This is the place where you can keep up with our travels by following the WEEKLY BLOG, and viewing our VIDEO LOGS. July of 2014 we crossed over the Canadian border into Alaskan waters, aboard our sailboat the GLORY B., in search of a "divine assignment." We are still there. I hope you will stop by often as the adventure continues...
It has been a long time since I've been here, and I can see it needs some dusting and sweeping up. Much like myself. But all looks delightfully familiar and I think we will be able to get back into the swing of things in no time. A lot has happened since we last talked, as I'm sure it has with all of you, so it might take us a few posts to catch up. Meanwhile, I'll just putter around putting things in order while we chat.
First of all, I should probably give an update on my Mystery Tour, which is still ongoing. Oh, yes, indeed. There have been many setbacks (which happens in all adventures) but we are still moving ahead into what just might be the greatest adventure of all. Nothing to compare to flying to the moon, or sailing around the world non-stop (Heavens, I like to stop everywhere), but one's own travels usually turn out to be everything they have--or haven't--been able to cope with. It's all in how you look at it.
Things I've been looking at lately.
More on that, later.
At the moment, I'm making myself a little nest onshore in Thorne Bay, Alaska, while the Captain tackles the huge project of restoring the Glory B. That beautiful 32' ketch we sailed up here on. The one that sank at the docks while we were "down south" visiting all our homes for the holidays, last winter. Not being here to stop it was a terrible shock. So terrible, in fact, that I still have not been able to look down inside.
The Captain on his way back from the Glory B.
One quick visit to see the broken and bruised outside, and then I had to leave. Better I busy myself with the sort of work I know best how to do. Which is writing stories. So, if any of you are interested in the details and technicalities of the restoration, you will have to get those from the Captain over at his blog. Because the only thing I can tell you is that--at this point--he is still coming home all covered over with oil.
Meanwhile, I will be putting the finishing touches on a book, or two, that have been gathering dust for want of an ending. Hopefully so I can make launch deadlines in time for some of the lazy days of summer we are all moving into. I'll tell you more about those next time.
Settling back down into serious
writing after Stella Madison and friends reeked havoc with my psyche
during our great adventure, has been harder than I thought it would
be. Not to mention working while adventuring was also harder than I
planned. Not being in my own cozy little office I left nearly three
years, ago, hasn't helped, either. But I think I'm onto something.
I only hope I can survive the impact of
such a discovery. A great element of which depends on making some big
changes in...um...me. More about that, later. Today, I am sitting in
my “virtual office,” while I'm really in the middle of a
rainforest. Not a hardship, since I also discovered that I absolutely
love rainforests. The sound of rain on the roof always stirs my
creativity. The remote aspect has been something of a problem, but I
think I've got that covered, too (Thank you, God).
The only trick is going to be to find
some way to balance my wonderfully exciting new story with the real-life
adventures that have no regard for the “do not disturb—writer
at work” sign I usually hang out. But if I do that, I might
miss an adventure. Or an insight. Or a new article idea. Or the
Captain reminding me how much we like to walk in the rain.
But for now, I'm off to spend some time
with my new characters. Who were here a few minutes ago, but seem to
have disappeared somewhere. Hmm...that reminds me how much more difficult
it can be working with the younger ones. Easily distracted, always
interjecting their own ideas, and too quick to take off in the middle
of something important.
Now, that I think about it, I recall spending
a good deal of my time on that last project we worked on together,
just trying to round everybody up. Shouldn't be as hard in this
environment, though. Because I'm pretty sure I can guess right where
they are. Out walking in the rain with the Captain.
I have not been home in over two years.
Lately, I've been thinking I might never go back, except maybe to get
the things I left there. However, I seem to be drawn to the idea of
homes, in general. Especially during this wonderful Christmas season,
as we make our “friends and family” circuit for the third time
since we set out on our great adventure.
Each time we come back into
civilization, I notice more changes. In ourselves, mostly, as many of
the places we visit seem to be clipping along at the same pace as
when we left, with the same activities. Getting caught up in it all
is much like slipping into an empty space of freeway: one must either
keep up, or get run over. I don't like that part. But I don't see how
one can visit those places without getting involved. I would
seriously contemplate going virtual, except half the people I need to
see can't operate a computer.
This year, we have had to speed up our
normal routine and widen our loop, in order to accommodate family
members facing some medical issues. Which led to bouncing in and out
of the other homes at the rate of watching a movie on fast forward. Still, I
have not missed out on the fun things of the season. With Christmas
shopping in one city, tree-decorating in another, the Captain and I
are now off to Texas, to enjoy the delight children take in all the
little things (my absolute favorite, too). Like gingerbread
creations, neighborhood lights, and holiday programs. And while each
house is different, I can still feel the heartbeat of each home, as
well as the love and warmth of family and friends.
God is so good to have brought us such
a long way without having to miss out on any of these special family things.
I wonder if maybe all of life isn't
supposed to be something like that, too. Being on this long journey
and out of touch most of that time has changed my perspective a
bit. Having to leave so many things I was responsible for completely
to heaven, has led me to discover how much better God can orchestrate
my life than I can. Without all the worry and anxiety attached. Not
to mention I suddenly have more time on my hands to do those things only I can do. More time to think and write the stories that are truly on my
heart. Oh, yes, and I'm thinking a lot about home, these days, too.
But not the one I left behind...
It's the one I can see just up ahead.
GLORY REPORT: The Lord has delightfully
restored the computer and phone that fell into the ocean with me in
Canada, and I am well on my way to being “back in business,”
again. So, in the next few weeks, I'll be sharing about the
many divine appointments, footsteps, and out-and-out interventions we
have encountered since the last time I posted. As well as what's
coming up next for the Captain and I... something that might turn
into our biggest adventure of all!
There are a lot of
definitions for being lost. You can be terribly lost in a strange
city if you can't find the particular place you're looking for. You
can be frightfully lost in a dessert if you step off the road without
a compass and pass the point at which you can still see that road
(people have died in similar ways). Lost also pertains to something
of value that has gone missing and might never show up, again. On
this trip, we have been in all three of those situations, and...
We are not dead.
Even though we could
have been. Many times over.
We have also been in
situations where good intentions (even REALLY good intentions) did
not count. It has something to do with being relevant, which so many
of our reasons for even setting out on such a voyage, were definitely
not. Things like not knowing our propeller was in a state of decay
even before we left, because we never looked underwater. Of course,
we had every intention to. Just as soon as enough money came in to do
that thing. Which didn't make one bit of difference when two blades
eventually fell off in all those forceful tides and currents we kept
At other times, we
skimmed over dangerous reefs, bumped over rocks, and flew past places
we were sure we couldn't possibly have reached, yet... only to end up
somewhere else, instead. In short, we were lost. Really lost, when
you consider we were out of radio range, and no longer had any
electronics to double check, against. We did have a “red button,”
however. Some satellite thing that would alert emergency services
anywhere on the globe. It also kept a running account (via little
dots) as to where we had been. It was a system we held in reserve for
So, why didn't we use
it during life-and-death situations? To tell you the truth, we didn't
even realize we were in one of those until we got ourselves out of
it. As for the dots? We always knew where we were, after we got
someplace. What was ahead of us, is what we couldn't always figure
Sort of like life.
At one point, we even
thought our compass had busted (what next?), because how else could
one explain getting so confused all the time? Later, we learned there
were areas of “extreme magnetic disturbances” we had to pass
through, but we didn't know about that then. Something that didn't
make any difference, either (it was irrelevant), because our compass
was still effected as we slipped by, whether we knew about those, or
Sort of like life.
Now, it has been a long
time since I posted a blog. I could tell you it is because I have no
computer, no phone, no Internet, no car, and the nearest city is
seventy miles away. But that would be irrelevant. I could tell
you—for all practical purposes—I am lost without all those
things, except that, too, would be irrelevant. I know exactly where I
am. On a remote island, in the middle of a rainforest, in a place so
expensive it will take months to save up enough money to even fly out
of here. Because—like Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz—we can't get
back the way we came. At least, not until next summer, after some
major repairs to the Glory B. And more electronics.
I might even go so far
as to say my path DID actually converge with my fiction in Stella
Madison's plot-line, considering I have personally experienced SeaTrials, a Pushover Plot, being Lost in the Wilderness,
and having to use my very Last Resort to even get out of here.
All of which could easily be pronounced “irrelevant,” too,
because it's all in how you look at it. Almost like faith. There's
always some logical explanation for how you could have survived
something, even though it only happened after you prayed for help.
The facts are, we made
it to our destination, we are not dead (thank you, God), and my
Stella Madison Capers are finished (a miracle!). And even though I
have sworn never to get myself into these kinds of situations ever,
EVER, again, and to forget about trying to “live out” my
character's scenarios before offering them up to my readers (whose
idea was that?)...
I have heard of an
incredible place I could call home (just a rumor, really), that bears
looking into before we leave. The only way to get there is by boat,
but it isn't too far from here. And considering it might possibly be
the next piece in this puzzle of why we ever set off on such a crazy
journey in the first place, just to maybe prove (to ourselves) that
not only do our dreams actually exist “out there” somewhere, but
they have been created especially for us by a loving God... One who
might really have that wonderful plan for our life He promised to
give us, if only we will trust Him to get us there... Now, I'm
thinking, what could it hurt just to look?
We came a long way to
look, so we might as well. It's only logical.
We came to this town
because it seemed a perfect fit for us (according to the guidebooks).
When you come in from the water, across a space of wilderness that
takes at least two days to get to the nearest place that would
commonly be recognized as civilization, you have to make sure of
these things. Because nothing is more disappointing than facing
cantankerous seas, scouting out anchorages at some wild half-way spot
(that aren't harboring dangerous rocks just beneath the surface),
then finally pulling into a destination that absolutely couldn't be
the one you were looking for. But it is.
By the time we finally
got here, I had a mountain of deadlines looming, and some that had
already toppled over. A few people even thought I might be dead.
Internet at the docks? Well, it was in the works, but the committee
voted the cell tower down, again, because of the expense. However
there was a library “just up the hill,” where—even if they
weren't open—you could still get reception outside the building.
Grocery store? Other than a sort of mini-mart, the
closest was about eighty miles away.
Considering it would
take a two-week camping trip to hike that far—and the return trip
with groceries would be as good as a sign on our backs in bear
language that read, “VICTIM HERE”... walking it was not an
option. Neither was hitch-hiking (although it was tempting), since
when we finally did make that trip, we did not meet a single other
vehicle on the way, and only a couple returning. So, we reluctantly
decided we would have to spend the extra hundred and fifty dollars to
rent a car for the day (only suburbans, vans, or trucks available
because most roads were only gravel logging roads), and buy an entire
winter's worth of food all at once. But, alas... none of them were
available. Even though there were five agencies listed in those
The local company was
run by a man who also worked for the ferries (everyone does two, or
three, jobs to make ends meet around here), so he was gone every
other week. We called several times to make a reservation, until
someone informed us that his wife was visiting family off-island for
a couple of weeks, so there would be no one to answer the phone. And
while the other businesses were scattered around the island, our best
bet was probably in that town we were trying so hard to get to. But what about that “Rainforest Ferry,” the guidebooks (Who wrote that thing?) said left
from here, and ran between Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Petersburg? A new dock was ready and waiting, but they hadn't
found the right kind of ferry boat, yet.
All of which was
getting frustrating, since we were planning on making a few repairs
(something about a leaky shaft seal and a busted motor-mount), before
setting out over the big water, again. And why hadn't we been able to
find that town fifty miles before this one, that was bigger? We
searched over an hour for it, before we had to give up and catch a
tide that was favorable, or stay another night “out of touch”
after so many. What's up with that? Not only could we not find the
town, we couldn't find any “divine footsteps” around there,
either. Not then.
Because they were in
So it was, that as the
Captain and I were in the middle of our morning prayers (telling the
good Lord how much we needed a car, that day), a pastor from Forks,
Washington (who had brought a work team up for a week to do Vacation
Bible School, or anything else they could help the churches around
here with) came down to the boat. He said he needed to go to town, and did
we want to ride along? Did we ever! And while it brought us
dangerously close to our “choking point” to have to buy so many
groceries all at one time, there happened to be an extra ten percent
off your whole bill at the grocery store—that day only
(What? Whoever heard of such a thing?)—which saved us a considerable
and beautiful scenery, all the way (thank you, Pastor Bob!), and a
comforting peace that comes from knowing God is still in control of
this “expedition of the Glory B,” even when we doubt it.
Somewhere along the line I got the sense I should quit fussing about
who wrote the guidebooks, too. Because we were brought here to
see something. Not the fact that places might be closed, even though
posted hours said they weren't. Shh... be still. Watch, and listen.
They are on “island time,” here.
And maybe there's
something I need to know about that.
We have been traveling
through wilderness places for about two weeks, now. Until somewhere in the
middle of our last dangerous stretch of big water (known as the Dixon
Entrance), we crossed over the boundary line of the U.S. border,
again, and were finally in Alaska! Our long-time dream turned to
reality. But there was no time for celebrations, just then, other
than a very heart-felt, “Praise the Lord!”
Because we were on a
time schedule relegated by the tide and winds, moving over a sea that
could change from beauty to beast within minutes. We also had a
gauntlet to run at the end, which we had no idea about. But it was
better that way, since the added stress would have probably been too
much at that point. Something about the Lord protecting us from more
than we could handle at any given time. At any rate, he had us
covered (thank you, God).
It was day two of the
commercial salmon season. And while we were picking our way along the
coast of many islands, moving in and out of fog patches, and praying
the “chop” didn't get any higher than two-to-three feet before we
could scurry back into another piece of the Inside Passage,
again...there suddenly seemed to be fishing boats spread out from one
end of the horizon to the other.
Trying to decide the
least crowded place to slip past, we finally got close enough to see
that those “blank spaces” were not blank—they were nearly two
thousand feet of net spread out behind the back of each boat. So,
there really were no blank spaces. Only narrow paths signified by
bright orange balls (that disappeared into the chop if it was much
over a foot) that one could only pass on the right. Should you fail
to notice where that was, there were smaller runner boats that would
zoom up in front of you, manned by one, or two crew-members hollering
for you to turn back, or go around. And should you come close to
actually crossing over the net, the air would turn blue as they
clarified themselves more distinctly. We didn't run over any nets
(thank heavens!) but we were turned away more than once, in no
Ketchikan—our first Alaskan city—was only slightly less
mortifying. It was situated on a long narrow channel crowded with
cruise ships coming and going, sea planes landing and taking off from
every direction, a few tugboats hauling huge barges, and more fishing
boats. Oh, yes, and the ferry. Our only consolation was that these
northwest people could drive and park boats, no matter what size,
with about the same ease as we ordinary folk slip into a parking
place at our local shopping centers. But it was still nerve-wracking
because we didn't know where to go.
The guidebooks said to
call ahead and customs would tell you where (there were at least four
different docking areas in view, all full-to-bursting with commerce).
But we didn't have a phone. Because I, um... dropped it into the
harbor back in Canada. We did have a VHF radio turned to the
appropriate channel, but the officials on the other end weren't
In the end, we tied up
at the first empty place we could fit in, and the customs agent came
to us. Everyone was friendly, more than helpful, and incredibly
laid-back. It took two days to catch our breath and figure out the
next step. Because a phone call to the Wrangell harbor (which had
been our goal), placed from the local grocery store, revealed there
was no place for us there (for at least two years), and no place to
anchor out, either. So, back to the guidebooks, to devise a “plan
Which is how we came to
discover a little (very little, only 165 people here) town on a very
huge Prince of Wales Island (fourth largest in the U.S.), where they
not only had room for us, but it was even affordable. It was only
about seventy-five miles away, across the notorious Clarence Strait,
where a good day means anything under three feet of chop, less than
twenty knots of wind, and visibility at least half a mile (due to the
persistent “patchy” fog that lives there). A good day just
happened to be coming up for us, the very next morning.
So it was that we
scurried into Coffman Cove, two days later, mere minutes ahead of yet
another patch of fog and changing currents, to finally tie up at a
lovely little marina for some much-needed rest, relaxation, and
repairs, after our very long voyage over hundreds of miles. Which I
will tell you more about during the next couple of weeks, as we start
to explore this island. But considering I just heard there are old
gold mines here (one of which is under speculation to be commercially
When I first started talking about
taking Stella Madison along on this trip, it was sort of a
tongue-in-cheek way of explaining that I would have to bring one of
my “works in progress” with me in order to keep up with my
writing schedule. This because our plans of going up and back to
Alaska one summer, stretched into two years. Little did we know the
Glory B was about as unprepared for such an enormous
undertaking as we were.
Like us, she had been sitting in one
place too long. The stresses and strains on moving parts that had not
moved in years, brought a lot of things to the breaking point. But
she was the perfect boat for us, we loved her, and it was no small
thing that God had brought her to us in such a miraculous way*. So—as
is the case in similar situations—we kept fixing things, and fixing
things, in order to just carry on. Most of our money went in that
direction, too. Because when you love something, it doesn't matter so
much what it costs, you simply don't want to lose it.
Not to mention, there was a dream
attached to the Glory B that we might experience something of
a resurrection, ourselves. One that would allow us to fulfill some
“divine assignment” the Lord was still holding open for us. If
only we were brave enough to step out, and fully put our trust in
Him. There was a lot at stake. And the harder we worked at it, the
more valuable the whole idea became. So—necessity being the mother
of invention—I came up with an interesting (I thought) way of
breaking an entire novel into parts, and literally “living out”
the background and research as I went along. It would be fun. And
just as much fun (I hoped) for readers to share in those experiences
along the way.
I was going to mingle some truth with
my fiction. Goodness—had that ever been done before? Yes. Of course
it had. About as much as when I thought I had personally invented the
genre of Inspirational Adventure Fiction, before I realized how many
other authors had been turning out similar stuff for years. Anyway,
it was new to me. What I had no idea of (or I would have thought
twice about attempting such a thing), was that there are many worlds
other than our own individual spheres, co-existing all around us.
Which is fine if you stay where you belong, and don't make any
unnecessary waves in the great sea of shared atmosphere we all live
in. However, if you do...
You sometimes get a reaction similar to
splitting an atom.
At least, that's my theory for why
things began happening to us that were way off our charts. In
bunches. As if we had unknowingly stepped out from under our umbrella
and got drenched beneath some deluge we didn't even realize was going
on out there. It reminded me of that old movie, Back To The
Future, when the Delorean reached enough speed to intersect with
enough electricity to crack the time barrier. What in the world had
just happened to us? More importantly... where had we ended up?
It was a lovely little cove where I had
just about finished with my next Stella Madison Caper. I was getting
ready to head over to the local library and put the finishing touches
on, connect up to Internet, and send it safely to myself until
publishing day. I climbed into the dinghy and sat down (as I have
hundreds of times over the last two years), and was waiting for the
Captain to hand over the things we were taking with us before he got
in. All of a sudden, I was in the water. The dinghy had tipped, as if
by some giant hand (we weren't even in rough water), and I rolled out
like a fried egg being slid out of a pan.
Oddly enough, the water (which is
supposed to be frigid in these northern latitudes) was not cold. And
I remember thinking I had forgotten how wonderful it felt to swim in
salt water. But then the Captain, who was now leaning over from the
deck of the Glory B, said, “The briefcase—get the
briefcase!” At which point I realized it was floating right next to
me, having flown off the deck of the bigger boat at the very same
time. I grabbed hold and handed it up. But even though it had been in
the water less than a minute, my computer, my smart-phone, passport
and other important papers, were all drenched. And while the passport
and papers eventually dried out, all those state-of-the-art
electronics were never to rise, again.
Which is why we are halfway through
this journey, and you haven't seen any videos, yet. It is also why I
had to write that Stella Madison Caper over, again, from scratch,
with the help of the Captain's little Dell mini, and an old
fashioned notebook and pen (during the times we were without power).
However, the worst part of all was the discovery that Apple Care
(which I switched over to specifically for this trip, in case I ran
into any problems) does not cover accidents. Why didn't I know that?
Let's just say I come from a different era, when the word insurance
meant it covered everything except an act of God. So, all that new
equipment my wonderful husband sold his last truck to get me, was not
only gone, it was good and gone. A sobering thought that took days
for the shock to wear off, even to sink in.
Meanwhile, we were being stretched at
every turn, physically, mentally, spiritually, and monetarily. Not
only that, we seemed stuck in place like a perpetual rerun of the
movie, Ground Hog Day, as week after week continued to pass
by. And I don't mind saying I was even beginning to have some
hesitations at writing the next Stella Madison Caper, too. Because I
suddenly didn't like the name of it one bit. Lost In The
Wilderness. If the cover hadn't been done, already, I'd have
changed it. Which was probably just a result of having to travel past
places with map names like Raging Rapids, Whirlpool Rapids,
and Desolation Sound. But I still felt that way.
So, have we caught up with Stella?
Let's just say we are perfectly in-sync at the moment, as both of us
travel the same territory on our respective paths. The PushoverPlot is about maneuvering one's way past the darker side of
supernatural. Whether, or not, we have actually “converged”...
I will leave for readers to decide.
* The miraculous story of how we got
the Glory B is in the ebook21 Stories of Faith—which is
FREE TODAY over at Amazon. It will cheer you up in 21 different ways!