As I lazed on the beach with my daughter while watching my 5 year old granddaughter play in the sand and cover her every pore with sand, I soaked it in. It was a strikingly beautiful Lake Michigan day; 70 degrees, clear blue sky, no humidity and a breeze. My zen everything was before and around me.

I took it all in, like having been underground too long had made it seem new and magical all over again. It was such a happy place for my soul with so many memories. The sights, sounds and smells overloaded me, but in a way that captured what was not really able to be articulated in words. Having moved away for a couple years, this was my first beach trip to the familiar shores of Lake Michigan. My very core had missed this place and its people whom I love deeply.

My thoughts were interrupted by my granddaughter, "Is this is the biggest lake in the world?" She has the most curious mind ever and I love that about her! Google responded back with the answer - it's the 5th largest fresh water lake in the world. But all of the four Great Lakes in the Midwest rank in the top 11 of the largest lakes in the world. That's probably lost on people from both coasts.  Definitely the Eastern Shore inhabitants, where I had just returned home from living, had no concept of the size of these lakes.

I read a quote recently that resonated - a poem called Redefining Success by Morgan Harper Nichols. . .

We often measure the success of our lives by what we accomplish,

but what if success was defined by what we had simply been present to?

For me, I have been present to a midday showing of big clouds

floating slowly across a blue sky.

I have been present to infinite raindrops falling from that same sky to the ground.

I have been present to the soil possessing the miraculous ability 

to produce plants that provide nourishment to the body.

I have been up close to an innumerable amount of Divine living things.

I have been fully alive and present while birds were singing.

And that bird I heard that day? 

Another bird swung by sometime after and landed on that same branch.

And then another one came along.

And then, another one.

A beautiful succession.

A continuum for all of time.

Life goes on and on and on in a billion different directions.

And somehow, I have been allowed to be a witness.

I have been right here in this life, all along.

I have been present.

Here's to finding peace in the act of redefining success.

Here's to finding true fulfilling joy in simply being present

to what is good and beautiful in this life.

Present is such a filling space.  If you can arrive and stay until it's gone, there is room for nothing else that really matters.