Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Monday’s Manna from Castro’s Corner @ Chicklit Power

Monday, April 28th, 2014
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Happy Monday!

My wife Kay and I had a great conversation last night; we somehow got onto the topic of the aging process. I think it all started when Kay asked me what we should plan for our birthdays, since they’re only five days apart. Before I could respond she looked at me, froze, and with a serious face she said, “Garrett, you’re turning 28…that’s old!” I laughed about it but then I suddenly went into quarter life crisis mode. “I am getting old!” I responded.

As Kay was planning our birthday weekend getaway I began realizing that she just identified the correlation to my chronic lower back pain, premature wrinkling, and suppressed metabolism. Oh to be young again! Kay, observing my concern, reminded me “Gar, don’t worry…40 is like the new 30!” She always knows how to cheer me up…

Looking back at our conversation I’m reminded of how resilient the human body truly is. We are wonderfully made. We have the ability to feel pain, through a series of chemical reactions that occur within the body. We have the ability to identify certain smells and catalog these for later use. God has given us eyes, that have the ability to focus and adjust to light with such ease, that no camera will ever be able to replicate. God has given us the ability to hear through tiny vibrations that occur within the membranes of the ear. And let’s all thank the Good Lord for our ability to taste. My Coconut Ice Cream is beckoning. How is it that our taste buds can communicate to our brain that the stomach and G.I need to prepare for the absorption of nutrients once I place that delicious bite of Coconut Ice Cream on my tongue?

That same day I began watching a movie titled Evolution Versus God. In the film, multiple students and professors are interviewed and asked questions about their beliefs in evolution. The interviewer asked every student and professor to give an example of observable evidence of a change of kinds, for example- the assumed link between the monkey and the human. Many students were completely stumped by the question and a majority said that they had faith in the scientists that advocate Darwinism evolution. Many students, who didn’t know how to answer the question, simply brought up examples of adaptive responses, such as the changing of bird’s beak size as a way to adapt to its ever-changing environment. A professor who was interviewed used the example of bacteria and stated that a certain type of bacteria change, since they can produce new metabolic capabilities. But it’s still bacteria!

I encourage you to take some time to watch this short film. We know God is sovereign, therefore we know that God has the ability to create something out of nothing. The late Pastor Chuck Smith summed it up best when he replied to the question of an atheist regarding evolution. He stated “Every creation demands a creator.” Our ability to understand science coincides with our own beliefs through faith in the Bible. The secular world will do everything they can do disprove our belief in creation, but doesn’t it take more faith to attempt to disbelieve? I want to leave you with a verse out of Colossians 1:16- “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him.” God Bless you and have a Great Week!

In His Love,






Garrett Castro

P.S. Join Steve & Evinda as they pick up where they left off on Blog Talk Radio with How to Love Who You Love! They will be finishing up the pleasing imprint! Are you the one always trying to please in your relationships? Tune in!

Tasty Words from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

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Thanks so much for joining me today for the conclusion to our March Words of Wisdom and Weapons of Warfare. Grab your coffee and let’s get back to these tasty words found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

So we’ve been encouraged by Paul that even in light of disagreement with others and their beliefs, we are to add sweetness to our words with the spice of grace. He then continues to add flavor by saying: “. . . seasoned with salt that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Well, if grace is the sugar, what is the salt? In Ephesians 4:29, Paul warns us about corrupt words coming out of our mouths and to make sure that what comes out is good for necessary edification and that it imparts grace to the hearer. So is the “salt” necessary edification? Let’s explore that through the Greek concordance.

Ouch! Salt translates to “prudence.” So in other words, we must be slow to speak, not only think before we speak, but pray before we speak.

Metaphorically speaking, salt refers to character and condition of the believer. Salt is also used as a metaphorical symbol of peace and of wisdom.

Did you know that salt has purifying, perpetuating and antiseptic qualities? Think about it: salt on a wound does what? Salt on sweet fruit does what? Can you see the significance of your salty words?

Jesus used salt figuratively as a symbol of spiritual health and vigor which is essential to Christian virtue and counteracts the corruption that is in the world. Is it any wonder that a sign of our Spiritual health is revealed in and through our Tasty Words?

Oh, to be more sweet and salty . . .


2014 HeadshotP.S. Happy happy b-day to one of my forever friends, Nancy . . . may this year’s celebration be the best yet and may the memories you make squeeze your heart with love and joy for years to come! I love you.


Nana Holds From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

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Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to join me for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power. Grab your coffee and let’s go party!

So it wasn’t just the timing of the event colliding with Bryden’s birthday that kept it simple, but our desire to not send a mixed/wrong message to this incredible three-year-old. So we planned a birthday dinner and I just know that the guests who came were his favorite people: Grandma and Tauntie Bre, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lauren and of course his cousins Dillan & Ty-Ty and then Papa and Nana.

We shared a meal, laughter, conversation, all of our attention focused on Bryden, and each other. We were all there for the same reason, to celebrate the gift of Bryden, but deep down inside, I was celebrating so much more. I loved just watching it all, the happy and easy chatter of family loving on family, the innocence and joy shared among the three little ones in between yummy bites of Mexican food who were so excited to be together again.

The moments we shared at dinner squeezed my heart with a genuine thankfulness for all that we had come through. It’s because I do look back that I can appreciate my present even more. There is something about looking back on the pain and struggle that make the victory all the more sweet; don’t you think?

After dinner, we came home and had birthday cake, ice cream and a few presents. It was just the right balance of everything, not too much and not too little. In the years to come, I hope and pray that when Bryden looks back on this birthday, his heart will burst forth with a smile that only the experience of the greatest gift, love, can bring.

And though there are no pictures to memorialize this event because they were on my phone which was crushed on the freeway, the memories are etched into the deepest parts of my heart, coming to surface every now and then as I relive these precious moments of Nana Holds and helping to put so many other pieces of my life into perspective!

Join me tomorrow for the continuation of the journey in this season of Nana Holds.


Nana Holds!

Nana Holds!

Nana Holds From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

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Thank you for joining me today for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power. Grab your coffee and let’s go talk about birthdays and the way we celebrate them.

In this season of Nana Holds, I have been given many do-overs, second chances to get some things right. See, looking back on my parenting of my son, there are some mistakes that glare back at me more than others, and their glare has proven powerfully helpful in parenting Bryden. For example, because of everything I didn’t have as a child, I was going to make sure that my son did have, and then some! Birthdays and holidays were excuses to spoil him with presents in an effort to fulfill all of his wants, not just his needs.

Big mistake, really big! But oh, how thankful am I for His redemption and I so love His sovereignty that works all things out for good and His glory. This is kind of a random off-the-subject thought, but do you ever wonder what your life would have been like if only you knew then what you know now? At least He uses it to weave beauty in the tapestry of our testimony!

So, getting back to this, we had decided even after realizing that the event was on his birthday, that we didn’t want to throw a jinormous party that feeds a sense of entitlement. Now hear me out and don’t go getting all upset on me. 🙂 We actually had one of those for him on his 2nd birthday and while it was super fun getting together with friends and family – which is a major part of it all – a two-year-old tends to get a bit overwhelmed and over-stimulated as he/she is opening package after package after package. Are the presents a sign of love?

When we have these gigantic parties that include presents for our kids, it does tend to feed a sense of entitlement. I know that now. I finally figured that out, all these years later when my son has affirmed this. It was several Christmases ago when I began to chillax about crazy-gift-buying escapades and showering everyone with at least a dozen boxes. I kept it simple and thoughtful and afterwards, he came up and hugged me and said it was the best Christmas he had ever had!

While I realize that these types of parties are generational traditions, I do wonder what it would look like if we celebrated with words of affirmation, fellowship and just two or three gifts. Can’t we celebrate a child without feeding the expectation of a present?

That’s just some food for thought and I’d love to hear your thoughts, too. Join me tomorrow for the sweet and simple celebration we had for Bryden’s 3rd birthday.

In His grace,


Nana Holds!

Nana Holds!


Nana Holds-from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heart

Thanks so much for joining me today for Coffee Hour and more of Nana Holds. If you’ve never read this blog before, go ahead and check out the archives because this is a true life-changing story/blog that began last year and the process of transformation is its theme. Oh, how beautiful is the reality of the necessity of the love and grace of Christ! Grab your coffee and come on in.

Before I share the thought-provoking statement that Steve put before me, let me share where I was at emotionally. I’m a week or so away from our next event; just coming off of steroids and still in MENOPAUSE! Need I say anymore? All right; so I’ll explain some inside stuff.

Have you ever had those times where you just needed to get some answers from someone you know that you know will be honest? This was one of those times. There were many circumstances that He was orchestrating in order to bring painful revelations right smack in front of my face, things that I had to confront, questions I had to ask and seek answers for. Steve was my go-to person, a man after God’s heart and Christ-like in so many ways.

It was before we went on the air for our Blog Talk Radio show that he and I do every Monday. Since November, we have been talking about co-dependency, which is the relationship-killing disease, sharing how it starts, its symptoms, and eventually we knew we would get to and through the breaking-free process. By this time, I was sharing real-life examples of opportunities to practice what I was learning so I would share them on the air. In no way was this to bash anyone else, but to share my transformation process so others would be encouraged in their process.

Well, as I said it was before we went on the air and I was sharing with him that I was confident about little and confused about much. I was in desperate need of an assistant for CPM, court-reporting less, and sensing changes around the corner. I was completely overwhelmed with life, feeling like I was in over my head. Could it be that that is when we have a hard time seeing the answer right in front of us? Oh, how much easier to see it when we are out of it, past it.

And then Steve said something that I so didn’t understand then but I do now: “I don’t think you have completely accepted the Bryden piece. You’re still trying to fit him in!” Well, his words rendered me speechless. He went on to admit that he didn’t think he could do what George and I had agreed to do, take full responsibility at our age and set aside our own agendas. Even though he empathized with the difficulty of it all, I was still stuck on his profound statement, the one that brought with it too many unasked questions because of its ambiguity.

Jesus loves him to pieces!

Jesus loves him to pieces!

The one truth I did pick up almost instantaneously was that I was missing something, like reaching out my arm in the dark, knowing I was supposed to catch something, grab a hold of something, but as soon as I would touch what I thought it might be, it would slip out of my reach. Its mystery continued to haunt me.

After the show, the questions came back through the corridor of my mind, knocking on the door of my heart. I wondered if these questions and their answers were to free me or confuse me. The only way I would know is to keep going forward, seeking Him for clarity found in integrity, an undivided heart. That is evidenced in this journal entry, just days before our event and Bryden’s third birthday:

Oh, Father, that I would allow You to help me make the changes that are coming. Help me hear You. Fill my bones with Your Joy; revive them. Show me what I need to set aside so I can come face to face with more of my symptoms of co-dependency, especially the truth that I’ve been squishing and pushing my needs down for so many years that I’ve come to survive instead of thrive. Thank you for bringing this little boy into my life to teach me how to love and be loved.”

Whew, that was a big piece, but there are still many to pick up and look at! Join me Thursday for more of Nana Holds.

Breaking free from me,


Nana Holds!

Nana Holds!


Nana Holds-From Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power

Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thank you for coming by for a little break at Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power! Grab your coffee and let’s get back to the guardianship hearing. We are before Her Honor and just about to conclude!

After Her Honor matter-of-factly stated she couldn’t order Bryden’s mother to a court-appointed specialist, she suggested that we go to another department to begin that process. My heart sank to the floor but I knew what she was saying was true. She was the judge for guardianship matters, not child protection services. My mind was racing ahead thinking of that mountain to climb, trying to hang on to the positivity of having gotten all this paperwork done and paid for. I was off in my own world for a moment and then she looked directly at George and me and added a “however”: If you feel it’s not in the child’s best interest to be around the mother unsupervised, then you don’t let the child be with the mother unsupervised. Her look became unwavering as if to drive her words deeper: You as the guardians do everything for this child as a mother and father would.

She then repeated the agreement between bio mom’s parents and us, that is one overnight visit per month to be worked out between the parties, and then repeated how important it was going to be for this child to have a lot of family in his life.

I did agree with her to a point and would even agree with her wholeheartedly if we were dealing with emotionally stable

wearing Nana's glasses!

wearing Nana’s glasses!

family, but our history with them has revealed something completely different. As the judge repeated the agreement in its entirety, I felt a sense of relief because at least now there was a boundary drawn, an understanding that we didn’t have to let them take Bryden every other week, which is what we had been doing up until this point, and that was definitely going to go a long way in bringing some stability and structure into this amazing little boy’s life. Our hands were no longer tied and the word “No” was now added to our visitation vocabulary!

Once the judge read the agreement and order she looked at George and me again: “I want to thank you for stepping up in this child’s life.” Then she looked at all of us: “Thank you for working through all of this and keeping the child’s best interest in mind. I realize how difficult these situations can be and you’ve all done a good thing by working it out.”

The gavel came down and she stood. We all walked out of the courtroom and George and I walked out with something we didn’t have until that very moment: Guardianship of Bryden! It was a birthday I know my husband will never forget, a gift that could match no other and while that gift came with a huge responsibility, there was definitely relief wrapped up in the reality of the responsibility.

Thanking Him for His ways . . .


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Nana Holds

Monday, January 14th, 2013
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thanks for joining me today for more of this life-changing series, Nana Holds. At least it’s changing my life and I pray that if there are any other nanas out there entrusted to care for their grandchild or grandchildren that they would be greatly encouraged through these words. Grab your coffee and come on in. We were at our first court appearance but we are not alone.

Though the courthouse is anything but unfamiliar to me, the thought of being on the other side of the bench was not a comforting one. Being in the court-reporting chair and being at counsel’s table before the court is definitely two different experiences! But let me tell you what happens before we get there.

I was trying to think of a name to give Bryden’s mom out of respect for her privacy and the first thing I thought of was BM for biological mom, but I better not do that because it could also stand for something else and that wouldn’t be very nice:)  We’ll just call her bio mom.

She came toward us and was very cordial. She seemed a bit anxious, as we all were, but nothing out of the ordinary. What

Bryden in his room with his toys

Bryden in his room with his toys

was somewhat out of the ordinary is the amenable attitude towards us, considering the situation. I mean, we are literally saying we don’t believe she should get custody of her son so I’m sure you can imagine how awkward it was, or at least could have been.

But she seemed to have sanity wrapped around her, at least for the days surrounding this process, and as the Court questioned her, she responded, and quite confidently, that considering the circumstances, and in light of where she was living — she was staying with her grandma who lives in a seniors only apartment complex and no children are allowed — the best place for her son to be was with us. “However, she said, I do have a declaration I’d like to file in rebuttal.”

I could tell the Court was trying to hide her disregard for bio mom’s ignorance of court rules and procedures as she looked up and matter-of-factly replied, “Then I suggest you get it filed according to the rules of Court before the next court date because I can’t look at it until it is.”

I turned my head to hide my internal smirk that I just know was about to bust outward and then looked back again as the Court declared: “This court awards temporary guardianship of Bryden Lepins to George and Kim Lepins. The next court date to establish permanent guardianship is September 24th. Thank you very much.”

I turned to George and he and I smiled at the irony of the court date. We would be appearing before Her Honor on my husband’s birthday!

Join me Wednesday for more of Nana Holds.



IMG_8444-2 blog

P.S. Join me and Steve today at for more on breaking free from co-dependency!

Beyond Christmas – From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry, Merry Christmas to you and all your family and those you hold dear. I just have one thought to share with you today, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Grab your coffee and come on in.

I was sharing with a close friend and fellow board member of CPM the other day about some things that may be transpiring with the ministry and out of my mouth this flowed so I thought I’d share it with you. I hope it tugs on your heart and helps to refresh your faith as it has mine.

You may not see what He’s doing or how He’s working in your life, you may even be wondering if He hears you. If so, this truth is for you:

He’s up there wrapping presents that you and I can’t see!

Have yourself a beautiful Christmas and may His presence in your life be your best present ever!


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Power Friday from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thanks so much for joining us for our Power Friday @ Chicklit Power! Grab your coffee and come on in for a few!

So in keeping with our current Blog Talk Radio show topic, co-dependency, what it is and what it isn’t, I’d like to share this thought/truth with you that I have to admit pierced my heart with conviction! But not condemnation! I am so thankful that He is so patient as He continues to pursue me, prune me and purify me. I hope this truth resonates in your heart and you are able to pass it on to others:

When you are committed to everyone, you’ve committed to no one!

Wow, that one packs a punch, especially to all of us women who wear more than one hat, huh! For me, this powerful truth hits home in the area of ministry and marriage. Have a great weekend and commit to being in the memories you create!





P.S. Happy, happy birthday to my sister Karen! I hope the memories you create today squeeze your heart with a smile for years to come and that you come closer to knowing just how much you are loved and valued.


Bondage Maker or Bondage Breaker? July’s WOW from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Coffee Hour!

Welcome back to our WOW for July! Grab your coffee and let’s get back to this process that doesn’t seem to make much sense right now, but I promise, it will, and hopefully by the end of our little coffee break today! 🙂

I was so excited when I looked up the Hebrew definitions for forgive/forgiveness because they lined right up with the psychological definition which Steve shared with us on Saturday! Woo-ho, tie another knot in our string of faith! Here goes: “To lift, to bear, to carry, to give up, to pardon.

After reading that, I’m sure there can be some confusion, because there’s really only one who can bear all our junk, but stay with me for a bit here! 🙂

Now let me first give you sort of a mental picture. In your mind, picture someone who has done something that has hurt and/or offended you. Now imagine that person ten to twelve feet in front of you. Around his/her neck is a collar with the word guilt on it, and attached to that collar is a chain. You look down and you are able to see that the chain is reaching all the way across to you! It’s not just near you, though; it is actually hanging from a wrist band around your wrist and if you look, you can easily see the “hurt” written on your wristband attached to that chain, aka, your offender!

Who has the greater power; the offender – the one who hurt you — or the offended — you?

See, forgiveness works like a chain saw that breaks the chain that holds you hostage to your offender! Nothing else can break those chains. When you bear the offender’s burden, aka, the offense, the offender is no longer responsible to you for it. So, because of that, the collar of guilt around his/her neck comes off. Then when you and I give that offense/burden over to God, we no longer have any responsibility for it, and we no longer wear the wristband of hurt or the chain it comes with us. We are FREE!

What we must keep reminding ourselves is that God may yet deal with the offender, but that is no longer your concern! You are a bondage breaker, not a bondage maker! How appropriate to end the day before the day we celebrate our freedom! Have an awesome 4th of July celebration and enjoy your God-given freedom!

Back to Single by Evinda Lepins

The Book that started it all is RELEASED!




P.S. Something tells me I’ll be doing a series on forgiveness, so we’ll be spending a few coffee hours on this topic! And one more thing: I’d like to wish someone incredibly special a most beautiful birthday. Susie, may the memories you create today squeeze your heart with love and laughter! Your friendship makes me a better me!