The Sun Always Rises


I'm not really a morning person {just ask my coworkers}, but I want to see the sun rise over the ocean. 

As many times as I’ve been to the beach, I’ve never gotten up early enough to actually see dawn crack the sky. 

I'm sure it must be beautiful to watch the sun shimmer up over the water, turning the sky from gray to all the glorious colors of sunrise. 

So I decided I wanted to watch the transformation in the sky, up-close and in-person.

Even if it meant heading out before I had my first cup of coffee.



I was spending the weekend staying at a beach condo with my sister and her family so I tried to talk my ten-year-old niece into joining me on this ambitious idea to witness the dawn’s early light.

At first she said, yes let’s do it

I imagine it will be a sweet memory for us to share as years from now we look back fondly on the time we both braved daybreak.

Then as I set my phone’s alarm for the early morning wake-up call, she says she's having second thoughts. She says doesn’t really like to get up early either {like her auntie}, so why can't we just stand out on the condo’s terrace and watch it from here?

I say I don’t think it's quite the same as being oceanside but I tell her let's see how we feel about it in the morning.



When the alarm goes off my niece jumps up to look out the window. 

"It’s foggy and I can't see the sun," she whispers as she pulls back the curtains. 

“Besides, it’s already light. I think we missed it. The sun already riz.”

She hops back in bed.

Riz? Rose? Has risen? 

I look out and yes, faulty grammar aside, she is right about one thing. It is most definitely completely cloudy. 

Since I'm already up, I decide to walk down to the beach anyway. Forgoing coffee, I slip out the front door, cross the golf course and head down the wooden walkway. 



As I reach the ocean, the water and sky blend into a single gray horizon. 

There's no kaleidoscope of color, no ray of light shimmering on the water. I have to admit there's nothing spectacular here. 

I think my niece was smart to stay in bed.

But I figure I should take a morning walk, since I made the close-to-dawn effort.

It might be past sunrise, yet there's no sign of the sun. But just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. 


 

Is it ingrained in us to spend time looking for things that aren’t really missing? 

Lamenting our losses -- of relationship, opportunity, friendship, possibility -- while searching for the next big thing to pin our hopes on. Believing that something that's elusive and out of sight is what will really make us happy. Always pining for it {whatever it is} somewhere out there, just over the horizon.

What if what we're looking for isn't gone, but just hidden? Covered up for a while. Unseen to us now and invisible for a moment, a day, a month, or a season.

Maybe those are the times God invites us to search for his truth and enlightenment to dawn in our lives. Maybe that's when he reveals deep and hidden things {Dan. 2:22} and the light that dwells with him illuminates our journey. 

As reluctant as I am to say it, since I love sunny days as much as anyone, we need the clouds and the dark and fog to see our way through and across and forward. 

How else would we see how far we've come when the clouds part, and anticipate all that's before us as the bright sky opens above us?




At the end of my walk on the beach, sure enough the gray skies clear into blazing blue, bathing the beach in brilliant sunshine. 

I turn around to head back to the condo.

Except now I see that the rows of condos look rather alike and the walkways from the beach aren’t all that noticeable. 

I realize I didn't bring a bag or towel with me to mark the spot and find my way back. 

My ebullient walking mood quickly evaporates. {If only I had some coffee now.}



Why didn't I think to leave my flip-flops behind instead of carrying them down the beach?  

I have my phone but what will Siri tell me? Turn left at the third sand dune up ahead or pass the twenty-fifth clump of sea oats?

I watch a woman ahead of me walk down a set of steps that flicker a sense of recognition in me but I pass her by since it seems too soon to turn for my condo. 

Now I'm getting hot. And sweaty.

When I fail to find another entrance from the beach, I turn around and figure it must have been the gray steps I'd passed by. 

Yes, of course that was where I started.

I found it. 

The way back and the way forward for the season ahead. 



The sun is shining.

There are umbrellas and chairs saving my place at the beach, and rockers waiting poolside for sunset. 

Hammocks to swing on and a crackling beach bonfire for roasting marshmallows at twilight.

A spicy low-country shrimp boil with crumbly corn muffins, and butter dripping down my chin from sweet corn on the cob.










Summer's here.

And just when you think you've seen it all, there's room for the unexpected when you're staying at the beach. 

Like a wonderful {and a little wacky} wall of homemade donuts to go with my morning mug of coffee.

Who says there's nothing new under the sun?

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A little note on the photos: they were all taken at Amelia Island, Florida, at the Omni Resort.

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And if you prefer tea instead of coffee, come join me over at Culture with Travel where I'm sharing about my visit to a British tea room in Rome at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Click here since it just might be your cup of tea! 




I'm joining my blogging friends at Holley Gerth's place: Coffee for your Heart.


Comments

  1. This is beautiful, Valerie. The photos are amazing, and I think it's true that sometimes God allows the times when we can't see so that we will learn to trust him and also so that we will seek. The foggy times do make us appreciate it more when the sun finally appears!

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thanks for being here and sharing my adventure through photos! Sometimes the fog doesn't clear as quickly as we'd like though . . . xo

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  2. A wall of donuts??? What a great idea....Loved this post - of course I love them all - Mom

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  3. Love your photos Valerie. We've enjoyed sunrise on our shore though more of an accident than deliberate. Since we're a 2 hour drive from the gulf coast I keep trying to get my husband to watch the sunrise on our shore, drive to across Alligator Alley to watch the sunset on the same day. On the shortest day of the year, of course. No luck so far. I like your question, are we conditioned to look for things that aren't hidden? That's something to really consider. Glad you found your way back. I never doubted :)

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    1. Debby,
      I know a fellow Floridian would appreciate the sunrise endeavors! So often I happened to be at the beach when it was cloudy so I'm laughing at your shortest day of the year issue! Someday maybe you and I will actually experience an honest-to-goodness sunrise appear over the ocean's horizon!

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  4. Valerie,
    I'm your #Coffeeforyourheart linkup buddy today :) What an excellent post! Too often I'm looking for something that is right there, just out of sight. The wisdom in recognizing that God desires for us to seek Him. Love ya girlfriend and pray that you have a blessed day seeking Him so the clouds can part and your way is clear.
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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    1. Sherry,
      It's lovely to be coffee buddies with you today -- I wouldn't have it any other way!!! Yes, I'm always looking for wisdom and think the only voice I need to focus on is God's and let the other noise fall into the background. So glad you popped in here today!

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  5. Is it ingrained in us to spend time looking for things that aren’t really missing? <--- My heart leaps at that quote right there... I know I'm guilty. I loved your description of your trip even before I saw the pictures... made me feel like I was right there with you! The way forward truly starts with appreciating all the things surrounding where God has us right now. Looking for Him first really lights the way for all else.♥ So glad you found your way back to the condo (I was getting antsy for you!) and to the Great Wall of Donuts! xxo

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    1. Great wall of donuts! You always say something clever here that I wish I'd thought of!! (I should start running drafts of my posts by you for inspiration!!) And thanks for sharing in my despair at being lost -- I'm always annoyed with myself when I let something simple (or simply enjoyable) get out of hand and go downhill fast! xo

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  6. Hidden. Just covered up for awhile. Such truth here, but hope, too! Everything our hearts desire doesn't just magically appear. But if it's His will, He will bring those graces into being.

    Meanwhile? Florida is beautiful. And that shrimp! And those DONUTS!! Be still my hungry heart ...

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    1. Linda,
      Isn't food the best part of a post?! :) The shrimp boil was SO good -- well, everything was scrumptious! I know you would love it!

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  7. We love Amelia Island, but it has been years. I can so relate to all the condos looking alike..... :) Glad you found your way back!

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    1. Sarah,
      You have to get back there -- the resort was completely remodeled a few years ago and it's just stunning!

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  8. Dear Valerie,
    Oh yes, I think you are correct, that there is something inside of us longing to uncover the mysteries around us--after all, God gave us the mystery of Jesus, hidden through the ages, until the time was right for the revealing! As always I love your photos, and the beauty that you capture at every turn. And, what fun to find a tea room in the middle of Rome! I am thankful that you uncover the best hidden joys to share with us all! Blessings to you! xo

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      Only those who search for the hidden things know the joys of uncovering them! So glad you hopped over to the read the travel post -- thank you for always being so supportive and encouraging to me! xo

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  9. Wow, Valerie! I love the photos you were able to capture! It sure looks like the fog only added to the beautiful story that day unfolded. So sorry you lost your way on your return, but glad you eventually found your spot--with donuts and coffee to boot! ;) Nice to meet you through Coffee for Your Heart linkup!

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    1. Hi Beth,
      Thanks for visiting! Maybe walking before coffee would be a good idea at home, too, just for the motivation and incentive! :)

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  10. Hi Valerie :) I missed your post last week.It is strange how every other week seems short when I am writing but long when I am the reader! Thanks for the beautiful post- like a mini vacation for me- It looks so nice! and so fun! I love your words -they spoke to me tonight about losses and looking for something that might just be there but covered or unseen for now. I have been mulling over a loss and feeling badly about it and how I just can’t settle something in my heart about it. But these words have spoken to that- That maybe I need to look at it as something unseen for now but - the clouds will clear. I will look for Jesus in the clouds since that is where He is bringing me to too I think. I am so sorry you didn’t see the sunrise like you had hoped!!!!! I am glad though that God spoke to you anyway and blessed you with coffee and donuts too! Love the pictures,- Thanks for sharing all this and inviting us in to this sweet time and your precious thoughts about Jesus! Grateful for you and your blog!! xox

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I've been missing your posts but I understand with school out, your kids must be home and spending time with you! And I'm sorry to hear about a loss you're mulling over -- sometimes it seems that these losses and regret stay with us longer than we'd like but maybe we're missing something about the loss that we could uncover? I seem to feel that way so often!

      I was sorry to be so close to sunrise and still not see it either but the weekend at the resort was so much fun (even though I had to bunk with my niece and nephew -- or maybe that was why it was so much fun!?) with all the activities around the island! Thank you so much for always encouraging me with your support of my words and posts! Your friendship is like a treasure! xoxo

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    2. Thanks Valerie! I have missed writing them and the connection with everyone. I just am having trouble finding words lately. Trusting Jesus to supply them and be in charge of that. And yes the kids are home and it is a FULL house- This weekend my son is having 5 friends come to stay with us -will be nice to see them but busy ;) (plus the puppy! hahah crazy might be more the word hahah) Thanks for your good words on loss- I am asking Jesus for a new angle on it and to uncover something I am missing- I love the title of your post too- I just love it and am letting that thought sit in my heart a bit- that the sun always rises even when I don’t see it or feel it- good thought and helps me rest in His sovereignty and good care. I am so glad you had fun! Looks amazing and like a fun place to visit! I feel the same way about your friendship too!!! You are such a blessing to me!!xoxoxo

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  11. I just love reading your beautiful posts! The way you write and the amazing photos just draw me in and make me feel as if I am there. Thank God for you, sweet friend. So thankful you had a great time away with your family! :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      I'm happy to have you along on my little trips and adventures! xo

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  12. My travel heart has been stirred. I want to be where it is colourful, and ocean waves are the natural 'white' noise. I agree with Cheryl. Drew me in the spot, as well as the emotion! I've gotten lost when coming back many a time, forgetting which path I originally took, too. I look at that as being completely present though too, to spin those moments positively! Even though there was still the knowing and the learning from your adventure, my hope is that the next time be a cloudless sky when you wake-up early to venture out to the ocean to see the sunrise

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      I like that -- being completely present and focusing on what I'm doing -- instead of being directionally challenged! That may have been my one and only effort to see a sunrise! :)

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  13. Valerie, I came looking for you these past recent weeks and didn't find new posts so imagine how delighted I am to find you here today at Amelia Island with all those wonderful donuts and dunes! Your writing delights me and never disappoints. Stay well, sister.

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    1. Thanks Susan for dropping by! Your kind words are so encouraging!

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  14. Totally a week late but I wanted to come over and say hi. And I absolutely love love the pictures on this post. Makes me very jealous of you going to the beach. There is just something so powerful or calming about going to the beach. I hope the start of your summer has been good. 39 weeks yesterday and God is in control. : )

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      I've been wondering how you're doing! So glad to hear the new little one is almost here! xo

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  15. Love this, Valerie--words and photos alike! The part about how what we're looking for might not be gone but just hidden really spoke to me this morning. Thank you, my friend!

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    1. Hi Lois,
      Yes, let's keep looking for the hidden things! xo

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  16. I love your adventures so much ... and the beach, and walks, and donuts. I'm not an early riser at all, but I'll have to say there is something special about capturing a day and all it's beauty - and then realizing there is still so much of it left. Thanks for sharing the goodness with us.

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    1. Hi Tiffany,
      The more I see of the early morning, the more I love it! I think maybe that insight comes with the wisdom of the years! :) xo

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  17. Valerie,
    I'm so glad you went for it and you caught the sunrise and made it back. Much in your post spoke to me. Lovely photos! This past month has taught me that it is in the dark, when I learn to truly see by the light of God's love and presence because I can't rely on my sight. And this: " there's room for the unexpected." Thank you xoxo

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