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!

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






Saturday, February 3, 2018

Lady Traveler in Berlin - Part 6


Berlin in the Fall

Part 6
My European Trip September 2017


There are many places I have been,
Places I have never seen,
Places I would love to see,
Places that I never will.
The most delightful part
of my traveling scene
is embracing friends once again,
and spending precious time 
with our beloved family.


(the above is not a poem, 
only words that spontaneously 
came from my heart)


Trip of a lifetime with family



The Berlin Wall
Torn down.





There will always be Berlin.
The food. The museums.
The streets.  The canals.
The wall.  The history.


Three days in Berlin

Our time in Berlin was short.
The days were cloudy, cold, and even a
great wind storm swept through the city.
What warmed our hearts was the time we spent with
son and daughter.


Xyla, Robinski, and Jason
Their smiles and laughter made the rain go away!


We traveled by bus, by metro, by train.
And we walked.
Amazing how us seniors kept up with the youngins.
Well, at least we tried.
Note to young folks when traveling with
your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles:
When they look like they're ready to pass out,
suggest a stop at a local cafe for a drink and snack.
I guarantee that they will say, "Oh, what a great idea! Lets do that!"




Mean stepmom and son



Met our California friend, Tamara, a famous opera star!


Where to stay:
If you like privacy, more room to stretch out,
cook, or fill a frig full of snacks,
I suggest a BnB.
We stayed in three BnB's and loved them,
had a balcony in Italy and Spain.
If you want room service, stay in a hotel.
We stayed in a nice hotel in Barcelona, Spain
and the concierge found us a beauty salon
across the street and up the stairs from our hotel.
Perfect!

BnB in Berlin


Comfy beds at BnB in Berlin



I love German food!  Wienerschnetzel is my favorite!
There were many delicious entrees to choose from,
and beer galore.
I'm not a beer drinker, so I guess that's why
I loved Italy more ... oh, the heavenly wine!


I recommend everything!



Well, I did pass on this dish.  Can you guess what this is?



Rob and Jason loved this delakasie




Now, it's time to say farewell to Berlin,
and our six-week European holiday with Jason and Xyla.
Thank you, again, from the bottom of our hearts,
for giving us a trip of a lifetime.
Rob and I have traveled the world,
but this was extra special because
we were with you!



Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life: 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

sharonleaf.com

The new me.
I'm re-inventing myself as a
blond-on-my-way-to-a-silver-lining!






Friday, January 5, 2018

Lady Traveler in Sweden -- Part 5

Sweden in the Fall


Part 5
European Trip September 2017


May your footsteps set you upon a lifetime journey of love.
May you wake each day with His blessings and sleep each night in His keeping.
And may you always walk in His tender care.




A stroll along the canal in downtown Uppsala



This part of our trip is dedicated to everlasting friendships



Returning to Sweden is always nostalgic for me.
We lived in Sweden for a year in 1991-92
to attend an international Bible college in Uppsala.
I fell in love with the beauty of the land.
The red houses.  The yellow houses.
The castles.  The historic churches.
Most of all,
the wonderful, loving people
who still remain lifelong friends.



Lifelong friend, Dan, and his son, Josef
showing off his new boat.
Don't you know all vikings own a boat, or two?



The canal that runs through the town of Uppsala
Don't you know all Swedes own a bike, or two?



After the long, hot days in Italy and Spain,
the cool, cloudy, and even rainy days of Sweden were inviting.
(that's why I packed summer and winter clothes--all in my carry-on)



Rob and I bought a bus pass and spent a few days
traveling through the old familiar streets of Uppsala.
We stopped at favorite eateries along the way,
laughing and sharing past memories of our many trips
to Sweden over the past 20+ years.



Dan and Birgitta took to The Mall of Scandinavia



Can you believe that I trekked through this four-story mall
and did not buy one item?
That's me, the non-shopper.
My logic kicks in, telling me that I have enough clothes,
too many accumulated treasures ... blah, blah, blah.



A Sunday afternoon at a castle north of Stockholm with Dan and Birgitta. 
We ate the most delicious brunch in a beautiful converted barn.



After brunch, we enjoyed a Sunday drive to Stockholm's
Mall of Scandinavia
(Scandinavia's largest mall).
I've been to some very classy malls in 
Paris, London, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and other major cities ...
And, oh yes, not to mention Rodeo Drive in Bel Air.
But I have to say I was very impressed with the layout of this four-story mall.



Our friend Lennart drove us to a nearby village where his boat is docked.
He is a retired sea captain so of course he has a boat.
Did I mention that he was one of the captains on the MS Restoration?



We stopped for Swedish fika in a quaint little cafe.
Nothing like strong Swedish coffee on a cold autumn day.



Dinner with Lennart and his lovely wife in their beautiful home.


A few days later we drove to another little village
to have dinner with our friends,
Kristen and Helene.


  
At home with friends Kristen and Helene.
Kristen designed and built this home and garden

with the help of her talented father.


Saturday evening dinner with friends in downtown Uppsala.
Every home is cozy and elegant that says,
"Welcome"

Dinner at Barbro's flat was priceless. Hans and Maggie made the night complete.



Love and happiness



Delightful afternoon and evenings with lifelong friends.
The homes are filled with love and coziness that
makes you want to linger over another cup of strong, Swedish coffee.



Our last dinner at one of the oldest restaurants in Uppsala.  Dan's favorite.
Old, yet cozy.  

Thank you, Dan and Birgitta,
for opening your home to us ... again.



Our ten days in Sweden went by too fast.
It's always hard to say good-bye to friends.
We take home the memories,
and hope and pray for more days to come.



Cherish the friends you make along your journey.
Whether one special friend, or many,
they are God's gift to us.



Stand at the crossroads and look ...

ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16



Next blog:
To Berlin, with Love.



Here's wishing you oceans of tRavel blessings!