Yesterday was awesome. In fact, the entire Labor Day weekend was extraordinarily memorable, and I think one reason is because I disciplined myself to be especially mindful of all of the good things going on around me. It’s easy, oh so easy, to concentrate on what you don’t have than what you do, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to work on that.

For starters, as soon as I got to the beach Friday, my young friend Lisa stopped by, and she and I went to Abuelo’s for lunch. Love that place! The ambience and food are both good, and on that day, so was the company. In fact, Lisa probably served as a catalyst for my positive thinking because one of our conversation topics was how fortunate we are to have so many good things going for us in the good old U.S. of A.  I could list some of the things we mentioned, but I won’t. You need to come up with your own list.

After our shrimp chowder and yummy salads, we did a little shopping at Ulta, and I’ve been enjoying the fragrance of my pomegranate lime soap ever since. Isn’t amazing how scents can evoke feelings? We scooted up and down Hwy. 17 a little bit, and Lisa declared that she was seeing parts of the beach she’d never seen. Before a scenic cruise through the Myrtle Beach State Park, we visited the best frame shop on the east coast, The Frame Factory. Seriously, y’all, I’ve been taking things there to be framed for 12 or 13 years, and I’ve always been tremendously pleased. The price, quality, and service are without parallel. (I hope they read this and give me a discount on my next item.)

After Lisa left to join friends in Windy Hill, I hustled down to the strand to get my four miles in. It was indescribable…so I won’t even try.  My brother Mike, his wife Lisa, and their granddaughter Madison soon arrived, and the four of us went out to dinner. Loved catching up with everyone, especially young Madison whom I hadn’t seen since October. She’s delightful, pretty, smart, and well-mannered.

After a brief rendezvous with the above on Saturday morning, my daughter Elizabeth and I took off for Rincon, GA where my grandson Seth was to be blessed in church the next day. We decided to make a genuine road trip out of it, so this time we headed towards Charleston instead of Turbeville (where we usually hop on I-95). It took a lllooonngggg time going that way, but we had fun along the way, including a trip to Target in Mt. Pleasant and a trip over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge (a.k.a. Cooper River Bridge).

Bedraggled but happy, we arrived at Carrie and Rich’s house in Rincon about five hours later. After tons of kisses and hugs from the little ones, we jumped in our cars and headed to Pooler, a city not far from Rincon.  We dined at Cheddars, a busy buzzy restaurant with tasty food, reasonable prices, and a huge fish tank stocked with several varieties of pretty fish. The children loved watching them swim around and around. So did I!

Sunday arrived. Time for Sacrament service in Rincon. There aren’t sufficient words to express how it felt to be sitting there with my daughters and five of my grandchildren.  “If  only Paul and Amanda and Olivia could be here, it’d be perfect,” I found myself thinking. Having my husband there would have been nice too…not to mention the baby’s grandfather. “Wait a minute, Jayne. Can’t you concentrate on the people who are here?”  I could and did.

After the blessing, as I walked little Seth up and down the hallway outside of the chapel, I looked down at his perfect face. His dark blue eyes were staring up at me, scanning my face for clues about what was going on, and I thought, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” But I was wrong. Over the sound system, I heard the sweet little voice of Brooke, my oldest granddaughter. Only six years old, she’s courageous enough to walk up on the stand and bear her testimony month after month, something that still leaves me shaking in my shoes. Sunday she reminded everyone to listen to the Holy Ghost so they’d know the right thing to do. 

After lunch, Lib and I headed back to the SC coast. We took turns driving, and while she napped, I listened to Sarah’s Key on my Kindle. Although it’s a work of fiction, it’s based on factual events that occurred in France in 1942. It was gut wrenching, heartbreaking too. I recalled the conversation Lisa and I had in Abuelo’s two days prior and thought, “I will never ever complain about family, food, soft mattresses, or the government again.”

Fast forward to Monday morning.  After breakfast, I went with Mike and his family for a walk on the beach. Cloudy and overcast, the sky threatened to send a deluge any moment. It began to sprinkle, and Mike and Lisa left Madison and me on the beach. Only 10, she’s a delightful little girl, and we had a great talk. She loves little kids and wants to be a pediatric cardiologist one day.

Back at our little bungalow, I cleaned and packed and puttered. When I glimpsed out the window, I saw a beautiful sight: el sol shining brightly in a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds. “What’s 45 minutes in the grand scheme of things?” I asked myself while putting my beach chair in the car. I drove over to the state park and found the perfect spot for my chair. Ah, bliss. The gentle breeze, the roar of the ocean, and the sun gliding in and out from behind the clouds made for a perfect hour to read and savor the final moments of another summer season. I found myself thinking, “If only I could stay longer,” and then replaced it with, “I’m so fortunate to be able to relish these moments.”

I stopped by my lovely daughter’s house on the way out of town, and I stood over her while she signed up for the Outer Banks 8K on November 12th. It’s a family thing, and this year Elizabeth, Carla, and Sarah Beth will be joining us. Yay!

Life is grand. Remind me of this if you hear me whining. We all have a lot of good stuff going on in our lives. Just take a look around.

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