Creating the Ocean, in the Desert

During our one month Hawaii house swap, we went to the ocean almost every day. Why? Why did we want to go again and again and why we did we love it so much when we were there? What did it give us, and, for those of us who do not live by the ocean, how can we create that?

We’ve been home a week as I write this piece. I had to run errands the other day and wanted my five year old daughter to come with me. She wanted to watch her kids NETFLIX movie. I told her that too much TV and computer were not good for her. “You didn’t have a computer when we were in Hawaii,” I said. She responded with, “Yeah, I HAD AN OCEAN!”
First I have to preface this with the fact that “getting to the beach” was quite the ordeal (suits, sunscreen, gathering things, and getting there, along with all the PEOPLE dynamics). However, EVERYBODY WAS HAPPY AT THE OCEAN!

If I were to choose the top reasons our family ALL enjoyed the ocean, it would be that we had FUN, EXPERIENCED NATURE, and felt the CALMING EFFECT of the WAVES and we were able to do that together. Of all the things we did and places we went, our time at the ocean stands out the most.

We live in Utah (a desert) and there is no ocean even remotely close to us, so I have been pondering how we can CREATE the same effects where we live. I do believe we can learn to find activities where we have FUN, EXPERIENCE NATURE, and find CALMING STRESS RELIEF activities and do this TOGETHER.

We are a blended family and I will be the first to admit that we have struggled with family togetherness. Our 7 children range in age from 3 to 28 years. Some our grown and gone and others still at home. Two of our older children were able to join us in Hawaii for part of the trip and two were not. My dream is for us to create more opportunities for all of us to have fun together while enjoying nature and its calming effect.

Utah is full of beautiful mountains! The view from our own home is spectacular. This past year I have come to love, appreciate, and draw strength and solace from those mountains. Even before Hawaii, I had started spending time just looking at them, seeing their beauty, stability, and symbolism. Now since returning from Hawaii and searching for “Our Ocean in the Desert,” I appreciate them even more. Even just gazing at them brings peace to me but I would like to truly experience this with my family.

Besides just enjoying the outdoors more, right from our own home and neighborhood, I would like to incorporate family hikes, camping, and enjoying the lakes and many national parks of Utah. It’s pretty sad that we have lived here forever and not taken advantage of that resource to strengthen our family. It’s even ridiculous that we had to go half way around the world to learn what we could already do in our own back yard. I am grateful, however, for the lesson I learned. OUR FAMILY, CAN BE STRENGTHENED BY ENJOYING NATURE AND its CALMING EFFECTS, TOGETHER!!!


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Hawaii as well. I’m grateful for the suggestions of how to incorporate nature into my life to receive that same peace we felt at the beach. Thank you for both this post and for letting me join you in Hawaii. It was a wonderful experience.

  2. JoLyn – the last year that I was in Utah – I found my solace and oasis at the beach in Huntsville. There is a park there where you can sit on the sands of
    Pineview Reservoir and we would bring pizza some evenings and just look at the sunset and enjoy the calming waves. It is and was one of the most Heavenly
    places that I have ever experienced in nature. Whenever I return to Utah – I try to return there. I hope you will go there and see for yourself how amazing
    it is in the late afternoon/early evening.

    1. Author

      Janice, thank you for sharing how and where you found nature’s peaceful places, and what that did for you. I’m thankful for the reminder of Pine View Reservoir in Utah not too far from where we are. I will plan an outing there soon.

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