Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Club Highlights.......by Joyce Oroz

Last night was Book Club. Happens every month. Good thing, because some of us fall into a funk and need the club ladies to pull us out. It’s like falling into a dank dark hole in the ground where there is no chocolate, only barking dogs and shoes that hurt. 

Show up at book club, and nice people make you laugh, pull you out of the hole and feed you fabulous food until your buttons pop. And they talk about wonderful stories—books they read. They read books so that they can belong to the book club where they feast on organic, vegetarian, gluten-free foods that look and taste like real food. 

Why does it always come down to the quality of the food, not the books? The real quality is in the women who support each other with food, stories and love. And what is said at book club stays at book club!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Read My Lipstick........by Joyce Oroz

I needed TV distraction. The local news flashed on … something about a farmer loosing his crop of lettuce to a disease. A black fungus? I tried to concentrate, but it was useless. I needed food. Why would fungus-infested lettuce remind me that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast?

      I shuffled into the kitchen and warmed up some left-over leftovers. I didn’t consciously taste the food, not even the chocolate ice cream that was supposed to make me feel better. My small, but comfortable home had all the usual rooms plus a loft. With Solow gone, the place seemed cold, gray and tasteless, like my dinner. I stared at the TV, but I might as well have been watching an empty screen. The phone rang, snapping me out of my stupor.
      “Hello.” I tried to sound like my normal chipper self. 
      “Hi, Josie, it’s David. I miss you and this weather is probably going to keep me here longer than I planned.”
      My cheeks felt warm at the sound of his voice, and I liked it when he used the nickname he had given me a few months earlier when we became “better acquainted.”
      “You mean your flight might be canceled?”
      “That’s right. The airport’s closed as we speak. I’m hoping the weather will improve before Tuesday so I can come home. How’s Fluffy?”

      “Fluffy is fine. It’s Solow who’s having a problem. It seems my little porch potato ate his blanket and now he’s spending time at the veterinary hospital.” I tried my best not to sound overly worried.
      “Hey, Josie, he’s going to be fine. For a minute I thought you said Solow ate his blanket.”  We both laughed. “Just don’t get into trouble until I get home.”
      “OK, David. Hope to see you Tuesday evening.” I was smiling as I hung up. David always made me smile. All I needed was a cup of hot cocoa and a good rerun on the tube. I settled onto the sofa, mug in hand, and began watching a rerun of the very troubled Mr. Monk working his magic to solve a difficult case. I stared at the TV, trying to enjoy the mystery, but between Rosa’s disappearance and Solow being so sick, it was impossible to concentrate.
      I remembered the time Fluffy had mixed it up with a stray wire attached to a fence post. She ended up in Dr. Finley’s office with an abscess on her little pink nose. Rosa Mendoza, the “Florence Nightingale” of animal nursing, made house calls to make sure Fluffy was healing. 


Looks like a Fluffy trick!

Read My Lipstick will be in print for the first time----soon!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bee There Or Bee Square..........Joyce Oroz

A couple days ago I found something wonderful. A magical cottage at the top of a mountain somewhere between Aptos, Watsonville and Snow White's house in the forest. This darling little place was full of jars of raw honey, bee's wax candles and beautiful gifts, toys and gadgets at reasonable prices. 

Owner, Dana Mumm, showed us around and explained so much about raising bees. She obviously loves them, but there are too many to name. We watched Catherine make beautiful candles out of bees wax. Everyone at the cottage was so welcoming. Here is Dana Mumm holding a bee's wax angel candle. She writes a beautiful buzz news letter to her many followers. Thank you, Tomi Edmiston for the photographs and Dana for the letter. Now for the buzz:

Pacific Crest Apiaries Gift Store


Greetings and Happy October!
I have exciting news for you! We have new and exciting gift items in stock and more to come!
Our hand crafted pure beeswax candles and hand processed honey definitely help to round off our fabulous gift selections.
I'm excited to introduce a new selection of 100% Organic Essential Oils from ACORELLE. No synthetic junk or toxic chemicals what so ever! These essential oils are to be used diluted for massages, in the bath and "pure" in a diffuser.
Three essential oils to choose from:
"Energizing" - which has a complex combination of essential oils of Eucalyptus, Green Mint and Lime. Fresh and invigorating, it brings back bounce and vitality!
"Balancing" - a combination of essential oils of Benzoin, Lavandin, and Bergamot. This essential oil can be used diluted in the bath, for instance, to bring the emotions into harmony. Exotic and comforting, it provides serenity and balance.
"Soothing" - combines essential oils of Sweet Orange, Lavandin and Red Tangerine. It will help to relieve tension and anxiety. Soothing and restful, it creates a relaxing atmosphere conducive to unwinding.
Pair that with a nice hot cup of herbal Tea Forte tea and honey ... nice!

Acorelle also offers a wonderful selection of body mists. We are considering on adding these to our body care line. The skin softening body mists are 95% organic and are for the whole body and contain just 2% fragrance (essential oils and extracts) No artificial colors, no synthetic fragrances, no denatured alcohol, no parabens, no phenoxyethanol, no PEG, and no phthalates! I love the fact that all Acorelle fragrances are made with alcohol and glycerin derived from organically grown wheat, corn, and soy. Mood enhancing aromatherapy blends are safe for the skin and the planet!
There are more gift items I could mention but I believe seeing is better than reading about "what's in store"!
Shop soon and see for yourself!
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11-5:30
The Holidays are right around the corner:
If you are planning to ship gifts you purchase here and/or would like a certain type of poured or hand rolled honeycomb beeswax candle in quantities or certain colors, please let me know soon! Hand made candles take time. To add to that, our beeswax is in minimum quantities this year. Come by soon and allow me or Catherine to help you.

Catherine at Candle making
Some of you may have met her already. It's high time we made a proper introduction! Welcome Catherine to our family! Catherine arrived at the right time! "Family" helping "family": what an awesome gift. Fortunately, during her busy schedule, she has some time during the week to help out. She's ready for any job at the farm and store. From labeling jars and bears full of honey, merchandising the gift store and maintaining it, helping with the bees, to assisting customers with their choice of gifts. In addition, she soon discovered that hand crafting candles from start to finish is one of the most labor intensive jobs she has ever done!
We worked together to teach her the art of candle making. I found out soon that Catherine has the unique gift for making beautiful beeswax candles. This has been a marvelous help to me. Our beeswax candles have become very popular; it was very tough for me to keep up.
We welcome Catherine to our family. Her bright and friendly smile and positive attitude helps to make your shopping experience even more special.

Enjoy 15% off all Gift Items now through Oct. 31, 2014! (sorry, discount cannot apply to Pacific Crest's own candles or honey)

Smilin bubble bee pic
And for those of you who want to know how the bees are doing:
They are well fed, healthy, and pretty darn sassy these days. Not happy campers. But, that's how they are this time of year. Not much going on. Not enough flowers to frolic and play in. However, if rain comes in "sheets" (and we hope it does), we sure are looking forward to a great spring that will help bring much nectar and pollen to the hive.
I look forward to seeing you soon. Best health to you and yours.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunny Monterey.......Joyce Oroz

This was a special weekend for me. I exchanged my pajamas for street clothes, tucked my computer into a gentle slumber, climbed the cob-webbed stairs to the first floor and blinked into the harsh morning light flooding the kitchen. My husband graciously escorted me to the Monterey wharf for a delicious sand dab lunch and walk-about. 

It just happened to be Columbus Day and many Monterey citizens of Italian heritage dressed the part, frolicking about the wharf and plaza, in costume, to the music of a Monterey High School Jazz Band. 

My senses were on over-load as I took in the sights--everything from a gaggle of seals sunning on a barge to sun worshiping pelicans to a bear posing for pictures with three coast guardsmen to a trailer of tipsy parrots pulled by an Italian native. 

I didn't see Pacman or Spiderman, but I'm sure they were somewhere in the crowd, sucking up the sunshine. 

Three blocks later, I looked for Nessi as we circled the lake. Maybe she joined the folks at the wharf for a crab cocktail or two.
                   Topside was great, I'll try it again sometime!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jordan in Costa Rica........Joyce Oroz

Today I want to share a letter from one of my five granddaughters, Jordan, who recently graduated from The King's Academy high school. I learned a lot from this letter--hope you will enjoy it as much I did. Jordan is right front.

Dear Papa and Grandma,

I wanted to thank you for your prayers and support during my trip to Costa Rica. I want to thank you especially for your donations. It really was a trip that I will never forget. The girls and boy that went with me, all felt the same way. We stayed in the YWAM Costa Rica base and we traveled all over San Jose, CR and the surrounding villages.
We were there for 8 days and we did a different ministry every day. One of the ministries that we did was to work with the homeless of San Jose.  We were able to go out and interact with the homeless and hear their stories- they shared how they got there and some of the ordeals that they went through.  We were able to pray over them, share the gospel and give them food and coffee. 
We also worked with a Prostitution ministry.  This was a tough one- only the volunteers who were 18 were able to go.  We were not allowed to get out of the van but we were able to bring coffee and some cookies to the men who worked the streets. There were mostly men who dressed as women working on the streets. We were able to hear some of their stories through the YWAM volunteers that already had an on-going relationship with these people.  We were able to pray over them in the van and see the interactions between the men and the YWAM volunteers. San Jose, unfortunately, has a lot of brothels and though we never went inside one or got close to one, as we were driving, we passed a few and we knew just by looking at the conditions and characteristics of the place. It was very sad and eye opening to see how many there were.

               We were able to participate in a village VBS.  We went to a village near San Jose and sang songs, played games, did crafts, and shared the bible with almost all of the village kids. It was amazing when the kids recognized the van when we were driving in and swarmed the little garage where we were holding the VBS activities in. Watching these kids want to know more about God and what he is about was incredible. It really makes you realize how little kids share an interest in what God is about.

It was so interesting to watch these kids emerge from their, in most cases, shack of a house and sing songs about Jesus on the top of their lungs.

               One of my favorite days was when our group broke up into two groups and half of us went to a special needs orphanage and the other went to a government run orphanage. I had the privilege to go to the government run orphanage. The children ranged in ages from new born to 7. They were wonderful, they were not shy about wanting to play and color and dance, we were able to play with them and hold the babies. For most, that was all they needed- someone to love on them and play with them, because many came from homes where love was nonexistent and playing was dangerous. It was sad to see, but I was glad that I could provide some kind of love at least for a couple of hours. 

               Later that day, the most amazing part of the trip took place- we went to a house that is run by a lady and her husband, who have adopted over 100 children. She, at this moment, has 46 children living with her, in her home. But over the course of 30 years she has adopted and raised over 100 children. These are all her own children, she is legally their mother and that is exactly what all the children call her. She is an absolutely incredible woman and we were lucky enough to hear her story- about how she got started on such an amazing journey. She not only has this many adopted children but she also has six of her own children!  More incredible, not one adopted child from her house has ever fallen back into what she took them out of. 

Most of the kids she adopts are orphans, many were crack babies, some were found in dumpsters, others were simply abandoned.  Many times because the parents couldn't take care of them or because they had special needs. She and her husband of over 40 years live in a beautiful two story country style house that was given to her by a pastor and his wife. She has a whole system down that everyone follows in the house so that everyone is clean, fed and helps around the house. That was one of my fondest memories of the trip, because it was so amazing to see what one woman was capable of, when asked how she does it, she replied, “I don't do anything, it is God that gives me strength and tells me how to take care of his children.” She is a woman that all should take notes from, I know I did.

               The next day we participated in an on-going bible distribution mission. A man living in Costa Rica is on a mission- he wants every house in Costa Rica to have a bible in their home. We were able to help him work on his mission, we got to go to some of these homes and distribute bibles. It was amazing the amount of people that let us into their homes. Some didn't even know what we were handing out, they just would let us in and we talked to them. The village that we went to was very intricate. Just when you thought you were at the end of a road, there was a little rabbit trail that led up into another little colony of houses, it seemed like they never ended. There were houses that were on top of other houses and houses that looked like a little shack from the outside, but when you walked in, it was intricate and very cool looking. Some houses were big storage containers put together to make a home and some were very worn down houses. The villages were very interesting to walk through. As a group we delivered at least 150 bibles to the people in the village in about 4 hours, as well as having conversations at almost every house. It was an incredible experience.
               Sunday morning we went to church. We were told that the pastor preaches for two hours, plus an hour of worship time. All of us were thinking, great, this is going to be so boring and we aren't going to understand a word he is saying. The worship started and I was blown away. I don't think I have ever seen worship like that before. It was so powerful, so moving. The members did not care about who was around them, people were jumping up and down, shouting on the top of their lungs, falling on the floor in praise, and really feeling God’s presence in their very souls. Watching praise like this makes you feel God everywhere. I could feel the spirit flowing into that church. When worship ended the Pastor came up with one of the staff on YWAM to translate. The two hours flew by, the message was so interesting and moving that the time went by so fast. It was one of the best sermons I had ever heard. 

               Because this trip was more about building relationships and talking to people, we didn't do a lot of construction or heavy lifting. So we thought we should do something for the YWAM base as a thank you for dealing with a bunch of high school students for a week. We cleaned gutters, swept, cleaned windows, climbed really sketchy roofs that felt like they were going to give in, and ultimately had a wonderful, silly time working around the base. 

               On one of our last days we went to a church that had a club for single teen mothers. The church provides schooling for the mothers so that they can get their license in nails or hair, and eventually get a job and earn money. We got to sit down with them and share the bible, hold their babies and hear their stories. Some of their stories were very sad to hear, but it was encouraging to see that they are trying to get schooling and jobs. 

               On our last day we were able to have a fun relaxing day, we went zip-lining and we went to the beach, it was a great day to end on. I was able to meet so many amazing people on the trip and had a blast with all of them. This is a trip I will never forget. But the main reason for this letter is not only to share what I did and experienced but to thank you for all of your support and prayers. Because without you, I could never have gone on a trip like this. My life was changed in so many ways and I pray every day that we were able to touch someone’s life there. This trip was a pilot trip for us, but because it went so well they are making it a regular trip for senior at TKA!   I’m grateful that we were able to have such an experience and it is all thanks to you. 

Thank you so much again and I look forward to more mission trips in college. 

God Bless


Monday, October 6, 2014

Take 5 Re-blogged.......Joyce Oroz

Today I'm going to use my easy button, and re-blog a blog written by my blogging friend, Barbara Jean Coast who writes a wonderful blog plus the Poppy Cove Mystery series. Her cozy mysteries, Strangled by Silk and Death of a Beauty Queen have plenty of attitude and great reviews. You will love her blog-style!

Joyce Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there guys and dolls! Well, there’s another month just whizzing by! I don’t know about you, but the speed just makes my head spin. That, or the fact that I dipped into the martini pitcher…oh, never mind. The great thing about the month coming to a close is that I get to do my favorite feature blog — Take 5. They’re always so much fun. I just love my Cozy Cat Press friends who also happen to be great authors. September’s visit is with the fabulous and talented Joyce Oroz, who also creates beautiful artwork as well. I was so happy to sit down again for another chat with Joyce, this time on my blog. Enjoy our visit, I’m sure you will!
Cuckoo Clock1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.
Josephine Stuart is my fifty-year-old protagonist. She is a widowed mural artist who is misunderstood by her boyfriend, best friend and her own mother. They can’t relate to her curiosity, tenacity and bravery when she attempts to solve a murder mystery. Time after time her basset sniffs out the bad guys for her while the police try to get their facts together. If I were in trouble, I’d want Josephine working for me. She is good at gathering clues, and the rest is usually dumb luck. Each book focuses on a new and different mural painting job for Josephine and a murder of course.
2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?
I make a point to work a bit everyday—at least six days a week. Sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes two or three, depending on the flow of ideas. When I am ready to begin a new book, I am unable to write an outline or even a series of ideas. Believe me I’ve tried. Instead, I write one sentence on my computer and elaborate on that. The ideas start to flow and a year later I have a book. About halfway through I usually know who the murderer is, but sometimes I don’t know until the end. I love surprises.
The Josephine Stuart Mystery series includes SECURE THE RANCH, READ MY LIPSTICK, SHAKING IN HER FLIP FLOPS, BEETLES IN THE BOXCAR and CUCKOO CLOCK CAPER, published by Cozy Cat Press. My new book, ROLLER RUBOUT will be out in a month or two.

3. What exciting moment or moments made you realize that you were really an “author?”
I have five published books in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series and a new book coming out soon. It wasn’t until a stranger told me she had read all my books that I felt like an honest to goodness author. Even if my books were never published I would probably keep writing because it’s what I do and who I am. But I love having fans and entertaining people.
4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?
Usually I go over what I have already written, correcting and making changes, until ideas show up. I put my mind into a quiet place and wait for the answer I’m looking for—the next move in the story. The best ideas show up while I’m driving or in the shower—when I can’t jot them down. Writing is a great lesson in patience.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?
About thirteen years ago my husband, Arthur Oroz, wrote OKINAWA MOON. I loved watching the book come together—the whole process. A couple years later I started writing children’s stories, twenty-seven of them. But children’s stories weren’t enough. I wanted to write a novel. I always liked reading mysteries, beginning with Nancy Drew and including Janet Evanovich. Janet made me laugh. I tried to be outrageous like her but it didn’t work, but she did influence me. I like JA Jance, Patterson and many others. Reading is definitely an important part of writing.

Isn’t that the truth! Fellow bibliophiles, Joyce’s Josephine Stuart novels are great. Be sure to check out her page on Facebook, her author page on Amazon for all her series information: Joyce Oroz and read all her news and interviews on Blogspot. Till next time, booklovers!
Barbara Jean

About barbarajeancoast

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor & Heather Shkuratoff. She is currently hard at work telling the cozy tales of the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50's, early 60's, known as The Poppy Cove Mysteries.
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