Tag Archive | daughter

Spontaneous Shopping and Dining

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My daughter asked me if we could go shopping over the hill, because she received gift cards for her birthday.

We went to Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose where she shopped at her favorite store Forever 21. She found a new shirt and sweatshirt.

Next, she checked out Hollister and bought a cute shirt.

We headed over to Old Navy where my son found an athlete shirt and used one of his gift cards.

Austin wanted to window shop downstairs where the high end stores are located. We saw Tiffany & Company, Cartier, Prada, Coach, Luis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and a couple of stores we had never heard of Balenciaga and Tadashi Shoji.

As we strolled along, the door guards and robotic security guard greeted us.

We crossed the street to shop at Santana Row so Alicia could use her H&M gift card. I chuckled to myself as we arrived in our 1999 Toyota Camry we lovingly named, “Betsy.” I parked near a Lamborghini,  McLaren and Audi R8 Etron.

She found an adorable purse and I found a comfy sweatshirt.

On our way out, the kids popped into Gucci. Some of their classmates wear sporty designer sneakers, and they wanted to check them out.

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Our stomachs started rumbling. So, we headed over to In and Out burgers. It’s a treat to eat there, because we don’t have them in Santa Cruz.

We hopped in Betsy and headed to DSW Shoes to find sneakers for Austin. We had never shopped there before. Alicia tried on high heels for the first time.

Austin asked if we could go to Dick’s Sporting Goods. We drove 5 miles to Sunnyvale.  He found a cool pair of Addidas shoes.

Exhausted,  I drove 60 miles back home and rested for the night.

Randy conducted an eulogy recently for a friend/fellow firefighter, and his widow blessed us with a gift card to the Chaminade Resort.

We enjoyed their Sunday brunch featuring omlet, waffle and prime rib stations. There were salads, fruit, stuffed chicken, stir fried vegetables, potatoes, bacon/sausage, homemade breads and crepes. Our delicious meal was topped off by decadent desserts such as dark forest cake, homemade brownies/cookies, cheesecake,  ice cream and chocolate fondue.

It was an unique weekend for sure. We thank the Lord for extravagant blessings.

Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new? I’d love to hear about it?

Blessings, Rebecca

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Road Trip

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This past weekend, we took a road trip to drop off Austin and Alicia to summer camp in Santa Barbara. I had never been there so we made an adventure of it.

Our first stop was in San Luis Obispo to grab a coffee in town. We walked around a bit and my daughter really liked the “vibe.” I may have to bring her back down again some time soon to see if she would like to attend Cal Poly.

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Our next stop was at our camp site at Rancho Oso RV park. It was a blistering hot day and we reserved a special tent. {See below}

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We were eager to sight see. So, we headed downtown to the State St. There my daughter found a three story Forever 21 store. As you can imagine, she loved every inch of it. Also, we strolled along the Sterns Wharf.

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Another stop we made was in Solvang; a cute Dutch town for a delicious meal at the Viking Garden Restaurant and danish treat at Olsen’s bakery. Randy and I finally got to visit this adorable spot after many friends’ recommendations.

windmillWe then headed back to our campsite to take a dip in the pool and was pleasantly surprised they had a DJ playing music which made for a lively evening of entertainment.

The next day, after breakfast, we headed to the Santa Barbara Beach, played in the water and rested under a shady cypress tree. Afterwards, we went into town and ate at Mesa Pizza restaurant. From there we headed to Westmont College to drop the kids off at Frontier Ranch camp. The campus is quaint landscaped with beautiful trees and gardens.

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On our return flight,  I was merging from the fast lane on Highway 101 into the slow lane when my husband and I felt the car get sluggish. We pulled off the highway and noticed our front passenger tire had blown. We prayed for safety and quickly changed our tire. In a few short minutes, we were on our way again. While working on the tire, a car full of college students stopped to make sure we were okay. That was very kind of them. We noticed our spare tire only had 29psi and it calls for 42psi. So, we prayed again, drove gingerly to the neighboring town and put air in it. Thank the Lord we arrived safe and sound to both destinations.

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Have you taken an adventurous road trip? Please share with us…

Blessings, Rebecca

Camp

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Working at Mt Hermon, I can feel the energy rise as summer camp begins. An additional couple hundred of summer staff have joined us for three months. Also, we will host thoudands of guests from near and far seeking R&R with their families.

We love camp! Over the years, we have attended many and I’d like to share some memories with you.

One memorable time was when we served at Camp Attitude. We helped families with special need children by washing dishes, cleaning cabins and taking out trash. Who knew it could be so fun?

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We’ve attended family camp as guests enjoying all the exciting activities too.

Then, there are Mother-Daughter and Father-Son camps spending quality time one on one with our kids.

Of course there are youth camps Austin and Alicia have a blast at with old and new friends.

In addition, it is a treat to have fun with girlfriends at a women’s conference.

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Randy has attended men’s conferences and Man Camp which boast of guy fun.

I went to one reflective retreat; a solemn time indeed.

So, that’s just a snapshot of some fun camp memories which I hope our children continue the tradition with their future families.

As I write this, it occurs to me that Randy and I should attend a couples retreat now that the kids are older.

What camp memories do have to share? I would love to hear them?

Blessings, Rebecca

Spring Break 2018

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“Where are we going for Spring Break Mom,” my daughter asked.

“Well, honey your dad and I have to work this week, but we can ask our bosses for a day off.” Thankfully, they granted our requests.

So, all four of us tossed around ideas for a day trip within 150 miles from where we live. In the end, we chose the Oakland Zoo.

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It was our first time. My husband packed a wheelchair in the trunk of our car, because our son is healing from a fractured foot and the east foothills would prove to be too much.

We had fun exploring all the animals and learning about their habitats.

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The zoo recently added a gondola that took us up to the new café and lookout. The view of the city was stunning. We could see the port of Oakland as well as the skyline of San Francisco.

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We were blessed with minimal traffic to and from, no lines at the park and perfect weather. The next day, we had a big spring storm dumping four inches of rain in Santa Cruz mountains.

My son asked me what my favorite animal was and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it as I enjoyed them all. I am amazed at the variety of species God has created for us to enjoy.

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Are you on Spring Break and, if so, what did you do?

Blessings, Rebecca

Girl’s Time

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Five months ago, we planned a girl’s weekend for Mom and Daughter at Mount Hermon.

It was a perfect cabin to bake muffins, make pizza, rest and finish “The Talk.”

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Have you ever shared one on one time with your family member whether it is date night with your spouse or hanging out with you son or daughter? It is a special time for sure, and I encourage you to take the time to do so.

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Blessings, Rebecca

Community Hours

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When I was a child, we volunteered to serve our community in different ways such as picking up trash in the neighborhood. At my kids’ schools, they now call it community hours.

My thirteen-year-old daughter, Alicia, is taking a leadership class in 8th grade. One of her requirements is to perform a certain number of community hours for class credit.

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At church last Sunday, they announced an opportunity to assist with a pajama program designed to support children going through transition. Alicia said, “I want to help.”

So, on the following Saturday, we joined approximately 40 other volunteers fold, pack and sort hundreds of PJs for local children.

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Who knew it would be so fun and rewarding…Mom and daughter spending quality time together helping others? Wink,Wink.

Has your family participated in community hours or volunteered? I’d love to hear about it.

Blessings, Rebecca

My Miracle

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As I prepare for the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference this week I thought I would update a story I shared with you two years ago.  I hope you enjoy.

Blessings, Rebecca

My Miracle

It’s been a few years since I talked about this very personal story, because my eyes still fill with water when I think about it. However, I wanted to share my trial and blessing with you this week to possibly encourage someone who may be struggling with a similar issue.

In 2007, my husband and I desperately wanted to have a second child so our son would have a sibling to play with. We were nearly forty-years-old and the physicians test you for everything under the sun once you’re over the age of 35. It’s scary how they tell you the risk of Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, Gestational Diabetes, etc.  But, we were trusting the Lord in all aspects of this pregnancy, “Children are a gift from God.” -Psalm 127:3

In the Fall, we conceived only to lose our fetus just five weeks into our pregnacy to a miscarriage. We were devastated, and prayed we’d get pregnant again very soon. And, we did!

During my first trimester, my OBGYN found a spot during a routine exam. Three long days later, he called to say it was cancer and would require immediate chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After hanging up the phone, I slid to the floor and wailed. This can’t be happening to me…I’m pregnant!

After careful research, I discovered the dosage necessary to kill the cancer cells would cause my body to reject our child. Distraught is an understatement on how I felt.

Later that night, Randy and I read in our Bible “If anyone among you is sick, let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”- James 5:14

The next day, we took our then eighteen-month-old son, Austin, and met with our pastors at church. One anointed my head with Holy Oil from Jerusalem while five others knelt at my feet. They prayed I would be cured and that we could keep our baby.

We waited two tortuous weeks for an update from my Specialist. Unbeknownst to me, each night Randy would grab his pillow and hit the couch unable to sleep. He prayed for God to allow him to keep his wife and child.

The call finally came. My Oncologist announced he collaborated with seven other colleagues, and they decided to surgically remove my tumor. I could then begin treatment after our baby was born. Yeah, we get to keep our baby!

I underwent two surgeries; one in March to remove the cancer spot and one in May to verify “clear area.” When they went in the second time, to their amazement, it was all gone. My doctor told me it was a “miracle,” and I was cancer free. In fact, he was so pleased with the lab results, he canceled my post-delivery chemo and radiation treatment. Glory to God!

In September 2004, we welcomed a healthy baby girl named Alicia Lee Krusee to our family!

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Fast forward twelve years, I am happy to report that I’m still cancer-free, and our daughter Alicia is thriving 7th grader. She is attends honor language art as well as leadership classes.  Praise God for answered prayer!

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Camp Attitude

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We live on a Christian Conference ground where hundreds of folks visit each week to camp. Lots of people love to camp during the summer. So, this week, I’d like to share with you a personal story of time we camped in 2009.

Blessings, Rebecca

On a crisp winter evening, I sat down with my family at our dinner table and posed the question to my six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, “Kids, where would you like to go this year for our mission trip?”

Our youngest thought about it and suggested we help the disabled children at Camp Attitude.

“Great idea Alicia! What are your thoughts Austin?”

“Okay, Mom.”

Our church trip the prior year to Tecate, Mexico building homes for the community was rewarding. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store this summer. I’d heard some amazing stories from other families who helped at Camp Attitude in the past.

Two weeks prior, all the volunteers met at our pastor’s house along to discuss plans. “Randy and Rebecca, your family will help the OI children next week. Don’t worry,  there will be a full time nurse and physician on site.” What’s OI?

I learned OI is the acronym for Osteogenesis Imperfecta a.k.a. Brittle Bones Disease. These children’s have extremely fragile bones. Evidently, the year before, a young boy was rushed to the emergency room for a broken arm from falling off a picnic bench. Fortunately, the doctors placed a cast on his shattered bones and he returned to camp the same day ready to play. Intense!

The best part of camp is the campers attended for free. Also, most medical foundations paid for their travel expenses. For many parents and siblings, it is the only free to participate in extracurricular activities all year long. Otherwise, they are caring for their special needs child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each family is a “Buddy” assigned to shadow their special needs child. This allows Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters freedom to raft, hike, fish, swim or simply rest.

The time arrived to head north. We scheduled two weeks to travel from our home in central California to Oregon which allowed for a visit with extended family before camp.

After six hours on the road, we settled in Medford to see my mother-in-law Dianna. We enjoyed chatting with Grandma poolside on a sweltering summer’s day while the kids splashed.

Two days later, we drove to West Linn to visit my brother-in-law and his young family. The cousins had a blast playing together. Their uncle from Woodinville, Washington joined us as well and a good time was had by all.

Three days later, we headed south to Foster. I didn’t know what to expect at camp, because we’d never been around children with disabilities before. We had open minds and willing hands.

Upon our arrival, we set up a ten person tent we borrowed from our friends. We left our twenty-six-foot trailer, complete with kitchenette and bathroom, behind this time. Sleeping in bags on the ground  posed another a new experience for us. The kitchen chef discovered our rocky circumstance and offered her air mattresses. Ah, much better!

As we walked to the meeting barn, we noticed a chartered bus arriving with families. They came from the United States, Canada and Europe. The counselors welcomed them with shouts of cheer.

We joined the camp Director and she assigned our team’s daily chores which included cleaning the mess hall tables before and after meals, scraping plates, washing dishes and scrubbing bathrooms. Austin jumped up, “I’ll scrape the plates, Mom.”

“I’ll help you wash the dishes, Mommy,” chimed Alicia.

The Director then asked if anyone would be willing to haul the trash using their four wheel drive quad runner.

I sheepishly raised my hand, “I have a motorcycle license.”

“The job is yours,” she smiled.

I grabbed the keys, stepped outside and found a heap of waste and recycle.

We pitched the trash in the modified trailer. I fired it up and revved the engine. “Jump in family. We’re going for a ride.”

With Austin on my right fender, Alicia on my left and Randy sharing my seat, we made our rounds. Who knew collecting garbage could be so much fun!

The next day, while clearing tables, I saw Alicia pushing a little girl in a wheel chair on a special swing. She ran up to me, “Mom, I helped Rachel. She needed a push.”

“That’s awesome. Good job honey.”

On the last night of camp, we watched the children’s talent show. Tears filled my eyes as I delighted in watching the children perform and seeing my kids cheer on their new found friends.

When camp ended, the campers were bused to the nearest airport. Our team of eight volunteers was assigned one final task; to clean all the cabins and restrooms which had just accommodated 120 campers.

Five hours later, I emerged from the last cabin exhausted. It was painful, but well worth it.

I’m grateful my family and I were able to serve together at Camp Attitude. We met a lot nice people, learned about various disabilities and gave family members respite.

By serving as a family, I hope it will instill a core values to help others and they will continue the family tradition with their kids.

Does your family enjoy camping or serving? I’d love to hear about your adventures! Please share with us.

 

The Birthday Wish

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This week, I wanted to share a story with you about a time God blessed my mother’s heart.

Blessings, Rebecca

My five-year-old daughter, Alicia, nudged her tiny face next to mine. “Mom, can you buy me a Barbie RV and Play Kitchen for my birthday, pleazzzeee?”

I gazed into her penetrating blue eyes and ran my fingers through her soft blonde pigtails. “We’ll see Sweetheart.”

A few days later, I drove to the toy store, and wove my way to the Barbie section. Great there’s one RV in stock!  I reached for the box and glared at the price tag. “One hundred and nine dollars!”  I ambled to the Play Kitchen, and scanned the price. “One hundred and ninety nine dollars!” I took a deep breath, and slowly released it.

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As much as I wanted to purchase these items for my daughter, I couldn’t. My high tech management job moved overseas two years earlier, and my husband ran a struggling business. We simply couldn’t afford them.

Alicia didn’t throw tantrums if she didn’t get what she wanted. She often donated outfits and toys to needy children at a clothing exchange program I created, as well as her Dad distribute supplies to local homeless men and women he established. I hoped that if I didn’t get her those gifts, she’d still be fine. I loved my daughter, and wanted to bless her.

Crushed, I lingered in the toy aisle and prayed. “Father, please somehow make a way to fulfill Alicia’s birthday wish, or help me find the words to tell her we can’t afford them right now.”

I meandered to my car and sank into the driver’s seat.

My mind drifted back to our recent family reunion in Oregon and how Alicia enjoyed  playing with her cousin, Audrey.

Alicia squealed, “Look Mom” as she pressed a bright pink Barbie RV steering wheel. It “beeped.”

Audrey summoned Alicia over to her Play Kitchen. “Help me cook something yummy for your momma.”

Alicia jumped up, pulled out the pots and pans, set the table with miniature dishes. Then Alicia draped a white dish towel over her arm and asked, “Ma’am, what would you like to eat?”

I leaned forward, “I’ll take one large cheese pizza, please.”

“One cheese pizza coming up,” she giggled and skipped off.

When I returned home, I received a temporary teaching assignment on my answering machine. I thanked God I had an opportunity to work at my children’s school, yet wasn’t enough to cover the gifts.

One of the teachers, Mrs. Kim, approached me. “Rebecca, do you think Alicia would like a Barbie RV? My daughter has outgrown hers, and I’d like to find a good home for it.”

I fought back my tears, “Absolutely. I wanted to get her one for her birthday but —.”

She placed her hand on my shoulder, “I understand. It’s hers.”

My voice cracked, “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.”

The following day, she walked me to her car, opened the hatch and handed me a sparkly pink Barbie RV.

“Here you go. I hope she enjoys it.”

“Thank you so much. She’ll be surprised.”

I placed it in my trunk., turned around and she proceeded to hand me a purple box brimming with accessories.

“I thought Alicia could use these as well.”

I grabbed the handle, “I don’t know what to say – Thank you.”

At the end of my shift, I rummaged through the box and it was packed with new and gently used RV gadgets, Barbies and doll clothes. This is awesome!

A day or two later, our family picked up two of Alicia’s friends and headed to the beach for her sixth birthday party.

After a perfect outing, we drove her friends home. Their mother opened her screen door and stepped onto the porch carrying a little girl on her hip.

“Rebecca, I wasn’t able to buy Alicia a present today, because I had to babysit my niece. I’ll run to the store later.”

I brushed her niece’s golden hair, “Don’t worry about it.”

She pointed to the backyard, “do you think she’d  like a Play Kitchen? My girls no longer use it and you’re welcome to have it.”

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I moved towards it, “Yes, she’d love it.” It’s perfect; pink and comes with miniature dishes and food.

 She pivoted, “Does she want a Play Makeup Station too?”

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“Are you kidding? Alicia plays dress-up all the time. Yes, I’ll take it.” This is unbelieveable. The Lord blessed Alicia with a RV, Play Kitchen and Play Makeup Station. Wow!

As I drove home with a truckload full of toys,  my eyes moistened. I whispered, “God, You are so good! Thank You for granting my little girl’s birthday wish, and for answering a mother’s desperate prayer.”

We pulled into our driveway and Alicia crawled onto my lap. I nuzzled my nose next to hers and looked deep into her eyes.

“Sweetie, I believe God  has blessed your faithfulness. He loves you so much!”

She wrapped her arms around me. “I know Mom that Jesus loves us.”

“Happy Birthday Sweetheart!”

Delight yourself in the Lord;

And He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

Do you have a tender moment you’d like to share with us? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Graduation

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It’s graduation season! This week, I wanted to share with you our son graduated 8th grade and is headed to high school. Our daughter graduated 6th grade and is headed to 7th grade. We are very proud parents!

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact Austin is going to be a Freshman in high school and can drive in 18 short months. I still remember cuddling him on my lap when he was a mere six weeks old. It all seems so surreal.

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Alicia finished school strong with an academic achievement of 4.0 for the entire year. Wow! My focus in school was athletics. So, to see our daughter excel academically is fun to watch.

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I would like to congratulate all graduates of 2016 for a job well done!!!

How about you? Do you know someone graduating this year? I’d love to hear about it!