Tag Archives: scripture

No One Should Experience Devastation Feeling Invisible

Every one of us has felt invisible at some point in our lives or another. Whether it was at a party full of strangers, in the middle of the grocery store or in the privacy of our own home when our brothers got all the attention or our husband is distracted.Our lives may center around our needs and desires but not everyone else’s does and unfortunately that can be a difficult reality.

We all want to be seen, but it’s not just about image.

We feel invisible when our words, works or worth is not perceived as valuable. Which, of course, is complicated because our perception is filtered by our love language. For example, if we desire words of affirmation yet no one speaks up, we may feel worthless even if we are given a gift of gratitude.

Allow me to go back to the example of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb (last week’s blog). When John tells this story in chapter 20, he doesn’t mention the other women who were with her. The other gospels do. I can’t help but wonder if Mary’s friends were invisible to John?

Consider this with me:

John must have been a sensitive man. His gospel is full of stories about relationships and the heart of the people involved. Do you think that perhaps John references only Mary because she was the one he connected with? Maybe they spoke the same love language. Maybe they were both sensitive. Maybe John just couldn’t relate to the other women. Perhaps they stuffed their feelings and he wasn’t even aware of how much of what he was going through was affecting them too.

I’m not sure why John doesn’t mention Mary Magdalene’s girlfriends, but they were there because Matthew and Mark refer to the “women” of the same story and Luke records the names of some of them.

Luke 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
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coffee-830422_640Have you ever been left out of a story or treated as if you were not part of something significant? I have, and it used to bother me a lot until I realized that I do the same thing to others. Just the other day I bought a coffee at a drive-through and as I drove away it dawned on me that I was so pre-occupied in my mind that if someone were to ask me to describe the window server I wouldn’t be able to. Not because the server was invisible, but  because I was blinded by my own self-obsessed nature. Most often it’s our own issues that keep us from connecting with others.

We recognize and remember those who we connect with.

When my husband and I lost our daughter we made a conscious effort to allow each other to deal with the grief in our own ways. We had been told that 90% of couples who lose a child end up divorced and with the way our coping mechanisms would fluctuate we realized how hard it is to see each other’s heart when our own is so broken. But dealing with a crisis is enough; how foolish it is to become offended by the people we need so desperately. I believe our decision to BE and LET BE is the reason our marriage not only survived but was also strengthened.

Our connection to one another’s pain not only increased our intimacy, but it also opened our eyes to all the invisible people whose lives were also affected by the loss of our child. It wasn’t all about us.

We were all in this life together and together we can make it through.

If you are in the midst of a crisis, I encourage you to become aware of those around you. It may be obvious that other people are hurting, like you are; connect with them, encourage them and allow them to encourage you. Others may be less demonstrative and may be stuffing their pain or trying to be strong for you; acknowledge them, appreciate them. Allow their strength to sustain you, but also allow them to be weak in a moment when you do have strength and enjoy the experience of true connection.

for more information, visit me at www.CatrinaWelch.com

3 Ways to Handle Life’s Devastations

One thing that  never ceases to amaze me is how many life lessons suddenly appear whenever there is something to teach.
“when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”   James 3:1
My husband and I were speaking about some of the encounters Jesus’s had with people who knew Him but did not recognize Him after His death and resurrection. We spent a number of weeks studying why His friends were blind to His identity even as they spoke face to face with Him. During that time of studying we had a number of life experiences that opened our eyes to how blinded we, as humans, can be when we are in the mist of turmoil.
  • A young man facing the loss of his job, trying desperately to get others to fix the problem he created.
  • One young girl panicking over which of her friends’ expectation she should carry out, unable to understand the very logical answer she was advised by several others.
  • A teen trying everything she could think of–lying, faking, manipulating, denying– to get out of going to summer school.
  • Another desperately trying to fix last year’s grades with excessive studying for her make-up class, while trying to hide that she was taking it.
  • Two young ladies feeling compelled to give up on life because of the rejection of friends / break up with boyfriend, and then struggling with the shame for having that desire.
When things go wrong and our world is rocked, it is natural to try to regain control. I’ve been there myself:
  • girl-690327_640When I moved three times in my Junior year of High School, I shut down emotionally to protect my heart from losing more friendships.
  • When my first husband left me while pregnant, I tried everything I knew to regain his love.
  • When the doctors said my baby would not live, I tried to deny the reality of the situation.
  • When my son got involved with drugs, I tried every method I could to fix him.
Some problems in life are simply difficult to deal with. When our world is rocked and we don’t know what to do, we have three choices:
  1. We can deny what is going on, or at least the intensity of it.
  2. We can become get completely consumed with our problem.
  3. We can do everything we are responsible for and relinquish control of the rest.
It seems to me that most of us dart back and forth between the first two options until we get to the point of “overload” and then our bodies, mind, emotion and/or spirit shuts down. Like a smart phone with too many apps open, we simply cannot function well under too much stress.
I believe that is why Mary Magdalene stood crying at the empty tomb of Jesus, wanting to find  His body even after hearing from angels that He was alive. And this was after she had already told the disciples that He was alive!
I think when devastation hits us hard we sometimes go through the motions of what we believe in our minds. We may even tell others the powerful truth of what we believe but until we slow down (and shut down all the apps!) we cannot see that our faith may actually contains the answer to our problems. Look at how Mary was stressed out over the very thing that she should have been rejoicing over:
John 20:10-16 Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.”Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
I haven’t stopped trying to control my own problems, by any means, but if I have learned anything from them it is this: the challenges we face bring the things we believe from our head to our heart and the more we believe that God can make all things beautiful in His time, the more apt we are to stop dashing between option one and two. Choosing option 3 does not fix our problems but it does help us find peace enough to go on with confidence.
If you are enduring a devastating time of your life, I encourage you to do as Mary did, look to Jesus and ask Him what is going on and tell Him what you want to do. Then listen for your name. He knows your personally, He understands all the details of your problem, and He has the answers. Life may not be what you expected; God knows I did not want my baby to die or my son to choose drugs! But I want to respond like Mary did, “Rabboni!” and I can because I, too, see Him as my teacher. 
“God, help us to see you, hear you and know in our hearts that you are good, no matter how devastating our lives may look right now. Use this difficult time in our lives to teach us, mold us into stronger, more Christ-like people as we choose to trust you. Amen.”

He Desires Your Beauty

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the “Celebration of True Love” that I just attended in RI, I would like to break down a small piece of a beautiful poem written thousands of years ago.

imagesFor your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. Psalms 45:11 NLT

Some scholars believe this poem is written about Christ and His church, others believe it is simply about the author, King David, and his bride. Personally, I believe it is like a double edged sword which cuts to the heart of the matter on both accounts. Whether it’s our relationship with man or Lord, there is much wisdom to glean from these few words.
Your Beauty is Desirable.
It does not have to be perfect, it does not have to follow any formula or fashion. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and as long as it is not withheld or propelled, it is greatly desired by the one who longs to be your beholder. Nothing on Earth is desirable to everyone, there is no reason that we should put the pressure on ourselves or each other to meet any standard of beauty. Not even identical twins should compete in beauty. The things we see as imperfections, our beholder sees as unique design.
Honor Him.
Your beauty has a powerful purpose. Like the flowers we give to the sick and grieving, your presence is meant to bring comfort and encouragement. Like the beautiful resorts we visit when we need a vacation, being with you should revive the weary and strengthen the weak, because that’s what beauty does, and that is why God made women beautiful and it honors Him to live in our purpose. We must be careful not misuse our power for our own honor because when we HATE, HIDE or get HUNG UP on our appearance, our presence doesn’t honor anyone.
He is your Lord.
Whether King David was directing this message toward his wife or not, the commitment of marriage is a wonderful reminder that true Love completes; it doesn’t compete. It really doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like, when you are accepted into a royal family, you become royalty. This is the essence of Confident Beauty. Married or not, a woman who knows she is loved unconditionally radiates true  and powerful beauty because her failures are forgiven and her imperfections are accepted. She is empowered to BE who she was designed to be with freedom and authenticity.

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Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.

Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com

3 Significant Signs of Baby Jesus’ Wardrobe

manger sceneWhat was all the fuss about Jesus’ attire the night He was born? Doesn’t every baby wear swaddling cloths at birth?

Surely when the angels proclaimed that the shepherds would, “recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) it was the manger-sign that was so unusual, right? I mean, really, shepherds who “keep watch at night” saw babies born in stables all the time–but not human babies! I imagine these rough, outdoorsmen were amazed at this Christ child’s birth; after all, when there’s an emergency birth in an unusual place today it makes headline news! Why wouldn’t the Bethlehem shepherds leave that stable and share the “glad tidings” over the hills and everywhere?

Luke 2: 17-20  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

But what about the other sign? Was the newborn’s wardrobe really that big of a deal? I think so! Yea, wrapping a newborn baby snugly is proper What2Wear fashion, but if we look at theses strips of cloth through the eyes of the shepherds, we see three significant reasons why what Jesus wore was a sign of who He was:

  1. These “strips of cloth” were saturated in oil and burned for light.
  2. Jewish travelers wore these cloths around their waist when traveling in case they were to die along the way; they were used to wrap the body for burial. (Perhaps it was Joseph’s waist band that Jesus was wrapped in?)
  3. Shepherds would wrap newborn lambs in these strips of cloth IF they were the firstborn male and had no spot or blemish. Other lambs were put out to pasture right away, but these special lambs were set apart to be kept pure and secure because they would be sacrificed as an atonement for the sins of God’s people.

Yes, Jesus’ wardrobe was very significant. I’m sure Mary would have preferred to swaddle her baby in a beautiful soft blanket and lay Him in a crib, but sometimes we need to trust that God is doing something more significant than we can understand at the moment. The shepherds understood the signs, and all those who heard about it marveled, but Mary–whether she understood the signs or not–pondered them in her heart.

If your life is feeling chaotic and confusing this Christmas, I encourage you to do like the virgin mother, and simply take it all in with great expectation. Your circumstances may not make sense right now, but one day they will and then you, too, will marvel at how God was actually keeping His promises!

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Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.

Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com

Holy Hug

I remember the guilt like yesterday. I remember the crime as well, but twenty years later it hardly seems like something to have been so ashamed of.

I was a single mom struggling with depression. I wanted to be happy and cheerful but it took a conscious effort to be pleasant–and that day I had failed at my efforts. I lay in bed that night feeling guilty for being such a miserable mom when my toddler deserved more from me. I knew the cause of my attitude’s downward spiral: Country music.

Don’t laugh.

I was completely serious as I tearfully asked God to forgive me for listening to the heartbreaking lyrics that set me in self-pity mode. I loved Country music before I lived it. I’d heard that if you played the song backward you would get your husband, car, house and pets back but that wasn’t working for me. I was stuck with a life I hadn’t chosen and so was my son. It wasn’t fair, but I had a beautiful, energetic little boy who I wanted to enjoy and who didn’t deserve for me to squelch his joy.

Wilted weeds“I’m sorry, Lord, help me to guard my heart better so I can be a better mom.”

That’s when I felt what I call a “Holy hug,” which is when you almost hear, see or feel God Himself.

Remember when your boy gave you that dandelion the other day?” “Yea.” I thought, “It was so sweet and made me feel so special. I didn’t care that it was a wilted weed.” “That’s how I feel, my daughter, when you offer yourself to me. I really don’t mind that you are a mess; I just want your heart. ”

 

The Sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart–these, O God, You will not despise. Psalms 51:17

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Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

Biblical Beauty: Delicately

If I were to choose a woman from the Bible who best represents the Ingénue, I would choose Esther. This woman’s story is so dynamic that there is a whole book, named after her and dedicated to telling the details of her life. She was a lovely young lady who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by her uncle, Mordecai. When the king set a decree that beautiful young virgins be gathered and brought into his quarters, Esther was chosen and taken from her land. She and the other girls who were collected were given beauty preparations for an entire year. During that time Mordecai kept a close watch on her, and those in charge of caring for her gave her extra favor.

In my next few blogs I want to talk about this delicate beauty, but for today read her story in God’s Word, pay special attention to the following verses.

imagesThen the king’s servants who attended him said: “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king; and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to Shushan the citadel, into the women’s quarters, under the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, custodian of the women. And let beauty preparations be given them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.”

This thing pleased the king, and he did so.

In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. Esther 2:2-7

And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him. Esther 4:13-17

Hannah’s Story

I have been blogging about Hannah’s story and have assessed her to be a Dramatic Img.ID, but don’t take my word for it, take a look at God’s Word and see if you agree with me.

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”

And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”

But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. “Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” 1Samuel 1:1-16

Abigail’s Story

This Sunday let’s spend our time in the scriptures that tell the story of Abigail.

Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.

When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel… 1 Samuel 25:2-7

Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them. But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him.”

Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill; and there were David and his men, coming down toward her, and she met them. Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light.”

Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.” 1 Samuel 25:14-31

The First Twisted-Truth

God created her to be beautiful, confident and free to BE and LET BE, but Eve listened to her Creator’s enemy. He told her a twisted-Truth which changed the course of time forever. You find the story in Genesis, chapters 1-3.

Rather than me blogging about it, being that today is Sunday, let’s just meditate on the Word, and we will “talk” about what happened tomorrow.

255px-Lucas_Cranach_the_Elder-Adam_and_Eve_1533Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26, 27

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16, 17

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Genesis 3:1-7

It is so hard for me to stop there, but I do need my day of rest and I don’t want my blog to be too long, so spend some time thinking about Eve’s story for now. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

If you are interested in having Catrina come speak to your friends, colleagues or ministry you can contact her on facebook or by email at catrina@catrinawelch.com.