On life's journey, whether traveling around the world or walking around your block, there's lots to learn about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, so lets dive into a new ocean together!

Monday, July 9, 2018

D.C. I love you

When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then.
People don't have your past to hold against you.
No yesterdays on the road.

Hello, Mr. Lincoln

June, 2018: I'm so excited! I finally visit our nation's capitol.
All the history, the architecture, the food ...
and of course all the interesting people.

In the spirit of the Fourth of July,
here are a few photos of my 'quick trip' to the capitol of the USA.
Most of you have probably been here.
For me, it was special because I'm an
American who loves my country.
No crazy politics on this blog.
I'm amazed how so many people are
absolutely crazed out on their Facebook,
blogs, and all other means of communication.
Not much love to be found in certain circles.
The hate is so evident.
Why don't y'all take some deep breaths
and instead of pounding the President,
take a few moments and pray for him.
I'm just thankful to be surrounded by
beautiful fellow Americans who love and appreciate their country
and who pray for those in office.

Now, on with the show ...

The Washington Monument.
This was a touching moment for me.
Also makes me recall my friend Forest Gump.


Oh, the books!
Library of Congress, the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States.


Oh, the books!
And look! The 'free book table'

Strolling down the avenue, reading my 'free' book...
...beats talking on my cell phone!


Love the architecture of the Library of Congress


The Senate Building


Me and my new friend Jenna in front of
The White House


Rob bought me a hat and a painting here for our
30th wedding anniversary!


The Hat Lady who makes awesome hats!
The Capitol Hill Flea Market

There's so much to see.  So little time.
I'll have more photos another time.
(Vietnam Veteran's Memorial)
Until then, I'll keep on writing and wishing you oceans of kindness.


We grow like a flower in the field.
After the wind blows, the flower is gone, and there is no sign of where it was.
But the Lord's love ... continues forever and ever.
Psalm 103:15-17



Thursday, June 14, 2018

On the road again to Virginia and ...

The beauty of traveling is the beautiful people.

This is why we're here.
"Bringing hope to America's families"


Main Street, Culpeper, Virginia
We've been in Culpeper, Virginia for two weeks.
What a beautiful state!
Hills and mountains galore!

We parked our motor home in the back shipping/receiving area of CIA's new facility.
I haven't had much time to explore until today.
Our home-on-wheels is in the shop, hopefully for just today.
(the engine light keeps coming on--not a good sign)
So I'm homeless.

I dropped Popcorn off at Petsmart, then
enjoyed a leisure breakfast on Main Street at Frost's Diner.
After shop-lifting ... er ... window-shopping,
I found The Raven's Nest, a darling little coffee house.
"Yay! Now I can write a quick blog!"
Well, I started this blog with good intentions
until I met the friendliest couple;
then I met two lovely ladies who mentioned in conversation that they were walkers.
SO, out comes my business cards and I introduce them
to my upcoming book, LADY on the RUN.
And I shared with them Christ In Action.
And so it goes.  I love this life on the road!

We're hangin out with the big boys (see us? way in the back!) at Camp Hope
Frost's Cafe on Main Street, Culpeper, Virginia

We'll be here until the end of July.
I'll be in training tomorrow for CIA's
"Office Support Team."
I'm also working on my last draft of LADY on the RUN!
Rob was so sweet to pack the iMac for me.
I usually type/write on my laptop.

We'll head west to Springfield, Missouri in August
to spend time with our son and daughter-in-law.
Then our next stop will be Waco, Texas
to have breakfast at Chip and JoAnne Gaines new restaurant.
Anyone care to join us?
Last stop on our "Circle of Love" journey:
 Montgomery, Alabama to visit our
three great-grandsons.

A total of 3 months of traveling in the good ol' USA!

Until the next time ...

I wish you oceans of summer blessings!



... let us run with patience the race that is set before us!
Hebrews 12:1a

P.S.: Update: I ran into the 'walking' lady in a nearby cafe the other evening. Small town.
We're back in our motor home! Moon River (her name) needed a new switch ($100.00 + labor).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lady Traveler ~ Oceans of blessings

The gift of life unwraps itself through time;
all we need to do is sit back and enjoy its contents.

Surfside Pier, South Carolina
Truly each day is a gift of life.
The older I get, the more I appreciate each moment.
With all of the everyday trials and tribulations we go through,
it's vital to embrace the tranquility in our daily lives.
Our family.  Our friends.  Our health.  Our daily bread.

Spending the last three weeks at the beach,
I allowed my surroundings to take me away ...
the sea breeze, the salty air,
the sound of the sea, the sand between my long toes,
the sun and the moon reflecting their light on the warm Atlantic Ocean ...
I could have stayed forever,
and I asked myself several times,
"Why don't we move here?"
Then I came to my senses.

I know that I am right where I'm supposed to be, for now.
Near family.  Near friends I've made over the past few years.
Involved in a loving church.
Surrounded by caring neighbors in a great neighborhood.
A home that overlooks a pond where deer roam in the wee hours of the morning.
I could go on and on.

I'm sure there are times when you wish you were somewhere else.
The mountains.  The desert.  The sea.  On a lake.
For now, it's important for you to be happy right where God has you.
You're there for a reason.  Perhaps for only a season.
So make the best of this precious time.


Here's a few pictures of our days at
Myrtle Beach State Park and Ocean Lakes in South Carolina

The beauty of the South Carolina coastline.


The Blue Angels Air Show in Myrtle Beach, SC
They flew over the ocean above our campground!
What a sight to see.
And loud!!
Princess Popcorn knows how to relax in our
40-foot home-on-wheels, Moon River.

Love at the Beach


Love at the Beach


Sea shells.  Some perfect.  Some broken.
All beautiful.





Let me switch gears for a moment.
Today, May 14,  2018 is a profound moment in history.
President Trump recently declared Jerusalem as Israel's capitol.
Today the U.S. moved their Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Many are politicizing this event.  I look at it from the Bible's point of view.
It's a prophetic sign that is written in God's Word. 
So today I rejoice with the people of Israel!

Shout and sing for joy, you people of Jerusalem,
because the Holy One of Israel does great things before your eyes.
Isaiah 12:6


Here's wishing you oceans of blessings!



To order LADY and the SEA, go to my website:


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mother's Day 2018

Lady Traveler remembering ...


My Mom

I could write about my mother for days.  Instead, I decided to post an excerpt from my book, Lady and the Sea. As I re-read this today, these moments came alive as if it happened just yesterday.  

I know you moms out there will relate to my story, especially if your mother has gone on to heaven.
  

Lady and the Sea, Chapter 8, page 36:

Fighting the traffic from Downey to Torrance was worth the frustration for Rosie to spend time with her mother.  Through the years Katherine had given her daughter the spiritual strength that helped sustain her through some rough times.  Now as Rosie sat on the hospital bed, Katherine kept Rosie in touch with her childhood memories and her spiritual heritage.

"Mom, you're my hero," Rosie would tell her over and over but Katherine was too insecure for such talk, changing the subject back to the good old days.  Then Katherine would dismiss her.  "Rosie, it's getting late.  You can go now."

The past weeks revealed to Rosie that her weekly visits were numbered.  Multiple Sclerosis had taken its tole.  Now bed-ridden, Katherine grew weaker with each passing day, now looking twenty years older than her sixty-six years.

One evening as Rosie leaned over to kiss her mother good-bye, her heart became heavy.  Now small and frail, Katherine's brown eyes still held their glimmer.  Can this be the same woman who selflessly gave her shoulder for me to lean on for so many years? Rosie thought as she kissed her mother's cheek.  "Mom, you're my beautiful southern belle."

Rosie knew it was time to release her mother to her heavenly home.  Their tears blended as they prayed.  God must have been ready too, because as Rosie held her mother close, Katherine was already half way there.

Two nights later Rosie was awakened at three in the morning by the ringing of the telephone.  A nurse politely said, "I'm sorry to inform you that your mother passed in her sleep."

Rosie sat on the bed and looked heavenward.  "Mom, you're home at last. And we'll all be together again one day."

Through the night, the One who had been temporarily separated from His father as He hung on a cross so many years ago, gave Rosie comfort.

  
Mom in the backyard in our house in Downey, CA


And I cannot forget to mention our special lady, 'Gi-Gi' ... Rob's beloved mother.  When I met Rob in 1987, she filled the void of the loss of my Mom.  She went to heaven three years ago and we will always miss her and talk about the funny things she'd say and do (like saving boxes and boxes of toilet paper!)

Marcella Leaf (Gi-Gi--Great-Grama) eating her favorite meal:
strawberry pancakes at Ihop.

Here's wishing you oceans of Mother's Day blessings!



You can order Lady and the Sea on 
www.Amazon.com or go to my website:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lady Traveler around Town

Home Sweet Home, for now

Though I have seen the oceans and mountains,
though I have read great books and seen great works of art ...
there is nothing greater or more beautiful than those people I love.

Almost finished with first draft of LADY on the RUN
I can type anywhere on my little laptop.

(using old photos on this blog)

This blog is a quick update on my whereabouts:

These past weeks have found me locked in my office
(Rob slips coffee, wine, and bread through the door)
working on the last details of my upcoming book,
LADY on the RUN.
The writer's conference I attended a few weeks ago
inspired me to finish my editing/revisions.

So, Rob grabbed me and threw me in the motor home and drove me to Dreher Island
where I spent hours upon hours working on the first draft.

Can I type on this iPad?

Writing away on my laptop in Belize


Next step:
My two awesome volunteers are now reading
LADY on the RUN for me.
In the meantime
I'm working on my proposal
to submit to an agent.
I also have a publisher
(whom I'll not mention yet)
who is interested in
LADY on the RUN.

Taking a break in Wilmington, NC
I love my sweet tea!




MS Restoration on the Black Sea headed towards Haifa, Israel!

In the meantime,
My published book
LADY and the SEA
is catching a fresh wave
across the USA!
I've had many orders coming in
so I'm dashing to the post office regularly.
Although LADY and the SEA is available on 
Amazon.com and e-books
most readers want a signed copy from
this almost-famous author.
Thank you! Thank you!

I'm anxious to get to the beach for 3 weeks.
Lots of walking, eating, and writing to do.

I'll keep in touch!


May the Lord make your love for one another and for all the people
grow and overflow,
just as our love for you overflows.
I Thessalonians 3:12*

*When Rob and I were in Greece we traveled through Thessaloniki,
a lovely seacoast town on the Aegean Sea, with lots to see and eat!
Then we took a 2-hour bus ride south to the seaside town of
Fourkas, where we stayed in a tiny summer house in the midst
of an olive grove surrounded by goats.  Wonderful memories.
Wish I had time to find some pictures to post!



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lady Traveler Travels the 7 Seas on a WWII ship

~ You cannot discover new oceans until
you are willing to lose sight of the shore ~

Photo of me on deck of the MS Restoration, raising my hands to God,
thanking him for a successful--and challenging--voyage!


Have you ever had a day when everything was going great ...
dancing on the deck of a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean ...
when suddenly, out of nowhere,
there's a rifle staring you in the face?
Well, that was me.


Entering the port of Sochi, Russia in 1995 to pick up Russian Jews.
Liv, the beautiful ship's nurse, and I on deck of the MS Restoration.
Note: Liv went to heaven on August 2017. She had recently married,
and was a strong pro-life advocate in Norway and Sweden.
She is missed.


I'm going to take you back to 1995.
Here is Chapter One of my book:


1
July 1995

Within minutes of the MS Restoration's entering the Haifa harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel.  Two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the ship. Another soldier shouted instructions in Hebrew through a loudspeaker.

     The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship's radio, "Please speak to us in English!"

     Rosie grabbed the rail.  "Do they think we're terrorists?"

     Jesse touched her arm.  "Rosie, calm down."

     "They think we're pirates."

     "Just calm down," her husband repeated, holding her hand.

     "Will they make us jump overboard?  I don't have my life jacket," she spoke, fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.

     "Rosie, you must get hold of yourself."


     Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who'd brought her on this unpredictable journey.  Jesse's right.  What's come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn't have to go down below to the head.  She didn't dare leave his side.

     The ship, her fellow crew members, and their special passengers--the Russian Jews--had finally reached their destination.  No more troubled waters.  No more hurricanes.  No more delays.  On this hot July morning, they were home free--or so they thought.

     Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck.  "Isn't this ironic?  We've traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get."

     "Stop your engine!" the soldier shouted.

     Within seconds, they were dead in the water.

     Rosie's stomach churned.  She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip.  She wiped her mouth with a hankie, then grabbed hold of Jesse's arm.  She'd heard stories about people who'd experienced close calls.  Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war.  "At that moment, my whole life passed before me," Talmage said.

     Feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie wondered if this was her moment.    

end of Chapter 1

(60-second video of crossing the Atlantic Ocean, sailing by Istanbul, and Israeli gunboat in Haifa Harbor is available on my website)


After being in mothballs after WWII,
this is the MS Restoration after dry dock in Seattle, Washington 1994.
The beginning of her complete make-over. Isn't she pretty?
Believe me, she was a mess!
What began as a week of volunteering, Rob and I stayed 14 months
as volunteers on her maiden voyage to Haifa, Israel.

Map of Restoration's 1994-95 maiden voyage from Seattle, WA to
Panama, Stockholm, Sweden. Scandinavia. England.
Latvia.  Greece.  Russia.  Israel.
I visited places I never dreamed of.
And a few places that I had.

We sailed under the two bridges of Istanbul, on our way to the Black Sea.

One of many lessons I learned during this journey:
If God can bring an old ship out of mothballs and use her for such a time as this,
how much more he can use us for that which he has planned for us.

The crew truly saw God do great things before our eyes,
on shore, and mile after nautical mile at sea.
Many miracles.

I consider it an honor to have been chosen to be a small part of God's prophetic word
to help bring the Jews home to Israel.

Always remember,
it's never too late to say yes to what God has called you to do.
Whether big or small, the task that he has chosen for you is 
GREAT in his eyes.


The Restoration transported almost 2,000 Russian Jews
before she was laid to rest.


If you haven't read my book, jump on board
for a great adventure!


Until then,
I wish you oceans of travel blessings!


Shout and sing for joy, you people of Jerusalem,
because the Holy One of Israel does great things before your eyes.
Isaiah 12:6



You can order on www, amazon.com
or go to my website:

My 72nd year portrait







Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Lady Traveler travels in Florida

Lazy Lady Traveler in Florida


Anything, everything, little or big
becomes an adventure
when the right person shares it.


Whether you are traveling in 
Alaska or Florida,
or somewhere in-between,
make sure you take time to ... 
Photo by Shawn Watson Photography

Rob and I have enjoyed our month in Florida.
We had to cancel the Florida Keys due to the damages of the August 2017 hurricane.
So instead we spent time in other areas ...
... Tampa ... Orlando ... Winter Park ... Ocala.



There is so much to see and do in this lovely state ...
... water sports ... golfing ... hiking ... outdoor theme parks ... to name a few.   


Although this has been the coolest January weather Florida has experienced in a long time,
we still spent a lot of our time outdoors.
What I missed most was spending late night evenings
around a fire, chatting, drinking, eating, watching our outdoor TV ...
... and walking around in shorts and flip-flops.


We still found joy in our ordinary days.
We visited friends along the way, which is always delightful.
We met new friends along the way, which is always interesting.
We visited little towns, ate their delicious food,
walked their quaint little streets, and
soaked up the friendly atmosphere.

A great little town with lots of history
Ybor City is just west of Tampa.
Cuban cigars were once manufactured here.
Thousands of cubans worked in the large factory.

Lots of yummy eateries here so take your pick.
We took a trolly tour and hopped off at the River Walk
where we had a bite to eat outdoors and basked in the warm sunshine
while listening to cool jazz.


Meanwhile, back at the American Coach Association rally ...
I received my Lazy Days drivers course certificate!
Look out USA, here I come!
Is there a dream you have to accomplish something?
Perhaps take an art class, a writing class ...?
fill in your own blank!


We enjoyed getting together with old friends ...
Is there a friend you would love to talk to?
on the phone, or in person?
What's holding you back?


... and meeting new friends too.
Make yourself available to make a new friend!



This huge banner was one of my Christmas presents from Robinski.
Never too big, right?

We stayed four days near Orlando in Winter Garden.
We had a nice visit with friends, Kurt and Diana Lindsey,
and planned another one until the Florida flu found me.


Although I was fighting the Florida Flue,
we took an evening stroll on Main Street in Winter Garden.
You can tell that I was a bit under the weather,
but I was determined to explore and enjoy this lovely village.



We drove north to Ocala where we spent time with our So-Cal friends,
Frank and Debbie Johnson.
We stayed longer than planned due to a bout with the 'Florida flu' AND
because we didn't want to go home to
COLD weather.


Our old friends we knew in So-Cal, Frank and Debbie, have the cutest dog ever.
This is my new friend, Buddy.
(don't tell Popcorn)


I told Popcorn about Buddy.
She's okay with my new friend as long as I
take her for extra long walks around the RV campground.



My 72nd Birthday!
We took a leisurely road trip to Gainesville, Florida
(45 minutes north of Ocala)


We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille.

My favorite dish, shrimp and grits.

I highly recommend Harry's Seafood Bar and Grill
for shrimp and grits, or ...


... just a great big hamburger and fries and chili!


What could be better after lunch than a stroll through
Lachua Trail where alligators run free.
And beautiful birds as well.

I highly recommend Lachua Trail when you visit Gainseville, Florida


A dozen of these lovely creatures were playing, then
sunning before dinner time.


Then a leisurely drive back to Ocala.

A "friendly" reminder at The Ocala RV Campground Resort

A few days later we took another road trip to The Villages
(35 minutes south of Ocala).
The Villages is a HUGE retirement resort
that is filled with much to do.
The Villages has the best of everything, including the finest
medical centers, golf courses, and restaurants.


We ate lunch at a nice restaurant on the lake,
Lighthouse Point Bar and Grill.
I declare, I have never been around so many people
that look just like me!
Grey hair, wrinkles, liver spots ... you get the picture.
It was a little scary at first.
Then I realized that everyone
is at the point in their lives where they
"just wanna have fun!"
while we can!

A day without shrimp and grits is like a day without sunshine!


An after-lunch stroll along the boardwalk


There are too many moments for me to share on this blog.
What I've learned on each road trip we take:

Enjoy the moment.
Each moment will soon become a memory.
Make moments that will warm your heart.
Because you'll need those warm memories
on a cold, cloudy day.

(another little pros from almost-famous author ... me)


I wish you oceans of travel blessings!


You will show me the path of life;
in Your presence is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11


www.sharonleaf.com

My 72nd birthday portrait