Read Page Turner winner Lori Dixon’s interview here, and one with runner-up Debbie Roome here.

Becky Real hasn’t been at FaithWriters long, but she is already making quite an impact. As one of two runners up in the Page Turner contest, her journey as written about in her work in progress could be on its way to publication. Read on to learn about her (scary) reaction to winning, how her husband’s cancer led to her passion for writing, and her busy life.

Joanne Sher: First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

Becky: Thanks! I was stunned when I learned I was in the top 15. Placing bowled me over and nearly knocked me off my feet – literally.

I was doing something that is not recommended — walking down the stairs at my home while checking Facebook from my phone. My cousin (also a member of FaithWriters) had posted a congratulations note to me about placing in the contest. When I first read it I thought she was commenting on being in the top 15. Suddenly I realized it was a December 1st posting. I stopped in the middle of the stairwell, clicked onto the FaithWriters site and saw my name listed.

I forgot whBecky Real 2ere I was, started screaming and jumping up and down and very nearly went “head over heels” as I slipped and stumbled down the rest of the steps. My dog Harley and two cats came running. Harley began barking and leaping up and down and the cats dashed upstairs past me to escape my high pitched screams and flailing arms and legs. Somehow I landed on my feet, swept Harley into my arms, swung her in circles and whooped out loud while tears streamed down my cheeks.

Once I caught my breath, put Harley down and landed safely into a nearby chair, I sent out a text message and Facebook blast. Then I cried some more…

I guess you could say I was kind of excited….

Joanne: I guess! You definitely made me LOL with that one. When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

Becky: I’ve written on and off since I was young – mostly for personal use. However, in 2011 my husband’s battle with cancer intensified and I needed a convenient method to keep people informed about his status. I turned to the Caringbridge website and created his page. Little did I know it would become much more than a method to update our family and friends. In my journals I couldn’t just write about the medical aspects. I wrote from my heart as I shared the truth of our journey – the pain, the laughter, the joy, the fears — and the beauty of God’s light in the midst of it all. It became a source of hope and inspiration for others and part of my healing and self-care during the last years of his life and the first year following his death.

Joanne: So sorry about your loss – but glad that writing helped you in the midst of your struggles. God is like that, isn’t He? Is writing a hobby or potential career for you? Or something else?

Becky: I’m in the midst of a significant life transition, both personally and professionally. God stirs my heart with excitement and new life when I write. I have offered my writing up to God and am seeking His guidance in ways to pursue this new passion as both a ministry and career. As a result, I’ve developed a website, am working on my book, plan to continue to learn through Faithwriters and am exploring the opportunities God places in my heart.

Joanne: Share a bit about Glimmers of God. Where did you get the idea for it? What’s it about? How far along in it are you?

Becky: I’m working on it in between holidays, family, pets and the nuts and bolts of life. Most of the stories in Glimmers of God are from the 7½ year journey of my husband’s battle against cancer, his subsequent death and my new life without him by my side. However, the book isn’t about cancer or grief. It’s about finding strength, hope and peace in the trials, celebrations and ordinary parts of life. Times when God sparks – or glimmers – and we least expect it. There are stories of laughter, pain, fun, friendship and grace. I pray that readers will feel a part of the stories and as they come to the end of each one, their hearts are touched and they can see God glimmering in their own lives.

Joanne: Sounds like a wonderful, touching, much-needed book.  You’re on quite a roll this month – not only did you get this runner-up position, but your challenge entry, Meant for Us, was a quarterly cash winner. Tell us a bit about your writing journey, and what got you here.

Becky: I am in awe of my writing journey. God is surely at work in a powerful way in my life and I praise Him for His wondrous love and constant presence! He has been beckoning me to consider this ministry for a couple of years through the words of friends and family. At that point I was working 50-60 hours a week, caring for my husband and being a mom/grandma. I basically shrugged my shoulders and told God I’d think about it “later” — you know – when I “had time” to write.

Well, Kevin died in December 2013 and in June 2014 life caught up with me and I crashed. I realized it was time to figure things out andI  took a leave of absence from my position as a human resource leader. As I acknowledged my need to step back and rest in God’s arms, He pushed a bit harder and several people pointedly told me to use the time off to write “my book.”

I’m a little stubborn (or perhaps a slow learner) but I took the deep dive in August when my cousin (a long-time FaithWriters member) posted a link to the website on her Facebook page. I clicked to the site, felt God’s encouragement (i.e., finally decided to listen), joined, began writing, sharing, learning from others and entering competitions and challenges.

In the short time since I joined FaithWriters I’ve learned so much! I’m truly humbled by the ways God has already used my writing and can’t wait to see what is ahead. God is leading and I’m doing the best I can to catch up!

Joanne: I love your story – so many of us have similar ones of ignoring Him and then finally turning in His direction. Tell us more about your family.

Becky: My husband Kevin and I were married for almost 34 years before his death. Native Iowans, we’ve also lived in Virginia (right outside of Kenzie and GrandmaWashington DC) and now in Minnesota. Together we raised three daughters. Our oldest is engaged to be married in July 2015. Our middle is married and gifted us with our first grandchild (a girl!) about 18 months before Kev died. Our youngest is in a discipleship program in Michigan. Our dog and two cats provide therapeutic interventions and love in the form of kisses, barks, purrs, fun and fur as I write, heal and seek God’s calling in my new life.

Joanne: What are your other passions besides writing?

Becky: It’s great joy to be a mom of young adults and watch them grow, stretch and develop in their faith and independence. Being a grandma is amazing and blesses me with new energy, fun and joy. Music, singing and connecting with friends keep my life full. And what can I say – I’m a sucker for animals – especially ones with character!

Joanne: Busy lady! Where can people find you online?

Becky: Although I entered my last update in early December of 2014, Kevin’s Caringbridge site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/kevinreal remains open for readers and comments. My new website is www.beckyreal.com. It’s growing and developing so I love to have people subscribe, comment, read my musings and connect with me.

Joanne: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Becky: It’s easy to fall into fear, worry and insecurity – especially when life takes significant twists and turns that weren’t expected or wanted. The truly great news and victory is found when we throw up our hands to the heavens and honestly offer our messy life, our joys and our fears over to God for His glory. Then step aside and be prepared to be amazed. God will take your offerings and use them for His glory in powerful ways. That’s a WOW!

 Joanne: A wow indeed! Thanks so much, Becky, for sharing your journey with us. I wish you continued success – and once again, congratulations!

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