Life with Purpose

I’ll confess right up front that when I first retired, I went through classroom/student withdrawal; because I went from a very busy, purposeful life to a life free of all teaching responsibilities along with relocating to a new state in a new town.   I’m a work in progress but I’m certain of two things: I love photography and am most at peace when at the beach.  So I’m fortunate that I’m able to join the group of Winter Texans that flee the north for some warmer weather on the Texas coast.

This morning my husband needed me to be his water girl since he was doing a 10 mile training run.  I grabbed my camera to take advantage of new scenery and at one of the stops while waiting for him, I walked out to this pier that I had not been on in decades.


When I was taking this picture (note that there’s not a seagull around), I heard this old guy say, “Hey Lady.”  I hesitated as he walked toward me, mumbled something, pointed up and kept on walking.    I didn’t understand what he meant but had to get back down the dock, so I walked with him and he explained he comes out here every morning and cleans the fishing pier of all the scraps from the fishermen fishing overnight and feeds it to the seagulls.  As he shuffled along he said, “Look up-they know me.”  Sure enough, the seagulls were hovering over him as he walked down the dock with a plastic bag in his hand.  This was a routine of which they were used to every morning.


He stopped and dumped the contents of the bag on the ground, stood a moment to watch the birds eat,


and turned around and walked away.


I stood watching the birds for a moment and then walked quickly to catch up with him.


As I did  he asked where I was from.  I told him I lived in Houston for 26 years before retiring to Missouri and he said he was born in Houston back when the city consisted of just two buildings.  He then told me he was 94 years old!  I stood there amazed and told him so.  I wanted to follow him to see what other things he might do on his walk and to just talk with him, but my runner came along and then I had purpose-to deliver him his water.  🙂

Like a pie just out of the oven, this was my warmest slice of the day.


Cone Shell

I think this is my greatest find so far on my beach strolls.  It was lying right at the water’s edge and I almost walked past it but did a double take and snagged it up before the wave got it.   All polished and shiny, it looks like something bought in a shell store.

I did not know what kind of shell it was and am glad now that it was an empty shell, because cone shells pack a punch of toxic venom.   I just had to share this since I found it after my other post.  🙂  Happy Day!

Beach Treasures

Sunrise this morning lit the world up pink.


One of my favorite things to do is take long walks on the beach, like 4-5 miles.   Today I set out for a long speed walk, wanting to get my 4 miles in as fast as I could so I could fish with my husband.  It’s a great time for meditation and reflection.  I often start out in prayer but before I can get to amen my mind has gone on a journey from one wonderful memory  to another and another and another.  Then I feel guilty that I drifted from my initial prayer…or did I?

Now this is the really interesting thing.  Every time I was deep in thought about someone-poof!  I’d almost step on a really cool, unusual shell.  I found so many neat shells on my walk today that my pockets and both of my hands were full.  I found a colorful moon snail, a few lightning whelks, 2 small conchs and one larger one that was not in too great of shape.  I’m thinking of gifting each person the shell I found when I was thinking of them.  🙂


When I was thinking about my husband I found one lightning whelk that was in excellent condition with its little curly horns that easily break off when it starts tumbling around in the surf.


While I have seashell treasures from my walk, I think my greater treasures were the memories and people I thought of…a great slice of my day.

***On a side note*** I finally caught a fish after 4 days of fishing with nary a nibble…it was a sand trout that will soon be on my dinner plate.

Beach Morning Walk

I woke up at 7, was out the door by 7:15, and just got back in at 8:15.  I went out to the beach with a cup of coffee in hand to welcome the start of a special day and was treated with a ‘Crowning Glory’ sunrise.  Good morning!


Today is off to a warm, sunny start.  The tide is low which left a huge expanse of beach to wander.  And I found a unique shell…lucky me!   Check out this scallop fused with part of an oyster shell.  Lots of symbolism there.


Further down the beach I was thinking about this special day, my son’s birthday when I looked up and saw these four so I took a picture to tell him I enlisted their help in wishing him a happy birthday but only one was willing to participate.


The simple pleasures that give me joy…living in my ‘Winter Texan’flip flop world.


Any other Winter Texans out there???

Bonus Beach Day


Today was supposed to be extremely windy and cloudy, making it an uncomfortably cool day to be on the beach.  Thank goodness forecasts are sometimes wrong.  As it turned out, it was the perfect day for beach sitting.  Yup!  Good old fashioned sit in your chair at the water’s edge with a cooler of icy cold drinks and watch the waves roll up and down the beach.  The perfect day to watch the birds scavenge for food, coming ever so close to ‘that human thing that usually tosses free food’.  The perfect day to stroll in the surf and find beautiful shells because you were out there on the beach when no one else was.  A perfect bonus beach day!

Winter Flight


Migration is not just for the birds, though I salute them for the idea.  While they travel in search of food, I travel in search of warmer temperatures when Old Man Winter makes his appearance.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a good snowfall and cold air for about 2-3 days and then I am ready to flee southward.   Seagulls are the lucky ones that don’t have to take flight.

We arrived to start the new year off walking in the sand and surf.  I’ve taken two long beach walks and have already started my treasure trove with a huge moon snail perfectly intact without a hermit crab in residence, a whole sand dollar, and my first piece of green sea glass for my start up collection.

I’m sitting here on the beach close enough to the waves that the most ambitious ones roll up the beach and swirl around my feet.  And if I lean back in my chair at that moment when the chair starts to settle, I end up in a comfortable Adirondack reclined position.  It’s  a perfect beach day.  The air is warm 70’s and the water is still comfortable for barefoot walking, so people are out in mass fishing, strolling, shell collecting, sunbathing (the young ones) and playing at the water’s edge.

My mind drifts and wanders back to my teaching days.  It was always my goal to  have all of my students enjoy writing (of which I worked very hard) and my dream that they would be lifelong writers.  A former student found me on Facebook to tell me she fell in love with writing all the way back in my third grade class and that she has just published her first book.  Long pause…as I stare out to sea and let my mind drift…it warmed my heart when she told me her great news…almost enough to melt that midwest snow.  🙂

I love writing outside in my journal and am thankful that I’ll get to spend some of the winter writing at the water’s edge sitting in the warmth of the sun, sharing the beach with my feathered friends.