After our morning walk, I took a shower and then dropped off some dishes at the home of a special friend. Back in December, during the long, hard week of planning my dad's memorial service, Laurie brought our family an amazing meal, and the dishes should have been returned to her long ago. When I stopped by her cosy home (the woodstove felt nice!), Laurie and her husband asked me to please come in for a bit to visit. Then they asked if I'd like to eat lunch with them. Sure! :-) So, we sat at the table, eating a nice lunch (great homemade salsa!), drinking good coffee, and having a really nice visit. I left their home, as I always do, feeling encouraged and also quite blessed to be friends with this couple.
(Since I mentioned the nice meal Laurie made for our family, let me just add this... when you know a family that is grieving, don't hesitate to show up with food or flowers or a tree to plant or even just a card and a hug and a promise to pray. You don't even need to walk in the front door or hold a conversation. But don't be shy. Don't worry that you'll be intruding. Don't worry that you'll be a nuisance. It means the world to the family that is going through hard times. One lady came here early one morning during that early hard time-- I think she was just going home after working a night shift-- while we were all still sleeping. I answered the door in my nightgown, and this woman was standing there holding a grocery bag. She said, "I brought you breakfast... I'm soooo sorry about your father!" And she burst into tears. She handed me the bag (there were muffins, bagels, and sweet rolls; cream cheese; coffee and creamer; and orange juice), and I gave her a hug and told her that her thoughtfulness meant so very much to all of us. Then I said, "I don't even know your name..." She said she was from up the road, and that my parents are "the light of the world." I had never seen her before in my life, but this sweet woman definitely has a special place in my heart now.)
Saturday evening we cheered on my niece's 8th grade basketball team in their last game of the year. They won in overtime, by one point, on a free throw in the final few seconds. My niece, Kristin, is an excellent basketball player-- tall and intimidating-- and she can sink 3 pointers like crazy when she's hot. The other night we watched her score 16 points in the first quarter alone. :-)
After the basketball game, my sister, her husband, her son, and her daughter-in-law came out to Mom's house with a large bag of cooked crab my brother-in-law and nephew had caught earlier in the day. The guys built a big, toasty bonfire, and we all sat around it, cracking and eating crab, then visiting for a long while in the pleasant nighttime air and firelight. The crab was delicious, and there's even enough left over to make crab cakes for dinner tomorrow. Oh, yum! I think (I hope) these lake-side bonfires are going to become a regular thing because they're a blast!
This morning, Mom and I attended the early service at church, then we came home and puttered around for awhile before going to town to pick up my sister and her husband for an afternoon at the beach. The morning was cloudy and misty, but by early afternoon, the air was clearing. The sun came out, but the sky remained somewhat hazy for the rest of the day.
We had a wonderful, relaxed afternoon with Bev and David, walking and exploring some of our favorite points along a very short stretch of coastline. There was a chill in the air this afternoon, but it was wind-free, so it was a perfect winter day for taking in the refreshing beauty of one little part of our area. Bev and David are great fun to hang around with, and I've already invited myself along for the waterfall hike they're intending to take next weekend!
I'm feeling blessed. I get to enjoy being with my mom every day. I have a bunch of relatives who appreciate the bounty of the coast and regularly offer to share their seafood-- crab, clams, and all sorts of fish. And everywhere we turn there are beautiful drives to take and beaches to visit. There are several lighthouses and fishing villages along a not-too-long stretch of coast. There are rocky beaches, sandy beaches, and ocean side cliffs. And there are an abundance of diverse hiking trails, rivers, lakes, sand dunes, wildlife sanctuaries, and waterfalls to enjoy.
God is good.
I thought I'd put up some photos of our time at the beach today. There's a haze in most of them because that's the way the sky was all afternoon, but you'll get the idea of what we saw. And, honestly, when I spend time out in this, I can't help but deeply believe that...
"All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful..."
A fishing boat coming into harbor.
Mom and Bev walking and talking along the beach of a little cove.
My sister told me that this trunk is part of the remains of an acient seaside Sitka Spruce forest. There are many of these along this beach, but they're only uncovered when the tide is just so. I didn't know any of this even though I've been to this beach countless times, and I thought it was really cool. It looks kind of like a starfish here.