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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Traveling towards New Beginnings

From our house, to yours...
Happy New Year 2014!

Christmas is over but the Christmas spirit remains in our home.  I don't start taking down Christmas decorations until January 2nd.  The wonderful part is that I keep my winter decorations out until February...ice skate tree, ice skates all over the house; "Let it Snow" plaques; snowmen sprinkled here and there, and all items that sparkle.  These symbols warm my heart on cold winter days.  Call me silly, but I've been called worse.

New Year's resolutions?  I don't make them.  However, I will attempt to write more (finish "Lady on the Run"), eat less, love more, exercise more, read more.  And so the list goes.  I'm sure you will be attempting some of these too.  And while we attempt, with God's help and some deep discipline, let us not forget to reach out to help others, and to enjoy life.

I wish you a very happy blessed New Year and oceans of blessings!
And remember ...

You cannot discover new oceans 
until you are willing
 to lose sight of your familiar shore.

Photo by The Hobo's Photos 2013




Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Christmas, I'm a Stay-at-home Traveler


Christmas at the Leaf's
beLeaf in your dreams

For unto us a child is born ...
A Savior ...
Christ the Lord!


Christmas is my favorite time of year, especially if it snows like it did several years ago when we lived in Fort Mill, SC.  Snow or no snow, it is very cold, windy, and rainy, with a touch of sleet and snow flurries, creating a holiday atmosphere in our small southern town.  I'm more than content to stay at home around the fireside and celebrate Christmas with loved ones.

I feel blessed to have more family members close by.  Our daughter's mother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, and their three dogs moved to Lexington last month.  New homes, new beginnings.  Of course I would love the rest of the fam to join us, but I leave that in God's hands.  

It's not even New Year's yet and I'm already looking forward to a new year to focus more on my writing.  I have a book to finish (Lady on the Run); today I registered for the Writer's Advance Boot Camp at The Cove in Asheville, NC in February; I've been asked to share my book, Lady and the Sea, at The Golden Hills Garden Club.  And that doesn't even touch on all the family events, church activities, and friend gatherings.  And I think Rob has a big Christmas gift surprise for me up his sleeve (a trip to Paris?  Israel?).  Yep, that's what retirement is all about.  Enjoying life and serving God.

A few of my favorite things ...
Me and Teri (Jacquie's mom-in-law)
enjoying the snow at Riverbank Zoo
December 2013

All I want for Christmas is
little 'Popcorn'

Jacquie, Destiny and me at
The Riverbank Zoo
Christmas 2013

My ice skate tree

The love of my life
Istanbul 2008

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas 
and oceans of blessings for the New Year

Order Lady and the Sea for the readers on your Christmas List!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful Traveler

Columbia River, WA
Photo by Shawn Watson
Tis the season to be thankful.  A few random thoughts:

I've been reading some of my friends' Thankful Lists on Facebook.  I was surprised and honored to find my name as one of Dorean's mentors that she was thankful for (I was a singles pastor way back in '88 and she was an artistic, beautiful single young woman).  This was a reminder to me that we never know who we are influencing.  No matter what our age, we should live ours lives, not unto ourselves, but to draw people to Christ.  Our friends want us to be real, someone they can relate to.  That goes for family too.



Travel Memory:  I spent one Thanksgiving on a WWII ship on the rolling Baltic Sea in '94.  I was too sick to eat the Thanksgiving feast that the American chefs had prepared, so I've been thankful for stable shores ever since.



Thanksgiving Tip:  Be thankful for those around you, and those afar.  Don't judge.  Instead, love ...  and sprinkle with laughter.



I wish you smooth traveling and oceans of blessings for your Thanksgiving holiday!


Life is what we are alive to.
It is not length but breadth...
Be alive to ... goodness, kindness, purity, Love,
poetry, music, art,
flowers, stars,
God, and eternal hope.
We're having a cold Thanksgiving
here in the Carolinas
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement
and good hope,
encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word.
2 Thess. 2:16-17






Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tennessee Traveler

For the pathway that lies before me,
my Heavenly Father knows--
I'll trust Him to unfold the moments
just as He unfolds the rose

When I was invited to the Loving Well Retreat in the Tennessee mountains two months ago, something inside said, GO.  I knew only one woman among the intimate group of 20+, but from the moment our Friday road trip began two weeks ago, I knew this would be a special three-day journey.  The four-hour drive gave us four gals time to laugh, chat, eat Mexican in Asheville, NC, and get to know each other.  The cozy cabin we stayed in was our haven away from home for three days, and after the first evening of listening to Session 1 of Beth Moore's Loving Well, we realized how much we needed this getaway.

On Saturday, we all lounged in the main cabin in our PJ's from breakfast until lunch (so fun!).  After Session 3 of Beth Moore's video, we had afternoon free time, which I spent resting, hiking, and talking to God about life's issues He already knew all about.  Without going into detail, Beth spoke on four types of people in our lives who we are commanded to love:
Joy:  Joy is easy to be around.  Hopefully, we know lots of them.  And hopefully, YOU are a joy to be around.
Testy:  Testy rubs us the wrong way, annoys us, and makes us want to run in the opposite direction.  Oh, by the way, sorry to bring this up, but it's usually a family member.  And guess what?  YOU might be someones Testy!    
Foe:  Foe is someone you hope you never come in contact with again; your feelings towards Foe sometimes teeters between dislike and hate.   Do you have a Foe in your life?
Far:  We don't come in contact with Far, but Jesus tells us to love them by reaching out, perhaps by giving an offering or something they need, or better yet, taking a mission trip to meet Far.

The weekend gave me much to ponder and pray about.  I came home refreshed, and I plan to spend more quality face-to-face time, and less social networking time.  Can I get an Amen to that?
  
Thank you, Kathy Owens, for working so hard to make our week-end special and loving.  I made some sweet friends in those Tennessee mountains.

Tips for retreat-travel:  (1) bring a pocket full of flexibility with you. Change is good, (from food to daily scheduling), no matter what you may think. (2)  If your Testy, try being Joy for the week-end and see what happens. (3) Travel light, incase you have to trek up a steep hill to your cabin.

I wish you oceans of blessings and smooth sailing on your next retreat-getaway.  Let me know how it goes!

My foot has held fast to His path;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
Job 23:11 NASB

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Put a LITTLE GRAVEL in Your TRAVEL...Lady Travels on Highway 378 to Myrtle Beach

Home of Josh Turner, one of my favorite country singers
Highway 378

Makes me wanna take a back road
Makes me wanna take the long way home...
(a Tim McGraw song)

Last week, my cousin, Vernon Roy, and I took a road trip to Myrtle Beach.  Highway 378 is a road that has been around years before the interstates were built.  I drive 378 from Lexington to Sumter because I prefer roads and highways to the faster interstates.  Why?  Because you get the feel of the countryside and the little towns along the way.  And at my young age of 67, I'm in no hurry to get to the next town.  I enjoy the moment.  Try it.  You'll like it.


FYI:  Highway 378 will take you all the way to Myrtle Beach.



My last trip to MB was three months ago with my cousin, Ronnie; we were meeting our cousins, Judy and Bettie, for lunch.  This time the trip with Vernon was more somber.  We were meeting Bettie at the hospital to visit Judy who recently had a major stroke and was paralyzed.  We were greeted by Judy's smile and her funny stories about her stay in the hospital.  Then we laughed about the time ...



...  I was in sixth grade and my family drove from California to South Carolina for a three-week Christmas vacation.  I stayed a few days in Sumter with Judy, and when her mother announced we were having fried chicken for dinner, I followed her outside, thinking we were going to walk down the road to the local Piggly Wiggly to buy a chicken.   Suddenly she grabbed an ax and I watched in horror as she proceeded to chop off a chicken's head (needless to say, that evening I had a difficult time eating one of their pets)... 



... The laughter we shared gave us strength to get through the heartache of seeing our cousin lying helpless in a hospital bed.  Before we said our good-byes, I asked Judy, "May we pray for you?"  As I prayed, peace filled the room, and our tears felt like tears of hope.  We are believing for Judy's miracle from God.
Travel TiP:  Laughter AND Prayer is good for the soul.  Remember that the next time you visit someone in the hospital.

The two hour drive back to Sumter gave Vernon and I some 'cousin time' to walk down memory lane.    As we drove along, something felt familiar.   Then suddenly out of nowhere,  a big sign on the right side of the highway caught my attention. "Josh Turner!"** I exclaimed.  Vernon quickly asked, "Do you want me to pull over so you can take a picture?"  Vernon has gotten to know me quite well since I moved to South Carolina seven years ago.  Although we only get together a few times a year, he has learned to read my body language, especially when I pull out my iPhone to take a picture...a dead give-away.

Travel TiP:  Take time to smell the roses and read the signs--and take pictures!  It's the little things that mean a lot, and I thank Vernon for having the patience to pull over for me to click about ten shots of this sign.  Yes, rich and famous people are born in small southern towns.  And I feel that this sign was a smile from God, letting us know that the whole world is in His hands, especially our sweet cousin, Judy.
By faith
we understand that the entire universe
was formed by God's command,
that what we now see
 did not come from anything that can be seen.
Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT

You may apply all above Travel TiPs to any state or country you visit.
I wish you oceans of blessings and smooth sailing for your Autumn days


** BTW: Quick story:  The first time Jacquie came to visit me seven years ago (before she moved to Lexington),  I accidentally took Highway 378 to Myrtle Beach, which takes twice as long as driving on I-20east...but hey, it was my first time driving to MB!  Jacquie and I did see the Josh Turner sign, but that was before I had a smart phone, and I never thought I'd be traveling down that road again.  But here's the proof!  *smile*

Put a little gravel in YOUR travel

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lady Traveler's road trip to Jacksonville FL and Darien GA

Jacksonville, Florida
October 2013

Life is short and we never have enough time for gladdening the hearts 
of those who travel the way with us.
O, be swift to love!
Make haste to be kind.

I love road trips, especially on roads I haven't traveled.  And so it begins, another little adventure.

Do you ever say to yourself, 'last week I was in ____'.   Well, last week Rob and I spent two days in Jacksonville, Florida with dear friends we've known since our California years.  After they gave us a tour of the area, which by the way, has the same beachy feel as several west coast towns that we're familiar with, we ate lunch at a seafood cafe that overlooked the Atlantic.  Afterwards, we strolled along the beach where I collected a shell or two, a hobby I began years ago.

Travel TiP:  If you don't have a lot of money to purchase souvenirs, start collecting special items, i.e. rocks, shells, or even sand ... something to remember your travels by.
Sunset on the inter coastal waterway
Jacksonville, Florida 2013
On our way home, we decided to pull off the I-95N to take a detour to Darien, Georgia, and we are so glad we did.  Darien is a sleepy little river town that bids welcome to all who drop in.

Another Travel TiP:  Take time to drive off the main highways and byways to find your special place to return.

We stayed in a cozy Bed and Breakfast, ( www.darienriverfrontinn.com -- we'll stay here when we return next year for a longer visit).  We had a delicious dinner at a romantic little restaurant a stone's throw away from our room, right on the waterfront.  Can't get much better than that!
Welcome to the second oldest planned city in Georgia.
Lots of fun things to do ...
Bike riding, kayaking, exploring the history,
or ...

relaxing with a book
and a glass of wine.
So please ...
... drop by the next time you're in the area.
(deck of B and B overlooking the Darien River)

Wait! There's more... another Travel TiP:  Be flexible with your schedule.  Be open to find new places to explore.  You'll meet friendly people along the way, and for that, it is well worth the trip.

History galore in this part of the south,

On the Darien River in Darien, Georgia
More Travel TiPs:  Pack light.  Bring a book, favorite CD's, snacks for the car, including water; a light jacket and umbrella for a change in weather.  And of course, wear your favorite smile...that's what people see first!

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 NIV


I wish you oceans of blessings on your next road trip!




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lady travels down Memory Lane to Seattle

Forground: House boat in movie 'Sleepless in Seattle'
Background: Dry dock where Restoration had her
Extreme Makeover in 1994

Rob and I returned from our holiday in Seattle refreshed and full of rich memories.  Spending time with family and friends in the midst of God's beauty does that to a person.

We were invited to stay with our friends Stan and Sharon Langaker.  Their condo overlooks the Puget Sound, so we spent most of our mornings drinking coffee and evenings sipping wine as we watched the ships sail by while soaking in blue waters, tall trees, and breathtaking mountains.  We shared our Restoration memories as if we had been on that old World War II ship just a few months ago instead of nineteen years ago.

Many who have read my novel, Lady and the Sea continue to ask me about the people from whom I based my characters.  Rob and I had a reunion with four who now live in the Seattle area.
MS Restoration 1994

Captain Stan and his wife, Sharon Langaker (Captain Stuart and Shelly) have devoted their lives to the Lord.  After giving the WWII ship to Word of Life Church in Sweden and spending over seven years on the Restoration, they returned to America and worked for the non-profit organization, Friendships, based in Louisiana.  They are now beginning to reap the harvest of the many years that they have sown for God's kingdom.
Sharon, Stan and me
near Pugent Sound, WA

Rob and Clark Davis (Clive) worked side by side on the Restoration, from the engine room to the monkey bridge.  From Seattle's dry dock to the many ports-of-call on Restoration's maiden voyage that ultimately ended in Haifa, Israel, they made lifetime memories together.  Clark is married with two children, owner of American Family Insurance, and is involved with missions work in Africa. Rob and I, Clark and his family, and Stan and Sharon, spent a memorable evening at his home.
Clark (Clive) on Restoration 1994
19 years later: Rob (Jesse) and Clark (Clive)




Jeannie (Jeans) with 2 of her 6 kids
on her backyard deck in Cascade Mts.

We spent a cool autumn morning with Jeannie in her home nestled beside a lovely river near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  Jeannie (Jeans) still journals and creates delightful books about her family.  Most of her time is spent with her husband and six children.  She is still as beautiful as she was nineteen years ago, and her contagious laugh still brings music to my ears.














The highlight of our trip was taking a road trip south to Richland, WA to visit our son, Shawn, and his wife. Three years is too long to be apart so our reunion was sweet and fun!  They live on the Columbia River so Shawn took us on a grand tour of the area, including lunch on the river at one of their favorite eateries.

Mom and son on the Columbia River, WA

Our daughter-in-law, Frances, is a producer of a local TV station so we went to her studio to watch the 6:30pm news.  I vowed to myself to not make a funny face at her while she was on the air.  Wouldn't have mattered.  She's too professional to succumb to faces.
Back in our hotel, watching Frances on the 11pm news!
All too soon it was time to board our red-eye flight home.  Travel TiP: Buy one of those cushy pillows for your neck so you can sleep without your neck wobbling all over, then leaning on the person next to you and slobbering all over them.

As I sat on the plane, gazing at the lights below and the stars above, I recalled our ten days in Washington, and I was reminded once again that God can speak to us while we enjoy life.  He doesn't take vacations when we're seeking answers from Him.  Our answers can come through a friend's comment, or directly from that still, small Voice within.  The important thing is to listen, ponder, then respond.  That's my homework assignment for the rest of my life.  In the meantime ...

... I wish you smooth sailing through these autumn days, and oceans of blessings.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Diana Nyad, Lady Leaf Style




Diana Nyad is my hero!  At the age of 64, she swam over 100 miles from Cuba to Florida in shark infested waters.  This was her fifth attempt but she never gave up.  Her mantra:  "Never give up!  You're never too old."  I believe this, and as I continue swimming for an hour a day, I love my time in the water.  I'm taken to a place where I cannot go in my 'walking' world.  I'm alone and all is quiet and serene in the large junior Olympic swimming pool at my clubhouse.

Little Tip: Find your place where you can dream, think, pray.  You will always return for more.

Until next summer, I wish you smooth sailing and oceans of blessings for the Autumn months ahead.

www.sharonleaf.com

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summer's Past, and Summers Past


Flying to Belize

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.
One can collect only a few,
and they are more beautiful if they are few.
I usually travel during the summer, but this year I told Rob that I wanted to hang around Leaf's Lake House and relax.  I made a commitment to myself that I would spend August relaxing, reading, wRiting, and swimming.  And of course visiting Rob's mother who has been in the hospital, now in physical therapy, soon to be admitted to a nursing home.  Through it all, she keeps her sense of humor and love for God.  But now that summer is winding down, I'm feeling a little sad because I've enjoyed these past weeks so much.

The weather here in the south has been unpredictable with more rain, clouds, thunder, lightning than usual.  But each time I'd glide into the swimming pool, I would look up--eyes protected with UV sunglasses--into the cloud-filled sky to find the sun shining through, right over the pool.  Smiling, I continued lapping.  One afternoon there came a cloudburst, but no thunder and lightning.  Swimming in the rain with my sunglasses protecting my eyes from the pounding rain felt like a delightful outdoor shower.  My summer of tenacity voted me Esther Williams of Golden Hills.  Like I always say, it's never too late!  Sixty-four-year-old Diana Nyad can vouch for that! (she just completed swimming from Cuba to Florida!)

Summer is winding down, but I'm feeling invigorated as Autumn breezes slowly approach.  I will replace swimming with long walks and SaSuBe dance classes.

A Tip to all of you out there in Lady Leaf Land:  take care of your body, soul and spirit.  You'll feel--and look--much better when you do.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
We're I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Psalm 139:17-18

I wish you smooth sailing through Fall and oceans of blessings!

Brother's house in Zion
Ahh, Zion National Park

U.S. Whitewater Center
Charlotte, NC

www.sharonleaf.com

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lady Leaf the Traveler Is A WINNER!

Lighthouse on Tybee Island, SC

I'm thrilled to announced that I'm the winner of My Gutsy Story contest for July!  It was a close call because all five stories were inspiring and gutsy.  I want to thank all of you who voted for my story, "I Sailed the Seven Seas on a WWII ship and Lived to Tell About It."  I pray that this story will encourage readers to find faith for those forgotten dreams, whatever that dream may be.

I admit that I don't spend a lot of time marketing my book, Lady and the Sea.  I have a hard time sitting at my iMac for too long.  I was diagnosed last week with arthritis so I need to keep the old body moving as often as possible (thank the Lord for swimming and my SaSuBe class!).  So Lady has been mostly word of mouth, book signings, and speaking engagements.  I'm always delighted when someone tells me they found my book in their local book store. *smile*

Go to the link below to read my winning announcement from author Sonia Marsh.

www.soniamarsh.com

Our road will be smooth and untroubled no matter what care life may send; 
if we travel the pathway together, and walk side by side with a friend.

I wish you smooth sailing and oceans of blessings on this rainy day in South Carolina

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, 
binding yourselves together with peace. 
Ephesians 4:3
 www.sharonleaf.com


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Traveling to the Clubhouse Pool in Gracie-the-Golfcart


Clubhouse pool where sunshine abounds

I'm having too much fun at the pool this summer, meeting new neighbors, splashing with the kids, but most of the time I mind my own business...swim my laps, then quietly drive away in Gracie the Golf Cart.  But the day my Aunt Eunice joined me poolside was a day to be reckoned with.  I didn't have any choice; she just showed up at my front door.

   "Hey, Sha-ren!  I just got back from Florida and thought I'd stop by before I drive home to Sumter," she announced as she dropped her large satchel on my freshly swiffered floor.

   "Wow, Auntie, you look so--tan!" I said.

   "Thanks, darlin'.  I went on a long cruise with Betty White," she said, then looked me up and down.  "What are ya doin' in that bathing suit?"

 "Oh, I'm a swimmer now!  Every day.  An hour of laps," I bragged.
 
   Eunice picked up her satchel that looked at least fifty years old.  "I'll go change in the bedroom; I want to swim too!"

   What could I say?  She zumba-ed with me, once.  So why couldn't she swim with me, once?

   I think I looked quite matronly in my pink flowered one-piece, but I've become fearless in my sixties, not allowing a slight overgrown belly keep me from splashing my summer away.  But Aunt Eunice was downright challenging. I didn't know they made swim suits that...well...flowing.

   We arrived at the pool at eleven o'clock, early enough to pick my favorite spot in the corner next to the ladder where I can easily slide in the pool unnoticed and begin my routine.  But that wasn't good enough for Eunice.  "Let's sit right in the middle of the action.  I love making new friends," she said as she threw her towel over the lounge, then strutted her stuff over to the deep end.

   I started to warn Eunice that she was going in the deep end, but it was too late.  She jumped in, curling her plumpy body into a cannon ball.  The kids didn't see her coming, but their mothers did.  As she hit the water with the largest splash the clubhouse pool has ever witnessed, the mother of three yelled as Eunice came up for air, "Lady!  What do you think you are doing?  No diving allowed!  And you got my new summer reading book wet!"

   "Darlin', that's no dive...that's a cannon-ball!" Eunice corrected as she dog-paddled to the other end of the pool where the kids were splashing.

   "Don't worry," I apologized to the mother whom I had just met a few days before, "she'll be out of the pool in no time; she's too old to last more than ten minutes."  The mother turned and gave me a dirty look after Aunt Eunice's third cannon-ball.  In the meantime, her kids were laughing and carrying on while Eunice taught them how to cannon-ball.

   An hour later, still waiting for Aunt Eunice to slow down,  I learned a few things about getting older.  One, you can still swim, dog-paddle, and cannon ball non-stop for an hour or more.  Two, after you teach the mother's children how to maneuver a mean cannon-ball, she will be your friend forever.  Why?  Because perfectly coiffed mom didn't have to get in the pool and get her hair wet.

   Too soon, Aunt Eunice was on her way home to Sumter, but promised to return for another day of cannon-balling with her new friends.  Guess there will be a second time after all. *smile*

Aunt Eunice
Miss South Carolina 1946
(notice the resemblance)
Aunt Eunice has a blog at:  www.sharonleaf.com

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lady Traveler's Gutsy Story -- VOTE today!

WWII ship, MS Restoration
I was a volunteer for 14 months on this fine lady

I was invited to share my gutsy story, I Sailed the Seven Seas on a WWII Ship and Lived To Tell About It and it is nominated to be the July winner.  All you have to do is vote for me on the following blog:

www.soniamarsh.com

I'm up against four other wonderful, inspiring gutsy stories so it will be a close race.  May the best story win.


Russian Jews awaiting to arrive in Haifa, Israel

I Wish You Smooth Sailing and Oceans of Blessings!

My gutsy story based on my book
www.sharonleaf.com



Friday, July 26, 2013

Lady Travels to Myrtle Beach on Southern Back Roads


Lady Leaf at Myrtle Beach

I always look forward to spending time with my Carolina cousins, whether we hook up in Sumter, Florence, or Myrtle Beach.  But this time was special because I drove to my cousin Ronnie's, who lives in Bishopville, and he drove us to Myrtle Beach, not via Interstate 20 or Highway 378, but down long, winding southern roads.  What a treat!  My southern accent kicked in immediately.

As Ronnie headed his big red GMC truck to the countryside, he pointed to a little corner cafe.  "See that?"  I blinked and almost missed it.  "Every morning I meet my buddies of 25 years there and we sit in a circle and talk about...well, just about everything."  Something out of Mayberry, I thought.  As we continued down the road, I noticed that he kept shooing flies with his left hand.  I was getting ready to ask him what was the deal with the flies when he said,  "I'm waving to my friends."  It seems that after all the years living in a small town, everyone knows everybody.  Well, I guess that's a good thing.  I'll ask him next time.

"This used to be tobacco country; now there's corn, soy beans, and other vegetables growing."  Tobacco to textiles to farmland.  Beautifully green and welcoming.  Horses and goats grazing.  Big, old houses built in the 1800's at the end of long dirt roads.  Newer, modern brick homes at the end of long paved driveways.  And trees everywhere, as far as the eye can see.  A little bit of everything.  There's room for everyone.  Black or white.  Rich or poor.

Too soon, we were in Conway, a few miles from Myrtle Beach, and traffic to compare with the Southern California freeways.  Bumper to bumper, thousands were heading for the ocean to escape the heat.  For us, we were heading to Magnolia's to meet up with the rest of the cousins.  Heat and traffic behind, we shared stories and laughter over some mighty fine southern cookin'.

Thank you, cousin Ronnie, for a drive back in time as we talked about our mothers--who were sisters--and the sweet southern legacy they left us.  These moments don't happen often, but when they do, I inhale every moment.

I encourage you to cherish the moments that God has given you this summer, whether with family or friends, you are making memories.  Make them good ones.

Until next time, I wish y'all smooth sailing down memory lane.


Beach your cousins well!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lady Traveler was stupid.

In the midst of dreaming
Be aware of your surroundings!
Early yesterday morning Rob traveled to the Apple store in Augusta, GA to take a class and to see why his laptop was acting up; it seems the old gal had bit the dust, so he bought a new one, left it there so the Apple rep could transfer all his updates.   After dinner we drove back (2-hour round trip) to pick it up.

While Rob was in the Apple store, I strolled the outside mall and talked with my So-Cal friend on Rob's iPhone5 (my iPhone4S battery died due to my daily over-use).  I was strolling, chatting, minding my own business, enjoying the summer evening.  As soon as I said good-bye to my friend, I turned around to find a handsome, well-dressed, twenty-something man staring at me, holding out a twenty-dollar bill.  He looked me in the eyes and said, "If I give you this twenty dollars, will you drive me home?"  

The whole 15-second incident caught me completely off guard.  The first thing that went through my mind was, he wants my iPhone!  I quickly answered, "No; I live in Lexington and I'm meeting my husband."  As I quickly trotted off, he added, "I feel embarrassed to ask," hoping I would enter into some kind of conversation with him.  Without thinking, I almost did, but something told me to keep walking.

Still, I didn't think so much about it.  I even called my SoCal friend back and jokingly told her what happened.  We laughed at the idea that a young stud would try to pick up an old gal, even though I had just had my hair done, my nails and toenails manicured, and sporting a stunning tan from my daily swimming time.

Okay, I'm saying all this to say this, ladies.  That fifteen-second incident could have turned into a very bad ordeal.  Later that night, Rob and I talked about it at length.  He reminded me, "He was stalking you and you didn't even know it."  I had no defense.  "You are so right.  I even walked to our car, opened the trunk and brought your backpack to you while talking to Debbie, not even looking around!"

Thinking about it, I suddenly felt a little shaky, then thanked the Lord for His protection and for my guardian angel working overtime.

I know better.  I've traveled to Russia, Siberia, Israel, Turkey, and other places where you have to be aware of your surrounding at all times.  Shame on me.  

What to do, girls?  Don't even engage in a conversation with any strange man, no matter how innocent they look.  Tell them to back off, then turn and leave immediately.  Report them to a local mall employee if you think he might be dangerous to other women.  

Remind your daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, to ALWAYS be aware of their surroundings.  Sadly, times have changed so we must be on guard at all times.  Our lives depend on it.  After all, it might be more than a cell phone that they are after.  Think about it.

It took me an up-close-and-personal experience to remind me of this.  I don't want YOU to be put in the same situation.

HAVE FUN, BUT BE AWARE!

The Lord, before whom I have walked,
will send His angel with you to make your journey successful.
Genesis 24:40

Wherever you travel, near or far,
BE AWARE

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lady Traveler Found her Faith For Forgotten Dreams...have you?


I had a dream to travel the world...
Perhaps because it's Sunday that I find myself thinking on the subject of faith.

Finding Faith For Forgotten Dreams is one of the main themes of my book, Lady and the Sea, so I thought we'd chat about it today.  We all dream.  We all have dreamed (past tense).  We often lay those dreams aside, thinking that our circumstances govern where our dreams will end up ... tucked away in a closet, or tossed away in the trash.  When I was young my dream was to travel the world, but after two failed marriages and two children to raise, I threw that dream aside.  My mistake.  But through the years I have found that by activating these few simple steps, dreams can actually come true ... in God's perfect timing ... not ours.  So here's our little Sunday School lesson:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him...  Hebrews  11:6a

Faith is a combination of several things:

TRUST:  It causes us to say by our actions, "Lord, I trust you.  Your Word says You can be trusted and I believe it."  Faith in God is trust in God.

CONFIDENCE:  Our confidence is not in the abilities or cleverness of man -- but of God.  Faith is confidence that God will keep His promises.

ASSURANCE:  Assurance tells us that God is everything His Word says He is.  It tells us that He is intervening on our behalf.  Faith is assurance.

COURAGE:  Faith is the courage needed to approach God with a list of needs and know He hears our prayers and answers them for His glory and honor ... not ours.  It's the courage to look to the Lord in any time of need and not allow our circumstances to intimidate or dictate to us.

ACTION:  Faith has a passive side.  It can be received as a gift of God, but it also has an active side.  Faith prompts action.  Hebrews 11:33 tells us that faith subdued, faith worked, faith obtained, and faith even stopped the mouth of lions.

Until I put my faith into action in my own life, these were only words not understood in my mind.  Faith in action allows your heart and mind to see the fullness of the Lord working in your behalf.  How exciting is that?  The living God hears us, listens to us, and answers us ... all in His perfect timing.  My life is a testimony of God's faithfulness ... my dream of traveling the world for God came true and you can read my story in my novel, Lady and the Sea.

In the days ahead, let's all begin to live by faith in a more alive, exciting way!  Until next time...

Istanbul, Turkey 2008
I wish you smooth sailing and 
oceans of faith for those forgotten dreams!

On board Restoration 1995
Stockholm, Sweden





Lady Traveler sight-sees in Savannah

Oldest oak tree in Savannah
I can hear Ray Charles singing that old sweet song, "Georgia" as we make our way down Interstate-95, heading for Savannah.  This is our second visit since moving to South Carolina seven years ago, and I make a mental note that we must return every year.  Savannah is my favorite southern town, so I couldn't think of a better place to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary.  If you have been to Savannah, then you know what I'm talkin' about.

Rob and I feasted on scrumptious shrimp and grits, low country boil, prime rib ... well, you get the picture.
Crab-filled sauteed mushroomies
We took a carriage ride at dusk, strolled the river front at twilight...
My new friends



We dined overlooking the river and lighted bridge

and walked on the beach at Tybee Island and Edisto Island.
Tybee Island, GA

Edisto Island, SC



We had a wonderfully fabulous anniversary, but what made it so special for me is that I was with my prince charming, the man who God sent to me at just the right time in my life.  Together, we have made a wonderful life together.  Whether we're on the other side of the world, or relaxing in our cottage-style home on the golf course, we are two happy Leafs, blowing in the wind, wondering where we will land next.  

Until next time, I wish you a smooth sailing 4th of July and oceans of blessings.

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.