"Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble." (Jeremiah 11:11-12)
I just had a few brief thoughts about this passage I wanted to share. It struck me some time after I read this, when I was journaling about it, that we display some traits that the Israelites had.
They were stubborn. We, too, can be stubborn sometimes—especially when it concerns something going the way we envisioned it.
They followed other gods. While we may not be worshipping physical "gods" in the place of God, if we pursue something (a hobby, sport, etc) more than we are pursuing God or developing a closer relationship with Him, then that thing *fill in the blank* is probably becoming an idol.
They cried to God, but only in deep trouble. This is where I saw the similarities so clearly. Why is it this way? Why is it that in the good times we feel like we don't need to pray as much, and in times of deep trouble (and usually as a last resort) we cry out to Him?
Why is prayer the last resort? I'm sure you all have experienced this; I know I have. We try to tinker with the problem ourselves, trying to fix it with our feeble and fallible tools. They're useless.
Prayer is--and should be--our first tool when it comes to fixing problems in our lives. As James puts it, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16b)
When we pray first, we are as it were surrendering our feeble tools for those strong and successful tools our Lord Jesus possesses. Not only that, but guess what, friends? He is praying with you AND He's praying for you. . . that your faith wouldn't fail. (see Luke 22:32)
I encourage all of us to exercise this privilege we have of coming to the Father with our problems, and surrendering them to His almighty hand. . . First.
Do you enjoy looking back on memories or mementos from your childhood or teenage years? I love looking back once in awhile and recently I was looking through old diaries and laughing over some of the silly thoughts written down. I'm thankful I have them, though, because they capture how much I've grown since I was 14. Then, just last night I was peeking into the two notebooks pictured above containing my first two "big stories." I wrote the first one when I was 12 and the second one when I was 14.
The lines I wrote and certain scenes were so hilarious, I wanted to share some of them with you all here this evening!
Alright. . . here goes. :D (The format will be my explanation of the context, the sentences or quotes themselves, and then some humorous comments after.)
Meredith's Story (written when I was 12)
Meredith was married to John Davis and they are still newlyweds when a car accident takes John's life. Understandably, Meredith doesn't want to stay in their empty house by herself so her cousin stays with her. But healing was speedy, as evidenced by the first sentence of chapter three.
In a week, Meredith was able to live by herself again.
Wow! I wish I could feel better that fast! ;)
Before John died, the two of them had a conversation about moving back to Pennsylvania (John's home state). Or "the countryside" as Meredith called it. (Side note: Jane Austen movies must've had a part in this! Ha!) John disagrees and they have their first argument. Meredith doesn't understand why he doesn't want to move back to the place where he grew up until a family friend explains. Apparently, there was some sort of fire that took John's parents. And we have Martha's very serious remark here in chapter five.
"Turns out, there was a fire at John's house and my dad went to help but he found them dead in the barn. His parents were killed while our parents got out alive. He was devastated." Martha explained.
Meredith shuddered. "How awful."
Yep, no big deal. They only found his parents dead in a barn. . . *face palm* Real dramatic, Carolyn.
Later on after a few friendships start popping up, Meredith and her friends are on the beach when a guy (aka a suitor and Matthew's rival) comes up, hits two of the friends on the head with I don't know what, and knocks them unconscious. Miraculously, they revive within minutes and realize something is wrong with one of their friends. . .
"How are you feeling, Doug?" asked Meredith.
He didn't respond but he did look at her and try to say something.
"Can you hear me, Doug?" Meredith asked.
No response. Could the head punch (I guess it was the guy's fist) have affected his hearing?
Then the beginning of the next chapter,
Matthew was right. Doug's hearing loss was a result from the accidental punch. The doctor assured them that Doug would have his hearing back in a week or so.
Is that even possible? Lol! I guess I was all for the drama at the time. I didn't realize most of these would be violent if they weren't funny! :P
All that to say, Meredith and Matthew lived happily ever after. Haha!
So what is a determining factor in your life that makes one of your friends a "real friend?" Apparently, Martha's idea of a real friend is when said friend makes some commitments for a trip that he isn't even going on.
"Let me know if you want me to research up hotels or restaurants for you. I'm sure you'd want to plan ahead." said Doug.
"Actually, I'm going to rent a house a few blocks down from the house that my family lived in. But, yeah, look up some restaurants for me. The location is Wyoming, Pennsylvania." replied Martha.
"Okie-dokie. I'll look up fast food and dine-in restaurants in and around that location." said Doug, grinning.
Martha smiled. "Thanks, Doug. Your a real friend."
Yes, I left that obvious grammar error in because that's how I wrote it when I was 14. I literally groan when I read over some of the sentences and see the errors or the better ways I could've described it. That's another good thing about keeping old stories, books, etc. You can see the progress you've made since you first began.
I hope you enjoyed these little snippets and that they made you laugh! :) If you want me to do another post with more snippets in the future, give me a shout out in the comments!
Did you like these snippets? Do you enjoy throwback posts?
At one time, we have/will have experienced a broken heart. It can come from various troubles such as losing a loved one, experiencing a breakup, or just someone who didn't concern themselves about how their words would make you feel.
Whatever it was, we can all agree that being broken-hearted is no fun. It's painful and emotional. We feel abandoned and we think no one cares about us. We feel oh-so alone. And it's no wonder we often try to avoid being hurt altogether.
The LORD has a thing or two to say about broken-hearted ones, though. So take courage if that's you today, readers.
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)
"The LORD is nigh [near] unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. . ." (Isaiah 61:1)
As much as I want to avoid being heartbroken in real life, in fictional worlds I crave those raw, emotional scenes where the characters are broken in heart and soul. Do you know what happens in those moments when characters (or any one of us in real life) come to the end of themselves, broken and unable to put the pieces back together? That moment is when they meet Jesus, coming to bind up their broken hearts, coming to heal them.
Do you see it? Even in the brokenness, Hope comes flooding in because we realize. . . we are not alone. We are understood in our pain and in our sorrow.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . . Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." (Isaiah 53:3a-4.)
He is right there with us, friends, in the midst of our broken hearted condition.
When I got the idea for writing about this theme, I immediately thought of a scene in "On Wings of Devotion" by Roseanna M. White. One of the main characters, Phillip Camden, has been arrested due to reasons I won't spoil for you. ;) But think about it. . . being arrested and in prison, isn't that somewhat of a broken hearted condition?
Then you have this beautiful scene. . .
"God . . . I want to live." The words were eaten up by the hollow, soaked into the coarse fabric of his trousers. They were true . . . but not quite right. "No, I want . . . I want life." Life instead of death. Life beyond death. Life despite death. Life for them . . . but they already had it. Life for him, so that he could finally be free of this weight, of the death always pulling him down.
And he knew. He knew from whence it came. He knew, as Mr. Norton and Jeremy and their parents and Ara had made sure of, he knew the name that could call it forth. With a shuddering cry that tore him in half, he whispered it. "Jesus."
Maybe that's why I love those scenes so much. . . because in the brokenness, they find Jesus. And we can, too. . . just reach out for Him.
Thank you for writing that beautiful scene, Roseanna, and for letting me share it. =)