I’m so excited to be sharing our beach pictures today! Two years ago, I launched the re-brand of my website by sharing our first ever beach pictures (you can check that out here, if interested). I cherished those pictures with my tiny baby Madeline so much that I had to repeat them last year (you can see last year’s pictures here). Well, this year, I think y’all are catching on 🙂 It has become a little tradition to re-visit the exact same spot, which just so happens to be my very favorite spot on NSB. It’s such a calm, quaint spot to visit right when the sun is setting, so naturally, I have made it our annual beach picture spot.
When I look back over our pictures from the last two years, I can’t help but tear up! It’s crazy to think about how much can change in just two years. Madeline went from two months old to being two years old. It’s such a joy/blessing (yet so bittersweet) to watch your child grow. And looking back on two years ago when I didn’t think it was possible to love someone more? Goodness do I love this girl more than I ever thought was possible now. My love for her grows each day. I’m sure all of you mamas can relate to that feeling.
The pictures that capture her silly little personality are always my favorite. She certainly has quite the personality! I can’t help but smile. It seems like overnight she has gone from saying sentences to asking me questions. I’m like when did this happen?! But nonetheless, it’s so cute to hear the things she comes out with. But what I love ever more is her tender heart and caring ways that she has at such a young age. Thanks to her Aunt Hannah who is an ER nurse, she has come to be fascinated with all things in that category. She loves pretending to be a nurse and will give checkups to all her toys. The other day, she overheard me saying that my head hurt, so the next thing I know, she’s bringing me a bandaid for it. The way she cares at even this young age absolutely melts my heart.
I could go on and on all day long, but I think y’all get the picture…I’m completely obsessed with her haha.
Seeing her enjoy the beach this year was definitely the highlight of my trip. She seriously soaked up every minute of it. She loved to play in the sand, splash around at the water’s edge, and end the day in the pool. She enjoyed beach walks and chasing the beach birds. She learned about so much in such a short period of time. But my very favorite part was the days when she would take her nap on the beach. For someone who is SO wakeful and not the best sleeper, I never in a million years thought that she would nap on the beach under the tent. But I quickly found out that the ocean breeze relaxed her. She would want me to hold her when she was getting sleepy, and I’d walk down to the water with her. As the calm breeze hit her and I’d stand in the water, she would tuck her head up under my chin and fall asleep. Those moments were my favorite of the whole trip. Those were the moments I felt like all I could do was thank God for that very moment, not looking back or rushing into the future, but that very moment. It was at that moment when I was looking out at the vast ocean and the majestic blue sky all while holding the little person who is my entire world and all I could say was “thank you, Lord.” I felt the true joy that only He can give. I thought to myself, if I love her this much, think about how much He loves her! Those moments are the ones that I will cherish forever and ever. I still find myself in awe that the Lord loves me THAT much to have chosen me to be the mama to precious Madeline…that I have the pleasure of teaching her all about him and molding her heart into one for Jesus. Those moments on the beach are the ones that I tell myself, “life doesn’t get any better than this.” They were so special and ones that I will treasure in “jars of clay” for the rest of my life. They are some of the sweetest memories I will ever have.
Speaking of memories, I promised to talk about why New Smyrna Beach holds such a special place in my heart. Well I said it: memories. It’s safe to say that NSB has a special place in the hearts of my entire family as it goes a ways back. My grandmother began vacationing to New Smyrna Beach with her dad when she was just a little girl. That’s when New Smyrna became “a place” to my family. However, it did not become “the place” until just before my older sister was born (29 years ago). I have been going there every single summer since I was born, for 24 years now.
My sister and I were talking this year and were trying to come up with just why New Smyrna is such a special place. Well, Hannah said it so perfectly, “New Smyrna never changes, it’s the same place that we have always loved.” That is so true. From the place where we stay, the beach, the little town, to even the pictures on the wall at one of our favorite restaurants, New Smyrna is always the same place. It’s no secret that everyone in my family is a creature of habit. Not only do we expect everything to still be the same each year when we come back but its like we know it will! And even when one of our favorite restaurants changes the atmosphere and menu, we don’t like it (not kidding, this did happen haha). But the thing that is a little more difficult to grasp and I have a hard time saying without getting tears in my eyes is that even though New Smyrna never changes, we do. Each year everyone is a little older. Each year, the whole family can’t always be there at the same time as everyone goes their own ways and has obligations to fill. But I always remind myself that together as a family, we have created some of our best memories during our time in New Smyrna.
I will always hold on to the memories when I was little of waking up to my Ammama making breakfast and going to bed to my Dandaddy doing his card tricks for me and my sister. I always hold on to the special moments of collecting sea shells with my Ammama (seriously, no one loves them as much as she does!) and beach walks with my Dandaddy. We would always guess how many steps we thought it would take to make it back to where we began. Then we’d close our eyes and take “that many” steps. We’d always somehow end up about knee deep in the water and die laughing about it haha. It will always tickle me (it still does) to see my Uncle Doug enjoy getting knocked over by a wave. I’ll always hold on to the memories of building sandcastles with my Daddy and soaking up the sun with my Mama. But what made this year so special was that it was the first year that Madeline was sort of old enough to do these things that I used to do. Right before my eyes, I felt like I was experiencing these things all over again as I watched her do them with the people I love so much.
Although we change, we get older, we can’t all be there at the same time, etc., New Smyrna is still that special place for us. The joy of driving down South Atlantic Avenue and seeing who can spot the condo first is still there (it’s so funny because we’re all in different cars nowadays that we call each other on the phone to do this haha). Our taste for the exact same sea food dishes from the exact same restaurants is still there. The same ice cream shop (plus two new ones….can’t complain about that :)) is still there. New Smyrna is still and will always be that special place for us.
As I think about this, I can’t help but make another connection. Just as we change, we get older, we have to go our separate ways, it’s so comforting to know that our loving, caring God does not. As we go through all the changes that life may bring our way, God promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Isn’t that so comforting to know?! Just as I long to head back to New Smyrna Beach each year, I long to be wrapped up in my Savior’s arms each and every day. That’s what keeps me going back to the beach I love so much. That’s what keeps me going back to my Savior that I love so much. That’s also why I hold Psalm 27:1 so closely to my heart.
I know this was such a lengthy post, and congratulations if you actually made it through! But this is something that I have been wanting to share ever since our beach trip. I have never cried as much as I did this year when having to leave the beach. I hated to see such happy times, especially with Madeline, end. I left full of happy memories that I will cherish forever. Even through I cried because it was over, I couldn’t help but smile because it happened.
Do you have a certain destination or spot that holds a special place in your heart as well? I’d love to hear all about it 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by!