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.

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!

53

As I sit here in my recliner, front door open, cool evening air blowing inside, 11:30 PM, my mind went back to Ft. Stockton, TX 1979, cool summer evening just like tonight but back then, you could sleep with your front door open. Man have times changed.

I miss the simpler times in life. I didn’t have the best life growing up but I did have some good memories here and there. It’s those memories, those times and places that I miss during times like these.

And here I am now, just turned 53 this month, living a life that I would’ve never imagined, in what some people are calling a “COVID world.” Well, I don’t want to live in a “COVID world.” What does that mean? I don’t know. What I do know is that for some, this virus has made them look at themselves and they are trying to become better humans. And then there are others, who just like demons, look for any opportunity to make others lives miserable. I try to be that first type of person but there are times that I fail.

I’ve kept this picture up as my Facebook cover as a reminder to just live. Some days I’m like Keith Richards and other days I’m like the other guys but the one thing that I strive for daily is to do what they are doing in the picture, smiling and laughing. Even with the masks on, you can see the smiles, the laughter, and the happiness on their faces.

Will our world ever get back to normal? I don’t know. For now, I will live my life the best way I know how, and I will laugh and smile along the way. Until next time, buen camino & God bless.

What Have We Learned So Far?

We are now weeks into this epidemic and what have we learned from all of what’s going on with the coronavirus in the United States?

We’ve learned that when push comes to shove, Americans are still strong. Our hospitals, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and rescue personnel are placing themselves in harms way for the health and safety of their communities first. They deserve our thanks and prayers for their health, safety, and for them to continue their work.

We should also thank and pray for our truckers who are working to bring supplies to those in need. Thank and pray for the American worker, who’s job has been deemed “essential” and are still doing their part to keep the country going.

Pray for and look after those who’ve lost their jobs and businesses. During times like these, stress, anxiety, and depression can hit home hard leading to drinking, drug use, and sometimes suicide. Be kind to and look out for each other. Help your fellow man.

The biggest thing that I’ve noticed throughout this whole ordeal, in my opinion, is the fact that we to place God back in the center of our lives. I honestly feel that he’s been warning us over these past few decades and instead of getting better, as a whole, we are getting worse. Disobeying his laws, making a mockery out of the sacrament of marriage, the continued murdering of the unborn, and countless other acts that snub our noses at God. God is a loving God, but he is also a just God.

What have I learned about myself during this time? A lot! I’ve noticed where the lack of God is in my life. I’ve learned that although I’ve come to grips with certain areas in my life, more work is needed to attain the peace that I’ve desperately searched for. Day by day and with the grace of God, I will achieve my goals too.

God bless you all, be safe, and Buen Camino.

Losing it

Well it finally happened today, I lost it. Not “Falling Down” losing it but I went off on quite a few people today. Let me explain.

Earlier in the week a Catholic Persona who I’ve followed for quite sometime on Facebook posted something that I found to be quite disturbing. He was passionate about having the sacraments back and finished his post with the hashtag BishopsBringBackOurSacraments. Well I found this to be quite selfish and started to explain that to him. He wasn’t having it. He was dead set that the saints wouldn’t have put up with this and neither should we. I thought that was a pretty bold statement for him to make considering most saints went through much worse and most, if not all, were obedient to the Church and what was asked of them.

Today I saw another “Catholic a Persona” saying the same thing and he had a petition and a website created for this purpose to petition the bishops to bring back the sacraments. That’s when I lost it and proceeded to unload on him with both barrels like Wyatt Earp did after his brother was killed. I let him and his followers have it, French words and all to get my point across (I know. Not my finest moment) until I finally decided to step away to try to cool off. In the end, I issued many an apology but still cited that I disagreed with his viewpoint on the issue.

Maybe saying that he is being disobedient to the Church was too strong but I don’t think so, some of them might feel that way but I don’t. Let me give an example.

As a parent, if my child who is living at home informed me that they were going to go to Cabo San Lucas for spring break, I would not allow them to go and I would explain how this virus is highly contagious and easily spread, especially when you are in big groups. My Child might not like my decision and may even hate me for making it but as a parent, it is my responsibility to keep them healthy and safe, and as a child living at home, they must obey the laws that we as parents have set forth. It is the same with our bishops; they are looking after our health and well being during these times. They don’t enjoy saying no but it is for the safety of the whole, not the few.

I still say that those who are pushing to have the sacraments back are being disobedient and selfish. What do they think would happen if the bishops caved in and said “Ok! We will give you what you want” and then a parishioner contracts the virus and dies from it. Now the family of the deceased parishioner wants to sue the Church because they knew about the dangers but proceeded to go against the orders set by the states. Do you think they’d care then? It’s not their deceased family member or them being sued.

For those of you who disagree with me and are persistent in asking for the sacraments to be put back, maybe you should take the examples that I gave to heart and pray on them. While your at it, pray for those who’ve died already because of the virus or for those dying from it now who are not allowed to have a family member be with them as they are passing. Pray for those family members who are so grief stricken because of it. Pray for the medical staff who are working diligently to save lives. Pray for the cleaning workers in the hospitals that work ceaselessly to keep their facilities clean. Pray for them and their families who worry that they might bring the virus home. Pray for our safety personnel; law enforce, fire departments, and paramedics who are also coming in contact with some of those who have the virus. And pray for this epidemic to come to an end sooner than later.

This is not a time for disobedience or selfishness but a time to think about our fellow man. Jesus commanded, “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34

May God bless you all, and until next time, been camino.

52 Years

 

peaceful

I’ve spent 52 years on this earth and my life has been…less than. I really don’t know how to explain it but let’s just say that recent events that have happened in my life throw light upon why I have not been happy.

happyball

I’ve been saying it for some time now; “I’m sure that I don’t have 52 years left in me, so the time that I do have, I want to be happy.” I don’t want to spend the rest of my days wishing that I was a happier or better person, I want to be that person.

I believe that there are three key components to making this a reality.

  1. Spiritual Health – Getting my prayer life back in order. Realizing that I don’t have full control of my life as much as I’d like to think I do. Placing God back at the center of my life. Remembering to thank God for the blessings in my life. Working with other men to help each other in our journeys and hold each other accountable. Being the leader, protector, and provider of my family; being the priest of my household and setting that example.
  2. Mental Health – Continuing with my therapy and doing the exercises that my therapist has asked me to do. Remind myself daily that I am not the same person that I was as a child, teen, or young adult. And the hardest part for me, forgiving myself.
  3. Physical Health – This is an area that I desperately need to address. I need to find that motivation to get out, get up and be active for a bit instead of getting home, kicking off my shoes, changing into my comfortable clothes and laying down. No matter how much I wish it, fat won’t come off by wishing it away.

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This is my plan for now. Why for now? Because like any good plan, you have to allow room for adjustments. For those of you who are going through something similar, you can do it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Know that I will be praying for you and I ask you all to pray for me as well.

Until next time, Buen Camino.

 

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.

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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.

TRUST

trust-resized

Trust is not something that is handed out on a silver platter, it is something that is earned. Trusting people, especially these days, is getting harder and harder to do. There once was a time where a man’s word was his bond and a handshake is all that it took to seal a deal. Now there are lengthy contracts drawn up by corporate lawyers and professional courtesy is no longer the norm. If we take the time to look at ourselves, I’m sure that most of you, like me, will admit that we aren’t as trustworthy as we think we are. I’m sure there are plenty of times, like myself, where you don’t stick to your word. It is an area that I need to work on again, to stick to my word and mean what I say.

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Imagine if God was not a man of His word. Thankfully, we don’t have to imagine that. He is and always will be a man of His word. If we take the time to read the bible, we can find multiple verses where we hear about his trust and how we should trust in him. Here are a few examples from the book of Psalms.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act Psalm 37:5

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

let go let god

Sometimes the hardest person to trust is ourselves. Think about it. How many times have you trusted your “instinct” only to find yourself knee deep in…trouble? I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me. There are also times when I remember to place my trust in God, lift my prayers to Him, and I am amazed at the results. One of my favorite verses about trust is this one; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6. It is the perfect example of what not and what to do.

trust-torn

There is a massive lack of trust in the Church today, it has been torn. In my opinion, I feel that it is due to our Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons who have “leaned on their own understanding” instead of on God’s. Speaking for myself, there are many of those men listed above who I’ve lost trust in and it will take time and action for them to regain my trust. I’m sure the same can be said for many of you who have been hurt by someone in the Church. Let us ask God to help us to forgive these individuals, to pray for them to be better shepherds, and to give us the courage to stand up to them and respectfully hold them accountable when they are leading us astray or breaking our trust. And, let us continue to work on ourselves, to be the best version of ourselves, the one that God created us to be. Let us with the grace of God, continue to work on our integrity, sincerity, reliability, consistency, commitment, and competence so that we may regain the trust that others have lost in us.

Buen Camino & God Bless.

When you start to lose your faith

man-praying-knees-sun-ftr

Coming back to Jesus Christ and His Church was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I remember the tears of joy, the feeling of an enormous weight being lifted from my shoulders, the weight of sin and doubt; I finally felt free and felt loved

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Over the years after coming back to my faith, I got myself involved in many ministries; I believe I was trying to find a way to make up for the lost time and for not doing what I felt that I should’ve been doing for Christ all along. I got to a point where I overdid it and got involved in too many ministries and became overburdened. Another thing that happened is that I started to notice the people involved in these ministries, and what I noticed was not good. Over pious, self-serving, self-righteous, holier than thou individuals who were in these ministries for all the wrong reasons. All of a sudden there was too much noise, far too many voices of who was right and what was right. I didn’t realize then that I couldn’t hear or see God because of the static and that my attention was elsewhere.

The-Lost-Sheep

As I stated earlier, even I got involved for some wrong reasons, thinking that I owed Christ something for all of my wasted time. I’ve come to learn through time that I didn’t owe Christ anything. I’m sure that he was happy I, the lost black sheep, returned back to him. Remember, he also gave us the gift of free will to do what we want; to turn away from him or to turn back towards him. No matter what is going on in our lives, he is always there. “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

Wolves-Sheep

During this journey I’ve taken, I have met many people who are not the picture-perfect Catholic/Christian. Honestly, none of us are. What I’m talking about though are those individuals that I mentioned before, and then there are the supposed leaders, those who are supposed to be our shepherds, and currently, they are misleading the flock. Not all of them are bad but there are far too many who are noticeably wrong in their actions and words. When you are informing your parishioners that voting for someone who is pro-abortion is better than voting for an individual who has cheated on three of his wives, there is a serious problem there. When you admit to voting for someone who is openly pro-abortion, you have made yourself a part of their sin and are misleading your flock. When you are doing everything in your power to fast forward the agenda of the LGBTQ and use it to twist the words of Christ, you too are misleading your flock.

trust god

I’ve found myself being angry, disheartened, and depressed about my journey with Christ. Then like a rock falling on my head, (which is usually the way God has to get my attention), I realized that it is not Christ that I’m disappointed with, it is the men who are in leadership positions that are making me feel this way. I’m too focused on them and not focused enough on Christ. I’ve been focused far too much on what they are doing wrong instead of on what Christ has done right. When we place our trust in men, we will be let down for sure.

God is calling

So, once again, I am at the crossroads. Which way will I go? Will I continue to fall for the foolishness of men or will I return to how I was when I first came back, like a child yearning to learn, wanting to serve Christ as best as I can? How will I do this? I really don’t know right now. Will I start another men’s group or will Christ lead me in another direction? Only God knows. One thing that I do know is that I’m tired of being angry, disheartened and depressed about my faith and I refuse to lose it! I will do my best to serve, I will do my best to let my actions speak louder than my words, and I will do my best to spread the joy of Christ with others as often as I can.

I saw this passage today which served as my inspiration for writing this. I hope that it moves you as much as it moved me. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17.

Buen Camino & God Bless

The Obstacles of Forgiveness

Managing-Adversity-100Pedals1

More so than not, I find that the road to forgiveness is a long one for me, filled with many obstacles and hurdles to overcome. When someone does me wrong, and I mean really wrong, it takes some time for me to get over the hurt, the distrust and the circumstances surrounding the reason. I know it’s not healthy for me mentally or spiritually to hold onto the transgressions against me so I’ve taken steps to help me forgive the people who have wronged me so that I may get past the transgressions and onto freedom from them.

baggage

We all have baggage that we carry with us, whether it be from our childhood, adulthood or both, somewhere along our journeys, somebody has caused some form of grief in our lives that we have a hard time letting go of. Some people are able to forgive the people who have done them wrong and move forward, while some of us have a harder time doing so. Holding onto this baggage, these transgressions against us, will take its toll on us, weigh us down, and in time will hinder us more and more unless we get rid of the baggage.

forgiveness

Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is an action. We will always remember the situation that happened and that in itself will create feelings of hurt, pain, anger, etc… from within. When we forgive, it doesn’t mean that we forget, nor does it mean that we have automatically reconciled with the people we have forgiven. We don’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same bad behaviors from those who have hurt us.

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Even if you are seeking professional counseling like I am, we must turn to God and ask him to help us with forgiveness and turn to scripture to guide us as well. Here are a few scriptures that may help you along your way:

Colossians 3:12-13 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.

Ephesians 4:31-32 All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Luke 17: 3-4 Be on your guard!* If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”

Matthew 6:14-15 If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Until next time, buen camino & God bless.