Month: December 2014


When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello to ring in New Year

When life gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade and I make Limoncello. With everything going on in the past year, I’ve chosen to close the New Year with a Limoncello martini. Using my own homegrown lemons, this lemon-infused Skyy Vodka is delish! I think you’d agree! Here’s the perfect recipe to turn sour situations into sweeter occasions.

The cocktail concoction takes 10 days for the lemon peels to be infused in the Skyy Vodka. You’ll need the following ingredients:

10 lemons
Skyy Vodka or vodka of your choice
Peppermint flakes
Mint (optional)
Glass container

Simple syrup ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

I take the peels of the lemons and pour Skyy Vodka into my glass container. (You can freeze the lemons to use in a smoothie or make lemonade for the children.) I let the peels sit and only stir once daily. On the tenth day, I remove the lemon peels. Then, I boil water and sugar then pour it into the Limoncello. I let it chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Afterwards, I take my martini glass and dip the rim in lemon juice then dip in ground up peppermint flakes or sugar. Pour Limoncello over ice and top it with a garnishment of mint (optional). You can add a mint leaf if you’d like. This Limoncello martini has been the hit of several holiday parties. And I can’t wait to welcome the new year with this martini!

I’m getting started right now.

Guiding Lesson:

Eve, the Limoncello drink does sound good. I didn’t realize that it took ten days to make.  That is a lot of work so I hope it tastes really good.

When life gives you lemons, what does it take to make something better than what you have been given?  Life is not always fair and throws many unexpected things your way that you can’t throw back.  So what are the secret ingredients of refusing to be stuck with sour lemons?

Well, Eve, I believe you have the secret sauce and it is not the recipe for Limoncello. Eve, it’s your ability to see the solution within the problem. You do this because the problem is not seen as something that is more powerful than you. You see it as another opportunity to use your God-given talents to solve and create a new outcome, a bridge that leads you to a new and better tomorrow. It’s like making Limoncello. The sour lemons are key to making an exciting holiday drinks that you enjoy.  Without the lemons, Limoncello could not exist.

Now this does not mean that you see life through rose-colored glasses because this is not reality. It means that you see the issue, you feel the emotions, but you don’t allow yourself to get stuck in it. You rise up, when you’ve exhausted the emotion and move forward into co-creating a new way of life with God.  It is said that wisdom is found in the very messy and chaotic places of life.  For if you didn’t have the mess and chaos, there would be no need for Wisdom to grace you. Enjoy some Limoncello for me.


Serenity prayer

How Letting Go and Letting God Channeled my Divorce

Serenity prayerBy Caterina Clarke

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to change the things I can;
And Wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer is all about “Letting go and letting God.” It provides perspective when we lose focus and grounds us when we start losing control by wanting more control. It is very powerful when we let go of all false power. So what does this mean during a divorce? Isn’t divorce all about letting go of “what was” and putting the past behind?

In theory, this is correct. In theory, you don’t have to deal with emotions or deep wounds from hurtful words or actions. The reality is it causes those going through a divorce to want to hold on for dear life to possessions, children, territory, identity, and most of all, power. But does it have to be like this or is there hope and steps one can take to move through the process, recognize when you get stuck and move into a new life, one that is better than you imagined?

I had to learn this when I realized my marriage was failing. It ended long before I got divorced. My first inclination was to hold on tight to things that were not meaningful and were a complete waste of time. The tighter I held on, the emptier I was and the unhappier I became. This was not working and I had to take a different approach. I was paralyzed and stuck, not knowing what step to take. This is when I realized that I had to unlearn many lessons so I could learn to walk a new path. I’d like to share a couple of things that were very helpful.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24

This passage woke me up to mystery and power of letting go of what was, letting out my hurts in a healthy way and letting it be, accepting what is. When I tried this, it did feel like dying and falling. I had to be willing to open my hands and lose everything in order to be open and gain something new. It wasn’t about what I could get but about creating space for God to bring about new life. Let it go, let it out, and let it be was my new attitude towards the divorce. This made it easier to live with open arms where abundant life was waiting for me.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me.” John 14:1

Trust is key to any relationship. Divorce is the erosion of trust from things you did or failed to do, till there was no more trust left. The solid foundation became a pile of sand that could not hold your relationship. I needed to trust to get through this. I needed to learn to trust God beyond what I thought was good for me and lean on his thoughts and ways. Every interaction with my ex was challenging and I had to keep my focus on trusting God and not placing unrealistic expectations on my ex and the relationship. It was time to trust in the midst of a storm and know that God was there leading me and him out of it. Yes, I had to see that God was on both sides, loving both of us, and wanting the best for both of us. I learned that trust was the path to freedom regardless of how difficult the situation was.

“Change me, Lord.” (from the book “The Power of a Praying Wife”)

“Change me?” I felt I should be praying, “Change him and I will be happy.” But changing me is all I had any control over. It was useless to try to change him and it was humbling to look at myself and pray this. These are words that do not flow easily from a person going through a divorce, yet can transform everything. This prayer refocused me and helped me see the situation and my ex with new eyes. This allowed me to evaluate the past and see where I had played a part that lead to the divorce. It’s true that no one person has the complete power and control to breakdown a marriage. You enter a dance and whether you lead or respond, each step brings you closer or further away from one another. It’s funny that I learned this from the “Power of a Praying Wife” which helped me learn the “Power of a Praying Ex-wife.”

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
“Forgive us out trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12

Forgiveness . . . I know too well that forgiveness will knock on the door if I want to be healed and released from the past in order to love again. When you read this you tend to assume that you need to forgive your ex. But you can’t rush to true forgiveness. It is a process and a journey of the heart and soul. With great humility, care, and compassion, I learned that I could not forgive my ex, if I did not first forgive myself. I was the one who was persecuting myself and holding myself captive to my own anger and frustration for decisions and actions I took. I didn’t have to look to what my ex was doing because all I needed to do is look in the mirror at the one who needed forgiveness . . . and that was me. Learning to first be merciful and gentle with myself was necessary before attempting to forgive my ex. Internal forgiveness was the key to open up the door to see my ex in me. It gave me permission to be human without the pressure of being perfect.

“I make all things new.” Revelations 21:5

After trusting God, allowing him to heal you, and help you forgive yourself, you are positioned to co-create a new future. This journey allows you to stand on the threshold of a new horizon. One that is calling you forward into a land of second changes, possibilities and hope for a better future. It is now that you are ready to take the next step into your new life, with God, with great trust in him, with humility and compassion for yourself and others. Enjoy your new journey as you pray:

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to change the things I can;
And Wisdom to know the difference. Amen


Caterina Clarke is a Leadership Development Manager in the automotive industry. She is also co-author of MissGuidedMom, offering spiritual direction and insight through Pearls of Grace. She enjoys sipping cups of tea and spending time with her son.

Health & Wellness

Basic steps for a healthier family lifestyle

By Marisol Barrios, MSPA

Introducing my sons to different vegetables, grains, and juicing early on helped me when I became intentional in taking charge of my nutrition. But for a parent who is making lifestyle changes, planning meals when you have young children’s taste buds to consider can be challenging. I asked Pam Mahon, a nutritionist for Wholistic Kids & Families and a nutrition educator for Chow Bella Nutrition, Made Simple, what three ingredients comprise a healthier family lifestyle. Here’s what she encourages families to do:

Eliminate processed foods

Try to eliminate as much process food as possible by finding healthier alternatives. Anything that comes in a package should be replaced with whole foods, foods that are unprocessed or unrefined such as legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Pam suggests choosing rice instead of rice pilaf.

Many families ask her how they can make meal planning quicker, especially working parents. Pam says to choose foods that have less than 10 ingredients that are healthier for you. If you’re in a bind, buy organic rice that is already cooked. She says Trader Joe’s, who’s making a concerted effort to sustainable food packaging, offers an organic frozen rice package that can be made in minutes.

IMG_7570Eat seasonal

Try to eat a color of rainbows. Most people eat the same seven things every week. For each season there is a different fruit or vegetable that is fun and interesting for the family, says Pam. Each week or every other week prepare one of these food items, talk about it and cook it. She suggests children can participate by reading online or finding a fun recipe of a certain kind of melon, figs, or squash they’ve never had. Instead of zucchini squash children can try a butternut or spaghetti squash.

Fall is also an ideal season to add more leafy greens with swiss chard, spinach, kale, mustard greens, and broccoli sprouts. Find ways to purchase these greens and other foods at local Farmers’ markets or cost effective grocery stores like Vallarta Supermarkets, Costco, and Sprouts.


Try to drink pure water and eliminate the sodas, the energy drinks, and decaffeinated beverages. Coconut water is another alternative and contains natural electrolytes unlike other sports beverages with artificial sweeteners. Instead of juices, Pam flavors water with citrus. Instead of artificial sweeteners try switching to herbal mixed teas or blend teas. “You can freeze mint and berries in an ice cube and add that to your water,” says Pam.

Our brain and heart are composed of 73% water. Essential to our health, water serves a number of functions for us. With all the daily activities of a family, the benefits of water can help you and your children focus at work and in school, keep everyone hydrated, and sleep better. On average adults should consume 64 or more ounces a day, and children should have 40 to 64 ounces, depending on age and activity level.


By following these three basic steps, you and your family will be on your way to a healthier year.

To learn more, you can reach Pam Mahon, nutrition educator for Chow Bella Nutrition, Made Simple on Facebook


Mother of two sons, Marisol Barrios, a communications strategist, grace changer, and content creator, is still on a journey of self-discovery and learns many life lessons, primarily how wine and cupcakes can soothe her soul during challenging times.

New Year Resolutions

Video on 5 Tips to Stay Focused with Your New Year’s Resolutions

Download our PDF on the “5 Tips to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions.”

Tell us in the comments what is one New Year’s Resolution you’ll be making for this upcoming year. We’re launching our magazine and excited about the content we’ll be bringing you in 2015!