Is There a REAL Elderberry Croft?

Many of you have asked if Elderberry Croft is a real place.

In a way, it is. So today I thought I’d give you a teeny-tiny bit of story-behind-the-story on Willow Goodhope’s story.

Most of you know that Kevin and I just celebrated 25 years of marriage on June 25th, 2013. But those of you who know us personally, might secretly wonder about “that one year….”

Several years ago now, our marriage imploded on itself, and I cut and run. Yes, I abandoned my husband and three children to go “find myself,” and during that year or more, I did some horrific, and sometimes very dangerous things, including studying and practicing witchcraft. [UPDATE: If you want to read more about my journey through the shadowed places, you can read about it HERE.] It was a treacherous time, in so many ways. Our children suffered terribly because of our decisions, and by the time I walked out of the marriage, we both believed a future together was impossible.

During my frantic search to find a place where I could live, I stumbled upon a “For Rent” sign on a side road while out riding my motorcycle (yes, another indulgence I invested my time and money in – my motorcycle was aptly called a “Rebel”), at the front of a trailer park. I figured beggars couldn’t be choosers, and if a rented trailer was all I could get at such short notice, then I’d make it work.

But God had other plans for me (and ultimately for our marriage), mainly because He wasn’t ready to let me ride off into the sunset without Him, or Kevin, for that matter. The park manager led me around to the back of the property, across a little bridge with a creek flowing beneath it, and pointed at a tiny cottage on a river rock patio. “That’s it,” he said, as though it was nothing special.

Maybe he saw nothing special about the place, considering the poor little house was all but naked, but, like Willow Goodhope when she first arrived at The Coach House Trailer Park in Episode 1: January Breeze, I envisioned vines and pots and pretty garden things, my herbs and twinkle lights and wind chimes everywhere.

I now wish I’d taken pictures of the place before I moved in, but here it is all dressed up in my things.

Becky's-Cottage

Behind that gigantic eucalyptus tree is a fire-pit built right into the patio. This is where Patti and Richard Davis celebrated Valentine’s Day in Elderberry Croft: February Embers.

Friends around the firepit

To the left of the fire pit, just past the green chair and the pole, is where the little stream ran right along the edge of the patio. This is just about where Myra sits with her foot propped up during the 4th of July celebrations in Elderberry Croft: July Madness.

Cottage Stream

Yes, I actually lived here.

Becky at cottage stream

The tiny covered porch that led to the front door, looking at it from behind the eucalyptus tree. You can see into that large plate glass window that conveniently, and oh, so deliciously, looked out over the patio and stream. That’s the kitchen window to the right, the one Donny kept yelling through in July Madness, too.

View to front cottage

And here’s a peek at the inside. Oh, how my love of all things medieval had free reign in here, because there was no one’s taste to consider but my own. (if you look closely, that’s me in the mirror with my camera – ha!)

One room cottage

Reading and Writing Chairs

cottage kitchenette

But there’s so much more to this story than just these few (and disappointingly fuzzy) pictures. Perhaps one day I’ll share with you how God met me here, in this sanctuary, in the only place He knew I’d hear Him, and how He used these two little guys, Pip and Squeak – they played an amazing role in the story of mine and Kevin’s restoration! [UPDATE: Click here to read the rest of the story, SHE GOES HOME]

Humming bird babies 3

Yes, Elderberry Croft is a real place. And yes, as you’ve likely guessed by now, there are bits and pieces of Willow Goodhope in me, just as there are bits and pieces of every character who lives at The Coach House Trailer Park in me, too. But the main thing we have in common is that we both found profound healing and restoration in this little cottage by the stream.

I’m honored and humbled to be able to share our stories with you, and I hope you’ll come away from Elderberry Croft with hope and healing, too!

Grace and peace to you!

Becky-Dought-Signature

15 thoughts on “Is There a REAL Elderberry Croft?

  • August 9, 2013 at 7:10 am
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    Beautiful pics. I’m so glad you like all things Medieval…and I’m so glad God brought you to the place of restoration in your marriage. Elderberry Croft…such a healing place.

    • August 9, 2013 at 11:21 am
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      Heather – And thanks for being the brave soul who let me open up about that slippery slope into the self-empowerment of witchcraft. Reading your book, God’s Daughter, about the Viking, Gudrid, and her struggles between Christianity and the old ways, really resonated with me, and I’m excited to see how the Lord is going to use that book to speak to readers.

  • August 9, 2013 at 7:11 am
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    Wow, Becky, I had no idea. Thankfully, with God as your strength, you turned around. I’m looking forward to reading your Elderberry Croft works. Btw, I finally just read Life Letters. Beautiful!!.

    • August 9, 2013 at 11:27 am
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      Holly,
      One of the most profound attributes of God, is that He’s a jealous Lover, and He pursues us, even to the gates of Hell, if He must. I’d already given my heart to Him, and in spite of my efforts to take it back, He wasn’t going to give up without a fight. But He never threatened or condemned; no, He wooed me, over and over and over again. This little cottage was one of His tender Grace Notes in my very dark times.

      So glad you got to go through Life Letters. Writing that was another Grace Note in my life – it was how He reintroduced me to the Word that had become stale and old hat to my unreceptive heart, by bringing those characters to life for me.

      Grace and peace, Holly!

      • August 9, 2013 at 11:30 am
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        Thanks Becky. I loved the book! I’ll do a review on my blog soon. Been there, Becky. I know what it’s like to wonder if your even worthy of His Love, but he pursues and proves he never will let go of us. Praise God, to whom all blessings and grace and goodness come from.

  • August 9, 2013 at 7:50 am
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    I love that this sweet beautiful place was where you and Kevin found healing and restoration. God had His mighty hand on you, all along. Sniff.

    • August 9, 2013 at 11:31 am
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      Jennifer,
      Sometimes, I think my soul must have been banging on the gates of Heaven, crying, “Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Give me Sanctuary!” during this time. Of course, I wasn’t about to admit my desperate need and brokenness to anyone around me, but God saw right through my facade and offered me sanctuary in this little place. And with that sanctuary came forgiveness, and hope, and ultimately joy.

      Yes, He truly had His mighty hand on us; truly.

  • August 9, 2013 at 8:02 am
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    Goodness, Becky, no wonder there’s so much heart in Willow Goodhope’s story. I’m so glad you found your way back to your family and such a beautiful means of sharing your experiences.

    • August 9, 2013 at 11:39 am
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      Tamara,

      God has a way of turning our weeping into dancing, and our ashes into beauty. I always figured that cottage wasn’t simply going to disappear into the Memory Mist, but it took a while before He gave me the avenue. This cottage plays a secondary part in a book that’s out on submission now, Restoration; Willow’s story is a bit like a set up for that.

      Yes, I’m glad, too. I don’t even allow myself to think about where I might be today if I’d ignored His pursuit of me…but I love writing about the journey of Grace, and that’s what my story is, what Willow’s story is, as well as what pretty much all my characters’ stories are. Can’t get enough of it.

  • August 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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    Wow. I went back and read your post on ‘magick’, and…wow. You’re a survivor.

    I had some contact with that ‘side’ of life – my brother’s college roommate later became head of the Satanist Church of America (saw him on Phil Donahue!), and he was a frequent, and favored guest at the house in which I grew up. It was not a good time or place.

    It’s tempting to think that if our faith is strong enough, we can supernaturally influence events, and in that lies the temptation to think we’re standing with God as something of an equal. A lot of currently prominent preachers do this, and their books on ‘hidden prayer codes’ and ‘secret impartations’ are a pursuit of ‘magick’ in all but name.

    God, as Einstein said, is subtle, but never malicious. And leading us into the occult would be malicious. God don’t go there, no how.

    I’m so glad that you found healing, and that your hermitage was the place that God was able to catch up with you, after a long pursuit. I hope you offered Him a Diet Coke when He got there – He must have been tired!

    And the fuzziness of the pictures is appropriate. They have a quality of grace in the visual, that goes perfectly with your words.

    I’m glad you made it. I’m glad your marriage survived. And I’m so humbled to know someone like you.

    I suspect that God is sometimes humbled by the strength of His own creations, as well. And that we can make Him weep for sorrow and joy mixed.

    • August 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm
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      Malicious is a perfect word for this, Andrew. It conjures up deception and lies and ulterior motives and darkness, all of which were a part of that journey, and none of which are of the character of God.

      You’re so right about that “sharing the power” aspect of this. How quickly we can be convinced that whatever power we might wield stems from our own ability and strength. It is only when we are in complete surrender to Him that we actually have the power–HIS power–to crush the head of the serpent, to be victorious.

      I love the way you portray God in the end of your comment, Andrew – such a devoted Father.

      Grace to you, my friend.

  • August 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm
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    Becky,
    I just felt from the get go part of this story was your very own. Thank you for being so gut level honest and vulnerable. Its takes a lot of strength and guts to share the bad along with the good. I pray God will continue to use your writing to encourage and draw others to Jesus. He is worthy of the time and effort you are putting into this series. Looking forward to reading the next section of the book.
    Hugs,
    Glenda

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