Category Archives: Eastvale Lifestyle

Lifestyle tips, health and fitness, movie reviews

Give Grace

By Melody Kraemer

The other day I went out to pick up something, and the person didn’t have it out for me. Now it wasn’t just next door; it wasn’t down the street. It was across town. I had packed up my kids and taken them over there, and I was not happy to find out it wasn’t left out for me and the person was not home.

I was a little upset that I had wasted my time, especially since we had agreed on a pickup time.

I drove away thinking I was not returning and how rude this person could be.

I didn’t care about the item anymore. All I thought why how inconsiderate this person was.

I was halfway home when a text said, “I’m so sorry, my day has been crazy, and I just got home. It’s out now; come whenever you want.”

I didn’t want to go back. I was upset that someone had wasted my time. I was upset that this person didn’t do what we agreed on.

At that moment, I felt my heart was being cold. I told myself I’m far from perfect, I forget things, and I live in a crazy world.

What if the shoe was on the other foot? I would want understanding and grace. The word grace kept flowing through my mind.

I turned around and went back to pick it up. It was a heated blanket for my boy; his had broken.

I handed it to him, and he hugged it all the way home with a smile. He plugged it in when we got home, and I had one happy autistic boy.

All it takes at times is to calm our thoughts and give grace because, when we do, the outcome will bless us.

Psalm 103:8 NIV

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Follow her on Instagram @lifewithmelody_k. Tik Tok @lifewithmelodyk and es. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at:

Autism Awareness

By Melody Kraemer

As adults, we seek understanding and knowledge of special needs. We teach our children to read, write and spell. We also teach them to be kind, loving and giving. However, we need to start educating all children about disabilities too. We hear of Autism and know some things about it, and somewhere, it seems everyone knows someone with a child on the spectrum. So when you hear Autism, you are familiar with it. But is that familiarity shared with the younger generation? 

 If we teach Awareness that others are different and God created each child special, then I believe we would have fewer stares and pointed fingers. Plus, have people not get scared or worried when an autistic child is around.

They may even stop asking, “What’s wrong with him/her?”

If we teach the kids now to be understanding and loving towards the special needs community, then as they grow older, they become more compassionate with more understanding, maybe more so than their parents were. If we kept this going through the generations, could you imagine the awareness level of Autism? That is something spectacular to think could happen.

Right now, we have to continue to bring awareness about Autism and educate; I dream that one day that all will understand and be aware of Autism, and we no longer have to bring Awareness.

In the meantime, I’m bringing Awareness where I can. 

I am doing the 2023 Autism Acceptance Walk on April 30th. If you want to join my team, here’s my link

Also, please donate if you are inclined to do so with the link above.

John 15:12-13. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Follow her on Instagram @lifewithmelody_k. Tik Tok @lifewithmelodyk and For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at:

Deciding to Start Therapy

By Nancy Stoops

Deciding to start therapy can be a very hard decision. It’s hard to admit to ourselves that we can’t do it on our own and that we need some help. The truth is even though we take care of ourselves sometimes we need the help of a good doctor or an antibiotic and sometimes surgery. I have always referred to myself as an emotional surgeon. What I mean by this, is that I open you up and help you begin to deal with all of those dysfunctional feelings that are making you feel so bad and so stuck. Starting therapy takes an incredible amount of courage and is a sign of strength not weakness. Please never feel embarrassed that you feel have run out of options and that now you need some help to get through some things.

Over the years I have worked with people 2-91 years of age dealing parenting, drugs, anxiety, depression, autistic spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, appropriate sexual boundaries and so many other issues. Between my groups and my private practice I have literally helped thousands of people learn how to live a happy and balanced life. I want my clients to be healthy mentally as well as physically and spiritually healthy. I think all three of these go hand in hand to maintain permanent well-being.

A good place to start is by visiting one of my groups and seeing if you like my style before you start spending your hard earned money. Keep in mind my co-therapist is a registered therapy dog named Jaida. If you are a dog lover you will have a great team on your side while you are doing some very necessary healing or just getting some tips on how to live more fully!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger. For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909)229-072. You may e-mail Nancy at You may ask Purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at

The Eye of the Beholder

By Michael Armijo

   It was a warm yet windy day filled with strong sorrow. The air reflected a deep sense of respect as people gathered to say goodbye to a friend whose spirit had left the earth. As everyone gathered, the vibrant wooden casket lay atop the ground as the family gathered closely around. The youngest boy, a young man, gazed at the casket while tears of sorrow flowed from his swollen eyes. He walked up and lay his cheek on top of the hard, shiny, wooden box, as his white-gloved hands gently caressed the top of the last home his fathers’ body would ever have. He layed gentle kisses on the top of the casket, as his unconditional love reflected in front of all those who watched. A gentle whisper is heard a row back; “did you see that? how sad.”

   When I heard those words; “how sad,” I felt something deep inside that disagreed. Something that didn’t see the message of sadness when the boy showed his respect to his loved one. Instead, I saw an act of love. A love so strong, it displayed the true meaning of unconditional love. Something deep inside that didn’t care if the world looked on or what people felt. A feeling of purity, of joy, of strength.

   I believe the old saying; “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I believe we all see life in a certain light, and sometimes, in a certain darkness.

   I also believe that when we express the darkness that surrounds our lives, it spreads like a contagious and cancerous disease. It attaches by simple contact, clings like a dependent child, and deteriorates in a short amount of time.

   I’ve learned that opinions are only perceptions of a person’s immediate thinking, and reflections of someone’s inner self. What we see is usually what we feel, what we feel deep inside. Without realizing it, we express past experiences, deep histories, our insecurities of our future; we reflect the perception of our own lives.

   I also believe that when we see life in its darkest hour, we do have the opportunity to see life through the brightest light. For some it’s a short path traveled to a place inside that holds our mind hostage from our heart. For others, it’s a level of confidence that sits deep within that has been damaged by a careless act from an irresponsible adult.

   I believe that the true meaning of life can only be understood through the light of beauty and the inner joy that sets deep in our hearts. I believe the vision of what will come can only be seen through the eyes of a believer. I feel the truest form of emotion can only be felt when a person can feel the presence of a higher power, a stronger entity, something or someone greater than ourselves.

   I understand that life is not always what it intends itself to be, it changes moods like a spoiled child. But I also understand that life can be what we want it to be; all we have to do is apply our hearts in front of our minds. Following what we truly feel and not what we think we see, is the only way to put aside our petty angry thoughts and our insignificant bitterness. Because just as the boy who helped bury his only father, the tears that flow from our swollen eyes are tears of love that can only be seen when beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Growing Up

By Melody Kraemer

We all have heard the phrase, “growing up is hard to do.” But what is even more challenging is watching your kids grow up. They get a little older daily, and you aren’t needed in their lives as much. They reached that Preteen age where yesterday you were “mommy”; today you are “mom.”

What happened to the bright-eyed kids excited to go outside and play? When did they get so big that a kiss goodbye at drop off school is a no-no? Now it’s screen time, video games, and friends.? When it used to be, I’ll miss you, mommy, along with the biggest hug.

Yes, watching babies grow up and move on is heartbreaking, but as a parent, we do our best to raise our children to be good humans out in the world while trying to protect them from the evil around them. All we can do is love our children unconditionally, just as Christ loves us.

As a mom of six, I have four that have flown the coop, and I am so proud of them. I take great pride in who they are. Watching them grow was hard, but letting go was the hardest. My two youngest, who is autistic, will be home for a while, though watching them grow, get bigger, and want to be independent is hard. Hug your babies, cuddle, hold them, and carry them, because one day will be the last time they will be held in your arms or on your shoulders. And before you know it, you will be mom/dad or even Bruh. Every day I’m thankful I still get called mommy here and there.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Follow her on Instagram @lifewithmelody_k. Tik Tok @lifewithmelodyk and es. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at:

Getting Out Of Our Own Way

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

People love to blame others for their failures or for why they haven’t become who they were intended to be. We do this so we don’t have to accept responsibility for getting in the way of ourselves. It’s much easier to convince ourselves that somebody else is to blame for our failures, rather than looking at ourselves.

There is usually a reason we get in our own way. Sometimes we get comfortable in our misery or in our failures to change. I think there is some amount of fear that comes with change. I think there are those that are afraid of success, because it comes with a certain amount of expectations. For me, staying stuck is much more fearful. I think about a human being having so much potential but never seeing that or never becoming who they were intended to be.

You need to take a look at why you keep getting in your own way. Do you fear change? Do you fear success? Do you fear becoming who you were intended to be? Maybe you just don’t feel like you deserve anything more than you already have. Whatever the reason is, you need to get out of your way and stop preventing the good from coming.

You need to tear down the road blocks you have put up and begin to understand just how wonderful you are and how amazing life could be. We all have the potential to be who we are intended to be. The trick is to stop fighting with ourselves and give ourselves permission to overcome our obstacles and to find our true selves. I think what a beautiful world this would be if everybody would allow themselves to be who they are intended to be!!!!!!!!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger. For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at You may purchase Nancy’s latest book Live, Heal and grow at

Oh My Aching Back

By Mark Hopper

As a church pastor I often visited people from our church who were in the hospital. It was an honor to pray with them and encourage them. I did not stay very long. It was usually a short visit to learn about their condition, treatment and how their recovery was going.

Sometimes it was hard to find people in the hospital. Older facilities are not easy to navigate. I wrote a story in my first book about how I got lost in a hospital looking for a patient’s room and how a helpful employee escorted me to my destination.

On other occasions my visit might be interrupted by a doctor who was checking on patients in the hospital. Sometimes the patient from our church would ask me to stay and listen to what the doctor had to say about the patient’s recovery and progress.

Sometimes a therapist would show up to work with the patient while I was in the room. There are physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists in every hospital. They also have respiratory therapists who help both infants, children and adults with breathing problems. I usually finished my visit with a short prayer and then departed to make way for the therapist.

One day I visited a patient who was recovering from back surgery. It had been pretty extensive and the recovery would take time. As I listened to the physical therapist address different aspects of the recovery I was surprised to hear them mention a book was available for a small fee. I don’t remember the title of the booklet but it provided important information about sex after back surgery.

I think the patient was surprised too. However he had left his wallet at home and did not have any money with him. I knew he was interested in learning more so I offered to pay for the book myself. I think he was a little embarrassed but very grateful his pastor was present to purchase the helpful booklet.

There is an interesting account in the Bible when Jesus visited Peter’s home near the Sea of Galilee. Peter’s mother-in-law was very sick with a fever but Jesus healed her and she was able to resume her activities (Mark 1:29-31). Let me encourage you to visit a friend or family member in the hospital. I recommend you not stay too long but I do recommend you bring your wallet in case the patient needs to purchase an informative book!

Prince Charming

By Michael Armijo

I thought it was a war movie, or maybe a history movie; the previews were very realistic. Children played ball while the large planes flew overhead. The camera shot followed the bombs as they landed on the enormous ships. I could see the determined look in the crewman’s eyes as he fired the machine guns at the planes in the sky above. It seemed like a pretty cool action movie, but I was taken by deep surprise as a love story unfolded while watching, “Pearl Harbor.”

In another scene, a young woman departed from a train, and you couldn’t help but notice the beautiful glow on her face. She smiled, convincingly, and carried herself as though her life was like a child’s dream. The gleam in her eye, the uncontrollable smile, the happy pitch in her voice – she was most definitely in love.

As she approached a man, he stood there, handsomely, in his compelling uniform.  With flowers in hand, hat in place, and his love beaming like a proud 10-year-old home run hitter, he obviously desired to be near her. He was in love; free from judgment, free from dysfunction. He stood there and confessed his love for her, and she believed him, because he meant it. He meant every syllable, every vowel, and every adjective that came out of his mouth. He loved her as no other. He loved her unconditionally.

When I saw the reflection of his heart on her face, when I saw her overcome with the power of emotion, I noticed how she felt, and then it came to me. It was obvious that she felt the way she did because he loved her, completely. He stood there in his fairytale book stance, and he proved he was, undeniably, her Prince Charming.

The look in her eyes, the love in her smile, was just captivating. It was right then that I knew he was responsible for her love, and I understood that as men, we are responsible for our partner’s love. It’s our responsibility to provide a strong, loving arena for the one we love, so they have no choice but to feel life is like a Hollywood movie with a storybook ending. I also realized that it’s been years since I’ve seen that movie-like emotion in my wife’s smile. And something surprising came to me:  I am no Prince Charming.

I wondered what it would be like to be someone who was capable of giving their heart to someone else, unconditionally, uncontrollably. I wondered what it would take to love someone and to feel free from fear, to give it all up, opening up to possible pain.

I wanted to be like that actor. I wanted to be someone who was capable of all that emotion. But more surprisingly, I wanted that stature in life, and not for me, but for my wife. I wanted to become something that I wasn’t, so that I could someday stand there like that actor did, at the train station, while my wife’s heart beamed with love for me.  I wanted to be free from all of life’s historical pains, egos, anger, frustration, and unhappiness, so that I could be responsible for her undying love. I wanted her to have this life because deep in my heart I know she deserves it. She deserves to feel the way that young woman did at the train station. She deserves every minute of that joy.

Yes, it was just a movie. But to me, today, it’s real life. Because of a simple, believable moment manufactured by Hollywood, I’m doing all I can to give my wife the love that she deserves. I’m trying my best by forgiving past pain and experiences. I’m letting go of agony that bad love once provided. I’m leaving all the insecurities and the egos in the past. I’m giving her my heart. I’m holding her hand. I’m opening her doors. I’m becoming more patient. I’m learning how to apologize more often. I’m being her friend, and I’m letting her be my friend. I call her, sometimes just to tell her “hi,” or “I love you,” and I have no ulterior motive. I am working so hard to earn her trust, to prove to her that I’m capable of loving. I’m learning how to love again.

And I know that a day will come when she’ll smile brightly. She’ll stand there, and her eyes will glisten with happiness. Her hand will clasp my own. Her hug will be trusting and convincing. She’ll whisper in my ear that she loves me. And she will smile uncontrollably. Then I will know in my heart that that I’ve finally provided her with her fairytale, her movie-like love. And when that day comes I will be able to feel her heart from a million miles away, and I’ll know that I’ve finally become her Prince Charming.

Dead Battery

By Mark Hopper

Many years ago we owned a two-door Dodge Dart with a slant-six engine. I think it was a pretty reliable car but not very practical with two young children in the back seat. We took several family vacations in that two-door car including a trip from Arizona to Colorado in 1977. Members of the Hopper family were gathering in Denver for my Grandmother Hopper’s 75th birthday. We decided to stop at some campgrounds along the way to enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and to reduce spending money on hotels.

I attached a roof rack on the top of the car to help transport the tent, ice chest, sleeping bags and other camping supplies. The trunk was filled with luggage and baby supplies for our new born daughter Trisha. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.

When we got everything and everyone loaded into the car we asked a neighbor to take our picture before we departed. However when I turned the key we discovered we had a dead battery. The neighbor got his car and battery cables to try to jumpstart our car. No Luck. The battery was dead and needed to be replaced.

After we got the kids out of the car I removed the old battery and drove to JCPenney’s to buy a new one. A regular battery in those days was about $35. But they also offered a more expensive battery with a life-time warranty for about double the price. In a weak moment I selected the more expensive option. I bought the lifetime battery. It was one of the best investments I ever made. In the years ahead I think JC Penney’s replaced that battery at least three or four times! I certainly got my money’s worth. Eventually Penny’s stopped selling them.

I don’t think many companies offer a lifetime warranty on their products anymore. But I actually do when it comes to weddings. I tell couples in premarital counseling they can come back to me for help as long as I am still alive on this earth. I promise to be available to meet with them when they have problems in their marriage. I am convinced God can heal and restore marriages if couples are willing to follow His instructions and willing to make changes in their own life. If you are going through difficulties in your life or your marriage, let me encourage you to get help now. Begin with your own life. Read my story about “The Man in the Mirror” in my book Let Me Encourage You. You will be glad you did and your spouse will too.

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at


By Pastor Dennis Morales

“…the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Zechariah was given word that his wife would have a son. His name would be John. John the Baptist would be the one paving the way for the Messiah. Zechariah doubted and was made mute. When John was born, Zechariahs tongue was loosed, and he broke out in song. Prior to this, it was a dark time for Zechariah. We find that sometimes the darkness and difficulty is orchestrated by the Lord. We have valleys and mountaintops all throughout our lives. Most of the time we spend is in the valleys. The place that even Psalm 23 calls “the valley of the shadow of death.” Martin Luther King said that “it is only in darkness that you see the stars.”

I recently experienced one of the most difficult times in my life and ministry. Someone very close to me tragically took his own life. The guilt, darkness, shame, and horror just enveloped me like never before. It was very hard not to feel responsible in some way. I remember reading this verse during this time of darkness. I knew at that moment that the Lord was breaking through. It’s a process, but I can sense the Lord’s presence even in the darkness. The Lord gives His light in the darkness, and it’s also in the darkness that He gives his amazing peace.

If you are struggling, please reach out to somebody. Be candid and real. If you are on the receiving end of a call for help. Do everything you can to stand in the gap and seek help. I am reminded that no matter how thick the darkness, it can’t put out even the tiniest of lights. Scripture says that Jesus is the light of the world. He is the Dayspring, which means He is the first appearance of light or sunrise. God reveals His light through Jesus, who is the Light of heaven who came into the world (John 8:12). A world which is riddled with darkness, pain, sickness, depression, and hate. He experienced the darkness of death when he gave his life (Hebrews 4:15). He died and was buried. But the grave could not hold him. He rose! He conquered the darkness of sin, which is at the core of so much pain in the world. He did it for YOU. Even though we may be in darkness, we could experience His light and His peace. Trust in Him today. He is the Dayspring.

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays 8:30 & 10:30 am at Eastvale Elementary. Visit their website at Download their app to be up to date on all events. Livestream, YouTube live, and Facebook live is available.

Happy New Year

By Melody Kramer

Happy New Year. Another year has come and gone. Be happy, be blessed, and be thankful. I was sitting here thinking and mentally beating myself up for the goals I had set for myself that I didn’t achieve for 2022. Also, for the projects that I said I was going to do and didn’t get done, and for all the time I wasted worrying.  But this verse came across my mind. 

 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I am removing all my anxiety from what wasn’t done or completed to what was done and accomplished. It doesn’t matter if it was on my list of resolutions. Life sometimes seems to take a turn, and what we plan to do is not always what direction God wants us to go in. 

The backyard project may still need to be done. But Spending moments with my kids and seeing them laugh and enjoy life is so much more than a New Years’ resolution that I broke. This year I vowed for 2023 to laugh and smile more,  love deeper, pray a lot harder and walk a little slower and enjoy every step of the way without worrying about what got done or didn’t get done.

Happy New Year to you, and may you take time to smell the flowers, watch a bird fly, count the stars, smile at a stranger, and hug your kids any chance you get, Be blessed, my friends. Have a wonderful New Year.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Follow her on Instagram @lifewithmelody_k. Tik Tok @lifewithmelodyk and es. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at:

2023 The Magic Year

By Nancy Stoops

Happy New Year to all of you wonderful beings. Yes it’s a new beginning for us all. It’s a chance to start fresh and finally become who you are meant to be. The New Year brings unlimited possibilities and new energy that helps us believe, the sky is the limit. The New Year gives us hope and many new chances. I say take these chances and make this year, the best one ever!

Start this process by setting some small very obtainable daily goals. Once you’re in the groove and have met the daily goals, now it’s time to set a realistic goal for the year. You may or may not ever meet the year end goal but it’s all about the steps or the process that we take in our attempt that cause us to change. That’s what I want you all to focus this year. So what if you never get there all the way, you’re certainly moving in the right direction. Be proud of what you are able to do in 2022 and don’t beat yourself up for what you couldn’t do.

I hope you will be good to yourselves this year and finally work toward who you are meant to be. I want you to remember it’s all here for you and all you have to do is believe in yourself and go and get what you deserve. So I dedicate this to all of you in hopes that this will be a magical year. I wish for all of you that you will get out there and find all the greatness that exists in you and our very wonderful world. It all starts by believing in you and I believe in all of you and want you to be the very best you can be. Make 2023 a magical year, the best year of your life!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Nancy is now accepting new clients. She also works as a motivational speaker. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs. For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at

The Loss of Life

By Michael Armijo

   I was very close to my family. I loved them with all my heart. I no longer see any of them. One day I woke up and felt that they had abandoned me. And then I drove them further away by sharing my experiences with the world. I am hurt by the loss of their lives.

   The day I opened up to my father I began a real relationship with the one I feared the most. Although I never had his complete love, I somehow gained his respect by my success and aggressiveness. After we began our journey of becoming emotionally close, one dark night I found him lifeless on the hallway floor. I am hurt by the loss of his life.

   When I met him five years ago, he spoke of fairness and honesty in life. Integrity was high on his list, but it wasn’t necessary. His fatherly personality made me confide and respect him. Eventually he became my boss, both personally and professionally. We shared secrets and feelings. We helped one another and confided in each other. His heart was bigger than anyone I’ve ever met. And then one day he developed cancer. I was forced to watch him die, and I felt helpless. I am hurt by the loss of his life.

   He’s a new friend, and I really like him. He’s a cross between an older brother and a young father. He loves to laugh and shares the same dysfunctions I do. We get along and we really care for each other. He’s now someone who I respect, and I love him very much. I consistently remind him to get plenty of rest, live healthy, and to go to the doctor when he feels sick. But I am very afraid. I worry. I am in fear. I am afraid of the loss of his life.

   They call it condition stimulus. A repetitive action that turns into a repetitive response. I love, and then I hurt. Bring out the meat sauce because I’ve now turned into the Pavlovian dog that I read about in college.

   I have a problem understanding life today; I have a problem loving people who may suddenly leave this earth without warning. I know, any one of us could die at any moment. We can get into a car accident, a plane could fall from the sky, or our heart could just quit without any warning. We cannot control it. This is just the way it is.

   Through these experiences I’ve learned not to wait until tomorrow, but I’ve also learned to be afraid to feel love today. I’m tired of the losses. I’m tired of the pain. The siblings who are hurt and hate. Others who are hurt, attack. The blame. The absurd accusations. I don’t want to go through those things anymore. Lately, I haven’t participated in my community. My heart had felt numb. Personal experiences have pushed painful scenarios within my spirit. I felt the struggle between what is, and what could be.

   Today is a good day. I feel content. I am happy. I know that whatever happens, I will look towards the positive. Whatever darkness that creeps into my life, somewhere, somehow, I will see a light. Whomever I love today, I will love completely, … today. I will not wait to hug. I will not wait to express how I feel. I will not feel pain and anguish without confronting those feelings with those who try to push their hate into my life. I will do this, each and every day, because I choose to no longer feel the sadness. This is the gift I’ve received from those who have passed. I choose to feel the many joys hidden deep inside the experiences of the loss of life.

The Power Of A Child

By Michael Armijo

We go through life and we grow, we build, we conquer, we reach our successful arenas; our niche in life. We overcome things we never dreamt we could possibly overcome. We accomplish the impossible. Then we reflect and feel this power about ourselves, the power of controlling our lives and accomplishing what we need to. We feel strong and purposeful; in control of our own destiny.

And then one day, by an act from God, a 60 pound, 4 foot 1 inch person rips away every sense of power that we’ve worked all our lives to obtain.

I’ve felt helpless at times in my life, but have always felt that I could overcome anything life gives me. But strength, intelligence, and endurance cannot compete with certain elements that come into our lives, seemingly as an act of God.  Only God could show us how love can make us feel powerful…or powerless. 

When her tiny voice cried out I could hear the weakness in the tone. She looked frail, lethargic, and felt much warmer than she should have.  I could sense the virus creeping into her weak little body; she lay exhausted and motionless as her fever climbed to 102 degrees.  My child was sick.

Motivated by strength I rise to the occasion and I’m determined to stay by her side and make her well – for as long as it takes (but deep inside I feel afraid and helpless).  Intelligence kicks in and I start the bath water running and carry her to the cool water.

Feeling even more helpless as her fever hits 104 AFTER the bath, I call for help.  The fear escalates as the paramedics take my child away and I follow them to the hospital.  As doctors and nurses attend to her my eyes fill with tears.  I spend a sleepless night at her bedside. 

I sit slumped over in a chair next to her bed, head in hands, exhausted.  My mind starts wandering, and I begin to wonder, is it worth it?  Is the responsibility of this little person too much?  Does the giving, sharing and loving balance out with the worry and fear?

 And then, I feel this soft little touch on my hand as tiny fingers try to interlace with my own.  I hear this little voice whisper, “I love you, Daddy.”  I feel the tears run down my cheeks and I’m overwhelmed with relief.  I look up at my girl and see a hint of a smile, reassuring me that she is better.  That little ray of sunshine feeds my soul, and I’m feeling better, too 

As she feels stronger, I feel stronger.  I embrace my child and feel some of my power being restored and I begin to understand.  The moment she was born I relinquished all of my power to her.  She is the source that can bring me to the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.

And so it is with children.  They motivate us, give us strength, and show us the power of love.  They are worth every worry, every tear, every laugh, and every moment of our time.  The power of a child is the power of love. 

Out of Gas

By Mark Hopper

One of the biggest adjustments for our children when we moved to California in 1988 was adapting to new schools. Our son started high school, our oldest daughter started middle school and the two youngest continued in elementary school.

My wife and I were committed to getting connected to the teachers and staff at each school. One of my first memories was attending Back to School Night at Diamond Bar High in the fall of 1988. I quickly learned that parking was at a premium. I finally found a parking spot down the hill on Brea Canyon Road a few blocks from the school.

This was my first experience going to an event at the high school. I was amazed at how many parents attended. It was a bit intimidating trying to find my son’s classrooms on this huge campus. But I was glad I was there to learn more about the school and the faculty.

At the end of the evening I walked down the hill and found my car. However when I tried to start my car I discovered I was out of gas. How did that happen? I’m sure it was my wife’s fault.

We did not have cell phones in 1988. I knew there was a pay phone by the front of the school. But my wife had gone to the open house at the Middle school and she was not home. I had no way to reach her.

I finally decided to try to coast down the hill on Brea Canyon Road and  see if I could make it all the way to the gas station at Diamond Bar Blvd which was probably a half-mile away. Most of the parents were gone and there were not many cars on the road. So I turned my headlights on and put the car in neutral and used my brakes to slow my speed.

I knew I had to cross two intersections to get all the way to the gas station. I worried that if I came to a complete stop I would not have enough momentum to get going again. Things went smoothly as I slowly coasted down Brea Canyon Road. Even when the road began to level out my car kept moving. Then I needed to slow down enough to turn into the gas station but not slow down too much and not make it all the way to the gas pump. Remarkably it worked. I coasted right up to the gas pump, filled the tank and got home safely. Amazing!

Let me encourage you to get involved in your children’s schools. Go to Back to School Night and other school events. And make sure you fill your gas tank before you go. You will be glad you did and I will too!

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at

A Gift from the Heart is Priceless

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

Times are tough for so many right now. I know the media makes us feel like we show our love by spending lots of money. It shows people giving diamonds and luxury cars and the message is that if you really love somebody you’ll give them this type of gift. The truth is that most people don’t have that kind of money to spend on themselves much less somebody else.

Many people tell me they feel bad because they wish they had more money to spend this holiday season. Maybe I’m wrong but the true meaning of the holiday is to spread love and kindness and those things are free. There are many ways to show love and kindness. This time of year is about reminding all the special people in our lives how very much we appreciate them. I have many people every year besides my family and friends that I get a tiny gift for. I don’t spend too much but they sure do appreciate my gesture.

I always love spending time with my family and friends but this time of year is special because we all have time off and we have more time to be together. We love sharing meals together, singing songs, baking cookies, laughing, creating memories, taking pictures and getting all of the generations together. For us the holidays are about having fun and just having more time to express our love for each other. We make sure to always make time for lots of hugs and kisses as well. Over the years I have made many gifts for friends and family. We are all very sentimental so a gift from the heart is priceless in my family and doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Just enjoy the holiday season!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Nancy is now accepting new clients. She also works as a motivational speaker. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs. For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at You may purchase Nancy’s book’s Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at


By Melody Kraemer

How can it be December already? So many things I wanted to accomplish this year, and yet the year is almost over. The days may seem long, but the year goes by fast. 

I feel so overwhelmed and anxious at times. However, some of it is beyond my control. I need to relax more and say, “Jesus, take the wheel, please.” 

It’s December, the busiest month of the year, but it shouldn’t be. Many of us get caught up with the hustle and bustle of the season. The twinkling lights, the Christmas tree,  Elf on Shelf, Christmas parties, the decorations, the Christmas goodies, and the holiday events are all nice but let’s stop for a moment and  remember, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

I have burned myself out trying for that perfect Christmas, and each year all the kids remember is being together or that box they played with for hours on Christmas morning. Sure I am anxious and overwhelmed because time goes by way too fast. Although when it comes to Christmas, it doesn’t matter if only the front half of my tree is decorated, or if we don’t have lights in the yard. I am blessed to be surrounded by my family, knowing that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” 

Luke 11-14 KJV

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Follow her on Instagram @lifewithmelody_k. Tik Tok @lifewithmelodyk and es. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at:

I Will Be With You

By Pastor Dennis Morales

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

The Devil wants you to concentrate on loneliness, your circumstances, your debt, your failures, and your fears. The Devil loves to also steer our minds toward the things that we can’t control. There will be times of difficulty. There will be times when it seems like things are out of control. A little boy asked his dad how big God was. His dad asked him to look at the plane in the air. His dad asked, “How big is that plane?” His son said, “It is tiny.” When the plane landed on the runway and made its way to the gate, he asked the same question. “How big is the plane now?” His son said, “Its ginormous!” It all depends on perspective. If your trials are magnified over God, He may seem far away. If God is magnified, your trials seem insignificant (John 3:30).

As the true Christmas story goes, when Mary found out she was with the Savior Child, she could have tried to hide out of fear of the law, which declared that she could have been stoned to death. Instead, she proclaims in praise “My soul MAGNIFIES the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46). Her faith and prayer paved the way to being God’s chosen vessel giving birth to the Messiah. Amid the “waters” of affliction, the “rivers” (currents) of difficulty and the “fire” of trial, God says He will be with you. Thank God – He is with us in our most troubling times. We live in a world where people have free will and can cause us pain. We live in a world where things happen, and we don’t know why. But God is constantly working all things out for His will. He has compassion for us. He loves us. We are His good work and He will be with you.

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays 8:30 & 10:30 am at Eastvale Elementary. Visit their website at Download their app to be up to date on all events. Livestream, YouTube live, and Facebook live is available.

Don’t Cry When I’m Gone

By Michael Armijo (2001)

I’ve left this earth and you’re still here crying. Well, don’t cry now that I’m gone. You see, I’m free.  Free of the responsibilities that came with life.  I can’t hear anymore; I can’t see what you see.   I’m a pure and flowing spirit that will roam and feel the energy of life. When I shed my body I shed the tears, the pain and the torment that came with it.  I waited all my life to feel what I’m feeling now.  I waited what felt like an eternity.  I lived a good life on earth, so now I will lead a good life in my next step.  Just as I was taken from the womb of my mother and lived that life completely, I am now taken from this life to live yet another.

I am happy, as each life gets easier, stronger, better. I no longer know pain, so when you are in it, I cannot see you.  I only know love, so when you follow it, I will watch you shine.  Just as I do not remember my life in my mother’s womb, I do not remember the life I had on earth.  All I know is that I am truly happy now.   My world now is the world that I’ve built in my heart while on Earth.   My world is the one I had always hoped for.  It is beautiful.   It is wonderful.   It is mine.  But I must tell you, enjoy your life as I am now enjoying mine.  It’ll go quicker than you can ever imagine, it travels faster than you’ll ever believe.  One day you will look up and your life will be over.  Enjoy today completely and contently as tomorrow may never come.   Tomorrow never came for me.

So please don’t cry when I’m gone, be happy for me as I was always happy for you.  And please remember to live life with compassion and character, hope and pride, and love and peace, because the love you’ve embedded in your heart today is the love you’ll hold onto forever.

In Loving Memory of Michael Anthony Armijo 1/20/1964- 10/22/2020


By Melody Kraemer

Every morning I wake up and thank the Lord for another day and always ask to protect my family as we go off for the day in our separate directions.

On one day last week, I was praying and said Amen. However, I bowed my head again, asked for protection for my family, and said Amen. For some reason, I did this four times this morning. Something in my heart kept telling me to keep praying.

Little did I know what would transpire on this day. But, according to the timeline of this incident, twenty-five minutes after my prayers, I learned that they had lost my boy at school.

The story of events from that morning: The kids all lined up at the gate and were all there, so they proceeded to walk to class. All but one. My son. He wandered off. I am still unsure why the teachers were front-leading the “autism” class instead of behind them. Oh, that’s right; they did mention that the aide, that is usually in the back called off sick that day.

When the teacher told me what happened, it made it sound as if he was missing for a few minutes, but come to find out, he was missing around 10-plus minutes or so before they figured he was gone.

Once they realized he was missing, they ran out and found my boy in another person’s car. He had buckled himself in and wanted to go home. I am thankful for this parent. She was kind to my son. She had to get the principal, and the principal had to coax him out of this stranger’s car as he was asking for mommy.

They told me about it after school. All the what if’s crossed my mind. My heart broke, but I didn’t cause a scene, yell or scream. I drove off and broke down in tears.

At that moment, I knew why I had prayed so hard that morning for God to keep us safe.

Psalm 121:7-8 NIV

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Follow her on Instagram @lifewithmelody_k. Tik Tok @lifewithmelodyk and For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: