Come away and rest awhile...

When the skies seem grey and filled with rain for days on end, the thought of escaping to find some sunny weather is enticing. And if you throw in a sandy beach and warm water, I'm all in! 

Earlier this winter, sitting in our little cabin looking out at the snowy landscape, my husband and I looked at the calendar year ahead and decided to plan a get away before the start of the building season. Though I am often drawn to the comfort of familiar spots, there is a part of me that thrills to visit new places , and yes, new beaches. I do love the blue waters and white sands of the Caribbean, but getting there involves long plane flights for us here in the Seattle area. Looking for something a little closer to home, we settled on Ixtapa, Mexico. 

Ixtapa is located on the Pacific, but the reviews I read said the water was warm enough to swim...a critical thing for us who enjoy the salt water. My husband is not a "lay on the beach and read" kind of person like I am, so we always look for a place that has plenty of activities for him to do. Finding a resort that offered fishing and archery, two of his favorite past times, sealed the deal and we booked it.

There is just something almost magical to me about leaving the crisp, cool Seattle weather early in the morning and walking out of the plane in the afternoon into warm sunshine. The balmy weather and waving palm trees transport me back to my childhood days of growing up in Brasil. Something inside me, like a weight I didn't even realize I was carrying, just lets go and I feel myself relaxing. 

And then there is all the color that fills my vision everywhere I look...from the vibrant colors of the bougainvillea and hibiscus  to the warm colors of the stucco buildings. And when I wake up in the morning, the sounds of the birds...all so different from our life up north. I love walking out of our cool air conditioned room to balmy warmth that surrounds me even in the early morning...and late into the evening. Sitting out as the sun sets listening to music as we enjoy beverages and appetizers alfresco is an incredible treat for me. 

The first morning we were there in Ixtapa, as I sat reading my Bible at the beach, I came across the verse in Mark 6:31 where Jesus spoke to his disciples after ministering to crowds of people, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest awhile." Sometimes I struggle with a little guilt when I take a vacation, so I felt like God was speaking directly to me, assuring me that taking a break from work and the concerns of life was part of his plan too. 

Our days there were filled with sunshine, wonderful fruits and delicious meals (including white chocolate bread!), walks on the beach and swimming in the ocean, laying in the sun, exercise at Aqua Gym in the pool, live music and nightly shows, a beach side massage...and hubby caught a large sailfish! (I read five One day we went into town and did a little shopping and walked around a beautiful marina looking at the lovely boats. We loved engaging in conversation with other guests and the GO's (Gracious Organizers) at the resort...several from Brazil! Wish my Portuguese was not so rusty! 

As we left and flew out over the sea we had so recently enjoyed, the words of Jacque Costeau came to me, 

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.

What about you? Any beautiful beaches to recommend? Would love to hear about them! Happy Monday, friends! Warmly, Gracia