Posted by: Karinann | August 9, 2011

God’s Grace As vast As The Sea

I found these words from St Catherine of Siena on Fr. Paul Wharton’s blog Hearts On Fire. As someone who loves the sea and can relate to its many beautiful attributes, I thought the the reference to the sea and God’s grace was a fitting image.

You, O Eternal Trinity,
are a deep sea into which,
the more I enter,
the more I find,
and the more I find,
the more I seek.
O abyss,
O eternal Godhead,
O sea profound,
what more could you give me than yourself?
God’s grace, unsought and unearned,
blows through my life,
and all I need to do
is raise my sails to catch the full wind.

– St. Catherine of Siena 1347-1380

Posted by: Karinann | April 4, 2011

Sea Laughter

This was one of Bing’s images of the day. I just had to share him. He is now my wallpaper on my computer at work. When I need to smile I just look at this playful silly seal.

Posted by: Karinann | January 19, 2011

Missing The Sea

It has been months since I last visited my friend, the sea. Winter does not usually stop me from paying an occasional visit. However this winter seems to be making it more of a challenge with snow and ice storms, and not to mention the construction work on the roads leading to my favorite spot at the sea.
I miss being able to sit at the water’s edge and just stare out on the seemingly endless waters. I miss the sound of the waves and the spray on my face.
So while I am unable to visit the sea in person right now, I decided to look for some things to read and remind me of these sea traits. I stumbled upon some poetry and thought I would share them here. There are even one or two for my sailing followers.
I hope the weather will permit me to return for an up close and personal visit with my old friend very soon.
In the meantime enjoy these poems.

Today! The horizon seems far away
Across the blue waters the beautiful bay.
The line draws so taut and straight as a string
A ship sails along it. A beautiful thing.
The blue of the ocean, the grey of the sky
The drum beat of waves, a ship sailing by,
Each day its’ so different, its never the same,
The ocean is one thing that man cannot tame.

(Written in 1940)

For sixty years I’ve sailed around in circles very wide,

And steered my craft as best I might, with starlight for my guide.

I’ve hoped and hoped to come at last upon an open sea,

Where s’mother waters passed me by, and new shores could I see.

But as of old Columbus sailed and sailed on and on and on,

When dipping anchors all have failed and hope seemed almost gone,

The circles narrow dizzily, and faster round I go,

The sky is overshadowed, and I hear the cries of woe.

What shall I say oh dizzy heart, to keep my craft from wreck,

What say but like Columbus said, “Sail on, sail on by heck.”

The sun is not out, it is cloudy today,
I can see a dark ship on an ocean of gray,
The sails are not set, just the spar standing high,
Like a tall tree that burned and ready to die,
It keeps sailing along with the mast standing high,
I know it’s my dreamship passing me by.
When the Clipper ship was Queen of the wave,
The skippers were bold, and the seamen brave,
When men went sailing uncharted seas,
Depending entirely on sail and breeze,
Someone built a clipper the very best,
Eager to travel, she could not rest,
The name her builder? I do not know,
But a Queen I think, was Virginia Snow
I imagine she sailed up the western coast,
Past the Witch tree and past the ghost,
Around all the Points, to Pacific Grove,
To anchor while in that quiet cove.
Then around the shore line to Monterey,
To linger a time in that lovely bay,
Can anyone tell me? I’d love to know,
The beginning and end of Virginia Snow.
I would like this rug to commemorate,
The Virginia Snow, and her doubtful fate.

For more sea poetry visit Poetry by Zora

Posted by: Karinann | October 29, 2010

The Captain’s Ghost

I found this picture on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day site. It depicts an old ship run aground in southern Greece. If you look very closely near the on the beach near the ship, you can see a faint figure. Perhaps it is the captain’s ghost gazing sadly at his ship. Now if I just stopped right there, this would have the makings of a wonderful Halloween sea story. But alas, the figure you see is not the captain’s ghost, but the photographer himself still very much in the flesh. Click on the link above for all the technical setails of what you see in this photo. Ghost or no ghost, it still a cool picture.  And those racing lines of light you see in the sky are called star trails.

Now if you would like a real ghostly sea tale with a little good, clean romance as well, there is always this classic:


Posted by: Karinann | September 18, 2010

The Sea At Dawn: God’s Color

The color of the sea at dawn; this is truly God’s own custom color for the sea for no man could possibly reproduce it. I think if someone could or did, I would have seen it in one of those huge boxes of crayons.

I have been coming to this retreat house by the sea for at least four or five years now and I don’t ever remember seeing the sea in this particular early dawn color; or perhaps I have never noticed it before now. I will make an attempt to describe it but I am afraid my words or even a picture will not do it justice. The color is barely a color at all. It is the faintest of blues with a shimmery, milky translucence.  It is almost as if God took the clearest of water and dropped in it the tiniest drop of blue. At this early hour when the sky is also at its palest, with hints of red on the horizon, the sea seems to blend with the sky.

This is the most peaceful, calming color I have ever seen, but at the same time I also find it quite exhilarating. The sea at dawn is also when I find myself the most humbled. Standing at the water’s edge, trying to soak in as much of this beautiful color as I possibly can, I am in awe of God as Creator. Here I am His lowly creature and He has given me this gift of His amazing artistry!

If I thought for one moment that someone in a paint store could reproduce this color, I would drag him to the sea at dawn and say: “Please~ make that!” I would then proceed to paint every wall in mt home with it.

But maybe this is why it is God’s color; He has given it to me as a gift here and now in this very special place. It probably wouldn’t look the same anywhere else. Although, dear Lord, in that place You have gone to prepare for me in Your Father’s house, if that place has heavenly walls I wouldn’t mind seeing this color splashed on them.

Posted by: Karinann | September 18, 2010

The Moods Of The Sea

The particular beach where my annual retreat takes place, has as I suppose all beaches do, a personality of sorts all its own. On Sunday of last week, there was a brief storm, after which I decided to go out for a walk. The rough surf during the storm formed a bit of a ridge in the sand close to the shoreline. This ridge formed a nice little sandy bench for me to sit with God and my thoughts.

As I sat gazing out on the steel gray sea, I began to think about the “personality and moods” of the sea. Just like us, the sea, depending on the day and climate, can have varying moods. The day before this storm, the sea was calm and a deep marine blue with some tinges of green and the very next day cold gray and rough. Our own moods too depend upon our surroundings and inner and outer circumstances.

In my own life, my moods are sometimes a reaction to what is going on in and around me~my health, the good or not so good moods of others, and sometimes even the weather.

I sat and watched the crashing waves for quite some time that day and thought about how on the surface the sea seemed agitated, maybe even a bit angry, but farther out and deeper still there was most likely a calm I could not see.

In meditating and reflecting on the sea’s moods, it came to me that no matter what, the sea as one of God’s creations always does what God created it to do thus glorifying its Creator. If we keep God at and as our center, trying our best to live up to being the men and women He created us to be, even on our stormiest days we will find the peace and the calm in that deep and still Center within our souls where God dwells.

Sometimes the sea is a great teacher and speaks volumes!

Posted by: Karinann | August 25, 2010

Children Write About The Sea

I came across these little sea-bits written by children of varying ages at a website called Funny E-mail. In all my years working with children, I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that you never know what might come out of their mouths. These were just fun and even somewhat funny, so I thought I would share them here.

I will be headed to southern part of my home state of New Jersey for my annual retreat by the sea in a few weeks, so I am sure I will return with some new thoughts and pictures to share here.

I did seem to notice a theme in their writing; they seem to be a little preoccupied with body parts and bodily functions. Oh well still quite childlike and innocent.

Enjoy this sea version of Kids Say the Darndest Things.

1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.(Kelly age 6)

2) Oysters’ balls are called pearls. (James age 6)

3) If you are surrounded by sea you are an Island. If you don’t have sea all round you, you are in continent. (Wayne age 7)

4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She’s not my friend no more. (Kylie age 6)

5) A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head. (Billy age 8)

6) My uncle goes out in his boat with pots, and comes back with crabs. (Millie age 6)

7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn’t blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would be better off eating beans. (William age 7)

8) I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. How do mermaids get pregnant? (Helen age 6)

9) I’m not going to write about the sea. My baby brother is always screaming and being sick, my Dad keeps shouting at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can’t think what to write. (Amy age 6)

10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher age 7)

11) When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small. (Kevin age 6)

12) Divers have to be safe when they go under the water. Two divers can’t go down alone, so they have to go down on each other. (Becky age 8)

13) On holiday my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won’t do it again because water shot up her fanny. (Julie age 7)

Posted by: Karinann | May 26, 2010

Seasons Of The Sea

I definitely have my favorite seasons to visit the sea. Strange as it may sound, the summer is not one of them, and there are several reasons for that. The first is that I hate the heat, the second is I am not fond of a crowded beach. So give me a cool to cold cloudy, even rainy day and I have a perfect beach day~ no heat, no crowds.

Now all that being said, I’ve needed a day by the ocean for some time now and since I had the day off today, I decided to go. Now the calendar still says spring, nut thermometers here in NJ said summer! That’s right 95 degrees which meant a somewhat crowded beach (apparently I wasn’t the only one with a mid~week day off.) This is God’s sense of humor at work~ the 2 things I hate most~ heat and crowds, and because He really needed a good laugh at my expense today he through in traffic and a detour leading to who knows where. But despite all that, it was worth the heat and aggravation of getting there. The minute my car hit the bridge crossing the bay I could smell the sea air and my blood pressure dropped about 20 points.

As you can tell if you have read this far, there is no point to this post, just my musings (and a little ranting and raving). The sea definitely has its seasons, and despite my having my favorites, they are all beautiful in their own right.

There isn’t much a day by the ocean can’t cure; hopefully this one will hold me over until my retreat in September when I get to spend a whole week there.

Posted by: Karinann | March 21, 2010

The Sea: So Lovely And So Deadly

This post is actually a review of a book I recently read. The title of this post is a quote from the author in his notes at the end of the book. The book is Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. It is the account of the hurricane that struck the island town of Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900. It has gone on record as one of, if not the deadliest storm to hit the U.S. during the 20th century. This storm’s 15.7 foot storm surge left more than 6,000 of Galveston’s 37,000 residents dead and 3,600 buildings destroyed.

The book’s title comes from its main character Isaac Cline who was the resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau at the time. Despite the some of the out of the ordinary signs, like the deep sea swells, Isaac as well as others, did not grasp what the signs truly meant. Hours later, one of the deadliest hurricanes would destroy the island of Galveston and the lives of those who lived there; Isaac himself does not escape personal tragedy ~ his wife would be among the dead.

While the storm itself seems to be the main “character”  in this story, there is more to it than simply the retelling of events. There is the strained and eventually estranged relationship between Isaac and his brother Joseph. There is also the thread of pride that may have prevented Isaac from seeing the signs of this impending storm clearly.

This is a true story that reads like a novel. Larson portrays the characters, including the storm itself, in a way that you come to know them quite well.

I have lived through a few hurricanes in my time~ Hurricane Floyd back in 1999 being the worst I have experienced. I was living in North Carolina at the time. This storm was certainly not  as deadly as the likes of Katrina, Camille, Hugo or Andrew, but did its share of damage.

The reason I decided to post about this book on this blog and not my others is that, as Erik Larson stated in his notes, the sea can be quite lovely but also quite deadly. The name of this blog also seems to be a reminder that indeed the voice, and the hand, of the Lord are upon the waters. With all that modern technology enables us to do, it does not give man the ability to control or sometimes even predict accurately all that the sea can do; only its Creator can do that. Man can only use the tools he has and hold a deep reverence and respect for what is in my humble opinion, God’s most awesome natural wonder.

You can read an excerpt from Isaac’s Storm here.

Learn more about the Galveston Hurricane here.

Posted by: Karinann | January 24, 2010

If Heaven Has Ocean Views…

Scripture tells us that Or Lord has gone and prepared a place for each of us. Well I am asking for one with a view of the sea if it is not too much trouble.

For weeks now I have been hoping to make a trip to the ocean. Today was finally the day. Now anyone who lives in the central New Jersey area is thinking that I am a little crazy right about now given the weather conditions today. However, I am not your typical beach go~er; I prefer the beach in off seasons. Summer is actually my least favorite time to be there. I go to the beach for one reason~to visit the sea.

For me this most awesome of God’s creations (well at least my favorite) is like a faithful friend, but also one that demands respect. It is also the one place I know I can always go and find my and its Creator there. God and I have had some marvelous conversations by the sea.

Back to the weather for today. It was about 40 degrees and very overcast; not what most people consider beach weather, but for me conditions were perfect. So I made myself a thermos of hot tea (I had already had my quota of coffee), donned my wet weather winter jacket in case it did decide to actually rain, and out the door I went.

My favorite spot for these little impromptu sea visits is the beach at Sandy Hook; it is under an hour’s drive from where I live. Sandy Hook is located across the bay from the Atlantic Highlands, or simply the Highlands to locals. It is an area rich in history. However that is not the main objective of this post; I’ll save it for another day.

I arrived around noon. I got out of my car, and there it was~the music my ears had been longing for; the sound of crashing waves! I think my blood pressure dropped 10 points in that moment. As I approached the beach, the smell of salt and sea was heavenly.

The ocean was a bit rougher than it usually is in these parts, but it was what I was hoping for. I climbed a few rocks and finally found one comfortable enough to sit on so I could take some pictures and then just sit and listen to all the sea had to say.

Except for one or two passers~by, I was the only one on this little stretch of beach. For me, that’s pretty close to heaven on earth!

I stayed for about an hour and a half, at which point I could begin to feel the cold really settling into my very bones, so I took in one last big breath of sea air and thanked God and my friend the sea for this visit.

It truly was what the Doctor ordered!

As you can see from reading this, there was really no point to this post, just my spontaneous musings on one of my favorite escapes. Hopefully the pictures are a little more enjoyable than the writing 🙂

Given that I even get there, I really do hope heaven has some ocean views!

Sandy Hook Light House

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