Category Archives: children

Like We Don’t Exist

The other day while I was walking to Port Authority after a doctor’s appointment, I noticed a young boy swaying and stumbling under the weight of his huge backpack like if he was drunk.

Photo Credit: Louie Ortega | Creative Commons

At a distance, he appeared too young to be walking alone on the streets of Manhattan. I felt a tug and decided I would try to catch up and speak with him.

When I did, I discovered that he was a she, with short dusty brown hair, soft brown eyes, and wearing baggy khaki pants with a matching military jacket which seemed to droop on her 4″11″ frame.

“Hey, thanks a lot,” she said when I slipped her something. She had a beautiful smile even though most of her teeth were missing and her face was covered with sores.

If I were to guess, she was no more than eighteen years old, a transient and addicted to Meth. The sores were from scratching due to formication–which is the sensation of bugs crawling on or underneath the skin–a common side effect of Meth users.

“What’s going on?” I asked. “Everything,” she said with a sigh, looking down and around to avoid making eye contact with me.

“I’m sorry to hear that. I noticed you back there and I’m glad I caught up to you,” I said.

“Really? You noticed me? Wow. No one ever notices me. It’s like I’m invisible or something. Even people I know and thought were my friends, avoid me.” Her voice cracked.

“I know what it’s like to feel invisible,” I said. I could feel my face flush and tears welling up. She searched my eyes. “My name is Whitney,” she said sticking her hand out to shake mine.

Here we were, two strangers, crossing paths, unbearing our souls on the corner of 42nd Street. The heartbeat of New York City. The epicenter of fame and fortune. As we stood there and talked, people rushed around us like we didn’t exist. The irony.

Before we parted ways, she asked if it would be okay to give me a hug. Even though I’m not the hugging type, I said yes. When we hugged, I knew she meant it.

Suffice it to say, this was the most memorable experience I’ve had in a long time. It was real. There were no walls, barriers, masks or pretenses. In contrast to all the years I worked in Corporate America, where pretenses and playing politics were the norm and being real was frowned upon. Go figure.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Matthew 23:26

“Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Matthew 15:17-18

Guest Post: The Power Of Prayer by Marcela De Vivo

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Nothing can really compare to the excitement and happiness one feels when they first find out that they’re pregnant with their first child. I must have been the happiest mother-to-be when I was blessed with the news that I was going to have my first son, Nathan, but nothing could have prepared me for the journey ahead. I was devastated when my doctor told me that my son was not developing properly; he had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, in which his forebrain was not dividing to form bilateral cerebral hemispheres.

Because most children with this condition do not usually survive birth, you can imagine how devastated I was; however, despite what the doctors and specialists told me, Nathan did survive, and he is now seven years old and he must be one of the happiest children in the world.

While I’m incredibly grateful—more words can describe—that Nathan is still with me today, his path has been quite rocky, having undergone numerous surgeries and medical treatments to keep him as healthy as possible. During one of his most recent surgeries, he was given the wrong medication and because of it, we almost lost him.

Turning to Prayer

As you can imagine, it was an incredibly difficult experience to see Nathan in a catatonic state, not responding to me at all. What made it even worse was that it seemed the doctors and nurses surrounding Nathan weren’t paying any attention to him at all either, since nothing they had done so far had helped.

Not knowing what to do for my son while sitting in a hospital room, I turned to prayer and asked everyone in my online community to pray for Nathan’s recovery. While most do not rely on Facebook as the optimal prayer forum, I felt completely powerless and didn’t know how I could help Nathan in any other way; I reached out to friends, family and even strangers for support.

What was really surprising was that in just a matter of minutes after posting my prayer, the doctors and nurses who had previously been doing what seemed like nothing, were back to work, and at what seemed like a feverish pace. All of a sudden, all of the people that should have been working to find a solution for Nathan were doing exactly that.

Nathan’s Recovery

Right after I posted my wish for people to pray for Nathan, doctors started running blood tests and actively tried to figure out a solution to how to get Nathan back to health. At first, I didn’t necessarily relate it to the Facebook post I made just moments before.

However, when I think back on it now, I see that the power of prayer – simply asking people to pray for my son – made a huge difference in his recovery. Within what seemed like minutes, Nathan was awake and responding to stimulus in a way that surprised even the doctors and nurses (who I’m sure have been in similar situations before).

How my son was given the wrong medication at a major hospital isn’t necessarily the important part of my story here – it’s how quickly Nathan recovered just moments after I simply asked for others to pray for my son’s well-being.

For many people, the power of prayer can be difficult to understand– even many of us who do pray on a regular basis. Most of the time, our prayers aren’t answered in such an immediate way.

While I do believe the doctors did everything they could to help Nathan, I think it was the prayers that ultimately motivated them to work – that made them become a force to help Nathan.

I know Nathan is a lucky child, and I know he’s relatively strong, but I really believe prayer is what saved him in this case. For me, this incident really was proof of the power of prayer.

Have you ever experienced a miracle such as this as a result of the power of prayer? Please share with me your experiences and continue to follow my journey by following

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and proud mother. Her journey with her son has taught her life lessons that she would never trade for anything else in the world, and through the power of prayer, he continues to thrive and love life.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Who is the fairest of them all?

Courtesy of DeviantArt.

Everywhere I turn, I am bombarded by images. As the days get hotter, clothes get scarcer. In New York City, people could very well go naked.

What happened to modesty? What happened to dignity?

Listen, I’m no prude, but lately, exposure of body parts have gone to another level. Is this what we want for our sons and daughters?

Sorry, it’s not cool, it’s disgusting.

What is the point of seeing Beyonce’s nipples? The woman has talent, does she really need to be exposing herself to the extent that she does? I wonder how she is going to feel years later when her baby daughter is a teenager? How will she feel about her daughter walking around strutting her goods for all the world to see?

Our society is getting sicker by the minute. You can’t even turn on the television without seeing it. You can’t walk down the street without avoiding it.

What hope do our children have of growing up in a world that respects purity and dignity?

Years ago, I remember falling into this particular nonsense. I would spend hours in the gym to meet some man’s approval of a “perfect” body. I was thin at the time, but my nickname became “meatballs with legs”.

I wish I could go back in time and be the way I am now. I am at a different place and I’m grateful to be married to someone who isn’t obsessed with my physicality and image.

In the past, I could not walk out into the street without looking like I’ve stepped out of a magazine. Those days are over, thank God.

The pressure to live up to other people’s physical expectations or man’s approval of me, to validate me, to say I was beautiful, sexy, desirable or worthy to be loved was absolute bondage.

There was even a time I became anorexic because I had heard so many lies of how fat and imperfect I was, I became obsessed with trying to silence my distorted reflection in the mirror.

The only word I heard vibrating in my head was fat… fat… fat.  All I saw myself as was fat… fat… fat…

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the fairest of them all?

Oh please, oh please say it’s me, my restless heart would exclaim.

I fear for our youth that has more pressure placed on them now. With celebrities and magazines having no scruples. What awaits the next generation at the rate we are going?

What are we worth? Aren’t we worth more than exploiting our body parts like meat on a window display?

Ladies, you are worth more than that. Don’t sell yourself short! You were fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the apple of God’s eye. Please don’t fall for the lie.

I implore parents, please teach your children to value and respect themselves. There is another way. A better way. God’s way.

If we each do our part to educate our children differently, we can stop this perverse cycle. Won’t you join me?

Tales of the Defended Ones by Beth Guckenberger

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Standard Publishing; First edition
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0784736979
Price: $8.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN









Ben and Joseph lose their mothers, but find a family looking just for them. Antonio is rescued from what seems like a hopeless situation. Caitlyn dares to trust that truth will set her free. Jorani is delivered from slavery into the arms of grace.

Follow these real-life stories on a journey to foreign places and extreme struggles. Travel through their challenges and see the hand of the great Storyweaver — our Defender God — shielding and defending the defenseless in amazing ways.

These are the tales of the ones left wounded…


You know how much I love children and causes protecting children. So when I received this book to review, Tales of the Defended Ones, I jumped on the opportunity.

I’m so glad I did. What an amazing and powerful book this is.

I enjoyed Beth Guckenberger’s writing style; it was simple, easy to read and descriptive. I finished this book in a couple of hours, I couldn’t put it down.

I journeyed to different parts of the world and learned about precious children. Children that perhaps seemed to have been forgotten, but weren’t. Our heavenly Father watched over their lives and had a specific plan for each of them.

Beth Guckenberger refers to God as a Story Weaver. God is writing different chapters of their lives, our lives and the generations to come. We may not see the entire mosaic, but He does. He intricately weaves people’s lives and stories together in His perfect timing.

I was relieved and thankful there was a happy ending for each child mentioned in this book. Because while I was reading about these children, I couldn’t help but cry. I also thought about all the other children in the world who are undergoing similar situations and need intervention too. I get overwhelmed with emotion just thinking about it.

I admire people like Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd for caring enough about children in need. They were willing to offer up their lives as a sacrifice and help children. I honestly wish I could one day serve in this capacity without fearing for my life, financial security and a host of other things. I admire their courage and the work they with Back2Back Ministries.

I highly recommend reading Tales of the Defended Ones, you will definitely be stirred, moved and motivated to action.

Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, live with their family in Monterrey, Mexico, where they serve with Back2Back Ministries. They both graduated from Indiana University with degrees in education and between biological, foster, and adopted, are raising nine children.








Help One Now

Meet Naiderson. My sons and I watched this video together.

I do not want them growing up not knowing the needs that exist around the world. I’m also trying to instill in them biblical principles.

God teaches us not to forget the poor or the orphans. (James 1:27)

I’m trying to serve in any way I can which is why I am now a Help One Now blogger.

This is all voluntary. I do not get paid to blog for any organization. I do this on my own accord as a way of giving back and helping in some small way.

God has given me the gift of writing and I want to sow it back to Him.

The Lord seems to be reminding me lately about the necessity and importance of children receiving an education.

I just finished reading and reviewing a book called Creating Room To Read by John Woods which is about the importance of education. Mostly, children living in poverty around the world who do not have access to books or schools.

Help One Now is helping children in Haiti which Unicef reports the education statistics are very bleak.

When we watched the video of Naiderson, we were very sad. After the earthquake in Haiti, it left children like Naiderson without schools.

I’ve learned by John Wood and Nick Kristof that children receiving an education is one of the ways to break the cycle of poverty.

In the days ahead, I will be blogging more about the work Help One Now is involved in and how you can get involved or help.

If you are moved to give, just click on the photo above to donate towards this cause. Any amount will be helpful and appreciated.


It’s Not About Us

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27

I remember when I first read the above bible verse. It was as if the words jumped up from off the page and hit me in the face.

These words went deep into my heart, never to be forgotten.

My heart has always been for the children; the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the abused, the neglected and the orphans.

This was even before I had children of my own.

My husband remembered my sponsoring children from Compassion International when he first met me.

My desire has been and will always be to help in some small way and make a difference to children in need.

But honestly, I can’t do it alone. I realize that no matter how much I try to help, it isn’t enough.

Recently, a sweet sister in the Lord who lives in Pakistan reached out to me. She is a young girl who has dedicated her life to feed orphans in the town where she lives. The need is so great there and the money she receives unfortunately doesn’t suffice.

I am troubled by this. I am troubled by the fact there are children who are hungry and have no family.

I personally give to the capacity I am able, but again, it’s not enough.

This grieves me and I find myself crying out to God for help.

The burden is great.

Recently, I watched a movie by Tyler Perry called “Good Deeds”. I am happy it had a Hollywood ending, but the entire time I watched, I suffered. There was this one character who was a struggling single mother.  She was evicted from her apartment in the worst way. She became homeless overnight and had to live in her car with her young daughter. It was a sad situation and it broke my heart.

I know there are countless women in the USA alone in dire straits, trying to make ends meet to feed and care for their children or are homeless and living in shelters.

The needs are great.

Which is why I became a Compassion International blogger, because I want to make a difference somehow and in some way to help children around the world.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my dream isn’t about me, my blog isn’t about me, my writing isn’t about me. It’s all about Jesus, His dream and His heart for His children throughout the world.

My life isn’t about me, it’s about Jesus. It’s about living His Word to the best of my ability. His Word is the rulebook for our life. As Christians, we need to follow what it says and not live our lives according to ourselves, our dreams, our motivations or our desires.

We are to live our lives helping and serving others, being the hands and feet for Jesus on earth.

This is why the above verse means so much to me, because I believe this is God’s heart and dream for mankind.

For those of us who say we love Jesus, we are to love what He loves and obey His Word by caring for the widows and orphans.

We must realize that God’s dream is much bigger than our own dreams. The gifts He gives us is not to be used for ourselves, for our gain or recognition, but for His cause and His cause alone.

We all can do our part and make a difference, even if it is just donating a dollar to help a hungry child. Any little bit would help.

Won’t you join Children International by helping them fulfill God’s commission here on earth by donating any amount or sponsoring a child today?

What Does Giving Look Like?

When I was growing up, giving looked like a table full of  home made food. My family toiled at making delicious dishes while I delighted in the aromas that filled the house.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Now that I’m older and have a family of my own, I try to emulate my family’s tradition.

My father is a chef. He grew up in a poor fishing village. As a child he suffered terrible hunger and poverty.

He would always tell me stories about his childhood. How there was no food and many times he would go to bed hungry.

I learned about poverty through my father. I grew up privileged in the sense that I had a roof over my head, food to eat and clothing on my back.

Cooking was an act of giving in our home. My father grew up not having food, so he always made it a point to feed the homeless. He never forgot where he came from.

My father’s life and example taught me to be compassionate toward others in need. Which is why I love supporting organizations like Compassion International. They are doing a wonderful work helping children in need.

Right now, they are having a campaign to raise $20,000 for children living in poverty. If you would like to sponsor a child or donate to the Compassion International Christmas Catalog, please click here.

What does giving look like to you?

Sex, Lies and Children

This image is haunting, isn’t it?  So is the reality of child sex abuse. Everywhere I turn, there is a horrific story of yet another child victim by a sex predator. I am sure you have heard or read stories of the Roman Catholic Church and the Penn State scandal. Last week, I came across this shocking story in the New York Times, “Prep-School Predators” which had my head spinning. I recently came across this article regarding the Poly Prep scandal in Brooklyn, New York. However, this story really takes the cake.  I am so glad the father was not charged for protecting his five-year old daughter.

Stories like these and others, such as a survivor and author George Molho, who wrote Scarred really troubles me. I’m continually confronted with the thought that more needs to be done to help stop sexual abuse and trafficking around us. Child sexual abuse, pornography and sex trafficking is an epidemic and it is getting worse by the second.

Today I read a story in CNN about child sex trafficking in the Midwest. This happens every day, right under our noses and yet we can’t seem to figure out how to stop it. I shied away from writing about this topic because I’ve been told it’s not uplifting, positive or encouraging. However, I just can’t sit around and watch from the sidelines or keep silent anymore. Something needs to be done.  This isn’t something any of us can ignore or avoid anymore. This has become a huge problem.

I honestly can’t understand what would possess a grown man (or woman) to want to have sex with a child?  Nor can I fathom why anyone would enjoy watching child porn either. But this is really happening, it’s rampant and in demand.  It’s also vial, disgusting and the epitome of evil. I wish I could stop it from happening and rescue every child.

We, as a nation, society and/or community, can no longer afford to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to what is happening to our children. We can no longer pretend it’s not happening. I believe we need to unite, pray, intercede, stand in the gap and take action whenever God opens a door.

What do you think? Do you believe we can make a difference?