Hello Friends and Family! Hope that you are all filled with the joy of Christmas and hope for the New Year.
For me, this article God Came Down pretty much sums up why we celebrate Christmas. It is not so much about the food and gifts but how God came down from heaven to be poor so that we may become rich for those who believe.
This year has been an awesome year where my family and I were able to stretch and grow. We took our first Mission Trip (thanks to the support of our friends and family who prayed for us and partnered with us to provide medical supplies and humanitarian relief). My husband and I were ruined for life (in a good sense). God opened up our eyes and we realized our marriage wasn’t so much about who is right and filling in the gaps and attaining certain things and social status and pedigrees, but focusing on God’s mission and how we can serve his people locally and globally. We went from “Hollywood” to the “Holy Word” first. Seeking God’s heart takes the focus from our selfish selves and we now don’t fight as much.
Raising our son also has taken a different turn. I used to work in College Recruiting and visited many universities so I got to dream how I would push my child to a higher education in order to attend these prestigious universities. I got to visit Georgetown one year before I got married and had a child. I imagined how my child would attend Georgetown and I would own a condo near M Street and be able to eat at Moby Dick’s Kabob House and shop at the Georgetown Shops nearby. That’s not my focus so much any more, but rather on my son to focus on Kingdom living first and all the rest can follow.
My essential oil business continues to grow and my team and I are able to make ripples that are stretching out to far communities (even globally now). I love hearing how:
- Homes are getting healed and children are bringing the oils to school that their Moms concocted for them to help them breathe or boost their immune system and also help them focus, stay alert and get top grades in their tests
- Many of my clients are taking less medications because the oils have helped them boost their immune system, making them feel calmer and at peace, and have less muscle aches and pains
- Husbands are happier with their wives when they use hormone balancing oils like lavender, frankincense and clary sage. The husbands thank me and ask if I sell the oils by the gallons. They say it is like night and day!
- After hospitalization or surgery, my clients diffuse the oils in their homes and the doctors are amazed at how fast they recovered without infections
My business leaders also continue to grow and stretch with me and we are finding so many creative ways to share the wellness and get people to a healthier state.
I’ve been asked to join WWOW where I now serve as an advisor on their board. Candace Tubera is a great leader to follow because of the way she serves. We are growing and empowering other women. I also started mentoring people in my community. This makes me feel old, but thankful that through many lessons and mistakes I’ve learned from, I can now serve and mentor the younger generations.
My husband, son, and I continue to grow with the River of Life Family Church. We have been mentored by Pastor Randy and his family and we have been able to do so much with him. Without their support, my husband and I would have been divorced by now. Some of the awesome things(to name a few) we got to do with them are:
- Vacation Bible Study
- Kid’s Club
- Trailblazers (A mountain biking crew my husband started)
- Philippines Mission Trip
- Be a part of the Process Improvement Team
- Feed the homeless
- Facilitate Financial Peace University
I went back to Corporate and took a job over the summer, and while I loved reporting directly to a great Chief Financial Officer, worked for an awesome CEO who told me I had a job with him whenever I wanted to return, met new and great friends, got to eat out at fancier restaurants with my family and got to shopping again, I realized the job didn’t align to my life mission (Connect, Enhance Wellness, and Benefit the World). I prayed and prayed and within a month, one of the missionaries and doctors I served with in the Philippines offered me the dream job of doing events with the community, marketing and managing volunteers in the medical field. The office also happens to be around the corner from my house! The business also funds a foundation to do missionary work locally and around the world. This opportunity was right up my alley.
The only catch was that it would pay half my salary and on top of that, I was about to get promoted in Corporate with stocks! My CFO was just waiting for me to decide to become full time. My husband cried when I told him I wanted to take the lower salary so I could be more aligned with God’s mission. My faith in God never staggered and I knew we would always be ok financially because God has always provided. He gave me visions of serving, traveling the world and being able to eat at all the local markets coz He knows how I love food. God has opened up my husband’s heart and he has been supportive and sees the bigger picture of the exciting things to come. My husband works hard every day in sales to be able to give us shelter, food on the table, and a little extra for relaxation. And for that I am so grateful.
I now work at With Grace Hospice serving our community. We are a Christian Based Hospice but we serve everyone no matter what the religion. I’ve already seen so much growth within the 3 months I’ve been there and God has been opening so many doors to elevate the business. I’m more on the lighter side as our Health Aids, Chaplain, Nurses and Doctor does a lot of the heavy lifting with our patients. In Hospice, I get to share the power of the essential oils. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting paid to play, which is a great sign that you are doing what you love and are designing your life. I work closely with the elderly and the Memory Care Units and love seeing how certain scents light up our patient’s faces.
We are also forced to deal with the death and dying process in this profession. On Monday, I visited a patient to drop off poinsettias for Christmas. I didn’t plan on staying because I had 3 more deliveries, but his wife was so warm and asked me to come inside so that is what I did. As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a big loving hug from our patient who was hooked up to an oxygen tank. We talked for almost a good hour and I fell in love with him and his wife. He was determined to live and fight his illness. They were both so filled with life. He said he grew up as a hillbilly and his wife was born on Lundy Avenue(the same street where our office is located) in the 40’s. Both their minds were clear, sane and strong, but bodies have weakened through time. The common theme was how they wished they could get out more but it was really hard because any little effort would impact the husband’s breathing. They wished they could walk their dogs and go eat out to Sizzler. I thought it was doable for me to take them out because I used to take my Grandfather(who died of lung cancer) out often with his oxygen tank and wheelchair in tow inside my little 4 door Honda Civic.
Our patient said he loved 60’s music. This was perfect because my pianist volunteer who is a SVP of a company in Palo Alto just got back from travels and he said he was ready to start ASAP so I had plans of having him and my other vocalist volunteer visit our patient and have a mini 60’s jam session in his house next week. I got back to work and told my manager and coworkers I had fallen in love with our patient and his wife.
On Tuesday night, he called our nurse having a hard time breathing. His health declined from there and on Thursday, he passed away. I thought he would’ve at least made it past February, but I guess it is all up to God’s timing. The thought of him brings so much tears to my eyes because he had the same spirit to live like my Grandfather. My Grandfather was up beat when he had visitors and loved to laugh and tell stories along with them, but there was the agony of being able to catch a single breathe when he was alone. I don’t think I fully got to grieve my own Grandfather’s passing because I had to be the strong one for my Grandmother and family. To show any sign of great mourning would dampen their spirits. Our patient’s passing allowed me to grieve, let out some major tears, and allowed myself a little healing and for him I am most grateful. May he rest in paradise.
We also have another patient who has told our nurse that he is ready to leave the earth and meet his wife and Creator Jesus, and hopefully on Christmas! What a different and radical way to view death! Since the staff is around death and dying so much, one thing that they’ve found is the big difference in a house of believers versus a house that does not believe. You can only imagine that there is so much more peace when you know where your soul and the continuation of your energy will go when you have the Faith, Love, and Hope in Jesus. Just a thought to ponder and not to offend anyone.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this and I hope to work with you this upcoming year to add value to this world.
Ralph, Royce and I are returning to the Philippines this February along with the other missionaries to finish the Water Project we started with the Aeta Tribes as well as provide medical and humanitarian supplies to other parts of the country. I’m excited to visit an orphanage with 87 kids and also serve the poor people in the area where I grew up in the Philippines! We will be partnering with my Godparents who built a Catholic Church and we will set up our relief efforts in the Church.
The website is now set up so you can donate online and partner with us. Go to: http://2015.rolfcsj.com
*Click on Donate
*I would Like To Designate This Donation To A Specific Amount
*Drop Down to Ralph and Grace Castro
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I am also organizing a Comedy Fundraising Event sponsored by With Grace Hospice on January 29th at River of Life Family Church. Stay tuned for more info.
Have fun celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and creating more memories with your loved ones!
Ralph, Grace and Royce Castro