Although Gaye was not the Captain of the boat, I'm starting with her for a reason. If we were the cast of Gilligan's Island, I'm not sure who all we would be, but Gaye would definitely be "Little Buddy". She's not "little" (but she's not big, she's just bigger than little :)), she's not crazy or idiotic, I don't think she ever "cooked up a scheme" or did anything Gilligan-ish, but I think I can say Jane, the captain, depended on Gaye like the Skipper depended on Gilligan. They have a special relationship that only two really good friends can have and I understand that because of my relationship with my best friend. Gaye is one of those people that you are just drawn to. She's not overly talky, but she's a great conversationalist. She definitely cares about you when she talks to you. She asks great questions and listens and really has a heart to get to know you. She's the kind of person that you just want to see her happy and you respect her without her even doing anything. You know those people that just radiate calm and peace - thats Gaye. She's got such a wonderful heart and she wants to see people truly happy from their hearts. She's godly and has a depth to know God and to help others achieve a sense of knowing God. She doesn't push, she doesn't pull, she just - is. She can coax the best out of you without any of the aforementioned. She was a super teacher, patient and willing to step back and let us do the anchor and make knots and pull the sail - but she was there if we needed her. She was a super snorkle guide - you can see this passion for the ocean and for all God put in it when she puts her fins and mask on - she's at peace in the water and has gotten to know it inside and out.
The reason I put her first is because I have a PRAYER REQUEST for my blogger friends.... The last evening, Saturday, on the boat, we were sitting out on the bow like we did every evening, just talking and focussing on our day and on God. It was one of those quiet moments and Gaye shared a big piece of her heart with us.
Three weeks before she came on the trip, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was on her way back after the trip, on Wednesday, to have a biopsy done. You can tell she's aching, but she's not frenzied or outside of her mind. She has a total peace that God will care for her and her family. She came on the trip to take time away from the diagnosis and to basically "forget" about it for a few days. She hadn't told us at the beginning as she didn't want to overwhelm us or ruin our trip. Thats just Gaye. She's more concerned with others than with herself and thats where she's at her best. Please please pray for Gaye as she comes home and moves the process of what needs to be done. Pray for comfort and peace for her family and her. Pray for good doctors and even healing. I guess my big prayer for her is that God would make her an even better person tomorrow than she is today - that her confidence of "I'll be fine" will be founded and that her kids will see and know that she's fine no matter what the outcome.
Jane - our "Skipper", or as the BVI calls her on our permission to sail - our Captain. Wow! I admire Jane so much. She knows the boat inside out and has sailed forever. She could handle a boat all by herself. She has everything under control. I know her peace comes from, not only sailing experience, but God experience and knowing that he's in control. She has a amazing solid faith and has been through some pretty intense life storms but has kept her calm and peace. She's a great teacher as well and is quickly willing to give up her helm and sails to complete novices who just want to learn. Her reputation has preceded her through my friend Kim. Kim has so much respect and love for Jane, it carried over to me before I even met her. She exudes peace and calm. She's so knowledgable about the water and all the creatures underneath and just desires to share that passion with others.
This was my bunkmate. We had some great late evening chats. Donna has had some pretty amazing experiences in her life. She's been at the top of some pretty big companies, including Quaker, and is a smart (excuse the pun) cookie when it comes to business - you can just tell that. I admire her determination and creativity and I think she would be an awesome mentor. She's taken a little course change with her work and has just finished a physical trainer program and is now doing training and teaching all kinds of classes including boot camp and spin among many others. How gutsy to change your course of life so completely after the experiences she's had. She's my kindred spirit with the travel bug... She and her husband do walking excusions and they've been to New Zealand and Machu Pichu and many other places just hiking. They bike all the time and she gave me so many great trail ideas around us (thanks Donna!). She's never sailed but wanted to learn and add it to her list of activities and now she's got a bug as well. She's sounds like a great grandma and spends time with her grandkids just trying to help them think through life and learn through life. She gives her time back to things that have affected her through charity work. Donna is someone to learn from and admire!
What can I say about Laurie - she was a true joy to get to know! She's got this spirit that floats like a bubble on the top of the water. She's always got a sincere, heart smile on her face, I don't think I ever saw her without. She's weathered the storms as she's just recovered from two bouts of breast cancer as well (so this was a great match for Gaye this week - I think it was so providential of God to have her sign up at the beginning of the year and then have Gaye find her news out) and she's still on the positive side. She's got this confidence that only comes when you've thrown everything into the air and said what comes down is what I am. Talk about fun! She's always got something up her proverbial sleeve and she was like the energizer bunny that someone pulled the string on. She found her new passion in snorkeling and was in the water all the time. You can tell her heart is just joy and to bring joy to all around her!
I have found me... :) Kate is me, but just a lot better. She's tons more bubbly and nice than I am - but maybe that because Laurie, her BFF, has brought out the best in her. They were always saying that you wanted your friends to be someone who would help make you the best version of yourself. All I can say is, kudos, Laurie - I think Kate was probably a lot better than me to begin with, but a good Laurie never hurt anyone! :) Kate has quite the interesting life and is starting her own business as of about 3 years ago. She works with writing grants and training and stuff for law enforcement agencies and other public services. I think I summed it up. She's licensed in ploygraph and mediation and pretty cool stuff that helps catch the bad guys. She's from NY and she was an interrogator, but, if you've even seen The Closer, she's probably like that - you see this really sweet person and you don't expect that "ROAR" thats actually inside. I love it! If you're interested in taking a peak - here's her website that she's still working on.
Helen has an amazing servant's heart. She gives and gives and then gives some more. She's one of those background givers to where you don't even know she's given until after its done (thanks for covering my galley shifts for me, Helen :)) She's a masseuse by trade and she's passionate about her work. She would always go around giving massages, but not little 2 minutes ones, but ones that lasted a long time and really worked on areas that people needed work on. We never really asked her, she just did it because that was what was in her heart. She's extremely outgoing and can make friends with anyone, but in a full way that really makes someone feel like she cares about them.
This one has got hootspa (how dow you spell that?). She went back several years ago and got her nursing degree - I know I've looked at going for nursing school but have been overwhelmed with the task, so I know that it really takes a lot to totally reinvent yourself in this way. You can tell she's a great nurse as she's pretty calm, even personality. Always happy and perky, even when she's maybe battling motion sickness or not really into getting into the water to go snorkeling. She does it anyways. That was pretty impressive as well that, even though she was battling motion sickness at first, she pitched right in and did her fair share - she found the things she could do to contribute and she did them well. She was always making sure that we had what we needed and would never complain or say anything if you were in the water and wanted your shampoo (or anything else) and asked her to run for it. She was just the best team player!
I kind of know Alison better than all the other crew member so I'll try not to be too hard on her. The long and short - Alison needs to be on a deserted island hugging palm trees WAY more than once a year. Maybe it should be a mental palm tree hug thing as thats where it all starts - in her head.
I know I've always known a lot about her, but I think I solidified my discoveries much more on this trip as there's no place to go on a boat. Alison actually had to stay in one place which was very hard for her. Hence, the conclusion I've drawn is Alison is way way too intense in her head - she thinks way too much and then overthinks what she's thought until thinking is just one big blur. She's always in a hurry even when there's nothing to be hurrying for (have you ever seen her walk? Its like she's on a mission. EVERYTHING is a mission with her when it comes to getting there). She passes little old ladies just because they walk too slow and if you've ever gone to the airport with her - watch it, those carry on suitcases can run you over pretty good.
And then the other thing that goes on in her mind is, well, its Alison. She thinks a little too much about herself - whether its good or bad, there's always something going on her head that concerns herself. I think thats my biggest problem with Alison.
But, there is a little good, and only God can claim that good, because as you've read from the above, Alison's bad qualities kind of overtake a lot of her head space. The other reason I know God can only take the good is because after Alison has done the good, she usually sits back and thinks "where did that come from?", and she says it with honest bewilderment.
I think God has given me (can I stop referring to myself in 3rd person now?) a heart for people in need and those who are hurting. Goodness, I can't even watch movies where people are being hurt or whatever without just wanting to cry - I feel it pretty deep. I know God has given me a pretty loyal streak as well - if you're my friend or in my family, I'd probably take a bullet for you (in fact, I've taken some pretty bad emotional "bullets" from friends in the past). And I do love making new friends. Maybe thats why I'm not on Facebook too, because I love to see the faces and really get to know people from the heart - I so value all the friends that I've made literally all across the world and different things I've gotten involved in here at home that have brought new people into my life.
Case in point - SoulSail! What great new friends God has brought into my life and I see some of them sticking around for a long time so - thank you God! It wasn't one of those lie on the beach relaxing vacations, but I think I just really got so much out of the people that I met that I came home feeling ready to go again and feeling like there are things that I'd like to give God the liberty to start working on. To quote Laurie and Kate "friends are people who make you a better version of yourself!"
Thanks crew for a great vacation
and for sharing your lives with me!!!!!
and for sharing your lives with me!!!!!