One thing I never get tired of seeing here is the sunsets. One thing I'm really looking forward to seeing now that we're on the Atlantic side of Florida? The sunrises. They're the most beautiful thing and I could watch them every single day for the rest of my life and still feel like I haven't seen enough of them.
They're all so unique and beautiful, they're never the same, they're always so full of colors and reminders that each day is a new beginning. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, but what matters is the moments in between- how we use that day to the best of our ability. Did we use it to love on others or did we neglect opportunities for being there for someone and sharing our story because we were "too busy?"
Saturday after our event, we stayed in St. Petersburg and went to eat at a restaurant on the beach. When we finished it was about 7:45, so we stayed for the sunset. There was a rooftop view on the top of the place which was really cool. We could see the bodies of water all around us, and the darker blue water on the left side, with the lighter water on the right side full of oranges and colors reflecting the sun setting. We walked across the beach after that so we could stand in the water as the sun went down over the water.
It's so cool to just see it slowly going down, seeing the variety of colors that the sky changes to as it progresses through the sky. The waves were crashing at my feet, the breeze was blowing, and I was just in awe. It's was so peaceful and beautiful, and I never wanted it to end. I think that if everyone took the time to relax and enjoy the sunsets (and/or sunrises) and peaceful moments of the day that often get overlooked, the world would be such a happier place. There's something about it that just empties your head of all of the bad things in the world and for awhile it's just you and the sky.
Sunday I was able to go to the church I went to last week since we were still in the same town, so that was awesome. The message really made me think about my priorities and the things I value in life as the pastor asked us to think about what we make negotiable in our lives that should be nonnegotiable. I know for me it can be easy to justify something that I'm doing, when I know in my heart that I shouldn't be. It's easy to be surrounded by family or friends that can sway us into doing or saying something, but we must be firm and stand our ground when this happens. People will try to cast you as the person you've always been because they don't want to accept that you've changed, but those are the times that it's the most important to find strength through Christ to push through and live a life that will allow others to see His grace and love.
The guys were at church, so I was happy I was able to sit with them one last time. Hearing about their week in Tampa just gives me goosebumps because what they're doing still amazes me and I know the Lord is going to do great things through them.
After church, I grabbed some pizza with some of the guys, then I went to the Cheesecake Factory with my family for an appetizer and of course a piece of cheesecake. My body was sure hating me because it was so full, but boy was it worth it. I went to the hotel and hung out with the guys again for a bit before I had to head out. It's crazy how I've only known them a week, but it feels as if we've been friends forever. It was a pretty sad day because I definitely didn't want any of the hugs to end because that meant it was time to leave Tampa, but I'm ready to see what the next stops have in store. After opening up and praying and being surrounded by such positive and encouraging people, I feel ready as ever for whatever might come next.
Yesterday we drove around the area and explored. We pulled off at one of the areas by a bridge because I'd seen a dolphin, and when we were standing there, I saw so many dolphins that would just pop up in the water- it was so cool! One of the things on my bucket list that I really want to do is swim with dolphins, so maybe that will happen on this trip! It was national ocean day, so of course we couldn't miss out on celebrating that at the beach. There was a boy that was bitten at the beach we were at the day before, so I was all about not going farther than ankle deep into the water. I'd rather not have to see any sharks on this tour! We went to dinner at a bar & grille place so we could watch the girls soccer world cup & some of the Hawks game. We came back to the hotel at halftime, and our hotel is super cool and doesn't have the sports channel we need. Surprising because we are in Florida & Tampa is in the Stanley Cup, but we managed to find a livestream on YouTube.
Today we went golfing. I love looking around and still seeing palm trees on either side of the fare-way. Once we got rained out, we made our way back to the hotel and I went to the gym. The guys wanted to go to a slot racing track that we had saw earlier, so I went and watched them race little slot cars for a while. We went to Smoothie King afterwards because I've been suffering from protein withdrawals and needed a protein shake.
In a few days, it will already be a month that I've been away from home. My concept of time here is completely off- I never know what day it is. We go by work days and off days, and it feels as if I've been in Florida forever, but at the same time it's flying by. With each sunrise and sunset, I'm encouraged to make the most of everyday and be someone that can bring some additional light to those around me.