We began our trip to the beach with Easter Sunday.
My younger children were a little concerned about celebrating Easter on vacation. Would the Easter bunny find us? What about an egg hunt? I was more concerned with somehow having the holiday stand out as a sacred day in the midst of a vacation. I did some brainstorming and it all worked out. I couldn’t bear to pack our Easter baskets, or to buy new ones (although I considered buying sand pails but decided it was more money than I wanted to spend). I settled on some 59 cent gift bags, found at Target, and which came in exactly 8 different patterns, three of which could pass for boys. Lucky me! They were small, compact, colorful, and perfect for our celebration.
The children awoke to find candy filled eggs hidden all over the beach house, in their shoes, bags, beds, etc. A small egg hunt took place and then we headed to the beach as a family for an early morning walk.
The tide was very low and the girls were quickly absorbed in hunting for shells. It makes me smile to see them do this, because I remember so well this treasure hunt from my childhood.
On this Easter morning we found 5 unbroken sand dollars! Small, but perfect (and rare at this beach), Easter morning gifts from the sea.
Soon we found our way to the jeddy where starfish awaited us.
My husband found a Dungeness crab which he carefully caught for everyone to inspect. We admired it for a few minutes before returning it to its home.
No one else was on the beach that morning and the children were full of delight and wonder at being where we were. There was a feeling of happy reverence all around us and we enjoyed soaking in so many evidences of God’s love in an environment unlike what we usually have on Easter. My sons began tracing Easter messages in the sand on the beach.
Before we left I managed to bake a couple of batches of lavender shortbread in the shape of chicks, bunnies and eggs. They were my humble contribution to the Easter dinner my mother-in-law so graciously hosted for all her children and their families.
One of my favorite parts of the day was surprising our next door neighbor in Newport Beach, who we talk to every summer, with some of my cookies and an Easter morning hug.
It’s funny how you can know people in such an impersonal way and yet grow to love them so much. Shasten has lived next door to my Grandpa for as long as I can remember, and in the last 10 years or more I’ve enjoyed talking to her every year. I admire her flowers; she is patient with our many children. We’ve watched her son grow up in our annual snapshot-type friendship and she’s watched ours grow the same way. I guess it’s a little like exchanging Christmas cards, but better, because you get to talk to someone kind and wonderful. Sharing cookies with her was, perhaps, the most joyful moment of my day.
And then we were off to the San Diego area to attend church and gather with my husband’s family.
This lovely scene greeted us as we walked up the driveway, and we were wrapped in the heavenly scent of orange blossoms like you wrap up in a quilt on a cold night.
I’ve never experienced anything like it. I was amazed that the scent of two trees could fill the air of such a large space. Later in the evening I ate dinner alone outside at that table just so I could savor the scent while reflecting briefly on the day.
For a girl who’s lived all her life in places with four distinct seasons it was amazing to see a tree covered with both fruit and blossoms all at once. Gorgeous.
My mother-in-law has a a room she’s painted pink. She keeps all the toys in there, and the children spent the afternoon in imagination heaven, building castles, dressing up, and anything else they dreamed up.
I contented myself with soaking in the beauty of her yard in the full splendor of spring.
By the time everyone else arrived I was busy in the kitchen, which was where I spent the rest of the day. I don’t see my in-laws often and it felt good to serve by managing the kitchen so they could visit. I enjoyed watching my husband from a distance as he so thoroughly enjoyed being around his brother and sisters, parents and aunt. At the day’s end my feet ached but my heart was full of gratitude for all the gifts we’d enjoyed in just one day: hearts filled with the spirit, beauty, family, friends, service, good food, time together, the beach, and most especially the reminder that Christ has already won the victory for us. A beautiful day.