Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Peaceful Heart


peace picReview Matthew 5:1-8

This Week’s Memory Verses:

Matthew 5:9-10

9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

10: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Peacemakers. This conjures visions of heads of government shaking hands, while behind their backs they cross their fingers. Or maybe you see a teacher standing between two students making them apologize to each other. Or a wife, willingly submitting to her husband, even though she knows he is wrong. (hee hee….had to throw that in!) What is a peacemaker according to Jesus in the Beatitudes?

The answer I have pondered all week long, for you see I question whether I am capable of this daunting task.

About a week ago I had words with my mother.  I did not think that they were “words” till I received the email that chastised me for making her feel bad.  Although what I said, I did not intend to hurt her…it did. And in retrospect I can see why.  I caused her to be defensive of her own past actions, and honestly it doesn’t even matter whether I am right or she is, what matters is that I drove a rift in our mother/daughter relationship that simply should not be there.

So, how to repair the damage without being led back into the original discussion?

I read some things on what this particular beatitude meant and I contemplated how it pertained to my life and this situation, and this is what I learned:

  1. Being a peacemaker is not about saying you are wrong when you are right, but about evaluating the situation from God’s perspective, and being slow to speak.

  2. A peacemaker does not shove things under the rug in order to avoid confrontation, but instead considers the feelings of the other person and determines the weight of their words.

  3. Peacemakers build up, they do not destroy.

Although I did not say what I said in order to be right, I believe that I spoke too quickly and did not weigh how my thoughts would be taken. I’m still not sure what God’s perspective would be on this particular topic, but I think he may have used different words or a different approach. Sometimes when we say things to others, we think we are helping them, when in actuality all we are doing is condemning them.

Of course there are some things that just need to be said, but is there a different way to say them? A gentler way? Maybe giving exact references instead of just your opinion of what it means?

First and foremost, the words that I chose did not build, but broke down. Not only the spirit of someone that I love but also my relationship with my God. Not fatally broken down, but it is definitely an on your knees moment. Everything that we think, say, and do that is not the way that God would think, say, and do it, is sin.  So I (again) will confess my sinful nature and ask for forgiveness – From God and my mother.

My Prayer:

Lord I am so sorry that hurtful words came from my mouth and my heart. Forgive me, and thank you for showing them to me so that I can repair – not only my heart, but also the heart of another.  I pray that next time I will be slower to speak, for out of the mouth comes the desires of our hearts, and my heart’s desire is peace.

Reflect His Light!


He Knew You Before….


Here is a new item on “a beautiful life marketplace”

This picture describes how God has known you always. He knew you from even before you were born!

he knew youFor the month of April, all of the proceeds from the marketplace will go to benefit a good friend who is battling breast cancer and is seeking treatments.  Every Monday I will post something new in the martketplace.  If you wish to donate without purchasing an item, we would be happy to facilitate that for you.  Please send me an email: [email protected] and I will let you know how you can do that.  We ask for prayers for her family (The Carty’s) for strength and wisdom and for protection during their journeys to and from the treatments that they are seeking in Kentucky.

This is available as an original matted painting and also in limited edition giclee prints. please visit our etsy shop for more details!

God Bless you all.

Reflect His Light!


Losing your passport Part II




Hello all, I had a great response from the article I wrote about Bob losing his passport while overseas so I thought it passport picwould be cool to follow up that article with “What really happens” when you lose your pass port. After Bob got back home and settled I asked him to put a bullet list together of his experience. Here is a look at what he went through.

First of all he was actually in Thailand and I thought he was in Peru.  First of all he wanted you to know that if you need to get to the embassy you need to get there as early as possible. We are not sure if this is the same for all countries but the embassy closes at 2:00 pm. Also he thought he needed to stand in a really long line to find out what he needed to do but found out that they were only workers for the embassy waiting in line and that he needed to go to a different area to make his request so if you can find a guard there defiantly ask them if you are headed in the right direction.  Also you need to express to them that this is an emergency situation otherwise they make you make an appointment which could be a few days to weeks later. There was a lot more to the story as I said and below is basically the step by step process that Bob had to go through to get out of the country. 

He also suggested that if you can afford it you should hire a translator to help you get all these things done. He doesn’t speak Tai and found it very difficult to convey his needs. My sister wrote this in an e-mail to me so you will see her referencing Bob a few times below. Actions needed to get out of foreign country.

  1.   File Local Police Report

  2.   Passport photo - 2×2 with white background

  3.   TWO forms of ID. (Driver’s license and credit card)

  4.   US Embassy - call in advance, specify “emergency” if your flight is soon. Take proof of flight schedule

  5.   US Embassy will take 3 to 4 hours and $135.00 minimum cash or charge for 1 Temporary Yr. passport. It will be a different color than you’re original. Bob’s was burgundy indicating that it was a replacement.

  6.   Upon arrival on US Soil you are responsible for getting a replacement passport. If you replace it within 6 months you will not be charged again.

  7.  Make copy of new passport. In Bob’s case they could not make copies at the US Embassy or the Consulate. They had to find an internet cafe equipped with printers.

  8. .Go to Local Immigration Office to get Embarkation Stamp and Debarkation papers. They need copy of passport. This proves that you were in the country legally - when you got there and when you are leaving.

  9. Call airline and tell them your story to get priority flight schedule change.

This cost Bob between $300 and $600 to change flight in addition to what he had already paid. If you are on a trip tour where lodging and flight are booked together you may be left high and dry. The tour group that Bob was with said he would need to pay them an additional $1500 to $1800 in order to change his flight. Bob declined and it was suggested to him that he call the airline directly. So in summary, it is quite a painful process you have to go through when you lose your passport. My sister mentioned that if you are traveling with a travel company, many times they want a copy of your passport just in case this happens. In this case they didn’t require it but Bob could have switched copies with his sister so she would have a copy of his and him of hers. That might have at least helped a bit.

My sister went through quite a bit trying to fax it over. Bless her heart she didn’t know how to dial and outside country and find the code’s in order to fax it to the embassy so keep that in mind if you ever have to instruct some to do so. Well, I hope this is good information for anyone traveling. It certainly is going to help me in the future. It is nice to know that there is way to get around the situation if need be. Hopefully no one will need this info! God’s world is worth seeing even when you have a few bumps in the road. I hope you all take time to look around and appreciate His Works.

Have a great week.

Many blessings!

Girl Friday Mischele Makhlouf

dear vanessa ~ A Commitment to Love


Dear Vanessa,

I have been with my husband for 15 years and am very thankful for him.  However, we have stints in our relationship where we are not connecting completely.    I work outside of the house and feel like there are a million floating balls in the air on any given day.  Whether it is running my children to and from sports, making meals, cleaning the house, making sure everything is ready for another day….  Like most women making sure that all needs are met.  By the end of the day I just want some mindless activity.   Often by the time the kids are in bed I feel exhausted, I barely have enough energy for myself let alone my spouse.  I know it sounds sad, but it seems many of my friends experience the same thing.   Even though I am exhausted, my husband continues to pursue me in bed…. Yes he wants his needs met.   Meanwhile I am thinking in my head “really now”?   It takes all of the energy in me to meet his needs.   Do you have any suggestions around this topic?  Your help is appreciated!



Dearest Kierra,

I sympathize with this topic completely.     As women we are wired to multitask and have a million things on the go at any given time.   I am sure many women can relate to that.   I am one of the lucky ones I have a husband that cleans, does laundry, does the fixing, and makes the meals on days he is home.   He works shift work and it helps me greatly.  Although I do not complete the “atypical” tasks, I handle the finances, programming for the kids, organize events, and whatever he cannot complete I fill in the gaps.   Our lives didn’t always flow this way, if I go back even five years; I wanted to control every aspect of our lives…. And at that time, I felt spent, tired and needed rest.   I built up resentment, anger and felt like I was entitled to more.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NAS)

I love this verse, because it is so very true.   We have been built to support one another and utilize our strengths to make a powerful team.  Too often one person in the relationship ends up taking control, not asking for help, and then resentment bleeds in.   The first task I would ask you to do my friend, is communicate how you feel to your husband.   Perhaps he doesn’t know that you are feeling this way and carrying this load.   Also, if you clearly communicate it, ask him how he can help you to relieve some of the pressure from your day to day activities.

The second topic I will touch on is the topic of sex.   It has taken me a long while to understand how men and women function and think differently.   I do not beg to know it all; and I falter on many days even though I know these things.    About 8 months ago I went to see a Christian counsellor because of the many health issues we were experiencing as a family.   I had an “aha” moment in one of the sessions.   I explained to the counsellor that I finally understood how the male brain works, and how different they think from women.   My example was on the topic of sex.   I was very emotional this one day because we had some difficult news to deal with, in the afternoon my husband and I had a disagreement (which I do think was mainly caused by me because my emotions ran high that day), then that evening my husband began to pursue me.    I laid in bed and thought, “what the heck, are you serious?  Did we not just have a disagreement today?”  I was completely disengaged.  His reaction was telling, he turned over and said “I don’t get you sometimes.”   The next day I analyzed the situation and realized that I was stuffing my emotions and holding onto them.   I was punishing him for the activities earlier in the day – because for me EVERYTHING is connected.    I then realized that for him, it was almost like he had compartments for activities in the day, love is love, sex is sex, and a disagreement is in a separate compartment.   As I explained this to the counsellor she said, “Yes didn’t you know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti?”

I was completely baffled, this was for real?  This is a proven thing how we both think differently?  Take a watch of this video:  (click on the link for a great overview! This is a book and a course)

It was almost like I knew this, but it was a validation.   Yet knowing this and applying this are two different things.   I have come to realize that men have needs and they need to be met in order to feel loved completely. 

I heard a statistic just recently, on average men need to release their testosterone every 72 hours! 

It is biochemical for them and for us.  

For us women, we need nurturing and emotional connections to feel loved.    

These are two completely different needs and somehow we need to find a way to connect them.  

The end result of this connection from both sides is absolutely amazing.

Have you seen a difference in your household when you give of yourself to your husband?   Is there a “Lighter energy” do tasks seem to flow with ease?  And the inverse is true, when your emotional needs (heart needs) are met, do you feel full and abundant, and want to give back in a greater way to the household?  

1 Corinthians 7:1-16

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.  But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I say this as a concession, not as a command.  I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.  Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.  To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.  How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Marriage is a mutually beneficial relationship.   The relationship is abundant when both individuals are filled by love.  Each has unique needs, and it is by realizing these needs that both benefit.   A husband is happy when he is fulfilled sexually/physically, a woman is fulfilled when emotional needs are met.  

Too often I have seen resentment cause these needs not to be met and over time, the connection is lost.  This leads to numerous other issues.

Both sides have to try and give of themselves in order to be fulfilled.

So I ask you Kierra, how can you explain to your husband how you have been feeling?  Remember to explain what you need from him, and when you do explain it – make sure you have his full attention (or else he may not hear you).  It is OK to let go of control of some of the things that you do in the house.  Perhaps by doing this too, you will feel the load is carried by two.   In my case, when I let go of the control on household tasks, my husband did them better than I.  Together come up with a plan and make sure that while you speak about this you ask him what he needs.   Most men, it is as simple as the physical connection.

You have the power to make this situation better.  Take the first step.

Matthew 19:4-6

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Dear Lord God,

We are beautifully made; you have made women and men different so that we can complement each other in strengths and weaknesses.  I pray for all of the marriages where there are difficulties in communication and understanding of each other.  I pray that you will bring hope, perspective and discernment for all involved.   May you continue to make marriages strong and a foundation that our children can learn from.   I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.


Blessings to you beautiful lady,


Additional resources on this topic:

Laugh your way to a better marriage (course and workbook)

Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti

Touching the topic of  two better than one on Vanessa’s personal blog


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at

Bud Light Lime Creamy Jalapeno Soup


Last week I attended a Taste of Home Cooking School Show in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The chef demonstrated an amazing ten recipes in 2 hours; and one of them was this unusual soup. I like spicy food, but if you or your family aren’t big fans of hot food, you might want to use only one jalapeno pepper. This recipe was created by Anheuser-Busch and includes Bud Light Lime beer. This is still a family friendly recipe as the alcohol in the beer burns off at 170 degrees, so by the time the soup is cooked, there is no alcoholic left!

The addition of the jalapeno peppers is really quite healthy, as they contain both Vitamin C and calcium, and the capsaicin in them relieves cold symptoms, sore throats and fevers. Capsaicin is also valuable because it also can reduce both inflammation and high blood pressure. Hot Chili Peppers of any kind are good for a variety of aliments, and this is a very creative way to include more of them in your diet.

This is a nice light soup to begin a hearty meal, and would pair well with cornmeal bread, and a cool green salad. As always, have your ingredients ready before you begin cooking.

 Diff: Easy Time Prep: 10 min. Time Cook: 30-35 min. Serves: 6

Equipment Needed: Heavy Bottomed 4 qt. Saucepan, Immersion Blender, Blender or Food Processor


2 T. butter

3 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped

½ onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and grated

2 T. all-purpose flour

4 c. Bud Light Lime Beer

2 c. Chicken Stock

¾ c. half and half

2 T. fresh chopped Cilantro

1 t. kosher salt

1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese


1.  Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. When melted, stir in jalapeno peppers, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.


2.  Sprinkle the flour into vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this step!  Mea Culpa!)

3.  Pour the Bud Light Lime beer and the chicken stock into the pan in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.


4.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 30 minutes.


5.  If you use a blender, strain soup through a fine meshed sieve over a bowl. Reserve the solids. Transfer solids to a blender or food processor and process to a smooth puree. Return puree to saucepan with strained liquid. (I did not used either of these items).

6.  If you use an immersion blender as I did, blend the vegetables and soup together in saucepan until smooth. This will cause the beer in the soup to foam up.  


7.  Pour in half and half and stir until mixture is smooth and heated through.



8.  Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and salt.


9.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add cheese, garnish with additional jalapeno peppers if desired.


I hope you enjoy this interesting soup.  Wishing you God’s blessings, good health and good eating until next week!  

Use a Little Windex….


Review week 1 & 2 memory  verses ~ Matthew 5:1-5

Week 3 Memory Verse:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:6-8



            I recently watched the movie “The In-laws”. Not the old one but the remake from 2003 with Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks. In one of the scenes, Douglas takes Brooks, unwillingly with him to France to meet with a notorious arms dealer. As they are disembarking the plane, Brooks is looking around and panicking. He sees men with guns, bombs and rocket launchers. Michael Douglas, looking calm and cool as usual, comments on how Brooks “chooses” to see these things, all he sees is trees and flowers and beautiful women.  In other words Albert Brooks’ character is a glass half empty kind of guy.

      This spoke volumes to me as I memorized the last verse for this week:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”


            Do we see God in the things around us, in the people around us, or in the situations around us? Most I suspect would say that all they see is death, corruption, evil and horror. But is that because that is what they “choose” to see? Yes, there is evil in the world, and not a day goes by that the news doesn’t prove that. But what about the good and the Godly?  Do we see the beauty that is all around us? Do we take chances and  live this beautiful life that was given us, or do we spend all of our time preparing for the worst or organizing our daily routines in order to eliminate all possible sources of stress like Albert Brooks in the movie “The In-Laws”?

            By living the safe life, you may avoid some potential problems or stressors, but are you really living?  Are you experiencing all that God’s creation has to offer you?  I’m not just talking about literally smelling the roses, I am talking about getting down in the trenches with some of the less desirable of God’s creation.  Sometimes we have to do a bit of dusting off to see the beauty beneath the dirt. Those who may look “dirty” to us, could simply just need a bit of dusting off.  Possibly the muck in their lives has covered them and they can’t see beyond the tainted glass.  A little windex could help that situation.  Help them to see beauty, rub clean a little spot in their glass so the Son can shine through, and who knows, before long their vision can clear and they too can choose to see the beauty around them instead of the dirt.

            We can do this practically in our lives every day by saying something nice. Giving a complement to someone you don’t even know, or possibly someone you do who you wouldn’t normally give that complement to. Find the beauty in the bad situations around you and choose to reflect only on that, your perspective will change and the beauty of life will shine through. And when you change your heart to be pure – you will be blessed and you shall see God!

Choose to brighten a spot in someone’s life today – everyday.

My Prayer:

Lord, I want to see you, every day and in every way. Reveal yourself to me today so that I can begin my journey to a pure heart!

Reflect His Light!



Next Tuesday: Matthew 5:9-10

A Beautiful Life Marketplace


Today is the official opening of a beautiful life marketplace! Here we will be listing one of a kind, inspirational art and artwear. Each Monday we will feature a new piece that will be available through our Etsy store. Please note that most are One of A Kind pieces and as such, when they are sold ~ That’s it! There will be paintings that will be available in prints and will be noted. This will be a way for our ministry to provide year round devotions and inspiration for you. A portion of the sales will go to the artist in support of their craft and the balance will benefit our ministry and its missions. Our team has many plans for where we would like this ministry to go, and with the grace of God and in his time, it will come to fruition. We hope that you find peace and inspiration in the art and prayerfully consider making your next gift purchase with us.  Here is our first piece:

“The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing of birds is come.” Song of Solomon 2:12

~When Solomon wrote this verse, he was remembering his courtship and the beauty and love that he found in everything around him, in creation itself.  We can learn much from Solomon. Instead of always looking to the next great thing in our lives that we think will make us happy, instead appreciate what is already around us, what God has given you right here. Creation itself is a beautiful gift and I wonder if we stop to “smell those roses” as often as we should. Commit to being thankful today, not for what we want God to give us, but for what we already have.

Challenge: Write down 5 things today that you can be thankful for….and thank Him!!

One of a Kind ~ Bird nest gourd bowl

Artist: Lisa Evola



This one of a kind piece of art is approximately 6″ in diameter and 4 1/2″ in height. It is crafted from a cannonball gourd; cut, cleaned and lined with handmade paper, then sealed inside with decoupage. The outside has been wood burned in a natural birdnest design with intertwined leaves feathers and flowers. Eggs fill the nest and a scripture verse finishes the design; “The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing of birds is come.” Song of Solomon 2:12.  A ceramic knob sits on top, providing a handle for the lid of this beautiful bowl. It is finished with a satin polyurethane for durability. For purchase price and additional pictures and information, please visit our Esty store.

God Bless you week, and I pray that you are thankful today for the things that He has given you!

Reflect His Light!



Reblogged from girlfridaydiy:

Click to visit the original post

Get ready for Grilling! 

Hello All,

Well after today’s beautiful weather, Monday April 15th, I just can't help but think about all the BBQ's we will be having this summer. Which get's me in the mood for spring cleaning…which entails cleaning the grill among other things.  So I thought it might be fun to talk about getting your grill ready for some fancy foot work.

Read more… 898 more words

dear vanessa ~ when tragedy strikes


Dear Vanessa

Lately I have been mulling this around in my mind to send over to you.  These situations seem to be continually coming up in today’s society.

 One of my co-worker’s 13 year old son committed suicide, and if you had ever met him or know him you wouldn’t believe that he would do something so drastic. In the news you see this going on all the time, at least in the US it is. There was just another boy who committed suicide in the school bathroom last week. 

 The situation with this boy was that he was really into wrestling in fact he won a lot of championships and was even tutoring others how to wrestle but he didn’t make his weight class and decided to take his life. I kind of find it hard to believe that that is the only reason. For me I believe there must have been no hope in his life. What would your advice be to young parents, to try to prevent or even look for signs of this happening in their family? 

Concerned Friend,


Dearest Rebecca,

You are very brave to submit a question such as this.   I cannot imagine the turmoil going on in this family since this has happened.  Just recently in Canada, we had a case where a young girl was being bullied and then sexually assaulted by a group of teen boys.  She then tried to take her life, and was hospitalized and later passed on.  (  )

This is a difficult topic to touch on because even just reading these things where I have no personal connection to the family, it saddens my heart.    I understand the pain of these young children so well.   I was bullied from grade 2-12 and then when I was 18, I too was assaulted by four teen boys.    I truly believe that the minds of our children are influenced so much by outward influences (people, events, time and place).  Self-esteem is a delicate thing, and often children internalize their emotions.   In addition to this, as parents, we want the best for them.  Exposing them to a variety of programs and events is helpful, so that they can have more information than what we had in our youth.

Going back in time, I know my parents blamed themselves for the moments that lead up to me almost taking my life after the sexual assault.  They too wondered what happened, how could this young girl who played hockey, soccer, music and seemed, for the most part, to have smiles on her face decide this was the only option?

This is what I know about this time in my life -  I believed the lies…..

We know that we are from God and that the whole world lies under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)

I believed that I was worthless, I believed that I was an embarrassment, I believed what others said about me, and I was ashamed.   I didn’t share these feelings with my parents. It was almost as if I protected them from it because I didn’t want them to be ashamed of me.  Strange for a child to think that, right?  We love our children unconditionally, how could they not know this?

In addition to the many hormonal changes that young teens go through during this stage in their lives, they also feel the pressure to be the best.  

How does this happen?

 If we look all over the media, the pressure to be the best is there.   Look at the judgement that comes from society when a team, athlete, or actor fails?   How does society spin the outcomes of this failure? The media plasters their failures everywhere! The pressure to perform is so great, and our children have not been taught to accept failure from a young age.

As parents we support our children in every choice they make, but if we look in society/media, the lessons there are much different.  It tends to be dog eat dog, and this lesson seems to be much more influencial.  How can we change this way of thinking? 

One child at a time.

We have to teach them, help them sharpen the saw, show them what we see when we look at them:

The bible says,

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

There are number of reasons why these young people may think this is the only way out:

1)      Disappointment:  they feel like they no longer fit the mold of who they “should be”.   This is often defined by outside influences.  We as parents shower our children with much love, but peers can affect the definition of one’s self.

2)      Escape: they feel there is nowhere else to go, by ending their lives they will escape and have peace.

3)      Ashamed/Worthless: they feel ashamed and worthless and cannot see beyond the current moment in time.

4)      Victimized: Feeling victimized physically can drive any young one to feel worthless, and a loss of self-identity.    

5)      Unloved: they feel unloved, or that they will no longer be loved by anyone because their experiences or who they are.

In the case of this young family, they may have not seen that the focus of this child’s life was wrestling.  I do not know the background here, but perhaps for most of his young career he was always on top, and then when he didn’t qualify, he did not know how to cope, he lost the only identity he knew. 

As parents what can we do?  We can begin in small steps:

  • Support one another in failure and success,
  • Slow our lives down and go back to basics (we don’t need to be so busy), focus on the family,
  • Teaching children to respect themselves and the others around them (bodies, spirits, and souls),
  • Teach forgiveness, of ones self and others that hurt us,
  • Show child how to help others in need and stand up for those that are targeted (loving their neighbor as themselves),
  • Reminding them that in life we will fail and can get up,
  • Reassuring them regularly tell them that they are loved and that we are proud of them no matter what,
  • Emulate these actions in our own lives so that they learn these things through us, this is an important consideration – how do you react as a parent when you fail, how do you show love to the ones around you, and what do you see when you look in the mirror?   Our children will learn most of their reaction from those closest to them.
  • Talk to them – keeping the lines of communication open is very important so that they know they can come to you with anything.
  • And most importantly teaching our children that when they look in the mirror they are beautiful and wonderfully made.

 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

This is a very difficult topic, because these parents likely immersed their children in much love.   As I said before, my parents loved me more than any other parents could have.  They supported me, but I internalized all emotions, and wore a “mask” on a day to day basis to cover up the emotion.   Some of the indicators that there is something wrong could be:

  • the child is withdrawing in some way,
  • may not want to have open discussions any more,
  • they are not smiling as much as they had before,
  • they spend a lot of time in their room when at home,
  •  they are tired all the time and don’t have the motivation to get up,
  • they have started hanging out with a completely different crowd of friends,
  • and their behavior has shifted.

Finally, my advice for these parents:  All of these warning signs can be very subtle, but as a parent you have the power to change this direction.  For those parents that have lost loved ones like this, I pray for healing in your hearts that you don’t blame yourselves.  As I said for me, my parents didn’t even see it coming…..  Forgive yourself, and realize too often it is nothing you did or could have done.  I cannot imagine the pain, but know that your young child is now in God’s hands looking down on you and wishing for you to find a small piece of happiness in your heart.  The scar will always be there, but the scars do not define who we are, they are reminders of where we have been.   You too can make a difference in other’s lives through your experiences; which may help you heal, too. 

Remember, your child would want you to heal, forgive, and love again. 

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Dear Lord God,

I pray for the healing of the pain here.  I pray for the families that have lost their young children, and the pain that goes along with such a loss.  I pray that You comfort their hearts and souls.  I also pray for the teens and children that have suffering in their lives.  I ask that you bring them peace, and reassurance from the ones that love them unconditionally.   Open up their minds to Your word, Lord God, and not the voices of the evil one that comes to steal.  I pray this for all of your people, God, in Jesus’ Name Amen.


Blessings to you beautiful lady,


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at

Luscious Lemon Curd




There is just something about lemon curd that makes me smile. Maybe it’s the cheerful yellow color that makes me think of springtime, or the anticipation of the tart sweetness on my tongue; whatever it is, I always look forward to eating it! As most of you know, I love making bread and recently my quest has been to make the perfect English muffin; and what better topping than home made lemon curd? So this week, I’ve been mixing up small batches of lemon curd. All the lemons I’ve been using have made my kitchen smell wonderful!

Jams, jellies and preserves have been a delicious way to preserve fruit for hundreds of years. Lemon curd is a common item served during tea, and a lovely accompaniment for scones. Lemon curd is a fruit curd; but since it includes eggs and butter, could almost be considered a custard (except for the fruit juice and zest). Historically, lemon curd was also known as lemon cheese, because it was used to make lemon cheesecakes in the 19th century; items which we now call lemon tarts. There is an early mention of a lemon curd recipe in The Lady’s Own Cookery Book, an old British cookbook by a Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury from 1844. Lemon curd is delicious on hot toast, scones, biscuits, and even pancakes and waffles.  It also makes a delightful filling for cakes, tarts and crepes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s relatively simple, and only takes about twenty minutes to make.  

Diff: Easy Prep Time: 5 min. Cook Time: 15 min.

Equipment: Saucepan with heavy base, Candy thermometer


6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2/3 fresh lemon juice

1 t. to 1 T. grated lemon zest


1. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with electric mixer for 2 minutes.


2. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min.


3. Mix in lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but will smooth out as it cooks.


4. Put the mixture in a medium saucepan with a heavy base. Clip a candy thermometer to side of saucepan. Cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance will disappear as the butter in mixture melts).



5. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens; about 10 - 15 minutes. Temperature should be 170 F. Mixture should leave a path on the back of a spoon when you lift spoon out. Do not let mixture boil.



6. Remove lemon curd from heat, and stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to jars. Let cool, then put jars into refrigerator to chill.


Curd will keep in refrigerator for a week, or in freezer for 2 months.  Recipe makes about 2 cups.  Enjoy!

Until next week, I wish you God’s blessings, good health and happy eating!