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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lady Traveler and New Year's Eve 2011


The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.

Where has the year gone? Aren't you asking yourself the same question? Today I am enjoying the stillness of my sea, hoping it is a sign of what lies beyond the blue horizon.

Here are a few random thoughts to end my year.

January: I started out with a bang--I became senior citizen.! I wear this honor proudly, thankful to be alive. My friends gave me a surprise dinner party--I love my friends, both near and far.

June: Our daughter Jacquie, Tom, & Destinee pulled up their California stakes and moved to Lexington (on Lake Murray), South Carolina--now only a road-trip away from us.

October: My debut novel, Lady and the Sea, was released--and sailing full-speed ahead.

November: Our daughter Carrie married, bringing our son Jason and other family members from near and far to be together for five fun-filled days. Our son, Shawn, and Frances made their California exit to Washington after she accepted a position as news reporter for CBS TV (she is a natural in front of the camera!).

And the year was sprinkled with out-of-state friends stopping over to bring sunshine to my life (Joni, Susan, Regina, Lora, Teri, to name a few--I miss you!)

I'm taking time to ponder over 2011 -- a year full of love, laughter, and blessings. But at the same time I cannot spend too much time looking back when 2012 is beckoning me to sail away. I have no idea what God has in store for the coming year, but Rob and I are ready to leave our safe shore--again--and dive into a new ocean! Look out, 2012, here we come!

I wish you oceans of blessings and smooth sailing for the coming year!

Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony & peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

www.sharonleaf.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Eve of Christmas Eve

Photo: My Swedish Christmas Korner 2010 ~ God Jul!

Is it possible that in the midst of my last-minute Christmas 'to-do' listings that I'm finding time to write a blog? Well, I chose to take a few minutes in my office to write a few last-minute random Christmas thoughts to those dear to me.

Daily we hear the famous quote, Christmas is for family. True, but that is only part of the reason for the season. This note is a reminder to all of us who have reasons to get a bit stressed with family during this holiday season. It happens to all of us, so don't feel like you're being punished for being a bad little girl ... or boy, as the case may be. Lets face it, some situations never change. For example, the relative who says to us, "We're going to do our own thing this Christmas." And off they go ... again ... year after year after year. Oh well. Their loss.

Then there's the other relative who mentions on the phone two days before Christmas, "Oh, by the way, we're not giving Christmas presents this year." Huh? Oh well. It's better to give than receive anyway, right?

These are only two examples of some of my friend's Christmas family challenges. The important thing I've learned through the years: don't take it too personal. Look at the source, take a deep breath, say a prayer and bless them, then have yourself a very Merry Christmas! Spend time with those who look forward to sharing a few hours out of their busy-ness to be with you. Embrace them. Love them. And who knows, perhaps the relative who seem the most distant will some day return to the fold.

Let us remember the real Reason for the Season ... the Baby who was born to take away the sins of the world. Jesus never seems to get enough of me. *Smile*

Here's wishing you oceans of blessings this Christmas season!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lady Leaf's Loft at Christmastime


Christmas is here at last ... my favorite time of year. .. there is magic in the air ... I'm sure it has something to do with the 'reason for the season' ... a special Baby's birth.

As you know, I had my own baby birthed a few weeks ago ... no comparison, of course! So far, Lady and the Sea has been a delight for me and for Rob. A few random thoughts:

After several book signings and my East Coast Book Launch Open House, I have been blessed to meet many wonderful people. Several ladies who work with Rob bought Lady then asked me to sign their books. What an opportunity to get to talk personally with these great gals. When I'm asked, "Are you stressed with the success of your book?" my answer is, no, I refuse to stress; I'm embracing the wonder of this journey. My hope is to get Lady and the Sea into the hands of those who need to hear a true story of faith, hope, and restoration. No matter what rough waters we have been through, or what riptide we may be going through, there will be smooth sailing ahead for those who trust God. I'll talk more about the message of Lady and the Sea next year ... only two weeks away! But for now, I want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Something has changed in the atmosphere this Christmas season. Can you feel it? Everywhere I go, when I chime "Merry Christmas" I always get a friendly reply, "Merry Christmas to you." CHRISTmas + a smile = JOY! No apologies. One Target cashier told me, "No one can stop me from saying Merry Christmas." And why should they? 'Tis the season! I think people with any common sense knows by now that no one is trying to offend anyone with a Christmas salutation. I love when my Jewish friends say to me, "Happy Hanukkah!" I feel like I'm part of their celebration ... with no offense taken. We must stop carrying our feelings on our shoulders. If I'm talkin' to you, shake them off! There's only room for love this Christmas season. And that is what I wish for all of you ... Oceans of love and a very Merry Christmas!

www.sharonleaf.com

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Seniors Have A Life Too" Thanksgiving Cruise

I’ve been requested to write a short note to tell everyone that I’m still alive and kickin’! Once I discovered that my niece Sharon didn’t need my assistance as her Stylist or Publicist with her new book Lady and the Sea, I decided to take a long overdue vacation when Regis Philbin invited me and my dear friend Betty White to join him on a Seniors Have A Life Too Thanksgiving cruise (and yes, his wife, Joy, is coming). Who knows where we’ll end up but you can count on us kicking up our heels at sea ... oops ... I mean, as Sharon would say, we're losing sight of our safe shore and diving in to a new ocean ... or something like that ....


Von Boyage!


~ You cannot discover new oceans

until you are willing to lose sight of the shore ~

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lady Leaf's Loft

Picture of my 20-year-old granddaughter, Destinee, giving me a make-over last week-end. She is a make-up artist for Mac Cosmetics at The Belk Department Store in Columbia, SC.
Destinee: "Grams, you're looking more like Aunt Eunice every day!"
Me: "Oh, thank you, darling granddaughter."
Destinee turns to her co-workers: "This is my grandmother. She's an author, and I'm giving her an overhaul for her upcoming book signings."
I took that as a compliment.


When there is so much going on, I make extra sure that I enjoy my my first cup of morning coffee. Then I take a deep breath and dive into the day. Hopefully, I will be able to float awhile (float = nap!)

A few random thoughts...

Aunt Eunice flew the coop. She offered to be my stylist but she's off somewhere with Betty White doing what comes naturally for two old foot-loose-fancy-free gals. Some day when I'm eighty-something I plan to be foot-loose too, but for now I'm enjoying the wonderful journey of marketing my debut novel Lady and the Sea. Yes, I also hired Aunt Eunice to be my publicist, but she forgot, as sometimes old gals do. So I am handling my own publicity. I'm doing quite well for a simple-minded Orange-County-girl-turned-Southern-belle. My book has gone international, so that's about as far out as I can get!

I would hire a personal assistant but I'm having too much fun answering my correspondence. Keep those cards and letters coming in!

Rob has taken over the Shipping Department, which I'm oh so thankful for. I'm also thankful for Amazon.com, e-books, and the other fine stores who are carrying Lady and the Sea.

That's a quick update. I'll get more up close and personal next week after the big family wedding. Our daughter, Carrie, is getting married this Saturday ... remember when she got engaged on Valentine's Day? I'll give a full report next time!

I want to thank each and every soul who has purchased Lady and the Sea thus far. Don't be afraid to lose sight of your familiar shore. Dive into a new ocean and enjoy the journey!

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.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lady and the Sea cover story




Yesterday when I went to have my hair trimmed (and yes, colored), I handed my hairdresser a copy of Lady and the Sea. She stared at it for a few seconds then asked as she pointed to the dark shading on the front of the ship, "What is this?" Hmm, I had never looked quite that close to the ship under such a bright light. I answered, "It looks like a shadow; what do you think?"

She explained, "The first thing that came to my mind is Psalm 91:1:

He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The Holy Spirit gave me a vision to what I should put on the cover, but without me knowing, God had put his personal mark on the cover of Lady and the Sea.

I am blessed to have a hairdresser that has spiritual insight to her surroundings (without being spooky, I might add), so I took this as a sign from above. The MS Restoration truly sailed the seven seas under the shadow of the Almighty. Read her story and see for yourself.

When she added, "Another thing I see: a movie!" we laughed as we thought of famous actors who would play the main characters. Hey, a gal can dream can't she? Isn't that how dreams come true?

My simple word for you today: Don't stop dreaming. My dream was to one day have my book published and in the hands of thousands of wonderful readers. Today, Lady and the Sea is my reality. Don't stop dreaming ... choose to lose sight of your shore and jump into a new ocean! Swim and play around in the waves. That's when your dreams will come true.

Oceans of blessings!

He protected us on our journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. Joshua 24:7

www.sharonleaf.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Announcing "Lady and the Sea"

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

Hello friends everywhere,

I am happy to announce that my debut novel, Lady and the Sea, is now available this October 18th, my husband's birthday. Happy Birthday Rob!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lady and the Sea is a novel based on a true story that takes place in the mid-nineties. After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie Atkisson struggles through the painful process of rebuilding her life with husband, Jesse, in Southern California. But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel, MS Restoration. A special mission to transport Russian Jews from Sochi, Russia, to Haifa, Israel, means an adventure of a lifetime; does Rosie dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life? In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the ship, Rosie thinks this might be the opportunity she's been waiting for to serve God.

After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship, from a hurricane to a heart attack, from miracles to menopause, and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa Harbor, Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Lady and the Sea has been a long, wonderful journey, and now I am honored to share the story of the MS Restoration and the lady who loved her. Their back story, up until the day they meet, will inspire and encourage readers that fifteen-minutes-of-fame may be all we need to change another person's destiny for the better. Perhaps it's time for you to leave your safe harbor and jump into a new ocean.

You may read Chapter One, and purchase Lady and the Sea on the websites:
www.sharonleaf.com then click on "The Book"
www.Amazon.com
www.BarnesandNoble.com
www.WestBowPress.com
Available on e-books.

Thank you for sharing in my excitement and I hope to hear from you soon. Follow me on Facebook, and NO, I do not twitter. *smile*

Oceans of blessings, Sharon

Saturday, October 8, 2011

To be or not to be ... her Publicist


I was sittin' on the front porch this afternoon, sipping my sweet tea, when my niece arrived in a tizzy. Relax, Shaa-ren, and sit a spell I told her, but she wouldn't hear of it.

"Aunt Eunice, my book is going to be released in two weeks and I'm up a creek without a paddle. Would you be my publicist? Please?"

"Darlin', haven't you planned for your future?" I asked, but when her face turned chalk white, I knew the answer. "By all means, don't panic. We'll think of something. Now, let me see, I'm going to have to rearrange my schedule. I'm already Betty White's publicist, and Regis Philbin is begging me to promote his book that's coming out in November."

"And have you heard the latest?" Shaa-ren asked. "Steve Job's biography is coming out October 24th!"

"My, you chose an awful time for your book release!" was all I could say.

"Oh, Auntie, what shall I do?"

When I asked if she had done any advertising and she shook her head, I looked her straight in the eyes. "Well then, let's get down to business: do you have any friends?"

She hesitated. "A few."

I grabbed a pen and paper. "Then we'll create a contract and make everyone you know sign on the dotted line, swearing that they'll purchase at least twenty copies ... one for them, one for their mother, their daughter, their friends, their enemies ... anyone who can read. Got that?" Before she could answer, I continued, "Do you have neighbors?" Shaa-ren smiled. "Oh, yes! I talked to one just last week."

As she poured herself a glass of sweet tea, I shook my head and took the glass. "Remember, no more sweet tea. As soon as you hit the TV screen, fifteen extra pounds will appear!" But when she frowned, I handed her the glass. "Oh, never mind. We'll just keep you off TV and put you on the radio. Without botox, you're a goner in this media frenzy; they'll eat you up alive."

After an hour of brainstorming, I took hold of Shaa-ren's hands and proclaimed, "Darlin', you are going to be one big success! You will have your fifteen minutes of fame! Just keep the faith, keep your head held high, and stay away from all TV interviews!"

...to be continued ...


Sunday, October 2, 2011

To Style, or NOT to Style

This is not going to work. I should never have asked Aunt Eunice to be my stylist ... why had I been so desperate? I knew it was a mistake the minute she barged into my house today to deliver my book-launch outfit. "Wait 'til ya see this, darlin'!" she bragged as she opened a tattered suit bag. My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open as she held it out ever so proudly.

"Auntie, where did you get that?" I gasped.
"I made it of course, from leftovers of Betty White and Lady Ga-Ga's wardrobe."
"Leftovers ... you can say that again," I muttered.
"Here, try it on," Aunt Eunice said. "It took several hours to design this and then put it together."
There it was...a red hot velvet jogging suit, covered with purple, green, and yellow ostrich feathers, sprinkled all over with multi-colored rhinestones.
"How many hours did you say this took?" I asked as I rubbed the worn velvet between my fingers, then sneezed as a feather broke loose of the material and blew across my nose. "Ugh, Auntie, I've been thinking about going with a simple black dress, black leggings, and black boots."
Aunt Eunice looked shocked. "Do you realize that I was originally designing this for Nancy Reagan? Anyone in their right mind would die for this ensemble."
"You are right, Auntie," I answered softly. "So please, please, give it to Nancy. Her heart would break if she saw me wearing something especially designed for her."
Eunice smiled. "You are a real sport, Shaa-ren." She kissed me on the cheek, then out the door she flew ... to where, I don't know. Her schedule is way too hectic for me, but I'm sure she'll be volunteering to help me in some other sweet way before my book release.
Hmm, now that I think about it ... I need a publicist!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Movin' On towards the next Adventure

Rob brought me to attention when he blurted out his latest poem while we were driving on the interstate this morning:

"Whether we move or we stay, let God have his way." (written by Rob Leaf)

I chuckled at the simplicity of these words, but I have to say that this is how we live our lives. Last year our neighbors didn't know whether they should move so they put their house up for sale and it sold in 4 days. After talking, thinking, and praying about it for some time, Rob and I decided to put our home on the market.

We love our home of five years, but I learned many years ago not to get attached to a house. Anywhere we live is home sweet home, whether it be at sea on a WWII ship, a train in Siberia, a cottage in Surf City, CA, or a brick home in South Carolina. So if our beautiful home doesn't sell, that is fine and dandy with us. If and when it does sell, then we're ready for the next chapter in the adventures of the falling Leafs' (we never know where we're going to land).

As we get older, our needs are changing; we can do fine with half the space that this house provides. We are looking forward to exploring new places, meeting new friends, and sharing my book, Lady and the Sea, along the way. But most important, we want to be in God's will. Only he knows where these two Leafs will fall.

Now to answer your questions of where we're going: We've learned to never say never. Having said that, we have no plans to move back to Cali (Frank). Nor are we planning another boat trip (Lennart). We are looking towards heading south to Lake Murray/Columbia area (you guessed right my friend, Jacquie Lee). It is a buyer's market; not so much a seller's market. Non the less, we have a set price in mind that we shall stick with.

A few random thoughts: The moves that seemed the most scary always ended up the best moves we ever made! I dare you to try it sometime. Oceans of blessings!

There will always be the unknown.
There will always be the unprovable.
But faith confronts those frontiers with a thrilling leap.
Then life becomes vibrant with adventure!

(picture of our back yard)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Aunts, Stylists, and Famous People

When will I learn to say no to my niece, Sharon? I keep telling her that I have my own life but she doesn't seem to get it. She used to tell me, "Auntie, you can't have a life--you're too old." But now that she's turned sixty-five, she retired that phrase.

A few days ago Sharon ran into my house with a look of panic written all over her face. I was in the middle of putting together a fall wardrobe for Betty White when she bellowed, "I need your help."

"What can I do for you, darlin'?" I asked through a mouth full of straight pens.

"My book Lady and the Sea comes out next month, so I'm in desperate need of a Stylist."

I sat her down and looked her straight in the eyes. "I've been tellin' you that for the last twenty years!"

She frowned and said, "I admit that you're right."

"Don't frown!" I yelled. "That's the worst thing you can do for a face of that age!"

Sharon suddenly smiled. "Sorry, Auntie! I promise to smile forever if you will be my Stylist."

I thought a moment. "Well, I'm almost finished with Betty's pant suit line, and I just walked out on my contract with Lady Ga-Ga."

"What? Why did you do that?" Sharon asked, still smiling.

I shrugged and answered, "She just isn't as edgy as she used to be. Now, Betty White, that's a whole different kind of woman!"

I could see that Sharon was getting restless for my reply, so I obliged. "Okay, I'll take you on, but first you have to make a promise." Sharon nodded, so I continued. "Do not...I repeat, DO NOT make any TV appearances! Your complexion is ruined, the bags under your eyes will show, the wrinkles around your mouth will----"

Sharon raised her arm. "Stop! I get the message."

"Okay, here's the plan: just stay on the radio and you'll be safe. The public wants to see aging beauty queens like Tina Turner, Cher, and Florence Henderson...get the picture?" Through slightly-yellowing teeth, she whispered Yes.

I gave explicit instructions to go home and get at least ten hours of sleep a night, extend her exercise time to four hours a day, slab a combination of Vaseline, Ponds Cold Cream, and Noxema on that face of hers, and lay off the sweet tea.

Sharon hugged me and left my house with a big smile on her face. At that moment I knew we would work well together. Lady and the Stylist ... sounds like a good book title to me!
I'll keep you posted ... bye for now!

P.S. Reminder to self: Tell Sharon to make a dentist appointment to get teeth whitened.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes




What a week this has been. I was sitting on the floor with Popcorn, when the earth started quaking. Not a lot, but just enough to remind me of when I lived in southern California. I've been through enough of them to know what they feel like, and I don't care to experience them back here in the south.

Then there was Hurricane Irene. Watching the TV broadcast of her magnitude sent chills up and down my spine as I recalled the days on the high seas on the WWII ship, MS Restoration, and we found ourselves headed into the eye of Hurricane Hector off the gulf of Mexico. I won't tell the whole story now, but God had mercy on us, and Hector became a tropical storm as he headed further out to sea and we continued toward the Panama Canal. Adios senior! I proclaimed as I lay in my bunk, still reeling from his fury.

On a lighter note ... I just finished my final edits to send to my publisher. Every step toward having Lady and the Sea published is a step closer to my dream coming true. A few random thoughts. Bigger dreams sometimes take longer to accomplish. Like Hector, the seas are sometimes rough, but keep hanging on, ride out the storms, and before you know it, you'll arrive at your destination.

Just looked at the clock ... I'll talk more later ... right now I have to prepare for Rob's homecoming ... he's going to paint the dining room, and guess who's his assistant?

Oceans of blessings!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Which Way to your Destination?




When I look back at where I've been,
I see that what I am becoming is a whole lot further down the road from where I was.

A few random thoughts on this lazy Saturday afternoon: Do you ever ask yourself, "how in the world did I get to this place?" I love the fact that a thousand different choices, good or bad, right or wrong, have taken me to the place where I am now. Do you ever wonder where you would be if you would have made the other choice instead? For example, going on that dreaded blind date instead of staying home ... or answering the phone instead of watching your favorite TV reality show ... on and on ....

The twists and turns you have made led you to your sweetheart, your soul mate, to that country you always dreamed about traveling to but never thought you would, having your own catering business, an art studio, a printing company. Your dreams, along with the disappointments and failures, now find you highlighted in the last month's Romantic Homes Magazine* ... you signing your debut novel in the local Barnes and Noble* ... now, fill in YOUR dream.

Whether you like it or not, here you are. Hopefully, you love where you've landed. If not, what are you going to do about it? Make a choice ... good or bad, right or wrong, make a decision, then go for it! It's your journey, and your destination.

Make the best of your days. And while you're at it, make friends, not enemies. Wipe that frown off your face! Smile! There! You're beautiful when you smile.

Have a great summer's day. Keep making those turns in your road, hopefully to the right!

God is gently calling you ... to an open place of freedom where He has set your table full of the best food. Job 36:16 NCV

*true stories

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mama Mia! Don't you have a Dream?

There will always be the unknown.
There will always be the unprovable.
But faith confronts those frontiers with a thrilling leap.
Then life becomes vibrant with adventure!

I had no idea when I watched Mama Mia the other night that I would hear what I'm calling my theme song for my website*. "I Have A Dream" by Abba resonates in my heart for several reasons**. The words say so much ... I have a dream ... a song to sing ... to help me cope with anything ... I believe in angels ... something good in everything I see ... pushing through the darkness ... you can take the future, even if you fail ... when the time is right, I'll cross the sea ... I have a dream. A non-religious simple song. Take a few minutes to listen to "I Have A Dream" on the home page of my website. Close your eyes and ask yourself, what is my dream? Has the busy-ness of my life tossed my dream aside? How can I bring my dream back to life? Is it too late?

A few random thoughts: It is never too late for your dream(s) to come true! A few of my dreams have already come true as I released my faith. I beLeaf that God is working in my behalf with his angels to perform that which he has begun in me. You see, God is the one who plants dreams in our hearts, whether we acknowledge the fact or not. We all have different gifts that enable those dreams to come true. My latest dream, as many of you know, is having my novel Lady and the Sea published in the fall. How did this happen? Well, I love to write. I enjoy research. I'm intrigued and challenged by the whole process. Hasn't been easy. Hours of isolation. Worth it? Yep!

And it's not all about my dream(s). This week I talked to two special gals who are excited about their new, fresh dreams. One is going to take her painting to the next level; the other is going to write a children's book! I am so excited to be part of their journey. I will be there to cheer them on each step of the way, just as I've had several wonderful ladies cheering me on.

I've had a lovely day with my granddaughter; now sleep is calling me. But before I drift off to welcome slumber, I will spend a few moments thanking God for helping me reach yet another dream. I thank him for my wonderful husband, my loving family, and a roof over my head and food to eat, and Rob's job, and ... so much to be thankful for.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT

*www.sharonleaf.com
**Lived in Sweden so I love the Swedish group Abba!
Also resided in Greece so I love their zest for life!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Care Givers Unite



It's the little things we do and say that mean so much as we go our way.
A kindly deed can lift a load from weary shoulders on the road.

We were awakened at 4 in the morning the other night. It was the assisted living home telling us that Gigi, Rob's 87-year-old mother, had fallen and broken her shoulder and injured her knee. Whatever plans we had for the day were set aside to be with Mom.

As I sit here sipping my sweet tea, a few random thoughts cross my mind. Once again I'm reminded that we are born to be care givers. We nurture and care for our children until they reach a certain age, and then just when we sigh, raise our arms and declare, "Now, it's all about me!" -- it's time to focus on the care of our aging parents. Some of you have made the choice not have children, and that's perfectly fine with me. But the fact is, we all have parents ... unless you came into the world in a different way known to man (yes, I'm sure a few of you were hatched).

I believe that God created us to be caregivers, to reach out to someone other than ourselves. The quote, It's all about me was never meant to be. Well, I take that back ... we all need a It's All About Me Day now and then, but really, have you spent more than an hour with someone who only talks about their life? what they're planning? what they're eating, wearing, blah, blah, blah!! And you patiently wait for them to ask you, "Oh, yeah, by the way, how's your life?" Not that I have anything extravagant to share ... it's just kind of nice that they are actually giving me a minute to give a quick reply. Of course the all about me individual doesn't let me finish my sentence because they really don't care. In a flash, it's back to them.

I can only take about thirty minutes with an its all about me person. And they wonder why they don't have many friends. Perhaps if they stopped looking inward so much, and began looking outward, they would find a big wonderful world out there with big wonderful people who could use a helping hand. Maybe their own child, or a mom or a dad, or a cousin, or a daughter-in-law, or a ... well, you fill in your own blank.

As a caregiver to Gigi and to my father who lives in Utah, I find that sometimes when I make an ugly face or an even uglier remark when I have to rearrange my schedule to run to their aid, afterwards I feel so much better that I was used to be part of giving some tender loving care to a person who needs it much more than I.

So next time we find ourselves hogging the conversation, or making our oh-so-important plans, lets stop a second and ask ourselves, "Who can I bless today, besides myself?" Because God reminds me daily that it is NOT all about me.

Enjoy the days of summer and here's wishing you oceans of blessings,
Sharon
Photo taken on Tybee Island, GA

Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 NLT

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Daily Devotions



I hope y'all are having wonderful lazy days of summer. Whether traveling or staying at home, if you are looking for something to do with your spare time, just scroll down to Jane Boston's Bible Study. I guarantee that you'll receive some nuggets to apply to your summery life. And while you're at it, hug a friend, kiss a husband, love thy neighbor. Go ahead and give it a try. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. As Paul McCartney always sings, All you need is love!

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.
Then take half the clothes and twice the money.

Use every chance you have for doing good.
Ephesians 5:16 NCV

P.S. Oops! I meant to put this on my other blog for Women's Initiative Network. You will not find a Bible study on this blog. But God bless you anyway!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Writers Unite--celebrations are allowed



It's July first and I'm so ready to celebrate summer. I finished my edit last night and sent it along to my publisher. As all writers know, this is cause for celebration. Out with the wine and dark chocolate with salt. The sky is the limit. In fact, if you write a complete sentence, that is cause for some kind of celebration.

Now for a few quick random words.
Le Artist's Studio met in my bistro this morning and what a time we had. One gal is taking a blog class to learn how to use blogs to their fullest extent. That got me to thinking. How can I use my blog to the fullest without taking a full-blown class? Who is my audience? What message am I trying to convey? What am I here for?? Who am I??? As I especially try to figure out the last question, I decide to rest my brain. Forget it. I have better things to do. Like what? you ask. For one, I'm having a "Girls Movie Night" here in about an hour so I need to swifter the floor and run a comb through my hair, then -- Voila! It's me! Sharon Christine Leaf, a friend for all seasons. I'm here to laugh, cry, eat, make merry and to give a wise word in season to those around me. That's simple enough.

I learned a long time ago to keep things simple. So the purpose of my blog? To help simplify my reader's life. De-clutter your brain. Go for a walk. Read a favorite book. Hug your child (or a friend). Kiss your hubby (or a friend).

Lots of love to you on this fabulous 4th of July! I'm especially loving this holiday because Tom, Jacquie and Destinee are now living in South Carolina just a few southern miles down the road! Another dream come true. And we're going boating tomorrow...yay!

So don't give up on your dreams. They will come true. Some take a little longer than others but they are worth waiting for.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Edit, Workout, Edit, Coffee, Edit

Dad and I at a cafe in Zion National Park, Utah

Think that whatever you are doing as an adventure
and watch your life change for the better.

Let me jot down a few random thoughts since I'm passing by my computer on the way downstairs for my daily workout. I went to the doctor this week for my blood test results. Without going into detail, I must get serious about my workouts ... and NO more sweet tea! So when I mention that I'm sipping my sweet tea, that is a 'catch-all' phrase for any other drinks that I shall be sipping this summer (except coffee, of course!)

The edits from my manuscript arrived yesterday, so that will be my focus for who knows how long. I'm in my zone as I change words and re-write a few passages. I'm excited for the finished product, but I'm so pleased to have chosen an independent publisher (Westbow/Thomas Nelson) so I can go at my own pace. At my age, that can be a little slower than a turtle.

Tom, Jacquie, and Destinee are now settling in their new home on Lake Murray. Popcorn came face to face with her half brother, Lotto the Lab. They are quite a pair. I'll tell a story or two in the weeks ahead. I still can't believe they are only a stone's throw away from us ... well, about an hour down the road to be more accurate.

I'm thinking about my sweet Dad today, as tomorrow is Father's Day. I talked to him on the phone yesterday and he had me in stitches with his cute little sayings. I miss him and wish he lived closer.

Don't forget to check out my Aunt Eunice's Summer Beauty Tips on my website: www.sharonleaf.com

Until next time, I wish you oceans of blessings for the coming week.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him....fix your attention on God.
You'll be changed from the inside out.
Romans 12:1-2 The Message

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Boomin Bloomin Trail Blazer

Just one more picture! (at Jasmine's Cafe, York, SC)

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Every time I attempt to sit down to write this blog, something comes up. I need deadlines, but since turning sixty-five, I've given myself permission to put off today what I can do tomorrow. Anyone out there agree?

Random thoughts. June is busting out all over. Sounds like something Aunt Eunice would say about her neighbor. We're having a record-breaking heat wave here in the south while Arizona fires are scorching the desert and flood waters are still threatening the mid-west. But on a lighter note, life is good. I'm soaking in every lazy hazy day. From Lake Murray to our backyard pond, cool waters beckon. My friends are leaving tomorrow for a week at the beach, an annual custom that many southern families partake in, and now that Tom, Jacquie, and Destinee are almost here, I'm sure we'll plan a beachy-vacation, and hopefully our other three kids will want to join in.

Hey, I'm working on a personal brand* before my book comes out:
"Save room for dessert--the sweet stuff is yet to come! And don't be afraid to ask for seconds!"

Tell me your thoughts.

Now that you know that I'm still alive and kickin', I'll sign off for now. Popcorn is looking at me with those sweet hazel eyes, begging me to take her for an evening walk. Oh yeah, I saw fireflies out in full strength the other night for the first time this summer!

Oceans of blessings, and I'll see you on the radio next Thursday!

Use every chance you have for doing good.
Ephesians 5:16 NCV

(*I never even heard the word brand until a published author suggested I think about it. BTW: What is your brand? I know, I know--YOU don't want to be branded. hahaha! That's okay, I'm not all that excited about it either, but it is kinda fun...IF you have the time. Bottom Line: I'd rather write a blog.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Can't Sleep; Count Sheep

Going over contract with publisher

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem


Two a.m. When I can't sleep, and all else fails, what to do? Write a blog. I have much to think about, but most of all, I have much to be thankful for. I lay in bed, counting my blessings which appear in the form of little white sheep. Wait a minute...that's not a sheep...that's Popcorn! She's supposed to be asleep too. Oh well. Get up, tip-toe to my office and sit a spell, and write. Great idea. It doesn't matter if anyone reads this or not. It's great therapy for a tired body that refuses to sleep.

Memorial Day. Thanks to all the thousands of men and women who have given their lives for my freedom, and yours. I pray safe-keeping for all those who are out there protecting us (I'm thinking of you, Brandon).

My heart is full of joy. My girlfriend, Tia, told me today, there should be a way to bottle this joy and sell it...we'd make a million. But then we realized that each one has to find their own joy, their own way. We call ours "Le Jesus Joy"--and it's free. Splash it on, and you will immediately feel the difference.

My manuscript is with the editor, so now I wait for my turn at the wheel to edit/change/keep/re-write, etc. The process is such a wonderful adventure...a real dream coming true.

We're still praying about where to go on our next mission trip. Istanbul was a blessing two years ago. I dream about Israel, but we shall wait for God's direction.

Rob's daughter has lived close by for five years. Now my daughter, along with husband, daughter and two dogs, are moving to South Carolina. They realize the value of family, so we look forward to making more wonderful memories together--another dream coming true. Carrie is getting married in November, which will bring yet another great guy to the clan--and I'm sure a dream of hers coming true!

Sleepy yet? A little. Off to bed I go, to count sheep...I mean, to kiss Popcorn goodnight. Rob? Not to worry. He's been asleep for hours. He's such a good boy. Another blessing. Now that I think about it, I'm ready to cuddle with my two blessings.
Nightie-night, and see you on the radio!