Dig Deep

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The time of year has come where suddenly social media explodes with an influx of “thankful” posts and pictures and TV inundates us with commercials for turkey, Black Friday and Christmas. It’s a shame that big business has turned a trait that we should carry in our hearts 24/7 without even thinking it into worldwide commercialism. But that’s a topic for my other blog, “Things That are Wrong with America”.

Kidding, of course. But I think you get what I’m saying.

But never the less, this does happen to be the season where we talk about what we’re thankful for. I don’t want this post or topic to sound trite, so I had to dig deeper than the normal “I’m thankful for my family” mantra. Of course we are all thankful for our families. But what else are we thankful for? Truly thankful for?

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I’m thankful for the readers of this blog and our followers on social media. You all really make doing this a worthwhile endeavor. We appreciate the emails and comments we receive when we make a post or drop a new blog entry. The Queen and I are purpose-driven people. When something we say or do makes an impact on peoples’ lives, it gives us purpose. Someone (you know who you are, and Thank You) said the other day that we “capture the soul of shelling“. That made us feel like a million bucks, because that’s exactly what we try to do and someone recognized it.

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I think it goes without saying, but I am thankful to live in such an amazing place with a top notch climate. I have not seen snow in several years and hope to never see it again. Sub-zero weather? Bye Bye. We recently had to take a trip North and spent some time in New York City. We bought coats. I don’t plan on ever wearing mine again. I love that I can wear shorts every single day of the year. I do not take that for granted. Ever.

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I’m thankful that we’re literally 2-5 hours from a number of major beaches, including the beautiful Florida Keys. I’m so thankful that when I wake up on weekends, our major decision for the day is which beach to visit. I do not say that to rub it in to anyone’s face. Believe me, I have lived in the North so I feel your pain, Northern friends. But the ability to do this anytime I want:

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That is true happiness and something I am VERY thankful for. We travel often, and I am thankful for the ability to do that and for a top shelf travel buddy (The Queen) who loves new adventures.

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I’m thankful for the shell finds of my fellow shellers and bloggers. Yep, it’s true. Fellow shellers/bloggers like The Shellinator, The Shellebrity, The Esssential Beachcomber, Seashells and Salty Air, Gulf Coast Sea Breeze and others – some folks may think there is a rivalry or competition between us local shellers here but from my perspective, there is not. Sure, there certainly is a “Dang, I wish I’da found that!”. But when fellow shellers text each other with our finds of the day, or ask, “Are we gonna see you and the Queen today?”, it tells me otherwise. I am thankful for that.

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I am thankful for the peace that passes all understanding. I find that for me, sunshine and warm weather bring me a peace that I didn’t feel when I was cold and the sun was hidden. I promise you, each time I am able to do this:

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I do not forget to tell God, “thank you for this”.

I know I have made quite a few blog posts about what I am thankful for in the past and perhaps it may seem a bit redundant to read it again and again – but I am thankful. I know where I came from and to be where I am today (by the grace of God) is simply too fantastic to not be thankful for. I could make this blog ten pages long about what I am thankful for, believe that.

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So I challenge you this Thanksgiving week – think hard when you dwell on what you are thankful for. It is easy to be thankful for your job, your home and your family. But just like searching for that buried keeper shell in the sand – dig deep this week.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, friends. God bless you all.

Get Low, Get Low

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So we’ve got the first week November low low tide in town for the next week. I decided to get out early on Monday morning and take a stab at finding some shells.

I’m an early riser to begin with, so waking up at 4am instead of 5am was pretty easy. I decided to go solo, because if I’da tried to get the Queen outta bed that early, I’d probably be posting this blog entry as a single man. I like being married, and my wife is pretty. So I slinked outta the house like a ninja.

Let me first apologize for the pictures in advance. I got a new phone this weekend and hadn’t had the time to really sit down and tweak the settings on the phone by beach time.

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I put some new batteries in my head lamp, hit the road and arrived at chilly Little Hickory at 4:50. I gotta tell ya, it felt weird in the pitch black. I had no idea what was crawling on the beach at that hour. My ninja-like reaction skills were in full effect; although I don’t know how much damage I coulda done with a shell scoop had the Creature from the Black Lagoon jumped out to get me. Peeing in your pants is not a great defense.

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It is amazing to see what does come out in the dark.

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So many of these guys all along the beach.

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I was literally counting how many live olives I saw crawling along the sand. I stopped at fifty-five.

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I was also surprised to see so many Horseshoe crabs out. They were everywhere as well. The big one appeared to be trying to push this little one along in the sand.

😉

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Ok, so why is the tide so amazingly low? Well, it’s called a Minus (or Negative) tide.

In layman’s terms, the sun and the moon happen to be on the same side of the earth, pulling on the tide at the same time. I’m no meteorologist, so I’m not speaking scientifically here, but this doesn’t happen often.

Here’s what it looked like at sunrise on Monday:

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and here’s what that same spot looked like a few weeks ago.

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Pretty awesome if you ask me. So many exposed shells and live creatures.

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I had the place to myself for about an hour and a half. Best hour and a half I’ve had in quite some time. So peaceful, so relaxing. You really do appreciate everything you have when it’s just you, nature and your thoughts. Good time to pray and do some introspection. I kept telling myself, “Bro, you gotta do this again”.

I did have to work for the shells I found. It’s not like they were all just laying there ready to be gathered up. With a little skill as to where to look, I was able to excavate a handful of keepers. I had nowhere to rinse them off, so in the bag they went, some packed with sand.

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The tide was so low, I was able to actually walk around the jetty in ankle deep water.

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Just a peek inside the shell bag….

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And a few cleaned off goodies, freshly dug from the sand.

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This super low should be gone by Friday, so if you haven’t yet, GET OUT to the beach. And in the future, do something like this. Take the time to get out early before the beach gets overrun. You’ll have an entirely new appreciation for the beach, I promise.