it isn’t easy, nor is it ever fair…

“The demand for equality has two sources; one of them is among the noblest,
the other is the basest, of human emotions. The noble source is the desire for fair play.
But the other source is the hatred of superiority.
At the present moment it would be very unrealistic to overlook the importance of the latter.”

C.S. Lewis


(a roped off area where a sea turtle has laid her eggs / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2020)

Life is hard and it is certainly not always ever fair…

And yet we humans seem to be trying oh so hard to keep things as equitable, even, fair,
as well as level, as far as our conscious demands…

That is until we are stymied…

Stymied not so much by our fellow man or menacing mob, but rather stymied by
the likes of someone much more powerful…that being Mother Nature.

We can scream at one another about fairness, justice, injustice, and unfairness all we want.
We can make other men kneel at our sword and cower to our words and demands.
We can threaten, harass, harangue, and even inflict harm all in the name of making
others bend to our will for a purported notion of justice or fairness.

Yet in the end, it really isn’t any of us who will have the final say.

We had made plans long ago to come down to the Gulf this week…
our plans were long before a string of storms began advancing.
But such is any planned trip to a beach during this time of year.

The Gulf’s latest intruder is named Sally.

Unfortunately, I left my transfer cable for my camera at home so all of my
pictures from my camera will have to wait to be uploaded onto my computer when I get home…
I did, however, manage to get a few pictures using my phone.

This is the time of year when the sea turtles come to shore in order to lay their eggs.

There are beach volunteers who will mark and rope off the areas where a turtle nest
is situated.
Sea turtles, their nests, eggs, as well as hatchlings, are all protected.

Walking the shoreline yesterday evening, only hours before the storm would advance
as it has today causing massive erosion, we saw several roped-off nesting sites.
Some of the sites were far enough away from the battering surf but there was one
directly in the surf.

Poor turtle, I thought, her hard efforts, her nest, her offspring,
will most likely be in vain.

Had the weather been calm, the nesting site would probably have faired well but
I knew given the storm, there would be no site remaining the following day.

This was what we found this morning—a single staub jutting out of the surf
where yesterday there were four well marked and roped staubs.

And as we walked later in the day, as the gulls and plovers roamed what sand
was not underwater, we found a lone egg.
Cracked and dented.

(a lone turtle egg / Julie Cook / 2020)

And so as I ponder Mother Nature…her fickled ways with both life and death–
my prayers are with our neighbors to the West…those who are living in the midst of
hell on earth as wildfires ravage Oregon, Washington, and California—
just as I think and pray for yet another Gulf area that will be hit by yet another hurricane.

We may think we can bend man, or woman, to make him or her do as we please…
but in the end, it will be Mother Nature,
her and her alone, who will always have the final decisive say.

And yet…in actuality,
it just might be what we do in the wake of her decisions that will make the more
lasting difference on humanity…be that for good or be that for bad.

She plays her hand and then we must respond.

Maybe she just wants to divert our attention from ourselves for just a brief respite.

By my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth, mankind,
and the animals that are on the face of the earth, and I give it to whomever I see fit.

Jeremiah 27:5

God does not take a vacation

“Stacking stones claims ordinary moments of life for God and invites those who pass by to
notice the holy ground on which they already stand.”

Jayne Hugo Davis


(a gull sits by a cairn or prayer stone stack found on the shore of Mackinac Island in
Lake Huron, Michigan / Julie Cook / 2017)

During these precious weeks of Summer…
as you make plans to scatter either here, there and yon…

Or if you’re merely daydreaming of doing such….

If you’re eagerly anticipating escaping your hectic pace and grind of an
often monotonous and even overwhelming life…

Simply longing to seek cooler climates, grander vistas, idyllic sandy shores…

Remember one thing as you eagerly unplug, unwind, let go and forget all the
burdens you wish to leave behind…

God never takes a vacation.

He’s always there…wherever you may roam….
always near…
and always reminding you that you’re still His number one priority….

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them:
for it is the Lord your God who goes with you;
he will not fail you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

somedays we just have no words

Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments
as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because
we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.

Helen Keller

dscn4395-1(a discarded wing of a dragonfly washes ashore / Santa Rosa Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2016)

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you,
for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

it’s just one of those days to wonder

There are good days and there are bad days,
and this is one of them.

Lawrence Welk

“Promise me you’ll always remember:
You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.”

Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne

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(a lone gull looks out to sea / Henderson St Park, FL / Julie Cook / 2015)

Ever wonder what the gulls wonder?
What are their thoughts as they stare forlornly out to sea?
Do they watch the waves rolling in, one on top of another,
wondering where they have been and to where it is they now come?

Are they lost in wonderment and awe, mesmerized by the rhythmic breathing of the sea?
Do they feel loneliness, separation, isolation?
Wondering, as they stare outward, as to what once was and to what could have been?
Do they have hopes and dreams that tomorrow will be different, better, happier?

Perhaps they are merely watching, as they scan ever outward,
wondering where the next elusive small tasty fish may be?
Perhaps they merely watch, looking for what may come their way. . .
As in an opportunity, a new start, a fresh beginning. . .

Does their wondering lead to questions, those without answers?
Do they wonder about that which is definitive verses that which is uncertain?
Do they wonder if they will ever have the right answers?
Are they listening for the cries of the other gulls, only to be lost in the sound of the crashing waves?

Are they lost in their wondering, as their thoughts wander across time?
Do regrets lie in the heart of a gull?
Do their hearts break?
Do they yearn for that which seems impossible?
Do they stand at the ocean’s edge longing to hear the voice of the Creator?
Wondering if they will ever feel His embrace. . .

Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 40:5

Reminders and Remembrance

“There are moments when we have real fun because, just for the moment, we don’t think about things and then–we remember–and the remembering is worse than thinking of it all the time would have been.”
― L.M. Montgomery

“What you remember saves you.”
― W.S. Merwin

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(a collection of shells found at Orange Beach, Al / Julie Cook / 2015)

I have two small, rather faded and mostly brittle, sea shells riding
along on the console of my dash—actually along the outcropping for my car’s navigation screen.
The shells slide from one side to the other should I ever make a sudden turn or swerve.
They bother my husband.
He’s afraid they’re going to scratch the Nav’s screen.
They aren’t.
Every time he gets in my car to ride with me, he always asks the same question:
“Why do you have those shells up there?”
Followed by “They’re going to scratch the glass.”

I always answer the same. . .
“Those were two shells I found in the car when I was cleaning it out, after our long weekend trip back in September, to the beach.”
Which means they have been riding in my car now for 8 months.
Back and forth during the change of seasons, in the depths of winter’s chill. . .Halloween, Christmas, Easter—over to Atlanta, to the airport, to the mall, to the grocery store, to meetings, to the lawyer’s office, to the hospital, to the doctor’s office, to the dentist’s office, to the church, to a myriad of places to eat, to the beach again, to the home of friends, to wedding’s, to funerals, to parties, to Dad’s–
For miles and miles, and even more miles. . . those little shells have been my tiny passengers. . .

I put them on the dash as a reminder. . .

Reminding me of those more peaceful carefree moments spent simply basking in the wonderment of creation, as in my case, at the ocean’s shores.
Reminders of treasured moments when one affords oneself the luxury of enjoyment, contentment and release.
When one slows down long enough, stoping while bending over,
to pick up a small piece of Creation. . . marveling in or at something that is intriguing,
eye catching, simple, plain, pretty, interesting, unusual—pocketing the minuscule as a treasured keepsake. . .a wee reminder that nothingness, and yet everything,
can be treasured, special, sacred. . .

Reminders of a time when nothing pulled at, called upon, pressed down on, worried, frightened or troubled mind, body or soul.

It’s important that I can hold on to the reminders and the memories of such. . .

We all have similar little mementoes tucked away someplace. . .those tiny scrapes of paper, pretty little rocks, bits of glass, old buttons, frayed ribbons, tattered photos, long forgotten keys all the tiny tangible pieces of our peace, our happiness, our treasured moments of time savored and found in a long forgotten little pieces of this or that. . .

For me, many of those tiny treasures are natural items that I pick up along my journeys outward. . .
Walks along the beach, a trek into the woods, a hike in the mountains, the precarious forging of a creek or stream. . .bits and pieces, tangible particles, of the natural wonders. . .the tiny parts offered to the created by the Master Creator Himself. . .

I pocket them, holding on to them, putting them where I can see them. . .in order to recall, to remember, to reclaim, to hold on to. . .the fact that God has given me a tiny token of Himself and His wonderment, in order for me to carry, to actually touch, to feel and to hold. . .reminding me that He is greater than myself and my various little journeys to here and there—I am reminded of the one significant fact—that when life is overwhelming and I’m feeling as if I’ve reached a breaking point. . .I’m sweetly, gently reminded that He is bigger, greater, grander. . .while at the same time and most poignantly reminded that He can be both gently thoughtful and touching. . .simply reminding me always of His presence in my often frantic and manic world. . .

Clues

“There is always a pleasure in unravelling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

― Lewis Carroll

DSCN5970

The first clue shall be a backpack.
No, no, it has nothing to do with school, thank goodness.

Also, sitting by the backpack, there are a couple of airline tickets marked for a flight winging its way northward later this morning.

Then of course there is the business of business.
One member of this little team has work to do while the opportunity of adventure awaits teammate number two—albeit short and sweet.
We adventuresome types must take what we can get when we can get it!
We consider these shorter timed adventures, what we like to refer to as fact finding missions, an opportunity of building a dossier for later use during lengthier adventures.

There’s history, lots of history.
There was, at one point, an excessive amount of tea, or so I’ve been told.
There is the sea.
Not the ocean mind you or the beach, but rather “the sea and shore.”
There is the famous “chowda”
That whole oneth by land and toweth by sea, or is it oneth by sea and twoeth by land?
There’s the curse of the Bambino. . .if you’re into that whole curse thing. . .
And then there are beans—whatever beans have to do with it is beyond my soul, but they always speak of the beans.

Now these tantalizing little clues should be enough to whet your whistle while we gear up for a fun little weekend game of Where’s Cookie. . .

Yet on a more somber note, I would be amiss if I did not take pause imploring that we all offer up our heartfelt prayers for the families of those who have lost loved ones in yesterday’s tragic crash of Malaysian Flight 17.

May we also join our thoughts and prayers for the people of Israel and Gaza as once again that small corner of the world is perched on its tenuous precipice of life and death.

May we also remember the family of the wife and mother who was tragically killed yesterday in California as she was taken hostage during a violent bank robbery.

Thoughts and prayers for our fragile world . . .

Next stop. . .north by north east.

Wistful thoughts of the Sea

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“The Sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach–waiting for a gift from the Sea” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

As it rains here (snow and ices for others) my thoughts turn to sunnier days–to warm walks in the surf, searching for small treasures washed up from the Sea. Always mindful of the gifts my heavenly Father wishes to give to me, if only I will open my arms, my heart, my mind—“…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
(photograph: Julie Cook/ Santa Rosa Beach, FL 2011)