Throughout my house, I have little bits of the beach - small reminders of the place where life feels relaxing and to-do lists are far, far away. There's a coaster on my desk (usually obscured by a glass of tea or a chai from Starbucks) that proclaims, "Beach Access." There's a seashell display in my dining room that sometimes functions as a centerpiece, sometimes sits on the sideboard under the windows (and was most recently moved to a window sill between the dining room and the mudroom when a Christmas village took over the sideboard.)
On the dresser in my bedroom, miniature sea shells and sea shell slices sit atop a pedastaled soap dish (minus the soap). And in the drawer in the living room, my devotional - beach-themed - waits patiently for me to pull it out and seek inspiration and solace.
This didn't happen all at once. In fact, I'm not entirely sure where it started, but somewhere along the line, I felt the need to bring a bit of the seashore home with me, hoping to evoke the sense of peace that is often elusive in the day-to-day. Sometimes, the mementos do the trick. Other times, they elicit a smile. Occasionally, I look right past them as I focus on the clutter and tasks that surround - and sometimes obscure - them.
But mostly - like the stubbed toes and slow-moving traffic that I'm convinced God puts in my day to nudge me to slow down - they give me pause, in a good way. I look. I take a breath. I return to the task at hand, but perhaps a bit more slowly and thoughtfully, a little bit of paradise sinking into my soul.