It's Better to Give than to Receive

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about Christmas. She was struggling with personal issues and didn’t have money to get her son a gift. I mentioned to her that I would gladly buy something for her son and she was happy. I asked what her son was interested in and she mentioned to me Toy Story. The next day, I went to the mall and found a Disney store. I started looking for a gift. I didn’t know where to start looking so I asked for help, one of the employees pointed out a Woody doll to me. I knew Woody was the most popular of the Toy Story bunch so I decided to buy him. The Woody doll was a life size doll and it came with his hat and nine different catch phrases.

After getting the gift, I tried to make plans with my friend to meet up and give it to her. It was kind of difficult because we were both always busy. Every day I tried to do my best to get it to her but it always seemed to fail. I held onto the toy for about two week s until just yesterday, when I met up and gave her the gift. She was very happy and grateful that I had gotten the gift for her son. It felt good to have finally been able to give the gift to her.

Christmas is a time of giving and this just happened to be my moment. It always feels better to give to others then to receive a gift. To see the look on the faces of the people you give to is priceless. When you give to others you are showing them that you care and that you are thinking of them. Christmas is the time where it’s not about you but about others around you.

 With my brothers recently (L-R) Jesus, Cesar & Mannie

With my brothers recently (L-R) Jesus, Cesar & Mannie

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

 Charles Dickens

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

 Acts 20:35

Give Up something Good for something Better

Well once again it’s that time of the year. Christmas trees and caroling to lots and lots of Christmas shopping. Everyone is getting ready for the holiday season and this is the time of the year, where some families come together to spend time with one another. This year for me however might not be spent with my family because my work is open on Christmas day. Usually my family gets together every Christmas at my grandparents’ house. I might be working so I may not be able to spend Christmas with them. I thought I would feel horrible not being with them but then I remembered that I was working to save up for my own place. It helps to remember even though you might have to make some sacrifices, only goods are going to come.

My goal is to have enough money in the next few months to get my own apartment. Throughout this year there were a lot of times where I had to make a sacrifice because of work. I remember there was a time I didn’t get to go Vegas with Mike because I had to work. Even though I didn’t get to go to Vegas I made a lot of money that week from work. There will be times where we will have to sacrifice things in order to obtain what we really want or need. I know it would have been fun to have gone to Vegas but I needed the money more than I needed to have fun. Realize what you really want and make it hapen.

Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation.  -Evan Carmichael

Nothing is Out of Your Reach

In my last blog I talked about “not allowing yourself to obtain your goals because of self-doubt.” I am proud to announce that I have finally passed my driver’s test!  Yesterday morning I woke up early to start my day before I had to go take my driver’s test. The first thing I had to do was wipe down the mirrors on the car because you need clean mirrors in order to take the test.  After cleaning the mirrors, Mike decided to take me out for one last practice. While out driving, I made a couple mistakes and Mike had to tell me what I was doing wrong. I began to have self-doubt and I told him that maybe I was just going to fail. Mike told me to drive home because he didn’t like how I was being uncertain about passing the driver’s test. When we got home, he had me chant, to help me calm my nerves and to be more focused for the test.  After chanting, we headed back out on the street and towards the DMV. Once we got there I had to go inside and check myself in with the front desk. After I had to wait in the car for my turn to test,  it just so happen that the car in front of me didn’t check in so it was now my turn. My heart was racing. I started to take deep breaths and then the instructor came over and introduced himself.

For all those who haven’t taken the test yet, the first thing the instructor did was, he asked me if I knew where all the controls were. He does this because he is inspecting the car and he wants to make sure that everything is working and its basic knowledge for the driver. The next thing he asked is if I knew my traffic signals, left, right, and stop, using my arms. Afterwards, he came into the car and began giving me instructions about what I was to do. We drove around the corner making left and right turns along the way. At one point in the test he told me to pull up to a curb and I slightly hit it because I was so nervous. He asked me to stop and then back up in a straight line and then to continue driving. The test was only twenty minutes long and at the end of the test I parked the car and the instructor went over the results. I didn’t know what to expect but he told me that I passed. There were things that I needed to work on but I passed. I was so proud of myself that I had finally accomplished one of my goals.

It’s strange because eight months ago I never thought I would be able to accomplish this goal. I remember attempting the written part of the test and after failing it three times I decided to give up. I was scared because I was uncertain of myself. It wasn’t until five months later that I decided it was time to conquer this goal. I began to really study hard and focus on the test. When the day finally came I was able to pass it. This experience has really helped me to see that no matter how hard something might be if you are able to put in your full effort to obtain it then nothing is out of your reach!

Try, Try Again

Have you ever had something in your life that you were trying to duck and dodge but you always kept running into it? For me it was going on the freeway when I was learning to drive. About three weeks ago, I finally passed the written drivers test. The next part was learning to drive. My mentor Mike coached me on how to drive a car. At first, it was difficult trying to learn everything and there were a lot of times where I made close calls. I felt unsure about my driving skills but Mike continued to encourage me to stay positive. I had a fear of going on the freeway and I didn’t think I was ready for it. When he finally took me on the freeway it seemed as though all the negativity left. Mike began to tell me what to do on the freeway, reminding me to be alert and cautious. Going on the freeways made me feel more comfortable about driving and I feel that I’m ready to pass my driver’s test.

I have been a waiter now for about 6 months and it has been a challenge. When I first began as a waiter I had a lot of difficulties trying to accomplish the necessary work. There were many things that I really needed help with and it seemed like I couldn’t accomplish any task. Once after a big party, it seemed that there were some mistakes I made and I began to have a lot of self-doubt. I have continued to learn from the other severs and now I feel much more comfortable waiting on people. I have a greater confidence in myself when it comes to serving and I feel like it’s just a natural thing to do. My comfortability as a server has led me to have the opportunity to be the host at night.

I realize that as I continued to confront the different challenges that I face, the more comfortable I feel about doing those things. At first it seemed scary to drive and I was so unsure of myself but now I feel like it’s more natural to me. Don’t stop yourself from attaining your goals because you are unsure of yourself but continue to try and try again! As the famous quote goes “If at first you don’t succeed then try, try again”.

Best Friends and Opportunities

About two weeks ago, my best friend Patrick came to visit, all the way from Kona, Hawaii. Patrick and I have been friends for about eight years now and it has been three years since I had seen him last. I met Patrick sophomore year of high school. Every day after school I was always at his house hanging out. His mom and dad became second parents to me because I was there pretty much every day. Every year, after sophomore year, we were both in a class together. During our late junior year we started a group that had thirteen people in it. A lot of drama occurred over time and by the end of senior year the original group had separated.  No matter what difficulties came between us, Patrick and I have remained good friends throughout the years.

After high school , Patrick and I went our separate ways. I left Temecula and moved to San Diego while he remained. The last time I saw him was early 2011, when he came to offer me a opportunity. Unfortunately, at the time, I was unable to participate. After that I left to be a part of the church. I found out that Patrick had left Temecula and moved to Hawaii, in May of 2013. When I finally had the opportunity to talk to him, this past March, he explained that he would be coming out to visit in September. We picked him up from the Los Angeles airport, two weeks ago. This was the first time I had seen him since our last meeting years earlier. We shared a group hug with the two other friends that were with us. Over the course of the next five days, we celebrated his return and partied while he was here.

Before he left home to Hawaii, I had the pleasure of joining him at a Seahawks vs. Chargers game at Qualcomm stadium. Patrick has always been a diehard Seahawks fan while I am diehard fan of the Chargers. Being able to spend time with my best friend was very pleasurable and to watch our two favorite teams play each other. The outcome was in favor of my team but both of us enjoyed ourselves so much so that at the end of the game we both had lost our voices. After the football game, I left back home and I didn’t see him until his final day in San Diego. We went to Pacific Beach together with some friends to celebrate. After the night was over he came to drop me off and say goodbye, seeing how it would be the last time I would see him again. At that moment, we were both crying because the love we have for each other and our friendship was so strong, it was hard to say goodbye. Patrick really helped me to see better in life. He made me realize that success can come if you put your mind to it. A couple days ago, I finally made a decision to also move out to Hawaii, to pursue new career opportunities and to partake on a new life journey.

 L-R George, Patrick & me

L-R George, Patrick & me

Friends come and go, but true friends leave footprints in your heart.

Unknown

 

 

A New Journey

Recently my little brother made one of the biggest moves of his life by going out to live in Atlanta, Georgia.  Three days ago he embarked on that journey to pursue his dream as rapper. Over the course of his life my brother was always been musically inclined. He has had the opportunity to be a part of Lyrical Express at Queen Bees in San Diego, for the past three months, prior to his departure to Atlanta.  

Since he was my little brother, Mannie, has always had a talent for memorizing lyrics. When he was a boy he would listen to rap music all day and then later he would rap the songs to us.  His favorite singers at the time were rappers such as Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Snoop Dogg and other various artists. His love for rap music continued to grow as he got older, always putting himself out there so everyone could see his talent. To be honest, he wasn’t that great growing up but he was still practicing. To see the passion that he had for music and his dedication really inspired me to pursue my passion of writing.

 With my brother, Mannie

With my brother, Mannie

One of the things I admired about my brother was how much he had changed over the years. When we were kids my brother had a horrible anger issue and was even subjected to anger management classes. It was always tough growing up with him because he was always trying to compete with him me in everything I did. When his anger took over he became really abusive. There were times where I thought for sure he would have put in the hospital. Life changed soon after I turned 19. I went to be with the church and Mannie lived with Mike, then left to live in Phoenix. The day I finally saw him was right before he left to Arizona and it had been almost three years. The change that I had seen in him was so amazing; I knew he wasn’t the same as before. That was almost two years ago and now he is in Atlanta trying to make it big as a rapper.

My brother has become more compassionate and loving towards others but still retains some of his old character traits. No one is perfect and I don’t dare to claim he is but he has really grown over the past few years. Not only has he changed as a person but the type of music he listens to has grown more diverse.  He has a love for reggae and weed music. Now I’m not trying to glorify marijuana, it’s just the type of music he loves to listen to. One of the things he did to show his love for reggae was he had a tattoo that says “One Love” on his chest. Before he left we had the pleasure of attending a Ziggy Marley concert, who was a legend in the reggae genre. I think by his being there, it really helps him to continue his musical career.

 My brother Mannie Moe

My brother Mannie Moe

If you have a dream, don’t give up on it. Keep pushing and moving forward. It’s not going to be easy for Mannie and he knows it but he’s not going to stop till he reaches his goal. My brother will go far because he has determination and he’s focused, he knows where he wants to be one day. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, it’s time to start that New Journey of your life.

“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”

― Bob Marley


Travel - It May Change Your Life

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Washington State for my birthday. This just so happened to be my first time in that state and it was a wonderful experience. When I first arrived, I was captivated by the beauty.  I especially noticed how green everything was. There were so many trees and they were everywhere.

The first night we stayed at the Hyatt hotel in Bellevue which is located directly across Lake Washington, from Seattle. That night we went to downtown Seattle to walk around Pikes Place, which is a giant fish market. We got to see the other tourist attractions like the Space Needle, Pioneer Square and the football & baseball arenas.

 Bubblegum wall near Pike Place Market

Bubblegum wall near Pike Place Market

Another great opportunity came while we were staying in Olympia.  I was able to see the capital of Washington. It was the first time I had seen a capital of a state. There was much history in the town and I learned a lot. One of the things that I truly admire about the state of Washington was their emphasis on conserving power and protecting the environment. It seemed no matter where you were there was always something to remind you about keeping everything clean and green.

 State capitol at Olympia, Washington

State capitol at Olympia, Washington

The following day we had an early morning start.  Michael and I headed out to Olympic National Park. Our time in the park made me see things in a whole new perspective. I learned to really appreciate the beauty of the wilderness. One of the most spectacular things I did was to go swimming in Crescent Lake, the water is so clear. We also had the opportunity to walk a few of the trails. There are many Indian reservations located in Washington. One of them in particular was the Quinault Indian reservation. Quinault was very beautiful. Nearby at Quinault Lake, we had the opportunity to see the World’s largest Sitka spruce tree.  It was 191 ft. in height, 59 feet in circumference and it was said to be over 1000 years old. It was amazing!

 Largest Spruce tree near Quinault Lake, Washington

Largest Spruce tree near Quinault Lake, Washington

On our final day there we left Olympia and headed back to Seattle to spend our final moments in the city. My time in Washington, though short, was very life changing and it helps me to really appreciate the beauty and wonder of life. I can say that I was very blessed to have had such a wonderful opportunity to be able to visit Washington. If you ever have the opportunity to travel, take the chance and take it because that journey just might change the way you see life, forever.

It’s All in the Follow Thru

We all know that no one is perfect.  I would like to share with you some of my own imperfections. First of all, I’d like to point out that one thing I tend to do is quit on something instead of finishing it. This is something that I am really trying to work on. For example, several months ago I took the drivers written test three times and I failed each time. Since then I have not taken the test again. I tried to justify it by saying, “Oh, I don’t really want a driver’s license anyway” but in reality I was trying to justify my quitting on myself.

I really need to focus on getting “back on track” and finish the things I started. Besides the fact that I struggle with completing things, it’s also important to be able to stick with the things that I start. I want to accomplish my goals without getting side tracked and I know exactly what I have to do. I need to have precision focus on my goals. Visualize what you want in a clear, concise manner and let it happen.

Graduating high school was a significant accomplishment for me. It helped me realize that I can follow thru and finish projects and goals. Writing my blogs is another of the ways I’m trying to improve this quitting problem that I have. I want to focus on continuing to write, to help people realize that they have potential, also. I have been writing since March and it’s been such a blessing to see the people who read my blogs and how they are affected by it. My goal is to eventually publish my blogs into a self-help book.

Although no one is perfect, it doesn’t mean that I won’t aim high with my goals and aspirations. I know what I have to do – stay focused.   

What am I good at?

Have you ever asked yourself the question- What am I good at? What is it that makes me different? I use to ask myself those questions all the time. In our modern society it can be hard to standout because of all the different media telling us to be like them. You must follow this trend or that trend to fit in. Are you searching for something that would help you stand out?

 What you are good at is the talent or special gift that is given to every individual. Sometimes finding out what we’re good at, can be hard to figure out. I didn’t discover what I was good at until I had finished high school. I had always wondered what talent I had. Everyone seemed so amazing because of all the cool talents they had. A friend of mine has been able to do backflips since he was a kid. Over the years he went on to play football in school. In high school, I was kind of weird and a little crazy. Besides that fact, I was super friendly and always loved making new friends. I never really knew what my talent was. After high school I was still trying to figure what made me special. I had a brief run in with the military, thinking that was what I was meant to do. After the military, I continued to search for what would help me stand from everyone else.

I remember one day I was walking and I had seen this homeless man, walking alone. I had a few dollars so I decided to give him the money. After giving him the money I began to feel really good inside. I began to realize that I was very sympathetic to others and I had the willingness to help them. After that encounter, I began to help more people. I learned that I was great at helping others with their problems. While I was in the church, I had many opportunities to help people from our community. It is always a blessing to help those who are in need. I know that when I was younger there were those who helped me. I started writing these blogs just so I could help others with whatever struggle they face and to let them see that there is someone who can help and who sees their struggle. My goal is to help people to see things differently, that life isn’t just about hurt but to show the beauty of life. The best way to figure out what you were meant to do is to try things. Once you do figure it out stick with and put it to use.

 “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever. Find what makes you different and stick with it because that thing can change your life forever.

Chaz Palminteri  (Sonny from a Bronx Tale)

Find your Peace

There’s a place we all go to find peace amongst chaos. For some, it’s resorting to God or whomever they believe in. For me I love to chant to Native American Peyote Healing chants. Whenever I feel distressed or upset I put on my cd of the peyote chants and it always helps me to find peace within myself and to calm my nerves. For some people they turn to whatever religion they believe in for comfort. Whatever it is we must all seek the one thing that brings us peace and calm within ourselves. Seek the one thing that will soothe your soul and make you feel better. Look for refuge to help give you strength in the times of your life that you need it the most.

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

― Dalai Lama XIV

I’ve never been more at peace with myself until now because before I struggled so hard to keep calm. I always let my nerves get the best of me and it would lead to bad decisions. There’s been always a struggle within myself that I couldn’t ever really conquer. When I had god in my life there seemed like there was a lot of understanding. I know longer had to deal with the burdens in my life. When I prayed it seemed like whatever I was going through didn’t even matter anymore. When I left the church and stopped praying, everything that I was struggling with before came back and life seemed to be harder. It wasn’t until I talked with my friend did I find that peace within myself once again.

Peace is not merely a distance goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. – Martin Luther King Jr.

You must try and find peace in the darkest and loneliest times of your life. Try to find the strength to pick yourself up and go forward. Nothing is ever easy but if you put your full effort into it, all that you struggled with will surely disappear. I know it wasn’t easy for me and I still struggle sometimes but I always turn back to my chanting to help settle my nerves. Find what helps you and stick with it let it be the thing that brings you comfort.


 At peace with myself

At peace with myself

 

What Now

You just graduated from high school and you finally got that diploma, so now what? For a majority of you, it’s probably college as the next step. For others, it’s going to community college and working. For those who won’t be able to go now is the time to really think about your future. Make goals to start looking for work if you don’t have a job already. For example, start setting aside money for your own place to live. Don’t think now that you are out of high school, that life is going to be all fun and games. What you do after high school needs be taken seriously because these might be the most important times of your life. The adolescence you had in school will leave you as you enter adulthood. There will be bills, relationships, and greater responsibilities to take care of. Now should be an important time to reflect upon your life and start working on a good future.

One of things I did after high school was to search for a job. I started applying to different places until I was hired. Looking for work may not be easy but it is well worth it. Going to interviews and really learning how to apply yourself, is a great way to learn responsibility. When looking for work always have a positive attitude whether things go good or not.  Always think positively as it will help your chances of getting a job. Before I got my job as a waiter, which is what I currently am doing, I filled out many different applications and went to many interviews. Some said they would call me back but never did. Every time I felt down, I always thought there is probably a better job for me or I would say “I’m close to getting a good job soon”. Eventually one interview led to a phone call from the manager, then next thing you know I was hired. If you continue at it eventually what you are pursuing, will be obtained!

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we are curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.  Walt Disney

My Wake Up Call

I would first like to apologize for the delay of my new blog. During the past three weeks my blog has been coming out late because my friend, Mike, has been away with a client. Michael owns the site in which you are able to see my blogs. I have been really busy working and getting distracted by other things. For all my readers, again, I apologize and I will have my blogs out once a week.

Just last week my oldest brother Caesar was in car accident and he broke his neck. Caesar was coming home with his friend when a drunk driver ran through a red light and crashed into them. The man tried to get away but was tackled down and arrested. He was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital where they performed surgery on his neck and spine. He has two rods down his spine and a plate in the back of his head. The doctors were surprised that Caesar lived, let alone that he is talking and can move his body. When I had seen and heard what happened it made me realize the importance to never drink and drive. This accident can help others realize this, too. It was a wakeup call for everyone around me.

Do not boast about tomorrow because you don’t know what a day may bring.- proverbs 27:1

 My brother Caesar. May God give him the strength carry on and prosper

My brother Caesar. May God give him the strength carry on and prosper

Two days ago we found out that Caesar has pneumonia and was unresponsive. When I saw him, he didn’t want to talk to anyone and even told my mom he wanted to give up on his life. He was in a lot of pain and I saw it in his face.  Mike visited him yesterday and told me he was more responsive and cooperative with the doctors during his rehabilitation sessions. I know that during this time my family and I will have to be “cheerleaders” for my brother and help to encourage him to keep fighting. I believe that God will help my brother to get better and with all of us there to support him, I believe he will be able to pull through.

Live for today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.

I Love Who I Am

We have all heard the saying, “Before you can love others we must first love ourselves.” Self-love is the strong sense of respect for and confidence in oneself. It is different from narcissism in that as one practices acceptance and detachment, the awareness of the individual shifts and the individual starts to see themselves as an extension of all there is. Self-love can be taught in childhood through honesty, acceptance and unconditional love. Since most parents have their own self-doubts and limiting beliefs, they project these onto their children and the cycles of self-rejection and self-abuse repeat themselves. This statement is actually very true. The way we see ourselves and care about ourselves is how we will see and care about others. The love we have to towards ourselves helps build our self-esteem. The greater the self-esteem, the greater the personality. Many young people today seem as though they struggle with their self-esteem. Some tend to put their pain and hurt out in the open because secretly they are desperately crying out for help.

I learned at young age to love myself for who I was, not for who I am not. Accept the fact that you will never be like everyone else. God made us to be unique individuals. We must learn to recognize the great qualities that we each have as individuals. Look for the good in yourself not the negative. Growing up, I was missing out on the important things that a child needs to have, great self-esteem. Though I lacked certain things in my life, such as my mother and father, I was able to manage to have a unique personality. I taught myself to be truthful, to love God who created me, to have compassion for others and to accept them for who they are. People need to see that as an individual you must learn to accept who you are and learn to accept others for who they are. This doesn’t mean trying to fix others or change others but just to come to terms with the fact that not everyone is like you. We all have different views of the world, no one person is the same. Love yourself as much as you love your family; love yourself as much as you would love others.

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy. - Kristin Chenoweth

Generally people don’t see that not loving themselves can affect relationships with others, especially for couples. If you can’t accept yourself for who you are how you can accept your wife or husband for whom they are? Your attitude about yourself reflects how you feel about them, which can lead to negative results. When you realize that you are not perfect and that you’re going to make mistakes is when you realize you are only human. Don’t go around beating yourself up over something insignificant Pull out things that are significant like the great qualities that you have. Look for things that make you standout. Everyone is good at something, everyone has that special thing that makes them attractive but it’s up to you to discover what that one thing is.

 

Don't ever criticize yourself. Don't go around all day long thinking, 'I'm unattractive, I'm slow, I'm not as smart as my brother.' God wasn't having a bad day when he made you... If you don't love yourself in the right way, you can't love your neighbor. You can't be as good as you are supposed to be.

Joel Osteen

I Am Who I Am

There are times where we can be hypocritical towards others because we allow our better judgment to get the best of us. I want to clear some things out of the way. First I accept people who are gay. If they want be together then let them be, you know more power to ‘em. Two of my uncles are gay and so is my older brother but that doesn’t bother me because they are my family. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be people who, “judge a book by its cover”.  It’s how quick we are to judge one another by appearance but not judge the content of their character. Someone who is different generally tends to be looked down on because they don’t fit into a certain mould of people. We should learn to accept people for who they are. I am who I am and that’s it.

People believe I am what they see me as, rather than what they do not see. But I am the Great Unseen, not what I cause myself to be in any particular moment. In a sense, I am what I am not. It is from the Am-notness that I come, and to it I always return.

Neale Donald Walsch

People tend to be hypocrital of me, sometimes. When I act a certain way people assume I’m gay. Just because I like to have fun all the time some people say I’m a little kid. Why are we so quick to say something before getting to know someone? We need to learn to respect one another and except each other’s different characteristics. No one person is the same because God didn’t make them that way. If we were all meant to look the same then I don’t think life would have much purpose because everyone would be the same.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Someone I admire very much is Lou Reed. As a teen growing up in the 40’s, Reed had a hard childhood because he was bisexual. His family didn’t accept him so they tried to cure him of his gay tendencies by giving him electroconvulsive therapy. This causes electric shocks to the brain, to rid his mind of thoughts of the same sex. Later in 1973 he wrote a song about transgender women and their struggle coming up in the world. He called the song “Walk on the Wild Side” which became a well renowned song today. His empathy towards transgender showed that people shouldn’t be judged by what they look like but what their character is. Though Reed was picked on growing up, he ended up becoming a very renowned musical artist.

 Cesar AKA Marie Heart

Cesar AKA Marie Heart

These are really terrible times and we should try to be as nice to each other as possible. –Lou Reed

We need to accept people for who they are and love them. We are different, we are all unique individuals. We are all special. You are who you are, nothing more or nothing less. 

The Mothers in My Life

Mother’s day weekend is almost here and it would be a good time to be grateful for your mom. Mother’s day first began in 1908 by a woman named Anna Jarvis. Originally her intentions were to honor her mother but later she felt that all mothers everywhere should be honored. She put the effort in to make it a national holiday. Every year on the second Sunday of May, Mother’s day is celebrated. Mother’s all over the world are honored on this day.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
-- Washington Irving

My mom was never really the perfect mom but I honor her this mother’s day because I saw this woman when all hope was lost and now her life is better. She is a woman who is currently battling cancer. My mom raised seven children the best she could, on her own. Even though I went into foster care it was the love and protection that she gave me as kid, that’s what I will always remember. There was one day, back when, I think I was about 8 or 9 years old. It was Halloween so we all went out that night and my mom took us to this one house, where a guy had a chainsaw. We were little kids and were scared because the man with the chainsaw was getting way too close to us. Mom got upset and was telling the guy to back off. That day I saw her love and protection for us, there as a kid. Now, every time I see her, she asks me how I am doing and asks if I need anything. I love my mom and she is the reason why I’m here today.

 My mom

My mom

I want to mention two other very important women in my life, who were like mothers to me. First I want to talk about my grandma. My grandma is a mom figure in my life but she was also my nena or god mother. My grandma always took care of me. I remember whenever she came to church on Sundays, before the next service she would always buy me something to eat. My grandmother was always looking out for me and always asking about me. When I was younger, I sprained my ankle at my aunt’s house and my grandma was over to visit. That day she decided to take me to her house for a week. My grandma made sure that each day I was able to enjoy myself.

 I'm with Grandma

I'm with Grandma

The other person that I want to honor is my aunt, Melinda. As long as I could remember, my Tia was always taking care of me. She has not only spent a lot of money on me but she has also let me live with her. My aunt has always said she loves her nephews with all her heart. I told my aunt that she would always be a mom in my life and that I love her so much.  I feel so very fortunate to have these 3 wonderful women in my life.

 Grandma (middle) and my aunt Melinda (far right)

Grandma (middle) and my aunt Melinda (far right)


The Power of Forgiveness

Let’s talk about the power of forgiveness. Some people have difficulty with this because for them it’s actually hard to forgive someone. For me it was difficult, as well, because the way I grew up without my mom and dad made me bitter towards them. A few years ago I gave my life to God and it was then that God started dealing with the bitterness in my heart. One of the things that were removed from my life was the feeling of bitterness, towards my mom and dad. When I learned to forgive my parents, it brought a relief and a peace within me that I never had in my life before. In my life so many people had hurt me and did me wrong but when God came into my heart on October 23, 2011, he began to deal with me.  I can never thank God enough for saving me from that pit. God changed my life and I will always be grateful for his love for me.

 Mannie with my dad, Art, earlier this week.

Mannie with my dad, Art, earlier this week.

My brother Mannie was like me. He actually had the same feelings but was more unforgiving towards our dad. Mannie, growing up, was always angry therefore he took a lot longer to forgive my dad then the rest of us. While I was third one to forgive my father, Mannie just didn’t seem to really care about him. While this seemed like a permanent feeling of unforgiveness, I had recently found out that he is now living with my dad and actually enjoys living there. Learning to forgive can help you to lower blood pressure and heart rate and reduce levels of depression, anxiety, and anger. Right after my brother forgave my dad, I noticed that my brother wasn’t as angry. He seems happier.

 I'm with my mom, Michelle. 2010

I'm with my mom, Michelle. 2010

When we learn to forgive we learn to release all things that hurt us. With this release we open doors for healthier relationships, greater well-being, less worries, lower blood pressure, less likely to use drugs and less likely to be depressed.

 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

Every Disappointment has a Silver Lining

Many times in our lives people will tell us things that they can’t always fulfill. The feeling of being let down hurts but as my mentor puts “Only you can allow yourself to feel hurt”. There were many instances in my life where different individuals had let me down. One individual specifically was my father, Art. The man was never really in my life, the only thing I knew about him was the stories my mother and family told me about him. The first time I met him I was ten years old in Salt Lake City Utah and it was thanksgiving. The next time I saw him I was 16 and it was at my cousin’s party to send him off to Marine basic training. As I got older and wiser over the years I realized that sometimes  our expectations of people can be too great and we can’t always expect them to live up to what we think they should be.

 

My senior year of high school I managed to save up money to go to Prom. One of my best friends was supposed to go with us but he ended up not going and I took his date to prom. We all went to a downtown restaurant to eat and then we went to our Prom which was on the Horn Blower Yacht. When we got inside, sadly she left me to go and dance with another one of my friends. At that moment I felt left out but one of my friends saw what had happened and we both ended up dancing together for the rest of the night. What my friend did for me made me realize that sometimes you will lose a good thing only to get something even greater. When the night was over I ended up seeing the girl I went to prom with and I didn’t even feel bad she had left to go with my friend. If she hadn’t have left I would have never had the wonderful time I had with my friend who danced with me that night.

 In Las Vegas

In Las Vegas

I use to go to a church that I had attended for about 3 years. The last few months that I was there, I was living at the church helping maintenance the building. There were times when I was spoken to about my behavior.  One day I was told I could no longer stay there because they assumed I was doing something inappropriate . At that my moment, I felt horrible and the accusation really hurt me because I knew I had not done it. What ended up happening was I decided to leave from California to go stay with my brother, for a month. When I returned I went straight back to the church to figure out why exactly they had kicked me out. What I came to learn was that it was a complete misunderstanding and the context of what I did was blown out of proportion.  I ended up conciliating with everyone there and started returning back to the church once again.

 

In life there are minor disappointments such as your favorite sports team losing a game.  Not being able to get the job you had interviewed for or not getting what you wanted for Christmas. No matter what the disappointment may be, we must always remember that there is always a silver lining. “It can only get better from here”.

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 Isaiah 40:28-31

 

The Importance of Being a Dad

Let me tell you a story about the day I discovered that I am going to be a good father. In high school I was one of those that wanted to meet girls; there was one particular class that was called Child Development.  Child Development builds a positive understanding of children’s growth and development and a solid foundation of parenting skills. Classes include hands on work with 3-5 year old children. I was also organizing children’s activities. Child Development students learn about the theories of development and growth as well as techniques to use when working with children through class activities, presentations, discussion, videos, guest speakers and field trips. They then apply the principles learned in hands on situations in the playschool environment. I chose this class because I figured the best way to meet a girl was to be here, it was almost an all-girl class. As time began to pass my passion for the children grew. During the second semester of the course we went to an elementary school to work with kids. It was during this time where I started to realize some of the strange connections I have with kids. I say strange because it’s like me and most children bond instantly. 

One day the teacher asked us to bring in our little siblings that were between 2 and 4 and to evaluate how they interact with each other. That day I had just finished up my Child Development class and was heading to my next class as a T.A. but asked my teacher if it was ok to go back and help my Child Development teacher. When I had arrived my friends were standing outside and I heard crying come from one of them. As I approached I realized that it was my best friends little brother who had been crying. I asked her what was wrong seeing how her little brother was acting real fussy. She told me that he didn’t want to play with any of the kids and was throwing a tantrum. I decided that I would help my friend so I picked up her brother and held him; all of a sudden he stopped crying. My friend tells me that he would never go with a guy other than his father and that he didn’t like being held but for some reason he didn’t mind when I did. I decided to take him in and play with him. At first the little boy seemed skeptical about playing with the toys especially with the other kids and after a few minutes of playing with him, the next thing you know he’s laughing and playing with all the kids.

That day seemed strange to me, all of a sudden different things began to happen. Every time I come across a child there would be a strong connection. I knew from that experience that I was meant to be a father. Growing up I didn’t really have my dad in my life, I only had my mother who was like a father to me. During my time growing up I can say that even though there was a fixed father in my life I did have a lot of men who poured a lot of wisdom in me. When I was in school I told myself that when I have kids, I want to give them everything my father never gave me, to always be in their lives when they need it. In my heart I know I would be a great father because not having one taught me the importance of a child having a father in their lives. Fathers are not just there to teach the kids sports but there is so much more. Dads are important for their interactions with the kids because they generally spend one on one time with the kids which helps builds the child’s self-esteem. Fathers are important for the example they set for the son. He will learn positive characteristics to succeed while the daughter forms her opinion about men by her father’s actions and behavior.   Fathers are important for their physical play because it helps develop a child’s cognitive thinking which helps them control their feelings and regulate their behavior. A father’s very presence changes the way a child grows up and can make an impact on a child’s educational life.  A father is very important in a child’s life and it is he that can make a very big difference.  

“To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” ~ Bill Wilson

Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!!

~ Philip Whitmore Sr

 

 

From Negative to Positive

Today I want to talk to you about a very serious subject. This is about a very contagious sickness that once caught could possibly ruin your entire life. This sickness is known as Negativity and if you aren’t careful you just might end up catching it. Every day and everywhere we look, we always see negativity. Today one of the biggest places people can see negativity is on social media!! Yes social media. I am talking about Twitter, Myspace, and yes of course the biggest place negativity can be seen is on Facebook. Young or old, it doesn’t matter everyone is on Facebook posting about something. Here’s a list of the most common negativity you may see on Facebook. 1) Lying 2) Cheating 3) Rumors 4) Trust issues 5) Jealousy 6) Sensitivity 7) Being friends with exes 8) Broken relationships 9) Insecurities  10) Betrayal. Every day some of us allow ourselves to put up with negativity. It not only affects us but it affects all of our friends and family as well. Negativity, if not dealt with, can really hurt not only physically but emotionally, as well. When you have a negative attitude it can drain all of the energy right out of you. Negativity weakens the immune system which will make you more susceptible to sickness when compared to positive people. Negativity or Positivity not only determines what you will do with the choices you’re given but it also determines how we feel from a physical standpoint.

 “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.”   Willie Nelson

If I had kept a negative attitude or mentality when I was growing up, I probably would not been the man I am today. “I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, good or bad, it all has a purpose.” The way I live is based off this very thing and I am thankful that I am who I am today because I kept a positive outlook on life. Growing up in foster care was never easy and there were very good reasons for me to be bitter and negative but I chose not to be that way. Let me share with you some ways that can actually help you to be more positive.

 1. Don’t take other peoples negativity seriously. People will sometimes try and put you down but it’s up to you to decide what you want to receive.

 2. Spend more time with positive people. You become who you are, surround yourself with positive minded people. If you spend time with negative people then it is easier for you to become negative.

3. Be the positivity you want to see in the world. What do I mean by this:  be the example, the leader, not the follower. If people are posting negativity you should be spreading the positive.

4. Change the way you think. You have the power to decide how you react to others. Change that stinkin thinkin into something positive.

5. Focus on solutions. Instead of dwelling on mistakes you made in the past, stop beating yourself up. Look for a positive solution, that positive next step. What do you have to do better the next time around?

 6. Love yourself and those around you. This is very important because you never know how someone is feeling or what they are thinking. Show others you care about them and I’ll guarantee that their attitude will change. They will be happier but not only that, you will be, too.

 7. Provide support when it makes sense. Those people who complain or put all their business out there are just crying out for help. Use this as a way for you to help someone with their problems.

 8. Realize that life is a series of ups and downs. There will be times when things are going good and there are times when things are going to be bad but you have to remain positive and know that grass will still be green on the other side. Keep the outlook of “things will only get better from here”.

9. Concentrate on today. We can’t allow our past to make us who we are today. There were a lot of things that physically and emotionally scarred me as a child but I didn’t take those things to heart. You have to let the past go and put it behind you.

10. Let go and move on!! Basically this speaks for itself. Let go of your negative past and move on towards your future. Ask yourself this: where do I see myself in ten years? How do I see myself in ten years? What kind of man or woman will I be then? Questions like that will help keep your mindset focused on being positive and successful.

 

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 With my brothers Cesar, Manuel & Jesus

With my brothers Cesar, Manuel & Jesus