Catching Up With Stella...

The Pushover Plot by Lilly Maytree
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.

21 Stories of Faith

* The miraculous story of how we got the Glory B is in the ebook 21 Stories of Faith—which is FREE TODAY over at Amazon. It will cheer you up in 21 different ways!


Door to the Wilderness...

After the uproar had ceased... they sailed on... and sailed on...and sailed on...” 

Taken from somewhere in Acts, when we flipped open our Bible for a bit of encouragement, during a particularly despairing moment. It was a moment that we couldn't imagine how we could ever “sail on” from there. And, yet...

Today, we had the most perfect day of traveling since we replaced the propeller. There have been others, but they were heaped with hazards. Strong winds (blowing right on our nose, so we couldn't make use of them in such narrow places), choppy seas, and swift-running currents that mixed and swirled, and felt something like slipping on a patch of ice in a car—only in slow motion—when you ran over them. A couple times, we had to pull off into some cove and wait for things to change, as we were making no headway, at all. Once, when the weather reports were bad, we waited two days before moving on.

It was in a lovely place called Beaver Cove, where we were tucked in behind a little island, surrounded by mountains and pine trees just before the end of Vancouver Island (which is around 300 miles long). We anchored there, in about a hundred feet of water, and listened to the wind roar through the trees above us, but felt little of it snuggled into our protected place. A few other boats found their way there, as well. From here on, the towns will get fewer and farther between, giving us the sense we are finally at the door of the wilderness.

Today, it was a special blessing to find the water of that notorious Johnstone Strait, smooth as a pond (just for us?), all the way to the end (thank you, Lord!). So, it was a nice reprieve from the stress and disasters of the last few weeks. And, at last, we are “sailing on,” just as the scriptures implied. Even though we couldn't see how it could be done before. Another miracle the Captain can write down in the log of the Glory B. Along with what we like to call our “miracle of the tools.” People have been literally coming down to the boat with tools for us to use, just when we needed them.

Like when we were on that remote grid, hours away from any town, and the two men who were with us (who knew a lot about boats) said the propeller wasn't going to fit. That we would have to get another one (at a cost of $400) and have it flown out to us by sea plane (I can't even imagine how much that would be). Because our propeller didn't need to just be widened, it needed to be tapered. So, the Captain and I said a prayer. Not long after that, a man who lived in a boat across the bay, drove over in his dinghy with an assortment of tools we might be able to use. One of which was a rat-tail file... with a taper! And it worked.

Or, on the next grid, when the man who owned the marine store, came down with a special pulling tool to get it off, again. Then there was the matter of a certain L-n wrench that we dropped in the water at the worst possible time, and another man brought one over from his shop. All of which makes me think of Noah and the Ark, when the Lord brought in the animals, because it would have been almost impossible for him to go out and get them, himself, at that particular time. But it especially encourages me that God has no problem getting anyone from point A to point B. He actually specializes in that sort of thing.

Now, tomorrow, we will head for a place called Port Hardy, where we will say good-bye to the lovely and amazing Vancouver Island, and get ready to cross a stretch of “big water” before catching the next set of inside passageways north, again. We will wait for favorable conditions, and get across in one day. But they aren't quite as scary as they used to be, considering some of the things we've been through, already. Probably the effects of that extra training we were in need of before we took this gigantic project on. Even so...

Getting all the way to the end will be a miracle.
The Pushover Plot by Lilly Maytree

NOTE: Today is publication day (finally!) for THE PUSHOVER PLOT, Stella Madison Caper #4. Another miracle (I lost the files and had to write it all over again), which I will tell you about next time. However, I will say that our paths have definitely converged...


Only Believe...

We have gotten into a lot of trouble in our lives, simply because of the things we have chosen to do. Up to now, our philosophy has been that there are troubles to deal with everywhere, so we might as well be doing what we enjoy as we go along, rather than something we don't. And—after many years—we still feel that way.

In the early days, our troubles were mostly self-induced. Inexperience here, a wrong choice there... and suddenly we would end up in a rainstorm we had created all by ourselves. But as we got older, the storms got fewer and farther between, and we even learned a great many “survival ticks” along the way. The most important being that God will always do what He says. Always.

Walking around in the Kingdom of God on earth (which is really what we Christians are doing here) is like being an ambassador in a foreign country. You live in that country, but are paid by your own, and are not subject to the laws of their land. In fact, your embassy (the place where you live) is even considered the soil of your own native country. According to international law, it becomes a place of protection that the host country may not violate. Occasionally, there are wars and casualties, and—depending on political relationships—you might even be asked to leave. But that's how it works.

All that to say our “currencies of exchange” are vastly different. In the Kingdom of God, it is promises. Not that we don't use money (you need to exchange your currency for theirs in order to do business, here), we just get it a different way. We get it by having faith (or trust) that God will do what He says. He will keep His promises. That's how it's worked for us all these years. People look at our lives and think we are either very smart, or total idiots. But the thing about living in the Kingdom of God is that it doesn't matter which of those you are. You are still a citizen, covered by all the rights and privileges that go along with it. At least, that's how I look at it. It helps me to have something I can relate to in order to hang my faith on.

However, I can't tell you the “whys and hows” of exactly how God does all this. Which is why I have resorted to simply making a list (or, an account) of everything He has done for us, and let people decide for themselves. When catastrophes began to happen on this trip (they came in bunches), we did not see a way out. We were in spots we simply couldn't get out of by ourselves. Yet, I knew God would show up, eventually, and straighten things out, and promised to tell you all about it when He did. So, here's the current list:

At our third stop after the border, where we were going to restock and refuel, there were no funds waiting for us because our renters skipped out without telling us, and left the place a disaster. To go back and fix it up would have taken all the funds we needed to get to Alaska. So, we turned that situation over to the Lord. Answer: Within two weeks, it was rented to someone who didn't have enough funds for a deposit, but was willing to clean it up for a fully refundable one. Everyone was happy. Extra Blessing: The neighbor who was showing the house for us discovered the new lady was a woman she had prayed with and taken care of in the hospital where she worked, and the two were overjoyed at the thought of being neighbors.

While we were waiting for the above situation to resolve, the Captain discovered two blades missing off our prop. Oddly enough, the repair for that was going to cost... the amount of funds we needed to get to Alaska. We turned that situation over to the Lord. Answer: There happened to be a usable propeller in the corner of a shed at the local boatworks, at a price of $75 instead of $400. 

An islander the Captain made friends with knew of a grid (a place with a cement slab and pier to tie up to that leaves you “high and dry” to work on the boat between tides) we could use for free instead of another $400. It was four hours away and we had no engine, but he towed us behind his boat, stayed overnight, and helped us work on ours (thank you, Dave!).  

Extra Blessing: It was the cutest little ghost town of a community, with boardwalks between the buildings, of the sort I was looking for (but couldn't imagine) for a certain group of people I am writing about who are on their way to one of those. I would have missed it if we hadn't gone there specifically, as it was not on the same route we were originally taking.

There's more, but this post is getting too long, so I will add to the list on the end of the next one. And the next one, and the next one, until there aren't any more “divine interventions” to report. But something tells me that will never happen.

Thank heavens!