Meet my friend Kim (pictured above). She loves the beach more than any person I've ever met!

Also, I wanted to share a little piece of my heart today.

I used to love the beach. I had a beach themed bedroom, beach themed folders for school - basically everything I owned was covered in seashells and sand... Until I realized that I didn't like the ocean. There are few things worse to me than stepping into a giant sea and being unable to see my feet on the ocean floor, or what's swimming around my feet. When something unexpected brushes my big toe, I usually run out, arms flailing, heart racing.

But then, I went on a cruise, and not just any cruise - a DISNEY cruise. And as part of the cruise, we went to "Castaway Cay," Disney's private island in the Bahamas. And to my great surprise, upon arriving at the beach with a stack of books in hand to act as a diversion from the creature filled sea, I found clear, crystal blue waters. I could see everything in the water - everything swimming around me, all the way out into the deeper parts of the ocean! My courage returned as I put on my goggles and swam in the shallows. All was controlled and all was safe. I could see everything coming from nearly a mile away and could dart back to the shore if danger came near.

What a picture of how we live our lives sometimes. We wade into the safety of crystal blue waters where everything is certain, where everything is known. We can see obstacles coming from a mile away and can save ourselves from the pain of adversity and obstacle. But we forget that sometimes, the best lessons are learned in the muddy water. In the uncertainty. In the unknown.

The truth is, when I decided to NOT swim in the muddy water, I might've been safe, but I missed out on so many good things. Time with family and friends. The opportunity to build relationships. The joy of shared experience.

Where are you swimming today? Are you playing it safe, or willing to step out into the unknown?