A New York City family’s remarkable story of how they gave up their urban life, packed up their family of seven-the youngest, a six-year-old with Down syndrome-and braved the difficult conditions of the Atlantic Ocean as they sailed more than 2,500 miles from New York to and around the Caribbean.
They thought of all the reasons why risking everything for a year at sea was a bad idea: They could go broke, get injured, be stranded at sea-maybe even die. More than likely, the only thing they would accomplish would be to embarrass themselves. Besides, only rich people sailed the world, right? Not a NYC theater family with five kids who would serve as the ship’s entire crew. After all the deliberations, one thing was clear: their children would either be an excuse or a reason. They chose to set sail.
Their journey proved to be a life-changing experience as they grew closer as a family and explored the world in a new way. They traveled to twenty-three islands, spanning eleven countries and territories, and got a hands-on global education while meeting new people and appreciating a variety of cultures. They experienced the beauty and fragility of the earth as well as the vastness and power of the sea. Working together as a family and a sailboat crew meant learning how to tackle hard challenges together, helping each other improve their skills, and exercising patience when difficult conditions emerged.
Seven at Sea tells the story of a family learning to live together, simply and in harmony with the natural world. In doing so, they learned that giving up control can sometimes lead to amazing adventures. More importantly, they discovered how little they actually needed to be abundantly happy.
Working the night shift as a temp in a high-rise cubicle, Erik Orton knew something had to change. He felt the responsibility of providing for his wife and their five children—the youngest with Down syndrome—but craved a life that offered more than just surviving. Watching the sailboats on the Hudson River during his sunset dinner breaks, Erik dared to dream. What would it be like to leave the hustle of the city and instead spend a year on a sailboat, somewhere beautiful, as a family? Despite having no sailing experience, his wife Emily’s phobia of deep water, and already stretching every dollar to pay rent and buy groceries, the family of seven turned their excuses into reasons and their fears into motivation. Sure, they would miss their friends, they could go broke, they could get injured or die. Worst of all, they could humiliate themselves by trying something audacious and failing. But the little time they still had together as a family, before their oldest daughter left for college, was drifting away. The Ortons cast off the life they knew to begin an uncertain journey of 5,000 miles between New York City and the Caribbean, ultimately arriving at a new place within themselves.
A portrait of a captivating and resilient family and a celebration of the courage it takes to head for something over the horizon, this is a deeply compelling story—told alternately by Erik and Emily—for everyone who dreams of leaving routine in their wake.
On June 10, 2008, Carol Decker walked through the hospital doors a healthy woman with flu-like symptoms and early labor contractions. Three months later, she returned home a blind triple-amputee struggling to bond with a daughter she would never see. Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life recounts Carol’s fight for survival against sepsis and its life-shattering complications.
From excruciating skin grafts to learning how to function in daily life without lower legs, a left hand, or her sight, Carol takes us on a personal and raw yet inspiring journey. She travels through darkness of trauma, anxiety, and depression to arrive, literally, at the peak of a mountain with a heart full of gratitude and love.
More than a story of triumph over tragedy, the book offers inspiring life lessons and insights that can help readers to do more than endure unimaginable pain and darkness in their own lives. This book can give them the perspective and strength to pick up the pieces of their own tragedies and choose a life of healing, purpose, and joy-a beautiful life.
This is the story of two brothers from a blue-collar Mormon family in upstate New York Jimmer and T.J. both in need of help. One trying to make it to the NBA. The other trying to stay alive due to a debilitating illness.