Solana Beach resident’s life experiences provide mental ‘mini breaks’ in new book


By Kelley Carlson

When author Patricia Van Gorder penned her new book, “Views from the Water’s Edge,” she was flowing with inspiration.

The Solana Beach resident, who had been writing devotionals for Stonecroft Ministries, wanted to leave a legacy for her children and grandchildren. She also had a desire to create mental “mini breaks” for people in the chaos of the day, influenced by the peace she found through God and the beauty of water.

The 436-page “Views from the Water’s Edge” was released March 27, and contains 365 uplifting, short, daily devotions that relate to Scripture. Van Gorder reflects on lessons such as broken relationships, financial crises and patience while tying in her own life experiences.

The author has much to draw from over the years. She was born in North Dakota — the third oldest of 10 children — and moved to Colorado at age 9. Van Gorder raised her own family there, and found time to appreciate the mountain streams and lakes, and the canyons’ rivers.

During a trip to visit her daughters in Southern California about 23 years ago, she fell in love with Solana Beach and the ocean.

“I always wanted to live in California by the water,” Van Gorder said.

So she and her husband, Larry, moved to the coastal city, where these days they can often be found walking on the beach or gazing at sunsets over the Pacific.

While still in Colorado, Van Gorder began developing her writing skills.

“I started thinking that I’d like to do something different,” said Van Gorder, who was in her 40s at the time she enrolled at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. “I’ve always had a desire to write.”

She pursued a degree in journalism and completed two years of the program.

In 2001, Van Gorder was given the opportunity to pen devotionals for Stonecroft Ministries, a nondenominational, Christian-based organization for women that she has been involved with for 40 years. According to Van Gorder, the nearly 75-year-old nonprofit has eight outreach groups in San Diego County.

Writing the devotionals energized the author, and seven years ago she decided to compile some of her works into a book.

However, Van Gorder aspired to include enough passages to provide daily inspiration, and challenged herself with the task.

The course of the process was rocky at times, as Van Gorder occasionally became discouraged, but she never gave up in her belief that she could meet her goal.

Early last year, Van Gorder completed the manuscript.

“(Each devotional is) a snack instead of a full-course meal,” she said. “I’d say it’s food for thought.”

Van Gorder submitted the manuscript to Tate Publishing, and immediately received a positive response, much to her delight. She selected a cover that featured stones that could be from any number of water sources, such as a riverbed, lake or mountain stream, noting that not everyone could relate to the ocean.

For the final touches, Van Gorder traveled to Oklahoma to record an audio of “Views from the Water’s Edge,” which is a free download with the book’s purchase.

The paperback publication is now available for $22.99 through



In addition, Van Gorder will be selling the book during a brunch hosted by the North Coast Women’s Connection from 10 a.m. to noon on June 12 at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, on Lomas Santa Fe and Highland drives in Solana Beach.
Van Gorder, who is the featured speaker, will discuss the importance of friendships during a talk titled “The Best of Friends.”

The cost is $20 for people who pay by May 29, or $22 at the door. RSVPs must be made by May 29. For more information about the event, call Cindy Luce at (760) 436-5713 or e-mail

In regards to plans further down the line, Van Gorder — who served as the Stonecroft regional speaker trainer for six years — intends to continue giving speeches. Along with “The Best of Friends,” she presents another talk titled “From Milk to Solid Food: Nourishing Your Soul in a Single Serving,” based on I Corinthians 3:1-3. The focus of the hour-long talk is “to encourage Christian women to seek a closer walk with God; to bring a new and exciting reality of His presence,” according to her Web site,

  1. “I outline spiritual disciplines that help women become more mature Christians, and give helpful suggestions for a spiritual diet of solid food.” It wraps up with structured interaction among guests.

Furthermore, Van Gorder said she is considering writing a book of children’s stories, a compilation of tales she told her then-2-year-old granddaughter, who is now almost 20.
When she is not speaking, writing or spending time by the water, Van Gorder finds joy in traveling; playing tennis; and spending time with her blended family, which includes five children and 12 grandchildren.

For more information about Van Gorder’s book or her presentations, go to her website or e-mail