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.

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.

Something Old – Something New

I’ve been blogging on and off now for about 6 years. In no Ernest Hemingway nor have I ever claimed to be. I’m just a regular man who wanted to share his faith journey when I started my original blog (Mi Viaje-My Journey).

Over the years many changes have taken place and I’ve also matured…for the most part lol; physically, mentally, and spiritually. With that maturation came an understanding that I could still enjoy some of the things and people that I did before I reverted back to Catholicism. For some foolish reason I had it in my head that it is one way or the other; secularism or Christianity. Man was I wrong. I can still serve God without placing labels and stipulations on people and places. Live and learn.

That brings me to the change. The page will no longer be just about my spiritual journey, it will be about various journeys that I’ve taken or will take. It’s about the passions that I have for music and cooking, particularly bbq. It will encompass various parts of my life, hence Mi Viaje-Mi Pasiones-Mi Vida; My journey, my passions, my life.

I’m a firm believer that we learn from each other’s words and actions. I hope that what I share with you will inspire you to possibly create your own blog where you can share your stories, your art, your advice, or whatever it is that you could share with the world.

What I want my readers to get the most out of my articles is fun! So in the words of my fellow Cajuns, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” Let the good times roll!

On the Topic of Pro-Life and the Hatred Towards President Trump

When discussing pro life issues, stating that we should be concerned about the dignity of all lives is an imbecilic thing to say. We should always be taking care of our fellow man. We should always have in mind the dignity of our fellow man, be it the poor, the elderly, the immigrant, etc. By saying that the dignity of all lives matters is using it as a scapegoat to justify voting for a party who supports the murder of the unborn.

Once again I say, if we do not stress the importance of the dignity of life from the beginning, nothing else matters.

Mark 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them.

Matthew 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

The aforementioned scripture verses are examples of how we should always be taking care of our fellow man.

Now let’s look at a couple of other examples of scripture that refer to the laws of man and God.

Exodus 20:13 You shall not kill.

1 Timothy 1:9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient.

There are many “Christians” out there who absolutely, undeniably, and abhorrently hate President Donald Trump. To them I pose this question; how can you hate someone that you do not know?

What does scripture say about hate?

1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Hate comes from fear. Fear comes from the devil. Ask yourselves who you serve?

I know hate. I know the evil of hate and how it can consume a person and blind them from the truth.

Anyone that I’ve ever “hated” in my life was a lie that was constantly being fed to me by the evil one. How could I hate someone I didn’t know? I couldn’t. The truth was I didn’t like the action(s) of the person and instead of saying that, I went beyond the dislike of an action to hatred for the person.

If someone brings up the name Donald Trump, and you cannot have a rational conversation with that person without allowing your feelings to get involved, pray. Pray that God will give you clarity. I had to because I was allowing my feelings to get involved while defending the President. Now, I point out what he has done to help our nation to try to become great again. Let’s face it, other countries used to look up to us or looked at us with envy and jealousy. Now they laugh at us and that was long before President Trump.

Do we take a chance and vote in a party who wants socialism to be the new norm? Or do we vote for the man who has his own “personal” faults that are between he and God, not he and me. The same man who has brought Christianity back into the vocabulary of politics. The same man who defends the dignity of the unborn and is not ashamed to say so.

Remember, 95% of what we say and do is based on feelings. Use that untapped 5% when it come time to vote. Open your eyes and your hearts. Do not trust your feelings when you vote but vote on the issues at hand.

30 Day Retreat Follow Up: Epic Fail or Lesson Learned?

My 30 day retreat ended after 2 days and let me tell you, those were the most intense two days of silence and prayer that I’ve ever experienced, which was a good thing. Overall I’m not looking at this as a failure but rather a taste of things to come in the future. Who knows, maybe next time I will do 3 days or a week.

When I was alone without distractions and my mind started to clear, the more important things in my life started to come up to the forefront. It gave me time to think about what I need to be doing like spending more quality time with family at home and those not at home. I could step up my game at work. I can improve upon my prayer life. I can do more around the house than what I do.

The most important thing that I learned though in those 2 days was to take some time, every day to spend in quiet prayer. That is hard to do for a lot of us with distractions at home, etc… but it can be done, you just need to make it happen.

There is so much more to this 30 day plan that I didn’t get to experience because I stopped so soon. Like I said earlier, maybe next time I’ll shoot for 3 days or a week. Maybe next time I spend those 3 days out in the wilderness with no distractions? Or maybe, I don’t do it at all? Which leads me to my final observation during those 2 days. I asked myself, “Were you doing this because you felt God calling you to do it or was it because a friend of yours did it and you saw the changes in him?” Basically, was I doing this for God or for me? 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

So ask yourself, “Do I do all to the glory of God?” Something to think about.

Until next time, Buen Camino and God bless.

30 Day Retreat

Picture yourself driving down a highway during the summer and it is early morning, the sun is beginning to rise. As you are driving you hear or see the splat of a bug hitting your windshield. If you’re quick enough you rinse the remains of the bug off. After driving for an hour you pull off into a rest area. You notice that your windshield is a mess. Bugs and remnants of them have left their mark on your windshield. You get back in your vehicle and start to drive away noticing the mess on the windshield. You can still see the road but it’s not as clear. You get to a crossroad and make a turn, the wrong turn because you could not see clearly.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dirty-windshield-2.jpg

 

Sometimes we allow things to get in the way of our journey with Christ. People, material objects, vices, places, situations, they all can create a blurred vision of the path that leads us home to him. That is when we need to stop, clear our vision, and get back on track.

 

I am at one of those times in my life where I need to clear my vision. I need to get away from the world as best as I can, and clean my inner windshield. A friend and Catholic brother of mine introduced me to a program, “Freedom Through Christ” created by a Catholic Deliverance Ministry.

I saw the changes that he went through and although I know that I may not experience those same changes, I know that changes need to be taken in order for me to continue my journey with Christ. This is my time to reconnect with God in a deeper more intimate way than what I’ve ever done before.

Tomorrow July 16, 2020, I begin my retreat. I will be off the grid per se for at least 30 days, maybe more, I have no idea how this will go or where God will lead me during this time.

I’d like to ask you all to pray for me during this time. Pray that God will deliver me from whatever it is that is holding me back. Pray that his will be done in my life. I will pray for all of you and your intentions during this time and when I return, I pray that I am a better man than who I am today.

Thank you, God bless you, Buen Camino, and I’ll see you all later.

A Warrior’s Cry: A Prayer Before Battle

A man holds a rosary in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

In days of old, warriors used to pray before a battle. As a Christian, you have been fighting a battle ever since the day that you were born. It’s not a physical battle or at least not always; it is spiritual warfare, a battle against Satan and his demons.

Now the time has come to pray to the Lord Our God, to protect us from the evil out there and to give us the strength to go into battle. Are you ready to fight? Let us pray.

For Protection

Psalms 7

O LORD my God, in thee do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me, lest like a lion they rend me, dragging me away, with none to rescue.  O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands,  if I have requited my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause,  let the enemy pursue me and overtake me, and let him trample my life to the ground, and lay my soul in the dust. [Selah]  Arise, O LORD, in thy anger, lift thyself up against the fury of my enemies; awake, O my God; thou hast appointed a judgment.  Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about thee; and over it take thy seat on high.  The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish thou the righteous, thou who triest the minds and hearts, thou righteous God. My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.  If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and strung his bow; he has prepared his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked man conceives evil, and is pregnant with mischief, and brings forth lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole which he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own pate his violence descends. I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

For Strength

Psalms 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Isaiah 40:29

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Psalms 28:7-8

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. The LORD is the strength of his people, he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

 

 

Thou Shalt Not Steal

How many of you have gone to your local store to purchase toilet paper only to find an empty aisle? What’s up with that? I think the meme that I shared above says it all.

Almost empty bathroom aisle

During a time of crisis, like the one that we are currently in, it is wise to buy a few extra items to see you through it. You should have enough food and household supplies (this includes toilet paper) to last you at least a month. There is no reason that you should be buying 8 32-roll packs of toilet paper. If so, well…like the meme at the top says, you should’ve seen your doctor long before COVID-19.

If you are purchasing more than what you need, you are hoarding and you are also stealing. That’s right, I said that you are stealing! You may not be stealing from the store (but then again some of you might be) but, you are stealing from those who will need these items and will not be able to find them at the store, like those who are elderly and are on a tight budget. Because of their budgets, some people can only afford to shop at certain times of the month. If you are Christian, and you are one of the people hoarding items, shame on you! If you are Catholic, and you are one of the people hoarding items, not only shame on you but, you need to take your butt to confession. If you are not a believer in Christ and you are one of the people hoarding these items, there is a special place in hell for you all. Just kidding. No, I’m not.

Think about others before yourself, especially during times like these. Can you imagine if Jesus had been selfish and thought of only himself? He thought about others rather than himself and his actions show it. Now I’m no Jesus myself but I do my best to follow his example, you should too. This is what he commands us to do; John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” There it is, in black and white.

Until next time, be excellent to each other.

To Blog or Not to Blog

I'm sorry

For those of you who still follow this blog, I’m shocked; I’m also sorry for not being consistent with my posts. I’m hoping to change that going forward and try to post at least once a month at a minimum.

where-have-you-been

So why the hiatus? I guess you can say it’s been multiple reasons; some good, some bad, but still, there were enough to keep me distracted from my blog. 2019 like any other year, has been a year of ups and downs; mostly downs though.

Earlier in the year, I dropped out of the deacon formation program and that sent me off on a tailspin. I never wanted to drop out however, due to circumstances beyond my control, it was in my best interest and that of my family, to get out. The healing from that continues though. A few months later, one of our fellow diaconate brothers who left the program last summer took his own life. It didn’t make sense then, it still doesn’t make sense and it probably never will. The healing also continues from that event. A couple months after that, our business loses our biggest client. Another situation that was beyond my control but, it still impacts us. There have been a few other business-related matters that have risen in which we will have to wait and see what happens going forward.

therapy

Needless to say, I started therapy earlier in the year. As it has progressed and times have gotten tougher throughout the year, my therapist and doctors have been a blessing. I believe that my diagnosis is spot on and there is a plan that we’ve implemented to help me address my issues and move forward to a more normal life. Baby steps. Please, don’t ever make fun of people who are seeking help. I used to be that asshole that did that and look at me now. This world can be pretty messed up to put it lightly and there are many of us who have grown up in non-typical environments that have left us bruised, wounded and scarred. Instead of making fun of us, take the time to get to know us and listen to us, if we are willing to talk.

faith

My faith means a lot to me. Let me rephrase that, my Catholic faith means a lot to me. Ever since coming back to the Church in 2012, my faith journey has been a roller coaster of a ride, to say the least. This year really tested that faith, especially during that first half of the year. But I trust in Jesus Christ, my God, to get me through all of this as he has done before. Even if the outcome is not how I wanted it to be, I trust that it was His will that was done and not mine and that it was for the best.

1 group2
Cast No Stones

So was it all bad this year? Absolutely not. I started playing with a couple of men back in March of this year just for rest and relaxation and it turned into a group. The name of our band is Cast No Stones and if you get a chance, check us out on Facebook. We played our first show in October to a packed house at the Little Toad Creek Brewery in Silver City, NM and it was a fun night. Our next show will be a private party at the Elks Club on New Year’s Eve. Playing in the band has been a form of therapy for me as well.

Dream Theater
Dream Theater – Distance Over Time Tour October 26, 2019

I also went with a good friend of mine and saw Dream Theater for the first time in October and I was blown away. Definitely, the best show that I’ve ever been to.

catholic-men-praying-together

I had lunch with that friend of mine that I went to the concert with and we’ve decided to launch another Catholic men’s group for our area. We have a few men who are interested in joining to see what it’s all about. We truly believe that there are many men out there in the world who are hungering for something. They are trying to fill that hunger with other things in life and finding out that they are still hungry at the end of the day. We want to lead these men and ourselves to the living bread, Jesus Christ. As scripture says, “As iron sharpens irons, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17

So I take the bad with the good and I thank God for the blessings and lessons that he has bestowed upon me this year. I had to take time to sit back and think about what I was going to say and then I remembered; mi viaje – my journey, that is what my blog is about, my life and my journey and how I wanted to share it with the world. Please keep me in your prayers and know that I’m praying for you. Until next time, buen camino.