Would You Sell Your Home To Live on a Boat?

Stephanie Palmer came home from work one day and told her husband Jim, “We need an adventure.”

Stephanie, who worked in early childhood education for 25 years, was getting ready to retire and partner with Jim in his coaching business, Dream Business Coaching.  With the business, they could work anywhere in the world as long as they had access to cell service and a solid internet connection.

After 28 years living in the same home, they were toying with idea of selling the house and doing something different–yet, they weren’t quite sure what “different” was going to be.  They both enjoyed watching shows on HGTV that showed beautiful places to live and they considered moving to the Caribbean.

Then one day, Stephanie had an idea.

“Why don’t we live on a boat?”

Stephanie and Jim always enjoyed their outings at sea on their 30-foot Sea Ray. Every time they went out on the water, stress melted away and they came off the boat renewed and re-energized. The more they thought about it, the more the idea of living on the water appealed to them.

When Stephanie and Jim presented the idea to their four children, they received positive feedback and support. Stephanie recalls how it all unfolded:


For the past few years Jim had felt ‘finished’ with the house we were living in.  It was the house where we’d lived for the past 28 years and raised our children.  I was torn.  We had kept it up and done some remodeling and an addition that I was enjoying.  I also liked to think of it as a place where the family came together for holidays, where our grandchildren could play in the beautiful yard where their parents had played years before.   Finally, I didn’t have any idea where I wanted to move to next.

I had worked in early childhood education for over 25 years and I was feeling ready to move on. Truth be told, I was burnt out and didn’t enjoy the work anymore.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do, as far as work but one day it just hit me – I needed a big adventure!  Not sure what that was, what it looked like, but I had a feeling.  Together Jim and I batted around a bunch of ideas.  I knew how much Jim loved boating and I had a desire to travel, so I threw out the idea of living aboard a boat.  Jim LOVED it!!!  

I was a bit uncomfortable with telling other people about this home we chose.  I have been a person that feels the need to do what is acceptable and expected.   Our children were the first people we informed of this idea.  They were so excited about it!  It is truly their excitement and encouragement that has kept me moving forward.  

We spent about a year preparing for the change.  I gave notice at work.  I began to pack up the contents of our home deciding what to throw out, donate or put in storage.  We prepared the house for sale.  Jim searched boats for sale.  Over the year, Jim and I were amazed at how smoothly everything went.  We felt God’s hand at work, guiding us.  

As I write this we have been living aboard the boat for 3 months.  I can’t believe how much I love it!  Life is simple, comfortable and easy.  We feel like we are on vacation all the time.  For now we have an 18 month plan, this summer in New England, the winter in Florida and then the next summer back on the Chesapeake, our home port.  We are considering spending more time living on the boat and traveling either the Great Loop or to the Bahamas.  But what we are both content with is making decisions as needed, we don’t have everything planned out to the nth degree, we are just going with the flow.

Stephanie and Jim’s new home is a 50-foot Carver yacht. In the beginning, they had to learn everything they could about navigating a large craft themselves. They were nervous, excited, and a bit scared at taking on such a big adventure, but Jim knew that from his own coaching practice, the most growth occurs when you step out of your comfort zone.

“Stephanie and I, we couldn’t run the boat ourselves, its a lot of teamwork,” Jim said.  “Pulling in and out of the marina is a two person job.  When we left the coast of New Jersey  going into New York and we saw the Statue of Liberty, we got chills. We had spent an hour in choppy water  and we were pushed out of our comfort zone in a way that we had not been pushed out of for several years.”

I asked Jim to share the challenges they faced. “Challenges? You mean other than today, yesterday, and the day before??” Jim chuckled. “There are definitely times of challenge.  When you try to do something new– live on a boat, start a business, you sometimes become excited  about doing something fun and different, then the other side of your brain says,  ‘what if,  what if,’  what if I can’t park it, or hit someone, or run out of gas or I can’t run my business…

“A lot of people don’t do big things because they’re unsure of what will happen,” Jim continued. “If you are thinking about doing something big–go for it. Life can be shorter than you want it to be. If you have an adventure in mind–your mind will play the “what if” game, but go for it. People near death regret the things they didn’t do–time ran out on them. Stephanie and I didn’t want to get to the end of our lives with regret, so for better or worse, we are doing it.”

During one of the first trips on a river, the very thing that Stephanie and Jim worried about, happened. They ran aground in shallow water, right in front of a marina, with people on the dock watching. Jim turned to Stephanie and he laughed. “We hit the ground. Check it off the list. No one got hurt–there ya go!”

What’s more, Jim explained, there are two types of people, those who run aground, and those…who lie about it.

Jim and Stephanie work three days a week on their business and use the other four days to explore new places and things. As a business coach, Jim applies one of Zig Ziglar’s famous quotes to his business: You can get everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. Jim is all about helping others create successful dream businesses. “Passion is something that lights you up and gets you up out of bed earlier–you will work a little harder–that’s what passion does. I don’t live for the weekend. Here, every day feels like a vacation.”


And every day on the water, Stephanie and Jim are grateful to see both the sunrise and sunset. Success means being able to live life on your own terms, Jim says.

“Success doesn’t have to do with how much money you earn. It’s about living life the way you want to live.  You’re not wanting for anything–you’re content. You can make your own choices. That’s an internal level of success that people are striving for. The ultimate thing is to have time freedom–and live life on your own terms.”


For more on Jim and Stephanie:

Our Floating Home

Dream Business Academy

Jim Palmer, Dream Business Coach


We Didn’t Know We Were Making Memories

“No!! Peggy died. Noooo!!”

The text from my friend Sue jolted me awake. I fought to make sense of the words as I wiped sleep from my eyes.

Peggy. Gone.

How could that be? We had chatted through Facebook before I left for Africa. And now there would never be another chat again.

I met Peggy through Sue–the two of them met in college. Through the years we stayed in touch, always waiting for that proverbial “Someday” when the kids were grown and we could have more time together.

The three of us shared a love for John Denver songs. Despite being deaf, we were able to enjoy his music. One year, I made a CD of my favorite John Denver songs for Peggy and I introduced her to songs she hadn’t heard him sing before.

Last year, we got together to attend a small-town production of John Denver’s music. It was just two days after my mom died. I needed that time away to handle my sorrow. What better way to spend the day than with music and friends.

After the last song ended, we took a walk in the woods, soaking up the beauty around us. We paused on a bridge, grabbing a snapshot.

“We didn’t know we were making memories, we were just having fun.”  ~Unknown

Peggy took us to the river. As we gazed at the water, an eagle flew by. John Denver loved eagles and immediately, the song “The Eagle and the Hawk” flowed through my mind. I felt my mother’s spirit at that river. I ached for her.

And now I ache for Peggy.

Here are the words to her favorite John Denver song, The Wings That Fly Us Home:


“I know that love is seeing all the infinite in one.

In the brotherhood of creatures, through the Father, through the Son.

The vision of your goodness will sustain me through the cold.

Take my hand now to remember when you find yourself alone: you are never alone.

And the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens.

It fills the endless yearning of the soul.

It lives within a star too far to dream of.

It lives within each part and is the whole.”

~The Wings That Fly Us Home, John Denver (Peggy’s favorite song)

Passionate People: Dan and Joanne Miller

Do you dread Mondays? Are you dragging yourself out of bed to go to work?

You’re not alone. Dan Miller from 48days.com shared a startling statistic: 84% of American Workers say they would like to change jobs in the coming year.

Either we have a lot of upwardly mobile people or there’s just a lot of people unhappy or dissatisfied with their jobs.

That was me a couple of years ago.

I was fortunate. I met Dan Miller and his wife, Joanne in 2011. At the time, I was deep into reading two of Dan’s books, No More Dreaded Mondays and 48 Days to the Work You Love.  I had a job I loved, but I was losing my passion for it day by day.  I was deep into Dan’s books while on a train heading to a speaking gig. I came across this paragraph:

As Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Ask yourself: What is the world hungering for right now? How can I use my unique skills and talents to satisfy that hunger? Don’t rest until you find that answer.

I started filling up spiral bound notebooks with ideas, thoughts, desires, and more. By the end of the train ride back home, I wrote my first book, and have continued to use that paragraph above to bring clarity to my daily life.

dan miller quote

I took Dan’s Coaching with Excellence Workshop (highly recommended if you want to add coaching to your services or become a coach or his Innovate workshop if you are a creative) and it was there that I met Dan and Joanne for the first time.

the millers with karen putz

Dan is known for his 48 Days podcast, community, and coaching services. He specializes in helping people discover and understand their natural skills and abilities and turn those into profit. His newsletter goes out to over 130,000 people and his podcast is among the top five for careers.

When it comes to living with passion, Dan and Joanne are a beautiful example of what it means to enjoy life and live it fully. They have instilled those lessons in their children and grandchildren.

Joanne’s passion is art, and she did not unwrap that passion until long after she was done raising her children. Today, she hosts a weekly art class at The Sanctuary near Nashville and she’s the author of several books, including Creating a Haven of Peace When You’re Feeling Down, Finances are Flat, and Tempers are Rising. She inspires other women in midlife to learn new things and dig in deep to discover their own gifts.

karen and dan miller

I always recommend Dan’s events–I am still connected with people that I met at my first event there. Each event is limited to no more than 50 people, so it’s a wonderful chance to get to know others and build relationships. Plus, you get to learn from just about the whole Miller family as well! Check out Dan’s resources and events here:

48 Days

Find out what Dan Miller has to say about passion in my upcoming book, Unwrapping Your Passion.


20 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became a Parent

I’m nearing the end of my parenting journey with my last kid about to graduate from high school. The husband and I are shifting gears and learning what it means to be parents of adult children.

Once a parent, always a parent, but we’ve definitely moved into a whole new season of parenthood.

The other day I was looking through baby albums and wondering how it was possible that the years flew by so quickly. My mother-in-law warned me of this concept when the kids were toddlers. “The time will fly by when the kids get older and before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone.”

She was right.

I blinked.

And poof, the kids became adults.

The other day, I was thinking back on the mistakes, the fumbles, the inexperience–and all the things I wish I knew when I first became a parent. So I sat down to write all the things I know now–and wish I knew at the beginning of the parenting journey.

Here goes–20 things I wish I knew when I became a parent:

You’re wiser than you realize. You are perfectly capable of making decisions that are right for you and your family.

You’re gonna mess up. It’s okay. Sometimes you have to go down the wrong path to discover what the right path is for your family.

Let go of perfection. Aim for perfectly imperfect instead.

Don’t lose your passion–ditch the time-suckers and go play.

Take time for YOU.

Parenthood is a season. Like all seasons, it ebbs and flows. Enjoy the season you’re in.
Parenthood is not a race. Comparison robs your kid of their own journey.

Don’t follow the crowd–just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it’s right for your child.

When you’re stuck in a rut, do something new. Take action.

Pick your battles carefully. Will this matter ten minutes, ten months, or ten years from now?

You’re a lot tougher than you think. You can bounce back from anything.

Laugh. Laugh some more. Laugh even more.

Responsibilities and independence are gifts. Give them wisely.

Let yourself feel. Kids need to know that parents are beautifully human.

The laundry never ends. As soon as they can load the washer, teach them to do laundry. Ditto the dishwasher.

Take pictures and videos, but make sure you put the camera down to experience the moments, too.

During the tough times, look for the gift in the experience. Sometimes you won’t find it until enough time has passed by.

Learn all you can about what you need to know–lean on people who have wisdom to share.

Listen within. Meditate. Pray. Ask. The answers will come.

When in doubt, love. Love your kid.

Every child is freaking unique. Honor that.


Want a dose of passion? Yes, I do! 

The One Question to Guide You

There’s one simple question that will provide the answers you need to many of life’s questions: 

“How do you want to live?”

We only have a short amount of time on the planet, yet we gamble through each day like we’re going to be around forever. 

Create a whole new way to live by honoring your answers. 

Do you dread the years ahead of you because you fear growing older? Let this “Old Lady” show you a whole new way to live:

Outside the Wake