Sunday, July 26, 2020

Lessons From a Kayak

Just returned from a week-long vacation at the beach. Not crowded, and we pretty much kept to ourselves. Spent more time in the pool at the house than we did at the beach. Our two daughters, Hannah and Emily, came with us, along with their significant others, Alex and Q (Quaevon, but everyone calls him Q). Family friends joined us from Wisconsin with their three kids. A great time! Relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful. Hated to leave.

One evening, Kim, Emily, Q and I went on a kayak trip. We had a guide, a free spirit kind of guy who didn’t seem to want to settle down just yet, who helped us get in and out of the small craft, as well as guide us on our journey. Scotty, our guide, gave us interesting facts about the area and the history, and was entertaining.

I am not particularly comfortable in water. Neither was Q, though he wasn’t saying anything. I didn’t either, but I’m sure Kim and Emily read my expressions and body language. I’m not an outstanding poker player, so it was easy for them. Thankfully, both have a swimming background and both are or have been lifeguards, so I felt pretty safe.

Still . . .

Getting in was a chore. The kayak rocked and rolled. I was instructed to sit on the dock, place my feet into the kayak and then my butt. Sounds easy, right? Hmmm, not so much for me. After a whole lot of hesitation and perhaps any number of reasons why kayaking might not be in my best interest, I managed with the guide’s help. It wasn’t pretty, and I dared not look anyone in the eye for quite a while.

Okay, so far, so good. I have to tell you I relaxed quite a bit when Scotty told us he doubted that anyone would capsize, but it we did, just stand up. The water was at most three feet. Okay, got that! Sounded good to me.

Scotty instructed us how to hold the paddles, how to go forward and back, and how to stop. Seemed easy enough. I managed to not run into anyone.

The trip was benign. Tame. It lasted for about an hour and a half from start to finish. After about the first half-hour, I relaxed. I wanted to shift my legs to get myself more comfortable and the boat would sway first one way and then the other, so I settled in for the duration, not willing to risk it. Cramped comes to mind.

We saw the only covered bridge in all of North Carolina. Several osprey. The evening was not overly warm compared to the furnace blast of heat throughout the day (actually throughout the entire week).

When our adventure ended, I had to get out of the kayak. Hmmm . . . I didn’t want to repeat the entry into the kayak. I didn’t. It was worse. Sort of a barrel-role onto the pier. Way ugly. Happy no one captured it on film. I sheepishly took off my life vest and deposited it into the tub to be cleaned for the next group, wiped off the sand and gunk from my shirt, swimsuit and backside, and then stood waiting for the rest of our party.

I learned a few things on that trip. Some lessons.

Fear of the unknown and the uncomfortable can be paralyzing. Don’t let it. Dive in and take chances.

Trust your guide. It is okay to not know everything. There are others better suited for leadership of some tasks and in some situations. There are others who know more than you about certain things. That’s okay, and it is normal. It doesn’t mean you are a dummy, even though you might want to label yourself as such. Don’t.

Balance, not only in a kayak, but also in life. Keep it. Don’t lean too far one way or the other. Steady your course, but take chances.

Don’t be afraid to go both forward or backward. Don’t be afraid to stop and take it all in, to pause and think. To relax and enjoy. You are equipped with your own mental paddle. Use it to your advantage.

Did I mention that fear of the unknown and uncomfortable can paralyze? Yup, I did, but I wanted to repeat it. Our minds our powerful. Our imaginations are powerful. The messages we tell ourselves can harm us and cause us to shrivel up and wither away. Don’t let fear prevent you from living life, from loving life. There is too much out there to love and enjoy. Go live it. Go paddle your own kayak through life. It’s worth it. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family. No one willing to talk, and three brothers are in danger.
My new book, Betrayed, is available for preorder at Use promo code: PREORDER2020 for a 15% discount.

Betrayed will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise, even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans, and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.

Here are some early reviews from other authors:

“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

“Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.                              

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.                                 

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.                                                 

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.

Picture Courtesy of Scotty, our guide.
Betrayed Cover Designed by David King of Black Rose Writing


  1. Very insightful! Sometimes we have to take these adventures and get to know ourselves more. We learn and we get better. And off to the next scary or uncomfortable adventure. Cheers!

  2. The truth! Thank you for stopping by.

  3. It's a great post! Sometimes short adventure trips are much-needed halts for life. Thanks for sharing😊


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe