The thought “Dear God what have I gotten myself into” has become an everyday thought in our lives! Constantly trimming and rearranging is what we’re now accustomed to, but as gluttons for punishment we are training ourselves to look fear and frustration head on.
My husband, son, and I live aboard our 36′ Catalina in the San Juan Islands. We love it and have never looked back to our land locked life, even once. We have managed to find work, start homeschooling, and make time to hoist the sails on many occasions. We’re becoming accustomed to our responsibilities when underway and as a not very experienced sailor… I’m very proud of that! So after multiple light wind day cruises and lots of docking practice I was feeling ready for a lesson on sailing in strong wind, which I highly recommend so your not “that guy” who’s ripping off your bowsprit on a dock piling! Boy was I in for a surprise.
We hired a very experienced Captain to come aboard our vessel and show us the ropes. The day was forecasted to bring 25 to 35 knot winds so we knew it would be the real deal, but the reality was far more then I could ever imagine! We made it out to the open bay and began to hoist our main and jib. I was so excited that the guys were using our new reefing lines, and our new roller fuller was reefed and holding strong. I pointed her downwind and sailed her out of the wind shadow. That’s when all hell broke lose (or so I thought at the time). We were hit with a 35 knot gust right off the bat and I knew we were going down! My initial fear lessoned a bit when the instructor gave out a loud “Woohoo!”, and I realized that this is what our boat was made to do.
The question was… is this what I was made to do?
30 minutes in and my arms were aching, I was sweating bullets in 45 degree weather and I was convinced that we were going to die at least 3 times. Not to mention our cast iron skillet flew out of our oven and into our son’s bunk, and there were books and Kitchen utensils finding new homes with every green water wave we took. With our personal belongings crashing all over our home, and our son hysterically crying in the cockpit I stepped into gear! That momma bear instinct was what I needed to truly embrace the roll of Captain and learn how to keep our little family afloat. After another half hour of getting our rear ends kicked we decided to turn back to the marina and salvage what was left of our little skipper’s love of the boat life.
I was so flustered at the time but I can now look back and remember the joy of riding the swells and the feeling of the icy spray on my face. The shear anticipation of seeing our little marina pop out from behind another island was one of the most soulful moments in my entire life! Until I realized that with bruised and shaky hands we had come to the high wind docking portion of the lesson.
“Oh dear God what have I got myself into?”
I quickly developed my spot turn technique and was so thrilled to learn that my once annoying prop walk was actually a very useful tool. All was going pretty well until I forced our instructor to take a 10 foot leap of faith onto the dock to secure us. We all had a good laugh and agreed no harm no foul and tried again… 4 more times. I learned a great deal about safety and my husband (the line handler) was extremely happy that this lesson was making his job so much easier! Let’s just say that he was not ready for a leap of great proportions!
This experience humbled us tremendously! I was greatly reminded of the power of nature and most importantly the power that lies in each of us that atemp to harness that feeling of shear adrenaline and use it to better ourselves. An amazing level of confidence is achieved when you set out to conquere your fears and learn to use them to work together to create experiences that shape our exsistence and our dreams.
What a crazy start to 2019! Along with the usual lose weight, quit bad habits, and do more good resolutions, we have been in serious work mode! We started noticing last December, that our mast was inverted (leaning forward) and that is not a good thing! My husband Nick dove right into the project and quickly discovered that we needed to do one of the most costly and challenging projects you could ever do on a sailboat… rigging!
Now after reading a few of my posts you might be wondering if there’s a twist in this story that ends with grand blessing… well you were wondering for a good reason because this one is GOOD!
After a ton of research, Nick found a shipyard just on the other side of the bay that would allow us to do some of the work ourselves because we also found out that if we paid someone to do the job it would be over $17K, and that was not an option. So Nick went to the shipyard to get everything set up and came home with a job offer! I couldn’t believe it! Not the fact that they offered Nick a job because that happens to him on a monthly basis (diesel mechanics are in high demand), but because they would be losing money from us as clients. From a business standpoint it just didn’t make sense. Regardless, he gladly accepted the job and this great group of guys helped us learn and grow in ways we never saw coming.
This project has once again reminded me why I’m so enamored with my husband and inspired to be the best Captain I can be.
Nick learned from a work associate how to properly cut and secure the rigging in an afternoon and singlehandedly finished without any mishaps as well as replacing all the electrical wires, wind instruments, lights, and replacing all of the pieces (chain plates) the rigging attaches to on the boat in one week. I swear there is nothing this man can’t accomplish! Kuddos to you babe!
With everything ready to go we cautiously proceeded with returning the mast to it’s proper place… IN THE BOAT! (It’s hard to have a big hole in the middle of your roof in winter!) And our new friend, Lenny taught us how to properly tune our rig to really make her sail.
With the mast up and the rig solid, now it was time to test her out! Or more appropriately, test me out. And I was nervous!!! I have no excuse now… if I don’t feel comfortable captaining this boat under sail, then I don’t know what we would do. Knowing that I can’t run from my fears we untied from the dock and set out to wherever the wind might takes us for the day…
IT WAS AWESOME!!!
I felt calm and comfortable as we slowly cruised through the San Juan Channel playing with our different sails and learning about trimming and finding the groove. I feel like this path of adventure and learning is right on the money and being in-tune with nature, ourselves, and God makes the most incredible things happen.
I’m learning to embrace our hardships because they always lead to knowledge, new friends, and eventually the right path shows itself through the hard work and dedication. The hard times make you and your faith stronger!
As I sit here and listen to a home schooling video about architecture and how buttresses act like a beautiful piece of décor on a infamous building, that made me realize that the building blocks of our life are so similar. We strive for greatness with plans of amazing feats, but we need to account for the forces of nature in our grand plan. We need supports for our masterpiece! We have forgotten to factor in… that nature rules all!
This is the second week we have put off our biggest project yet … pulling the mast and re-rigging and wiring our mast. Now to the average Joe this seems like a standard thing you do when you own a sailboat, but what most don’t realize is that the very wealthy people pay for this kind of work to be done while the working class does it themselves with the little knowledge and confidence they have from chatting with others and watching you-tube videos. So we now have a boat full of wiring, wind instruments, and lights just waiting for dear Mother Nature to shine her Valentines sunshine on us.
Not only have we had a hold put on our rigging project, but we’ve also been without water and sewage pumpout for 9 days. We have been reminded that nature and God are real forces in this world and that force rules all!
We have been walking the docks like normal through the inches of beautiful snow and hear many different versions of how the day is unfolding… it’s horribly cold, we might not have water for another 4 days, businesses aren’t able to open because their workers can’t make it in, and so many more! And though I know that some others aren’t as able as we are in this kind of weather I always want to literally shake people and remind them that there are thousands of other marinas with sunshine and warm waters and all you have to do is untie from the dock! Don’t let your circumstances make you unhappy!
I feel so blessed that my son is lit up with a childhood joy when those amazing lace gems fall playfully from the sky, and that we have the time to build a snowman complete with mussel eyes and seaweed mouth (not pictured). Those memories are even more engrained in ones brain because it takes a serious effort to get out and face the cold, and enjoy oneself so hull-heartedly that time just slips away.
Sounds like it’s time to sum things up and go make a cup of hot cocoa! Because life is to short to sit around complaining about what’s happening, you have to go out and make it happen… that’s right… what ever you want to do, make it happen and don’t stop until you feel good!
Wow! What a whirlwind of a holiday season it’s been so far! Traveling and partying with friends and loved ones is one of the most rewarding and comforting experiences I could ever ask for, but no doubt exhausting! So now that we’re home and right back to our delayed boat projects, all is right in our universe. And that’s right when I least expected something amazing to happen… but it did!
Walker and I jumped in our 10ft. dinghy to head over to his “work” (he volunteers as the “Tide Pool Feeder” at the Friday Harbor laboratories) and right as we were headed to the lab’s dock we saw 2 striking Orca Whale fins that stood about 3 1/2 or 4 feet tall. They were spouting and swimming around in large circles about 100 yards away and we were speechless! This experience has stood near the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember and here I was, in what felt like a tiny raft with my mouth wide open and eyes gaping in astonishment, at 2 of the fiercest predators in the Salish sea. Both Walker and I were overcome with tears of joy and then I had to laugh at the situation because here I am in a boat 1/2 the size of an Orca with my 6 year old and there’s Killer whales only 100 yards away. My Momma bear instincts kicked in and I rowed quickly to the dock and shallower water and the whales disappeared behind the point.
Once at the dock we shouted and cheered and felt so thankful for the experience, and that evening I started reliving that crazy moment and it made me realize something. You can’t check off your bucket list if you never put yourself in the place to do so. Even though my experience was amazingly scary and not the safest scenario I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Seeing those 2 incredible whales and living aboard our sailboat in the San Juan Islands has made me look at my life as a gift. There is so much happening in the world at every given moment and we are blessed enough to get to experience all of the greatness it holds if we just put ourselves out there.
So when making that New Year’s resolution for 2019, keep in mind what’s really important to you, and don’t worry if your a couple pounds over weight or bound and determined to meet that financial goal. You can accomplish all of that easily if you focus on a resolution that helps you live in the bigger picture! Make a resolution that takes you outdoors and pushes your limits physically, mentally, and spiritually because everyday counts! The best part of a resolution like this is it doesn’t have to cost a lot, and other’s could be welcomed to join in. When your soul is content and a smile graces your face, it’s amazing what you can accomplish!
When you focus on something you will always achieve it.. . it’s keeping the focus that’s the hard part!
Hope you all had a smashing 2018 and here’s to an even better 2019! God Bless!
I am SO excited to share this news! In my last post “Your miracle is right over the horizon” I shared that I was still waiting for a miracle in the husband and wife relationship department. I was very raw and honest about our family life, and it was really hard to put myself out there and be vulnerable, but guess what??? It worked! We got our miracle!
I was able to stay home and write because Nick my husband, offered to take Walker our kindergartener out for a science day. So little did I know that as I was home praying/writing for a miracle, my boys were out receiving it.
Nick and Walker took a detour on their way to the beach where they were going to search the tide pools for sea critters. This detour was to the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories. There were many signs on the drive in that stated “Authorized Personnel Only” and “Pre Authorized Guest Parking” and you catch the drift… the boys might not be as welcome there as Nick was hoping they would be, but we always tell Walker that you never know until you try, and Nick had lots of practice when he was a kid going into similar situations with his Grandpa so they took a que from above and gave it a shot!
Walker proceeded to take the lead as he usually tends to do being Mr. Personable and all, and instantly made friends with the front office gal Miss Aimee who then introduced them to Miss Megan who then introduced them to the tide pool. They have a tide pool under the stairs of the main building that is filled with starfish, urchins, anemones, crabs, shrimp, scallops, sea cucumbers, and probably countless other critters! Walker was amazed and Miss Megan, who we later found out was the right gal to meet, took notice. Here was a little boy that was so excited about an ignored, dirty, boring old tide pool that everyone passes by without a second thought so she offered Walker a volunteer position as official tide pool feeder.
Now to give you a little background on our 6 year old, Walker has been planning his business since the age of 3 when he started with his first Kool-Aid stand, which was followed with Lollipop sales, a dog sitting endeavor, a dock side café/store, and of course a dog walking biz. He has wanted a job for so long and so Miss Megan’s words were music to his little ears!
After getting a tour of the main campus building complete with research vessel, R.O.V’s, and multiple super cool experiment tanks the boys came home to a very happy, relaxed and fulfilled Mom (because I had just conquered my vulnerability and put my heart into my post). My boys were grinning from ear to ear and took turns telling me about all the excitement that had filled their morning. As they laughed and shared their story I was overcome with the feeling I get when I’m experiencing a miracle. It’s like my heart swells, tears well up behind my eyes and I feel like my body wants to float right off the ground. Walker and Nick had without a doubt been touched by the grace of God!
We have been blessed by God with a renewed sense of purpose that drives Nick and I more than anything in this world… Walker’s passion, and excitement for his new job. After fishing off the dock for the tide pool critter’s breakfast, we put our little one to bed and sat up way to late chatting about how amazing our son is and what an incredible opportunity this is. There is no doubt in our minds that this was an “ask and you shall receive” kind of miracle! We humbled ourselves and were honest about being imperfect humans which is imperative to preparing yourself to receive. Putting our faith in God has always proved to be the right choice, and it doesn’t happen very often but we experienced this miracle immediately after asking for it. We really have the feeling that this new job could be the beginning of a future Marine Biologist career or something even more amazing for our son.
So take on a personal challenge and put yourself out there! Be vulnerable and honest with yourself and the people around you and you to might experience that miracle you’ve been praying for! You will for sure feel a weight lifted off your shoulders because it’s exhausting trying to be perfect! And “news flash”… nobody is! Cut yourself some slack and enjoy the person that God created for a reason. Yes that’s right… we were made with our faults in mind because what we think is a fault is someone else’s inspiration so put it all out there and let God handle the rest 😉
Good luck and God Bless!
It’s almost annoying how religiously this theory works! The best part is that you look good, feel better, and even teach others the value of a kind word. Most of us are programmed to fit a certain social profile where it’s not ok to freak out on another person, even when you really want to. So if you can remember the advice from the mothers before you of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” then you can always have a leg up in a disagreement!
How does this make me look good? When anyone loses their temper they end up looking like a cranky 2 year old. Hopefully they’re not throwing themselves on the ground kicking and screaming but regardless, they look ridiculous! Funny how they also need to be handled the same way as a temper tantrum throwing toddler. Wow! That was a tongue twister!
“I think it’s odd that grown-ups quarrel so easily and so often and about such petty matters. Up to now I always thought bickering was just something children did and that they outgrew it.”
When you are the quiet and calm party in a discussion you have automatically won, because all the negative attention goes straight to the one demanding it. It’s also much easier to solve the problem when you’re listening to what the actual problem is. The other perk to this quiet moment is that the other party generally disarms themselves with their own obnoxious voice.
How does this make me feel better? The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. That made me feel better just reading it! So put yourself in their shoes and consider how this over actor (or actress) feels, whether just or unjust. Sometimes, that’s all they need. For others, they just like to ruffle feathers. So let them and take it with a grain of salt. You listen, you sympathize, you try to help, and then you walk away knowing you did everything you could while maintaining a pleasant attitude. Nice job! You should feel great that you might better their life and future relationships. (One can wish, right?!?)
How can I teach others the value of a kind word? People want to be cared about and treated with respect. So do just that and you will feel like you actually helped someone with more than just the problem at hand. Hopefully you help them learn that acting like a brat is not beneficial to anyone especially themselves. Kindness is contagious! And most of the time, you don’t see the effects of it right away but know that you make a difference every time you put these tricks to work!
You can get a better picture of this theory in the work place by reading…
Fall in the Pacific Northwest is known as a time of true beauty. Colors of yellow, orange, red, and green paint the landscape and remind us all to stop and take in the natural splendor that is Washington State. With this time of year also comes the fog, wind, and rain! And let me tell you… there’s a lot of that! Many Pacific North westerners are on a steady Vitamin D regimen that’s pretty much the norm.