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Intentional Family Time

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Back in January, I wrote about Family Time. This past week, we were intential about spending time as a family.

The kids enjoyed youth group at Mission Springs family camp. Their high school group went to the Boardwalk to ride some rollercoasters, attended a dance, hiked up to a lookout for fourth of July and celebrated our son, Austin’s, 17th birthday.

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Randy and I had to work as we recently returned to work after my medical LOA. We participated in activities as time allowed such as meals, worship/speakers sessions, Frontier Ranch activities, 4th of July carnival/parade and their amazing buffet on the last day.

At the end of the week, we worked together on chores which freed us up to go for a hike at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.

Next door to the park is Roaring Camp Railroad where you can enjoy a ride on either a steam or diesel train. One of my favorite sounds is the train whistle.

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What do you do to intentionally set time aside to be with family?

Blessings, Rebecca

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Normalcy

 

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After about 4 weeks of recovering from a surgery, I felt comfortable enough to drive. Between that, walking and being able to cook, I was regaining some resemblance of normalcy.

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After 6 weeks, I returned to work.  It felt so good to be back with my team and contributing to our community once again.

This past weekend, the kids and I helped my husband Randy plant flowers at his work in preparation for upcoming family camp.

I enjoyed being with my family, soaking up some sun and getting our hands dirty planting.

During this process, I have learned to lean on others and ask for help. It has been a humbling experience to say the least.

 

Have you had to rely on others for a period time? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Blessings, Rebecca

LOA

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I am approaching the last week of my Leave of Absence (LOA) and it has been a journey of regaining my strength after surgery on May 3.

On May 27, I requested you all to keep me in your prayers for a clean PET/CT scan. Have you ever taken a PET/CT scan? It is an intense body scan where they inject you with a radioactive isotope, strap your arms in place and lay you in a white tube (machine) that is approximately 2-3 inches from your nose. It scans yours body for radical cancer cells and takes about 20-30 minutes. I am usually a pretty calm, cool and collected person, however, I could feel my heart race and my breathing change during the test. I just kept praying and asking the Lord to help me through it. At one point, I wanted to rip the binding straps off and demand the technician to get me out of there. Yet, I took a deep breath and continued to pray. The next thing I know, the nurse told me I was all done. Thank God!

I have wonderful news to share. My PET/CT was all clear. All power, glory and praise be to God! Thank you for standing with us in prayer as this news spared me from 7.5 weeks of radiation and/or chemotherapy.

After 3.5 weeks of confined laying down, I am finally up and walking around outside for about a quarter of a mile. It feels so good to be out in the fresh air soaking up the sun.  Also, while meandering, I’ve been bumping into neighbors/co-worker and catching up. I even stop to smell the roses.

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Randy returned to work after three weeks of helping me and I am able to drive again. I am back to picking the kids from school again. Although their last day was last Thursday, it is great to have the mobility restored.

Again, I want to say thank you to everyone who has prayed, supported, helped, made meals, donated sick days, called, sent cards, etc.  It means the world to us.

Have you ever had to rely on other people for support or ask for help? If so, I’d love to hear how it went.

Blessings,  Rebecca

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PS This past Sunday, June 9, Randy and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. Whoda thunk we’d be on this journey nearly twenty years down the road, eh?

 

 

 

 

Recouperating

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On this Memorial Day weekend, we would like to thank and acknowledge the courageous men and women in the US armed forces for their sacrifice to keep America free.

It’s been three weeks since my surgery. Although it has been a intense journey, I am on the mend.

I met with my surgeon last week and she informed me they removed a walnut size cancerous tumor. She said, “I am healing perfectly.” For that I give praise to God for answered prayer.

We also met with a radiologist to see if I would be a candidate for radiation. Randy joined me during the consultation and we were surprised a the numerous risks and adverse side effects. Would you stand with us in prayer that my PET/CT scan this Wednesday comes back negative?

For the first two weeks, doctor’s orders were to not sit, but be in a laying position. You’d think that lying down would be easy, but it’s not; especially for an active person. I am now able to lean/sit comfortably. In fact, while I was being examined by the radiologist, she said to me afterwards, “You can sit up now” and I sat half way leaning on my elbow. She said it again, “Ok, sit up now.” I informed her I could not sit in a full upright position yet and we both laughed. It’s funny the things you take for granted, eh?

This medical time off has definitely given me some much needed time to rest, read and reflect.

 

A few days ago, I was getting cabin fever. So, Randy took me to get a mocha and sit on a park bench overlooking the ocean. As we looked to our right, we could see the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk and the wharf. The sun and sea breeze felt refreshing. Believe it or not, our little trip drained my energy and I came home to nap.

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My big adventure was going grocery shopping with Randy. The store manager lent me an electric cart so I could get around the store. Beep beep!

On Saturday, I took my first walk in several weeks. It was brief and slow on the go, but felt great.

Our friends invited us to house/pet sit while they vacation in Europe. When they heard about my procedure, they were concerned we couldn’t fulfill our obligation. However, I informed them, “I am either going to sit on my couch or yours.” We chuckled about it and off they went.

I would like to thank our awesome community of family, friends and co-workers who have supported us during this difficult time. We appreciate your prayers, meals, gifts and assistance. Thank you so much!

Have you undergone a surgical procedure and how did your recovery go? I’d love to hear about it.

Blessings, Rebecca

PS My son Austin has taken up a new interest in designing shoes and started an Instagram page. Check it out! @kruseekicks

Unplanned Surgery

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Recently our family has been getting  routine physical exams. To my surprise, my doctor informed me that she found a spot that needs to be surgically removed.

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The following week, I found myself in a new hospital about 60 miles north of where we live. The care I received was excellent.

I was told my recovery will take approximately six weeks. My mind raced and I looked over at my husband, “What about my team? What about my salary? Who is going to cook?”

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I thank God he is helping us through the process. As for my work team, they have been so supportive and tell me do whatever it takes to get better.

As for my paycheck, I am a part-time employee.  So, I don’t accrue sick leave unfortunately.  However, my boss informed me of an amazing program my employer offers called Voluntary Sick Leave where employees can donate some of their sick leave to our family. This is a huge financial blessing!

As for meals, my co-worker setup a Meal Train for our family. Phew!  I was thinking to myself how is Randy going to take the kids to school, work, pick up the kids, do homework/chores, take care of me and cook dinner. What a blessing!

The quote “It takes a village” is so true. I could not have gone through process without the love and support of my community.  Thank you!

We just received the test results from the lab and the spot removed is cancer.

It’s been fourteen years that I have been cancer free.  The last bought was during my pregnancy with Alicia.  You can read my previous blog at My Miracle. She is a thriving Freshman in high school and is an awesome daughter.

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I would solicit your prayers for my healing and wisdom how to proceed with treatment.

Have you ever had an unplanned surgery? 

Blessings, Rebecca

A Gift

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Every good thing and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

-James 1:5

Approximately two years ago, our son Austin got his first job working as gardener. His goal was to save up to buy a car.

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Fast forward to last Saturday my parents invite us over to have dinner at Olive Garden.  Mmmm….endless garlic sticks.

To his surprise, Grandpa and Grandma gave Austin their Chevy Cobalt. Wow! 

My stepmom decided to turn in her driver’s license at age 79 and wanted to bless her grandson with their second car.

It’s a perfect starter vehicle.  It’s compact and in excellent condition.

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Austin has been driving his sister and me to school and back every day since.

Not only is he learning  to drive, but how to maintain and insure it.

Thank you Lord for blessing our son with a precious gift! 

Have you ever received an extravagant gift? I’d love to hear about it. 

Blessings, Rebecca

Professional Growth

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I am back at Mount Hermon’s Writer’s Conference for their 50th year celebration. There are over 300 authors, agents, editors and publishers in attendance.

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Last year, I wrote about honing your craft.

This year, to improve my writing skills and grow professionally, I am attending Janet Holm McHenry’s major track called The Nuts and Bolts of Non-Fiction. We are learning  about the various non-fiction gendre.

One technique I took away from fellow bloggers is that they post twice a month. Currently, I post a weekly blog. In order to keep with current trends, I will begin posting every other week.

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I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended a screenwriting workshop where I learned about Hollywood televion story formulas.

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Also, I tried something new offered. It’s called a labyrinth where you can have structured quiet time with the Lord at various reflective stations. The one shown above had a quaint water feature, pens and paper to take down thoughts that come to mind.

It is a gorgeous Spring weekend here in the Santa Cruz mountains and I am thankful to be here.

Do you attend classes, workshops or conferences for personal and/or professional growth?

Blessings, Rebecca

 

Farewell Friend

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My husband Randy had the honor of officiating a friend’s memoral this past weekend.

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About three years ago we met this family who are residents where Randy works. Their kids hung out with our kids.

Unfortunately after battling cancer for a couple of years, her body finally succumbed to the treacherous disease.

My heart aches for her widower, son, daughter-in-law, two daughters and two granddaughters.

One of her daughters chose a beautiful ocean venue for the service.  They rented a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was stunning!

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View from balcony

Their closest family and friends came together to laugh, cry, comfort one another and share stories.

We were blessed by the love she shared with our family during her time with us and we enjoyed listening to stories of how she impacted the lives of others.

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I learned more about her love, encouragement, inspiration and open door policy.  Man, what a role model!

Attending something like this reminds me to live life to the fullest and embrace the people God has placed in your life.

Blessings, Rebecca

Taking a (Spring) Break

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Does your life ever get too busy? Our does at times.

For instance, last Thursday I dropped the kids off at school and went to work. A couple hours later, I picked Alicia up from school to take her to her doctor’s appointment.

After I returned her to school, I went back to work for a couple more hours. Then, I picked up Austin from school to take him to the DMV.

Later that day, I made a spaghetti dinner for us and checked on homework assignments.

Although both kids are involved in after school activites such as sports, academics and work, Thursday was not a typical day or else I would probably run myself ragged.

This week is Spring Break and we’ve decided to do a staycation. Here’s three ways we are catching up on our rest.

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1. Sleep

Sunday, we all four slept in and made it a PJ day.

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2. Watch TV

Saturday, we watched a good wholesome family movie on Pureflix.

We also watched reruns of Wipeout a show where contestants compete on a wacky course to win prize money. We enjoyed some harty laughter.

My husband enjoys educational programming; especially archeological findings.

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3 Read/Write

Throughout the weekend we found time to read our Bibles, books, newspaper, etc.

Also, I enjoy writing my blog.  My daughter enjoys writing fiction short stories or in her diary. We also keep journals.

I especially like our thankful journal where we capture all the good things God has done in our lives for the year and read it together as a family at Thanksgiving.

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Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of ways to rest, but it helps us decompress from life’s demands.

What are some ways, you find rest?

Blessings, Rebecca

Lose Something?

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Have you ever lost something? I can’t stand to misplace my wallet or keys.

This past weekend my daughter asked me to hold on to her purse at church so she could join her brother at youth group. Afterwards, I accidentally left it on the pew. When we arrived home, she asked for her handbag. My gutt sank. Oh no! “I left it at church. I am so sorry honey.”

Immediately I called the church office and left a message.  The four of us held hands in a circle and asked God to help us get her purse  back with all her belongings.

The next day, I woke up and rushed back to church while the kids lay sleeping.

Thankfully a couple we know was hosting the information booth. I explained the situation to them. Unfortunately, the purse was not in the lobby lost and found.

Then, one of the church admins asked what we were looking for. “I left my daughter’s purse here last night,” I said.

“Oh, is it black with a gold chain,” she asked. My heart started racing, “Yes! That’s it!” She quickly retrieved it from the office and brought it to me. “Thank you so much!”

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When I got back home, we held hands in a circle and thanked the Lord it was turned in with Alicia’s student ID, wallet with cash and candy.

There are stories in the Bible about lost items too. One of them is the parable of the lost coin -Luke 15:8.

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Jesus loves us so much and He rejoices when we draw near to Him

Blessings, Rebecca