I Believe

I believe that most people are good

I believe that most people are kind

I believe that most people care

I believe that mainstream media has an agenda

I believe that mainstream media works towards keeping us divided

I believe that mainstream media wants to keep everyone scared

I believe that social media molds individuals into puppets

I believe that social media also strives for division

I believe that social media is not so social anymore

I believe in God and look to him for strength

I believe that most people believe in a higher power

I believe that most people live by the “golden rule.”

I believe that people will wake up one day and realize that we need to become more dependent on each other, instead of depending on politicians who care about power and money instead of the people they serve.

I believe that we can come together and mend the brokenness of this country, only if we don’t listen to the haters, dividers, and non-believers.

I believe that we can make the United States of America great again, but not through any political party or any politicians, but through our own hard work, determination, and God’s grace.

God help us.

Until next time, Buen Camino.

Puppets Among Us

Have you ever been to a marionette show? A puppet show? Well count yourself blessed because if you are on some form of social media, chances are, you see one everyday.

It’s not your typical puppet show. No, this one stars people you don’t know, and some that you do, like family and friends. Sometimes, you might even be the star.

It’s a show about a fallen nation. Once upon a time, it was a great nation, a nation that others wanted to be like. We were once a powerful nation, with strong morals, strong standards, and a strong military. Now we virtually have no morals, we’ve lowered our standards, and we want to do away with drill sergeants in basic training because of the stress they induce. Are we the new Rome and is our empire about to fall?

You know what we are now? The laughing stock of the world. Most of you all are so busy fighting with each other that you can’t even see what is happening right in front of you. Men who identify as women are now able to use bathrooms with your daughters and vice versa. Abortion wasn’t good enough in some states. Now those states have the right to kill the unborn up to the day of birth. It’s not ok to take a knee before a game to pray, but you can if it’s protesting against the police. And there’s so much more.

But you can’t see it. You’re too busy, arguing on Facebook, sharing memes to get your point across instead of your own words. It’s two humongous armies of keyboard warriors launching salvos of insults after insults at each other.

If you ever took a step back and looked at what’s going on, you’d see what I see…puppets doing their masters bidding. Fighting hard to keep this nation divided. That’s what they want, and that is what you do for them.

The only question is, who is your master? Is it social media? Is it mainstream media? Is it the Republican or Democratic Party? If you’re playing their game, you are a puppet. Don’t fool yourself and think that you’re not. I think Dave Mustaine said it best, “We dance like Marionettes Swaying to the symphony of destruction.”

The choice was yours all along, and it still is. Keep dancing their dance, or cut the string.

Until next time, “Buen Camino”.

What a Wonderful World…NOT!

4:00am and I’m scrolling through Facebook like I sometimes do when I wake up too early. Occasionally I will stop to read people’s comments to various posts and I’m reminded how hateful many people are with each other.

It’s not good enough to just disagree anymore. Now it’s all about who can comeback with the most vile retort. Even when one truly feels that they are correct and have this conviction deep within, a simple “I disagree” is not good enough and they proceed to belittle the other individual because of their view on a topic.

All hope is not lost however. If you are that type of individual in the aforementioned paragraph, you too can change, but only if you realize and accept the fact that you want to change. I was that type of person for quite some time. Oh how I lived for the argument and an opportunity to put someone down for their thoughts, and for what? I didn’t like the person I was and realized that I needed change.

But you’re not a tiger.

You’ve heard the cliche “a tiger can’t change its stripes”, but you are not a tiger, you are a human being with the capabilities of changing yourself. Sometimes change is hard but anything worth having comes with a little hardship.

How do you change? There are many ways but here are a few suggestions.

1. Steer away from posts or stories on social media that bring out anger.

2. Willpower is not your friend. Habit is the key. Do or say something kind for someone each day, everyday until it becomes a habit.

3. Remind yourself daily that you want to change and become a better, more positive person.

In a world that seems to be full of lies, deceit, and negativity, you can make that change and make a difference. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Until next time, God bless s as and Buen Camino!

My First True Love

I was reminiscing today about my first true love. I was only a child when it happened, but I remember her well. The moment I heard her, I was swept off my feet.

She would say, “let’s go on an adventure” and I wouldn’t hesitate. She would grab me and take me away, to places that I never knew existed.

When I was with her, it was like floating in space. Time stood still when I was with her.

As I grew older, my love for her grew deeper. The way that she could stir up every emotion inside of me was remarkable.

I still love her. Sometimes I listen to her past and other times she reveals something new. But it’s never dull, never boring, She draws me in, like only she knows how.

My first true love was music. And even though I love my bride, my children, my family and friends, she will always hold a special place in my heart, my first true love.

All About the Journey

So what is lent to you? How are you doing so far this lent? What type of journey are you on?

In this week’s readings we hear about two journeys. We journey with Abraham who is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. When the arrive at the top of the mountain to the place of sacrifice he is told by the Lord’s messenger not to lay a hand on the boy. Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

In the second journey (Mark 9:2-10) Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents: 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; 
from the cloud came a voice, 
“This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

As we go out this week, let us listen to what it is the Lord is asking of us, and let us obey Him and trust Him to lead this journey that we’re on.

Until next time, Buen Camino and God bless.

One Month Down

Hello everyone. Welcome to 2021! For good or bad, it is what it is and here we are. 

How many of you are into doing “New Years Resolutions”? I don’t do them anymore. As I get older my focus turns towards becoming a better Catholic man, and a better person overall. Not that I’m opposed to resolutions. They can be a great motivation to get a person from point A to point B. 

list of resolutions on blackboard with three blank, numbered sticky notes

So January 2021 comes to an end tonight and I’m wondering how some of you are feeling so far. Are you upset or happy with the election results? What are your views on COVID-19 now a year into it? Have you taken the vaccine? Will you take it? How is your home and work life going? How are you doing physically, mentally, and spiritually? These are just a few of the questions that I think about.

I’m not happy with the election results however, they are what they are and I’m moving forward with my life; I refuse to let my emotions dictate my life and reaching the goals that I’ve set for myself and my family. As a citizen, I will do my part to constructively voice my concerns with the new administration as they arise.

By now I’m sure that most of you have been impacted personally on some level due to COVID-19. You may have lost your job, your business, had to accept a reduction in hours or pay. You may have contracted the virus, or knew someone who did. You may have lost a family member or friend due to the virus. All of these have happened to me over the last year. I was once a prideful, obnoxious, boisterous fool who refused to wear his mask and voiced that “there is no way in hell that I’m taking a vaccine”! One year later and I’ll be getting my booster vaccine this week, and I wear my mask regularly now. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was wrong with my views. I’m thinking about others now instead of myself when it comes to the virus. I’m not saying that I’m better than anyone who doesn’t wear a mask or who refuses to get the vaccine. These are my views, not theirs or yours. We each have our decisions to make when it comes to how we address the virus in our personal lives.

Physically I’m not doing well. I have diabetes now and have zero willpower when it comes to sweets. I need to find that drive to get off my ass and take this seriously. 

Last year was not a bad year for me mentally overall so I’d say I’m doing great so far this year as I’m still very optimistic about my future. I’m no longer worrying about things that are out of my control. I can barely control my life at times so I don’t have time for other issues outside of my life. 

Spiritually I’m doing fair to partly cloudy. I can always improve in this area. The hardest part for me is the state of the Church as a whole. Everyone are on different pages when it comes to the faith yet. “Catholic” is supposed to be universal as its meaning goes. This is all outside of my control of course so I’ll focus on the spiritual side of Catholicism and not the human side.

I’m almost three months into my new job and I love it. Life is good overall and God is great! So at this point in 2021, I’m hopeful, a bit anxious, and feeling blessed about the rest of the year. How about you?

Until next time, Buen Camino, and God bless.

My 2020

I remember starting off my year with optimism. I really believed that this would be my year, whatever the heck that meant. Business was ehh but there were possibilities on the front. Little did I know that this year was going to be filled with many WTF moments.

January 7, 2020 A Legend Dies

I remember the headlines; “Drummer and writer for the rock band Rush, Neil Peart has died at the age of 67.” My heart sank and tears came to my eyes. My rock idol and hero was gone, from cancer, something he kept quiet for a while. WTF!

It’s inevitable that the older we get, the more actors, musicians, sports stars, etc. that we grew up watching, listening to, will pass away, it’s just a part of life. Then 2020 said, “hold my beer.”

January – March

Life was chugging along like usual but there was this sense of impending doom in the air. Was it because it was an election year, or is it because of this coronavirus they keep talking about? The answer would soon become obvious. Our state, New Mexico, started shutdowns in late March. From that point on, 2020 would belong to COVID-19. WTF!

March 20, 2020 Another Legend Gone

“Country music singer Kenny Rogers has died at the age of 81 of natural causes.” He wasn’t a favorite of mine but his music was a part of my life as a teen and young adult. Goodbye Gambler.

March 27, 2020

“Country singer Joe Diffie has died at the age of 61 from COVID-19.” WTF!

March 30, 2020 Ain’t NoSunshine

“Musician and songwriter and legend Bill Withers has died at the age of 81.” This one hit me hard. One of my favorite songwriters and singers. He died of heart complications.

April – August

April is when we noticed business starting to dwindle. My bride and I had to have that hard discussion that many other couples and businesses in the country were having, “we might have to close our business.” We put in for what government assistance we could get only to be told that there were no more funds. At some point, I hope that our government comes up with a new category for “small business.” Maybe something like “Micro business”, those of us with less than 5 employees. There are thousands of us in this county, and we are the ones who really could’ve used the help. We live in small towns across the country and are a big part of our communities. When we shut down, it doesn’t just effect us, it impacts many other businesses and people within our area.

We decided we’d see how things would play out and reevaluate the situation by August. More lockdowns happened during this time. Restaurants were told to operate at a smaller capacity and later told they could only do carry out. Later they were told they could open again at a small capacity only to be told a few weeks later “outside dining only!” It was and has been a vicious game of red light green light.

August came along and we revisited our conversation from a few months ago and we decided that it was in our best interest to close our business at the end of the year, we could survive until then.

I got to go camping with my good friend Dan who invited me to join him for the Memorial Day weekend. It was just what I needed but it took me the better part of two days before I finally gave in and relaxed. And I was introduced to a new drink, the dirty martini. Those helped me relax as well. It was a much needed long weekend. Let me tell you about Dan. He’s not just a really good friend, he’s also a mentor and a brother. God bless him.

May 9, 2020 Good Golly Miss Molly

“Rock legend and superstar Little Richard has died. He was 87.” He died from bone cancer.

May 14, 2020 Malo

“Guitarist and brother of guitar legend Carlos Santana, Jorge Santa is dead at the age of 68.” One of the baddest guitar players that I had the privilege of seeing live. He died of natural causes.

July 6, 2020 The Devils in the House of the Rising Sun

“Country music star and fiddle player extraordinaire Charlie Daniels has died of a stroke at the age of 83.” Another artist whose music I grew up with.

August 20, 2020 Bang Your Head

“Hard Rock drummer from the band Quiet Riot, Frankie Banali has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 68.” A huge musical influence for me. Even though we knew he had been fighting this cancer, it is still a 2020 WTF!

September – Today

September…what do I remember about September? I went camping with my good friend Dan for Labor Day Weekend. More dirty martinis and more planning. Overall, a great weekend.

By this point of the year, I was already mentally transitioning into a new career. What would that be? We’d find out soon enough, in October.

October came and went quickly. My bride and I celebrated 31 years of marriage bliss…well 31 years of being married lol. I interviewed for three different positions at the same company. I guess the third time is the charm cause that landed me in the position I have now, Credentialing Department Manager for a local FQHC.

I started my new job the beginning of November and I’m loving it. New challenges, new opportunities, and a new life?! After 15 years of being my own boss, owning my own business, how will I handle this? I am handling it well. Hopefully sooner than later we can be in a position where my bride doesn’t have to work any more.

Christmas came to fast and today is New Year’s Eve. There was much more that happened this year within our lives. Loved ones who died, some from COVID-19, and other everyday happenings. It was like every other year,but then it wasn’t.

September 29, 2020 Hard To Be Humble

“Today the world lost a kind soul. Singer, songwriter, and actor Mac Davis passed away at the age of 78 after heart surgery.”

October 6, 2020 “Eruption”

“The world of Rock music has lost a true legend a guitar virtuoso today. Eddie Van Halen has passed away from throat cancer at the young age of 65.” Another heart wrenching moment. Who didn’t love Van Halen or at least hear one of their songs. This was a major WTF moment!

October 19, 2020 “Outfield”

“Singer and bass player for the band The Outfield, Tony Lewis has died at the age of 62. No cause of death given.” WTF!

December 12, 2020 “Roll on Mississippi”

“”Country artist and legend Charlie Pride has died from COVID-19. He was 86.” Charlie was a huge part of my life as a kid. I’ve always loved and will continue to love his music. WTF!

December 22, 2020 “Mississippi Queen”

“One of Rock’s under appreciated musicians has died from a heart attack today. Leslie West the front man from Mountain was 75 years old. He will be missed.” Another band from my younger days. Leslie was a very underrated guitar player and singer.

In closing on behalf of myself and everyone else, I’d like to say, “here’s to you 2020!”

May 2021 bring us closer together, make us better people, and after a year like this one, help us appreciate what and who we have.

Buen Camino.

Thankful

Every year around this time, people start to look inward and share what they are thankful for. Some do it in person and many do it through social media. It’s that time where the year is coming to an end and we look back on all the things that have taken place in the world, our country, and our lives.

This year has been a rough one to say the least. The majority of our country has been shut down since Early 2020 due to COVID-19 and that has impacted millions of Americans in one way or another. People have lost jobs, businesses, hope, and there are those who’ve died from the virus or underlying conditions with the virus added to them.

Add to that a presidential election that brought out the ugliness in many people on both sides of the aisle. Friendships ended and family feuds started or escalated all because people have forgotten how to disagree and move on.

What are your thoughts at this point of this year? Are you hopeful? Are you scared?

I think that 2020 gave us an opportunity to take a step back and be thankful for the smallest things in life, like waking up this morning. Sadly, many people have missed that message because they were too caught up in the election, or being told what to think from mainstream or social media.

Since the start of this virus, I’ve managed to keep a positive attitude, even in the face of losing our business, I remained optimistic. Months later with a new job and new challenges, I still remain optimistic. Why? For me, it’s keeping my eyes on Christ. I can’t do it all alone but as Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

What or who is it that strengthens you? Is it working? Are you content with the way your life is going?

This year, like every other year, I’m thankful for my beautiful bride, my wonderful children, family and friends. I’m also thankful for my new job and new opportunities but most of all, I’m thankful for having Jesus Christ at the center of my life because without him, none of this is possible.

May you be blessed, safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Religious Freedom & Knights on Bikes

With the presidential elections right around the corner, now more than ever, it is important to make your voice heard. With our national and local candidates running on so many platforms, there is one that Americans are forgetting to find out where each candidate stands on in regards to our freedom of religion.

If you think that our religious freedoms can’t be taken away from us here in the U.S., think again. Look at what happened to The Little Sisters of the Poor, the baker who didn’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding, and the photographer who didn’t want to take pictures for a gay weddings. Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars were spent in these court battles. These example may not affect you directly, but if we continue to allow our government and others to chip away at our religious freedoms, soon there won’t be any left.

There are a group of men who through their actions, decided to bring attention to this issue. A few weeks ago the Knights on Bikes held a “Freedom Ride” to bring attention to our rights of religious freedom. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of these men, and the young lady who filmed the video below, on previous projects that have aired on EWTN and have been seen by millions around the world.

Recently I learned about “shadow banning” – Shadow banning, also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting, is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community, so that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned. For instance, shadow banned comments posted to a blog or media website will not be visible to other persons accessing that site from their computers.

By partly concealing, or making a user’s contributions invisible or less prominent to other members of the service, the hope may be that in the absence of reactions to their comments, the problematic or otherwise out-of-favour user will become bored or frustrated and leave the site. (Taken from Wikipedia)

I believe this is something that is happening with my FB account, and many other conservative social media users that I know. That is why I have shared this on my personal blog page.

My goal is to share this video with as many people that I can and to ask you all to do the same. I also ask you to please hit the thumbs up button. In the words of the Mexican people, the Cristeros who fought for their freedom of religion during the Cristero War (1926 – 1929), may our battle cry be the same as theirs, Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King!

Knights on Bikes: Protest for Freedom

To learn more about Knights on Bikes, contact Bob “Ace” Bagley.

His cornbread ain’t done in the middle: Recipe #1 – BLT Prejean Style

As I mentioned in my first article for VPV, one of my passions is BBQ’ing. With that being said, I’d like to start off with my first installment of “His cornbread ain’t done in the middle” my recipe page. Enjoy.

Not too long ago I took a stab at making some BLT’s that I saw Cowboy Kent Rollins making (If you’ve never seen his videos, click on his name and check him out. You’ll thank me later). Like most of us who like to BBQ, I put my own twist to it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 2 packs of thick sliced bacon (whatever brand you like)
  2. 1 loaf of sourdough bread (if you can get fresh baked, even better)
  3. 2 big tomatoes
  4. 1 head of butter lettuce (it makes a difference)
  5. Duke’s Mayonnaise (If you can’t find it in your store, order it on Amazon. It make all the difference)
  6. 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  7. 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt
  8. 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  9. 6 good sized roasted green chiles used for rellenos.

Keep in mind that everything I do BBQ wise is on my Traeger Ironwood 850. You can use your own smoker, grill, or stovetop.

First you smoke/cook your bacon.

While you bacon is smoking, cut the tomatoes into thin slices. Wash the butter lettuce and pull it apart for sandwiches.

Once the bacon is done, I spread some Dukes mayo on each slice of bread and place it on the smoker mayo side down until it is golden brown.

While the bread is roasting, mix your brown sugar, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl.

Assemble the sandwiches in this manner:

  1. Spread Dukes mayo on the ungrilled side of each slice of bread
  2. Place 3 slices of tomatoes on the bottom slice of bread
  3. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the brown sugar mixture
  4. Place 3-4 slices of bacon on the tomatoes
  5. Place 1 slice of roasted green chile on the bacon (split it open to fit the sandwich)
  6. Place 2-3 leaves of lettuce on the chile
  7. Top with the other slice of bread

Once that’s done, say a prayer thanking the good Lord for all that he has provided you with and chow down.

It’s an easy recipe and it doesn’t take much time or prep.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe and please, let me know what you think.