Lens-Artists Challenge #193 – Birthdays

lifeguard stand, beach, fence, flags

“Life is a collage of events, really.”


This week John has asked us to feature a special birthday event (or several of them). I’m fortunate that my everyday life is something I celebrate, and because birthdays aren’t high on my list of favorite things, this one was extra challenging for me. My family and I do share one very special annual event each year however – our “Family Beach Week”, hence my focus for this week. Hopefully John will excuse the fact that it’s not truly a birthday event.

beach, sand, umbrellas, summer

“It’s the little things that make happy moments, not grand events.”

Sharon Draper

I come from a large family which when assembled includes nearly 30 people including my siblings, their spouses and their children and grandchildren. We are located across the country and each year it becomes a bit more difficult to bring everyone together. That said, our annual “beach week” typically ends up with 25 or more of us, so clearly it’s a priority event for all.

hat, stripes

“We should count our blessings more than our happenings.”

Ana Claudia Antunes

Each year my husband and I make a 2-day drive north to share a week of fun and chaos with family members. My husband was shell-shocked the first few years, as he comes from a much smaller family, but he’s long-since become as crazy as the rest of us ๐Ÿ˜Š.

crab, red, cartoon

“The event is not over until everyone is tired of talking about it.”

Mason Cooley

We share meals (including an annual hardshell crab fest), music (including a naming competition),an annual T-Shirt commemorating the event (Happy Crab above was our featured Tee one year), sand sculpting, games and camaraderie as we get to know the newest family members and update ourselves on each others’ lives. The challenge of our “commute” becomes more difficult with each passing year, but we ever-more-clearly recognize the importance of reconnecting in-person with those we love.

rain, beach

“Life’s journey is one big path with a series of events.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

As shown above, it’s not always sunny and warm, and a few times it’s been beastly hot and is always crowded. It’s not the beach or the weather we seek however, rather it’s the time spent with loved ones from near and far. Making the extra effort to share one small set of treasured moments each year has become, for us, a very special event.

stormy sky, beach, clouds

“Mile by mile one hits the milestone.”

Amit Kalantri

At the end of our return drive, brutal as usual, my husband and I swear we’ll never make the trip again. Yet here we are with our 2022 lodgings booked and our sights set on seeing everyone again this summer. A combination of Covid and our growing families has meant the end of our annual Christmas gathering and we are determined not to let the same thing happen to Family Beach Week.

Sincere thanks to John for the opportunity to reminisce about our special event. Now back to you – are you featuring a birthday, another celebration, or some event that’s special only to you? Whatever you choose, please remember to link your response to John’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Thanks also to Amy for last week’s Earth Story challenge. We saw earth from top to bottom, from sea to shore and from the mountains to the prairies. It was a marvelous display of Mother Earth’s many gifts as well as a number of reminders to protect her more fervently that we historically have.

As always, we thank you for joining us and hope you’ll be with us again this week and next, when Sofia leads our challenge on her Photographias blog. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining Lens-Artists? Click here for more information


125 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #193 – Birthdays

  1. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays we go out of our way for, but leave the extended family out. The only expectation is a good meal, maybe a dessert. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This is a lovely post and a glimpse into your busy life and how you make time for those who are so important to you. This was a hard one for me, too since I come from a super small family. Thanks for sharing another way to share.

  3. Nice read. “The little things that make happy moments, not grand events”.

    I enjoyed the quotes, the narrative style made it easy and fun to follow the story.
    And I find the whole write up and picture combination brilliant.

    Great job!

  4. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-193-Birthdays – WoollyMuses

  5. Wow Mrs Schell. Interesting blog about the Lens Artist Challenge.

    Birthdays are very important events we should celebrate and honor them. I love thisโ™ฅ๏ธ

    Also, it is those small moments that matter and not the grand events๐Ÿ’ฏ

  6. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #193 โ€“ Birthdays – Site Title

  7. Great photos but an even better back story – family gatherings. I’m an only child, but my husband is one of 9. We have aged out of the cross country family gatherings because of passings and travel, but the memories of those wonderful yearly family reunions will be with us forever and always bring a smile. Enjoy as many of those beach weeks as possible. You’ll never regret it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Wow – only child and one of 9 ! My husband comes from a small family while mine is large but your differences are far greater than ours Judy. So glad you were able to enjoy the large events along the way and my plan is to do so as long as we can but it does become pretty challenging. So many terrific memories tho! Thanks for stopping by, as always.

  8. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #193 โ€“ Birthdays – MobsterTiger

  9. Beautiful photos! I like the idea of Beach Week, but not ones that are that crowded! I would prefer Beach Day, every day, like the gorgeous photo you took of the “break in the clouds”.

  10. What a great family tradition, Tina. It sounds like a fun-filled, chaotic, and wonderful time. I’m hoping you have great weather this year and an equally great celebration. Your last 2 photos really resonated with me. I love the sky and clouds and the rainy scene. Just wonderful. Have a great week.

    • Thanks Patti – yes we’ve been doing it now for nearly 20 years. We’ve had many laughs thru the years and have made memories that will carry us through the years when we can no longer participate. Covid did stop us one year but so far all are signed up for 2022. I try not to think about the “commute” LOL.

  11. These beach images makes want to escape our freezing weather and travel somewhere south. That’s a great image of clouds above the beach..pinks and blues . Thanks for sharing this Anita

  12. How lovely to spend the morning with you Tina and visiting all that I have missed on Travels and Trifles for far too long. Your pictures have certainly uplifted my spirits during these sad times that we are all living through. It’s amazing how we have shared so many of the places you have visited: Kinsale, Glacier Bay, Gourde, the drive from Melbourne to see the Apostles, Jaffa and so many more. I feel like I have been on a little holiday, something that has been sorely missed. Glad to see that all is well with you. Sending you my warmest wishes as always.๐Ÿ’•

    • well hello there Andrew, how lovely to see your name. Unfortunately your comment went to spam but I found it there thank goodness. Appreciate your visit and comment very much. Yes, holidays have been few and far between of late. I see your posts but don’t always comment. they are always beautiful – my favorites of course are those of your beloved grandchildren!! Glad to know you are well! Fondest regards, as always.

  13. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #193 โ€“ Birthdays – FirstBenny.Updates.org

  14. Interesting habit, Tina. I love the idea. From your collection, I love the last one most for the serenity and how you captured the tinyness of humans in comparison with nature, although you set the humans in the center, nature dominates. It’s an image to print in big for the wall!

  15. This is a wonderful tradition for a family to have! And it’s great that everyone makes an effort to be there, to make it special. I love the photo of the break in the clouds – I like my beaches uncrowded like that one ๐Ÿ™‚

    • thanks Sarah โ€“ we certainly agree on that. Our beach here on Kiawah has NEVER seen crowds like that and hopefully never will. My sister-in-law laughs every time we say our beach is โ€œcrowdedโ€. Typically that means more than 3 or 4 people are there LOL. Glad you enjoyed the closing image, it was a spectacular sky that day.

  16. I’m not usually a Big Birthday Bash person either. But as you show, it’s definitely worth the effort sometimes. I love te way you’ve chosen the less-than-obvious moments.

  17. Seeing as I come from a very small family, I was an only child, and all of my various cousins and Aunts and Uncles lived in England or Ireland, family gatherings are something I am completely unfamiliar with. But your beach week looks like a grand affair. And a celebration indeed!

    • You know, my husband and I are the only ones who live in the south Anne, so most of the time we’re on our own as well. Beach week is literally now the only time we see everyone together, which is part of why despite the difficulty of the travel, we keep pushing ourselves to be there. My mom was an only child and I think it’s part of why she had so many kids. She told me she hated not having brothers or sisters.

  18. Enjoyed them all but that last shot stole my heart while the second made me shudder. That many people in one place/on one beach aren’t my cup of tea. The rainy shot is a good one as well. (They’re all good, but you know what I mean.)


    • ๐Ÿ˜ŠThanks Janet, you rock! I’m with you 100%. Too crowded for us too. There’s always someone up at the house they rent right on the beach (we rent our own place nearby). We get to enjoy everyone in smaller doses most of the time, and then join in for the big events like the contests and meals.

  19. I loved your photos and story, Tina. It sounds like a wonderful celebration of everyone’s birthday, all the birthdays that couldn’t be celebrated throughout the year.

  20. This is such a great way of keeping up with life and family – I wish we could do something like that. But, we are not such a big family, and we are split up in small portions around the world. Love your choices of images, they really make me feel relaxed – hopefully the feeling you all have when you get together.

    • Hah – relaxed is not the word I’d choose A-C. More like chaotic or frenzied. Never a quiet moment. In fact my husband and I always take our own condo so that we can escape the noise as the evening draws to a close. The younger families party hearty into the night LOL!!

  21. Beach Week! Looks summery! Love the rain shot and the clouds and sky following. I always say ‘into every rain a little life must fall’, twisted as I am. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • If that’s twisted John, count me in! I too love the rain and the dramatic skies that come along with it. And yes, the annual gathering is typically in July and it doesn’t get much more summery than that!

    • It gets a bit harder every year Jude. The little ones are such a draw for me and they change so fast, I’d hate to miss a year! We’re up to 7 great-nieces and nephews with another due in June. I think being quite a distance from the family makes me cherish them all the more.

      • Now you have made me think how many great nieces and nephews I might have. I think only six and I have never seen any of them!

  22. Tina and John-If I am not mistaken, wasnโ€™t last week #193? This week should be 194.
    Good topic too, since my birthday is in two weeks! Great posts too, thanks.

    • Hi there RB – actually no, last week was 192 so this is indeed 193 (altho I did have to look it up to be sure!!) Happy almost birthday to you, glad you enjoyed this one.

    • LOL you’re right Laurel. Since they’ve always been part of my life I honestly don’t stop to think about that. We do our best to look past each others’ shortcomings, including our own!

  23. Your post made me think of my own summer holidays, the only time of the year we, a group of friends that knew each other since we were toddlers, would spend time together. Those things are to be celebrated, I know that now, being away from it all for so many years. Terrific post, Tina.

  24. Your Family Beach Week sounds amazing Tina! Everyone pitching in and helping from feasting to fun games would make the celebration a truly memorable time for you all . I would imagine it’s a tradition to hold onto for as long as possible ๐Ÿ™‚
    I just LOVE that final photo… what a skyscape !

    • Poppy – how fabulous to see your name pop up!!! Hope all is well with you. And yes, it’s been a terrific tradition and is that much more so now that all of my nieces and nephews are bringing new little ones into the party. That last image was one of the most spectacular skies I’ve ever seen. I was so glad that family (not ours) was there to lend perspective.

      • Great nephews and Great nieces ! Aww how lovely .yes I can imagine you thinking ‘please please don’t pack up just yet ‘ for that last photo ๐Ÿ˜‰
        Thanks Tina all well ๐Ÿ™‚ I surprised myself by taking a leap back into blogging again …

  25. Hi Tina
    Enjoyed learning a bit more about beach week – I knew a little bit about it – and also loved the quotes (the bits of rain and the mile by mile ) and quotes fit so well as you shared about the effort and enjoyment of making family beach week remain part of your life.
    Also – side note – not too big on birthdays over here either! Maybe the milestone ones but I know a few folks who make way too big a deal
    Out of their birthday (big needy babies at timesha) but to each their own!

    • LOL, know just what you mean Yvette. Birthdays were always a huge deal growing up. I’ll never forget on my 16th, my whole family agreed without telling me that they were all going to pretend they’d forgotten all about it. Then at dinnertime of course they made a big deal of it. But by then I was so upset I didn’t care about the celebration! That was a VERY long time ago and I still remember how upset I was!

      • That is kind of mean even tho they meant well!
        We used to go camping for my birthday and one year everyone did forget my bday / so my mom ran off to the store and got the only thing they had for candles – a tweety bird – so she out that I top of a cheesecake and it was nice later in the day! However – for a few years in a row she kept the tweety bird theme going and I finally asked why / and told her I wasn’t really into tweety It’s! Loll (thought I saw a putty tat!)
        And so now once in a while when we see tweety bird we take a pic and text it to each other

        But as an adult – I think having a dinner together is more than enough

    • Well I’m suspect we’re a larger group of people than one might thank Gypsie ๐Ÿ˜Š. Glad you enjoyed these and happy to welcome you to the “better than birthdays” club!

      • I believe television commercials have โ€œpoisonedโ€ little girls minds concerning romance, love and marriage. Hallmark and Zales.

        I canโ€™t tell you how disappointed I was when on my BIG 50, expecting something magnificent (A ring I longed for) I received a box of red clay from the Dead-Sea to help erase wrinkles!

        So not my most glorious birthday moment in my aging journey! LOL

  26. Oh, those crowded umbrellas remind me of a day I spent on a Caribbean Island. You couldn’t see the sand for the people and umbrellas!
    Oh, and I’m sure it was somebody’s birthday (or close to it) in your celebration… I’ll allow it. >grin<

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