Doing homework after school on the way to the beach to surf.
As I kid growing up in Fort Worth, I could only dream of this kind of life style. Lucky girl.
Doing homework after school on the way to the beach to surf.
As I kid growing up in Fort Worth, I could only dream of this kind of life style. Lucky girl.
Don’t let her little size fool you. This weekend she paddled out to the outside with the big girls and competed in the 11yo and under division at a surf contest. She placed 3rd!!! It was her first time to paddle out in a contest without a parent in the water with her. The plan was that she would surf on the inside so we could get to her if she needed help. Apparently she had other plans. They all paddled out together, and instead of hanging on the inside break closer to shore, she kept going. I honestly wigged out and got in the water and tried to swim to her, calling her name and trying to get her to come back. It was super unnerving for me, especially since there were larger waves on the outside and if something happened I could not get to her! Everyone was on the pier watching her and cheering her on as she paddled, and the photographer talked her through where the waves were breaking and told her how to ride the rip out right next to the pier. I heard people saying “Go little girl!!!!!”.
The other girls turned around and saw that she had made it out to the lineup and they were like “Mia, what are you doing out here??” She paddled over and settled in next to her friend, who is an amazing surfer and one of Mia’s BFF’s. I realized there was nothing I could do in the water and that there were 50 people on the pier who would be in the water in a heartbeat if she got in peril, so I and went back to the beach to watch.
A set came through and her friend told her to turn around and paddle for it. We all watched as she paddled hard, caught a wave, stood up and made the drop that looked to be at least head high on her as far as we could tell from the beach. She turned and rode that thing like she owned it. People were screaming, clapping and hooting for her on the pier and on the beach. It was awesome and I will never forget it. I know she won’t either.
Afterwards, we went to the awards ceremony and when they called out that she got 3rd place…competing against 11 year olds…we were so jazzed. She earned it for sure. I have never been more proud of that child. She is headstrong and determined and it will get her far in life, even if she gives her old mom a heart attack here and there.
Earlier that day she had found a shell as we were walking down the sand to the water for her heat. She was holding her surfboard and said “Mom, see that? Get it for me please”. It is a perfect little orange striped shell and I slipped it in my pocket. Later at the awards, I reached in and found it still there. I pulled it out and peered down at this tiny shell that came from so far away to end up in my palm. I look at my tiny little girl and see the same thing. She came to me from the mystery of creation and the depths of love and heavenly mercy. I decided that I would make a necklace out of it. When I put it on, I will remember that day and I may never take it off again.
I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving! We drove to Galveston for the day and spent it with our family. I took zero pictures. Zeeeero! I recorded Billy singing in the car on the way there, which was hilarious, but not another pic snapped. If you beg, I might post it here. ;*) Instead I left the camera in the car and enjoyed my day, which started with one of my BIL’s famous Bloody Mary’s. Mmmmm.
We were anxious to get home for a restful, long weekend, so we left late that afternoon. On the agenda was surfing.
We surfed on Friday and had a blast on some little Thanksgiving swell. Bill bought a new longboard on Black Friday (our contribution to the idiotic chaos of that day was to drive to the island and buy a board from our favorite surf shop and immediately go surfing on it. Better than fighting for “stuff” at the stores.), then we hit the beach. Mia surfed on her board, and then she and Bill got up and rode tandem on the new one. I sat out on my board in the lineup watching them and I swear it was the best day ever. I really don’t think there is anything better than being out there, surfing with your husband and tiny daughter. It was adorable watching them tandem on the log. She also came out on her board to the outside with us where the water is way over her head, and paddled into her own waves! Again, I have no pictures. Just snapshots in my head.
On Sunday we hit the beach early. The swell had really died out but we still had some little waves rolling in so we got out there and enjoyed them. We went with some good friends and had a blast.
This time I brought my camera!
Here is Mia paddling into her own waves and surfing like she owned ’em. ;*)
This paddling into her own waves thing is kind of a big deal to us, as it means an end to pushing her into them ourselves. That part of our surfing life with her is over now. Her doing this means she has crossed over into a new phase of surfing. She calls it “real surfing”, and I have to agree with her on that. As a non-surfer, you may not be able to understand how hard this is, especially on that tiny board. Her board is only around 16 3/4″ wide and 5’2″ long. That is one little surfboard! When the waves have some power, it is not too hard, but on a day like Sunday where the waves are little and moving slow, it can be a bear. She did it with ease. We are so proud!
Here she is paddling into her own waves.
It was a beautiful weekend of surfing, oyster eating, chatting and laughing with good friends and being one with that amazing thing called “island time”.
Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i!!! (Happy Thanksgiving!!)
The first real cold front has arrived, and with it we pulled out wetsuits. I take Mia and her friend surfing after school once or twice each week. We went yesterday and not only was the air temp around 58F and the water about 70F, but it was also raining and no sun at all. With the air so cold, the water felt like bath water, so the surfing was fine……it was the getting out that was freezing! Chattering teeth, blue lips and fumbling fingers that were too cold to work on wetsuit zippers and such. Brrrrr. Thank goodness for heaters and warm sheepskin UGG’s to slip our feet into.
There will be more warm days to come, so I dont think wetsuits are it from here on out, but yesterday they were certainly in order.
Don’t let that smile fool you. She wanted nothing to do with having her picture taken. All she was thinking of was the heater in the car. Her little legs were mottled blue and she could not stop laughing. It was her first cold front surf and in spite of the sufferfest that getting out of the water was, she had a blast surfing. We were laughing and laughing because my fingers would not work to snap the picture. She stomped her frozen foot and said “OMG Mom, just take the picture already. I’m frozen!!” After numerous tries and threatened mutiny from the little surfer girl, I finally got a picture.
I just had to have a picture because there is something magical and inclusive that a day like yesterday brings. There are not many people who will get out in the ocean on a day like that. Only a soul surfer will put up with that kind of discomfort to catch a wave. It’s like she became part of the tribe yesterday afternoon. I am so grateful to have been there to share it with her. As much as taking that picture aggravated her, one day she will see it and remember that afternoon at the cold beach.
And I would bet my life that she smiles and remembers that feeling. That stoke to be a part of something so special. That surfing life.
Mia lives to surf these days. Its all she talks or thinks about it seems, and she is really getting good at it.
The waves in these pics were, on an adult, probably about thigh to waist high, but for her they were waist to neck high. Its all about perspective. When you are less than 4 feet and a Gidget (girl-midget), 3 foot waves are BIG.
Gidget and Goliath
It rears its mighty head,
a mammoth of the sea
And rises up before us
So wild, so fierce and free.
Fish stream across the glassy face
in harmony they flow
Aquariums of nature
A flash of silver glows
Water surges up and gathers
A steep wall with frothy crest
Eyes wide, she turns and paddles
Strong willed to meet the test.
I smile, she stands so quickly!
Glides down the smooth, strong wave
A tiny little surfer
So strong, so true and brave
See, it’s all about perspective
I see a wave so small
But it really is a giant
When you’re on only 4 feet tall
2011 was the year that we stopped going to church on Sundays.
It was not something that we schemed or thought out. It just happened. Bill was working very hard over the spring, baseball was going full speed ahead and Sunday became the only day where we had an opportunity to sleep in and catch up on some serious down time.
We did not stop altogether….there were days here and there where we went to our old church, and days we went to a new one. We love our home church and the people in it. Our pastor is wonderful and it was nothing in particular that had us wandering away. When we moved here, finding that church was a blessing to us. We walked in the doors and immediately felt comfort. The kids felt safe and loved getting to know everyone. They were pretty much the only children in the congregation, so the attention they got was a God send amid the chaos of newness.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately and as I sit here typing I have to compare it to the security of the small town we moved away from. It was like slipping out of the familiarity of the womb. That nice, soft, safe environment. To this day I am still discovering what God’s intentions were in leading us away. I think that sometimes when you are enveloped in contentment, it is hard to grow in Gods love.
Although why we left is important, I am writing about the journey afterward and the revelation I have had that God was calling us all to know Him deeper. Sometimes, coming off the mountaintop is the only way to fall deeper in love with our Creator. After all, we can’t make the journey to the top if we are constantly there.
I am not sure I have anyone that I would consider a close friend here. I have met people that I enjoy, but outside of Billy and the kids, I have resisted a bond. I don’t know why. I used to be a pretty social creature. I think maybe I was afraid to get hurt. I sort of gave up on people and what their motives are. I really, really lost myself for a great number of years and I needed to collapse into myself and focus on getting to know who I am…who God made me to be from the beginning. I needed to stop concentrating on the voices from all directions telling me who, what, where and how the spirit of God is in my life. I stopped going to bible studies, although I didn’t really know why I did that at the time. I sort of just fell off the grid. I had to get to know God and my relationship with Him in MY life. Not anyone else’s.
Spiritual growth is life long. I just had a conversation with a dear friend and she said basically “I always question people who say they have the answers already and are sure of what God is all about and how we are supposed to worship Him”. I agree. There was a time I felt sure of who God was and I felt that I knew Him……until I was isolated here, went through a challenging illness last spring, and had a month of surfing in September and October that grounded me and opened my eyes. Three days stick out as nothing short of Holy.
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
It was one of those days that you know are special from the minute your feet sink into the warm sand. You squat, waxing your board, looking out at the water and can’t believe that there is not another soul out there. The air temperature is in the 70’s, water in the 80’s. It feels sensuous on your skin as you wade out, jump on your board and paddle out to the waves.
The water is like glass. Waves are rolling in around thigh to waist high and they are peeling off toward the pier just for you. There was this one wave I caught….a nice set came in and it was bigger than the others. It as probably waist high, and it was perfect. A long ride, and peeling off behind me. I looked down and saw clear water to the sandy bottom. Fish swimming fast along with the wave. It was surreal. I paddled out again and sat, just feeling ethereal. I put the palms of my hands on the surface of the water and really felt it. Pelicans landed all around me, floating in the water like angels. It was heavenly and I felt the presence of God hovering above the water….there since the beginning of time. He came swirling around me with the light breeze. A pelican flew by me and I got goose bumps and cried out to it at the top of my lungs “Do you have any idea at all how beautiful you are?!!!”
Another day I sat in similar conditions, smaller waves. A mama dolphin and her baby swam around me. I sat up when I spotted them about 15 feet away and after they dove under, I could feel the water swirl around my feet in little, watery tornadoes…..evidence that they swam under me. They stayed close to me for a bit, then swam off to feed. I would like to imagine she was saying to her baby “The ones sitting on those long things and playing in the waves on them? They are okay. They won’t hurt you.”
The third day the waves were small and fun. What a beautiful day it was. I surfed some fun little waves and at one point I watched as a dolphin came right up to me while I was sitting on my board waiting for a wave. It spy hopped with it’s mouth open them swam by and I reached my hand out and it passed 2 inches from my fingers.
I think sometimes, euphoria is God bursting forth from us in a rush of exaltation. I just could not contain it any longer. I was slapped hard with beauty and divinity.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you….the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (Corinthians 3: 16-17)
I personally could not imagine feeling the spirit of God like that in a brick and mortar building. We have made structures and try to define God in a tangible way because it is our human way of trying to understand and be aware of His presence. We worship together inside and sing beautiful songs of hallelujah directed heavenward. We commune and remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and it is GOOD.
But……truly, He can’t be contained inside!
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24)
The Lord of all the earth is all around us. Every day. We just have to hold our hand out and touch someone else who is hurting and, just like that, we are in Church. We can forgive someone for a wrong and we are worshipping. You can’t define God. Our rules of worship and rituals are beautiful, but they do not make us Holy. It is God who makes us Holy. It is the blood of Christ. I don’t know what worship is right for you. How you commune with Him is a VERY personal journey that leads through the mountains and valleys….but you can’t hear Him speaking to you until you hush the voices around you.
I want to scream His name over the roar of the ocean. I want to be bathed in the water He created and be surrounded by His creatures. Without the voices of humankind whispering what they think is discernment into my ears and drowning out the voice of God, I want to be acutely aware that he has placed his hand deep in my heart and is stirring my soul to Holiness. Once again.
I sit on my board and I sing hallelujahs that walk on water out to sea, passing over whales and dolphin….to the ears of God. I hear Him answer me in the wind that curls around the tip of a breaking wave. He whispers: “All of this is mine and I give it to you all to enjoy. No matter where you are in your journey to be one with Me, you are always Mine, forever.”
**someone asked me if I felt going to church was important. Oh my gosh, yes, I do. I grew up in the Episcopal church and I find great comfort in the traditions and service. My Catholic roots go back to Rome, Italy with my grandmother Balducci, extending back since the beginning. My mother and her family were Roman Catholics, so it doesn’t get much more Catholic than that guys. BUT!! I don’t think that going to church means you find salvation. Salvation comes from Christ’s death on the cross. Period. No strings attached. When you take Him into your heart, and truly live life with Him inside you, acts of mercy and love become natural to you. You want to walk in His steps. Faith without deeds is dead. You can’t love Christ and not try to be His hands and feet. It is a natural extension to loving Him. Loving Him and ignoring suffering is rejecting Him. You can’t have one without the other. Having said that, you cannot earn Gods Grace by doing deeds and attending church. Savvy?? Church should not be your focus. God should be. Christ should be. Christ died on the cross and that justified the grace God gives to you freely. A Catholic priest once told me “Don’t be like a dog that when I point at something, looks at my hand instead of where I am pointing.” Church is not the means. It is a place where people gather in His name and worship Him. Many broken people come to know Christ in church. But many come to know Him through talking with individuals who are His hands and feet. THAT is Christ’s Church. Not a building. Not the rituals. Christ’s church is you. It is me. Every day. It is all of us acting and moving to bring an end to suffering and pain. It is called mercy. It is empathy and patience. It is LOVE. I hope this makes sense.
Water and air temperature the same. Sun bright above. A bikini. The cool breeze on your skin. A fresh bar of wax…..the tropical smell it gives off as you rub it in circles across your board. This act, and the promise of salt water and the euphoria it brings, is why, IMHO, it’s called Sex Wax.