On life's 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 20, 2014

A Special 'Thank You' to my readers...

Christmas 1994 on board WW2 ship MS Restoration
Stockholm, Sweden
Christmas is here and I want to take a moment to say a 
warm, heart-felt thank you to all of you out there in Lady Leaf Land 
who have bought and read my book, 
LADY and the SEA.* 
There are too many of you out there to thank personally, 
but you know who you are.  
I run across people at the market, social events, and of course all the emails, 
telling me how much you loved my novel, based on my true story.
I can honestly tell you that writing LADY was a 
Labor of Love.  
God has taken me to over fifteen countries 
where I have had the honor to meet the most loving, sweet people 
(Russia, Siberia, Latvia, Estonia, Turkey, Israel...just to name a few), 
so I wrote about my life's journey up until 1995.

The beautiful woman I inspired
to take a risk and be gutsy!
2013
As I mentioned in my last blog, I entered my 500-word essay in the
"Have you inspired someone to take a risk and be gutsy?" contest.
I won!!
  
Have you ever inspired someone?  
You might not ever know about it in this world.  
The only reason I know is because I asked on Facebook and 
Regina responded immediately.  
WOW!

So I'll share my story, "I Inspired Someone to Take A Risk and Be Gutsy!"
to remind you that there is
someone watching and listening to you. 

It was 1991.  
I was forty-four, happily married, and co-pastoring a large singles ministry with my husband, Rob.  Did I mention this was my third marriage?  
I'm not proud of that fact, but life's journey isn't all glitter and happiness.  
With four grown children between us and three grandsons, 
I wasn't prepared for God's gutsy request for us to leave California to 
attend an international Bible school in Sweden...for a year!  
How could He ask me to move when my daughter was about to deliver my first granddaughter?  Besides, we loved pastoring our singles ministry.  
Well, not our ministry...God's ministry.  
Over a hundred singles of all ages showed up every Friday night for fellowship and to 
worship the Lord, 
not to mention the summer and winter camps, sprinkled with fun ministry outreaches.

After much prayer, Rob and I made the decision to lease our house, sell our cars, 
take a sabbatical, and leave our family behind.  
We had no idea how we were going to financially pull this off, 
but we experienced--step by step--when we say yes to God, He will meet our every need, 
from Rob finding leather gloves hanging in a tree as we 
traveled home on a bus one freezing December afternoon, 
to a surprise January birthday gift from my California friend, 
a check in the exact amount needed to purchase a pair of much needed snow boots 
(thank you once again, Shirley).

Returning home was like starting over--
new jobs, buying a used car, putting our house back in order, 
and paying off a credit card that helped take us to Israel and Siberia after graduation.

From the beginning of this journey, 
there was a twenty-three-year-old single woman watching, praying, participating.  
Although Regina's job didn't pay much, she sent us a monthly donation of a hundred dollars.  
Like us, Regina wanted to experience God in a new, fresh, and powerful way, 
so I encouraged her to stretch her faith and experience the unknown.  
In other words, take a risk and live a gutsy-for-God kind of life.

Rob helped Regina get her finances in order, 
so in 1992 she quit her job, packed up and moved to Sweden to 
attend the international Bible school.  
And God supplied all of her needs.

When people ask, 
"Why did you go all the way to Sweden for Bible school?" 
I simply answer, "Because God asked me to go."  
Sweden was a door for me to walk through that 
led to many other gutsy doorways.

People ask Regina why she went all the way to Sweden and 
her answer is the same, but she adds, 
"there was this gutsy woman, Sharon Leaf, who inspired me 
to lose sight of my safe shore and dive into a new ocean."

I didn't know this until I placed a message on my Facebook page, asking, 
"Is there anyone out there who I inspired to take a gutsy risk?"  
Within minutes, Regina answered.

Today, Regina is still inspiring!
End

LADY and the SEA
My legacy
Again, thank all of you for the kind words you've given me after reading 
LADY and the SEA.  
Now, pass the book along to someone who needs to 
find hope for their forgotten dreams.

I wish you oceans of CHRISTmas blessings and a Happy New Year!


www.sharonleaf.com
Available on www.amazon.com, Ebooks, and my website.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lady Travels Towards "Joyeux Noel"

Welcome to my home
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
CHRISTmas is here, bringing good cheer!
I hope this is what you are humming today.

These are a few of my favorite things...

Daughter Jacquie's gift to me from
Anthropologie, one of my favorite shops!
My halls are decked with boughs of holly,
  ice skates are scattered,
and loads of laughing snowmen everywhere.

The calendar is full
and yet I will find time
for ultimate quietness
to give thanks to the Lord
for all He has done
throughout this past year.

Country French is my cozy preference
(I have since removed this table and chairs to
create my 'dreaming corner')
As you gather with
family and friends,
remember to give them 
extra hugs and kind words.
Life is too short to 
forget the small, sweet
acts of kindness.

Believe.  I spell it BeLeaf

Princess Popcorn in her happy place
Writer's Note:
I'm a writer who doesn't 
write as much as I should.
However, I spent the past two hours
writing and then submitting
a 500-word essay to a contest titled
'I Inspired Someone to Take A Risk and Be Gutsy!'

I wasn't aware that I had inspired anyone,
until a lovely lady from my past,
Regina Martin Huaracha,
notified me to give me the news
that I had inspired her!
And to my surprise, it was announced that
I WON the contest!!

I shall include the essay on my next blog,
I'm not meaning to 'ring my own bell'
but I want to make you aware that 
someone is watching you.
You just might be someone's inspiration.

My ice skate tree

Ice skates scattered throughout the house

I wish you oceans of Christmas blessings!


God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.
Galatians 4:6

Monday, November 17, 2014

Along the lines of writing...how Lady Traveler's gutsy dream began

Dreams come true a step at a time, with little accomplishments along the way.
Writing, even on holiday in Belize 2010
When my book
Lady and the Sea
first hit the bookshelves,
it was a thrill to walk through the bookshops until I found Lady's display ...
Regional, Fiction,
Inspirational, Christian Fiction, Travel ...
How easy it is to forget the excitement of those early days ...

... until the other night at
our Autumn Neighborhood gathering ...
... a gentleman that I barely say hello or wave to
came over to me and announced,
"I read your book."
I felt that familiar heart-flutter.
"You did?"
Then he added, "I loved it, but there was only one thing I didn't like."
I held my breath, then asked, "What was that?"
"I didn't want your book to end."
I wanted to hug him, but contained myself.
"You are going to have a sequel aren't you?"
I often get asked that question.
"Well, I'm working on my next book,
Lady on the Run.
More like a pre-sequel.

More proof that I spent hours toiling over Lady and the Sea,
and drinking lots of coffee
Yesterday I received an email from a young woman, 
asking if I would be a
guest speaker at their upcoming Gals Night Out event
and how much I charged.
The timing was so like God because
just the other day I was asking Him,
Who is my audience?
I had my own ideas,
but God answered,
Lady and the Sea is for everyone who needs to be 
encouraged to follow their dreams,
say yes to Me,
and then trust Me.

So simple.

My dream
www.sharonleaf.com
May I ask,
What is your dream?
Is your dream coming true?
If you don't have a dream,
I dare you to embrace one.
Whether a simple dream or a big dream,
through thick or thin,
God will provide.

Lady has some competition with Sarah Jessica Parker!
My first book signing. Ahh, the thrill of it all!
 Charlotte, NC
December 2011


My favorite part of book events: meeting wonderful people!
East Coast Book Launch Pineville, NC
December 2011

My buddy, Tia, baked a feast for book lovers.
West Coast Book Launch Huntington Beach, CA
January 2012

Well, I thought I'd take a few moments to share with you
the beginnings of my dream.
And the best is yet to come!

Remember,
Be confident.
Stay humble,
and love the journey!

All my fellow townsmen know that you are 
a woman of noble character.
Ruth 3:11


Friday, November 14, 2014

Autumn is in the air...Thanksgiving is on the way

Autumn in our backyard, Fort Mill, SC 2008
Confession time.
I've been busy
doing the necessities of daily life.
then fighting a cold,
traveling back and forth to my warm bed
in order to feel normal again.

Come unto Me,
all of you who are tired and have heavy loads,
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 NIV

I am returning to the land of the living slowly.
I'm so excited for Christmas time.
Ooops ... 
Need to celebrate Thanksgiving first.
I'm often guilty of
putting the cart before the horse.

Autumn is in the air
but winter is close behind.
Will drop to 20+ tonight.
Brrr.
Fireplace, a hot cup of anything,
a cozy blanket, little Popcorn close by.
That's my remedy for a fast recovery.

Until next time,
I wish you oceans of warm blessings!
Waiting for Christmas
Joys come from simple and natural things,
sunlight on the leaves,
snow on the meadow,
little birds decked with ice skates,
keeping Christ in Christmas.





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lady Traveler has traveled to how many capitals?

Lady Traveler has traveled to how many capitals?
Paris is always a good idea
A friend of mine recently asked me, 
"How many capitals have you traveled to?"
Hmm, I've counted countries, but never counted capitals.  
Lets see ... I must think about this one ...
Jerusalem, Moscow, Stockholm, Athens, Istanbul, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki, Oslo, London...
... and then there's Paris.
And I'm probably leaving out a few.
(it's the memory factor)
On a mission in Moscow
First trip to Jerusalem

On a mission in Istanbul
In all my travels, I have come to this conclusion:
It's the people who make the country inviting, or not.

I sailed the seven seas on a WW2 ship,
and lived to tell about it!

People come from all over the world to tour our nation's capital,
Washington DC.
I've never been there.
Must go some day.
But I do live next door to our state's capital,
Columbia, South Carolina.
There is something special about capital cities.

Most of the capitals I've explored were not intentional.
I just ended up there.
A few were intentional:
Jerusalem.  Istanbul.  London.
And of course, Paris.

When I'm asked, 
"What country do you suggest?"
I answer, "It depends on what you are looking for."
Adventure?  Relaxation?  Romance?  History?
A spiritual experience?
Good questions to ask yourself before you spend all that money.

Where would I like to travel 
while I'm still able to load my backpack?
Israel, again.
Israel has 'all of the above.'

Have you been to any capitals lately?
If not, where would you like to go?
Or are you satisfied to stay around home?
I'm a 'homebody' at heart.
Like my Mama, I love my familiar surroundings.

Farm table overlooking the pond

But like my Daddy,
when that wanderlust spirit begins nudging me,
I reach for my backpack
and begin planning.

Wherever you go, near or far,
be sure to ask the Lord to be your Guide.
That is when the fun really begins!

We are not alone on our journey.
The God of love...
sent us His only Son to be with us
at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost.

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


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lady Traveler travels to Heaven ...

I Dreamed I traveled to Heaven ...
... I wasn't in a plane over Belize ...
It will happen in a moment,
 in the blink of an eye,
when the last trumpet is blown.
For when the trumpet sounds,
those who have died will be raised to live forever.
I Corinthians 15:52 NLT

... I wasn't in a hot air balloon over Paris ...
I was in my dream,
last Friday night.
And no, I haven't seen
"Left Behind." 

Suddenly,
I was lifted up off the earth,
traveling fast!
Before I knew it
I was in the clouds,
then above the clouds.
Clouds of orange, purple and yellow.
"Yikes!" I thought,
"This is really happening!"
Then I awoke.

I didn't know if I was relieved 
or disappointed.
I thought I was ready,
but the magnificent event took me by surprise!
Most Christians think about the coming rapture,
but no one really knows when this miraculous event will take place.
Some of our family and friends don't even believe in the rapture.
Hmm, perhaps you don't.  Well,

I do.

They think we are Crazy. Weird. Strange.
That's okay.  I'm not trying to win any popularity contest.
I know what the Bible says.
That's why I believe.  I serve a big GOD.
Do you?

What concerns me and saddens me are those people who think 
Christians are Crazy. Weird. Strange 
will be 
left behind.

I certainly don't have all the answers.
I have studied the Bible through the years.
I have studied other religions, 
but all roads led me back to
The Holy Bible.

My 'rapture dream' felt very real,
not like I was dreaming at all.
This particular dream reminded me that we can be
outta here in a flash!
Just like in the movies!
But one day, it will be real.

Will you be left behind?


For GOD so loved the world,
that HE gave HIS 
only begotten SON.
That whoever believes on Him,
will never perish,
but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Therefore be ye also ready:
for in such an hour as you think not,
the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 24:44


God loves YOU, and so do I.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

www.sharonleaf.blogspot.com

NOW ...

Pour yourself a cup of coffee,
 click on the link below,
 and listen while Rob and I share our journey on 
Christian Devotions Radio.  
I hope our story will inspire you to 
lose sight of your safe shore and dive into a new ocean!



Christian Devotions Speak UP! REBROADCAST Sharon Leaf 09/04 by Christian Devotions Speak UP | Christianity Podcasts


Thank you for joining us on our journey.  
To know more, you can purchase 
Lady and the Sea on 
amazon.com Amazon.com 
and also available on ebooks.  

I wish you oceans of blessings in your endeavors!

I Dreamed I Traveled to Paris ~ Part 2

NOW, moving right along ... 

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel
until he comes home and rests his head on 
his old, familiar pillow.


There is the city life,
and there is the country life.
I like the city, but I love the countryside.
France has the best of both worlds
and for eight days I experienced both.

It was a breath of fresh air to leave Paris for a day
and travel through the Seine Valley
to the village of Giverny.

Claude Monet's home in the village of Giverny, France
Monet Gardens, Giverny, France
Monet Gardens, Giverny, France

Meanwhile, back in the city ...
Paris Opera Garnier

                                    Paul McCartney performed at this beautiful opera house.
I would have bought tickets if he had been in town.
Oh well.  
I shall be content with memories of Garth Brooks in Las Vegas.





When I ask someone, "How was your trip?"
I'm disappointed when they answer, 
"It was okay. Actually, a waste of time and money."
How sad.

Every trip has its ups and downs.
Choose to embrace the ups, and let go of the downs.
That way, you will have sweeter memories.

On the other hand, I'm disappointed to arrive at a destination
that everyone has exclaimed,
"Oh, it's perfect!"
when in reality I'm thinking, No its not!

There are usually downsides on every journey.
When we were in Costa Rica in May the mosquitoes followed us, 
along with the humidity.

As for Paris? Well, the crowds were bothersome; followed us everywhere, 
taking away from the romance and ambiance of the beautiful city.
And I will share this fact with those who ask
in order to prepare them ahead of time.

However, I still choose to cling to my fond memories.
And I close by saying with a sigh,
There is no place like home.

So, wherever you travel,
whether to the market or to another country,
Think of each journey as a fond memory.


Now I must fly away!
Until we meet again, 
I wish you smooth sailing and oceans of blessings!



I know what it is to be in need,
and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content.
Philippians 4:11-12 NIV

www.sharonleaf.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Dreamed I Traveled to Paris ~ Part 1

We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly,
but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey,
or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.

I always dreamed about Paris.
Now, in my sixty-eighth year, my dream came true.

La Vien Rose

Our eight days in Paris lingers in my mind.  
Warm memories to last through the coming cold winter.  
Paris' September weather was like summer, reaching the mid-70's.  
Luckily, I brought a white sleeveless silk blouse, 
(you will see re-runs of my wardrobe in my pictures,  
a downside of packing only a carry-on and large purse).  
Upside: I don't have so much to unpack when I return home 
(Rob is smiling; he taught me well).


Our hotel was a block off the Champs Elysees
Our four days with our Swedish friends, Danne and Birgitta were carefree. 
Oh, how Birgitta loved traveling through the city on the underground metro.  


Oh, the hundreds of stairs.  And oh, my left knee!  
But Lady Leaf is a determined, tough traveler, 
even with accumulating blisters on toes from 'too-tight-comfortable' shoes.  
Yeah, right.  And I know better.  Oh well, keeps me on my toes.

Yes, we ate--and sunned--at
many cafes along our journey
I adore goat cheese melted over toast
The architecture throughout the city is breathtaking.
The Opera House, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the museums.
I don't care to travel with tours, but they have their positives:
They do all the planning and thinking for you
(no wrong turns, no lines)
Negatives:
Strict schedules, no sleeping in, no napping when needed,
no exploring and/or getting off the tourist trails. 
If you'll be taking your first trip to Paris, I recommend taking a 2-day bus tour, 
hopping off whenever and wherever you choose.
(unless you love the metro and thousands of steps)  
Of course, spend a few hours boating up and down the Seine, day or night.
Spend an extra twenty+ minutes over lunch ...


...  a little street shopping and/or

... indoor shopping at the La Fayette.

My friends had wonderful suggestions of where I should go while in Paris.
There are websites and books galore.
I chose 'Walking Paris' pocket guide by National Geographic.
I studied the map closely--right bank, left bank--
then told Rob,
"I am creating my own journey.
Relaxing.  Fun.
Memorable."

Have you been to Paris?
Take a moment to share your own journey with me
(leave a comment)

 As you travel your journey, remember,
Let God direct your path
and you will never go wrong.

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

More to come next time!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Traveling to a place where there is HOPE

My brother's garden in Zion 2009*

Unto the upright there arises 
light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion.
Psalm 112.4

There is so much turmoil happening in the world that 
I my day-to-day problems seem trivial.  
Just when things start settling down a bit, 
there's another news flash
(this week, in the state of Missouri), 
the continuing conflict between Gaza and Israel, 
Russia and Ukraine,
ISIS terrorist genocides and the 
be-heading of an American journalist,
and the suicide of comedian/actor Robin Williams.
Flying over island off Belize 2010*
Its hard for me to sit at my computer to
write, re-write, and edit my next novel,
Lady on the Run
when the world is crumbling around us.
Does anyone else feel this way?
So I haven't written much lately,
but I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying.
Mostly praying.

I know there are many people out there in Blogland
who are hurting.
Your situation seems hopeless,
like Robin Williams.
You may be fighting depression.
Or worse.

But wait!
There is help. 
You just have to reach out and ask for it.

To start somewhere, in the privacy of your home,
I ask you to PLEASE 
go to our church website, www.newspring.cc
go to bottom of page to Sermons, click on the Overwhelmed message #2
"Spanx, Sickness and Suicide"
It may save you.
(Pastor Perry Noble shares his personal journey
with depression and suicidal thoughts;
yes, pastors are human too).
Our former hometown, Huntington Beach, CA*
Why am I sharing this?
To promote my church?
No.
I want to reach out a hand to let you know that someone cares.
I care.
Jesus cares.

Crying out for help--
--from others and from God-- 
may be the strongest moment of our lives.

Hope comes with help from God and others.
Costa Rica 2014*
If you're not be experiencing 
anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts,
you may know someone who is.
Reach out in love, not condemnation.
You may be the one who changes their direction.

*i thought a few of my nature photos would make you sigh, smile, and feel that there is HOPE.




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

...if I perish, I perish....

(I wrote this post in 2014.  Since that time, since the recent terrorist attacks, the French Jews are now making Aliyah (moving) by the hundreds, possible thousands, to Israel.  Thus my reason for reposting while I finish my recent post.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.)
WWII ship, MS Restoration, at sea

...and who knoweth whether thou art come
to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14

ON A SERIOUS NOTE:
Have you ever wondered why you are living now
rather than in the 1800's, the 1900's, or earlier?  
I have.
Personally, I'm glad I didn't have to wear those long, bulky skirts, wash my laundry by hand, and walk fifty feet to an outhouse.
(oh my, I just realized that there are those who still
do the above...hope I didn't offend anyone!)  
  
Lately, however, another thought has crossed my mind.  
God has called me to live in these last days for a purpose.  
For such a time as this.

WWII ship MS Restoration
FLASHBACK:
God planted a love for Israel in Rob's heart 
in the early '70's when he lived on the West Bank.
God planted a love for Israel in my heart 
in 1991 when I was in Bible school in Sweden.

Rob and I were volunteers on the
MS Restoration for fourteen months in 1994-95.  
This old WWII ship was put in moth balls 
by the government after WW2. 
Why?
For such a time as this.  

Together, we transported Russian Jews 
from Sochi, Russia to Haifa, Israel.
Seattle, WA to Stockholm, Sweden;
Shoreham, England to Athens, Greece;
Black Sea to Israel
He protected us on our entire journey 
and among the nations
through which we traveled.  Joshua 24:17

We stand with Israel

Whether or not you believe the Bible, 
you only have to watch the news or read the newspapers
to see a rising in anti-Semitism.  
Thousands of Jews all over the world 
have begun their journey (aliyah) to Israel.

We don't have the full picture yet, 
but God's Word predicts certain events 
shall begin to take place in Israel in the last days.
Don't take my word for it; 
read God's Word for yourself.

I KNOW ONE THING:
I have been created for such a time as this 
to take a stand for Israel.
And like Esther declared, 
if I perish, I perish 
(Esther 4:7)

When Esther was asked to go before the king
to save the Jewish people,
she had to make a decision:
Put her life on the line, 
or keep quiet and live.
We don't know what would have happened 
if she had said no to the request, 
but she said YES,
and the Jews were saved.

LESSON:
Is this YOUR moment? -- If it is, then don't miss it! 

QUESTION:
Do you want God's blessings or curses?
I made my decision in 1992; 
Hope you will too.

I will bless them that bless thee,
and curse him that curseth thee...
Genesis 12:3
I Will Stand with Israel Ralley
Charleston, SC 2012

Read the book of Esther, a very inspiring story of adventure and making right decisions.

To order Lady and the Sea: go to www.sharonleaf.com or www.amazon.com