MOODY: Keep on counting the blessings in Destin

Susan Moody, Emerald Coast Insider

This morning, as I was having a cup of coffee and catching up on news (local, national, international, and personal), I came across the social media feed from the Destin Log asking followers what they would like to see covered this week. One response was to profile what it's like raising a family along the Emerald Coast.

My little light bulb immediately went off, as I figured I could cover that in my column this week. I had lovely thoughts about waxing poetic about how my family and I explore beautiful beaches, spend hours outside enjoying the weather, and enjoying all the beauty bestowed upon the Emerald Coast.

And then of course, I got real. It’s not that we don’t spend time at the beach, or enjoy local seafood while watching the sunset, it’s just that sometimes regular life gets in the way of my perfectly curated, Instagram-filtered version of what raising two kids along the Emerald Coast looks like.

For every perfect sunset photo, I have two tons of sand in the back of my car, and for every status update and Tweet posted about building sandcastles and swimming in the Gulf, I have three about two kids arguing over juice box flavors and who has the best shovel.

Sometimes, instead of heading to the beach or the boat, or out fishing, I have to go to gymnastics, baseball games, soccer practice, school, and work. I’m not complaining, because there isn’t a better place to be than in Destin. And those times, when the stars align, and schedules permits, and we sneak in an afternoon or evening at the beach, serve as an opportunity to count our blessings — and those moments are worth every grain of sand in my car.

This week marks the Tenth Annual Week of Blessings, a tradition which encourages residents of Destin to count and celebrate their many blessings. Throughout the week, families, businesses, and schools will be blessed by the Ecumenical Church of Destin, which is made up of more than 15 area congregations. Today, area businesses can participate in The Blessing of The Marketplace at the Destin Life Center. My favorite event, however, remains the Blessing of The Fleet.

For more than 50 years, Destin residents and visitors have celebrated the men and women who truly make Destin the "World’s Luckiest Fishing Village" — the men and women who captain and crew the fishing boats that drive our economy and provide for their own families.

I am always amazed that in the 56 years this city has stood together and asked for blessings, there has never been a fishing boat fatality. That’s not to say to that Destin and the fishing fleet haven’t weathered more than their fair of share of storms. It’s not to say that more stormy weather isn’t just around a corner, it’s just a lovely reminder that community, whether it be faith-based, or defined by geographical borders and beaches, is important.

If you haven’t participated in the Blessing of Fleet, do yourself a favor and head to the harbor this year. The program starts at 4 p.m. Thursday behind Fisherman’s Wharf, and the boat processions begin about an hour later. It wouldn’t be Destin if there wasn’t fish fry, so be sure to stick around for some dinner. Personally, the Blessing of the Fleet reminds me to count my blessings, big and small. Especially those blessings that are coated in sand and aren’t designed for Intstagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at