Florida (June 30)

Driving, driving, driving! After our lovely refreshing interval on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the following days were a blur of driving, packing, unpacking, reorganizing, repacking, and driving! Asheville, North Carolina to Birmingham, Alabama for unloading, reorganizing and repacking…Then Birmingham, Alabama to Bastrop, Texas with one overnight stop, and loading…Then Bastrop, Texas to Birmingham, Alabama with one overnight stop, and unloading, reorganizing and reloading! Whew!

There was still a little time for splashing-good-fun, along the way in Louisiana…

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And back in Alabama with cousins!

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And now we’re in Florida, near Destin, the unique land of sugar-sand beaches and crystal gulf waters! The color palette is truly incredible! The deep blue waters turn turquoise as the white sands begin to rise up in the shallows, and then ripple in sea-glass green as they crash up onto the beach!

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The sugar-sand beaches are famous, I’m told, and they are very cool! Elegant, white, soft, fluffy sand, sparkly and delightful!

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I have a theory on this sand, though I haven’t verified it at all. See, when we were in the Pacific Northwest, we saw all kinds of many-colored sands, due to the great variety of rocky minerals along the coastline. Here in Destin, I figure there’s not much in the way of rocky coastline to be eroded, and so the sand deposits might be almost purely silica from marine life and salt from the sea!

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At any rate, it is certainly sugary!

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Everything looks lovely dusted with sugar sand!

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The effect is really remarkable!

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And, with such a great venue, a local church fittingly decided to hold services on the beach from about April to September. And so, we found ourselves on Father’s Day at Henderson Beach State Park, enjoying Beach Church!

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Church outside was everything that I always imagined it would be! The ability to praise and worship and listen to teaching right out in God’s great creation, admiring his skies and clouds and waters and birds and breezes, made me feel right at home 🙂

And after church, it’s straight to play time!

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What’s not to like?

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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We spent the day out, finding a coffee shop for some refreshments, and then wandering down to the Fort Walton area to explore another state park, also with sparkling white sand and crystal waters…

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After a splashy, sandy, wonderful time, we were a little bit tired…

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QUITE a bit sunburned (unfortunately), and had ultimately decided that the sheltered beaches at Henderson State Park were still our favorite! And we would return on future Sundays 🙂

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Meanwhile, back in the neighborhood…

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We could also enjoy a local beach that was within walking distance. This beach is on the bay-side instead of the gulf-side, so the water is not as clear and the beaches are not as white, but it is convenient!

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It’s a nice little spot to catch a lizard…

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Play in the sand…

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Admire tiny marine-life-remnants…

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Watch the crazy ants try to divide up a shrimp tail…

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Take pictures…Ahhhh, Portraits of a Flower, Girl in Background!

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And, you know, weave a quick basket out of palm fronds…

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And it’s equally as effective at putting Vivi to sleep!

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And in the backyard, there are lizards and frogs, and Asher actually managed to put a frog on a leash – something I can honestly say I never saw coming 🙂

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That little guy hopped along, right to the end of his rope, lol!

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On a cloudy, rainy morning, we found ourselves headed back to Henderson beach…Just inside the park, we were greeted by this feisty little crab, who is obviously a sugar-sand resident! He ran across the road, and we stopped to admire him, and he quickly made himself at home, sheltering underneath our tires. It took us quite a while to coax him back out into his sandy habitat!

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And then we were on to admire this beach in all its overcast glory!

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The turquoise was still there, but now it was mixed with steely gray and emerald green, ever shifting and changing to reflect the unpredictable mood of the skies above…

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And still so much fun to play in! Some strange effect of the gray skies made the water cooler on top, but much warmer underneath! The green seaweed seemed a bit thicker, and there was a constant sensation of warm currents swirling around your feet as the cool waves splashed in your face! Weird!

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Oh, the happy times of bounding through wave after wave!

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Joe took the waterproof camera out for a swim, for a new over/under perspective on things!

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And Genevieve retired to the sand to be wave-tossed 🙂

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And here in Florida, with God’s glory on display again, in ways that are new to me again, I heard a new song in my heart…

I come before the cross

I count it all as loss

And humbly lay myself before Your feet

The honor of a child

The promise of a smile

For servants who are faithful as they seek

Oh Father, you have glorified Your name

And You will glorify it still

Oh Father, help my heart to do the same

And let me rest within Your will!

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