Guest Blog by Tiffany Joy & Giveaway

This week my guest blogger is Tiffany Joy.  She is an author, poet and visual artist at ForTheJoyOfTiff.com that focuses on spreading love and joy to the world.  Tiffany is also hosts the writing group that we belong to. She has written a new book called To Love and and will share with us her story of how God showed up. I hope you enjoy her visit. Please welcome Tiffany!

God Shows Up

2019 had many rough patches, difficult changes, and surprises. That year knocked around. I’m grateful that God held on to me through the struggle. I am also thankful that he allowed me to go to the “2020 Refocus” retreat.

It seemed like every time I got on a healthy habit schedule in 2019 something would knock me off of it. With God’s help, I kept finding my way back to Him and the right path for me.

I went into 2020 with an attitude of being freer to explore what the right path for me is and simply be with God.

The first weekend of the new year I was able to do just that. I went on a 24-hour retreat called “2020 Refocus.” My friends had helped plan it and it was wonderful.

My expectations were low. Really I didn’t know what to expect, but it was amazing. God showed up multiple times for me.

The first session had a lot of good information in it. As I took notes I realized I needed to trust and obey God more and more. That had to be a major focus this year and every day within the year.

God can do such powerful things when we fully depend on Him and trust Him fully.

Another powerful fact that I learned was in my quiet time. I woke early and journaled by myself. Through journaling, I realized that I’ve been focused on earthly things.

Yes, I love God and I am following Him. However, my vision is only for this life and this world. I need to move my focus to eternity and God’s will.

Hearing From God

In the main prayer time, I also heard from God, which if you aren’t familiar with prayer I’m sure sounds weird. “To Love “will be done this year. It’ll be with God and God’s power that I succeed.

With that statement, I’ve changed my focus. When I got home from the retreat I started to work on getting a Kickstarter project up and going. I have also scheduled more time in order to work on “To Love.”

Iron On Iron Activity

The last time I saw God show up, during the retreat, was with an activity called, “Iron On Iron.” It is where 2 people encourage and strengthen the 3rd person, then the roles are rotated until all 3 people are strengthened.

I sat down with my preassigned group and judged them. From their appearances, I thought it was going to be a weird and awkward time. What could we have in common? I figured I’d go first and get it over with.

Well, all 3 of us are artists. True our lives are different, but that allowed us to see things differently and help. It was a great activity. By the end, I really felt connected to them.

I was vulnerable with them. In return, they accepted where I am and who I am. Through them, I felt God’s love and guidance.

It was a truly beautiful weekend and an apt names retreat. I did refocus on God at the beginning of 2020.

20200409_153646

Giveaway!

Now it’s your turn to read To Love by Tiffany Joy as she is thrilled to give away 2 copies. To enter go to her Facebook page, like the page, and post a comment, either on the wall or in a post, that says, “I’d love a copy of To Love.” The first 2 that do this will each receive a free copy of To Love.

I too am giving away 1 FREE copy of Believe in Miracles  by Chicken Soup for the Soul for which I contributed a story. To enter simply comment on this blog post by April 17, 2020. Your name will then be placed in a drawing and I will randomly select a winner. The winner must live in the continental US and supply his/her mailing address to us no later than April 23, 2020. One Free copy of each will then be shipped directly to the winner’s address (Continental US only) provided.

Blessings, Rebecca

If you’d like to connect with Tiffany joy, she can be reached at the following sites.

Twitter and Instagram = @TiffyJoyBerry

We’re Moving

20200219_214403

Hi Friends! I wanted to apologize for not posting Monday. It has been a bit hectic this week, because we’re moving.

We’ve been praying for nearly three years to rent a bigger staff cabin and the Lord has opened a place for us. We are thrilled!

I hope to return to writing in a couple of weeks.

Has God opened some special doors in your life?

Blessings, Rebecca

Love is in the Air

20200203_131708
Courtesy of NetClipArt

As we approach Valentine’s Day, it feels like love is in the air. As I stroll down the grocery aisles, I see red, pink and white stuffed animals, candy and greeting cards.

20200121_181531

Years ago, our church small group studied a very good book about love. It is called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In it, details the ways in which people enjoy receiving love: Quality Time, Touch, Giving, Serving and Affirmation.  I thought I would share with you simple things I do to love my family.

Quality Time

I enjoy spending time with my family. We go on hikes, play games or just hangout together.  Here’s a photo of Austin and I at a Santa Cruz Warriors basketball game.

20200118_183021

Touch

I didn’t grow up with affectionate parents. So, I decided to be intentional  with my family; hugs all around.

Giving

I like to surprise my family with what my stepmom calls “Little S” aka “Litle Something.” When I am out and about I may pick up a treat such Girl Scout cookies. It just so happened there was a local troop outside the store this past weekend.

20200203_075101

Serving

This is my natural love language.  I am very comfortable with a todo list. It’s not a chore to support my family by doing the laundry or shopping for groceries.

Affirmation

Words of affirmation are important in building someone’s confidence.  I make it a point to tell my loved ones “Congratulations, good job or I am proud of you.” It’s amazing how easy it is to encourage one another with a simple gesture such as kind words.

Dr. Chapman wrote another book called Love is a Verb which I was blessed to share one of my stories.  The book showcases love in action.

In the Bible, there are many verses that talk about love. I’d like to share a few with you.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting love. – John 3:16

My beloved friends let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. – 1 John 4:7

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35

What’s one way your share love with your family?

Blessings, Rebecca

Merry Christmas

20191223_230045

For unto us a Child is born,
unto us a Son is given;
and the government will be upon His shoulder.
and His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6-9

From our family to yours we wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Blessings, Rebecca

What are your holiday plans? I’d love to hear about it.

Thankful

Two toms at my work

I would like to wish you and your a very Happy Thanksgiving.

As we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving meal, I’ve been contemplating about the things I am thankful for in my life. The list grew longer as I thought about, because we have so much to be grateful for.  However, I’d like to share with you just a few of them this day.

1. God

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. -Psalm 100:4

2. Family & Friends

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy… Philippians 1:3

3. Health

4. Shelter, warmth & security

5. Food & clean water

6. Clothing & shoes

7. Workplace & community

8. Hot showers

9. Chocolate & mochas

10. And for our readers like you…

What are you thankful for? I’d love to know.

Blessings, Rebecca

Staff Retreat

20191111_170638

We are setting back into our routine after mandatory power outages. It was a challenge for our family to go without electricity for up to 48 hours multiple times. We have an electric wall heater, water heater and stove/oven. So, it was cumbersome to function. I know I appreciate utilities much more these days.

20191111_161834

Thankfully I joined my coworkers for a staff retreat at majestic Lake Tahoe. It was a good time for fun, fellowship and food. It was just the thing I needed to rest my soul for a few days.

20191111_163120

We were reminded of the importance of community which is countercultural in America as individualism is encouraged. Pasor Renee reiterated that Gid designed us to do life together.

20191111_200654

Have you attended a retreat? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Blessings, Rebecca

Suprises

20191013_103904

Do you believe the Lord like to pleasantly surprise his children? I do.  Case in point some friends of ours invited us to a Newsboys concert in Monterey, California.  You may know Newsboys from their movie cover songs God’s Not Dead or Guilty. Sadly, we had to decline, because it just wasn’t in our budget.

20191012_182349

Surprise #1 – Shortly thereafter we receive a call back from them offering to take us. Wow!

20191012_193631

Surprise #2 – We arrived at the theater which was gorgeous and I noticed the sign stated Newsboys United and I thought to myself, What’s United?

Suprise #3 – Two of the original band members, Peter Furler and Phil Joel, who left 11 years ago join them on stage. Cool!

20191012_205209

Suprise #4 – One of the lead singer, Michael Tate’s, old band member from DC Talk, Kevin Max, also joined on stage and sang a throwback song Jesus Freak. I used to listen to DC Talk back in the 90s. I never put two and two together. Very cool!

Surprise #5 – As we were exiting the theatre, we bumped into two our dear friends Ken and Shaunna.  It’s such a small world.

You may say to yourself, Coincidence.  Well, I believe God works through people to bless people and He provides divine appointments, not chance.

How have you seen the Lord surprise you?

Blessings, Rebecca

 

LOA

rebecca

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.

rebecca2

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

rebecca3

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

couple

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.

cart

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

Taking a (Spring) Break

20190401_191343

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.

20190401_191705

1. Sleep

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

20190401_191901

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.

20190401_192042

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.

20190328_164514

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