Here’s To The Moments

Goodness, I love the beach! I saw this photo of Kim Lance’s and it took me right back to my childhood.

My family used to go to the beach once a year, and for me, it was almost better than Christmas. We had all these traditions that went along with our beach trip: same general area of the beach, same types of beach towels and sand buckets/shovels.

We took the same kind of food, and went to the same ice cream place. We had the same routine each day: up early, ate breakfast, played on the beach, ate lunch, took a nap, played on the beach, ate dinner, and collapsed. It was so great!

The best part of the whole thing was seeing my dad relax. When I was young, my dad was a high-powered, driven, chemical engineer. He worked a lot. He had to take several business trips over the years. But when he was at the beach, he was a different person.

Dad played with us. He didn’t work on anything. He laughed more, and it was wonderful to see him smile so much.

When I grew up, I often wondered why life couldn’t have been more like that all the time. Not that it was bad. It was just not that relaxed. Sometimes I long for those days. There have been many times when I’ve said, “I want to go to the beach, but I want to go when I was a kid.”

I know we usually remember the good when looking back, but honestly, it really was that good. Sure, I want to go to the beach when I was a kid because I didn’t have to pack anything, cook anything, or be responsible for anything! All I had to do was play.

But that’s not really why I would love to go back there. It was the joy of being all together with nothing pulling us away from each other. It was some concentrated, lovely family time.

Even now, the memory of my dad’s carefree laugh makes me cry grateful tears. To have heard it once would have been enough, and I heard it many times.

I know last week, I wrote about not living in the past or the future, but in the now. And here I am writing about the past. The past is not bad; it’s just not now and we can’t try to live in it. But the past does help make us who we are. And if we think about it, those memories can help turn “now” into a lovely moment.

I miss my dad, and I miss my daughter. But they will never be farther away than a moment when I remember them and the time we had together.

Here’s to the sweet moments of the past that give light and color to today and keep our hearts full of gratitude for every kindness from the Lord.

Phyllis Keels

This Little Drop in the Ocean

My best friend spoke at a conference last Friday at the beach and she invited me to spend the weekend there with her. It was such a lovely time, and it reminded me of another time that she, my sister, and I spent at the beach the year my daughter died.

Here is the post from that sweet weekend. I pray this blesses you, dear friend.


My sweet best friend took my sister and me to the beach this weekend. My sister said it best when we were coming home. She said she couldn’t remember a more pleasant weekend. I agree.

I needed to get away for a few days. Not from anyone or anything, but somewhere I could just be. It was really, really nice.

I went out on the beach early Saturday morning and got to see the sunrise. It made me think of Julie. Everyone on the beach was taking pictures of it. I did too. But come to think of it, Julie never did like to get up early. She was a night owl.

But she did like the beach. My sister and I made a sand castle for Julie. We make the kind where you let the wet sand drip from your fingers and create spires of different shapes. Julie called them drippy castles. It was one of her favorite things to do at the beach.

I really missed her this weekend. I missed my dad too. My first memory of the beach is of him helping me bring a bucket of sand up to the beach house we were staying in. The sand had little butterfly clams in it and I wanted to keep them.

I remember once walking behind him on the beach and I had to jump to be able to walk in his footsteps. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped wanting to walk in his footsteps. He was such a wonderful dad. I miss him so much.

When I stepped out on the beach this weekend, I felt the same way I did the very first time. The memories of all the times I’ve had there came rushing over me like the salty breeze. They were not harsh though. They were as soft as the sand under my feet and as cooling as the ocean water.

It was sad and I missed Julie and Daddy. You can’t go back no matter how much you want to. I couldn’t go back even if they were still alive. I couldn’t go back to when I was a child running after my dad. I couldn’t go back to when Julie and Alan were running after me and their dad.

But I did thank my heavenly Father for giving me the time this weekend to remember sweet moments, for filling my senses with the sounds and smells that make memories come alive. I did thank Him for giving me such a loving father and a loving daughter, and for all the times we had together.

I thanked him for my family and friends who take such wonderful care of me, who help me while I grieve, and love me no matter what.

Most of all I thanked Him for being so kind to me. When I look out over the ocean and see again how small I am, I can’t help but fall on my knees in gratitude. Of all the things He could love, why on earth does He love me?

I don’t know why, but I know He does. And He does so each moment of my life. Me, this little drop in the ocean.

Phyllis Keels