Later, we saw a cardinal in a tree by the beach -- seemed very out of place. I don't know why cardinals and sand dollars always seem like a special blessing from God, but we are always grateful when we see them. We were looking at jewelry in a little shop, and Sara found some beautiful "Southern Gates " earrings that looked like sand dollars and I couldn't resist -- they will be a reminder of this special trip when I wear them.
On the way home, we made a side trip to Lexington, SC to see Edsil and Lovern Bragg. Rev. Bragg was our pastor during my teen years and was a big influence in my life. They retired to SC to be near their daughter about 9 years ago, and I meant to go see them, but just didn't get around to it until now. They had a quilting frame made by my Grandan, and told me about a year ago that I could have it. My brother wanted it, so I finally went to pick it up. But I also wanted to thank him in person for the ways he influenced my life. He was the one who first asked me to be a counselor at church camp when he directed the Junior High camp the year I was a senior in high school. Because of camp experiences, I changed my major to education and became a teacher. It was at camp that I met my future maid of honor and lifelong friend, Sheila. It was at camp that I was invited to go on the mission trip where I met my Sam -- and we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and Rev. Bragg was the one who performed the wedding ceremony. I thanked him today for all these things that happened because of him -- but he would not take any credit -- he gave all the credit to God. I, too, am grateful to God for using this minister to change my life. And I am sorry that I waited until he was 83 years old to tell him, but thankful that he is still alive and well so I don't have to regret something that I always meant to do. I am not getting any younger, either, and if there are things I always meant to do or say -- well, now is the time!