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!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lady Traveler's Farewell to Pastor Jesse Mason

The loss of a great man of God is felt throughout the world today.  As we look back over the years, we all have our own stories of times spent with this humble man, Jesse Mason.  I'll briefly share mine, as he is worthy of my time to tell a short tale.  A few random thoughts cross my mind as I sit on my screened patio listening to the birds singing a song of victory ... and I'm sure I hear angels joining in as they are welcoming Jesse home.

Sunday School Teacher.  Worship Leader.  Associate Pastor.  Senior Pastor.  Boss.  And always a missionary at heart.  That is how I know Jesse Mason.  

The early 70's.  Around 9:15 am every Sunday morning, Jesse would lead the way as we walked next door from Christian Chapel to the condos that were still under construction.  As we trekked through mud puddles from a storm from the night before, I smiled.  I felt as if we were following Jesse on one of his missionary trips.  In the freshly painted clubhouse he taught an adult Sunday school class.  So much knowledge of the Bible, I thought.  He'll be a pastor one day I'm sure.  

Years later, I left Christian Chapel for a few years, but returned in 1987. And guess what? Jesse was now the Senior Pastor. I was delighted to see two familiar faces at the first singles meeting, to which my girlfriend had dragged me.  Jesse and Clare greeted me with open arms and I felt as if I had come home.  The following week I met my future husband, Rob, and a year later after we married, he became Singles Pastor.  During that time I was honored to be Jesse's secretary.  I spent many hours sitting in his office taking notes and listening to wonderful stories of how he and Clare met as missionaries in Japan and served the Lord.  When I grow up, I'm want to be like them and travel the world for Jesus.  

Finally, Jesse gave Clare permission to re-decorate his office, so Clare and I had fun choosing blue wallpaper to match the long, dark blue leather sofa that she chose for her husband. "I know Jesse will love this," she sighed. (I often wonder what happened to that sofa where so many men and women sat and listened to Jesse pray, prophesy, or just talk about topics-at-hand).

Rob and I have traveled the world for Jesus, and in all of our adventures for God, we can honestly say that Jesse and Clare Mason are one of the two most humble, sweet, giving, loving people on earth.  Whether hosting them in our home, or house-sitting in theirs while they traveled to Africa, their sincerity, gratitude and honesty always shined through. 

Dear Pastor Jesse, you will be deeply missed.  Our conversations shall be sprinkled with good memories of you so that your legacy can live on for generations to come.  My words are dimming through tears, so I must close.  See you in heaven, boss. 

Love,  Sharon


Friday, April 20, 2012

Life's Journey

Istanbul 2008

He protected us on our entire journey and among all nations through which we traveled.
Joshua 24:17

Whether we are traveling around the world on a World War II ship or moving to another city, isn't it comforting to know that God's protection is with us? No matter where our journey takes us, we can have confidence that the Lord is guiding us, directing us, and protecting us every mile of the way.

After fourteen months at sea, Rob and I arrived home to the USA in 1995 from many ports-of-call around the world. Today we have arrived safely in our port-of-call here in Lexington. Through the years I have learned that no matter how near or far I travel, I want my heavenly Father leading me. When we trekked through Siberia on the former Communist Youth Propaganda train in 1992, I sometimes felt a million miles away from my familiar surroundings. However, when I read Joshua 24:17, I was once again assured of the presence of God traveling with me.

As you begin planning your next journey, I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be the Captain of your ship. I wish you smooth sailing in the days ahead, and oceans of blessings!

To read more about Lady and the Sea, visit my website at www.sharonleaf.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Beginnings

Sunrise in backyard of our new home in Lexington, SC

Boxes stare at me every time I open the garage. I ignore them for now. I have something more important to do. Enjoy life. Have an extra cup of coffee on our screened porch. Breathe in the aroma of the pine trees. Listen to the birds sing. And the view ... ahhh. Whatever are in those boxes can wait. And those of you who have moved certainly know what I'm talking about. I've changed over the years. In times past, I wouldn't rest until everything was in order; usually took a week or so. Today I keep all boxes in the garage and unpack one at a time. The house is tidy and presentable. The other afternoon a neighbor dropped by with a large basket -- our dinner! She looked around and commented, "My, you are all moved in." I didn't dare show her the garage lest I burst her bubble.

I am keeping this short, but wanted you to know that I'm still alive and well, just a bit more tired. I'll post some photos of our new home, our cottage amongst the pines, with a lake, on a golf course. And a screened porch with an overhead fan, a necessity on those steamy days in the south. God has truly brought us to a beautiful port-of-call where our souls are nurtured daily.

I'll be glad to get back to some type of normal schedule ... no blog talk radio show for this month, no writer's group, no writing. But one thing I do have now that I missed for six years since living in the south: my daughter, Jacquie, granddaughter, Destinee, and my son-in-law, Tom. Life is grand and I thank God every day for his loving kindness that He has bestowed upon our lives.

Oh, yes, Lady and the Sea is sailing towards new horizons. I'll soon be having a book signing in Sumter, the town where I was born. And my cousin, Kiera Cass, will be at the Columbia Book Fair May 19th to promote her new novel, The Solution, of which a major TV network is filming a weekly series, The Solution, airing in the fall.

Bye for now. Oceans of blessings and smooth sailing,


Friday, April 6, 2012

Farewell Fort Mill, I will miss you.

Moving is always bittersweet. The packing is very bitter and the cleaning is even bitterer (is that a word? it should be). The sweet part of our move is now we'll be ten minutes from our daughter, Jacquie, and her family. They are the family who drops by just to say hello, or calls and asks if we can come over for a BBQ, or go boating on the lake. Rob and I are so looking forward to that. Ahh, family.

Today I took Popcorn and we drove down some Fort Mill country roads for the last time. When I moved here six years ago, I loved exploring the back roads. As I listened to Tim McGraw with the wind blowing in my face, I couldn't get enough of this country feeling. I still can't. Never will. This is where I belong.

I might be saying farewell to my hometown, Fort Mill, but I will never say good-bye to my Fort Mill Friends. They have made my country move complete. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hang on to my friends, from my junior high school buddies, Teri and Kathy; to my neighbor, Shirley--we raised our kids together and opened our homes to the weekly "Good News Club." And my friend who always has an ear to listen to my whining, grumbling, and other negative attitudes--Debbie, what would I do without you?? Friends are those who stay in our hearts no matter how many miles apart we may be, and when our paths cross, it is like we never parted. Friendship takes two. I'm blessed to have friends who feel the same way as I do.

My last box is packed, but the memories that I take with me to Lexington can't be put in a box. They will live in my heart. I love you, my Fort Mill Friends, and I plan to have many parties and y'all are invited! Much love, smooth sailing, and oceans of blessings,