lessons from the beach

the lessons you can learn at the beach are vast. the need to cover every part of your body with sunscreen. how not to get sand in everything you own. you get the picture. here are a few lessons i learned on my restful yet eventful spring break.

1. i learned that no matter where,  i love any and all wide open spaces.

not just the flat lands in between the rocky mountains that i’m so used to. it’s any bit of land that stretches so far you can’t see an ending. it might have to do with the sky, because i’m a rather big fan of sunsets + sunrises. wide open spaces makes me want to sing the dixie chicks’ song and drive forever and ever.

2. i learned too much sun on skin that hasn’t seen the sun in years will get poisoned.

sun poisoning, the brooks sisters hadn’t had it since 1997. mal and i haven’t really been in the sun, soaking up the rays, in quite some time.. our feet caught the wrath of these itchy, little, red bumpies. on the drive home, i was trying to distract my feet from their itch so i was blasting the air conditioning on them with the feet only vents. cold over itch. it worked. called my nurse friend brittany who suggested hydrocortisone cream. it’s magic. bumpies gone in less than two days – – hallelujah!

3. i learned that adam cole loves to talk about jesus more when he is tipsy, which i very much appreciate.

contrary to what this picture looks like, adam did not have a drink at dinner this night. promise.

it’s just the only picture we took together while at the beach. (note the dress. it’s the one i bought on our trip to asheville.)

dear adam, he has been a good friend this year. we have had countless conversations about jesus, what He is teaching us, ruf + its community, and how we want to be more like Christ. he’s goofy. he’s totally lovable. he has a contagious laugh. he reminds me to guard my heart when i need to be reminded (it’s like divine intervention, seriously). he appreciates spending time with friends. he’s honest.

learned some more about him — which is always a process i love about friends — he’s one of my good guy friends. thankful for his joyfulness in my life.

4. i learned i look more like mal pal than i realized.

especially when we are both in black tankinis/one-pieces. (here is picture #231 of kegan in between the twins.)

5. i learned how truly refreshing it is to lay on the beach and read.

every christmas break, i’m working almost everyday in the kitchen of my church. every summer break, i willingly give my time away to serve on a young life property. every other bit of my time is spent with a slow-paced life in knoxville, but with studying looming over my head. i prayed that my week at the beach would be truly restful seeking find my strength in the quietness of sitting still – isaiah 30:15 “in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

6. i learned more about my own sinfulness (this one was really unexpected).

i love small groups – i love quietness – i love small towns – i love quaintness – i love simplicity

just looking at this picture, you see those thing were absent from my beach experience. i ventured deep into the abyss of the madness (that’d be to the right side of the picture) to go to the bathroom at the whale’s tail – all i could think of was how all these peoples’ lives were empty and they were just drinking and drinking and sleeping and drinking.. headaches. alcohol. skimpy bikinis. stumbling drunk on the beach. cigarettes. SEC flags flying. no one relaxing on the beach, but everyone socializing.

standing in that line (15 girls deep) to use the bathroom, i started thinking to myself…

thank goodness i don’t live life like those people. these girls are all freezing cold and i have on a t-shirt because of the wind, duh why wouldn’t you wear some more clothes. the girls in front of me are just talking about sex and being drunk and not remembering anything from the night before. i am so glad that i do not live life like these people. i’m here and i’m relaxing and reading my christian fiction books. thank goodness the lord has redeemed me from this mess of a life. all these people are lost and is anyone seeking to love them where they are? have they even heard of gospel? does that guy on the beach really understand what the cross on his back stands for? man, i can’t wait to go to bed early tonight. i’ll be surprised if i stay up to 11pm.

the next morning i take off to the post office around 8am… i’m pulling out of the condo’s parking lot and all the velcro-wearing, precious senior citizens who lived in our building are going for walks on the beach, reading the papers on their decks, and just basking in the quietness and the sound of the waves while you can hear them. the lord spoke some scripture into my head during that moment: isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags..” even in my best moments where i mean to be glorifying the lord, but instead my motives are rooted in sin, my righteous act are filthy rags. the way those lost and broken people looked on the beach to me — my sin looks like that to the lord. how eye opening. how tangible my sin felt. thank goodness he has redeemed me from myself. yet, i am sinful in nature, but “it is not longer i who live, but christ who lives in me. and the life i live in the flesh i live by faith in the son of god, who loved me and gave himself for me” (galatians 2:20). what a gift i hope i never take for granted.


so many memories. so much laughter. some much needed relaxation. grateful to the lord for providing such a restful week amidst the craziness of a semester.


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