We're Off!

The LIBERTY crew.
The Captain, Lilly, Amber and Jason.

Well, we finally pulled away from Ventura at 3pm Pacific time yesterday, headed west (we had to go west to get north because of that large piece of land up ahead called Point Conception, sticking way out into the ocean that gives everyone such fits getting around). The auto pilot never did get happy enough to steer the boat (refusing to speak to the GPS and other grouchy things) so, we went ahead without it and spent the first night out taking turns at the helm.

Captain Jeff

We have five crew members. Our daughter, Amber, who owns the boat, our son (and wilderness expert) Jason, Captain Jeff (who has made this same run up the coast three times before), and the Captain and I, who are just general hands. Me in the galley and the Captain wherever needed. So far, so good. The Lord answered our prayers with calm seas all the way to the point, where even the predicted nine foot waves we were supposed to have faced, were a mere three to four feet (thank you, Lord!). After that, the sea was literally smooth all the way to Moro Bay, where we pulled into top off the gas tanks and see how much fuel we had used during the first twenty-four hours and if the gages were all working properly. All is good, so praise the Lord, again!

A playful visitor

This morning, schools of dolphins played around the boat, swimming under and popping back and forth along the sides. We also sighted over thirty sea lions swimming with intent on a particular course, as well as many whales. One even waved a big giant flipper from less than fifty feet away, which I have never seen before in person. But—as with our last big adventure—I'm finding it difficult to catch any of these moments on camera because they happen so fast. I will keep trying!

Now, we are at the place where we are actually turning north and will stay on the same heading for the next three days. The weather radio tells us our lovely forecast will also last that long, too. But I'm going to ask the Lord about that, as I would like to have fair weather all the way to our first destination. Which is Eureka: the halfway point of our ultimate Seattle goal. From there, we will have to accommodate our various schedules and take the rest in three or four day increments.

Amber at the helm, heading into 
Moro Bay to refuel.

Yes, all is good so far. Many thanks for the prayers and for following along!

(who thinks it's about time to go out on deck, again, as it is starting to rock and roll a little too much down here in the cabin…)

Miles logged so far: about 120

Miles to go this trip: 523


Gearing Up...

   Hello, armchair travelers! Departure time is less than an hour away. There is an amazing weather window (thank you, God) that will make our northern passage—which is characteristically rough—lay down like a kitten. But at the moment we are moving back and forth in front of the docks like a guard on duty while a last-minute technician tries to work the bugs out of our newly installed auto pilot.

   Yesterday, we went on a short “shakedown cruise” out into the ocean, and a few things showed up that had to be dealt with. However, no shops were open by the time we got back and we wanted to leave in the morning. What to do? So, I prayed. Because to be honest, I didn't want to miss that wonderful weather-window I had been praying for all week and the Lord had so miraculously given to us. Even the locals said how very strange it would be for this time of year. Then as I was making dinner for a hungry crew (I am the chief cook and bottle washer on this voyage), our good friend from a boat two slips over—who just happened to have the same engine we do—knew exactly what to do (thank you, God, again).

At any rate, we are good to go within the next few minutes. So, here we go. I'll report back first chance I get, meanwhile, thanks for coming along with us!

(who is now praying for continued fair winds and following seas)

PS...We have five crew members aboard (including me). I'll introduce you to each of them as we go along...


Hold Everything!

Dear fellow book lovers...

This review blog is temporarily closed while I am out adventuring in remote locations. However there are many wonderful books (all still available) which you may find by browsing through past entries. Until then, you may follow my traveling adventures over at: Lilly's Armchair Travelers. If you like that sort of thing.

Oh, yes, and if you happen to have any children in your life, you may also enjoy visiting Summers Island Press, where they publish "mysteriously different books for children," or their parent (adult) company Lightsmith Publishers, where Lilly works occasionally when she and the Captain are not out adventuring.


(who is still an advocate for good books--especially for children)


A Really Great Escape...

I picked Summer's Love up on a day when about three catastrophic things had crashed down on me. Too upset to work or think, I grabbed it of my “to be read” pile that evening and dived in. What a refreshing plunge!

It was light and funny (I love that kind) and even made me laugh out loud in several places. In spite of my own circumstances, too. But somewhere along the line there was some real wisdom in it. It sang through the characters in a very touching way. Which—in my opinion—is the best kind of inspiration there is. Because it's catching.

I finished Summer's Love within twenty-four hours. And the really wonderful thing was that I came away not only feeling better about life, but about myself, as well. Which is why I would recommend this book to anybody. Especially if you can't afford a vacation, because this is the next best thing. For me, it was truly a great escape!

About the book...

Following the collapse of her interior design business, Kate Winston moves to Georgetown with hopes of making it as a sales rep for Tasmania, a company selling personal protection devices for women. With rapes, robberies, and domestic violence on the rise, the nation's capital is a ripe market. But Kate's stun gun party implodes when her guests demand she sweeten the deal by providing autographed copies of In Heat, the latest best-selling novel by Stu Summers. With creditors breathing down her neck, Kate drives to Page Me Books, where adoring fans clamor for an autograph with the New York Times sexy and single romance writer.

Stu expects the flirty smiles and women fawning praise, but when his editor phones to inform Stu that his latest manuscript failed to impress the publishing board, his carefully crafted career begins to unravel. Stu has one week to deliver a complete rewrite that meets his reader's demanding standards. And he would if only he could write. But he can't. Not a lick.

For years Stu has paid a church secretary to ghostwrite his novels.Only now Hattie May Hall feels God calling her to write paranormal prairie Amish thrillers with an evangelical, Cinderella twist. With Stu's career on the line and Kate's big taser sale in jeopardy, an unlikely pair of hearts collide, providing a shocking climax at the world's biggest stun gun ball. 

About Stu Summers...

Stu Summers is an award-winning novelist and a Times best-selling author of In Heat, Puppy Love, Paws On My Heart, Hound Dog Heart, and That Dog Won’t Hunt.When Stu was in high school, he dreamed of moving to an island and writing love stories. Though a girl in high school broke his heart, Stu never lost his passion for telling funny stories on and about about his awkward romantic encounters. (Stu once closed his eyes, puckered up and kissed a wall when the girl eased away.) Today Stu is living his dream. While fiercely protective of his privacy (he refuses to divulge the name of the island from which he writes), Stu remains loyal to his readers, giving them glimpses into his pain while lacing his stories with laugh out loud humor.

A Special Gift...

I always look forward to reading a Clare Revell book. Almost all of them take place in Headley Cross, and I find it enjoyable to feel familiar with the surroundings, right away. There are also characters from other stories that show up, now and then, and that adds to the sense of reality. I like the feeling that I've “met” those people before. Friday's Child is about one such person, as—being an M-15 agent—he has shown up at just the right time in a couple of other books, already. He is a well-loved member of one of the prominent families in the series, too.

Patrick Page has spent the last ten years with his life centered around his job, and little time for anything else. But when his working world collides with a woman from his past, his normally reliable confidence is shaken. Something that adds yet another element of suspense to Ms Revell's style of dishing up one horrendous thing after another in all of her action-packed stories. Things that keep you turning the pages just to see what happens next.

However, the thing I enjoy most about all of these books is the thread of tangible hope that runs strong and true through each one of them. So much so, that you can actually take that part home with you, no matter where you live. At it's heart, Friday's Child is a testament to the faithfulness of God to not only set us up for “second chances,” but continue loving us during those times when we have become unloveable even to ourselves. A theme so universal, it's the kind I like to tuck away in my own spirit for the inevitable hard places we all seem to run into, from time to time.

Which is why I would recommend this book to anyone. Because it goes beyond entertainment and gives you something of value, besides. A gift that is worth more than just a pleasant bonus, when one considers how priceless such things become should you ever need them along your own journey. So, many thanks to Clare Revell... who has done it, again!

About Friday's Child...

Friday's Child is a man obsessed...
MI-5 agent Patrick Page is on the trail of a drug smuggler. He doesn't have time to revisit his past when he reconnects with the girl who got away--his girlfriend from college working at a library. He's more than surprised to see sweet Ellie singing on stage when he slips into a nightclub to gain intel on the club's owner. Why is she working two jobs? Why is she using an alias? Is she somehow involved? And is her involvement with his suspect merely a business relation or is there more to their partnership?

Ellie has a secret she doesn't want Patrick to know. His daughter. She'd turned custody over to her parents, however now she wants to be a mother not just a sister. But her own mother can't seem to let go neither has she forgiven Ellie for her past. So Ellie works two jobs and supports them both. Her one light is her music. The career she abandoned, and her boss has promised to make her a star. But now with Patrick back in her life she's questioning her choices. And is he interested in her, or does he have some hidden agenda? Does Patrick have a secret too?

About the series...

Clare Revell lives in a small town in England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, and her three children. Writing from a early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fanfiction to using her own original characters. Now, she enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, reading, sewing or keeping house or doing the many piles of laundry her children manage to make, she goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of three registrars. You can find out more about her at her website.


Seriously Good...

Hello, dear readers! It's been a while since I've posted a spotlight over here at my book club (lots happening in my world, right now, as you can imagine--Alaska, here we come!). But there are so many good books coming out, this spring, I can't pass up telling you about. So, here we go with the first one, written by my good author friend, Sharon Srock. Number three in her "Women of Vally View" series, and it's called PAM. Following is my review, and a short excerpt...enjoy!

My Review...

Pam is another woman of Valley View. Part of a group who meet and pray for each other every week in the small town of Garfield, Oklahoma. They attend the same church, and a few have grown up there. Some haven’t. But they still have a history together. It comes from being open and transparent with each other about what is really happening in their lives. Something not everyone is willing to share, especially when things aren’t going so well.

Such is the case when Pam is suddenly confronted with someone out of a past she would rather not remember. Someone who not only threatens to topple her wonderfully peaceful life, but snatch away the people closest to her who have made that new life possible. A person so entangled in those horrible secrets of her past she could never admit them to a prayer group. What would they think about her?

Thus begins the slow decline of Pam as she tries to deal with things that are much too big to handle all by herself. In watching her struggles, readers begin to wonder what they might do in similar situations… what can anyone do?

This book deals with huge issues. But they are intensely personal ones. The kind that cross the paths of ordinary people sometime during their lifetimes, no matter who they are. So, even though this is a fictional story, it plays out in a way that shines a truthful light on the way things happen in real life. How one might actually deal with such things should they ever happen to you. Sharon Srock’s talent for creating worlds one can step into and literally “live in” for awhile, gives this book the potential to become priceless.

I would recommend it to anybody.


"Oh, dear Jesus. What have I done?"

Four years later

A fall storm system hovered over Garfield, Oklahoma. Rain fell in sheets. A vicious wind whipped acorns from the trees and skipped them across the roof with the sound of rapid gunfire. Pam Lake paced her shadowed living room. The tempest in her spirit rivaled the one outside. If Alan Archer thinks I’ll take this lying down...

The Old Testament prescribed death by stoning for individuals caught in adultery. That was a punishment Pam could stand behind. God must have known that if cheating ex-spouses were dead, they couldn’t resurface four years later to rip your soul out a second time and threaten your newfound happiness.

The rational part of her brain shifted her troubled thoughts into neutral. You need to stop. You’re giving him too much control over your life. What would Dr. Sylvester say? Pam stopped her pacing. Her counselor had warned her about this four years ago.

Pam could still see Dr. Sylvester, hands clasped on her desk blotter as she leaned forward. “Pam, there are a whole bunch of fancy words I could use for the scars and trauma caused by the emotional abuse you’ve suffered. If you don’t start learning how to deal with it, it’s going to eat you from the inside out.”

“I am dealing with it..."

Author Sharon Srock writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Sharon serves her local chapter in the role of treasurer. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, Pam is the third in the series, and all are available now.
Connect with her at


Stella Madison is Back!

The second Stella Madison Caper releases TODAY, dear readers, and I am very excited to let you in on a BIG secret… she is going places! More about that, later. Right now, she has just gotten herself out of another wave of unexpected trouble (it could happen to anybody), and actually survived to tell about it. 

So, if you find yourself with an hour to spend, think about using it on this uplifting little Dollar Download from Harbourlight Books (an imprint of the Pelican Book Group), you might come away with something that would come in handy, later on, along your own road. Just saying.

Anyway, welcome back, Stella… again!

About the story…

Stella Madison is back, 
this time with a bevy of friends. But just how far should a person go when it comes to sticking by their friends? 
There's a thief in the rambling old mansion she moved into. And while it was someone who was quick to lend help when Stella needed it most, how can she possibly return the favor without jeopardizing herself along with them? 

No person is obligated to go that far... right?