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!

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!
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.  

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!

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!

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